Friday, May 12, 2017

 

FOR FIRST TIME-MAJORITY OF JEWISH ISRAELIS WANT MARRIAGE OUTSIDE RABBINATE.

JEWISH KING JESUS IS COMING AT THE RAPTURE FOR US IN THE CLOUDS-DON'T MISS IT FOR THE WORLD.THE BIBLE TAKEN LITERALLY- WHEN THE PLAIN SENSE MAKES GOOD SENSE-SEEK NO OTHER SENSE-LEST YOU END UP IN NONSENSE.GET SAVED NOW- CALL ON JESUS TODAY.THE ONLY SAVIOR OF THE WHOLE EARTH - NO OTHER. 1 COR 15:23-JESUS THE FIRST FRUITS-CHRISTIANS RAPTURED TO JESUS-FIRST FRUITS OF THE SPIRIT-23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.ROMANS 8:23 And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.(THE PRE-TRIB RAPTURE)

LUKE 21:28-29
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.)

JOEL 2:3,30
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)

ZECHARIAH 14:12-13
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)

EZEKIEL 20:47
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.

ZEPHANIAH 1:18
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.

MALACHI 4:1
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

OTHER TODAY NEWS-SOUTH KOREA ON NORTH KOREA
http://israndjer.blogspot.ca/2017/05/south-korea-urges-parallel-talks-and.html

In efficiency drive, IDF cuts a fifth of its reservists-Army increases benefits for reserve soldiers and their families; Tel Aviv again provides the most reserve soldiers-By Judah Ari Gross May 11, 2017, 3:20 pm-THE TIMES OF ISRAEL

In 2016, the Israel Defense Forces reduced its reserve fighting force by 20 percent and placed a greater emphasis on training for its remaining reservists, a senior army official said Thursday.Last year’s decrease is a continuation of a belt-tightening trend, as the IDF looks to streamline itself, cutting away unnecessary positions and better preparing the people who remain for war or disasters.The military released the statistics ahead of National Reservists Appreciation Day, an annual celebration of reservists, which Israel will mark on Sunday.“The IDF is investing much, much more in exercises and training. Some 68% of reserve duty days are spent in exercises, mostly for emergency. That’s the trend,” the officer said, on condition of anonymity.“There has been a lot of work in reducing reserve duty by about 20%, as we focus on the operational efficacy of the IDF and cut what we can, where we can,” she said.In 2013, some 34 percent of Israelis eligible for the reserves (people under the age of 40 who served in the IDF) held an “active” status, meaning they’d completed a total of 20 days of reserve service in the previous three years, according to IDF statistics.In 2015, that number dropped to 26 percent. Last year, it went down further, to just under 21 percent, the senior official said.“We have units that are bigger than they need to be. We need to keep what we actually need — plus a little flexibility — and to do away with the people who don’t do their part or aren’t necessary,” Col. Amir Chai, head of the IDF Ground Forces’ Reserves Department, told The Times of Israel last year.Despite the decrease in the number of reservists in 2016, the military increased the total number of time spent by the remaining reservists on duty from the year before.Last year, reservists collectively served for 2,078,660 days, up from 1,850,000 days from 2016. However, this is still approximately half a million days fewer than the year before that, though the statistics from 2014, in which the IDF fought an extended ground war in Gaza, are not truly comparable with the war-less 2015.While Israel is often remembered for its compulsory draft of 18-year-olds, the majority of the army’s total fighting force in fact comes from its older reservists — the average age of reservists is about 32 years old — who make up approximately 71% of the military’s manpower, according to 2016 statistics.This level has remained relatively constant over the years, but the country’s move to the 21st century has not made that easy.In the early days of the state, when more people worked in factories, it was easy to take off a week for reserve duty, but as the Israeli labor market has diversified and more people have begun working as freelancers or in small companies, that has become more difficult.“The goal is not to waste the valuable and important time of businesses and workers,” the officer said.In addition, the army is working to offer better incentives to reservists and to their partners, who have to pick up the slack when their spouses are in the military.For instance, the state granted tax benefits to reserve officers, collectively saving them NIS 4.2 million ($1.16 million).The military also changed its system of compensating freelancers for the days they spend on reserve duty.“Self-employed reservists are different from salaried employees, and their losses are different. From that benefit, we paid NIS 25 million ($6.92 million),” the officer said.In an effort to make reporting for reserve duty easier, the army also rolled out a website this year specifically for reservists. Through it, they can be called up for duty via email, as opposed to the antiquated method of physical letters sent in the mail.According to military figures, the positions for men that were called up the most in 2016 were combat medics, squad leaders, infantrymen and truck drivers.For women, the most common positions for reserve duty were soldiers in operation rooms, code decrypters, human resource officers and infantry officers.Though the number of women serving in the reserves has increased over the years, men still account for some 83% of the reservists in Israel, a very slight decrease from 2015, when they accounted for 84% of reservists.Again Tel Aviv, with its younger population, contributed the largest number of reservists in the country — 37,156 — while Jerusalem offered 28,252, despite the capital having a larger total number of residents between the ages of 18 and 40. (This is likely attributable to the large number of Arabs and ultra-Orthodox Jews in Jerusalem, most of whom do not serve in the army.) The number of reservists who have children dropped dramatically from 2015 to 2016. Some 29% of all reservists were parents in 2015, but last year that number dropped to 11%.

PA security services seize hundreds of weapons in West Bank-Forces loyal to Mahmoud Abbas continue to thwart attacks against Israelis, often by standing between Palestinian protesters and the IDF-By Avi Issacharoff May 11, 2017, 2:55 pm-THE TIMES OF ISRAEL

Palestinian Authority security forces have confiscated hundreds of illegal weapons in expansive operations carried out in recent weeks in the West Bank.In targeting a different area with each raid, PA forces have succeeded in seizing a significant number of arms, Israeli and Palestinian sources said. Most notable among those were “Carlos” guns — crude, homemade but lethal submachine guns that have been used to carry out numerous terror attacks over the past several years.At the same time, the forces loyal to PA President Mahmoud Abbas have continued their arrests of terror suspects, primarily Hamas activists, but also those aligned with the Islamic State terror group and other extremist organizations. They have succeeded in thwarting attacks both in the West Bank and in Israel proper.The PA forces have also proven to be aggressive in their efforts to quash violent protests by Palestinian youths against the IDF.PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah is reportedly overseeing the activities of the authority’s forces closely and holding regular talks with security chiefs.These efforts are part of the PA’s deliberate decision to prevent an escalation on the ground, even amid a 25-day hunger strike by Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails that has sparked unrest throughout the West Bank.The security services have thus far managed on numerous occasions to divert demonstrations aimed at direct confrontations with the IDF to areas where there is no Israeli presence.

For first time, majority of Jewish Israelis want marriage outside rabbinate-Survey by religious pluralism group finds greatest support among secular, with 13% of religious Zionists backing them up-By Times of Israel staff May 11, 2017, 1:56 pm

A poll released Wednesday to mark the upcoming Lag B’Omer holiday indicates that a majority of Jewish Israelis are personally interested in marrying outside the auspices of Israel’s Chief Rabbinate, which holds a monopoly over Jewish marriages in the country.In the survey conducted by Hiddush, an Israeli organization that aims to advance religious pluralism, respondents were asked to answer the question: “A number of movements and organizations offer an alternative of Jewish egalitarian marriages outside the auspices of the Chief Rabbinate, which grant couples many rights and responsibilities that the State recognizes, just as it does for couples that marry via the Chief Rabbinate. To what degree would you be interested in such an alternative for yourself or your children who intend to get married?”According to the survey, 55 percent of respondents said they would be interested in such an option, including 81% of secular Israelis, but dropping precipitously to 13% for religious-Zionist and 0% for ultra-Orthodox.Hiddush said it was the first time that a majority of Jewish respondents said they were interested in an alternative to marriage via the Chief Rabbinate.Rabbi Uri Regev, who heads Hiddush, said the poll results show that Israel must end the “religious coercion” of the rabbinate’s monopoly over marriage.“It is important that the State of Israel’s leadership open their eyes and their hearts, and that they understand that the time has come to put an end to religious coercion and to allow every couple in Israel to marry in ceremonies that reflect their choices, their beliefs, and their ways of life,” he said.In Israel, only Orthodox ceremonies are recognized. This also impacts interfaith and same-sex marriages. Those who wish to marry or divorce outside the faith are forced to travel overseas for a civil ceremony, with nearby Cyprus one of the most popular options. Hundreds of thousands of Israelis live in a parallel but unofficial common-law relationship, called yeduim betzibur in Hebrew, that has won recognition in the courts and confers some marital rights such as inheritance and joint custody of children.In addition to religious identification, the poll also divided respondents by political party affiliation.Over 80% of respondents who voted for the Meretz, Zionist Union and Yesh Atid parties said they were in favor of the option, while 74% of Yisrael Beytenu supporters said they were as well. Yisrael Beytenu counts among its supporters a large number of immigrants from the former Soviet Union, many of whom are considered insufficiently Jewish and and are therefore unable to marry in Israel under the Chief Rabbinate.Kulanu and Likud voters backed the idea by 57% and 47% respectively, while only 36% of supporters of the religious-nationalist Jewish Home party said they were in favor.No supporters of the ultra-Orthodox Shas and United Torah Judaism parties said they were in favor, according to the survey.The poll was conducted among a “representative sample” of Jewish adults in Israel on April 19-20 by the Smith Institute ahead of the Lag B’Omer holiday, which begins on Saturday night and traditionally marks the start of the Jewish wedding season.

Frenetic preparations underway for Trump’s Israel visit-Delegation to take over entire King David hotel; speculation mounts the president will buck tradition and not visit Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum-By Alexander Fulbright May 9, 2017, 10:16 pm-THE TIMES OF ISRAEL

A delegation from the White House and Central Intelligence Agency is heading to Israel to plan US President Donald Trump’s visit to Israel amid reports it plans to turn Jerusalem’s iconic King David hotel into a virtual fortress.The delegation is set to arrive in Israel on Friday and stay until after Trump leaves the country.Trump is set to arrive in Israel on May 22 for a one-day visit along with his wife, Melania, daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner, the latter two of whom also serve as his advisers.Channel 2 reported that Trump’s first stop in Israel will be a family visit to the Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem.From there he will head to a reception at the residence of President Reuven Rivlin.Trump was then expected to visit Yad Vashem, Israel’s main Holocaust museum and memorial, an obligatory stop for all visiting heads of state and foreign dignitaries. However, Israeli media said Tuesday that Trump may not go to the site at all or that he would only make a whistle-stop 15 minute visit. These reports were not confirmed.Army Radio reported earlier Tuesday that the Trump administration was looking to shorten the US president’s original planned visit to Yad Vashem from 30 minutes to 15. A spokesperson for Yad Vashem told the radio station that “we are preparing for a number of possibilities and if we need to we can plan a shorter tour of 15 minutes.”Since taking office in January, the Trump administration has repeatedly been forced to fend off claims of insensitivity to anti-Semitism and Holocaust-related matters, in particular when White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer drew intense criticism for falsely claiming Adolf Hitler never used chemical weapons.He also referred to concentration camps and death camps as “Holocaust centers.”The young Trump administration also drew the ire of many in the Jewish community when it released a statement on International Holocaust Remembrance Day in January that made no mention of Jews or anti-Semitism.But the president has seemed to make amends, delivering a keynote address in April at the US Holocaust Memorial and Museum.Later on the evening of May 22, Trump is set to have dinner at the Prime Minister’s Residence with Benjamin Netanyahu. The next day, Trump is to give a speech at the Masada desert fortress and, finally, to visit Bethlehem in the Palestinian territories for meetings with Palestinian leaders.These tentative stops had not been finalized as of Tuesday night.During his trip to Israel, Trump will stay at Jerusalem’s ritzy King David Hotel, with all of its 233 rooms reserved for his entourage, Channel 2 reported. Hotels officials said that security teams insisted that the hotel be completely cleared of guests a day before his arrival and that the area would become a virtual fortress.Dan Hotels, which owns the King David, has also offered to set aside all of the rooms in the nearby Dan Panorama and Dan Boutique hotels for the delegation accompanying the US president.On Monday, Trump told the Israel Hayom daily that during his visit to Israel he will “discuss a range of regional issues of mutual concern” with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.“We will discuss a range of regional issues of mutual concern, including the need to counter the threats posed by Iran and its proxies, and by ISIS and by other terrorist groups. We will also discuss ways to advance a genuine and lasting peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians,” he said.Trump’s visit comes amid efforts by the US president to renew long-dormant peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.The president, who has referred to an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement as “the ultimate deal,” said last week, when hosting Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, that he would be willing to play whatever role was needed to strike an accord.It is not clear if Trump will use his trip to the region to unveil specific plans concerning peace talks, but the timing of the visit — coinciding with Jerusalem Day, when Israel will celebrate 50 years since capturing the east of the city during the 1967 Six Day War — has sparked speculation that he might use the trip make a major announcement regarding the city.Over the course of his campaign, Trump repeatedly promised he would move the embassy, but since assuming office, he has seemingly stepped away from that pledge.Vice President Mike Pence told American Jewish leaders last week that Trump was still deliberating on the relocation.“The president of the United States, as we speak, is giving serious consideration into moving the American embassy in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem,” he said.Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

On US tour, Israeli paratroopers to re-create iconic photo from Six Day War-The men, now in their 70s, will pose for recreation of defining image from 1967, for 50th anniversary of war-By Andrew Tobin May 10, 2017, 4:22 am-THE TIMES OF ISRAEL

JTA – David Rubinger’s iconic photograph of three paratroopers at the Western Wall is the defining image of the 1967 Six Day War.The men in the photo — Dr. Yitzhak Yifat, Tzion Karasenti and Chaim Oshri — have proudly served as symbols of the historic Israeli victory for the past five decades. But in an interview with JTA, they said the war for them was just as much about loss.“To liberate the Kotel was something amazing,” Yifat told JTA, referring to the Western Wall. “But we never celebrated. What was there to celebrate? We had lost many of our friends.”Between June 5 and 15, in honor of the Six Day War’s 50th anniversary, the three former paratroopers, now in their 70s, will re-create Rubinger’s photo in their first-ever tour of the United States. the tour, sponsored by Friends of the IDF, will stop at Jewish communities and other locations in the Cleveland, Detroit, San Francisco, Chicago, Atlanta, Boston and Baltimore areas. They will also recount some of the sacrifices that were made in the battle for Jerusalem.Late last month, the three went to the Western Wall in the Old City to remember the moment and described to Channel 2 News how they, as 20-something reserve duty soldiers, inadvertently became the symbol of a nation fulfilling a 2,000 year dream.This week all three spoke to JTA at Tel Aviv University in a spirited four-way conversation arranged by Friends of the IDF.On June 5, 1967, the 55th Paratroopers Brigade was deployed to Jerusalem by bus. The official mission was to protect supply convoys headed to Mount Scopus, the only enclave in eastern Jerusalem that Israel had managed to hold on to in the 1948 War of Independence. But there was talk in the High Command and among soldiers about taking the Old City in Jordanian-controlled eastern Jerusalem.As they approached the divided city, Yifat recalled being surprised by how loud were the sounds of Jordanian shells hitting Jewish neighborhoods. He, Karasenti and Oshri were reservists in their early 20s and had never seen serious combat. Soon after they arrived, Jews came into the streets to greet them, offering coffee and sandwiches and welcoming them into their homes. Some of the paratroopers accepted offers to make phone calls to wives, girlfriends and parents back home.“It was amazing to see how everyone embraced us,” Karasenti told JTA. “All the sectors of Israeli society came together, it didn’t matter if you were Ashkenazi, Sephardi, religious, haredi, a kibbutznik, whatever.”Following some hurried planning, the paratroopers crossed into no-man’s land after midnight. Dozens were wounded by Jordanian fire before they even entered eastern Jerusalem. Through the night and the next day, the paratroopers fought their way toward Mount Scopus, the only Jewish enclave in eastern Jerusalem, and to the outskirts of the Old City.The 66th division — to which Karasenti, Yifat and Oshri were assigned – faced the hardest fighting, hand-to-hand combat against elite Jordanian troops in the trenches at Ammunition Hill, which overlooked the road to Mount Scopus. Yifat narrowly avoided being impaled by a Jordanian bayonet – and still has a scar on his face to show for it.“It was like a hell. The trenches were filled with bodies, and you couldn’t tell if they were friends or enemies,” Yifat said. “At one point, I jumped on an Arab and shot him dead. As I was reloading my magazine, another Arab attacked me with a bayonet, and got me right here. I kicked him between the legs and shot him dead, too.”Nearly 100 of the paratroopers were killed and 400 wounded before they paused for the night.The next morning, June 7, the paratroopers found that most of the Jordanian troops had retreated from Jerusalem. Israel’s Cabinet, long divided about whether to capture the Old City, finally gave the go-ahead. Motta Gur, the paratroopers’ famed commander, delivered the news over the radio, saying: “Fifty-fifth paratroopers brigade, we are sitting on the ride overlooking the Old City, and we shall soon enter it — the Old City of Jerusalem, which generations have dreamed of and longed for. We will be the first to enter.”The paratroopers rushed forward amid sniper fire from remaining Jordanian soldiers and rammed their way through the Lions’ Gate of the Old City. From there they made their way through narrow stone alleys and up to the Temple Mount and the Western Wall.“The Temple Mount is in our hands,” Gur reported.Religious and secular paratroopers alike were awed by their return to the heart of the ancient Jewish homeland.“I didn’t realize where I was until I saw the Israeli flag flying above the stones, said Karasenti, an observant Jew. “I started to cry. Everyone was emotional. The whole nation of Israel was in ecstasy, euphoria. You can’t even imagine what it was like.”While Yifat, Karasenti and Chaim Oshri were walking along the wall, Rubinger, who died in March at 92, lay on the ground and snapped the photo that would make them — and him — famous. Within days, the image had appeared in newspapers around the world.After the war, Oshri became a chemist whose research was key in dairy production. In 1996 he worked for the minister of religious affairs. Karasenti, a director and choreographer, went on to a found a dance troupe and performed all over Israel. Itzhak earned his medical degree from the Technion in Haifa in 1974 and specialized in gynecology.Soon after the war — which saw Israel capture the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, the Golan Heights and the Sinai — the survivors of the 66th division returned to Ammunition Hill, where they stacked stones into a memorial for the paratroopers who died there. Atop of the pile, they placed a helmet. On the other side of the hill, they erected a smaller memorial for the Jordanian soldiers.“We thought they fought very bravely, and many of them died,” Yifat said. “Somebody has since removed that memorial. I’m very angry about it.”While Yifat has publicly expressed some ambivalence about Israel’s rule over Palestinians who live in the territories it took in 1967, he said he had no doubt that Israel must retain all of Jerusalem.“We fought and lost so many friends to unite Jerusalem for the Jewish world,” he said. “There’s no going backwards.”Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

Trump is one of those leaders who will either 'have to adjust ... or fail totally and ride out of town'-Ex-UN chief: Israeli-Palestinian peace impossible with current leaders-Kofi Annan says parties haven’t engaged in serious talks in years, ‘crucial’ accord unlikely ‘given the leadership in place’-By AP and Times of Israel staff May 9, 2017, 11:41 pm

Former United Nations chief Kofi Annan starkly dismissed chances for Israeli-Palestinian peace while Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and PA President Mahmoud Abbas remain in power.The Israelis and Palestinians haven’t engaged in serious negotiations in years, Annan told The Associated Press in a wide-ranging interview, “given the leadership that is in place, I don’t see a possibility of making a deal.”He said ending the conflict is “crucial” even as international attention focuses on Middle East wars in Iraq, Syria and Yemen.“To find a solution, you need to have in place leaders who are prepared to deal,” he said. “We haven’t seen that for a long time.”In the interview, Annan maintained US President Donald Trump’s go-it-alone foreign policy is weakening America’s standing at a time of tumult, lamenting how the US leader’s flip-flopping “makes it difficult for your friends” who still seek US leadership.Annan also discounted hopes for a Russian-led plan to stabilize Syria.Flanked by three fellow members of his “Elders” group — including a former president, prime minister and UN peace envoy for the planet’s worst crises — Annan implored “mainstream leaders” in the West and elsewhere to counter the rising tide of nationalism.He said he saw no benefit in a military attack on North Korea, arguing it would increase the threat of nuclear war, and wagered that if Trump pulls the United States out of the global climate change agreement, “I would put money on the table that they would go back in four years or so.”Annan described Trump as “one of this year’s leaders who come into town, who come into office and believe they have all the answers,” scapegoating Mexico or China for longer-term structural problems — like a welder who is paid $25 an hour being replaced by a robot that requires no health care — and brushing aside international efforts to tackle security to migration challenges.“Sooner or later, they go through a reality therapy and discover that it is not as simple or as easy as they thought,” Annan said in an editorial board interview with the AP, accompanied by former Irish president Mary Robinson, former Norwegian prime minister Gro Harlem Brundtland and longtime peace mediator Lakhdar Brahimi. “They either have to adjust … or they stick to their guns and fail totally and ride out of town.”US leadership “is being weakened now by the statements we hear out of Washington, the uncertainty and the fact that the messages keep changing and sometimes rather fast,” said Annan, the 2001 Nobel Peace laureate.And even when US diplomats go around the world and make “good sense,” he said the inevitable question will be: “Where does your leader stand?”The Elders’ fears about populism extend to Europe.While 39-year-old centrist Emmanuel Macron defeated Marine Le Pen in France’s presidential election last weekend, the extreme-right candidate received twice as many votes as her father did 15 years ago, Robinson noted.“In Holland, it’s worse,” said Brahimi, bemoaning that people took comfort from a vote that returned moderates to power but showed far-right gains.Annan, who like Brahimi failed as a UN envoy to halt Syria’s civil war, now in its seventh year, expressed little faith in a recent agreement negotiated by Russia, Turkey and Iran to set up “de-escalation zones” in the Arab country.He said his mediation approach was guided by getting all of conflict’s protagonists to buy in. He didn’t see backers of Syria’s rebels, such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar or the US, endorsing the strategy of Russia, which has used its military to keep Syrian President Bashar Assad in power. Iran also is backing Assad, while the US is fighting in Syria to defeat the Islamic State group.“On the question of the zones, I’m not sure how it’s going to work,” Annan said, citing “many players in that limited theater” and the risk of a deadly accident, especially as some appear “ready to torpedo any agreement you make.”Annan, who led the UN from 1997 to 2006, also shared his preoccupation with North Korea’s escalating crisis. The North is racing toward the capability to threaten the US mainland with a nuclear warhead, and the Trump administration has delivered various suggestions for eliminating the danger, including possible preemptive strikes. The main US effort, however, is pressuring China to rein in North Korea, its wayward ally.“The major parties involved are talking past each other,” Annan said, and negotiating with Beijing must occur “behind closed doors.”“China is a powerful and a proud country. They don’t want to be seen to be taking instructions given to them publicly,” he said.And of possible US strikes, Annan said “one can bluff, one can threaten, but I really don’t see a military solution that will not make the problem much, much worse.”Annan, who met in New York this week with new UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and the 15-nation Security Council, said a US pullout out of the 2015 Paris climate agreement would be “unfortunate.” The deal compels countries to set goals for reducing carbon emissions to stem global warming. Trump has threatened to cancel the accord and called climate change a “hoax.”Annan said the US would “isolate itself” by withdrawing, as “the rest of the international community will go ahead.” American states, businesses and even energy companies would realize the economic and environmental benefits of a “green revolution” and would buck Trump’s national policy. And he predicted the next president would reverse the decision.The Elders disagreed, however, on the ultimate effect of a broader US retreat.“It is worrying,” said Robinson, a former UN human rights chief, fearing Trump’s transactional approach could replace American values.Brundtland said Macron and a new generation of European leaders would step up.Brahimi was more fatalistic.“If the US withdraws from the world, we will get used to it,” he said.



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