Saturday, July 20, 2013

Saturday In The News:

We're getting more and more information on the U.S. administration's plans for Middle East peace, and if it weren't so serious, it would be laughable. As usual, nothing is asked of the 'Palestinians' other than to recognize that Israel has a right to exist - while all concessions must come from Israel. 

Dani Dayan, the former head of the Yesha settlements council, lashed out at minister Yuval Steinitz Saturday for stating that Israel would release Palestinian prisoners in peace talks, calling the move “immoral and unethical.”

Speaking to Israel Radio several hours later, Dayan called Steinitz’s announcement a grave mistake. He said Israel’s decision to free “the most serious killers” among the Palestinian terrorists was “immoral and unethical.”
“I wonder what else has been offered to Abu Mazen [Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas]?” he asked, adding that right-wing politicians from the Likud and Jewish Home parties should demand from the government a “full and immediate” list of the concessions it is intending to make.
Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon told reporters Saturday that Israel “must learn from past mistakes and not release terrorists with blood on their hands as a goodwill gesture or a prize.”
“I trust the prime minister, who knows that talking about a return to the ’67 lines is out of the question. Ripping thousands of Israelis from their homes, like we did in the disengagement from Gaza, is a wrong that must not be repeated,” said Danon, who is associated with the hawkish branch of the Likud.
On Friday, Kerry assured the Palestinians that Israel would free some 350 prisoners gradually in the coming months. The prisoners would include some 100 men convicted of terrorist crimes committed before the Oslo interim peace accords were signed in 1993. Israel had balked at freeing these prisoners in the past because many were convicted in deadly attacks.

After substantially lowering his expectations, US Secretary of State John Kerry was able to save his mission to restart peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians with only moments to spare before his sixth round of shuttle diplomacy crashed.  Friday night, July 19, Kerry announced in Amman that “initial talks would resume in Washington very soon.

According to the Kerry formula, the forthcoming negotiations would focus on attaining an interim peace accord - without determining final borders - for establishing a Palestinian state in broad areas of the West Bank from which Israeli would withdraw.

Those areas would be subject to trilateral US-Israeli-Palestinian consensus on security arrangements and require some Jewish settlements to be removed.

Initial negotiations will start next week in Washington behind closed doors.  Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and the prime minister’s adviser Yakov Molcho will represent Israel and senior negotiator Saeb Erekat, the Palestinian side. A third US team will report to John Kerry.

President Barack Obama will send him (Abbas) a letter affirming US recognition that the object of the negotiations is to establish a Palestinian state as the national home of the Palestinian people whose borders will be based on 1967 lines.

Obama will send another letter to Netanyahu affirming that the negotiations must lead to the recognition of the state of Israel as the national home of the Jewish people, whose future borders will be based on the 1967 lines while also accommodating Israel’s security needs and its realistic demographic circumstances.

In other words, during negotiations, it will be hoped that the 'Palestinians' will recognize Israel's right to exist - while Israel (again) uproots their citizens from their homes, gives up more land, releases hundreds of dangerous criminals, gives up half of Jerusalem, gives up the West Bank, gives up the Golan Heights, divides Israel into two halves and goes back to indefensible 1967 borders. 

Sounds fair doesn't it?

Below, we predictably see the EU functioning in their role as 'enabler' in this twisted, bizarre process:

The European Union recently sent out a directive barring its 28 members from cooperating with Israeli entities in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The boycott includes “all funding, cooperation, and the granting of scholarships, research grants and prizes” to Israeli entities in East Jerusalem and the West Bank.

If this is how the EU chooses to spend its limited diplomatic and political resources "to help" the Middle East, then its moral compass is badly broken. The EU still hasn't even mustered the clarity or courage to join the USA, Canada, and six Gulf states (led by Bahrain) in designating Hezbollah a terrorist organization, even though Hezbollah has committed terrorist acts on EU soil that killed an EU citizen, and has supported Basher Assad's butchery in Syria. The EU has also failed to take any decisive action to address the urgent crises in Lebanon, Syria, and Iran (which marches ever closer to nukes and imports ore -- for armor and missile production -- from Germany and France). And where is the EU's boycott of Mideast governments that persecute women, execute homosexuals, and condone the slaughter of Christians?

If the EU wants to wield its economic clout to impose peace on disputing parties, why not boycott China for its brutal occupation of Tibet? Clearly that occupation doesn't matter because the EU is China's largest trading partner. And why isn't the EU boycotting Northern Cyprus, which is under foreign military occupation by Turkey (against the wishes of the EU)?

The hypocrisy is even more flagrant because some EU states are themselves occupying disputed territories on various continents. One of the most notorious examples is the Falkland Islands. What exactly is the UK's burning security interest in occupying a Latin American island nearly 8,000 miles away? Maybe the EU should boycott the UK as well.
Putting aside the EU's abundant hypocrisy, trying to strong-arm Israel into unilateral concessions has already proven to be an abysmal failure when it comes to promoting peace. Just ask President Obama, who in 2009 pressured Israel into a 10-month settlement freeze in the West Bank without requiring any reciprocal gestures from the Palestinians. They quickly realized that they need not negotiate with Israel because Obama was doing that for them. One can hardly blame Palestinians for trying to maximize their negotiating posture, even if it lacks good faith. Thus, peace talks have remain stalled for Obama's entire presidency, even though Secretary of State John Kerry will soon make his sixth peace-pushing trip (in as many months) to the region.
It's also worth noting that the real obstacle to peace -- Palestinian rejectionism and terrorism -- existed before any of Israel's settlement-building. Palestinian terrorism and rejectionism from Gaza also continued despite the removal of Israeli settlements (from Gaza in 2005). So Israeli settlements did not create Palestinian extremism and their removal doesn't necessarily end it.

History has also demonstrated that Israeli settlement building has not prevented Israel from making painful territorial compromises for peace: Menachem Begin evacuated the Sinai, Ehud Barak ended Israel's presence in Southern Lebanon, Ariel Sharon left Gaza, and Benjamin Netanyahu handed over West Bank territories under the Wye Accords.
Moreover, the EU seems to have forgotten that Jews have a historical and legal right to be in the West Bank. The "Mandate for Palestine" confirmed by the League of Nations recognized the "historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine" and "the grounds for reconstituting their National Home in that country." Under Article 6, the Mandate encouraged "close settlement by Jews, on the land, including State lands and waste lands not required for public purposes." The EU's boycott falsely implies that Jews have no right to live in the West Bank, and is thus disturbingly reminiscent of the "Judenrein" policies of Nazi Germany, which banned Jews from certain spheres of life only because they were Jews.

Lastly, the EU (and US) position on Israeli West Bank construction lacks balance because Palestinian construction is never limited. As Eli Hertz notes: "The Oslo Accords do not forbid Israeli or Arab settlement activity. Charging that further Jewish settlement activity preempts final negotiations by establishing realities, requires reciprocity. If Jews were forcibly expelled from the West Bank in 1948 during a war of aggression aimed at them [but then recaptured the West Bank in the defensive war of 1967], then these Territories must be considered disputed Territories, at the least...According to David Bar-Ilan, a former policy planning official, the tempo of Arab construction is “more than 10 times the number of buildings under construction [in the Territory] than those approved [by the Israeli government] for the [Jewish] settlers.”
If the EU wants to ignore international law and history, the many more pressing Mideast issues, and its own hypocrisy, all for the sake of promoting Israeli-Palestinian peace, then it should at least recognize that unilateral pressure on Israel has only reinforced Palestinian inflexibility. Indeed, it is only the Palestinians who have refused to negotiate peace without preconditions. The EU has pressured the wrong party because its Mideast compass is badly broken.

Also see:

The new Egyptian interim government led by Hazem al-Beblawi was sworn in Tuesday night in Cairo. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, the man who pulls the strings in Egypt, was appointed deputy prime minister, as well as defense minister.

Nevertheless, the incidents that occurred several hours earlier in the streets of the Egyptian capital, as well as 200 km away in Sinai, hindered the celebrations and served as a painful reminder of the complicated, bloody reality in which this new government came into being. Seven people were killed in Cairo during the previous night in clashes between the Egyptian security forces and Muslim Brotherhood supporters.

Nevertheless, continued protests and “battles of the squares” will make it difficult for the new government to make significant changes in Egypt. The Islamic Movement has enough supporters throughout the country to continue protests for weeks, while continuing to disrupt traffic and daily ways in Cairo.

The steam was noticed at 8:20am by repair crews tasked with removing contaminated debris from the building, which was badly damaged by the magnitude-9 earthquake that struck on March 11, 2011, and further battered by the subsequent tsunami.

Tepco is collecting samples of air above Unit 3 and the assumption at the moment is that the steam is from rain that entered the reactor building and collected in the well beneath the pressure chamber where it became heated.
The incident is likely to raise new concerns about progress to bring the situation under control at the Fukushima plant.

Tepco confirmed recently that high levels of radioactivity had been detected in ground water in a well drilled to determine the spread of radioactivity beneath the plant.
Some 900,000 becquerels of radioactive substances were found per litre (0.22 gallon) in a sample taken from the well, which is just 80 feet from the coast. The radioactivity included strontium and Japan's Nuclear Regulatory Agency has set the safety level for radioactivity in drinking water at 10 becquerels per litre.
The authorities have said it is highly likely that the radioactivity is already leaking into the sea around the plant, despite efforts by Tepco to complete a concrete wall set deep into the ground to restrict the flow of groundwater.

Yesterday represented the end of the road for six decades of denial and delusion in Detroit. That’s because, as I’m sure you’ve heard, the city filed for federal bankruptcyprotection. It’s the largest Chapter 9 municipal bankruptcy case in U.S. history

The filing cited a lot of factors, including shrinking population, dwindling tax base and financialmismanagement. And it’s all true. The city, whose population has shrunk from just under 2 million to closer to 600,000, nonetheless maintains 9,000 employees, while 20,000retirees wait for their benefits.

Of course, they had a choice for the past 60 years to embrace responsible management, and they didn’t want to do that. They gave into the demands of publicemployee unions and granted these generous salaries and benefit packages, all while City Council members earned salaries in excess of $70,000 and had staffs as large as eight per member.

As unfortunate as this is, it could easily be a precursor for many other cities around this country, or around the world. Indeed, it could be a precursor for the United States itself, which is on the hook for many trillions of dollars in unfunded entitlement obligations. So far Washington has shown about as much interest in fixing this problem as the Detroit City Council did all those years – choosing to wallow in denial. Maybe what’s happened in Detroit will be a wakeup call. I certainly hope so.

[This one is worth reading in full}

Yesterday I read this blog post by conservative political columnist and radio host, Erick Erickson. I have mixed feelings about Erick. Even though I find that I agree with many of his political views, I find his tone and style of politics is not my particular style. Still, he's a gifted writer and this time he shared something I think Christians need to hear. His point is that while he cares about politics and advocates for his point of view, outrage is not all there is to life. Erickson writes:
I’m sorry, but I can’t live my life constantly fixated on the political outrage of the day and I can’t be outraged about every  . . . thing under the sun. I go out with friends and talk about stuff other than politics, I play with my kids, I love my wife, I cook gumbo and make fantastic ice cream, I watch a bit of TV, don’t read as much as I should, I go to church, and I try to focus on the good in a world filled with sin and bad and evil . . .

You see, the narrative of the Scriptures is not just about what's right and what's wrong in the world and in our own hearts. The grand story is that there is good news available. God didn't ignore the evil that the Fall produced by sin. He spoke by the entrance of His Son, Jesus, into the world (Hebrews 1:2). When Jesus cried those anguished three words on the cross, "It is finished," it signaled the beginning of the end. The power of sin and death, which so strangles the human soul, which ravages the planet, which obscures the glory and grandeur of our great God--this has been defeated, and like a helium balloon, is dying a slow death. Evil, my friends, is not winning. The story of the Bible is that there is hope in the death, burial, and resurrection of the Perfect One, the Son of God.


Anonymous said...

I loved the article on Erick Erickson Scott.

Galatians 6:14-18.


Stephen said...

Scott, u made a comment stating that the rapture will bring about
the coming crash. and yet, many
crashes have already occured PRIOR
to this with no rapture ??

please explain why u feel this way.

Stephen >>>>>>>>>>

Scott said...

Just because the Rapture will (future event) cause a market crash (among other things the rapture will cause) - has nothing to do with the past. Anything that has happened in the past is irrelevant. These are independent unrelated events (things that have happened to the market in the past vs the sequelae from the rapture.

People have gone missing in the past too - but that has nothing to do with the massive disappearances at the time of the Rapture. Completely independent, unrelated events.

Don't forget, the Rapture of the Church is an "imminent event" - which means nothing has to precede it.

Stephen said...


Stephen >>>>>>>>>>>

(Scott, I guess we will see what
happens next)

Stephen said...


Daniel 9:27
New International Version (NIV)

27 He will confirm a covenant with many for one ‘seven.’[a] In the middle of the ‘seven’[b] he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And at the temple[c] he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.[d]”[e]

Notice the word CONFIRM ie, the
AC may not be the ONE that CREATES
the 7 year deal but who will CONFIRM it at the proper time...

so, it is CONCEIVABLE that Obama
and company create it and the AC
from Turkey (UFM) confirm it.

we will see.

Stephen >>>>>>>>>>>>>

Scott said...


Thats a very good point - one I have made on a number of occasions. It may be one thing to 'sign' the covenant, and yet another all together to 'confirm' the covenant. It may be splitting hairs (we'll never know) - but I have always believed that whoever has control of the peace-keeping forces could represent the one who actually 'confirms' that covenant. Its definitely food for thought

Alice said...

Just a little, tiny bit of good news today:

Praise The Lord!

David said...

1967 borders, release hundreds of anti-semites back in the mix, disputes over peace negotiations, and yet Iran continues to press forward. That is the real issue. There are only two scenarios in dealing with the issue. Attack or be attacked. One or the other will happen.

David P

Scott said...

Dave A - it sure was - I actually read it about three times. Much needed right now IMO.

Alice I'm having trouble with that link for some reason

Stephen said...

AND we really do not KNOW YET who that will be of course. Problem
is simple, UFM has 7 heads of
state PLUS three directors....

for a TOTAL of 10.....

but the AC will RISE from them BUT
will be a little horn, ie, younger then they are.

and he will SUBDUE three of them.

this person is still out there:
strange that we basically KNOW
all about the FP but not the AC ??

hey, HE HAS GOT to show up soon..

and I still BELIEVE it will be
BEFORE 2013 is over.

Stephen >>>>>>>>>>>>

Stephen said...

It is GOING to be very disturbing
if the talks NEXT WEEK get serious.



The Day of the Lord

Now, brothers and sisters, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, 2 for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. 3 While people are saying, “Peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.

I NEVER thought I would be here to see this, it is UNREAL how all
this is coming to pass....the
peace business now in DC....

and very very spooky....

Stephen >>>>>>>>>>

Alice said...

Hi Scott, try this. It's yesterday's post - July 20.

Anonymous said...

Talking about just being friends with people regardless of who they are, i would recommend grabbing a copy Tony Anthony's testimony. He's an ex Kungfoo Master/ body guard/hit man/criminal and prisoner. He came to Christ through friendship. Enjoy!