FIFTY YEARS IN THE HOLY LAND

BLOG 353 June 19, 2017

            Fifty years ago, the Six-Day War was fought, won by Israel, Jerusalem united, new boundaries set, and the Holy Land has not been the same since. After 2,000 years, the Jews were in control of their homeland. For the Arab world, the time is remembered as an absolute disaster.

The war began on June 5, 1967 and the cease fire was proclaimed on June 11, 1967.

Since that June so long ago, the contention between the Palestinians and Israelis has continued to deteriorate. Yasser Arafat could have received an excellent settlement for the Palestinians, but walked out at the last moment because his ultimate objective was the annihilation of all Israelis – and that goal has not changed since. In recent decades, world opinion has shifted somewhat and now the Israelis are considered “occupiers.” They have such firm control of the Palestinians that about all that is left for confrontations is knife assaults by random terrorists sneaking into Israel.

The hate continues to boil!

As the next era begins, what can we expect?

Despite all the campaign rhetoric, the Trump Administration declined to take a position on the status of east Jerusalem during Trump’s visit in May 22. National Security Advisor, H.R. McMaster was quick to say that Trump’s visit to the Western Wall was neither “religious nor political.” What in the world does that mean?

The bottom line is that everything is staying the same – regardless of the rhetoric.

Why? Three main reasons; Palestinian weakness, Israeli indifference, and American backing for the status quo.

Nathan Thrall, senior analyst at the International Crisis Group, recently wrote in The New York Times that Israel prefers the current option of continued occupation without consequences. He noted that Israel now receives more military assistance from the United States that the rest of the world combined gets from America. Since Israel’s occupation of the West Bank began, American has given more than $120 billion dollars to Israel. After all the hand-wringing and political screaming, the truth is that the United States has continually backed Israel over the Palestinians. Thrall’s implied point is why should they do anything different from what they are currently doing.

The fact is that the United States talks about ending the Israeli occupation, but will not apply the pressure to steer Israel toward other options. The PLO remains too weak and divided along with continued conflicts with terrorists groups to force any changes. After the dust settles, the issue of moving the American Embassy to Jerusalem remains problematic. US Ambassador David Friedman is ready for the move from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, but there are no moving vans in sight. Recent months have made it clear that predicting Trump is a hopeless task.

What’s ahead? Probably little change. Maybe another clash with Hamas or Hezbollah.

Eventually Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas will go, but will his replacement make a difference? Not unless the goal of eradicating Israel is given up.

What’s ahead? Probably more of the same.

Stay tuned.

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Filed under Bible Lands, Israel, middle east, Palestinians

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