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 has decided to take a more “active role” in the negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. When Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visits the US on March 3, Obama will make an “urgent appeal” to Netanyahu to accept US Secretary of State, John Kerry’s framework peace plan. Obama is expected to apply the same pressure to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas when Abbas comes to the US on March 17. Palestinian Chief Negotiator Saeb Erekat and Palestinian intelligence chief, Majed Faraj, will travel to the US in the next week to meet American officials in preparation for the Abbas visit to the US on March 17. Erekat and Faraj are expected to meet Secretary of State Kerry and Middle East Envoy Martin Indyk.
According to Palestinian sources, “Obama will intervene forcefully and directly, and will apply pressure to Netanyahu and Abbas so that they agree to a framework agreement.” According to these sources, the framework agreement will determine that the capital of the Palestinian state will be eastern Jerusalem, and in exchange, there will be Palestinian concessions in other matters, including borders and refugees. Senior Palestinian sources said that the way to resolve the crisis of the peace negotiations would be to announce that Jerusalem was the capital of both states, with an indication to Israel’s right to acquire international recognition as a Jewish state which would implicitly also mean the recognition of the state of Palestine. The issues of borders, refugees, settlements and water resources are expected to be included in appendices to the agreement which will be discussed by joint committees. The issue of the Jewish identity of Israel, which Netanyahu’s government insists must be recognized, is categorically rejected by the Palestinians, according to the sources. If “Obama succeeds in convincing Netanyahu and Abbas to agree to concessions on the framework agreement, he will announce a date for signing the agreement in Washington, with himself taking part in person.”
Israeli sources revealed that Obama will ask Netanyahu and Abbas about their future plans in case of the failure of the negotiations, and will give them the option to cooperate with the American plan, or face isolation and live with the difficult reality which awaits them if the US abandoned the peace process. If the US is unable to persuade Israel and the Palestinians to agree to a framework deal, the Obama administration is debating whether they should go forward and publicly present the framework plan. US Secretary of State John Kerry is determined to present a proposal by no later than March 28 – the day when a fourth phase release of Palestinian terrorists from Israeli prisons is scheduled to take place. According to Israeli sources, “There is a serious debate taking place within the White House over whether a framework agreement should be presented now, at any price, or whether to wait.”
US Secretary of State John Kerry admitted that there would not be a “final status agreement” between Israel and the Palestinians by April 29. He said: “We’re using the current deadline to help shape this,” he added, noting he was prepared to continue the talks “for whatever period of time might be appropriate. Right now, he said: “For months we’ve been saying we’re trying to get a framework” by the April 29 deadline. “We’re trying to get the framework, which is a huge deal if we’ve used these seven months thus far to get an understanding of where the parties are and to be able to shape the final negotiations,” said Kerry. However, a senior Palestinian official said that the Palestinians reject US moves to extend an April deadline for nine months of hard-won talks with Israel to culminate in a framework peace deal. “There is no meaning to prolonging the negotiation, even for one more additional hour, if Israel, represented by its current government, continues to disregard international law,” Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erakat said. Palestinian President Mahmood Abbas said that he will not extend negotiations with Israel past April 29 if the framework agreement doesn’t deal with the core issues. The PA leader stressed that the Palestinians will only agree to an extension of the peace talks “if Netanyahu declares a construction freeze in the settlements and a further release of prisoners after the next round,” referring to the third and final wave of prisoners set to be released by Israel – the good-will gesture which brought the Palestinians back to the negotiations table. Otherwise he said that he will terminate the peace process and look to join various UN international organizations.
Meanwhile, it is being reported that the Israeli government has unofficially and quietly frozen settlement construction outside the major blocs for the past few months in an apparent acquiescence to American pressure. Jordan Valley regional council members were asked why construction was being held up in the settlements that he administers, even in projects that had received approval from the defense minister. He was told that the order had come from on high not to advance construction plans in settlements outside the major blocs. “We received instruction from policy makers not to advance plans outside what’s found in the settlement blocs,” they said. “Let’s wait patiently until we return from the United States and then we’ll talk” more about the issue.
DEBKA, an Israeli intelligence and news gathering website reports that Netanyahu has accepted the US framework proposal for continued talks with reservations. However, after an 8 hour meeting with Abbas in Paris, France, the Palestinians have rejected the US plan. Abbas accused Kerry of being biased towards Israel and reiterated his refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state. The head of the PA also raised objections to proposed security arrangements and a recommendation for final borders between Israel and a future Palestinian state. Abbas also called Kerry to task on the proposed agreement’s vaguely worded fate of Jerusalem. PA chief Mahmoud Abbas called ideas that Kerry presented to him as “madness.” According to reports in PA newspapers, Kerry proposed lopping off Arab neighborhoods of Jerusalem and placing them under PA sovereignty, enabling the PA to declare Jerusalem its capital. In their meeting, Kerry offered that the Beit Hanina neighborhood be declared as the Palestinian capital instead of the entire east Jerusalem area. He also raised the possibility that the Jordan Valley would remain under Israeli sovereignty. In addition, the PA would annex ten Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, and be responsible for their security. Most other communities would remain under Israeli sovereignty, based on land swaps. In response, the report said, a furious Abbas practically threw Kerry out of his office, telling the Secretary of State that if he did not back down on his ideas, Abbas would return to demanding that all descendants of Arabs who fled Israel in 1948 be repatriated in Israel, rolling back the “flexibility” he had promised to show on that demand. Abbas also reiterated that he would not recognize Israel as a Jewish state.
Israel Knesset members from the Sephardic ultra-Orthodox political party, Shas, Ashkenazi ultra-Orthodox political party, United Torah Judaim, and the left wing parties Meretz, and Labor all signed on to a letter of support sent by Labor Party MK Eitan Cabel to US Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro. The letter expresses support for the efforts of the U.S. to negotiate a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. However, Israel Knesset members from the Land of Israel Caucus accused the US of being biased toward the Palestinians in negotiations in a meeting with US Ambassador to Israel, Dan Shapiro. Deputy Transportation Minister Tzipi Hotovely (Likud Beytenu) stressed that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was “acting in a political arena. Any framework agreement that talks about 1967 lines or that includes evacuating towns or giving up sovereignty in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem can bring down the current government.” According to a source in the meeting, which was closed to press, Shapiro rejected claims the US was taking the Palestinians’ side and was hurting Israel. “The US is taking part in the negotiations because Israel is our ally,” he stated. “A good peace treaty will protect Israel’s security and won’t hurt Israel.”
Hatnua Knesset political party member Meir Sheetrit said that he “hoped” that the United States would force Israel to accept the peace deal that Secretary of State John Kerry was putting together. Being backed into a corner and heavily pressured by the U.S., Sheetrit said, was the only way Israel and the Palestinian Authority would “swallow their medicine” and enter into a deal that would benefit them both.
Meanwhile, as Israel Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was getting ready to leave for the US on March 3, the organization, Women In Green and the Sovereignty Forum sent a letter to the Prime Minister, telling him that precisely now was the time to declare Israeli sovereignty over the West Bank. The letter said:
Honored Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu,
Today you are your starting out on your complex mission to the United States and may you have Heaven’s support and the support of the Land of Israel. We are at a decisive time in which it is possible to strengthen our position. As you leave Jerusalem, the Women in Green movement and the Forum for Sovereignty are with you and will accompany you with a very large poster that will be placed at the exit from Jerusalem for the coming weeks. It reads: “YES to Sovereignty over Judea, Samaria and the Jordan Valley”.
In a discussion on the expulsion from Gush Katif and northern Samaria that was held in Ariel a few days ago, public relations expert Eyal Arad claimed that the Right failed because it did not present an alternative. This is not true. There is an alternative! A realistic, Zionist plan does exist – application of Israeli sovereignty. This plan is indeed accompanied by difficulties, but the difficulties associated with sovereignty are preferable to the physical and spiritual destruction entailed in the establishment of a terrorist Palestinian state in the heart of our Land, a stone-throw away from Ben Gurion Airport. And we must think not only in terms of survival, we must aspire to realize our hold on the Land and our sovereignty in the Land of Israel.
In a recent poll, 3/4 Three quarters of Hebrew-speaking Israelis would support a peace agreement with the Palestinians based on the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative, and more than half would vote for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu if he were to leave the Likud and create a new party. According to the survey, 76 percent of respondents said they are “sure” or “think” that they would be willing to support an agreement after they were told about nine different elements of the deal, all based on the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative, presented to them in a way that made them seem beneficial to Israel. More than 60 percent of respondents said they would likely support a regional peace treaty even before any components of it were discussed. According to the authors of the poll, “The significance of this poll shows that
a) Israelis indeed hold right-wing views
b) they don’t believe the Palestinians
c) they will accept a far-reaching deal based on the Arab Peace Initiative if presented properly to them and
d) that they will support Bibi Netanyahu if he does make such a heroic decision
In a visit to Israel, German Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed support for Israel’s security requirements and its demand to be recognized by the Palestinians as a Jewish state. Merkel also stated her opposition to Israeli expansion of West Bank settlements saying they make a positive outcome of the talks less likely. She said that her German government supports “a two-state solution – a Palestinian state and a Jewish state of Israel. We also support Israel’s security requirements to be able to finally live in secure borders. But for a two-state solution we need territorial integrity,” she said. “Thus we treat the settlement question with concern, in which we are not always of one opinion,” she said. “We hope that we can overcome the problems and that the two-state solution can be implemented with an agreement.” Merkel also said that she did not support a boycott or labeling of Israel settlement goods. Israel Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, thanked her for this position saying, such sanctions against the Middle East’s only true democracy are “neither moral nor correct nor productive” but only serve to strengthen Palestinian intransigence, he said. “There can be criticism of Israel — that’s legitimate,” Netanyahu said. “But it’s hard not to notice that those who call for boycott of Israel do not call for boycott of any other state… A boycott on the Jewish people, and the country of the Jewish people?”
An agreement to divide Jerusalem and establish a PLO state is a tribulation event.
The link to these articles are as follows:
1) Report: Obama to Press PM to Take Kerry Deal
2) ‘Obama to press Netanyahu, Abbas to accept framework’
3) Obama will Pressure Israel ‘Forcefully’ over Framework
4) Germany’s Merkel backs main Israeli stances in peace talks
5) Report: U.S. May Unveil Framework Peace Deal Without Agreement of Israel or Palestinian Authority
6) Kerry allows more time for final Israel-Palestinian deal
7) Palestinian sources say framework agreement to be signed in Washington
8.) MKs Tell Dan Shapiro They’re Behind Kerry Plan
9) MKs to Shapiro: US taking side of Palestinians in peace talks
10) Sheetrit: US Should Force PA, Israel to ‘Swallow their Medicine’
11) Groups: Fantastic Opportunity for Israeli Sovereignty
12) Kerry: Peace Talks will Continue Beyond April
13) Palestinians reject US push for peace talks beyond April
14) Report: Kerry offered Beit Hanina as Palestinian capital
15) Abbas ‘exploded with rage’ at Kerry over ‘insane’ framework proposals
16) PA Report: Abbas Angry at Kerry, Threatened to End Talks
17) Obama to meet with Abbas on March 17 over peace process
18.) Abbas threatens a turn to ‘international organizations’
19) Official said to confirm informal settlement freeze
20) Poll: Three quarters of Israeli Jews would accept peace deal
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