The Middle East Peace Process
Is it a path to peace or a road to war?
(Note: This article was written in 1994 before the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin in November of that year and before the terrible terrorist attacks of late February 1995.)
I have just returned from leading a pilgrimage group to the Holy Land. Before we departed from the United States, we prayed earnestly for the Lord to give us a safe journey. He graciously answered our prayers, but we had a close brush with terror.
We arrived in Jerusalem late on a Friday evening, after the Sabbath had begun. Since everything is closed in Jerusalem on the Sabbath, we toured the Dead Sea area the next day, including Masada. We arrived back in Jerusalem at sundown on Saturday, just as the Sabbath was ending.
After supper, we decided to go to Ben Yehuda street. This is an area in Jew Jerusalem that serves as a social gathering place. It consists of about four or five blocks of shops and restaurants that face a wide street that is closed off to traffic. On Saturday evenings it is jam-packed with thousands of people who spend their time strolling, talking, eating, drinking, and enjoying the many street entertainers (guitarists, drummers, violinists, puppeteers, and singers).
We had a most enjoyable evening — so enjoyable, in fact, that I’m sure we would have returned the following evening except for the fact that a prophecy conference were helping to sponsor began that evening. I praise God that we did not return, because that evening a group of Arab terrorists struck the area, spraying bullets and throwing hand grenades. Two people were killed and many were wounded. The death toll would have been much higher except for the fact that none of the grenades exploded.
The attack that evening was the terrorists’ way of welcoming the U.S. Secretary of State, Warren Christopher, who had arrived in Jerusalem that day to pressure the Israelis to surrender more land to the Arabs in return for “peace.”
The day after we left Israel, a young Israeli soldier who was an American citizen was kidnapped by terrorists. His captors demanded that 200 Arab terrorists be released from Israeli prisons. When the Israeli army tried to rescue him, he was shot in cold blood.
Then a few days later the terrorists launched their biggest attack since the “peace” began. Using a suicide bomber, they blew up a bus in central Tel Aviv, killing 24 people and wounding many others.
The “peace” statistics are brutal. In the year before the Israelis signed the “peace” agreement with the PLO, 49 Israelis were killed by terrorists. In the year following the signing of the agreement, more than twice that number died.
If this is peace, then Israel needs to declare war!
The Israeli government is terribly deceived. The leaders, Yitzhak Rabin (the Prime Minister) and Shimon Peres (the Foreign Minister) have been deceived by the PLO and the western nations. Worst of all, they have deceived themselves.
Their self-deception is rooted in their Humanistic view of the world. Keep in mind that there is not a single believer in God among the top circle of Israeli leaders. They are all either atheists or agnostics. Politically, they are either socialists or liberal humanists. This means that they believe in the basic goodness of Man. Translated into foreign policy, it means that they believe that if they treat their enemies with fairness and trust, their enemies will reciprocate. They simply cannot bring themselves to believe that their enemies are determined to destroy them.
Ignoring all the harsh lessons of history, Rabin and Peres have embarked on a policy of appeasement, hoping that they can satisfy the appetite of their enemies by giving them land for peace. History proves conclusively that appeasement always has the opposite effect — namely, it whets the appetite of the aggressor and makes him want more.
Chamberlain found that out when he tried to satisfy Hitler by trading him the Sudeten-land for peace. Chamberlain turned out to be a fool. But Rabin and Peres are now making Chamberlain look good. After all, he at least was not foolish enough to trade some of the territory of Britain for peace! No, he gave away another nation’s land. Rabin and Peres are trading their own land, land that puts their sworn enemy in the very heart of their nation.
What makes all this particularly ludicrous is the fact that Yasser Arafat does not even attempt to hide his true intentions. He promised that in return for receiving autonomy over Gaza and Jericho he would have the PLO rescind the clauses in its covenant that call for the destruction of Israel. That was over a year ago, and he still has not even attempted to get the PLO to amend its charter. And Rabin and Peres keep making excuses for him!
Even worse, Arafat continues to speak openly about his intention to take Jerusalem. The ink was hardly dry on the “peace” accord when he gave a speech in South Africa advocating a jihad to “liberate” Jerusalem. A jihad is a holy war! Again, Rabin and Peres made excuses for him, as did the U.S. State Department. They explained that Arafat was just saying what he had to say to placate his Arab enemies, and the he really didn’t mean what he was saying. That’s exactly what the Western European leaders kept saying about Hitler — “He doesn’t really mean it.” Well, he meant it, and so does Arafat.
In fact, Arafat spelled out his current strategy several years ago to the Arab world, and the strategy was later adopted officially by the PLO. It is called the “phased plan.” Realizing that he could not defeat Israel with war or terrorism, he decided that the road to victory was deceptive diplomacy. He would talk about peace in return for land, while rallying the anti-Israeli Western powers to put pressure on the Israeli government to capitulate. Once he got a toe-hold in the land, he would then use that as a base for renewed attacks on Israel. In short, he would take Israel in phases. It is a clever strategy that he has spelled on in detail in many public speeches, just as Hitler outlined his strategy in detail in Mein Kampf.
The Israeli leaders have also been deceived by the West. The United States and its Western allies have talked the government of Israel into doing something that every Israeli leader in the past said the nation would never do, and that is to place the survival of the country in the hands of foreigners. The Western nations keep whispering soothing assurances that they will “guarantee” the peace. But when the “peace” evaporates into all-out war, Israel will discover that the Western world will back off and leave the nation fend for itself. The bottom line is that Israel is no Kuwait. Israel has no oil, and Israel is full of Jews which the world hates.
The current “peace” process is a prescription for war, and it will be the bloodiest war in the history of the Middle East. I believe it will be a war that will lead up to the climax of the current age, issuing in the Tribulation.
Here is the most likely scenario that I can foresee at the moment. Arafat will be assassinated, and Hamas, the fundamentalist Arab terrorist organization funded by Iran, will take over control of the Palestinian autonomous areas. Hamas will then unleash a renewed rain of terror on Israel, lobbing rockets from Gaza and Jericho to back up their demand for control of Jerusalem.
If Arafat manages to remain alive, he will go after the same objective, using more subtle means. He will orchestrate world pressure on Israel through the United Nations and the Vatican, demanding that Jerusalem be “liberated” or internationalized.
Since even the most liberal Israelis take the position that Jerusalem is non-negotiable, the pressure will mount toward an inevitable conflict. If Hamas does not unleash the rockets first, then Arafat will ultimately return to the method he know best — terror — and he will launch the rockets.
This will prompt an Israeli attack, which, in turn, will motivate the Arab states to come to the defense of the Palestinians. Syria will launch an all-out missile attack on Tel Aviv, using the Scuds it has been purchasing from North Korea.
When that ominous event occurs, the Israelis will be forced to use their ultimate weapon to survive. They will strike Damascus with nuclear weapons. This will fulfill the prophecies that stat that Damascus will cease to exist in the end times (Isaiah 17:1-3 and Jeremiah 49:23-27).
In panic, the Arab states will then turn to their natural ally for help — the Russians. And the likelihood is that by that time Russia will be firmly in the hands of either a military dictatorship or a despot like Vladimir Zhiranovsky who would only be too happy to send an army into the Middle East to destroy Israel (and grab the Arab oil fields in the process).
That is when the Lord will step in personally to destroy the Russian hordes on the mountains of Israel in a supernatural way so that even the Israelis will realize that their deliverance came from the Lord and not from their own military might (Ezekiel 38 and 39).
As the whole world panics on the brink of World War III, a dynamic, charismatic political leader from Europe will step into the vacuum and propose an ingenious solution that will result in peace between Israel and its Arab neighbors — a peace that will enable the Jews to rebuild their Temple.
We live in exciting times when we can watch prophecy being fulfilled before our eyes. The events are ominous and overwhelming, but we can stand firm with great hope because we know that God is on His throne, the He is in control, and that He has the wisdom and power to orchestrate all the evil of Mankind to the triumph of His Son.