Archive for July, 2014

July 26, 2014: Weekly 5 minute update (Audio Only)

Tuesday, July 29th, 2014

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 conflict between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip

Israel started “Operation Protective Edge” against the Palestinian terror organization, Hamas, in the Gaza Strip after Hamas launched a barrage of rockets against Israeli citizens in various parts of the land of Israel. In total, Hamas has fired some 1,500 rockets throughout Israel. For the first 10 days, Israel launched air strikes seeking to destroy an elaborate network of tunnels built by Hamas to wage war against Israel. Over the past 5 years, about 16,000 men, around 15 percent of Hamas’ fighting strength, were assigned to build the tunnel network. In response, Israel has hit over 3,000 targets in the Gaza. These targets have included weapons stockpiles, rocket launchers, smuggling tunnels, the homes of terrorist commanders and more. Exactly 21 militants from the Hamas and Islamic Jihad organization have been arrested in the Strip and taken in for interrogation by security forces and the Shin Bet. Dozens more have been killed in skirmishes with IDF soldiers.

US Secretary of State, John Kerry, explained why Israel needed to attack Hamas in the Gaza Strip saying: “When three young Israeli kids are taken and murdered, and Hamas applauds it and celebrates the fact that they were kidnapped and supported the kidnapping, and then starts rocketing Israel when they’re looking for the people who did it, that’s out of balance by any standard,” Kerry said. “And I think it’s important for people to remember the facts that led to this.”

After 10 days of aerial assaults in the Gaza Strip, on July 17, Israeli decided to send ground troops into the Gaza Strip. The Israeli cabinet agreed to the ground operation after Hamas rejected an Egyptian ceasefire proposal and afterward launched a barrage of rockets at southern and central Israel. Israeli residents living in those areas were instructed to enter bomb shelters. There are over 48,000 Israeli troops ready for combat. “We are now entering the second phase of the operation,” said an Israeli army spokesman. “We delivered a hard blow to the Hamas tunnel network with airstrikes. We attacked thousands of targets, destroyed infrastructure, hurt operatives. The ground troops will be working to locate and destroy tunnels from which Hamas launches rockets against Israel while seeking to destroy Hamas’s terrorist infrastructure in these areas. The Israeli army is also prepared for additional stages of the operation including getting all the way to the Gaza beach. However, Israel is not trying to remove Hamas from power in the Gaza Strip because such a goal would likely entail a move into densely populated Gaza City where urban warfare could prove costly to both sides. The goal of the operation is to deal a serious blow to the Hamas terrorist organization and improve the security of the Israeli civilian population” the IDF spokesman said. Breaking up the Hamas’ subterranean tunnels would take weeks.

Speaking at an emergency cabinet meeting, Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said Israel “Decided to launch the ground operation after we tried all the other ways for peace and with an understanding that without this operation the price we will have to pay later would be much higher.” Furthermore, the ground troops are needed because “there is no way to eliminate the tunnel threat only through airstrikes.” Netanyahu said the ground operation could expand. “My instructions … are to prepare for the possibility of significantly widening the ground operation and the military is preparing accordingly,” he said. Netanyahu added, “The supreme consideration guiding us is to restore security to the civilians and quiet to the state,” he said. “There is not a more moral army than the IDF, and we do not want to harm even one innocent civilian. Not even one. We are operating only against terror targets.” Netanyahu said that the terrorist organizations bear the responsibility for harm to the civilians in Gaza because they are attacking Israeli towns and cities from behind human shields.

Netanyahu said that he knows that the world will get a distorted picture of the operation, something that is “unpreventable.” The European Council issued a statement on the conflict between Israel and Hamas saying, “Israel has the right to protect its population from rocket fire from Hamas. At the same time, Israel must not respond “disproportionally”.

Israel Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said that “Israel will not compromise on its security and we will not accept rocket fire on the south. Hamas has already begun to pay a heavy price for its actions, and will pay even more dearly until rocket fire stops. Whoever attempts to disrupt our life will regret it. We are prepared to continue the operation as long as necessary, and, if necessary, to enlist more combat forces from the reserves until we bring quiet to the Gaza Strip,”  he said.

Israel Construction and Housing Minister Uri Ariel said that the goal of the beginning of the campaign is to remove the threats posed by the tunnels. Ariel said that Israel needed to take into consideration diplomatic pressure to reach a cease-fire, and for that reason needed to move quickly and not find itself under pressure it will not be able to withstand. “He said Israel needed to “go in and finish the job.” There is no choice but to move inside the Strip and “make order.”

Israel Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman is calling for Israel to remove Hamas from power. Saying that Israel has no “good options” in the Gaza, Liberman said the “right option” is not to agree to a cease-fire before the job is completed but “to topple the Hamas government, to remove them from the region.” If Israel does not take this action now, he said, it will need to do so in another number of months, when it may face even worse conditions. An end result to the operation would see the Israel army control the Gaza,” he said. The foreign minister noted that, in leaving Gaza in 2005, Israel did what the world had asked it to do, returning to the pre-1967 lines, and handing the territory over to PA President Mahmoud Abbas. “We pulled out all the settlers; we evacuated all the settlements,” said Liberman. “We have to say to the world, you pressed us to do this. Now you have to back us in going all the way… We have to end this conflict with the IDF in control of all of Gaza… There is no other way to tackle the Hamas and Islamic Jihad terror which rules Gaza.”

US Secretary of State John Kerry told Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that the US strongly supports Israel’s right to defend itself against threats posed by the Gaza tunnels dug into Israel and urged Israel to limit its ground operation to a precision offensive against the tunnels.

As a war tactic to rally international public support against Israel, Hamas is using hospitals as its military headquarters from which to launch rockets. The Israeli military said Hamas took over Al Wafa Hospital in Gaza City as its operational headquarters. The military said Hamas and Islamic Jihad commanders were directing operations and firing at Israel Army units from the medical facility, heavily damaged by the Israel Air Force. “The hospital was used for activating war rooms and command and control centers by Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad,” the military said. Hamas has deployed anti-tank missiles and machine guns at the hospital. The military said the hospital’s management allowed Hamas and Islamic Jihad to use the hospital for intelligence and tunnel warfare. As a result, the Israeli army has decided to strike terrorists operating in the hospital complex.”

Meanwhile, the military wing of Fatah (PLO), the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade of the West Bank, headed by Mahmoud Abbas, who also serves as the “President of Palestine” and head of the PLO, has declared “open war” against the “Zionist enemy.” On July 23, three armed terrorists from the al-Aqsa brigade announced that they would not sit idly by during the Israeli operation in the Gaza Strip and that they intend to bring the struggle deep into Israeli territory. “The language of blood is the only way to answer Zionist aggression”, they said, stating that international law permits them to conduct an armed struggle throughout all “Palestinian territories”. “It is open Intifada,” stated a spokesman for al-Aqsa Brigade leadership. Orders were given to all units operating within the West Bank to act against the “Zionist enemy”, with all options on the table.

US President Barack Obama is discussing the ongoing conflict with Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and various Arab leaders in the region. Obama affirmed Israel’s right to defend itself while raising “serious concern about the growing number of casualties, including increasing Palestinian civilian deaths in Gaza and the loss of Israeli soldiers,” a statement from the White House said. US Secretary of State, John Kerry, said: “Israel is under siege by a terrorist organization that has seen fit to dig tunnels and come through those tunnels with handcuffs and tranquilizer drugs, prepared to try to capture Israeli citizens and take them back to hold them hostage. No country could sit by and not take steps to try to deal with people who are sending thousands of rockets your way,” he said. “While we were talking to the prime minister, sirens went off. The prime minister of Israel had to interrupt the conversation with the President of the United States to go to a shelter,” Kerry said. “This is happening to families all across Israel. Every day, they have to seek shelter.”

In continuing the war with Hamas in the Gaza Strip, Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in an interview with Fox news that “Hamas had broken five cease-fires that Israel had accepted and implemented. They rejected all of them, violated all of them, including two humanitarian cease-fires in the last 24 hours,” Netanyahu said. He added that Israel’s goal in the conflict was the “demilitarization of Gaza.” saying, “The path to restoration of calm in Gaza is an ‘intertwined’ system of demilitarization of Gaza and ‘social and economic relief’ for the Palestinian people there.”  In the past, Hamas has taken the aid given to it from the international community to build tunnels to wage war against Israel rather than using the money for humanitarian aide and to build pre-schools in the Gaza Strip.

US President Barack Obama is seeking an immediate and unconditional humanitarian ceasefire that would later lead to a permanent end to hostilities in Gaza based on the 2012 ceasefire agreement reached at the end of Operation Pillar of Defense. A statement from the Obama administration said: “The President emphasizes the enduring importance of ensuring Israel’s security, protecting civilians, alleviating Gaza’s humanitarian crisis, and enacting a sustainable ceasefire that both allows Palestinians in Gaza to lead normal lives and addresses Gaza’s long-term development and economic needs, while strengthening the Palestinian Authority. The President stresses the US view that, ultimately, any lasting solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict must ensure the disarmament of terrorist groups and the demilitarization of Gaza,” the statement said.

In seeking to achieve a ceasefire between Hamas and Israel, US Secretary of State, John Kerry, traveled to Paris, France to meet with representatives from Turkey and Qatar. In doing so, Turkey and Qatar were given prominent roles in US mediation between Hamas and Israel while the Palestinian Authority and Egypt were entirely marginalized. The leadership of Turkey is openly hostile toward Israel. Qatar is seen as representing the interests of Hamas. Western diplomats and Palestinian Authority officials who met  Hamas politburo chief Khaled Meshaal in Qatar were amazed to hear him assert that Hamas was winning the war against the IDF and confident of being able to keep going for a long time. Every attempt to sway its political leader Khaled Meshaal to agree to a ceasefire with Israel ran into a blank wall. He summarily rejected invitations from Egypt and the Arab League to travel to Cairo and discuss the cessation of hostilities. Therefore, Israel’s Communications Minister Gilad Erdan said that Kerry’s approach shows that “we’re a long way from a political solution.”

Hamas is a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood and has strong support from Turkey and Qatar. Palestinian sources said that Kerry informed Hamas via Qatar that under his proposal for a ceasefire with Israel, based on the original Egyptian initiative, that the US would guarantee the fulfillment of many of Hamas’s demands for an end to the war. These demands would include the following:  an easing of restrictions on the passage of goods from Israel to Gaza; an easing of restrictions on the passage of traders and businessmen from Gaza to Israel; expansion of the permitted Gaza fishing zone to 12 miles off the coast; the opening of the Rafah crossing with Egypt, to be manned by Palestinian Authority officials; and a promise to ensure the transfer of salaries to Gaza’s government employees.

According to the text that Kerry submitted to Israel, “the Palestinian factions” and the State of Israel would make three commitments:

a) Establish a humanitarian cease-fire, ending all hostilities in and from the Gaza Strip, beginning in 48 hours, and lasting for a period of seven days

b) Build on the Cairo cease-fire understandings of November 2012 [that were reached, through American and Egyptian mediation, following Operation Pillar of Defense]

c) Convene in Cairo, at the invitation of Egypt, within 48 hours to negotiate resolution of all issues necessary to achieve a sustainable cease-fire and enduring solution to the crisis in Gaza, including arrangements to secure the opening of crossings, allow the entry of goods and people and ensure the social and economic livelihood of the Palestinian people living in Gaza, transfer funds to Gaza for the payment of salaries for public employees, and address all security issues.

In submitting this proposal, Kerry ignored Israel’s security requirements. Rather than calling for demilitarization of Gaza or addressing the attack tunnels dug by Hamas, the proposal merely calls for a general discussion of “all security issues.” As a result, the Israel cabinet unanimously rejected the US proposal submitted to Israel. Rather than provoke an open diplomatic confrontation with the United States, the report said, the appalled ministers chose not to issue an official statement rejecting the Kerry terms. Instead, word of the decision was allowed to leak out. “Voices” from the cabinet had described Kerry as “negligent,” “lacking the ability to understand” the issues, and “incapable of handling the most basic matters.”

Egypt was deeply dissatisfied with Kerry’s tactics to speak with Turkey and Qatar. The US proposal would give supervision for the implementation of the agreement to Turkey and Qatar, both openly hostile to Israel and extremely sympathetic to Hamas, while ignoring the role of Egypt. Fatah, Abbas’s political party, has also lambasted Kerry’s apparent move to exclude it from the ceasefire negotiations accusing Kerry of trying to undermine the Egyptian ceasefire initiative endorsed by Israel and the PA but rejected by Hamas. The Palestinian source said that PA negotiators were “very close” to finalizing a ceasefire deal that would insure the lifting of the blockade over Gaza and “realize all Palestinian demands.” Palestinian sources said that Kerry had initially agreed to an Egyptian proposal for an immediate ceasefire followed by five days of negotiations between Israel and the PA, with American assurances to address some of Hamas’s demands. However, after that Kerry produced a new plan based on consultations with Qatar and Turkey and conducted between “the State of Israel” and “the Palestinian factions,” excluding the PA. A Palestinian official explained: “Kerry tried, through his latest plan, to destroy the Egyptian bid and the Palestinian remarks on it (the Abbas plan). His initiative is an alternative to ours. Kerry was in fact trying to create an alternative framework to the Egyptian initiative and our understanding of it, in a way that placates the Qataris and the Turks. Whoever wants Qatar and Turkey to represent them can emigrate and go live there. Our only legitimate representative is the PLO.”

As a result, Israel is fighting for the first time in its history with solid Arab backing from the Egyptian-Saudi-United Arab Emirates bloc. So determined are its members to obliterate the Muslim Brotherhood that they have virtually blacklisted Qatar for supporting the Hamas Muslim Brotherhood. Although they are Sunni Muslim, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE oppose the Muslim Brotherhood.

The United States strongly denied that their proposal met all of the central demands of Hamas while ignoring the security needs of Israel and criticized Israel for making the accusation claiming instead to be a strong friend of Israel.

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

The link to these articles are as follows:

1) IDF launches major ground operation in Gaza
2) IDF sends ground troops into Gaza, calls up 18,000 reservists
3) Security cabinet decision to start ground operation was made Tuesday
4) Netanyahu: Israel would pay a greater price without a ground operation
5) Netanyahu: Gaza ground op comes after all other options exhausted
6) Ya’alon: We’re prepared to continue fighting until we bring quiet to Gaza
7) Israel says Gaza ground operation aims to restore calm, not oust Hamas
8) Amidst talk of Gaza ceasefire, Liberman repeats call for Israel to topple Hamas
9) Undermining PM, Liberman calls to retake Gaza, denounces truce efforts
10) US: Restrict Gaza operation to precise action against tunnels
11) Fatah Declares War on Israel
12) IDF ground forces attack Gaza amid air, sea and artillery pounding. Half a million Gazans told to leave. Israelis around Gaza sent to shelters
13) IDF troops hit 260 targets in Gaza; soldiers uncover 21 smuggling tunnels
14) Five IDF task forces begin driving into Gaza City. Israel draws up over-plan for control of the Gaza Strip
15) Thirteen IDF Golani soldiers killed in Gaza, at start of urban stage of Israel’s operation against Hamas
16) IDF Commanders: Time for decisive war move after IDF victories in Shejaiya, E. Rafah and Khan Younes
17) Israel: Hamas used hospital as military command and control center
18) Obama sends Kerry to Cairo to help truce efforts
19) Netanyahu calls on Hamas to accept Egyptian ceasefire proposal
20) Netanyahu: Future funds to rebuild Gaza must be linked to its demilitarization
21) Obama demands an immediate, unconditional ceasefire in Gaza
22) ‘Kerry told Hamas many of its demands would be met under ceasefire deal’
23) Leaked document confirms US ceasefire bid generous to Hamas
24) Kerry ‘completely capitulated’ to Hamas in ceasefire proposal, say Israeli sources
25) Report: Kerry truce draft ignores Israeli demands
26) Abbas fumes at Kerry over alternative ceasefire bid
27) IDF to hold fire in Gaza’s Shejaia despite Hamas breaking humanitarian truce
28) Israel working to ensure EU foreign ministers don’t mix settlements with Gaza at upcoming meeting
29) Envoy says US will work to get Abbas back ruling Gaza after conflict over

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

July 12, 2014: Weekly 5 minute update (Audio Only)

Tuesday, July 15th, 2014

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 conflict between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip

On July 2, Hamas fired more than 30 rockets into various Israeli cities. The Hamas terror organization, which controls Gaza, claimed it can hit any city in Israel, under its slogan “all cities are close to Gaza.”  Tensions with Gaza began in mid-June after Israel began a major crackdown in the West Bank to find militants behind the kidnapping of three Israeli teenagers, whose bodies were later found being dead. Palestinians also started rioting after the killing of the Palestinian teenager Mohammed Abu Khdeir, whose initial autopsy shows that he was burned alive. Meanwhile, 135 rockets have hit Israel over the past several weeks and another 21 have been intercepted by the Iron Dome air defense system.  During this same time, some half a million Israelis have spent time running to bomb shelters. Code Red alert sirens sent residents running to bomb shelters in communities throughout the South. Beersheba was targeted for the first time since 2012.

In response, “the Israeli Defence Forces have launched Operation Protective Edge against Hamas in Gaza to stop the terror that Israeli citizens face each day,” said an IDF spokesperson. In a later statement, Israel announced that the attack began with aerial and naval artillery strikes against 50 targets of the Islamists in Gaza, including rocket launchers, tunnels, arsenals and training centres. The Israeli army said about 200 rockets had been fired from Gaza since June 12, when Israel began a massive search for three Jewish seminar students who went missing in the West Bank and were found murdered last week. There have been almost nightly air strikes but most of the targets have been open fields used for training and only three militants have been killed, prompting calls from cabinet hardliners for a much tougher approach.

At the start of his weekly cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told the press, “We are working on several fronts simultaneously. Overnight we were active against many Hamas targets in Gaza and the goal of all of our operations is to restore quiet and security to all of Israel’s citizens, especially the residents of the south. Experience proves that at such times we must act responsibly and with equanimity, not hastily. We will do whatever is necessary to restore quiet and security to the south. In addition, over the weekend we also took determined action against disturbances in Jerusalem and in Arab communities. We are taking a tough line against anyone who breaks the law and against inciters from whatever side. There is no place in the State of Israel for stone-throwing at police, throwing firebombs, blocking roads or destroying property, or incitement against the very existence of the State of Israel. This rope cannot be held from both ends. One cannot benefit from National Insurance payments and child allowances on the one hand and, on the other, violate the most basic laws of the State of Israel. I call on the leaders of the Arab public to show responsibility and come out against the wave of disturbances in order to restore quiet. Whoever does not abide by the law – will be arrested and punished severely. I would like to take the opportunity at this time, on behalf of the government, to send my great appreciation to the police personnel and soldiers for tirelessly dealing with the security of all Israelis.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urged his cabinet to keep a cool head about how to handle growing tensions in and around the Gaza Strip saying “Experience has proved that at moments like this, we have to act responsibly and with a cool head and not with harsh words and impetuousness,” as he told cabinet ministers, who are fiercely divided over how to respond to mounting militant rocket fire on southern Israel. Meanwhile, Hamas rocket fire and Israeli reprisals have continued throughout the week, bringing calls from some within Israel to carry out a large-scale operation in Gaza.

An Israeli military source said that Israel is interested in reaching a ceasefire with Hamas. “If Hamas would stop the rocket fire, then quiet will be maintained on our part,” the official said. The official stressed that the IDF – unlike several ministers and MKs – is not rushing to launch an immediate assault on Gaza and would rather respond tit-for-tat with retaliatory airstrikes. “Even after rounds that included dozens of rockets and missiles the IDF maintains almost maximum restraint, and except for a few isolated attacks IDF prefer to maintain the truce,” the official said.

Speaking in the western Negev city of Sderot against the backdrop of rocket fire from Gaza,  Israel Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman said that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s stance of “Quiet will be responded to with quiet is a serious mistake and we in “Yisrael Beytenu” (Liberman’s political pary) completely reject this. It’s unthinkable that after they abducted and murdered three of our youths and after two straight weeks of missiles falling that Israel’s approach be that quiet will be answered by quiet.” Liberman visited the city of Sderot where he made statements demanding action against Hamas and terror saying, “Not all terrorist targets can be destroyed from the air. Most of the rocket production sites are under schools, hospitals and mosques. We are only postponing a problem instead of dealing with it saying that Israel could not accept a reality in which Hamas controls what happens while Israel continues to respond after the fact. Liberman said that the continued threat posed by hundreds of missiles in Gaza was unsustainable, not only  for the residents of Sderot but also Tel Aviv and the country’s center. “Talk and messages that are relayed to Hamas about a cease fire are a serious mistake.” The foreign minister continued, “Even while we visit here, Hamas continues to grow stronger and produce missiles with a diameter of eight inches, that can reach Tel Aviv and all of Gush Dan, and to accept the reality that this is a mistake. Instead of dealing with the problem, we are pushing the problem under the rug. While we talk about a ceasefire, Hamas continues to develop missiles that can reach Tel-Aviv. All we are doing is postponing the problem and not finding a solution.”

Lieberman warned that the ceasefire would give Hamas time to develop its abilities. “Ignoring the problem or being afraid to deal with it will lead us to a situation in which thousands of missiles are fired at us, not hundreds,” he said. “We cannot accept a situation in which Hamas controls the pace of events and dictates when it ignites the region and all we do is respond,” he added.Lieberman called for a full reoccupation of the Gaza Strip. He also wants Israel to carry out a major operation against the territory. “We have to destroy the terrorist infrastructure and the missile production factories,” he said.

Naftali Bennett, leader of the Jewish Home political party, called for fierce action against Gaza, the stronghold of Hamas, whom Israel has blamed for the kidnap and murder of the three teenagers. “Restraint in the face of the execution of three boys is weakness,” he said. “We need to respond to fire on Beersheva precisely as we would respond to fire on Tel Aviv… The statement ought to be clear — zero missiles on Israeli cities.”

Israel Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and Israel chief negotiator in peace talks with the Palestinians made a surprising statement regarding Israel’s security situation calling for Israel to crush Hamas in Gaza after news surfaced that 110 rockets have been fired in a four-day period. “First of all, according to the international community’s view against Hamas, we must act forcefully,” Livni said. “There is no hope for peace [with them], it is an organization that does not accept our existence here and has terror against Israeli civilians as part of its worldview. The question of ‘how much’ and ‘when’, among other things, is related to the needs and considerations of the point in time when we decide to launch an operation [in Gaza],” she added.

Livni, who has been a staunch supporter of peace talks despite Fatah’s unity pact with Hamas earlier this year, advocated an operation in Gaza to counter the terror. “Even if it will be quiet for a period of time, the struggle [against Hamas] continues,” she said. “It is the government’s job to provide security for the south and for the residents of Israel in general; we will have to see over the next few hours, over the next few days where this goes.”

Hamas rejected an Egyptian proposal for a cease-fire with Israel saying Cairo did not consult the group over the deal. The military wing of Hamas, which has been responsible for most of the hundreds of rockets launched at Israel in the past week said the Egyptian plan “wasn’t worth the ink it was written with.” In doing so, after the ceasefire was scheduled to go into effect, Hamas fired 20 rockets from the Gaza Strip.

Meanwhile, the Israeli security cabinet endorsed Egypt’s proposal for a ceasefire with Hamas.  Netanyahu, speaking at the beginning of a meeting in Tel Aviv with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, said that Israel “agreed to the Egyptian proposal in order to give an opportunity for the demilitarization of the Strip – from missiles, from rockets and from tunnels – through diplomatic means.” However, Israel warned that Hamas they continued to fire rockets, Israel would hit back with “all possible force.” Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev warned that Israel would strike Gaza even harder if Hamas does not accept the truce. “If Hamas rejects the Egyptian proposal, if Hamas continues to shoot rockets at Israeli cities, we are prepared to continue our military operation and intensify it as needed to protect our people,” he said.

US Secretary of State John Kerry blamed Hamas for not embracing the ceasefire and continuing to fire rockets. “I cannot condemn strongly enough the actions of Hamas in so brazenly firing rockets in multiple numbers in the face of a goodwill effort to offer a ceasefire, in which Egypt and Israel worked together, that the international community strongly supports,” Kerry said.

US President Barack Obama called for Israelis and Palestinians alike to restrain themselves and put an end to acts of retribution. “All parties must protect the innocent and act with reasonableness and restraint, not vengeance and retribution,” Obama said. “In President Abbas, Israel has a counterpart committed to a two-state solution and security cooperation with Israel,” Obama said. He offered no parallel praise for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Norway’s Foreign Minister warned against an escalation between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA), and also made sure to point a finger at Israel as “an occupying power”. “As the occupying power in the West Bank, Israel has a special responsibility under international law. Neither statements of its intent to step up its settlement policy in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, which is in violation of international law, nor major offensives against Gaza are the way forward,” he said.

As a result of Hamas continuing to fire rockets at Israel, the Israel Air Force (IAF) struck 14 targets in two waves of airstrikes. The first round of airstrikes targeted nine Hamas bases in Gaza and the second launched a few hours later hit five underground rocket launchers, Israeli security sources said. The IAF last night also struck a cell in central Gaza which was in the process of carrying out a rocket attack on Israel, killing two Palestinian militants, the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) said. Hamas said most of the strikes were launched at a gathering point of its members in Gaza’s southern-most town of Rafah near the Egyptian border.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, discussing the escalating Israeli air strikes in Gaza and the rockets fired into Israel from Palestinian militant groups there, said that this latest violence shows why Israel cannot withdraw unilaterally from the West Bank as it did in 2005 from Gaza. “I think the Israeli people understand now what I always say: that there cannot be a situation, under any agreement, in which we relinquish security control of the territory west of the River Jordan,” Netanyahu said. “Israel’s eastern security border will remain along the Jordan River,” Netanyahu said, adding that security arrangements in any future Palestinian entity would have to remain under Israeli supervision. “The evacuation of Israel’s forces would most likely lead to the collapse of the PA and the rise of radical Islamic forces, just as it did in Gaza,” the Israeli leader said. “It would also severely endanger the state of Israel.” In other words, a lesson that Netanyahu has drawn from the seven years since Israel unilaterally withdrew all of its military forces and settlers from Gaza is that they cannot do the same thing in the West Bank. As a result, Netanyahu spoke against any future peace plan by which Israel unilaterally pulls up stakes and leaves the West Bank outright.

In other news affecting the peace process, Portugal released a warning for nationals considering doing business with Israeli companies that operate outside of the Green Line. France, Germany, Britain, and the Netherlands recently issued similar warnings. “The European Union and its Member States consider that Israeli settlements are illegal under international law, constitute an obstacle to peace and threaten to make a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict impossible,” the statement from Portugal read. It continued by warning specifically against “Financial transactions, investments, purchases, procurements as well as other economic activities (including in services like tourism) in Israeli settlements or benefiting Israeli settlements.”

Ten additional European countries are expected to issue similar recommendations by the end of the week. EU ambassador Lars Faaborg-Andersen said the warnings did not come as a surprise. “European countries are losing their patience with the settlements and the expanding construction in the West Bank. If this trend continues, more countries will join the sanctions against businesses operating in the West Bank,” the ambassador told reporters during Geneva Initiative seminar in Jerusalem. In the statement that French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius published online as part of broader recommendations for travel to Israel, the government warns of traveling in the aforementioned areas, citing them as “occupied territories.” “The West Bank, including East Jerusalem, Gaza and the Golan Heights are Israeli-occupied territories since 1967. The settlements are illegal according to international law,” the statement said. The statement then goes on to warn of the “risks” associated with financial transactions or any form of economic activity in the areas. “Financial transactions, investments, purchases, sales and other economic activities carried out in the settlements or benefiting the settlements entail legal and economic risks due to the fact that, under international law, Israeli settlements are built on occupied land and are not recognized as Israeli territory,” the statement said.

Finally, Israel Foreign Minister, Avigdor Liberman, leader of the Yisrael Beytenu political party announced that his party is splitting off from Likud (the political party of Benjamin Netanyahu) and will be independent from it from now on in future Israeli elections as was the case before the two factions united in 2012.

Liberman added, however, that his faction would remain loyal to the Coalition. “We are the last people who would want the Coalition dismantled,” he explained. “The establishment of the [independent] Yisrael Beytenu faction is a meaningful step for strengthening the Coalition.”

Liberman also promised that his faction would vote with the government in no-confidence votes. “It is no secret that in the recent period there are disagreements between me and the prime minister,” Liberman said. “They have become disagreements on matters of principle and substance, such that do not make it possible to continue the partnership called Likud-Beytenu. We will turn to the Knesset’s House Committee in the course of the next few days and ask to part ways and establish a separate faction, Yisrael Beytenu. The truth is that the connection did not work during the elections and after the elections, there have been many technical problems until now, but when technical problems becoime substance, there is no point anymore in hiding the matter.” Likud will now have 20 seats in the government and Israel Yisrael Beytenu will have 11.

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

The link to these articles are as follows:

1) Barrage of rocket and mortar fire from Gaza hits South, IDF soldier injured by shrapnel
2) More than 80 rockets in steady stream from Gaza to expanded targets. Sirens in Modiin, Rehovot
3) Half a Million Israelis in Shelters as Hamas Dials Up Onslaught
4) Israel launches operation ‘Protective Edge’ against Gaza
5) IAF strikes Gaza underground rocket launchers, terror tunnel amid heavy rocket fire
6) 9 militants killed in Israeli air strikes, Hamas vows revenge
7) PM Netanyahu’s Remarks at Weekly Cabinet Meeting
8) Netanyahu urges cabinet to be cool headed over Gaza
9) IDF Officials Favor Ceasefire with Hamas to Gaza Offensive
10) Obama urges restraint for Israel, Palestinians
11) Lieberman criticises Netanyahu’s effort to reach ceasefire with Gaza
12) Liberman in Sderot: Cease-Fire Talk a Serious Mistake
13) Liberman: Not all terrorist targets can be destroyed from the air
14) Tzipi Livni Advocates Deterrence Against Hamas
15) Israel okays ceasefire proposal, but Hamas says no
16) Hamas rejects Egypt truce offer, fires rockets
17) Unilateral Gaza ceasefire collapses. Israeli air strikes resume after dozens of Palestinian rockets in hours
18) Kerry condemns Hamas rocket fire ‘in face of a goodwill effort to secure ceasefire’
19) Netanyahu: This is why Israel can never unilaterally withdraw from the West Bank
20) Report: Israeli Prime Minister Backs Away From Two-State Solution
21) Norway Calls on ‘Occupier’ Israel to Show Restraint
22) Portugal warns against business beyond Israel’s Green Line
23) Liberman Announces Split with Likud

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