Following President Trump’s announcements on Wednesday, many seem to be wondering, “What now?”
While the United States, under President Harry Truman, was the first to recognize the newly reborn state of Israel in 1948, no American president in the past 20 years has been bold enough to unequivocally declare Jerusalem to be the fully-recognized capital of the Jewish state. That is, until President Donald Trump.
I was present at the AIPAC Policy Conference in March 2016 when then-candidate Donald Trump laid out his plans for diplomatic relations with Israel. Among his statements was this one:
“We will move the American embassy to the eternal capital of the Jewish people, Jerusalem…we will send a clear signal that there is no daylight between America and our most reliable ally the state of Israel.”
He made a promise and he seems to be acting on it. That is admirable, though he will still have his hands full in actually moving the embassy. But at least he has committed to it.
But what can we expect in the coming days, weeks and months? Well, in the coming days, I believe we can expect the Arab world (particularly the Palestinians) to act with violence. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is very adept at whining to the rest of the world about the “injustice” being done, while inciting his people to violence…without a word being said by the rest of the world who has bought into his whining! Yet, “peace talks” have lingered since 1947, and the Palestinians have been offered incredible statehood deals in the past, to which they have always said no. Examples:
- 1947 UN Partition Plan: Though the British Mandate (1917-1922) declared the Jewish homeland to be the territory we know today as Israel and Jordan, by the time the UN Partition plan came along in 1947, the Jewish homeland had been cut down to only parts (primarily the deserts!) of Israel. The Jews said, “Ok, we’ll take it,” while the Arabs said, “No way! We want it all!”
- 2000 Camp David Peace Talks: President Bill Clinton mediated negotiations between Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, in which 97% of all territory demanded by the Palestinians was agreed upon by Israel. (Only highly Jewish-populated areas of the West Bank were excluded and land swaps were offered.) Arafat said, “No way! We want it all!”
- 2008 Peace Talks: Israeli PM Ehud Olmert was so anxious to culminate a peace deal that he conceded virtually every demand (including a Palestinian state AND a divided Jerusalem) of PA President Mahmoud Abbas. (See this article!) Yet still, the Palestinians said, “No way! We want it all!”
So, I’m not confident that President Trump nor anyone else will be able to close the “ultimate deal!” Palestinian leadership simply does not want peace…they want Israel and the Jewish people totally eliminated, and they incite…and even PAY…Palestinian people to riot. They also have the UN on their side, and that infamous body meets today to discuss the situation. (Don’t be surprised to hear about UN resolutions condemning the US!)
That is what we are seeing today, and will see for days to come. (A word of caution here: in general, it is not the Palestinian people who are the problem. It is Palestinian leadership.)
In the coming weeks, I’m hopeful that other nations will follow the lead of the United States by declaring their recognition of Jerusalem as the capital, and perhaps moving their embassies to Jerusalem. The Czech Republic and the Philippines have made similar pronouncements already. Also, Netanyahu has made huge inroads over the past couple years reaching out to nations in the Mediterranean, Africa and even South America to build diplomatic relations, and those seem to be working. There are those who share hope with Israel!
In the coming months, I suspect we’ll see world leaders vie for power. Trump is not well-liked in many parts of the world (particularly now) and America has definitely lost credibility on the world stage over the past several years. In addition, North Korea is enough of a distraction to keep the US busy in other places besides the Middle East.
So who will rise to world power? Could it be Vladimir Putin in Russia? (Oh, how he longs for that!) Might it be Emmanuel Macron in Europe? Will someone else arise to become the world’s foremost power monger?
We don’t know, but I think the next few months might give us a clue as to where the pieces might land. Make no mistake, Jesus could miraculously bring about a season of peace in the Middle East (though very difficult to imagine at this point). Or, He may be setting the stage for the next grand event on the prophetic calendar: the rapture of the church!
Either way, He calls us to be ready! Are you?