Friday, August 2, 2013

Referendum on peace agreement just might pass?

Secretary of State Kerry doggedly worked until the Israel-Palestinian peace talks revived. They have been dead for four years and not much progress was made in the Bush years prior to that. The last time there was any real progress at all was Bill Clinton forming the Oslo Accords in 1990.

This piece below was in the United Kingdom’s paper The Guardian. There does seem to be a different tone about this round of peace talks, something that has been going on since 1967 after the Six Day’s War. And let us not forget that one month after Israel declared herself a nation in 1948 war broke out from the surrounding Palestinians. Peace is ever-elusive, and due to the bible we know why. Isaac and Ishmael and the one above the other.

But Sarah saw that the son whom Hagar the Egyptian had borne to Abraham was mocking, and she said to Abraham, “Get rid of that slave woman and her son, for that slave woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with my son Isaac.”

The matter distressed Abraham greatly because it concerned his son. But God said to him, “Do not be so distressed about the boy and your maidservant. Listen to whatever Sarah tells you, because it is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned. I will make the son of the maidservant into a nation also, because he is your offspring.”(Genesis 21:9-13)

This time things are a bit different. Israel is militarily and financially surrounded and isolated. "The European Union has moved to cut off all Israeli entities that operate in the disputed areas of the West Bank and East Jerusalem" reported Russia Today. Financially, this has dramatic impact.

Also, Prime Minister Netanyahu said he would put any agreement to a popular referendum for the people to decide. The people are weary and the leaders are worried about the tight isolation they are currently enduring. Of course, America has abandoned Israel and that makes a difference too. Israel cannot count on even one ally at this moment. This has changed their perspective and they may be more willing to “talk.”

We Christians watch anything related to Israel, because that is where the Lord said He would move most dramatically. (Zechariah 2:8, Ezra 6:12). The Tribulation will be kicked off with the covenant being confirmed between Israel and “the many.” (Dan 9:27). So “suddenly” revived peace talks have me total attention! Here is the Guardian essay on the peace talks-

Why I'm (somewhat) optimistic about the latest Israel-Palestine peace talks
One would have to be a fool to ever express optimism about the potential for a diplomatic breakthrough between Israelis and Palestinians. There have been so many pitfalls and missed opportunities over the years it's hard to gets one's hopes up about the launching of a new round of peace talks in Washington DC this week between Israelis and Palestinians.

Well I guess I'm a fool because I think there is genuine reason for optimism about these talks. Now to be sure I am setting the bar low (I might be a fool, but I'm not crazy). The gaps between the two sides are significant; the challenge in separating Palestinians and settlers in the West Bank to create a viable two-state solution is supremely difficult; resolving issues like the final status of Jerusalem and, to a lesser extent, the right of return for Palestinians will create a furious pushback from the extremists on both sides who are sternly opposed to any compromise. Nonetheless, there are very good reasons to believe this time – and these talks - will be different.

Israelis strongly support a two-state solution. This is not a new development, but the very fact that two-thirds of Israelis (and a slightly smaller percentage of Israeli Jews) continue to support the idea of a Palestinian state that conforms to the 1967 borders is of enormous importance.

But that so many Israelis are comfortable with the idea of a Palestinian state (something that would have been unimaginable before Oslo in the early 1990s) provides the political opening for an Israeli government to make a deal that turns the idea of two-states into reality.

If these talks fall through – no matter which side is to blame – Israel's diplomatic and economic isolation will only get worse. Not only will the outside pressure on Israel grow, but Israelis themselves may begin finding themselves stigmatized and constrained by the actions of their government. That alone could very well shift the current cost-benefit analysis on swapping land for peace. In short, Israelis may come to realize, as they did with Camp David and with Oslo and, to a lesser extent, with the pullout from Gaza and with the withdrawal from South Lebanon, that the status quo cannot be maintained.

Influential blogger Dahlia Scheindlin in Israel wrote:

Referendum on peace agreement just might pass
“So as a public service, it is worth reminding everyone that surveys consistently show that a majority of the Israeli public favors a two-state solution. In a June survey for the Truman Institute at Hebrew University, 58 percent of Jews supported the two-state solution, and 62 percent of all Israelis including Arab respondents.”

Would a referendum vote by the Israeli people be the reference in Daniel 9:27 of the covenant “confirmed by the many”? I believe the language of the verse in English and in Hebrew supports this possibility. But as always, it is hard to tell. Prophecy is always clear after the fact and only rarely clearly  understood prior or during. In any case, the broad strokes are there, any ‘sudden’ movement in Israel regarding land for peace hearkens to the Lord’s future judgment on them because “they have divided My land” as He said in Joel 3:2. So we know by looking at the end, that land has been divided and will continue to be divided and the Lord does not like that nor does He want that.

Ultimately it would be good to pray for the leaders on both sides that they would do that the LORD wants, and even though we know that they won’t, we still “pray for the peace of Jerusalem.” The John MacArthur Bible Commentary says of this verse, that this city’s name means peace and it is the residency of the God of peace, but has been fought over more times than any other city on earth. Peace will not come to Jerusalem until the Prince of Peace comes to rule personally, (Zech 14:9, 11) so this is a prophetic prayer.

"For there thrones were set for judgment, The thrones of the house of David. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: "May they prosper who love you. "May peace be within your walls, And prosperity within your palaces." (Psalm 122:5-7)

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