A blessed New Year from Tel Aviv!
The evening of September 20 marks the Jewish New Year 5759. Yom Kippur follows beginning the eve of September 29. This new year will almost certainly be one of the most critical in Israel’s modern history.
Take a look at what’s coming up next spring. Israel’s 50th birthday, the Year of Jubilee, will be over next April 21, 1999, on Israel’s 51st Independence Day. Thirteen days later, on May 4, Chairman Yasser Arafat says that he will declare the new State of Palestine.
May 1999 marks the end of the five year transitional period which was to give the Palestinians self-rule as stipulated in the Oslo Accords. When Israel and the PLO signed the interim agreement on May 4, 1994, Israel agreed, as a first step, to pull out of the Gaza strip and Jericho, and subsequently from other West Bank cities, which it did, The Palestinian Authority at the present controls the civil affairs of virtually all the Palestinian population, now numbering more than 2.5 million. But Arafat does not want autonomy. He wants an independent state.
“We have no option,” says a Palestinian cabinet member, “but to declare independence in May 1999.” The head of a Palestinian think-tank, Khalil Shikaki, explains why he believes Arafat, age 68, will carry out his declaration. “Arafat realized he’s not going to live forever.” Shikaki adds, “Maybe he’ll live a year or two beyond the deadline. Another five years would be a miracle. May 4 gives him a historic moment; I don’t think he’ll let it pass.” (Jerusalem Report, July 6, 1998)
PALESTINIAN PASSPORTS ARE VALID NOW
The Palestinians feel they are ready. "Arafat is in control: he has a government, security forces and land," says Shikaki. "He believes he's under no constraints. It's incredibly seductive." Already 60 countries, including the U.S., have recognized the green-and-gold passports issued by the Palestinian Authority as valid travel documents.
In fact, Palestine is already recognized as a country according to Tawfiq Abu Houssa, a Fatah member who was one of the commanders of the Intifada. "It has embassies all over the world; a flag; a president who is received allover from the White House down, who is treated on an equal footing with Netanyahu. There are Palestinian laws, an elected legislative council; our people are here and so is our land. The question now is how much more territory can we rid of the occupation." (Ibid.)
Israel's heaviest concern has been that, although Israel has withdrawn from the Arab population centers as stipulated by the Oslo Accords, the PLO has implemented virtually none of her commitments. The president of the Orthodox Union in the U.S. recently asked Assistant Secretary of State Martin Indyk for a single example of PLO compliance with the Oslo Accords. "He told me that I wouldn't like his answer. 'They have declared their support for peace,' he said after a long pause." (Jerusalem Post, August 13, 1998)
The fact is not widely known that the Palestinians have kept virtually none of the promises they made in writing in the Oslo Accords. A major example is their Palestinian covenant originally written by the PLO which calls for the destruction of Israel. Israel's withdrawal from areas of Judea, Samaria and Gaza was contingent on (among sundry other promises) a rewriting of the section of the Palestinian covenant which calls for Israel's annihilation.
CHECK OUT THE FATAH WEBSITE!
Instead of repudiating the covenant, Arafat's Fatah movement has republished their constitution, presumably for his soon-to-be state. This constitution states that the goal of the Palestinian people is to "demolish" the Jewish state. You can see it for yourself on the Fatah organization website! (http://www.fateh.org/) (Note the different spelling of "Fatah" on their website address.)
Chapter one, article 19 of this Palestinian constitution reads: Armed struggle is a strategy and not a tactic, and the Palestinian Arab People's armed revolution is a decisive factor in the liberation fight and in uprooting the Zionist existence, and this struggle will not cease unless the Zionist state is demolished and Palestine is completely liberated. Israel government officials, upon reading the Fatah web page, are in shock. (Ibid.)
PREVENTING JEWS FROM COMING TO ISRAEL?
Another area of Fatah strategy, according to article 25 of their constitution, is to "[convince] concerned countries in the world to prevent Jewish immigration to Palestine [read Israel] as a method of solving the problem." For Israel's collective memory, there are bitter recollections of Britain's concerted effort to prevent Jews from immigrating to the Holy Land in the 1930's and 40's.
As a result of that policy - to appease the Arabs - many tens of thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands of Jewish people lost their lives because they had no place of refuge to which they could escape Hitler and the European nations that sought to exterminate them. Now once again, there is a people whose goal is to prevent Jewish immigration to the land of Israel.
In fact, the area of Judea and Samaria is one of very few places on planet earth where real estate agents and property owners who sell land to Jews are being murdered. Now many calls are being made to kill any Arab who sells property to Jews in Israel proper!
In fact, Arab Knesset Member Saleh Salim, who won his parliamentary seat in the democratic state of Israel, said on June 23, "When I see how the Jews are taking over these lands in Jerusalem, I am amazed at the Palestinians who do not continue to kill the land-dealers, and I call upon them to continue to kill them. The Arabs who sold land to Jews should be killed and made into minced meat." (Arutz 7, August 8, 1998)
Suppose such calls were made for murdering real estate people or private owners in the United States, Canada or Europe who sell to Jews! It must be understood that Salim is calling for the murder of those who sell property to Jews within the state of Israel!
SEVERAL MILLION PALESTINIANS WAITING TO COME
Another overwhelming issue is the Palestinian goal of gathering several million Palestinian refugees (descendants who claim their relatives were originally from Israel and the territories). As is stated on the Fatah web page under refugees, "The refugee issue is the core of the Palestinian case, and it is an essential part of its conclusive national rights." One does not need an over-active imagination to see that transporting several million Arabs to resettle in tiny Judea and Samaria would be a strategy to ultimately conquer and destroy the State of Israel.
In fact, the most serious questions have not yet begun to be negotiated: Who gets the Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem? Who gets Jerusalem? The Palestinians are determined to make it their Moslem capital. And what about the very limited underground water reservoirs that Israel has been using for 30 years and that Arafat is claiming as his own? How many soldiers should a Palestinian state have? How many tanks or artillery? How does one guarantee that the sovereign state of the PLO, Hamas and other terrorist groups will not become an armed launching ground for total war to take Tel Aviv, Jaffa, Haifa, Beersheva, Ashkelon, Ashdod...?
HOW TO CREATE AN INDEPENDENT STATE
Meanwhile, Arafat is proceeding with his game plan for creating his Palestinian state. The key to international acceptance is gaining U.N. membership. To become a member state of the U.N., Palestine would need a Security Council recommendation to the General Assembly - which the U.S. could veto. In that case, the Palestinians could turn directly to the General Assembly itself, asking it to recognize their state.
Achmad Tibi, a close Arafat advisor, adds: "There we'll win hands down. We'll even persuade Micronesia [lately Israel's only consistent U.N. ally] to support us." By this route, the Palestinians could get their standing upgraded from that of permanent observer in the General Assembly to that of a state in everything but voting and election rights." In fact, they are already working to see if they might succeed in attaining such status even before the state is declared. (Jerusalem Report, July 6, 1998)
A NIGHTMARE OF ARMAGEDDIAN PROPORTIONS
The thought of a Palestinian state rising up on the mountains of Israel is a nightmare to the Netanyahu government. To many Israelis, it sounds like the approach of Armageddon. Yet this is almost certainly next year's reality. Arafat feels that, when he does proclaim his state, the world will accept it. Israeli politicians concur. "Netanyahu's concern is that internationally 'everyone' will rush to recognize Palestine. If we get even the U.S. not to," says one Israeli adviser, "that will be a major success." (Ibid.)
Although Arafat is in control of virtually all the Palestinian population and all of the land of Gaza, he has sole control of only 3% of the West Bank (Judea and Samaria). He has jurisdiction over another 27% in which Israel maintains overall security responsibility. That means the Palestinian Authority provides schools, services and courts, while Israeli army units are present, but in low profile.
Arafat's strategy is to get as much land under his control as possible so that, when he declares a state, it will be big enough to be a credible state. With all these considerations, Israel has offered to withdraw from another 9%, but Arafat has refused the offer as "too little." The U.S. is demanding that Israel withdraw from a minimum of 13.1 % of the land.
GIVE ARAFAT THE JUDEAN DESERT
Former Israeli Minister of Defense, Moshe Arens, tells why Israel has been extremely reluctant to give up that extra 4.1 %. He says that "the cat's out of the bag." Most of the difference between a redeployment of 9% and 13.1 % is the Judean Desert - the area between Jerusalem and Jericho and the Dead Sea. (Jerusalem Post, July 31, 1998) The beautiful Judean Desert, which marks the borders of Jerusalem and descends to the Jordan Valley, Jericho and the Dead Sea, is central to the culture, history and the people of Israel. It was traversed by Abraham to whom God told to "walk about the land through its length and breadth; for I will give it to you." It is where David hid from Saul, and it is the place where John the Baptist cried out, "Prepare the way of the Lord." It is where angels ministered to Yeshua the Messiah after his victory over the temptations of Satan.
Even conservative politicians, such as Moshe Arens, are resigned to the fact that areas densely populated by Palestinians will eventually be part of a Palestinian state. However, Arens insists that the sparsely populated areas like the Judean Desert and the Jordan Valley should not be turned over to Palestinian control.
Turning it over to Arafat now may bring temporary relief from pressure by the Clinton government, but it "will only make Israel's position more difficult in the ensuing negotiations, and permanently cripple the State of Israel." What's more, he says, "Palestinian control over the Judean Desert will contribute nothing to the well-being of the Palestinian population." Therefore, Arens feels it would be "downright stupid" to offer them the Judean Desert. (Jerusalem Post, July 31, 1998)
WHAT WILL ISRAEL DO?
What specific action will Israel take if Arafat does declare himself a state? As far as Prime Minister Netanyahu is concerned, a unilateral declaration of Palestinian statehood would mean the end of the peace process. Israel would consider itself free of all commitments under the Oslo Accords.
Another of Netanyahu's party leaders says, "If Arafat does declare a state, I'd extend Israeli law to all the remaining territory and leave him holding what he has." A coalition member of the National Religious Party says, "Today Arafat holds only 3% of the West Bank outright. To turn another large chunk is just what Arafat needs to declare a meaningful state. It would be idiotic for us to do so." (Jerusalem Report, July 6, 1998)
If Israel does bend to current pressure to withdraw from the 13.1 % of the West Bank that the U.S. is demanding, then Arafat would be in full or partial control of about 40% of the territories. Israel might respond by annexing the remaining 60%, or she might annex a smaller proportion to allow room for further negotiation. Again, she might eschew annexation altogether. On the other hand, if Israel does not withdraw from any more territory at the present, she could annex even a greater percentage of the West Bank to Israel.
An alternative response could be to block off land, sea and air traffic - and invoke strong legal arguments for doing so. However, the international reaction would likely be hostile, and, of course, such action could spark a major military conflict with the Palestinians. The options look hopeless with a seemingly inevitable holocaust waiting in the wings.
WHAT WILL GOD DO?
In the end it is God who decides the boundaries of Israel, and it is He who has determined who will be given the land of Israel. Israel and only Israel! God delivered the verdict through His mouthpiece, the prophet Ezekiel, 2600 years ago.
And you, son of man, prophesy to the mountains of Israel [Judea and Samaria] and say, O mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Lord. Thus says the Lord God, Because the enemy has spoken against you, Aha! And, the everlasting heights have become our possession...[to those] who appropriated My land for themselves as a possession with wholehearted joy and with scorn of soul...
But you, O mountains of Israel, you will put forth your branches and bear your fruit for My people Israel, for they will soon come... And I will multiply men on you, all the house of Israel, all of it; and the cities will be inhabited, and the waste places will be rebuilt.
Yes, I will cause men - My people Israel- to walk on you and possess you, so that you will become their inheritance and never again bereave them of children. . . And I will not let you hear insults from the nations anymore...
PORTIONS FROM EZEKIEL 361. (ITALICS MINE)
WHAT WILL WE DO?\
We are living in a momentous minute of history. As the newspapers, electronic media and world politicians debate the pros and cons of handing over of the Mountains of Israel to the people of Mohammed, it is paramount that we keep our eyes fixed on the words of the prophets and our minds focused on the express will of God. And what do we - the people of God worldwide - do? Our job as believers is to participate in the resurrection from the dead of our people, Israel. This honor will be bestowed on us as we seek the face of God for our part.