by Ashleigh Clark
One of the most nuanced and controversial land disputes in the modern day is fought over a small slice of land nestled between Egypt and Syria.
The fight for the Holy Land rages between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Both states claim the right to the land via centuries of religious and generational traditions. Dr. Duerr, a Professor of International Studies at Cedarville University, explained that the region has been “relatively peaceful since the mid-2000s [however] the last few weeks have had an uptick of violence.”
The conflict began in 1948 with the creation of the Israeli state out of land from the British Mandate of Palestine. Its creation has caused numerous wars with Palestine and the surrounding nations. Israel is the stronger, wealthier of the two nations. To reinforce its strength, Israel constructed a border wall along the West Bank border, which is “illegal under international law…as outlined by the UN.” However, “the Israeli response is that 94% of the “wall” is actually a fence.” Duerr noted. He added a caveat to that statement, saying “the wall has considerably decreased terrorist attacks from the West Bank,”
Meanwhile, Hamas, a terrorist group, has control over the Gaza Strip, intending to take over the Holy Land for Muslims exclusively. Religious and racial differences perpetuate hostilities between the two nations. The conflict has affected the surrounding nations, international relations, and American foreign policy.
Although a multi-state solution sounds like the likely road to peace, the Palestinians have been unwilling to accept several proposals since the late 1900s. A two-state solution would provide a state for Israel and another for Palestine. Duerr noted two specific proposals, one made by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and another by President Donald Trump. They were considered beneficial to the Palestinians; yet, there was “widespread reluctance from the Palestinians,” he said.
A three-state solution, one for Israel, another for West Bank, and then Gaza, seems to be another avenue since the West Bank and Gaza are not well connected. However, Dr. Duerr said this solution is considered controversial. He also mentioned letting Israel and Palestine figure it out themselves has been considered.
One concerning issue that he addressed is the expansion of the Israeli population. Because of this population growth, Israel’s government moved to establish settlements in the West Bank, which, according to Duerr, has brought them under fire with international law.
In the Christian community, many are divided on whether or not modern-day Israel has the divine right to annex the entire territory as it did during Bible times. According to Duerr, “biblical justification is contested”. Some believe that Israel has full claim to the land and
America has been henceforth blessed by aiding Israel, citing the Abrahamic covenant in Genesis as the basis for their argument.
However, others do not view the Lord’s blessing on Abraham as sufficient for Israel to claim the whole region in the modern day. The continued human rights violations are a constant reminder that, while solutions vary, something needs to be done.
In the end, all of this serves to remind us that violence will never end until the coming of our Lord. In his absence, we must be ambassadors to the nations and promote Christ-like peace on earth. Further, we can find hope that one day, all the lands will be restored under the eternal sovereignty of Christ. Dr. Duerr ended by encouraging Christians to pray for Christians in both Palestine and Israel. Additionally, saving faith in the Lord has yet to fully penetrate the region. “Israelis need Christ too,” he said. “[And] pray for the peace of Jerusalem.”
AP PHOTOS: Israel’s separation barrier, 20 years on. (2022, June 27). AP NEWS. https://apnews.com/article/politics-middle-east-jerusalem-israel-west-bank-2ce5d9956b7 29ad6169c880d00068977
How Should Christians View the Israeli-Palestinian Situation? (n.d.). The Christian Broadcasting Network.
Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. (n.d.). Global Conflict Tracker. https://www.cfr.org/global-conflict-tracker/conflict/israeli-palestinian-conflict What does the Bible say about Palestine and Israel? (n.d.). Mennonite Central Committee U.S. https://mcc.org/learn/where/middle-east/palestine-israel/faq/bible