If there is one message this edition of the Digest conveys, it is that despite all wishful thinking to the contrary, the last half century has seen little change in Arab-Israeli relations. As we witness the realignment of Arab forces taking place today, our Backgrounder Page recalls how most of these same states banded together in 1967 to annihilate Israel.

How different others have perceived things to be. When the collapse of communism forced the beneficiaries of Soviet support to look westward for aid, and Saddam Hussein chose that point in history to invade Kuwait, US President George Bush believed he saw a "window of opportunity" open in the region.

Apparently convinced that political changes could bring about changes in men's hearts, he seized the moment and brought the newly US-dependant Arab states into an unnatural alliance with the West.

Then the president used this largely self-created "new order" to get Israel and its Arab neighbours to Madrid, beginning the process which eventually became "Oslo".

Bush's window, if it ever was in fact opened, has clearly slammed shut. Thus we see Arab and Islamic leaders--including Arafat--returning to their own order of things.

The efforts of the Arab and Muslim nations to unite against Israel are indicative of this, as are their frantic programmes to improve and expand their military capabilities.

The Bible says: Depart from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it [Psalm 34:14]. What's been happening in the Middle East these last few years has amounted to an attempt to fulfil the second half of the verse while ignoring the first. That's a bit like trying to put a roof on a house before building the walls.

It doesn't work. It can't.

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