By Hope for Israel Staff Writer
United States Secretary of State John Kerry has been working overtime in the Middle East since taking office earlier this year. The reelection of President Obama was the catalyst for an aggressive campaign for “making peace” in the Middle East…and naturally, Israel is the main area of concern because the Obama administration has made it clear that Israel is the main obstacle to the establishment of a Palestinian State, which would solve the crisis at hand. Or would it?
Kerry initiated the current round of peace talks in July 2013. He made it very clear that the United States’ expectation is for an agreement between Israel and the Palestinians by April 29, 2014. For the umpteenth time, representatives from both Israel and the Palestinian Authority entered talks in which negotiations for a Palestinian State, and thus peace between Israel and the Palestinians, would be established. However, instead of any real “progress” on any of the issues at hand, the talks have become reminiscent of a soap opera turned circus with Palestinian negotiators quitting over Israel’s continued settlement construction, thus putting things back at square one. Israel, however, has already released dozens of Palestinian prisoners who were serving time for terror attacks in Israeli prisons, all in accordance with the preconditions for the talks. A building freeze in the legal settlements in the Judea & Samaria region (i.e., the “West Bank”) was not a precondition for these current talks, regardless of the opinion of the Palestinian leadership to the contrary.
The talks are now at the mid-point of the 9-month window of time. With the recent resignation of the Palestinian negotiators, Saeb Erekat and Mohammed Shtayyel, the talks are idling in neutral. The main issues of contention, causing much anxiety for both sides are: Jerusalem as shared capital between Israel and Palestine, the Palestinian “Right of Return”, recognition of Israel as a Jewish State, and “Land for Peace”, which includes what do to about the current Israeli towns in the area of Judea & Samaria. None of these issues have an easy solution if we are talking about what would “beneficial” for both sides. The reality is that there is no viable solution to this conflict, at least not in the current political reality in the Middle East.
Therein lies the problem; Israel will continue to be demonized for its refusal to make “painful concessions for peace”, which are actually tantamount to signing its death certificate. The Palestinians, however, at the same time refuse to make any concessions of their own at the negotiating table, for they have suffered enough at the hands of Israel, and therefore Israel “owes” them. The underlying issue is that they will never recognize Israel as a Jewish State and instead will fight to wipe out the “occupation” of Palestine by the Jews; this is made very clear in Article 9 of the Palestinian Liberation Organization’s National Charter, which states that an “armed struggle is the only way to liberate Palestine.” (http://www.iris.org.il/plochart.htm)
This is one of the many reasons Israel is very literally playing with fire by coming to the negotiating table with the Palestinians. If this were really about land, there would have been an agreement years ago. Instead, the sad fact is that this continuous failing cycle of peace talks only brings more frustration and anger, which breed violence and bloodshed for both Israelis and Palestinians.
Let us pray that when this current round of talks inevitably fails (and it will if history has taught us anything), that God’s mighty hand will protect us from the bloodshed. He is our only hope for peace, and this will only come when our hearts are at one with Him, and then with one another; only the atonement of Yeshua can unite Jew and Arab in true peace.
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