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

Archive for March, 2011


Thursday, March 31st, 2011

by Hillel Fendel (IsraelNationalNews)

A Wednesday interview with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu appears on the YouTube World View series, based on questions from viewers around the world. The 25-minute long interview with the Israeli leader, featuring a clear and succinct presentation of Israel’s stance on critical issues, is the third in the YouTube World View series. The series features interviews with world leaders based on questions from viewers around the world; Netanyahu follows U.S. President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron.

The interview was held in Netanyahu’s home in Jerusalem, and was screened live on Channel Two news, whose star interviewer, Dana Weiss, asked the questions. The queries were asked and voted upon by the YouTube community around the world. A record number of questions – 3,673 – from a record number of countries – 90 – were asked of PM Netanyahu.

Asked what experience most changed his life, Netanyahu said that it was the fall in battle of his brother Yoni as he commanded the Entebbe rescue of Israeli hostages from the hands of German and Arab terrorists. “That event changed my life and steered it towards its present course,” Netanyahu said. “Yoni believed that the war against terrorism was not merely military, but also political and moral – and that is the war that I have been waging for these 35 years… When I go to visit a bereaved family [of Israelis murdered by terrorists or killed in battle] and I see a mother grieving for her son, I say, ‘That’s my mother.’ And when I see a father grieving for his son, I say, ‘That’s my father.’ And when I see a brother grieving for her son, I say, ‘That’s me.’ When I have to send our soldiers into harm’s way, I think [an extra time], and I think it makes me a more responsible leader.”

He was similarly asked, as were Obama and Cameron before him, “If you could ask one question of a world leader, what it would be and to whom?” Netanyahu said, “I would ask Winston Churchill, the Prime Minister of Britain during World War II, ‘Is there anything you could have done differently to persuade the world to act in time against Nazism?’ Because even though he was a great leader, he failed in this task of getting the world to wake up to Nazism in time. Perhaps his answer would be, ‘Naah, nothing could have been done differently, because ultimately there’s such a thing as the slumber of democracies, they have to be banged on the head.’ I feel that same frustration now, because I’ve been talking for 15 years about the danger of Iranian nuclear terrorism, how they could control the world’s oil supply, and how they threaten our country with obliteration and could do the same with others. You try, and you try, and you try, and I don’t want to say that there’s been no progress – but not the kind of mobilization that is required against something so great.”

One question dealt with the violence and uprisings in Middle Eastern countries: “What side are you [Israel] on, and do you feel threatened?” Netanyahu: “We’re all on the same side – Israel, America, the democratic world, we all want to see is the triumph of democracy. This includes the people of Iran, where it really all began a year and a half ago – not in Tunisia, as is widely thought. The Iranians stormed the streets because they had a fake election there. So we want democracy, but we’re all concerned, I suppose, that the democracy will be hijacked by radical or militant Islamic regimes. That’s what happened five years ago in Lebanon. People there wanted to see a liberal, open, tolerant Lebanon – but five years later, we don’t have that kind of democracy: we rather have a theocracy, with Iran and Hizbullah controlling Lebanon. We don’t want militant theocracies.”

Netanyahu reiterated several times that Israel “is the only country in the Middle East where Arabs and Muslims enjoy full civil rights.”

The top vote-getting question was this: “Do you believe that approving more homes in the settlements in response to the slaughter in Itamar will bring peace, and if so, how?” Netanyahu: “Well, look, first of all, I think that a few houses is not the real issue. I think the real issue is –” At this point, interviewer Weiss interrupted and said, “One second. Because the asker is not here, I’m going to ask you to answer his question, and not the question that you think is the main issue.” Netanyahu: “No, no, I’m answering: He asks if the settlements will stop peace, and I’m saying that this is not the reason we don’t have peace! The reason we don’t have peace is because the Palestinian Authority, so far, refuses to recognize a Jewish State in any borders.

“They negotiated for 18 years when there was plenty of settlement construction, and they didn’t make it a pre-condition, so a few houses on less than 1% of 1% of the land is not a big thing. Yes, it’s disputed land – we have a historical connection to it. My name is Benjamin; the first Benjamin, the son of Jacob, walked these hills 4,000 years ago, so we have some connection with this land. The Palestinians claim it, so we have to sit down and discuss it, we’re prepared to negotiate; they’re not.”

Netanyahu also explained that the new units are being built “in areas that every fair-minded person knows will remain in our hands – suburbs of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.” Reminded that U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon had just called for an end to settlement construction, Netanyahu said, “Any one in his right mind knows that this is part of the ancestral Jewish homeland; it’s in the Bible. We have to reach a compromise, everyone knows we can’t kick out 350,000 or 400,000 Jews from their homes; many of them, by the way, were kicked out [from their homes in Arab countries] before the founding of Israel by hostile Arab armies…”

Continuing to attack the PA obstinacy of Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria, Netanyahu said, “We had 50 years of conflict before there was a single Israeli in any of these settlements – what was that all about? For decades, when [Judea and Samaria] was in Arab hands, they attacked us again and again, even though there were no Jewish settlements [in Judea and Samaria].”

Jewish day school students in Ohio asked Netanyahu if he was concerned about a new Palestinian intifada –apparently a reference to the plans to march on Israel on May 15 – and what can be done to stop it. He did not address the question directly, but said only that he hopes the Palestinians will choose peace and not alliance with Hamas.

Asked what the United States gains from its alliance with Israel, the Prime Minister said, “My answer would be: Are you kidding? The entire Middle East all the way up to India is shaking and rocking, and the only stable country in the whole place is Israel! … If we didn’t exist, America would have to invent us! If not for Israel, the entire Middle East would simply collapse.”

He concluded by listing what he felt were the two great missions facing our generation and the next one: “We must make sure Iran and other radical regimes do not get nuclear weapons, and we must find a substitute for oil.”


Thursday, March 31st, 2011

by Ryan Jones (Israel Today News)

Average Israelis may be indifferent at best toward their Jesus-following Jewish brethren, but their distaste for the domineering attitude and behavior of many in the Orthodox Jewish community has resulted in a new phenomenon of average “secular” Israelis coming to the defense of Messianic Jews.

Nowhere has this been more pronounced than in the Israeli media, which over the past several years has on numerous occasion portrayed Messianic Israelis in a positive light.

The latest occurrence of this was on Wednesday evening, when Israel Channel One’s “Second Look” program compared local Messianic Jews to the anti-missionary group Yad L’Achim, which has dedicated itself to harassing and driving out believers in Yeshua (Jesus).

Opening the program, the Channel One anchor noted that at a recent Yad L’Achim rally, Messianic Jews were declared as dangerous to the Jewish nation as Hitler had been, a significant escalation in incitement against local Messianics.

The segment, which was titled “The Jewish Big Brother,” began with an interview with a young Jewish woman who does not believe in Yeshua. She is an organ player, and the only place she could find to practice her music was a downtown Jerusalem monastery, which was happy to oblige her.
But that’s when the trouble began, both for the girl and the monastery.

The girl recounted how her parents received an anonymous written warning from Jewish “anti-missionaries” who said their daughter was being preyed upon by Christians.

When the girl continued accepting the hospitality of the monastery she began receiving anonymous phone calls, and was sure she was being followed and watched. “I felt like I was in a suspense movie,” she said. “I was constantly looking over my shoulder.”

Yad L’Achim also targeted the monastery itself, advising Israel’s Ministry of the Interior to revoke the residency visa of the priest overseeing the facility. His case is still pending, but the priest has been forced to all but go underground in an effort to preserve both his and his staff’s ability to be in Israel.

Yad L’Achim director Rabbi Shalom Dov Lifschitz told Channel One that if the “missionaries” are not stopped, soon “there will be no Jews left here.” The girl who was interviewed said she had never once been pressured to accept Yeshua by the priest or his staff. But, in addition to wondering why Yad L’Achim has such influence over the Ministry of the Interior, Channel One questioned why it is such a problem for Jews to believe in Yeshua.

The second part of the report interviewed several local Messianic Jews, including Avner and Rachel Boski, whom the anchor noted “believe that the Messiah has already been here, and that his name is Yeshua. They believe there is no problem believing in him and remaining Jewish.”

Avner Boski explained that not all Israelis feel that way. “When we were immigrating, and we came through the Ministry of the Interior, everything was going fine,” said Boski. “Then, one day, we were told that there is a problem, that information had come from Yad L’Achim – she said this three times.”

The problem is that Yad L’Achim views believers in Yeshua as “soul snatchers” who want to turn Jews into Christians, thus spiritually destroying the Jewish people.

A Yad L’Achim promo video teaches that there are two parallel efforts to destroy the Jews – the physical, and the spiritual – and that Messianic Jews are the product and the proponent of the second.

Boski noted that today Yad L’Achim has gone far beyond just targeting those believers in Yeshua who openly proselytize. “Just believing in Yeshua makes us dangerous enough in their eyes,” he said.

Asher Intrater, head of the Revive Israel ministry and the Jerusalem-area Messianic congregation Ahavat Yeshua, said it is not right to refer to Messianic Jews as missionaries, at least not without applying the same label to Orthodox groups like Yad L’Achim.

“We are not ashamed of our faith, and will share it with anyone who asks,” said Intrater. “But we don’t pressure or coerce anyone.”

“The truth,” Intrater pointed out, “is that the Orthodox Jews proselytize a hundred times more than we do.”

Anyone who has driven a car in Israel can attest to how often Israelis are approached by proselytizing Orthodox Jews at stop lights throughout the country.

A number of other Messianic Israelis were interviewed and given a chance to tell their stories, including Pnina Conforti, whose popular bakery has been repeatedly targeted by Yad L’Achim.

Following the interviews, the anchor debated with two Israeli lawmakers – Michael Ben-Ari of the religious National Union party, and Nitzan Horovitz of the secular Meretz Party.

Horovitz and the anchor were openly agitated by the Ben-Ari’s defense of Yad L’Achim’s actions and his insistence that believers in Yeshua pose a threat to the Jewish state by simple virtue of their faith.

“I receive far more complaints of missionary activity by Orthodox Jewish organizations!” Horovitz exclaimed, echoing Intrater’s earlier assessment that it is not Messianic Jews who are trying to coerce Israelis to accept their beliefs.

“They [the Orthodox] are constantly looking for enemies,” Horovitz continued. “But we do not have an enemy in Christianity.”

Throughout the second half of the report were interspersed clips of Yad L’Achim and its Orthodox supporters holding hostile and heated rallies, while Messianic Jews were shown calmly praying for Israel at their places of worship.

The message was clear: Messianic Jews are not a threat to Israel or the spirit of the Jewish nation, but Yad L’Achim just might be.


Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

by Chana Ya’ar (IsraelNationalNews)

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad addressed the nation from the parliament on Wednesday in what appeared to be a carefully staged production, with huge rallies of support and wild applause.

Legislators chanted as he entered, “God, Syria and Bashar only!” and “Our souls, our blood we sacrifice for you Bashar.”

Estimates of how many people have died to date in clashes between protesters and government security forces since a government crackdown began March 18 vary greatly.

Activists on social networking sites claim that more than 130 people have been killed. Human rights groups have told reporters that more than 60 have died. The government estimate stands at 30. But at least 200 have been wounded in recent demonstrations.

One of Assad’s first moves was to express the hope that Arab unrest across the region would bear fruit in the Palestinian Authority’s fight against Israel, while carefully distancing Syrian citizenry from the PA sector.

“We believe and hope that these transformations will change the track of the Palestinian cause, to further commit to the rights and [not make] compromises… We, in Syria, have different characteristics, domestically and on the external level,” he said.

He blamed “foreign conspirators” for the unrest in his own country, saying the protests were aimed at enforcing an “Israeli agenda.”

He also accused satellite TV stations and other news outlets of telling lies.

Assad vowed to make reforms, saying, “If I did not want to make reforms, I wouldn’t have announced them in 2005.” But Assad gave no specifics or timetable saying only, “That will be discussed.”

The only information he announced was the establishment of a new People’s Council and the appointment of a new administration. Other measures he said would be announced by a new cabinet, including plans to enhance national unity and fight corruption.”

Assad added that everything is open for discussion – employment, salaries, national unity and corruption. However, reforms could take up to 10 years. “We have to understand that ‘reform’ is not the hip trend of the season,” he cautioned. “The important thing is to be fast, but not impulsive.”

The country’s state of emergency, in force since the Baath party seized power in 1963, was allegedly lifted Sunday, March 27. The despised emergency law allows the government to arrest citizens without filing charges, among other moves.

However, pan-Arab satellite television network Al Jazeera noted that although presidential adviser Bouthaina Sha’aban said the emergency law would “absolutely” be lifted, he failed to give a timetable, as did the Syrian President.

Assad fired his cabinet en masse on Tuesday in response to the demands of protesters. The move leaves the President without a government until at least the end of the week, although the cabinet will continue to run the country’s affairs until its replacement has been appointed.

“Sons and daughters of the country, you have expressed your will by demonstrating yesterday [to support the regime,]” he told the nation. “Ending strife is a national duty. And those who do not work to end strife are supporting it.”

The United States will stay out of Syria, according to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Speaking in an interview broadcast on the CBS News program “Face the Nation with Bob Schieffer,” Clinton said the situation in Syria was very different from that in Libya.

“Each of these situations is unique,” Clinton said. “Certainly we deplore the violence in Syria, we call as we have on all of these governments … to be responding to their people’s needs, not to engage in violence, permit peaceful protests and begin a process of economic and political reform.”

The country’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade this week strengthened its warning against travel to Israel’s northeastern neighbor.

“Further protests and violent clashes are possible in any part of Syria,” the warning reads. In addition, the government warned its citizens who are already in the country to exercise extreme caution. “Australians in Syria should avoid all protests and large gatherings as they may turn violent,” the DFAT wrote, adding there is also a high risk of terrorist attacks.

Because Australia has no diplomatic mission in Syria, its citizens were advised to turn to the Canadian Embassy for assistance if need be.


Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

by Ryan Jones (Israel Today News)

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday reiterated that the world body expects Israel to immediately surrender to internationally-backed Arab demands that it relinquish all claims to the Jews’ biblical heartland of Judea and Samaria and half of their ancient capital of Jerusalem.

The Jewish presence in the so-called “West Bank,” which includes the eastern half of Jerusalem, is “morally and politically unsustainable, and must end,” Ban insisted during a press conference in Uruguay.

Meanwhile, the Palestinians are moving forward plans to unilaterally declare an independent state with the support of the UN, outside the framework of a land-for-peace deal with Israel.

Palestinian leaders indicated that they will make such a move later this year. The motion is almost certain to be shot down in the UN Security Council, where the US exercises veto power, but will be widely adopted by the UN General Assembly, which most will see as more than adequate for “Palestine” to be declared a state.

Israeli officials are busy lobbying various nations against supporting this move. But diplomats fear their efforts are bearing little fruit, since Israel is not presenting any kind of alternative plan or process.

Many within Israel are urging Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to stop playing the diplomatic game by the Arab world’s rules, and to instead begin insisting that the UN approach the peace process from the viewpoint that the West Bank and Jerusalem are disputed territories, where Jews have just as much, if not more, claim than local Palestinian Arabs.

But it is likely too late for that. And if it comes down to the UN General Assembly recognizing “Palestine,” Israel may be forced into desperate action.

An unnamed Israeli official told the Associated Press on Tuesday that if the Palestinians seek recognition of their sovereignty in the UN, Israel may annex the parts of the West Bank most populated by Jews – the much-maligned “settlement blocs.”

Israel already annexed the eastern half of Jerusalem decades ago, but that decision is all but ignored by the international community.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: The United Nations is indeed the “United Nothing” – it stands in a hypocritical, compromising, shameful position in relation to the State of Israel. Israel has a Biblical and historical right to its Land, and the myth that it belongs to Muslims is absolutely false in every way! May God give wisdom based on righteousness, and not political threats and intimidations.


Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

by Amiel Ungar (Arutz Sheva News)

U.S. president Barack Obama was able to please conflicting audiences with his Monday night speech at the National Defense University explaining U.S. policy in Libya.

Neo-conservatives, such as William Kristol and Robert Kagan, were quick to welcome Obama as one of their own. The two seemed to be saying that a Republican President is unnecessary if Obama is selling their policy.

Kagan called the Obama speech “Kennedy-esque” for recognizing America’s special role in the world and extolling American exceptionalism and defense of universal values. Even on multilateralism, according to Kagan, such multilateral efforts could only be galvanized by American leadership and Obama appeared to realize this in his address.

Kristol welcomed the “you’ve come a long way, baby” Obama address as an “unapologetic, freedom-agenda-embracing” speech.

Others were happy that Obama had to reverse some of his previously enunciated positions, such as those in his 2008 campaign, when he stated in his campaign book “The Audacity of Hope” that the US needed “a well articulated strategy that the public supports and the world understands”. Why was invading Iraq correct and not North Korea or Burma, then-candidate Obama asked. Now he is asked “why Libya and not Syria” by Republican presidential aspirant Tim Pawlenty.

Like any good politician, Obama strove for the center ground and portrayed his actions as the judicious avoidance of the two extremes. One is the extreme that questions why America should intervene at all, since “there are many places in the world where innocent civilians face brutal violence.”

The other extreme tends to ignore American limitations and the need to “measure our interests against the need for action.”

The latter view was on display in the regime change that the US attempted in Iraq, but, said Obama, “regime change there took 8 years, thousands of American and Iraqi lives and nearly $1 trillion. That is not something we can afford to repeat in Libya.” While his speech pleased the neoconservatives, Obama had to throw in that line to convince his constituency that he had not morphed into George Bush.

What Obama is trying to build is a doctrine that is not doctrinaire, one that allows America diplomatic flexibility. An immediate threat to the United States would be countered immediately, even by unilateral American action. “I’ve made it clear that I will never hesitate to use our military swiftly, decisively and unilaterally when necessary to defend our people, our homeland, our allies and core interests,” he said.

Issues that do not fall under that heading will require favorable conditions, such as a coalition of forces that would spare the United States the necessity of carrying costs alone. Presumably it would also have to have international legitimacy such as UN sanction.

It would be unfair to Obama to swoop down on inconsistencies. Any policy approach is going to be riddled by inconsistency. It was Ralph Waldo Emerson, who characterized consistency as the hobgoblin of little minds. There will always be a trade-off between flexibility and clarity.

However, there was also sleight-of-hand in the address, in the emphasis that NATO was going to assume leadership of the operation, as if by this name change the United States would be spared the lion’s share of the operation’s burden.

It is very well for Obama to criticize how the regime change came about in Iraq and to avoid an extended commitment. However, he has said from the outset that Qaddafi must go. If Qadaffi remains in power or if a stalemate develops in Libya, the tyrant will be transformed into the hero who stood up to America, as Nasser was after Suez.

Obama’s UN Ambassador talks of arming the insurgents. Therefore it is clear that Obama is going for regime change in Libya. If Qaddafi is ejected, who is going to run Libya? Who is going to make sure it does not turn into a failed state on the Mediterranean within a short distance of Italy? Iraq has shown that toppling a regime is the easy part while building a replacement is the harder task.

The United States has the power and the will to defend its national interests. But what does that term mean? Responding to a missile attack on Chicago is an obvious decision, but what happens if China decides to invade Taiwan?

If the United States, for example, decides that it cannot act in Iran or Syria in the same way that it acted in Libya, will it at least brand these countries as part of an axis of evil and seek their isolation? Or will it try to engage them?

Will it try to beautify the situation as Hillary Clinton did when she labeled Bashar Assad a reformer?

These are only some of the questions that arise. Some of them have no answer, even from the occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.


Tuesday, March 29th, 2011


State TV reports Assad accepts cabinet’s resignation; pro-government rallies held in capital, throughout country following a week of deadly pro-reform protests. DAMASCUS – Syrian President Bashar al-Assad accepted the resignation of the government on Tuesday, Syrian state television said. “President Assad accepts the government’s resignation,” an announcement on state television said.

Assad was expected to address the nation later on Tuesday or Wednesday in a speech which may include a decision to abolish emergency laws, after two weeks of democracy protests gripped the country.

Earlier, tens of thousands of Syrians held pro-government rallies as Assad was expected to address the nation after two weeks of democracy protests in which at least 60 people have been killed. Assad, who has been facing the gravest challenge to his 11-year rule after protests in the South spread to many parts of the country, could announce a lifting of Syria’s decades-old emergency laws.

Protesters at first had restricted their demands to more freedom, but incensed by security forces’ crackdown on them, especially in Deraa where protests first erupted, they have been calling for the “downfall of the regime”.

Syrian state television showed people in the Syrian capital Damascus, Aleppo and Hasaka, waving pictures of Assad and chanting “God, Syria, Bashar”. “Breaking News: the conspiracy has failed” declared one banner, echoing government accusations that foreign elements and armed gangs were behind the unrest.
“With our blood and our souls we protect our national unity,” another said.

Employees and members of unions controlled by Assad’s Baath Party, which has been in power for nearly 50 years, said they had been ordered to attend the rallies, where there was a heavy presence of security police.

All gatherings and demonstrations are banned in Syria, other than those sponsored by the government.

Syrian Vice President Farouq al-Shara said on Monday the 45-year-old president would give a speech in the next 48 hours that would “assure the people”. Presidential adviser Bouthaina Shaaban has said Assad had taken the decision to lift emergency law, but gave no timetable. Arab media reports said Assad was likely to sack the current cabinet.

However Syrian officials, rights activists and diplomats doubt Assad, who oversaw the crushing of a violent uprising against Kurds in the north in 2004, would completely abolish emergency laws without replacing them with similar legislation.

Emergency laws have been used since 1963 to stifle political opposition, justify arbitrary arrest and give free rein to a pervasive security apparatus.

Protesters want political prisoners freed, and to know the fate of tens of thousands who disappeared in the 1980s.

Last week Assad made a pledge to study ending emergency law, consider drafting laws on greater political and media freedom, and raise living standards, but increasingly emboldened protesters have not been mollified.

In Deraa, a southern city that has been a flashpoint of the protests, demonstrators destroyed a statue of Assad’s father late President Hafez al-Assad, remembered for his intolerance of dissent. In 1982 he sent in troops to quell an armed uprising by the Muslim Brotherhood, killing thousands and razing part of the conservative city of Hama to the ground.

Even Hama has seen protests and Assad deployed the army in the main port city of Latakia, scene of clashes in which officials said at least 12 people had been killed last week.

Assad’s crackdown on protests the likes of which would have been unthinkable two months ago in this tightly-controlled country has drawn international condemnation and pressure to speed up political reforms.


Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

by Oren Kessler (Jerusalem Post)

Once thought untouchable, the Syrian government has been brought low over the last two weeks as the revolts rocking the Middle East finally reached Bashar Assad’s police state. In a week, the dynasty that kept its people under lock and key for decades has been thrust into a battle to prove both its mettle and its very legitimacy.

“According to many observers, Assad was supposed to be immune to this kind of popular movement,” Tony Badran of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies wrote Friday on the Foreign Affairs website. “His anti- American policies and enmity toward Israel were thought to boost his legitimacy in the eyes of his people.”

The image of an invulnerable, inviolable leader was carefully cultivated by Assad’s father Hafez, Syria’s ruler for nearly three decades, and adopted rather less successfully by his gangly, physically awkward son. Still, Assad actively and effectively played the role of resistor to supposed US and Israeli designs on Syria.

Eyal Zisser, a Tel Aviv University scholar and the author of five books on Syria, said at a conference Monday at the university’s Dayan Center that polls showed that Assad’s hard-line foreign policy had made him one of the Arab world’s most popular leaders for years.

In a rare interview with Western media in January, Assad told The Wall Street Journal, “Syria is stable… Why? Because you have to be very closely linked to the beliefs of the people…This is the core issue: When there is divergence…you will have this vacuum that creates disturbances.”

The implication was that Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak had been too cozy with Washington and Jerusalem, and the gap between his sentiments and those of his people brought about his ouster.

Now, over a week after major protests first erupted in southern Syria, Assad’s government is experiencing, for the first time, the kind of strife that unseated the decades-long rulers of Tunisia and Egypt.

“If we thought Syria was immune or isolated from the winds of change, now we see they have reached the regime as well,” Zisser told The Jerusalem Post on Saturday.

Large-scale anti-government demonstrations began March 15 in the southern city of Deraa, the heart of the poor, tribal Sunni region of Hauran.

On Friday, protesters launched a second front in Latakia, a port city on Syria’s northwest coast that is the heartland of the Assads’ minority Alawite sect.

“It’s dramatic that 200 people dared to take to the streets of Damascus,” Zisser said Monday, three days after 200 people demonstrated in the capital in a rally quickly put down by Assad’s security forces. “Still, most of the protests have been in peripheral areas – particularly Deraa – as well as in coastal Syria, where the greatest friction exists between Sunnis and Alawites.”

Should the Kurds in the country’s northeast – systematically disenfranchised, with many lacking Syrian citizenship – rise up, Assad will find three corners of his ethnically disparate nation in revolt, and may begin fearing for the fate of Damascus.

“All the reasons for unrest that can be found in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya can be found in Syria as well,” said Elie Podeh, chair of Hebrew University’s Department of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies.

“First, there is the fact that the Assads have been in power for 40 years. There is no freedom, no liberty, no individual rights – basically, there is no possibility of electing a candidate other than an Assad.”

Keeping a population as disparate as Syria’s quiet requires more than empty promises of standing up to America and Israel. It requires brute force. In 1982, the elder Assad put down a Muslim Brotherhood uprising in the city of Hama with a brutal reprisal that killed anywhere from 10,000 to 40,000 people. Weeks passed before news of the massacre reached Western media. In today’s digital age, such media immunity is impossible, as the Western intervention against Muammar Gaddafi’s Libya has proven to autocrats across the region. To remain in power, Assad will have to meet the protesters with enough force to keep others from taking an example, while not provoking Western fears that Libya-scale bloodshed may be in the offing.

Completing that balancing act will determine whether Assad remains in Damascus’s presidential palace or finds himself going the way of his disgraced counterparts in Tunis and Cairo.


Monday, March 28th, 2011

by David Dolan (Jerusalem)

The peace of Jerusalem was temporarily shattered in late March when terrorists managed to launch a major attack on a crowded city sidewalk. The details are below in this month’s news and analysis report. With violent unrest still gripping much of the Middle East and North Africa, and in particular now spreading in a major way into Syria after Western nations began to enforce a no-fly zone in Libya, much of the March report looks at the escalating crisis in the region. The Palestinian rocket and mortar blitz upon many Israeli cities and towns over the past couple of weeks is also examined in detail, with a substantial IDF military reaction possible at any time if the firings continue. A potentially massive oil find in the Israeli Negev Desert is also detailed in this month’s news review—some good news amid the gloom.

I am becoming increasingly convinced that the ongoing political upheaval affecting more and more area countries will probably lead to major military action in the region, possibly even an Israeli clash with Syria and/or Hizbullah forces in Lebanon, and maybe even the long-anticipated showdown with Iran over its festering uranium enrichment nuclear program.

Meanwhile I have had several e-mails from friends who knew the Scottish Christian woman that was killed in last week’s terrorist explosion near the central Jerusalem bus station. My condolences go out to all who knew her in Israel, the UK, and Africa.

by David Dolan

As the Middle East and North Africa continued to writhe from scores of separate but connected political and military earthquakes during March, terror returned once again to the streets of Jerusalem for the first time in several years. A Christian woman originally from Scotland lost her life in the assault that also left dozens injured; several of them critically. Many security analysts warned that Israel could be witnessing the beginning of a new wave of Iranian-inspired Islamic terrorist attacks designed to destabilize the country and further harm the tourism flow, which reached record levels last year before the regional turmoil began in January.

The unsettling possibility of more terrorist atrocities just ahead was apparently buttressed by a new wave of Grad rocket and mortar attacks during the month from the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip. For the first time ever, one rocket struck a city in the southern outskirts of the Tel Aviv metropolitan area. The illegal weapons also targeted the large Israeli cities of Ashkelon, Ashdod, Beersheva and many other civilian targets. It was the heaviest sustained bombardments upon Jewish civilian centers since the Israeli-Hamas Cast Lead conflict ended in early 2009. Security experts warned that all of this strongly signals that it may be a very hot spring and summer ahead for the Jewish state—in more ways than just the weather.

Both before and after the latest terrorist outrage occurred on March 23, Israeli government and military officials were keeping a close and wary eye on the growing regional chaos that threatens to bring down more pro-Western Arab governments in the coming weeks or months, along with one or two enemies of Israel like Libya’s Muammar Qaddafi. The US-led military campaign against one of Israel’s oldest regional adversaries was quietly welcomed in Jerusalem even though the Israeli government had nothing to do with the UN-approved action in response to Qaddafi’s brutal slaughter of his own citizens.

Growing street protests in neighboring Syria—reportedly leaving over a hundred protestors dead at the hands of the regime’s ruthless forces by late March—were also being closely monitored in Jerusalem, as were similar anti-regime demonstrations in Iran. In both countries, security forces cracked down hard on the protestors unlike in Egypt during the dramatic ousting of President Hosni Mubarak in February. Government officials were also being kept abreast of continuing anti-government demonstrations in Jordan, whose peace treaty with Israel could be undermined by any serious outbreak of sustained street violence.

Israeli officials were encouraged when American Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pointed a direct finger at Iran’s extremist clerical regime for being behind a violent Shiite revolt in the strategic Gulf Sunni-ruled state of Bahrain, the home port for America’s powerful Fifth Fleet. Al Qaida was thought to be playing a major role in growing unrest further south in the troubled Arabian Peninsula country of Yemen.

Despite the fires raging all around the explosive region, there was some good news reported about Israel in the international press during March. Many media outlets noted that the compassionate Jewish state was the first country to set up an emergency field hospital in northern Japan to treat victims of the Asian country’s massive earthquake and subsequent devastating tsunami tidal surge. At the same time, an Australian newspaper reported that Israel is sitting on some of the largest shale oil deposits on earth, enough to make the country a net fuel exporter in the future, although costs for recovering such oil are usually greater than in most regular oil fields around the globe.


A powerful bomb exploded on March 23 at a bus stop just across the street from Jerusalem’s central bus station, killing one woman standing nearby the hidden explosive device and injuring around 50 others, six of them Americans. Two people were critically wounded; meaning they may eventually succumb to their wounds. Five other bystanders near the bus stop where the explosion occurred were seriously wounded, with the rest mostly suffering from various degrees of shrapnel wounds and shock. Police reported that the bomb, which destroyed the city bus shelter and damaged two nearby buses, contained copious amounts of steel balls, nails and screws to maximize the destructive and deadly impact of the blast.

The attack took place near the city’s western entrance on one of the most consistently crowded sidewalks, located directly between the central bus station and the largest public auditorium in Jerusalem, Binyamei Ha Umma, the site of the Christian Embassy’s annual Feast of Tabernacles celebrations and many other large public events. Police said the bomb had been hidden in a paper bag left at the base of a public telephone on the side of the bus shelter.

Onlookers said the explosive device was placed next to the bus shelter by an unidentified man who calmly walked away from the scene after pretending to use the phone. Security sources later confirmed the accounts, saying the blast was therefore not set off by a suicide terrorist as was frequently the case during the deadly Al Aksa Palestinian attrition war that left nearly one thousand Israelis dead and thousands more injured during the first half of the last decade, and resulted in an even greater number of Palestinian casualties. Police suspect that the bomb was either set off by a timer or, more likely, via cell phone—meaning the perpetrator was probably still within eyesight of target zone when the reverberating blast occurred.

Always prepared for such heinous terrorist explosions, Jerusalem paramedics rushed to the scene to treat the wounded while police forces cleared away onlookers in case a second explosive device or a suicide bomber was present at the site. Bystanders reported scenes of panic and chaos in the minutes after the blast occurred. The loud explosion was heard all over the center of the city and its western neighborhoods. Two shaken women went into premature labor while other people ran from the scene, some covered by blood from their shrapnel wounds. Among the injured were several children.


One day after the latest terrorist assault shattered the peace of Jerusalem, military sources said two suspects belonging to the Palestinian Islamic jihad group were apprehended near the Arab city of Jenin in Samaria. Along with the radical Hamas movement, the group had earlier praised the terrorist attack as “a natural response to ongoing Israeli crimes” against the Palestinian people—an apparent reference to escalating IDF military activity against terrorist squads who fired dozens of rockets and mortar shells into many Israeli cities and towns during March.

The British Foreign Office confirmed that the sole immediate fatality was a visiting British student-tourist named Mary Jean Gardner. They said the 59 year old Christian woman from Orkney Scotland was in Jerusalem studying at the Mount Scopus campus of Hebrew University, where she resided in a dormitory. She was learning the ancient holy language in order to return to her missionary posting in Togo Africa where she hoped to help translate the Hebrew Bible into the local language. The death of a foreign student in a terrorist blast brought back painful memories of an atrocious attack inside of the university’s Frank Sinatra cafeteria during the Al Aksa uprising which also took the lives of several foreign and Israeli students who were dining there.

While naturally expressing deep shock and condolences to the victim’s family and friends, Israeli government officials also expressed concern that the death of a foreign student in such a blast—especially at a crowded public site frequented by both Jewish and Arab Israeli citizens and many long-term foreign nationals—might further reduce the flow of overseas tourists to the country. Numbers had reached record levels in 2011, with almost three and a half million people arriving in the Holy Land from abroad. However the figures were already down in February from last year’s monthly total, apparently due to the growing regional turmoil which has received massive media attention all over the world for nearly three months. In early March, before the Jerusalem terror attack took place, tourism officials launched a $10 million dollar overseas media campaign designed to boost flagging tourism to the land.

For its part, the Palestinian Authority government headed by Mahmoud Abbas wasted no time in publicly denouncing the attack as “harmful to Palestinian interests,” which was not exactly the clear condemnation that the Israeli government was hoping for. Soon afterwards, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu warned the terrorist groups that they will “discover that the government, the Israel Defense Forces and Israeli public have the iron will to defend the country and its citizens

It had been over three years since a major terrorist assault took place in the contested Israeli capital city. However just three weeks before the late March atrocity shook the city, a municipal worker was severely injured when a bomb placed in a garbage bag on Hebron Road exploded near him, ripping off one of his arms. Other isolated terrorist incidents have occurred as well, including the attempted kidnapping last October of an Israeli security guard in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan, located near the southeastern corner of the sacred Temple Mount.

The last major assault directly involving terrorist offenders took place in 2008 when two Palestinians driving bulldozers attempted to run over nearby civilian pedestrians. The separate assaults took place in two Jerusalem locations, one further east on Jaffa Road and the other near the King David hotel. The last attack taking many lives occurred just one block from my home in February 2004, when a Palestinian homicide bomber blew up a packed city bus leaving eight passengers dead and dozens injured. One month before that, a suicide terrorist destroyed a bus near the Prime Minister official office not far from the central bus station, leaving ten people dead.


As mentioned above, Palestinian militiamen operating inside of the fenced off Gaza Strip sharply stepped up their rocket and mortar attacks as March progressed, hitting several new targets for the first time in the process. Schools and many businesses were shut and emergency alarm systems were activated as rockets were fired at several large Israeli cities, including Ashkelon, Beersheva and the city of Rishon Letzion—located just eight miles south of Tel Aviv and considered a suburban bedroom community with most residents working in the heavily populated metropolitan area.

Military officials instructed local residents in the affected cities and towns to stay off the roads unless absolutely necessary while keeping close to area bomb shelters. At least two other Israeli towns suffered their first ever rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip, including Gedera which is just 17 miles southeast of Tel Aviv and due east of the port city of Ashdod, which was also the recipient of several Iranian-produced grad rockets.

Although they are hoping to avoid it, Israeli officials warned that another major IDF military operation may become necessary if the mushrooming rocket and mortar barrage did not come to an end very quickly. This came after the Hamas movement denied that it was behind most of the firings, claiming that Islamic Jihad activists armed by Iran were carrying out the almost daily assaults. Islamic Jihad fighters belonging to the so-called Al Quds (Jerusalem) Brigades took responsibility for at least some of the assaults in a statement handed to journalists based in Gaza City.

Whoever is ultimately behind the attacks, Israeli leaders repeated what they have clearly stated many times before—Hamas will be held ultimately responsible for all armed assaults emanating from the Gaza Strip since the powerful Muslim fundamentalist group is in overall control of the crowded Palestinian coastal zone.

Speaking at a press conference with visiting American Secretary of Defense Robert Gates just hours after Palestinian rockets struck near the strategic port city of Ashdod, Defense Minister Ehud Barak demanded that Hamas control groups under its overall authority, especially the Islamic Jihad terrorist militia, or pay the direct and swift consequences. After meeting privately with Gates, PM Netanyahu stated he was ready to order that “full force” be used against Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip, telling the visiting American official that “no country could accept such attacks.” Two days later, he ordered that new anti-rocket Iron Dome defense system be deployed near Beersheva to bolster the city’s defenses.

In the meantime, the Israeli Air Force bombed dozens of Islamic Jihad and Hamas targets as the hostile rocket fire upon Jewish civilian centers escalated. Israeli army tanks stationed outside the border fence opened fire as well on a number of nearby areas from where rocket and mortar fire was detected. Just back from an overseas trip, Defense Minister Barak ordered stepped up security measures in all military outposts in the widening vicinity of the rocket fire. He did this while holding emergency meetings with senior military leaders to discuss the options for halting the rocket blitz. The Grad rockets are of special concern, being considerably more powerful and destructive than the Kassam rockets usually fired by Hamas terrorists.


The pace of regional developments was so swift and furious during March that Israeli officials themselves had trouble keeping up with all of the monumental developments swirling around them. Possibly most intriguing was said to be the growing violent unrest in nearby Syria, which could easily lead to a major war with the heavily-armed Arab police state if the besieged regime were to attempt to divert public attention away from the fierce government crackdown on protestors by focusing on a longtime external enemy. Media reports said over one hundred protestors had been killed by late March, with untold numbers injured. Scenes of the violent crackdown were broadcast on some Arab satellite networks that are viewable in Syria, while state-controlled television naturally channels pretended that all was calm.

The main fear in Jerusalem is not that Syria might suddenly open fire with its powerful long range Scud D missiles capable of carrying chemical or biological warheads (both of which are known to be in Syria’s massive arsenal), but that it could unleash its Lebanese Shiite Hizbullah militia to fire rockets and missiles at Israel, in coordination with Iran and its Islamic Jihad and Hamas allies. If so, Israel could be facing rocket barrages from both north and south like in a conventional war, with Hizbullah’s weapons fully capable of striking Tel Aviv and all other major Israeli cities and industrial centers.

Some Israeli analysts speculated that such a concerted Islamic assault might trigger off Israel’s long-planned action against Iran’s festering nuclear sites, hopefully with the public backing of the United States and its coalition allies. Given Hillary Clinton’s strong statements during March against the Iranian regime—echoed a bit more softly by President Barrack Obama—it is hoped that any such action would at least be privately endorsed by Western leaders, along with moderate Arab countries that fear a nuclear-armed Iran more than they dislike the Jewish state or America.

Iranian Revolutionary Guard forces wasted no time in violently suppressing anti-regime street protests in Tehran and other Iranian cities during the month. This came as Shiite protestors stepped up their demonstrations against the Sunni royal family ruling the strategic island state of Bahrain, connected by a bridge to nearby Saudi Arabia. Fearing for the stability of their own reign, and well aware that many foreign oil workers in the east of the country are also Shiites who look to Iran as a spiritual leader, Saudi leaders sent in their own heavily-armed military forces to support the Bahraini government attempts to quell the unrest. Israeli officials were also following fast moving developments in Yemen, concerned that the ousting of the pro-Western regime there might embolden Al Qaida members and lead to growing terrorist acts against the Saudi family regime.


With regional events speeding forward like an out of control wild fire, Israeli leaders were watching the deteriorating situation in Libya with deep interest and some anxiety. They were especially impressed that French President Nicolas Sarkozy seemed to be stepping up to the Western leadership plate to take on the notorious Arab dictator who has sponsored outrageous terrorist assaults against civilians and soldiers around the world over the years, especially Americans. Apparently fearing a flood of war refugees from the nearby oil-rich North African country, France joined Italy in enforcing a UN-sanctioned ‘no fly zone’ over Libyan skies, significantly aided by an initial burst of US military activity designed to neutralize Qaddafi’s anti-aircraft missile systems and other threatening targets.

As the regional turmoil spread even further during the month, Israeli officials were hoping that both Paris and Rome might at least privately back any significant Israeli military activity against Iran, and/or Syria, Lebanon and against Muslim jihad forces warring from the Gaza Strip. If the Obama administration at least provided some military support for any major IDF operations, it would go a long way toward easing Israeli government concerns that the coalition of enemies surrounding the country might one day succeed in significantly harming the world’s only Jewish state.

Meantime concerns over Egypt’s future direction in the wake of the mass street revolt against ousted President Hosni Mubarak eased somewhat when 74 year old former Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa emerged as the probable front-runner in national elections expected to take place before the end of this year. Although he has often been critical of Jerusalem in his public and private pronouncements, the highly educated veteran diplomat is thought to be among the most moderate of all potential presidential candidates, and has not taken any public stand against the existing peace treaty with Israel. Officials in Jerusalem certainly prefer him to Muhammad Elbaradi, the former head of the UN’s International Atomic Agency who was widely criticized for being too soft on Iran’s rouge uranium enrichment program when he headed up the UN agency. Of course, they would prefer either man over any candidate that the radical Muslim Brotherhood movement might put forward.


As if providing a divine soothing balm in the midst of the intensifying regional strife, the Israeli public was proud of the fact that their country was the world’s first to set up an on-site medical tent in the earthquake and tidal wave-stricken northeast portion of Japan. Volunteer civilian and military medical personnel and rescue experts had already more than proven their top level skills in their significant response to the devastating earthquake that ruined much of the Haitian capital city last year. Hated by much of the world and occasionally berated by Japanese government leaders over the years, many Israelis expressed pride and satisfaction in the tiny country’s willingness and ability to extend a warm hand to others in their time of great need.
Adding to the country’s cheer amid the growing regional trauma and gloom, the Melbourne-based Australian newspaper reported during March that a leading international oil expert believes Israel has massive deposits of marketable oil supplies inside of shale rock formations underneath the southern Negev Desert—which many see as a possible fulfillment of biblical prophecy.

The expert, Harold Vinegar, was the former chief scientist for the global Royal Dutch Shell conglomerate. He told the Australian newspaper that he and his research colleagues “estimate that there is the equivalent of 250 billion barrels of oil there. To put that in context, there are proven reserves of 260 billion barrels of oil in Saudi Arabia.” However Vinegar did acknowledge that it is usually more expensive to develop shale deposits, but pointed out that extracting oil from such places as the North Sea, Siberia and Alaska is also quite expensive, along with deposits from deep under the ocean floors. Employing new low-water-use technology, Vinegar believes that Israel can become a significant player in the worldwide oil market for the first time in its short modern history.

As you pray for the peace of Jerusalem and for endangered people around the Middle East, keep in mind that He who ultimately watches over the holy city and all of Israel is always fully awake, guarding His special land and His chosen children like a loving father who is ever alert in His heavenly outpost: “Behold, He who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep (Psalm 121:3).


Monday, March 28th, 2011


On eve of 35-nation talks, Italy proposes political deal to end Libya crisis; Russia criticizes Western-led air strikes. BIN JAWAD, Libya – Rebels advanced towards the birthplace of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi on Monday, streaming west along the main coastal road in pick-up trucks mounted with machine guns.

Russia criticized the Western-led air strikes that have turned the tide of Libya’s conflict, saying these amounted to taking sides in a civil war and breached the terms of a United Nations Security Council resolution.

Obama defends Libya strategy to domestic critics
West strikes Libyan forces; NATO sees 90-day campaign

On the eve of 35-nation talks in London, Italy proposed a political deal to end the Libya crisis, including a quick ceasefire, exile for Gaddafi and dialogue between rebels and tribal leaders.

Emboldened by the Western-led air strikes against Gaddafi’s forces, the rebels have quickly reversed earlier losses and regained control of all the main oil terminals in the east of the OPEC member country.

“We want to go to Sirte today. I don’t know if it will happen,” said 25-year-old rebel fighter Marjai Agouri as he waited with 100 others outside Bin Jawad with three multiple rocket launchers, six anti-aircraft guns and around a dozen pick-up trucks with machine guns mounted on them.

But the rapid advance is stretching rebel supply lines.
“We have a serious problem with petrol,” said a volunteer fighter waiting to fill his vehicle in the oil town of Ras Lanuf.

Al Jazeera said the rebels had seized the town of Nawfaliyah from forces loyal to Gaddafi, extending their advance westwards towards his hometown of Sirte, about 120 km (75 miles) away.

However a Reuters correspondent who was about 15 km (10 miles) west of Bin Jawad on the road to Nawfaliyah heard a sustained bombardment on the road ahead.

“This is the frontline. The army has stopped over there, we are stopping here,” Mohammed al-Turki, 21, a fighter at a rebel checkpoint, told Reuters, pointing to the road ahead where the sounds of blasts were coming from.

Western-led air strikes began on March 19, two days after the UN Security Council authorized “all necessary measures” to protect civilians from Gaddafi’s forces. But since the outset, the mission has faced questions about its scope and aims, including the extent to which it will actively back the rebel side and whether it might target Gaddafi himself.


Monday, March 28th, 2011

by Gavriel Queenann (Arutz Sheva News)

Protesters demanding reforms clashed with government supporters at Interior Ministry Circle in central Amman on Friday, pelting each other with rocks until security forces charged in and beat protesters, the Jordan Times reported.

The clashes, in which 120 were injured, were the most violent in more than two months of protests inspired by the popular uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt. One man, 55-year old Khairi Jamil Saad, was initially reported to have been killed while protesting but was later identified as a government supporter who died of a heart attack.

Protests in Jordan have been smaller and more orderly than those in other Arab nations, and have not sought the ouster of the country’s relatively popular King Abdullah II. But Jordanians organizing the demonstrations said they are intensifying their campaign, demanding the removal of the prime minister, creation of a more reformist government, the dissolving of what is seen as a too-docile parliament and the dismantling of the feared intelligence department.

Hundreds of anti-government activists, many of whom coordinated the action through Facebook, vowed to sit in vigil in a central Amman square until their demands are met. Their numbers swelled to more than 1,500 during the day.

By afternoon, however, several hundred government supporters attacked the protesters, sparking stone-throwing clashes until some 400 riot police stormed the square. The pro-government crowd appeared to disperse as the security forces waded in, hitting protesters with clubs and firing water cannons. At least a dozen protesters were arrested.

Police chief Lt. Gen. Hussein Majali said said 120 were hurt, including 52 policemen. Eight people were detained for questioning.

Following the clash the government pledged to protect the freedom of expression, but stressed protests must be carried out responsibly and with respect for law. Officials warned that no protest would be allowed to disrupt public order or interfere with the lives of citizens, and advised those organizing demonstrations to stage them away from from vital intersections and market places.

“Freedom of expression is a right guaranteed by the Constitution for all citizens,” Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Saad Hayel Srour said yesterday at a press conference, “and the government and security agencies have been acting accordingly for the past 12 months.”

Srour reiterated that the violent clashes that erupted between pro-government and opposition protesters was a “black mark” in the country’s freedom record. However, he stressed, “it will not stop the government from carrying on with its reform efforts and protecting public freedoms.”

Meanwhile, opposition parties, reformists and the March 24 Youth Movement on Saturday called for the resignation of the government and the leadership of the security forces, as well as the dissolution of the Lower House, holding these bodies responsible for the assault against protesters on Interior Ministry Circle Friday night.

Saturday’s protests are the first to turn violent in the key US ally since the initial outbreak of violent protests on February 11, which forced King Abdullah to sack his prime minister, shuffle his cabinet, and directly engage opposition leaders in discussions on reform. The relative quiet since then is largely attributable to Abdullah’s personal popularity and willingness to pursue reform.

“There is nothing to be afraid of,” Abdullah said in the past regarding reforms.

Thousands Protest For the Government

Elsewhere, 3,000 pro-king loyalists took to the streets of the capital in two separate protests, waving portraits of the monarch and chanting “our lives and souls we sacrifice for you, King Abdullah.”

Around 7,000 people reiterated pledges of loyalty to the king in demonstrations in the Red Sea port of Aqaba and the Jordan Valley, bordering Israel, the Petra state news agency said.

About 400 members of Islamic Action Front and their leftist allies also staged a demonstration outside Amman’s Kalouti mosque, near the Israeli Embassy. They demanded an end to Jordan’s 1994 peace treaty with Israel.

In the western city of Salt, some 300 Salafis – an ultraconservative Islamic sect banned in Jordan – protested, demanding convicted al-Qaida prisoners be released from Jordanian jails.

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