Is the demise or marginalization of the Palestinian Authority the next step in bringing peace to Israel?
There are numerous prophecies that require a strong Jewish presence in Judea and Samaria, and for them to be there in peace. This is the area that Israel returned to in 1967 and the area claimed by the Palestinian Authority for a state.
Ezekiel 36 is an interesting place to look regarding the current situation in the mountains of Israel as it is a prophecy directed specifically to that area. It mentions how certain of Israel’s enemies will say, as they now do, that this land belongs to them.
“Also, thou son of man, prophesy unto the mountains of Israel, and say, Ye mountains of Israel, hear the word of the LORD: Thus saith the Lord GOD; Because the enemy hath said against you, Aha, even the ancient high places are ours in possession: Therefore prophesy and say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Because they have made you desolate, and swallowed you up on every side, that ye might be a possession unto the residue of the heathen, and ye are taken up in the lips of talkers, and are an infamy of the people: Therefore, ye mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Lord GOD; Thus saith the Lord GOD to the mountains, and to the hills, to the rivers, and to the valleys, to the desolate wastes, and to the cities that are forsaken, which became a prey and derision to the residue of the heathen that are round about;” Ezekiel 36:1-4, KJV.
God sees how they are despised by the Nations, focuses on the mountains particularly, verse 1, and the area that the Nations have taken as a prey, verse 4.
This situation stirs God into action, and he causes Israel to prosper:
“Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Surely in the fire of my jealousy have I spoken against the residue of the heathen, and against all Idumea, which have appointed my land into their possession with the joy of all their heart, with despiteful minds, to cast it out for a prey. Prophesy therefore concerning the land of Israel, and say unto the mountains, and to the hills, to the rivers, and to the valleys, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I have spoken in my jealousy and in my fury, because ye have borne the shame of the heathen: Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; I have lifted up mine hand, Surely the heathen that are about you, they shall bear their shame. But ye, O mountains of Israel, ye shall shoot forth your branches, and yield your fruit to my people of Israel; for they are at hand to come.” Ezekiel 36:5-8, KJV.
God brings shame upon the heathen, but Israel prospers. Ezekiel goes on:
“For, behold, I am for you, and I will turn unto you, and ye shall be tilled and sown: And I will multiply men upon you, all the house of Israel, even all of it: and the cities shall be inhabited, and the wastes shall be builded: And I will multiply upon you man and beast; and they shall increase and bring fruit: and I will settle you after your old estates, and will do better unto you than at your beginnings: and ye shall know that I am the LORD. Yea, I will cause men to walk upon you, even my people Israel; and they shall possess thee, and thou shalt be their inheritance, and thou shalt no more henceforth bereave them of men. Thus saith the Lord GOD; Because they say unto you, Thou land devourest up men, and hast bereaved thy nations; Therefore thou shalt devour men no more, neither bereave thy nations any more, saith the Lord GOD. Neither will I cause men to hear in thee the shame of the heathen any more, neither shalt thou bear the reproach of the people any more, neither shalt thou cause thy nations to fall any more, saith the Lord GOD.” Ezekiel 36:9-15, KJV.
There are many Ancient Judean Cities in Judea and Samaria that would be critical parts of those “wastes” and “old estates”. Therefore to “inhabit the old wastes” requires living in Judea and Samaria, also known as the West Bank.
The area singled out is called in the prophecy “the mountains of Israel”. Today we see the focus of the controversy to be about the ancient central Judean-Samarian mountains. Before 1967, the majority of these mountains were not under Israel’s control. The removal of Jews and creation of an Arab state here does not fit these prophecies, as they are to be inhabited by Jews in peace and safety.
A little background for those who may not know much about the Palestinian Authority. It was established in 1994 as a precursor for a Palestinian government. It has a police force to keep the peace in PA-controlled areas. All parties/factions have a history of terrorism. The PA rewards attacks with pensions and rewards for terrorists and their families. They have refused all offers of land for peace from Israel, including Ehud Olmert’s very generous offer of almost everything the PA demanded. They demand all of the lands Israel gained in 1967, and all refugees and descendants to ‘return’ to the rest of Israel.
The turn of the tide for the PA can be traced back to at least the 2016 GOP Convention where they approved a new Republican Platform before the general election. The references to the Palestinians and the 2-state paradigm were dropped in favour of the following pro-Israel wording:
“The United States seeks to assist in the establishment of comprehensive and lasting peace in the Middle East, to be negotiated among those living in the region. We oppose any measures intended to impose an agreement or to dictate borders or other terms, and we call for the immediate termination of all U.S. funding of any entity that attempts to do so. Our party is proud to stand with Israel now and always. “
In no way the next step in worrying developments for the PA, but an important one for our subject today, in January of 2018 threats were seen on Twitter from Donald Trump. Threats to cut funding. He tweeted:
“we pay the Palestinians HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS a year and get no appreciation or respect” …
“But with the Palestinians no longer willing to talk peace, why should we make any of these massive future payments to them”.
Then various aid was frozen, including directly to the PA, to UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, and to USAID, the USA’s own agency that runs programs in PA areas.
This lead was followed by some others, including Israel, of course, but also Australia even to a lesser extent, Belgium.
The US then followed up with more permanent aid cuts, over 200 million dollars worth of aid to the PA was recently cut.
The US has also started challenging the definition of a refugee applied to the Palestinians, recently publishing a report that found only 20,000 Palestinian refugees. It has also been reported that the US is set to announce that it rejects the Palestinian “right of return”, a key component of the PA demands.
Palestinian internal conflict is also brewing. Israel National News reported on the twenty-third that:
“Senior Fatah officials reportedly accumulating weapons, recruiting armed men to their side to prepare for eventual post-Abbas struggle.”
Note the kind of preparations being made. Weapons and armed men.
So the PA is being pushed into a corner. What will this bring? We don’t know for sure, but we do know that things can’t go their way. The PA’s ways and demands don’t fit in with Gods plan. It seems likely to this writer that we see the PA be marginalized or removed, as this development would fit the picture better than other obvious options. God is in control and the prophecies will happen, but we aren’t told about every step along that path.
(screen captures and quotes from the news items are included in the slideshow.)
Although I don’t generally like the NIV, I’ll use it here to quote Joel 3:4 as I like how it reads:
“Now what have you against me, Tyre and Sidon and all you regions of Philistia? Are you repaying me for something I have done? If you are paying me back, I will swiftly and speedily return on your own heads what you have done. Joel 3:4 New International Version (NIV)
Note how the revenge that these enemies try to inflict is to backfire. God turns it on their own heads.
As we have mentioned often, Israel is to be in the midst of the land in peace:
“And thou shalt say, I will go up to the land of unwalled villages; I will go to them that are at rest, that dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates, To take a spoil, and to take a prey; to turn thine hand upon the desolate places that are now inhabited, and upon the people that are gathered out of the nations, which have gotten cattle and goods, that dwell in the midst of the land.” Ezekiel 38:11, 12, KJV.
The result of this, though, is the demise of the nations, not Israel. We pray that the damage that the nations manage to inflict before they are destroyed and driven out is, in God’s mercy, as minimal as possible. Their defeat is described like this:
“And it shall come to pass at the same time when Gog shall come against the land of Israel, saith the Lord GOD, that my fury shall come up in my face. For in my jealousy and in the fire of my wrath have I spoken, Surely in that day there shall be a great shaking in the land of Israel; So that the fishes of the sea, and the fowls of the heaven, and the beasts of the field, and all creeping things that creep upon the earth, and all the men that are upon the face of the earth, shall shake at my presence, and the mountains shall be thrown down, and the steep places shall fall, and every wall shall fall to the ground. And I will call for a sword against him throughout all my mountains, saith the Lord GOD: every man’s sword shall be against his brother. And I will plead against him with pestilence and with blood; and I will rain upon him, and upon his bands, and upon the many people that are with him, an overflowing rain, and great hailstones, fire, and brimstone. Thus will I magnify myself, and sanctify myself; and I will be known in the eyes of many nations, and they shall know that I am the LORD.” Ezekiel 38:18-23, KJV.
So we look for changes that allow Israel to flourish in the area know by the world as the “West Bank”, but also for these developments to antagonize their enemies.
– Tim Billington
“Thou shalt arise, and have mercy upon Zion: for the time to favour her, yea,
the set time, is come. For thy servants take pleasure in her stones, and
favour the dust thereof. So the nations shall fear the name of the LORD,
and all the kings of the earth thy glory. When the LORD shall build up Zion,
he shall appear in his glory. He will regard the prayer of the destitute, and
not despise their prayer.” Psalms 102:13-17