If you have followed the news in the Middle East lately, you are aware that Secretary of State, John Kerry has been scurrying from Israel to Jordan to Saudi Arabia to the West Bank and back to Israel in recent days. The issue is an interim peace treaty between Israel and the Palestinians that actually has its origin in 1994, the 1994 Oslo Accords. (Read more). For the last 20 years, a permanent agreement between Israel and Palestine has failed to be executed to replace the interim Oslo Accords. Kerry’s objective is to accomplish the impossible – to replace the interim 1994 Oslo Accords with a permanent peace treaty between Israel and the Palestinians. Recent Reuters News reports:
Kerry has said a peace treaty will deal with all the core issues dividing the two sides. These included the contours of a future Palestinian state, refugees, the fate of Jerusalem claimed by both as a capital, security and mutual recognition. … Under the proposal, a unified Jerusalem would be the capital of both states without defining the outlines of east Jerusalem, the official said. … The Palestinians want the borders of their state to be based on the 1967 lines from before the Six-Day War, when Israel captured the West Bank, including now annexed Arab east Jerusalem. They have also insisted there should be no Israeli troops in their future state. But Israel wants to retain existing settlements it has built inside occupied Palestinian territory. It also wants to maintain a military presence in the Jordan Valley.
Sometimes we need to highlight the important issues:
- Recognition of the state of Israel by Palestinians (Read more)
- Recognition of the state of Palestine by Israel
- The contours of a Palestinian state based on the 1967 lines (the “Green Lines“), i.e., the lines before Israel captured Arab lands in the 1967 Six-Days-War
- The Palestinian refugees, the descendants of Palestinians forced out of their homelands by the 1948 United Nations action resulting in the establishing of the State of Israel
- Jerusalem – should it be considered the capital of Israel or Palestine or both?
- Israeli settlements in Palestinian areas, presently occupied by Israel. Are they Palestinian or Israeli? What about the Israelis who live in Palestinian areas?
In coming weeks, we will follow Kerry’s progress as he attempts to usher in peace for the Middle East. The good news is found in Jesus’ sermon on the mount:
Matthew 5:9 (NASB) 9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
Don’t know about you, but I am not much on the United States of America being called the “sons of God.” I cannot help but wonder if this might play out the wrong way for Israel (and the world). If that is the case, peacemakers will be far and few between:
Zechariah 14:2 (NASB) 2 For I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle, and the city will be captured, the houses plundered, the women ravished and half of the city exiled, but the rest of the people will not be cut off from the city.
Jesus come quickly.
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