By EARL COX, ISRAEL ALWAYS—
As expected, the United Nations General Assembly recently voted, 138 to 9 with 41 abstentions, to grant the Palestinians in Israel what has been termed “non-member status,” and also “observer status” in the UN. Nobody is quite sure exactly what the new status means in relation to legitimate Palestinian statehood or to the Palestinians’ relationship with Israel however Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas right away claimed that he would use the new status to file charges of “war crimes” against Israel in the International Court of Justice. The resolution does serve to elevate Palestinian status from “non-member observer entity” to “non-member observer state,” which is the same category as the Vatican.
As soon as the news of the UN vote reached the Arab city of Ramallah in Israel, the virtual Palestinian capital, crowds of thousands of Palestinians danced in the streets waving large and small Palestinian flags, along with pictures of Abbas who is now considered a new hero. However, Israel’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Ron Prosor, stressed that “Palestine is still not a state.” He added that the UN vote will not help, but will only hinder peace. Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon commented, “The UN vote won’t change anything. It’s just a piece a paper. There is no way for statehood except through negotiations.” United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said, “Today’s grand pronouncement is unfortunate and non-productive. It will soon fade.”
Palestinian leader Abbas put his own spin on the situation. He stated, “We are here at the UN in a serious attempt to achieve peace, to breathe new life into the peace process.” However, Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu responded, “Someone who really wants peace would not talk and act in such a manner as Abbas.” He added, “He has totally rejected negotiations, and that’s why he has gone to the UN instead.”
So what does this UN vote mean to the rest of the world and to us Christians? It simply raises the question again as to whether or not Middle East peace is possible or if is it just a mirage. Will a Palestinian state really bring peace with Israel?” Can any treaty be acceptable to both the Jews, the Palestinians and the Arab world?
The Biblical position that we Christians support states that all the land that the Palestinians want for a separate independent state has been given by God to the Jewish people for “an everlasting possession.” There is absolutely no indication in Biblical prophecies that there would ever be an Arab or Palestinian state on that land. Even apart from such a Biblical mandate, any honest analyst of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict would have to agree that the Israeli and Palestinian leaders would never agree on all the Palestinian statehood issues. Obviously they have yet to do so in almost 65 years since Israel was re-born as a state on that land in 1948.
Abbas wants all the land of Judea and Samaria for his Palestinian state and he does not want even one Jewish resident, or “settler,” in his Palestinian state even though there are many Palestinians living on uncontested Israeli land and are happy to remain where they are under Israel’s government and laws because Israel is democratic and civilized and they enjoy the same freedoms, privileges and benefits as any other citizen of Israel. Netanyahu will never agree to remove the quarter of a million Jewish residents from Jewish towns and villages in those territories the Palestinians want to claim exclusively for themselves since he believes all that land belongs to the Jews and to Israel.
Not only does Abbas want all of Judea and Samaria, he also has issued “a non-negotiable demand” that Jerusalem become the capital of the Palestinian state. Netanyahu has boldly declared that Jerusalem will always be the united and undivided capital city of the Jews and Israel. We believe that the Biblical mandate also strongly supports Israeli rights to its centuries-old capital, including the historic, walled Old City, plus the vast and modern new areas of the city. We also know that Prime Minister Netanyahu understands that an independent Palestinian state would become no different from what Gaza has turned out to be since the Arabs there were given their independence and self-government. Gaza has become an uncontrollable terrorist state. An independent Palestinian state would undoubtedly become nothing more than the same.
Obviously, by going to the UN, the Palestinians are trying to create a state without negotiating a lasting peace with Israel and without resolving the many issues that have so far prevented a resolution of the conflict. So what is the answer to my opening question? There are strong reasons to conclude that a Middle East peace and a Palestinian state are not a possibility given their current course of action. That leaves them to be nothing more than just a mirage.