Egypt and Saudi Arabia Pressuring the Palestinian Authority to Accept the US Peace Plan?

News was leaked last week of secret meetings between Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Israel.  Now some outlets are reporting those meetings led to further meetings with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, where Arabs are encouraging Abbas to accept the US peace plan.

An unidentified Arab diplomat supposed told Abbas:

“Wisdom requires accepting the maximum of what is available now.  The dealing should be in accordance with the logic of ‘take and negotiate’ so that we won’t be surprised after a few years that the monster of settlements has devoured the Palestinian territories.”

Abbas apparently views the proposal as the “slap of the century,” and fears he will be seen as a traitor by his people.

Meanwhile, parts of those reports also indicate that President Trump is using the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and the planned move of the US Embassy to persuade Israel to agree to concessions with the Palestinians.  Trump has supposedly said Israel will “pay a price” for those concessions made to Israel.

(See such reports by the Times of Israel and i24News.)

In other alleged news, the American plan includes a Palestinian airport and port in the Egyptian Sinai.  (See that news here.)

Please note that I have not seen verification of these stories…only published reports by several media outlets.  The US plan has yet to be released publicly, and no official news of a deal being struck has been announced yet, so the facts are yet to be confirmed.  Thus, my point is not to say these facts are true, but to say, let’s keep an eye out and continue to pray for wisdom for the Trump team, the Netanyahu administration, as well as the governments of Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the Palestinian Authority and others involved in negotiations.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
~Matthew 5:9

 

EU “Fills the Gap” Left by America’s Decision to Withhold Funds for the PA

In mid-January, President Trump announced the United States will withhold $65 million in aid to the United Nations Relief and Welfare Agency (UNRWA).  Last Wednesday, the European Union (EU) pledged $52.8 million to the Palestinian relief agency.

Among the objectives of the United Nations is to provide humanitarian aid to nations in need.  In fact, they established the United Nations Relief Agency to assist refugees just after World War I.  But, a new relief organization, UNRWA, was created specifically for “Palestinian refugees” in 1949.  (Today, 5 million Palestinians claim “refugee” status. Interesting, since there are far fewer Palestinians than that in Israel!)  The Palestinians are the only people group with a UN relief agency dedicated specifically to them.

Through the years, billions of dollars have been funneled through UNRWA for the purpose of providing humanitarian aid (food, schools, hospitals, etc) to the Palestinian people.  Relatively little of it reaches them because corruption within the Palestinian Authority diverts those funds to things such as weaponry and terror tunnels.

In addition, Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations have gone on for decades, focusing on a “two-state solution.”  Yet, peace talks have stalled each time when Palestinian negotiators consistently refuse to recognize or acknowledge a Jewish state, begging the question: do they really want a two-state solution, or do they want the entire state to themselves?

While Israel has consistently committed to peace negotiations, and even to conceding land, the Palestinians have refused on at least seven occasions, going instead to the world media to convince the world how mistreated they are.

It was for those reasons that President Trump authorized withholding of funds to UNRWA, in an attempt to get the Palestinians back to the negotiating table.  By contrast, Europe, which has bought into the Palestinian narrative, has stepped in to become the PA’s knight in shining armor.  They will step up to fill the gap left by the Americans…and will further enable the Palestinians to continue stealing from their own citizens to perpetuate terror from the Gaza Strip.

Understand, dear Christian friends, that the Palestinians are people just like you and me.  Furthermore, God created them in His image, just as He did us, and He died for their sins, just as He did ours.  In fact, did you know they (and other Arab people) were present at Pentecost?  Thus, the entire scenario is very complicated.  Let’s pray for the Palestinian people.  It doesn’t mean we agree or condone the PA sucking the life out of their people.  The PA needs to be held accountable…perhaps even by withholding funds.  But prayers for the people tug at the heart of God, and He is unlimited in ways to pour out His love and grace.  So let’s stand in the gap for those who are suffering in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, asking the Lord to provide in ways only He can so they come to see Him as the One True God!

Praise God for US Ambassador Nikki Haley!

When it comes to the UN, no nation on earth has taken the heat Israel has.  Thankfully, this American administration has voiced more support for Israel than any other in history.  No one seems to articulate support of Israel any better than US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, and she did so at a special meeting of the UN General Assembly on Friday.

As Christians who support Israel as commanded by Scripture, we praise God for Nikki Haley.  I’m reminded of Esther who the Lord placed in a position of prominence (Queen of Persia) at just the right time to save the Jewish people.  (Read the book of Esther.)  Likewise, I believe God has positioned Nikki Haley in a place of prominence “for such a time as this!”

In typical style, Nikki Haley left nothing to interpretation as she spoke boldly and pointedly on Friday about President Trump’s position regarding Israel.  She said:

  • “The United States recognizes the obvious: that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel.”
  • “Israel, like all nations, has a right to determine its capital city. Jerusalem is the home of Israel’s parliament, President, Prime Minister, Supreme Court and many of its ministries. It is simple common sense that foreign embassies be located there.”
  • “To those who have good faith concerns about the future of peace between the Israelis and Palestinians, let me again assure you that the President and this administration remain committed to the peace process. To those who do not act in good faith, to any person, leader, country or terrorist group that uses this decision as a pretext for violence, you are only showing yourself to be unfit partners of peace.”
  • “Finally, I will not let this moment pass without a comment about the United Nations itself….The UN has done much more to damage the prospects for Middle East peace than to advance them. We will not be a party to that. The United States no longer stands by when Israel is unfairly attacked in the United Nations. And the United States will not be lectured to by countries that lack any credibility when it comes to treating both Israelis and Palestinians fairly.”

She concluded her speech by assuring Palestinians that the US will continue to work toward peace that is advantageous to future generations on both sides.  It was a very powerful speech, reiterating to all that the US is committed to both Israelis and Palestinians when it come to peace.

Praise God for Nikki Haley!  View her full 8-minute speech here:

Wow…This Could be Big! Will el-Sisi Draw the Arab World into Negotiations with Israel?

We are living in incredibly interesting times!  On one hand, we see creation groan as natural disasters ravage large areas of practically every continent.  Wars and rumors of war are rampant, and the coalition described in Ezekiel 38 is solidly forming.  In Matthew 24:3-8, Jesus told His disciples these would be signs of the end of the age.

But, on the other hand, we see unprecedented efforts of peace between Israel and the Arab world.  For years, secret talks have taken place between high officials of Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, other Gulf states and Israel.  President Trump also visited Saudi Arabia soon after his election, bringing together leaders from those same Arab nations.  That was the first large-scale openly public gathering centered on peace with the Israelis.

However, I was floored last night when I watched Egyptian President Abdul Fattah el-Sisi’s address to the UN General Assembly.  In his speech, el-Sisi:

  • Clearly stated his desire to “explore cooperation” in the region by strengthening without threatening.
  • Spoke frequently about the establishment and legitimacy of “nation states.”  This fits hand-in-glove with President Trump’s remarks advocating nationalism (rather than globalism).
  • Adamantly condemned terrorism and those who reward terrorism (an indirect message to the Palestinian Authority).
  • Went purposefully off-script to urge both Israelis and Palestinians to work toward compromise.  This was in context of regional peace between Arabs and Jews.

Sisi-Bibi-1As I think about this historic photo of el-Sisi and Benjamin Netanyahu’s meeting prior to the UN meetings, showing obviously favorable relations never before seen publically, it leads to these questions: is a deeper relationship forming between Israel and Egypt, and will we see President el-Sisi take the lead in regional peace talks?

That would truly be unprecedented…at a very interesting time in history.  The birth pains of Matthew 24:8 appear to be well underway.  Could the Lord relent and allow a time of peace?  It seems improbable, but then, God is not often predictable!  Regardless, the times in which we live are interesting indeed!

I encourage you to watch el-Sisi’s speech.  It is truly historic. Enjoy!