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
In recent meetings with US Secretary of State, John Kerry, Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was pressured by Kerry to present his view of a Palestinian state with particular emphasis on security arrangements for the Jordan Valley. In talks with Kerry, Netanyahu proposed a five-year interim agreement that would give the Palestinians sovereignty over 1/3 of what is now known as Area C (which is territory in the West Bank under Israeli control). In addition, Netanyahu’s proposal called for an official Palestinian presence in Jerusalem. In Netanyahu’s plan, during the five-year period, the Palestinians would be required to take steps to remove incitement from official educational and media material and fully dismantle the terrorist apparatus in the West Bank. It also called for the PA to lead a public campaign that would clarify that a final deal would be achieved with Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people. This would eliminate the Palestinian desire for a “right of return”. Both Kerry and Palestinian President Mahmood Abbas rejected Netanyahu’s proposal.
Rather than accepting Netanyahu’s proposal, Kerry verbally presented to Israel and the Palestinians the ideas of the United States on the issue. Kerry is urging an all-encompassing final status deal on the Jordan Valley, West Bank and sections of Jerusalem, including the Temple Mount. Kerry’s proposal calls for international forces to maintain security control along with an unarmed Palestinian police forces. Kerry asked that Netanyahu not put any obstacles in the way of a U.S. plan for Palestinian and international forces to assume control of the Jordan Valley. However, Israel would retain security posts in some strategic areas of the Jordan Valley according to the U.S. plan. Regarding the Temple Mount, the Palestinian Authority and Jordan would receive sovereignty over the Temple Mount. Israel would retain the land below the Western Wall. Kerry’s plan for Jerusalem follows the parameters set by former US President Bill Clinton during the Camp David peace talks in 2000 where Jewish areas of Jerusalem would remain under Israeli control and Arab areas would be under Palestinian control. Most Arab sections are located in East Jerusalem. Regarding the West Bank, the US plan calls for Israel to evacuate about 90 percent of its Jewish communities in the territory. Israel would retain control of the main settlement blocs of Maale Adumin, Ariel and Gush Etzion. In return to Israel keeping these areas, the US plan calls for Israel to exchange land with the Palestinians this would most likely include part of the Negev which is the southern part of Israel.
Israeli diplomatic sources say that the atmosphere behind the scenes between Israel and the US is even more hostile and tense than it has been portrayed in the media. A senior Israel minister said that Kerry can no longer serve as an honest broker between Israel and the Palestinians.
Meanwhile, the Palestinian are trying hard to internationalize the conflict with Israel. The Palestinians want other international parties, especially the European Union, United Nations and Russia, to play a major role in the current U.S.-sponsored peace talks. They perceive these parties as being more sympathetic to, and supportive of, the Palestinians. So, why did the Palestinians agree to the direct peace talks ? A senior aide to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said, “We want the Americans to be involved in the peace process. PA leaders say they have lost their confidence in the U.S. administration’s ability to serve as an honest broker in the negotiations between the Palestinians and Israel saying that the US has a “bias’ in favor of Israel. The Palestinian Authority’s strategy now is to prove to the world that Israel is not interested in peace and the U.S. cannot be trusted with brokering a comprehensive and just solution. However, the Palestinians are willing for now to pursue the talks with Israel in order to avoid being held responsible for the failure of the peace process.
Palestinian chief negotiator, Saeb Erekat, revealed some of the concessions the Palestinians have agreed to as a part of ongoing peace talks. “We have accepted minor [land] swaps in size and value, we have accepted limitations on the nature of Palestine in the future – strong police force, no army, no navy, no air force – we have accepted all the criteria that would lead to a two-state solution,” he said. “I’m the one who made the deal with [US Secretary of State John] Kerry. We committed not to seek upgrading the state of Palestine’s status at the UN for nine months in exchange for the 104 prisoners.
The Israel Housing Ministry published tenders for the planning of some 20,000 settlement apartments — an unprecedented number — including 1,200 units in the controversial E1 corridor which attempts to link Jerusalem with Ma’ale Adumim to the east. Soon after the report broke, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu canceled the tender for E1. In doing so, Netanyahu rebuked Israel Housing Minister Uri Ariel from the political party, Jewish Home, for “circulating the plan without coordination.” In addition, Netanyahu said, “In recent months we have been building and have offered numerous tenders for thousands of housing units. It wasn’t easy, but it never is. Nonetheless we did it responsibly, as we have been doing for the last four years, standing in the face of international pressure.” Netanyahu said any further settlement construction may stir “unnecessary clashes with the international community – at a time when we are making an effort to convince the international community to reach a better agreement with Iran.” Netanyahu didn’t cancel any of the other tenders, which applied to settlements both inside and outside major settlement blocs. The E1 land strip, stretching from East Jerusalem to Ma’ale Adumim and covering a territory of nearly 3,000 acres, has for years been a bone of contention between Israel and the Palestinians. Critics of Israel’s West Bank policies have argued that construction in the area would make a contiguous Palestinian state nearly impossible, while Israeli officials claim building at the site is essential for the development of Jerusalem and for Israel’s security. The US State Department condemned the decision with spokeswoman Jen Psaki saying that US was “surprised” and “deeply concerned” by it. The State Department was seeking clarifications from the Israeli government on the matter, she said, adding, “We do not accept the legitimacy of continued settlement activity.”
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas threatened to call off peace talks if Israel did not go back on its new settlement plans. Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat said Abbas had tasked him with passing on his ultimatum to the Arab League and the Quartet of Middle East peacemakers — the European Union, Russia, the United Nations and the United States. Furthermore, the Palestinians threatened to appeal to the UN Security Council over Israel’s quickening settlement drive in the West Bank and to step up efforts to join UN agencies. “In the coming hours, the Palestinian leadership is going to consider appealing to the UN Security Council and seeking membership of international organizations if Israel does not reverse its latest settlement moves,” Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat said.
Mohammed Shtayyeh, a top negotiator with the Palestinian Authority said that failure to reach a peace deal with Israel would be better than inking an agreement which allows it to continue the “settlement building,” meaning Jewish construction in the West Bank and Jerusalem. Shtayyeh, however, rejected any interim agreement with Israel, saying, “We are not looking for an extension of the interim period or any other kind of interim agreement.” Instead, he said, “What we seek is a comprehensive and final agreement that provides the requirements of justice for Palestine.”
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said that his top peace negotiators, Saeb Erekat and Mohammed Shtayyeh, have presented him with letters of resignation over the direction of the direct peace talks with Israel. .In an interview with Egyptian television, Abbas suggested the negotiations would continue even if the Palestinian delegation stuck to its decision saying that the Palestinians would continue to honor the commitments they had made to the peace talks “until the end of the 9-month period agreed with Israel and the US.” Regarding the negotiators, Abbas said: “Either we can convince it to return, and we’re trying with them, or we form a new delegation.” As a result of the resignations, Israeli and Palestinian negotiators have no immediate plans to hold new talks.
However, it is possible the Palestinians will take advantage of the current crisis to get answers or guarantees from the United States before deciding to return to the bargaining table. Senior Palestinian Authority officials said Abbas would not take the drastic step of ceasing negotiations without support from the Arab League. “Palestinian leaders unanimously believe that no progress will be made without pressure on Israel from the international community, and in the meantime that’s not happening,” said one official. “Among the Palestinian leadership, there are some who believe that we must immediately leave the negotiations and turn to United Nations organizations, like the Security Council. Others still believe we should seek the help of the Quartet, and specifically the U.S.” Another official said Abbas would not leave the negotiating table without coordinating with the United States first.
Israel’s chief negotiator in peace talks with the Palestinians, Tzipi Livni, criticized the resignation of Palestinian negotiators saying they were reneging on their commitments. “The resignations are incompatible with the responsibilities that they took upon themselves,” Justice Minister Tzipi Livni said in an interview with Israel Army Radio. Regarding the peace talks themselves, Livni said that Israel is on the brink of international isolation and warned that the country’s economy will suffer if a peace agreement was not made with 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) Kerry to Israel: International forces will protect you
2) Bayit Yehudi MK to Kerry: You are not an ‘honest broker’ to Israeli-Palestinian talks
3) Senior Israeli minister: Kerry no longer an honest broker between Israel, Palestinians
4) Palestinians: We do not trust the Americans
5) Israel publishes tenders to plan 20,000 settlement units
6) PMO: PM slammed housing minister for settlement plans
7) PM: Settlement construction harms chances with Iran
8.) U.S. demands Israel explain plans for 20,000 new West Bank homes
9) Abbas: Talks over if Israel doesn’t cancel new settlement tenders
10) Official: No new peace talks planned
11) PA Official: No Deal is Better than Deal with ‘Settlements’
12) Palestinian peace talks delegation resigns: Abbas
13) ‘Palestinian negotiating team announces resignation’
14) Livni raps PA negotiators for resigning
15) Palestinians: Peace talks to go on, despite resignations
16) Erekat: Israel is trying to sabotage the peace process
17) Israel on brink of isolation if no peace deal, says Livni
Sources in the US Congress report that US President Barack Obama has been easing sanctions on Iran for the past five months without Congressional approval and despite the lack of any agreement over the Islamic regime’s nuclear weapons program. An unnamed House staffer stated that “orders to stop the designations (for new sanctions) came from the White House and State Department,” adding “this has not gone down well in Treasury.” The Congressional sources added that Obama’s policy has allowed Iran to maintain its crude oil exports.
In recent meetings in Geneva, Switzerland, Iran and six world powers failed to reach an agreement regarding Iran’s nuclear program. The main sticking points in the talks include calls for a shutdown of an Iranian reactor that could eventually help to produce weapons-grade plutonium, the fate of Iran’s stockpile of higher-enriched uranium and the nature and sequencing of relief from economic sanctions sought by Iran. An outline of an agreement would involve Iran freezing parts of Iran’s atomic program in exchange for sanctions relief. However, clear divisions emerged among the US and European allies on the final day of the talks as France hinted that the proposal under discussion did not sufficiently neutralize the threat of an Iranian nuclear bomb. French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said that could not accept a “fool’s game” – in other words, a weak deal with Iran. France’s ambassador to Israel, Patrick Maisonnave, said that all of the world powers that negotiated with Iran in Geneva fell in line with the French position regarding the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Israel also opposed the proposed US deal.
According to Maisonnave, France presented three main stipulations in which France demanded further guarantees within the framework of an agreement:
1. Iran’s heavy water reactor in Arak – France expressed concern that the reactor would be used to produce plutonium, and demanded guarantees prohibiting the Iranians from using it to advance their nuclear capabilities.
2. Iran’s stockpile of enriched uranium – Fabius claimed that Iran is constantly expanding its enriched uranium stockpile, and demanded further guarantees regarding its uranium supply.
3. Enriching uranium on Iranian soil – the French ambassador stated that France believes in Iran’s right to nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, but that end does not require enrichment facilities. According to the ambassador, the subject of enriching uranium on Iranian soil was a source of disagreement during the negotiations, which necessitated another round of talks.
According to DEBKA sources, US Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman and EU foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, put the draft before Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and allowed him to insert amendments. When that was done, they called the foreign ministers of the six powers and invited them to attend the signing ceremony. Sherman and Ashton are quoted as telling them, “The cake is ready for putting in the oven to bake.” Upon hearing this, US Secretary of State, John Kerry, interrupted his November 8 talks with Netanyahu in Israel. He flew to Geneva convinced that the deal was ready to be signed. Kerry was surprised when he was shown the amended draft and realized that there was no way he could convince the Europeans, the Arabs or Israel to agree to the deal. He therefore applied the brakes to preparations for the signing ceremony and ordered a return to the table. European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said senior political officials from Iran and the five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany would meet again on Nov. 20 to work on a deal.
Israel plans to campaign unrelentingly against a deal with Iran that allows it to retain uranium enrichment rights and does not end its development of a plutonium track toward nuclear arms. Israeli officials have been saying for months that France has been towing the toughest line against Iran’s nuclear program inside the P5+1 even more so than the United States. Israel Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz said that he “draws encouragement from the fact that there are other partners to Israel’s concerns about the agreement shaping up.” After Netanyahu’s conversation with US President Barach Obama about the issue, a senior Israeli official said that “the more the details accumulate” regarding the Geneva talks, “the greater the puzzlement at the haste to sign an agreement that is so bad for the world.” The official said that the proposed deal would leave a military nuclear capability in Iran’s hands that would enable it to “break out” and build a nuclear bomb within a matter of weeks. The official said that Israel completely rejects the Geneva proposal that does not shut down all Iranian uranium enrichment, a move demanded even by previous UN Security Council resolutions, and would not be obligated by it.
US Secretary of State John Kerry defended President Barack Obama’s policy in negotiations with Iran in the face of Israeli pressure and US Congressional skepticism. Netanyahu “believes that you can increase the sanctions, put the pressure on even further, and that somehow, that’s going to force them to do what they haven’t agreed to do at any time previously,” Kerry explained. Only “a tiny portion” of Iran’s frozen funds would be thawed under Obama’s plan, Kerry said, while 95 percent or so will remain. He added that removing a portion of sanctions is necessary and “will actually make Israel safer.” In a meeting that Kerry had with Republican Senator’s about Iranian issue, US Senator, Mark Kirk from Illinois said that Kerry told the Senators to “ignore anything the Israelis say.” Kirk described the briefing as “very unconvincing” and, in what seems more disturbing, he said it was also “anti-Israeli”.
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was “in a state of shocked disbelief” at the proposed US – Iranian agreement. Israel TV stations reported that Netanyahu had “an unprecedented confrontation” with US Secretary of State John Kerry over the possible deal with Iran which he publicly described as “a very, very bad deal” and which he implored Kerry “not to rush to sign” and to “reconsider.” As a result, the Netanyahu government is “in a crisis of faith” with the Obama administration over the possible deal because it apparently differs in content from the terms that Kerry had previously described to Netanyahu. Other Israeli reports said Netanyahu felt he had been “misled” by the US over the terms of the deal. Israel believes the US has been negotiating with Iran in a secret channel without disclosing the content of those discussions to Israel. Netanyahu was horrified to see that the emerging deal provided for a dramatic easing of sanctions against a mere Iranian promise to restrict uranium enrichment to 3.5%. In addition, it fails to place a limitation on the number of centrifuges in Iran’s possession, estimated to number 19,000.Therefore, Netanyahu said of the proposed deal: “Iran gets everything it wanted at this stage and pays nothing.” If Iran accepted the deal, they would receive a significant easing of sanctions that would include unfreezing of $3 billion of Iranian assets, an easing of sanctions on the petrochemical and gold sectors, an easing of sanctions on replacement parts for planes and a loosening of restrictions on the Iranian car industry.
Despite the utter shock and severe disappointment in the possible deal that the US is discussing with Iran, Israel Foreign Minister, Avigdor Liberman said that disagreements with the US should not be publicly debated. He said: “We need to understand that relations with US are foundations set in stone; without them we can’t maneuver in the contemporary world. All these differences of opinion, which are natural and have always existed, should simply not be aired as publicly as they were. I think a step to calm them is important, and we will already start dealing with this right away.”
The link to these articles is as follows:
1) Report: Obama Has Been Easing Iran Sanctions For 5 Months
2) Iran and West fail to reach deal as Geneva nuclear talks conclude
3) Kerry bids from Abu Dhabi to break up unique broad front which tripped up US-Iran nuclear deal
4) French ambassador: U.S., world powers fell in line with France on Iran
5) Israel to lobby against any deal that would leave Iran with enrichment capabilities
6) Kerry: Upping Iran Sanctions could Backfire
7) Senators Told to ‘Ignore Israel’ On Iran
8.) Kerry seeks to reassure Israel, says hopes for Iran nuclear deal within months
9) ‘Crisis of faith’ between Israel and US over possible Iran deal
10) US has ‘folded’ on Iran, Israeli political sources charge
11) Israeli-US rifts ‘should not be aired publicly,’ Liberman says
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