February 9, 2016: Weekly 5 minute update

February 10th, 2016

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) PART 2: An examination of the history of the relationship between the Obama administration and Israel from the viewpoint of Dennis Ross.

 

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

The link to these articles are as follows:

1) Dennis Ross: Obama, Netanyahu Have a “Backdrop of Distrust”

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

February 2, 2016: Weekly 5 minute update

February 1st, 2016

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) An examination of the history of the relationship between the Obama administration and Israel from the viewpoint of Dennis Ross.

Dennis Ross was the U.S. point person for the Middle East peace process during the administrations of George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton, and a special adviser to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during the Obama administration. The following are excerpts from an interview with FRONTLINE.

… How do you view Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu?

He’s someone who has grown up with a view that focuses primarily on the threats to Israel, that Israel faces a hostile world [and that] its margin for error is exceedingly small; that the neighborhood has not accepted Israel. Maybe Egypt has done a peace treaty with Israel, but the neighborhood hasn’t accepted it, … so Israel has to keep its guard up. And if you let your guard down just a little bit, you’re exposed, and you’re put at risk. … In a sense, the sharks are out to get you.

… OK, It’s 2008. [Journalist] Marvin Kalb tells us a great story of being at the King David Hotel and going into the coffee shop or the café and seeing Bibi sitting alone in the corner, reading newspapers. Sits with him and says, “How are you doing?,” and Bibi says: “I’m wondering a lot about this Barack Hussein Obama. Who is this guy with the name Hussein, and what are you thinking about it?” And Marvin said he could tell, almost from the beginning, that there was not only among Bibi and his immediate friends, but on the street, a kind of anxiety about Barack Obama.

I have a different experience with Bibi on this. Bibi has a conversation with me, even in 2007, where he tells me, in 2007, he says, “I think that Obama is going to get the nomination, not Hillary.” And he says to me, “I think he’s a really interesting guy.” Initially he’s not suspicious at all. On the contrary.

… That’s so interesting. What do you think? Because some of the story, too, is that they don’t get along from the very beginning.

Not true, from him, not so. Not so. It happens once Bibi is elected. With the first meeting. Bibi feels like he’s blindsided by the posture that the administration takes on the settlement issue, but not going in.

Literally, first he has this conversation with me in 2007, where he says he thinks Obama is going to win, and I asked him at the time: “Why do you think that?” Because nobody else is predicting it at this point.

He said, “You know, he has a capacity to explain things and create a sense of new possibilities.” He said, “Maybe I’m wrong, but I think he’s really the guy; he’s really the person to watch.” …

… Tell me about Netanyahu, the first time he came to [meet] the Obama administration.

I’m in the State Department. I see the president in the context of Iran. Every time we have an Iran discussion, I’m over there for that. And it is interesting: Almost every time I see him, he asks me a question about Israel. The first time I talked to him about Bibi is, I am asked to come and brief him for his meeting with Bibi.

The first one?

The first one. So [Special Envoy for Middle East Peace George] Mitchell is there to brief him on the peace issue, and I’m there to brief him on Iran, and that’s the first time I have a serious discussion with him about Bibi. Prior to that time, he’ll ask me literally every time I’m over there, even though the subject is Iran-oriented, every time he’ll ask me a question about Israel, every time I’m there.

Like?

Well, for example, we got into a discussion about under what circumstances would the Israelis launch an attack against Iran. And I said — this is kind of following the earlier discussion, but he asked me, “What do you think the odds are that Israel will strike now?” And I said: “Well, you know, they’re sending people over here. I’m having conversations with them already. In my conversations, I’m showing them that we’re pretty serious about doing something.”

Doing something meaning negotiating?

Yeah, but not just negotiating, but building pressure on them so that they have to change their behavior. … But, I said, there’s not an enormous amount of patience.

And then he asked me a question at one point. Then he said, “Do the Israelis ever think strategically?” Interesting question. And I said, “Well, look, like most leaders, they look at what are the near-term problems. And if you look, the military is always planning strategically. But frequently, Israeli leaders,” I said, “they’re not unique in this respect, are looking at what is the near-term problem, what is the near-term threat.”

… And Mitchell is going over to talk about the peace process in a different way.

Right. …

There’s these two tracks that eventually, in that very first meeting with Netanyahu, are going to cause the tension between Obama and Netanyahu.

That’s right.

One of them run by Mitchell is separate from you, and one of them, you’re carrying the bad news about the potential of rockets’ red glare.

Right. So for the first meeting with Bibi, the briefing for the president, Mitchell is there to talk about the peace issue, and I’m there to talk about Iran and how we should approach Iran and what he needs to do with Bibi to prove our seriousness, so that, in fact, Bibi will give us a time to basically do the diplomacy, to see if we can find a diplomatic way to make it work. I’m basically going through what Bibi is going to ask you, what’s the best way to deal with him, so you buy this time. That’s the thrust of what I’m saying to him.

Mitchell’s thrust is different. Mitchell’s thrust is, you need to get him to buy in on a settlement freeze.

… You hear Mitchell say this. So what do you do, bite your tongue?

No, but this tells you a lot about Obama. So I don’t know if I made some kind of facial reaction. Maybe I did. But Obama says, as soon as Mitchell says that, he says, “Dennis, what do you think?” I haven’t been involved in any of the peace-related discussions at this point, but I said: “You are asking Bibi to do what none of his predecessors have done. You’re asking a Likud prime minister to do what none of the Labor prime ministers have done. What’s his explanation supposed to be? On what basis is he going to do something that Rabin didn’t do, that Peres didn’t do, and that Barak didn’t do?”

So the president turns back to Mitchell and says, “George, what’s the answer to that?” And he says, “Well, we’re trying to reopen the liaison offices that Israel had with a number of Arab countries, Morocco and Qatar and so forth. And we’re trying to get over-flight rights for El Al over Saudi Arabia.” So the president turns back to me and says, “What do you think of that?” And I said, “You’re asking Bibi to do what none of his predecessors have done.”

So he turns back to Mitchell and says, “You know, I think you’ve got your work cut out for you.” Now, to be fair to Mitchell, Mitchell said, correctly, “Well, look, if you can satisfy him on Iran, then you can ask for him to do things on this issue.” So the president turned back to me and says, “All right, what does it mean to satisfy him on Iran?” I said: “To really satisfy him on Iran, what you have to say to him is: ‘I’m going to take care of this. I’m going to try to do it diplomatically. But if it doesn’t work diplomatically, I’m telling you now, we’ll act militarily to take care of this.’” I said: “That’s what it takes to satisfy him. And then you can take that, and you can use it to say: ‘If I do something like that, I need to create a climate in the region that makes it more acceptable that we don’t have a terrible fallout if we end up having to use force. And removing the Palestinian issue is one way to transform the climate in the region. So I need you to take unprecedented steps.’”

But that was a bridge too far.

For the president?

He wasn’t about to commit to using military force if diplomacy failed.

In the very first meeting, in the very first, second, third month of his presidency.

Right. It’s three months into his presidency. That was the character of that first meeting.

Wow.

But that’s the first conversation I have with him on Netanyahu.

… So you guys go out and get in the car, you and George and the others. What did you think was going to happen when Bibi Netanyahu walked into that office?

… We didn’t go back to the State Department together. I actually was going back with [then-Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs] Bill Burns, I think, who may have been there at the same time. But I just said to him: “You know, I’m not real hopeful this is going to be a great meeting. If the accent is put on a settlement freeze, you’re asking me, as I said, I just don’t see how you get there. I would put the accent differently. …

But that night, when Bibi comes, he has a meeting with the president. And then he comes over and has a dinner meeting in the State Department with the secretary [Hillary Clinton], of which I was a part, because we discussed everything. She takes him aside at one point and explains why the settlement issue is really important to the president, and he’s pretty much saying, “Look, I can’t go that far.” I think he feels after that first meeting that he’s being put in the corner.

He then begins to react to it. He still gives a speech. He gives his Bar-Ilan speech, which is his way of trying to do something. Now, I had been talking to some of the people around it, and I had told them, before the first meeting: “Look, I don’t do that. I’m not doing the peace issue. I do only the Iran issue. But it seems to me you ought to find a way, in your first meeting, to tell the president that you’re accepting — because you’ve never done it — you’re accepting a two-state outcome. Maybe if you’re doing that, then that may go a long way toward satisfying the president.”

I still think it might have tempered what the president was then pushing for with him and what was said after the meeting, if Bibi had come with something. But he didn’t come with anything. And that also is sort of his style. He has a tendency to not want to look like he’s making pre-emptive concessions, or he made them under pressure. And here is your first meeting with the new president. He would have been much more likely to get off on the right foot had he offered something.

And he could have explained: “This is a hard thing for me to do, with my party. This is something that’s not really been accepted, but I’m taking this step.” And that might have had an effect on Obama. I think they sort of get off on the wrong foot, because in his first meeting, Obama is riveted on the settlement freeze.

… And it fit with Obama’s mind-set about this, because early on, he was inclined to show some distance. … He is focused more, in the early part, in the first year, on outreach to the Arabs, because he’s trying to also transform the image of the United States and the Arab states, and with Muslims more generally, because he’s trying to counteract the image of Bush being at war with Islam. Whether it’s fair or not that Bush was, that’s the perception. He wants to counteract that perception.

Right.

So he sees creating some distance from Israel being a good thing. Now there’s a tension here with, on the one hand, you’re trying to persuade the Israelis on Iran, so creating some distance is not necessarily the smartest thing to do.

Did you tell him that?

Yes. And I think he has a sense that he can square the circle. And the reason he has a sense is because he says, “I’m going to be very strong in Israel’s security needs,” not as a tactic, because he believes it, but also because he sees it as a benefit.

As I look at the timeline and the series of events, the thing I could not understand is, how could Barack Obama go to Cairo, give the speech, and that nobody around him would say, “You know what you ought to do is just stop by Israel and say hi”? It seems like such a rookie mistake, unless there’s a reason to do it.

During the transition, [then-National Security Adviser] Tom Donilon asked me to write a memo on where the speech should be given. So I write a memo. I make the case for Cairo, because there was a discussion about him in doing it in Indonesia, and I think Cairo was the place to do it. I make the case for it. But then I say, “But if he does it, he has to go to Israel, too, because if he doesn’t go to Israel, the Israeli public will see this as an outreach to Muslims coming at Israel’s expense.” And the content, by the way, of the speech, added to that, because while he takes on Holocaust denial in a very important way, he leaves the impression that the only reason Israel exists is because of the Holocaust. … In a sense, what [that] means is, at the very moment he’s appealing to the narrative of Muslims and Arabs, he is dismissing the narrative of the Israelis.

And the reason it doesn’t happen — I asked Donilon later — and he says [Deputy National Security Advisers] Ben Rhodes and Denis McDonough strongly argued against going to Israel because it would look like business as usual, and if he was going to show it was different this time, he had to act in a way that was different this time. He had to break the mold. That was the reason.

Did he —

But he paid a terrible [price]. It is something that sowed the seeds of his problems with the Israelis, meaning the Israeli public, from that point on. …

 … The idea of how much daylight to create between the United States and Israel when you walk into the early days of the administration — take me there, and explain the camps.

I think early in the administration there is really only one camp. There’s a presumption that distancing from Israel is, in fact, a good thing. … I think the president comes in, and there is really nobody around him at that point who is challenging this notion that given what’s going on, given the legacy of the Bush administration with Muslim-majority countries, given the perception, fairly or not, that we’re at war with Islam, the president feels this is an image that he has to correct, and there are different ways of doing it. One is reaching out, but another way is distancing from Israel. And I think that is very much part of the approach in the early going. …

… There’s this first moment where Netanyahu has won, is coming to the White House, coming with a certain expectation that certain conversations are going to happen, perhaps about Iran and about security promises and the early idea of a red line or whatever. He’s coming with that but probably doesn’t know that Rahm [Emanuel] and others on the one-camp idea are saying to the president, who agrees with this, obviously, “I think we are going to try to create a little daylight.” And the president has obviously, given what he says about settlements, the president obviously believes that I’ve got to let this guy know I’m in charge of the relationship. This is not going to be a Clinton filibuster from Netanyahu as it was in that first meeting.

No, I do think that’s right. I think there’s a sense that you can set the table different with Netanyahu and he’ll realize he’s in a different circumstance and he is going to have to adjust his behavior. Now, to some extent, to be fair, he does, because three weeks after he sees the president, he gives the Bar-Ilan speech.

As I’ve said, I feel had Netanyahu come and said to the president, “You know, I can’t do this on settlements, but I’m prepared to come out on a Palestinian state.” Had he done that, that might well have tempered the president’s view toward him from the beginning. He might well have said: “OK, look, I see he’s prepared to cross the threshold. He’s prepared to do something that’s not easy for him given his own political base.” I think that might have changed his view of Netanyahu.

But it didn’t go that way. What did you hear happened in that meeting?

What I heard happened in the meeting was that the president pushes very hard on the settlement issue. Bibi feels the president is asking him to do something he could never do. I mean, not only is it inconsistent with his base, but it’s like, what does he get? It’s all give on his part. … I think Netanyahu comes and is surprised by that and feels that in a sense he’s kind of walked into a trap, and his instinct is to push back when he feels himself being put in a corner. Nonetheless, he realizes, all right, I’ve got to do something, which is why when he goes back to Israel, he lays the basis for him giving the Bar-Ilan speech.

Was that sort of naïve of the president and those guys?

I think in a lot of ways the president and the people around him were caught up with Obama being a transformative figure, and the mere fact that he was a transformative figure means if he asks, others will realize that he’s breaking the mold and therefore they have to respond. I think there was a lot of that. Whether “hubris” is the right term or not, they were caught up in the moment that he represented such a transformation, such a change, and that in itself had a kind of power, and it created a kind of leverage, and I think it created a set of expectations about what they could produce as a result.

When Netanyahu leaves, he’s PO’d.

Yes.

OK. The Arab Spring: The president goes over to the State Department and delivers a speech. Obviously you’re part of all of that?

Yeah.

Take me there. Tell me what was going on. …

One of the things where the president tried to separate himself when he became president was from Bush, the freedom agenda was off the table. When he gives a speech in Cairo, he gets to his fourth point, which is democracy, and he stumbles a little bit in his speech, because he says democracy, and it draws applause, and he’s trying to draw a distinction from Bush where “We’re not going to impose on you. We’re not going to preach to you. Understand, everyone has to find their own path. We think the principles of democracy are best, but we understand they can’t be imposed, and everybody has to find their own path.”

And so until the Arab Awakening, as I put it, the Obama administration is not a big democracy promoter. Suddenly it looks like the forces of history are in the squares, not in the presidential palaces. And now the president wants to be on the right side of history. …

So here’s where there is a kind of internal tension within the administration between those who feel, you know, “Let’s get on the right side of history; let’s not look like we’re trying to stop the forces of history,” versus those who are fearful either about looking like we’re walking away from friends, or, I think the deeper concern being, what replaces this? What are the means to replace this? How do we know we are not just creating a vacuum, and who is going to fill that vacuum?

So what leads him to go over to the State Department and give that speech?

The speech doesn’t come until May 19, … But that speech, the May 19 speech, isn’t remembered for the Arab Awakening part of it. It’s remembered because of the partial parameters. If we were going to do a speech on peace process parameters or permanent status parameters, I wanted that to be standalone. I wanted the Arab Awakening to be a standalone.

You couldn’t stop the ’67 reference in the speech.

I wasn’t trying to stop the ’67 reference.

You would have kept it, but separately.

Yes, I wanted that to be a standalone. …

He articulates the phrase “’67” and says the numbers ’67 some way inside there.

He says, “’67 mutually agreed swaps.”

… So Netanyahu basically flies in, and things don’t go well, or do they? Take me inside that.

… When we begin talking about doing a speech, I suggest that we should share the speech with the Israelis, the draft in advance, because I feel like we can at least get their buy-in. We don’t surprise them. In effect, basically, even if they don’t like it, it will temper the nature of their reaction, and they will be prepared to work with us on it. But I present this. When I present it, it is in one of these meetings in the Sit Room.

The president is there, but Denis McDonough and [National Security Advisor] Susan Rice immediately jump down my throat and say: “We can’t let the Israelis tell us what we are going to say. We can’t give them a veto over what we are going to say. This is our policy.” And that immediately sort of pre-empts the discussion. …

To be fair, this kind of constituency has existed in every administration from Truman to today. It is one of the striking things. There is a constituency that has felt that Israel is either a liability to us or they do things that are designed to complicate our position in the region, so for them there is a kind of competitive impulse. They see Israel through that prism. …

My notion is, again, look, if we bring them in, OK, there is some risk. But if we bring them in, we can manage it. If we don’t bring them in, you are going to see [how] they are going to react. And that is exactly what happened. …

That gets me to what happened in the meeting itself. Before the meeting starts, the president asks me why did Bibi react so negatively to the speech. And I said, “Because he was surprised by it and he felt he was being put in a corner and you were trying to jam him in front of his own constituency before he came here.” And I said, “Had we at least discussed this with him in advance, it would have been different.” When the president asked Bibi the question directly, “Why did you react this way?,” Bibi said, “Because you didn’t coordinate with us.”

The meeting actually goes pretty well. It’s a one-on-one meeting. The president comes out, and he walks over to me when the meeting is over, and he says, “You were right; we should have coordinated with them.” … I feel that had they met the press at that moment or had they met the press before the meeting, you wouldn’t have had this Bibi lecture to the president … within the Oval Office with the press, where it looks like after the president has been gracious in describing their meeting, he looks like he’s lecturing the president. Daley is standing next to me.

Bill Daley.

Bill Daley is standing next to me, and he is going, “Outrageous, outrageous.” It is like he is almost levitating. The president walks Bibi out, and he comes back. At that point I don’t know that he’s happy, but he is not in a bad mood. But immediately everyone pounces on him and says: “Look what he did to you. He lectured you here in your office. It is just outrageous.”

… After the 2011 lecture, whatever you want to call it, it does feel a little bit like, given the political environment in America, presidential re-election run, the president sort of puts the peace process to the side, maybe forever.

At least for the rest of the term.

If you step back to 30,000 feet and you look at the events, 2012 is a very tough year. We are now heading mostly into the Iran worries, having put peace slightly at the side.  Everybody we’ve talked to so far has said there was real tension around the White House and around this issue about would Israel actually go? What did they want? What were they demanding? Talk about the tension that was building.

What was emerging at the time was [Ehud] Barak had this position that the Iranians were approaching what he called the “zone of immunity.” What he meant by the “zone of immunity” was, they’re reaching the point in their nuclear program where the depth and character and redundancy of their nuclear infrastructure is going to be so great that even if we were to act militarily, it would have an immeasurable, a marginal effect. That’s what he meant by “immunity.” Even if we hit them militarily, it doesn’t stop their program. So he was arguing, if we don’t do it soon, we’ve lost the ability militarily to set their program back. So in the spring of 2012 it looks increasingly like Israel feels the need to have to move. …

Now, within the administration, back in 2010, we had an internal debate about what the objective should be, and this is where the president adopts language that “We’re determined to prevent.” We had the debate over whether it was going to be prevention or containment, meaning they get the weapon and we contain it after the fact versus we prevent them from having a weapon. He adopts the position after an internal debate on “determined to prevent.” …

But he never draws a distinction between prevention and containment until the spring of 2012. And I make the case that the reason he does this is because this is designed to tell Bibi, “Look, you don’t have to act militarily, because we will not permit them to have a nuclear weapon.” …

Despite the assurances of the president, it feels like Bibi is taking the occasion of a presidential election year in the United States to, if nothing else, create a bluff or a position that looks like they’re moving. They’re saying things like, six months to a year. We can’t wait; we want a red line from the president. And he’s taking the real step of supporting [presidential candidate Mitt] Romney in public —

Seemingly.

Seemingly supporting him in public. Not really supporting him?

When I would ask them and I would be over there, they would say no; he would say no.

No what?

That he wasn’t supporting Romney. He was not. Look, there is no doubt there was a perception here that that was the case, [but] … in the spring of 2013, in March 2013, when the president goes to Israel, the feeling is a very different one.

Well, yeah. The president has won.

The president has won, and that is right.

Exactly.

So the feel is a very different one, and he’s adjusting. But I do think 2012 is significant, because I do think that the White House and the president comes to believe that Bibi is using an election year to try to leverage him on the Iran issue. And if you’re not going to let us go militarily, then you have to go.

Right.

And trying to put the president in the corner. It’s interesting, because I’m out of the administration by this point because I leave at the end of 2012. But in conversations I have in Israel I will say: “Look, why don’t you use the fact that you’re deferring acting militarily as a position where you are giving the president something, even though you feel it risks your security? But you’re not going to act because it is so important to him that you not act that at least give him a sense that he owes you something.”

But of course that is not Netanyahu’s style at all.

That’s not his style. They don’t do it. He doesn’t do it. …

It seems like ’12 is when the daylight really finally, the dawn cracks, whatever the metaphor wants to be.

I think it is made worse. But after the election and Obama has won, then that’s a reason to scale back again. I think what changes it is what is the different position in the negotiations toward Iran on the nuclear issue. That becomes the real point where you see a divide that becomes harder and harder between the two of them, not institutionally, but between the two of them to bridge. And then it becomes more personal, because Bibi sees the position as — and I see him, you know, it’s the night of Nov. 8, 2013 —

A telephone call. Tell me that story the way you tell it in the book.

I was in Jerusalem because I had been engaging in some informal discussions on the peace issue, so I was meeting there on those discussions … Bibi asked me to come and see him on Friday evening at his prime minister’s residence. It is Shabbat evening, and I get there, and I have to wait close to an hour because he is on the phone with the president. This is the day that the Joint Plan of Action, which was the interim deal, looks to be concluded. …

So when you walk in the room, what is it? Has he just hung the phone up?

Yes.

What does he feel like?

As many times as I have dealt with him, I had never seen him this way. He wasn’t angry. The only way I can put it is that he was feeling alarmed, not angry but alarmed. And the first thing he says to me is: “The president has decided he has no choice but to do a deal with the Iranians. Force is off the table.” And I said, “He didn’t say that to you.” He said, “He did.” I said, “No, he didn’t say that to you.” He said, “He did.” I said, “Maybe he said to you, we have to demonstrate that we’ve done everything we could to resolve this through diplomatic means, because given my public — the option of rushing to war is not an option, but demonstrating that we didn’t just check a box, but we did everything we could to resolve this through peaceful means. And if it doesn’t work out, so be it.” Maybe he said something like that. But there is no way he said to you, “I’m taking the military option off the table.”

And what was interesting was that Bibi was convinced of what he had heard. He wasn’t convinced he said those exact words, but he interpreted what he heard as if the president — you know: “There is too much war-weariness in the States. I don’t have the option of using force. This is the only option I have.” He didn’t say that. I know he didn’t say it. And that’s what I was saying to Bibi. But that’s what Bibi heard. And when I left the meeting — I mean, we went through a discussion on this. Obviously, I wasn’t part of the phone call, but I was certain that the president had not said this.

I actually contacted [Secretary of State John] Kerry, who was then in Geneva, and said: “Look, you have a problem here. It has to be fixed.” Kerry called me, and he said, “That’s not our position.” I said, “I know it is not the position.” He said, “I’ll call them.” I said: “No, it shouldn’t be you. The problem isn’t you. The problem is what Bibi thinks where the president is. This needs to be fixed by the White House.” And it wasn’t.

You mean he didn’t get a call.

He didn’t get a call.

… We talked about advocates at the very beginning of the administration saying, “We’ve got to put some distance; we’ve got to try a new approach; we’ve got to be transformative.” As you look back on it all, what has happened? How has it worked? What is different about our relationship with Israel now than when we started out?

The biggest problem that this administration has with Israel is that it lost the Israeli public. There are a lot of things that I think President Obama could have done on the Iran issue with Israel, on the peace issue with Israel had he not lost the Israeli public. But he lost the Israeli public. And that was the single, biggest problem. Had he not done that, had he been able to lay out certain positions, the Israeli public would have automatically looked and said: “He gets our predicament. He understands the region. When he asks us to do something, it’s because actually it is in our best interests.”

That doesn’t exist today. And for most of the administration it has not existed. That has an effect on what we can get, what we can do with the Israelis. If there is one thing that I would have from the beginning counseled differently, I would have said, “Focus on the Israeli public.” …

[Netanyahu] once asked me, “Does the president think he knows my public better than I do?” It was rhetorical question. But I think he looked at some of the things we were doing and he thought, maybe he does. For someone as smart as President Obama, this was one area where we got off on the wrong foot, and we didn’t act soon enough to correct it.

Is it a permanent problem?

For this president, you’re not going to be able to change it. He can make an effort, but it is not going to work. I think it is not a permanent problem because the nature of the relationship is fundamental. And look at the region. This region is going to go through what is a kind of continuing level of upheaval and turmoil and upheaval and struggle over basic identity, even of what these states are. And who is going to define it? The only state that isn’t going to go through that upheaval is Israel. The one certainty you have is that whatever Israel’s problems are, they will manage them. You can’t say that about any other state in the region right now.

That uncertainty, that turmoil, that instability is going to be a reminder of what we have in common with Israel, not to mention that those who threaten us also threaten Israel. So the next president, whoever it is, I think one of the first things that president will do will be to focus on how to repair and mend the relationship and some of the differences.

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

The link to these articles are as follows:

1) Dennis Ross: Obama, Netanyahu Have a “Backdrop of Distrust”

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

January 26, 2016: Weekly 5 minute update

January 21st, 2016

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) An examination of the history of the relationship between the Obama administration and Israel from the viewpoint of former US ambassador to Israel, Martin Indyk

In the early days of his administration, President Barack Obama had a theory about Israel. “It was a wrong theory of the case,” says longtime diplomat Martin Indyk, but a theory nonetheless: If the president could put distance between the United States and Israel, then just maybe he could build up credibility with the Arab world — and ultimately be in a better position to help Israel negotiate for peace.

But here’s where things went wrong, says Indyk, a U.S. ambassador to Israel during the Clinton administration, and from 2013 to 2014 a special envoy for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations: “After 16 years of Clinton and Bush, of unalloyed affection, the Israelis really didn’t like that.” The theory cost Obama support among Israelis, which meant he couldn’t move the Israeli public, says Indyk, “and if he couldn’t move the Israelis, then the Arabs had no use for him.”

In the below interview, Indyk says that the fallout today can be seen in everything from the stalled peace process and last year’s negotiations over the Iran nuclear agreement, to the president’s fractious relationship with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — who the former ambassador says was “essentially written off” by Obama after his 2012 reelection.

Let’s go to the beginning of the Obama administration. There is, we discovered as we talk to people, a kind of effort in the first ambitious efforts by the president to say, “I’m going to do something different about Israel than anybody else has really tried to do.” The word “distance” starts to be used; the word “daylight” starts to be used. There is talk of if we can reach the Arab world we’re going to have to reach them and not look like we’re pandering or [throwing] arms around Israel, and there are a number of missteps that people we talk to say occur. I’m not assuming you’re inside any of those conversations, but you’re watching and hearing and have some thoughts about it, I’m sure. Share them.

President Obama had a theory of the case, which was that George W. Bush had embraced Ariel Sharon and then Ehud Olmert, and there was no daylight between the United States and Israel, and that hadn’t produced a positive result. In the meantime, the relationship between the United States and the Muslim world was in the toilet, so the president believed that he needed to rebuild the relationship with the Muslim world, hence the Cairo speech, and by doing so, and by putting some daylight between the United States and Israel, currying favor with the Arabs and the Muslims would enable him to actually help Israel. That was his theory of the case that if the United States had more credibility with the Arabs and Muslims that he would be more in a position to help Israel make peace with them.

That was the context in which he went to Saudi Arabia before the Cairo speech, because Netanyahu had said, “Look, I can’t do a settlements freeze, but if you get me Saudi Arabia, then it’s a different story altogether.” So Obama said, “Oh, let’s go to Saudi Arabia.” The Saudis wanted him to come anyway, before he went to Cairo, because the king is the custodian of the two holy mosques and so on. But there was a strong element in Obama’s theory of the case that this was going to help Israel, whereas the previous Bush administration policy hadn’t really done anything for Israel.

It was a wrong theory of the case, as he would come to discover, because by sending a signal to Israel that he was distancing himself from Israel, by not going to Israel after Cairo — don’t forget he went to Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Egypt; he didn’t go to Israel — for Israelis, the combination of not visiting and the speech sent them a very strong signal that he didn’t like them. After 16 years of Clinton and Bush, of unalloyed affection, the Israelis really didn’t like that. They turned against him in that moment.

What was wrong with the theory of the case then was that once he lost the Israelis, he couldn’t move the Israelis, because he didn’t have the trust that Clinton and Bush had, and if he couldn’t move the Israelis, then the Arabs had no use for him. The Arabs don’t want him to turn against Israel; they wanted him to deliver Israel. And if he is going to deliver Israel, he’s got to have a close and strong relationship of trust with the Israeli people, if not with the prime minister.

It took him a long time to appreciate that.

… How soon do you know they have erred, and erred grievously?

Immediately after the speech. It was crystal clear, crystal clear. I remember talking to an Israeli journalist, a very senior journalist whom the White House cleverly had invited to Cairo to hear the speech, and he called me from Cairo. He said: “This is a disaster. This is a disaster.” I said: “Tell [Chief of Staff] Rahm [Emanuel]. Tell him, because they need to do something about this. This is really going to lose the Israelis.”

… When Netanyahu comes to that first Oval Office meeting and it goes very badly, because basically Rahm has said to the president, as we hear it, “You’ve got to back this guy into the corner; the only way you’re going to ever get anything out of him is if you back him into the corner, and that means press him hard on the” —

Settlements.

— that was a miscalculation. He came to talk about Iran, and he knew the president himself was a little worried about Iran. I think he wanted, yes or no, he wanted to have a discussion about what are we going to do about this thing, or no?

I’m not sure that it was such a mistake to back him into the corner, because what it actually produced was his Bar-Ilan speech, in which he for the first time embraced the two-state solution. Actually I didn’t talk to him much in those days — he had other things to do, and I wasn’t in office anymore — but I remember we had one meeting just after the Bar-Ilan speech, and he said to me: “All right, I’ve said it. Can we now get on with Iran? Can we now focus on Iran?”

I took away from that that Netanyahu really was obsessed about Iran. This was his main concern. Clearly Obama was worried about the Palestinians, so if he could buy him off with some rhetoric, like he tried to buy Clinton off with a handshake with Arafat, OK, now let’s focus on the real issue here. I think that it was important for the president to make clear that the Palestinian issue was important to him and important to the United States.

The problem was demanding a total settlements freeze and then negotiating with Netanyahu something less, because they went out in public and declared this as an American objective, a total settlements freeze, and Secretary of State [Hillary] Clinton said, “Not one house.” Then George Mitchell, the special envoy, got into a negotiation with Netanyahu, and they ended up with a moratorium in the West Bank which was actually important and worth something. But by that point they had set the bar so high there was no way that Abu Mazen [Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority] could at that point accept anything less than a full settlements freeze, which is what they actually delivered. So it was a settlement moratorium for 10 months. It took eight months to get Palestinian leader Abu Mazen into the room with Netanyahu.

I think that was the problem. The objective was unattainable, and for some reason they didn’t understand that from the get-go. With an unattainable objective, they ended up with something less, and finally they get the Israelis in place, and they have lost the Palestinians.

Let’s go to the Arab Spring. They write a speech; the president goes to the State Department, delivers it, mentions the ’67 borders. … It’s the day before Netanyahu is coming to the country. They have the office meeting. They have the lecture afterward. As you observed that happening from your perch, what do you see happening, and how does it strike you?

… It was not an attempt to ambush him. It was just that typical situation where when the fights within the U.S. government in Washington get sorted out, nobody has got any energy to remember that they had better tell the affected parties about what they’re going to do, and that happens quite regularly. That’s what happened in this case.

But from Netanyahu’s point of view, he was convinced that this was an attempt to ambush him and embarrass him and put him in a situation where the president was, from Netanyahu’s point of view, weakening Israel’s negotiating position by declaring the stats on the ’67 lines. He was furious about it, and I think that marked a turning point in the relationship between Obama and Netanyahu. It hadn’t been good up to that point, but at that point Netanyahu became convinced that Obama was out to screw him, and he was going to screw him back.

In a separate interview, former Israeli ambassador to the United Nations and longtime political adviser to Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Dore Gold said: “You can’t try and railroad Israel into doing things that Israel feels is dangerous.”

In his interview, Dore Gold is asked:

When the president goes to Cairo for the speech, and you heard him speak, what did you think?

Well, everybody that was in my entourage focused on the whole notion that the state of Israel rose as a response to the Holocaust. That was something that was unacceptable.

Why?

Because Israel has an eternity to it that goes far back before the 20th century, the 19th century, and even earlier. All we have to do is know that there was a Jewish majority in Jerusalem already at the time of the American Civil War. All we have to know is that we had a civilization here that was destroyed by the Romans. Our history is all over this city and all over the country. Therefore, an explanation that sees us as a bunch of Europeans who are looking for a refuge from the Nazis is a partial and not terribly accurate understanding of the soul of this country.

Does it surprise you that the president of the United States would make that error?

It surprised me that they have a speechwriter who would be allowed to write that kind of document, because I think Sen. Obama was presented with the four dimensions of Israel, but someone decided to take this partial approach in a presidential speech, and it didn’t earn him confidence with the people of Israel. …

When the Arab Spring happens, the president of the United States three months later gives a speech from the State Department. It not only is ecstatically happy about what they perceive as a potential explosion of democracy all over the region, but it also folds in this idea of let’s return to the ’67 borders.

Lines. They’re not borders — lines.

Lines. … Take me there, and give me your impressions of the events and the meaning of those events to you guys.

I was a private citizen at the time. I was running a think tank called the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. We were having a board meeting to approve my new budget, so my board had all come in, and I’m sitting with them. My secretary comes rushing in, and she goes, “Dore, the prime minister is on the phone.”

I walk into his office where his desk is, and he’s surrounded by his top advisers. He’s on a speakerphone to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. While I won’t go into what was said in detail, I’ll just say roughly, he had been advised that the president’s speech at the State Department was about to occur and that it contained reference to the ’67 lines, and he was not happy.

There was an exchange between the secretary of state and the prime minister, but this was a fundamental change in U.S. policy. … This has been a cornerstone of U.S.-Israeli diplomacy for years, and now all of a sudden talk about the ’67 lines, even with a little land swap, it is a fundamental shift in policy. That’s why it strikes so hard in Jerusalem. …

[When Netanyahu and Obama met on May 20, 2011, it was reported] that the prime minister was lecturing the president of the United States about Israel’s security, and the way we hear it, Bill Daley, the chief of staff of the president, is whispering, “Hey, who does this guy think he is, lecturing the president of the United States?” …

What if a newspaper writes, “Prime Minister Netanyahu Rebukes the President”? They put that in their headline, and then they create an atmosphere. Maybe there’s a newspaper interested in creating that atmosphere, and then you have to live with those results.

So it’s a very complicated visit, especially if you’re at the end of the day keeping in mind that the U.S. and Israel allies are facing a dangerous world and have to work together. If you want to keep that in mind, you’ve got to correct all of the either misimpressions or interpretations that have been given to your candid diplomacy.

Was there bad blood at the end of that?

I think there was a period where both sides needed to go in the corner and breathe, but at the same time everybody knows that the U.S. and Israel have to come back together again. Keep that in mind. Nobody is approaching this relationship or their interactions with the view that that’s it, we’re getting a divorce. That’s not in the cards. …

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

The link to these articles are as follows:

1) Michael Oren: Inside Obama-Netanyahu’s Relationship
2) Martin Indyk: Obama “Has Essentially Written Off Netanyahu”
3) Dore Gold: “You Can’t Try and Railroad Israel”

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

January 12, 2016: Weekly 5 minute update

January 12th, 2016

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) An examination of the history of the relationship between the Obama administration and Israel

When Michael Oren was named Israel’s ambassador to the United States in 2009, he set out to learn as much as he could about America’s new president, Barack Obama. A historian by training, Oren read Obama’s works, including his memoirs, and concluded that the new leader would pursue a new foreign policy approach, including: direct outreach to the Muslim world; a renewed effort to work with international institutions, such as the United Nations.; and a “recoiling from a dependence on American military power.

Oren presented his conclusions to the Israeli government. “Not all of them were easy to hear,” he recalls. “Not all of them were palatable.” In an interview with FRONTLINE, Oren, who now serves in the Israeli Knesset as a member of the centrist Kulanu Party, speaks about the issues that occupied his time as ambassador including the peace process with the Palestinians and the Israeli settlement policy.

[In your book, you write that] when you get the job, you do research to try to understand as much as you can about who Barack Obama is. … What do you discover, … and what do you tell Netanyahu about it?

I had come into the job as ambassador not as a career diplomat but as a historian, and I used a historian’s tool to try to understand the man who is now the leader of the most powerful nation on earth and Israel’s most important ally. …

It was my job as ambassador, basically to the degree that I could, to get into his head and see the world the way he saw it, so that we could know where he was going and whether we could adapt ourselves to this worldview. …

I had to look at the things that he himself had written, the books. … He had written a book shortly after his graduation from Harvard Law School. This was in the ’90s, before, apparently, he’s contemplating running for national office. The book, Dreams of My Father, is an incredibly candid book. It’s a window into someone’s soul. … I read it many times. I have a dog-eared copy of this book.

What I discovered there was a very interesting individual, a very complex individual, but a person who had a worldview. And I began to piece together that worldview and to make certain assumptions and conclusions, and then present them to the Israeli government. Not all of them were easy to hear. Not all of them were palatable.

One was that yes, Barack Obama was a transformative president, not only the fact that he was the first African American president, but he was there to change many aspects of American foreign policy. The most obvious one, the one that most directly affected Israel, was the outreach to the Muslim world. … The president referred to himself by his full name. He, in virtually every speech, beginning with the first inaugural address, referred to his Muslim family ties. His first trips abroad are to Turkey and to Egypt. His first foreign interview on TV is with Dubai Television. And the message is always the same: I am the bridge. A big part of my family are Muslims. Here is the bridge.

There’s a line in the Cairo speech of June 2009, which is an extraordinary line. He says, “I have known Islam on three continents before coming to the region where it was revealed,” which in itself is an extraordinary statement, citing it.

Why?

Why? Because first of all, it’s the first time, to my knowledge as a historian, that a president of the United States addresses the world adherents of one faith. … It’s the center of the al-Azhar Rectory, one of the great seminaries of the Muslim world, of Islam, over the centuries. And he’s making this address to world Muslims. So it’s an extraordinary event.

The address itself is twice as long as the Second Inaugural Address, very long speech. And there are many aspects of the speech which have direct impact on Israel, the most obvious of which is the condemnation of settlements. Linking Israel’s existence and justification to the Holocaust, which was a problem from Israel — it belies the Israeli narrative that Israel arose not out of the Holocaust, but out of the 3,000-year connection with this land. And [he] recognizes Iran’s right to peaceful nuclear energy, which was a significant departure from American policy. … So that was one aspect of the worldview.

The other aspect was that the United States would work with international institutions much more, a collegial approach to managing foreign policy. America wasn’t going to be the world’s policeman anymore. Some of those institutions, like the U.N., have proven to be quite inimical to Israel over the years. So that in itself was also a problem.

There was a recoiling from a dependence on American military power. The president had one statement which sort of stayed with me over the years. The statement was, “Whether we like it or not, America is the world’s leading military superpower,” which was a line that you probably couldn’t imagine John Kennedy saying, or even Bill Clinton, certainly not Ronald Reagan. That showed that there was a reticence there, a recoiling from that type of military power. It doesn’t mean he wasn’t going to use military power; he used it very effectively with drone warfare.

All of those conclusions had to be presented to the Israeli government. This is who we’re dealing with, to the best of my knowledge.

And the reaction?

I have one more point, if I might. … I was on sabbatical for an entire year in 2008 before becoming ambassador. It’s the first time I actually lived in an American neighborhood, and I was quite shocked. I talk about, in my book, about the Rip Van Winkle effect, of waking up after 25 years and seeing everything change. It was a very different America than the America I had left nearly 40 years ago, which was very much a WASP-dominated society. This was now a country with a non-white majority. There were no Protestants, no WASPs on the Supreme Court. Unwed mothers now outnumbered wed mothers. This was an interesting America, and it was an America that I saw that Obama was as much a symptom as a cause of the transformations in America.

And as early as 2009, shortly after taking office, one of the messages that I gave to the Israeli government is that we have to plan for a two-term president, because the transformations, I believed, were permanent. …

We’ve interviewed many people in the States who were there at the moment of creation of the Obama administration, and they’re in transformative mode. … They’re also very fixated on the peace process. They say to Obama not only the things that you’ve just outlined, that Obama will be different, [but] there will be this thing that will eventually be called the Obama Doctrine, that he’ll unclench the fists, theoretically, of the Arab world, that they’ll step back a little bit from Israel, in symbolic and other ways, and that they’ll push Netanyahu around a little bit to get him involved in the peace process. Are you aware of all of that kind of churn that’s going on inside the earliest days of the Obama administration?

I was. … From an ambassadorial perspective, it was irrelevant who was responsible for the initiatives. I personally thought — and not just personally; I think it was a general Israeli approach — that they were ill conceived; that the notion of publicly pressuring Israel on the settlement issue actually pushed the Palestinians further from the negotiating table than brought them closer to it, because in the Middle East, if you’re getting something for free, why go into a negotiation where you’re going to have to pay for it? That was sort of a constant conversation which I had, which other representatives of Israel had, with the administration. We understand you don’t like settlements. Settlements are controversial in Israel themselves. I have certain strong feelings about settlements. But let’s keep our feelings about settlements separate from the tactical question of how to get the Palestinians to the negotiating table and actually sit with us.

The fact of the matter is that there was a direct correlation between the amount of pressure put publicly on Israel and the settlements and the reluctance of the Palestinians to negotiate. And eventually they just walked away from the table.

When Prime Minister Netanyahu goes for that very first meeting in [May] 2009, you are with him.

I’m with him, but I’m not ambassador yet. I’m ambassador designate. … I attended that meeting. The interesting part about it, in the meeting, there was a separate — of course, there was always a one-on-one in any meeting, … and the one-on-ones between Netanyahu and Obama, without exception, went on at least twice as long as they were scheduled each time. They met, to the best of my recollection, about 12 times. They always went on longer.

And they always emerged, usually with a sense of goodwill, smiles on their faces, lots of pats on their backs. Usually we would read the next day, or in a couple of hours, in the newspaper, how badly it had gone. …

In that first meeting of May 2009, the group session was to talk about Gaza. Keep in mind, Israel had just completed Operation Cast Lead in the previous January, only days before the inauguration, by the way, which was a major consideration for Israel in ending the operation. We didn’t want to be fighting on the day that Barack Obama became the 44th president.

The question was how then to reconstruct Gaza, which had suffered extensive damage. Our problem was that there were 1,000 tunnels under the Egyptian border and that you could bring in concrete to rebuild buildings that had been damaged in the fighting, but Hamas would grab the concrete and use it to build bunkers and tunnels. And this became the discussion. …

But I think that even Netanyahu, from what I came to understand later about the meeting, was taken aback by the departure, by the very strong departure on American foreign policy.

In what sense?

To use an administration term, there was going to be a full-court press on the settlement issue, and the settlement and Jerusalem issue, which are going to be particularly difficult for the head of Likud. This is a party with a platform and a constituency on the two-state solution. Now Netanyahu, a month later, would deliver the Bar-Ilan speech, in which he accepted the two-state solution. But at the time, he was not yet prepared. He had not laid the groundwork yet. And in a different type of environment, in a different type of rapport, you say to the president of the United States: “Listen, I’m going to come out with this, but give me a little wiggle room here; give me a little latitude. Let me lay the groundwork for this. Don’t rush it.” But I don’t think he got that type of latitude. …

My general disposition as ambassador was to say, “Let’s try to be as flexible as possible, certainly on the peace issue, because eventually we’re going to have to dig in our heels on the Iran issue.” … Occasionally I was successful in persuading people back in Israel that this was the approach. But every time the prime minister made a major concession like the Bar-Ilan speech, or like the moratorium on the settlements, which went from November 2009 until September 2010, he didn’t get much credit for it, and this cost him substantially in terms of the support in his own party.

What we needed is what’s known in diplomacy as tailwind. We needed the president to come out and say very unequivocally: “This is a major move. This is a great contribution to the peace process. This took guts on the part of Netanyahu.” Couldn’t get those statements. And ultimately, that type of approach strengthened the hands of those who were against making those kind of concessions. …

… [The diplomat] Dennis Ross told us in an interview that they were extremely naïve about being transformative … and that Cairo, in many ways, is a manifestation of that. The decision not to stop in Israel: You’re over in the neighborhood; you’re not going to stop in Israel? What kind of signals do you want to send?

Not only they didn’t stop in Israel, he went to Buchenwald, which tended to fortify the case that Israel’s justification emerged from the Holocaust. Now I don’t know if this is too much inside ball, but that’s the Arab narrative. The Arab narrative is, Europeans killed European Jews, and they dumped the survivors in Palestine, and the Arabs have to pay for Europe’s crimes against Jews. Why should Arabs pay?

Now, that narrative was problematic. Why would you make peace with an illegitimate refugee state of Europeans? So even that, in terms of tactically the peace process, was a step backward. What you want to say to the Arab world, in which Obama, to his credit, eventually did in his November 2011 speech to the General Assembly of the U.N., he says: “Israel is not about the Holocaust. Israel is about a 3,000-year Jewish claim to the area.”

But at the time, he’s got some bad advice handed to him or something?

I think this was the most centralized American administration certainly since World War II. And I learned early on that the roads of decision making, virtually without exception, led to the Oval Office. And yes, the president might have gotten advice from [White House Chief of Staff] Rahm Emanuel, from [Secretary of State] Hillary Clinton. At the end of the day, the person who really decided was the president himself. And the president’s worldview — and I will keep on harping on that — all of these decisions were very much in keeping with the worldview.

And the worldview is?

The notion of linkage is practically doctrinal in the Obama administration. What does linkage mean? That if you solve the Arab-Israeli conflict, you will solve a whole series of other conflicts in the Middle East. …

So if you believe that the Arab-Israeli conflict is the core conflict, and the core of that conflict is what the administration calls the Israeli occupation and the settlements, then that leads you, obviously, to the conclusion that you have to force Israel to give up the settlements, to talk about a two-state solution, to stop building parts of Jerusalem. …

The Arab Spring happens, and Obama goes to the State Department in May and gives the speech that I think breaks what everybody says is the sort of cardinal rule. He doesn’t let Netanyahu, doesn’t let you know that they’re about to mention the ’67 borders, that it’s going to be a part of that.

On the contrary, I was informed that they would not mention it. I was in the White House the previous day.

So tell me the story.

… The pillars of the U.S.-Israel relationship, two of the pillars had always been no daylight, no surprises. Now, that doesn’t mean that these pillars weren’t at various times dodged. Israel in 1981 attacked the Iraqi nuclear reactor without telling the United States. Israel negotiated with the PLO in September 1993 without telling the United States, rather belatedly. But those examples are few and very far between. For the most part, these two principles held.

What is “no daylight”? No daylight was, we can have our differences, and they can be sometimes very deep differences over settlements over Jerusalem. But to the greatest degree possible, we’re going to try to keep them behind the scenes and work them out between us, which was very different than the Obama administration’s position was, from the first day, to take these disagreements and put them out front. Obama was quoted in a meeting with American Jewish leaders, saying, “I intend to put daylight between Israel and the United States.” It was a decision.

No surprises meant that if the United States was going to give a major policy statement on the Middle East that would impact Israel and its security, then Israel would have a chance to view that statement in advance and to submit its comments. That was the case, in 2002, with Bush and the roadmap. He gave it to Ari Sharon before he [went] public with it.

Israel had no advance warning of the Cairo speech. Complete shock. By that time, I had been almost two years in the office, and I had grown accustomed to the fact that I was not going to get any advance warning. But on the previous day, on May 18, 2011, I was in the White House, and I asked, “OK, what’s in the speech?” There was a lot of excitement around the speech. This was going to be the president’s major address about the Arab Spring, which had broken out five months earlier in Egypt.

I was just very curious. There were rumors floating around. I had long anticipated that the administration may say something about the ’67 borders, but I received assurance that it wasn’t going to be there. And roughly a quarter of the speech of May 19 was about the ’67 borders, and it became the headline. The headline in the New York Times was, “President Obama Endorses the ’67 Borders.” The rest of the speech, about the Arab Spring, went virtually unreported. …

Now, for Israel, this was a major development. I did a lot of press at the time, and it was difficult to explain why this was so earth-shattering. Everyone knew that ’67 borders were going to be the basis of the peace agreement. That’s what the conventional wisdom was.

In diplomacy, you work out a framework for negotiations. It’s called a terms of reference, TOR. And Israel and Secretary Clinton had worked out, laboriously, over many weeks, perhaps months of negotiations, the TOR. Now, I have this TOR more or less emblazoned on my soul, to this day, and it goes something like this: The United States believes that through good-faith negotiations, it can reconcile the Israeli goal of an independent Jewish state within secure and defensible borders and the Palestinian goal of an independent Palestinian state, based on the 1967 borders with mutually agreed swaps. And there sometimes was a little add about taking into account changes on the ground, which was a reference to settlement blocs. So what in the TOR had been a Palestinian goal all of a sudden moved over to an American goal, by the way, for the first time since 1967.

Now, the ’67 borders were very problematic from Israel’s stand of view. Our major highway between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem runs through the ’67 borders. The ’67 borders includes our holiest site, the Western Wall. It puts the Palestinian state’s borders within mortar range of Israel’s airport. Very problematic. …

So again, it pushed the Palestinians away from the table, but also created great problems for the prime minister, and it was a breach of trust. That was the true problem here, because peace, if you can achieve it, has got to be based on trust. It’s got to be based on mutual trust. We’re talking about the lives of our kids here. You’ve got to be able to be able to put your trust in somebody, and particularly in your best ally.

So it was quite a tense period. And Netanyahu, as it happens, comes the next day, May 20. … He was going to make a major address to AIPAC [American Israel Public Affairs Committee], and he was going to address a joint session of Congress.

… What do you think is going to happen?

I had never seen him like that coming out of the plane. You know, you come out of the plane, usually you land at Dulles or at Andrews Air Force Base, and you smile for the cameras. There was no smile. There was no wave. You can almost imagine the steam coming out of his ears. We proceeded to Blair House, where his team of advisers tried to calm it down, but he had things he wanted to say to the president. …

Does he ride in the car with you from the airport?

Yes.

So what’s he like in the car?

He’s angry. He’s angry. … And I understood it. Moreover, I was the one who had sent the report the previous day that the White House had said that he wasn’t going to be there. So, you know, I become the messenger here. And the events transpired very quickly then.

We have a good meeting in the White House. There is a one-on-one that characteristically goes on more than twice its scheduled time. The two leaders emerge. They have this talk. Netanyahu gives his about-10-minute speech, which he managed to memorize very quickly. He has that capability. And the remarks are addressed to the Palestinians. The Palestinians have to understand that Israel is the Jewish state. They have to understand that Israel has to have a prolonged military presence along the Jordan River to prevent any future Palestinian state from becoming Gaza or South Lebanon.

There are a number of things that the Palestinians have to understand. They understand that Palestinian refugees are going to come back to Palestine and not to Israel. Not particularly controversial. And then afterward, the prime minister and the president stroll on the South Lawn for about 20 minutes. I’m at a respectable ambassadorial distance, but they’re having a perfectly congenial talk. The president slaps the prime minister on the back, shakes his hand, says, “Goodbye, my friend.”

We go back to the Blair House thinking, OK, we’ve gotten by this. It was unpleasant, but we’ve managed to defuse the crisis. No sooner than we’re back that the headlines blare, for the first time in history, a foreign leader has lectured the president of the United States in the Oval Office — lectured — and precisely the type of showdown at least I had hoped, and others had hoped, to their credit, had hoped to avoid.

… So you are with a lot of other guys while they’re in there for a couple of hours talking to each other, the president and Netanyahu, or for an hour and a half?

Yes. … We’re in the Roosevelt Room.

And is [White House Chief of Staff] Bill Daley and all those guys around?

Mm-hmm, they are.

And you guys were all cordial but slightly anxious about what is actually happening behind closed doors?

We actually had a serious discussion about the content of the speech. And Secretary Clinton was there and made the case that major efforts had been made to change the tone of the speech, change the content of the speech. I think she mentioned that the word “Hamas” hadn’t appeared in the speech, and that we should take this with a greater sense of equanimity.

Because you guys had indicated that there was some electric tension in the air.

I had very open channels with people in the White House. Right after the speech, I called and said, “You understand this is going to be problematic, and you understand that this is going to evoke a very strong reaction from Jerusalem.”

And they said?

That it would be a mistake to react angrily to this. …

So there they are, the two guys. And we’ve all seen the stock footage. The prime minister is talking. Obama is doing this and looking like —

He’s actually listening very intently. … He was focused. I didn’t get the sense that he was angry. I didn’t get that sense strolling around the White House lawn afterward.

But Bill Daley was angry.

Bill Daley was very angry.

He was whispering, “Who the hell does this guy think he is?”

… He didn’t say this to me; he said it to somebody else on the staff that, “Is your boss in the habit of coming to people’s houses and lecturing them?” And I only heard that back at Blair House, by which time it was all over the news anyway. But the whole point of our preparation was to avoid that moment. And, you know, diplomacy is supposedly the art of the possible. Sometimes it’s the art of the unattainable, the unachievable. And this was that moment.

Now, it begs the question whether various parties had an interest in making that a crisis moment. Now that I can’t know, but I could never rule out the possibility. The same thing was true about the so-called snub.

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

The link to these articles are as follows:
1) Michael Oren: Inside Obama-Netanyahu’s Relationship

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

December 15, 2015: Weekly 5 minute update

December 14th, 2015

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) A summary of Hanukkah

In this week’s update, we share with you the history and background of Hanukkah. What applications are there for today? How is it prophetic of the end of days?

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

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

December 8, 2015: Weekly 5 minute update

December 9th, 2015

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) US Secretary of State, John Kerry’s speech at the Saban conference on the Israeli / Palestinian peace process

In this week’s update, we share with you excerpts from US Secretary of State, John Kerry’s recent speech at the Saban conference in Washington D.C. where he discussed the current situation of the Israeli / Palestinian peace process.

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

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

December 1, 2015: Weekly 5 minute update

December 1st, 2015

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 ramifications of Turkey shooting down a Russian military jet near the Turkey / Syria border

On November 24, Turkey shot down a Russian warplane near the Syrian border. Turkey said that the Russian jet had violated its airspace. Footage from a private Turkish TV station showed the warplane going down in flames with a long plume of smoke trailing behind it as it crashed in a wooded part of an area the TV said was known by Turks as “Turkmen Mountain”. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said the warplane crashed in a mountainous area in the northern countryside of the Syrian Latakia province. Footage from Turkey’s Anadolu Agency showed two pilots parachuting out of the jet before it crashed. The incident left one pilot dead; another was rescued. The Russian Ministry of Defense said that the body of the dead pilot has been flown back to Russia.

Turkey downs Russian Jet

Turkey said that the jet had flown more than a mile into Turkey for 17 seconds, despite being warned 10 times in five minutes while approaching to change direction. A senior Turkish official said: “The data we have is very clear. There were two planes approaching our border, we warned them as they were getting too close. Our findings show clearly that Turkish air space was violated multiple times. And they violated it knowingly.” Turkey President Tayyip Erdogan said: “Nobody should doubt that we made our best efforts to avoid this latest incident. But everyone should respect the right of Turkey to defend its borders.”

In contrast, the Russia’s defense ministry said that its Su-24 fighter jet that was downed in Syria was “for the entire duration of the flight exclusively over Syrian territory.” In fact, it released a video showing that its SU-24 fighter jet never entered Turkish airspace. Furthermore, Russian President Vladimir Putin said: “The American side, which leads the coalition that Turkey belongs to, knew about the location and time of our planes’ flights, and we were hit exactly there and at that time.”

However, Turkey’s military released its own audio recording of what it says was its warning to the Russian warplane. In one portion, a voice is heard saying: “This is Turkish Air Force speaking on guard. You are approaching Turkish airspace. Change your heading south immediately. Change your heading south.”

The people known as the Turkmen, a rebel group, sympathetic to Turkey who live near the Turkmen mountain claimed to have killed one of the Russian pilots who was trying to land safely on the ground after parachuting from the evacuated jet. The Turkmen minority who reside in northern Syria have strong ties to the Turkish government who wants to give them military protection. Turkish President Erdogan said: “Anyone who bombs that area attacks our brothers and sisters — the Turkmen.”

In retaliation, Russia began to bombard the mountainous area where the Turkmen live.  Russian warplanes carried out heavy raids in Syria’s northern Latakia province in the Jabal Akrad and Jabal Turkman regions. Furthermore, Syrian government forces, supported by the Russian air campaign, started a military ground operation in an area where there are about 50 Turkmen villages. Syria sent tanks that marched through the area including heavy firing from cannons. Russia provided cover from the air and fired missiles as far away as the Mediteraniean sea.

A Turkmen rebel leader said: “For us it cannot get any worse than this. We are under a very intense, heavy campaign from the Russians and the Syrian government.” As a result, the Russian wrath began to pour out upon the Muslim terrorists who were being aided by American provided Taw Missiles as well as their own tanks they captured from the Syrian government military.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said the Russian plane had been attacked when it was 1 km inside Syria and warned of “serious consequences” for what he termed a stab in the back administered by “the accomplices of terrorists”. He continued: “We will never tolerate such crimes like the one committed today.” Putin said: “We have not heard either an apology from Turkey’s top politicians, or proposals to compensate us for the damage, or a promise to punish the criminals. The impression is that the Turkish leadership is willfully driving the Russian-Turkish relations into a deadlock. We regret it,” he said.

In addition, Russia blamed Turkey for supporting ISIS and accused Turkey of buying oil from the Islamic State jihadist group, whose financing heavily relies on the sale of energy resources. Putin said that there was “no doubt” that oil from “terrorist-controlled” territory in Syria was making its way across the border into Turkey. “We see from the sky where these vehicles [carrying oil] are going,” Putin said. “They are going to Turkey day and night. These barrels are not only carrying oil but also the blood of our citizens because with this money terrorists buy weapons and ammunition and then organize bloody attacks,” he added.

At a joint press conference with Russian President Putin and French President Francois Hollande, Putin revealed that aerial surveillance shows “lines of oil tanker trucks, as far as the eye can see, taking oil across the border from Syria to Turkey.”  Putin went on to reveal “The trucks empty the oil in Turkey then return to Syria to refill.”  He described the line of trucks as “appearing to be a living pipeline” which operates almost 24 hours a day.  This selling of stolen oil results in over one million dollars per day in cash to ISIS, which funds the terror group. As a result, Putin said that ISIS oil smuggling into Turkey should become a high-priority target in order to cripple the terrorist group. Sales of oil from ISIS are in direct violation of international law.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said: “We think it highly cynical when some of the countries speak about their commitment to the corresponding United Nations Security Council resolutions and declare themselves members of anti-terrorist coalitions but in reality are playing a game where terrorists [meaning ISIS] are allocated the role of secret allies [of Turkey],” Lavrov stressed. “We have more and more questions about Turkey real plans and the degree of its readiness to exterminate terrorism, in particular in Syria, and its commitment to the normalization of the situation in Syria.”

As a result, a Russian defense ministry spokesman said: “Russian aviation continues to strike refining facilities in the territories controlled by the ISIS terrorist organization.” In the past few days, Russian aircraft has destroyed oil trucks, refineries, and oil storage facilities in the Syrian provinces of Deir ez-Zor and Raqqa. Finally, Russia said that it soon plans to launch operation ‘Total Destruction’ against ISIS in Syria using  fighter jets, bombers, submarines as well as warships deployed in the Mediterranean Sea.

In order to further harm ISIS, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that Russia is ready to coordinate practical steps to block the Turkish-Syrian border in cooperation with Syria. He said: “We are open for coordination of practical steps, certainly, in interaction with the Syrian government,” he said. “We are convinced that by blocking the border we will in many respects solve the tasks to eradicate terrorism on Syrian soil.”

Russia trying to cut off ISIS access to Turkey

Former NATO Supreme Allied Commander General Wesley Clark went on television and admitted that oil from ISIS is “probably going through Turkey”…

Asked whether he agreed with Vladimir Putin that Turkey was aiding ISIS, Clark responded, “All along there’s always been the idea that Turkey was supporting ISIS in some way,” before going on to accuse Ankara of funneling ISIS terrorists through Turkey and buying ISIS’ stolen oil in the black market.

Someone’s buying that oil that ISIS is selling, it’s going through somewhere, it looks to me like it’s probably going through Turkey,” said Clark, before also going on to accuse Putin of supporting terrorists through his allegiance with Bashar Al-Assad.

US State Department spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau said that the Russian warplane was shot down in Turkey airspace. US President Barack Obama said that Turkey has a right to defend its airspace and blamed Russia for supporting the Assad government in Syria. Obama said: “This points to an ongoing problem with the Russian operations. They are operating very close to a Turkish border and they are going after moderate opposition that are supported by not only Turkey but a wide range of countries.”

Turkey President Erdogan said: “If the same violation occurs today then Turkey would react in the same way. The country which violates another should question itself and take necessary action to prevent a repetition of the incident.” Because Turkey gave no apology for downing the Russian jet, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed into law sweeping economic sanctions against Turkey. The sanctions bill targets Turkey’s tourism industry, cancels visa-free travel between the two countries, bans many Russian companies from hiring Turkish citizens and blocks imports of some Turkish goods. This includes stopping importing vegetables listing Israel as a possible alternative. “Turkish vegetables account for 20 percent of the total Russian imports of vegetables. Import of vegetables, tomatoes in the first place, will be substituted with those from Iran, Morocco, Israel, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan,” a spokesman said.

In addition, the Russian Finance Minister said the sanctions would also freeze some prestige projects between the two countries, including a joint venture to build Turkey’s first nuclear power plant and a Russian-Turkish gas pipeline called Turkstream. Putin signed the gas deal with Turkey in December after the European Union blocked the pipeline. Furthermore, Russia decided to cut all military cooperation with Turkey. A Russian Defense Ministry spokesman said: “Today, in accordance with a previously made decision, all cooperation channels have been cut between the Russian Defense Ministry and the Turkish Armed Forces.”

The Russian Defense Minister said that Russia would deploy S-400 defense missile systems to its Syrian air base near Latakia, on Syria’s Mediterranean coast. The deployment of the highly advanced Russian S-400 anti-air missiles combined with Russia electronic jamming and other electronic warfare equipment has effectively transformed most of Syria into a no-fly zone under Russian control. The S-400 uses multiple missile variants to shoot down stealth aircraft, UAVs, cruise missiles and sub-strategic ballistic missiles. The S-400 can engage up to 36 targets simultaneously. There range covers at least three-quarters of Syrian territory, a huge part of Turkey, all of Lebanon, Cyprus and half of Israel. The missiles have a range of 250 kilometers (155 miles). The Turkish border is less than 30 miles away.

Turkey is responding to Russia by initiating a defacto naval blockade solely of Russian Naval Military Vessels between the Black Sea and the Mediterranean Sea. In order to travel from one sea to the other, vessels must transit the Strait of Istanbul which has two components: The Dardanelles and the Bosporus.  The Dardanelles is a narrow waterway between the Mediterranean and the Sea of Marmora. The Bosporus is another narrow waterway between the Sea of Marmora and the Black Sea.

Both the Dardanelles and the Bosporus are under the military control of Turkey and the use of those waterways is governed very strictly by a Treaty known as “The 1936 Montreux Convention.” In that Treaty, Turkey must allow merchant (cargo) ships from every nation to pass to and from while engaged in commerce.  Military vessels however, are subject to a slightly different standard.  In the Treaty, military vessels from nations bordering the Black Sea are unrestricted as to size or weight, but non-Black Sea nations are limited in the weight of their vessels.  This has the effect of preventing aircraft carriers from non-Black Sea nations from entering the Black Sea.

Russia says that Turkey is not permitted to block the transit of other nations’ military vessels unless Turkey is “threatened with aggression” or “at war.”  Despite this Treaty restriction, Turkish newspapers have publicly discussing the possibility that Turkey would “close the throat” of Russian naval access to the Dardanelles and to the Bosporus. According to the AIS tracking system for the movement of maritime vessels, only Turkish vessels are moving along the Bosphorus, and in the Dardanelles there is no movement of any shipping at all. At the same time, both from the Black Sea, and from the Mediterranean Sea, there is a small cluster of ships under the Russian flag, just sitting and waiting.

Turkey Blockading Russia in the Black Sea

Because of all of this, Russia is preparing for a greater war with NATO which could be nuclear as Russia announced that by the end of December, it will deploy the latest version of its giant command and control aircraft designated for use during nuclear war or national disasters. The flying command center will be able to coordinate the worldwide operations of its ground, naval, air and missile forces, including nuclear weapons, as well as the country’s satellites. Russian military sources said that the Ilyushin-80 jet would be used when the command infrastructure is disrupted due to a nuclear war, or when ground communication systems are absent. The sources said the plane will be permanently staffed with senior generals, operational commanders and technicians.

Meanwhile, Israel said that will not take action against Russian fighter jets that encroach into its air space. A senior Israeli military figure said: “Russia is not an enemy,” he said. “We are trying to avoid tension with the Russians. This region is made up of common boundaries, and there are a lot of players on the ground and in the air,” the official said. “If a Russian plane crosses the aerial boundary, we will not launch a missile and we won’t down it.”

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

The link to these articles are as follows:
1) Turkey downs Russian warplane near Syria border, Putin warns of ‘serious consequences’
2) Turkey and Russia trade barbs as tensions mount over downed jet
3) US knew flight path of plane downed by Turkey: Putin
4) Body of downed Russian pilot back in Russia
5) Heavy Russia raids in Syria area where plane downed
6) ‘Commercial scale’ oil smuggling into Turkey becomes priority target of anti-ISIS strikes
7) Russia ready to coordinate steps to block Turkish-Syrian border — FM
8) Russia to Launch ‘Total Destruction’ Operations against ISIL in Syria
9) Putin signs sweeping economic sanctions against Turkey
10) Russia: No Turkish imports, we will import from Israel
11) Russia Cuts All Military Ties With Turkey
12) Obama: Turkey has the right to defend itself and its airspace
13) Russian S-400 missiles turn most of Syria into no-fly zone, halt US air strikes
14) Tensions rise as Russia says it’s deploying anti-aircraft missiles to Syria
15) Turkey Blockading Russia from Dardanelles; Black Sea Fleet completely cut off
16) Turkey Sends Two Submarines to Shadow Russian Missile Cruiser in Mediterranean
17) New generation ‘doomsday’ airborne command post to enter service in Russia
18) Moscow to deploy latest command plane for disasters, nuclear war
19) ‘Israel won’t down a Russian warplane if it enters its air space’

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

November 24, 2015: Weekly 5 minute update

November 23rd, 2015

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) An example of media bias against Israel

In this week’s update, we share with you an example of media bias against Israel wherein British media does an interview with the head of the religious Zionist political party, Jewish Home, Naftali Bennett. In the interview, the interviewer, Tim Sabastian, is persistent in trying to portray those who love the land of Israel and the city of Jerusalem as taking extremist positions regarding the Israeli / Palestinian conflict.

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

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

November 17, 2015: Weekly 5 minute update

November 13th, 2015

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) An examination of the European Union decision to label products made from the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights differently than products made in the rest of Israel

At a meeting in Brussels on November 11 an EU executive said that the European Commissioner “adopted this morning the interpretative notice on indication of origin of goods from the territories occupied by Israel since June 1967.” The EU holds that all territory over the pre-1967 lines, including east Jerusalem, the Golan Heights and the West Bank are not part of Israel and therefore its products cannot be labeled as “made in Israel.”

The detailed text on the European Union labeling of products made from the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights contains the following guidelines:

1. The European Union, in line with international law, does not recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the territories occupied by Israel since June 1967, namely the Golan Heights, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and does not consider them to be part of Israel’s territory, irrespective of their legal status under domestic Israeli law. The Union has made it clear that it will not recognize any changes to pre-1967 borders other than those agreed by the parties to the Middle East Peace Process (MEPP).

2. The application of existing Union legislation on indication of origin of products to products originating in Israeli-occupied territories has been the subject of notices or guidance adopted by the relevant authorities of several Member States. There is indeed a demand for clarity from consumers, economic operators and national authorities about existing Union legislation on origin information of products from Israeli-occupied territories. The aim is also to ensure the respect of Union positions and commitments in conformity with international law on the non-recognition by the Union of Israel’s sovereignty over the territories occupied by Israel since June 1967.

3. While this Notice reflects the Commission’s understanding of the relevant Union legislation, enforcement of the relevant rules remains the primary responsibility of Member States. According to the case-law, while the choice of penalties remains within their discretion, Member States must ensure that penalties for infringements of provisions of Union law are effective, proportionate and dissuasive.

5. When the indication of origin of the product in question is explicitly required by the relevant provisions of Union law, it must be correct and not misleading for the consumer.

7. Since the Golan Heights and the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) are not part of the Israeli territory according to international law, the indication ‘product from Israel’ is considered to be incorrect and misleading in the sense of the referenced legislation.

10. For products from the West Bank or the Golan Heights that originate from settlements, an indication limited to ‘product from the Golan Heights’ or ‘product from the West Bank’ would not be acceptable. Even if they would designate the wider area or territory from which the product originates, the omission of the additional geographical information that the product comes from Israeli settlements would mislead the consumer as to the true origin of the product. In such cases the expression ‘Israeli settlement’ or equivalent needs to be added, in brackets, for example. Therefore, expressions such as ‘product from the Golan Heights (Israeli settlement)’ or ‘product from the West Bank (Israeli settlement)’ could be used.

Since the EU labeling issue was first raised in 2012, the EU has downplayed the labeling guidelines as a technical matter and  independent of any political considerations. It has explained that it is not a boycott of Israel but rather a measure design to inform the consumer that the products were not made in Israel. Lars Faaborg-Andersen, the EU ambassador to Israel, said that the EU decision was a “technical matter” aimed at clarifying previous legislation on the matter. He said: “This is a small technical addition to something that has existed for a very long time, the trade facilitation between products coming from Israel proper, within its 1967 lines, and products coming from beyond the 1967 borders, but I want to emphasize strongly that this is not a boycott.” He further added: “The EU does not recognize lands captured in 1967, including Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem, as Israeli territory. “This is something that also happens to be the view of 99 percent of the international community,” he said.

The EU had delayed the publication of these labeling guidelines in 2013 at the request of the US, which at the time was brokering a nine-month negotiation process between Israel and the Palestinians. That process failed in April 2014 and no new initiatives have replaced it. In the absence of any prospect of renewed negotiations, the EU decided to press forward with its labeling decision.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry responded to the EU announcement by summoning EU Ambassador Lars Faaborg-Anderson for a harsh rebuke. The Foreign Ministry warned the plan could affect ties between the EU and Israel saying, “Israel condemns the decision of the European Union to label Israeli goods originating over the ’67 lines. We regret that the EU chose for political reasons to take an unusual and discriminatory step which is drawn from the realm of boycotts, just as Israel is facing a wave of terror directed at all citizens,” the statement read. “The claim that this is a technical step is a cynical, baseless claim. We regret that the EU took this politically motivated and unusual and discriminatory step that it learned from the world of boycotts,” the Foreign Ministry said.

In a sign of further displeasure with the EU labeling decision, Israel’s deputy foreign minister, Tzipi Hotovely, said that Israel will suspend a series of ongoing meetings with the European Union to protest the EU’s decision to begin labeling exports from West Bank settlements. In doing so, she said that Israel was sending a “very strong message” of displeasure. “We say you can’t be involved in what is going on in the Middle East while you are taking such an extreme step of labeling products… boycotting us,” she said. In addition, Israel Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nachshon said that Israel would suspend a series of regular dialogues with the EU on political issues in the Middle East, human rights and international organizations.

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded to the European Union decision by saying that the EU should be “ashamed of itself” for announcing a decision to impose labeling guidelines on Israeli products manufactured over the 1967 borders. This move is “hypocritical and applies double standards, targeting Israel when there are over 200 other conflicts around the world,” Netanyahu said. “The EU has decided to label only Israel, and we are not prepared to accept the fact that Europe is labeling the side that is being attacked by terrorism,” he said. “The Israeli economy is strong and will withstand this [decision]. Those who will be harmed will actually be Palestinian workers in Israeli factories [over the 1967 borders]. The European Union should be ashamed of itself,” Netanyahu continued.

Israel Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely, who traveled to Europe last month in an attempt to prevent the move said: “Labeling products is a boycott,” she declared. “Europe has today taken a discriminatory and grave step.” Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked said the move unfairly singles out Israel, describing the decision as “anti-Israel and anti-Jewish. European hypocrisy and hatred of Israel has crossed every line,” she said.

Israel Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon called the move “a shameful step giving a prize to terrorism and the people behind it. Even if this or that European has a dispute with the State of Israel regarding the status of the territory and its future, the decision to label products is pure hypocrisy,” he said.

Former Israel foreign minister Avigdor Liberman charged Europe with anti-Semitism, comparing the decision with the continent’s darkest days. “Every time that Europe labels Jews, its a sign that anti-Semitism, insanity and hypocrisy has taken over and that they are leading the entire free world to a catastrophe,” he said.

Israel opposition leader Isaac Herzog from the dovish Zionist Union camp called the decision “dangerous and detrimental” and said it would damage peace efforts. “This decision is based on hatred, falsehood and ignorance, devoid of any moral value. For us, the Jewish people, this is no more than a piece of paper, and we must treat it as such,” he said.

Yesh Atid chairman, Yair Lapid, who is not a part of the current Israeli government coalition said: “The European Union is hiding behind legal jargon and trying to paint a picture that this is a legal matter,” Lapid said. “This is incorrect. It’s a political issue. They are capitulating to the worst elements of jihad. The labeling of settlement products is a direct continuation of the boycott movement against Israel, which is anti-Semitic and misguided,” he said.

Lapid discussed the issue in an interview with CNN.

Avi Ro’eh, who heads the Council of Jewish Communities in the West Bank, wrote a letter to the European Union’s foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini saying: “At a time when Palestinian terrorism is running high across Israel, the EU has decided to boycott the industrial areas in the West Bank which are islands of peace between Israelis and Palestinians. Businesses like these, in which Arabs and Jews work together, should be used as the gold standard for peace, not boycotted. If the EU wants to see real coexistence, they should come and visit the West Bank then it would be clear they are labeling the wrong people,” Ro’eh said.

At a meeting in Athens, the Conference of European Rabbis said that the EU’s move smacked of anti-Semitism. Chief Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt said: “The EU’s decision to label products imported from the settlements and from the Golan Heights in Israel is a disgrace and is characterized by hatred of Israel.”

The research institute NGO Monitor, Itai Reuveni, a senior researcher at NGO Monitor’s Israel Desk, explained the implications of the EU decision to label Jewish products from the West Bank, Eastern Jerusalem and the Golan Heights. He said that this step is part of a well-planned European scheme to boycott all of Israel based on an analysis of the publications put out by those groups leading the boycott movement.

Quoting the EU Ambassador to Israel who claimed the step is merely technical and not part of a general boycott, Reuveni said that “if he really means it, that contradicts the declarations of the organizations who advanced the labeling; these are organizations who receive European funding. Their goal is not technical labeling, but rather (it is) the first stage in a layered plan that ends with a general boycott on those who do business with Israel. To claim this is just labeling for transparency is a sin against reality. The labeling is meant to do something with it.”

The researcher referenced the comments of organizations who call for a general boycott against Israel and who pressured Europe, revealing the stages in their plan, beginning with labeling products so as to boycott those coming from beyond the 1967 borders and then identifying companies with any sort of business connections over the 1967 borders followed by pulling all investments from Israel. “They say it clearly,” he remarked, noting that when he visited the European Parliament he saw on the tables of parliament members reports arguing the importance of boycotting Israel.

In addition, Reuveni pointed out that the labeling only targets Israel despite the fact that there are numerous other areas in the world with disputed territory that are not labeled or boycotted at all. One example of the discrimination against Israel is Western Sahara, which Morocco is occupying while exporting a large amount of fish products to the EU. Aside from Western Sahara, Reuveni brought up the example of northern Cyprus, Tibet and other locations classified as disputed territories, and where the Europeans continue business as usual with the nations in power without even raising the possibility of a boycott or labeling.

The Palestine Liberation Organization, meanwhile, welcomed the EU decision as a positive development but said it did not go far enough. The PLO negotiations department said that the “EU labeling of settlement products is a step in the right direction but insufficient.” PLO secretary-general Saeb Erekat called it a “significant move toward a total boycott of Israeli settlements which are built illegally on occupied Palestinian lands.

The Obama administration supported the EU labeling guidelines saying that it doesn’t consider a new European Union rule outlawing “Made in Israel” tags on goods from the West Bank as a boycott of the Jewish state, only a technical guideline for consumers. However, the U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner said before the EU announcement that the move “shouldn’t come as a surprise” as Israel continues to expand settlements. “This underscores the urgent need for Israel to change its policies with regard to settlements,” he said.

The economic impact is likely to be minimal. While the EU is Israel’s largest trade partner, settlement products account for less than 2 percent of Israel’s $14 billion dollars in exports to Europe each year. However, the move is highly symbolic.

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

The link to these articles are as follows:

1) READ: Full European Union labeling guidelines
2) EU envoy insists settlement labeling purely ‘technical’
3) Israel denounces EU move to label settlement products
4) Israel: EU decision to label settlement products may harm ties with Brussels
5) Israel suspends meetings with EU over settlement labeling
6) PM: EU ‘should be ashamed of itself’ for settlement labeling
7) Lapid to German TV: EU surrenders to jihad by labeling settlement products
8) WATCH: Yair Lapid is interviewed by CNN over EU labeling guidelines
9) European rabbis condemn Brussels’ labeling of settlement goods
10) EU labeling ‘just the first stage in total boycott of Israel’
11) PLO celebrates EU labeling but ‘it isn’t enough
12) US OK with new EU labeling rule for Israeli settlement goods

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

November 10, 2015: Weekly 5 minute update

November 9th, 2015

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) An examination of the BDS movement against Israel as it relates to the efforts by the EU to label Israeli goods made in the West Bank

The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement (BDS Movement) is a global anti-Israel campaign attempting to increase economic and political pressure on Israel to achieve the political goals of the Palestinians regarding the Israel / Palestinian conflict. The campaign was started on 9 July, 2005 by 171 Palestinian non-governmental organizations in support of the Palestinian cause for boycott, divestment and international sanctions against Israel. The BDS campaign called for “various forms of boycott against Israel until Israel meets its obligations under international law.”

In response t0 the BDS movement, Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that these efforts will not achieve their aims. He said: “First of all, they cause the Palestinians to become entrenched behind their obstinate positions and push peace farther away, and secondly, no pressure will cause me to give up Israeli vital interests, first and foremost the security of Israeli citizens.”

As a form of an initial boycott against Israel, in April, the foreign ministers from 16 out of 28 European Union countries sent a letter to EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini asking her to push forward the process of labeling goods produced in Israeli settlements that are sold in grocery chains across the continent. Signing the letter were the foreign ministers of France, Britain, Spain, Italy, Belgium, Sweden, Malta, Austria, Ireland, Portugal, Slovenia, Hungary, Finland, Denmark, The Netherlands and Luxembourg.

In the letter, they said: “[The] continued expansion of Israeli illegal settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and other territories occupied by Israel since 1967 threatens the prospect of a just and final peace agreement.” The German Foreign Minister was the only one of the five major European foreign ministers not to sign the letter. Germany has dissented from the initiative to mark settlement products in the European market, in great part due to its historic and symbolic relationship with Israel. Germany’s ability to prevent a decision on the matter is limited but it has clarified that it opposes the step and will be the last country in Europe to implement such a process.

European Union Ambassador to Israel Lars Faaborg-Andersen said that this policy is the by product of “the EU position that we do not recognize Israeli authority in the West Bank. It is not part of Israel. It is not part of what we understand to be Israel’s international recognized borders.”

The effort to advance EU guidelines for labeling settlement products across the continent began several years ago. In April 2013, the foreign ministers of 13 EU countries sent a similar letter to Mogherini’s predecessor, Catherine Ashton. She began pushing the initiative forward, but put it on hold in the summer of 2013 at the request of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry who was trying to restart Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

European and Israeli diplomats said that in private discussions between EU states that took place before the March Israeli elections that many of the countries representatives said that if Netanyahu was reelected and forms a right-wing government, they will have no choice but to impose sanctions on settlement products and take other steps to prevent Israel from crossing “red lines” that would make a two-state solution impossible.

The actions considered “red lines” by the Europeans are building in the E1 area between the settlement of Ma’aleh Adumim and Jerusalem, construction in the Givat Hamatos and Har Homa neighborhoods of Jerusalem, both of which are beyond the Green Line. The EU believes Israeli construction in those areas would jeopardize the possibility of creating a contiguous Palestinian state and would not enable Jerusalem to serve as the capital of both states.

In July, the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) published a report claiming that the EU is in violation of its own laws by not differentiating more actively away from companies and institutions that operate in “occupied Palestinian land.” The report cites as a legal basis the European Commission guidelines from 2013 in which it states that the EU and member-state-funded lending cannot be provided to Israeli entities operating in the West Bank. The ECFR includes East Jerusalem as well as the West Bank as occupied territory.

According to the report by ECFR, the main purpose of the new law is to push for a larger separation between the EU and any company or person associated with the West Bank. The ECFR seeks to force Israel to reevaluate its relationship with the EU and to push Israel to adopt a Palestinian state. Additionally, the EU and its member states have been heavily funding NGO’s whose primary aim is to internationally delegitimize Israel. According to Israeli Foreign Ministry estimates, these NGO’s, many of whom are located in Israel as well as in the West Bank receive between 100-200 million Euros annually.

Deputy Foreign Minister Tzippi Hotovely (Likud) recently traveled to meet foreign ministers from Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Germany, Norway, Spain and the United Kingdom. She demanded that they take a closer look at the spending that their countries are doing to prevent these funds from being transferred to NGO’s that Israel has classified as anti-Semitic. According to Hotovely, the financial assistance to anti-Israel NGO’s “support boycotts against Israel, blacken its face around the world, accuse it of ethnic cleansing, apartheid, and war crimes; deprive the Jewish people of their right to self-determination, call to prosecute Israel in the International Criminal Court at The Hague, and negate the right of return”.

In response, the European Union agreed to push through a new law labeling products made in the West Bank in a move that has greatly angered Israel and was seen as a major win for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. EU diplomats have long said that labeling products is only the first step in financial actions that will be taken against Israel’s presence in the West Bank. When approved, the new proposal will create financial hardships for Israelis who have dealings with the EU or EU banks in the areas of banking, loans and mortgages, tax exemption status, visas for citizens of Israel who live in the West Bank, qualifications earned in academic institutions such as Ariel University, and the tax-exempt status of European charities that deal with Israeli companies or organizations that have a presence in the West Bank.

In September, the European Parliament passed a resolution that called on the EU to play a greater role in the Mideast diplomatic process and stated that the parliament “welcomes” the EU’s commitment that all agreements with Israel “must unequivocally and explicitly indicate that they don’t apply to the territories occupied by Israel in 1967,” and encourages EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini to “take the lead” on “completing the work on EU-wide guidelines on the labeling of Israeli settlement produce.” Furthermore, the resolution stated that “preserving the viability of the two-state solution through concrete action and ensuring full respect for the rights of civilians on both sides must be an immediate priority for the EU and the international community.”

Furthermore, European parliamentarians called on Mogherini and EU Special Representative Fernando Gentilini to promote a two-state solution within the framework of the Arab Peace Initiative, and said individual member nations needed to play a greater political role in the peace process. The 2002 Arab Peace Initiative calls for an Israeli withdrawal from the Palestinian territories in exchange for full normalization of ties between Israel and the Arab world.

Israel Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, called the resolution “unjust,” and implied that it echoed decisions taken during the German Nazi era. He said: “It is simply a distortion of justice and of logic and I think that it also hurts peace; it does not advance peace. The root of the conflict with the Palestinians is not the territories and the root of the conflict is not the settlements. We have historical memory of what happened when Europe labelled Jewish products.”

The Israel Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nachshon lashed out against the EU in a scathing response to the EU action, saying, “The State of Israel takes the parliament’s decision seriously, in particular the call for labeling products. The process of labeling is discriminatory and reeks of boycott. He added: “Under the cover of a technical move, this is an attempt to impose a diplomatic solution instead of encouraging the Palestinians to return to negotiations,” he said. “Europe acts toward Israel with sanctimonious hypocrisy while it would never consider proposing a similar solution to northern Cyprus or the Western Sahara.”

Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely said it was necessary to “call the child by it’s name,” and that “labeling products is a boycott.” She added: “Israel will not allow any body to discriminate between products made by Israeli citizens and the territory of the state of Israel,” she said. “Efforts to move forward any [diplomatic] agreement by unilateral moves, especially labeling products, will fail and lead nowhere,” she said. Former Israel Foreign Minister, Avigdor Liberman responded by sayin that the European Union might as well label West Bank settlement products with “yellow stars.” As part of their initial decrees against the Jews, the German Nazis forced them to wear yellow stars. Yesh Atid party head Yair Lapid spoke with the EU’s foreign policy chief Frederica Mogherini and asked her not to move forward with the matter because “This is a de-facto call to boycott Israel,” he said.

After the EU decision, Netanyahu went to England. He impressed upon British Prime Minister David Cameron that efforts in Europe to restrict trade with the Jewish state could cost the continent access to Israeli tech and strategic influence in the region. He said: “The future belongs to those who innovate. Britain and Israel are two great centers of technology. Israel is a global hub of innovation especially in cyber security. And I think that if we pull our resources together we can offer a better future and a greater prosperity.” In addition, Netanyahu stressed that Indian and Chinese investment in Israel could surpass Europe’s in the future especially amid increasing efforts in Europe to limit business between its companies and Jewish settlement-related companies.

In late September, a senior European Union official  said that labeling of products manufactured in Israeli settlements in the West Bank would become effective October 1. According to the official, the EU was set to finalize by mid-October remaining legal and technical issues regarding the settlement labeling, such as how exactly to mark the products and how to execute the process. The official added that the EU will consider further punitive measures if the Israeli government announces plans for more construction beyond the Green Line in east Jerusalem and the West Bank. “If this is the case, we will continue with moves against settlement expansion, and the marking of products will just be the beginning,” he said. However, in November, the EU announced that they would publish the guidelines that would require the labeling of consumer goods produced in the Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

For the EU, the labeling of Israeli settlement goods is political. It is meant to put pressure on Israel to support the creation of a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital. It will not lead to great economic harm to Israel as exports from the settlements to the EU make for less than one percent of Israel’s total exports to the EU.

Ohad Cohen, who heads the foreign trade section in the Israeli Ministry of Economy said that efforts are underway to find new markets for Israeli goods, besides Europe and the United States. He said: “Israel is trying to develop markets in Asia and Latin America, to give those Israeli exporters who could run into difficulties while exporting to the European Union new possibilities.”

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

The link to these articles are as follows:

1) Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions
2) Boycott of Israel ‘amoral, unjustified,’ Netanyahu says
3) EU Votes to Label Goods Made in Judea & Samaria
4) EU Considers Sanctioning Israeli Banks
5) Labeling settlement products gets further push as European Parliament backs move
6) Liberman likens EU to Nazis in light of reported plan to label settlement products
7) PM: EU vote to label Israel settlement products echoes Nazi era
8) Report: Netanyahu Tells UK That Boycotting Israel Would Be EU’s Loss
9) EU official: Labeling of settlement goods to begin in October
10) After EU labeling of West Bank goods, paper proposes banking steps on Israel
11) EU code on Israel settler exports expected by December
12) European FMs Urge Policy Chief: Label West Bank Settlement Products
13) Israel squirms over EU’s change in labeling products from West Bank
14) EU plans to label West Bank products proceeding

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