Romanian ruling party chief says plans to move Israel embassy to Jerusalem

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OR REUTERS NEWS AGENCY)

 

Romanian ruling party chief says plans to move Israel embassy to Jerusalem

BUCHAREST (Reuters) – The leader of Romania’s ruling Social Democrats said the government had approved a memorandum to move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv, one of the first countries to do so following the United States.

FILE PHOTO: Social Democrat Party leader Liviu Dragnea gestures after leaving the Romanian anti-corruption prosecutors headquarters in Bucharest, Romania, November 13, 2017. Inquam Photos/Octav Ganea/via REUTERS

U.S. President Donald Trump in December recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, infuriating Washington’s Arab allies and dismaying Palestinians who want the eastern part of the city as their capital.

Under Romanian legislation, a final embassy relocation decision belongs to centrist President Klaus Iohannis, who said he had not been consulted. The Romanian government and foreign ministry did not immediately confirm the information.

“Yesterday, the government adopted a memorandum deciding to start the procedure to effectively move the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem,” Social Democrat leader and lower house speaker Liviu Dragnea told private television station Antena3 late on Thursday.

Dragnea keeps a tight grip on his party and is seen as effectively in charge of the cabinet.

Romanian President Iohannis said in a statement on Friday that he had not been informed or consulted about the decision and urged all government and political actors to show “responsibility and discernment regarding major foreign policy decisions that have strategic effects including on national security.”

“Such a decision must be taken only after consulting and securing the approval of all foreign policy and national security institutions, with a final decision belonging to the President, according to the constitution.”

On Thursday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that “at least half a dozen” countries were considering moving their embassies to Jerusalem. The U.S. Embassy is due to relocate on May 14.

“Our gesture has a huge symbolic value … for Israel, a state with an unbelievably large influence in the world and with which we have had a special relationship for many years,” Social Democrat leader Dragnea said.

“Moving the embassy to Jerusalem can and I believe will bring short, medium and long-term benefits for Romania and we must use this huge chance and opportunity.”

Reporting by Luiza Ilie; Editing by Toby Chopra

PA official: Egypt asked Hamas to stop Gaza protests

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)

 

PA official: Egypt asked Hamas to stop Gaza protests

Envoys from Cairo said to worry about potential for ‘serious deterioration’; official in the Strip vows to continue demonstrations

A Palestinian man tries to cut through a section of barbed wire at the border fence with Israel, east of Jabalia in the central Gaza city, during a protest on April 13, 2018 (AFP PHOTO / MOHAMMED ABED)

A Palestinian man tries to cut through a section of barbed wire at the border fence with Israel, east of Jabalia in the central Gaza city, during a protest on April 13, 2018 (AFP PHOTO / MOHAMMED ABED)

Senior Egyptian intelligence officials who visited the Gaza Strip on Saturday reportedly asked Hamas leaders to halt the weekly mass demonstrations along the border with Israel.

The Egyptian delegation, headed by Sameh Nabil, who is in charge of the Palestinian portfolio in Egypt’s General Intelligence Service, entered the Gaza Strip through the Erez border crossing with Israel.

A Palestinian Authority official in Ramallah said that the Egyptian officials demanded during their talks with Hamas leaders in Gaza City that the terror group end the protests, which began three weeks ago as part of the so-called March of Return.

“The Egyptians are worried that the confrontations along the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel could lead to a serious deterioration,” the official told The Times of Israel. “The Egyptians are also concerned that the clashes could move to the border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt.”

Egypt has refused to open the Rafah border crossing with the Gaza Strip on a permanent basis, a decision that has drawn sharp criticism from Palestinians living in the coastal enclave.

Unconfirmed reports in a number of Arab media outlets in the past few days said that Egypt has been pressuring Hamas to halt the “March of Return” in exchange for easing travel restrictions at the Rafah crossing.

Adel Abed Al Rahman, spokesperson for the Egyptian delegation that visited the Gaza Strip, said that the talks with the Hamas leaders focused on the issue of “reconciliation” between the terror group and Mahmoud Abbas’s ruling Fatah faction.

Israeli soldiers are seen as Palestinian demonstrators protest at the Israel-Gaza border, Friday, April 13, 2018. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

Hamas and Fatah signed a reconciliation agreement in Cairo in October 2017 in which they pledged to end their differences and pave the way for achieving Palestinian unity. However, the two rival parties have since failed to reach understandings on the implementation of the Egyptian-brokered deal, and continue to hold each other responsible for its failure.

Abbas has accused Hamas of failing to hand full control of the Gaza Strip over to his Ramallah-based government. He has also threatened to impose new sanctions on Hamas unless it complies with his demands.

Hamas, for its part, has accused Abbas of failing to lift sanctions he imposed on the Gaza Strip last year, including suspending payments to thousands of civil servants. Hamas has also rejected Abbas’s demand to allow his security forces to deploy in the Gaza Strip.

Egyptian intelligence officials who were trying to mediate between Hamas and Fatah left the Gaza Strip shortly after last month’s attempt on the life of Rami Hamdallah, the PA prime minister. Hamdallah’s convoy was targeted by a roadside bomb as he was on his way to inaugurate a water waste plant in the northern Gaza Strip. Neither he nor PA General Intelligence Chief Majed Faraj, who was also in the convoy, were hurt.

Hamas officials refused to comment on the claim that the Egyptians were pressuring them to halt the “March of Return.”

However, shortly after the Egyptian officials left the Gaza Strip, Khalil al-Hayya, a senior Hamas official, announced that the mass demonstrations would continue “until they achieve their real goals.”

The protests, Hayya said, will continue until May 15, when Palestinians mark Nakba Day, the Gregorian calendar date for Israel Independence Day.

“Our Palestinian people will continue the marches and the intifada against the Israeli occupation until they achieve the right of return,” Hayya said, referring to the demand that Israel allow Palestinian refugees and their descendants to return to their former homes inside Israel.

Palestinian protesters burn an Israeli flag during clashes with Israeli forces near the border with Israel, east of Gaza city in the central Gaza strip, on April 13, 2018. (/ AFP PHOTO / MAHMUD HAMS )

“The burning of the Israeli flag [during the third Friday of the demonstrations] is proof that we don’t recognize this flag and its owners.”

On Friday, at least 10,000 Gazans took part in large-scale demonstrations, with the Israeli military saying protesters hurled an explosive device and firebombs at Israeli troops deployed at the border, as well as making “several attempts” to damage the fence between Israel and Gaza and cross over into Israeli territory.

Protesters torched tires and burned large Israeli flags, as well as posters of Israel’s prime minister and defense minister. Large plumes of black smoke from burning tires rose into the sky. They also burned pictures of US President Donald Trump and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Last Friday, about 20,000 Palestinians took part in the demonstrations, with the previous week attracting an estimated 30,000.

More than 30 Palestinians have been killed in the clashes over the part three weeks, according to Hamas-run health authorities. Hamas has acknowledged that several of those killed were its members, and Israel has identified other fatalities as members of terrorist groups.

Times of Israel staff and agencies contributed to this report.

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Iran Vows To Strike Israel

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Iran vowed to retaliate for the recent attack on a military base in Syria, blaming Israel for the strike. Speaking in Damascus at a two-day conference on Jerusalem Tuesday, a senior advisor to Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Ali Akbar Velayati, told Iran’ state-run Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) that Israel’s “crimes will not remain unanswered.”

“The Israeli regime’s aggression against Syria is a breach of this country’s national sovereignty and territorial integrity and runs counter to all international regulations and principles,” Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi said on Monday, according to Press TV.
Israel has neither confirmed nor denied the strike, but Russia claims Israel Was responsible for carrying out the attack, which targeted the T-4 airbase near Homs. Syria, Iran, and Lebanon have also blamed Israel for the attack, which Russia said was initiated by F-15 fighter jets firing missiles from Lebanese airspace.
The strike resulted in the killing of “some Iranian military advisers,” according to IRNA. The semi-official FARS news agency said 4 Iranians had been killed.
“The Zionist regime is [looking for] increased tensions in the region and I think that all involved sides should be extremely vigilant towards this issue,” said Deputy Iranian Foreign Minister Seyed Abbas Araqchi to Russia Today on Tuesday, according to FARS.
Blaming the US for supporting Israel, Araqchi added, “The US and Israel have entered the scene at different stages to boost the terrorists’ morale in Syria and the recent attacks by the Zionists against Syria which was a repetition of similar assaults in the past are within the same framework.”
Though Iran and Israel often exchange accusations, Israel is taking these new threats seriously. The government will discuss the situation at a security cabinet meeting on Wednesday.
“I want to say one thing with absolute certainty. We will not allow the Iranians to base themselves in Syria, no matter what the price,” said Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman on Tuesday. “We have no other choice. To agree to the Iranians basing themselves in Syria is like agreeing to Iran putting a noose around our neck.” Liberman did not comment on the strike in Syria.
Israel has repeatedly expressed its red lines when it comes to Syria: it says it will not allow the transfer of high-powered weapons to Hezbollah, an Iranian-proxy based in Lebanon; it will not allow any breach of Israeli
sovereignty; and, as apparently in the most recent strike, it will work to prevent Iran from entrenching itself in Syria.
“T-4, which is the base we’re talking about, is no longer just a Syrian base, it is a Syrian-Iranian base,” leader of the opposition Yesh Atid party, Yair Lapid, said Speaking to Israeli Army Radio on Monday.
In February, Israeli fighter jets hit the same facility, which the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) says was the command and control center for an Iranian drone that penetrated Israeli airspace, before being shot down.
Before this year, Iran and Israel had only had one other direct confrontation in Syria, which occurred in January 2015. Then, an airstrike attributed to Israel in Quneitra in southern Syria killed an Iranian Revolutionary Guard commander, Gen. Mohammed Ali Allahdadi, along with six others. Israel has never commented on the strike. In response, Hezbollah fired anti-tank missiles at Israeli vehicles operating near the Lebanese border, killing two Israeli soldiers.

Just in case anybody forgot what Hamas’s ‘March of Return’ is really all about

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)

 

Just in case anybody forgot what Hamas’s ‘March of Return’ is really all about

Gaza’s terrorist rulers make no secret of their agenda. They are out to destroy Israel. Suicide bombers, rockets, and tunnels have failed. So now it’s mass marches on the border

David Horovitz
Islamist Hamas terror group leader Yihya Sinwar shouts slogans and flashes the victory gesture as he takes part in a protest near the border with Israel east of Jabaliya in the northern Gaza Strip on March 30, 2018. (AFP/ Mohammed ABED)

Islamist Hamas terror group leader Yihya Sinwar shouts slogans and flashes the victory gesture as he takes part in a protest near the border with Israel east of Jabaliya in the northern Gaza Strip on March 30, 2018. (AFP/ Mohammed ABED)

Just in case anybody forgot, Israel unilaterally withdrew from the Gaza Strip to the pre-1967 lines in 2005. It uprooted thousands of Israeli settlers from their homes. It dismantled all military infrastructure in the Strip. It has no physical presence there. It makes no territorial claims there.

Just in case anybody forgot, Hamas, an Islamist terrorist organization that avowedly seeks the destruction of Israel, seized power in Gaza in 2007 in a violent takeover from the forces of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

Having attempted to terrorize Israel into capitulation with its strategic onslaught of suicide bombers in the Second Intifada, it has, since grabbing hold of Gaza, continued its efforts to terrorize Israel by firing thousands upon thousands of rockets indiscriminately across the border.

An Iron Dome Missile Defense battery set up near the southern Israeli town of Ashdod fires an intercepting missile on July 16, 2014. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Were it not for the Iron Dome rocket defense system, much of Israel would, as Hamas had hoped, have been reduced to rubble.

Hamas has also been incessantly digging attack tunnels under the border — another terror avenue that Israel appears to have gradually been closing off with new technology and underground barriers.

Indian TV crew films Hamas rocket launch from Gaza City residential area, August 5, 2014 (NDTV screenshot)

Just in case anybody forgot, Hamas has cynically and relentlessly exploited Gazans — a large proportion of whom have supported it in elections — by storing its rockets near or even inside mosques and schools, firing rockets from residential areas, and digging tunnels from beneath homes and civilian institutions. It has subverted all materials that can be utilized for the manufacture of weaponry, necessitating a stringent Israeli security blockade whose main victims are ordinary Gazans.

Organizing and encouraging mass demonstrations at the border in the so-called “March of Return” to face off against Israeli troops, while sanctimoniously and disingenuously branding the campaign non-violent, is merely the latest iteration of Hamas’s cynical use of Gazans as the human shields for its aggression.

Just in case anybody forgot, demanding a “right of return” to Israel for tens of thousands of Palestinian refugees and their millions of descendants is nothing less than a call for the destruction of Israel by demographic means. No Israeli government could accept this demand, since it would spell the end of Israel as a Jewish-majority state. Israel’s position is that Palestinian refugees and their descendants would become citizens of a Palestinian state at the culmination of the peace process, just as Jews who fled or were forced out of Middle Eastern countries by hostile governments became citizens of Israel.

Palestinians hand out sweets as they celebrate the passing of former Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip, January 11, 2014. (photo credit: Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)

Just in case anybody forgot, the late prime minister Ariel Sharon oversaw the wrenching withdrawal from Gaza out of a declared desire to set Israel’s permanent borders, and did so unilaterally because he concluded that he could not reach a negotiated agreement with the Palestinian leadership. Had Gaza remained calm, and Sharon remained healthy, it is likely he would have ordered a pullout from much of the West Bank as well — paving the path to Palestinian statehood.

The rise of Hamas to power in Gaza, three rounds of bitter conflict, and an awareness that Israel would be isolated and unable to function if Hamas were to take over in the West Bank — with every location nationwide, notably including the airport, within range of rudimentary rockets — have buried unilateralism and rendered Israelis consensually terrified at the prospect of relinquishing adjacent territory. Thus Hamas, which purports to serve the Palestinian interest, doomed the prospect of Palestinian independence for the foreseeable future.

Organizing and encouraging mass demonstrations at the border in the so-called “March of Return” to face off against Israeli troops, while sanctimoniously and disingenuously branding the campaign non-violent, is merely the latest iteration of Hamas’s cynical use of Gazans as the human shields for its aggression.

But Hamas, of course, is not interested in Palestinian independence. Again, it strives for the elimination of Israel.

So, finally, just in case anybody forgets the context for Friday’s latest escalation of violence, they need only listen to Hamas’s Gaza chief Yahya Sinwar setting out the ultimate goal.  As he put it in an address to Gazans at the border on Friday, “The March of Return will continue… until we remove this transient border.” The protests “mark the beginning of a new phase in the Palestinian national struggle on the road to liberation and ‘return’… Our people can’t give up one inch of the land of Palestine.”

Fatalities from the March 30 violence on the Israel-Gaza border identified by Israel as members of terror groups. (Israel Defense Forces)
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Philosophy: What (If) Jesus Is Really Real

Philosophy: What (If) Jesus Is Really Real

 

I know that there are a lot of people around the world who do not believe in Jesus as the Christ, God incarnate. Christians have a lot of the blame for this because so few Christians really have a clue about the meat of the Scriptures. We are good at quoting a verse here and there or telling you who begat whom or what order the Books are in but few Christians have a clue, even about the beginning of the earth and what we humans call time. I personally believe mostly how the Christians who call themselves Seventh Day Adventist believe except for the part about the earth being created in six human days. Folks I love you but this is stupid theology that cost millions from looking to the Bible for answers when so many Christians like Senator Ted Cruz of Texas spout this level of ignorance the people who might be leaning toward checking out the Bible instead turn from it. We humans these days think we are so smart, we think we can fathom time in millions or even billions of years yet we cannot perceive that time itself has no clock. But, do you think that the people of Moses’ time understood such equations? Even when things are in the simplest forms we sometime over look that which is obvious.

 

For ‘argument sake’ let me say that I do not believe in any form of a ‘god’. I believe that everything that our eyes see is just some kind of cosmic mistake, a huge accident. For argument sake I convince you about everything on earth being this huge accident. But now I have to figure out how all of those cosmic accidents happened also, how planets all do exactly what they are doing all on their own. They all just fell into space the way they are, all the hundreds of billions of planets that we know of and all the ones yet to be discovered. Who knows how many billions, all accidents just empty nothingness perfectly tuned, by accident?

 

Another thought about all of these planets, do we Christians really believe that all of these planets were created by a God? If so, then why? Why does anyone really think that God created billions of planets, was it just because He was bored? If you really believe in a God who created all this that we call Earth, then why do we think He created all those other planets for? Some say if we were to know about it then ‘it’ would be in the Bible. Um, that is sort of ignorant friends. Cars, clocks, buses, electricity, pants, glasses, none of these things and many more are not written in Scripture! God does expect us to have some common sense, to be able to think for ourselves, to not act so ignorant that we run off our own families.

 

Now, what if Jesus is the Christ, ‘The Promised One to Israel’? What if He will be coming back to Earth one day as Scripture over and over again says that He will? Folks that event, the Second Advent (coming) of Christ is exactly when Armageddon will happen. The people will have sided with the governments of the world and will fight against Jesus and His Angels and the people will be crushed like in a wine-press who followed after the Demonic governments and fought against Jesus and His Angels. Then, Jesus will rule the Earth from the New Jerusalem which will come down out of Heaven. This is the error our Jewish Brothers failed to see about two thousand years ago in Jerusalem and it is the error that those faithful to the Jewish faith today still fail to understand.

 

American media today has a hook through the nose of the average person. Media moguls are telling us what fashion is, what is ‘cool’ to do, and what is not. Back in the 1950’s the Washington politicians had all of the power over Holly Wood, now we have so many types of media available that it is the media who wags the tail of the politicians and the courts. American media and the small minority who say what can be printed or said inundate us with either government messages or corporate messages telling us what to buy, what to think, what to eat, what to do. It is also now very popular that our government and its allies (media) tell us how horrible Christian people are yet refrain from negatively commenting on any other religion because that would be politically incorrect, mean, and hateful. If you are a Christian person you/I are supposed to be loved based, caring, friendly and kind, not self-centered or hateful. If our attitude is what is keeping the people who meet us from asking us questions about Jesus, then we badly need to change our own ways before we close our eyes again. God (Jesus) is love, if we are preaching hate of other people then we do not know Jesus at all, we do not know God at all, Father or Son.

 

What if Jesus is real? What if the Christian Scriptures are correct? What will you yourself do if you found out that He is an absolute truth, that Jesus really is exactly what the Scriptures say He is? I believe that this is a question that everyone will have to answer for themselves because I do with all my heart mind and Soul believe that Jesus is the Christ, God incarnate, the Son of Jehovah, The Father of all of us. I do believe the Scriptures to be the Holy Spirit inspired Word of God, it is the best ‘thing’ that we humans have to guide our lives by. I pray that each of you will come to love and trust in Jesus the way that I through time have learned to do and I hope that each and every one of you before you die will develop a faith way beyond my own this day. God bless each and every one of you, I pray for peace and love to fill your day and fill your dreams. In Jesus’ name, may God bless you and your loved ones for ever and ever.

The Matches Are Lit, The World Is Burning

The Matches Are Lit, The World Is Burning

 

What is it that we westerners do not get about what the rest of the world is experiencing around us? Do we really think that our children will live in a world that is safer than the world we grew up in? If you would, please lend me your ear for a few moments. Hopefully the things you read will help to broaden your understanding as to why I chose the title that I have for this conversation with you.

 

Do you remember the so-called “Arab Spring” of a few years ago? O what a beautiful thing this could have been for this region of the world plus the vibrations it could have caused around the world, this shaking off of dictators. But the people of the region have learned it seems that a military strong man is the only way to keep other religion based dictators from taking their place. Back during the first Gulf War than American President George H.W. Bush knew the importance of keeping the dictator in Iraq in power. It seems that his son George W when he took power of the Office had not learned at his dads feet, or, was it ego that made him make up a story so he could attack Iraq and remove Saddam? There are many American people who I have come across who believe that “we the people” are paying fat pensions to at least three international war criminals (President, V.P., Secretary of Defense). Criminal or not because of their actions the whole world is crawling with the Asps they helped unleash on all of humanity.

 

In this real world that hopefully the politicians will soon join us in, it does not matter if you are a republican, democrat, independent (like me), or none of the above. Hopefully soon partisan party politics can be shelved and they and the national media outlets can become more concerned about current imminent physical threats to our people. This threat is to all of our non-strict Muslim cultures, to their property, their religions, and their very lives. There are tens of millions if not hundreds of millions of fellow brothers and sisters who because of being misguided who simply want you to get off of the face of the earth, “their earth”. A life where only loyal followers of Allah will be allowed to live a non-slave life, if you are allowed to live at all, doesn’t that sound exciting? America our location on the globe no longer gives us an immunity from other continents griefs. When it comes to ideologies land or water give us very little protection any longer.

 

By mans laws here in the States any person can choose to be of any faith they wish, or of no faith system at all. Mans laws write in a few laws governing people’s physical safety though that should be a no brainer, besides what actual religion would condone attacking or killing other people? Then these laws of civil society for all must be enforced if a humane society itself is going to be able to exist, or it will be erased.

 

Within the religion of Islam are two main sects, the Sunni, and the Shiite. These two sects have existed on this planet for almost 1,400 years now, and it seems that they have hated each other right from their earliest roots 1,400 years ago. For the few year’s a large Sunni militia called ISIS by western media has murdered and plundered their way into power covering hundreds of miles of land belonging to two adjoining Shiite nations, Syria and Iraq. ISIS is like several other high-profile Sunni groups like Boko Haram, and al-Qaeda in that they want to bring strict Islamic law to the middle-east, then the world. Their difference by what we hear in the West is that ISIS is the most violent and most strict toward adherence to Islamic fundamentalist theology, Sunni theology.

 

By what I have heard and read from the media throughout the years is that within Islam the Sunni are about 80% and the Shiite the other 20% of the Islamic faith. So when you take into account the hatred between these two groups is it any wonder why the Mullahs in Iran want the ability to nuke other nations?They can say it is a defensive weapon though knowing very well that it is a preemptive strike weapon also. Then it comes down to a trust factor, or a stupidity factor, how much you are willing to trust their “Supreme Ruler”  and others just like him with the lives of everyone on earth?

 

For those of you who don’t already know it the word Islam by definition means submission, as in absolute submission to the will of Allah. I have another question for everyone, what kind of religion is it that tells its followers to kill everyone who will not obey? Why would anyone ever listen to a “prophet” who orders either worldwide conversion, or worldwide extermination? Here in the States we have as a nation been blessed, lucky, and just plain good at shutting down larger terror cells who wished to kill us and our families. But folks there are supposed to be at least 18 million Islamic believers inside our borders with us. If only 1% of this population is a true believer of Islamic teachings that equals 180,000 soldiers implanted waiting on their orders to kill as many infidels (non-believers) as they possibly can. America, when they strike, not if, what are you going to do? Are you going to fall apart and burn into ashes? Only time will tell, or, a person could simply read the play book on-line if you are not allowed a paper copy, it’s called the Bible! For those who don’t understand it, the end times are spelled out very well in its last book, the book of Revelation. The human race has a simple choice of living and possibly dying for the winner or, living for a short time but in slavery to the biggest loser in the history of all eternity.

 

The matches are lit, for now several large Islamic hate groups are fighting each other all over the Middle-East in an attempt to kill each other. If all of those efforts to kill each other were being directed at western targets as they soon will be, what then? If the two main Islamic factions were to quit fighting among themselves they would then join forces in their hatred for everything and everyone that is not Islamic. Every nation, every people on earth, you, your culture, your religion, your country, you are currently being measured for bagging. America (and every other nation on earth), folks, life is about to change more rapidly toward the negative than any sane person could ever want. The question is simple, are we going to fold as a culture, and as a Nation, when more horrible things start happening on our soil? By these horrible things I do mean markets and grocery stores being blown up, bridges blowing up, churches being shot up and our school children being massacred live on CNN? This is the reality that the whole world is facing, we as a people must all decide how we are going to react to this reality when it comes busting into our own homes, because folks, it is coming, soon!

 

 

Trump peace plan could recognize Palestinian state

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)

 

Trump peace plan could recognize Palestinian state – report

Arab diplomats quoted as saying yet-to-be revealed plan will nix refugees’ right of return, raze far-flung settlements, place Jerusalem’s Old City under international protection

Illustrative: Palestinian protesters wave national flags during clashes with Israeli security forces on the eastern outskirts of Gaza City, near the border with Israel, on January 12, 2018. (AFP Photo/Mohammed Abed)

Illustrative: Palestinian protesters wave national flags during clashes with Israeli security forces on the eastern outskirts of Gaza City, near the border with Israel, on January 12, 2018. (AFP Photo/Mohammed Abed)

The Trump administration’s plan for peace in the Middle East may include US and international recognition of a Palestinian state and acceptance of East Jerusalem as its capital, the London-based Saudi newspaper Asharq al-Awsat reported on Wednesday.

The plan, the report said, calls for placing the Old City of Jerusalem under “international protection.”

The report quoted “knowledgeable Arab diplomatic sources” in Paris as saying that the US is planning to present its plan in the framework of an international conference that would be held in one of the Arab capitals, most likely Cairo, with Israelis in attendance.

However, the sources did not say when the US administration would come out with its plan, the details of which remain under wraps.

The report came following a meeting in Brussels earlier this week in which Arab foreign ministers and their European counterparts discussed the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in wake of reports suggesting that US President Donald Trump’s administration would soon announce its plan for peace, which Trump has referred to as the “deal of the century.”

Arab media have published various accounts of the purported plan, which has already been rejected by the Palestinian Authority as a conspiracy aimed at liquidating the Palestinian cause. Some PA officials have referred to the plan as the “slap of the century” and argued that no Palestinian would ever accept it.

According to Wednesday’s report, the US plan requires the Palestinians to give up their demand for “right of return” for Palestinian refugees and their descendants to their former homes inside Israel.

US President Donald Trump reaches to shake Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s hand before a meeting at the Palace Hotel during the 72nd United Nations General Assembly on September 20, 2017, in New York. (AFP Photo/Brendan Smialowski)

In addition, large settlements would remain in place, while small ones would be “relocated,” the report said.

The US plan also calls for expanding the PA’s security and administrative authorities in areas A and B of the West Bank, the report added.

Washington is planning to collect $40 billion to help establish a Palestinian state and its government institutions, the sources told the newspaper. The money is not intended to “buy” Palestinian acceptance of the peace plan, they stressed.

The sources also claimed the plan allows Israel to retain security control over the borders with the West Bank, while responsibility for security of the Gaza Strip would be handed to the Egyptians.

Palestinian-US relations have been strained since Trump’s December announcement recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and announcing plans to relocate the embassy there. The announcement was met with worldwide condemnation, and outraged Palestinian officials said it disqualified Washington from playing any role in brokering Middle East peace due to its “bias” toward Israel.

Since then, the PA has refused all substantive contacts with the Trump administration, and top Palestinian officials have demanded the US president reverse the decision.

Later on Wednesday, PA Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki said that European Union countries were working to convince the Trump administration to modify parts of the plan.

Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki. (Flash90)

The EU countries agreed to push for changes prior to the unveiling of the American plan, Malki told the Voice of Palestine radio according to the PA’s official Wafa news agency.

He did not indicate which European countries were pressing the White House to make changes to the plan.

Malki underscored that any future peace agreement must include articles expressing support for a two-state solution, the establishment of a Palestinian state on the so-called 1967 borders with its capital in East Jerusalem, and an end to Israeli settlement construction.

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Seal of Prophet Isaiah said found in Jerusalem

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)

 

‘A UNIQUE AND FANTASTIC DISCOVERY’

In find of biblical proportions, seal of Prophet Isaiah said found in Jerusalem

Chanced upon near a seal identified with King Hezekiah, a tiny clay piece may be the first-ever proof of the prophet, though a missing letter leaves room for doubt

  • Isaiah bulla, a 2,700-year-old clay seal impression which may have belonged to the biblical prophet Isaiah. (Ouria Tadmor/© Eilat Mazar)
    Isaiah bulla, a 2,700-year-old clay seal impression which may have belonged to the biblical prophet Isaiah. (Ouria Tadmor/© Eilat Mazar)
  • Standing in front of the Ophel excavation are (from left) Suzanne Singer, the former BAR Managing Editor; Israeli archaeologist Dr. Gabriel Barkay; Hershel Shanks, BAR Editor Emeritus who recently retired as Editor; and Israeli archaeologist Dr. Eilat Mazar. (Eilat Mazar)
    Standing in front of the Ophel excavation are (from left) Suzanne Singer, the former BAR Managing Editor; Israeli archaeologist Dr. Gabriel Barkay; Hershel Shanks, BAR Editor Emeritus who recently retired as Editor; and Israeli archaeologist Dr. Eilat Mazar. (Eilat Mazar)
  • Drawing by Reut Livyatan Ben-Arie of the Isaiah Bulla, a 2,700-year-old clay seal impression which potentially belonged to the biblical prophet Isaiah. (Illustration: Reut Livyatan Ben-Arie/© Eilat Mazar; Photo by Ouria Tadmor/© Eilat Mazar)
    Drawing by Reut Livyatan Ben-Arie of the Isaiah Bulla, a 2,700-year-old clay seal impression which potentially belonged to the biblical prophet Isaiah. (Illustration: Reut Livyatan Ben-Arie/© Eilat Mazar; Photo by Ouria Tadmor/© Eilat Mazar)
  • The Ophel excavations at the foot of the southern wall of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem (courtesy of Andrew Shiva)
    The Ophel excavations at the foot of the southern wall of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem (courtesy of Andrew Shiva)

The hand of the Prophet Isaiah himself may have created an 8th century BCE seal impression discovered in First Temple remains near Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, according to Hebrew University archaeologist Dr. Eilat Mazar.

“We appear to have discovered a seal impression, which may have belonged to the prophet Isaiah, in a scientific, archaeological excavation,” said Mazar this week in a press release announcing the breathtaking discovery.

Mazar’s team uncovered the minuscule bulla, or seal impression, during renewed excavations at the Ophel, located at the foot of the southern wall of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. The discovery was published on Wednesday in an article, “Is This the Prophet Isaiah’s Signature?” as part of a massive March-June issue of the Biblical Archaeology Review dedicated to its recently retired founding editor, Hershel Shanks.

The clay impression is inscribed with letters and what appears to be a grazing doe, “a motif of blessing and protection found in Judah, particularly in Jerusalem,” according to the BAR article.

Isaiah Bulla, a 2,700-year-old clay seal impression which potentially belonged to the biblical prophet Isaiah. (Ouria Tadmor/© Eilat Mazar)

The oval-shaped bulla, however, is not intact. On its legible portion, there is an inscription with First Temple Hebrew letters that seem to spell out the name l’Yesha’yah[u] (Belonging to Isaiah). On a line below, there is the partial word nvy, which presumably spells out “prophet.”

“Because the bulla has been slightly damaged at the end of the word nvy, it is not known if it originally ended with the Hebrew letter aleph, which would have resulted in the Hebrew word for ‘prophet’ and would have definitively identified the seal as the signature of the prophet Isaiah,” Mazar said.

Archaeologist Eilat Mazar in the 2018 winter Ophel Excavations in Jerusalem. (YouTube screenshot)

In the BAR article, Mazar leaves room for the possibility that the inscription on the Isaiah bulla does not refer to the biblical prophet. “Without an aleph at the end, the word nvy is most likely just a personal name. Although it does not appear in the Bible, it does appear on seals and a seal impression on a jar handle, all from unprovenanced, private collections.”

“The name of Isaiah, however, is clear,” she said.

Millennia-old connections between a prophet and his king

The most well-known of the biblical prophets, Isaiah is thought by scholars to have been active circa in the late 8th century and early 7th century BCE.

The Isaiah bulla was discovered in wet-sifted material that was taken from an Iron Age layer close to bedrock that was near a foundation trench cut for a wall of a Herodian vault. The material was found close to a structure that was first discovered in 1986-87 and is today thought to have been a “royal bakery.”

The Ophel excavations at the foot of the southern wall of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem (courtesy of Andrew Shiva)

It was found only 10 feet away from where in 2015 Mazar’s team discovered an important, intact bulla with the inscription “of King Hezekiah of Judah.” The 12th king of the Kingdom of Judah, King Hezekiah ruled from circa 727 BCE-698 BCE, during the period in which the northern Kingdom of Israel fell to the Assyrians in 721 BCE. Some 20 years later, Hezekiah successfully fought off the Assyrian siege of Jerusalem, in part due to fortifications and a water channel which can still be seen today.

A seal impression of King Hezekiah unearthed in the Ophel excavations at the foot of the southern wall of the Temple Mount, conducted by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Institute of Archaeology (ourtesy of Eilat Mazar; photo by Ouria Tadmor)

Upon the discovery of the Hezekiah bulla in 2015, Mazar called the artifact “the closest as ever that we can get to something that was most likely held by King Hezekiah himself.”

This week Mazar said in a press release released by BAR that it is logical that the Isaiah and Hezekiah bullae would be discovered in such close proximity.

“If it is the case that this bulla is indeed that of the prophet Isaiah, then it should not come as a surprise to discover this bulla next to one bearing King Hezekiah’s name given the symbiotic relationship of the prophet Isaiah and King Hezekiah described in the Bible,” said Mazar.

There are several biblical instances of interactions between Isaiah and Hezekiah which indicate the prophet was a spiritual advisor to the king. He consoled the ruler that the Israelites would survive the siege. In the BAR article, Mazar writes, “The names of King Hezekiah and the prophet Isaiah are mentioned in one breath 14 of the 29 times the name of Isaiah is recalled (2 Kings 19–20Isaiah 37–39). No other figure was closer to King Hezekiah than the prophet Isaiah.”

Dara Horn walking through Hezekiah’s Tunnel in Jerusalem, August 2017. (Brendan Schulman)

The Hezekiah and Isaiah bullae join other similar finds from previous excavations. Digging in 2005-2008 at the summit of the City of David in a large structure which may have been the palace of biblical King David, she discovered a clay impression with a First Temple Hebrew inscription bearing the name of a high-ranking Israelite official who is recorded by the biblical Jeremiah, “Jehucal, son of Shelemiah, son of Shovi.” Years later, a few meters from the Jehucal bulla, she found a seal impression belonging to a second high-ranking official, “Gedaliah, son of Pashur,” who is also found in Jeremiah. Dozens more bullae have been discovered.

Mazar recently reopened the Ophel excavation and is currently digging in the House of the Medallion, which she excavated in 2013, and a rare untouched Second Temple-period cave.

The find has not been peer reviewed and some have already begun to push back against Mazar’s hypothesis, noting that the lack of an aleph after the nvy leaves room for doubt.

“The critically important letter that would be needed to confirm that the second word is the title ‘prophet’ is an aleph. But no aleph is legible on this bulla, and so that reading cannot be confirmed at all,” Semitic languages professor Christopher Rollston told National Geographic.

Isaiah, in an illustration from the Providence Lithograph Company (Wikipedia)

“The assumption that this is a [seal] of Isaiah the prophet is scintillating, but it is certainly not something that we should assume is at all certain,” he added. “It’s not.”

Israeli epigrapher Dr. Haggai Misgav took to Facebook to express his skepticism over the possibility of this bulla having belonged to the Prophet Isaiah. Echoing Rollston’s concerns over the missing “aleph,” the Hebrew University lecturer wrote that since the impression would have been tied to a sack of goods, it is highly unlikely the title “prophet” would have been used at all.

“But as always there is no shortage of those who jump on the finds with cries of, ‘Hurray, we have proven the Bible,’” writes Misgav.

While Mazar herself admits that the missing aleph can be problematic, she says the discovery is important nonetheless.

“Whether or not the bulla we found in the Ophel excavations is the bulla of the prophet Isaiah, it remains, nevertheless, a unique and fantastic discovery,” writes Mazar in the BAR article.

“Finding this bulla leads us to consider the personality and the proximity of the prophet Isaiah as one of the closest advisers to King Hezekiah — not only with regard to the events of his time, but also in assessing them from an informed perspective and foreseeing their influence over future events,” she writes.

A gift fit for a true friend to archaeologists

On his way to catch a plane, the new editor of the Biblical Archaeology Review, Dr. Robert Cargill, told The Times of Israel that the publication of the exciting new find in his magazine “came about by very fortunate timing.”

Dr. Robert Cargill, editor of the Biblical Archaeology Review. (courtesy)

As Cargill was preparing the double issue of BAR in honor of founding editor Shanks, he approached Mazar to ask her for a contribution.

“She said, ‘Your timing couldn’t be better,’” related Cargill. Mazar was getting ready to publish this new discovery. “She allowed us to publish it as a gift to Hershel [Shanks] to say thank you for his support of archaeology and Israel,” said Cargill.

The magazine was first published in 1975 and has focused, sometimes controversially, on finds that claim to offer insights into the ancient workings of the Holy Land — often in approachable articles written by top scholars.

Shanks, not an archaeologist himself, is a lawyer by training. But in the past four decades, he has written innumerable articles and several books about ancient Israel and biblical archaeology.

Standing in front of the Ophel excavation are (from left) Suzanne Singer, the former BAR Managing Editor; Israeli archaeologist Dr. Gabriel Barkay; Hershel Shanks, BAR Editor Emeritus who recently retired as Editor; and Israeli archaeologist Dr. Eilat Mazar. (Eilat Mazar)

In part of her “gift” to Shanks, Mazar wrote: “Like the prophet Isaiah, Hershel is very caring and enthusiastic about current events pertaining to Israel and the greater Near East, in this case those relating to excavations, discoveries, and studies of Biblical archaeology… Creating this valuable link between scholars and the public in the sphere of Biblical archaeology was his ‘prophetic’ vision.”

Cargill, a religious studies assistant professor at University of Iowa, said he respected Mazar’s “careful, responsible treatment” of the bulla in the BAR article.

“She didn’t rush to conclusively say she had found the seal of Isaiah… In our article she gives the possible alternatives,” said Cargill, who called himself “a natural skeptic.”

Drawing by Reut Livyatan Ben-Arie of the Isaiah Bulla, a 2,700-year-old clay seal impression which potentially belonged to the biblical prophet Isaiah. (Illustration: Reut Livyatan Ben-Arie/© Eilat Mazar; Photo by Ouria Tadmor/© Eilat Mazar)

“But if you’re asking me, I think she’s got it. You’re looking at the first archaeological reference of the prophet Isaiah outside of the Bible,” said Cargill. “It’s amazing.”

READ MORE:

Arab Parliaments Call for Boycotting Any State that Recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Arab Parliaments Call for Boycotting Any State that Recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital

Sunday, 11 February, 2018 – 12:45
The heads of Arab Parliaments during their meeting in Cairo on Saturday (Asharq Al-Awsat)
Cairo – Asharq Al-Awsat

The heads of Arab parliaments called for severing relations with any state that recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel or transfers its embassy to it.

They also urged the Arab League to take decisive action against countries that did not abide by the international legitimacy’s resolutions by abstaining to vote in favor of the UN General Assembly resolution on Jerusalem on December 21.

In a statement issued at the end of the third conference of the Arab Parliaments and Arab Parliamentary Speakers in Cairo on Saturday, participants pledged to provide Palestine with the needed Arab support at all financial and political levels.

Voicing their rejection of US President Donald Trump’s decision on Jerusalem, which they described as a flagrant violation of international law, the Arab speakers warned that the US administration became an “untrustworthy peace sponsor and a distrusted broker in the Middle East peace process.”

In this context, they called on the United Nations to lead the Peace Process and preserve the sovereignty of Palestine and the legal status of Jerusalem in line with the UN resolutions and the 2002 Arab initiative.

The heads of parliaments decided to prepare an Arab parliamentary action plan in cooperation with the Arab Parliamentary Union and the Union of Member States of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to expose the gravity of the racist laws approved by the Israeli Knesset and all the laws pertaining to the city of Jerusalem.

The current president of the Arab Parliament, Speaker Meshal bin Fahmi al Salami, said that the conference condemned Iranian interference in Arab affairs, as well as the Turkish intervention in Egypt and Libya.

He added that the participants issued a comprehensive document to combat terrorism, covering all the challenges posed by this phenomenon at the political, security, economic, cultural and media levels.

My Conversation With An Atheist Follower: Part #2

 

For the folks who have stumbled across this article today who haven’t read part one from last evening I am going to put in the comments that one of my readers made about an article that I reblogged from ‘The Christian Post’ a couple of days ago. The article’s headline was about how teenagers today are the ‘least Christian’ generation ever. The reader ‘Jim’ goes by the title ‘thecommonatheist.wordpress.com’. I asked Jim if he cared if I wrote an article based on our comments to each other in the comment section and he did give me his okay. The following is the main paragraph where Jim first gave me his opinion on the ‘Post’s’ article.

 

“Hoping this trend grows. Don’t forget the core! They are waiting and praying for God to come back and slaughter all the rest of us. That tidbit says a lot about how they really feel. It is a religion that is divisive and racist to its core and Piety sets dividing lines for them to fight every step of social equality of scientific advance.”

 

If you would, please go back and read part one from last night, it will help you with understanding better some of the issues I will be speaking about with you today.

 

1.) “Hoping the trend grows”: that more and more people ignore, stay away from Christianity.

2.) Because #1: “Don’t forget the core”. What/why? Because many of the base teachings of the churches and what ‘they say’ the Bible says is wrong. Last evenings part one explains some of the issues about the beginning of time and the beginning of human kind that no church that I know of teaches though the answers are right in front of all of us. I will get back to ‘science’ issues that Jim raised in just a moment.

3.) “They (Christians) are waiting and praying for God to come back and slaughter all the rest of us.—That tidbit says a lot about how they really feel”. —For those who call themselves Christians who do feel this way “that they want Christ to hurry up with His Second Advent”. And are wanting Christ to kill all their personal enemies and all the ‘unbelievers’ then quickly send them all to the fires of Hell, you ‘Christians’ have a serious issue with the ‘love of Christ’.  If you are a person who says that they are a Christian and you do feel this way, think hard on what you are wishing for. First you must feel that you are ‘safe’, correct? But, are all of your family and loved ones ‘safe’? How about all of your friends, your neighbors?  How about all of your work companions and the people you converse with at the grocery store and the convenient stores and gas stations you visit, are they all ‘saved’? If not, do you really want them all to ‘go to Hell’? If Christ comes back today and all of these people are crushed in the Wine Press of Christ then condemned to Hell’s fire, is that okay with you? If it is, then it is you who will be in serious trouble at your judgement before the Judgement Seat of Christ. All of those folks may well be condemned yet there is a very good chance you will be going to Hell with them. As a Christian we are supposed to be full of love for all people and we are supposed to be trying to help everyone around us to see the Love of Christ in us in the attempt to save them. If you are wanting other people, especially people we know and are supposed to love, to be condemned, Lord help you!

4.) “It (Christianity) is a religion that is divisive and racists to its core”.–I have been a History buff since about 4th grade and I was in 4th grade when I first started studying the Bible more seriously. One of the things I started noticing at an early age was the situation in the Middle-East back in the 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th centuries A.D.. With the beginning of the Catholic Church in Rome Italy there seemed to be a lot of piety (Holiness, Saintliness, Devoutness) that you needed to be Roman or at least to be Italian to be able to fulfill. Even if their words chose not to speak it, their actions did. If a ‘Vatican’ were to be set up it should have been in Jerusalem, not in Rome or anywhere else as Scripture makes it very plain that Jerusalem is the ‘City of God’. Even the Hebrew people who converted to Christianity shunned their Arab neighbors as if they were ‘better than them’. In the 1440’s in what is now Germany the Priest Martin Luther started the Protestant movement and the break away from the Catholic Church. This Protestant movement swept through western Europe which was massively populated with white people. After King Henry the 8th of England broke with the Catholic Church and started the ‘Christian Church’ called the ‘Church of England’ the racism within Christianity kept getting worse. Colonialism, think about the arrogance of the western Europeans for a moment. Think about countries like India who for so long was under English rule. Indian people living in India were second class citizens at best even in their own country. Indians who converted to Christianity were treated like white Americans treated ‘people of color’ for so many years here in the States. Think of having to sit in the back of the Church or in the balcony because you couldn’t sit with the whites. When people think/believe that they are better than another person, you have nothing to do with Christ or He with you. A question for you to ponder. If the Christians and the Jewish people in the Middle-East had treated all of the Arab and Persian people as equal brothers and sisters would Mohammad have found a foot hold to start-up the religion of Islam?

 

5.) “Piety sets dividing lines for them (Christians) to fight every step of social equality or scientific advance”.–So, Christians/Christianity sets up dividing lines for them to fight against every step of equality, lets stop there for a moment. First, if you are a Christian, or even if you are not but you believe that there is truly ‘a God’ then there is only one totally true truth, and that is God’s version of what He says truth is, not yours or my version of it.

Now, social equality, here I am going to upset some people as most people do not want to hear that anything they are doing is wrong, especially being told that what they do or like is a sin. Most folks here in the States seem to have an ego problem when they are told no on personal issues. We have already discussed race issues within Christianity and I know that here in the States you often hear the term that ‘Christianity is a white mans religion’, this is nowhere near the truth as Christianity has nothing to do with the color of a person’s skin. If you call your self a Christian and you are in any way a racists, may God have mercy on your Soul at your Judgement, you’re going to need it.

Social equality, here I am sure that I am going to really upset a lot of readers but I refuse to lie to you and if I am not speaking ‘God’s truth’ to you, then I am not telling you ‘the truth’. Here in the States we talk about ‘equal rights’ for all. I agree that all people should be treated the same, like on a job, the most qualified person should always get the job opening no matter if they are male or female, straight, gay, white, brown, black, red or Asian. Now concerning being gay, I had a brother-in-law who was gay and died from Aids at the age of 29. He was my father-in-laws only son and my wife’s only brother, this is a tough issue in our family. ‘David’ did not want to be gay, he tried to like girls but chemically inside, he was gay. David knew that by the Scriptures acting out on his urges was wrong, and they simply are wrong. David gave into his urges and it cost him his life. Just like ‘money’ is not the ‘root of all evil’, the love of money is the ‘root of all evil’. Being gay because chemically that is what you are is not the evil part, it is the acting out on your urges that is the problem, simply acting out on these urges is the sin. Just like if you have urges to sexually be with young girls or boys the sin is when you decide to act them out, this is the sin. If you have urges to cheat on your spouse, the sin is if you do it. If you have urges to steal or to cheat on a test it is the following through that creates the sin. Concerning abortion, the sin, and yes it is a sin, a sin called murder, the sin is when you follow through with the abortion.

 

6.) “Scientific advancement” Just like the Catholic Church and the Popes of old would have you burnt at the stake for Heresy for things like saying that the Earth wasn’t flat or that the Earth wasn’t the center of the Universe or that the Sun didn’t rotate around the Earth. Folks, if ‘the Church’ and it’s Popes/Pontiffs really were ‘Christ’s High Priest’ per say here on Earth, they would have known these things and would have never ever had these people punished or put to death. Plus consider that the Prophet Isaiah, one of the main Prophets of the Old Testament, said in Isaiah 40: 42 “God sits above the sphere “circle” of the Earth”.

 

Just like people don’t understand the beginning of the Scriptures concerning time, or the two creations (Gentiles and then the Royal Blood Line) they don’t understand that there are trillions of other planets and millions of Universes and God created them just as He did the Earth and folks, He created them for a reason. Just as our Solar System was started with ‘the big bang’ comes the reality that it was God who created that big bang. If science and Christianity would both understand that they both have some things wrong and that all things are and were created by God, and get off of their personal ‘high horses’ they would find that they could work together on most issues and actually maybe obtain some true wisdom.