Over two-thirds of Israelis supported the idea of a two state solution (68%) according to an article in 2017, with the number increasing from two years previous to that1. So why hasn’t it happened yet?
The vast majority of Israelis were eager to pull every Jewish person out of Gaza back in 2005 and give the Palestinians that land in hope that it would bring peace, but it didn’t quite work out as planned. Even today, that hope for peace with our Arab neighbors continues. What are we waiting for? Why doesn’t Israel just pull out the Jewish settlements, give the Palestinians full control and ownership of Judea and Samaria, and be done with it?
World leaders are relentlessly pushing forward trying to find a solution to the ongoing Middle East conflict whether Israel likes it or not. On Christmas Eve 2016, the first night of Hanukkah, United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334 made the Israeli settlements in “Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem” illegal by a vote of 14-0 of the members of the U.N. Security Council (UNSC). That means even the Western Wall is now considered illegally occupied. This has led to a deeply controversial meeting that convened in Paris to make decisions (in the end they just made statements) about the complicated and stagnant Middle East situation.
Why can’t things stay as they are?
On the one hand, the Arabs in the Palestinian territories have been living under very restrictive and difficult conditions for decades, and anyone who knows much about the situation there of course wants to see freedom and dignity for those trapped in that grim situation. The Palestinian quest for justice and freedom is real, valid, and important. The Christian world must not minimize or forget the realities of what our brothers and sisters in the West Bank experience, nor shut our ears when their stories are being told.
However, on the other hand, the heavy military presence and restrictions on movement are not due to a desire to oppress, but to protect Israeli Jewish and Arab citizens from terror attacks. If there was no threat against the Jewish state, the situation would be completely different. The fact is that even though God knows and loves each and every Muslim living alongside Israel, the radical Islamic agenda has repeatedly stated its desire to rid the world of Jewish people, and to turn Israel back to being a Muslim majority state called Palestine. The intention of making God’s chosen city, Jerusalem, into the capital of an Islamic Caliphate is no secret.
Why is it taking so long to make peace?
There is no apparent solution that would not likely end up in this scenario. Israel is slow and reluctant to agree to a two state solution because they have very real concerns that if they were to pull out completely from the West Bank as they did from Gaza, then the same thing would happen again: with no Israeli presence to keep a watchful eye, it would turn into a giant launch pad for weapons aimed at Israeli civilians. But this time, it would be much more difficult to protect Israel from attack, and it would be much easier for militants to acquire all the weapons they want. Similarly, even if Israel were to annex Judea and Samaria and give all the residents full rights and voting privileges, the fast-growing Arab population would quickly become a majority, and the democratic system would mean that the legislation could be changed to make the country a Muslim majority state called Palestine again, with Jews as an endangered minority.
The status quo clearly suits Israel much more than the Palestinians, but you can see why there is reluctance to go forward with any of these proposals. Israel would much rather not have to send its children to the army and lose so many to the constant violence, but the alternatives seem even worse. Frustration for Palestinians is considered preferable to annihilation for Israelis, and since Israel is the stronger of the two, it can maintain that status quo. Hence the deadlock. “Ending the occupation” inevitably means an end to the Jewish state of Israel.
What does the Bible say?
Biblical prophecy indicates that all nations will eventually turn against Israel (Ez 38-9, Zechariah 12:2), and we can certainly see that happening even now. Joel 4 indicates that the land will be divided, but that this is against God’s will, and books like Zechariah, Isaiah and the Psalms stress over and over again God’s particular choice of the city of Jerusalem. For those who think that it is not a concern for the literal city of Zion, consider where, in literal geographical terms, will the feet of the Messiah stand when he returns? Not New York. For reasons best known to God himself, Jerusalem is of great spiritual importance. Radical Islam has its agenda but God has his. The Scriptures warn that trouble is brewing, but that in the end, Yeshua will bring peace to Israel – that Israel will be vindicated, and a blessing to the whole earth (Isaiah 62).
Yeshua cares more deeply for each Jew and Arab than any politician or activist ever could. Peace will only come through the Messiah, and it is God’s plans that will ultimately succeed, as prophesied in the Scriptures.
The situation is complicated and painful on all sides, and it’s an important time to be praying for the area. Please pray along with us, as we put our trust in God, not politicians. He is the only safe refuge and the true source of joy for Jew and Arab alike. The Middle East solution is Yeshua!
For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent, for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest,
until her righteousness shines out brightly, and her salvation as a blazing torch.
Nations will see your righteousness, and all kings your glory.
You will be called by a new name, which Adonai’s mouth will bestow.
You will also be a crown of beauty in the hand of Adonai, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God.
No longer will you be termed “Forsaken”, no longer your land termed “Desolate”.
Instead you will be called, “My Delight is in Her” and your land, “Married”.
For Adonai delights in you, and your land will be married.
For as a young man marries a virgin, so your sons will marry you.
As a bridegroom rejoices over a bride, so your God will rejoice over you.
On your walls, Jerusalem, I have set watchmen.
All day and all night, they will never hold their peace.
“You who remind Adonai, take no rest for yourselves,
And give Him no rest until He establishes and makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth.
Adonai has sworn by His right hand and by His strong arm:
“Surely I will never again give your grain as food for your enemies,
nor will foreigners drink your new wine, for which you have labored.
But those who have garnered it will eat it and praise Adonai,
and those who have gathered it will drink it in the courts of My Sanctuary.”
Go through, go through the gates.
Clear the way for the people!
Build up, build up the highway!
Remove the stones.
Lift up a banner over the peoples.
Behold, Adonai has proclaimed to the end of the earth:
Say to the Daughter of Zion, “Behold, your salvation comes!
See, His reward is with Him, and His recompense before Him.”
Then they will call them The Holy People, The Redeemed of Adonai,
and you will be called, Sought Out, A City Not Forsaken.
- Haaretz, Two-thirds of Israelis Still Back Two-state Solution, J Street Poll Finds, Judy Maltz Jan 15, 2017