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

Archive for April, 2011


Friday, April 29th, 2011

by Hillel Fendel (Arutz Sheva News)

How should Israel deal with the Palestinian Authority’s intention to declare, with United Nations General Assembly support, a state in all of Judea, Samaria and Gaza this coming September?

Three well-known figures – Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon, ex-Ambassador to Egypt Tzvi Maz’el, and Yesha Council Chairman Danny Dayan – answered this question for the weekly B’Sheva magazine. Hevron Jewish Community David Wilder and the Legal Forum for the Land of Israel also issued their opinions.

Their answers:

Ex-Ambassador to Egypt, Sweden and Romania TZVI MAZ’EL:
“We must deal with this on the diplomatic and informational levels… It appears that the Prime Minister is traveling to France and Great Britain to discuss this topic. In my opinion, he must make it clear to the Americans, Europeans, and others that convening the UN General Assembly [for this purpose] will strike a blow at all the agreements we have signed with the PA, which determined that all problems and issues that arise between us and them… must be solved in direct talks between the sides.
When a foreign body such as the UN decides on the establishment of a Palestinian State, it essentially voids the Oslo Agreements of their content. In such a case, Israel will have to act unilaterally to protect its interests, without coordinating with the PA as we do today…

In addition, all the negotiations between Israel and the PA are based on UN resolutions 242 and 338… and on which were based the Oslo Agreements. The moment that the UN recognizes a Palestinian State, it means that 242 and 338 and all agreements based on them are void. This must be stated, in legal and political terms, as clearly as possible.

In addition, the General Assembly can only recommend, but cannot make binding decisions…

Deputy Foreign Minister DANNY AYALON:
“Let us not frighten ourselves with ungrounded theories. The Palestinian move for unilateral recognition is a threat with nothing behind it, and will not serve the Palestinians. A decision by the General Assembly will not change anything on the ground, and certainly not without Israeli cooperation…

We are working on many fronts to present the Israeli position, and many countries are realizing that this unilateral move is not relevant. The PA’s actions and intentions prove again that they are not interested in real peace with Israel– for if they were, they would come to the negotiating table and talk with us…

Those in our country who say that September will be very fateful for Israel, are often the same ones who systematically call on Israel to retreat from its position. Israel has dealt successfully in the past with even bigger challenges than this one, and has flowered and blossomed afterwards. We are in the midst of a ‘political intifada’ on the part of the PA, and we must continue to watch out for our security and interests…

At a time when we see many changes in regional regimes, it is important for the world’s democracies not to allow the establishment of another terrorist state in the Middle East.”

DANNY DAYAN, Chairman of the Yesha Council of Jewish Communities in Judea and Samaria:
“The first and primary thing that the government of Israel must do, even without taking the Palestinians’ intentions into account, is to declare clearly our claim to ownership and sovereignty over all of Judea and Samaria. While the Palestinians claim this area with lies and distortions, we must present the People of Israel’s unshakeable claim to its homeland and its intention to actualize this right. But if the Arabs talk about national rights and Israel demands only security, the game is lost from the beginning.

Of late, the government of Israel has been broadcasting signs of panic in light of the PA’s intentions. Expressions such as a ‘diplomatic tsunami’ that await us (as Defense Minister Ehud Barak said), simply increase our enemies’ motivation… causing self-fulfilling prophecies. This vicious cycle must be stopped immediately.

How? By making a 180-degree turn in policy: No more promises for concessions and gestures if they drop their unilateral approach, but rather a clear and direct threat that their unilateral steps will be met by some unilateral steps of our own. But not merely declaratory unilateral steps, like the one they are planning, but some very practical ones – such as our annexation, with all that that entails, of all or parts of Judea and Samaria… We have many tools at our disposal… and we must be less restrained in using them.”

DAVID WILDER, Spokesman for the Hevron Jewish Community (written after the announcement of the Hamas-Fatah agreement):
“I believe the agreement is a reason to break out the wine, set up a band, and celebrate. Because this time Shimon Peres has hit the nail on the head when he said on Thursday, ‘The agreement will prevent creation of a Palestinian state.’ …

Netanyahu’s Bar Ilan 2 speech, to be recited before a full house of Senators and Congressmen in Washington in a few weeks, had been just about finished, including concession after concession, abandonment of more land to our enemies, relinquishment of additional security precautions, a ‘Palestinian state’ in temporary borders, perhaps even with a taste of Jerusalem for dessert. It was all set. And now – what bombshell can he initiate? Not a one. At least, certainly not in the direction he planned…

The conflict between Hamas and Fatah never had anything to do with ideology. Both agree that the State of Israel is an insufferable thorn in the collective throats of the Arabs that must be plucked out of existence at the first opportunity. Abu Mazen (Mahmoud Abbas) certainly hasn’t changed his life’s philosophy, which he expressed while planning the 1974 Ma’alot massacre and funding the 1972 Olympic terror killings in Germany…

Bibi already announced his acceptance of a Palestinian State. But what can he do now? Every rocket now shot into Israel, at Sderot, Ashkelon or Tel Aviv, has not one signature on it, but rather two: Ismail Haniyeh (Hamas) and Abu Mazen (Fatah). Gilad Shalit is now a captive of Hamas-Fatah. Every attempted terror attack initiated from Gaza is rubber-stamped: Fatah-Hamas…

Just as G-d hardened Pharaoh’s heart, so too, today, He is throwing dust into the eyes of our enemies, blinding them, dulling their senses, and leading them down a dead-end road – leading, not to Israel’s destruction, rather to their own obliteration. This does not mean, under any circumstances, that we will have an easy time of it. Far from it. Dead end roads aren’t necessarily short, and they can be quite bumpy. But the chances of another Arab State on our eastern border, created with Israel’s blessings, have hit the lowest level they’ve been at in years.

It won’t be easy, but we will prevent creation of a Palestinian State. G-d is watching over us. G-d is protecting us, even from ourselves. Thank G-d!”

Nachi Eyal, Head of the Legal Forum for the Land of Israel:
“The murder of an innocent person praying at Joseph’s Tomb proves that the world cannot allow a Palestinian State. A people whose policemen are murderers cannot join the family of nations. The Forum expects the government of Israel to have its UN ambassador issue a formal complaint to the United Nations, as the murder of a person at prayer is considered a war crime .


Thursday, April 28th, 2011

By Yaakov Lappin (Jerusalem Post)

Outgoing police chief Cohen says disturbances may mark Palestinian day of mourning in May and UN vote on Palestinian state in September.

The Israel Police is preparing for the possibility of wide-scale disturbances next month, when Palestinians will mark “the Nakba” (day of mourning to commemorate Israel’s independence) as well as the month September, when the UN may vote to recognize a Palestinian state, outgoing police chief Insp.-Gen. David Cohen said in Tel Aviv on Thursday.

“We are preparing for the whole of the month of May,” Cohen said. “We’re looking at the most severe scenario,” he added.

Intelligence and operational planners were working together to ensure that security forces will be prepared for the possibility of major rioting, Cohen said.

Cohen also called on the Israeli government to prioritize the police force and provide it with much needed funds. “We need another 5,000 officers,” Cohen said, adding that if the force remained with its current 27,000 police officers, it would not be able to meet its long-term goals.

“We’d like to recruit 1000 officers a year for five years, and be able to meet the challenges of maintaining public order and crime fighting,” Cohen said.

Next week, incoming police chief Cmdr. Yochanan Danino will replace Cohen during a ceremony at national headquarters in Jerusalem.

“As you know, I am completing 34 years of service in the police. I grew up in the police, and had the privilege to stand at the top of the organization for the past four years,” Cohen said.

“To the people of Israel, I can say that the police is an excellent force made up of excellent people, who are doing their best 24 hours a day seven days a week,” the police chief said.

He added that police would continue to do its utmost to fight organized, severe, and violent crime.

Cohen hailed falling car theft and home robbery rates, but said police had not been successful so far in its drive to curb illegal gun possession and firearm offenses in the Arab community. “We are very worried about that,” he said.


Wednesday, April 27th, 2011

by Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu (Arutz Sheva News)

Terrorists, described in foreign media as “armed gangs,” attacked the Egyptian-Israeli gas pipeline early Wednesday, halting supplies to Israel.

It was at least the third attack on the pipeline this year. An attack on February 6 cut supplies to Jordan and Israel.

Wednesday morning’s blast, near El-Arish and approximately 30 miles south of the Israeli border, forced the evacuation of nearby residents from their homes.

The gas was shut off from Port Said to prevent continuing fires from the gas that had escaped from the pipeline after the attack. However, gas in the pipeline still is flowing to Israel for a limited amount of time.

Exactly a month ago, another attack on the pipeline near El Arish failed when the explosives did not detonate.

Egyptian officials have not identified the terrorists who struck Wednesday morning, but Bedouins have taken de facto control over large parts of the northern Sinai since the uprising that ousted Hosni Mubarak as Egyptian President.

The latest attack comes on the heels of a new poll showing that a majority of Egyptians want to cancel the 1979 peace treaty that recognized Israel and initiated diplomatic relations with the Jewish State.

Egyptian officials earlier this week also announced that Mubarak and former aides are under investigation for alleged corruption concerning the 20-year agreement to export gas to Israel.


Wednesday, April 27th, 2011


In 1919, the Egyptian revolution adopted a green flag with the crescent and the cross. Both Muslims and Christians participated in the nationalist revolution against British colonialism. Now, according to the Egyptian Federation for Human Rights, more than 70 Christians a week are asking to leave the country due to Islamist threats.

The numbers are telling. Today there is only one Middle Eastern country where the number of Christians has grown: Israel. As documented in the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics, the Christian community that numbered 34,000 people in 1949 is now 163,000-strong, and will reach 187,000 in 2020.

In the rest of the Middle East, the drive for Islamic purity is going to banish all traces of pre-Islamic pasts. This has affected not only Christians, but other non-Islamic communities too, such as the Zoroastrians and Baha’is in Iran (the late also found refuge in Israel, in Haifa.)

The silence of the global forums, the flawed conscience of human rights groups, the self-denial of the media and the Vatican’s appeasement is helping facilitate this Islamist campaign. According to a report on religious freedom compiled by the US Department of State, the number of Christians in Turkey declined from two million to 85,000; in Lebanon they have gone from 55% to 35% of the population; in Syria, from half the population they have been reduced to 4%; in Jordan, from 18% to 2%. In Iraq, they will be exterminated.

Should the exodus of Christians from Bethlehem continue in the next two or three decades, there may be no clergy left to conduct religious services in Jesus’ birthplace. In Iran, Christians have become virtually non-existent since 1979, when Khomeini ordered the immediate closure of all Christian schools. In Gaza, the 3,000 who remain are subjected to persecution. In Sudan, Christians in the South are forced into slavery.

Israel’s flag a symbol of hope

In Lebanon, the Maronites, the only Christians to have held political power in the modern Arab world, have been reduced to a minority because of Muslim violence and Hezbollah’s rise. In Saudi Arabia, Christians have been beaten or tortured by religious police. Benjamin Sleiman, archbishop of Baghdad, is talking about “the extinction of Christianity in the Middle East.”

The Christian Egypt was symbolically represented by former United Nations Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali, a Christian married to a Jewish woman whose sister was the wife of Israeli Foreign Minister Abba Eban. In 1977, Boutros-Ghali, who was then Egypt’s foreign minister, accompanied President Anwar Sadat to Jerusalem.

Sadat, who as a child had attended a Christian school, was killed because the treaty his signed with the “Zionists,” among other reasons, and his cold peace is now under attack from the new rulers in Cairo.

In 1948, the Middle East was cleansed of its ancient Jews. Today is the Christians’ turn. Just as Islamist totalitarians have ruthlessly persecuted Christians in the Middle East, they have been waging war for the past 63 years to destroy the Jewish state in their midst. That’s why the fate of Israel is intertwined with the fate of the non-Muslim minorities.

Should the Islamists prevail, the Middle East will be completely green, the colour of Islam. Under atomic and Islamist existential threats, the remnant of the Jewish people risks being liquidated before Israel’s centennial in 2048. It’s time for Christians to recognize that Israel’s survival is also critical and vital for them. During the Holocaust, when most Christians were bystanders or collaborators, the Yellow Star was a symbol of death for the Jews. Today, the white flag with the beautiful six pointed star is a symbol of survival and hope for both Jews and Christians.

Giulio Meotti, a journalist with Il Foglio, is the author of the book “A New Shoah: The Untold Story of Israel’s Victims of Terrorism”


Wednesday, April 27th, 2011


The Palestinian Authority has carried out Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s threat to “wipe Israel off the map” and literally has done so by displaying maps of “Palestine” covering all of Israel at the same time its leaders talk about “two states for two people.”

PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, head of the Fatah movement that controls the PA in Judea and Samaria, has in effect established a “one-state” solution in Fatah offices and in Palestinian Authority schools and offices.

The Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) has documented that professional unions and private PA groups display maps showing a rifle and a quill over “Palestine,” from the Lebanese border in the north to Eilat in the south and from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River.

The maps have been circulated at the same time Abbas campaigns for international recognition of the Palestinian Authority based on the borders of Israel as they existed between 1949 and 1967, during which time Jordan was mandated by the United Nations to rule part of Judea and Samaria but then overtook and occupied the entire region, including large swaths of Jerusalem, after the War of Independence in 1948.

Jordan surrendered the areas in the Six-Day War in 1967, and Egypt and Syria did the same in Gaza and the Golan Heights respectively.

The maps declare Abbas’ intentions of making the “1967 borders” the temporary outline of a would-be Palestinian Authority country, even though – as PMW noted – U.S. President Barack Obama has criticized such maps as a security threat to Israel, in the same category as the threat from terrorist groups who want to destroy Israel.

“I will never compromise when it comes to Israel’s security,” he told the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) in 2008. “Not when there are still voices that deny the Holocaust. Not when there are terrorist groups and political leaders committed to Israel’s destruction. Not when there are maps across the Middle East that don’t even acknowledge Israel’s existence.”

Nevertheless, the PA’s version “Palestine,” as illustrated on the map with a rifle and quill, was displayed last week at a meeting of the General Union of Palestinian Writers, PMW reported.

The Palestinian Authority has embedded in its school system the ”one-state” idea of a Palestine – without Israel – for years. As far back as 2003, school posters have displayed the Palestinian flag over a map erasing Israel.

The policy has continued unchanged despite statements by Abbas to President Obama that the PA has ceased anti-Israel incitement. Earlier this year, a map in principal’s office in a PA school erases Israel and replaces it with “Palestine”, with the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) flag flying over Israel.


Wednesday, April 27th, 2011

By Kevin Eckstrom (Religion News Service)

Easter “puts everything else in perspective,” President Barack Obama said.

President Barack Obama this week (April 19, 2011) said Jesus’ death and resurrection on Easter “puts everything else in perspective,” at a White House event that showcased his increasing comfort with discussing his faith.

Using the kind of personal religious language that he had once shied away from in public, Obama spoke of “the pain and the scorn and the shame of the cross” in an Easter prayer breakfast for about 150 guests and staff.

“And we’re reminded that in that moment, (Jesus) took on the sins of the world — past, present and future — and he extended to us that unfathomable gift of grace and salvation through his death and resurrection,” Obama said.

The Easter event displayed the President’s willingness to engage religion on his own terms, even as he has decided not to be a regular churchgoer or fully embrace public events like the annual National Day of Prayer.

The Easter breakfast — Obama’s second, and following a Passover Seder at the White House on Monday — also reflects an ongoing effort to combat lingering doubts about the President’s faith.

Last year’s breakfast came in the wake of polls that revealed as many as one in five Americans believe he is a Muslim. Since then, Obama has talked more openly about his personal faith, particularly around holidays like Easter and Christmas.

“He’s had this problem with how to practice his faith; every President’s had this problem,” said the Rev. Wesley Granberg-Michaelson, general secretary of the Reformed Church in America, who attended the breakfast.

“And I was thinking this morning that this sort of event is at least one way that he’s found, very authentically, to have his faith nurtured,” he said.

Obama quoted from the Book of Isaiah — “he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities,” which Christians see as a prophecy of Jesus’ death and resurrection.

“This magnificent grace, this expansive grace, this amazing grace calls me to reflect,” Obama said. “And it calls me to pray. It calls me to ask God for forgiveness for the times that I’ve not shown grace to others, those times that I’ve fallen short.”

White House officials said they held the event before Easter so the breakfast wouldn’t conflict with participants’ own worship services.

Attendees included several members of the White House faith-based advisory panel, including Presiding Bishop Mark Hanson of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Orlando megachurch pastor Joel Hunter and African Methodist Episcopal Bishop Vashti McKenzie.

The event also drew several prominent conservatives who have not always seen eye to eye with the White House, including National Association of Evangelicals President Leith Anderson, the Rev. Tim Keller of New York’s Redeemer Presbyterian Church and Washington Cardinal Donald Wuerl.


Wednesday, April 27th, 2011


The Palestinian Authority and Hamas on Saturday separately rejected US President Barack Obama’s reported plan for peace in the Middle East, because it calls on Palestinians to give up the right of return of refugees to their original homes in Israel.

According to an article published in The New York Times last week, the US Administration has been working on a new peace initiative that revolves around a few key principles: A Palestinian State without the right of return, Jerusalem as the capital of two states and an emphasis on Israel’s security needs.

“The PA said that it would reject any peace initiative that requires Palestinians to relinquish the right of return.

Nabil Sha’ath, member of the PA negotiating team, said that the right of return was a basic right, which the Palestinians couldn’t give up.

“We will reject any American peace plan that calls on us to give up one of our basic rights – the right of return for refugees,” Sha’ath, a former PA foreign minister who played a major role in the signing of the Oslo Accords, said.

Sha’ath noted that the Oslo Accords, signed between Israel and the PLO, call for holding discussions on major issues like Jerusalem, refugees, borders and security.

“How can Washington plan for such a solution?” he asked, referring to the report about Obama’s new peace initiative. “There are no contacts between Washington and the PA on this issue.”

Sha’ath claimed that members of the Quartet – the US, EU, UN and Russia – were recently forced to postpone their meeting to discuss the status of the Middle East peace talks because Washington was opposed to a pro- Palestinian statement that they were planning to issue.

The Hamas government in the Gaza Strip described the Obama initiative as an “alarm bell that jeopardizes the right of return.”

Calling on the Arab and Islamic people to support the Palestinians’ right of return, Hamas said it was strongly opposed to the new initiative.

“The right of return is a legitimate and sacred right and no one could give it up,” Hamas stressed.


Tuesday, April 26th, 2011

By David Dolan

As anti-government protests intensified during April in neighboring Syria and Jordan, Palestinian terrorists based in the Gaza Strip attacked an Israeli school bus, severely wounding a teenage boy who later died from his injuries. Several weeks later, a Jewish worshipper whose aunt serves in the Israeli cabinet was shot dead by a Palestinian near Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus. Five others were wounded in the incident.

The bus attack sparked off the worst clashes between Hamas and Islamic Jihad rocket- firing militiamen and Israeli Defense Forces in nearly two and a half years. With around one-fourth of Israel’s civilian population now under deadly Palestinian rocket range, besieged residents were ordered to keep students out of school for several days while staying close to local bomb shelters, seriously disrupting normal life in several large cities and many smaller communities. As a result of the rocket barrage, the IDF prepared for a possible new air and ground operation against the Iranian-backed Hamas militia and its allies, which analysts said could potentially spark off a wider war with Lebanon and Syria. This came as calls increased for a new violent Palestinian uprising to be launched in the coming weeks or months.

In Syria itself, anti-Assad regime street protests further intensified, leaving hundreds more dead and injured and the country in chaos. For the first time during the current crisis, the Syrian army was sent into action against demonstrators in the port city of Latakiya where Russian naval vessels are regularly stationed. The army was subsequently sent to other areas as well. Israeli military forces remained on high alert along the Golan Heights border, where concern grew that Syrian dictator Bashar Assad might order an armed strike in an attempt to reunify his crumbling nation against the external “Zionist enemy.” Vigilance was also the order of the day along the tense border with Lebanon, where two IDF soldiers were killed last year.

Intensifying unrest in nearby Jordan during the month was also being closely monitored in Jerusalem; with signs growing that a new government might emerge out of the crisis that, at the very least, weakens ties with Israel, as demanded by most protestors. The continuing conflict in Libya was also being followed with interest, given that Libyan dictator Muammar Gadaffi has been a longtime supporter of international terrorist actions that have sometimes been directed at Jews. The violent upheaval in Yemen—widely believed to be backed by Al Qaida operatives—and the continuing unrest in Bahrain were also being watched with keen interest, as was the case in Egypt where fierce clashes erupted between Christians and Muslims in the south of the country.

Israeli officials were gladdened by a NATO decision to stage a strong international naval show of force in the Gulf during late April and early May—a clear warning to nearby Iran that its threats to close off oil shipments from the area during any regional conflict would be met with significant world opposition. At the same time, the soaring cost of oil—due mainly to the spreading political turbulence stretching from North Africa to Iran—hit the Israeli pocketbook hard during April as the government-controlled price of a US gallon of gasoline rose to the shekel equivalent of eight dollars. Analysts warned that surging petroleum prices could seriously weaken Israel’s economy, which had been performing very well before the regional upheaval began in Tunisia and Egypt early this year.


The month of April began with another round of Palestinian rocket, mortar and Grad missile strikes on Israeli population centers north and east of the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, some thirty miles south of Tel Aviv. Israeli Air Force jets were sent into action to counter the attacks, hitting a smuggling tunnel from Egypt that runs underground into the southern Gaza border town of Rafiah. A terrorist from the Islamic Jihad group was killed while preparing to fire additional rockets at Israeli civilian communities.

The clashes came just days after Palestinian Muslim warriors fired powerful Iranian-supplied Grad missiles in the vicinity of Israel’s Dimona nuclear reactor. The reactor is situated in the northern Negev Desert not far from Israel’s sixth largest city, Beersheva. Coming just as Japanese emergency workers were struggling to prevent a nuclear meltdown following the massive earthquake and tsunami which rocked the northeast of the island nation in early March, senior Israeli defense officials said the missile attack in the direction of Israel’s main nuclear reactor crossed a serious red line. This prompted Defense Minister Ehud Barak to order the deployment for the first time in the area of Israel’s new Iron Dome anti-missile defense system, jointly developed with US financial and technical support in recent years.

Speaking at an inaugural ceremony in Beersheva at the beginning of April, Barak told the assembled guests that “we trust the system will be operated as well as it can be, even though we know that no trial run can be one hundred percent.” Still, he added optimistically that “if this will be like the previous test runs, it should be very good.” He later said four additional Iron Dome batteries would be deployed in the Gaza area in the coming years.

Attending the ceremony, Air Force Commander Ido Nehushtan said, “This battery is ready for action,” noting that the IDF is “the first army in the world to use this type of defense system against enemy missiles.” He also predicted that the Iron Dome system, which deploys highly sophisticated laser and radar technology to intercept low flying enemy projectiles, will become “an integral part of the Air Force.” However the senior commander echoed Defense Minister Barak’s words of caution, admitting that the system “has limitations and cannot give a full defense.”

Talking with reporters earlier the same day in Jerusalem, Israeli rocket scientist Uzi Rubin said the Iron Dome system had indeed done remarkably well in test trial runs, adding it “offered the best protection against Katyusha rockets available to any civilian population anywhere on earth.” Although the Palestinian Kassam rockets are homemade versions of the Soviet-era rockets he mentioned (which are possessed in great quantities by Hizbullah forces in Lebanon, and also by Syria), they are nevertheless very similar in structure and flying capabilities. The more powerful Iranian Grad missiles—which can potentially destroy entire buildings in one go—likewise travel on trajectories and heights comparable to Katyusha rockets, meaning the new Iron Dome system is also capable of taking them out of commission while in route to their intended targets.


As additional Palestinian rocket attacks took place the first week of April, IDF jets struck and killed three Hamas operatives who intelligence sources said were planning to kidnap Israeli tourists visiting the Sinai Peninsula during the annual Passover holidays. This in turn prompted the radical Sunni Arab group to declare that Israel would face “grave consequences” for the action. The Israeli government subsequently urged all Israelis to stay away from the Egyptian resorts which many usually visit during the spring holidays when Sinai’s temperatures are still relatively moderate. This came as the IDF military intelligence director, Major General Avi Kochavi, told a Knesset committee that Hamas continues to receive substantial aid from Iran, including “money, weapons, knowledge, experts and ideology.”

On April 7th, a Palestinian Russian-built Kornet anti-tank missile fired from the Gaza Strip zeroed in on an Israeli school bus as it passed a kibbutz community near the Arab coastal zone. Fortunately most young passengers had already gotten off the bus. Still the driver and a 16 year old teenage boy were injured, the latter critically. Several weeks later, Daniel Viflic died of his wounds at Soroka Medical Center in Beersheba.

Just days before the stricken victim passed away, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu personally visited the unconscious boy and his grieving family at the hospital, signaling just how seriously government leaders viewed the outrageous attack. Speaking at a United Nations meeting in New York, President Shimon Peres used unusually strong words to denounce the assault, saying it was “another clear example of Gaza’s transformation into a terrorist state.” While Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas called for an end to the rocket firings, he also condemned what he characteristically termed “the Israeli aggression” launched against Hamas and Islamic Jihad targets in response to the heinous attack.

There was some initial question as to whether or not Hamas militiamen were behind the bus assault. However Hamas leaders later admitted that their extremist group was indeed the culprit for the vile act, deeming it their “first response to the continuing crimes of the occupation”—as if IDF forces and settlers were still “occupying” the crowded coastal zone. Netanyahu said that whether or not Hamas members had fired the missile at the civilian bus, he held the group ultimately responsible since it exerts overall control in the Gaza Strip.

The Israeli military went into swift and intense action in the immediate wake of the attack. Dozens of Hamas targets were hit all over the Gaza Strip. In response, scores of rockets, mortar shells and several Grad missiles were fired at Israeli targets within the space of just a few hours, with one Grad reaching the city of Rishon Letzion on the southern outskirts of Tel Aviv for the first time. The city is also just a few miles from Israel’s strategic Ben Gurion international airport.

In response to a slew of missiles being fired at the coastal city of Ashkelon, the Iron Dome system was activated for the first time in actual combat, successfully intercepting two of the incoming rockets which were instantly projected by the system’s advanced computers to land and explode in heavily populated portions of the city. An Iron Dome battery was also dispatched to protect the greater Tel Aviv metropolitan area. Palestinian sources said five people were killed and over thirty injured in the IDF counter-action. Late the same evening, Hamas announced that it was ordering all militia forces in the coastal zone to hold their fire, including the unruly Islamic Jihad terrorist group that has become a virtual adjunct of the Shiite Iranian regime.

Despite the ceasefire call, dozens of additional rockets pounded down on Israeli territory before the barrage ultimately ended several days later—at least for the time being. Israeli official said more than 120 mortar shells and missiles had been launched at Jewish civilian centers in just a three day period. Meanwhile the Netanyahu cabinet authorized the use of whatever force was deemed necessary to end the blitz, while defense officials warned once again that a major military operation was ready to be launched with little notice against the Hamas zone if deemed necessary. While visiting an Iron Dome battery outside of Ashkelon after the weekly cabinet meeting ended in Jerusalem, PM Netanyahu said “There is no state that would be willing to absorb the intentional firing of an anti-tank missile on a school bus, to say nothing of criminal attacks on civilians, and Israel is certainly not willing to tolerate this.”


On April 24th, Ben Yosef Livnat, a 24 year old nephew of Likud party cabinet minister Limor Livnat, was shot and killed near Joseph’s Tomb on the southern outskirts of Nablus, north of Jerusalem. Several other Orthodox Jews accompanying the slain man were wounded. The incident was especially grave in that it was apparently Palestinian Authority security agents who carried out the shootings (some speculated at first that it might have been terrorists dressed up as PA policemen). A PA spokesman claimed that three cars carrying the victims approached a PA checkpoint near the sacred site where Jacob’s son Joseph was buried after his remains were returned from ancient Egypt. Israeli officials said 15 observant men from the large Breslov Hassidic sect had driven to the revered tomb in three cars without prior arrangement with either PA or IDF officials. A PA spokesman claimed the victims did not stop as requested at a checkpoint, but another report said they were fired upon by a passing PA security jeep without provocation.

Orthodox Jews throughout the disputed territories and all of Israel were incensed by the PA shootings. Thousands marched to the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem for the young man’s highly emotional internment. Noting at the funeral that eyewitness reports said PA security personnel kept firing on the Israeli cars even after her nephew was clearly hit by bullets and severely wounded, Minister of Culture and Sport Limor Livnat declared that the young man’s death was “nothing but cold-blooded murder.” The cabinet minister’s father, Azriel Livnat, compared the shooting death of his grandson Ben Josef to that of the first Jew executed by British forces during the Mandate period, Shlomo Ben Yosef.

However PA security forces spokesman Adnan Damiri maintained that “armed settlers” come to pray at the tomb without official permission on many occasions, especially during Jewish holidays. He complained that IDF soldiers stationed at a nearby outpost should have halted the three Israeli vehicles before they approached the PA checkpoint, which he said would have prevented PA intervention. Still, Israeli officials pointed out that American-funded and trained PA security forces know full well that most Orthodox Jews sincerely come to the sacred synagogue to pray, not to stir up trouble. Therefore the armed intervention was excessive, to say the least. Some security sources warned that it might be an early indication that heavily armed PA police forces might support any new Palestinian uprising, as most did during the horrific Al Aksa attrition war that was launched with Yasser Arafat’s approval in September, 2000. Calls for such a new violent terrorist offensive have been increasing in recent months, endorsed by a controversial page on the popular Facebook website.

A brother of one of the four wounded observant Jews told reporters that all realized they were taking a risk by not getting official permission to pray at the site. However he also pointed out that due to the Passover holidays, their rabbi who usually coordinates such visits was not free to do so. Therefore he said the young men took the risk of just showing up at the tomb. Meanwhile the Israeli police asked a court near Tel Aviv to remand in custody three members of the Hassidic sect on charges of violating a posted restricted military zone.

Israeli media reports noted that it is a known fact that not all religious Jews clear their visits to Joseph’s Tomb in advance with PA officials. Still, they note that according to the Israeli-Palestinian Oslo peace accord, the holy site was meant to remain under overall Israeli control, and certainly open for Jewish prayers on special occasions such as during the Passover holidays (the shooting took place just before the end of the week-long festival). On top of this, they point out that the tomb was taken over by Muslims in the Middle Ages who forbade all Jewish prayer at the site for several centuries (as they did at Abraham’s Tomb in Hebron), even though it is not an Islamic holy site per se. After Israel captured the area during the 1967 Six Day War, it was renovated and reopened to Jewish prayer. However Palestinian rioters took it back again at the end of the first week of the violent Al Aksa revolt in 2000, with Israeli Jews only gaining very limited access to the ancient holy site since then.

On another, very sad terrorist note connected to the same area, Israeli security forces arrested two Palestinians during April who were charged with the brutal early March slaughter of five members of a family living in the Jewish Orthodox community of Itamar, not far from Nablus. The three murdered children—ranging in age from an 11 year old boy to a baby girl just three months old—were knifed to death in their home just hours after completing their weekly Friday night Sabbath meal with their parents, who were also slain. Police named the two terrorists as Hakim Maazan Niad Awad, an 18-year-old high school student, and Amjad Mahmud Fauzi Awad, 19, both from the Arab village of Awarta located just over one mile south of Itamar. Police said the suspects confessed to the vicious crime and reenacted their stabbing spree. Israel Army Radio reported that the two young Muslim men did not express even the slightest remorse for their abominable slaughter, with one actually boasting that he went back into the home to stab the baby girl to death after initially leaving her alone. Media reports said the terrorists are members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) group.


PA leaders once again declared during April that they plan to unilaterally establish an independent Palestinian state later this year, probably in September. This came after the World Bank and several other international institutions opined that the PA economy is strong enough to function in such a climate, but only with continuing substantial financial support from Israel, the United States, the European Union, Japan, and other foreign aid donors. Israeli assistance was deemed the most vital, given that the IDF still controls the overall movement of food, medicine and fuel supplies through various checkpoints into most PA zones of control.

Toward the end of the month, the American government headed by President Barack Obama launched a diplomatic initiative aimed at attempting to prevent the Palestinian Authority from taking its case for a self-declared state to the United Nations. The Obama administration has already received backing from the German government for the initiative, which came after PM Netanyahu flew to Berlin to request German assistance in preventing such a one-sided PA declaration in the face of the stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations. Netanyahu plans to publicly spell out his country’s opposition to any unilateral action during a visit to Washington in May, where he is scheduled to address a joint session of Congress among other things. PA leader Mahmoud Abbas is also planning a US visit to put forward his arguments for a statehood declaration.

Both the PA and the rival Hamas movement quickly condemned the US diplomatic initiative. This came as PLO Secretary General Yasser Abed Rabbo repeated the PA determination to proceed with its unilateral action. Speaking to the London-based Al Hayat Arabic newspaper, the veteran PLO chief said “the Palestinian leadership will not back down unless real and serious peace negotiations are launched on the basis of the 1967 borders,” which were actually only ceasefire lines from the massive pan-Arab attempt to wipe out the nascent state of Israel in 1948. He added that the PLO was prepared to sanction some sort of land swap with Israel that would leave some Jewish settlement clusters in Israeli hands. However he insisted that the city of Jerusalem—the main traditional stumbling block to any final peace accord—must be re-divided, with the eastern half falling under full PA sovereignty.

The PLO leader revealed for the first time just exactly what the PA’s diplomatic strategy will be if such negotiations do not get underway, as few expect will occur, especially in light of the massive political turmoil currently engulfing much of the turbulent neighborhood. He said the PA will “go to the UN, and after winning recognition, we will demand that Israel’s military and settler presence on our land be considered an act of aggression upon the sovereignty of a full member of the UN.” Many analysts believe that this will be followed by a call for UN troops to be sent into the area to force the IDF out—an act certain to face stiff resistance in Washington and elsewhere.

Meanwhile President Obama is said to be weighing the possibility of enacting economic sanctions on Syria, where spreading street protests were met by a brutal army crackdown in April, leaving hundreds of Syrians dead and injured. The sanctions would probably come in the form of a freeze on Syrian assets in the United States and a ban on any further business dealings with the Assad regime, Iran’s closest Arab ally. At the same time, IDF forces remained extra vigilant lest the repressive police state try to divert attention from its internal crisis by lashing out at Israel. This came after the IDF released a map showing that heavily armed Hizbullah forces in Lebanon have spread their bases of operation to every part of the small country, including in south Lebanon where their presence was supposedly outlawed by the UN ceasefire resolution that ended the 2006 Hizbullah rocket blitz on the northern third of the Jewish State.

With many parts of the region currently engulfed in intensifying tumult, there is only one solid rock that its residents can firmly rest upon—the Word of God, which reveals that the final outcome of all “wars and rumors of wars” will be nothing less than the feet of Israel’s anointed Messiah standing on the Mount of Olives, brining lasting peace to the holy city and to the entire world. “And the Lord will be King over all the earth. In that day, the Lord will be the only one; and His name the only one (Zechariah 14:9).


Tuesday, April 26th, 2011

by Pastor Gary Cristafaro
CFOIC Heartland

Israel’s Haaretz Newspaper reported this month that speculation has been mounting that the Palestinians would ask the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) to recognize their statehood in September, if no progress in peace talks had been achieved by then. In recent months, the World Bank, the United Nations and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have certified that Palestinian Authority Premier Salam Fayyad’s state-building plans are on track for completion in mid-2011.

Donor countries meeting in Brussels recently recognized that the “Palestinian Authority (PA) is above the threshold of a functioning state” – an assessment immediately hailed as a “birth certificate” for a Palestinian State by Fayyad. It appears that the United Nations and Salam Fayyad are eager to announce the birth of an illegitimate child. This would be a child of their own making and a counterfeit of the plan and will of God.

The legitimate heirs to all of Eretz Israel are the children of Jacob. God said through the prophet Ezekiel “Yes I will cause men to walk on you My people Israel; they shall take possession of you, and you shall be their inheritance; no more shall you bereave them of children.” (Ezekiel 36:12)

Although re-born in the 20th century, the legitimate birth announcement for the re-born nation of Israel came long before May 14th 1948. In fact the prophet Isaiah wrote the true “birth certificate” around 2700 years ago. “Before she was in labor, she gave birth; before her pain came, she delivered a male child. Who has heard such a thing? Shall the earth be made to give birth in one day? Or shall a nation be born at once? For soon as Zion was in labor, she gave birth to her children. Shall I bring to the time of birth and not cause delivery?” says the Lord. Shall I who cause delivery shut up the womb?” says your God. (Isaiah 66:7-9)

The Brussels’ counterfeit birth announcement has taken place while terror from the so-called “Palestinians” is on the rise. This, combined with the continuing tensions in North Africa and the greater Middle-East, have only served to heighten Israeli security problems and concerns. Yet, it’s clear that the heartland of Israel would be the first to suffer if the PA and the UN were allowed to consummate this adulterous affair.

Furthermore over a hundred nations have reportedly endorsed a Palestinian unilateral declaration of statehood. It’s amazing how eager they are to run in a direct collision course with the judgment and wrath of God. The Holy One of Israel will not be mocked. Rather than work on her behalf, all too many nations are choosing not to serve Israel, and the sovereign Lord declares “And those nations shall be utterly ruined.”(Isaiah 60:12) God never worries about being politically correct, so neither should we. This is another demonstration of the fact that every person must choose between good and evil. Regarding the word of God generally and regarding Israel specifically, no one has the luxury of being neutral.

Israel has never been counted among the nations, but rather has a birthing role for the nations. God through Israel is delivering the plan of world redemption. Israel is the “legitimate first born of God” (Exodus 4:22). Therefore, Eretz Yisrael (The Land of Israel) is holy and as such it cannot tolerate a sinful, illegitimate nation being born on her soil.

I once again encourage all my fellow Christian Friends of Israeli Communities throughout the nations to remain faithful. God has been faithful to His word. He laid out this redemptive plan a long time ago. This is the same plan that we are privileged to watch still unfolding today. And we are even more privileged to be a part of it. Remember, man plans and God laughs! May the Holy one of Israel bless you for your prayers and continuing financial support!


Monday, April 25th, 2011

By Reuters

Syria closes border crossings with Jordan after armored troops, tanks fire on Deraa; activist says Assad waging “a savage war.”

Syrian troops and tanks stormed Deraa on Monday, residents said, seeking to crush resistance in the city where a month-long uprising against the autocratic 11-year rule of Syrian President Bashar Assad first erupted.

A witness told Reuters he saw bodies in the street after hundreds of soldiers in armored vehicles poured into Deraa, a few miles from Syria’s southern border with Jordan which officials said was sealed off on Monday.

Syrian forces kill 9 civilians, arrest leading Alawite
Human Rights Watch calls on UN to probe Syria violence

Also Monday, Syria closed all its land border crossings with neighboring Jordan, officials said, following the deployment of Syrian army tanks in the southern border city of Deraa.

A senior diplomat in the Jordanian capital confirmed that the two main Syrian crossings at Deraa and Nassib on the Syrian side were closed to traffic. An official told Reuters the “timing is related to what appears to be a major security operation that is taking place right now.”

A leading Syrian human rights campaigner said security forces, which also swept into the restive Damascus suburb of Douma, were waging “a savage war designed to annihilate Syria’s democrats”.

Rights groups say security forces have killed more than 350 civilians since unrest broke out in Deraa on March 18. A third of the victims were shot in the past three days as the scale and breadth of a popular revolt against Assad grew.

Assad lifted Syria’s 48-year state of emergency on Thursday but activists say the violence the following day, when 100 people were killed during protests across the country, showed he was not serious about addressing calls for political freedom.

Monday appeared to be the first time the authorities have sent tanks into population centers since the protests began.

The raids on Deraa and Douma suggested that Assad, who assumed power when his father died in 2000 after ruling Syria with an iron fist for 30 years, was determined to crush the opposition by force.

The witness in Deraa told Reuters he could see bodies lying in a main street near the Omari mosque after eight tanks and two armored vehicles deployed in the old quarter of the city.

“People are taking cover in homes. I could see two bodies near the mosque and no one was able to go out and drag them away,” the witness said.

Snipers were posted on government buildings, and security forces in army fatigues had been shooting at random at houses since the tanks moved in just after dawn prayers.

Tanks at the main entry points to Deraa also shelled targets in the city, a resident named Mohsen told Al Jazeera, which showed a cloud of black smoke hanging over buildings. “People can’t move from one street to another because of the shelling.”

Two residents told Jazeera they had seen soldiers firing on their own side, apparently to allow people to drag the wounded from the street. The reports could not be confirmed.

Foreign journalists have mostly been expelled from the country, making it impossible to verify the situation on the ground. Grisly footage posted on the Internet by demonstrators in recent days appears to show troops firing on unarmed crowds. Officials have blamed armed groups for the violence.

Western criticism of the crackdown was initially muted, partly because of fears that a collapse of his minority Alawite rule in the majority Sunni country might lead to sectarian conflict. But on Friday US President Barack Obama urged Assad to stop the “outrageous use of violence to quell protests”.

Suhair al-Attasi, a leading Syrian human rights campaigner, said authorities had launched “a savage war designed to annihilate Syria’s democrats.”

“Syrian President Assad’s intentions have been clear since he came out publicly saying he is ‘prepared for war’,” Atassi said, referring to a March 31 speech to parliament.

Writers from all Syria’s main sects issued a declaration denouncing the crackdown and urging intellectuals “who have not broken the barrier of fear to make a clear stand.”

“We condemn the violent, oppressive practices of the Syrian regime against the protesters and mourn the martyrs of the uprising,” said Monday’s declaration, signed by 102 writers and journalists, in Syria and in exile.

As well as the crackdown in Deraa and Douma, activists said troops and gunmen loyal to Assad had shot dead at least 13 civilians since they swept into the Mediterranean town of Jabla on Sunday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said.

The forces deployed in the old Sunni quarter of Jabla after a pro-democracy protest and a warning by the governor of the province against any public assembly, rights campaigners said.

A wave of arrests since Friday’s demonstrations continued on Monday, the SOHR said, saying more people had been detained in the provinces of Idlib, Deir al-Zor and Raqqa.

Activists said they feared Assad’s forces also were preparing for an attack on the town of Nawa, north of Deraa, after reports of bulldozers and military vehicles heading there. Thousands of people called for the overthrow of Assad on Sunday at a funeral in Nawa for protesters killed by security forces.

“Long live Syria. Down with Bashar!” mourners chanted at the funeral. “Leave, leave! The people want the overthrow of the regime.”

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