May 15, 2009

Netanyahu's Visit to DC and Pope’s Trip to the Epicenter

By Joel C. Rosenberg

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to arrive in Washington on Sunday for several days of high-level meetings with American officials, including a critical one with President Obama on Monday or Tuesday. I was interviewed by CBN News yesterday about what to expect. I’ll let you know when that interview will air, but here is is a summary of what I said:
  • Netanyahu understands the Iranian threat. He understands that the current Iranian leadership — not the people, but the leaders — are members of apocalyptic, genocidal death cult who believe it is their Allah-given mission to destroy Israel and the U.S. and end Judeo-Christian civilization as we know it.
  • Clearly, Obama, Clinton and the senior U.S. foreign policy team do not understand this. Thus, they do not understand the gravity of the situation and the urgency of the moment.
  • Netanyahu’s task is two-fold: 1) to build a personal relationship with the President of the United States and his team and establish trust; and 2) to help Washington understand who these Iranian leaders really are at their core, why direct negotiations are unlikely to produce the hoped for results, and why the Iran nuclear issue is far more important to address effectively right now than striking a “peace” deal with a Palestinian leadership that is weak, ineffective, and increasingly dominated by Hamas terrorists. This is not going to be an easy task, to say the least.
  • (By the way, Netanyahu has a third mission as well, though I didn’t mention this in the interview. He needs to reach out to the American people through as many media interviews as possible. He needs to talk directly about the common threat we face from Iran and Radical Islamic terrorist states and organizations acquiring nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them. He needs to mobilize tens of millions of Americans to pressure Congress and the White House to maintain a close relationship with Israel, to stop pressuring Israel to make a bad deal with the Palestinians, and to support Israel if the Jewish State has to go to war with Iran. The Obama team is sensitive to public opinion, and I believe Americans generally “get it” with regard to Iran and the Radicals more than Washington does at the moment.)
  • Netanyahu is coming to Washington straight from three high-level meetings in the epicenter where he has been working hard to build a regional alliance against Iran.
  • The first stop was Egypt where Netanyahu met with President Hosni Mubarak. Mubarak gets it. He doesn’t love Israel, but frankly he hates Iran and is determined to stop Iran from getting The Bomb and dominating the region.
  • The second stop was a surprise visit the other day to Amman where Netanyahu had private meetings with Jordanian King Abdullah II. The King also gets it. He sees the seriousness of the Iran threat and does not want to see Shia Radicals get The Bomb and take over the region. But he also has rising Radical sentiments inside his own kingdom and has to be very careful. The King is warning Netanyahu that unless there’s a peace deal with the Palestinians, there will be another major war in the region in the next 12 to 18 months. Let’s pray he’s wrong, but he very well may be right.
  • The third key meeting was with Pope Benedict. Netanyahu appealed to the Pope to understand the enemies Israel is facing and to speak out against the genocidal, apocalyptic threats emanating from Iran. He also appealed to Benedict to support Jerusalem remaining an undivided city. We’ll see where this goes. I told CBN that I have respect for the Pope, but I was disappointed to see him make a political statement in support of a Palestinian state. The Pope should stick to teaching the Bible and preaching the gospel as the only way of eternal salvation and spiritual freedom for all mankind, Jews and Gentiles, not wade into a geopolitical conflict like this. Especially when the Bible teaches that God has given the Holy Land to the Jewish people to be their homeland, as well as to be a blessing to their neighbors and help them to be a light to the nations.
  • I am praying that the Netanyahu-Obama meeting goes well and that the Lord changes the President’s heart to start truly supporting and defending the Jewish State. But I’m not sure the Lord’s answer will be “yes.” I anticipate several days of diplomatic niceties in D.C. next week, but the truth is a train wreck is most likely coming between the U.S. and Israel over the Iran issue and the so-called “peace process.” The Obama administration is applying enormous pressure on Israel to not strike Iran’s nuclear facilities, and instead to focus on allowing the creation of a sovereign Palestinian state that could endanger the very existence of the State of Israel.
  • Vice President Biden last week went to AIPAC and essentially demanded that Israel divide Jerusalem, give away the strategic Jordan Valley, and allow for the creation of a Palestinian state despite the disastrous results for Israel of the “land for peace” formula since 2000. “Israel has to work for a two state-solution,” the VP insisted. “You’re not going to like my saying this, but not build more settlements, dismantle existing outposts and allow Palestinians freedom of movement.”
  • CIA Director Leon Panetta just made a secret trip to Israel to warn Netanyahu not to even consider launching a preemptive attack on Iran without U.S. notification and approval.
  • General Jim Jones, the U.S. national security advisor, is telling European leaders that President Obama will be “forceful” with Israel. In fact, what he really said was even more telling and concerning: “The new administration will convince Israel to compromise on the Palestinian question. We will not push Israel under the wheels of a bus, but we will be more forceful toward Israel than we have been under Bush.”
This weekend, I’m in Syracuse, New York, where I’m addressing three different forums of Central New York pastors, ministry leaders, and evangelical Christian lay leaders about the Iran threat, the vital importance of blessing Israel, and the historic openness in the epicenter — and particularly among Muslims — to the good news of Christ’s love and forgiveness. Next week, I’ll be speaking to about 1,000 pastors and ministry leaders in Maryland on the same issues. I’ll also be doing quite a bit of media about the Netanyahu visit, including on Glenn Beck’s TV show and Janet Parshall’s radio show. I will let you know more details soon.

Please be praying for our leaders, for Israel’s leaders, and for the leaders and peoples of the epicenter. Pray for peace. Pray for wisdom and discernment. Pray for courage. And pray that the Lord’s message of hope and forgiveness can truly be advanced during this time of war and rumors of war. Thanks and God bless you.

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