|Israel worried Russia may affirm recognition of 'Palestine'|
|Written by Chris Perver|
|Tuesday, 18 January 2011 08:00|
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev arrived in Jericho this morning on is to be his first 'state visit' to the Palestinian territories. The president will be opening a museum of Palestinian antiquities that has been funded by the Russian government. He is also scheduled to meet President Abbas and discuss the Middle East peace process. Medvedev intended to visit Israel as well but his trip was cancelled at the last minute due to a strike in the Israeli foreign office. Direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority collapsed after the end of Israel's 10 month settlement freeze in Judea and Samaria. Since that time the Palestinian Authority have been pushing for international recognition of a Palestinian without making peace with Israel. Around seven or more South American states have so far offered recognition of a Palestinian state. Ecuador, Chile, Cuba, Nicaragua, and Guyana are the latest countries to recognize an independent 'Palestine', while Paraguay, Peru, Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic are expected to follow suit in the coming weeks. Amid all this clamour, Israeli officials are becoming concerned that the Russian premier may use his visit to boost international recognition of a Palestinian state, by reaffirming Russia's own proclamation on the matter following Arafat's declaration of independence in 1988.
Quote: "Officials became concerned following an interview given by Fatah official Nabil Sha'ath to the Al-Hayat newspaper on Tuesday. Sha'ath said that Medvedev would affirm the Soviet Union's 1988 recognition of a Palestinian state - a recognition that was based on the declaration of independence made by Yassir Arafat that year. Such a move would be significant, particularly since Russia is a member of the Quartet of Middle East peace negotiators.
Quote: "Abbas also said the visit confirmed Russia’s commitment to the Palestinian quest for a state with its capital in East Jerusalem. Russia already recognizes a Palestinian state based on its 1967 borders, but it recognized the state in 1988 under the now-defunct Soviet regime.
It's difficult to know exactly what the future holds for the Middle East at the present time. I am watching for two things. Firstly to see how far this international recognition of 'Palestine' goes. For the Scripture states that during the tribulation period, the city of Jerusalem will be divided and the Lord will gather all nations together against the city to do battle (Zechariah 12:2, 14:2, Revelation 11:2). There is no doubt in my mind that a failure of some sort of peace agreement (Daniel 9:27), coupled with international recognition of 'Palestine' with its capital in east Jerusalem, will ultimately bring this about. Secondly, I am watching to see Russia's involvement in the whole process. For Ezekiel 38-39 also state that a confederacy of Black Sea nations (Magog, Meshech, Tubal, etc), coupled with Iran (Persia) and other countries of like mind, will come against Israel at a time when it is at rest with its Arab neighbours (though not strictly at 'peace' with them according to the text).
It's easy to get dismayed at world events, and to 'take sides' with Israel against their enemies. But as Christians we need to remember that no matter how bad things get, God is still in complete control, and that He is allowing all of this to happen for a reason. Of the ten world leaders that will arise and pledge their allegiance to the Antichrist during the tribulation period, it is said that, "God hath put in their hearts to fulfil his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled", Revelation 17:7. The prophet Daniel also said of King Nebuchadnezzar, who invaded the land of Israel and carried away captive many of the Jewish people, that God would allow these things to happen so that "the living may know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the basest of men", Daniel 4:17. God is still in complete control, and He will use these events to fulfil His own will. Of course men will still bear responsibility for what they do. The nation of Babylon was judged by God for its sin, although God used it to punish His people for their own disobedience (Jeremiah 25). And the Antichrist will be judged for his sin (Revelation 19:20), although God will use him to punish His people for their rejection of the Messiah (John 5:43). But His will is to ultimately to bring the nation, and mankind, back to Himself (Luke 13:35).
Looking at events in the world today, it is clear that the days spoken of by the prophets in the Bible concerning the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ are drawing near. "And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed", Romans 13:11. It's important also to remember in all of this that God has no pleasure in the death of the wicked (Ezekiel 33:11). Peter also tells us that God is "not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance", 2nd Peter 3:9. That's why God sent His Son Jesus Christ into the world. He bore God's punishment for sin when He died upon the cross (Isaiah 53:6). And all who believe on Him for salvation can have their sins forgiven, and shall not come into judgement, but have passed from death unto life (John 5:24). Have your sins been forgiven? Have you believed on the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation? Turn away from your sins, and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation today.