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The Boiling Point Nears in the Middle East

Throwing down the gauntlet.

Drawing a line in the sand.

Upping the ante.

All these colorful phrases can be applied to the latest ratcheting up of tensions in the Middle East.

The current temperature raising comment comes to us courtesy of  King Abdullah of Jordan.

King Abdullah of Jordan’s ultimatum: peace now or

it’s war next year

King Abdullah II bin al-Hussein of Jordan
America is putting the final touches to a hugely ambitious peace plan for the Middle East, aimed at ending more than 60 years of conflict between Israel and the Arabs, according to Jordan’s King Abdullah, who is helping to bring the parties together.

The Obama Administration is pushing for a comprehensive peace agreement that would include settling Israel’s conflict with the Palestinians and its territorial disputes with Syria and Lebanon, King Abdullah II told The Times. Failure to reach agreement at this critical juncture would draw the world into a new Middle East war next year. “If we delay our peace negotiations, then there is going to be another conflict between Arabs or Muslims and Israel in the next 12-18 months,” the King said.

Think that a threatened war within a year and a half sounds like an ultimatum?

Abdullah is just getting warmed up.

“What we are talking about is not Israelis and Palestinians sitting at the table, but Israelis sitting with Palestinians, Israelis sitting with Syrians, Israelis sitting with Lebanese,” said the King, who hatched the plan with Mr Obama in Washington last month. He added that, if Mr Obama did not make good his promise for peace, then his credibility would evaporate overnight.

If you are keeping score at home, Abdullah has essentially said get this agreement signed or:

Israel faces extermination.

President Obama faces the loss of all international credibility.

Oh, and while we are at it, the world loses all stability.

What are the prospects of pulling such an ambitious plan off?

After all, Abdullah is going public after conferring directly with President Obama in Washington.

President Obama is trying to build momentum going into a major address to the Muslim world scheduled for June 4th.

Seems like Abdullah’s initiative has a lot of momentum behind it.

But before anyone pops the corks and pours the champagne, there may be well, just a few tiny hang ups here.

First, Abdullah wants all 57 members of the Arab League and Muslim world to be a part of this treaty.

That includes Syria, who as late as last week was listed as a state sponsor of terrorism by the US State Department.

As well as Iran, whose opening point of negotiations with Israel is “we want you to die.”

Second, completion of the deal would require that:

Israel give the strategic Golan Heights back to Syria

Israel give the West Bank to Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah faction of the PLO.

Israel give half of Jerusalem to the Palestinians to be their capitol.

And Israel recognize the so called “Right of Return” to the Arabs, effectively making what is left of Israel a state with an Arab rather than Jewish majority.

You would think giving up such steep concessions would surely result in some serious security advantages for Israel, right?

And you would think wrong.

According to Abdullah here’s what Israel receives:

As an incentive to Israel to freeze the building of Jewish settlements in the West Bank, a key step in any peace process, Arab parties may offer incentives, such as the right for El Al, the Israeli airline, to fly over Arab air space and visas for Israeli tourists to Arab states.

And, of course, the cherished “official recognition ” of Israel as a nation by the 57 nations Abdullah will bring to the table.

Which of course, would make it really embarrassing for the diplomats for these countries to show their face at high society parties after they attack a recognized nation.

In short, this agreement would be a the equivalent of Israel signing their own death warrant.

What to do about this count down to diplomatic disaster?

As always we are to pray for the peace of Jerusalem and the welfare of the sons and daughters of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

Pray as well for Benjamin Netanyahu that he will have the wisdom and strength not to bow to increasing pressure from our government to make these kind of reckless concessions in exchange for empty promises.

Pray for wisdom for our leadership in Washington.

The desire to make a place in history by solving the conflict in the Middle East has had a historically proven track record of making a bad situation worse.

When God’s chosen people are facing wavering support from their friends and increasing boldness from their foes, Israel needs all the support it can get.

You will arise and have mercy on Zion;
For the time to favor her,
Yes, the set time, has come.
For Your servants take pleasure in her stones,
And show favor to her dust.

So the nations shall fear the name of the LORD,
And all the kings of the earth Your glory.
For the LORD shall build up Zion;
He shall appear in His glory.
He shall regard the prayer of the destitute,
And shall not despise their prayer. (Psalm 102:13-17)

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