By Lee Underwood

Editor, Tzemach News Service

The most important thing coming out of Washington in the past few weeks has been the seeming constant proclamations regarding the establishment of a so-called 'Palestinian' state in the midst of Israel. The annunciations are coming from both the U.S. State Department and, especially, the White House. Why, all of a sudden, in the midst of all the talk of a war with Iraq, is the Bush administration is pushing for a so-called 'Palestinian' state in the midst of Israel. The reasons seem to be varied, according to different "sources". At this point it is really anybody's guess. Some believe that it is all a ploy to appease the Arabs and that Bush does not really mean it. Others are saying that Bush has sold-out Israel to the Arabs for Saddam Hussein. With almost strange and eerie foresight, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon addressed the situation on 5 October 2001, a few days after President Bush declared that "the idea of a 'Palestinian' state has always been part of a vision." Sharon compared the U.S.'s actions with those of European democracies in 1938, when the Sudetenland region of Czechoslovakia was sacrificed to appease Adolf Hitler. At the time, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain declared that the agreement had achieved "peace in our time"; in 1939, Germany invaded Poland, starting World War II. "Do not try to appease the Arabs on our backs," Sharon said. "We will be unable to accept that. Israel will not be Czechoslovakia, Israel will fight terrorism."

If it really is a ploy, and Bush never means to carry through on the promise (he has made it a "personal commitment"), then the United States is in for some of the worst terrorism to ever come forth. It is one thing for the U.S. to renege on promises of aid to Turkey and other small nations. It is, however, another thing to break a promise made to Islamic nations such as Saudi Arabia, Iran, Syria, and others that may be involved. The wrath brought on by these nations and the terrorist organizations supported by them will make what happened on 11 September 2001 pale by comparison. It is hard to believe that Bush is that lacking in intelligence.

However, the idea of the U.S. selling-out Israel does not seem that far-fetched, given the history of U.S.-Israel relations. Contrary to popular belief, the relationship between the two countries has been anything other than 'friendly'. Just a few examples include the U.S. arms embargo against Israel in 1948 following the attack by neighboring Arab nations against the newly founded state; the U.S. guarantee to protect against a future Egyptian closing of the Straits of Tiran that was later "lost" when Israel invoked the guarantee in May 1967; the USS Liberty, a U.S. spy ship sent to collect information for the Egyptians regarding the military weaknesses of Israel during the Six-Day War in 1967; the delay of a promised arms shipment by one week during which Israeli casualties exceeded 1,0000 during the Yom Kippur War in 1973; the intervention of the Reagan administration as Israel was preparing to remove the PLO from Lebanon and take care of Yasir Arafat once and for all.

And now, the United States, under the direction of George W. Bush, has decided that Israel must stop building in Yesha (Judea, Samaria, and Gaza) and give up land for the establishment of an Arab terrorist state in its midst. Speaking with reporters following a meeting with bipartisan Congressional leaders 2 October, President Bush affirmed, "The idea of a 'Palestinian' state has always been part of a vision, so long as the right to Israel to exist is respected." With those words, President Bush moved U.S.-Middle East diplomacy into an entirely new arena. (It was reported by the New York Times and Washington Post newspapers that the Bush Administration was poised to launch a new Middle East initiative at the UN General Assembly in September, before the terrorist attack on the U.S.)

Actually, the idea of 'Palestinian' statehood has not always been a part of the United States' vision for Arab-Israeli peace. Indeed, President Reagan specifically rejected statehood in 1982. More generally, the thrust of U.S. diplomacy has been to focus on process rather than preferred outcomes, i.e., how peace should be made rather than what that peace should look like.

The procedure being used at this time is called the "Road Map". The scheme has been devised by the Quartet, comprised of the U.S., European Union, Russian Federation, and United Nations. The original "Road Map" was submitted on 15 October 2002. It basically was derived from the 24 June 2002 speech of U.S. President Bush. It called for a so-called 'Palestinian' state to be established by 2005. The latest version of the Road Map is due when Arafat officially swears-in a Prime Minister for the Palestinian Authority.

If a so-called 'Palestinian' state were to be established in Yesha would it mean the destruction of the state of Israel? The nation of Israel would be reduced to a narrow strip of land varying in width from 9 miles to 22 miles surrounded by their sworn enemies on three sides and the Mediterranean Sea on the other. The odds would not look good for the tiny nation in this situation. But, again, would it mean the end of Israel?

The uniqueness of Israel is that it is the only nation that G-d, the Creator of all things, has chosen as His own. It is the only nation to which G-d gave His Law, the living oracles. It is the only nation which He has declared that He will dwell in the midst of for all eternity. It is also the only nation that He gave to dwell in the midst of the Land of Israel, "And I will fix your boundary from the Red Sea to the sea of the Philistines, and from the wilderness to the River Euphrates" Exodus 23:31. The covenant between the G-d of Israel and the people of Israel regarding the Land of Israel is an eternal one. While G-d may have judged Israel and driven her from the Land 2,500 years ago, there was always a promise that He would regather her back to the Land. (See: Isaiah 10.20-22; 37;12-13; 37.31-32; Jeremiah 16.14-16; 23.3; 29.14; 32.37-38 31.10; Ezekiel 11.16-17; 34.13; Micah 2.12-13; among others.)

G-d declared through the prophet Jeremiah, "Thus says the L-rd, who gives the sun for light by day, and the fixed order of the moon and the stars for light by night, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar; the L-rd of hosts is His name: 'If this fixed order departs from before Me,' declares the L-rd, 'then the offspring of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before Me forever.' Thus says the L-rd, 'If the heavens above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out below, then I will also cast off all the offspring of Israel for all that they have done,' declares the L-rd" Jeremiah 31:35-37.

The nations are deceived in that they look at Israel and measure its strength according to its physical size and outward abilities. However, the memory of the Six-Day War still lingers in the consciousness of all the nations. This may be what the L-rd meant when, speaking through Zechariah, He declared, "In that day I will make the clans of Judah like a firepot among pieces of wood and a flaming torch among sheaves, so they will consume on the right hand and on the left all the surrounding peoples, while the inhabitants of Jerusalem again dwell on their own sites in Jerusalem" (Zechariah 12:6). That is exactly why the United States has tried to make sure that Israel stays out of a war with Saddam Hussein. G-d would grant Israel a mighty - and quick - victory, taking the glory from the U.S. and giving it to the G-d of Israel.

The idea being put forth by world leaders concerning Israel should not surprise those who search the Scriptures for the truth of G-d's word. G-d Himself declared that He would bring the nations against Israel (Ezekiel 38 & 39) in order to judge them for what they have done to His people (Joel 3.1-2;14-16). Micah puts it very concisely, "As in the days when you came out from the land of Egypt, I will show you miracles. Nations will see and be ashamed of all their might. They will put their hand on their mouth, their ears will be deaf. They will lick the dust like a serpent, like reptiles of the earth. They will come trembling out of their fortresses; to the L-rd our G-d they will come in dread, and they will be afraid before Thee" (Micah 7:15-17).

Will there be a so-called 'Palestinian' state in the midst of Israel? I believe it depends on G-d and His judgment of the nations. If so, will it mean the destruction of Israel? Not according to G-d. That is the only word we can trust in. In the meantime, let us rejoice for the Creator of the Universe - the G-d of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob - is redeeming and will keep His people, Israel.

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