You may view the 5 minute update this week via audio:
In this week’s 5 minute update, we focused on:
1) The current status of the Israel / PLO peace process
US Secretary of State John Kerry is in the Middle East from June 27 – 29 meeting with Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Presiden Mahmood Abbas with the goal to convene direct peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians. This is Kerry’s 5th visit to the Middle East since he became US Secretary of State. Kerry’s short-term goal is to restart peace talks without preconditions. In doing so, Kerry would like for both Israel and the Palestinians to agree to “confidence building measures” in renewing peace talks. An eventual peace agreement would establish separate areas of jurisdiction in Jerusalem, probably with international administration; resolve claims of Palestinian families that left homes in what is now Israel when the Jewish state was founded; and provide new security assurances to Israel. The Palestinians want a state based upon 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital. Kerry said that he did not want to set any deadlines to restart peace talks but that there needed to be progress made before the UN General Assembly meets in September. Senior U.S. administration officials have said that the Obama administration have given until the end of September to renew negotiations between the sides.
According to Palestinian officials, although Kerry is not expected to present an “American plan” for peace, Kerry has been at work on something very close to that. President Abbas has made clear to Kerry in the past several weeks that he intends to give him more time to try and renew negotiations between the sides. Abbas has set a target date of September which is the 20th anniversary of the Oslo Accords will be marked and when the Palestinians are likely to try to renew taking unilateral steps at the United Nations. The Palestinians want Kerry to “define the end game first,” by establishing clear U.S. principles for a possible peace agreement at the beginning of peace talks and then settle borders quickly. That would require a strong U.S. hand in setting the terms for negotiations and keeping both sides at the table.
In any peace agreement, Israel wants the Palestinians to recognize it as a Jewish state. However so far, the Palestinians have failed to do so. In fact, Abbas has declared that he shares Hamas’ position to refuse to meet with Jews. Not just Israelis… Jews. This is what you are likely to hear these days if you request a meeting with any senior Palestinian Authority official in the West Bank. Palestinian journalists who try to arrange meetings or interviews with Palestinian Authority representatives for Western colleagues have become used to hearing such things almost on a daily basis. Last week, a journalist who requested a meeting between Western journalists and a top Palestinian Authority official was told “to make sure there were no Jews or Israelis” among the visitors. The official’s aide went on to explain: “We are sorry, but we do not meet with Jews or Israelis.” Another Palestinian journalist who tried to arrange an interview with a Palestinian Authority official for a European colleague was turned down “because the man’s name indicates he is a Jew.”
Regarding Kerry’s effort to visit to the Middle East to restart peace talks, the Palestinians reiterated their demand that Israel freeze building Jewish homes in the West Bank and East Jerusalem and that Israel release Palestinian prisoners who have committed crimes. Furthermore, he said that negotiations must be based upon establishing a Palestinian state based upon 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital. If Israel refuses to accept these conditions, the Palestinians are willing to take unilateral steps at the United Nations this fall to possibly become members of the UN International Criminal Court. Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said, “The Palestinians will be joining all organizations in the United Nations,” he said. “Those who worry about the Palestinians joining the international criminal court must stop committing crimes.” Furthermore, Erakat said, “The Palestinians are willing to return to the negotiating table but before they do, they must know if Israel is willing to agree to a Palestinian state based upon 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital. The Palestinians don’t want Israel to lecture us. I do not want anyone to stand up and say I cannot negotiate ’67, I cannot negotiate Jerusalem, I cannot negotiate refugees, I cannot negotiate anything, and then after 30 minutes of conditioning the negotiations say, we know what is best for you.” Israel, Erekat said, wants to dictate terms, such as there must be settlement blocs, but it does not want to negotiate.
Meanwhile, senior officials in the political party of Benjamin Netanyahu, the Likud, said that Netanyahu is prepared to give up as much as 90% of the West Bank in a peace agreement with the Palestinians. If Netanyahu is satisfied that Israel’s security needs are met then nearly all of the West Bank except for the large Jewish “settlement blocs” would be given to the Palestinians. “Isolated” settlement communities would be demolished with residents forced to resettle elsewhere. In any event, members of the Jewish home political party who are currently members of Netanyahu’s government have said that they will leave the government if it became clear that a major withdrawal from the West Bank was on the horizon. Former Israel foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman said that the Palestinians are not interested in reaching a peace agreement with Israel. Abbas may be willing to start negotiations with Israel but this would be a ploy to cover up his real plan which is to make another unilateral move at the United Nations this September. Lieberman predicted that Abbas would again make accusations against Israel and claim that it does not want peace, give another speech full of hatred against Israel as he does every year at the General Assembly, ask to join various UN agencies and apply for full membership at the UN. A senior Palestinian official confirmed on Monday that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas was willing to drop some of his preconditions and instead might want Israel to take symbolic moves that would demonstrate its seriousness. The official said Abbas would be willing to enter direct peace talks with Israel for a limited duration if Israel agreed to carry out several goodwill gestures. A senior Israeli official played down the significance of Abbas’ possible new approach, saying, “It is hard to know whether Abbas is serious this time, but if so, this is a welcome development that the prime minister considers long overdue,” he said. “If Abbas renews talks only to call them off several weeks later, then blames Israel for torpedoing the talks and asks the U.N. to recognize the 1967 borders, this would surprise no one.”
Finally, at the closing session of the World Economic Forum in Jordan on May 26, Kerry presented a “groundbreaking” $4 billion package of private investment in the Palestinian economy. Coordinated by the office of Tony Blair, Quartet envoy to the Middle East, the investment package seeks to boost the Palestinian GDP by 50 percent within three years and cut unemployment from its current rate of 21-22% to just 8% in a similar time frame. The money is targeted to go to eight sectors of the Palestinian economy that are in dire need of financial assistance: construction and housing, building materials, light manufacturing, IT and communications, agriculture, energy, water, and tourism. However, a Western diplomatic official said that this $4 billion foreign investment package plan will not be implemented unless there is progress in reaching a peace agreement. Said the Western diplomat, “This package is not intended as a substitute for the political process. It will be launched either in parallel or after the political track is resumed as judged by John Kerry.”
If Israel does make a peace agreement with the Palestinians, Likud cabinet member Silvan Shalom said that Likud would face a major crisis warning that it could cause a split within the party.
An agreement to divide Jerusalem and establish a PLO state is a tribulation event.
The link to these articles are as follows:
1) For Kerry, little new traction as yet another visit to Israel awaits
2) On eve of Mideast visit, Kerry sets new target date for Israeli-Palestinian progress
3) Kerry says he doesn’t want deadlines for peace process
4) Israel’s Palestinian Peace Partners Now Refusing to Meet with Jews
5) Report: Netanyahu Ready to Give Up 90% of Judea and Samaria
6) Lieberman: Abbas Only Wants to Go to the UN
7) Israel concerned Abbas will meet Netanyahu, then torpedo talks
8) Abbas douses expectations for resumption of talks
9.) Abbas: We will only negotiate based on 1967 lines
10) ‘$4b. for Palestinians contingent on peace progress’
11) Likud minister Shalom warns: Peace moves could split party
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