January 12, 2016: Weekly 5 minute update

January 12th, 2016

You may view the 5 minute update this week via audio:

1) Listen to the audio

In this week’s 5 minute update, we focused on:

1) An examination of the history of the relationship between the Obama administration and Israel

When Michael Oren was named Israel’s ambassador to the United States in 2009, he set out to learn as much as he could about America’s new president, Barack Obama. A historian by training, Oren read Obama’s works, including his memoirs, and concluded that the new leader would pursue a new foreign policy approach, including: direct outreach to the Muslim world; a renewed effort to work with international institutions, such as the United Nations.; and a “recoiling from a dependence on American military power.

Oren presented his conclusions to the Israeli government. “Not all of them were easy to hear,” he recalls. “Not all of them were palatable.” In an interview with FRONTLINE, Oren, who now serves in the Israeli Knesset as a member of the centrist Kulanu Party, speaks about the issues that occupied his time as ambassador including the peace process with the Palestinians and the Israeli settlement policy.

[In your book, you write that] when you get the job, you do research to try to understand as much as you can about who Barack Obama is. … What do you discover, … and what do you tell Netanyahu about it?

I had come into the job as ambassador not as a career diplomat but as a historian, and I used a historian’s tool to try to understand the man who is now the leader of the most powerful nation on earth and Israel’s most important ally. …

It was my job as ambassador, basically to the degree that I could, to get into his head and see the world the way he saw it, so that we could know where he was going and whether we could adapt ourselves to this worldview. …

I had to look at the things that he himself had written, the books. … He had written a book shortly after his graduation from Harvard Law School. This was in the ’90s, before, apparently, he’s contemplating running for national office. The book, Dreams of My Father, is an incredibly candid book. It’s a window into someone’s soul. … I read it many times. I have a dog-eared copy of this book.

What I discovered there was a very interesting individual, a very complex individual, but a person who had a worldview. And I began to piece together that worldview and to make certain assumptions and conclusions, and then present them to the Israeli government. Not all of them were easy to hear. Not all of them were palatable.

One was that yes, Barack Obama was a transformative president, not only the fact that he was the first African American president, but he was there to change many aspects of American foreign policy. The most obvious one, the one that most directly affected Israel, was the outreach to the Muslim world. … The president referred to himself by his full name. He, in virtually every speech, beginning with the first inaugural address, referred to his Muslim family ties. His first trips abroad are to Turkey and to Egypt. His first foreign interview on TV is with Dubai Television. And the message is always the same: I am the bridge. A big part of my family are Muslims. Here is the bridge.

There’s a line in the Cairo speech of June 2009, which is an extraordinary line. He says, “I have known Islam on three continents before coming to the region where it was revealed,” which in itself is an extraordinary statement, citing it.


Why? Because first of all, it’s the first time, to my knowledge as a historian, that a president of the United States addresses the world adherents of one faith. … It’s the center of the al-Azhar Rectory, one of the great seminaries of the Muslim world, of Islam, over the centuries. And he’s making this address to world Muslims. So it’s an extraordinary event.

The address itself is twice as long as the Second Inaugural Address, very long speech. And there are many aspects of the speech which have direct impact on Israel, the most obvious of which is the condemnation of settlements. Linking Israel’s existence and justification to the Holocaust, which was a problem from Israel — it belies the Israeli narrative that Israel arose not out of the Holocaust, but out of the 3,000-year connection with this land. And [he] recognizes Iran’s right to peaceful nuclear energy, which was a significant departure from American policy. … So that was one aspect of the worldview.

The other aspect was that the United States would work with international institutions much more, a collegial approach to managing foreign policy. America wasn’t going to be the world’s policeman anymore. Some of those institutions, like the U.N., have proven to be quite inimical to Israel over the years. So that in itself was also a problem.

There was a recoiling from a dependence on American military power. The president had one statement which sort of stayed with me over the years. The statement was, “Whether we like it or not, America is the world’s leading military superpower,” which was a line that you probably couldn’t imagine John Kennedy saying, or even Bill Clinton, certainly not Ronald Reagan. That showed that there was a reticence there, a recoiling from that type of military power. It doesn’t mean he wasn’t going to use military power; he used it very effectively with drone warfare.

All of those conclusions had to be presented to the Israeli government. This is who we’re dealing with, to the best of my knowledge.

And the reaction?

I have one more point, if I might. … I was on sabbatical for an entire year in 2008 before becoming ambassador. It’s the first time I actually lived in an American neighborhood, and I was quite shocked. I talk about, in my book, about the Rip Van Winkle effect, of waking up after 25 years and seeing everything change. It was a very different America than the America I had left nearly 40 years ago, which was very much a WASP-dominated society. This was now a country with a non-white majority. There were no Protestants, no WASPs on the Supreme Court. Unwed mothers now outnumbered wed mothers. This was an interesting America, and it was an America that I saw that Obama was as much a symptom as a cause of the transformations in America.

And as early as 2009, shortly after taking office, one of the messages that I gave to the Israeli government is that we have to plan for a two-term president, because the transformations, I believed, were permanent. …

We’ve interviewed many people in the States who were there at the moment of creation of the Obama administration, and they’re in transformative mode. … They’re also very fixated on the peace process. They say to Obama not only the things that you’ve just outlined, that Obama will be different, [but] there will be this thing that will eventually be called the Obama Doctrine, that he’ll unclench the fists, theoretically, of the Arab world, that they’ll step back a little bit from Israel, in symbolic and other ways, and that they’ll push Netanyahu around a little bit to get him involved in the peace process. Are you aware of all of that kind of churn that’s going on inside the earliest days of the Obama administration?

I was. … From an ambassadorial perspective, it was irrelevant who was responsible for the initiatives. I personally thought — and not just personally; I think it was a general Israeli approach — that they were ill conceived; that the notion of publicly pressuring Israel on the settlement issue actually pushed the Palestinians further from the negotiating table than brought them closer to it, because in the Middle East, if you’re getting something for free, why go into a negotiation where you’re going to have to pay for it? That was sort of a constant conversation which I had, which other representatives of Israel had, with the administration. We understand you don’t like settlements. Settlements are controversial in Israel themselves. I have certain strong feelings about settlements. But let’s keep our feelings about settlements separate from the tactical question of how to get the Palestinians to the negotiating table and actually sit with us.

The fact of the matter is that there was a direct correlation between the amount of pressure put publicly on Israel and the settlements and the reluctance of the Palestinians to negotiate. And eventually they just walked away from the table.

When Prime Minister Netanyahu goes for that very first meeting in [May] 2009, you are with him.

I’m with him, but I’m not ambassador yet. I’m ambassador designate. … I attended that meeting. The interesting part about it, in the meeting, there was a separate — of course, there was always a one-on-one in any meeting, … and the one-on-ones between Netanyahu and Obama, without exception, went on at least twice as long as they were scheduled each time. They met, to the best of my recollection, about 12 times. They always went on longer.

And they always emerged, usually with a sense of goodwill, smiles on their faces, lots of pats on their backs. Usually we would read the next day, or in a couple of hours, in the newspaper, how badly it had gone. …

In that first meeting of May 2009, the group session was to talk about Gaza. Keep in mind, Israel had just completed Operation Cast Lead in the previous January, only days before the inauguration, by the way, which was a major consideration for Israel in ending the operation. We didn’t want to be fighting on the day that Barack Obama became the 44th president.

The question was how then to reconstruct Gaza, which had suffered extensive damage. Our problem was that there were 1,000 tunnels under the Egyptian border and that you could bring in concrete to rebuild buildings that had been damaged in the fighting, but Hamas would grab the concrete and use it to build bunkers and tunnels. And this became the discussion. …

But I think that even Netanyahu, from what I came to understand later about the meeting, was taken aback by the departure, by the very strong departure on American foreign policy.

In what sense?

To use an administration term, there was going to be a full-court press on the settlement issue, and the settlement and Jerusalem issue, which are going to be particularly difficult for the head of Likud. This is a party with a platform and a constituency on the two-state solution. Now Netanyahu, a month later, would deliver the Bar-Ilan speech, in which he accepted the two-state solution. But at the time, he was not yet prepared. He had not laid the groundwork yet. And in a different type of environment, in a different type of rapport, you say to the president of the United States: “Listen, I’m going to come out with this, but give me a little wiggle room here; give me a little latitude. Let me lay the groundwork for this. Don’t rush it.” But I don’t think he got that type of latitude. …

My general disposition as ambassador was to say, “Let’s try to be as flexible as possible, certainly on the peace issue, because eventually we’re going to have to dig in our heels on the Iran issue.” … Occasionally I was successful in persuading people back in Israel that this was the approach. But every time the prime minister made a major concession like the Bar-Ilan speech, or like the moratorium on the settlements, which went from November 2009 until September 2010, he didn’t get much credit for it, and this cost him substantially in terms of the support in his own party.

What we needed is what’s known in diplomacy as tailwind. We needed the president to come out and say very unequivocally: “This is a major move. This is a great contribution to the peace process. This took guts on the part of Netanyahu.” Couldn’t get those statements. And ultimately, that type of approach strengthened the hands of those who were against making those kind of concessions. …

… [The diplomat] Dennis Ross told us in an interview that they were extremely naïve about being transformative … and that Cairo, in many ways, is a manifestation of that. The decision not to stop in Israel: You’re over in the neighborhood; you’re not going to stop in Israel? What kind of signals do you want to send?

Not only they didn’t stop in Israel, he went to Buchenwald, which tended to fortify the case that Israel’s justification emerged from the Holocaust. Now I don’t know if this is too much inside ball, but that’s the Arab narrative. The Arab narrative is, Europeans killed European Jews, and they dumped the survivors in Palestine, and the Arabs have to pay for Europe’s crimes against Jews. Why should Arabs pay?

Now, that narrative was problematic. Why would you make peace with an illegitimate refugee state of Europeans? So even that, in terms of tactically the peace process, was a step backward. What you want to say to the Arab world, in which Obama, to his credit, eventually did in his November 2011 speech to the General Assembly of the U.N., he says: “Israel is not about the Holocaust. Israel is about a 3,000-year Jewish claim to the area.”

But at the time, he’s got some bad advice handed to him or something?

I think this was the most centralized American administration certainly since World War II. And I learned early on that the roads of decision making, virtually without exception, led to the Oval Office. And yes, the president might have gotten advice from [White House Chief of Staff] Rahm Emanuel, from [Secretary of State] Hillary Clinton. At the end of the day, the person who really decided was the president himself. And the president’s worldview — and I will keep on harping on that — all of these decisions were very much in keeping with the worldview.

And the worldview is?

The notion of linkage is practically doctrinal in the Obama administration. What does linkage mean? That if you solve the Arab-Israeli conflict, you will solve a whole series of other conflicts in the Middle East. …

So if you believe that the Arab-Israeli conflict is the core conflict, and the core of that conflict is what the administration calls the Israeli occupation and the settlements, then that leads you, obviously, to the conclusion that you have to force Israel to give up the settlements, to talk about a two-state solution, to stop building parts of Jerusalem. …

The Arab Spring happens, and Obama goes to the State Department in May and gives the speech that I think breaks what everybody says is the sort of cardinal rule. He doesn’t let Netanyahu, doesn’t let you know that they’re about to mention the ’67 borders, that it’s going to be a part of that.

On the contrary, I was informed that they would not mention it. I was in the White House the previous day.

So tell me the story.

… The pillars of the U.S.-Israel relationship, two of the pillars had always been no daylight, no surprises. Now, that doesn’t mean that these pillars weren’t at various times dodged. Israel in 1981 attacked the Iraqi nuclear reactor without telling the United States. Israel negotiated with the PLO in September 1993 without telling the United States, rather belatedly. But those examples are few and very far between. For the most part, these two principles held.

What is “no daylight”? No daylight was, we can have our differences, and they can be sometimes very deep differences over settlements over Jerusalem. But to the greatest degree possible, we’re going to try to keep them behind the scenes and work them out between us, which was very different than the Obama administration’s position was, from the first day, to take these disagreements and put them out front. Obama was quoted in a meeting with American Jewish leaders, saying, “I intend to put daylight between Israel and the United States.” It was a decision.

No surprises meant that if the United States was going to give a major policy statement on the Middle East that would impact Israel and its security, then Israel would have a chance to view that statement in advance and to submit its comments. That was the case, in 2002, with Bush and the roadmap. He gave it to Ari Sharon before he [went] public with it.

Israel had no advance warning of the Cairo speech. Complete shock. By that time, I had been almost two years in the office, and I had grown accustomed to the fact that I was not going to get any advance warning. But on the previous day, on May 18, 2011, I was in the White House, and I asked, “OK, what’s in the speech?” There was a lot of excitement around the speech. This was going to be the president’s major address about the Arab Spring, which had broken out five months earlier in Egypt.

I was just very curious. There were rumors floating around. I had long anticipated that the administration may say something about the ’67 borders, but I received assurance that it wasn’t going to be there. And roughly a quarter of the speech of May 19 was about the ’67 borders, and it became the headline. The headline in the New York Times was, “President Obama Endorses the ’67 Borders.” The rest of the speech, about the Arab Spring, went virtually unreported. …

Now, for Israel, this was a major development. I did a lot of press at the time, and it was difficult to explain why this was so earth-shattering. Everyone knew that ’67 borders were going to be the basis of the peace agreement. That’s what the conventional wisdom was.

In diplomacy, you work out a framework for negotiations. It’s called a terms of reference, TOR. And Israel and Secretary Clinton had worked out, laboriously, over many weeks, perhaps months of negotiations, the TOR. Now, I have this TOR more or less emblazoned on my soul, to this day, and it goes something like this: The United States believes that through good-faith negotiations, it can reconcile the Israeli goal of an independent Jewish state within secure and defensible borders and the Palestinian goal of an independent Palestinian state, based on the 1967 borders with mutually agreed swaps. And there sometimes was a little add about taking into account changes on the ground, which was a reference to settlement blocs. So what in the TOR had been a Palestinian goal all of a sudden moved over to an American goal, by the way, for the first time since 1967.

Now, the ’67 borders were very problematic from Israel’s stand of view. Our major highway between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem runs through the ’67 borders. The ’67 borders includes our holiest site, the Western Wall. It puts the Palestinian state’s borders within mortar range of Israel’s airport. Very problematic. …

So again, it pushed the Palestinians away from the table, but also created great problems for the prime minister, and it was a breach of trust. That was the true problem here, because peace, if you can achieve it, has got to be based on trust. It’s got to be based on mutual trust. We’re talking about the lives of our kids here. You’ve got to be able to be able to put your trust in somebody, and particularly in your best ally.

So it was quite a tense period. And Netanyahu, as it happens, comes the next day, May 20. … He was going to make a major address to AIPAC [American Israel Public Affairs Committee], and he was going to address a joint session of Congress.

… What do you think is going to happen?

I had never seen him like that coming out of the plane. You know, you come out of the plane, usually you land at Dulles or at Andrews Air Force Base, and you smile for the cameras. There was no smile. There was no wave. You can almost imagine the steam coming out of his ears. We proceeded to Blair House, where his team of advisers tried to calm it down, but he had things he wanted to say to the president. …

Does he ride in the car with you from the airport?


So what’s he like in the car?

He’s angry. He’s angry. … And I understood it. Moreover, I was the one who had sent the report the previous day that the White House had said that he wasn’t going to be there. So, you know, I become the messenger here. And the events transpired very quickly then.

We have a good meeting in the White House. There is a one-on-one that characteristically goes on more than twice its scheduled time. The two leaders emerge. They have this talk. Netanyahu gives his about-10-minute speech, which he managed to memorize very quickly. He has that capability. And the remarks are addressed to the Palestinians. The Palestinians have to understand that Israel is the Jewish state. They have to understand that Israel has to have a prolonged military presence along the Jordan River to prevent any future Palestinian state from becoming Gaza or South Lebanon.

There are a number of things that the Palestinians have to understand. They understand that Palestinian refugees are going to come back to Palestine and not to Israel. Not particularly controversial. And then afterward, the prime minister and the president stroll on the South Lawn for about 20 minutes. I’m at a respectable ambassadorial distance, but they’re having a perfectly congenial talk. The president slaps the prime minister on the back, shakes his hand, says, “Goodbye, my friend.”

We go back to the Blair House thinking, OK, we’ve gotten by this. It was unpleasant, but we’ve managed to defuse the crisis. No sooner than we’re back that the headlines blare, for the first time in history, a foreign leader has lectured the president of the United States in the Oval Office — lectured — and precisely the type of showdown at least I had hoped, and others had hoped, to their credit, had hoped to avoid.

… So you are with a lot of other guys while they’re in there for a couple of hours talking to each other, the president and Netanyahu, or for an hour and a half?

Yes. … We’re in the Roosevelt Room.

And is [White House Chief of Staff] Bill Daley and all those guys around?

Mm-hmm, they are.

And you guys were all cordial but slightly anxious about what is actually happening behind closed doors?

We actually had a serious discussion about the content of the speech. And Secretary Clinton was there and made the case that major efforts had been made to change the tone of the speech, change the content of the speech. I think she mentioned that the word “Hamas” hadn’t appeared in the speech, and that we should take this with a greater sense of equanimity.

Because you guys had indicated that there was some electric tension in the air.

I had very open channels with people in the White House. Right after the speech, I called and said, “You understand this is going to be problematic, and you understand that this is going to evoke a very strong reaction from Jerusalem.”

And they said?

That it would be a mistake to react angrily to this. …

So there they are, the two guys. And we’ve all seen the stock footage. The prime minister is talking. Obama is doing this and looking like —

He’s actually listening very intently. … He was focused. I didn’t get the sense that he was angry. I didn’t get that sense strolling around the White House lawn afterward.

But Bill Daley was angry.

Bill Daley was very angry.

He was whispering, “Who the hell does this guy think he is?”

… He didn’t say this to me; he said it to somebody else on the staff that, “Is your boss in the habit of coming to people’s houses and lecturing them?” And I only heard that back at Blair House, by which time it was all over the news anyway. But the whole point of our preparation was to avoid that moment. And, you know, diplomacy is supposedly the art of the possible. Sometimes it’s the art of the unattainable, the unachievable. And this was that moment.

Now, it begs the question whether various parties had an interest in making that a crisis moment. Now that I can’t know, but I could never rule out the possibility. The same thing was true about the so-called snub.

An agreement to divide Jerusalem and establish a PLO state is a tribulation event.

The link to these articles are as follows:
1) Michael Oren: Inside Obama-Netanyahu’s Relationship

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,

Eddie Chumney
Hebraic Heritage Ministries Int’l

December 15, 2015: Weekly 5 minute update

December 14th, 2015

You may view the 5 minute update this week via audio:

1) Listen to the audio

In this week’s 5 minute update, we focused on:

1) A summary of Hanukkah

In this week’s update, we share with you the history and background of Hanukkah. What applications are there for today? How is it prophetic of the end of days?

An agreement to divide Jerusalem and establish a PLO state is a tribulation event.

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,

Eddie Chumney
Hebraic Heritage Ministries Int’l

December 8, 2015: Weekly 5 minute update

December 9th, 2015

You may view the 5 minute update this week via audio:

1) Listen to the audio

In this week’s 5 minute update, we focused on:

1) US Secretary of State, John Kerry’s speech at the Saban conference on the Israeli / Palestinian peace process

In this week’s update, we share with you excerpts from US Secretary of State, John Kerry’s recent speech at the Saban conference in Washington D.C. where he discussed the current situation of the Israeli / Palestinian peace process.

An agreement to divide Jerusalem and establish a PLO state is a tribulation event.

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,

Eddie Chumney
Hebraic Heritage Ministries Int’l

December 1, 2015: Weekly 5 minute update

December 1st, 2015

You may view the 5 minute update this week via audio:

1) Listen to the audio

In this week’s 5 minute update, we focused on:

1) The ramifications of Turkey shooting down a Russian military jet near the Turkey / Syria border

On November 24, Turkey shot down a Russian warplane near the Syrian border. Turkey said that the Russian jet had violated its airspace. Footage from a private Turkish TV station showed the warplane going down in flames with a long plume of smoke trailing behind it as it crashed in a wooded part of an area the TV said was known by Turks as “Turkmen Mountain”. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said the warplane crashed in a mountainous area in the northern countryside of the Syrian Latakia province. Footage from Turkey’s Anadolu Agency showed two pilots parachuting out of the jet before it crashed. The incident left one pilot dead; another was rescued. The Russian Ministry of Defense said that the body of the dead pilot has been flown back to Russia.

Turkey downs Russian Jet

Turkey said that the jet had flown more than a mile into Turkey for 17 seconds, despite being warned 10 times in five minutes while approaching to change direction. A senior Turkish official said: “The data we have is very clear. There were two planes approaching our border, we warned them as they were getting too close. Our findings show clearly that Turkish air space was violated multiple times. And they violated it knowingly.” Turkey President Tayyip Erdogan said: “Nobody should doubt that we made our best efforts to avoid this latest incident. But everyone should respect the right of Turkey to defend its borders.”

In contrast, the Russia’s defense ministry said that its Su-24 fighter jet that was downed in Syria was “for the entire duration of the flight exclusively over Syrian territory.” In fact, it released a video showing that its SU-24 fighter jet never entered Turkish airspace. Furthermore, Russian President Vladimir Putin said: “The American side, which leads the coalition that Turkey belongs to, knew about the location and time of our planes’ flights, and we were hit exactly there and at that time.”

However, Turkey’s military released its own audio recording of what it says was its warning to the Russian warplane. In one portion, a voice is heard saying: “This is Turkish Air Force speaking on guard. You are approaching Turkish airspace. Change your heading south immediately. Change your heading south.”

The people known as the Turkmen, a rebel group, sympathetic to Turkey who live near the Turkmen mountain claimed to have killed one of the Russian pilots who was trying to land safely on the ground after parachuting from the evacuated jet. The Turkmen minority who reside in northern Syria have strong ties to the Turkish government who wants to give them military protection. Turkish President Erdogan said: “Anyone who bombs that area attacks our brothers and sisters — the Turkmen.”

In retaliation, Russia began to bombard the mountainous area where the Turkmen live.  Russian warplanes carried out heavy raids in Syria’s northern Latakia province in the Jabal Akrad and Jabal Turkman regions. Furthermore, Syrian government forces, supported by the Russian air campaign, started a military ground operation in an area where there are about 50 Turkmen villages. Syria sent tanks that marched through the area including heavy firing from cannons. Russia provided cover from the air and fired missiles as far away as the Mediteraniean sea.

A Turkmen rebel leader said: “For us it cannot get any worse than this. We are under a very intense, heavy campaign from the Russians and the Syrian government.” As a result, the Russian wrath began to pour out upon the Muslim terrorists who were being aided by American provided Taw Missiles as well as their own tanks they captured from the Syrian government military.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said the Russian plane had been attacked when it was 1 km inside Syria and warned of “serious consequences” for what he termed a stab in the back administered by “the accomplices of terrorists”. He continued: “We will never tolerate such crimes like the one committed today.” Putin said: “We have not heard either an apology from Turkey’s top politicians, or proposals to compensate us for the damage, or a promise to punish the criminals. The impression is that the Turkish leadership is willfully driving the Russian-Turkish relations into a deadlock. We regret it,” he said.

In addition, Russia blamed Turkey for supporting ISIS and accused Turkey of buying oil from the Islamic State jihadist group, whose financing heavily relies on the sale of energy resources. Putin said that there was “no doubt” that oil from “terrorist-controlled” territory in Syria was making its way across the border into Turkey. “We see from the sky where these vehicles [carrying oil] are going,” Putin said. “They are going to Turkey day and night. These barrels are not only carrying oil but also the blood of our citizens because with this money terrorists buy weapons and ammunition and then organize bloody attacks,” he added.

At a joint press conference with Russian President Putin and French President Francois Hollande, Putin revealed that aerial surveillance shows “lines of oil tanker trucks, as far as the eye can see, taking oil across the border from Syria to Turkey.”  Putin went on to reveal “The trucks empty the oil in Turkey then return to Syria to refill.”  He described the line of trucks as “appearing to be a living pipeline” which operates almost 24 hours a day.  This selling of stolen oil results in over one million dollars per day in cash to ISIS, which funds the terror group. As a result, Putin said that ISIS oil smuggling into Turkey should become a high-priority target in order to cripple the terrorist group. Sales of oil from ISIS are in direct violation of international law.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said: “We think it highly cynical when some of the countries speak about their commitment to the corresponding United Nations Security Council resolutions and declare themselves members of anti-terrorist coalitions but in reality are playing a game where terrorists [meaning ISIS] are allocated the role of secret allies [of Turkey],” Lavrov stressed. “We have more and more questions about Turkey real plans and the degree of its readiness to exterminate terrorism, in particular in Syria, and its commitment to the normalization of the situation in Syria.”

As a result, a Russian defense ministry spokesman said: “Russian aviation continues to strike refining facilities in the territories controlled by the ISIS terrorist organization.” In the past few days, Russian aircraft has destroyed oil trucks, refineries, and oil storage facilities in the Syrian provinces of Deir ez-Zor and Raqqa. Finally, Russia said that it soon plans to launch operation ‘Total Destruction’ against ISIS in Syria using  fighter jets, bombers, submarines as well as warships deployed in the Mediterranean Sea.

In order to further harm ISIS, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that Russia is ready to coordinate practical steps to block the Turkish-Syrian border in cooperation with Syria. He said: “We are open for coordination of practical steps, certainly, in interaction with the Syrian government,” he said. “We are convinced that by blocking the border we will in many respects solve the tasks to eradicate terrorism on Syrian soil.”

Russia trying to cut off ISIS access to Turkey

Former NATO Supreme Allied Commander General Wesley Clark went on television and admitted that oil from ISIS is “probably going through Turkey”…

Asked whether he agreed with Vladimir Putin that Turkey was aiding ISIS, Clark responded, “All along there’s always been the idea that Turkey was supporting ISIS in some way,” before going on to accuse Ankara of funneling ISIS terrorists through Turkey and buying ISIS’ stolen oil in the black market.

Someone’s buying that oil that ISIS is selling, it’s going through somewhere, it looks to me like it’s probably going through Turkey,” said Clark, before also going on to accuse Putin of supporting terrorists through his allegiance with Bashar Al-Assad.

US State Department spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau said that the Russian warplane was shot down in Turkey airspace. US President Barack Obama said that Turkey has a right to defend its airspace and blamed Russia for supporting the Assad government in Syria. Obama said: “This points to an ongoing problem with the Russian operations. They are operating very close to a Turkish border and they are going after moderate opposition that are supported by not only Turkey but a wide range of countries.”

Turkey President Erdogan said: “If the same violation occurs today then Turkey would react in the same way. The country which violates another should question itself and take necessary action to prevent a repetition of the incident.” Because Turkey gave no apology for downing the Russian jet, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed into law sweeping economic sanctions against Turkey. The sanctions bill targets Turkey’s tourism industry, cancels visa-free travel between the two countries, bans many Russian companies from hiring Turkish citizens and blocks imports of some Turkish goods. This includes stopping importing vegetables listing Israel as a possible alternative. “Turkish vegetables account for 20 percent of the total Russian imports of vegetables. Import of vegetables, tomatoes in the first place, will be substituted with those from Iran, Morocco, Israel, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan,” a spokesman said.

In addition, the Russian Finance Minister said the sanctions would also freeze some prestige projects between the two countries, including a joint venture to build Turkey’s first nuclear power plant and a Russian-Turkish gas pipeline called Turkstream. Putin signed the gas deal with Turkey in December after the European Union blocked the pipeline. Furthermore, Russia decided to cut all military cooperation with Turkey. A Russian Defense Ministry spokesman said: “Today, in accordance with a previously made decision, all cooperation channels have been cut between the Russian Defense Ministry and the Turkish Armed Forces.”

The Russian Defense Minister said that Russia would deploy S-400 defense missile systems to its Syrian air base near Latakia, on Syria’s Mediterranean coast. The deployment of the highly advanced Russian S-400 anti-air missiles combined with Russia electronic jamming and other electronic warfare equipment has effectively transformed most of Syria into a no-fly zone under Russian control. The S-400 uses multiple missile variants to shoot down stealth aircraft, UAVs, cruise missiles and sub-strategic ballistic missiles. The S-400 can engage up to 36 targets simultaneously. There range covers at least three-quarters of Syrian territory, a huge part of Turkey, all of Lebanon, Cyprus and half of Israel. The missiles have a range of 250 kilometers (155 miles). The Turkish border is less than 30 miles away.

Turkey is responding to Russia by initiating a defacto naval blockade solely of Russian Naval Military Vessels between the Black Sea and the Mediterranean Sea. In order to travel from one sea to the other, vessels must transit the Strait of Istanbul which has two components: The Dardanelles and the Bosporus.  The Dardanelles is a narrow waterway between the Mediterranean and the Sea of Marmora. The Bosporus is another narrow waterway between the Sea of Marmora and the Black Sea.

Both the Dardanelles and the Bosporus are under the military control of Turkey and the use of those waterways is governed very strictly by a Treaty known as “The 1936 Montreux Convention.” In that Treaty, Turkey must allow merchant (cargo) ships from every nation to pass to and from while engaged in commerce.  Military vessels however, are subject to a slightly different standard.  In the Treaty, military vessels from nations bordering the Black Sea are unrestricted as to size or weight, but non-Black Sea nations are limited in the weight of their vessels.  This has the effect of preventing aircraft carriers from non-Black Sea nations from entering the Black Sea.

Russia says that Turkey is not permitted to block the transit of other nations’ military vessels unless Turkey is “threatened with aggression” or “at war.”  Despite this Treaty restriction, Turkish newspapers have publicly discussing the possibility that Turkey would “close the throat” of Russian naval access to the Dardanelles and to the Bosporus. According to the AIS tracking system for the movement of maritime vessels, only Turkish vessels are moving along the Bosphorus, and in the Dardanelles there is no movement of any shipping at all. At the same time, both from the Black Sea, and from the Mediterranean Sea, there is a small cluster of ships under the Russian flag, just sitting and waiting.

Turkey Blockading Russia in the Black Sea

Because of all of this, Russia is preparing for a greater war with NATO which could be nuclear as Russia announced that by the end of December, it will deploy the latest version of its giant command and control aircraft designated for use during nuclear war or national disasters. The flying command center will be able to coordinate the worldwide operations of its ground, naval, air and missile forces, including nuclear weapons, as well as the country’s satellites. Russian military sources said that the Ilyushin-80 jet would be used when the command infrastructure is disrupted due to a nuclear war, or when ground communication systems are absent. The sources said the plane will be permanently staffed with senior generals, operational commanders and technicians.

Meanwhile, Israel said that will not take action against Russian fighter jets that encroach into its air space. A senior Israeli military figure said: “Russia is not an enemy,” he said. “We are trying to avoid tension with the Russians. This region is made up of common boundaries, and there are a lot of players on the ground and in the air,” the official said. “If a Russian plane crosses the aerial boundary, we will not launch a missile and we won’t down it.”

An agreement to divide Jerusalem and establish a PLO state is a tribulation event.

The link to these articles are as follows:
1) Turkey downs Russian warplane near Syria border, Putin warns of ‘serious consequences’
2) Turkey and Russia trade barbs as tensions mount over downed jet
3) US knew flight path of plane downed by Turkey: Putin
4) Body of downed Russian pilot back in Russia
5) Heavy Russia raids in Syria area where plane downed
6) ‘Commercial scale’ oil smuggling into Turkey becomes priority target of anti-ISIS strikes
7) Russia ready to coordinate steps to block Turkish-Syrian border — FM
8) Russia to Launch ‘Total Destruction’ Operations against ISIL in Syria
9) Putin signs sweeping economic sanctions against Turkey
10) Russia: No Turkish imports, we will import from Israel
11) Russia Cuts All Military Ties With Turkey
12) Obama: Turkey has the right to defend itself and its airspace
13) Russian S-400 missiles turn most of Syria into no-fly zone, halt US air strikes
14) Tensions rise as Russia says it’s deploying anti-aircraft missiles to Syria
15) Turkey Blockading Russia from Dardanelles; Black Sea Fleet completely cut off
16) Turkey Sends Two Submarines to Shadow Russian Missile Cruiser in Mediterranean
17) New generation ‘doomsday’ airborne command post to enter service in Russia
18) Moscow to deploy latest command plane for disasters, nuclear war
19) ‘Israel won’t down a Russian warplane if it enters its air space’

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,

Eddie Chumney
Hebraic Heritage Ministries Int’l

November 24, 2015: Weekly 5 minute update

November 23rd, 2015

You may view the 5 minute update this week via audio:

1) Listen to the audio

In this week’s 5 minute update, we focused on:

1) An example of media bias against Israel

In this week’s update, we share with you an example of media bias against Israel wherein British media does an interview with the head of the religious Zionist political party, Jewish Home, Naftali Bennett. In the interview, the interviewer, Tim Sabastian, is persistent in trying to portray those who love the land of Israel and the city of Jerusalem as taking extremist positions regarding the Israeli / Palestinian conflict.

An agreement to divide Jerusalem and establish a PLO state is a tribulation event.

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,

Eddie Chumney
Hebraic Heritage Ministries Int’l

November 17, 2015: Weekly 5 minute update

November 13th, 2015

You may view the 5 minute update this week via audio:

1) Listen to the audio

In this week’s 5 minute update, we focused on:

1) An examination of the European Union decision to label products made from the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights differently than products made in the rest of Israel

At a meeting in Brussels on November 11 an EU executive said that the European Commissioner “adopted this morning the interpretative notice on indication of origin of goods from the territories occupied by Israel since June 1967.” The EU holds that all territory over the pre-1967 lines, including east Jerusalem, the Golan Heights and the West Bank are not part of Israel and therefore its products cannot be labeled as “made in Israel.”

The detailed text on the European Union labeling of products made from the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights contains the following guidelines:

1. The European Union, in line with international law, does not recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the territories occupied by Israel since June 1967, namely the Golan Heights, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and does not consider them to be part of Israel’s territory, irrespective of their legal status under domestic Israeli law. The Union has made it clear that it will not recognize any changes to pre-1967 borders other than those agreed by the parties to the Middle East Peace Process (MEPP).

2. The application of existing Union legislation on indication of origin of products to products originating in Israeli-occupied territories has been the subject of notices or guidance adopted by the relevant authorities of several Member States. There is indeed a demand for clarity from consumers, economic operators and national authorities about existing Union legislation on origin information of products from Israeli-occupied territories. The aim is also to ensure the respect of Union positions and commitments in conformity with international law on the non-recognition by the Union of Israel’s sovereignty over the territories occupied by Israel since June 1967.

3. While this Notice reflects the Commission’s understanding of the relevant Union legislation, enforcement of the relevant rules remains the primary responsibility of Member States. According to the case-law, while the choice of penalties remains within their discretion, Member States must ensure that penalties for infringements of provisions of Union law are effective, proportionate and dissuasive.

5. When the indication of origin of the product in question is explicitly required by the relevant provisions of Union law, it must be correct and not misleading for the consumer.

7. Since the Golan Heights and the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) are not part of the Israeli territory according to international law, the indication ‘product from Israel’ is considered to be incorrect and misleading in the sense of the referenced legislation.

10. For products from the West Bank or the Golan Heights that originate from settlements, an indication limited to ‘product from the Golan Heights’ or ‘product from the West Bank’ would not be acceptable. Even if they would designate the wider area or territory from which the product originates, the omission of the additional geographical information that the product comes from Israeli settlements would mislead the consumer as to the true origin of the product. In such cases the expression ‘Israeli settlement’ or equivalent needs to be added, in brackets, for example. Therefore, expressions such as ‘product from the Golan Heights (Israeli settlement)’ or ‘product from the West Bank (Israeli settlement)’ could be used.

Since the EU labeling issue was first raised in 2012, the EU has downplayed the labeling guidelines as a technical matter and  independent of any political considerations. It has explained that it is not a boycott of Israel but rather a measure design to inform the consumer that the products were not made in Israel. Lars Faaborg-Andersen, the EU ambassador to Israel, said that the EU decision was a “technical matter” aimed at clarifying previous legislation on the matter. He said: “This is a small technical addition to something that has existed for a very long time, the trade facilitation between products coming from Israel proper, within its 1967 lines, and products coming from beyond the 1967 borders, but I want to emphasize strongly that this is not a boycott.” He further added: “The EU does not recognize lands captured in 1967, including Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem, as Israeli territory. “This is something that also happens to be the view of 99 percent of the international community,” he said.

The EU had delayed the publication of these labeling guidelines in 2013 at the request of the US, which at the time was brokering a nine-month negotiation process between Israel and the Palestinians. That process failed in April 2014 and no new initiatives have replaced it. In the absence of any prospect of renewed negotiations, the EU decided to press forward with its labeling decision.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry responded to the EU announcement by summoning EU Ambassador Lars Faaborg-Anderson for a harsh rebuke. The Foreign Ministry warned the plan could affect ties between the EU and Israel saying, “Israel condemns the decision of the European Union to label Israeli goods originating over the ’67 lines. We regret that the EU chose for political reasons to take an unusual and discriminatory step which is drawn from the realm of boycotts, just as Israel is facing a wave of terror directed at all citizens,” the statement read. “The claim that this is a technical step is a cynical, baseless claim. We regret that the EU took this politically motivated and unusual and discriminatory step that it learned from the world of boycotts,” the Foreign Ministry said.

In a sign of further displeasure with the EU labeling decision, Israel’s deputy foreign minister, Tzipi Hotovely, said that Israel will suspend a series of ongoing meetings with the European Union to protest the EU’s decision to begin labeling exports from West Bank settlements. In doing so, she said that Israel was sending a “very strong message” of displeasure. “We say you can’t be involved in what is going on in the Middle East while you are taking such an extreme step of labeling products… boycotting us,” she said. In addition, Israel Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nachshon said that Israel would suspend a series of regular dialogues with the EU on political issues in the Middle East, human rights and international organizations.

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded to the European Union decision by saying that the EU should be “ashamed of itself” for announcing a decision to impose labeling guidelines on Israeli products manufactured over the 1967 borders. This move is “hypocritical and applies double standards, targeting Israel when there are over 200 other conflicts around the world,” Netanyahu said. “The EU has decided to label only Israel, and we are not prepared to accept the fact that Europe is labeling the side that is being attacked by terrorism,” he said. “The Israeli economy is strong and will withstand this [decision]. Those who will be harmed will actually be Palestinian workers in Israeli factories [over the 1967 borders]. The European Union should be ashamed of itself,” Netanyahu continued.

Israel Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely, who traveled to Europe last month in an attempt to prevent the move said: “Labeling products is a boycott,” she declared. “Europe has today taken a discriminatory and grave step.” Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked said the move unfairly singles out Israel, describing the decision as “anti-Israel and anti-Jewish. European hypocrisy and hatred of Israel has crossed every line,” she said.

Israel Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon called the move “a shameful step giving a prize to terrorism and the people behind it. Even if this or that European has a dispute with the State of Israel regarding the status of the territory and its future, the decision to label products is pure hypocrisy,” he said.

Former Israel foreign minister Avigdor Liberman charged Europe with anti-Semitism, comparing the decision with the continent’s darkest days. “Every time that Europe labels Jews, its a sign that anti-Semitism, insanity and hypocrisy has taken over and that they are leading the entire free world to a catastrophe,” he said.

Israel opposition leader Isaac Herzog from the dovish Zionist Union camp called the decision “dangerous and detrimental” and said it would damage peace efforts. “This decision is based on hatred, falsehood and ignorance, devoid of any moral value. For us, the Jewish people, this is no more than a piece of paper, and we must treat it as such,” he said.

Yesh Atid chairman, Yair Lapid, who is not a part of the current Israeli government coalition said: “The European Union is hiding behind legal jargon and trying to paint a picture that this is a legal matter,” Lapid said. “This is incorrect. It’s a political issue. They are capitulating to the worst elements of jihad. The labeling of settlement products is a direct continuation of the boycott movement against Israel, which is anti-Semitic and misguided,” he said.

Lapid discussed the issue in an interview with CNN.

Avi Ro’eh, who heads the Council of Jewish Communities in the West Bank, wrote a letter to the European Union’s foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini saying: “At a time when Palestinian terrorism is running high across Israel, the EU has decided to boycott the industrial areas in the West Bank which are islands of peace between Israelis and Palestinians. Businesses like these, in which Arabs and Jews work together, should be used as the gold standard for peace, not boycotted. If the EU wants to see real coexistence, they should come and visit the West Bank then it would be clear they are labeling the wrong people,” Ro’eh said.

At a meeting in Athens, the Conference of European Rabbis said that the EU’s move smacked of anti-Semitism. Chief Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt said: “The EU’s decision to label products imported from the settlements and from the Golan Heights in Israel is a disgrace and is characterized by hatred of Israel.”

The research institute NGO Monitor, Itai Reuveni, a senior researcher at NGO Monitor’s Israel Desk, explained the implications of the EU decision to label Jewish products from the West Bank, Eastern Jerusalem and the Golan Heights. He said that this step is part of a well-planned European scheme to boycott all of Israel based on an analysis of the publications put out by those groups leading the boycott movement.

Quoting the EU Ambassador to Israel who claimed the step is merely technical and not part of a general boycott, Reuveni said that “if he really means it, that contradicts the declarations of the organizations who advanced the labeling; these are organizations who receive European funding. Their goal is not technical labeling, but rather (it is) the first stage in a layered plan that ends with a general boycott on those who do business with Israel. To claim this is just labeling for transparency is a sin against reality. The labeling is meant to do something with it.”

The researcher referenced the comments of organizations who call for a general boycott against Israel and who pressured Europe, revealing the stages in their plan, beginning with labeling products so as to boycott those coming from beyond the 1967 borders and then identifying companies with any sort of business connections over the 1967 borders followed by pulling all investments from Israel. “They say it clearly,” he remarked, noting that when he visited the European Parliament he saw on the tables of parliament members reports arguing the importance of boycotting Israel.

In addition, Reuveni pointed out that the labeling only targets Israel despite the fact that there are numerous other areas in the world with disputed territory that are not labeled or boycotted at all. One example of the discrimination against Israel is Western Sahara, which Morocco is occupying while exporting a large amount of fish products to the EU. Aside from Western Sahara, Reuveni brought up the example of northern Cyprus, Tibet and other locations classified as disputed territories, and where the Europeans continue business as usual with the nations in power without even raising the possibility of a boycott or labeling.

The Palestine Liberation Organization, meanwhile, welcomed the EU decision as a positive development but said it did not go far enough. The PLO negotiations department said that the “EU labeling of settlement products is a step in the right direction but insufficient.” PLO secretary-general Saeb Erekat called it a “significant move toward a total boycott of Israeli settlements which are built illegally on occupied Palestinian lands.

The Obama administration supported the EU labeling guidelines saying that it doesn’t consider a new European Union rule outlawing “Made in Israel” tags on goods from the West Bank as a boycott of the Jewish state, only a technical guideline for consumers. However, the U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner said before the EU announcement that the move “shouldn’t come as a surprise” as Israel continues to expand settlements. “This underscores the urgent need for Israel to change its policies with regard to settlements,” he said.

The economic impact is likely to be minimal. While the EU is Israel’s largest trade partner, settlement products account for less than 2 percent of Israel’s $14 billion dollars in exports to Europe each year. However, the move is highly symbolic.

An agreement to divide Jerusalem and establish a PLO state is a tribulation event.

The link to these articles are as follows:

1) READ: Full European Union labeling guidelines
2) EU envoy insists settlement labeling purely ‘technical’
3) Israel denounces EU move to label settlement products
4) Israel: EU decision to label settlement products may harm ties with Brussels
5) Israel suspends meetings with EU over settlement labeling
6) PM: EU ‘should be ashamed of itself’ for settlement labeling
7) Lapid to German TV: EU surrenders to jihad by labeling settlement products
8) WATCH: Yair Lapid is interviewed by CNN over EU labeling guidelines
9) European rabbis condemn Brussels’ labeling of settlement goods
10) EU labeling ‘just the first stage in total boycott of Israel’
11) PLO celebrates EU labeling but ‘it isn’t enough
12) US OK with new EU labeling rule for Israeli settlement goods

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,

Eddie Chumney
Hebraic Heritage Ministries Int’l

November 10, 2015: Weekly 5 minute update

November 9th, 2015

You may view the 5 minute update this week via audio:

1) Listen to the audio

In this week’s 5 minute update, we focused on:

1) An examination of the BDS movement against Israel as it relates to the efforts by the EU to label Israeli goods made in the West Bank

The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement (BDS Movement) is a global anti-Israel campaign attempting to increase economic and political pressure on Israel to achieve the political goals of the Palestinians regarding the Israel / Palestinian conflict. The campaign was started on 9 July, 2005 by 171 Palestinian non-governmental organizations in support of the Palestinian cause for boycott, divestment and international sanctions against Israel. The BDS campaign called for “various forms of boycott against Israel until Israel meets its obligations under international law.”

In response t0 the BDS movement, Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that these efforts will not achieve their aims. He said: “First of all, they cause the Palestinians to become entrenched behind their obstinate positions and push peace farther away, and secondly, no pressure will cause me to give up Israeli vital interests, first and foremost the security of Israeli citizens.”

As a form of an initial boycott against Israel, in April, the foreign ministers from 16 out of 28 European Union countries sent a letter to EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini asking her to push forward the process of labeling goods produced in Israeli settlements that are sold in grocery chains across the continent. Signing the letter were the foreign ministers of France, Britain, Spain, Italy, Belgium, Sweden, Malta, Austria, Ireland, Portugal, Slovenia, Hungary, Finland, Denmark, The Netherlands and Luxembourg.

In the letter, they said: “[The] continued expansion of Israeli illegal settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and other territories occupied by Israel since 1967 threatens the prospect of a just and final peace agreement.” The German Foreign Minister was the only one of the five major European foreign ministers not to sign the letter. Germany has dissented from the initiative to mark settlement products in the European market, in great part due to its historic and symbolic relationship with Israel. Germany’s ability to prevent a decision on the matter is limited but it has clarified that it opposes the step and will be the last country in Europe to implement such a process.

European Union Ambassador to Israel Lars Faaborg-Andersen said that this policy is the by product of “the EU position that we do not recognize Israeli authority in the West Bank. It is not part of Israel. It is not part of what we understand to be Israel’s international recognized borders.”

The effort to advance EU guidelines for labeling settlement products across the continent began several years ago. In April 2013, the foreign ministers of 13 EU countries sent a similar letter to Mogherini’s predecessor, Catherine Ashton. She began pushing the initiative forward, but put it on hold in the summer of 2013 at the request of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry who was trying to restart Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

European and Israeli diplomats said that in private discussions between EU states that took place before the March Israeli elections that many of the countries representatives said that if Netanyahu was reelected and forms a right-wing government, they will have no choice but to impose sanctions on settlement products and take other steps to prevent Israel from crossing “red lines” that would make a two-state solution impossible.

The actions considered “red lines” by the Europeans are building in the E1 area between the settlement of Ma’aleh Adumim and Jerusalem, construction in the Givat Hamatos and Har Homa neighborhoods of Jerusalem, both of which are beyond the Green Line. The EU believes Israeli construction in those areas would jeopardize the possibility of creating a contiguous Palestinian state and would not enable Jerusalem to serve as the capital of both states.

In July, the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) published a report claiming that the EU is in violation of its own laws by not differentiating more actively away from companies and institutions that operate in “occupied Palestinian land.” The report cites as a legal basis the European Commission guidelines from 2013 in which it states that the EU and member-state-funded lending cannot be provided to Israeli entities operating in the West Bank. The ECFR includes East Jerusalem as well as the West Bank as occupied territory.

According to the report by ECFR, the main purpose of the new law is to push for a larger separation between the EU and any company or person associated with the West Bank. The ECFR seeks to force Israel to reevaluate its relationship with the EU and to push Israel to adopt a Palestinian state. Additionally, the EU and its member states have been heavily funding NGO’s whose primary aim is to internationally delegitimize Israel. According to Israeli Foreign Ministry estimates, these NGO’s, many of whom are located in Israel as well as in the West Bank receive between 100-200 million Euros annually.

Deputy Foreign Minister Tzippi Hotovely (Likud) recently traveled to meet foreign ministers from Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Germany, Norway, Spain and the United Kingdom. She demanded that they take a closer look at the spending that their countries are doing to prevent these funds from being transferred to NGO’s that Israel has classified as anti-Semitic. According to Hotovely, the financial assistance to anti-Israel NGO’s “support boycotts against Israel, blacken its face around the world, accuse it of ethnic cleansing, apartheid, and war crimes; deprive the Jewish people of their right to self-determination, call to prosecute Israel in the International Criminal Court at The Hague, and negate the right of return”.

In response, the European Union agreed to push through a new law labeling products made in the West Bank in a move that has greatly angered Israel and was seen as a major win for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. EU diplomats have long said that labeling products is only the first step in financial actions that will be taken against Israel’s presence in the West Bank. When approved, the new proposal will create financial hardships for Israelis who have dealings with the EU or EU banks in the areas of banking, loans and mortgages, tax exemption status, visas for citizens of Israel who live in the West Bank, qualifications earned in academic institutions such as Ariel University, and the tax-exempt status of European charities that deal with Israeli companies or organizations that have a presence in the West Bank.

In September, the European Parliament passed a resolution that called on the EU to play a greater role in the Mideast diplomatic process and stated that the parliament “welcomes” the EU’s commitment that all agreements with Israel “must unequivocally and explicitly indicate that they don’t apply to the territories occupied by Israel in 1967,” and encourages EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini to “take the lead” on “completing the work on EU-wide guidelines on the labeling of Israeli settlement produce.” Furthermore, the resolution stated that “preserving the viability of the two-state solution through concrete action and ensuring full respect for the rights of civilians on both sides must be an immediate priority for the EU and the international community.”

Furthermore, European parliamentarians called on Mogherini and EU Special Representative Fernando Gentilini to promote a two-state solution within the framework of the Arab Peace Initiative, and said individual member nations needed to play a greater political role in the peace process. The 2002 Arab Peace Initiative calls for an Israeli withdrawal from the Palestinian territories in exchange for full normalization of ties between Israel and the Arab world.

Israel Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, called the resolution “unjust,” and implied that it echoed decisions taken during the German Nazi era. He said: “It is simply a distortion of justice and of logic and I think that it also hurts peace; it does not advance peace. The root of the conflict with the Palestinians is not the territories and the root of the conflict is not the settlements. We have historical memory of what happened when Europe labelled Jewish products.”

The Israel Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nachshon lashed out against the EU in a scathing response to the EU action, saying, “The State of Israel takes the parliament’s decision seriously, in particular the call for labeling products. The process of labeling is discriminatory and reeks of boycott. He added: “Under the cover of a technical move, this is an attempt to impose a diplomatic solution instead of encouraging the Palestinians to return to negotiations,” he said. “Europe acts toward Israel with sanctimonious hypocrisy while it would never consider proposing a similar solution to northern Cyprus or the Western Sahara.”

Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely said it was necessary to “call the child by it’s name,” and that “labeling products is a boycott.” She added: “Israel will not allow any body to discriminate between products made by Israeli citizens and the territory of the state of Israel,” she said. “Efforts to move forward any [diplomatic] agreement by unilateral moves, especially labeling products, will fail and lead nowhere,” she said. Former Israel Foreign Minister, Avigdor Liberman responded by sayin that the European Union might as well label West Bank settlement products with “yellow stars.” As part of their initial decrees against the Jews, the German Nazis forced them to wear yellow stars. Yesh Atid party head Yair Lapid spoke with the EU’s foreign policy chief Frederica Mogherini and asked her not to move forward with the matter because “This is a de-facto call to boycott Israel,” he said.

After the EU decision, Netanyahu went to England. He impressed upon British Prime Minister David Cameron that efforts in Europe to restrict trade with the Jewish state could cost the continent access to Israeli tech and strategic influence in the region. He said: “The future belongs to those who innovate. Britain and Israel are two great centers of technology. Israel is a global hub of innovation especially in cyber security. And I think that if we pull our resources together we can offer a better future and a greater prosperity.” In addition, Netanyahu stressed that Indian and Chinese investment in Israel could surpass Europe’s in the future especially amid increasing efforts in Europe to limit business between its companies and Jewish settlement-related companies.

In late September, a senior European Union official  said that labeling of products manufactured in Israeli settlements in the West Bank would become effective October 1. According to the official, the EU was set to finalize by mid-October remaining legal and technical issues regarding the settlement labeling, such as how exactly to mark the products and how to execute the process. The official added that the EU will consider further punitive measures if the Israeli government announces plans for more construction beyond the Green Line in east Jerusalem and the West Bank. “If this is the case, we will continue with moves against settlement expansion, and the marking of products will just be the beginning,” he said. However, in November, the EU announced that they would publish the guidelines that would require the labeling of consumer goods produced in the Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

For the EU, the labeling of Israeli settlement goods is political. It is meant to put pressure on Israel to support the creation of a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital. It will not lead to great economic harm to Israel as exports from the settlements to the EU make for less than one percent of Israel’s total exports to the EU.

Ohad Cohen, who heads the foreign trade section in the Israeli Ministry of Economy said that efforts are underway to find new markets for Israeli goods, besides Europe and the United States. He said: “Israel is trying to develop markets in Asia and Latin America, to give those Israeli exporters who could run into difficulties while exporting to the European Union new possibilities.”

An agreement to divide Jerusalem and establish a PLO state is a tribulation event.

The link to these articles are as follows:

1) Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions
2) Boycott of Israel ‘amoral, unjustified,’ Netanyahu says
3) EU Votes to Label Goods Made in Judea & Samaria
4) EU Considers Sanctioning Israeli Banks
5) Labeling settlement products gets further push as European Parliament backs move
6) Liberman likens EU to Nazis in light of reported plan to label settlement products
7) PM: EU vote to label Israel settlement products echoes Nazi era
8) Report: Netanyahu Tells UK That Boycotting Israel Would Be EU’s Loss
9) EU official: Labeling of settlement goods to begin in October
10) After EU labeling of West Bank goods, paper proposes banking steps on Israel
11) EU code on Israel settler exports expected by December
12) European FMs Urge Policy Chief: Label West Bank Settlement Products
13) Israel squirms over EU’s change in labeling products from West Bank
14) EU plans to label West Bank products proceeding

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,

Eddie Chumney
Hebraic Heritage Ministries Int’l

November 3, 2015: Weekly 5 minute update

November 1st, 2015

You may view the 5 minute update this week via audio:

1) Listen to the audio

In this week’s 5 minute update, we focused on:

1) The history of the Temple Mount and the modern day conflict between Israel and the Palestinians over it

The Temple Mount is the holiest site in Judaism. It is one of the most important religious sites in the Old City of Jerusalem. To the east of the Temple Mount is the Kidron Valley. To the West is the Tyropoeon Valley. According to the rabbinic sages whose debates produced the Talmud, it was from here the world expanded into its present form and where God gathered the dust used to create the first human, Adam. Since at least the first century, the site has been associated in Judaism with the location of Abraham’s binding of Isaac. In the Bible, this event took place on Mount Moriah.

According to the Hebrew Bible, the Temple Mount was originally a threshing-floor owned by Araunah, a Jebusite. David then bought the property from Araunah, for fifty pieces of silver and erected the altar. The God of Israel instructed David to build a sanctuary on the site outside the city walls on the northern edge of the hill. The building was to replace the Tabernacle that Moses build in the wilderness and serve as the Temple of the Israelites in Jerusalem.

King Solomon the son of King David built the first Temple in 957 BCE. It was destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 BCE. The second Temple was constructed under the auspices of Zerubbabel in 516 BCE. It was destroyed by the Roman Empire in 70 CE.

In around 19 BCE, Herod the Great extended the Mount’s natural plateau by enclosing the area with four massive retaining walls and filling the voids. This artificial expansion resulted in a large flat expanse which today forms the eastern section of the Old City of Jerusalem. The southern section of the western flank is revealed and contains what is known as the Western Wall. The ambitious project which involved the employment of 10,000 workers more than doubled the size of the Temple Mount to approximately 36 acres. A basilica (the Royal Stoa) was constructed on the southern end of the expanded platform which provided a focus for the city’s commercial and legal transactions and which was provided with separate access to the city below via the Robinson’s Arch overpass.

After the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple in 70 CE, the Roman Emperor, Hadrian, rebuilt the city in 130 CE and renamed Jerusalem to be Aelia Capitolina. Aelia came from Hadrian’s nomen gentile, Aelius, while Capitolina meant that the new city was dedicated to Jupiter Capitolinus to whom a Roman temple was built on the site of the Temple Mount in the 2nd century.

In those days, the Roman Emperor Hadrian constructed a giant statue of himself in front of the Temple of Jupiter. In addition, the Temple of Jupiter had a huge statue of the god Jupiter inside of it. Therefore, there were two graven images standing on the Temple Mount. In addition to this, Hadrian issued a decree prohibiting the practice of circumcision. It was the normal practice of the adherents of the Hellenic religion to sacrifice pigs before their deities.  These three factors, the graven images, the sacrifice of pigs before the altar, and the prohibition of circumcision, constituted for non-Hellenized Jews a new abomination of desolation. As a result, the Jewish military leader Bar Kochba launched the Third Jewish Revolt around 135 CE. After the Third Jewish Revolt failed, the Romans decreed that all Jews were forbidden from entering the city or the surrounding territory around the city on the condition of death if the decree was violated.

From the 1st through the 7th centuries Christianity spread throughout the Roman Empire and Jerusalem became predominantly Christian. Emperor Constantine I decreed Christianity as the official religion of the Roman Empire in 321 CE and Hadrian’s Temple to Jupiter on the Temple Mount was demolished immediately following the First Council of Nicea in 325 CE on orders of Constantine.

Revered as the Noble Sanctuary, Muslim’s believe that the Temple Mount was the location of Muhammad’s journey to Jerusalem and ascent to heaven. In 637, Arabs besieged and captured Jerusalem from the Byzantine Empire. As a result, Rashidun Caliph Umar built a mosque known as the Al-Aqsa Mosque. In 691, an octagonal Islamic building topped by a dome was built by the Caliph Abd al-Malik around the sacred rock located on the Temple Mount. The Dome was completed in 692 CE, making it one of the oldest extant Islamic structures in the world. The Al Aqsa Mosque rests on the far southern side of the Mount facing Mecca, Saudi Arabia. The Dome of the Rock currently sits in the middle, occupying or close to the area where the Holy Temple previously stood. The shrine became known as the Dome of the Rock. As a result, today’s Temple Mount is dominated by three monumental Islamic structures: the al-Aqsa Mosque, the Dome of the Rock and the Dome of the Chain. For Sunni Muslims, the importance of the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa Mosque makes Jerusalem the third-holiest city, after Mecca and Medina.

An Islamic Waqf has managed the Temple Mount continuously since the Muslim reconquest of the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem in 1187. Even today, the mosque and shrine are currently administered by a Waqf (an Islamic trust).

On 7 June 1967, during the Six-Day War, Israeli forces advanced beyond the 1949 Armistice Agreement Line into West Bank territories, taking control of the Old City of Jerusalem inclusive of the Temple Mount. In order to celebrate and remember that day, the Israeli Chief Rabbinate declared a religious holiday on this yearly anniversary, called “Yom Yerushalayim” (Jerusalem Day) to commemorate the reunification of Jerusalem.

At that time, the Chief Rabbi of the Israeli Defense Forces, Shlomo Goren, led the soldiers in religious celebrations on the Temple Mount and at the Western Wall. Many saw the capture of Jerusalem and the Temple Mount as a miraculous liberation of biblical-messianic proportions. A few days after the war was over 200,000 Jews flocked to the Western Wall in the first mass Jewish pilgrimage near the Mount since the destruction of the Temple in 70 CE. Islamic authorities did not disturb Goren when he went to pray on the Mount until, on the Ninth Day of Av, he brought 50 followers and introduced both a shofar, and a portable ark to pray, an innovation which alarmed the Waqf authorities and led to a deterioration of relations between the Muslim authorities and the Israeli government.

A few days after the Six-Day War, on June 17, 1967, a meeting was held at al-Aqsa between Moshe Dayan and Muslim religious authorities of Jerusalem regarding the regulation of the Temple Mount. In their agreement, Jews were given the right to visit the Temple Mount unobstructed and free of charge if they respected Muslims’ religious feelings and acted decently. However, Jews were still forbidden to pray on the Temple Mount.  It was decided that the Western Wall was to remain the Jewish place of prayer. The Prime Minister of Israel at that time, Levi Eshkol, gave control of access to the Temple Mount to the Jerusalem Islamic Waqf. Eshkol made the following declaration: “no harm whatsoever shall come to the places sacred to all religions”.

Together with the extension of Israeli jurisdiction and administration over east Jerusalem, the Knesset passed the Preservation of the Holy Places Law ensuring protection of the Holy Places against desecration as well as freedom of access thereto. While ‘Religious sovereignty’ was to be with the Muslims, Israel was in charge of the ‘overall sovereignty’ of the Temple Mount. Today, the Temple Mount can be accessed via eleven gates, ten reserved for Muslims and one for non-Muslims, with guard posts of Israeli police in the vicinity of each.

Although freedom of access to the Temple Mount was enshrined into Israeli law, as a security measure, the Israeli government currently enforces a ban on non-Muslim prayer on the site. Non-Muslims who are observed praying on the site are subject to expulsion by the police.At various times, when there is fear of Arab rioting upon the mount resulting in throwing stones from above towards the Western Wall Plaza, Israel has prevented Muslim men under 45 from praying in the compound, citing these concerns.

Following the June, 1967 agreement, Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount continued to be a source of contention between the Jews and the Palestinians. In response to an appeal in 1976 against police interference with an individual’s personal right to prayer on the site, the President of the High Court of Justice, Aharon Barak, expressed the view that, while Jews had a right to prayer there, it was not absolute but subject to the public interest and the rights of other groups. He wrote:

The basic principle is that every Jew has the right to enter the Temple Mount, to pray there, and to have communion with his maker. This is part of the religious freedom of worship, it is part of the freedom of expression. However, as with every human right, it is not absolute, but a relative right… Indeed, in a case where there is near certainty that injury may be caused to the public interest if a person’s rights of religious worship and freedom of expression would be realized, it is possible to limit the rights of the person in order to uphold the public interest.

Subsequently, several Israeli prime ministers also made attempts to change the status quo regarding prayer on the Temple Mount but failed to do so. In October 1986, an agreement between the Temple Mount Faithful, the Supreme Muslim Council and police, which would allow short visits in small groups, was exercised once and never repeated, after 2,000 Muslims armed with stones and bottles attacked the group and stoned worshipers at the Western Wall. During the 1990s, additional attempts were made for Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount which were stopped by Israeli police. Today, the Temple Mount remains, under the terms of the 1994 Israel–Jordan peace treaty, under Jordanian custodianship.

Since 2010, fear arose among Palestinians that Israel planned to change the status quo and permit Jewish prayers or that the al-Aqsa mosque might be damaged or destroyed by Israel. As a result, Al-Aqsa was used as a base for attacks on visitors and the police from which stones, firebombs and fireworks were thrown.

There is a disagreement between Orthodox Jews whether religious Jews should pray on the Temple Mount. A few hours after the Temple Mount came under Israeli control during the Six-Day War, a message from the Chief Rabbis of Israel, Isser Yehuda Unterman and Yitzhak Nissim was broadcast, warning that Jews were not permitted to enter the site. This warning was reiterated by the Council of the Chief Rabbinate a few days later, which issued an explanation written by Rabbi Bezalel Jolti (Zolti) that “Since the sanctity of the site has never ended, it is forbidden to enter the Temple Mount until the Temple is built.” The signatures of more than 300 prominent rabbis were later obtained. Rabbinical consensus in the post-1967 period, held that it is forbidden for Jews to enter any part of the Temple Mount and in January 2005 a declaration was signed confirming the 1967 decision.

Due to its extreme sanctity of the Temple Mount, many Orthodox Jews will not walk on the Mount itself, to avoid unintentionally entering the area where the Holy of Holies stood during the days of the Temple. Most of the ultra-Orthodox rabbis are of the opinion that the Mount is off limits to Jews and non-Jews alike. Their opinions against entering the Temple Mount are based on the current political climate surrounding the Mount along with the potential danger of entering the hallowed area of the Temple courtyard and the impossibility of fulfilling the ritual requirement of cleansing oneself with the ashes of a red heifer. The boundaries of the areas which are completely forbidden, while having large portions in common, are delineated differently by various rabbinic authorities.

In December 2013, the two Chief Rabbis of Israel, David Lau and Yitzhak Yosef, reiterated the ban on Jews entering the Temple Mount. They wrote, “In light of [those] neglecting [this ruling], we once again warn that nothing has changed and this strict prohibition remains in effect for the entire area [of the Temple Mount]”. In November 2014, the Sephardic chief rabbi Yitzhak Yosef, reiterated the point of view held by many rabbinic authorities that Jews should not visit the Mount. On the occasion of an upsurge in Palestinian knifing attacks on Israelis, associated with fears that Israel was changing the status-quo on the Mount, the ultra-Orthodox newspaper Mishpacha ran a notification in Arabic asking ‘their cousins’, the Palestinians, to stop trying to murder members of their congregation, since they were vehemently opposed to ascending the Mount and consider such visits proscribed by Jewish law.

However, there is a growing body of Modern Orthodox and national religious rabbis who encourage visits to certain parts of the Mount, which they believe are permitted according to most medieval rabbinical authorities. A leading proponent of the rights of Jews to pray on the Temple Mount is Rabbi Yehuda Glick. Glick is the leader of HaLiba, a coalition of groups dedicated to “reaching complete and comprehensive freedom and civil rights for Jews on the Temple Mount.” Glick has led groups of Jews to walk the Temple Mount, and has been repeatedly arrested while praying, walking and filming videos on the Temple Mount. On 4 June, 2015, a Jerusalem district court banned Glick from entering Temple Mount, overturning a lower court decision. The judge ruled that Glick’s presence was inflammatory and that “there is a risk of violence breaking out if the respondent returns to the compound before the end of legal proceedings in his case.”

On 29 October, 2014, Glick survived an assassination attempt by Mutaz Hijazi, a member of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad Movement. In 2015, Glick was awarded the Moskowitz Prize for Zionism for being “Active for human rights and religious freedom on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount.” Under current regulations, Muslims may visit and pray on the Temple Mount. Jews may also visit during limited hours, but are prohibited from praying or doing a range of things — kneeling, bowing, even crying — that resemble worship.

The most recent round of violence between Jews and Muslims at the Temple Mount started on September 9 following Israel’s decision to bar an Islamist protest group from entering the Temple Mount. Israel said the group, known as the Murabitat, and its corresponding men’s faction have been yelling at Jewish visitors and throwing stones at them. In announcing the ban, the Israeli government said: “The aforesaid organizations strive to undermine Israeli sovereignty on the Temple Mount, change the existing reality and arrangements at the site and infringe on freedom of worship.”

On September 12, Israeli police raided the Temple Mount uncovering a stockpile of pipe bombs, firebombs and rocks that they feared would be aimed at Jewish worshippers. On Sept. 18, police barred Muslim men under 40 from the mount in anticipation of unrest following Muslim Friday prayers. Some 200 Palestinians protested the move at the Damascus Gate to Jerusalem’s Old City. Three Israeli policemen and 21 Palestinians were injured in the Friday clashes.

In response, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also declared “war” on stone throwers. Netanyahu is pushing through a new law that would allow police to fire more quickly on Palestinian stone throwers as well as increase the stone throwers’ prison sentences and fines. Netanyahu said: “We attest to the fact that we decided to change the policy and declare war on those who throw stones and firebombs, shoot and riot. In the State of Israel, people do not throw firebombs, or shoot at trains, or throw stones at will. Those who do so will pay a very heavy price.”

Regarding the clashes on the Temple Mount, Palestinian President Mahmood Abbas said: “Israel will not be allowed to continue its steps. The Al-Aqsa mosque is ours. They have no right to dirty it with their filthy feet. We will not allow them to do that.” Jordan’s King Abdullah II criticized Israel’s actions, saying that “any more provocation in Jerusalem will affect the relationship between Jordan and Israel.”

Israel’s action, Netanyahu said has come only to prevent violence at the site. In addition, Israel insists that it is committed to maintaining the status quo on the Temple Mount. Netanyahu said: “Israel have no plans to change the status-quo on the Temple Mount. However, we also have no intention of allowing anyone to cause the deterioration of the arrangements on the Temple Mount by resorting to explosive and widespread violence.” The Israeli status-quo limits Israeli sovereignty over the Mount, leaves the Islamic Waqf responsible for managing the site and bans Jewish prayers there.

In early October, Netanyahu barred all Cabinet ministers and Jewish lawmakers from visiting the Temple Mount. As a result of the recent violence associated with the Temple Mount, US Secretary of State John Kerry reached an agreement with King Abdullah of Jordan and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in late October to formalize arrangements governing the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. The terms of the understanding reinforce the status quo and will be backed up with 24-hour monitoring of the Temple Mount. “Israel will continue to enforce its longstanding policy: Muslims pray on the Temple Mount; non-Muslims visit the Temple Mount,” Netanyahu said. “Those who visit or worship on the Temple Mount must be allowed to do so in peace, free from violence, from threats, from intimidation and from provocations. We will continue to ensure access to the Temple Mount for peaceful worshipers and visitors, while maintaining public order and security.”

Based upon a suggestion by Jordan’s King Abdullah, the new agreement will provide “24-hour video coverage of all sites” in the compound. US Secretary of State, John Kerry said: “The 24-hour video coverage will provide comprehensive visibility and transparency and that could really be a game changer in discouraging anybody from disturbing the sanctity of the holy site.”

An agreement to divide Jerusalem and establish a PLO state is a tribulation event.

The link to these articles are as follows:

1) The Temple Mount
2) Rabbi Yehuda Glick and Jewish Access to the Temple Mount
3) 5 Things About the Violence Spike on the Temple Mount
4) Temple Mount Violence Rooted in Contradictory Views and Cynical Politics
5) Agreement on Temple Mount Formalizes Status Quo But Violence Continues
6) Netanyahu bans Jewish officials from Jerusalem holy site
7) Kerry: Israel okays 24-hour video cameras on Temple Mount

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,

Eddie Chumney
Hebraic Heritage Ministries Int’l

October 27, 2015: Weekly 5 minute update

October 25th, 2015

You may view the 5 minute update this week via audio:

1) Listen to the audio

In this week’s 5 minute update, we focused on:

1) An analysis of why Russia aggressively went into Syria the first week of October to support Syrian President Bashar Assad. The war in Syria is connected with who has the control and power over natural gas and its pipelines in the Middle East.

The roots of the war in Syria is centered in the development, supply and control of oil and natural gas reserves in Middle Eastern countries and the pipelines needed to send them primarily to Europe. Syria is not a major oil producer. Until the start of the Syrian civil war in March, 2011, Syria was making a hardly negligible $4 billion a year in oil sales – a third of the government budget. Nevertheless, Syria is a strategic country to transport natural gas from various Middle East countries to Europe. Syria is already part of a Western-ordained gas pipeline that spans from Egypt to Syria. This pipeline, known as the Arab Gas Pipeline, was originally planned to continue traveling from Syria into Turkey. From there, it can be piped into Europe. The major players of this Western approved pipeline include Saudi Arabia and Qatar, among other Gulf nations.

Arab Gas Pipeline


In 1989, Qatar and Iran began to develop the South Pars/North Dome natural gas field which is buried 3,000 meters below the floor of the Persian Gulf. With 51 trillion cubic meters of gas and 50 billion cubic meters of liquid condensates, it is the largest natural gas field in the world. Approximately 1/3 of this gas field belongs to Iran and other 2/3 belongs to Qatar. The major market for this gas is Europe. Iran has strategic ties with Syria and Syria is backed by Russia. Qatar is aligned with the US and Europe.

Since the discovery, Qatar has invested heavily in liquefied natural gas (LNG) plants and terminals that enable it to ship its gas around the world in tankers. Qatar is the world’s leading exporter of liquefied natural gas. Yet liquefaction and shipping increase total costs and, particularly as gas prices have slipped, Qatari gas has remained easily undercut in European markets by cheaper pipeline gas from Russia and elsewhere. As a result, it would be highly beneficial to Qatar to be able to send their natural gas to Europe by a pipeline.

Qatar - Iran Gas Fields

Qatar Gas Fields


So in 2009, Qatar proposed to President Bashar Assad of Syria to build a pipeline to send its gas northwest via Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Syria which would eventually reach Europe. Two different routes for such a pipeline were possible. One would lead from Qatar through Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Iraq to Turkey. The other would go through Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria and on to Turkey. Assad refused to agree to the proposal by Qatar to build a pipeline through Syria.  A French newspaper report claimed Assad’s rationale was “to protect the interests of [his] Russian ally, which is Europe’s top supplier of natural gas.” For Qatar, the investment to build the pipeline would be billions of dollars up front but it would reduce its existing high transportation costs over the long term. To complicate matters, Saudi Arabia was not interested in a gas pipeline from Qatar to go through its country. Saudi Arabia has a track record of obstructing regional pipeline projects and for decades has had a tense political relationship with Qatar.


Qatar - Saudi Arabia - Syria Gas Pipeline


Qatar Gas Lines to Europe

In January, 2010, at the World Future Summit in Abu Dhabi, the Prime Minister of Turkey, Tayyip Erdogan, promoted a project with Qatar to supply natural gas to Europe through a Turkish hook-up with the proposed Nabucco pipeline. The Nabucco pipeline would transport Central Asian and Middle Eastern gas to Europe bypassing Russia. Mr Erdogan said the Qatar-Turkey pipeline project was “important” for his country, and “will provide remarkable opportunities for Gulf countries”.  He also described last year’s signing of an inter-governmental agreement on the Nabucco pipeline as the year’s “most significant development” for Turkey’s energy strategy. The transit agreement between five EU states and Turkey cleared the way for a final investment decision on the EU-backed project to reduce European dependence on Russian gas.

Turkey has long sought to establish itself as a hub for energy flowing from Asia and the Middle East to Europe. The idea gained the interest of the EU as European concerns over energy security have intensified due to recurring spats that have threatened to disrupt westward flows of Russian oil and gas. In January, 2009, Russia cut off 20 per cent of Europe’s gas supply for two weeks over a dispute with the transit state of Ukraine. In January, 2010, the failure of talks between Russia and Belarus have threatened oil supplies to several EU countries.

Planning for the Nabucco pipeline began in 2002. From the start, the pipeline was a joint European and American project aimed at undermining Russian influence over the European continent by reducing Russian energy imports. Europe currently obtains 36 per cent of its gas and 20 per cent of its oil from Russia.In 2006 Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon, and Romania reached an agreement to build the pipeline’s extension through Syria to the Turkish border. From there, the pipeline would have been connected to the possible Nabucco Pipeline for the delivery of gas to Europe. In 2008 Turkey and Syria signed an agreement to construct a 63 kilometres (39 mi) pipeline between Aleppo and Kilis as a first segment of the Syria-Turkey connection of the Arab Gas Pipeline. However this contract was annulled at the beginning of 2009.

Responding to the building of the Nabucco pipeline, Russia built the North Stream pipeline which has been exporting gas from Russia under the Baltic Sea to Germany since 2011. In addition, Russia took on the South Stream project in 2007, which is to export gas from Russia, under the Black Sea and through the Balkans to western Europe. Work on South Stream began in December 2012, and it should be completed by 2018.

However, in July, 2013, the Nabucco pipeline project which was sponsored by the European Union (EU) and was to have transported gas from the Caspian Sea to Europe in order to bypass Russia was cancelled. The failure of the Nabucco project was due to a combination of geopolitical factors and business considerations. Nabucco-East was to have run from Azerbaijan across Georgia and Turkey to the Bulgarian border. As an alternative, the Trans Anatolian Pipeline (TANAP), funded by Azerbaijan and Turkey is due to come into operation in 2018. Nabucco-West was to have carried gas from Turkey to Austria, through Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary. As an alternative to Nabucco-West, the Shah-Deniz II consortium, which runs the largest gas field in Azerbaijan, awarded the contract for the transportation of gas to the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) which runs through Greece and Albania and under the Adriatic Sea to Southern Italy. This route is 500 km shorter than that proposed by Nabucco-West. Although representatives of the EU and the US state department declared their support for the decision in favor of the TAP pipeline, the cancelling of the Nabucco pipeline is a defeat for the EU.

The increased independence of Turkey from Russia was one of the main goals of the southern route from the outset. Turkey is one of the largest importers of Russian gas, but at the same time is a key political partner of NATO and the EU in Eurasia and the Caspian region. The route will now not be built under the direction of the EU, but instead primarily under the control of Turkey and Azerbaijan. As a result, the laying of the TANAP and TAP pipelines will increase the geopolitical importance of these two countries as EU energy partners.

Turkey attempted to persuade Syrian President Bashar Assad to reject the Iran-Iraq-Syria pipeline and to work with the proposed Qatar-Turkey pipeline, which would ultimately satisfy Turkey and the Gulf Arab nations’ quest for dominance over gas supplies, who are the United State’s allies. But after Assad refused Turkey’s proposal, Turkey and its allies became the major architects to start Syria’s “civil war.”

Nabucco Gas Pipeline


North and South Stream Pipelines

In 2010, Assad pursued negotiations for an alternative $10 billion pipeline plan with Iran, across Iraq to Syria, that would also potentially allow Iran to supply gas to Europe from its shared gas field with Qatar. It would be completed by 2016.  Russia blessed this project possibly believing that it would have an easier time dealing with Iran than Qatar to control gas imports to Europe from Iran, the Caspian Sea region, and Central Asia. This alternative pipeline plan would carry Iran and Iraq’s gas to Europe, instead of gas from Qatar, and this option further pleased Russia’s Putin because he already had long standing energy agreements in place with Iran.

Next, Syria signed a memorandum of understanding with Iraq to build one gas and two oil pipelines with its target destination being Europe. In July, 2011, just weeks after civil war broke out in Syria, the Tehran Times released a report entitled, “Iran, Iraq, Syria Sign Major Gas Pipeline Deal“. The report provided details on Iranian plans to export its vast natural gas reserves to Europe through a pipeline that would travel through both Iraq and Syria. This new Iran-Iraq-Syria pipeline would reportedly be the largest gas pipeline in the Middle East and would span from Iran’s gas-rich South Pars field to the Mediterranean coastline in Lebanon through Iraq and Syria. The Iran-Iraq-Syria pipeline is sometimes called the Islamic Gas Pipeline (IGP). However, the proposed pipeline wouldn’t stop in Syria. The agreement calls for the construction of an underwater pipeline under the Mediterranean Sea stretching from Lebanon to Greece to deliver Iranian gas to energy-hungry European nations. The Iran-Iraq-Syria gas pipeline became a threat to the Arab Gas Pipeline as it would compete directly with the Arab Gas Pipeline’s goal of delivering Mideast natural gas to Europe as well.

As a long-term supporter of Syria, Russia had built up influence within the administration and the armed forces. Also Russia’s only military base in the Mediterranean is located on the coast of Syria which would strategically allow Putin to control a second gas pipeline to Europe. Naturally this Iranian pipeline to Syria quickly became a top priority for Russia. Therefore, Assad and the Russians worked their contacts within Syria to dissuade the Qatar pipeline and promote the Iranian pipeline.


Iran Iraq Syria Pipeline

The Memorandum of Understanding for the Iran-Iraq-Syria gas pipeline was signed in July, 2012 – just as Syria’s civil war was spreading to Damascus and Aleppo. In July 2013, leaders from Syria, Iran, and Iraq met to sign a preliminary agreement on the pipeline with the hopes of finalizing the deal by the end of the year. This pipeline would by-pass Turkey. The plan by Assad to support the Iran-Iraq-Syria pipeline plan was a “direct slap in the face” to Qatar’s plans to build a pipeline through Syria.

In July, 2013, Russia rejected a Saudi proposal to abandon Syria’s president, Bashar Assad, in return for a huge arms deal and a pledge to boost Russian influence in the Arab world. On July 31, 2013, Russian President Vladimir Putin, a strong backer of Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad, met Saudi Arabia’s intelligence chief Prince Bandar bin Sultan. During the meeting in Russia, the Saudi official explained that Saudi Arabai is ready to help Russia play a bigger role in the Middle East at a time when the United States is disengaging from the region. Bandar proposed that Saudi Arabia buy $15 billion dollars of weapons from Russia and invest “considerably in the country.” The Saudi prince also reassured Putin that “whatever regime comes after” Assad, it will be “completely” in the Saudis’ hands and will not sign any agreement allowing any Gulf country to transport its gas across Syria to Europe and compete with Russian gas exports, the diplomat said. The meeting between Bandar and Putin came amid tension between Russia and Saudi Arabia over the conflict in Syria, as Russia has accused the Saudis of “financing and arming terrorists and extremist groups” in the war which started in March, 2011.

Putin rejected the Saudi Arabian proposal. When this happened, Bandar bin Sultan of Saudi Arabia then let the Russians know that the only option left in Syria was military action. So, why did Russia reject the proposal to partner with Saudi Arabia? Asked about the Putin-Bandar meeting, a Syrian politician said: “Saudi Arabia thinks that politics is a simple matter of buying people or countries. It doesn’t understand that Russia is a major power and that this is not how it determines its policy. Syria and Russia have had close ties for over half a century in all fields and it’s not Saudi money that will change this fact,” he added.

As a result, of Syrian President Bashar Assad’s decision to reject the Qatar pipeline going through Syria to Europe and embracing the Iran-Iraq-Syria pipeline instead, the decision was made to start an uprising backed by the US and Europe to remove Assad from power. This uprising started in March, 2011 as armed protesters opposed the Assad government. As a result, the U.S., France, Britain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey — aka, the new “Friends of Syria” coalition — began to publicly call for the overthrow of Syrian President Bashar Assad between 2011 and 2012 after Assad’s refusal to sign onto the Qatar gas pipeline through Syria to Europe. Qatar began working to oust the Assad regime by funding rebel groups to the tune of an estimated $3 billion between 2011 and 2013.

For nearly 15 years, Gulf nations, and their Western-based militaries have been plotting an overthrow of the Syrian government. In 2001, former U.S. General Wesley Clark admitted that the United States made a decision to topple the Syrian government.

In May 2007, a presidential finding revealed that the “the Saudi government, with United States approval, would provide funds and logistical aid to weaken the government of President Bashir Assad, of Syria.” One faction chosen to receive covert US “political and financial support” through the Saudis was the exiled Syrian Muslim Brotherhood. According to former French foreign minister Roland Dumas, Britain had planned covert action in Syria as early as 2009. Speaking with French television, Dumas said: “I met with top British officials, who confessed to me that they were preparing something in Syria. Britain was preparing gunmen to invade Syria.”

In December, 2011, a military officer wrote a report on a meeting with US military intelligence officers regarding events taking place inside Syria confirmed US-UK training of Syrian opposition forces since 2011 aimed at eliciting “collapse” of Assad’s regime “from within.” The goal was to replace the Assad government with a new “democratic” government that is friendly to US, EU, Sunni/Saudi interests in the region. According to retired NATO Secretary General Wesley Clark, the US strategy in the region is fundamentally about control of the region’s vast oil and gas resources.

So how do we understand the dynamics of the disagreement between Russia and the West over the support of Syrian President Bashar Assad?

In October, 2015, the Russian military went into Syria. So, why is Russia backing Assad ? Russia supports the Iran-Iraq-Syria pipeline. Why are they choosing to side with Syria despite the massive propaganda push by the West against the Assad government? It is because Russia’s economy is predominantly based upon its enormous energy exports. Much of Europe is dependent upon Russian oil and gas and this dependency is growing. Russia boasts the largest natural gas reserves in the world. The Russian energy company, Gazprom, is the world’s largest extractor of natural gas. It currently delivers gas to over 25 European countries. Europe is the source of 40% of Gazprom’s yearly revenue. Which country has the second largest natural gas reserves in the world? It is Iran.

In addition to Russia, Iran has also firmly opposed the removal of Assad from power. In fact, since the start of the fighting, Iran has provided the most extensive support to the Assad government. By some accounts, it is more or less running the Syrian army, as well as supplying it with weapons and now even troops from its Revolutionary Guard. Russia has its eye on the potential profits of bringing Iranian oil and gas online for Europe. For this reason, (among a myriad of others) it has sought to solidify its relations with Iran. The most direct route for moving Iran’s energy supplies to Europe is right through the heart of Iraq and into Syria.

As Iran is liberated from US-imposed embargo, two power blocks have emerged in the Middle East – Iran, Iraq and Syria, which are all Shia-led, and the rest of the Arab world, which is Sunni and stands against the Shia. While America holds the alliance of the Sunni world, Russia is siding with the Shia-controlled nations. Most Arabs view the Iran-Iraq-Syria pipeline as a Shi’ite pipeline serving Shi’ite interests. After all, it originates in Shi’ite Iran, passes through Shi’ite Iraq, and flows into Shi’ite controlled Syria. Therefore, the Sunni-dominated Gulf nations have both an economic and religious reason for preventing the Iran-Iraq-Syria pipeline from becoming a reality. So far, the Gulf nations have violently opposed Syria’s adoption of the Iran-Iraq-Syria pipeline by arming opposition fighters within Syria in order to destabilize the nation. This also explains why Russia has chosen to target Qatari- and Saudi-funded rebel groups in Syria in its bombing campaigns in addition to bombing ISIS.

If Syria-Iran-Iraq gas pipelines comes into existence, Russia and its energy company, Gazprom, would economically benefit. Russia would rather see the Iran–Iraq–Syria pipeline built or no pipeline at all so that it can best control gas supplies to Europe, its main market. Therefore, Russia is backing Syria, and consequently, Iran and Iraq. Of course, Russia has already signed a deal with China for the provision of natural gas starting 2019, so China will back Russia. So, Russia, China, Iran, Iraq and Syria form a core of the nations who support the Assad government in Syria.

Hezbollah entered the scene in 2012 and allied itself with the Syrian government to fight al-Nusra and ISIS, which were officially being armed and financed by Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey. And all the arms were actively being sold to these nations by the United States.

For Qatar, Syria represents an opportunity to transport its gas to market cheaply or block Iran from dominating pipeline exports from a jointly-owned field. Qatar along with Turkey would like to remove Assad from power and install the Syrian chapter of the Muslim Brotherhood. The United States, meanwhile, supports the Qatari pipeline as a way to balance Iran and diversify Europe’s gas supplies away from Russia. And Turkey, likewise, believes that the Qatari pipeline would help it diversify its own gas supplies away from Russian energy and further its ambitions to be a gas transit hub between Asia and Europe.

Russia is battling for the allegiance of Turkey. In fact, Russian state media has reminded Turkey that it is “unlikely to manage without Russian gas” and that Turkey’s other major supplier, Iran, is aligned with Russia in Syria. Russia alone accounts for about 1/5 of Turkey’s energy consumption, more than any other country. According to a Bloomberg report, Russia provides around 57 percent of Turkey’s natural gas. The whole Turkish energy security architecture depends on gas from Russia and Iran. On the flip side, Turkey is Russia’s second biggest natural gas customer after Germany. Germany obtains 40 per cent of its gas from Russia and is its most important trading partner in the EU. Turkey needs Syria to fulfill its energy strategy.

In December, 2014, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Russia will scrap the $20 billion South Stream natural-gas pipeline that would have sent Russian natural gas the European countries in favor of a natural gas pipeline link to Turkey. The European Union never fully embraced the project instead trying to broaden its supplies and reduce dependence on Russian gas. The emergence of Turkey as a major economic partner with Russia, which sets aside their conflicting military and political agendas, especially on Syria, comes as Russia makes trade agreements to strengthen ties with countries that haven’t joined the sanctions imposed by the U.S., the EU and some of their allies in Asia over Russia’s actions in the Ukraine. In October, 2015, Turkish President Mr Erdogan, angered by Russia’s bombing campaign in Syria, warned Russia that Turkey may look elsewhere for partners to supply its natural gas. One of the top importers of Russian gas, Turkey has joined with Russia in a major effort to construct a new gas pipeline – dubbed Turkish Stream, or TurkStream – as an alternate route into Europe that bypasses Ukraine.

Because the West is eager to lesson the dependence Russian natural gas to Europe and replace it with supplies from the Persian Gulf, the West wants to remove Assad from power. Because having a pipeline from the Persian Gulf that run through Syria to Europe is a major key to achieving energy independence from Russia and because Syria politically leans in favor of Russia and Iran, it was decided in the Western capitals that Assad needs to be removed from power. If this eventually happens, US would like to replace him with someone loyal to the US, Europe, Qatar and Saudi Arabia therefore work to get the Qatar-Syria-Turkey pipeline operational so that the Qatari Princes and Saudi Kings can finally begin to have access to the European energy market once and for all.

While seeking this objective, the West also believes that Russia (and Putin) must be destabilized, kept occupied, removed and divorced from having control over the natural gas supplied to Europe. To the West, it doesn’t matter what they have to do to ultimately remove Russia’s energy out of Europe and replace it with Qatari / Saudi reserves. In August, 2013, US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, said: “Syria today is not about choosing between two sides but rather about choosing one among many sides. It is my belief that the side we choose must be ready to promote their interests and ours when the balance shifts in their favor.”

An agreement to divide Jerusalem and establish a PLO state is a tribulation event.

The link to these articles are as follows:

1) Turkey touts proposed gas pipeline from Qatar
2) European Union’s Nabucco pipeline project aborted
3) Qatar seeks gas pipeline to Turkey
4) Syria intervention plan fueled by oil interests, not chemical weapon concern
5) Spooks’ view on Syria: what wikileaks revealed
6) General Wesley Clark: US planned wars in 7 countries in 5 years including Syria
7) Moscow rejects Saudi offer to drop Assad for arms deal
8) General Dempsey on Syria Intervention
9) Syria’s Pipelineistan war
10) Iraq green lights gas pipeline deal with Iran, Syria
11) Migrant Crisis & Syria War Fueled By Competing Gas Pipelines
12) Why Syria? An Examination of the Iran-Iraq-Syria Pipeline
13) ISIS, Ukraine, Syria…it was, and always has been, about Qatar and Saudi gas and oil to Europe
14) Syria and the Gas Pipelines – Syrian Crisis’ Ground Reality
15) Is Russia Just in Syria for the Pipelines?
16) Putin Says Moscow to Drop Gas Pipeline to Europe
17) Turkey’s Erdogan Warns Russia on Energy Deals

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,

Eddie Chumney
Hebraic Heritage Ministries Int’l

October 20, 2015: Weekly 5 minute update

October 18th, 2015

You may view the 5 minute update this week via audio:

1) Listen to the audio

In this week’s 5 minute update, we focused on:

1) An analysis of why Russia aggressively went into Syria the first week of October to support Syrian President Bashar Assad. The support of Assad is connected to control and power over natural gas and its pipelines in the Middle East which is rooted in the control and power over natural gas and its pipelines from Russia through the Ukraine into Europe. First, we will examine the control and power over natural gas and its pipelines from Russia through the Ukraine into Europe.

The Russia–Ukraine gas disputes refer to a number of disputes between Ukrainian oil and gas company Naftohaz Ukrayiny and Russian gas supplier Gazprom over natural gas supplies, prices, and debts. These disputes have grown beyond simple business disputes into transnational political issues—involving political leaders from several countries—that threaten natural gas supplies in numerous European countries dependent on natural gas imports from Russian suppliers, which are transported through Ukraine. Russia provides approximately 25% of the natural gas consumed in the European Union; approximately 80% of those exports travel through pipelines across Ukrainian soil prior to arriving in the EU. Important pipelines pass through Ukraine to Slovakia, and then on to Germany, Italy, and Austria. About 60% of Ukraine’s consumed gas comes from Russia. In addition, two-thirds of Gazprom’s revenue comes from the sale of gas that crosses the Ukraine. Germany and Ukraine are Gazprom’s biggest foreign purchasers. Oil and gas trade accounts for half of Russia’s annual export revenue and more than half of Russia’s federal budget.



Russian gas pipelines through the Ukraine

A serious dispute began in March 2005 over the price of natural gas supplied and the cost of transit. During this conflict, Russia claimed Ukraine was not paying for gas, but diverting that which was intended to be exported to the EU from the pipelines. Ukrainian officials at first denied the accusation but later Naftohaz admitted that natural gas intended for other European countries was retained and used for domestic needs. The dispute reached a crescendo on 1 January 2006, when Russia cut off all gas supplies passing through Ukrainian territory. On 4 January 2006, a preliminary agreement between Russia and Ukraine was achieved, and the supply was restored. The situation calmed until October 2007 when new disputes began over Ukrainian gas debts. This led to reduction of gas supplies in March 2008. During the last months of 2008, relations once again became tense when Ukraine and Russia could not agree on the debts owed by Ukraine. In January 2009, this disagreement resulted in supply disruptions in many European nations, with eighteen European countries reporting major drops in or complete cut-offs of their gas supplies transported through Ukraine from Russia.

On 17 January 2009, Russia held an international gas conference in Moscow. Ukraine was represented by the Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko.  On 18 January 2009, Putin and Tymoshenko reached a deal to restore gas supplies to Europe and Ukraine. Both parties agreed that Ukraine would start paying European prices for its natural gas, less a 20% discount for 2009, and that Ukraine would pay the full European market price starting in 2010. In return for the discounts for 2009, Ukraine agreed to keep its transit fee for Russian gas unchanged in 2009. The two sides also agreed not to use intermediaries.  On 19 January 2009, Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller signed an agreement on natural gas supply to Ukraine for the period of 2009-2019.  Gas supplies restarted on 20 January 2009, and were fully restored on 21 January. According to the EU Commission and Presidency, the Russia–Ukraine gas disputes caused irreparable and irreversible damage to customers’ confidence in Russia and Ukraine, causing Russia and Ukraine to no longer be regarded as reliable partners. In addition, Russia plans to completely abandon gas supplies to Europe through Ukraine after 2018 by constructing a gas pipeline intended for Europe through Turkey.

Since the break up of the Soviet Union, Ukraine had been mired by years of corruption, mismanagement, lack of economic growth, currency devaluation, and an inability to secure funding from public markets.  Since 2004, Ukraine sought to establish closer relations with the European Union (EU) and Russia. One of these measures was an association agreement with the European Union which would provide Ukraine with funds contingent on reforms. The Ukraine–European Union Association Agreement is a treaty between the European Union (EU) and the Ukraine that establishes a political and economic association between the parties. The agreement commits Ukraine to economic, judicial, and financial reforms to converge its policies and legislation to those of the European Union.

The Ukrainian president ultimately refused to sign the agreement at the urging of Russia. Instead, on December 17, 2013, the Ukrainian president signed a treaty and multi-billion dollar loan with Russia whereby it was agreed that Russia would buy $15 billion of Ukrainian Eurobonds and that the cost of Russian natural gas supplied to Ukraine would be lowered to $268 per 1,000 cubic metres (the price was more than $400 at the time).  The deal relinquished Ukraine’s Kerch peninsula to the Russian Navy granting Russia highly desirable warm-water ports and strategic access to the Mediterranean and beyond.

Instead of signing a treaty with the EU, Russia wanted the Ukraine to join the Eurasian Customs Union. The Eurasian Customs Union (EACU) is a customs union which consists of the member states of the Eurasian Economic Union. It came into existence on 1 January 2010. Its founding states were Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia. On 2 January, 2015 it was enlarged to include Armenia. Kyrgyzstan acceded to the EEU on 6 August, 2015. The Customs Union was launched as a first step towards forming a broader European Union-type economic alliance of former Soviet states.  The member states continued with economic integration and removed all customs borders between each other after July 2011. On 19 November 2011, the member states put together a joint commission on fostering closer economic ties, planning to create a Eurasian Economic Union by 2015.

Therefore, the present Ukrainian crisis started when pro-Moscow Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych’s government abandoned a trade deal with the European Union in favor of stronger ties with Russia. In December, 2013 some 800,000 people rallied in the capital of Kiev and protesters occupy city hall and Independence Square due to Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovich’s failure to sign the trade deal with the EU. In February, 2014, the Ukrainian president fled Kiev. At that time, the Ukrainian Parliament voted to remove the president from power setting a new election date for May 25, 2014.

After the 2014 revolution, Russia refused to recognize the new interim government, calling the revolution a coup, or an overthrow and illegal seizure of the Ukraine. Russian FM Sergey Lavrov said that the West was inconsistent in not recognizing the Crimea referendum as legitimate while recognizing the military coup in the Ukraine. Lavrov also said that Russia’s relationship with the West has been quite eventful in the post-Soviet period. Lavrov continued: “Russia was welcomed into the democratic world because they expected us to follow their orders and observe all the rules created by the west. However, this is not partnership but rather an attempt to take under control a non-aligned geopolitical ‘turf’. Russia saw that attitude exposed in developments in Ukraine. Russia saw how desperate the West was to drag Ukraine into its orbit, without paying attention to the interests of the Ukrainian economy, culture and the nation. Ukraine is a very complex, multi-ethnic and multicultural country. The ultimate motive behind all that was to separate Ukraine from Russia. Russia remembers the words of former national security advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski under the Carter administration who said in 1998 that with control of the Ukraine that Russia is a great power but without the Ukraine, Russia ceases to be a relevant Eurasian empire.”

In February, 2014, pro-Russian gunmen seize key buildings in the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea. The majority of Crimea’s 2.3 million population identify themselves as ethnic Russians and speak Russian. Crimea is the historic base of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet. In March, 2014, the Ukrainian peninsula Crimea voted to join Russia in a referendum and Russian president, Vladimir Putin, signed a law incorporating Crimea into Russia. When this happened, the EU and US condemned the annexation of Crimea and imposed a first round of sanctions on Russian officials and high-ranking Moscow allies in the Ukraine.

Ukraine has been torn between east and west since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Ukrainian is the main language in western regions – where there is also a long-standing aspiration for integration with Europe. However, Russian is predominant in parts of the east and south. In May, 2014, the Donetsk and Luhansk areas of Eastern Ukraine declared independence after a referendum.



Russian speaking areas of the Ukraine



Ukrainian Map with Crimea

In April, 2014, pro-Russian leaders occupied government buildings in the eastern cities of Donetsk, Luhansk and Kharkiv and declared that referendums on granting greater autonomy to the eastern regions will be held. In May, 2014, pro-Russian separatists in Donetsk and Luhansk declared their independence after the passage of the referendums. The results which were not recognized by the Ukrainian government in Kiev or the West.



Referendums in Eastern Ukraine

In May, 2014, pro-European Petro Poroshenko was elected president of Ukraine. In June, 2014, Poroshenko signs the trade agreement with Europe. The leaders of Georgia and Moldova also put pens to EU “association agreements” in a historic step for the three former Soviet countries.

In July, 2014, the European Union agrees to punishing economic sanctions restricting access of Russian banks and oil companies to long-term western financing. In addition, the European Union has imposed sanctions against some of Russian President Vladamir Putin’s closest associates within his inner circle.


Ruble to Dollar Exchange Rate 2014



Oil Price Chart since 2014


In September, 2014, the pro-Russian rebels in the Eastern areas of the Ukraine, the mainline Ukrainian government in western Ukraine, Russia and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe sign a peace deal in Minsk, Belarus. However, it is violated just four days later when fierce fighting erupts around Donetsk airport.




In October, 2014, the western Ukrainians voted for a new parliament. Pro-West parties triumph but the polls were boycotted in the pro-Russian rebel-held east – which held its own elections in November, 2014.

In February, 2015, the leaders of Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France announced that a ceasefire will begin on 15 February. The pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine also sign the agreement. In an interview, Russian President Vladimir Putin dismissed the possibility of war between Russia and Ukraine, calling it unlikely, and made clear that Russia will not be forced to return Crimea to the Ukraine.

Following the successful conclusion of the peace conference, chief of the International Monetary Fund Christine Lagarde announced the organization’s agreement to furnish Kiev with a four-year $40 billion bailout including $17.5 billion to stabilize the country’s economy. Under the terms of the so-called Extended Fund Facility, the Ukrainian government would have to commit itself to trim back on government spending and pensions while tackling corruption and liberalizing energy prices.

In March, 2015, Ukraine and Russia reached an agreement that secures gas supplies to Ukraine for the month of March forestalling anticipated cuts of Russian natural gas supplies to the Ukraine. The agreement is contingent upon Ukrainian prepayment. In advance of the negotiations, Russia had threatened to send gas to rebel-held areas of eastern Ukraine rather than to Ukraine proper. The EU has a special interest in maintaining Russian natural gas supplies to Ukraine as it consumes 40% of Russian natural gas, half of which is transited via the Ukraine. Meanwhile, Ukraine is planning to increase prices of the gas on domestic consumers by “around threefold” to raise funds to avoid government default and meet the IMF demands to seal $17.5 billion. In addition, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin demanded that any mending of fences between Russia and Ukraine would require the return of the annexed Crimean peninsula.

Also, the Russian Foreign Ministry called the arrival of U.S. military trainers in Ukraine a “provocation” that could have considerable consequences as the Obama administration announced that it will send an additional $75 million in non-lethal assistance to the Ukraine. This will include 30 armored Humvees and an additional 300 non-armored Humvees; counter-mortar radar; drones; radios; and medical equipment.

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov was unequivocal on the issue of Crimea’s status: “Crimea is a region of the Russian Federation and of course the subject of our regions is not up for discussion.” Peskov was responding to statements from the United States and Europe that sanctions would remain in place as long as Crimea remains under Russian rule – or, in the words of U.S. Department of State spokesperson Jen Psaki “as long as the occupation continues.” In response, Dmitry Peskov said that Russia may alter its fundamental documents, such as the Foreign Policy Concept and Military Doctrine, in response to the perceived anti-Russian bias of the National Security Strategy of the United States.

In April, 2015, the U.S. training mission of Ukrainian soldiers Operation Fearless Guardian was started involving the US Army’s 173rd Airborne Brigade and 900 Ukrainian solders. Also, according Alexei Miller, the CEO of the Russian energy company, Gazprom, said that the government of Ukraine owes his company nearly $175 million for gas supplied to separatist-controlled regions in eastern Ukraine. He also made clear that Gazprom will explore the possibility of signing a separate contract with the so-called people’s republics in those areas to directly supply gas. “The issue should became the subject of special talks, and we think that it’s rational to study the possibility of signing a separate direct Gazprom contract on supplies to the southeast,” he said.

In May, 2015, the European Union stated its desire to implement a free-trade pact with the Ukraine from next year despite Russian pressure for another delay. The agreement which is likely to antagonize Russia, commits to the deal from Jan. 1, 2016, a date already a year later than planned as Russia seeks to oppose European efforts to integrate Ukraine and move it out of Moscow’s sphere of control and influence. The deal is at the heart of tensions that have grown from a tug-of-war over influence in the Ukraine to sanctions, the annexation of Crimea by Russia and armed conflict in eastern Ukraine.

Speaking in an interview on Russian television, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev made clear that Russia would not sit idly by if Ukraine defaults on its debt. Medvedev, who was responding to Ukraine’s passage of legislation that would allow a moratorium on debt repayment, stated that in the case of a deliberate default “we would adopt as tough a position as possible […] and defend out national interests.” He went on further to say that Russia seeks not only repayment for the $3 billion Eurobond owed by the previous Ukrainian government but also remains “not indifferent” to debt owed to private creditors.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg addressed the “challenge from the east … from a resurgent Russia” and its implications for NATO policy moving forward. Mr. Stoltenberg made clear that he views Russia’s actions in Ukraine not as an isolated incident, but rather as part of a “disturbing pattern of Russian behavior that goes well beyond Ukraine [and] undermines key principles of European security,” foremost among them respect for borders, the independence and sovereignty of states, and transparency in military activities. Stoltenberg further noted that NATO does not seek confrontation with Russia nor does it seek Russia’s isolation; rather, he put forward a vision of a constructive relationship, only to note that such a relationship may be hard to develop as “Russia has changed. And we must adapt.”

In addition, German foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier criticized Russia’s decision to impose a travel ban on nearly 100 European officials in a retaliatory step tied to sanctions over the crisis in Ukraine. Steinmeier stated that the travel ban “does not contribute toward” attempts to work together to “defuse a persistent and dangerous conflict in the middle of Europe,” also calling the move “not particularly clever” as well as arbitrary and unjustified. Russia’s travel ban, which was reportedly delivered to the EU delegation in Moscow, targets 89 officials from across Europe.

In June, 2015, during the opening ceremony of the G7 Summit, President of the United States Barack Obama announced that he and his assembled colleagues would address the urgency of “standing up to Russian aggression over the course of their consultations, adding, “conflicts can end and great progress is possible.” Shortly thereafter, the White House issued a press release in which it affirmed that “[t]he duration of sanctions should be clearly linked to Russia’s full implementation of the Minsk agreements and respect for Ukraine’s sovereignty.” Furthermore, the European Union governments have agreed to a six-month extension of sanctions against Russia. The agreement will extend the sanctions through January 31, 2016.

Speaking at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, Russian president Vladimir Putin placed the blame for the current crisis in Ukraine squarely on the shoulders of Western policymakers in the United States, the European Union and NATO headquarters. He stated that the United States government is at fault of “igniting” the crisis in Ukraine, also noting that Russia sees the United States “interfering with our internal political processes.” Later, he went on to state that the United States is “trying to impose on us their decisions and their standards” without consideration for Russia’s interests, which Putin says Russia is persistent, though not aggressive, in pursuing.

In July, 2015, the United States has added twenty-six individuals and entities to its sanctions blacklist. Among those targeted were were eight associates of Russian businessman and Putin ally Boris Rotenberg, several subsidiaries of Rosneft and Vneshekonombank, and five Crimean port operators. The updaed list also included several associates of billionaire Russian businessman and Putin ally Gennady Timchenko, who was himself hit with sanctions in November 2014.

In September, 2015, Ukraine’s National Security Council gave its stamp of approval to the country’s new military doctrine, a document that declares unequivocally that Russia stands as the principle security threat and military opponent of Ukraine. The doctrine, which still needs to be signed by president Poroshenko, also calls on Ukraine to pursue NATO membership.

Ukraine and Russia, along with EU representatives, initialed a deal that will ensure stable deliveries of gas to Ukraine (and on to Europe) through March 2016. Maros Sefcovic, EU energy commissioner, told journalists that the “winter package” (as the deal is termed) will “lay the ground for smooth gas deliveries from Russia to Ukraine, and consequently also through Ukraine to the European Union.”

In the 1990s, former national security advisor under the Carter administration Zbigniew Brzezinski formulated the strategic case for buttressing the independent statehood of Ukraine, partially as a means to ending a resurgence of the Russian Empire, and to drive Russia toward integration with the West, promoting instead “geopolitical pluralism” in the space of the former Soviet Union. He developed “a plan for Europe” urging the expansion of NATO, making the case for the expansion of NATO to the Baltic states.

In his speech at the United Nations, Russian President Putin rejected the Brzezinski doctrine that seems the West is following today saying that this “bloc thinking” of the Cold War, in his view, remains very alive today in the foreign policies of the United States, NATO, and the West more broadly. The “logic of confrontation” in offering former Soviet countries the false choice of association with East or West, Putin said, resulted in a geopolitical confrontation in Ukraine and a coup “orchestrated from outside” in the Ukraine.

Next week, we will see how the conflict in the Ukraine between Russia, the Ukraine, the EU and the US over natural gas supplies and natural gas pipelines to the Ukraine and Europe is connected to the conflict in Syria to keep or remove Bashar Ashad in power is linked with controlling the routing of natural gas from various Middle East countries through Syria to Europe.

An agreement to divide Jerusalem and establish a PLO state is a tribulation event.

The link to these articles are as follows:

1) Russia–Ukraine gas disputes
2) Ukraine–European Union Association Agreement
3) Eurasian Customs Union
4) 7 December 2013 Ukrainian–Russian action plan
5) To understand what’s really happening in Ukraine, follow the gas lines on this map
6) 2014 Ukrainian revolution
7) Lavrov: If West accepts coup-appointed Kiev govt, it must accept a Russian Crimea
8) Timeline of Crisis in Ukraine
9) Ukraine crisis in maps
10) Ukraine signs historic EU trade pact sparking Russia ire
11) Putin’s inner circle hit by EU sanctions
12) IMF Reveals $40 Billion Bailout Package For Ukraine
13) Putin: War With Ukraine Unlikely, Would Be Apocalyptic
14) Russia and Ukraine Reach Stopgap Gas Deal
15) Klimkin: Russia, Ukraine Normalization Requires Crimea’s Return
16) US Lawmakers Press Obama on Lethal Aid
17) US to Send Additional Non-Lethal Assistance to Ukraine
18) Russia Makes Clear That Crimea Is Non-Negotiable
19) US troops start training Ukrainian infantry
20) Gazprom: Ukraine Owes for Gas Sent to Southeastern Ukraine
21) EU to stand by Ukraine trade deal at summit despite Russia-draft
22) Medvedev: Russia to Adopt “Tough Position” on Ukraine Debt
23) Stoltenberg at CSIS: “Russia has changed”
24) Steinmeier Criticizes Russia Over Travel Ban
25) US President Barack Obama Calls For G7 Unity On Russia, Ukrainian Crisis
26) EU Agrees to Extend Sanctions Against Russia
27) Putin: US Ignited Ukraine Crisis
28) US Slaps New Sanctions on Former Yanukovych Officials, Putin Allies
29) Ukraine Approves New Military Doctrine
30) Ukraine, Russia Reach “Winter Package” Gas Agreement
31) Putin, Obama Discuss Ukraine in UN Speeches
32) The New Great Game: Why Ukraine Matters to So Many Other Nations
33) Who is Zbigniew Brzezinski ?

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,

Eddie Chumney
Hebraic Heritage Ministries Int’l