When the Trump Administration’s Peace to Prosperity plan (“Deal of the Century”) was unveiled several days ago (Tuesday, January 28, 2020), there were mixed reactions.
- The Palestinian Authority outright rejected it before it was even announced, and PA President Mahmoud Abbas subsequently cut all ties with Israel and the US.
- Most Israelis were ecstatic about a deal that does not require evacuation of settlements, giving up half of Jerusalem or sacrifice of their security.
- Far right-leaning Israelis (mostly ultra-Orthodox Jews) opposed the idea that any land or rights would be offered to the Palestinians.
- American evangelicals were split, with many highly in favor of the plan, while others cite Biblical warnings not to divide the land.
- Soon after the plan was announced, over 20 countries (including at least 7 of which are Muslim-dominate) approved of the plan, while 4 groups denounced it (Palestinians, Iran, Turkey and Venezuela).
In an effort to more fully understand the deal, and to avoid getting caught up in the hype on both sides of the “Christian argument,” I read the 181-page document made public by the White House. (Find it here.) As I’ve contemplated the deal, here are some thoughts…
Like many Christians, my obvious first consideration was the prophet Joel’s warning in Joel 3, regarding dividing up the land of Israel. Verse 2 specifically says:
I will gather all the nations
And bring them down to the valley of Jehoshaphat.
Then I will enter into judgment with them there
On behalf of My people and My inheritance, Israel,
Whom they have scattered among the nations;
And they have divided up My land.
In the end, all nations will appear in judgment before the Lord, and will be judged according to how they treated God’s chosen land and God’s chosen people. Does the Trump plan scatter the Jewish people? No. Does the plan divide up the land given to His people?
That question is more difficult to answer.
If taken literally, it would seem to present a significant conflict in terms of the deal’s promise of a Palestinian state. Furthermore, in President Trump’s speech, he specifically identified the capital of a Palestinian state as “East Jerusalem.”
Put that idea aside for a moment and consider that the Trump Administration has, without question, been BY FAR the most pro-Israel administration ever. So, how do we reconcile that fact with the seeming dividing up of land.
Here are the two opposing viewpoints:
- The land is not being further divided, but is being re-allocated so the two may co-exist in peace. East Jerusalem, as identified by President Trump in his speech as Abu Dis, is not really East Jerusalem, per se, but is a current Palestinian-controlled area that is situated outside the city of Jerusalem, immediately to the east. Supposedly, President Trump used the term “East Jerusalem” to appease the Palestinians.
- Despite a land already divided, the Trump Administration is further dividing it by granting the Palestinians more land (though situated in Israel’s favor) than they currently have. Using the term “East Jerusalem” gives the Palestinians the right to view their suggested capital as part of Jerusalem.
Furthermore, some would argue that, because the Palestinians will never agree to the terms of the deal anyway, the plan is really not dividing up the land. I’m not sure the intent of a person’s heart is measured by whether or not someone else accepts the deal. However, I do agree with the premise that the peace deal will never be ratified. Why? Because I don’t see in Scripture that peace will ever occur in Jerusalem until the Prince of Peace returns to establish His kingdom there.
Romans 12:18 clearly instructs us, If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. Thus, as a peace-loving nation, I hope America always works toward peaceful resolutions to whatever degree, and in whatever places possible. As believers, prayer for the return of the Prince of Peace is the “peace plan” in which we are to place our confidence.
So, I ask you: Does the plan divide up the land of Israel? Will the plan enhance the chances of peace between Palestinians and Israelis?
More importantly, do you long for the day when the Prince of Peace establishes His Millennial Kingdom? Are you anxiously looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus? (Titus 2:13)