WEEK OF MAY 28 THROUGH JUNE 2
Russia/NATO/EU-US Alliance Worries China
June 1….(Statfor) Beijing is watching warily as Moscow cozies up with its old foe NATO, concerned that Russia's newly forged alliance could in the long run bring the U.S.-led coalition right up to China's borders. Analysts and diplomats say Beijing has taken the formation of the new NATO-Russia security council very quietly -- perhaps resigned to having little say on Russia's bear hug with Europe and the United States in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks. China will keep a close eye on how far Russia pursues its military cooperation with NATO, and whether the U.S.-dominated security grouping makes any moves to expand into Central Asia. Chinese President Jiang Zemin and Putin signed a friendship treaty last July. But the world and geopolitics changed after changed after Sept. 11. China was caught by surprise by Putin's swift backing of the war on terror. China also watched warily as the war on terror brought U.S. troops into its backyard, in Afghanistan, and other Central Asian states. Beijing is expected to court its neighbors to counter the U.S. presence in the East. Just a few years ago, Russia and China were forging a strategic partnership aimed at balancing the increasingly unchallenged U.S. global influence. China may sense a threat to its ability to use Russia as a lever in negotiations with the United States, and that it is losing its tentative foothold in Central Asia due to the increasing Russian and U.S. presence in the region.
Note: Might China look to recruit the infamous “Kings of the East” to counter balance the burgeoning EU/NATO block. (These changes in the political power bases of the world portend the scenario of Revelation 15:12)
Terrorists Smuggling Missiles into U.S.?
May 31….(Washington Times) The U.S. government has alerted airlines and law enforcement agencies that new intelligence indicates that Islamic terrorists have smuggled shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles into the United States. Classified intelligence reports circulated among top Bush administration policymakers identified the missiles as Russian-made SA-7 surface-to-air missiles or U.S.-made Stinger anti-aircraft missiles obtained covertly in Afghanistan. Authorities believe that terrorists may have smuggled three types of "manpads," or man-portable, air-defense systems, including SA-7s and Stingers, into the country. The SA-7s have a range of more than 3 miles and can hit aircraft flying at 13,500 feet. Stinger missiles can hit aircraft flying at 10,000 feet and 5 miles away.
Iran Training PLO with Stingers
May 31….(Middle East Newsline) Iran has launched a training program to instruct Palestinian militants in the use of shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles. Intelligence sources said the training is taking place in Lebanon and is being conducted for Palestinian allies of the Iranian-backed Hizbullah. The sources said members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command as well as Hamas and Fatah members are being instructed by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards in the use of SA-7 surface-to-air missiles. The program is seen as the prelude to a campaign to shoot down Israeli combat aircraft, in conjunction with the same type of assault upon American targets.
An Emergency U.S. Government?
May 31….(FOJ) Since the new age of terrorism dawned on September 11th, the U.S. Congress has set itself to quietly developing emergency plans to deal with a “doomsday scenario” in which many lawmakers are killed or injured during a terrorist attack. Many lawmakers believe that United Airlines Flight 93 was headed for the U.S. Capitol on September 11th to destroy the governing apparatus of America's democracy. In the aftermath of that near disaster, many plans are now being proposed to American politicians to continue the operation of governing the country from emergency locations, and in the event that Senators and Representatives are killed in an incident, plans are being formulated for emergency replacement leadership. Congress recently set aside $100 million in a supplemental spending bill last week to build and outfit what would be a “de facto capitol” with the necessary communications and computer technology to operate a “de facto emergency government”. As one lawmaker put it, in a time of National Peril, we have to utilize emergency contingencies to continue to lead the nation.
Note: Such a doomsday-scenario could possibly play right into the hands of the Antichrist.
Iraq Preparing Chemical Weapons
May 31….(Middle East Newsline) Intelligence reports indicate that Iraq is preparing its biological and chemical weapons arsenal for a war with the United States. U.S. officials said the Defense Department and the military are bracing for the prospect that Iraq will tip its Scud-class missiles with chemical weapons.
Arafat And His Government Reforms
May 31….(FOJ) Israel is unwilling to take any more chances with Palestinian Authority, and especially with PA Chairman Yasser Arafat. Attempts to build reform in the PA around Arafat are a waste of time, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon told visiting US envoy William Burns today. Sharon also told Burns that for any international diplomatic process to take place that Palestinian terror and incitement must end, accompanied by true security, governmental, and financial reform inside the PA. Burns however stressed that the US is under intensive Arab pressure to provide a time line for diplomatic negotiations, in order to give the Palestinians the "political horizon" they claim is needed to end the violence. Yet the U.S. sees all meetings with Arafat as counterproductive, because they are likely to be interpreted on the Palestinian street as signs that he still has international standing. "His position among the Palestinians is difficult, one American spokesman said. It is highly recognized in Washington that a successor to Arafat can only emerge if Washington can convey to the Palestinian people that Arafat is counter-productive. Arafat will only receive political competition in Palestinian circles if there is a perception that Arafat is weak. His governmental reforms are intended to create the impression that he leading the charge towards a more democratic state, but the reforms are a charade.
Nato-Russia Will Fight World Terrorism
May 31….(FOJ) The new NATO with Russia on board as a new member has declared terrorism to be their new common enemy. President Vladimir Putin and other NATO leaders including Tony Blair and President George W Bush hailed the treaty as marking the definitive burial of the Cold War, and the opening of new chapter in Euro-Atlantic relations. Many of the leaders of 20 of the world's most powerful nations intimated that the new declaration meant that we are no longer divided, but united. NATO officials said that the new unity was a natural consequence of the fall of the Berlin Wall. The Nato-Russia Council will provide a "security operation forum", giving NATO and Russia an equal voice on fighting terrorism; non-proliferation of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons; tactical missile defense; peacekeeping operations; civil defense; military co-operation and search and rescue missions. Ultimately the Euro-US-Russian alliance could guarantee global security.
Note: Well finally we may be witnessing the emergence of the Global Infrastructure that will enable the Antichrist to guarantee SECURITY to Israel and the entire Middle East. “Peace and Safety” will be a theme of the Antichrist. (1Thessalonians 5:1-4 But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.)
Pakistan Threatens to Use Nukes
May 30….(Harpazo) Pakistan has threatened to use nuclear weapons even if India were to stick to conventional arms in any conflict. Pakistan syas that it has never subscribed to "non-first-use" of atomic weapons and that ruling out their use would give New Delhi a "license to kill." U.S. intelligence sources are also convinced that Pakistan is trading nuclear secrets with Saudi Arabia in exchange for cash to maintain and expand its missile programs. Pakistan has acquired the expertise and the material to make nuclear bombs, it doesn't have the money for the infrastructure or the development of intermediate-range missiles to deliver the weapons. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia does not want to get caught as the only major power in the Persian Gulf without nuclear weapons and missiles. So Saudi Arabia has been pumping hundreds of millions into Pakistan's missile and nuclear programs. Thus the urgency for Pakistan's conducting of missile tests, as was the case this weekend.
U.S. Sees Muhammed Dahlan as Arafat Heir
May 30….(Ha Aretz) Against the backdrop of a new round of intense U.S.-led diplomatic activity over the Middle East, sources close to the administration claim that the U.S. now regards Mohammed Dahlan, head of the Palestinian Preventive Security forces in Gaza, as a leading candidate to head that new security structure and possibly step into the leadership line as Arafat's heir. Dahlan was in Washington last week, as were intelligence chiefs from Israel, Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia, for meetings with U.S. CIA Chief George Tenet.
PA Wants Vatican Sympathy
May 30….(Weekend) The Palestinians played a very delicate card at Bethlehem´s Church of the Nativity and may have gotten away with it. Palestinian gunmen and terrorists took over one of the holiest sites in Christendom shortly after Israel launched Operation Defensive Shield in late March. Israel surrounded the church with tanks but refused to attack, hoping to spare the religious site and avoid antagonizing the Christian world. Yet that restraint has won Israel few supporters: The international community has condemned Israel´s siege, while expressing hardly a word of censure for the Palestinian gunmen that took it over. The standoff demonstrated the delicate balance of forces between Israel, the Muslim-dominated Palestinian Authority and the Christian world. Palestinian officials often try to portray themselves as the inheritors of Jesus "the first Palestinian," in P.A. President Yasser Arafat´s phrase whom they frequently note, also was persecuted by the Jews. This analogy is gaining some attraction in Europe, where an Italian newspaper recently ran a cartoon showing Israeli tanks surrounding a baby Jesus. The caption made clear the intended connection between Jesus´ tribulations with the Jews and the plight of the Palestinians in the Church of the Nativity. Israel´s interests were unimportant to the Vatican. Ironically, since the Israeli withdrawal, the Christian population has been decimated through intimidation from the Muslim-dominated Palestinian Authority. Whereas Christians made up a 60 percent majority of residents in Bethlehem in 1990, they have fallen to a 20 percent minority since the rise of the Intifada in 2001.
The Declaration of Rome
May 30….(FOJ) While leaders of 18 NATO nations voted to adopt the so-called "Declaration of Rome" at a closely guarded airbase outside of Rome and include the Russian Federation into NATO's decision-making process, the question arises, what is the declaration of Rome?. NATO was formed to oppose the ominous threat presented by the Soviet Union after World War II. The Cold War divided Europe. Now effectively the boundaries of Europe are being re-written, suggesting that with Russian participation, Europe could stretch from the Atlantic Ocean to the Ural Mountains and beyond. Last week after Bush's visit to Berlin, a senior German diplomat said that Europe could become the strongest economy in the world with a 500 million person population from the Atlantic to Russia Siberia. The Treaty of Rome, and the Council of Rome in the 1950's established the concept that is transpiring today with a united Europe that includes Russia. Oddly enough, the Marian apparition of Fatima included the promise of Russian inculcation into the realm of Mary's Immaculate Heart. Mary conveyed that only after the Russia miracle could world peace be established on earth.
Christian Support of Israel
May 30….(FOJ) There has been a groundswell of support for Israel among American evangelical Christians over the last six months during the suicide attacks on Israel. Rabbi Yehiel Eckstein, President of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews intends to channel that support into political action. Eckstein has announced the Christian "Stand for Israel" campaign in cooperation with Ralph Reed, former director of the Christian Coalition, and present adviser to US President George W. Bush, and chairman of the Georgia Republican Party.
Note: While America and Christians in particular need to defend Israel against Satanic onslaught, and stand up for the Biblically based Abrahamic Covenant, Christians must also be sensitive to the Palestinians need for Jesus Christ. In fact, the whole Middle East needs to know Jesus, including Israel. Christians should always be aware that the Antichrist will deceive Israel, and arrange a peace-with-security environment in the Middle East.
Bush for Democratic Palestinian State
May 30….(FOJ) President Bush said today that a combination of improved security for Israel and the adoption of democratic principles by the PA could provide the under-pinings for the creation of a new Palestinian state neighboring Israel. After meeting with his Cabinet, Bush said stability and new institutions are the goals of dual Mid-east missions by CIA Director George J. Tenet and Assistant Secretary of State William Burns. "We are making progress on a strategy that would put the underpinnings of a Palestinian state in place," Bush said. Bush's approach to peace in the Middle East melds the old with the new seeking security for Israel against terror strikes, while trying to make the Palestinian movement more democratic so that any state established alongside Israel has a better chance to prosper. An international peace conference this summer will take up these issues.
Note: While democracy would be a noble aspiration for states throughout the Middle East, the establishment of a democratic state on land God has given to Israel is not noble, and will not gain God's vote of confidence. The re-gathering of modern Israel is a Divine work-in-progress, and God is working in the affairs of all nations and the conflict surrounding the burdensome problem of Jerusalem.
Arafat Signs Reform Law, Finally
May 29….(Weekend) Yasser Arafat has signed the Palestinian Basic Law, five years after his parliament adopted the constitution defining his leadership powers. Arafat signed the law into effect unexpectedly late last night, the head of the Palestinian Legal Committee said today. The Basic Law of the constitution defines the powers of Arafat's executive authority and the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), or parliament. It was passed almost unanimously by the PLC's 88 members in October 1997. Arafat never signed the law, although he was required to approve it within two weeks of its adoption. But the Palestinian leader, who has promised to reform his administration, suddenly signed the law unannounced.
Note: Under intense pressure to implement democratic reforms before returning to peace talks, Arafat at long last is willing to use parliamentary reform to give the impression that he is cracking down on corruption in his government. But the corrupt one still reigns.
Israeli High School Attacked
May 29….(Ha Aretz) A Palestinian gunman entered a Jewish settlement in the West Bank Tuesday night and opened fire, killing three teenage students from a religious high school. The West Bank settlement of Itamar, southeast of Nablus was the latest site of terrorism, when a gunman started shooting at boys playing basketball at the school. A security guard killed the gunman. The Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, the military wing of Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat's Fatah movement claimed responsibility for the shooting attack.
China Cooperating With “Axis of Evil”
May 29….(World Watch) Chinese President Jiang Zemin recently dismissed the Middle East crisis as just so much "Israeli killings." And last month Chinese vice-president and heir-apparent Hu Jintao remarked that in Asia, China would oppose the "bullying superpower," referring, of course, to the U.S. The American Foreign Policy Council has warned that Zemin's recent visits to Libya and Iran, classic foes of the U.S., indicated that it is joining forces with the "'axis of evil' to counter U.S. dominance in global affairs through global anti-terrorism." In a recent editorial, the Iran Daily concluded that Zemin's visit to Iran symbolized the stand of "Beijing in opposing the new world order recently advocated by the United States." Last month, the Chinese Foreign Ministry's spokesman Kong Quan rejected Bush's label of "axis of evil" against Iran, adding that China believes that no country has the right to exercise bullying tactics against other states in the world. Iran is China's prime petroleum supplier, and trade volume between the two countries has doubled in the last three years, reaching $350 million annually. Iran has been encouraging China "to expeditiously take measures to prevent the United States from acquiring a foothold in the Middle East.”
Bush Sends Envoy To Middle East
May 29….(FOJ) President Bush is sending envoy William Burns, assistant secretary of state for the Near East, to the Middle East area, and CIA Director George Tenet will likely to follow as the Bush administration begins a new effort to encourage peace talks. Burns will be seeking the views of Egyptian, Israeli, Palestinian, Jordanian, Saudi Arabian, Syrian and Lebanese officials. The administration already has offered a broad outline of what it hopes to see come out of peace talks eventually: a Palestinian state, a more democratic Palestinian Authority, massive aid to the Palestinians and security for Israel against terror attacks.
Israel Launches Spy Satellite
May 29….(Arutz) Israel now has its own set of eyes to observe Iran, Iraq, and Syria, after the launching of the Ofek-5 spy satellite atop a Shavit rocket. Israel had previously relied on outside sources for information concerning military buildups by its neighbors. The spy satellite is meant to improve Israel's reconnaissance of missile and weapons of mass destruction facilities in the Middle East.
Israel Considers Opening Temple Mount
May 29….(ICEJ) Israel authorities are leaning towards ending the 20-month ban on Jewish and Christian visitors to the Temple Mount, but the Muslim Waqf is threatening to block their entry. Nearly
two years after the Israeli government declared the Temple Mount in Jerusalem off-limits to non-Muslims, intensive efforts are again under way to reopen the site to Christians and Jews. The 20-month ban has been the longest time the site has been closed to non-Muslims since the unification of Israel's capital in 1967. Israeli intelligence has urged the re-opening of the site, fearing that extremists may take matters into their own hands and concerned that the long closure of the site is setting a dangerous precedent. In response, Adnan al-Husseini, director of the Waqf at the site, threatened that he would not allow non-Muslims to enter. "Only Palestinians will decide who will and who will not enter," he said.
Arafat's Goal is to Acquire all of Israel
May 29….(FOJ) The Palestinian State that is always on Arafat's mind is not an Arab state that coexists with Israel, but an Arab state that takes the place of Israel. It is his war that has no end. The Fatah constitution says the organization's goal is the "complete liberation of Palestine, and eradication of the Zionist State. On the day he signed the first Oslo accord at the White House in 1993, Arafat told an interviewer that the agreement "will be a basis for an independent Palestinian state in accordance with the Palestine National Council resolution issued in 1974." He was referring to the PLO's "phased plan," which was adopted in Cairo on June 9, 1974. It calls for establishing a Palestinian state on any Israeli land that can be acquired through negotiation, then using that territory as a forward base for "liberating" the rest of Israel by force.
Bush Pleads With Europe
May 29….(FOJ) Standing above the D-Day beaches of Normandy to deliver a Memorial Day speech, US President George Bush reminded Europe of the debt it owed America for the Second World War and delivered a heartfelt call to Europe to join America in the war against terrorism. The call reflected Mr. Bush's concern that America must not be isolated in the war against terrorism. Europe has steadfastly upbraided America for its role in combating terrorism.
Note: FOJ noted in its September 2001 Newsroom comments that Europe would not actively support America in the War on Terrorism, but rather would lay low and let America take the brunt of that burden, while at the same time building a base for future world supremacy.
Iran Building Missiles to Threaten Israel
Israeli officials have expressed concern over Iran's recent successful testing of its Shahab-3 medium-range missile. The Shahab is capable of striking Israel and bearing a biological, chemical or nuclear warhead. President George W. Bush, fearing that the Iranians would also target U.S. troops stationed in the Mid-east discussed the possibility of Iran acquiring weapons of mass destruction in his talks with Russian president Vladimir Putin. Iran's development of missiles combined with a nuclear capability are basically being structured with Israel as the primary target. Defense Israeli Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer said that Israel is carefully monitoring Iran's progress and has warned the international community of the dangers of Iran's missile program. U.S. officials said last week that Iran had carried out a successful test of the Shahab-3, which has a range of about 1,300 kilometers (800 miles) adequate to reach Israel. U.S. Defense Minister Donald Rumsfeld said last week that the Iranians were "getting assistance" in becoming a nuclear power. The issue of Russia's sale of nuclear energy technology to Iran reportedly created friction at the summit between U.S. President George W. Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow last week.
Russia May Join EU?
May 29….(Weekend) The EU-Russia summit begins today in Moscow. The EU is seeking to step up the political dialogue and back economic reform in Russia. Discussions are expected to focus on the fight against terrorism, the European Security and Defense Policy and nuclear safety. The President of the European Council, José María Aznar, and the President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin, will be traveling together from Rome, the venue for the NATO–Russia Summit, to Moscow, where the EU–Russia Summit will be held. European Commission President Romano Prodi, Commissioners Loyola de Palacio, Pascal Lamy and Chris Patten, and the High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy, Javier Solana will also be present. One of the items on the agenda will be foreign and security policy, where the possibility of Russia participating in the EU is a possibility. The EU is considering the possibility of using Russian long-haul aircraft in EU military missions. EU trade with Russia is expected to increase substantially. Economic reform and co-operation will also be discussed since the EU is Russia's largest trading partner. EU trade with Russia is expected to increase substantially after the next EU enlargement to the east. Russia's accession into WTO, which is backed by the EU, will also be discussed. An EU-Russian Energy Partnership is currently being discussed. Russia is a major supplier of energy to the EU. Over 21 per cent of total net EU oil imports in 1999 came from Russia, which represents 16 per cent of total EU oil consumption. Moreover 41 per cent of EU gas imports in 2000 came from Russia, which are 19 per cent of total EU gas consumption. The EU has a vital interest in maintaining and enhancing Russia's role as a supplier of gas and oil and to strengthen Russia as a secure and reliable supplier. Russia hopes the summit may lay the way to a future admission into the European Union!
Grandmother, Baby Slain in Suicide Bombing
May 28….(Jerusalem Post) A woman in her sixties and her year-old baby granddaughter were killed, and some 40 people were wounded, including the baby's parents, when a Palestinian suicide bomber blew himself up outside a cafe in a Petah Tikva mall yesterday evening. The terrorist, from Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat's Fatah organization, detonated his bomb among dozens of people, many of them mothers and children, at the cafe in the Em Hamoshavot strip mall. Five of the wounded were in serious condition, including a three-year-old girl. Police said the bomb used by the suicide bomber contained around 10 kilograms of explosives, packed with metal objects to maximize the number of casualties. Fatah-Tanzim's Aksa Martyrs Brigades claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement issued on Hizbullah's Manar television station broadcasting from Lebanon. The statement said, "We will not stop our operations as long as the occupation continues in our land."
Israel Raids Jenin After Suicide Attack
May 28….(Jerusalem Post) The Israeli army has entered the West Bank town of Jenin, following a suicide attack that killed two Israelis, one of them a baby, and injured more than 30 others in the town of Petah Tikva outside Tel Aviv. The Israeli tanks, supported by helicopters, moved into Jenin early on Tuesday, sparking clashes with Palestinian gunmen, according to local witnesses. It was the second such incursion by Israel since it occupied the Palestinian refugee camp there last month. On Monday, the army reoccupied and declared a curfew in the city of Qalqilya, tightened its encirclement of Tulkarm and swept back into Bethlehem, making several arrests. The move into Jenin came only hours after the suicide attack, for which Yasser Arafat's al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades claimed responsibility.
NATO's Declaration of Rome signed
May 28….(Weekend) Leaders of 19 NATO countries voted Tuesday to allow Russia into the alliance's decision-making process, effectively making a diplomatic partner of the very entity that NATO was created to defend against. "Today marks an historic achievement for a great alliance and a great European nation," President George Bush told the members. "Two former foes are now joined as partners, overcoming 50 years of division and a decade of uncertainty. And this partnership takes us closer to an even larger goal: a Europe that is whole, free and at peace for the first time in history." Bush, other NATO leaders and Russian President Vladimir met at a closely guarded airbase outside of Rome to sign the declaration, which admits the Russian Federation into NATO's decision-making process.
Hezbullah Expanding Terror Operations
May 28….(JWR) Hezbollah, the heavily armed, Lebanese-based Islamic terrorist organization is expanding its operations and is sending terror squads to operate along Israel's eastern and southern frontiers. Hassan Nasrallah, Hezbollah's spiritual leader and secretary general, recently approved secret plans to infiltrate new Hezbollah units into neighboring Jordan and Egypt. Hezbollah plans to launch rocket attacks on Israeli towns and settlements and by smuggling various types of Iranian-supplied weapons, including Katyusha rockets, to the Palestinians for use in their intifadeh. the new strategy was reportedly dreamed up by Imad Mughniyah, head of Hezbollah's attack units and Nasrallah's deputy for security affairs. This is the same Mughniyah who is believed to have been behind the suicide bombing that killed 241 U.S. Marines and sailors in Beirut in 1983.
Bush Concerned About Catholic Church
May 28….(FOJ) President Bush speaking before a meeting with Pope John Paul, said today that he was concerned over the state of the U.S. Roman Catholic Church which has been shaken by child sex abuse scandals. I will tell the Pope that I am concerned about the Catholic Church in America. I am concerned about its standing. I say that because the Catholic Church is an incredibly important institution in our country," Bush told reporters.
Russia Assisting China Bulidup
May 28….(Debka) The Russian aerospace-defense industry is helping China build up the required military equipment for a possible Taiwan operation. Russia recently sold systems that include two US$200 million Altair Research and Production Association Federal State Unitary Enterprise Rif S-300F ship borne air defense systems for heavy cruisers, the naval counterpart of the S-300 surface to air missile system (SAM) that has a tactical ballistic missile defense (BMD) capability. The choice of the S-300F by the PLA Army Navy may indicate that it intends to develop a class of 10,000 ton plus missile cruisers by 2005, possibly in tandem with the development of a class of large aircraft carriers for power projection throughout the Asia-Pacific region. Intelligence sources indicate that China's indigenous shipbuilding industry is advancing towards the building of units geared towards a near-term Taiwan invasion.
WEEK OF MAY 20 THROUGH MAY 27
Syria Celebrates “Martyrdom Day”
May 24….(Arutz) President Bashar Assad today lauded highly the heroic operations of the Palestinian militants and resistance against the Israeli occupation. He paid homage to the sacrifices of the Syrian forces in the battles waged in defense of the homeland and the nation.” Assad was speaking “on the blessed occasion of Syrian Martyrs Day.” The Syrian dictator also reportedly took the opportunity to “double the salaries of the daughters and sons of Syrian martyrs in all their educational and academic years.” Assad publicly criticized what he termed the blind US support to Israel. “Syrian Armed Forces and all Syria´s 14 Governorates celebrated Syrain Martyrs Day with a pledge to continue the march of struggle under the leadership of President Assad,” until the liberation of the occupied Arab territories is accomplished.”
Note: Imagine setting aside a day to honor terrorists.
Its About Israel's Existence
May 24….(Arutz) While many people in the West seem to be convinced that the Israeli-Arab dispute is strictly about land, and the illegal occupation of land, the Arab press weekly provides evidence that the issue of contention between Arabs and Jews is really about the very existence of the Jewish state. Egyptian columnist Samir Ragab writes in his al-Gomhoureya article, Israel, for 54 years now has never enjoyed secure settled living. It's a natural thing that happens to any thief or housebreaker!” The Aab world cannot tolerate the thief Israel stealing any of our land. Another Egyptian paper, the mainstream and government-controlled al-Ahram Weekly published an article marking the anniversary of Israel's Declaration of Independence. The article was entitled “Catastrophe Without End”. The author, president of the London-based Palestine Land Society, wrote, “Whatever the final outcome to the 54-year tragedy of the Palestinian Nakbah ( catastrophe…the Arab reference to the creation of the Jewish state) might be, we may be sure that, though Palestinian suffering may continue, the Palestinians will not give up their rights, and the racist Zionist enterprise will not last for ever.” In its "Viewpoint" column last week, the conservative daily Kayhan International criticized the apathy of the Muslim nations and called upon them to unite against the U.S.
The following are excerpts from the column: What has happened to the Islamic spirit of Jihad? No Muslim head of state has yet dared to call the American administration the number one terrorist and the chief supporter of terrorism! Why? Uncle Sam blatantly calls Muslims terrorists and supporters of terrorism, but no Muslim country has yet dared to summon up courage to say: America, you are the terrorist. Let all Muslims come together under one umbrella and overcome this unwarranted fear of the U.S. Our lack of faith in the fundamentals of Islam is dragging us to our doom. "It is high time every Muslim realizes that there is no political solution to the Palestinian crisis! If there was, then the Zionists would have long gone back to the lands they belong." "The Muslim Ummah can achieve this victory once again if only they close ranks and stop worrying that their unity would irk the U.S. We should not displease God, the Almighty Creator…" Palestinians require arms and armies and it is the duty of the Muslim Ummah to make these means available to them to once and for all crush the Zionist state."
A Day of Suicide Attacks in Israel
May 24….(Jerusalem Post) A suspected Palestinian militant tried to ram an explosives-laden car into a crowded Tel Aviv nightclub on Friday but was killed when an Israeli security guard opened fire. "It was a suicide attack with a car." Tel Aviv police chief Yosef Sedbon said the attacker picked a dance club packed with mostly teenaged revelers. Witnesses said there was panic as the car, which stopped a few meters from the club's entrance, was enveloped in flames. The car exploded when a security officer shot at the driver. The al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, which has links to Arafat's Fatah movement, had vowed to avenge Israel's killing of a commander, two fighters and a civilian near the West Bank city of Nablus in a missile strike on Wednesday night. On Thursday, Israeli police said disaster was averted when suspected Palestinian militants tried to set ablaze a major fuel depot near Tel Aviv by detonating a bomb under a tanker truck.
Bush Visits Germany
May 24….(Reuters) President Bush called on his European allies on Thursday to put aside their differences and transform NATO into a potent force to fight terrorism, saying to shirk the task invited "certain blackmail." "In this war we defend not just America or Europe. We are defending civilization itself," he told the German parliament. We oppose an enemy that thrives on violence and the grief of the innocent. The terrorists are defined by their hatreds. They hate democracy and tolerance and free speech and women and Jews and Christians, and anyone that disagrees with them. Calling September 11 "a deep dividing line in our history, a change of eras as sharp and clear as Pearl Harbor or the first day of the Berlin blockade," Bush said America and Europe must throw off old suspicions and "realize our common interests." Bush endorsed NATO taking in members from former Soviet bloc states in eastern Europe. NATO leaders will sign an agreement in Rome next week that includes Russia in some decision-making. An estimated 20,000 people demonstrated against Bush not far from his hotel. Bush is under fire in Europe over what many view as U.S. unilateralism on many key issues.
Bush and Putin Disagree on Iran
May 24….(FOJ) Russia and the United States will "work closely" together to resolve their row over Russian help to Iran in building a nuclear power plant Speaking after talks in the Kremlin with Russian President Vladimir Putin at a four-day summit, Bush said they had discussed the issue of Iran in the context of not letting weapons of mass destruction fall into the hands of terrorists. The greatest danger of this war is the prospect of terrorists acquiring weapons of mass destruction. Our nations must spare no effort in preventing all forms of proliferation and we discussed Iran in this context today," Bush said in a statement at a Kremlin news conference. The Bush administration, which views Iran as a member of the "axis of evil" of countries which it says sponsor terrorism, opposes Russian help to Iran in building a nuclear plant at Bushehr which it says runs counter to non-proliferation efforts. Putin, in initial remarks, avoided any direct mention of the dispute over Iran which involves a $800 million Russian contract for nuclear technology supplies to help Tehran build the plant. The issue of Russian nuclear technology cooperation with the Islamic republic has dogged the summit crowned by the signing of a major nuclear arms reduction pact. But some senior Bush Administration officials continue to indicate a grave concern about Russian nuclear technology going to Iran, calling it the "single most important proliferation threat there is." But Putin disagreed. "I'd like to point out that cooperation between Iran and Russia is not of a character which would undermine the process of non-proliferation," he said. "Our cooperation is exclusively as regards to the energy sector focused on the problems of an economic nature."
Note: Russia and Iran will be nuclear-powered for their joint assault on the mountains of Israel. (Ezekiel 38 and 39 ) Ezekiel 38:8-10 After many days thou shalt be visited: in the latter years thou shalt come into the land that is brought back from the sword, and is gathered out of many people, against the mountains of Israel, which have been always waste: but it is brought forth out of the nations, and they shall dwell safely all of them. Thou shalt ascend and come like a storm, thou shalt be like a cloud to cover the land, thou, and all thy bands, and many people with thee. Thus saith the Lord GOD; It shall also come to pass, that at the same time shall things come into thy mind, and thou shalt think an evil thought:
The Business of Claiming Terror Responsibility
May 24….(FOJ) According to IDF data, the number of terror attacks in the last seven weeks has dropped by 85 to 95 percent compared to the previous seven weeks. The high watermark for terror incidents and claims of responsibility came back on April 3, the day the IDF went into the last city of its Operation Defensive Shield list, Nablus. Prior to the Nablus and Jenin operations, 5 Palestinian terror organizations were sharing in claiming responsibility for each attack. With Israel's incursion, an entire layer of the “terror groups” leadership was eliminated. There's no certainty about which leaders were responsible for exactly which incident. There is no way to presume there's any credibility for responsibility made by various terror organizations that take pride in their claims the attacks. It is often more convenient for one group to remain silent, while another, for its own reasons, does the opposite, claiming to be responsible. Most of the terrorist cells operate in a cloak in mystery and claim responsibility to take the heat off each other, or to attempt to gain popularity among the Palestinian people. The “terrorist-incident claiming” game is designed to keep Israel off balance in figuring out just exactly whom and where to retaliate.
According to Arafat's own terror financing records, he manipulated the assigned terror plots, farming them out to differing organizations in order to prevent the appearance of a trail of evidence to himself. The problem for Arafat was in not allowing the more extreme groups to out-perform his own Fatah-Terror infrastructures, thereby superseding his own popularity among the people. (It seems that when you are in the killing business for political gain, you have to subcontract a lot of the dirty work, to throw the police off your trail, but at the same time you have to keep your hands dirty enough to remain the chief of terrorism) (Also, when you run a terrorist state such as the PA, you have to claim responsibility for enough terrorist attacks to keep the finances flowing in from terror-sponsoring regimes/states that support your uprising)
Arafat's Fatah Responsible for Suicide Bombing
May 23….(Ha Aretz) The al-Aqsa Martyr's Brigade, affiliated with Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat's Fatah faction, took responsibility Wednesday night for the latest suicide bombing in Rishon Letzion which left two Israelis dead and 37 wounded. The attack took place in a pedestrian mall located along Rothschild Street in the center of Rishon Letzion, just south of Tel Aviv.
Note: Arafat and the PA complain that they have been unable to combat terror because Israel has destroyed their policing infrastructure, yet the Fatah has continually claimed responsibility for numerous suicide bombings.
Terror Offensive in the Works
May 23….(DEBKA) Debka intelligence sources reports that spy agencies in the United States, Britain, Russia and Israel are convinced that sleeper terrorist cells, directly run or supported by the Iranians, Libyans, North Koreans, Syrians and Iraqis, have laid hands on biological weapons, including smallpox. Thus the FBI has issued the New York police department with “general warnings” of terrorist attacks over the weekend. Among the possible targets: the Statue of Liberty and Brooklyn Bridge, information is flowing , albeit generalized on the type, time and place of the next terrorist wave, including a heavy volume of intercepts that experts have not been able to decode pointing to an attack on a massive scale. Intelligence and counter-terrorism sources say authorities in several countries are getting set for nuclear terrorist attacks with casualties in the region of 10,000 or 50,000. According to the latest intelligence information in US and Israeli hands, several dozen terrorists, if not more have managed over the past few weeks to infiltrate the United States, prompting a wide manhunt. Israel engaged some of those foreign cells for the first time in close quarters combat in April, in the course of its large-scale counter-terrorist Defensive Shield operation in the West Bank. The conventional wisdom in the United States and Israel is that not much time is left to figure it all out. Intelligence and counter-terrorism agencies conclude from the field investigations that Imad Mughniyeh, the Iranian-Palestinian-Shi'ite Lebanese terror master, is the moving force behind the terror wave in that is in the making. He is widely believed to have aided in planning the September 11 attacks. America and Israel knows that Mughniyeh attended a summit meeting of top terrorist chiefs convened in Lebanon in late April or early May. They met at the Hizballah's Husseini base in the Syrian-controlled Bekaa Valley, which is occupied by Iranian Revolutionary Guardsmen. Present were Iranian intelligence officers and the chiefs of the Lebanese Hizballah, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the PFLP-General Command, including the group's operations officer Jihad Jibril, who was subsequently assassinated in Beirut on Monday, May 20 by a bomb planted in his car. Also there were the heads of Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and their operations officers. Although Mughniyeh is known to have been a member of al-Qaeda's terrorist and operational command, long before September 11, also acting as liaison officer between Khamenei and Osama bin Laden.
White House may be Targeted Again
May 23…. (WorldWatch) President Bush has been informed by intelligence officials that the White House may be a target of the next wave of terror attacks against America. Abu Zubaydah, 31, described as the No. 3 leader of Osama bin Laden's terrorist organization, who was captured in Pakistan in March and has been held in an undisclosed location as U.S. investigators intensely grill him about details of al-Qaida operations. Nineteen hijackers seized four U.S. domestic airliners in a coordinated terrorist attack Sept. 11. Two of the planes were then flown into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York, and a third crashed into Defense Department headquarters in the Pentagon outside Washington. It is widely believed that the fourth plane, which was forced to crash into a field in rural Pennsylvania, was destined for the White House. Sources speaking only on condition of anonymity said that in the last several days, Zubaydah had provided new information that pinpointed the White House as the target of the fourth plane, and may be re-targeted in the next phase of terrorism.
EU Says: There is no Axis of Evil
May 23….(Worthy News) The European Union's Presidency warned today that the situation in the Middle East was still "very, very fragile," and urged Israel to accept a Saudi Arabian peace plan. "After 35 years, the Arab world has accepted full normalization of relations with Israel. This has to be reciprocated by Israel," said Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Pique, whose country currently holds the rotating EU presidency. "I believe the situation is very serious, extremely difficult and very, very fragile. There may be new suicide attacks and new retaliation from Israel," he said. "We believe a window of opportunity is opening up. It is very important to use this opportunity." Pique insisted United States involvement is essential to resolving Israeli-Palestinian problems. "There can be no solution without the U.S.," he said. "The United States must abandon its terrible position that first comes security and then we start to discuss the political issues. The EU Presidency noted there were differing opinions between the EU and the U.S, and criticized U.S. President George Bush's statement earlier this year that Iraq, along with Iran and North Korea, made up an "axis of evil." "There is no “axis of evil," Pique said.
Saudi Arabia and Egypt not Doing the Job
May 23….( Worthy News) A senior Hamas leader says Saudi Arabia and Egypt have not pressured Hamas to end the terror attacks against Israel. In fact, Hamas has pledged that the suicide bombings would continue. President Bush has indicated that he is counting on moderate Arab states such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia to convince Palestinian militants to put an end to terrorism. For the past two weeks, it has been widely reported that Saudi Arabia in particular was secretly pressuring Hamas to end its suicide bomb attacks. But in an interview with the London-based Arabic daily Al-Hayat, senior Hamas leader Abdul-Aziz Rantissi said there had been no communication between his group and either Saudi Arabia or Egypt. According to Rantisi, all national and Islamic forces are on the verge of signing a statement concerning the right of the Palestinian people to follow the path of resistance and the intifadah. The national and Islamic forces includes Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat's Fatah faction as well as Hamas, Islamic Jihad, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine and other groups. The grouping was put together under the leadership of Arafat at the beginning of the uprising 20 months ago, with the idea that Arafat would direct the intifadah.
Note: FOJ noted this documentation from the “Jerusalem Conference” held to formulate Arafat's Intifada in July 2000.
PA Election Committee Resigns
May 23….(FOJ) The five members of the Palestinians' Central Elections Committee have resigned because Yasser Arafat has failed to set a date for new elections, despite repeated promises by Arafat for immediate elections. One member responded openly that there was no use in working for elections because there will simply not be any election.
Cosmologist Says God is Involved
May 23….(World Net)Renowned cosmologist Stephen Hawking is now suggesting that God did indeed roll the dice of instantaneous energy, at the moment of creation. "The quantum origin of our universe implies one must take a 'top down' approach to the problem of initial conditions in cosmology," Hawking writes in his latest paper on the origin of the universe. My calculations show that our universe was most likely created by this field at the top of a potential hill. Hawking asserts that the "top down" approach to cosmology is a fundamental departure from scientific tradition. The usual approach to the problem of initial conditions for inflation of creation is to assume some initial configuration for the universe and evolve it forward in time, Hawking said. "This could be described as the 'bottom up' approach to cosmology." The approach Hawking applies in his paper is to work backwards from the current state of the universe to its possible origins, rather than attempting to cook up the appropriate initial state and see if it evolves forward into something resembling the present universe. “Only a “top-down” approach explains why our universe is the way it is, Hawking explains.
More About the Bethlehem Siege
May 23….(World Net) Documents seized by Israel show that Yasser Arafat financially supported Bethlehem's top gunman. Atef Abayat was killed by the Israelis in October 2001. Members of the Abayat family seized the Church of the Nativity and controlled it during a 39-day siege that ended earlier this month. They were among the 39 Palestinians exiled to Europe or sent to the Gaza Strip. A one-page document dated July 9, 2001, contained Mr. Arafat's handwritten confirmation of payment of $300 to Atef Abayat. The payment was authorized by Mr. Arafat at a time when Israel had requested that the Palestinian local leader be arrested on murder charges. "The documents repeatedly show that Arafat is in day-to-day control of the details of all his organizations, relaying the information for comment to the senior members of his militant terror squads. The Abayat family is known throughout the biblical city of Bethlehem for terrorizing residents by demanding "protection money" from Palestinian Christians who sell souvenirs to tourists. During the present Palestinian uprising, members of the family also have taken over homes of Christian families, from which they have fired bullets into the Jewish suburb of Gilo, inviting Israeli retaliation against Christian homes.
Bush: No Respect for Arafat
May 23….(Washington Times) US President George W. Bush says he has never had respect for Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat, because he has failed to lead his people adequately. "He's had a chance to lead. He had a chance to get a peace agreement with my predecessor. He's had chance after chance. And by failing to lead, he has really let the Palestinian people down," Bush told reporters before leaving for Germany and Russia. I say that with a lot of angst in my heart, because I am concerned about the plight of the Palestinian citizenry, poor and isolated and frustrated. Somebody said, has he earned your respect? I said, he never had my respect, because he let his people down. The role of a leader is to lead." Ahmed Abdel-Rahman, a senior aide to Arafat, dismissed Bush's criticism as unhelpful and "unfair." While insisting that Arafat is the chosen leader of the Palestinian people, the Bush administration has started exploring ways of democratizing the PA and thus mitigating Arafat's single-handed rule.
Europe Ready For A Super President?
May 22….(WorldNet) French President Jaque Chirac suggested earlier this year that a permanent European Council President be appointed, while Council Secretary General Javier Solana noted that the European Council must be at the 'heart' of the E.U's development. There is almost unanimous agreement in Europe that the system of rotating the EU presidency every 6 months is not workable. Britain and France are calling for a Council President to be elected by all EU leaders on a five-year term basis. The aim of this more permanent position would be to give Europe a high-profile political leader. If approved by EU member states, the new role could be created in 2005 or 2006. Europe is steadily growing into a unified political body rather than a loosely banded group of individual states. As it does so, we can watch and wait to see if there arises from Europe a ruler who will seek to make a seven-year peace treaty with Israel!
Clinton Proposes Global Community
May 22….(WorldNet) Former American President Bill Clinton proposed creating an integrated world community in which nations can discuss global issues such as security and aid for developing countries. This endeavor with the United Nations is one of the biggest challenges for the 21st century. "We have made for ourselves in the 21st century a world that most people characterize with the term globalization," Clinton said in a lecture on globalization at the United Nations University. "But I prefer the word interdependence, because it clearly conveys that there is more than economics at work." The great challenge of the first decade of the 21st century is to move from interdependence to integration with a real global consciousness," Clinton said. Mr. Clinton said this could be brought about by the creation of a global security strategy and increased international cooperation with the United Nations will serving an indispensable role.
Note: Lets all come together, let us be ONE! Sound familiar?
UN Camps Used As Terrorist Stronholds
May 22….(IMRA) The UNRWA (UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees) operates 27 refugee camps in the West Bank and Gaza. UNRWA camps have become main operating centers for Hamas, Islamic Jihad and PFLP terrorist groups. Israel, during recent searches of UNRWA camps, has uncovered illegal arms caches, bomb factories and a plant manufacturing the new Qassam-2 rocket, designed toreach Israeli population. UNRWA operates one of the largest school systems in the Middle East, with 266 schools and 242,000 students. UNRWA uses and funds textbooks that incorporate maps of the Middle East that omit Israel and delegitimize Israel, Judaism and Jews. In recent years, the United States has provided 30 percent of the UNRWA budget, while Saudi Arabia has given less than one percent, Syria $37,209 and Egypt $10,000. Meanwhile, countries like Iraq and Libya give no money to UNRWA. Instead, Iraq sends bounties of $25,000 to families of suicide bombers.
Note: Notice that the countries that so vociferously support Palestinian terrorism against Israel also are the same countries that caused the refugee problem and contribute virtually nothing to maintaining the camps, while at the same time refusing Palestinian immigration to their own countries.
Rumsfeld: Terrorists Will Obtain WMD
May 22….(AP) U.S. Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld related to the Senate yesterday that terrorists are sure to eventually acquire nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya and North Korea are developing weapons of mass destruction and will supply them to terrorists to which they already are linked, Rumsfeld said. "They (terrorists) inevitably will get their hands on them and they will not hesitate to use them," Rumsfeld told a Senate Appropriations subcommittee.
US Names Iran as Chief Sponsor of Terror
May 22….(Harpazo) The Bush administration accused Iran on Tuesday of being "the most active state sponsor of terrorism". In its annual report on global terrorism, the US state department said Iran had supplied Lebanese and Palestinian groups with arms, training and finance to attack Israel. The report, which was released on Tuesday, underscores how Iran has risen to the top of Washington's list of rogue states supporting terrorism and developing weapons of mass destruction. It follows President George W. Bush's controversial condemnation of Iran in January as one of three nations constituting "an axis of evil".
State Dept: Weak PA Increased Attacks on Israel
May 22….(Ha Aretz) The U.S. State Department reports that Israel had made Yasser Arafat's Palestinian Authority less effective by destroying its security infrastructure, and it absolved Arafat and his senior associates of responsibility for attacks on Israelis in 2001. According to the annual "Patterns of Global Terrorism 2001" report, IDF operations in the Gaza Strip and West Bank damaged Arafat's ability to reign in terror, and contributed to an increase in terror attacks against Israel. Certainly the military activity there did do a great deal to damage the security capability and the security apparatus of the Palestinian Authority, the report says. The report went on to state that weakening the PA had assisted Hamas and other terrorist organizations in rebuilding the terrorist infrastructure.
Note: Oddly enough the daily terrorist carnage greatly diminished after Israel entered the PA areas to rout out terror infrastructures.
Blair Pledges to Bridge the EU-US Divide
May 22….(EU Observer) British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, warned European and American leaders to stop splitting the two continents, amid growing transatlantic rifts ranging from trade to defense and the stance on international conflicts. Blair pledged to play the peacemaker to stop anti-American feelings in Europe and anti-European voices in the United States. Tony Blair suggested a forum in which politicians from Europe and the United States could meet to discuss current problems would be welcome. Mr. Blair also warned against telling Britain to “choose between Europe and America.” The British premier hinted to an earlier statement by the European Commission's president Romano Prodi, who urged the UK to get closer to Europe and voiced dismay at London's ties with Washington. Blair also criticized the American congressmen who have suggested that the rise of the far right parties across Europe pointed to a return to anti-Semitism. He believes there is a great deal of misperception between the United States and Europe. Mr. Blair pledged to work to bridge the gap between Europe and the United States, which has different views on the war against terror, and in particular the Middle East conflict.
India and Pakistan on the Brink
May 22….(World Watch) Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee on Wednesday told Indian soldiers confronting Pakistani forces across their border in disputed Kashmir that the time had come for a decisive fight. Since October 1947, when the then Hindu ruler of Kashmir decided to join mainly Hindu India rather than Islamic Pakistan, the region has fueled rivalry between the two countries. India, which holds 45 percent of Kashmir, considers it an integral part of its territory. Pakistan, which controls a third, demands implementation of a 1948 U.N. Security Council resolution calling for a plebiscite to determine the wishes of the Kashmiri people. China holds the remainder of Kashmir. India has been infuriated by the continuing infiltration of Islamic militants fighting its rule in the Himalayan state of Jammu and Kashmir. India is believed to have about 60 nuclear warheads compared with Pakistan's 25.
PA Releases Top Prisoner
May 22….(Arutz) The PA High Court in Ramallah today dismissed the case against Fuad Shubaki, the person who masterminded the Karin-A weapons freighter. Shubaki, a senior PA finance official, was behind the weapons freighter intended to smuggle 80 tons of military hardware, weapons, and ammunition into the PA. Shubaki is one of the PA terrorists transported to Jericho where he was to serve a jail sentence for his crime under the watchful eye of U.S. and UK wardens.
U.S. is Gravely Concerned about Syria
May 21….(FOJ) Concern is growing within the Bush administration over the continued terrorist activities of Hezbollah. Hezbullah could harm American interests and sooner or later the United States will have to take action against the organization. U.S. Vice President Richard Cheney hinted at this during a speech in which he mentioned Syria and Iran as states responsible for terrorism. At the focus of Syrian and Iranian cooperation is support for Hezbollah, including the transfer of weapons to the organization in Southern Lebanon. The Syria problem was discussed in a recent U.S.-Israel strategic dialogue held last week in Washington. The American delegation said that Syrian President Bashar Assad is uniquely deceptive in his dealings, and unwilling to reign in Hezbullah. U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell went to Damascus last month to pressure Assad to restrain Hezbollah and calm the situation on the Lebanese-Israeli border. Powell made it clear to the Syrian leader that the request was based on American concerns and not Israeli concerns.
Arafat and the Opposition
May 21….(FOJ) According to polls, Arafat has the support of 35 percent of Palestinians, compared to 46 percent in July 2000, before the outbreak of fighting with Israel, and 36 percent in December 2001.
Marwan Barghouti, the leader of Arafat's Tanzim movement in the West Bank, came in second, with 19 percent. Barghouti was arrested by Israeli security forces last month on suspicion he financed and coordinated suicide attacks on Israelis by Fatah gunmen. Arafat's popularity as leader is lower than ever before in his four-decade career. The belief in the street is that he is not projecting leadership, and that it is not clear what he wants. He has failed on two challenges, ending the so-called Israeli occupation and building a democratic state. Yet there is no real challenger to Arafat, and there won't be as long as the conflict with Israel continues. Arafat will continue to be seen as the embodiment of aspirations of ending occupation. As long as Arafat lives, there will be no rivals. There is tremendous internal pressure on Arafat to carry out reforms. About 95 percent of Palestinians support the idea of firing Cabinet ministers suspected of corruption, 85 percent back the unification of the security services and 92 percent want Arafat to sign the Basic Law, a type of constitution, passed by parliament several years ago. Last week, the Palestinian parliament called for a reform package. It asked Arafat to disband the Cabinet and present a new one within 45 days, and also called for presidential and parliamentary elections by the beginning of 2003. Arafat's aides said in response that the Palestinian leader endorses general elections within six months, but that Israel must first withdraw to positions they held before the outbreak of fighting in September 2000.
Israel Undergoes Government Crises
May 21….(Reuters) Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's coalition scrambled today to defuse a government crisis after he ousted ministers from the ultra-Orthodox Shas party who voted against his austerity plan. The crisis erupted Monday when parliament, in a stinging defeat for Sharon, voted 47-44 against a $2.7 billion package to rein in a budget deficit swollen by higher defense spending to cover the army's recent offensive in the West Bank. Sharon's letters of dismissal to the four ministers of Shas, Israel's third-largest party, go into effect Wednesday night. Without the 17 votes commanded by Shas, Sharon's support in the 120-seat Knesset would fall from 82 seats to 65 seats. Sharon could end up just one vote away from losing a no-confidence motion which would bring down his broad-based coalition government and force new elections, a year before they are scheduled to take place.
FBI Predicts Suicide Terrorism in US
May 21….(Worthy News) FBI Director Robert Mueller predicted yesterday that suicide bombers, similar to those afflicting Israelis, would soon strike in the US. Mueller's warning came a day after Vice President Dick Cheney made a similar assessment. "I think we will see suicide bombings in the future, I think it's inevitable," Mueller said in response to a question about the possibility of suicide bombings in the US of the type that Israel has endured. The FBI Director also disclosed that Al Qaeda and other terror groups have recently met to discuss joining forces against America and the West. Leaders of al Qaeda, Osama bin Laden's terror network, met in a summit with leaders of two Middle Eastern militant groups, Hamas and Hezbollah, as well as a number of other groups linked to terrorism in late March. At the Lebanon meeting, the three groups discussed tactics and the possibility of an unprecedented level of joint activity, including a possible new round of attacks against America, Great Britain, and other targets. Mueller also said the FBI now believes that "an Al Qaeda bomb maker" constructed the shoe bomb that Richard Reid attempted to use aboard a December flight to America. Before Mueller spoke yesterday, Senator Bob Graham (D-Florida), chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, said another terrorist attack inside the US "is almost a certainty" and that Islamic terrorist groups like Hizbullah and Egyptian Islamic Jihad, not only al-Qaida, pose a risk. "Our enemy is not al-Qaida alone. There are several international terrorist groups which have abilities, in some cases greater than al-Qaida, and a similar desire to attack the United States. He named Hizbullah and Egyptian Islamic Jihad by name. The U.S. and Israel share intelligence on such groups. Last week, a delegation of senior Israeli intelligence officials met discretely with their US counterparts in Washington, in hopes of deepening counter-terrorism cooperation. "The purpose is to talk quietly, to improve the cooperation, primarily regarding tracking funding for Palestinian terrorist groups and money funneled by the Saudis to Hamas," one diplomatic source said.
The source said US officials have shown a greater willingness post-September 11 to deepen bilateral counter-terrorism cooperation between Israel and the U.S.
Bush In Berlin to Demand War on Saddam
May 21….(Times) President Bush will risk sparking a new row with Europe this week when he calls for Europe's support in expanding his War on Terror to include the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein.
Prior to his six-day trip to Russia and Western Europe, the White House announced that President Bush would use his visit to Berlin to urge backing for the removal of the Iraqi dictator and his weapons of mass destruction. The President will make the appeal before the German Reichstag. Europe considers the American war on Terrorism as an American arrogancy.
Unknown Group Takes Responsibility for Jibril Assassination
May 21….(FOJ) A hitherto unkown group, the Lebanese Nationalists Movement, has taken responsibility for the assassination of Jihad Jibril in Beirut on Monday. Jihad Jibril was the son of Ahmed Jibril, general secretary of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command. Yesterday Ahmed Jibril said that Israeli intelligence was behind the car bombing that killed his son. An aide to Defense Minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer denied "any connection" to the attack, by commenting that Israel gets blamed by every bombing in the Arab world.
Bush And Putin Will Discuss Iran
May 21….(CNN) U.S. President George W. Bush intends to press Russian President Vladimir Putin this week on U.S. concerns that Russia is contributing to a weapons proliferation problem by helping Iran build a nuclear plant. President Bush and Putin will sign a nuclear arms reduction treaty Friday cutting the deployed strategic nuclear warheads from the world's biggest nuclear powers by two-thirds over the next decade to 1,700 to 2,200 from the current level of 5,000 to 6,000. But a primary concern for President Bush is Iran's growing nuclear capabilities and the fact that Iran has called for a nuclear attack upon Israel.
Saudis Deport Men for Owning Bible
May 21….(World Net ) Saudi Arabian authorities have deported two Filipino Christians after the pair spent more than a month in prison for possession of a Bible. The Bible and some Gospel CDs were found, in their possession when police raided the room of Danilo de Guzman, 38, and Benjamin Diaz, 40, in Abqaiq on March 29, 2001. A local court sentenced them to a month's imprisonment in April 2001, and a higher court increased their sentence to include 150 lashes in January 2002. De Guzman explained that he was not given a lawyer and that only his company liaison officer was present during the hearings. The two men were taken to prison in Abqaiq and were spared the lashes, but were told they would be deported instead. According to the press release, the men were later transferred to a deportation center in Dammam.
Israel Uncovered Sept.11 type Terror Plot
May 21….(Jerusalem Post) Israeli officials disclosed that a Palestinian plan to detonate a one-ton bomb in the parking lot beneath twin 50-story towers in Tel Aviv was thwarted three weeks ago. The Azrieli Towers in Tel Aviv are shown in this May 6, 2002 photo. Palestinian militants planned to use a ton of explosives in a bomb attack that would have targeted the towers, the country's tallest buildings.
Syria Pushing Hamas to Renew Attacks
May 20….(HaAretz) Syria is pressing the Hamas and Islamic Jihad terror organizations to renew their suicide operations against Israel, contrary to Saudi Arabian demands on Yasser Arafat and Palestinian organizations to desist from such attacks. Saudi pressure on Hamas to halt suicide bombings had led to bitter internal debates within terror cell leadership. While continuing to deny Saudi pressure in public, it is known that there are some in the Hamas leadership who say it would be best to comply with the Saudi request. The Saudi pressure comes from an understanding between Washington and Riyadh reached during Crown Prince Abdullah's recent visit to President George Bush. Previously it was known that the Saudis were helping Hamas with funds and helping to support families of suicide bombers. Syria, on the other hand is playing an entirely different game. Despite Syrian President Bashar Assad's participation in the summit meeting at Sharm el Sheikh, it is known he has urged Hamas to step up its operations and Islamic Jihad has already agreed to do so. Syria has promised Hamas financial aid if it renews suicide bombings.
Syrian Terrorist Mysteriously Killed
May 20….(AP) A car bomb killed the son of Palestinian guerrilla leader Ahmed Jibril in Beirut on Monday, ripping through his car and tearing him to shreds. An official of Jibril's Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC) at the scene of the blast in Beirut said that Mohammad Jihad Ahmed Jibril was the occupant. Jihad Jibril was part of the group's military leadership and members of the organization swiftly pointed a finger at Israel. "Israel is behind any bomb attack on any Lebanese, Arab or Palestinian," Abu Rushdi, a PFLP-GC official, told Reuters. "Our response is to continue our struggle against Israel." Jibril's Damascus-based group is a part of an alliance of radical Palestinian factions opposed to peace negotiations with Israel that Arafat began with the 1993 Oslo accords.
Jihad Jibril was a commander of the PFLP-GC's military operations and is reported to have been involved in an airborne attack on Israel in 1987, which killed six Israeli soldiers. The PFLP-GC is one of the most implacable enemies of Israel, opposing any negotiated settlement with the Jewish State. The group has been linked to rocket attacks against Israeli targets launched from southern Lebanon. Ahmed Jibril recently accused Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat of being a "pawn of Israel" for his decision to allow the exile of Palestinian militants to Cyprus and to jail accused killers of Israel's tourism minister.
Terrorism Continues in Israel
May 20….(Reuters) A suicide bomber blew himself up in an Israeli market on Sunday, killing three other people and shattering a sense of security that had slowly been returning to public places in Israel. The blast in the seaside city of Netanya raised the specter of an Israeli military retaliation nearly two weeks after Israel called off a planned Gaza Strip offensive following a Palestinian suicide bombing that killed 15 Israelis near Tel Aviv. The radical Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine said it carried out Sunday's bombing. Netanya, some 12 miles north of Tel Aviv and close to the border with the West Bank, has been targeted repeatedly in a 19-month-old Palestinian uprising against occupation.
State Dept. Whitewashes Arafat's Terror Role
May 20….(Jerusalem Post) Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat is "up to his neck in terror," yet a U.S. State Department report says there is no evidence that the senior PA leadership planned or approved acts of terror. "Arafat funds terror, encourages terror, is interested in terror," but the U.S. State Department continues to look the other way when connecting it to Yasser Arafat. The annual State Department report on PLO compliance with Israeli-Palestinian accords, said that although there is evidence that elements affiliated with the PLO are involved in terror, "there is no conclusive evidence that the senior leaderships of the PA and the PLO were involved in planning or approving specific acts of violence."
Terror Victims Sue EU
May 20….(Arutz) Israeli terror victims filed a 100-million shekel lawsuit in the Tel Aviv District Court against the European Union. The civil action arises from a Palestinian terror attack that killed the mother of the family, Techiya Blumberg, and left her husband Steven and daughter Tziporah seriously injured and wheelchair-bound. The family lawsuit maintains that the EU has recklessly provided the PA with massive amounts of financial aid, while knowing that the money was being diverted from its intended purposes to Palestinian terrorist groups. The EU has donated more than $1.5 billion to the PA, some $10 million each month since 1994. The plaintiffs contend that Arafat has channeled large sums of these EU funds to terrorist organizations such as Fatah Tanzim and Force 17 and that despite evidence to this effect, the EU failed to undertake any steps to monitor how the PA was utilizing the money.
“Without the E.U.'s reckless provision of financing to the Palestinians, hundreds of Israeli terror victims would still be alive and thousands of others would never have had to suffer their tragic injuries,“ said attorney Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, who brought the suit. “This suit will establish that the EU, even more than Iran, is the biggest source of funding for the Palestinian terrorist groups that target Israeli civilians.”
WEEK OF MAY 13 THROUGH 19
A FOJ REMINDER
May 19….(FOJ) Matthew 24:9 Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake.
This is a direct statement that Jesus made concerning the future of Israel. While Jesus sat on the Mount of Olives answering the Disciples questions regarding the Last Days and the situation surrounding the return of Jesus to Israel, Jesus most assuredly looked deep into the faces of his beloved followers and conveyed that they would be hated of all men. It must have been a sad moment.
These words from Jesus own lips carry a heavy weight. They were words that apply to all followers of Jesus, but the specific statement in this context is pointed directly to the descendants of Israel, and in particular the final re-gathered remnant of Jews that comprise the Last Days state of Israel. The Disciples were indeed delivered unto affliction, just as many Christians have also been. The Disciples died as martyrs for their faith, again like many Christians have, and both the people of Israel and the Gentile body of believers called Christians are hated by the world simply because of Christ. But there is an allegory presented in Jesus words that point to a specific era of time when Israel would be hated of all nations for the sake of Jesus name.
The inference of the phrase, “hated of all nations” points out two dynamics regarding the hatred of Israel that Jesus alluded to. Number one is that the nation of Israel would be singled out from the long roll call of nations throughout world history to be specifically “singled out” for the wrath of the whole world. And too out of all the nations in the world, only Israel has been subjected to the hatred that is displayed by a Christ-rejecting world. Secondly, the unanimity of the whole world's venom targeted solely upon one nation is unique to the nation of Israel. When else has the entire world confederated together against a single nation as it today against Israel? This phenomenon of hatred however is soon to become much worse, for the very days that Jesus was alluding to are now upon us.
A REMINDER FROM FOJ
May 18….( FOJ )Alas the enemies of God today are encircling Israel and the city of Jerusalem. That noose of encirclement seems to be tightening tighter and tighter as events unfold in these epic days. Even this eventuality is in God's providential plan of the ages.
But there is coming a day when the Lord will stand up for his people. It is known in the Old Testament as the Day of the Lord. Israel is contemplating that very question today. “Who will stand up for me?”
Psalms 94:16….Who will rise up for me against the evildoers? Or who will stand up for me against the workers of iniquity?
Daniel 12:1….. And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a Time of Trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.
God is undertaking to work a mighty miracle not only in Israel, but also throughout the whole world. In these Last Days, God is permitting every nation in the world to align themselves either for his provident designs for Israel, or individually to choose to align themselves in opposition to Gods determination for the nation of Israel. Soon and very soon the Lord himself shall descend to do battle with the God of this world, ( Satan ) who is even now busy confederating the nations together against God's anointed.
RALLIES IN THE US INCLUDE RAW SEMITISM
May….(Jerusalem Post)Pro-Palestinian rallies around the United States have escalated in tone to the point where they go "far beyond legitimate criticism o Israel and often can be categorized as raw anti-Semitism," Anti-Defamation League National Director Abraham Foxman said in a statement issued Wednesday.
"There is no doubt that the kind of raw anti-Semitism we saw emerge in Durban, South Africa during last year's UN World Conference Against Racism has re-emerged in the United States and is being used as a weapon against Jews and Israel. This is a very troubling trend, and one that leaders within the Arab American community need to speak out against," Foxman said.
The ADL reported "several consistent themes" at pro-Palestinian rallies in Chicago, New York City, San Francisco, Detroit and Dearborn, Michigan, and in Washington, D.C. These include equating Zionism with Nazism, including the distribution of fliers referring to the "genocide" of the Palestinian people. The Holocaust and Holocaust imagery, including the swastika, are featured prominently at the rallies, often in a manner "that is deeply offensive to Jews and especially Holocaust survivors," the ADL reported.
Protesters charge that Jews or "Zionists" control the US government, and claim that "Jews killed Christ" to libel Israel and the Jewish people.
There have also been calls for the destruction of Israel. At a rally in Washington, D.C., there were calls to "globalize the intifada" and the stage was adorned with a large Hizbullah flag. Protesters often express support for violence against Israel, including suicide bombings.
In Chicago, after repeated anti-Semitism at pro-Palestinian rallies, the ADL took out an ad in the Chicago Tibune calling on community leaders to "Say No to Hate."
ARAFAT: NO ELECTIONS IN PA UNTIL ISREAL WITHDRAWS
May 17….(Haretz) Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat told reporters Friday that elections would only be held in the West Bank and Gaza Strip once Israeli occupation had ended, but his advisers later clarified that the voting is being linked to a far more modest withdrawal demand. Palestinian sources said that elections would be held within six months, on condition that IDF troops first withdraw to positions they held before the outbreak of the intifada, some 20 months ago.
Asked Friday when elections would be held, Arafat told reporters in English: "As soon as they (the Israelis) finish this occupation from our land, according to the agreement that was supposed to be at the beginning of 1999." In 1999, Israel and the Palestinians were to have reached a final peace deal.
However, Palestinian Planning Minister Nabil Sha'ath said later that the goal remained to have presidential and parliamentary elections within six months. Sha'ath said that work on putting together rosters of 1.6 million eligible voters had already begun. "But these elections need an Israeli withdrawal to the places (troops held) before September 28, 2000," Sha'ath said, referring to the day the fighting began.
Sha'ath said the Palestinians also insisted that residents of traditionally Arab east Jerusalem be permitted to vote, as they were in the last Palestinian election in 1996. "If that happens, then everything will be prepared. We are working on it now," he said.
Raanan Gissin, an adviser to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, said Arafat was looking for an excuse for not holding elections. "He knows very well that as long as he doesn't take any action against terrorism, Israeli forces will have to remain there," Gissin said.
The Palestinian Bureau of Statistics said it would take about 60 days to compile the list of voters. The bureau said it expects international monitors will be needed to ensure fair elections.
The Palestinians' Central Elections Committee will convene over the weekend to start preparations, officials said. Previous reports by Arafat's senior aides, Ahmed Abdel Rahman, said that elections would be held in six months.
Rahaman said Thursday that Arafat's decision to hold elections was made after the Palestinian Legislative Council called earlier in the day for sweeping changes in the corruption-ridden Palestinian Authority, including the formation of a new smaller Cabinet within 45 days and general elections by early 2003.
"President Arafat has set a program for reform and changes," said Abdel Rahman, the secretary general of the Palestinian Cabinet. "The core of the changes will be conducting general elections in a period that will not exceed four to six months," Abdel Rahman said, adding that Arafat has called for a meeting of the Central Elections Committee within two days.
A senior aide to Arafat, Mohammed Rasheed, who is currently in the United States, said Thursday he had mapped out a timetable for democratic reforms in the Palestinian Authority in meetings with senior U.S. officials this week.
Rashid said that both sides wanted to establish the fundamental changes to the authority's political and security apparatus before an international Middle East conference he said was expected in late June or early July.
Rashid made clear that U.S. officials, including Assistant Secretary of State William Burns, were deeply involved in helping shape the changes, which he said would include cutting Arafat's 32-member cabinet to perhaps 16 to 20 members.
The United States wants the Palestinians to disarm militias and reorganize the 12 official Palestinian forces into one central security operation. Rashid said the Palestinians accepted that.
"We know that the U.S. will not accept the weapons, that political organizations will have a militia. We are committing to Palestinian security being the only armed body," he said.
Rashid said the Palestinians hoped Tenet would advise them on how to rehabilitate and train a new security force. "We hope he will help us build a system capable of protecting our commitments to other parties, including Israel, as well as controlling the security situation in the territories," he said.
The Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), meeting simultaneously in Gaza and Ramallah on Thursday, unanimously voted to hold elections for the chairman of the Palestinian Authority - the post held by Yasser Arafat - in the first quarter of 2003. The council also decided to hold general and local elections within one year.
As part of the package, Arafat is being asked to disband the current Cabinet and present a new 19-member one, down from the current 32, to parliament for approval within 45 days. A minister responsible for the security apparatus will be appointed to the new Cabinet. All the security chiefs will be banned from making political statements, and their tenure will be limited to four years.
Legislators from Arafat's Fatah movement had also demanded that the post of prime minister be created, with the prime minister in charge of day-to-day operations of the Palestinian Authority. However, legislators said there were legal complications in forming the new office, and said they were dropping the demand until they could work out the problems.
The previous - and only - elections thus far were held in 1996. The council and the chairman were elected to serve until May 1999, the end date of the interim agreement with Israel, as set out in the Oslo accords. Since there was no permanent agreement in place by this date, however, the terms of office were extended.
The demand for far-reaching reforms of the Palestinian Authority gathered steam within Palestinian society Thursday, as a special committee set up by the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) met for a second day Thursday over a draft bill that will include reforms of the PA.
ISREAL SENDS TROOPS INTO JENIN
MAY 17….( Koenig) NABLUS, West Bank — Israeli troops entered the Palestinian city of Jenin and its battle-scarred refugee camp before dawn Friday in a search for militants who eluded capture during heavy fighting last month, the army said.
Palestinian officials, meanwhile, said the Central Elections Committee would convene over the weekend to begin preparations for general elections. Yasser Arafat has decided to hold presidential and parliamentary elections within six months as part of a reform package, said a senior adviser, Ahmed Abdel Rahman.
In the Gaza Strip, a Palestinian was killed by Israeli soldiers early Friday while he tried to enter the Jewish settlement of Dugit, the Israeli military said. The Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade, a militia linked to Arafat's Fatah movement, claimed responsibility for the attempted infiltration.
In Jenin, exchanges of fire erupted shortly after Israeli forces reached the city and the adjacent refugee camp around 3:30 a.m., witnesses said. But the army said its forces did not come under heavy fire and intended to withdraw as soon as they arrested the suspects they sought.
In the refugee camp, soldiers surrounded the home of Jamal Abu Alhija, the local leader of the militant Islamic group Hamas. Soldiers ordered family members to come out but Alhija was not among them, said Alhija's son, Asam, 14.
He said that after relatives said they did not know where Alhija was, soldiers set the empty house on fire, burning every room.
In the city of Jenin, soldiers surrounded a building on a commercial street and were looking for at least one person they believed to be inside, but did not immediately take any action, witnesses said.
Several Israeli tanks also entered the West Bank city of Nablus, but troops made no arrests and left after several hours, Palestinian witnesses said.
Last week, Israel ended a six-week military offensive aimed at militants in the Palestinian cities and towns of the West Bank. The operation was launched March 29 following a series of Palestinian suicide bombings in Israel.
However, Israeli forces have continued to make brief, smaller-scale incursions into the West Bank to arrest or kill suspected militants.
Last month, the Jenin refugee camp was the scene of the heaviest fighting of the Israeli offensive. Israel lost 23 soldiers and more than 50 Palestinians were killed in the April 3-11 battle.
Israel also detained hundreds of young men in the camp for interrogation, though most have been released. Israeli armored bulldozers flattened concrete apartment blocks where militants were holed up in the congested camp, home to about 15,000 Palestinians.
Palestinian officials accused Israeli troops of killing hundreds of people, including many civilians, during the fighting. However, Israel called the claim a wild exaggeration, and human rights groups said they have found no evidence of a massacre.
Israel refused to let a U.N. team look into what happened.
After a Palestinian suicide bombing inside Israel last week, Israeli forces prepared to enter the Gaza Strip to track down militants. However, Israel stopped short of launching the incursion.
The Haaretz newspaper on Thursday quoted Israel's deputy chief of staff, Maj. Gen. Moshe Yaalon, as saying it was "only a matter of time" until the Israeli army moves into Gaza.
Arafat's call for general elections was seen as an attempt to deflect popular pressure for reform and raise his sagging image among Palestinians.
"We are in need of new elections. We are in need of new policy, and we are in need of a new assessment," Arafat adviser Nabil Abu Rdeneh said Friday. He declined to discuss a date for elections.
However, Abdel Rahman said Thursday that Arafat has decided on reforms, and that "the core of the changes will be conducting general elections in a period that will not exceed four to six months."
The United States and Europe have been calling for reforms. The United States has called on the Palestinians to adopt a constitutional democracy and counter corruption. Israel has demanded reforms as a condition for resuming peace talks.
On Thursday, Palestinian legislators mounted their most high-profile challenge yet to the Palestinian leader: calling for elections within a year and a new Cabinet within 45 days.
Arafat is regarded by the vast majority of Palestinians as a living symbol of the people and is unlikely to face a strong challenge for leadership. In 1996 elections, Arafat won 87 percent of the vote and his Fatah faction won 50 of the 88 legislative seats.
Previous attempts to reform Arafat's administration have led to few significant changes, with Arafat ignoring laws passed by parliament as well as decisions by the judiciary.
Israeli officials were skeptical of the calls for reform.
"Regarding any type of reforms whatsoever in the Palestinian Authority, we will have to see it to believe it," said David Baker, an aide to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.
FRANCE & BRITAIN DEMAND POWERFUL EU PRESIDENT
May 16….(Weekend)-- France and Britain joined forces on Wednesday to demand the creation of a powerful new president of the European Council who British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, believes will become the public face and driving force of Europe. The goal is to give Europe a high-profile political leader, who would also serve as the European Union's face in international affairs and take a key role in developing defence and foreign policies.
They believe the new president would give the European Union a sharper identity, providing much-needed leadership and accountability.
Spain is expected to add its support to the idea. Winning the backing of Germany, however, is still a major hurdle.
The European commission, which is fighting to preserve its influence, will contest the plans vigorously, since the move would be seen as weakening the powers of the unelected Commission and its own president Romano Prodi.
If approved by member states, the post would be created in 2005 or 2006. The idea of an appointed EU council president was introduced by Mr Chirac in a speech in Strasbourg on March 7 as part of his plan to bolster the idea of a Europe of member states.
Under the new proposals, the council president would be elected by all European Union leaders for a five-year term to coincide with that of the Commission president.
The new system would replace the current six-month rotating European Union presidency, which has been blamed for failing to give strong leadership and political direction, which would become even more unsatisfactory with the admission of up to 10 new countries to the European Union in 2004.
(FOJ) This would be a place to watch for the AC.
CARDINAL SAYS POPE MAY RESIGN IF HIS HEALTH WORSENS
May 16….(Weekend) Pope John Paul has not ruled out the possibility that he may have to resign if his health worsens, Honduran Cardinal Oscar Andres Rodriguez said today. "The pope is fully aware of his responsibility and when he realizes that he can no longer go on, he will have the courage to say: I quit."
The pontiff, who will be 82 on Saturday, suffers from Parkinson's disease and problems with an arthritic knee.
ISREAL SUNK WEAPONS SHIP
May 16….(WWD)The Foreign Report, published in Britain, reports on an Arab arms-smuggling ship that was sunk by Israeli forces in the Mediterranean in the past two weeks. The ship was on its way from Lebanon to Gaza, laden with much weaponry, particularly katyushas and anti-tank rockets. The report says that although Israeli Intelligence was unable to discern the organization that sent the ship, it was clearly bound for the PA. The plan was for P.A. residents of Gaza to collect the weapons while disguised as fishermen.
The Israeli forces originally intended to capture the ship and put it on display, as they did in the case of the Karin-A arms ship four months ago. However, when it was learned that the 20 crewmen were armed and prepared for an attack, it was decided to simply bomb and sink the ship without a fight.
ARAFAT CALLS FOR PALISTINIAN ELECTIONS, DEEP REFORM
May 15….(reuters) Arafat's comments responded to demands for change in the Palestinian Authority from Israel, ordinary Palestinians and the United States after years of failure to bring prosperity and following charges of cronyism, corruption and inefficiency.
The calls for change have grown since Israeli forces ended a 35-day siege of Arafat's Ramallah headquarters earlier this month following a major Israeli offensive across the West Bank which further weakened the Palestinian Authority.
During his speech, Arafat said Israel had tried to wreck interim peace deals reached with the Palestinians but that he remained committed to seeking a lasting peace agreement.
"They have tried to abolish the peace deals. They tried with the military option of their occupation forces," Arafat said.
"Peace was and will remain our strategic choice and we will not give up the choice of peace."
He said the Palestinians' will would not be broken in their uprising against occupation in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
“Our dream is real freedom and complete independence in the state of Palestine with Jerusalem as the capital.. Whoever likes it or not, it is our aim to have that, he said.”
Arafat's vow to achieve statehood seemed a pointed response to a vote by the central committee of Sharon's Likud Party on Sunday rejecting the idea of a Palestinian state.
FORMER PM NETANYAHU: “I WILL DEFANG PA STATE
May 15…(JP) Former prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu expressed confidence yesterday that he will succeed in convincing both the nation and the government not to permit the establishment of a Palestinian state.
Netanyahu told The Jerusalem Post that passing the resolution opposing the establishment of a Palestinian state west of the Jordan in Sunday's Likud central committee meeting was the first step in his effort to "defang" the threat of a Palestinian state.
May 14…. (INN) CNN was repeatedly broadcasting Yasser Arafat yesterday saying that he wants peace with his Jewish "cousins" in Israel, at the same time he was calling for “one million martyrs” to march to Jerusalem. Arafat was speaking to a crowd while visiting PLO-controlled Shechem during his first foray outside of Ramallah in almost six months. Israel had confined Arafat to the city following a wave of PLO terrorism. During his Shechem visit Arafat also VOWED TO CONTINUE HIS BATTLE TOWARDS THE LIBERATION OF JERUSALEM FROM ISREALI CONTROL.
Arafat also visited Bethlehem and Jenin yesterday, but cancelled a planned visit to the crowded Jenin neighborhood in which the fiercest battles took place during Operation Defensive Shield. Analysts say the visit was cancelled out of security concerns, as many Islamic Jihad terrorists in Jenin have strong criticism of Arafat's leadership.
SHARON: NO PEACE UNTIL PALISTINIAN
MAY 14….JPR Sharon was addressing Israel's parliament two days after the central committee of his right-wing Likud Party, in a move spearheaded by his political rival Benjamin Netanyahu voted never to accept the creation of a Palestinian state.
Sharon has said before that he is prepared to see a limited, demilitarized Palestinian state created alongside Israel but only at the end of a lengthy and incremental peace process.
Without mentioning the statehood issue, Sharon said on Tuesday: "There can be no peace with a corrupt terror regime which is rotten and dictatorial... There has to be a different (Palestinian) Authority."
"When we see how the Palestinians construct their society and their self-government, when we see that they truly seek peace ... we can move ahead to discussions of the character of the permanent deals between us," he added.
Sharon also hailed a major army offensive in the West Bank as a success Tuesday but said the mission to root out Palestinian militants was not over.
He reserved the right to continue raids in the West Bank to detain suspected militants and halt further attacks against Israelis in a more than 19-month-old Palestinian uprising against occupation.
"We have not finished the job. Our fight against terror continues," Sharon said. "There is not and will not be any hiding place for the terrorists, their helpers and accomplices."
Israeli forces reoccupied West Bank cities and towns in the offensive launched on March 29 but has since withdrawn the troops, while keeping areas encircled. Sharon said the military operation was "an important and vital stage" in the struggle against Palestinian militants.
ISLAMIC JIHAD VOWS TO CONTINUE
ATTACKS AGAINST ISRAELIS
MAY 14…. JP Islamic Jihad vowed to continue attacks against Israel according to a statement issued by the group today.
The military wing of the terror group said it would strike at "Israeli targets until the expulsion of the Israelis," Israel Radio reported.
Hamas last week released a similar statement justifying suicide bombings despite calls by several Palestinian Authority officials to cease attacks against Israel civilians.
WEEK OF MAY 6 THROUGH MAY 12
American Anti-Terror Resolve Begins in Israel
commenatry by Darrell G. Young
Just as Prime Minister Ariel Sharon of Israel was sitting down with U.S. President Bush in the White House, a suicide bomber struck at a suburban Tel Aviv reception hall killing 16 Israelis and wounded dozens more. The timing was no coincidence. It was meant to send a message to the world. It was, in fact, a message sent to America! The message was: “Think twice before you delete Yasser Arafat from Palestinian negotiations”. While Mr. Sharon was presenting overwhelming evidence of Arafat's complicity in terrorist activity, America has steadfastly held Israel's feet to the fire by insisting that she deal only with Arafat. By rubbing America's nose in the dirt, Arafat and his network of terror comrades are demonstrating to America that there is a vast masked enemy out there that is ready to repeat September 11th if America gets too cute about associating Palestinian terrorism with Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda. And the spark of that dynamite fuse revolves around America's desire to eliminate Saddam Hussein while maintaining a special status relationship with states that fundamentally hate America. President Bush has been talking more and more about a new "constitution" and introducing "the rule of law" in Palestinian areas. Yasser Arafat remains relevant to the so-called Peace Process only because America fears a wider war on terrorism. American foreign policy manufacturers want to avoid the real hell-holes of terrorism that permeate the Middle East, by playing containment games with the regions small bit players. Ironic is it not that America seeks the removal of one dictator in Iraq while at the same time coalescing with the geo-political powers of the world that demand that Yasser Arafat is untouchable.
As I continue to follow the current Middle East maze in light of Bible Prophecy, I feel a sensibility that suggests that it is the “peace process” that must be protected at all costs. Remembering that the Antichrist will be a master “craftsman at using peace” to gain world superiority, it becomes clearer why a terrorist can be so vital. Peace is not a process! Peace is a condition of a changed heart! Only Jesus Christ can change a persons heart.
Bush Ready to Annul Arafat?
May 8….(Ha Aretz) The Bush administration called on Yasser Arafat's Palestinian Authority Wednesday to decide between making peace and spreading violence. U.S. President George Bush has agreed that peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians must wait until internal reforms within the PA have brought about a governing body that "would be headed by a different person or different people" than the current leader, Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat. “It is time for the Palestinian Authority to reform.” Bush had reaffirmed to Sharon his support for establishment of a Palestinian state, referring to "Palestine" as a reality. But Sharon said statehood was "premature." A senior U.S. official said, Bush called for Israel to withdraw from the West Bank and Gaza, as directed in 1967 and 1973 U.N. Security Council resolutions. Sharon's position is that Israel would consider limited pullbacks, conditioned on an end to violence. Sharon and Bush were informed of the renewed terror violence toward the end of their 70-minute meeting at the White House. National security adviser Condoleezza Rice was informed of the explosion halfway through Bush's meeting with Sharon. At the end of the meeting White House spokesman Fleischer passed word that it was a terror attack. The President personally conveyed his condolences to the Prime Minister and the meeting was ended.
FOJ Note: Extracting Yasser Arafat from the so-called Peace Process is a long overdue action. In fact, Mr. Arafat should never have been included in any peace negotiations. It takes two people that truly desire peace to formulate a living reality of peaceful co-existence. Arafat has never been such a visionary. He is a life-long terrorist that espouses the total defeat of the Jewish State. The “Peace Process” is in fact not about peace. It is about control of the Middle East.
Clinton and his Globalist Concepts
May 8….(WND) Former President Bill Clinton said yesterday that a global force including Americans would be necessary to bring peace to the Middle East. "If there is going to be anything like a lasting settlement, or even a temporary settlement, I believe it will have to be imposed upon the parties.”
"I believe it will require international forces, the Americans, the Europeans, the Russians and others.” There will have to be a global force of some kind, we've got to make peace there."
FOJ Note: The Antichrist is all for your concept Mr. President. But then I recall that you believe that the Bible is irrelevant in the modern controversy over the Promised Land.
The “Hopelessness” of the Bombers Fable
May 8….(FOJ) US President George Bush repeated that often used phrase about the "hopelessness
of the suicide bomber" fable yesterday at his joint press conference with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in Washington. Mr. Bush asserted that it is a sense of "hopelessness" that drives families to send their children to perpetrate suicide missions. As a matter of fact there have been many instances in which families desperately fought against the influence of “suicide bomb recruiters” to save their children. In reality these recruiters and religious indoctrinators of “suicide martyrs” created the environment of “hopelessness” in order to maintain their political agenda.
Arafat Speaks no Truth, Sees no Truth
May 8….(FOJ) Yasser Arafat called Israel's documentation of PA sponsored terrorism, “big lies”. In an interview with NBC's David Bloom, Arafat skirted the pointed questions about his personal complicity in fostering and financing terrorism. He ranted, “show me one evidence”. He then tossed reporter Bloom's personal copy of the documented dossierin the trashcan. As is often the case in interviews that tend to hold Arafat's feet to the fire, Arafat reminded Mr. Bloom that he was speaking to the President of Palestine, and to be careful of what he said.
Another Suicide Bombing in Israel
May 8…..(Reuters) Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon angrily condemned Tuesday's suicide bombing that killed 15 people and wounded dozens more at a crowded Israeli billiard hall and vowed that Israel would act to stop Palestinian terror attacks. "The battle continues and will continue until all those who believe that they can make gains through the use of terrorism will cease to exist -- cease to exist," Sharon said. He said Israel would defend itself and that "he who rises up to kill us, we will pre-empt it and kill him first." Hamas and the Islamic fundamentalist group's military wing, Izzedine al Qassam claimed responsibility for the terror attack. The powerful explosion ripped through the club in Rishon Letzion, a coastal town about 15 miles south of Tel Aviv. The blast caused the building's ceiling to collapse and trapping people in the rubble. Emergency workers reported at least 57 people were wounded, 20 of them in critical condition. The bombing interrupted Sharon's White House meeting with President Bush, and saw Prime Minister Sharon scurrying back to Israel.
U.N. Assembly Chastises Israel 74-4
May 8….(UPI) With 54 nations abstaining as a protest over what they called an imbalanced resolution, the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday condemned by 74-4 vote Israel's West Bank offensive. The resolution also criticized Israel's failure to cooperate with Secretary-General Kofi Annan's Jenin refugee camp fact-finding team and calls for his own report on Jenin. Following the Arab Group's failure to get similar pro-Palestinian measures through the Security Council because of threats of vetoes from the United States, the Non-Aligned Movement-sponsored the resolution in the 189-member assembly. However, its resolutions are advisory and do not carry the weight of international rule as does a council resolution. A last-minute move by the European Union to insert language against terrorist attacks in Israel in the Assembly draft resolution was ignored, according to diplomats. The measure "condemns the attacks committed by the Israeli occupying forces," and "condemns also the refusal by Israel to cooperate with the secretary-general's fact-finding team."
Israel Will Likely Retaliate
May 8….(Reuters) Following a deadly Palestinian suicide bombing, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon conferred with his security Cabinet on Wednesday to plan Israel's response, which could include a new large-scale military operation in the Gaza Strip as well as the expulsion of Yasser Arafat. The Palestinian leader, meanwhile, said he was ready to wage “war against terrorism.” the Israeli leader is weighing a “very harsh” response, including the expulsion of Arafat, a week after he was allowed to leave his Ramallah compound after Israel ended a month-long siege. Palestinian officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said they widely expected the Gaza Strip to be targeted by Israel. The attack in the Tel Aviv suburb of Rishon Letzion, claimed by the Islamic militant group Hamas, was the deadliest terror attack since Israel launched its offensive against Palestinian militants on March 29, invading most West Bank towns. The attack ended a period of relative calm in Israel. The last previous bombing came on April 12.
Palestinian legislator Hanan Ashrawi said the recent Israeli offensive into Palestinian territories was responsible for the renewed attacks. “They are dragging the whole region into more violence,” she said. “It should have become clear now that there will be no peace or security for the Israelis without peace and security for the Palestinians and without full respect for the human rights of the Palestinians.
FOJ Note: It is amazing how defending oneself against terrorists can be categorized as a provocation.
Mr. Sharon Calls it the Way it is!
May 8….(Weekend) In Washington to meet with President Bush and present a highly detailed document specifying the role of Yasser Arafat, and many of his subordinates in enacting terrorist activity, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was side-swiped by yet another suicide bombing back home in Israel. The presentation also implicated Saudi Arabia as a prime contributor to Palestinian terrorism. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon vowed to eliminate "those who believe that they can make gains through the use of terror." After meeting with congressional leaders in his Washington hotel and With President Bush, Sharon said, "The battle continues and will continue, until all those who believe they can make gains through the use of terror will cease to exist." Pounding his fist on the podium, Sharon said, "Those who call for millions of martyrs are guilty, those who constantly incite are guilty, those who fund terrorism are guilty, those who launch terrorism are guilty. Guilty!"
FOJ Note: Ariel Sharon is absolutely correct, and the sooner President Bush comes to this realization, the better off America will be. America is attempting to fight a war-on-terror by avoiding the real icons of terror.
Russia is Arming its Persian Ally
May 8….(US State Dept.) Iran, with an assist from Russia and other countries, is developing a long-range missile that would give it the ability to strike NATO countries in Europe, a senior administration official says. The Shahab-4 missile would initially have a 1,250-mile range but anticipated upgrades would allow it to reach Italy, Germany, Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Greece. The development is worrisome to U.S. officials because Iran has been viewed by the State Department as the world's most active terrorist country. President Bush has identified Iran among three “axis of evil'' members, with Iraq and North Korea. Iran seems increasingly confident about its military prowess. This was apparent when strains developed with Israel after Israel's interception in January of a shipment of Iranian weapons to Palestinian areas. At one point, Iran warned if Israel “carries out any military action against Iran, the response will be beyond the imagination of any Israeli politician.'' Earlier this year President Khatami espoused a nuclear attack on Israel. Iran's missile development is proceeding hand-in-hand with efforts to develop nuclear, biological and chemical weapons. A CIA report issued this year said Iran has been receiving missile equipment, technology and related expertise from Russia, North Korea and China. Russia's role in assisting Iran seems at odds with the strong expressions of friendship and confidence Washington and Moscow have been demonstrating toward each other lately. But in reality Russian technology and expertise is helping Iran to increase the accuracy and distance of their missiles.
FOJ Note: The scenario of Ezekiel 37/38 is being prepped as evidenced by these reports.
US Expands 'Axis of Evil'
May 7….(World Watch) The United States has added Cuba, Libya and Syria to its "axis of evil" - nations it claims are deliberately seeking to obtain chemical or biological weapons. In a speech entitled "Beyond the Axis of Evil", US Under Secretary of State, John Bolton said that the three nations could be grouped with other so-called "rogue states" - Iraq, Iran and North Korea - in actively attempting to develop weapons of mass destruction. He also warned that the US would take action. "America is determined to prevent the next wave of terror," he said, referring to the 11 September attacks in Washington and New York that killed up to 3,000 people. "States that sponsor terror and pursue WMD (weapons of mass destruction) must stop. States that renounce terror and abandon WMD can become part of our effort, but those that do not can expect to become our targets," he said. Mr. Bush first referred to the "axis of evil" during his State of the Union address earlier this year.
US Warns Syria
May 7….(Debka) John Bolton, US undersecretary of state, disarmament expert and the closest official in that department to the White House, accused Libya, Syria and Cuba of pursuing weapons of mass destruction. The terms of this warning strongly resembled the language Washington uses in reference to Saddam Hussein. Bolton warned all three of American action to ensure they do not supply terrorists with such arms. Regarding Damascus, he said: “We are concerned about Syrian advances in its indigenous chemical weapons infrastructure and pursuing development of biological weapons and producing at least small amounts of biological warfare agents.” Bolton's warning to Damascus did not come out of the blue. It was prompted by US concern over the latest Syrian military movements in Lebanon and at home and its reciprocal ties with the Lebanese Hizballah terror group. The Syrian army has suddenly taken up defensive positions in four main areas: the Beqaa valley, Baalbek, the Beirut-Damascus highway and the Israeli-Syrian border in the northern Golan Heights, near Mount Hermon and the Shebaa Farms. Damascus ordered these military steps after asking Iran to send new shipments of Fajar-5 surface-to-surface missiles to Hizballah units in southern Lebanon. The missiles have a range of more than 50 km (30 miles) and can hit the Israeli port city of Haifa. US secretary of state Colin Powell visited Damascus in the middle of his Israel-Palestinian crisis mission and sternly cautioned Bashar Assad that Israel would hit vital Syrian military assets if the Fajar missiles took to the air.
Bush and Sharon Disagree on Arafat
May 7….Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and President Bush share a vision of a reformed, more democratic Palestinian Authority but don't see eye-to-eye on its leader, Yasser Arafat. During their White House meeting, Bush and Sharon may also debate the role of Saudi Arabia. The Bush administration sees the Saudis as indispensable to reaching a viable Mid-east peace deal, while the Israelis say they are encouraging Palestinian terror attacks. The Bush administration, which has embraced a Saudi peace "vision," was not pleased with the Israeli allegations being announced as Prince Saud al-Faisal, the Saudi foreign minister, called on Powell. A State Department spokesman stated, "We need the Saudis right now”. Although President Bush has declared himself "disappointed" with Arafat he says that Arafat is still the leader of the Palestinians and therefore must be negotiated with.
America is Alone in War on Terror
May 7….(MENL) The Bush administration is being urged to be prepare America for a war against terrorism without any European allies. European Union states have large Muslim minorities and will not support a campaign that might be seen as being in opposition to the Arab or Islamic world. Furthermore, much of Europe feels more sympathetic to the Palestinian cause than they do towards Israel. President George Bush is said to be highly disappointed by the lukewarm and dismissive responses by such countries as Britain, France and Germany to the war against terrorism.
Note: FOJ predicted this scenario in September of last year. (See item 4 from Israel, Islam and the Coming War on Terror from Sept. 17, 2001) The fast developing central power of the EU will not actively participate with America against the Islamic Empire. Although she will lend vocal-philosophic support, she too will look to escape the targeted-wrath of radical Islam. She will seek to inculcate America into admission into the rapidly emerging empire of Restored Rome, and establishing herself as the new 21st century super-power, and the base of authority for the World Order of the Antichrist.
(contending with Russia-China)
Israel Shows Saudi Terror Links
May 7….(Jerusalem Post) Israel launched a frontal PR campaign against Saudi Arabia here yesterday, presenting documents linking the Saudis to payments to terrorists. Col. Miri Eisin, of Military Intelligence, said that over the last 16 months the Saudis have paid $135 million dollars to terrorists and their families. PA documents show internal wrangling over the money, with the PA wanting to have the money channeled through it, while the Saudis preferred to send the money through Hamas charities, and expressed its concern that the money would be skimmed off by the PA. The 85-page dossier, compiled by Military Intelligence, said the seized documents indicate –the systematic and ongoing transfer of large sums of money to the Palestinians by official Saudi institutions for supporting the intifada.” Among the various institutions is the Saudi Committee for Support of the Al Quds Intifada, headed by the Saudi interior minister. "The Saudi Committee for Support of the Intifada" was founded to raise funds that it transferred to families of terrorists who perpetrated murderous attacks in Israeli cities.
EU Wants to Merge with NATO
May 6….The chairman of the Military Committee of the European Union, General Gustav Hägglund, has called for a new “common security system for Europe and America”, under which the EU and the European parts of NATO would be strategically linked. This new EU-NATO organization would also take part of long-term operations and humanitarian missions outside Europe. Under Mr. Hägglund's vision the US would have to guarantee the safety of North America, worldwide crisis management missions and deal with terrorism. The E.U. proponents suggest that it would be appropriate to build this community of values on two mutually supporting pillars: a European and a North American pillar. The European pillar would involve the EU and NATO's European parts appropriately linked together."
Note: The constantly burgeoning beast of the Antichrist is taking shape.
Agreement On Church of Nativity Standoff?
May 6….( Ha Aretz) Israel and the Palestinians are apparently close to a deal to end the month-long standoff at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. Palestinian officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that of the more than 100 people still in the church, six to eight senior Palestinian militants would be deported to Italy, about 30 others would be escorted to the Gaza Strip and the rest would be freed. Israeli Defense Ministry spokesman Yarden Vatikay however denied that a deal had been reached. "They are still negotiating our demands for people to be deported." Palestinian officials said the accord is being worked out by the Vatican and the European Union. The Sharon government continues
to demand that the terrorists either stand trial in Israel or be deported permanently to a third country. The Arabs, however, want an arrangement along the lines of the Ramallah agreement, involving their incarceration in the PA under foreign supervision.
U.S. Congressional Leaders Condemn Arafat
May 6….(Ha Aretz) A visiting delegation of US congressmen to Israel reports that Prime Minister Ariel Sharon should rebuff attempts by the Bush administration for him to deal with Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat. “Yasser Arafat is a terrorist. He is a leader of the terrorists. As a matter of fact he is a motivator of terrorism,” said Jim Saxton (R-NJ). Joe Hoeffel (D-PA) said America needs to seek another leader of the Palestinian people. “It is time for the United States to indicate that it would look for a different leadership in the Palestinian Authority and that we would welcome a leadership of the PA that would recognize Israel's fundamental right to exist as a Jewish state”. Congressman Peter Deutsch (D-Fla) seemed particularly moved by what he called the “illegal sick collection of weapons.” He said it made him understand why Operation Defensive Shield was neccessary. “We are totally supportive of the war against terrorism , and there should not be a Yasser Arafat exception. He is a terrorist. He was a terrorist and he remains a terrorist,” said Deutsch.
Powell-Rice Differ on Priorty Issues
May 6..U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell said he expects to move beyond the strong American support for Israel during its recent anti-terror offensive in the West Bank, and address impediments to getting peace talks back on track. He cited Jewish settlements in the West Bank and Gaza as a typical impediment. "Something has to be done about the problem of the settlements, The settlements continue to grow and expand, when they need to go away," Powell told NBC's Meet the Press TV show. "It's a problem that's not going to go away." By contrast, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice suggested the settlements were not a high priority issue. "Let's take one thing at a time," Rice told Fox News Sunday. "Settlements will eventually be an issue. But I think we have to get the context set right here. We need to end the terror, create a situation in which there is better security and no violence." Powell's emphasis on settlements and Rice's on ending Palestinian terror clearly reflects the divisions in the Bush Administration. Some support and approve Israel's tough actions against terrorism, while some like Secretary Powell are more sympathetic to Arab complaints, and view Israel as being aggressive.
Dissension Within Palestinian Authority
May 6…..(Ha Aretz) PA Cabinet members Nabil Amar submitted his resignation yesterday. Amar explained that Arafat had rejected his demand for "deep reforms" in the Cabinet and the PA's security organs. There seems to be two factions within the PA, with one faction urging Yasser Arafat to reform the government and renounce terrorism while seeking to avoid being linked with other anti-American terrorists organizations. Another faction, and the one to which Arafat is more inclined espouses to remain committed to the current Intifada and the Hezbullah-Iraq-Syria-Iran camp.
Israel Day Parade Draws Thousands
May 6….(UPI) The 38th annual Israeli Day Parade drew record crowds onto Manhattan's Fifth Avenue yesterday, with over 1 million people joining in the festivities to support Israel. At least 100,000 marchers, mostly from Jewish schools in New York and other parts of the country, raised Israeli flags and sang Hebrew melodies. The colors of the Israeli flag, blue and white, were present everywhere, from the floats that carried waving passengers to the stickers, posters and buttons found all over the parade route. Their message was clear: Israel and the United States should stand together against militants.
EU Cash Funded the Suicide Bombers
May 6….(Harpazo) The Israeli Government has accused Yassir Arafat of secretly using aid from the European Union to finance terrorist attacks. As pressure increased steadily on the Israelis to negotiate with Mr. Arafat, Israeli officials maintain that documents seized during last month's military raids across the West Bank provided “damning evidence” that European Union money went directly to funding suicide-bombing missions. The European Union provides ten million euros (£6.25 million) each month towards the salaries of staff at Mr. Arafat's Palestinian Authority. Much of that money comes from British taxpayers. According to the Israeli authorities, “vast sums” have been covertly channeled from the monthly EU grants to Fatah gunmen and members of Arafat's al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades. Larger sums of money from Arab countries were also diverted in this manner. In addition, much of the money also ended up in the pockets of senior PA officials.
Churches in Sudan Overflowing
May 6….While many American churches resort to special events and programs to entice people to come to church, the Sudanese people are flocking to churches in overwhelming numbers. The churches in southern Sudan are believed to be the fastest growing churches in the world. About 70 per cent of the population of southern Sudan is now Christian. This rise in Christianity is taking place in spite of the fact that Islamic extremists wage war on any non-Muslims. The very fact that Christians are being persecuted is causing people to become Christians. Because of persecution and the Islamic threat against Christianity, the very forces that are threatening Christianity are causing the Sudanese people to look to Christ.
The "Arafat Accountability Act"
May 6….(World-Net) While it ought to be quite clear to every thinking American that support of Yasser Arafat as the "sole legitimate leader of the Palestinian people" is a huge mistake, and is an error in foreign diplomacy that is destabilizing the Middle East and making a mockery of the United States' own campaign against international terrorism. In response to this – and in light of America's own war on terrorism – bills have been introduced in the House and Senate to punish Arafat and hold him accountable for his actions. The Senate bill, introduced by Senators Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., is the Arafat Accountability Act (S. 2194). It would impose the following sanctions immediately on Arafat until he ceases the violence:
- downgrades PLO representation in the United States to its status before the Oslo peace process;
- restricts travel of the PLO observer to the United Nations;
- seizes PLO and Palestinian Authority assets in the U.S. – as well as the personal slush funds of Arafat himself;
- denys visas to officials of the PLO and PA.
The bill in the House, introduced by Rep. Gary Ackerman, D-N.Y., Ben Gilman, R-N.Y., and Tom Lantos, D-Calif., is called the Middle East Peace Commitments Act of 2001 (H.R. 1795). This bill would impose sanctions on Arafat if the President determines that Arafat is continuing to violate his commitments to the United States and Israel. The legislation requires the president, upon making such a determination, to impose the following sanctions:
- downgrade the office of the PLO representative to the U.S.;
- deny visas to officials of the PLO and PA;
- designate terrorist elements of the PLO as foreign terrorist organizations;
- prohibit all but humanitarian aid to the Palestinian territories;
WEEK of APRIL 29 THROUGH MAY 5
U.S. Formally Joins Forces to Create Palestine
May 3….(Washington Times) The United States, Europe, Russia and the United Nations joined forces yesterday to sponsor a Mid-east conference this summer with the goal of a Palestinian state living in peace with Israel. "The United States and the EU share a common vision of two states, Palestine and Israel, living side by side in peace and security," President Bush told reporters at the White House after meeting with European leaders.
Note: Prophetically speaking, this arrangement could lead to America's judgment by God. It is an affront to God to be involved in the “partitioning of the Promised Land”. (Joel 3:2)
U.S. Congress Supports Israel
May 3…(Jerusalem Post) The US Congress on Thursday forged ahead with strong declarations of support for Israel, despite White House misgivings that such statements could undermine Washington's peace efforts in the region. The Republican-led House and Democrat-controlled Senate approved separate resolutions favouring the Jewish state and a military campaign aimed at "dismantling the terrorist infrastructure" in Palestinian territory. Bowing to the inevitable, the White House gave its grudging consent and attempted to put the best face on the outcome. Just last week Colin Powell, the US secretary of state, had asked Congress to postpone action on the pro-Israel resolutions, saying the timing was not appropriate and that administration officials wanted more time to stave off a wider outbreak of violence in the Middle East. The Senate voted 94-2 in favor of a resolution stating that the US and Israel were "engaged in a common struggle against terrorism", and condemned Palestinian suicide bombings.
Note: The U.S. Congress supports Israel, and yet our foreign policy (State Department) position is to force Israel to withdraw from disputed territory and reward the terrorists with the disputed territory!
Powell Announces Plans For Int'l Mideast Peace Conference
May 3….(HaAretz) United States Secretary of State Colin Powell announced Thursday that an international conference would be held this summer to try to advance the peace efforts in the Middle East. He was speaking after a meeting of the "quartet" in Washington, formed last month and grouping the United States, the United Nations, Russia and the European Union to coordinate Israeli-Palestinian mediation efforts. "We have committed ourselves to the promotion of serious and accelerated negotiations toward a settlement. We discussed how best to begin to prepare for an international conference meeting this summer," he told a news conference. Powell did not specify who would take part in the conference, but Israeli and Palestinian representatives would be present alongside those from the U.S., Russia, the European Union, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt and Morocco. Powell did not specify a location for the summit, but it is believed that it will not be held in U.S. but rather somewhere in Europe.
Note: President Bush has conceded to the Powell Doctrine on the Middle East, and compromised the American war-on-terrorism.
Arafat Defintely Linked to Attacks
May 3….Captured Palestinian leader Marwan Barghouti has told Israeli interrogators that Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat personally approved weapons funding for attacks against Israeli citizens, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's office has revealed. The Ramallah Fatah-Tanzim chief Marwan Barghout, arrested two weeks ago towards the end of Operation Defensive Shield has been under intense interrogation since. His testimony shows how he planned dozens of shootings, bombings and suicide attacks against Israelis and recruited terrorists for perpetrating them. The testimony comes in the form of written statements, recordings and videotaped reconstruction of the attacks that he led. Running through the file is his constant assertion of Yasser Arafat's complicity. In one place he says: “When I planned attacks and found we were short of funds, I turned to Yasser Arafat and told him we needed more money. Before approving the funds, the Yasser Arafat asked me to explain every single detail. He knew about each attack down to the last detail and the cost of each item needed to put it into motion.” Then he would give the final approval and the additional funding for the suicide attacks.
Note: Irregardless of Arafat's complicity in terrorism, he stands to be rewarded for it.
Bush To Step up Middle East Peace-Making
May 3….(Jerusalem Post) With Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and King Abdullah II of Jordan due at the White House next week, the Bush administration is stepping up its drive for a Middle East peace accord. On Thursday, US diplomacy probably will get a major boost with endorsements from UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov and leaders of the European Union. Ariel Sharon, who will visit President Bush next Tuesday, is bound to be pressed to follow up his forces' pullout of Ramallah that released Yasser Arafat from five months' confinement in the West Bank city by moving forward on the Saudi peace proposal. Jordan's Abdullah, due to meet Monday with Secretary of State Colin Powell and with Bush on Wednesday, is pushing a similar plan. In Amman on Wednesday, Abdullah said: "We must work for putting an end to the “Israeli occupation” and establishing a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital." Like the Saudis, the king wants Israel to give up the West Bank, Gaza and part of Jerusalem, territory it captured in the Six-Day War of 1967, in exchange for promises of peace and recognition.
Note: Peace, peace, peace….but there shall be no Peace! (Jeremiah 6:14, Ezekiel 13:16) Only the Prince of Peace (Jesus Christ) can resolve the issue of peace in this world! ( Isaiah 9:6-7)
Interfaith Program “Religious Respect” Launched
May 3….(Weekend) Prince Charles has launched his major interfaith initiative calling for all religions to unite in "faith in the integrity of life itself." The Prince of Wales, flanked by senior members from nine different religions promoted the new “Religious Respect” program. "Over the past year, we have seen, internationally, nationally and locally, all too many examples of intolerance to others because of religious intolerance ," Charles told a gathering at the National Exhibition Center. The British heir said tolerance is "an easy word to pronounce, but it seems to be very difficult to enact in our lives. He called on the faiths to intermingle because: "Relations between faiths are of crucial importance for this millennium."
Testimony that Arafat Paid For Terrorism
May 3….(Arutz) The fact that Yasser Arafat personally approved terrorist funding for Fatah has now become "unequivocally clear." It has also been learned that explosive charges used by the terrorists were supplied from the Palestinian Authority's own weapons depots. Israeli investigators have learned that Fatah head Marwan Barghouti, who maintained direct communications with Arafat, transferred money to Fatah operatives specifically for attacks targeting and killing many Israeli civilians. Barghouti, who admitted to directing terrorist attacks that resulted in the killing and injuring of scores of Israeli civilians, described in detail the transfer of funds to the terrorist operatives. He was responsible for providing the funding for weapons acquisition and armed operations, and said that every terrorist request for funds was accompanied by a detailed requisition request. Barghouti would add his recommendation and signature, and then relay the request to PA Chairman Arafat. Barghouti stressed that every expense, no matter how small, required Arafat's personal approval. The funds were then transferred to the operatives according to the instructions of Hakem Bil'awi, the Secretary of the Fatah Central Committee. Nasser Aweis, head of the Fatah infrastructure in Samaria, was responsible for the recruiting, arming and handling of terrorist cells. He confirmed that he and other Tanzim terrorist operatives under his command received funding directly approved by Yasser Arafat. Aweis admitted to having been behind numerous terrorist bombings and shootings in Israel. asser Abu Hamid, a commander and founder of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades and who was also arrested during Operation Defensive Shield, revealed during questioning that he and his men received funding and weapons from Marwan Barghouti, through the latter's aide Ahmed Barghouti. Abu Hamid stated that Marwan knew the details of every operation carried out by himself and his men, was involved in the decision regarding the procurement of weapons for the terrorist cells, and even provided the payment approval for these weapons. He also revealed that his men received the explosive devices needed for their terrorist operations from Arafat's Force 17 Presidential Guard weapons depots, and that Force 17 members would regularly assemble explosive devices and give them to Fatah terrorists.
E.U. and U.S. at odds over Damascus
May 3….(Stratfor) The European Union is expanding bilateral relations with Syria. These closer ties, especially in the realm of trade, will give European firms a competitive advantage in the long run over U.S. companies hoping to do business in the region, and they could become a source of friction between the United State and Europe. Though Washington has diplomatic ties with Syria, future relations are not assured. As it has done with Iran or Libya, the United States may try to isolate Damascus in the future and will look to Europe to support the endeavor. But Europe is now laying the foundation for broad economic cooperation with Syria and isn't likely to back any U.S. effort to isolate the Levant state. Cold War debts, estimated at $22 billion, and the loss of its former Soviet sponsor have left Damascus with little room for maneuver. At the same time, widespread unemployment and an annual population growth rate of 2.5 percent is increasing the pressure for growth in the economy. While European firms are establishing contacts and allies in Syria and European banks are doling out loans, Washington is considering additional sanctions against Damascus, because America lists Syria as a state sponsor of terrorism.
American Financial Aid on the way to Palestine
May 2….The United States already will give Israel 2.8 million dollars billion in aid this year, about one-fifth of total American aid to all countries. That includes 2 billion dollars in military aid and 730 million dollars in economic aid. On the Palestinian side, Secretary of State Colin Powell recently announced an additional 30 million for the UN Relief and Works Agency to help with emergency reconstruction in Palestinian areas destroyed during Israel's recent military offensive against the PLO terrorist infrastructure. That emergency aid is on top of the 72 million dollars in economic aid the United States already was to provide this year to Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip for health, water and education projects, and small business promotion. No money is supposed to go to Arafat's Palestinian Authority, State Department officials say, but if the past is any indication, the Palestinian people will never see the money. In addition, almost 182 million dollars pledged to help Palestinians in past years, which had remained unspent during the last year's violence, will now be available for emergency reconstruction in the PA territories.
Yasser Arafat is A Raving Madman!
commentary by Darrell G. Young
May 2….Mr. Arafat's first stop after leaving his compound was the local hospital where he said prayers at the graves of a number of people who died during Israeli incursions. Scores of children across the road called tout o him: "We will sacrifice our lives for you". Arafat waved to the kids and using his fingers fashioned a “V” for victory sign. PA gunmen used high-powered rifles to shoot into the sky, and shouted slogans about a great victory over Israel. Shortly afterwards, a trembling and furious Mr. Arafat pounded his fists on a press table and denounced Israeli soldiers as "terrorists, Nazis and racists".
Speaking later on American television, he appealed to the world to help end the confrontation at the Church of the Holy Nativity in Bethlehem, where he claims to be defending a Christian holy site. More than 200 people have been trapped inside the church, the place which some Christians say marks the birthplace of Jesus. Yasser Arafat claiming to be defending Christian sites is like the fox guarding the hen-house. It is ironic that the Arafat-PLO terrorists would pretend to be defending the birthplace of the King of the Jews!
Muslim Charity Linked to Bin Laden?
May 2….(CNN) Federal agents arrested the director of an Illinois-based charity Tuesday and charged him with lying about links to Osama bin Laden and international terrorism. Federal authorities said Enaam Arnaout, 39, a Syrian-born naturalized U.S. citizen who is executive director of the Benevolence International Foundation, was charged with perjury for lying during the government's investigation of the BIF. The organization itself was also charged with perjury. The Treasury Department froze the BIF's assets in last December because the government claimed the group had ties to al Qaeda, bin Laden's international terrorist organization. Attorney General John Ashcroft said Arnaout was close enough to bin Laden that he was trusted to care for one of his wives in Pakistan in 1989. "Arnaout was, has a relationship with Osama bin Laden and many of his key associates, and that the foundation is an organization that al Qaeda has used for logistical support," Ashcroft said. The complaint says Arnaout and BIF officials had contact with people involved in terrorist activity -- particularly with the al Qaeda network. One of those individuals -- Mamdouh Salim, is a key bin Laden associate who wrote fatwas and participated in efforts to obtain nuclear weapons and chemical weapons for al Qaeda, the complaint says.
Battle in Bethlehem Church of Nativity
May 2….(Reuters) Arafat emerged from his Ramallah compound in an angry mood. Declaring that, "It is not important what happened to me here. What is important is what is happening in the Church of the Nativity. This is a crime," Arafat, trembling with fury, told reporters in his offices in his first remarks after the siege was lifted. Clad in his traditional black-and-white checked keffiyeh, he called the Israelis Nazis and terrorists then stormed out of the conference room. He was referring to the Israeli siege of Palestinians terrorists holed up in Bethlehem's Church of the Nativity. Israeli troops battled Palestinian gunmen at the church Wednesday and a blaze broke out in two rooms inside the compound of the holy site, revered by Christians as Jesus birthplace. Arafat claimed to be protecting the Christian holy site, and that the Israeli troops were desecrating the church. Later reports indicated that the fire was set from inside the building.
U.S. Concerned Over Threats to Jordan
May 2….(World Net) As the United States develops plans to confront the Saddam Hussein regime in Iraq, it is growing concerned about the future of Jordan. U.S. officials fear King Abdullah will be overwhelmed by the rise in anti-U.S. and anti-Israel sentiment in the kingdom. The sentiment, said to be supported by neighboring Iraq, has sparked large and increasingly violent demonstrations in Jordan. CIA Director George Tenet has warned President George Bush that Jordan has become one of the most vulnerable of pro-U.S. Arab regimes. The CIA is said to have determined that King Abdullah has been unable to stem the rising tide of pro-Iraqi and anti-U.S. sentiment that is hampering Jordan's domestic and foreign policy. Jordan has a Palestinian majority that some analysts assert reaches 70 percent of the population.
Arafat Released From Confinement
May 2….(Arutz) Yasser Arafat has finally been freed from his Ramallah compound confinement where he has been holed up for 6 months. Arafat emerged from the door of his compound and was greeted joyfully by a large crowd of residents of the Palestinian autonomous areas. Arafat then sped off in a black limousine for a tour of Ramallah. IDF troops withdrew totally from Ramallah last night, including from around Arafat's Mukata compound. Troops remain stationed in buffer zones around the city. Immediately before the IDF withdrawal, a convoy of American and British vehicles arrived in the compound to transport the most wanted Palestinian terrorists to a PA jail in Jericho. They included the four Arabs involved in the murder of Tourism Minister Rechavam Ze'evi last October; Fuad Shubaki, mastermind of the Karin-A arms smuggling operation; and Palestinian Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) leader Ahmed Sa'adat. Arabs in Jericho took to the streets in celebration when the motorcade carrying the noted terrorists arrived. Under a deal brokered by the US government, the prisoners will remain in the Jericho prison under the eye of American and British wardens. Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon says he cannot guarantee that Palestinian President Yasser Arafat would be allowed to return to the West Bank if he travels abroad to consult with Arab leaders. Sharon also said he intends to create a buffer zone around the West Bank to stop "the penetration of terrorists ino the heart of Israel.
National Day of Prayer, 2002
Proclamation by President Bush
"Since our Nation's founding, Americans have turned to prayer for inspiration, strength and guidance. In times of trial, we ask God for wisdom, courage, direction and comfort. We offer thanks for the countless blessings God has provided. And we thank God for sanctifying every human life by creating each of us in His image. As we observe this National Day of Prayer, we call upon the Almighty to continue to bless America and her people. Especially since September 11, millions of Americans have been led to prayer. They have prayed for comfort in a time of grief, for understanding in a time of anger and for protection in a time of uncertainty. We have all seen God's great faithfulness to our country. America's enemies sought to weaken and destroy us through acts of terror. None of us would ever wish on anyone what happened on September 11th. Yet tragedy and sorrow none of us would choose have brought forth wisdom, courage and generosity. In the face of terrorist attacks, prayer provided Americans with hope and strength for the journey ahead. God has blessed our Nation beyond measure. We give thanks for our families and loved ones, for the abundance of our land and the fruits of labor, for our inalienable rights and liberties and for a great Nation that leads the world in efforts to preserve those rights and liberties. We give thanks for all those across the world who have joined with America in the fight against terrorism. We give thanks for the men and women of our military, who are fighting to defend our Nation and the future of civilization.
We continue to remember those who are suffering and face hardships. We pray for peace throughout the world. On this National Day of Prayer, I encourage Americans to remember the words of St. Paul: "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." The Congress, by Public Law 100-307, as amended, has called on our citizens to reaffirm the role of prayer in our society and to honor the religious diversity our freedom permits by recognizing annually a "National Day of Prayer." Now, Therefore, I, George W. Bush, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim May 2, 2002, as a National Day of Prayer. I ask Americans to pray for God's protection, to express gratitude for our blessings and to seek moral and spiritual renewal. I urge all our citizens to join in observing this day with appropriate programs, ceremonies and activities.
In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-sixth day of April, in the year of our Lord two thousand two, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and twenty-sixth."
GEORGE W. BUSH
Islamic Radicals Threaten Christians
May 1….(Reuters) Muslim guerrillas who have held a U.S. missionary couple hostage for almost a year in the southern Philippines said today they may kill them since the government would not negotiate for their release. U.S. Christian missionaries Martin and Gracia Burnham have been held by Muslim terrorists operating under Abu Sayyaf since last May.
Arafat's Mysterious “Confinement Negotiations”
May 1….The parties involved in the three-way negotiations for Yasser Arafat's release from his Ramallah confinement include, the Vatican on one side, the United States, UK, and Israel on the second side, and of course the Palestinian leader himself . With Vatican support, Italy has offered Arafat's sidekicks travel visas.
Note: I have to wonder why the Vatican would lobby so hard for Arafat's release.
Korea And China Support Syria
May 1….(Arutz) Syria's Vice President Mohamd Masharqa recently
returned to Damascus from North Korea. North Korean leaders gave Masharqa an
affirmation that "any aggression against Syria is an aggression against Korea.
The Syrian Vice President also visited the peoples republic of China, where he held talks with Chinese officials in Peking city. During these talks, Masharqa lauded China's support for the Arab people's causes, including the liberation of the occupied Arab territories and the restoration of the Palestinian usurped rights. Chinese officials reiterated China solidarity with the Syrian
people's struggle for the liberation of the Golan Heights, and for finding a just and comprehensive solution in the Middle East region.
Pope Beseeches Mary For Peace in Holy Land
May 1….(Vatican News) Pope John Paul has asked for a "chorus of uninterrupted prayer" for peace in the Holy Land. With the start of the month of May, which is consecrated to Mary, we call upon all to pray to Mary for peace in the Holy Land. May is Marian devotion month. Dearest brothers and sisters, we intensely live these days dedicated to the heavenly Mother of Our Lord. Let us recite, each day if possible, the holy rosary. The rosary is a simple prayer, but profound and efficacious, for imploring graces in favor of families, communities and the entire world." The Holy Father went on to say that "in the face of the international situation, where so many problems and needs emerge, and in particular in the light of the drama in the Holy Land, we must turn with trust to the maternal intercession of the Blessed Virgin. We are certain that she can sustain the efforts of those who seek peace with sincerity and commitment. No one more than she, Queen of Peace, constantly watches over this difficult path of mankind."
Note: Please refer to the Queen of Heaven FOJ series for Marian phenomena.
Arafat's Shady Financial House
May 1….(LA Times) Fuad Shubaki is Yasser Arafat's chief financial officer for the Palestinian Authority. Shubaki has controlled millions, if not billions, of dollars over the years, the money that was used to equip Arafat's Palestinian militias. Shubaki's records provide proof that Arafat financed terrorism. Those records supply information on payments to militant groups such as the Fatah-affiliated Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade. Shubaki was the financial dealer of the illegal Karine-A weapons ship. U.S. officials have also confirmed that the Bush Administration also believes Shubaki played a key role in the shipment. Invoices signed by Shubaki show purchases of shoulder-fired antitank rocket launchers for Arafat's Force 17, evidence of the acquisition of antiaircraft missiles for the PA police. The Palestinian Authority under the Oslo Accords is only allowed to have a large quantity of small arms.
Saudi Oil Money and Consumer Facts
May 1….(World Net source) While the Saudi Royal family is known to send vast amounts of money to Hamas and Islamic Jihad and the PLO, it is generally unreported that the source for the vast Saudi wealth comes directly from America. The Saudi royal family gets much of its vast income from America, its biggest oil customer. The U.S. buys about 1.5 million barrels of crude a day from Saudi Arabia, or nearly one-fourth of all the Saudi total sales, according to the American Petroleum Institute. About 45 percent of the Saudi crude is refined into gas and sold at major gas station chains across the country. Chevron Corp. is easily Saudi's biggest U.S.-based customer. The energy giant, based in San Francisco, operates about 8,000 gas stations in 25 states. Houston-based Marathon Ashland Petro LLC ranks as Saudi Arabia's second-largest American customer. It operates more than 2,069 convenience stories that also sell gas. The chain, Speedway Super-America, or SSA is based in Enon, Ohio. Exxon Co. USA, along with its partner Mobil Oil Corp., also rank among the biggest buyers of Saudi crude. U.S. gas retailers buying the least amount of Saudi crude include: Shell Oil Co., Phillips 66, Conoco Inc. and Diamond Shamrock Refining and Marketing.
China Supports Arab-Palestinian Side
April 30….The Chinese government and people firmly support the just cause of the Palestinian and Arab people, said Chinese President Jiang Zemin at a meeting today with visiting Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. President Jiang condemned Israel for its refusal to implement United Nations resolutions, its invasion of Palestinian-controled areas and for the continued restriction of the freedom of President Yasser Arafat, who he said was an old friend of the Chinese people.
Shocked By Posting Of 10 Commandments
April 30…..(The Chattanoogan) Several plaintiffs testifying in Chattanooga's Federal Court Monday said they were "shocked" that the Hamilton County Commission had posted the 10 Commendments in three public buildings. "I was shocked. I felt like I had to do something to stop them," said Tracy Knauss, a local publisher and photographer who is one of the plaintiffs.
Note: Isn't it amazing that the Ten Commandments can be so offensive! Thou shalt not kill, steal, lie…these are such despicable characteristics! (Hosea 4:6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.) The haters of God's law had better get redirected, because the King is coming and will establish his law as the law of the land! (Micah 4:1-2
But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it. And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.)
President Bush: I am a Humble Sinner!
April 30….(Reuters) Saying, "I am just a humble sinner," President Bush reflected back on his personal experience with alcohol abuse to illustrate how faith can help turn lives around. Bush, who found God and gave up alcohol 15 years ago on his 40th birthday, is one of the most overtly religious presidents of recent times. He opens cabinet meetings with a prayer and often prays in the Oval office. "Faith is a powerful motivator. ... I know first-hand what faith can mean in somebody's life, so I remind people I am just a humble sinner who saw redemption," he said.
Jenin Massacre Refuted by Palestinian Witnesses
April 30….Palestinian Authority allegations that a large-scale massacre of civilians was committed by Israeli troops during their invasion of the refugee camp appear to be crumbling under the weight of eyewitness accounts from Palestinian refugee camp residents who remained in their homes until the final hours of the fighting. In interviews with teenage fighters, and a leader of Islamic Jihad, an elderly man whose home was at the center of the fighting, and other Palestinian residents, all of whom were in the camp during the battle, none reported seeing large numbers of civilians killed. All said they were allowed to surrender or evacuate when they were ready to do so, though some reported being mistreated while in Israeli detention. Munir Arsam, 15, a member of Islamic Jihad said women and children were able to evacuate the camp before the climactic battle began. Even at the height of the struggle, fighters were able to put down their weapons and surrender. But the Palestinians won'' this battle, he said, because ''Israel did not shake our morale. The only massacre was a massacre of the Jews, not of us.''
Mubarak Claims American Double Standard
April 30….Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak claims that the U.S.-led war on terrorism had been diverted to serve Israel. This recent West Bank incursion was planned to divert the American campaign against terrorism in a new direction that aims to achieve political gains for Israel at the expense of the Arab and Islamic countries and use this campaign to destroy legitimate Palestinian resistance against Israeli occupation," Mubarak said. "What happened is a sudden change in the direction of the war against terrorism which, I am afraid, will shake the people's faith in it and in its credibility in the Arab and Muslim worlds," he said. It is illogically and unjust to compare the U.S. war against terrorism in Afghanistan with Israel's war against unarmed Palestinians who are resisting occupation," Mubarak said.
Meanwhile Egypt's first lady led a march of humanitarian volunteers and then watched from a reviewing stand as a line of Egyptian trucks and ambulances headed to the Gaza Strip with aid for the Palestinians.
President Hosni Mubarak called Israel's treatment of the Palestinians "barbaric. Israel, which controls the Gaza crossing, allowed the convoy of 20 trucks and six ambulances to enter the Gaza Strip and distribute the Red Crescent aid after passing inspections at the border.
Palestinian Representative Accuses US-Israel
April 30….(CNS) The Palestinian Representative to the United States accused Israel of committing war crimes with the assistance of the U.S. government. "Literally Israel is getting away with murder because of the protection that Israel is afforded at the United Nations by the veto power of the United States," according to Hasan Abdel Rahman. "Israel uses illegal methods that can be considered under international law as war crimes," he told an audience at a Middle East policy forum. Rahman says it is the Israelis who must act first, by withdrawing from the "occupied territories" and returning to the country's 1967 borders. This withdrawal would stop the Palestinian terrorism, he said.
Note: This sounds like more of the “olive branch vs. terrorist-gun” mentality that Arafat is so famous for!
Arafat Reneging on Turnover Plan?
April 30….(INS) Two days after President Bush offered Yasser Arafat a plan that would remove his confinement to his Ramallah compound, PA leader Yasser Arafat has already begun backing out of the agreement with the United States by which six persons are be handed over to the custody of US and British agents. Arafat is required to turn over four PFLP terrorists involved in the assassination of Rechavam Ze'evi, as well as Fuad Shubaki and PFLP leader Ahmed Sadat, responsible for the Karin-A weapons freighter. Arafat has already announced the Karin-A suspects would not be turned over to US custody. The Hamas terrorist organization has rejected any release of the wanted persons.
E.U. Funds Subsidize PA Terror
April 30….(Middle East Newsline) Israel has relayed evidence to the European Union that its aid to the Palestinian Authority is being diverted to finance terror attacks on Israel. The government of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has sent captured PA documents on the Palestinian use of EU aid. Over the last year, the EU has provided more than $70 million to the PA to pay salaries of members of the more than 100,000 Palestinian civil servants which actually serve in Arafat's terrorist infrastructure. The EU aid was originally earmarked for paying the salaries of Palestinian police officers.
U.S. and Syria on Collision Course
April 30….(Middle East Newsline) The United States is considering imposing new sanctions on Syria. Legislation has been introduced in both the House and Senate that would ensure additional sanctions on Damascus unless it ends support for terrorism. Syria appears on the State Department list of terrorist sponsors and harbors several Islamic and Palestinian insurgency groups. The additional sanctions would include a ban on the export to Syria of any weapons or munitions as well as dual-use items. Such items appear on the U.S. Munitions List or the Commerce Department's Control List of dual-use productions. In addition, Washington would ban all U.S. government assistance to Damascus as well as investment in and the export of U.S. products to Syria. The bill sets four conditions for Syria to avoid additional sanctions. They are the termination of Syrian support for terrorist groups, the withdrawal of all Syrian military or security personnel from Lebanon, the end of Syria's missile and non-conventional weapons programs, and certification that Syria is no longer in violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions. These include resolutions against terrorism and the occupation of Lebanon, which contains more than 20,000 Syrian troops. Damascus is also said to be importing up to 200,000 barrels of oil in violation of UN sanctions on Iraq. Under the bill, termed the Syria Accountability Act and unveiled last week, President George Bush would have to certify these conditions. U.S. law prevents the transfer of aid to Syria because of its inclusion in the State Department list of terrorist sponsors. Also Syria continues to develop and deploy short and medium range ballistic missiles targeting Israel, and like its neighbor Iraq, is also developing and producing biological and chemical weapons. Security Council Resolution 661 requires nations to comply with the sanctions on Iraq.
Note: FOJ has noted many times in the past the pivotal role Damascus will play during the Great Tribulation. Damascus is headquarters for many Middle East terrorist organizations.
Terrorism Can Produce High Fatalities
April 29….(Washington Post) A million people could die if terrorists launch a biological attack that widely disperses smallpox, anthrax, ebola or other agents, according to a new study that analyzes the damage that could be caused by the use of weapons of mass destruction. Even though such a biological attack was deemed extremely unlikely, a team of scholars from the Brookings Institution said the Bush Administration should concentrate homeland security efforts on similar doomsday terrorist scenarios that have the potential for causing the largest numbers of deaths. The study estimated that 100,000 people would die if a nuclear bomb hit a major U.S. city and that 10,000 would perish in a successful attack on a nuclear or toxic chemical plant. The Brookings scholars said the government should invest heavily in technology to identify and apprehend suspected terrorists before they can strike. The report estimated that a biological attack in a major urban area could create $750 billion in economic damage, and that widespread terror against a key part of the economy, such as shopping malls or movie theaters, could cost $250 billion.
A Depraved Culture Incites Death Worship
commentary on PA incited militancy by Darrell G. Young
April 29….In today's Palestinian culture the concept of performing a suicide "operation" is the icon of glory. While kids elsewhere grow up dreaming of sports stars or pop singers, Palestinian kids are taught to emulate the latest teenage terrorist icon. An eternity in paradise is believed to be awaiting the young bombers. Islamic Imams glorify the suicide martyrs in weekly sermons, praising the most recent perpetrators of death as heroes. The appeal of suicide attacks, once the domain of militant Muslim groups has taken root throughout Palestinian society and giving rise to a religious cult complete with rituals. Sixty young Palestinians have blown themselves up while randomly killing unsuspecting by standing Israeli's over the previous 19 months. Some have been women. Most have been teen-agers. After each attack, candy is distributed in the streets, and women often greet the news with joyous shrieks. Parades are often held in celebration when news comes regarding the number of Israeli's that were killed by the heroic suicide bomber. The more victims, the bigger the parade and celebration. Shahid-suicide attackers videotape their final words against a backdrop of assault rifles and banners with Quranic verses. Posters of the bombers and gunmen are plastered on walls. Palestinians say the bombings are a legitimate weapon in fighting for their independent state. Opinion polls indicate that more than 70 percent of Palestinians support suicide attacks, and experts say the high regard in which the "martyrs" are held in society is shaping another generation of suicide bombers. "Martyrdom has become an ambition for our children," says one Palestinian spokesman. Arafat's militant terror squads say they get so many candidates that they have suicide-bomber waiting lists. When zero hour approaches, the would-be bombers offer a final prayer and listen to a sermon by an Islamic Imam on martyrdom. Then with highly volatile explosives strapped around their waist they look for a spot in Israel where they can cause as many deaths and as possible by blowing themselves up. News of a suicide-bombing is announced in the Palestinian sectors from loudspeakers mounted on Islamic minarets. Then with a directive from the mosque, spontaneous marches set out to the house of the bomber's family. The family later makes itself available at a local youth center or social club for people to pay them respects, and never any condolences, since the Shahid is believed to have gone up into Paradise. Within hours, posters of the bomber go up on walls. The posters always show the Shahid holding a rifle and a Quran against a backdrop of an image of Islam's gold-topped Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem. Muslim clerics are nearly unanimous in their mandating that suicide bombings are commended by Islam and that the bombers are martyrs. Only a depraved culture and a pagan religion would promote such lunacy.
Hezbollah, Al-Qaida Governed Jenin Camp
April 29….(Debka) Intelligence recently gleaned from the Jenin refugee camp in Israel reveals the camp was secretly governed by Hezbollah and al-Qaida terrorists plotting attacks against American cities. Military sources say some of the contents of the intelligence documents include evidence that the Jenin camp's bosses were engaged not only in launching multi-casualty suicide attacks in Netanya and Tel Aviv, but also secretly plotting and organizing large-scale suicide hits against U.S. population centers.
Note: Apparently the Israeli incursion into the PA controlled city of Jenin and its terrorist-occupied refugee camp has revealed that Al Queda cells were working with Arafat's Al Aqsa Brigades to simultaneously launch terror assaults in Israel and in America. Had Israel withdrew from the West Bank “without delay” as President Bush had demanded, the Al Queda cells could have remained free to plot their deadly deeds in American cities.
Israel Will End Arafat's Ramallah Siege
April 29…..(Worldnet) Israel has agreed to a U.S. proposal to end the five-month-old siege on Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat. The government of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon accepted a proposal by President Bush to allow Arafat to leave his Ramallah headquarters in return for the detention of six Palestinians wanted by Israel. Four of the Palestinians are suspected of being linked to the assassination of Israeli Tourism Minister Rehavam Ze'evi. By a vote of 17-8, the Sharon Cabinet agreed on Sunday that the six Palestinian fugitives would be placed in a PA jail in the Gaza Strip. They would be monitored by British and U.S. security personnel. Arafat's release was a key demand made by Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz when he met with President Bush in Texas.
U.N. Investigation Team to Jenin
Commentary on the news by: Darrell G.Young
April 29…. The fighting in Jenin started on April 3. According to Israeli soldiers who took part in the battle, armed Palestinian gunmen had taken up positions inside the buildings. In some cases, Palestinian gunmen forced refugee-civilians to remain holed up with them. Israel therefore opted to fight a house-to-house ground combat, precisely to avoid causing more civilian casualties. It now appears that only about 50 Palestinians, mostly armed fighters were killed. On April 9, thirteen Israeli reserve paratroopers were killed when a booby-trapped building exploded and collapsed on them. It was then that the Israelis decided to bring in the bulldozers to destroy potentially booby-trapped buildings as Israel Defense Forces soldiers closed in on the gunmen. Every stage of the Jenin operation was filmed. The real controversy regarding Jenin and the refugee camp is that it was administered by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency. Yet a culture of terror and death was allowed to thrive in this U.N. sponsored camp. Armed terrorists who by international law should not have been allowed in the camp, actually controlled it.
The world should be asking the United Nations why it allowed a safe-haven in Jenin for Arafat's terrorists. And why is the U.N. so intent on sending an investigative team to Jenin now to search for Israeli errors in the combat zone. Why didn't the U.N. send investigative teams to Netanya, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and Haifa when Jenin terrorist operatives were blowing innocent people to pieces?
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