You may view the 5 minute update this week via audio:
1) Listen to the audio
In this week’s 5 minute update, we focused on:
1) The current situation with the Israel / Palestinian peace process
On December 17, the Palestinians submitted a resolution to the UN Security Council to recognize a Palestinian state based upon 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital. The major elements of the resolution is as follows:
Reiterating its vision of a region where two democratic states, Israel and Palestine, live side by side in peace within secure and recognized borders,
Reaffirming the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination
Noting with appreciation the efforts of the United States in 2013/14 to facilitate and advance negotiations between the parties aimed at achieving a final peace settlement,
Aware of its responsibilities to help secure a long-term solution to the conflict
1. Affirms the urgent need to attain, no later than 12 months after the adoption of this resolution, a just, lasting and comprehensive peaceful solution that brings an end to the Israeli occupation since 1967 and fulfills the vision of two independent, democratic and prosperous states, Israel and a sovereign, contiguous and viable State of Palestine living side by side in peace and security within mutually and internationally recognized borders;
2. Decides that the negotiated solution will be based on the following parameters:
– borders based on 4 June 1967 lines with mutually agreed, limited, equivalent land swaps;
– security arrangements, including through a third-party presence, that guarantee and respect the sovereignty of a State of Palestine, including through a full and phased withdrawal of Israeli security forces which will end the occupation that began in 1967 over an agreed transition period in a reasonable timeframe, not to exceed the end of 2017, and that ensure the security of both Israel and Palestine through effective border security and by preventing the resurgence of terrorism and effectively addressing security threats, including emerging and vital threats in the region.
– A just and agreed solution to the Palestine refugee question on the basis of Arab Peace Initiative, international law and relevant United Nations resolutions, including resolution 194 (III);
– Jerusalem as the shared capital of the two States which fulfills the legitimate aspirations of both parties and protects freedom of worship;
– an agreed settlement of other outstanding issues, including water;
3. Recognizes that the final status agreement shall put an end to the occupation and an end to all claims and lead to immediate mutual recognition;
4. Affirms that the definition of a plan and schedule for implementing the security arrangements shall be placed at the center of the negotiations within the framework established by this resolution;
5. Looks forward to welcoming Palestine as a full Member State of the United Nations within the timeframe defined in the present resolution;
6. Urges both parties to engage seriously in the work of building trust and to act together in the pursuit of peace by negotiating in good faith and refraining from all acts of incitement and provocative acts or statements, and also calls upon all States and international organizations to support the parties in confidence-building measures and to contribute to an atmosphere conducive to negotiations;
7. Calls upon all parties to abide by their obligations under international humanitarian law, including the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War of 12 August 1949;
8. Encourages concurrent efforts to achieve a comprehensive peace in the region, which would unlock the full potential of neighborly relations in the Middle East and reaffirms in this regard the importance of the full implementation of the Arab Peace Initiative;
9. Calls for a renewed negotiation framework that ensures the close involvement, alongside the parties, of major stakeholders to help the parties reach an agreement within the established timeframe and implement all aspects of the final status, including through the provision of political support as well as tangible support for post-conflict and peace-building arrangements, and welcomes the proposition to hold an international conference that would launch the negotiations;
10. Calls upon both parties to abstain from any unilateral and illegal actions, including settlement activities, that could undermine the viability of a two-State solution on the basis of the parameters defined in this resolution;
11. Calls for immediate efforts to redress the unsustainable situation in the Gaza Strip, including through the provision of expanded humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian civilian population via the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East and other United Nations agencies and through serious efforts to address the underlying issues of the crisis, including consolidation of the ceasefire between the parties;
12. Requests the Secretary-General to report on the implementation of this resolution every three months
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said he wants to avoid a confrontation with the United States who have said that they would veto the resolution by saying that the Palestinians were open to negotiations on the wording of the text. Abbas said that the resolution “comes in the context of our political battle to liberate the land and end the occupation of the Palestinian state. “We will continue in our consultations with the brothers and friends through deliberations, which will take place in the United Nations,” he said. Diplomats say negotiations on the text before a UN Security Council vote could take days or weeks. Jordan’s UN envoy Dina Kawar said she hoped the council could reach a unanimous decision on the resolution.
Palestinian envoy Riyad Mansour indicated he would not press for a quick vote on the text to allow for more discussion, a move seen as opening the door to possible US engagement at the United Nations on the initiative. “We will continue negotiating with all of them and with the Americans if they are ready and willing so that we perhaps can succeed in having something adopted by the Security Council to open a serious door to peace,” Mansour said.
Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said that he expects a vote on the Palestinian draft resolution before the end of 2014. Erekat said that the PA has made several amendments to the draft submitted last week and that the vote would take place “very soon” at any time before the end of 2014. Erekat’s comments come two days after diplomatic sources estimated that a UN Security Council vote on the Palestinian resolution was likely to be postponed. According to these sources, the PA wants to postpone the vote on the resolution because it realized that its current wording is unacceptable to countries such as France and Luxembourg, two countries that the PA had hoped would support the resolution.
Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the a UN Security Council vote in favor of the Palestinian resolution would result in Hamas taking over the West Bank. Netanyahu said: “Abbas thinks that by taking unilateral steps at the United Nations that he threatens Israel. He doesn’t understand that this would result in Hamas taking over the West Bank. Israel will never allow this and will never accept unilateral diktats. We will always protect our security.”
Meanwhile, Hamas spokesman, Sami Abu Zuhri, called on the Palestinian Authority to withdraw the UN resolution, saying it “doesn’t represent consensus of the Palestinian people.” The Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) also urged the PA to “immediately withdraw” the draft resolution, saying the Palestinian leadership was presenting a confusing picture of the bid. “They have been presenting it before the political bazaar at the international level for bids, then they claim they are making amendments as if it has been submitted by others,” the group said in a statement. “Both the original version and the amended version, including the French and British remarks, is beyond repair and reform, and should be withdrawn immediately without delay,” following which all Palestinian factions will be invited for a national dialogue about the resolution, the group said.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said that if the draft resolution is not brought to a vote, the Palestinians “will be obliged to take necessary political and legal decisions.” He threatened that if the Palestinian UN resolution does not pass at the UN Security Council, “we will no more deal with the Israeli government which will then be obliged to assume its responsibilities as an occupier. We are determined to recover the rights of our people, including the right to return and the release of all the Palestinian prisoners in the Israeli jails. We will not succumb to the policy of the Israeli oppression,” Abbas said.
US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said that the United States would not support the new Palestinian-proposed UN Security Council draft resolution. US Secretary of State John Kerry has privately told European Union envoys that the US will not permit the passage of any U.N. Security Council resolution on the Middle East peace process until after Israel’s March elections. Speaking at an annual luncheon with the 28 European Union ambassadors, Kerry cautioned that any action by the U.N. Security Council would strengthen the hands of Israeli hardliners who oppose the peace process. Kerry left open the possibility that the United States might ultimately support some sort of U.N. Security Council resolution that didn’t prejudge the outcome of stalled political negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians. He didn’t offer any details of what that kind of resolution would have to look like. “Kerry has been very, very clear that for the United States it was not an option to discuss whatever text before the end of the Israeli election,” according to a European diplomat.
The diplomat, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the luncheon was confidential, said that Kerry explained that Israel’s liberal political leaders, Shimon Peres and Tzipi Livni, had expressed concern that a Security Council move to pressure Israel on the eve of election would only strengthen the hands of Israeli hardliners, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and leader of the right-wing Jewish Home party, Naftali Bennett. Kerry said Livni had “told him that such a text imposed by the international community would reinforce Benjamin Netanyahu and the hardliners in Israel,” as well as the hardliners in Palestine, according to the European diplomat. The message, said another European diplomat, was that U.N. action would “give more impetus to more right-wing parties, that there was a risk this could further embolden the more right-wing forces along the Israeli political spectrum.”
According to the magazine, Foreign Policy, while there is little doubt as to the Americans’ wish for a new government in Israel that would be more flexible in negotiations with the Palestinians, the Obama administration is keen to avoid any steps that could be interpreted as meddling in the Israeli election for fear that it would embolden those political parties in Israel who oppose a peace agreement with the Palestinians. The report stated that European diplomats and the Palestinians have tried to ascertain what kind of diplomatic offering the Americans have planned for after the Israeli elections, but so far have been met with “vague” responses from the United States.
The Palestinian UN resolution has caused increased tensions with the US and the Palestinians who have expressed growing skepticism of the ability of the US to broker a political settlement with Israel that guarantees the creation of a future Palestinian state. A US veto of the Palestinian resolution would likely cause European governments to have increased domestic criticism over their inability to help advance the Palestinians quest for its own homeland.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said that if the UN Security Council did not pass the Palestinian resolution to recongize a Palestinian state based upon 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital that the Palestinians would “no longer deal” with Israel. Abbas said: “If the Arab-Palestinian initiative submitted to the Security Council to put an end to (Israeli) occupation doesn’t pass, we will be forced to take the necessary political and legal decisions. If it fails, we will no longer deal with the Israeli government, which will then be forced to assume its responsibilities as an occupier,” he added. “We are determined to regain the rights of our people, including the right of return (for refugees) and the freedom of all Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails,” Abbas said.
Meanwhile, Arab League Secretary- General Nabil Elarabi said he was considering dispatching a delegation to the United States to urge the US administration to refrain from vetoing the Palestinian statehood resolution. He said that Arab League foreign ministers were scheduled to meet on January 15 to discuss ways of mustering worldwide support for the resolution, which calls for setting a timeline for an Israeli withdrawal to the pre- 1967 lines. Elarabi said it was important to remind the US of UN Resolution 465, which passed in 1980 and which considers settlements illegal.
Finally, the United States participated in a closed-door meeting in New York on the French alternative to the Palestinian resolution with French, British and Jordanian representatives. Diplomats familiar with those talks say that the United States has been willing to engage in general discussions about the possible role for the Security Council role but that it has been unwilling so far to engage in substantive negotiations over the French text. Those discussions may continue next week and beyond, but there “is no sense of urgency,” according to one diplomat.
The French resolution states the following:
1. Affirms the urgent need to attain, no latter than 24 months after the adoption of this resolution, a just, lasting and comprehensive peaceful solution that fulfills the vision of two independent democratic and prosperous states, Israel and a sovereign contiguous and viable State of Palestine living side by side in peace and security within mutually and internationally recognized border;
2. Decides that the negotiated solution will be based on the following parameters:
– borders based on 4 June 1967 with mutually agreed limited equivalent land swaps;
– security agreements that respect the sovereignty of a non-militarized state of Palestine, including through a full phased withdrawal of Israeli security forces which will end the occupation that began in 1967 over an agreed transition period in a reasonable timeframe, and that ensure the security of both Israel and Palestine through effectively with security threats including with new and vital threats in the region;
– an agreed, just, fair, and realistic solution to the refugee question, including a viable mechanism to provide for reparation, resettlement, compensation and other agreed measures for a conclusive resolution;
– Jerusalem as the shared capital of the two States which fulfills the aspirations of both parties and protects freedom and worship;
– an agreed settlement of other outstanding issues, including water;
3. Recognizes that the final status agreement shall put an end to all claims to the occupation and lead to immediate mutual recognition;
4. Affirms that the definition of a plan and schedule for implementing the security arrangements shall be placed a the heart of the negotiations within the framework established by this resolution;
5. Looks forward to welcoming Palestine as a full member of the United Nations;
6. Urges both parties to engage seriously in the work of building trust and to act together in the pursuit of peace by negotiating in good faith and eschewing provocative acts or statements and also calls upon all states and international organizations to contribute to an atmosphere conductive to negotiations;
7. Encourages concurrent efforts to achieve a comprehensive peace in the region, which would unlock the full potential of neighborly relations in the Middle East and reaffirms in this regard, the importance of the full implementation of the Arab Peace initiative;
8. Calls for a renewed negotiation framework that the close involvement, alongside the parties, of major stakeholders, to provide political support as well as concrete support for post-conflict arrangements, to help the parties reach an agreement within the established timeframe and implement all aspects of the final status;
9. Calls upon both parties to abstain from any new actions, including settlement activities, that could undermine the viability of a two state solution on the basis of the parameters defined in this resolution;
In an editorial in the Israeli newspaper, Times of Israel, an analysis of the current situation regarding the Palestinian and French draft proposals is as follows:
The Palestinian bid to attain statehood and a full Israeli withdrawal via the United Nations Security Council is, to put it politely, unpredictable and confusing. Less politely, it is capricious, ill-judged and could prove to be self-defeating.
It remains unclear exactly how and when Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is going to proceed. On Monday, PA Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki vowed not to wait until after the Israeli election in March 2015 with a Security Council resolution demanding recognition for a Palestinian state and an Israeli withdrawal to the pre-1967 lines. Senior Palestinian official Saeb Erekat said this week the resolution will be ready for a vote “in the next few days,” while Jordan, which represents the Palestinians in the council, said it “will take time” before any draft comes to a vote.
Regardless of the timing, though, it appears that after all is said and done and the resolution is formally submitted and voted on, the Palestinian position on the international stage will not have improved significantly. Nor will the whole brouhaha have done much to pressure Israel into concessions.
Indeed, if the Palestinians go ahead and bring their resolution — which calls for an “end to the Israeli occupation” and the establishment of a “sovereign, contiguous and viable State of Palestine” within one year — to a vote, they risk weakening their position in future diplomatic standoffs with Israel.
“This looks like a classic ‘The Palestinians never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity’ situation,” a European official told The Times of Israel.
Even if the Palestinians wait until the New Year — when the Security Council will be more sympathetic to the Palestinian cause than in its present composition — the draft resolution they have submitted will most likely not pass. True, after Angola, Malaysia and Venezuela replace Rwanda, South Korea and Argentina, respectively, the draft will probably get the nine yes votes required for a UNSC majority. But then it will most likely fall prey to an American veto.
The draft as the Palestinians submitted it last Wednesday, via the Jordanians, is so far from the international consensus on the core issues of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that the Americans will have no choice but to veto it. The spokesperson of the US State Department, Jen Psaki, made plain last week that Washington will not support the draft as it currently reads. Even the French would not back this text, the European diplomat said.
“The Palestinian text is absurd,” the diplomat opined. “It’s purely a Palestinian wishlist — it doesn’t fly at all.”
France, Germany and Britain — the so-called E3 — offered to work with the Palestinians on a draft that would be acceptable to them and that could have ostensibly garnered American support as well. “The French,” who are leading the E3 effort, “wanted to give the Palestinians something, so they wrote a resolution that everyone could get on board with,” the diplomat said.
But the draft the Palestinians submitted last week is “very different” from the E3’s text, the diplomat noted.
While the Palestinians call for a “just, lasting and comprehensive peaceful solution” within 12 months, the E3 version speaks of 24 months. The Palestinians demand that a phased Israeli withdrawal be concluded by the end of 2017; the European draft gives no deadline. The E3 version further mentions that Palestine would be a “non-militarized state,” a provision absent from the Palestinian draft.
Most critically, the Palestinian text seeks a solution to the refugee question “on the basis of Arab Peace Initiative, international law and relevant United Nations resolutions, including resolution 194 (III).” This resolution, passed by the UN General Assembly in December 1948, stipulates that all Palestinian refugees “wishing to return to their homes … should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date.”
In contrast, the E3 draft envisages “an agreed, just, fair, and realistic solution to the refugee question, including a viable mechanism to provide for reparation, resettlement, compensation and other agreed measures for a conclusive resolution.” The word “realistic” is key here. The Palestinian draft would allow millions of Palestinians to flood Israel — an absolute nonstarter. The E3 version, on the other hand, seems to accept the Israeli demand, shared by the international community, that the majority of refugees not be allowed to return to Israel. (Israel’s general position is that no refugees be given a “right of return.”)
The Palestinians signaled readiness to discuss the wording of their draft, but even some fine-tuning will probably not be able to save it from an American veto. Had the Palestinians chosen to adopt the European text, they would have succeeded in enshrining the call for a speedy Israeli withdrawal and the establishment of a Palestinian state in international law. Since they insisted on their own version, they will end up with nothing.
The Palestinians are well aware of that, Israeli and European officials said, but for internal political deliberations have decided to go ahead anyway. “They’re playing games with themselves; they don’t want to succeed,” one official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. “They want to show their public that they are fighting for Palestinian principles.” Public opinion polls indicating Abbas’s current low approval rating also play a part in this démarche, the official added.
The Palestinian leadership’s only motivation for going to the Security Council with its draft and being vetoed by the US is the desire for a pretext to turn the International Criminal Court, a different official said.
If the UN bid fails, the Palestinians have repeatedly threatened, they will sign the Rome Statute and apply for membership in the ICC, where they can seek to sue Israel for alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity.
A Palestinian application to the ICC is a potent threat that has been hanging over Israel’s head like the sword of Damocles since November 2012, when “Palestine” was granted nonmember state status at the UN General Assembly. Jerusalem would go to some lengths to avoid the headlines and headaches that comes with such a lawsuit.
But officials in Jerusalem are not terribly worried about the “State of Palestine” actually joining the ICC. Being able to sue also means being able to be sued, and the Palestinians know they have a lot to lose if they choose to play this game. Furthermore, few Israeli policymakers fear an actual conviction at The Hague.
From an internal political perspective, it is understandable why Abbas would seek a showdown at the UN: Under pressure from both Hamas and the more moderate Palestinian public, he needs to demonstrate that he is doing something to advance independence and statehood.
But if one looks at it from an international angle, the Palestinians’ move appears self-defeating: their resolution, as it stands now, has virtually zero chance of being passed. And were the Palestinians to join the ICC (a process that is by no means guaranteed because it’s unclear whether the Palestinian “state” qualifies for membership), they would have lost an important threat used to intimidate Israel and gained nothing but the right to sue it.
Aware of the methods employed by Hamas and other terrorist groups which fire rockets indiscriminately at Israel, they may want to think twice before making use of this right. And even if they did proceed at the ICC, the path to an Israeli conviction in The Hague would be protracted and difficult. And it would also do nothing to bring the Palestinians closer to statehood.
An agreement to divide Jerusalem and establish a PLO state is a tribulation event.
The link to these articles are as follows:
1) Full text of Palestinians’ UN resolution: End the occupation by 2017
2) Erekat: UN to Vote on Resolution ‘Very Soon’
3) Netanyahu: Palestinian move at UN will lead to Hamas takeover in West Bank
4) Hamas rejects Palestinian UN resolution
5) ‘Livni, Peres urged Kerry to stall Palestinian bid for statehood at UN’
6) US will not support new Palestinian resolution at UN
7) Kerry Tells European Envoys U.N. Action on Palestine Can Wait till Israeli Election
8) Kerry: Vote on Palestinian UN bid would strengthen hardliners
9) Abbas: I’ll cut ties with Israel if UN move fails
10) Abbas: If resolution to end ‘occupation’ not passed, we will stop dealing with Israeli government
11) “French draft resolution”: Israeli Palestinian Peace agreement within 2 years
12) Abbas’s UN gambit: Capricious and possibly self-defeating
From a Biblical prophetic perspective, the reason why the God of Israel would allow these events to happen is because it will result in the end of the exile of the house of Jacob and the reunification of the 12 tribes of Israel (Ephraim and Judah).
We will to be “watchmen on the walls of Jerusalem” and we will not rest until the God of Israel makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth (Isaiah 62).
Shalom in Yeshua the Messiah,
Hebraic Heritage Ministries Int’l