June 21, 2016:
You may view the 5 minute update this week via audio:
In this week’s 5 minute update, we focused on:
1) The current situation with the French peace initiative
On June 3, France held a conference of foreign ministers to discuss the current situation with the Israeli / Palestinian peace process. After the conference, they made the following statement:
The participants underscored that the status quo is not sustainable and stressed the importance of both sides demonstrating, with policies and actions, a genuine commitment to the two-state solution in order to rebuild trust and create the conditions for fully ending the Israeli occupation that began in 1967 and resolving all permanent status issues through direct negotiations based on resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973), and also recalling relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions and highlighting the importance of the implementation of the Arab Peace Initiative.
The participants discussed possible ways in which the international community could help advance the prospects for peace including by providing meaningful incentives to the parties to make peace. The participants also highlighted the potential for regional peace and security as envisioned by the Arab Peace Initiative.
The participants highlighted the key role of the Quartet and key regional stakeholders. They welcomed the interested countries’ offer to contribute to this effort. They also welcomed France’s offer to coordinate it and the prospect of convening before the end of the year an international conference.
In response, Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu rejected the multilateral French peace initiative. Instead, Netanyahu offered to hold direct talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Paris. Netanyahu said: “It can still be called the French initiative because you would host this genuine effort for peace. But here’s the difference: I will sit alone, directly, with president Abbas in the French presidential palace or anywhere else that you choose. Every difficult issue will be on the table.”
Netanyahu continued: “Peace just does not get achieved through international conferences, UN-style. It doesn’t get to fruition through international diktats or committees from countries around the world who are sitting and seeking to decide our fate and our security when they have no direct stake in it. The French initiative will not encourage peace between Israel and the Palestinians,” he added. “This initiative could harm regional efforts that have the potential to succeed. The State of Israel, and no one else, is the one that worries about its own security,” Netanyahu said.
Israel Foreign Ministry director- general Dore Gold said that “despite the fact that the final statement has been considerably diluted through a number of diplomatic efforts, the whole effort to have a conference without Israel and the Palestinians at the event is a distraction from what should be the main effort, and that is to persuade Mahmood Abbas to sit down with Israel.”
The Israeli Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying that the French summit was a “missed opportunity.” The statement said that instead of urging Abbas to “answer the prime minister’s repeated calls to immediately begin direct negotiations without preconditions,” the international community is enabling him to continue avoiding negotiations. “In the annals of history, the French conference will go down as only having hardened Palestinian positions and made peace more distant,” the statement said.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has rejected an Israeli offer for direct negotiations instead of the French multilateral peace initiative. In any event, the Arab League has backed France’s Middle East peace initiative and all international efforts to outline the parameters of an Israeli-Palestinian peace accord.
France has said it intends to push ahead with its peace initiative despite Israel’s objections. French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault told Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: “I know that I haven’t persuaded you but the train has already left the station.” The message was relayed via diplomatic cable from the French to Israeli foreign ministries after Netanyahu and Ayrault spoke with each other following the June 3 foreign ministers’ meeting in Paris about efforts to sidestep a diplomatic freeze to resolve the Israeli Palestinian conflict.
During that conversation Netanyahu strongly criticized the French initiative and expressed strong objections to all its components. A senior official in Israel said the cable, also based on talks with senior French foreign ministry officials, showed that French Foreign Minister was not impressed by Netanyahu’s comments and intends to carry out further steps to advance the initiative this month.
The cable said that senior French foreign ministry officials told Israeli diplomats they view the statement issued at the end of the Paris meeting and the fact that more than 20 foreign ministers attended as a diplomatic statement that France has an international mandate to advance the peace initiative.
The senior Israeli official said members of the French Foreign Ministry told their Israeli colleagues they are interested in setting up working groups to continue the process launched at the Paris meeting in the coming weeks. The French want these groups to put together a package of confidence building steps for Israelis and Palestinians, a list of economic incentives the international community could offer both sides and regional security arrangements that might support an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement. “The French told us they want to organize working groups by the end of the month,” the senior Israeli official said.
In his conversation with the French Foreign Minister, Netanyahu said he opposes setting up working groups especially for dealing with security issues. Recently, the Foreign Ministry received several messages from European capitals about setting up the working groups. The ministry was surprised to discover that two countries that hastened to volunteer in Paris to help organize these groups were Germany and the Czech Republic, seen as Israel’s two closest friends in Europe.
A few days ago, the Israeli Foreign Ministry instructed Israeli ambassadors in Europe to inform their local foreign ministries of Israel’s objections to setting up the working groups. The senior Israeli official said the French want to take two further steps to advance their initiative. Firstly, they want to take advantage of their status as rotating president of the UN Security Council and hold a debate about their peace initiative at a monthly session on the Israeli-Palestinian issue. The official added that the French may try during the meeting, which will apparently be held in the last week of June, to put together a presidential statement for the United Nations Security Council that would express support for their initiative.
The second step they are expected to take will be at the monthly meeting of the 28 European Union foreign ministers taking place on June 20. The French want the meeting to pass a resolution expressing support for their initiative.
In parallel, toward the end of June the Quartet’s report about the diplomatic freeze in the peace process is due for publication. The EU’s foreign minister, Federica Mogherini told the UN Security Council that the Quartet’s report would soon be published. She said the report would describe the immediate obstacles to renewing direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians and policies both sides are taking that threaten the possibility of achieving a two-state solution. Mogherini said the report would include clear recommendations regarding how to advance and create confidence on both sides that would permit a resumption of peace talks.
The report is likely to provide the basis for any potential American diplomatic process in the coming months, Obama’s last chance to leave a legacy on the Israeli-Palestinian issue. The assumption in Israel is that if the Americans do indeed launch such a move, it will only happen after the presidential elections in November. That, at least, is the thinking in the PM’s bureau.
US House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Ed Royce expressed concern that the Obama administration is preparing to support an initiative at the United Nations on the Middle East peace process. Royce (R-California) said he did not believe that parameters for peace outlined at the United Nations– an initiative led by the French government– would include a “demand for security” for Israel. Royce said: “My concern is that the administration might… allow this French initiative to go forward.” The Paris-led initiative would have the Security Council outline parameters of a two-state solution. The Obama administration said last year it was willing to review its policy toward the Israeli / Palestinian conflict in the United Nations and it has yet to explicitly rule out a UN Security Council Resolution which outlines the parameters for a two-state solution.
As a result, word is going around diplomatic circles that the Obama administration is planning a November surprise for Israel. The view is as follows:
The French peace initiative held on June 3 which Israel and the Palestinians were not even invited will end up exerting enormous pressure on Israel to create a Palestinian state. This renewed pressure will come despite evidence that a Palestinian state in the West Bank will quickly be dominated by genocidal Hamas which is a threat to Israel and a disaster for the Palestinians. This will lead, in all likelihood, to a United Nations Security Council Resolution either condemning Israel for not creating that state or for not withdrawing from Judea and Samaria in the West Bank despite the fact that it would irreversibly compromise Israel’s security.
Israeli officials and Jewish communal leaders are saying that they expect the Obama administration will not veto the resolution at the UN Security Council — that Samantha Power, the US Ambassador to the UN, will not exercise the American veto. This would mean that the resolution/condemnation goes through. President Obama will not worry about how this will affect presidential hopeful, Hillary Clinton, because the UN resolution will be brought after the November election.
And that’s how the Obama administration will wrap up things with a UN vote against Israel and the United States, for almost the first time, not vetoing a harmful resolution against Israel. Israel will be powerless to stop it.
What gives credence to this speculation, first and foremost, is the French peace initiative itself. If it were a serious conference about the prospects for peace, why were the Israelis and Palestinians not invited? Israel has insisted on direct, bilateral talks without preconditions. The French talks, therefore, seem to be a complete waste of time, unless their purpose was to lead to a resolution at the UN Security Council regardless of Israeli objections.
What further gives this credence is the fact that last June, in a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing, Power would not commit to exercising an American veto at the UN for a resolution condemning Israel. “I really am going to resist making blanket declarations on hypothetical resolutions. Our position, again, I think has been very clear for some time. I have said, again, we would oppose anything that was designed to punish Israel or undermine Israel’s security. But I think, again, it’s perilous. There’s no resolution in front of us.”
Now, if a UN Security Council Resolution authorizing a timetable for the unilateral creation of a Palestinian state is resisted by Israel and not vetoed by the United States, there exists the possibility of economic sanctions being levied against Israel especially by the European Union.
Finally, Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is reportedly scheduled to meet in the coming week with US Secretary of State John Kerry to discuss ways to revive Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts. Israel’s Channel 2 said the meeting would take place in a European capital.
An agreement to divide Jerusalem and establish a PLO state is a tribulation event.
The link to these articles are as follows:
1) Royce concerned Obama will support French peace initiative
2) Arab League endorses French peace initiative
3) Netanyahu, Kerry said set to meet next week in new peace bid
4) French FM to Netanyahu: I Know You’re Against Peace Initiative but Train Has Left the Station
5) Obama’s November Surprise for Israel ?
6) Netanyahu rejects French peace initiative after meeting with Valls
7) Netanyahu to French FM: Paris initiative could harm regional peace efforts
8) Middle East Peace initiative – Joint communiqué
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