The application of Israeli law to an area of land in Judea and Samaria is no small matter. Many call it ‘annexation’.
Please pray about the imminent changes planned for this area, otherwise known as the ‘West Bank’ – meaning the west bank of the Jordan River.
Israel, in accord with the recent US peace plan, is preparing to apply Israeli law in an area up to 30% of the West Bank. This area has a majority of Jewish citizens living in ‘settlements’. The basic principle behind the US led peace plan is that no Palestinian or Jew will need to leave their home. The details of what will happen have not yet been finalized, and may initially be smaller than anticipated.
Politically, the ingredients for the changes are unique and delicate – Netanyahu’s highly contested return to power, the presence of the Trump administration in the USA, a window of a few months before the US election.
The Palestinian leadership is naturally opposed to any such change. The underlying reason for this is their basic stance that the whole region should be Arab and Muslim, and any compromise or diversion is unacceptable. Jordan is also particularly opposed, as the changes will affect their interests.
The Palestinians involved will mostly come under Israeli jurisdiction, although some will remain in enclaves of Palestinian control and Israeli military law. Clearly their situation is very difficult indeed and whatever choice is made can have negative consequences for them. However, I believe it is true to say that current Palestinian leadership is often not good for Palestinians, while Israeli Arabs usually enjoy unprecedented rights and freedoms. Most, I am told by an informed Arab friend, recognize this, although they are afraid to speak out. The feelings, honour and rights of all Palestinians must be respected.
The spiritual reality behind these momentous events is the covenant God made with Abraham (Genesis 15:18-21), Isaac (Genesis 26:3) and Jacob (Genesis 28:13) concerning this piece of territory, greater Israel, with Judea and Samaria at its heart.
As believers we need to hold on to these promises both sensitively and boldly. Abraham, for example (Genesis 23), sensitively insisted on buying from the Hittites at full price the piece of land which was to become his wife’s Sarah’s tomb – the cave of Machpela . On the other hand, when Nehemiah’s rebuilding of Jerusalem was aggressively challenged by locals, including an Arab, he boldly stated (Nehemiah 2:20), “The God of heaven will give us success. We his servants will start rebuilding, but as for you, you have no share in Jerusalem or any claim or historic right to it”.
The concept of a “distinct and ancient Palestinian people” is in reality a modern phenomenon. My friend Yacov, who lived here under the British mandate, held papers which described him as “Palestinian”, despite being Jewish. The majority of today’s Palestinians actually migrated from Jordan; while the ancient Philistines, who originated in Crete (Caphtor), from whom the name “Palestinian” derives, died out in Bible times (6th Century BC) – see Jeremiah 47:4.
Behind God’s covenant promises concerning the land of Israel, is God’s wider agenda. For two thousand years following the events of Calvary, God would establish his world-wide ecclesia. Towards the end of that period he would start to restore Israel. Today we are seeing part of the answer to the question asked in Acts 1:6, concerning “restoring the Kingdom to Israel”. This will make a way for Yeshua to rule and reign from Jerusalem and his “restoration of all things”, as spoken of in Acts 3:21. This is God’s sovereign plan (speaking of sovereignty;).
- For wisdom and God’s leading in finalizing the details of the plan.
- For the purposes and glory of God to be manifest.
- For those directly affected by the changes to find peace and prosperity.
- For aggression by terrorists or other nations to be supernaturally thwarted.
- For political terrorism, boycott, sanctions and divestment, especially from the EU, to be ineffective and backfire.
- Preservation of the peace agreement with Jordan.