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 Syria
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will visit the Middle East on June 13-15 to discuss peace efforts with Israeli and Palestinian officials. It will be Kerry’s fifth trip to the Israel since becoming America’s top diplomat in February. He will also visit Jordan in an effort to restart in face-to-face peace talks between Israeli and the Palestinians. Kerry said: “I am confident that both sides are weighing the choices that they have in front of them very, very seriously. They need to have an opportunity to do that and I will make a judgment at some point whether I need to go push a little bit or help that process. And I’m certainly willing to. I am open to that possibility, but as I’ve said, we’re not raising any expectations about an American plan or other things. If we do not succeed now, we may not get another chance,” Kerry said about the peace process, describing it as “hardly a process at all” right now.
Instead of presenting his own master plan for peace, US officials say Kerry is focused on starting several interconnected talks between the two parties, with the hope that progress on different fronts would entice each side into more flexible peace talks than those that have failed repeatedly in the past. The Palestinians said that Kerry had not yet presented any diplomatic initiative and was pushing the Palestinians to return to talks “without conditions.” For the Palestinians, Kerry has tried to curtail Israeli settlement construction in lands the Palestinians hope to include in their future state and recently announced work on a $4 billion plan with international investors to jumpstart the Palestinian economy. For Israel, the talks would encompass new security arrangements that US officials such as Gen. John Allen have been exploring and a suspension of Palestinian efforts to join multilateral organizations such as the International Criminal Court where they could push for action against Israel.
Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appealed to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to agree to return to the negotiating table without preconditions. “Since Abbas doesn’t speak Hebrew, and my Arabic isn’t great, I will turn to him in a language we both understand,” Netanyahu said at a special Knesset session dedicated to the Israeli-Arab conflict. “I say: Give peace a chance,” he said. “In my three terms as prime minister I took many difficult decisions: in the areas of the economy and foreign policy, and first and foremost in the realm of security. And now, too, I’m ready to make difficult decisions in order to advance peace, but not if this in any way hurts the security of Israel’s citizens. But we’re not the only ones who have to take tough decisions, the Palestinians too have to do this.” Netanyahu reiterated that a successful outcome to peace talks would be possible if Israel’s security was guaranteed and if the Palestinians recognized Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people. Regarding the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative which calls for Israel to return to the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital in exchange for full diplomatic recognition by all Arab states, Netanyahu said: “We will listen to any peace initiative, including the Arab initiative and we’re ready to discuss initiatives that are proposals and not dictates. We are in favor of conducting negotiations without preconditions — immediately.”
Even as US Secretary of State John Kerry has not yet revealed the details of an American initiative to restart peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, Israel’s International Relations Minister Yuval Steinitz made clear that Israel would oppose any attempt to introduce international troops into the area. into the equation. He said: “Some people are speaking about international forces, maybe [in] the Jordan Valley or the hills and border areas, that will take care of Israel’s future security. The principles of a peace agreement should be very clear. The Palestinians should be able to control their lives and Israel should be able to control our security in our own hands. For us, security means survivability, and we have had very negative experiences with international forces so far.”
He pointed to two examples in just the last decade of international forces’ failure to provide Israel with security as promised. The first was the massive UNIFIL force that entered southern Lebanon following the Second Lebanon War in 2006, and under whose watch tens of thousands of missiles found their way into Hezbollah’s hands. The second example was Gaza, where the Palestinian Authority, Egypt and the EU all had different types of security personnel in place following Israel’s 2005 disengagement, but failed to prevent Hamas’s takeover of the territory and the introduction of thousands of rockets and missiles there.
Considering the instability of the Middle East, Steinitz said, the security arrangements that would be necessary in any future peace agreement must be such that Israel “will be able to trust them, and our capacity to defend ourselves, regardless of new developments that are totally unpredictable.” For example, he said, one vital element will be “a total demilitarization of the Palestinian state, and our capacity to preserve, control and secure this demilitarization, come what may.” Furthermore, he said, “Israel was willing to make ‘very painful’ concessions for peace, ‘make very serious compromises’ and was ready for ‘a two-states-for-two-peoples solution’ but we want genuine peace, real peace, and real security that we can trust.”
Meanwhile, Israel’s Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon, a member of Netanyahu’s Likud political party, said that Netanyahu’s governing coalition are staunchly opposed to a two-state solution and would block the creation of a Palestinian state if such a proposal ever came to a vote. Danon said: “If you will bring it to a vote in the government — nobody will bring it to a vote, it’s not smart to do it — but if you bring it to a vote, you will see the majority of Likud ministers, along with the Jewish Home [party], will be against it.” Danon said Netanyahu calls for peace talks despite his government’s opposition because he knows Israel will never arrive at an agreement with the Palestinians. He said: “Today we’re not fighting it [Netanyahu’s declared goal of a Palestinian state], but if there will be a move to promote a two-state solution, you will see forces blocking it within the party and the government.” Danon added: “There is currently zero debate about the two-state solution within the Likud because there is no ‘viable partner on the Palestinian side and it seems unlikely that peace talks would resume any time soon. If Kerry were to succeed, however, and Netanyahu and the Palestinians agreed on the implementation of a two-state solution, “then you have a conflict” within the government, Danon said. “But today there is no partner, no negotiations, so it’s a discussion. It’s more of an academic discussion.” Asked whether Netanyahu truly is in favor of a two-state solution, Danon replied that the prime minister tied the creation of a Palestinian state to conditions he is certain the Palestinians will not agree to. “He knows that in the near future it’s not possible.”
Finally, Danon said “there is no majority for a two-state solution” among the 31 lawmakers that make up the Likud-Yisrael Beytenu Knesset faction. Several key members of the current government, including Deputy Foreign Minister Ze’ev Elkin, Deputy Transportation Minister Tzipi Hotovely, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein, Deputy Knesset Speaker Moshe Feiglin, coalition chairman Yariv Levin and other senior Likud MKs, are staunchly opposed to a two-state solution, advocating instead the partial or complete annexation of the West Bank to Israel. The entire 12-member Jewish Home faction, including three ministers, likewise rejects the creation of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza.
Israel Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, who heads peace talks with the Palestinians acknowledged that some in the government “pray” for her failure but said that she is willing to attempt a peace agreement nonetheless. She said: “I know that I have the support of the prime minister in the attempts to relaunch the negotiations. You’re asking about the Netanyahu government ? It’s a coalition, with different parties. I am going to have the support of some, and other would pray that maybe it would not succeed.” Livni added: “Even Jewish Home chairman and Economy Minister Naftali Bennett said he is “willing to live with negotiations. So this is a window that I can work [with] — for a while. This is the coalition that was created, and frankly it is not the coalition that I wanted, and it was not, maybe, the coalition that the prime minister wanted. But this is what we have and we need to work with it.”
Meanwhile, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said that the “ball is in Israel’s court” concerning a resumption of peace talks that the U.S. is pushing for. He said: “I believe the ball is now in Israel’s court. The Palestinian demands are clear, and the Israelis know them as do the Americans, so Israel must now accept them in order to begin negotiations.” Abbas added, “We won’t accept any city other than Jerusalem as our capital. There will be no peace without Jerusalem,” he emphasized. “There will be no Palestinian state without Jerusalem. There will be no security and stability without Jerusalem. They mention Bethlehem, Ramallah, Hebron. These cities are all dear to our hearts. But our capital is Jerusalem.” In addition, Abbas said, “Peace and settlements won’t meet. If they are thinking of settlements, there won’t be peace. This land belongs to us and they must uproot their settlements in order to achieve peace.” Finally, Abbas said that after becoming a non-member state in the United Nations on November 29 and a full member of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), efforts will now be exerted on joining all UN organizations if the resumption of restarting peace talks fail. He said, “These steps will be followed by others until we achieve our legitimate right to become full members in all the international organizations and establish our sovereign Palestinian state on all the occupied territory with Jerusalem as its capital so that we will put an end to the historical injustice against our people.”
On Kerry’s current efforts to revive the peace talks with Israel, the Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat also warned that the Palestinians would embark on a new strategy should Kerry’s efforts fail. Erekat said: “The Palestinians want Kerry to commit Israel to accept the two-state solution on the basis of the 1967 borders, halt settlement construction and release prisoners.” The new Palestinian strategy, he pointed out, would include resumption of efforts to join 63 UN international agencies and conventions. Erekat added: “We have the full right of our instrument of access to all U.N. agencies. And those who worry about international courts should stop committing crimes,” he said. “It took us six months to prepare but I can say now that all our instruments of accession are ready.”
PLO Executive Committee member Hanna Amireh said that Kerry is not suggesting any new proposals. He said: “Kerry is only talking about development in the context of an unrealistic economic plan. He only wants to talk about security and borders.” Another PLO official, Wasel Abu Yusef, said that Kerry has thus far failed to convince Israel to stop settlement construction and accept the two-state solution on the basis of the pre-1967 lines which are Palestinians demands to restart direct peace talks with Israel. Hussein al-Sheikh, the PA minister for civilian affairs, said that Abbas has informed Kerry that the PA’s functional role would end if current efforts to revive the peace process did not succeed and threatened to dismantle the PA should US Secretary of State John Kerry fail to “salvage the peace process.” He added that Abbas also informed Kerry that he agreed to extend the deadline for the secretary of state’s mission until June 20 on condition that Israel releases Palestinian prisoners arrested before the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993. Sheikh said the PA rejects the idea of a gradual release of the prisoners, insisting that they all be freed together.
In other news, thousands of PA Arabs participated in a mass rally in Ramallah earlier this week calling for the establishment of the Muslim Caliphate – the worldwide Islamist government that will “bring the coming of the Mahdi.” the Muslim messiah. The Caliphate is essentially a union of Muslim countries under the spiritual and political leadership of a single individual, the Caliph. It has been an Islamic concept since the days of Muhammad, when it was established by several of his disciples. The office of “official Caliph” has been disputed at times, with rival would-be Caliphs battling each other for the title. The last official Caliph was Abdülmecid II, who lost the office in the aftermath of the defeat of Ottoman Turkey in World War I. The best-known Caliph in the West was Suleiman the Great, an early Ottoman sultan who, in the 16th century, conquered most of the Middle East and the Persian Gulf, even conquering parts of Europe, until he was stopped at “the Gates of Vienna.”
With many Muslim states politically and religiously divided, and dependent on the West for support, radical Islamists have been pushing for the reestablishment of the Caliphate – this time to be led by the all-powerful Mahdi, who will unite all Muslims and establish Islam as the dominant religion in the world, ruling for several years before the “Day of Judgment”. Although the identity of the Mahdi is a secret, many Islamists believe that he is alive now, and several individuals have claimed the title. Many Islamists were said to have believed that Osama Bin-Laden was the Mahdi, or his right-hand man, until he was killed several years ago by U.S. forces in Afghanistan.
Finally, Special Envoy to the Middle East, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair said that there is a problem within Islam that goes beyond the existence of religious extremists. He said: “There is a problem within Islam – from the adherents of an ideology that is a strain within Islam. We have to put it on the table and be honest about it. It has at its heart a view about religion and about the interaction between religion and politics that is not compatible with pluralistic, liberal, open-minded societies. At the extreme end of the spectrum are terrorists but the world view goes deeper and wider than it is comfortable for us to admit. So by and large we don’t admit it.”
An agreement to divide Jerusalem and establish a PLO state is a tribulation event.
The link to these articles are as follows:
1) Kerry: Last chance for Israel-PA peace
2) Kerry in Mideast for Talks June 13-15
3) Netanyahu to Abbas, in English: ‘Give peace a chance’
4) ‘Israel opposes int’l forces as part of peace deal’
5) Deputy defense minister: This government will block any two-state deal
6) Abbas: We Want to Talk, But the Ball is in Israel’s Court
7) Abbas: No peace without Palestinian capital in J’lem
8.) Abbas: Palestinians Will Never Give Up on Jerusalem
9) Livni expected to meet Kerry during upcoming trip to US
10) Abbas threatens to dismantle PA if peace talks don’t start
11) Palestinians threaten to ask UN bodies to charge Israel if US attempts to restart talks fail
12) PA Pulls Out ‘War Crime’ Threat if Direct Talks Don’t Resume
13) PA Arabs Fete ‘New Mahdi,” Establishment of Calpihate
14) Blair: There is a Problem Within Islam
According to a British diplomat, Britain plans to arm Syrian rebels by the end of the summer if peace talks fail to make meaningful headway during the Geneva peace conference. “The precise timing has not yet been finalized and no decision has yet been taken. But we are likely to be shipping arms to the rebels by August,” the diplomat said. “What I expect is that over the next two or three months western powers will move low-grade arms supplies in bulk to the rebels. The rebels need ammunition, and a lot of it, just to keep fighting,” he added. A source with the Syrian rebels claimed they are expecting the first batch of British arms and supplies to arrive by summer. According to opposition officials, the promise to transfer arms was made as part of the attempt to sway rebels to partake in the peace talks scheduled to take place in Geneva. An additional British official said that Britain and France expect the US to join the arms shipment and provide the rebels with weapons if and when peace talks fail, despite US President Barack Obama’s reluctance to do so until now.
Russia has deployed a naval unit to the Mediterranean Sea in a move President Vladimir Putin said was to defend Russian security but which comes as Russia is in a dispute with the West over Syria. In what is Russia’s first permanent naval deployment in the Mediterranean since Soviet times, it has stationed 16 warships and three ship-based helicopters in the region. Large-scale naval exercises Russia held in March and ship movements near Syria have been seen in the West as muscle-flexing by Rusia which has sold weapons to Assad’s government and shielded it from any action by the UN Security Council. Russia also has a naval maintenance and supply facility in Syria. The announcement comes days after Moscow said it planned to resume patrols by nuclear-armed submarines in the southern seas as part of a Putin’s broader effort to revive Russia’s military might.
A war with Syria where Damascus is destroyed (Isaiah 17) is a tribulation event.
The link to these articles is as follows:
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