Archive for November, 2013

December 7, 2013: Weekly 5 minute update (Audio Only)

Saturday, November 30th, 2013

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 situation with Iran

After all-night talks, a first-step nuclear deal was struck in Geneva, Switzerland between Iran and the six major world powers consisting of the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China. It was announced by President Barack Obama and confirmed by Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif. Obama said key aspects of Iran’s nuclear program will be rolled back for limited sanctions relief. No new centrifuges will added to the enrichment process, work will stop at the Arak nuclear reactor and the UN will expand inspections to ensure that Iran will be unable to make a nuclear bomb. The overall sanctions architecture will remain in place pending a comprehensive solution to be negotiated in the next six months but no new sanctions will be imposed.

Indeed, the Americans are not wasting much time and commencing the relief in sanctions. Iranian Government Spokesman Mohammad Baqer Nobakht said that the US government has released frozen Iranian assets worth $8 billion as part of the interim agreement signed in Geneva, Switzerland.

None of the  information revealed so far about the interim accord reached in Geneva indicated that the agreement resolved the concealed military features of Iran’s nuclear program or the details of expanded inspections. Israel is not expected to accept any document with those omissions. Obama said he understood the concerns of Israel and the Persian Gulf nations about Iran’s intentions and promised to closely follow Iran’s compliance and will continue to maintain the option for US military action. Offering no information about the content of the interim accord, the Iranian foreign minister commended the Geneva process for granting the Iranian people “equal footing and mutual respect” and the deal as a first step towards removing all doubts about Iran’s nuclear program.

Israel and Saudi Arabia said before the deal was signed that they would not be bound by its provisions and reserved their military options. UK Foreign Secretary William Hague added that Iran had agreed to halt uranium enrichment above the 5 percent grade and the elimination of its stockpile of 20 percent enriched material. As the Secretary spoke, the Saudi ambassador to London pledged every effort by his government to halt Iran’s advance toward a nuclear bomb, accusing the United States of failing to do this. Nawaf Obaid, a senior advisor to the Saudi royal family, as accusing its Western allies of deceiving the oil rich kingdom in striking the nuclear accord with Iran and said Riyadh would follow an independent foreign policy. Obaid said that while Saudi Arabia knew that the US was talking directly to Iran through a channel in the Gulf state of Oman, the USA had not directly briefed its ally. “We were lied to, things were hidden from us,” he said. “The problem is not with the deal struck in Geneva but how it was done.” Obaid suggested in his remarks a possible Saudi attack when claiming Riyadh is determined to reinforce its policy and to be more active in the future by running an independent foreign policy.

After the agreement was announced, the US State Department acknowledged that Iran is currently enjoying a “window” of time before the six-month deal goes into effect. During this time, Iran would not be required to take any credible steps toward disabling its ability to produce a nuclear weapon. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said that the six-month interim period, during which Iran would take steps to rein in its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief, has not yet begun. She said: “The next step here is a continuation of technical discussions at a working level so that we can essentially tee up the implementation of the agreement. Obviously, once those technical discussions are worked through, the clock would start. Obviously, there’ll also be a reconvening of the political track with the P5+1 which Under Secretary Wendy Sherman will continue to be our lead negotiator.”

Psaki said that she did not “have a specific timeline” for how long the window would be in place before the six-month period began, nor did there seem to be any mechanism in place to prevent Iran from stepping up nuclear production before the scale-down went into effect. Furthermore, she said: “In terms of what the Iranians are or aren’t doing, obviously our hope would be, given we are respecting the spirit of the agreement in pressing for sanctions not to be put in place and beginning the process of figuring out how to deliver on our end of the bargain, that the same would be coming from their end in the spirit of the agreement. Similarly, she did not know what the timetable would be on sanctions relief, saying that there would still “be technical discussions. It’s also not an all-at-one-time or a spigot that’s turned all the way on. So it would be a slow process that obviously we control, and some of those details are still being worked out,” she explained.

Another field in which the deal seems not to be solidified yet is the question of how sanctions relief would be framed in response to a nuclear slow-down on the part of the Iranians. Psaki said that the deal would not require Iran to complete all steps before sanctions relief is granted, nor would it grant the entire relief package — valued at between $4 and $7 billion — before Iran initiates a nuclear slow-down. Instead, Psaki said, “it would be a progression,” but she acknowledged that they were still “working through” it. “It’s not one month and it applies to all of the relief internationally,” she explained. “So there would be a progressive process over the course of the first set.” Psaki also said that among the “technical details” yet to be worked out was the order in which sanctions would be relieved.

These comments created confusion as to whether the much-touted interim deal, supposedly reached by the P5+1 powers and Iran had actually been completed as claimed. Former State Department official and ambassador Elliott Abrams, who argued in his Council for Foreign Relations blog that the language used by the White House to discuss the Iran interim deal was largely “aspirational,” suggesting that much of the touted P5+1 deal with Iran had yet to be hammered out. In addition, Iran accused the US of publishing an inaccurate account of what had been agreed. Iran’s Foreign Ministry firmly criticized the White House for publishing what it said was a false version of the interim nuclear agreement reached between Iran and the six world powers. “What has been released by the website of the White House as a fact sheet is a one-sided interpretation of the agreed text in Geneva and some of the explanations and words in the sheet contradict the text of the Joint Plan of Action, and this fact sheet has unfortunately been translated and released in the name of the Geneva agreement by certain media, which is not true,” said a Foreign Ministry spokeswoman. Furthermore, the Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in an address to the Iranian parliament that Iran would continue construction on the Arak heavy water plant in an apparent breach of the ostensibly agreed terms.

According to the Washington Post, the US is also omitting key facts about the nuclear deal signed with Iran. While Iran has agreed to cap uranium enrichment and delay completion of the Arak heavy-water reactor during the interim, six-month negotiation period, the text of the deal says that the final agreement will involve “a mutually defined enrichment program with mutually agreed parameters.” In other words, “the United States and its partners have already agreed that Iranian enrichment activity will continue indefinitely. In contrast, a long-standing US demand that an underground enrichment facility be closed is not mentioned.” Perhaps the most troubling aspect of the Iranian interim deal is that it provides for a “sunset clause” in the comprehensive agreement, meaning even the long-term deal would not be finite, and Iran could return to uranium enrichment and plutonium production at some point in the future after sanctions have been removed. How “long-term” the final agreement will be is a point of contention, with Iran proposing a period as short as 3-5 years before it is able to have an “unrestricted nuclear program.”

In addition to the uncertainty to the agreement of the Iranian nuclear deal, it seems that the agreement failed to address the most questionable aspects of Iran’s nuclear program, i.e. its clandestine military dimensions. The accord confined itself to aspects of uranium enrichment and stockpiles. UN inspections were expanded – but not applied, for instance, to Iran’s concealed nuclear sites – or even the Parchin military base where Iran is suspected of having tested nuclear-related explosions. As a result, Israel, the Gulf States and others are therefore highly dubious of the deal’s capacity for freezing Iran’s nuclear program where it stands today, least of all roll it back, as President Barack Obama claimed.

Seven of the most glaring loopholes in the first-step accord:

1. Parchin: This long-suspected facility remains out of UN oversight.

2. Secret nuclear locations:  Under the heading “Possible Military Dimensions,” the last IAEA report noted: “Since 2002, the Agency has become increasingly concerned about the possible existence in Iran of undisclosed nuclear related organizations, including activities related to the development of a payload for a missile.”

3. Dirty bombs: Iran doesn’t need a full-scale nuclear bomb or missile warhead for attacking Israel. For decades, Tehran has been working on perfecting hundreds of dirty bombs as part of its nuclear program, by adding plutonium or enriched uranium to conventional bombs. These weapons are easy to make and easy to use. In the hands of Hizballah or other Shiite terrorist organizations in Syria or Iraq, for instance, they could be used to strike Israel without leaving a trail to Tehran. This peril too was ignored by the six powers in Geneva.

4. Rollback. While President Obama has presented the deal as a first step toward freezing or even rolling back “key aspects” of Iran’s nuclear program. The fact remains that, so long as Iran is permitted to enrich uranium, even though this is restricted to a low 5 percent grade, it is free to produce as much fissile material as it wants, whenever it wants. This seems more like roll forward than roll back.

5. Enrichment. Obama and Kerry said the new deal does not recognize Iran’s right to enrich uranium. They were contradicted by the Iranian president and senior negotiator as well as Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

6. Centrifuges. Iran has undertaken not to add new centrifuges to its enrichment facilities, according to President Obama, but there is nothing to stop it from keeping up their production. In the six-month interregnum for negotiating a comprehensive nuclear deal, Iran wins time to turn out enough centrifuges to substantially expand its production of enriched uranium.

7. A leap to breakout:  Far from being static or in freeze, as the Americans claim, Iran is free to step up centrifuge production and boost its stock of 3.5 percent enriched uranium, thereby accumulating enough material to enhance its capacity for producing enough weapons-grade uranium to break through to a nuclear bomb rapidly enough to defy detection by the IAEA or Western intelligence until it is too late.

After the agreement of Iran’s nuclear program was announced, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif said said that Iran will press on with construction at a nuclear reactor site at Arak. Iran said it would not make “any further advances of its activities” on the Arak reactor, according to text of the agreement. However, the specific commitments made by Iran under the agreement do not ban construction work at Arak — only work on any facility at the site intended for the reprocessing of radioactive fuel; the process which can yield plutonium. The deal also prohibits Iran from producing or testing fuel for the reactor, or installing any additional reactor components at the site. “The capacity at the Arak site is not going to increase. It means no new nuclear fuel will be produced and no new installations will be installed, but construction will continue there,” Zarif said. “We will refrain from constructing new enrichment sites over the next six months, and the fact is the administration has had no such plans for the six-month period,” said Zarif.

The secret back channel of negotiations between Iran and the United States, which led to their interim deal in Geneva over Iran’s nuclear program has also seen a series of prisoner releases by both sides, which have played a central role in bridging the distance between the two nations. American and Iranian officials have been meeting secretly in Oman on and off for years, according to a respected Israeli intelligence analyst, Ronen Solomon. And in the past three years as a consequence of those talks, Iran released three American prisoners, all via Oman, and the US responded in kind. Then, most critically, in April, when the back channel was reactivated in advance of the Geneva P5+1 meetings, the US released a fourth Iranian prisoner, high-ranking Iranian scientist Atarodi, who was arrested in California on charges that remain sealed but relate to his attempt to acquire what are known as dual-use technologies, or equipment that could be used for Iran’s military-nuclear programs. Iran has not reciprocated for that latest release.

In any final accord with Iran, US President Barack Obama spoke of the need for Iran to be prevented from obtaining a nuclear weapon. He said that a final agreement needs to be reached within 6 months. He promised that the international community would be updated on every detail of any deal and Israel would be consulted.

In Obama’s view the final accord must contain four elements:

1. The shutdown of the underground nuclear enrichment plant at Fordo;

2. Give up the heavy water reactor under construction at Arak;

3. Stop manufacturing advanced centrifuges.

4. Permission for low-grade uranium enrichment up to the 3.5 percent level.

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the nuclear agreement between Iran and the six major world powers “a historic mistake. What was accomplished in Geneva is not a historic agreement; it’s a historic mistake,” Netanyahu said. Israeli TV news reported that Netanyahu was “extremely angry” with Obama over the deal, that he fears the international sanctions regime will now crumble, that the US had not come clean to Israel over a secret back channel of talks with Iran, and that Israel’s military option for intervening in Iran is off the table for the foreseeable future now that the interim deal is done. “I would be happy if I could join those voices around the world that are praising the Geneva agreement,” Netanyahu remarked. “It is true that the international pressure which we applied was partly successful and has led to a better result than what was originally planned. But this is still a bad deal. It reduces pressure on Iran without receiving anything tangible in return. And the Iranians who laughed all the way to the bank are themselves saying that this deal has saved them. Today the world has become much more dangerous, because the most dangerous regime in the world took a meaningful step toward acquiring the most dangerous weapon in the world. For the first time the world’s leading powers agreed to the enrichment of uranium in Iran, while ignoring the Security Council resolutions that they themselves championed,” the prime minister said. “These sanctions have been removed for cosmetic Iranian concessions that can be canceled in weeks. This agreement and what it means threaten many countries, and including, of course, Israel. Israel is not bound by this agreement. The regime in Iran is committed to Israel’s destruction and Israel has the right and responsibility to defend itself, by itself, against any threat.” He added that Israel would not allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons.

In his UN General Assembly speech in September, Netanyahu blasted Iranian President Hassan Rouhani as a “wolf in sheep’s clothing” and warned the US against mistaking a change in Iran’s tone with an actual change in nuclear ambitions. The Israeli leader subsequently denounced the potential nuclear agreement as the “deal of the century” for Iran. In addition, top Israeli ministers harshly criticized the nuclear deal between Iranian nuclear deal as Israel Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman said the agreement had shifted the status quo in the Middle East. “This brings us to a new reality in the whole Middle East, including the Saudis. This isn’t just our worry,” he told Israel Radio. “We’ve found ourselves in a completely new situation.” When asked if this would lead to an Israeli military strike on Iran, Liberman said Israel “would need to make different decisions.”

Home Front Command Minister Gilad Erdan told Army Radio that it would now be more difficult for Israel to act for the duration of the six-month agreement. Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz, who is responsible for monitoring Iran’s nuclear program, said there was no reason for the world to be celebrating. He said the deal, reached in Geneva is based on “Iranian deception and [Western] self-delusion. Just like the failed deal with North Korea, the current deal can actually bring Iran closer to the bomb,” Steinitz said. “Israel cannot take part in the international celebrations based on Iranian deception and self-delusion.”

MK Reuven Rivlin (Likud) said that American attempts to calm Israel would only worry him more. “There is no doubt that the agreement exposes differences, not just tactical but also strategic, between us and between the West and the US.” However, Liberman slammed the deal as not going far enough, since it does not dismantle the nuclear facilities. “They have enough uranium to make a few bombs already,” he said. Economics Minister Naftali Bennett called the deal “bad, very bad.” Finance Minister Yair Lapid panned the interim agreement and said Israel would have to work to make sure a final deal had better terms. “This is a bad deal that does not bring even one centrifuge to a halt. I am worried not only over the deal, but that we have lost the world’s attention. Those that support this agreement only say one good thing about it, and that’s that we win time en route to a final agreement,” Deputy Foreign Minister Zeev Elkin told Channel 2 TV. “Our main activity is now directed at a very clear destination — what will be in the final agreement.”

In a first statement by the Saudi royal family regarding the nuclear Iran deal, Prince Alwaleed bin Talal said that “Iran is the real danger, not Israel.” In an interview with news agency Bloomberg, the Saudi prince said regarding a possible Israeli strike against Iran, “publicly, (the Sunnis) would be against it. Privately, they would love it.” In recent weeks, Saudi Arabia has denied reports of a “covert alliance” between Saudi Arabia and Israel against the Iranian threat, but the Saudi prince clarified on which side of the court both countries stand. “There’s no confidence in the Obama administration doing the right thing with Iran. We’re really concerned – Israel, Saudi Arabia, the Middle East countries – about this.” Bin Talal’s interview is the way in which the Saudi royal family publicly expresses its position and grief over the interim nuclear deal that was struck in Geneva. Bin Talal does not hold an official position within the Saudi regime; he is a wealthy billionaire with a long line a worldwide businesses. The Saudis have much to say about the Obama administration handling of the Iranian, Syrian and Egyptian issues. According to bin Talal, “when (Obama) put that red line out (in Syria), and the red line was crossed, he blinks. You think the chemicals are going to come out, one hundred percent? Come on.” When Obama “blinked,” he suggested, the Arabs came to the conclusion that he would not stand up to Iran, either.

President Barack Obama took on critics of a newly brokered nuclear deal with Iran by saying tough talk was good for politics but not good for US security. “(We) cannot close the door on diplomacy,” the president stressed in a speech while responding to nuclear deal critics, including Israel and members of the Republican Party. “If Iran seizes this opportunity and chooses to join the global community, then we can begin to chip away at the mistrust that’s existed for many, many years between our two nations,” Obama said. “When I first ran for president, I said it was time for a new era of American leadership in the world, one that turned the page on a decade of war and began a new era of engagement with the world. As president and as commander in chief, I’ve done what I’ve said.”

As Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu publicly announces Israel is not bound to nuclear deal signed between world powers and Iran in Geneva, the West now cautions Netanyahu of carrying out an operation that would challenge the deal he dubbed “a historic mistake”. Britain’s Foreign Secretary William Hague said that Israel should avoid taking any action that would undermine the interim nuclear agreement reached between Iran and world powers. Urging world leaders to give the interim deal a chance, Hague said it was important to try to understand those who opposed the agreement. But he urged Israel and others to confine their criticism to rhetoric. “We would discourage anybody in the world, including Israel, from taking any steps that would undermine this agreement and we will make that very clear to all concerned,” Hague told parliament. Hague, who gave an update on the nuclear talks in Geneva, added he had not seen any signs that any country opposed to the agreement would try to disrupt it “in any practical way”, but said Britain would be “on its guard”.

Despite all these things, Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that he was dispatching his national security adviser to the United States to discuss the particulars of a permanent agreement with Iran. “I spoke last night with President [Barack] Obama. We agreed that in the coming days an Israeli team led by the national security adviser, Yossi Cohen, will go out to discuss with the United States the permanent accord with Iran,” Netanyahu told members of his Likud party. Therefore, Netanyahu has started to shift his focus from condemning the interim nuclear deal with Iran to the intended permanent one, saying, “This accord must bring about one outcome: the dismantling of Iran’s military nuclear capability.”

Obama told Netanyahu that he wants the two sides “to begin consultations immediately regarding our efforts to negotiate a comprehensive solution.” Obama also asked Netanyahu not to lobby allies in Congress to push legislation for more sanctions on Iran, Israel’s Channel 2 news reported. “Consistent with our commitment to consult closely with our Israeli friends, the president told the prime minister that he wants the United States and Israel to begin consultations immediately regarding our efforts to negotiate a comprehensive solution,” said a statement by the White House. “The president underscored that the United States will remain firm in our commitment to Israel, which has good reason to be skeptical about Iran’s intentions,” it said.

The link to these articles is as follows:

1) Nuclear deal reached between Iran and six world powers in Geneva
2) US now indicates Iran interim deal wasn’t quite finalized
3) ‘Washington Post’: White House omitting facts about Iran nuclear deal
4) Iran rejects US’s ‘one-sided’ version of nuclear deal
5) Seven loopholes favoring a nuclear Iran in deal signed by the world powers
6) Iran FM says construction will continue at contested Arak nuclear reactor site, testing limits of deal
7) ‘US freed top Iranian scientist as part of secret talks ahead of Geneva deal’
8) Obama: Iran must shut Fordo, give up making centrifuges
9) Iran nuclear agreement a ‘historic mistake,’ Netanyahu says
10) Israeli ministers lambaste ‘delusional’ Iran nuclear deal
11) Obama pushes back on critics of Iran deal
12) Britain to Israel: Don’t undermine Iran nuclear deal
13) Shifting gears, Israeli team heading to US to try to shape final nuclear pact

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 23, 2013: Weekly 5 minute update (Audio Only)

Thursday, November 21st, 2013

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

Palestinian prisoners, who were convicted of killing Israelis and then released by Israel recently as a goodwill gesture to restart direct peace talks were given at least $50,000 apiece as well as a comfortable monthly salary from the Palestinian Authority. Depending on the length of their jail term, the prisoners received more cash. Those who were held for over 25 years were entitled to $50,000, in addition to a position as a deputy minister or a promotion to the rank of major-general in the security forces, both of which earn them monthly wages of NIS 14,000 (nearly $4,000). Those who spent less than 25 years in Israeli prisons received a similar bonus as well as promotion to a deputy directorship in a government ministry or to the rank of brigadier-general, with a monthly wage of NIS 10,000 ($2,800) on the PA’s payroll. Meanwhile, Palestinian spokesman, Nabil Abu Rudeineh, following a meeting of the Fatah Central Committee said that Israel building Jewish homes in the West Bank and in East Jerusalem is a “crime against humanity”.

As a result, Israel Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon said that the Palestinian Authority, often touted as Israel’s “peace partner”, is no different from Hamas in its quest to undermine Israel explaining that Hamas simply uses different methods to achieve this goal. “To date, I’ve never heard any Palestinian leader, including Abbas, who was willing to say that a territorial compromise, even along the borders he dreams about, is the end of the conflict and an end to the demands, a recognition of Israel as a Jewish state and a waiver of the right of return,” Yaalon added. “Their unwillingness to recognize our right to exist as the national homeland of the Jewish people in any border is the main obstacle to peace and is the root of the conflict.” In any event, Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to visit the Israeli Knesset and recognize Israel as a Jewish state for the sake of peace. If Abbas would do so, Netanyahu said that he would speak in Ramallah embracing the two-state solution. “Most of the Knesset members are unified: In order for the peace to be real, it must go in both directions. One cannot demand that we recognize a Palestinian national state without demanding of them to recognize a Jewish state,” Netanyahu said.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said that the fate of Palestinian refugees must be resolved if a peace treaty is to be achieved with Israel. The official policy of the Palestinian Authority is to demand repatriation for the descendants of Arabs who fled Israel in 1948 to their original homes in Israel, thus flooding the Jewish state with Arab refugees and effectively erasing Israel from the map, replacing it with a “secular, democratic Palestine.” Abbas said that this must come in addition to the establishment of a PA state in the West Bank with East Jersusalem as its capital. In a law approved by the PA parliament in 2008, and signed into law by Abbas, the “right of return of Palestinian refugees to their homes and property, along with compensation for their suffering, is a holy cornerstone of their rights that cannot be negotiated away. There will be no consideration of negotiation on this issue, nor will there be a referendum on it,” the law says.

Meanwhile, in a recent visit to Israel, French President Francois Hollande demanded an end to Jewish settlement activity and told the Israeli parliament Jerusalem must one day be the capital of two states. “Settlement activity must stop because it compromises the two-state solution,” he said. “France’s position is known: a negotiated settlement, with the state of Israel and (the future state) of Palestine both having Jerusalem as capital, coexisting in peace and security.” He added that “real peace” had to go “both ways” by saying, “We cannot ask the Jewish people to recognize a Palestinian nation-state without demanding that the Palestinians recognize the nation-state of the Jewish people.”

Also, France expects Israel to make “gestures” over its construction of settlements on land the Palestinians want for a future state, the French President said. “There are still gestures that need to be made (by both sides),” Hollande said, acknowledging that Israel had already taking conciliatory steps by releasing 52 veteran Palestinian prisoners in line with its commitments to the peace process. “Some gestures have already been started by Israel — the freeing of prisoners,” he said. “Other gestures are expected, especially in the area of settlements,” he said. Hollande said he would raise the issue of “gestures” expected from the Palestinian side also when he met with Palestinian President Mahmood Abbas. In addition, French President François Hollande’s speech to the Knesset which began with fanfare and ended with a standing ovation, stuck to mostly noncontroversial messages but sparked the ire of some MKs on the right when he discussed talks with the Palestinians and said Jerusalem must be the joint capital of Israel and a future Palestinian state.

Recently Chief PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat submitted his resignation to Palestinian President Mahmood Abbas regarding being a member of the peace talks with Israel over a lack of progress. However, Abbas has rejected his resignation. If Erekat insists on his resignation, Abbas said that he will search for someone else to head the negotiating team. Furthermore, Mohamed Shtayyeh, another member of the negotiating team, also submitted his resignation but is not expected to withdraw it. As a result, Shtayyeh is not expected to participate in the next round of peace talks with Israel. Despite the resignation, Abbas said that the Palestinians will continue peace talks with Israel until the end of the nine-month period set by US Secretary of State John Kerry. Abbas said: “We have committed to continue the negotiations for nine months, regardless of what happens on the ground. We are committed and we will go to the full nine months, and then we will make an appropriate decision about what to do at that time.” Palestinian sources indicate that the PLO still intends to renew efforts to join the United Nations and other international agencies and organizations. However, PLO officials said that it would be best to do this when the nine-month agreed upon period for the peace talks is over in April, 2014 in order to not be blamed for the failure of the peace talks. In any event,  PLO Executive Committee member Hanan Ashrawi said that the Palestinian leadership should “prepare to turn to the UN without waiting for the failure of negotiations with Israel.”

Because of disagreements with the US over the issue of building Jewish homes in the West Bank and East Jerusalem as well as a proposed deal by the P5 + 1 powers with Iran over its nuclear program, Israel Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman said that Israel should not rely on the US as much as it traditionally has. He added that “Israel’s foreign policy for many years went in one-direction toward the United States but my policy has more directions.” Liberman explained that he is trying to build connections with countries that are interested in Israel’s hi-tech innovation and don’t depend on the Arab world. Regarding the peace process, Liberman said that those who want Israel to make “painful concessions” in any peace agreement with the Palestinians including territory are “made up and come from people who don’t know the history or the facts.” He added: “Settlements weren’t an obstacle to peace with Egypt or Jordan. On the other hand, we evacuated settlements in Gaza and got [rocket] fire. Historically, there is no connection between settlements and peace agreements,” he stated.

In response to Liberman’s comments, Israel Justice Minister Tzipi Livni criticized Netanyahu for so warmly welcoming the French President while being in conflict with the Obama administration. Livni said that Israel appreciates the French effort for being opposed to the current terms of a proposed nuclear deal with Iran but hinted this cannot be allowed to be interpreted as coming at the expense of the United States. “France’s stance came from their knowledge that a nuclear Iran is dangerous not only to Israel but to France and the world,” she said. “But we cannot forget that our strategic alliance is with the US, and even when there are disagreements, Israel must maintain that alliance.” Livni noted that having the US as its primary ally has enabled Israel to maintain its military superiority in the region. She said advancing diplomatic talks with the Palestinians would also contribute to Israel’s security.

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

The link to these articles are as follows:

1) Palestinian Authority gives freed prisoners $50,000 each
2) Fatah: ‘Settlements’ a ‘Crime Against Humanity’
3) Yaalon: The PA is No Different from Hamas
4) Netanyahu invites Abbas to Knesset ‘for sake of peace’
5) PA: No Peace Without Full ‘Right of Return’
6) Halt settlements, French leader tells Israel
7) Israel must make ‘gesture’ on settlements
8.) At Knesset, Hollande calls for two-state solution with Jerusalem as joint capital
9) Abbas rejects resignation of Palestinian peace negotiator Erekat
10) Palestinian negotiator Ishtayeh insists on resignation
11) Amid rising tensions, Kerry postpones visit to Israel
12) Liberman: It’s time for Israel to look for allies other than the United States
13) Livni: Netanyahu should remember US, not France, is main ally

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 16, 2013: Weekly 5 minute update (Audio Only)

Saturday, November 16th, 2013

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 current status of the situation with Iran

In recent meetings with US Secretary of State, John Kerry, Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was pressured by Kerry to present his view of a Palestinian state with particular emphasis on security arrangements for the Jordan Valley. In talks with Kerry, Netanyahu proposed a five-year interim agreement that would give the Palestinians sovereignty over 1/3 of what is now known as Area C (which is territory in the West Bank under Israeli control). In addition, Netanyahu’s proposal called for an official Palestinian presence in Jerusalem. In Netanyahu’s plan, during the five-year period, the Palestinians would be required to take steps to remove incitement from official educational and media material and fully dismantle the terrorist apparatus in the West Bank. It also called for the PA to lead a public campaign that would clarify that a final deal would be achieved with Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people. This would eliminate the Palestinian desire for a “right of return”. Both Kerry and Palestinian President Mahmood Abbas rejected Netanyahu’s proposal.

Rather than accepting Netanyahu’s proposal, Kerry verbally presented to Israel and the Palestinians the ideas of the United States on the issue. Kerry is urging an all-encompassing final status deal on the Jordan Valley, West Bank and sections of Jerusalem, including the Temple Mount. Kerry’s proposal calls for international forces to maintain security control along with an unarmed Palestinian police forces. Kerry asked that Netanyahu not put any obstacles in the way of a U.S. plan for Palestinian and international forces to assume control of the Jordan Valley. However,  Israel would retain security posts in some strategic areas of the Jordan Valley according to the U.S. plan. Regarding the Temple Mount, the Palestinian Authority and Jordan would receive sovereignty over the Temple Mount. Israel would retain the land below the Western Wall. Kerry’s plan for Jerusalem follows the parameters set by former US President Bill Clinton during the Camp David peace talks in 2000 where Jewish areas of Jerusalem would remain under Israeli control and Arab areas would be under Palestinian control. Most Arab sections are located in East Jerusalem. Regarding the West Bank, the US plan calls for Israel to evacuate about 90 percent of its Jewish communities in the territory. Israel would retain control of the main settlement blocs of Maale Adumin, Ariel and Gush Etzion. In return to Israel keeping these areas, the US plan calls for Israel to exchange land with the Palestinians this would most likely include part of the Negev which is the southern part of Israel.

Israeli diplomatic sources say that the atmosphere behind the scenes between Israel and the US is even more hostile and tense than it has been portrayed in the media. A senior Israel minister said that Kerry can no longer serve as an honest broker between Israel and the Palestinians.

Meanwhile,  the Palestinian are trying hard to internationalize the conflict with Israel. The Palestinians want other international parties, especially the European Union, United Nations and Russia, to play a major role in the current U.S.-sponsored peace talks. They perceive these parties as being more sympathetic to, and supportive of, the Palestinians. So, why did the Palestinians agree to the direct peace talks ? A senior aide to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said, “We want the Americans to be involved in the peace process. PA leaders say they have lost their confidence in the U.S. administration’s ability to serve as an honest broker in the negotiations between the Palestinians and Israel saying that the US has a “bias’ in favor of Israel. The Palestinian Authority’s strategy now is to prove to the world that Israel is not interested in peace and the U.S. cannot be trusted with brokering a comprehensive and just solution. However, the Palestinians are willing for now to pursue the talks with Israel in order to avoid being held responsible for the failure of the peace process.

Palestinian chief negotiator, Saeb Erekat, revealed some of the concessions the Palestinians have agreed to as a part of ongoing peace talks. “We have accepted minor [land] swaps in size and value, we have accepted limitations on the nature of Palestine in the future – strong police force, no army, no navy, no air force – we have accepted all the criteria that would lead to a two-state solution,” he said. “I’m the one who made the deal with [US Secretary of State John] Kerry. We committed not to seek upgrading the state of Palestine’s status at the UN for nine months in exchange for the 104 prisoners.

The Israel Housing Ministry published tenders for the planning of some 20,000 settlement apartments — an unprecedented number — including 1,200 units in the controversial E1 corridor which attempts to link Jerusalem with Ma’ale Adumim to the east. Soon after the report broke, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu canceled the tender for E1. In doing so, Netanyahu rebuked Israel Housing Minister Uri Ariel from the political party, Jewish Home, for “circulating the plan without coordination.” In addition, Netanyahu said, “In recent months we have been building and have offered numerous tenders for thousands of housing units. It wasn’t easy, but it never is. Nonetheless we did it responsibly, as we have been doing for the last four years, standing in the face of international pressure.” Netanyahu said any further settlement construction may stir “unnecessary clashes with the international community – at a time when we are making an effort to convince the international community to reach a better agreement with Iran.” Netanyahu didn’t cancel any of the other tenders, which applied to settlements both inside and outside major settlement blocs. The E1 land strip, stretching from East Jerusalem to Ma’ale Adumim and covering a territory of nearly 3,000 acres, has for years been a bone of contention between Israel and the Palestinians. Critics of Israel’s West Bank policies have argued that construction in the area would make a contiguous Palestinian state nearly impossible, while Israeli officials claim building at the site is essential for the development of Jerusalem and for Israel’s security. The US State Department condemned the decision with spokeswoman Jen Psaki saying that US was “surprised” and “deeply concerned” by it. The State Department was seeking clarifications from the Israeli government on the matter, she said, adding, “We do not accept the legitimacy of continued settlement activity.”

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas threatened to call off peace talks if Israel did not go back on its new settlement plans. Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat said Abbas had tasked him with passing on his ultimatum to the Arab League and the Quartet of Middle East peacemakers — the European Union, Russia, the United Nations and the United States. Furthermore, the Palestinians threatened  to appeal to the UN Security Council over Israel’s quickening settlement drive in the West Bank and to step up efforts to join UN agencies. “In the coming hours, the Palestinian leadership is going to consider appealing to the UN Security Council and seeking membership of international organizations if Israel does not reverse its latest settlement moves,” Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat said.

Mohammed Shtayyeh, a top negotiator with the Palestinian Authority said that failure to reach a peace deal with Israel would be better than inking an agreement which allows it to continue the “settlement building,” meaning Jewish construction in the West Bank and Jerusalem. Shtayyeh, however, rejected any interim agreement with Israel, saying, “We are not looking for an extension of the interim period or any other kind of interim agreement.” Instead, he said, “What we seek is a comprehensive and final agreement that provides the requirements of justice for Palestine.”

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said that his top peace negotiators, Saeb Erekat and Mohammed Shtayyeh, have presented him with letters of resignation over the direction of the direct peace talks with Israel. .In an interview with Egyptian television, Abbas suggested the negotiations would continue even if the Palestinian delegation stuck to its decision saying that the Palestinians would continue to honor the commitments they had made to the peace talks “until the end of the 9-month period agreed with Israel and the US.” Regarding the negotiators, Abbas said: “Either we can convince it to return, and we’re trying with them, or we form a new delegation.” As a result of the resignations, Israeli and Palestinian negotiators have no immediate plans to hold new talks.

However, it is possible the Palestinians will take advantage of the current crisis to get answers or guarantees from the United States before deciding to return to the bargaining table. Senior Palestinian Authority officials said Abbas would not take the drastic step of ceasing negotiations without support from the Arab League. “Palestinian leaders unanimously believe that no progress will be made without pressure on Israel from the international community, and in the meantime that’s not happening,” said one official. “Among the Palestinian leadership, there are some who believe that we must immediately leave the negotiations and turn to United Nations organizations, like the Security Council. Others still believe we should seek the help of the Quartet, and specifically the U.S.” Another official said Abbas would not leave the negotiating table without coordinating with the United States first.

Israel’s chief negotiator in peace talks with the Palestinians, Tzipi Livni, criticized the resignation of Palestinian negotiators saying they were reneging on their commitments. “The resignations are incompatible with the responsibilities that they took upon themselves,” Justice Minister Tzipi Livni said in an interview with Israel Army Radio.  Regarding the peace talks themselves, Livni said that Israel is on the brink of international isolation and warned that the country’s economy will suffer if a peace agreement was not made with the Palestinians.

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

The link to these articles are as follows:

1) Kerry to Israel: International forces will protect you
2) Bayit Yehudi MK to Kerry: You are not an ‘honest broker’ to Israeli-Palestinian talks
3) Senior Israeli minister: Kerry no longer an honest broker between Israel, Palestinians
4) Palestinians: We do not trust the Americans
5) Israel publishes tenders to plan 20,000 settlement units
6) PMO: PM slammed housing minister for settlement plans
7) PM: Settlement construction harms chances with Iran
8.) U.S. demands Israel explain plans for 20,000 new West Bank homes
9) Abbas: Talks over if Israel doesn’t cancel new settlement tenders
10) Official: No new peace talks planned
11) PA Official: No Deal is Better than Deal with ‘Settlements’
12) Palestinian peace talks delegation resigns: Abbas
13) ‘Palestinian negotiating team announces resignation’
14) Livni raps PA negotiators for resigning
15) Palestinians: Peace talks to go on, despite resignations
16) Erekat: Israel is trying to sabotage the peace process
17) Israel on brink of isolation if no peace deal, says Livni

Sources in the US Congress report that US President Barack Obama has been easing sanctions on Iran for the past five months without Congressional approval and despite the lack of any agreement over the Islamic regime’s nuclear weapons program. An unnamed House staffer stated that “orders to stop the designations (for new sanctions) came from the White House and State Department,” adding “this has not gone down well in Treasury.” The Congressional sources added that Obama’s policy has allowed Iran to maintain its crude oil exports.

In recent meetings in Geneva, Switzerland, Iran and six world powers failed to reach an agreement regarding Iran’s nuclear program.  The main sticking points in the talks include calls for a shutdown of an Iranian reactor that could eventually help to produce weapons-grade plutonium, the fate of Iran’s stockpile of higher-enriched uranium and the nature and sequencing of relief from economic sanctions sought by Iran. An outline of an agreement would involve Iran freezing parts of Iran’s atomic program in exchange for sanctions relief. However, clear divisions emerged among the US and European allies on the final day of the talks as France hinted that the proposal under discussion did not sufficiently neutralize the threat of an Iranian nuclear bomb. French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said that could not accept a “fool’s game” – in other words, a weak deal with Iran. France’s ambassador to Israel, Patrick Maisonnave, said that all of the world powers that negotiated with Iran in Geneva fell in line with the French position regarding the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Israel also opposed the proposed US deal.

According to Maisonnave, France presented three main stipulations in which France demanded further guarantees within the framework of an agreement:

1. Iran’s heavy water reactor in Arak – France expressed concern that the reactor would be used to produce plutonium, and demanded guarantees prohibiting the Iranians from using it to advance their nuclear capabilities.

2. Iran’s stockpile of enriched uranium – Fabius claimed that Iran is constantly expanding its enriched uranium stockpile, and demanded further guarantees regarding its uranium supply.

3. Enriching uranium on Iranian soil – the French ambassador stated that France believes in Iran’s right to nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, but that end does not require enrichment facilities. According to the ambassador, the subject of enriching uranium on Iranian soil was a source of disagreement during the negotiations, which necessitated another round of talks.

According to DEBKA sources, US Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman and EU foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, put the draft before Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and allowed him to insert amendments. When that was done, they called the foreign ministers of the six powers and invited them to attend the signing ceremony. Sherman and Ashton are quoted as telling them, “The cake is ready for putting in the oven to bake.” Upon hearing this, US Secretary of State, John Kerry, interrupted his November 8 talks with Netanyahu in Israel. He flew to Geneva convinced that the deal was ready to be signed. Kerry was surprised when he was shown the amended draft and realized that there was no way he could convince the Europeans, the Arabs or Israel to agree to the deal. He therefore applied the brakes to preparations for the signing ceremony and ordered a return to the table. European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said senior political officials from Iran and the five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany would meet again on Nov. 20 to work on a deal.

Israel plans to campaign unrelentingly against a deal with Iran that allows it to retain uranium enrichment rights and does not end its development of a plutonium track toward nuclear arms. Israeli officials have been saying for months that France has been towing the toughest line against Iran’s nuclear program inside the P5+1 even more so than the United States. Israel Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz said that he “draws encouragement from the fact that there are other partners to Israel’s concerns about the agreement shaping up.” After Netanyahu’s conversation with US President Barach Obama about the issue, a senior Israeli official said that “the more the details accumulate” regarding the Geneva talks, “the greater the puzzlement at the haste to sign an agreement that is so bad for the world.” The official said that the proposed deal would leave a military nuclear capability in Iran’s hands that would enable it to “break out” and build a nuclear bomb within a matter of weeks. The official said that Israel completely rejects the Geneva proposal that does not shut down all Iranian uranium enrichment, a move demanded even by previous UN Security Council resolutions, and would not be obligated by it.

US Secretary of State John Kerry defended President Barack Obama’s policy in negotiations with Iran in the face of Israeli pressure and US Congressional skepticism. Netanyahu “believes that you can increase the sanctions, put the pressure on even further, and that somehow, that’s going to force them to do what they haven’t agreed to do at any time previously,” Kerry explained. Only “a tiny portion” of Iran’s frozen funds would be thawed under Obama’s plan, Kerry said, while 95 percent or so will remain. He added that removing a portion of sanctions is necessary and “will actually make Israel safer.” In a meeting that Kerry had with Republican Senator’s about Iranian issue, US Senator, Mark Kirk from Illinois said that Kerry told the Senators to “ignore anything the Israelis say.” Kirk described the briefing as “very unconvincing” and, in what seems more disturbing, he said it was also “anti-Israeli”.

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was “in a state of shocked disbelief” at the proposed US – Iranian agreement. Israel TV stations reported that Netanyahu had “an unprecedented confrontation” with US Secretary of State John Kerry over the possible deal with Iran which he publicly described as “a very, very bad deal” and which he implored Kerry “not to rush to sign” and to “reconsider.” As a result, the Netanyahu government is “in a crisis of faith” with the Obama administration over the possible deal because it apparently differs in content from the terms that Kerry had previously described to Netanyahu. Other Israeli reports said Netanyahu felt he had been “misled” by the US over the terms of the deal. Israel believes the US has been negotiating with Iran in a secret channel without disclosing the content of those discussions to Israel. Netanyahu was horrified to see that the emerging deal provided for a dramatic easing of sanctions against a mere Iranian promise to restrict uranium enrichment to 3.5%. In addition, it fails to place a limitation on the number of centrifuges in Iran’s possession, estimated to number 19,000.Therefore, Netanyahu said of the proposed deal: “Iran gets everything it wanted at this stage and pays nothing.” If Iran accepted the deal, they would receive a significant easing of sanctions that would include unfreezing of $3 billion of Iranian assets, an easing of sanctions on the petrochemical and gold sectors, an easing of sanctions on replacement parts for planes and a loosening of restrictions on the Iranian car industry.

Despite the utter shock and severe disappointment in the possible deal that the US is discussing with Iran, Israel Foreign Minister, Avigdor Liberman said that disagreements with the US should not be publicly debated. He said: “We need to understand that relations with US are foundations set in stone; without them we can’t maneuver in the contemporary world. All these differences of opinion, which are natural and have always existed, should simply not be aired as publicly as they were. I think a step to calm them is important, and we will already start dealing with this right away.”

The link to these articles is as follows:

1) Report: Obama Has Been Easing Iran Sanctions For 5 Months
2) Iran and West fail to reach deal as Geneva nuclear talks conclude
3) Kerry bids from Abu Dhabi to break up unique broad front which tripped up US-Iran nuclear deal
4) French ambassador: U.S., world powers fell in line with France on Iran
5) Israel to lobby against any deal that would leave Iran with enrichment capabilities
6) Kerry: Upping Iran Sanctions could Backfire
7) Senators Told to ‘Ignore Israel’ On Iran
8.) Kerry seeks to reassure Israel, says hopes for Iran nuclear deal within months
9) ‘Crisis of faith’ between Israel and US over possible Iran deal
10) US has ‘folded’ on Iran, Israeli political sources charge
11) Israeli-US rifts ‘should not be aired publicly,’ Liberman says

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 9, 2013: Weekly 5 minute update (Audio Only)

Friday, November 8th, 2013

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 current status of the situation with Iran

Palestinian and Israeli negotiators met for a sixteenth round of talks. However,  the talks quickly deteriorated into a shouting match with no discussion of the issues at hand. Palestinian Authority negotiators were reportedly furious over what they called Israeli “lies” to the public about an agreement with the Palestinians to continue building in the settlements in exchange for the release of 104 Palestinian prisoners jailed since before the Oslo accords. The Israeli side took offense and the meeting broke down.

The Ministry of Housing and the Israel Lands Authority announced that about 700 new homes will be built in Jerusalem. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu rejected the Palestinian Authority (PA) contention that recent decisions on construction in Jerusalem and the West Bank contravene agreements reached at the outset of negotiations between Israel and the PA, three months ago. He said that the Palestinians knew full well when the talks began that Israel accepts no limitations on construction beyond the “Green Line,” which demarcates Israel’s 1949 armistice borders. Justice Minister Tzipi Livni confirmed Netanyahu’s contention stating that “to say that Israel has abrogated a commitment would be an untrue statement.” The construction in Jerusalem, and the West Bank “bothers the Palestinians and hurts our status in the world,” she said, “but there is no violation of our commitments in it.” “On the eve of negotiations,“ she said, “each of the sides made decisions, and there are things that each side has to swallow, that are unpleasant.” Livni said that the Israeli government had to choose between releasing terrorist prisoners and freezing construction in the areas contested by the PA, and that this was not a simple choice because the release of terrorists “was very difficult for all of us.”

Meanwhile, US Secretary of State, John Kerry denied rumors that there was an understanding that Israel would announce new settlement construction in exchange for releasing long-serving prisoners: ”That is not the agreement. The agreement, specifically, was that there would be a release of the pre-Oslo prisoners — 104 [of them] — who’ve been in prison now for many many years, who would be released in exchange for the PA not proceeding to the UN during that period of time.“ “Now, the Palestinian leadership made it absolutely clear: they believe the settlements are illegal. They object to the settlements, and they are in no way condoning the settlements, but they knew that Israel would make some announcements. They knew it. But they don’t agree with it. And they don’t support it. They disagreed with it. In fact, they said, ‘We don’t agree. We do not think you should be doing settlements.’ “We, the United States, say the same thing,” Kerry continued. “We do not believe the settlements are legitimate. We think they’re illegitimate. And we believe that the entire peace process would in fact be easier if these settlements were not taking place. Now that’s our position… But we knew that there was not going to be a freeze. We didn’t negotiate a freeze.” Still, he said, Netanyahu had promised no settlement building that would change the “peace map” — presumably meaning no major expansion of settlements outside the major settlement blocs.

In an interview with Israel Channel 2, Kerry went on to say: “Let me ask you something. How, if you say you’re working for peace and you want peace, and a Palestine that is a whole Palestine that belongs to the people who live there, how can you say we’re planning to build in a place that will eventually be Palestine? So it sends a message that perhaps you’re not really serious. If you announce planning, I believe it is disruptive to the process. But, the good side of it is, during the time we are negotiating, the planning will not translate into building and construction. “If we do not resolve the question of settlements,” he added, “and the question of who lives where and how and what rights they have; if we don’t end the presence of Israeli soldiers perpetually within the West Bank, then there will be an increasing feeling that if we cannot get peace with a leadership that is committed to non-violence, you may wind up with leadership that is committed to violence.”

PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’s spokesman, Nabil Abu Rudeineh, called the plans “destructive to the peace process.” As a result, the Palestinians threatened to not continue peace talks as long as Israel continues building in the settlements. Chief Palestinian negotiator, Saeb Erekat, threatened to resign over the issue of Israel settlement building. A Palestinian official said that “The news about the resignation of Erekat is designed to show the Americans that the Palestinians are very angry with recent Israeli decisions to build in settlements and east Jerusalem.” Israeli officials, meanwhile, took the reports in stride. “To be frank,” the official said, “this has for too long been the standard operating procedure for the Palestinians: ‘Unless we get what we want, we will jump off the cliff, dismantle the PA, renounce the Oslo Accords, resign.’ This is the way they conduct brinkmanship negotiations.” Instead of “playing games,” the official said, “they should negotiate seriously.” Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said there has been no progress in peace talks with Israel despite months of negotiations and warned that “the situation is likely to explode soon.”

In cabinet meeting, Israel Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu reiterated the importance of international recognition of Israel as a Jewish state in helping bring peace to the Middle East, as part of remarks commemorating the 96th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration which established the goal of working to create a Jewish homeland. “The declaration championed the rights for the Jewish nation to have a national home in the Land of Israel,” Netanyahu stated. “There is no doubt that the international recognition of the right to a Jewish homeland and its historical significance is fundamental. The refusal to do so by the Palestinians is the “root of the conflict” in the Middle East. Netanyahu stated his vision of a peace ageement by saying, “peace between us and our neighbors, the Palestinians, you must recognize the right of the Jewish people to live in their own State, in their own national and historical homeland. What this means is that they must recognize this arrangement as a permanent one, and to lift Palestinian national demands – for a Right of Return or for the formation of any other state.” The Prime Minister also added a second condition: security for the Jewish people and a Jewish State. “Security arrangements are important to us, and they obviously cover a wide range of needs, but the first among them is to ensure that Israel’s [Eastern] border remains along the banks of the Jordan river.”

In a meeting with US Secretary of State, John Kerry, Netanyahu said bluntly that he was “concerned” about the negotiations with the Palestinians. “I’m concerned about their progress, because I see the Palestinians continuing with incitement, continuing to create artificial crisis, continuing to avoid historic decisions that are needed to make a genuine peace,” he said. “I hope your visit can steer them back to a place where we can achieve the historic peace we seek and that our people deserve.” Netanyahu said that Israel, the Palestinians and the US agreed to certain terms three months ago that led to a resumption of the negotiations. “We stand by those terms,” he said. “We abide scrupulously by the terms of the agreements and the understandings by which we launched the negotiations.” In addition, Netanyahu said, “Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas should show the seriousness of his intentions to make peace with Israel by making his own Bar-Ilan speech, calling for a two state solution.”I’d like him to stand, as I did in front of my constituencies, and say ‘two states for two peoples. A Jewish state alongside a Palestinian state.’ I’ve yet to hear him say that.” Finally, Netanyahu said: “I don’t see that there’s been any change in the Palestinian position since 1993.”

Justice Minister Tzipi Livni (Hatnua) challenged the Labor political party to “work up the courage” to join the government coalition in order to help advance the peace process with the Palestinians. “If in the past there was no chance [for peace] and there was no point in entering the government. Now, there is an opportunity that we are liable to miss because of the make-up of the coalition,” Livni wrote on her Facebook page. Livni stated that Finance Minister Yair Lapid [Yesh Atid] had “forced” the current make-up of the coalition by insisting that he would not join the government without Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home). Livni called upon Labor to join the government coalition after the November 21 Labor party primary which pits Yacimovich against MK Issac Herzog. Israel government opposition leader Shelly Yacimovich (Labor)  reiterated her willingness to join the government to serve as a “safety net” for Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, in the event Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) decides to quit the coalition in light of “a [serious] diplomatic accord.” She stressed, though, that Labor will remain in the opposition unless a serious peace agreement does emerge, and that she “won’t repeat the bitter political and moral mistake” she made in the past when she “crawled into Netanyahu’s government and served as a fig leaf to a social and economic policy that abuses the public, and to diplomatic stagnation.”

In the past week, US Secretary of State John Kerry met with Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel. In doing so, Kerry urged Israel to limit settlement building. Furthermore, Kerry said: “Let me emphasize at this point the position of the United States of America on the settlements is that we consider them… to be illegitimate.” While being in Israel, Kerry conducted an interview with Israel Channel 2. In the interview, he not only called the settlements “illegitimate” but also warned that if current peace talks fail, Israel could face a third intifada and growing international isolation. Kerry “warned of “chaos” and a “third intifada” if Israel’s “peace talks” with the Palestinian Authority (PA) fail. If we do not resolve the issues between Palestinians and Israelis, if we do not find a way to find peace, there will be an increasing isolation of Israel, there will be an increasing campaign of delegitimization of Israel that’s been taking place on an international basis,” Kerry warned. A senior Israeli official responded to Kerry’s warning by saying, “Israel will not succumb to fear tactics.” Kerry concluded his threats against Israel by saying the following:  The people in Israel seem to have the attitude, ‘Oh we feel safe today. We have the wall, we’re not in a day-to-day conflict, we’re doing pretty well economically.’ “Well, I’ve got news for you,” he said, referring to the Israeli public. “Today’s status quo will not be tomorrow’s or next year’s. Because if we don’t resolve this issue, the Arab world, the Palestinians, neighbors, others, are going to begin again to push in a different way.”

In response to Kerry’s interview comments, Israel Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said that while Israel is interested in peace talks, “were probably not going to solve it [the conflict] based on what we thought.” Responding to Kerry’s pressuring of Israel, the Defense Minister said “we shall conduct things wisely, without worrying about threats of whether or not there will be a third intifada.” Ya’alon notes that while some claim the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is territorial, having begun in 1967 and needing to end in the “1967 borders” (the 1949 Armistice lines), no Palestinian Authority (PA) leadership, including that of Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, has been ready to consider territorial compromise and recognize Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people. Ya’alon remarked that Arab claims include all sections of Israel. We left Gaza and they continue to attack us. They educate the younger generation that Haifa and Acre are Palestinian ports, and more. There’s no sign of compromise.”

Minister of Internal Affairs Gideon Sa’ar stated in a Likud party meeting that he does not believe that the Palestinian Authority has entered into negotiations with Israel in good faith. Sa’ar clarified the importance for the State of Israel to declare now that it will not accept external pressure, and that attempts to internationalize the conflict and bypass negotiations are doomed to fail. Minister of Economics and Trade Naftali Bennett, who heads the Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) party reacted to US Secretary of State John Kerry’s warning that Israel will face a “third intifada” if the “peace talks” with the Palestinian Authority (PA) fail by saying,  “A united Jerusalem under Israeli sovereignty is a safeguard for peace and will not be an excuse for threats on the state of Israel,” Bennett said. “What is more, we have already learned the hard way that it is precisely the act of ceding parts of our homeland that bring terrorism and loss of legitimacy, and only standing firm brings quiet and security.”

In response to Kerry’s threats against Israel in his interview on Israeli television by saying that if peace talks fail that Israel will face growing international isolationism, a possible third intifada, a possible disruption of daily life in Israel and that the US regards settlement building in the West Bank as “illegitimate” and no Israeli troops should remain in the Jordan Valley, an Israel opinion article said the following: “For the first time since he managed to restart the talks in July, Kerry dropped his statesman-like public impartiality, and clearly spoke from the heart — and what emerged were a series of accusations that amounted to a forceful slap in the face for Netanyahu. It was a rhetorical onslaught that the prime minister cannot have expected and one he will not quickly forget. In an extremely unusual joint interview with Israel’s Channel 2 and the Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation, a very frustrated Kerry basically blamed the Israeli government for stealing the Palestinians’ land and the Israeli public for living in bubble that prevents them from caring much about it. If that wasn’t enough, he railed against the untenability of the Israel Defense Forces staying “perpetually” in the West Bank. In warning that a violent Palestinian leadership might supplant Mahmoud Abbas if there was not sufficient progress at the peace table, he appeared to come perilously close to empathizing with potential Palestinian aggression against Israel. Kerry seemed to place the blame for the failure to make rapid and major progress in negotiations overwhelmingly on Israel, with no acknowledgment — in his statements as broadcast Thursday — of two intifadas, relentless anti-Israel incitement in the Palestinian territories, the Hamas takeover of Gaza and the constant rocket fire from the Strip. In lamenting the IDF’s presence in the West Bank, Kerry positioned himself directly opposite Netanyahu, for whom an ongoing Israeli security presence in the Jordan Valley is a stated crucial condition for an agreement. Perhaps more surprisingly, he showed no evident concern over the danger of a Hamas takeover in the West Bank were the IDF to withdraw, disregarding a widely held concern — borne of the rapid ease with which Hamas swept Abbas’s forces aside in Gaza in 2007 — that the official Palestinian Authority forces alone would not be able to hold sway.

Next, the head of the left-wing Meretz party, Zahava Gal-On, said that the Obama administration is determined to achieve a major diplomatic breakthrough next year in the negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, including arrangements for a final status agreement. “There will be a new diplomatic program, based on the pre-1967 lines with agreed land swaps,” Gal-On said in a statement after meeting with Palestinian and American officials. She said that the US has made a subtle but significant switch from a “third-party trying to bring the two sides together, to a role of direct involvement in the process.” Israel Army radio reported that if the current direct peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians fail then the US will propose its own solution in January that will include the US position on every issue in dispute between Israel and the Palestinians. In effect, the US will attempt to force both Israel and the Palestinians to agree on the dictated solution proposed by the US. Palestinian sources also confirmed that January is when the US intends to impose it own peace plan. The US decision to present a proposed agreement was reportedly communicated by several senior officials, including the Special Representative to the talks, Martin Indyk. Secretary of State John Kerry reportedly briefed Netanyahu on the matter when they last met recently in Rome, Italy. At that meeting, Netanyahu rejected a US proposal to station American forces in the Jordan Valley or to allow other international troops to maintain the security along the eastern border. During the seven-hour meeting, Kerry attempted to finish outlining the borders for the future Palestinian state. The prime minister drew the outline first. In Netanyahu’s map, the Palestinian state is farther away from the Jordan Valley, is surrounded on all sides by areas under Israeli sovereignty, is demilitarized, and preserves for Israel the greater Jerusalem area and the Jewish settlement blocs. The Palestinians, for their part, are thought to be unwilling to give up a state that does not stretch to the Jordan River, nor will they agree to not control the northern Dead Sea area. The US peace plan expected to be released in January, is expected to be something similar to the Clinton outline, offered by President Bill Clinton in late 2000, which is based on an Israeli retreat to 1949 Armistice lines and some swaps of territory. The US plan is spread out over a gradual timetable, calls for the investment of billions of dollars in the Palestinian economy, and will include suggestion for a broader regional peace treaty based on the Arab Peace Initiative. The initiative, first proposed by the Arab League in 2002, calls for a comprehensive peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians together with normalization of ties between Israel and the Arab world. Central to the initiative was the complete withdrawal of Israel to its pre-1967 lines and the right of return for Palestinian refugees.

In the three months between now and January, the parties, with the help of U.S. envoy Martin Indyk, will conduct negotiations in an effort to bridge the gaps. The assessment is, however, that each side will remain entrenched in their basic positions. Therefore, during the final stage of this period, in January, the United States will apparently present a plan with its own proposals for resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Until now, the talks were based on the idea that the two sides negotiate directly with the US only acting as a mediator. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told members of his own political party that Israel would examine any proposal presented during the negotiations with the Palestinians “but we won’t accept any external dictates and no pressure will help.”

Palestinian Authority officials maintain that any American peace plan anchored in two principles:

1) that it be a permanent, not interim, agreement, and
2) that it include a pre-determined timetable for implementation of all stages, including the core issues.

PLO senior officials say as long as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu does not agree to the 1967 borders and continues to talk about maintaining Israeli sovereignty over all of Jerusalem, there cannot be a breakthrough. PLO Executive Committee member Hanan Ashrawi said that to her knowledge, the Americans have not tabled any suggestions or a draft peace treaty, and she stressed that any offer which lacks a timetable and isn’t termed a permanent solution cannot be accepted by the Palestinians.

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

The link to these articles are as follows:

1) Palestinian official: No talks while settlement construction continues
2) Abbas: Peace talks stalled, may terminate early
3) PA officials: Palestinian peace envoys haven’t quit over Israeli settlement building
4) Netanyahu: Refusal to Recognize Jewish State is Root of Conflict
5) Netanyahu: PA Creating ‘Artificial Crisis’
6) Netanyahu tells Kerry he is ‘concerned’ about talks with Palestinians
7) Netanyahu: I want Abbas to give his own Bar-Ilan speech
8.) Livni calls on Labor to ‘work up courage’ to join coalition for sake of peace process
9) Yacimovich: Labor will join government only if serious peace agreement emerges
10) Kerry: US considers Israeli settlements to be ‘illegitimate’
11)  Kerry: Why do you want to build in what will eventually be Palestine?
12) Kerry Threatens Israel with ‘Third Intifada’
13) Ya’alon to Kerry: Don’t Threaten Intifada
14) Sa’ar: Israel Will Not Buckle Under External Pressure
15) Bennett Responds to Kerry’s ‘Threats’
16) Frustrated Kerry’s peace critique a heavy slap in Netanyahu’s face
17) Meretz chief: Obama wants major Israeli-Palestinian breakthrough in 2014
18) US ‘Will Force’ Israel-PA Deal
19) US to suggest peace deal in January, Meretz MK says
20) U.S. to propose Israeli-Palestinian peace deal in January, senior MK tells Haaretz
21) ‘America will intervene with own peace plan by January if talks fail’
22) Palestinians insist U.S. peace solution be permanent
23) Kerry: No separate U.S. plan
24) Netanyahu: Israel will examine any peace proposal but will accept no dictates

John Kerry, William Hague and foreign ministers from France and Germany all made unplanned flights to Geneva, Switzerland in an attempt to seal a nuclear deal with Iran and end a decade-long impasse with the country. There were also reports that the Russian foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, was flying also for the meetings. Talks between the P5 + 1 powers and Iran were expected to resume on Saturday. The focus of the talks shifted from formal sessions at Geneva’s Palace of Nations to impromptu meetings at the European mission hosted by the EU foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton. Kerry, Hague, the French foreign minister, Laurent Fabius, and his German counterpart, Guido Westerwelle, gathered there. After night fell, Ashton and Kerry met the Iranian foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, for three-way discussions that western officials described as the key session of the talks so far. The officials said Kerry’s arrival did not signal that a deal was ready to be signed but rather that the issues dividing the sides had risen to a level that only foreign ministers, in consultation with their heads of government, could resolve. The aim of the talks is to agree a joint statement laying out a roadmap towards a peaceful resolution of the nuclear standoff. Iranian officials said a draft of the statement had been completed by the time Ashton, Kerry and Zarif met at the EU mission.

According to Zarif and western officials, it was to include details of an interim deal that would slow down Iranian uranium enrichment and relax some sanctions, providing time to work out a more comprehensive, long-term agreement. The outline of that goal would also be sketched out in the joint statement based upon Iranian insistence. Majid Takht-Ravanchi, an Iranian deputy foreign minister, confirmed in the afternoon that a draft agreement had been drawn up and would be discussed at the crucial meeting involving Ashton, Kerry and Zarif. “The text is ready and the initial negotiations about this text will be made in this trilateral meeting,” said Takht-Ravanchi. The proposed agreement, which was drafted by the US, offers Iran a six-month freeze of its nuclear program – including plutonium production at a water plant based in Iraq – in exchange for renewed negotiations between the two countries and the limited lifting of sanctions. The news is especially troubling given that Iran is close to producing enough weapons-grade uranium to produce a weapon within a relatively short period – some predictions are as little as a few weeks.

President Obama broke the news of a possible agreement with Iran on US television by saying, “There is a possibility of a phased agreement, the first part of which would stop Iran from further expanding its nuclear program. We are offering modest relief from the sanctions, but keeping the core sanctions in place, so that if it turned out during the course of the six months when we’re trying to resolve some bigger issues that they’re backing out of the deal or… not giving us assurances that they’re not developing a nuclear weapon, we can crank that dial back up,” the US president said.

In response to the possible agreement, Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Israel utterly rejects a mooted world powers deal with Iran aimed at ending a long-running dispute over its nuclear ambitions and will not be bound by the terms of the agreement. Netanyahu called for sanctions against Iran to remain in place until Iran has dismantled its entire enrichment program. Iran had in fact already achieved all the makings of a nuclear bomb and is holding them in place ready for assembly. Uranium enrichment will furthermore continue although at a low grade. At any moment, Tehran may decide to assemble those components and produce a bomb and has the capacity to do so before the US or Israel catch on to what is happening.

The consequences of a US peace deal with Iran is as follows:

1. Israel has abandoned its trust in Barack Obama ever complying with his pledge to its security and will henceforth act on its own.

2. Israel’s only remaining course now is to exercise its military option against Iran’s nuclear capability – whether openly or covertly.

The link to these articles is as follows:

1) Iran nuclear deal hopes rise as foreign ministers fly into Geneva
2) Amid intensifying talk of a deal, Geneva nuclear session to resume Saturday
3) Netanyahu: Israel rejects nuclear deal with Iran
4) Kerry, PM Hold Final Meeting; PM: ‘Israel utterly rejects’ Deal
5) Geneva fallout: Iran becomes a nuclear power, followed by Saudis. Israel loses trust in Obama

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 2, 2013: Weekly 5 minute update (Audio Only)

Friday, November 1st, 2013

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 current status of the situation with Iran

So far there have been 15 meetings between the Israeli and Palestinian negotiating teams. Despite the ramped-up rate of talks, there has been no breakthrough. In any event, Israel released the second installment of 26 Palestinian prisoners this week as part of the agreement with the Palestinians to restart direct peace talks. Regarding the release of these prisoners, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: “The decision to release Palestinian prisoners is one of the toughest decisions that I’ve taken as prime minister. I am certain that all the prime ministers who made this decision before me agonized over it as well due to the injustice of villains being released before they serve the full term of their sentences. My heart is with the bereaved families and it pains me. This decision is a necessity given the reality in which we live. We are forced to navigate an international arena that is complicated; it is not simple, it is complicated, it is full of challenges, and it requires us to take into consideration a number of factors for the good of the State of Israel.”

As a result, Israel is planning to advance four building projects in east Jerusalem as “compensation” for the release of these 26 Palestinian prisoners approving the construction of 1,500 additional housing units in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Ramat Shlomo.

Nabil Abu Rudeina, the spokesman for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas reacted harshly saying that the annoucement “destroys the peace process and sends the international community the message that Israel does not respect international law.” UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also condemned the announcement saying that Israel building in East Jerusalem is ‘contrary to international law’ and “an obstacle to peace”. Catherine Ashton, the European Union’s high representative for foreign affairs and security policy, says the EU “deplores” the Israeli plan and said that it is illegal and violates international law calling on Israel to stop construction even to accommodate “natural growth”. She said: “The EU deplores the recent settlement announcements. Any actions that could hamper or undermine the ongoing negotiations must be avoided. The EU has repeatedly stated that settlements are illegal under international law. It has also called on Israel to end all settlement activity, including natural growth, and to dismantle outposts erected since March 2001.” The Obama administration spokesperson Jen Psaki said, “We do not consider continued settlement activity or East Jerusalem construction to be steps that create a positive environment for the negotiations.”

Israeli officials said that US officials, including Secretary of State John Kerry, were aware of the settlement expansion plans before peace talks resumed in August by saying that the US and the Palestinians knew in advance that the release of convicted Palestinian terrorists would be accompanied by announcements of settlement construction plans. While the US and the Palestinians did not know about all the details of what new settlement plans would be announced, they knew of the intention to announce new plans, as well as the timing, the official said. According to an Israeli TV station, on July 19, the day that Israel approved US Secretary of State John Kerry’s framework for restarting Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, Netanyahu agreed with Kerry that every time the prisoners would be released, there would be an announcement of new settlement construction plans to make the bitter pill easier to swallow for some of his coalition partners.

PLO secretary-general Yasser Abed Rabbo said that the Palestinians reject an interim agreements. He also said that there would be no solution or peace with Israel without the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital on the pre-1967 lines. He described the Israeli position presented at the peace talks as “the worst in 20 years.” He also said that “Israel wants the Palestinian state’s borders to be determined by its security needs and this could undermine the chances of a sovereign Palestinian state.” PLO Executive Committee member Wasel Abu Yusef said that the peace talks have thus far failed to produce any result. He said the PA leadership was considering declaring the failure of the negotiations. Although the talks are being held in secret, the sparse information that has emerged so far does little to indicate that the ambitious goal of a peace deal by April, 2014, will be realized and instead paints a picture of wide gaps between the two sides.

Meanwhile, Israeli sources report that Palestinian negotiators submitted a document representing the Palestinian stances regarding talks on final status core issues. The document states that the Palestinians desire the Right of Return of the Palestinian refugees, in addition to water resources, borders, and land swap. Palestinian negotiators are demanding that Israel accepts granting a choice to the displaced Palestinian refugees. The refugees would be allowed to choose between “returning to Palestinian controlled areas, to leave the refugee camps abroad to live in a third state, to accept financial compensation or stay as citizens of the countries they live in. The Palestinians also demanded Israel to provide a safe passage linking between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, and that the Palestinians have full control over borders, over parts of the Dead Sea, and over water resources. The Palestinians are also insisting any future Palestinian state be able to sign agreements with other states without Israeli intervention and releasing all Palestinian prisoners it holds. The Israeli source said that the Palestinians are demanding focusing direct Israeli-Palestinian talks on core issues, instead of pushing them until final-status talks, the way on and off negotiations have been held since the early 1990’s. The Palestinian document reiterates the Palestinian demand that the agreement should include all territories captured by Israel in 1967, including occupied East Jerusalem, and all related international resolutions. The source added that the Palestinians expressed willingness to conduct a land swap that would allow Israel to keep its large settlement blocks in the occupied West Bank, in exchange for granting the Palestinians areas in the Negev. The offer allegedly states that the land-swap should not exceed %1.9 of the West Bank and Jerusalem as the Palestinians claim that Israel’s large settlement blocs occupy only 1.2% of the West Bank. Finally, the Palestinians are demanding a clear time-frame that would secure a full Israeli withdrawal from the occupied territories in no more than 3.5 years and a peace deal would be signed only six months after such cessation

Israel expressed acceptance of establishing a contiguous Palestinian State but insists on maintaining military presence along the Jordan River for an agreed upon time-frame. Israel will likely offer compensation to the Palestinians in order to keep its large settlement blocs in the West Bank and accepted a certain land swap. The unity of Jerusalem is important and Palestinians can not have a right of return into Israel in any final status agreement for a two-state solution, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told his cabinet that Israel needs to maintain the unity of Jerusalem and to cancel the Palestinian right of return. He further said: “Israel wants to reach a peace agreement with the Palestinians. In this agreement, we will insist on the vital interests of the State of Israel, first of all security, of course, and including our ability to continue defending our eastern border.” In addition, in any final-status agreement the Palestinians would need to renounce all national claims and recognize the State of Israel as the homeland for the Jewish people.

The UN special coordinator for the Middle East peace process said that there is “no real prospect for peace” between Israelis and Palestinians unless the status of Jerusalem is resolved. “Without resolving Jerusalem, there will be no real peace solution. The [UN] secretary general believes that a way has to be found for Jerusalem to emerge as a capital for two states.”

Saudi Arabia is upset with US Foreign Policy as it relates to Syria, Iran and the Israel / Palestinian peace process. Michael Doran, a Brookings Institute Middle East scholar and former White House National Security Council official said: “I’ve never seen such a willingness on the part of the Saudis to publicly express their frustrations… it looks to the Saudis as if the US is throwing Sunni allies under the bus by trying to cut a deal with Iran and its allies.” Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah has reportedly shared his frustration with Jordan’s King Abdullah and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed of the United Arab Emirates. Abdullah reportedly told his fellow Sunni Arab guests that he is “convinced the US is unreliable.” In frustration, the Saudi’s may attempt to try to disrupt the Israel / Palestinian peace talks. According to a source close the Palestinian leadership, the Saudis told visiting Palestinian Authority senior officials during the Muslim Haj pilgrimage that the Saudis expect the Palestinians to distance themselves from the US in support of the Saudi rift with Washington.

Finally, US Secretary of State John Kerry will be traveling to the Middle East to have talks with Israel and the Palestinians regarding the peace process. Only two weeks after his meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Rome, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will visit Jerusalem and Ramallah next week, expected to address Iran’s nuclear program and the unproductive talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

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

The link to these articles are as follows:

1) Netanyahu: Prisoner release one of ‘toughest’ decisions as PM
2) Netanyahu to advance east Jerusalem construction as ‘compensation’ for prisoner release
3) Palestinian Authority: Netanyahu’s West Bank settlement construction announcement ‘destroys peace process’
4) EU condemns new Israel settlements plan
5) EU demands Israel stop settlement activity, ‘including natural growth’
6) US knew of settlement construction plans
7) Abbas said to soften stance on interim peace agreement
8.) Abbas denies considering interim peace agreement
9) Palestinian Negotiators Provide Document Of Stances Regarding Core Issues
10) Palestinians make stiff land demands for peace deal
11) PLO official: Israel’s position in negotiations worst since Oslo
12) Netanyahu rejects Palestinian right of return to Israel
13) UN envoy: Status of Jerusalem must be resolved
14) The world from here: Will the Saudis now derail Palestinian Israeli peace talks?
15) Kerry due in Mideast next week to discuss Iran, Israel-Palestinian talks

Israel has decided to increase the money allocated to its defense budget. Why was this decision made? According to DEBKA which is an Israeli news and intelligence website, Israel is working on the assumption that a US-Iranian agreement regarding Iran’s nuclear program is near its final stage and Obama plans to announce before Christmas that only a partial agreement has been made and that negotiations will continue.  Obama will be cagey in public – partly because not all parts of the accord have been finalized, although the pace of US-Iranian negotiations have been accelerated, and partly to avoid coming clean on the full scope of the deal with Tehran.

The US-Iranian talks are being held at three levels:

1. American and Iranian diplomats and nuclear experts are discussing the technical aspects of the accord in Vienna. Some of these meetings – but not all – take place at International Atomic Energy Agency headquarters in the city.

2. Secretary of State John Kerry and Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman, who is the senior US negotiator, are handling the second level of direct negotiations opposite Foreign Minister Mohammed Zarif and his deputy Abbas Araqchi.

3. The third level deals with sanctions. It is run by officials of the US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, which oversees the sanctions regime, and senior staff from President Hassan Rouhani’s bureau. They are working to determine which sanctions will be lifted and at which stage of the negotiations.

The link to these articles is as follows:

1) Cabinet increases defense budget by NIS 2.75B
2) Braced for imminent nuclear accord with Iran, US pulls away from military option, IDF stays on the ready

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