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1/1/2018 — From the "Forget Palestine!" Department...
Something noteworthy got started about three or four days ago, and it has to do with protests in Iran. It seems that what started out several days ago as localized protests about economic conditions within the country quickly metastasized into full-blown anti-government protests with a capital PRO.
With over a dozen dead, the violence has Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei quietly (and nervously) meeting with top political leaders to determine how best to clamp down on the protests. For starters, they have been quick to blame America and Israel for fomenting such anti-government sentiment.
One of the anti-government themes that has emerged is the people's anger and frustration with the country's staunch support of the Palestinian cause via Hamas and Hezbollah, anti-Israel puppets that the Iranian government is lavishly spending the country's money on to prop up and weaponize in its satanically inspired hatred for Israel.
Ayatollah Khamenei and other leaders are busily staging pro-government counter-protests in many cities around the country, complete with the usual anti-Zionist trappings people have come to expect from Iran: chants of "Death to America, death to Israel" and placards saying "Down with Israel," etc.
Unfortunately, these are unable to drown out the chants of "Forget Palestine!"
The bottom line is that the people of Iran have a message for the Ayatollah:
"H-e-l-l-o...hating Israel doesn't put food on the table, and weaponizing groups to threaten and attack them doesn't give us jobs."
From a prophetic standpoint, it will be interesting to see if these protests and the Iranian government's ham-fisted attempts to stop them result in an increase in the country's demonization of Israel (if that's possible) in order to lend strength to its anti-Zionist rhetoric and tactics, and if it will goad Iran into pulling the trigger sooner rather than later on its ill-fated plans to destroy the Jewish state.
But any way you look at it, it's a story to watch.
1/8/2018 — From the "One State or Two?" Department...
Although the Trump team has yet to announce the details of their proposed peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians, the buzz on the street is increasingly leaning in the direction of a one-state solution in place of the usual two-state idea.
The concept of a one-state solution has been out there for a long time; but since all roads have seemingly led to the two-state version for the past several decades, it has never really come to the fore.
Until December 6, 2017.
That was the day President Trump announced America's official recognition of Jerusalem as the eternal capital of Israel, a political bombshell whose ramifications are still reverberating throughout both the political and religious worlds. To top it off, he also announced the United States' intention to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
From the viewpoint of the Palestinians, this could be translated as:
(a) Insert dagger. (b) Twist.
Since then, the Palestinians have been bawling and squalling and holding their breath until they turned blue, and have basically divorced themselves from the United States and any role they might play in future negotiations. Other regional Arab countries have done their best to pacify them with lollipops, but with marginal effect to date.
What is interesting from a prophetic standpoint, however, is that the type of one-state deal being whispered about behind closed doors would be a state that combines Israel and the Palestinians into, well, one single state. According to an article in the New York Times, those espousing the idea see it something like this:
"Palestinian supporters envision one state with equal rights for Palestinians and Jews. Palestinians would have proportionate political power and, given demographic trends, would before long be a majority, spelling the end of the Zionist project."
One state for both the Jews and the Palestinians, together. How nice.
One problem, scripturally speaking, is that it would effectively spell the end of Israel as a Jewish state. Perhaps not all at once, but over time, yes. Straight up—that will never happen.
A second problem is that the Bible says the land of Israel will be divided by a negotiated treaty in the last days, and this will lead to the judgments of the Tribulation. Joel 3:2, Isaiah 28:15, and other verses speak of this, and two things about this treaty are reasonably clear from Scripture: (a) It will be a negotiated treaty (not something shoved down Israel's throat by the UN), and (b) it will divide the land of Israel.
Many faithful prophecy watchers (this writer included) have long seen the deal between the Israelis and the Palestinians as The Treaty of Daniel 9:27, and we know that the Rapture occurs before its implementation.
But in my humble opinion, if some kind of one-state solution that does not divide Israel is proposed, it cannot be the The Treaty. I just don't see how it could be.
Logically, that means that either (a) it won't happen and a two-state solution that does divide Israel is still in the prophetic pipeline, or (b) the treaty of Daniel 9:27 could be further off than we believe.
I pray it's the first one.
1/15/2018 — From the "Same Old Song and Dance" Department...
...a-n-d jerk goes the knee.
To the surprise of no one, PA President Mahmoud Abbas is taking the Palestinian Statehood Dog and Pony Show on the road, hoping to find a more receptive and sympathetic audience in Europe.
Later this month, Abbas will visit the headquarters of the European Union in Brussels and intends to reach into his bag of tricks and pull out three demands that he hopes will bring the house down:
1. Support for Palestinian membership in the United Nations.
After President Trump officially recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel last month, a UN Security Council resolution condemning such recognition was introduced and was supported by all member states of the EU, although it was vetoed by the United States. (A similar resolution went before the UN General Assembly, where five countries abstained.)
Abbas hopes to persuade these EU countries that were so quick to condemn Trump's recognition of the Israeli capital to turn their sentiments into substantive political action by supporting Palestine's membership in the UN.
2. More financial aid.
The United States has been the largest donor of financial aid to the Palestinians since the Oslo Accords in 1994, and currently forks over about $600 million annually. Since Trump's recognition of Jerusalem on December 6, however, the Palestinians have cursed the ground he walks on and have snidely dismissed the United States as a peace-broker (bite...hand...feeds).
Not only that, but they are all but openly advertising the fact that they will not hesitate to turn their noses up at whatever plans the Trump administration has to offer for any species of Israeli-Palestinian agreement from here on out.
Hence the road trip to Brussels.
In response, Trump has threatened to either dramatically reduce or cut off that financial aid, and he seems to have gotten it through to Abbas that he is the kind of man who is just unpredictable enough to do exactly what he says. Just to drive the point home, Trump recently tweeted:
"We pay the Palestinians HUNDRED OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS a year and get no appreciation or respect."
Emphasis his. So, when Mahmoud Abbas stands before the EU, it will be with his hand out because he knows Trump just might follow through on his intimations that the United States has better things to do with its taxpayers' money.
3. Recognition of a Palestinian state based on the pre-1967 borders.
The showstopper. Abbas wants the EU to recognize Palestine according to the Israeli borders that existed prior to the Six Day War in June of 1967, along with East Jerusalem as its capital. Abbas no doubt hopes that such recognition by the EU will be contagious enough to infect the UN.
Same old song and dance.
I said last week that some are entertaining the notion of a one-state solution; but as you can see, all—at least most—roads still lead to the two-state solution. It doesn't matter how much sense a one-state solution might make. It makes no difference how sensible or practical it might be in the minds of many people.
I believe the Bible calls for a two-state solution—one that divides Israel.
And if the actions of the Palestinians are any indication, that's still what we'll see when it's time for the curtain to come up for the final act.