Is Jerusalem headed for turbulent times? This is the question that has occupied the minds of many since the recent United Nations Security Council vote against Israel. Just before last Christmas, the UN Security Council passed a resolution condemning Israel’s settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem. The council approved the resolution with a 14-0 vote, but with the US abstaining.
While this is just but one of the many resolutions taken against Israel in the recent past, it appears to underline an apparent bias against Israel and its isolation at the UN.
Indeed, none other than the Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon once decried the disproportionate volume of resolutions, reports, and conferences criticising Israel.
On the recent vote, Mark Goldfeder, a CNN opinion writer, has correctly observed that while the resolution condemned Israeli settlements as an obstacle to peace, the EU funded building of Palestinian settlements in the disputed territories were neither condemned nor judged in similar light. But why should Israel matters concern us?
Whereas Israel may be considered an ordinary nation like any other, its history indicates otherwise. Israel is the only nation in the world whose destiny is deeply embedded in Biblical prophecy and ever unfolding historical tapestry.
Though once obliterated from the maps, it was reconstituted in 1948 after almost two millennia. In this second phase of its history — of less than 70 years — this tiny Middle Eastern nation has been at the centre of major global shifts and turns.
The world has been divided almost into two between those who are for versus those against this previously theocratic nation.
The roots of the global terrorism, which has engulfed almost every part of the world, can be traced to the conflict over the tiny piece of land called Israel.
The consequence is that even those who had previously taken a non-aligned stance in the perpetual Middle East conflict, have had to make a choice to be on the one side or other.
This rallying of nations against Israel is therefore a matter that is closely monitored in some quarters, as it is spoken of in prophecy.
There are those who strongly believe that if there is going to be a Third World War, it is most likely going to be centered around issues to do with Israel.
With resolutions taken against Israel building into a near siege, the fear is what could happen if Israel were to claw back like a cornered cat. In the recent vote, New Zealand was one of the four countries that introduced the resolution at the UN.
It is reported that the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu threatened a diplomatic declaration of war against New Zealand if it went ahead and supported the resolution. And indeed, after the vote, Netanyahu instructed the Israeli Ambassador to New Zealand to return to Israel for consultations.
At the same time, he ordered the Israeli Foreign Ministry to temporarily limit all working ties with the embassies of the UN Security Council members who voted in favor of the resolution.
Jumping into the fray has been the US President-elect Donald Trump, who has made an outright, albeit controversial support for Israel. Unlike his predecessors who have exercised cautious support for Israel, Trump has gone as far as pronouncing that the Palestinians would no longer have a platform at the UN, once he becomes President.
He has further pledged to move the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem—a tacit declaration of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
Trump’s nominee for ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, appears to be in sync with his boss, vowing to set up office in Jerusalem upon arrival.
What is becoming clear is that war drums are beating over Jerusalem, which is claimed by Jews and Palestinians as their most treasured possession.
There is a strong and legitimate argument that Israel has the right to inherit the boundaries of the Mandate of Palestine as they existed prior to May, 1948 when Israel was re-established.
The international community must take a more objective approach to resolving this dispute that threatens global peace. As for the rest of us, let’s pray for the peace of Jerusalem.