Israel, the Church, and the Peace Process
IT’S WORTH CONSIDERING
At a recent conference in Jerusalem, former US peace envoy Dennis Ross said that “both sides”-the Israelis and the Palestinians-have lost faith in the peace process, and that is why no progress is being made. Mr. Ross’s views echo those of many others who blame Israel for not wanting to do what it takes to have real peace. Why should the Israelis have faith in the peace process?
Let’s look at the facts. Just last month, more than 100 rockets were fired at Israel from Gaza in one week. Since Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip in 2005, terrorists have fired more than 8,000 rockets into Israel. More than one million Israelis are currently under threat of rocket attacks and many were spending the night in bomb shelters and safe rooms. The city of Ashkelon, with a population of 113,000 and several smaller towns were targets of recent attacks. In response, the Israel Defense Forces targeted terrorist squads in Gaza, killing two terrorists in a rocket-launching squad.
A terror cell infiltrated Israel last month from the Sinai Peninsula, just south of Gaza, killing Saeed Fashapshe, 36, an Israeli Arab and the father of four. He was on a construction crew, working on the new border fence between Israel and Egypt being built to prevent such cross-border terror attacks. According to Israel Defense Forces spokeswoman Lt.-Col. Avital Leibovich, there are 400 to 500 smuggling tunnels running under the Gaza-Egypt border. Speaking on a conference call organized by TIP (The Israel Project), Leibovich said terrorists and arms are easily smuggled in and out of Sinai via the tunnels.
Israel holds Hamas (backed by Iran) responsible for all terror attacks launched from Gaza. It has controlled the territory since it seized power in a bloody coup in 2007. “The IDF will not tolerate any attempt by terrorist groups to target Israeli civilians and IDF soldiers, and will continue to operate against those who use terror against the State of Israel,” the Israeli army said in a statement.
AS I SEE IT
A Mid-East writer recently asked, “If every weapon of every Palestinian in the region disappeared tomorrow, how many would the Israelis murder in cold blood? If every weapon of every Israeli disappeared tomorrow, how many would the Palestinians murder in cold blood?” I think we all know the answers to both questions. We also know what the Palestinian leaders and negotiators really want and it’s not peace. They want Israel removed from the region. The only differing opinions pertain to how long the process should take.
While the world demands that Israel negotiate to give away yet more land, God made His intentions clear thousands of years ago. Israel was to make no foreign alliances without consulting God (Isaiah 30:1-2). No deals with potential enemies. The sin gets compounded when the negotiations involve giving away “sacred” land. I say “sacred” because in Joel 3:2 God says the land of Israel is His land. Israel’s problems today are the result of the same problem it had in biblical days-rebellion against God. The role of the Church is to bring her back to faith (Romans 11:31), no matter how hard the task may be. Yes, Israel is rebellious. So once were we. What’s at stake is the Church’s obedience and God’s name and reputation.
Israel is His. The people of Israel are His. The “peace process” has no chance of success. No matter what Israel does, she will be blamed by the world. God has forbidden foreign alliances and giving away His land. The peace we are to pray for regarding Jerusalem (Psalm 122:6) has nothing to do with the current peace process. Only Jesus Christ can and will bring the kind of peace Israel needs and God desires. He is the only hope for Israel and He is the only hope for us.
ON THE LIGHTER SIDE
I may be schizophrenic, but at least I have each other.