Annapolis and the "Peace Process"
©November 17, 2007 Asher Intrater
Later this month Arab and Israeli leaders are scheduled to meet for another round of "peace talks". The peace process has been characterized by many disappointments and a few victories. The very subject raises fierce reactions on both sides of the issue, within the Israeli community, the Christian community, and the Muslim community. We need to pray; yet how exactly are we supposed to pray?
Well, of course, we can pray, "Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven" – Matthew 6:10. Here are some points for consideration:
Against the Peace Process
- Most of the peace proposals are simply a concession on the part of Israel, without any corresponding concession on the part of the Muslim nations or the Palestinians.
- In the last few years, Israel has withdrawn totally from all the territory in both Lebanon and in Gaza, only to be met with missile attacks and war from both Hamas and Hizballah.
- The commitments to Israel from the international or Arab communities are often not fulfilled. For instance, the recent peace agreement with Lebanon required enforcement of non-rearmament of Hizballah from Syria and Iran. Yet there has been intensive rearmament and flaunting of the agreement.
- Even if a more moderate Islamic government will sign an agreement with Israel, it will mean nothing in the case of a takeover by more radical Islamic forces. This has already happened in Gaza, is in the process of happening in Lebanon, and is threatening even Egypt and Jordan.
- In any case, the clear biblical rights to ownership of the Land of Israel are totally ignored by the Muslim world and the international community. The land was given to Israel by covenant with the Patriarchs. The return and resettlement of the land after the exile was promised by God repeatedly to the Prophets. The international community accepts Muslim claims to the land for religious reasons, yet is unwilling to consider the biblical position.
- The forces of Islamic Jihad are growing around the world, and their goal is the destruction of Israel by violent means. Any peace discussion ignoring the goals of international Jihad is a delusion, similar to Chamberlain's efforts to appease Hitler before World War II.
- The Bible indicates that the current conflicts will continue to increase until there is a full fledged international attack upon Israel (Zechariah 12 – 14). Those attacks are seen as an attack on Yeshua (Jesus) personally, and He will fight against those who fight against Israel in that day.
For the Peace Process
- Biblical prophecies indicate that there will be a time of prosperity and peace for Israel, before the coming of the Messiah and the End Times wars (Ezekiel 38:10-11, Zechariah 2:4, Joel 2). The apocalyptic wars are not described as coming from the local Palestinian communities, but from larger international coalitions on the outside.
- From a military point of view, the real threats to the survival and existence of Israel are not from the Palestinians, but from larger nations such as Syria or Iran. (It used to be from Iraq as well, but the American presence there has neutralized that danger for the immediate future.)
- The New Covenant calls for us to pray for the governments to bring peace and order, which will make for a better condition in which to share the gospel (I Timothy 2:1-6).
- Peace and reconciliation are preferable from a biblical view point. War is seen as justifiable, when peace efforts have failed. The concept of peace, even in a limited and partial way during this age before the coming of the Messiah is seen as a blessing, not a curse.
- There are some 2 million Palestinians living in Israel and the West Bank (Judah and Samaria). A solution has to be provided for their civil rights. Israel does not want, nor can we afford, to incorporate them into Israeli society. Although Israel must maintain control of security, autonomy for the Palestinians over their own day to day living must be granted.
- Because of the large number of Palestinians, a continued military control without any diplomatic solution is untenable, physically and financially.
- Because of the higher birth rate among Muslims, clear borders must be set up between the populations, lest the Jewish majority within Israel proper be endangered in the years to come.
What about the Moderate Muslims?
- Some would say that there is no such thing as a moderate Muslim. From my talks with Arab Christian friends, most agree that there are a large number of moderate Muslims, perhaps even the majority.
- However a moderate Muslim is still a Muslim. A moderate Muslim does not believe in using terrorism or military attack to destroy Israel. However, his Muslim worldview denies the biblical covenants, ancient and modern history, and views the Jewish Temple Mount area as a "holy" place to Islam.
- The moderate Muslims have been unwilling or unable to curb the actions of the radical Muslims. Their "neutrality' in regards to Jihad violence ends up being a kind of passive support which enables that violence to continue.
From a Spiritual Viewpoint
- Ultimately, only Yeshua can bring peace to the Middle East (Luke 19:42). We should not look to any politician, left wing or right wing, to bring a full solution. Yet we should pray for the government leaders to act with wisdom and integrity to provide at least a temporary and partial solution.
- Among the Body of Messiah, we are called to present an alternative example of reconciliation through the love of Yeshua. Messianic Jews in Israel and Palestinian Arab Christians have been demonstrating that kind of reconciliation for years.
- Christians worldwide should respect and support the Israeli government's right to decide its own measures on security and diplomacy, without coercion. Ultimately it is the people here, our citizens, our soldiers, and our leaders who will have to pay the price.