Maggid ben Yoseif / Jerusalem Torah Voice in Exile
 February 22, 2003   

Detours on the road map

to peace in the Middle East

President Bush’s road map of a post-Saddam Iraq and the Middle East omits potentially catastrophic detours and impassible wadis evident on more ancient roadmaps.

These maps, drafted some 28 centuries ago by Hebrew prophets the world thought insane, were vindicated in 1948 when the State of Israel made a comeback as a nation. Modern Israeli leaders have carefully studied them before forming alliances or starting wars in the Middle East. It is time that U.S. foreign policy consider these more esoteric signposts in the context of current events. It may already be too late.

The writings of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Hosea, Obadiah and Zechariah indicate that a post-Saddam Iraq will leave Turkey in control of whatever remains of the devastated region. And a future leader of Turkey will prove to be a much worse tyrant than Saddam.

They also hint that the unwavering support for a Palestinian state and dismantling of Jewish settlements, again endorsed by Bush, may ignite a full-scale war in the West Bank that will result in the death of all Palestinians who do not leave. If the state is declared and Palestinian refugees return, this could be upwards of 4 million people who will die. That is by far the worst blood bath in the history of war.

Ezekiel, in chapters 38 and 39, warns of allying in any way with Turkey, who will be at the center of a radical Islamic power that will start a horrific war against Israel.

In recent years, Turkey has flexed its muscles within NATO and made demands on the Allied coalition in exchange for permission to use Turkish air bases and stage Allied troops from which to strike Iraq from a second front. Ezekiel wrote in the 8th Century B.C.E., that a future tyrant known as “Gog” would rule over regions known as Meshech and Tubal and would rally Persia, Cush, Put, the bands of Gomer and the House of “Togormah of the north quarters” in a war with Israel.  The invasion itself would stem from “the north quarters,” associated with Togormah.

According to the earliest maps of the Fertile Crescent available, Meshech describes an ancient region today located in western and central Turkey. Tubal describes a region running north from southern Iraq into Turkey, where a wadi or dry river bed by that name exists today. This is one indication that a post-Saddam government might – despite the President’s intentions -- carve up parts of Iraq after the U.S. vacates the region.. If so, Turkey, a contiguous neighbor to the north, stands to gain territorially from the concessions U.S. foreign policy planners are apparently making to assure the Turks that a nationalist uprising of Kurds in “Liberated Iraq” and Turkey won’t happen.

Persia describes Iran. Exegetes and historians have disagreed about the identities of Cush and Put. While most say they comprise the Islamic nations of Ethiopia and Libya in North Africa, others say they are regions contiguous with Turkey and Iran, perhaps Islamic republics carved out of the former Soviet Union. Regardless they are part of an emerging radical Islamic alliance.

Gomer is the earliest name for the southern and eastern regions of modern Turkey as the earliest maps indicate. We also have evidence uncovered from ancient Assyrian inscriptions discovered around the turn of the 20th Century and translated within the past half-century, that indicate this was the case.

That leaves the “Togormah of the north quarters,” from which Ezekiel wrote the invasion upon Israel originates. Togormah is the modern Hebrew word for the region of the Tigris river, (note similar consonants T,G and R), which locates Turkey.

Following the exile of the Shah of Iran and Iran taking 52 Americans hostage during the administration of President Jimmy Carter, covert U.S. policy that had earlier backed the Shah, began backing the enemies of the Ayatollah. Our CIA, in its eagerness to destabilize the communist-backed Iraqi regime of Gen. Abdul Kassim, helped bring the separatist Baath party to power. We provided intelligence to Saddam and we supplied him with arms for the subsequent eight-year war between Iraq and Iran. Saddam would not have the standing in the Middle East or the military might that made him a regional “tough guy,” without that U.S. intervention. In cleaning up one mess, our policy created an even bigger one.

Now, as we talk of giving the Middle East a new face, we should be doubly certain that we are not the pawn radical Islamic interests can use to gain their foothold of power in order to wage their devastating invasion against Israel. Turkey today remains quasi-fundamentalist, but the recent election of Prime Minister Erduwan of the Islamic “Ak” party is one more sign that the face of the nation is rapidly changing.

Turning to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, a post-Saddam objective of the Bush Doctrine, to democratize the Middle East, U.S. policy planners obviously have ignored the lay of the land if they know about it at all.

The prophet Obadiah warned that people who live in the relative flatlands called the “fields of Ephraim” will be annihilated to the last man, woman and child in a skirmish with Israelites who return to these promised biblical inheritances.

The “fields of Ephraim” are almost entirely Palestinian villages. The Jewish settlements in this region best defined as the northern two-thirds of the former West Bank of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, are mostly on the mountain tops, not in the fertile fields and valleys, which are currently the homes of Palestinians. The contrast is easily observed at night with the Israeli settlements on the mountain tops lit up with quartz-halogen lighting and the Palestinian villages in the fields around them, a different kind of lighting.

Obadiah describes these dwellers in the fields by the name, “House of Esau,” the biblical rival to Jacob. One branch of this House of Esau (also called Edom) was believed by some early historians to comprise the nation of ancient Rome, but most historians contend that the House of Esau is a general description of the Arab nations who either descended from Ishmael and intermarried with Esau or direct descendants of Esau.

Regardless, the people today dwelling in the fields of Ephraim are Palestinian Arabs. Those who leave this northern region of the unannexed West Bank are promised by Zechariah, in chapter 9, that they may live in an autonomous and contiguous region in the Gaza Strip once the terrorism ends and language in the Palestine National Charter calling for the destruction of the Jewish state is deleted. Or as Zechariah 9:7 dramatically represents this: the “blood” is removed from the mouth of the P'lishtim -- the plural of the Arabic name by which Yasser Arafat refers to the Palestinian people -- and “his abominations from between his teeth.”

Somewhere buried on Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s desk or in his files is a curious proposal to transfer more than a million Palestinians living in the fields of Ephraim out of this region and into a contiguous region in the Gaza Strip. As far-fetched as that might sound, it is a proposal that now has the support of two-thirds of the Israeli population. It may also be the most humanitarian solution to the ongoing crisis between Israel and the Palestinians.

Once the Palestinian population is removed from the region, the majority of the settlements in the area will not be Jewish, however. The region is reserved, according to Jeremiah 31:15-18 and in the writings of Hosea, Isaiah and Obadiah for the return of the assimilated non-Jewish Northern Kingdom of Israel, or three “lost tribes of Israel” called anciently, “the House of Joseph.”

Apparently, the Almighty’s vision of Israel is more than a purely Jewish state. The fields of Ephraim as well as contiguous regions to the north and south in territory that is today part of annexed Israel as well as the Golan Heights has been reserved for the return of this northern House, best defined as non-Jews and Zionists. The Hebrew prophets said they would be gathered from every nation and be reunited with the Southern House of Judah or the Jewish people. Unfortunately, the Palestinians and their ultra-Nationalistic fervor for a Palestinian state stand in the way of this return and reunion. Therefore, those Palestinians in the region must leave. Those who remain, Obadiah indicates, will be removed by force.

This is most disturbing to the secular Israeli leadership, who is having to recognize and devise a foreign policy objective that will diminish the Jewish character of the nation and is largely – well – biblical.

Leaders of this emerging non-Jewish “House of Joseph” movement hope that when Sharon completes the current action aimed at targeting terrorists and terrorist cells, he will blow the dust off of that proposal. Then the diplomacy can begin to establish an autonomous homeland for the Palestinian people and prepare the way for Joes to also return.

For those Palestinians who remain, the fate is dire.  Obadiah wrote, “The House of Jacob would be a fire, the House of Joseph a flame and the House of Esau -- describing the current Palestinian occupants of these “fields of Ephraim” -- stubble. Not one would remain alive from the House of Esau.”

All of this points to yet another major flaw in the State Department’s foreign policy with Israel. Israel and the Palestinians were never destined to live side by side in separate but non-contiguous states, according to the roadmap described by the Hebrew prophets. To raise these false hopes before the Palestinians that this is possible – with the aim of placating Arab oil interests who have the ear of the State Department – is reprehensible.

The time is ripe for the State Department to cut its losses in the Middle East and disentangle itself from the strings attached to Arab oil. The hint of independence from OPEC by Venezuela and removing the economic disincentives to domestic production, offer the U.S. an “out” and deliverance from this addiction.  Then maybe this administration can see clearly how to undo the damage years of Arab-influenced foreign policy blundering has caused.

Finally, we can deduce from the writings of Jeremiah and Isaiah that Saddam has some degree of divine “protecsia.” That seemed evident when he survived the 1990-91 Persian Gulf War. Again, all of our weapons and all of our forces may be futile in Iraq, until the Almighty chooses to deal with Saddam – Personally.

“Remember the Alamo,” was the cry of vengeance that rallied Texans in their war for independence against Mexico in the spring of 1836. The mission-fort in San Antonio, overrun six weeks earlier, is consequently known today as “the cradle of Texas liberty.”

The Iraqi battlefield – the ancient land of Babylon -- and the biblical fast of T’sha b’Av and the Jewish fast of Esther on which the 1990-91 Persian Gulf War began and ended –hint at the remembrance of the “Cradle of World Liberty,” the Jerusalem Temple.

T’sha b’Av was the date the Temple was destroyed by Babylon in 586 B.C.E.  The Fast of Esther preceding the Jewish festival of Purim, coincidentaly was the date the rebuilt Temple was dedicated. It is no coincidence that the President’s conditional declaration of war in which he told Saddam he had 48 hours to get out of Dodge, also came as the Fast of Esther was ending.

It is vital that U.S. foreign policy as it relates to the Middle East and specifically to Iraq and Saddam Hussein, realize that this is a war with a spiritual front from the get-go. And it is being fought along biblical lines written about more than 28 centuries ago, in Jeremiah 50-52.

It may be that a Texan will be the Almighty’s vessel by which to finally exact His revenge for His Alamo, but not if the point goes unnoticed by the world. And this is not saying things will get better.  A Texan in charge of an oil-rich region is a recipe for even greater problems.

The caches of chemical and biological and nuclear weapons are, we are told, "real," and the threat they pose is real. But in the case of Saddam Hussein, the battle cry is from the Almighty: “Vengeance is mine.”  Despite the weapons we aimed at Saddam personally and the forces we sent to invade Iraq, Saddam remains hidden and will not fall until the words of the Almighty in Isaiah 13&14 and Jeremiah 50-52 are made crystal clear:  His revenge for the Jerusalem Temple is front and center in a future conflict involving the geographic region of ancient Babylon.

Mileposts in the 1991 Allied attack also point to the Jerusalem Temple.  The attack began on January 16, 1991, the first day of the Hebrew month of Shevat or “the first day of the fifth month.”  Ezra 7:9 states that Ezra arrived in Jerusalem on the first day of the fifth month with the gold and silver to “beautify” the completed Second Temple.

On February 17, 1990 (Adar 3), then Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev presented a “peace” initiative to Iraqi ambassador Tariq Aziz. Historically, the third day of Adar marked the completion of the Second Temple in the Hebrew year 3412, four years after its construction began in 3408 (Ezra 6:15).  That Sunday also followed the reading in every synagogue in Israel and the world the previous day of I Kings 5:26-6:13 that details the construction of the First Temple, which Babylon destroyed.

As this war and American occupation progresses to a climax that surely also must tie to some date and event associated with the Jerusalem Temple, we must keep in mind that Saddam and the entire population of Iraq were born with a problem. Iraq has the infamous honor of being the one nation in the world containing the capital city of an Empire eternally condemned:  the heart of ancient Babylon. The prophets wrote that the city of Babylon, located between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers just to the south of modern Baghdad, was doomed without reprieve.  No human being is ever to live there, nor will it be rebuilt.

American plans to transform a post-war Iraq into a democracy and rebuild it with oil wealth, also are ignorant of the utter devastation described in Jeremiah and Isaiah for both Iraq and Kuwait (the land of ancient Chaldea).

The Empire and its capital city were condemned, Jeremiah and Isaiah wrote, because it is responsible for the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple under Nebuchadnezzar, the Takriti who led the invasion force. Billboards and posters throughout Iraq during the eight-year Iraq-Iran Persian Gulf War partially explain the ego-maniacal political ambitions of the Iraqi leader who models himself after Joseph Stalin. The billboards proclaimed Saddam the modern Takriti and successor to Nebuchadnezzar.

In 1980, near the start of his presidency, Saddam began the abominable rebuilding of the ruins of Babylon in direct defiance of the Almighty. The rebuilding was interrupted by the war with Iran that diverted finances and claimed countless tens of thousands of lives, mostly Iranian Shi’ite Moslems, who fought Iraq’s war machine armed with nothing more than Korans in the bloodiest war then on record. But immediately after the cease-fire was proclaimed on August 20, 1988, Saddam proclaimed his intent to resume the rebuilding of ancient Babylon.  He announced a reward of millions of dollars to anyone who could restore Babylon’s famous “hanging gardens,” which had made it one of the Seven Wonders of the World.

In 1988 and 1989, rock concerts were held at the site. Artists from around the world performed in the partially restored ancient theaters where the arts were once performed in their more lascivious forms. These concerts went so far as to proclaim “the resurrected glories of Babylon” with those in attendance bowing in procession before a fire-breathing stone idol to the accompaniment of acid rock, as actual news footage of the celebrations aired by Middle East Television showed. Then, construction began on a massive tourist complex and hotel resort at the site. But before a third concert could be held, Iraq invaded Kuwait. The Allied attack was the only music heard over Babylon’s skies in 1990.

Maggid ben Yoseif

The writer reported the last months of the Iraq-Iran Persian Gulf War, the gassing of Kurds at Halabja in Northern Iraq and the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict for Middle East Television and was a religion writer and columnist for the Jerusalem Post.  


As many are astonished concerning you thus: "an outline from a man!" ... "his features mirror the sons of Adam!" Thus he shall startle many nations. Concerning him, kings (rulers) shall shut their mouths because that which was not told to them they shall see and that they had not heard they shall meditate to themselves.

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