For 15 years I have watched and prayed and written about unfolding developments, as Israel has moved towards what a growing number of world watchers anticipate will be an earthshaking date with destiny.
When it arrives, this date - in my estimation - will be on a par in historicity and significance with the 1947 UN vote to partition Palestine, with Israel's lightning victory in the Six Day War 20 years later, and with the hard won win during Yom Kippur of 1973.
Many things have happened since then - events that have been painful in the extreme for Israel, and that have riveted the interest and engaged the political energies of the international community virtually without respite.
But they have all been components of one, overarching development since 1967: the world-backed effort to prise away Israel's restored control over its ancient heartland, and to engineer in its place the establishment of a Palestinian Arab state.
Two major world bodies have two very different reasons for wanting to achieve this.
The world's democracies are working to oversee the birth of this state because, so they assert, peace in the Middle East, and thus stability for the world, hinges on the creation of an independent national homeland for the Palestinian Arabs.
For the Islamic/Arab world, the establishment of Palestine is an indispensable strategic step on the road to erasing Israel from the Middle East, once and for all.
Unswervingly, the Palestinian Arabs maintain that they will use the state the world is so anxious to give them as a platform from which to violently drive the Jews from what will be left of the land still under their rule.
"A legitimate Palestinian entity forms the most important weapon the Arabs have against Israel," states the official website of Yasser Arafat's Palestinian Authority.
While their end goals may differ dramatically, therefore, both the Western and Islamic worlds are working to achieve the same thing in the next phase, and as soon as possible: The creation of Palestine.
And, 10 years after Oslo - the peace agreement Israel signed that sent blood flowing through her streets, and immense pain and suffering visiting untold numbers of her homes - the push is on to birth this state this year.
If the US-led democratic nations have their way, Israel will allow, assist in, and recognize the establishment of Palestine sometime in the next 12 months; and this whether or not the Palestinian Arabs do anything to "merit it" at all.
For their part, these Arabs, backed by the entire Arab-Islamic world, will have done nothing to achieve their state, except spill blood for it, and remain unyielding in their demand to get it.
From their perspective, they have already achieved so much:
A group of terrorists bound together 40 years ago has succeeded - through bloody violence and a Goebbel's-inspired propaganda campaign - in convincing the world that a people with no national history comprise a nation; that this "nation" has a right to its own land; that "its" land is the historical heartland of the Jewish people; and that Israel has an obligation to withdraw from this land and permit another (enemy) Arab state to be erected there.
Jews I have met in recent months - even those I regard as right-thinking and intelligent - tell me that although Israel has bad leadership that is prepared to sell the country down the tubes, the majority of Israelis will never let this happen. These optimists cite the growth in Jewish settlements, and the waiting lists of tens of families eager to get into these endangered communities.
But while Jews may be lining up to move into those universally loathed towns and villages, Israel's "bad leadership" is moving ahead with its plans, an nothing is being done on the ground to stop the seemingly unstoppable slide towards the division of the Land of Israel for the establishment of Palestine.
Will it happen this year? According to the Road Map, Palestine was supposed to be born in 2003, with its borders and other outstanding issues finalized in 2005. Because of the Palestinian Authority's refusal to crush the terror groups in its midst, last year passed without the first step being reached.
Now, according to reports, President George W. Bush sees securing the de facto State of Palestine in 2004 as important to his race for re-election in November. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has apparently agreed to allow this state to be born - whether or not the PA does everything it is supposed to do under the Road Map - or does nothing.
Under reportedly intense US pressure, Sharon has agreed to begin uprooting Jewish families from their homes in Samaria, Judea and Gaza - the "occupied territories." A few hours before this was posted he, together with Minister of Defense Shaul Mofaz, signed the order for four more "illegal outposts" to be torn down.
On the face of it, the end of this play is now obvious. What was unthinkable a few short years ago is about to take place before our eyes. Israel's position on the integrity of its homeland and its security needs have been almost entirely eroded away.
Will Palestine truly be born? Don't be too sure in your reply.
It was the biblical prophets who foretold the Jews' return to their homeland after millennia of wandering among the nations. Those prophesied events came to pass between the late 1800s and 1948 and, as Jews continue to make aliya every day, they are coming to pass before our eyes.
And then, it was the God of Israel Who promised through these same prophets, that, once He had brought the Jews home and "settled" them in their land, they would never again be uprooted. The following few verses hold some of these promises:
For the LORD will have mercy on Jacob, and will still choose Israel, and settle them in their own land. (Isaiah 14:1)
"And the LORD will take possession of Judah as His inheritance in the Holy Land, and will again choose Jerusalem…" (Zechariah 2:12)
"'For I will set My eyes on them for good, and I will bring them back to this land; I will build them and not pull them down, and I will plant them and not pluck them up…" (Jeremiah 24:6-7)
"I will bring back the captives of My people Israel; they shall build the waste cities and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and drink wine from them; they shall also make gardens and eat fruit from them. I will plant them in their land, and no longer shall they be pulled up from the land I have given them," says the LORD your God. (Amos 9:14-15)
The Western world wants a Palestinian state to placate the Arabs. The Arab world wants a Palestinian state to destroy the Jews. Bush is prepared to play midwife to this state in order to garner a feather in his cap and doubly secure his second White House win.
Everyone - Washington, London, Paris, Berlin, Moscow, Beijing, Tehran, Damascus and Cairo - want Jews to be uprooted so that Palestine can be born.
Everyone, according to the Bible, except the Lord God of Israel.
An almighty clash is on its way: Will the combined might of all the world's nations be enough to impose a "solution" on Israel? Or will the eternal word of the LORD God of Israel stand against these efforts, and overcome them?
And as we move into 2004, the question I have is whether this issue will be decided this year.
Will it be this year when the efforts of the nations to thwart God's plan for Israel come up hard against the immutable Word of God?
Will it be this year when a Palestine will be established? Or will it be this year when all the efforts to create this state will come to naught?
Will it be this year that things in the Middle East really change?
©2004 - Jerusalem Newswire