World News and Trends: Pressures on Israel intensify

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Pressures on Israel intensify

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Recently U.S. President Barack Obama called for this very small country to return to its pre-1967 borders (which, in actuality, were cease-fire lines from the 1948 war). Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu immediately responded by saying that these borders were indefensible. In The Wall Street Journal, Bret Stephen's Global View column stated that "the President's peace proposal is a formula for war" ("An Anti-Israel President,"May 24).

Withdrawal to the 1967 borders would most likely precipitate another war, with Israel once again fighting for its very survival. As Israeli author Avi Perry explained in an opinion piece in The Jerusalem Post:

"The Palestinians have been unwilling to end the conflict. Had they been interested in a peaceful two-state solution, they would have abandoned their demand for the right of return; they would have agreed to settle the refugee problem within the confines of an independent, occupation-free Palestinian state. They would have stopped educating their children to hate. They would have ceased naming public squares after terrorists; they would not have fired anti-tank missiles on Israeli school busses, rockets and mortar on civilians, or (even) on the Israeli military; they would have worked tirelessly to gain Israel's trust. But they've done nothing of the sort" ("Was Netanyahu Right to Rebuff Obama?" June 1, 2011).

From its beginning as a modern state in 1948, Israel has nearly always been able to count on American support. Now, however, "America's mighty pro-Israel lobby may be less durable than it looks . . . More to the point, most Jews vote Democratic, and will probably continue to do so no matter what they think of the President's attitude toward Israel" ("Lexington Column," The Economist, May 28, 2011).

President Obama's statements amount to a partial undoing of U.S. policy in the Middle East. But the dangerous potential of a gradual dwindling of America's favorable inclination toward the state of Israel is far from the tiny nation's only problem with the outside world.

Israel's peace treaty with Egypt has been a big help in buttressing Israel's security for more than 30 years. We should all take notice of a Financial Times article telling us that "the Muslim Brotherhood opposition group in Egypt has called for a review of the 1978 treaty between Egypt and Israel, and says it should be resubmitted to a 'freely elected' parliament for approval" (Heba Saveh, "Cairo Urged to Review Peace Deal With Israel," May 6, 2011).

The so-called "Arab Spring," hailed by most as a progressive and positive development, is not working out for Israel, since it has unleashed virulent anti-Semitism in some Arab countries.

Remember that the Palestinian Authority has brought Hamas (a terrorist organization committed to the destruction of Israel) into its government. Recall also that Hezbollah, another terrorist organization, largely calls the shots in Lebanon. Add to these the specter of Iran manufacturing nuclear weapons that could easily reach Israel. Overshadowing all these pressures is the stark possibility of a United Nations vote unilaterally granting Palestinians statehood.

Balancing this negative picture somewhat is the positive reception of Prime Minister Netanyahu's rousing speech to a joint session of the American Congress. This will help Israel's cause. Even House Democrat Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi appeared to disagree with President Obama's insistence on Israel returning to its 1967 borders. There is no question that Netanyahu won over the vast majority of the U.S. Congress.

Why is this tiny Middle Eastern country so important? Mainly this: The establishment of a Jewish state in the Holy Land marks a major fulfillment in God's framework for end-time prophecy. Among other important developments, it sets the stage for the second coming of Jesus Christ. To understand further, request or download our free booklets The Middle East in Bible Prophecy and Are We Living in the Time of the End? (Sources: The Economist, Financial Times [both London], The Wall Street Journal.)

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