John Stonestreet is President of the Colson Center for Christian Worldview, and radio host of BreakPoint, a daily national radio program providing thought-provoking commentaries on current events and life issues from a biblical worldview. John holds degrees from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (IL) and Bryan College (TN), and is the co-author of Making Sense of Your World: A Biblical Worldview. The views expressed in this commentary do not necessarily represent those of BCNN1.
This White House is certainly not the first to offer a proposal for resolving the nearly eight-decade conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. And, judging by the response so far, Trump’s proposal will likely not be the one to resolve this issue that has vexed American officials, and much of the world, since the 1960s.
To understand why a solution has been so elusive, it’s less essential to understand the specifics of the current plan on the table, than it is to understand those things that the Israelis and the Palestinians have long considered to be at stake.
First, Israel’s chief concern is its own security, not only from conventional military attacks at the hands of its many hostile neighbors, but also from terrorist attacks at the hands of non-state actors like Hamas.
A second, but just as central concern for both players in this conflict is the borders and nature of a Palestinian state.
A third concern is the status of Jerusalem, specifically, whether it will be the undivided capital of Israel or divided between both parties.
And finally, there is the question of what’s known as “the right to return,” namely whether the estimated 4 million descendants of the Palestinian Arabs who fled what is now Israel in the aftermath of the 1947 Partition and subsequent wars should have the right to return, not only to the West Bank, but also to pre-1967 Israel.
Obviously, the questions of where to place borders and who ought to be considered security threats are interrelated concerns. And, making the already Herculean task only more difficult are the Israeli settlements on the West Bank, Palestinian harboring of bad actors, and a history of (to put it mildly) hatred and distrust.
The Trump administration’s plan is formally known as “Peace to Prosperity: A Vision to Improve the Lives of the Palestinian and Israeli People.” It runs fifty pages and offers very specific proposals. First, it rejects the “right of return,” a concern essential to Israel because the potential influx of millions of Arabs threatens its identity as a Jewish state and homeland. This makes the proposal a non-starter for the Palestinians.
Second, the plan would award virtually all of Jerusalem to Israel, while designating Abu Dis, a village bordering Jerusalem, as the capital of the Palestinian state.
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Source: Christian Headlines