Uploaded on December 17. This week’s update is 47 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 situation with the Israel / Palestinian peace process
Recently, the Arab League voted to support efforts by the Palestinians to have a draft resolution presented to the UN Security Council that would recognize a PLO state based upon 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital. Being a current representative of the 15 member UN Security Council, Jordan has agreed to submit a draft resolution for the Palestinians. PA’s chief negotiator Saeb Erakat said: “The Palestinians want a UN Security Council resolution that will preserve the two-state solution. We want a specific time frame to end the occupation. We are hoping to achieve this resolution before Christmas.” Jordan’s UN Ambassador Dina Kawar said that Jordan plans to submit the draft resolution by Christmas. If not, it will be in January. France, Britain and Germany are in the process of drafting an alternative resolution outlining the principles of an Israeli-Palestinian final-status deal and setting a two-year timetable for completing negotiations on such an agreement. Other parameters for ending the Israeli / Palestinian conflict would also be set, European diplomats said. Senior Israeli diplomats said the Europeans have also briefed the United States on their proposal. Israeli diplomats said that the European initiative was initially led by France.
The EU draft is meant to serve as a counterweight to an extreme, one-sided resolution drafted by the Palestinians. The Palestinian draft calls for an Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank within two years and the immediate acceptance of Palestine as a full UN member. Also, it does not mention agreed land swaps between Israel and the Palestinians and does not mention anything regarding Israel’s security. Some Western council diplomats described the Palestinian / Jordanian text as “unbalanced.” The French, British and Germans want to present a more balanced resolution that could serve as a basis for renewed Israeli-Palestinian talks and win American backing. While France still hasn’t formally introduced its proposal, it is expected to call for the establishment of the 1967 borders as the basis for dividing the land, but it doesn’t include key Israeli — and US — conditions such as Palestinian recognition of Israel as a Jewish state. French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has been briefed on the European initiative but that the United States aren’t yet actively involved in the negotiations over its wording. A senior Western diplomat said the Europeans were aiming for a consensus resolution devising a binding, unspecified, time frame and felt the Americans were now open to that possibility.
Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke with French President Francois Hollande and asked him to stop the French initiative to support a Palestinian state at the UN Security Council. Netanyahu said: “I told Hollande that I think this move is a negative one and will backfire. Such a move is contrary to a peace agreement, it will thwart all future negotiations and bring about an escalation,” Netanyahu said. “Hollande listened, and I don’t want to say what he said, but I said things very clearly.” Furthermore, Netanyahu accused European governments of siding with the Palestinians over their latest UN bid for statehood, saying their demands would endanger Israel. “I say that the attempts of the Palestinians and of several European countries to force conditions on Israel will only lead to a deterioration in the regional situation and will endanger Israel,” Netanyahu said. “Therefore, we will strongly oppose this.”
Israeli diplomats said that the US position on the European proposal is unclear, and it seems they haven’t yet made a decision. The United States wants to avoid casting a veto on any resolution relating to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict due to their efforts to forge a coalition of Arab states against the Islamic State. Israeli diplomats noted that the European resolution would be even harder for the Americans to veto than the Palestinian one. Thus, for instance, the European draft doesn’t call for immediately recognizing Palestine as a full UN member. Moreover, it allots two years for final-status negotiations and envisions an Israeli withdrawal beginning only after that. But Britain, France and Germany still haven’t agreed among themselves on all the issues. There’s a consensus on calling for a Palestinian state based on the 1967 lines, with territorial swaps. But there’s an argument over whether the resolution should address the issue of Israel being the nation-state of the Jewish people – a clause Germany is pushing to include.
As a result, there were discussions between Britain, France and Germany regarding making a reference to Israel as a Jewish state. Palestinian recognition of Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people is a key demand of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for any peace agreement with the Palestinians. The Palestinians are adamant in their refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state or as the nation state of the Jewish people. According to several European diplomats, Britain, France, Germany and the United States are working on a European draft proposal that would include some kind of reference to Israel’s Jewish character but it has not been decided how exactly it would be phrased. Some would like the resolution to state that Israel is the homeland of the Jewish people. Others prefer a reference to Israel as a “Jewish and democratic state.” A third version that has been discussed would not make explicit mention of Israel’s Jewish character but refer to UN General Assembly Resolution 181 of 1947 — the so-called Partition Plan — which mentioned the words “Jewish state” 30 times. No final text has yet been agreed upon, and it remains unclear how explicit the reference would be. But all states working on the draft resolution are in favor of mentioning, in some way or another, Israel’s Jewish character.
Some European officials believe that there is only a narrow window of opportunity to push a Palestinian resolution at the UN Security Council. Furthermore, there is a growing US recognition too of European impatience with the current status-quo, as several European parliaments in recent weeks have called on their governments to recognize a state of Palestine. For example, European parliaments in Britain, France, Spain, Ireland and Portugal have already asked their governments to recognize Palestinian statehood — a move that would bypass negotiations all together.
Israeli diplomats said their impression is that the Palestinians want to advance their extreme draft in order to isolate the United States and force U.S. President Barack Obama to veto it. But senior Palestinian official involved in the talks with the Europeans rejected the claim that PA President Mahmoud Abbas opposes any European initiative or wants a confrontation with the United States. A Palestinian official said: “Our insistence stems from one simple reason, which is that in every conversation we’ve had with the Americans and Europeans so far, we haven’t heard a proposal that could meet the Palestinians’ minimum demands.”
US officials said that the US administration had not yet decided whether to back or veto either the Palestinian / Jordanian or European UN resolution proposal. As a result, in an effort to bring together the various sides to form a consensus on the issue, US Secretary of State, John Kerry, had meetings with Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Rome, European foreign ministers from Britian, France and Germany in Paris and with the Palestinians and Arab League officials in London. US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said that Kerry’s meetings will include discussions on the various proposals at the United Nations to create a Palestinian state. “There are a growing number of countries that are pushing for action on this issue at the U.N.,” Psaki said. “This warrants discussions with Israel, the Palestinians and key members of the international community.” As a result, Jordan’s UN ambassador said she was awaiting the outcome of meetings that US Secretary of State John Kerry is having with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and European governments in order to make a decision on how to proceed with the Palestinian / Jordanian UN Security Council proposal.
The United States opposes supporting unilateral proposals to recognize a Palestinian state based upon 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital by the Palestinians. The United States vetoed a Palestinian proposal to do so in 2011. However, US officials said that they are drawing a distinction between unilateral steps taken by the Palestinians compared to a multilateral resolution at the UN Security Council which would have the backing of many nations. “It’s important to understand that our overall US goal in Kerry’s meetings is to hear from and engage with other stakeholders… to hear their views and to the best of our ability work towards a common path forward,” a State Department official said. The original French draft by no means represents a consensus European position,” the official said.
Prior to meeting with Kerry, Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected the consideration of Israel being forced to withdraw from Jerusalem and the West Bank within two years. Netanyahu said: “We… stand against the possibility of a diplomatic assault, that is an attempt to compel us by means of UN decisions to withdraw to the 1967 lines within two years,” Netanyahu said. “We will not allow this. We will strongly and responsibly rebuff this. We will stand firm in the face of any diktat.” In his meeting with Kerry, Netanyahu sought assurances from Kerry that the United States would block efforts by Palestinians and Europeans on Palestinian statehood. “Our expectation is that the United States will stand by its position for the past 47 years that a solution to the conflict will be achieved through negotiations, and I do not see a reason for this policy to change,” Netanyahu said. Netanyahu declined to comment on whether Kerry gave Netanyahu those assurances.
Likud MK Danny Danon warned that the Palestinian Authority (PA) is “playing with fire” by going to the UN Security Council to seek recognition of a Palestinian state based upon 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital. Danon said: Israel will respond to any unilateral moves by the PA. “Any unilateral recognition of an imaginary country will lead to serious turbulence in the Middle East. Abbas and his friends in the Palestinian Authority must know that any unilateral move will be answered with a unilateral move by the State of Israel,” he said.
In meeting with key European foreign ministers in Paris, Kerry told the various European foreign ministers that the United States opposed the Palestinian / Jordanian draft resolution approved by the Arab League. At the conclusion of the meeting, US officials said there was no consensus among the Europeans on the best way to move forward to support a Palestinian state at the UN Security Council.
After Kerry’s meeting with the Palestinians in London, chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat described the meeting as “difficult.” During the meeting, Kerry asked the Palestinian delegation not to rush ahead with the two-year timetable, and, according to the source, refused to refrain from vetoing the Palestinian / Jordanian draft proposal at the UN Security Council. Erekat said that Kerry opposed the Palestinian / Jordanian draft proposal that was approved earlier this month by the Arab League. Fatah central committee member Mohammad Shtayyeh said that the US refusal to support the Palestinian / Jordanian draft was making it hard to get support from at least 9 UN Security Council members. A majority of nine out of the 15 Security Council members is needed to pass any resolution in committee which would require a full vote by all 15 UN Security Council members. However, each of the five permanent members (US, Russia, China, Britain and France) has the right to veto any decision taken by the majority. However, there will be 5 new rotating UN Security Council members after January 1 who would be more supportive of a Palestinian based UN Security Council resolution. Therefore, if the vote is held after January 1 on a potential Palestinian based UN Security Council resolution, it’s likely the Palestinians can get 9 votes from the Security Council to have a full vote which would put the United States in a dilemma whether or not to veto the Palestinian proposal. It is possible that the Palestinians would still favor a potential US veto in order to lay the rationale for them to turn to the United Nations International Criminal Court where they could file a suit against Israel for its settlement construction in the West Bank.
After evaluating their various options, the Palestinian leadership decided that they wanted to present their Jordanian sponsored draft resolution on December 17. However, the Palestinians said that they were willing to accept the French led European proposal if they could reach an agreement on the wording of the draft proposal. Palestinian foreign minister, Riyad al-Maliki said that the Palestinians would be open to adopting a softened European draft resolution with some Palestinian modifications to it. Maliki said that he would meet with French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius to discuss his suggested revisions to the European proposal and said that the Palestinians would adopt the European initiative if the changes were accepted. Jordan’s UN Ambassador Dina Kawar said: “We will be sitting together and seeing … the possibilities of working with everybody to get as close as possible to a unified text that will be for the interests of everybody. We really want to get everybody on board and that’s our intention.”
As a result, Palestinian foreign minister, Riyad al-Maliki said the Palestinians agreed with France on a merged text that removes recognition of Israel as a Jewish state but gave no further details of its content. Senior Palestinian official Mohammed Shtayyeh said France “agreed” to the PA version, saying “we have merged. We don’t have two texts now. There is one single text. We have happily accepted the French text when the modifications that we have suggested have been made.” French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said that the Europeans were looking for “a resolution which everyone can get behind.” It is the merged French based European draft and the Palestinian / Jordanian draft that will be presented to the UN Security Council as a blueprint in the near future.
Amid a lack of clarity over the final text to be submitted on behalf of the Palestinians, the US has not stated definitively whether it will use its veto. Furthermore, the US State Department said it did not automatically consider a UN Security Council proposal to be a unilateral measure, and said it was not true that the US vetoed all Security Council resolutions related to Israel in the past. UN State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said that the United States examines each UN Security Council resolution based upon its merit. Psaki noted the US had supported resolutions that were not “one-sided.” Psaki said: “There are certain things we would never support.” For example, the US said that a time table for the removal of Israel security forces constitutes a unilateral action and they will oppose it. When asked what kind of resolution the US would consider supporting at the UN, Kerry said the administration has “made no determinations…about language, approaches, specific resolutions, any of that.” Kerry did say that a solution to the conflict could not be imposed from the outside, but must be agreed upon through negotiation. However, a US veto risks running contrary to US policy which calls for the establishment of a PLO state and would anger key Arab allies – many of whom are much-needed partners in the US-led coalition against Islamic State militants.
While the Obama administration claims to be undecided on a French initiative to impose a two-year timeline on the creation of a Palestinian state, a senior Palestinian negotiator told WND that the proposal is being directly coordinated with the United States. The Palestinian negotiator did not say the U.S. would support the U.N. plan. However, he said the Obama administration sees the French proposal as an acceptable alternative to the Palestinian / Jordanian proposal seeking direct unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state at the Security Council. The negotiator said he believes the U.S. wants to “see Israel sweat” and desires to use the French plan to extract concessions from Netanyahu before presenting the official Obama administration response to France’s U.N. initiative.
Israel Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman said: “All these moves are part of a planned, organized and designed effort to force Israel to ‘face facts,'” he continued. “This is a political attack we must deal with it in a smart and determined manner. The State of Israel will not agree to be dictated to by the Palestinians,” Liberman declared. “Any attempt by the Palestinians, assisted by international bodies, to impose on us their desired solution, will only deteriorate the situation in the region even more and be liable to fail. To European countries that cooperate with the Palestinians, these moves are like those who bring the burning match to someone holding a powder keg in his hand,” he continued. “They do not help anyone but are just operating from their own internal social and political interests.” Nevertheless Liberman said: “I wish pragmatism dominated the political discourse in Israeli society. We are torn between autism, pragmatism and fanaticism,” Liberman said. “If you want a veto from the US (in hostile UN proposals) you need to understand that you can’t criticize the United States” Liberman said. “Israel needs to come up with policy recommendations to solve the Israel / Palestinian conflict. We cannot be constantly saying no, no, no. Within the context of the crisis on the Middle East, it is imperative that Israel initiate solutions and push them forward. We must adopt a pragmatic approach, because without it, it won’t matter if we’re right.”
If the Security Council rejects the resolution, then on that same day Palestinians will join the International Criminal Court by signing the Rome Statute and other relevant documents, chief PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat said. Palestinian UN Ambassador Riyad Mansour Mansour accused Israel of committing war crimes during the 51-day Gaza war last summer and by building settlements on “occupied Palestinian territory.” Recently, the Palestinians attended a meeting of the ICC as an observer. Alluding to US and Israel opposition to the Palestinians joining the ICC, Mansour said: “Anyone claiming that joining the ICC is a red line that should not be crossed is in essence opposing your collective position of what the ICC stands for.”
An agreement to divide Jerusalem and establish a PLO state is a tribulation event.
The link to these articles are as follows:
1) Three EU powers draft Security Council resolution on Israeli-Palestinian deal
2) Jordan hopes for December vote on a UN Palestinian resolution
3) PA Wants UN Resolution on Israeli Withdrawal by End of the Month
4) Kerry to hold emergency meeting with Netanyahu ahead of Palestinian push at UN
5) Netanyahu, Kerry to meet Monday on Palestinian statehood
6) Kerry, Israel’s Netanyahu to meet in Rome for Middle East talks
7) Kerry arrives in Rome for Palestinian statehood talks
8) Palestinians push UN bid as Kerry begins European talks
9) Palestinians may push statehood bid at UN on Wednesday
10) Palestinians to submit draft resolution to UN later this week
11) Jordan: No plan to push for quick UN vote on Palestine
12) French-Palestinian UN bid said to drop Jewish state reference
13) French ‘coercion’ plan against Israel ‘coordinated with Obama’
14) PM warns against Palestinian UN bid ahead of Kerry meet
15) US to veto Palestinian resolution ‘to end occupation’
16) Kerry Reportedly Vows UN Veto, PA Pushes UN Bid Anyway
17) Danon: The PA is ‘Playing with Fire’
18) Netanyahu asks French president to halt UN initiative on Palestinian state
19) PA to consider revised European statehood bid
20) European UN draft likely to reference Israel’s Jewish nature
21) Pressure remains on Israel as Kerry declines veto guarantee at UN
22) Netanyahu: European support for Palestinians ‘endangers Israel’
23) Liberman: Israel Will Not Be Dictated to by the PA
24) Liberman: Israel needs to adopt pragmatic approach
25) Palestinians tell ICC they want to join the court
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