|PA reports progress on secret talks on Jerusalem|
|Written by Chris Perver|
|Monday, 11 February 2008 10:49|
Links from my friends Darrel and Donald. A Palestinian official speaking on the condition of anonymity has claimed that the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority are presently engaged in secret negotiations regarding the status of Jerusalem. The official, who did not want to be named for fear of contradicting previous statements made by Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, has said that some progress has been made in the secret meetings. Last month Olmert had announced that he was postponing negotiations on the division of Jerusalem until the end of the talks, fearing that the sensitivity of the issue could destabilize the process. But just a few days ago, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni confirmed that "all core-issues" were being discussed, including that of Jerusalem. Yesterday's revelation caused somewhat of a storm in Israel, with the ultra-Orthodox Shas party threatening to withdraw from the coalition government, if the revelations proved to be true.
Quote: ""The main progress has been achieved during the secret talks, particularly on the issue of Jerusalem. Today we can say that Israel is prepared to withdraw from almost all the Arab neighborhoods and villages in Jerusalem. Israel is prepared to redivide Jerusalem and this is a positive development," the Ramallah official said. "The negotiations are moving too slowly," he said. "There are still too many difficulties, although one can say that some progress has been achieved."
Just last month, Israeli President Shimon Peres had stated that the peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians "must not stop for one moment", and that the two sides needed to negotiate both openly and in secret in order for a peace agreement to be reached. Peres has also confirmed in the past that secret negotiations are being held between Israel and Syria on the issue of the Golan Heights. Following his tour of the Middle East last week, Quartet Special Envoy Tony Blair has stated that Israeli and Arab views on what a Middle East peace agreement should look like are very similar, and based on his talks with Arab leaders, he believes the Arab nations genuinely want this conflict settled now.
Quote: ""I spend a lot of time talking to the Arabs," said Blair. "I have a genuine belief, and this is not shared by everyone in Israel: The Arabs genuinely want this settled now. There were Arab leaders, I don't want to say which, talking to me recently about the type of settlement, the type of agreement which they would accept. I would say it is very close to what Israel is wanting and on some of the most sensitive questions."
And today European leaders are meeting with members of the Arab League on the island of Malta, to analyse the conflict in the Middle East and discuss ways of resolving the present situation in Gaza. High Representative for the European Common, Foreign and Security Policy, Javier Solana, will give the opening address of the two day summit. Arab League Secretary General Amer Mousa will also be in attendance, along with leaders from several European and Middle Eastern states.
As we can see, it may be only a matter of time before a peace agreement is finally made. The Scriptures prophesied that a covenant of peace would one day be made between Israel and many nations (Daniel 9:27). The Bible also predicts that this process will eventually lead to the division of God's land and the city of Jerusalem (Daniel 11:39, Zechariah 12:2, 14:2, Revelation 11:2), bringing about the greatest time of trouble the world has ever seen. Jesus Christ is coming back, to take those who have trusted in Him for salvation to heaven (John 14:3), and later on, to judge the world in righteousness (Revelation 19:11). God will judge the world in righteousness by that Man He has ordained (Acts 17:31). Will you accept Him as your Saviour today, or meet Him as your Judge tomorrow? Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved (Acts 16:31).