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Arab Town Plans Celebration for Israel's Independence Day

(Shfaram mayor decides to include his town in festivities for Israel's 60th anniversary; says 'we feel we are a part of Israel, we don't want our children to hate country')

Feb. 1….(YNET) Unlike most of the Arab sector, the Arab town of Shfaram has decided to take part in Israel’ss celebrations of its 60th anniversary this year, and hold ceremonies to mark the occasion. The town's mayor Ursan Yassin and other local officials met with members of the state committee in charge of the celebrations Thursday to discuss the nature of the festivities to be held in town. Yassin recently spoke with the committee chairman, Minister Ruhama Avraham-Balila, and stressed to her that while many in the Arab community felt unconnected to the historic date, Shfaram had no plans to be left out of the party. Yassin told the committee that he objected to the incitement against the state among the Arab sector. I want to hold a central ceremony in Shfaram, raise all the flags and have a huge feast. "The 40,000 residents of Shfaram feel that they are a part of the State of Israel," Yassin added. "The desire to participate in the festivities is shared by most of the residents." The mayor stated, "We will not raise our children to hate the country. This is our country and we want to live in coexistence with its Jewish residents." The committee members praised Yassin's words and vowed to include the town in plans for the state-wide events, including a traveling exhibit featuring Israel's achievement in the 60 years since its inception. Minister Avraham-Balila also lauded Yassin's "courageous statements, saying it was time for the leaders of Israel's Arab community "to express what a large part of their public feels." The 60th anniversary events "are an excellent opportunity to emphasize the unifying aspects shared by all sectors in the country," she added.



Female Suicide Bombers Strike in Baghdad 

imageFeb. 1….(AP) Two female suicide bombers blew themselves up Friday in separate attacks on Baghdad pet bazaars, killing at least 64 people and wounding dozens, police said. The attacks were the deadliest in the Iraqi capital since 30,000 more American troops flooded into the center of the country last spring. In the first attack, a woman detonated explosives hidden under her traditional black Islamic robe at about 10:20 am in the central al-Ghazl market. The weekly bazaar has been bombed several times since the war started but has recently re-emerged as a popular shopping venue as Baghdad security improved and a Friday ban on driving was lifted. Police said at least 46 people were killed and 82 wounded. Firefighters scooped up debris scattered among pools of blood, clothing and pigeon carcasses. About 20 minutes later, a second female suicide bomber struck a bird market in a predominantly Shiite area in southeastern Baghdad. That blast killed as many as 18 people and wounded 25, police said. The attacks shortly before the weekly Islamic call to prayer resounded across the capital were the latest in a series of violent incidents that have been chipping away at Iraqi confidence in the permanence of recent security gains. Police initially said the bomb was hidden in a box of birds but determined it was a suicide attack after finding the woman's head, an officer said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to release the information.

   Involving women in fighting violates religious taboos in Iraq, but the US military has warned that al-Qaida in Iraq is recruiting women and youths to stage suicide attacks as the insurgents become increasingly desperate to thwart stepped-up security measures. Women in Iraq often wear a black Islamic robe known as an abaya and it can be easier for them to avoid thorough searches at checkpoints because of Islamic sensitivities about their treatment. The US military said initial reporting indicated it was a suicide car bombing carried out by a woman, but Iraqi police said the female attacker detonated an explosives belt at the entrance to the bazaar. The US military has been unable to stop the suicide bombings despite a steep drop in violence in the past six months, but the number of casualties has been lower than many attacks last year that saw death tolls topping 100.



Ahmadinejad: Israel's Days are Numbered


(FOJ) Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called on the West Wednesday to acknowledge Israel's "imminent collapse."

Speaking to a raucous crowd on a visit to the southern port of Bushehr, where Iran's first light-water nuclear power plant is being built by Russia, Ahmadinejad further incited his listeners to "stop supporting the Zionists, as their regime has reached its final stage." Soon Israel will not exist, he said!

Jan. 30….(YNET) Iranian President Ahmadinejad says, 'It's time to end the puppet theater of the fake regime'; and adds that his country is approaching nuclear 'peak,' a stage whereby Iran could bring about the end of the image of Israel. Iran is approaching the "peak" in its nuclear program and will not yield to Western pressure to halt its activities, Ahmadinejad said. Ahmadinejad was speaking in the southwestern town of Bushehr near the site of Iran's planned first nuclear power plant, being built with Russian help. "If you (Western powers) imagine that the Iranian nation will back down you are making a mistake," he said in a televised speech. "On the nuclear path we are moving towards the peak," he said without elaborating. Turning his attention to Israel, Ahmadinejad said, "The religious Palestinian people will bring down the last screen with its powerful hand on the Zionists' puppet theater. It's time to end the puppet theater of this fake regime." The Iranian president noted that Israel's days were numbered and that it has reached its end. Turning to the Western powers supporting Israel, he said, "Those who remain silent in light of this regime's crimes and support it should know that they are taking part in the bloodshed of the Palestinian people and will be tried in the future. "The world's states will never forget these crimes," the Iranian president was quoted as saying by the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA). Defying international pressure, Iran has been working on producing its own nuclear fuel, technology the West fears will be used to make atomic bombs. Tehran says its work is peaceful and has refused to stop. He was speaking two days after Iran received the eighth and final consignment of nuclear fuel from Russia for the Bushehr plant. "Next year at this time, nuclear electricity should flow in Iran's electricity network," he told the crowd. Russia delivered the first shipment of uranium fuel rods on December 17 (after the US NIE report) and urged Tehran to scrap its efforts to produce nuclear fuel. Tehran says its work is peaceful and has refused to stop. Iran, the world's fourth-largest crude producer, says it wants to build a network of nuclear plants so it can preserve more of its oil and gas for export. It says it wants to make nuclear fuel itself to guarantee its supplies. World powers last week agreed the outline of a third UN sanctions resolution against Iran which calls for mandatory travel bans and asset freezes for specific Iranian officials and vigilance on banks in the country.



Threats we Face

Jan. 30….(Ken Timmerman) Whichever candidate emerges from the primaries to win the presidential election this November will face a series of foreign policy challenges unlike anything since Thomas Jefferson took office, when our new nation faced its first messy, dangerous and inexplicable challenge from afar. In 1801, the threat came from North African pirate states, far from America's shores, whose better-equipped naval vessels were seizing US merchant ships and extorting huge sums in tribute from our Treasury. Today, the immediate threat comes from Jihadi Islam, and the primary state-sponsor of terror: the Islamic Republic of Iran. Both are as inexplicable and as messy a political problem as were the Barbary pirates that nearly capsized Jefferson's presidency. But with the nuclear aspirations of both al Qaeda and Iran, the threat they pose is infinitely more dangerous. Put simply, America cannot afford to elect an amateur commander in chief in November. No matter how much of a quick study such a candidate might be, trusting in on-the-job training is a poor bet for our nation's security. The next president needs to know how to face the guys with big guns (and bombs) from the minute he takes the job. That means serious, executive-level experience, not hype or hope. There are plenty of other challenges out there: How to deal with a resurgent KGB state in Russia, armed with nuclear weapons and awash in new riches from oil; what to do with a rising China, struggling to jettison its communist past, a potential enemy but already a competitor; and a recalcitrant North Korea, just to name a few. But nothing on the horizon currently tops the immediacy or the global nature of the threat from radical Islam and its main state-sponsor, Iran. Consider the following.

• Iran's regime has supported the insurgency in Iraq from the get-go, and is dedicated to effecting the failure of America's mission to stabilize Iraq.

• Iran's Revolutionary Guards have recently expanded their operations against coalition forces in Afghanistan, providing improvised explosive devices (IEDs), cash and training to the Taliban.

• Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has forged alliances with Castro-acolytes Hugo Chavez in Venezuela and Evo Morales in Bolivia, and continues to make forays into America's backyard.

• Iran continues to acquire the capabilities to make nuclear weapons, while disguising their political intent to build the bomb.

• Iran is the primary financial and military backer of Hezbollah in Lebanon, and Hamas in the Palestinian territories, and continues to fund subversive groups throughout the Persian Gulf region as part of its efforts to undermine regimes friendly to the United States.

   Despite this clear pattern of aggressive behavior, some presidential candidates have argued that the United States should make concessions to Tehran's leaders, as if we could entice them from mayhem and from planning the next Holocaust by just offering them enough carrots. The record is crystal-clear: When Tehran's leaders see their enemies grovel, they just turn up the heat. And when we apply modest political or economic pressure, they laugh and find clever ways around it. The worst thing the next president could do when facing the challenges from Iran would be to offer face-to-face meetings or negotiations with Tehran, as both Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Hussein Obama have done. The Islamic Republic understands power politics. When we squeeze them in serious ways, as the US Treasury Department has been doing over the last year, they take notice and start to squirm. Rather than offer concessions, the next president needs to tighten the screws. Here are a few suggestions for the types of thing he could do:

(1) Expand the economic pressure by getting Iran's suppliers of refined petroleum producers, mainly in India, the United Arab Emirates and the Netherlands, to cut back or cut off their supplies. The lack of gasoline for the domestic market is the Achilles heel of this regime.

(2) Craft a serious program to funnel money, technical assistance, supplies and diplomatic recognition to the pro-democracy movement inside Iran. The regime is terrified that their divided domestic opposition might come together around a common program to bring about nonviolent change. We should help the opposition to make the regime's worst nightmare come true.

(3) Work hard with American allies such as French President Nicolas Sarkozy, to get others to cut off new bank loans and new commercial contracts with Iran. If France can do it, why can't Germany, Italy or South Korea?

(4) Set up a special fund, through private nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) with demonstrated experience in the field, to infiltrate the regime, buy sensitive information and work with defectors from Iran's intelligence apparatus. The CIA has demonstrated its total inability to infiltrate Iran or deal with defectors. And yet for just a few hundred million dollars, we can buy the entire regime. The next president must understand the limitations of the US intelligence community, and the power of the private sector if unleashed and properly funded.



Iran’s Rev Guards Chief Threatens US Gulf Bases if Iran is Attacked, Missiles for Israel


IRGC Commander Mohammad Ali Jaafari

Jan. 30….(DEBKA) In a recent interview, Gen. Mohammad Ali Jaafari, commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, said: “Despite the US military’s supremacy in air power and advanced electronic equipment, Iran can counter any attack just like the Hezbollah forces that defeated the region’s most advanced and best-equipped military in the 33-day war against the Zionist regime.” The Iranian general boasted “…through the strength and precision of our own missiles, we are capable of targeting the US military forces that attack us.” The US military has several bases in Arab countries including Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, and Yemen but his threat could also be interpreted to cover US forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. The IRGC general said should Israel participate in an American attack, it will be exposed to danger from states [a hint at Iran’s ally Syria] and Muslims [i.e. Hizballah and the Palestinians] in the region. Moreover, said Jaafari, our resources and the range of our missiles cover Israel and “all of occupied Palestine [namely, Israel’s West Bank communities and bases] is exposed to danger. “We believe that Israel will not take such an action and will not take the US side because it will receive a blow from Iran that is many times as big as the blow that it received from Hezballah. “Then we would have a free hand to take many actions and do what we want to do.” Concerning Israel’s ballistic missile test of Jan. 17, the IRGC chief replied: “…of course they have their resources, nuclear resources and missiles that might be directed at Iran now, and there is no problem in this regard. All these claims are intended as muscle-flexing but our real knowledge about the policies of the Quds [Jerusalem]-usurping entity makes us believe that they will not commit such a historic and great mistake.” Asked what Tehran will do if Israel attacks Syria, he replied in general terms regarding “our Islamic and revolutionary duty to back any Islamic state facing injustice.” He defended the right of IRGC boats to carry out “inspections.” DEBKAfile’s military sources interpret this claim as a bid by Tehran to gain for the Revolutionary Guards navy equal rights to that of the US and NATO navies to board vessels suspected of terrorist traffic. Jaafari repeated Tehran’s denial that the vessels which menaced US warships in the Strait of Hormuz last month had threatened to blow them up.



Why Gaza Suffers

Jan. 29….(Frida Ghitis/JWR) There was a time, a rather short-lived moment in the history of the Middle East, when the people of Gaza thought life would get better, and the people of Israel's town of Sderot thought they, too, would stop living in hell. ''We thought we would live in peace,'' one Israeli woman in Sderot told me. That moment of dashed hopes came in the summer of 2005, when Israeli forces removed all the Jews in Gaza. With Gaza free of Israelis, Palestinians there would have full autonomy, a step toward nationhood, and Israelis could live without constant attacks. The optimists, as it turned out, were tragically wrong. Life has become even worse for people on both sides, with events in the last few days highlighting the need to find a solution to the dangerous Gaza predicament. The Palestinian rocket attacks did not stop after the 2005 withdrawal. And when the Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, took control of Gaza seven months ago, rocket and mortar attacks became far worse, keeping with Hamas' charter directive to destroy Israel. Gaza suffered international sanctions, made more intense by Israeli border controls. Living standards began plummeting. While news about the suffering of Gazans fills the airwaves, there is a peculiar disinterest in the nightmare that is life for the people of Sderot and its vicinity. Every day, every few hours, the sirens wail their warning, giving terrified parents and children less than 15 seconds to take cover. The rockets are deliberately aimed at Israeli civilians. They fall on schools and streets and day care centers. A recent study shows 56 percent of Sderot residents have had their home hit by a rocket or shrapnel. More than 90 percent say their street or an adjacent one has been hit, and almost 50 percent know someone who was killed in such an attack. Every response to these attacks by Israel draws international condemnation. Other countries have reacted to attacks against their population by pulverizing their opponents. Israel has merely targeted militant terrorist leaders and tried economic sanctions. A recent cut in fuel supplies prompted Hamas to shut its power plant, even while Israel continued to provide, as it always does, almost 75 percent of Gaza's electricity needs. Hamas, as other terrorist/extremist groups, knows how to produce public relations coups from their own people's suffering. News reports about the recent events make a cursory reference to the attacks against Israel, preferring to portray Israel as the ruthless aggressor. Not everyone buys this, however. The Palestinian Authority's information minister Riad al-Maliki said Hamas and its ''insistence on creating an Islamic Republic,'' were at the heart of the problem. He accused Hamas of failing to take responsibility for the deteriorating situation. Another PA official said Hamas is exploiting the situation to rally support in the Arab world and beyond. That tactic is working, but not everywhere. The European Commissioner for Justice, Freedom and Security, Franco Frattini, rejected claims by Israeli critics that the border closure is a war crime. (Firing rockets at civilians, as Hamas does, is a war crime.) Frattini declared, ''Israel is justified in its concerns,'' adding that, "For too long Europe has put too much blame on Israel.'' Even the manager of the Arab network Al-Arabiyah, criticized Hamas for creating this crisis, a sign that Saudi Arabia is growing increasingly irritated with Hamas. Then came last week's toppling of the border wall between Gaza and Egypt. Hamas spent months cutting into the wall, according to The London Times, preparing for this moment. Some in Israel say it's time to cut all ties with Gaza. Let Egypt become the conduit for Gaza trade and aid. No other country is asked to support and supply an enemy sworn to its destruction. Others say leaving the Egyptian border open will allow Iran-backed Hamas to arm, as Hezbollah in Lebanon, leading ultimately to a much more violent confrontation. Egypt wants as little as possible to do with Gaza, fearful of Hamas, an outgrowth of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood. The cause of Gaza's suffering is Hamas. The only way to end the suffering in Gaza and in Sderot is to stop Palestinian attacks from Gaza into Israel. Handing a propaganda victory to Hamas, as the world has done, makes that goal more distant. The nonviolent way to a solution is to persuade the Palestinians to remove Hamas from power or to pressure it to change its ways. Every other alternative spells more suffering ahead for Palestinians and Israelis.



Bush’s Vision of Two States Living Side by Side, (In Peace?)




President Bush: All the Elements in Place for Mideast Peace

Jan. 29….(Jerusalem Post) In his final State of the Union address on Monday, US President George W. Bush insisted that the time had come to bring the Israeli-Arab conflict to an end, and reiterated his determination to oversee a final status peace agreement before the end of his second term a year from now. Mr. Bush asserted that all the necessary elements are in place for a viable and lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs. On the Palestinian side, the president pointed out that Mahmoud Abbas, a leader the international community views as moderate and pragmatic, had been overwhelmingly elected to head the Palestinian Authority. Bush sidestepped the fact that the Palestinians had also overwhelmingly voted the violently anti-Israel Hamas terrorist organization into power in 2006 parliamentary elections. On the Israeli side, the American leader claimed there was today a firm and uncontested understanding that a sovereign Palestinian Arab state would be the basis for long-lasting peace and security for the Jewish state. However, Mr. Bush's statement contradicted the assessments of many of Israel's leading political, military and security experts, who warn that a sovereign Palestinian Arab state ruled by the current Palestinian leadership will significantly increase the security threat to Israelis.



Bush: US will 'Confront' Iran if Necessary

(In his last State of the Union address, American president warns Tehran that US will 'confront those who threaten our troops' and defend its allies in the Gulf. Adds: We are standing against forces of extremism in Holy Land)

imageJan. 29….(YNET) US President George W. Bush warned Iran Monday that the United States will "confront those who threaten our troops" and defend its allies and interests in the Persian Gulf. In his last State of the Union before a hostile, Democratic-led Congress eager for the end of his term next January, Bush also urged Tehran to suspend its uranium enrichment program, embrace political reforms, and "cease your support for terror abroad."  But above all, know this: America will confront those who threaten our troops, we will stand by our allies, and we will defend our vital interests in the Persian Gulf," he said. Bush's ability to rally international support against Iran has been diminished by a US Intelligence report that Tehran abandoned its nuclear weapons program in 2003. Turning his attention to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, Bush said, "We are also standing against the forces of extremism in the Holy Land, where we have new cause for hope. Palestinians have elected a president who recognizes that confronting terror is essential to achieving a state where his people can live in dignity and at peace with Israel. Israelis have leaders who recognize that a peaceful, democratic Palestinian state will be a source of lasting security. "This month in Ramallah and Jerusalem, I assured leaders from both sides that America will do, and I will do, everything we can to help them achieve a peace agreement that defines a Palestinian state by the end of this year," he said. "The time has come for a Holy Land where a democratic Israel and a democratic Palestine live side-by-side in peace." But above all, said George W. Bush, America will “stand by our allies” and “protect our vital interests in the Gulf.”



'Palestinian State is a Temporary Ruse to Destroy Israel'

(Official PA television network calls for 'liberation' of 'all Palestine')

Jan. 29….(WND) The Palestinian goal of a Palestinian state is just a temporary ruse until "all of Palestine" can be "liberated," declared a leader speaking yesterday on the official television network of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah organization. Saleh Raafat, a member of the executive committee of Abbas' Palestine Liberation Organization, was interviewed on PA television about the death last weekend of infamous terrorist leader George Habash, who strongly opposed signing peace agreements with Israel. In comments screened by WND, Raafat told his interviewer: "Habash was a very positive Palestinian leader who used democratic tools to express opinions. He disagreed with late PLO leader Yasser Arafat regarding the present temporary vision of a Palestinian state, but he never used weapons to express his disagreement." Raafat said the Palestinians would accept "22 percent of Palestine" as a "temporary and not permanent" state until "all of Palestine" can be liberated. While Raafat described Habash as "democratic" and as "never" using weapons, Habash's Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine has carried out scores of notorious deadly terrorist attacks. Raafat was speaking as part of a mourning series on PA television for Habash, the PFLP leader who died in Jordan at the age of 81. Habash's PFLP gained notoriety in 1970 for hijacking four Western airliners over the US, Europe, the Far East and the Persian Gulf. The aircraft were blown up in the Middle East after passengers and crews disembarked. The PFLP in 1972 then gunned down 27 people at Israel's Lod airport. The PFLP continues operating from Syria, Jordan and the West Bank. More recent attacks include scores of deadly shootings against Israelis, the 2001 assassination of Israeli tourism minister Rechavam Zeevi and suicide bombings on an Israeli highway and in Tel Aviv's well-known Karmel Market. According to Israeli security officials, the PFLP is the Palestinian terror group most proficient in carrying out successful drive-by shooting attacks. Habash also led the second-largest faction of the PLO, next to Yasser Arafat's. Habash strongly opposed interim agreements with Israel and throughout his life advocated terror attacks against the Jewish state. Arafat numerous times said peace accords signed by Israel were part of a "phased plan" for the ultimate destruction of the Jewish state.



Obama Supports Palestinian State Cutting Israel in Half

Jan. 29….(Israel Insider) Palestinian refugees do not have a "literal" right of return to Israel, Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama said Monday. He did not clarify whether that implied they had a moral, metaphorical, legal or other non-literal right to return to Israel. More controversially, Obama said he supported the division of Israel into at least two parts by a Palestinian state. The stunning comment came as Obama struggled to articulate his stance on key Mideast issues in dispute. "The right of return to Israel is something that is not an option in a literal sense," Obama said, but then went on to say that "The Palestinians have a legitimate concern that a state have a contiguous coherent mass that would allow the state to function effectively." A land corridor between Gaza and the West Bank would effectively cut Israel in half, making it incoherent and non-contiguous, divided into northern and southern portions by the Palestinian land-mass Obama supports. The Democratic candidate didn't explain why it was legitimate for the Palestinians to have a coherent and contiguous territory at Israel's expense. "The outlines of any agreement would involve ensuring that Israel remains a Jewish state," Obama said, but provided no details about how that would be achieved. He reiterated his support for a two-state solution, but said, "We cannot move forward until there is some confidence that the Palestinians are able to provide the security apparatus that would prevent constant attacks against Israel from taking place." He provided no details on how that would be achieved. Obama complained that "there has been a constant and virulent smear campaign via the Internet that has been particularly targeted against the Jewish community. It is absolutely false. I have never practiced Islam. I was raised by my secular mother, and I have been a member of the Christian religion and an active Christian." Obama did not deny that he was considered a Muslim as a child, that biological father was a Muslim, nor that he was also raised in his childhood by a devout Muslim. But neither did he mention it, and tried to gloss over his background by separating his later Christian practice from his Muslim origins.



Hamas Threat: PA Residents Will Next Swarm Erez in Intifada III

imageJan. 28….( Encouraged by their success in breaking through the Egyptian border with Gaza last week, a Hamas spokesman threatened to gather 500,000 Palestinian Authority residents of the region for a similar assault on the perimeter fence dividing southern Israel from PA-controlled Gaza. Ahmad Yousef, political advisor to the Gaza-based PA leader Ismail Haniyeh, called the fall of the barrier between Egyptian Sinai and Gaza last week a sign of the start of “a third Intifada.” Speaking with the PA's Bethlehem-based Maan news agency, Yousef said the next stage in such a campaign could involve thousands of Gazan Arabs swarming the IDF-controlled Erez Crossing between Israel and and the PA in an effort to attract international support. Meanwhile, Hamas militia forces cooperated with Egyptian soldiers on Monday in closing one of three gaps in the security barrier in the city of Rafiah, which straddles the Egyptian-Gaza border. Barbed wire was strung across a section of the separation wall known as the Brazil Gate; however, the main gate in the area remained open, allowing Gaza Arabs to continue to enter Egyptian towns unimpeded. Last week, when Egyptian forces attempted to close the border on their own, a PA bulldozer knocked a new opening in the separation wall. The partial border control collaboration comes after Egyptian security forces ordered all stores in El-Arish, bordering the Gaza region, to close as of Sunday. Trucks loaded with goods and supplies were prevented from leaving El-Arish towards Rafiah. The move deprived PA Arabs who had charged into the Sinai from Gaza during the past week of a central economic incentive for their having done so. Since the border breach on Wednesday of last week, representatives of Fatah, headed by PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, have met with Egyptian officials to discuss the situation in Gaza. Both Fatah and Hamas are asking to take control of the Egypt-Gaza crossings. On Monday, Egypt sent 6,000 soldiers to reinforce troops and police stationed in Rafiah, with several Hamas terrorists reportedly taking part in the new deployment.



Iran: Israel too Weak to Confront Us

(Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki says Jewish state's ballistic missile capability won't help it in confrontations with Islamic republic; meanwhile, Iranian-Egyptian rapprochement to encircle Israel in the works)

Jan. 28….(YNET) Israel is too weak to confront Iran. The leaders of this illegitimate fake regime know well would happen in the region in response to an attack (against us)," Iran’s Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said on Monday in response to a successful Israeli ballistic missile test. In a press conference in Tehran, Mottaki said that "If Israel's nuclear missile warheads could have helped, she would have won the second Lebanese-Hezbollah War." According to the minister, "The interior structure of the Zionist regime has been affected by the repercussions of its humiliating defeat in the Lebanon confrontation, not with a classic army, but rather with a popular resistance."

In response to the possibility that the UN Security Council will impose additional sanctions on Iran following the country' refusal to suspend its uranium enrichment program, Mattaki said: "Despite the fact that this step is illogical and unlawful, if that's the way its going to be, Iran will have a serious and reasonable response." The Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA) reported that the minister added that the additional sanctions "would have no impact on the desire of the nation and the Iranian leadership on its path to realizing its full rights in general and with regards to the nuclear aspect."

Reestablishment of relations with Egypt

Mottaki also referred to the open Gaza-Egypt  border saying "right now my special representative is in Cairo for consultations on opening the Egyptian border in order to transfer aid to the besieged (Palestinian) people." He noted that his country "is on the threshold of establishing official diplomatic relations with Egypt." Mottaki said that in recent phone conversation between Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, the two spoke about transferring aid to the Gaza Strip. Mottaki emphasized that "we're waiting for our Egyptian friends to express their ultimate willingness to renew relations." Relations were severed between the two states in 1979 when the Egyptians extended fleeing Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi a political refuge following the Islamic revolution in his country. The speaker of the Iranian Parliament, Gholamali Hadad Adel, is expected to arrive to Egypt on Tuesday to participate in an assembly for the unification of the parliaments of Islamic countries.

It will be the first official visit of a senior Iranian figure to Cairo since the severance of relations. Adel is scheduled to meet with President Mubarak as well as other prominent figures.



20 Years of Research Reveals: Jerusalem Belongs to Jews

Jan. 28….(by Hillel Fendel) Jacques Gauthier, a non-Jewish Canadian lawyer who spent 20 years researching the legal status of Jerusalem, has concluded: "Jerusalem belongs to the Jews, by international law." Gauthier has written a doctoral dissertation on the topic of Jerusalem and its legal history, based on international treaties and resolutions of the past 90 years. The dissertation runs some 1,300 pages, with 3,000 footnotes.  Gauthier had to present his thesis to a world-famous Jewish historian and two leading international lawyers, the Jewish one of whom has represented the Palestinian Authority on numerous occasions. Gauthier's main point, as summarized by Israpundit editor Ted Belman, is that a non-broken series of treaties and resolutions, as laid out by the San Remo Resolution, the League of Nations and the United Nations, gives the Jewish People title to the city of Jerusalem.  The process began at San Remo, Italy, when the four Principal Allied Powers of World War I, Great Britain, France, Italy and Japan, agreed to create a Jewish national home in what is now the Land of Israel

San Remo

The relevant resolution reads as follows: "The High Contracting Parties agree to entrust the administration of Palestine, within such boundaries as may be determined by the Principal Allied Powers, to a Mandatory which will be responsible for putting into effect the Balfour declaration... in favor of the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people." Gauthier notes that the San Remo treaty specifically notes that "nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine," but says nothing about "political" rights of the Arabs living there. The San Remo Resolution also bases itself on Article 22 of the Covenant of the League of Nations, which declares that it is a "a sacred trust of civilization" to provide for the well-being and development of colonies and territories whose inhabitants are "not yet able to stand by themselves under the strenuous conditions of the modern world."

League of Nations

The League of Nations' resolution creating the Palestine Mandate, included the following significant clause: “Whereas recognition has thereby been given to the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine and to the grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country." No such recognition of Arab rights in Palestine was granted.  In 1945, the United Nations took over from the failed League of Nations, and assumed the latter's obligations.  Article 80 of the UN Charter states: "Nothing in this Chapter shall be construed, in or of itself, to alter in any manner the rights whatsoever of any states or any peoples or the terms of existing international instruments to which Members of the United Nations may respectively be parties."

UN Partition Plan

However, in 1947, the General Assembly of the UN passed Resolution 181, known as the Partition Plan.  It violated the League of the Nations' Mandate for Palestine in that it granted political rights to the Arabs in western Palestine, yet, ironically, the Jews applauded the plan's passages while the Arabs worked to thwart it. Resolution 181 also provided for a Special regime for Jerusalem, with borders delineated in all four directions: The then-extant municipality of Jerusalem plus the surrounding villages and towns up to Abu Dis in the east, Bethlehem in the south, Ein Karem and Motza in the west, and Shuafat in the north.

Referendum Scheduled for Jerusalem

The UN resolved that the City of Jerusalem shall be established as a separate entity under a special international regime and shall be administered by the United Nations. The regime was to come into effect by October 1948, and was to remain in force for a period of ten years, unless the UN's Trusteeship Council decided otherwise.  After the ten years, the residents of Jerusalem "shall be then free to express by means of a referendum their wishes as to possible modifications of regime of the City." The resolution never took effect, because Jordan controlled eastern Jerusalem after the 1948 War of Independence and did not follow its provisions. 

After 1967

After the Six Day War in 1967, Israel regained Jerusalem and other land west of Jordan.  Gauthier notes that the UN Security Council then passed Resolution 242 authorizing Israel to remain in possession of all the land until it had “secure and recognized boundaries.”  The resolution was notably silent on Jerusalem, and also referred to the "necessity for achieving a just settlement of the refugee problem,” with no distinction made between Jewish and Arab refugees.

Given Jerusalem's strong Jewish majority, Gauthier concludes, Israel should be demanding that the long-delayed city referendum on the city's future be held as soon as possible.  Not only should Israel be demanding that the referendum be held now, Jerusalem should be the first order of business. "Olmert is sloughing us off by saying [as he did before the Annapolis Conference two months ago], 'Jerusalem is not on the table yet,'" Gauthier concludes. "He should demand that the referendum take place before the balance of the land is negotiated. If the Arabs won’t agree to the referendum, there is nothing to talk about."



Barak: Iran Preparing Nuclear Warheads

Jan. 28….(Arutz) Defense Minister Ehud Barak sounded an alarming note in a weekend interview with the Washington Post, and made it clear he did not agree with the recent US National Intelligence Estimate, according to which Iran has halted its nuclear weapons program. Asked about the NIE, Barak said: "Our interpretation is that clearly the Iranians are aiming at nuclear capability. It's probably true that they may have slowed down the weapons group in 2003, because it was the height of American militarism. We think that they are quite advanced, much beyond the level of the Manhattan Project. The Manhattan Project was the effort to develop the first nuclear weapon during World War II by the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada. The project succeeded in developing and testing the world's first atomic bomb, and detonated two nuclear weapons in August 1945: an enriched uranium bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, and a plutonium bomb that detonated over Nagasaki, Japan. Barak's statement regarding "American militarism" in 2003 was a reference to the invasion of Iraq. Barak said that the Iranians "are probably already working on warheads for ground-to-ground missiles." and that probably they have another clandestine enrichment operation beyond the one in Natanz." Asked to elaborate on this last statement, Barak answered: "The dots that we see, cannot be easily connected in a way that does not lead to a nuclear program. The leading intelligence communities should concentrate on finding whether there is a clandestine enrichment operation and a weapons group working on the weapons technology. Barak told the Post that it was clear that the NIE had "reduced the enthusiasm" for military action against Iran, and even for tougher sanctions. "Basically, in strategic terms," he explained, "we face a triad of challenges: one, radical Muslim terror; two, nuclear proliferation; and rogue states. To deal with such threats, we need a much deeper and more intimate cooperation between the United States, the EU, Russia and China. Asked if Israel has the ability to conduct a military raid on Iran by itself, Barak said; "I am not going to talk about this." Meanwhile, Iran's Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki gave a rare, if short, interview, to Voice of "Iran is not threatening Israel and does not want nuclear weapons." Israel national radio, in the course of the World Economic Forum at Davos, Switzerland. "Iran is not threatening Israel and does not want nuclear weapons." Mottaki said that it was Israel that possessed nuclear weapons and "it is threatening Teheran." He added that there were two countries Iran did not recognize: apartheid-era South Africa and Israel.



Jerusalem Will be the Final Topic on Peace Talk Agenda

A view of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem

Jan. 28….(Ha Aretz) A senior political source in Jerusalem stressed Sunday that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has still not formulated an idea for resolving the question of Jerusalem and it is likely to be left for last in the negotiations with the Palestinians. This comes after the Israeli side has become convinced in recent weeks that it is too sensitive and complex an issue, with potentially negative ramifications for the entire negotiating process. It also appears that US President George W. Bush supports postponing talks on Jerusalem until the end of the negotiations. During his visit to Israel and the Palestinian Authority two weeks ago, Bush released a statement in which he describes how he views progress in the negotiations. According to the US leader, Jerusalem is "a difficult matter," politically and religiously for both sides, and describes a solution to the issue as the most complicated challenge of the process.







Hamas and the Blunders in Gaza

Jan. 25….(WND) As the madness in the Gaza Strip continues, one thing is clear, Iranian backed Hamas has won against Israel, Egypt and the United States on all fronts. The crisis began last week when Palestinian terrorists fired over 200 rockets from the Gaza Strip aimed at nearby Jewish communities. Rockets have been regularly flying from the territory since Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005, but last week's increased bombardment marked an escalation that prompted widespread calls here for the Israeli government to carry out a large-scale anti-rocket operation and ground assault in Gaza. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's government, in no shape to withstand a difficult military operation, decided instead to get creative and cut back fuel supplies and shipment trucks entering Gaza from the Israeli border in an effort to pressure Gaza's Hamas leadership. But Israeli officials say they continue to transfer sufficient aid and materials to the Palestinians to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe and allow Gaza's power plants to run. Still, on Sunday, Hamas unilaterally decided to shut down Gaza's only electrical plant, which supplies power to about 20 percent of Gaza, including over 400,000 people in Gaza City. Hamas claimed it did not have enough fuel to run the plant due to Israeli cutbacks, a contention strongly contested by Israel. The Hamas power shutdown resulted in a flurry of human-interest media reports regarding the poor Palestinians trapped in the dark. And then yesterday Hamas went for the kill. Masked gunmen blew dozens of holes in the wall delineating the Egypt-Gaza border, destroying nearly two-thirds of the structure separating the frontier. Hundreds of thousands of "starving" Palestinians reportedly poured out of Gaza and into Egypt. Hamas leaders claimed Palestinians blasted the Egypt-Gaza border spontaneously so the masses can escape the "Israeli prison" created in Gaza, but reports abound that Hamas planned the border break for at least the past few months. But those reports don't much matter. Hamas already won the public relations war. From the New York Times through China's Xinhau news agency, thousands of articles and television reports around the world tell of the "starving" Palestinians besieged by Israel. A good deal of the media coverage is false and nearly openly sides with Hamas. The Israeli blockade has been allowing enough food and supplies, including fuel, into Gaza to avert a humanitarian crisis. In fact, the Palestinians receive more international aid per capita than any other civilization on earth. With all the supplies that flowed into Gaza the past two years, there shouldn't be much of a shortage. But slanted media reports abound and have been reaching new levels of ridiculousness. One BBC report, for example, claimed due to the Israeli blockage the Palestinians ran out of burial shrouds and have resorted to draping their dead in old flags. But neither Israel nor any humanitarian agency, including the United Nations, has ever shipped burial shrouds to Gaza, meaning the Israeli blockage could not have created any shortage. Compounding the reports, the UN's farcical Human Rights Council yesterday passed a one-sided resolution condemning Israeli military action in Gaza, calling for international action to protect the Palestinians and for Israel to lift its blockade of the territory. Lost in all the media coverage and the international diplomatic response is what prompted the Israeli "blockade" of the Gaza Strip in the first place. Israeli ministers didn't wake up one morning and decide to place a siege on Gaza residents. The blockade is in response to rampant rocket attacks devastating Jewish population centers. In spite of the blockade, Israel continues to supply the Gaza Strip directly with nearly two-thirds of its power. The power stations that supply most of Gaza's juice are located in the Israeli city of Ashkelon, into which Palestinian terrorists have been launching rockets at a furious rate the past few days! Meanwhile and for the first time ever, Hamas now openly controls the Egypt-Gaza border in a direct threat to Egypt. When the border wall was breached yesterday, Egyptian forces, some of whom were likely paid off by Hamas using Iranian money, stood down as Hamas policemen directed throngs of Palestinians, including well-known terrorists, into the Egyptian Sinai desert. Some of those Palestinians likely wont be returning to the Gaza Strip. "Egyptian security men at the border were very passive, they wanted this to happen; they didn't prevent anything from coming in or going out," said one Palestinian gunman, speaking to me yesterday from the Gaza side of the border.

In an effort to save face, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak announced yesterday he "allowed" the Palestinians into Egypt to "come and eat." Mubarak didn't allow anything. Hamas broke down and stormed his border while useless Egyptian security forces did nothing. Nearly three years after Israel's evacuation of the Gaza Strip and Hamas not only threatens the Jewish state but also US-ally Egypt. According to Hamas sources, the terror group, in a position of power, will next attempt to broker a deal whereby it will jointly control the Egypt-Gaza border along with Egyptian forces. Until now, in line with a deal brokered by the US, the border has been controlled by Egyptian and Palestinian forces with the help of European monitors. Nevertheless, Hamas has been able to smuggle in weapons and militants, but the new deal would allow them to bring into Gaza whatever they want by the truckload. In the face of all this, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is trapped. His blockade backfired. He's nearly out of options to counter the rocket attacks, as demanded by the Israeli populace. Olmert can't launch a major ground assault, the only thing that would actually limit rocket onslaughts, for two primary reasons: First, Olmert is negotiating with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to create a Palestinian state, as mediated by the Bush administration starting at this past November's Annapolis summit. Any ground assault would cause peace negotiations to falter. Second, the Israeli leader faces major domestic troubles due to a report coming out next week probing his handling of the 2006 war in Lebanon. He is already being blamed for "needless" deaths of Israeli soldiers, with some ministers, army officers and a sizable segment of the Israeli public demanding his resignation. Olmert can't afford more troops killed during a major ground assault. And so Hamas, which took over the Gaza Strip this past June, once again sits a victor atop its Gaza throne, this time with its tentacles in the Egyptian Sinai plotting its next advance on the volatile chess board that is the Middle East.



Hamas Planned Border Wall Blast for Months

imageJan. 24….(Ha Aretz) Hamas operatives had been sawing away the foundations of the wall between Egyptian and Palestinian Rafah for a few months to make it easier to blow it up when the time came, a source close to the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC) in Rafah told Haaretz Wednesday. A central Hamas operative partially confirmed the report, although he told Haaretz it was PRC operatives who had prepared to breach the wall, while Hamas policemen did not interfere. In any case, Hamas has for months been discussing the need to take the initiative in ending the siege of Gaza. Apparently, after four days of hermetic closure, following months of siege, the planners believed the political and social conditions were ripe to bring down the iron wall that Israel had put up. Wednesday around 3am, the people of Rafah were awakened by a series of blasts. As tens of thousands of Palestinians clamber back and forth between the Gaza strip and Egypt, details emerged of the audacious operation that brought down a hated border wall and handed the Islamist group Hamas what might be its greatest propaganda coup, the London Times reported Thursday. Hamas, which took control of the coastal territory last June after a stand-off with Fatah, has denied that its men set off the explosions that brought down as much as two-thirds of the 12-km wall in the early hours. But a Hamas border guard interviewed by The London Times at the border admitted that the Islamist group was responsible and had been involved for months in slicing through the heavy metal wall using oxy-acetylene cutting torches. That meant that when the explosive charges were set off in 17 different locations after midnight the 40ft wall came tumbling down, leaving it lying like a broken concertina down the middle of no-man's land as an estimated 350,000 Gazans flooded into Egypt. The guard, Lieutenant Abu Usama of the Palestinian National Security, said of the cutting operation: "I've seen this happening over the last few months. It happened in the daytime but was covered up so that nobody would see." Asked whether he had reported it to the government, he replied: "It was the government that was doing this. Who would I report it to?" Abu Usama, who normally works from a small guard cabin in no-man's land, added: "Last night we were told to keep away from the wall. We were ordered to stay away because they were going to break the blockade." As Gazans flooded into Egypt, the strip's Hamas prime minister, Ismail Haniya, called for an urgent meeting with his rivals in Fatah and with the Egyptian authorities to work a new border arrangement. The skill of the Hamas demolition operation was clear to see along the border. Where the charges had been laid, the wall was heavily damaged. Elsewhere it appeared to be clearly cut. The destruction of the wall prompted hundreds of thousands to cross into Egypt, and Egyptian border guards did not try to stem the tide of humanity. In no-man's land, along the stretch that the Israelis used to call Philadelphia Road before their disengagement in 2005, Hamas gunmen raced along in pick-up trucks flying the group's green flag. Egyptian riot police waited by the gates of the old border crossing, leaning with nonchalance against their riot shields.



Hamas to keep attacking Israel, even if Gaza embargo lifted

Jan. 24….(Israel Today) Hamas' overall Damascus-based leader Khaled Mashal admitted at a conference in the Syrian capital on Wednesday that the current Gaza crisis did not start and will not end with the Israeli embargo. Mashal said that even if Israel opened the flood gates and allowed the completely unhindered flow of good and people to and from Gaza, terrorist forces based there would continue to attack the Jewish state. The Hamas leader said his group will never stop killing Israelis until Jewish sovereignty in the region is eliminated.

FOJ Note: The current Gaza situation has been a coordinated scheme by Hamas to give Israel another black eye in the world media, and to use the so-called imposed siege to break down the border barrier wall on the Egyptian side so that Hamas could more easily receive shipments for its terror war against Israel.



Hamas Destroys Rafah Border Crossing

Jan. 23….(Ha Aretz) Some 350,000 Palestinians poured out of Gaza and into Egypt early Wednesday, the United Nations said, after masked gunmen blew dozens of holes in the wall delineating the border. The Gazans rushed to purchase food, fuel, and other supplies made scarce by Israel's blockade of the Strip, after militants detonated 17 bombs in the early morning hours, destroying some two-thirds of the metal wall separating the Gaza Strip from Egypt. Hamas did not take responsibility for knocking the border wall down, but Hamas militants quickly took control of the frontier, as Egyptian border guards took no action. Israel said in response to the chaos that it expects Egypt to solve the crisis The destruction of the border continued later Wednesday morning. Palestinians driving a Caterpillar bulldozer arrived at a point where the frontier is marked by a low concrete wall topped with barbed wire, tearing down the wall and opening a gap to allow easier access for cars. Palestinians have breached the Egypt-Gaza border several times since Israel pulled out of Gaza in 2005. In the past, Egyptian security forces restored order after hours or days. IDF officials on Wednesday described the situation at the breached Rafah crossing between the Gaza Strip and Sinai as "a first-class security risk".  According to a military source, "The free passage of Palestinians into Egypt and back significantly increases the security threat coming from the Gaza Strip."





It is clear that each time civilians cross the border, terror activists are also there crossing, taking advantage of the situation for their own needs," said an Israeli defense officials. This creates a challenge which is difficult to deal with, and we must do something about it. Israel recently expressed its anger over a similar border incident, when hundreds of Palestinian pilgrims, returning from Saudi Arabia, entered the Strip unsupervised. The Jewish state had pointed a finger at Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, and this incident joined another diplomatic crisis between Jerusalem and Cairo.



Hamas Incites Egyptian Opposition


(FOJ) Hamas chief in Damascus Khaleed Meshaal speaks to am anti-peace talks rally. Meshaal is hoping to use the Gaza situation to more heavily arm the Hamas terror and rocket forces.

Jan. 23….(DEBKA) The Palestinian fundamentalist group ruling the Gaza Strip has plans for building on its successes in seizing control of the Egyptian border and forcing Israel to deliver a million tons of fuel and 300,000 tons of cooking gas under unrelenting missile attack. Hamas agitators are inciting Egyptian opposition parties, led by their parent Muslim Brotherhood, to stage a mass anti-government protest this coming weekend. Furthermore, DEBKAfile’s Gulf sources report, Hamas leaders backed by Saudi Arabia, are pushing for an Arab summit, to be called an “Emergency Conference for Gaza” to take place in the Sinai town of Sharm al-Sheikh. Their plan is for Saudi King Abdullah and Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak to jointly force Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas to stand alongside Hamas’ Damascus-based Khaled Meshaal and Ismail Haniya and patch up their quarrel for the sake of Palestinian unity. This summit would empower Hamas to dictate a limited de facto ceasefire, to force the IDF to agree to holding its fire in return for the suspension of the Palestinian missile offensive. The arms smuggling tunnels would be excluded from the truce deal and continue to build up the Hamas war arsenal with arms, fighting strength and cash unmolested. Senior Israeli military officers object to such ceasefire terms because Hamas and its allies would be free to resume their missile assaults at will and gear up undisturbed for escalated aggression.



Israel May be Forced to take Military Action Against Iran

Jan. 22….(AP) Former US ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton said on Monday that Israel may have to take military action to prevent its arch-foe Iran from acquiring an atomic bomb. Bolton also said that further UN sanctions against the Islamic republic will be ineffective in stopping Iran's controversial nuclear program which Israel and the US believe is aimed at developing a nuclear bomb. "One can say with some assurance that in the next year the use of force by the United States now is highly unlikely," Bolton told AFP on the sidelines of the Herzliya conference on the balance of Israel's national security. "That increases the pressure on Israel in that period of time, if it feels Iran is on the verge of acquiring that capability, it brings the decision point home to use force," he said. The hawkish former diplomat said that after a US intelligence report published late last year that claimed Iran had suspended a nuclear weapons program in 2003, the US was unlikely to take military action against it. "The pressure is on Israel now after the National Intelligence Estimate because, I think, the likelihood of American use of force has been dramatically reduced," he said. Widely considered the Middle East's sole if undeclared nuclear power, Israel considers Iran its number one enemy following repeated statements by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for the Jewish state to be wiped off the map. Bolton said that military action against Iran should be taken before Tehran acquires a bomb. "The calculus in the region changes dramatically once Iran has nuclear capability, meaning the preemptive use of force or the overthrow of the Iranian regime has to come before they get the weapon," Bolton said. "If you are worried about an Iran with nuclear weapons and an extreme theological regime in power, the time to take the plan of action is before Iran acquires the weapons. "Once it acquires the weapons there is a risk of retaliation with nuclear capability and that's why Israel is in danger, it is a very small country and two or three nuclear weapons and there is no more country. The pressure to act is intensive and the window of time available is narrow." Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert last week said that all options were on the table to prevent an Iranian bomb. The Israeli military last week also successfully test-fired a ballistic missile said to be able to carry a non-conventional warhead. Bolton said that a new round of United Nations Security Council sanctions against Iran was "unlikely" and that Tehran would not be deterred by further diplomatic sanctions. "Maybe there will be another resolution but it will be even more toothless than the previous two sanction resolutions.



The China-Russia-Iran Axis Against the USA

imageJan. 22….(Frontpage) The 11 shipment Russian supply currently underway of 80 tons of enriched uranium nuclear fuel for the Russian-built 1,000 megawatt light water reactor is a sweeping Iranian victory and troubling in several respects. From a strategic view flying by at 20,000 feet, it is indicative of Iran and Russia's deepening common alignment against the United States. It's an alignment, an allied partnership beyond nuclear cooperation, that also includes China. Iran has notched yet another major victory over the West, which remains quick and eager to talk while slow and reluctant to act. Iran smartly feeds the Western obsession with talks and negotiations, while acting without pause or regret to acquire a nuclear bomb. The West, in this regard, is persistently, willingly and knowingly being played. The first question that should come to mind should be, why then does Iran need to continue enrichment if Russia supplies the fuel for its only production reactor? And, what use does Iran have for the enriched uranium it will soon begin producing in significant quantities itself? With the Russian-built Bushehr reactor on the Arabian Gulf operating on Russian fuel and no other light water plants in operation, let alone being built, the answer is either benevolent stockpiling for future plants or the development of nuclear weapons. Recall that Iran steadfastly refused a deal tabled in which they would have received Russian enriched uranium fuel in exchange for scrapping their enrichment program. What ended up agreed to in 2005 was a Russian supply with no enrichment cessation requirement at all. Until the NIE, Russia hesitated to deliver the fuel. This Iranian victory has afforded the world's foremost state sponsor of terrorism both the preservation and advancement of its nuclear enrichment program and the Russian nuclear fuel for the low, low cost of nothing. Iran ceded nothing and has now received both. If that were not disconcerting enough, consider the timing of the sudden arrival of the first Russian enriched uranium fuel shipment. It was just two weeks after the US issued its early NIE which was worded in a manner to state that the whole of the Iranian nuclear weapons program had been halted and thus does not exist. In the footnotes, it was stated that “weapons program” did not mean the whole program, but just the weaponization program, or warhead/bomb design development program. But widely quoted and championed was straight text from the body that “Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program.” The Iranians and the Russians immediately pounced on the opportunity freely handed. The mullah regime declared it a “victory” for Iran while the Russians leveraged it to further the argument that Iran is not a nuclear threat. And within two short weeks, in surprise to everyone, the Russian supply was publicly announced only after the first 11 tons of enriched uranium had arrived inside Iran. The NIE provided both Iran and Russia the strategic political cover to proceed without concern or looking over their shoulders. Triggered by a reckless National Intelligence Estimate, the Russian supply of enriched uranium for Iran is one more gratifying finger in the eye of their common enemy. The state of the Moscow-Teheran Axis is good, strong, and strengthening, and mutually beneficial as both seek to undermine the US dominance in the region. Russia and China have acted as the Iranian Protectorate. No nation at the UN Security Council has been more steadfast or consistent in resistance to US and Western sanctions efforts there than either the bear or the dragon. The reasons for this are quite simple: Synergistic strategic advancement against a common enemy, oil and money. Iran is rightly portrayed as one of the most pressing threats to the United States and her interests. But Iran remains in many respects a piece on the chessboard of a greater Russian and Chinese game. Iran seeks greater power and regional dominance and enjoys the support of both Russia and China in its pursuits. Both afford Iran the protection of cover and interference at the UN Security Council and other diplomatic endeavors, allowing Iran to continue its nuclear efforts under a fairly comfortable security blanket. For Russia, already sitting atop a major portion of the world's oil reserves, the gains are monetary and psychological, with Iran as a major arms client as well as its principle client in Russia's lucrative nuclear construction and supply market. The Bushehr plant construction alone was a $1 billion dollar deal, with the potential prospects of more in the relatively near future. For China, the issue is one of energy. Just as the Russian supply of nuclear fuel began transit preparations within hours of the release of the December Iran NIE, China in turn immediately signed a massive long-term energy deal with Iran worth billions. Before the NIE, there was hesitance from China in signing an open deal. The United States in particular had made specific demands for more sanctions against a recalcitrant Iran as well as public calls for other nations to specifically stop making energy agreements until Iran complies. Signing the energy deal before hand would have meant strained relations with lucrative trading partners and potential economic damage. China was patient, as it always is. And the NIE afforded them the diplomatic cover necessary to ink the deal, affording the oil-starved dragon energy relief and enriching the Iranian regime during economic plight. Moscow and Beijing both seek to weaken the United States to the point where each is enabled to act on their respective interests. Iran seeks regional dominance in the Gulf, the continued export of its Khomeinist revolution, and the destruction of Israel. Russia seeks the restoration of its pride, re-acquisition of the states lost in the breakup of the Soviet Union and restoration of its superpower status. China seeks to establish itself as the next superpower, to subdue and consume Taiwan, ensure its energy supply and to dominate South Asia and the Pacific rim. Each of them and their chosen paths are impeded by a sufficiently strong America, and all three are working relentlessly to bring about the demise of the USA.



World Anxious Over US Economic Woes

Jan. 22….(MSN) Wall Street plunged at the opening of trading Tuesday, propelling the Dow Jones industrials down about 400 points after an interest rate cut by the Federal Reserve failed to assuage investors fearing a recession in the United States. US markets joined stock exchanges around the globe that have fallen precipitously in recent days amid concerns that a downturn might spread around the world. The Fed’s decision to cut its federal funds rate to 3.50 percent and the discount rate, the interest it charges to lend directly to banks, came a week before the central bank’s regularly scheduled meeting, a sign that the Fed recognized the seriousness of the world financial situation. Fears of a recession in the United States that could pull down the global economy as well have infected markets around the world, and those declines further unnerved US investors who were unable to trade Monday, when Wall Street was closed for Martin Luther King Jr. Day. US bond prices soared as investors fled the stock market, and the price of oil skidded as investors dumped futures in the belief that a recession would slash demand for energy. In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei stock average closed down 5.65 percent, its biggest percentage drop in nearly a decade. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index lost 8.65 percent a day after showing its biggest losses since the Sept. 11 attacks. In afternoon trading, Britain’s FTSE 100 fell 0.57 percent, Germany’s DAX index lost 2.15 percent and, France’s CAC-40 fell 1.12 percent. Last week, each of the major US indexes fell more than 4 percent as investors grew skeptical that plans by US lawmakers and President Bush to stimulate the US economy will keep the US from tipping into recession. The plan Bush announced Friday, which requires the OK of Congress, outlines $145 billion in tax relief to help spur consumer spending. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, confronted with global market turmoil, said Tuesday that Congress and the administration need to agree quickly on a package of tax cuts and other measures to boost the economy. "Time is of the essence and the president stands ready to work on a bipartisan basis to enact economic growth legislation as soon as possible," Paulson said in remarks to the US Chamber of Commerce.



Roe v. Wade 35 Years On

Jan. 22….(Washington Times) With today marking the 35th anniversary of the Supreme Court ruling on the Roe v. Wade abortion case, it is appropriate to examine where the nation is headed on the issue of life. There have been more than 48.5 million abortions in the United States since Roe was decided, according to tallies analyzed by the National Right to Life Coalition. This staggering figure alone gives reason to pause. There is another trend as well. Data released last week by the Guttmacher Institute shows the number of abortions declined by 8 percent between 2000 and 2005, from 1.31 million to 1.21 million. This is the lowest total since the 1.18 million abortions tallied in 1976. Also, the 2005 abortion rate of 19.4 per 1,000 women aged 15 to 44 was the lowest since the 19.3 percent abortion rate in 1974. No doubt this decline in the prevalence of abortion is due to increased efforts to educate girls and women about the consequences of sex, pregnancy and abortion. The Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003, upheld last year by the Supreme Court in the case of Gonzales v. Carhart, also helps further explain the realities of late-term abortion. While politicians and activists have much debated the question of whether human life begins at conception, in the womb or outside it, we should give ear to former President Reagan, a convert to the pro-life movement, who in 1983 wrote that "when we talk about abortion, we are talking about two lives, the life of the mother and the life of the unborn child... Anyone who doesn't feel sure whether we are talking about a second human life should clearly give life the benefit of the doubt. If you don't know whether a body is alive or dead, you would never bury it. I think this consideration itself should be enough for all of us to insist on protecting the unborn."



Russia Says It Would use Nuclear Weapons

Jan. 21….(MSN) Russia's military chief of staff said Saturday that Moscow could use nuclear weapons in preventive strikes to protect itself and its allies, the latest aggressive remarks from increasingly assertive Russian authorities. Gen. Yuri Baluyevsky's comment did not mark a policy shift, military analysts said. Amid disputes with the West over security issues, it may have been meant as a warning that Russia is prepared to use its nuclear might. "We do not intend to attack anyone, but we consider it necessary for all our partners in the world community to clearly understand, that to defend the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Russia and its allies, military forces will be used, including preventively, including with the use of nuclear weapons," Baluyevsky said. Baluyevsky added that Russia would use nuclear weapons and carry out preventive strikes only in accordance with Russia's military doctrine. The military doctrine adopted in 2000 says Russia may use nuclear weapons to counter a nuclear attack on Russia or an ally, or a large-scale conventional attack that poses a critical risk to Russia's security. Retired Gen. Vladimir Dvorkin, formerly a top arms control expert with the Russian Defense Ministry, said he saw "nothing new" in Baluyevsky's statement. "He was restating the doctrine in his own words," Dvorkin said. Moscow-based military analyst Alexander Golts said that when Russia broke with stated Soviet-era policy in the 2000 doctrine and declared it could use nuclear weapons first against an aggressor, it reflected the decline of Russia's conventional forces in the decade following the 1991 Soviet collapse. "Baluyevsky's statement means that, as before, we cannot count on our conventional forces to counter aggression," Golts told Ekho Moskvy radio. "It means that as before, the main factor in containing aggression against Russia is nuclear weapons." Putin and other Russian officials have stressed the need to maintain a powerful nuclear deterrent and reserved the right to carry out preventive strikes.



OPEC Dismisses US calls for More Oil

Jan. 21….(Breitbart) OPEC dismissed further calls to boost oil output from top consumer the United States, saying the global market is well supplied and the producer group has little control over oil prices near $90 a barrel. US Energy Secretary Sam Bodman on Saturday urged top exporter Saudi Arabia and OPEC to raise supply on a visit to the kingdom. His appeal came just days after President George W. Bush asked the group for more oil on a separate visit to Riyadh, and less than two weeks before OPEC's next meeting on February 1. "I don't think there is a need to increase because the market is well supplied," Oil Minister Abdullah al-Attiyah told reporters on the sidelines of a conference in Abu Dhabi on Sunday. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is keeping a close eye on the market and stood ready to pump more when needed, OPEC Secretary-General Abdullah al-Badri said. "If we reach the conclusion the fundamental data warrant an increase in production, then our oil ministers will not hesitate to decree this," Badri told German weekly magazine Der Spiegel in an interview published on Saturday. "But at present we see no need for this." Bodman and Bush, concerned about the impact of high prices on the world's largest economy, have said more oil would help ease tight supplies. "It's important there's an increase in supply," Bodman said ahead of a meeting with Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi on Saturday. "The figures would indicate a call for increased supply." A statement from the Saudi Press Agency after the meeting said the two had agreed on the importance of well-balanced and stable oil markets, but gave no further details. Saudi Arabia is OPEC's most influential member and the only one among its 13 members able to boost supply significantly at short notice. The group produces more than a third of the world's oil.



Washington Lines up with Moscow’s Soft Diplomacy on Iran

Jan. 21….(DEBKA) Nicholas Burns’ retirement as US undersecretary for political affairs Friday, Jan. 18, and his replacement by US ambassador to Moscow William Burns, take the Bush administration’s strategy on Iran’s nuclear activities a stage closer to Moscow’s line of soft diplomacy. State department spokesman Sean McCormack Saturday played down expectations that the six powers meeting in Berlin next Tuesday would produce a consensual UN sanctions resolution. The group, the US, Russia, China, UK, France and Germany, were deadlocked at previous meetings by Moscow and Beijing’s opposition to harsh measures. The change in Washington is indicated by McCormack’s reference to “multilateral diplomacy.” The outgoing Nicholas Burns, in the No. 3 State Department spot, held the Iran portfolio and led the Bush administration’s drive for tough sanctions at the UN Security Council. (He is the 19th diplomat to quit the State Department in recent weeks). Ambassador Burns (no relation) is closer to the Russian approach. DEBKAfile’s Moscow sources note that President George W. Bush has in recent months taken strides towards closing the gap with the Kremlin on Iran. President Valdimir Putin’s standard line, I have no information that Iran is developing nuclear arms, was corroborated by the US National Intelligence Estimate’s conclusion in December that Tehran had shelved its military program in 2003. Circles close to Putin maintain that the two presidents began working together quietly in October 2007, on the shared understanding that affirmative tactics were preferable to tough penalties for weaning Tehran away from uranium enrichment, even temporarily. Therefore, after long opposition, Bush surprisingly came out in favor of Moscow’s decision to consign uranium fuel rods for Iran’s atomic reactor in Bushehr. Our sources in the Persian Gulf and Vienna disclose, moreover, that the US president also lined up with Saudi King Abdullah on a decision to relegate the handling of Iran’s nuclear issues to the UN nuclear watchdog’s director Mohammed ElBaradei. ElBaradei was therefore accorded the unusual honor of an audience with Iran’s supreme ruler Ayatollah Ali Khamenei when he visited Tehran on Jan. 12. He was told he could expect full cooperation from the Iranian government and promised answers to his questions on the tough questions of the uranium enrichment process and plutonium production. The US and Russian governments both believe that an important breakthrough has been achieved and a way forward for further diplomatic engagement on the hitherto intractable Iranian nuclear program. The United States has therefore turned away from confrontation with Iran and consigned its clandestine nuclear projects to the routine diplomatic track. This course is diametrically opposed to the policy pursued by Nicholas Burns in recent years. His resignation was therefore logical.



Senior Saudi Prince offers Israel Peace Vision

Jan. 21….(YNET) A senior Saudi royal has offered Israel a vision of broad cooperation with the Arab world and people-to-people contacts if it signs a peace treaty and withdraws from all occupied Arab territories. In an interview with Reuters, Prince Turki al-Faisal, a former ambassador to the United States and Britain and adviser to King Abdullah, said Israel and the Arabs could cooperate in many areas including water, agriculture, science and education. Asked what message he wanted to send to the Israeli public, he said: "The Arab world, by the Arab peace initiative, has crossed the Rubicon from hostility towards Israel to peace with Israel and has extended the hand of peace to Israel, and we await the Israelis picking up our hand and joining us in what inevitably will be beneficial for Israel and for the Arab world." The 22-nation Arab League revived at a Riyadh summit last year a Saudi peace plan first adopted in 2002 offering Israel full normalization of relations in return for full withdrawal from occupied Palestinian, Syrian and Lebanese land. Israel shunned the offer then, at the height of a violent Palestinian uprising in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. But it has expressed more interest since the United States launched a new drive for Israeli-Palestinian peace at Annapolis, Maryland, last November, aiming for an agreement this year. Prince Turki, who was previously head of Saudi intelligence, said that if Israel accepted the Arab League plan and signed a comprehensive peace, "one can imagine the integration of Israel into the Arab geographical entity". "One can imagine not just economic, political and diplomatic relations between Arabs and Israelis but also issues of education, scientific research, combating mutual threats to the inhabitants of this vast geographic area," he said. His comments, on the sidelines of a conference on the Middle East and Europe staged by Germany's Bertelsmann Foundation think-tank, were some of the most far-reaching addressed to Israelis by a senior figure from Saudi Arabia. The desert kingdom, home to Islam's holiest shrines, has no official relations with the Jewish state, although both are key allies of the United States in the region. "Exchange visits by people of both Israel and the rest of the Arab countries would take place," Prince Turki said. "We will start thinking of Israelis as Arab Jews rather than simply as Israelis," he said, noting that many Arabs historically saw the Israeli state as a European entity imposed on Arab land after World War Two. Prince Turki, brother of Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal, holds no official position now but heads the King Faisal Centre for Research and Islamic Studies in Riyadh. He said Israel could expect some benefits on the way to signing a treaty and making a full withdrawal, noting that after the 1993 Oslo interim accords with the Palestine Liberation Organization, regional cooperation had begun and the Jewish state had achieved representation in several Arab states. Those Israeli advances were reversed after the outbreak of the second Palestinian uprising in 2000. Israel was wary of the Arab League plan partly because it would entail handing back the Syrian Golan Heights captured in the 1967 Middle East war, as well as re-dividing Jerusalem, of which Israel annexed the captured Arab eastern part in 1967. But an Israeli participant at the conference, Yossi Alpher, co-editor of the Bitter Lemons Israeli-Palestinian Web site and a former senior intelligence official, welcomed the comments. "I was delighted to hear Prince Turki's description of the comprehensive nature of normalization as he envisages it within the framework of the Arab peace initiative," Alpher said. "His remarks should encourage us Israelis and Arabs to deepen and broaden the discussion of ways to reach a comprehensive peace, implement the Arab peace initiative and reach the kind of cooperation that his highness described." Alpher said he hoped that once there was a comprehensive peace, Israel's Arab neighbors would accept Israelis "as Jewish people living a sovereign life in our historic homeland" and not as "Arab Jews" or "European Jews".






Abbas/Fatah: Israel’s So-called 'Peace partner' Vows Suicide Bombings

('Our reaction will come soon in the middle of your cities')

Jan. 19….(WND) While Israeli negotiators held peace talks yesterday with members of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah organization, Abbas' declared military wing announced it will attempt a series of suicide bombings inside Israel. "The Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades calls on its members in the Gaza Strip and West Bank to launch a series of martyrdom bombing attacks, shooting attacks and rocket attacks in response to the Zionist escalation in Gaza," said an official Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades pamphlet distributed in the West Bank yesterday and obtained by WND. "The military wing of Fatah stays loyal to Fatah strategy and the way of Abu Amar (Yasser Arafat). We call on our brothers to take their weapons and plan attacks and attack every Israeli target. Al Aqsa threatens our reaction will come very soon in the middle of your (Israeli) cities," stated the pamphlet. The Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, Fatah's military wing, is listed by the State Department as a terror group. It took responsibility, along with the Islamic Jihad terror organization, for every suicide bombing in Israel in 2005 and 2006 and for thousands of shootings and rocket attacks. In an interview, Abu Oudai, a chief of the Brigades in the northern West Bank, told WND the pamphlet addresses his group's objectives. "The second intifada is entering a new cycle," said Abu Oudai. "We are proud to declare that on its 43rd anniversary Fatah is back to leading armed struggle. The Israelis will learn in the coming days what are our capabilities." The terror leader claimed his group's planned attacks were in response to Israeli "atrocities" in the Gaza Strip, referring to Israeli anti-terror efforts to combat escalated rocket fire from Gaza into nearby Jewish communities. Palestinian terrorists in Gaza yesterday fired some 40 rockets into Israel, wounding four people, including two motorists hurt when a rocket slammed into a busy intersection. The Israel Defense Forces yesterday killed at least three Palestinian terrorists in two separate air strikes in Gaza. In one attack, a senior terrorist in the Hamas-allied Popular Resistance Committees, which took credit for many of this week's rocket attacks, and the terrorist's wife were killed when a missile fired from the air hit their white sedan in northern Gaza. On Wednesday, the IDF reportedly mistakenly hit a car of Palestinian civilians while targeting a nearby vehicle carrying terrorists who had just fired rockets at Israel. While Palestinian terror leaders vowed revenge, the IDF pointed out it put to use better targeting capabilities in recent years that have limited the number of civilians killed in air strikes from roughly 50 percent in 2002 to 2-3 percent last year. In what would be considered a major escalation, Hamas fired dozens of rockets yesterday aimed at a strategic Israeli city. The escalation in violence follows a visit to the region last week by President Bush in he termed Abbas a "negotiating partner" and urged Israel to create a Palestinian state before the end of the year.



Fatah and Hamas Chiefs Meet, Agree to Split Foreign Funds

(PA set to receive 7.6 billion from World)

Jan. 18….( The heavily-funded Fatah-headed Palestinian Authority seems to be preparing to reunite with the Islamist Hamas, effectively channeling international aid to a united terrorist front. Several Fatah leaders, led by Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, visited Hamas leader Mahmoud a-Zahar Thursday in Gaza City, the first time the parties have held direct talks since the Hamas military takeover in Gaza last summer. Zahar is one of the founder of Hamas. The Islamist group decided to place him in the position of Foreign Minister rather than Prime Minister due to his known support for the killing of Jewish civilians. The visit followed a phone call from Abbas to Zahar, whose son, a terrorist leader, was killed in an IDF strike. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has said he will not continue negotiations with Abbas if Fatah renews attempts to forge an alliance with Hamas. Billions of dollars in aid money, as well as arms and training, have been supplied to Fatah on the condition that it act against Hamas and other Islamic terrorist groups. However, Abbas’s regime intends to spend 40 percent of the recently-pledged international aid in Hamas-controlled Gaza, according to a senior PA official. Fatah PA Labor and Planning Minister Samir Abdullah, said that of the $7.7 billion pledged by donor countries, 40 percent would be channeled to Gaza. Funding has already begun to flow into PA accounts from the European Union, Saudi Arabia and France.



Ahmadinejad Scorns US and Israel

(Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has accused US President George W Bush of "sowing the seeds of division" during his recent Middle East visit)

imageJan. 18….(Israel Daily) Mr. Ahmadinejad said Mr. Bush had brought a "message of confrontation" during his tour, during which he warned Arab allies that Iran posed a threat. In an interview with al-Jazeera TV, the Iranian leader also said Israel "would not dare" attack Iran. He spoke as Israel announced it had test-fired a ballistic missile. Reports in the Israeli media said the long-range missile was aimed at intercepting aerial threats against the Jewish state. Israel radio said the weapon could carry an unconventional payload, an apparent reference to a nuclear warhead. Israel says Tehran could have a nuclear bomb by 2010 and has warned an Iranian nuclear weapon would threaten the Jewish state's existence. President Bush told Gulf state leaders during his eight-day tour, which also took in Israel and the West Bank, that Iran was the world's top sponsor of terrorism. But Ahmadinejad hit back on al-Jazeera, saying: "President George Bush sent a message of rift, a message of sowing the seeds of division. It is a message of confrontation." The Iranian leader also dismissed US ally Israel, saying: "The Zionist regime would not dare attack Iran. "It knows that any attack on Iranian territories would prompt a fierce response," he added. He went on: "The Zionist entity is not lacking new weapons in its arsenal, but I believe it will not save it from its doomed collapse."



Ahmadinejad: Zionists are Enemies of Mankind

imageJan. 18….(Al Bawabba) Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Thursday said that Israel does not have the courage to launch any strike against Iran. The Iranian leader made this remark in an exclusive interview with Al-Jazeera news channel in response to a question on Israeli threats especially after test firing a missile Thursday. He stressed that the "Zionist regime" would not acquire legitimacy through its threats. FOJ Note: When Ahmadinejad slanders Zionism, he is also talking about Christian Zionists, that honor God’s divine plan to restore Israel, and send Jesus Christ to reign in Jerusalem.



Iran Accelerating Missile Work

Jan. 18….(AP) The head of the United States’ missile defense program sought Wednesday to bolster Washington’s argument for anti-missile sites in Europe by warning that Iran has sped up development of long-range missiles. Facing tough opposition from Russia and increased skepticism from Poland, where the United States wants to place part of the missile defense system, US officials are trying to convince the Europeans that program is crucial to guarding against an emerging threat from Iran. “They are developing missiles today in an accelerated pace,” Lt. Gen. Henry Obering said at the Foreign Ministry in the Czech Republic, one of the two European sites Washington has in mind. Obering, director of the Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency, said Iran was the third most active country in flight-testing missiles last year, behind Russia and China. “They’re developing ranges of missiles that go far beyond anything they would need in a regional fight, for example, with Israel,” Obering said. “Why are they developing missiles today that will be possible to reach Europe in few years?” he asked. The United States is in talks with the Czech government about plans to place a missile tracking radar system at a base in a military area near Prague. Washington also wants to place 10 interceptor missiles in Poland as part of the defense shield. Iran recently announced that it has manufactured a new missile, the Ashoura, with a range of 1,200 miles, capable of reaching Israel and US bases across the Middle East. “They also made statements that once you reached that range, getting beyond that is fairly easy,” Obering said. “Currently, there’s no protection in Europe against the intermediate-range or long-range weapons,” he said. The Czech government has been receptive to the proposal. But Moscow argues that an installation so close to its border threatens Russia’s security. Months of negotiations with Moscow and the US insistence that the system is not aimed at Russia have failed to ease those worries. In another complication for Washington, Poland’s newly elected government has responded cautiously to the plans and has sought consultations on the matter with NATO. Fearing the security risk that would come with having the interceptor battery on its soil, Poland has asked for US aid to upgrade its own air defenses. Senior diplomats from both countries reported progress in those discussions Tuesday in Warsaw. Obering said the United States has made “tremendous progress” in winning over NATO allies for the missile defense shield but acknowledged “frankly, less progress with the Russians.”



First Temple Seal Found in Jerusalem
And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein.Revelation 11:1

imageJan. 18….(In The Days) A stone seal bearing the name of one of the families who acted as servants in the First Temple and then returned to Jerusalem after being exiled to Babylonia has been uncovered in an archeological excavation in Jerusalem’s City of David, a prominent Israeli archeologist said Wednesday. The 2,500-year-old black stone seal, which has the name “Temech” engraved on it, was found earlier this week amid stratified debris in the excavation under way just outside the Old City walls near the Dung Gate, said archeologist Dr. Eilat Mazar, who is leading the dig. According to the Book of Nehemiah, the Temech family were servants of the First Temple and were sent into exile to Babylon following its destruction by the Babylonians in 586 BC. The family was among those who later returned to Jerusalem, the Bible recounts. The seal, which was bought in Babylon and dates to 538-445 BC, portrays a common and popular cultic scene, Mazar said. The 2.1 x 1.8-cm. elliptical seal is engraved with two bearded priests standing on either side of an incense altar with their hands raised forward in a position of worship. A crescent moon, the symbol of the chief Babylonian god Sin, appears on the top of the altar. Under this scene are three Hebrew letters spelling Temech, Mazar said. The Bible refers to the Temech family: “These are the children of the province that went up out of the captivity, of those that had been carried away, whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had carried away, and came again to Jerusalem and to Judah, every one unto his city.” [Nehemiah 7:6] The children of Temech. The fact that this cultic scene relates to the Babylonian chief god seemed not to have disturbed the Jews who used it on their own seal, she added. The seal of one of the members of the Temech family was discovered just dozens of meters away from the Opel area, where the servants of the Temple, or “Nethinim,” lived in the time of Nehemiah, Mazar said.



'I Will Bless Them That Bless Thee'

Jan. 18….(By Hal Lindsey) There is a legendary story concerning an agitated Frederick the Great who, in frustration, demanded from his cabinet that somebody provide him with proof of the existence of God. There was a momentary silence before one of his counselors spoke up: "Have you considered the Jew, your Majesty?" he asked. The continuing existence of the Jew is proof positive of God's existence, just as the existence of a Jewish state is proof positive that we are living in the last days of human government as foretold by the Bible prophets of antiquity. There are three distinct statements made within the Divine promise of blessing given to the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The first is that God will bless those who bless the Jews. When the United States wrested its seat at the council of nations from England, it became the first nation on earth to grant full citizenship to Jews. It was the first nation to allow the Jews an unrestricted vote. It was the first nation to recognize the incomparable blessing the Jewish people have been to humanity. America's second president, John Adams, said, "The Jews have done more to civilize men than any other Nation. They are the most glorious Nation that ever inhabited the earth. The Romans and their Empire were but a bauble in comparison to the Jews. They have given religion to three-quarters of the globe and have influenced the affairs of Mankind more, and more happily than any other Nation, ancient or modern." And no nation on the face of the planet today, or at any time in recorded history, has been more greatly blessed than the United States of America. The second is that God promised that in the Jews "shall all families of the earth be blessed." Without the Jews, there would be no Bible. Jesus came to earth as a Jew. Without the Jewish Jesus, there would be no Christianity. Apart from the theological argument, a quick look at the last hundred years or so proves the promise isn't confined to religious blessings alone. From 1901 to 2001, the world's 6 billion people competed for the scarce 844 Nobel Prizes that have been awarded. Among those 6 billion people are nearly 2 billion Muslims, roughly 20 percent of the global population. Of those 2 billion Muslims, eight have been singled out to receive the Nobel Prize, (seven if you consider that one of them was a politically motivated award mistakenly given unrepentant terrorist Yasser Arafat). In any case, Muslims account for less than 1 percent of the total Nobel Prizes awarded in the last hundred years. In the middle of the 20th century, the Nazis exterminated some 6 million Jews, more than half the world's Jewish population. There are today about 14 million Jews left. Even with half their number exterminated at the century's midpoint, 159 of the remaining 836 Nobel Prizes were awarded to Jews, or roughly 18.8 percent of all the Nobel Prizes awarded in Nobel's history. (If you're keeping track, that is about 20 times as many prizes divided among 14 million Jews than were shared by the 2 billion Muslims worldwide) In America, the influence of American Jews is hugely disproportionate to their numbers. Conspiracists point darkly to the "Jewish influence" in education, banking, law, medicine, government, media and entertainment as evidence of a Jewish conspiracy to control the world. They accurately point out that American Jewry accounts for less than 2 percent of America's general population, but then draw their conclusions without the benefit of Scriptural discernment. The "Jewish influence" in American life is part of God's blessing on America, the "Jewish conspiracy" canard given them in reward is part of God's curse on Israel. "Then will I pluck them up by the roots out of My land which I have given them; and this house, which I have sanctified for My Name, will I cast out of my sight, and will make it to be a proverb and a byword among all nations" (2 Chronicles 7:20). The curse was partially lifted, beginning in 1948, but will not be entirely lifted until the close of the Tribulation Period. "And it shall come to pass, that as ye were a curse among the heathen, O house of Judah, and house of Israel; so will I save you, and ye shall be a blessing: fear not, but let your hands be strong" (Zechariah 8:13). The Jews have returned to the Land, but they remain a "proverb and a byword among all nations" to this day. Finally, God promised that He would "curse them that curse you." The precision with which God kept this promise is nothing less than astonishing. During the Crusades from 1095 to 1270, Jews in Southern Europe fled to Spain, England, Scandinavia and Eastern Europe as the result of severe persecution and wholesale massacres of the Jews. England turned out to be the wrong place to go, because in 1290 King Edward I expelled the Jews. King Charles II did the same thing in 1394 by forcing all Jews from France. Interestingly, Spanish Jews found peace and security in Spain and Portugal while those countries were under Muslim rule. At that point in history, Europe was fractured, ignorant and in constant turmoil, while that same period of time is known to history as the Golden Age of Islam. The Moors were world-renowned for their knowledge of astronomy, medicine and science, and the Islamic world boasted the most extensive libraries that had ever existed to that time. In the 1400s, the Moors were kicked out of Spain by the Papal forces of Europe. In 1492, on the same day Columbus set sail for the New World, Spain expelled any unconverted Jews who had survived the Spanish Inquisition. This time they fled back to England where the Protestant reformation now welcomed them. Spain's global empire lasted less than a century after it expelled its Jews, to be replaced by the Jew-friendly British Empire whose reach extended to every corner of the globe. In 1917, the British captured Palestine from the Muslims. The British Crown offered the Jews a homeland via the Balfour Declaration, and a year later, England won the First World War. After the war, the British broke most of their promises to the Jews, restricted Jewish immigration to the Holy Land, and in the years since have increasingly turned their backs on the Jews that brought them such great blessings for more than 300 years. The British Empire upon which "the sun never set" in 1900, had, by 1948, lost its last colony when Burma declared independence, and the British Empire was no more. In 1933, Germany was among the most cultured and sophisticated nations in Europe. Old Berlin was Europe's Crown Jewel. The Nazis turned on the Jews, together with most of Eastern Europe, and 12 years later, Europe's Crown Jewel was a pile of burning rubble. The Arab world, which had been so blessed during its Golden Age, collapsed into its present state of affairs, with most of it still operating as if electricity had never been harnessed. The Arab Muslims supported Hitler, opposed Jewish immigration, waged repeated wars against Israel, deny Israel its rightful territory, and now mount a global jihad to finish Hitler's goal of total extermination. The backward nature of modern Islamic culture and society are the fruits of those efforts. Historically, wherever the Jews were welcomed, that nation flourished and prospered. Where the Jews were persecuted, those nations floundered. It is more than just coincidence; it is an identifiable historical pattern that has continued, without deviation, since the days of the Babylonian captivity. Babylon prospered when its Jews prospered, it fell to Persia when Neboplasser turned against them. Persia prospered until it turned on the Jews, whereupon it fell to Alexander's Greece. And so on, throughout history, up to and including the impending collapse of the rabidly anti-Semitic United Nations. God's Word is true, and Bible prophecy is always 100 percent accurate. Jesus said that before He returned, ALL Bible prophecy would be fulfilled, to the tiniest "jot and tittle," (the two most insignificant characters in the Hebrew alphabet). In tracing Israel's history from Babylon to the present, we see the incredible detail with which God keeps His Word. Although America continues to be Israel's principle protector, and continues to enjoy the concomitant blessings that come with it, America's good fortunes began to wane about the same time the White House forced Israel into the Oslo Agreement. The "land for peace" formula called for Israel to give up some of the land of Promise in exchange for peace. In other words, it was a form of blackmail whose terms were drawn up in Washington and forced upon Israel for the express purpose of undoing what God had already done, including dividing Jerusalem and taking part of it from the Jews. "And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it" (Zechariah 12:3). People can certainly deny any biblical connection, but the hard reality marches on with the growing shadow now falling across global society. Now it is America's turn to discover just how serious God was about the whole "blessing and cursing" thing. And by the time circumstances force America to recognize the danger it faces, it will be too late to do anything to affect the outcome. "So shall My Word be that goeth forth out of My Mouth: it shall not return unto Me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it " (Isaiah 55:11).




Mubarak to Bush: Palestinian Statehood is core of Mideast Conflict

imageJan. 17….(Ha Aretz) The Palestinian question is the core of conflict in the Middle East and Egypt very much hopes for a peace deal by January 2009, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak said on Wednesday during talks with US President George W. Bush in Sharm el-Sheikh. Mubarak told reporters he updated Bush on Egypt's position that "the Palestinian question, of course, is the core of problems and conflict in the Middle East, and it is the entry to contain the crisis and tension in the region, and the best means to face what's going on in the world, and our region, I mean by that, the escalation of violence, extremism and terrorism." "I emphasized through our presentations the Egyptian situation, underscoring and supporting peace, and our aspirations that Mr. Bush follows up on negotiations between both Israeli and Palestinian sides, and also said that I wish to reach a peace agreement before the end of his term." Bush's stop in Egypt was one of the shortest of his tour, at less than three hours, and many Egyptians said the brevity reflected a decline in US interest in Egypt.



The Death of the Bush Doctrine

*(FOJ highly recommends this article by Jeff Jacoby of the Jewish World Review)

Jan. 17….(Jeff Jacoby/JWR) The Bush Doctrine born on Sept. 20, 2001, when President Bush bluntly warned the sponsors of violent jihad: "You are either with us, or you are with the terrorists," is dead. Its demise was announced by Condoleezza Rice last Friday. The secretary of state was speaking to reporters aboard Air Force One en route with the president to Kuwait from Israel. She was explaining why the administration had abandoned the most fundamental condition of its support for Palestinian statehood, namely, an end to Palestinian terror. Rice's explanation, recounted here by The Washington Times, was as striking for its candor as for its moral blindness: "The 'road map' for peace, conceived in 2002 by Mr. Bush, had become a hindrance to the peace process, because the first requirement was that the Palestinians stop terrorist attacks. As a result, every time there was a terrorist bombing, the peace process fell apart and went back to square one. Neither side ever began discussing the 'core issues': the freezing of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, the right of Palestinian refugees to return, the outline of Israel's border, and the future of Jerusalem. "'The reason that we haven't really been able to move forward on the peace process for a number of years is that we were stuck in the sequentiality of the road map. So you had to do the first phase of the road map before you moved on to the third phase of the road map, which was the actual negotiations of final status,' Rice said. What the US-hosted November peace summit in Annapolis did was 'break that tight sequentiality. You don't want people to get hung up on settlement activity or the fact that the Palestinians haven't dealt with the terrorist infrastructure.'" Thus the president who once insisted that a "Palestinian state will never be created by terror" now insists that a Palestinian state be created regardless of terror. Once the Bush administration championed a "road map," whose first and foremost requirement was that the Palestinians "declare an unequivocal end to violence and terrorism" and shut down "all official incitement against Israel." Now the administration says that Palestinian terrorism and incitement are nothing "to get hung up on."
Whatever happened to the moral clarity that informed the president's worldview in the wake of 9/11? Whatever happened to the conviction that was at the core of the Bush Doctrine: that terrorists must be anathematized and defeated, and the fever-swamps that breed them drained and detoxified? Bush's support for the creation of a Palestinian state was always misguided, rarely has a society shown itself less suited for sovereignty, but at least he made it clear that American support came at a stiff price: "The United States will not support the establishment of a Palestinian state," Bush said in his landmark June 2002 speech on the Israeli-Arab conflict, "until its leaders engage in a sustained fight against the terrorists and dismantle their infrastructure." He reinforced that condition two years later, confirming in a letter to Ariel Sharon that "the Palestinian leadership must act decisively against terror, including sustained, targeted, and effective operations to stop terrorism and dismantle terrorist capabilities and infrastructure." Now that policy has gone by the boards, replaced by one less focused on achieving peace than on maintaining a "peace process." No doubt it is difficult, as Rice says, to "move forward on the peace process" when the Palestinian Authority glorifies suicide bombers and encourages a murderous yearning to eliminate the Jewish state. If the Bush Doctrine, "with us or with the terrorists," were still in force, the peace process would have been shelved once the Palestinians made clear that they had no intention of rejecting violence or accepting Israel's existence. The Bush administration would be treating the Palestinians as pariahs, allowing them no assistance of any kind, much less movement toward statehood, so long as their encouragement of terrorism persisted. But it is the Bush Doctrine that has been shelved. In its hunger for Arab support against Iran, and perhaps in a quest for a historic "legacy," the Bush administration has dropped the concept of "you’re either with us or with the terrorists." Mr. Bush is now hellbent instead on bestowing statehood upon a regime that stands unequivocally with the terrorists. "Frankly, it's time for the establishment of a Palestinian state," Rice says. When George W. Bush succeeded Bill Clinton, he was determined not to replicate his predecessor's blunders in the Middle East, a determination that intensified after 9/11. Yet he too has succumbed to the messianism that leads US presidents to imagine they can resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict. Clinton's legacy in this arena was the second intifada, which drenched the region in blood. To what fresh hell will Bush's diplomacy lead?



7-year Plan Aligns US with Europe's Economy


German Chancellor Angela Merkel, President Bush and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso at a White House summit meeting last April where they launched the Transatlantic Economic Council

Jan. 16….(WND) Six US senators and 49 House members are advisers for a group working toward a Transatlantic Common Market between the US and the European Union by 2015. The Tranatlantic Policy Network, a non-governmental organization is headquartered in Washington and Brussels. The plan, currently being implemented by the Bush administration with the formation of the Transatlantic Economic Council in April 2007, appears to be following a plan written in 1939 by a world-government advocate who sought to create a Transatlantic Union as an international governing body. An economist from the World Bank has argued in print that the formation of the Transatlantic Common Market is designed to follow the blueprint of Jean Monnet, a key intellectual architect of the European Union, recognizing that economic integration must inevitably lead to political integration. As WND reported earlier, a key step in advancing this goal was the creation of the Transatlantic Council by the US and the EU through an agreement signed by President Bush, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the current president of the European Council, and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso at a White House summit meeting last April.

A step toward world government

The Streit Council is named after Clarence K. Streit, whose 1939 book "Union Now" called for the creation of a Transatlantic Union as a step toward world government. The new federation, with an international constitution, was to include the 15 democracies of US, UK, France, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, Ireland, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and South Africa. Ira Straus, the founder and US coordinator of the Committee on Eastern Europe and Russia in NATO, a group dedicated to including Russia within NATO, is a globalist with leftist political leanings.  Last February, the Transatlantic Policy Network formed a Transatlantic Market Implementation Group to put in place "a roadmap and framework" to direct the activity of the Transatlantic Economic Council to achieve the creation of the Transatlantic Common Market by 2015. The Transatlantic Economic Council is an official international governmental body established by executive fiat in the US and the EU without congressional approval or oversight. No new law or treaty was sought by the Bush administration to approve or implement the plan to create a Transatlantic Common Market. The work to create a Transatlantic Common Market can be traced back to the Clinton administration's decision to join in the 1995 New Transatlantic Agenda with the European Commission. Today, the TEC is "a political body to oversee and accelerate government-to-government integration between the European Union and the United States of America," or a world government.



World Rides to Wall Street's Rescue

(President Bush basically pleads Saudi king for financial help)

(FOJ) US President George W. Bush and Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud hold talks in al-Janadriya. Bush is now visiting Egypt as he wraps up a Middle East tour after failing to win wholesale backing from Arab allies for his efforts to seal a peace deal and isolate Iran. Judging from America’s financial crisis, America is in no position to bargain with the King.

Jan. 16…(World Watch) In the latest sign of America's sinking financial fortunes, investors from as far afield as Japan, Korea, Singapore, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait have come to the rescue of Wall Street. The list of players that agreed yesterday to pump a combined $19.1 billion of capital into Citigroup Inc. and Merrill Lynch & Co. spotlights a dramatic shift in power. After flooding the world with capital that fed both economic growth and excess, battered U.S. financial institutions now are turning to countries and companies that not so long ago were suffering through their own disasters. Yesterday's infusions follow earlier investments into wounded American and European titans, including Morgan Stanley and UBS AG. The bailout is another milestone in a long-running trend: the subsidization of the U.S. economy by foreign investors, from Asian governments purchasing US Treasury bonds to finance the national debt to deep-pocketed oil states snapping up stakes in hobbled banks. "Traditionally, it used to be the US economy and the wealth of the US that have come to the rescue of nations and businesses across the world." Not so today, as America’s President has had to literally beg the wealthy Arab oil sheiks for help. Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, the Citigroup shareholder that came to the bank’s rescue during the credit crisis of the early 1990s, might do so again now, the Wall Street Journal reported on its Web site Friday, citing people familiar with the matter. The billionaire from Saudi Arabia, along with China Development Bank, is expected to invest about $2 billion in Citigroup Inc. The toll on Wall Street from the current credit crisis goes past $100 billion in losses, equivalent to 0.7% of US gross domestic product. But the long-term implications are uncertain. Foreigners, including the investment arms of some governments criticized as autocratic, will end up with a significant chunk of Wall Street.



Barak Obama's Minister Honors Farrakhan at Obama’s Church

Jan. 15….(Newsmax) Barack Obama’s longtime minister, mentor, and sounding board has been a key supporter of Louis Farrakhan and last month honored the Nation of Islam leader for lifetime achievement. Farrakhan has repeatedly made hate-filled statements targeting Jews, whites, America, and homosexuals. He has called whites “blue-eyed devils” and the “anti-Christ.” He has described Jews as “bloodsuckers” who control the government, the media, and some black organizations. “Do you know some of these satanic Jews have even taken over the Black Entertainment Network?” Farrakhan said in a speech on Nov. 11, 2007. “Everything that we built, they have. The mind of Satan now is running the record industry, movie industry, and television. And they make us look like we’re the murderers; we look like we’re the gangsters, but we’re punk stuff.” The month after that speech, Obama’s minister and friend, the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. and his Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, honored Farrakhan at a gala, bestowing on him its Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. Lifetime Achievement Trumpeteer award. Obama has said he found religion through Wright in the 1980s and consulted him before deciding to run for president. In the November/December issue of his church’s magazine, Trumpet, Wright heaped praise on Farrakhan, whom he helped in organizing the Million Man March in Washington in 1995. Since becoming pastor in 1972, Wright’s church’s membership grow from 80 to more than 8,500. The church is the largest congregation in the United Church of Christ, a predominantly white denomination known for its liberal politics. Obama’s church runs an outreach program to attract gay and lesbian singles. Born in Hawaii, Obama is the son of a white Christian mother from Kansas and a Kenyan father who was a Muslim. From age 6 to 10, Obama lived in Indonesia, where he went to a Catholic school. From there, he went on to attend an Islamic madrass. Obama says he found religion through Wright, whom he met in the mid-1980s. Obama has been attending Wright’s church regularly since 1988. Obama has said that in the fall of 2006, he broached the subject of a run for the presidency with Wright, who encouraged him to go ahead. Wright has equated Zionism with racism and has compared Israel with South Africa under its previous policy of apartheid. On the Sunday following 9/11, Wright characterized the terrorist attacks as a consequence of violent American policies. Four years later, Wright suggested that the attacks were retribution for America’s racism. “In the 21st century, white America got a wake-up call after 9/11/01,” Wright wrote in Trumpet. “White America and the Western world came to realize that people of color had not gone away, faded into the woodwork or just ‘disappeared’ as the Great White West kept on its merry way of ignoring black concerns.” In one of his sermons, Wright said to thumping applause, “Racism is how this country was founded and how this country is still run! As for Israel, “The Israelis have illegally occupied Palestinian territories for over 40 years now,” Wright has said. Those views run parallel to Farrakhan’s, who said in an interview this month with that there will be “no peace for Israel, because there can be no peace as long as that peace is based on lying, stealing, murder, and using God’s name to shield a wicked, unjust practice that is not in harmony with the will of God.” Farrakhan himself recently spoke approvingly of Obama’s political strategy, which is crucial to inviting whites to support him. “Barack Obama has been very careful not to position himself as Rev. Jesse Jackson or Rev. Al Sharpton as a promoter of ‘The Black Cause,’” Farrakhan said in the interview with “He has been groomed, wisely so, to be seen more as a unifier, rather than one who speaks only for the hurt of black people.”



Abbas & PLO Flag That Erases Israel

Jan. 15….( Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas was filmed this week at a PLO Central Committee meeting with an emblem that negates the existence of Israel as a backdrop. The PLO emblem includes the PA flag above a map which depcits Palestine replacing the entirety of the State of Israel.


The event took place just days after Abbas met with US President George W. Bush and reiterated his commitment to peaceful negotiations with Israel. (The PA was highly alerted to remove the “no-Israel maps” while President Bush was in Ramallah) The PA's Fatah terrorist faction, under the direct command of Abbas, also continues to promote the elimination of Israel through its maps and symbols.

image A map on a poster printed in December in honor of the group's 43rd anniversary shows all of Israel as "Palestine" draped in a colorful keffiyeh scarf. A rifle is pictured alongside the map.
Fatah is generally treated by Western leaders as more moderate than rival terrorist groups, as it currently professes to support an Arab Muslim state in Judea, Samaria, Gaza and Jerusalem, but not within Israel’s 1948-1967 borders. However, throughout decades of negotiations, the group never changed its maps or military symbols, and Fatah leaders refuse to recognize Israel as Jewish within any borders. In a 2001 press release in honor of the 37th anniversary of Fatah's first terrorist attack, the organization declared that "a legitimate Palestinian entity forms the most important weapon that Arabs have against Israel." On November 28, the day after the Annapolis Conference, official PA television broadcast a map of the region obliterating Israel completely and replacing it with a Palestinian flag.




Bush Talks to Saudi King About Oil Prices

Jan. 15….(AP) President Bush said Tuesday he hopes that as OPEC sets production levels, the oil cartel will consider the negative effect high oil prices are having on the US economy. Bush said he spoke with Saudi King Abdullah about oil prices, which recently surged past $100 a barrel. "Oil prices are very high, which is tough on our economy," Bush said before he began a round-table with Saudi business men and women at the US embassy here. "I would hope that as OPEC considers (its response to higher prices) that they understand when their biggest consumer's economy suffers, it means less purchases, less oil and gas sold." Saudi Arabia holds the world's largest oil reserves and surging fuel costs are putting a major strain on the troubled economy in the United States where gasoline has topped $3 a gallon. High energy costs for fueling cars and heating homes are leaving people with less money to spend elsewhere, and prices for some other goods and services also have risen. OPEC oil accounts for about 40 percent of the world's needs, and OPEC ministers often follow the lead of the Saudis when discussing whether to increase production to take the pressure off rising prices. The Saudis' views carry great weight because Saudi Arabia is responsible for almost a third of OPEC's total output. The issue of high oil prices also has come up in earlier stops on Bush's eight-day trip to the Middle East, largely in the context of his push for alternate fuels and sources of energy. White House counselor Ed Gillespie said Mideast leaders have "talked about the nature of the market and the vast demand that's on the world market today for oil." He said that was "a legitimate and accurate point." Bush was visiting al-Murabba Palace, the National History Museum and Al Janadriyah Farm, the Saudi Arabian king's country retreat where he maintains 150 Arabian stallions. That trip repays the visit of the king, when he was crown prince, to Bush's ranch in Crawford, Texas.



President Bush and his Personal Friend King Abdullah

image(President Bush holds the King Abdul Aziz Order of Merit medal presented to him by Saudi King Abdullah)


And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man’s hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren.”—Genesis 16:12

Perilous Times

This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.—2 Timothy 3:1-2a

But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.”
2 Timothy 3:13

Jan. 15….(In The Days) President Bush on Monday launched a rare round of intensive personal diplomacy with Saudi King Abdullah aimed at winning support for a variety of American objectives such as rebuilding Iraq, pressuring Iran, fighting al-Qaeda and backing the US-brokered peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians. Bush and Abdullah embraced warmly at the bottom of the steps leading from Air Force One after the plane touched down here for the president’s first visit to the kingdom, and his first face-to-face meeting with Abdullah in three years. Bush came bearing a big gift: His administration formally notified Congress on Monday that it plans to seek approval for the sale to Saudi Arabia of $120 million in precision-guided bombs as part of an overall arms package worth roughly $20 billion. Congress has 30 days to try to block the sales, but administration officials appeared confident they have the votes to proceed with the deal. Bush is devoting two days of his Middle East trip to Saudi Arabia, much of it to private meetings with the King, who is hosting the president at his guest palace here and at the farm near Riyadh where Abdullah raises Arabian stallions. That amounts to an unusual commitment of diplomatic time, reflecting both the large role Saudi Arabia plays in US economic and foreign policy and a desire to strengthen a relationship that has frayed badly over the past seven years. Some diplomats and experts with close ties to the administration say meeting with Abdullah has been the main purpose of the president’s trip to the region. One senior administration official traveling with the president said this week that Bush regards the octogenarian Abdullah as “really a remarkable figure,” citing the king’s role in starting reforms such as municipal elections and in regional diplomacy, and that the president intends to reaffirm their “close personal relationship.” White House counselor Edward W. Gillespie described the one-on-one time with the king, who is known to dislike diplomacy conducted over the phone, as a “very important” part of the visit to Saudi Arabia. Despite the outward display of affection on the tarmac, the relationship has also been tense and uneasy for much of Bush’s tenure, according to former senior officials and experts on Saudi Arabia. “The president has a personal bond with the king,” said Dan Bartlett, Bush’s former counselor. “This visit will go a long way to keeping relations on the right track. The personal diplomacy that the president likes to use will resonate with the way the kingdom does foreign policy, because it is so dominated by the king himself.” Saudi officials have sounded a skeptical note recently about Bush’s drive for more diplomatic and financial pressure on Iran, which the president has emphasized almost daily on his swing through the Middle East. “As a guest in this country, we will listen with care to all issues that the president will discuss, Saudi foreign minister, Prince Saud al-Faisal, said at a recent news conference. “We are neighbors to Iran in the Gulf region, and as such we are careful that peace and tranquillity reign between the region’s countries. We have relations with Iran, and we talk to them, and if we felt any danger we would not hesitate to discuss it with them.” Saudi Arabia has long enjoyed a close relationship with the United States, in large measure because of the vast reserves of Saudi oil and the military protection provided by Washington. But from the start of the Bush administration, tensions have been apparent. Abdullah nearly caused a rupture early on over his unhappiness with what he considered the president’s unstinting support for Israel’s then-prime minister, Ariel Sharon, in his approach to the Palestinians. The White House moved quickly to try to smooth things over, but then came the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, in which 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudis. US officials say cooperation on counterterrorism has improved dramatically in the years since, although conflict persists over wealthy Saudis who help fund Sunni extremism beyond Saudi borders. Under Abdullah, the Saudis have also pursued a foreign policy more independent of the United States than they had in the past, irking the White House by brokering an ultimately unsuccessful deal between the Fatah and Hamas factions in the Palestinian territories and testing to see whether some kind of accommodation could be reached with Iran. Abdullah shocked US officials last year when he described the American military presence in Iraq as an “illegitimate foreign occupation.” One reason for the greater Saudi independence, according to former US diplomats and other experts who deal closely with the kingdom, is that the Saudis have begun to doubt American competence and are looking to forge their own relations with rising powers such as China and regional rivals including Iran. While publicly polite, the Saudi king and other leading figures also see the incumbent US president as a disappointment, certainly compared with his father, George H.W. Bush, a close friend and former oilman who was lionized here for his handling of the Persian Gulf War. By contrast, former officials and others close to the royal family say, Saudi royals believe Bush has handled issues such as Iran, Iraq and Middle East peace ineptly. Charles W. Freeman Jr., a former U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia, says he believes the warmth has gone out of the Saudis’ relationship with the United States. “I think Abdullah has tried very hard to build a personal bond with Bush, but I don’t know how much that has survived,” he said. “Bush is very unpopular everywhere in the region, certainly in Saudi Arabia.” Freeman added that the king “will be extraordinarily polite and even generous to a guest, without that necessarily implying any affection whatsoever.” “I wouldn’t read much political significance in the Arabs remaining true to their traditions” and acting courteously toward Bush, Freeman added. Jamal Khashoggi, editor in chief of the Saudi daily al-Watan, said that Bush’s visit to the kingdom is not being viewed as particularly important and that “people are not really expecting a lot” from it. “The Saudi position is that we want to be friends with Iran and move away from the possible USIranian confrontation,” Khashoggi said.


(FOJ) Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Saud presents the King Abdulaziz Order of Merit to President George W. Bush, January 14 at Riyadh Palace in Riyadh. Saudi Arabia has long relied on the US for the defense of its kingdom. King Abdullah has also long pressured both President Bush and his Father to adopt the Arab League Peace Plan, and to steer American support away from Israel.

President Bush urged OPEC nations on Tuesday to put more oil on the world market and warned that soaring prices could cause an economic slowdown in the United States. “High energy prices can damage consuming economies,” the president told a small group of reporters traveling with him in the Mideast. “It’s affected our families. Paying more for gasoline hurts some of the American families, and I’ll make that clear to him,” said Bush, heading into more talks with Saudi King Abdullah. Shortly after Bush spoke, the Saudi oil minister said the kingdom, responsible for almost one-third of the cartel’s total output, would raise oil production when the market justified it.



'Syria, Iran trying to overthrow Abbas'

Jan. 15….(Jerusalem Post) Syria and Iran have stepped up their efforts to overthrow Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and his ruling Fatah party, PA officials in Ramallah told The Jerusalem Post Monday. The officials accused the Syrians and Iranians of "encouraging" Hamas and other radical Palestinian groups to establish a new organization that would replace the PLO. They also accused the two countries of continuing to provide Hamas and its allies in the Gaza Strip with millions of dollars and weapons. The officials pointed out that in the context of their efforts to overthrow Abbas's regime in the West Bank, Damascus and Teheran have encouraged Hamas and 10 other radical groups to meet in the Syrian capital on January 23 to discuss forming a new PLO and increasing their terror attacks on Israel. "Syria and Iran are working toward undermining the PLO and President Abbas," a senior Palestinian official in Ramallah told the Post. "They want to help Hamas extend its control to the West Bank. They are pouring millions of dollars into Hamas and its friends." Another official told the Post that Abbas has appealed to some Arab countries to use their good offices with Syrian President Bashar Assad to ban the conference. The decision to hold the conference was apparently taken in response to US President George W. Bush's visit to the region last week. The conference, according to Hamas and Islamic Jihad leaders, will discuss ways of "developing and reactivating" the PLO. The two Islamist groups have never been part of the PLO, which is dominated by Fatah. Both Hamas and Islamic Jihad have in recent years openly challenged the PLO's claim to be the "sole and legitimate" representative of all Palestinians. Hamas is hoping to name its leader, Khaled Mashaal, as chairman of the new PLO. Hamas and Islamic Jihad have invited several Palestinian groups to attend the conference, including Fatah. However, Fatah officials have turned down the invitation, accusing Damascus and Teheran of using their Palestinian allies to topple Abbas. The two groups have also invited representatives of other groups such as the Popular Resistance Committees, the Popular Front, General Command headed by Ahmed Jibril and Fatah's armed wing, the Aqsa Martyrs Brigades. The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, two groups that are members of the PLO, announced that they would boycott the conference. The two groups said the decision to stay away from the conference was taken to avoid the possibility of being part of a scheme aimed at creating an alternative PLO. Hamas and Islamic Jihad officials said the conference was also being held "to stress the importance of maintaining the option of armed struggle (terror war) against Israel and the right of return for all Palestinian refugees." Islamic Jihad leader Khaled Al-Batsh said the conference's goal was to "thwart American and Zionist schemes" in the aftermath of Bush's visit.



Congress: US Precision-guided Bomb Technology Will Give Saudi Arabia Edge over Israel

Jan. 15….(DEBKA) During his visit to Riyadh Jan. 14, US president George Bush notified Congress of his intention to transfer to Saudi Arabia 900 Joint Direct Attack Munitions, JDAMs, as part of a multimillion arms package to US Gulf allies. Some Congress members are concerned it would give the Saudis a qualitative military edge that could be used to attack Israel. They have a 30-day window to object. Republican Rep. Mark Kirk of Illinois said: “The administration must guarantee to Congress’ satisfaction that selling JDAMs to Saudi Arabia will not harm US forces or our democratic ally Israel.” Democratic Reps Anthony Weiner of New York and Robert Wexler of Florida said they will push for a resolution condemning the sale: “It’s mind-bogglingly bad policy because the Saudis at every turn have been uncooperative,” regarding US interests in the Middle East, they said. DEBKAfile’s military sources add: US-Saudi policy differences are extensive. They range from arguments over the war on terror, the continuation of private Saudi financing for Islamist terrorists, the passage of young Saudi extremists to Iraq, the al Qaeda strongholds building up in Lebanon as well as cells in Syria, the oil kingdom’s continued support of the Palestinian Hamas terrorists and push for their reconciliation with Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah. The Saudis seek to restore a Palestinian unity government against Washington’s will. President Bush arrived in Riyadh Monday to hear a sharp public demand from interior minister Prince Nayef to free the Saudi inmates of Guantanamo Bay detention camp forthwith. DEBKAfile’s Gulf sources report: The Gulf states, striving to diversify their weapons suppliers, are confronting US arms industries with strong competition from Russia and France. The Bush administration aims to highlight those nations’ dependence on American high-tech weaponry. Regarding the JDAMs sale to Saudi Arabia, Mark Regev, a spokesman for Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert, said the Israeli government would not comment on the deal. Behind the scenes, Israel is lobbying to block the sale of sophisticated American hardware which, though presented as boosting Saudi defenses against Iran, could well be turned against Israel. Previously, Washington announced it would counterbalance sales to Arab nations with $30 bn in military assistance to Israel.



Russia Strengthening its Navy in Mediterranean Sea

Jan. 14….(DEBKA) Russia has drawn eleven warships from its Black Sea and Atlantic Northwest fleets for a joint war game in the Mediterranean to underline its drive for a naval presence in all the world’s seas and oceans. They will rendezvous off Malta Tuesday, Jan. 15. The flagship Moskva is on its way from Sevastopol. Russia’s air carrier Admiral Kutznetsov is on current missions in the Mediterranean, escorted by four ships, including the large anti-submarine Admiral Levchenko and the command and supply ship Sergei Osipov . On its decks are 47 Su-33 fighter-bombers and 10 helicopters. Dmitry Medvedev, President Vladimir Putin's chosen successor, said last Friday, “Russia must restore its sea power.” Speaking at the giant Russian Barents Sea base of Murmansk, he commented: “The Soviet Union's naval might commanded respect, I won’t say feared, but was respected.” As part of their maneuvers, under the command of Vice Adm. Vladimir Maximov, the Moskva and other units will launch ship-to-air, marine missile interceptor and shore-to-ship missiles and carry out air force drills. During the joint fleet’s 71-day stay in the Mediterranean, the Russian vessels will call in at eleven ports of 6 countries, while carrying out three tactical maneuvers with target practices. DEBKAfile reports that the Russian vessels will dock at the two Syrian military ports of Tartous and Latakia. Another flotilla led by the Ivan Bubnov fuel tanker will call in at Tripoli, Libya, to set up a logistical base for the vessels taking part in the exercise. The extended Russian war games take place in one of the most crowded waters in the world, the Mediterranean Sea, challenging its domination by the US Sixth Fleet and NATO. Israel and its navy are also negatively affected. The fact that the Russian vessels will only visit Arab, not Israeli ports, bespeaks Moscow’s decision to strengthen its ties with its Arab client states and their military options vis-à-vis Israel, a reminder of Moscow’s massive support of Arab military forces in the Cold War.


President Bush: Iran Must Be Confronted by Arabs

Jan. 14….(AP) President Bush yesterday appealed to the broader Middle East to unite against Iran and al Qaeda, and sought to reassure Arab countries that the US will not abandon them if they do so. As an incentive to one of the region's most influential nations, the administration will use the arrival of Mr. Bush in Riyadh today to announce a $20 billion sale of advanced weaponry to Saudi Arabia. The arms sale, which a senior White House official called a "big package," includes precision-guided weapons that the administration proposed to sell to Saudi Arabia last year, only to withdraw the proposal after protests from Israel and the US Congress. Israel has since received a $30 billion, 10-year military package, which an Israeli defense source told Reuters included more technologically advanced Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) bombs than other Middle East countries. Mr. Bush, speaking yesterday inside the $3 billion Emirates Palace Hotel to an audience of a few hundred, said regional hopes of peace and prosperity are threatened by "violent extremists who murder the innocent in pursuit of power."




Iran, he said, is "the world's leading state sponsor of terror," and its actions, especially its defiance of United Nations resolutions against its nuclear-weapons program, "threaten the security of nations everywhere." "So the United States is strengthening our long-standing security commitments with our friends in the Gulf, and rallying friends around the world to confront this danger before it is too late," Mr. Bush said. Mr. Bush's coalition-building swing through six Middle East countries is being buttressed by French President Nicolas Sarkozy's concurrent three-country trip to the region. Mr. Sarkozy, since his election earlier this year, has closely aligned himself with Mr. Bush on the issue of confronting Iran, and is also offering an important carrot to Arab states: civilian nuclear-power technology.




Bush Warns that World must rally to Confront Danger of Iran

Jan. 14….(MSN)  US President George W. Bush said Sunday that Iran is threatening the security of the world, and that the US and Arab allies must join together to confront the danger before it's too late. The president made the comments in a speech he delivered in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, mid-way through his eight-day Mideast tour. Bush said Iran funds terrorist extremists, undermines peace in Lebanon, sends arms to the Taliban, seeks to intimidate its neighbors with alarming rhetoric, defies the United Nations and destabilizes the entire region by refusing to be open about its nuclear program. Iran is the world's leading state sponsor of terror," Bush said. The president's Mideast trip began last week with a renewed push for an Israeli-Palestinian peace pact, an accord he said whose time has come. In a direct appeal to the Palestinians, Bush said: "The dignity and sovereignty that is your right is within your reach." "In President Abbas, you have a leader who understands that the path forward is through peaceful negotiations. Help him as he makes the tough decisions for peace," the president added. To the people of Israel, Bush said: "You know that peace and reconciliation with your neighbors is the best path to long-term security. We believe that peace is possible, though it requires tough decisions." Bush gave the speech on democracy in one of the few countries in the region, the Emirates, where democracy has not been a vital issue, but virtually ignored. Bush said advancing democracy and freedom is the core of his administration's foreign policy and critical to US security. "The United States has no desire for territory. We seek our shared security in your liberty. We believe that stability can only come through a free and just Middle East where the extremists are marginalized," the president said. In renewing his Freedom Agenda, Bush's grand ambition to seed democracy around the globe, he declared that democracy is the only form of government that treats individuals with the dignity and equality that is their right. "We know from experience that democracy is the only system of government that yields lasting peace and stability," he added. Yet he was speaking about democracy in a deeply undemocratic country, the Emirates, where an elite of royal rulers makes virtually all the decisions.



'Overwhelming' Support for Obama Among Arab Americans

(Arab Americans remain steadfast in their support for Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama)

imageJan. 14….(WND) An institute poll in May showed that 39 percent of Arab American Democrats polled favored Obama and 36% favored Sen. Hillary Clinton. At the time, Obama was relatively unknown, and his supporters have since grown. An informal survey of community activists and leaders conducted a month ago showed "overwhelming" support for Obama, according to James Zogby, president of the institute. The number of those favoring Obama was double that of all other candidates combined. "Today the numbers are probably higher," said Zogby. Reasons cited for their support of Obama over Democratic candidates Clinton and former senator John Edwards include his perspective on the Middle East, his outspoken concern for civil liberties, an issue of particular concern to Arab Americans, frustration with the current administration and the war in Iraq. Zogby traces Arab American support for Obama to a speech he gave at the Democratic Convention in 2004, when he first burst onto the national radar. An article that appeared in the Lebanese Daily Star on Tuesday encouraged Arab Americans to vote for Obama. Arab Americans should not expect a radical change in US foreign policy in the Middle East, regardless of who wins the 2008 elections, the article suggests. "However, if Barack Obama wins, there is hope that he will be more open on the matter of Middle East justice for Arabs than any of the others," writes Ghassan Rubeiz, an Arab American commentator.



Bush In Saudi Arabia 

Jan. 14….(AP) Iran, Mideast peace and democracy in the region topped the agenda for President Bush during talks Monday with ally Saudi Arabia. Bush's first visit to the kingdom came as his administration notified Congress of its intent to sell $20 billion in weapons, including precision-guided bombs, to the Saudis. The announcement was timed to coincide with the president's arrival in the Saudi capital. It is "a pretty big package, lots of pieces," national security adviser Stephen Hadley told reporters on Air Force One. The sale is an important part of the US strategy to bolster the defenses of its Arab allies in Saudi Arabia and other oil-producing majority Sunni Muslim Gulf nations against threats from Shiite Iran. The official announcement will start a 30-day review period during which Congress could try to block the sale, which has raised concern among some lawmakers. Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states, which have majority Sunni Muslim populations, harbor deep suspicions about Shiite Iran's apparent designs to establish itself as a major power and have reacted skeptically to the conclusions of intelligence estimate about Iran. The president, who flew to Riyadh from Dubai on his eight-day Mideast trip, was to meet with Saudi King Abdullah. The king was expected to urge Bush to keep up the pressure on Israel to halt settlements in Palestinian territories. As for the topic of rising oil prices, Hadley would only say "we'll have to see" when asked whether Bush would raise the issue with the king. The Saudis are responsible for almost one-third of OPEC's total output. The king greeted Bush at the base of the steps of Air Force One. A band played each country's national anthem as the leaders walked on a red carpet behind a high-stepping uniformed officer carrying a gold sword. In the airport terminal, the president shook hands with a long procession of robed men and military officers. Earlier, in Dubai, Bush got a flavor of the cosmopolitan banking and business hub, whose glass skyscrapers and booming construction have turned it into the capital of Middle East bustle. The soaring Persian Gulf city-state was Bush's second stop in the seven-state United Arab Emirates federation.



Bush Okays IDF to Soften Hamas in Gaza, for Abbas

Jan. 14….(Israel Insider) The IDF carried out an aerial attack against a Hamas terrorist organization post in the southern Gaza Strip Saturday evening. The attack was carried out following the continuous firing of mortar shells at Israeli communities in the western Negev area of Israel. Since January 1st, Palestinians have fired approximately 215 rockets and mortar shells into Israel. The now-routine action came as reports appeared of American dictation of strict terms for a long-delayed military operation in Gaza, effectively crippling its chances of success and sacrificing Israeli soldiers to prop up the Palestinian Authority, without solving the Gaza problem. Before he ended his visit to the country, President George W. Bush gave Israel his approval for a military operation against Hamas in the Gaza Strip, but said the purpose for any such action should not be to stamp out Palestinian rockets attacks, arms smuggling and stockpiling. Rather Bush’s consent allows for, IDF troops  to be put in harm's way so that Gaza can be handed on a silver platter to Mahmoud Abbas, rolling back his ouster. The report says that Israeli forces must limit their incursion to two or three narrow strips abutting the Gaza-Israeli border. Those sources identify those strips as the northern pocket of Beit Hanoun, Beit Lahiya and the outskirts of the Jebalya camp; areas east of Khan Younis up to the Sufa and Kerem Shalom crossings; and sections of the Philadelphi border strip with Egypt, excluding the Mediterranean coast. In practice, this means the Israeli army may push back the Qassam rocket launching sites from the border, but may not destroy terrorist arms and missile caches and their means of production. The IDF will be permitted to operate only in sparsely-populated areas and desist from actions that may cause extensive Palestinian civilian casualties. The IDF will not enter or capture the main cities. After clearing captured areas of Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other terrorists, Israeli forces must withdraw and hand over the partially-cleansed territory to West Bank chieftain Mahmoud Abbas. Supposedly it is Abbas' security forces that will then recapture Gaza from the "softened" Hamas. Defense minister Ehud Barak is reportedly personally responsible for leading and charting the Gaza operation, determining its timeline and being responsible to Washington for the IDF not stepping out of the predefined boundaries. It will also be up to Barak to decide whether to pursue the objective in phased offensives or all at once. Other Israeli media also reported the American wink and nod to a Gaza operation. There have been suggestions that the offensive would be launched just before the scheduled release of the Winograd report so that pressure on Olmert to resign would be reduced because Israel was once again "in wartime." The irony would be, of course, that Olmert would once again be entering a conflict for political considerations, sacrificing Israeli lives to serve American interests, not Israeli ones. DEBKAfile's military sources report that the Olmert government's acceptance of this half-baked plan has stirred outrage in the IDF high command, general staff, southern command and security establishment as a whole. "For the first time in its 60 years of independence," Debkafile asserts, "Israel's national army is being pressed into service to capture a territory on behalf of a foreign entity. The notion that members of Israel's people's army, duty bound to defend the state, may be ordered to fight and lay down their lives in the service of the Palestinian Authority, presents every serviceman with an irreconcilable dilemma." While the 1956 Suez conflict might also arguably constitute a precedent for the use of the IDF in service to foreign powers, the prohibition on Israel from taking decisive steps guarantees that any successes will be short-lived, just as Hezbullah has restored its strength and returned to the northern border in Lebanon. In effect, the IDF would be fighting for Mahmoud Abbas, spilling blood to reverse Fatah's ignominious defeat in its internecine war with Hamas. The use of the Israeli Army in Abbas' service would also validate the Hamas argument that the Fatah-led government is merely a collaborator with Israel and the Americans. But if the half-baked campaign, with its inherent prohibition on decisive victory, does not, as is highly likely given the constraints on Israeli force, eliminate Hamas and its terrorist allies, Abbas is likely to join them, not fight them, seeking a coalition and Palestinian unity against the Israeli aggressor. At the dinner Olmert hosted in honor of the US president Thursday night, Debkafile reported, several ministers pointed out these facts to Bush and told him bluntly that he is unwisely gambling all his hopes for peace on a non-existent entity called the Palestinian Authority. The US president answered: "I agree. That really is a problem." Now it will be primarily the problem of the soldiers who will risk and lose their lives fighting for Abbas and his corrupt, incompetent regime.






What Hope for a Peace Treaty This Year?

Jan. 11….(David Dolan) George W. Bush told reporters in Ramallah yesterday that he believes a final Israeli-Palestinian peace accord will be signed and sealed before he leaves office in 12 months time. As one of my Israeli friends put it, if that proves to be the case, it will surely be because of the miraculous intervention of the Middle East Tooth Fairy working hand in glove with Santa Claus. It has been nearly a decade since an American president visited Israel and nearby Palestinian-controlled territory. Although Bill Clinton stopped here several times during his eight years in office, his Republican successor waited until his final stretch to do the same thing. That's probably because when Bush took his initial oath to uphold the US Constitution in January 2001, Israel was already engulfed in a violent Palestinian terror onslaught that followed the total collapse of the Clinton-backed Oslo peace process six months earlier. The lame duck American leader, who most Palestinians think is just lame, if not evil, and most Israelis say is fairly ducky, if rather naïve, came to Israel in an attempt to keep the momentum going from his late November Annapolis peace summit. He might as well be paddling up Niagara Falls with a pitchfork. Most Israeli pundits and politicians are still scratching their heads trying to figure out why the American president and his Israeli counterpart, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, think this is even a remotely possible time to finally resolve the core components of the long and bitter Arab-Israeli conflict. Scraping the bottom in all local opinion polls, the Israeli leader is facing the imminent release of a government authorized commission report that will critique how he conducted the 2006 summer war against radical Hezbollah forces in Lebanon. Everyone already knows it will hardly be flattering, and maybe outright damning, and could cause his five party government coalition to collapse. That alone distances him from the late Yitzhak Rabin, a highly popular war hero turned politician who nevertheless barely persuaded a majority of Israeli legislators to endorse the Oslo accords in the 1990s. On the other side of the negotiating table, Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas is under grave threat from the Iran-Hezbollah-Syria supported Hamas movement, which staged a bloody coup against his corrupt government and security forces in the Gaza Strip only last June. Some Palestinian officials admit that Abbas would not be able to cling to power at all in Jordan's former West Bank if Jewish soldiers were not regularly operating against the manifold Hamas and Islamic Jihad fighters and terror cells based there. And yet, as part of any final peace settlement, such soldiers would presumably be withdrawn from their outposts, along with hundreds of thousands of Jews living in areas that the Palestinians want to make judenrind once again. Who will keep the Muslim militants at bay then? The prospect of Hamas seizing control of the Palestinian state that President Bush is currently touting is naturally harrowing to most Israelis. Even if Gaza were left out of the equation for now, such a state would rise just miles from the heavily populated Israeli coastal plane, and along the municipal boundaries of Jerusalem, if not actually inside eastern portions of the hotly contested holy city, including the Temple Mount. Ever since the extremist Sunni Muslim group triumphed over American-trained and equipped PA security forces in Gaza last June, the number of Palestinian rocket and mortar attacks upon nearby Israeli civilian centers has sharply escalated. Just before Bush arrived here, a mid-range Katyusha rocket, the same kind Hezbollah poured upon northern Israel in 2006, landed for the first time on the northern edge of the large coastal city of Ashkelon, some ten miles north of the Gaza Strip. The city of Ashdod, hosting one of Israel's two main ports, lies just a few miles to the north of where the Grad rocket exploded, and the Tel Aviv metropolis is a mere 20 miles beyond that. Two other Katyusha rockets hit an Israel town just prior to the President's first official visit to Israel, this time fired from Lebanon. That was just a slight reminder that not only will a peace accord between Abbas and Olmert prove meaningless until Hamas is fully dealt with, but also not before Iranian-backed Hezbollah militiamen and Palestinian jihad warriors based in southern Lebanon are somehow neutralized. An unprecedented 19 Palestinian rockets and mortar shells were fired from inside Gaza's sealed borders at nearby Israeli targets the morning Dubya landed at Ben Gurion airport, located just 35 miles northeast of the crowded Hamas-ruled coastal zone. If the anti-peace Sunni Arab movement gains control over a Bush-advocated Palestinian state within binocular range of Israel's capital complex in central Jerusalem as well, it will obviously be another huge feather for Osama bin Laden's jihad turban. Shiite Iran, busy enriching uranium for purely peaceful purposes, ya sure, will be pretty pleased as well. Israeli security officials point out with appropriate alarm that ever since Muslim gunmen seized control of the Gaza Strip last year, Hamas leaders have been busy transforming their rogue guerilla forces into a highly trained army. The Shin Bet security service says the Palestinians have smuggled hundreds of anti-tank and aircraft missiles along with over 130 tons of explosives into the zone since Ariel Sharon, with George Bush's brawny encouragement, yanked Israeli soldiers and civilians out of the area in the summer of 2005. However most of the contraband, some 80 tons, has arrived since the violent Hamas takeover last June, mostly via illicit tunnels dug below the southern border with Egypt. The facts on the ground seem to abundantly proclaim that any final US-backed peace accord that helps create a Palestinian state inside Judaism's biblical heartland and the Gaza Strip will not be achievable, let alone viable, until the Tehran-led jihad axis of evil is dealt with. Not a few Israelis hope that is the real reason for the president's current Middle East jaunt, preparing the ground for a military assault on nuclear-arming Iran, which would certainly help render its regional Muslim surrogates mere toothless fairies.



Bush at Yad Vashem: US Should have Bombed Auschwitz

(President Bush lays a wreath in front of the eternal flame, commemorating the six million Jews killed by the Nazis in the Holocaust, in the Hall of remembrance at Israel's Yad Vashem memorial)

imageJan. 11….(YNET) President George W. Bush arrived at Israel's official Holocaust memorial on Friday, visiting exhibits that detail the Nazi extermination of European Jewry.  The Yad Vashem memorial was closed to the public and under heavy guard Friday, with armed soldiers standing on top of some of the site's monuments and a police helicopter and surveillance blimp hovering in the air overhead.  Wearing a yarmulke, Bush placed a red-white-and-blue wreath on a stone slab that covers ashes of Holocaust victims taken from six extermination camps. He also lit a torch memorializing the victims. ''I was most impressed that people in the face of horror and evil would not forsake their God. In the face of unspeakable crimes against humanity, brave souls, young and old, stood strong for what they believe,'' Bush said.  ''I wish as many people as possible would come to this place. It is a sobering reminder that evil exists, and a call that when evil exists we must resist it,'' he said. Bush was visibly moved during his hour-long tour of the site, said Yad Vashem's chairman, Avner Shalev. ''Twice, I saw tears well up in his eyes,'' Shalev said. At one point, Bush viewed aerial photos of the Auschwitz death camp taken during the war by US forces and called Rice over to discuss why the American government had decided against bombing the site, Shalev said. ''We should have bombed it,'' Bush said, according to Shalev. In the memorial's visitors' book, the president wrote simply, ''God bless Israel, George Bush.'' 



(FOJ) The day before visiting the Jewish Holocaust museum. President Bush met with the very man who decades ago promoted the idea that the Holocaust didn’t really happen, but was merely a ploy by Jews to gain land in Palestine.



Blair: Terms of Peace Must Ensure Israel's Security


1Thessalonians 5:2-4 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. Tony Blair is giving voice to the diplomatic agenda the world is seeking to forge world peace, but it will blow up in their faces because they have not considered God’s word on His Land.

Jan. 11….(Arutz) Middle East peace envoy Tony Blair said on Friday he believed a deal could be clinched between the Israelis and the Palestinians before US President George W. Bush leaves office in January 2009, but emphasized that any agreement reached would have to guarantee Israel's security. His comments came after Bush, in his first visit to Israel and the West Bank in seven years as president, on Thursday pushed the two sides for a treaty to be signed within a year to create a Palestinian state. "Sure, it is absolutely possible to have a peace deal by the end of the year if people want to make it happen," the former British prime minister told British reporters after meeting Bush on the American leader's visit to Jerusalem. But, injecting a note of caution, he said to achieve peace, those involved had to be prepared "to have the courage to take the difficult decisions to make the difficult compromises." Blair, peace envoy to the Middle East quartet, said: "Given the determination there is to succeed and given the desire on the part of the American leadership, the Israeli leadership, the Palestinian leadership to see it happen, I think people could be surprised this year." "People in Israel, they don't want to pay the price of the world's desire to have a peace deal, and I totally understand that and I am a strong supporter of the state of Israel, and this should only happen under terms which guarantee Israel's security. "But if we can achieve those terms and give the Palestinian people a state, then I think there is nothing more important in the battle against extremism and terrorism that is fairly deep-rooted in many parts of the world today."

(FOJ) US President George W. Bush's helicopter hovers before landing at the West Bank town of Bethlehem behind Israel's separation barrier as part of his visit to the Palestinian authority, following his meeting earlier, with the Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas in Ramallah. President Bush is insisting that the security wall be dismantled when a Palestinian State emerges. When the Antichrist forges his covenant with Israel, the walls will indeed be gone.



Bush Calls for End of 'Occupation' of Arab Lands

(FOJ) President Bush is now using the language of lies. His usage of the term, “occupied territory” reveals that the President has made a bargain with terrorists in order to secure America’s supply of Arabian oil, and to sidestep a war with Iran.


Jan. 10….(MSNBC) US President George W. Bush, left, and Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas give a joint press conference on Thursday at the Muqataa, the Palestinian Authority Presidential Compound, in the West Bank city of Ramallah. President Bush, summing up meetings with both sides in the Israeli-Palestinian dispute, said Thursday that a peace accord will require “painful political concessions” by each. Resolving the status of Jerusalem will be hard, he said, and he called for the end of the “occupation” of Arab land by the Israeli military. “Now is the time to make difficult choices,” Bush said after a first-ever visit to the Palestinian territories, which followed separate meetings with Israeli leaders in Jerusalem the day before. President Bush is in the Mideast for eight days, trying to bolster his goal of achieving a long-elusive peace agreement by the end of his presidency in a year. Speaking at his hotel in Jerusalem, he said again that he thinks that is possible. “I am committed to doing all I can to achieve it,” Bush said. Within minutes, Bush’s national security adviser Stephen Hadley said the president would return to the Middle East “at least once and maybe more” over the next year. Bush gave his most detailed summation yet of what a final peace should include, including US expectations for the resolution of some of the hardest issues in the violent conflict, one of the world’s longest-running and most intractable. He used tough language intended to put both sides on notice that he sees no reason they cannot get down to serious business, “starting right now.” In his set of US bottom lines were security for Israel, a “contiguous” state for the Palestinians and the expectation that final borders will be negotiated to accommodate territorial changes since Israel’s formation 60 years ago. He made a point of using a loaded termoccupation — to describe Israeli control over land that would eventually form the bulk of an independent Palestinian state. That he did so in Jerusalem underscored that he is trying not to seem partial to Israel. On borders, Bush said “any agreement will require adjustments” to the lines drawn for Israel in the late 1940s. He was referring to Israeli neighborhoods on disputed lands that Israel would keep when an independent Palestinian state is formed. “The point of departure for permanent status negotiations to realize this vision seems clear,” he said. “There should be an end to the occupation that began in 1967. The agreement must establish a Palestine as a homeland for the Palestinian people just as Israel is a homeland for the Jewish people.” He offered no specifics to resolve the fact of disputed Jerusalem, but urged both sides to work toward a solution in what he said could be the most difficult issue to settle in a long list of difficult issues. “I know Jerusalem is a tough issue,” Bush said. “Both sides have deeply felt political and religious concerns.”



Palestinians Rail Against Bush Visit

Jan. 10….(FOJ) As Palestinian police blocked almost all access roads to the center of the city of Ramallah, Palestinians carried banners and placards condemning America and President Bush. The Muqta'a area, where President Bush met with Abbas was cleared of all vehicles, and snipers were stationed on rooftops of many buildings, whose tenants were evacuated.


Addressing the fact that the US president had decided not to visit former Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat's gravesite, one man told Ynet, "Even before Bush arrived he spat in our faces and said that he would not visit Arafat's gravesite. That's fine, at least he won't desecrate the grave. Criminals are not entitled to visit Abu Amar's (Arafat's) grave".

Even without the Ramallah traffic jams, the Palestinians are used to honking their car horns. The road blockade in the city has led to a significant rise in the honking noise. "This is in Bush's honor, we are honking for him," a truck driver explained to a Palestinian policeman who asked him to let go of the horn. "What will this visit give us?" asked a café owner. "Bush said yesterday that Israel is a Jewish state. This means a state for the Jews and this means that there are no refugees," said Ahmed, who works as a waiter at the same café. "He said that the US would continue to guarantee Israel's security and that just meant that Israel would be allowed to continue to dominate us.



(FOJ) Palestinians hold placards and shout slogans during a protest against US President George W. Bush during his visit in the West Bank city of Ramallah today. Many Palestinians held the a protest as Bush was visiting Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas in his Ramallah headquarters.
This sign is an obvious play on Reagen’s words for the Soviet Union, and attempt to equate the Berlin Wall of Communism to Israel’s wall to keep terrorists at bay.


(FOJ) The Palestinian pictures of propaganda displayed here are actually bent towards a perverted “media war” against Israel, and to enforce pressure upon President Bush to compromise Israel’s safety. Occupation is when a nation starts a war to annex more territory. Albeit the Arabs started the wars to exterminate Israel, thus Israel acquired soils of their lost wars.



(FOJ) US President George W. Bush, right, visits the Grotto of the Nativity, the exact spot where Jesus is thought to have been born, during his visit at the Church of the Nativity in the West Bank town of Bethlehem. With Bush is his Sec. of State Condoleezza Rice. In reality, President Bush’s actions today are a mockery of Jesus Christ, and Jehovah’s designs for his Son to reign in the city of Jerusalem.


Bush: Palestine will Exist Before I Leave Office

imageJan. 10….(JNEWSWIRE) US President George W. Bush said Thursday he believes Israel and the Palestinian Arabs will sign a peace treaty enabling the creation of "Palestine" on the historical land of Israel by the end of his term in the White House, a year from now. President Bush is half-way through a three-day stop in Israel, on an eight day tour of the Middle East, the main purpose of which is to "nudge" Israel and the Palestinian Arabs into resuming negotiations he hopes will culminate in the creation of a new Arab state on the Jews' ancestral and biblical land. Peppering his speech with the phrase "I believe," Bush said he was convinced that it was possible that "Palestine will emerge" before he leaves office. His conviction was based on his belief in "the universality of freedom." "I believe deep in the soul of every man, woman and child on this earth is the desire to live in a free society," he said. His belief contrasts starkly with that of the Palestinian Arab in the street, the majority of whom are Muslim, and who have for years supported leaders pursuing a path of violence and intransigence. Another thing Bush said he "believe[s]" is that the "Palestinian security forces are improving." His "message to the Israelis is that they ought to help, not hinder, the modernization of the Palestinian security forces." For Israelis, who in the past few weeks have seen three Jews murdered in two terrorist attacks perpetrated by members of the self same PA "security services" Bush demands Israel cooperate with, this must have been a particularly galling thing to hear. Earlier, in his welcoming comments, Abbas told Bush the Palestinian Arabs "know that you are the first president guaranteeing our right to live in an independent state which will live in peace alongside its neighbors. "Your visit is historic and gives our people real hope, continued the "terrorist in a tie" who has fought in the vanguard of the PLO since its earliest days. Another PA official identified only as "a senior Palestinian source" told the Israeli website YNetnews his people expected Bush to actively pressure Israel into stopping Jews from settling in Samaria and Judea - Israel's biblical heartland. "We will make it clear to him that continued settlement activity and the continued construction of the fence will undermine the chances of reaching such agreement," he said even as he brushed aside the "Palestinian" obligation under the road map - ending terrorism against the Jews. The PA does not have an answer to the ongoing rocket fire from Gaza against Jewish communities in the Negev, he insisted. "We expect that this will not become a major issue, because our situation on this issue and our limitations are clear," the source said. "On the other hand," he glibly continued, "we expect the American president to assist us in creating a mechanism for implementing the understandings reached in Annapolis and the understandings to be reached in talks on a final-status agreement." Should the US fail to deliver, he warned "the Palestinian leadership will have to reconsider its moves in the domestic Palestinian arena, including the renewal of dialogue with Hamas."



Bush Smiles While Parting God’s Land, but Collision over Jerusalem, & Iran Looms

Jan. 10….(FOJ) On Wednesday, US President George W. Bush arrived in Israel for his first visit to the country as President, and the Israeli government rolled out the red carpet and jostled to shake his hand in a receiving line at the airport before the President headed off in his helicopter to Jerusalem. Then on Thursday, President Bush shuttled over to Ramallah (city of Allah and refuge of Arafat) to engage with Mahmoud Abbas and prop him up as the leader to be given the western half of the Promised Land, in what is nothing more than a political thrust of paying blackmail to terrorists in exchange for a paper peace, and continued secure oil flows from Saudi Arabia. Despite the festive welcome, and smiles difficult talks lay ahead, especially after Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice threw down the gauntlet by stating that building Israeli in Har Homa was unacceptable, and rejected the distinction between Israeli communities over the "green line" in Jerusalem versus those in Judea and Samaria (the "West Bank").


(FOJ) US President George W. Bush  met with the Palestinian Authority’s  Minister of Finance Salam Fayyad  under a portrait of the late Palestinian Terrorist leader Yasser Arafat (top L) and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas  at the Muqata government compound in the West Bank city of Ramallah. It is nothing short of despicable that an American President would allow his picture to be taken under Arafat’s mug.

(FOJ) Chief Palestinian negotiator Ahmed Qurie (R) speaks with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice during a joint news conference held by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and US President George W. Bush in the West Bank city of Ramallah January 10, 2008. President Bush told Palestinians he believed they would sign a peace treaty with Israel within a year that would effectively divide Israel in half.



(FOJ) President Bush shakes hands with PA President Abbas, the architect of the “there was no Jewish Holocaust” propaganda. Abbas was Arafat’s right hand man for over 40 years, and has been instrumental in implementing the Arab League’s plan to divide the Promised Land, and to reacquire the city of Jerusalem.


(FOJ) President Bush and Israeli Prime Minister Olmert smile broadly as they attempt to forge a plan to “divide the promised land.” Olmert was not elected, but became PM only with the demise of Ariel Sharon. Ironically, the political workings inside Israel is being allowed by God so Israel can choose between Jehovah and the security of the nations.


Focus on Jerusalem Prophecy Ministry is keenly suspicious that the recent NIE published by the US intelligence community is a direct scheme of the Bush Administration’s secret negotiations with Iran. It is widely believed that the military “surge” by the American forces in Iraq has effected a stabilized situation on the ground. But some sources indicate that the Bush Administration may have betrayed Israel, and its security concerns over Iran to acquire an agreement with Iran and Syria to remove, or halt their incursions in Iraq, in exchange for the Bush Administrations about-face on Iranian nuclear compliance. Should this scenario prove to be a reality, then President Bush is in blatant opposition to the plans of Almighty God for his people Israel. Furthermore, Mr. Bush’s cover actions in Middle East foreign policy will bring Divine judgment on our nation!



Former Chief Rabbi to Bush: Don't Act Against God’s Will

(In a letter handed to US president, Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu warns him not to take action that would harm Jewish people. ‘The Jewish nation forever remembers those that inflict harm upon it’)

imageJan. 10….(World Watch/Bill Koenig) In a letter handed to US President George Bush Thursday, former Sephardic Chief Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu admonished the US president to avoid any course of action that would harm the Jewish nation. “The Jewish nation is eternal, and forever remembers those that have aided it throughout history, as well as those that have done it harm. Please let your name go down in history as a president who aided the Jewish nation, who worked alongside God and not against him,” wrote the rabbi. The Rabbi furthermore urged Bush in his letter to utilize his visit to strengthen and bolster the state of Israel. “You were granted the privilege of serving as US president. Make the best of the duties given you, and we will fulfill our task of remembering you as good and noble throughout the ages,” said the Rabbi.  Rabbi Eliyahu began his letter with greetings for President Bush and praise for his efforts to bring peace to the region. With that, he then told the American president that “his agenda for peace goes against the will of God”.  Granting the site of the Holy Temple to murderers of women and children who blaspheme God, wrote Rabbi Eliyahu, is an act against the Jewish people as well as God. “Ever since the Jews of Gush Katif were expelled from their homes, Sdeort was bombarded with hundreds of Qassam rockets by Hamas as well as other Palestinian organizations. Hundreds of thousands of additional people will live in similar danger if we were to abide by your peace plan, and then where would we end up?” asked the Rabbi.  

'God promised land of Israel to Jewish people alone'

The Rabbi stressed that “he prays for peace, as does any individual who believes in God,” but that “anyone who accepts the bible as the word of God must keep in mind that God had promised the land of Israel to the Jewish people alone. The Ishmaelites have no part of this divine guarantee.” Noting that God’s promise to return the Jewish people to their homeland has been coming to full fruition during the last century, the rabbi then urged President Bush to act as a vessel carrying out the divine plan. “God’s pledge to the Jewish people is carried out through people who were created in God’s image, and it their duty to carry out the divine will.” In addition to Rabbi Eliyahu’s letter, various rabbis and right-wing activists composed an additional letter to President Bush, urging him to free Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard, to support “Jewish settlement in Israel entire”, and to encourage Israeli Jews to make aliyah to Israel en masse. Written on parchment much like a Torah scroll, the aforementioned letter will be handed to the US president by a “very prominent figure” who is scheduled to meet him. Rabbi Adin Steinzaltz, Sanhedrin President, wrote the letter, which was then translated by Rabbi Chaim Richman. The letter was signed by members of the News Jewish Congress, the Sanhedrin, and the Temple Mount Faithful Movement, the “loyal representatives of the Jewish nation in God’s name”.



Netanyahu tells Bush: Jerusalem Under Israeli Control for Eternity

imageJan. 10….(YNET) Opposition leader MK Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday morning told visiting US President George W. Bush that "Jerusalem belongs to the Jewish people and will remain under Israeli sovereignty for eternity." Netanyahu, who is chairman of the Likud party, made the remarks at a meeting with Bush at the King David hotel in Jerusalem. Jerusalem is a highly contentious issue in final status peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, in particular for Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's right-wing coalition partners. Bush is pushing for the negotiations to conclude in a peace deal by the end of 2008. Shas leader Eli Yishai earlier this week repeated his threat to quit the coalition over plans for Jerusalem, prompting Bush to bring up the issue when he met Yishai at his official reception following his arrival in Israel on Wednesday. US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, US National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley and US Deputy National Security Advisor Elliott Abrams also participated in the meeting, which centered on the issue of Iran's nuclear program. Israel and the US accuse Iran of covertly developing nuclear weapons. Netanyahu said he sees in the US president a true friend, and expressed his esteem for Bush's role in protecting the free world against extremist Islamic terror. The Likud chairman presented to Bush his program for economic peace in the Middle East as a basis for a future agreement, and voiced his support for Quartet Middle East envoy Tony Blair's economic initiatives.

  Still "Iran is a threat to world peace," Opposition Likud leader Binyamin Netanyahu told US President George W. Bush during the meeting between the two Thursday morning at the capital's King David Hotel. The two spoke chiefly of the Iranian nuclear threat. Netanyahu has pushed for years for both Israel and the United States to make a greater effort to prevent a nuclear Iran. Last year, he persuaded a number of American governors and legislatures to divest state pension funds from the Islamic Republic. Bush initially did not intend to meet with Netanyahu, but US Ambassador to Israel Richard Jones called the latter personally early Wednesday and invited him to meet the US president. Netanyahu's associates said they did not apply pressure to receive a meeting but that a Jerusalem Post story Monday about Netanyahu blaming Prime Minister Ehud Olmert for blocking a meeting had an impact. "There is no question in my mind that the publicity [the lack of a meeting] received played a role in having them change their mind," a Netanyahu associate said. "On their side, it was important to meet with him, because they know he is the heir apparent." Senior Likud sources said it was important for Bush to hear Netanyahu's vision for Middle East peace. Netanyahu said earlier in this week, "It would be right if the president would take the time to listen to someone who represents more than half the people in Israel, and who oppose the Annapolis process."



The 3500 Year Biblical Connection to President Bush's Arrival in Israel

(The following is from Pastor Mark Biltz of El Shaddai Ministries, Puyallup, Washington. He describes an incredible biblical connection to President Bush’s trip to Israel and a 3500 year old event.)

President Bush has come to Israel on a very significant date to divide the land!

imageJan. 10….(World Watch) If you look at the Hebrew Calendar Tues-Wed, Jan 8-9, 2008, sunset to sunset, was a New Moon, which is very significant on the biblical calendar. It was the date of Sevat 1. The first day of the 11th month. The New Moon is always sanctified or set apart. But look at the biblical significance of it not only being just the first of any particular month, but what happened on this very day, the first day of the 11th month, 3500 yrs ago: Deuteronomy 1:3,8 And it happened, in the fortieth year, in the eleventh month, on the first of the month, Moses spoke to the sons of Israel according to all that God had commanded him concerning them; Behold, I have set before you the land; go in and possess the land which the LORD has sworn to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give to them and to their seed after them. It just so happens, this is not only just the first day of the eleventh month, but it is also in the fortieth year since Jerusalem recaptured in 1967!! Also read Zechariah 1:7-21 concerning January 31st this year is the 24th day of Sevat. Zechariah 1:7-21: Upon the four and twentieth day of the eleventh month, which is the month Sebat, in the second year of Darius, came the word of the LORD unto Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo the prophet, saying, I saw by night, and behold a man riding upon a red horse, and he stood among the myrtle trees that were in the bottom; and behind him were there red horses, speckled, and white. Then said I, O my lord, what are these? And the angel that talked with me said unto me, I will shew thee what these be. And the man that stood among the myrtle trees answered and said, These are they whom the LORD hath sent to walk to and fro through the earth. And they answered the angel of the LORD that stood among the myrtle trees, and said, We have walked to and fro through the earth, and, behold, all the earth sitteth still, and is at rest. Then the angel of the LORD answered and said, O LORD of hosts, how long wilt thou not have mercy on Jerusalem and on the cities of Judah, against which thou hast had indignation these threescore and ten years? And the LORD answered the angel that talked with me with good words and comfortable words. So the angel that communed with me said unto me, Cry thou, saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; I am jealous for Jerusalem and for Zion with a great jealousy. And I am very sore displeased with the heathen that are at ease: for I was but a little displeased, and they helped forward the affliction. Therefore thus saith the LORD; I am returned to Jerusalem with mercies: my house shall be built in it, saith the LORD of hosts, and a line shall be stretched forth upon Jerusalem. Cry yet, saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; My cities through prosperity shall yet be spread abroad; and the LORD shall yet comfort Zion, and shall yet choose Jerusalem. Then lifted I up mine eyes, and saw, and behold four horns. And I said unto the angel that talked with me, What be these? And he answered me, These are the horns which have scattered Judah, Israel, and Jerusalem. And the LORD shewed me four carpenters. Then said I, What come these to do? And he spake, saying, These are the horns which have scattered Judah, so that no man did lift up his head: but these are come to fray them, to cast out the horns of the Gentiles, which lifted up their horn over the land of Judah to scatter it. You might read all of Zechariah concerning Jerusalem and the nations, such as: Zechariah 3:2 The Lord said to Satan, “The Lord rebuke you, Satan! The Lord who has chosen Jerusalem, rebuke you! …”



Bush Warns Shas Party Not to Hinder his Partition Plans

Jan. 10….(Ha Aretz) In meetings with Israeli President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert following his arrival, Bush stated that he had come to the Middle East full of optimism that a final status peace agreement can be reached between Israel and the Palestinians before his term as president expires a year from now. Earlier in the day at a arrival ceremony at Ben Gurion International Airport, Mr. Bush paused while greeting Israeli government ministers to sternly warn Trade Minister Eli Yishai that he needed to speak with the Shas Party leader about his faction's threat to pull out of the ruling coalition if any deals are made with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas. Yishai responded that the two could discuss the matter at a state dinner on Thursday. On Tuesday, Shas issued a statement threatening to exit the government if Olmert allows Israel to be coerced into an unfavorable peace agreement with the Abbas regime, which exercises authority over only a portion of the Palestinians. The Shas statement also rejected the idea of holding peace talks while Palestinian rockets are still raining down on southern Israel.



Betrayed: The Bush Conspiracy to Divide Jerusalem

imageJan. 10….(In The News) President George Bush is moving full-speed ahead with his Annapolis Road Map plan to have a Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital before he leaves office.
“Thus shall he do in the most strong holds with a strange god, whom he shall acknowledge and increase with glory: and he shall cause them to rule over many,and shall divide the land for gain

“Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem.”/ Zechariah 12:2

The president’s eight-day trip to the Middle East beginning on January 9th is to include stops in Israel, the Palestinian Authority, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Kuwait, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates to promote Arab-Israeli reconciliation. It will be Mr. Bush’s first trip to Israel since becoming president. The Road Map to Peace plan was reincarnated at the US-hosted peace conference in Annapolis on November 27, 2007, when Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas pledged to forge a peace deal by the end of 2008. In Israel, President Bush is attempting to persuade the Jewish people that the US government and the American people fully support the Road Map to Peace, proposed by the so-called international Quartet: the United States, the European Union, Russia, and the United Nations. The plan for a Palestinian state living side by side with Israel in peace was first outlined by Bush in a speech on June 24, 2002, when he described it as a “framework for progress towards lasting peace and security in the Middle East.” However, this plan has become corrupted by Saudi Arabia and other fundamentalist Islamic forces into a plan to divide Jerusalem and make east Jerusalem, the home of Christianity, the capital of a Palestinian state and force Israel to return all lands reclaimed in 1967. Former prime minister Ariel Sharon asked to include 14 amendments to the plan. Then-secretary of state Colon Powell refused to include any. On January 3, 2007 Bush urged Israel to honor its commitments under the Road Map to remove West Bank settlements. In its final stage, the Road Map plan calls for vigorous, unceasing, aggressive negotiations that would end in the creation of a two-state solution. Bush is the first US president officially to commit to recognizing a Palestinian state, despite the fact he refuses to allow the US Embassy to be moved to Israel’s eternal capital, Jerusalem, under the spurious claim of “national security.” The only security involved is upsetting Saudi Arabia and the Arab League, who refuse to recognize the existence of the only democracy in the Middle East, Israel.

   Phase 1 of the original plan was to include the ending of all Palestinian violence and the dismantling of all terrorist organizations and their infrastructure. It never got to Phase 2. President Bush has indicated that Israel must make “painful compromises” for peace. In addition, the plan includes Israel’s ceding control of the Temple Mount to the PLO in an effort to reach a lasting peace agreement. The Road Map supported by the US, Russia, the UN, and the EU has raised over $8 billion since the Annapolis summit to assist the PLO to implement its objectives. Evangelical Christians consider the rebirth of Israel in 1948 a fulfillment of prophecy. When President Harry Truman recognized the State of Israel, the chief rabbi of Israel declared, “God put you in your mother’s womb to bring about the rebirth of Israel after 2000 years.” Evangelicals also believe that the reunification of Jerusalem in 1967 was also a fulfillment of prophecy. A national Save Jerusalem Campaign has been launched in which more than 100,000 have signed an Internet petition in the last few weeks. The goal is for one million signers of the petition to present it to President Bush, whose plan to divide the City of David is the most aggressive of any US president.



Bush Predicts Completion of Mideast Treaty

imageJan. 10….(AP) President Bush on Thursday predicted that a Mideast peace treaty would be completed by the time he leaves office, but undercut that optimism with harsh criticism of Hamas militants who control part of the land that would form an eventual independent Palestine. Bush said he's convinced that both Israeli and Palestinian leaders understand "the importance of democratic states living side by side" in peace, and noted that he has a one-year deadline for progress on his watch. "I'm on a timetable," he told reporters. "I've got 12 months." He said he is not sure that the problem of Hamas, a militant Islamic group that took over the Gaza Strip in June, can be solved within that time frame. Hamas, he said, was elected to help improve the lot of Palestinians, but "has delivered nothing but misery." Standing alongside Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Bush said he is confident that "with proper help, the state of Palestine will emerge." "I am confident that the status quo is unacceptable, Mr. President, and we want to help you," Bush said. Bush is on a three-day visit to Israel and the West Bank to show support for renewed Israeli-Palestinian peace talks following seven years of violence. "The question is whether or not hard issues can be resolved and the vision emerges, so that the choice is clear amongst the Palestinians," Bush said. "The choice being, `Do you want this state? Or do you want the status quo? Do you want a future based upon a democratic state? Or do you want the same old stuff?"' "We want a state, of course," Abbas said in English. The Palestinian leader called on Israel to fulfill its commitments under a 2003 US-backed Mideast peace plan. The plan calls on Israel to halt settlement activity in the West Bank, while requiring the Palestinians to dismantle militant groups. Neither side has fully carried out its obligations. "We start with you a new year, hoping that this will be the year for the creation of peace," Abbas told Bush. Abbas aide Yasser Abed Rabbo said that the Palestinian president would raise two key issues with Bush in a working lunch - a Palestinian call that Israel lift checkpoints and freeze settlements. Even though it's Bush's first trip to the Palestinian West Bank, it generated little excitement among Palestinians, who are largely skeptical of his promises to try to move along Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. The US is perceived in the Palestinian areas as a staunch ally of Israel, at the expense of the Palestinians, but Abbas said Bush's visit "that gives our people great hope," Abbas said. Heavy fog, which forced Bush to drive, rather than fly to Ramallah, meant that he got an unexpected glimpse of the daily frustrations faced by Palestinians trying to move around the West Bank, nominally a Palestinian territory but one heavily controlled by the Israeli military. On his drive, Bush passed through a security checkpoint, and drove within sight of the Israeli separation barrier that Palestinians call an unacceptable wall. "In order for there to be lasting peace, President Abbas and Prime Minister Olmert have to come together and make tough choices," Bush said. "And I'm convinced they will. And I believe it's possible, not only possible, I believe it's going to happen - that there be a signed peace treaty by the time I leave office (in January 2009). That's what I believe." Bush's trip through the Mideast does not include a stop in Gaza, an area controlled by Hamas, which swept Palestinian parliamentary elections in 2006. That split is a major stumbling block to any negotiated peace pact. While Bush claims that Hamas has failed to help improve the lives of Palestinians living in Gaza, the president acknowledged that he doesn't know whether Abbas' government can resolve the Palestinian division before the end of the year. "Gaza's a tough situation," Bush said. "I don't know whether you can solve it in a year or not." But it won't be solved, Bush said, unless Abbas lays out a choice to the people in Gaza: He defined that as: "Do you want those who have created chaos to run your country? Or do you want those of us who negotiated a settlement with the Israelis that will lead to lasting peace." Fawzi Barhoum, a Hamas spokesman in Gaza, quickly dismissed Bush and Abbas' hopeful comments. Bush also jabbed at Israel for security polices that could carve up Palestinian territory into unworkable or ungovernable chunks.

"Swiss cheese isn't going to work when it comes to the outline of a state," Bush said. To be viable, a future Palestinian state must have "contiguous territory," he said.



Bush-Olmert: US and Israel Divided on Palestinians’ Claimed “Right of Return” and Iran Nuclear Threat

Jan. 10….(DEBKA) Israeli PM Ehud Olmert and George W. Bush spoke to the press Wednesday, Jan. 9, after their talks on Day One of his first visit to Israel as US president. Bush touched on a serious bone of contention when he referred to the “right of return” claimed for Palestinian refugees as an item on the agenda of final-status talks, although Israel stated in advance that the issue is non-negotiable. Tuesday, Olmert and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas agreed that the two negotiating teams would begin talks on “core issues” of the dispute immediately. Asked whether the NIE report that Iran gave up its covert military program in 2003 did not leave Israel high and dry with the Iranian nuclear threat, Bush repeated his mantra: “Iran was a threat and will be a threat to world peace,” unless the world prevents its acquisition of know-how for building a bomb. But he stood by his conviction that the problem can be solved diplomatically. In answer to another question, Bush said he would refer the incessant rocket attacks on Sderot to Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, when they meet in Ramallah Thursday. However, the US president knows perfectly well that Abbas is incapable of combating terror on the West Bank, let alone the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip. Olmert stressed: There will be no peace until Palestinian terror is stopped everywhere. Gaza must be part of the package. Without Gaza, it will be hard to reach any understanding with the Palestinians. Regarding the unauthorized Jewish outposts in the West Bank, Bush commented mildly that Israel undertook to dismantle them four years ago and should do so.



President Bush Arrives in Israel to Push Partitioning & Peace

'Unshakeable bond.' Peres (L), Bush and Olmert at Ben-Gurion

Jan. 9….(YNET) US President George W. Bush opened his first presidential trip to Israel on Wednesday, seeking to build momentum for stalled Mideast peace talks and clear up confusion about whether the United States is serious about confronting Iran about its suspected nuclear ambitions.  "We see a new opportunity for peace here in the Holy Land and for freedom across the region," Bush said at a welcoming ceremony at Ben-Gurion International Airport just before noon.  "We seek lasting peace. We see a new opportunity for peace here in the holy land and for freedom across the region," he added. "We will discuss our deep desire for security and freedom and for peace throughout the Middle East." After Air Force One touched down, President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert greeted him. A red carpet was rolled up to the steps of Bush's plane, and military band and honor guard stood on the tarmac.  The entire Israeli Cabinet lined up to shake hands with the president. "Mr. President," Bush said in a greeting to Peres. "About time I got back here," said Bush, who visited Israel in 1998 before his election to the White House. "Nice to be here," Bush told a dignitary as he shook hands along the red carpet.  In remarks on the tarmac, Peres said Iran should not underestimate Israel's resolve for self defense. Peres also called on Bush to help "stop the madness" of Iran, Hizbullah and Hamas. He and Olmert both stressed solid US-Israel relations. "We greet you as a great friend. You towered at moments of need; you paved the road to peace," Peres said. "We embrace you as the leader of a great nation, which, once having secured its freedom, never tired of providing it to others."  PM Olmert said, "Your policies have reflected a basic understanding of the challenges facing Israel in this troubled region and a solid commitment to our national security.  "You're our strongest and most trusted ally," he said, adding that the bond between Israel and the US was "unshakeable".

Bush's challenge is to convince skeptical governments that, with just a year remaining in his presidency and Americans deep in the process of selecting his successor, he is willing to devote the time and effort necessary to bridge decades of differences in this troubled region. Expectations of success are low, and no one is predicting big breakthroughs as Bush visits Israel, the Palestinian-governed West Bank, Kuwait, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Egypt. Israel was putting the final touches on the preparations for the Bush visit, deploying about 10,000 police in Jerusalem, employing garbage collectors overtime in the holy city and rolling out red carpets at the airport. The main highway between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem was closed for several hours, even though Bush traveled by helicopter to Jerusalem.


(FOJ) A United States Army helicopter carrying US President George W. Bush lands in Jerusalem today. Bush opened his first presidential trip to Israel Wednesday, seeking to build momentum for stalled Mideast peace talks and clear up confusion about whether the United States is serious about confronting Iran about its suspected nuclear ambitions.

There's been little headway since Bush hosted a splashy Mideast conference in November in Annapolis, Maryland, and launched the first major peace talks in seven years. On the eve of Bush's arrival, Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas pledged to have negotiators begin work immediately on the so-called final status issues. These include the final borders between Israel and a future Palestine, completing claims to the holy city of Jerusalem, the fate of millions of Palestinian refugees and Israeli security concerns. In a boost for Israel, Bush said "the alliance between our two nations helps guarantee Israel's security as a Jewish state." The Palestinians object to recognition of Israel as a Jewish state, saying it rejects the rights of refugees to return to lost properties in what is now Israel. Speaking to reporters on Air Force One, National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley referred to the setbacks since Annapolis as "distractions." Hadley said Bush would tell Abbas and Olmert that they must be personally committed to resuming negotiations, and would push to keep them on track.  The Palestinians are angry about Israeli plans to build new housing in east Jerusalem and the West Bank - areas captured by Israel in the 1967 Mideast war and claimed by the Palestinians for their future state.  Israel, for its part, has demanded that Palestinian forces do more to rein in militants in the West Bank. Since Olmert and Abbas last met, two Israelis were killed in the West Bank, and Israeli security forces say members of Abbas' Fatah movement were responsible. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who accompanied Bush, called Tuesday for the Israelis and the Palestinians to move quickly. "We do expect both sides to act with urgency. We do expect the negotiations to move forward. We do expect both sides to live up to their obligations," She said in an interview with Israel's Channel 10 TV. "The Palestinians need to do everything they can to fight terror. Israel, frankly, needs to look at its road map obligations and to do nothing that would prejudge the final status agreement." The US-backed "Road map" peace plan requires Israel to freeze settlement construction and the Palestinians to crack down on militants. Bush's aim is to nurture an agreement over the next 12 months between Israeli and Palestinian leaders. "They need to have a vision that's clearly defined, that competes with the terrorists and the killers who murder the innocent people to stop the advance of democracy," Bush said at the White House on Tuesday before beginning his trip. Bush, in pre-trip interviews, acknowledged he will have to explain a new US Intelligence report that concluded - contrary to earlier White House assertions - that Iran stopped its nuclear weapons program in 2003. That finding undercut US Efforts to build support for sanctions against Iran and raised questions about whether the White House was losing its interest in confronting Iran. Bush says the report proved that Iran was a threat and is a threat. He says Iran is still enriching uranium and could restart its weapons program. Bush said a confrontation in which Iranian boats threatened to blow up US Navy vessels in the Strait of Hormuz on Sunday was a "provocative act." "It is a dangerous situation," he said. "They should not have done it, pure and simple. ... I don't know what their thinking was, but I'm telling you what my thinking was. I think it was a provocative act."



Holding up the Word

Jan. 9….(JNEWSWIRE) It’s been in the news, the details on a large poster that is being plastered up in Jerusalem by Israelis who hope it will either be glimpsed by President George W. Bush as his motorcade sweeps through the capital Wednesday and Thursday, or that at least someone will tell him about it. The poster shows a large Bible superimposed over the city of Jerusalem. At the top it says, “Bush, Read Your Bible” followed by the words, “God Gave Israel To The Jews.” It is a message being proclaimed by a number of people in this land. The Director of Public Relations for Yeshivat Kiryat Arba, Gary Cooperberg, says in his latest “A Voice from Hebron” newsletter: “Were Bush truly a God fearing man, never mind a “friend” of Israel, he would never dare suggest that Israel divide her homeland. “Such a stance is in direct conflict with the Will of God,” he continues, adding that unless Bush “rewrites his ‘roadmap’ to coincide with that of the Bible, his efforts will only result in tragedy… not peace.” And in what it termed a “Public Statement of Alarm,” the Israel-based International Christian Zionist Center called upon Bush and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to “cease forthwith your attempt to placate Israel’s enemies with a 23rd state of their own, thereby facilitating the demise of this young courageous nation.” These leaders, the statement reads, need to see what they are doing “in the light of God’s warning to the nations through His prophet Joel that He will one day bring them to judgment for dividing the land He repeatedly vowed to give to just one nation” - Israel. What use, one must wonder, can there be in holding political leaders to account by telling them what God says and what is written in the Bible? Is it realistic, or fair even?



President Bush to Arrive in Jerusalem Tomorrow

Jan. 8….(Bill Koenig) President Bush has added visits to Bethlehem on Thursday, the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum and a visit to Capernaum and the sight of Beatitudes on Friday morning. He will very likely use these visits for symbolic purposes. He will stay in the Royal Suite in the King David Hotel that overlooks the Old City and the Temple Mount. The White House press corp has arrived in Jerusalem and we our awaiting President Bush's arrival.

Israel is very committed to a Palestinian state

In a recent briefing that I (Bill Koenig) attended with an Israeli official, he confirmed Israel's commitment to a Palestinian state and the removal of some Palestinian neighborhoods from Jerusalem. He told us the following:

  Israelis don't want to be a minority in their own country, despite the claims there isn't a demographic problem.

 There are parts of East Jerusalem that are 100 percent Palestinian. Many of their residents don't pay their property taxes or their total bill. Israel would like to not have to be responsible for those neighborhoods.

  Israel doesn't want Palestinian refugees living in Israel but, rather, in a Palestinian state.

  Israel is tired of the burden of having to take care of the Palestinians; let them manage themselves.

  Israelis are aware of the biblical significance of the land, but they prefer a practical solution to present-day problems.

  Israel will continue to respond to Hamas and Islamic Jihad's terror and rocket attacks to lessen the danger of having to deal with them in the future.

   In other words, the Israeli government led by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is totally committed to a Palestinian state and making concessions for their perceived benefits. The person who briefed us said the practical solution was more important than a biblical position on the land. The Bush White House wants Olmert to evacuate unauthorized settlements; but Olmert has been reluctant to force Israelis from their homes, which could affect his thin majority in the Knesset and collapse his government. However, Olmert is now rumored to be willing to commit to that during President Bush's visit to Jerusalem. The moderate Middle Eastern countries want Bush to push for a freeze on existing settlement construction. Therefore, Bush is expected to press for that while he is here. In the last few days, Olmert also stated he is willing to divide Jerusalem. There has never been an Israeli prime minister more willing to cooperate with the US and the international community's position on the city of Jerusalem and the land of Israel than Mr. Olmert.

    A solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is key to their strategic interests in the Middle East. US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has said numerous times in the last 14 months that there would be no greater legacy for the Bush Administration than a Palestinian state. President Bush believes history will treat him well for bringing peace and moderation to the Middle East, so his efforts in the final 12 months in office are important to his and Rice's legacy. They believe the most important part is an agreement between the Israelis and the Palestinians. Personal and selfish interests are driving the actions of Bush, Rice, Olmert and Israeli President Shimon Peres. The vehicle is the covenant land of Israel: Judea and Samaria, the Golan Heights that surround the Sea of Galilee and Capernaum, and parts of Jerusalem. Yes, biblical lands. Olmert is using the peace efforts to stay in office. Rice sees it as the key vehicle for lasting Bush-and-personal legacies. And President Bush sees it as a vehicle for his place in history and US strategic interests. It will also impact Peres' legacy, as no Israeli leader has had a more major role. The Israeli government is tired of managing the Palestinians, whether in Jerusalem or other parts of Israel. The Israeli people, who have "terror fatigue," want to be left alone and given the opportunity to thrive as a nation. They truly do want peace, but also believe it will cost them some land. In reality, there is no solution; but the Bible says in Daniel 9:27 that one day a man will come forward with a solution and a peace deal. For now, only the God of Israel knows who and when that will be. Meanwhile, we will continue to watch and pray for the peace of Jerusalem with much excitement and expectation. There is a practical solution, and there is a biblical solution. Today, the US, Israel and the nations at large all prefer the practical political solution. Albeit, the biblical position is the only one that matters, and all those involved in the "peace process" will soon reap even greater consequences.



Bush May not back Israeli Strike on Iran

Jan. 7….(Israel Today) In an interview with Israel's largest daily newspaper just days before arriving in the region, US President George W. Bush indicated at the weekend that he would not support a preemptive Israeli strike on Iran's nuclear facilities. When asked by Yediot Ahronot reporters when he would do if Israel presented him with evidence that Iran was close to obtaining nuclear weapons and told that Israel feels it must strike now, Mr. Bush insisted that the policy of the US is and will remain to deal with such issues via diplomacy. Earlier last week, the president warned that if Iran does attack Israel, the US will militarily defend the Jewish state. Israel, however, has traditionally preferred to preemptively attack such threats before they wreak widespread death and destruction on its citizens.



Israel to present Bush with 'Iran file'

(Political-diplomatic forum at Prime Minister's Office convenes for special discussion ahead of US president's visit to Jerusalem this week. Defense Minister Ehud Barak to brief Bush on Israeli interpretation to intelligence information on Tehran's nuclear program)

Jan. 7….(YNET) Israel isn’t saying whether or not it has any evidence which could turn the tables on a recent US intelligence report which concluded that Iran has stopped developing nuclear weapons, according to the senior political-diplomatic forum at the Prime Minister's Office. The forum convened Sunday afternoon in order to decide on Israel's stance on the Iranian issue ahead of US President George W. Bush's visit to Israel, which is scheduled to being Wednesday. The Mossad and the IDF Intelligence branch briefed the forum on the information obtained by Israel on the Iranian nuclear issue. A report submitted to President Bush by the 16 US intelligence agencies (National Intelligence Estimate) following the Annapolis peace conference in November concluded that Tehran had stopped developing a nuclear bomb in 2003. According to the report, however, Iran continues to enrich uranium despite Russia's willingness to provide the Islamic republic with nuclear fuel aimed at satisfying its needs for civil nuclear energy. The secret discussion at the Prime Minister's Office was aimed at examining whether Israel had different evidence than the Americans. During the discussion it was made clear that more than 90% of the intelligence information possessed by Israel was identical to the information presented to the American president. Nonetheless, the additional information does not confirm that Tehran resumed its secret activity to create military nuclear capabilities after 2003. Although the Israeli information points to suspicions that this is in fact Iran's intention, its does not contain enough evidence which will allow Bush to return to Washington with information which will lead to firm action by the international community.

   The discussion held Sunday was the first of its kind held after the submission of the US intelligence report, which led to a withdrawal in the international community's stance ahead of the possibility of imposing diplomatic or military sanctions against Iran. The meeting attendees agreed that Defense Minister Barak will brief the US president on the Iranian nuclear issue during dinner at Prime Minister Olmert's residence on Thursday evening, after Bush returns from a visit to the Palestinian Authority. The US president recently said that Iran remained a dangerous country. He reiterated his unequivocal demand that Tehran halt its uranium enrichment process. Despite the US intelligence report, Bush insists that both the UN Security Council and corporations and private companies impose sanctions on Iran. Asked by Yedioth Ahronoth reporters whether his country planned a military strike in Iran, the US President replied that at this stage the Iranian nuclear threat should be dealt with through diplomatic measures. Diplomatic officials estimated that Bush's policy would remain unchanged after the Israelis present him with the "Iranian nuclear file". They said, however, that the US president's visit to Israel would strengthen his stance that the world must act firmly against Tehran.



Jerusalem Readies for Bush's Arrival

Jan. 7….(YNET) With hundreds of hotel rooms booked and municipal crews erasing graffiti, repainting road markings and unfolding red, white and blue flags, Jerusalem is getting ready for its highest-profile visitor in years: US President George W. Bush. Jerusalemites are accustomed to waiting in traffic jams as convoys of black sedans shuttle visiting dignitaries around the city, the seat of Israel’s government. But Bush, who arrives for three days beginning Wednesday, constitutes a VIP of a different order. He is the first American president to come since Bill Clinton a decade ago. Israel is pulling out all the stops to impress a president who is perhaps its staunchest foreign ally. Jerusalem is spending nearly $400,000 to spruce itself up for the visit, said Jacob Avishar, the city official in charge of coordinating preparations. Garbage teams are engaged in a furious race to clean its often dusty streets and walls tagged with spray paint, he said. During the visit, the Old City's five-century-old ramparts will be illuminated with floodlights until 2 am. Instead of midnight, Avishar said. That way Bush will have more time to enjoy the view from his window at the nearby King David hotel. Eight truckloads of gear for the Bush visit have already arrived at the historic hotel, bearing everything from security equipment to printer paper and fax machines, said assistant general manager Benny Olearchik. Bush will be staying in a suite that costs $2,600 a night, for guests who are not president of the United States. Bush's entourage has already taken up more than two-thirds of its 237 rooms, and will take over all of them once he arrives himself, Olearchik said. The King David Hotel, which opened in the 1930s, is best known for getting blown up by Jewish terrorists in 1946. Members of the hardline Irgun group, opposed to British rule over what was then known as Palestine, disguised their explosives in milk jugs and destroyed a wing housing British offices, killing 91 people.

    More than 10,500 police and security personnel will be deployed to protect Bush and keep order during the visit, more than one-third of Israel's entire police force, according to police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld. "There will be so much security nobody will be able to get anywhere near the president," Rosenfeld said. Streets around the hotel will be blocked off, meaning that traffic in parts of the city will be snarled for days, and parking will be forbidden along about a dozen city streets where Bush's convoy is supposed to pass. The security personnel will include snipers, bomb-sniffing dogs and bodyguards from the Shin Bet internal security service, including reservists called up especially for the visit, according to police officials. The operation, dubbed "Clear Skies," will cost Israel $25,000 for every hour Bush is in the country, Israel Radio reported. Flights in and out of Israel's only international airport, Ben Gurion, will be suspended around the time Bush lands. From the airport, Bush will fly by helicopter to Jerusalem. The choppers will be flown in from the US on Air Force cargo planes, along with armored limousines, complete with District of Columbia license plates, vans filled with high-tech communications gear and other vehicles for a heavily armed counterassault team. Israeli officialdom is eagerly anticipating the arrival of Bush, who Israel sees as one of the most supportive presidents ever to have served in the White House.



Iran’s Harassment of US Warships in Strait of Hormuz Carried Warning for Bush


(FOJ) Iranian helicopters and warships take part in maneuvers in the Strait of Hormuz in 2000. The White House on Monday sternly warned Iran against "provocative actions that could lead to a dangerous incident," after a stand-off between US and Iranian ships in the Strait of Hormuz.

Jan. 7….(DEBKA) US officials report that five Iranian Revolutionary Guards boats harassed and provoked three US Navy ships in the Strait of Hormuz early Sunday, Jan. 6. They turned away just before the US captain gave the order to open fire. The incident occurred shortly before President George W. Bush was due for a tour of the region, including the Gulf emirates and Saudi Arabia. “It was the most serious provocation of this sort that we’ve seen yet,” said the US official. As a US Navy cruiser, destroyer and frigate were transiting the strategic strait on their way into the Persian Gulf, “Five small boats were acting in a very aggressive way, charging the ships, dropping boxes in the water in front of the ships and causing them to take evasive maneuvers,” according to the Pentagon official. The Iranian boats came as close as 200 yards to one of the US ships before turning away “literally at the very moment that the US force was preparing to open fire.” The US official said the Iranians radioed something to the effect that “we’re coming at you and you’ll explode in a couple of minutes.” He called the Iranian action “careless, reckless and potentially hostile.” The Strait of Hormuz is a key route for international oil shipments out of the Persian Gulf. Our military and Iranian sources stress that the near-shooting incident Sunday, Jan. 26, in which 5 IRGC speedboats made threatening passes against three US Navy vessels in the Strait of Hormuz, was timed precisely by Tehran for the eve of President George W. Bush’s Middle East tour.

1. It was an “in your face” gesture by the IRGC to show the US president they were not scared by being declared a global terrorist organization, a step Bush took last year. The elite Iranian corps was also intent on proving that Iran was the boss of the Strait of Hormuz, the crude oil outlet for Persian Gulf producers, not the US Navy.

2. A reminder that Iran is able to block the strait at will and throw the world’s oil traffic in disarray.

3. It is important for the Islamic Republic to show its neighbors on the US president’s itinerary that Iran is the region’s leading power, not the US, and that no deals or issues can be finalized without Tehran’s say-so.

4. The Iranian speedboats were also a warning to the nations hosting Bush not to risk signing any military pacts that may be directed against Iran.

5. Tehran has been all ears to pick up every nuance from the White House ahead of the Bush tour. In an interview aired by Israeli television Sunday, Bush said that Iran “was a threat and is a threat” and the US has never given up its military option. Israeli officials have also leaked a plan to show the visiting president intelligence data to refute the US National Intelligence Estimate’s claim that Iran gave up its nuclear arms program in 2003.

6. While possibly a coincidence, the naval provocation occurred at the same time as al Qaeda’s American spokesman called on the region’s Muslim to greet the visiting US president with bombs. The two events have combined to add fuel to the climate in the region preparing to welcome President Bush.






President Bush Will Visit Saudi Arabia, After Israeli Visit


Ezekiel 38:13
Sheba, and Dedan, and the merchants of Tarshish, with all the young lions thereof, shall say unto thee, Art thou come to take a spoil? hast thou gathered thy company to take a prey? to carry away silver and gold, to take away cattle and goods, to take a great spoil? 


Jan. 4….(FOJ) US President George Bush will fly to the Saudi oil kingdom on January 14th as part of his whirlwind tour through the Middle East beginning next week. Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah is expected to urge President Bush to apply more pressure on Israel to halt settlement construction projects in areas that are deemed occupied territory by the UN. King Abdullah likely will also ask Bush to pressure Israel for the establishment of the Palestinian state along side Israel, in accordance with the Arab League Plan. President Bush's nine-day trip to the Mideast starting on January 8, comes after the low level Mideast peace conference he convened in Annapolis, Maryland in late November. Saudi Arabia proposed a peace initiative in 2002, later adopted by the Arab league that offers an intangible peace to Israel in exchange for land seized by the Jewish state in the 1967 Middle East war. Hamas, Hezbollah, Al Qaeda and Iran do not accept the Arab League Plan. The Saudi Arab League peace plan seems to be a perfect fit for the setting of end-times Bible prophecy. Ezekiel chapter 38 portrays the Saudi kingdom contemplating the schemes of the Magog-led alliance. In prophecy, Saudi Arabia is viewed as being as a valued trading partner with the merchants of Tarshish.



Bush: Middle East Trip Aimed at Thwarting Iran's Influence in Region

Jan. 4….(AP) US President George W. Bush on Thursday urged Israel to honor its commitment to remove West Bank outposts. He also said one reason for his upcoming trip to the Middle East has to do with restraining Iran's nuclear efforts. Bush, in an interview with Reuters six days before his arrival here, said he expected to hear questions about the US National Intelligence Estimate that determined Iran stopped its nuclear weapons program in 2003. "I will clarify to them that the NIE means that Iran is still a danger," Bush said. "I will remind them that a country that can suspend a program can easily start a program." In addition to Israel, which on Wednesday will be the first stop on Bush's weeklong tour, he will visit the Palestinian Authority, Kuwait, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Egypt. Israel officials have said that although Bush's talks with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and PA President Mahmoud Abbas would focus on the diplomatic process that began in Annapolis in November, and explore ways to move it forward, his talks with Olmert would also concentrate on Iran. Regarding the diplomatic process, Bush told Reuters that settlement expansion was an "impediment" to the diplomatic efforts. "I will talk about Israeli settlement expansion, about how that is, that can be, you know, an impediment to success," he said. "The unauthorized outposts, for example, need to be dismantled, like the Israelis said they would do." In an interview with Yediot Aharonot, Bush, in an excerpt that appeared on Thursday, said he would not "allow the creation of a terrorist state on Israel's border."



Story of 2007: America Distances Itself From God

Jan. 4….(Jan Markell / Olive Tree Ministry) It gives me no joy to report on what I think is one of the most prominent stories of 2007. America is the most blessed, prosperous nation on earth. God raised this young nation up for several reasons. We have been a gospel light to the world and that remains. We have been Israel's "off-and-on" ally. Our Christian heritage has made us a compassionate nation. But I see a nation pulling away from the one true God and giving a voice to those who hate God or who have a skewed view of Him. This was personified in 2007. Why would a nation of Judeo-Christian principles give one of the highest honors to the Dalai Lama who received the Congressional Gold Medal of Honor in October? He snowed his adoring admirers, most of them the highest of America's leaders, by saying, "There can be no world peace without first obtaining inner peace." Where's the Prince of Peace and did anyone stand up for Him? In July, a Hindu opened the U.S. Senate with a Hindu prayer. This same man is opening in prayer at state senates in many places. The first Muslim imam delivered a prayer for the U.S. House of Representatives, even though he is on record saying, "Take my word, if 6-8 million Muslims unite in America, the country will come to us." This year saw an unprecedented push to convince Americans that Jews, Christians, and Muslims celebrate similar roots. Interfaith gatherings have taken place so that in unity all may celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, and the Muslim Hajj Festival. Pulpits filled with men who should know better telling us that God and Allah are one and the same. At the same time, atheists want a pulpit everywhere in America! It's not just Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins. Phillip Pullman's trilogy, The Golden Compass, warranted an expense of $180 million to seduce kids into hating God. The bottom line is that in America, atheism is in. Not since Nietzsche have disbelievers enjoyed such a ready public reception to their godless message, and such royalties. Snaps Christopher Hitchens who wrote God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything (although not, presumably, the pronouncements of atheists), "Many of the teachings of Christianity are, as well as being incredible and mythical, immoral." In the past 12 months, atheist authors, according to The Wall Street Journal, have created a publishing sensation, selling more than 1 million books worldwide. And the great "falling away" fell some more (see II Thess. 2:3). While many churches struggle to hold on to the truth, many more caved to methods of doing church that are not biblical. Our own president stated in late 2007 that all religions pray to the same god. This creates confusion and a form of "falling away" again. And the lead story in US News and World Report in late 2007 was that even Protestants are returning to Rome as Catholicism and the one world religion join forces and gain strength. The Bible says, The fool has said in his heart, 'There is no God'(Psalm 53:1). There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death (Proverbs 14:12.) Yet our Lord delays His coming so that even these might be saved.



The Stench of Betrayal

Jan. 4….(Hal Lindsey) A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a column for WND questioning both the content and the timing of the National Intelligence Estimate that concluded "with high confidence" that Iran suspended its nuclear program in 2003. But there is something about the NIE report that doesn't add up. It all but destroyed four years of foreign policy effort and handed Tehran what amounted to a blank check for its nuclear program. As I wrote then: "There is but one alternative explanation. Either some kind of a US deal with Iran has already been struck, or one is so close that maintaining the coalition is no longer deemed necessary." The column also pointed out, "Virtually any kind of deal with Iran seems to be in Washington's interests." New evidence continues to support that conclusion. Whatever back-room deal may have been struck, it appears that it has begun to pay dividends already. The latest US casualty figures for Iraq last month are at a four-year low. The drop in US deaths is partially attributed to the troop surge and partly to Iraqi disgust at Muslim-on-Muslim violence by al-Qaida. But a spokesman for Gen. Petraeus said in a statement that Iran is making good on its promise to stop training al-Qaida fighters and sending them back into Iraq with sophisticated, high explosive devices. Col. Steven Boylan told a press conference: "We are ready to confirm the excellence of the senior Iranian leadership in their pledge to stop the funding, training, equipment and resourcing of the militia special groups. We have seen a downward trend in the signature-type attacks using weapons provided by Iran." Is it possible Col. Boylan's assessment is a bit premature? US forces recently captured fighters who had been trained in Iran within the past two months. So there doesn't seem to be enough history on which to base this report. US officials have confirmed a 60 percent decrease in violence, IED attacks and civilian Iraqi deaths. But only a month ago, the Pentagon delivered a report to the Congress entitled "Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq." At that time, the Pentagon denied that the decline in violence had anything to do with Tehran. The report stated, "There has been no identified decrease in Iranian training and funding of illegal Shi'a militias in Iraq. Tehran's support for Shi'a militant groups who attack Coalition and Iraq forces remains a significant impediment to progress toward stabilization." So, why the sudden change in our assessment of Iran's Iraqi involvement? How could we reliably verify such changes in only 30 days? It appears to me that this new "rosy" assessment is based on "faith in what a backroom deal will produce in the future." First, we get wind of a flurry of diplomatic activity behind the scenes. This is followed by a release of the NIE that, for all intents and purposes, ends the threat of a US attack against any Iranian targets. Two weeks after the NIE report, Petraeus' official spokesman was using words like "excellence" to describe Tehran's cooperation with the United States war effort. However, this leaves one big problem. This new NIE report virtually betrays our only reliable ally in the war on terror in the Middle East, Israel. And it does so on the basis of a report that contradicts the past four years of our accepted intelligence reports. Israeli intelligence is completely at odds with the NIE's conclusions, saying it not only believes that Iran has not abandoned it's quest for nuclear weapons, but that it believes Iran will "cross the nuclear threshold" within six months and will have a nuclear weapon by the end of 2009. And Israel has the only reliable on-the-ground intelligence network in Iran of the Western world. It is worth remembering that Washington had no inkling that Syria was seeking nuclear weapons, until the Israeli Air Force hit a Syrian nuclear bomb assembly plant last September.Washington was also totally surprised by Pakistan's entrance into the World Nuclear Club when they exploded several nuclear bombs as a coming-out party. If we made a deal with Tehran that temporarily protects our forces in Iraq by giving them a free hand with developing nuclear weapons, have we really gained anything in the long run? Does anyone remember the price of appeasing a power bent upon conquest, especially a Muslim one? But for Israel, Iran remains a sworn enemy that has vowed to obliterate it. The Israelis do not have the luxury of being "a little bit wrong" in their intelligence assessment. This is a threat Jerusalem now realizes it will have to face all alone. What's that stench I smell?



President Bush: Israeli Settlement Expansion an "Impediment" to Peace

imageJan. 4….(DEBKA) In a belated effort to repair the damage of the Dec. 3, NIE, Bush said: “I will clarify that the NIE means that Iran is still a danger,” he told Reuter. Part of the reason for his Middle East trip, he said is “absolutely” about efforts to contain Iran’s influence in the region. “I will remind them that a country that can suspend a program can easily start a program.” A week before his visit to Israel, the West Bank and the Middle East, Bush urged Jerusalem to “follow through on its pledge to dismantle unauthorized settler outposts.” He voiced optimism at the prospects for securing an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal by the end of 2008, a goal set at last November's Annapolis conference that has been viewed with some skepticism. Bush said he would use his trip to keep up pressure on both sides, including making clear to Israelis his concern about continued Jewish settlement activity. President George Bush called Israeli settlement expansion an "impediment" to revived peace efforts in rare criticism of the Jewish state less than a week before his first presidential visit there. But Bush voiced optimism for securing an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal by the end of 2008, a goal set at November's Annapolis conference that has been viewed with widespread skepticism. He also acknowledged that obstacles remained after decades of Middle East conflict. Bush said he would use his trip to keep pressure on both sides, including making clear to Israelis his concern about Jewish settlement activity. Peace talks ahead of Bush's visit have been soured by disputes over continuing Jewish settlement construction on occupied land. "I will talk about Israeli settlement expansion, about how that is, that can be, you know, an impediment to success," he said. The unauthorised outposts for example need to be dismantled, like the Israelis said they would do. Palestinian officials welcomed Bush's swipe at Israeli settlement building. Talks launched at the US-sponsored peace conference in Annapolis have bogged down since Israel announced plans to build hundreds of new homes in an area near Jerusalem known to Israelis as Har Homa and to Palestinians as Jabal Abu Ghneim. Israel has responded to the protests over settlements by pressing the Palestinians to meet their road map commitments to rein in militants as a condition for establishing a state. Bush said his January 8-16 trip, which starts in Israel and the West Bank and includes stops in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Kuwait, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, was "absolutely" in part about containing Iran's influence. Bush said that on his tour he expects questions about a US National Intelligence Estimate last month that concluded Iran had stopped its nuclear weapons program in 2003.



Six Days and Counting 'til Bush Arrives

Jan. 4….(Stan Goodenough) Thousands of American flags are being unfurled to line the routes along which he will travel, streets which will be made empty of all other traffic for the duration of his three day visit. Small clusters of US security men can be seen making their way to and from the so-called western Jerusalem US consulate, their brash and noisy CC-plated vehicles rushing around the Israeli capital, even though it is not recognized as such by Washington. The Prime Ministers' Office has assembled a special task force to prepare for his arrival, and there is little doubt that he will be made to feel very welcome indeed. But what US President George W. Bush will not get, when he makes his first visit to Israel as the world's most powerful man next week, is more than just a taste of how many millions of Israelis feel about his reason for coming here. They disapprove. The purpose of his visit is to demonstrate physically his often verbalized "personal commitment" to creating an Arab state on ancient Jewish lands. And it is in the interests of the Olmert government that Bush be made to feel the Israeli people support him in this. Dissenting voices will therefore not be allowed, or will be cordoned off out of the president's way. A couple of things will be happening, but unless he reads about them or keeps his eyes peeled, the president will remain blissfully unaware of their opposition: On Monday before Bush arrives, a small square near Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's official residence, which has been known for years as Paris Square, and which is the site of frequent political demonstrations, is to be renamed "Freedom for Jonathan Pollard Square" in honor of the American Jew who spied for Israel and paid for helping to save Jewish lives by being incarcerated in an American prison for 22 years, so far. According to the Jerusalem City Council, the square will keep its new name until Pollard, who is also an Israeli citizen, is set free and allowed to come home to Israel. Meanwhile Israel National News reports that billboards all over Jerusalem will be plastered with a new poster on the eve of the Bush visit to Israel. Pictured is a gigantic Bible, towering over the walls of the Old City. The caption says: "Bush, read your Bible. God gave Israel to the Jews." He did, of course. But observers have noted that Israeli governments live more in fear of the White House than in the fear of the Lord.



Israeli Arabs: Count us out of Palestinian State

(Majority would rather remain under Jewish leadership)

Jan. 4….(WND) If given the option of living in a future Palestinian state, most Israeli Arabs would prefer to remain citizens of Israel, according to a new survey released this week. Arabs make up about 20 percent of Israel's population, with a large concentration living in eastern Jerusalem, including in peripheral neighborhoods Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's government has stated could be given to the Palestinians for a future state. Last month, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni hinted Israeli Arabs living in eastern Jerusalem could remain there and be ruled by a new Palestinian state. "The future Palestinian state would serve as a national solution for the Palestinians of the West Bank, those living in the refugee camps and those who are citizens with equal rights in the Jewish state," stated Livni at a November press conference with France's foreign minister. But a new poll found the majority of Israeli Arabs, 62 percent don't want to live under Palestinian rule. Only 14 percent of respondents said they would prefer to live in a Palestinian state and not Israel if given the choice, while 24 percent did not express an opinion or refused to answer. The strongest support for becoming citizens of a future Palestinian state was demonstrated by Arab students, with 21 percent, compared to the overall average of 14 percent, according to the poll. The Jewish state is widely expected to evacuate swaths of the strategic West Bank and eastern sections of Jerusalem, handing the territories to Abbas for a Palestinian state. Just this week, Olmert indicated Jerusalem could be split, stating in an interview with the Jerusalem Post that the world that is "friendly" to Israel insists on dividing the city. Previous Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, including US-mediated talks at Camp David in 2000, agreed to sections of Jerusalem being split according to population demographics, with Israeli Arab neighborhoods becoming part of a Palestinian state.



Vatican Planning ‘Historic’ Catholic-Muslim Summit

Jan. 3….(AP) Catholic and Muslim representatives plan to meet in Rome in the spring to start a "historic" dialogue between the faiths after relations were soured by Pope Benedict XVI's 2006 comments about Islam and holy war, Vatican officials said. Pope Benedict proposed the encounter as part of his official response to an open letter sent to him and other Christian leaders in October by 138 Muslim scholars from around the world. The letter urged Christians and Muslims to develop their common ground of belief in one God. Three representatives of the Muslim scholars will come to Rome in February or March to prepare for the meeting, the head of the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue, Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, told the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano this weekend. The meeting with a delegation of some of the 138 Muslims, planned for Rome next spring, is in a certain sense historic," Tauran was quoted by L'Osservatore as saying. Benedict angered Muslims with a speech on faith and reason in September 2006 in Germany in which he cited a Medieval text that characterized some of the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad as "evil and inhuman," particularly "his command to spread by the sword the faith." The pope later said that he was "deeply sorry" over the reactions to his remarks and that they did not reflect his own opinions. The Vatican has been working ever since to improve relations with moderate Islam. Thirty-eight Muslim scholars initially wrote to Benedict soon after his 2006 speech, thanking him for his clarifications and his calls for dialogue. But the Vatican never officially responded to that initiative, and a year later the number of signatories of a new letter had swelled to 138. In the letter, the Muslim scholars, muftis and intellectuals draw parallels between Islam and Christianity and their common focus on love for God and love for one's neighbor. They also note that such a focus is found in Judaism. "As Muslims and in obedience to the Holy Quran, we ask Christians to come together with us on the common essentials of our two religions," the letter says. "Let this common ground be the basis of all future interfaith dialogue between us." Noting that Christians and Muslims make up an estimated 55 percent of the world population, the scholars conclude that improving relations is the best way to bring peace to the world. Church leaders and analysts have praised the initiative, and Pope Benedict met with one of the 138 signatories in late October at an interfaith peace meeting in Naples. But that meeting was somewhat soured when some Muslim participants complained in a communique that Benedict had neglected to publicly comment on the open letter and over published comments by Tauran about the unwillingness of Muslims to critically discuss the Quran. The Vatican No. 2, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, followed up within a month with a formal letter on behalf of Benedict to one of the 138 signatories, Jordan's Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad bin Talal, inviting representatives of the scholars to meet with the pope. The prince, who is a special envoy to Jordan's King Abdullah II, responded by confirming the agenda of the meeting and saying three representatives of the scholars would travel to Rome in February or March to lay its groundwork.



Oil Prices Soaring Briefly Above $100 a Barrel on Supply Concerns

Jan. 3….(AP) Oil prices eased Thursday after soaring briefly to a record $100 a barrel overnight on escalating violence in Africa's leading oil producer, a weaker US dollar and a view that global demand for oil will outstrip supplies. Traders were awaiting the release of a weekly U.S. petroleum supply snapshot later Thursday, and some expected crude futures to breach the $100 a barrel level if the government reported crude inventories fell by more than expected, analysts said. "We're so close to $100 right now," said Victor Shum, an energy analyst with Purvin & Gertz in Singapore. "If the U.S. inventory report indeed shows stockdraws, and particularly bigger than expected draws, plus a heightening of geopolitical risks and a falling US dollar, all these factors could push pricing beyond $100." Surging economies in China and India fed by oil and gasoline have sent prices soaring over the past year, while tensions in oil producing nations like Nigeria and Iran have increasingly made investors nervous and invited speculators to drive prices even higher. Violence in Nigeria helped give crude the final push to $100. Bands of armed men invaded Port Harcourt, the center of Nigeria's oil industry Tuesday, attacking two police stations and raiding the lobby of a major hotel. Light, sweet crude for February delivery fell 38 cents to $99.24 a barrel in Asian electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange, midmorning in Singapore. The contract rose $4.02 to $100 a barrel Wednesday before slipping back to settle at a record close of $99.62, up $3.64. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries saying its member nations may not be able to meet demand as early as 2024, though the cartel also said that deadline could slide for decades if members increase production more quickly. Word that several Mexican oil export ports were closed due to rough weather also added to the gains. Oil prices are within the range of inflation-adjusted highs set in early 1980. Depending on how the adjustment is calculated, $38 a barrel then would be worth $96 to $103 or more today. The United States on Wednesday said it would not release oil from the nation's strategic reserves to drive prices lower. "This president would not use the (Strategic Petroleum Reserve) to manipulate (prices) unless there was a true emergency," said White House press secretary Dana Perino. Crude prices, which have flirted with $100 for months, have risen in recent days on supply concerns exacerbated by Turkish attacks on Kurdish rebels in northern Iraq and falling domestic inventories. However, post-holiday trading volumes were about 50 percent of normal Wednesday, meaning the price move was likely exaggerated by speculative buying. Just one trade was recorded at $100 a barrel, and it was a relatively small one, for one contract, or 1,000 barrels, on the Nymex floor, where traders shout buy and sell orders, Dow Jones Newswires reported. "There's been quite a bit of volatility, the amount of trading was thin and so you could have one or two trades that skew the market," Shum said. "My view is that the market will breach $100 a barrel. But later on in the first quarter, pricing is bound to ease back below $100 because closer to spring, demand for oil in the world typically cools down," he said. Investors are anticipating that US crude inventories fell by 1.7 million barrels last week, which would be the seventh straight weekly drop.



The Poster That Awaits US President Bush in Jerusalem

 Jan. 2….( In the upcoming days, billboards all over Jerusalem will be plastered with a new poster on the eve of US President Bush’s visit to Israel. Pictured in the poster is a gigantic Bible, towering over the walls of the Old City. The caption says: “Bush, read your Bible. God gave Israel to the Jews.”

(This poster will welcome
US President Bush to Jerusalem)

The poster is designed to refocus Israel’s opposition to further withdrawals back to our Divine claim to the Land of Israel, as documented again and again in the Bible. Am K’Lavee organizes the annual mass parade to the Kotel on Jerusalem Day, which is attended by tens of thousands. It is joining a broad spectrum of grassroots organizations that are planning protests during Bush’s three-day visit to Jerusalem. “The Biblical claim of the Jewish People to the Land of Israel was recognized by the British in the Balfour Declaration of 1917, which called for the establishment of a Jewish State in Palestine,” Fishman states. “The British believed in the Bible and what was written in it, and that was what guided Lord Balfour in winning the support of the British Parliament. "America also believes in the Bible, or is supposed to” Fishman says, “and therefore, it is totally unreasonable that America and its God-fearing President should act against the Bible, the pillar of Christian belief.” Through the poster, Fishman is embarking to remind President Bush that God’s plan for the world supersedes his plan. How to conduct its public relations campaign has long been a matter of debate among Jewish leaders in Judea, Samaria, and Gaza (Yesha). Am K'Lavee has chosen what they call "the irrefutable argument." Fishman explains: "I remember the day some twenty years ago when the leaders of the settlement movement decided that they weren’t going to speak any more about G-d’s gift of the Land of Israel to our forefather, Abraham. Instead they decided to base the importance of settling Judea and Samaria on practical military and Zionistic reasons. The trouble with this strategy is that when you bring a big general to warn the public about the dangers of surrendering portions of Yesha to the enemy, the political Left parades out their line-up of big generals who say the very opposite. That’s what happened with the 2005 Disengagement Plan. "People thought they could trust the famous military hero, Sharon, when he assured the nation that there was no security risk in evacuating the Jewish towns of Gush Katif. The military question can be argued this way and that, but our Biblical claim to the Land is irrefutable. Bush, America, Europe, and all the Christian world have to be reminded that in pressuring us to give up the Jewish towns of Yesha and divide Jerusalem, they are going against the Bible and God. Fishman says that Bible lovers all over the world have to join the fight to save the Holy Land. "It's not just about saving the Jewish villages of Yesha and safeguarding the unity of Jerusalem, but also preventing the wanton destruction of shrines and churches sacred to their religions as well," he argues. “It isn’t enough that this poster fills the streets of Jerusalem,” Fishman asserts. “It has to be circulated all over the Internet, on every Christian, Baptist, Evangelist, Catholic, and Jewish site. A vast part of the world still believes in the Bible, and if these hundreds of millions say no to the ‘Road Map’ and email the poster to the White House, they can help us save our Holy City and prevent the Holy Land from turning into a haven for Islamic terror.”




Olmert: Israel must Internalize Divided Jerusalem

Jan. 2….(Jerusalem Post) Israel needs to internalize that even its supportive friends on the international stage conceive of the country's future on the basis of the 1967 borders and with Jerusalem divided, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has declared to The Jerusalem Post. At the same time, he made clear that he did not envisage a permanent accord along the '67 lines, describing Ma'aleh Adumim as an "indivisible" part of Jerusalem and Israel. In an interview at the start of a year that he hopes will yield a permanent Israeli-Palestinian peace accord, the prime minister said many rival Israeli political parties remain "detached from the reality" that requires Israel to compromise "on parts of Eretz Yisrael" in order to maintain its Jewish, democratic nature. If Israel "will have to deal with a reality of one state for two peoples," he said, this "could bring about the end of the existence of Israel as a Jewish state. That is a danger one cannot deny; it exists, and is even realistic." Indeed, his primary responsibility as prime minister, Olmert said, lay in ensuring a separation from the Palestinians. "What will be if we don't want to separate?" he asked rhetorically. "Will we live eternally in a confused reality where 50 percent of the population or more are residents but not equal citizens who have the right to vote like us? My job as prime minister, more than anything else, is to ensure that doesn't happen." The reality in which Israel was seeking an accommodation, he elaborated, includes a situation in which even "the world that is friendly to Israel, that really supports Israel, when it speaks of the future, it speaks of Israel in terms of the '67 borders. It speaks of the division of Jerusalem." What was extraordinary about US President George W. Bush, in this context, Olmert said, was that Bush, since a landmark letter he wrote to then-prime minister Ariel Sharon in 2004, has made plain that he envisages Israel maintaining at least some territory in Judea and Samaria. Bush "has already said '67 plus," said Olmert, "and that's an amazing achievement for Israel." Thus, Olmert asserted, while the road map obligated Israel to stop all building in the settlements, including for natural growth, the Bush letter "renders flexible to a degree the significance of what is written in the road map." In comments likely to further exacerbate Palestinian protest at ongoing settlement expansion, Olmert said he considered Ma'aleh Adumim to be "an indivisible part of Jerusalem and the State of Israel. I don't think when people are talking about settlements they are talking about Ma'aleh Adumim." At the same time, the prime minister expressed considerable empathy for Palestinian concerns over settlement growth. If the only construction work undertaken since the road map was accepted had been at Ma'aleh Adumim and Har Homa, he said, "then I imagine the Palestinians, though they might not have been happy about it, would not have responded in the way that they respond when every year, all the settlements, in all the territories, continue to grow. There is a certain contradiction in this between what we're actually seeing and what we ourselves promised. We always complain about the [breached] promises of the other side. Obligations are not only to be demanded of others, but they must also be honored by ourselves." While all the final-status issues were now on the table as part of the Annapolis process, Olmert stressed that he would never accept a Palestinian "right of return" to Israel. He said he was convinced, too, that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas "has made the choice in his heart" between clinging to the "myth of the 'right of return'" and the opportunity to establish a Palestinian state where all Palestinians, refugees included, would live.

"My impression is that he wants peace with Israel, and accepts Israel as Israel defines itself," Olmert said. "If you ask him to say that he sees Israel as a Jewish state, he will not say that. But if you ask me whether in his soul he accepts Israel, as Israel defines itself, I think he does. That is not insignificant. It is perhaps not enough, but it is not insignificant."

Asked whether next week's first Bush presidential visit was designed for Bush to become the godfather of the State of Palestine, Olmert said, "I don't think he would define a visit like this in those terms... He's coming as an expression of his friendship. Also, he's coming to give expression to his support for the diplomatic process."

Bush was not pressuring Israel in any way, Olmert said. "He's not doing a single thing that I don't agree to," he said. "He doesn't support anything that I oppose." Rather, Olmert said, both he and the president hoped that the Annapolis timetable, for an accord in the course of 2008, could be met.

Indeed, said the prime minister, there was currently an almost divinely ordained constellation of key personalities on the international stage favorably disposed to Israel, creating comfortable conditions for negotiations that might never be replicated.

"It's a coincidence that is almost 'the hand of God,'" Olmert said, "that Bush is president of the United States, that Nicolas Sarkozy is the president of France, that Angela Merkel is the chancellor of Germany, that Gordon Brown is the prime minister of England and that the special envoy to the Middle East is Tony Blair."

The imperative, he said, was to make every effort for progress while this array of supportive characters remained in place.

"What possible combination," he asked, "could be more comfortable for the State of Israel?"

Olmert said he believes "with all my heart" that kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Schalit is alive and that he was "making every effort" to determine the situation of captive reservists Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser. He said he favored re-examining the criteria for Palestinian prisoner releases because "it may be that there is room for more precise definitions of what constitutes 'blood on hands.'"

While Olmert said Egypt needed to do more to prevent arms smuggling into Gaza, he had high praise for President Hosni Mubarak.

"When I even think of how things would be if we were dealing with people other than Mubarak, well, I pray every day for his well-being and good health," he said.

Expansive on many issues, Olmert was insistently understated on the existential threat posed by Iran. Even in the wake of the recent US National Intelligence Estimate, he said, "The bottom line is that President Bush hasn't changed his opinion regarding the danger posed by Iran. And I haven't changed my impression regarding President Bush's commitment to prevent Iran from attaining nuclear weapons."

But, he added: "Israel always acted and prepared for the possibility that it would need to defend its existence on its own. That's always been the case and that is the case today, wherever a threat to our existence can arise. Those who need to know do know that we have the tools to defend ourselves




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