August 10, 2016: Weekly 5 minute update

August 10th, 2016

Uploaded on August 10. This week’s update is 19 minutes.

You may view the 5 minute update this week via audio:

1) Listen to the audio

In this week’s 5 minute update, we focused on:

1) The condemnation by the US and the international community of Israel for building Jewish homes in the West Bank and East Jerusalem and whether there is a possibility that the US will support a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital at the UN Security Council later this year

In the last week of July, Israel announced plans to build 770 Jewish homes in the East Jerusalem settlement of Gilo. They are part of a larger plan for around 1,200 units approved about three years ago. Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat said: “The plans in question are not new construction and were approved three years ago.” In addition, Israel announced plans to build 323 Jewish homes in four Jewish neighborhoods in East Jerusalem. The Palestinians and many in the international community view the new housing that Israel builds in East Jerusalem as illegal settlements. Most Israelis see the area, where about 200,000 Jews now live, as regular suburbs of a united Jerusalem.

The announcement drew strong condemnation from the Palestinians, the United Nations, the European Union and the United States. Saeb Erekat, chief Palestinian negotiator in the peace process said that the decision “further reflects the failure of the international community to stop Israel’s settlement expansion.” The UN special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, said that he was “increasingly concerned by the near-daily advancement of the illegal settlement enterprise in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem.”

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said: “The [Gilo] decision raises legitimate questions about Israel’s long-term intentions. The new housing units contribute to “the establishment of a ring of Israeli settlements around the city, thus further cutting East Jerusalem off from the southern West Bank,” the statement said. “The EU calls on Israel to reverse this decision and to cease its settlement activity,” it added.

Furthermore, the United States strongly rebuked Israel for its announcement to build more Jewish homes in East Jerusalem. In a press release, US State Department spokesman John Kirby said: “We are deeply concerned by reports today that the Government of Israel has published tenders for 323 units in East Jerusalem settlements. This follows the recent announcement of plans for 770 units in the settlement of Gilo. We strongly oppose settlement activity, which is corrosive to the cause of peace. These  steps by Israeli authorities are the latest examples of what appears to be a steady acceleration of settlement activity that is systematically undermining the prospects for a two- state solution … As the recent Quartet Report highlighted, this is part of an ongoing process of land seizures, settlement expansion, legalizations of outposts, and denial of Palestinian development that risk entrenching a one-state reality of perpetual occupation and conflict,” Mr. Kirby said in the statement. “We remain troubled that Israel continues this pattern of provocative and counterproductive action, which raises serious questions about Israel’s ultimate commitment to a peaceful, negotiated settlement with the Palestinians.”

The Quartet refers to the United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations. They are regarded as mediators in the peace process. The quartet issued a report on July 1 calling on Israel to halt settlement construction and expansion and to stop designating land for exclusive Israeli use.

Jamal Dajani, director of communications for Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah. said: “We support the State Department’s statement. It is about time we hear this from the U.S. The whole international community is condemning these Israeli actions. They are a violation of the Geneva convention, which specifically prohibits the occupying power from transferring people in the areas it is occupying.”

Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Emanuel Nachshon said that the building in Gilo “was done with the full knowledge that the neighborhood of Gilo in Jerusalem will be part of Israel in any conceivable agreement reached through negotiations. The argument that building in Gilo undermines the two-state solution is factually baseless and distracts from the real obstacle to peace — the persistent Palestinian refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, under any borders.” Michael Oren, a former Israeli ambassador to the United States and a member of the current Israeli government said: “By [the United States] condemning building in Gilo, the administration repeats its initial mistake in the peace process. It is creating a demand that no Israeli government can meet and no Palestinian leader can ignore. Nobody in Israel views Gilo as a settlement, but once the US administration demands a freeze in Gilo then no Palestinian leader can demand anything less,” he said. “Gilo is a dealbreaker.”

In the first part of August, Israel demolished five Palestinian buildings in the West Bank constructed without permits  including three paid for by the European Union. These buildings were located in Area C in the West Bank which is under full Israel control. This area in the West Bank was established in the 1993 Oslo Accords. The European Union tries to supply money to build Palestinian structures in Area C without building permits from Israel. The European Union wants to build Palestinians structures in Area C to help create “facts on the ground” prior to a negotiated peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians as outlined in the 1993 Oslo Accords.

EU ambassador to Israel, Lars Faaborg-Andersen said that around 70 percent of Area C has been taken exclusively for Israeli use and that the remaining land is effectively off limits for Palestinian development. Faaborg-Andersen pointed out that between 2009 and 2013 Israel had provided only 44 building permits to Palestinians in response to about 2,000 requests. “EU assistance is provided in situations where Israel is not fulfilling its duty as the occupying power,” he said. “That is according to the international law, universal norms and the Oslo accords.” The envoy added that “in the first 6 months of 2016 alone, 91 EU-sponsored structures in Area C have been demolished. This is more than all of 2015. Since 2009, approximately 170 EU-backed structures have been demolished.”

In response, US State Department spokeswoman, Elizabeth Trudeau, said that the United States is aware that the government of Israel has demolished several EU-funded Palestinian homes in the West Bank. More than 650 Palestinian structures have been demolished this year, with more Palestinian structures demolished in the West Bank and East Jerusalem thus far than in all of 2015. As a result, the United States remains concerned about the increased demolition of Palestinian structures in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The United States believes that this is part of an ongoing process of land seizures, settlement expansions, legalization of outpost, denial of Palestinian development. We remain troubled that Israel continues this pattern of provocative and counterproductive action, which raises serious questions about Israel’s ultimate commitment to a peaceful negotiated settlement with the Palestinians.

In addition, the United States has warned it will respond harshly if Israel demolishes the Palestinian village of Sussia in the southern Hebron Hills of the West Bank. Israeli and American officials said that recently U.S. administration officials has informed Israel that a severe American reaction would result if Israel destroys the houses in the village. Israeli officials said similar messages were conveyed by the European Union, the British government and other international bodies. For example, the British government said that it would find it difficult to continue assisting Israel in international forums in the event the Arab village of Sussia were demolished.

The Israeli officials said international pressure over the matter came after the Palestinian Authority turned to the United States and a number of other Western countries, claiming that Israel intends to destroy the village in a few weeks. According to the Israeli officials, the Prime Minister’s office told the Americans and Europeans that at this stage there is no plan to destroy Sussia, and that the Israeli government would act in accordance with rulings by the High Court of Justice which is now hearing a petition on the matter. The petition was submitted by a right-wing Regavim association which claims the village was built illegally and thus should be demolished by the Israel Civil Administration.

The villagers of Sussia, which is in Area C, under full Israeli military and civilian control, are among the poorest people in the West Bank. Over the past 30 years, they have been moved out of their houses a few times. In 1986, Sussia was declared a national park and its residents removed to their adjacent farmland. In 2001, they were once again removed by the army, and the caves and tin shacks they lived in were demolished.

The High Court at one point ordered the cessation of the demolitions and allowed the residents to remain on the site. However, the court did not instruct the Civil Administration to issue construction permits. As a result, all of the houses in the village have been built without permits. In recent years the Civil Administration has proposed to the residents of Sussia that they move to an area bordering on Area A – formally under full Palestinian control – closer to the village of Yatta. However, they declined.

Meanwhile, the inhabitants of the nearby Jewish settlement of Susya and the Regavim association have been pressuring the Civil Administration to carry out the demolition orders. Negotiations between the villagers and the Civil Administration began again early this year to try to regulate the village and issue construction permits for the houses. The parties held three rounds of talks and progress was made. However, they suddenly stopped in June without explanation. According to people involved in the negotiations, the round of talks that had been set for last month was canceled. These developments have led the Palestinian residents to fear that Israel has decided to demolish the village.

The High Court held another hearing on August 1 on the petition to implement the demolition order, with court President Miriam Naor leading the bench. At the end of the hearing, the court ordered Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman to submit his position on the evacuation of Sussia by August 15. Naor also ordered that the 30 houses in immediate danger of demolition were not to be destroyed before that time. The defense minister’s office responded that no directive had been issued by Lieberman regarding Sussia, and that he was still studying the matter.

Regarding the peace process, US Secretary of State, John Kerry met recently with Palestinian President Mahmood Abbas in France. US State Department spokesman, John Kirby said: Kerry spoke with “Abbas about prospects for a two-state solution, and trying to make meaningful progress to create the conditions…where that solution can be more successfully pursued,” Kirby explained. “You’ve seen the travel that he has made to the region. This remains an area of prime focus for him.”

Regarding the talks, Abbas said that any reboot of peace talks with Israel should happen within a clear time frame and under international supervision. Abbas made his comments after meeting with John Kerry. Abbas also held talks with French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault on the prospects of achieving a two-state solution. Senior Palestinian official Saeb Erekat described the talks with the US and France as “very constructive.” At the meetings, Erekat said that Abbas “reiterated our full support to the French initiative that aims to convene an international conference before the end of the year.” Erekat added that there was “no contradiction” between the French, U.S. and more recently Egyptian efforts to break the deadlock and move the peace talks forward. “All these efforts aim to revive the peace process, to achieve the two-state solution (based) on the 1967 lines. They are complementary,” he said. “We need a timeline for the negotiations, we need a timeline for the implementation, and we need an international framework that will ensure the implementation of any agreement reached.”

Is the harsh language that the US is now using toward the building of Jewish homes in the West Bank and East Jerusalem as well as removing illegal Palestinians structures in Area C of the West Bank an indication that the Obama administration is so angry at Israel that it is willing to support parameters for a PLO state with East Jerusalem as its capital at the UN Security Council by the end of 2016 based upon the recommendations made by those attending an international peace conference sponsored by France anticipated at the end of the year?

The US State Department’s position regarding Israeli settlements has evolved over the years. While previous administrations described them as an “obstacle to peace,” the Obama administration have degraded them to being “illegitimate.” However, to describe the building of Jewish homes in the West Bank and East Jerusalem as “corrosive to the cause of peace,” as “systematically undermining the prospects for a two-state solution,” as “entrenching a one-state reality of perpetual occupation and conflict” and as “provocative and counterproductive” – is very harsh language and does it suggest a change in US policy toward Israel?

In a recent Newsweek article, it was stated: “The French government is driving an initiative to convene an international conference in 2016—a tent for organizing consensus toward a draft U.N. Security Council resolution to revive peace talks. If the conference can achieve the support of nine out of 15 Security Council members for its suggested draft-resolution, with the U.S. agreeing not to exercise its veto, [the parameters for a] two state solution will be outlined.” Given the strong language used by the US State Department condemning Israel for building Jewish homes in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, the US “can now leverage the impact of its declaration by joining with Europe and other forces around the globe, including some moderate Arab states, to outline the parameters for a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.” as a UN Security Council Resolution.

In March, the Wall Street Journal reported that the Obama administration “is working on plans for reviving long-stalled Middle East negotiations before President Barack Obama leaves office, including a possible United Nations Security Council resolution that would outline steps toward a deal between the Israelis and Palestinians, according to senior U.S. officials. The internal discussions are aimed at offering a blueprint for future Israeli-Palestinian talks in a bid to advance a critical foreign-policy initiative that has made little progress during Mr. Obama’s two terms in the White House, the officials said. The strongest element on the list of options under consideration would be U.S. support for a Security Council resolution calling on both sides to compromise on key issues. The timing of any new move by Obama officials said it would be later in 2016.”

“U.S. officials said the president wants to put the issue on a more promising trajectory before his successor takes office in January, 2017. In one scenario, [the official said that] the U.S. would push Israel to halt construction of settlements in the Palestinian territories and recognize East Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state. The Palestinians would in turn be asked to recognize Israel as a Jewish state and end claims on a right of return for Palestinian refugees. Under that scenario, the administration also would recommend the establishment of two states based on the 1949 armistice line between the armies of Israel and its Arab neighbors. Like proposals in previous rounds of negotiations, the approach would recommend land swaps to account for Israeli settlements built since 1967.”

At the beginning of this year, France has said that if it’s intended efforts this year to outline the parameters of a two-state solution fails that it will unilaterally recognize a PLO state. Therefore, we know that France is in favor of a UN Security Council Resolution that calls for a PLO state with East Jerusalem as its capital. In fact, in December 2014, France supported a UN security council resolution creating a framework for a final resolution of the Israel-Palestinian conflict. Those efforts failed due to opposition from Israel and the US on one hand, and an unwillingness by the Palestinians on the other to compromise on the wording of the decision.

Has the US changed its position from December, 2014? Will Obama now be willing to support a UN Security Council Resolution outlining the parameters of a PLO state with East Jerusalem as its capital by the end of 2016? Does the latest harsh language by the Obama administration against building Jewish homes in the West Bank and East Jerusalem an indication that Obama is so angry at Israel that he is willing to change his policy before he leaves office in January, 2017? What will Obama do regarding the peace process? Only time will tell.

An agreement to divide Jerusalem and establish a PLO state is a tribulation event.

The link to these articles are as follows:
1) Israel advances plans for 770 settlement homes
2) Israel advances construction for 323 settlement homes in Jerusalem
3) U.S. Rebukes Israel Over New Settlement Activity in East Jerusalem
4) US State Department Press Release: Recent Israeli Settlement Announcements
5) State Dept. criticizes Israeli settlement expansion, demolitions
6) Israel fires back at US over criticism of settlement building
7) EU criticizes Israel for destroying Palestinian homes in West Bank
8) EU questions Israel’s “long-term intentions” as settlement progresses
9) EU Slams Demolition of Palestinian Homes in West Bank’s “Area C”
10) U.S. Warns It Will Respond Harshly If Israel Demolishes Palestinian Village of Sussia
11) Kerry and Abbas to discuss ‘two-state solution’
12) PA insists on timeframe for any peace talks with Israel
13) The curious State Department announcement on Israeli settlements
14) Why New Israeli Settlements Set Back the Day of Peace
15) White House Working on Renewed Mideast Peace Push
16) U.S. Anger at Israel Could Result in a UN Security Council Resolution Establishing a Palestinian State
17) France says it will recognise Palestinian state if new peace effort fails

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,

Eddie Chumney
Hebraic Heritage Ministries Int’l

July 31, 2016: Weekly 5 minute update

July 24th, 2016

You may view the 5 minute update this week via audio:

1) Listen to the audio

In this week’s 5 minute update, we focused on:

1) The July 1 Middle East Quartet Report on the peace process and reaction to it by Israel, the Palestinians and the European Union

On July 1, the Middle East peace Quartet (UN, EU, US and Russia) released a report on the current status of the peace process. A summary of the report is as follows:

The Quartet reiterates that a negotiated two-state outcome is the only way to achieve an enduring peace that meets Israeli security needs and Palestinian aspirations for statehood and sovereignty, ends the occupation that began in 1967, and resolves all permanent status issues.

The Quartet recalls its previous statements and relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions and pledges its active support for ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on the basis of Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973).  In this regard, the Quartet reiterates its commitment to continue working in coordination with key stakeholders, including regional countries and the UN Security Council, to restore hope in a political solution.

While the majority of people on both sides and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Mahmoud Abbas express their support for the goal of two states living side by side in peace and security, the Quartet remains seriously concerned that continuing on the current course will make this prospect increasingly remote.  In particular, each of the following trends is severely undermining hopes for peace:

  • Continuing violence, terrorist attacks against civilians, and incitement to violence are greatly exacerbating mistrust and are fundamentally incompatible with a peaceful resolution;
  • The continuing policy of settlement construction and expansion, designation of land for exclusive Israeli use, and denial of Palestinian development is steadily eroding the viability of the two-state solution; and
  • The illicit arms build-up and militant activity, continuing absence of Palestinian unity, and dire humanitarian situation in Gaza feed instability and ultimately impede efforts to achieve a negotiated solution.

The Quartet stresses the urgent need for affirmative steps to reverse each of these trends in order to prevent entrenching a one-state reality of perpetual occupation and conflict that is incompatible with realizing the national aspirations of both peoples.

The Quartet reiterates that unilateral actions by either party cannot prejudge the outcome of final status negotiations and will not be recognized by the international community.

The Quartet stresses that while a permanent status agreement that ends the conflict can only be achieved through direct bilateral negotiations, important progress can be made now towards advancing the two-state solution on the ground.

The Quartet calls on each side to independently demonstrate, through policies and actions, a genuine commitment to the two-state solution.

To that end, the Quartet emphasizes the importance of both parties complying with their basic commitments under existing agreements in order to promote this two-state reality and lay the groundwork for successful negotiations.

Recommendations

The Quartet calls on each side to independently demonstrate, through policies and actions, a genuine commitment to the two-state solution and refrain from unilateral steps that prejudge the outcome of final status negotiations.  The Quartet emphasizes the importance of both parties complying with their basic commitments in order to advance a peaceful two state reality on the ground and create the conditions for successful final status negotiations.  The Quartet has the following specific recommendations:

  1. Both sides should work to de-escalate tensions by exercising restraint and refraining from provocative actions and rhetoric.
  2. Both sides should take all necessary steps to prevent violence and protect the lives and property of all civilians, including through continuing security coordination and strengthening the capacity, capability and authority of the Palestinian Authority Security Forces.
  3. The Palestinian Authority should act decisively and take all steps within its capacity to cease incitement to violence and strengthen ongoing efforts to combat terrorism, including by clearly condemning all acts of terrorism.
  4. Israel should cease the policy of settlement construction and expansion, designating land for exclusive Israeli use, and denying Palestinian development.
  5. Israel should implement positive and significant policy shifts, including transferring powers and responsibilities in Area C, consistent with the transition to greater Palestinian civil authority contemplated by prior agreements. Progress in the areas of housing, water, energy, communications, agriculture, and natural resources, along with significantly easing Palestinian movement restrictions, can be made while respecting Israel’s legitimate security needs.
  6. The Palestinian leadership should continue their efforts to strengthen institutions, improve governance, and develop a sustainable economy.  Israel should take all necessary steps to enable this process, in line with the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee recommendations.
  7. All sides must continue to respect the ceasefire in Gaza, and the illicit arms buildup and militant activities must be terminated.
  8. Israel should accelerate the lifting of movement and access restrictions to and from Gaza, with due consideration of its need to protect its citizens from terrorist attacks.
  9. Gaza and the West Bank should be reunified under a single, legitimate and democratic Palestinian authority on the basis of the PLO platform and Quartet principles and the rule of law, including control over all armed personnel and weapons in accordance with existing agreements.

10. Both parties should foster a climate of tolerance, including through increasing interaction and cooperation in a variety of fields – economic, professional, educational, cultural – that strengthen the foundations for peace and countering extremism.

The Quartet stresses the urgent need for such affirmative steps to reverse current trends and advance the two-state solution on the ground.

The Quartet stresses the significance of the Arab Peace Initiative (API), with its vision for comprehensive settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict and, in that context, the opportunity for building a regional security framework, and encourages further dialogue on that basis.  In this regard, the Quartet welcomes the call by the Egyptian President to Israeli, Palestinian, and Arab leaders to follow the historic path towards peace taken by Israel and Egypt 37 years ago.

The Quartet also welcomes the Joint Communique issued in Paris on June 3 and its support for a negotiated two-state solution.

The Quartet encourages the international community to accelerate its efforts to address the dire humanitarian, reconstruction, and recovery needs of the people in Gaza, including expediting the disbursement of assistance pledges.

The Quartet invites the parties to engage with it on implementing the recommendations of this report and creating the conditions for the resumption of meaningful negotiations that resolve all final status issues.

The Prime Minister’s office of Israel responded to the Quartet report by saying:

Israel welcomes the Quartet’s recognition of the centrality of Palestinian incitement and violence to the perpetuation of the conflict. This culture of hatred poisons minds and destroys lives and stands as the single greatest obstacle to progress towards peace. The report unfortunately says nothing about the payments made by the Palestinian leadership to terrorists and their families. The graver the violence, the greater the payment. This Palestinian practice must stop.

Israel shares the Quartet’s historical commitment to advancing Israeli-Palestinian peace through direct, bilateral negotiations without preconditions. In previous agreements, Israel and the Palestinians committed to discuss every difficult issue exclusively through direct, bilateral negotiations. Nevertheless, the record shows a history of repeated Palestinian rejection of offers to negotiate and compromise from Israeli governments across the political spectrum. Israel cannot negotiate peace with itself.

We regret the failure of the Quartet to address the real core of the conflict: the persistent Palestinian refusal to recognize Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people in any boundaries. The report also perpetuates the myth that Israeli construction in the West Bank is an obstacle to peace. When Israel froze settlements, it did not get peace. When Israel uprooted every settlement in Gaza, it did not get peace. It got war.

Israel will continue to strive for a genuine, negotiated peace based on Prime Minister Netanyahu’s vision of two states for two peoples. While the report includes numerous factual and policy assertions with which we take issue, Israel will discuss with the Quartet envoys ways to explore moving toward this end.

Meanwhile, the Palestinians had hoped that similarly to the June 3 Paris summit declaration, the Quartet report would include terms of reference for the permanent status negotiations. They expected the report to specifically highlight the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative as the main basis for negotiations leading to a state along the 1967 lines with East Jerusalem as its capital. The Palestinians had even asked the EU and the United States for a binding timeline for negotiations followed by a UN Security Council resolution.

A senior Palestine Liberation Organization official close to President Mahmoud Abbas said that Abbas is severely critical of US Secretary of State John Kerry for pressuring the EU to not to make the Quartet report a policy platform for future negotiations. The senior official assessed that the United States will publish guidelines for future negotiations as a platform for the next administration possibly via a presidential policy speech. He also expressed concern that the US policy statement will allude to the need to recognize Israel as a Jewish state. According to this source, the Palestinians are committed to working with Egypt and France on a binding UN Security Council resolution on Palestinian statehood referring in detail to settlement expansion, the 1967 lines, East Jerusalem and a two-year timeline. As the official put it, “For us the Quartet report is a non-paper; our sole basis is the Arab Peace Initiative.” US diplomatic sources in Israel affirmed that Kerry convinced the EU to refrain from setting a new basis for future negotiations.

From the viewpoint of the European Union, though the Palestinians and Israel have both made their positions clear to the US, the EU has not lost hope, nor has it retracted its commitment to continuing the path toward a policy platform for a two-state solution and an international conference before the end of 2016.

A senior official close to EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini said that in the aftermath of endorsing the French initiative and the publication of the Quartet report, EU officials are preparing a tentative road map for progress in the diplomatic process. The EU’s premise, he explained, is that Europe will have to act independently this year because of the US presidential elections. This road map will include several stages, beginning with talking to the parties about curbing Israeli settlement expansion and Palestinian incitement to violence, together with economic confidence-building measures in Area C for the Palestinian agricultural sector. Thereafter, the European Union, in coordination with the French, will start preparing for a possible international peace conference with the parties before the end of 2016.

European capitals are busy with the organization of an international conference on the two-state solution which would elaborate on the French Middle East Peace Initiative. Israel and the Palestinians were not invited to the preparative conference in Paris June 3. European leaders, including more Israel-leaning countries, such as Germany and the United Kingdom, agree that the next phase would include both. According to a senior European Union official, all EU foreign ministers decided to support the French initiative in order to challenge the parties and bolster the position of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

EU officials believe that not much can come out of a future international conference without the United States playing an active role. Therefore, if the United States remains passive, the conference can be only of preliminary nature, to set a policy platform for future negotiations. And so if the conference eventually takes place before a new US president is sworn in (with a lame-duck administration in Washington) — with the United States effectively playing a passive role — the European Union will probably take the lead to avoid a diplomatic vacuum.

The EU official said: “Europe has decided to play a more independent role regarding the two-state solution process, especially given the election in the United States and the uncertainty about who will be the next president. Israeli-Palestinian conflict resolution is a key strategic interest of most European countries. Hence we would like to formulate the terms of reference and the structure for future negotiations.”

According to this source, EU headquarters’ officials — under the guidance of High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini — are coordinating content and moderation of such a conference mainly vis-a-vis French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is fully in the know.

The conference is planned to take place in Paris toward the end of the year possibly after the US presidential election Nov. 8. The Quartet (United States, EU, United Nations and Russia) would be the one inviting the parties to the international peace conference, which would be based on the Quartet report published July 1. All participants of the Paris conference of June 3 will be invited, including the Arab League, in addition to Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA). The terms of reference of the conference will be the Quartet report. The parties will not be asked to adopt the report but to negotiate on its basis.

The structure of the conference is already taking shape: Quartet representatives at the level of foreign ministers and the UN secretary-general will chair it; the opening plenary session will include speeches by all parties. It will also delineate a structure of negotiations, according to the following guidelines: a plenary session for reporting about and monitoring the negotiations; a bilateral committee of Israel and the PA only, to negotiate on the basis of the Quartet report all permanent status issues; and a multilateral track with Israel, the PA, the Arab League, Egypt, Jordan and Quartet representatives.

Concerning the bilateral Israel-Palestinian committee, it will work on core issues, starting with borders between the two states and security measures, including anti-terror cooperation. The two parties will establish subcommittees of negotiations on the following issues: settlements, Jerusalem, refugees, water and other infrastructure issues, future bilateral relations between the two states and mutual recognition.

With these issues to be discussed bilaterally, the multilateral track will negotiate the normalization of relations between the Arab states and Israel based on the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative; the construction of economic regional cooperation in the fields of tourism, trade, the environment and water (resembling the multilateral negotiations started by the Madrid conference of 1992; and the launch of regional security cooperation, mainly in the fields of anti-terror and curbing the dissemination of non-conventional arms.

In any event, the EU seems determined to go ahead with such plans despite US hesitance and Israeli opposition.

An agreement to divide Jerusalem and establish a PLO state is a tribulation event.

The link to these articles are as follows:
1) Report of the Middle East Quartet
2) EU to push Israel-Palestine peace process as Quartet report flops
3) Prime Minister’s Office response to the Quartet report
4) EU to push forward with two-state conference, with or without Washington

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,

Eddie Chumney
Hebraic Heritage Ministries Int’l

June 21, 2016: Weekly 5 minute update

June 19th, 2016

Uploaded on July 24. This week’s update is 15 minutes.

You may view the 5 minute update this week via audio:

1) Listen to the audio

In this week’s 5 minute update, we focused on:

1) The current situation with the French peace initiative

On June 3, France held a conference of foreign ministers to discuss the current situation with the Israeli / Palestinian peace process. After the conference, they made the following statement:

The participants met in Paris on June 3, 2016 to reaffirm their support for a just, lasting and comprehensive resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. They reaffirmed that a negotiated two-state solution is the only way to achieve an enduring peace, with two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security. They are alarmed that actions on the ground, in particular continued acts of violence and ongoing settlement activity are dangerously imperiling the prospects for a two-state solution.

The participants underscored that the status quo is not sustainable and stressed the importance of both sides demonstrating, with policies and actions, a genuine commitment to the two-state solution in order to rebuild trust and create the conditions for fully ending the Israeli occupation that began in 1967 and resolving all permanent status issues through direct negotiations based on resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973), and also recalling relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions and highlighting the importance of the implementation of the Arab Peace Initiative.

The participants discussed possible ways in which the international community could help advance the prospects for peace including by providing meaningful incentives to the parties to make peace. The participants also highlighted the potential for regional peace and security as envisioned by the Arab Peace Initiative.

The participants highlighted the key role of the Quartet and key regional stakeholders. They welcomed the interested countries’ offer to contribute to this effort. They also welcomed France’s offer to coordinate it and the prospect of convening before the end of the year an international conference.

In response, Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu rejected the multilateral French peace initiative. Instead, Netanyahu offered to hold direct talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Paris. Netanyahu said: “It can still be called the French initiative because you would host this genuine effort for peace. But here’s the difference: I will sit alone, directly, with president Abbas in the French presidential palace or anywhere else that you choose. Every difficult issue will be on the table.”

Netanyahu continued: “Peace just does not get achieved through international conferences, UN-style. It doesn’t get to fruition through international diktats or committees from countries around the world who are sitting and seeking to decide our fate and our security when they have no direct stake in it. The French initiative will not encourage peace between Israel and the Palestinians,” he added. “This initiative could harm regional efforts that have the potential to succeed. The State of Israel, and no one else, is the one that worries about its own security,” Netanyahu said.

Israel Foreign Ministry director- general Dore Gold said that “despite the fact that the final statement has been considerably diluted through a number of diplomatic efforts, the whole effort to have a conference without Israel and the Palestinians at the event is a distraction from what should be the main effort, and that is to persuade Mahmood Abbas to sit down with Israel.”

The Israeli Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying that the French summit was a “missed opportunity.” The statement said that instead of urging Abbas to “answer the prime minister’s repeated calls to immediately begin direct negotiations without preconditions,” the international community is enabling him to continue avoiding negotiations. “In the annals of history, the French conference will go down as only having hardened Palestinian positions and made peace more distant,” the statement said.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has rejected an Israeli offer for direct negotiations instead of the French multilateral peace initiative. In any event, the Arab League has backed France’s Middle East peace initiative and all international efforts to outline the parameters of an Israeli-Palestinian peace accord.

France has said it intends to push ahead with its peace initiative despite Israel’s objections. French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault told Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: “I know that I haven’t persuaded you but the train has already left the station.” The message was relayed via diplomatic cable from the French to Israeli foreign ministries after Netanyahu and Ayrault spoke with each other following the June 3 foreign ministers’ meeting in Paris about efforts to sidestep a diplomatic freeze to resolve the Israeli Palestinian conflict.

During that conversation Netanyahu strongly criticized the French initiative and expressed strong objections to all its components. A senior official in Israel said the cable, also based on talks with senior French foreign ministry officials, showed that French Foreign Minister was not impressed by Netanyahu’s comments and intends to carry out further steps to advance the initiative this month.

The cable said that senior French foreign ministry officials told Israeli diplomats they view the statement issued at the end of the Paris meeting and the fact that more than 20 foreign ministers attended as a diplomatic statement that France has an international mandate to advance the peace initiative.

The senior Israeli official said members of the French Foreign Ministry told their Israeli colleagues they are interested in setting up working groups to continue the process launched at the Paris meeting in the coming weeks. The French want these groups to put together a package of confidence building steps for Israelis and Palestinians, a list of economic incentives the international community could offer both sides and regional security arrangements that might support an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement. “The French told us they want to organize working groups by the end of the month,” the senior Israeli official said.

In his conversation with the French Foreign Minister, Netanyahu said he opposes setting up working groups especially for dealing with security issues. Recently, the Foreign Ministry received several messages from European capitals about setting up the working groups. The ministry was surprised to discover that two countries that hastened to volunteer in Paris to help organize these groups were Germany and the Czech Republic, seen as Israel’s two closest friends in Europe.

A few days ago, the Israeli Foreign Ministry instructed Israeli ambassadors in Europe to inform their local foreign ministries of Israel’s objections to setting up the working groups. The senior Israeli official said the French want to take two further steps to advance their initiative. Firstly, they want to take advantage of their status as rotating president of the UN Security Council and hold a debate about their peace initiative at a monthly session on the Israeli-Palestinian issue. The official added that the French may try during the meeting, which will apparently be held in the last week of June, to put together a presidential statement for the United Nations Security Council that would express support for their initiative.

The second step they are expected to take will be at the monthly meeting of the 28 European Union foreign ministers taking place on June 20. The French want the meeting to pass a resolution expressing support for their initiative.

In parallel, toward the end of June the Quartet’s report about the diplomatic freeze in the peace process is due for publication. The EU’s foreign minister, Federica Mogherini told the UN Security Council that the Quartet’s report would soon be published. She said the report would describe the immediate obstacles to renewing direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians and policies both sides are taking that threaten the possibility of achieving a two-state solution. Mogherini said the report would include clear recommendations regarding how to advance and create confidence on both sides that would permit a resumption of peace talks.

The report is likely to provide the basis for any potential American diplomatic process in the coming months, Obama’s last chance to leave a legacy on the Israeli-Palestinian issue. The assumption in Israel is that if the Americans do indeed launch such a move, it will only happen after the presidential elections in November. That, at least, is the thinking in the PM’s bureau.

US House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Ed Royce expressed concern that the Obama administration is preparing to support an initiative at the United Nations on the Middle East peace process. Royce (R-California) said he did not believe that parameters for peace outlined at the United Nations– an initiative led by the French government– would include a “demand for security” for Israel. Royce said: “My concern is that the administration might… allow this French initiative to go forward.” The Paris-led initiative would have the Security Council outline parameters of a two-state solution.  The Obama administration said last year it was willing to review its policy toward the Israeli / Palestinian conflict in the United Nations and it has yet to explicitly rule out a UN Security Council Resolution which outlines the parameters for a two-state solution.

As a result, word is going around diplomatic circles that the Obama administration is planning a November surprise for Israel. The view is as follows:

The French peace initiative held on June 3 which Israel and the Palestinians were not even invited will end up exerting enormous pressure on Israel to create a Palestinian state. This renewed pressure will come despite evidence that a Palestinian state in the West Bank will quickly be dominated by genocidal Hamas which is a threat to Israel and a disaster for the Palestinians. This will lead, in all likelihood, to a United Nations Security Council Resolution either condemning Israel for not creating that state or for not withdrawing from Judea and Samaria in the West Bank despite the fact that it would irreversibly compromise Israel’s security.

Israeli officials and Jewish communal leaders are saying that they expect the Obama administration will not veto the resolution at the UN Security Council — that Samantha Power, the US Ambassador to the UN, will not exercise the American veto. This would mean that the resolution/condemnation goes through. President Obama will not worry about how this will affect presidential hopeful, Hillary Clinton, because the UN resolution will be brought after the November election.

And that’s how the Obama administration will wrap up things with a UN  vote against Israel and the United States, for almost the first time, not vetoing a harmful resolution against Israel. Israel will be powerless to stop it.

What gives credence to this speculation, first and foremost, is the French peace initiative itself. If it were a serious conference about the prospects for peace, why were the Israelis and Palestinians not invited? Israel has insisted on direct, bilateral talks without preconditions. The French talks, therefore, seem to be a complete waste of time, unless their purpose was to lead to a resolution at the UN Security Council regardless of Israeli objections.

What further gives this credence is the fact that last June, in a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing, Power would not commit to exercising an American veto at the UN for a resolution condemning Israel. “I really am going to resist making blanket declarations on hypothetical resolutions. Our position, again, I think has been very clear for some time. I have said, again, we would oppose anything that was designed to punish Israel or undermine Israel’s security. But I think, again, it’s perilous. There’s no resolution in front of us.”

Now, if a UN Security Council Resolution authorizing a timetable for the unilateral creation of a Palestinian state is resisted by Israel and not vetoed by the United States, there exists the possibility of economic sanctions being levied against Israel especially by the European Union.

Finally, Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is reportedly scheduled to meet in the coming week with US Secretary of State John Kerry to discuss ways to revive Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts. Israel’s Channel 2 said the meeting would take place in a European capital.

An agreement to divide Jerusalem and establish a PLO state is a tribulation event.

The link to these articles are as follows:
1) Royce concerned Obama will support French peace initiative
2) Arab League endorses French peace initiative
3) Netanyahu, Kerry said set to meet next week in new peace bid
4) French FM to Netanyahu: I Know You’re Against Peace Initiative but Train Has Left the Station
5) Obama’s November Surprise for Israel ?
6) Netanyahu rejects French peace initiative after meeting with Valls
7) Netanyahu to French FM: Paris initiative could harm regional peace efforts
8) Middle East Peace initiative – Joint communiqué

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,

Eddie Chumney
Hebraic Heritage Ministries Int’l

June 7, 2016: Weekly 5 minute update

June 7th, 2016

You may view the 5 minute update this week via audio:

1) Listen to the audio

In this week’s 5 minute update, we focused on:

1) The efforts of Israel Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, to expand his coalition government and its relationship to the Israeli / Palestinian peace process

In early May, Israel Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, confessed that he has been conducting secret talks to bring the primary opposition party, the Zionist Union, into his coalition government. In doing so, opposition leader, Isaac Herzog, said that in the past year, he has received frequent requests to join Netanyahu’s government. Regarding them, he said: “To all of them I answered: sitting in the government without holding the steering wheel – that doesn’t interest me. I am not a decoration.” In other words, talk of a breakthrough is highly premature. Herzog added: “Until this very moment no appropriate proposal has been placed before us. If there is an appropriate offer we will consider it seriously. Everyone loves the idea of ‘unity.’ But what counts” are the principles which bind the parties together, he asserted.

In stating his conditions for joining the government, Herzog said that he will consider joining Netanyahu’s coalition only if he is given a mandate to pursue a Palestinian state and a two-state solution saying, “If I receive the mandate to stop the next funeral procession and curb the dangers of an international boycott, to return the United States and Europe into being allies, to open negotiations with neighboring states and to separate from the Palestinians in two states in order to halt the constant terrorism – then I will know that my hands are holding the steering wheel,” he said.

However, most of the members of Herzog’s political party, have said they oppose joining the Netayahu government based upon the present situation. Former opposition leader, Shelly Yacimovich and former chief negotiator in the peace process and leader of the Hatnua political party, Tzipi Livni both said they wouldn’t join the government with him, with Livni vowing to pull her political party, Hatnuah, who joined the former Labor party to form the current, Zionist Union party in last elections out of Zionist Union if Herzog brought members of the former Labor party into Netanyahu’s coalition.

Tzipi Livni, head of the Hatnua party and number two on the Zionist Union party list led by Isaac Herzog, strongly opposes joining Netanyahu’s government saying: “Our mission is to be in the opposition. I would not do a thing to strengthen Netanyahu, his way [of doing things], or his coalition. Netanyahu’s policies are bad for Israel … He bases his world view — and has reinforced it in the public — on the idea that the whole world is against us [Israel], that we are a nation that walks alone.”

Former opposition leader of the Labor party, Shelly Yachimovich, announced she would oppose the move saying: “Netanyahu called, and Herzog came running on all fours with a bone in his mouth. Entry into the coalition now, under these conditions, would be nothing less than a treacherous act – treacherous to the voters who chose us over the Likud, when we said ‘It’s us or them,’ and against our values, which we believe can bring about true change in Israel. I will not sell out my values for government cabinet positions,” she said. “Bad things will happen if Herzog tries to impose this on us. Of course I want to be a senior minister, and I will be a very good one, but not at any price. This offer should have been rejected outright a long time ago,” she said. “I’ve expressed my position in no uncertain terms in internal conversations, and I want to prevent this mistake from taking place. We are not talking about a unity government. This is a right-wing government that Labor is willing to crawl into just to get portfolios and status. A great big nothing is being devised simply to avoid upsetting the most right-wing party in the coalition, Jewish Home.”

Another former leader of the Labor party who is a present member of the Zionist Union, Knesset member,  Amir Peretz strongly opposed the idea of joining Netanyahu’s coalition government. He said: “What has this government done?” he continued. “It’s absolutely clear that [Prime Minister] Binyamin Netanyahu will not change his career and become a man of peace who is willing to pay the price of peace – not only to make statements on behalf of peace.”

If the Zionist Union political party would join Netanyahu’s coalition government, the Labor Party faction within Zionist Union would have three main objectives for joining the coalition; the first two are taking over the talks with the Palestinians and removing the political party, Jewish Home, from Netanyahu’s government. Jewish Home opposes a Palestinian state. One Labor party official said, “Herzog seeks a wide toolbox for the diplomatic talks … [but] Netanyahu isn’t even willing to declare a construction freeze in the settlements.” Another Labor party official said Netanyahu isn’t willing to remove the political party, Jewish Home, from his existing government coalition because “he doesn’t want to get in trouble with right-wing voters and doesn’t want the leader of the Jewish Home party, Naftali Bennett, to be to his right in the opposition.”

In reaction to the possibility of Zionist Union political party leader, Isaac Herzog, joining Netanyahu’s coalition government, Zionist Union party members said that Herzog does not have a mandate from party members to join Netanyahu’s government. Zionist Union Knesset member, Yoel Hasson said, “I and the members of the party have no intention to take part in such a move. We must prepare properly for the upcoming session and ensure that we continue to propose a better alternative to the public, an alternative of real security, a fair economy and mending the rifts in society,” he added. Zionist Union Knesset member, Erel Margalit, sent a letter to Netanyahu saying, “I will not join your extremist government. That will hold true whatever the decision of the members of my party.” Zionist Union Knesset member, Stav Shaffir, blasted the idea of her party entering Netanyahu’s government saying that doing so would be a “betrayal” to voters of the Labor party. She said, “We have been promising for a whole year that it’s either us or him. At no stage did we say ‘it’s us and also him.’ The very discussion about crawling into the government is embarrassing me.”

As a result, many believe that if Zionist Union leader, Isaac Herzog, did decide to join Netanyahu’s coalition government, it would split his party.

While Netanyahu was in discussion with Zionist Union leader, Isaac Herzog, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi promised Israel a warmer diplomatic relationship if it accepts efforts to resume peace talks with the Palestinians through the initiative led by the French government. He said: “I say we will achieve a warmer peace if we resolve the issue of our Palestinian brothers… and give hope to the Palestinians of the establishment of a state. I ask that the Israeli leadership allow this speech to be broadcast in Israel one or two times as this is a genuine opportunity… We are willing to make all efforts to help find a solution to this problem.”

Israel Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, responded positively to the Egyptian President’s comments saying, “Israel is willing to participate alongside Egypt and the other Arab states in advancing the diplomatic process and stability in the region.” while saying that Sisi’s words were “encouraging.” In addition, Netanyahu said that he embraced the “general idea” of the 2002 Arab / Saudi peace initiative.

The Arab Peace Initiative, originally proposed by Saudi Arabia in 2002, has many problematic aspects to it, the prime minister said, such as its call for an Israeli withdrawal from the Golan Heights and the return of Palestinian refugees to Israel. “There are positive aspects and negative aspects to it. Israel is willing to negotiate with the Arab states revisions to that initiative so that it reflects the dramatic changes in the region since 2002, but maintains the agreed goal of two states for two peoples. Therefore, the general idea — to try and reach understandings with leading Arab countries — is a good idea.”

In the framework proposed by the initiative, all Arab and Islamic states would establish normal diplomatic relations with Israel after the successful conclusion of the peace process with the Palestinians. The Israeli government has never fully endorsed the plan.

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair said Sunni Muslim countries are ready to normalize ties with Israel should Israel negotiate a peace deal with the Palestinian Authority on the basis of the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative. “Provided the Israeli government is ready to commit to a discussion around the 2002 Arab peace initiative … it would be possible to have some steps of normalization along the way to give confidence to this process,” Blair said. “With the new leadership in the region today that is possible. A lot will depend on the response of the Israeli government to Egyptian President Sissi’s initiative and to the Arab Peace Initiative and to whatever steps the Israelis are ready to take to make it a reality.”

A clause in the scrapped coalition agreement between Netanyahu and the Zionist Union opposition party reportedly stated that the government would “relate positively” to the idea of a regional reconciliation agreement between Israel and several Arab states, as well as to certain elements of the Arab Peace Initiative to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Blair’s comments are significant. A list of international figures led by Tony Blair were behind a failed move designed to legitimize the addition of the Zionist Union to the Israeli ruling coalition, a move practically unprecedented in terms of massive international intervention in Israeli politics. Two sources in the Israeli political system say that Blair, the former British prime minister and representative of the Quartet, while coordinating and updating opposition leader Isaac Herzog, is the one who pushed and encouraged Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi’s speech in which he called on Israeli political parties to agree on the need to advance the framework for peace with the Palestinians.

Until last year, Blair served as an envoy for the Quartet, an alliance of the United States, European Union, United Nations and Russia that seeks Israeli-Palestinian peace. Although Blair is no longer the Quartet representative to the peace process, Blair continued to act independently to restart the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians and Israel and the Arab world. Recently, Blair visited Israel and other countries in the region every two or three weeks, almost always meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as well as Herzog, updating them on his talks with Arab leaders.

His consistent message in these meetings was that Sunni Arab nations are willing and prepared for a breakthrough in relations with Israel, but it depended on steps Israel took in the West Bank and Gaza to demonstrate advancement of the two-state solution.

Political sources involved in the matter said that in recent weeks, against the backdrop of Netanyahu and Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon’s agreement on passing a two-year budget (instead of one year at a time), Blair realized that the Israeli government would stand firm until 2019. Blair thought the only way to advance a diplomatic move between Israel and the Palestinians, with the involvement of Arab nations, would be to bring the Zionist Union into the coalition.

A few weeks ago, while there was contact between Herzog and Netanyahu, Blair began holding talks with the two, trying to forge a common agenda to advance a regional diplomatic move after the Zionist Union joined the government. Herzog spoke of a “rare regional opportunity” to advance the peace process.

Recently, while visiting Egypt, Blair worked on recruiting senior Egyptian figures to the plan. One political source says Blair is the one who suggested that Sissi make a speech with a message to the Israeli people and their political parties about the need to move forward in the peace process with the Palestinians. According to the source, Blair’s activity vis-à-vis the Egyptian presidential office was fully coordinated with Herzog.

Blair also coordinated with Kerry, informing him of the talks with Herzog and Netanyahu. A political source tells that subsequent to Blair’s actions, Kerry considered putting off publishing the Quartet’s report until he knew whether the Zionist Union would join the coalition. U.S. officials, however, denied this claim. When released, the report is expected to level biting criticism on settlement construction.

After visiting Egypt, Blair came to Israel and met with Netanyahu and Herzog again, also working on helping Herzog garner support inside the Zionist Union for joining the government. Blair tried to schedule a meeting with Zionist Union chairwoman Tzipi Livni, but her office said she was in mourning for her brother. Blair insisted and did meet Livni in the early hours of the morning at her Tel Aviv home, presenting the move he was trying to put together.

Initially, all was going according to Blair’s plan. Sissi gave the speech with the messages Blair had coordinated with Egypt. Herzog hastened to announce that he applauded the speech and said that Israel should not miss the diplomatic opportunity. A few minutes later, Netanyahu also made an announcement welcoming Sissi’s remarks and saying he was willing to cooperate with a diplomatic move led by Egypt. But in the following hours, talks between Netanyahu and Herzog started to fall apart and finally collapsed just after midnight.

Herzog claims the talks failed because Netanyahu refused to provide written versions of the understandings they had reached over settlement construction and negotiations with the Palestinians, the two elements that were supposed to enable the regional move with the Arab nations. Likud sources say Netanyahu realized that Herzog did not have the backing of a majority of his Knesset faction for joining the coalition and didn’t want to take the risk of making such far-reaching diplomatic undertakings.

“Neither Blair, Sissi nor Herzog could understand how Netanyahu wound up going with Lieberman,” said a political source. “Blair thought he could engineer the Netanyahu government and Herzog counted on the international embrace that Blair arranged for getting him into the government. It didn’t work.”

Once talks with the Zionist Union to join the government failed, Netanyahu decided to reach out to the political party, Yisrael Beytenu, (Israel Our Home) headed by Avigdor Liberman to “break away from the opposition.” The effort became necessary because talks with the Zionist Union on forming a unity government stalled due to significant gaps between them. One Likud official explained why Netanyahu wanted for Liberman’s party, Israel Our Home, to join the government saying,  “The need to even approach Zionist Union stems from the fact that [Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor] Lieberman took right-wing votes in the last Israeli election which were meant to facilitate a right-wing government and instead he initially failed to join the government after the elections and then joined the opposition parties to the current government coalition.”

As a result, Yisrael Beytenu (Israel Our Home) decided to join the Netanyahu government with the leader of its party, Avigdor Liberman, becoming Israel’s new Defense Minister. In response, the United States reacted by saying that Israel’s new right-wing government coalition raises, “legitimate questions” about the direction of Israeli policy toward the Israeli / Palestinian peace process but that the United States will ultimately judge the new government based on its actions. US State Department spokesman, Mark Toner said: “We have also seen reports from Israel describing it as the most right-wing coalition in Israel’s history and we also know that many of its ministers have said they oppose a two-state solution. This raises legitimate questions about the direction it may be headed in … and what kind of policies it may adopt.”

What do these things mean? According to a senior political source in Israel, in the remaining months of 2016, Israel could be facing a “diplomatic hurricane” from the United States and the international community. Top Israeli officials are concerned that the recent French peace initiative is a political maneuver that is meant to fail so that the Americans and Europeans can tell themselves, the public and Israel “we tried everything.” Netanyahu’s strategy, which Liberman joining his government has also adopted, is to create a diplomatic ”preventive strike” that will get US President Barack Obama and the Europeans off of Israel’s neck for the next critical five months before the US elections.

Israel is now waiting for the Quartet report (the European Union, the United States, the United Nations and Russia) on the situation in the Middle East that is supposed to be published at the end of June. Under regular circumstances, the report would be received with a shrug and several warning lectures. But these days, its potential is much more deadly. Israel is investing tremendous efforts to weaken the report and cut out its harsh expressions and severe criticisms. Several versions and drafts of the report are circulating between the relevant capital cities (including the United States). One way or the other, the report will ultimately be published and will contain harsh criticism against both the Israeli and Palestinian sides with Israel receiving the most blame for the failed peace process.

But it’s not the Quartet report that most worries Netanyahu and Liberman. Their eyes are on the UN Security Council. Their nightmare scenario is failure of the French peace initiative, a harsh Quartet report and an American-European decision to launch a Security Council resolution that would not be prevented by an American veto. Netanyahu is well aware that such a resolution would constitute a dangerous precedent and could create a snowball effect. That, in turn, could transform Israel, within a relatively small amount of time, into a pariah state, hit by international economic sanctions if it does not act positively toward the possible UN Security Council Resolution.

However, even before this happens, the Israeli government is concerned about new United States initiatives on the peace process including a speech from US President Barack Obama outlining new parameters for the peace process and then bringing up these parameters for a vote in the UN Security Council as a binding resolution which Israel must eventually implement.

Because the international community tried to persuade Israel Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, to have the main opposition party, Zionist Union, who supports peace talks and a Palestinian state join his government through the efforts of former Quartet representative of the peace process, Tony Blair, and failed to do so and instead Netanyahu brought a right wing party into his government, will the US and Europe view this as a “betrayal” by Netanyahu of the peace process and therefore try to impose a peace agreement upon Israel through the United Nations Security Council by supporting a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital with the support of US President Barack Obama before he leaves office in January, 2017 ? Only time will tell.

An agreement to divide Jerusalem and establish a PLO state is a tribulation event.

The link to these articles are as follows:
1) Herzog outlines his conditions for entering ‘unity government’
2) Herzog: Will Consider Joining Netanyahu’s Coalition Only if Given Mandate to Pursue Two-state Solution
3) Herzog Reportedly Eager to Join Netanyahu’s Government, but Livni Dead Set Against
4) Netanyahu Emasculates Opposition Leader by Confirming Unity Talks
5) MKs to Herzog: We won’t join the coalition, even if you do
6) ‘Likud-Labor talks plagued by considerable differences’
7) MK: Strong Opposition better for the public than unity gov’t
8) Source: Likud to reach out to Liberman to join government
9) Sources: Herzog in Gov’t Means Split in Labor
10) How Tony Blair and Egypt’s Sissi Tried to Push Zionist Union Into Netanyahu’s Coalition
11) Egypt’s Sisi lends backing to Israel-Palestinian peace efforts
12) Lieberman to join government, become defense minister
13) US says Israel’s rightist coalition ‘raises legitimate questions’
14) Netanyahu’s diplomatic nightmare
15) Netanyahu backs ‘general idea’ behind Arab Peace Initiative
16) Blair talks up prospects of Israel-Sunni normalization
17) Following Herzog, Livni vows not to join coalition

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,

Eddie Chumney
Hebraic Heritage Ministries Int’l

April 26, 2016: Weekly 5 minute update

April 27th, 2016

You may view the 5 minute update this week via audio:

1) Listen to the 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,

Eddie Chumney
Hebraic Heritage Ministries Int’l

April 12, 2016: Weekly 5 minute update

April 12th, 2016

You may view the 5 minute update this week via audio:

1) Listen to the audio

In this week’s 5 minute update, we focused on:

1) An interview by Orthodox Jew Nehemia Gordon with the representative of the renewed Sanhedrin which historically was an Orthodox Jewish Rabbinical Court which functioned in the 1st Century

The Sanhedrin in deliberations on Mount Zion next to David's Tomb on March 30, 2016. The man standing on the far left is Professor Hillel Weiss. Photo by Nehemia Gordon.

The Sanhedrin in deliberations on Mount Zion next to David’s Tomb on March 30, 2016. The man standing on the far left is Professor Hillel Weiss.

 

 

 

 

 

The link to these articles are as follows:

1) Nehemia Gordon Interview: The Renewed Sanhedrin

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,

Eddie Chumney
Hebraic Heritage Ministries Int’l

April 5, 2016: Weekly 5 minute update

April 5th, 2016

You may view the 5 minute update this week via audio:

1) Listen to the audio

In this week’s 5 minute update, we focused on:

1) Orthodox Jewish preparations in the land of Israel for the rebuilding of the Temple and the coming of King Messiah

Third Temple Closer Than Ever as Search Begins for Eligible Jewish Priests

In March, Rabbi Chaim Richman, the International Director of the Temple Institute announced that the Temple Institute has initiated the second stage towards building the Temple: compiling a list of Jewish priests who will be eligible to prepare the red heifer and serve in the Temple.

Rabbi Chaim Richman. (Photo: The Temple Institute)

 

The Temple Institute is a non-profit organization, founded in 1987, which is dedicated to rebuilding the Jewish Temple on Mount Moriah in Jerusalem. The Temple Institute trains the descendants of the Biblical Aaron in their priestly duties and prepares educational materials and programs about the Temple for use in schools in Israel and around the world. Over the years, it has also made remarkable practical achievements towards turning the Third Temple into a reality. It has recreated over 70 utensils fit for the Temple service, including the gold menorah, the gem encrusted breastplate of the high priest, musical instruments used by the Levites, and priestly garments.

The Levitical registry will include men who have a clear patriarchal heritage from the priestly class (descendants of Aaron), were born and raised in Israel, and have observed the laws of purity incumbent upon priests. This includes not coming into proximity with the dead, so priests, or kohanim, who were born in hospitals, have visited hospitals, or have entered cemeteries are not eligible.

Once the Temple Institute has compiled a list of candidates with verified eligibility, it will begin to train them in the complex preparation of the ashes of the red heifer. The training will take place at the Nezer Hakodesh an institute established three years ago to educate priests in the details of the Temple service.

Photo: Joshua Wander

The project of compiling a list of Jewish priests who will be eligible to prepare the red heifer and serve in the Temple has implications not just for kohanim but for anyone interested in taking part in the Temple service. Anyone going up to the Temple needs to be on a high level of ritual purity.  Most types of impurity can be removed through immersion in a mikveh (a ritual bath). For ritual impurity imparted through contact or proximity to a dead person, the purification process  requires a priest to sprinkle water mixed with the ashes of a red heifer. Today, after thousands of years without a Temple, all people are considered to be on this level of impurity, making the reinstituting of the red heifer ashes an essential part of the return of the Temple service.

The announcement of compiling a list of Jewish priests who will be eligible to prepare the red heifer and serve in the Temple coincides with the weekly Torah reading that describes the preparation of the red heifer. After decades of research in how to practically restore the Temple, Temple Institute scholars realized that the first step in the seemingly impossible task was raising a red heifer. Frozen embryos of red angus cattle have been implanted in Israeli cattle, introducing the breed to Israel. Biblical law requires that the red heifer be unblemished and it is forbidden from being milked or impregnated so must be raised in special supervised conditions. Unlike most other aspects of the Temple service, burning of the red heifer and the use of its ashes to purify do not require ascending to the Temple Mount. This precludes any political complications that may arise, since Jews today are currently prevented from praying or performing any religious rituals on the Temple Mount.

A red heifer

“This is a huge jump for the Temple Institute and a huge leap for the Jewish people. For the first time in 2,000 years, after miraculously returning to the Land of Israel, we are beginning the process of reinstating the Biblical purity of the Jewish priesthood,” said Rabbi Richman. “This is another bold move for our Institute, having already painstakingly prepared more than 70 sacred vessels for the Third Temple. We proudly call upon all those who may fit the bill to contact the Temple Institute immediately.”

 

 Paschal Lamb Sacrificed in Jerusalem

Last year, in preparation for the Passover holiday, the Temple Institute in Jerusalem reenacted the bringing of the Passover lambs to the Temple for the Passover sacrifice. Although the sacrifice requires that the altar be standing in its place on the Temple Mount, the practice exercise was conducted for educational purposes on International Temple Mount Awareness Day.

According to the book of Exodus, the Israelites were commanded to take an unblemished lamb or goat into their homes on the 10th day of the first Hebrew month, keeping it until the evening of the 14th day, when it would be ritually slaughtered.

The lamb’s blood was to be painted on the doorposts of every Israelite home as a sign that God would pass over them during the plague of the Death of the Firstborn. The lamb would then be roasted and eaten that night, accompanied by bitter herbs and unleavened bread, called matzah. The Israelites were also commanded to perform this sacrifice every year thereafter, as a memorial of the exodus from Egypt.

Since the establishment of the First Temple on the Temple Mount, it was forbidden to offer sacrifices at any other location. Thus, the Passover sacrifice has not been performed since the Second Temple was destroyed by the Romans in 70 CE. Strictly speaking, however, Jewish law does not require that the Temple be standing only that the altar be in its correct position.

This ceremony was carried out with the two main purposes: 1) Document the event for an educational DVD 2) Rehearse in case an altar is permitted to be placed on the Temple Mount.

Kohanim inspecting the lambs for any blemishes. (Photo: The Temple Institute)

During the exercise, the participating priests all wore authentic garments prepared by the Temple Institute, and practiced reciting the appropriate blessings. Silver trumpet-blasts and Levitical singing accompanied the sacrifice, as required. Regarding the event, the Temple Institute said: “This was the most accurate and authentic reenactment of this service to have taken place in nearly 2,000 years.” It included all the stages of the ritual, such as checking the animal for blemishes, slaughtering it, collecting its blood and bringing it to the corner of the altar, skinning the animal and separating its inner parts, and roasting it whole in a special Passover oven.

Events like this help prepare for the actual Temple. Not only does it raise public awareness, it also helps instruct Kohanim, Jews of the priestly class.

New Details Emerge on Rebuilt Altar of Jewish Holy Temple

In late 2014, the Temple Institute in Jerusalem announced that it has finished building an altar suitable for the Temple service. The altar, which took several years to build can be operational at little more than a moment’s notice.

The altar is a central component to the Biblical sacrificial service. In fact, there were separate altars for the incense and for other sacrifices. The larger altar sat in the outer courtyard of the Tabernacle and later the Temple. According to the Bible, the altar may not be made out of stones hewn by metal implements.

According to information released by the Temple Institute, since the Torah forbids the use of hewn stones in an altar (see Deuteronomy 27:5-6), it “consists of an outer frame of earthen bricks, oven-baked to withstand the extreme heat of the altar when in use. This outer frame is filled with natural stones, untouched by metal implements, as per Torah imperative. The outer brick frame is covered with a thin white plaster, as was done with the altar that stood in the Holy Temple courtyard.” It is constructed from bricks fired at roughly 1,000 degrees Celsius (1,832 degrees Fahrenheit), to withstand the immense heat of the Temple’s eternal flame and the weight of the sacrificial animals.

The altar built by the Temple Institute to be used in service in the rebuilt Third Jewish Temple. (Photo: The Temple Institute)

The base of the altar contains two portals for collecting the blood poured during animal sacrifices, in accordance with the Torah. It is also crowned with four raised corners, called horns by the Torah. One thing that makes this altar unique is that it was designed to be disassembled and quickly reassembled in its correct position on the Temple Mount. According to the Temple Institute, “The people of Israel are required to build an altar exclusively on the site of the original altar on Mount Moriah, the Temple Mount. When circumstances become favorable, this new altar can be quickly re-assembled on the proper location, enabling the Divine service to be resumed without delay.”

Priests Demonstrate the Glory of Ancient Biblical Temple Service

Also in March, a special ceremony was held in the Cardo in Jerusalem to reenact the Temple service associated with the sighting of the new moon. The event coincided with the beginning of the Jewish month of Adar. In Temple times, the new month was considered a minor holiday and the ceremony, a reenactment of the Temple service, gloriously illustrated that.

On the day of the new month, special sacrifices were brought to the Temple: two oxen, a ram, seven lambs, wine libations, flour, and oil (Numbers 28:11-15). This is identical to the sacrifices offered on Passover and Shavuot, indicating the holy aspect of the new month. Special trumpet blasts were also added in celebration.

To commemorate the special nature of the day, the Temple Institute, in conjunction with the Sanhedrin and other Temple organizations, held a reenactment of the service as it would have been performed in the Temple. The ceremony was intended to be educational for the spectators and a dry-run for the priests who participated.

The priests,  students of the Temple Institute’s Nezer HaKodesh Academy for Kohanim, wore authentic garments made to Biblical specifications, and performed the Kohanic blessing. Musicians played instruments suited for use in the Temple provided by the Temple Institute, accompanied by a choir.

Photo: Joshua Wander

Though no animals were actually slaughtered, the organs and special fats were displayed and explained. There was also a demonstration of how blood is sprinkled on the altar. A mincha offering of semolina was burned on the altar, a precise scale model, approximately one meter tall and two-and-a-half meters square. In addition to the demonstration of the sacrifices, three members of the Sanhedrin accepted the testimony of two witnesses for the Torah commandment of declaring the new month.

Setting the new month by witnesses is considered by Rashi, a prominent Jewish rabbi of the Middle Ages, to be the first mitzvah (Biblical commandment) the Nation of Israel received after leaving Egypt. With great spiritual meaning, establishing the calendar is far more than a convenience. It is so important that it takes precedence over the Sabbath. In Biblical times, witnesses were permitted to break the Sabbath in order to arrive in Jerusalem and stand before the Sanhedrin.

On a technical level, this event was a step in the process of correcting the Hebrew calendar. By Biblical law, the new month for the Hebrew calendar was established by reliable witnesses appearing before the Sanhedrin. Hillel II, president of the Sanhedrin in the fourth century, established a written calendar based on astronomical calculations. This calendar, still in use, standardized the length of months and the addition of months in leap years over the course of a 19-year cycle so that the lunar calendar realigns with the solar years.

In the times of the Temple, the new month would be established by both calculation and by witnesses appearing before the Sanhedrin. When the Temple was destroyed and the Sanhedrin disbanded, the Hebrew calendar was figured solely according to the astrological calculations and the template established by Hillel II.

It is remarkable that Hillel II’s calculations stood for as long as they did. However, 1,700 years later, there are discrepancies between his calendar and the astronomical reality. This is a serious problem that the Sanhedrin is taking steps to gradually fix.

Professor Hillel Weiss, spokesman and secretary of the Sanhedrin, explained: “Though we have received witnesses in the past, this is the first time we have done so publicly, which is an essential part of the mitzvah. The only thing lacking is for all of Israel to agree on one central authority for this,” he continued. “This is just one of many mitzvot we neglect merely because we haven’t done them for so long. There is no other reason not to do this and raise Judaism.” Professor Weiss expanded on the idea. “For 2,000 years we practiced Judaism a certain way. Even though we are in Israel, the Torah and mitzvot are still in galut (diaspora). There are many practical things we could do, and in truth, should do, to make Judaism richer and more like it was in the times of the Temple.”

Joshua Wander, a resident of the Mount of Olives who attended, thought the event was clearly  necessary. “Things come up when you actually do these things, dilemmas that you could never anticipate from just sitting in Yeshiva and learning from a book. “For example, the witnesses were questioned by the Sanhedrin. They were asked where in the sky it was, what direction the moon was facing, what time it was exactly. It seemed that the witnesses were not prepared for this level of questioning which is dictated by the Talmud. One of them asked if he could look at a photo from his cell phone. After consultation, the Sanhedrin ruled that it was permissible.”

The Sanhedrin’s declaration of the new month was preceded by a ceremony recreating the Temple service. The ceremony, intended for instructional and not religious purposes, did not include slaughtering an animal, though in many other respects it was absolutely authentic. The musical instruments, and vessels, provided by the Temple Institute, were made to Biblical specifications. The priests were kohanim, members of the Jewish priestly class. Dressed in holy garments, they performed the priestly blessing.  A small scale model of the altar was also set up, and a grain offering was burnt on it.

 

 Special Torah Scroll Written for Messiah Completed

Rabbi Yosef Berger looks on as his Torah for the Messiah is completed. (Photo: David's Tomb/Rabbi Yosef Berger)

Rabbi Yosef Berger, one of the rabbis in charge of King David’s Tomb in Jerusalem’s Old City, took an enormous step towards making his year-long dream a reality.

Rabbi Berger’s dream was to write a Torah scroll to present to the Messiah upon his arrival. Since David’s Tomb, the burial place of the Messiah’s ancestor, is located on Mount Zion, Rabbi Berger is uniquely positioned to personally present the Torah to the Messiah.

The Rabbi believes that by writing a Torah scroll which includes all of Israel, and keeping that scroll on Mount Zion, it will fulfill the requirements to usher in the Messiah.

Rabbi Berger explained to how he learned this from Yalkut Shimoni, a collection of teachings believed to have been arranged in the 13th century. He quoted the text:

“’Rabbi Shimon Ben Monsia said, ‘No signs of redemption will be shown to Israel until they seek these three things – the kingdom of heaven , the dynasty of King David, and the building of the Temple.’ Writing a scroll housed on Mount Zion, where King David is interred, and adjacent to the Temple Mount, will accomplish all three goals in one action,” the rabbi explained.

In December, the first letters of the scroll were inscribed by Rabbi David Hai Abuhatzeira, the grandson of the prominent Moroccan Sephardic mystic Rabbi Israel Abuhatzeira, known as the Baba Sali. At the time, Rabbi Abuhatseira urgently instructed the organizers of the project, “Write the Sefer Torah as fast as possible, you don’t have much time!…I hope you have a chance [to finish]!”

It appears that Rabbi Berger finished this stage of the project in time. Last Thursday, the ceremony to consecrate the new Torah scroll began at the Kotel (Western Wall) in Jerusalem and moved to the adjacent Ohel Yitzchak Synagogue, where the final letters were written by a collection of honored rabbis.

Israel's leading rabbis gather to complete the final letters of Rabbi Yosef Berger's Torah scroll for the Messiah (Photo: David's Tomb/Rabbi Yosef Berger)

The ceremony was on the seventh day of the Hebrew month Adar, which is both the birth date and the Yahrtzeit (anniversary of the death) of Moses. Apropos to the momentous occasion, Rabbi Berger announced to the crowd, “Moses was truth, and his Torah was truth, and this Torah will never change.”

He then quoted from the book of Hosea

“For the Bnei Yisrael shall sit solitary many days without king and without prince and without sacrifice and without pillar and without ephod or teraphim; afterward shall Bnei Yisrael return and seek the LORD their God and David their king; and shall come trembling unto the LORD and to His goodness in the end of days.” (Hosea 3:4-5)

The assembled celebrants then paraded around the walls of Jerusalem which were lit up especially to honor the occasion.

Written here in Hebrew is "King David". The walls of the Old City of Jerusalem were lit up in honor of the occasion, welcoming the special Torah for the Messiah commissioned by Rabbi Yosef Berger. (Photo: David's Tomb/Rabbi Yosef Berger)

Thousands of celebrants accompanied the Torah scroll to its new home at David’s Tomb on Mount Zion.

Thousands of people of all ages accompany the completed Torah scroll as it made its way from the Western Wall to King David's Tomb (Photo: David's Tomb/Rabbi Yosef Berger)

The momentous occasion was attended by several of Israel’s leading rabbis: Rabbi Yitzchak Shtern, Rabbi Shalom Berger (the present Mishkoltz Rebbe), Rabbi Reuven Elbaz (a leading Israeli Sephardic rabbi and a member of the The Moetzet Chachmei HaTorah), Rabbi Dov Lior (the Chief Rabbi of Kiryat Arba), Rabbi Shalom Ber Sorotzkin (head of the Ateret Shlomo Yeshiva), among many other honored rabbis and participants.

The ceremony was immediately followed by a global recitation of the Shema prayer.

An agreement to divide Jerusalem and establish a PLO state is a tribulation event.

The link to these articles are as follows:

1) Temple Institute Inaugurates Registry of Biblically Eligible Kohanim
2) Third Temple Closer Than Ever as Search Begins for Eligible Jewish Priests
3) Special Torah Scroll Written for Messiah Completed
4) Priests Demonstrate the Glory of Ancient Biblical Temple Service
5) Sanhedrin Performs Rare Biblical Commandment Not Seen For 2,000 Years
6) Paschal Lamb Sacrificed in Jerusalem
7) New Details Emerge on Rebuilt Altar of Jewish Holy Temple

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,

Eddie Chumney
Hebraic Heritage Ministries Int’l

March 29, 2016: Weekly 5 minute update

March 28th, 2016

You may view the 5 minute update this week via audio:

1) Listen to the audio

In this week’s 5 minute update, we focused on:

1) The B’ney Yosef North American National Congress Articles of Declaration

 

B'ney Yosef

 

Articles of Declaration

 

Thus declares the Lord God: “Surely I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel, his companions; and I will join them together, with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they will be one in My hand.” (Ezekiel 37:19)

The Holy Scriptures declare that God made a covenant with Abraham, and within that covenant was a promise. Abraham would become the father of many nations, with descendants so numerous that no man could count them.[1] Scripture is not silent on how God’s promise would manifest; however, a great deal of time would pass before the fullness of His promise was realized. That journey began when the promise given to Abraham was passed on to his son Isaac as an oath, and then from Isaac to his son Jacob as a statute. It would continue into subsequent generations in the form of an everlasting covenant to a set-apart nation called Israel—the descendants of Jacob.[2]

Israel, like all nations before and after, would have times of peace and prosperity as well as times of war and disorder. It was during the reigns of King David and King Solomon that Israel enjoyed its greatest period of national blessing. But immediately after Solomon’s reign, conditions changed dramatically. The nation of Israel split into two separate kingdoms: Judah to the south and Israel to the north.[3] Judah predominantly continued to walk in God’s statutes and commandments, while the Northern Kingdom of Israel, prophetically known as Ephraim or Joseph, fell into a downward spiral of idolatry. God repeatedly warned the Northern Kingdom that continued disobedience would bring expulsion from the Land, but those warnings went unheeded as Israel refused to repent.[4]

Ultimately Assyria conquered Israel and took its inhabitants into exile, where they assimilated into Assyrian culture and accepted their many gods.[5] And so the God of Israel fulfilled His ominous promise, found first in Deuteronomy 28–30[6] and declared again many times in the Prophets.[7] God drove Israel even farther into the nations,[8] giving them up to their idols while simultaneously declaring them to be “not My people.” [9] They became known as the “lost sheep of the House of Israel” and were scattered as a mixed multitude to the four corners of the earth.[10]

Yet the grace of God knows no bounds, and despite His anger with the Northern Kingdom, His ominous promise also contained a pathway to restoration. When as individuals and as a nation Israel would repent and turn their hearts back toward Him, hearing and obeying His voice, He promised to gather them back from the nations into which they were scattered. Then He would circumcise their hearts and the hearts of their descendants so they might live again as a people committed to God.[11] Those who were called “not My people” would one day again hear the words, “You are sons of the Living God.”[12]

This call to repentance, which went out into all the nations, came from His anointed servant. Through Him, the rebuilding of the House of Israel began. Two thousand years ago, Yeshua of Nazareth came, in His own words, to call “the lost sheep of the House of Israel.”[13] Though He lived among and addressed the descendants of the Southern Kingdom of Judah, the weight of His mission was clearly aimed at turning the hearts of Ephraim, the Northern Kingdom, back to the God of Israel. He trained twelve students to continue His work after He was gone and told them to “go to the lost sheep of the House of Israel.”[14] Since that time, by the Holy Spirit, many millions around the world have turned to the God of Israel and have been marked as His sheep. These “prodigal sons” [15] were given enough understanding to remain separate from the world, but not enough to regain full understanding of their identity. One day, however, that started to change as the great awakening promised by God began to dawn.[16]

We believe this promised awakening began over the last few decades and that we are not only witnesses to this awakening but participants as well.[17] Being drawn to the Torah, to the Land, and to the people of the Land while retaining the testimony of Yeshua, we  believe ourselves to be the “B’ney Yosef”—the “Children of Joseph”—prophetically called “Ephraim,”[18] a people who are being called out of the nations,[19] now and once again part of the Commonwealth of Israel.[20] And as part of this “called-out assembly,” we stand on the promise that God will one day join us to the House of Judah (the Jewish People) to become one united Israel, never again to be divided.[21]

B’ney Yosef North America is a network of North Americans who have heard the call to join together for the common purpose of the restoration and reconstitution of the people of northern Israel—the House of Yosef/Ephraim. We are in awe of the quick work our Lord has done; yet we proceed in tentative optimism because of the divisive nature of our people. Knowing that reconciliation with Judah will not become reality until we stand together as one, we are humbled by the great task ahead of making the necessary personal sacrifices to unify our house. To exist as the nation God intends, and knowing we have a part to play before God completes His work, we pledge this day to promote unity, peace, and harmony among those who belong—and who will belong—to our House and to the House of Judah. In addition to understanding the need for personal sacrifice for the good of the body at large, we accept the following principles in order to establish ourselves as a unified people:

  • We will submit to the will of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and also to those whom God has raised to positions of trust and authority in our local assemblies and within the body of B’ney Yosef North America. We will also commit to lifting these servants up continually in prayer, knowing they face a difficult task.[22]
  • We will remain teachable, humble, accountable, and open to correction while seeking to renew ourselves daily through prayer and commitment to God, His Messiah, His Torah, and one another.[23]
  • We will live in a manner that stands opposed to those things that cause division and strife within the body, being mindful that our walk should always reflect the character attributes of the God we serve.[24]
  • We will promote peace, harmony, love, and stability within and between our families, our local assemblies, the communities in which we live, and all of God’s Israel.[25]
  • We will remain aware that knowledge and understanding are gifts from God and that the misuse of these gifts profanes both the gift and the Gift Giver. Therefore, we will refrain from using our knowledge and understanding as a litmus test to determine who does and does not belong to God.[26]
  • We will acknowledge that currently most Ephraimites are not yet aware of their identity and that until Messiah comes, it is not realistic to expect we will stand in agreement regarding all facets of understanding and practice. We will also acknowledge that the work God is doing is happening over a progression of time. Therefore, we will commit ourselves to showing mutual respect and understanding, being quick to extend grace and slow to criticize, knowing this “last days” call will reach into all nations, cultures, peoples, and tongues in God’s timing and not our own.[27]
  • We will consent to the need to walk before our brother Judah in a manner that builds trust, opens doors of communication, and displays godly character. We will further acknowledge the need to repent for centuries of hostility, unfair treatment, and religious overzealousness directed at Judah in the name of Christianity and the need to seek forgiveness from Judah and our heavenly Father.[28]
  • We will stand ready to give an answer for the hope of our calling, willing to share what we believe with anyone who desires to hear; this is our responsibility. Yet we acknowledge there is a difference between giving answers to questions asked and trying to convert another to our way of understanding and practice. Therefore, B’ney Yosef North America cannot and will not support or defend any attempts to evangelize the Jewish people.[29]
  • We will not force Judah or anyone else to accept that we are who we believe ourselves to be. Instead, we will wait patiently on God to do His work. In the interim, we will actively assume the roles of bridge builders, peacemakers, and repairers of the breach; a people who understand why the community at large—the nation to which we belong—is greater than self.

As a people who currently remain scattered among the nations, it is imperative that we unite through these declared principles and our deference to God-ordained leadership in order to ensure the tranquility of the House to which we belong. The forming of a civil body of governance will allow us to establish and administer our national affairs and settle disputes that cannot be dealt with on a local level. This will stave off those things that would otherwise create additional division and strife within our House.

Beyond whatever small part we each play in this process, we rest knowing that God will do all He has promised through His everlasting covenant made with Israel. Ultimately God is the one Who will make Judah and Ephraim one stick in His hand; we cannot do His work for Him. Before that time, however, we are to treat the two sticks as though they are already one. Today we unite as one nation, willing servants who seek only to glorify the God of Israel and His Messiah through every word we speak and deed we perform. May His mighty and set-apart name be blessed over all the earth. Amen.

BYNA – Articles of Declaration


 

[1] Gen. 13:6, 15:5, 17:3-8

[2] Ps. 105:8-10. See also Gen. 17:1-9, 26:1-5, 35:9-12.

[3] 1 Kings 12; 2 Chron. 10

[4] 1 Kings 11:29-35; 2 Kings 17:6-22; Hos. 11:5

[5] 2 Kings 15:29, 18:9-12

[6] Though these three chapters reveal the full picture, God’s intent is summed up well in Deut. 30:1-6.

[7] Lev. 26:33; Deut. 4:23-27; Hos. 1. See also Deut. 28:25, 37, 64 and Jer. 50:17.

[8] Isa. 11:12; Ezek. 28:25-26, 34:13

[9] Hos. 1:9

[10] 1 Kings 22:17; Jer. 50:6

[11] Deut. 30:1-6

[12] Hos. 1:10, 2:23

[13] Matt. 15:24

[14] Matt. 10:5-6

[15] Luke 15:11-32. Many believe this parable is speaking of Judah (the older brother) and Ephraim (the younger brother).

[16] Ezek. 37:4-11; Matt. 24:32-34

[17] It was not until the mid-1990s that assumed “Gentiles” began to be drawn to the Torah, the Land, and the people of the Land.

[18] Gen. 48:19; Isa. 11:13; Ezek. 37:19

[19] The Greek word translated as “church” is ekklesia. It simply means “to be called out.”

[20] Eph. 2:12-19 (Key verses are 12 and 19.)

[21] Jer. 31:31-34/Heb. 8:8-11; Ezek. 37:15-19

[22] 2 Thes. 1:11; James 4:7; 1 Pet. 5:5

[23] Ps. 51:10; Matt. 18:4; Heb. 3:13

[24] Prov. 6:16-19; Gal. 5:22-23

[25] Ps. 133:1; Matt. 22:37-40; 2 Cor. 13:11

[26] Ps. 143:10; Matt. 23:23; John 14:26

[27] James 1:1, 19. See also Jer. 31:34 and 1 Cor. 12:28 (having a need for teachers reveals that we cannot expect everyone to have the same understanding at this time) and Matt. 24:32-34 (progression of time).

[28] Jer. 31:31-34/Heb. 8:8-11. The covenant is made with Israel and Judah—God is including the Jewish people; our current theology doesn’t harmonize with this truth. Also notice that in Ezek. 37:15-20 Ezekiel holds both sticks (Israel and Judah).

[29] 1 Pet. 3:15. Visit www.united2restore.com/2016/02/24/evangelizing-judah/ for additional information.

An agreement to divide Jerusalem and establish a PLO state is a tribulation event.

The link to these articles are as follows:

1) Bney Yosef National Congress of North America: Articles of Declaration

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,

Eddie Chumney
Hebraic Heritage Ministries Int’l

March 22, 2016: Weekly 5 minute update

March 22nd, 2016

You may view the 5 minute update this week via audio:

1) Listen to the audio

In this week’s 5 minute update, we focused on:

1) Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s 2016 AIPAC Speech

This week’s report is Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s 2016 AIPAC Speech

An agreement to divide Jerusalem and establish a PLO state is a tribulation event.

The link to these articles are as follows:

1) Benjamin Netanyahu 2016 AIPAC Speech

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,

Eddie Chumney
Hebraic Heritage Ministries Int’l

March 15, 2016: Weekly 5 minute update

March 17th, 2016

You may view the 5 minute update this week via audio:

1) Listen to the audio

In this week’s 5 minute update, we focused on:

1) The current efforts by the US and the international community to support efforts to keep alive a two-state solution as part of the Israel / Palestinian peace process

US President Barack Obama, resigned to his failure to broker a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians during the last 7 years of his presidency, is considering a plan that would preserve at least the principle of a two-state solution for an eventual permanent Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement by a future US administration.

The Obama administration is debating whether Obama should define the outlines for an eventual agreement from a presidential speech or perhaps through a United Nations Security Council agreement. A UN Security Council Resolution would be brought to a vote before the end of U.S. President Barack Obama’s term in office in January, 2017. The objective of such a strategy would not be to revive direct peace negotiations between the two sides — which almost nobody believes is likely now — but to enshrine the proposals made by US Secretary of State John Kerry for an eventual peace agreement during his last failed effort at peacemaking in 2014.

In 2014, when U.S.-led negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians broke down, the US State Department drafted a speech for Kerry to deliver that would have laid out the parameters that the two sides needed to agree upon: border issues, security, the status of Jerusalem, treatment of Palestinian refugees and the mutual recognition of two states for two peoples — meaning recognition of Israel as a Jewish state and not simply recognition of its right to exist. However, US President Barack Obama rejected the idea and the speech was never delivered according to people familiar with the debate at that time.

A UN Security Council resolution, US officials said, would give enduring legitimacy to the compromises that Mr. Kerry hammered out in private between the two sides, and build broad international support for a series of proposed solutions that could provide the framework for a future Israeli-Palestinian agreement.

A senior U.S. administration official said that a final decision on the matter hasn’t yet been reached and that Obama is examining a number of different options. He said that the timing for a move has not yet been determined either adding that Obama wants to put the Israeli-Palestinian issue on a more promising track before his successor takes office in January.

“Obama and Kerry are looking at the very real likelihood that the two-state solution could die on their watch,” said Martin S. Indyk, who served as the special envoy for Israel-Palestinian peace negotiations under Mr. Kerry in 2013 and 2014. “Having tried everything else, I think they feel a responsibility, above all to Israel’s future as a Jewish and democratic state, to preserve the principles of a two-state solution.”

“There will be a great temptation to do something in the final year,” said Aaron David Miller, a vice president at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. Miller wrote an article for Foreign Policy magazine called “The Last Temptation of Barack Obama and John Kerry” predicted that “despite all sense and reason, the president and his secretary of State will have one more go at Middle East peace.” Miller added: “For a president who came out faster and more aggressively on the Middle East than any of his predecessors, there is a growing sense of incompleteness and perhaps even failure” in the efforts that Obama has made over the years to bring about peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

Among the questions the Obama administration is considering is how long to wait to make their move. Deferring action until after the November election would ease the political pressure on the eventual Democratic nominee. But it would shorten the time to build international support for a UN Security Council Resolution before Obama leaves office in January.

Making such a move, especially to reset the terms of U.N. Resolution 242 passed after the Six-Day War in 1967, would become a political hot potato for Democrats in a US election year and few observers expect the administration to do anything before the US elections in November. To take an initiative sooner “puts you on a collision course with [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu in your final year of office and would cause difficulties for the eventual Democratic nominee,” Miller said. “It will feed the Republican grist mills and every attack ad will say, ‘See what they’ve done? First Iran and now they abandon Israel.’”

However, adding to the urgency of the debate, officials said, is a mounting American concern that a continued expansion of Jewish settlements in the area of the West Bank known as Area C which is currently under Israeli control will soon make a geographically and politically viable Palestinian state impossible.

A report in The Wall Street Journal suggested that US President Barack Obama is reconsidering a plan first presented several years ago by US Secretary of State Kerry that Israel withdraw to the pre-1967 borders with agreed land swaps in order to establish a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital. If the Palestinians are agreeable, the plan says that a deal could be worked out for land swaps that would leave the large Jewish settlement blocs in Israeli hands in exchange for Arab population centers within Israel proper. The fate of the Jewish Quarter in the Old City of Jerusalem and the Western Wall would be subject to negotiations.

According to the plan, Israel would stop building Jewish homes in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. In exchange, the Palestinians would recognize Israel’s right to exist – something that has not yet taken place – and rescind all claims to land within Israel proper. The report says that Obama is likely to back up his peace proposal with a communications campaign to justify that this is the right thing to do. The Wall Street Journal also said: “The strongest thing on the list of options under consideration would be for U.S. support of a UN Security Council Resolution calling on both sides to compromise on key issues in the conflict where in the past both sides have disagreed.

Commentators on Israel Army Radio interpreted the The Wall Street Journal report as meaning that the U.S. would fail to veto resolutions in the UN Security Council against Israel which the administration has done until now. “Now that Obama is leaving office he doesn’t have to curry favor with Jewish voters since he really isn’t such an enthusiastic supporter of Senator Hilliary Clinton,” who would likely bear the brunt of anger among Jewish voters if the U.S. lets the Security Council condemn Israel, said one analyst. “This is his chance to do what he has always wanted to do – some would say to solidify his legacy, while others would say to get back at Israel Prime Minister Netanyahu for him being uncooperative with Obama over the years.”

A NY Times Editorial said: “There are several options [to the current stalemate between Israel and the Palestinians regarding a two-state solution to the conflict] but the best may be a resolution that puts the United Nations Security Council on record supporting the basic principles of a peace deal covering borders, the future of Jerusalem, Palestinian refugees, security, and land swaps but not imposing anything on the two parties.”

The editorial condemned what it claimed were Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s lackluster efforts in the peace process, saying that the Israeli prime minister has “never shown a serious willingness” to progress toward a peace deal, “as is made clear by his expansion of Israeli settlements which reduces the land available for a Palestinian state.” The article also criticized Palestinian President Mahmood Abbas for being “a weak and aging leader who has given up on peace.”

However, US Vice President, Joe Biden, recently made a proposal to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas of an Israeli settlement freeze and US recognition of East Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state in exchange for Palestinian recognition of Israel as a Jewish state and the Palestinians giving up their right of return to live in Israel. However, Abbas rejected the US proposal.

In response, the Prime Minister’s Office and the Foreign Ministry outlined a few scenarios regarding possible moves that Obama may take during his last year in office on the Israeli-Palestinian issue. In the first scenario, Obama would do nothing on the issue before the end of his term, except for steps to prevent any deterioration in ties between the conflicting sides. The assessment was that the likelihood of this scenario happening is not high.

The second possibility is that Obama will give a speech in which he presents the U.S. vision for a solution to the core issues of the conflict: borders, security, the return of refugees and the division of Jerusalem. Obama’s speech would be based on the draft framework agreement that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry almost succeeded in formulating during peace negotiations in early 2014. Israel believes that there is a higher probability of this scenario happening.

A third possibility, which was described as being a certain possibility also is American support for a UN Security Council resolution on the Israeli-Palestinian issue. Some of Obama’s advisers, as well as senior officials at the US State Department believe that the American president’s legacy on the Israeli-Palestinian issue should be a UN Security Council resolution that would outline the principles for the end of the conflict.

Such a resolution would replace the Security Council’s Resolution 242 from 1967 and Resolution 338 from 1973. It would serve as a new source of authority for the peace process, secure and preserve the two-state solution, and make it clear to the Israelis and Palestinians what concessions they would have to make if they one day decide to renew the peace process.

Meanwhile, Army Radio reported that Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is worried that the Obama administration will use its final weeks in office to back UN Security Council decisions and other measures detrimental to Israel. As a result, Netanyahu has been trying to persuade his ministerial colleagues to approve a series of measures to boost the West Bank economy and show Israel’s commitment to improving Palestinians’ lives in the West Bank.

Netanyahu’s primary concern about Obama supporting a UN Security Council Resolution regarding the Israel / Palestinian conflict is focused on the period between November 2016, when a new US president is elected and January 2017 when that new president takes office. Given the history of difficult relations between the two countries’ leaderships, this period would constitute a brief window when the Obama administration could advance its agenda without domestic repercussions, the report said.

Meanwhile, France said that it will recognize a Palestinian state if its imminent efforts to end the deadlock in peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians end without success. French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said: “France will engage in the coming weeks in the preparation of an international conference bringing together the parties and their main partners, American, European, Arab, notably to preserve and make happen the solution of two states.” France, Fabius said, has a responsibility as a permanent member of the UN Security Council to sustain efforts to reach a two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians.

If the French effort to organize an international conference to resolve the Israel / Palestinian conflict fails, Fabius said that France would move to unilaterally recognize Palestine as a state. Fabius said “And what will happen if this last-ditch attempt at reaching a negotiated solution hits a stumbling block? In that case, we will have to live up to our responsibilities and recognize a Palestinian state.”

In response, a senior Israeli official said that French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius’ threat to recognize a Palestinian state should an international peace conference fail to resolve the dispute between Israel and the Palestinians regarding the peace process gives the Palestinians incentive to not negotiate with Israel and want to see the talks end in a deadlock saying, “Negotiations cannot be held nor peace be achieved in this manner.”

Israeli Foreign Ministry Director General Dore Gold had talked with the France government about the issue and expressed skepticism about the French initiative. Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon said, “The Israeli side emphasized the importance of direct, bilateral negotiations with no prior conditions between the parties” in the only way to bring about a negotiated peace between the parties.

Israeli opposition leader Isaac Herzog stated that he had talks with US Secretary of State, John Kerry, about the French idea of an international peace conference. As a result of these talks with Kerry, Herzog said that if Netanyahu does not respond positively to the idea that “Israel have a solution to the conflict imposed upon us by the international community.”

France presented Israel with a plan for an international peace summit to be held in Paris this summer in order to restart negotiations with the Palestinians. The international conference is tentatively scheduled to take place in June or July despite Israeli reservations about it. The French proposal is composed of three stages. First, consultations with Israel, the Palestinians and international partners on the notion of a summit in February or March. Second, a meeting in Paris of the international support group for the negotiations in March or April, without the Israelis or Palestinians present. Lastly, the convening of an international peace summit in Paris in June or July when negotiations will restart. France has tasked diplomat Pierre Vimont as the special envoy for the peace proposal.

Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat, called a French proposal to hold an international peace conference “timely” and “realistic.” He said that the Palestinians welcome the French call “for serious international involvement towards ending the Israeli occupation that began in 1967.” Erekat added: “The French ideas are timely, the French ideas are realistic and the French ideas are the only thing in town, and those who care about peace between Palestinians and Israelis must fully support the French ideas. We will be maintaining our contact with France, as well as other international partners, to advance in that direction (of an international conference). We have been calling upon the international community to have an international conference for Palestine based on international law and UN resolutions.”

On the other hand, Palestinian ambassador to the United Nations, Riyad Mansour, said that the Palestinians are waging a new campaign at the United Nations to revive the two-state solution with the possible starting point being a UN Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlements. He said: “We will not accept that the year 2016 is a year when we cannot do anything. We have to open some doors to keep the hope alive and keep the two-state solution alive.”

The Palestinian ambassador recently met with the envoys from the permanent Security Council members — Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States — to discuss the way forward. The Palestinian envoy suggested that a resolution condemning Israel’s expansion of Israeli settlements could be a first step but he stressed that there should be a broader plan. This could include the creation of an international support group, the deployment of observers to trouble spots or the convening of an international peace conference. “The signal has to come from the Security Council,” he said.

These current efforts by France is a continuation of their efforts in the past. In December 2014, France tried to push for a UN Security Council resolution to lay down a framework for the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. However, these efforts failed due to opposition from Israel and the U.S. on one hand, and an unwillingness of the Palestinians on the other to compromise on the exact wording of the decision in order to win final approval from the Obama administration.

In the summer of 2015, France raised the possibility of creating an international support group for peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians. This group met on the sidelines of the UN last September. The meeting was attended by the foreign ministers of Quartet-member nations (U.S., Russia, the EU and the UN) together with another 30 Western and Arab countries – but without Israel or the Palestinians

Since that meeting, Fabius tried to push for a Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlements, but this effort also failed to gain traction. In the last few weeks, Fabius and other French officials held talks with Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas and other PA officials. The Palestinians expressed support for the creation of an international peace committee to be based on the 2002 Arab peace initiative. The current idea is for France to host an international peace conference this summer in either June or July.

If these efforts fail, the United States seems willing to consider a UN Security Council Resolution to outline the parameters of an eventual peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians which recognizes a Palestinian state based upon 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital. The US would most likely be willing to consider such a UN Security Council Resolution this fall and no later than January, 2017.

An agreement to divide Jerusalem and establish a PLO state is a tribulation event.

The link to these articles are as follows:

1) White House Working on Renewed Mideast Peace Push
2) Report: Obama Ready to Use Security Council Veto to Promote New Peace Plan
3) NY Times: UN Security Council Resolution Is The Best Way To Resolve Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
4) Report: Netanyahu Fears ‘Lame Duck’ Obama May Try to Impose Two-State Solution
5) Netanyahu said worried Obama may go against Israel as term expires
6) France: We will recognize Palestinian state if talks deadlock persists
7) Palestinians mull new bid for UN resolution on settlements
8) Abbas reportedly turns down visiting Biden’s peace plan
9) Israel Rejects French Peace Bid Saying Threat of Recognition Incentivizes Palestinians Not to Negotiate
10) Obama May Back UN Resolution on Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
11) Obama Seeks to Pave Way to Mideast Deal After He Leaves Office
12) Some observers predict Obama will make an 11th-hour push for Mideast peace
13) The Last Temptation of Barack Obama and John Kerry
14) PA’s chief negotiator upbeat on French proposal for peace confab
15) France Presents Israel With Plan To Host International Peace Summit With Palestinians

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,

Eddie Chumney
Hebraic Heritage Ministries Int’l