For the umpteenth time since the Oslo Accords were signed seven years
ago this month, negotiators for both sides packed up their pencils this
week and pronounced the process “dead.” In September 1993, a reluctant
Yitzhak Rabin went so far as to take the blood-stained hand of his
enemy, Yasser Arafat — with a little prodding from a smiling President
Clinton — at the signing ceremony on the White House lawn.
It seemed simple. The formula was “land for peace.” Simply put, the
formula was this: Israel gives up part of her homeland in exchange for a
promise of non-aggression by the Palestinians. In legal terms it would
be extortion, but in this context, color it “statesmanship.”
In exchange for limited autonomy, the Palestinian Authority agreed
not to demand its own state. Jerusalem’s status as Israel’s “eternal,
undivided capital” was non-negotiable. No more incitement to Israel’s
destruction by Arab leaders. Arafat promised full access to the holy
places for adherents of all faiths.
Oslo’s terms demanded a probationary period for the PA; first,
limited autonomy for three years; then two years to review the
PA’s progress and expand PA autonomy accordingly, and finally, two years
to discuss the final status of who would administer Jerusalem’s holy
places. Formal statehood was never on the table. In the 1993 deal, it
was specifically denied. The PA agreed not to conduct PA business inside
Jerusalem’s city limits as a concession to preempt PA hopes of a shared
capital. Arafat and Rabin signed the Oslo Accords on the White House
lawn, with the whole world as witnesses. Presumably, both had read it.
Before the ink had dried, Arafat was giving press conferences
announcing a planned Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital!
Subsequent agreements coerced by Western leaders and fueled by the
media’s distortion of the original deal, resulted in Israel signing away
all it had, a piece at a time. Seven years later, it still isn’t enough
for real peace, and there’s nothing left to give up but Jerusalem.
It would appear, at this juncture, that the Middle East peace process
is insoluble. Even President Clinton, desperate for a legacy that
doesn’t begin “first elected president to be impeached,” has written it
off as hopeless. A lot of time and energy could have been saved by
recognizing the reality of the Middle East conflict — it was
Roots of conflict
The conflict didn’t begin in 1948, it traces its roots all the way
back to Abraham. His two sons, Ishmael and Isaac, fathered the two
Semitic races today known as Arabs and Jews. The Old Testament teaches
that the Divine Promise flowed through the descendants of Abraham’s
second son, Isaac. The Jews are descended from Isaac.
The Koran teaches the Divine Promise flows through Abraham’s first
born son, Ishmael, and his descendants, the Arab peoples.
The Bible says Abraham was ordered to offer Isaac as a sacrifice to
God on Mount Moriah, and that God stopped him at the last moment. The
Koran substitutes Ishmael and claims the Jews altered the story.
The Jews claim Jerusalem as a Divine birthright and the seat of the
Holy of Holies located on Temple Mount. The Koran promises land
conquered for Allah would remain Islamic in perpetuity. Modern Islamic
thought teaches Mohammed ascended to Paradise from the site of the Dome
of the Rock, on Temple Mount in Jerusalem. In both cases, the stone on
which Abraham prepared to offer the sacrifice of either Isaac or
Ishmael, depending on your perspective, is located on Temple Mount, or
Mount Moriah, located in Jerusalem.
A price too high
Herein lies the insoluble nature of the question. For the Arabs to
recognize Israel’s right to exist on land once conquered for Allah is
tantamount to saying the Koran is wrong. In essence, it would force an
admission that the foundational document of the entire Islamic religious
worldview is unreliable. To recognize Israeli sovereignty over the
Temple Mount would compound that blasphemy. Which is why Arab leaders
from King Abdullah of Jordan to Bashar Assad of Syria to King Fahd of
Saudi Arabia speak with one voice when they said “no compromise on
Jerusalem.” To say otherwise is to tempt the fate of Anwar Sadat.
On the Israeli side, recognizing Arab sovereignty over Jerusalem and
the Temple Mount is a tacit admission the Bible was somehow incorrect in
its references to Jerusalem as both the City of God and the City of
Whichever side gives in doesn’t just lose a city, a place of worship,
or territory. Peace between Arab and Jew demands the sacrifice of the
defining religious identity of an entire people!
A solution awaiting the problem
The Arab-Israeli conflict is spiritual in its breadth and
scope, the political elements are secondary. The spiritual nature of
the argument makes a political war in the immediate future virtually a
But the Bible says that a solution will be found. A leader
will rise from obscurity who will seemingly hit on the perfect
compromise balancing between the religious and political obstacles to
The Hebrew Prophet Daniel identifies this genius as a leader of the
revived Roman Empire. Brilliant and charismatic, he will captivate the
watching world. The Bible’s scenario was impossible for most of the
past 2,000 years. There was no Israel to make peace with. Today, Israel
exists on the precise piece of real estate the Bible promised. The
conflict is there, awaiting the predicted Roman peacemaker. The revived
Roman Empire, the European Union, is in place, at peace and operating as
a unified government, for the first time since the days of Caesar.
Everything is ready for the time appointed. One element remains — the
peacemaker! Who is he? We don’t know his name. But the Bible
identifies him as the Antichrist.
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