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Blue Helmets to Jerusalem - page 20 / 95

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July, 2000, the U.N. deployed its first peacekeeping units along the "line of withdrawal", also known as the "blue line," between Israel and Lebanon. Referred to as the United Nations Interim Force, battalions of nearly two hundred soldiers in blue helmets took up positions -- armed men and women from Ireland, Ghana, Finland, Fiji, Nepal and India. So, a similar deployment around Jerusalem is not unthinkable.

In fact, numerous proposals have been made, calling for interposing U.N. peacekeepers between the Israelis and the Palestinians, either ahead of a peace agreement or as a means of implementing such an agreement. So far, Israel has refused to allow entry to such international forces, and the United States has blocked efforts in the U.N. Security Council to move in that direction.

But, the political situation can change a rapidly. Nothing illustrates that better than the changes in the United States policy toward Israel under President George W. Bush.

For decades prior to his administration the American policy had been one of official neutrality between Israel and the Palestinians. President Jimmy Carter dealt even handedly with both sides and brought them to the peace table at Camp David. Ronald Reagan pursued the same course during his eight-year administration. And George H. W. Bush (the father of George W. Bush) did likewise. The Bill Clinton White House followed the same policy and brought the Israelis and the Palestinians to the point of a peace agreement that was to have put a Palestinian state in place as early as 1999. Then the status of Jerusalem came up, and negotiations fell apart.

The policy of the new administration of George W. Bush appeared, at first, to be characterized by a lack of interest in the Middle East, altogether. Then, it became clear that, by adopting a hands-off policy, the new president had caused the United States government to change its course with regard to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Instead of acting as a neutral power trying to bring both sides to the negotiating table, the United States actually took on the role of a ally of Israel. Without strong American intervention to act as a restraint, the government of Israel had the upper hand in dealing with the

Palestinians. And with the tacit approval of Washington Israel used to its military superiority to impose a de facto solution without further negotiation with the Palestinians. Citing security concerns, Israeli forces simply re-occupied territory previously turned over to control by the Palestinian Authority.

But, then came September 11, 2001. When Islamic terrorist attacks hit the Pentagon and the World Trade Center, it became clear that Israel's strangulation of Palestinian aspirations in the occupied territories would not settle the matter. Like a balloon that is squeezed in one place, only to expand everywhere else, the violence spread worldwide. As a result, American policy changed course again. Instead of total disengagement, the U.S. became fully engaged again in the Middle East peace process, this time by joining Russia, the European Union and the United Nations to form a Quartet sponsoring an international roadmap for peace.

Similar rapid changes in circumstances and policies could turn a voluntary peacekeeping operation around Jerusalem into a hostile military occupation of Jerusalem by blue helmeted United Nations peacekeeping forces. The international attack on Jerusalem long foretold in the Bible could develop from a botched peacekeeping effort. Peacekeepers brought in voluntarily by Israel could turn into the advance guard of an invading army. And a new administration in Washington could turn Israel's only ally into a neutral observer, or even an opponent.

Am I writing this book to declare to the world that this is what will happen? No. We can not be certain, at this time, just how the prophecies of an international attack on Jerusalem see fulfillment.

But we can be certain that Jerusalem has already now become a problem for the whole world, and that the legal framework has already been put in place for the United Nations to insist upon international control over the city. In the light of Bible prophecy, this gives us reason to expect the rest of what the Bible predicts to take place in the near future.

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