Even as formal talks began this week to develop a framework for a final Israeli-Palestinian peace accord, there were growing indications that the real breakthroughs would come in direct talks between Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian President Yasir Arafat and their back-channel emissaries.
At the same time, there was a renewed push to resume peace talks between Israel and Syria, with France acting as the catalyst with tacit American approval. The two sides have not spoken since negotiations broke down in 1996.
Leaders of an apocalyptic Christian group expelled from Israel last week say they were betrayed by Israeli police, whom they had been helping to identify potentially violent Christian extremists.
In an exclusive interview with The Jewish Week, the American-born Christians — three women and two men — also blamed the FBI for instigating Israeli police against evangelical Christians planning to witness the second coming of Jesus Christ in Jerusalem in the next millennium.
The FBI is warning about the possibility of a terrorist attack in Jerusalem by Islamic extremists at the dawn of the new millennium, according to a new “Doomsday” report obtained by The Jewish Week.
The bureau also is sending out an alarm about violence from fanatical apocalyptic Christian groups streaming into Israel anticipating the Second Coming of Jesus after the world calendar flips over in two months.
Israel could be just “days away” from being accepted into a regional grouping at the United Nations, a long-sought goal that would open the door for it to sit on the UN Security Council and a variety of other bodies worldwide, according to Israel’s UN ambassador, Dore Gold.
Israel is heading toward an international religious crisis and the loss of untold millions in tourism following increased police actions against Christians.
So warned millennium experts and Christian and Jewish leaders in the wake of Israel’s midnight raid, arrest and deportation this week of a group of 21 Christians, mostly Americans, who had been living without incident near the Mount of Olives anticipating the “return” of Jesus and the beginning of the End of Days.
Y2K fears are expected to keep throngs of visitors, notably Christians, from ringing in the New Year in the official destination of the millennium. So acknowledges Israel’s commissioner for tourism in North America, Arie Sommer, despite a fare war on flights to Israel, special hotel discounts and a gala New Year’s Eve party that are expected to draw a record number of visitors to the Jewish state this year and appreciably more next year.