The Words of the Wilson Family

Middle East: Step Back From The Brink And Take A Deep Breath

Andrew Wilson
November 10, 2010

Everyone, We are at a moment of crisis in the peace negotiations:

"The clock is ticking for the peace talks that began in September at the White House but stalled when Israeli settlement construction resumed Sept. 26 after a 10-month moratorium. The 22-member Arab League, which met in early October, has given President Obama until the second week of November to broker a compromise that might allow talks to continue."

On the issue of settlements, which the Palestinians hold up as a precondition for talks, there is actually movement in terms of floating a proposal for Palestine to lease some of the settlement lands to Israel. A lease (like the British had for Hong Kong) would acknowledge Palestinian sovereignty yet give the settlers their homes. If that idea can fly, I would call on the Palestinians to drop their preconditions (of a settlement freeze) and get back to talking. A freeze ceases to have any real meaning, now that the resulting state of Palestine with borders near the Green Line has already been conceded by Israel and America.

However, other Palestinians, notably chief negotiator Saeb Erakat, are impatient and want to jump over the stalled peace talks to appeal for international recognition for Palestine:

Palestinians on Tuesday urged the international community to immediately recognize a Palestinian state in response to Israel's decision to build 1300 new East Jerusalem settler homes. "This latest unilateral Israeli act necessitates dramatic international action for immediate recognition of the Palestinian state [based] on the June 4, 1967 borders," chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat said in a statement.

This unilateral move would be very, very tragic. I ask everyone to pray that cooler heads can prevail and that both sides can let the current negotiations resume. Pray that both Netanyahu and Abbas can find a compromise way back to the negotiating table before the end of this week, when the Arab League's deadline expires.

There is a world of difference between a Palestinian state established through voluntary negotiations with Israel and a Palestinian state imposed by international pressure. I have thought about some likely scenarios, and they look very bleak:

1. The current efforts by Obama and Hilary to broker a peace fail, and the Palestinian Authority goes to the UN to ask for unilateral recognition of a Palestinian State on the West Bank. It is likely that they will gain international approval for a state based on the 1967 borders, including East Jerusalem.

2. Israel, under pressure, formally withdraws from most of the West Bank, but she refuses to relinquish East Jerusalem. Instead, Israel annexes East Jerusalem because it sits within the existing borders of the municipality.

3. Israel fortifies the border of Jerusalem.

4. Certain disgruntled Palestinians or outside Arabs explode bombs or missiles in Jerusalem. After a few of these, Israel responds by rocket or air attacks into the West Bank.

5. The situation further deteriorates. Israel sends tanks across the Green Line into Palestine to punish the terrorists, and the Palestine calls for support from the Arab League to defend its integrity. Israel is forced into a humiliating withdrawal.

6. Maybe these Arab forces even enter Jerusalem to assert Palestinian claims. Maybe Hamas and Hezbollah enter the fray to create a war on 3 fronts.

7. America enters the fray in support of beleaguered Israel, leading potentially to world conflict.

8. To prevent all-out war, God and the spirit world call for another sacrifice from the True Family. Another helicopter accident? Death of another True Child? Heaven forbid!

9. In the resulting truce, international forces occupy Jerusalem and create a no-man's land along much of the Green Line.

We don't want this sort of scenario to unfold and spiral downward. Instead, let's pray that Palestinians will take a step back and allow Israelis space to work out their internal issues. Now is the best chance for peace talks to actually succeed, but talks take time. Netanyahu and Abbas both need time to digest the proposals on the table, work things out with their political supporters, allies and opposition, and bring their constituencies to accept the agreement that they are hashing out.

When Israelis and Palestinians make peace through face-to-face agreement, the sort of scenario I outlined above will not happen because:

1. Israel and Palestine negotiators would have come to a compromise on Jerusalem that they can sell to their people.

2. Israel and Palestine will develop joint security arrangements and work cooperatively to foil terrorists. Hence the need for fortified borders and heavy security measures will decrease.

3. Jerusalem will become a locus for dialogue and people-to-people meetings that can create warmer relationships and trust between Israelis and Palestinians.

4. Joint economic projects will enrich both Jews and Palestinians and build a strong constituency for normal relations.

5. As the Palestinians become more economically prosperous, their residual hatred of Israel will fade in comparison to their desire to get rich and provide a prosperous future for their children.

When people have the ability and the maturity to make voluntary agreements, this kind of virtuous spiral can occur.

So please pray that God and the good spirit world will restrain the more hot-headed Palestinians and Israelis, so that both sides can move deliberately towards self-restraint and renewed commitment to a peace process of face-to-face negotiations.



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