Dr. Thomas McCall, our senior theologian, and I have brainstormed about some alternate peace plans which he outlines below along with a proposed Biblical plan which no one else, to my knowledge, has ever suggested. — Zola
There are two prophetic plans that the Scripture predicts for Israel in relation to its enemies. The first is the Satanic plan that will be confirmed with Israel by the Antichrist. This is the infamous treaty that begins the Tribulation after the Rapture of the Church. It will be a seven-year treaty, but will be broken by the Antichrist in the middle of the Tribulation. The second is God’s ultimate plan for Israel, which will be brought about by the Second Coming of Christ. It includes Armageddon, the national redemption of Israel, and the establishment of the Messianic Kingdom on earth for 1,000 years, with Jerusalem as the worldwide capital.
In the meantime, Israel miraculously exists again today, as a modern nation among the family of nations. It is a small Jewish nation in a sea of Arab-Moslem nations, most of whom are enemies of Israel. An uneasy peace exists between Israel and Egypt, and a somewhat more cooperative peace has been established with the Kingdom of Jordan, but almost all of the other surrounding nations want Israel to cease to exist. They look upon Israel as a modern version of the European Crusaders, who occupied Jerusalem and the Holy Land for only about 100 years. The Arab nations believe they will ultimately remove Israel just as they removed the Crusaders 900 years ago.
What they do not take into account are the Biblical prophecies about the restoration of Israel in the end times!
Four Serious Plans at Present
Nevertheless, at the present time there appear to be four serious plans to solve the current conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs.
- The Road Map for Peace
This Road Map is the plan proposed by the “Quartet” which includes the Bush administration. This is a complicated step-by-step program that envisions the removal of many (if not all) of the Israeli settlements in Judea and Samaria (the so-called West Bank), the dismantlement of the terrorist organizations by the Palestinians, and the creation of a peaceful Palestinian State alongside the State of Israel. Such a plan has considerable international support, including from several of the Arab nations.
However, there are many problems with this plan, and certainly one of them is the threat involved in having a full-fledged Arab state next to Israel in the narrow strip of land west of the Jordan River. There are many Arab/Moslems who are committed to the destruction of Israel. They would consider any such arrangement an open invitation to launch ceaseless terrorist attacks against Israel across the long border. From their viewpoint, the creation of the Palestinian state would merely be a temporary cease-fire while the terrorists prepare for the long-term war against Israel from a protected terrorist state.
- The Likud Plan
While the Sharon government (along with its Likud party) is trying to cooperate with the Bush administration in the early procedures of the Road Map, it has been implementing its own plan, which I am calling the Likud Plan. This consists of conducting surgical strikes to destroy the leadership of the various terrorist organizations among the Palestinians, as well as the construction of a wall between the Israelis and the Palestinians for the length of the populated part of the country.This has been partly successful, but has been greatly attacked by many nations and the press as being brutal and reminiscent of the Berlin Wall during the Cold War. Of course, the comparison to the Berlin Wall is ludicrous, because it was designed to keep people in, while the Israeli wall is designed to keep the terrorists out. Peace-loving Arabs can cross the wall at the gates with little trouble. The Israeli government has never shrunk from bad press, but in some ways the wall presents many of the same problems that the two-state plan has. If there is a continuing hostile population just on the other side of a wall, the terrorists may in time find ways to penetrate or overcome the wall. While it might have shortterm benefits, the long-term benefits are questionable. The results might be similar to the two-state situation.
- The Elon Plan
Benyamin Elon, a member of the Israeli Knesset (parliament), has proposed a plan that has seven steps. It includes the provision that Arab Palestinians remaining in Judea and Samaria would become citizens of a newly designated Jordanian/Palestinian state (current Kingdom of Jordan, with Amman as its capital). The Arab Palestinians holding Israeli citizenship would be offered alternate citizenship in the Jordanian/Palestinian state.If the Arabs of Judea and Samaria breach the terms of this plan, they will be expelled across the Jordan River to the Jordanian/Palestinian state. This is certainly a step in the right direction, because it provides for the physical removal of Arab Palestinians, who are hostile to Israel, from Israel. One problem is that it only moves the hostile Palestinians across the Jordan River. Some might consider having the terrorists right on the border with Israel too close for comfort.
Also, the Kingdom of Jordan is not nearly as wealthy as the Arab countries having oil reserves. It might be very difficult for that nation to absorb hundreds of thousands (or possibly millions) of Palestinians. One suggestion is that some of the foreign aid that the US is currently giving to Israel and Egypt (about $5 billion per year) could be used to change the citizenship and/or resettle the Palestinians.
For those who believe the Bible, this plan would have the objectionable aspect of permanently recognizing what was part of Biblical Israel (Edom, Moab, Ammon, and Gilead) as an official Arab land.
- Biblical Plan
The Biblical plan has been developed primarily by Israeli believers in Christ, represented by our friend and guide in Israel, Zvi Rivai. The plan relies entirely on Biblical instruction and precedent, rather than the current political situation. The story of the conflict between Isaac and Ishmael begins with the expulsion of Ishmael and his mother from the household of Abraham and Sarah. God told Abraham to expel Ishmael, but that He would take care of him, that he would settle in the East, and that he would become a great nation:
Genesis 21:12 And God said unto Abraham, Let it not be grievous in thy sight because of the lad, and because of thy bondwoman; in all that Sarah hath said unto thee, hearken unto her voice; for in Isaac shall thy seed be called. 13 And also of the son of the bondwoman will I make a nation, because he is thy seed…. 20 And God was with the lad; and he grew, and dwelt in the wilderness, and became an archer. 21And he dwelt in the wilderness of Paran: and his mother took him a wife out of the land of Egypt.
Genesis 25:5 And Abraham gave all that he had unto Isaac. 6 But unto the sons of the concubines, which Abra-ham had, Abraham gave gifts, and sent them away from Isaac his son, while he yet lived, eastward, unto the east country…. 16 These are the sons of Ishmael, and these are their names, by their towns, and by their castles; twelve princes according to their nations. 17 And these are the years of the life of Ishmael, an hundred and thirty and seven years: and he gave up the ghost and died; and was gathered unto his people.
As time passed, Abraham died, and Isaac requested Ishmael to return so that they could bury their father together at Hebron:
Genesis 25:9 And his sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him in the cave of Machpelah, in the field of Ephron the son of Zohar the Hittite, which is before Mamre; 10 The field which Abraham purchased of the sons of Heth: there was Abraham buried, and Sarah his wife.
The land in which Ishmael’s descendants settled was east of the Land of Promise given to Isaac. It extended from the Sinai Desert and the Gulf of Eilat through what is now known as Saudi Arabia toward Mesopotamia.
Genesis 25:18 And they [the descendants of Ishmael] dwelt from Havilah unto Shur, that is before Egypt, as thou goest toward Assyria: and he [Ishmael] died in the presence of all his brethren.
In effect, then, there was the true Promised Land given to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, while a subsidiary “promised land” to the east was given to Ishmael and his descendants. For many centuries, this is the way the populations remained, with the Hebrews in the west, from the mountains of Bashan to the Mediterranean Sea. The Ishmaelites or Arabs settled to the east in Saudi Arabia, mostly as nomadic tribes. The Koran indicates that Ishmael was involved in the founding of the city of Mecca, which became sacred to the Arabs. Mecca. This would agree with the Biblical account of Ishmael’s general location, and may have some basis in fact. The Hebrews and Ishmaelites were separated from one another by the Arabian Desert, according to the express will of the Lord.
The dispersion of the Jewish people from the Promised Land by Rome in the first century and the Arab Moslems in the seventh century changed the Biblical division of the two peoples. The Moslems, in one form or another, dominated both the Arabian lands and the ancient Land of Israel from the seventh century to the beginning of the twentieth century (with a brief intermission by the European Crusaders). In the aftermath of WWI, England gained control of all of that land, and through Zionism and the Bal-four Declaration, the return of the Jewish people to their ancient home-land began, as Biblical prophecy predicted would happen in preparation for the End Times.
However, England also artificially carved out of their Protectorate of Palestine the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Kingdom of Jordan. As a result, there developed the modern nations of Israel, Jordan and Saudi Arabia. The Arabs in the West Bank and Gaza, now known as Palestinians, are in limbo, a people without a country, many of whom hate Israel and desire nothing more than to destroy Israel, mainly through terrorism. It is a no-win situation for everyone involved.
The Biblical solution is to restore the ancient separation of the Jewish and Arab populations. Offer to the Arabs living west of the Jordan River the option of full citizenship in Israel or resettlement in an Arab nation, preferably one of the wealthy oil countries such as Saudi Arabia, which has great oil reserves and low population density. Use some of the billions of dollars currently given as foreign aid to Israel and the Arab nations as an inducement for those who are being resettled. The Arabs remaining in Israel must swear allegiance to Israel as loyal citizens. Any Arab promoting any kind of terrorism would be immediately deported. Considerable geography must be placed between Israel and the Arabs who hate Israel. This is the way God handled the problem in the original days of Isaac and Ishmael, and it worked. Why not apply the same solution today?
Objections to the Biblical Plan
Of course, there will be many objections to the Biblical plan. The world has always objected to God’s plans, and considers them wrong or impractical. The world objects to the deity and Messiahship of Jesus Christ, the doctrines of substitutionary atonement and justification by faith, and the concept of autonomous local churches. Why would we expect the world to accept God’s plan concerning Israel and the Arabs? They would say it is wrong and impractical to move vast numbers of Arabs from their homes to a distant land, even though there are several historical precedents in Moslem and European history. Nevertheless, God’s ways are not our ways, and His thoughts are not our thoughts:
Isaiah 55:8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. 9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
Believers in Christ and in the Bible ought to support a truly Biblical plan even if it appears to fly in the face of world opinion. What if believers got behind such a Biblical plan and promoted it among decision makers? Perhaps the Lord has called us to such a time as this. As believers, I think we should do all we can on behalf of Israel in our time, as we await the Rapture of the Church, the redemption of Israel, and the Second Coming of Christ to the earth.