September 23, 2011
By Irvin Baxter
The prophecy, when it comes to pass, will be one of the greatest prophetic fulfillments since the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. When the prophesied event happens, it will mark the beginning of the final seven years to the Battle of Armageddon and the second coming of Jesus to earth.
The Bible prophesies that a peace agreement between Israelis and Palestinians will be signed. The agreement will place the Temple Mount under a sharing arrangement between Israelis and Palestinians with international supervision, will allow for the building of Israel’s temple on the Temple Mount, and will give the West Bank (biblical Judea) to the Palestinians for their homeland. The Jews presently living in Judea will be given the choice to either move to pre-1967 Israel with reparations paid to them for their properties or stay in their homes in Judea while living under the new Palestinian government.
Ready, set…December 2012?
On September 23, 2011, the international Quartet (US, EU, Russia and the UN) set the goal of a complete resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by December 2012. If this goal set by the world community is achieved, all the above conditions will be met, and the final seven years to Armageddon will begin.
At this present time, we are moving steadily toward the achievement of this agreement. The following timeline of events from September 2009 until the present time will help us to understand what has happened so far and what will likely unfold in the months just ahead.
September 2009–Palestinians set September 2011 as the target date for the birth of a Palestinian state. They projected they would be able to govern their own state by that time.
November 2009–The Palestinians had stated they would not return to peace negotiations as long as Israel was allowing building in Judea (the West Bank). Consequently, Netanyahu declared a ten-month building freeze to allow President Obama to get peace talks restarted. However, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas continued to avoid re-engaging in peace negotiations in spite of pressure from the United States.
September 2, 2010–Abbas finally agreed to return to peace talks just three weeks before Israel’s building freeze expired. This was a calculated move by Abbas. He thought Obama would pressure Netanyahu to extend the building freeze.
September 23, 2010–In his annual UN speech, Obama expressed hope for a Palestinian state by September 2011. “When we come back here next year, we can have an agreement that can lead to a new member of the United Nations, an independent, sovereign state of Palestine living in peace with Israel,” Obama said in urging Palestinians and Israelis to conclude a permanent peace agreement.
September 26, 2010–Israel’s building freeze expired. Netanyahu could not renew the freeze without causing his government coalition to disintegrate. Abbas used the resumption of building in Judea-Samaria as an excuse to abandon the peace talks. Netanyahu rejected this as merely another excuse, stating that Israel had frozen building for ten months and still Palestinians had refused to participate in peace negotiations.
October 30, 2010–Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad announced his intention to continue moving forward with the second year of a two-year program of institutional capacity-building to lay the groundwork for a future Palestinian state. A document released by Fayyad’s office forecasted that the PA would complete all the major reforms and initiatives necessary for the creation of an independent state within the coming year.
November 10, 2010–Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas told his aides to ask the United Nations Security Council to recognize the PA as a new Arab country, to be called “Palestine.”
November 30, 2010–Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said Palestinians would be ready for statehood by August 2011, as promised in his two-year action plan.
December 9, 2010–Abbas said he would bypass negotiations, instead asking the UN Security Council for recognition of a Palestinian state and full membership in the UN.
December 21, 2010–The UN General Assembly adopted a non-binding resolution defending and respecting the preservation of “unity, territorial integrity and contiguity of all the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem” and reaffirming the right of all states in the region to live in peace within secure and recognized international borders. The document was adopted by 177 countries in favor, and opposed by Washington and Tel Aviv, along with the small Pacific states of Nauru, Micronesia, Marshall Islands and Palau. There were also four abstentions: Canada, Cameroon, DR Congo and Tonga. The US and Israel opposed the resolution because it declared East Jerusalem to be Palestinian territory, contrary to UN Resolution 242 which called for Jerusalem’s status to be determined by negotiations.
May 19, 2011–President Obama made a major speech on the Middle East calling for negotiations on the basis of 1967 borders with land swaps. This speech was specifically designed to pre-empt Netanyahu’s speech before the joint session of Congress scheduled to occur five days later. Netanyahu reacted furiously, pointing out that using 1967 borders as a base for negotiations had never been the US position since the conclusion of the 1967 War. Furthermore, Netanyahu stated that this precondition contradicted UN Resolution 242, which called for final borders to be determined by negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians.
May 20, 2011–Netanyahu and Obama met at the White House for critical discussions of Obama’s call for negotiations to be based on 1967 borders.
May 22, 2011–In one of the most pro-Israeli addresses ever delivered by an American president, Obama corrected the harsh impression Israel gained from his May 19 Middle East speech. He explained to the 11,000 delegates at the AIPAC (American Israeli Public Affairs Committee) conference that the final Israeli-Palestinian borders would differ from the 1967 lines because of the “mutually agreed swaps” he had also advocated.
May 24, 2011–Netanyahu spoke before a joint session of Congress explaining why 1967 borders were indefensible. He received thirty standing ovations. Many believe this was one of the most important speeches ever given by an Israeli prime minister.
June 26, 2011–Palestinians officially decided to request UN recognition of a Palestinian state based on pre-1967 borders. This move would bypass negotiations and circumvent the Oslo Peace Accords, which called for final borders between Palestinians and Israelis to be determined by negotiations between the two parties.
August 2011–The Quartet, which includes the US, tried feverishly to achieve a peace agreement before the September UN General Assembly meeting.
September 8, 2011–The United States said it would veto the Palestinian membership application to the UN.
September 17, 2011–Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said he would demand full membership of the world body for a Palestinian state at the UN General Assembly, setting up a diplomatic clash with Israel and the United States.
September 19, 2011–A last-ditch international push began to re-launch Israeli-Palestinian peace talks and avert a crisis over Palestinian statehood at the United Nations as members of the Quartet of Middle East mediators met in New York.
September 22, 2011–President Obama spoke at the United Nations. His remarks included considerable reference to the Palestinian-Israeli peace efforts.
“One year ago, I stood at this podium and I called for an independent Palestine. I believed then, and I believe now, that the Palestinian people deserve a state of their own…But what I also said is that a genuine peace can only be realized between the Israelis and the Palestinians themselves. Peace will not come through statements and resolutions at the United Nations—if it were that easy, it would have been accomplished by now…Israelis must know that any agreement provides assurances for their security. Palestinians deserve to know the territorial basis of their state…Each side has legitimate aspirations—and that’s part of what makes peace so hard.”
September 23, 2011–Abbas presented the Palestinian application for full membership in the United Nations to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon. The application asked for UN membership for the Palestinian state with pre-1967 borders and with East Jerusalem as its capital.
September 23, 2011–Palestinian Chairman Mahmoud Abbas spoke at the United Nations. He placed the blame for the breakdown in peace negotiations squarely on Israel’s building in the settlements. He claimed Israel’s policy constituted a breach of international humanitarian law and United Nations resolutions. He stated that settlements were the primary cause for the failure of the peace process. He repeatedly accused Israel of occupying Palestinian lands while never mentioning that these lands have never been controlled by Palestine. Jordan occupied these territories prior to the 1967 War.
Abbas hurt the Palestinian cause terribly when he accused Israel of undertaking excavations that threaten Muslim holy places. Everyone with any knowledge of the situation at all knew Israel had never conducted any excavations within 500 feet of the Dome of the Rock or the al-Aqsa Mosque. These charges were blatant lies that destroyed Abbas’ credibility.
Abbas made one interesting argument concerning Netanyahu’s recent demand that Israel be recognized as a “Jewish state.” He described this demand as “…New conditions not previously raised, conditions that will transform the raging conflict in our inflamed region into a religious conflict and a threat to the future of a million and a half Christian and Muslim Palestinians who are citizens of Israel.”
September 23, 2011–Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke at the United Nations. Following are excerpts from that speech.
“As Israel’s prime minister, I didn’t come here to win applause. I came here to speak the truth. The truth is that Israel wants peace with a Palestinian state, but the Palestinians want a state without peace. And the truth is you shouldn’t let that happen.
I believe that militant Islam armed with nuclear weapons is the greatest danger facing our world today. And this is precisely what Iran is trying to achieve. Can you imagine that man who ranted here yesterday (Iranian President Ahmadinejad)–can you imagine him armed with nuclear weapons? The international community must stop Iran before it’s too late.
Now, some argue that the spread of militant Islam, especially in these turbulent times–if you want to slow it down, they argue, Israel must hurry to make concessions, to make territorial compromises. And this theory sounds simple. Basically it goes like this: Leave the territory, and peace will be advanced. The moderates will be strengthened; the radicals will be kept at bay. And don’t worry about the pesky details of how Israel will actually defend itself; international troops will do the job.
These people say to me constantly: Just make a sweeping offer, and everything will work out. You know, there’s only one problem with that theory. We’ve tried it, and it hasn’t worked. In 2000, Israel made a sweeping peace offer that met virtually all of the Palestinian demands. Arafat rejected it. The Palestinians then launched a terror attack that claimed a thousand Israeli lives.
In 2008, Prime Minister Olmert made an even more sweeping offer. President Abbas didn’t even respond to it.
But Israel did more than just make sweeping offers. We actually left territory. We withdrew from Lebanon in 2000 and from every square inch of Gaza in 2005. That didn’t calm the Islamic storm, the militant Islamic storm that threatens us. It only brought the storm closer and made it stronger.
We left Gaza hoping for peace. We didn’t freeze the settlements in Gaza. We uprooted them. We did exactly what the theory says: Get out, go back to the 1967 borders, dismantle the settlements. And I don’t think people remember how far we went to achieve this. We uprooted thousands of people from their homes. We pulled children out of their schools and their kindergartens. We bulldozed synagogues. We even moved loved ones from their graves. And then, having done all that, we gave the keys of Gaza to President Abbas.
Now the theory says it should all work out, and President Abbas and the Palestinian Authority now could build a peaceful state in Gaza. You can remember that the entire world applauded. They applauded our withdrawal as an act of great statesmanship. It was a bold act of peace.
But ladies and gentlemen, we didn’t get peace. We got war. We got Iran, which through its proxy Hamas promptly kicked out the Palestinian Authority. The Palestinian Authority collapsed in a day–in one day.
Israel is prepared to have a Palestinian state in the West Bank, but we’re not prepared to have another Gaza there. And that’s why we need to have real security arrangements, which the Palestinians simply refuse to negotiate with us. Without Judea and Samaria (the West Bank), Israel is all of 9 miles wide. Israel needs greater strategic depth, and that’s exactly why Security Council Resolution 242 didn’t require Israel to leave all the territories it captured in the Six-Day War.
Concerning a Palestinian state, the Palestinians should first make peace with Israel and then get their state. But I also want to tell you this. After such a peace agreement is signed, Israel will not be the last country to welcome a Palestinian state as a new member of the United Nations. We will be the first.
Ladies and gentlemen, last year in Israel in Bar-ilan University, this year in the Knesset and in the US Congress, I laid out my vision for peace in which a demilitarized Palestinian state recognizes the Jewish state. Yes, the Jewish state. After all, this is the body that recognized the Jewish state 64 years ago. Now, don’t you think it’s about time that Palestinians did the same?
President Abbas just stood here and said that the core of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the settlements. Well, that’s odd. Our conflict was raging for nearly half a century before there was a single Israeli settlement in the West Bank. So if what President Abbas is saying was true, then I guess the settlements he’s talking about are Tel Aviv, Haifa, Jaffa, Be’er Sheva. Maybe that’s what he meant the other day when he said that Israel has been occupying Palestinian land for 63 years. He didn’t say from 1967; he said from 1948.
The settlements are an issue that has to be addressed and resolved in the course of negotiations. But the core of the conflict has always been and unfortunately remains the refusal of the Palestinians to recognize a Jewish state in any border. I think it’s time that the Palestinian leadership recognizes what every serious international leader has recognized, from Lord Balfour and Lloyd George in 1917, to President Truman in 1948, to President Obama just two days ago right here: Israel is the Jewish state.
President Abbas, stop walking around this issue. Recognize the Jewish state, and make peace with us. In such a genuine peace, Israel is prepared to make painful compromises. We believe that the Palestinians should be neither the citizens of Israel nor its subjects.
I often hear them accuse Israel of Judaizing Jerusalem. That’s like accusing America of Americanizing Washington, or the British of Anglicizing London. You know why we’re called “Jews”, because we come from Judea?
President Abbas, we’ve both just flown thousands of miles to New York. Now we’re in the same city. We’re in the same building. So let’s meet here today in the United Nations. Who’s there to stop us? What is there to stop us? If we genuinely want peace, what is there to stop us from meeting today and beginning peace negotiations? I’ll tell you my needs and concerns. You’ll tell me yours. And with God’s help, we’ll find the common ground of peace.
President Abbas, I extend my hand–the hand of Israel–in peace. I hope that you will grasp that hand.”
September 23, 2011–The international Quartet issued an invitation to Israelis and Palestinians to renew peace negotiations without pre-conditions. Palestinians have complained that negotiations have gone on and on with no results or deadlines. The Quartet in response stated that talks should begin in one month from September 23, 2011. They said the final borders and security measures should be agreed upon by January 23, 2012, and that a total agreement should be achieved by December of 2012.
Israel has accepted the Quartet’s invitation, but the Palestinians have refused, demanding that all building in the settlements and in East Jerusalem be stopped first.
September 24, 2011–Netanyahu stated, “I will be the one who establishes a peace agreement between two nation-states, one of which will be a demilitarized Palestinian state that recognizes a Jewish state.”
October 26, 2011–Tony Blair met with the Palestinian representative and the Israeli representative separately. They both agreed to submit a map of borders and details of security arrangements between Israel and the proposed Palestinian state that they would accept. This is to be done by January 23, 2012. If an agreement could be obtained on final borders, then the settlement controversy would be eliminated.
October 31, 2011–UNESCO (United Nations Educational Scientific Cultural Organization) accepted Palestinians as a full member. Palestinians said they would apply for membership in fifteen or sixteen other UN agencies. The United States, Canada and Israel responded by withdrawing their funding from UNESCO. This action reduced the agency’s income by almost thirty percent. US State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said that, as a result of the vote, the US would not make a $64 million payment to UNESCO scheduled for later in the year.
November 3, 2011–In a surprising reversal, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said that the Palestinian Authority should not pursue its plan to be recognized as a member state of the United Nations. Now that the PA has been accepted into UNESCO, the Authority’s leadership should be satisfied with that achievement. Ban, speaking before a meeting of the G20 industrialized nations in Paris, specified the reason for his change of heart; the financial hit the UN took when UNESCO approved the PA’s membership.
November 4, 2011–Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki said the Palestinians were not concerned with applying for membership in the rest of the international organizations. He said the official Palestinian position is to concentrate only on the request for full membership in the United Nations.
November 8, 2011–The UN Security Council issued a report stating that the Council could not reach consensus to approve the Palestinian application for membership in the United Nations. The Palestinians were unable to obtain the nine votes on the Council necessary for approval. Palestinians had hoped to obtain the necessary votes to force the United States to either accept Palestinian membership in the UN or risk isolation by exercising its veto power.
November 9, 2011–The Palestinian Authority admitted it had failed in its bid for full UN membership. They said they were now unlikely to call for a vote on the matter in the Security Council. The PA is expected instead to turn to the General Assembly, where it has an automatic majority, and ask that its status be upgraded to that of an observer nation. This would give the Palestinians de facto international recognition as a state, even if it does not bestow upon them full-state rights in the international arena.
“Our plan now is to take the battle to the UN General Assembly, where we are certain to score victory. This will allow us access to many important UN agencies and organizations, including the International Criminal Court,” a PA official said.
The Road Ahead
The question is not “Will there be a Middle East peace agreement?” It is going to happen. It is prophesied in the Bible, and the prophecies always come to pass. The only question is “When?” More specifically: “Will there be a comprehensive peace agreement concluded by the Quartet’s set goal of December 2012?”
With the Palestinians refusing to even sit down at the peace table with Israel, it’s hard to envision events moving rapidly enough to settle all outstanding issues by December of 2012. Talks have actually dragged on since September 13, 1993. Why should we expect an unprecedented breakthrough to happen within the next twelve months?
Could a major crisis create the right conditions?
Some observers believe it will take a major global crisis to finally generate the political will to achieve the long-sought Middle East peace agreement. Is such a worldwide crisis on the horizon?
There is another major prophecy in the Bible that runs parallel with the prophecy about the Middle East peace agreement. Revelation 9:13-15 prophesies a war that will kill one-third of mankind. This prophecy will most likely come to pass just before the conclusion of the Middle East peace agreement. Imagine one person out of three annihilated off the face of the earth in a horrible nuclear holocaust! Would an apocalyptic war of this magnitude be enough to motivate the nations of the world to finally demand that Israelis and Palestinians agree to terms of peace? We know from the prophecy that this war is coming. It seems very likely that this catastrophe will be the crisis that finally drives the parties of the Middle East to the prophesied peace agreement.
Are conditions right for the Revelation 9 war?
The prophesied war will begin from the area of the Euphrates River. The Euphrates begins in Turkey, flows through Syria, and then travels all the way through the nation of Iraq. It finally empties into the Persian Gulf just along the border of Iran.
At this present time, there are disputes simmering up and down the Euphrates River Basin. Syria is in turmoil; Iraq is in transition as the United States prepares to leave. Iran is the target of international sanctions because it continues to pursue its nuclear development. Both Israel and the US have said they will not allow Iran to obtain nuclear weapons and will resort to all necessary means to prevent it. The British government recently informed its senior ministers that Israel is expected to attack Iran around Christmas 2011 or in the beginning of 2012. Iran has said repeatedly that, if Israel or the US does attack her, it will trigger World War III.
However World War III begins, the result will be the killing of one-third of mankind. This war could certainly create the conditions for the world community to demand a peace agreement between Palestinians and Israelis.
So will the Middle East peace be achieved by December of 2012? Will the World War III happen before the peace agreement is concluded or afterwards? We cannot at this time answer these questions with absolute certainty.
However, whenever the peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians is finally achieved, the next road sign you will see will read, “Armageddon–seven years ahead.”