Recent events unfolding in the Middle East have been welcomed all over the world, though with some uneasiness. The revolution in Egypt was especially inspiring, as young people demanded a true democratic form of government with all the freedoms that entails. Having lived for 30 years under dictatorial rule, they deserve it as do all the other peoples of the region.

However, it is not a given that Egypt is headed toward a true democracy. The younger generation lacks organization and proven leadership. Meanwhile, waiting in the wings are the members of the Muslim Brotherhood, with their dream of imposing a new Caliphate over the entire region. They are shrewd and will not immediately seize power. Rather, they will seek to put forward a “moderate” front while working by stealth and intrigue to usurp power and steer the nation toward Shari’a law. All the while, they will pursue a wider confrontation with Israel.

This has emboldened similar groups in surrounding Arab countries. The younger generation in countries like Jordan, Syria, Yemen, Iran, and the Gulf states want democratic freedoms. But the local chapters of the Muslim Brotherhood and other jihadist groups want to exploit the political turmoil to impose strict Islamic law and renew hostilities with Israel. Given the deeper roots and determination of the Islamist movements, the Middle East has truly entered treacherous waters! It is madness to expect Israel to vigorously pursue a peace process aimed at a two-state solution anytime soon. Yet I hear even Israelis and her committed friends abroad expressing support for a fresh push towards birthing a Palestinian state.

Besides the threat of hostile regimes arising in neighboring countries, Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas is a weak, ineffectual leader, as well as an unwilling partner for peace. His tentative hold on the West Bank could easily fall to Hamas, especially if it is bolstered by fellow radical Islamists who rise to positions of power in nearby capitals.

With Hezbollah gaining ascendance in Lebanon, Iran sending warships to Syria, the Jordanian monarchy under siege, and Egypt’s future clouded by uncertainty, the noose is tightening around Israel. Yet she is expected to concede more territory strategically vital to her defense to a feeble Abbas, who is losing ground to his radical Islamist rivals.

Under these conditions, it is irresponsible for the so-called “friends of Israel” to express support for a twostate solution to the conflict. This politically correct game has to end! Maybe a few years ago it had a glimmer of hope, but today it is not feasible by any stretch of the imagination, and those who desire Israel’s best interests had better reassess their position.

In the Middle East, so far, the notion of democratic elections consists of one man, one vote, one time – as we witnessed in Gaza in 2006. Hamas is biding its time, as all the events around it are serving its interests. A new government in Egypt will likely lift the blockade on Gaza – for humanitarian reasons, of course – and arms from Iran will flow anew to Hamas.

The Middle East is changing rapidly, and until the “fog has cleared,” the oft quoted cliché of two democratic states living side-by-side in peace and security should be shelved.

It is also high time that the fear of God should take hold of us. Israel’s modern-day restoration has happened against the tide of history because it enjoys God’s favor. He watches over Israel day and night. Indeed, He warns the world not to divide the land He bequeathed to Israel. To disregard this great purpose and warning of God is foolishness.

Israel is the vehicle of world redemption and has given birth to a moral code that has enlightened much of the world. She has given to the world the greatest and most beloved Man that ever lived. We who claim to love her and stand by her should be careful, lest we, too, find ourselves in conflict with the God of Heaven!

• Rev. Hedding is Executive Director of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem; www.icej.org/

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