You may view the 5 minute update this week via audio:
In this week’s 5 minute update, we focused on:
1) The current situation with the Israel / Palestinian peace process
In the last several months, Israel has made various announcements of their intent to build Jewish homes in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Currently, around 200,000 Jews live alongside about 300,000 Arabs in East Jerusalem. Each time Israel announces plans to build more Jewish homes in the disputed territories, strong condemnation against it is voiced by the United States and the European Union. The United States calls such decisions by Israel as being “counterproductive” to efforts to achieve a two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians. “We have long made clear our opposition to continued settlement activity,” said a US State Department official. “These announcements, like every other settlement announcement Israel makes, planning step they approve and construction tenders they issue, is counterproductive to Israel’s stated goal of a negotiated two-state solution with the Palestinians,” the official said. Furthermore, the US says that Israel building Jewish homes in the West Bank and East Jerusalem would distance Israel from “even its closest allies.” US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said that the US is “deeply concerned” over Israel’s continued building of new Jewish homes in East Jerusalem. These decisions by Israel will only draw condemnation from the international community, distance Israel from even its closest allies, poison the atmosphere not only with the Palestinians but also with the very Arab governments with which Prime Minister Netanyahu said he wanted to build relations,” she said, calling her own language “strong.”
Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that US criticism of building Jewish homes in the West Bank and East Jerusalem goes “against American values.” Netanyahu said he does not accept restrictions on where Jews could live, and said that Jerusalem’s Arabs and Jews should be able to buy homes wherever they want. He said he was “baffled” by the American condemnation. “It’s against the American values. And it doesn’t bode well for peace,” he said. “The idea that we’d have this ethnic purification as a condition for peace, I think it’s anti-peace.” The strong condemnation of US criticism against the building of Jewish homes in the West Bank and East Jerusalem threatens to deepen a rift with the United Status over the issue.
In response to Netanyahu’s comments, US Press Secretary Josh Earnest said. “The fact is American policy has been clear and unchanged under several administrations, both Democrat and Republican. When it comes to American values, it’s American values that led to this country’s unwavering support of Israel. It’s American values that have led us to fund an Iron Dome system,” he added. “It’s clear how American values dictate or at least guide our thinking on support of Israel,” Earnest said. “We oppose any unilateral actions that attempt to prejudge final status issues including the status of Jerusalem. These can only be legitimately determined through direct negotiations through the parties that this president has worked hard to try to facilitate,” he concluded.
England calls Israel’s decisions to continue announcements of building Jewish homes in the West Bank and East Jerusalem as illegal under international law and that such moves “present an obstacle to peace and take us further away from a two state solution.”
Palestinian chief negotiator in the peace process, Saeb Erekat said that “The international community should hold Israel accountable as soon as possible for the ongoing Israeli settlement activity in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The Israeli government is committing various crimes against the Palestinian people and their occupied land,” he said. PA spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh said that building Jewish homes in the West Bank and East Jerusalem would cause the situation in the region to deteriorate further, and added that settlements in general are illegal.
The European Union condemned an Israeli plan to build 2,610 new Jewish homes inside the pre-1967 borders warning that the future of its relations with Israel depended on its commitment to peace. “The EU deeply deplores and strongly opposes the recent expropriation of land near Bethlehem, recent announcements of plans for new settlement construction, in particular in Givat Hamatos, Ramat Shlomo, Har Homa and Ramot, as well as plans to displace Bedouins in the West. The council — which consists of the foreign ministers of the EU’s 28 member states — urged Israel to reverse these decisions, as they “run counter to international law and directly threaten the two-state solution. This represents a further highly detrimental step that undermines prospects for a two-state solution and calls into question Israel’s commitment to a peaceful negotiated settlement with the Palestinians,” the EU’s diplomatic service said. A solution to the Israeli / Palestinian conflict can only be found “if both parties refrain from unilateral actions that change the situation on the ground,” he stressed, noting that “the EU will not recognize any changes to borders pre-1967, including with regard to Jerusalem, unless both parties agree. We emphasize that the future of relations between the EU and Israel depend on the commitment of the latter for a lasting peace and a solution comprising two states,” he added.
The European Union is threatening to “take further action” to respond to Israeli moves deemed harmful to the two-state solution, but refrained from announcing concrete sanctions. At the same time, an internal EU document indicated preliminary sanctions the union is considering imposing on Israel, including recalling European ambassadors and cutting ties with Israeli leaders who publicly oppose the two-state solution. An internal EU document lists several steps the union considers taking to promote a two-state solution, trying to offer both carrots and sticks. But most suggestions appear to be punitive, such as reassessing the EU’s commitment not to participate in Israel-bashing sessions at the United Nations Human Rights Council, reassessing the distribution of funds or “actions vis-à-vis EU companies operating in the settlements.”
The EU could also take actions “reinforcing” the Palestinians’ unilateral statehood bid, according either by recognizing a Palestinian state or by supporting or not opposing the Palestinians’ efforts to join international organizations. However, it should be noted that the document is clearly labeled as a “non-paper,” which means it does not state official policy but is merely meant as a basis to start a discussion on what could possibly become policy at a later stage. EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini denied that the internal EU document is about to become the union’s policy. “There is no such plan” she said, adding that it is more like a “hypothetical working paper” asked for by EU member states a while ago. The goal of the council conclusion was to prod the two parties back to the negotiating table, she said.
Israel has not yet officially responded to the EU’s ideas about possibly sanctioning Israel. Israel Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said he hoped the EU Foreign Affairs Council would refrain from linking Israel-EU bilateral relationship to the relationship between Israel and the Palestinians. “Any attempt to create such a stipulation is based on a misguided approach that does not contribute to stability, normalization or enhancement of the relationship between Israel and the Palestinians,” he said. Israel will not freeze building in any Jewish neighborhoods of Jerusalem. “Anyone who dreams that the government of Israel will cave [to pressure] and will limit building in Jerusalem is mistaken,” Lieberman said. “We are prepared to defend our independence and sovereignty and there will be no compromise to that stance,” he said. “Any pressure to the contrary [by the US or the European Union] will be very counterproductive,’ Lieberman added. “We will never accept any definition of building in Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem as settlement activity. There is broad consensus for that stand among Jews in Israel and abroad,” Lieberman said.
Former US Middle East envoy, Martin Indyk, said that the U.S.-Israel alliance “is crumbling” due to waning support for Israel among Democrats and “total disrespect” for the Obama administration among segments of the Israeli government. Indyk warned that U.S.-Israeli relations are at an all time low. “The U.S.-Israel relationship is critical and is essential to Israel’s survival,” Indyk said. “And the relationship is in trouble.” U.S. support for Israel is “the bedrock that Israel has always relied on … and I worry that bedrock is crumbling,” Indyk said. “We have a situation,” he said. “Support amongst Republicans for Israel is really high. … But the truth is that most Jews are Democrats, and amongst Democrats support for Israel is only something like 43 percent.”
However, Indyk reserved his harshest criticism against certain Israeli government officials saying, “On the Israeli side I see something which I’m really, really disturbed by, which is the total disrespect on the part of some on the right in Israel for the relationship with the United States,” Indyk said. “And that manifests itself with right wing politicians standing up criticizing our leaders, who are trying to do their best for Israel,” Indyk said. “Look to the [Israeli] Defense Minister, whose budget is supplemented to the tune of $3 billion dollars a year by the American taxpayer, standing up and calling the Secretary of State an obsessive messianic,” Indyk said. “That kind of attitude on Israel’s part is not ingratitude; it’s disrespect. It’s something that I find very, very disturbing.”
Likud political party central committee Chairman Danny Danon said that Israel cannot be bought. “President Obama is mistaken if he thinks American military aid, which is given for reasons of American strategic interests, buys him the right to dictate to Israel not to build in Jerusalem,” stated Danon.
Israel Finance Minister Yair Lapid said that Israel government decisions to build Jewish homes in East Jerusalem harms Israel’s relations with the US. “This past summer, Israel completed a military operation against the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. Israel is already struggling to preserve international support, why was it so urgent to create another crisis with the Americans at this time?” Lapid said.
Israel Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said that Israel will continue to build in Jerusalem and will not apologize for doing so. “In 1967, Jerusalem was liberated. This is our eternal united capital. However, there are those in the international community, who questions Israel’s right to Jerusalem. Jerusalem will forever remain the capital of Israel, the Jewish people’s capital, the city that we will continue to build and develop without apologizing for it,” he declared.
Finally, Israel Deputy Minister Ofir Akunis sharply criticized the European Union (EU) and the U.S. State Department for continuing to condemn Israel building Jewish homes in East Jerusalem. “Israel will continue to work to promote settlement on its land – just as every other country in the world does,” declared Akunis. “It is strange at this time, when terrorist groups of Islamic extremists slaughter innocents, behead journalists in front of the cameras and continue their journey of madness targeting the free world, what concerns foreign ministries around the world is the decision to build and develop the Gush Etzion region, which was and will remain the homeland of the Jewish people,” he added.
In other news relating to the peace process, the Israeli cabinet approved a law that would define Israel as a Jewish state that is governed by democratic values for all its citizens. Speaking at the start of the Likud faction meeting in the Israeli Knesset, Netanyahu recalled how on November 29, 1947 the UN General Assembly voted to establish a Jewish state in Israel. “66 years have passed since that day, and not a day goes by without the right of Jews to a national state of their own being undermined,” he said. “In order to provide a response to all those who doubt the right of Jews to have their own nation-state in the state of Israel, this Jewish State Law will secure Jewish rights in our country.” Netanyahu said. “In the state of Israel, every citizen has rights, regardless of religion, race, and gender, which are anchored in law. However, the national right of the Jewish people in Israel is not enshrined in law. Therefore we will insist that this law passes.”
According to the Jewish State Law, which was proposed by MK Ze’ev Elkin (Likud) and is backed by the Jewish Home party, all Jewish schools will teach Jewish history as well as Jewish tradition and heritage. Hebrew will be recognized as the only official language in Israel. Arabic, which as of now is considered an official language in Israel, will instead be given special status. The bill also declares that the State of Israel is the national home of the Jewish people, in which a Jew can exercise his desire for self-determination in accordance with his historical legacy. This right to exercise national self-determination will be provided to Jewish people only. However, every resident, regardless of religion and nationality, will be entitled to preserve his or her heritage, culture and language.
An agreement to divide Jerusalem and establish a PLO state is a tribulation event.
The link to these articles are as follows:
1) IDF expands state land in West Bank by 4,000 dunams
2) US rebukes Israel over claim of West Bank land
3) Caught off guard, White House angered at timing of Jerusalem housing announcement
4) US warns East Jerusalem housing plans will ‘distance Israel from even its closest allies’
5) Netanyahu says White House criticism ‘un-American’
6) US hits back at Netanyahu: American values led us to fund Iron Dome
7) Britain condemns Israel’s ‘ill-judged’ West Bank land grab
8) EU condemns Israeli plans to build beyond Green Line
9) EU foreign ministers target settlements
10) EU threatens ‘further action’ to protect two-state solution
11) Liberman: ‘We will never stop building in Jewish neighborhoods of Jerusalem’
12) Indyk Bashes Israel
13) Obama ‘Can’t Buy Control of Israel With Military Aid’
14) Lapid: West Bank land seizure harms Israel
15) Ya’alon: We’ll Build in Jerusalem And Won’t Apologize for It
16) Deputy Minister: We’ll Continue to Build in Our Land
17) Amid coalition tensions, Netanyahu to present ‘Jewish state’ bill to cabinet Sunday
18) Netanyahu: Cabinet will Vote on the Jewish State Law
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