You may view the 5 minute update this week via audio:
In this week’s 5 minute update, we focused on:
1) The current status of the Israel / PLO peace process
2) The current status of the situation with Iran
Palestinian and Israeli negotiators met for a sixteenth round of talks. However, the talks quickly deteriorated into a shouting match with no discussion of the issues at hand. Palestinian Authority negotiators were reportedly furious over what they called Israeli “lies” to the public about an agreement with the Palestinians to continue building in the settlements in exchange for the release of 104 Palestinian prisoners jailed since before the Oslo accords. The Israeli side took offense and the meeting broke down.
The Ministry of Housing and the Israel Lands Authority announced that about 700 new homes will be built in Jerusalem. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu rejected the Palestinian Authority (PA) contention that recent decisions on construction in Jerusalem and the West Bank contravene agreements reached at the outset of negotiations between Israel and the PA, three months ago. He said that the Palestinians knew full well when the talks began that Israel accepts no limitations on construction beyond the “Green Line,” which demarcates Israel’s 1949 armistice borders. Justice Minister Tzipi Livni confirmed Netanyahu’s contention stating that “to say that Israel has abrogated a commitment would be an untrue statement.” The construction in Jerusalem, and the West Bank “bothers the Palestinians and hurts our status in the world,” she said, “but there is no violation of our commitments in it.” “On the eve of negotiations,“ she said, “each of the sides made decisions, and there are things that each side has to swallow, that are unpleasant.” Livni said that the Israeli government had to choose between releasing terrorist prisoners and freezing construction in the areas contested by the PA, and that this was not a simple choice because the release of terrorists “was very difficult for all of us.”
Meanwhile, US Secretary of State, John Kerry denied rumors that there was an understanding that Israel would announce new settlement construction in exchange for releasing long-serving prisoners: ”That is not the agreement. The agreement, specifically, was that there would be a release of the pre-Oslo prisoners — 104 [of them] — who’ve been in prison now for many many years, who would be released in exchange for the PA not proceeding to the UN during that period of time.“ “Now, the Palestinian leadership made it absolutely clear: they believe the settlements are illegal. They object to the settlements, and they are in no way condoning the settlements, but they knew that Israel would make some announcements. They knew it. But they don’t agree with it. And they don’t support it. They disagreed with it. In fact, they said, ‘We don’t agree. We do not think you should be doing settlements.’ “We, the United States, say the same thing,” Kerry continued. “We do not believe the settlements are legitimate. We think they’re illegitimate. And we believe that the entire peace process would in fact be easier if these settlements were not taking place. Now that’s our position… But we knew that there was not going to be a freeze. We didn’t negotiate a freeze.” Still, he said, Netanyahu had promised no settlement building that would change the “peace map” — presumably meaning no major expansion of settlements outside the major settlement blocs.
In an interview with Israel Channel 2, Kerry went on to say: “Let me ask you something. How, if you say you’re working for peace and you want peace, and a Palestine that is a whole Palestine that belongs to the people who live there, how can you say we’re planning to build in a place that will eventually be Palestine? So it sends a message that perhaps you’re not really serious. If you announce planning, I believe it is disruptive to the process. But, the good side of it is, during the time we are negotiating, the planning will not translate into building and construction. “If we do not resolve the question of settlements,” he added, “and the question of who lives where and how and what rights they have; if we don’t end the presence of Israeli soldiers perpetually within the West Bank, then there will be an increasing feeling that if we cannot get peace with a leadership that is committed to non-violence, you may wind up with leadership that is committed to violence.”
PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’s spokesman, Nabil Abu Rudeineh, called the plans “destructive to the peace process.” As a result, the Palestinians threatened to not continue peace talks as long as Israel continues building in the settlements. Chief Palestinian negotiator, Saeb Erekat, threatened to resign over the issue of Israel settlement building. A Palestinian official said that “The news about the resignation of Erekat is designed to show the Americans that the Palestinians are very angry with recent Israeli decisions to build in settlements and east Jerusalem.” Israeli officials, meanwhile, took the reports in stride. “To be frank,” the official said, “this has for too long been the standard operating procedure for the Palestinians: ‘Unless we get what we want, we will jump off the cliff, dismantle the PA, renounce the Oslo Accords, resign.’ This is the way they conduct brinkmanship negotiations.” Instead of “playing games,” the official said, “they should negotiate seriously.” Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said there has been no progress in peace talks with Israel despite months of negotiations and warned that “the situation is likely to explode soon.”
In cabinet meeting, Israel Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu reiterated the importance of international recognition of Israel as a Jewish state in helping bring peace to the Middle East, as part of remarks commemorating the 96th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration which established the goal of working to create a Jewish homeland. “The declaration championed the rights for the Jewish nation to have a national home in the Land of Israel,” Netanyahu stated. “There is no doubt that the international recognition of the right to a Jewish homeland and its historical significance is fundamental. The refusal to do so by the Palestinians is the “root of the conflict” in the Middle East. Netanyahu stated his vision of a peace ageement by saying, “peace between us and our neighbors, the Palestinians, you must recognize the right of the Jewish people to live in their own State, in their own national and historical homeland. What this means is that they must recognize this arrangement as a permanent one, and to lift Palestinian national demands – for a Right of Return or for the formation of any other state.” The Prime Minister also added a second condition: security for the Jewish people and a Jewish State. “Security arrangements are important to us, and they obviously cover a wide range of needs, but the first among them is to ensure that Israel’s [Eastern] border remains along the banks of the Jordan river.”
In a meeting with US Secretary of State, John Kerry, Netanyahu said bluntly that he was “concerned” about the negotiations with the Palestinians. “I’m concerned about their progress, because I see the Palestinians continuing with incitement, continuing to create artificial crisis, continuing to avoid historic decisions that are needed to make a genuine peace,” he said. “I hope your visit can steer them back to a place where we can achieve the historic peace we seek and that our people deserve.” Netanyahu said that Israel, the Palestinians and the US agreed to certain terms three months ago that led to a resumption of the negotiations. “We stand by those terms,” he said. “We abide scrupulously by the terms of the agreements and the understandings by which we launched the negotiations.” In addition, Netanyahu said, “Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas should show the seriousness of his intentions to make peace with Israel by making his own Bar-Ilan speech, calling for a two state solution.”I’d like him to stand, as I did in front of my constituencies, and say ‘two states for two peoples. A Jewish state alongside a Palestinian state.’ I’ve yet to hear him say that.” Finally, Netanyahu said: “I don’t see that there’s been any change in the Palestinian position since 1993.”
Justice Minister Tzipi Livni (Hatnua) challenged the Labor political party to “work up the courage” to join the government coalition in order to help advance the peace process with the Palestinians. “If in the past there was no chance [for peace] and there was no point in entering the government. Now, there is an opportunity that we are liable to miss because of the make-up of the coalition,” Livni wrote on her Facebook page. Livni stated that Finance Minister Yair Lapid [Yesh Atid] had “forced” the current make-up of the coalition by insisting that he would not join the government without Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home). Livni called upon Labor to join the government coalition after the November 21 Labor party primary which pits Yacimovich against MK Issac Herzog. Israel government opposition leader Shelly Yacimovich (Labor) reiterated her willingness to join the government to serve as a “safety net” for Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, in the event Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) decides to quit the coalition in light of “a [serious] diplomatic accord.” She stressed, though, that Labor will remain in the opposition unless a serious peace agreement does emerge, and that she “won’t repeat the bitter political and moral mistake” she made in the past when she “crawled into Netanyahu’s government and served as a fig leaf to a social and economic policy that abuses the public, and to diplomatic stagnation.”
In the past week, US Secretary of State John Kerry met with Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel. In doing so, Kerry urged Israel to limit settlement building. Furthermore, Kerry said: “Let me emphasize at this point the position of the United States of America on the settlements is that we consider them… to be illegitimate.” While being in Israel, Kerry conducted an interview with Israel Channel 2. In the interview, he not only called the settlements “illegitimate” but also warned that if current peace talks fail, Israel could face a third intifada and growing international isolation. Kerry “warned of “chaos” and a “third intifada” if Israel’s “peace talks” with the Palestinian Authority (PA) fail. If we do not resolve the issues between Palestinians and Israelis, if we do not find a way to find peace, there will be an increasing isolation of Israel, there will be an increasing campaign of delegitimization of Israel that’s been taking place on an international basis,” Kerry warned. A senior Israeli official responded to Kerry’s warning by saying, “Israel will not succumb to fear tactics.” Kerry concluded his threats against Israel by saying the following: The people in Israel seem to have the attitude, ‘Oh we feel safe today. We have the wall, we’re not in a day-to-day conflict, we’re doing pretty well economically.’ “Well, I’ve got news for you,” he said, referring to the Israeli public. “Today’s status quo will not be tomorrow’s or next year’s. Because if we don’t resolve this issue, the Arab world, the Palestinians, neighbors, others, are going to begin again to push in a different way.”
In response to Kerry’s interview comments, Israel Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said that while Israel is interested in peace talks, “were probably not going to solve it [the conflict] based on what we thought.” Responding to Kerry’s pressuring of Israel, the Defense Minister said “we shall conduct things wisely, without worrying about threats of whether or not there will be a third intifada.” Ya’alon notes that while some claim the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is territorial, having begun in 1967 and needing to end in the “1967 borders” (the 1949 Armistice lines), no Palestinian Authority (PA) leadership, including that of Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, has been ready to consider territorial compromise and recognize Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people. Ya’alon remarked that Arab claims include all sections of Israel. We left Gaza and they continue to attack us. They educate the younger generation that Haifa and Acre are Palestinian ports, and more. There’s no sign of compromise.”
Minister of Internal Affairs Gideon Sa’ar stated in a Likud party meeting that he does not believe that the Palestinian Authority has entered into negotiations with Israel in good faith. Sa’ar clarified the importance for the State of Israel to declare now that it will not accept external pressure, and that attempts to internationalize the conflict and bypass negotiations are doomed to fail. Minister of Economics and Trade Naftali Bennett, who heads the Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) party reacted to US Secretary of State John Kerry’s warning that Israel will face a “third intifada” if the “peace talks” with the Palestinian Authority (PA) fail by saying, “A united Jerusalem under Israeli sovereignty is a safeguard for peace and will not be an excuse for threats on the state of Israel,” Bennett said. “What is more, we have already learned the hard way that it is precisely the act of ceding parts of our homeland that bring terrorism and loss of legitimacy, and only standing firm brings quiet and security.”
In response to Kerry’s threats against Israel in his interview on Israeli television by saying that if peace talks fail that Israel will face growing international isolationism, a possible third intifada, a possible disruption of daily life in Israel and that the US regards settlement building in the West Bank as “illegitimate” and no Israeli troops should remain in the Jordan Valley, an Israel opinion article said the following: “For the first time since he managed to restart the talks in July, Kerry dropped his statesman-like public impartiality, and clearly spoke from the heart — and what emerged were a series of accusations that amounted to a forceful slap in the face for Netanyahu. It was a rhetorical onslaught that the prime minister cannot have expected and one he will not quickly forget. In an extremely unusual joint interview with Israel’s Channel 2 and the Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation, a very frustrated Kerry basically blamed the Israeli government for stealing the Palestinians’ land and the Israeli public for living in bubble that prevents them from caring much about it. If that wasn’t enough, he railed against the untenability of the Israel Defense Forces staying “perpetually” in the West Bank. In warning that a violent Palestinian leadership might supplant Mahmoud Abbas if there was not sufficient progress at the peace table, he appeared to come perilously close to empathizing with potential Palestinian aggression against Israel. Kerry seemed to place the blame for the failure to make rapid and major progress in negotiations overwhelmingly on Israel, with no acknowledgment — in his statements as broadcast Thursday — of two intifadas, relentless anti-Israel incitement in the Palestinian territories, the Hamas takeover of Gaza and the constant rocket fire from the Strip. In lamenting the IDF’s presence in the West Bank, Kerry positioned himself directly opposite Netanyahu, for whom an ongoing Israeli security presence in the Jordan Valley is a stated crucial condition for an agreement. Perhaps more surprisingly, he showed no evident concern over the danger of a Hamas takeover in the West Bank were the IDF to withdraw, disregarding a widely held concern — borne of the rapid ease with which Hamas swept Abbas’s forces aside in Gaza in 2007 — that the official Palestinian Authority forces alone would not be able to hold sway.
Next, the head of the left-wing Meretz party, Zahava Gal-On, said that the Obama administration is determined to achieve a major diplomatic breakthrough next year in the negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, including arrangements for a final status agreement. “There will be a new diplomatic program, based on the pre-1967 lines with agreed land swaps,” Gal-On said in a statement after meeting with Palestinian and American officials. She said that the US has made a subtle but significant switch from a “third-party trying to bring the two sides together, to a role of direct involvement in the process.” Israel Army radio reported that if the current direct peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians fail then the US will propose its own solution in January that will include the US position on every issue in dispute between Israel and the Palestinians. In effect, the US will attempt to force both Israel and the Palestinians to agree on the dictated solution proposed by the US. Palestinian sources also confirmed that January is when the US intends to impose it own peace plan. The US decision to present a proposed agreement was reportedly communicated by several senior officials, including the Special Representative to the talks, Martin Indyk. Secretary of State John Kerry reportedly briefed Netanyahu on the matter when they last met recently in Rome, Italy. At that meeting, Netanyahu rejected a US proposal to station American forces in the Jordan Valley or to allow other international troops to maintain the security along the eastern border. During the seven-hour meeting, Kerry attempted to finish outlining the borders for the future Palestinian state. The prime minister drew the outline first. In Netanyahu’s map, the Palestinian state is farther away from the Jordan Valley, is surrounded on all sides by areas under Israeli sovereignty, is demilitarized, and preserves for Israel the greater Jerusalem area and the Jewish settlement blocs. The Palestinians, for their part, are thought to be unwilling to give up a state that does not stretch to the Jordan River, nor will they agree to not control the northern Dead Sea area. The US peace plan expected to be released in January, is expected to be something similar to the Clinton outline, offered by President Bill Clinton in late 2000, which is based on an Israeli retreat to 1949 Armistice lines and some swaps of territory. The US plan is spread out over a gradual timetable, calls for the investment of billions of dollars in the Palestinian economy, and will include suggestion for a broader regional peace treaty based on the Arab Peace Initiative. The initiative, first proposed by the Arab League in 2002, calls for a comprehensive peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians together with normalization of ties between Israel and the Arab world. Central to the initiative was the complete withdrawal of Israel to its pre-1967 lines and the right of return for Palestinian refugees.
In the three months between now and January, the parties, with the help of U.S. envoy Martin Indyk, will conduct negotiations in an effort to bridge the gaps. The assessment is, however, that each side will remain entrenched in their basic positions. Therefore, during the final stage of this period, in January, the United States will apparently present a plan with its own proposals for resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Until now, the talks were based on the idea that the two sides negotiate directly with the US only acting as a mediator. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told members of his own political party that Israel would examine any proposal presented during the negotiations with the Palestinians “but we won’t accept any external dictates and no pressure will help.”
Palestinian Authority officials maintain that any American peace plan anchored in two principles:
1) that it be a permanent, not interim, agreement, and
2) that it include a pre-determined timetable for implementation of all stages, including the core issues.
PLO senior officials say as long as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu does not agree to the 1967 borders and continues to talk about maintaining Israeli sovereignty over all of Jerusalem, there cannot be a breakthrough. PLO Executive Committee member Hanan Ashrawi said that to her knowledge, the Americans have not tabled any suggestions or a draft peace treaty, and she stressed that any offer which lacks a timetable and isn’t termed a permanent solution cannot be accepted by the Palestinians.
An agreement to divide Jerusalem and establish a PLO state is a tribulation event.
The link to these articles are as follows:
1) Palestinian official: No talks while settlement construction continues
2) Abbas: Peace talks stalled, may terminate early
3) PA officials: Palestinian peace envoys haven’t quit over Israeli settlement building
4) Netanyahu: Refusal to Recognize Jewish State is Root of Conflict
5) Netanyahu: PA Creating ‘Artificial Crisis’
6) Netanyahu tells Kerry he is ‘concerned’ about talks with Palestinians
7) Netanyahu: I want Abbas to give his own Bar-Ilan speech
8.) Livni calls on Labor to ‘work up courage’ to join coalition for sake of peace process
9) Yacimovich: Labor will join government only if serious peace agreement emerges
10) Kerry: US considers Israeli settlements to be ‘illegitimate’
11) Kerry: Why do you want to build in what will eventually be Palestine?
12) Kerry Threatens Israel with ‘Third Intifada’
13) Ya’alon to Kerry: Don’t Threaten Intifada
14) Sa’ar: Israel Will Not Buckle Under External Pressure
15) Bennett Responds to Kerry’s ‘Threats’
16) Frustrated Kerry’s peace critique a heavy slap in Netanyahu’s face
17) Meretz chief: Obama wants major Israeli-Palestinian breakthrough in 2014
18) US ‘Will Force’ Israel-PA Deal
19) US to suggest peace deal in January, Meretz MK says
20) U.S. to propose Israeli-Palestinian peace deal in January, senior MK tells Haaretz
21) ‘America will intervene with own peace plan by January if talks fail’
22) Palestinians insist U.S. peace solution be permanent
23) Kerry: No separate U.S. plan
24) Netanyahu: Israel will examine any peace proposal but will accept no dictates
John Kerry, William Hague and foreign ministers from France and Germany all made unplanned flights to Geneva, Switzerland in an attempt to seal a nuclear deal with Iran and end a decade-long impasse with the country. There were also reports that the Russian foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, was flying also for the meetings. Talks between the P5 + 1 powers and Iran were expected to resume on Saturday. The focus of the talks shifted from formal sessions at Geneva’s Palace of Nations to impromptu meetings at the European mission hosted by the EU foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton. Kerry, Hague, the French foreign minister, Laurent Fabius, and his German counterpart, Guido Westerwelle, gathered there. After night fell, Ashton and Kerry met the Iranian foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, for three-way discussions that western officials described as the key session of the talks so far. The officials said Kerry’s arrival did not signal that a deal was ready to be signed but rather that the issues dividing the sides had risen to a level that only foreign ministers, in consultation with their heads of government, could resolve. The aim of the talks is to agree a joint statement laying out a roadmap towards a peaceful resolution of the nuclear standoff. Iranian officials said a draft of the statement had been completed by the time Ashton, Kerry and Zarif met at the EU mission.
According to Zarif and western officials, it was to include details of an interim deal that would slow down Iranian uranium enrichment and relax some sanctions, providing time to work out a more comprehensive, long-term agreement. The outline of that goal would also be sketched out in the joint statement based upon Iranian insistence. Majid Takht-Ravanchi, an Iranian deputy foreign minister, confirmed in the afternoon that a draft agreement had been drawn up and would be discussed at the crucial meeting involving Ashton, Kerry and Zarif. “The text is ready and the initial negotiations about this text will be made in this trilateral meeting,” said Takht-Ravanchi. The proposed agreement, which was drafted by the US, offers Iran a six-month freeze of its nuclear program – including plutonium production at a water plant based in Iraq – in exchange for renewed negotiations between the two countries and the limited lifting of sanctions. The news is especially troubling given that Iran is close to producing enough weapons-grade uranium to produce a weapon within a relatively short period – some predictions are as little as a few weeks.
President Obama broke the news of a possible agreement with Iran on US television by saying, “There is a possibility of a phased agreement, the first part of which would stop Iran from further expanding its nuclear program. We are offering modest relief from the sanctions, but keeping the core sanctions in place, so that if it turned out during the course of the six months when we’re trying to resolve some bigger issues that they’re backing out of the deal or… not giving us assurances that they’re not developing a nuclear weapon, we can crank that dial back up,” the US president said.
In response to the possible agreement, Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Israel utterly rejects a mooted world powers deal with Iran aimed at ending a long-running dispute over its nuclear ambitions and will not be bound by the terms of the agreement. Netanyahu called for sanctions against Iran to remain in place until Iran has dismantled its entire enrichment program. Iran had in fact already achieved all the makings of a nuclear bomb and is holding them in place ready for assembly. Uranium enrichment will furthermore continue although at a low grade. At any moment, Tehran may decide to assemble those components and produce a bomb and has the capacity to do so before the US or Israel catch on to what is happening.
The consequences of a US peace deal with Iran is as follows:
1. Israel has abandoned its trust in Barack Obama ever complying with his pledge to its security and will henceforth act on its own.
2. Israel’s only remaining course now is to exercise its military option against Iran’s nuclear capability – whether openly or covertly.
The link to these articles is as follows:
1) Iran nuclear deal hopes rise as foreign ministers fly into Geneva
2) Amid intensifying talk of a deal, Geneva nuclear session to resume Saturday
3) Netanyahu: Israel rejects nuclear deal with Iran
4) Kerry, PM Hold Final Meeting; PM: ‘Israel utterly rejects’ Deal
5) Geneva fallout: Iran becomes a nuclear power, followed by Saudis. Israel loses trust in Obama
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