How’s that “Land For Peace” working out? Too soon to get political? While our top priority should be to continually pray for the Israelis as they experience the worst “hell on earth” onslaught since the 1973 Yom Kippur War, there’s no better time to reflect on the factors that created the situation. That’s especially true because the same people who were proponents of giving up the Gaza Strip are now advocating giving up the West Bank.
Since Israel’s disengagement from Gaza in 2005, the Palestinians have fired more than ten thousand rockets into Israel. Click here for a breakdown by year and month.
Roadmap to Peace
The international community has pressured Israel to give up some of its “land for peace” for decades. It’s easy to be generous with another country’s land. In 2002, President George W. Bush promoted the “Roadmap to Peace” that outlined a two-state solution, which included giving away some of Israel’s land, such as the Gaza Strip. Part of Phase One was “End of violence by Palestinians.” I wonder if Bush raises unicorns on his Crawford, Texas, ranch. That was and is a pipe dream. The PLO’s founder, Arafat, reportedly once said he didn’t want his daughter to grow up knowing that her father had agreed to a peace agreement with Israel. Current Palestinian leader, Mahmoud Abbas, has said, “We welcome every drop of blood spilled in Jerusalem.” Palestinians even name their schools and streets after suicide bombers who died bombing Israelis, and spend tens of millions of dollars every month rewarding their survivors.
When is everyone going to realize that the Palestinians don’t want peace? They’ve had multiple good offers on the table but rejected all of them. They scoffed at the U.N. “Partition Plan” (1947), the Camp David “Peace Summit” (2000), and Trump’s “Deal of the Century” (2020). Neither do they want a two-state solution. They want a one-state solution — theirs!
Another tenant of Phase One was “Palestinians must hold democratic elections.” Okay, no problem on that one. They did just that in the Gaza Strip in 2006, and the terrorist group, Hamas, was elected — fair and square, as far as we know. We Americans tend to think our democratic system is the “catch-all” solution for the whole world. It has served us well, but it only works when you have 51% good people. When you have a majority of terrorists supporters voting, that’s what you’re going to elect — a terrorist government.
A Jump Ball for Jerusalem
In Phase Three, they were to “finalize borders and decide on who gets Jerusalem.” It had already belonged to the Jewish people for thousands of years. On January 1st of 2018, Israel Antiquities unveiled a stamped piece of clay with an inscription in ancient Hebrew that was unearthed in Jerusalem. The inscription reveals that it belonged to the governor of the city and dates back to the First Temple era 2,700 years ago. It was the Jewish people’s capital city.
Just because another group of people that came along later wants it, or part of it, doesn’t make it negotiable. If it does, I would like to open negotiations with George W. Bush for the eastern part of his 1,583-acre ranch near Crawford, Texas. But I’ll negotiate in good faith. I’ll just take the 583 acres on the eastern side, and he can keep an even thousand. Yes, it’s just that ridiculous. Imagine a group trying to claim the eastern side of Washington D.C. as their capital. How would that go over?
East Jerusalem was not annexed in 1948. However, Israel regained it in the Six-Day War in 1967. Incidentally, that was a modern-day miracle war and rivals the Biblical story of Gideon. A West Point general once said that although they study wars from all over the world, they do not study the Six-Day War of Israel because “West Point is interested in understanding strategy and tactics, and the Six Day War doesn’t make any sense at all.” The war was started by its Arab enemies, Egypt, Syria, and Jordan, who together had twice the soldiers, three times the tanks, and four times the airplanes. Zechariah 12:3 says, “I will make Jerusalem an immovable rock. All the nations will gather against it to try to move it, but they will only hurt themselves.”
Obama’s “1967 Borders” Proposal
In 2011, President Obama said that an Israeli-Palestinian peace accord “must begin with a return to the 1967 borders.” If I had been Prime Minister Netanyahu, I would have told Obama, “If you’ll go back to the pre-Louisiana Purchase borders, I’ll go back to the pre-Six Day War borders.” Joel 3:2 says, ”I will gather the armies of the world into the valley of Jehoshaphat. There I will judge them for harming my people, my special possession, for scattering my people among the nations, and for dividing up my land.” May God have mercy on us for not respecting the divine inheritance of Israel, the “apple of God’s eye.” (Deuteronomy 32:10)
The name, “Palestine,” was originally invented for sinister purposes. In 135 CE, the Roman Emperor, Hadrian, in an attempt to sever all ties of the Jewish people to their homeland, not only changed the name of Israel to Palestine, but also changed the name of Jerusalem to Aelia Capitalina. The name, Palestine, is still being used as a propaganda tool today. The name has made its way into textbooks and even into some of the maps in our Bibles. And the term “Palestinians,” as applied to a group of people, is also an invented term and was never even used until 1964. It was no-doubt chosen to conform to the contrived name of the land. There is no Palestinian race. They are Arab immigrants from neighboring Arab countries. Arafat himself was born in Egypt, according to his own biographer.
God promised Abraham and his descendants the land (Genesis 15:18-21) and reaffirmed that promise to Moses about 600 years later. (Numbers 34:2-12) God reiterated the promise yet again some 800 years after Moses through the prophet Ezekiel, even while the Jewish people were in exile in Babylon. (Ezekiel 47:17-20) The boundaries of the land were very specific, and the most detailed description is the Numbers 34 account. When you overlay that description on a modern map, there are varying opinions by different scholars on the ancient landmarks. However, what’s clear is that Israel’s current borders make up less than half of what God promised them. Israel’s original inheritance was all of present-day Israel — including all of the West Bank and Gaza Strip — plus parts of Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq.
But putting aside the biblical aspect, there was also a legal process that began with the Balfour Declaration by the British government in 1917, which was recognized by the international community. It was endorsed by the post-World War I San Remo Conference in 1920, was incorporated into the “Mandate for Palestine,” and approved by the Council of the League of Nations in 1922.
In 1948, Israel and all its territory officially became a nation. Two years later (1950), Jordan illegally occupied the West Bank, but there was no outcry then, even from the Palestinians. But when Israel regained control of the land — that was already theirs — in the Six-Day War, somehow that was occupation.
Nolan Lewallen is a retired pilot of a major airline and lives near Stephenville, Texas, with his wife, Kim. Nolan’s two greatest passions are the Bible and politics. His latest book, The Integration of Church & State: How We Transform “In God We Trust” From Motto to Reality, brings the two together.