Saturday, September 12, 2009

Obama, Israel and the Palestinians

I understand that when Barack Obama became US President he gave himself two years to resolve the Israel/Palestinian issue. There's optimism for you.

Benjamin Netanyahu, who became Israel's Prime Minister not too long ago, was said not to favour a two-state plan. Israel was under pressure from the US to agree to just that.

After careful consideration, Prime Minister Netanyahu said he would agree to two states on two conditions: first, that the Palestinians would recognise the Jewish state's right to exist, and second, that the Palestinian state would be a demilitarised state so that it would not be able to attack Israel.

The Palestinians' response was not long in coming. Nabil Abu Rdainah, a spokesman for the Palestinian Authority's Mahmoud Abbas, said the Israeli leader's speech "torpedoes all peace initiatives in the region."

Another Abbas aide, Yasser Abed Rabbo, said recognition of Israel's Jewish character was a demand for Palestinians "to become part of the global Zionist movement." Hamas said the speech reflected Mr Netanyahu's "racist and extremist ideology."

Kifah Radaydeh, a Fatah official, rather let the cat out of the bag. She said the Palestinian Authority will resume violence and terror against Israel when Fatah is "capable" and "according to what seems right." "It has been said that we are negotiating for peace," she said, "but our goal has never been peace. Peace is a means; our goal is Palestine."

At its recent conference in Bethlehem, Fatah, the so-called moderate wing of the Palestinians - perhaps emboldened by encouraging sounds from President Obama - embraced the Aksa Martyrs terror group as a Fatah organisation, endorsed the use of terrorism against Israel, demanded that all terrorists be released from Israeli prisons as a precondition to "peace" talks and decided that their national enterprise would not be achieved until not only Judea and Samaria but the whole of Jerusalem was cleansed of Jews and under Palestinian sovereignty.

President Obama does not have much cause for optimism. There are 22 Arab nations surrounding Israel with a combined population of more than 300 million, compared with Israel's five million Jews - a ratio of 58 to one. The Arabs have 5,300,000 square miles of land, compared with the Jews' 8,000 square miles - a ratio of more than 660 to one. But they are not concerned with the land they have. They want the bit Israel has.

In considering the issue, there are a number of other things to think about. First, the US has placed extreme pressure on Israel to cease building of any kind on land it hopes will be given to the Palestinians for a Palestinian state. (Imagine being told by another nation when you are able and not able to build on your land). Such building is said to be a stumbling block to peace. The real stumbling block to peace, however, is not Israeli building but the fact that the Palestinians refuse to accept the right of Israel to exist.

Second, Benjamin Netanyahu is pressured to negotiate with the Palestinians. How do you negotiate with someone who refuses to accept your right to exist and is still sworn to destroy you?

The third and most important fact is one that politicians of all kinds appear either to deny or to ignore. In the Bible, God calls the land of Israel "my land," a phrase He does not use to describe any other portion of land on the planet. The Bible makes it clear that God has given the land for an everlasting possession to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and their descendants - in other words, the Jews.

Try Gen 17:7, 8, 19 -21; Gen 28:13 - 15 and Gen 35:9 - 15. Or 1 Chron 16:15 - 22. Or Psa 105:8 - 12.