More on the Deal of the Century and a Follow Up to the Caucuses

Last week President Trump unveiled his plan for peace in the Middle East.  He has called it, "the deal of the century."  In last week's blog posting, we looked at some of the key components of that plan. 

One of my favorite Israeli writers and editorialists is Caroline Glick.  She wrote a probing and insightful piece following the release of President Trump's plan.  You can read the article in its entirety at:  I highly recommend this article.  Ms. Glick begins her article by stating that she was a member of Israel's negotiating team with the PLO (Palestinian Liberation Organization) from 1994 to 1996.  This included the negotiations known as the Oslo Accords.  She writes: "Throughout the period of my work, I never found any reason to believe the peace process I was a part of would lead to peace.  The same Palestinian leaders who joked with us in fancy meeting rooms in Cairo and Taba breached every commitment they made to Israel the minute the sessions ended. 

"Beginning with the PLO's failure to amend its covenant that called for Israel's destruction in nearly every paragraph; through their refusal to abide by the limits they had accepted on the number of weapons and security forces they were permitted to field in the areas under their security control; their continuous breaches of zoning and building laws and regulations; to their constant Nazi-like anti-Semitic propaganda and incitement and solicitation of terrorism against Israel - it was self-evident they were negotiating in bad faith.  They didn't want peace with Israel.  They were using the peace process to literally take Israel apart piece by piece."

She goes on: "Israel's leaders shrugged it off.  Instead of protesting and cutting off contact until Yasser Arafat and his henchmen  ended their perfidious behavior, Israel's leaders ignored what was happening before their faces.  And in a way, they had no option of doing anything else.  When Israel embarked on the Oslo peace process it accepted Oslo's foundational assumption that Israel is to blame for the Palestinian war against it.  From the first Oslo agreement, signed on the White House Lawn on September 13, 1993, through all its derivative deals, Israel was required to carry out 'confidence-building measures,' to provide its good faith and peaceful intentions to Arafat and his deputies.  Time after time, Israel was required to release terrorists from prison as a precondition for negotiations with the PLO.  The goal of those negotiations in turn was to force Israel to release more terrorists from prison, and give more land, more money, more international legitimacy and still more terrorists to the PLO."

But, according to Ms. Glick, President Trump's plan changed all that.  She writes: "When you read the Trump plan closely, you realize it is a mirror image of Oslo.  Rather than Israel being required to prove its good will, the Palestinians are required to prove their commitment to peace.  Consider the issue of releasing Palestinian terrorists.  Like the Oslo deal and its derivatives, the Trump deal includes a section on releasing terrorists.  But whereas under Oslo rules, Israel was supposed to release terrorists as a confidence building measure to facilitate the opening of negotiations, under the Trump deal the order is reversed.  Israel is expected to release terrorists only after the Palestinians have returned all of the Israeli prisoners and MIAs and only after a peace deal has been signed.  Whereas Israel was required under Oslo to release murderers, the Trump deal states explicitly that Israel will not release murderers or accessories to murder."

As she closes this amazing article, Ms. Glick issues a challenge: "This then brings us to Israel and the leaders who accepted the Oslo rules for the past 27 years.  The Trump plan is a test for Israel.  Have we become addicted to the blood libel?  Will Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu keep his word and present a decision to apply Israeli law over the Jordan Valley and the Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria at the next government meeting or will he lose his nerve and hide behind 'technical' issues?  Will Benny Gantz and his Blue and White party agree to abandon the Oslo blood libel most of its members embrace, and accept that Israel is capable of asserting its sovereign rights to these areas?  Or will they hide behind the legal fraternity braying for Netanyahu's head and preserve the anti-Semitic Oslo paradigm for their friends in the Democratic Party? ... Under Oslo, Israel had no interest in taking the initiative.  Every 'step forward' was a set-up.  Tuesday Trump ended the 27-year nightmare.  Oslo is the past.  Sovereignty is now.  We were like dreamers.  The time has now come to give thanks for the miracle and get on with building our land."

Will Israel take the initiative as outlined by Ms. Glick?  Will the Palestinians wake up and realize that they need to become good-faith partners in reaching a peace agreement and stop playing the role of victim?  Will the Arab neighbors, including Jordan, become supportive of this initiative and see it as the first step in achieving something that portion of the world has not witnessed for well over a century?  And will the American government commit itself to providing the leadership and resources to making this "deal" a reality?  Lots of questions.  But, as I said last week, this could be the beginning of a plan that will reach its final culmination when the Antichrist signs an agreement with Israel and her Arab neighbors bringing a sense of peace to that region.  Make no mistake, friends, our God is in control.

The political season is officially underway.  The Iowa caucuses are now seen in the rearview mirror.  Most people do not understand the caucus system.  It really is the most intentionally grass-roots part of the democratic process.  While living in Iowa, I had the privilege of attending a political caucus on three occasions.  I caucused for Ronald Reagan in 1984, and for President George H.W. Bush in 1988 and in 1992.  In fact, in 1984, I was selected by my caucus to become a delegate to the county convention which was the next step in the process.  On two of those occasions we met in a school classroom.  In 1984 the caucus was pretty straight forward as President Reagan was running for a second term.  It was more interesting in 1988 as several Republicans had thrown their hat into the ring.  The conversations at the caucus were lively.  Finally we were asked to make our choice.  Paper ballots were distributed and you wrote down the candidate of your choosing. Then everyone went home.  I remember, as I sat in those caucuses, those words of the Gettysburg Address where President Lincoln said, "that government of the people, by the people, for the people might not perish from the earth."  The caucus helped me to understand those three prepositions - of, by, and for.  I am grateful for having had the opportunity of experiencing a foundational piece of our democratic process.

I will not be posting a blog for the next couple of weeks.  Marlys and I are taking a winter break.  Just remember this: God is in control; He is not worried or anxious about anything.  And the coming of Jesus is getting closer.  Keep looking up, but also keep sharing your story with others. 


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