Hear this, you rulers of the house of Jacob and chiefs of the house of Israel, who abhor justice and pervert all equity, who build Zion with blood and
Jerusalem with wrong! ...Therefore because of you Zion shall be plowed as a field; Jerusalem shall become a heap of ruins ... (Micah 3: 9 & 12)
Not many people today would be as blunt and undiplomatic as Micah but his sentiments would find an audience. The growing consensus among intellectuals in Israel today
is twofold: (1) The war is essentially over and Israel has won. The infrastructure of Israeli settlements and by-pass roads in the West Bank is just too extensive
to be reversed. There will be no two-state solution for the Israeli/Palestinian problem. That is why Prime Minister Sharon can so quickly reject the Peace Proposal
presented over the weekend. (2) Israel as we now know it may soon cease to exist, collapsing inward from the corruption and inhumane tactics used to win the war. This was powerfully articulated by Avraham
Burg (Speaker of the Knesset until January 2003) in a recent article in the International Herald Tribune.
So where does the Mid-East go from here? PM Sharon's strategy seems to be to get rid of Arafat so Israel can establish its own government of some sort. The
Palestinians will not accept it and resistance will continue. The Peace camp is
beginning to push for a one-state solution as the answer but Israel will never
agree to that voluntarily. That would mean making citizens of Palestinians who
would one day outnumber the Jewish citizens.
Yet it should not be an option to keep the Palestinians caged behind a Separation
Wall and deprived of economic resources, medical treatment, education, and the
right to travel even within the West Bank. That is the current situation but surely
it cannot continue past the end of the war when security is no longer the pretext.
Indeed, the Israeli economy has already been devastated by the Occupation and
Israel would already be bankrupt if the USA were not paying the bills. How long
will the USA continue to do so?
The unhappy prospect is that there is no good answer now. The rejection of
a political track with a two-state solution in favor of the military track may
eventually mean the collapse of Israel. Until then the Christian world can only
reach out in small ways to individual people who all need help so badly. That
is not an answer but what else can we do?
The only other thing is to be certain the rest of the world learns from the
mess here: raw power does not solve the problems. May God give our world the grace
to learn in a way that Israel did/has not. And may God fulfill the hope that Micah
believed was the future:
He shall judge between many peoples, and shall arbitrate between strong
nations far away; they shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears
into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall
they learn war any more; but they shall all sit under their own vines and under
their own fig trees, and no one shall make them afraid; for the mouth of the Lord
of hosts has spoken. (Micah 4: 3 - 4)
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