Netanyahu goes to Washington
Rapture Forum Staff: Chris
Welcome to this edition of the Rapture Report. Today we will focus on a few interesting artilces that have been in the news recently concerning what appear to be Israeli preparations for a strike on Iran. We will also review the news over the meeting tomorrow between Israeli PM Netanyahu and US President Obama.
On May 18, 2009 Israeli PM and US President Obama will meet at the White House in their first face to face meeting since the election of both men to their current offices. While Netanyahu and Obama met face to face in 2008 before the US elections and while Natanyahu was the opposition leader, this will be the first visit among the men since winning their respective elections. The news reports have noted that the two major issue on the table will be the Iran nuclear threat and the current situation with the Middle East "peace" process.
A Jerusalem Post article confirms my thoughts as well as shows that building trust between Obama and Bibi will important. The article reports:
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu landed in Washington on Sunday ahead of what is widely considered a critical first meeting with US President Barack Obama on Monday, that may go a long way toward setting the tone of US-Israel relations for years to come. While Iran and the Palestinian track are expected to dominate the talks, diplomatic officials said that what was even more crucial to establish in this first meeting between the two new leaders was trust and confidence in one another. The White House has cleared a considerable amount of Obama's Monday schedule for the talks, which will begin in the late morning, run through lunch and continue on into the afternoon.
There is likely to be mutual understanding and agreements on many issues concerning the talks between Obama and Bibi, but there is also expected to be differences as well. Most of these differences are probably going to revolve around how much time to give the new US adminsitration time to talk with Iran as well as differences in opinion on the two state solution for the Middle East problem. There have been several articles lately that have come from members of the Israeli Knesset that have said that the two state solution that the world insists upon is virutally dead at this point. I would expect to see Obama to try to pressure Bibi in to continuing the failed two state solution though. giving up land to the Islamic fanantics is not going to solve the Middle East problem when their true desire is the destruction of the state of Israel. Giving up land is simply a means of appeasement and has resulted in nothing but increased danger for Israel.
To illustrate the fact that the two state solution is practically dead with the current Israeli government, a YNetNews article reports that the Netanyahu government will offer a new "diplomatic" intiative to help solve the Middle East problem. The article reports:
The Netanyahu government is not committed to a shelf agreement in line with the two-state solution and will seek to advance new initiatives, Minister Yisrael Katz told Ynet Saturday, hours before the PM's departure to Washington. "The current Israeli government is in no way obligated to a shelf agreement based on the two states for two peoples formula," Katz, who is a close associate of Netanyahu, said. The transportation minister, who spoke to Netanyahu in recent days ahead of the PM's meeting with Obama, says that the prime minister will seek to establish a joint American-Israel committee that would advance an alternative Mideastern policy, "which will replace previous initiatives such as the Arab initiative and the diplomatic dialogue conducted by the previous government."
Katz went on to further state:
Yet despite the moderate position on the issue, Katz presented views that may outrage the Obama administration in respect to settlement construction, particularly in the Jerusalem area. "The greater Jerusalem should continue to be built, and based on all the understandings - including the ones reached with the Americans - it should be built and reinforced. This includes, in my personal view, the construction in the E1 area, which is part of Maaleh Adumim, and will maintain the contiguity with Jerusalem. "All Zionist parties in Israel believe that the settlement blocs must be boosted and built up, in line with the issue of natural growth," Katz said. "At the same time, Prime Minister Netanyahu's position is that just like he did not build new settlements in his previous term as PM, he does not intend to do so now."
As we can see here the Israelis are going to continue to build in the greater Jerusalem area and this will as the article mention probably not go over welll with the Obama administration. Nevertheless, I believe the Israelis need to do what is best for them despite the objections of the US government. The Lord gave Israel the land according to the Bible, and it is theirs to dwell on and that includes expanding existing Jewish communities.
MK Katz also downplayed any possible clash in the meetings with Obama:
Addressing the possibility of a clash with the Obama administration, Minister Katz said there would be no dispute. "Understandings will be reached with the president and new administration," he said. "It would be possible to reach early agreements with the American president, among other things via the new Israeli-American committee that needs to be formed...later it would be possible to bring in moderate Arab states such as Egypt and Jordan, and with American encouragement even states like Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and others."
The meetings between Obama and Netanyahu will go a long way towards seeing how US-Israel relations will be for the next few years. As we know the IDf leader Gabi Ashkenazi recently visited Washington and was basically snubbed by the current Obama administration despite the fact he had new intelligence on the Iranian nuclear program. The meeting on May 18th will be pivotal and it is likely that Netanyahu will get a firm grasp on just what to expect with the new US government.
Should the meetings with Obama and Netanyahu go south there have have been numerous articles recently that seem to indicate that Israel is ramping up their preparations for dealing with the Iran threat. It was reported that the IDF is current practicing "dogfights" in order to prepare for future military missions. The Jerusalem Post reports:
Israel Air Force test pilots are flying MIG 29 jets and conducting dogfights against the IAF's F-16 fighters, Channel 2 revealed Wednesday evening. The MIG 29, developed by the soviets in the 1970s, is one of the best fighter jets used by eastern and Arab countries, as well as by Syria and Iran. It was developed to counter American-made jets such the F-16 or F/A-18. The jets were loaned to Israel by an unnamed foreign country. The experiment is meant to prepare IAF pilots for missions where they might have to fight a foreign air-force. "We tested them - we trained the IAF pilots against them," an unnamed IAF official said.
This news follows on the heal of reports that the IDF has once again been practicing long range missions to Gibraltar again. Analysts have concluded that these flights and missions to Gibraltar are "practice runs" for a future military strike on Iran being that the distance is about the same to Iran.
It is also being reported that Israel will be having a large nationwide practice emergency drill set for the first week of June. Many have speculated that if Israel is going to strike Iran that they need to be prepared for any retaliation from the Iranians in the form of missiles. The Israel National News reports:
In addition, during the first week of June, the Home Front Command and the Defense Ministry will conduct the largest-ever nationwide drill, codenamed Turning Point 3. At its height, on Tuesday, 11 AM, a siren will sound throughout the country, and citizens will be expected to enter protected areas for several minutes. "The central point of this exercise," explained Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai, "is the need to share with the public the data we have. The more the public is prepared, the better things will be if there is a real emergency."
As we know from the past during the Gulf War, Saddam Hussein launched many Scud missiles towards Israel during the conflict. Israel is probably anticipating that Iran will initially respond to a strike on their nuclear facilities with a missile attack of their own. Iran will probably then use their terrorist proxies of Hamas and Hezbollah to commit follow up attacks afterwards.
The tension in the region is very thick, one could cut it with a knife. Recent news has Jordanian King Abdullah saying that if the Middle East situation was not resolved soon that the region would see conflict within 12-18 months. The new policies of the Netanyahu government, correct as they are, is likely to escalate the tension even more. In fact, Us President Obama warned Israel not to surprise him with an attack on Iran. The Haaretz newspaper reports:
U.S. President Barack Obama has sent a message to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu demanding that Israel not surprise the U.S. with an Israeli military operation against Iran. The message was conveyed by a senior American official who met in Israel with Netanyahu, ministers and other senior officials. Earlier, Netanyahu's envoy visited Washington and met with National Security Adviser James Jones and with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and discussed the dialogue Obama has initiated with Tehran. The message from the American envoy to the prime minister reveals U.S. concern that Israel could lose patience and act against Iran. It is important to the Americans that they not be caught off guard and find themselves facing facts on the ground at the last minute. Obama did not wait for his White House meeting with Netanyahu, scheduled for next Monday, to deliver his message, but rather sent it ahead of time with his envoy.
Whatever happens with tomorrow's metting between Obama and Netanyahu, one thing is certain is that time is running out to stop the mad mullahs in Tehran from developing a nuclear weapon. It is my opinion that Netanyahu will face pressure from Obama but it is my hope that Netanyahu will reflect the pressure and not fall into a failed approach to the Middle East situation.
For Bible prophecy students we should watch carefully the meetings between Obama and Netanyahu. These meetings could go a long way in determining what happens over the next few months. A poor meeting could cause Israel to assume that they are on their own and go ahead with their strike on Iran. A good meeting and a persuasive Obama, could help to cause Israel to delay their response on Iran. Only time will tell how things will play out. In the meantime we need to continue watching and not let events catch us unprepared.