You may view the 5 minute update this week via audio:
In this week’s 5 minute update, we focused on:
1) The current status of the conflict between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip
Hamas continues to fire rockets from the Gaza Strip into Israel. So far, over 3,000. Regarded by members of the international community as a terrorist organization, Hamas seized control of Gaza from the Palestinian Authority run by Mahmood Abbas of Fatah in 2007. In order to end the conflict between Hamas and Israel in the Gaza Strip, Egypt presented to both sides a cease-fire proposal. It including the following:
1. Palestinian fishing rights will be extended from 3 to 12 miles.
2. Israel will restore the Gaza Strip’s electrical power capacity within a year.
3. The Palestinian Authority based in Ramallah will oversee and administer all the rehabilitation operations to be performed in the Gaza Strip.
4. An international mechanism will be formed to monitor the building materials delivered to Gaza.
5. Israel will lift its financial restrictions on Gaza’s banks.
6. Israel and Hamas will begin discussing the building of a deep sea port and international airport for the Gaza Strip in a month’s time.
7. They will also embark on parallel negotiations for the release of Palestinians in Israeli security prisons.
8. An extension of the truce and cessation of hostilities between the two parties will take place.
The issue of the Gaza’s demilitarization, which Israel has demanded during Operation Protective Edge, will most likely not be included in the proposal developing in Egypt. Israel wants Gaza to be demilitarized which would essentially force Hamas to give up its large arsenal of rockets and other weapons. Netanyahu stressed that the Israeli delegation to the indirect talks in Egypt is working under “very clear directives” to stand firm on Israel’s security demands. “Only if there will be a clear answer to our security needs will we agree to any understandings,” he said. However, Hamas has flatly rejected Israel’s demilitarization demand. Israel said it would actively work to promote the issue in the international arena.
In a statement, Hamas leader in Gaza Ismail Haniyeh said that “the threats of Israel’s leaders only reinforce our commitment to the people’s demands, first and foremost the demand to remove the siege on Gaza.” He said that “the heavy losses of the Palestinian people do not permit us to negotiate and compromise on their demands… No permanent ceasefire agreement can be reached without the removal of the blockade on Gaza.”
Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Hamas is mistaken if it thinks that it can cover its military defeat over the last month with a diplomatic achievement. Netanyahu said Hamas suffered a harsh military blow, which included the destruction of their terror tunnels system that they spent years building, the killing of “hundreds of terrorists,” the interception of thousands of rockets, and the prevention of terror attacks from the “land, sea and air.” In an apparent response to Hamas’s threats to engage Israel in a long war of attrition if its demands are not met, Netanyahu said, “If Hamas thinks that by a continuation of a drizzle of rocket fire, we will make concession, it is mistaken. As long as the quiet is not restored, Hamas will continue to absorb very hard blows,” Netanyahu said. “If Hamas thinks we cannot stand for a long period, it is mistaken. In the turbulent and unstable Middle East, it is not enough just to have more strength, you also need determination and patience,” he said. “Hamas knows that we have a lot of power, but perhaps it thinks we do not have enough determination and patience. And it is making a big mistake there as well.” Netanyahu said Israel is a “strong and determined” nation, whose citizens and soldiers showed “amazing resilience and fortitude” and which will stand “united and firm” until “quiet and security” is returned to the country’s citizens.
Only .04 of a 1% of Israeli Jews think Israel should accept Hamas’s demands in order to stop rocket fire from the Gaza Strip. 58% of Israeli Jews think Israel does not have to meet any Hamas demands and should continue to fight until Hamas surrenders. 41% think Israel should respond positively to Hamas’s demands that are reasonable in terms of Israel’s national security. Among Israeli Arabs, 54% think Hamas’s demands consistent with Israeli national security should be accepted, 32% think Israel should accept Hamas’s demands in order to stop the rockets, and only five percent said Israel should not accept Hamas demands and fight until their surrender. Asked whether to deal with Hamas militarily or diplomatically, 66% of the Jewish public said a combination of military and political-diplomatic efforts, 26% exclusively through military means and seven percent through exclusively political-diplomatic means. Among Israeli Arabs, 72% said Hamas should be dealt with through political-diplomatic efforts, 15% think through a combination of military and political-diplomatic means, and 3% think through exclusively military means.
The US is supporting the Israeli demand for the prevention of Hamas and other terror organization’s efforts to rearm. In addition, Israel is coordinating with the US to define the parameters of a permanent truce with Hamas. Israel and the US have secretly decided that Israel will agree to a gradual lifting of the blockade on Gaza Strip, starting with the land crossings and eventually opening up sea traffic. The blockade, which Israel says is needed to prevent arms smuggling, has hurt the economy of Gaza. Under the agreement, Israeli will not oppose the transfer of salaries to Hamas civil workers in Gaza and will allow for the rehabilitation of the Strip with the use of international assistance.
The US has agreed to take part in an international donor conference on the rehabilitation of Gaza. In the coming days, intensive diplomatic efforts are expected to occur in Israel and in Europe to assure the conference takes place. Though there has been no official American confirmation of the agreement, according to Israeli officials, Kerry and Netanyahu will announce in a joint statement that the ties between the two countries are strong, and that past disagreements between them are only on certain points. The statement would reiterate America’s commitment to Israel’s right to defend itself and to prevent rocket fire from Gaza towards Israel. As a result, US Secretary of State, John Kerry, is planning to arrive in Israel next week in a show of support for Israel and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and in order to demonstrate that the two allies’ relationship is not in crisis.
The European Union proposed to relaunch and broaden its Border Assistance Mission at Gaza’s Rafah crossing. The offer came after the body’s foreign ministers gathered for emergency talks in Brussels. “The EU is ready to support a possible international mechanism endorsed by the U.N. Security Council, including through the reactivation and possible extension in scope and mandate of its Rafah border assistance program.
However, Palestinian sources said that the “the talks with Israel have reached a dead end. “The problem in the talks is fundamental,” the sources said. “Some fundamental disagreements remain, mostly on the issue of the Gaza seaport. The Palestinian delegation demands the ceasefire agreement specifically states a seaport will be built in Gaza but the discussion on the details would be postponed for later.” Israel refused, they said, and conditioned the seaport with the disarmament of the Palestinian factions, which brought the talks to a standstill. As a result, the Palestinian sources said that the odds of reaching an agreement soon on a permanent ceasefire are very slim.
After a month of bombing from Israel in response to rocket fire from the Palestinian militant groups, Gazans are starting to be vocal in their criticism of Hamas. Hamas has “committed many mistakes,” Ziad Abu Halool, who works for the Gazan government said. “All the Palestinian factions should stop firing rockets. It’s enough. We’ve been suffering. All the people are whispering, ‘Why didn’t Hamas accept the Egyptian initiative in the beginning of the war when the casualties were still low?’ said a Palestinian journalist. The militant groups “should have accepted the cease-fire. It would have stopped the bloodshed. We are the ones affected by the war, our houses and our lives. The destruction is over on this side, not the Israeli side.” Other Gazans don’t believe that Hamas will help in the rehabilitation of the Strip, which was heavily damaged by the IDF bombardments.
Meanwhile, the European Union is implementing a boycott of Israeli products made in the West Bank. As a result, Israel will end its export of poultry and dairy produce to the European Union from Jewish settlements considered illegal by the international community. The restrictions stem from directives issued by the European Commission in February and affect chicken and milk products from settlements in east Jerusalem, the Golan Heights and the West Bank. “In keeping with previous decisions, the EU no longer recognized the authority of the veterinary inspections services of Israel to approve the export of poultry and (dairy products), the origin of which are in settlements,” a European official said. The official said that during discussions over implementation of the directives, the “Israelis were asked to put in place a system of distinguishing between the origins of dairy products and poultry. If that is put in place that won’t affect poultry and dairy products exported from Israel,” the official said, noting the new directives would be effective from September 1. An Israeli official involved in the affair said that the agriculture ministry had recently issued directives to poultry and dairy manufacturers to “prepare for the EU decision and separate manufacturing lines, to enable the continued export to the Europe” without including products from settlements.
Britain’s business secretary said England would halt some arms exports to Israel if fighting resumed in Gaza. Vince Cable will cancel 12 arms export licenses to Israel, covering components for radar systems, combat aircraft and tanks, according to a statement from the Department for Business Innovation and Skills. “We welcome the current ceasefire in Gaza and hope that it will lead to a peaceful resolution. However, the UK government has not been able to clarify if the export license criteria are being met,” Cable said in a statement. “In light of that uncertainty, we have taken the decision to suspend these existing export licenses in the event of a resumption of significant hostilities.”
Furthermore, a senior Israeli official said that the US had suspended a shipment of Hellfire missiles to Israel amid worsening ties over continued fighting in the Gaza Strip. On July 23, the US Pentagon approved a transfer of arms, including 120-mm mortar shells and 40-mm illuminating rounds after receiving a request three days earlier from Israel. As was customary until that point, the White House and State Department were not informed. The decision to hold off on the transfer was most likely on grounds of increased diplomatic tension, the official said, because the US White House and State Department has been angered by a transfer of arms to Israel and had ordered greater oversight into future sales. As a result, the US government has blocked the missile shipment approved by the US Pentagon and would begin to monitor Israeli arms requests and have them subject to White House and State Department approval. The decision to evaluate every request by the Israeli military separately came after the White House and State Department discovered last month that the Pentagon was supplying Israel with arms without their knowledge. After learning of these transfers, the Obama administration, perturbed that much of the ammunition was used by the IDF in its offensive in the Gaza Strip, revised the review process in a move that is likely to limit or at least delay Israel’s requests for weapons. US-Israeli tensions are at a record high, with US President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said to have recently held a “particularly combative phone call” with officials on both sides resorting to name-calling. Some US administration officials consider Netanyahu and his team reckless and untrustworthy. They think that if only Benjamin Netanyahu could be weakened and eased aside, Israelis might elect a leadership more inclined to follow its thinking and consider greater territorial compromise in the peace process with the Palestinians.
For their part, Israeli officials consider the US view of the Middle East “weak and naive,” pointing to Secretary of State John Kerry’s collaboration with Qatar and Turkey on a draft ceasefire in a move that infuriated Israeli officials. Kerry was reportedly upset that the draft, which was intended for Netanyahu’s eyes and critique only, was put to a cabinet vote, and its subsequent leak to the media put a strain on his ties with the Israeli administration. An Israeli official said the tension had become “very personal,” and described it as “mistrust and a collision of different perspectives on the Middle East.”
Israel Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman called for a decisive victory in Israel’s Operation Protective Edge against Hamas in the Gaza Strip even at the cost of the escalation of hostilities in the Gaza Strip. “The State of Israel cannot afford a war of attrition, just like any other modern country can’t. That’s why we have to reach a decisive victory, even at the cost of escalation,” he told mayors in southern Israel. “We don’t need to make any more threats, just deliver a hard blow.”
Lieberman said a decisive victory should be Israel’s main goal, as only that would prevent another round of fighting. “After three operations, I think it’s time to say ‘enough,'” he said. “One month is enough to realize that we can’t reach any agreement with this group of terrorists we’re facing. If we don’t get rid of Hamas, we wouldn’t be able to make progress on any reasonable agreement – not security-wise, nor diplomacy-wise,” the foreign minister went on to say. He criticized the willingness of some cabinet ministers to accept the long-term ceasefire deal taking shape in Egypt, saying “it can’t be that the State of Israel is unwilling or unable to defeat 26,000 terrorists who are sitting here next to us and repeatedly threatening and interrupting the peace.”
Finally, Muhammad Shtayyeh, a senior official in the Palestinian Authority, made a speech saying that the PA is ready to join the International Criminal Court in order to pursue legal cases against Israeli officials and soldiers.
An agreement to divide Jerusalem and establish a PLO state is a tribulation event.
The link to these articles are as follows:
1) Egypt presents proposal to end war in Gaza
2) Cairo draft accord may embody Israeli concessions on security in return for Hamas truce
3) EU offers to renew monitoring of Gaza border
4) Israel coordinated with US on gradual end of Gaza blockade
5) Palestinian divisions emerge in truce talks
6) Haniyeh: Long-term ceasefire only if Israel lifts siege
7) Poll finds almost no support for accepting Hamas’s demands
8) Netanyahu: Hamas will not be able to cover its military defeat with a diplomatic victory
9) Palestinian sources: Talks have reached a dead end over seaport
10) Salvo fired at south hours before Gaza ceasefire set to end
11) Rocket fire at South resumes, IDF strikes Gaza targets in response
12) Israel halts Cairo talks, hits Gaza after rockets shatter quiet
13) After month of bitter fighting, Gazans said questioning Hamas decisions
14) Israel ends export to EU of dairy, poultry produced in West Bank
15) UK to halt some arms sales to Israel if fighting resumes
16) Israeli official confirms US nixed arms shipment; pols argue over who’s to blame
17) Washington said limiting arms transfers to Israel as ties fray
18) US livid with Israel? Hamas can’t believe its luck
19) Lieberman: Only a decisive victory will prevent another operation
20) PA officials announce plans to pursue Israel at the ICC
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