When considering the price paid to try bring peace to the Middle East, it is natural to think of the thousands of lives, the millions of man-hours, and the untold billions of dollars that have been spent.
The human cost has been staggering; the material cost immense, and all the more incomprehensible as we daily witness how fruitless the efforts have been; how abjectly they have failed.
And yet, when measured against the sweep of human history, and especially the history of the Jews, the creation of a Palestinian state is set to exact a price that will dwarf all other costs put together.
For the birth of "Palestine" will not only strengthen the Islamic world's determination to do away completely with the Jewish state.
Its eventual affect will be the end of the Jews as a nation.
Soon, not too long after the world celebrates the independence of the 23rd Arab state, the Jews of the world will curl up, wither, and blow away.
It will take a little longer, but eventually the true Christians in the world will follow suit.No nation can last when the reason for its existence has been taken away.The creation of Palestine will, in one fell swoop, sever the bonds holding the Jews together as a nation, remove the ground on which Judaism stands, and cut off the faith supply that has nourished and kept the Jews alive for the last 2000 years.
No faith can stand when its foundations have been undermined.
No tree can survive without its roots.
It will also shatter the biblical foundations on which much of Christianity stands.
To grasp this, you need to have eyes to see.
The area earmarked for Palestine is not just a 5,860 square kilometer piece of land the rest of Israel is being told to exchange for peace. Nor is it simply land housing a handful of sites sacred to Jews.
The specific land the Jewish people are being asked, ordered and coerced into surrendering is the very cradle of its existence as a nation.
In this land, the land Israel would have to take leave of forever, lie the bones of Abraham and his wife Sarah, Isaac and his wife Rebecca, Jacob, renamed Israel, and his wives Rachel and Leah with their maids Bilhah, and Leah - the fathers and mothers of the children of Israel that grew into the twelve tribes which made up the nation. Their tombs are in Hebron and Bethlehem - land designated for Palestine.
The borders of Palestine are to encompass the lands given to Judah, Benjamin, Ephraim, Manasseh, Issachar and Levi as a part, or the whole of, their tribal inheritance.
Also in this land are the tombs of Joseph, favorite son of Israel, Samuel the prophet, and David the king, together with the tombs of most of the kings of Israel.
Here Abraham built altars, at Shechem, Bethel, Jerusalem and Hebron; here God entered into an eternal covenant with him, promised him ownership of the land forever, and here, in Hebron, Abraham bought land.
In this land, God established that covenant with Isaac and Isaac passed "the blessing of Abraham" on to Jacob. In this same land, at Bethel, next to today's Ramallah - Arafat's home - God visited Jacob and confirmed to him and his descendants after him ownership of the land forever. At Shechem (Nablus) Isaac purchased land.
In this land, designated for Palestine, the Israelites camped at Gilgal, conquered Jericho, worshipped in Shiloh, assembled in Mizpah, lived in Gibeon, bred their sheep in Tekoa, grazed their flocks in Dothan, fought the Philistines, and housed their king in Gibeah.
Also in this land, the land destined by the world to be Palestine, is Ramah, home of the prophet Samuel, Bethlehem, hometown of Ruth and Boaz, and then of Jesse, father of David. Here is the wilderness into which David fled to get away from Saul, and Hebron, where David ruled for the first seven-and-a-half years of his reign.
Here is Jerusalem, being demanded by the Palestinians as a capital for their state, the City of David, where his throne was established, and from where Solomon and, after him, all the kings of Judah ruled.
Here, in "Palestine-in-the-making," is the birthplace of Jesus, Bethany, where Lazarus was raised, the Mount of Olives, where Jesus wept over Jerusalem, Gethsemane in the Kidron Valley, where he was abandoned and arrested, Annas' house, where He was mocked, Herod's palace, where He was punched, Pontius Pilate's courtyard, where He was scourged, the Via Dolorosa, along which He stumbled under His cross, Golgotha, where He died, the Garden Tomb and the Holy Sepulcher, from which He arose, Bethphage, from which He ascended, all will be in Palestine.
And Palestine will be home to the most glittering prize of all, the Temple Mount, the place where the God of Israel chose to place His name forever, the hill on which Abraham offered up Isaac, the hill on which Solomon and Zerubbabel built the first and second temples, the hill on which the third temple is meant to be built, and the Mountain of the Lord from where the Messiah is destined to rule.
Can you see it? Can you see what lies behind this global effort to separate the Jews, (and the Christians, because Islam will wield control over all the places sacred to both) from Judea and Samaria - the cradle of Israel's physical birth and our, believing gentile's, spiritual birth?
The Jews' unprecedented ability to survive as a nation outside their land through 2000 years of wandering and terrible persecution is mostly attributable to their longing to return to their homeland, and their belief that one day they would.
It is to this land, this specific land designated for Palestine, and not the Negev and the coastal plain, not even the Galilee, that the Jews have prayed daily for 20 centuries to return to.
It is to this precise part of the land, the "Mountains of Israel," that Ezekiel prophesied the Jews would be brought back to and settled in.
And it is in this very part of the land that the Messiah whom we all seek, "will suddenly come to His temple." (Malachi 3:1)
To remove this land from the Jews - the graves of their forefathers, the crucible in which they were formed and the place that holds the promise of their longed for redemption - will be to sever them from their national roots, from their past, and from their future, dispossessing them of the main motivation for remaining Jewish through the centuries.
And as for us Christians - if God is unable to keep His promise to His ancient, Chosen People, what, then, will become of the hope that is in us?
We dare not permit Palestine to be born.Thick, squat and grotesquely gnarled, their roots twisting deep into the ancient soil that has gripped them since their planting as saplings two millennia ago, the oldest olive trees in Gethsemane's Garden have been there to witness more history than we can imagine or conceive.
Somehow, miraculously, they have survived siege, fire and the denuding of the land around them. They have withstood earthquakes, droughts, flash floods and who knows what other destructive efforts wielded by nature and by man.
And 2000 years after witnessing the anguish of the One who prayed in their presence before being led away to die, they still stand in the shadow of Mount Olivet - immovable, unyielding, apparently indestructible.
But take an axe to their roots, and they will surely, inexorably, wither, and die.
So, too, will Israel.
© 2002-2003 Jerusalem Newswire