Despite the fact that the current round of peace talks appeared dead in the water, intense negotiations have been held behind closed doors over the past weeks, mainly pushed by the U.S.
Are we near a deal?
And if we are reaching a final arrangement, what are the prophetic implications?
First, to the articles:
Netanyahu concessions for talks go far beyond a building freeze
At first, I was a little skeptical of this piece - until several other publications confirmed most of the content of this article:
The package Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has accepted for US-sponsored talks with the Palestinians contains more substantial concessions than merely a freeze on settlement construction and goes far beyond the one-year deal put before the security cabinet Saturday night, Nov. 13, DEBKAfile reports from Jerusalem and Washington.
The deal unveiled in Jerusalem early Sunday is only stage one of a larger secret package to which only Netanyahu and his close adviser Yithzak Molho are privy...
This package has been in secret negotiation for several weeks in the Jordanian capital Amman - and possibly European venues - between American, Israeli, Palestinian, Saudi, Jordanian and Egyptian representatives. According to US and Saudi sources, Israel has made four major concessions that will go into force if and when peace is signed with the Palestinians.
Under the deal concluded with the United States - as reported to the Security Cabinet Saturday night - Israel has accepted a second three-month moratorium on West Bank settlement construction including starts made after the expiry of the first 10-month freeze on Sept. 26. It will not apply to Jerusalem.
1. To request congressional approval for the sale of 20 F-35 stealth warplanes worth $3 billion in addition to the 20 already allocated.
2. To follow an Israel-Palestinian peace accord, if it is concluded, by signing a mutual defense treaty with Israel, negotiations for which to begin in the coming weeks.
3. To veto any anti-Israeli motions put forward at the UN Security Council or other international bodies on four subjects:
--- Initiatives for imposing political solutions on Israel;
--- Any unilateral Palestinian bid to establish an independent state;
--- All acts aimed at undermining Israel's legitimacy;
--- Any attempt to use the Security Council to deny Israel's right to self-defense.
Also note this interesting nugget - as we have been predicting:
The Jordanian military's functions along the Jordan River and on West Bank soil would be governed by agreed rules of conduct.
Those rules would extend to other parts of the West Bank where the deployment of foreign forces is under negotiation.
There it is - "the deployment of foreign forces is under negotiation". Enter the EU right about now....
Now we see the ultimate threat which may be leading to these intensive talks leading into the current "agreement":
PA: Freeze settlements of we'll go to UN
Chief Palestinian negotiator says if US fails to force Israel to halt West Bank construction by end of November, Palestinians will ask Security Council to recognize independent state within 1967 border
Speaking during a visit to Morocco, Erekat said that "if the United States won't force Israel to halt settlement construction this month, our next step will be to ask the Americans to recognize a Palestinian state within the 1967 border."
He added that if the American pressure failed to bear fruit, the Palestinian Authority would turn to the United Nations Security Council and request that it recognize an independent Palestinian state.
There it is (again) - the constant threat. Unfortunately, based on the current make up of the UN and its Security Council, it would be easy to see this as a reality. It may be forcing Israel's hand.
There is more on this story:
Netanyahu, Clinton meeting ends after 7 hours
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu held talks that were "friendly and productive" and stressed the importance of continuing direct negotiations in pursuit of an Israeli-Palestinian peace accord, according to a joint statement put out by the two governments Thursday evening.
Clinton also reiterated the US position that negotiations can reconcile "an independent and viable state, based on the 1967 lines, with agreed swaps" for the Palestinians with Israel's desire for "secure and recognized borders that reflect subsequent developments on the ground," and provide Israel with security.
While no details were offered on the meetings, Israeli government officials said the talks were “very serious” and that “everything is on the table.”
Israel can't afford to postpone Mideast peace much longer
Note the calls for increased EU "involvement in the region":
Throughout the years Europe has tailored its Middle East policy to the positions of the United States. What will happen if, in the wake of the defeat in Congress, U.S. President Barack Obama washes his hands of the peace process? Will you too leave us to our own devices?
"The U.S. was and always will be the leading factor, but other players are required. The role of the Quartet has to be redefined, and the EU also must deepen its involvement in the region.
It wasn't simple to design a coherent EU Middle East policy when we were 15 countries, let alone when the Union has 27 members. Nevertheless, in recent years even Israel, which was unwilling to hear of a presence of European forces in the territories, has looked upon them cordially.
The Palestinians have informed us that when an independent state is established, and the Israel Defense Forces leaves the territories, they will welcome NATO forces in their area."
This article delves into the issue of the UN recognizing a separate "Palestine State" without Israeli approval:
Today, it is not Israel which is dictating the international consensus but the Palestinians; this is their opportunity to establish the Palestinian state.
"Turkey? Yes," "Russia? Yes," "United Kingdom? Yes," "United States? Abstain," "Israel? No." This is how a vote at the United Nations on the recognition of an independent Palestine may sound. And really, why should the Palestinians not demand international recognition of their state? In such a move it could shake the peace process and extricate it from the strangle hold in which Palestine and Israel are caught.
It is not too revolutionary. International recognition of the fact that the West Bank and the eastern portions of Jerusalem are occupied territory already exists, and many states received international recognition before their borders were finalized.
As for border crossings, Palestine has a land link with Jordan and could export products through the port of Beirut if Israel decides to prevent access to the sea.
Note the information conveyed in the following paragraph:
For defense the Palestinians, assuming they will not want to challenge Israel and establish a real army, could invite in UN observers who would fulfill a function similar to UNIFIL in southern Lebanon.
International recognition of a Palestinian state would not require the Palestinians to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, and foreign embassies would be established legitimately in its capital because, after all, what will they be afraid of? An Israeli boycott? For the time being it is Israel that is faced with a boycott.
Note two key points above:
1. "For the defense of the Palestinians...could invite in UN (EU?) observers who would fulfill a function similar to UNIFIL in southern Lebanon" (comment in "( )" mine). The only problem here is that Israel would never agree to UNIFIL, as they have been a complete failure in Southern Lebanon, and their failure there is legendary.
2. "International recognition of a 'Palestinian state' WOULD NOT REQUIRE PALESTINIANS TO RECOGNIZE ISRAEL AS A JEWISH STATE". Wow. Talk about "having your cake and eating it". (caps mine).
--- And what, exactly would the "Palestinians" be conceding in this whole arrangement? Anyone? << crickets chirping in the background>> Exactly. Like you - I see absolutely zero concessions to be made by the "Palestinians"...As usual.
The last part of this article is a whopper:
It is not Israel which is dictating the international consensus but the Palestinians. This is their opportunity to establish the Palestinian state. And Israel? It will have to adapt.
Indeed. Israel will have to adapt, as absolutely nothing is being asked of, or required from the "Palestinians".
Below, in another article from Haaretz, we see the "carrot" which is being dangled for the Israelis:
U.S. offers Israel warplanes in return for new settlement freeze
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's seven-member inner cabinet discussed Saturday an offer by the United States to reinstate a freeze on West Bank Settlement construction in return for a package of incentives.
According to the offer Israel would stop construction in the West Bank for 90 days. The freeze includes construction that began after the end of the first settlement moratorium on September 26.
In return for an Israeli freeze, the U.S. government would deliver 20 F-35 fighter jets to Israel, a deal worth $3 billion. Moreover, if an Israeli-Palestinian agreement is achieved, the U.S. would sign a comprehensive security agreement with Israel. The U.S. and Israel are to discuss the nature of the new security arrangements in the next few weeks.
Such efforts included: curbing actions by the United Nations on the Goldstone Report; blocking anti-Israel UN resolutions concerning the Gaza flotilla raid; defeating international resolutions aimed at exposing Israel's nuclear program at the International Atomic Energy Agency; and strengthening pressure on Iran and Syria in regards to their nuclear and proliferation activities.
This is highly significant, prophetically. But to see this, one must take a step back and view the "big picture".
"The Nations", aka, the "international community", are determined to forge a peace deal. The current effort surpasses any previous effort both in scope (the various nations involved) and in pressure.
This isn't going to end until some kind of a settlement is reached - a settlement that clearly will involve international forces on the ground to protect the arrangement and the newly formed borders.
Why is this significant?
That answer is simple. Because Daniel 9:27 reveals to us that the antichrist will be responsible for "confirming" this covenant.
If the covenant is THIS close to being agreed, then the antichrist can't be far behind.
And if the antichrist is on the verge of being revealed (via his confirming the covenant) - then the Rapture of the Church is even closer.
Things in the Middle East are happening very rapidly now. This push for new borders around Israel, a "PA state", and confirmation of this agreement with peace-keeping forces in the land is very much a part of these discussions, exactly as we have been predicting.
The antichrist is patiently waiting for his moment to emerge. Although I doubt that this individual has an awareness of who he will become, he is most likely making his moves quietly, behind the scenes, waiting for his moment to emerge. I would assume he is a highly political figure, whether known to the west (or to "the world" at this point) or not.
But he is certainly alive and well, at this very moment - and working behind the scenes during these peace talks. Perhaps he sees his path to power via the agreement which seems imminent - somehow having to do with the "confirmation" aspect of the pending agreement.
Be assured that the antichrist is present and watching the developments in the Middle East very carefully. At present, I would assume that the individual is highly ambitious and somehow sees the current plans as a way to work his way into power.
These are exciting times for a prophecy watcher. One can almost hear the footsteps of the Messiah approaching.
The time is close.
Maranatha! Jesus is coming soon for His Bride!