You may view the 5 minute update this week via audio:
In this week’s 5 minute update, we focused on:
1) The current status of the Israel / PLO peace process
As the April 29 deadline approached to extend direct peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, Palestinian President Mahmood Abbas threatened to dismantle the Palestinian Authority. The Palestinian Authority was created from the 1993 Oslo Accords signed between Israel and the Palestinians whose aim was to create a Palestinian state through negotiations. The Palestinian Authority was given responsibility to negotiate with Israel. “A new generation arrives and asks us: ‘What have you done?’ I am now 79 years old, I cannot escape from passing off the flag,” said Abbas. The settlements endanger the peace process, and the new generation sees the two-state solution is becoming less and less likely, and that there is no escape from the one-state solution.” Behind the scenes, the PA has concocted a plan to gravely complicate matters for Israel – a declaration that the Palestinians are an “occupied government.” Such a move would annul the 1993 Oslo Accords and revoke the status of the PA as a sovereign authority, leaving Israel with full responsibility of the Palestinian population in the West Bank. According to Palestinian sources, Abbas and top PA officials are considering the drastic move, which would involve cancelling the 1993 Oslo Accords and announcing that the Palestinian Authority is a “government under occupation” without full sovereignty, which would technically move full responsibility for the Palestinians, in the West Bank to Israel. PLO Executive Committee member Hanna Amira said that there were “scenarios … that could lead to the disbandment of the PA. The future of the PA has become unclear because when it was established, it was meant as a temporary stage leading to the establishment of a Palestinian state,” Amira said. “Thus, if the PA doesn’t lead to statehood, things should be reviewed.”
Israel Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman slammed the Palestinians for threatening to dismantle the Palestinian Authority. “You can’t show up every day with new threats. This is not how you run negotiations,” he said. As a result, Israel will not interfere should the Palestinians choose to dismantle the Palestinian Authority. “It’s their business; we don’t intend to get involved, in either direction,” Lieberman said. “They’re grown ups, and whatever they decide — we’re ready for every scenario. We’re also ready for negotiations. We’re willing to negotiate in Jerusalem, in Ramallah, New York, London, or Vienna. But we need readiness from the other party. It not possible to come with new threats every day — that’s not how you negotiate. Therefore we’re open to every development, to any options, and much depends on the other side.” The leader of the political party, Jewish Home, Naftali Bennett said that Israel should let Abbas dismantle the Palestinian Authority. “Abbas encourages terror against Israel as the head of the Palestinian Authority, and then threatens that he’ll quit his job,” said Bennett, but “the people of Israel do not negotiate with the barrel of a gun pointed at their head.”
In response, the US warned the Palestinian leadership not to proceed with a proposal to dismantle the Palestinian Authority – or risk damaging their ties with the US. “Those kinds of extreme measures would have grave implications,” said State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki. Psaki said the US was aware of the reports, but that “dissolving the Palestinian Authority is not in the interest of the Palestinians.” The State Department spokeswoman explained that “a great effort has been made in the last few years to build Palestinian institutions including with US financial aid” but that Abbas’ proposal would “have implications on our relationship and our assistance.”
However, rather than dismantling the Palestinian Authority, the sect of Mahmood Abbas, Fatah, announced they they have reached a “historic” agreement to end their differences with Hamas, a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, who controls the Gaza Strip and form a new Palestinian unity government. The agreement calls for the establishment of a Palestinian unity government within five weeks. Six months later, the Palestinians would hold presidential and parliamentary elections. The agreement also calls for “activating and developing” the PLO so as to allow Hamas and other Palestinian groups to join the organization’s institutions. In addition, the accord calls for reviving the Palestinian legislative Council, which has been paralyzed since Hamas drove the Palestinian Authority out of the Gaza Strip in 2007. Similar reconciliation agreements were reached in principle in the past but never implemented. Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh praised the agreement, saying “national reconciliation, ending the division and mending the rift has become a national responsibility.” The deal, Haniyeh said, comes “at a time of an assault on the Palestinian cause, assault on the al-Aqsa mosque and a time when the entirety of Jerusalem is being painted Jewish. Today we can say that we agreed about all what we have discussed,” said senior Fatah official Azzan al-Ahmed, adding “so we will forget what happened in the past. The result of the efforts that we have made is clear today, as we agreed on all the points that we discussed.” A Palestinian official said there had been an “agreement in principle” on forming a “government of experts,” a term for a cabinet staffed by technocrats rather than politicians. In making the agreement, Hamas said they would not recognize Israel, although they indicated that they would not obstruct negotiations between the PLO and Israel. Sami Abu Zuhri, a spokesman for the Hamas movement said: “We acknowledge that Abbas’s recognition of the occupation is his traditional position, nothing new. The [Hamas] movement position is unwavering in not recognizing the occupation in any form. In any event, negotiations are the task of the PLO; the government has no part in them,” Abu Zuhri said. “The question of recognition is non-debatable as long as [Israel] occupies our land.” He asserted that the PLO was in charge of negotiations and Palestinian foreign policy, adding that “Hamas is not responsible for the PLO relations with Israel.”
In response, the Israeli security cabinet decided to suspend peace talks with the Palestinians. According to a statement put out by the Prime Minister’s Office, the cabinet also decided to take unspecified steps against unilateral moves by the Palestinians. The decision was unanimous. Israel Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, said that “Instead of choosing peace, Abu Mazen [Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas] formed an alliance with a murderous terrorist organization that calls for Israel’s destruction. Abu Mazen formed an alliance with an organization whose covenant calls for Muslims to wage Jihad against Jews.” Netanyahu said that Hamas has fired more than 10,000 missiles and rockets on Israel, and has never stopped “for a minute” its terrorist actions against Israel.
Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said that Hamas is not a terror organization and never will be. Erekat has long been in favor of the unification agreement between Fatah and Hamas. “Hamas is a political faction. The highest form of terrorism is the Israeli occupation.” he said. Furthermore, Erekat said that Hamas is not required to recognize Israel since there are parties in Israel which don’t recognize the state of Palestine. “Has [Israel's Prime Minister] Netanyahu asked the Jewish Home party [an Orthodox-nationalist coalition partner] to recognize the state of Palestine?” Erekat asked. “Has Netanyahu himself recognized the state of Palestine? [Yair] Lapid [head of the centrist Yesh Atid coalition party] has not recognized the state of Palestine,” he said. Thus “Hamas is not required to recognize Israel.” Erekat said that the PLO (Fatah) was responsible for negotiations with Israel. “Israel needs to understand that authority over negotiations belongs to the PLO, and all Palestinian governments so far, including the one of Ismail Haniyeh, have agreed that the authority over negotiations belongs to the PLO and to the government.”
Meanwhile, Netanyahu condemned Hamas as Holocaust deniers who still seek the destruction of the Jewish state. Abbas “cannot embrace Hamas and say he wants peace with Israel,” Netanyahu said. He said Abbas’ statement was an appeal to American and world public opinion in an effort to “smooth over the fact that he made a terrible step away from peace.” He said Abbas should “tear up that pact with Hamas and go back to the negotiations. He said Israel will never negotiate with a government backed by Hamas as long as he is prime minister. “You can say nice things … or even significant things about the Holocaust, but you can’t embrace those who deny the Holocaust,” he said. “Abu Mazen (Abbas) could have chosen peace with Israel instead of peace with a murderous terror organization.”
Israel’s chief peace negotiator, Tzipi Livni, said that Israel had no choice but to suspend talks with the Palestinian Authority after PA President Mahmoud Abbas agreed a unity pact with Hamas. As a result, Israel decided to suspend peace negotiations with the Palestinians. Israel chief negotiator, Tzipi Livni said: “First of all, the decision to suspend the talks is a correct decision. It may be that for Abu Mazen [Abbas], Hamas is [a] political [entity],” she said. “For us, and for the entire world, it is a designated terror organization that does not recognize our existence, and acts against civilians through terror [activities].” Israel “cannot act like all is business as usual, when it is not,” she said, given the new alliance announced between Abbas’s Fatah faction and Hamas. But Livni stressed that “we didn’t close the door” on an eventual resumption of talks. “As long as the Palestinians are here, and as long as the State of Israel is in a state of conflict with them, I will act to open the doors — the doors did not close today — in order, if possible, to conduct negotiations. And I hope we can return to the negotiations, and the moment it happens I will be in the government to manage it,” she said. Livni emphasized that the economic sanctions Israel is set to impose were not aimed at causing the collapse of the PA. “It is a temperate decision,” she added, noting that the government had not announced new settlement building plans, as it had when taking punitive action against the PA in the past. She said Abbas had “refused to go along” with a US-drafted agreement last month that would have resolved a crisis over Palestinian prisoner releases and seen talks extended until the end of the year. Similarly, “two days ago, when we thought we could get the talks going again,” Abbas failed to take advantage of the opportunity and instead signed a unity pact with Hamas. “To my sorrow,” Abbas had taken a series of “bad decisions at sensitive moments” and “avoided the right decisions…. That’s why the US is also so dismayed,” she said. “I shall not conduct negotiations — direct or indirect — with Hamas,” Livni said.
Palestinian President Mahmood Abbas for his part claimed the deal did not contradict the talks: “There is no incompatibility between reconciliation and negotiations, especially as we are committed to a just peace based on a two-state solution in accordance with resolutions of international law,” Abbas said in an official statement distributed by his office. “In the interest of the Palestinian people, it is necessary to preserve the unity of land and people,” Abbas said, claiming it “help to strengthen the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital. This approach, supported on the Arab and international levels, strengthen the capacity of Palestinian negotiators to achieve the two-state solution.” Abbas said he was still ready to extend stalled peace talks with Israel beyond the April 29 deadline, but stressed he would never recognize Israel as a “Jewish state.” Abbas conditioned the extension of talks on the release of Palestinian prisoners, a freeze in Jewish settlement construction, and Israel committing to discuss the borders of a future Palestinian state. “How can we restart the talks? There’s no obstacle to us restarting the talks, but the 30 prisoners need to be released,” Abbas said. “On the table we will present our map, for 3 months we’ll discuss our map. In that period, until the map is agreed upon, all settlement activity must cease completely.” Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, held a meeting of the Central Committee of his Fatah Movement. They decided that direct peace talks with Israel could only be extended if the at the clear aim of establishing an independent Palestinian State, with East Jerusalem as its capital. They added that peace talks should guarantee the Right of Return of the Palestinian refugees, based on resolution #194, and should also be based on the Arab Peace Initiative. Abbas added that any unity government with the Islamic militant group Hamas would follow his political program, and work “under my orders and my policy”, an apparent attempt to reassure the West. But Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ruled out talks with such a government. “That’s the oldest trick in the book. It’s called the front office-back office gambit,” he said, in which “shady organizations” put forward “smooth-talking frontmen – the men in suits,” Netanyahu said. “We will not sit and negotiate with a Palestinian government that is backed by Hamas in which Hamas has effective share of power,” Netanyahu said.
Despite the Fatah and Hamas unity agreement, Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is still keeping open the possibility for peace talks to resume in the future by saying that he will “be there in the future if we have a partner that is committed to peace.” However, Netanyahu said if a negotiated peace proves impossible because of the makeup of the Palestinian government, “then we will seek other ways. I am not going to accept a stalemate. I won’t accept another Palestinian state that is an Iranian offshoot of Iran, firing missiles in our cities… But I do seek a two states for two peoples solution. If I can’t have it right away with this Palestinian government, then we will seek other ways.”
The European Union welcomed the unity accord between Fatah and Hamas but said the priority remains peace talks with Israel. “The EU has consistently called for intra-Palestinian reconciliation behind” Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, spokesman Michael Mann said in a statement. Such an understanding was “an important element for the unity of a future Palestinian state and for reaching a two-state solution [with Israel],” Mann added. Meanwhile, UN Middle East envoy, Robert Serry, also welcomed the Palestinian reconciliation agreement by saying that this is “the only way to reunite the West Bank and Gaza under one legitimate Palestinian Authority.” However, the United States said it was disappointed by a unity pact agreed between the Gaza-based Islamist group Hamas and President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah and said it could seriously complicate peace efforts. “The timing was troubling and we were certainly disappointed in the announcement,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said. “This could seriously complicate our efforts. Not just our efforts but the efforts of the parties to extend their negotiations.” Psaki said US officials had expressed their concerns to the Palestinians. “It’s hard to see how Israel can be expected to negotiate with a government that does not believe in its right to exist,” she said.
As the April 29 deadline to extend talks approached, the US mediator Martin Indyk left Israel to return to the US. It seems to indicate that the peace talks have failed. As a result, US President Barack Obama said a pause in peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians might be in needed so both sides can consider the alternative to negotiating and claimed the recent halt in talks underscores how neither side has shown the political will to make tough decisions that would sustain the talks. “So far we have seen some movement on both sides to acknowledge that this is a crisis long-running that needs to be solved,” Obama said. “What we haven’t seen is frankly the kind of political will to actually make tough decisions. And that’s been true on both sides.” Obama described the reconciliation agreement between the Palestinian Authority and the militant group Hamas as “unhelpful” and said it was “just one of a series of choices that both the Israelis and Palestinians have made that are not conductive to trying to resolve this crisis. Do I expect that they will walk through that door next week, next month or even in the course of the next six months? No.” While he said the US would continue to offer the parties “constructive approaches,” he also conceded that “there may come a point at which there just needs to be a pause and both sides need to look at the alternatives.” US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki refused to declare the negotiations over and said the US is “still making the effort.”
US Secretary of State John Kerry warned that in the absence of a two-state solution, Israel risks becoming an apartheid state. He apparently placed the blame on both sides for the crumbling of peace talks, slammed Israeli settlement construction, and suggested that a change in either the Israeli or the Palestinian government could increase the possibility of achieving peace.“A two-state solution will be clearly underscored as the only real alternative. Because a unitary state winds up either being an apartheid state with second class citizens—or it ends up being a state that destroys the capacity of Israel to be a Jewish state,” Kerry said. Leaders of pro-Israel organizations called Kerry’s reference to “apartheid” was appalling and inappropriately alarmist because of its racial connotations and historical context. “While we’ve heard Secretary Kerry express his understandable fears about alternative prospects for Israel to a two-state deal and we understand the stakes involved in reaching that deal, the use of the word ‘apartheid’ is not helpful at all. It takes the discussion to an entirely different dimension,” said David Harris, executive director of the American Jewish Committee, an organization that has been supportive of Kerry’s peace process initiative. “In trying to make his point, Kerry reaches into diplomatic vocabulary to raise the stakes, but in doing so he invokes notions that have no place in the discussion,” he added.
Finally, the PLO’s central council decided to pursue attempts to join 60 United Nations bodies and international agreements. Palestine People’s Party Secretary-General Bassam al-Salhi said that the council “affirms the need for the Palestinian leadership to continue membership of UN agencies and international conventions, under the Palestinian plan that was adopted.” The Central Council also announced that the PLO will submit a formal request to the UN to boycott companies and institutions which support the West Bank and the “Judaization” of Jerusalem.
An agreement to divide Jerusalem and establish a PLO state is a tribulation event.
The link to these articles are as follows:
1) Abbas threatens to dismantle Palestinian Authority
2) Official: PLO may disband the Palestinian Authority
3) If talks fail, Abbas said to be weighing dissolution of Oslo, PA
4) Lieberman on threat to dismantle PA: You can’t make new threats every day
5) Lieberman: Israel won’t stop PA if it opts to dismantle self
6) Bennett: Let Abbas go home
7) US to Abbas: Shuttering PA ‘would have grave implications’
8) Hamas, Abbas’s PLO announce reconciliation agreement
9) Haniyeh: Palestinian unity government within five weeks
10) Abbas, Haniyeh talk of a speedy reconciliation
11) Hamas to recognize Israel under deal, Abbas reportedly says
12) Hamas: We will never recognize Israel
13) In wake of Hamas-Fatah unity, Israel calls off talks with Palestinians
14) Netanyahu: Israel Will Not Talk with Hamas-backed Palestinian Govt
15) Netanyahu: Abbas chose Hamas over peace with Israel
16) Erekat: Israeli Occupation the ‘True Terror,’ Not Hamas
17) Israel: Abbas gave the ‘coup de grace’ to the peace process
18) Livni: Israel had to suspend talks after Abbas-Hamas deal
19) Netanyahu keeps door open to future negotiations after talks suspended due to Hamas-Fatah pact
20) We’ll seek other roads to peace, excluding Hamas, PM says
21) EU hails Fatah-Hamas deal, says peace talks priority
22) US: ‘Disappointed’ by Palestinian unity deal
23) Ashton to Israel: Reverse recent steps regarding West Bank, east Jerusalem
24) Foreign Minister Lashes Out at Ashton, EU
25) Abbas still willing to seek talks extension, but will never recognize ‘Jewish state’
26) Palestinians will never recognize Israel as ‘Jewish state': Abbas
27) Abbas: Borders outline, settlement freeze or talks will end
28) Fatah Movement: “No Peace Talks Unless Based On International Legitimacy”
29) Indyk returning to Washington empty-handed
30) Obama: ‘Pause’ in peace talks might be in order
31) US unwilling to give up Mideast peace process yet
32) ‘Kerry warns if peace talks fail, Israel may become apartheid state’
33) ‘PLO to pursue efforts to join 60 international bodies’
34) Palestinian Authority to Ask UN to Boycott Israel
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