Seeking God's Perspective on Israel

Ad Feedback - JERUSALEM, Israel - People have a choice -- to believe what we read or hear in the news or turn our hearts heavenward, seeking God's perspective to understand the days in which we're living.

In Israel, there's a vast disconnect between the illusory Israeli-Palestinian peace process and the day-to-day reality on the ground.

It's nearly two months since the Middle East peace conference took place in Annapolis, Maryland, followed by U.S. President George Bush's January visit to the region.

While he was here, Jerusalem came to a standstill for nearly three days. No one drove in or out of city center, and every effort was made to accommodate foreign journalists.

Immediately following his visit, Bush was off on a whirlwind tour of neighboring Arab countries, where he appeared right at home hobnobbing with the Middle East's elite.

While Bush was enjoying his hosts' lavish hospitality, Palestinians in Gaza were launching salvos of Kassam rockets and mortar shells on southern Israeli communities.

Longer-range rockets hit Ashkelon, nine miles up the coast from Gaza, home to one of Israel's largest electric generating facilities.

A brief summary should be helpful.

In January 2006, Hamas won a 74-seat majority in the 132-seat Palestinian parliament.

A little over a year later, in March 2007, Saudi's King Abdullah hosted a meeting to persuade Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah faction to form a coalition government with Hamas.

Abbas and Gaza-based Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh shook hands as they signed the Mecca Accords, laying out the terms of the newly formed PA unity government.

But despite King Abdullah's high hopes, the honeymoon was over a few weeks after the meeting.

In June, the fragile three-month-old coalition ended in a violent coup, which left Hamas in control of the Strip, including the Gaza side of the Rafah border crossing with the Egyptian Sinai.

During the internecine fighting, Hamas confiscated U.S.-supplied rifles, flak jackets, night-vision apparatus and whatever else they could get their hands on from the PA's Preventive Security forces in Gaza.

Before and after the takeover, Hamas sent men to Iran to hone its fighting force into a full-fledged army, with hopes of defeating Israel and ultimately replacing the Jewish state with a modern-day Palestine.

Israel's August 2005 pullout from the Gaza Strip also helped Hamas, especially after then Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz turned over control of the Philadelphi Corridor -- the narrow strip of land separating the Sinai from Gaza -- to Egypt.

Without the IDF at the border to thwart arms smuggling, large caches of weapons, ammunition and explosive materiel made it into the waiting arms of Hamas operatives in Gaza.

Yet none of this has deterred the Bush administration or its colleagues in the Quartet (United States, European Union, United Nations and Russia) from their vision of two democratic, independent states living side by side in peace -- and, they'd like to see it before Bush leaves office.

The latest episode between the two factions appears to have torpedoed Egyptian efforts to mediate reconciliation.

Over the weekend, Hamas accused Fatah of dispatching a suicide bomber to Friday prayers at the Gaza City mosque attended by deposed PA Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh and of planning to blow up Hamas' al-Aksa television station.

The usual accusations flew back and forth between Gaza and Ramallah, ending prospects -- at least for the present -- of ironing out their differences.

How does all this tie in with God's perspective?

At a recent press luncheon, Israeli historian and third generation Jerusalemite Ariela Cotler provided an historical perspective to a group of reporters on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Because the history of the Jewish people is inexorably tied to the biblical account of the Exodus, she began with the Israelites' deliverance from Egypt.

At the end of her presentation, which covered centuries of history of the region, Israeli journalist Stan Goodenough asked her if she had hope.

"Yes," she answered, smiling. "Ninety-five percent of what the prophets foretold has come to pass. I can believe for the other 5 percent."

 That's God's perspective.

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CBN News
Tzippe Barrow

Tzippe Barrow

CBN News - Jerusalem Bureau

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