Dear friends of Israel:
The government of Benyamin Netanyahu is so extreme in its political orientation that skeptics have expected it to break up very soon. However, in spite of conflicts among coalition partners from opposite political camps this alliance has a remarkable longevity. A possible explanation of this paradox is provided by an article in the Israeli newspaper Jerusalem Post, with the telling title "Israel's new national consensus". In the introduction the author, Barry Rubin, mentions that this could be the most important article he has written this year, as Israel has entered a new era of thinking and policy. For the first time the old categories of Left and Right, hawk or dove are irrelevant under a new national unity government. How has this surprising development materialized?
Between 1948 and 1992 the consensus in Israel was that a peace with the Palestinians is impossible and most Arab states are striving for Israel's destruction. Later the Oslo agreement created a deep rift between the promoters and the opponents of a peace treaty. In 2000 the Camp David negotiations failed because the Arab side rejected the generous offers made by the Israelis. Since then, Israel has been seeking a new paradigm for a peace with the Palestinians, as the unilateral offers made by Ariel Sharon, Ehud Olmert and Tzipi Livni have led to nothing but renewed demands from the Palestinian side.
Barry Rubin also notes that meanwhile a new approach has finally emerged. Israel is still seeking a peaceful solution of the conflict with the Palestinians, but not without clearly expressing what is required to create a stable and better situation. The main points for a solution of the conflict are:
- Recognition of Israel as a Jewish state
- Absolute clarity that a peace agreement ends the conflict and all claims on Israel
- Strong security and serious international guarantees
- An unmilitarized Palestinian state, with a security force for internal security and self-defense
- A "right of return" for Palestinian refugees to Palestine only, not to Israel.
If these requirements for a lasting peace are met, Israel will accept a two-state solution.
The second part of the new thinking is the awareness that issues such as precise borders and the status of Jerusalem, while important, are secondary to these basic requirements. Barry Rubin also writes that this new plan is not a product of US demands and pressure. It has organically grown out of Israel's current situation and past experience. However, it is equally wrong to assume that this new plan is shaped either by Israel's weakness, a false confidence or the impression that time is against the Jewish State. The new national consensus is in fact based on Israel's current strategic situation which has dramatically improved over the decades. This is why the Israelis form a strong, confident society visibly meeting the economic and technological challenges of our modern times.
These comments of the journalist are indicating that at a first glance the current circumstances are favourable for a peace solution that is also forecast in the Word of God. From that perspective it is irrelevant what kind of a government is leading Israel towards that development.
Sharing with you a deep gratefulness for the Word of God that gives us an understanding about the signs of the times and the awareness that the time has drawn near, I am sending you a warm Shalom,
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