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Crossroads for the Land of Israel at the White House?

06-24-2020
Photo Credit: CBN News/Jonathan Goff

JERUSALEM, Israel - Today, a White House meeting will have a profound impact on Israelis, Palestinians, and the people of the Middle East.  President Trump, US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and  Presidential Advisor Jared Kushner among others will discuss whether or not they believe the US should give the green light to Israel to declare sovereignty over 30% of its Biblical heartland, known to many as the West Bank.  The proposal began earlier this year when the White House released the so-called “Deal of the Century” on January 28th.  The plan called “Peace to Prosperity: A Vision to Improve the Lives of the Palestinian and Israeli People” is the latest US attempt to resolve the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.  

While the public debate calls Israel’s declaration of sovereignty “annexation,” David Parsons of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem explained to CBN News that Israel would be declaring Israeli law over areas Israel already controls, not “seizing” new territory.  

Israelis are divided over the issue.  While some welcome the idea of declaring 30% of the West Bank sovereign Israeli territory, they also fear the path to a Palestinian state “Peace to Prosperity” offers.  Others like these former IDF Generals and more than one thousand combat officers formed a new social movement called “Habithonistim”, the Protectors of Israel.  They wrote an open letter to President Trump imploring him to let Israel make this declaration.  In part it read:

“… we stand at an historic crossroad in the 4,000-year history of the Jewish people in the Land of Israel.  We trust that you will continue your work to secure the future peace of the people of Israel and of the Middle East by standing with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as he applies sovereignty to our eastern frontier, the Jordan Valley and to our cities, villages, and farms in Judea and Samaria in accordance with your visionary peace plan.” 

Yet the “visionary peace plan” for Israel comes with a price.  “Peace to Prosperity” calls for a Palestinian State on the remaining 70% of the West Bank if the Palestinians meet certain conditions.  When the deal was unveiled, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and the PA leadership immediately rejected it

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 A recent poll by Dr. Khalil Shikaki of the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research shows why.  Shikaki issued several results including these answers about the consequences of Israeli annexation:

  • Two-thirds (66%) believe that the new Israeli government will indeed annex the Jordan Valley and the settlement areas in the occupied West Bank while 28% think it will not do so.
  • A large majority of 74% say it does not prefer the return of Israeli military rule or civil administration while only 18% say they do prefer that.
  • 50% of the public believes that the PA will back down and resume relations with Israel if the latter declares its intention to resume its direct military rule over the Palestinian territories while 37% believe the PA will not back down.

But some wonder if Palestinians might say one thing to an official pollster and another to an undercover reporter.  That’s why Israeli Channel 13 reporter Zvi Yechezkeli went undercover with a hidden camera into the West Bank to find out what Palestinians he knows to think about Israeli sovereignty.  Surprisingly, many of them said they would rather live under Israeli law than Palestinian Authority rule.  And some even like Bibi Netanyahu.  Here’s his undercover report.   

Back at the White House, the meeting of President Trump, Ambassador Friedman, Secretary Pompeo, and others will help determine the lives of those Palestinians whatever their views, these former IDF Generals and other Israelis and Palestinians in the epicenter of the Middle East. 

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