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
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said that there has been no substancial progress made in direct peace talks with Israel because both sides started the process from scratch at the insistence of Netanyahu. Abbas said that both sides were facing their last chance to arrive at a peace agreement. Abbas threatened the collapse of direct peace talks with Israel over its demand to keep military forces in the Jordan Valley. Israel has long stated that it seeks to retain a long-term military presence along the Jordan Valley in order to ensure its continued security. The Palestinians, on the other hand, flatly objects to any Israeli military on land that could become the eastern front of a future Palestinian state. “They don’t have the right to stay in our territories after we signed a peace treaty,” Abbas said while stressing that he accepts a future demilitarized Palestinian state. In addition, an Israeli newspaper reported that talks almost collapsed in September over the possible borders of a potential Palestinian state.
Abbas has also been traveling around Europe in the past week to lobby governments to divest from doing business with Jewish organizations in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. “I call on European companies and foreign companies doing business in the [Jewish] settlements to put an end to their activities,” Abbas said after meeting with the E.U.’s Herman van Rompuy in Brussels. “Such activities are a violation of international law.” Furthermore, Abbas urged the European Union’s foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, to implement EU regulations against the Jewish settlements. In July, the EU issued guidelines that clarified its policy against providing grants, prizes or loans to Israeli entities, including nonprofit and educational institutions located over the pre-1967 lines. The restrictions are scheduled to go into effect on January 1. Meanwhile, European Union rotating president from Lithuania called for Israel to stop building settlements in the occupied West Bank saying they were impeding the peace process while insisting that “the European Union does not recognize settlements as part of Israel.”
Regarding the peace talks, Abbas said: “The negotiations are difficult but they haven’t reached a dead end. They are still in the initial stage and we have enough time to further deal with the main issues that turn out to be difficult. However, we have not reached a dead end.” Per an agreement with the United States, Abbas said that he couldn’t reveal any details of the current state of the negotiations but did say that the 1967 borders are the basis for talks.
Arab League spokesman Nasif Hata said that the Arab League isn’t optimistic about renewed peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians. Upon returning from a meeting in Paris in the past week with US Secretary of State John Kerry, Hata claimed there were “no positive indications of progress.” In order for negotiations to yield results, he added, the US would have to play an active role in ending the impasse. “The US vowed to take action starting from early January if there is no progress,” Hata said. “Washington promised it would present viable suggestions for ways to end the thaw.”
Israel’s top negotiator, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, speaking at a World Jewish Congress meeting in Jerusalem said that in her view the establishment of a Palestinian state is inevitable and that it is in Israel’s interest to negotiate more favorable terms in peace talks or risk the establishment of a Palestinian state with international backing on terms unfavorable to Israel. Livni said: “Stalemate can lead to a Palestinian state that would be forced on us – not as the outcome of negotiations that represent the Israeli interest,” She added that she sees the peace process “not as a favor to Europe or to the United States of America. It is an Israeli interest. Security is guaranteed by more than just militaries. Our security is also guaranteed by our relationship with the United States.”
British Consul-General to Israel Sir Vincent Fean said that “a permanent agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority will be reached by the spring of 2014,” and that this agreement will include joint Israeli-Palestinian sovereignty over Jerusalem. He also said that the spring of 2014 is going to be “crucial to the inception of a Palestinian state on the basis of a political solution,” adding that “Jerusalem will serve as the shared capital of Israel and the future Palestinian state and the agreement will also include land swaps.”
US Secretary of State, John Kerry is pleased that the pace of the direct peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians have increased in recent weeks. Since negotiations began on July 29, 13 meetings have been held, of which three took place just in the last five days. Furthermore, American envoy Martin Indyk has recently gotten much more involved in the talks. In contrast to his practice during the first two months, Indyk now participates in most of the negotiating sessions. “The pace has intensified, all the core issues are on the table,” Kerry said.
It is being reported by DEBKA, an Israeli intelligence and news gathering service, that Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas has decided to derail talks with Israel directly after the release of the second batch of jailed Palestinian prisoners. In response to this potential crisis, US Secretary of State John Kerry met with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu for 7 hours in Rome. In 4 of the 7 hours, Kerry and Netanyahu were scheduled to meet alone. There were senior US and Israeli officials present at the meeting. So far, both Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas have dug in their heels and refused to display any flexibility in the negotiations. Kerry has therefore concluded that he must start pushing both men to the decision point now rather than waiting until the nine months allotted for the talks are almost over.
In the 7 hour meeting with Netanyahu in Rome, Kerry urged Netanyahu to “advance the peace talks” especially on the core issues of borders, settlements and the Jordan Valley. Israeli sources said that Netanyahu will not “jeopardize its security” and will not change its stances regarding security arrangements under any agreement with the Palestinians. Senior Israeli officials, who asked to remain anonymous, said in their private meeting in Rome that Kerry is expected to start quizzing Netanyahu on how far talks with the Palestinians have gotten and what his positions are on various final-status issues – and above all, where he thinks the borders of the Palestinian state should lie. Kerry is expected to press Netanyahu to explain how he envisions the talks’ endgame and what he thinks the final agreement will look like. DEBKA reports that Kerry intends to convince Netanyahu to offer a large chunk of Dead Sea coastal area and water which equals about 1/3 of the territory owned by Israel in the region as a concession to continue peace talks with the Palestinians. DEBKA is also reporting that Abbas is also planning at that time to discontinue security cooperation with Israel in the West Bank for containing Palestinian terrorism. According to DEBKA, in their private meeting, Kerry and Netanyahu did not discuss Iran. In fact, Kerry started the conversation by saying to Netanyahu: “Don’t tell me what you want. Tell me what you need and we’ll think about ways we can achieve it together.”
The Israeli Ministerial Committee for Legislation voted to support a bill that would require the approval of 80 MKs in order for the government to even begin negotiations on dividing or relinquishing any part of Jerusalem to the Palestinians. The committee voted 5-4 to support the bill, sponsored by MK Yaakov Litzman (United Torah Judaism), with ministers from Yesh Atid and Hatnua voting against and ministers from Likud-Beytenu and Jewish Home supporting it. Likud ministers abstained. Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, who heads the committee and is lead negotiator in the current peace talks, said that she would appeal the decision with the cabinet, which could shut down the bill if it accepts her reservations. Livni said: “we are in a period when the Arab world, and the rest of the world as well, are looking at us. Jerusalem is a very sensitive subject. With negotiations going on with the Palestinians, this is no time for such laws.”Finance Minister Yair Lapid (Yesh Atid) opposes the bill but refused Livni’s request to join the appeal. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also opposes the bill and is expected to support Livni’s appeal.
If the bill were voted into law by the Knesset, it could hamper peace talks. The matter of negotiations would have to go back to the Knesset for a vote, while the Knesset, the cabinet and the Jerusalem municipality would be exempt from implementing any agreement reached in negotiations that began without the requisite approval. The law was authored by MK Yaakov Litzman (UTJ). Litzman said the aim of the bill was to hold Netanyahu to his promise not to divide Jerusalem. “I’m happy for the right to keep and defend Jerusalem,” he said. “Netanyahu promised more than once not to negotiate on Jerusalem. This bill is intended to hold him to that promise and to keep [Jerusalem] united. The message of the bill is clear: Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and is outside of any negotiations.”
Finally, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has invited Pope Francis to visit the Holy Land while meeting with him recently in Rome. Press reports have indicated Francis may visit the region in March 2014, although the Vatican has yet to confirm the dates. At his meeting with the pope, Abbas gave the pontiff a ceramic plate, adorned with a view of Bethlehem, and a Bible; in exchange, he received a decorative pen, which he said he would use to sign a peace agreement with Israel. “Soon, soon,” the pope said.
An agreement to divide Jerusalem and establish a PLO state is a tribulation event.
The link to these articles are as follows:
1) Abbas: No to Israeli Presence in the Jordan Valley
2) Abbas Lobbies Europe to Divest from Israel
3) Abbas urges EU’s Ashton: Activate regulations against Jewish West Bank settlements
4) EU head Lithuania: Israel must end settlements
5) Abbas: I’ll meet Netanyahu anytime to push forward peace
6) Abbas: Reports are wrong — peace talks not at a dead end
7) Arab League ‘not optimistic’ about peace talks
8.) Tzipi Livni: Negotiations with the PA are in Israel’s Interests
9) ‘Permanent peace deal will be achieved in spring 2014’
10) Abbas set to slam door on talks with Israel, resuscitates “revolving door” for terrorists
11) Kerry Asks Netanyahu To “Advance Talks”
12) In seven-hour Rome meeting, Kerry to press Netanyahu for answers on peace talks
13) Kerry-Netanyahu’s 7-hour talk did not touch on Iran
14) Ministers back Jerusalem bill that could hamper peace talks
15) Law Would Require 80 MKs for Jerusalem Withdrawals
16) In Vatican meeting, Abbas invites pope to region
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