Making Peace in the Middle East: If Not Us, Then Who?
The Bible instructs people to “pray for the peace of Jerusalem,” promising:
“May they be secure who love you.
Peace be within your walls
And security within your towers” (Psalm 122:6-7).
Given current conditions in the Middle East, there is no better time to pray this prayer. In trying to help bring some stability to a very tumultuous region, President Trump announced his Middle East Peace plan.
On the day after the 75th anniversary of Auschwitz (the Allied liberation of a prominent Nazi death camp where a brutal genocide against Jews was being carried out by Adolph Hitler in World War II), President Trump, standing alongside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, announced his plan for peace in the Middle East:
“The Palestinians have been the primary pawn in this regional adventurism, and it’s time for this sad chapter in history to end...It’s never too late for courageous leaders to set a new course, to pursue what is right, to change the future only for the better. America is prepared to work with all parties on our vision...There are many Muslims who never visited Al Aqsa, and many Christians and Jews who never visited the holy sites in the West Bank described so vividly in the Bible. My vision will change that. Our majestic Biblical heritage will be able to live, breathe, and flourish in modern times.”
Ironically, before many in the media even had time to review this 80-page “Peace to Prosperity” plan,news stories broke calling the proposal “controversial,” “a deal for the US and Israel...and not Palestinians,” and even concluding minutes after the announcement, “Palestinians will likely reject” it.
Still others derided the current Administration as, “the most fervently Christian Zionist government the United States has ever had.” (A Zionist is someone who believes that Israel has the right to exist as a Jewish state, and to defend itself if attacked.) They even mocked Evangelical Christians for their support of Israel as attempting to “bring about the Rapture and Second Coming.” Those detractors, however, are ignoring the growing support for Trump’s plan coming from Muslim nations who have historically been against American-led peace plans.
And contrary to what some would have us believe, America has a long and firm record of standing with the nation of Israel—a support that goes all the way back to the Founding Fathers. For example, John Quincy Adams once wrote:
“[I believe in the] rebuilding of Judea as an independent nation.”
In fact, when America became the first nation to officially recognize Israel as a state in 1948, President Truman voiced what many Americans believed when he proclaimed:
“I had faith in Israel before it was established, I have faith in it now.”
Israel became the Promised Land of the Jews centuries ago when God promised Abraham, “to your descendants I will give this land” (Genesis 12:7). And even while Israel was scattered for two millennia,they had faith in what God had promised:
“For I will take you from the nations, gather you from all the lands and bring you into your own land” (Ezekiel 36:24 NASB).
And so we pray for the peace of Jerusalem and work to achieve that end, because, in the words of Benjamin Netanyahu:
“We have an old Jewish saying: ‘If not now, when? And if not us, who?’”
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 Remarks by President Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu of the state of Israel in joint statements. (2020, January 28). Retrieved from https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/remarks-president-trump-prime-minister-netanyahu-state-israel-joint-statements/  Peace to prosperity: A vision to improve the lives of the Palestinian and Israeli people. (2020, January 28). Retrieved from https://www.whitehouse.gov/peacetoprosperity/  President Trump unveils his controversial Middle East peace plan. (2020, January 28). Retrieved from https://twitter.com/i/events/1222195145568710656?s=13  MSNBC. (2020, January 28). Retrieved from https://twitter.com/MSNBC/status/1222188112350236672?s=20  The New York Times. (2020, January 28). Retrieved from https://twitter.com/nytimes/status/1222218014688468992?s=20  Zonszein, M. (2020, January 28). Christian Zionist philo-Semitism is driving Trump’s Israel policy: he administration acts like ‘supporting Israel’ means letting it do whatever it wants. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2020/01/28/trump-thinks-supporting-israel-means-letting-it-do-whatever-it-wants/  “Reactions: Worldwide Support Grows for President Trump’s Bold Middle East Peace Vision,” White House (January 29, 2010), here.  Adams, J. Q. Retrieved from https://www.jpost.com/Christian-News/John-Quincy-Adams-Supporting-the-Jewish-homeland-with-the-Bible-in-hand-482375  Truman, H. (1948, May 14). Retrieved from https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/u-s-presidential-quotes-about-jewish-homeland-and-israel-jewish-virtual-library#truman  This day in history: May 14, 1948. State of Israel proclaimed. Retrieved from https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/state-of-israel-proclaimed  Remarks by President Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu of the state of Israel in joint statements. (2020, January 28). Retrieved from https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/remarks-president-trump-prime-minister-netanyahu-state-israel-joint-statements/