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Road Map for Peace

The “road map” for peace, the plan to provide the ultimate solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, has had a history of fitful starts and stops since its inception in 2002. It has been fraught with violent outbreaks and disagreements on both sides. It currently is in a state of limbo—because of its strong backing from the US, it has not been completely disregarded, but the quick peace envisioned has not come to pass.

During the Second Intifada, or al-Aqsa Intifada, the “Quartet”—the United States, European Union, Russia, and the United Nations—proposed a solution to put an end to the violence that had plagued Israel since its birth. The underlying principle of the plan was a two-state solution, which would grant the Palestinians their own autonomous state comprised of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The Palestinians would agree to renounce violence and make democratic reforms; Israel would recognize the Palestinian government and halt construction on the West Bank and Gaza Strip. US President George W. Bush allotted three years for the road map, hoping to achieve final peace by 2005. The plan had three stages, each of which had a specific timetable.

In March 2003, the Intifada was in its third year, continuing to cause untold deaths and damage. In an effort to appear more moderate, Mahmud Abbas, also known as Abu Mazen, was appointed the first prime minister of the Palestinians, and Arafat was removed from his leadership post. Israel had demanded Arafat’s removal, claiming his past actions proved him an incompatible partner for peace. While then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon moved tentatively toward agreement, and his cabinet was the first to recognize a need for a Palestinian state, he refused to freeze settlement construction, stating that Israel needed those towns to account for “natural growth” among the inhabitants.

In June 2003, Bush visited the region for a series of meetings. After his departure, Hamas launched attacks against Israeli citizens, to which Israel responded with force, and the escalation of violence seemed to halt, if not completely derail, the road map. However, by the end of the month, the plan was back on track. A tentative cease-fire was reached between the Palestinian Authority and four major Palestinian terror groups: Islamic Jihad, Hamas, the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and Arafat’s Fatah movement. Israel started withdrawing troops from the Gaza Strip. Sharon and Abbas met for the first time ever and declared their commitment to the road map. But the peace didn’t last long. By August of that same year, Hamas had stepped up its suicide and bus bombings, and Israel did not pull out its troops or stop construction in the settlements.

In April 2004, Bush sent a letter to Sharon, which implicitly gave support for Israel on two crucial issues: settlement construction and refusing unlimited Palestinian right of return. However, a few months later, Abu Mazen received a letter as well, seeming to contradict the letter sent to Sharon. In June, Ariel Sharon, in a “land for peace” offer, proposed a unilateral disengagement from the Gaza Strip, declaring his intent to remove all Jewish settlement from the Gaza Strip, and a smaller number from a portion of the West Bank. Many in Israel were opposed to the disengagement, and taken by surprise that the idea came from Sharon’s government. Sharon, a hawkish politician, had run on a platform of a unified land; his opponent had proposed a pullout on a far smaller scale, which Sharon derided, famously claiming that Netzarim, a small Jewish village in Gaza, was equally as important as Tel Aviv. Now, Sharon’s supporters felt betrayed, since the man they had elected to keep all of Israel under Israeli control had done just the opposite. Sharon claimed the disengagement would give Israel the diplomatic upper hand. The government also voted to monetarily compensate the families that would lose their homes. In July, Sharon closed off Gush Katif, as the bloc of settlements in the Gaza Strip is known. Though entry was forbidden, many Israelis sneaked in illegally, trying to bolster the residents and protest the pullout.

The announcement of the disengagement elicited strong protests from many in the Israeli community. A rally at the Western Wall in August 2005, a few days before the disengagement was to start, attracted more than 250,000 Jews. Ironically, the disengagement was originally scheduled for July, but pushed until August so as not to coincide with the Three Weeks and Tisha B’Av—the Jewish national period of mourning. Gush Katif residents were given time to pack their things, and the IDF soldiers offered their assistance in packing and moving. Some settlers went on their own accord, while some had to be dragged out under protest. The soldiers were placed in the unbearably tricky position of having to evict their own countrymen. Despite the protests, though, there was overall less violence between settlers and IDF than expected. The IDF also prepared a battalion of psychologists and social workers to help the settlers, especially the children, deal with the trauma. When the residents of Netzarim were evacuated on August 22, the thirty-eight year long Israeli presence in the Gaza Strip had ended.

In the end, twenty-one settlements in Gush Katif and four settlements in the West Bank were evacuated. The aftermath of the evacuation was a debacle—many residents were homeless, living in hotels up until Passover of the following year. In addition, the settlers became mired in bureaucratic red tape when they tried to claim their compensation money from the government. Many were unable to find employment, having worked in the agricultural sector for so many years and unqualified for jobs in industry.

The situation in the Gaza Strip, now under Palestinian control, deteriorated. Political disorder and economic downturn led to many Palestinians fleeing Gaza (to Egypt, for example) for a more stable environment. Fighting between Hamas and Fatah escalated, and by June 2007, Hamas had taken over the government in Gaza. Hamas created a police state, centralizing power, ousting Fatah officials, and shutting down newspapers. The Christian citizens in Gaza were harassed and assaulted, and rocket attacks on Israel increased exponentially. Eventually, Israel was forced to respond with Operation Cast Lead, a three-week campaign in Gaza that lasted from December 2008 January 2009 and is still causing global controversy regarding Israel’s alleged use of excessive force.

It is widely acknowledged that the Road Map actually led nowhere.

What do you think?

  • Matthew
    May 2, 2013
    3:00 pm
     

    Children are Yeshewas biggest issue. The 3 and half star year of the child that shall lead them begins.Children from Israel and around the world are facing the unexplained, and Security.

    Reply to this comment »
  • angelita
    January 16, 2013
    2:00 pm
     

    If everyone will try to follow the Ten Commandmenets of God and God’s two Greatest Commandments,” Love God with all your heart and soul and love one another.” Practice Forgivemess
    There will be PEACE in this World.

    Reply to this comment »
  • Anita
    March 2, 2012
    10:24 pm
     

    I see many comments regarding a solution to Israel’s problems, but it seems like just talk. Isreal is being bombed by rockets daily. Innocent people are dying daily. The Palestianians have never keep their word on anything. Their Holy Book says they can lie or make agreements until they are strong enough to defeat their enemy. The same day they were given the Gaza Strip, they said next year Jerusalem. You cannot make peace with someone that believes you do not have the right to even exist (live) and should be forced into the sea. How do you vote at the Polls, Bush asked for land for peace. We haven’t seen any Peace yet. Almighty God said that Judgement will begin at the Household of Faith. God knows all of our hearts and minds. Are we really praying for the Peace of Jerusalem/Israel, & supporting them with money. It cost Money to defend yourself. I Love all of you, but we got to stand up for our Brothers and Sisters with more than just talk.

    Reply to this comment »
  • JAMES
    January 27, 2012
    11:23 pm
     

    THE US NEEDS TO SUPPORT ISRAEL IN EVERYWAY THEY CAN. BECAUSE THOSE WHO BLESS ISREAL WILL BE BLESSED. THOSE WHO CURSE ISRAEL WILL BE CURSED.BLESSING AND PEACE UNTO MY BROTHERS AND SISTERS.

    Reply to this comment »
  • Dan
    October 26, 2011
    1:13 pm
     

    I believe that George W Bush who sold out to the Palestinians by giving away the Gaza strip had made the worst move. I hope that President Obama will continue to side with Israel and help Israel……

    Reply to this comment »
    • Dan
      November 4, 2011
      12:55 am
       

      Different Dan; but yes, our nation has a long history of twisting the Israeli’s arm and forcing them to make concessions to their Muslim neighbors- all in the name of “peace” of course.

      “They have healed also the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace.” Jeremiah 6:14

      Shalom

      Reply to this comment »
  • Jacob
    August 24, 2011
    11:49 pm
     

    Israel is not just a nation, it is the holy place, where the law of GOD to the letter remain. It is mine and your duty to help Israel; first in prayer and second in action. Israel is bound to blessing, and no person will change that course. I pray today that as the true Word of God “So do not fear, for I am with you. Do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10), so be it. Glory be to the Most High God, Amen.

    Reply to this comment »
  • Linda
    May 26, 2011
    8:53 am
     

    omama, knows, im sure the word of God, he is trying to reverse,everything our God,said , he will not prevail,this things were foretoldthat all this would come to pass, we are to watch and pray.

    Reply to this comment »
  • E
    April 16, 2011
    8:42 pm
     

    Ok, so here’s a thought i’ve read throuh many of the comments here. rememer israel as a state was born in 1948 some of you may be old enough to remember that it’s hasnt been ages… that being said prior to the 1948 massacares which happened with the overtaking of the PALESTINIAN land which is what it was prior to 1948 the land belonged to the palestinians wheather it was a muslim, christian or jewish palestinian. Now here’s a little history lesson for some of you who clearly are oblivious to some of the facts that are sitting right infront of you, the jewish were “promised” a land not by the “gods” yet by the brits in order to make up for what happened in the nazi camps… now let me ask you this, why were they not promised the land of where all these massacares happened GERMANY why is it that what happened i europe ends up being the palestnians fault? and have a memmory thats well “democratic” im atheist so i dont beleive in god, but for the sake of this arguement im going to say i do. I walk into YOUR HOUSE where YOU LIVE and tell you sorry you have to get out or i’ll kill you this house was promised to me by my god? i think this goes a little deeper then just yesterdays news so before making oblivious comments i think you should read up on history a little more :)

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    • Terri
      May 29, 2011
      9:48 pm
       

      The land of Israel was given to the Jewish people, not by “gods” but by the one true God, the Alpha and Omega who created the heavens and the earth. There was no massacre by the Jewish people. The only massacres have been by the Palestinians. Israel is a tiny nation surrounded by their enemies, those who boldy state they wish to wipe Israel off the map. Praise the Lord, they have a defender that can’t be beat, they have the Lord God. Praise His name.

      Reply to this comment »
    • Dan
      August 8, 2011
      1:58 pm
       

      E, your history is as wrong as your understanding of Judiasm and Christianity- “Sh’ma, Yisra’el! ADONAI Eloheinu, ADONAI echad [Hear, Isra'el! ADONAI our God, ADONAI is one.]” (Deuteronomy 6:4) One God, not “gods”. Further, the Jews did not throw out or disposes anyone in their occupation of modern day Israel. As part of the Zionist movment, which started in the 1800′s, they bought land, usually considered worthless desert or swamps, and worked it into the most productive land in the Middle East by Herculean toil. The state of Israel was created by the UN, not by England. The English had in fact reneged on their earlier agreements and (often brutally) supported the Muslim cause at the time of Israels founding. When Israel was declared a state on May 14, 1948, they had to fight for their independance against massively overwhelming odds as they were attacked by every Muslim country in the region (meaning every country there). Despite this, they asked the Muslims already living there to stay in peace. Many did, and are there to this day. There are even Muslims in the Israeli parliment (Knesset). I would urge you to bridle your hate long enough to take an honest look at the history of that region. Regardless, God’s promises to Isreal are as true today as when they were first made. He gave that land to Israel, and He sent prophets to tell us of her role in the end times. No man, or demon, will ever change what is, and is to come. The best we can do is understand it and choose our place in it. “I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” (Gen 12:3, English Standard Bible translation). Shalom.

      Reply to this comment »
  • Darlene
    September 23, 2010
    8:47 pm
     

    I hope Israel will stand strong.

    Peace at any price is not peace at all.

    Reply to this comment »
    • Dan
      August 8, 2011
      2:17 pm
       

      Darlene, I couldn’t agree more. Ancient Hebrew is a picture language, and the true understanding lies in how these pictures combine to form words. “Shalom”, or “peace”, is spelled Sheen (teeth, destroyer), Lamed (cattle goad, authority), Vav (nail, to bind), Mem (crashing waves, chaos). So peace derives not from passive acceptance, but comes only when we “destroy the authority that binds us to chaos”. (Ref. Dr. Frank Seekins “Hebrew Word Pictures”) Shalom.

      Reply to this comment »
  • Arthur
    August 14, 2010
    6:16 am
     

    Yahweh says MY land has not to be divided.God said it that settles it,the people who do not know what the word of God is clear about,they should understand by now,
    and need to know this and that is final,and if U.S.A. Obama or anybody else in power will not heed what God says They have to take the consequences of Gods Judgement.Sad but these are the facts.the land onwhich Israel dwells and much more belongs to God and to whom He gave it ,thanks and praise be to our covenant keeping God

    Reply to this comment »
  • Doreen
    August 13, 2010
    1:02 pm
     

    What is America “Thinking”? Shame on America for trying to get Israel to “Negotiate” or “Give up land”!!!! We should be backing Israel 100%!!! They are our ONLY Alli in the Middle East. 100% of all Christians should be pressuring the Obama administration to stop siding with the enemy of Israel and America!!!!!!!!

    Reply to this comment »
  • Susan
    August 13, 2010
    9:18 am
     

    I understand the Israeli people’s desire for peace; however, they do not have the right to give away what the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob land dedicated, with borders deliniated, for the nation of Israel. Peace can only come through obedience to God’s Word. It is time to let God fight for Israel—not through compromise, but through obedience. And no other nation can force God’s hand. Peace for Israel comes from allegiance to God, not the U.S.

    Reply to this comment »
    • Susan
      July 11, 2012
      10:28 am
       

      @ Susan…Israeli’s allegiance should always be to God and not to any nation! AMEN.

      Reply to this comment »
  • Randy
    August 13, 2010
    3:57 am
     

    Out of curiosity, is it possible to become a citizen of Israel without having Jewish roots?

    Reply to this comment »
  • Randy
    August 13, 2010
    3:54 am
     

    Does everyone understand even if Israel gave 99.9% to the Palestinians they would still be unhappy until they had all of it. It’s the fact they don’t want Israel to exist in the first place and will always be fighting Israel for everything. Israel belongs to God as do her citizens. Israel needs never worry because God will always come through for you and this is one man who will always stand with for and with you! Shalom

    Reply to this comment »
    • grassy
      July 22, 2011
      6:42 am
       

      randy, I understand that the PA has agreed to a peace deal based on Israel getting 78% of Palestine. Netanyahu has rejected this and, as this article notes, Israel also rejects freezing its expansion over the remaining 22% of Palestinian land.

      Reply to this comment »
  • Kim
    August 12, 2010
    8:55 pm
     

    Although (they) will commit to peace for a period of somewhere over six years according to the calendar of that land and it will not last for that long because the land belongs to Israel and there is nothing that the Muslims, Palestinians nor anyone else can do to change that. Jesus is about to return and not even the gates of Death, Bashan, can stop him. They will try but they will never truly succeed. The Quran contains many lies. It states that Jesus called them Muslims but nowhere in the American bible have I seen this to exist. Also, they are seeking to take control from American parents so they will have lots of children, young and old, at their disposal and all that some Muslims do is teach their children war and some of their soldiers are now children. I would humble my self before God, keeping my Father in my thoughts continually, but I would never trust my enemy even if peace were to seemingly come. When an enemy has been an enemy as long as this one has (since the days of Genesis) then it is God that I would look to and not trust that same old enemy. God is with them.

    Reply to this comment »
  • Brian
    August 12, 2010
    5:36 pm
     

    Israel would have done better to annex ALL the territories won in the Six Day War after the Khartoum conference–and to have removed all Arabs who would not convert (except Israeli Arabs) The so-called Palestinians have shown themselves richly deserving of their own ‘final solution’!!!

    Reply to this comment »
    • grassy
      July 22, 2011
      6:44 am
       

      wow – remove those “Arabs” who won’t convert.
      How would they remove them, Etim ? are we talking being forced into cattle trucks.
      Remove to where ? what if no other state will cooperate in the forced expulsion ?

      Reply to this comment »
  • Robert
    August 12, 2010
    4:23 pm
     

    Israel is very much a part of God’s economy. We who love God are watching carefully as events unfold. It is wonderful to be living in a day when we can see firsthand the fulfillment of what the OT prophets spoke of. One thing we know is that the God of Israel will have the last say.

    Reply to this comment »
  • Vicki
    August 12, 2010
    3:49 pm
     

    Israel belongs to God and those He gave it to …the children of Israel and I don’t think He’s happy with those who have and will part it. It is written about in Joel 3

    Reply to this comment »
    • Bobbijo
      August 12, 2010
      6:11 pm
       

      Israel belongs to God, and israel always will belong to God and there is nothing no one can do, the will of God will continue according to the Holy word of God ,( LONG LIVE KING JESUS AND LONG LIVE ISRAEL)

      Reply to this comment »
      • Keketso
        October 9, 2012
        12:01 am
         

        I so needed to hear this! Even with frineds, you care about them so much you could only do so much in wanting them to be touched by God.. this was so good thanks beth! laura

        Reply to this comment »
  • Etim
    February 3, 2010
    7:09 am
     

    The pieces for the fulfillment of scriptures are still falling in place. It’s, however, amazing how rapidly things are turning these recent years. The church expects to see a peace treaty signed and a resettlement programme for jews the world over. We can’t figure out how all these will happen, but we do know where everything is headed. Is the Word of God not powerful? Tell the world what it says would happen, and it still can’t be stopped.

    Reply to this comment »

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Rejoicing in God’s Word

The festive Jewish holiday of Simchat Torah ends and begins the annual cycle of Torah readings in synagogue. It is God’s Word that offers comfort and hope to Jews and Christians alike, reminding us of His permanent presence in our constantly changing world.


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