Dear friends of Israel:
It is not surprising that the peace talks between Palestinians and Israelis have come to a halt. On the one hand the Israeli government is not ready to prolong the ten-month building freeze, and on the other the Palestinians refuse to continue with the negotiations if the construction of settlements is to be resumed. However, both parties have declared their willingness to continue with the talks. Obviously Israelis and Palestinians alike have recognized that time is no longer on their side and that it is in their own interest to come to a solution, although it might not be completely satisfactory for both sides. If the stalled negotiations will not be resumed, Israel might be threatened with a governmental crisis which might even lead to new elections. For the Palestinian side its objective of establishing a state might recede further into the distance if the peace talks are discontinued. This is why both parties are under pressure to resume the talks. Moreover, the EU has also intervened to bring Israelis and Palestinians back to the negotiating table.
Israelis have always felt that only direct talks can yield tangible results, although history has shown that this is not always true. The peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan were only signed because the US government acted as a mediator. Of course many other factors were also conductive to a success of those negotiations. When he paid a visit to the Sinai, Menachem Begin declared: "The Sinai will for ever belong to the territory of Israel." Three years later, however, he was ready to return the Sinai Peninsula to Egypt. What had happened in the meantime? The circumstances had changed, and therefore Begin was forced to accept an offer that the Americans had made. Only with the help of the US government was Israel able to cope with its disastrous economic situation in the aftermath of the Jom Kippur war. Without the support of the Americans the country would not have been able to afford the badly needed acquisition of modern weapons. However, the American precondition was a peace agreement with Egypt.
Today one of the major factors seems to be the threat from Iran because the Iranian President has obviously sworn to destroy Israel. In light of this danger Israel is in need of comprehensive support and an alliance against the so-called "axis of evil". Currently the Palestinian government of Mahmud Abbas also feels threatened by the regime in Tehran because it supports its rival Hamas in Gaza. The Iranian threat could therefore serve as a common denominator for the talks between the Palestinians and Israel. Israel is mainly dependent on the United States if this threat is to be effectively countered. We may therefore ask: What is the price of the American support? In the past no one could understand why Menachem Begin returned the Sinai to Egypt, least of all the members of his own party. Now Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu seems to face the same dilemma. He follows a path that he does not want to take, but he seems to be pushed in a certain direction.
These developments show that the destiny of a country or a people is not dependent on a party platform or an ideology. It is shaped by circumstances that are beyond human control and in the hands of God alone. This is especially the case when it comes to the history of the Jewish people as it is recorded in the Bible. As it was in ancient times God will guide the destiny of His people today in order to fulfil His plan.
Sharing with you this wonderful assurance, I am sending you a warm Shalom,