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Two State Peace Solution - Reality Check
Israel - Middle East
Friday, September 23, 2011
Alf Cengia

“Turkey recognizes that resolution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is critical to stability in the area; and it is perhaps the only viable broker given that Egypt is constrained by its reliance on US aid. Turkish ties to Palestine pre-date even the Ottoman Empire with deep economic, political and cultural relations built on centuries of common interests.”

These sentiments were penned in a Palestine Chronicle piece by Dr Ahmed Yousef, former Political Adviser to Palestinian Prime Minister Haniya in Gaza. But if Turkey really supposes that peace in the area is contingent to a resolution of the Israel-Palestinian problem; it is sadly deluding itself.

Peace and stability in the Middle East isn’t contingent to the resolution of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. That dilemma isn’t going to be resolved by any United Nations vote. Let’s recap a few observations....

Syria’s problems continue unabated. One United Nations Official was quoted as saying that, “Syria is on fire while the Security Council fiddles". According to the latest figures released by the UN, the number of civilians killed has reached 2,600. The Syrian regime has entrenched itself in power at whatever the cost to its civilian population.

Things aren’t running that smoothly in Egypt – of course that depends upon what perspective you’re looking at the situation from. If you’re an Egyptian looking for greater freedom expression you’ll be disappointed. However, if you’re seeking stricter civilian control with a potent dose of Islamist philosophy, then you’re probably going to be contented with the situation. For example, the Muslim Brotherhood has declared war on the bikini:

"Beach tourism must take the values and norms of our society into account," Muhammad Saad Al-Katatny, secretary-general of Freedom and Justice, told Egyptian tourism officials on Monday. "We must place regulations on tourists wishing to visit Egypt, which we will announce in advance."

In contrast, apparently bikinis are fine on the more permissive Israeli beaches.

But the problem isn’t just bathing costumes – it is symptomatic of greater issues. And lest we forget, Islamists living in the West do not take kindly to being dictated to by the sovereign government of the country they live in. Writing on the Muslim Brotherhood’s influence on Egypt, Stephen Brown claims that:

“While the elections meant to turn Egypt into a democracy are yet to be held, the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) is already turning the country towards an Iranian-like theocracy.”

Psychology professor at the American University in Cairo, Hani Henry echoes that sentiment. He sees parallels with what happened in Iran. I would include the example of Afghanistan under the Taliban:

"The moderate youth wanted to implement changes, but the mullah's hijacked the revolution. The same thing is now happening here in Egypt with the Muslim Brotherhood. It makes me sick to my stomach."

Libya sans Gaddafi may soon be heading in the wrong direction also. NATO’s secretary-general Anders Fogh Rasmussen warned that, “Libya is in danger of falling into the hands of Islamic extremists if a stable government is not rapidly established.”

That warning coincides with Mustafa Abdel Jalil’s (Chairman of the Libyan Transitional Council) speech at the Martyrs’ Square in Tripoli; where he declared that, “Islamic Sharia Law will be the main source of legislation in post-Moamer Kadhafi Libya.” While he deems it a good thing – history would indicate otherwise.

Writing for the UK Guardian, human rights campaigner Peter Kandela has expressed doubts over the phenomenon dubbed the “Arab Spring” and the future of Iraq. He opposed the Iraq “invasion” yet cheered the toppling of Saddam’s statue. He notes that:

“Well, Iraq does now have a constitutional democracy, with a parliament regularly in session (within Baghdad's heavily guarded green zone, of course), and yet for the Iraqi people, life has deteriorated dreadfully. Security remains a major problem. Kidnapping, corruption, suicide bombing and general lawlessness all continue, major religious groupings mainly live in closed neighbourhood and minorities like the Christians have largely been forced out of the country. Reluctantly, all my close relatives, except one sister, have fled abroad in fear of their lives.”

What went wrong? Two words - Islamic ideology.

One may prefer to use the term “Islamist” to be sensitive or politically correct, but it doesn’t change the drivers of Islam. It’s that same fundamentally intolerant ideology currently present in Iraq that will prevent any real peace between Israel and the Palestinian leadership - despite whatever resolution the United Nations will decide upon this week.

Consider that, even on the eve of a possible historical decision by the UN, Mahmoud Abbas obstinately maintains his position by denying recognition the existence of Israel as a legitimate state! YNet News reports that a meeting of representatives, arranged to formulate a proposal to facilitate negotiations between the PA and Israel, ended “due to Abbas' refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish State.”

But that’s not the only obstacle to a peaceful resolution in “Palestine”. When we talk about a Two State solution we often forget that there are three entities involved. While the Palestinian Authority and Hamas mutually consider Israel the enemy, their own relationship is strained.

In fact Hamas have said no to the UN bid even though they support statehood. Prime Minister Haniyeh: “We do not back UN bid, no PA leader can sacrifice “fundamental Palestinian rights.”

According to Ahmed AlDabba writing for csmonitor.com:

“The Islamist movement [Hamas] has long sought a Palestinian state, and its backing would be crucial for any such state to function. But amid a four-year rift with the Palestinian Authority (PA) led by Mahmoud Abbas, Hamas appears to be hedging its bets. A failure for Mr. Abbas could pave the way for Hamas to expand its influence in the West Bank, where it has long been suppressed by Israeli and PA security forces.”

Worse still, according to reports released the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center; Hamas has also been conducting operations in the West Bank. Since May up to 13 Hamas terrorist cells were broken up by security forces and dozens of operatives detained. Security officials claimed that the cells were in various stages of preparation for terrorist attacks.

Even if Israel was missing from the equation; given all the above observations, can we really suppose that Hamas and the PA will resolve their differences and govern as a unified unit? Will a UN vote favorable to the Palestinians have a flow-on affect for the greater region?

Somehow I doubt it and I suspect that no one else really believes it either.

Note: I’ve just come across the video Debunking the Palestine Lie. It powerfully outlines the origins and myths of this conflict. I highly recommend that everyone watches it.

About Alf Cengia

Last article: Waking Up in a Fright

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