by Michael G. Mickey
If you've been following the news lately concerning the Middle East, the situation is becoming more dire by the second. Let's review a few recent news stories to set the backdrop for the title of this commentary.
As seen in a Jerusalem Newswire article dated October 25, 2006, an Israeli expert in Middle East affairs has warned that Israel should prepare for the next war with its Arab neighbors, noting that 2007 is going to be a "critical year."
As seen in a Telegraph article dated October 30, 2006, British Prime Minister Tony Blair has entrusted his foreign policy to "peace, love and harmony." A key goal of his policy is to see Israel "have "secure borders"
and live in "peaceful co-existence" with its neighbours, particularly Lebanon and the Palestinians." Add to that the fact that Tony Blair is now saying, as documented in a Times Online article, that we need to work with "Axis of Evil" member nations Iran and Syria to "lead a new drive towards peace in the Middle East, including peace in Palestine and the Lebanon, arguing that ultimately" Middle East peace is "the only way to defeat al-Qaeda" and we begin to see how close the leaders of our world, even those who traditionally have been viewed as strongly conservative, are beginning to cave in to radical Islam's demands that Israel surrender its lands for peace, the ultimate goal of which is unchanged - to see Israel wiped from the face of the earth!
As seen in a Jerusalem Post article dated October 31, 2006, "U.S. standing in the Middle East is at an all-time low and can be helped only by pressing Israel to relinquish all occupied Arab land and Jerusalem to the Palestinians," according to Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the United States.
As I've documented on way more occasions than I'm comfortable with as an American and a Christian, this is where it seems American foreign policy is slowly heading already!
On November 3rd, as seen in an Agenzia Giornalistica article, the Vatican has made its ungodly opinions known, asking the white flag-waving international community and specifically the Quartet (The UN, USA, European Union and Russia) to "use their authority to create the "solution of the two states", i.e., the peaceful coexistence between Israel and Palestine, working towards a negotiation "without either sides imposing conditions on the agreement"." The Vatican, believing as everyone else does that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the root of all evil, has additionally stated that "one cannot ignore the centrality of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to the persistent instability in the Middle East." Here again we see the world's misguided logic which is: Resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and solve all the world's problems! How flawed and totally unbiblical is that?
As demonstrated by a Times Online article, other issues of concern are driving the international community toward pushing for a final settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as well, among which is the fact that six Arab nations other than Iran are presently joining the rush to go nuclear!
Those nations, according to the article, are: Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, the UAE and Saudi Arabia. And readers, in spite of all this, there are people who even now remain unconvinced that we're racing toward the return of Jesus Christ for His Church and, ultimately, Armageddon!
The Times Online certainly seems to realize, as seen in a November 4, 2006 article, that we're headed into dangerous waters! In a headline reminiscent of Timothy 3:1's warning that the latter days will see perilous times come, the Times Online article states: Nuclear steps put region on brink of most fearful era yet. The most fearful era yet, Christians! If that doesn't get our attention as to the lateness of the present hour we're living in, what in the world is it going to take to turn our eyes toward heaven?
A Haaretz article addresses how furious some of America's leaders are, particularly the Democrats, that Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has "publicly praised the American operation in Iraq, which he said brought stability to the Middle East." The article states the Democrats want to speak with Olmert before saying too much in response to what he has said, but have indicated they are "uncomfortable with the comments." Basically, the Democratic position taken is if Olmert said what they think he did (and I wholly believe he did), his words are not "acceptable and can be seen as an attempt to influence the American political dispute." Or could it be that Olmert, who has spent a bit of time in the Middle East and understands the dynamics of the region far, far better than the liberal-controlled media allows the average American to know, is just telling the truth? In the end it really doesn't matter I suppose, as what we see taking place is precisely what Bible prophecy tells us is supposed to take place! Israel is becoming more and more isolated as Jerusalem becomes a more and more burdensome stone for all people, which will ultimately lead all the people of the earth to be gathered together against it, as seen in Zechariah 12:3.
Lastly, American mega-church pastor Rick "Purpose Driven Life" Warren, according to the Syrian Arab News Agency is saying that "80 percent of the American people rejected what the US Administration is doing in Iraq and considered the US policy in the Mideast as wrong." According to the article, which I'm taking at face value, Warren "expressed admiration of Syria and the coexistence he saw between Muslims and Christians, stressing that he will convey this image to his church and country." Should a Christian leader, having read his Bible, be stating he admires Syria in light of Syria's state sponsorship of international terrorism, a great portion of which is directed at killing God's chosen people and his own nation? I think not, but this type of behavior is rampant, all of it isolating Israel while appeasing both America and Israel's arch enemies! It's nothing less than an OUTRAGE, as a ChristianNewsWire article indicates.
Where is all of this leading to? The acceptance of a seven-year peace covenant between Israel and her enemies prophesied in Daniel 9:26-27, a future event which will result in the advent of the Antichrist as well as the onset of the seven-year Tribulation Period, of course!
A new roadmap?
According to an Islamic Republic News Agency report, the European Union's foreign policy chief, Dr. Javier Solana, is hoping "there will be a new truth, a new roadmap that will allow the international community to cooperate with the Palestinian authorities." What an odd choice of words, huh?
A new truth? A new roadmap? Could the winds of Middle East peacemaking be on the verge of blowing in a new direction? Time will tell, but, unless something was lost in translation, the language used by Solana doesn't seem supportive of the previously-tabled Quartet roadmap to peace from where I'm sitting. As I've highlighted in recent commentaries, there has been talk of a revision being made to the Quartet's roadmap to Middle East peace for some time now. Could it be something of this nature is the "new truth" of which Solana speaks?
A new voice for peace?
According to the BBC, the Alliance of Civilizations, which I've made reference to a number of times in the past, is considering appointing a high-level representative to work to defuse tensions at times of crisis, undoubtedly with the Middle East in mind. I say that because, as is true of most international bodies, the AOC believes that what divides the West and Islam is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Kofi Annan is quoted in the BBC article as saying, "We may wish to think of the Arab-Israeli conflict as just one regional conflict among many. But it is not. As long as the Palestinians live under occupation, exposed to daily frustration and humiliation, and as long as Israelis are blown up in buses and in dance halls, so long will passions everywhere be inflamed."
Who will the Alliance of Civilizations select to be its high-level representative in defusing Middle East tensions? Will this person be a leader we're already familiar with or a relatively new player in international diplomacy?
Will the Alliance of Civilizations play a future role in Middle East peacemaking, particularly in the fulfillment of Daniel 9:26-27?
These questions remain to be answered as we move closer to the return of Jesus Christ for His Church, but one thing all of this commentary's content emphasizes is just how close we're getting, at the very least conditionally, to that wondrous event taking place!
In early December, according to the Gulf Times, the international Quartet will meet in Amman, Jordan to "to discuss the possibility of reviving the Middle East peace process, particularly the Palestinian-Israeli track."
The end times drama continues......and it's a dandy!