Are We on the Brink of a Peace Treaty in the Middle East?

Mahmoud Abbas and Yasser Arafat
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (left) and former Palestine Liberation Organization Chairman Yasser Arafat. (Maoz Israel)

On Sept. 13, 1993, the Israel Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin—together with then Foreign Minister and now President Shimon Peres—signed the Oslo Peace Accords at the White House with Palestine Liberation Organization Chairman Yasser Arafat. In September 2000, seven years later, these peace accords would collapse, and they have been in survival mode ever since.

In September 2013, 20 years later, it seems that peace in the Middle East remains only an illusion. Everywhere around Israel's borders has become a nightmare, from Egypt to Syria and over to Lebanon, with growing signs of discontent in the Hashemite kingdom of Jordan and elsewehere. In other words, the Oslo Peace Accords, for all intents and purposes, died a long time ago.

Can you imagine what would have happened if the Golan Heights in Israel was given to Syria in exchange for a peace agreement? So far, more than 110,000 Syrians have died at the hands of Syria's President Assad and the jihadist rebels locked in a civil war.

More than 1,500 Israelis have been murdered by Palestinian terrorists in the past 20 years. Thousands more have been wounded or suffered collateral damage to their homes and lives. And yet Israel, in hopes of peace and succumbing to international demands, continues to release terrorist murderers who are on the payroll of the Palestinian Authority and considers trading land for peace, which has only proven futile and increased terror activity, not to mention theft of Israeli property. It has been said that it takes two to tango, but in this case, Israel is the only dance partner.

In the words of Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, "How is it that when the Palestinians demand that we recognize their nationhood that they refuse to recognize ours? The Jewish people have been in existence for 4,000 years. Why do we not deserve recognition?"

It is now a fact that the Palestinian monies received from the European Union for aid and infrastructure—nearly $3 billion—has been lost or mismanaged. The money cannot be accounted for. Aren't European citizens concerned where their hard-earned money in taxation is going? Aren't we, as stewards of God's financial blessings, concerned? We should all be proactive and write our political leaders and representatives.

Consistently through the years, the Palestinian Authority has been filled with corruption and also makes monthly payments to terrorists. This does not include what has been spent on weapons to fight Israel. Poverty in the Palestinian areas could have been eradicated years ago.

In Proverbs 21:7, it says, "The violence of the wicked will drag them away for they refuse to do what is right."

It is not only the issues mentioned but the highjacking of the Christian and Jewish faith. Recently, one of the Arab Muslim representatives in the Israeli Knesset, Ibrahim Sarsour, has laid claim to this statement. To Sarsour, the Quran proves, without a doubt, that Abraham was a Muslim and that Isaac and Jacob were "hanifs" who submitted to Allah. This same Sarsour made more headlines declaring that Jews are "prophet murderers."

These types of lies were propagated before World War II and remain a tactic used against the Jewish people. It's time to consider praying more earnestly for Israel, and it's important to confront lies with the truth.

Palestinian culture and education have become atmospheres of incitement against Israel and the Jewish people. The strategic affairs minister in Israel, Yossi Steinitz, says, "We did a thorough search of every Palestinian curriculum and television program, and we didn't even find one opposing example in support of peace. Incitement is a widespread phenomenon that is an inseparable part of the Palestinian culture and is not just among lone extremists. Instead of being schooled in the 'culture of peace,' the next generation of Palestinians is being relentlessly fed a rhetorical diet that includes the idolization of terrorists, the demonization of Jews and the conviction that sooner or later Israel should cease to exist."

For us as believers in Jesus, this leaves us with a few challenges. First of all, we must not allow our faith to be stained by this same prejudice and demonization of the Jews; otherwise, Christians will find themselves in the trap of deception. Second, we must intercede for the Palestinian Arab community to be broken and severed from this culture of hate and replaced with the light and love of the gospel. It looks as if it is an impossible task, but "with God, all things are possible." As Romans 12:21 tells us, "Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good."

Barry Segal and his wife, Batya, are the founding directors of a humanitarian aid center in Jerusalem. Their longing to help build and restore Israel inspired them to pioneer the nonprofit charity organization Vision for Israel and the Joseph Storehouse in 1994. The work currently functions as an international humanitarian aid center operating in the Judean Hills just outside of Jerusalem.

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