During a victory ceremony in Ramallah following his successful bid to gain UN recognition for the "State of Palestine," Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas on Sunday promised his followers that they would one day control Jerusalem, too.
Thousands gathered in Ramallah just days after the UN General Assembly voted 138-9 in favor of upgrading the Palestinian Authority to non-member state observer status, a move that implicitly recognized "Palestine" as a sovereign state.
The victorious Abbas shouted from the podium: "Raise your hands high, because you are Palestinians! You have proof that you are strong than the occupation [sic]!"
But UN recognition of Palestine is not the end of the road, Abbas vowed.
"One day, a young Palestinian will raise the Palestinian flag over Jerusalem, the eternal capital of the state of Palestine," declared Israel's ostensible peace partner.
While several Israeli leaders have been willing to divide Jerusalem in the past, a vast majority of Israelis reject the idea, and insist the city must remain united under Israeli sovereignty. For both Israelis and Palestinians, the issue has become a red line and a major stumbling block to the world's efforts to solve the Middle East conflict. Bible-believers will recognize this stumbling block as being foretold:
"In that day I will make Jerusalem a stumbling block for all people; all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth gather against it." Zechariah 12:3
Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was keen to point out that Abbas' rhetoric has become increasingly hostile since the UN vote. Rather than provide a push toward final status peace talks, the stunt at the UN General Assembly is actually making peace less likely.
Netanyahu released a statement noting that the direction Abbas is taking following the UN vote is further evidence that the conflict is not about birthing a Palestinian state alongside Israel, but rather birthing a Palestinian state on Israel's ashes.
"This is not a dispute over land but a denial of the existence of the State of Israel," said Netanyahu. "They are raising the younger generation to hate. They are educating for the destruction of Israel. I do not see any discourse for peace here; there is no discourse that paves the way for coexistence."