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In the Pope's recent Damascus address, given following a speech by Bashar al-Assad which had harsh criticism for Israel regarding her possession of Arab land, the Pope stated: "It is time to return to the principle of international legality; the banning of acquisition of territory by force." This obviously referred to Israel taking Arab lands, and then building Jewish settlements on them, plus the recent IDF incursions into the Gaza Strip. The Pope wields tremendous influence on many government officials, particularly in Catholic dominated countries in Europe, and in the western hemisphere south of the United States. The tide of international public opinion, which, at one time, favored Israel, is now turning to the Palestinian Authority and the other Arab nations. It was no accident that, shortly after the Pope's statement, the Mitchell report was released by the international commission. The Palestinian Authority (PA) says it accepts the entire report. Israel's Foreign Minister, Shimon Peres, called the international report "a highly balanced analysis, which invites Israel and the PA to an international ground from which to once again embark on the peace process." However, Israel continues to build Jewish settlements in the disputed territories. This is one of the reasons the tide of international opinion is turning more and more against Israel. In the week following the Pope's statement, the European Union (EU) issued a statement on the Middle East. EU officials harshly criticized Israel in the statement, and in their speeches leading to the statement. The current President of the EU, Sweden Foreign Minister Anna Lindh, rejected "Israeli incursions into areas under Palestinian control, firing along different road sections." She likened it to "selective assassination of people." Lindh never mentioned PA Chairman Yassar Arafat in her speech, but seemed to lay all fault on Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. She then called on Israel to stop building in the settlements, and went even further by requesting Israel to "begin withdrawing from its settlements." The EU's Commissioner for External Relations, Chris Patten, stated: " The EU's position on settlements is clear: all settlement activities in Gaza, the West Bank, the Golan Heights, and east Jerusalem are illegal under international law, and constitute a major obstacle to peace. This includes the 'natural growth' of settlements - a violation of international law that cannot be allowed to continue unabated." There are two things the Islamic nations must produce in order to drive Israel into the Negev wilderness with a minimum of outside interference: (1) To have the vast majority of world opinion in their favor, and (2) To create a false peace by stopping their terrorist activities long enough to lull Israel into a false sense of security. The Arab forces, in the eventual attack against Israel, would be militarily insane to use atomic, chemical, or biological weapons against Israel, knowing what she has ready to launch in the Negev wilderness. I have outlined the reason for this in previous Prophecy Updates, which can be read from our archives. Islam would be equally insane militarily to try to take any of the land south of Beersheva, which is the gateway to the Negev. The reason for my confidence on this point is also found in the prophecy archives. Once the Syrian led coalition has taken everything north of Beersheva, they will have all they want and need. The woman that flees into the Negev wilderness in Revelation 12:6 is the remnant of Zechariah 13:8,9, and she will be there for 3 & ½ prophetic years.