The U.S. ‘Deal of the Century’ was released in Washington D.C. on Tuesday January 28, 2020. Here is some bite-sized perspective to help understand what is going on.
“It’s for your own good”
The phrase “it’s for your own good” usually means that you are being forced to do something which is neither enjoyable or desired. The authors of the ‘Deal of the Century’ lay out many solutions which they believe are “for your own good” – for the good of the Israelis and for the good of the Palestinians. But the devil is in the details, as Friedrich Nietzsche would say (“Der Teufel steckt im Detail”). A contract may look fine at first glance, but a thorough reading can unveil problems and hidden agendas. Small issues can ultimately cause a deal to self-destruct.
Why did all Palestinian groups reject the Deal?
The Palestinian leaderships (jihadi Hamas, Islamic Jihad and terrorist PLO/Palestinian Authority) totally reject the Deal for many reasons, including the following:
- It leaves 30% of the Biblical West Bank in Jewish hands
- It recognizes Jewish control over much of Jerusalem
- It allows Israel to thwart Palestinian attacks on the Jewish state.
The Islamist perspective is simple: any territory which has been conquered by the armies of Islam at any point in history cannot revert to non-Islamic rule. To allow a Jewish state and any Jewish control of lands conquered by jihad in 638 A.D. is considered heretical. Palestinian history from the 1920’s has marched to the drumbeat of a constant refusal to accept Jewish existence in Gaza, Jerusalem, the West Bank, the Galilee and the Golan.
Why have some right-of-center Israelis responded somewhat positively to the Deal?
The Israeli right wing accept parts of the Deal:
- Future annexation of the Jordan Valley and of some Jewish town and settlements in the West Bank
- U.S. recognition of the historical connection between the Jewish people and their ancestral homeland
Israelis understand that the U.S.A. is Israel’s warmest ally and that Trump is by far the most Israel-positive President in U.S. history. For the most part Israelis (including Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu) want to honor Trump and his country – even if there are strong reservations and concerns about some of the Deal’s details.
Why are significant portions of Israel hesitant about the Deal?
A majority of Israelis reject certain parts of the Deal:
- The establishment of a Palestinian state in 70% of the West Bank which would become a terrorist springboard
- The handing over of some presently Israeli land (towns and kibbutzim where both Jews and Arabs live) to the PLO (www.gatestoneinstitute.org/15516/arab-israelis-peace-plan)
- The establishment of a PLO-controlled capital city in Jerusalem, on the south side of the Mount of Olives
Most Orthodox and traditional Jews (over 20% of Israeli Jews) strongly object to the Jordanian Waqf (Muslim religious council) controlling the Temple Mount – meaning that Jews are forbidden from praying on Mount Moriah. Mixed signals from U.S. officials regarding the freedom of Israel to annex areas (first, Ambassador Friedman’s encouragement followed by Jared Kushner’s clear denial) has also raised the issue of trust and believability on the part of many Israelis.
“Did God really say …?”
In the Garden of Eden Satan spoke through a serpent, cynically casting doubt on God’s clear commandment: “Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?” (Genesis 3:1). A handful of American teachers with a Middle Eastern focus are raising doubts about YHVH’s commitment to His own word and covenant promises. One website recently stated that the attempt to slice portions off from the Jewish homeland and to hand them over to Israel’s sworn and murderous enemies has little significance, and that it has nothing to do with the principle of dividing the land.
The prophets Joel and Zechariah speak of a Last Days’ process of dividing the Jewish homeland (see Joel 3:1-2 and Zechariah 14:1-2). That process peaks with a military invasion of Jerusalem and the return of Messiah Yeshua (Zechariah 14:1-4). Today’s events catalyze that process and move it forward. But YHVH still honors His covenant promise of Genesis 12:3. He still brings judgment on the troublers of Israel (see Joel 3:2). God’s clear prophetic plumbline – the Bible – stands strong in our day:
- “From the standpoint of [their attitude to] the gospel, the [majority of the Jewish people] are enemies [of the gospel] for your sake, but from the standpoint of God’s choice the [Jewish people] are beloved for the sake of the patriarchs. For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable” (paraphrase of Romans 11:28-29).
Learning from history?
Someone once said that what we learn from history is that we learn nothing from history. This proverb is unfortunately true regarding the efforts of the nations to divide the Land of Israel – whether it be into large slices or into bite-sized chunks.
Back in 2005 the world focused briefly on the dividing the Land of Israel (and the withdrawal of Israelis from land promised to them by YHVH), when Prime Minister Ariel Sharon removed over 9,000 Israelis from 25 farms and settlements in Gaza and the West Bank. Here are some articles considering the overwhelmingly negative results of that withdrawal. It makes instructive reading in light of similar events and dynamics today:
- Basic facts about the disengagement – https://mfa.gov.il/MFA/AboutIsrael/Maps/Pages/Israels%20Disengagement%20Plan-%202005.aspx
- Basic facts about the disengagement – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Israeli_disengagement_from_Gaza
- Gaza pullout was a mistake – www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-5266805,00.htm
- The Likud rejects withdrawal plan – www.theguardian.com/guardianweekly/story/0,12674,1210239,00.html
- Bibi resigns over Gaza pullout – www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/netanyahu-resigns-over-gaza-pullout-304433.html
- A democracy killing itself – www.danielpipes.org/2861/the-gaza-withdrawal-a-democracy-killing-itself
- Institute for National Security Studies – www.inss.org.il/publication/the-decision-that-changed-history-ten-years-since-the-disengagement-from-the-gaza-strip/?offset=7&posts=11&outher=Shmuel%20Even&from_date=2015&to_date=2015
“Would that they were wise, that they would discern their future” (Deuteronomy 32:29)
Here are some penetrating comments from the time of the 2005 withdrawal, with thoughtful application to the present:
“Israel’s mistakes are not unique for a democracy – French appeasement of Germany in the 1930s or American incrementalism in Vietnam come to mind – but none other jeopardized the very existence of a people” (www.danielpipes.org/2861/the-gaza-withdrawal-a-democracy-killing-itself).
“President George W. Bush on Monday told Ariel Sharon, Israeli prime minister, that he supported Israel’s planned July pullout from the Gaza Strip, while telling him not to expand Jewish settlements in the West Bank” (Financial Times, www.ft.com/content/ec584920-aaa8-11d9-98d7-00000e2511c8).
“Dov Weisglass, a close confidante of Sharon and his former chief of staff … stressed that as a result of the Gaza pullout, the US and the world recognized Israel’s right to the settlement blocs … This understanding, he added, was the ‘single biggest diplomatic achievement since 1948.’ Since then, Weisglass said, all the diplomatic gains Sharon made for Israel within the framework of the disengagement have since been lost … As for the Hamas takeover of Gaza after the disengagement, Weisglass said it was ‘the most difficult moment for me. It was totally unexpected’” (www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/Former-chief-of-staff-Ariel-Sharon-designed-Gaza-disengagement-to-save-West-Bank-settlements-412213).
“PM Ariel Sharon’s decision to fully implement the unilateral withdrawal from Gaza … created conditions that enabled Hamas and Islamic Jihad to amass large quantities of advanced weaponry. A similar move in the West Bank … would likely put Israel’s heartland, including its main economic and industrial infrastructure and Ben-Gurion Airport, under an unacceptable threat. Those are just some of the factors that must be given serious consideration with regard to any similar move in the West Bank. These potential threats … [cast] serious doubts on the wisdom of ‘experts’ who keep pushing for additional withdrawals in the West Bank … The debate over the interpretation of the clear and present danger emerging in Gaza following the disengagement holds the key to saving Israel from the dangers attending the creation of a Palestinian state in the West Bank” (Maj. Gen. (res.) Gershon Hacohen, Senior Research Fellow, the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies; https://besacenter.org/perspectives-papers/gaza-disengagement-lessons/).
“Following 10 years since the disengagement from the Gaza Strip, it appears that most of the expectations the Israelis had from the measure were not met … particularly in the security and political spheres . The gap between the aspirations and the results is wide … It appears that most of the security events in the south over the past decade were the result of the disengagement. The withdrawal from the Gaza Strip created a new reality that contributed to the Hamas takeover of the Gaza Strip, a steep rise in weapons smuggling, the strengthening of terrorism, and the ensuing cycle of escalation” (Col. Shmuel Even [Ret.], IDF Intelligence Branch; www.inss.org.il/wp-content/uploads/systemfiles/adkan18_2ENG_3_Even.pdf).
Last of all, a recent comment about Trump’s Deal of the Century: It “has some overwhelming obstacles to implementation in the short term, not least its calls for the demilitarization of the Gaza Strip. Hamas has no intention of de-militarizing and the PA has no power in the strip to force it to. The deal also calls for the PA to stop incitement and paying salaries to Palestinian prisoners convicted of terror attacks – something it has repeatedly refused to do so despite strong international pressure, including funding cuts. (Colin Rubenstein, https://aijac.org.au/op-ed/the-opportunity-of-trumps-deal-of-the-century/).
Dividing the land – a present and future reality
US Navy Admiral Hyman G. Rickover once said that “the devil is in the details, but so is salvation.”
As the nations stumble and attempt to lift the heavy stone of Jerusalem (Zechariah 12:3), most might not be aware that they are touching the apple of God’s eye (Zechariah 2:8). They may be motivated by wanting to solve an intractable problem, by wanting to gain fame for achieving the unattainable, by insuring a smooth supply of oil in a dangerous part of the world, etc.
Whatever the case, God’s plumbline for the world is the word of God, and His foreign policy for the nations is linked to their treatment of Israel, their heart-attitudes to the Jewish people.
Here are some thoughts about how God will even use blind world leaders to establish His plans and to close ‘His Deal’:
- Counsel is mine and sound wisdom; I am understanding, power is mine (Proverbs 8:14)
- The counsel of YHVH stands forever, the plans of His heart from generation to generation (Psalm 33:11)
- Many plans are in a man’s heart, but the counsel of YHVH will stand (Proverbs 19:21)
- There is no wisdom and no understanding and no counsel against YHVH (Proverbs 21:30)
- Because they had rebelled against the words of God and spurned the counsel of the Most High … (Psalm 107:11)
- The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers take counsel together against YHVH and against His Anointed (Psalm 2:2)
- YHVH nullifies the counsel of the nations; He frustrates the plans of the peoples (Psalm 33:10)
How should we then pray?
- Pray for revelation to come to President Trump and PM Bibi Netanyahu about God’s perspective on dividing Jerusalem and the Land
- Pray for an infusion of divine clarity for believers on these issues
- Pray that YHVH of armies will frustrate the plans of Israel’s enemies
- Pray for the spirit of grace and supplications to be poured out on the Jewish people
- Pray for the raising up of Ezekiel’s prophetic Jewish army
Your prayers and support hold up our arms and are the very practical enablement of God to us in the work He has called us to do.
In Messiah Yeshua,
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