You may view the 5 minute update this week via audio:
In this week’s 5 minute update, we focused on:
1) The current situation with the peace process and the status of the ceasefire agreement between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will urge the United Nations to take over from the U.S. as the Middle East’s peace broker when he speaks at the United Nations later in September. Abbas will try to shame Israel into withdrawing from the West Bank and east Jerusalem, and if it doesn’t agree to a pullout, “we will confront Israel politically all over the universe,” said Nabil Shaath, an adviser to Abbas. “We are going to ask the world to treat Israel as it did apartheid South Africa.”
Following up on a failed effort two years ago to get full UN recognition for Palestinian statehood, Shaath said Abbas will ask the UN Security Council to “intervene and take control” of peace efforts. Abbas will seek a UN-endorsed deadline of three years for an Israeli retreat from the West Bank and east Jerusalem to pressure Israel toward compromise in negotiations, Shaath said. “We are telling the U.S., your plan has not worked out. We insist that the international community looks into another plan.”
Meanwhile, head of the Arab League, Nabil el-Araby said that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is ready for “real negotiations” with Israel. Real negotiations demand agreement on the principles established in international resolutions, such as the ’67 borders, East Jerusalem, and security for the two sides. When there is agreement on these three issues, it will be possible to reach an agreement in a week, not in a number of months.”
After speaking to the Arab League, Abbas was able to get Arab foreign ministers to support his appeal to the United Nations to set a deadline for Israel to end its control of lands captured in the 1967 war and make way for an independent Palestinian state. The Palestinian ambassador to Egypt, Jamal al-Shobaki, said that the Arab resolution calls for the Arab League chief to push the idea in the UN Security Council and other regional and international groups. Al-Shobaki said the appeal to the UN is in line with other international resolutions with regard to the establishment of a Palestinian state and the recognition of 1967 borders as a basis for negotiations. He said that an American veto is a possibility in the Security Council. If a veto happens, he said, the Palestinians will pursue their bid for joining the International Criminal Court, where they could pursue war crimes charges against Israel. “Going to the Security Council will force… the international community to do something.”
In order to rally his support for recognition of a Palestinian state at the UN Security Council, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas will ask French President Francois Hollande to recognize ‘Palestine’ as a state as part of a broader effort to drum up international support for his new political initiative. PA Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki said that the “current political climate” was better than ever before to push forward with the demands of the Palestinian people, adding that “now, more than ever,” the world was convinced that Israel was undermining the peace process with its expanded settlement activity. As European countries were becoming more aware of the need to push the Palestinian cause to the forefront of the international debate, he said the PA was going to demand the UN take a “clear stance” to put an end to the “occupation.”
US Secretary of State John Kerry has yet to respond to the plan, said Malki, who hopes to get an answer from the administration by Sept. 24, when the UN General Assembly kicks off in New York. Malki said returning to the negotiating table with Israel would only be possible if Israel freezes its settlement building, releases the fourth, final batch of prisoners held in Israeli prisons and outlines the borders of the future Palestinian state.
Mahmoud Abbas stressed the importance of the Chinese support to recognize a PLO state at the UN Security Council. During a meeting with visiting Chinese special envoy to the Middle East, Gong Xiaosheng, Abbas said the leadership is exerting tireless efforts to rebuild war-battered Gaza Strip. Xiaosheng underscored his country’s constant support to the Palestinian rights for independence, statehood and freedom. He added that his country supports the Palestinian people in all international forums and will continue to provide humanitarian and economic support to Palestine.
Furthermore, the Palestinian Authority called for an international coalition “to end Israeli occupation.” In doing so, Abbas reiterated his promise to go to the UN to achieve his goal. “We are going to the United Nations as one of the methods to achieve our goals,” he said. Abbas predicted there would be some parties that would try to prevent the Palestinians from going to the UN and seeking membership in various international organizations, hinting at the likelihood the US would veto such a move at the UN Security Council.
The US, which has veto power, has in the past opposed solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through the United Nations and its Security Council. Furthermore, in a meeting with Palestinian chief negotiator in the peace process, Saeb Erekat, US Secretary of State John Kerry threatened the PA that the US would take harsh steps against it if the Palestinians decided to seek membership in international organizations such as the International Criminal Court. “Kerry said that if we go to the UN Security Council, the US government would veto it,” a Palestinian official said. “He also stressed that there would be serious repercussions to a unilateral approach on our part to the international organizations, such as halting economic support. He asked to delay the decisions and requested to meet with Abbas on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly meeting” to take place later this month in New York. The source said that according to Kerry, Israel’s diplomatic position in the wake of the Gaza conflict has “become even harder. It is delaying even more on security issues.”An Israeli official said that the only path to a two-state solution was through negotiations. Both Abbas and Israel Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu are expected to address the UN’s General Assembly in New York during the opening days of the 69th session, which kicks off on September 24.
Meanwhile, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi expressed an idea that a Palestinian state be established in the Sinai adjacent to the Gaza Strip. The proposal would expand the Gaza Strip to five times its current size. According to the plan, the territory would serve as a Palestinian state under the complete control of the PA. It would be a demilitarized state. In addition to the “Greater Gaza State,” the cities currently in the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank would be under the autonomous rule of the PA. In exchange, Abbas would give up claims to a state within the pre-1967 lines. Some Israeli politicians responded enthusiastically to the report. However, the idea was rejected by Mahmoud Abbas.
Israel Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and chief negotiator in the peace process said Israel needed to link itself to the West and to moderate Arab states by taking daring initiatives to solve the Palestinian conflict. Livni said the “struggle against terror is, among other things, an attempt to reach peace, just as reaching peace comes through the struggle against terror.” It is important to know with whom one fights and with whom one makes peace, she said. “Sometimes people get confused,” she explained. “It is clear that you fight the extremists, those engaged in terrorism, and make peace with the moderates. “There is no legitimate reason for terrorism – nothing to understand, no reason to speak to them, no reason to listen to what is bothering them,” she said unequivocally. “They are motivated by deep religious ideology; that is their roots and motivations. They are unable to accept infidels.” On the other side, she said – directing her words to “part” of Israel’s leadership – there are those who see moderates in the Palestinian camp as terrorists and “are not willing to pay the price of a diplomatic arrangement. Just as it is a mistake to try to appease the religious terrorism, it would be a mistake from Israel’s point of view to let the cruel terror in this region work against all rational thinking that obligates us to initiate and find a solution to the national conflict between us and the Palestinians,” she said. The justice minister made a clear distinction between the religious ideology motivating Hamas and what she believed was the nationalist ideology propelling the Palestinian Authority. She set up a construct whereby the world was divided into the bad – the religion-motivated leaders who use women and children as human shields and do not accept the “other” – and the good: people from different religions and nationalities who accept the “other.” Among the latter camp, she said, there could be conflict, although it was not religiously motivated, nor did it stem from an inability to accept anyone who thought differently.
Israel Finance Minister Yair Lapid (Yesh Atid) echoed Livni’s comments about the need for a daring diplomatic initiative, saying it was impossible to settle for a situation in which there was no “diplomatic vision. It can’t be that Operation Protective Edge in the Gaza Strip against Hamas ends with a temporary cease-fire and we will sit and wait for the next time they fire on us,” he said. “Instead of that, we have first of all to restore our relations with the United States. Lapid said that instead of fighting with the US, there was a need to go to an international conference where “we will say that Israel’s security will always be in our own hands, but that we are willing to separate from the Palestinians and be part of the coalition fighting Islamic terrorism. The diplomatic process is stuck,” he continued, adding that an international conference was the only idea on the table. Lapid and other MKs, including those from Labor and Hatnua, are pushing the idea of a regional conference that would include Egypt, Jordan, Israel, and the Palestinian Authority to work out a comprehensive peace plan.
Israel Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said there was a desperate need for Palestinian elections because Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has lost legitimacy since the Palestinians have not held an election in over nine years. Without new elections in the Palestinian Authority, he said, any agreement signed with Abbas would be like “signing on ice.” Lieberman said he was in favor of elections in the PA even though Hamas could well win them, because “at least then we will know where we stand.” He voiced concern that if Israel would sign an agreement with Abbas now then whoever succeeded him down the line could very well say that he had no legitimacy to sign anything.
Regarding the ceasefire agreement with Hamas in the Gaza Strip, Hamas’s deputy leader, Mussa Abu Marzuq, said that indirect talks with Israel will resume between September 20-25. Fifty days of fighting between Israel and Hamas ended on August 26 with an open-ended truce agreement. Under terms of the deal, the parties agreed to resume Egyptian-brokered negotiations within a month to discuss key issues, including a Hamas demand for a port and an airport, a prisoner swap and Israel’s insistence on Gaza militants disarming.
UN Middle East envoy Robert Serry said that the United Nations, Israel and the Palestinian Authority have reached a stop-gap deal to allow reconstruction work to begin in the Gaza Strip with UN monitoring of the use of materials. Serry said the United Nations had brokered the deal “to enable work at the scale required in the strip, involving the private sector in Gaza and giving a lead role to the Palestinian Authority in the reconstruction effort”. The agreement would “provide security assurances through UN monitoring that these materials will not be diverted from their entirely civilian purpose,” Serry added, alluding to Israeli demands that cement and other imports not be used to build Hamas command bunkers and cross-border attack tunnels. Egypt will host a donors’ conference on October 12 with the aim of raising reconstruction funds, and donor nations to the PA are due to convene on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly next week.
Hamas said the Palestinian “national consensus” government should start building an airport and seaport in the Gaza Strip. Hamas was ready to support the government and remove any obstacles facing its mission of rebuilding the Gaza Strip, he said. “There is no other government that manages the affairs and interests of the Palestinians.” In addition, Hamas warned against any plan to deploy international troops in the Gaza Strip. The Hamas response came from a report that the Israel Foreign Ministry has prepared a plan that calls for deploying such troops in the Gaza Strip. According to the report, the international troops would be tasked with supervising the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip and disarmament of terror groups there. “Hamas will deal with any international troops as a new occupation force,” Hamas representative Ismail Radwan said. However, Israel Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said that “there won’t be any demilitarization in Gaza.”
Nevertheless, Hamas is preparing itself for the next round of fighting with Israel, a senior Israeli diplomatic source said. Israel has detected Hamas smuggling weapons into the Gaza Strip. Likewise, he said, Hamas is working to restore the terrorist tunnels in Gaza, as well as to build up its rocket manufacturing capabilities. Gaza’s rocket manufacturing capacity is currently 40 percent of what it was at the outset of Operation Protective Edge and the Palestinians were continuing to build rockets, the source said.
The Palestinian Authority of Mahmoud Abbas has stepped up its arrests of Hamas group members and supporters. Recently, PA security forces have arrested around 40 Hamas men with 30 others summoned for questioning. The detainees reportedly included released prisoners and the family members of senior Hamas officials, as well as people who have demonstrated in support of the terrorist group and even some who made statements in its favor on social media following the Gaza conflict. Furthermore, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said that he would no longer allow Hamas to make policy decisions like signing agreements or initiating conflicts.
In addition, Abbas said that the Palestinian Authority has no intention to deploy forces in the Gaza Strip if there is not also a clear diplomatic end-game peace initiative between Israel and the PLO. Recently, there has been several conversations between Israeli and Palestinian officials with the hopes of restarting talks, but in all of them Abbas said that it was apparent that Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did not intent to present his plan for the potential borders for a future Palestinian state. “Israel needs to sit with us and write a diplomatic plan that links Gaza and the West Bank, that forms a diplomatic horizon and a peace agreement,” according to a Palestinian source. “The PA doesn’t aim to send forces to the Gaza Strip or to deploy them there as a buffer force between Israel and Hamas without such a plan. We would reach a situation in which Hamas and Israel will alternately attack us. The PA has no intention to take a role in Gaza, or to police Gaza, without a diplomatic horizon.”
The Palestinians said that a firm decision has been made to not get involved in Gaza without a clear agreement from Hamas that all the weapons that are currently in the Gaza Strip become “one weapon under one authority” — that is, that Hamas concede authority to Abbas’s PA. “We won’t accept the continuation of the situation with Hamas as it is now and in this shape,” Abbas said. “There must be one authority and one regime.” Abbas accused Hamas of running its own “shadow government” in the Gaza Strip. “They have 27 directors-general of ministries and they are running the Gaza Strip,” he said. “The PLO-Hamas national consensus government can’t do anything on the ground.”
An agreement to divide Jerusalem and establish a PLO state is a tribulation event.
The link to these articles are as follows:
1) Abbas to Push for UN as Peace Broker Instead of Kerry, Aide Says
2) Arab League head: Abbas ready for real negotiations
3) Arab League backs Palestinian UN bid for state
4) Abbas to seek statehood recognition from France during Paris visit
5) Abbas Stresses China’s role in Supporting Leadership’s Upcoming Political Step
6) PA calls for international coalition ‘to end Israeli occupation’
7) Israeli politicians praise Sisi plan to give Palestinians land for a state in Sinai
8) Abbas aide denies Egypt offered Sinai tract to settle Palestinians
9) Livni tells parley: Israel needs daring diplomatic initiative
10) Lapid: I Can Stop the Right’s Takeover
11) Liberman: Elections critical now in the Palestinian Authority, but not in Israel
12) Hamas: Cairo truce talks to resume mid-September
13) UN: Israel, PA reach deal on Gaza reconstruction
14) Hamas to unity gov’t: Build Gaza airport, seaport
15) Hamas says any international force in Gaza would be considered occupation
16) Lieberman: ‘No demilitarization in Gaza’
17) ‘Hamas already rearming, preparing for next round of fighting with Israel’
18) PA said to step up Hamas arrests
19) Abbas says he won’t let Hamas make foreign policy decisions
20) PA won’t deploy forces in Gaza unless Israel presents peace plan
21) Abbas hints PA close to ending unity agreement with Hamas
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