Uploaded on March 28. This week’s update is 40 minutes.
You may view the 5 minute update this week via audio:
In this week’s 5 minute update, we focused on:
1) Benjamin Netanyahu task to form a new government and the current situation with the Israel / PLO peace process
Given the results of the March 17 elections, Israel President Reuven Rivlin gave the task to incumbent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to form the next Israeli government. Rivlin said to Netanyahu: “You are tasked with the grave responsibility of forming a government as stable and as wide as possible, and soon. The incoming government and Knesset are faced with three critical tasks.” he said. “The first is reinforcing the ties between Israel and the US, our biggest and most important ally. The second is to restore stability to the political system and restoring the public’s trust in the system – we must not go back to elections in two years. And the third is healing the painful wounds and rifts opened in recent years, which have grown during this election campaign,” Rivlin said. Rivlin added, “To the citizens of Israel, we’ve gone through a difficult election campaign … Things were said on all sides that should not have been said. Not in a Jewish state, and not in a democratic state. The heat of the flames serves no one. The fire is not just hot, it could burn.”
In reply, Netanyahu said: “I accept the task you gave me of forming the government with a feeling of great responsibility,” Netanyahu told the president. Netanyahu said he viewed himself “as the prime minister of each and every one of you – those who elected me and those who did not. I will act to mend the rifts which have opened up between different segments of society during the election.” Netanyahu urged Israeli citizens to put the elections behind them and focus on what unites them. “I must continue on this path in the next government that is formed – a Jewish and democratic country that gives full equal rights to all of its citizens regardless of religious, race or gender. So it has always been, and so it always will be,” he said. Netanyahu said that he wants to have good relations with the US. However, he said that he would continue to try to prevent a bad nuclear deal from being reached between the six major world powers (US, England, France, Russia, China and Germany) and Iran. “Real peace can be achieved only if Israel remains strong and stable,” Netanyahu said.
After being given the task to form his new coalition government, Netanyahu began coalition talks with the 5 parties most likely to be in his coalition. They are: Jewish Home, Kulanu, Yisrael Beitenu, Shas and United Torah Judaism. If all agree to be in the government, it would give Netanyahu a coalition of 67 Knesset members. Initially, Netanyahu will have until May 7 to form a government.
Zionist Union party leader Isaac Herzog whose political party came in second place behind Netanyahu’s Likud political party ruled out the possibility of forming a unity government with Benjamin Netanyahu, echoing the prime minister’s words by saying the differences between the two were too profound for them to work together. “Netanyahu said there’s a huge chasm between us. He said during the elections that we are anti-Zionists, and he said during the election that I will basically sell the country to the Arabs,” Herzog said. However, the Zionist Union leader also spoke of deepening an alliance with Arab MKs, insisting he would try to bring them into the mainstream of Israeli politics.
Regarding the peace process, after months of freezing tax revenue transfers as punishment for the Palestinian Authority’s application to the Rome Statute which would allow them to become a member of the International Criminal Court, Israel said that it would release the money to the Palestinian Authority. In January, Israel froze the transfer of some NIS 500 million in tax collections to protest the Palestinians application for membership of the International Criminal Court on behalf of the “State of Palestine”. The tax money is used to pay public sector salaries and is critical to running the Palestinian Authority. The decision was made by Israel to help rebuild bridges with the United States due to US criticism of Benjamin Netanyahu when during the Israeli election season Netanyahu said that there would not be a Palestinian state during his term as Prime Minister.
US President Barack Obama gave a cold reception to Benjamin Netanyahu’s re-election as Prime Minister of Israel on March 17. From this time, US-Israel relations have been tense as the Obama administration has made many harsh statements toward Israel and regarding the peace process. According to a senior Israeli official, the multiple condemnations are a form of “revenge” from the Obama Administration against Netanyahu who says that the US is doing these things for three primary reasons: “One, revenge (for Netanyahu’s speech in Congress). Two, frustration. It’s no secret that they were involved in an attempt to bring down the Netanyahu and we know that clearly, and they have failed. Three, the government’s attempt to shift the focus from them and the negotiations with Iran to the Palestinian issue.”
The senior official heavily criticized the Obama administration’s handling of Israel and the issue of peace talks, asking why the issue of “settlements” in the West Bank are suddenly the most important policy issue on the agenda. “Look what we have done so far with the construction in the settlements,” the official said. “We took upon ourselves all of the restrictions from the [Ariel] Sharon – [George W.] Bush era, which allowed natural growth but not the establishment of new settlements.” Recently, US Chief of Staff Dennis McDonough said “an occupation that has lasted for almost 50 years must end.”
Furthermore, Obama said that he has not made any decision regarding if the US would no longer use its veto at the UN Security Council to prevent the establishment and recognition of a PLO state until after Netanyahu forms his new government. Obama said: “We are going to do that evaluation. We’re going to partly wait for an actual Israeli government to form.” After the March 17th Israeli elections, Netanyahu clarified his views on a PLO state saying to US media, “I don’t want a one-state solution. I want a sustainable, peaceful two-state solution” while stressing the grave dangers posed to Israel in the region from radical Islam and the PLO’s refusal to negotiation in good faith a two-state solution. However, the Obama administration rejected Netanyahu’s clarification. Obama said, the US could no longer base its peace policy on “something everyone knows is not going to happen … there still does not appear to be a prospect of a meaningful framework established that would lead to a Palestinian state even if there were a whole range of conditions and security requirements that might be phased in over a long period of time, which was always the presumption.” Obama continued, “The issue has never been ‘do you create a Palestinian state overnight.’ The issue is ‘do you create a process and a framework that gives the Palestinians hope, the possibility that down the road they have a secure state of their own standing side by side with a secure and fully recognized Jewish state of Israel,’” he said. Obama added: “It’s not just my estimation, but it’s hard to envision how that happens based on the prime minister’s statements. Netanyahu is representing his country’s interests the way he thinks he needs to and I’m doing the same … so this can’t be reduced to a matter of somehow let’s all hold hands and sing Kumbaya.”
Meanwhile, the United Nations Middle East envoy, Robert Serry, challenged the United Nations Security Council to present a framework for peace between Israel and the Palestinians saying this this “may be the only way to preserve the goal of a two-state solution” while being critical of Jews who live in the West Bank and East Jerusalem by saying that it “may kill the very possibility of reaching peace on the paradigm of two states for two peoples.” In addition, Serry said that if the world believes in a two-state solution, and Israel and the Palestinians are unable to agree on a meaningful framework to resume peace negotiations, “the international community should seriously consider presenting such a framework for negotiations, including parameters, to achieve this.” Serry added, “It remains the primary responsibility of the United Nations Security council to play its role in developing a new peace architecture for resolving the conflict at long last,” he said. “UN Security Council Resolution 242 embodying the key principle of ‘land for peace’ is nearly half-a-century old.” UN Security Council Resolution 242, adopted shortly after the Six Day War in 1967, has long been the cornerstone of diplomatic efforts, calling for negotiations between the sides based on the principle of “land for peace” and secure and recognized borders for Israel.
Serry noted that American attempts to solve the conflict during his seven year tenure have not been met with success, and that the Quartet has largely failed to live up to expectations. The Palestinian ambassador to the UN, Riyad Mansour, said that he agrees with Serry’s comments saying, “We hope the Security Council will… take that responsibility very seriously,” Mansour said. He said he wants to see a resolution with a time frame for ending the Israeli occupation and with terms of reference for the peace process.
The last round of peace talks, pressed on Israel by US Secretary of State John Kerry, were torpedoed by the PA last April when it unilaterally joined international treaties in breach of the 1993 Oslo Accords, and signed a unity deal with the Hamas terrorist organization.
In response, Israeli Ambassador to the UN Ron Prosor said that not only was the international community not demanding anything of the Palestinians but was assisting their efforts to destroy any chance for progress toward a peace agreement. Prosor added that the international community should be paying attention to the PA actions that torpedoed the diplomatic process. These actions, he said, included walking away from negotiations in favor of unilateral activity against Israel in the international arena, giving prizes to terrorists and forming a unity government with Hamas, which calls for Israel’s destruction.
Israel’s position has long been that as long as the Palestinians believe the world will set the parameters of an accord, thereby imposing an agreement, they will not feel any need to compromise with Israel around the negotiating table. “Anyone who believes that there is a substitute for direct negotiations is fooling themselves,” said an Israeli government official. “Peace will not be advanced by passing resolutions in New York, but by Israelis and Palestinians seriously discussing the issues that separate them. Everything else is blah, blah.” The official said there can be no peace without the Palestinians recognizing the legitimacy of the Jewish state and without them finally taking Israel’s legitimate security concerns seriously.
Meanwhile, a European diplomat said that the European Union and Israel are “on a collision course” if Netanyahu forms a center-right government and continues to build Jewish homes in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. A European report outlines 40 possible decisions that the EU could take to pressure Israel into returning to negotiations. If these things happen, the European diplomat indicated that the items contained in the report could begin to get implemented. However, EU member states have not yet approved the recommendations. ” EU diplomacy will likely remain in a sort of listening mode for a while, looking at what might be Netanyahu’s political and diplomatic signaling strategy. And it will also probably adjust its actions accordingly,” said European Policy Centre analyst Andrea Frontini.
In any event, France plans to start discussions with partners in the “coming weeks” on a United Nations Security Council resolution to lay out parameters for ending the Middle East conflict, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said. “We have said that these parameters have to be defined and recognized by the UN Security Council and that obviously Israel and the Palestinians have to discuss these things themselves but the discussion will be accompanied by an international effort,” Fabius said adding “there is no other solution.” Fabious continued: “I hope that the partners who were reluctant will not be reluctant anymore,” referring to the United States, which has traditionally shielded its ally Israel from any recognition of a PLO state at the UN Security Council. Fabious said that France plans to try to get the UN Security Council to agree on a framework for a two-state solution as soon as Israel’s new government is formed.
France, along with Britain and Germany, drafted a UN Security Council resolution in November to set parameters for a negotiated settlement to the peace process but the text was put on the side until after the results of the Israeli elections were known. However, based upon the comments by France, it seems that this effort will continue after Netanyahu forms his new government coalition. The deadline for him to do so is May 7.
An agreement to divide Jerusalem and establish a PLO state is a tribulation event.
The link to these articles are as follows:
1) Rivlin taps Netanyahu to form next government
2) Countdown to coalition begins after Rivlin gives PM mandate
3) Herzog says he won’t be Netanyahu’s ‘bleaching agent’
4) Israel to resume tax revenue transfers to the Palestinian Authority
5) Diplomat: Obama Seeking ‘Revenge’ on Netanyahu
6) Obama: US can’t base policy on ‘dim’ peace hopes under Netanyahu
7) UN Mideast envoy asks Security Council to lead on Israel
8) Serry: Time to replace 242 with new ‘peace architecture’
9) UN Envoy Says Security Council can Force ‘Peace Framework’
10) EU plans to pressure Israel as diplomat warns of ‘collision course’
11) France to begin push for UN action on Israel-Palestinian conflict
12) France: Talks within days on UN resolution on Palestinians
13) TEXT: France UN Draft Resolution on Israel / PLO conflict (November 2014)
From a Biblical prophetic perspective, the reason why the God of Israel would allow these events to happen is because it will result in the end of the exile of the house of Jacob and the reunification of the 12 tribes of Israel (Ephraim and Judah).
We will to be “watchmen on the walls of Jerusalem” and we will not rest until the God of Israel makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth (Isaiah 62).
Shalom in Yeshua the Messiah,
Hebraic Heritage Ministries Int’l