Brad L. Burge
God desires that ALL people would accept God's love and salvation through Jesus Christ. God has compelled me to share information with the world relating to the biblical seven year tribulation in order to share Truth in a deceived world.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made. In Him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. (John 1:1-5)
Jesus answered, "I AM the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." (John 14:6)
Monday, March 31, 2008
The 2008 Jewish Funders Network conference opens Monday, bringing hundreds of Jewish American donors to Israel. The official welcoming ceremony is set for 3pm. This is the first time the conference is being held in Israel and will take place at the David Citadel Hotel until this Thursday.
The conference will focus on the role of government and philanthropy, the responsibility of the funder and the relationships between members of the global Jewish community.
The Jewish Funders Network (JNF) is an international organization of family foundations, public philanthropies, and individual funders. The organization is committed to advancing the growth and quality of charity rooted in Jewish values.
The King David Museum and Genealogy Center, a new interactive museum dedicated to the life, reign, and legacy of Israel's second biblical king, has opened its doors in the heart of Jerusalem's Old City.
Featuring tour guides in Biblical dress, and displays of ancient slings, oil lamps, and anointing jars, the museum's three floors take the visitor on a virtual and archaeological tour of King David's life. Guests can consult staff members at the museum's genealogy department to determine if they are descendants of Israel's most beloved king.
On March 13, the Finance Ministry unveiled a new plan promising financial incentives and tax-benefit packages to wealthy Jews seeking to bring their fortunes to the Holy Land.
The new incentive plan offers tax exemption for 10 years on all income derived from sources outside Israel, provides newcomers with a year to choose to which country they want to pay taxes, and will not mandate that firms owned by new immigrants be registered as Israeli firms. Government officials believe that the new plan will also attract former Israelis in the high-tech industry who might be looking for ways to return after establishing their businesses overseas.
On March 25, the Knesset hosted the inaugural meeting of the Caucus for Western Aliyah, which will work on promoting “immigration of choice” and will assist in the absorption of Western Jews in Israel. This year, the Absorption Ministry will allocate $25 million for promoting aliyah from around the world.
With the Israeli shekel continuing its trend of strengthening against the US dollar, Finance Minister Roni Bar-On (Kadima) and Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Eli Yishai (Shas) have activated a plan to assist exporters in order to increase exports. According to Bar-On, the plan "will provide sources of financing at advantageous rates for exporters, and will broaden the range of export target countries in the long run."
The plan is expected to reduce red tape, simplify procedures, and increase the amount of investment from the government. Exporters will be granted loans at favorable terms, with small and mid-sized businesses being granted accessible and detailed professional advice on managing and hedging foreign currency risk. The Israel Export and International Cooperation Institute will also assist, financing international fairs and conventions, upgrading national booths at foreign conventions, conducting seminars about foreign trade and international marketing, and providing advice on finding distributors overseas.
Sunday, March 30, 2008
Thousands of Israeli Arabs demonstrated against perceived racial discrimination in the Jewish state.
Mass rallies were held Sunday across Israel by Arabs who accuse the state of systematically seizing their lands for projects favoring the Jewish majority.
The annual event, dubbed "Land Day," has been tense since it was launched March 30, 1976 and featured riots in which police killed six Israeli Arab protesters.
Many of Sunday's demonstrations featured Palestinian flags and denunciations of Zionism, underscoring for many Jewish Israelis the tensions with an Arab minority that comprises 20 percent of the population and is growing.
Effi Eitan of the National Religious Party accused Israeli Arab leaders of using Land Day to promote sedition.
The Syrian-hosted Arab summit, which concluded a two-day meeting in Damascus on Sunday said in a final statement that the Israeli actions against the Palestinians are "crimes of war."
Secretary General of the Arab League (AL) Amr Moussa concluded the decisions taken by the two-day summit in a final statement he read before 11 Arab leaders, and representatives of ten Arab countries.
"The Arab summit considers the Israeli crimes in Gaza as crimes of war, and all the Israeli practices against the Palestinians should be ended. We call on the Security Council to carry its responsibilities to end these practices," said Moussa.
He added that the summit decided to give the Palestinians all kinds of political and financial support to the Palestinian people "to be able to confront the Israeli occupation and establish their independent Palestinian state."
The final statement of the Arab summit has also called for achieving a just and comprehensive peace in the Middle East based on the international resolutions and on the principle "land for peace."
The statement also called on Israel to withdraw from "the occupied Syrian Golan Highest and all the territories occupied by Israel during the Arab-Israeli war of June 4, 1967."
"The Arab summit reiterates to continue sticking to the Arab peace initiative and link it to achieve an Israeli commitment to the peace process in the Middle East," said Moussa.
The Arab Summit has "appreciated the Arab efforts to achieve reconciliations among the Palestinians, especially the Yemeni initiative of reconciliation, and calls for the continuation of the efforts to achieve the Palestinian reconciliation.
ADL Slams Evangelical Christian Campaign - World Evangelical Alliance - Anti-Defamation League - Yad L'Achim
A statement by an evangelical Christian group, which defends having Christians who grew up as Jews target Jews for conversion by, was labeled “offensive and insulting” by the New York-based Anti-Defamation League (ADL). The organization slammed a full-page ad in the March 28 edition of The New York Times in a statement that charged it “validates and defends those who converted from Judaism to Christianity for using their religious and cultural Jewish experience as tools to proselytize Jews, such as Jews for Jesus and so-called “Messianic Jews.” ADL National Director Abraham H. Foxman said in a statement, “The World Evangelical Alliance statement defending the targeting of Jews for conversion is offensive and insulting to the Jewish people and brazenly dismisses Jewish self-definition….”
The statement, signed by 44 Christian academics, clergy and journalists, states that “we recognize that it is good and right for those [Jews who converted to Christianity] with specialized knowledge, history and skills to use these gifts to introduce individuals to the Messiah, and that includes those ministries specifically directed to the Jewish people.” The WEA is a worldwide organization, comprised of a network of churches in 128 countries and over 100 international organizations which, as the group says, joins together "to give a worldwide identity, voice and platform to more than 420 million evangelical Christians."
Christian missionaries have been intensifying their efforts in Israel recently, particularly in the south of the country. So-called "Messianic Jewish" congregations are the vehicle of choice for missionaries in their efforts to convert Jews. The Yad L'Achim anti-missionary organization has been equally effective in combatting these activities, an effort which recently frustrated a well-known aggressive missionary in Arad, Ed Beckford, to the point that he beat up one of the Yad L'Achim volunteers, who required stitches. Beckford, a gentile married to a woman who was born a Jew but converted to Christianity early in life, is currently detained on house arrest.
Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas spoke at the Arab Summit in Damascus on Saturday and called on those assembled to send armed forces to Judea, Samaria, and Gaza to protect local Arabs from the IDF. Abbas accused Israel of “brutally” attacking and killing innocent Arabs. “Think seriously of Arab and international protection for our people,” he urged his listeners.
Despite a freeze on Jewish construction in Judea, Samaria, and some neighborhoods of Jerusalem, Abbas insisted that Jewish growth in those areas was undermining negotiations. An “unprecedented Israeli escalation in settlement expansion” was endangering talks, he said. If talks do not lead to a solution in the near future, Arabs will lose confidence in the peace process, he warned.
Saturday, March 29, 2008
Speaking at the Arab summit in Damascus Saturday, Palestinian President Mahmoud called on the international community, as well as on Arab nations, to send troops into Gaza in order to defend the Palestinians Authority against what he deemed Israeli aggression.
Abbas has urged the international community to send military forces into Gaza in the past, but this is the first time he has called on Arab countries to send their troops into the region.
Friday, March 28, 2008
This season's snowfall already has broken several records, including the snowiest December, January and February . . .
A proposal for religious dialogue presented by King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia has prompted warm reactions from several Jewish, Christian, and Muslim leaders in what could be a major development in inter-religious relations, the Associated Press reports.
"The idea is to ask representatives of all monotheistic religions to sit together with their brothers in faith and sincerity to all religions as we all believe in the same God," King Abdullah said Monday night at a Riyadh seminar on "Culture and the Respect of Religions."
King Abdullah said he presented the idea to Pope Benedict XVI when he visited the Vatican in November of last year. Saying the Pope had “warmly welcomed” him in “a meeting of a human to a human which I would never forget,” the king said he aimed “to seek the consent of Allah according to what he ordered in the religions: the Torah, Bible and Quran.”
“I pray for Allah to let us meet on one word,” the king said, according to a statement published on the website of Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The king said he planned to hold conferences to learn the opinion of Muslims from other parts of the world, after which he would meet with “our brothers” in Christianity and Judaism "so we can agree on something that guarantees the preservation of humanity against those who tamper with ethics, family systems and honesty."
Specifics of the proposal remained unclear, such as whether Israelis could take part in the initiative and whether restrictions on religious freedom in Saudi Arabia could be relaxed. The kingdom bans non-Muslim worship services and objects of veneration from other religions, including crosses and Bibles.
Under Saudi law, the conversion of a Muslim to another religion is punishable by death.
King Abdullah’s initiative comes at a time when peace negotiations have stalled and tensions have heightened in the Middle East. Muslims have been angered by cartoons published in Europe that insult the Prophet Muhammad. Pope Benedict’s recent baptism of a prominent Muslim convert has also generated controversy.
However, King Abdullah reportedly had the crucial approval of top Saudi Arabian clerics.
Blogger's note: This will provide an opportunity for the Seven Laws of Noah to be accepted by Muslims, or at least a movement in that direction. Judaism prophesies that the Seven Laws of Noah will bring world peace. Noahides also promote Kabbalah. Kabbalah also promises to bring world peace. Watch and pray.
Blogger's note: U.S. helps Iraq, then Iraq buys from Serbia???
DEBKAfile’s military sources report: After three days of combat, thousands of troops led by prime minister Nouri al Maliki have made no headway in breaking the grip of militias and gangs on the southern oil city of Basra and the outlying towns. Friday, March 28, the prime minister softened his previous ultimatum for combatants to hand over their weapons, extending it from Saturday night to April 8, and throwing in “a financial reward” for those complying.
From a go-it-alone Iraqi venture, Maliki was reduced Friday to calling in “coalition airplanes” to bomb militia positions holding fast in Basra. Moqtada Sadr’s Mehdi army appears still in control of the densely-populated areas of Basra, Iraq’s third largest city of 2.5 million, as well as taking over the center of Shiite Nasiriyeh. The intra-Shiite clashes have also spread to the southern Shiite cities of Kut, Hilla, Diwaniya, Amara and Karbala.
The Sanhedrin's ruling also mentions the IDF's "failures in the battlefield", stating that the establishment of mixed units has resulted in a "disruption of the conscience".
"There seems to be a connection between the inability to make the distinction between the genders and the inability to make the distinction between friend and foe. Both of these characterize the post-Zionist army, which deems such distinctions racist," the ruling stated.
Blogger's note: While many still don't know that the Sanhedrin exists today, the Sanhedrin continues to make inroads toward more authority. Their clout will likely accelerate greatly as the Middle East and the world grow toward a state of crisis.
President Shimon Peres's conference marking 60 years of Israeli independence will bring world-renowned well-wishers to the capital
President Shimon Peres's conference marking 60 years of Israeli independence will bring world-renowned well-wishers to the capital, from Steven Spielberg and Barbra Streisand to US President George W. Bush, former USSR president Mikhail Gorbachev, ex-US secretary of state Henry Kissinger and Middle East Quartet envoy Tony Blair.
The Jewish People Policy Planning Institute is developing the program for the "Facing Tomorrow" conference, which will be held on May 13-15 at the Jerusalem International Convention Center (Binyenei Ha'uma). The conference will focus on "The Global Tomorrow, The Jewish Tomorrow and The Israel Tomorrow."
"'Facing Tomorrow' will be a synergistic gathering of major world leaders, Jews and non-Jews, thinkers and doers, poets and physicists, rabbis and entrepreneurs, including the next generation of leadership, young men and women of exceptional promise and originality. President Peres is deeply committed to the success of 'Facing Tomorrow' and will be personally engaged in the conference throughout its proceeding," the organizers promise.
The foreign participants at the conference will also include former Indonesian president Abdurrahman Wahid, French philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy, Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel, Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, former German foreign minister Joscka Fischer, the last president of Czechoslovakia and the first president of the Czech Republic, Vaclav Havel, News Corporation Chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch, social networking Web site Facebook's founder Mark Zuckerberg, and Google co-founder Sergey Brin.
Also slated to participate are Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, opposition leader Binyamin Netanyahu, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Defense Minister Ehud Barak.
Peres's convention is a private initiative, separate from the government's official Independence celebrations, which will start on the evening of May 7, following the annual Remembrance Day for fallen soldiers.
The celebration of the state's 60th anniversary will continue into 2009.
Japanese carmakers are boosting production in growing markets including China, India and Russia, as demand slows in the U.S. Toyota opened its first plant in Russia in December, and Honda is setting up a second factory in India.
In December, Toyota opened a plant in St. Petersburg, its first in Russia, to assemble as many as 50,000 vehicles annually. The automaker also expects sales in China to reach 700,000 vehicles this year.
The carmaker [Nissan India] will also build a 45 billion rupee ($1.1 billion) plant in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu with affiliate Renault. The plant, to start production by 2010, will have a capacity of 400,000 cars a year and build four models.
The dollar headed for its biggest weekly decline in a month against the euro as traders raised bets the Federal Reserve will cut interest rates to avert a recession.
The currency was also poised to drop versus the British pound and the Swiss Franc before a U.S. government report today that will probably show growth in consumer spending slowed.
``There are further declines ahead for the dollar,'' said Antje Praefcke, a Frankfurt-based currency strategist at Commerzbank AG, Germany's second-largest bank. ``The U.S. is probably facing a recession and the Fed will cut rates further. There are ongoing problems with the financial sector. All of this is not good news for the dollar.''
The U.S. dollar has fallen 8 percent against the euro this year, heading for its sixth straight quarterly loss and the biggest since 2004 as the Fed slashed interest rates by 3 percentage points since September to 2.25 percent.
Israel News - With Iran and Syria's Assistance, Terror Groups In Gaza Improving Their Capabalities To Attack Israel | Infolive.tv
French President Nicola Sarkozy said Friday he supported the decisions by Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah not to participate in the Arab summit that is planned to open Saturday in Damascus.
Al-Hayat daily reported that Sarkozy held a joint news conference with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown in London in which he said that the fact that large countries like Egypt and Saudi Arabia will not show up at the conference has "great significance."
Sarkozy said that Syria has been asked numerous times to change its policy on Lebanon and to stop interfering in its western neighbor's business. He called upon Syrian strongman Bashar Assad to heed the message that Egypt and Saudi Arabia are sending him.
A new NIS 20 note will be printed on polymer, and the Bank of Israel may begin producing polymer versions of bills of other denominations as well.
The polymer notes will bear the same graphic design as the paper bills, but there will slight differences in their security markings. The most prominent of these changes will be a transparent window.
Polymer bills are harder to counterfeit and take longer to wear down and fall apart than paper bills. The polymer used for bills is a synthetic one, but natural polymer materials such as shellac and amber have been in use for centuries.
Thursday, March 27, 2008
This isn't the first time the number of Google paid clicks in the U.S. fell month to month, but it appears to be the first time that has happened three months in a row.
In the past weeks, together with his wife, Patricia Cayne, who is a student of Jewish religious traditions, Mr. Cayne has spent considerable time searching for comparable events in religious history to see what lessons can be learned from the collapse of his firm, said a person who has spoken to him recently.
Rice prices jumped 30 per cent to an all-time high on Thursday, raising fears of fresh outbreaks of social unrest across Asia where the grain is a staple food for more than 2.5bn people.
The Egyptian export ban formalises a previously poorly enforced curb and follows similar restrictions imposed by Vietnam and India, the world’s second- and third-largest exporters. Cambodia, a small seller, also on Thursday announced an export ban.
These foreign sales restrictions have removed about a third of the rice traded in the international market.
“I have no idea how importing countries will get rice,” said Chookiat Ophaswongse, president of the Thai Rice Exporters Association. He forecast that prices would rise further.
The Philippines, the world’s largest buyer of the grain, said on Thursday it wanted to purchase 500,000 tonnes after it failed to buy a similar amount earlier this month. It is struggling to import 1.8m-2.1m tonnes to cover a production shortfall and on Thursday confirmed it would tap emergency stocks maintained by Vietnam and Thailand.
Rice is also a staple in Africa, particularly for small countries such as Cameroon, Burkina Faso and Senegal that have already suffered social unrest because of high food prices.
Thai rice, a global benchmark, was quoted on Thursday at $760 a tonne, up about 30 per cent from the previous daily quote of about $580 a tonne, according to Reuters data. Some traders, however, said the daily jump was not as steep, adding that Thai rice had already traded at about $700 a tonne this week.
Rice prices have doubled since January, when the grain traded at about $380 a tonne, boosted by strong Asian, Middle Eastern and African demand.
Blogger's note: Worldwide food prices are quickly adding to the global economic crisis. War will likely follow according to history. Watch and pray (and prepare).
Philippine activists warn about possible riots. Aid agencies across Asia worry how they will feed the hungry. Governments dig deeper every day to fund subsidies.
A sharp rise in the price of rice is hitting consumer pocketbooks and raising fears of public turmoil in the many parts of Asia where rice is a staple.
Part of a surge in global food costs, rice prices on world markets have jumped 50 percent in the past two months and at least doubled since 2004. Experts blame rising fuel and fertilizer expenses as well as crops curtailed by disease, pests and climate change. There are concerns prices could rise a further 40 percent in coming months.
The higher prices have already sparked protests in the Philippines, where a government official has asked the public to save leftover rice. In Cambodia, Prime Minister Hun Sen ordered a ban on rice exports Wednesday to curb rising prices at home. Vietnamese exporters and farmers are stockpiling rice in expectation of further price increases.
The top UN rights body on Thursday passed a resolution proposed by Islamic countries saying it is deeply concerned about the defamation of religions and urging governments to prohibit it.
The European Union said the text was one-sided because it primarily focused on Islam. EU countries, including France, Germany and Britain, voted against. Previously EU diplomats had said they wanted to stop the growing worldwide trend of using religious anti-defamation laws to limited free speech. The document, which was put forward by the Organization of the Islamic Conference, ''expresses deep concern at attempts to identify Islam with terrorism, violence and human rights violations.''
Citing an increase in threats and attacks, a U.S. Jewish security network warned its members to be alert to a "new set of circumstances."
"The convergence and timing of several events coupled with escalating tensions in the Middle East create a new set of circumstances that have commanded our attention," said the alert issued Tuesday by the Secure Community Network. "The current heightened threat environment poses challenges and issues, particularly when there is a need for a balanced approach to securing our institutions, agencies and organizations."
The alert cited among other circumstances the end of the 40-day mourning period for Imad Mughniyeh, the Hezbollah terrorist chief assassinated in Syria, and a call by Ayman al-Zawahiri, an al-Qaida chief, to "strike the interests of Jews" in retaliation for escalating violence in the Gaza Strip.
Israel has denied a role in the Mughniyeh killing, but Hezbollah blames it nonetheless and has threatened to retaliate by attacking Jews outside of Israel.
"In the past 30 days, we have noted an increase in reported threats and attacks in the United States," the alert said. "While most of these incidents are isolated, and many are still under active investigation, the increase in frequency and brazenness of threats and attacks are a cause to be more vigilant and conscientious about your security preparedness and operations."
The alert lists seven threats and attacks since Feb. 14, and notes that the Department of Homeland Security has instructed its officials to inspect Jewish sites across the country.
The United Jewish Communities, the federations' umbrella that has led lobbying for federal funds to increase security at Jewish institutions, said the alert underscored the threat that made such investments necessary.
"These incidents are further evidence of the risk faced by the nonprofit sector generally, and the Jewish community in particular, in the post-9/11 environment," UJC's Washington director, William Daroff, told JTA.
Arab foreign ministers meeting in Damascus on Thursday decided to re-endorse the 2002 Saudi Peace Plan. Earlier in the day Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem had accused Israel of failing to commit to the peace process, and had warned that Arab nations could decide to rescind the 2002 initiative in response.
The 2002 initiative calls on Israel to give all territory regained in the Six Day War to the Palestinian Authority, including the Old City and Temple Mount, to end counterterrorist operations, and to grant Israeli citizenship to millions of foreign Arabs. If Israel fulfills those conditions, Arab countries say they will agree to normalize relations.
About 90 percent of the Torah study sessions are one-on-one, says Rabbi Jacobs, who has been studying Kabbalah, philosophy and Talmud with executives for the past seven years. In recent years, the number of participants in the Executive Learning Program has tripled to more than 40, he says, attributing the growth to the convenience of the program and word-of-mouth referrals.
A group of monks disrupted a government-managed tour by foreign reporters to Tibet's capital on Thursday, screaming there was no religious freedom and that the Dalai Lama was not to blame for recent violence there.
The outburst by about 30 monks came as the journalists, including an Associated Press reporter, were being shown around the sacred Jokhang Temple by government handlers in Lhasa. "Tibet is not free! Tibet is not free!" yelled one young Buddhist monk, who then started crying.
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
A conference at the Inbal Hotel in Jerusalem Wednesday was dedicated to a call for bringing 8,000 members of the Falash Mura group from Ethiopia to Israel. The Falash Mura are Ethiopian Christians of Jewish descent.
Rabbi Menachem Waldman, an expert on the Ethiopian community, told Arutz 7 that the Falash Mura are "Jews by any definition." They were checked "mother after mother," he said. "There was a phenomenon of conversion to Christianity there but now they have returned to Judaism and live as Jews."
Rabbi Waldman said that both Rabbi Ovadia Yosef and Chief Sephardic Rabbi, Rabbi Shlomo Amar support bringing the Falash Mura to Israel, after examining the subject.
The Bible study class, a long-standing tradition in the Presidential Residence, was reconvened Wednesday after a four year break. About 200 rabbis, academics and other intellectuals discussed the theme "Jerusalem from a Biblical perspective."
The Bible study tradition in the Presidential Residence dates back to the first years after Israel's establishment, but was paused during the past four years, during Moshe Katzav's term.
US President George W. Bush is accepting Russian President Vladimir Putin's invitation to meet next week in the Russian resort city of Sochi.
The meeting between the two leaders will take place April 6 as Bush is wrapping up a trip to Ukraine, Croatia and the NATO summit in Bucharest, Romania. It will likely be the last between Bush and the Russian leader beore Putin leaves office. Putin's successor as Russian president, Dmitry Medvedev, takes office at the beginning of May.
Bush announced the visit during a pre-trip interview with foreign journalists. He said he and Putin would discuss a dispute between the U.S. and Russia over a proposed new American missile defense system to be based in Eastern Europe.
Sarkozy's repeated complaints over the past year that the euro's appreciation against the dollar is pushing European companies, including planemaker European Aeronautic, Defence & Space Co., to cut jobs at home and relocate some activities abroad have failed to stem the currency's gains. The euro has risen 17 percent against the dollar over the past 12 months, and reached a record $1.5904 on March 17.
Israel News - Israel To Give PA Arms, Protective Gear and Ease Up Restrictions In An Attempt To Boost Abu Mazen | Infolive.tv
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Saudi Arabia is organizing an interfaith conference on the issue of morals and family values.
Saudi King Abdul Aziz Ibn Saud said Tuesday in a statement published in the London-based Arabic-language al-Hayat and al-Sharq al-Awsat newspapers that “With Allah’s aid we will meet our brethren of the Torah and the New Testament. Together we will prevent the decay of morality and family values in our society and replace the contempt and hurtfulness omnipresent in our world with genuine human fealty.”
The king said in the interview he met with Pope Benedict XVI regarding the proposed interfaith meetings as well. A well-known pro-Zionist Muslim author was converted to Catholicism on Sunday in a public ceremony covered by international media.
Muslims and Orthodox Jews, who are vehemently opposed to Christian missionary activity, are suspected of sending a bomb
Rabbi Shalom Lipshitz, head of Yad Le'achim, the largest anti-missionary organization in Israel, said that he opposed all violent anti-missionary action. But he added that he saw the Messianic community as an enemy to the Jewish people.
"There is no one who hates Jews more than they do," said Lipshitz. "They are trying to uproot Jewish faith, just like the Spanish did in the Inquisition. The only thing different is that these people cannot use physical force like the Spanish did. But they try to take advantage of the poor. They prey on Jews who do not know anything about Jewish heritage.
"We try to explain the 'truth.' We try to tell people that you cannot be Jewish and believe in Jesus at the same time. It just doesn't go together.
"Our job at Yad Le'achim is to make sure the Jewish people gets bigger, and fight people who are trying to make it smaller."
Monday, March 24, 2008
JOEL C. ROSENBERG: THE BIG (UNTOLD) STORY IN THE MIDDLE EAST: Muslims converting to faith in Jesus Christ in record numbers -- 2008 Update
Friday, March 21, 2008
Thousands of Christians walked the stone alleyways of Jerusalem's Old City to mark Good Friday, retracing the route Jesus took to his crucifixion.
Some pilgrims carried wooden crosses as they walked the Via Dolorosa, or Way of Sorrows, stopping at 14 stations that mark events that befell Jesus as he was led to his death.
Other pilgrims crowded into the ancient Church of the Holy Sepulcher, traditionally the site of Jesus' death, burial and resurrection. Some chanted hymns. Others prostrated themselves on a smooth stone slab marking the spot where Jesus' body was placed after being removed from the cross.
Blogger's note: Jesus Christ the Lord is risen! Maranatha!
Thursday, March 20, 2008
The Bush administration issued a fresh warning Thursday to US banks that Iran is using "an array of deceptive practices" to hide its alleged involvement in nuclear proliferation and terrorist activities.
The Treasury Department's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network alleged that Iran is resorting to such alleged practices to evade detection and skirt financial sanctions.
For instance, the agency said that the Iran's central bank, also known as Bank Markazi, and Iranian commercial banks have requested that their names be removed from global financial transactions to make it difficult to "determine the true parties in the transaction."
The Interfax news agency quotes Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov as saying that putting Ukraine and Georgia on a track to NATO membership will badly hurt U.S.-Russian relations.
It quotes Lavrov as saying on a trip to Israel on Thursday that the alliance's decision to give the two former Soviet Republics a "membership action plan" at the April 2-4 alliance summit in Bucharest, Romania, would have the "gravest consequences" for US-Russian relations.
Military action against Iran over its nuclear ambitions would be "a disaster" and the only way to solve the impasse is through dialogue, former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan said on Thursday.
Any attempt to resolve the Iranian issue through means that are not peaceful would hurt the international effort against Tehran's nuclear program, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told his Israeli counterpart, Tzipi Livni, during their meeting Thursday evening.
Livni said the way to avoid difficult decisions in the future would be to impose harsh sanctions today.
Bank of Israel officials announced Thursday that they would be purchasing United States dollars over the next two years, beginning next week. Israel will purchase $25 million a day for a total of $10 billion, they said.
News of the planned purchase caused the dollar to strengthen by 1.86 percent. The dollar closed at 3.443 NIS.
A NEW strain of a major fungal disease (Ug99) in wheat is wiping out crops across Africa and Asia - Biblical???
Ug99 has now destroyed 80 to 90 per cent of wheat strains that are resistant to stem rust, and is certain to spread to other parts of the world.
The disease spreads through spores in the wind, Boyd explained, and so has already spread to Pakistan and the Yemen.
It is now only "a matter of time" before it spreads to warmer wheat-growing climates such as China, India, Australia and the Ukraine. However, Boyd warned that a solution is unlikely to surface any time soon, as it takes five years to breed a resistant strain.
Last week, the American Bakers Association (ABA) lobbied the new US Agriculture Secretary, Ed Schafer, along with senior White House officials, to ask for support from the lawmakers.
The visit was prompted by what the ABA called "critically low reserves" of wheat in the country.
Wheat on the Chicago Board of Trade last week rose to trade above US$13 a bushel for the first time since February 27 when the price reached a record.
The price gained 16 per cent b y last week Friday, the biggest such gain in two weeks.
The chief executive of Premier Foods in Britain called for the government to plant more wheat fields to help restore the balance between supply and demand.
In an interview with The Financial Times, Robert Schofield said that wheat prices were unlikely to fall "any time soon", as "demand for wheat was greater than supply."
He advocated that "more land needs to be put under the plough so the supply side is balanced out against the demand."
Blogger's note: I will send wasting famine against them, consuming pestilence and deadly plague; I will send against them the fangs of wild beasts, the venom of vipers that glide in the dust. Deuteronomy 32:24
There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven. Luke 21:11
Pan-Arab Al-Jazeera TV has broadcast what it describes as a new audio tape by Osama bin Laden in which the al-Qaida leader slams Palestinian negotiations with Israel and urges holy war for the liberation of Palestine.
Bin Laden says in the recording that "Palestine cannot be retaken by negotiations and dialogue, but with fire and iron."
Blogger's note: "Chatter" is up around these holy days.
Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden says that "Palestine can only be retaken by force."
In a statement published by al-Jazeera, Bin Laden said that "the siege imposed on the Gaza Strip is one of the results of the Annapolis Conference."
Retired truck driver George Slayton, 65, said he just wasn't sure how much water from the Black River flowed into his home in Piedmont, Mo. He only had time to grab some medication and a change of clothes.
"I believe in God and everything, but he does things sometimes that make you wonder," said Slayton, who found shelter at a church and slept on a padded pew.
Blogger's note: God is in control and will stop Satan after Satan's last apex in these end-times.
Serbia is withdrawing its ambassadors from Hungary, Croatia and Bulgaria in response to their recognition of Kosovo as an independent state, the Serbian Foreign Ministry said on Thursday.
"This is a blow, it's a step backwards," Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic told B92 television in Belgrade. He said his counterparts in the three neighbouring states had told him they had been under heavy pressure to recognise Kosovo and had expressed hope they could keep good relations.
Russia is preparing to host a Middle East peace conference this year that will try to relaunch talks between Israel and Syria about the occupied Golan Heights, Russian officials said in Syria on Thursday.
"We have not issued invitations but we're working out how to incorporate different suggestions," Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said after meeting President Bashar al-Assad. Lavrov had announced plans to host the next Middle East peace conference after the Annapolis talks. He said on Thursday that everyone in Annapolis had agreed to the Moscow conference.
The IDF said Thursday that around 200 US and Israeli officers had staged a computer-based battle simulation designed to improve coordination between the two countries' armed forces.
The four-day exercise, codenamed "Juniper Falcon" was part of a standing agreement between the two strategic allies to hold regular joint training to boost "interoperability, understanding and cooperation" a military statement released on Thursday said.
The statement stressed that the exercise, which ended on Wednesday, had been planned a year in advance and was not related to actual events.
Defense officials said that in addition the IDF's southern command held a separate simulation based on a scenario of an escalated conflict in Gaza. They said that the drill, codenamed "Coiled Spring" should not be seen as a precursor to a real offensive into the Gaza Strip.
Blogger's note: Israel invites Christians to visit, but please take your Jesus Christ the Lord back home with you (money yes, Jesus no).
The Vatican rejected on Thursday fresh accusations from al-Qaeda leader Osama bin-Laden that the publication of cartoons mocking Islam's Prophet Mohammad was part of a "new crusade" involving Pope Benedict.
"These accusations are totally unfounded," said Vatican spokesman Rev. Federico Lombardi. "But they are not surprising. It is natural to think that he (bin-Laden) would lump the Vatican and the pope together with all his perceived enemies."
Residents of low-lying towns stacked sandbags or grabbed belongings and fled Wednesday after as much as a foot of rain pushed rivers and creeks over their banks in the nation's midsection. At least 13 deaths had been linked to the weather, and three people were missing.
Record or near-record flood crests were forecast at several towns in Missouri. Flooding was reported in large areas of Arkansas and parts of southern Illinois, southern Indiana and southwestern Ohio, and schools were closed in parts of western Kentucky because of flooded roads.
Atlanta police closed some downtown streets in case the stormy weather knocked down more broken glass and debris from buildings damaged by Friday's tornado.
In Ohio and other areas, the rain fell on ground already saturated from heavy snowfall less than two weeks ago.
A foot of rain had fallen in sections of southern Illinois and at Mountain Home, Ark., and Cape Girardeau, Mo., while 6.2 inches fell at Evansville, Ind., the weather service said.
Gov. Matt Blunt said he was seeking a federal disaster declaration for 70 of Missouri's 114 counties and the city of St. Louis.
Widespread flooding in Arkansas had washed out some highways and led to evacuations in some areas, said Tommy Jackson, a spokesman for the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management. The Highway and Transportation Department reported state roads blocked in 16 counties.
In Findlay, Ohio, authorities closed streets after the Blanchard River once again surpassed the 11-foot flood level — the 10th time it has done so in the past 15 months.
Key roads were closed to the south in the Cincinnati area, where water 4 feet deep was reported in businesses in the suburb of Sharonville, police said.
16 Adar II
This day is celebrated as Purim Day in Jerusalem.
No Tachnun said.
Blogger's note: Purim Day in Jerusalem coincides with Easter this year. I've read that this will not recur for at least another 44 years. What does Osama Bin Laden think of this coincidence? What do you think?
The New York Police Department says it has been working closely with the Secret Service to provide the highest level of protection possible for the pope during his upcoming visit to the city.
Pope Benedict XVI has been mentioned in a new Osama bin Laden message. The pontiff is due to speak next month at the United Nations, pray at the World Trade Center site and celebrate Mass in Yankee Stadium.
Many American Jews want the Jewish Agency to concentrate more on education for youth, many of whom have lost a connection with Israel and with Judaism. On the other hand, most Americans who move to Israel are religious, reflecting a strong connection to Zionism.
A new tape purported to be issued by Al Qaeda terrorist leader Osama Bin Laden warns the European Union (EU) of revenge for the publication of cartoons of the Muslim prophet Mohammed, an act he called a worse crime than Western forces killing women and children. The cartoons were published in a Danish newspaper last year and set off a storm of Muslim protests.
The "reckoning for it will be more severe," he warned. "If there is no check on the freedom of your words, then let your hearts be open to the freedom of our actions." The video was posted on an Al Qaeda website Wednesday and coincided with the fifth anniversary of the war in Iraq.
The Israel-based Rabintex Industries' American subsidiary Burtek has won a $27 million tender to supply the United States Army with 920 ambulances to be manufactured this year. The contract is part of a three-year pact worth $94 million.
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden addressed the "wise men" of the European Union in a new audio message posted on extremist Web sites late Wednesday slamming the publication of drawings insulting to the Prophet Muhammad and vowed a strong reaction.
A voice believed to be Bin Laden's described the attacks of the Europeans on women and children but said these "paled (in comparison) when you went overboard in your unbelief and freed yourselves of the etiquettes of dispute and fighting and went to the extent of publishing these insulting drawings, this is the greatest misfortune and the most dangerous."
Bin Laden went on describe the cartoons as taking place in the framework of a "new Crusade" against Islam, in which the Pope has played a "large and lengthy role" and warned the Europeans that a reaction would come.
Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden will be issuing a new message right around the 5th anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, announced a militant website with close connections to the group Wednesday.
"Urgent, very soon by the will of God," read the announcement of the new message. "The response is what you see and not what you hear, by the warrior sheik, Osama bin Laden." The announcement was text only and showed no pictures of the elusive militant leader.
Flooding forced hundreds of people to flee their homes and closed scores of roads Wednesday across the nation's midsection as a storm system linked to nine deaths poured as much as a foot of rain on the region.
The National Weather Service posted flood and flash flood warnings from Texas to Pennsylvania on Wednesday, and evacuations were under way in parts of Missouri, Arkansas and Ohio.
The pro-Land of Israel group "Women in Green" greeted Tzvia Sariel, who was released from jail Wednesday, with the "Matir asurim" blessing, which refers to the Lord's releasing of prisoners.
"18 year old Tzvia did not kneel or bow before the evil regime which despite her innocence abused her for almost four months in Neve Tirtza jail, in order to break her spirit and beliefs," the movement's leader, Nadia Matar, said. "Tzvia represents the wonderful Jewish youth, which is loyal to the Land of Israel, which fears no internal or external enemy, youth which by the grace of G-d will soon carry out the rebellion we all expect."
The rebellion, she said, will cause us to reach a state of "it was turned to the contrary so that the Jews themselves gained the mastery over those who hated them" – a quote from the Scroll of Esther (9:1).
Blogger's note: Never underestimate the power of women.
Water officials say the country is suffering its worst drought in the past decade.
If the dry spell continues, they say, Israel will have to stop pumping from one of its main drinking water supplies by the end of the summer.
Water Authority spokesman Uri Schor says cutting off water pumping from the Sea of Galilee would force Israel to tap already depleted aquifers.
Schor says that Israel's water problem stems from population growth and a rising number of Israelis who own homes with gardens. Some relief may be on the way, though: Schor says a desalination plant currently being built should be ready at the end of next year.
Israel's rainy winter season is ending this month. The rains don't resume until next October.
"... And then, this past Friday, the Rabbinic Court for the Nation and the Land ordered her release, yet for some reason, this order was simply never implemented."
Winds of more than 100 mph briefly were reported at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, where lightning struck a ramp earlier Tuesday. Airport officials said the strongest winds occurred in microbursts and caused no damage.
More than half of the 950 flights for all airlines scheduled to depart DFW on Tuesday were canceled, airport officials said. More than 100 incoming flights were diverted.
"This is one of the most vicious thunderstorms DFW has seen in quite some time, especially its ongoing intensity," said airport spokesman Ken Capps. "Add in two snow storms in the past two weeks and this has been one of the most unusual early spring weather patterns in years.
The US is transferring $150 million in aid to the Palestinian government in coming days, Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salaam Fayad announced Wednesday.
The payment is part of a total of $550 million the US pledged to pay to the Palestinians over three years, part of a total of $7.7 billion in pledges from international donors made at a conference in Paris in December.
Fayad said the US money would go directly to the national treasury, to be used for running the cash-strapped government. Donors often prefer giving money for more prestigious development projects, rather than budget support, and Fayad said it was significant that the US earmarked the money for government operations.
Indeed, in the last twenty-four hours, the leaders of Germany and Great Britain have expressed new concerns over possible coming nuclear attacks. Neither suggested having intelligence indicating such attacks were close at hand, but their warnings turned heads on several continents. They also echoed concerns raised by American national security leaders over the past year, including Vice President Dick Cheney, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, and former CIA Director George Tenet.
On a tour through the Middle East this week, Sen. John McCain also warned of the growing nuclear threat from Iran and further warned that Hamas, Hezbollah and other terror groups could be planning to strike not only the Israel but the U.S. and Europe as well.
The point is not that such apocalyptic attacks against the U.S., Europe, Israel or elsewhere are imminent or necessarily destined to come to pass. The point is that a growing number of world leaders believe such threats are real and significant. We should not take their warnings lightly.
Missouri Governor Matt Blunt on Tuesday activated the National Guard as flood waters closed hundreds of roads across the state. The rising water also forced numerous residents from their homes.
Flooding throughout Springfield, Mo., forced officials to close about 60 roads. On the southeast side of Springfield, flood waters washed a car into the James River. A man died in the car despite a long recovery effort, while the female occupant survived.
As of 4 a.m. CDT this morning, Springfield had received over six inches of rain from the storm. The 3.93 inches that fell on Tuesday broke the daily rainfall record of 2.79 inches set in 1889.
Cape Girardeau, Mo., has been swamped by nearly 12 inches of rain. The city on Tuesday shattered its all-time daily rainfall record of 6.73 inches established on March 27, 1977.
Israel and Russia will sign a mutual agreement Thursday cancelling the need for visas for tourists from both countries. The agreement will be signed between Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who will arrive in Israel on Thursday.
Tourism Ministry officials estimated that the agreement would boost Russian tourism to Israel.
Blogger's note: It is time for remaining Jews in Russia to make Aliyah. This will hasten it.
The shekel that was found in the excavation weighs 13 grams and bears the head of Melqart, the chief deity of the city of Tyre (equivalent to the Semitic god Baal) on the obverse and an eagle upon a ship’s prow on the reverse. The coin was struck in the year 22 CE.
Despite the importance of the half-shekel head-tax for the economy of Jerusalem in the Second Temple period, only seven other Tyrian shekels and half shekels were heretofore found in the excavations in Jerusalem.
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
"The Arab countries in the region are also fearful of Iran," the Israeli president told the US presidential hopeful at his official residence in Jerusalem.
The entire government will join a massive security drill planned for April for the first time in Israel’s history. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert will begin the drill by announcing the outbreak of a mock war. The government will also practice its response to an attack or natural disaster resulting in a large number of casualties.
Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai planned the massive drill as part of the efforts to implement lessons learned from the Second Lebanon War. The government and security forces will practice their ability to give each minister timely, accurate information.
United States presidential candidate Senator John McCain met with President Shimon Peres in Jerusalem on Tuesday. US Senators Joe Lieberman and Lindsey Graham joined the meeting as well.
McCain told Peres he was concerned by Iran’s support of terrorist groups. Iran provides such groups with funding and training, he said. McCain said his concerns had grown during his current trip to the Middle East.
Peres agreed with McCain, and warned that if Iran were to obtain nuclear weapons it would pose a threat to many countries, and not only to Israel. “The mix of terrorism with nuclear capabilities and irresponsible leadership is a threat to the entire world,” Peres said.
A divided Federal Reserve cut interest rates by three-quarters of a percentage point, delivering less than the markets hoped for despite the magnitude of the move.
"The outlook for economic activity has weakened further. Financial markets remain under considerable stress, and the tightening of the credit conditions and the deepening of the housing contraction are likely to weigh on economic growth over the next few quarters," the Fed said in a statement accompanying the decision.
As recently as a few days ago, economists had called for only a half-percentage-point reduction in the fed funds rate. Even that would have been an aggressive move coming just weeks after officials cut the funds rate by 1.25 percentage points over an eight-day period in January.
But as the financial market crisis worsened last week and economic data disappointed, investors steadily upped their rate-cut forecasts to as high as 0.75 percentage point by the end of last week.
And after the Fed on Sunday lowered the discount rate by one-quarter point, extended $30 billion in financing to J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.to complete its takeover of Bear Stearns and announced new liquidity measures on top of others that could pump hundreds of billions of dollars into credit markets, many economists concluded that anything less than 100 basis points would disappoint markets and threaten a renewed downward spiral.
But the signs are ominous for what Fed officials call an adverse "feedback loop" in which economic and market difficulties become self-feeding. Housing remains mired in a severe slump, as evidenced by a 16-year low reading Tuesday on homebuilding permits. Back-to-back declines in employment, weak retail sales and a surprisingly large drop in factory output suggest that housing weakness is spreading to other sectors.
Further freeing the Fed's hand was a surprisingly tame consumer price report last week that showed no change in prices both overall and when food and energy prices were excluded. Inflation will surely rebound this month on the back of record-high oil and gasoline prices.
The smaller-than-expected rate cut may also signal that officials are growing uneasy about the U.S. dollar's decline against other major currencies, which has pushed up prices of commodities like oil that are priced in dollars.
McCain is also scheduled to visit President Shimon Peres at his residence in Jerusalem, after which two statesmen plan to deliver a political statement.
FEMA Federal Insurance Administrator, David Maurstad says, "I think the conditions are very similar to what we saw before the '93 Midwest floods 15 years ago when there was 15 billion dollars worth of damage across 11 Midwestern states."
Jerusalem - The burden of proof that Iran is not building a nuclear bomb lies with Tehran, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Tuesday. "The world must not prove to Iran that Iran is building an atom bomb. Iran must convince the world that it does not want an atom bomb," Merkel said in an historic address to the Israeli parliament in which she expressed unequivocal support for Israel's security.
Condemning Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's "repeated verbal abuse" of Israel, Merkel warned that if Iran obtained an atom bomb this would have "far-reaching consequences, first and foremost for the security and existence of Israel," but also for the region, Europe and the entire world.
"Every German government and every German chancellor before me were committed to Germany's special historic responsibility for Israel's security," she told the Knesset.
Merkel spoke in German, prompting some five Israeli legislators to boycott her address in protest. Her decision to speak in her own language was "insensitive" to Israel's Holocaust survivors and their relatives, they complained.
But, opening her speech in Hebrew, Merkel - the first German chancellor or foreign head of government ever to address the Knesset - said to applause that it was a "great honour" for her to be invited to speak before the 120-member House.
She then thanked its delegates in German "for allowing me to speak to you in my mother tongue."
Germany and Israel, she said, would forever be connected to each other through the memory of the Holocaust.
The "mass murder" of six million Jews "in the name of Germany" was "without example," and had caused "indescribable" suffering to the Jewish people, she said, adding:
"The Shoah (Hebrew for Holocaust) fills us Germans with shame. I bow before the victims. I bow before the survivors and before all those who helped them survive."
"I am deeply convinced of it: Only if Germany recognizes its everlasting responsibility for the moral catastrophe in German history, can we shape the future humanely."
This meant, she said, that Germany should act to nip in the bud any attempt to "downplay the atrocities" committed by the Nazis. "Anti-Semitism, Racism and Xenophobia should never be allowed to set foot again in Germany and in Europe."
Blogger's note: Expect the unexpected in these end-times.
"The close bonds of friendship between Germany and Israel are not regular relations between two nations," Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Tuesday at a special session of the Knesset attended by German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
"They carry the heavy weight of historical memory to which we are obligated. But this is exactly why they [also] contain power, sensitivity and substance that are unparalleled between any two nations in the international arena."
5 TOP AWARDS:
At least one prizewinning entry will be selected in each category of submission, with a total of 5 awarded. Prizewinners will be given the opportunity to spend up to an academic semester in residence at MIT as Jerusalem Visionary Fellows, with all expenses paid, including travel, housing, and stipend. In the case of team submissions, no more than three individuals per winning entry will be hosted as fellows. While at MIT, all fellows will participate in university seminars and workshops with faculty and invited dignitaries to work towards the implementation of their design ideas.
Blogger's note: Winners will be announced tomorrow at a press conference.
Lehman Brothers analysts see no immediate end to the shekel's surge against the dollar, Globes business news report.
The analysts, Tolga Ediz, Silja Sepping, and Manik Narain, see "very strong fundamental reasons" for the shekel to strengthen further.
"Much of the shekel’s appreciation has been the result of the dollar’s collapse and a rising rate differential to the US," the added. "At a time when the global economy is under pressure, when Israel’s stock market has outperformed the S&P 500, and when a significant interest rate differential has opened up, Israel looks like a safer investment. We would not be surprised to see local investors bringing back income that they have accumulated abroad. Even a slowdown in these outflows would push the shekel higher, given the existing current account surplus."
The third horseman, riding the black horse, is called Pestilence. The black colour of the third horse could be a symbol of famine. Its rider holds a scale, which could be a representation of the 'scales of pitiless justice' which commonly represent inequality and corruption.
The "a measure of wheat for a penny" from the King James Version might not sound like a famine to modern ears, but in the Worldwide English Version we read "four cups of wheat for bread will sell for a day's wages".
DEBKAfile’s Washington sources report that Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas has put President George W. Bush and secretary of state Condoleezza Rice on notice. He has sent them a warning that he means to break off peace talks with Israel unless prime minister Ehud Olmert comes through with concessions by April. After that, he says, the Palestinians may weigh “alternative actions on the ground” – a transparent threat for his Fatah organization to revive the Palestinian “uprising” (terror campaign) against Israel from the West Bank.
DEBKAfile’s Palestinians sources note this is Abbas’ second threat to reignite the Palestinian-Israeli war launched by Yasser Arafat in 2000. Two weeks ago, he told the Jordanian A Dustour , that while he prefers negotiations for now, he does not exclude an alternative option in the future.
Our Washington sources disclose the Palestinian leader’s conditions for the dialogue to continue:
1. The Israeli prime minister must meet Palestinian demands for concessions.
2. Foreign minister Tzipi Livni must satisfy her Palestinian opposition number Ahmed Qureia’s demand for a final list of Israeli concessions on the core issues of borders, refugees, Jerusalem and water.
3. Israeli must halt all construction in Jerusalem and the settlements forthwith.
According to DEBKAfile’s Middle East sources, Abbas’s ultimatum was timed to profit from three forthcoming events:
First: US Vice President Dick Cheney’s visit on March 22. Palestinian officials will emphasize to him that they have run out of patience with Olmert and that some American arm-twisting is needed to make him more forthcoming.
Second: The forthcoming Arab League summit on March 29 in Damascus. Abbas is jockeying for a position that will upstage the Gaza issue, which is high on the summit’s agenda, and steal the thunder from radical Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal’s triumphal performance. For this, he needs a more radical platform than tame submission to the US-sponsored peace line.
Third: A fighting stance would pave the way for reconciliation talks with Hamas on the formation of a Palestinian unity government. This would be applauded by all the Arab rulers present.
For Abbas, time is running out with his own people. A new Palestinian popularity poll in mid-March placed Hamas prime minister of Gaza Ismail Haniyeh in the lead - 47 percent to the PA chairman’s 46 percent. Significantly, Haniyeh gained 10 percent in popularity after Hamas smashed the Gaza-Egyptian border wall and escalated its missile onslaught on Israel.
Fourth: The Palestinian leader is under fire from his own followers for letting Israel celebrate its 60th year of statehood in May without discernible progress toward Palestinian independence. The resumption of a Fatah-dominated terror offensive to mar Israel’s anniversary events might quell the dissatisfaction with his leadership.
The Dalai Lama threatened Tuesday to step down as leader of Tibet's government in exile if violence committed by Tibetans in his homeland spirals out of control.
Demonstrations in Tibet turned increasingly violent last week, and the Dalai Lama, speaking to reporters, urged Tibetans to show restraint.
He said that "if things become out of control" his "only option is to completely resign."
While much of the violence in Tibet has been directed against protesters, there have also been reports of Tibetan demonstrators attacking shops and burning cars.