Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Israel: The real peace process

So the Israel-Palestinian peace negotiations have come to an end, which is no surprise.

Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah organisation, with whom Israel was negotiating, made an agreement with Hamas, the terrorist organisation which rules in Gaza. Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he wasn't going to negotiate with a Palestinian government backed by a terrorist organisation sworn to Israel's destruction. (Hamas is recognised as a terrorist organisation by both the United States and the European Union.)

The Palestinians said their agreement had nothing to do with peace negotiations and blamed Israel for ending the talks.

The Americans seemed surprised that the Palestinians refused to accept Israel as a Jewish state. To do so would have given Israel some legitimacy, and the Palestinians will not compromise. They will now return their energies to their current strategy of seeking international standing in the hope of delegitimising Israel and forcing them, if nothing else, to make further concessions for nothing in return.

Attitudes appear to have hardened. Palestinian rockets continue to fall on southern Israel. Palestinian children are still being taught to shoot Jews.

But good things are happening. In Israel, Arab Christians and Jewish believers in Jesus are coming together to demonstrate the unity created by the Jewish Messiah. Typical was this month's At the Crossroads conference, held at Christ Church, Jerusalem, just inside the walls of the Old City.

Arab Christians came from all over the Middle East. One delegate said the worship - in Arabic, Turkish, Kurdish, Hebrew and English - was a foretaste of heaven. This, said an archbishop, is the true peace process.

One of the speakers at this year's At the Crossroads conference (not to be confused with the Christ at the Checkpoint conference, which is largely a vehicle for Palestinian propaganda) was Canon Andrew White, Vicar of Baghdad, who has worked for years for reconciliation and has a congregation of several thousand in the war-torn city. Some 1,200 of his congregation have died as victims of violence.

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