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In spite of the “roadmap for peace” and other efforts at peace in the Middle East, nations of the area remain determined to wipe Israel off the map.

Iran’s latest declarations

As reported in the New York Times on October 27, 2005, Iran’s new president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, told a group of students at an anti-Israeli event Israel, “must be wiped off the map” and that “attacks by Palestinians would destroy it.” He declared the issue of a Palestinian state would be resolved only when Palestinians took control of all their lands. With further elaboration of his comments he indicated that: “The establishment of a Zionist regime was a move by the world oppressor against the Islamic world. The skirmishes in the occupied land are part of the war of destiny. The outcome of hundreds of years of war will be defined in Palestinian land.”

He then made reference to Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the leader of the Islamic revolution. Ahmadinejad said, “As the imam said, Israel must be wiped off the map.” In excerpts taken from his speech, he made comparisons to the difficult task of eliminating Israel to the improbable thought of the Berlin wall being razed and the dictator of Iraq being captured. If both of these previously unthinkable and improbable events could happen during his lifetime, then it would be with certainty that Israel could be eliminated.

The most revealing aspect of his speech and his intent can be seen from the following: “For over 50 years the world oppressor tried to give legitimacy to the occupying regime and it has taken measures in this direction to stabilize it. About 27 or 28 years ago they took a major step and unfortunately one of the leading countries made a mistake which we hope to correct.” This is an apparent reference to the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel.

The new President’s tone was reminiscent of the early days of Iran’s Islamic revolution in 1979. During that time, the revolutionary government went out of its way to encourage their citizens to fight against the Zionist power. However, during the past 20 years officials from Iran have avoided using provocative language against Israel. It therefore seems remarkable that Mr. Ahmadinejad has changed course and is now taking a more confrontational approach.

In less than a year, the entire tone and political leanings of Iran have shifted from a moderate nation to one intent on destroying a neighboring nation. In February, 2005, during the funeral of Pope John Paul II, the then Iranian President Khatami not only sat in close proximity to Israel’s president he also shook hands and chatted briefly with him in his native tongue of Farsi. As well, President Khatami had proposed a dialogue among civilizations and pursued a policy of détente with Israel.

Israel’s response

As one might appreciate, Israel was quick to respond to the words of the new Iranian President. A spokesman for Israel’s Foreign Ministry, said, “Unfortunately, this is not the first time we’ve seen such extreme statements from senior Iranian leaders,” adding, “We see today that there is a growing understanding in the international community that the extremist regime in Tehran is not just Israel’s problem, but rather an issue that the entire international community must grapple with.”

Israel did the smart thing and took the comments of the Iranian president and extrapolated them so that they encompassed the rest of the world. And indeed the folks in Washington were quick to jump into the fray by indicating in a press statement that: the remarks reconfirmed “what we have been saying about this particular regime in Iran.” “I think that it only serves to underscore our concern, as well as the international community’s concern, about Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons.”

In this war of words, Mr. Ahmadinejad countered by calling Israel’s withdrawal from the Gaza Strip a trick, and saying that Gaza was part of Palestinian territories and the withdrawal was aimed at persuading Islamic nations to acknowledge Israel. He continued, “Anybody who recognizes Israel will burn in the fire of the Islamic nation’s fury.” He added that any Islamic leader “who recognizes the Zionist regime means he is acknowledging the surrender and defeat of the Islamic world.”

With the northern host

We are told specifically that ancient Persia (modern day Iran) will be part of a contingent of nations who rise up against Israel and attempt to overthrow the nation. Israel will be brought to her knees before the Lord comes to her rescue. The news of this day indicates that the nations are lining up in accordance with God’s plan and purpose. Those nations opposed to Israel on one side, and those in support on the other. Let us pray the time of “Jacob’s trouble” will come quickly and soon be over.

George Rayner

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