United Nations vs Israel, and the End of the World|
online edition of the book by David A. Reed
will be...burdening the world...all the nations of the earth unite in an attempt..." - Zech. 12:3 LB
"Jerusalem shall be...administered by the United Nations." - UN General Assembly Resolution 181
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Jerusalem a Problem for the Whole World
It would be an understatement to remark that political and
military control over the city of Jerusalem has changed hands many times over
the years. In most cases, however, the city itself was not the main focus of
the war or the diplomatic negotiations that resulted in the change of
ownership, at least from the standpoint of the generals and the diplomats.
Empires were on the move, and Jerusalem just happened to be in the way. It’s
location at the intersection of lines connecting the continents of Europe, Asia
and Africa placed it in the path of many a large-scale conquest.
The exceptions were the numerous Jewish campaigns and
revolts, aimed at wresting control away from occupying Gentile powers, and, of
course, the Christian Crusades and Islamic Jihads, because these “holy” wars
were often targeted specifically at control of Jerusalem.
The Crusades and opposing Jihads which raged from the
eleventh through the thirteenth centuries involved the nations of Christendom
and those of Islam, but it would be an exaggeration to say that Jerusalem had
become a problem for the whole world during that period, or that all the
nations of the world had united to impose a solution. Christendom then
stretched across Europe, and the Muslim states covered North Africa and the
Middle East. Few, if any, inhabitants of China, Japan or sub-Saharan Africa
were following those developments, much less actually involved in them, and the
Americas (which had not yet received that name) were totally out of the
picture. Moreover, the Crusades and Jihads pitted groups of nations against
each other for control of Jerusalem; they had not come together to impose an
international regime. The time Zechariah predicted when Jerusalem would be a
‘stone burdening the whole world’ and when ‘all the nations would unite’ to
impose a solution was yet future. (Zechariah 12:2-3)
Today, however, we do indeed see a situation in which
Jerusalem has become a problem for the whole world, and in which the nations,
already united through the United Nations organization, are debating using that
organization to impose a solution. The radical Islamic suicide bombings that
were once confined to Israel, with the aim, in part, of restoring Muslim
control over Jerusalem, have now spread worldwide. American interests around
the globe have become the target of such attacks, and a principal argument of
justification offered by the attackers and the groups sponsoring them has been
that America supports Israel. United States embassies have been blown up in
Africa, a nightclub full of international tourists has been bombed in Bali,
Indonesia, and, of course, the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New
York City have been destroyed, killing mostly Americans, but with citizens from
dozens of countries included among the fatalities.
America responded to the destruction of September 11, 2001,
with a “war against terror” that has involved nations around the globe. The
United States military targeted Afghanistan, and drove from power the Taliban
regime that had hosted and supported Osama Bin Laden and his Al Quaeda training
camps. But terrorists were also reported to have held secret meetings in places
far from the Middle East to plan the September 11 attacks. The FBI began
working with governments to arrest alleged conspirators in Spain, France,
England, Italy, Germany, Indonesia, the Philippines and elsewhere. American
soldiers entered the Philippines as “advisors” to help hunt down Islamic
militants. Jerusalem had become a problem for all of these nations.
Concurrent with all of this, letters laden with deadly
anthrax spores threatened American postal workers and shut down major
government buildings for decontamination. Unsolved for years, that germ warfare
attack was blamed by many on the same terrorist network responsible for the
suicide bombings, the terrorists whose complaint revolved around the status of
Jerusalem. Copycat hoaxes turned up envelopes with white powder from South
America to the Far East and from Europe to Africa. Whether correctly or
mistakenly in this case, the struggle for control over Jerusalem was seen by
many as being at the center of this uproar.
America and coalition forces next attacked Iraq to depose
the regime of Saddam Hussein, whose alleged weapons of mass destruction
threatened the United States and its allies, most notably Israel. The Jewish
state had sent attack aircraft to destroy an Iraqi nuclear facility in 1982,
and one of Saddam’s constant propaganda themes had been recruitment of an army
of millions of civilians to “march on Jerusalem.” Israel had been struck by
several Scud missiles fired from Iraq during the Gulf War of 1992, and so was
clearly within range and was a prime target. The Iraqi government had also been
making cash payments to the families of suicide bombers who died attacking Jews
in Israel. Some American critics of the George W. Bush administration blamed
the president’s push for war on his support for Israel and his determination to
save Israel from attack by alleged Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.
Nations throughout the world have been directly involved in
all of these events, or at least have participated in the international debate
and the political maneuverings relating to Afghanistan, Iraq and the “war on
terror.” Nations everywhere have been forced to modify procedures relating to
air travel, institute improved security measures, and keep track of suspected
terrorists or terrorist support organizations within their borders.
The whole world has followed all of these developments on
TV and on the Internet, and the whole world has been terrorized. Jerusalem has
indeed become a problem for the whole world. Each time there was another
suicide bombing in Israel, or another Israeli military incursion into
Palestinian areas, the world shuddered and speculated on how the international
terrorists would respond. Where would they strike next?
Yes, Jerusalem is now a problem “burdening the whole
world.” But, are the nations also uniting to impose a solution, as the prophet
Zechariah foretold? (Zech. 12:2-3)
Prior to the twentieth century and the formation of the
League of Nations in the wake of World War One, it would have been difficult to
conceive of all the nations of the world uniting to do anything at all, let
alone uniting to mobilize armies against Jerusalem. But, one of the earliest
official acts of that League of Nations was to grant the British government a
Mandate to rule over Palestine, including Jerusalem.
Prior to the late 1990’s and the beginning of the new
millennium, it would have been difficult to conceive of the League’s successor,
the United Nations, considering mobilizing forces against Jerusalem. The
prevailing concept had always been that national sovereignty trumped United
Nations authority. United Nations peacekeepers generally assisted in conflicts
between member nations, with the consent of both parties, but the world body
scrupulously avoided interfering in the internal affairs of member states.
In fact, from the time of its founding at the end of the
Second World War, the U.N. had been viewed as largely a debating society, when
it came to issues of war and peace. As a world government, it had active
social service agencies such as UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific
and Cultural Organization) and UNICEF (United Nations International Children's
Emergency Fund), and it accomplished a lot in the way of promoting world
communication and commerce, but it did not have a strong police force.
And it still does not. After all, how can a policeman armed
with only a billy club subdue brawlers brandishing knives and guns? Comparatively
speaking, that is what peacekeeping forces in white trucks marked “UN” would be
up against, if they were to confront an uncooperative nation determined to use
its jet fighters, bombers and tanks aggressively. United Nations peacekeepers
have never been heavily armed by modern military standards.
The Korean War may come to mind as an exception. The
United Nations organization was still in its infancy when, in 1950, the Soviet
Union decided to boycott sessions of the Security Council. In the absence of a
Soviet veto, the Council invoked military sanctions against North Korea and
invited member states to come to the aid of South Korea. American troops then
led those from many other nations as “United Nations forces” in a military
campaign sanctified as a U.N. mission. These U.N. forces waged full scale war
with everything short of nuclear weapons. But that was an unusual circumstance
that has not repeated itself. Major powers have learned not to boycott the
Security Council’s meetings.
Recent decades, however, have seen more and more authority
vested in U.N. agencies, together with greater reliance on blue-helmeted U.N.
peacekeeping forces. Toward the end of 2002 and during the early months of
2003, the Security Council earnestly debated whether or not to authorize
military action to enforce its earlier resolutions about disarming Saddam
Hussein’s regime in Iraq. In 2011 the Security Council authorized military
action in support of the Libyan rebellion against Colonel Muammar Qaddafi, and
U.N. forces in Cote d’Ivoire engaged in military assaults against the forces of
incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo.
Will such actions prove to be a dress rehearsal for a
military move by the United Nations against Israel? Time will tell. But the
necessary U.N. resolutions that could lead up to such actions are already in
place. If the Security Council could debate the possibility of calling for
military action against Iraq to enforce its resolutions, it could certainly do
the same with regard to Israel. In fact, some critics of the American push for
a resolution authorizing force against Iraq argued that it would be a double
standard to take action against Iraq and not against Israel.
Even now, although the world has not yet come together to
authorize joint military force against Israel, it has already come together to
oppose Israeli control of Jerusalem. It is only the military enforcement that
is lacking, as of this writing.
Over the course of many decades, the groundwork has progressively
been laid for international intervention to determine Jerusalem’s fate.
Following the Allied conquest of the city at the end of
1917, Britain ruled Jerusalem and all of the land of Israel under a Mandate
issued by the League of Nations, predecessor of the United Nations. This did
not appear, at that time, to be hostile to Jewish interests concerning the
city. Prior to that, Jerusalem had been in the hands of the Ottoman Turks—Muslims
who had no intention of establishing Jewish sovereignty. But the British
government had, by its Balfour Declaration of 1917, announced that “His
Majesty’s Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a
national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to
facilitate the achievement of this object.” So, the League’s grant of a Mandate
for Britain to rule the area appeared to be a pro-Jewish move. Still, it
established a precedent for international determination of Jerusalem’s fate by
a world body.
In 1947, after the League’s demise, a United Nations
resolution recommended partitioning the mandated territory of Palestine into
two independent nations, one Jewish and the other Arab, and, after British
forces withdrew, the nations of Israel and Jordan were born the following year.
Thus, the United Nations has been involved with the modern state of Israel
since before its birth.
United Nations General Assembly Resolution 181 called for
the partition of the British-ruled Palestine Mandate into a Jewish state and an
Arab state. It was approved on November 29, 1947, and included the following
provisions relating to Jerusalem:
I.A.3. Independent Arab and Jewish States and the
Special International Regime for the City of Jerusalem, set forth in Part III
of this Plan, shall come into existence in Palestine two months after the
evacuation of the armed forces of the mandatory Power has been completed but in
any case not later than 1 October 1948. The boundaries of the Arab State, the
Jewish State, and the City of Jerusalem shall be as described in Parts II and
III below. . . .
C. THE CITY OF JERUSALEM
The boundaries of the City of Jerusalem are as defined
in the recommendations on the City of Jerusalem. (See Part III, section B,
. . .
Part III. - City of Jerusalem
A. SPECIAL REGIME
The City of Jerusalem shall be established as a corpus
separatum under a special international regime and shall be administered by the
United Nations. The Trusteeship Council shall be designated to discharge the
responsibilities of the Administering Authority on behalf of the United
B. BOUNDARIES OF THE CITY
The City of Jerusalem shall include the present
municipality of Jerusalem plus the surrounding villages and towns, the most
eastern of which shall be Abu Dis; the most southern, Bethlehem; the most
western, 'Ein Karim (including also the built-up area of Motsa); and the most
northern Shu'fat, as indicated on the attached sketch-map (annex B).
C. STATUTE OF THE CITY
The Trusteeship Council shall, within five months of
the approval of the present plan, elaborate and approve a detailed statute of
the City which shall contain, inter alia, the substance of the following
1. Government machinery; special objectives. The
Administering Authority in discharging its administrative obligations shall
pursue the following special objectives:
i. To protect and to preserve the unique spiritual and
religious interests located in the city of the three great monotheistic faiths
throughout the world, Christian, Jewish and Moslem; to this end to ensure that
order and peace, and especially religious peace, reign in Jerusalem;
ii. To foster cooperation among all the inhabitants of
the city in their own interests as well as in order to encourage and support
the peaceful development of the mutual relations between the two Palestinian
peoples throughout the Holy Land; to promote the security, well-being and any
constructive measures of development of the residents having regard to the
special circumstances and customs of the various peoples and communities.
2. Governor and Administrative staff. A Governor of the
City of Jerusalem shall be appointed by the Trusteeship Council and shall be
responsible to it. He shall be selected on the basis of special qualifications
and without regard to nationality. He shall not, however, be a citizen of
either State in Palestine.
The Governor shall represent the United Nations in the
City and shall exercise on their behalf all powers of administration, including
the conduct of external affairs. He shall be assisted by an administrative
staff classed as international officers in the meaning of Article 100 of the
Charter and chosen whenever practicable from the residents of the city and of
the rest of Palestine on a non-discriminatory basis. A detailed plan for the
organization of the administration of the city shall be submitted by the
Governor to the Trusteeship Council and duly approved by it.
The partition of the territory covered by the British
Palestine Mandate resulted in formation of the Jewish state of Israel and the Arab
state of Jordan, but the internationalization of Jerusalem specified in General
Assembly Resolution 181 failed to occur. Nor did any “Governor of the City of
Jerusalem” representing the United Nations ever take office to run the city, as
that Resolution required.
However, the United Nations organization has continued to
generate new resolutions concerning Jerusalem, with the number of these
resolutions now in the hundreds—the vast majority of them condemning the
actions of the Jewish state.
These resolutions, often referencing earlier resolutions,
continued to protest Israeli control of the city. For example, in 1980 the U.N.
Security Council’s Resolution 476 declared that the body was
"Reaffirming its resolutions relevant to the
character and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem, in particular resolutions
252 (1968),267 (1969), 271 (1969), 298 (1971) and 465 (1980).
. . .
1. Reaffirms the overriding necessity for ending the
prolonged occupation of Arab territories occupied by Israel since 1967, including
. . .
4. Reiterates that all such measures which have altered
the geographic, demographic and historical character and status of the Holy
City of Jerusalem are null and void and must be rescinded in compliance with
the relevant resolutions of the Security Council.
Consider also the full text of the 1980 U.N. Security
Council Resolution 478, which, like Resolution 476, was presented in response
to Israeli laws affirming the status of Jerusalem as Israel's capital:
Resolution 478 (1980)
of 20 August 1980
The Security Council,
Recalling its resolution 476 (1980),
Reaffirming again that the acquisition of territory by
force is inadmissible,
Deeply concerned over the enactment of a "basic
law" in the Israeli Knesset proclaiming a change in the character and
status of the Holy City of Jerusalem, with its implications for peace and
Noting that Israel has not complied with resolution 476
Reaffirming its determination to examine practical ways
and means, in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Charter of the
United Nations, to secure the full implementation of its resolution 476 (1980),
in the event of non-compliance by Israel,
1. Censures in the strongest terms the enactment by
Israel of the "basic law" on Jerusalem and the refusal to comply with
relevant Security Council resolutions;
2. Affirms that the enactment of the "basic
law" by Israel constitutes a violation of international law and does not
affect the continued application of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection
of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949, in the Palestinian and
other Arab territories occupied since June 1967, including Jerusalem;
3. Determines that all legislative and administrative
measures and actions taken by Israel, the occupying Power, which have altered
or purport to alter the character and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem, and
in particular the recent "basic law" on Jerusalem, are null and void
and must be rescinded forthwith;
4. Affirms also that this action constitutes a serious
obstruction to achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle
5. Decides not to recognize the "basic law"
and such other actions by Israel that, as a result of this law, seek to alter
the character and status of Jerusalem and calls upon:
(a) All Member States to accept this decision;
(b) Those States that have established diplomatic
missions at Jerusalem to withdraw such missions from the Holy City
6. Requests the Secretary-General to report to the
Security Council on the implementation of the present resolution before 15
7. Decides to remain seized of this serious situation.
Adopted at the 2245th meeting by 14 votes to none, with
1 abstention (United States of America).
And as recently as November 2011, the General Assembly of
the United Nations again refers back to and upholds its 1947 resolution on the
partition of Palestine, “in particular its provisions regarding the City of
The General Assembly,
Recalling its resolution 181 (II) of 29 November 1947,
in particular its provisions regarding the City of Jerusalem,
Recalling also its resolution 36/120 E of 10 December
1981 and all its subsequent relevant resolutions, including resolution 56/31 of
3 December 2001, in which it, inter alia, determined that all legislative and
administrative measures and actions taken by Israel, the occupying Power, which
have altered or purported to alter the character and status of the Holy City of
Jerusalem, in particular the so-called “Basic Law” on Jerusalem and the
proclamation of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, were null and void and must
be rescinded forthwith,
Recalling further the Security Council resolutions
relevant to Jerusalem, including resolution 478 (1980) of 20 August 1980, in which
the Council, inter alia, decided not to recognize the “Basic Law” on Jerusalem,
. . .
1. Reiterates its determination that any actions taken
by Israel, the occupying Power, to impose its laws, jurisdiction and
administration on the Holy City of Jerusalem are illegal and therefore null and
void and have no validity whatsoever, and calls upon Israel to immediately
cease all such illegal and unilateral measures;
. . .
69th plenary meeting
30 November 2011
So, the United Nations still holds the position that
Jerusalem should not be part of the state of Israel or under its control—even
though Israel views Jerusalem as its capital.
You can read all of the Security Council resolutions
concerning Jerusalem by browsing to the United Nations website at www.UN.org.
Just follow the links for U.N. bodies, and select “Security Council” and then
“Resolutions.” Or, to go directly to the resolutions regarding Israel and
Palestine, use this direct link valid as of this writing: http://domino.un.org/UNISPAL.NSF/
The resulting page states that there are “over 30,000 text documents” in the
collection, so it is necessary to click on document “Type” and then scroll down
to “Resolutions” to find a complete list of the hundreds of General Assembly
and Security Council resolutions.
These resolutions show that the world organization has not
forgotten about the 1947 resolution calling for internationalization of
Jerusalem under a governor appointed by the U.N. Most people may have
forgotten, but the leaders of the world’s nations remember. For example, toward
the end of the year 2000 the U.N. General Assembly passed Resolution 57/111 on
Jerusalem, in which it specifically references “resolution 181 (II) of 29
November 1947, in particular its provisions regarding the City of Jerusalem,”
and states, “the international community, through the United Nations, has a
legitimate interest in the question of the City of Jerusalem” and that “any
actions taken by Israel to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration on
the Holy City of Jerusalem are illegal and therefore null and void and have no
It is these resolutions that the world community may
eventually seek to enforce through a military confrontation between Israel and
all the nations of the world. As noted earlier in this book, British Foreign
Secretary Jack Straw said, “the West has been guilty of double standards—on the
one hand saying the UN Security Council resolutions on Iraq must be
implemented, on the other hand, sometimes appearing rather quixotic over the
implementation of resolutions about Israel and Palestine.” (From a March 26,
2003 Jerusalem Post article titled, “Foreign Ministry slams British PM’s
linkage of Iraq, Intifada,” by Douglas Davis) The U.N. resolutions on Iraq were
enforced militarily, so why not the resolutions on Jerusalem?
It is hard to imagine United Nations forces assembling in
the region outside Israel and then marching into the country. In half a dozen
wars Israel was able to push back the combined armies of all its Arab neighbors.
In the 1967 war the Arab armies managed to push ahead twenty miles inside
Israel, but then Israel stopped them and pushed them back. Would U.N. forces
meet with greater success than the Arabs? Even from a purely secular and
strategic standpoint, without giving thought to divine intervention, the task
would give pause to any general or military commander.
Moreover, today it is generally known or widely believed
that Israel possesses nuclear weapons, although the Jews have never publicly
declared themselves a nuclear power. With atomic weapons on both sides, the
United States and the Soviet Union faced off for decades without either side
daring to stage an all-out attack. A would-be attacker of Israel faces a
So, how could a situation arise that would actually bring
the forces of the United Nations into conflict with Israel over Jerusalem?
We will have to wait to see what happens, of course. But,
dramatic changes and reversals have occurred before in global politics. And
suicidal military ventures are not unknown in human history.
Yet, it is more common for military powers to back
themselves into a corner, where they find themselves forced to act. For
example, it would not be difficult to conceive of United Nations peacekeeping
forces being invited into Jerusalem’s border areas in relatively small numbers
as part of an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement. They might be welcomed by
both sides under certain conditions, perhaps as unarmed monitors to report on
compliance with agreements, or as lightly armed border guards to secure
agreed-upon boundaries. Then, once they were in place, it would not be
difficult to imagine the situation deteriorating some time later, and the
government of Israel taking a position contrary to what the United Nations felt
obligated to enforce. A confrontation between Israeli troops and reinforced
U.N. forces could escalate unexpectedly.
Actually, United Nations forces have already been invited
into the area; not into Jerusalem, but into the border area of southern
Lebanon. Israel welcomed them after its withdrawal in the year 2000 from
Lebanese land that had been occupied as an Israeli “security zone” for more
than two decades. In July, 2000, the U.N. deployed its first peacekeeping units
along the “line of withdrawal,” also known as the “blue line,” between Israel
and Lebanon. Referred to as the United Nations Interim Force, battalions of
nearly two hundred soldiers in blue helmets took up positions—armed men and
women from Ireland, Ghana, Finland, Fiji, Nepal and India. So, a similar
deployment around Jerusalem is not unthinkable.
In fact, numerous proposals have been made, calling for
interposing U.N. peacekeepers between the Israelis and the Palestinians, either
ahead of a peace agreement or as a means of implementing such an agreement. So
far, Israel has refused to allow entry to such international forces, and the
United States has blocked efforts in the U.N. Security Council to move in that
But, the political situation can change a rapidly. Nothing
illustrates that better than the changes in the United States policy toward
Israel under President George W. Bush.
For decades prior to his administration the American policy
had been one of official neutrality between Israel and the Palestinians.
President Jimmy Carter dealt even handedly with both sides and brought them to
the peace table at Camp David. Ronald Reagan pursued the same course during his
eight-year administration. And George H. W. Bush (the father of George W. Bush)
did likewise. The Bill Clinton White House followed the same policy and brought
the Israelis and the Palestinians to the point of a peace agreement that was to
have put a Palestinian state in place as early as 1999. Then the status of
Jerusalem came up, and negotiations fell apart.
The policy of the new administration of George W. Bush
appeared, at first, to be characterized by a lack of interest in the Middle
East, altogether. Then, it became clear that, by adopting a hands-off policy,
the new president had caused the United States government to change its course
with regard to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Instead of acting as a neutral
power trying to bring both sides to the negotiating table, the United States
actually backed the Israeli side. Without strong American pressure to act as a
restraint, the government of Israel had the upper hand in dealing with the
Palestinians. And with the tacit approval of Washington Israel used to its
military superiority to impose a de facto solution without further
negotiation with the Palestinians. Citing security concerns, Israeli forces
simply re-occupied territory previously turned over to the Palestinian
But, then came September 11, 2001. When Islamic terrorist
attacks hit the Pentagon and the World Trade Center, it became clear that
Israel’s strangulation of Palestinian aspirations in the occupied territories
would not settle the matter. Like a balloon that is squeezed in one place, only
to expand everywhere else, the violence spread worldwide. As a result, American
policy changed course again. Instead of total disengagement, the U.S. became
fully engaged, once more, in the Middle East peace process, this time by
joining Russia, the European Union and the United Nations to form a Quartet
sponsoring an international roadmap for peace.
Similar rapid changes in circumstances and policies could
turn a voluntary peacekeeping operation around Jerusalem into a hostile
military occupation by blue helmeted United Nations peacekeeping forces. The
international attack on Jerusalem long foretold in the Bible could develop from
a botched peacekeeping effort. Peacekeepers brought in voluntarily by Israel
could turn into the advance guard of an invading army. And a new administration
in Washington could turn Israel’s only ally into a neutral observer, or even an
Am I writing this book to declare to the world that this is
what will happen? No. We cannot be certain, at this time, just how the
prophecies of an international attack on Jerusalem will see fulfillment.
But we can be certain that Jerusalem has already now become
a problem for the whole world, and that the legal framework has already been
put in place for the United Nations to oppose Israeli control over the city. In
the light of Bible prophecy, this gives us reason to expect the rest of what
the Bible predicts to take place in the near future.