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

Archive for January, 2010


Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

by Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu

Republican pro-Israel Senator-elect Scott Brown, who shocked the Obama administration with a stunning victory in a special election last week, tied the President in a new poll by Newsmax/Zogby. The Republican Senator-elect received 46.5 percent support from respondents who were asked if they would vote for him or U.S. President Barack Obama if elections were held today. President Obama received backing of 44.6 percent.

The immediate effect of Brown’s victory is that the Democratic party no longer has enough senators to stop a filibuster, which the Republicans are likely to enforce to prevent passage of President Obama’s health reform bill in its present form. A longer-term effect is Brown’s strong pro-Israel stand, which apparently found sympathy among voters that elected the first Republican senator from Massachusetts in decades. The special election was held following last year’s death of Democratic Senator Edward Kennedy.

Former Bush strategist Mark McKinnon told Newsmax, “The real problem for Obama is that he has lost the middle, and losing the middle means losing independents . . . if you lose independents, you’re going to lose the presidency.” An overwhelming number of voters classifying themselves as independents voted for Brown.

Jewish and non-Jewish support for President Obama’s Middle East policies has fallen sharply since his “reaching out to the Muslim world” speech in Cairo last June, when he called Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria “illegitimate’ as well as illegal. He also called for Israel to halt all building for Jews in the same region as well as in eastern Jerusalem.

The President admitted last week that he raised expectations in the Arab world, which now refuses to settle for less than the American administration offered.

Senator-elect Brown’s position paper on Israel states, “I stand steadfastly behind Israel’s right to defend itself against attacks from state and non-state actors alike. I oppose the rising tide of efforts worldwide aimed at undermining this fundamental right. The United Nations’ commissioned Goldstone Report is a blatant manifestation of such an effort. Deeply flawed from the start, the ‘report’ accuses Israel of war crimes with little reference to the fact that Israel held its fire for years while thousand of rockets were fired at innocent civilians.

“I also firmly support the security barrier erected by Israel which has proven to be enormously successful at defending and protecting Israeli civilians against waves of deadly terrorist attacks… I unequivocally support the recently executed ten-year memorandum of understanding between the United States and Israel which will provide $30 billion in military aid to Israel until 2017.”

The Republican senator backs the “two-state solution” that calls for turning the Palestinian Authority into an independent state, but only on condition that it is “premised on security for Israel and is not imposed by outside parties, recognizes that a strict return to the 1967 borders is both unrealistic and unsafe and reaffirms Jerusalem as the undivided capital of the State of Israel.”

Concerning Iran, he has stated that it “represents the biggest threat to Israel. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is a Holocaust denier who has threatened to wipe Israel off the map. Meeting with him confers legitimacy when the only correct response is to treat him as an outcast.” His Democratic opponent in the senatorial contest backed a meeting with the Iranian president.

“A personal meeting with Ahmadinejad, as suggested by my opponent, would embolden him and be used as a propaganda tool to strengthen his position,” Brown said.


Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

by Malkah Fleisher

A secret intelligence dossier currently being reviewed by US, Israeli, German, and Austrian governments reveals secret Iranian tests and hierarchies of power dedicated to the successful development of a nuclear bomb, and predicts that Iran will have a primitive nuclear bomb by year’s end.

According to the classified document featured in an exposé by Germany’s Der Spiegel magazine, Iran is well on its way toward obtaining its first nuclear bomb. The country’s nuclear research program, it turns out, has a military wing answering to the Defense Ministry which the West was not aware of until now.

Der Spiegel explained the structure of Iranian nuclear establishment at length. Iran’s new Minister of Science, Research, and Technology, Kamran Daneshjoo, 52, is in charge of the country’s nuclear energy agency. A close ally of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Daneshjoo was educated in Manchester, England. He worked for some time at Tehran’s “Center for Aviation Technology”, which later developed into FEDAT, the “Department for Expanded High-Technology Applications”. FEDAT ultimately became what the German paper calls “the secret heart of Iran’s nuclear weapons program”, answering directly to the Defense Ministry.

FEDAT is currently run by Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, 48, a professor at Tehran’s Imam Hussein University and officer in the Revolutionary Guard. Western intelligence agencies say FEDAT and the Ministry of Science are working together to create the bomb. They also believe that a primitive nuclear weapon the size of a truck will be completed this year.

Two to four years after that, the bomb will be compressed to a size capable of fitting into a nuclear warhead and being launched at Israel.

Iran is believed to have conducted successful tests of a nuclear detonating device 6 years ago.

Despite the severity of the situation, the international community is still undecided on sanctions of Iran. China is considered likely to try to block sanctions, as it currently holds billions of dollars in energy deals with the country.

A military option may prove difficult, according to military experts, because many of the Iranian nuclear installations are deep underground.

The report will likely cause the US government to raise its alarm level from yellow to red, according to Der Spiegel. “Skeptics who in the past, sometimes justifiably so, treated alarmist reports as Israeli propaganda, are also extremely worried,” including IAEA officials, said the magazine. The report also says, somewhat cryptically, that a laptop computer passed on to the IAEA by way of German and American intelligence agencies contained highly volatile material.

No compromise

Fears of a nuclear Iran have been compounded by information provided by Iran’s former deputy defense minister, Ali Reza Asgari, and nuclear scientist Shahram Amiri, both of whom defected to the United States and were given new identities.

Iran has consistently stated that its nuclear program is for the peaceful provision of nuclear energy to the country’s citizenry.

In October, the IAEA presented a plan to Iran which had been developed by the US government. Under the plan, Iran would send 70% of its low-enriched uranium abroad. A year later, the uranium would be exchanged for fuel rods, a potent form of nuclear fuel which is very difficult to enrich for military purposes.

The plan would have provided sufficient fuel for a nuclear energy program and to fuel the reactor for scientific experiments. At the same time, the world would have been assured that Iran truly had no intention of developing nuclear weapons.


Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

(Israel Today News)

The head of security at the American Consulate in Jerusalem recently suggested in a conversation with Israeli security officials that all Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria (settlers) are potentially murderous assassins, reported Israel’s Ynet news portal.

In a meeting with Israel Police Deputy Inspector General Meir Ben-Yishai the regional security officer at the American Consulate in Jerusalem, Tim Laas, rebuked a request that American consular vehicles be more cooperative at Israeli security checkpoints.

According to Ynet, Laas said: “I don’t want your security officers to check our cars. What if there are settlers among them? I will not have my people end up like slain Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.”

Rabin was assassinated by an Israeli sympathetic to the growth of Jewish communities in areas claimed by the Arabs.

The meeting between Laas and Ben-Yishai came shortly after an incident at the Gilboa crossing in the northern “West Bank” in November, when a convoy of US diplomatic vehicles refused requests by Israeli security officials to provide identification or allow inspection of the vehicles.

The confrontation nearly turned deadly when one of the Palestinian drivers in the American convoy lunged his vehicle at an Israeli border guard.


Monday, January 25th, 2010

(Israel Today News)

Pan-Arab newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat reported on Monday that Syria has begun calling up reserve military forces in anticipation of a full-scale war with Israel.

Officials in Syria and from Lebanon’s Hizballah terrorist militia have been saying for the past week that they are being threatened by Israeli military maneuvers along the Israel-Lebanon border, and expect the Israeli army to launch a surprise attack on Hizballah positions in Lebanon.

According to UN Resolution 1701 that ended the 2006 Lebanon War, Hizballah is not supposed to have any positions in southern Lebanon, but the international peacekeeping force on the ground there has not enforced those terms.

On Saturday, Israeli cabinet minister Yossi Peled, a former commander of Israel’s Northern Command, said at an event in Beersheva that “we are heading for another round of battle with Hizbullah in the north.”

Over the weekend, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office clarified that Israel is not looking for another war on its northern border, and the current chief of Northern Command, Maj.-Gen. Gadi Eizenkot said that Arab reports of tension along the border are unfounded.

“Reports in the media about tension in the North is a virtual reality that has no grounds in reality,” said Eizenkot during a ceremony at the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv. He warned, however, that if the Arabs start something, Israel will respond with disproportionate force.

Also at the weekend, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner acknowledged that Israel is very unlikely to initiate another armed conflict, but warned that Iranian agents might try to escalate the situation on the Israel-Lebanon border in order to divert attention from Iran’s nuclear program.


Saturday, January 23rd, 2010

The Palestinian Authority over the weekend expressed concern over Hamas’s growing attempts to gain recognition from the international community and warned EU representatives against engaging in dialogue with the extreme Islamist movement.

A senior PA official in Ramallah condemned initiatives by some EU citizens and officials to talk to Hamas, accusing them of “ignoring the fact that Hamas had staged a coup in the Gaza Strip.”

The official warned that meetings between Hamas and Westerners was “playing into the hands” of the movement and undermining efforts to achieve reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah.

“Those who are trying to legitimize Hamas are harming the Palestinian Authority and any chance of achieving peace with Israel,” he said.

Hamas officials, meanwhile, said that their group accepts the two-state solution but only as a temporary one.

The warning came following a meeting in Hebron last week between Palestinian Legislative Council Speaker Abdel Aziz Dwaik and British businessman David Martin Abrahams, who said that he was on a mission to “facilitate dialogue between Hamas and the international community.”

During the meeting, Dwaik announced that Hamas accepted Israel’s existence and was even prepared to consider the possibility of “nullifying” its charter. Dwaik stated that Hamas has agreed to the establishment of a Palestinian state within the pre-1967 lines and noted that Ismail Haniyeh and Khaled Mashaal had already accepted the idea.

Dwaik’s remarks, which were first published in The Jerusalem Post, sparked controversy among the movement’s top brass. Hamas leaders and spokesmen made every possible effort to explain what Dwaik really meant when he talked about accepting Israel and “nullifying” the charter. Dwaik himself appeared to be confused and under pressure in light of the storm created by his controversial remarks. He initially claimed that some of the statements attributed to him were “inaccurate” and that Hamas had never recognized Israel’s right to exist.

Dwaik said that he and other Hamas representatives made it clear during the meeting with Abrahams that Hamas “accepts the de facto existence of Israel but does not recognize the legitimacy of its occupation of Palestinian territories.”

On the possibility that Hamas would consider canceling its charter, Dwaik said he reminded Abrahams that the PLO, which had canceled its charter under Israeli and American pressure, did not achieve anything in the interest of the Palestinians. He also said that Hamas was planning to continue its discussions with Abrahams and other Westerners.

Mahmoud Ramahi, another top Hamas operative in the West Bank, said in response to Dwaik’s comments that his movement was indeed willing to accept an independent Palestinian state within the pre-1967 lines, but only on a temporary basis and without recognizing Israel’s right to exist.

Ghazi Hamad, a senior Hamas representative in the Gaza Strip, confirmed that his movement was considering the possibility of changing its charter. In an interview with the Saudi daily Okaz, Hamad said that the Hamas charter, like any other document, may be subject for changes and discussions.

But Hamad also stressed that “accepting” Israel did not mean that Hamas would “recognize” the Jewish state.

Salah Bardaweel, a Hamas legislator and spokesman from the Gaza Strip, said in response to the Post story that his movement was not seeking the destruction of Israel.

“There is a huge difference between our demand to restore the Palestinian people’s rights and the annihilation of Israel,” he told a Hamas-affiliated Web site. “We haven’t said that we want to destroy Israel, but we are striving to restore our people’s rights and refugees’ right to return to their dwellings and land from which they were deported.”

Bardaweel also confirmed Dwaik’s remarks that Hamas was seeking to launch a dialogue with the international community.

Hamas’s efforts to explain its position came after Fatah spokesmen, responding to last week’s Post story, accused the group of double-talk. “The true face of Hamas has finally been exposed by Dwaik’s remarks to the British millionaire,” said Ahmad Assaf, a spokesman for Fatah in the West Bank.
“Hamas is seeking recognition of the international community at the expense of the Palestinians’ interests and national rights.” Hamas is talking in two voices and has two policies, Assaf charged. “In one voice directed toward our people and Arabs and Muslims, Hamas is saying that it’s a resistance movement,” he said. “In another voice directed toward the international community, Hamas is talking about its readiness to recognize Israel and accept a long-term hudna [temporary truce].”

The Fatah spokesman described Dwaik’s attempts to clarify his remarks as “an attempt to deceive public opinion by playing with words.” Assaf added that Dwaik’s clarifications actually confirmed his position as published in the Post.


Friday, January 22nd, 2010

US President Barack Obama said in an interview with Time magazine published on Thursday that he had erred in raising expectations of a quick and smooth peace process between Israel and the Palestinians under his auspices.

Obama said during his first year in office, he had learned what former presidents also had to discover the hard way – that there are deep-seated, ancient and religious differences at play in the Middle East conflict that make it difficult for either side to move forward.

Obama said he knew that it wouldn’t be easy going in, but overestimated his ability to persuade the Israelis and the Arabs to brush aside their disagreements and reach a final status peace agreement.

Obama almost seemed to excuse Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas’ intransigence by saying he had “Hamas looking over his shoulder and, I think, an environment generally within the Arab world that feels impatient with any process.”

Israel, on the other hand, was the recipient of muted criticism when the president said that only after “a lot of time” did Jerusalem finally offer and implement gestures to get talks back on track, and even then they were not the “bold gestures” Washington and the Arabs had demanded.

In November, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu implemented a 10-month freeze on Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria to entice the Palestinians back to the negotiating table. At the time, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton praised what she called an “unprecedented” move, and nearly scolded Abbas for remaining defiant.

But as the weeks went by and the Palestinians made it clear they would settle for nothing less than total Israeli surrender, the Obama Administration changed its tune and began pressuring Israel to come further in line with Arab demands.

An Israeli official cited by Israel’s Channel 2 News on Thursday said the Netanyahu government had warned Obama that making peace would not be so easy, and that for more than a decade Israeli gestures and concessions had only led to increased Arab demands that Israel couldn’t possibly meet.

The official echoed criticism over the past couple months by Israeli commentators that Obama had actually made the situation worse by raising Palestinian expectations that he would back bigger demands on Israel than previous presidents.

As a result, Abbas has today set red lines that no Israeli prime minister could accept, making the conclusion of a peace deal in the near future all but impossible.


Thursday, January 21st, 2010

by Hillel Fendel

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu says that Israel will have to encircle any new Arab entity in Judea and Samaria, in order to prevent rocket smuggling.

Speaking with foreign reporters, Netanyahu said that Israel must ensure “an efficient way, at the entry and exit points, to stop rockets from being smuggled into the territories close to Israel.”

“This will require an Israeli presence on the eastern side of the Palestinian state,” the Prime Minister continued. “I don’t know how it will be executed, but it has to happen.”

Netanyahu has long held that Israel must control the Jordan Valley, which is the eastern edge of Judea and Samaria, in any future peace arrangement with the Palestinian Authority. He has similarly said that any future PA state must be demilitarized.

The Prime Minister called yet again for PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas to enter into resumed negotiations with Israel without conditions: “They must get down off the tree. They climbed up a high tree, and they like it there. The more ladders that are brought, the higher they climb up.”

Chief PA negotiator Saeb Erekat ignored Netanyahu’s calls for a resumption of talks, but said, “Netanyahu is once again trying to set facts on the ground by himself.”


Thursday, January 21st, 2010

(Israel Today News)

A document released by the Vatican this week blamed Israel not only for the exodus of Christians from Palestinian-controlled territories, but for the plight of Christians across the entire Middle East.

The document will serve as the basis for an October gathering of bishops to discuss the difficulties of minority Christian communities in the Muslim world.

It was largely authored by Arab bishops from the Middle East, most of whom said that the Israeli “occupation” of Arab-claimed lands is the root cause of nearly all oppression of Christians in the region. They suggested that in the absence of the “occupation,” radical Islamic forces across the region would lose support and be unable to cause trouble for Christians.

The document also appeared to justify the use of terrorist violence by Muslims in both Israel and Iraq:

“Violence is in the hands of the strong and weak alike, the latter resorting to whatever violence is within reach in order to be free.”

A Vatican official told reporters on Tuesday that the Catholic Church is not trying to take sides or make policy recommendations, but insisted that the Middle East-based bishops who authored the document “know the situation well.”


Wednesday, January 20th, 2010

By Obadiah Shoher

Obama has lost many confrontations: with Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Russia—just about everyone. But his failure with Syria stands out as a monument to ineptitude.

It was almost impossible to fail with Syria. The country is led by a strong dictator who would have no trouble implementing any agreement. Syria’s Alawite regime is isolated from the population and needs foreign support. Assad is secular and cynical: he can pragmatically accept an alliance with America and disregard its anti-Islamic connotations. Syria is dirt poor, without any significant sponsor—it was up for grabs for peanuts.

In no place was the situation rosier for Obama than in Syria. Mubarak, a strong secular leader, is highly dependent on public opinion because Egypt is a democracy. Mubarak, accordingly, cannot push Hamas or the PA too hard. The Saudi royals, strong authoritarian leaders, have to uphold their Islamic credentials, especially in face of Shia expansion. The Iraqi government is too weak to implement anything.

Assad wants two small things: Lebanon and money. On Lebanon, he is both right and makes sense. Lebanon is not a viable state, but must be divided in among Israel, Syria, and the Christians. At any rate, America has no interest in Lebanon whatsoever. The United States was dragged into the conflict by France, a long-time imperial power in Lebanon. To imagine Lebanon free of Syrian influence is unrealistic, and such a state would not be better off. Long gone are the days when Lebanon was the Middle East’s Las Vegas and Switzerland together; now it is a “red-light” district at most. Productive middle-class Christians have fled the country, which is now prone to sectarian clashes. Lebanon’s real choices are a Shiite state aligned with Iran, an Afghanistan-type area of perpetual tribal conflicts, or a secular state under Syrian control. Lebanon was historically a part of Syria. Syria controls it by controlling the flow of arms and commercial cargo through Lebanon’s northern border. There is not a chance that Syria would abandon Lebanon.

In terms of money, Assad can settle for very little. He is so poor he could only afford four MiG-31E’s, two of them dead, for spare parts. Poverty has made Syria very economical: instead of fighting its own war in Lebanon, it prefers to allow Iran to do the job, and claims its chunk of influence by periodically closing down the flow of Iranian arms to Hezbollah. Assad employed similar tactics with Iraq: he obtained influence there on the cheap merely by intermittently allowing Al Qaeda fighters free border access and then clamping down on them. A billion dollars a year in American aid, coupled with access to Western markets, would cause Assad to abandon Iran. As an Alawite, he despises those extroverted Shiite nuts.

The price of failure vis-à-vis Syria would be astronomical. Assad Sr was right saying that there can be no war in the Middle East without Egypt, but no peace without Syria. Syria can destabilize every country in the vicinity by simply opening its borders to terrorists. Young Assad lacks the political acumen of his artful father, but he is far smarter, a sort of Michael Corleone to his father’s Vito. He understands that he does not need many weapons: Jews have a low tolerance to losses and are afraid even of his chemical arsenals, which have long proved useless in offensive warfare. So Assad concentrates on what can be termed nominal arsenals: a large number of outdated missiles and some chemical and biological weapons. His nuclear program could not produce more than a few bombs, and it is not clear at all whether the program was Syria’s or whether Syria was just hosting a part of Iran’s nuclear development. Assad’s danger lies in his rationality: he is equally comfortable working with the Americans and the Iranians and spends frugally without involving himself in the arms race. He prefers an alliance with the Russians, which brings him very little aid, but no commitments and some weapons, to deep involvement with Americans.

Israel cannot make peace with Syria on her own: Assad is interested in the Western world rather than the Golan Heights. Any agreements with Syria will remain on paper and will not lead to normalization, as indeed there is no normalization with Egypt. The absence of normalization is not Assad’s fault: he has noted correctly that popular Arab hostility against Israel precludes normal relations.

Since Syria is a major enemy, and making peace with it is impossible, Israel must resort to retaliation, containment, and forced demilitarization by relentless bombing raids in response to Syrian aid to Hamas and Hezbollah. Assad does not value those terrorist outfits highly enough to risk his presidential palaces, and the world would remain relatively quiet while Israel bombed the rogue state.


Wednesday, January 20th, 2010

by Hana Levi Julian

( Cairo has rolled up the red carpet and announced that Damascus-based Hamas political bureau chief Khaled Mashaal is unwelcome in the Egyptian capital. Officials in the Egyptian capital are hoping the ban will exert enough pressure to force Hamas into reconciling with its rival, the Palestinian Authority’s ruling Fatah faction.

Egypt has refused to meet with Mashaal until he cooperates with its efforts to re-establish a PA unity government. The last time external mediators – Saudi Arabian and Egyptian leaders – succeeded in forcing the two factions into a similar framework, the so-called “unity” lasted barely two days. Ultimately it dissolved into the bloody militia war that ended with Hamas seizing total control over Gaza, leaving Fatah as the ruling faction over the PA areas in Judea and Samaria.

Mashaal is also the Hamas official primarily responsible for repeatedly failed negotiations for the release of captive IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, held hostage in Gaza since he was abducted by Hamas-linked terrorists in June 2006.

According to a report published Tuesday in the Kuwaiti newspaper Al Jareeda, Egypt has made its position clear to a number of Arab states, including Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. Mashaal had apparently appealed to both in hopes they would mediate between Hamas and Cairo.

However, Egypt maintained a firm stance in backing PA Chairman and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas, who said he would not meet with Mashaal unless Hamas signed an Egyptian proposal for reconciliation between the two factions. Egypt maintained that it had no objections to receiving a Hamas delegation to sign the document, “as it is and without amendments,” the paper reported.

Kuwait has been working to arrange a reconciliation summit between the two factions as a follow-up to Egypt’s negotiations, Kuwait Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammad Al Sabah told reporters on Sunday. He noted that Abbas and Mashaal had both been to Kuwait in recent weeks to visit separately with its Amir, Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah.

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