Bible believing Christians were shocked when they heard President Obama call for the re-establishment of pre-1967 borders for Israel with some adjustments. While many U.S. Presidents have tried to negotiate peace agreements between Israel and the Palestinians, President Obama’s position (which he has since softened) may signal a shift in U.S. policy toward Israel—one that is dangerous to our prosperity as a nation.
“The borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps, so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states.”—President Barack Obama, May 19, 2011
God was explicitly clear that He would bless and curse others based on how they treated Abraham and his descendants. When God called out Abraham in Genesis 12, He made an unconditional promise with the Jewish forefather. “Now the Lord had said unto Abraham, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed” (Genesis 12:1–3).
The United States has enjoyed unprecedented prosperity since the reappearance of the nation of Israel. We have blessed Israel with political, military, and economic support, and God has blessed our nation in return. Though there have been times when U.S. Presidents have sought to divide the land in the name of peace, each negotiation has fallen apart and has mysteriously coincided with a natural disaster in America. God does not want this land divided.
Even through periods of Jewish exile from the land of Israel, God has not forgotten His covenant with Abraham, nor His promise to “bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee.” Joel prophesied that God would judge the nations who divided the land of Israel (Joel 3). God speaks very personally of the land. He referred to it as “my land” just as He referred to the children of Israel as “my people.” God promised through Joel that He would return His people to the land and “return your recompence” upon those who divided and spoiled Israel.
But since 70 A.D. there had been no nation of Israel. There were always Jews in the land, but they were often a powerless minority. This changed in 1948 when David Ben-Gurion rushed down Rothschild Boulevard to the Tel Aviv Art Museum and announced a newly formed state of Israel. This was the culmination of decades of work. In 1917, the British Foreign Secretary Lord Balfour signed the Balfour Declaration which established British support for the establishment of a Jewish home in Palestine. A few wealthy patrons began to invest in these Jewish communities and purchased thousands of acres for settlements.
The formation of the Jewish state reignited Arab hatred for the Jews. When the United Nations drafted a two-state proposal, the Palestinians and Arab League nations rejected the proposal. Soon after Israel declared nationhood, the country was attacked by Egypt, Syria, Transjordan, Lebanon, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen. Israel defended itself, and armistice lines were drawn around the Gaza Strip and the West Bank with Western Jerusalem under Israel’s control.
After the 1949 Armistice Agreement was signed, fighting still continued in the region. The Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) launched guerilla attacks against Israel, and Israel responded with attacks on the Jordanian-occupied West Bank. Soon Iraq began massing troops into Jordan, and Egypt mobilized 100,000 soldiers on the Sinai Peninsula. In the face of these obvious threats, Israel voted to go to war.
Israel launched a surprise preemptive attack on the gathering Arab forces on June 5, 1967. With a force about a third the size of its enemies, Israel sent the nations of Egypt, Jordan, Syria, and Iraq into retreat. The initial attack crippled the Egyptian air force. Egyptian soldiers abandoned tanks and other vehicles on the Sinai Peninsula and rushed on foot 200 kilometers back to the Suez Canal. Israeli Defense Forces pushed through the West Bank, careful not to harm any holy sites. In a matter of days, Israel had repelled the Arab forces and captured the Sinai Peninsula, the West Bank, and the Golan Heights.
Before the Six-Day War and the occupation of the West Bank, sections of Israel were indefensibly narrow—in some places only eight miles wide. The capture of the Golan Heights and the West Bank ensured both additional security and control of Israel’s water supply. Israel also annexed East Jerusalem and put forces in place to protect Jewish and Christian holy sites. If Israel were to return to 1967 borders, each of these protections would be in dire risk.
Despite contentions from the Arab League and the United Nations, the United States has been a staunch ally of Israel. President Harry Truman immediately recognized the sovereign state of Israel in 1948. The United States has supplied Israel with military technology—a key to success in the 1967 war. Israel has responded in kind in many instances by providing intelligence on the Soviets and Islamic terror groups. The alliance has been of great benefit to both nations.
One day, the world will turn against Israel, and we can already see anti-Semitic attitudes poisoning global governing bodies like the United Nations. The Gentile world will gather itself against Israel, and will be judged by God for their actions (Joel 3). But until that Day of the Lord comes, America can still have God’s blessing by blessing Israel.
Israel’s Peril with Pre-1967 Borders
Israel’s defense is weakened. Some sections of Israel before 1967 were only eight miles wide—indefensible against mortar and rocket attacks. The Golan Heights were captured because they were a platform for mortar attacks into Israel.
Israel’s water supply is threatened. The sea of Galilee in the Golan Heights and the Jordan in the West Bank comprise a major share of Israel’s water supply. Giving up this land could mean restriction of water rights, or even worse, poisoning of the water supply.
Biblical sites are endangered. The temple mount, the wailing wall, Golgotha, Gethsemane, Ceasarea Philippi, and many other important biblical sites are currently protected by Israeli occupation. Arab control of these sites could mean complete restriction to Jews and Christians.