You may view the 5 minute update this week via audio:
In this week’s 5 minute update, we focused on:
1) The current status of the conflict between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip
On July 2, Hamas fired more than 30 rockets into various Israeli cities. The Hamas terror organization, which controls Gaza, claimed it can hit any city in Israel, under its slogan “all cities are close to Gaza.” Tensions with Gaza began in mid-June after Israel began a major crackdown in the West Bank to find militants behind the kidnapping of three Israeli teenagers, whose bodies were later found being dead. Palestinians also started rioting after the killing of the Palestinian teenager Mohammed Abu Khdeir, whose initial autopsy shows that he was burned alive. Meanwhile, 135 rockets have hit Israel over the past several weeks and another 21 have been intercepted by the Iron Dome air defense system. During this same time, some half a million Israelis have spent time running to bomb shelters. Code Red alert sirens sent residents running to bomb shelters in communities throughout the South. Beersheba was targeted for the first time since 2012.
In response, “the Israeli Defence Forces have launched Operation Protective Edge against Hamas in Gaza to stop the terror that Israeli citizens face each day,” said an IDF spokesperson. In a later statement, Israel announced that the attack began with aerial and naval artillery strikes against 50 targets of the Islamists in Gaza, including rocket launchers, tunnels, arsenals and training centres. The Israeli army said about 200 rockets had been fired from Gaza since June 12, when Israel began a massive search for three Jewish seminar students who went missing in the West Bank and were found murdered last week. There have been almost nightly air strikes but most of the targets have been open fields used for training and only three militants have been killed, prompting calls from cabinet hardliners for a much tougher approach.
At the start of his weekly cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told the press, “We are working on several fronts simultaneously. Overnight we were active against many Hamas targets in Gaza and the goal of all of our operations is to restore quiet and security to all of Israel’s citizens, especially the residents of the south. Experience proves that at such times we must act responsibly and with equanimity, not hastily. We will do whatever is necessary to restore quiet and security to the south. In addition, over the weekend we also took determined action against disturbances in Jerusalem and in Arab communities. We are taking a tough line against anyone who breaks the law and against inciters from whatever side. There is no place in the State of Israel for stone-throwing at police, throwing firebombs, blocking roads or destroying property, or incitement against the very existence of the State of Israel. This rope cannot be held from both ends. One cannot benefit from National Insurance payments and child allowances on the one hand and, on the other, violate the most basic laws of the State of Israel. I call on the leaders of the Arab public to show responsibility and come out against the wave of disturbances in order to restore quiet. Whoever does not abide by the law – will be arrested and punished severely. I would like to take the opportunity at this time, on behalf of the government, to send my great appreciation to the police personnel and soldiers for tirelessly dealing with the security of all Israelis.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urged his cabinet to keep a cool head about how to handle growing tensions in and around the Gaza Strip saying “Experience has proved that at moments like this, we have to act responsibly and with a cool head and not with harsh words and impetuousness,” as he told cabinet ministers, who are fiercely divided over how to respond to mounting militant rocket fire on southern Israel. Meanwhile, Hamas rocket fire and Israeli reprisals have continued throughout the week, bringing calls from some within Israel to carry out a large-scale operation in Gaza.
An Israeli military source said that Israel is interested in reaching a ceasefire with Hamas. “If Hamas would stop the rocket fire, then quiet will be maintained on our part,” the official said. The official stressed that the IDF – unlike several ministers and MKs – is not rushing to launch an immediate assault on Gaza and would rather respond tit-for-tat with retaliatory airstrikes. “Even after rounds that included dozens of rockets and missiles the IDF maintains almost maximum restraint, and except for a few isolated attacks IDF prefer to maintain the truce,” the official said.
Speaking in the western Negev city of Sderot against the backdrop of rocket fire from Gaza, Israel Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman said that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s stance of “Quiet will be responded to with quiet is a serious mistake and we in “Yisrael Beytenu” (Liberman’s political pary) completely reject this. It’s unthinkable that after they abducted and murdered three of our youths and after two straight weeks of missiles falling that Israel’s approach be that quiet will be answered by quiet.” Liberman visited the city of Sderot where he made statements demanding action against Hamas and terror saying, “Not all terrorist targets can be destroyed from the air. Most of the rocket production sites are under schools, hospitals and mosques. We are only postponing a problem instead of dealing with it saying that Israel could not accept a reality in which Hamas controls what happens while Israel continues to respond after the fact. Liberman said that the continued threat posed by hundreds of missiles in Gaza was unsustainable, not only for the residents of Sderot but also Tel Aviv and the country’s center. “Talk and messages that are relayed to Hamas about a cease fire are a serious mistake.” The foreign minister continued, “Even while we visit here, Hamas continues to grow stronger and produce missiles with a diameter of eight inches, that can reach Tel Aviv and all of Gush Dan, and to accept the reality that this is a mistake. Instead of dealing with the problem, we are pushing the problem under the rug. While we talk about a ceasefire, Hamas continues to develop missiles that can reach Tel-Aviv. All we are doing is postponing the problem and not finding a solution.”
Lieberman warned that the ceasefire would give Hamas time to develop its abilities. “Ignoring the problem or being afraid to deal with it will lead us to a situation in which thousands of missiles are fired at us, not hundreds,” he said. “We cannot accept a situation in which Hamas controls the pace of events and dictates when it ignites the region and all we do is respond,” he added.Lieberman called for a full reoccupation of the Gaza Strip. He also wants Israel to carry out a major operation against the territory. “We have to destroy the terrorist infrastructure and the missile production factories,” he said.
Naftali Bennett, leader of the Jewish Home political party, called for fierce action against Gaza, the stronghold of Hamas, whom Israel has blamed for the kidnap and murder of the three teenagers. “Restraint in the face of the execution of three boys is weakness,” he said. “We need to respond to fire on Beersheva precisely as we would respond to fire on Tel Aviv… The statement ought to be clear — zero missiles on Israeli cities.”
Israel Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and Israel chief negotiator in peace talks with the Palestinians made a surprising statement regarding Israel’s security situation calling for Israel to crush Hamas in Gaza after news surfaced that 110 rockets have been fired in a four-day period. “First of all, according to the international community’s view against Hamas, we must act forcefully,” Livni said. “There is no hope for peace [with them], it is an organization that does not accept our existence here and has terror against Israeli civilians as part of its worldview. The question of ‘how much’ and ‘when’, among other things, is related to the needs and considerations of the point in time when we decide to launch an operation [in Gaza],” she added.
Livni, who has been a staunch supporter of peace talks despite Fatah’s unity pact with Hamas earlier this year, advocated an operation in Gaza to counter the terror. “Even if it will be quiet for a period of time, the struggle [against Hamas] continues,” she said. “It is the government’s job to provide security for the south and for the residents of Israel in general; we will have to see over the next few hours, over the next few days where this goes.”
Hamas rejected an Egyptian proposal for a cease-fire with Israel saying Cairo did not consult the group over the deal. The military wing of Hamas, which has been responsible for most of the hundreds of rockets launched at Israel in the past week said the Egyptian plan “wasn’t worth the ink it was written with.” In doing so, after the ceasefire was scheduled to go into effect, Hamas fired 20 rockets from the Gaza Strip.
Meanwhile, the Israeli security cabinet endorsed Egypt’s proposal for a ceasefire with Hamas. Netanyahu, speaking at the beginning of a meeting in Tel Aviv with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, said that Israel “agreed to the Egyptian proposal in order to give an opportunity for the demilitarization of the Strip – from missiles, from rockets and from tunnels – through diplomatic means.” However, Israel warned that Hamas they continued to fire rockets, Israel would hit back with “all possible force.” Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev warned that Israel would strike Gaza even harder if Hamas does not accept the truce. “If Hamas rejects the Egyptian proposal, if Hamas continues to shoot rockets at Israeli cities, we are prepared to continue our military operation and intensify it as needed to protect our people,” he said.
US Secretary of State John Kerry blamed Hamas for not embracing the ceasefire and continuing to fire rockets. “I cannot condemn strongly enough the actions of Hamas in so brazenly firing rockets in multiple numbers in the face of a goodwill effort to offer a ceasefire, in which Egypt and Israel worked together, that the international community strongly supports,” Kerry said.
US President Barack Obama called for Israelis and Palestinians alike to restrain themselves and put an end to acts of retribution. “All parties must protect the innocent and act with reasonableness and restraint, not vengeance and retribution,” Obama said. “In President Abbas, Israel has a counterpart committed to a two-state solution and security cooperation with Israel,” Obama said. He offered no parallel praise for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Norway’s Foreign Minister warned against an escalation between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA), and also made sure to point a finger at Israel as “an occupying power”. “As the occupying power in the West Bank, Israel has a special responsibility under international law. Neither statements of its intent to step up its settlement policy in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, which is in violation of international law, nor major offensives against Gaza are the way forward,” he said.
As a result of Hamas continuing to fire rockets at Israel, the Israel Air Force (IAF) struck 14 targets in two waves of airstrikes. The first round of airstrikes targeted nine Hamas bases in Gaza and the second launched a few hours later hit five underground rocket launchers, Israeli security sources said. The IAF last night also struck a cell in central Gaza which was in the process of carrying out a rocket attack on Israel, killing two Palestinian militants, the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) said. Hamas said most of the strikes were launched at a gathering point of its members in Gaza’s southern-most town of Rafah near the Egyptian border.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, discussing the escalating Israeli air strikes in Gaza and the rockets fired into Israel from Palestinian militant groups there, said that this latest violence shows why Israel cannot withdraw unilaterally from the West Bank as it did in 2005 from Gaza. “I think the Israeli people understand now what I always say: that there cannot be a situation, under any agreement, in which we relinquish security control of the territory west of the River Jordan,” Netanyahu said. “Israel’s eastern security border will remain along the Jordan River,” Netanyahu said, adding that security arrangements in any future Palestinian entity would have to remain under Israeli supervision. “The evacuation of Israel’s forces would most likely lead to the collapse of the PA and the rise of radical Islamic forces, just as it did in Gaza,” the Israeli leader said. “It would also severely endanger the state of Israel.” In other words, a lesson that Netanyahu has drawn from the seven years since Israel unilaterally withdrew all of its military forces and settlers from Gaza is that they cannot do the same thing in the West Bank. As a result, Netanyahu spoke against any future peace plan by which Israel unilaterally pulls up stakes and leaves the West Bank outright.
In other news affecting the peace process, Portugal released a warning for nationals considering doing business with Israeli companies that operate outside of the Green Line. France, Germany, Britain, and the Netherlands recently issued similar warnings. “The European Union and its Member States consider that Israeli settlements are illegal under international law, constitute an obstacle to peace and threaten to make a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict impossible,” the statement from Portugal read. It continued by warning specifically against “Financial transactions, investments, purchases, procurements as well as other economic activities (including in services like tourism) in Israeli settlements or benefiting Israeli settlements.”
Ten additional European countries are expected to issue similar recommendations by the end of the week. EU ambassador Lars Faaborg-Andersen said the warnings did not come as a surprise. “European countries are losing their patience with the settlements and the expanding construction in the West Bank. If this trend continues, more countries will join the sanctions against businesses operating in the West Bank,” the ambassador told reporters during Geneva Initiative seminar in Jerusalem. In the statement that French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius published online as part of broader recommendations for travel to Israel, the government warns of traveling in the aforementioned areas, citing them as “occupied territories.” “The West Bank, including East Jerusalem, Gaza and the Golan Heights are Israeli-occupied territories since 1967. The settlements are illegal according to international law,” the statement said. The statement then goes on to warn of the “risks” associated with financial transactions or any form of economic activity in the areas. “Financial transactions, investments, purchases, sales and other economic activities carried out in the settlements or benefiting the settlements entail legal and economic risks due to the fact that, under international law, Israeli settlements are built on occupied land and are not recognized as Israeli territory,” the statement said.
Finally, Israel Foreign Minister, Avigdor Liberman, leader of the Yisrael Beytenu political party announced that his party is splitting off from Likud (the political party of Benjamin Netanyahu) and will be independent from it from now on in future Israeli elections as was the case before the two factions united in 2012.
Liberman added, however, that his faction would remain loyal to the Coalition. “We are the last people who would want the Coalition dismantled,” he explained. “The establishment of the [independent] Yisrael Beytenu faction is a meaningful step for strengthening the Coalition.”
Liberman also promised that his faction would vote with the government in no-confidence votes. “It is no secret that in the recent period there are disagreements between me and the prime minister,” Liberman said. “They have become disagreements on matters of principle and substance, such that do not make it possible to continue the partnership called Likud-Beytenu. We will turn to the Knesset’s House Committee in the course of the next few days and ask to part ways and establish a separate faction, Yisrael Beytenu. The truth is that the connection did not work during the elections and after the elections, there have been many technical problems until now, but when technical problems becoime substance, there is no point anymore in hiding the matter.” Likud will now have 20 seats in the government and Israel Yisrael Beytenu will have 11.
An agreement to divide Jerusalem and establish a PLO state is a tribulation event.
The link to these articles are as follows:
1) Barrage of rocket and mortar fire from Gaza hits South, IDF soldier injured by shrapnel
2) More than 80 rockets in steady stream from Gaza to expanded targets. Sirens in Modiin, Rehovot
3) Half a Million Israelis in Shelters as Hamas Dials Up Onslaught
4) Israel launches operation ‘Protective Edge’ against Gaza
5) IAF strikes Gaza underground rocket launchers, terror tunnel amid heavy rocket fire
6) 9 militants killed in Israeli air strikes, Hamas vows revenge
7) PM Netanyahu’s Remarks at Weekly Cabinet Meeting
8) Netanyahu urges cabinet to be cool headed over Gaza
9) IDF Officials Favor Ceasefire with Hamas to Gaza Offensive
10) Obama urges restraint for Israel, Palestinians
11) Lieberman criticises Netanyahu’s effort to reach ceasefire with Gaza
12) Liberman in Sderot: Cease-Fire Talk a Serious Mistake
13) Liberman: Not all terrorist targets can be destroyed from the air
14) Tzipi Livni Advocates Deterrence Against Hamas
15) Israel okays ceasefire proposal, but Hamas says no
16) Hamas rejects Egypt truce offer, fires rockets
17) Unilateral Gaza ceasefire collapses. Israeli air strikes resume after dozens of Palestinian rockets in hours
18) Kerry condemns Hamas rocket fire ‘in face of a goodwill effort to secure ceasefire’
19) Netanyahu: This is why Israel can never unilaterally withdraw from the West Bank
20) Report: Israeli Prime Minister Backs Away From Two-State Solution
21) Norway Calls on ‘Occupier’ Israel to Show Restraint
22) Portugal warns against business beyond Israel’s Green Line
23) Liberman Announces Split with Likud
From a Biblical prophetic perspective, the reason why the God of Israel would allow these events to happen is because it will result in the end of the exile of the house of Jacob and the reunification of the 12 tribes of Israel (Ephraim and Judah).
We will to be “watchmen on the walls of Jerusalem” and we will not rest until the God of Israel makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth (Isaiah 62).
Shalom in Yeshua the Messiah,
Hebraic Heritage Ministries Int’l