Some very quiet negotiations are being conducted, and it looks like there is an increasing strain on the relationship between the U.S. and our long-time ally, Israel. It started with Israeli PM Netanyahu's trip to the U.S., and a speech at AIPAC:
Prime Minister Netanyahu defied the Obama Regime and stood strong on Israel’s right to Jerusalem.
“As the world faces monumental challenges, I know that Israel and America will face them together,” said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, opening his speech before the American Israel Public Affairs committee Monday, after a meeting with US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton.
The prime minister reiterated his stance on construction in Jerusalem, and told his audience of some 8,000 pro-Israel activists, “The connection between the Jewish people and the Land of Israel cannot be denied. The connection between the Jewish people and Jerusalem cannot be denied.
“The Jewish people were building Jerusalem 3,000 year ago and the Jewish people are building Jerusalem today. Jerusalem is not a settlement. It is our capital.”
He continued to say, “In Jerusalem, my government has maintained the policies of all Israeli governments since 1967, including those led by Golda Meir, Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Rabin. Today, nearly a quarter of a million Jews, almost half the city’s Jewish population, live in neighborhoods that are just beyond the 1949 armistice lines. All these neighborhoods are within a five-minute drive from the Knesset. They are an integral and inextricable part of modern Jerusalem. Everyone knows that these neighborhoods will be part of Israel in any peace settlement. Therefore, building them in no way precludes the possibility of a two-state solution.”
Then Netanyahu paid a visit to the White House — which is now a hot-bed of Israeli-haters and anti-Semitic policy-makers — to meet with Barack Obama…behind closed doors and with none of the usual fanfare that takes place between ally heads of state:
The fumbling of the US-Israeli relationship may be one, long Obamateurism, but if so, it’s comprised of a series of amateurish stumbles along its trajectory to disaster. Consider last night’s meeting with Israeli PM Binyamin Netanyahu. In his interview with Bret Baier last week, Barack Obama insisted that relations between the two countries remain strong despite disagreement over an Israeli plan to build more housing in Jerusalem — which could only have come as a surprise to someone with absolutely no knowledge of the issue. But if the relationship was really that strong, why did Obama refuse to be seen with Netanyahu and pose for pictures with him, as is customary when friendly heads of state visit the White House?
Obama and Netanyahu conferred for about 90 minutes in the Oval Office, but in a break with custom reporters were not invited to see the close allies shake hands and begin their discussions. The White House had no immediate comment on what was discussed. Netanyahu did not leave the White House for another two hours after his formal talks with Obama, but what he was doing during that time was not immediately clear.
Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu departs White House after meeting President Obama, with no word on progress, no photo op, no press access
Of course, Barack Obama is happy to meet and take warm fuzzy pictures of Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez:
But never mind that now.
What, exactly, is going on in these meeting between Israel and the U.S.? We finally started seeing some leakage, courtesy of Joel Rosenberg, who also provides some analysis in a greater context:
The Obama administration has been applying intense and unprecedented pressure on the Netanyahu government to make huge unilateral concessions to the Palestinians even before direct peace talks begin. One advisor who has been briefed on the talks told me: “President Obama is insisting that Israel sign a document that specifies Israel’s commitment to a peace deal with the Palestinians that will be based on 1967 lines. This means no building in Jerusalem, and a time table to address other core issues, like the ‘right of return.'” The source, one that I trust a great deal, also noted that President Obama spoke by phone in the last 24 hours with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown to make sure each of them are on board with pressuring the Israelis to make such unprecedented unilateral concessions. The White House apparently wants the document to become the blueprint for final status negotiations, even though the Palestinians refuse even to come to the table and sit down face-to-face with Israeli leaders, including Netanyahu.
The Netanyahu team delayed their departure out of Washington Wednesday afternoon to continue meeting almost non-stop together at the Israeli Embassy. Several key officials also met with special Mideast envoy George Mitchell and other key administration officials. The team finally left for Israel late Wednesday night. Thus far, a virtual news blackout has been imposed on President Obama’s meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu.
Remember, Rosenberg knows Netanyahu personally, so his information is likely very solid. He goes on:
The good news: Netanyahu had a very good week. He looked strong and principled. He was gracious and diplomatic. And he stood his ground. He did not cave into the intense pressure from the White House and State Department. He refused to divide Jerusalem. In a masterful AIPAC speech, he calmly and clearly explained why Israel would never give up the right to build homes in her capital. He sent the U.S. and the world a straightforward and sobering message that if they don’t move quickly and decisively to stop Iran from getting the Bomb, then Israel will do it herself. He didn’t threaten. He didn’t swagger. He simply stated the facts, in their historic context, and nobody does it better than Netanyahu. What’s more, he did all this with Defense Minister Ehud Barak standing in solidarity at his side, which was important because it sent the White House — and his critics back in Israel, and enemies back in Iran — the message that the Israeli government is united. No small thing.
Now the bad news:
The White House, however, has refused to treat Netanyahu and Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak with the dignity and respect afforded other world leaders. No joint press conferences. No photo ops. No still shots released of the two leaders meeting. Pretty much “no comment” to any of the substance.
The Netanyahu team, apparently following the request of the White House and trying to be sensitive to the desire of its host, hasn’t been talking either. On Wednesday morning, the Israelis canceled all interviews. Several news outlets have noted the silence related to the talks is “deafening,” and I agree. It’s hard to remember the last time a world leader of Netanyahu’s caliber — particularly a strong friend and ally of the United States — was subject to such treatment from an administration that claims to be hitting the “reset” button to improve relations between the two countries. Except for last year when Netanyahu came to Washington and also met with Obama without a photo op, press conference, or any of the diplomatic trappings of mutual respect and true friendship.
Now the greater context:
The central problem is the White House and State Department are trying to force Israel to divide Jerusalem and divide Judea & Samaria, commonly known as the West Bank. This is a mistake for numerous reasons, particularly because of Joel 3:1 in which the Lord says in the last days He will “enter into judgment” with “all the nations” because they have terribly mistreated the Jewish people “and they have divided up My land.”
Prophetically, I believe Israel will eventually be isolated from all countries in the world, especially as we approach the fulfillment of Ezekiel 38 & 39.
This is referring to the next world war, an attack on Israel by a coalition of Russian-Iranian-Arab forces, and no one comes to the aid of Israel.
Eventually, the Lord will wean Israel off of every nation – including the U.S. – so that the Jewish people only have Him to turn to and depend upon. That said, however, the Scriptures are clear in Genesis 12:1-3 and elsewhere that those who bless Israel, He will bless, and those who curse Israel, He will curse.
Could this be part of why the U.S. has declined in recent years? Even as allies, several American Presidents have pressured Israel to make concessions (usually in the form of land) to achieve peace with its enemies, thus seeming to play into the Joel 3:1 passage. Furthermore, the Obama administration is clearly only barely tolerating Israel, and if it comes to a conflict between Israel and a Russian/Iranian coalition, there is genuine doubt on whether or not Obama would enter into it on Israel's side. For example:
The U.S. has backed away from pursuing a number of tough measures against Iran in order to win support from Russia and China for a new United Nations Security Council resolution on sanctions, according to people familiar with the matter.
Among provisions removed from the original draft resolution the U.S. sent to key allies last month were sanctions aimed at choking off Tehran’s access to international banking services and capital markets, and closing international airspace and waters to Iran’s national air cargo and shipping lines, according to the individuals.
Ace of Spades comments:
This is just the most recent step in Obama's Kabuki dance designed to make it look like he's willing to do something about Iran. In fact, he is either absolutely indifferent to a nuclear Iran or kind of likes the idea…it'll help put Israel in its place. It's hard to say which for sure. But there's simply no other way to look at this administration's actions (or lack of actions) for the last year and conclude anything else.
Actually, it's not fair to say Obama and company have done nothing on this front. They've dialed down their rhetoric from 'crippling' sanctions to sanctions with 'bite'. Next we'll have sanctions 'that will sting a bit', followed of course by sanctions that 'tickle!'.
So it's not just me. Anyway, all of this appears to be pointing straight toward Rosenberg's interpretation of the Ezekiel prophecy, so these are most definitely events that bear watching.
Here's a final message:
We want our countries to be blessed by God, to experience repentance and revival and to be blessings to the rest of the world. Now, therefore, is the most critical time for true followers of Jesus Christ to show unconditional love and unwavering support to Israelis and to their Palestinian neighbors. We need to pray for the peace of Jerusalem. We need to show the love of Jesus to every Jew and Gentile in the Holy Land. And we need to strengthen the Church in the epicenter, encourage pastors and ministry leaders, and help them fulfill Isaiah 60:1-4.
The good news is: the God of Israel neither sleeps, nor slumbers. He is in charge. He is watching over His people to protect them. But He calls on us to pray for the peace of Jerusalem, to educate Christians around the world about God’s love and plan for Israelis and Palestinians, and to care for both sides in real and practical ways, including food, clothing, medical supplies, and other forms of humanitarian aid. … This is a critical moment for followers of Jesus Christ. May we be faithful to the Lord until He returns.
He runs an aid organization to provide that humanitarian aid, and if you're interested in helping, check out the link.
Regardless, this is world-changing stuff going on, so we need to know what's happening and be able to correctly interpret events as they unfold. Don't be caught unprepared…pay attention.
There's my two cents.