The year 2017 looks set to be a particularly stormy year for the ever-raging clash of narratives between Israelis and Palestinians, as several anniversaries of seminal events in the conflict’s history coincide.
Back in September, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas urged the United Nations General Assembly to “declare 2017 as the international year to end the Israeli occupation of our land and our people, as we approach in June 2017 a half century of this abhorrent Israeli occupation.” In his Christmas message, issued last month, he repeated that the world is “about to mark 50 years of Israeli occupation, the longest military occupation in modern history.”
Pro-Palestinian activists worldwide can be expected to use this year’s big anniversary to draw international attention to what they will doubtlessly describe as an illegal, brutal occupation of an indigenous people by foreign invaders with no legitimate claim to the territory.
Hotovely said she has been working for months on a plan to mark this year’s anniversaries, including by creating a “gigantic exhibition” about the Jewish people’s historic ties to Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria. In her vision, virtual reality technologies would be used to portray the past, present and future of Israel’s presence in these areas. Located in the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem, the exhibition would be open to foreign diplomats as well as the general public.
“The more the world says the settlements aren’t legal, the more we say them to that, yes, they’re indeed legal,” she said Wednesday.
But in the current climate, Israeli-Palestinian negotiations are not likely to be renewed, let alone produce a lasting peace agreement, Hotovely added. The Palestinians are not interested in bilateral talks because they can reach their objectives by appealing to the international community to force Israel into concessions, she posited.
Therefore, she said, the only response to this Palestinian tactic is to create “a new paradigm” — innovative ideas that, according to her, no longer include a Palestinian state in the West Bank.
Given the regional turmoil, “more and more people in the world” understand that no Palestinian state will come into being anytime soon, she said. “This includes people who were involved in the Oslo Accords. What happened in the Middle East over the last five years challenges their basic understanding of the peace process.”
Never in my own memory has a new year appeared at its beginning to be more prophetically interesting. Never–in my thinking, at least–has one portended more perilous times, as the apostle Paul would have it. Yet I wouldn’t trade my time on this darkening planet with anyone of any other generation.
The fact that the Lord of Heaven has put me here at this strange, ominous, yet immensely fascinating time in history makes it all the more intriguing–even riveting, in terms of wanting to know what happens next. He has put you here, too, at this time when the final curtain is about to fall. He has trusted you to be an actor in at least part of the final scenes of this great, cosmic play called human history. No illustrious personages of the past–not Julius Caesar, not Napoleon Bonaparte, not Alexander the Great, not even Winston Churchill, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, or Ronald Reagan were so privileged. We are about to serve as active members of a most especially commissioned cast who populates the end-times stage.
There is about to occur a schism–a separation–of cataclysmic proportion. It will rend one part of humanity from the other. It will not be a natural catastrophe that will inflict the humanity-dividing rift. It won’t be great political upheaval in America and around the world that will cause the tearing apart of life upon the troubled planet. Those things will certainly happen. But it won’t be acts of nature or of man that will bring about the very last scene of the age. That last act will be orchestrated by the Master Director of all Creation–by the Lord God of Heaven who is the final judge of good and evil.
The excitement presaging that grand climax of the age is building. Momentous events, written on the pages of Holy Scripture, are about to come alive. The final curtain will rise when Jesus steps out on the clouds of glory and calls all believers–His Bride, the Church, to Himself. If you are a believer in Christ alone for salvation, you will catch the grand finale as you watch from the luxuriant balconies of Heaven.
We see the drama building all around us for the tumultuous scenes set to play out during the times just ahead. The year 2016 is cloaked in the fog of malevolence this world continues to wrap itself in–an increasingly anti-God, anti-Christ vesture that embraces humanism forewarned about by the psalmist.
Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. (Psalms 2: 1-3)
A quick scan of the news just the past week exposes, I believe, the arrogance of those the Scriptures call “earth-dwellers” who incessantly strive to break asunder the governance God rightfully placed upon His creation called man. The reports are laden with prophetic indicators.
One such report is seen in the prideful claims by a U.S. State Department spokesman, as the boast involves the increasing call for “peace and safety,” While the situation in Syria grows intensely worse by the hour, with the Syrian people torn violently between the forces of Syrian dictator Basher Al-Assad and the hordes of ISIS murderers, Secretary of State John Kerry is lauded as bringing about a peace that just isn’t happening and will never come to pass.
State Department spokesman John Kirby wrote under the headline, “Bringing peace and security to Syria”: “Under Secretary of State John Kerry’s stewardship the United Nations passed a U.S. sponsored resolution to create a road map for Syria.” Again, the problem is that like in all of the humanistic efforts at bringing true peace, the only “peacemaker” is kept out of the peacemaking. Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, is denied at every turn by the president of the very country that speciously purports to be making the peace. (President Obama, remember, upon his very first week in office, proclaimed that the United States is not a Christian nation.)
The president of the United States of America, in effect, proclaimed regarding the governance of the God of Heaven: “Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.”
We can believe what that omniscient, omnipotent, governing authority has to say about such arrogance and willfulness. The message is chilling for the planet’s inhabitants who will be left behind when the great schism aforementioned takes place.
He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision. Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure. Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion. (Psalms 2: 4-6)
Details of what is about to take place in 2016, of course, lurks in the murkiness of an ever-increasing pall of trepidation. But, for those who are secure within the unshakable, impenetrable shelter of their Lord and Savior, there is no reason to fear. Piercing that black uncertainty is an effulgence that lights the path to the brightest of all possible futures. It is that Blessed Hope of Titus 2: 13!