by Tony Pearce ( Light for Last Days).

Former Israeli prime minister Peres hosted some 90 current and former world leaders including Mikhail Gorbachev, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Henry Kissinger for the launch of a $60 million series of initiatives by his Centre for Peace. He also became the first Israeli to address the Palestinian Legislative Council. He told them, 'It is our deep hope that the Palestinians will gain independence. It is in our common interest to see a Palestinian state in place as a result of negotiations - a state that lives democratically and flourishes economically.'

Peres may have received a standing ovation from the Palestinians for saying this, but whether they would like to live in peace alongside Israel is more open to question.

Leading Palestinian Authority (PA) figure Feisal Husseini has predicted a regional war by the middle of this year: 'On May 4th 1999 we will announce the independence of the Palestinian state ... forcefully open our borders with Jordan and Egypt ... there will be violent confrontation and death.' (Arafat has since announced that he will delay the declaration of a Palestinian state until 1st January 2000, in exchange for assurances of recognition from the US and the EU). Farouk Kaddoumi, head of the PLO's political bureau vowed that the Palestinians will follow their declaration of a state by launching the 'battle against Israeli forces to eradicate Israel's presence from Palestinian lands.'

In saying this Kaddoumi is following the strategic goals outlined by the PLO in its '10 points phased plan' drafted in 1974. This has the intention of setting up a Palestinian entity in areas Israel withdraws from and using this as a base of operations from which to attack Israel. (Articles 2 and 4).

There is enough evidence coming from Arafat's Palestine to convince anyone of its true intentions towards Israel. Fiery sermons in Palestinian mosques preach jihad against Zionists. On January 15th, the last Friday of the Muslim fast of Ramadan, Arafat appointed Sheikh Ahmed al-Sadaat told a crowd of 300,000 on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem: 'Arabs and Muslims have to understand the truth that our struggle in Palestine is a religious one between Islam and its enemies.' According to Islamic thought once a country has been ruled by Islam it must remain so until the end of days. As far as the Muslims are concerned the whole territory of Israel should be returned to Islamic control.

Palestinian school books exhort children to 'gather for war with red blood and blazing fire' and assign essays on 'Why we must fight the Jews and drive them out of our land.' The PA's official newspaper writes that Hitler's persecution was 'a malicious fabrication of the Jews' and that 'Jews spread prostitution to plunge the world into decadence, abomination and corruption.'

The PLO's recognition of the State of Israel and its right to exist was a foundation stone of the Oslo Accords. The Palestinian Media Watch released a report focusing on what the Palestinian people are being told by their own media on this issue.

'Repeated messages of non recognition of Israel are transmitted in Palestinian media. There are three categories: complete rejection of the establishment of the State, non-reconciliation with Israel even within the borders of 1948 and anticipation of the elimination of Israel. The establishment of Israel is depicted as 'the establishment of a foreign entity in Palestine' in the PA's official newspaper. Cities of Israel are called 'colonies', 'settlements', 'conquered Palestinian cities.' The 'Map of Palestine' includes all territories of Israel. The PA's official newspaper quoted with approval the vice governor of Jenin who said, 'We understand that the Oslo agreement is the beginning of building the dream and the state and the end of the existing Zionist project.'' (ICEJ News 7/9/98).

Articles 5 and 6 of the Phased Plan are also significant in the light of the recent death of King Hussein. They speak of a 'struggle along with the Jordanian national forces to establish a Jordanian - Palestinian national front whose aim will be to set up in Jordan a democratic national authority (i.e. a thuggish police state controlled by Arafat's terrorists) in close contact with the Palestinian entity that is established through the struggle.' If Jordan falls then there will be a clear highway through to Israel from Iraq.

The 'Phased Plan' also seeks to provoke an all out war in which Israel's Arab neighbours destroy it entirely (Article 8). This too appears to be going to plan. The Egyptian Ambassador to Israel warned that a clash between Israel and the Palestinians could lead to an armed conflict between Israel and Egypt. Egyptian President Mubarak has confirmed that all Arab countries would recognise a Palestinian state.

At the same time Russia is once again playing an active role in the Middle East. The Russian Foreign Minister has announced that an independent Palestinian state is 'a strategic goal' for Russia. Russia is also supplying Israel's enemies with weapons of mass destruction. Prime Minister Primakov is long term friend of the leaders of Iraq and Syria. Under his influence the transfer of missile and nuclear technology to Iran has accelerated. British intelligence sources believe sophisticated Russian technology is being transferred to Damascus to assist Syria's chemical weapons project.

While all this is going on it is clear that the West is in the process of turning against Israel. Since the Wye Agreement and Clinton's visit to Israel and the Palestinian Authority in December, all the signs point to a shift in US policy. By simply giving lip service to 'peace' Arafat can get what he wants from the West and to a certain extent from Israel itself. Clinton's speech to the Palestinian legislature in Gaza compared the situation of the children of Israeli victims of terrorism with that of the children of Palestinian terrorists in jail for their crimes. He told the Palestinians that they were free to 'determine their own destiny on their own land', words which indicated support for a future independent Palestine.

While the US administration shifts its policy in favour of 'Palestine', the EU is now wanting to put forward its own peace plan for the Middle East. France has indicated that it would recognise an independent Palestine. The EU envoy to the Middle East, Miguel Moratinos, states that Israel should withdraw from the Golan, and hopes that 'when Europe is fully united, its foreign policy will be unified' and that there will be 'European-Russian co-operation that could change the course of events.' Given the hostility to Israel that governs the thinking of most of the Catholic nations of Europe and of Russia, that is hardly a prospect which can inspire much confidence in Israel.

Behind all this we see the shadowy figures of the globalist international, or New World Order, who are working for the establishment of a world government. The strategic significance of Israel geographically, economically and religiously is vital for this purpose. Shimon Peres' gathering referred to at the beginning of this article was clearly a New World Order event, including as it did Henry Kissinger, the real architect of the Oslo Accords, and major shaper of the globalist agenda. The powers behind the New World Order probably do not want the elimination of Israel, but rather to create a weakened Israel dependent on them for survival.

What we see shaping up in the present political situation is the fulfilment of Biblical prophecies written centuries ago. The restoration of the Jewish people to their ancient homeland is a sign to the Gentile nations of God's faithfulness to his covenant and something they should take note of: 'Hear the word of the Lord, O nations, and declare it in the isles afar off, and say, 'He who scattered Israel will gather him and keep him as a shepherd does his flock.'' (Jeremiah 31.10).

The incredible array of nations which are involved in trying to resolve the conflict and the centrality of Jerusalem to the situation is also prophesied in the Bible: 'And it shall happen in that day that I will make Jerusalem a very heavy stone for all peoples; all who would heave it away will surely be cut in pieces, though all nations of the earth are gathered against it.' (Zechariah 12.3).

Sadly the Bible makes it clear that there will be great conflict over Israel and Jerusalem in the last days of this age. Jeremiah 30 speaks of a time when the Jewish people return to the land of their fathers, look to hear a voice of peace, but instead hear 'a voice of trembling, of fear'. 'Alas for that day is great, so that none is like it; and it is the time of Jacob's trouble, but he shall be saved out of it.' God says, 'Though I make a full end of all nations where I have scattered you, yet I will not make a complete end of you. But I will correct you in justice and will not let you go altogether unpunished.' (Jeremiah 30.11).

So the prophecy speaks of deliverance from a coming time of trouble, but in the midst of that deliverance there is a correction for something Israel has got wrong. Other prophecies speak of a time of conflict followed by an outpouring of the Holy Spirit on Israel: Ezekiel 38-39, the War of Gog and Magog, Joel 2-3, Zechariah 12-14. Zechariah 14 speaks of the Lord himself going forth to fight against those nations which come against Jerusalem and standing on the Mount of Olives. Prior to this climax of this age, we read in Zechariah 12.10, 'And I will pour on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on me whom they have pierced. Yes they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only son.'

This is the matter which God is wanting to correct in Israel. He wants Israel to recognise the Messiah who has already come and been 'pierced' (died by crucifixion). The current events in Israel tell us that Jesus, (Yeshua to give him his Hebrew name), who fulfilled the prophecies of the Suffering Servant Messiah at his first coming, is soon coming again to fulfil the prophecies of the Reigning King Messiah. For this reason it is vital that Christians stand by Israel's right to exist in an increasingly hostile world, and that Jewish people take the trouble to investigate the claims of Jesus to be the Messiah.

As Israel faces the onslaught of world hostility and the probability of conflict sooner or later, Jewish people need to know that there are Christians who care about them and who wish to stand by them. Christians also need to inform themselves about the truth of the situation, which is not often reported in our newspapers. All people of all races and religions need to look to Jesus, who is the true Messiah who is coming soon to save Israel and the world from destruction.