Borderline Bargain

The Gaza Strip border with Egypt must be looked after. Israel has been pressured to turn the job over to the EU. What might the consequences be?

Israel’s decision to vacate the Gaza Strip last year is taking the Jewish State into dangerous territory.

Despite deep apprehensions by the Israelis, on Nov. 25, 2005, for the first time in their history, the Palestinians took control of one of their borders—the Rafah crossing straddling Gaza and Egypt. Israel’s reluctance to relinquish jurisdiction over this crucial land gate was a simple matter of self-defense: Even when Israel controlled it, Rafah had a history of gun-running, arms dealing and terrorist smuggling. Thus, just days before Israel completed its withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, it shut the crossing down completely.

But the issue still needed to be resolved. After all, the Gazan Palestinians had no direct access to the outside world without going through Israel. Controlling their own border represented an important milestone to Palestinian statehood. But the Jews, especially their defense forces, knew it would be suicidal to abandon Rafah altogether. Already in the time since the pullout, the Gaza Strip has visibly fallen under the growing influence of Hamas and al Qaeda. Israeli President Moshe Katsav has stated that because of the evacuation, “more sophisticated weapons have entered, and terror groups, including some al Qaeda cells, have formed” (Associated Press, Nov. 15, 2005).

In the end, it appears that what mollified Israel’s concerns was the entrance of a third party—one it apparently considered trustworthy and fair: the European Union.

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon openly hoped that the Europeans would hold authority over the border crossing. In the words of EUBusiness, Sharon “wanted the European representatives to have ‘real powers’ and not be limited to observer status” (Nov. 1, 2005; emphasis mine throughout). Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom concurred: “Our objective is for the Europeans to have enforcement capabilities in the field, and not just a symbolic presence” (EUobserver, Nov. 2, 2005).

With this objective in mind, Sharon accepted the help of U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to effect a compromise between the parties. Rice delayed a trip to Asia, hammering hard for an accord. And on November15—as has been the case so many times throughout the heretofore utterly failed peace process—the moldering plank of compromise was placed across the Israeli-Palestinian political divide.

That plank involved three players: Israel, the Palestinians and Europe. It grants control of the Rafah border to the Palestinians under European supervision. Europe is sending 70 monitors to the Gaza-Egypt border, led by an Italian major-general.

This compromise marks a watershed moment for both Israel and Europe.

The invitation by Israel to monitor this strategic border crossing means that, after more than 10 years of struggling with America to gain control of the peace process, the EU is one step closer to realizing its vision for the Middle East.

A Failure in the Making

For Israel, releasing control of this strategic land gate means deepening the wound caused by the Gaza Strip retreat, the effects of which could be lethal to its nationhood.

Consider the fact that Israel sought Europe’s help to guarantee its own security. This historic agreement represents the most significant role Europe has assumed in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to date, and certainly sets a precedent for a shrinking American role and an increasingly muscular European presence in the Middle East. Seen in light of Bible prophecy, this is an extraordinary development, as we will see in a moment.

Consider too the implications of EU monitors and police experts being denied “real powers” and “enforcement capabilities” despite Sharon’s wishes. Under the conditions of the agreement, the Palestinians are to deny entrance to known terrorists. But with no outside troops at the border crossing, as the situation stands, the best Israel can do is watch border activity via closed-circuit television; it has no authority to prevent any Palestinian from crossing. Though Europeans are keeping watch, Palestinians have final say on who makes it into Gaza.

Israel’s security branches, including the military, intelligence and police, state the obvious in claiming that this situation undermines Israel’s security. A December 2 report showed that the Palestinians were already allowing known terrorists through the Rafah checkpoint in violation of the agreement—including one of the founders of Hamas, a line item on Israel’s most-wanted list.

The plain truth is that toothless European observers will not provide the security guarantee Israel needs. The uselessness of the compromise agreement will quickly become obvious. Sterner steps will be necessary—and quite soon.

Trumpet readers should expect Europe’s role to grow.

Counterfeit Peacemakers

European designs on the Middle East are not secret. For years, Europe and the Vatican have attempted to curb America’s influence on Israel and bolster their own reputation with the Palestinians through cash injections and backroom politicking. Their efforts have taken many forms: from the 1993 deal concluded between Pope John Paul iiand Shimon Peres that offered sovereignty of Jerusalem’s Old City to the Vatican and the accord between the pope and Yasser Arafat that regularized relations between the Palestinian Authority and the Roman Catholic Church—to Europe’s buying influence through donations and invitations to mediate between Israel and the Palestinians as distractions pile up on America.

Yet as the Trumpet pointed out in an August 2001 article, Europe and the Vatican are not interested in making peace. In fact, they are counterfeit peacemakers. Their goal is to control the Middle East. This invitation by Israel plays into their hands.

The Bible speaks of a time shortly ahead of us when Jerusalem will be surrounded by armies. This event is one of the principal signs Jesus Christ gave to His disciples that His return was imminent (Luke 21:20, 31).

Indeed, what Christ foretold was a great, blood-curdling betrayal.

Nothing in the biblical account suggests that these European armies enter the Holy Land with force. The Trumpet’s editor in chief has long suggested that they enter at the invitation of the Jews, who are, by that point, desperate for help.

This conglomerate of nations, led by Germany, is going to double-cross the tiny nation of Israel and use its formidable military to attack. The attack will be a surprise (verses 21-23).

This new accord between Europe, Israel and the Palestinians signals that we are racing closer to the precipice of a prophesied global change—a change destined to profoundly affect all of our lives. Prove it for yourself in The Rising Beast and The King of the South, and come to know what lies in store for you and the whole world in just a few short years.

With reporting by Tim Oostendarp