The Bible Teaching Ministry of David Hocking
“The Word of our God shall stand forever” Isaiah 40:8


By Aaron Klein
© 2008 WorldNetDaily

JERUSALEM – Four days after WND broke the story the Palestinian Authority has quietly asked the U.S. to impose sanctions on Israel if the Jewish state continues building any new housing structures in the strategic and historic West Bank, the PA today publicly asked Palestinian diplomats to campaign abroad for economic steps against Israeli West Bank settlements.

“We want you to make the whole world aware of the problem because condemnations and press conferences are not enough anymore,” Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salaam Fayad told a public gathering of Palestinian diplomats today.

Fayad reportedly singled out Britain as a model for other countries to follow in imposing economic sanctions on Israeli West Bank construction. Britain has said it is pressing European countries for tighter controls of imports to the EU from West Bank settlements, demanding West Bank Jewish imports be labeled separately from the rest of the Jewish state’s general imports.
“We call on other countries in the EU to follow suit with Britain on this issue,” Fayad said.

Last week, WND quoted a top PA source revealing the PA has asked the U.S. to impose sanctions on Israeli West Bank construction. The source, who works from PA President Mahmoud Abbas’ office, said the threat of sanctions would be part a series of Israeli-Palestinian understandings to be guaranteed by the U.S. that both sides are trying to reach before January.

The understandings, the source said, would result in an eventual Israeli withdrawal from the vast majority of the West Bank, an area rich in biblical history and significance.

Last week, informed Israeli and Palestinian sources told WND that despite media reports painting a dismal picture of negotiation prospects, Israel and the PA are still quietly working to conclude a major agreement before President Bush leaves office at the end of the year.

Aside from a major West Bank withdrawal, the agreement would also grant the PA permission to open official institutions in Jerusalem but would postpone talks on the future status of the capital city until new Israeli and U.S. governments are installed next year. A top source said the PA requested that as part of the understandings, the U.S. would threaten sanctions for any new Jewish construction in the West Bank.

Israel recaptured the West Bank in the 1967 Six Day War. The territory, in which about 200,000 Jews live, is tied to Judaism throughout the Torah and is often referred to as the biblical heartland of Israel.

The book of Genesis says Abraham entered Israel at the West Bank city of Shechem (Nablus) and received God’s promise of land for his offspring. He was later buried with the rest of the biblical patriarchs and matriarchs, except for Rachel, in Hebron’s Tomb of the Patriarchs. The West Bank’s Hebron was site of the first Jewish capital.

The nearby West Bank town of Beit El–anciently called Bethel, meaning “house of God”–is where Scripture says the patriarch Jacob slept on a stone pillow and dreamed of angels ascending and descending a stairway to heaven. In that dream, God spoke directly to Jacob and reaffirmed the promise of territory. Earlier, God had promised the land of Israel to Abraham at Beit El. In Exodus, the holy tabernacle rested just north of Beit El in Shiloh, believed to be the first area the ancient Israelites settled after fleeing Egypt.

The understandings both sides are trying to reach before January are part of an original plan initiated at last November’s U.S.-sponsored Annapolis summit, which sought to create a Palestinian state, at least on paper, by January. The summit launched talks aimed at concluding a final status agreement on all core issues – borders, the status of Jerusalem and the future of so-called Palestinian refugees.

But a final agreement has been hampered by several recent events here, most notably Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s decision to resign amid corruption charges, leading to general elections scheduled for February that will see a new prime minister elected.

The candidate for office from Olmert’s Kadima party, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, is said to oppose reaching a deal on Jerusalem or refugees ahead of elections, fearing it will harm her prospects among center-right voters. Livni is Olmert’s chief negotiator with the Palestinians.

In spite of the upcoming elections and the Israeli government’s subsequent political instability, teams of Israeli and Palestinian negotiators have been quietly meeting regularly the past few weeks in hope of concluding a series of understandings on key issues. Informed sources said any understandings reached will be backed up by Bush in an official letter. It is unclear how much weight such a letter will carry under a new U.S. administration.

According to the sources, neither side expects to conclude any deal on the status of Jerusalem or Palestinian “refugees” before January, putting aside those issues for future talks. Instead, negotiations are focused on reaching an agreement emphasizing borders, particularly a pledged Israeli evacuation of the vast majority of the strategic West Bank, which borders central Israeli population centers.

A Palestinian source told WND the U.S. is said to favor Israel withdrawing from nearly the entire West Bank. The source said the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem has been closely monitoring Israeli activities in the territory, which the source said has led to the Jewish state clamping down on what are termed “illegal outposts,” or Jewish structures built in the West Bank without government permission. Israel has recently announced a series of small West Bank evacuations, including the threatened forced removal of Jews who legally purchased a house in the ancient city of Hebron.

Olmert announced he wants quick peace deal. On Tuesday, Olmert seemed to confirm the WND report exposing secret Israeli-Palestinian talks aimed at reaching an agreement on core issues, when he announced in Washington his intention to continue negotiations in hope of an agreement on core issues.

“In principle there is nothing to prevent us from reaching an agreement on the core issues in the near future,” Olmert said regarding ongoing peace negotiations with the Palestinian Authority.
“We’re in a situation where it’s possible to do so, and I hope we do. It would be good for the state of Israel,” said Olmert speaking to Israeli reporters after a meeting with President Bush.

Speaking of “a painful sacrifice of parts of the land of Israel and the history of the Jewish people,” Olmert told reporters now was the “time for decisions.” “I am ready to make that decision, and I hope the other side will make it as well,” he said. “You don’t need months to make a decision.”

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