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
Recently, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas of the Fatah party swore in a unity government consisting of his own Fatah party and the arch-rival Hamas who rules in the Gaza Strip. Ministers in the new administration, whom Abbas has said would be politically unaffiliated, took the oath of office in a televised ceremony in Ramallah. Abbas says the new Cabinet is made up of apolitical technocrats who have no ties to Hamas. Hamas, which remains sworn to Israel’s destruction, has agreed to support the government from the outside. The swearing in of the unity government appeared to mark a significant step in repairing ties between the rival Palestinian factions which have been at odds since 2007 when Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip from Fatah. The signing ceremony came after Hamas and Fatah signed a reconciliation deal in April to form the transitional government which is now slated to pave the way for general elections in late 2014 or early 2015. “Today, after announcing the government of national unity we declare the end of division that caused catastrophic harm to our cause,” Abbas said. At the inauguration ceremony, Abbas said the new government would abide by commitments made by previous Palestinian administrations and by agreements ratified by the umbrella Palestine Liberation Organization, a reference to the 1993 Oslo accords signed with Israel. Abbas has insisted that any ‘unity’ government would be based on what he called “the four Palestinian principles”: recognizing Israel, recognizing the terms of international agreements, and the explicit rejection of violence and terrorism. However, Hamas continues to be adamant over its full control of a “unity” government, expressing over and over again that it would remain in control of both Gaza and the PA after elections and insisting that Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh would rule the government.
Hamas leader, Ismail Haniyeh, the outgoing Palestinian prime minister in Gaza, said in a speech in the enclave that it was “a historical day” that closed a “chapter of seven years of division” between Hamas and Fatah. But in his address, Haniyeh spoke of pursuing “resistance by all forms”, an apparent reference to actions that include armed conflict with Israel, and he said the unity deal meant that Hamas’s militia, the Qassam Brigades, “became an army today.”
Israel Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, responded by saying that “Abbas today said yes to terror and no to peace. Even if we return to ’67 borders and dismantle all the settlements, the conflict with the Palestinians will not end, because the root of the conflict is in their unwillingness to recognize the Jewish nation-state,” Netanyahu said. Upon the announcement of the Palestinian unity agreement, Netanyahu called an emergency cabinet meeting. During the cabinet meeting, the ministers agreed to completely halt negotiations with the Palestinian Authority as long as it remains united with terror organization Hamas and to lower the amount of money transferred to the PA. The cabinet said it will hold the new Palestinian government responsible for actions that harm Israel’s security including rockets aimed at Israeli residents in the south launched from the Gaza Strip. The cabinet also agreed to give Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu authority to impose sanctions against the Palestinian government.
Meanwhile, the international community embraced the Palestinian unity government. A United Nations spokesman said that he welcomed the new Palestinian unity government and said it was ready to lend its full support to efforts to reunite the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The European Union said that it will work with the new Palestinian unity government also. We welcome … the declaration by President Abbas that this new government is committed to the principle of the two state solution based on the 1967 borders, to the recognition of Israel’s legitimate right to exist,” the EU said in a statement. British Foreign Secretary William Hague welcomed the Palestinian unity agreement by saying, reuniting the Gaza Strip and the West Bank under a government committed to peace was “a necessary condition for resolving the Israel-Palestinian conflict.” China also said it welcomed the new Palestinian unity government. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said “China welcomes the Palestinians forming a unity government. Realizing internal reconciliation is conducive to Palestinian internal solidarity, and is also conducive to the Palestinians pushing forward peace talks with Israel.”
Israel Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu responded by warning Europe against making the “mistake” of granting legitimacy to the newly united Fatah-Hamas government. Netanyahu appealed to French President Francois Hollande in a phone call, saying the Palestinian unity government demonstrated “a Palestinian step against peace and in favor of terrorism.” As Israel views Hamas as a terrorist organization intent on the destruction of the Jewish state, Netanyahu added that no European country would be prepared to accept a terrorist organization as part of its government and therefore should not acknowledged a Palestinian government backed by Hamas.
The United States said that it will work with the Palestinian Arab unity government and maintain aid, while “watching closely” to ensure it respects the principle of non-violence. US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the US believes Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has “formed an interim technocratic government… that does not include members affiliated with Hamas. With what we know now, we will work with this government,” Psaki said. She said the Obama administration has no intention of cutting off financial aid to the Palestinian Authority, which amounts to roughly $500 million a year – pivotal funding for the cash-strapped organization. The ministers in the interim Palestinian government “appear to be technocratic,” she said, adding that the US “will be judging this government by its actions” Psaki said. “We will continue to evaluate the composition and policies of the new government, and if needed, we will recalibrate our approach.” Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah called US recognition of a new Palestinian unity government “encouraging.”
Israel’s intelligence minister, Yuval Steinitz, said the notion that the new cabinet was made up of technocrats rather than politicians – something that made it diplomatically easier for the West to deal with it – was bogus. “You cannot present it internally as a Hamas government and present it on the outside as a technocrats’ government,” Steinitz said. Israel Deputy Minister of Defense, Danny Danon said that Congress should cut aid to the Palestinians upon the formation of a unity government with Hamas. Danon said the US government’s decision to recognize such a government was a moral dilemma. “You cannot play a game with this, the same way you cannot hide the fact that Hamas is a terrorist organization,” Danon said. “You look at the wording of the US law, it says it’s not a Hamas appointment but the involvement of Hamas. And it’s a moral decision today that the administration has to make, whether they believe the unity government is bad and whether they will follow the US law. Very clearly,” Danon added, appropriations law from the US Congress stipulates that, “if there is a unity government with Hamas, no funding shall be transferred to the PA.”
Head of the Fatah reconciliation team, Azam al-Ahmad said, “The US administration has renounced its previous disapproval of the national unity government and will now support the new government.” In addition, a senior Palestinian Authority official reportedly announced that the US has invited the new Palestinian unity government’s prime minister, Rami Hamdallah, to an official visit in Washington sometime in June where he will meet with Obama and visit the US Congress.
Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that he is “deeply troubled” by the United States’ decision to maintain relations with the new Palestinian unity government urging the United States to tell the Palestinian president that his alliance with the Hamas militant group is unacceptable. “I’m deeply troubled by the announcement that the United States will work with the Palestinian government backed by Hamas,” Netanyahu said saying Hamas has murdered “countless innocent civilians. All those who genuinely seek peace must reject President Abbas’ embrace of Hamas, and most especially, I think the United States must make it absolutely clear to the Palestinian president that his pact with Hamas, a terrorist organization that seeks Israel’s liquidation, is simply unacceptable,” he said.
Israel Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said that he was skeptical of the recent Hamas-Fatah Palestinian unity government, stating that the new unity government would not contribute to the cause of peace, as some have suggested. He said that there is “zero percent chance that Hamas will accept the quartet conditions,” which includes the recognition of Israel. He predicted that the likely result of the unity deal is not that the Palestinian Authority will gain control of Gaza, but rather that Hamas will gain control of the West Bank, turning it into a security threat similar to that of the Gaza. Ya’alon argued more generally that the “land for peace” paradigm for solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been a mistake which has brought Israel only “terror and rockets” in exchange for territorial concessions. Ya’alon said that history has proven that the root of the conflict is not Israel’s presence over the pre-1967 lines, but rather the refusal of the Palestinians to recognize Israel’s right to exist. He noted that in every attempt to solve the conflict including the recent failed negotiations, the Palestinians had refused to recognize Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people, had refused to give up the right of return and had refused to agree that a peace deal would put an end to all future Palestinian claims.
Israel’s Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer condemned the US State Department for its decision to continue to uphold ties with the Palestinian Authority following the swearing in of the Fatah-Hamas unity government. “Hamas hasn’t changed. It remains as committed to Israel’s destruction today as it was yesterday” Dermer said. He charged that the technocratic heads of the new Palestinian unity government were just posing to front the body backed by terrorists, and the government should be recognized as such. “With suits in the front office and terrorists in the back office, it should not be business as usual,” he said. By accepting the Palestinian unity government, other Israeli officials said that the United States had sanctioned terrorism. “If the US administration wants to advance peace, it should be calling on [Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud] Abbas to end his pact with Hamas and return to peace talks with Israel. Instead it is enabling Abbas to believe that it is acceptable to form a government with a terrorist organization,” Israeli officials said in a sharply worded statement to the media. “If these people are identified with Hamas, or are people with whom Hamas identifies and were appointed by Hamas then these are Hamas representatives.”
In a Jerusalem Post editorial, the following observation and analysis was made regarding the US acceptance of a Palestinian unity government with Fatah and Hamas. The gloves are off. The fight is on. The United States has now unequivocally designated Israel as the scapegoat and is meting out punishment for the disastrous outcome of the peace negotiations it initiated. The process began in March when President Barack Obama publicly lambasted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a brutal and offensive manner the day before their scheduled meeting in the United States. It climaxed last week when the United States reneged on its commitment to Israel, announcing that it would continue business as usual with the new PA government after the merger with the genocidal Hamas, the terrorist organization which remains utterly committed to the destruction of Israel. Prior to this, administration spokesmen had been campaigning behind the scenes to undermine the standing of Israel with the American public. That Israel had frozen settlement construction for nine months and conceded to an abhorrent release of Palestinian terrorists with blood on their hands were facts they simply ignored. Conversely, the Palestinian refusal to make a single concession or agree under any circumstances to an end of conflict was rarely mentioned.
Even following the announcement of the PA-Hamas union, Secretary of State John Kerry continued blaming Israel, making bizarre predictions about it becoming an “apartheid state,” which followed his earlier warnings of an impending “third intifada” and “international boycotts” – all of which he subsequently retracted. Kerry’s views were echoed by his envoy, Martin Indyk, whose hatred of Netanyahu should have disqualified him from assuming any mediating role. When Netanyahu agreed to the wretched terrorist release, he made it clear to both the US and the PA that construction in the settlements would resume. Yet, in a series of “background” and open briefings, Indyk laid the primary blame for the collapse of the peace negotiations on Israel for having announced building tenders for 700 homes, not in some obscure or isolated settlement, but in Gilo, a suburb existing for over 40 years in the heart of Jewish east Jerusalem. And so it was that this “provocative action,” the “poof” which scuttled negotiations, became the basis for the US administration’s condemnation of Israel.
To make matters worse, unsubstantiated allegations were circulated that Israel was engaging in massive espionage activity against the United States. Despite angry disclaimers from Netanyahu and leading government officials, the administration failed to refute the charges, which were even used to justify denying Israel eligibility for the US Visa Waiver Program. However, with Obama’s current catastrophic ratings and the impending congressional elections, it was assumed – mistakenly – that at least in the short term, the United States would avoid a frontal confrontation and merely give the Europeans the wink to intensify the pressure on Israel. But the administration shocked Israel by accepting the new PA-Hamas government even before the consummation of the union. This was in flagrant breach of former undertakings, a betrayal of its long-standing ally by announcing disingenuously that it would work with the new PA- Hamas government, as long as it “abides by the principles mandated by the US.” Yet, far from renouncing terror, Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal boasted that “the reconciliation will actually consolidate the resistance… from one of intifada to another until the liberation of Palestine.” The US initiative was clearly designed to pave the way for Israel’s further global isolation. It was immediately endorsed by the European Union, the United Nations, the UK and France and of course China, Russia and India all of whom praised the union as an important step toward “Palestinian reconciliation.”
An agreement to divide Jerusalem and establish a PLO state is a tribulation event.
The link to these articles are as follows:
1) Abbas swears in Palestinian unity gov’t despite last minute difficulties
2) Netanyahu: Abbas said yes to terror and no to peace
3) UN chief welcomes new Palestinian government
4) US Vows to ‘Work With’ Palestinian Arab ‘Unity’ Government
5) Report claims Palestinian unity gov’t formed, acknowledged by Washington
6) Israeli envoy to US slams State Department for upholding ties with PA after unity gov’t
7) Israel: US sanctioning terrorism by okaying ties with Palestinian unity government
8) Danon calls US recognition of PA government ‘moral choice’
9) EU says open to working with Palestinian unity government
10) British foreign secretary joins European Union in praising Fatah-Hamas unity accord
11) Netanyahu warns Europe against legitimizing Palestinian unity government
12) Netanyahu: Those who accept peace must reject Hamas
13) Israeli Defense Minister: ‘Zero Percent Chance’ of Hamas Recognizing Israel
14) Candidly Speaking: Further ugly vibes from the Obama administration
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