You may view the 5 minute update this week via audio:
In this week’s 5 minute update, we focused on:
1) The current status of the Israel / PLO peace process
Israeli’s top two negotiators with the Palestinians will travel to the United States to have talks with US Secretary of State, John Kerry, about the parameters for a framework agreement between Israel and the Palestinians to continue peace negotiations. Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s envoy Yitzhak Molcho are to meet with Kerry and his staff members, including the US special envoy Martin Indyk. Furthermore, chief PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat said that he would meet with Kerry in the US in the coming week. The Palestinians are expecting Kerry to present them with a written document outlining the US position on the peace process, Erekat said. Kerry has been working for months to reach a framework agreement between Israel and the Palestinians whose goal would be an establishment of a Palestinian state. A senior Palestinian officical, Abed Rabbo said “the plan proposes Palestinian recognition of Israel as a Jewish state, the establishment of the Palestinian capital in a part of East Jerusalem and solving the refugees problem in accordance with former U.S. President Bill Clinton’s vision. However, Abed Rabbo said there are considerable gaps between the positions of the Israeli government and the Palestinian leadership. Netanyahu ”is refusing to open the file on Jerusalem,” he said, while the Palestinian side is adamant in rejecting Israel’s demand that it be formally recognized as the Jewish state. US Secretary of State, John Kerry, said that the goal of a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians would be the “mutual recognition of the nation-state of the Palestinian people and the nation-state of the Jewish people.”
According to Kerry’s plan, settlement blocs would remain under Israeli control as would border crossings and air space, though American and Jordanian troops would be present as well, Abed Rabbo said. Israel, he added, would retain the right to enter Palestinian territory in hot pursuit. In addition, Israeli negotiators are discussing a series of limited withdrawals linked to progress by the Palestinian Authority in maintaining security, a senior Palestinian official said. “There are talks on long-term security arrangements and standards [that would be] subject to so-called improved performance on security by the Palestinians, overseen by Israel,” said Abed Rabbo, a senior member of the Palestine Liberation Organization. Israel would determine “in the end, whether the desired level had been reached or not, although the Americans say they will be present and involved in evaluating this performance so that Israel will evacuate some areas, especially from the Jordan Valley.” US Secretary of State, John Kerry affirmed this view by stating that the end of the Israeli-Arab conflict would involve “a phased but complete withdrawal of Israeli forces” from the West Bank. “The Palestinians need to know that at the end of the day, their territory is going to be free of Israeli troops; that occupation ends,” Kerry said. “But the Israelis, rightfully, will not withdraw unless they know that the West Bank will not become a new Gaza. Nobody can blame any leader of Israel for being concerned about that reality,” he added. In his meeting with Kerry, Israel Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said he has no intention of evacuating any Israeli settlements from the Jordan Valley or uprooting any Israelis who live there.
Netanyahu said the principles of a future potential agreement with the Palestinians would become clear in the next few days. Once those principles were made clear, Netanyahu said, it would be possible to assess whether the Palestinian leadership is truly seeking a breakthrough.
According to DEBKA, which is an Israeli intelligence and news gathering website, Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas launched his “diplomatic intifada” against Israel on January 23 from Moscow. His meetings with President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, Abbas distanced himself from the efforts of US Secretary of State, John Kerry’s efforts to reach a framework agreement between the Palestinians and Israel and instead asked Russia to take a more active role in supporting a Palestinian state. DEBKA said that the efforts of Abbas to dump the US and solicit the support of Russia caught the US and Israel unprepared – and surprised their intelligence agencies. Nabil Shaath, a senior Palestinian official bluntly stated that it was time to “end the American monopoly on peacemaking, after the US has proven incapable of imposing a peace agreement upon Israel.” Meanwhile, a former member of the Palestinian negotiating team, Muhammad Shtayyeh, called on the Palestinian Authority to endorse “resistance” against Israel. He said that the Palestinian leadership was planning to seek membership in the UN after the failure of the talks so as to prosecute Israel for “war crimes.” He called for an international conference on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict similar to the Geneva conference on Syria. The Palestinian goal, Shtayyeh said, was to internationalize the Palestinian issue.
Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas said that despite efforts by Secretary of State John Kerry, the PA has so far gotten nothing out of the ongoing peace negotiations with Israel. As he usually does, Abbas blamed Israel for the lack of progress in the peace talks. “The problem is with the Israeli side and not with us,” Abbas said. He referred to Israeli residents in the West Bank as “invaders” with “no right to Palestinian land”. Abbas also stressed that Palestinian Arabs living inside what is now Israel “were on the land 1,500 years before Israel was established.” “This is why Palestine can never recognize Israel as a Jewish state,” Abbas said. “We demand what was given to us by the international community” in 1967, while acknowledging that limited land swaps would be acceptable. Also, he said that “There can be no peace without stability, nor agreement without occupied east Jerusalem being recognized as the capital of the Palestinian state.” Finally, Abbas rejected the idea of extending the peace talks with Israel beyond the nine-month timeline set to expire at the end of April. Abbas said, “It was agreed that the negotiations would continue for nine months. We have had a large number of negotiation sessions, during which we discussed major issues. There is not talk about an extension. We need to focus on the remaining time and not think about pro-longing the talks.”
Israel’s chief negotiator, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, lashed out at Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, saying in an uncharacteristic critique that if he stuck to his “unacceptable positions” the Palestinians would suffer the consequences. Livni said Abbas’s positions were “not only unacceptable to us but to the whole world, and if he continues to stick to them, then the Palestinians will be the ones to pay the price. Abbas has recently stated that no peace agreement would be possible without all of East Jerusalem [including the Old City] as the Palestinian capital, has staunchly refused to recognize Israel’s self-definition as the state of the Jewish people, and has demanded the right of return for Palestinian refugees and their descendants to Israel proper, saying nobody but the refugees themselves could negotiate away that right. US Secretary of State, John Kerry, also warned the Palestinians saying that they need to take advantage of the present opportunity to reach a framework agreement with Israel. The Palestinians, he said, must understand that the current round of talks could be their last chance at a negotiated resolution for the foreseeable future. “If (the Palestinians) fail to achieve statehood now, there is no guarantee they will any time soon.” He added: “If talks fail, Palestinians will be no closer to being masters of their own fate, and no closer to resolving their refugee crisis.” After delivering those stern warnings, Kerry pivoted to positive arguments for peace: “Imagine this time next year if Palestinian businessman and government leaders from the state of Palestine are able to pitch the world’s largest investors (at Davos).”
The European Union warned both Israel and the Palestinians of the high price of losing European Union trade and aid if negotiations collapse, the EU ambassador to Israel said. “We have made it clear to the parties that there will be a price to pay if these negotiations falter,” ambassador Lars Faaborg-Andersen said. “If Israel were to go down the road of continued settlement expansion and were there not to be any result in the current talks, I am afraid that what will transpire is a situation where Israel finds itself increasingly isolated,” he said. In addition, Germany announced that continued grants to Israeli high-tech companies, as well as the renewal of a scientific cooperation agreement, will not be allowed for Israeli companies that are located in West Bank settlements or East Jerusalem will not be eligible for funding. A senior Israeli Foreign Ministry official expressed his fear that the German move will lead other European Union member states to follow suit, adding that this decision represents a significant escalation in European measures against the settlements. As a result, the boycott against the settlements has now spread from EU institutions in Brussels to individual EU members. In response, Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that he isn’t ignoring the spreading boycott against Israel but economic pressure will not advance the peace process but will only harden Palestinian rejection of it.
If Netanyahu does agree to a framework agreement with the Palestinians, the leader of the Jewish Home political party, Naftali Bennett intends to get the support of enough MKs to block Netanyahu from adopting any of its proposals. In doing so, Bennett is trying to get support against a Palestinian state from members of Netanyahu’s Likud Beytanu political party. “An alliance with the Right in Likud is an important mutual interest,” Bennett said. “The goal is to torpedo any agreement and prevent deterioration to pre-1967 lines.” While no MKs have signed any written commitment, Bennett is confident he will receive enough support from Likud Beytenu MKs to reject any possible agreement with the Palestinians by making it clear to Netanyahu that he would be left without a government. In doing so, “Netanyahu will realize he has no choice,” a source close to Bennett said. More than 200 right-wing activists met with the Likud Deputy Transportation Minister Tzipi Hotovely and other MKs to strategize how to prevent concessions to the Palestinians. The activists vowed to pressure MKs not to support any steps that would lead to the creation of a Palestinian state. “All indications are that the Americans intend to force an agreement on Israel that would endanger its security and its values,” Hotovely warned at the event. “Talk of keeping only settlement blocs is adopting the path of [former Meretz leader] Yossi Beilin and is a sin against the Right. The way to stop such destructive plans is via the Likud and the coalition. The prime minister must understand that he will have no coalition and he will have no party if he accedes to a diplomatic agreement.”
So, with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry set to present his “framework” for a deal between Israel and the Palestinian Authority in the coming days, Land of Israel activists will hold a special emergency convention. The event will discuss alternatives to the Kerry plan, which the government of Israel seems ready to accept, even though details are still sketchy. What is known about the plan, say activists, is that it entails significant Israeli withdrawals from the West Bank, and/or relinquishing of territory inside the 1948 armistice lines in exchange for the so-called “settlement blocs” in the West Bank. However, they said that there are other options – specifically, the extension of Israeli sovereignty to the entire Land of Israel. The theme of the convention will be “A single state between the Jordan and the Mediterranean – the State of Israel.” Participating in the event will be leaders and activists of various parties, including Jewish Home and the Likud. In addition, the event will be attended by numerous activist groups, including Women in Green, Kommemiyut, Regavim, the Judea and Samaria Council, and others.
An agreement to divide Jerusalem and establish a PLO state is a tribulation event.
The link to these articles are as follows:
1) ‘Kerry plan envisages phased Israeli withdrawals, depending on security’
2) Kerry promises Palestinians an IDF-free state
3) Kerry: Israel’s Security Must be Ensured in Peace Deal
4) Livni lambastes Abbas’s ‘unacceptable positions’
5) Livni, Molcho head for Washington to confer with Kerry on peace talks
6) Netanyahu meets Kerry, says no Jordan Valley settlements will go
7) Netanyahu: Iran has spent $160 billion on nuclear weapons drive
8.) Palestinian leader turns to Putin for Palestinian state, dumps US and Israel as peace partners
9) Former PLO negotiator calls on PA to endorse ‘resistance’ against Israel
10) Abbas: There’s No Progress, and It’s All Israel’s Fault
11) Haaretz: Germany Conditions High-Tech, Science Grants on Settlement Funding Ban
12) EU warns Israel, Palestinians of the cost of peace failure
13) Abbas rejects extending peace talks beyond nine-month timeline
14) Bennett says his goal is to ‘torpedo’ any agreement with the Palestinians
15) Emergency Conference to Discuss ‘Imminent’ Kerry Plan
From a Biblical prophetic perspective, the reason why the God of Israel would allow these events to happen is because it will result in the end of the exile of the house of Jacob and the reunification of the 12 tribes of Israel (Ephraim and Judah).
We will to be “watchmen on the walls of Jerusalem” and we will not rest until the God of Israel makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth (Isaiah 62).
Shalom in Yeshua the Messiah,
Hebraic Heritage Ministries Int’l