As 2017 draws to a close, I like to read the predictions of the political pundits for the coming year, even while acknowledging to myself that many of their predictions have proven to be wildly ‘off the mark’ in the past and will no doubt be so again. It’s not only that their ‘insights’ turn out to be wrong, it’s what the political poohbahs fail to see in their ‘crystal balls’. Who back in December 2016 predicted that anti-government protests would rock the Islamic Republic of Iran in the final days of 2017? None that I can recall. Admittedly, when it comes to that part of the world, it’s very difficult to predict what’s going to happen. The so-called ‘Arab Spring’ is a case in point.
Seeing that even the expert prognosticators can be wrong at times, I myself was going to be so bold as to make a prediction for the coming year. It involved Israel’s arch-enemy, Iran. But then protesters took to the streets across Iran and now it’s anybody’s guess how events will unfold in the Islamic Republic. Will the Israel-haters who run Iran even be in place after this shake-up?
The prediction I was going to make had to do with Iran and President Trump’s Jerusalem Declaration. But there are plenty of others besides Iran livid with President Trump for recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. This, even after Pres. Trump reassured them that US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital did not impact boundaries or the current status of the holy sites. ‘Over the top’ rhetoric was to be expected and Israel’s enemies didn’t disappoint. According to the terrorist organization HAMAS, Pres. Trump is “opening the gates of hell.”
If you read my previous blog, you will know that I support the move of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem (you can read my reasons there). Worldwide, however, there has been almost no support for Pres. Trump’s decision. On 18 December, an Egyptian-drafted resolution rejecting Trump’s declaration was backed by 14 member states of the 15-member UN Security Council, failing to pass only because the US used its veto power.
On 22 December, the 193-member UN General Assembly was successful in condemning Trump’s move in a non-binding resolution which declared the US recognition “null and void.” 128 countries voted in favour of the resolution; 35 abstained; and 9 voted against it, with 5 of those 9 countries being small island nations.
Not to be left out, on 27 December, Israel’s fiercest foe, Iran, after calling Trump’s move a “declaration of war,” issued its own proclamation. Iran’s parliament voted 270 – 0 in favour of a bill naming Jerusalem the “everlasting capital of Palestine.” Iran, furthermore, has pledged all of the Islamic Republic’s military resources to help Gaza-based HAMAS fight Israel over Jerusalem. It sounds like HAMAS, with Iran’s support, is set to unleash that ‘hell’ for which Trump, supposedly, is responsible.
If Israel’s enemies unleash ‘hell’ in an attempt to wrest Jerusalem from the Jewish people, the consequences will be felt worldwide. Jerusalem’s future is, ultimately, our future, too. There is such a day coming, writes the Hebrew prophet Zechariah, who foresaw a time when all the nations on the earth would come against Jerusalem. On that day, the LORD would make Jerusalem an “immovable rock” for all the nations, so that those who that tried to move the “immovable rock” would themselves be crushed under its weight (Zec 12:3 NIV).
Not a pleasant note on which to end my blogging year! And so I will end with a pleasant picture.
(A view of the strip between Yafo and Tel Aviv)
On my trip to Israel a couple of years ago, one of my favourite spots to frequent was the promenade that runs alongside the shore of the Mediterranean between Tel Aviv and the city of Yafo (Jaffa). I loved to watch the people go by: joggers; young parents pushing babies in strollers; people taking their pet dog for a walk; older couples, moving more slowly, out for an evening stroll; people on bikes; and so on. As I watched them go by, I couldn’t help but marvel at the life they had created for themselves, despite the existential threat.