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MIDEAST CRISIS

Jerusalem • 7/16/2006

Israeli officials have today declared an official state of emergency in northern Israel, giving them the ability to order closed all businesses, public institutions and schools.  This comes as thousands of stricken residents continue to flee the Galilee region for hopefully safer areas in the middle of the country. This follows today’s unprecedented Hizbullah rocket attacks upon strategic targets located along Haifa Bay, which significantly increases the chances that the region will erupt into a much larger conflict, as I will explain below. 

 

Late reports say residents in the Tel Aviv area are being warned to prepare for possible rocket assaults upon Israel’s largest urban center following Hizbullah threats today to launch a “full war” upon Israel.  Such longer-range Hizbullah missiles are believed to be directly controlled and manned by Iranian Revolutionary Guards who have been stationed for many years with Hizbullah forces in south Lebanon and the Bekaa Valley. 

 

FULLSCALE MIDEAST WAR?

 

When I sent out my technically-delayed monthly news update a few days after an Israeli soldier was kidnapped on June 25th during an audacious Hamas attack on an army outpost next to the Gaza Strip, I mentioned that, “Since the orders to Hamas are believed to be coming via Damascus from Iran, the potential for another major Middle East war is growing every day.”  This of course is doubly the case concerning the unprovoked Hizbullah ground and rocket attack inside of Israel last Wednesday which left seven Israeli soldiers dead and two taken captive alive into Lebanon. This is due to the undisputed fact that the powerful Lebanese paramilitary force was founded (when I was working in Lebanon in the early 1980’s) by Iran, and is largely funded and commanded by the world’s largest and most dangerous Islamic fundamentalist state, assisted by Syria.  (International media reports I’ve seen in recent days saying this is merely “an Israeli claim” are laughable, given that Hizbullah leader Sheik Nasrallah has been publicly feted in Tehran many times, as has Damascus-based Hamas leader Mashaal). 

 

During my latest speaking tour, I spelled out the five main strategic issues that I felt the new Olmert government would have to deal with in the immediate future.  Among them was the Hamas takeover of the Palestinian Authority government and the serious Hizbullah threat along Israel’s northern border.  I noted that the Hizbullah threat—and indeed the growing Hamas militancy—was directly connected to Iran’s nuclear program and its leader’s repeated vows (not threats, but pledges) since last December to wipe Israel off of the Middle East map.  So in effect, Israel is already at war with Iran and Syria, although the conflict is still at this stage being fought against their proxy Lebanese and Palestinian forces. 

 

HAIFA ATTACKS

 

Today’s rocket attacks upon Haifa are the most serious to date for several reasons.  First of all is that fact that they produced the largest number of Israeli civilian casualties in any single rocket barrage since the 1967 war (at latest count eight are dead and around 20 wounded, several seriously).  The victims were all working at a railway repair garage located along Haifa Bay.  Even Saddam’s powerful Scud missile attacks in 1991 did not produce such a deadly outcome.  Secondly is the indication that new Iranian-produced Raad 2 and 3 rockets, probably manned by Iranians themselves, hit Israeli soil for the first time. 

 

But the most serious aspect of today’s attack is the fact that it was directed at an area containing Israel’s largest sea port, fuel depots, oil refineries, and seaborne oil tankers.  More than that, Israel’s main petrochemical plant, originally built under British rule in the 1930’s, is located along the Bay.  Hizbullah said in a statement today that it deliberately avoided hitting that plant, but would do so if Israeli Air Force strikes continue upon Hizbullah strongholds in southern Beirut.

 

As many of you personally know, I have spoken of this potentially disastrous situation to audiences around the world since 2003.  When I interviewed the mayor of Haifa in March 2003 during the funeral of an American Christian teenager killed in a terrorist bus bombing, he told me Israeli government officials were not so concerned over the prospect that Saddam would hit Israel with chemical weapons during the then-pending US-British attack upon the Iraqi Baathist regime.  Instead, he said they feared a massive Iranian-backed Hizbullah rocket blitz upon Haifa Bay’s chemical plants, which he told me could potentially produce thousands of casualties if deadly poisons were released upon Israel’s third largest urban area.  Although Hizbullah claims it deliberately avoided hitting those targets today, analysts say they came far too close for comfort.  Any such strike that released deadly poisons would produce severe consequences for sure. 

 

PROPHERTIC POSSIBILITIES

 

Several have written in recent days to ask my opinion on the possible prophetic implications of the escalating crisis.  It is clear to all that the fighting in Lebanon could easily mushroom into a direct Israel-Syria conflict, since the police state regime in Damascus actively supports and arms Hizbullah and has close ties to radical Iran.  Just today Syrian officials stated that they would attack Israel if IDF jets strike any targets inside Syria. 

 

Iranian leaders say they will back Syria to the hilt if such a conflict erupts.  While there were always questions as to Saddam’s chemical weapons capabilities before the Iraqi war began in early 2003, there is no question that Syria possesses huge quantities of deadly VX nerve gas and a significant arsenal of Soviet-produced strategic missiles, including multiple SS-21 warheads capable of delivering the deadly gas to all portions of Israel.  The use of such weapons against Israeli civilian centers would spark an Israeli non-conventional response—probably a nuclear one—as Israeli leaders have long made clear. 

 

Thus, we could be on the verge of the fulfillment of a prophecy I have publicly spoken about since the mid-1980s, found in Isaiah 17.  It details a future complete destruction of the city of Damascus and also great suffering in Israel, indicating an Israel-Syria conflict is being foretold.  As many of you know, this is the opening scenario in my end time novel, THE END OF DAYS (beginning with Hizbullah strikes upon northern Israel), and is also detailed in my 2002 book ISRAEL IN CRISIS. 

 

GOG AND MAGOG?

 

Some Christian and Jewish subscribers to my updates have suggested to me that we might instead be on the verge of the fulfillment of Ezekiel 38 and 39, which describe a massive attempted invasion of Israel led by a great power to the “far north” of Israel, assisted by Persia (modern Iran) and other regional countries.  I detailed in both books why I believe that will only occur towards the very end of the prophesied final climax of history known as the time of Jacob’s Troubles, or the Tribulation.  I think Iran’s prophesied inclusion in that massive assault—which Ezekiel says will end with God’s miraculous intervention and Israel’s full salvation—may well be a result of something that could occur at this very period of time; either the destruction of Damascus alone, or that along with an Israeli military assault upon Iran’s nuclear facilities. 

 

Obviously nobody but the Sovereign Lord knows for sure when these prophecies will be fulfilled, and so I remain very cautious about specific speculations.  But it is clear to me and many others that all the ingredients for the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy at least are now in active play.  Whether world powers outside the region will once again intervene and bring about a halt to the escalating conflict or not remains to be seen.  But it is quite evident that terror-weary Israeli leaders are determined to deal with the huge and ongoing Hizbullah threat once and for all at this time, and probably with the Hamas organization as well. This is bolstered by the fact that world opinion concerning such radical Muslim groups has significantly hardened since the 9/11 Al Qaida attacks upon America, followed by the Bali, Madrid, and London assaults, along with the horrendous Chechen Muslim school attack in Russia and the recent carnage in India. 

 

Indeed, for all of the supposed ferocity of Israel’s assault upon targets in Lebanon over the past five days, the civilian casualty tool is still less than half those killed last week during the atrocious terrorist attacks in Bombay.  On top of that, Israel does not deliberately target civilian targets, unlike its terrorist enemies.  Still, I know many folks in Lebanon from my days working there, and am sorry for their current renewed suffering, as I am for those in the north of Israel where I lived (and slept in bomb shelters) for over three years.  Prayer for all those concerned, and for regional leaders, is obviously urgently needed. 

 

Speaking of prayer, I found myself breaking into deep tears during periods of prayer and intercession during my recent vacation.  At first, I did not fully understand why this was occurring, but then it began to dawn on me that we were probably on the verge of a major crisis, involving significant loss of life, when I first heard radio reports of the Hamas assault next to the Gaza Strip. 

 

I will send out more updates as the situation warrants, and will be doing my regular weekly radio news updates over the Moody Broadcasting Network beginning this Monday, and probably frequently after that if the situation continues to deteriorate.  If no Moody stations or affiliates are located in your area, you can listen live on line between 5:00 and 6:30 EST in North America, which is 2:00 and 3:30 PM in the west and 21:00 to 22:30 GMT, via links on this web address:  www.mbn.org   Thanks for your prayers and concern at this critical juncture in His Story. 

 


DAVID DOLAN is an author and journalist who lived and worked in Israel for over three decades, beginning in 1980.

  • HOLY WAR FOR THE PROMISED LAND (Broadman & Holman), his latest book, is an overview of the history of the Israel and of the bitter Arab-Israeli conflict that rages there, plus some autobiographical details about the author’s experiences living in the land since 1980. It especially examines the important role that militant Islam plays in the conflict.
  • ISRAEL IN CRISIS: WHAT LIES AHEAD? (Baker/Revell), which examines the political and biblical prospects for a regional attack upon Israel, settlement in the disputed territories, and related topics, is also available for purchase, along with an updated edition of his popular end-time novel, THE END OF DAYS (21st Century Press).

You may order these books at a special discount price by visiting his web site at www.ddolan.com, or by phoning toll free 888-890-6938 in North America, or by e mail at: resources@yourisraelconnection.org

DOLAN'S NEW DVD, "FOR ZION'S SAKE" is now available for purchase.  Click the title under "BOOKSTORE" for more details.

 
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