Standing With Israel

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (l) and U.S. President Barack Obama
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (l) and U.S. President Barack Obama (Reuters/Kevin Lamarque)

Israel has made many serious offers of peace to the Palestinian Authority—to create “two countries for two peoples who live side by side in peace.”

When Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak offered Arafat a deal he could not refuse, he refused—and started the second intifada, which murdered more than 1,000 Israelis and 64 foreigners.

When Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert offered Mahmoud Abbas an even better deal, including half of Jerusalem, Abbas refused.

So when President Obama, in his 2009 Cairo speech, demanded that Israel stop all settlement building, but asked nothing of the Palestinians, it was his biggest blunder in the Middle East so far. It simply hardened both the Palestinians and the Israelis.

He did not ask the Palestinians to recognize Israel as a Jewish state.

He did not ask Hamas to give up its goal to destroy Israel.

He asked Israel to stop building homes for Jews in Judea and Samaria, period. And yes, Netanyahu did bow to Obama’s demand and ordered a building freeze of new buildings for 10 months in the West Bank—but not in Jerusalem. For Israelis, Jerusalem is Israel’s eternal capital.

Nothing came of the freeze, as Mahmoud Abbas said Israel had not done enough to restart peace negotiations.

Why does Israel insist on continuing to build in the West Bank? Because Israel’s leadership does not see a peace agreement on the horizon. I’m guessing that 80 percent of Israelis believe that Palestinian leaders do not want a state; they want to destroy Israel.

If American pressure demands negotiations with the Palestinians, Israel will do its best to go through the motions. But the Israeli government is not expecting a breakthrough—fully aware of the Quran’s decrees to “destroy the Jew.”

Israel is in survival mode. If the Arabs will not make peace, then the best thing Israel can do is to strengthen her hold in the West Bank, especially in the larger Jewish built-up areas.

It must be noted that there are around 15 percent of Jewish Israelis (according to the number of votes given to leftist parties) who feel that Israel will ultimately be destroyed if it does not make peace, and so they continue to look for ways to coax the Palestinians towards the negotiation table. Their main fear is the isolation the Palestinians have been able to impose on Israel through the United Nations, which is dominated by Muslim countries and their allies.

Israelis yearn for peace, but most have given up and are just trying to get on with their lives.

What does President Barack Obama want from Israel? Israelis await apprehensively. But one thing we know for certain. It is time for all who love Israel to pray that this president will continue to defend and help Israel, a nation that would not exist if it were not for the God of Israel.

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