|Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah [and] against Jerusalem.
And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it. - Zechariah 12:2,3
Flotilla reduxJuly 1, 2011
Here we go again. Some people are natural born provocateurs, and in itself this is not necessarily a bad thing. However there are people who are provocateurs without a cause or with an imaginary cause, and this is a very evil thing because it lacks true focus.
About a year ago we assisted to the infamous and incorrectly named "Peace Flotilla," a six Turkish ship's attempt to force the Israeli naval blockade of the Gaza strip with the stated purpose to reach the Gaza strip coast with humanitarian help for the Palestinian residents.
Israel questioned the humanitarian motives of flotilla organizers. Israel said it had invited the organizers to use the land crossings but they were "less interested in bringing in aid than in promoting their radical agenda, playing into the hands of Hamas provocations. While they have wrapped themselves in a humanitarian cloak, they are engaging in political propaganda and not in pro-Palestinian aid. - Wikipedia
Next, the world was treated to Israel's military forced arrest of the flotilla, with the resulting consequence of 9 provocateurs dead and several injured. The world cried HORROR and let's just say that Israel got more of the same bad press, UNTIL what really happened was revealed and documented, and that was ANOTHER story.
The IDF released nearly 20 videos of the incident. Both sides were described as lacking context and confusing the issue of who initiated hostilities. The videos were taken from Israeli Naval vessels and helicopters using night-vision technology. The videos appeared to show activists hitting soldiers with metal pipes and a chair. A video also showed a soldier being pushed off deck by activists and thrown onto a lower deck headfirst. One video shows each commando being attacked by metal pipes and bats as he was lowered by helicopter. Other videos show activists beating one of the soldiers and trying to kidnap him. One video that displays the clashes shows one soldier firing a weapon shaped like a paint ball gun. The IDF also released footage of the wounded being treated and airlifted.
So, now, these peaceful folks, are at it again, strong of the tremendous news repercussions of the first round. Right or wrong, all eyes are pointed on Israel's response, to catch the smallest wrong note, the least misdemeanor so that they can start berating the inhumanity and evilness of the Israeli.
Certainly, it can be argued that these people have a purpose and a mission, why, they are willing to place their own life and limb at risk. Paradoxically nothing could be so far removed from the truth as this assumption. In reality, the only thing they do demonstrate, and most clearly so is their hate for Israel, for what Israel is and for what it stands for.
I never cease to be amazed to discover that people as these, have no real motivation for their hate of Israel. It is visceral, primordial, fundamental, certainly unexplained to them. They repeat acquired slogans and display viral resentment, but have no facts to justify either. When pressed they don't know why they believe so. Reasonable persons, can discuss and produce arguments one way or another and discover that things are not always what they seem, but not to them. They are intransigent and bellicose about it. Calling them bigots is using a misnomer.
So,let's get ready for another manipulated opportunity for them to vent their hostilities against Israel.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States on Friday warned activists against plans to send a new aid flotilla to challenge Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip, saying it would be irresponsible and dangerous.Let's make no mistake upon this: Israel shall be persecuted until the return of her Messiah and King, the Lord Jesus Christ. Their eyes are veiled,
For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.And while Israel has gone and will go through much affliction, the Word states unequivocally that Israel will at one point turn to the Lord Jesus, the Messiah and God will then fulfill all the blessed promises He made to His people, Israel!
"And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for [his] only [son], and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn. Zec 12:10
Europe's Israel Obsession
Wall Sreet Journal, Dec. 2009
Baroness Catherine Ashton of Upholland (the European Union's new chief diplomat in the likely case you don't know her) isn't exactly what one would call "experienced." Perhaps to shed her much-deserved reputation as a foreign-policy novice, she used her maiden speech in the European Parliament to fuel the Continent's No. 1 international-affairs obsession: trashing the Jewish state.
"We're deeply concerned about daily living conditions of people in Gaza," she told law makers last week. "Israel should reopen the crossings without delay."
It's rather odd, to say the least, that no sooner had Israel left Gaza in 2005, than the same people who so anxiously had called for Israel to "end the occupation" wanted it back in the picture. Even though Hamas returned Israel's peace gesture with relentless rocket attacks, Israel is nevertheless expected to establish some sort of free-trade zone with the Islamists and open its borders again to Palestinian suicide bombers.
Egypt, the Palestinians' Arab brother nation, meanwhile, can quietly build a steel wall—yes, steel—at its Gaza border without having to fear negative Western press coverage, let alone the Baroness's wrath. She has only Israel in her crosshairs, even though Jerusalem is actually still providing a lifeline to the Palestinians.
Despite all the misreporting about a "humanitarian catastrophe" in Gaza as a result of Israel's blockade, the flow of aid support from Israel to the narrow strip is uninterrupted. In the week of Dec. 13 -Dec. 19 alone, 553 truckloads with 13,587 tons of merchandise reached Gaza from Israel, according to the Israeli foreign ministry.
The result is obvious. For an authentic look at life in Gaza, check out the photos of crowded markets filled with food, clothing and candy, published last month on the Web site of "Palestine Today," a Gaza newspaper, as first reported on these pages by Mideast analyst Tom Gross (http://www.paltoday.com/arabic/News-64161.html).
It is not surprising, perhaps, that the Baroness cannot summon insights into the Gaza situation. She cannot get the EU's own policy straight, either.
"The EU is opposed...," Ms. Ashton claimed, "to the construction of the separation barrier." Just a week earlier, though, her bosses, the 27 foreign ministers of the EU member states, declared that "the separation barrier where built on occupied land...(is) illegal under international law." That's not quite the same as the total opposition the Baroness implied, particularly given the fact that the barrier largely follows the 1949 armistice line.
The EU's new foreign-policy grandee apparently will not look beyond the legalistic objections to the barrier's trajectory to see the immense benefits it has brought to both parties. The barrier helped prevent Palestinian terrorism, thus bringing security to Israelis and Palestinians, which in turn was instrumental in paving the road for the Palestinian territories' recent economic revival. And without this return of calm and security, Israel could never be expected to make further concessions for peace.
Almost as revealing as Lady Ashton's criticism of Israel was her silence about continued Palestinian incitement to violence or Hamas's brutal rule in Gaza. While lambasting Israel's "occupation," she failed to acknowledge that it is the Palestinians' refusal to restart negotiations rather than Israeli intransigence that stands in the way of a Palestinian state.
Lady Ashton plans her first official visit to the region early next year. It's a shame that the good Baroness didn't go on such a fact-finding trip before bashing the Mideast's only true democracy.
Obama's Middle East Peace Initiative (abridged)
By: S.R. Shearer
According to sources close to America's president-elect, Barack Obama is planning to pursue an ambitious peace plan in the Middle East involving:
In return, Israel would receive "recognition" as a state not just by the Arabs, but the entire Islamic world. Essentially, the plan is a "rip-off" of a 2002 Saudi peace initiative endorsed by the Arab League and backed by Tzipi Livni, leader of Israel's ruling Kadima party.
Supposedly, the five initiatives listed above are to serve only as a "starting point" for negotiations; but if anything, they represent not so much a "starting point" for the Israelis, as a "starting point" for the Arabs, who are very much hoping to negotiate away Israel's status as a Jewish nation, and turn it into a "secular state."
On a visit to the Middle East last July, the president-elect is reported to have said privately to one of his senior advisors that it would be "crazy" for Israel to refuse this deal - a deal that could "give them peace with the Muslim world."
And it isn't just Israelis like Livni who are willing to start negotiations with the Arabs on the basis of the Saudi (now, Obama) plan, there is also Shimon Perez and Ehud Barak of the Labor Party, Ehud Olmert of the Kadima, and many more besides.
In addition to all these Israelis, there is a so-called bipartisan group of senior foreign policy advisers closely linked to the in-coming Obama Administration who are pushing this plan, among whom are Lee Hamilton, the former co-chairman of the Iraq Study Group, Zbigniew Brzezinski, a Democrat former national security adviser and Brent Scowcroft, a Republican former national security adviser. These advisers have told Obama that he should lose no time in pursuing this policy while he enjoys maximum goodwill in the Islamic world.
The Palestinian Authority is also urging President-elect Barack Obama to put his prestige behind the initiative as a means to ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and in a brilliant display of public relations, it ran Hebrew-language ads this week in Israel's four major newspapers endorsing the so-called "Obama Plan" and calling on Israelis to support it.
And it's not just left-wing elements in Israel and the United States who are supporting this plan, but "fundamentalists" in the Islamic world - and there is evidence that people from the Obama transition team have already met with these "fundamentalists." For example, in an interview published Tuesday in the London-based Al-Hayat newspaper, Dr. Ahmad Yousef, political adviser to Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, said senior Hamas figures have held secret meetings with advisers to Barack Obama in Gaza. According to Yousef, the Obama-Hamas talks were ongoing during the U.S. election campaign:
"We were in contact with a number of Obama's aides through the Internet, and later met with some of them in Gaza, but they advised us not to reveal this information as it may influence the elections or become manipulated by McCain's campaign." ...
WHAT ALL OF THIS DEMONSTRATES IS THAT IN OBAMA'S MIND, PEACE IN THE MIDDLE EAST IS TIED TO FORCING ISRAEL INTO AN AGREEMENT WITH THE PALESTINIANS THAT WILL STRIP ISRAEL OF THE WEST BANK, THE GOLAN HEIGHTS, EAST JERUSALEM, THE TEMPLE MOUNT, GIVE THE PALESTINIANS THE "RIGHT OF RETURN," AND FORCE ISRAEL TO LIVE WITH A NUCLEAR-ARMED IRAN.
This is, however, the kind of " STUFF " that will enrage not only the settlers in Israel, but American evangelicals as well; the kind of " STUFF " that could lead to Binyamin Netanyahu's victory in the upcoming Israeli elections, which in turn will cause a disaster for Obama that will be unprecedented in its magnitude.
Change of the Guard and the New Players
Editorial (May 2006)
Since our last editorial recap, much has happened in the Middle East region and specifically in Israel. Briefly and principally, the dismanteling of Israeli settlements in the Gaza strip, which we commented in our STRANGE DAYS column, the stroke impairement of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon ( to this day still in a comatose state with practically zero chances of ever reviving), the latest elections both in Israel and in the Palestinian territories which have produced the present stressing and peculiar situation, with the surprise election of Hamas from one side and the minority victory of Ariel Sharon's right-centrist party by his successor Ehud Omert, who apparently thinks that Hamas is NOT a threat to Israel.
One has to wonder whether Mr. Omert is for real or just politicking, and his latest declarations on the future of Israel's borders and in particular Jerusalem's proper, kind of complicate this issue. Many have attributed Sharon's stroke to his giving away Israel's biblical land away to the Palestinians in a bid for peace and security. Many are now warning Mr. Omert about following Sharon's footsteps. While it is easy to discount such notions as extreme or worse, Mr Omert is showing a particular lack of wisdom persisting in the nefarious belief that by giving back land to the Palestinians, he will be able to achieve a reasonable state of peace with them, when even fools know that such a notion is totally Disneyland since no amount of given land will be sufficient to the Palestinians until the Jews are eradicated fron ALL THE LAND. In their vision of reality Israel has no right nor place in the Middle East and they wll not blink first. Unless heavily obliged.
But now we have someone who is saying it loudly and clearly. Think what you want about Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, President of Iran, but you cannot call him a hypocrite. Since his election turned into a shocking surprise to Iranians and the world at large, he has not lost an occasion to vent his views and feelings against the State of Israel that will be, according to him, "wiped off the map." And as Iran rushes towards confrontation with the world over its nuclear programme, the question uppermost in the mind of western leaders is "What is moving President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to such recklessness?"
Listen carefully to the utterances of Mr Ahmadinejad and we enter another dimension, a religious messianism that, some suspect, is giving the Iranian leader a dangerous sense of divine mission.
In November, the country was startled by a video showing Mr Ahmadinejad telling a cleric that he had felt the hand of God entrancing world leaders as he delivered a speech to the UN General Assembly last September.
A NEW CHAPTER FOR AN OLD STORY
February 27, 2005
Yassir Arafat, the "strong man" in the Palestinian territories is gone and, as many are now saying that a new era is opening for the Israelis and the Palestinians people to finally work out some kind of co-exsisting arrangement and move on with their future. IMHO, formulas do not apply when Israel is the main subject at hand and this for obvious reasons which escape strategists, analysts and pundits.
So, while the world is hailing the new Palestinian Government elections and its new leaders' declared willingness to approach a discussion table with the Israelis, forecasting the dawn of a new age of co-operation or at least, tolerance, I beg to differ since I know that nothing of the kind will be possible. Surely, at one level, we would all love to see the much-battered peace flag fly over that part of the world, but its destiny has already been established and for the foreseeable future, peace is not in the cards.
Peace indeed one day will reign in Jerusalem, whose very name embodies that exalted state but it will not be brought about by human intervention, but by the divine hand. If we are to examine the flurry of statements, good intentions and invitations coming from moderate Arab states and to which Israel is responding with a satisfied sigh, the Middle East is on the verge of a golden moment, in which prosperity and freedom will be showered upon it.
To those who are ignorant of what the God of the Bible has to say about Israel's future, all the bright prospects of a peaceful beginning are like the twinkling little stars that dot a clear night sky. Those who are instead well versed with the Word know that the worse is yet to come and comunicating this vision is practically impossible. In ancient times, those who announced "bad news" had in many cases their life snuffed out as if silincing them would annull the message. Today we have the Internet and the life of those who predict bad news is somewhat preserved. One benefit of civilization!
As I am writing this article, a news flash reports a suicide (homice) bombing in Tel Aviv outside of a disco club and the count is on, sadly again, for the dead and injured youngsters whose appointment with destiny had in the vicinity of the explosion. This to say that no Palestinian Government will be able to reign in the various factions of militants which, like a cancer, were allowed to proliferate and act undisturbed under Mr. Arafat's regime. After such a long time, many Palestinians are living a virtual reality unshared even among themselves, a reality made of violence, lawlessness, abuses and arrogance. That's a pretty strong cocktail to overcome and no pussy-footing Palestinian Government will be able to stop them, and I agree that it is impossible for them to do, even with their best intentions. When a cancer is left undisturbed for too long, it will gradually enlarge itself by eating all the healthy surrounding tissue. At that point even surgically removing it is futile, since it has grown so large and metastised that its removal would spell the end of its host.
Syria, another prophetically important nation, is under stress due to its Lebanese relationship (after the assassination of former Lebanon premier Rafik Hariri) of which rightly or wrongly it is being accused. For the first time in ages, there have been open manifestations with tens of thousands of Lebanese carrying anti-Syrian banners and invoking freedom from Syrian occupation. Syria had "controlled" Lebabon since civil war in the sixties destroyed what was the most pro-west and modern country in the middle East, after Israel. Beirut, its capital was known as the Paris of the Mediterranean but all this "modernity" rubbed the wrong way its neighbours since it was seen as a threat to their own existence and therefore it should be terminated at any cost.
Syria is burdened with an incapable leader (Basher Assad) who unlike his father is imprudent and arrogant, not that his father was less of a dictator, just a better rehearsed one. This is what FrontPage Magazine reported on young Assad:
He has increased power by widespread use of the thugs in his intelligence agency, and he is ratcheting up Syria's support for terrorist organizations. Several of the most heinous are openly headquartered in Damascus. Most disturbingly, there are credible reports that Syria has become a welcoming home to Iraqi Ba’athist most-wanted criminals who fled just before Saddam’s statue fell in the square. It is reliably reported that as many as 54 top Iraqi leaders are running the insurgency in Iraq from Damascus. This is the reason many analysts say that while the body of the insurgency is in Iraq, the head hides in Syria. It is well known that huge sums of stolen money – mostly U.S. dollars – were smuggled across the border into Syria around the time of Iraq’s collapse.
LIFE AFTER DEATH?November 11, 2004
Palestinian Authority President Yassir (easy going) Arafat, 75, has died in Paris, from a mysterious disease.
During his "apparently" endless agony, the world was treated to some juice moments whose nature have defined the contradictions and mystery that have always been an integral part of this man's life.
Life after death?
June 17, 2003
We have not been updating this page for over a year for exactly the same reasons we posted in our March 20, 2002 editorial. However, a new and different attention is now due because of recent developments within the Palestine Authority, with the formation of an initial form of government, supposedly replacing the absolute authority previously held by Mr. Arafat. Not that Mr. Arafat has been taking this sitting down: He is still trying cunningly to control and manipulate the new born government, but his time is obviously passed. Till the end he is living proof that his terrorist heart has not changed an iota from his old plane-hijacking and machine-gunning days. I wonder if the Nobel folks have ever thought they may have made a little mistake in awarding Mr. Arafat the Peace prize. Probably not, given some of their latest utterances.
What this new development will mean to the region is anybody's guess. Strangely enough, though, this comes at the same time of Mr. Bush ROADMAP TO PEACE proposal (A Performance-Based Roadmap to a Permanent Two-State Solution to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict) - see full text at http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2003/20062.htm
While it may be still too early to say, we believe that this is NOT the infamous PEACE AND SECURITY pact which will usher the Tribulation and introduce the Antichrist, but we are getting closer. This pact, like the ones that have preceded it, is destined to the dustbins of history but it is nevertheless making its statement in pointing the world's attention towards Israel and about the absolute necessity that things cool out in that part of the world. From a human standpoint it is good and admirable that some people endeavor to bring about peace in that troubled geographical region. However, when we are dealing with Israel, all bets are off for the very simple reason that its future destiny has already been established by Someone Who is indeed able to carry it through to the smallest detail. It's a continuous source of amazement that most people who call themselves Christians don't know it, don't realize it or don't believe it. Evidently it must be the old pick-and-choose syndrome at work, a very dangerous behavior when dealing with the Word of God.
March 20, 2002
It has been quite a few weeks since we have updated this page, and certainly not due to the lack of news, but rather to a lack of relevant news. It's been a season of crazed kamikazes and illogical retaliations, a daily crescendo of tit-for-that, leaving any thinking person exhausted and disgusted.
While we affirm that Israel has an absolute and proven historical right to the land, we do not agree with the methods applied to acquire it. Granted, on a basic survival level, one must respond to an attack, however, in this case, the response has been inadequate and ineffective. The authorities in Israel should have known from the beginning that there is no defense against a fanatical suicide who has been promised 72 virgins, a palace and all he can eat for his terrorist actions, as they should have known from the beginning, that there is no lack of willing "manpower" among the Palestinians. Paradoxically, Israel has painted itself into a corner, something that the liberal media has been ready and willing to jump in and exploit.
Where do we start in establishing who is right and who is wrong in this so called Holy Land debate? if one believes the Bible, a lot of problems just fall off, since it is clear that God has promised the land to Abraham's seed in perpetuity. Most of the Jewish people living in Israel today are oblivious to the "religious" aspect of the question. Israel today is not a theocracy and actually is mostly pagan. Perfunctory allusions to "God" are just empty words. Some politicians think that they have a right to the land by divine fiat, while ignoring He Who promised it and try to enforce this right by force. But that is not God's way.
... Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the LORD of hosts.
The way this promise of God is being presumed and carried out is totally wrong and it will bring no good fruits. Israel has a right to the land, but the timing is the Lord's. Let's suppose that Israel were today a holy nation unto the Lord (as they should be). I have no doubt whatsoever that God would make sure that her enemies would be defeated and covered with shame. As it is, it is Israel which is being covered with shame. This happens regularly when anyone, including Christians, presume on God, one of the hardest lessons to be learned.
What next? There has just been a UN resolution that, for the first time since 1948, speaks of two states, Israel and the Palestinian State, living contiguously and in mutual acknowledgement. Resolutions are easily made, enforcing them, that is the problem. Let there be no doubt that the "peace and security" that Israel wants so bad will not be brought about by man's actions, although at a certain point and for a certain time, it will sure appear to be so. In fact, the Word tells us that a seven years treaty, assuring Israel "peace and security" (the exact words used in the Bible) will indeed be signed, as the entire world, breathes its unanimous approval and relief. Trouble is, it will turn out to be the worst accord Israel has ever approved. After the first three and a half years of said treaty, Israel (and the world) will realize the mistake made, sadly, when it will be too late to do anything about it.
On top of this, we deplore the behaviour and attitude of American Jewish intellectuals and trend makers, who in their insane liberal blindness have become enemies of their own people. From their influential positions within the ACLU, the Media, Hollywood, politics, the arts etc. for decades, a relentless attack has been launched upon Christianity, with the purpose to discredit and ridicule it. Well, in part they have succeeded in their goals, but in the process they have alienated a large part of the only true friends of their people Israel. There is a suggestion that the Antichrist will be a Jew, and if it will turn out so, I, for one, will not be a bit surprised.
Certainly, a remnant of Israel will finally inherit the promise and the "Promised Land." That day is surely coming, as it is written, but before it, Israel will undergo the most traumatic and dramatic moments of its entire existence, aptly named "Jacob's trouble." In total and hopeless desperation Israel will finally look upon their true Messiah, and surrender unto Him.
"And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of compassion and supplication, so that, when they look on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn.
PALESTINIAN TELEVISION: "THE SWEET FRAGRANCE OF MARTYRDOM"Makor Rishon - July 2001
"Until recently, we have suspected that the PA was encouraging children to get killed - but a look at many clips that have been broadcast recently on Palestinian television has now supplied concrete proof of it. A new clip that was broadcast [last] week for the first time accompanies a Palestinian boy on the day he plans to die. This is a nice-looking and smiling boy of about 12 who says goodbye to his family and walks off happily, self-confidently, and purposefully to his death. Before he leaves, he even writes a parting letter to his family - but he does not give it to his father, but rather transmits it via his friends. The message here probably is not to inform one's parents, so that they will not put a stop to it.
"In the background, the singer sings, 'Don't be angry, my love, and don't cry over my parting. Oh, my dear father, this martyrdom is on behalf of my land! For my land I will sacrifice myself! . How sweet is martyrdom, when I embrace you, my land! [Picture shows the boy falling on his chest] ... My beloved mother, more dear to me than anything [mother wailing], be happy over my blood, and don't cry for me! Tell my brother [the boy kisses his brother] that our souls are sacrificed for beloved Jerusalem! We don't run after wars, but we are great at them.'"
Marcus reports that the boy conveys a feeling of serenity throughout the clip: "The death itself is not cruel, and the boy shows no fear or resistance, he does not cry, and even the way he falls is gentle, and he hardly bleeds. His friends approach him, turn him on his face, and they are serene."
PMW also reports on the screening of clips of the "life after death" of Muhammad al-Dura, the 12-year-old Arab who was killed in crossfire near the Netzarim junction at the beginning of the current war. The boy has been made into a Palestinian hero; some 400 songs have been written about him, and the films of his death, which were internationally televised at the time, are shown dozens of times a day on Palestinian television. Information indicating that he was likely killed not by Israeli bullets but by Palestinian fire has been largely ignored. A recent clip on PA television shows him calling to other children, "I'm waving to you, not to say goodbye, but to say, 'Come follow me.'" He is portrayed after his death playing with a kite in a beautiful, green, tree-lined field; on the beach; at an amusement park; on the Temple Mount; and in a sunny field with water being sprinkled high - while sandwiched in-between are scenes of blood and Israeli Army violence.
"In the background is the voice of a popular female singer, "How pleasant is the fragrance of the earth, its thirst quenched by a gush of blood flowing from a youthful body... How pleasant is the aroma of the martyrs..." The clip ends with the flashing of a caption, "Produced by the [Palestinian] Ministry of Information and Culture and the Palestinian National Fund."
Palestinian Media Watch and Itamar Marcus can be reached at
SAUDI CROWN PRINCE WARNS OF MIDDLE EAST WARAssociated Newspapers Ltd., - 09 June 2001
Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah has warned of the prospect of a Middle East war, accusing Israel of raising Middle East bloodshed to "unacceptable" levels. Abdullah told German magazine Der Spiegel that the region is "sitting on a powder keg" that could "explode at any time".
He added that such a war "would not only affect Israelis and Arabs but many parts of the world" but did not elaborate any further. Abdullah, who ended a three-day official visit to Germany on Friday, blamed Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon for eight months of violence that has left 484 Palestinians and 108 Israelis dead. He told the magazine: "The bloodshed is reaching levels we can no longer accept. The Israeli war machine takes aim daily at unarmed people who are at the most throwing stones."
Abdullah said Palestinian attacks against Israelis were "a sign of desperation and frustration", and that Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat could only stop his people's revolt if Israel ends the "cancerous growth of settlements in Palestinian areas". Abdullah, who met Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder during his stay in Berlin, encouraged the European Union to mediate in the Middle East and said Germany should not be restrained by historic traumas. "The crimes of the Nazis against the Jews must not serve as an excuse for accepting crimes against the Palestinians," he told the magazine.
THE WACKINESS FACTORMay 6, 2001 - The Jerusalem Post
Call it the wackiness factor, obsessive hatred of Jews, or profound misperception, but Syrian President Bashar Assad's response to Pope John Paul II's mission to promote Middle East peace shows precisely why peace efforts in the region have collapsed.
The pope tried, like many others have done before him, to give Syria's leader credit for moderate sentiments. "You, Mr. President," he told Assad, "have wisely confirmed that a just and global peace is in the best interests of Syria. I'm confident that under your guidance Syria will spare no effort to work for greater harmony and cooperation among the peoples of the region." But like US secretary of state Warren Christopher's roughly 17 trips to Damascus, president Bill Clinton's strenuous efforts, and dozens of European envoys, the pope heard what Syria's ruler really thinks.
On one hand, Assad gave the usual Syrian line, stating, "We say we adhere to a just and comprehensive peace that returns the land to its original owners, and the return of refugees and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital." There's a nice ambiguity there, since returning "the land to its original owners" and "the return of refugees" are both essentially code words for removing Israel from the map. In short, this is the hard-line sentiment concealed in the velvet phrase.
On the other hand, Assad claimed that Israeli policies are like alleged Jewish attacks on early Christians and persecution against that religion's founder, Jesus. "They tried to kill the principles of all religions with the same mentality in which they betrayed Jesus Christ and the same way they tried to betray and kill the Prophet Mohammed." Thus spake Syria's British-educated, reportedly Internet-loving, and supposedly reform-minded president. Presumably, and if so unfortunately, the pope was too polite to respond appropriately.
Such statements are not really out of character for the young Assad. Aside from his fire-breathing rhetoric at the last Arab League meeting, he referred to Israeli society as "more racist than the Nazis." In addition, Syria's veteran defense minister, Mustafa Tlas, has long held that Jews murder Christians to use their blood in making Passover matza. When do such sentiments go beyond being repugnant propaganda and become major factors in setting national policy? By setting the tone of the country's debate, this kind of demagoguery heightens popular support for hatred and anti-Israel violence that inhibits rulers from making peace for many years to come. After all, a leader who makes peace with anti-Christian, anti-Moslem, Nazi-fascist, genocidal Jews must be a traitor. And, of course, peace with such a repugnant people could not possibly last.
Such an approach also sets the stage for an irrational disregard for national interest, the balance of power, and similar realpolitik considerations that can come back to haunt rulers. Assad has already made clear that he knows Syria is in no condition to make war on Israel. Yet by demonizing Israel, he could lay the basis for a miscalculation that would give him the same kind of disaster his predecessors created by threatening war with Israel in 1967.
RUSSIA MARKETING NEW SCUD IN DAMASCUSMiddle East News Online
As Putin strives to reassert Moscow's political influence in Damascus, Russian arms manufactures have begun actively marketing upgraded weapons systems to Syria. Although no shipments have been reported, the new generation of arms being peddled by Moscow could significantly enhance Syria's regional capability.
Most notably, Moscow has offered to sell Damascus a new optically-guided Scud missile that is capable of penetrating US and Israeli-made missile defense systems. According to Victor Solunin, the director general of Russia's Central Scientific and Research Institute of Automatics and Hydraulics, the upgraded Scud has an optically-guided warhead that disengages in the terminal phase of the missile's flight, averting incoming defensive missiles. Solunin, whose institute has been building Scud missiles since 1968, also said that the upgraded Scud is much more accurate than its predecessors, "with a miss distance not exceeding 10 to 20 meters, irrespective of the range." The missile's optical system has a matrix photo receiver and digital mapping system, enabling it to scan terrain based on pre-programmed target information during its final approach, as well as a mid-course correction device to avoid obstacles. It is supposedly immune to signal jamming and other electronic countermeasures.
Solunin added that the missile can destroy underground bunkers and silos. "Owing to an increased weight of the explosive charge and steep approach angles, the Russian missile system is capable of destroying hardened targets," he said. "The number of Russian missiles required for guaranteed destruction of such targets is several times less than that of similar missiles made by other countries' manufacturers." The missile has a maximum range of only 300 km (190 miles), but this can potentially be increased to 450 km (285 miles) by adding an additional rocket.
EDITORIALApril 19, 2001
In this page we do not present personal views, but news reports from various Middle Eastern and International newspapers. However, at this time, as the editor of this site, I need to comment the present situation.
As I have stated a few months ago, in another column, the then recently started intifada had a different flavour from precedent tactics. I noticed a change of mood and purpose, and I wrote thus. The subsequent election of Ariel Sharon, a man of resolute ideas, has compounded the Middle Eastern chess board. There exists precious little space for compromise and the prospects for the future do not bode well at all.
Most media coverage seems to favour the Palestinian side, pointing to Israel as the tyrannical overlord of the area, and at first view, it surely appear so. Yes, the Palestinians start the action, but they are only using stick and stones, while Israel is using heavy armed response to each provocation, even when a little restraint would be in order. Ariel Sharon is determined that his people should live in "peace and safety", a vague term at best, and being the military man that he is, can only bring forth his purpose through the use of force, military and otherwise. Yasser Arafat is determined that his people should have their statehood and should not depend from Israeli decisions. More or less this is what is presented to the world as their legitimate aspirations. However, as in all things, there are deeper motivations that drive both leaders and only a fool would believe their stated purposes and rethoric as the ONLY reason of the struggle.
I am not going to explain what these deeper motivations are. Anybody who is minimally fair-minded, can see the strategies at play and the means used. But alas, it is very hard to be fair-minded in this situation, as in any other, since each of us has a preconceived pair of glasses through which we observe the world. So, I will look at this thing from a different angle.
For Christian believers, the Bible is the Word of God. For Jewish believers, the Old Testament is the Word of God. For Islamic believers, the Old Testament is an inspired text. All three monotheistic faiths, then, ascribe to the Old Testament divine status, to a more or less extent. Now, this Old Testament, speaks very clearly about the role and future status of Israel. Many may not believe or like it, but for those who believe it, there is no problem in stating that Israel is and will be the rightful owner of the land, and not only of the small parcels it presently owns, but of the total land mass that goes from the Nile river to the Euphrates. Wow, really? Yes, that is exactly what the Word of God says from Gen.15:18 to the Apocalypse. Surely it seems a "mission impossible" situation but "Faithful is He Who promised."
How will this come about? It will be the work of God Himself. This is why, and against all appearences, true Bible believers know the final outcome and most importantly they know that whatever the immediate future may bring, the final outcome is already established and NO ONE can change that. Those who do not believe, will try to bring their brand of truth into being by deceit, violence and force not understanding their personal contribution to the final outcome, having thus a hard time coping with a reality that escapes them.
This brings us to the crucial question: Is there fairness in all of this? Why, dare someone accuse God of being unfair, or dare someone accuse Him of not knowing what He is doing? Again, only a fool would think so. The big problem in understanding this and other Biblical prophecies is man's very very limited vision of the whole picture. The reality we observe today, is the natural outcome of all that has preceded it. When we look at the ownership of the land of Israel today, our limited view goes back ONLY to a certain point and moreover it is full of gaps, distorsions and misinterpretations. Not so with God. He has the universe spread out like a small map in front of Him, and He has Time, in its past-present-future modes, "frozen" before His Eyes (I AM WHO I AM). What He promised to Abraham and confirmed to his descendants, may seem mythically rethoric to us, but certainly it is a very alive Yes and Amen fact to Him.
Hard times are ahead for Israel. War is on the horizon and it cannot be avoided. The Bible states also that some Arab nations who will change their ways (more on this in an a forthcoming article), will benefit of God's Grace. This confirms and this is why we are confident not only of the final outcome, but of the infinite Justice and Goodness of God, Who is ever ready to offer His loving Grace to anyone who asks Him.
YOUNG BRITISH MUSLIMS TRAINED FOR JIHADDecember 2000
'Young British Muslims are being trained to make bombs and use Kalashnikov rifles to fight in a jihad - holy war - in Israel. The first 'Mujahideen' fighters, trained in military-style camps around Britain, flew out this month for Lebanon and Jordan.
At a secret location in a technology park in north London, three men in their mid-twenties told The Observer that it was their duty to fight the Israelis. Anyone in Britain who supported the state of Israel and companies such as Marks and Spencer, which had connections with Israel, were also legitimate targets, they said. The men will leave for the Middle East as soon as they can arrange visas. These Islamic warriors, who are known only by their noms de guerre, Abu Yahya, Abu Izzadeen and Abu al-Mujahid, have been schooled in the Koran and believe that the holy verses told them to fight against the occupation of Arab lands.
'When we see what is happening in Palestine, it's not a matter of choice, it's a matter of obligation,' said 23-year-old Abu al-Muhajid. 'I have chosen to go and fight to fulfil that obligation and hopefully reap the highest rewards.' He said he had been trained to use a range of arms, including Kalashnikovs. Abu Izzadeen, a 25-year-old black Muslim convert, said: 'I have been with the Islamic movement since the day I embraced Islam, eight years ago, and I am willing to die for it.'
He said that he had been trained in Britain, but also in the Islamic camps in Pakistan: 'In Islam, when we say training, we mean military training. The camps inside the UK prepare people with physical training and martial arts, and if they can obtain weapons they use them for training. 'When we talk about jihad, we are not talking about harsh words, we are talking about training in bomb-making and strategy.' He added that, although he had no argument with individual British Jews, those who supported Israel were a legitimate target, as were companies with Israeli connections, such as Marks and Spencer, and the Jewish Chronicle newspaper. 'If someone supports a government which kills and rapes and murders, then you have a responsibility for it.'
Abu Yahya, also 25, went further: 'We don't have a problem with Christians and Jews, it is only with people who occupy our lands. We have a problem with oppression. That is, with the Hindus in Kashmir, the Russians in Chechnya, the Christians in the former Yugoslavia and the Israelis in Palestine.' To illustrate, he quoted a verse of the Koran: 'Fight together those who fight you together.' A spokesman for Maddad Security Services, which is organising the recruitment, said the process was a closely guarded secret: anti-terrorism legislation now makes it an offence in Britain to conspire to commit terrorist acts abroad. The legislation was introduced by Home Secretary Jack Straw after pressure from Arab governments who claim that Britain has become a haven for Islamic extremists.
ISRAEL THREATENS SYRIA WITH AIR BOMBARDMENTDec. 2, 2000
Israel is threatening Syria with air strikes against its military bases in south Lebanon if there are further border attacks on Israeli soldiers or civilians by Hizbollah guerrillas.
Such warnings were common during Israel's occupation of south Lebanon but they have resumed following fresh Hizbollah assaults. They raise anew the alarming spectre of a wider Middle East conflict. The threat against Syria's 20,000 troops in Lebanon was outlined yesterday by a senior Israeli security source. He said Syria possessed the power to rein in Hizbollah, but instead Bashar al-Assad, its president, encouraged it. The Syrians did not understand the consequences of their "dangerous policies", said the source.
Iranian-sponsored Hizbollah recently renewed attacks on Israel, capturing four soldiers in the last two months and killing one with a roadside bomb. It is acting on the pretext that Israel is still occupying the Shebaa Farms, a small pocket of what it claims was originally Lebanese land that was seized by Syria in the 1940s and in 1967 occupied by Israel as part of the Golan Heights. The United Nations has ruled it to be on the Israeli side of the "blue line" that marks out the Israeli-occupied Golan from Lebanon.
Israel's annoyance with Syria's new young president has been heightened by disappointment that he has not proved any more likely to succumb to Israeli demands than his father, Hafez al-Assad, who died in June. The bizarre, but widely circulated notion that "Dr Bashar's" British training as an ophthalmologist and his interest in computers would soften his stance on Syrian interests making him, in western eyes, a relative "moderate" has predictably proved to be no more than diplomatic guff.
The Israeli military is alarmed by Bashar al-Assad's eagerness to forge closer relations with Iraq in contrast to his father, whose hostility towards Saddam Hussein reached a peak in 1991 when he supported Operation Desert Storm. Last month Izzat Ibrahim, a member of the Revolutionary Command Council, was the most senior Iraqi official for two decades to visit Damascus. Reports abound that Iraq is piping oil to Syria in defiance of sanctions.
Bashar al-Assad "was expected to be more moderate due to his western education," said the Israeli security source, who requested anonymity. "But he is behaving just the opposite way. He is very extreme. He has turned very hard in the direction of the Iraqis." If Israel gets embroiled in a conflict with Damascus, the source warned, then Iraq would be "delighted" to join in.
SYNAGOGUE ON TEMPLE MOUNT COULD PROVOKE A WARAug. 8, 2000
Palestinian leaders warned Israel yesterday that a plan to build a synagogue on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem could provoke a war in the Middle East.
The warning came after the Chief Rabbinical Council announced that it was setting up a committee to "realise our rights and sovereignty on the Temple Mount". The decision appeared to be an attempt to avoid a confrontation with Muslims over what many regard as the most sensitive site in the Middle East. Jews believe that their temples stood on the site, which is inside Jerusalem's walled Old City, in biblical times. To Muslims it is known as al-Haram al-Sharif, the "Noble Sanctuary", housing the Dome of the Rock and the al-Aqsa mosques. Ikrema Sabri, the Mufti of Jerusalem, said that building a synagogue on the hill would start a war and "only God knows where it would lead".
Sheikh Muhammad Hussein, the most senior Islamic administrator at al-Haram al-Sharif, appealed to Israel: "Don't play with fire, this is not politics, this is religion, and if something happened, God forbid, you will find millions of Muslims willing to sacrifice their souls for our holy places." The synagogue proposal was made by Shaar-Yeshuv Hacohen, the Chief Rabbi of Haifa, who opposes the view of most rabbinical authorities that Jews must not enter the Temple Mount because of its holiness and concerns about ritual purity. He also rejected suggestions that the issue should be debated only after a peace accord has been reached with the Palestinians. "I think that it should be negotiated before an agreement is reached," he said. "To the Jewish faith, the Temple Mount is the holiest place and we all pray towards that place and we should not give it away to any other people and any other religion."
Israeli police arrested four right-wing Jewish activists on the Temple Mount yesterday after Palestinians were reported to have seen a Jewish worshipper praying there. One activist was attacked by an Islamic official at the site. Rabbis representing Jewish settlers have called for a ruling to forbid the Israeli Government from transferring any more land in the West Bank to the Palestinians. They say that the Government is not allowed to give away parts of the biblical land of Israel because God bequeathed the area solely to the Jewish people. Israel's Chief Rabbinical Council said that the issue should be discussed at a meeting in Bet El, a settlement on the West Bank, but it did not set a date for the meeting.
MIDDLE EASTERN ROOTSMay
They may be enemies but Jews and Arabs really are brothers, a genetic analysis shows. The comparison, published Monday, of groups of Semites also shows that Jews have successfully resisted having their gene pool diluted, despite having lived among non-Jews for thousands of years in what is commonly known as the Diaspora the time since 556 B.C. when Jews migrated out of Palestine.
Michael Hammer at the University of Arizona in Tucson and colleagues studied and compared the genes of more than 1,300 males from 29 different populations.
Map of the Past
The researchers looked at the Y chromosome, which only males have and which is passed down with little change from father to son. These small changes can be tracked and provide a kind of molecular road map to the genetic past. They found that grouping Jews and Arabs together both are Semites is based on genetic and well as historical and linguistic reality.
Semites Have Remained Separate
Despite their long-term residence in different countries and isolation from one another, most Jewish populations were not significantly different from one another at the genetic level, Hammers group wrote in their report, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Very few non-Jewish European genes have gotten into the Ashkenazi and Roman Jewish populations, they said. The results support the hypothesis that the paternal gene pools of Jewish communities from Europe, North Africa and the Middle East descended from a common Middle Eastern ancestral population, and suggests that most Jewish communities have remained relatively isolated from neighboring non-Jewish communities during and after the Diaspora, they wrote.
ISRAEL WARNS OF WAR WITH SYRIAApril 17, 2000
For the first time, Israel has warned that Syria could be the next target of Israeli retaliatory attacks that stem from the violence in southern Lebanon. Israeli officials said that in the wake of an Israeli withdrawal the government and military will establish new guidelines that will escalate retaliation for any attacks on the Jewish state from Lebanon and hold Syria responsible. Syria has 35,000 troops in Lebanon.
HACKERS UNCOVER SECRET BILLIONS OF ARAFAT'S PLOThe Electronic Telegraph - Dec 4, 1999
THE Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat has salted away billions of pounds for the Palestinian Liberation Organisation in secret foreign bank accounts and investments, including property in London.
The disclosure about the hidden wealth of his PLO comes amid deepening economic hardship in his Gaza and West Bank fiefdoms. It will also hamper his efforts to woo a huge influx of European aid for his fledgling Palestinian regime.
The timing of the disclosures could not have been more embarrassing as Mr Arafat, seated before a stage built to resemble a giant Christmas crib, yesterday opened Millennium celebrations in Bethlehem . He hopes that the year of festivities in Jesus's birthplace will showcase his push for an independent Palestinian state. New details of the vast PLO fortune he controls have come to light following a series of computer break-ins at the headquarters of the Palestine Liberation Organisation in Tunis.
The hackers discovered that the PLO maintains about £5 billion in numbered bank accounts in Zurich, Geneva and New York. It also holds accounts with smaller sums in north Africa, Europe and Asia. They are not registered in the PLO's name, but in the names of private individuals. The records also showed that the PLO owns shares on the Frankfurt, Paris and Tokyo stock exchanges, including stock in the German car giant Mercedes Benz, and property in prestigious areas of European capitals, including Mayfair in London.
The organisation, which once specialised in aircraft hijackings, also has shares in several airlines, including the national carriers of the Maldives and Guinea Bissau. The computer security breach is believed on the West Bank to have been carried out by PLO officials disgruntled with Mr Arafat's leadership. "They wished to dispel the smokescreen created around the PLO's finances," a Palestinian official told The Telegraph.
Mr Arafat has always refused to comment on reports about the foreign bank accounts. But the disclosures caused anger in poverty-stricken Gaza. One embittered Palestinian said: "Why is he sitting on a mountain of gold, while there is a desperate lack of jobs and medical supplies here?" Mr Arafat is both president of the Palestinian Authority, the semi-autonomous organisation that governs parts of Gaza and the West Bank, and the chairman of the PLO, which maintains its headquarters in Tunis, its base during its terrorist heyday.
The creation of the Palestinian Authority, the embryonic government for a future Palestinian state, was supposed to lead to the winding-up of the PLO - and make the Palestinian leadership accountable and law-abiding. But the authority has in fact been repeatedly accused by domestic opponents of rampant corruption and mismanagement.
The web of secret bank accounts and assets held around the world is believed to be so complex that only Mr Arafat himself and two of his most trusted aides know the overall picture. Much of the money is the result of "taxes" levied on Palestinians working in Kuwait and other Gulf states in the Seventies and Eighties, and of donations from wealthy states such as Saudi Arabia.
The assets are controlled by Mr Arafat himself and it is not known what would happen to them if the 70-year-old, who is said to be suffering from Parkinson's disease, should die. An Israeli intelligence analyst said: "These revelations are almost certainly not the whole story. No one can know the full extent of the PLO's assets. They are so well hidden."
The disclosures are also likely to prompt international donors, including the European Union countries, to ask why Mr Arafat is still demanding aid for his Palestinian authority. Nor will they have been impressed by his decision to invite Slobodan Milosevic, Yugoslavia's president, to Bethlehem.
ISRAEL AS PORTRAYED IN PALESTINIAN TEXTBOOKSAug. 15, 1999
Six years following the signing of the Oslo Accords, Arafat - a mainstream leader and a recipient of annual US foreign aid - is intensifying the demonization of Israel, Zionism and Jews in the Palestinian school system. PLO strategy is authentically represented by its own education curriculum, which shapes long-term attitudes of Palestinians and mirrors the ideology of its leadership. Arafat's refusal to expunge - from textbooks - systematic depiction of Jews and Zionists as enemies of Arabs, Islam and humanity, has reaffirmed concerns about Arafat's actual intentions and his harboring of Hamas terrorists (including murderers of Americans).
Recurring themes in school textbooks within the PA educational system educate Palestinian pupils to reject Israel, Zionism and Jews on moral, political, nationalistic and religious grounds. Jews and Zionists are systematically depicted as enemies, deceitful, treacherous, plunderers, aggressors and inhumane. The heralding of Jihad (Holy War) and legitimizing of martyrs/terrorists permeate both PA textbooks and summer camps. Martyrs are promised unique rewards in Paradise, including unlimited sex with 70 virgins per martyr.
A few examples follow:
"The first words the young boy heard were the words Jihad, attack and conquest...For him no joy equaled the participation in Jihad...Nothing gave him more pleasure than the sight of the enemy lying dead on the battlefield...Coming down on them, blow after blow, crushing their skulls..." (The Conqueror of Africa, 6th grade, pp 6,7,43,93,96).
"One must beware of the Jews, for they are treacherous and disloyal" (Islamic Education, 9th grade, p.79).
"Jihad and sacrifice are a duty...draw your sword, let us gather for war with red blood and blazing fire...Death shall call and the sword shall be crazed for such slaughter...Oh Palestine, the youth shall redeem your land..." (Reader and Literary Texts, 8th grade, pp.120-122).
"The final and inevitable result [of Jihad] will be victory of the Moslems over the Jews..." (Our Arabic Language, 5th grade, p.67).
by Yoram Ettinger
HIZBULLAH VOWS TO NEVER RECOGNIZE ISRAEL'S RIGHT TO EXISTJuly 16, 1999
In a statement released on Thursday by the number two man in the Hizbullah guerilla organization, Sheik Naim Kassim stated his organization would never recognize Israel's right to exist and it did not make a difference if Arab countries signed peace treaties. The guerilla leader made his statements during a Sky News interview. Kassim also refused to make any promises to curtail or cease attacks against Israeli targets following an Israeli withdrawal from the security zone.
In a related matter, senior IDF commanders have acknowledged a slowdown in Hizbullah activities in the security zone of late but have warned it may only be a temporary lull due to Israel's heavy air assaults over Beirut, seriously compromising the infrastructure of the area in response to Katyusha attacks over northern Israel.