September 22, 2016: Weekly 5 minute update

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 Israeli / Palestinian peace process and an analysis of the $ 38 billion dollar military aid agreement which the United States will be giving Israel over the next 10 years. In doing so, we ask the question, ‘Will Obama support a UN Security Council Resolution outlining the parameters of a Palestinian state between November and January ?’

Recently, Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu released a video calling it ‘outrageous’ that the international community supports the Palestinian position that there should be ‘no Jews’ living in a potential Palestinian state. Let’s hear Netanyahu in his own words:

The Obama administration was fuming over Netanyahu’s remarks. US State Department spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau told reporters the administration is “engaging in direct conversations with the Israeli government” about the video. “We obviously strongly disagree with the characterization that those who oppose settlement activity or view it as an obstacle to peace are somehow calling for ethnic cleansing of Jews from the West Bank. We believe that using that type of terminology is inappropriate and unhelpful. We share the view of every past US administration, and the strong consensus of the international community, that ongoing settlement activity is an obstacle to peace. We continue to call on both sides to demonstrate with actions and policies a genuine commitment to the two-state solution,” Trudeau said. “Let’s be clear,” she added. “The undisputed fact is that already this year, thousands of settlement units have been advanced for Israelis in the West Bank, illegal outposts and unauthorized settlement units have been retroactively legalized, more West Bank land has been seized for exclusive Israeli use, and there has been a dramatic escalation of demolitions resulting in over 700 Palestinian structures destroyed, displacing more than 1,000 Palestinians. As we’ve said many times before, this does raise real questions about Israel’s long-term intentions in the West Bank.”

The PMO, not wanting to get into a tit-for-tat with the US State Department had no response to the sharp reaction by the United States. An Israeli official said that Netanyahu’s video was “one step” in the direction of getting the world to pay attention to the Palestinian demand that there not be any Jews in a Palestinian state. In fact, Palestinian leaders have on a number of occasions stressed that all settlements would have to be completely removed from a future Palestinian state. For instance, in July of 2013, just prior to the start of US-led Palestinian-Israeli negotiations, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas told Egyptian journalists in Cairo that “in a final resolution, we would not see the presence of a single Israeli – civilian or soldier – on our lands.” And at a dinner in 2010 with Jewish leaders in the US hosted by the S. Daniel Abraham Center for Middle East Peace, he said, “If we want an independent state, I will not accept any single Israeli in our territories. We are not against the Jews. We are against the Israeli occupation.”

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon slammed Netanyahu’s video comments as “unacceptable and outrageous” in which Netanyahu insisted that Palestinians were seeking the “ethnic cleansing” of Jews in the West Bank. Ban Ki-Moon said: “I am disturbed by a recent statement by Israel’s Prime Minister portraying those who oppose settlement expansion as supporters of ethnic cleansing. This is unacceptable and outrageous,” Ban told the UN Security Council. “Let me be absolutely clear: settlements are illegal under international law. The occupation, stifling and oppressive, must end.”

In response, Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon responded that Ban had a “distorted view of the situation in Israel.” Danon said: “Instead of directly condemning Hamas for building tunnels and a terrorist infrastructure, instead of investing resources in stopping Palestinian incitement and terrorism, the secretary-general has chosen to regularly condemn Israel,” he added.

Ban Ki-Moon used the opening of the UN General Assembly’s 71st session to criticize Israel saying: “As a friend of both the Israeli and Palestinian peoples, it pains me that this past decade has been ten years lost to peace. Ten years lost to illegal settlement expansion. Ten years lost to intra-Palestinian divide, growing polarization and hopelessness. This is madness.” The UN Secretary General mentioned that “the occupation grinds into its 50th year” and added that “replacing a two-state solution with a one-state construct would spell doom: denying Palestinians their freedom and rightful future, and pushing Israel further from its vision of a Jewish democracy towards greater global isolation.”

Israel Ambassador Danon reacted to the UN chief’s speech and said that “the real madness belongs to the UN. Instead of focusing on Palestinian terror and incitement, and instead of compelling Mahmoud Abbas to return to the negotiating table, the Secretary General chose to criticize Israel once again,” he continued. “This is an obsession with Israel and it must end. At a time when Palestinian terror is on the rise in Israel, the Secretary General chose to criticize us and ignore the direct responsibility of Abbas and the Palestinian leadership who continue to incite towards terror.”

US President Barack Obama spoke at the United Nations General Assembly regarding the Israeli – Palestinian conflict saying that Israel must recognize that it cannot “permanently occupy and settle Palestinian land.” Obama said: “Surely Israelis and Palestinians will be better off if Palestinians reject incitement and recognize the legitimacy of Israel. But Israel must recognize that it cannot permanently occupy and settle Palestinian land. We all have to do better,” the US president said.

At the UN General Assembly meeting in New York, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said he plans to soon present the UN Security Council with a resolution against the Israeli settlements in the West Bank. The Palestinians will “continue to exert all efforts” for a UN Security Council resolution against Israel, adding that he was “in intensive consultations with Arab countries” regarding the resolution. Abbas said he hoped no country would veto the resolution.

In other news, the United States and Israel signed a military defense aid agreement that promises Israel $38 billion over 10 years. It terms have been being negotiated since November, 2015. Following the agreement, Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a statement thanking U.S. President Barack Obama, his administration, Israel’s friends in Congress and the American people for their bipartisan support of the aid agreement. He noted that the signing of the deal demonstrates the relationship between Israel and the U.S. is strong and stable. “This doesn’t mean we don’t have disagreements from time to time, but those disagreements are within the family,” Netanyahu said. Netanyahu said the disagreements have “no effect whatsoever on the great friendship” between Israel and the U.S., adding that the friendship expressed in the agreement will greatly help Israel continue to fortify its strength over the next decade.  The prime minister said that support for Israel crosses party lines in the U.S., adding that many in the U.S. understand that investment in Israel’s security strengthens stability in the unstable Middle East, serving both Israeli and U.S. security.

One of the most significant disputes during the bilateral negotiations related to the America demand to stop the arrangement that allowed Israel to spend some 40 percent of the American aid to buy equipment from Israeli defense industries and to buy fuel for the IDF.  The highlights of the agreement are as follows:

− Israel will get $3.8 billion dollars annually, $500 million of which will be allocated to developing missile defense systems.

− Israel commits not to approach Congress for additional budgets for missile defense systems. In the event of an emergency, Israel can request additional budgets for missile defense systems but only if the administration agrees to it.

− The agreement does not prevent Israel from asking Congress for additional aid on security issues such as the fight against tunnels or the development of cyber defense systems.

− Once the agreement goes into effect, there will be a gradual phasing out of Israel’s right to use 26 percent of the American aid to buy equipment from Israel defense industries.

− When the agreement goes into effect, Israel will immediately stop using 14 percent of the American aid to buy fuel for the Israel Defense Forces.

The big question is does this agreement give Obama “political cover” to argue that he is a supporter of the security of Israel while possibly supporting a United Nations Security Council Resolution specifying the parameters of a two-state solution and recognize a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital between November and January?

Upon signing the agreement, U.S. President Barack Obama issued a statement about the deal stressing that it demonstrated the U.S.’s commitment to Israel’s security in word and deed. Obama said: “Both Prime Minister Netanyahu and I are confident that the new MOU will make a significant contribution to Israel’s security in what remains a dangerous neighborhood,” Obama said.  “The continued supply of the world’s most advanced weapons technology will ensure that Israel has the ability to defend itself from all manner of threats. It is because of this same commitment to Israel and its long-term security that we will also continue to press for  a two-state solution to the longstanding Israeli-Palestinian conflict, despite the deeply troubling trends on the ground that undermine this goal,” Obama continued. “As I have emphasized previously, the only way for Israel to endure and thrive as a Jewish and democratic state is through the realization of an independent and viable Palestine.  Ultimately, both this MOU and efforts to advance the two-state solution are motivated by the same core U.S. objective of ensuring that Israelis can live alongside their neighbors in peace and security.”

Netanyahu flew to New York to speak at the 71st session of the UN General Assembly. In coming to the United States, Netanyahu met with US President Barack Obama. In meeting with Netanyahu, Obama said that he wants to ensure that efforts for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will be kept alive beyond his presidency.

A senior Israeli official who is familiar with the details of the conversation between the two told journalists at a briefing that the disagreement about the settlement issue came up but was not the main topic of discussion. The senior official noted that Netanyahu did not raise the possibility that Obama might make a move in the UN Security Council on the Israeli-Palestinian issue during the period between the American elections in November and the end of his term on January 20. “The issue didn’t come up and they didn’t talk about it,” the senior official said. “There’s an elephant in the room. Netanyahu knows there’s an elephant and Obama knows there’s an elephant and both know that the other knows that there’s an elephant in the room.”

At the outset of the meeting, Obama told reporters that he will be interested in hearing Netanyahu’s assessment about the conditions in Israel and the West Bank. “There is great danger of terrorism and flair ups of violence and we also have concerns about settlement activity. We want to see how Israel sees the next few years… because we want to make sure that we keep alive this possibility of a stable secure Israel at peace with its neighbors and a Palestinian homeland that meets the aspirations of the Palestinian people,” said Obama.

Obama’s comments reflected the view of the American administration that the two-state solution is in real danger of becoming irrelevant in the near future, mostly because of the construction in the settlements and the diplomatic freeze between Israel and the Palestinians. The Americans think the situation on the West Bank and the present trends are leading to a reality of a single bi-national state.

The U.S. administration has been holding discussions over the past few months about the possibility of advancing a move in the UN Security Council on the Israel-Palestinian issue, after the U.S. presidential elections in November and before Obama leaves office. Political advisors to Obama say he might wait until after the November election to possibly give a speech outlining his ideas for a two-state solution and the parameters for a final status agreement between Israel and the Palestinians or even encapsulate these ideas in a resolution before the United Nations Security Council between November and January. However, Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications Ben Rhodes said in a press briefing before the meeting that he does not rule out the possibility that Obama will decide to carry out such a step before the end of his term, Rhodes made it clear that for now he has no such plan.

US diplomat, Dennis Ross, who worked on Israeli-Palestinian issues for decades, including a two-year stint as special assistant to Obama and a year as special adviser to Hillary Clinton, said that the current president “would like to do something, leave some kind of legacy.” regarding the Israeli / Palestinian peace process. He said that if Donald Trump won the US Presidential elections that it would make it more likely that Obama would support a UN Security Council Resolution against Israel between November and January. “I suspect that if Trump wins, the president would be more inclined to go for a Security Council resolution to try to do something that binds, creates standards for the future that the next president couldn’t undo,” Dennis Ross said at a conference on the future of Zionism and the US-Israel relationship.

Once the dust has settled following elections on November 8, Obama may use the opportunity as a lame duck to deliver a speech laying out parameters for a peace arrangement between Israel and the Palestinians, or even suggest a Security Council resolution defining those parameters, either to be proposed by the US or another country, Ross speculated. The president’s speech, were he to make one, would very likely be balanced, Ross added, by equally addressing Palestinian concerns — borders and Jerusalem — and Israeli demands regarding security and the question of Palestinian refugees.

But any Security Council resolution introduced by another country would very likely emphasize the Palestinian demands over Israeli concerns, he said. “Then the question becomes: if someone else introduces this as a resolution and it waters down the essence of what the president has offered, which would have been balanced between the two, does the US then veto it? That is going to be heavily influenced by the outcome of the election,” Ross said. “I’m guessing he would be much more inclined to try to be proactive in terms of presenting something that could create standards for the future that the next president couldn’t undo,” he continued.

Because of the concern that US President Barack Obama may support a UN Security Council Resolution outlining the parameters for a Palestinian state between November and January, 88 US senators submitted a bipartisan letter calling for President Barack Obama to uphold US policy that calls for a veto of any one-sided United Nations Security Council resolutions regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The letter quotes Obama’s UN speech to the General Assembly in 2011, in which he said, “Peace will not come through statements and resolutions at the United Nations.”

The letter warned that the international community should “avoid taking action that would harm the prospects for meaningful progress,” noting, “Even well-intentioned initiatives at the United Nations risk locking the parties into positions that will make it more difficult to return to the negotiating table and make the compromises necessary for peace. The United States remains an indispensable trusted mediator between the parties, and we must continue to insist that neither we nor any other outside substitute for the parties to the conflict.”

The letter also emphasizes the senators’ hope for a two-state solution, saying, “The only way to resolve the conflicts between the two is through direct negotiations that lead to a sustainable two-state solution with a future sate of Palestine living in peace and security with Israel. This outcome would provide Israel with greater security and strengthen regional stability. We remain optimistic that, under the right circumstances, Israelis and Palestinians can successfully resume productive negotiations toward this goal.”

One US Senator who did not sign the letter was Ted Cruz (R)(TX). He stated his reason as follows: “I support the spirit of the letter to President Obama, which is to urge him to oppose any anti-Israel activities at the United Nations Security Council,” the Texas senator said in a statement. “Unfortunately, the language in the opening paragraph declaring the ‘two-state solution’ as the ‘only’ resolution to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians undermines this well-intentioned effort, and makes it impossible for me to sign. This matter is an internal one for Israel to decide, and it is not the place of the United States—or the United Nations—to impose a solution on a sovereign nation.”

As the letter from the 88 US Senators confirms, there is significant bipartisan concern in Washington DC that US President Barack Obama “won’t have Israel’s back” at the United Nations Security Council following the US elections in November.  Clifford D. May, president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies think tank, said a day after 88 US senators sent a letter to Obama urging him to veto any one-sided resolutions regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict during the remainder of his time in office. The letter, which was organized by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), made “very telling points,” May said. “A one-sided UN Security Council resolution would be damaging not just to Israel, but to any possibility of peace in the near future,” May warned. He further explained, “I think it’s fairly obvious at this point that the UN is egregiously prejudiced against Israel. And what you don’t want to see is something like what the French have been discussing — mandated negotiations, and if those negotiations fail to produce fruit, the Palestinians would be rewarded. That would assure that [Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud] Abbas would not make any concessions.”

In comment to Obama’s speech at the UN General Assembly where he said that “Israelis and Palestinians will be better off if Palestinians reject incitement and recognize the legitimacy of Israel but Israel recognizes that it cannot permanently occupy and settle Palestinian land.” May noted that those words would “probably feed into the concern that exists that after the election Obama will take actions that will tie the hands of the next president. People in this town who are in favor of a productive peace process — those who want to see the Israelis and the Palestinians living side by side in peace — are worried and I think the idea is that if President Obama is contemplating such a move now that needs to be discouraged,” May concluded.

So, will Obama support a UN Security Council Resolution between November and January which outlines the parameters for a mandated solution to the Israeli – Palestinian conflict and endorse support for a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its captital? Only time will tell.

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

The link to these articles are as follows:
1)  Washington calls Netanyahu’s ethnic cleansing video ‘inappropriate’
2) UN chief slams Netanyahu’s ‘outrageous’ claim on ‘ethnic cleansing’
3) Danon slams Ban Ki-moon for criticism of Israel during UNGA opening speech
4) Obama: Israel cannot ‘permanently occupy, settle Palestinian land’
5) U.S., Israel Sign Historic 10-year, $38-billion Military Aid Deal
6) Trump win could lead Obama to back 2-state move at UN, ex-diplomat predicts
7) Obama, Keen to Push Israeli-Palestinian Peace, Will Meet With Netanyahu
8) In final meeting with PM, Obama says two-state solution must be kept alive
9) Obama to Netanyahu: Settlement Growth Is Threatening the Two-state Solution
10) Abbas at UN: Palestinians Will Present Security Council Resolution Against Israeli Settlements
11) 88 senators press Obama to uphold US policy to veto one-sided UN resolutions
12) Mideast Expert: Many in Washington Concerned Obama ‘Won’t Have Israel’s Back’ at UN After November Election

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

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