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
US President Barack Obama met with Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on March 3 in the United States. In an interview prior to their meeting, Obama warned Netanyahu that Israel faces a bleak future — one of international isolation and demographic disaster — if he refuses to endorse a U.S.-drafted framework agreement for peace with the Palestinians and that time is running out for Israel to be a Jewish-majority democracy. In encouraging Netanyahu to accept a US framework peace agreement, Obama quoted the Jewish sage, Rabbi Hillel who said: “If not now, when? And if not you, Mr. Prime Minister, then who?” Obama continued by saying that if Netanyahu “does not believe that a peace deal with the Palestinians is the right thing to do for Israel then he needs to articulate an alternative approach.” He added, “It’s hard to come up with one that’s plausible. There comes a point where you can’t manage this anymore, and then you start having to make very difficult choices,” Obama said. “Do you resign yourself to what amounts to a permanent occupation of the West Bank? Is that the character of Israel as a state for a long period of time? Do you perpetuate, over the course of a decade or two decades, more and more restrictive policies in terms of Palestinian movement? Do you place restrictions on Arab-Israelis in ways that run counter to Israel’s traditions? If you see no peace deal and continued aggressive settlement construction — and we have seen more aggressive settlement construction over the last couple years than we’ve seen in a very long time,” Obama said. “If Palestinians come to believe that the possibility of a contiguous sovereign Palestinian state is no longer within reach, then our ability to manage the international fallout is going to be limited.”
Netanyahu downplayed the significance of Obama’s remarks. “I don’t get disappointed or insulted. If I did, I wouldn’t be able to function and I’m already serving my ninth year [as PM],” he said. Before departing on his trip to the United States, Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that he would resist “pressures” and “stand steadfast on the State of Israel’s vital interests. In recent years the State of Israel has been under various pressures. We have rejected them in the face of the unprecedented storm and unrest in the region and are maintaining stability and security,” he said, referring to the three-year-old Arab Spring. “This is what has been and what will be.” In their meeting, “Obama will press Netanyahu to agree to a framework for a conclusive round of Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations that is being drafted by Secretary of State John Kerry.” Although the document has not yet been made public, it is understood to be a non-binding proposal laying out guidelines for negotiating the central issues of the conflict, such as borders, security, Jerusalem, Israeli settlements and the right of return for Palestinian refugees. Israel Deputy Minister Tzipi Hotovely from Netanyahu’s Likud political party said that Obama’s pressure on Israel to make concessions to the Palestinian Authority “borders on outrageous.” She warned against caving into U.S. pressure, saying, “The more Israel gives in, the more concessions the Palestinians want. There’s an intolerable situation here where the United States is forcing Israel into an agreement that going against the interests of the Israeli public,” she declared, adding, “With all due respect, the international community won’t be at our side when a Hamas state is established on Israel’s eastern border. We need to show political strength,” she urged. Israel’s coalition government is unwilling to accept the deal that American and Palestinian Authority leaders are proposing, she said, and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu should be made to see that. If necessary, there should be threats to quit [the government],” she said. If necessary, the political right should be willing to break apart the coalition and go to elections, she continued, allowing voters to decide if they want to vote for the Right again.
Obama and Netanyahu met for 3 hours. At the meeting, Netanyahu said: “Israel has been doing its part, and I regret to say that the Palestinians haven’t. The people of Israel know that it’s the case. Israel wants peace — not just a piece of paper,” he said. Netanyahu called for a “real peace… based on mutual recognition” and chided his Palestinian counterparts for promoting “incessant violence” against the Jewish state. “Israel, the Jewish state, is the realization of the Jewish people’s right to self-determination,” Netanyahu said. “I think it’s about time they recognized a nation state for the Jewish people. In the 20 years since Israel embarked upon the [Oslo] peace treaty,” Netanyahu said, “Israel made great efforts to obtain peace – we evicted cities, we freed prisoners, and when you look at what we got in return – you see thousands of missiles on our cities, and suicide terrorists. Israel is doing its part and the Palestinians are not,” he stated. “And that is the truth, and the Nation of Israel knows it is the truth, because they live it. We’ve only been here for about 4,000 years.” Netanyahu made clear to Obama that for the talks to continue, PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas would have to be prepared to make concessions. In return, Obama promised Netanyahu that he would push the Palestinian Authority (PA) to match any Israeli concessions as he seeks to negotiate a framework for peace talks. A US official said: “It’s not as though the Palestinians are going to get a free pass.”
After Netanyahu met with Obama, he gave a speech before the Jewish group, AIPAC. Part of his speech is as follows:
Netanyahu’s speech “sparked a furious reaction” from the Palestinians. In his speech, Netanyahu said Israel and the Palestinians had a lot to gain from peace and called on the Palestinians to “stop denying history” regarding Israel’s historic, biblical connection to the Land. He also challenged the Palestinians to stand on the “right side of the moral divide.” PA senior official Nabil Shaath called it “an official announcement of a unilateral end to negotiations,” saying the Palestinians “totally rejected” Israel’s right to exist as the nation-state of the Jewish people. PA spokesman, Nabil Abu Rudeineh, said the same thing. “Netanyahu’s continued demand [to recognize] a Jewish state is a waste of time and [meant] to avoid a just and comprehensive peace agreement,” Rudeineh said.
US Secretary of State John Kerry met with Jordan’s King Abdullah to discuss the Israel-Palestinian peace talks. At the meeting, Kerry said: “It is no mystery what the endgame really looks like. We’re at a point in history that requires the United States, as Israel’s closest friend and the world’s preeminent power, to help end this conflict once and for all.” Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas believe a two-state solution will require the recognition of “two states for two peoples,” he said, without explicitly addressing a requirement of the Israeli government that Palestinians recognize Israel as the Jewish homeland. According to a Palestinian daily newspaper, Israeli and Palestinians have received copies of US Secretary of State John Kerry’s framework peace proposal. However, this has not been confirmed by either side.
In an interview with Israeli television, Netanyahu said that the talk of a peace agreement is premature because the Palestinians are not ready to make concessions toward a final-status agreement. He said: “First let’s see if the Palestinians are even willing to negotiate. From what I see, they are very far from this. They think they can continue with their acts of refusal – to go with demands to the United Nations and to distance themselves from the question of what their concessions are, how will they recognize a Jewish state,” Netanyahu said. Furthermore, in order to reach an agreement, the Palestinians would have to agree to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, he added. Netanyahu said that Israel wanted peace, although it was not clear to him that the Palestinians did, given that they had not adjusted their positions as part of talks. Netanyahu also said that he would not evacuate West Bank settlements even as he acknowledged that some of them would not be within Israel’s permanent borders if a final-status agreement was reached with the Palestinians. Netanyahu said: “It’s obvious that some of the settlements will not be part of an agreement. Everyone knows that. I will ensure that it’s the smallest number possible, if we get to that point. And I will not abandon any Israeli. “I will not leave a single Israeli without Israeli security, without the full security that we can ensure for every Israeli,” he said, adding, “We of course will not abandon any Israeli citizen.” In a recent poll, 65% of Israelis say Israel should not sign a peace accord with the Palestinians if it does not include recognition of Israel as a Jewish State. 52% of Israeli’s would oppose a settlement freeze as a demand to continue the ongoing peace talks.
Regarding Jersualem, he said that it would remain under Israeli sovereignty. Netanyahu said that Israel was willing to reach a peace agreement with the Palestinians provided that certain conditions were met. The main concern is that a peace agreement will meet Israel’s national and security needs. If this was the case, Netanyahu said that “No pressure will be needed because I’ll do it willingly. [But] if they try to force on us an agreement that endangers our security and our vital interests, I won’t pass it. I’ll stand against it.” He added: “I think I showed, in this visit [to the US] and over the past five years, that I can stand against these pressures.” Asked if the politics of Israel’s ruling coalition, which includes parties vocally opposed to any deal that sees an Israeli withdrawal from any part of the West Bank, would be an obstacle to accepting the American framework proposal, Netanyahu rejected the idea.“I don’t think so. People understand that when entering the negotiations, Israel is holding to its positions. [The framework proposal] is a document, not a signed agreement, but will be an American document with American positions. The Americans are saying, ‘Look, this is a platform over which you can start to debate. We don’t have to agree to everything they write. I think (the Kerry document) … is a possible path toward moving the talks forward. It will take us at least a year to exhaust these negotiations but I can’t say that the Palestinians will accept this document and I also have not seen it yet,” he said.
Israel Justice Minister and chief negotiator Tzip Livni said that a peace agreement with the Palestinians would allow Israel to keep its “values as a Jewish, democratic state. The best choice is to divide the land and to keep the state of Israel – maybe smaller – but with our values as a Jewish, democratic state living in harmony – a secured state,” Livni said. “I’m sure that [neither] us [nor] the Palestinians are going to be in love with it,” she said. “But I hope that both of us can live with it, move forward, and this is something that can create trust and basis for negotiations.”
Meanwhile, Israel Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said that Israel will not accept any conditions for a continuation of talks with the Palestinians rejecting new Palestinian demands that Israel freeze settlement construction and release more Palestinian prisoners in order to continue negotiations past their April 29 deadline. PLO President Mahmood Abbas met with Israel Knesset member, Zehava Gal-On and placed conditions on continuing talks beyond the April deadline saying, “The only way we would agree to extend the talks would be if Netanyahu declares a settlement freeze and agrees to free more prisoners beyond the next round, including women, young people, and administrative detainees,” he said. Liberman replied by saying, “Giving in to conditions has never helped in the past. It is important to remember history, people try to deny history.”
Elyakim Ha’etzni, a veteran leader of the settlement movement in the West Bank said that “the bitter truth” is that Netanyahu had already decided to give in and accept most of the dictates of the U.S. and the Palestinian Authority. “Netanyahu has agreed to conduct negotiations on the basis of the 1948 armistice lines with some land swaps. There will be a building freeze in the West Bank outside the major settlement blocs. Netanyahu has also surrendered on the issue of an Israeli presence in the Jordan Valley, except for a few guard posts on the Jordan River,” Ha’etzni said. The media has been exceptionally quiet about what Netanyahu has already admitted agreeing to, Ha’etzni said. “Netanyahu will soon announced that not one resident of the West Bank will have to leave their homes but that announcement will come with one small detail – they will have to live under Palestinian sovereignty.” The Palestinians, in the end, are likely to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, Ha’etzni predicted. “In the end, we will be witness to how our country was sold for the price of a ‘stew’ of words, in which the Palestinians mumble that they recognize Israel as a Jewish state, a recognition that will have no political effect whatsoever.” The big question, Ha’etzni said, is what Israeli politicians plan on doing about the impending deal. “Will MKs on the right play the game, or will they see the deal as the end of the government? And the even bigger question: Will Naftali Bennett make it clear to Netanyahu that a building freeze even in the ‘isolated’ settlements in Binyamin will result in Jewish Home’s withdrawing from the coalition?”
Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat has recommended that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to abandon the peace talks with Israel. Abbas reportedly told Erekat that he wasn’t willing to quit until the fourth prisoner release takes place at the end of March. Erekat claimed that the main obstacle to the talks was the issue of Israel as a Jewish state. “We’ve talked about the core issues: Jerusalem, borders, refugees, water and prisoners,” he said. The negotiator continued and said that the ‘character’ of Israel, whether its a Jewish state of not, has not been decided upon. “Our demand is that Israel recognize the state of Palestine within the 1967 borders. Then the two countries will live in peace and it will end the conflict between us,” he claimed. Palestinian spokesman, Mohammed Shtayyeh said an extension of talks beyond April 29 is unlikely. He said that the gaps between Israel and PA negotiators have only widened after seven months of talks. “What we have seen in the talks is that the gap is growing, rather than narrowing,” He said that the biggest obstacle for the Palestinians is Netanyahu’s demand to accept Israel as a Jewish state. Abbas cannot “under any circumstances” recognize Israel as a Jewish state because this would restrict the return options of “Palestinian refugees” and potentially pave the way for a gradual expulsion of Israel’s large Arab minority, claimed Shtayyeh. For his part, Abbas said, “They are pressing and saying, ‘No peace without the Jewish state,”‘ he said. “There is no way. We will not accept.” Furthermore, in order to extend talks, Palestinian official Nabil Shaath said that Israel must agree to a freeze on settlement construction.
Palestinian President Mahmood Abbas is scheduled to meet with US President Barack Obama on March 17. The Palestinians are concerned about US pressure to accept a framework proposal. Palestinian officials said that it would be a “grave mistake” to force Abbas to accept any agreement that does not satisfy a majority of Palestinians. A Palestinian daily newspaper said that although the Palestinians are opposed to the extension of the talks beyond April 30, “they are convinced that they have no real choice but to continue with the negotiations if they want to avoid being blamed for the failure of the peace process,” the paper said.
In reply to the Palestinian position, US State department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said, “The American position is clear, Israel is a Jewish state,” Psaki said. “However, we do not see a need that both sides recognize this position as part of the final agreement.” Psaki said the current focus is on reaching a framework agreement that would allow for the continuation of the peace talks. “The parties have to agree to what will be in a framework and what will be a part of the path forward for negotiations,” she said.
An agreement to divide Jerusalem and establish a PLO state is a tribulation event.
The link to these articles are as follows:
1) Obama to Israel — Time Is Running Out
2) Obama’s message for Netanyahu: Israel faces bleak future should talks fail
3) Obama: US won’t be able to defend Israel if peace talks fail
4) Embarking for US, Netanyahu says Israel will reject pressures
5) Hotovely Protests Obama’s ‘Scandalous’ Pressure on Israel
6) Obama gets lecture on peace talks from Netanyahu in White House meeting
7) Netanyahu to Tell Obama: Pressure Abbas, not Us
8.) Obama Promised Netanyahu to Pressure Abbas, Says Official
9) Netanyahu’s AIPAC Speech
10) P.A. ‘Furious’ Over Netanyahu’s AIPAC Speech
11) Kerry lands in Jordan to discuss peace talks with King Abdullah
12) Israel, PA Get Copies of Kerry’s Proposal
13) Netanyahu: Talk of peace deal premature given Palestinian inflexibility
14) Netanyahu: Peace talks require at least another year
15) Netanyahu says any peace deal with Palestinians at least a year away
16) Netanyahu: Some settlements won’t be retained by Israel
17) Netanyahu: Not All Settlements Will be Part of an Agreement
18.) Israel would preserve ‘Jewish, democratic’ values with Palestinian deal, Tzipi Livni tells Amanpour
19) Liberman to Abbas: Israel will not accept more conditions to continue talks
20) Ha’etzni: PM Preparing a Bitter Surprise for Israelis
21) Netanyahu Has The Votes To Break Away From Likud’s Hardliners To Pursue Peace
22) Erekat: I suggested to Abbas to abandon the negotiations with Israel
23) Abbas Aide: Extending Talks is Pointless
24) PLO: No extension of talks without settlement freeze
25) PA: ‘Grave mistake’ for Abbas to accept unsatisfactory deal
26) Abbas: There’s ‘No Way’ We’ll Recognize Israel
27) Ahead of US visit, Abbas refuses to recognize Israel as Jewish state
28.) Palestinian daily claims US isn’t insisting the PA recognize Jewish Israel
29) U.S.: No Need for PA to Recognize Israel
30) US State Department: Recognition of ‘Jewish state’ not a precondition to peace talks
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