Europe Seizes Its Opportunity

From the March 2009 Trumpet Print Edition

America is supposedly Israel’s strongest ally. But compared to previous conflicts, its response to the Gaza war was tragically mute.

Europe’s response was the opposite: It exploited the Gaza war to ramp up its involvement in Middle Eastern politics. The Jerusalem Post called the arrival of a European Union delegation on January 5 “the first serious external diplomatic involvement since the Gaza fighting began” (emphasis mine throughout).

Where U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice didn’t visit Israel for three weeks while the war raged, European leaders were booking flights within days. By the 10th day of the conflict, two separate European peace delegations were en route to the region—one a French venture headed by President Nicolas Sarkozy, the other an EU mission headed by the Czech Republic (which assumed the presidency of the EU January 1).

Much of the reason for America’s sluggishness was President Bush’s understanding that his administration was about to be replaced by another that would likely view the Middle East through a different set of glasses. Nevertheless, the vacuum created by America’s absence provided an opportunity, and Europe took it.

Europe has to play a bigger role in the Middle East, and we believe we can,” said Eric Chevallier, a French government adviser. “We are eager to work with the United States … but we cannot wait.” A spokeswoman for Javier Solana put it more candidly: “If you have a European delegation, and you don’t have a U.S. delegation, then theEUwill be more visible.”

Capture the spirit of those remarks. Europe considered the Gaza crisis a prime opportunity to undermine America’s geopolitical influence in the Middle East and establish itself as the foremost alternative as a foreign mediator.

Not to be outdone by France and the EU, Germany also sent a delegation to the area to try to broker an agreement between Israel and Hamas. Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier hadn’t been there 24 hours before it appeared he’d had some success. Regarding a proposal to provide Egypt help in training and equipping its police force, Reuters reported, “The German offer is the first proposal that appears to address Egyptian objections to stationing foreign troops on its border with the Gaza Strip” (January 10). Around the same time, when asked if the German government would be prepared to send troops to Gaza, government spokesman Thomas Steg said “the government has made clear it is aware of its responsibility and will not shy away from its responsibility.”

After Israel and the U.S. signed a pact on January 16 aimed at preventing weapons from being smuggled into Gaza, Germany—along with France and Britain—offered to send warships to help. German politicians favor sending troops to Gaza—in fact, they have sought to establish a presence around Israel for several years. Back in 2002, when Chancellor Gerhard Schröder first raised such a possibility, he was backed by much of the German political class—as well as by Palestinians and, astonishingly, Israelis.

From a prophetic standpoint, the energetic entrance of Europe, particularly Germany, into the Gaza crisis is electrifying to watch. One of Jesus Christ’s signature prophecies regarding the end of this age was that there would come a point when Jerusalem would be “surrounded by armies”—and that this would be a signal “that the desolation thereof is nigh” (Luke 21:20). Put this together with other prophecies regarding the downfall of the Jewish state, and it can be determined that these armies are, in fact, European armies, and that their presence around Jerusalem signals an imminent and catastrophic double-cross.

Europe’s growing military presence in the region and discussion of expanding its role even further is a clarion signal of the fulfillment of this pivotal end-time prophecy.

For more information, request a free copy of Nahum—An End-Time Prophecy for Germany by editor in chief Gerald Flurry.