Archive for November, 2012

November 24, 2012: Weekly 5 minute update (Audio Only)

Friday, November 23rd, 2012

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 Hamas / Israel conflict in the Gaza
2) The current status of the Israel / PLO peace process

Israel just concluded Operation Pillar of Defense against Hamas in the Gaza Strip. The operation lasted from November 14 – 21. It concluded with a truce agreement between Israel and Hamas brokered by Egypt with the influence of the United States.

The background leading up to the conflict between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip is as follows. According to a summary by the Israel Security Agency, 92 separate attacks against Israel by Hamas occurred in October, with a total 171 rockets and mortar shells fired against Israel. On 24 October, 80 rockets and mortars were fired from the Gaza Strip into southern Israel over a 24-hour period. On November 8, a smuggling tunnel exploded in southern Gaza near Israeli soldiers on the Israeli side of the fence as a group of Israeli soldiers were in the middle of an operation to uncover it. On 10 November, militants fired an anti-tank missile at an Israeli Jeep on routine patrol near Israel’s side of the border, wounding four soldiers, one of whom is in critical condition. On November 11, Hamas fired over 100 rockets into Israel over a 24-hour period. Hamas rockets fired into southern Israel caused the Color Red siren to sound in Ashdod, Ashkelon, Gan Yavne and surrounding areas causing Israelis within seven kilometers of the Gaza Strip to remain near protected areas. School was canceled in the affected areas. According to the Israeli government, Operation Pillar of Defense began in response to these three events.

Israel’s Ehud Barak said that the operation’s objectives were “strengthening Israel’s deterrence against Hamas, damaging Hamas’s rocket arsenal, damaging and hurting Hamas as an organization and minimizing injury to the Israeli civilians. The operation started on November 14 with the killing of Ahmed Jabari, top leader of the Gaza military wing of Hamas. During the operation,  Israel launched more than 1,450 air, tank, and naval strikes against targets in the Gaza Strip during the operation, including rocket launching pads, weapons depots, individual militants, and buildings of the Hamas regime. Hamas fired over 1,000 rockets against Israel.

The Palestinian militant groups fired over 1,456 Iranian Fajr-5, Russian Grad rockets, Qassams and mortars into Rishon LeZion, Beersheba, Ashdod, Ashkelon and other population centers; Tel Aviv was hit for the first time since the 1991 Gulf War, and rockets were aimed at Jerusalem. By 19 November, over 252 Israelis had been physically injured in rocket attacks and thirty more had been treated for acute stress reaction. Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system had intercepted about 409 rockets, another 142 rockets had fallen on Gaza itself. A bomb attack against a Tel Aviv bus that wounded over 20 civilians received the “blessing” of Hamas.

The United States, United Kingdom, Canada and other Western countries expressed support for Israel’s right to defend itself and condemned the Palestinian rocket attacks on Israel. The European Union’s position came in a statement from foreign ministers which represented the 27 European Union countries which stated the following:

“The European Union strongly condemns the rocket attacks on Israel from the Gaza Strip, which Hamas and other armed groups in Gaza must cease immediately. There can be no justification for the deliberate targeting of innocent civilians. Israel has the right to protect itself from these kind of attacks.” However, the European Union said that Israel only has the right to proportional self-defense.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague said: “Hamas bears principal responsibility for the current crisis. I utterly condemn rocket attacks from Gaza into southern Israel by Hamas and other armed groups. This creates an intolerable situation for Israeli civilians in southern Israel, who have the right to live without fear of attack from Gaza.”

President Barack Obama said: “The precipitating event here…that’s causing the current crisis…was an ever-escalating number of missiles; they were landing not just in Israeli territory, but in areas that are populated. And there’s no country on Earth that would tolerate missiles raining down on its citizens from outside its borders. So we are fully supportive of Israel’s right to defend itself from missiles landing on people’s homes and workplaces and potentially killing civilians. And we will continue to support Israel’s right to defend itself.”

Iran, Egypt, Turkey and several other Arab and Muslim countries condemned the Israeli operation.

The Israeli army says that out of 177 Palestinians were killed, 120 of them militants. The Israeli air force says that it took all possible measures to avoid harming Palestinian civilians, utilizing precision strikes and issuing preemptive warnings to Palestinian residents. The Israeli army disseminated warning leaflets instructing civilians to avoid areas used by Hamas for firing rockets and also phoned residents in warnings. Targets were deliberately missed on the first strike to allow the non-combatants to vacate the area and missions were aborted because of a civilian presence.

Four Israeli civilians and one soldier have been killed in Palestinian rocket attacks. Furthermore, over 250 Israelis were injured.

On 21 November, Mohamed Kamel Amr, the Egyptian Foreign Minister, and Hillary Clinton, the US Secretary of State, announced a ceasefire. According to the agreement, Israel and all Palestinian militant groups agreed to halt “all hostilities.” For the Palestinians, that means an end to Israeli airstrikes and assassinations of wanted militants. For Israel, it brings a halt to rocket fire and attempts at cross-border incursions from Gaza.

Egypt is the sponsor of the agreement and shall receive assurances of each party’s commitment to the agreed deal. The Gaza cease-fire deal elevated the role and status of Egyptian President Muhammad Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood to be a major player in the Middle East conflict between the Palestinians and Israel. The Arab Spring of 2011 has produced an alliance of Sunni Islamic states and movements, including Hamas, which Egypt plays a central role.

By elevating Egypt as a key player in the agreement, the Obama administration seems to be revealing their Mideast strategy that attempts to deal with the results of the Arab Spring. The current goal is to build a Sunni axis that will stand against the radical Shiite axis headed by Iran.

US Secretary of Defense, Hillary Clinton praised Morsi’s efforts by saying: “This is a critical moment for the region. Egypt’s new government is assuming the responsibility and leadership that has long made this country a cornerstone of regional stability and peace.”

Morsi is aligned with the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s most powerful political group and Hamas’ own parent organization. In ideology, the Brotherhood supports the use of force against Israel to liberate “Muslim lands.” Only two months ago, the Brotherhood’s supreme leader, Mohammed Badie, proclaimed that regaining Jerusalem can “only come through holy jihad.” The group opposes Egypt’s 1979 peace treaty with Israel.

Egypt’s task is to ensuring that militant rocket fire into Israel stops and that Israel allows the opening of the long-blockaded Gaza Strip and stops its own attacks against Hamas. However, during the fighting, Morsi and his aides sided openly with Hamas accusing Israel of starting the assault and condemning its bombardment. During the days of Operation Pillar of Defense, Hamas promised to “continue carrying the rifle…until the liberation of Palestine and the defeat of the occupation.

Morsi has established his position as a regional player and a partner of the US administration. Because of his role, he improves his chances of receiving billions from the West despite the fact that it has become Hamas’ sponsor, does not recognize Israel and refuses to speak with its government,

Can Morsi be trusted? On November 22, Morsi issued a domestic presidential decree on Egyptian state television stating that any challenges to his decrees, laws and decisions were banned. In response, a prominent Egyptian opposition leader called Morsi a “new pharaoh”.

The natural relations between Israel and the Sunni Islamist bloc are of conflict. For now, it is only working because of Israeli military superiority and Egypt is economically dependent on Western aid mostly from the United States and thus the US has influence over Egypt regarding the matter.

After the ceasefire was announced, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared that Operation Pillar of Defense had been successful and thanked US President Obama for his “unwavering support for Israel’s right to defend itself.” Netanyahu added that Israel and the US will cooperate to stop the smuggling of weapons from Iran into the Gaza strip.

However, Netanyahu also warned that “we are ready to act should the quiet be violated.” He went on to say: “Now we are giving the cease-fire a chance. This is right thing to do for the State of Israel at this time but we are also prepared for the possibility that the cease-fire will not be upheld and we will know how to act if need be. The point is how to prevent Hamas from re-arming. If they re-arm, they will take risks. If they have weapons, they will use them.”

Netanyahu discussed this matter with US President Barack Obama and together they decided that Israel and the USA “would work together to fight the smuggling of weapons to the terror organizations – weapons, virtually all of which come from Iran.”

Netanyahu agreed to a ceasefire on Nov. 21, after President Barack Obama personally pledged to start deploying US troops in the Egyptian Sinai next week. Obama’s pledge addressed Israel’s primary concern of the conflict which is the total stoppage of the flow of Iranian arms and missiles to Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Israel Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz said that Operation Pillar of Defense achieved of its objectives explaining that Israel attacked “everything that moves in the Strip,” referring to “terror infrastructure, tunnels… weapons caches, launching sites and strategic facilities.”

Israel Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said that despite the government’s decision to agree to a cease-fire, Israel would “eventually need to overthrow the Hamas regime” in Gaza. He said that a ground operation in the Gaza would entail reoccupying the Gaza Strip, and partaking in such an effort only two months before Israeli elections on January 22 was the wrong move and that the occupation of Gaza and the overthrow of Hamas is a process that would take more than four months.”

In the face of this US-Israel-Egyptian understanding, Hamas cannot credibly claim to have won guarantees to force Israel to end the Gaza blockade. Instead, Gaza’s Hamas rulers will be forced to watch as US troops in Sinai, just across its border, break up the smuggling of weapons intended for the Gaza Strip.

Hamas reacted to the Egyptian-brokered cease-fire agreement by declaring “victory” over Israel. Ahmed Bahr, a senior Hamas official, welcomed the cease-fire agreement.

“The resistance groups have achieved a historic victory and paved the way for the battle of liberating Palestine,” he said.

Hamas chief Khaled Meshaal said that Israel had “failed in all its goals.” He also said, “I would like to thank Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi… Egypt acted responsibly and understood the demands of the resistance and the Palestinian people.”

Regarding the peace process, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas rejected US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s request to refrain from asking the UN to upgrade the status of a Palestinian state to become a non-member state. Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said:

“President Abbas told Clinton that we have made a decision to go to the UN General Assembly. The Palestinians are not interested in a confrontation with the US or any other country. We are practicing our right to establish a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders, with east Jerusalem as its capital. This will happen on November 29.”

The fighting between Hamas and Israel in the Gaza Strip is most likely going to cause Mahmood Abbas to have a greater desire to bring the Palestinian request to be recognized at the UN General Assembly as a state based upon 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital wanting to make himself and the PA more relevant after being overshadowed by Hamas during the eight-day crisis with Israel.

In an interview with CNN, Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal said “I accept a Palestinian state according to the 1967 borders, with Jerusalem as the capital, with a Palestinian right of return.” Pushed about his party’s refusal to recognize Israel, Mashaal said such a declaration could only be made once a Palestinian state has been created.

While opposing a Palestinian bid at the UN General Assembly, the US is urging Israel to not allow construction in the area known as E-1 which is located between Jerusalem and Ma’aleh Adumim as a possible response to the Palestinian bid for statehood recognition on November 29.

Finally, France indicated that they would support a Palestinian bid for recognition of a Palestinian state at the UN on November 29. If this reports proves accurate, how will this influence other EU states ? How will this influence the position of the United States and Britain after the vote is taken? Will this cause Obama to support a PLO state at the United Nations Security Council after November 29 ?

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

The link to these articles are as follows:

1) Wikipedia Encyclopedia: Operation Pillar of Defense
2) Gaza Smuggling Tunnel Explodes During IDF Operation
3) Gaza: Anti-tank missile hits IDF jeep; 4 soldiers injured
4) Gaza groups pound Israel with over 100 rockets
5) Israel hammers Hamas in Gaza offensive
6) Wider offensive and possible ground operation on the table, as cabinet okays reserves call-up
7) EU: Israel has right to proportional self-defense
8) Israel and Hamas Agree to Gaza Peace Deal
9) Gaza deal seals major role for Egypt’s president
10) Gaza confrontation showcases new Sunni bloc
11) The Sunni axis
12) Egypt’s Morsi: statesman abroad, a ‘pharaoh’ at home?
13) PM Netanyahu threatens action if truce fails
14) Obama’s pledge of US troops to Sinai next week won Israel’s nod for ceasefire
15) Gantz says IDF attacked all possible terror targets
16) FM: Israel will eventually need to overthrow Hamas
17) Hamas says ‘Israel failed in its goals’, thanks Iran
18) Hamas declares ‘victory’ after cease-fire
19) Abbas to Clinton: UN statehood bid to move forward
20) Mashaal: I accept a Palestinian state on ’67 borders
21) After Gaza, focus turns to Palestinian bid at UN
22) France indicates support for Palestinian UN vote

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

November 17, 2012: Weekly 5 minute update (Audio Only)

Thursday, November 15th, 2012

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 / PLO peace process and Hamas / Israel at war in the Gaza
2) The current situation with Iran

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said that he is planning to ask the UN General Assembly to upgrade the status of a Palestinian state at the UN from an observer to non-member on November 29.  Palestinian spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeina said that Abbas will attend the UN General Assembly session on November 29 for the vote. The decision was made after consulting with Arab League foreign ministers in Egypt and speaking in Saudi Arabia with King Abdullah. Abbas said that Arab ministers pledged to support the Palestinian statehood bid and Egypt was working to convince other countries to vote in favor of the resolution. The date in question – November 29 – has dual significance: On November 29, 1947, the UN voted to accept the Partition Plan for Palestine; and in 1977, the UN General Assembly named Nov. 29 the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.

Abbas said, “The Palestinian appeal to the UN is meant to make us a non-member state thereby upgrading our status from that of ‘disputed territory’ – which is how we are widely perceived by Israel – to that of an occupied state.” He also said that the move was aimed at salvaging the two-state solution and “confronting [Israel’s] settlement onslaught.”

The Palestinians need a majority vote from the current 193-members of the UN.  The Palestinians already have majority support for the resolution as 132 nations diplomatically recognize a PLO state based upon 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital. However, they feel their efforts would carry more weight if European and other Western nations support them.

“We are under pressure from several parties to make us backtrack on this right,” Abbas said. “But we will not backtrack. We are going in November 2012.”

US President Barack Obama told Abbas in a telephone conversation that his administration opposes the Palestinian UN initiative. The US did not release any press release about the content of the phone conversation but Palestinian officials said that Obama’s tone was not aggressive but normal.

Palestinian chief negotiator Saab Erakat said: “Obama did not utter any threats but there are threats from the Congress, which has a draft bill, according to which it would demand closing the PLO office in Washington and cutting off aid if the Palestinian leadership pursues any move at the UN and its related agencies.”

Abbas told Obama that the Palestinians were intent on seeking a Palestinian upgrade at the United Nations despite American objections because “The train has left the station”.

European and Arab foreign ministers met but failed to jointly endorse the unilateral Palestinian statehood bid at the United Nations during a meeting in Egypt calling instead for a negotiated two-state solution. But when it came to talking about obstacles to the peace process, the European and Arab ministers blamed only the West Bank settlements and Israel’s security barrier. In the Cairo Declaration, the EU and Arab League ministers called for the “removal of all obstacles that prevent an immediate resumption of negotiations between the parties as well as the resolution of all issues related [to] achieving a solution of two states living side-by-side in peace and security.” However, the portion of the declaration addressing the Israeli- Palestinian conflict spoke only of Israeli actions as obstacles to peace stating:

“The ministers stressed their common position that Israeli settlements and the separation barrier built anywhere in the occupied Palestinian territory are illegal under international law and constitute an obstacle to peace.”

The Palestinians believe 12 EU countries could support their UN bid. In private discussion it was learned that five EU nations openly support the Palestinians UN bid. In addition, seven other EU countries expressed intent to vote for the proposal. Although the EU would like to reach a common position among its 27 member states, this is unlikely to happen.

Referring to the US and other countries that are opposed to the unilateral statehood bid, Abbas said: “We want to ask all those who have endorsed the Israeli stance: Aren’t you opposed to settlements? Didn’t you vote in the Security Council and General Assembly against Israel’s decision to annex Jerusalem? Didn’t the UN vote in favor of resolution 194 which guarantees the right of return of refugees to their homes? Didn’t you support the two-state solution and ending occupation, which began in 1967?”

China said it would vote in favor. A Chinese official said:

“China always supports the Palestinian people’s just cause of recovering their national and legitimate rights and interests, and will always hold that independent statehood is the lawful right of Palestinian people, and also the basis for a two-state solution.”

Israel has threatened to take retaliatory measures against the PA should it make good on their pledge to head to the UN. Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz has threatened economic sanctions including withholding taxes which Israel collects for the Palestinians on a monthly basis. Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman suggested removing Abbas from power if he refuses to drop the Palestinian bid for UN recognition. He is also considering a draft document proposing Israel offer the Palestinians partial statehood in exchange for the Palestinians ending their UN bid. The plan would give the Palestinians sovereignty over about half the West Bank with the final borders to be negotiated. Furthermore, Israel instructed its ambassadors to warn that Israel may revoke all or part of the 1993 Oslo Accords between Israel and the PLO which set up the Palestinian Authority under an interim peace agreement if the Palestinian bid at the UN was successful.

A Palestinian spokesman said: “We disapprove of the talk about sanctions. It is shameful to talk about sanctions. This is the first step toward political independence and the establishment of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital.”

Abbas said: “Our hearts are open to the Americans and Israelis. We have told them that when we obtain the status of non-member in the UN, we would be willing to resume Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations to talk about the core issues of the conflict.” Abbas also reiterated his commitment to the “right of return” for Palestinian refugees to their former homes inside Israel on the basis of UN resolution 194.

In retaliation for Hamas launching hundreds of into Southern Israel, Israel launched a major offensive against Palestinian militants by killing the military commander of Hamas in an air strike. He was caught driving in a black Mercedes in Gaza City. Within minutes of the death of Ahmed Al-Jaabari, big explosions shook Gaza as the Israeli air force further struck selected military targets. In the attack, Israel eliminated the majority of Hamas’s medium-range Fajr-5 rockets which have the capacity to reach Tel Aviv and dozens of Hamas’s medium range (up to 40km) underground rocket launch and infrastructure sites in the air strikes. Such a strike requires enormous amounts of accurate intelligence, painstakingly assembled and verified, since organizations like Hamas and Hezbollah hide their strategic weapons amid the civilian population. The Hamas internal security headquarters in southern Gaza was also destroyed.

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced the onset of a broad aerial and naval bombardment of Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip that the Israeli military was ready to widen its operations until its objectives were reached. Israel Defense Minister Ehud Barak noted that Operation Pillar of Defense would not be completed in “one fell swoop,” but that the objectives would be attained in due time. Barak said that the operation’s objectives were “strengthening deterrence, damaging the rocket arsenal, damaging and hurting Hamas and minimizing injury to the civilians on the homefront of the State of Israel.”

After confirming the death of Ahmed Jabari, commander of Hamas’s military arm, Hamas announced: We are now at war with Israel.  Hamas has announced a general call-up and threatened to respond not just with rockets but suicide attacks within Israel.

Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi recalled his ambassador from Tel Aviv and decided to call a UN Security Council session to stop “Israeli aggression.”

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

The link to these articles are as follows:

1) Abbas rebuffs pressure on UN upgrade plan
2) Abbas tells Obama he’s intent on UN status bid
3) Rejecting Obama’s Request, Abbas Presses Ahead With U.N. ‘Palestine’ Application
4) Palestinian UN bid to proceed despite US plea
5) ‘Abbas confirms statehood bid to Arab League chief’
6) Palestinian UN bid by Nov 29: Palestinian negotiator
7) Abbas Confirms Palestinian U.N. Bid on November 29
8) PA president: Statehood bid to go forward Nov. 29
9) Abbas confirms Palestinian U.N. bid on November 29 despite U.S. disapproval
10) PA to present UN bid on Nov. 29
11) Text of the draft UNGA resolution for Palestinian Arab non-member statehood
12) Israel mulls recognizing Palestinian state
13) FM threatens to overthrow Abbas, cancel Oslo Accords if Palestinians go ahead with UN statehood bid
14) PA misses EU-Arab League endorsement of UN bid
15) Palestinians: 12 EU nations to support our UN bid
16) China reaffirms support for Palestinian UN bid
17) Israel launches Gaza offensive, kills Hamas commander
18) A stunning initial success for the IDF. Now what?
19) Wider offensive and possible ground operation on the table, as cabinet okays reserves call-up
20) Israel air strikes continue after death of Hamas military chief Ahmed Jabari. Hamas: It’s war
21) Egypt recalls envoy over IAF air strikes. Iron Dome hits 17 out of 50 missiles

In his first press conference since winning reelection, President Barack Obama said that he would “make a push” in the near future for talks with Iran on its nuclear program. He said:

“I will try to make a push in the coming months to see if we can open up a dialogue with Iran. There is still a window of time for us to resolve this diplomatically,” which he said was his preferred option. But he stressed, “We’re not going to let Iran get a nuclear weapon.”

Obama said tough economic sanctions imposed by Western nations were hurting Iran’s economy and he believed Iranians could find a way to use nuclear energy peacefully while assuring the world that it is not trying to build a weapon.

In another sign diplomacy between Iran and major powers may be poised to resume, diplomats in Washington said officials from five major world powers and Germany planned to meet next week, possibly in Brussels, to chart strategy for a new round of talks with Iran. The diplomats, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that Britain, China, France, Russia, the United States and Germany – a group collectively known as the P5+1 – planned to send their foreign ministry political directors to the talks.

In October, diplomats had said they were considering asking Iran for stricter limits on its nuclear program in exchange for an easing of sanctions in a long-shot approach aimed at yielding a solution that has eluded them for more than a decade. One option could be for each side to put more on the table – both in terms of demands and possible rewards – than in previous meetings in a bid to break the stalemate despite deep skepticism about the chances of a breakthrough any time soon.

The UN International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is expected to submit its next quarterly Iran report to member states soon. The report is expected to show a defiant Iran pressing ahead with expanding its controversial nuclear program, despite harsh Western sanctions targeting its vital oil sector, and continuing to sanitize a military site the IAEA wants to visit.

A war with Iran (Medes) and the USA (Babylon) (Isaiah 13) is a tribulation event.

The link to this article is as follows:

1) Obama to push for diplomacy with Iran

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

November 10, 2012: Weekly 5 minute update (Audio Only)

Friday, November 9th, 2012

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 Israel perspective of the results of the US Election
2) The current status of the Israel / PLO peace process

The relationship between US President Barack Obama and Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been rocky over the past 4 years. At the beginning of Netanyahu’s term, Obama pressured him into making a speech to publicly accept a PLO state. In the June 2009 speech, Netanyahu embraced a demilitarized PLO state that takes into account Israel’s security needs. In November 2009, Obama pressured Netanyahu to impose a ten month settlement freeze of Jewish building in the West Bank. When Netanyahu refused to extend the settlement freeze, the relationship between Obama and Netanyahu regarding the peace process began to deteriorate. In a visit to see Obama in the US in March 2010, Obama snubbed Netanyahu over a planned dinner engagement. At that time, Obama presented Netanyahu with a list of 13 demands intended to build Palestinian confidence to resume the peace talks. This list included a US demand that Israel freeze building Jewish homes in East Jerusalem. Netanyahu refused to accept them. As a result, in May 2011, Obama revealed that he expected that the end result of the peace process was a PLO state based upon 1967 borders with agreed land swaps. This announcement outraged the Jewish world in the US and Israel and Obama was beginning to be perceived in the Jewish world as anti-Israel. Concerned about his reelection that was only 18 months away, Obama began the process of damage control. He quit pushing Netanyahu on major issues on the peace process only calling for direct peace negotiations to resume. Because Israel would not agree to freeze building Jewish homes in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, the Palestinians refused to engage in direct peace negotiations. The PLO decided they wanted the borders of a PLO state to be imposed at the UN Security Council. They made this request before the UN Security Council in September 2011.  Still not wanting to upset his prospects for reelection, Obama threatened to veto the request at the UN. However, the relationship between Obama and Netanyahu remained cold. In the midst of the US election season, Obama refused to meet with Netanyahu when he came to the USA this past September. When a strong Jewish political financial supportr of Benjamin Netanyahu also became a large financial supporter of Republican nominee Mitt Romney’s political campaign, speculation abounded that Netanyahu was trying to influence the US elections by supporting Romney. However, Netanyahu never went public with his private views.

While in his heart, Netanyahu may have preferred Romney over Obama, for all practical purposes Netanyahu’s views were never clearly represented or asserted in the US Presidential campaign. However, Obama’s behavior regarding the peace process over the past 4 years and the pressure that he imposed upon Netanyahu regarding it, it would be reasonable that there would be deep concern within the Israeli government whether Obama would impose his views of the peace process upon Israel if he got reelected for another 4 years as “the handwriting was on the wall” as it seemed that Obama viewed Israel as more of a burden in the Middle East rather than a strategic asset to the USA because during his term Obama actively supported Egypt, Libya, Yemen and Syria in their countries efforts to bring the Muslim Brotherhood to power in replacing the existing Arab leaders in these countries. The Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt has clearly stated that they want to establish a Sunni-Islamic Caliphate under Sharia Law with Jerusalem as its capital.

Initially, several members of Netanyahu’s Likud political party expressed disappointment and regret that Obama got reelected.  One Likud lawmaker said that “Obama is not good for Israel and we’re concerned that he will try to pressure Israel into making concessions because of his chilly relationship with Netanyahu.” Knesset Member Danny Danon from Netanyahu’s Likud party said that Obama cannot be trusted. He went on to say, ” “The State of Israel will not surrender to Obama. We have no one to rely on but ourselves.”  Not wanting officials of the government of Israel to speak negatively about the reelection of Obama and what it means to the future of Israel,  Netanyahu ordered all of his party’s ministers and Knesset members to avoid commenting on Obama’s re-election without coordinating their statements with his office. Netanyahu officially made positive comments about Obama’s re-election by saying that “the strategic alliance between Israel and the United States is stronger than ever.” and he will “continue working with President Obama in order to safeguard the interests crucial for the security of Israel’s citizens.” Defense Minister Ehud Barak congratulated Obama, and expressed confidence that the basis of the US relationship is support for the Jewish state’s security. “I have no doubt that the Obama government will continue with its policy that is based on support for the security of Israel, and which strives to cope with the challenges the region places in front of all of us, while striving for progress in the peace process,” Barak said. Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman expressed optimism that Obama’s election victory would usher in four years of bilateral cooperation and friendship. “Together with President Obama we will continue to promote and safeguard the robust friendship between our countries and nations, which is based on shared values,” he said. “We will continue to act together with the US for the strengthening of the State of Israel and for protecting its vital strategic interests.”

Meanwhile, a senior Palestinian Authority negotiator sad that Obama would work to isolate Netanyahu and impose a solution to the peace process upon Israel. In converstation with WND, it was revealed that Obama will use his second term to target Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as the main party to blame for the collapse of Mideast peace talks. The negotiator further claimed that Obama quietly pledged to the Palestinians a campaign at the United Nations to renew U.N. Security Council Resolution 242, which calls for a Palestinian state to be established in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and eastern Jerusalem. The negotiator further said Obama had promised the PA that the establishment of a Palestinian state will be one of the main priorities for a second term.

PA President Mahmoud Abbas congratulated Obama on his victory in the election and praised him for his efforts to boost the peace process. In his letter to Obama, Abbas said that he was prepared to work with the Americans to achieve a two-state solution and mutual respect between Palestinians and Israelis. Chief PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat also welcomed the results of the election and voiced hope that the US administration would support the Palestinians’ attempt to obtain the status of non-member state in the UN later this month. “Obama must stop the policy of settlements and other Israeli violations and not the Palestinian bid at the UN,” Erekat said.

Tensions over Israel building Jewish homes in East Jerusalem increased as on US election day, Israel announced plans to build more than a thousand new housing units in East Jerusalem and in the West Bank city of Ariel. Britain and EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton strongly condemned the Israeli initiative. British Foreign Office Minister Alistair Burt said, “I condemn Israel’s provocative decision to advance settlement construction in East Jerusalem and the West Bank through the publication of tenders for 1,285 new settlement housing units. The UK has been consistently clear that Israeli settlements are illegal under international law, and by altering the situation on the ground are making the two state solution, with Jerusalem as a shared capital, increasingly hard to realize.”  Ashton made a similar comment by saying, “Settlements are illegal under international law and threaten to make a two-state solution impossible.”

So the question remains will the US and EU countries translate their view that East Jerusalem is a settlement and it is illegal under international law for Jews to live there by supporting the Palestiian desire to present before the UN General Assembly a resolution recognizing a PLO state based upon 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as it capital as the Palestinians have stated their intention to do so sometime this month. When Abbas said that Israel should be supported of this request, Israel President Shimon Peres supported it but Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected it. Netanyahu has insisted that Jerusalem remain Israel’s united capital and that a final-status agreement should take into account Jewish settlement blocs. Netanyahu has argued that the issue of borders should not be predetermined and that this is one of the subjects to be negotiated. Netanyahu maintains that he is willing to have direct peace talks with Abbas immediately without preconditions.  Netanyahu’s office released a statement saying, “Abbas has refused for four years now to renew the negotiations with Israel, and this despite a whole series of steps that Prime Minister Netanyahu has taken to allow for the resumption of talks, including the unprecedented settlement freeze [of housing starts for 10 months that ended in September 2010] in Judea and Samaria,” it said.

In an interview with Israel’s Channel 2, Abbas said, that was needed to restart the negotiations was for Netanyahu to accept a two-state solution on the ’67 lines. “He do it now and tomorrow I will go and sit with him,” Abbas said. Abbas said that no Jews have the right to live in the West Bank or East Jerusalem by explaining, ” This is occupied territory, you do not have a right to send any of your citizens to live there.”

Abbas said that the PA was going to the United Nations this month to ask to upgrade its status to that of a non-member state. Israel defense minister Ehud Barak said Israel and the US must work together to delay a Palestinian unilateral statehood moves at the UN until after the Israeli elections to be held on January 22, 2013. Barak said, “We have a joint interest, ours and theirs, to delay the Palestinian UN bid for nonmember state.” The Obama administration and the European Union are also pushing Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to postpone his UN status upgrade bid. Reports suggest that Norway has drafted a General Assembly resolution proposing that the PA receive non-member state status in exchange for pledging to immediately resume peace talks. Norway hopes to secure the support of all 27 members of the European Union but it appears that not all European nations agree on the matter.

One of the arguments being used in talks with the Palestinians by the US and EU is that launching such a move before the Israeli elections will play into the hands of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, put an end to efforts to restart peace talks and weaken leftist and centrist forces. Western diplomats fear that the Israeli elections will result in a tougher Israeli response to the Palestinian UN bid going as far as to suggest that Israel might annex territories, annul the Oslo Accords and adopt the Levy report. Israeli officials estimate that despite US and European pressure, the Palestinians are determined to take their bid to the UN either on November 15 – the day Arafat declared independence in 1988 or on November 29 – the day the UN voted in favor of the Partition Plan and the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.

However, senior Palestianian officials are saying that they will press ahead with a bid to upgrade their status at the United Nations despite expressed opposition by Israel, the US and the EU. In a meeting with Middle East Quartet representative Tony Blair, US consul Michael Ratney and French consul Frédéric Desagneaux, PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat said Palestine’s request for non-member statehood of the UN did not contradict the two-state solution, Erekat told the international envoys that Israel’s settlement building violates the principle of two states, international law and signed agreements.  In response, Tony Blair, echoed the importance of resumed peace talks, but was not as clear about his positions regarding the Palestinians’ UN bid. Blair declined to endorse or condemn the PLO’s UN initiative but warned against hasty reactions by Israel if the UN bid was approved at the General Assembly. Blair said: “We have to understand the position the Palestinians find themselves in. It is all about the credibility of the steps towards statehood. It is very much in our interests to offer them a way forward that allows us one way or another to get back to the negotiating table.”  Blair added, “I don’t think there has been any change in President Obama’s view, which is that it is in the strategic interest of the United States and the world that a resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian issue is found.”

Meanwhile, Netanyahu appealed to Blair saying, “I have a constant suggestion which I renew today – I said it two days ago, I’m saying it again today. I think the best thing to do is to sit down together, negotiate without preconditions, avoid unilateral actions in the UN and try to get on with peace. That’s my suggestion to President Abbas, I hope you can help me with this.” Abbas has said he would only talk with Israel once it recognizes a Palestinian state at the pre-1967 lines or after the UN General Assembly approves that language as part of an upgrade in the Palestinian status to non-member state.

Based upon their intentions to go forward with a resolution before the UN General Assembly, the Palestinians began circulating a draft proposal of their UN bid before UN member states. The draft, detailing the PA’s request to have its status upgraded from “observer” to “non-member state,” was sent to the UN General Assembly’s 193 members, as soon as the results of the US presidential election became clear. Nevertheless, at this point the bid has not been filed with the UN Secretariat – which would be the one to introduce it to the General Assembly’s schedule for a vote. Palestinian Observer to the UN Riyad Mansour said that the PA has yet to decide on the final date for the proposal. The Palestinians are strongly considering  November 15 or November 29 as its goal dates for the vote; but according to Mansour, the PA is only “floating the idea” among UN members for now, to see their reaction to the proposal. The Palestinians said that a final decision on the UN bid will be made after the Arab League summit set on the issue scheduled for Wednesday, November 14.

If a vote is made at the UN General Assembly, it is widely accepted that it will pass. It only requires an approval by the majority and already about 120 countries of the world diplomatically accept a PLO state. Abbas Zaki, a member of the Fatah Central Committee said that the 1993 Oslo Accords between the PLO and Israel will cease to exist the day after the UN votes in favor of upgrading the status of a Palestinian state to non-member. Zaki said that once the status of a Palestinian state is upgraded, the Palestinians would be able to pursue Israel for “war crimes” in the International Criminal Court. Saleh Ra’fat, member of the PLO Executive Committee, warned that the PA leadership would abrogate economic and security agreements with Israel if the Israeli government imposed sanctions on the Palestinians in response to the statehood bid. The PLO official said that the PA was planning to call for international conference for peace in Russia after the UN vote.

The Arab League chief says the time is right for the Palestinians to have their U.N. membership upgraded. A representative of the Arab League said, “It’s time for Palestine to be member states at the U.N.” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov met with Mahmud Abbas over the issue. “Russia has always stood behind Palestine’s statehood and they will vote for the resolution,” he said, standing next to Lavrov.

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

The link to these articles are as follows:

1) Israel on the roulette table
2) PM to ministers: Don’t talk about Obama
3) Netanyahu: I’ll continue working with Obama
4) Netanyahu: Israel-US alliance ‘stronger than ever’
5) Claim: Obama to target Netanyahu in 2nd term
6) Abbas, Erekat hope Obama will push for peace
7) Europe condemns plans to build in East Jerusalem and Ariel
8) EU’s Ashton ‘deeply regrets’ new settlement building
9) Peres lauds Abbas’s negotiations plea, PM rejects it
10) Barak: Palestinian UN bid must be delayed
11) US, EU urge Abbas to postpone UN bid
12) Arab League chief says time is right for upgraded Palestinian membership at UN
13) Russia’s Lavrov discusses UN bid with Abbas
14) Palestinians reject PM’s call to drop UN initiative
15) Palestinians circulate draft UN bill, embarking on first step toward enhanced status
16) PA circulates status upgrade draft at UN

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

November 3, 2012: Weekly 5 minute update (Audio Only)

Thursday, November 1st, 2012

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 / PLO peace process
2) The prospects for war with Syria and Iran
3) The prospects for a political union within the Eurozone

Palestinian foreign minister Riyad al-Malki said that November 15 or 29 were possible dates for submission of a Palestinian bid to the United Nations General Assembly for recognition of a Palestinian state based upon 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital. If approved, the Palestinians would have their status upgraded at the UN to be a non-member state. “Our status at the UN will be upgraded from a mission to a non-state member in a preliminary step to obtaining full membership after a debate in the UN Security Council that will certainly be reopened after November,” Malki said. November 15, 1988 was the date that former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat issued the declaration of Palestinian independence during a meeting of the Palestinian National Council in Algiers. November 29 was the date in 1947 when the UN General Assembly voted to establish a Jewish state, an Arab state and make Jerusalem an international city. It is also the date that the UN celebrates as the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian people.  “It is still premature to give a specific date,” Malki told the official Voice of Palestine radio, saying that consultations with regional groups at the United Nations, including European countries, needed to be completed before the resolution on obtaining the rank of a non-member state could be drafted. I can assure you that November is going to be a crucial month in Palestinian history,” Malki said.

Palestinians have begun a diplomatic blitz among the nations of the world in trying to seek a strong majority in the proposed vote at the UN General Assembly to upgrade their status at the UN to be a non-member state. They Palestinians only need a majority of nations to vote in favor of the resolution in order for it to pass. Therefore, the need about 97 ‘yes’ votes. Palestinian officials say that they can count on around 115 ‘yes’ votes, mostly from Arab, African, Latin American, and Asian states, and expect around 22 no-votes, led by the United States, and 56 abstentions in the 193-member organization. The Palestinians believe that they can get 12 to 15 ‘yes’ votes from the 27 nations within the European Union.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said that he would be ready for negotiations with Israel “straightaway” if the UN recognized Palestine as a non-member state. “We have resolved to go to the UN to save the two-state solution and to achieve the rights of our people as an observer state. Going to the UN is not a substitute for negotiations. We are in need of negotiations to solve the final status of issues that face us both,” he said.

Chief PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat said that the Palestinians must be prepared for the possibility that the US and Israel may impose severe economic restrictions on the Palestinian Authority the day after the UN upgrades the status of a Palestinian state to non-member.  Erekat said he expected the US Congress and the US Administration to take a number of “retaliatory” measures in response to the Palestinian statehood bid, such as freezing financial aid to the PA, closing the PLO mission’s office in the USA and exerting pressure on governments worldwide to dissuade them from supporting the statehood bid at the UN. Erekat said he also expected the Americans to suspend funds to a number of UN agencies and organizations, first and foremost the United Nations relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees [UNRWA].

As for Israel’s expected response, Erekat said that the Israeli government may carry out its threat to unilaterally withdraw from some areas in the West Bank, freeze tax revenues belonging to the PA, instigating a “security deterioration” on the ground and imposing restrictions on the private sector and in particular and the Palestinian economy in general. Erekat said he expected Israel to also annex the Jordan valley, expand settlements and walk away from the Oslo Accords that were signed with the PLO in 1993.

Meanwhile, the PLO published a “position paper” explaining its motives behind the renewed statehood bid.

The paper said that the PLO “seeks to enhance Palestine’s status to that of an Observer State, as a significant step towards fulfilling the Palestinian people’s natural, historical, and legal rights to self-determination and independence.” According to the PLO, “This step is a continuation of the standing Palestinian application for membership at the United Nations, which was lodged on 23 September 2011.

“Together with the international community, Palestine believes that the status quo of political deadlock, while occupation, colonization and apartheid policies become further entrenched, is neither acceptable nor sustainable. The Palestinian initiative intends to protect the prospects of peace and accelerate its realization. This step reaffirms and protects the internationally-endorsed two-state solution. It is anchored in relevant United Nations resolutions, including General Assembly resolutions 181 and 194, and international law.”

The PLO paper added that “according to international law, self-determination is a universally recognized inalienable right that is not subject to negotiation. Independence has never been a final status issue and statehood has never been negotiated bilaterally.

The right of peoples to self-determination is non-negotiable and the Palestinian people will thus never negotiate this right or subject it to Israel’s whims. Enhancing Palestine’s status at the UN is a step towards justice and will be an affirmation of the international community’s commitment to the universal values of human rights, as embodied in the United Nations Charter.”

The PLO explained that the Palestinian “initiative seeks to end occupation and realize the establishment of the State of Palestine; it does not seek to delegitimize or isolate Israel. Rather, this step seeks to delegitimize the policies of occupation and colonization and to overcome the paralysis in the international community, especially with regard to ending Israel’s impunity and compelling its compliance with international law.”

The Palestinian step, according to the PLO, is consistent with the formal Palestinian recognition of Israel in 1993, and consistent with the internationally endorsed goal of the peace process — two states living side by side in peace and security on the basis of the pre-1967 borders.

“Recognition is necessary to achieve the ultimate objective of the two-state solution and expedite its realization at a time when Israel is incessantly and recklessly undermining that solution and the prospects for achieving a just peace,” the PLO said. ”

“The international community therefore has a moral and legal obligation to help fulfill this right. Currently, 132 countries recognize the State of Palestine on the pre-1967 borders. The PLO calls on all countries that have not yet done so yet to recognize Palestine on these borders and invest in peace.

“Finally, the Palestinian initiative at the United Nations does not contradict, nor is it a substitute for, negotiations. These are parallel paths that complement one another. Enhancing Palestine’s status at the United Nations to Observer State will establish the right framework for negotiations and reaffirm the internationally-agreed upon terms of reference and end game of a credible political process, to which we remain committed.”

Finally, Egypt’s powerful Muslim Brotherhood says Islamic Shariah law must be the basis of Egypt’s new constitution, and legislation must be based on Islamic penal code. The statement appeared to be an attempt to clarify the group’s position toward the country’s most contentious issue – the extent of Islamic influence in governance and legislation. The 100-member Islamist-led panel tasked with drafting the new document has been facing heavy criticism, mostly from liberals who fear Islamization of Egypt through its work.

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

The link to these articles are as follows:

1) Palestinians ready for UN statehood bid in November
2) Erekat warns of US, Israeli ‘retaliation’ after UN bid
3) Palestinians lobby for convincing win in UN vote
4) Abbas says ready for peace talks if UN bid succeeds
5) Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood calls for Shariah-based constitution

Russian warned the West against campaigning for the removal of Bashar Assad from power.  Russia believes that Syria should decide for itself its future without foreign interference calling on the West and Turkey to start negotiating with Assad as well as the opposition to pave the way for a political solution to the Syrian civil war.

A war with Syria where Damascus is destroyed (Isaiah 17) is a tribulation event.

The link to these articles is as follows:

1) Russia warns West on Syria

On October 24, the Yarmouk Complex of military plants near Khartoum, Sudan was bombed by four fighter-bombers. It is believed that it was Israel who bombed the plant.  DEBKA reports that they were manufacturing Iranian ballistic surface-to-surface Shehab missiles for Iran.

Iran said that in order to resolve the issue regarding its nuclear program, the P5 + 1 powers consisting of the five permanent UN Security Council members (Russia, China, Britain, France and the US) plus Germany must recognize Iran’s right to have a nuclear program.

Israel Defense Minister, Ehud Barak, said that an immediate crisis over Iran’s nuclear program was avoided this summer when Iran decided to use over a third of its medium-enriched uranium for civilian purposes delaying the time when Iran would be able to build a nuclear bomb by 8 to 10 months. Barak believes that diplomacy and sanctions will fail to convince Iran to stop its nuclear program. In the final analysis, Barak insisted that Israel would decide for itself whether to strike Iran’s nuclear facilities. “When it comes to the very core of our security interests and, in a way, the future of Israel, we cannot delegate the responsibility for making decisions even into the hands of our most trusted and trustworthy ally,” he said.  “But, if no one acts, we will have to contemplate action.” He added: “Basically, it’s about the question of when they come into this zone of immunity, where no Israeli surgical attack, probably somewhat later not even an American surgical attack, can delay them significantly. That’s the issue that bothers us.” As for when Iran will reach the “zone of immunity”, depriving Israel of its military option, Mr Barak forecast this would probably happen “next spring or early summer”.

The link to these articles is as follows:

1) The bombed Sudanese factory produced Iranian Shehab missiles
2) Tehran: P5+1 must recognize our nuclear rights
3) Israel says Iran has pulled back from the brink of nuclear weapon – for now

The former prime minister of Britain, Tony Blair, said there is a need for a European President as part of a political union of the European Union. In Sepember, 11 European foreign ministers held a meeting calling for a single, elected European President under a common European defense policy. This plan was supported by Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Poland, Holland, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Luxembourg and Portugal.

Worldwide economic collapse resulting in a one world government with one-world currency is a tribulation event.

The link to these articles are as follows:

1) Tony Blair: the EU needs a president

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