The Bible Teaching Ministry of David Hocking
“The Word of our God shall stand forever” Isaiah 40:8

Archive for December, 2012

PRAYER SHAWLS CAUSE MINOR UPROAR IN JERUSALEM

Monday, December 31st, 2012

PRAYER SHAWLS CAUSE MINOR UPROAR IN JERUSALEM
(Israel Today Staff)

Israeli anti-missionary organizations such as Yad L’Achim were in a minor uproar earlier this month after learning that Jewish prayer shawls (tallitot) embroidered with a Messianic blessing referencing Yeshua (Jesus) were being sold or given away on Jerusalem’s main pedestrian thoroughfare.

Prayer shawls are popular products on Ben Yehudah St., which is a prime shopping area for tourists visiting the Israeli capital. And all prayer shawls have blessings embroidered along their hems.

But when a Jewish couple visiting the area took a closer look at their new prayer shawl, a local journal titled HaShabbat B’Netanya reported that they were shocked to read the following words:

“Blessed are you, king of the universe, who has filled the whole Torah with Jesus the Messiah and has covered us all with his righteousness.”

The couple reported the incident to Yad L’Achim, which then worked to have the offending prayer shawls removed from the area. But the identity of those being the prayer shawls remained a mystery.

Yad L’Achim officials insist it was the work of local Messianic Jews, whom the anti-missionaries label as “Christians dressing up as Jews.”

One of the primary tactics of groups like Yad L’Achim is to convince fellow Jews that Christianity has no connection whatsoever to Judaism, and to disassociate Jesus from his Jewish heritage.

The group also tries to make Jews who come to faith in Jesus feel foolish by repeatedly stating that only those with a weak grasp of Judaism would ever fall prey to the “missionaries.”

MISSILES AND RUSSIAN/IRANIAN MILITARY COOPERATION TO BOLSTER ASSAD IN SYRIA

Sunday, December 30th, 2012

MISSILES AND RUSSIAN/IRANIAN MILITARY COOPERATION TO BOLSTER ASSAD IN SYRIA (debkafile)

The Iranian Fateh A-110 surface missile French and Israeli intelligence sources affirmed Saturday, Dec. 29, that, contrary to reports appearing in the United States Friday, Iran has accelerated rather than slowed down its 20-percent grade enrichment of uranium and is racing toward a nuclear weapons capacity. Furthermore, for the moment, there is not the slightest indication that Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has any intention of accepting the Obama Administration’s latest plan for a nuclear deal.

As debkafile has revealed, this plan would require Iran to discontinue production of 20-percent enriched uranium (which can be quickly converted to weapons grade material), and confine itself to producing low 5 percent uranium in agreed amounts. Tehran would also have to accept the removal from the country of its entire stock of 20-percent refined uranium.

The same sources point to the first appearance this week of Iran-made Fateh A-110 high-precision, short-range missiles in the use of the Syrian army against rebel fighters, under the guidance of Iranian officers and instructors, as underscoring the inter-dependence Tehran draws between the Syrian and nuclear issues.

Khamenei now links an acceptable solution for the Syrian dilemma to his possible nuclear flexibility.

When Iranians talk about an inter-power solution for ending the Syrian war, they mean a deal between Washington, Moscow and Tehran on both issues.

The Fateh missiles are being fired quite openly by Iranian military personnel in command of Syrian missile units as Tehran’s answer for the deployment of US, German and Dutch NATO Patriots on the Turkish side of the Syrian border. They also carry a message in response to Israel’s threat of offensive action against Syria if it becomes necessary to thwart its use of chemical weapons. According to our French and military sources, Tehran is using the Fateh missiles and the Iranian military presence in Syria to warn that there is no bar to their use against Turkey, Jordan and Israel as well, in the event of a US or Israel attack on Syria’s chemical stores.

On no account, will Iran permit the overthrow of Bashar Assad’s regime in Damascus. At most, Tehran conceives of his departure in stages and handover to an emergency government led by the military or an armed forces faction to which certain opposition elements may be co-opted. Elections, in the Iranian view, must be deferred until hostilities end and the security situation is stable.

American and French sources agree that Tehran and Moscow have attained full coordination in their strategies for Syria and also on Iran’s nuclear program. They note that it was not by chance that the Russian Navy Wednesday, Dec. 26, launched its largest sea maneuver ever in the Mediterranean and the approaches to the Persian Gulf, just two days before Iranian warships, submarines and aircraft embarked on their week-long Velayat 91 sea exercise in the Straits of Hormuz, the Gulf of Oman, and northern parts of the Indian Ocean.

The command centers of the Russian and Iranian war games are under orders from Moscow and Tehran to jointly exhibit naval muscle in order to bolster the Assad regime against collapse.

Parallel to the influx of Fateh missiles from Iran to Syria, Moscow is rapidly expanding the deployment of its highly-sophisticated S-400 air and missile interceptors in Russia’s southern military region near the Turkish border.

150 CORPSES FOUND IN SYRIAN SCHOOL

Sunday, December 30th, 2012

150 CORPSES FOUND IN SYRIAN SCHOOL
by Gil Ronen (IsraelNationalNews)

At least 150 charred corpses were found Saturday in Deir Baalba in Homs, Syria, according to a report by the Shaam Network that was quoted in Al Arabiya.

Earlier Saturday, Syrian regime forces killed 20 people in a town near Aleppo. Eighty other people were killed nationwide, according to opposition Coordination Committees.

Sana Revolution reported that a “massacre” took place in Khamsya, near Aleppo.

The fighting in Aleppo forced Syrian Air, Syria’s national airline, to cancel a flight to the city. According to Cairo airport officials, a flight that was supposed to stop in Aleppo before continuing to Damascus flew straight to Damascus “because of the deteriorated security situation” near the Aleppo airport.

The Al Arabiya report stated that this was the first time a flight to Aleppo had been canceled because of fighting. The Syrian government and its airline did not comment.

Syria rebels have launched a campaign to seize government airports as a way to cut the regime’s supply lines and strike a blow against its air power, the biggest threat faced by the insurrection.

ABBAS MAKES IT OFFICIAL: “ALL OF ISRAEL IS PALESTINE!”

Sunday, December 30th, 2012

ABBAS MAKES IT OFFICIAL: “ALL OF ISRAEL IS PALESTINE!”
by Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu (Arutz Sheva News)

The Fatah party, headed by Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, has made official what it has been saying quietly and has adopted a new logo showing all of Israel as Palestine.

The logo marks the 48th anniversary of the founding of Fatah by Yasser Arafat and includes a map with the PA flag and a map of Israel that appears to be a depiction of the black and white checkered kefiyah, a symbol of the violent intifada, and the slogan “the state and victory.”

Palestine Media Watch (PMW) revealed that the official PA daily published the new official logo.

For the past year, official PA documents have increasingly shown Palestine as covering all of Israel, but this is the first time the Fatah party has placed the map on its logo.

PMW noted, “Other symbols central to Fatah ideology also appear in the logo, including a rifle and a key symbolizing the Palestinian claim of ownership to houses within Israel.”

The Arab media watchdog translated and published the article announcing the new logo:

“Senior Fatah official in the Gaza Strip, Yahya Rabah, stressed that the movement this year will hold a big, central rally in the Gaza Strip on the day of the 48th anniversary of the beginning of the Palestinian revolution.

“Rabah explained to Ma’an that the event will be held considering the atmosphere of reconciliation and unity that has prevailed in the Palestinian arena in the last few weeks.

“The organizing committee for the 48th anniversary of the Fatah movement approved this year’s main anniversary logo… The rally will take place in Gaza to mark the 48th anniversary of the modern Palestinian revolution under the slogan ‘the state and the victory.'”

The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) reacted to the new logo by urging “President Barack Obama, the European Union and the United Nations to condemn this outrage which reiterates the clear fact that Abbas and the Fatah/PA have no interest in peace with Israel, only its destruction.”

ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, “This new Fatah logo graphically depicts the ugly truth about this unreconstructed terrorist organization whose Constitution to this day calls for the destruction of Israel (Article 13) and the use of terrorism as an essential element in the struggle to achieve this aim (Article 19). …It belies the fiction that Mahmoud Abbas is a ‘moderate’ who seeks peace with Israel, and who wishes to end Palestinian terrorism against Israeli Jews. It also makes clear that the principles of Yasser Arafat are respected and promoted.

“The new Fatah logo is not an aberration. The Palestinian Authority continues to promote the incitement of hatred in Palestinian mosques, schools and media.

“The ZOA renews its call upon the Obama Administration to stop wasting hundreds of millions of dollars on the unreformed terrorist entity that is Fatah, to stop making excuses for Abbas, and to stop pressuring Israel to make dangerous concessions on the altar of appeasement.”

CHOICE IN SYRIA BETWEEN DIPLOMACY AND “HELL”

Saturday, December 29th, 2012

CHOICE IN SYRIA BETWEEN DIPLOMACY AND “HELL”
By REUTERS

UN-Arab League peace envoy meets Russian FM in Moscow, says only options for Syria are “hell or a political process”; Lavrov: Negotiated solution to Syria conflict still possible; no new initiatives presented.

MOSCOW – Russia on Saturday said that a negotiated solution to the conflict in Syria is still possible, but the international mediator struggling to end 21 months of bloodshed warned of “hell” unless a deal is struck.

Sergei Lavrov and Lakhdar Brahimi announced no major new initiatives after talks in Moscow and their remarks underscored the obstacles the UN-Arab League envoy faces in bringing about a solution.

Russia says neither side will win Syrian civil war. Russia urges Syrian dialogue with opponents.

“If the only alternative is hell or a political process, then all of us have to work continuously toward the political process,” said Brahimi, adding it was still possible to reach “a solution that would work” but that the barriers were daunting.

“The chance for a political settlement remains and it is our obligation to make maximal use of that chance,” Lavrov told reporters in a joint appearance after his talks with Brahimi, who met Syrian President Bashar Assad earlier in the week.

Lavrov, whose country has blocked Western and Arab efforts in the UN Security Council to put pressure on Assad, repeated that Assad’s exit must not be a precondition for a political process, saying such demands were “wrong” and counterproductive.

He said the refusal of the Syrian opposition National Coalition to talk to the Syrian leadership was a “dead-end position,” and criticized the coalition leader for rebuffing an invitation for talks with Russia.

Brahimi’s talks with Lavrov occurred a day after the main Syrian opposition group rebuffed diplomatic advances by Russia and firmly reiterated it would not negotiate with President Bashar Assad’s government.

The UN-Arab League peace envoy is trying to build on an agreement reached in Geneva in June by world powers, including the United States and Russia, that called for the creation of a transitional government but left Assad’s role unclear.

In Damascus on Thursday, Brahimi reiterated the call for an interim government to rule until elections in Syria and said only substantial change would meet demands of ordinary Syrians, but did not specify who could be part of the transitional body.

Russia has vocally supported Brahimi’s efforts while refusing to join Western and Arab calls for Assad’s exit, as it has throughout a conflict that has killed an estimated 45,000 people since protests in March 2011 elicited a fierce government crackdown.

Russia, together with China, has angered the West and some Arab states by vetoing three UN Security Council resolutions meant to put pressure on Assad, who has given Moscow one of its firmest post-Soviet footholds in the Middle East.

EGYPT TO PURSUE RELATIONSHIP WITH HIZBULLAH

Saturday, December 29th, 2012

EGYPT TO PURSUE RELATIONSHIP WITH HIZBULLAH
By Jerusalem Post Staff

In shift from Mubarak-era policy, Egyptian Ambassador to Lebanon says Brotherhood-dominated Egypt will engage terror group.

In a dramatic policy shift, Egypt will seek to forge “tight” relations with Hizbullah, Egyptian Ambassador to Lebanon Ashraf Hamdy revealed in a candid interview published Saturday in Lebanon’s Daily Star.

“You cannot discuss politics in Lebanon without having a relationship with Hizbullah,” Hamdy was quoting as saying, before describing the terror group as a “real force on the ground” with “big political and military influence.”

Egypt’s Morsi signs Islamist constitution into law

In this respect, Hamdy announced that Muslim-Brotherhood-dominated Egypt would begin “stretching its hand out in the proper, balanced way to all regional powers,” including Hizbullah, in order to forge “tight” contacts with Lebanon’s rulers.

Egypt-Hizbullah relations, generally strained under former President Hosni Mubarak, in large part due to Egypt’s peace treaty with Israel, reached rock bottom in 2008 during Israel’s Cast Lead military operation. At that time, Hizbullah leader Hasan Nasrallah called on Egypt, to no avail, to intervene militarily on behalf of Gaza-based Palestinians. For its part, Egypt in the past has accused Hizbullah of operating terror cells in the country.

In his interview, Hamdy denied reports that Hizbullah had sent a delegation to Egypt to meet with President Mohamed Morsi’s regime, but confirmed that he personally had met with members of Hizbullah’s political bureau in efforts “to understand each other better.”

“In discussions we said we want Hizbullah to remain as a political force in Lebanon,” Hamdy revealed.

“Resistance in the sense of defending Lebanese territory…[is] their primary role. We…think that as a resistance movement they have done a good job to keep on defending Lebanese territory and trying to regain land occupied by Israel is legal and legitimate,” he continued.

Hamdy concluded by saying that while domestic concerns had slowed Egypt from undertaking new, ambitious foreign policy objectives, the country ultimately sees itself playing an instrumental role in the region.

“Egypt’s soft power is its strength,” Hamdy said. “To expect 180 degree shifts in strong positions take some time…. Egypt will reveal itself as a real regional power and a ‘doer’ on the regional scene and we are keen to show that.”

WHY A “TWO-STATE” SOLUTION WILL NEVER WORK!

Friday, December 28th, 2012

WHY A “TWO-STATE” SOLUTION WILL NEVER WORK!
By Barry Shaw (Jerusalem Post)

Original Thinking: What will happen when you have pressured Israel into allowing a Palestinian entity to take hold on the 1967 borders, an entity that is taken over by a radical Islamic force bent on Israel’s destruction?

There is no place for you Jews among us, and you have no future among the nations of the world. You are headed for annihilation. – Mahmoud Zahar.

Death to Israel! – Heard at most anti-Israel demonstrations.

I will never recognize the Jewish state, not in a thousand years! – Mahmoud Abbas

From the river to the sea, from the north to the south, this is our land, our homeland. There will be no relinquishing even an inch of it. Israel is illegitimate and will remain so throughout the passage of time. It belongs to us and not the Zionists – Khaled Mashaal

Today is Gaza. Tomorrow will be Ramallah. After that Jerusalem, then Haifa and Jaffa – Ismail Haniyeh.

Which part of that do you not understand? For decades we have been bombarded by expert opinion telling us why the two-state paradigm is the only solution for a peaceful settlement with the Palestinians, and for the survival of a democratic Jewish state.

Having spent this period researching and studying the paths outlined for this road map, and analyzing the basic character and intentions of Israel’s adversary in this journey, it has brought me, irrevocably and inevitably, to the definite conclusion that it will never happen and, if it did, it would end in disaster for Israel.

If it did happen it would be the death knell for the Jewish state of Israel.

It would be the death knell because it would be the final stage, when Israel would have been reduced to a withered rump of a strategically weakened state, impossible to defend or protect itself from certain onslaught by a threatening circle of radical Islam. A Palestinian State would not be the buffer zone against such an assault; rather it would be the spearhead over whose territory a major attack would take place.

Whenever I discuss the subject with Israeli politicians, experts, European diplomats and journalists, all of whom foster the utopian dream of a two-state solution based on the 1967 lines with parts of Jerusalem given to the Palestinians as their new capital, I ask them one question, one critical question, that gnaws away at me. It gnaws away at me all the more so because I never receive an answer from them that assuages my concerns and fears.

In fact, their lack of an adequate response, their incomprehension of the premise of my question, amplifies my concerns and fears. Nobody, none of these experts, none of these people who are pushing this two-state package, none of the influence and opinion makers, is able to confront this question. Many haven’t even considered the question relevant.

Some have, but they choose to put it away in some dark recess of their mind. It is too challenging a question for them to contemplate in any depth. Their attitude is that the devil is in the detail but this should not get in the way of their pursuit of an agenda, an agenda that is, in reality, a train heading for the collision caused by them.

I reject the notion that a two-state solution is in Israel’s vital interest.

I reject it because the architects of this notion have not built a structurally sound framework, based on reality, for it to succeed. Instead, they have built a pack of cards where the jack is the joker, and the queen of hearts is really the knave of clubs. In other words, it is built unsoundly, where the slightest puff will bring the structure crashing down on all our heads. This is why I insist on posing my critical question now, before Israel is further shunted into an untenable position.

Here is the scenario that leads to my question, a scenario that is the dream of the two-staters.

Israel agrees to cede land for the creation of a Palestinian State that stretches to the 1967 lines. The Palestinians have accepted certain territorial compromises. They have been granted parts of east Jerusalem to establish their administrative headquarters that will lead to their future capital.

Large blocks of Jewish townships within Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) remain as integral parts of sovereign Israel. A huge celebration throughout the world as an agreement is signed at the White House.

Then, later, the Palestinians hold their long-overdue elections, and Hamas wins a landslide victory garnering over 70 percent of the vote.

What then? Hamas is ruling the new entity and confirms the protocol of its Charter to liberate all of Palestine, by “armed struggle” if necessary. It boasts of its success in reaching Tel Aviv with its Gaza rockets, and now all of Israel is within its range. It controls the streets of Jerusalem and brags that its flags will fly over all the holy places of Palestine. Tulkarm is only a 15-second rocket flight to Kfar Yona, which lies barely 2 kilometers away. Netanya, on the Mediterranean coast in central Israel, is only a 30- second rocket shot. Kfar Saba is a similar 15 seconds from Palestinian rockets launched from Kalkilya, with Ra’anana just twice that range.

Hamas will control the hills overlooking Israel’s main international airport.

My critical question is, when Palestine opens its terror war against Israel from over these 1967 borders, backed by the new Islamic armies of Lebanon, Syria, Jordan (the king having been deposed by the Muslim Brotherhood) and Egypt, who will take responsibility for that outcome? For many two-staters, this is the question that dare not be asked, for fear that it will bring the edifice, on which their ill-conceived idea is based, tumbling down on our heads.

The answer: Nobody. We will see the same responses that we get today.

Has anyone voiced regret over Israel’s unilateral peace gesture in the Gaza Strip, when in 2005 we forcibly removed thousands of Israelis from their homes and livelihoods in return for a vengeful Hamastan bent on Israel’s further destruction? On the contrary, people blame Israel for the ongoing assault on the Jewish state, in a show of twisted logic. It’s our fault we are being attacked by Palestinian terror, and by international diplomacy. We are not giving enough.

With such a mindset it will be a convenient leap to find a reason to blame Israel for responding to aggression from its rump borders. A shriveled Israel will not win us brownie points when the rockets start flying from the nascent state of Palestine. They will argue that we didn’t agree to absorb the right number of Palestinian “refugees” into the Jewish state? That we prevent those Palestinians from coming who prefer their “ancient homes” rather than to go to their own new state, even though their “ancient homes” do not exist in the modern State of Israel. No matter, Israel’s refusal to accept them, despite Israel honoring the clauses devoted to this issue in a signed agreement, will be the trigger for future condemnation by the international community even as we fight with our backs literally to the sea.

There will always be ongoing Palestinian issues, until the day that Israel no longer exists, and it will always be Israel’s fault. It will always be Israel that will be portrayed as the guilty party because of our “intransigence.”

But back to my critical question, which I address to all those who believe the two-state solution is the only game in town. What then? What will happen when you have pressured Israel into allowing a Palestinian entity to take hold on the 1967 borders, an entity that is taken over, democratically or otherwise, by a radical Islamic force bent on Israel’s destruction, a force that sits only 8 miles from the central coast of Israel, as it inevitably will. What then? Please don’t tell me that this will not happen. Please don’t tell me that an agreement will not come into force until proper security guarantees come into place. Please don’t tell me that this Palestinian entity has agreed to remain a demilitarized zone. Please don’t tell me that the international community will witness and guarantee Israel against such an eventuality.

Please don’t tell me that sanctions will be enforced against a Palestinian State that would threaten Israel, or that will incite its people to violence against the Jewish state. We both know the value of such international commitments to Israel’s security.

A lack of ability to answer my question is proof of a disconnect with facts on the ground that makes this decades-old proposal a non-starter.

The two-staters live in a dream world of their own making, one with little relevance to what the outcome will actually be.

To all two-state advocates, I invite you to get back to me with your overwhelmingly persuasive answer to my question, one that will convince me that your two-state solution has been thought through to the end. Give me the paradigm that will prevent such an outcome.

Until then, do not expect me, or Israel, to agree to your proposal which, in reality, will be the death warrant for my country.

LIEBERMAN TO ABBAS: “PLEASE QUIT – WE CAN’T WAIT!”

Friday, December 28th, 2012

LIEBERMAN TO ABBAS: “PLEASE QUIT – WE CAN’T WAIT!”
By Maayana Miskin (IsraelNationalNews)

Yisrael Beiteinu head Avigdor Lieberman, until recently the Foreign Minister, reacted with joy Friday as Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas threatened to quit if negotiations do not resume. Abbas has refused to negotiate in absence of several Israeli concessions, including a complete freeze on construction east of the 1949 armistice line.

According to Lieberman, Israel “can’t wait” for Abbas to follow through on his threat.

“We congratulate Abu Mazen [Abbas] for reaching the correct conclusion, that only his leave from the PA leadership will allow the diplomatic process to resume,” Lieberman said.

“We anxiously await the official announcement from the Muqata regarding his retirement,” he added. “There are many alternatives among the Palestinians with whom we could hold a diplomatic dialog.”

“It’s Abbas’ remaining [as leader] that will ultimately bring Hamas and other radicals to power in Judea and Samaria,” he warned.

Abbas told Haaretz that if negotiations do not resume after the elections, “I will take the phone and call (Prime Minister Binyamin) Netanyahu. I’ll tell him…Sit in the chair here instead of me, take the keys, and you will be responsible for the Palestinian Authority.”

Abbas has demanded a construction freeze that would include a ban on natural growth in major Israeli towns that it has previously been assumed would remain Israeli under a diplomatic agreement. He also has required that Israel free PA resident terrorists, allow the PA to arm its police force more heavily, and agree in principle to his major territorial demands. At the same time, he has refused to recognize Israel as a Jewish state or to end incitement to terrorism, and continues to support the “right of return” for millions of people descended from Arabs who fled pre-state Israel to move to Israel.

Abbas’ term in office expired in early 2009, but he has declined to hold new elections, arguing that PA residents should vote for a new leader only after Hamas-led Gaza reunites with the Fatah-led PA in Judea and Samaria.

JERUSALEM’S “LONG ARM” WILL STRIKE THOSE THREATENING IT!

Thursday, December 27th, 2012

JERUSALEM’S “LONG ARM” WILL STRIKE THOSE THREATENING IT – SAYS NETANYAHU!
By Herb Keinon, Yaakov Lappin

At ceremony for new Air Force pilots, Netanyahu sends message to Assad that Israel is carefully monitoring developments in Syria.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu reiterated Thursday that Israel was carefully following the developments in Syria, and will do everything necessary to fend off any potential threats from the north.

Netanyahu’s comments came at a ceremony for new Air Force cadets at the Hatzerim air base in the Negev.

NATO warns Syria against chemical weapons use

‘Jerusalem’s long arm will strike those threatening it’

“Everyone sees what is happening in Syria,” he said. “The Syrian air force hits hundreds of Syrian civilians and doesn’t resist using any means. Israel is following the developments in Syria and will do everything against that – or any – threat.”

Netanyahu told the cadets that they have now become a part of “Israel’s long arm.”

“We have strengthened many muscles and tendons in that arm,” the Prime Minister said. “Israel’s hand is extended in peace to those who want peace, and those who threaten us should know that our long arm will strike forcefully to defend the state of Israel.”

Defense Minister Ehud Barak reiterated the Prime Minister’s words, commenting that many security challenges lie ahead for Israel.

Barak said that the reality of the Middle East “places security at the top of priorities, without which we will not be able to ensure the future of the state.”

He added, “The IDF, and the Air Force within it, is a protective wall that allows Israel to continue to thrive and prosper… the IDF and the IAF are the ones that will allow us to stand up to every future test, both near and far.”

Meanwhile in Moscow, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told a senior Syrian diplomat that the crisis in Syria must be resolved through dialogue rather than force, the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

Meeting Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Makdad, Lavrov underscored “the lack of an alternative to a peaceful resolution of (Syria’s) internal conflict through a broad inter-Syria dialogue and political process,” a ministry statement said.

AHMADINEJAD SACKS CABINET’S ONLY WOMAN

Thursday, December 27th, 2012

AHMADINEJAD SACKS CABINET’S ONLY WOMAN
by Rachel Hirshfeld (IsraelNationalNews)

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has sacked Health Minister Marizeh Vahid Dastjerdi, the sole woman in his cabinet.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has sacked Health Minister Marizeh Vahid Dastjerdi, the sole woman in his cabinet, state television reported on Thursday.

The minister had proposed price hikes for a number of medications due to the plunge of the Iranian rial against the US dollar and Western sanctions imposed on the country over its disputed nuclear program, AFP reported.

Ahmadinejad was opposed to the price rises, however, and dismissed the minister.

Although the sanctions do not directly target medications, they limit their ability to be imported to the country due to increased restrictions on financial transactions.

While Iran reportedly produces 97 percent of the drugs on its market, their ingredients are imported.

In October, an Iranian official acknowledged that the price of locally produced medications had increased by 15-20 percent in the past three months, and 20-80 percent for imported products.

Fatemeh Hashemi, head of the Foundation for Special Diseases, sent a letter to United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon in August asking him to make a case to the West for easing sanctions that prove to be detrimental to patients, according to AFP.

Tehran has been hit by numerous rounds of sanctions designed by the United States, the European Union and the UN Security Council, in an effort to pressure the regime to curb its nuclear program.


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