March 3, 2012: Weekly 5 minute update (Audio Only)

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 prospects for war with Syria and Iran

Given that the current peace process between Israel and the Palestinians is suspended because of lack of agreement on how to advance the process from their January talks held in Jordan, Mahmood Abbas said that he plans on making “a dramatic announcement” in the next week regarding the PLO’s planned course of action.

Hana Amira, a member of the PLO Executive Committee said that the PA is weighing whether to continue its present security and economic cooperation with Israel.  Furthermore, the Palestinians have said that they will also explore the possibility of once again approaching the UN Security Council and General Assembly to obtain some form of official recognition as a state.

Regarding Jerusalem, speaking at an International Conference for the Defense of Jerusalem in Doha, Qatar, PA President Mahmood Abbas said, “The Israeli occupation authorities are using the ugliest and most dangerous means to implement plans to erase and remove the Arab-Islamic and the Christian character of east Jerusalem.” In doing so, he made no mention of Jerusalem’s Jewish history.  In addition, Abbas called on Arabs and Muslims to visit Jerusalem in the face of what he called Israel’s accelerated efforts to Judaize the city. An Israeli official responded by saying that if the Palestinians continues to deny reality and totally negate Jewish rights in Jerusalem then there can be no basis for peace and co-existence.

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 threatens to ‘reevaluate’ its agreements with Israel
2) ‘Peace can’t be based on ignoring the truth about J’lem

Historically, Syria has had a policy of supporting the PLO terrorist group Hamas based in the Gaza Strip over Fatah who is based in the West Bank and who is headed by Mahmood Abbas. In fact, Syria allowed Hamas to set up a base in Damascus.  Syria was the only country that agreed to host Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal and some of his top aides after they were expelled from Jordan and stripped of their Jordanian citizenship more than a decade ago.  Since the uprising of mostly Sunni Muslims against Bashar Assad’s government which started nearly a year ago,  Hamas did not publicly take sides.  However, Hamas has now decided to oppose Assad. Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh said that Hamas “lauds the Syrian people who seek freedom, democracy and reform.” signaling that the historical cooperation between Syria and Hamas is now over.

Iran’s defense minister announced that it is Iran’s strategic policy to strengthen the Lebanese army. Iran is a key supporter of the Lebanese group Hezbollah who are Shi’ite Muslims who are aligned with Syrian President Bashar Assad.  Russia continues to support the Syrian government. In the face of increasingly harsh criticism from the West, Russia is holding firm in its opposition to international intervention in Syria warning the U.S. and other nations against any temptation to resort to actions like the NATO airstrikes in Libya that helped topple Moammar Gadhafi.

“I strongly hope that the United States and other nations will learn from the sad experience and won’t try to resort to a forceful scenario in Syria,” Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin wrote in a foreign policy article published in the Moscow News. In order to try to weaken the government of Bashar Assad, the European Union announced new sanctions on Syria. Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal was quite angry when he stormed out of a “Friends of Syria” conference attended by 70 nations in Tunis on Feb. 24 after they seemed agreeable to the US plan at the moment to avoid direct military intervention against the Assad government. Presently, the US seems to be willing to keep Assad in power in hopes of trying to reach a negotiated settlement with Iran regarding their nuclear program. Benjamin Netanyahu is opposed to the Obama administration’s current interconnected policies on Syria and Iran. Regarding the conflict within Syria itself, the Syrian government have pushed back the Syrian opposition from controlling the city of Homs. As a result, according to a senior US official, the US sees “no fracturing” of the Syrian regime and assesses that Assad could remain in power for some time to come if the situation (the weakening of the Syrian opposition against Assad) does not change.

A war with Syria where Damascus is destroyed (Isaiah 17)  is a tribulation event.

The link to these articles is as follows:

1) Analysis: Syria and Hamas: End of a honeymoon
2) Iran declares strategic policy to strengthen Lebanese army
3) Analysis: Russia holds firm against West on Syria, citing ‘bitter experience’ of Libya
4) European Union orders new sanctions against Syria
5) To draw Iran into nuclear talks, Obama avoids ousting Assad
6) Syrian rebels leave embattled Homs stronghold
7) U.S. Sees ‘No Fracturing’ Of Al-Assad Regime

The United States continues its efforts to put the economic squeeze upon Iran in order to try to persuade it to stop their nuclear program.  In seeking to do so, the U.S. Treasury Department broke up a Dubai-based banking operation that the US believed was being used as Iran’s primary means for evading international sanctions and processing its oil sales to other countries. In addition, the US had direct words to say to India, China and Turkey on reducing their dependence for and eliminating their purchases of Iranian oil in an effort to encourage them to join the Western led international boycott on buying Iranian oil.  However, these countries said that they will continue to import oil from  Iran.

Anthony Blinken, National Security Adviser to Vice President Joe Biden,  said that US policy on Iran is aimed at “buying time and continuing to move this problem into the future. Blinken also said that the U.S. believes that Iran “has not made a decision to produce a nuclear weapon, they are not on the verge of getting a nuclear weapon, and there is still time and space for diplomacy to work.” Blinken said that the Obama Administration’s policy of diplomacy backed by tough sanctions is taking its toll on the Iranian economy, which cannot access 70% of its foreign reserves, finds it increasingly difficult to acquire materials for its nuclear industry and is being boycotted by “a list that reads like a ‘Who’s Who’ of leading companies of the world.

Israel Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu rejected the idea that renewed international negotiations with Iran aimed at preventing the country from building a nuclear weapon will work.

“It could do again what it has done before, it could pursue or exploit the talks as they’ve done in the past to deceive and delay so that they can continue to advance their nuclear program and get to the nuclear finish line by running up the clock, so to speak. I think the international community should not fall into this trap,” he said.

Meanwhile, Israeli officials say they won’t warn the U.S. if they decide to launch a pre-emptive strike against the Iranian nuclear facilities according to one U.S. intelligence official familiar with recent high level talks held between the US and Israel. Israeli officials said that if they eventually decide a strike on Iran is necessary, they would keep the Americans in the dark to decrease the likelihood that the U.S. would be held responsible for failing to stop Israel’s potential attack. The U.S. has been working with the Israelis for months to persuade them that an attack would be only a temporary setback to Iran’s nuclear program.

Netanyahu will travel to the US where he will address the pro-Israel lobby AIPAC’s annual policy conference which will be held from March 4-6. While in the US, Netanyahu will meet with US President Barack Obama on March 5 in a meeting which will largely center around Iran’s continued development of its nuclear program.  According to a senior Israeli official, Netanyahu will use the opportunity with Obama to publicly harden his position against Iran. Netanyahu wants Obama to make further-reaching declarations on what action the US is likely to take to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon than just the vague assertion that “all options are on the table,” which has been the US stated position on the matter. In particular, Netanyahu wants Obama to state unequivocally that the United States is preparing for a military operation in the event that Iran crosses certain “red lines”.

Officials in both Israel and the US acknowledge a serious lack of trust between Israel and the United States with regard to the issue of a possible strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities. US President Barack Obama intends to tell Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu that he wants to solve the Iranian nuclear problem “permanently, as opposed to temporarily” based upon an interview that Obama had with the magazine,  The Atlantic.  In an effort to show his commitment to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons, Obama said, “I think that the Israeli government recognizes that, as president of the United States, I don’t bluff.” He went on to say that “Both the Iranian and the Israeli governments recognize that when the United States says it is unacceptable for Iran to have a nuclear weapon, we mean what we say”. In a further effort to show that the US is serious about its military option against Iran’s nuclear program, US Pentagon officials said on March 1 that military options are being prepared which includes providing refueling for Israeli planes and include attacking the pillars of the Iranian regime.

Israel’s Defense Minister Ehud Barak flew to the US to try and work out with US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta in a meeting held on  Feb. 29 a formula for bridge the tactical differences between the US and Israel regarding how to deal with the Iranian nuclear threat. However, DEBKA reports that Barak came back to Israel to inform Netanyahu that he had failed. In order to emphasize the US position of negotiations with Iran over a military confrontation, White House Spokesman Jay Carney said: “I think we have been clear about this – that any (Israeli) military action in that region threatens greater instability in the region, because Iran borders both Afghanistan and Iraq – we have civilian personnel in Iraq, we have military personnel as well as civilians in Afghanistan.” Carney added “But our approach right now is to continue to pursue the diplomatic path that we’ve taken, combined with very aggressive sanctions.” Obama is waiting anxiously to see if the Iranians turn up for nuclear talks with the five UN Security Council permanent members and Germany in Istanbul, Turkey next month.

In response, senior American and Israeli officials said on March 1 that this statement confirmed that the president had turned down two key Israeli requests:

1. To set final and absolute red lines for Iran’s nuclear program which, if crossed, would provide the grounds for the US and Israel to strike its nuclear sites.

2. To stop stating that the US policy toward Iran consists of “all options are on the table’ for stopping Iran gaining a nuclear weapon and instead move toward a more definite language for specifying American military contingencies.

In a recent New York Times article, former Israel Military Intelligence Chief Amos Yadlin wrote:

“Asking Israel’s leaders to abide by America’s timetable, and hence allowing Israel’s window of opportunity to be closed, is to make Washington a de facto proxy for Israel’s security – a tremendous leap of faith for Israelis faced with a looming Iranian bomb.”

When Obama said “I think the Israeli people understand it,” in reference to the refrain “all options are on the table,” he ignored the widening gap between his take on the state of Iran’s nuclear program and the conclusions reached by Israel’s political, military and intelligence leaders and experts.

The Israeli view was laid out clearly by Yadlin when he wrote, “That moment of decision will occur when Iran is on the verge of shielding its nuclear facilities from a successful attack – what Israel’s leaders have called the zone of immunity.”

US intelligence and the UN International Atomic Energy Agency, are convinced that Iran is already in the second stage and possibly the third of its operation to shielding its nuclear facilities in one or more zones of immunity.

This ominous development is ignored in the US president’s interview.

When he declared, “The Israeli people understand that the United States isn’t bluffing when it says ‘all options are on the table,’” Obama no doubt recalled the disagreement with Netanyahu going back six months when the Israeli prime minister asked him privately on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly to lay down a US-Israeli consensus on red lines for Iran’s nuclear program, beyond which the US President would be committed to strike Iran. In return, Israel would promise to refrain from attacking Iran and follow America’s lead on the issue.

The US president turned him down.

Israel has not relinquished its position, which Yadlin put very clearly: “What is needed is an ironclad American assurance that if Israel refrains from acting in its own window of opportunity – and all other options have failed to halt Tehran’s nuclear quest – Washington will act to prevent a nuclear Iran while it is still within its power to do so.”

The absence of that American assurance is keeping Israel from a commitment to refrain from attacking Iran.

A US war with Iran is a tribulation event.

The link to these articles is as follows:

1) US Treasury Department cuts Iran’s cash pipeline, sources say
2) US gets tough with India, China on Iranian oil
3) U.S. policy aimed at ‘buying time’ with Iran, says senior official
4) Netanyahu warns against renewed talks with Iran
5) Israel wouldn’t warn U.S. before Iran strike, says intelligence source
6) PM: Meeting with Obama to focus on Iran
7) Netanyahu will ask Obama to threaten Iran strike
8.) Obama seeks concrete resolution to Iranian threat
9)  Pentagon prepares “aerial refueling” for Israeli planes striking Iran 
10) Obama cautions against “a premature attack” on Iran, rejects red lines

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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