|Ignoring G-d's Road Map for the Holy Land
by John Waage, CBN Middle East Correspondent, May 13, 2003
|When the world's power brokers get together to plan the future of the Middle East, there is little evidence to suggest that
they are consulting the Bible.
CBN.com - JERUSALEM - Diplomats from the so-called "quartet" - the U.N., the European Union, Russia and the U.S. - are pushing hard for their "road map" to Middle East peace. But there are two very different road maps for Bible believers and the international community.
The quartet's road map calls for an end to the violence against Israel, and a Palestinian state within two years. But the violence hasn't ended, and the proposed state would be in the heart of biblical Israel: the lands of Judea and Samaria.
In the diplomatic minefield of the West Bank, nearly every town and neighborhood has its roots in Bible times. The Arab city of Nablus is the Jewish town of Shechem, home of Joseph's tomb. The Palestinian stronghold of Bethlehem is the Jewish city of David and the birthplace of Jesus. And Jerusalem is the Holy City, mentioned hundreds of times in scripture.
When the world's power brokers get together to plan the future borders of the Middle East, there is little evidence to suggest
they are consulting the Bible.
Elon Moreh is in the heart of biblical Samaria. It is the place where the L-RD made a covenant with Abraham thousands of years ago; to give this land to him and to his descendants forever.
In the Genesis account; the L-RD promised to Abraham's descendants, Israel, the land from the river of Egypt to the river
Euphrates. Bible scholars differ about the lines of the exact boundaries. But it is clear that the biblical borders of Israel include
all of what is now called the West Bank, the land earmarked by the quartet for a Palestinian state.
Reuven Berger is a messianic pastor who works and prays for reconciliation between Jews and Arabs. He says there is no provision in the Bible for a Palestinian state. "Very simply, if we look into the scriptures, we will find no such reality; no such promise. The scripture speaks of the promise of the land to the people of Israel, and a restoration that G-D will bring forth, physically and spiritually," Berger said.
Berger says it should not be a surprise that the international community is so focused on the Holy Land. He said, "Man and the whole Babylonian world system is going to absolutely try and find a human solution to bring peace to the Middle East, be-cause they understand that this is the heart of the whole world issue. But actually they're going to have to deal with G-D. Because, first of all, G-D says it is His land."
The diplomatic push for a Palestinian state has gained strong momentum since the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq. For months, President Bush has promised such a state if the Palestinians, under new leadership, stop their violence against Israel and enact democratic reforms. He has also made it clear what Israel must do.
On March 14 of this year, Bush said, "The government of Israel, as the terror threat is removed and security improves, must take concrete steps to support the emergence of a viable and credible Palestinian state, and to work as quickly as possible toward a
final status agreement. As progress is made toward peace, settlement activity in the occupied territories must end."
Most of the 200,000 Jewish residents in the West Bank - Judea and Samaria - would disagree with President Bush's contention
that they live in occupied territory.
Miriam Fox, a resident of the Alon Shvut community, said, "Whenever people talk about the Bible, they kind of sound like reli-gious fanatics. But at the risk of sounding like one, the Old Testament is very clear that this piece of real estate belongs to
the Jewish people, that it's an everlasting inheritance."
Eve Harow, a resident of Efrat, said, "I think it's really unconscionable to think that Jews should once again be transferred out of Judea and Samaria."
Harow says for many Palestinians, the state of Israel is the real issue. "They have yet to accept not just the fact that Jews live
in Judea and Samaria, they have yet to accept the fact that there are Jews in the Middle East, because that's really what this
is all about. And all you have to do is look in their websites and their textbooks to see that their maps of the Middle East say Pales-tine in place of Israel, not next to Israel. It's not about Judea and Samaria, it's about the right of Jews to have a state
of our own in this part of the world," she said.
But after decades of pressure on successive Israeli governments, even some leaders who helped build the Jewish communities in the West Bank now say they have resigned themselves to a Palestinian state. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is one such leader.
In an April 13th interview, Sharon told the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz: "We are talking about the cradle of the Jewish people.
Our whole history is bound up with these places - Bethlehem, Shiloh, Bethel. And I know that we will have to part with some of these places. As a Jew, this agonizes me. But I have decided to make every effort to reach a settlement. I feel that the rational necessity to reach a settlement is overcoming my feelings."
But that is not enough for many Palestinians, who learn from the time they are in preschool that all of Israel is the land of Pales-tine. Leaders of Hamas and other terrorist groups vow to fight the road map and any other proposal that would keep Israel in charge of the land. Hamas co-founder Abdel Aziz Rantisi said, "I believe that we are going to escalate our resistance, because
the resistance in Palestine (is) representing the hope of the nation."
The Palestinian terrorist groups have tried to make good on their threats. Israeli security forces fielded more than 60 threats of terrorist attacks during the Passover holiday, and at least 10 were arrested for planned suicide bombings.
Still, the Bush administration's road map partners - Russia, the European Union and the United Nations - want a faster timetable
for a Palestinian state. But the quartet has been slow to explain what it would do to keep terrorists from killing Israelis.
In the meantime, Israelis who believe the Bible's promises for the land, say they are looking to the Author of the Scriptures.
Efrat resident Yacov Coblentz said, "The Jewish people couldn't possibly have settled the land of Israel; the Jewish people
couldn't possibly have survived so many wars without Divine help. We were getting it the whole time. We'll get it
(bezat hashem), we'll get it forever. If we pray properly, we'll get it."
Reuven Berger said, "G-D has a plan. He has a plan of blessing. He has a plan of peace. And you cannot bypass Israel.
Israel is at the heart of that plan. And that's why the nations, in their hatred for Israel, they are depriving themselves of the very blessing that G-D has for them."
| The Christian Broadcasting Network, Inc. (c) 2003