Part Three of Three – Cutting Israel Down To Size
In the first part of this three-part newsletter, we looked at the Israeli raid deep into Syria to destroy its nuclear capabilities, at a prophetic word about the destruction of Damascus, and at a lesson drawn from the First Gulf War, wherein coalition forces benefited from Israel’s courage and heroism.
In the second part of this three-part newsletter, we skimmed through some biblical perspectives regarding the biblical borders of Israel (from Abraham to the Second Coming), and what God thinks about moving or adjusting those borders. We looked at God’s response to Arab nations (or any nation) who would try to shrink, claim, weaken, divide or control the land of Israel.
In this third part, we will clarify what the USA and the international community are planning and doing regarding dividing up the land; how the Annapolis conference fits into this flow; and why Israel’s main leader is going along for the ride.
An Undivided Heart
One of the psalmist’s most intense prayers is, “Teach me Your way, YHVH, and I will walk in Your truth. Give me an undivided heart, that I may fear Your name!” (Psa. 86:11). A heart ardently turned toward God and desiring to do His will – that is a rare and precious commodity in God’s sight. King Solomon warns his son, “Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs (or issues) of life!” (Prov. 4:23).
In Isaiah 40:1-2 God commands the nations to “Comfort, comfort my people …Speak tenderly to Jerusalem.” The Hebrew reads “Speak over the heart of Jerusalem.” To get through to the Jewish people, one must speak tenderly, honestly – and straight to their heart.
The God of Israel is also interested in the hearts of the leaders of the earth. “For the eyes of YHVH run to and fro throughout the earth that He may show Himself strong on behalf of those whose hearts are completely His” (2 Chron. 16:9).
A heart which is completely God’s will bloom with God’s heart for Israel, the apple of God’s eye (Zech. 2:8). The Bible says that every healthy saint of God will have a tender heart towards Israel – for her people, her stones, and even for the very dust of that land! ”You will arise and have compassion on Zion, for it is time to show favor to her; the appointed time has come. For her stones are dear to Your servants; her very dust moves them to pity” (Psa. 102:13-14).
Zion and the Heart of America
Where is America’s heart vis-à-vis Israel? Is it pro or anti-Israel? Are American Christians truly friends of Israel? Are American Jews actively committed to Israel’s survival? Are US liberals and secular people for or against Zion? The following is an attempt at a short answer to a long question.
Many people in the USA are for Israel. Most of them are Evangelical Christians. Many in the Jewish community are also highly supportive, both liberal, Orthodox and in between. A large percentage of Americans have a quiet respect for plucky Israel, her courage and heroism in battle, her tenacity in the face of many deadly challenges and her sufferings in the Holocaust.
But there are also other Americans in that pluralistic country who are opposed to Zion. From secular isolationists to anti-Semitic professors, from self-hating Jews to jihadi Islamists, from oil barons to some State Department honchos and CIA movers and shakers – there are significant and influential layers of American society which are positioned against the land and people of Israel. At the upper echelons of politics, business and intelligence there are powerful people pressuring and persuading in ways which could weaken and destroy the apple of God’s eye.
Taking a line from Shakespeare’s The Tempest (“Misery acquaints a man with strange bedfellows”), it has been said that politics makes for strange bedfellows. Constituencies change, neighborhoods evolve, voters are fickle. And so politicians must do a balancing act – sometimes for, sometimes against. US official positions regarding Israel have occasionally blown in the wind of public opinion, but deep below the surface of the water unfriendly currents have often prevailed. The next few paragraphs deal briefly with some of these deeper currents – events that are not so well known among Evangelicals.
Jerusalem’s Status – A Heavy Stone
In 1948 the US State Department opposed the establishment and recognition of a Jewish state. It had also opposed the rescue and immigration of European Jews from Hitler during WWII. US Secretaries James Forestall (Navy, Defense), General George Marshall (State, Defense), John Dulles (State) and Allen Dulles (CIA Director), business magnate and later Vice President Nelson Rockefeller – they and many more were opposed to recognizing and aiding the fledgling Jewish state. For more information see The Secret War Against The Jews: How Western Espionage Betrayed The Jewish People, by John Loftus & Mark Aarons, St. Martin’s Press, 1994. Truman’s de facto recognition of the Jewish state nearly did not happen, and was actually the result of internal wars between himself and his State Department.
From the beginning, America followed the 1947 UN Partition Plan (General Assembly Resolution 181) which actually called for the dividing up of the land of Israel into two states – one Jewish and one Arab. That plan also proposed that Jerusalem and some suburbs not come under Jewish control, but be turned into a corpus separatum – an internationally administered zone under UN control. Because of Jerusalem’s “association with three world religions . . . (it should be) accorded special and separate treatment” said the UN. Many people do not realize that the UN document which recognized the principle of a future Jewish state, also called for the land of Israel to be divided.
The US State Department has stuck with this policy through the decades. As a result it refuses to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital city. Of the 184 nations with which America has diplomatic relations, Israel is the only one whose capital is not recognized by the U.S. government. The US Embassy has always been situated in Tel Aviv, and this American example has influenced all other nations of the world, who have done likewise.
The US State Department does not like using the term “dividing Jerusalem.” That would sound like America is dictating the borders of Israel. Instead it claims that Jerusalem is too important to Moslems and Christians for the city to be governed by Jews. Since “dividing” is evidently a politically incorrect term, the term of choice is “sharing.”
Richard A. Boucher, Spokesman Department of State, nuanced it this way in Washington on October 3 2000: “The (greatest) challenge for the negotiators … (is that Jerusalem is) a city so sacred and special to Jews, yet holy to Christians and Muslims, too. There is no other solution but to share the Holy City. It is not, and cannot be, the exclusive preserve of one religion … (We) never spoke of ‘dividing’ Jerusalem. That is not United States policy.”
Waiving Goodbye To Jerusalem
America’s popular heart towards Jerusalem was expressed by its elected officials in a 1990 Senate Concurent Resolution, in The Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 and in the Foreign Relations Authorization ACT H.R. 1646, Section 214. According to these, Jerusalem is and should remain the undivided, eternal capital of the State of Israel. These Acts require that the U.S. embassy in Israel be established in Jerusalem no later than May 1999.
Nevertheless, a waiver (“Section 7”) was included in one of the bills which allows the President to waive applying the legislation (for repeatable six month periods) if he deems doing so to be in the best interest of the United States. Every President running for office has promised to enact the bill, and every President in office continues to activate his presidential waiver. The State Department stated in 2003 that from their perspective Section 214 (which deliberately left out any waiver clause) will be ignored and will be considered only as ‘advisory.’
On November 19 1863 not far from the still-fresh battlefields of Gettysburg, President Abraham Lincoln spoke of “the great task remaining before us” with the hope that those who died “shall not have died in vain – that this nation, under God, shall have a new have a new birth of freedom – and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” When Acts of Congress and Senate (the expression of the American people’s will) are legalized and then ignored, it seems that President Lincoln’s great democratic task remains to be fulfilled.
American Pressure Points On Israel’s Borders
Sinai Campaign (1956)
By the end of WWII the United States had become the world’s strongest superpower. As a result America began to flex its political muscle in the Middle East more frequently. The goals of the USA and the UK often clashed, leading to a weakening of British influence and a strengthening of American power.
For years Egypt had sponsored terror attacks into Israel from the Gaza Strip (then under Egyptian control; www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Terrorism/Fedayeen.html). In1956 Nasser blockaded Israeli shipping in the Straits of Tiran (Red Sea) and nationalized the Suez Canal, both of them international waterways. Britain, France and Israel jointly invaded the Sinai Peninsula in early November 1956.
On November 5 1956 Soviet Premier Bulganin and President Khrushchev threatened Israel with nuclear attack if it did not withdraw from the Sinai. Not to be outdone, the administration of President Eisenhower and Secretary of State John Foster Dulles told Israeli Foreign Minister Abba Eban that if Israel did not withdraw, all U.S. military and civilian aid to Israel would be cut off, the tax-exempt status of all American organizations that provided aid to Israel would be removed, and that the United States would not oppose the expulsion of Israel from the UN (see inter alia, Avi Shlaim, The Iron Wall, 2000, W. W. Norton & Co, p.181).
Israel withdrew from Gaza and Sinai in return for President Eisenhower’s promise to keep the vital Straight of Tiran waterway open to Israeli ships (Aide de Memoire, Freedom of the seas in Aqaba and UN Emergency Force, John Foster Dulles to Abba Eban, February 11, 1957).
When Egypt re-imposed the same blockade ten years later, President Johnson, Secretary of State Rusk and Secretary of Defense McNamara agreed that Egypt’s actions were a casus belli (legal justification for Israel to attack) but they explained that they could not honor the Aide de Memoire (and run the Egyptian blockade) “for constitutional reasons.” This immediately led to the Six Day War (June 1967).
Six Day War (1967)
According to a recent article “U.S. had emergency plan for attacking Israel in 1967” (Amir Oren, Ha’aretz), the Joint Chiefs of Staff had established a battle plan to stop Israel from expanding westward into Sinai or eastward into the West Bank (also not to allow Arab forces to cross the armistice lines of 1948-49). Strike Command (STRICOM – then headed by General Theodore John Conway; the Command was annulled in 1971) was asked in Cable No. 5886 (May 20 1967) by the Joint Chiefs of Staff to refresh emergency plans for US military intervention in an Arab-Israeli war. The Six Day War began and ended so suddenly that U.S. contingency plans could not be carried out. But it is worth a few moments of quiet reflection to consider how Pentagon plans could have sent American forces into battle against the IDF in 1967.
In a August 2005 Israel TV interview, former Consul General of Israel in New York Alon Pinkas stated that, with the evacuation from Gaza, “the US has seen the victory of its 38 year old policy.” Pinkas, a polished diplomat, was stating that the evacuation of Gaza (and the continuing division of the biblical land of Israel) is an ongoing US strategic goal going back to just after the Six Day War in June 1967. In that sense the State Department’s response to Israel’s unification of Jerusalem on June 28 1967 says it all: ”The United States has never recognized such unilateral actions by any of the states in the area as governing the international status of Jerusalem”.
The Lord God of Israel may be restoring Israel to the land He gave to their forefathers (Jer. 16:15). He well may save His people from the countries of the east and the west, and bring them back to live in Jerusalem to be His people (Zech. 8:7-8). But don’t count on the U.S. State Department being pleased about it!
Secret U.S. Policy Regarding Israel’s Borders (1975)
A recently declassified State Department document quotes from a meeting between Henry Kissinger (Secretary of State) and Sadun Hammadi (Iraqi Minister of Foreign Affairs) (www.gwu.edu/%7Ensarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB193/HAK-12-17-75.pdf) which took place in Paris on December 17, 1975. Kissinger communicated a ‘no-nonsense’ US foreign policy regarding Israel in the following selected quotes:
- “Israel does us more harm than good in the Arab world”
- “We can’t negotiate about the existence of Israel but we can reduce its size to historical proportions”.
- “So I think in ten to fifteen years Israel will be like Lebanon – struggling for existence, with no influence in the Arab world”.
- “If the issue is the existence of Israe1, we can’t cooperate. But if the issue is more normal borders, we can cooperate”.
- “I think the Palestinian identity has to be recognized in some form … (It) will be a tremendous fight … (but) no solution is possible without it”.
These shocking quotes show where the heart and strategy of the State Department lie. Israel’s borders must be shrunk in order to weaken its military and political standing in the Middle East. A Palestinian state needs to be established on land which has been pried away from Israeli control. These words can help intercessors to pray for leaders and diplomats in the US and elsewhere, for these talking points are part and parcel of British, European and Russian strategies as well.
The Butcher, the Baker (1989)
Secretary of State James A. Baker 3rd addressed the annual conference of the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) on May 22, 1989. He said, “For Israel, now is the time to lay aside, once and for all, the unrealistic vision of a greater Israel … Forswear annexation. Stop settlement activity. (“Middle East Straight Talk from the U.S”, Christopher Ogden, TIME, June 5 1989 www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,957877,00.html). Baker’s vision is the same – make Israel retreat from the mountains of Israel and from the heart of Jerusalem, and force her to surrender these territories to her sworn enemies.
Secretary Baker is also well-known in the Jewish community for three remarks he made about Israel.
- New York Times columnist William Safire was present when Baker was asked about Jewish support on a matter. “**** the Jews. They won’t vote for us anyway!” was his answer.
- Pulitzer prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh notes that when Baker was being sworn in, one White House aide joked that every Secretary of State left that office hating Israel. Baker reportedly replied, “What if one started that way?
- Just before Baker became Secretary of State, he took a TIME magazine journalist on a turkey hunt. There he said, “The trick is in getting (wild turkeys) where you want them, on your terms. Then you control the situation, not them. You have the options. Pull the trigger or don’t. It doesn’t matter once you’ve got them where you want them. The important thing is knowing that it’s in your hands, that you can do whatever you determine is in your interest to do.” When asked if he was referring to turkeys, Baker said “No,” flashing a brief, fleeting smile. “I mean Israel…” (www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,956949,00.html ; “Playing for the Edge”, Michael Kramer, TIME, Feb. 13 1989).
These comments reveal not only one man’s rough language and cruel spirit. They also reveal something about the heart of some world leaders towards Israel.
The Piece Process (2005)
Just before (and also during) the traumatic disengagement process of August 2005, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice made it crystal clear that Israel’s borders must shrink – beginning with Gaza. The extent of the shriveling up is not clearly stated, but the State Department is looking at most of the West Bank and a significant portion of Jerusalem. Here are three quotes from Rice which reveal this perspective:
- “Because the real point about Gaza is not to stop with Gaza. The President has been clear, we’ve been clear with the Israelis that it cannot be Gaza only” (Shannon, Ireland, June 17, 2005)
- “We must all focus on the disengagement as our best chance to reenergize the roadmap . . . Because we’ve said many times that this is not Gaza only; this is the first step on a process that is outlined. The roadmap says how we get to final status, it says how we get to a Palestinian state” (Ramallah, West Bank, June 18, 2005).
- “Everyone empathizes with what the Israelis are facing,’ Ms. Rice said in an interview. But she added, ‘It cannot be Gaza only.’” (“Rice Urges Israel and Palestinians to Sustain Momentum”, NY Times, August 18, 2005)
The Road To Annapolis (2007)
The past few weeks have seen a flurry of activity concerning a possible peace conference in Annapolis, Maryland, a city that since American Colonial days has been known as the “Athens of America”.
Tony Blair recently stepped down from his position as Prime Minister and immediately was appointed Middle East Envoy of the Quartet (US, UK, European Union and Russia) on June 27 2007. He promptly stated that until Israel surrenders more land, there will be no peace in the Middle East. ”The absolute priority is to try to give effect to what is now the consensus across the international community – that the only way of bringing stability and peace to the Middle East is a two-state solution” (PM Blair’s final press briefing at Downing Street). According to Blair, it seems, Israel holds the key to Middle East and world peace.
While there is a sense where Blair’s words may be biblically true (Israel does hold the key to life from the dead, according to Romans 11:15), Blair’s statement as it stands is grossly inaccurate, ignoring the bloody ongoing inter-Arab conflicts that churn across the Middle East on a daily basis – conflicts that have nothing to do with Israel in even the remotest way! See Dr. Daniel Pipes’ article “Arab-Israeli Fatalities Rank 49th” at www.danielpipes.org/article/4990.
The UK and the US seem to have come to a remarkable agreement regarding what to do with Israel. Speaking in Ramallah on October 15 2007 Secretary of State Rice said:
- “Frankly, it’s time for the establishment of a Palestinian state”
- A two-state solution is “absolutely essential for the future, not just of Palestinians and Israelis but also for the Middle East and indeed for American interests.”
- “Frankly, we have better things to do than invite people to Annapolis for a photo op.”
- “I hope you understand that the President has decided to make this one of the highest priorities of his administration and of his time in office. It means that he is absolutely serious about moving this issue forward and moving it as rapidly as possible to conclusion.”
One day before Rice’s statement, on October 14 2007 Israeli Industry and Trade Minister Eli Yishai had met with the Secretary of State in Jerusalem. He told her that the status of Jerusalem must be taken off the agenda of the Annapolis conference. According to Yishai’s office, Rice responded that “the time has come to deal with issues that we were afraid to touch for many years.” (JP Oct 15 2007 p.9 “As Rice arrives …”). Pray for America’s and Britain’s leaders as they once again attempt to pick up a heavy Jerusalem stone that cannot be lifted (Zech. 12:1-4).
Why Are Israel’s Leaders Going Along With This?
Many people are asking (and with good reason), “Why is Prime Minister Olmert going along with this process? Why did PM Ariel Sharon do the same before him? What madness has taken hold of Israel’s leaders?”
The answers to these questions are few and simple. PM Olmert is under three criminal investigations at the moment and also the target of a state commission of inquiry regarding the Second Lebanese War. PM Sharon (during his term in office) was also under many criminal investigations. Both PMs realized that the left-leaning media would look more kindly on former rightists who push for compromise with the Palestinians. Two senior Israeli reporters (Raviv Drucker of Israel’s Channel Ten and Ofer Shelach of Yediot Aharonot) investigated what really was behind Sharon’s disengagement plan. Their startling conclusion (after speaking with people on the inside): Sharon was desperately trying to avoid indictment for various illegal transactions.
Channel Two correspondent Amnon Abramovitz then said that PM Sharon enjoyed the protection of those pro-disengagement forces, like an etrog (a fragile citron fruit used in ceremonies during the Feast of Tabernacles). To speak plainly PM Sharon retreated from the Gaza Strip and northern Samaria, and PM Olmert is pushing for similar retreats from the West Bank and Jerusalem – in order to gain a temporary postponement from being hit with criminal charges.
The second reason that Israel’s leaders are giving in has to do with international pressure. There are tremendous pressures being exerted behind the scenes by foreign governments, from threats to cajoling, from political seduction to financial inducements. Only someone who has sat behind a Prime Minister’s desk can even begin to understand the weight that is brought to bear here.
A third reason that Israel’s leaders are giving in has to do with spiritual pressure and witchcraft. The spiritual forces arrayed against Israel which stand behind countries like Iran (the prince of Persia in the Book of Daniel) or major superpowers are constantly battering down Israeli resistance and steadfastness in the spirit. Pray for Israel’s leaders, that they will receive divine comfort, strength, courage and revelation to stand in the face of these awesome pressures. Pray also for the salvation of Israel’s leaders!
Ultimately, from the eternal perspective, Israel will not be saved by leaning on the USA, the UK, the EU, the UN or on all of the Quartet at once! As Isaiah says, ‘In YHVH alone are righteousness and strength. All who have raged against Him will come to Him and be put to shame. But in YHVH all the descendants of Israel will be found righteous and will exult!” (Isa. 45:24-25).
In Messiah Yeshua’s love,
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