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Vol: 38 Issue: 29 Monday, November 29, 2004
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is reportedly ready to scrap his plan for ‘unilateral disengagement’ with the Palestinians in favor of a coordinated withdrawal — something that now appears possible in a post-Arafat Middle East.
Israelis are optimistic that Arafat’s death was the beginning of the end for what Israelis have taken to calling the “Oslo War”. It is so called because Israel believes the Oslo Agreement was a smoke screen to hide Arafat’s plan to achieve his ‘Phased Plan for the Destruction of Israel’ which called for the Palestinians to obtain everything they could by negotiations, and then to use the land so obtained to launch a war of annihilation against Israel.
Arafat hoped that the launching of another ‘intifada’ — together with Israel’s expectedly harsh response — would so enrage surrounding Arab states that they would join in an all out war of ‘solidarity’ with their Palestinian brothers.
It might have worked, too, if it were not for Osama bin-Laden. The 9/11 attacks robbed Arafat of both his audience and the anticipated impact of his terror war against Israel. World attention was divided between Arafat’s suicide bombers and America’s entry into the war on terror.
Instead of the enraged Arab states rising up en masse against Israel, its leaders began scanning the skies for incoming cruise missiles. Arafat sat impotently in his bombed out headquarters, waiting for the chance that never came.
Pictures of Palestinians being abused by Israelis were replaced on Arab networks with pictures of American ‘atrocities’ in Afghanistan and Iraq. Arafat died without ever regaining the spotlight, and Jerusalem is hoping that the Oslo War died with him.
Fueling that hope was a communique from Hamas leaders indicating that the terror attacks against Israel are under suspension while the Palestinians prepare for an election to decide Arafat’s replacement. In an even more helpful sign, Sheik Hassan Yousef, the group s top leader in the West Bank, said Hamas also would consider a formal truce with Israel.
In the current situation, many political and militant groups have halted their attacks. They are waiting and exploring the new era, said Yousef, who was recently released from an Israeli prison after serving a 28-month sentence.
He also said that Hamas would consider a formal cease-fire, if Israel reciprocates. He said Israel must be prepared to release Palestinian prisoners, withdraw from occupied land and stop targeted killings of militants.
The truce should have a price, he said. There is no truce from one side. The truce should be two-way. But a truce with continued Israeli aggression is not acceptable to us.
Arafat’s terror wing of his Fatah Party is also hinting at a truce. Ala a Sanakra, an al Aqsa leader from Nablus, told Newsweek that, We are watching the changes after Arafat s death. We haven t announced a truce from our side but we are exploring the future. If there is a real truce on the table, we will agree to it, he said.
The European Union is meeting at the Hague to discuss implementing, “The Barcelona process” a summit that the EU boasts “is the only regional forum where Israel and its Arab neighbours sit together for dialogue, albeit anchored on Mediterranean nations’ trade and political ties with the EU.”
The Hague’s Euromed summit includes Israel, Palestinian representative, Nabil Sha’ath, Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Lebanon, Syria, Tunisia and Turkey. Libya is not yet a member, but was invited to observe as a guest.
Hours before leaving to attend the meeting, however, Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom told reporters that European diplomats have stepped up contacts with Israel over the past two weeks. “I believe it shows that the EU would like to get involved in a peace process in the region.”
But the Israelis aren’t quite ready to trust their security to the Europeans. He accused the EU of being biased in favor of the Palestinians. Israel is still furious that Javier Solana attended Yasser Arafat’s funeral.
The EU is using the Euromed partnership to force Israel into a choice between the carrot and the stick. Euromed partnership would provide Israel with at least the appearance of an international guarantor of its security, but it would also open up EU markets to Israeli goods.
And while the Israelis fear the EU’s pro-Palestinian bias, the death of Yasser Arafat seems to be offering at least the chance at peace with the Palestinians, anyway.
At the same time, the United States is more than willing to step back and let Europe take a crack at it while it continues to prosecute its own war against al-Qaeda, and, quite probably, Iran.
We find, then, all the players in Ezekiel’s Gog-Magog scenario grouped together at the Hague, discussing Israel’s possible future as an EU client, in exchange for concessions over Jerusalem, the implementation of the Oslo Accord’s ‘final status’ provisions and the dismantling of the Israeli ‘security wall’ — making Israel, once again, a ‘land of unwalled villages’.
The EU’s efforts to assume the role of guarantor of Arab-Israeli peace come at a time when Israel’s traditional guarantor, the United States, is preparing for a possible new conflict with Persia, a client nuclear state of Gog-Magog. While simultaneously fighting wars with both the Babylonian insurgents in Iraq and al-Qaeda’s Islamic forces throughout the Middle East.
Israel, although mistrustful of the EU, is desperate for peace and security, and the prospect of the economic security membership in the Euromed nations would provide is a powerful incentive to take the gamble.
The stage appears to be perfectly set for Ezekiel’s scenario to move forward. As a note of caution, it APPEARS to be perfectly set. That doesn’t mean it necessarily is.
Scripture says God is long suffering towards us, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. (1 Peter 3:9)
The Lord promised He would hold off as long as possible, just as He did in the ‘days of Noah’ to give everyone a chance to hear the warning and escape the coming judgment.
Many parts of the end-times scenario are in place, but the end is not yet. That is no reason to become discouraged in waiting.
In the first place, Jesus promised; “Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think NOT the Son of man cometh.” (Matthew 24:44)
To believers who know the prophecies of Scripture, it seems like the Rapture should have already occurred — the Tribulation seems to be just around the corner. But the Lord is long-suffering, not willing that any should perish, and the signs of the times were given TO believers FOR the spreading of the Gospel to the lost.
It is evidence that the Lord is coming soon. To the believer, it is an encouragement. To the non-believer, it is a clear warning, an extra measure of God’s grace being extended in these last days.
“Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness. But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.” (2nd Peter 3:18)
Hal Lindsey will be going in for knee replacement surgery on Tuesday. The doctors say the only real danger is the possibility of a blood clot. Please pray all goes well and that he has a speedy recovery. God bless you all.