Olmert Refuses To Say It Ain’t So
Vol: 72 Issue: 26 Wednesday, September 26, 2007
According to a report published in Israel’s Arutz-Sheva, the chairman of the Palestinian Authority met last week with Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice.
During that meeting, Mahmoud Abbas allegedly told Dr. Rice that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert had agreed to divide Jerusalem and surrender the eastern part of the city to the Palestinians for the capital of their proposed state.
Arutz-Sheva was quoting from a report carried by al-Hayat al Jadeeda, a Palestinian newspaper that obtained its information from “an unnamed Palestinian source”, so it is difficult to say for certain that the reports are true.
(Generally speaking, Palestinian newspapers are not well known for the accuracy of their reporting.)
So when the report was published, Likud MK Limor Livnat asked Olmert, point blank, to state for the record that he has no intention of dividing Jerusalem or surrendering Israeli sovereignty over Temple Mount.
So far, Olmert has refused.
And most Israeli op-ed pieces regarding the issue say that Olmert’s Kadima Party has had both Jerusalem and the Temple Mount on the table all along.
Noted Nadav Shragai, writing in Ha’aretz; “Seven years after the Camp David summit in 2000 and the cabinet’s subsequent decision to adopt, with reservations, then U.S. president Bill Clinton’s plan to divide the capital, no one in Kadima is asking if Jerusalem will be redivided. The only question is how it will be redivided.”
Vice Premier Haim Ramon is floating a plan that would divide the Old City between Israeli and Palestinian sovereignty, with the Muslim and Christian Quarters under Palestinian rule, and the Armenian and Jewish Quarters under Israeli rule.
Under Ramon’s plan, sovereignty over the Temple Mount would be divided between Palestinians and Jews, rather than being surrendered entirely to the Muslims.
Kadima is divided, not over surrendering, but rather, over how much to surrender.
A counter-coalition has arisen with Kadima, headed by MK Otniel Schneller. Schneller is unwilling to give up Israeli sovereignty over the Old City and the Temple Mount, but will accept religious management of the holy sites.
But Schneller avoids using the word “division” saying his group will accept any substantial concession on the Temple Mount and demands that in the final Jerusalem arrangement, space be allocated on the Temple Mount for Jewish prayer, echoing the demands that former prime minister Ehud Barak raised at Camp David in 2000.
But for now, Olmert is still the key decision-maker — at least until his government is recalled by a ‘no confidence’ vote. Back when Olmert was major of Jerusalem, he was adamantly opposed to any division of what Moshe Dayan called, “Israel’s eternal capital” — but that was then. This is now.
And now, Olmert is letting everybody else do his talking for him.
It is difficult to imagine that Israel’s Jews would surrender either their holy city or their holy mountain, particularly given the message it sends to the world about both Judaism and Islam.
We’ve discussed many times in the past the main stumbling-block to peace between Israel and the Islamic world in conjunction with the West’s inability to see the problem.
Both Islam and Judaism claim Jerusalem and the Temple Mount for their respective religions. Possession for either side means defeat or victory for their respective deity.
Islam’s claim to Jerusalem and al-Aqsa is rooted in the Islamic concept of dar al harb (Zone of War) vs. dar al-Islam (Zone of Islam). Once a place becomes part of dar al-Islam, it remains part of dar al Islam. It can never cease to be part of dar al-Islam.
For example, the Madrid bombing in 2003 was claimed as retribution for the loss of Muslim Andalusia to Spain in 1492.
So, what is today modern Israel was part of the Islamic Ottoman Empire from 1517 to 1917, and is part of dar al-Islam.
Therefore, for an observant Muslim to recognize Israeli sovereignty over any of Israel, any of Jerusalem or any of the Temple Mount is blasphemy against Islam and against its prophet.
There is no doubt that Ehud Olmert knows this. Since the days of the Babylonian exile, Jews the world over celebrated Passover with the hopeful words; “Next year in Jerusalem.”
The Psalmist wrote of Israel’s indelible connection to the city, writing, “If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning. If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth; if I prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy.” (Psalms 137-5-6)
How, then, is it even possible that Israel would consider surrendering either Jerusalem or the Temple Mount? Moreover, doesn’t Bible prophecy say that, “Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled”? (Luke 21:24)
Weren’t the “Times of the Gentiles” fulfilled when Israel recaptured the city and Temple Mount in 1967? For many, that has become a matter of doctrine — 1967 marked the conclusion of the “Times of the Gentiles.”
Unfortunately, it is more a case of wishful thinking than doctrinal truth. Israel may have captured Jerusalem and the Temple in 1967, but neither has been under exclusive Israeli sovereignty. The Gentiles still call most of the shots in East Jerusalem and all the shots on Temple Mount.
Bible prophecy says that any handover over the city and sanctuary in the last days would be the temporary product of a false peace. The Prophet Daniel says that the antichrist will work out some kind of temporary accommodation over Jerusalem and the Temple Mount that will allow the Jews access to the Temple Mount, but that agreement will only last three and one half years.
The Prophet Zechariah (12:1-4) predicts the whole world would one day stand against Israeli possession of both Jerusalem and the Temple Mount, going so far as to say that any who ‘burden themselves’ with God’s city will be ‘cut in pieces.’
(The single most-often repeated reason for al-Qaeda’s declaration of war against the United States is America’s support for Israel.)
Apart from America, the whole world opposes all things Israeli, including her existence, mainly to avoid incurring the wrath of Islam.
Ezekiel, Zechariah, Daniel, Hosea, Obadiah (and this is by no means an all-inclusive list) all agree that in the last days Israel will become a global pariah, and all agree it will be because of Jerusalem.
The fact that Israel is considering the surrender of the Temple Mount and Jerusalem throws a giant monkey-wrench into the “Times of the Gentiles” doctrine — if one interprets it to mean the “Times of the Gentiles” were fulfilled on June 7, 1967.
But it fits perfectly with the Prophet Zechariah’s overall outline of events. Zechariah also writes, “Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee.”
Jerusalem will be divided once more in the last days — (and it is worth noting that in order for it to be divided one more time, it had to first be ‘reunited’ – at least, on paper) — that is where the events of 1967 are relevant to Bible prophecy.
No matter what agreements Olmert eventually makes, it won’t be enough to satisfy Islam. Islam cannot accept a Jewish presence in dar al-Islam.
Zechariah predicts that eventually, the Lord “will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city.” (Zechariah 14:1-2)
So don’t let the possibility that Israel will surrender some of its territory — even Jerusalem and the Temple Mount — over to the Arabs in exchange for peace, shake your faith in the accuracy of Bible prophecy.
It simply proves that we are closer to the fulfillment of all things that we had first believed.