Saturday, September 24, 2011

More violent times to come

Well, it happened. For a day or two it didn't seem certain what he would do. Then yesterday Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas made an official application to the United Nations for a place for an independent Palestinian state as a full member of the UN.

The UN General Council - with one or two exceptions - gave him standing ovations as he made his case.

The trouble is that the Palestinians have refused to recognise Israel, whose territory they want to acquire, and have refused to negotiate with Israel. Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the General Council that the Palestinians wanted a state without peace. They should first make peace with Israel and then get their state.

The General Council ignored him and voted for the Palestinians. The decision will need to be ratified by the Security Council. I understand they will discuss it on Monday. Full ratification is unlikely to be forthcoming. Either way, Abbas is now a hero among his supporters.

The decision is both a victory and a disaster. It achieves nothing on the ground and will surely lead to further violence. An appeal for peaceful demonstrations in Israel yesterday led to stone-throwing at Israeli soldiers. More violence is said to be planned.

Rockets from Palestinians in Gaza are continuing to fall on civilian populations in southern Israel. Esti Lehman, of Moshav Shuva, a mother of three children from five months to four years old, wrote in the Israeli media of having only seconds to find shelter after the alarm sounds and having to make, with three small children and only two hands, the terrible decision of who to grab first.

"They're shooting at me, at my children," she wrote. "This is war."

Will there be peace between the Israeli Jews and their Arab neighbours? I think not.

The Bible speaks of a time to come of terrible suffering for the Jews, but a time when many will come to faith.

It also speaks of a day when the curse will be taken from the earth, the lion will lie down (literally) with the lamb, and there will be no wars. But alas, not yet.