Yet again, in the latest storm brewing in the Middle East, Jerusalem is at the center.
The conflagration surrounding Israel licensing construction on 1,600 homes in a north Jerusalem neighborhood revealed why Jerusalem is destined to again become a theater of war very soon. Bible prophecy says it will happen. The Trumpet has been warning about it for nearly two decades. The peace process will always break down over the Holy City—until that city convulses in violence that provokes world war.
On one side, the way Israel has handled the matter is prophetically significant. Though Benjamin Netanyahu apologized to Washington for the timing of the announcement on construction, he also made clear that he wouldn’t stop the building. Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat made his own stance clear by quickly unveiling a blueprint for another 50,000 apartments in the city. Netanyahu gave a speech during his visit to the U.S. where he said, “The Jewish people were building Jerusalem 3,000 years ago and the Jewish people are building Jerusalem today. Jerusalem is not a settlement. It is our capital!” (emphasis mine throughout). Strong words for a man scheduled the next day to meet the American president who called it a settlement. But Netanyahu is determined to preserve Israeli sovereignty over East Jerusalem. And he has his people behind him. This is no trifling issue to the Jews. As pressure grows, they’re not backing down—they’re digging in.
On the other side of the conflict, the Palestinians eyeing Washington’s hostility toward Netanyahu’s government recognize an opportunity. They seek to exploit the rift and hit Israel while it is isolated. Arabs rioted in Jerusalem and elsewhere on a scale unseen in a decade. The Gaza Strip has again become the launching pad for lobbing Kassams into Israel; one rocket strike in March killed a man. Iran—never far from the action wherever nefarious activity is going on in the region—announced on March 14 its intent to mediate a reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah, the two rival Palestinian factions. “The overall goal is thus to exploit the breach in the U.S.-Israeli relationship to reunify the Palestinian leadership and encourage Israeli military action in the territories that would further undermine Israel’s diplomatic efforts in building a coalition against Iran,” Stratfor wrote on March 22.
To think that all this sound and fury is a response to Israel’s plan to build 1,600 homes is ludicrous. Anger over “settlements” is just the latest of a string of pretexts the Palestinians have used to try to weaken Israel’s position over the years. In the past it has been land purchases (of unused wasteland) or immigration. If settlements were the real problem, then the Gaza Strip—from which Israel removed every last Jewish resident five years ago—would be a picture of neighborliness and peace. The Palestinians’ goal is the same as it always was: to eliminate the Jewish state. The Palestinians will never negotiate and abide by an agreement to accept Israel’s existence as a state.
These remarkable events may remind long-time Trumpet readers of a prediction our editor in chief made back in December of 2005, in a letter to Trumpet subscribers and in a Key of David program he taped about the same time.
Based on a prophecy in Zechariah, which speaks of half of Jerusalem being taken in what looks to be a violent siege, Gerald Flurry speculated about the political climate that could prevail within Israel in the days before that event occurs. We could soon witness the two sides of the Arab-Jew conflict each shift back toward their respective hard-line camps, he said, driving them apart and pushing the possibility of a peace deal out of reach. He suggested that the Palestinians could be taken over by the radical Hamas movement—while the security-conscious Jews vote in a more conservative government.
An Israeli election was scheduled for March 28, 2006. Based on the biblical evidence, Mr. Flurry believed Netanyahu’s Likud party, then performing poorly, might bounce back and take the election.
Within a short time after those statements, Hamas scored a startling victory in Palestinian elections, snagging 74 out of the 132 seats in the Palestinian Legislative Council. Then, even more shocking, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon—who had planned more unilateral concessions to the Palestinians similar to the Gaza withdrawal he orchestrated—suffered a massive stroke and was removed from the scene. Suddenly, it looked like Mr. Flurry’s prediction had lurched dramatically closer to being fulfilled. “These two events [Hamas’s victory and Sharon’s departure] will make the conservative position look more attractive for Israelis,” he wrote in the March 2006 Trumpet edition. “Whether or not they elect Netanyahu, it is almost certain the new government will act with more caution toward the Hamas-dominated Palestinian government. That is going to bring the crisis to a head much more quickly.”
The prophesied explosion over Jerusalem, he believed, would likely be precipitated by Arab radicalization, coupled with Jewish inflexibility.
“Zechariah’s prophecy implies that there will be an impasse over the Temple Mount—which the Palestinians ‘resolve’ by taking East Jerusalem by force,” he continued. “That is why I believe the conservatives could regain control in Israel. They have a stronger will to fight for the land they believe belongs to the Jews.”
As it turned out, that prediction was not fulfilled at that time. The Israelis went on to elect the dovish Ehud Olmert, and the Palestinians became preoccupied with infighting. Tension over the fate of the Holy City gave way to other, more immediate concerns.
Now, however, conditions look to be shaping up just as Mr. Flurry predicted. Even Israel’s prime ministership is now occupied by the man he believed it could be. The pressure on Israel is enormous—yet the leader is standing firm on the territorial issue that most resonates with his countrymen. This is fueling Arab anger and impatience, which appear to be building toward violence.
And it all centers around Jerusalem. Just as Zechariah said it would.
The most remarkable thing, though, is the sequence of events Zechariah prophesied would be triggered by the war over Jerusalem. It is the most exciting news you could hear! ▪