|World powers urge Arabs to honour Palestinian pledges|
|Written by Chris Perver|
|Friday, 02 May 2008 09:46|
World leaders gathered in London today for the follow-up meeting to the Palestinian Donors Conference, to review the progress that has been made so far in regards to the Middle East peace process. The first Palestinian Donors Conference was held in Paris following the Annapolis peace conference last November, at which Israel, the United States and the Palestinian Authority committed themselves to work together towards the establishment of a Palestinian state. Over $7 billion in aid was pledged by the international community to strengthen the Palestinian economy and establish governmental institutions. This figure was much greater than President Abbas had initially requested, but so far most of that money has yet to materialize. The Arab League pledged around $717 million to support the creation of a Palestinian state, but so far only $153 million has actually been received. Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Algeria are the only Arab League members that have honoured their pledges.
Quote: ""The Quartet called for all donors to follow through on pledges made...The Quartet encouraged the Arab states to fulfil both their political and financial roles in support of the Annapolis process," the statement. The statement voiced "deep concern" over humanitarian conditions in the Gaza Strip which has been under a stringent Israeli blockade, imposed by Israel since the Islamist Hamas movement took over power there in June 2007. Israel says the blockade is aimed at stopping Hamas rocket attacks into Israel. "The Quartet called for continued emergency and humanitarian assistance and the provision of essential services to Gaza without obstruction. The Quartet expressed its continuing concern over the closure of major Gaza crossing points given the impact on the Palestinian economy and daily life," it said. It also called on Israel to freeze all settlement activity and to dismantle outposts erected since March 2001, which the Palestinians and other countries say are an impediment to the peace process.
The Arab League's lack of enthusiasm towards the Palestinian 'cause' may seem surprising, but since the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948, Arab nations have done little or nothing to accommodate Arab refugees. And Arab leaders have stated that they were opposed to creating a Palestinian state in east Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and Gaza in the 19 years that they controlled the territories, for fear of causing instability in their own countries. If a Palestinian state is to be created, they say, it must be done on Jewish land. US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice also attended today's conference, and warned that the window of opportunity for implementing the two-state solution is closing fast. She urged both sides to agree on final status borders as soon as possible.
Quote: ""Ultimately the best answer is to determine what's going to be in Israel and what's going to be in Palestine," Rice said before meetings with negotiators and leaders on both sides in London and the Mideast. Determining final borders is "the best thing we can possibly do," Rice said, suggesting she has heard Palestinian, Arab and other complaints that there is little momentum and less clarity in peace talks that are supposed to frame an independent Palestinian state before Bush leaves office.
Yesterday Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia had angrily rejected a map drawn up by Israeli negotiators of the proposed borders of a Palestinian state, exclaiming, "we know what our rights are and will fight for them using all means and ways. We reject any demand, any position, or any Israeli statement regarding territory outside the 1967 borders". Despite the months of negotiations, the Palestinian Authority position remains essentially unchanged. President Mahmoud Abbas had previously stated that he is opposed to leaving a "single stone of the Israeli settlements on the 1967 borders". We are not told in the Scriptures exactly how it will come to pass, but it seems that Israel will be forced into disengaging from Judea, Samaria and east Jerusalem, in a last drastic attempt to find a resolution to the conflict. During the tribulation period, the Bible states that the Antichrist will divide the land of Israel for gain (Daniel 11:38), and Judea and east Jerusalem shall go into captivity (Zechariah 12:2, Revelation 11:2). Hundreds of thousands of Jews will be airlifted into the desert, where they will remain until the three and a half years have run their course (Revelation 12:14). The very fact that the Israeli government is contemplating these things shows how close we may be to the return of the Lord Jesus Christ to this earth.
As we have seen with recent news updates, the time of the Lord's coming is drawing near. I believe the Lord is revealing the signs of His coming to all those who "love His appearing" (2nd Timothy 4:8). Do you love the Lord's appearing? Or do you fear His coming? At one time I feared His coming. Before I was saved, I knew that I was a sinner, and that if Christ came I would be left behind. I knew that Jesus Christ died on the cross for my sins. My sister asked me if I wanted to be saved, and I said I did. And she told me to ask the Lord to forgive my sins, and thank the Lord Jesus for dying for me on the cross. I did, and immediately I knew that I was saved, and I ran in to tell my mum what had happened. The same can happen to you, if you will just trust in the Lord Jesus for salvation.