Apr 24 2014

Palestinian Prisoners of Israel: Heroes or Cowardly Lions?

Tag: Israel: Middle EastSage @ 3:55 pm

From American Thinker.Com

It is difficult to believe that the Palestinians really want peace with Israel. One excuse after another is given for their refusal to enter into or to continue peace negotiations. The latest excuse has come a result of Palestinian unilateral action after the delay in the release that had been expected on March 29, 2014, of 26 prisoners, including 14 Arab citizens of Israel from Israeli jails. This was to be the last batch of the 104 security prisoners that Israel had on July 28, 2013 agreed to release as a confidence-building goodwill gesture to encourage the Palestinian leadership to come to the negotiating table.

The Israeli Government had taken action to delay the release of this last group of prisoners because the Palestinians had refused to extend the negotiations beyond the April 29, 2014 deadline that clearly left insufficient time for final agreement. In response, Mahmoud Abbas, the non-elected “president” of the Palestinian Authority, in suspiciously unprecedented celerity, acted in unilateral fashion. He announced on April 1 that he had taken steps to sign and apply for membership in 15 international treaties and protocols, thus preempting the whole point of the negotiations.

The black comedy continues as the Palestinians refuse to take “yes” for an answer. The Palestinian Minister of Prisoners, Issa Karaka, has threatened to take the delayed prisoner release issue to the United Nations and other international organizations.  At the same time, the 40th anniversary of Palestine Prisoners Day was held in London on April 17, 2014 to express solidarity with Palestinians “imprisoned by the Israeli occupation.”

Saeb Erekat, member of the PLO Executive Committee and so-called “negotiator,” is often the leading man in the spectacle of this non-stop comedy. He enacted his familiar fantasy that “Israel has oppressed millions, in many varying ways,” before his heartrending climax that the “plight of the prisoners reflects the plight of the Palestinian people as a whole.” Forgetting that 78 prisoners had already been released, his rapturous conclusion was that the release of the Palestinian prisoners (the remaining 26) would be the first signal that “freedom is on the way.”

Erekat’s role in the drama was upstaged by Hanan Ashrawi another familiar performer in the Palestinian drama, whose well-delivered utterances as a Palestinian spokesperson are still taken seriously by the Western mainstream media, especially the New York Times and the BBC. Like Erekat, she is also a member of the PLO Executive and one assumes she has inside knowledge of its functioning.  Surprisingly, she has forgotten her lines in the comedy that concern the urgent need to deal with the corruption, internal feuding, and inefficiency of the Palestinian authorities.  Instead, she has substituted the lines that the release of prisoners remains the PLO’s top priority. Ashrawi commended the bravery and determination of all Palestinian prisoners and “their continued steadfastness and commitment to freedom in the face of the belligerent occupier.” She ended her performance by calling on the audience, the members of the international community, to “expose Israel’s treatment of Palestinian prisoners.”

Through her rhetoric drawing attention to that treatment, Ashrawi gave the “international community” the opportunity to learn about these prisoners who she said had demonstrated “bravery and determination.” She omitted that these qualities had been displayed not in strikes against the Israeli military but in attacks on innocent Israeli civilians.

Courtesy of Ashrawi, the international community can now examine the bravery of those released from Israeli prisons. Of those in the first batch of 26 prisoners, released in August 2013, 20 were convicted of murder, four were accessory to murder, one was guilty of  throwing explosives, and one of abduction. In all, these brave individuals murdered 38 innocent, unarmed people.

The longest serving prisoner, Fayez Mutawi al-Khur, former head of a Fatah terrorist cell, was jailed in November 1985 for one murder and another attempted murder in the Gaza City market. While in prison, he was also convicted of planning to kill then-Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir.

Another brave prisoner, Atiyeh Salem Musa, used an axe to murder a 67 year old Holocaust survivor during Passover 1994 in Petah Tikva. A third brave prisoner, Midhat Fayez Barbakh, ambushed his Israeli employer in Rishon Lezion in January 1994. He stabbed his 61 year old employer with a knife and a pair of pruning shears.

The list of the “brave” prisoners continues. Salah Ibrahim Ahmed Mugdad, was arrested in June 1993 for murdering a 72 year old security guard at a hotel in Netanya. He struck the victim on the head with an iron bar and then stole a television set from the hotel. Salameh Abdallah Musleh was convicted in 1993 of the murder of a grocery store owner in Petah Tikva. He bound the victim’s arms and legs, and beat him to death. Several other murders were committed by using an ax, one was against a 79 year old man sitting on a public bench in Kfar Saba, another on an 84 year old man in the Sharon region.

One looks forward to the international community’s verdict on these men who have demonstrated “their commitment to freedom” and their bravery and determination, although that bravery seems to be limited to murdering elderly Jewish civilians or innocent tourists, such as the French woman tourist stabbed to death in a restaurant in which she was dining. That community will judge if the action of these former prisoners constitutes what Ashrawi has called “a proactive method of nonviolent resistance that is essential to the Palestinian struggle for equality and freedom.”

What is so troubling about this issue is not simply learning of the murderous and brutal acts of the Palestinian prisoners. It is also witnessing the hypocrisy of Palestinian authorities and spokespersons in not disavowing that brutality. For some years the Palestinian Authority has granted a monthly salary to all Palestinian prisoners put in jail for security and terror-related offences. No salary is given to those imprisoned for theft, but only to those who have committed murder. Priority in funding is given to the families of “Martyrs,” the honored terrorists, or more disingenuously the “heroes and self-sacrificing fighters.”

The money comes out of the PA’s general budget, some of which comes from the international community. The European Union provides 11 million euros for Palestinian salaries and pensions. Even the PA felt uncomfortable on the issue. For public relations purposes it changed the name of the funding from “salary” to “assistance.”

The “freedom loving” Palestinian prisoners must have been startled by the freedom and the comfortable conditions to which they were “subjected” in Israeli jails. After all, Hanan Ashrawi had told them of Israel’s “criminal treatment… the flagrant breach of the rights of Palestinian prisoners… of the cruel and dehumanizing measures that constitute war crimes.” The prisoners must be annoyed at Ashrawi, who did not know that according to international reports conditions in those jails generally meet international standards. Prisoners have reasonable access to visitors, including relatives from the West Bank who can come into Israel for visits. They can participate in their religious observance. They can submit a petition to judicial authorities about prison conditions, and those petitions are then investigated.

Even more surprising, especially for bigoted boycotters of Israel, is that many prisoners in Israeli jails today have access to the Open University. Israel pays their tuition in full for extensive programs and allows students to do work towards their degrees on computers. Yet there are limits regarding those who have committed violent crimes.   Until recently even those incarcerated for terrorism could participate in this program and receive free college education. But in December 2012 the Israeli High Court ruled that terrorist security prisoners were not eligible for free university education in Israeli schools. The Court refused the lawsuit by three of these particular terrorist prisoners who claimed discrimination because they were not allowed to enroll in an Open University program and have their tuition paid. No doubt, Erekat and Ashrawi will lose no time in pointing out that these restrictions are “human rights abuses,” and are violations of international law.

Palestinian spokespersons may enjoy playing their role in the comedy of the “brave” murderers who are prisoners in Israeli jails.  They surely cannot enjoy the continuing tragedy caused by fellow Palestinians. On April 14, 2014 an Israeli man was killed and his wife and son were wounded while they were on the way to a Passover Seder, by a well-planned terrorist attack near Hebron. To his credit Mahmoud Abbas condemned the violence. However, the Hamas Prime Minister, Ismail Haniyeh, saluted the “heroes of Hebron” and said that the killing “brought back life to the path of resistance.” He warned of more attacks against Israel.

Yes, it is difficult to believe that the Palestinians really want peace. When will the “international community” recognize the true purpose of Palestinian roadblocks to the peace process?

Michael Curtis is author of Jews, Antisemitism, and the Middle East.

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Apr 20 2014

3 Articles; Hebrew University scholars says “third day” resurrection a Jewish concept that pre-dates Jesus. What does the Scriptural & archaeological evidence say?; * Millions of former Muslims will celebrate Easter this year. Meet one, Hormoz Shariat, the “Billy Graham of Iran.”; * Jews ordered to register in east Ukraine: Very serious crisis developing, evocative of the 1930s.

Tag: Israel: Middle EastSage @ 7:12 pm

From Flash Traffic Blog Wordpress.Com

Hebrew University scholars says “third day” resurrection a Jewish concept that pre-dates Jesus. What does the Scriptural & archaeological evidence say?

by joelcrosenberg

"The Messiah Before Jesus: The Suffering Servant of the Dead Sea Scrolls," a fascinating book by Dr. Israel Knohl of Hebrew University.

“The Messiah Before Jesus: The Suffering Servant of the Dead Sea Scrolls,” a fascinating book by Dr. Israel Knohl of Hebrew University.

Today is Easter, and some two billion Christians around the world are celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

But did the Jews of Jesus’ time really believe the Messiah would one day come to earth, die as a “suffering servant” as an atonement for sins and the redemption of Israel, and rise from the dead on the third day?

A respected professor and Dead Sea Scrolls expert at Hebrew University says the death and “third day” resurrection of the Messiah is, in fact, a distinctly Jewish concept that pre-dates Jesus.

Dr. Israel Knohl has based on his conclusions on many years of research and recently analyzed archaeological evidence, including a previously unstudied Dead Sea Scroll. Indeed, Knohl argues that this notion of the Messiah rising on the third day is a pre-Christian concept that dates back to before the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem Ephratah.

I had the opportunity to sit and discuss this with Dr. Knohl at length last summer and it was an absolutely fascinating conversation.

I first heard of him when he drew worldwide media attention several years ago for his research, including a major article in the New York Times and several articles in Biblical Archaeology Review — see here, and here, and here.

The Times story, which ran under the headline, “Ancient Tablet Ignites Debate on Messiah and Resurrection,” begins as follows: “A three-foot-tall tablet with 87 lines of Hebrew that scholars believe dates from the decades just before the birth of Jesus is causing a quiet stir in biblical and archaeological circles, especially because it may speak of a messiah who will rise from the dead after three days. If such a messianic description really is there, it will contribute to a developing re-evaluation of both popular and scholarly views of Jesus, since it suggests that the story of his death and resurrection was not unique but part of a recognized Jewish tradition at the time. The tablet, probably found near the Dead Sea in Jordan according to some scholars who have studied it, is a rare example of a stone with ink writings from that era — in essence, a Dead Sea Scroll on stone.”

The tablet has been named by scholars as “Gabriel’s Revelation” because it suggests that the angel Gabriel was instructed by God to direct that the Messiah be raised from the dead on the third day.

The stone tablet was discovered about fifteen years ago and is owned by a Israeli-Swiss Jewish man by the name of David Jeselsohn who didn’t understand its significance when he purchased it. The Times article was published in 2008. Dr. Knohl then published a book about all this in 2009 entitled, Messiahs and Resurrection in “The Gabriel Revelation.” That was a follow up to his previous book, The Messiah Before Jesus: The Suffering Servant of the Dead Sea Scrolls (first published in Hebrew in 2000 and then in English in 2002).

In the book, Dr. Knohl explains the various Jewish theories about the Messiah, including the idea of a “Messiah son of David” who will be a reigning king on the earth like King David was, and a “Messiah son of Joseph” who will be rejected by his brothers, mistreated, left for dead but will eventually reappear and save not only the nation of Israel but the world like Joseph did in the book of Genesis.

As an evangelical Christian from a Jewish heritage (my father is Jewish, my mother is Gentile), this subject fascinates me and my family.

Several years ago, my wife and sons and I were studying the book of I Corinthians. One day we focused on I Corinithians 15:1-5, which reads, “Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you,unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas [Peter], then to the twelve [apostles]. After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time….”

We studied how the Hebrew Scriptures speak of the Messiah suffering and dying to atone for our sins and how we see these ancient prophecies described in Isaiah 53, in Daniel 9:26 (which says the Messiah will come for atonement, then be “cut off,” and afterwards Jerusalem and the Temple will be destroyed), and Psalm 22. We also looked carefully at the Gospel accounts to show how Jesus remarkably fulfilled each of these prophecies. Then I read excerpts of the Times story to Lynn and the boys, and we discussed why many Jewish people think the idea of a suffering Messiah who dies and rises again on the third day is a Christian idea, when really it is a Jewish idea, as explained with such intriguing research by Dr. Knohl.

I would commend these articles — and his books — to your attention. Read them yourself. Study and discuss them with family and friends.

And today, on this Easter Sunday, consider the following critically important questions:

· What if the Gospel story is true?

· What if Jesus not only died for our sins but was buried and raised from the dead on the third day, according to the ancient Hebrew prophecies?

· Why should that matter?

· How should you respond?

Please click here for a simple, concise summary of the Gospel message, and a clear explanation of how best to respond.

Millions of former Muslims will celebrate Easter this year. Meet one, Hormoz Shariat, the “Billy Graham of Iran.”

by joelcrosenberg

Hormoz Shariat, the "Billy Graham of Iran," and I discuss the Gospel on live satellite TV broadcast into the Persian speaking world.

Hormoz Shariat, the “Billy Graham of Iran,” and I discuss the Gospel — the good news of how Muslims, Jews, and all people can be forgiven and go to heaven — on live satellite TV broadcast into Iran.

(Washington, D.C.) — In 1979, there were fewer than 500 Muslim converts to Christianity in all of Iran. Today, there are over one million Iranian who love Jesus Christ, have become His followers, and are celebrating Easter.

In fact, this Easter millions of former Muslims throughout the Middle East, North Africa and central Asia are celebrating the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Whereas they once saw Jesus as merely a prophet, now they are convinced that He is God, and they have renounced Islam and chosen to follow Him no matter what it costs them.

In my 2009 non-fiction book, Inside The Revolution, I wrote several chapters about this extraordinary trend of Muslims leaving Islam and becoming Christ-followers. In the book, I described my travels from Morocco to Afghanistan, interviewing “MBBs,” Muslim Background Believers in Jesus.

One of the leaders of this movement that I profiled in the book is Dr. Hormoz Shariat. He was a Shia Muslim in Iran in 1979 shouting, “Death to America!” on the streets of Tehran with his Muslim wife. But within a few years, they were actually living in the U.S. and had both become Christians after dramatic conversion experiences. They started sharing the Gospel with friends and leading them to Christ. In time, they started planting churches of Iranian believers, and eventually founded a satellite TV ministry to broadcast the Gospel and discipleship training into Iran and the Persian speaking world.

In the book, I dubbed Hormoz “the Billy Graham of Iran,” because God has raised him up to preach the Gospel to millions in their native language of Farsi. Now, a Christian magazine has just profiled Hormoz. I was interviewed for the article and was honored to discuss my friendship and respect for him.

I commend the article to your attention and encourage you not only to read it in full, but to share it with others.

Please be praying for Hormoz and his family and team, as well as for all MBBs this Easter season. They face intense spiritual opposition, and persecution. But they have see the great hope and freedom and forgiveness and peace that comes from faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and most are eager to share the good news of God’s amazing grace and love with the Muslim world, regardless of the challenges and dangers they face.


By Troy Anderson, Charisma Magazine, April 2014

Not long after the Iran hostage crisis, the authorities arrested Hormoz Shariat’s 16-year-old brother, Hamraz, on a minor political charge. At the time, Hormoz was a new believer in America and was confident his brother, a political activist who had a small role with the Mujahedeen, would be released. But in 1984, after two years in jail, Shariat’s brother was executed by a firing squad.

Shocked by the news of his brother’s death, Shariat broke down crying, asking God why He let it happen. He felt anger toward God and the people who killed his brother. A few days later, Shariat told God he wanted revenge—but then he recalled the Bible’s words that say, “Vengeance is Mine” (Deut. 32:35 [show/hide]ERROR: You have exceeded your quota of 5000 requests per day. Please contact the developer of this application if you have questions. (If you're the developer and have questions about this error message, please contact Crossway.)
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; Rom. 12:19 [show/hide]ERROR: You have exceeded your quota of 5000 requests per day. Please contact the developer of this application if you have questions. (If you're the developer and have questions about this error message, please contact Crossway.)
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). Shariat told God he hated those who had killed his brother—but then he remembered Jesus said anyone who is angry with their brother has already murdered them in their heart (Matt. 5:21-22 [show/hide]ERROR: You have exceeded your quota of 5000 requests per day. Please contact the developer of this application if you have questions. (If you're the developer and have questions about this error message, please contact Crossway.)
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He says he felt the Lord saying to him in prayer, “You know who your enemy is? These people—the clergy and the leaders of Iran—are not your enemy. They are lost children. You have only one enemy. Satan has been working to bring about this injustice. If you want to hurt Satan, evangelize. It hurts him really bad when you bring people to Christ.”

As Shariat tells it, that’s when he committed himself to sharing the gospel the rest of his life.

“I had a vision that by the end of my life I could bring 1 million Muslims to know Him,” he says. “I also learned that God’s love is the greatest power we have to stop Islam and help Muslim captives be free.”

Visions of Jesus

In the three decades since Shariat set his resolve, this minister—dubbed “the Billy Graham of Iran” by New York Times best-selling author Joel C. Rosenberg—has not only watched that goal come to fruition, but has also been given a front-row seat to one of the most astonishing supernatural phenomenon in modern times: thousands of people in Iran and throughout the Middle East reporting visitations of Jesus in dreams and visions.

“It’s amazing,” says Shariat, who founded the satellite broadcasting ministry Iran Alive Ministries in 2001. “God is graciously appearing to people in visions, dreams and through miracles. Sometimes they have dreams or visions of Jesus, run across our satellite television broadcast, hear the gospel, and then they believe. They may have, as children, had dreams or saw visions of Jesus. The vision or dream prepares them for the gospel. Other times they watch our program, ask if this is true or not, and then they have a dream or vision that confirms what they heard.”

Shariat believes the message is clear—that God is telling Christians in the West, “You look at them as terrorists who have no hope of salvation. Are you looking at them that way? I’m not. Look at Me. I’m appearing to them. I’m doing it Myself. Would you join Me to reach out to the Muslims?”

Rosenberg wrote about this phenomenon of dreams and visions in his book Inside the Revolution. “It’s an exciting development,” he says, “and it’s consistent with the Bible prophecies found in Joel 2 [show/hide]ERROR: You have exceeded your quota of 5000 requests per day. Please contact the developer of this application if you have questions. (If you're the developer and have questions about this error message, please contact Crossway.)
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, in which the Lord says in the last days He will pour our His Holy Spirit and people will see dreams and visions.”

Explosion of Faith

Since the hostage crisis ended in 1981, Rosenberg says the number of Christians in Iran has increased exponentially, from 500 to a conservative estimate of 1 million. Shariat, however,  says the number may be far larger, noting that Iran—the world’s only theocracy, with 76 million residents—has the fastest-growing evangelical Christian population on the planet, according to the latest edition of Operation World’s manual. In fact, more Persians have come to Christ in the 35 years since the Islamic Revolution than in the prior 1,400 years combined—and most of these conversions have occurred in the past decade, as an estimated 62 million Iranians have gained access to the gospel message through satellite TV broadcasts….

[To read the rest of this fascinating article, please click here]


>> Would you like to read a short explanation of the Gospel, and how you can have a personal relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ? Please click here and read “The Four Spiritual Laws.”

>> An historic Christian awakening is under way in Iran. I discuss the inside story in this 20 minute interview with Dr. Hormoz Shariat.

>> Watch Hormoz Shariat share his story at an Epicenter Conference (YouTube)

>> Hormoz Shariat interviews Joel Rosenberg on satellite TV into Iran (YouTube)


· The Auschwitz Escape debuts at #11 on the New York Times hardcover fiction bestseller list.

· The Auschwitz Escape hits #7 on Publishers Weekly hardcover fiction best-seller list.

· Order The Auschwitz Escape today — it’s available now in hardcover, e-book and audio formats. You can get it online, or in your favorite bookstore.

· Learn more about The Joshua Fund (www.joshuafund.net) – educating and mobilizing Christians to bless Israel and her neighbors in the name of Jesus, and caring for the poor and needy with food and other humanitarian relief – read our 2013 Donor Report, and make a tax deductible, secure, on-line contribution.

· Follow on Twitter — @joelcrosenberg

· Receive every blog post automatically via the RSS feed.

Jews ordered to register in east Ukraine: Very serious crisis developing, evocative of the 1930s.

by joelcrosenberg

ukraine-map(Washington, D.C.)Here is a deeply disturbing article in the USA Today that I encourage you to read and share with others.

Please pray for the Jewish people in Crimea and throughout Ukraine, for safety and protection and for the Lord to truly bless them amidst this crisis and beyond.

Jews ordered to register in east Ukraine

By Oren Dorrell, USA Today, April 17, 2014

Jews in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk where pro-Russian militants have taken over government buildings were told they have to “register” with the Ukrainians who are trying to make the city become part of Russia, according to Israeli media.

Jews emerging from a synagogue say they were handed leaflets that ordered the city’s Jews to provide a list of property they own and pay a registration fee “or else have their citizenship revoked, face deportation and see their assets confiscated,” reported Ynet News, Israel’s largest news website.

Donetsk is the site of an “anti-terrorist” operation by the Ukraine government, which has moved military columns into the region to force out militants who are demanding a referendum be held on joining Russia.

The leaflets bore the name of Denis Pushilin, who identified himself as chairman of “Donetsk’s temporary government,” and were distributed near the Donetsk synagogue and other areas, according to the report.

Pushilin acknowledged the flyers were distributed by his organization but he disavowed their content, according to the web site Jews of Kiev, Ynet reported.

Emanuel Shechter, in Israel, told Ynet his friends in Donetsk sent him a copy of the leaflet through social media.

“They told me that masked men were waiting for Jewish people after the Passover eve prayer, handed them the flyer and told them to obey its instructions,” he said.

The leaflet begins, “Dear Ukraine citizens of Jewish nationality,” and states that all people of Jewish descent over 16 years old must report to the Commissioner for Nationalities in the Donetsk Regional Administration building and “register.”

It says the reason is because the leaders of the Jewish community of Ukraine supported Bendery Junta, a reference to Stepan Bandera, the leader of the Ukrainian nationalist movement that fought for Ukrainian independence at the end of World War II, “and oppose the pro-Slavic People’s Republic of Donetsk,” a name adopted by the militant leadership.

The leaflet then described which documents Jews should provide: “ID and passport are required to register your Jewish religion, religious documents of family members, as well as documents establishing the rights to all real estate property that belongs to you, including vehicles.”

Consequences for non-compliance will result in citizenship bein g revoked “and you will be forced outside the country with a confiscation of property.” A registration fee of $50 would be required, it said.

Olga Reznikova, 32, a Jewish resident of Donetsk, told Ynet she never experienced anti-Semitism in the city until she saw this leaflet.

“We don’t know if these notifications were distributed by pro-Russian activists or someone else, but it’s serious that it exists,” she said. “The text reminds of the fascists in 1941,” she said referring to the Nazis who occupied Ukraine during World War II.

Michael Salberg, director of the international affairs at the New York City-based Anti-Defamation League, said it’s unclear if the leaflets were issued by the pro-Russian leadership or a splinter group operating within the pro-Russian camp.

But the Russian side has used the sceptre of anti-Semitism in a cynical manner since anti-government protests began in Kiev that resulted in the ousting of Ukraine’s pro-Russian former president Viktor Yanukovych. Russia and its allies in Ukraine issued multiple stories about the the threat posed to Jews by Ukraine’s new pro-Western government in Kiev, Salberg said.

Those stories were based in part on ultra-nationalists who joined the Maidan protests, and the inclusion of the ultra-nationalist Svoboda party in Ukraine’s new interim government. But the threat turned out to be false, he said.

Svoboda’s leadership needs to be monitored, but so far it has refrained from anti-Semitic statements since joining the government, he said. And the prevalence of anti-Semitic acts has not changed since before the Maidan protests, according to the ADL and the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union, which monitors human rights in Ukraine.

Distributing such leaflets is a recruitment tool to appeal to the xenophobic fears of the majority, to enlist them to your cause and focus on a common enemy, the Jews,” Salberg said.

And by targeting Donetsk’s Jews, they also send a message to all the region’s residents, Salberg said.

“The message is a message to all the people that is we’re going to exert our power over you,” he said. “Jews are the default scapegoat throughout history for despots to send a message to the general public: Don’t step out of line.”


· The Auschwitz Escape debuts at #11 on the New York Times hardcover fiction bestseller list.

· The Auschwitz Escape hits #7 on Publishers Weekly hardcover fiction best-seller list.

· Order The Auschwitz Escape today — it’s available now in hardcover, e-book and audio formats. You can get it online, or in your favorite bookstore.

· Learn more about The Joshua Fund (www.joshuafund.net) – educating and mobilizing Christians to bless Israel and her neighbors in the name of Jesus, and caring for the poor and needy with food and other humanitarian relief – read our 2013 Donor Report, and make a tax deductible, secure, on-line contribution.

· Follow on Twitter — @joelcrosenberg

· Receive every blog post automatically via the RSS feed.

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Apr 16 2014

Descriptive life of Arabs

Tag: Israel: Middle EastSage @ 6:06 pm

Genesis 16:12 [show/hide]ERROR: You have exceeded your quota of 5000 requests per day. Please contact the developer of this application if you have questions. (If you're the developer and have questions about this error message, please contact Crossway.)
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And [Ismael] shall be as a wild ass among men; his hand will be against every man and every man’s hand against him; and he shall live to the east and on the borders of all his kinsmen. [The Amplified Bible].

“Nothing can be more descriptive of the wandering, lawless, freebooting life of the Arabs than this. From the beginning to the present they have kept their independence, and God preserves them as a lasting monument of His providential care and an incontestable argument of the truth of divine revelation.

Had the books of Moses no other proof of their divine origin, the account of Ismael and the prophecy concerning his descendants during a period of nearly 4,000 years, would be sufficient.

To attempt to refute it would be most ridiculous presumption and folly”. [Clarke’s Commentary].
- The Amplified Bible: page 18

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Apr 13 2014

U.S. May extend Aid to Syria

Tag: Israel: Middle EastSage @ 11:55 am

From KHouse.Org

Reversing a position held since the beginning of the conflict, the United States is considering giving aid to Syrian rebels fighting the regime of President Bashar Assad.

With U.S. international prestige sinking because of foreign policy failures in Ukraine and Egypt and an almost moribund peace talks between Israel and Palestine, the Obama administration is considering changing its policy of limited support for Syrian rebels.

While the United States would like to burnish its diplomatic image in the region, the Obama administration will have its hands full trying to decide who the “moderate” pro-Western rebel factions are and who aren’t. Because of this high wire act of dispensing military aid, the effectiveness of U.S. weapons that eventually reach any of the rebels is likely to be limited.

The Syrian government has been locked for three years in a civil war and both sides seem to be wearing each other down. For a while, it looked as if the war would be played out to essentially a stalemate with the country being carved up into smaller tribal fiefdoms, with Assad’s Kalbiyya tribe being one of the larger groups.

However, the recent influx of Russian weapons into the country has the United States rethinking its position in the conflict shift and providing limited support to rebels fighting the Assad regime, according to the New York Times. The policy shift could include providing lethal as well as the current non-lethal military equipment to rebel forces along with greater cooperation in intelligence gathering.

In part, the aid would placate Saudi and Qatari critics who charge that the United States is not doing enough to support rebel forces, an issue Obama addressed during last month’s meeting with King Abdullah in Saudi Arabia.

Throughout the Syrian conflict, U.S. policy has been seen as indecisive. The Obama administration at one time considered attacking Syrian targets in retaliation for an August 2013 poison gas attack against civilians in Damascus, but was sidelined by Russia in a diplomatic coup, where Assad agreed to turn over his chemical weapons in a Moscow-brokered deal. The deal preempted any U.S. military or diplomatic moves against Assad and helped prop up his regime. In an attempt to regain the diplomatic initiative, Washington strongly endorsed the Geneva peace talks to end the war. Those talks went absolutely nowhere.

In the meantime, the civil war has become a battleground over efforts to establish a new order in the Middle East. Rebel forces opposed to Assad have been joined by militants from Iraq, Jordan, and other countries in the Middle East and Europe. Russia and Iran have thrown their support to Assad, the pipeline right-of-way concessions in view.

The policy dilemma for the administration is how to support rebels opposed to Assad, but prevent any U.S. supplied military equipment from falling into the hands of anti-western forces. Washington also doesn’t want a post-Assad Syria to become another base of operations for militant Muslims. The U.S. is already smarting over the moniker of “Al-Qaeda’s air force.”

So far, the administration’s response has been to sidestep the issue, content to supply the rebels through Saudi Arabia and Qatar as U.S. proxies in the region.

In this uncertain situation, one thing seems clear; if the United States does nothing, Assad will stay in power with help from Russia either through an outright win over the rebels or, at the very least, through a stalemate.

If that does become the case, the United States will have very little influence in Syria, demonstrate to Moscow that America is truly a paper tiger, and force their allies, namely Israel, Saudi Arabia and Qatar to rethink their long-term commitments to the United States.


  • US Aid to Syrian Rebels
    — Huffington Post
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    Apr 07 2014

    What Israel could learn from Egypt’s General Sisi

    Tag: Israel: Middle EastSage @ 5:38 pm

    From American Thinker.Com

    Ted Belman

    Israel could learn a thing or two from General al Sisi of Egypt. He recognizes that the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas are a threat to his regime because they resort to violent protests and terror. Accordingly he banned the Muslim brotherhood and arrested many of its leadership.  He recognizes that they are at war with him and responds accordingly by taking the fight to them.

    It is high time the Israel recognized that the PLO, Fatah and Hamas are also a threat to Israel because they likewise resort to violence and terror. Naftali Bennett declared that Israel is preparing to charge Abbas with war crimes which include honoring and praising terrorists and inciting to violence.

    Israel should waste no time in banning the PLO, Fatah and Hamas and deport anyone who is a member of such organizations. The best place to deport them to is Gaza — by helicopter in the dead of the night. Considering their Charters and their incitement and their embrace of “resistance,” banning them is entirely appropriate. We don’t have to assassinate them, just deport them.

    Israel should change its policy to one of zero tolerance for Arab “resistance.”  It is suicidal to accept the “resistance” and the “incitement” as normal or acceptable.  Israel should revoke licensing for Arab radio and television should they persists in inciting their masses.

    Similarly Israel should show zero tolerance for its own traitors. Steven Plaut, in Israel Left Pursues the Treason Vote, points out:

    “For years, the Israeli government has made social security and other social welfare payments to convicted Arab terrorists and murderers. If an Arab entitled to unemployment insurance, welfare payments, pensions, or other “social” compensation happens to engage in terrorism and happens to be imprisoned, he and his family continue to receive the welfare payments. If the terrorist dies, his dependents collect survivor benefits. Terrorists disabled while planting bombs or attacking Jews can collect disability insurance stipends.”

    MK David Rotem made an attempt to cut these payments in half not because he didn’t want them to be cut entirely but because the Knesset would never go for it. This mentality needs to change.

    In a subsequent article, Steven Plaut urged that Israel treat its radical left, who support the delegitimization of Israel, as traitors just as America did to its traitors in the Civil War.

    Israel is far too tolerant to subversive NGO’s and Arab MK’s in the name of free speech and democracy.  But Democracy is not a suicide pact. Limits must be placed on what is acceptable and what is beyond the pale in the interests of self-preservation.

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    Apr 03 2014

    Nuclear Proliferation - When One Goes Nuclear, They All Go Nuclear

    Tag: Israel: Middle EastSage @ 6:53 pm

    From Prophecy News Watch.Com

    The race towards nuclear armament or proliferation is on in earnest in the Middle East. The message from the director of the political-military affairs bureau at Israel’s Defense Ministry, Maj. Gen. (Res.) Amos Gilad is summarized by the following statement: “When one goes nuclear, they all go nuclear…the Arabs will not tolerate the Persians having the bomb.”

    In a report by osnetdaily.com, Gen. Gilad points out two nations likely to acquire nuclear weapons should Iran obtain the weapons it desires: Saudi Arabia who have reportedly already purchased nuclear weapons from Pakistan: according to a BBC report, as of November weapons had already been purchased and were ready to be transported.

    Osnetdaily.com explains that the wholesale collapse of Saudi-U.S. relations, and the U.S. efforts to reconcile with Iran, have been game changers for Saudi Arabia. The U.S. backing of Saudi Arabia deterred Iran from gaining regional dominance. In recent years the U.S. has downscaled its military presence, doing all it can to establish a relationship with Iran—Saudi Arabia’s mortal enemy. Consequently, America is viewed by its old allies as “untrustworthy and treacherous,” hence Saudi Arabia feels it must take matters into its own hands to guarantee its safety. Hence the rush to nuclear proliferation.

    The second power Gilad mentioned was Egypt: despite suffering the devastating economic setbacks of two coups, “The Egyptians have the resources, capability and know-how to achieve nuclear capabilities.”

    Egypt’s nuclear program has developed over time to where it can now produce just over 13 pounds of plutonium per year. In an interview with The Blaze, one professor speculated that such a quantity would be enough to produce one bomb a year, and that Egypt has the capability to produce 24 nuclear warheads. And in the same way, Egypt has said it would only seek nuclear weapons if Iran did, so Iran’s nuclear drive may yet fuel a push for weapons by Egypt. Egypt’s predicament is similar to that of Saudi Arabia. America’s current foreign policy has reportedly shattered ties between Washington and the military-backed government in Cairo today.

    With dwindling American support and influence, smaller, weaker Arab nations must fill the void. The nuclear option seems most viable—particularly for those nations that have the means to create or buy them quickly, then align themselves geopolitically in the ways most appropriate for each nation’s survival. Perhaps the only predictable outcome is that virtually all the Arab countries will be firmly against Israel and will be willing to temporarily shelve their differences in order to unite against her.

    Another area of nuclear proliferation is likely to shift to other non-Arab countries that have learned the lessons from the recent Ukraine scenarios. Dr. Richard Land, writing in the Christian Post, explains that “…in 1991,when the Soviet Union disintegrated, the newly independent Ukraine (inheriting part of Moscow’s nuclear arsenal), was for one brief moment the world’s third leading nuclear power.

    Ukraine had control of over 1,800 nuclear weapons, more than any nation but the U.S. and Russia. The Clinton Administration, rightly concerned about these weapons ending up in the hands of terrorists, made it a high priority to urge the Ukraine to give up its weapons in return for economic aid and security guarantees.

    The Ukraine did so in return for the “Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances” in which the Ukraine gave up its nuclear weapons and signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and Russia, Britain, and the U.S. pledged to protect Ukraine’s “territorial integrity.” This pledge has proven to be the emptiest of promises as the Russian aggression in Crimea and its threat to seize further Ukrainian territory illustrate vividly. Does anyone really think that if the Ukraine still possessed even a small portion of its former nuclear arsenal Crimea would now be “annexed” by Russia?”

    Dr. Land sees the absence of the U.S as a kind of ‘globocop’ creating a protection vacuum outcome that precipitates a panic rush for nuclear armaments by countries that felt the U.S would continually protect or shield them from the “bullies with nuclear weapons” (Russia, China, India, Pakistan, and sooner rather than later, Iran). .

    Read more at http://www.prophecynewswatch.com/2014/April03/031.html#DZdXfZHes5M8RpsH.99

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    Apr 01 2014

    New Cold War with Russia Heating Up in Syria

    Tag: Israel: Middle EastSage @ 6:51 pm

    From American Thinker.Com

    Chriss Street

    As President Obama was his teleprompter on March 20th to announce sanctions against Russia, Syrian rebel forces led by al Qaeda-linked Islamic Front and Jabhat al-Nusra launched a surprise offensive in northwestern Syria near the Turkish border.  The offensive, known as “The Martyrs Mothers,” captured the three area border crossings into Turkey and killed Hilal al Assad, Syrian President Bashar al Assad’s cousin and head of the militia known as the National Defense Force. With the U.S. secretly arming the rebels and President Obama in Saudi Arabia, the new Cold War with Russia is heating up in Syria.

    The objective of the Martyrs Mother’s offensive appears to be opening up new supply lines for the Syrian rebels from Turkey. Recently Syrian government forces supplied by Russia and its allies had cut all supply rebel supply lines from Lebanon by launching a series of largely successful offensives across western Syria. Stratfor Global Intelligence reported the Syrian army “currently has the strategic initiative, in large part thanks to Iranian, Russian and Hezbollah aid.”  But successfully attacking the Latakia province has high symbolism since it is Syrian President Bashar al Assad’s hometown.

    Rebels had been focused on a vicious fight between various rebel groups and their former ally, the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant. But in recent weeks, rebels from the Islamic Front, Free Syrian Army, and Jabhat al-Nusra Islamic State ejected the Islamic State out of the Latakia and Aleppo areas.The United States and Great Britain had both suspended “lethal” aid to northern Syria in last summer after reports of Islamist fighters seizing Western-backed rebel weapons warehouses.  But Reuters News reported nonlethal aid was resumed to civilian groups in that region in late December.

    Reuters and other media sources confirmed on January 27th that the U.S. Congress had secretly approved supplying supposedly “small arms” to the supposedly “moderate” Syrian rebel factions in the south through September 30th.  Reuters reported deliveries were not to include weapons such as shoulder-launched surface-to-air missiles, known as MANPADs, but Congress approved anti-tank rockets. The Martyrs Mother’s rebels have used both antitank and surface-to-air missiles during their offensive.

    Stratfor reported that Turkey must have played a significant role in the rebels’ ability to carry out their current offensivesince the “Turks have largely turned a blind eye to rebel movement through their borders, even as they fiercely defend their territory from [Syrian] government incursion. Most recently, on March 23, Turkish interceptors shot down a Syrian air force MiG-23.”

    Prior to Russia’s intervention in the Crimea, Saudi Arabian officials were reported to be “highly displeased” over Washington’s overtures to Iran and reluctance to strike Syria and have threatened to break away from the US sphere.” In October 2013, Saudi intelligence chief Prince Bandar bin Sultan vowed to make a ”major shift” in relations with the US in protest over the Obama Administration’s decision to backpedal on plans to launch airstrikes on Syria in support of Saudi Arabia’s proxy war as the chief financier of anti-Assad jihadist groups aimed at toppling the Syrian government and rolling back the influence of Hezbollah and Iran in the region.

    The timing of President Obama’s announcement of Russian sanctions, the Syrian rebels’ offensive and the President’s trip to Saudi Arabia at the height of the offensive may have just been coincidental, but all three issues viscerally impact Russia’s vital interests. Prior to the Syrian rebel offensive and the president’s trip to Saudi Arabia, 50% of Americans believed the U.S. and Russia are “headed back to a new Cold War.” With Syria’s civil war heating up, the odds of a Cold War with Russia are moving up.

    The author welcomes feedback @ chriss@chrissstreetandcompany.com
    Chriss Street is teaching microeconomics at University of California, Irvine this spring from March 31 �” June 8, 2014.  Call Student Services at (949) 824-5414 or visit http://unex.uci.edu/courses to enroll!

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    Mar 27 2014

    2 Articles; Video of my message to Liberty University: “Facing the Fire: Standing For Christ In An Age of Evil.” When it comes to the Holocaust, we say “Never again.” Yet America has aborted 55 million babies. “Darkness is falling.” Judgment is coming. Are you ready?;* With rumors of Israeli strike on Iran in 2014 rising, Santorum & Rosenberg write oped for CNN: Could there be a “Second Holocaust”? Lessons from Nazi Germany & modern Iran.

    Tag: Israel: Middle EastSage @ 3:20 pm

    From Flash Traffic Blog Wordpress.Com

    Video of my message to Liberty University: “Facing the Fire: Standing For Christ In An Age of Evil.” When it comes to the Holocaust, we say “Never again.” Yet America has aborted 55 million babies. “Darkness is falling.” Judgment is coming. Are you ready?

    by joelcrosenberg

    [To read the full column, please click here.]

    Rosenberg-LibertyOn Friday, March 21st, I had the honor of addressing more than 10,000 students at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia with a message titled, “Facing The Fire: Standing For Christ In An Age of Evil.”

    (To watch the 29 minute message, please click here.)

    Opening with Daniel chapter three, I shared the biblical story of three Jewish men — Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego — who were thrown in a fiery furnace by an evil tyrant because they refused to bow down a worship a false god.

    Sharing some lessons from the Holocaust, I shared several true stories of the real heroes — Jewish and Christian — who inspired the novel, The Auschwitz Escape.

    Then, noting that “darkness is falling” in Iran, North Korea, China, Russia and around the world, I also urged these students to love God and love their neighbors and stand boldly and courageously for Jesus Christ and the Word of God, no matter what the cost.

    One of the most important elements of the message, for me personally, was reminding the students that in my lifetime, Americans have aborted 55 million babies. If this is not stopped, in the next few years, Americans will have murdered 60 million people.

    “Consider the implications of that number,” I told them. “That will mean that Americans will have killed ten times more people than the number of Jews that the Nazis murdered during the Holocaust.”

    We know the judgment that came upon Nazi Germany because of what they did, I noted. What do we think is going to happen to America?

    Unless we repent, America will be judged. Unless we change course and God grants us mercy and forgiveness, America will implode. It’s only God’s grace that He hasn’t judged us already. I made it clear to the students that I don’t know when that judgment will come. That said, all the evidence suggests we are overdue.

    We must study the Word of God and draw lessons from the stories of Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego. We must also study the Holocaust and draw lessons from the stories of the heroes like Rudolf Vrba, Fred Wetzler, Pastor Andre Trocme and others. But we must also look deeply into our souls and determine whether we are willing to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, and love our neighbors as ourselves. Are we willing to love and protect and rescue the needy and the poor and the suffering, even if they don’t believe what we believe, even if they never choose to follow Christ? Are we willing to resist the evil tyrants of our day? Will we refuse to bow down to false gods and humanist systems, even if we are imprisoned, tortured or executed?

    The lessons from the Book of Daniel, and the lessons from the Holocaust, are not ancient history that have no bearing on our lives in our times. Evil is rising today. We, too, will face the fire, and the question is: Will we bow before Nebuchadnezzar’s golden image, or will we stand for Christ and His Word?

    · Article published by Liberty University: Author Joel Rosenberg warns students to sharpen faith to fight evil

    · Who were the four real heroes whose lives inspired “The Auschwitz Escape”? Fox News publishes my column to remember their names, and honor their stories.

    · Please join me on Tuesday, April 1st, for a book tour event with an Orthodox Rabbi at a Synagogue in Manhattan. RSVP today. We’d love to have you join us.

    · Order The Auschwitz Escape today — it’s available now in hardcover, e-book and audio formats. You can get it online, or in your favorite bookstore.

    · Learn more about The Joshua Fund (www.joshuafund.net) – educating and mobilizing Christians to bless Israel and her neighbors in the name of Jesus, and caring for the poor and needy with food and other humanitarian relief – read our 2013 Donor Report, and make a beginning-of-the-year, tax deductible, secure, on-line contribution.

    · Follow on Twitter — @joelcrosenberg

    · Receive every blog post automatically via the RSS feed.

    With rumors of Israeli strike on Iran in 2014 rising, Santorum & Rosenberg write oped for CNN: Could there be a “Second Holocaust”? Lessons from Nazi Germany & modern Iran.

    In Uncategorized on March 25, 2014 at 7:48 pm

    CNN-logo(Netanya, Israel) — Greetings from Israel. I’m here doing media interviews for The Auschwitz Escape, having various meetings, and trying to get a better sense of how Israeli citizens and leaders are viewing the crisis in Ukraine and the rising Iranian nuclear threat.

    Rumors are swirling in the media here about a possible Israeli preemptive strike on Iran this year. Israeli officials at the highest level — including the Defense Minister — are reportedly coming to the reluctant belief that they cannot count on President Obama to take decisive action to neutralize the Iranian threat before it is too late.

    Here are several recent headlines worth noting:

    In this context, CNN.com has just published an op-ed that former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum and I have written. It examines parallels he and I find sobering between the history of Adolf Hitler and the current regime in Tehran. In the column, we also cite the exclusive new poll showing 80% of Americans fear a “Second Holocaust” if Iran is allowed to build nuclear warheads.

    I hope you’ll take a moment to read the full column. Then please post your comments on the “Epicenter Team” page on Facebook, and share this column with friends and get their reaction, as well.


    Lessons of history: Americans fear ‘second Holocaust’ if Iran gets the bomb

    By Rick Santorum and Joel C. Rosenberg

    (CNN) — Hillary Clinton raised eyebrows this month when she compared Vladimir Putin’s tactics in Ukraine to those of the Nazis.

    She was right, but there is an even more ominous similarity between the actions of Iran and those of pre-war Germany.

    On May 21, 1935, Adolf Hitler delivered his infamous “peace” speech. In his masterful history of Nazi Germany, “The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich,” William L. Shirer quotes the Fuhrer’s remarks at length:

    • “Germany needs peace and desires peace.”
    • “Germany has solemnly recognized and guaranteed France her frontiers.”
    • “Germany has concluded a non-aggression pact with Poland.”

    Shirer, a CBS Radio correspondent, called the address “one of the cleverest and most misleading of his Reichstag orations this writer, who sat through most of them, ever heard him make.” He observed the West seemed beguiled by the speech, noting the Times of London welcomed Hitler’s words “with almost hysterical joy.”

    “The speech turns out to be reasonable, straightforward, and comprehensive,” stated the Times editorial. “No one who reads it with an impartial mind can doubt that the points of policy laid down by Herr Hitler may fairly constitute the basis of a complete settlement with Germany.”

    Yet Hitler was lying to buy time. He would not bring peace, but a horrific war, annexing Austria, invading France and Poland, and ordering the extermination of six million Jews.

    Indeed, Hitler’s lies were apparent less than a year after the speech. On March 7, 1936, the Nazis marched into the Rhineland, the demilitarized zone between Germany and France, in violation of the Treaty of Versailles.

    If the West had confronted Hitler then, it could have forced him out of the Rhineland with a limited application of military force.

    Such history is worth noting in today’s showdown with Iran. Many in the West seem beguiled by the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani. But are they….

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    Mar 24 2014

    Putin’s Iran Threat is good for Israel

    Tag: Israel: Middle EastSage @ 6:11 pm

    From American Thinker.Com

    In a column analyzing Iran’s recent threat to rethink its position on Iran, Walter Russell Mead and his staff at The American Interest postulated, “Linking the Ukraine crisis with the Iran negotiation is an American nightmare; it might just be a Russian dream come true.”  Mead is on to something; however, he stops short in his analysis. Russia’s threat could also be quite helpful to Israel.

    Obama entered into the Iran negotiations in order to avoid a military confrontation, as well as to constrain the “true barrier” to peace in the region – Israel.  His hope was to bide time, notwithstanding that Iran’s centrifuges would continue to spin, bringing its nuclear capability to the brink or to fruition.

    If Iran does in fact go nuclear on Obama’s watch, so be it; he will proceed to sell containment to the American public for the little time left in his term.  The carnival salesmen in the White House are quite talented at selling the American people a bill of goods – just look at ObamaCare.  While Russia invades a European country and threatens all-out war, the administration spends $52 million of taxpayer funds in just three months on advertising this debacle.  One can only imagine what they will spend to convince Americans that a nuclear Iran poses no threat to our national security.

    Alas, since reality has yet to penetrate the White House bubble, Obama has likely never lost sleep thinking about Iran’s nuclear capabilities (his Baracketology, next vacation, and golf game, perhaps, but national security, not so much) – that is, until Vladimir Putin stepped into the picture.  Obama’s failure to realize that he is now unmasked as a fool on the world stage does not mean that the rest of the world’s leaders have not noticed.  It is not a coincidence that just six months after Putin manipulated Obama out of bombing Syria despite its having crossed Obama’s disingenuous red line, Putin took to annexing Crimea from Ukraine.  And Putin did so despite a U.S. promise to protect Ukraine.  As one Ukranian parliamentarian stated, “[e]veryone believed that for good or bad the United States would be the world’s policeman.  Now that function is being abandoned by President Obama, and because of that Russia invaded Crimea.”

    So Mead is correct that linking Ukraine with Iran is good policy for Russia while thrusting Obama into a nightmarish situation.  It will cause Obama to quake in his mom-jeans and further diminish American power.  Obama has already stated that he will not act militarily in response to the Ukrainian situation.  What are his choices if Russia acts on its threat and allies with Iran?  Cancel Putin’s Netflix account?

    But linking Ukraine and Iran just might be an Israeli dream come true as well.  Mead stated, “The Obama strategy has always been a risky one; if Russia shifts into active cooperation with Iran, it is hard to see how the White House can keep hope alive.”  True enough.  But if Russia moves into Iran’s camp, Israel has the perfect excuse to move ahead with a military strike on Iran’s nuclear installations and will likely have the support of the entire Western world (in addition to America’s Mideast allies like Saudi Arabia), all of which will be relieved that at least someone is standing up to the bad guys.

    Middle East and foreign policy experts have vacillated for years analyzing Israel’s capability to conduct a successful unilateral military strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities, guessing when it might proceed, and wondering whether the United States is holding Israel back from doing so.  Some ask why U.S. support is a necessary prerequisite to an Israeli strike that is in Israel’s own national security interests.  One need only look at a map of the region and the fact that the country, the size of the state of New Jersey and only nine miles wide at its narrowest point, is surrounded by 21 Arab nations, the vast majority of whom are adversaries, to understand Israel’s need for supportive friends.

    When the most powerful nation on earth, the one that provides Israel with the most support both militarily and diplomatically, orders its ally not to attack another country, Israel is left with little choice but to listen.  That is why Obama, Kerry, Clinton, and Panetta have been able to publicly abuse Israel with little backlash.  But it is also why the administration’s threats of international isolation and abandonment have left Israel with little choice but to loudly proclaim her legal right to take all measures necessary in order to ensure the safety and security of her people – to defend herself, by herself.

    And there are many signs that Israel is prepared to do so.  In the sixth year of Obama’s administration, Israelis know full well that the American president who promised, “The United States will always have Israel’s back when it comes to Israel’s security” has no intention of actually following through on that assurance.  The U.S. may have been “shocked” (just shocked!) at the statements of Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon this week when he opined that Israel must “behave as though we have nobody to look out for us but ourselves,” in part because:

    … [w]e had thought the ones who should lead the campaign against Iran is the United States. But at some stage the United States entered into negotiations with them, and unhappily, when it comes to negotiating at a Persian baazar, the Iranians were better.

    But Ya’alon was certainly speaking truth to power.  And speaking of power, let us turn to a real superpower.  Not the type that we reminisce about from the pre-Obama glory days of the Pax Americana that kept stability in the world, but the superpower that presents itself in the form of a democratic dynamo – the economic and military powerhouse known as Israel. As reported in the Times of Israel this week:

    Israel’s security forces have the capability to carry out military operations in virtually every part of the globe, including Iran, IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz said Wednesday, adding that Israel had already conducted dozens of covert operations in foreign and enemy countries….

    The TV report asserted that Gantz’s comments represented a first “definitive” acknowledgment that Israel is capable of military intervention in Iran and constituted a hint from the chief of General Staff that this kind of activity was already happening.

    And according to a report in Ha’aretz, despite the ongoing talks with Iran and P5+1, Netanyahu and Ya’alon have ordered the IDF to begin preparations for a possible 2014 Iranian strike, earmarking at least $2.89 billion for the operation.  (As an aside, think about that dollar amount in the context of the $52 billion that Obama has spent on three months of ObamaCare advertising and try not to throw something at the television the next time you see him joking around with Jimmy Fallon, Ellen DeGeneres, Zach Galifianakis, Kobe Bryant, and the rest of his adoring entourage.)

    Many Israel-supporters had hoped that Netanyahu would attack Iran prior to Obama’s 2012 victory, believing that Obama would have been forced to support Israel for fear of reprisal from the electorate if he failed to do so.  That is why now, when the world’s good guys are shirking their responsibilities and shrinking in stature in the face of ever more powerful bad guys enabled by the U.S. president, is the time for Israel to act.

    Putin has given Netanyahu the gift of a second window.  In the lead-up to the 2014 midterm elections, in which Obama must keep the Senate in control of the Democrats, Obama would have no choice but to stand behind Israel if she attacks Iran.  If Russia stands with Iran, Obama will be forced to stand with Israel or lose the American people to the Republican Party.  He cannot risk that happening. And Netanyahu cannot afford not to act on that knowledge.

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    Mar 23 2014

    Turkey shoots down Syrian plane

    Tag: Israel: Middle EastSage @ 4:53 pm

    From American Thinker.Com

    Rick Moran

    The Turkish military announced that it has shot down a Syrian plane that strayed over its air space, ratcheting up tensions along the border where Syrian rebels mix with refugees and are sheltered by the Turkish government.


    Turkey’s armed forces shot down a Syrian plane on Sunday after it crossed into Turkish air space in a border region where Syrian rebels have been battling President Bashar al-Assad’s forces.

    “A Syrian plane violated our airspace,” Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan told an election rally of his supporters in northwest Turkey.

    “Our F-16s took off and hit this plane. Why? Because if you violate my airspace, our slap after this will be hard,”

    The rebels have been fighting for control of the Kasab crossing, the border region, since Friday, when they launched an offensive which Syrian authorities say was backed by Turkey’s military.

    Syria said Turkish air defenses shot down the jet while it was attacking rebel forces inside Syrian territory, calling the move a “blatant aggression”.

    State television quoted a military source as saying the pilot managed to eject from the plane. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said initial reports from the area said the plane came down on the Syrian side of the border.

    Al Manar, the television station of Assad’s Lebanese ally Hezbollah, said two rockets had been fired from Turkish territory at the Syrian jet.

    Israel has recently fired on Syrian positions - a move that has also raised tensions in the region. If there’s one thing you can credit Prime Minister Erdogan with doing, it’s keeping a lid on the conflict so that it doesn’t escalate to a regional war. Syrian provocation has been extreme at times and Erdogan has done well to resist the temptation to solve his domestic political troubles by escalating the conflict with Syria.

    How long that stays true remains to be seen. Lebanon is a powder keg and if the internal conflicts in that country burst into civil war, no one can predict what might happen next.

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