Donald Trump’s peace plan, put forward by his son in law Jared Kushner, is entitled Peace to Prosperity, a vision to improve the lives of Palestinian and Israeli people. For details of the plan go to https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Peace-to-Prosperity-0120.pdf
Under the plan Jerusalem would remain the undivided capital of Israel, but at the same time, it calls for a future Palestinian state with a capital in parts of East Jerusalem, probably in Abu Dis, a village on the eastern outskirts of Jerusalem.
The plan envisions Israeli control over the Jordan River Valley. Control of this area, with its border with Jordan on the River Jordan is considered vital for Israel’s security. It would also give Israel continued control over the and Israeli settlements in the West Bank, home to around 600,000 Israelis. This would be a vindication of the right wing government of Benjamin Netanyahu and his position on the settlements and the impossibility of dividing Jerusalem and a rejection of the policies of the Israeli left. It is also seen as an acceptance of ‘facts on the ground’, in other words the existing settlements will not be uprooted but remain under Israeli control. One possibility is that Netanyahu will propose that Israel annexes these areas now if as expected the Palestinians reject Trump’s peace plan.
The Palestinians complain that this would give them control of three disconnected geographic regions, one north of Jerusalem (Samaria) and one south of Jerusalem (Judea) plus Gaza. See map. It is much less than their original demand for a state on the whole of the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) plus Gaza, within the pre 1967 borders of Israel and the West Bank area which was incorporated into Jordan after the 1948 Arab Israeli war. Above all they demand that the whole of East Jerusalem, including the historic Old City, be the Capital of Palestine with the border with Israel as it was from 1948 to 1967. This demand is unacceptable to Israel, which is the reason previous attempts to make a peace settlement have failed.
The plan promises the Palestinians a better life and more prosperity in the region. However it has been completely rejected by Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian Authority president. He refused to receive a copy of the deal or look at it repeating his “complete” rejection of the Trump plan and saying: “I will not have it recorded in my history that I sold Jerusalem.”
He later addressed the Arab League on 1st February saying that the Palestinian Authority has cut all ties with the United States and Israel, including those relating to security, after rejecting a Middle East peace plan presented by U.S. President Donald Trump. This means that the Palestinian Authority will no longer cooperate with the Israeli Defence Forces in policing areas of the occupied West Bank that are under Palestinian control. This could lead to a rapid loss of peace and security in the region.
Palestinian resistance to the plan is already manifesting itself. Hamas produced a press release saying that “the Israeli occupation’s attempts to Judaise Jerusalem and holy sites are an alarming sign that must prompt our Arab and Islamic Ummah (community), along with the free people of the world to intervene immediately. We call for similar Fajr prayers to be organized in all Arab and Islamic capitals for the sake of Al-Aqsa and holy places in Palestine. The popular fight continues to defend Jerusalem’s identity and future.” One fear is that the rejection of Trump’s peace plan will lead to an increase of conflict in the region.
On the other hand moderate Arab leaders are telling the Palestinians to go with the plan as it is the best hope they have of getting a Palestinian state. Many of these Arab leaders are tired of the continual intransigence of the Palestinian leaders who have ‘never missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity’ in the words of former Israeli Foreign Minister, Abba Eban.
The fact that the central point of conflict is Jerusalem ties in with the prophecy of Zechariah 12-14 that in the last days Jerusalem will be the ‘burdensome stone, burdening all nations’ and that the final conflict will centre on the holy city as the nations gather to battle against Jerusalem, causing the physical return of the Lord Jesus to the Mount of Olives, to the east of Jerusalem.
Before this happens there are scriptures which indicate some kind of peace plan for Israel. Daniel 9:27 speaks of a time when “he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week.” Many commentators identify the “he” in this case with the antichrist who confirms a peace covenant for “one week” / seven years. This covenant breaks down midway through the seven year period and leads to the time of great tribulation which will precede the return of the Messiah. Isaiah 28:14-22 speaks of “a covenant with death” made by Jerusalem’s rulers, which it is hoped will save them from “the overflowing scourge” (enemy invasion). However the deal turns out to be based on lies and falsehood and leads to just such an invasion, which the Lord’s intervention will save Israel from.
According to Daniel’s prophecy, the one making this covenant will be one who is identified as ‘the prince to come’ who destroys the city (Jerusalem) and the sanctuary (The Temple). Before this event takes place Daniel tells us that the Messiah will come. In Daniel 9.26 we read: “And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.” The people of the prince to come were the Romans who destroyed the city (Jerusalem) and the sanctuary (The Temple) after the Jewish revolt in 70AD. Forty years earlier, around 30-31 AD, the Messiah (Yeshua / Jesus) was cut off, dying a violent death for the sins of others.
According to my understanding of Daniel 9, there is a long period of time between the fulfilment of verse 26 and verse 27, into which time comes the present church age, starting with the Day of Pentecost and ending with the rapture of the church. After this the events of the great tribulation begin with the seven year period described in Daniel and Revelation 6-19. This period begins with the false peace covenant with Israel and ends with the final war of Armageddon and the return of the Messiah Jesus as King of kings and Lord of lords.
The one who makes the covenant in Daniel 9:27 is the prince to come of verse 26. He is also known as the antichrist or the beast of Revelation 13. Therefore, he will have some connection to the Roman Empire, either arising out of the western leg of the Roman Empire, the EU, or the eastern leg, the Islamic world, led by Turkey. Another possibility is that he is a leader of the UN which could be seen as the ultimate world empire in the latter days. Not Donald Trump or Jared Kushner then.
Interestingly, both the passages in Daniel 9 and Isaiah 28 have references to the Messiah as the one who will bring real peace. Daniel speaks directly of Mashiach / Messiah as one who would be “cut off, but not for himself.” This means He dies a violent death but not as a punishment for his sins, but rather as an atoning sacrifice for the sins of others, as we read in Isaiah 53:5-6 about the Suffering Servant Messiah,
[H]e was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
Applying this verse to Jesus, Peter writes:
Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls. (1 Peter 2:24-25)
In Isaiah 28 in the midst of the passage about the trouble which results from the “covenant with death” and the deception involved with it, we read a verse which says, “Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste” (Isaiah 28:16). This verse points to the Messiah as the one who is the foundation stone for the kingdom of God and the corner stone who holds it all together. Those who believe in Him will not act hastily or rashly, but will have God’s guidance and wisdom to help them through these troubled days.
The idea of the chief cornerstone being connected to the Messiah is also found in Psalm 118:
I will praise thee: for thou hast heard me, and art become my salvation [Yeshua / Jesus]. This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvellous in our eyes. (vv. 21-23)
The rejection of the stone (i.e., the Messiah) and His elevation to be the chief corner stone, holding the building together, is fulfilled in Yeshua the Messiah, in His life, death and resurrection and His ascension to the right hand of God from where He will come again to judge the world in righteousness. This verse is quoted five times in the New Testament, each time applying to Jesus as the Savior (Matthew 21:42, Mark 12:10, Luke 20:17, Acts 4:11, 1 Peter 2:6).
In the passage in 1 Peter 2, we are told to come to Him,
. . . as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ [Yeshua ha Mashiach]. Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded. Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed. (vv. 4-8)
If Donald Trump’s deal does not bring “Peace to Prosperity” (as we expect), we should consider 1 Thessalonians 5:3, “when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them.” In fact, no attempt to make political peace in the Middle East is going to succeed before the return of the Messiah. When He returns, He will bring the real peace not just to Jerusalem, Israel and the Middle East, but to the whole world, as Isaiah prophesied:
[H]e will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. (Isaiah 2:3-4)
Meanwhile we can find personal peace with God through faith in Jesus the Messiah. Speaking to Jews and Gentiles Paul writes:
For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace. (Ephesians 2:14-15)