Someone once said, “If you want peace, prepare for war” but that’s rubbish. Someone else once said that “peace is not just the absence of war, but the presence of justice” but that’s rubbish too.
Peace is certainly more than the absence of war and/or the deterrence of aggression, but the word “justice” is so subjective that a state of affairs whereby one party feels “justice” is present will almost always mean some other party will feel the exact opposite is true.
This is precisely what we see in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict today, with both sides having a legitimate grievance that can only be addressed to the satisfaction of one party by completely ignoring the legitimate grievance of the other party.
In the natural, there is no solution, and that is why all the efforts by diplomats, politicians, etc. have all failed, because they’re trying to solve a supernatural problem with natural efforts.
In order for TRUE and permanent peace to reign in Jerusalem, in Israel, in the Middle East and throughout the world, what is necessary is the presence of righteousness, and the first step to achieving righteousness is to be obedient to the God who created this Universe and everything in it.
But that kind of obedience is hard to find in today’s world, even among much of what is called “the Church” today.
As we’ve been marking the 50th anniversary of the Six Day War this week, there’s been an awful lot of chatter about how the consequences of that conflict continue to reverberate down to the current day.
What is mostly referred to as “consequences” by those doing all the chattering is that in the course of the June 1967 War, Israel managed to push out the Jordanian forces who had been occupying eastern Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria (known to most of the world as the West Bank) and has been holding those areas ever since.
The narrative that has emerged and become almost universally accepted regarding this situation is that Israel is “occupying” a country called “Palestine” in violation of international law. All Israel needs to do in order to have peace is evacuate its citizens (referred to, again incorrectly, as “settlers” or even “colonists” by much of the world) from the territories and allow the formation of a Palestinian State in this area with eastern Jerusalem as its capital city. Then there will be peace between Israelis and Palestinians and this will make it easier to resolve all the other wars and crises that have plagued the Middle East for so long.
It is only Israel’s refusal to make this “painful compromise” despite having been given a tremendous number of incentives to do so by the US, the UN, the EU and even the Arab countries, which is preventing peace from being achieved.
This is all factually incorrect for many different historical, geographic, political and legal reasons. But incorrect though it may be, it is a fact of life that this narrative has become conventional wisdom for many people all over the world, including those on Israel’s political Left and even among some Evangelical Christians. Incredibly, there are even some Israeli Believers who have adopted this narrative, which is really sad, because they of all people should know better.
It is a self-evident (if one is not catastrophically delusional) fact that there would not be peace between Israel and the Palestinians, much less between Israel and the rest of the Arab countries in the region, if Israeli citizens currently living in the territories were evacuated, the IDF pulled out and the area became a Palestinian State with eastern Jerusalem as its capital.
This is not primarily because, as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu never misses an opportunity to point out, the Palestinians are more interested in destroying Israel than they are in building their own country. All that, frankly, is just background noise.
So what IS the real issue?
My belief is that the so-called “Two-State Solution” is an idea meant to solve the conflict between Jewish Nationalism and Arab/Palestinian Nationalism. If it were ever to be put into effect, it would be a failure, because the conflict is not (and never was) primarily between these two forces.
The national conflict is, in fact, merely a sideshow to the REAL conflict, which is not about land, borders, refugees, or any of the other issues which are always mentioned when people talk about the conflict on TV.
The real issue at the core of this conflict is a question about whose god is really God. If the Deity described in the Bible is God, then Israel is mandated to, among other things, hold political sovereignty over the areas it does, ESPECIALLY the entirety of Jerusalem. If the Deity described in the Quran, the Moslem Holy Book, is God, then it is forbidden for a Jewish State called Israel to exist anywhere on this planet, much less to have political sovereignty over Jerusalem. These two positions are mutually exclusive. If one Deity is the true God then the other one is a false god, a myth, a fairy tale. And THAT, is the central issue in this conflict.
If an individual believes in one of these two (VERY separate and VERY different) Deities then one will feel obligated to be obedient to the Deity one believes in or risk one’s ETERNAL DESTINY! That will make it quite impossible to compromise or meet anyone halfway, and that is why the “Two-State Solution” which is all about meeting the other side halfway, is a non-starter which will never work.
Most of the people who advocate for a Two-State Solution do not believe in any god, much less a Deity that will hold them accountable in Eternity for their actions in this life. They compound this error by assuming the people they’re trying to “help” to achieve a peace agreement are just like them in this regard, and it is therefore absurd and unthinkable (perhaps even offensive) to take into consideration that the antagonists in this conflict might be motivated by religious beliefs. Even those few who are willing to admit that this is, perhaps, a contributing factor to the problem, will say that there’s nothing that can be done about it and it’s a waste of time to address the religious dimension at the expense of other issues which CAN be addressed.
But they’re wrong.
Because there IS something that can be done about it, and that’s where my solution to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians comes in. My idea for bringing peace to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict is for you and me to pray EARNESTLY and continuously that the Prince of Peace come to rule and reign in the hearts and minds of the people who live in this region. When that happens, when they start to worship, love and follow the Lord God Jesus Christ in righteousness and in truth, they will stop hating each other, and they will stop rebelling against the Will of God for their own lives, for their nations and most of all for the City of Jerusalem.
Psalm 122:6 says “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: “May they prosper who love you.”
God wants there to be peace in Jerusalem, and by extension the entire Middle East and the World. He commands you and me to pray for it. To be obedient to that command, we should pray for revival in Jerusalem. We should pray for His Spirit to be poured out on this city and this region. That is how peace will come.
It will not come about through a “Two-State Solution” or the US Embassy moving to Jerusalem or the Arab Peace Initiative or of these other man-made ideas. The reason I’m so sure about this is that it’s already happening.
There is a small but growing number of Born Again Believers among the Palestinian population in eastern Jerusalem, the West Bank and even in Gaza and Jordan. Most of them have quietly made their peace with Israel, while some others are quite outspoken in their support for Israel, explicitly saying that the God they worship and serve and the Bible He wrote commands them to take this position. That is obedience. That is righteousness. That is the path to true and lasting peace.
So that, brothers and sisters, is what I hope you will join me in praying for, for the sake of peace in Jerusalem and the entire world.