Just some historical detail for you, in light of the drive for statehood by the Palestinians.
On the afternoon of May 14, 1948, Jewish Zionist leader David Ben Gurion rose to speak at a theatre in Tel Aviv, steps from the beach.
Ben Gurion read Israel’s declaration of independence, as an international radio audience listened. He was surrounded by other Zionist leaders. The whole thing lasted just minutes.
The next day, a promised invasion of the new country, by neighboring Arab armies, was launched and a months-long bloody conflict ended with the 1949 armistice lines. Thus, a sovereign Jewish presence in that ancient land of their forefathers was established after an historical gap of almost 2,000 years.
Israel was born, politically, from a vote in the UN on November 29, 1947, in which a majority of the Security Council voted to partition what was left of Palestine, after Transjordan was formed in 1946.
One wonders if we are on the cusp of a new state, literally on top of the state of Israel. Interestingly, Independence Hall in Tel Aviv is today almost an afterthought for most tourists.
If the Palestinians win their bid for statehood, at what symbolic place will they declare it so?
At an outdoor mall in Jerusalem this summer, I felt as if I were in a place of limbo. The mall begins just steps from the Old City’s Jaffa Gate, and extends northwestward, into the western part of the city.
Let me explain.
Officially, the Palestinians are asking for a state, with its capitol in eastern Jerusalem. I believe the Israelis have a couple times offered part or all of the Temple Mount, not terribly far from Jaffa Gate.
That makes all this territory terribly volatile. No doubt such seemingly mundane places as outdoor malls would become disputed territory, or at least dangerous areas (the whole city was a battle-zone in 1948).
Yet…as I strolled through this gorgeous gauntlet of high-end stores, I saw something that made me laugh. At various places along the mall, a local artist had placed his biblical-scene sculptures. They are quite beautiful and striking.
Outside a lingerie store, however, I noticed one of these sculptures…Samson and Delilah. Now, most of us know at least the bare details of this story: beauty seduces man of strength and betrays him.
I literally stood there and laughed. Surely the sculpture was placed there strategically. Perhaps it wasn’t. All I know is that it offered a much-needed laugh in a place that has seen too many tears for too long.
Since Oslo, when Israel and the Palestinians ostensibly began negotiating for a peaceful solution to their conflict, I have noticed a trend in the West to talk about a place called “Palestine.”
Like Shangri-La, it has seemed to be a dream state, a mythical place many long for.
In my office, I have placed a framed vintage poster (ironically, purchased this summer in Israel) titled: “Come to Palestine.”
A reproduction from the 1930s, the poster invites memories of a different time: Casablanca; Indiana Jones; etc. I like to look at it.
But as we watch with great interest the debate going on within the halls of the United Nations in New York, I think the poster takes on a different feel. One wonders if the Palestinians and their friends on the Left will in fact be able to will “Palestine” into being.
Personally, I wouldn’t bet against them. And, while many of my pro Israel Christian friends disagree, I don’t know that the Bible mitigates against a Palestinian state in the “last days.”
All we know for sure is that the Lord has promised to bring back the Jews to their ancestral land one final time. The area known as the West Bank (biblically, Judea and Samaria) is the point of contention now, simply because huge numbers of Jews live there, and the Palestinians officially claim the area for a future state.
So we have a showdown looming. All I know as an individual is that if Palestine becomes a reality, as a potential tourist, I will see her only from the poster in my office. My heart belongs to Israel.
The issue of statehood for the Palestinians is front-and-center on the global stage right now. This at a time when other major issues are swirling: the global economy, natural disasters, etc.
The theme of this blog is that the biblical view of the end of history is valid, and that we are living in those days. I have learned while writing for Beliefnet that we can’t all be popular (J.K. Rowling, John Grisham, etc.). Even in Christian circles, it is difficult to attain the kind of popularity enjoyed by writers like Max Lucado.
I noticed recently that in one of the few comments attached to my blogs, one person referred to me as a “clown.” There were some other unkind responses.
Actually, that’s okay. In the spirit of shared humanity, we are all on a path. My path follows the bread trail that God left in the form of Bible prophecy. Predictive prophecy fulfilled is a reality in our world today.
I am often reminded of that even in the common things of life. In a furniture store over the weekend, I happened-upon a vintage globe, the kind Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce might have used in an old “Sherlock Holmes” movie.
In any event, the globe had come to rest on the Middle East; evidently someone earlier in the day had had the same thought I did, given the news recently of Mahmoud Abbas’s bold push at the United Nations, appealing for a state of Palestine.
As I squinted, I was able finally to make out the borders of Israel, tiny though they are. I had two thoughts, one about the current situation and one rooted in prophecy.
The first thought is that the Arabs want the UN to carve-out a 23rd Arab state in the Middle East, by carving-up tiny Israel. If the nations had been truly interested in the plight of the Palestinian refugees all these years, why not give them a state in the Sinai, or in the vast expanses of Saudi Arabia, or some other huge country? Why carve-up Israel?
Secondly, the sliver of land which modern Israel occupies is a perfect set-up (if I can say it that way) for the Lord to magnify His own name, when he defeats Israel’s enemies on her behalf (Ezekiel 38-39; Isaiah 49, etc.). Such a tiny country, attacked from every direction, is prophesied in Scripture. We are also told how those battles turn out (hint: Israel is still standing).
I understand that the world hates this, and that certain readers grind their teeth when they read clown writers like me. That’s okay, though. We have the luxury of freedom of speech in this country, this beloved America.
It is a privilege for all of us that we can stick to our principles in a free land, something, for example, Arab-nation citizens do not enjoy.