On January 28, United States President Donald Trump unveiled his peace plan for the Middle East. It was 180 pages and covered an enormous number of specifics.
President Trump called it “the most detailed proposal ever put forward” and “the deal of the century.”
The plan received support from Israel. President Trump announced it at the White House with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu by his side. But Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas responded, “We say a thousand times: No, no and no to the deal of the century.”
This response from Abbas is very revealing. It shows why Mr. Trump’s peace initiative will fail, just like all the other attempts. This response shows why Israelis should be careful about investing too much hope and trust in America’s president and this plan.
Even as Mr. Abbas rejected the peace deal and seethed with hatred for Israel and the Jews, Mr. Trump and many others celebrated this venture. The Bible tells us to beware when you hear a lot of talk about peace. The Prophet Jeremiah wrote of false prophets “[s]aying: ‘Peace, peace,’ when there is no peace” (Jeremiah 6:14; 8:11). Isaiah the prophet foretold of a time when “[t]he ambassadors of peace shall weep bitterly” (Isaiah 33:7).
Bible prophecy tells us that all this talk of peace should actually alarm us and cause us to be on the lookout for war—war like you have never seen!
Mr. Trump and Mr. Netanyahu’s expedition to create peace in Israel is admirable. We all want Israel and Jerusalem to experience harmony. However, to achieve peace anywhere—in Israel, in other parts of the world, even in our own homes—we must first understand why man’s peace initiatives always fail. Isaiah said, “The way of peace they know not” (Isaiah 59:8). There is a way of peace—but mankinddoes not know that way.
Jerusalem provides stunning insight into why man continually fails at securing peace. Over the years, many nations have labored to bring Jerusalem peace and have failed. This is a deadly serious issue. If we are to avoid great suffering, we must understand why our efforts at peace have failed, and how we can create lasting peace.
A History of Hate
The Jews have always lived in and around Jerusalem. When the sovereign nation of Israel was created in 1948, the Arabs from surrounding nations immediately attacked. The Jews had no real army, and within three weeks they were losing the war. Then, just as Israel was about to be defeated, the Arabs strangely agreed to a temporary United Nations-sponsored truce. This was just what Israel needed to rearm and train its weary troops—many of them civilians who carried guns. When the Arabs started attacking again, the Jews were better prepared and quickly won the war. Many Jews at the time considered the victory a miracle from God.
In 1967, less than 20 years after the war for independence, another major clash occurred between the Jewish nation and Egypt, Jordan and Syria. In that short but intense conflict, the Jews captured all of the Sinai, the Suez Canal, East Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Golan Heights—in just six days! The 1967 war was also a war of miracles!
In late 1973, the Arabs attacked again, this time on the solemn Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur. With much aid from the Americans, the Jews won the war in three weeks—another miraculous deliverance.
The State of Israel came into existence thanks to a whole series of miracles from God!
In spite of all these miracles, the Jews at some point stopped looking to God to guarantee their sovereignty. Prodded by America and Britain, they began to seek security by negotiating with the very people who tried repeatedly to destroy them!
In 1993, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat made a pact in which Israel gave up land for promises of peace. Before he led the Palestinians in the peace process, Arafat was the number one terrorist in the Middle East! In public, Arafat talked about peace with Israel; in private, he spoke about his plan to take over Israel and destroy the Jews completely!
Does it make sense that you could somehow achieve peace by making a deal with a famed terrorist? There is no logic in that. Reasoning like this shows terrible weakness and only encourages men like Arafat. When has swapping land for peace ever brought peace in Israel?
The Dangerous Trump Plan
Since the 1970s, the Jews have given up the Sinai, Gaza, Jericho, Bethlehem and other parts of Judea and Samaria. Think about that: Arabs attacked the Jews on multiple occasions in an attempt to annihilate every one of them. Then the victors gave the land back to the aggressors who hated them and had tried to wipe them off the map!
President Trump’s plan has this same fundamental flaw: It makes major and destructive concessions to a people who deeply hate Israel and seek its destruction.
Mr. Trump’s plan does differ in one critical area from the previous attempts to bring peace, such as the Oslo Accords and the unilateral withdrawal from Gaza in 2005. In those cases, Israel was encouraged to give up land for the promise of peace.
Under this new plan, the Arabs will have to implement actions of peace if they are to have a Palestinian state. They will have to renounce funding and glorifying of terrorism, stop paying salaries for convicted terrorists sitting in Israeli prisons, and show other tangible proofs that they no longer want to destroy the Jewish state. The plan gives the Palestinian Authority (PA) four years to produce these actions. As soon as they do, they will receive a state.
But this new plan does nothing to solve the Arabs’ hatred of Jews and the Jewish state. This is the reason it is bound to fail. The Palestinians could get statehood even if they only appear to display actions of peace. It is delusional to think that giving the Palestinians a state will inspire them to abandon plans to destroy Israel.
To convince Israel to even consider this deal, the United States is supporting Israel’s claim of over 30 percent of Judea and Samaria almost immediately. This includes much of East Jerusalem and the Jordan Valley, a critical area on Israel’s eastern flank that borders Jordan. Many in Israel support the deal because it means the recognition of these territories right away. Meanwhile, the Palestinian state is conditioned on the PA enacting reforms that most Israelis don’t believe Palestinian leaders will ever agree to. At worst, in four years Israel will be right where it is now, except with more of Judea and Samaria declared as sovereign Israeli territory.
Many Israelis accept Mr. Trump’s deal on the assumption that the Palestinians will reject peace as they have so many times before. But what if they are wrong? What if the Arabs appear to follow the Trump deal? Israel will have to make some major and deadly concessions!
Some signs suggest that Arab support for Palestinian rejection of the peace process is waning. In February, a Palestinian delegation led by Mahmoud Abbas went to the UN Security Council hoping to see a consensus vote condemning the peace plan. But the Palestinians realized their motion lacked enough support, and the vote didn’t even happen. It was a shock to the Palestinians. One member of the delegation said, “The sense is that we are coming back with our tails between our legs.” He said they received a “cold shoulder” from Arab states, including the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Saudi Arabia.
Unlike with other peace initiatives, the Arab world seems to be pressuring the Palestinians to negotiate with President Trump. If Palestinian leaders appear to meet the conditions, Israel will be obligated to go along with the process and allow the creation of a Palestinian state. This will prove to be disastrous.
Peace can never be gained by giving land to people who despise you!
People often forget that Israel has already withdrawn from over 80 percent of the land it won in the Six-Day War. Has this led to peace? Yet the Trump peace plan includes a map that shows a lot of Israeli territory becoming part of a new Palestinian state. Israel will give up its claim to 70 percent of Judea and Samaria. This area is the heartland of biblical history—the lands of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob!
What does God think when He sees Israel giving up land He gave it through miraculous victories? In Leviticus 25:23 God says that “the land shall not be sold in perpetuity; for the land is Mine; for ye are strangers and settlers with Me.”
If implemented, this plan puts a Palestinian state on the doorstep of Jerusalem and encircling almost every Jewish settlement in the West Bank. It does not create two states side by side with one continuous border: It is a series of roads, tunnels and overpasses connecting islands of Jewish communities in the West Bank, each surrounded by a deeply hostile people.
Does anyone seriously believe an arrangement like this will bring lasting peace? Jews in these isolated enclaves would be vulnerable. It would actually create a dangerous wound for the Jews.
These peace plans are a deadly delusion! We ought to see by now that they won’t work. Every time we have tried giving land for peace, or negotiating with terrorists to bring peace, it has only brought more war.
History proves that—and so does Bible prophecy.
The nation called Israel today is really biblical Judah, descended from the son of Jacob. The book of Hosea includes many specific end-time prophecies about Judah. “And when Ephraim saw his sickness, And Judah his wound, Ephraim went to Assyria, And sent to King Contentious; But he is not able to heal you, Neither shall he cure you of your wound” (Hosea 5:13). Studying this verse in the original Hebrew reveals that both Ephraim (Britain) and Judah go to Assyria (the prophetic term for modern-day Germany—to prove this, request our free booklet Germany and the Holy Roman Empire).
Why does Israel go to Germany? And what is Judah’s “wound”? Strong’s Concordance defines that word: “in the sense of binding up: a bandage, i.e. remedy.” Gesenius’ Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon defines it, “the pressing together, binding up of a wound; here used figuratively of a remedy applied to the wounds of the state.” In other words, the remedy is the wound!
The same root word for wound is translated in Obadiah 7 as “snare.” Gesenius’ Lexicon defines this word as “falsehood; hence, fraud, insidious dealing … net, or snare.” In Obadiah the snare is directly related to being deceived by a peace pact!
Isn’t this a perfect analogy to describe Israel’s ongoing peace negotiations with the Arabs?
Israel engages in peace talks in the hope of soothing, or healing, the tensions and conflict. But its solution, the bandage it applies, only makes the problem worse. From the beginning of the peace process, the Jews have looked to men, often their enemies, for help—not God. That is the unseen wound. They have so little trust in God—so much trust in their enemies.
The real wound is spiritual: It is a lack of faith in God. The Jews keep trying to heal themselves by making peace pacts. They must realize: They were strong when they trusted God!
The prophecy in Hosea 5:13 shows that Israelis will eventually see that the peace agreement with the Palestinians has failed. In that moment, they will turn to Germany for another peace pact, placing their trust in an even greater enemy. This will lead to the worst disaster in the Jews’ long history of suffering!
Zechariah 14:2 prophesies that in the end time, half of Jerusalem will be captured by the Arabs: “For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; And the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, And the women ravished; And half of the city shall go forth into captivity, But the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city.”
This prophecy also shows that the efforts to make peace with the Palestinians will fail catastrophically. Mr. Trump’s peace agreement could ultimately encourage the Arabs to make a grab for half of Jerusalem. Zechariah 14:2 shows they will end up taking it by force!
Peace Is Coming
Jeremiah 17:9 says that the human mind is “deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked” (King James Version). This verse describes human nature, which is fundamentally selfish, carnal and violent. The Arabs have human nature, as do the Jews. We all have human nature. Man can never achieve peace as long as he has human nature!
The truth is, nobody can fix the hatred and bring peace apart from God! God must be involved if you are to have real peace. You will never have peace any other way.
Despite the lack of peace in Israel today, numerous prophecies tell us that God will give this nation peace.
The prophecy in Zechariah 14 shows that the splitting of Jerusalem leads to the coming of the Messiah. Verse 3 says, “Then shall the Lord go forth, And fight against those nations, As when He fighteth in the day of battle.” Many other prophecies provide detail about this climactic battle.
But notice what happens after the Messiah comes. “And the Lord shall be King over all the earth; In that day shall the Lord be One, and His name one. … And men shall dwell therein, And there shall be no more extermination; But Jerusalem shall dwell safely” (verses 9, 11). The world begins to have peace! These verses describe the Messiah’s peace plan for Jerusalem, Israel and the whole world!
This peace plan works for two basic reasons. First, it solves the problem of human nature. The Messiah will not tolerate selfishness, competition or greed. Under His government, men will not be allowed to mistreat one another. Second, this plan works because it is built on God’s law and truth and led by God’s government.
Verse 16 says that men will visit Jerusalem each year to be taught God’s law and truth. “And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations that came against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles.” This is why there will be peace: because men are submitting to God and obeying His Word!
God is going to cause the whole world to look to Jerusalem! He will bring peace to all mankind in just a few years. “And many peoples shall go and say: ‘Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, To the house of the God of Jacob; And He will teach us of His ways, And we will walk in His paths.’ For out of Zion shall go forth the law, And the word of the Lord from Jerusalem” (Isaiah 2:3).
The Bible is filled with prophecies about God’s peace plan for mankind. This plan revolves around Jerusalem! It revolves around the returned Messiah. And it revolves around the application of God’s wonderful law! What a vision this is!