Israel & Christians Today: Weekly Update (January 18)

editor - 18 January 2019

At the end of another week, we can see many developments which would all seem to be signs of the fulfillment of Biblical prophecy in our generation.

  • Palestinians push for UN membership
  • Germany and France intensify their alliance
  • Iran remains Israel’s no. 1 threat
  • Syria –US pull-out leaves the way open for Iran
  • Trump’s peace plan – are the US planning to promote Palestinian sovereignty over Judea and Samaria?
  • Somali Islamist Terror Group Claims Deadly Nairobi Atrocity Was Response to ‘Desecration’ Of Jerusalem by ‘Zionist Jews’

Shabbat shalom

The Israel & Christians Today team

Palestinians push for UN membership
The PLO has announced that it is going to push ahead with its bid for “Palestine” to be admitted as a UN member state. The PLO/Palestine applied for UN membership in 2011 but that application has never been determined. Under the UN Charter, the Security Council must first make a recommendation, and then the General Assembly makes a decision whether or not to admit a new state as a UN member.

A state that is not yet a UN member can be admitted to the UN if it can establish that it is a state; that it is “peace loving”; and that it is able and willing to comply with the UN Charter.

In the case of “Palestine” it is doubtful that it constitutes a state under international law, but opinions on this matter in the legal community are divided. And over 130 nations have now recognized “Palestine” as a state, so – politically-speaking – the Palestinians have a lot in their favour.

Under international law a state only exists if (in addition to having a defined population and territory) it has a government that can effectively govern independently of all other states, and can enter into diplomatic relations. Given the many problems between the PA, Fatah and Hamas, and the PA’s dependence on Israel in so many ways, it is doubtful whether the Palestinians have an effective, independent government. Similarly Palestine does not have the capacity to enter into relations with other states and can hardly be called a “peace-loving” state.

Nevertheless, the UN is not about law and truth but about politics and power.

If Palestine is admitted as a UN member state, it will have even more political power to demand that Israel remove all Israeli’s from the so-called “Occupied Palestinian Territories” – including the Old City of Jerusalem.

The Palestinians know that the US will veto the resolution, but they want to have at least 9 votes in favour to show that only the US veto is preventing them from becoming a full member state. Of the 15, only the following 5 current members will necessarily vote in favour of the admission: China, Indonesia, Kuwait, South Africa, the Russian FederationThey need 4 more votes.

10 of the Security Council members have already recognized the State of Palestine: China, Côte d’Ivoire, Dominican Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Indonesia, Kuwait, Peru, Poland, South Africa, the Russian Federation.

Germany and France intensify their alliance
A fascinating and alarming development that no-one is talking about is the new bilateral treaty that has been negotiated between France and Germany.

As recently reported in The Trumpet:
“The Aachen Treaty is a milestone in European policymaking at a time when the restraining forces of Britain and the United States have been removed. But the treaty will not only drive Europe ahead, it will also drive Europe closer together. It will replace the currently divided union and create a more united, stronger empire.

President Macron’s office stated that the increased cooperation favors the “security and prosperity of our peoples in the framework of a more sovereign, united and democratic Europe.” The treaty sets the course for Europe to draw closer together on the military, cultural, social and political level.

In other words, Germany and France seek to establish a European empire”.

There seems no doubt that the growing alliance between Germany and France must in some way be part of the fulfilment of the prophecies in Daniel and Revelation about the 10 kingdoms in the days prior to Christ’s return.

Iran remains Israel’s no. 1 threat
Our correspondent in Israel, Yochanan Visser reports on Israel’s increasing focus on Iran, which remains the number one threat to Israel:

“The latest IAF action in Syria took place in the night of 13 January 2019 when Israeli warplanes bombed weapon storage facilities in the vicinity of Damascus International Airport.

In a departure from standard procedure Prime Minister Netanyahu openly admitted Israel had bombed the weapon storages. At the start of the weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday 13 January 2019, Netanyahu made the following statement:

“Just in the last 36 hours the air force attacked Iranian warehouses with Iranian weapons at the international airport in Damascus. The accumulation of recent attacks proves that we are determined more than ever to take action against Iran in Syria, just as we promised.”

Outgoing IDF Chief of Staf Gadi Eisenkot, furthermore, revealed that as a result of the IAF campaign against Iran in Syria Soleimani decided to pull out his troops from the border region with Israel.

At about the same time, the Quds commander shifted his focus from Syria to Lebanon and Gaza.

Iranian civil planes started to deliver weapons bound for Hezbollah directly via Beirut International Airport and the Quds Force reportedly was assisting Hezbollah with the conversion of crude rockets into GPS guided missiles on Lebanese soil.

After Netanyahu exposed Iran’s activities in Lebanon and revealed the existence of a network of terror tunnels underneath the border with Israel, it became clear that this part of the Iranian plan to start a multiple-front- war against the Jewish state had failed as well.”

Syria – US pull-out leaves the way open for Iran
According to Johannes de Jong of Sallux the US withdrawal from Syria creates Israel’s gravest security situation in the 21stcentury.

“The security situation of Israel cannot be seen separated from what is happening in the countries around Israel. This is true in particular when it comes to the threat from Iran and the Iranian expansion in Syria. Iran is trying very hard to use Syria as a highway and base to build up military power against Israel. This is the reason that Israel is regularly bombing Iranian targets in Syria. The harsh reality is that almost everyone involved agrees that the US withdrawal from North-East Syria will make things much worse for Israel.

The US has a 2000 strong force in the Self Administration of North-East Syria (SANES). SANES is unique in the Middle East. In 2013 SANES was established in the combined regions of Jazira (utter North-East Syria), Kobane and Afrin (utter North-West Syria). It was established as an alliance of Kurds, Syriac-Assyrian Christians and Arabs living in these regions. It is based on secular democratic and power-sharing governance. It has full freedom of religion and full equality and equal freedoms for men and women. Even those who convert from Islam to Christianity can establish publicly their own churches. There is for example an increasing number of Christian Kurds. The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) are the army of SANES. SANES hosts hundreds of thousands displaced people from Syria and Iraq.

Since 2014 the International Coalition and the SDF have increasingly worked together in successfully defeating ISIS (which is not finished yet). US Army is present in Jazira, Kobane and liberated areas (Manbij, Raqqa, Deir Ezzor). US Army was never present in Afrin. Turkey invaded Afrin in January 2018 and destroyed it. The Yazidi’s and Christian Kurds there were driven away or forcefully converted to Islam by the jihadists that Turkey used in the attack at Afrin. Tens of thousands of Kurds were driven away from Afrin.

(map based on Liveuamap Syria)

As you can see on the map, one-third of Syria is now part of SANES and defended by the SDF. From this map it is clear that SANES is strategically located between Iraq and the Iran/regime-controlled part of Syria. So this 2000 US force helps a 50.000 SDF force to be a critical barrier against Iran.

If the US leaves without protection of SANES against Turkey the following will happen. Moscow promised SANES and SDF protection against Turkey if they merge with the Assad regime. If there is no other solution, this will for sure happen as Turkey would otherwise destroy and murder both the Kurds and the Syriac-Assyrian Christians (as we have seen in Afrin). If that merger happens there will be no barrier anymore against Iran as Moscow and Assad will instruct the SDF to let them through. Here you see the difference:

This means that Iran can increase its troop movement and military buildup with 400%. That will create an unprecedented Iranian pressure on Israel and the whole Arab region.

There are attempts to solve the situation with a mixed force of French and Arab troops to replace the US. It is very unclear if that can succeed in time. It is very unclear how the US wants to protect SANES as economic sanctions alone will not stop Turkey from invading. SANES will only not merge with the Assad regime if it is certain that Turkey will be stopped to invade North-East Syria. If the US gives Turkey a 20 mile-zone in Northern Syria, SANES will for sure merge with the Assad regime before that happens.

This means that all those who care for the future and security of Israel should ask President Trump to postpone the withdrawal until SANES is really safe against any Turkish aggression.

Trump’s peace plan – Arab sovereignty over Judea and Samaria?
Israel Today correspondent Ryan Jones reports:

“Israelis were taken aback on Wednesday when their evening news broadcast announced purported details of US President Donald Trump’s Middle East peace plan that didn’t quite fit with what they’d come to expect from the American leader.

According to journalist Barak Ravid of Channel 13 News, who cited a “senior American” official, Trump was planning to offer the Palestinians a fully-sovereign state on 85-90 percent of the West Bank, with the Arab neighborhoods of Jerusalem as its capital city.

The report further claimed that Trump wants to return to a long-abandoned UN proposal to place Jerusalem’s “Holy Basin,” the area of the Old City and its immediate surroundings, under some form of international supervision.

The Trump Administration’s engagement with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict up until now had led most Israelis to believe that gone were the days that the Palestinian Authority could flaunt its peace obligations and still be offered to have nearly all of its demands met.

But offering to give them a fully-sovereign state on most of Israel’s biblical heartland and divide Jerusalem would suggest otherwise, especially when the Palestinian Authority is still inciting its people to hatred and violence against Israel’s Jewish population.

The White House immediately dismissed the Channel 13 report as “inaccurate.”

Trump’s special envoy for the Middle East, Jason Greenblatt, tweeted: “While I respect @BarakRavid, his report on Israel’s Ch. 13 is not accurate. Speculation about the content of the plan is not helpful. Very few people on the planet know what is in it.”

So, it was just another case of fake news? Could be. Israel suffers from it just as much as America.

Or, perhaps it was the Trump Administration sending up a test balloon to see which provisions would be strongly rejected, and which would find some degree of acceptance among the parties involved. It’s not uncommon for the Americans to do such a thing.

Either way, one aspect of the story that’s being largely ignored, indeed that’s been ignored for over two decades now, is the Palestinian Authority’s rejection of any proposal that doesn’t meet 100 percent of its demands, and then some.

PA leader Mahmoud Abbas already months ago rejected Trump’s “Deal of the Century” before any details were even known because he knew the Americans wouldn’t offer him all he and the Palestinians demanded. It’s the same reason he’s been refusing to rejoin negotiations with Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu since the second term of Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama.

It’s Abbas’ rejectionist approach that suggests Trump was sending up a test balloon, and that Ravid and Channel 13 did not, in fact, report inaccurately. Trump knows he’s got to give the Palestinians something really good to get them back to the table, so perhaps he was trying to see just how much the Israelis would go for.

The problem with that approach, if that’s what happened here, is that Trump, like all his predecessors going back to Jimmy Carter, has failed to understand just how intransigent the Palestinian leadership has become.

Former Israel Prime Minister Ehud Barak already tried to offer the Palestinians all that Trump is now allegedly offering, and more, only to have Yasser Arafat throw it back in his face. Abbas, who was mentored by Arafat, isn’t now going to accept a Palestinian state on anything less than the pre-1967 armistice lines, or a truncated East Jerusalem. He’s staked his entire legacy on rejecting such compromises.

It’s delusional for anyone to think that they can get the Palestinian leadership to now climb down from this tree, even for a “master dealmaker” like Trump.”


Somali Islamist Terror Group Claims Deadly Nairobi Atrocity Was Response to ‘Desecration’ Of Jerusalem by ‘Zionist Jews’
Finally – whatever happens, it’s always Israel’s fault:



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Andrew Tucker is International Editor of our bi-monthly newspaper Israel & Christians Today. The goal of Israel & Christians Today is to help Christians to take God’s Word seriously, and study current events in the world in the context of the Bible. Click here to subscribe.

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