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Thursday, March 21, 2013

BOMBS IN THE BACKGROUND


The President of the United States is now present in the epicenter of world tensions. Mr. Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu came across as friends and partners on Wednesday unlike their interactions over the last four years where there seemed to be acrimony. Mr. Obama stated: “there is not a lot of daylight" between America’s and Israel’s regional policies. Backslapping aside, there is great concern in many circles that the fine points of difference are huge.

Today, President Obama met with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas where Abbas stated: ”America and the Palestinian Authority are partners in pursuit to just peace that ends occupation and war". On the same day more rockets were fired from Palestinian controlled Gaza into Israel. Since when is peace achievable while the supposedly interested party is firing rockets as the backdrop for the discussion?

In fairness to full disclosure, the rockets were fired by Hamas supporters, the other significant faction within the Palestinian government. But what is the obvious lesson here? The Palestinians themselves are in no condition to offer peace to anyone while still in such conflict with themselves. The Palestinian Authority cannot govern its own representatives now, how could it promise safety for Israel going into the future?

Mr. Abbas also said: "I wish to thank the President [Obama] for his commitment to provide support to the Palestinian people," and continued: "We hope to exercise normal life over the free state of Palestine with Jerusalem as its capital". Normal life? Two factions of the Palestinian Government at such odds that one faction fires rockets while the other presses for peace? Mr. Obama stated: “It is a hard slog to work through all of these issues.''

Hard slog” is not an honest representation of the situation. It will be impossible to bring peace through a two-state solution given these conditions. There will never be peace with a divided Jerusalem and patchwork borders that are not secure. The Time of Israel reported: “Obama should see what it’s like here,” says Sderot mother after rocket lands in her yard.

In the meantime, Israel awaits Presidential response to the Kassam rocket fire on Sderot from either Mr. Obama or Mr. Abbas. These rockets were launched from territory controlled by the Palestinian faction Hamas, and Hamas refuses to recognize Israel's right to exist and support peace. Yet during Operation Pillar of Defense, earlier this year when over 2,000 rockets were fired into Israel, Mr. Abbas stubbornly refused to disassociate himself from those attacks.

Israel has not yet issued a formal response to the attacks. According to the Jerusalem Post: “One government official said that Palestinian President Abbas cannot say he is a ‘peace-maker’ while staying silent when rockets are being fired on Israel.”

So there you have it…peacemaking with bombs in the background.

As always, we who care should pray and work for the true, lasting peace of Jerusalem.

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