Land for peace sounds good to those who don’t understand either their geography or biblical promises. The fifth smallest state in the United States is New Jersey with just 7,800 square miles. The entire state of Israel is 8,109 square miles. You see the problem. Since Israel became an independent country in 1948, it has innovated and produced on nearly every level – agriculture, medicine, science, archaeology and technology. The more Israel has done to turn the desert into productive land the more coveted that land has become to the Arabs.
Israel has nearly 8.5 million people living within its borders, nearly 2 million of whom are Arabs. When Israel agreed to the land-for-peace swap you can see how much of a cost that was for them. After all, they were attacked on all sides in 1948 — Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and Iraq. Then they were attacked again in 1967 and 1973. After 1967 they pushed their borders out to provide a greater geographical buffer. Today, some of that land — The Sinai Peninsula, the Syrian Golan, and the southern parts of Lebanon are all governed by terrorist entities.
But what exactly has Israel done with those lands they rightly won after being attacked? They have built settlements to house the millions of immigrants and bolstered agriculture. Now, an obscure and never planted region well below sea level near Jericho is part of an annexation plan. The 370 acres will be used for agriculture – a “crime” seen as unacceptable to many outsiders in spite of the fact the land has never been cultivated.
In my book, A Nation Born in A Day, I explain how Israel needs more land. In an era where Arab countries are in chaos all around, expanding her borders to meet the Abrahamic promise finally seems reasonable (see Genesis 15:18-21). What does this look like? It includes all of present day Israel, Lebanon, two-thirds of Syria, a third of Iraq, and much of Jordan. Before the Arab Uprising no one would have entertained the idea of expanding Israel’s borders. Instead, they wanted (and still do) Israel to give up land for peace. But in today’s volatile world, that is tantamount to suicide and no leader is foolish enough to do that under the present circumstances.
The boundaries of God’s land grant – promised long ago to Abraham – have never been realized nor revoked. If we truly want peace in the Middle East, Israel may be the means for this peace rather than the impediment for the peace we keep hearing about. Until Abraham’s descendents possess the land granted to them, there will be no peace. Peace without promise is not peace; it is surrender. I believe and hope that peace will come soon and transform not just the Middle East but the entire world.
It is my hope that western governments will see the crown jewel of the Middle East – Israel – for what it is; a beacon of hope in a seas of chaos.
SOURCES: Kate Shuttlesworth, “Israel eyes land in West Bank,” Los Angeles Times, 22 January 2016