Israel Update 

The Road Map of Prayer to Annapolis and Beyond: Commentary

By Sarah Ann Haves

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, Jerusalem, Israel

"Now, son of man, I am making you a watchman for the people of Israel. Therefore, listen to what I say and warn them for me"  Ezekiel 33:7, NLT.

This is the day of the watchman on the walls perceiving what the Spirit of the Lord is saying to the Church regarding global events; taking insights to prayer on behalf of Israel and the nations.

As Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas prepare for an international peace conference in Annapolis, Maryland scheduled for later this month, the focus of much of the world's attention is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  But, is there something more behind the scenes that is pushing this agenda forward?

U.S. Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice delivered a speech at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem recently, her eighth trip to the Middle East this year.  Speaking to the Saban Forum of international leaders, including diplomats, ambassadors, and foreign policy experts, she said that the meeting in Annapolis must succeed; failure is simply not an option. In her opinion, the meeting must go on to reach its objectives...that is, a two state solution in the Middle East - one for the Jews and one for the Palestinians.  Reading between the lines, it is obvious that, with the U.S. Bush administration's failings in foreign policy in Iraq, achieving peace between Israel and the Palestinians is part of the legacy that President Bush wants to be remembered for during his eight years in office.  In addition, Bush is hoping that the Annapolis gathering will attract Arab moderate countries who are as concerned as he and Rice are about Islamic extremism in the Middle East, where it appears that democracy is losing a foothold in the battle for individual rights and freedoms. 

Looming on the horizon is the greatest threat to Israel today -- Iran.
Reportedly, Rice has warned that if the current U.S. backed peace initiative fails, it will hurt attempts to win the war against violent extremism.  "If we do not act now to show the Palestinians a way forward, others will show them a way forward. If the Palestinians are losing hope, especially among the young, we have a great danger before us," according to Rice.  

But, there are greater dangers that lie ahead in trying to resolve this conflict. While the U.S. has laid out a plan, hoping to revive the dormant Road Map peace plan, Israel's Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is under great pressure to offer the Palestinians major concessions, some of which are unacceptable to a majority of the Israeli population.  His push forward seems to include a division of Jerusalem, which has met strong opposition from members of the Knesset, including several from his Kadima party. This, in turn, is shaking up his coalition and could mean the end of his government, resulting in new elections if he pushes his agenda too far. 

Olmert is also willing to withdraw from most of the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) in an effort to meet Palestinian demands for land along the armistice lines of 1948.  This would mean the transfer of hundreds of thousands of Jewish settlers to other parts of the nation.  That could spark a future civil war in the heartland of Israel, unprecedented in the history of the modern state.

Considering these concessions and more, what the Israelis have asked for, so far, is that the Palestinians and Arab nations recognize Israel as a Jewish state. After almost 60 years since the State of Israel was birthed in 1948, Israel is still looking to be accepted by the world as a homeland for the Jewish people.  That acceptance means that the Palestinians would be asked to drop their demand for the "right of return" of so-called Palestinian refugees to the nation of Israel.

In insisting on this demand, Palestinians have pushed against Israel's "red lines". Israelis keep asking the question, why do the Palestinians want their citizens to settle on Israeli land when they are also demanding a state of their own?  The answer lies in the PLO Charter supposedly amended by Yasser Arafat during his time as leader of the Palestinians. Yet, in the heart of the Palestinian territories, there are those who still want to take Israel piece by piece, not content on living side by side with the Jewish state, but really interested in a one-state solution -- obtaining all of the land.

Analysts have predicted that if nothing happens on the diplomatic track, the results will be renewed violence between Israel and the Palestinians.  What is not realized by many in the Western world is the fact that Israel is in a constant battle already against Islamic extremists both in Gaza and the West Bank.  Regardless of what happens in Annapolis, Israelis face a virulent escalation in rocket attacks on their border towns launched by Hamas extremists and Palestinian terror groups from Gaza.  Israel's Minister of Defense Ehud Barak is ready to give orders for a full scale incursion by the IDF into northern Gaza to destroy terrorist cells, missile launchers, and underground tunnels used to smuggle weapons from Egypt to Gaza. He's been waiting for the diplomatic track to take its course. But, military action can be expected post-Annapolis.

In addition, Hezbollah in Lebanon has re-fortified its positions, entrenched once again, among the civilian population, receiving daily deliveries of missiles from Iran through Syria.  Recently, Hezbollah engaged in three days of massive military exercises in preparation for a future battle with Israel.  Reports indicate that Israel is considering a pre-emptive strike against Hezbollah targets, hoping to gain back the deterrence the IDF lost in the Second Lebanon War of 2006. 

Looming on the horizon is the greatest threat to Israel today - Iran.   Some military officers think that the focus now should be Iran, not the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, stating that Iran has the potential of developing a nuclear bomb by 2009.  Whether Western nations are willing to consider military action against Iran or not, Israel will have to consider it, especially if diplomatic sanctions continue to fail in stopping Iran's nuclear ambitions. 

Today, a drive for diplomacy is occupying nations who believe in a new political horizon that will end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But, is it a quick fix escape from a much greater need to stop global terrorism and Islamic extremism?

All signs right now are pointing toward Annapolis. Yet, on the horizon, wars and rumors of wars are threatening to upset the delicate balance in the Middle East.

Will you be a watchman on the wall that sees the enemy coming, blows the alarm, and warns the people?  Prayer is needed so that others will hear what the Spirit of the Lord is saying to His Church, heeding His warning, so that lives can be saved.
 

Ms. Haves is a news analyst, reporting from Israel on political, diplomatic, military and spiritual issues affecting the nation.

(c) 2007 Messianic Vision all rights reserved. This article is not reproducible except with permisson from Messianic Vision. 

 

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