Archive for the ‘Weekly 5 minute update’ Category

April 21, 2015: Weekly 5 minute update

Monday, April 20th, 2015

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 Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s efforts to form a new government

On March 17, Israel had new elections. In the elections, Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s political party, Likud, won the most seats in the Israeli government.  As a result, Netanyahu is being given the opportunity to form a government coalition. There are 120 members in the Israeli Knesset. A coalition of at least 61 Knesset members is needed to form a government. Based upon the election results, Netanyahu can form a nationalistic right-wing government of 67 members. Alternatively, he can choose to form a government with the primary opposition party, formerly called the Labor party, now called the Zionist Union. The Zionist Union is a merger between the former Labor party and Hatnua, the party established by former Israel chief negotiator in the peace process, Tzipi Livni. The Zionist Union is a center-left political party.

A nationalistic right-wing government of 67 members would consist of the ultra-Orthodox parties, Shas and United Torah Judaism along with the religious Zionist party, Jewish Home, headed by Naftali Bennett, the secular Russian based nationalistic right wing party, Yisrael Beitenu, headed by Israel Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman and the new socio-economic party, Kulanu, headed by former Likud party member, Moshe Kahlon.

The ultra-Orthodox parties, Shas and United Torah Judaism, are close to an agreement to join the government. MK Yariv Levin, a leader of the negotiating team of the Likud, said that the coalition negotiations with Shas and United Torah Judaism are advancing. Levin said, “We are close to signing agreements with Shas and United Torah Judaism. However, there are still some small disagreements and disputes.” Shas representatives said: “The negotiations are very positive. We have progressed in many things,” said a senior negotiator, ” We still have some disagreements and issues which we are working at in collaboration with United Torah Judaism – especially about the religion ministry. But there is no doubt we are progressing well.“ Shas is seeking the Interior and Religious Affairs ministries for party leader Arye Deri and deputy minister posts in the Finance, Education, and Religious Affairs ministries for other members of the party.

In further meetings with Likud,  it is believed that the the head of United Torah Judaism, Yaakov Litzman, will be given the position of Ministry of Health. In addition, UTJ MK Moshe Gafni would head the Finance Committee. The Finance Committee was also sought after by the Kulanu party of Moshe Kahlon in order to carry out the economic reforms they promised their constituents. Moshe Gafni has indicated a willingness to meet with Kahlon in order to work out an arrangement in which Gafni will head the finance committee but Kahlon will be assured of getting what he needs to institute his reforms.

Israel Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, said that he would keep his promise and appoint, Kulanu party leader, Moshe Kahlon, to be finance minister as well as give the party other socio-economic positions. In the March 17 elections, Kulanu ran on the platform to bring down housing prices and improve the Israeli economy. In their meeting, Netanyahu told Kulanu, “Your success is everyone’s success.” In their meetings, Kulanu also requested the Construction Ministry, the Environmental Protection Ministry, and the chairmanship of the Knesset Finance Committee saying, “No economic reforms will be able to happen if we are not given the authority to accomplish them.” In response to demands for the extra positions, Likud officials accused Kahlon of going overboard.

Meanwhile, Kulanu leader Moshe Kahlon said he would only join the coalition if Yisrael Beytenu or the Zionist Union were part of the government coalition. Without one of the two parties, Netanyahu’s majority would not rise above 61 seats in the 120-seat Knesset. This would create an unstable government.

In any event, Netanyahu seems close to reaching an agreement for the ultra-Orthodox parties and Kulanu to join the government. Recently, Likud negotiators drafted a list of the agreements that they have reached with the ultra-Orthodox parties and the Kulanu party. However, Netanyahu is waiting to reach agreements with the rest of the coalition partners before signing an agreement with the ultra-Orthodox parties.

Meanwhile, in order to strengthen their negotiating position with Likud to join a possible government coalition, Jewish Home leader, Naftali Bennett is partnering with Yisrael Beitenu leader, Avigdor Lieberman. According to Israel’s Channel 2, Bennett and Lieberman reached an agreement whereby Bennett would drop his demand to be named foreign minister – Liberman’s current position – in exchange for Lieberman’s assistance in obtaining other key portfolios desired by Jewish Home primarily the Religious Affairs Ministry while agreeing to block any attempt by Netanyahu to form a national unity government with the center-left Zionist Union.

Jewish Home is demanding that they receive the Religious Affairs Ministry. Jewish Home leader, Naftali Bennett threatened to end negotiations with Likud if Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu grants control of the Religious Affairs Ministry to the Sephardi ultra-Orthodox party Shas. Jewish Home had the Religious Affairs Ministry in the last government. As a result, Bennett said: “Unilaterally taking the Religious Affairs Ministry away from the religious Zionist movement and handing it to Shas will spell the end of negotiations with Jewish Home.” It has been reported that Netanyahu wants to give the religious affairs portfolio to Shas chief Aryeh Deri as compensation for Deri’s relinquishing the Interior Ministry to Kulanu party head, Moshe Kahlon.

Sources within Jewish Home said that the only compromise the party would accept was a rotation of the Religious Affairs Ministry or for a member of Likud to be appointed as minister. Shas and Jewish Home clashed frequently in the last Knesset over the reforms regarding religion and state. As a result, Jewish Home is trying to prevent Shas from taking control of the issue.

Lieberman indicated his preconditions for Yisrael Beytenu’s entry into a Likud-led government. They include “liquidation” of Hamas and legislation mandating the death penalty for convicted terrorists. Furthermore, Lieberman will insist on maintaining the laws approved in the last government that ultra-Orthodox Yeshiva students serve in the military. Lieberman is adamant on keeping the “Sharing the Burden” law, which calls for the religious to perform some form of national service, as well reforms to the process of converting to Judaism and to the system of marriage registration, which would allow couples to choose the rabbi performing the wedding ceremony.

In contrast, the ultra-Orthodox parties, Shas and United Torah Judaism, want all of these laws passed in the last government to be overturned. It is being reported that Netanyahu has promised the ultra-Orthodox that at least some of the religious reforms passed in the last government will be repealed. As a condition for them joining the government, the ultra-Orthodox parties, Shas and United Torah Judaism, demand that the laws concerning religious reforms be revoked. Lieberman wants to continue to be Foreign Minister and said repairing diplomatic ties with the United States is a top priority on his agenda. Finally, Lieberman opposes the proposal to add more ministers to the government. In the last Israeli government, it was agreed that the total number of cabinet ministers would be restricted to 18. In addition, Lieberman said that he would not sit in a national unity goverment. “Netanyahu has the right to close a deal with Herzog and Livni [Zionist Union]. However, we wouldn’t be part of such a government. That I can say definitely,” Lieberman said.

In frustration to the demands of Jewish Home and Yisrael Beitenu, the Likud negotiating team is threatening to establish a national unity government with the main opposition party, Zionist Union. Likud party whip, MK Ze’ev Elkin said: “We’ve been saying all along that if the days go by and the parties of the nationalist camp fail to compromise, the prime minister will have no choice but to make a generous offer to the Zionist Union, even though that is not our preferred option.”

However, Zionist Union chairman Isaac Herzog maintained that he intends to lead the opposition, not join a unity government. He said: “A government of 67 MKs [nationalist right-wing] is about to be established. I said right after the elections that we would be going to the opposition. That’s not a default choice; it’s a preference.” He added that, “From our place in the opposition we will take the place of the Likud government in the future, because Netanyahu will lead the government to hit a wall, in the end.” Furthermore, Zionist Union MK Eitan Cabel affirmed that the Zionist Union will not join a national unity government saying: “I do not see the Zionist Union being welcome in Netanyahu’s government. If there is a statement indicating that Likud would consider a national unity government, it only comes from Likud sources who want to lower the price in the coalition negotiations between the parties of the right,” he said.

Initially, Netanyahu has 28 days to try to form a coalition government. If needed, he may request a 2 week extension. With little sign of any imminent coalition agreement by the initial April 22 deadline, Netanyahu asked Israel President Reuven Rivlin for a 2 week extension. The request was granted and now Netanyahu has until May 7 to form a coalition government. In being granted the extension, Netanyahu said: “We’ve moved forward in the process and we’re well on our way to forming a new government but more time is needed to make sure [the government] is a stable one, and to reach agreement on a number of important [issues] that will enable us to tackle the challenges facing the state of Israel.”

After the March 17 elections, it seemed that Netanyahu would be able to easily establish a nationalistic right-wing government. However, after weeks of negotiations with his potential partners, Netanyahu is finding that task more difficult than originally believed.  Whether Netanyahu chooses a national unity government with the main opposition party, Zionist Union, or forms a nationalistic right-wing government will have broad implications. If Netanyahu sides with the right-wing allies that he often calls his “natural” partners, Netanyahu will have a solid parliamentary majority of like-minded parties that could avoid much of the infighting that plagued the outgoing government and provide some welcome internal political stability at home.

But such a coalition — averse to peace moves with the Palestinians and in favor of expanded settlement construction in the West Bank — quickly would find itself on a collision course with the international community at a time when Netanyahu is already feuding with his allies over the direction of the peace process and a nuclear deal with Iran that he strongly opposes. A unity government that includes his leftist rivals would help blunt that looming international isolation.

Throughout the election campaign, Netanyahu ruled out the possibility of joining forces with Isaac Herzog and his center-left Zionist Union and vowed to rule from the right. Election results gave his Likud party 30 seats and secured him a potential 67-seat majority with his traditional allies. In negotiations, however, these allies have made demands to head powerful government ministries.

Under Israeli election rules, if Netanyahu fails to form a coalition at the end of 42 days — the first 28 plus the two-week extension — Israeli President Reuven Rivlin can assign someone else the task of doing so. While this is technically possible, it is unlikely that Zionist Union would have an easier time establishing a government coalition. If no one succeeds in forming a coalition, Rivlin would be left with no choice but to order a new national election. Few expect that this will happen. Most believe that a 67-seat right-wing government seems to be the most likely outcome from the two-week extension. However,  within Netanyahu’s own Likud political party, his aides acknowledge that Netanyahu is concerned about conflict with his allies in the US and western Europe.

Increased settlement construction, a prolonged absence of Palestinian peace talks and nationalist legislation that critics argue undermines Israel’s democratic nature would surely draw a strong rebuke and perhaps even calls for sanctions and boycotts. With his relations with US President Barack Obama at a low point following clashes over Mideast peace and the Iranian nuclear talks, there is a real fear that Israel’s top ally may rescind its automatic protection of Israel at the United Nations and other international bodies.

Netanyahu has partnered with his adversaries in the past to shield himself from similar fallout. In 2009, Netanyahu appointed  then-Labor party leader Ehud Barak to be a part of his government. In 2000, Barak offered a Palestinian state to Yassir Arafat. In his last government, Netanyahu brought in dovish ex-foreign minister Tzipi Livni to be his chief peace negotiator.

Herzog’s Labor party, the main partner of the Zionist Union, has a long history of ousting its defeated leaders, so Herzog also may be tempted to jump at a chance to gain some influence and job security — most likely as Netanyahu’s foreign minister. Herzog is the seventh leader of the party since it last won a national election in 1999. But, so far, Herzog’s party rank-and-file seems to oppose joining Netanyahu and appears eager to watch a hard-line government fail.

Finally, Shas MK Yaakov Margi is very optimistic that things will work out with all of the Likud’s “natural partners,” including his party, Jewish Home, and Yisrael Beytenu. “Anyone who wants a national government will have to compromise, and I think everyone will,” Margi said. “Otherwise they are likely to get a national unity government with Labor leaders Yitzhak Herzog and Tzipi Livni.”

So what government will Netanyahu choose? By May 7th, we will all know.

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

The link to these articles are as follows:

1) Shas and UTJ Close to Coalition Agreement with Likud
2) Netanyahu Grants Shas and UTJ Their Preferable Ministerial Portfolios
3) In coalition push, Likud to confer with ultra-Orthodox, Kulanu
4) Kulanu expands coalition demands
5) ‘Bennett, Liberman join forces in coalition talks with Netanyahu’
6) Liberman to Place Hamas’s Destruction as Coalition Condition
7) Bennett: We’ll bolt talks if Shas gets religious portfolio; Likud: Don’t threaten us
8) Facing political deadlock, Netanyahu gets more time to build coalition
9) Rivlin grants Netanyahu 2 more weeks for coalition talks
10) Herzog insists he won’t join Netanyahu’s government
11) Lieberman Says He Will Not Sit in Unity Gov’t; Netanyahu Wants Foreign Ministry for Likud
12) Shas MK: Government Will be Formed, Despite Misgivings

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 14, 2015: Weekly 5 minute update

Monday, April 13th, 2015

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 reaction by the US, Israel and Iran to the framework agreement regarding Iran’s nuclear program

Israel Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz distributed a document wherein it charged that the framework nuclear deal between Iran and the P5+1 powers (US, Britain, France, Russia, China) and Germany does not block Iran’s path to the bomb. It says: “By removing the economic sanctions and lifting the main restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program in about a decade, this framework agreement actually paves Iran’s path to a bomb. The result will be a dramatic increase in the risks of nuclear proliferation and an increase in the chances of a terrible war.” Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed that a “better deal” can and must be reached. The document poses 10 questions to the US-led negotiators with Iran that it said underlined “the extent of the irresponsible concessions given to Iran” and made clear “how dangerous the framework is for Israel, the region and the world.” The document asserted that “great consideration” was given to Iran, “an enemy of the Unites States, whose regime, even during the negotiations, continued to conduct aggression in the Middle East while calling for the destruction of Israel.”

The 10 questions regarding the agreement is as follows:

1. Why are sanctions that took years to put in place being removed immediately (as the Iranians claim)? This would take away the international community’s primary leverage at the outset of the agreement and make Iranian compliance less likely.

2. Given Iran’s track record of concealing illicit nuclear activities, why does the framework not explicitly require Iran to accept inspections of all installations where suspected nuclear weapons development has been conducted? Why can’t inspectors conduct inspections anywhere, anytime?

3. Will Iran ever be forced to come clean about its past nuclear weaponization activity?

4. What will be the fate of Iran’s stockpile of enriched uranium?

5. Why will Iran be allowed to continue R&D on centrifuges far more advanced than those currently in its possession?

6. Why does the framework not address Iran’s intercontinental ballistic missile program, whose sole purpose is to carry nuclear payloads?

7. Following Iranian violations of the framework, how effective will be the mechanism to reinstitute sanctions?

8. What message does the framework send to states in the region and around the world when it gives such far-reaching concessions to a regime that for years has defied UNSC resolutions? Why would this not encourage nuclear proliferation?

9. The framework agreement appears to have much in common with the nuclear agreement reached with North Korea. How will this deal differ from the North Korean case?

10. Why is the lifting of restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program in about a decade not linked to a change in Iran’s behavior? According to the framework, Iran could remain the world’s foremost sponsor of terror and still have all the restrictions removed. Instead, the removal of those restrictions should be linked to a cessation of Iran’s aggression in the Middle East, its terrorism around the world and its threats to annihilate Israel.”

Many of the terms of this framework nuclear agreement is a departure from some of the stated goals of President Obama regarding the talks which he mentioned about 18 months ago. Here are a list of five areas where the administration changed policy during the negotiations.

1. Banning uranium enrichment

Before talks began, the Obama administration and the United Nations Security Council called for Iran to stop all uranium enrichment. The framework agreement, though, allows Iran to continue enriching uranium and producing plutonium for domestic civilian use. “Zero enrichment” had been a key demand since 2009, said Michael Singh, a senior fellow and managing director at The Washington Institute. “We basically went from zero to a number that kept going up.” The deal’s critics worry any enrichment could quickly be diverted to military use.

Omri Ceren, senior adviser for strategy at the Israel Project, said the administration started “sliding” on zero enrichment after talks began. But U.S. officials have suggested that halting all enrichment was never a realistic goal, and instead a key bargaining chip to secure other concessions from Iran.“ Reza Marashi, research director at the National Iranian American Council and a former State Department official, said the U.S. had to budge on this demand for the talks to advance. “It was the icebreaker. It was what allowed these negotiations to take root,” he said. “It’s the single most important point in my opinion, in terms of getting negotiations off the ground,” he said. “Once that position softened, it allowed the Iranian position to soften.”

2. Capping centrifuges at 1,500

The Obama administration initially called for limiting the number of Iranian centrifuges used to enrich uranium to between 500 and 1,500, experts say. But U.S. negotiators walked back those limits, allowing Iran 6,104 centrifuges. Only 5,060 of those centrifuges, at the nuclear facility at Natanz, will be allowed to enrich low-grade uranium. “The number [went] from hundreds, to thousands, to eventually, 6,104, which is where they ended,” said Singh.

But proponents of the deal say it is still a huge two-thirds reduction from Iran’s current 19,000-some centrifuges, and that any enriched uranium would be unusable for a bomb. They also argue the more important criteria is not the number of centrifuges but the time it takes Iran to have enough material for a bomb — the ”break-out” period — which the framework leaves at one year.

3. Shuttering secret nuclear facilities

The U.S. initially called for Iran to completely close down its secret underground nuclear enrichment facility at Fordow and the heavy water reactor at Arak. President Obama said in December 2013 that Iran had no need for either. “They don’t need to have an underground, fortified facility like Fordow in order to have a peaceful nuclear program,” he said. “They certainly don’t need a heavy-water reactor at Arak in order to have a peaceful nuclear program.”

However, under the framework announced last week, both Fordow and Arak remain in operation. Fordow will have 1,000 centrifuges but be converted into a research facility, while Arak will continue producing plutonium, albeit at a low-grade unusable for a bomb. Fordow will not enrich uranium or keep any fissile material there for at least 15 years, and almost two-thirds of its centrifuges and infrastructure would be removed and placed under International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) monitoring. Also, Iran has agreed to implement the “Additional Protocol of the IAEA” which would provide inspectors expanded and regular access to Iran’s facilities and nuclear supply chain.

Skeptics, though, say Iran could continue covertly working on a bomb, noting that Fordow is underground and heavily fortified. “There was certainly a sense that we were seeking to sort of shut down or dismantle Iran’s nuclear program in a significant ways,” said Singh. “Under this deal, there’s certainly no dismantling of any kind.”

4. Ending Iran’s ballistic missile program

U.S. negotiators also dropped demands that Iran restrict development of ballistic missiles that could be used to deliver warheads, experts say. The current framework only says a new U.N. resolution would incorporate “important restrictions on conventional arms and ballistic missiles. They have completely given up ballistic missiles,” Ceren said.

The Obama administration says the issue of missiles and other conventional weapons should be treated separately from the nuclear deal. “As we’ve said, we have concerns about Iran’s conventional weapons, including ballistic missiles, separate from the nuclear program, obviously,” State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said. “Those concerns don’t go away with the nuclear agreement,” she added.

5. Finalizing a 20-year deal

Initially the U.S. pushed for a deal that would last over 20 years. However, the framework would see the deal’s key terms sunset in 10 to 15 years. Specifically, Iran would have to restrict the number of centrifuges enriching uranium for 10 years. In addition, the level of uranium enrichment would be capped at a lower-quality grade and the amount Iran stockpiles limited for 15 years. In addition, the restrictions on Fordow and Arak also last for 15 years.

Ceren said even though Iran isn’t legally allowed to build a bomb, all “functional” restrictions on Iran’s nuclear capacity would be lifted after 15 years. “For many months, we’ve said we’ve wanted a 25-year sunset clause, then a 20-year sunset clause, now we’re down to a 10-year sunset clause,” Ceren said. “If nothing changes in Iran in 10 years … then you’re looking at after 10 years, a much shorter break-out time,” Singh warned.

Meanwhile, the Iranian defense minister Brigadier General Hossein Dehgan said that international inspectors would not be granted access to Iranian military sites. He said, “No such agreement has been reached and basically, visiting military centers are among the red lines and no visit to these centers will be allowed.” Dehgan said that international media reports that the framework nuclear deal will allow International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) experts to inspect military centers across Iran were “lies” and “deceits.” He said, “The determination of the nuclear negotiating team of the Islamic Republic of Iran is that it will not allow anything be imposed on the Iranian nation.”

Furthermore, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said that Iran would not allow any online cameras to be installed at its nuclear facilities because in the past Iranian nuclear scientists have been identified and assassinated. In addition, Iran’s foreign minister told members of the Iranian parliament that Iran will begin using its latest generation of IR-8 centrifuges as soon as its nuclear deal with the world powers goes into effect. Iran has said that its IR-8 centrifuges enrich uranium 20 times faster than the IR-1 centrifuges it currently uses. Zarif said that Iran was capable of producing an atomic bomb at any given moment but will refrain from doing so due to religious Islamic injunctions against such a move.

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: “Israel shares the view that from the beginning of the nuclear deal with Iran that the break out time for Iran to achieve a nuclear weapon will be near zero,” with the “inevitable result of the automatic removal of restrictions something that would enable Iran to gain an industrial-scale production capacity.” Breakout time refers to how long it would take to build a bomb. The framework deal, if honored, expands Iran’s breakout time — currently two to three months — to at least a year. In defense of his nuclear deal, US President Barack Obama said Iran would be kept a year away from obtaining a nuclear weapon for more than a decade but did admit this period to shrink to zero after 13 or more years.

Former US Secretaries of State Henry Kissinger and George P. Shultz warned of the implications of the framework Iranian nuclear deal saying, “For 20 years, three presidents of both major parties proclaimed that an Iranian nuclear weapon was contrary to American and global interests – and that they were prepared to use force to prevent it. Yet negotiations that began 12 years ago as an international effort to prevent an Iranian capability to develop a nuclear arsenal are ending with an agreement that concedes this very capability, albeit short of its full capacity in the first ten years.” they said. Kissinger and Shultz noted that by “mixing shrewd diplomacy with open defiance of U.N. resolutions, Iran has gradually turned the negotiation on its head. Iran’s centrifuges have multiplied from about 100 at the beginning of the negotiation to almost 20,000 today. The threat of war now constrains the West more than Iran.”

“While Iran treated the mere fact of its willingness to negotiate as a concession, the West has felt compelled to break every deadlock with a new proposal. In the process, the Iranian program has reached a point officially described as being within two to three months of building a nuclear weapon,” they added. “Under the proposed agreement, for 10 years Iran will never be further than one year from a nuclear weapon and, after a decade, will be significantly closer.”

The two warned that “the gradual expiration of the framework agreement, beginning in a decade, will enable Iran to become a significant nuclear, industrial and military power after that time – in the scope and sophistication of its nuclear program and its latent capacity to weaponize at a time of its choosing. …Iran will be in a position to bolster its advanced nuclear technology during the period of the agreement and rapidly deploy more advanced centrifuges…after the agreement expires or is broken.”

The former secretaries of state noted that “the ultimate significance of the framework will depend on its verifiability and enforceability.” They pointed out there are various versions of the deal floating around and claiming different details meaning “the so-called framework represents a unilateral American interpretation.” They also noted how the US changed its goal to a one-year window for nuclear breakout, after shelving original demands to dismantle significant parts of Iran’s nuclear program altogether. “The new approach complicates verification and makes it more political because of the vagueness of the criteria,” they said.”Under the new approach, Iran permanently gives up none of its equipment, facilities or fissile product to achieve the proposed constraints. It only places them under temporary restriction and safeguard – amounting in many cases to periodic visits by inspectors to declared sites,” they said. “The physical magnitude of the effort is daunting. Is the International Atomic Energy Agency technically, and in terms of human resources, up to so complex and vast an assignment?”

The two assessed that “in a large country with multiple facilities and ample experience in nuclear concealment, violations will be inherently difficult to detect. …The experience of Iran’s work on a heavy-water reactor during the ‘interim agreement’ period – when suspect activity was identified but played down in the interest of a positive negotiating atmosphere – is not encouraging.”

“Compounding the difficulty is the unlikelihood that breakout will be a clear-cut event. More likely it will occur, if it does, via the gradual accumulation of ambiguous evasions,” they noted. “When inevitable disagreements arise over the scope and intrusiveness of inspections, on what criteria are we prepared to insist and up to what point? If evidence is imperfect, who bears the burden of proof?” Kissinger and Shultz pointed out that the threat of renewed sanctions which is “the agreement’s primary enforcement mechanism” will be a murky and difficult process to impleent, and puts Iran at an advantage, because the deal gives Iran permanent sanctions relief “in exchange for temporary restraints on Iranian conduct.”

The two diplomats added that by changing American policy and accepting Iran’s nuclear program, the deal poses another threat for the region and cause a nuclear arms race. They said: “Some of the countries in the Middle East are likely to view the U.S. as willing to concede a nuclear military capability to the country they consider their principal threat,” they said. “Several will insist on at least an equivalent capability. Saudi Arabia has signaled that it will enter the lists; others are likely to follow. In that sense, the implications of the negotiation are irreversible.”

While there has been talk of an American nuclear umbrella for the Gulf states against Iran, the two argued that there are many issues complicating how and when such protection would be deployed. Noting how Iran has been expanding its power in Yemen, Lebanon, Syria and Iraq, they assessed that “Iran occupies positions along all of the Middle East’s strategic waterways and encircles archrival Saudi Arabia, an American ally. Absent the linkage between nuclear and political restraint, America’s traditional allies will conclude that the U.S. has traded temporary nuclear cooperation for a nuclear Iran. As a result, the two diplomats warned that as Sunni states “gear up to resist a new Shiite empire,” the Middle East will be further destabilized.

The Saudi Arabia news media responded to the Iranian nuclear framework agreement by saying: “Gulf states — and especially Saudi Arabia, the Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait and Bahrain — have been experiencing the nightmare of an Iranian attack for decades. Now, after the nuclear agreement, there is no doubt that this danger has doubled. People are angry with the Obama administration for selling this region cheaply. Obama left the region to face an evil state. As long as the Americans don’t explicitly state their commitment to defend Saudi Arabia from Iran and Iraq, we will face large-scale regional anarchy as a result of this nuclear deal. The Iranians are claiming that Obama is uninterested in the security of the Gulf and his American allies in the region. This Iranian thinking will lead to more regional wars. People are angry with the Obama administration because it has limited the conflict to the nuclear issue, while Tehran continues to mull further geographic gains. Iran’s wars were actually always against Gulf states; not against Israel.”

Meanwhile, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Iran will only agree to a final nuclear accord with the six major powers if all sanctions imposed on the country over its disputed nuclear work are lifted. In addition, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called the deal “non-binding” and said the prospect of lifting sanctions in stages was “unacceptable” saying they must be removed on the same day a deal is signed.

In response, Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that international sanctions on Iran should remain in place saying that Iran’s “unbridled aggression and its terrorism” have proved why the country could not be trusted. Maintaining his criticism of the US-led framework deal, Netanyahu said that a better agreement would tie the lifting of all sanctions “to an end of Iran’s aggression in the region, its worldwide terrorism and its threats to annihilate Israel.”

The United States said that any sanctions relief will only come once curbs on its uranium enrichment are verified. US State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke said: “Sanctions will be suspended in a phased manner upon verification that Iran has met specific commitments under a finalized joint comprehensive plan of action. The process of sanctions suspension or relief will only begin after Iran has completed its major nuclear steps and the breakout time has been increased to at least a year,” he said.

Republican Senator John McCain called US Secretary of State, John Kerry “delusional” for not being totally honest and transparent about the Iranian framework nuclear agreement. In defending the US framework agreement with Iran, US Secretary of State, John Kerry, warned the US Congress not to put in place any conditions that would impede implementation of the Iranian deal if a final agreement can be reached by the end of June. The US Congress is trying to advance a bipartisan bill that would give Congress the right to review any final deal with Iran and to have a vote on whether economic sanctions imposed by Congress should be suspended. 

As a result of the framework nuclear agreement, Russian President Vladimir Putin lifted a ban on supplying Iran with the sophisticated S-300 air defense missile systems. Russia signed a 2007 contract to sell Tehran the S-300 system but the weaponry was never delivered amid strong objections by the United States and Israel. Israeli Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz denounced the Russian decision as proof of Iran’s new “legitimacy” following nuclear talks. “This is a direct result of the legitimacy that Iran is receiving from the nuclear deal that is being prepared, and proof that the Iranian economic growth which follows the lifting of sanctions will be exploited for arming itself and not for the benefit of the Iranian people” he said.

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned the United States that the Iranian inter-continental ballistic missile system (ICBM) — an issue not addressed in the nuclear framework deal — was more of a threat to the US than to Israel. He said: “The Iranian ICBMs is a weapon to be used against the United States. They are not directed at Israel.” Furthermore, Netanyahu said that any final nuclear deal with Iran must include Iran’s recognition of Israel’s right to exist. He said: “Iran is a regime that openly calls for Israel’s destruction and openly and actively works towards that end.” he said. “Recently, an Iranian commander said that ‘the destruction of Israel is non-negotiable.’ Well, I want to make clear to all. The survival of Israel is non-negotiable.” Netanyahu said that Israel would not accept an agreement that “allows a country that vows to annihilate us to develop nuclear weapons, period.” As a result, in any final agreement with Iran, Iran must recognize Israel’s right to exist.

In response, US President Barack Obama disagreed with Netanyahu saying that that policy would be a misjudgment. He said, “The notion that we would condition Iran not getting nuclear weapons in a verifiable deal on Iran recognizing Israel is really akin to saying that we won’t sign a deal unless the nature of the Iranian regime completely transforms,” Obama said. “And that is, I think, a fundamental misjudgment.”

In addition, Obama criticized Netanyahu for opposing the Iranian nuclear framework agreement saying, “The Prime Minister of Israel is deeply opposed to it. I think he’s made that very clear. I have repeatedly asked – what is the alternative that you present that you think makes it less likely for Iran to get a nuclear weapon? And I have yet to obtain a good answer on that.”

In response, Netanyahu said: “I’m not trying to kill any deal. I’m trying to kill a bad deal. Furthermore, I think the alternatives are not either this bad deal or war. I think there’s a third alternative – that is standing firm, ratcheting up the pressure until you get a better deal. And a better deal would roll back Iran’s vast nuclear infrastructure, require Iran to stop its aggression in the region and its terror worldwide, and its calls and actions to annihilate the state of Israel,” he said. “So let me reiterate again the two main components of the alternative to this bad deal: First, instead of allowing Iran to preserve and develop its nuclear capabilities, a better deal would significantly roll back these capabilities – for example, by shutting down the illicit underground facilities that Iran concealed for years from the international community. “Second, instead of lifting the restrictions on Iran’s nuclear facilities and program at a fixed date, a better deal would link the lifting of these restrictions to an end of Iran’s aggression in the region, its worldwide terrorism and its threats to annihilate Israel.

The main opposition party in Israel, the Zionist Union, and its leaders Isaac Herzog and Tzipi Livni laid out their Iranian policy calling for a “comprehensive, intimate and in-depth strategic discussion with the US” on nuclear talks between world powers and Iran, saying all issues on the table must be clarified with the United States before a final agreement is signed with Iran. Their position paper demanded that the United States “give legitimization ahead of time to any action Israel will need to take to protect its safety.” In essense, the Herzog and Livni’s plan is a call on the Obama administration to commit in advance to approve an Israeli military strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities if Iran violates the framework agreement recently signed and try to produce a nuclear bomb.

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

The link to these articles are as follows:

1) Israeli document poses 10 key questions about ‘irresponsible, dangerous’ Iran deal
2) 5 key demands US dropped in Iran talks
3) Iran rules out inspection for military sites
4) Iranian FM reportedly says ‘no cameras’ in nuke sites after deal
5) Iran news report: Tehran will start using fastest centrifuges on day deal takes effect
6) Netanyahu: ‘Iran’s breakout time from start of deal will be near zero’
7) Obama admits: Deal will give Iran ‘near zero’ breakout time in 13 years
8) Kissinger Slams Obama for Conceding to Iranian ‘Nuclear Arsenal’
9) Obama sold the Sunnis down the river, Saudi media say
10) Rouhani: Iran will only sign final nuclear deal if sanctions end on same day
11) Netanyahu: Sanctions on Iran must remain
12) As Iran digs in, US says no to immediate sanctions relief
13) Israel alarmed at news Russia to supply Iran advanced air defense system
14) Netanyahu on US TV: Iran’s missile program aims at you, not us
15) Netanyahu: Any final Iran deal must include recognition of Israel’s right to exist
16) Obama says tying Iran deal to recognition of Israel “misjudgment”
17) Obama: Netanyahu has not offered alternative to Iran deal
18) Netanyahu to US: Still time to reach better nuclear deal with Iran
19) Israeli opposition fleshes out Iran policy, demanding US support for Israeli strike
20) Kerry fires back at critics over Iran deal details

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 7, 2015: Weekly 5 minute update

Thursday, April 2nd, 2015

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) A framework agreement by the major world powers regarding Iran’s nuclear program

The United States along with Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China announced a framework agreement with Iran regarding its nuclear program with the goal of reaching a detailed comprehensive agreement by June 30. The deal will limit Iran’s nuclear program and will provide Iran with relief from economic sanctions that have crippled its economy for the past decade.

US President Barack Obama said: “The United States, together with our allies and partners, has reached an historic understanding with Iran, which if fully implemented, will prevent it from obtaining a nuclear weapon.” Obama called the deal “historic” and said that, “if fully implemented” it would prevent Iran attaining the bomb, and would render the US, its allies and the world safer. Obama said: “we have achieved the framework” for a long-term deal, a framework “that would cut off every path” that Iran could take to the bomb, including the toughest inspections “ever negotiated,” he said. He said the terms of the deal, first, closed off Iran’s plutonium route to the bomb. The core of the Arak reactor will be dismantled, he said.

Second, the uranium route would be closed, with two-thirds of Iran’s centrifuges no longer to be used, no enrichment at the Fordow facility, and no use of advanced centrifuges “for at least 10 years.” Most of Iran’s existing stocks of enriched uranium would be “neutralized.” Third, as the best defense against a covert Iranian bid for the bomb, it would be subjected to unprecedented inspection. “If Iran cheats, the world will know it,” Obama said. “If we see something suspicious, we will inspect it. It is a good deal.”

If it fully complies with the deal, Iran could “rejoin the family of nations,” the president said, stressing again that the deal had yet to be finalized. Obama reiterated that, “Iran will never be permitted to develop a nuclear weapon.” He said the deal provides for phased sanctions relief, but that if Iran violates the deal, “sanctions can be snapped back into place.” Obama added: “The issues at stake here are bigger than politics. These are matters of war and peace, and they should be evaluated based on the facts.” The president called the agreement “a good deal, a deal that meets our core objectives.”

Meanwhile, US Secretary of State John Kerry said the deal had “no sunset clause.” Some of its components would in force for 10 years, others for 15, and still others for indefinite periods. If implemented, Kerry added, Iran’s current two-month potential breakout time, he said, would be at least a year. In an apparent jab at Netanyahu, Kerry added: “Simply demanding that Iran capitulate makes a nice soundbite, but it’s not a policy.” Kerry continued: “Throughout negotiation, we have made a diligent effort to consult with our allies and partners,” Kerry said, mentioning Israel and the Gulf states specifically.

The secretary of state said the preliminary deal opened the door to a long-term resolution that would ultimately satisfy international community’s concerns about Iran’s nuclear program. “There can be no question that the comprehensive plan we are moving toward will more than pass that test,” he said. He said that Iran has agreed to reduce its centrifuges by two thirds — from approximately 19,000 to an allowed 6,104 installed under the deal. Of those, 5,060 will be allowed to enrich uranium for the next 10 years.

Tehran had also agreed to cap its uranium enrichment at 3.67 percent for at least 15 years, and will not build any additional facilities for the purpose of enriching uranium during that time. Iran, whose breakout time for acquiring enough fissile material for one weapon is currently assessed to be 2-3 months, will be extended to at least one year for the next ten years. Kerry said that Iran had agreed not to enrich uranium at its Fordo facility or conduct nuclear research there, and will convert the complex into a science research center. Iran will ship all of its spent fuel from the Arak reactor out of the country, and the facility will also be redesigned to support peaceful nuclear research and radioisotope production. Kerry said that a final deal reached between the P5+1 powers and Iran would rely on proof — not on promises from Iran’s government, and that sanctions relief would only be implemented if Tehran abided by the outlined commitments.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif followed with the same statement in Farsi. He called the deal a “win-win” agreement. He later said the deal was designed to reassure “anybody who had concerns that our program is []anything but] exclusively peaceful. Still, he stressed, Iran would not be closing “any of our facilities” — something the “proud” Iranian people would not have accepted — would “continue enriching,” and would continue R&D.

Turning to Israel’s concerns over the Iranian nuclear issue, Obama said the framework accord provided the “best option” to ensure that Iran does not achieve nuclear weapons capabilities. Obama added: If “[Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu is looking for the most effective way to ensure Iran doesn’t get a nuclear weapon, this is the best option.” Obama promised that he would speak to Netanyahu about the agreement and openly acknowledged that they “don’t agree” on how to stop Iran, while telling Netanyahu that the new deal was “the most effective” and “best option.”

Israeli officials strongly disagreed. Israel officials slammed the framework agreement as “a capitulation to Iranian dictates.” They called it “a bad framework that will lead to a bad and dangerous agreement. If finalized, it would make the world “far more dangerous.” The agreement constitutes “international legitimization of Iran’s nuclear program” whose “only purpose is to build nuclear weapons.” The official said: “This is a bad framework that will lead to a bad and dangerous deal,” he said. “If an agreement is reached based on the guidelines of this framework, that would be an historic mistake which will transform the world into a much more dangerous place. This deal kowtows to Iranian dictates and it will not lead to a nuclear program for peaceful purposes, but rather to a military nuclear program.”

The Israeli official added: “The framework gives Iran’s nuclear program, the sole purpose of which is to produce nuclear bombs, international legitimacy. Iran will still have extensive nuclear capabilities. It will continue to enrich uranium. It will continue its centrifuge research and development. It will not close even one of its nuclear facilities, including the underground facility at Fordo. This and more.” The official added: “The bottom line is that this deal ensures the full removal of the sanctions against Iran’s nuclear program while assuring that it will keep its nuclear capabilities. There is no demand that Iran stop its aggression in the region, its terrorism around the world or its threats to destroy Israel, which it has repeated again over the past several days,” the official complained. The alternative to a bad deal is not war but rather a different deal,” the official concluded, “one that will significantly dismantle Iran’s nuclear infrastructure and will require Iran to stop its aggression and terrorism in the region and around the world.”

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu criticized the agreement and Iran’s intent in taking notice to recent statements by officials in Iran — notably their calls to eliminate Israel — as evidence of Iran’s unwillingness to compromise on its nuclear ambitions and campaign of “terror, subjugation and conquest.” Netanyahu said it was a moral outrage to make an agreement with Iran while Iran continues to call for the destruction of Israel. Netanyahu said: “Yesterday an Iranian general brazenly declared, and I quote, ‘Israel’s destruction is nonnegotiable’ ” while “Giving Iran’s murderous regime a clear path to a nuclear bomb is negotiable,” he said. “This is unconscionable.” Netanyahu argued that Iran’s actions and ongoing “aggression” across the Middle East proved it did not intend to give up its nuclear and regional ambitions.

Netanyahu said: “I agree with those who have said that Iran’s claim that its nuclear program is only for peaceful purposes doesn’t square with Iran’s insistence on keeping underground nuclear facilities, advanced centrifuges, and a heavy water reactor. Netanyahu’s reference to “those who have said” marked the second time in two days that he has referred to comments made by President Barack Obama at the Saban Conference in December 2013, without citing Obama by name. Netanyahu added: “Nor does it square with Iran’s insistence on developing ICBMs [Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles], and its refusal to come clean with the International Atomic Energy Agency on its past weaponization efforts. At the same time, Iran is accelerating its campaign of terror, subjugation and conquest throughout the region, most recently in Yemen,” he continued.  “After the Beirut-Damascus-Baghdad axis, Iran is maneuvering from the south to take over the entire Middle East,” Netanyahu said. “While [world powers] convene to sign this deal, Iran’s proxies in Yemen are conquering large swaths of land in an effort to overtake the Bab al-Mandab straits, so that they can change the balance of power in shipping oil,” he said.

Furthermore, Netanyahu said that he had spoken with Republican leaders in the US Senate and “conveyed our serious concern regarding the arrangement with Iran at the nuclear talks. This agreement confirms all our fears and exceeds them.

Some Israeli officials dismissed celebration of a nuclear framework deal between major powers and Iran, calling it detached from reality, and vowed to continue lobbying to prevent a “bad” final agreement. Israel Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz said in a statement after the announcements in Switzerland: “The smiles from this agreement are detached from a wretched reality in which Iran refuses to make any concessions on the nuclear issue and contiues to threaten Israel and all other countries in the Middle East. We will continue with our efforts to explain and persuade the world in hopes of preventing a bad (final) agreement.”

Israel Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said: “The Nuclear deal would be ‘nothing less than a tragedy.” He added: “one does not have to be an intelligence agency member to know that Iran is lying without blinking, that today it is the biggest danger to the stability of the Middle East and the entire world.” Ya’alon said that the “Iranian appetite to export the revolution through terrorism will only get bigger, and with the seal of approval it receives as a legitimate state that is a touching distance away from being nuclear – the danger to the West and its allies in the Middle East will be enormous.”

Centrist Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid noted: “On the Iranian nuclear issue there is no opposition and coalition. We are all concerned that the Iranians will circumvent the deal and Israel must protect its own security interests. The ayatollah’s regime has been peddling fraud and deception for years and progressing with its nuclear program. They will try, from day one, to cheat the international community as they have done in the past.” Added Lapid: There is no basis to the determination that today Iran was prevented from attaining a nuclear weapon.

Debka, an Israeli intelligence gathering website, gave the following assessment of the Iranian nuclear agreement:

US President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry promised that the nuclear deal to be signed with Iran will give the world powers a year’s warning after the Islamic Republic’s breakout up to an operational weapon. Our nuclear experts explain why even that grim arithmetic does not do full justice to the advantages Iran has gained for its push to a nuke:

1.  Because Iran is permitted to continue running up to 6,500 elderly IR-1 centrifuges for enriching uranium to a low 3.5 percent grade, even if it is permitted to keep only 500 kilos of its stock of 7.5-8 –tons, Tehran would still be able to build a bomb in 7-8 months, i.e. a lot faster than Obama and Kerry have promised.

2.  But if Tehran activates secret facilities undetected by US intelligence, it can produce a larger quantity of enriched uranium and so shrink the time between breakout and bomb to three, at most, four months, totally insufficient for the world powers to detect, step in and abort the bomb’s manufacture, in view of the following considerations:

— To obtain proof that Iran is cheating on its accord with the world powers, “environmental” samples would have to be obtained and tested in laboratories outside Iran. Results would be available only after two months, further slashing the time line for stopping Iran building a weapon. But that is not all.

— If Iran is shown by the first round of tests to be in violation of the accord and enriching uranium to a higher grade than 3.5, a second batch of “environmental” samples must be collected to analyze the exact quantities of uranium illicitly enriched and grade of purity.

There goes another month of valuable time for action, cutting it down to 10-12 weeks.

3. And, finally, the US President, Secretary of State and International Atomic Energy leaders have affirmed Iran’s faithful compliance with the first interim nuclear accord – known as the Joint Plan of Action – JPOA – that was signed in Geneva November 2013.

That information is equally false.

It is a fact which is known to intelligence agencies that Iran never complied with its commitment to reduce its UF6 stocks below 7.5 tons and convert added amounts to harmless oxides. Indeed, they estimate that Iran has enlarged its approved amount of stock to 8.5 tons or more, by means of the “creep-out” strategy it has repeatedly pursued in the past to conceal its nefarious nuclear activities.

A final concession which Iran has managed to wring out of the six world powers led by the United States allows Iran to keep an extra 9,000 IR-1 centrifuges Tehran idle – though not dismantled – and permission to continue research and development on high-speed IR-8 or IR-5 centrifuges.

This means that the Islamic Republic will not only keep its nuclear infrastructure under the accord the six powers plan to sign, but add improvements along with the freedom to shorten at will the critical time lapse between breakout and bomb.

The tons of spoken and printed verbiage poured out on the Iranian nuclear issue and ongoing diplomacy year after year have exposed, rather than disguised, President Obama’s willingness to sign a nuclear deal with Iran – however bad and whatever the price.

The inescapable conclusion is that the US president has come around to accepting the reality of a nuclear-armed Iran. As seen from the United States, America never stopped India, Pakistan and North Korea from becoming nuclear powers, and has therefore decided it can live with a fourth – Iran.

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

The link to these articles are as follows:

1) Obama details ‘historic’ nuke deal with Iran, Jerusalem slams ‘dangerous capitulation’
2) Obama: Framework deal on Iran nuclear program ‘best option’ for Israel
3) Kerry: Iran deal will leave world safer, more secure
4) Full text of Iran nuke deal parameters, as set out by State Department
5) Israel: Deal a capitulation, will give Iran ‘a military nuclear program’
6) Netanyahu voices outrage that nuclear talks go on while Iran vows to destroy Israel
7) US surrender on breakout time to a bomb leads to breakthrough on a nuclear deal
8) Iran deal worse than Israel feared, Netanyahu says
9) Steinitz: Iran nuclear framework detached from reality
10) Ya’alon: Nuclear deal would be ‘nothing less than a tragedy’
11) Ya’alon: You don’t have to be in intelligence to know that Iran is lying

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 31, 2015: Weekly 5 minute update

Saturday, March 28th, 2015

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) Benjamin Netanyahu task to form a new government and the current situation with the Israel / PLO peace process

Given the results of the March 17 elections, Israel President Reuven Rivlin gave the task to incumbent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to form the next Israeli government. Rivlin said to Netanyahu: “You are tasked with the grave responsibility of forming a government as stable and as wide as possible, and soon. The incoming government and Knesset are faced with three critical tasks.” he said. “The first is reinforcing the ties between Israel and the US, our biggest and most important ally. The second is to restore stability to the political system and restoring the public’s trust in the system – we must not go back to elections in two years. And the third is healing the painful wounds and rifts opened in recent years, which have grown during this election campaign,” Rivlin said. Rivlin added, “To the citizens of Israel, we’ve gone through a difficult election campaign … Things were said on all sides that should not have been said. Not in a Jewish state, and not in a democratic state. The heat of the flames serves no one. The fire is not just hot, it could burn.”

In reply, Netanyahu said: “I accept the task you gave me of forming the government with a feeling of great responsibility,” Netanyahu told the president. Netanyahu said he viewed himself “as the prime minister of each and every one of you – those who elected me and those who did not. I will act to mend the rifts which have opened up between different segments of society during the election.” Netanyahu urged Israeli citizens to put the elections behind them and focus on what unites them. “I must continue on this path in the next government that is formed – a Jewish and democratic country that gives full equal rights to all of its citizens regardless of religious, race or gender. So it has always been, and so it always will be,” he said. Netanyahu said that he wants to have good relations with the US. However, he said that he would continue to try to prevent a bad nuclear deal from being reached between the six major world powers (US, England, France, Russia, China and Germany) and Iran. “Real peace can be achieved only if Israel remains strong and stable,” Netanyahu said.

After being given the task to form his new coalition government, Netanyahu began coalition talks with the 5 parties most likely to be in his coalition. They are: Jewish Home, Kulanu, Yisrael Beitenu, Shas and United Torah Judaism. If all agree to be in the government, it would give Netanyahu a coalition of 67 Knesset members. Initially, Netanyahu will have until May 7 to form a government.

Zionist Union party leader Isaac Herzog whose political party came in second place behind Netanyahu’s Likud political party ruled out the possibility of forming a unity government with Benjamin Netanyahu, echoing the prime minister’s words by saying the differences between the two were too profound for them to work together. “Netanyahu said there’s a huge chasm between us. He said during the elections that we are anti-Zionists, and he said during the election that I will basically sell the country to the Arabs,” Herzog said. However, the Zionist Union leader also spoke of deepening an alliance with Arab MKs, insisting he would try to bring them into the mainstream of Israeli politics.

Regarding the peace process, after months of freezing tax revenue transfers as punishment for the Palestinian Authority’s application to the Rome Statute which would allow them to become a member of the International Criminal Court, Israel said that it would release the money to the Palestinian Authority. In January, Israel froze the transfer of some NIS 500 million in tax collections to protest the Palestinians application for membership of the International Criminal Court on behalf of the “State of Palestine”. The tax money is used to pay public sector salaries and is critical to running the Palestinian Authority. The decision was made by Israel to help rebuild bridges with the United States due to US criticism of Benjamin Netanyahu when during the Israeli election season Netanyahu said that there would not be a Palestinian state during his term as Prime Minister.

US President Barack Obama gave a cold reception to Benjamin Netanyahu’s re-election as Prime Minister of Israel on March 17.  From this time, US-Israel relations have been tense as the Obama administration has made many harsh statements toward Israel and regarding the peace process. According to a senior Israeli official, the multiple condemnations are a form of “revenge” from the Obama Administration against Netanyahu who says that the US is doing these things for three primary reasons: “One, revenge (for Netanyahu’s speech in Congress). Two, frustration. It’s no secret that they were involved in an attempt to bring down the Netanyahu and we know that clearly, and they have failed. Three, the government’s attempt to shift the focus from them and the negotiations with Iran to the Palestinian issue.”

The senior official heavily criticized the Obama administration’s handling of Israel and the issue of peace talks, asking why the issue of “settlements” in the West Bank are suddenly the most important policy issue on the agenda. “Look what we have done so far with the construction in the settlements,” the official said. “We took upon ourselves all of the restrictions from the [Ariel] Sharon – [George W.] Bush era, which allowed natural growth but not the establishment of new settlements.” Recently, US Chief of Staff Dennis McDonough said “an occupation that has lasted for almost 50 years must end.”

Furthermore, Obama said that he has not made any decision regarding if the US would no longer use its veto at the UN Security Council to prevent the establishment and recognition of a PLO state until after Netanyahu forms his new government. Obama said: “We are going to do that evaluation. We’re going to partly wait for an actual Israeli government to form.” After the March 17th Israeli elections, Netanyahu clarified his views on a PLO state saying to US media, “I don’t want a one-state solution. I want a sustainable, peaceful two-state solution” while stressing the grave dangers posed to Israel in the region from radical Islam and the PLO’s refusal to negotiation in good faith a two-state solution. However, the Obama administration rejected Netanyahu’s clarification. Obama said, the US could no longer base its peace policy on “something everyone knows is not going to happen … there still does not appear to be a prospect of a meaningful framework established that would lead to a Palestinian state even if there were a whole range of conditions and security requirements that might be phased in over a long period of time, which was always the presumption.” Obama continued, “The issue has never been ‘do you create a Palestinian state overnight.’ The issue is ‘do you create a process and a framework that gives the Palestinians hope, the possibility that down the road they have a secure state of their own standing side by side with a secure and fully recognized Jewish state of Israel,’” he said.  Obama added: “It’s not just my estimation, but it’s hard to envision how that happens based on the prime minister’s statements. Netanyahu is representing his country’s interests the way he thinks he needs to and I’m doing the same … so this can’t be reduced to a matter of somehow let’s all hold hands and sing Kumbaya.”

Meanwhile, the United Nations Middle East envoy, Robert Serry, challenged the United Nations Security Council to present a framework for peace between Israel and the Palestinians saying this this “may be the only way to preserve the goal of a two-state solution” while being critical of Jews who live in the West Bank and East Jerusalem by saying that it “may kill the very possibility of reaching peace on the paradigm of two states for two peoples.” In addition, Serry said that if the world believes in a two-state solution, and Israel and the Palestinians are unable to agree on a meaningful framework to resume peace negotiations, “the international community should seriously consider presenting such a framework for negotiations, including parameters, to achieve this.” Serry added, “It remains the primary responsibility of the United Nations Security council to play its role in developing a new peace architecture for resolving the conflict at long last,” he said. “UN Security Council Resolution 242 embodying the key principle of ‘land for peace’ is nearly half-a-century old.” UN Security Council Resolution 242, adopted shortly after the Six Day War in 1967, has long been the cornerstone of diplomatic efforts, calling for negotiations between the sides based on the principle of “land for peace” and secure and recognized borders for Israel.

Serry noted that American attempts to solve the conflict during his seven year tenure have not been met with success, and that the Quartet has largely failed to live up to expectations. The Palestinian ambassador to the UN, Riyad Mansour, said that he agrees with Serry’s comments saying, “We hope the Security Council will… take that responsibility very seriously,” Mansour said. He said he wants to see a resolution with a time frame for ending the Israeli occupation and with terms of reference for the peace process.

The last round of peace talks, pressed on Israel by US Secretary of State John Kerry, were torpedoed by the PA last April when it unilaterally joined international treaties in breach of the 1993 Oslo Accords, and signed a unity deal with the Hamas terrorist organization.

In response, Israeli Ambassador to the UN Ron Prosor said that not only was the international community not demanding anything of the Palestinians but was assisting their efforts to destroy any chance for progress toward a peace agreement. Prosor added that the international community should be paying attention to the PA actions that torpedoed the diplomatic process. These actions, he said, included walking away from negotiations in favor of unilateral activity against Israel in the international arena, giving prizes to terrorists and forming a unity government with Hamas, which calls for Israel’s destruction.

Israel’s position has long been that as long as the Palestinians believe the world will set the parameters of an accord, thereby imposing an agreement, they will not feel any need to compromise with Israel around the negotiating table. “Anyone who believes that there is a substitute for direct negotiations is fooling themselves,” said an Israeli government official. “Peace will not be advanced by passing resolutions in New York, but by Israelis and Palestinians seriously discussing the issues that separate them. Everything else is blah, blah.” The official said there can be no peace without the Palestinians recognizing the legitimacy of the Jewish state and without them finally taking Israel’s legitimate security concerns seriously.

Meanwhile, a European diplomat said that the European Union and Israel are “on a collision course” if Netanyahu forms a center-right government and continues to build Jewish homes in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. A European report outlines 40 possible decisions that the EU could take to pressure Israel into returning to negotiations.  If these things happen, the European diplomat indicated that the items contained in the report could begin to get implemented. However, EU member states have not yet approved the recommendations. ” EU diplomacy will likely remain in a sort of listening mode for a while, looking at what might be Netanyahu’s political and diplomatic signaling strategy. And it will also probably adjust its actions accordingly,” said European Policy Centre analyst Andrea Frontini.

In any event, France plans to start discussions with partners in the “coming weeks” on a United Nations Security Council resolution to lay out parameters for ending the Middle East conflict, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said. “We have said that these parameters have to be defined and recognized by the UN Security Council and that obviously Israel and the Palestinians have to discuss these things themselves but the discussion will be accompanied by an international effort,” Fabius said adding “there is no other solution.” Fabious continued: “I hope that the partners who were reluctant will not be reluctant anymore,” referring to the United States, which has traditionally shielded its ally Israel from any recognition of a PLO state at the UN Security Council. Fabious said that France plans to try to get the UN Security Council to agree on a framework for a two-state solution as soon as Israel’s new government is formed.

In response to Fabius’ comments, a US official said: “We’re not going to get ahead of any decisions about what the United States would do with regard to potential action at the UN Security Council.” He said the United States continues to engage with key stakeholders, including France, “to find a way forward that advances the interest we and others share in a two state solution.”

France, along with Britain and Germany, drafted a UN Security Council resolution in November to set parameters for a negotiated settlement to the peace process but the text was put on the side until after the results of the Israeli elections were known. However, based upon the comments by France, it seems that this effort will continue after Netanyahu forms his new government coalition. The deadline for him to do so is May 7.

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

The link to these articles are as follows:

1) Rivlin taps Netanyahu to form next government
2) Countdown to coalition begins after Rivlin gives PM mandate
3) Herzog says he won’t be Netanyahu’s ‘bleaching agent’
4) Israel to resume tax revenue transfers to the Palestinian Authority
5) Diplomat: Obama Seeking ‘Revenge’ on Netanyahu
6) Obama: US can’t base policy on ‘dim’ peace hopes under Netanyahu
7) UN Mideast envoy asks Security Council to lead on Israel
8) Serry: Time to replace 242 with new ‘peace architecture’
9) UN Envoy Says Security Council can Force ‘Peace Framework’
10) EU plans to pressure Israel as diplomat warns of ‘collision course’
11) France to begin push for UN action on Israel-Palestinian conflict
12) France: Talks within days on UN resolution on Palestinians
13) TEXT: France UN Draft Resolution on Israel / PLO conflict (November 2014)

From a Biblical prophetic perspective, the reason why the God of Israel would allow these events to happen is because it will result in the end of the exile of the house of Jacob and the reunification of the 12 tribes of Israel (Ephraim and Judah).

We will to be “watchmen on the walls of Jerusalem” and we will not rest until the God of Israel makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth (Isaiah 62).

Shalom in Yeshua the Messiah,

Eddie Chumney
Hebraic Heritage Ministries Int’l

March 24, 2015: Weekly 5 minute update

Monday, March 23rd, 2015

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 Benjamin Netanyahu being able to form a new government and what Netanyahu’s election victory means for the peace process

Israel President Reuven Rivlin met with the heads of the various political parties who won Knesset seats in the March 17 Israeli elections. The political parties Likud, Jewish Home, Kulanu, Shas, United Torah Judaism and Yisrael Beytenu recommended that Likud party leader, Benjamin Netanyahu, be the next Israeli Prime Minister. These parties represent a majority of 67 Knesset seats. Most likely, these parties will be in Netanyahu’s next government coalition. If formed, these parties would be regarded as a right wing government and would be scorned upon by the United States and Europe. Political sources stated that a national unity government consisting of the Likud political party of Benjamin Netanyahu and the rival Zionist Union headed by Isaac Herzog was out of the question. Both Likud and Zionist Union representatives signaled their intent to be in opposition to each other in the next government despite Israel President Reuven Rivlin’s efforts to bring reconciliation between the two parties. Netanyahu will have until May 7 to form a government coalition.

The political parties, Zionist Union and Meretz recommended that Zionist Union party leader, Isaac Herzog, be the next prime minister. This only represents 29 Knesset seats. The Israel political party, Yesh Atid, and the Joint Arab List did not make a recommendation. A Yesh Atid Knesset representative said, “We have decided to sit in the opposition.”

How would a right wing Israeli government affect the Israel / Palestinian peace process ? A day prior to the March 17 elections during a campaign stop in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Har Homa, Netanyahu promised to increase construction there, saying it was “a way of stopping Bethlehem from moving toward Jerusalem.” Furthermore, Netanyahu said that a Zionist Union-led government headed by Isaac Herzog would push for relinquishing more territory to the Palestinians, a move he said was tantamount to “burying its head in the sand.” Netanyahu went on to say the following: “I think that anyone who moves to establish a Palestinian state today, and evacuate areas, is giving radical Islam an area from which to attack the State of Israel. This is the true reality that has been created in past years. Those that ignore it are burying their heads in the sand. The left does this, buries its head in the sand, time and again. Whoever moves to establish a Palestinian state or intends to withdraw from territory is simply yielding territory for radical Islamic terrorist attacks against Israel.” Asked directly whether no Palestinian state would be created under his leadership, the prime minister answered: “Indeed.”

Netanyahu criticized peace talks with the Palestinians in 1999 under then-prime minister Ehud Barak, who endorsed the Zionist Union party in the recent elections. Barak was “willing to give everything away,” Netanyahu said. “As it happened, with God’s help, [then-PA leader Yasser] Arafat’s heart was hardened and he wanted more than was offered,” Netanyahu said, in an allusion to the biblical Pharaoh, whose refusal to set the enslaved Hebrews free brought about his own demise. Netanyahu said that after the election, Israel will face international pressure to pull back to the 1967 lines. In order to prevent this, he said: “We must establish a strong national government headed by Likud in order to fend off these pressures.” Netanyahu said that he was “the last line of defense,” and maintained that the Zionist Union understood that this was the case.

After the election results, Netanyahu clarified his position. He said that he wanted a “sustainable, peaceful two-state solution” but that the current situation does not allow for that to happen. “I haven’t changed my policy. I never retracted my speech in Bar-Ilan University six years ago calling for a demilitarized Palestinian state that recognizes the Jewish state,” he said.

US President Barack Obama did not accept Netanyahu’s clarification. Instead, Obama said that he was going to believe that Netanyahu doesn’t want a two-state solution. Obama told Netanyahu that the US was reconsidering its policies because Netanyahu had changed his position on Palestinian statehood. Netanyahu retorted that he hadn’t changed his position, still supporting a two state solution, but that the Middle East realities had changed in recent years.

Israel Ambassador to the United States, Ron Dermer, said that Netanyahu “didn’t say what the president and others seem to suggest he is saying,” arguing that interpretations of Netanyahu’s pre-election statements in the US did not convey the meaning or intent of his comments. “The prime minister is not against a two-state solution with a demilitarized Palestinian state. He has not retracted his vision that he laid out at Bar-Ilan in 2009,” he emphasized. Dermer argued that Netanyahu had framed his comments in light of recent changes to regional geopolitics that made a peace deal difficult or even impossible under current conditions. He listed the growing instability on Israel’s borders, particularly with the ascent of the Islamic State in parts of Syria “eighteen miles from Israel’s borders,” as well as Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s nearly year-long ostensible unity government with Hamas. “What Israel believes has to happen now is that President Abbas needs to break his alliance with Hamas and come back to serious negotiations with Israel,” Dermer elaborated. The peace process, he said, collapsed not because of Israel, but because Abbas had “joined up with Hamas.”

Because Obama does not accept Netanyahu’s clarification on the matter, Obama told Netanyahu, “Because you oppose a Palestinian state, that is why we’ve got to evaluate what other options are available to make sure that we don’t see a chaotic situation in the region.” Obama said that he told Netanyahu during a bitter 30-minute phone conversation after the elections that “a two-state solution is the only way for a long-term security of Israel if it wants to stay both a Jewish state and democratic,” noting that “given his (Netanyahu’s) statement prior to the election, it is going to be hard to find a path where people are seriously believing negotiations were possible.” According to Israeli television, Obama left Netanyahu with “the impression that he intends to abandon Israel at the UN.”

A senior Obama administration official said: “We are signaling that if the Israeli government’s position is no longer to pursue a Palestinian state, we’re going to have to broaden the spectrum of options we pursue going forward. The positions taken by the prime minister in the last days of the campaign have raised very significant substantive questions that go far beyond just optics,” the official said. White House spokesman Josh Earnest said: “The divergent comments of the prime minister legitimately call into question his commitment to this policy principle and his lack of commitment to what has been the foundation of our policy-making in the region,” Earnest said. Netanyahu had prompted questions about his “true view” on the two-state solution, the spokesman added. “Words matter.” But the administration made clear that its reconsideration of Israel-US ties was not only due to Netanyahu’s recent comments, which many have claimed were made for the purpose of garnering support from the far right, but rather for his actions throughout the years, which officials say prove the prime minister’s opposition to a Palestinian state.

In reaction to these things, The New York Times quoted several administration officials as saying that the US could endorse a United Nations Security Council resolution setting down terms for the formation of a Palestinian state based on the 1967 lines, with mutually agreed land swaps. Meanwhile, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki implied that although the US still prefers direct negotiations toward an agreement between Israel and the Palestinians, she could not promise that the US would continue to defend Israel against unilateral actions in support of Palestinian statehood in either the International Criminal Court or the United Nations. “We are not going to get ahead of any decisions with regard to what the US would do during any vote at the United Nations Security Council,” Psaki said in a press briefing, leaving open the possibility that the US could amend its long-held policy of using its Security Council veto power to block anti-Israel resolutions.

US journalist Jeffrey Goldberg whose close connections to Obama administration officials permits him to write articles which reflect the current views of the administration said in a recent article, “President Obama is not particularly interested in spending political capital on behalf of Netanyahu in order to block a UN resolution recognizing Palestinian statehood. Thus, it is up to Netanyahu, in the coming weeks, to show he is actually committed to preserving the possibility of a two-state solution,” Goldberg wrote. Goldberg added,“if the UN Security Council recognizes Palestine as an independent state, Netanyahu will have no time at all to get his house in order before Israel becomes a true pariah of the international community.”

White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough called for the end of Israel’s “50-year occupation” saying “we will look to the next Israeli government to match words with action and to policies that demonstrates a commitment to a two-state solution,” McDonough said. “In the end, we know what a peace agreement should look like. The borders of Israel and an independent Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps. Each state needs secure and recognized borders, and there must be robust provisions that safeguard Israel’s security.”

Israel Ambassador to the United States, Ron Dermer sounded hesitant when asked about American threats to withdraw its traditional veto of unilateral Palestinian moves at the United Nations. “We hope that won’t happen,” he said. “We know that the US has stood for decades against all these anti-Israel resolutions at the UN.” The passage of a UN resolution to establish a Palestinian state, he said, would “harden Palestinian positions and could prevent peace for decades to come, because no Palestinian leader will move from those positions.” This would then, he argued, limit the opportunity for a negotiated resolution to the conflict, an outcome which has been — and still is — the stated policy of the United States.

The Palestinian representative to the UN, Riyad Mansour, urged the United States to support a UN resolution that would mandate a short time-frame for the establishment of a Palestinian state, and a second resolution that would specifically condemn Israeli construction across the 1967 Green Line. “If we do not move in the direction of a two state solution now and we wait, there will never be a two-state solution,” he warned. He also said that the Palestinians would not withdraw their bid to sue Israel at the International Criminal Court over alleged war crimes.

In addition, Obama told Netanyahu that the continued settlement construction was “not a recipe for stability in the region” and cannot continue in perpetuity. Furthermore,  a new European Union (EU) report says that Jerusalem is at a “boiling point” and recommends sanctions against Israel over the “polarization” of Jerusalem. The report says that Jerusalem has reached a dangerous boiling point of “polarization and violence” not seen since the end of the second intifada in 2005. The report calls for tougher European sanctions against Israel over its “continued settlement construction in the city”, which it claims is exacerbating recent conflict. The report describes the emergence of a “vicious cycle of violence … increasingly threatening the viability of the two-state solution”, which it says has been stoked by the continuation of “systematic” settlement building by Israel in “sensitive areas” of Jerusalem.

According to Dennis Ross, Obama’s former top Middle East adviser, said that the White House pressure toward Israel had other motives as well. Ross said: “There’s an effort to apply leverage to the Israelis to get the prime minister to move on some things when he has a new government formed,” citing a US wish to see Israel release frozen Palestinian tax funds and take other goodwill gestures.

One senior administration official said that another outcome of the friction between Obama and Netanyahu could be a change in how the relationship between Israel and America is managed. Discourse between the two countries, for instance, would no longer be held between the heads of state directly. Instead, Secretary of State John Kerry and defense officials would act as go-betweens for President Barack Obama and Netanyahu. “The president is a pretty pragmatic person and if he felt it would be useful, he will certainly engage,” said the official. “But he’s not going to waste his time.”

In his interview, Obama went on to say his administration will keep cooperating with Israel on military and intelligence regardless of policy disagreements between the two countries.

Although the Obama administration claims that the US reassessment of policy toward Israel at the United Nations was prompted by Netanyahu’s pre-election claim to rejecting the establishment of a Palestinian state, according to Israeli officials, this is not the actual facts.  The United States has actually been considering a reevaluation of ties with Israel, including its automatic support for the Jewish state at the United Nations Security Council, for at least four months.

Israeli television reports that US President Barack Obama will not support an independent Palestinian diplomatic initiative for recognition of a state at the United Nations but instead may try to advance a joint American-European initiative for a two-state solution. European governments incensed by Netanyahu’s campaign comments against Palestinian statehood, could decide to push for a joint American-European UN resolution on Palestinian statehood. The American-European initiative, which is to be presented to the UN Security Council, will provide the “contours” of any future agreement, according to the report, which cited sources in the Obama administration. The plan will not include a timetable but will join Resolutions 242 and 338 as blueprints for a peace deal that the international community favors. The US is also reportedly considering revealing the understandings that Secretary of State John Kerry reached in his talks with Israel and the Palestinian Authority. These will serve as guidelines for future negotiations. Israel is opposed to these ideas.

US President Barack Obama, once famously said, “I will always have Israel’s back.” By considering supporting a Palestinian state at the UN Security Council, is Obama now in the process of betraying Israel ?

US Senator John McCain accused President Barack Obama of putting personal grievances with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in front of pressing geopolitical concerns in the Middle East. McCain said that the president should “get over” his “temper tantrum” following Netanyahu’s election victory. Responding to signals from the Obama administration that the US could stop using its United Nations Security Council veto power to prevent unilateral resolutions in support of Palestinian statehood, McCain, chairman of the powerful Senate Armed Services Committee, warned Obama against such a move.

He said that if the US acquiesced to a UN resolution calling for a Palestinian state, and if it were approved at the UN, “the United States Congress would have to examine our funding for the United Nations.” The United States is the single biggest funder of the international body, but current legislation permits defunding of any UN body that recognizes Palestinian statehood. “It would be a violation because of the president’s anger over a statement by the prime minister of Israel,” McCain explained. “It would contradict American policy for the last at least 10 presidents of the United States.”

Jewish Home Chairman Naftali Bennett whose religious Zionist nationalistic party will most likely be members of Netanyahu’s new government said that he would never sit in a government that gives Israeli land to Arabs. Bennett was asked, “Would you resign from the government if, even by mistake, there is the thought of returning territories?”  Bennett said: “Yes, I will overthrow a government that considers providing [the Arabs] even a centimeter of land.

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

The link to these articles are as follows:

1) Majority of MKs recommend Netanyahu for PM
2) Netanyahu to form next Israeli government
3) Netanyahu: No Palestinian state on my watch
4) US officials: Washington could back UN resolution on Palestine
5) Obama: We believe Netanyahu doesn’t want a Palestinian state
6) TV report: Obama left PM ‘with impression US will abandon Israel at UN’
7) Jeffrey Goldberg: PM has ‘weeks’ to prove he supports two-state solution
8) Top White House official calls for end to ’50-year occupation’
9) Envoy to Washington defends Netanyahu’s 2-state comments
10) EU Planning Sanctions on Israel for ‘Polarizing Jerusalem’
11) Report: Obama May Reveal Understandings Reached with Israel, PA
12) Netanyahu row casts doubt on Obama pledge to ‘have Israel’s back’
13) McCain: Congress could defund UN if US backs Palestine bid
14) Bennett: I Will Overthrow Gov’t That Gives Even an Inch of Land

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 17, 2015: Weekly 5 minute update

Thursday, March 19th, 2015

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 results of the Israeli elections and what it means for the peace process

With over 99% of the votes counted, the Israeli elections results are as follows:

1) Likud ………….. 30 seats
2) Zionist Union …… 24 seats
3) Joint Arab List …. 13 seats
4) Yesh Atid ………. 11 seats
5) Kulanu …………. 10 seats
6) Jewish Home ……… 8 seats
7) Shas ……………. 7 seats
8) United Torah Judaism …. 6 seats
9) Yisrael Beytenu ….. 6 seats
10) Meretz …………. 5 seats

The Israel Knesset consists of 120 members. In order to form a government, you need a coalition of parties of at least 61 members. Benjamin Netanyahu is the leader of the “Likud” political party. Since the “Likud” political party got the most votes in the Israeli election, Netanyahu will be given the opportunity to talk with other parties to form a coalition government. When he does, who is most likely to join his government coalition ?

Prior to the elections, Netanyahu said that he will not form a unity government. A unity government is when two of the largest parties in Israel form a government together. Therefore, Netanyahu said that he will not form a government with the Zionist camp party. The Zionist camp party is headed by Isaac Herzog. He is in partnership with Tzipi Livni in leading the party. In the last Israeli government, Tzipi Livni was in Netanyahu’s government and was the chief negotiator in the peace process with the Palestinians. However because of her independent thinking and criticism of Netanyahu’s policies, Netanyahu fired her along with the leader of the party, Yesh Atid, Yair Lapid who was also in Netanyahu’s government and criticized his policies. As a result, it is highly unlikely that the Zionist camp and Yesh Atid will be in Netanyahu’s new government coalition. The united Arab list party has also indicated that they will not be in Netanyahu’s government.

In past Netanyahu governments, the ultra-Orthodox parties of Shas and United Torah Judaism have been in his coalition. Shas chairman Aryeh Deri said that his party would support Binyamin Netanyahu as Prime Minister saying:  “We are with you Binyamin Netanyahu. Our public and your public are brothers.” Furthermore, Deri has said that there is no possibility that he would sit in a coalition together with Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid. This is because in the last government, Yair Lapid backed a new law that would require the ultra-Orthodox to serve in the Israeli military. If they would not serve in the military, Lapid advocated criminal sanctions against them. The ultra-Orthodox parties, Shas and United Torah Judasim, oppose this law.

MK Ya’akov Litzman of the ultra-Orthodox party, United Torah Judaism, also said that his party would not sit in government with Yesh Atid and its leader, Yair Lapid. Litzman said, “I will not sit with Lapid. Plain and simple.” Litzman added that Lapid can repent but that will not change his mind about being a part of the same coalition as Lapid. “If he wants to repent then let him repent. Let him be in the opposition for one term, praise the yeshiva students who study, support them in budgets and child allowances, and then in the next term we may sit with him,” he said. “As far as I know the position of the Council of Torah Sages is the same – that we will absolutely not sit in a government with Lapid” added Litzman.

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin said that he opposes criminal sanctions for ultra-Orthodox draft dodgers approved by his government. We are one Israeli people. I think the whole issue of criminal sanctions that were imposed is something that should be done away with. A Jew should not have to go to prison for studying the torah.”

In response, Yesh Atid Chairman Yair Lapid said that the Israeli High Court will never allow the cancellation of a law passed last year that stipulates that if the target number of ultra-Orthodox draftees into the Israeli military is not reached by 2017, ultra-Orthodox draft-dodgers will be treated the same as others who refuse to serve in the Israeli army and thus will be subject to criminal sanctions. According to Lapid, “they cannot cancel the Security Service Law – all of military enlistment to the IDF in Israel is based on it. So what do they care to promise something that they know can’t happen. We cannot cancel the equality of the burden. The state of Israel cannot afford to cancel, and I will certainly not sit in a government that will cancel it,” he said. “It is a holy principle that all citizens of the country have the same rights,” Lapid continued. “We will not allow this equality of the burden to be overthrown or shot down. We will not sit in any government that tries to do so.” Finally, Lapid said that he will not sit in government with Benjamin Netanyahu.

The Meretz has also said that it is also opposed to being in government with Benjamin Netanyahu.

The new party to this election, Kulanu, headed by former Likud political party member, Moshe Kahlon, said that he would join any government where he can help bring down Israel housing prices.

In the last elections, Yisrael Beytenu chairman, Avigdor Lieberman ran on a joint election ticket with the Likud political party of Benjamin Netanyahu. In this election, Lieberman said that there was “no chance” that his Yisrael Beytenu will sit in the same coalition with the leftist Meretz party who won 5 seats.

As a result of all these things, it is most likely that Netanyahu will form a religious right government of Likud, Kulanu, Jewish Home, Shas, United Torah Judaism and Yisrael Beytenu. This government would have 67 seats.

US President Barack Obama gave a cold response to the election victory of Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu by waiting 2 days to congratulate him for winning the Israeli elections. Furthermore, the morning after the elections found US-Israel relations more shaky than ever before. The US State Department made a few things clear. US Secretary of State John Kerry’s call to congratulate Netanyahu on his election victory was very cold. The two did not talk policy at all, said spokeswoman Jen Psaki. In fact, the message that the US is conveying to Israel is that everything other than the most routine cooperation – security, intelligence, and military – is open to question.

The Palestinian responded to the Israeli election results by saying that there was no other choice but to “reexamine” relations with Israel. “Israel must choose: peace with the Palestinian people or the continued occupation of the land of Palestine,” Abbas declared. Saeb Erekat, chief Palestinian negotiator in peace talks with Israel said that Netanyahu’s election victory showed “the success of a campaign based on settlements, racism, apartheid and the denial of the fundamental rights of the Palestinian people”.

The day before the March 17 Israeli elections, Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Netanyahu vowed that if reelected he will build thousands of homes in East Jerusalem to prevent future concessions to the Palestinians saying, “I won’t let that happen. My friends and I in Likud will preserve the unity of Jerusalem. We will continue to build in Jerusalem, we will add thousands of housing units, and in the face of all the (international) pressure, we will persist and continue to develop our eternal capital.” Netanyahu further said: “I think that anyone who establishes a Palestinian state and evacuates land is giving radical Islam a staging ground against the state of Israel. This is the reality that was created here over the past few years. Whoever ignores it is burying their heads in the sand. The left is doing this, burying its head in the sand time after time. We are realistic and we understand. The real test is who will build the next government. I am not going to fold. They would not be concentrating efforts against me if they didn’t understand that I am the last line of defense. They understand this. We faced tremendous pressures and we will continue to work.” Furthermore, Netanyahu said that he objects to a Palestinian state saying that Israel faces a series of international initiatives meant to return it to pre-1967 borders and to divide Jerusalem. In an interview, he was asked, “If you are PM there will be no Palestinian state?” He replied, “Indeed.”

The Obama administration reacted to Netanyahu’s words by saying that there will be consequences if Netanyahu no longer supports an independent Palestinian state. A senior Obama administration official said: “We are signaling that if the Israeli government’s position is no longer to pursue a Palestinian state, we’re going to have to broaden the spectrum of options we pursue going forward.” Another official said: “There are policy ramifications for what Netanyahu said.” While the US is indicating that it would not cut back its financial and military support for Israel, it did indicate that it be may less supportive of Israel at the UN Security Council. Senior American officials said that the Obama administration would still be evaluating all its options but strongly suggested that the US could ease its staunch opposition to Palestinians turning to the UN Security Council to create a state. Carefully planted rumors have been circulating around the US for weeks that the US is considering presenting a new peace plan at the UN Security Council that would bypass direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority and attempt to impose a solution to the conflict.  A second official confirmed the US could decide not to veto Security Council action. The officials were not authorized to speak by name about internal deliberations and commented only on condition of anonymity.

US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said that the US was still “not going to get ahead of any decisions about what the United States would do with regard to potential action at the UN Security Council.” Asked repeatedly about whether the US would maintain its veto policy, Psaki said simply that “the prime minister’s recent statements call into question his commitment to a two-state solution…but that doesn’t mean that we’ve made a decision about changing our position with respect to the UN.” However, the statement in itself – a refusal to commit to a veto – is itself a changed position. The New York Times reported that according to several administration officials, the Obama administration is now seriously considering agreeing to the passage of a United Nations Security Council resolution “embodying the principles of a two-state solution that would include Israel’s 1967 borders with Palestine and mutually agreed swaps of territory.”

US Secretary of State, John Kerry, reaffirmed that the US “committed” to a two-state solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict saying, “The position of the United States with respect to our long expressed hope, the Republicans and the Democrats alike (and) many presidents of the last 50 years or more, has always been for peace and President Obama remains committed to a two-state solution,” Kerry said.

After his election victory, Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu clarified his position on a Palestinian state saying, “I never retracted my speech in Bar-Ilan University six years ago calling for a demilitarized Palestinian state that recognized the Jewish state,” Netanyahu said. “I want a sustainable peaceful two-state solution,” he said. “But for that, circumstances have to change.” Netanyahu blamed Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas for being responsible for part of that change, saying that he refuses to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, and has made a pact with Hamas that calls for Israel’s destruction. He also said that history has shown that all territory vacated in the Middle East is taken over by Islamist forces. “If you want to get peace, you’ve got to get the Palestinian leadership to abandon their pact with Hamas and engage in genuine negotiations with Israel for an achievable peace,” he said. “We have to also make sure that we don’t have ISIS coming in to that territory. It’s only two dozen miles away from our border.”

The honeymoon period for any new Israeli government will be short, and neither the EU nor the US will have much patience for promises of developing new policies toward the Palestinians, according to Western diplomatic officials. Israel will need an initiative to convince both the EU and US of its seriousness in working toward a two-state solution, the officials said.

The US special envoy to last year’s Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, Martin Indyk, said that if the new Netanyahu government does not launch a diplomatic initiative or opposes a Palestinian state, Israel will likely face a UN Security Council resolution proposed by all permanent members designed to “lay out the principles of a two state solution.” If this happens, Indyk expects that a resolution would be written against Israel’s will. He said: “If there is a government in Israel after these elections that decides to pursue a two state solution then there is a way forward. It begins with coordinating an initiative with the United States. And then, together with the US, looking to Egypt and Jordan and the resurrection of the Arab peace initiative, to find a way to provide the Palestinians both with an Egyptian-Jordanian anchor, and the political cover of the Arab peace initiative.” Indyk said that in this arrangement there would have to be a “freeze for a freeze:” an Israeli freeze of settlement activity, and a freeze of Palestinian international activity against Israel.”

But if there is not an Israeli initiative or support for a two state solution, Indyk warned, there will be “international actions” pursued not by the Palestinians, but rather by the international community “in terms of a security council resolution” to “lay out and preserve the principles of a two-state solution in the future.” By saying this resolution may come from all five members of the UN Security Council, he hinted that this could be an American proposal.

In addition, European Union member states are planning new sanctions against Israel that will be implemented if peace negotiations with Palestinians do not resume following Israeli elections. The proposed plan would include “sanctions against companies that conduct business over the Green Line, support in the legal proceedings of Palestinians in the issue of settlements and also renewing the proposal to create a Palestinian state through the Security Council,” according to an Israeli official who met recently with European leaders. According to one of the Israeli officials briefed by European leaders, the process of imposing sanctions was delayed by elections, but will likely be picked up should peace efforts not restart after Netanyahu forms his new government. “For some of the countries there is the hope that after the elections there is a chance to renew the negotiations with the Palestinians. But now it does not seem like that will happen, and therefore they are planning to shift into a higher gear,” the official said.

European officials also want to hear more positive reaction from Israel regarding the Special Privileged Partnership that the EU offered both Israel and the Palestinians in 2013 if they complete a peace deal. Many in Brussels see the failure of the Netanyahu government to jump at the offer as a “missed opportunity,” even though – according to the officials – the government is more interested in a closer relationship with the EU than it wants to let on. According to the officials, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini is saving “for a strategic moment” the implementation of measures based on conclusions of the EU Council in 2012 regarding EU-wide labeling of settlement products. The conclusions, issued after a meeting of EU foreign ministers, said “the European Union expresses its commitment to ensure that – in line with international law – all agreements between the State of Israel and the European Union must unequivocally and explicitly indicate their inapplicability to the territories occupied by Israel in 1967, namely the Golan Heights, the West Bank including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip.” That wording formed the basis of a long, drawn-out fight between Israel and the EU in 2013 over new guidelines for Israel’s acceptance in the EU’s well-financed Horizon 2020 EU R&D program.

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

The link to these articles are as follows:

1) ‘Almost Final’ Results Published by Elections Committee
2) Netanyahu: There Will be No Unity Government
3) Liberman: ‘No Chance’ We’ll Sit with Meretz
4) Litzman Says ‘Yes’ to Meretz but ‘No’ to Lapid
5) Litzman Repeats: No Way We’ll Sit with Lapid
6) Deri: We’ll Support Netanyahu, There’s No Other Scenario
7) Deri says almost impossible for Shas to sit with Yesh Atid in next government
8) Criminal sanctions for haredi draft dodgers should end, says Netanyahu
9) Lapid: I Won’t Sit in Coalition that Repeals Haredi Draft Law
10) Lapid rules out endorsing Netanyahu
11) Obama’s absent congratulations bad omen for bilateral ties
12) Abbas: We Have No Choice but ‘Reexamine’ Ties with Israel
13) Abbas: Israel has no serious intentions to have peace
14) Netanyahu win dashes prospect for a thaw with Obama
15) After Netanyahu win, Obama takes off the gloves
16) Netanyahu: We Are Fighting for the Jewish Future
17) Zionism means not being spectators to decisions that can seal our fate, Netanyahu says
18) From annexation to right of return: What the parties say about the Palestinians
19) Netanyahu: If reelected, I won’t establish a Palestinian state
20) Obama Administration Reaffirms ‘2-State Solution’ Commitment
21) EU said to be planning fresh sanctions against Israel
22) US, EU to test Israel’s sincerity on Palestine after elections’
23) Indyk: Get ready for UNSC resolution proposed not by Palestinians, but int’l community
24) Report: US revisiting Israel policy after PM’s rejection of Palestinian state
25) NY Times: Obama may agree to UN resolution on ’67 borders after Netanyahu campaign rhetoric
26) US officials: Washington could back UN resolution on Palestine
27) Netanyahu backs off opposition to a Palestinian state

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 10, 2015: Weekly 5 minute update

Sunday, March 8th, 2015

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 status of the Israel / Palestinian peace process

Recently, PLO leaders called on the Palestinian Authority to halt all forms of security coordination with Israel. The decision was issued at the end of a meeting of the PLO’s 124-member Central Council, which consists of representatives from the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and several Arab countries. The discussions covered the future of relations between the PA and Israel in light of the Israeli government’s decision to withhold tax revenue because of Palestinian intention to bring war crime accusations against Israel at the United Nations through the International Criminal Court. Under a 1994 economic accord, Israel agreed to transfer tens of millions of dollars each month to the PA in customs duties levied on goods destined for Palestinian markets that transit through Israeli ports. Several PLO representatives demanded that the PA leadership give a very “harsh” response to the Israeli decision such as cutting political, economic and security ties with Israel. Others called for abrogating all agreements signed with Israel.

A statement issued by the council said that the PLO leaders have decided to “halt all forms of security coordination with Israeli occupation in light of its failure to abide by agreements signed between the two sides.” Israel should assume all its responsibilities toward the Palestinians as an “occupation force” and in accordance with international law, the council said. The council also reiterated Palestinian opposition to recognizing Israel as a Jewish state. However, a Palestinian source said that the council’s decision was a recommendation only. Another Palestinian official said that Abbas must issue a presidential order in order to formally end the security cooperation with Israel. Israeli officials said that despite the Palestinian decision ties with the Palestinian Authority remain unchanged and that civil and defense cooperation continue unimpeded.

US Secretary of State John Kerry pleaded with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas not to make any “fateful decisions” regarding Israel before its upcoming election on March 17. It is reported that Kerry pressured Abbas to refrain from making any decision that could negatively impact efforts to revive the peace negotiations after the election. In addition, Kerry expressed his opposition to the Israeli decision to withhold the tax funds and cut off electricity to Palestinian cities because of the PA’s debt to the Israel Electric Corporation. Kerry promised Abbas that the United States would pressure Israel to unfreeze the tax payments. In return, Kerry demanded that the PLO Central Council refrain from making any decision to cancel political, security and economic agreements with Israel.

During his second term as prime minister (2009 – 2013), Benjamin Netanyahu had his senior aide, lawyer Yitzhak Molcho be involved in peace negotiations with the Palestinians. In a document from August 2013 entitled, “Draft Proposal for Statement of Principles Towards a Permanent Arrangement” outlines drastic concessions to the Palestinian leadership on a number of core issues, including land swaps, a potential deal regarding Jerusalem and even a limited right of return for Palestinians. The document was meant to serve as basis for official talks launched at the time between Israel and the Palestinians under the auspices of US Secretary of State John Kerry. The document mentions a return to the pre-1967 borders with agreed land swaps. It says: “… (T)here will be a full Israeli withdrawal implemented gradually of Israeli forces from Palestine’s territory. The last of the Israeli forces will withdraw with the implementation of the agreement’s final stage.”

The document desires that Israel be willing to trade land with the Palestinians, but was willing to offer them full restitution for lands seized by Israel during the 1967 Six Day War, implicitly accepting the Palestinian claim on the entirety of the West Bank as land for a future Palestinian state. It says: “The sides are in agreement that Palestine will be an independent, sovereign and viable state whose size will be in relation to the areas which were under Jordan and Egypt’s control before June 4th 1967 (the eve of the Six Day War) (…) the agreement establishing the formation of Palestine will permanently resolve all claims, including the issue of settlements,” the document read.

As part of the proposed land swap, the document laid out the framework for uprooting a a large number of West Bank settlements and even stipulated leaving some settlers in the West Bank under Palestinian Authority control. It says: “Israelis who will choose to remain in the Palestinian state will live under Palestinian jurisprudence,” the document said.

Regarding Jerusalem which the Palestinians want as their capital, the document’s wording was more careful, but not devoid of significance, offering an implicit recognition of the Palestinians’ claim on East Jerusalem. The document relating to Jerusalem was vaguely worded and appended with a warning: “Any solution must address the historical, social, cultural and effectual ties of both peoples to the city and offer protection to the holy sites.”

Furthermore, the document said the Palestinians were offered a permanent foothold in the Jordan Valley, an area which Israel was reluctant to concede control over during the previous round of peace talks. The document also calls for Israeli leeway regarding the much-debated Palestinian right of return for those displaced on the eve of Israel’s formation in 1948. The document calls for Israel to offer the Palestinian ‘refugees’ the right of return on a personal – as opposed to national – basis.

In releasing the details of this document, it was reported that Netanyahu agreed to the various details of the document. However, in response to the report, Netanyahu’s office said: “At no point did Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu agree to withdraw to 1967-lines, divide Jerusalem or recognize the Palestinian right of return. That was and remains his position.” Israel said that the document was an American proposal to resolve the Israel / Palestinian conflict in which Israel never agreed to the points of discussion. Israel said, “Molcho’s talks were brokered by the Americans and failed to yield any agreements. (The talks) focused on an attempt to create an American proposal to moving negotiations forward with each side  maintaining the right to express reservations from any of the articles which they deem unacceptable.”

Furthermore, giving his own response to the published document, Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed that he never signed off on the concessions detailed in the document saying, “I have never agreed to divide Jerusalem, never agreed to return to the ’67 lines, never agreed to acknowledge the right of return, never agreed to concede our presences in the Jordan Valley, never,” he said. “This is nonsense. This is an attempt to obtain an American draft that I said from the beginning I would oppose clauses that were not acceptable to me, like these clauses. The reality is that no prime minister insisted as I did on a united Jerusalem, on construction, on settlement.”

Dennis Ross, the American diplomat who mediated the talks between Israeli negotiator Isaac Molho and the Palestinians said that Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “never agreed to Israeli withdrawal to 1967 borders, dividing Jerusalem or the right of return.” Furthermore, Ross said: “I always felt the best way to [negotiate] would be in a brainstorming set of discussions that could be informal. To that end, starting before I left the administration and continuing after I left, I worked with two long-time friends of mine, Isaac Molho and Hussein Agha, with the aim of coming up with a U.S. proposal for a framework. The idea was that both sides would agree to negotiate using the U.S. proposal, while making clear that they had reservations about provisions that ran counter to their positions … to my regret the exercise did not succeed,” Ross added.

In 2009, Netanyahu made a speech expressing his support for a demilitarized Palestinian state. Today, he said that this position is “Simply irrelevant” saying, “In the situation created in the Middle East, any territory that will be evacuated will be taken over by radical Islam and terrorist organizations supported by Iran. Therefore, there will not be any withdrawals or concessions. The matter is simply irrelevant,” he said.

Meanwhile, Ron Dermer, who was Netanyahu’s aide at the time of his 2009 speech and now serves as Israel’s ambassador to the US, reportedly promised Quartet leader Tony Blair who represented the EU, UN, Russia and the United States as mediators in the peace process that Israel would agree to a Palestinian state based upon the 1967 borders. The comments were made sometime during Netanyahu’s 2009-2013 term as prime minister and were published by Israel’s Channel 10. Israel’s Channel 10 claimed that Dermer promised Quartet leader Tony Blair, in writing, that Israel would cede territory that would give the Palestinians a state “identical to the areas Israel captured in 1967.” According to the report, Blair was skeptical about Netanyahu’s willingness to cede territory as part of a peace deal, prompting Dermer to commit in writing in a bid to quell his concerns and prove Netanyahu was serious.

In response, Dermer vehemently denied the report, saying that “in complete contradiction to what is being reported, no commitment was given to any type of withdrawal at any point.” According to him, the paper was an “attempt to move forward with negotiations based on the international community’s principles with Israel retaining the right to disavow any article it is uncomfortable with.”

Israel’s former chief negotiator in the peace process, Tzipi Livni called Netanyahu’s response to a document claiming that he agreed in 2013 to establish a Palestinian state based upon the 1967 borders as “cowardly.” She said, “When I see Netanyahu’s cowardly response, I understand why the Palestinians and Americans say they don’t believe him.” Livni also had criticism towards the Palestinian leadership. She said, “Sometimes, your partner is not much, and I have criticism against (Palestinian President) Abbas, who didn’t respond to the American outline.”

Meanwhile, Likud Minister Yuval Steinitz criticized the publication of the document, saying it was a “manipulation,” and “fabricated in the way it was presented,” noting neither Netanyahu nor Molcho agreed to the principles outlined. He said that the publication of this document was politically motivated to harm Netanyahu prior to the March 17 Israeli elections. He said, “The objective is to move votes from the Likud party to the religious Zionist nationalistic Jewish Home party as well as the ultra-Orthodox Shas party in order to help the Zionist camp party headed by Tzipi Livni and Isaac Herzog’s to win the March 17th elections.

Meanwhile, the Obama administration says that U.S. President Barack Obama wants to make a renewed effort to achieve progress in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process following the March 17 Israeli elections. The final decision on how to move forward, what sort of effort to make and when, will only be made after a new Israeli government has been formed. A senior Obama official said, “The United States would like to see the formation of the new government in Israel and its attitude toward the renewing peace talks. But in the year and a half to two years that Obama has left in the White House prior to the November, 2016 US elections, the United States will have to deal with the peace process because time is working against us.”

Further deterioration in ties between the Israeli government and the Palestinian leadership in recent months has senior administration officials very worried. The United States sees the situation as a growing crisis beginning with the blowup of the peace talks in March of last year, the deep diplomatic freeze, the war in Gaza last summer, the resolution that the Palestinians tried (unsuccessfully) to get through the UN Security Council, the Palestinians’ signing of the Rome Statute and joining of the International Criminal Court in The Hague, and the Israeli response of freezing the transfer of Palestinian tax funds. To all of these must be added the Palestinian Authority’s threats to file more complaints against Israel in the International Criminal Court beginning April 1, when its membership in the court becomes official, and the serious economic consequences in the PA as a result of Israel’s freezing of Palestinian tax payments takes a deeper toll on the Palestinian economy.

A senior White House official said the Obama administration is concerned over an economic collapse of the PA, which could happen within a few months if Israel does not release the tax money to the Palestinians. Such a collapse, the Americans believe, could lead to security chaos and even a violent outbreak. The senior official said, “The United States wants to find the right timing to go for another push and try and promote something on the Israeli-Palestinian issue.” The United States decision to take action will depend on the makeup and policy of the new Israeli government. The United States would prefer that there be a renewing of peace negotiations on a permanent status agreement. However, the Obama administration is aware that in view of the seriousness of the crisis in the peace process, this may not be very realistic.

As a result, the United Status is discussing various diplomatic moves to unfreeze the talks. One idea that has come up repeatedly in administration discussions over the past year is to present to the international community an updated American outline for a solution to the conflict. Such an outline could include the principles of the framework agreement that Kerry, Israel and the PA worked on at the end of 2013 and early 2014. The discussed framework agreement included clauses such as negotiations based on the 1967 borders with exchanges of territory, recognition of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people, Jerusalem as the capital of both states, security arrangements for Israel in the Jordan Valley and a timetable for the withdrawal of Israeli troops from the West Bank.

The original US intention was to publish the agreement and invite the Israeli and Palestinian teams to the United States to negotiate based on the document’s principles. Under this scenario, Abbas and Netanyahu would have had to decide to accept the US invitation to discuss the ideas of a US framework agreement or stay home. After long discussions about this approach, Kerry decided not to publish an outline of a US framework proposal, in the hope that he would be able to persuade Netanyahu and Abbas to extend talks without an American ultimatum. A former member of the American peace team said he believes that today Kerry regrets that decision.

Another possibility for an American initiative after the Israeli elections is to promote a UN Security Council resolution based on the American framework agreement, set principles for resolution of the conflict, and call for a renewal of talks. In this way, even if peace talks do not resume, a new source of international authority will have been determined for resolving the conflict that would not be based on Resolutions 242 and 338, on which talks have been based for the past 40 years.

Last September and October, when the Palestinians and Jordanians as well as the French were promoting two separate resolutions to set principles for resolving the conflict, the Obama administration considered formulating an American resolution. This resolution, in the view of the United States, would have been more balanced and the fact that the United States would have led it would have assured its passage at the US Security Council. In the end, under pressure from then-Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and former President Shimon Peres, who feared that such a move at the end of 2014 would strengthen Netanyahu in upcoming March 17th Israeli elections, the Americans did not propose a resolution. Once again, today both Kerry and Livni are said to regret not doing so.

In conclusion, depending upon the outcome of the March 17th Israeli elections and the formation of the new Israeli government, the United States will decide whether it should propose an outline of a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians which could be submitted for approval at the UN Security Council. If this scenario does happen, it could be the fulfillment of the prophecy that the nations will divide the land of Israel and the city of Jerusalem through formal recognition of a PLO state based upon 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital.

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

The link to these articles are as follows:

1) PLO leaders recommend that Palestinian Authority halt security coordination with Israel
2) Palestinian sources: Kerry pressing Abbas to hold off on anti-Israel measures before election
3) ‘Abbas won’t cut security ties with Israel before elections’
4) Netanyahu’s secret peace offer concessions to Palestinians revealed
5) ‘Netanyahu never agreed to ’67 borders or division of Jerusalem’
6) Netanyahu says his past support for Palestinian state ‘simply irrelevant’
7) Netanyahu says Israel won’t cede land to Palestinians, despite reports, docs claiming otherwise
8) Livni: PM’s response to document shows why US, Palestinians don’t trust him
9) Obama aims for another Mideast peace push by end of term, White House officials say

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 3, 2015: Weekly 5 minute update

Wednesday, March 4th, 2015

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 Speech before the US Congress on March 3

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke before the US Congress on March 3 explaining Israel’s opposition to a possible nuclear agreement with Iran by the major world powers. There is a link to both the written text and a video of this speech.

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

The link to these articles are as follows:

1) TEXT: Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Speech before the US Congress
2) VIDEO: Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Speech before the US Congress

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

February 24, 2015: Weekly 5 minute update

Tuesday, February 24th, 2015

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 dispute between the US and Israel over a possible nuclear deal with Iran and the controversy over Benjamin Netanyahu speaking before the US Congress against any possible agreement with Iran which allows them to become a threshold nuclear state

A recent report issued by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) stated that Iran is continuing to withhold key information in two areas from investigators that it stated last August that it would provide. In response, Israel Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, found it “astonishing” that Iran nuclear negotiations would continue after the IAEA found that Iran was hiding military components of its nuclear program saying, “Not only are they continuing (the talks), there is an increased effort to reach a nuclear agreement in the coming days and weeks. Therefore, the coming month is critical for the nuclear talks between Iran and the major powers because a framework agreement is liable to be signed that will allow Iran to develop the nuclear capabilities that threatens Israel’s existence.” Netanyahu added, “While the Islamic State butchers the innocent, the Islamic Republic of Iran is relentlessly pursuing nuclear weapons with the express purpose of destroying the State of Israel.” Netanyahu said that the deal being discussed between Iran and the major world powers is “dangerous” for Israel. Netanyahu stated that the proposed nuclear agreement being discussed between Iran and the major world powers gives Iran a “green light” to develop the capability to build a nuclear bomb. In doing so, the deal would “allow Iran to become a nuclear threshold state. As a result, Netanyahu said that he “… will go to the US next week in order to explain to the American Congress, which could influence the fate of the agreement, why this agreement is dangerous for Israel, the region and the entire world,” he said.

Netanyahu further explained why he intends to speak before the US Congress on March 3 by asking the question, “Why am I going to the United States?” He answered by saying, “I’m going to the United States because as Prime Minister of Israel, it’s my obligation to do everything in my power to prevent the conclusion of a bad deal that could threaten the survival of the State of Israel. The current proposal to Iran would endanger Israel. It would enable Iran to break out to its first nuclear device within an unacceptably short time. And it would allow Iran to build an industrial capability to enrich uranium that could provide the fuel for many bombs in the coming years.”

“A regime that openly calls for Israel’s destruction would thus have finally the means to realize its genocidal aims. Now mind you, I’m not opposed to any deal with Iran. I’m opposed to a bad deal with Iran. And I believe this is a very bad deal. I’m certainly not opposed to negotiations. On the contrary – no country has a greater interest, a greater stake, in the peaceful resolution of the Iranian nuclear question than does Israel. But the current proposal will not solve the problem. It will perpetuate and aggravate the problem. It would provide a path for Iran to become a nuclear power. And therefore it’s very important that I speak about this before the US Congress.”

Second question: Why am I going to the US Congress? Because Israel has been offered the opportunity to make its case on this crucial issue before the world’s most important parliament; because a speech before Congress allows Israel to present its position to the elected representatives of the American people and to a worldwide audience; because Congress has played a critical role in applying pressure to the Iranian regime – the very pressure that has brought the ayatollahs to the negotiating table in the first place; and because Congress may very well have a say on the parameters of any final deal with Iran. That’s why I’m going to Congress.

I think the real question that should be asked is how could any responsible Israeli prime minister refuse to speak to Congress on a matter so important to Israel’s survival? How could anyone refuse an invitation to speak on a matter that could affect our very existence when such an invitation is offered?

Why go now? The deadline for reaching an agreement with Iran is March 24th. That’s the date that drives the speech. Now is the time for Israel to make its case – now before it’s too late. Would it be better to complain about a deal that threatens the security of Israel after it’s signed? I believe it’s more responsible to speak out now to try to influence the negotiations while they’re still ongoing.

I think the whole point of Zionism is that the Jewish people would no longer be spectators to the decision-making that determines our fate. Remember, we were once powerless. We were once voiceless. We couldn’t even speak on our own behalf. Well, we can and we do now. The greatest danger facing humanity is the possibility that any movement or any regime of militant Islam will arm itself with the weapons of mass destruction. Everything that we see in our region now will pale by comparison. Everything that we see in Europe will pale by comparison’

The answer to all three questions are the same. Why Congress? Why Washington? Why now? Because of the grave dangers posed by the deal that is on the table right now. I don’t see this issue in partisan terms. The survival of Israel is not a partisan issue. It concerns everyone, all the supporters of Israel from every political stripe. The fight against militant Islamic terrorism is not a partisan issue. The battle against the Islamic State, which just beheaded 21 Christians, is not a partisan issue. And the effort to prevent the Islamic Republic from building nuclear weapons, that’s not a partisan issue either.

I think the pursuit of nuclear weapons by Iran is the most urgent security challenge facing the world. I think the greatest danger facing humanity is the possibility that any movement or any regime of militant Islam will arm itself with the weapons of mass destruction. Everything that we see in our region now will pale by comparison. Everything that we see in Europe will pale by comparison.

When a militant Islamic regime that is rampaging through the region right now – that’s what Iran is doing, it’s conducting a rampage through the region – when such a regime has nuclear weapons, the whole world will be in peril. Look at what Iran is doing now without nuclear weapons. States are collapsing. And Iran is plunging forward. It’s already controlling four capitals. It’s trying to envelope Israel with three terrorist tentacles – Lebanon, Hezbollah, Hamas in Gaza and now it’s trying to build with its Hezbollah proxies a third front in the Golan. Such a regime with nuclear weapons would be infinitely more dangerous to everyone, not only to Israel.

Now can I guarantee that my speech in Congress will prevent a dangerous deal with Iran from being signed? Honestly, I don’t know. No one knows. But I do know this – it’s my sacred duty as Prime Minister of Israel to make Israel’s case. On March 3rd, I’ll fulfill that duty, representing all the citizens of Israel before the two houses of Congress. And I will make the best case for Israel that I can, knowing that our case is just, that our case is sound, and that our case offers the best hope to resolve this issue peacefully.

Israel Defense Minister, Moshe Ya’alon called the details of a possible nuclear deal with Iran, “a great danger to the peace of the Western world” and “a danger to the security of the State of Israel.” The Associated Press reported that “several officials spoke of 6,500 centrifuges as a potential point of compromise” and that “the strict controls could be in place for 10 years with a gradual lifting over five years. The easing could bring the number of centrifuges back up to the current 10,000.” Israeli officials have long contended that the final stages of uranium enrichment, necessary for weapons grade fuel, can be done in small and easily concealable spaces, increasing the risk of a covert Iranian advance to full nuclear capacity.

The US admitted that they are purposely trying to keep some of the details of the negotiations away from Israel. US  State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said “not everything you’re hearing from the Israeli government is an accurate depiction of the talks.” For that reason, “classified negotiating details stay behind closed doors.” Obviously, we work to protect sensitive information in the negotiations,” Psaki said. Asked pointedly whether the US is withholding information from inside the talks from the Israelis, she said, “Correct.” Furthermore, European officials have confirmed that the United States asked them to not provide Israel with sensitive information regarding the nuclear negotiations with Iran. One European official said that they were told by the US State Department’s Wendy Sherman, the lead American negotiator with Iran, not to disclose too much information to the Israelis because “the details could be twisted to undermine a deal.”

The United States accused Israel of “selective sharing of information” in their public complaints over the diplomatic effort. Nevertheless, US officials say that they are continuing “routine and frequent” contact with the Israelis. Netanyahu responded by saying, “if the emerging agreement with Iran is a good one, why hide the details? The Iranians, of course, know the details of any nuclear proposal, and Israel does, too,” he said. “So when we say that the current proposal would lead to a bad deal, a dangerous deal, we know what we’re talking about. I’m open to hearing the positions and arguments of those who think differently and I would hope that they would be open to hear the arguments of Israel as well.” One Israeli official responded to the charge that Israel was giving “selective” information, by saying that “we see no way that allowing Iran to have 6,000 or 7,000 centrifuges can be okay, irrespective of other elements in the package.” The official added, “in the past we understood from the major players that the goal of the negotiation was that Iran would be kept years away from a nuclear breakout capacity.” Then, he said, that time period was changed to “more than a year. Now, what we understand is that today they are talking about a year,” he said. Asked how Israel could know the details of the accord if it is not been given all the information, the official said, “We cover Iran very closely.” An Israeli official added, “The details of the last round of negotiations are known in the US, France, England, Russia, China, Germany and Iran. It is perplexing that a decision would be made to try to keep those details a secret from Israel when Israel is threatened by Iran with annihilation and its very survival could be threatened by a bad deal.”

US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki questioned Netanyahu’s claim to knowing the details of the deal. “Then the fact is that he knows more than the negotiators, in that there is no deal yet,” she said. “Obviously, if there’s a deal we’ll be explaining the deal and explaining why and how it prevents Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. And if that’s the case and we come to a deal, it’s hard to see how anyone wouldn’t see that’s to the benefit of the international community,” she said. As a result, the fundamental differences in the Israeli and US positions on Iran, has led officials from both sides to indicate that the exchange of information and intelligence might not be as free as it was in the past in order to prevent one side or the other from using that information to further its Iranian agenda.

US Secretary of State, John Kerry, said: “I can’t state this more firmly, the policy is Iran will not get a nuclear weapon. Anyone running around right now, jumping to say we don’t like the deal, or this or that, doesn’t know what the deal is. There is no deal yet. I caution people to wait and see what these negotiations produce. Since 2013, we have been testing whether or not we can achieve that goal diplomatically. I don’t know yet. But it’s the most effective way to solve the problem and we will prove that over the course of these next weeks and months,” Kerry said. “The P5+1 talks have made inroads since the Joint Plan of Action. We’ve halted the progress of Iran’s nuclear program. We’ve gain unprecedented insight into it and we expect to know soon whether or not Iran is willing to put together an acceptable and verifiable plan,” he added. Iran and the major world powers have set a March 31 deadline for a political framework nuclear agreement.

As for the prospects of an agreement by the March 31 deadline, Kerry said that “significant gaps” remained and warned that the United States was ready to walk away from the talks if Iran doesn’t agree to terms demonstrating that it doesn’t want nuclear weapons. Kerry said that Obama “is fully prepared to stop these talks if he feels that they’re not being met with the kind of productive decision-making necessary to prove that a program is in fact peaceful.”

Arab nations have joined Israel in expressing concern over the emerging details of a possible US-led international nuclear deal with Iran. Leaders of Sunni Islamic states such as Egypt, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia also fear that a bad deal with Iran would allow it, with the removal of sanctions, to become a nuclear threshold state. An Arab officials said, “At this stage, we prefer a collapse of the diplomatic process to a bad deal.”

Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said that Iran would resist global sanctions imposed over its disputed nuclear program, saying that Iran might respond to international pressure by cutting back gas exports. “The enemy is using the lever of sanctions to the hilt and their goal is to stop our people’s progress,” Khamenei said. “I believe that if we allow them to dictate to us on the nuclear issue, they will still keep the sanctions in place because what they are against is the very foundation of our revolution. We can withstand the sanctions and neutralize and foil the enemy’s goals. If we don’t, the enemy would proceed and place conditions on our nuclear program and impose sanctions,” Khamenei said. “If sanctions are to be the way, the Iranian nation can also do it. A big collection of the world’s oil and gas is in Iran so Iran if necessary can hold back on the gas that Europe and the world is so dependent on.”

Disagreements between the US and Israel over the negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program has caused several Obama administration officials to say that they will be boycotting Netanyahu’s speech before a joint session of Congress on March 3. US Vice President, Joe Biden, has announced that he will not attend the speech. In addition, , US Secretary of State, John Kerry, will also be not attending the speech. Furthermore, the Obama administration is discussing other ways to show their displeasure over Netanyahu’s speech including, an Obama interview with a prominent journalist known for coverage of the rift between Obama and Netanyahu, multiple Sunday show television appearances by senior national security aides and a pointed snub of America’s leading pro-Israel lobby, AIPAC, which is holding its annual meeting while Netanyahu is in the United States, according to US officials.

However, leading Democratic Jewish Senator Charles Schumer called on his fellow Democrats to attend the Netanyahu’s speech to Congress on March 3 saying that the Israel-US relationship should “transcend” any political differences. “It’s always been a bipartisan policy,” Schumer said of the US-Israel relationship. “Democrats and Republicans have always worked together on it, we ought to keep it that way.” Furthermore, former Jewish Connecticut senator and Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Lieberman called on members of Congress to attend Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech about Iran’s nuclear program on March 3. Lieberman said that the 23 House of Representatives Democrats who asked House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) to postpone Netanyahu’s address should “go to the joint meeting [of Congress] and hear what the prime minister has to say. Go because this is about determining how best to stop Iran from getting nuclear weapons and not just another Washington test of partisan and political loyalty,” Lieberman wrote. “Go because—regardless of what you think of the leaders involved or their actions in this case—you are a strong supporter of America’s alliance with Israel, and you don’t want it to become a partisan matter.”

The strong disagreements between the US and Israel over Iran’s nuclear program is likely to have serious repercussions on the Israeli / Palestinian peace process especially if Israel Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, remains Israel Prime Minister after the March 17 Israeli elections. The US may be more willing to impose a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians through the UN Security Council. One option under active consideration is to make public the framework that US Secretary of State John Kerry developed during the talks to deal with such key issues as Israeli security, the status of Jerusalem and the rights of refugees. This might simply be announced publicly or introduced as a U.N. Security Council resolution outlining the details of a framework peace agreement which recognizes a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital.

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

The link to these articles are as follows:

1) PM slams ongoing Iran nuclear talks after damning IAEA report
2) Netanyahu: P5+1 giving Iran green light to have nuclear bomb-making capabilities
3) Benjamin Netanyahu on Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran: ‘This is a bad agreement’
4) US acknowledges withholding information from Israel on Iran talks
5) EU officials confirm Israel not fully briefed on Iran talks
6) Netanyahu: If emerging nuclear deal with Iran is so good, why hide it?
7) Netanyahu: Israel knows details of proposed U.S.-Iran deal
8) Netanyahu rebuffs report Israel kept in dark on nuke talks
9) US takes swipe at Netanyahu: Sounds like he knows more about Iran deal than negotiators
10) Kerry in apparent jab at Netanyahu: Those bad-mouthing Iran deal don’t know what deal is
11) Netanyahu explains: ‘Why Congress? Why Washington? Why now?’
12) Israel to US: Emerging nuclear deal allows Iran to dominate Middle East
13) Defense minister rips into deal with ‘apocalyptic’ Iran
14) Expert: ‘Bad Iran deal’ neglects weaponization
15) Washington Post: Obama Thinks Netanyahu Authorized Leaks on Iran
16) Looming Iran deal would restrict nuke activity for a decade, then ease off
17) US warns it is ready to walk away from Iran nuclear talks
18) Arab nations said deeply worried by Iran nuke deal
19) Khamenei threatens world gas supply, vows firm Iranian nuclear stand
20) Biden to skip Netanyahu’s speech before Congress
21) State Dept.: Kerry Will be ‘Out of Town’ During Netanyahu Speech
22) White House may snub AIPAC as it seeks to undercut Netanyahu speech
23) Jeb Bush ‘anxious to hear’ PM’s speech on Iran
24) Former Democratic Senator Joe Lieberman Supports Netanyahu’s Congress Speech
25) A perfect storm brews in the Middle East

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

February 17, 2015: Weekly 5 minute update

Tuesday, February 17th, 2015

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) A Biography of Benjamin Netanyahu, and how he became the current Prime Minister of Israel

This week’s update is a biography of Benjamin Netanyahu and how he rose in power to become the current Prime Minister of Israel.

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

The link to these articles are as follows:

1) A Biography of Israel Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu

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