Tuesday, July 31, 2007
RUSSIAS NEW ARMS DEAL WITH IRAN
Joseph's Tomb synagogue destroyed by Israeli forces
Prime Minister Olmert orders razing of structure built so Jews can pray at Judaism's 3rd holiest site - July 31, 2007 - By Aaron Klein - WorldNetDaily.com
JERUSALEM – Security forces acting on orders from Prime Minister Ehud Olmert yesterday destroyed a synagogue used by Jews to worship near Joseph's Tomb, Judaism's third holiest site and the believed burial place of the biblical patriarch Joseph – the son of Jacob who was sold by his brothers into slavery and later became the viceroy of Egypt. Under the 1993 Oslo Accords, which granted nearby strategic territory to the Palestinians, Joseph's Tomb was supposed to be accessible to Jews and Christians. But following repeated attacks against Jewish worshippers at the holy site by gunmen associated with then-PLO leader Yasser Arafat's militias, Prime Minister Ehud Barak in October 2000 ordered an Israeli unilateral retreat from the area.
The tomb is located near the modern day West Bank city of Nablus, or biblical Shechem. Currently, Jewish pilgrimage to Joseph's Tomb is legal only several times per year in convoys protected by the Israel Defense Forces. Still, some Jews regularly attempt clandestine visits to the holy site. Jewish students last year built a structure on the West Bank's Mount Gerizim, which is just outside the tomb area. The structure was used as a synagogue and was constructed on the Mount so Jews can pray and study Torah as close to the tomb site as possible. Dozens of Jewish students congregated daily at the makeshift synagogue. But Olmert's office and Israeli government officials deemed the structure – which they refused to call a synagogue – illegal since it was built without a government permit. Building at Joseph's Tomb site after Palestinian Authority took control in 2000.
Yesterday, under direct orders from Olmert, the Israel Civil Lands Administration destroyed the structure. Just before the synagogue was bulldozed, one Jewish student told the Israel National News website, If the synagogue is destroyed, it will be rebuilt.Olmert's decision to single out for demolition the synagogue near Judaism's third holiest site has been called into question by religious leaders here. While Jewish construction projects deemed illegal in Jewish cities in the West Bank is regularly bulldozed by the government, Olmert's office has taken no action against hundreds of thousands of Palestinians living in illegal outposts in the West Bank and Jerusalem.
WND previously exposed the Israeli government has allowed Palestinians and the United Nations to build illegally on hundreds of acres of Jewish-owned lands in Jerusalem purchased by the Jewish National Fund, a U.S.-based Jewish organization, using Jewish donors funds solicited for the purpose of Jewish settlement. Tens of thousands of Palestinians live on the Jewish-owned Jerusalem land, which was recently isolated from Jewish sections of Jerusalem by Israel's security barrier.
Yeshiva at third holiest site turned into mosque
The Torah describes how Jacob purchased a land plot in Shechem, which was given as inheritance to his sons and was used to re-inter Joseph, whose bones were taken out of Egypt during the Jewish exodus. Joseph's sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, are also said to be buried at the site. As detailed in the Torah, shortly before his death, Joseph asked the Israelites to vow they would resettle his bones in the land of Canaan – biblical Israel. That oath was fulfilled when, according to the Torah, Joseph's remains were taken by the Jews from Egypt and reburied at the plot of land Jacob had earlier purchased in Shechem, believed to be the site of the tomb. Modern archeologists confirm Nablus is the biblical city of Shechem
Yehuda Leibman, who until the Israeli retreat from Joseph's Tomb in 2000 was director of a yeshiva constructed there, explained, The sages tell us that there are three places which the world cannot claim were stolen by the Jewish people: the Temple Mount, the Cave of the Patriarchs and Joseph's Tomb.There is evidence suggesting for more than 1,000 years Jews of various origins worshipped at Joseph's Tomb. The Samaritans, a local tribe that follow a religion based on the Torah, say they trace their lineage back to Joseph himself and that they worshipped at the tomb site for more than 1,700 years. Israel first gained control of Nablus and the neighboring site of Joseph's Tomb in the 1967 Six-Day War. The Oslo Accords signed by Arafat and Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin called for the area surrounding the tomb site to be placed under Palestinian jurisdiction but allowed for continued Jewish visits to the site and the construction of an Israeli military outpost at the tomb to ensure secure Jewish access.
Following the transfer of control of Nablus and the general area encompassing the tomb to the Palestinians in the early 1990s, there were a series of outbreaks of violence in which Arab rioters and gunmen from Arafat's Fatah militias shot at Jewish worshipers and the tomb's military outpost. Six Israeli soldiers were killed and many others, including yeshiva students, were wounded in September 1996 when Palestinian rioters and Fatah gunmen attempted to over take the tomb. Eventually, Israeli soldiers regained control of the site. The Palestinians continued to attack Joseph's Tomb with regular shootings and the lobbing of firebombs and Molotov cocktails. Security for Jews at the site increasingly became more difficult to maintain. Rumors circulated in 2000 that Barak would evacuate the Israeli military outpost and give the tomb to Arafat as a peacemaking gesture. In early 2000, the Israeli army began denying Jewish visits to the tomb on certain days due to prospects of Arab violence.
Following U.S. mediated peace talks at Camp David in September 2000, Arafat returned to the West Bank and initiated his intifada. During one bloody week in October 2000, Fatah gunmen attacked the tomb repeatedly, killing two and injuring dozens, prompting Barak to order a complete evacuation of Judaism's third holiest site on Oct. 6. Gravestone at traditional burial site for biblical patriarch Joseph after it was ransacked by Palestinian mobs. Within less than an hour of the Israeli retreat, Palestinian rioters overtook Joseph's Tomb and reportedly began to ransack the site. Palestinian mobs reportedly tore apart books, destroying prayer stands and grinding out stone carvings in the Tomb's interior.
Palestinians hoisted a Muslim flag over the tomb. Amin Maqbul, an official from Arafat's office, visited the tomb to deliver a speech declaring, Today was the first step to liberate (Jerusalem). One BBC reporter described the scene: The site was reduced to smoldering rubble – festooned with Palestinian and Islamic flags – cheering Arab crowd. Palestinians on Oct. 10 began construction of a mosque on the rubble of the tomb's adjacent yeshiva compound. Workers painted the dome of the compound green, the Islamic color. In a WND exclusive interview, Tariq Tarawi, a Fatah lawmaker who in 2000 served as chief of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades terror group in the vicinity of the tomb, said the Palestinians would never allow Israel to rebuild a yeshiva or synagogue at Joseph's Tomb. The Brigades carried out most of the attacks against the tomb site. A yeshiva is an institution, said Tarawi. An institution can be the beginning of claiming rights and these claims can bring once again the Israeli army to establish a base in the place, and we can not accept this. If the Jews try to build a yeshiva, we will shoot at them.
Olmert looking at Jordan troops for West Bank: report Mon Jul 30, 3:51 AM ET
JERUSALEM (AFP) - Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is in favour of Jordanian forces deploying in the occupied West Bank to help Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas fight extremists, a report said on Monday. What Olmert has in mind and what has been raised in recent meetings with Jordan's King Abdullah II... (is) regular Jordanian army troops, Bedouin who have experience fighting terrorism, said the English-language Jerusalem Post, citing unnamed sources.Government spokeswoman Miri Eisin dismissed the report, calling it speculation.
But she said that Olmert is not opposed to the idea of deployment of foreign troops, including from Arab countries, in the West Bank with a view to combating the terrorists of Hamas.The Islamist Hamas overran troops loyal to the moderate Abbas in the Gaza Strip on June 15, splitting the Palestinians into two separate entities, with the Western-backed president ruling over the West Bank and the Western-shunned Islamists in control of Gaza.Following the takeover, Israel has taken several steps aimed at bolstering Abbas in the West Bank and isolating Hamas, which does not recognise the Jewish state.Israeli media reports in recent months have speculated Jordan's Badr Brigade, made up of 1,500 to 2,000 Palestinians who receive their salaries from the Palestine Liberation Organisation, would be deployed in the West Bank.But Olmert is leaning toward the regular Jordanian troops instead, the Post said.
Visiting Spanish minister sees will to end crisis in Lebanon
By Rym Ghazal Daily Star staff - Tuesday, July 31, 2007
BEIRUT: Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos ended his two-day visit to Lebanon and traveled to Damascus on Monday, as Spain added its efforts to those of the French in trying to resolve Lebanon's nine-month-old political deadlock. There is a Lebanese will to end the crisis, Moratinos told reporters on Monday after his meeting with Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri.Following in the footsteps of French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, Moratinos met with leading Lebanese politicians before heading to Syria later in the day on Monday.Syria is part of the solution and is part of the problem in Lebanon, Moratinos said.Moratinos is expected to meet with Syrian President Bashar Assad and other senior Syrian officials after pledging in Lebanon to help the Lebanese bring an end to the crisis.
During his two-day visit here, Moratinos also met with Hizbullah number two Sheikh Naim Qassem, Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun, parliamentary majority leader Saad Hariri, former President Amin Gemayel, Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea, Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblatt and Palestine Liberation Organization representative in Lebanon Abbas Zaki.Moratinos came to Lebanon to inquire about the Lebanese situation and help better understand the means of finding solutions to the ongoing political crisis, Geagea told reporters after meeting with Moratinos.The same sentiments were echoed by Gemayel, who added that hopefully there are no fears of a new civil war in Lebanon because of Syrian and Iranian interference.http://www.dailystar.com.lb
The Lebanese are committed to finding a solution, he said. At the same time, Zaki requested from Moratinos European support for the rebuilding of the Nahr al-Bared Palestinian refugee camp in North Lebanon, where the Lebanese Army has been battling militants of Fatah al-Islam for more than two months.It is critical to assist the displaced refugees from the camp with monetary and practical support for the rebuilding of the camp, to allow the displaced to return home as soon as possible, said Zaki.In return, Moratinos expressed his understanding for the Palestinians' plight and said he would try his best to garner European support for the displaced.
In addition to meeting with local politicians, Moratinos also visited the Spanish contingent of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), based in South Lebanon.On Sunday, Moratinos said Spain was strongly engaged both politically and militarily in Lebanon through its contribution to UNIFIL.He said his country had paid a heavy price with the death of six of its soldiers in a car-bomb attack in the South last month, but that it would continue to assume its responsibilities.The six members of the Spanish contingent were killed on June 24 when a booby-trapped car exploded as their armored personnel carrier passed. Under UN Resolution 1701, which ended last summer's 34-day war with Israel, more than 13,000 peacekeepers have been deployed in South Lebanon.
Syria condemns US arms deals
31/07/2007 18:02 - (SA)
Damascus - Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem condemned the multi-billion-dollar US arms packages for Washington's Arab allies and Israel on Tuesday as dangerous.
We are before an international conference (proposed) by President Bush. He who wants to make peace does not start out with an arms initiative which is dangerous for the region, Muallem said in reference to the US administration. He who wishes to see a level playing field cannot be partial to one party and isolate another. He has to win the confidence of all the parties concerned, the minister added. Muallem's comments came as US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Defence Secretary Robert Gates kicked off a regional tour in Egypt seeking to unite Arab allies.
Their visit was preceded by announcements of military packages for key Arab allies and Israel. The pacts are worth $20bn for Saudi Arabia, $13bn for Egypt and $30bn for Israel. Muallem said the move to boost Israeli defence aid by 25 % shows that the United States continues to seek to apply its policy of constructive chaos in the Middle East.
Guarantees of success
US President George W Bush proposed on July 16 holding an international conference on the Middle East peace process, which is expected to be held in September. Muallem said that this proposal needed clear objectives and guarantees of success. Syria, for her part, wants security and stability in the region, he said. We will support any serious effort for peace and stability, but we will resist every effort to liquidate the Palestinian cause, he added following talks with visiting Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos.
Judicial Watch seeks access to meetings of Security and Prosperity Partnership meetings in August - Chad Groening - OneNewsNow.com - July 31, 2007
The public-interest group Judicial Watch has filed a notice with Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez that it wants to attend the upcoming meetings of the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP) in Canada. The group, which investigates and prosecutes government corruption, believes the American people have a right to know what's going on inside what it describes as a shadowy organization. The August 20-21 meetings will be conducted in Montebello, Quebec, Canada, by the North American Competitiveness Council (NACC), which is the business arm of the SPP. According to Judicial Watch (JW) spokesman Chris Farrell, his group notified the Commerce Secretary that they are seeking access to the records of the NACC and want to attend its meetings under the provisions of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) -- the federal open meetings law.
We want to be there, attend [the meetings], take notes, see what's going on -- because essentially they've been operating in secret, Farrell charges. They're all documents that are produced after the fact, but we're not sure that they're full, complete, or accurate; nor have we been privy to the actual meetings themselves, the give-and-take, the conversation, the negotiation that goes on in the meetings.
Farrell says the American public has a right to know what is going on during those meetings. The meetings themselves should be open to the public, he asserts. That's why we put Secretary Gutierrez on notice about: that it is our intention to attend and we need him to abide by the law. These folks need to operate in the sunlight and not in the shadows.
Farrell contends the SPP wants to harmonize rules and regulations and laws among Mexico, Canada, and the United States -- something he believes would have an adverse effect on U.S. sovereignty.[Under the SPP] there's one system, one standard, one regulation, one law, one political entity, the JW spokesman explains. It's much more efficient for them, and they can make a lot more money faster and that's really what's driving this initiative.It goes back to sovereignty, he continues. That undermines or calls into question what the United States stands for and who and what we are as a nation.Judicial Watch has requested confirmation of their admittance -- and that of the general public -- to the meetings in Quebec by Friday, August 3. Farrell explains that his group is prepared to go to court in order to have access to those meetings.
JW's request for the NACC's records -- reports, transcripts, minutes, appendixes, working papers, drafts, studies, agenda, etc. -- seeks those records in accordance with the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act.American Family News Network.
Jul 31 2007 6:20PM
IAEA faces nuclear dilemma
By Jean-Michel Stoullig, AFP
VIENNA - The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has celebrated its 50th anniversary as it continues to face the dilemma of preventing the spread of nuclear technology for military purposes while condoning it for civilian purposes.In a congratulatory note to IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei posted on the agency’s website, United Nations (UN) Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said: the IAEA has strived to accelerate and expand its contributions to security and development. I applaud the ceaseless efforts made by the IAEA towards this end.Pope Benedict XVI also praised the UN watchdog’s work: now more than ever, (it is) current and urgent to encourage the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, to promote progressive and negotiated nuclear disarmament and to favour the peaceful and secure use of nuclear technology for the good of people and the environment.The Vienna-based IAEA, which counts 139 member states, was set up in 1957 to ensure the peaceful use of nuclear energy.It monitors compliance with the 1970 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and has carried out verification missions in over 70 countries.In 2005, ElBaradei and the IAEA received a Nobel Peace Prize for their work.
But the agency faces a fundamental dilemma as voiced by IAEA Deputy Director General David Waller in a recent speech: On the one hand to develop and facilitate the application of those promising beneficial applications of nuclear technology, and, on the other, to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons.The West, especially the United States, suspects Iran for instance of seeking nuclear bombs under the cover of a civilian nuclear power programme and the UN Security Council has already imposed two rounds of sanctions on Tehran to get it to suspend enrichment of uranium, a potential material for atom bombs.Iraq, an NPT signatory state, also developed a secret nuclear weapons programme under Saddam Hussein, Waller pointed out in his speech.
But the IAEA scored some successes in 2003 when Libya decided to abandon its nuclear weapons programme and this month when North Korea welcomed agency inspectors back into the country for the first time since December 2002 to monitor the shutdown of its main nuclear reactor at Yongbyon.Besides the five acknowledged nuclear powers - Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States - four other countries have or are believed to have nuclear weapons: India, Israel and Pakistan, which have not signed the NPT, and North Korea.ElBaradei was keen to point out at a conference in South Korea earlier this month however that the IAEA also carries out work in other areas, such as in agriculture and health, using radiation to develop new crop varieties and eliminate insect pests like the tsetse fly.The agency also monitors some 437 nuclear power reactors in 30 countries, which supply about 15.2 percent of the world’s electricity, he said.Special events and exhibits were organised in the run-up to the anniversary but the day itself was celebrated without pomp and circumstance.
Iran biggest threat to Mid-East JULY 31,07
Ms Rice says Iran, not the US is the region's main problem US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has warned that Iran poses the biggest threat to US Middle East interests, as she begins a major regional tour. Ms Rice and US Defence Secretary Robert Gates are meeting Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Arab ministers at the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh. The tour is aimed at uniting US allies against Iran, Syria and Hezbollah. It is also trying to win support for a Mid-East peace conference planned for later this year, correspondents say.
Iran spurs US move
Ms Rice held talks with Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa, and Rice their said discussions included the situations in Iraq and Lebanon, and the prospects for a two-state solution for Israel and the Palestinians. Ms Rice said the US was making sure its allies in the region were well protected after Iran accused the US of trying to spread fear and mistrust. The United States is determined to assure our allies that we are going to be reliable in helping them to meet their security needs. We have a lot of interests in common in this region: in the fight against terrorism and extremism; in protecting the gains of peace processes of the past and in extending those gains to peace processes of the future, she said. Earlier, Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini accused the US of tarnishing good relations between countries in the region.
Iran's nuclear programme and influence among Shia Muslim militant groups have long been sources of US concern. During a stopover in Shannon, Ireland, Ms Rice told reporters: There isn't a doubt, I think, that Iran constitutes the single most important, single-country challenge to... US interests in the Middle East and to the kind of Middle East that we want to see.The trip is the two officials' first joint tour of the region. They will visit Egypt and Saudi Arabia together, and other countries separately.
Mr Gates told reporters travelling with him that US officials wanted to reassure all of the countries that the policies that (US President George W Bush) pursues in Iraq have had and will continue to have regional stability and security as a very high priority.
The meetings come after Washington confirmed plans for a massive arms deal for the region. The main beneficiaries of the deals are Israel, Egypt and Saudi Arabia.
The $30bn aid to Israel over 10 years represents a 25% increase from present levels.
US ARMS DEAL BENEFICIARIES
Israel - $30bn
Egypt - $13bn
Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman and UAE - to share $20bn
The Jewish state said the package would allow it to maintain its military qualitative edge in the region. The sale of satellite-guided bombs to Saudi Arabia, the first such sale to any Arab country, is thought to be part of the proposed $20bn arms deal with the kingdom and other Gulf states - the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman. During their lobbying tour of the region, Ms Rice and Mr Gates are expected to ask Saudi King Abdullah to do more to support the Iraqi government of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki. The US ambassador to the United Nations, Zalmay Khalilzad, has gone as far as accusing Saudi Arabia of undermining efforts to stabilise Iraq. The weapons deals need to be approved by Congress, and appear set to encounter opposition. Two Democratic congressmen, Anthony Weiner and Jerrold Nadler of New York, said at the weekend they would introduce legislation to block military aid to Saudi Arabia.
RUSSIA'S NEW ARMS DEAL WITH IRAN
By Joel C. Rosenberg
(DENVER, COLORADO, July 31, 2007) -- Russia and Iran continue to strengthen their military ties, while Vladimir Putin and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad continue to draw closer as strategic allies.
In December 2005, Russia sold Iran $1 billion worth of missiles, after years of selling submarines and other advanced weapons systems to the radical Islamic regime. The latest reports indicate that Russia plans to sell 250 advanced long-range Sukhoi-30 fighter jets to Iran in an unprecedented billion-dollar deal. What's more, the Jerusalem Post indicates that in addition to the fighter jets, Teheran also plans to purchase a number of aerial fuel tankers that are compatible with the Sukhoi and capable of extending its range by thousands of kilometers. Israeli defense officials say the deal will give the radical Iranian regime enhanced long-range offensive capabilities.
The U.S., meanwhile, has offered Israel some $30 billion in new weapons over the next ten years, an increase in military aid from $2.4 billion to $3 billion a year. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice says the U.S. is also offering military aid packages to Saudi Arabia, Egypt and several Gulf states (the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman) to bolster forces of moderation and support a broader strategy to counter the negative influences of Al-Qaeda, Hezbollah, Syria, and Iran she said. Israeli officials, however, are concerned by the U.S. offer of $20 billion in weapons to the Saudis. They note that should there be an overthrow of the current Saudi regime, such advanced weaponry could fall into the hands of radical Islamic jihadists.
Russia's arms sales to Iran should raise alarms inside the White House and among Congressional leaders. Russia under Putin's leadership has joined the Axis of Evil, selling dangerous weapons systems not just to Iran but to North Korea in recent years as well. But is something else happening, too?
As we explain in the new Epicenter DVD, a growing number of evangelicals are concerned that the intensifying military and political alliance between Russia and Iran could be a sign of the approaching fulfillment of the prophecies found in Ezekiel 38-39, what Bible scholars describe as the War of Gog and Magog. After all Ezekiel 36-37 foretold the rebirth of the State of Israel in the last days, the Jewish people returning to the Holy Land after centuries of exile, and the rebuilding of the ancient ruins in the Promised Land. Sure enough, all of this has come true in the past six decades, thus raising the possibility that Ezekiel 38-39 could come true in our lifetime as well.
Let me be clear: I believe it is too soon to draw such a definitive conclusion that the fulfillment of these prophecies are immiment. Still, it is true that until now, Russia and Iran have not had an alliance of the sort the Bible foretold in the 2,500 years since Ezekiel wrote the prophecies. It is also true that this alliance is heating up quite quickly now. It is not surprising, therefore, that interest in these prophecies are growing. It's a story worth watching closely.
Monday, July 30, 2007
ICE BLOCK FALLS THROUGH ROOF
21 And there fell upon men a great hail out of heaven, every stone the weight of a talent(80-120 pounds):men blasphemed God because of the plague of hail;for the plague thereof was exceeding great.
WELL YOU WILL READ BIBLE PROPHECY COMING TO PASS IN THE STORY BELOW. IN IOWA A 50 LB BLOCK OF ICE FELL THROUGH A LADIES ROOF. IN THE FUTURE DURING THE TRIBULATION PERIOD AT LEAST TWICE THIS SIZE WILL BE DROPPING ON PEOPLE.
Giant Ice Block Falls Through Dubuque Roof JULY 30,07
DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) Large chunks of ice fell from the sky Thursday in Dubuque, smashing through a woman's roof and tearing through nearby trees. Authorities are unsure of the ice's origin. However, they have theorized the chunks either fell from an airplane or naturally accumulated high in the atmosphere both rare occurrences. 78-year-old Jan Kenkel says she was standing in her kitchen when an ice chunk crashed through her roof at about 5:30 a.m. She traced the damage to her television room, where she found a messy pile of insulation, bits of ceiling, and about 50 pounds of solid ice.
Other neighbors reported similar chunks outside. Elizabeth Cory is a spokeswoman for the Federal Aviation Administration. She says the ice may have fallen from an airplane but that it rarely happens. Cory says investigators will contact Kenkel to try to determine the source of the ice.
CAN ISRAEL BE SAVED
Damascus, 30 July (AKI) - Spanish foreign minister Miguel Angel Moratinos is scheduled to visit Syria on Tuesday where he will meet Syrian president Bashar al-Assad.Moratinos who was in Lebanon on Monday will also hold talks in Damascus with Syrian foreign minister Walid al-Muallim.Discussions are set to focus on the long-stalled Middle East peace initiative and in particular Israeli-Syrian relations.
Moratinos has expressed Spain's support for an Arab League-sponsored plan that sees Arab states giving Israel full recognition in exchange if the Jewish state returns occupied land including the Golan Heights to Syria.
Moratinos' Syrian stop-over is part of a regional tour including Lebanon, Egypt and Saudi Arabia.Moratinos paid several visits to Syria last year while his counterpart Muallim travelled to Spain last month. During the visit he handed a letter from Assad to Spain's King Juan Carlos in which the Syrian leader briefed the monarch on bi-lateral relations and on the situation in the Middle East.Spain and Italy - through its foreign minister, Massimo D'Alema who recently visited Damascus - have been spearheading the European Union's indirect efforts to bring Damascus into the peace process.The EU downscaled relations with Syria since the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri, a crime in which a United Nations investigators have implicated Syrian security officials.
Can Israel Be Saved?
July 30,2007 - By Robert Muchnick
Manhigut Yehudit USA
All of us American Jews look across the ocean at our beloved State of Israel and we wonder What went wrong? and How can it be fixed? Or we even dare to whisper, Can it be saved?
Israel is faced with a seemingly endless string of enemies bent on its destruction - from Hamas to the so-called moderate PLO, from Hizballah to Syria , and now to nuclear-bound Iran . This situation would be depressing enough for most of us, but what makes it worse is the fact that all of Israel 's politicians and leaders are plagued by corruption, scandals and/or complete and utter ineptitude. In a recent poll, Israel 's current Prime Minister Ehud Olmert received an approval rating of below 1%. That's right - below 1%. Yet somehow, he manages to stay in office because his Kadima party and the other parties in the government refuse to vote him out of office because they would most surely lose their comfortable Knesset seats and the perks that go along with them if they did.
Olmert even tries to hang onto office by proposing further Israeli withdrawals from Judea & Samaria (the West Bank) and the Golan Heights to make him appear as a successful peacemaker, even though it is obvious to all that the concept of evicting Jews from their homes such as was done in 2005 from Gaza was a complete failure and only put Israel in a much worse strategic position than it was in previously. Let's also not forget to mention that Ariel Sharon's Disengagement has produced 10,000 Jewish refugees in their own country who are being treated worse than the government treats endangered salamanders, and it brought death and its daily specter to thousands of Israelis who live in cities surrounding Gaza by way of Arab rockets falling daily on them which the government refuses to answer in a serious way.
How can it be fixed when according to recent polls, the majority of non-observant Israeli teens can't even recite the Shema, and three-quarters of them have never set foot anywhere in the city of Jerusalem by the time they enter the army at 18 years of age? Unbelievable as it may seem, these numbers are true! Is it any wonder that the majority of non-observant Israelis actually believe that their country won't exist in 30 years. Should we all heed the unbelievable advice given last month by former Knesset Speaker Avraham Burg who told all Israeli Jews to get foreign passports, eliminate the Jewish right of return to Israel , and make Israel into a bi-national state - i.e. an Arab state - immediately, or do we have a Jewish answer to this cesspool of problems?
There is hope!
There is one man who is trying to lead the country who has real answers to these very real problems, and on August 14th, the Likud party will be able to choose him to run for Prime Minister. As all Israeli polls show the Likud party winning the next general election, in essence the Likud's August 14 primary is really to choose the next Prime Minister of the State of Israel.Moshe Feiglin is the President of Manhigut Yehudit, which in English means Jewish Leadership, the largest bloc inside the Likud Party of Israel . Mr. Feiglin and Manhigut Yehudit were invited into the Likud party in 2001, as veteran Likudniks felt that the Likud party had abandoned its ideology and they felt that Mr. Feiglin would be the one to bring it back. They surely felt this way because during the early good years of the peace process, Mr. Feiglin and his predecessor organization, Zo Artzeinu (This is Our Land), were the first to introduce the concept of non-violent civil disobedience into Israel in such a way as Martin Luther King had done so in America during the 1960's.
Even though the Likud has only continued the shameful Oslo farce, the Likud's official charter still calls for Jewish annexation of and settlement of the entire Land of Israel along with the country being run by Jewish Values. Manhigut Yehudit joined Likud because it agreed with these core Likud principles, and because most Prime Ministers come from the Likud party. As such, Mr. Feiglin decided that in order to lead the entire State of Israel from the Prime Minister's office, the best way to do this would be through the Likud party.In the previous Likud primary for head of the party, and therefore for candidate for Prime Minister, Mr. Feiglin finished in 3rd place out of 7 with 13% of the vote. According to current polls for the upcoming August 14 Likud primary, Mr. Feiglin now is polling very strongly and trails only former PM and Oslo-continuer and Disengagement-supporter Benjamin Netanyahu.
Netanyahu only this summer stated that he advocates bringing Jordanian troops into Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) in order to strengthen the palestinian moderate Mahmoud Abbas in order to help Abbas create another Arab state inside of the Land of Israel . Aside from ignoring Abbas' credentials as Yasser Arafat's right-hand man for 40 years, his being the author of the PLO's phased plan for the destruction of Israel in stages (the first stage being negotiations), and ignoring his direct ties to the Nazi genocide by way of his mentor the Mufti of Jerusalem Hajj Amin al Husseini (who created Bosnian SS Divisions for Hitler and drew plans for another Auschwitz in Israel), Netanyahu's vision is just a continuation of the suicidal policies of the Left. Hasn't he seen the direct correlation between the amount of land that Israel gives to its enemies and the amount of Jews who are murdered? Don't we deserve better than this?
Manhigut Yehudit's all-encompassing mission is to perfect the world in the kingdom of the Almighty....by awakening and revitalizing Israeli society in its connection and bond to its Jewish roots, national history and the Land of Israel . Manhigut Yehudit's unmistakable message of Jewish Values, Jewish Pride, and Social and Judicial reforms strives to turn the State of Jews into the Jewish State.Before we go any further, let's take a look at Manhigut Yehudit's policy lines to see how Moshe Feiglin as Prime Minister plans on accomplishing this goal:
A Jewish State: The State of Israel is the instrument for establishing the sovereignty of the Jewish people in the Land of Israel . Massive government funding to bring ALL Jews home.
Education towards Love of Israel , Torah and the Land: Education for ALL Israelis based on Jewish values, taught with love and not through coercion. One hour per day of Judaism will be taught in schools. Currently there is NO Jewish education in schools.
Liberation of Jerusalem and the Temple Mount: We shall foster Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount and build a synagogue and study hall for the Sanhedrin on the Temple Mount where permitted by Jewish Law. Sovereignty of the Temple Mount will be taken from the Islamic Wakf and given back to the Jewish People.
Cancellation of the Oslo Accords and Immediate Annexation of Judea & Samaria (the West Bank) and Gaza : Honoring the Biblical covenant between the Nation of Israel and the Creator of the world, we shall immediately annex all territory in our hands, settle EVERY part of the Land of Israel and terminate the Oslo Accords. This plan also honors the philosophy of common sense - namely since the Arabs have attacked us and lost these territories, they deserve to pay a penalty. As such, they will never recover these territories. We believe in the policy of Peace for Peace, not Land for Peace, which has been proven not to work.
Renewal of Democracy and the Justice System on the Basis of National Values: A constitution based on Jewish values shall be enacted to preserve Israel as a Jewish country (yet not to legislate or mandate religious practice), to protect the human and civil rights of all its faithful residents, and to protect the political rights of its Jews.
Jewish Labor for an Effective, Creative and Moral Economy: Jewish labor will be encouraged, with vocational training during the third year of army service and the removal of foreign workers. We will strive to build all our military necessities and not purchase them from the US and elsewhere.
Energy & Financial Independence: We will initiate a massively government funded and directed plan to develop non-petroleum-based energy sources so as to provide ourselves and the world with clean, abundant energy which will provide us and not our enemies with funding. We will also end the acceptance of aid from America (it comprises only 2.5% of Israel's GNP), as it is a drag on Israel's economy, costs Israel 100,000 jobs and costs Israel its real or perceived sovereignty.
Returning Moral Strength and Power of Deterrence to Israel 's Army: The Israeli Army must not be concerned with world opinion, must strike first when required, and will be enabled to defeat and destroy Israel 's enemies.
The upcoming Likud primary will be held in a few weeks on August 14th. Moshe Feiglin and Manhigut Yehudit hope to make this election one that will reverberate around the globe with the hope that the Jewish People will not lie down in the face of their problems anymore, but that they will stand up and defeat them with their heads held high, and they will lead the world to victory.Won't you help us make this very worthwhile dream into a reality?
To learn more about Moshe Feiglin and Manhigut Yehudit (Jewish Leadership) and to get involved in making a better future for Israel , visit www.jewishisrael.org .
I CAN'T BELIEVE THESE SO CALLED CHRISTIANS, THESE REPLACEMENT THEOLOGY BELIEVERS GIVING GEORGE W A LETTER OF THANKS FOR GIVING THE ARABS A STATE OF THEIR OWN. HOGWASH READ THE BIBLE LUKEWARMERS ITS ISSAIC S LAND (ISRAEL) NOT ISHMAELS (ARABS), THIS JUST MAKES ME SICK.
Letter to President Bush From Evangelical Leaders
DiggFacebookNewsvinePermalink - July 29, 2007
President George W. Bush
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington DC 20500
Dear Mr. President:
We write as evangelical Christian leaders in the United States to thank you for your efforts (including the major address on July 16) to reinvigorate the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations to achieve a lasting peace in the region. We affirm your clear call for a two-state solution. We urge that your administration not grow weary in the time it has left in office to utilize the vast influence of America to demonstrate creative, consistent and determined U.S. leadership to create a new future for Israelis and Palestinians. We pray to that end, Mr. President.
We also write to correct a serious misperception among some people including some U.S. policymakers that all American evangelicals are opposed to a two-state solution and creation of a new Palestinian state that includes the vast majority of the West Bank. Nothing could be further from the truth. We, who sign this letter, represent large numbers of evangelicals throughout the U.S. who support justice for both Israelis and Palestinians. We hope this support will embolden you and your administration to proceed confidently and forthrightly in negotiations with both sides in the region.
As evangelical Christians, we embrace the biblical promise to Abraham: I will bless those who bless you. (Genesis 12:3). And precisely as evangelical Christians committed to the full teaching of the Scriptures, we know that blessing and loving people (including Jews and the present State of Israel) does not mean withholding criticism when it is warranted. Genuine love and genuine blessing means acting in ways that promote the genuine and long-term well being of our neighbors. Perhaps the best way we can bless Israel is to encourage her to remember, as she deals with her neighbor Palestinians, the profound teaching on justice that the Hebrew prophets proclaimed so forcefully as an inestimably precious gift to the whole world.
Historical honesty compels us to recognize that both Israelis and Palestinians have legitimate rights stretching back for millennia to the lands of Israel/Palestine. Both Israelis and Palestinians have committed violence and injustice against each other. The only way to bring the tragic cycle of violence to an end is for Israelis and Palestinians to negotiate a just, lasting agreement that guarantees both sides viable, independent, secure states. To achieve that goal, both sides must give up some of their competing, incompatible claims. Israelis and Palestinians must both accept each other's right to exist. And to achieve that goal, the U.S. must provide robust leadership within the Quartet to reconstitute the Middle East roadmap, whose full implementation would guarantee the security of the State of Israel and the viability of a Palestinian State. We affirm the new role of former Prime Minister Tony Blair and pray that the conference you plan for this fall will be a success.
Mr. President, we renew our prayers and support for your leadership to help bring peace to Jerusalem, and justice and peace for all the people in the Holy Land.
Finally, we would request to meet with you to personally convey our support and discuss other ways in which we may help your administration on this crucial issue.
Ronald J. Sider, President
Evangelicals for Social Action
Don Argue, President
Raymond J. Bakke, Chancellor
Bakke Graduate University
Gary M. Benedict, President
The Christian & Missionary Alliance
George K. Brushaber, President
Gary M. Burge, Professor
Wheaton College & Graduate School
Tony Campolo, President/Founder
Evangelical Association for the Promotion of Education
Christopher J. Doyle, CEO
American Leprosy Mission
Leighton Ford, President
Leighton Ford Ministries
Daniel Grothe, Pastoral Staff
New Life Church (Colorado Springs)
Vernon Grounds, Chancellor
Stephen Hayner, former President
InterVarsity Christian Fellowship
Joel Hunter, Senior Pastor
Member, Executive Committee of the NAE
Jo Anne Lyon, Founder/CEO
World Hope International
Gordon MacDonald, Chair of the Board
Albert G. Miller, Professor
Richard Mouw, President
Fuller Theological Seminary
David Neff, Editor
Glenn R. Palmberg, President
Evangelical Covenant Church
Earl Palmer, Senior Pastor
University Presbyterian Church Seattle
Victor D. Pentz, Pastor
Peachtree Presbyterian Church, Atlanta
John Perkins, President
John M. Perkins Foundation for Reconciliation & Development
Bob Roberts, Jr., Senior Pastor
Northwood Church, Dallas
Leonard Rogers, Executive Director
Evangelicals for Middle East Understanding
Andrew Ryskamp, Executive Director
Christian Reformed World Relief Committee
Chris Seiple, President
Institute for Global Engagement
Robert A. Seiple, Former Ambassador-at-Large,
International Religious Freedom
U.S. State Department
Luci N. Shaw, Author, Lecturer
Regent College, Vancouver
Jim Skillen, Executive Director
Center for Public Justice
Glen Harold Stassen, Professor
Fuller Theological Seminary
Richard Stearns, President
Clyde D. Taylor, Former Chair of the Board
Harold Vogelaar, Director
Center of Christian-Muslim Engagement for Peace and Justice
Berten Waggoner, National Director
Sunday, July 29, 2007
YES ISRAEL SHOULD REBUILD 3RD TEMPLE
27.07.2007 - 17:51 CET | By Mark Beunderman
EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - Even if the EU manages to avoid referendums on its new Reform Treaty, ratification of the text may prove less easy than has been assumed so far, a Brussels think tank has warned. A paper by the European Policy Centre released on Thursday (26 July) highlights hurdles and traps in member states' ratification of the reform treaty, which the Portuguese EU presidency hopes to get signed by EU leaders before the end of the year.France, which rejected the original EU constitution in a referendum in 2005, has this time opted for treaty ratification via the parliament.But Mr Sarkozy may run into unexpected problems according to the EPC paper.
Before it can ratify the reform treaty, Paris will first have to make changes to its own national constitution because it still contains direct references to the old EU constitutional treaty.These references were agreed by French deputies in 2004, in the expectation that the EU constitution would soon come into force - before French voters said no to the treaty.It is true that the constitution should be changed, said a French official, adding that this process should take place quickly during 2008.But in order to have the French constitution amended, Mr Sarkozy needs a three-fifths majority in the French Congress - a body combining the country's national assembly and the senate.For this he depends on the support of the opposition socialists.
The socialist are in a very difficult situation right now. They could use this opportunity to take revenge at Sarkozy and negotiate to the maximum, said Philippe Moreau Defarges, a senior analyst at the French Institute for International relations (IFRI).Mr Defarges indicated that it is unlikely that the socialists will actually block the constitutional changes, but added that the party's internal disarray makes its behaviour unpredictable.Once the constitutional hurdle in France is cleared, parliamentary ratification of the EU treaty is set to be relatively easy, as for this move Mr Sarkozy would only need a simple majority of UMP deputies, who dominate in the assembly.
Obstacles on the road
Other governments in the EU, however, do need a three-fifths or two-thirds parliamentary majority to have the treaty ratified, the EPC paper points out.In Austria and Finland there are no signs that a two-thirds majority will pose a problem, but Poland and the Czech Republic may prove more problematic, the paper notes.Warsaw still needs to indicate what parliamentary procedure it wants to follow, but opposition support in parliament may prove crucial to pass a two-thirds threshold, with a eurosceptic party in Poland's ruling coalition recently saying it could vote against the treaty.In the Czech Republic, opposition support may also be necessary for a three-fifth majority.
An even bigger problem could be posed by possible referendums down the line, the think-tank argues. So far, only Ireland has officially announced that it will call a referendum, but other member states are facing pressure to do the same, including the UK, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, Portugal, Denmark, Spain and Luxembourg.
Much could depend on which country is first to ratify the new treaty - and whether any other member state apart from Ireland decides to call a referendum at an early stage in the process, according to the report.If that happens it will be increasingly difficult for those governments which find themselves in the grey area to avoid having one.
Parliaments, not voters, to ratify new EU treaty
By Justin Stares, Sunday Telegraph
Last Updated: 12:42am BST 29/07/2007
The new European Union treaty has several hurdles to jump before it can become law.
• Ireland, where voters rejected the Nice Treaty in 2001, looks set for another vote next year. I'm assuming we will have to have a referendum, Bertie Ahern, the Irish Prime Minister, told opposition leaders last month. Ireland's shock 2001 rejection of the original treaty forced Dublin to seek an amendment ensuring the country could not be dragged unwillingly into EU military action. After obtaining it, a second referendum was held, and a majority voted yes. The Irish would again be expected to vote yes to the new treaty.
• Denmark is another country where a new vote could take place. The Danes have rejected a key EU treaty before in a referendum - the Maastricht Treaty - though approved it in a second vote after Copenhagen obtained an opt-out from the euro and from moves towards a common EU defence. According to a recent poll, more than half of all Danes want a referendum on the new treaty, though Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the Prime Minister, has yet to commit himself.
• In Holland, debate on the desirability and necessity of another vote has split parliament. The hot potato has therefore been handed to the country's highest court, the Council of State.
• In Portugal, too, there could be a referendum, although the country's long-standing pro-European bias would make the outcome of any such vote a foregone conclusion.
• The French are not expected get another chance to vote because the new mini-treaty was the brainchild of President Nicolas Sarkozy. He made it clear that he would only put the text to a vote in parliament during his election campaign earlier this year. The more sceptical EU countries are not expected to bar ratification for the same reason: parliaments, not the people, will decide. This is also the case in the Czech Republic, where the new treaty enjoys support among the government and the opposition, and in Poland though here the outcome is less easy to predict.
• In the remaining EU member states, moves towards greater integration enjoy either a majority or overwhelming support.
Vatican City: Islam a Threat, Pope’s Adviser Says
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS - Published: July 27, 2007
Msgr. Georg Gänswein, Pope Benedict XVI’s secretary and close adviser, warned of the Islamization of Europe and stressed the need for the Continent’s Christian roots not to be ignored. In comments released in advance of an interview to be published today in the German weekly Süeddeutsche Magazin, he said: Attempts to Islamize the West cannot be denied. The danger for the identity of Europe that is connected with it should not be ignored out of a wrongly understood respectfulness. He also defended a speech Benedict gave last year linking Islam and violence, saying it was an attempt by the pope to act against a certain naïveté.
This Week with Rabbi Eckstein COME WITH US TO ISRAEL
July 27, 2007
Dear Friend of The Fellowship,
Today, I am back in Jerusalem, discussing plans for this fall’s Journey Home Tour to Israel 2007 with Fellowship staff. I’ve been telling you for several months about this trip, and am greatly looking forward to meeting and sharing a Sabbath meal with tour participants. The Bible promises, Blessed are those … who have set their hearts on pilgrimage (Psalm 84:5) – and I want to again invite you to take your own pilgrimage to the Holy Land with us. Registration for the tour is officially closing on August 1, so if you have been planning to register, now is the time to sign up for what promises to be the trip of a lifetime.
Several years ago, The Fellowship led its first tour to Israel. All the participants on that first trip went home with memories, friendships and experiences that will endure a lifetime. Even today, we hear from Fellowship supporters who reminisce about their first day in Jerusalem’s Old City, or their first prayer at the Western Wall. They recall the smile of a child at Migdal Ohr, the Fellowship-funded orphanage in the Lower Galilee that is home to more than 6,000 children. They tell how serving meals at a soup kitchen in Jerusalem, holding babies in a day-care center in Bet She’an or meeting Ethiopian immigrants grateful for the klitah (resettlement) assistance they’ve received has made them view their support of The Fellowship with greater appreciation and understanding.
They also tell of the impact the trip has had on their faith. Following that first tour, one participant said something that has stayed with me ever since. If you know the Bible, if you read the Bible, if you believe in the Word of God, come and walk through the Bible and see it with your own eyes, she said. One trip to Israel is a life changing experience that no Sunday school can ever teach. It's really walking in the footsteps of the Bible, being there where it all happened. Nothing can replace that.
If you are interested in growing in your faith by walking in the footsteps of the Bible, and in seeing how your gifts help transform lives in Israel, please contact us today to be part of The Fellowship’s Journey Home Tour 2007. I promise you, it will be an unforgettable, life-changing experience. As you prayerfully consider this invitation, my prayer is that God will bless you, even as you have blessed his people, Israel.
With prayers for shalom, peace,
Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein
President INTERNATIONAL FELLOWSHIP OF CHRISTIANS AND JEWS
AMERICA DO NOT HELP ANY ARAB COUNTRIES WITH WEAPONS, THEY WILL USE THEM AGAINST ISRAEL. HELP ISRAEL AND ONLY ISRAEL WITH 30 BILLION DOLLARS AND LOTS OF WEAPONS.
Israel Confirms Increased $30 Bln. U.S. Defense Aid JULY 29,07
(RTTNews) - Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said the U.S. military and defense aid was an important element for the security of his country, confirming a U.S. plan to significantly increase military aid to Israel. Olmert said the proposal was discussed at his meeting with U.S. President George Bush in Washington last month, and was a sign of U.S. commitment to maintain Israel's military advantage over the Arab states. There have been reports in U.S. newspapers that the U.S. was planning a 25% increase in military and defense aid package to Israel aggregating about $30 billion spread over the next ten years. Israel currently receives $2.4 billion U.S. defense aid annually. It was also reported that Washington is in the process of preparing a major arms package sales to Saudi Arabia and five other middle-East countries, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and the UAE.
US readies arms deal with Saudis, eyeing Iran: official Sat Jul 28, 9:38 AM ET
WASHINGTON (AFP) - The United States is readying a major arms package for Saudi Arabia with an eye to countering a changing threat from Iran, a senior US defense official said. Defense Secretary Robert Gates is expected to discuss the US recommendations with the Saudis next week in a visit to the kingdom with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, the official said Friday.We've been working very hard on the Saudi arms package, which we believe is critical to the overarching architecture that we believe we are going to need ... to deal with the changing strategic threat from Iran and other forces, the official said.
The official who briefed reporters on condition of anonymity said discussions with Congress on the arms package have just begun and that no announcements were expected during Gates' visit to Saudi Arabia.What there may be is discussion about what the administration is willing to go forwards with (and) ... what we would recommend to the Hill and others, she said, referring to Congress on Capitol Hill.The Pentagon provided no details on the arms package, which will reportedly total 20 billion dollars over the next decade.But administration officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said it would include selling Saudi Arabia advanced weapons known as Joint Direct Attack Munitions, or JDAMs.
JDAM is a low-cost guidance kit converting existing unguided free-fall bombs into accurately guided smart weapons.Munition equipped with such kits can attack simultaneously multiple targets in a coordinated strike by single or multiple aircraft.JDAM weapons were extensively used by the United States in recent conflicts. More than 650 of them were dropped during the 1999 operation in Kosovo, more than 4,500 during Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan in 2002 and over 6,500 during the invasion of Iraq in March-April 2003, according to defense experts.
The package also will include new weapons for the United Arab Emirates, another US ally in the Persian Gulf, and both military and economic support to Egypt, the officials said.Meanwhile, the Boston Globe reported in March that it is believed to include air and missile defense systems, advanced early warning radar aircraft, and light coastal combat ships.The New York Times reported in April that the package had been delayed because of Israeli concerns over the sale to Saudi Arabia of certain precision guided munitions.Gates and Rice are expected to emphasize US commitment to the region's security at a time when there is fierce debate at home of whether to withdraw US forces from Iraq.
Congress has the power to block such sales, but the White House is hoping to avoid a major fight on the issue.Israel, meanwhile, is reported to have asked for the F-22 Raptor, the stealthy US fighter jet, which is difficult to see on radar.
EVEN IF A LOT OF PEOPLE ARE AGAINST REBUILDING THE 3RD TEMPLE, ITS GOING TO BE REBUILT BEFORE THE 7 YEAR PEACE TREATY IS SIGNED. IN DANIEL 9:27 WE SEE THE ISRAELIS SACRIFICING TO GOD FOR THE FIRST 3 1/2 YRS OF THE TRIBULATION PERIOD.
Jul. 24, 2007 5:11 - Should Jews build the Third Temple?
By STEPHEN GABRIEL ROSENBERG - JERUSALEM POST
Traditionally the Temple Mount Faithful attempt to set up a foundation stone for the Third Temple on Tisha Be'av, and the police routinely prevent them from doing so. The occasion for this street theater is the anniversary of the destruction of the First Temple in 586 BCE and that of the Second Temple in 70 CE, both said to have occurred on the same calendar date. It is certainly right that the date be commemorated; but would rebuilding the Temple be an appropriate act for the State of Israel today?
Assuming there were no Dome of the Rock and no Muslim presence on the Temple Mount, no Wakf and no Aksa Mosque, the pressure to rebuild the Temple would be enormous - but would it, in historical terms, be sound? The last time such an opportunity occurred was in the time of Julian the Apostate, in 362 CE. That Roman Emperor, who succeeded Constantine, reversed his predecessor's decision to turn the empire into a Christian state and returned to the former pagan religions, which were permissive of other cults, including the Jewish one. It seems that he gave permission for the Temple to be rebuilt, and then went off to fight his enemies. In Jerusalem work commenced on reconstructing the altar, but hardly had a few stones been put one on another, when a massive earthquake hit the area and the work collapsed. Worse still, Julian was killed in Persia and his place was taken by the Emperor Jovian, who reinstalled Christianity as the official religion. Any hope of rebuilding the Temple ceased, never to return.
IN 638 CE, the hordes of Islam conquered Jerusalem and by 692 the Caliph Abd al-Malik had completed the Dome of the Rock, which stood on the mountain inviolate for the following 1,315 years. During the Crusader years it was converted to Christian use, and most Crusaders thought it had been built originally as the Temple of Solomon, but it was not changed structurally and returned to the Muslims on expulsion of the Crusaders in 1187. However, it did not return as a mosque, as it had never been one. As the Dome was not a mosque, why did Abd al-Malik build it? It may be that he was attempting to set up a place of pilgrimage in competition to Mecca, which was controlled by his rival, Ibn al-Zubayr, but it seems more likely that, probably advised by an ex-Jewish companion, he recognized the historic significance of the site and in particular of the rock, the foundation stone, the even shetiya, that carried so much religious baggage. It was the scene of the Mihrab of Dawood (shrine of David) and the Bayit al-Makdis of Sulayman (Temple of Solomon) so al-Malik may have selected the site as a kind of location of ultimate holiness, maybe even for the Day of the Last Judgement.
The unique design of the building, a circular dome over an octagonal base, emphasized its concentration on the central feature, the Rock. Unlike any mosque, the building had no directional focus and was entered by four doorways, one to each of the cardinal points, as if to encourage access to persons or, indeed, their souls coming from the four corners of the earth. LATER THE Muslims observed that the Rock was the mythical arrival and departure point of Mohammed on his white steed Buraq, but Abd al-Malik had recognized the precedence of Solomon and even Abraham on the site. This makes it clear that the sanctity of the site stems from its Jewish origins, though the Muslims, of course, claim Abraham as one of their own, and venerate Solomon as divine. Now, even if the Muslim attitude would be to allow a Jewish presence, and even a rebuilding on the site, would it be in the Jewish interest to proceed with a third Temple?
WHEN HEROD decided to rebuild the Temple in 19 BCE, 18 years after having been handed the throne by the Romans, there must have been much trepidation among the population, the priests and others, about his intentions. He managed to calm their fears by employing only priests on the Temple itself and by enabling the Korban Tamid, the daily sacrifices, to continue without interruption. The resources that he used were vast and would have pleased the local craftsmen, who were provided with employment for many years. The end result pleased even his rabbinic critics, though well after the event: Whoever has not seen Herod's building has never seen anything beautiful, they crowed. This was a surprising reaction, as very few rabbis were yet around to see the Temple in its glory. Additionally, modern reconstructions show a rather high, lopsided building with an overblown classical front sitting on a vast platform that completely ignores the beautiful mountain it covered. Such an oversize terrace must have intimidated anyone venturing on to it.
The huge expanse of uncovered space would not be conducive to our weather, be it sunshine or rain. For all its glory, the structure was not completed until 60 CE, well after the death of Herod, and it only stood another six years before its service was embroiled in the revolt against the Romans. So what did Herod's great work really achieve? Did it achieve unity among the Jewish people? Did it achieve harmony between our different factions? Did it achieve reconciliation with our governors, the Romans, who admired the structure built on classical lines by their favorite Jewish ruler? Did its presence give us protection against our enemies or absolution for our sins? QUITE THE contrary. The daily sacrifices were used by the zealots to exclude the offering of the Roman emperor, which led to reprisals and insults by the occupying army. Different parties saw different ways of resolving the crisis, but could find no unanimity among themselves. The High Priest, who might have been a potential leader, was just another political appointment, as he had been under the Seleucids; even his sacred clothing was held hostage in the hands of the Roman governor. The priests were divided in their loyalties and unable to conduct the divine service in a dignified manner.
When it came to the actual revolt in Jerusalem, things turned perilous, and civil war reigned. The zealots, led by John of Gischala, got the upper hand and the peace party was unable to stop them. Another zealot leader, Simon bar Giora, was welcomed into the city to oppose Gischala, but the two soon joined together against the moderates. That union did not last and within a short time there were three gangster parties (in the words of Josephus) who burnt each other's grain supplies, not realizing that they would all suffer in the end. Only the Romans could benefit from the chaos, and so they did, in spite of the brave efforts put up by the separate parties, one of whom used the Temple precinct for a heroic, if vain, last stand. The magnificent Herodian Temple, as finally completed, had stood for only 10 years.
THIS WAS not so different from the vicissitudes of the First Temple. Solomon completed it with forced labor shifts, directed by his chief taskmaster, Adoniram. On Solomon's death, the majority of the tribes revolted against his successor Rehoboam, put the hated Adoniram to death by stoning, and set up the Northern Kingdom, which had no use for the Temple.In the south, the Temple was sacked by Pharaoh Shishak in about 925 BCE, and all its gold was stripped away and taken to Egypt. Rehoboam was forced to present to the people shields of polished brass to simulate the looted metal. The golden glory of Solomon's Temple had lasted for just 40 years. Not long after, king Asa had to use the replaced Temple treasures to bribe Ben-Hadad of Aram (Syria) to help him fight against Baasa, king of Northern Israel. Worse than all that loss of treasure was the fact that the First Temple, as described in our sacred books, became the focus of idol worship in the reigns of the Judahite kings Asa, Jehoram, Amaziah and the queen Athaliah, who gave its treasures to the House of Baal.
The timely restoration under Hezekiah was undermined by his son Manasseh, and the renaissance initiated by Josiah was sabotaged by the desecration of his successors that culminated in defeat by the Babylonians in 597 BCE, followed by destruction 11 years later. What happened to the glory of the First Temple? It lasted 40 years. The Second Temple never achieved glory until its rebuilding by Herod, and that lasted 10 years. Will a Third Temple fare any better? The records of history are against it.
The writer is a Fellow of the Albright Institute of Archaeological Research, Jerusalem.
Friday, July 27, 2007
MARKET TUMBLES TWICE THIS WEEK
THE BIBLE SAYS THERE WILL BE A STOCK MARKET CRASH SOMEWHERE DOWN THE LINE. IN JAMES 5:1-3 THE RICHES THAT PEOPLE HAVE STORED UP HAVE COME TO NOT, AND THEIR WEEPING AND WAILING. THEY HEAPED TREASURES FOR THE LAST DAYS AND GOLD AND SILVER IS USELESS. AND IN JERIMIAH 7:19 THEY (STOCK TRADERS) ARE THROWING THEIR GOLD AND SILVER IN THE STREETS AS IT IS WORTHLESS, AND THEIR WEALTH WILL DESTROY THEM INSTEAD OF PROTECT THEM IN THE DAY OF THE LORD (THE TRIBULATION PERIOD)
AS OF 2PM FRIDAY THE STOCK MARKET IS DOWN 113 POINTS AGAIN THE DOW.
Market braces after Dow dives
July 27, 2007 - 8:59AM
Traders show the stress on the floor of New York Stock Exchange today Wall Street suffered its second-biggest plunge of the year. Photo: AP
The Australian share market is expected to be hit hard this morning by the massive declines in New York with a particularly bleak outlook for the miners, as all metals but tin traded lower overnight.At 6.49am on the Sydney Futures Exchange, the September share price index was down 160 points to 6084.Australian stocks tumbled last night, led by miners. The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed 82 points lower at 6258.5, while the All Ordinaries lost 76.6 points to 6301.4.The Australian dollar opened weaker today. At 7am it was trading at $US0.8710/12, down from yesterday's close of $US0.8837/43.
The falls come after US shares plunged with key indices losing more than 2 per cent in one of the worst selloffs this year by investors gripped by housing market and credit crunch fears.The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell as much as 448 points on more signs of deterioration in the US housing market and problems in financing corporate takeovers before bouncing back, ending down 296 points or 2.15 per cent at 13,489.51 at the closing bell.Earnings reports also weighed on stocks. A drop in quarterly profit at Exxon Mobil Corp. wiped out more than $16 billion in market value of the world's largest publicly traded company. Exxon's stock slid 5.4 percent to $87.72.Worrying news on housing came from home builders DR Horton and Beazer Homes. Both posted quarterly losses.Financial shares took a beating on concern that the problems of the battered subprime mortgage market will spread.
The Dow Jones industrial average was down 375.23 points, or 2.72 percent, at 13,409.84. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was down 45.75 points, or 3.01 percent, at 1,472.34. The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 75.12 points, or 2.84 percent, at 2,573.05.You have to have a simmering effect now. We've just gone in one direction - north, said Todd Schoenberger, executive director of brokerage at USAA.The question is: where are we going with corporate credit? he said.The Chicago Board of Options Exchange's volatility index , a gauge for measuring investor anxiety, shot to its highest level in more than 13 months.Late morning, as losses mounted, the New York Stock Exchange imposed trading curbs to restrict large-block sales when a stock is falling.Beazer's stock was down 11.9 percent at $15.01 while D.R. Horton was down 3.8 percent at $16.81.
In addition to the weak corporate results, a government report showed a sharper-than-expected drop in June new home sales, while home builder WCI Communities Inc. said the real estate market downturn was hurting its push to sell itself. The stock fell 21 percent to $8.95 on the NYSE.Exxon led decliners on the S&P 500, following by Citigroup Inc., down 4.2 percent at $47.19. Adverse credit market conditions are spilling over into the financing of corporate deals, which have helped to drive stocks to recent record highs.Dow Chemical Co. reported a slight increase in quarterly earnings, but its shares fell 5.9 percent to $42.99, as some analysts argued that a lower-than-expected tax rate helped boost earnings more than improved demand.European shares also fell across the board yesterday, suffering their biggest daily drop in five months.
Banks were among the biggest drag on the index with Royal Bank of Scotland Credit Suisse and UBS down between 3.0 and 3.4 per cent.Frankfurt's DAX lost 2.4 percent, Paris's CAC 40 declined 2.8 per cent and London's FTSE 100 tumbled 3.2 per cent.The FTSE 100 slid by the biggest one-day percentage since March 2003. The banking and mining sectors were worst hit by economic jitters.AFP/REUTERS/THE AGE.COM
EU, US to make GPS and Galileo satellite networks compatible Thu Jul 26, 1:27 PM ET
BRUSSELS (AFP) - The European Union and the United States agreed on Thursday to make the US GPS satellite navigation system and its EU rival Galileo compatible, they said in a joint statement. EU and US experts agreed on plans for a signal, dubbed multiplexed binary offset carrier or MBOC, to be used by both the popular US Global Positioning System and the EU's Galileo system, which is still in development.In the future, users will be able to receive signals from both systems, which would allow for more precise services and wider geographical coverage.
The military-run GPS, developed in the United States and due to be updated, has long been used in cars, boats and aircraft for positioning as well in mapping, fisheries and scientific research.Meanwhile, Europe's Galileo system is intended to be a rival to GPS, but it has failed to get off the ground due to cost over-runs and bickering among the private contractors.A Commission spokesman said the agreement would allow GPS to be more precise even when there was strong interference, allowing it to locate an object to within 3.5 metres (11.5 feet) instead of 10 currently.Galileo, which is scheduled to be operational in 2012, is supposed to be able to locate an object to within one metre.
Abbas Wants Israel Peace Deal in a Year JULY 27,07
Abbas Says He Hopes to Reach a Peace Agreement With Israel in Less Than a Year
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas heads a cabinet meeting at his office in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Thursday, July 26, 2007. Abbas said Thursday he hopes to reach a final peace agreement with Israel in a year or less.(AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen) The Associated Press By KARIN LAUB Associated Press Writer RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP)
Share Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Thursday he hopes to reach a full peace deal with Israel within a year, after Israel's prime minister floated the idea of starting with a joint declaration on the contours of a Palestinian state. Abbas spoke to reporters after telling an Israeli newspaper that President Bush promised him he would push hard to conclude a Mideast agreement before he leaves the White House in January 2009.Israel Gaza Strip George W Bush Salam Fayyad Hamas Islamic Jihad In the Gaza Strip, three Israeli airstrikes killed five Palestinians, including the military leader of the Islamic Jihad there. Later, four Islamic Jihad members were wounded in a firefight with Hamas forces at the scene of one of the airstrikes, following a dispute over items in the targeted vehicle, witnesses said.
Also Thursday, Mohammed Dahlan, a leader of Abbas' vanquished forces in Gaza, said he would resign as national security adviser, citing health reasons. Dahlan was widely blamed for the surprising collapse of the pro-Abbas forces in five days of fighting that ended with Hamas' takeover of the coastal Gaza strip last month.
A committee of inquiry appointed by Abbas recommended Thursday that 60 members of the security forces face trial for their poor performance in Gaza, said an Abbas aide, Rafiq Husseini.The Hamas takeover of Gaza has spurred a flurry of diplomatic activity, with the international community lining up behind Abbas and his West Bank-based government of moderates.On Thursday the government, headed by Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, approved a platform that includes acceptance of all previous peace deals with Israel. The Hamas refusal to endorse the peace accords and renounce violence led to an international aid cutoff. The aid has been restored to Fayyad's government.
Bush is planning an international peace conference in the fall, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is arriving next week for more talks with the Israeli and Palestinian leaders and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair is settling in as the international Mideast envoy.Abbas was quoted Thursday by the Israeli daily Maariv and the comments were later confirmed by his aides that Bush and Rice told him they'd work hard for a final peace deal within a year.The Americans are determined to push the sides to reach a peace agreement during President Bush's current term, Abbas was quoted as saying. I heard this with my own ears from the president himself and from Secretary of State Rice.
Asked Thursday about the U.S. assurances, Abbas was evasive, but said We hope to have a comprehensive peace with the Israelis within a year or even less than that.
Yossi Beilin, leader of Israel's dovish Meretz Party, said Abbas told him Thursday that he wants to move quickly toward a final peace deal. If there is an opportunity now, then it's better to go for the whole thing than a declaration of principles, Beilin quoted Abbas as saying.Beilin said Abbas' time in office was also a factor. The maximum he has is another year-and-a-half. He does not have any intention to be a candidate for another term, Beilin said.However, Abbas also reiterated Thursday that he wants to hold early presidential and legislative elections, though he has not set a date. It's not clear whether Abbas would refrain from running if a vote is held soon. A potential successor as leader of his Fatah movement, Marwan Barghouti, is serving five consecutive life terms in an Israeli prison.
Olmert's aides, meanwhile, confirmed the prime minister wants to formulate a declaration detailing what a Palestinian state in Gaza and most of the West Bank would look like. However, they hinted that it would leave out the most difficult issues, such as final borders and the fate of Palestinian refugees.In the Maariv interview, however, Abbas said the final result must be resolved first.It's likely that implementation will take time, that the timetable will be drawn out, but what's important is that the Palestinians know the final result, the end game, at the start,Abbas was quoted as saying.2007 The Associated Press.
Senior Israeli official backs negotiated pullout from most of West Bank
Eds: INCORPORATES BC-Israel-Ramon.AP Photos By MATTI FRIEDMAN Associated Press Writer
JERUSALEM (AP) -- One of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's closest confidants said Friday that Israel should withdraw from most of the West Bank in a negotiated deal with the Palestinians and that a previous plan for a major unilateral pullback was no longer viable. Vice-premier Haim Ramon, one of the politicians closest to Olmert, told Israel Radio that he favored reducing the Israeli presence in the West Bank to the large settlement blocs and that NATO forces could replace Israeli troops in the areas evacuated. In my eyes, the occupation of the territories threatens our very existence, our legitimacy and our international standing, Ramon said in the radio interview. The major blocs are in the northern and southern parts of the West Bank and to the east of Jerusalem. According to settlement watchdog Peace Now, more than 100,000 of the approximately 260,000 West Bank settlers live in these three clusters.
Ramon would not specify the scope of the pullout he envisaged, but said a plan floated by Olmert before his election in 2006 for a unilateral pullout from 90 percent of the West Bank was no longer a possibility, certainly not in one step.
He said Israel's 2005 unilateral withdrawal from the Gaza Strip was an option of last resort forced by the breakdown of talks with the Palestinians in 2000, and that the political situation has been transformed since Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' split last month with the radical Islamic Hamas. That split led to Abbas' installation of a government of Western-leaning moderates under former international banker Salam Fayyad. The Palestinian Authority is now headed by two people committed to negotiations and fighting terror, Ramon said. We have a partner. The moment there's a partner, we must renew negotiations with him and reach agreements, he said. In an interview published Friday in the mass-circulation Israeli daily Maariv, Abbas praised Olmert and was upbeat about prospects for progress toward peace.
I am optimistic, I work with Olmert, the paper quoted Abbas as saying. We are about to meet every few weeks and move forward, he said. The two leaders last met July 16, in Jerusalem. An official in Olmert's office said Friday no date or venue had so far been finalized for the next session. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is arriving next week for talks with Olmert and Abbas, but her office hasn't said if there will be a joint meeting of the three. In an excerpt from the Maariv interview released Thursday, Abbas said both Rice and President Bush promised to push hard to conclude a Mideast agreement before Bush leaves the White House, in January 2009. I heard this with my own ears from the president himself and from Secretary of State Rice, Abbas told the paper. They want to reach an agreement between Israel and the Palestinians in the next year. His aides confirmed those comments.
Aides to Olmert said Thursday he wants to formulate a declaration detailing what a Palestinian state in Gaza and most of the West Bank would look like. However, they hinted that it would leave out the most difficult issues, such as final borders and the fate of Palestinian refugees. Abbas ejected Hamas from a coalition government after the group's fighters chased his Fatah forces out of the Gaza Strip last month in five days of brutal fighting. Abbas aide Nabil Amr said Friday that security officials and field commanders deemed responsible for the defeat would face trial or disciplinary proceedings within the Fatah movement. More than a dozen people have already resigned from their posts, including Mohammed Dahlan, a former Gaza strongman who was not in Gaza during the fighting.
There are those whom a court of law or justice will hold accountable, and there are those whom Fatah will handle, Amr said. He did not mention any names, but said some senior Fatah members could face disciplinary action. The Hamas takeover of Gaza spurred a new round of diplomatic activity, with the international community lining up behind Abbas and his moderate government. On Thursday, the government approved a platform that includes acceptance of all previous peace deals with Israel. Hamas' refusal to endorse the peace accords and renounce violence led to an international aid cutoff. The aid has been restored to Fayyad's government.
Ramon Wants NATO to Protect Israel JULY 27,07
(IsraelNN.com) Additional details from Deputy Prime Minister Chaim Ramon's interview on Kol Yisrael radio this morning: Ramon wants NATO forces to be in charge of security in the areas Israel hands over to the Palestinian Authority. Ramon did not say how much of Judea and Samaria should be vacated by Israel, but he did say that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's pre-election Converegence plan, which called for handing over 90% of Judea and Samaria to the Arabs, is no longer on the table, at least not as a one-step plan.
Iran, 2; Israel 0 - By Caroline B. Glick
Iran has built webs of alliances with other nations, alliances that have significantly deepened since last summer's war. Time for America, Israel to wake up
http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Jafar Kiani was an anonymous Iranian prisoner until earlier in the month he became the first Iranian to be stoned to death since 2002. Iran's decision to revert to domestic barbarism is just one aspect of the regime's strategy for terrorizing its people sufficiently to quell all pockets of resistance to its rule. The regime's determination to prevent an internal rebellion is an integral part of its larger plan to cast aside all obstacles to its acquisition of nuclear weapons.
Iran already possesses what it needs to make nuclear bombs. What it needs is time. Last summer's war against Israel was timed to provide Iran with a respite from international pressure. Hizbullah's abduction of IDF reservists Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser took place the day before the leaders of the G-8 were scheduled to discuss Iran's nuclear program. By ordering the assault on Israel, Iran diverted their attention away from its nuclear program. Ever since the war, the Olmert government has declared that the war split the Muslim world into two camps -- the moderates and the extremists. Operating on the basis of this perceived split, Israel has sought to build a coalition with the moderates in the hopes that such a coalition will block Iran from acquiring the bomb.
A year after the war, the time has come to make a renewed assessment of the situation. Are moderates blocking Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons? If not, what has transpired? A good place to start the analysis is with an item that appeared on both Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's to-do list this week. Both leaders telephoned Turkish Prime Minister Recip Erdogan to congratulate him on his Islamist AKP party's electoral victory on Sunday. Turkey is perceived as the paragon of Muslim moderation. Olmert, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and President Shimon Peres have all stated that Israeldoes not have a problem with AKP's Islamist character. Indeed, in a bow towards Turkish friendship, Olmert revealed last week that Turkey has been facilitating talks between Israel and Syria towards an Israeli surrender of the Golan Heights.
Yet Ankara's readiness to encourage Israel to hand the Golan Heights over to Iran's client state does not necessarily indicate that Turkey is Israel's friend. Indeed, since the AKP rose to power in 2002, it has distanced Turkeyfrom both Israel and the US while warming Turkish relations with Iran and Syria. Starting with Turkey's refusal to participate or support the US-led overthrow of Saddam Hussein's regime, recent years have been marked by steadily increasing Turkish hostility. Two weeks ago, to Washington's dismay, Turkey signed a $3.5 billion gas deal with Iran. As to Israel, Erdogan was the first leader to host Hamas terror masters after the jihadist movement won the Palestinian elections in January 2006. During last summer's war, Iran shipped arms to Hizbullah through Turkey. Turkey's leaders have repeatedly declared their support for Iran's right to develop its nuclear program.
Iran's courtship of Turkey is but one aspect of its foreign policy. Over the past several years, Iran has built webs of alliances with other states, alliances that have significantly deepened since last summer's war. In the first circle, Iran has its clients -- Syria, Hizbullah, the Shiite, (and increasingly the Sunni), militias in Iraq, and the Palestinians. Just as these forces fought together last summer, so they will fight together in the future. Ahmadinejad's visit to Damascus last weekend was strikingly similar to meetings he held with his terror underlings before last summer's war. In its second circle, Iran has cultivated strategic ties with countries in Latin America, which led by Venezuela, share its hatred for America. These ties serve three purposes. First, they provide Iran with a global deterrent against the US. Second, they provide Iran with ready support in diplomatic forums. Third, they build support for Iran among the progressive set in the US and Europe.
In Iran's third circle of alliances are countries like Russia, China and Egypt. While all these states publicly oppose Iran's acquisition of nuclear weapons, they effectively block the international community from taking effective action against Iran's nuclear program. In the meantime, Israel's coalition of moderates has failed to materialize. The leaders of the sought for coalition, Saudi Arabia and Egypt refuse to take any action against Iran. Indeed, they effectively support Teheran. In February, Saudi King Abdullah feted Ahmadinejad during a state visit. The next month, by mediating the formation of the Hamas-Fatah government, Abdullah enabled Iran's Palestinian proxy to gain control of the Palestinian Authority. As for Egypt, it is using Iran's nuclear program as cover to advance its own nuclear weapons program. Then there are the great powers and foremost among them Russia, France and the US. Any UN action against Iran must be agreed upon by all three. And there is little chance of that ever happening.
Russia is Iran's ally. Russia supplied Hizbullah and Syria with arms and intelligence during last summer's war. In the intervening year, Russia has sold advanced weapons systems to both Iran and Syria. Last weekend's report in the Arab media regarding Iranian financing of Syrian purchases of Russian jet fighters, tanks and missiles is part of this overall picture. Israeli analysts scoffed at the report noting that the billion dollars Ahmadinejad pledged is insufficient to purchase the weapons he outlined. But those weapons will not all be going to Syria. Last April Iran and Syriasigned an agreement essentially merging their militaries. Syria's Defense Minister Mustafa Muhammad Najjar told reporters in Damascus, We consider the capability of the Syrian defensive forces as our own. He added that Iran, offers all of its defense capabilities to Syria.
While Russia is selling the weapons to Syria, a Russian military official said of the aircraft, The Syrians will be getting the top line of Russian aircraft through financing by Iran and [will] share some or most of the platforms with the Iranian air force. Jane's Defense Monthly reported that at least ten of the artillery-missile systems will also be transferred to Iran. Russia also acts as Teheran's diplomatic shill. During a summit in Teheran last month Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said, We do not see any kind of threat from Iran. In a subsequent visit to Israel, Lavrov insisted that Russia's arms sales pose no threat to the Jewish state, and anyway, the only way for Israel to ensure its security is to surrender the Golan Heights to Syria.
But the Olmert government refuses to acknowledge that Russia has reinstated its Cold War hostility towards Israel. It vapidly praises President Vladimir Putin for his positive role in the region and continues to adhere to the line that Russia will agree to UN Security Council action against Iran. Then there is France. Last summer France displayed open hostility towards Israel in its representation of the Lebanese government in which Hizbullah was then a member at the UN ceasefire talks. On the other hand, in 2005 France joined forces with the US to expel the Syrian military from Lebanonafter the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri.
Israel hoped that with Nicholas Sarkozy's victory in the presidential race, France would take a more pro-Israel stance. Unfortunately, the opposite occurred. Sarkozy has warmed French ties with the Iranian-Syrian-Hizbullah axis. Sarkozy legitimized all three when he invited Hizbullah representatives to participate in talks he held with Lebanese factions outside of Paris this month. Additionally, early this month France led ten EU member states in meddling in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. The foreign ministers of these largely Mediterranean EU member states sent a letter to Quartet envoy Tony Blair, demanding, among other things, that Israel agree to the deployment of international forces in Judea and Samaria, and that Hamas be invited to participate in an international conference on the issue.
As France treats with Iran on Lebanon, the US follows a similar course of engaging the mullah on Iraq. After his meeting with his Iranian counterpart in Baghdad this week, US Ambassador Ryan Crocker announced the formation of a joint US-Iranian security committee which will discuss Sunni terrorism in Iraq. Apparently in the interest of advancing America's security cooperation with Iran, the State Department refused to raise the issue of the five American citizens being held hostage in Iran at the meeting. And with the prospect of diplomatic progress with Iran on Iraq in the air, the UScertainly doesn't want to rock the boat by pursuing the issue of Iran's nuclear weapons program.
Indeed, Iran's carrot and stick approach to powers like the US and Franceform a fourth circle of ties. Iran has worked to neutralize threats from these countries by attacking their interests in other spheres: Lebanon, in the case of France, and Iraq, in the case of the US. Given both countries enthusiasm for engagement, it seems that the mullahs have hit on the right approach. Israel has experienced some achievements regarding Iran over the past year. The UN Security Council did pass two sanctions resolutions against Iran. With the active lobbying of opposition leader Binyamin Netanyahu, many US public employee pension funds are moving to divest from companies that do business with Iran. And this week, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced that like his predecessor Tony Blair, he will not rule out the option of using military force to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.
Yet despite these achievements, Iran has made steady progress with its nuclear program. Wednesday Ahmadinejad announced, Iran will never abandon its peaceful [nuclear] work. Sunday, a senior Iranian official told The Independent that with almost 3,000 centrifuges operating at its nuclear facility at Natanz, We have at the moment enough centrifuges to go to a bomb.Back in Israel, this week Olmert made clear that he wishes to advance contacts with the Palestinians towards an Israeli withdrawal from Judea and Samaria. His advisors told reporters that Olmert is moved by his desire to get beyond his failure in last year's war and the criminal investigations into his shady business dealings. He wishes to be perceived as a statesman.
Of course if Olmert truly wishes to be seen as a statesman, then he shouldn't be concerning himself with Israeli withdrawals that will only strengthen Iran. He should change his strategic focus to Iran which threatens to wipe Israel off the map. Despite his government's protestations to the contrary, there is no coalition of moderates to work with against Iran. There is no coalition at all. And time is not in Israel's favor. If Olmert wishes to gain the public's support, and even admiration, he must quickly build and deploy a military option for destroying Iran's burgeoning ability to destroy the State of Israel.
David's Comment: Bush & Blair versus YHVH - Who Will Prevail ?
Jer 30:3 For behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, that I will bring back from captivity My people Israel and Judah, says the LORD. And I will cause them to return to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall possess it.(NKJ)
The spiritually based, political & military conflict in the Middle East continues to intensify. Every day we are receiving more and more news reports of Israel's enemies conspiring to join ranks in the interest of destroying the Jewish State. Just this past weekend Mahmud Armadinejahd, the demonised leader of Iran, met with the similarly Hell inspired Syrian president Bashar Assad, to prepare their strategy for a war with Israel, possibly in the next few weeks. Sheik Nizrallah, the leader of Hizb'Allah is also preparing his forces in readiness for another war. In the south, Hamas controlled Gaza is a hotbed of terror, with ongoing Kassam rockets attacks into Israeli towns and a frantic race to bring in as much weapons as possible before the launch of a concerted Islamic Arab war against Israel.
While Israel's obvious enemies openly prepare for war, the Israeli military is doing its best to regather its ability to defend the nation against the military might of the above mentioned nations. But they are doing it with at least one hand tied behind their backs. That hand has been tied up by the President of the United States and his dream of a Two State Solution. For several years now Bush and his hench-woman Condalesa Rice, have been forceably manipulating Israeli leaders to abide by the US plan for the future of the Middle East. And Bush seems to be very proud of opposing the will of God. He recently gloated - I became the first American President to call for the creation of a Palestinian state and I laid out a new vision for the future – two democratic states, Israel and Palestine, living side-by-side in peace and security. To bring this vision to pass Bush will have to compel Israel's godless and weak prime minister Olmert to withdraw from the Biblical Jewish heartland of Judea and Samaria. Late last week Bush was quoted as he announced his plans that Israel would have to reduce its footprint in the West Bank.
Who does Bush, who professes to be a Christian, think he is ? In advocating the establishment of a Palestinian State in Judea and Samaria, Bush is directly opposing the God of Abraham, Isaac & Jacob. Bush is telling Jewish people to get out of Judea and Samaria, in spite of the fact that God says that He will multiply the Jews on that land - Ezekiel 36:8-12 But you, O mountains of Israel, you shall shoot forth your branches and yield your fruit to My people Israel, for they are about to come. For indeed I am for you, and I will turn to you, and you shall be tilled and sown. I will multiply men upon you, all the house of Israel, all of it; and the cities shall be inhabited and the ruins rebuilt. I will multiply upon you man and beast; and they shall increase and bear young; I will make you inhabited as in former times, and do better for you than at your beginnings. Then you shall know that I am the LORD. Yes, I will cause men to walk on you, My people Israel; they shall take possession of you, and you shall be their inheritance; no more shall you bereave them of their children.(NKJ)
Satan must be very please with George Bush, as his plan for a Palestinian State on Israeli land is straight from Hell, and IF it comes to pass, ( I dont believe it will ), it will prevent or at least seriously delay the 2nd coming of Yeshua. Acts 3:21 clearly states that Yeshua must remain in Heaven until all of the prophecies ( including Ezek 36:8-10) are fullfilled ).
And just to compound Israel's problems, we now have ex UK prime minister poking his 'new age' nose into the situation as the new official Middle East Envoy. Blair, who also professes to be a Christian, is reportedly planning to convert to Catholicism, us a very dangerous man. He is a smooth talking, power hungry man, who it seems wouldn't have the faintest idea what it means to be a Christian, or what YHVH says in His Word, particulalrly in regards to Israel. Even before he arrived in Israel Blair said that he is willing to meet Hamas and is already talking of Palestinian State to be established in the not too distant future.
As I am seeing on the news, floodwaters ravaging much of the western England & parts of southern Texas, I can't help but wonder if the Lord in His mercy, is giving Bush and Blair, and their nations, a watery warning, before He sends the FIRE of His wrath against the nations for their ill-treatment of the Jews and for dividing His Land. ( Joel 3:1 ) The water has does a lot of damage to homes, businesses and roads, but what is coming on the nations may leave very little behind.
Its President Bush & Tony Blair versus YHVH - Who Will Prevail ? Its a foregone conclusion ! They are no match for the Holy One of Israel. We need to pray for both of these seriously misguided men, in the hope of saving them from making the greatest mistake of their lives. The future of the US, the UK and all of the nations they are allied with in opposition to God's plans for Israel, is looking very grim indeed.
The Lord bless you as you bless Israel by standing in defense of her right to exist on the land given to the Jewish people by the God of Israel . Lets pray that Israel will turn back to their God. Do not be silent, but share this with your fellow Christians, share it with your pastors, and with anyone you have a chance to speak to. Lets also pray for that breakthrough to the Muslims, and please remember to pray for our son Jordan, and all of his fellow soldiers in the IDF.
Shabbat Shalom .. . David & Josie