By Tony Pearce
Light For the Last Days Ministries (UK)
David Cameron, visiting Israel on March 19th, urged the Israelis and Palestinians ‘to take the final difficult steps towards peace. The prize could be great: a stable, prosperous Middle East with a sovereign and viable Palestinian state living in peace alongside a secure Israel at the heart of it.’
On the ground not many people in the region believe those steps will be taken and even fewer believe that peace and security will be the end result. On 12th March, US Secretary of State John Kerry that the level of mistrust between Israelis and Palestinians was the highest he had ever seen. But he insisted that he was hopeful of reaching ‘some kind of understanding of the road forward’ as he seeks to nail down a framework to guide the stuttering Middle East peace talks. The major blocks to agreement remain the question of the Palestinian refugees, the status of Jerusalem, claimed by both sides as their capital, and security questions, particularly over the Jordan Valley.
Another issue is that the Palestinians should recognise Israel as a Jewish state. Prime Minister Netanyahu has said that without such a recognition there will be no deal with the Palestinians, a view supported by the overwhelming majority of Israelis. Speaking in Washington on March 4th Netanyahu said, ‘In recognising the Jewish state you Palestinians would finally make clear that you are truly prepared to end the conflict. So recognise the Jewish state, no excuses, no delays. It is time.’
However on March 7th PA President Abbas said that recognising Israel as a Jewish state is ‘out of the question,’ a decision unanimously endorsed by the Revolutionary Council of Palestinian Authority and by the council of the Arab League. He said in his speech to delegates ‘They are pressing and saying, ‘no peace without the Jewish state.’ There is no way. We will not accept.’ In the same speech he said there is ‘no way’ he would accept anything less than the entire city of Jerusalem in any final peace deal. Click here to continue reading.