Book Review - Israel In Crisis: What Lies Ahead?

Jerusalem-based journalist sees no end to regional conflict.
by Cynthia Washington

JERUSALEM, ISRAEL - The U.S. led coalition to combat terrorism may have unintended consequences that could affect American relations with Israel. As the Bush administration tries to maintain the delicate balance in its war against terrorism, the price for cooperation may hurt the increasingly fragile relationship with Israel according to Dave Dolan, a journalist who has lived in Israel for more than two decades.

In his latest book, Israel in Crises (Revell), Dolan says even a settlement to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will not guarantee long term peace. But more important is the pressure the U.S. is feeling to distance itself from Israel for their military incursions into the territories in retaliation for the killing of Israeli civilians. The Bush administration and Prime Minister Tony Blair are encouraging Israel to negotiate on Jerusalem. This appeasement strategy does not sit well with most Israelis, many of whom are giving up hope for peaceful coexistence with the Palestinians.

Dolan believes the characterization of the powerful against the weak places Israel in a precarious public relations position. "The scenes pitting the powerful against the seemingly defenseless, evoke angry reactions from Palestinians and their allies," says Dolan. Jerusalem, another major point of contention, will most likely not be any part of future peace negotiations from the Israeli standpoint. In his 1998 book, Israel at the Crossroads, Dolan predicted the peace talks over Jerusalem would fail. Still, as long as Israel has sovereignty over Jerusalem, it brings into question the veracity of Islam's holy book - the Koran.

For countless Bible-believing Christians, Jerusalem - and Israel, hold enormous prophetic significance. Dolan points out that almost half of the Jews on the earth today are now living in Israel, compared with a small percentage just a hundred years ago. He predicts a regional war instigated by Muslims to retake Jerusalem is a possible scenario. The escalating violence reminds Israelis of just how vulnerable they have become since the Oslo peace process began. Dolan says more Israeli Jews have lost their lives in the years since the Oslo Accords were signed then in all the years combined since the creation of Israel in 1948.

Though Dolan interprets the return of Jews to the land of Israel from a spiritual perspective, he believes Arabs can live alongside Jews as they have done for many years. He concludes that radical Muslims have hijacked the peace process in hope of isolating Israel from the global community. While Dolan sees little hope of achieving any lasting peace among all Palestinian factions, he does believe the tension will ultimately lead to more chaos in the months ahead.

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