Israel: What Cost a Peace Plan?
Recently Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu addressed AIPAC (The American Israel Public Affairs Committee). During his comments he said:
• I bring you greetings from Jerusalem, the eternal, undivided capital of Israel and the Jewish people.
• 70 years ago, our people, the Jewish people, were left for dead. We came back to life. We will never be brought to the brink of extinction again… I will do whatever I must do to defend the Jewish state of Israel.
• Ladies and gentlemen, peace is Israel’s highest aspiration. I’m prepared to make a historic peace with our Palestinian neighbors, a peace that would end a century of conflict and bloodshed. Peace would be good for us. Peace would be good for the Palestinians.
Netanyahu desires peace for his nation. How to get there is one of the great divides among the Jewish people, the Christian church, and the world.
Natanyahu also said:
• Just as Israel is prepared to recognize a Palestinian state, the Palestinians must be prepared to recognize a Jewish state…No excuses, no delays, it’s time.
There is an historic battle going on right now to forge a framework for peace. While we fervently pray for the peace of Jerusalem, the sticky question many of us face is, how do we interpret this modern conflict in view of the Abrahamic Covenant in the Old Testament? This is the covenant, viewed as a contract by many, in which God promised Abraham and his offspring the land. “To you I will give the land of Canaan as the portion you will inherit” (Psalm 105:11). The promise is reiterated over and over (see also Genesis 12, Deuteronomy 30:5, Genesis 15:18-20).
The development of the Abrahamic Covenant in ancient times is the key to understanding today’s issues. It raises questions such as, Did God mean this literally? Does the land still belong to His chosen people? Or has the issue been spiritualized into what is known as Replacement theology (the church replaces Israel), where the Abrahamic covenant is essentially abolished and no longer means a literal possession of the land?
Christians come down on both sides. My personal belief, reinforced by what has already happened, is that every time the land in Israel is divided, more war results. Not peace.
In 2005, Palestinian civil society issued a call for a campaign of boycotts, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) against Israel until it complies with international law and Palestinian rights. Secretary of State John Kerry recently warned that Israel’s continued occupation (of so-called settlement lands) is provoking more people around the world to support boycotts.
“That movement will fail,” Netanyahu has retorted, explaining the economic reality as the superpowers of technology flock to Israel. “They come because they want to benefit from Israel’s unique ingenuity, dynamism, and innovation.” But yet, the BDS movement must be opposed he said, because, “Most people in the BDS movement don’t seek a solution of two states for two peoples…they openly seek the dissolution of the only state for the Jewish people.”
The economic sanctions proposed against Israel certainly look like they represent another aspect and interpretation of the scriptures that refer to “Jerusalem surrounded by armies” in the prophecies of Ezekiel, Luke (21:20) and Matthew. Economic pressure is as threatening as warfare.
I would say to Israel, alongside many other passionate believers, Don’t give in. Don’t divide the land. It will bring war, not peace.
Netanyahu closed his talk with, “My friends, on behalf of the people of Israel, I bring you a message from Jerusalem, the cradle of our common civilization, the crucible of our shared values. It’s a message from the Bible. [Hebrew] I have put before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. Choose life so that you and your offspring may live.
“Ladies and gentlemen, my friends, never forget — America and Israel stand for life. We stand together on the right side of the moral divide. We stand together on the right side of history.”
Whatever compromises the Israelis are willing to take, I believe Netayahu will insist on Israel being recognized as Jewish State. And that is something that the Palestinians won’t be able to concede.
We need to stand up for Israel, to take the side of life. While we may disagree on the issue of land, it will not be our decision in the end. We don't get to vote. The Israelis will decide for themselves.
I encourage you to read Netanyahu’s speech in its entirety:
And continue to pray for the peace of Jerusalem.