Updated on April 27. This week’s update is 14 minutes.
You may view the 5 minute update this week via audio:
In this week’s 5 minute update, we focused on:
1) The current efforts by France to hold an international conference on the Israeli / Palestinian peace process on May 30 and the rejection by the international community that the Golan Heights should be recognized as part of Israeli territory.
France has announced that it will hold an international conference in Paris on May 30 on the Israeli / Palestinian peace process. The goal of the conference is to establish a framework for peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. The basis of the talks will be the 2002 Saudi peace plan. The 2002 Saudi peace initiative — approved by the Arab League but not Israel — calls for Israel to withdraw from Palestinian territory captured in the 1967 Six Day War, including East Jerusalem, in exchange for a normalization of ties with Arab countries. It also outlined the creation of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza and envisions a “just solution” of the refugee issue.
The May conference will include the Middle East Quartet (the United States, Russia, European Union and United Nations), the Arab League, the U.N. Security Council and about 20 countries. In early May, senior diplomats from all participating countries will hold a preparatory meeting to discuss the way forward for the May 30th conference.
In recent months, French envoy Pierre Vimont has held a series of consultations with Israel, the Palestinians and a host of other countries in the European Union, the Arab world, the United States and Russia to hear their views regarding a possible France peace conference initiative. In February, French diplomats explained to Israel and the Palestinians an outline of a plan to help resume peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.
The proposed plan is as follows: First, France would host an international meeting consisting of permanent members of the UN Security Council, some Arab and European states and international organizations to discuss a framework for future peace talks. This conference has now been scheduled for May 30.
French sources say the French plan is not an alternative to direct talks but seeks to create “a consensus allowing the conditions for the sides to meet.” French officials say governments at the May conference would aim to draw up a list of incentives for the parties as part of a possible deal. These could include the European Union giving special trade and economic concessions to Israel and the Palestinians, and Arab governments agreeing to recognize Israel in exchange for Israel withdrawing from territory it has occupied since the Six-Day War of 1967. French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said he is inviting foreign ministers from Europe, the U.S., the Middle East and Asia to Paris on May 30 to lay the groundwork for a new round of peace talks. The goal is for major world powers to forge a common strategy for the negotiations without the presence of either Israeli or Palestinian officials, Mr. Ayrault said.
Secondly, the plan is to host an international peace conference between Israel and the Palestinians based upon the agreed framework in the summer or fall.
The French Foreign Minister will arrive in Israel on May 12 and will meet Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to discuss the conference. Regarding the conference, the French Foreign Minister said: “In Israel, the government is more and more ambiguous on the issue of a two-state solution and the Palestinians are more and more divided. We have to explain to the Israelis that settlement activity is a dangerous process and that it puts their own security in danger. There is no other solution to the conflict other than a two-state solution, Israelis and Palestinians living side by side in peace and security with Jerusalem a shared capital. The two sides are more divided than ever. I’m not naive, but am acting in good faith. There is no alternative. The other option is fatalism and I refuse it,” he said.
US Secretary of State John Kerry said: “Not any one country or one person can resolve this. This is going to require the global community, it will require international support.
Israel and the Palestinians will not be invited to the May 30th meeting and have different views on the merits of the conference.
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu called the French diplomatic plan “mystifying” and counterproductive arguing that it gives the Palestinians no incentive to compromise. Netanyahu explained that the idea behind the French initiative is as follows: “It says, ‘We shall hold an international conference but, if it doesn’t succeed, we are deciding in advance what the consequence will be – we shall recognize a Palestinian state. This of course ensures in advance that a conference will fail because if the Palestinians know that their demands will be accepted… they don’t need to do anything,” he said. Netanyahu restated his policy that peace will only come as a result of direct bilateral talks between the sides.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas told French President Francois Hollande that the Palestinians fully back France’s initiative. Abbas spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh said: “France plays an important role in efforts to establish a fair, comprehensive and durable peace in accordance with international resolutions.”
Recently, the Palestinians circulated a proposed UN Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlement building. Following pressure from France and other countries, the Palestinians have suspended their efforts to try to get the UN Security Council to vote on the matter and instead have given their support to the French efforts to hold a peace conference on the Israeli / Palestinian peace process. Diplomats said that France, Egypt and Saudi Arabia had discouraged the Palestinians from moving ahead with the proposed measure that would have put pressure on the United States to veto the proposed resolution. The UN Security Council failed in 2011 to adopt a draft resolution condemning Israeli settlements after the United States vetoed it.
The Palestinians welcome the French initiative because they want the international community to impose a peace solution upon Israel. Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki said “We have agreed that our move at the Security Council should not jeopardize in any way the French initiative. We should really sail smoothly in a way that the French initiative will continue,” he said, adding that the Palestinians would decide on formally presenting the draft text at a later time. Malki said: “We welcome the conference that France will be conducting on May 30. The Palestinians look forward to the meeting on May 30 because we expect that this meeting will provide the right parameters in order to really move forward toward having an the international conference between Israel and the Palestinians based upon the agreed framework from the international community later in the year.”
Another Palestinian official said: “The opportunity to go to the Security Council will always be there and we want to give a chance to the French initiative because, in the end, this is an initiative that serves the Palestinian cause and not one that hurts the Palestinian goals and objectives regarding the peace process.”
In other news regarding Israel disputed territory, Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss his “red lines” regarding the security of Israel’s northern borders and stressed that Israel was determined to maintain its control of the Golan Heights.
Netanyahu said: “I have come to Russia to step up coordination with them on security matters, to prevent mistakes, misunderstandings regarding the Syrian conflict. We are not going back to the days when rockets were fired at our communities and our children from the top of the Golan… and so, with an agreement or without, the Golan Heights will remain part of [Israel’s] sovereign territory.” Netanyahu also said that Israel would do “everything” in its power to block Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah from obtaining advanced weapons, and was working to assure that no new “terror front” appeared on the Golan Heights.
Speaking at the start of a special Israeli governmental cabinet session convened in the Golan Heights, Netanyahu said that the Golan Heights will forever remain under Israeli sovereignty. “Whatever happens on the other side of the border, the line is not going to change,” Netanyahu stated at the start of the cabinet meeting. “The time has come after 50 years for the international community to acknowledge that the Golan Heights will permanently remain under Israeli sovereignty.”
The Golan Heights was effectively annexed by Israel in 1981. However, this action was not recognized by the rest of the world. As a result, Netanyahu’s claim has been strongly criticized by members of the international community. The status of the Golan has resurfaced because of the Syrian peace talks being brokered by the United States and Russia. Netanyahu has said that Israel’s view of the Golan Heights needs to be taken into account in these talks.
According to Israel’s Channel 2, the first clause of a Syrian draft peace agreement specifies that the Golan Heights is Syrian territory and must be returned to Syria. Netanyahu called US Secretary of State John Kerry to complain about text declaring the Golan as part of Syria to be included as part of a peace deal being drafted to end the Syrian civil war. He also told Kerry that the time has come for the United States to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights.
In response, the United States objected to Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s assertion that the Golan Heights will forever remain under Israeli control reiterating that the United States does not recognize Israel’s claims to the Golan Heights. US State Department spokesman John Kirby said that the Obama administration does not consider the Golan Heights to be part of Israel. “The US position on the issue is unchanged,” Kirby said. “Those territories are not part of Israel and the status of those territories should be determined through negotiations.” In November, Netanyahu reportedly asked US President Barack Obama to recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the area given the present situation with the Syrian civil war. Obama refused to even reply, according to Israeli media accounts.
Germany said a unilateral decision by Israel to keep the Golan Heights would breach international law. German Foreign Ministry spokesman Martin Schaefer said “it’s a basic principle of international law and the UN charter that no state can claim the right to annex another state’s territory just like that.” Schaefer said Germany isn’t currently demanding the immediate return of the territory due to the security situation in Syria.
EU diplomatic chief Federica Mogherini stressed that the European Union does not recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights. She said: “The EU recognizes Israel within its pre-1967 borders, whatever the government’s claims on other areas, until a final settlement is concluded,” Mogherini said. “And this is a common consolidated position of the European Union and its member states.”
The UN Security Council also rejected Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s assertion that the annexed Golan Heights would “forever” remain under Israeli control and expressed concern over his statements. The 15-member council agreed that the status of the Golan, which Israel captured from Syria in 1967, “remains unchanged,” said the Chinese Ambassador to the United Nations, Liu Jieyi.
Liu recalled a 1981 resolution which states that Israel’s “decision to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration in the occupied Syrian Golan Heights was null and void and without any international legal effect.” Council members “expressed deep concern” over the Israeli statements and “stressed that the status of the Golan remains unchanged,” said Liu.
Arab League chief Nabil al-Arabi, the secretary general of the pan-Arab bloc headquartered in Egypt, said Netanyahu’s statement “was a new escalation that represents a brazen violation of international law.”
Danny Danon, Israel’s Ambassador to the UN, also denounced the UN Security Council for discussing an issue that “completely ignores the reality in the Middle East.” Danon said: “While thousands of people are being massacred in Syria, and millions of citizens have become refugees, the Security Council has chosen to focus on Israel – the only true democracy in the Middle East. It’s unfortunate that interested parties are attempting to use the council for unfair criticism of Israel,” the ambassador added.
Israel’s Foreign Ministry shot back at the Security Council’s statement, saying it was “ignoring the reality” in Syria. “Who is Israel expected to negotiate with on the future of the Golan Heights? Islamic State? Al-Qaeda? Hezbollah? The Iranian and Syrian forces who massacred hundreds of thousands of people?” the statement said. “In the face of the war raging in Syria and the security and stability that Israel has built in the Golan in the past 50 years, the suggestions that Israel withdraw from the Golan is unreasonable.”
An agreement to divide Jerusalem and establish a PLO state is a tribulation event.
The link to these articles are as follows:
1) France to convene Middle East peace conference on May 30
2) France to Convene Foreign Ministers for Mideast Peace Process Summit in Paris on May 30
3) France announces May 30 Israel-PA peace talks
4) Netanyahu rejects ‘mystifying’ French ‘peace plan’
5) France announces global summit on Israel-Palestinian peace process
6) Palestinians to hold off on UN move against Israeli settlements
7) France to Call International Meeting to Revive Israel-Palestinian Peace Talks
8) Israel will never leave Golan, Netanyahu tells Putin
9) US rejects Netanyahu’s pledge to hold onto Golan forever
10) Israeli hold on Golan ‘null and void,’ UN Security Council says
11) EU stresses Golan position after Netanyahu comments
12) Netanyahu: It’s Time the World Recognize Israeli Sovereignty Over Golan Heights
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