Uploaded on August 26. This week’s update is 45 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 status of the conflict between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip
Hamas leader Khaled Mashal confessed that Hamas militants were behind the kidnapping and killing of three Israeli teenagers in the Hebron area in June. He said: “Our view is that soldiers and settlers on the West Bank are aggressors, and they are illegally living in this occupied and stolen land. And the right to resist is the right of Palestinians.” This was the beginning of the summer conflict between Hamas in the Gaza Strip and Israel which escalated when Hamas starting launching rockets at Israel on July 8. Furthermore, Jibril Rajouba, a senior Palestinian Authority (PA) official said that the Palestinians have made a “political decision” to support Arab terrorists “slaughtering” Jews living in Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem. He said: “… our political decision is resistance in the occupied territories in order to bring an end to the occupation [using] all forms of resistance” Rajoub said. Also, Fatah’s “military wing,” the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, announced a full return to terrorism, declaring “open war” on Israel. This position is consistent with the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) charter of 1968, which calls for “armed struggle” and “armed revolution,” against Israel declaring “armed struggle is the only way to liberate Palestine,” and calling on local Arabs to “be prepared for the armed struggle.”
So far, Hamas has fired over 3,000 rockets from the Gaza into Israel. For this reason, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to fight Hamas and other Gaza terror groups until Israel was safe from the threat of missile attack. He said that the IDF campaign “will continue until we are sure that Israel’s residents have quiet.” He said that no terrorist target was off-limits, and accused Hamas’s leaders and gunmen of “hiding behind Gaza’s residents” — using them as human shields — and thus being responsible “for any harm that comes to them.” While Israel did everything to protect its citizens, he said, and had “spent billions to protect the homefront” in recent years, Gaza’s terror groups deliberately put Gazans “in harm’s way.” Israel does its utmost not to harm Gaza’s civilians while targeting the terrorists, whereas Hamas targets Israel’s civilians, he said.
Netanyahu said he had made this point in conversations with a series of world leaders, including Presidents Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin and that all the world leaders with whom he spoke understood Israel’s imperative to act. “No state would allow its citizens to be targeted without a harsh response,” he said. He also vowed that “no international pressure will prevent us from acting with all force against a terrorist organization that seeks to destroy us” and that he would take whatever action was necessary to protect Israelis. He said he had encountered “lots of good will” from world leaders, and that he had asked them, “Would you tolerate missile attacks on London, Washington, Paris, Berlin and Moscow? Of course not.” Netanyahu said Israel was “weighing all possibilities” for expanding the campaign against Hamas in Gaza, including the possibility of a major ground offensive. “We’ve prepared for all options… That’s what I told the army to do, and it has done so… My uppermost consideration is to restore quiet for all of Israel’s citizens in all of Israel’s cities. I will do whatever is necessary to achieve that goal. Beyond that, I cannot go into details.”
But at the same time, Israel had to ensure that “we don’t get another Gaza in Judea and Samaria” — the biblical name for the West Bank. Amid the current conflict, he elaborated, “I think the Israeli people understand now what I always say: that there cannot be a situation, under any agreement, in which we relinquish security control of the territory west of the River Jordan” — a reference to the Jordan Valley and the West Bank — as Kerry had urged during a US-led peace effort that collapsed in April. Netanyahu said, “I told John Kerry and General Allen, the Americans’ expert: We live here, I live here, I know what we need to ensure the security of Israel’s people.”
He said the current conflict also underlined the importance of retaining territory, noting that Hamas had tunneled relentlessly under Gaza’s borders with both Egypt, for smuggling purposes, and Israel, for terrorism purposes. “If we were to pull out of Judea and Samaria, like they tell us to, there would be a possibility of thousands of tunnels” being dug by terrorists to attack Israel, he said. There were 1,200 tunnels dug in a 14-kilometer stretch between Egypt and Gaza alone, which Egypt had sealed, he noted. “Adjacent territory has huge importance,” Netanyahu said, and could be used by terrorists to dig tunnels and to fire rockets. The closer terrorists can get to Israel’s borders, he said, the more rockets they fire — as the current conflict was proving. “At present we have a problem with the territory called Gaza,” the prime minister said. But he noted that the West Bank is 20 times the size of Gaza, and vowed that he was not prepared “to create another 20 Gazas” in the West Bank.
At the height of Operation Protective Edge, the IDF called up some 86,000 reservists to fight a ground war with Hamas in the Gaza. So far, Israel has agreed to a ceasefire with Hamas over 10 times. Egypt has been holding ceasefire talks with both sides. Recently, there was a six day ceasefire. After that, Hamas launched over 130 rockets into Israel over a 24 hour period. Later, Hamas launched nearly 170 rockets in a single day. The gulf state of Qatar has been encouraging Hamas to continue its fight with Israel. Hamas leader, Khaled Mashaal, has been living in Qatar since 2012. An official from the Palestinian Authority said that Qatar “has no interest” in seeing Egyptian-led talks succeed and that Qatar and the Muslim Brotherhood are working together to undermine Egypt. In fact, Qatar threatened to expel Mashaal if Hamas accepted an Egyptian peace proposal for a ceasefire.
In their air strikes in the Gaza Strip, Israel has been targeting terrorist leaders. In one instance, Israel killed an Islamic Jihad brigade commander. At another time, Israel killed two very senior Hamas terrorists and one lower ranking terrorist. With information obtained by the Shin Bet [Israel Security Agency], an IAF aircraft fired missiles at a building in Rafah that housed Ra’ad Atar and Muhammad Abu Shamalah, killing them both, security forces said. A third Hamas terrorist, Muhammed Barhoum, described by security sources as an abettor to the senior Hamas members, was also killed in the strike. “This strike represents a very significant intelligence achievement, and an intelligence infiltration,” a security source said. The attack came after the Shin Bet received intelligence on the location of the terrorists, security forces added, describing the targets as men who were senior and central members of Hamas’s military wing.
As a result, Hamas executed 18 Palestinians for allegedly collaborating with Israel during the Gaza war. The victims, their heads covered and hands tied, were shot dead by masked gunmen dressed in black in front of a crowd of worshippers outside a mosque after prayers. Near the scene of the execution, Hamas’ men attached a note serving as a general indictment for the ‘collaborators’: “They provided the enemy with information about the whereabouts of fighters, tunnels of resistance, bombs, houses of fighters and places of rockets, and the occupation bombarded these areas killing a number of fighters… Therefore, the ruling of revolutionary justice was handed upon him.”
Nevertheless, Hamas officials remained defiant despite the assassination of three of the organization’s top commanders. “The Palestinian people have prepared themselves for hundreds of years to fight the enemy until the end,” Hamas political chief Khaled Mashaal said. “We won’t get tired of fighting after a month, a year or many years. There will be no return to negotiations in Egypt before we have ensured favorable circumstances that will force the enemy to meet the demands of the Palestinians.” Mashaal said that the Palestinians’ top demand was the lifting of the blockade on Gaza.
Israel’s Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman was critical of Israel’s willingness to discuss ceasefire terms with Hamas in Egypt. He said, “The government policy of ‘calm will be met with calm’ is fundamentally wrong. It means that Hamas is the one that takes the initiative and the one that decides when, where, and how many rockets it fires on Israeli civilians, while we are making do with reacting. Even if our reaction is a strong one, it is still a reaction. Hamas has control over the intensity of the fighting and it fires whenever it is convenient for it to interrupt the daily routine of Israeli civilians, particularly those living in the South. We need to talk and negotiate with Hamas only when it has surrendered. We now must seek a quick and decisive end to Hamas. Israel must continue to fight Hamas “until Hamas waves the white flag.” Furthermore, Israel must aim for a complete demilitarization of the Gaza Strip. “That means Hamas would have no capability to fire missiles at Israel, no capability to manufacture missiles, and no capability to build tunnels,” Lieberman said. “The proposals we have heard thus far whereby there is no deal, no agreement, and no unequivocal commitment by the Palestinians to halt their fire means that we are in for a war of attrition which is something that the State of Israel cannot be dragged into.”
Naftali Bennett, the leader of the political party, Jewish Home, said “when you want to defeat a terror organization, you reach a decisive victory. When we hold peace talks with a terrorist organization, we get more terror. Hamas thinks that rocket fire helps them reach their goals in talks and so they fire even during a ceasefire. Rockets are not an accident as far as we’re concerned, it’s systematic.” Bennett went on to say that “Only a severe response, like any sovereign nation responds to rocket fire on its territory, will be able to stop the deterioration (of the situation). Sooner or later, Israel will need to subdue Hamas, there’s no way to avoid it.”
Israel’s Finance Minister Yair Lapid reiterated his position that Israel must not end, ‘Operation Protective Edge’ before ensuring the disarmament of the terror infrastructure in the Gaza and before the transfer of international funds to Gaza is monitored and supervised, so Israel doesn’t find itself in another round of hostilities soon. He said: “Any future arrangement must include the dismantling of Hamas’ terror infrastructure in Gaza and complete control over the funds meant to rehabilitate the Gaza. For that to happen, I am promoting a regional conference to give a wide international cover to achieving these objectives. Without a diplomatic move, without wide international support, any attempt to reach an agreement will be the beginning of the countdown to another round of violence.”
Israel Housing Minister Uri Ariel said that “we must strike the Hamas enemy until we achieve victory. It can’t be that we’ll be responsible for halting fire while they’re responsible for firing.”
Israel Justice Minister, Tzipi Livni, said: “The targeted killing of any person who deals in terror is not only legitimate but desirable in my eyes. Throughout these periods I always support the targeted killings of terror leaders.” Livni said she opposed the indirect negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians in Egypt. “I do not negotiate with Hamas. I do not believe they would agree to it, and I would not deal with them but with international officials.” She said: “the fundamental question is whether the fire causes us to pay a higher price even when it ceases; in my eyes, that’s a strategic question. We must not let them think that the fire leads Israel to pay up. We must continue to deter them and only then will they understand that they cannot achieve more by using terror – that they are losing assets.” Livni stressed that “as long as Hamas does not fundamentally change its internal ideology, we are dealing with a terror organization. There is an ideological, Islamist terror organization which does not recognize our right to exist here. I see the public is unified in the understanding of what needs to be done.”
In any event, after 50 days of intense hostilities, Israel and the Palestinians reached a framework agreement resembling the understandings reached after Operation Pillar of Defense several years ago. Azzam al-Ahmed, head of the Palestinian Authority (PA) delegation in the Egyptian ceasefire said that a long-term ceasefire was agreed upon between Hamas and Israel on August 26. Under the agreement, there will be an immediate easing of restrictions on the two main Gaza border crossings between Israel and Gaza to allow in aid and reconstruction supplies. Significantly, construction materials needed to repair the water network, electricity grid and mobile phone networks will be allowed in along with humanitarian aid, food and medical supplies. Construction materials have in the past been used to build terror tunnels to attack Israel, and therefore earlier reports signaled they would not be allowed in until the ceasefire had proven itself for a set amount of time. All of this will take place under heavy Israeli supervision. The agreement also calls for the lifting of the Gaza blockade but with no clear timeline.
As for the Gaza fishing zone, restrictions will be lifted immediately to extend the zone to six nautical miles from the shore, to be extended later to 12 miles. Over the past eight years, Israel has set a six-nautical-mile limit for Gaza’s fishermen when tensions were lower, restricting it to three miles when hostilities have escalated.
The ceasefire deal likewise would have future discussions held about a swap of terrorists jailed in Israel for the bodies of IDF soldiers Second Lt. Hadar Goldin and First Sgt. Oron Shaul hy”d, who were killed in the operation. Hamas wants hundreds of prisoners released. They additionally demanded the release of roughly 60 terrorists who were freed in the 2011 Gilad Shalit deal and later re-arrested, some of whom quickly returned to murderous acts of terror. Hamas is also calling for the release of 37 Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) members, all but two of whom are Hamas members, along with the 26 terrorists promised in the fourth batch of releases as part of the Israel-PA peace talks that broke down in April. The Hamas demand for a Gaza sea and airport will be discussed in Egypt within the next month according to the agreement.
What will Israel get from all of this? The one major Israeli demand has been a demilitarization of Gaza, which has emerged as a terror haven since Israel’s withdrawal in 2005. Apparently Israel has linked the lifting of the Gaza blockade and reconstructing the area with the disarmament of the terror groups. However, the Palestinian delegation flatly refused this lone demand. Apparently Israel will raise demilitarization and the limitation on construction materials and weapons in the next stage of talks to be held in the coming month.
The Prime Minister’s Office claimed that all cabinet ministers had been informed of the developments and that there was no legal reason to bring the cabinet to a vote. However, the Cabinet appeared to be split on the deal, with Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, Interior Minister Yitzhak Aharonovich, and Economy Minister Naftali Bennett, and Communications Minister Gilad Erdan opposing the decision, and supporting further military action in the Gaza. Israel Economic Minister, Naftali Bennett, said that Israel cabinet members hadn’t been consulted about the deal. Instead, they were updated on the decision by telephone.
A senior Israeli defense source said that “Israel got what it wanted.” According to the source, “Hamas was beaten into accepting the Egyptian initiative though it opposed the plan from the start. In recent days there was tremendous pressure within Hamas to reach a ceasefire, as a result of the heavy price paid by the Gaza Strip and organization itself.” Israeli officials said that Hamas received “the worst blow in its history.” Israeli sources further noted that the IDF struck 5,200 terror targets in Gaza. The army also said that some 1,000 terrorists were killed during the operation. The operation also bolstered Israel’s international legitimacy, “because of the fact that we assented to 11 ceasefires.” It will take 10 years to rehabilitate the Gaza. Hamas was dealt a critical blow.
However, some Israel officials were critical of the deal. Israel Housing and Construction Minister, Uri Ariel, said “any agreement that doesn’t include eliminating the rocket threat on residents of Israel and demilitarizing the Gaza Strip is less than half of what is necessary. In this reality, the defense establishment will have no choice but to prepare for the next round, which will be soon,” Ariel added. According to Danny Danon, restraint in the Middle East is seen as weakness. He said: “Despite the heavy price Hamas paid, we did not defeat Hamas. Fifty days of fighting, 64 soldiers killed, five civilians killed, 82,000 reservists called up and in the end we’re back to the agreement from Operation Pillar of Defense.” Danon said a defeat was necessary to broadcast to the whole Middle East, including Hezbollah, Islamic State and Iran, that “they should not mess with the People of Israel.” “I am concerned we did not succeed enough. Now is the time for national introspection. The policy of restraint and hesitation hurt Israel’s deterrence,” he added. Israel Knesset member, Eli Yishai from the Shas political party agreed saying, “This will be time for Hamas to resupply itself with weaponry to use against Israel,” he said. “Not demilitarizing Gaza will bring Israel to another round of fighting that will be even worse.”
As a result of the ceasefire, several senior Hamas and Islamic Jihad leaders appeared in public Among them was Mahmoud al-Zahar, a senior member of the Hamas political wing, and senior Islamic Jihad leader Mohammed al-Hindi who gave a rousing victory speech to thousands of people gathered in a square in Gaza City’s Rimal neighborhood. “We’re going to build our port and our airport, and if they attack the port, they attack the port. But anyone who attacks the airport will have their airport attacked again,” Zahar said. Zahar also said that in addition to rebuilding Gaza, Hamas would continue “arming itself and developing its resistance capacity.”
US Secretary of State, John Kerry, said that an indefinite cease-fire agreement reached between Israel and Hamas in Gaza “is an opportunity, not a certainty. We are approaching the next phase with our eyes wide open. We have been down this road before and we are all aware of the challenges ahead,” Kerry said. “Today’s agreement comes after many hours and days of intensive discussions about how a sustainable ceasefire might provide the space and the opportunity to address long-term issues.” Kerry said that “certain bedrock outcomes” are minimal requirements for such a long-term solution, including a guarantee for Israel that terrorist attacks, rocket firings, and tunnel construction will cease, as well as the establishment of full economic and social opportunities for Palestinians, and the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip.
US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said that the Secretary of State had no plans to restart the peace process in the near future. The Israeli government has insisted on reserving the right to destroy any tunnels discovered burrowed into Israeli territory. Asked whether such a demand was reflected in the cease-fire, Psaki said that US support for that right had not changed, adding that Israel has said that all tunnels so far identified had been destroyed. The Egyptian proposal was very similar to the one that Israel accepted and Hamas rejected on July 15.
An agreement to divide Jerusalem and establish a PLO state is a tribulation event.
The link to these articles are as follows:
1) Mashal: Hamas was behind murder of three Israeli teens
2) PA Makes ‘Political Decision’ to ‘Slaughter Settlers’
3) Netanyahu: Gaza conflict proves Israel can’t relinquish control of West Bank
4) Israel, Hamas Officially Cease Cairo Talks
5) Some see Qatar’s hand in collapse of Gaza talks
6) IDF recalls 2,000 reservists as truce unravels
7) Cabinet approves call-up of 10,000 IDF reservists
8) Gaza rocket fire hits new heights: 168 launched in one day
9) IDF hits 35 Gaza targets since midnight
10) IAF kills senior Islamic Jihad commander
11) Israel kills two Hamas senior military commanders in air strike
12) Hamas executes 18 for ‘collaboration’ with Israel
13) Mashaal, Hamas defiant after assassinations
14) Hamas: We know how to make Netanyahu accept our demands
15) Israel leaders’ stubborn belief in Hamas’ desire for war’s end led the country back to war
16) ‘It’s time to abandon truce talks, reach decisive victory over Hamas’
17) Liberman says Israel’s Gaza operation should end with ‘Hamas waving white flag’
18) Liberman says Israel must take back initiative and ‘bring Hamas to submission’
19) Livni: No negotiations with Hamas
20) Gaza Ceasefire: What Did Israel Agree to?
21) Gaza truce deal: Crossings to open under Israeli supervision
22) Opposition to cease-fire comes from across political spectrum
23) Bennett calls for vote on Gaza ceasefire, says cabinet opposes deal
24) Hamas, Islamic Jihad Leaders Come Out of Hiding as Truce Begins
25) Kerry calls cease-fire ‘an opportunity, not a certainty’
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