Uploaded. This week’s update is 33 minutes.
You may view the 5 minute update this week via audio:
In this week’s 5 minute update, we focused on:
1) Obama’s visit to Israel as it relates to the current status of the Israel / PLO peace process
In December, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas told the Arab League that he was in favor of a mechanism that would restart direct peace negotiations with Israel which would include an Israeli withdrawal to the pre-1967 borders, a freeze on building Jewish homes in the West Bank and East Jerusalem and a release of Palestinians from Israeli jails. He also said that the Palestinians don’t accept the presence of the Israeli army in the Jordan Valley. Furthermore, he said that peace talks should be based upon the 2002 Saudi peace initiative with a six-month timetable to agree on the details of any peace agreement.
In January, an Israeli newspaper reported that following Israeli elections and the formation of a new coalition government that Britain and France with the support of Germany would present a peace initiative which would include provision for a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital. The possible proposal suggests that negotiations be based on pre-1967 borders with possible land swaps and push for all core issues to be resolved by the end of 2013. It would also demand a freeze on building Jewish homes in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. An Israeli official said that if the Palestinians accept the proposal that Israel would be backed into a corner. The President of France said that France will promote a new Israeli / Palestinian peace plan in March and that he sees 2013 as the year when the Middle East peace process will be brought to a conclusion.
This past week, former Israeli minister, Yossi Beilin said that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry recently asked European leaders not to publish a peace plan for Israel and the Palestinians at the present time because the United States is planning to lead with its own plan. According to a report in an Israel newspaper, Kerry will be in Israel in the next week to try to kick start peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians using the 2002 Saudi Peace initiative as the starting point of future talks. According to that plan, Arab nations would recognize and make peace with Israel in exchange for Israeli withdrawal to the pre-1967 borders, an agreed solution to the Palestinian refugee issue and acceptance of the formation of an independent Palestinian state.
Retired Brig. General Michael Herzog, a former Israel army intelligence officer who is an international fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy said that the United States is trying a new strategy to bring peace to the region. “They’re not opening with a high-profile launching of some new initiative. President Obama is not himself the face of the initiative. There are lowering expectations. Most of the work will be conducted behind the scenes. The emphasis is on a lot of preparatory meetings and stage setting leading to both bilateral and regional talks.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that his new government was extending its hand in peace to the Palestinians, declaring that he was ready to make a “historic compromise” if they return to the negotiating table with good will. At a press conference with President Barack Obama, Netanyahu said: “Israel is “fully committed” to resolving the decades-long conflict with the Arabs with a solution which involves two states for two peoples.” He went on to say that President Obama’s visit to Israel presented “an opportunity to try and find a way to advance peace” with the Palestinians. He also said: “I hope that Obama’s visit along with the visit of Secretary of State Kerry will help us turn a page in our relations with the Palestinians.” If Israel and the Palestinians were able to agree on terms of a peace deal, Labor leader, Shelly Yachimovich promised to support a peace agreement. She told Netanyahu: “If Israel ever gets to even an interim agreement with the Palestinians … I promise you, what I said to you face-to-face that Labor will join your government in order to support a peace agreement.”
In speaking with the Palestinians, President Barack Obama said that he does not support preconditions for restarting direct peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians. This is a reversal from the policy of his first administration. Obama said that Palestinians could not expect an Israeli settlement freeze ahead of restarting direct peace talks saying that Israeli politics were “complex” and that this is “not an issue that will be solved overnight.” He further said that if issues were made into preconditions to negotiations, he said, there was “no point in negotiations.” In speaking about preconditions, Obama was mainly referring to Palestinian insistence that Israel freeze building Jewish homes in the West Bank and East Jerusalem in order to restart peace negotiations. Obama said: “If we solve the issue of sovereignty for the Palestinians and security for the Israelis – the issue of settlements will be solved too.
Even so, Obama said that he told Netanyahu that it is US policy to regard settlement activity as being not constructive, appropriate or advancing the cause of peace. Obama told Palestinian President Mahmood Abbas that the United States is committed to seeking a two-state solution. The United States desires an independent, viable and contiguous Palestinian state alongside the state of Israel so that the two sides enjoy prosperity and peace and the only way to achieve this goal is through direct negotiations. Nevertheless, Obama stressed to Israel that it must make peace with the Palestinians if it is to ensure its survival and long-term viability as a homeland for the Jewish people. Furthermore, Israeli occupation of areas that the Palestinians claim for their state must end, Obama said. However, Israel cannot be expected to negotiate with anyone who is dedicated to its destruction. Direct negotiations will be necessary to achieve peace. But, there is no secret where they must lead — two states for two peoples. There will be differences about how to get there, and hard choices along the way. Arab States must adapt to a world that has changed. Now is the time for the Arab World to take steps toward normalized relations with Israel. At the same time, Palestinians must recognize that Israel will be a Jewish state and that Israelis have the right to insist upon their security. Israelis must recognize that continued settlement activity is counterproductive to the cause of peace, and that an independent Palestine must be viable– that real borders will have to be drawn. I’ve suggested principles on territory and security that I believe can be the basis for talks.
Regarding Obama’s views on the peace process, the leader of Jewish Home, Naftali Bennett, whose party opposes a Palestinian state said that “there is no occupation within one’s own land.” In Netanyahu’s new government, Jewish Home Knesset member, Uri Ariel, is the Israeli minister for Construction and Housing. He said that “there is no room for freezing” construction in the West Bank. Yisrael Beiteinu (Israel Our Home), leader Avigdor Lieberman said he does not believe the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can be solved and rejected any possible freeze in settlement construction. He further said: “Those who talk about solving the Palestinian problem must be deluding themselves. This conflict cannot be solved. Instead, it should be managed.
Palestinian President Mahmood Abbas presented US President Barack Obama with two principles he said must be included in any formula that will allow the resumption of peace talks. First, a freeze in building Jewish homes in the West Bank and East Jerusalem and secondly, the release of Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails.
Regarding the issue of settlements, Palestinian President Mahmood Abbas told Obama that it is not only the Palestinian position but that the world considers the settlements as illegal saying, “Everybody considers the settlements as an obstacle to the two-state solution. The United Nations Security Council has issued more than 13 resolutions that not only condemn the settlements but demand ending and removing them. As a result, the Palestinians will demand nothing less than the implementation of international law. Regarding the recognition of Israel, Abbas said, “The Palestinians continue to recognize Israel according to the 2003 Road Map and the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative.”
Chief Palestinian negotiator, Saeb Erekat said that being able to restart direct peace talks will require a deeper and long-standing effort by President Obama and his new secretary of state, John Kerry. He said, “We really hope that President Obama and Secretary Kerry can succeed in reviving a meaningful peace process, succeed in having Netanyahu saying the sentence that he accepts the two states in the 1967 borders. We don’t need a new peace plan. We need commitment.”
Meanwhile, former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger said that he doesn’t see a great chance for a breakthrough in negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. He said, “To have a meaningful Palestinian-Israeli agreement, the Arab world has to be prepared to guarantee and accept it. The Muslim Brotherhood government in Egypt is not ready to accept genuine coexistence with Israel.”
Finally, US Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel plans to visit Israel in April.
An agreement to divide Jerusalem and establish a PLO state is a tribulation event.
The link to these articles are as follows:
1) Abbas offers 6-month talks with settlement freeze
2) Britain and France ‘spearheading new Middle East peace plan’
3) France: New Peace Initiative after Elections
4) Beilin: Kerry Confirmed Obama Peace Plan
5) Introducing the Kerry Initiative: a secret, new Mideast peace plan
6) Kerry expected to revive 2002 Saudi peace initiative
7) PM says new government will pursue deal with Palestinians
8.) Netanyahu Indicates Commitment to ‘Two-State Solution’
9) Reversing policy of first term, Obama says no preconditions to talks
10) Details of Obama’s Visit to Israel
11) Obama in J’lem: You are not alone, but ‘occupation must end’
12) Bennett on Obama’s speech: No occupation in our own land
13) PA to Obama: Complete settlement freeze essential
14) Abbas to Obama: Israel talks only in exchange for settlement freeze, release of prisoners
15) Incoming Housing Minister: ‘No Room’ for Construction Freezes
16) Lieberman says will oppose settlement freeze
17) Lieberman: Peace won’t progress in next 4 years
18) Kissinger: Little chance of breakthrough in peace talks
19) US defense chief Hagel to visit Israel in April
From a Biblical prophetic perspective, the reason why the God of Israel would allow these events to happen is because it will result in the end of the exile of the house of Jacob and the reunification of the 12 tribes of Israel (Ephraim and Judah).
We will to be “watchmen on the walls of Jerusalem” and we will not rest until the God of Israel makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth (Isaiah 62).
Shalom in Yeshua the Messiah,
Hebraic Heritage Ministries Int’l