Monday, April 10, 2017
NO PLAGUES HERE-10 WAYS TO CELIBRATE PASSOVER ALL WEEK LONG.
28 And when these things begin to come to pass,(ALL THE PROPHECY SIGNS FROM THE BIBLE) then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption (RAPTURE) draweth nigh.
29 And he spake to them a parable; Behold the fig tree,(ISRAEL) and all the trees;(ALL INDEPENDENT COUNTRIES)
30 When they now shoot forth, ye see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand.(ISRAEL LITERALLY BECAME AND INDEPENDENT COUNTRY JUST BEFORE SUMMER IN MAY 14,1948.)
3 A fire devoureth (ATOMIC BOMB) before them;(RUSSIAN-ARAB-MUSLIM ARMIES AGAINST ISRAEL) and behind them a flame burneth: the land is as the garden of Eden before them, and behind them a desolate wilderness; yea, and nothing shall escape them.
30 And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke.(ATOMIC BOMB AFFECT)
12 And this shall be the plague wherewith the LORD will smite all the people that have fought against Jerusalem; Their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet,(DISOLVED FROM ATOMIC BOMB) and their eyes shall consume away in their holes,(DISOLVED FROM ATOMIC BOMB) and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth.(DISOLVED FROM ATOMIC BOMB)(BECAUSE NUKES HAVE BEEN USED ON ISRAELS ENEMIES)(GOD PROTECTS ISRAEL AND ALWAYS WILL)
13 And it shall come to pass in that day, that a great tumult from the LORD shall be among them; and they shall lay hold every one on the hand of his neighbour, and his hand shall rise up against the hand of his neighbour.(1/2-3 BILLION DIE IN WW3)(THIS IS AN ATOMIC BOMB EFFECT)
47 And say to the forest of the south, Hear the word of the LORD; Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will kindle a fire in thee, and it shall devour every green tree in thee, and every dry tree: the flaming flame shall not be quenched, and all faces from the south to the north shall be burned therein.
18 Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them in the day of the LORD'S wrath; but the whole land shall be devoured by the fire of his jealousy: for he shall make even a speedy riddance of all them that dwell in the land.
1 For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven;(FROM ATOMIC BOMBS) and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the LORD of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.
And here are the bounderies of the land that Israel will inherit either through war or peace or God in the future. God says its Israels land and only Israels land. They will have every inch God promised them of this land in the future.
Egypt east of the Nile River, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, The southern part of Turkey and the Western Half of Iraq west of the Euphrates. Gen 13:14-15, Psm 105:9,11, Gen 15:18, Exe 23:31, Num 34:1-12, Josh 1:4.ALL THIS LAND ISRAEL WILL DEFINATELY OWN IN THE FUTURE, ITS ISRAELS NOT ISHMAELS LAND.12 TRIBES INHERIT LAND IN THE FUTURE
No plagues here: 10 ways to celebrate Passover all week long-Beyond a new haggadah, we’ve got opera for young listeners, balloon sculpture and design inspiration-By Jessica Steinberg April 8, 2017, 7:57 pmTHE TIMES OF ISRAEL
Passover is almost here and the weather is turning milder, which means it’s time to go and see what’s going on in our cultural climes.From free days at museums to birding adventures and a northern sculpture festival, it’s a good opportunity to hit the road and have an adventure. And the best part is, there’s a lot that’s free or relatively inexpensive, so wrap up the matzah sandwiches and head on out. 1) If you’re going to be in Tel Aviv, check out the city’s public seders. A 16-year tradition, the various seders will host more than 3,000 participants, some for free, others for a nominal fee. Call 03-724-8682 for more information. 2) Once the seder is over, there are other options to explore in the Big Orange. The official beach season doesn’t open until April 27, when the lifeguards will return to their stations, but for now you can take a selfie in the giant frame recently erected on the Jaffa end of the boardwalk. 3) Take a look at some groundbreaking industrial design at an exhibit of works created by Holon Institute of Technology students, who are displaying their designs of household tools, toys and more whimsical concepts at Tel Aviv’s Hatachana shopping complex, throughout Passover. Entrance is free. 4) On the other end of the cultural spectrum is the Israeli Opera’s mornings of kid-friendly opera on Wednesday, April 12, through Friday, April 14, with two showings (10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.) of Mozart’s “Surprise Box” on Wednesday, April 12; two performances (10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.) of “Cinderella” on Thursday, April 13, and a 9:30 a.m. performance of “The Magic Flute” on Friday, April 14. Tickets cost NIS 35 per person (including children), and can be ordered at 03-692-7777 or at the Israeli Opera website. 5) If you’re not much of an opera fan, check out the aptly named Exodus, a day of world music performances, dance, workshops and vegan food at Tel Aviv’s Abraham Hostel. Friday, April 14, 12:30 pm, NIS 70 per ticket. 6) Wanna get moving and work off some of that matzah? Try the local version of the Legion Run, a challenging experience for all ages, with races and obstacle courses in 200 tons of mud. Israel’s Legion Run will take place on Friday, April 14, along the beach in Kiryat Yam. Costs are NIS 220 per person for the longer 5-kilometer runs, NIS 200 per two-person family team, and up to NIS 270 for a five-member family team. See the Legion Run site for more information and registration. 7) Before 35 Israeli museums and national sites offer free entry courtesy of Bank Hapoalim on April 12-16, head to the Israel Museum between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. on Sunday, April 9, to celebrate 100 years of Marcel Duchamp’s “Fountain,” the urinal he presented as an artwork in 1917, forever changing what was considered modern art. The Israel Museum is joining other museums around the world in marking the artist’s bold move, and only those who identify themselves as R. Mutt, the pseudonym Duchamp used back then, will be allowed to enter the museum without paying. If you don’t make it on April 9, just know that 35 museums are open to the public for free from April 12-16, with a list available online. 8) Go north for the Ma’alot Tarshiha sculpture festival, April 12-14, where sculptors from different countries are at work by the town’s Monfort Lake for this annual festival. Entrance to the lake to watch the artists and then see their works is free, although there are many other activities, including boating, ice skating, camping, horseback riding and tours of the town. Dutch balloon installation artist Guido Verhoef will be at the festival, making a fantastical creation out of 30,000 balloons. 9) Need some nature? Head to the Jerusalem Bird Observatory behind the Knesset in Jerusalem, where nearly every day of Passover offers another birding activity. Visitors can watch and learn about ringing birds every morning at 8:30 a.m., for free. There’s a night safari on April 13, at 6 p.m., which is an opportunity to watch local, night animals on their nocturnal wanderings. And follow the Knesset trail on April 14 and 16 at 10 a.m., a free tour about birds, Jerusalem history and nature. 10) Finally, if you need some Passover inspiration, here are two options. Some Passover designs from the Dov Abramson Studio used the Had Gadya song as inspiration for T-shirts and onesies, Passover cups, coasters, a domino game and magnets. Available online at Marmelada, Jerusalem’s Hansen House and through the Dov Abramson Studio.If you need a little more than that, try the Ayeka Haggadah, “Hearing Your Own Voice,” by Aryeh Ben David, the rabbi who founded Ayeka, a Jerusalem-based center for soulful education. The goal, writes Ben David, is to encourage each person at the seder table to use the seder to figure out where they are in the development of their own life, the life of their family, and the life of the Jewish people.With 40 questions posed by Rabbi Ben David, it’s certainly one way of putting oneself into the Israelites’ sandals. To purchase, email email@example.com to arrange a pick-up option.Happy Passover.
ISRAEL SATAN COMES AGAINST
1 CHRONICLES 21:1
1 And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel.
1 Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I (GOD) will shew thee:
2 And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:
3 And I will bless them that bless thee,(ISRAELIS) and curse (DESTROY) him that curseth thee:(DESTROY THEM) and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.
11 Behold, all they that were incensed against thee (ISRAEL) shall be ashamed and confounded: they shall be as nothing;(DESTROYED) and they that strive with thee shall perish.(ISRAEL HATERS WILL BE TOTALLY DESTROYED)
7 Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble;(ISRAEL) but he shall be saved out of it.
1 And at that time shall Michael(ISRAELS WAR ANGEL) stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people:(ISRAEL) and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation(May 14,48) even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.
4 But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro,(WORLD TRAVEL,IMMIGRATION) and knowledge shall be increased.(COMPUTERS,CHIP IMPLANTS ETC)
Protesting US airstrikes, Syrians chant ‘death to Israel’-Pro-regime demonstrators at UN headquarters in Damascus decry ‘unjust American aggression,’ say world body was created to back American interests-By AP and Times of Israel staff April 8, 2017, 8:46 pm
BEIRUT, Lebanon — Dozens of Syrian students on Saturday gathered outside the offices of the United Nations in Damascus to protest a US missile attack on an air base.The protesters held banners and chanted “Death to America” and “Death to Israel.”One of the banners they carried read: “The Iraqi scenario will not be repeated in Syria.” They were referring to the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq after Washington accused Saddam Hussein of hiding weapons of mass destruction — a belief that later turned out to be incorrect.University student Ashraf Fadel said he came to denounce “the unjust American aggression against Syria.” He added that the UN was “created to support America instead of serving the wronged people.”Tensions skyrocketed this week after an alleged chemical weapons attack by the Syrian government killed dozens of people.protest organized Syrians in front of the United Nations building in the capital Damascus,condemning the American aggression on #Alshaerat pic.twitter.com/xK802YqZ8s— Hamza sulyman (@hamza_780) April 8, 2017-The US responded early Friday by launching 59 Tomahawk missiles at a Syrian air base, a dramatic escalation lauded by Sunni states, rebels and Israel but condemned by Russia, China and Syrian President Bashar Assad.Ordered by US President Donald Trump, the strike came as retaliation for the deadly chemical weapons attack last week in the northern Syrian province of Idlib that left at least 86 people dead, including 27 children, and allegedly employed the nerve agent sarin. Footage of people and children choking on the gas prompted outrage across the globe.The US and other Western powers have blamed the Assad regime for the attack, but Damascus has denied it used chemical weapons.In a statement released about three hours after the US strike, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised the American move, as did Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman and the Israeli military.The Israel Defense Forces said Friday it was informed by the US ahead of the military strike and that it expressed its support for the operation during the talks.Later, the Prime Minister’s Office said US Vice President Mike Pence called Netanyahu and “thanked him – on behalf of US President Donald Trump – for Israel’s strong support for the American action in Syria.”Pence also updated Netanyahu “on the details of the action and its results,” the statement said, adding that the prime minister “reiterated the need to prevent the spread and use of chemical weapons.”The vice president and the prime minister also “emphasized the strength of the alliance between Israel and the US.”Israel has largely stayed out of the fighting in Syria, which has some 400,000 lives. But over the past year, Israel has carried out numerous airstrikes on Syrian territory, most of which were reportedly targeting Hezbollah weapons convoys.In April 2016, Netanyahu admitted for the first time that Israel had attacked dozens of convoys transporting weapons in Syria destined for the Lebanon-based terror group, which fought a 2006 war with Israel and is now battling alongside the Damascus regime.
UN Mideast envoy urges Palestinian unity amid Gaza pay cut protests-Nickolay Mladenov calls on Hamas to allow the PA to resume governance over the coastal territory-By Times of Israel staff April 8, 2017, 8:07 pm
The United Nations envoy for the Middle East on Saturday called for Palestinian political unity amid fresh protests against civil service pay cuts in the Gaza Strip.In a statement, Nickolay Mladenov expressed “deep concern by the growing tensions” in the Palestinian territory, and called on the Hamas leadership to allow its West Bank-based rival government, the Palestinian Authority, to “assume its responsibility in Gaza.”“I am deeply concerned by the growing tensions in Gaza,” he said. “While the Palestinian Government needs to ensure its fiscal sustainability under increasingly difficult economic conditions, it is important that reforms or decisions to reduce expenditures are fairly distributed and made with consideration to the harsh conditions under which people in Gaza live.”Mladenov said Gaza is “an integral part of the future Palestinian state and no efforts should be spared to bring about real national reconciliation that ends the division.”“I urge the responsible parties to work together to find a solution to the current crisis and call on all factions to allow the Palestinian Government to assume its responsibility in Gaza,” the UN envoy said.“Leaders have a responsibility to avoid escalation and bridge the growing divide between Gaza and the West Bank that further fragments the Palestinian people,” his statement added.Mladenov’s statement was released as tens of thousands of Palestinians took to the streets of Gaza City to protest the recent salary cuts announced by the PA.The decision last week by Ramallah to impose pay cuts on its civil servants in the coastal territory has sparked anger among affected government employees. Demonstrators at Saturday’s protest, the largest since the 30 percent cut was announced, called on PA President Mahmoud Abbas to sack his government.The decision further deepened the divide between the West Bank and Gaza — two territories that the Palestinians hope to turn into an independent state — and increased hardship in already impoverished Gaza.The internationally backed PA, which controls the West Bank, ordered all of its roughly 50,000 workers to step down after the Islamic militant group Hamas seized power in 2007. But it has continued to pay the salaries of the former policemen, teachers and civil servants.Israel and Egypt have maintained a blockade over Gaza since Hamas, a militant group sworn to Israel’s destruction, took power. Israel says the measure, which has restricted the movement of people and goods in and out of Gaza, is needed to prevent Hamas from importing arms. But the blockade has hit Gaza’s economy hard, and unemployment is now over 40%, according to the World Bank.The faltering economy has remained afloat through sales of consumer goods. The PA employees have provided a large slice of the purchasing power that business owners rely on to keep their commerce alive.Hamas, which hired more than 40,000 people to fill the gaps left by the absence of the Palestinian Authority workers, also struggles to pay its employees.After repeated efforts to reconcile with Fatah failed, Hamas is increasingly relying on hefty taxes on imports, utility fees and customs to pay its employees just half of their regular salaries.Hamas condemned the PA salary reducations as “abusive and irresponsible,” while the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine terror group said they were “illegal and unacceptable,” according to Ma’an.On Friday, the Islamic Jihad terror group held a rally in the southern Gaza city of Khan Younis protesting the pay cuts, which demonstrators said were meant to “drown” the residents of Gaza, Ma’an reported.Agencies contributed to this report.
Islamic State brutally killing civilians who try to flee Mosul-As government troops advance on crumbling jihadist ‘caliphate,’ witnesses say dozens of residents executed, strung up from electricity poles-By Times of Israel staff and AFP April 8, 2017, 6:19 pm
Dozens of Iraqi civilians in Mosul have reportedly been brutally killed by the Islamic State in recent days, as government forces continue their offensive to retake the city from the jihadist group.According to Reuters, mutilated bodies of Mosul residents caught attempting to flee the city have strung up from electricity poles across the city which IS made its de facto Iraqi capital of their now crumbling “caliphate.”One man told the news agency that one of his relatives was among four Mosul residents who were hanged from an electricity pole in the city’s Tenek district for attempting to escape this week.“Their appearance was shocking. We weren’t able to get them down and they have been there for two days,” he told Reuters on condition of anonymity.According to the report, Kurdish security forces estimate that Islamic State militants have killed up to 140 Mosul residents this week-Another resident reported at least 40 fleeing civilians caught by IS have been killed in Mosul’s Old city, including children and elderly residents.“I fear those (families) who stayed in Daesh’s grip met a terrible fate,” said a woman from the Yarmouk District who narrowly managed to escape, referring to the group by their Arabic acronym.According to the United Nations, at least 307 Mosul residents have been killed between February 17 and March 22, a period which only covers the first weeks of the offensive on west Mosul but not the entire operation that started in mid-October last year.The fighting to retake what is now the last major IS stronghold in Iraq is taking its toll on civilians and the local residents working to get the war-torn city back on its feet.Pride and pain as Mosul doctors treat their own-Every time a patient is stretchered into the Athbah field hospital south of Mosul, doctor Sultan prays it isn’t his sister or brother.Most of the medical staff is from the war-torn Iraqi city and each one of the victims they treat could be a relative or a neighbor.“It’s very painful for us… Many people, many children, need amputations or will remain paralyzed,” he says from the small field hospital set up in Athbah, just a few miles south of Mosul.Sultan, who chose not divulge his full name, fled Mosul when IS still controlled Mosul.But his siblings are trapped inside, in neighborhoods of Mosul’s west bank still held by the jihadists despite almost six months of fighting by the security forces to retake the city.“I have no news,” he said. “Daesh (IS) uses civilians as human shields and many buildings have been leveled by air strikes. They might be lying under the rubble and I don’t know about it.”For now, the 43-year-old is treating a man in his forties with facial injuries.“He’s stable,” he says, after feeling the pulse in the patient’s bloodied wrist.In the same room, Faruq Abdulkader is treating a teenager who is writhing in pain but was relatively lucky: “The bullet went straight through the arm without touching the bone,” the doctor said, relieved.These doctors used to work in Mosul but fled the tyrannic rule of the jihadists. Now that regular forces are wresting back Iraq’s second city street by street, they are back to help.The Athbah field hospital opened on March 24 with support from the World Health Organization and the Iraqi health authorities.Abdulkader said most of the injuries they treated were caused by explosions but the hardest thing was often to witness the suffering of their own neighbours.“Some of them are our neighbors, coming from the same area where I was living in Mosul, and I’m so sad for them,” he said.The battle for Mosul has raged for nearly six months and supplies have dwindled sharply as Iraqi forces secured the city’s east bank and sealed their siege on the jihadists’ last redoubts on the west side.Basic goods have been unavailable for months and the little food that is left is either too expensive or hoarded by the jihadists.“Nearly all our patients suffer from malnutrition,” says Taryn Anderson, head nurse at the Athbah clinic. “We can’t call it a famine but it’s very alarming, especially for the children.”After examining the very weak patient who was just wheeled in, the doctors decide against a transfusion — the precious blood they do have will be saved for other patients with a real chance of survival.Ali Saad Abdulkhaled, a 26-year-old nurse who used to treat people in his home in east Mosul during the fighting there, said the number of wounded civilians was increasing sharply.“The west side is more densely populated, it’s the Old City,” he said. “The number of victims is huge. They are our neighbors, our families.”
Incitement to violence-Palestinian TV issues Quranic guidelines for wife-beating-Female presenter urges male viewers who ‘have’ to beat their spouses, to do so in accordance with religious protocol-By Times of Israel staff April 8, 2017, 9:28 pm
It’s best not to beat your wife, a recent Palestinian television show said, but if you absolutely have to, then follow the rules in the Quran.During an April 1 show, a female presenter urged male viewers who “had to” beat their wives, to do so in accordance with the Quran.While the female presenter did remind viewers there “are solutions before giving beatings,” the show titled “Talk of the Land” on official Palestinian Authority TV, did not categorically reject violence against women.“To those who use beatings and violence to solve their marital problems: Carefully read the Quranic verse again [Sura 4:34]. There are solutions before giving beatings,” the presenter said, according to a translation provided by Palestinian Media Watch.“If you have to, there are religious rules for beatings that must be obeyed. Guys, the goal of the beatings is rebuke in a way that does not cause injury. You can even go ask someone about it,” she said.Previous shows aired on Palestinian TV in the past have featured imams who have touted wife-beating as God’s solution for marital strife.
2 killed in clashes in Lebanese Palestinian refugee camp-Fighting erupts between Palestinian factions and Islamic extremists in Ein al-Hilweh over new security plan-By AFP April 8, 2017, 6:45 pm-THE TIMES OF ISRAEL
SIDON, Lebanon — Palestinian factions battled an extremist group in a refugee camp in southern Lebanon on Saturday in a second day of clashes that have killed at least two people, medics said.The clashes erupted on Friday night as a security force of leading Palestinian factions in the Ein al-Hilweh camp deployed under a new security plan, a source in the Palestinian Fatah faction said.“It came under fire from a neighborhood under the influence of extremist Islamist groups, which oppose the security plan of the factions and their deployment,” the source told AFP.Palestinian factions in the camp accused a small militant group linked to an extremist Islamist of firing on the security force after demanding that the deployment not extend to its area of influence.“The security force will be deployed throughout the camp to bring security to it, and there is no other solution,” Lebanon’s official National News Agency quoted a Fatah commander as saying.Medical sources told AFP that the clashes killed two people and wounded 21, with at least one member of the security force among the dead.An AFP correspondent on the outskirts of the camp said fighting was continuing on the narrow streets of its residential neighborhoods, with the sound of machinegun fire and rocket-propelled grenades audible in much of the surrounding city of Sidon.A resident of the camp’s Tireh district, where heavy clashes were ongoing, said the fighting had set at least seven houses alight and trapped dozens of families.The fighting prompted the Lebanese army to take security measures at the entrance of the camp, including shutting the highway next to it.And Lebanon’s health ministry announced it was evacuating patients from the Sidon governmental hospital adjacent to the camp and moving them to other facilities.An AFP photographer saw members of the Lebanese Red Cross wheeling a baby in an incubator on a stretcher from the hospital into the back of an ambulance for transfer.Ein al-Hilweh is home to multiple armed factions, and has been plagued by intermittent clashes between them as well as against smaller extremist groups.In February, fighting erupted after Fatah pulled out of a joint security committee, prompting clashes that lasted days and killed one person.By long-standing convention, Lebanon’s army does not enter Palestinian refugee camps, where security is managed by joint committees of Palestinian factions.Ain al-Hilweh is home to some 61,000 Palestinians, including 6,000 who have fled the war in Syria.
Analysis-In Israeli eyes, Trump’s Tomahawks correct the course of history-Surprise attack on Syrian base is welcomed in Jerusalem, which saw Obama’s failure to respond to Assad as emboldening Iran. But it also attests to US president’s unpredictability-By Raphael Ahren April 7, 2017, 10:58 am-THE TIMES OF ISRAEL
From an Israeli perspective, US President Donald Trump corrected the course of history in ordering airstrikes against the Syrian regime late Thursday.The mere fact that the global superpower took action in the face of Bashar Assad’s use of chemical weapons against civilians — regardless of what military goals the operation accomplished — sends a powerful message that will reverberate beyond Syria, leaders and officials in Jerusalem said.“In both word and action, President Trump sent a strong and clear message today that the use and spread of chemical weapons will not be tolerated,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement backing the airstrikes on the regime-held Shayrat Airfield, north of Damascus. “Israel fully supports President Trump’s decision and hopes that this message of resolve in the face of the Assad regime’s horrific actions will resonate not only in Damascus, but in Tehran, Pyongyang and elsewhere.”Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman called the missile strike “an important, necessary and moral message by the free world, led by the United States,” that shows it “will not tolerate the war crimes of the horrific regime of Bashar Assad.”Chiming in, Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz also praised the attack, delivered via some 60 Tomahawk missiles fired from two US destroyers in the Mediterranean Sea, as “an important step both morally and strategically and a clear signal to the axis led by Iran.”The Israel Defense Forces released its own statement, saying it, too, supported the cruise missile strike and had informed Washington of its backing.Israel’s security establishment was updated by the US ahead of the missile strike, officials said.In the eyes of Israeli security officials, Trump’s surprise resort to force stands in sharp contrast to the policies of former US president Barack Obama, who had declared the use of chemical weapons to be a “red line” but then did nothing when Assad crossed it in 2013, with chemical weapons strikes east and southwest of Damascus that killed 1,429 people, including 426 children.Had Obama sent just a single jet to Damascus to drop a bag of water on Assad’s palace, history would have taken a different course, a top security official said this week. It was the US failure to enforce its own red line, more than letting the horrendous war crime go unpunished, that emboldened not only Assad but also his allies in Tehran.Reassured that Obama was reluctant to use military force, the Iranians could drive a hard bargain in the nuclear talks that ended in the 2015 Vienna agreement, which Israel condemned as a historic mistake.Despite the former president’s repeated statement that “all options are on the table” if no deal was struck, once Obama had made plain his aversion to being bogged down in another Middle East military confrontation, the Iranian negotiators were reassured that he wanted a deal at all costs, and they succeeded in signing what some Israeli security officials termed a “dream deal” for Tehran.Indeed, Obama’s 2013 decision not to use military force against Assad’s regime despite its use of chemical weapons “was a pivotal moment for the entire region,” Chagai Tzuriel, the director-general of the Intelligence Ministry, told The Times of Israel last month. “This moment changed everything.”Israel would welcome a greater American involvement, Tzuriel said at the time, and Friday morning’s strike on the Shayrat airfield’s hangars, control tower and ammunition areas was indeed greeted enthusiastically by Israeli politicians across the political spectrum.Opposition leader Isaac Herzog said it sent a “right and correct” message to Assad; Yesh Atid leader MK Yair Lapid said: “better late than never.”Deputy Minister for Diplomacy Michael Oren hailed a “new sheriff’ in town, saying the attack “sends a message to the entire world that America’s back,” and that “our common enemies need to fear.”Former defense minister Moshe Ya’alon praised Trump for passing his first serious test by assuming “the important ethical role of a superpower, which the US had given up during the last years.”“[The Americans] are telling their allies in the Middle East, you are not alone,” added Yaakov Amidror, a former national security adviser, on Friday morning in a phone briefing organized by the Israel Project.Trump’s change of heart: ‘flexibility’ or unpredictability? Friday’s attack impressively shows that the US under Trump dropped his predecessor’s “leading from behind” policy and will not hesitate to use military force when it feels it is justified. That is certainly welcome news from an Israeli government perspective.But there are two other aspects Jerusalem needs to take into consideration. While possibly deterring Assad from further chemical weapons attacks, Trump’s Tomahawks created a new reality in a volatile war theater on Israel’s border that includes not only the Syrian army but also various rebel groups, Hezbollah, and the Russian army.At this point, no one knows how the various actors are going to respond to what Damascus condemned as an American “act of aggression” and Moscow called a violation of international law.Developments in the Syrian war theater are the most pressing concern of Israel’s security apparatus, Tzuriel, of the Intelligence Ministry, said last month.“Syria is the key arena, because it’s a microcosm of everything: world powers, such as Russia and the US; regional actors such as Iran and Turkey; and rival groups within the country, such as the Assad regime, the opposition, the Kurds and the Islamic State,” the former Mossad official added. “Whatever happens in Syria today will greatly impact the region, and beyond, for years to come.”Furthermore, Israeli policymakers should take note of the administration’s quick change of heart regarding Syria, which could translate into surprise moves on Israel. Just last week, US top diplomats indicated they were not keen on picking a fight with Assad.“You pick and choose your battles,” US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said on March 30. “And when we’re looking at this it’s about changing up priorities and our priority is no longer to sit and focus on getting Assad out.”Few people imagined that one week later US aircraft would fire 59 precision-guided missiles at a Syrian regime air base.While Israeli officials in 2013 wanted to see Obama enforce his red line, Trump vocally called on the president not to attack Syria. Any such move is not in America’s strategic interest, the Manhattan real estate developer argued at the time.“I like to think of myself as a very flexible person. I don’t have to have one specific way, and if the world changes, I go the same way, I don’t change. Well, I do change and I am flexible, and I’m proud of that flexibility,” Trump said on Wednesday, adding that his “attitude toward Syria and Assad has changed very much.”It has been said many time that Trump is unpredictable. His decision to launch a surprise strike at Syria — a key ally of Russia, a country he was said to be close to — powerfully underlines this assessment.As the US administration forges ahead in its effort to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, expecting goodwill gestures from both sides, Jerusalem might be well-advised to take note of the president’s “flexibility,” capacity for change, and willingness to make surprise moves.Judah Ari Gross contributed to this report.
FBI reviews handling of thousands of terrorism-related tips-Audit follows several cases of people who fell off the FBI radar, including Omar Mateen who killed 49 people at an Orlando nightclub-By Eric Tucker April 8, 2017, 7:44 pm-THE TIMES OF ISRAEL
WASHINGTON (AP) — The FBI has been reviewing the handling of thousands of terrorism-related tips and leads from the past three years to make sure they were properly investigated and no obvious red flags were missed, The Associated Press has learned.The review follows attacks by people who were once on the FBI’s radar but who have been accused in the past 12 months of massacring innocents in an Orlando, Florida, nightclub, injuring people on the streets of New York City, and gunning down travelers in a Florida airport. In each case, the suspects had been determined not to warrant continued law enforcement scrutiny months and sometimes years before the attacks.The internal audit, which has not been previously reported, began this year and is being conducted in FBI field offices across the country. A senior federal law enforcement official described the review as an effort to “err on the side of caution.”The audit is essentially a review of records to ensure proper FBI procedures were followed. It’s an acknowledgment of the challenge the FBI has faced, particularly in recent years, in predicting which of the tens of thousands of tips the bureau receives annually might materialize one day into a viable threat.Investigations that go dormant because of a lack of evidence can resurface instantly when a subject once under scrutiny commits violence or displays fresh signs of radicalization. FBI Director James Comey has said it’s like finding a needle in a haystack and determining which piece of hay may become a needle.Though there’s no indication of significant flaws in how terrorism inquiries are opened and closed, the review is a way for the FBI to “refine and adapt to the threat, and part of that is always making sure you cover your bases,” said the law enforcement official, who was not authorized to discuss the matter by name.The pace of the FBI’s counterterrorism work accelerated with the rise of the Islamic State group, which in 2014 declared the creation of its so-called caliphate in Syria and Iraq and has used sophisticated propaganda to lure disaffected Westerners to its cause. By the summer of 2015, Comey has said, the FBI was “strapped” in keeping tabs on the group’s American sympathizers and identifying those most inclined to commit violence.Social media outreach by IS has appealed to people not previously known to the FBI but also enticed some who once had been under scrutiny to get “back in the game,” said Seamus Hughes, deputy director of George Washington University’s Program on Extremism.“The fact that there was a physical location and a caliphate announced, it helped kind of drive folks back in when they might have drifted away,” Hughes said.The review covers inquiries the FBI internally classifies as “assessments” — the lowest level, least intrusive and most elementary stage of a terror-related inquiry — and is examining ones from the past three years to make sure all appropriate investigative avenues were followed, according to a former federal law enforcement official who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the process.Assessments are routinely opened upon a tip — whether from someone concerned about things such as activity in a neighbor’s garage, a co-worker’s comments or expressions of support for IS propaganda — and are catalogued by the FBI. The bureau receives tens of thousands of tips a year, and averages more than 10,000 assessments annually.FBI guidelines meant to balance national security with civil liberties protections impose restrictions on the steps agents may take during the assessment phase.Agents, for instance, may analyze information from government databases and open-source internet searches, and can conduct interviews. But they cannot turn to more intrusive techniques, such as requesting a wiretap or internet communications, without higher levels of approval and a more solid basis to suspect a crime or national security threat. The guidelines explicitly discourage open-ended inquiries and say assessments are designed to be “relatively short,” with a supervisor signing off on extension requests.Many assessments are closed within days or weeks when the FBI concludes there’s no criminal or national security threat, or basis for continued scrutiny.The system is meant to ensure that a person who has not broken the law does not remain under perpetual scrutiny on a mere hunch that a crime could eventually be committed. But on occasion, and within the past year, it’s also meant that people the FBI once looked at but did not find reason to arrest later went on to commit violence.In the case of Omar Mateen, that scrutiny was extensive, detailed and lengthy.Mateen, who shot and killed 49 people at an Orlando nightclub in June, was investigated for 10 months in 2013 and interviewed twice after a co-worker reported that Mateen had claimed connections to al-Qaida.As part of a preliminary investigation, agents recorded Mateen’s conversations and introduced him to confidential sources before closing the matter. That kind of investigation is more intensive than an assessment and permits a broader menu of tactics, but it also requires a stronger basis for suspicion. Mateen was questioned again in 2014 in a separate investigation into a suicide bomber acquaintance. Comey has said he has personally reviewed that inquiry’s handling and has concluded it was done well.The FBI in 2014 also opened an assessment on Ahmad Khan Rahimi, who last September was charged in bombings in Manhattan and New Jersey, after his father expressed concerns about his internet use and his associations. The FBI said it closed the review after checking databases and travel and finding nothing that merited continued investigation.Esteban Santiago, the man accused in the January shooting at the Fort Lauderdale, Florida, airport that killed five people, had also been looked at by the FBI. He had walked into the bureau’s office in Anchorage, Alaska, two months earlier and claimed his mind was being controlled by US intelligence officials. In that case, too, the FBI closed its assessment after interviewing family members and checking databases.Each act of violence has raised questions about whether the FBI missed signs or should have been more aggressive in its investigation. With thousands of assessments pouring in, those decisions aren’t easy.“If you’re looking at all the cases, if everything’s blinking red, you have to make a judgment call every time,” Hughes said.
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