Sunday, December 22, 2013

In The News: Peace And Security In Israel

Who will control the "security" involved in the peace plans between the "Palestinians" and Israel? As stated before, the confirmation of the covenant as seen in Daniel 9:27 will most assuredly have border and security concerns as a major part of any agreement, and ultimately, we expect this to come from the "unbiased" EU, as it is becoming more and more clear that such peacekeeping troops cannot come from the U.S. or Israel:

Arabs Reject U.S. Proposed Peace Compromise With Israel

The Arab League has issued a flat out rejection of a security compromise proposed by US Secretary of State John Kerry as a means of moving forward the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
Meeting at the league’s headquarters in Cairo, the regional body called the proposal evidence of American bias in favor of Israel.
The proposal in question would leave the Jordan Valley under Israeli control as part of a comprehensive peace agreement. It is reportedly the result of joint Israeli and Jordanian pressure on Washington. Israel insists it cannot return to the indefensible pre–1967 borders, and Jordan is keen to avoid a repeat of the 1970–1971 Palestinian attempt to seize control of the Hashemite Kingdom.
While the Arab League failed to address the Jordanian position at its meeting on Saturday, it completely dismissed Israel’s security concerns, labeling the Jordan Valley proposal an “expansionist” scheme.
In related news, formerly declassified documents returned to the spotlight last week reveal that the American position 40 years ago was that Israel should remain in control of the majority of the so-called “West Bank,”especially the central high ground.

A former commander of the IDF’s Central Command, which oversees Israeli control over the West Bank, said Sunday that Israel’s security required continued control over the Jordan Valley.
According to Maj. Gen. (res.) Avi Mizrahi, Israeli forces in the Jordan Valley would have two missions: to prevent a missile threat from the West Bank akin to the threat from Gaza, and to prevent the transfer across the Jordanian-West Bank border of explosives, people and equipment used in terror attacks.

“In order to do that you need to control the border and the border crossing-points,” he said. “To make that happen, you need to be there.”
Mizrahi rejected the possibility that these goals could be achieved by a third-party force.

“I wouldn’t rely on foreign forces,” he said. “Our history shows that every time the deployment of international forces was tried in one form or another, their output in the field was not what we wanted. We need to rely on ourselves.”

On Saturday, the Arab League rejected the US-proposed security plan that Kerry transmitted to Israelis and Palestinians earlier this month which would have allowed Israeli troops to remain in the Jordan Valley for several years.

Among its key elements, the security plan reportedly provides for a series of crossings along the Jordan Valley border between the West Bank and Jordan which would be jointly controlled by Israel and the PA. The border itself, however, would remain under full Israeli control, with the IDF joined only by a symbolic Palestinian security presence. These arrangements would hold for many years, but not necessarily permanently, the implication being that in a future period of stability and mutual confidence, Israel might transfer more authority to the Palestinians.
The US, under the proposal, would provide an additional security “envelope,” which would utilize drones and other high-tech equipment to provide real-time intelligence on any terrorist threats and other unlawful border activity.

Christian Genocide: Ignored By The Media:

The extent of persecution of Middle East Christians has even been described by some senior Church officials as a looming “genocide.” Can the treatment of Arab Christians really be described in such extreme terms? Time will tell.
What is clear is that while Church leaders in the West pay lip service to the plight of Christians in Syria and Egypt, little in the way of tangible support has yet to be offered or delivered. Solidarity with Middle East Christians so far amounts to empty words.
The rest of this article appears in the current (December 2013) issue of Israel Today Magazine.

But even as we debate religion in American life we cannot forget a bigger threat — the violent, global “War on Christians.”
Here are some of the worst examples of Christian persecution around the world:
-An American Christian pastor has been in an Iranian prison for more than a year. The U.S. State Department has confirmed that he is jailed “on charges related to his religious beliefs.” Saeed Abedini set up churches in that country for almost a decade and the government found his work threatening. The pastor’s wife told reporters earlier this week: “My husband is suffering because he is a Christian. He’s suffering because he’s an American… Yet his own government did not fight for him when his captors were across the table.”
In Egypt fundamentalist Muslims regularly attack Coptic Christians. A House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee heard testimony last week on the sad plight of the Copts. Bishop Angaelos of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Britain spoke of “an unprecedented wave of violence erupted against Christians” that is being “carried out by radical elements in society.”
-And in Syria there are reports of Christians in the northern part of the country being targeted for rape, kidnapping and murder by Muslim groups. Christian churches have been vandalized throughout the country as civil war has torn the country apart for the last two years. The Civil War has forced thousands of Christians to flee the country in droves, seeking refuge in neighboring countries. Earlier this month, more than a dozen Greek Orthodox nuns and Christian orphanage workers were held hostage. One 65-year-old Syrian Christian woman put it bluntly in an interview: “They’re coming after us. All they do is massacre people, all they know is killing.”

During my recent leave of absence, I had a rare opportunity to read longer-form material, and raced through John Allen’s The Global War on Christiansreleased in October of this year.  Allen, a highly respected and widely read journalist at National Catholic Reporter, takes a much broader and in-depth look at the war on Christians in practically every corner of the world.
In his introduction, Allen argues that Christians are actually the world’s most persecuted group — by far:
In September 2009, the chairman of the International Society for Human Rights, Martin Lessenthin, estimated that 80 percent of all acts of religious discrimination in the world today are directed against Christians, citing the results of a survey carried out among staff and members of his organization, and saying those findings dovetail with conclusions reached by his colleagues at other human rights observatories.

Most of the danger comes in the area where Christianity has its historical roots, but more than we know occurs in nations and regions where we assume Christians should be relatively safe — such as South America. Much of the fight comes from Islamist governments, but not all of it does, and some of the war is internecine. Furthermore, the lack of recognition of this global war on Christians comes from several myths, Allen argues as he attempts to debunk them:
  • The Myth That Christians Are at Risk Only Where They’re a Minority
  • The Myth That No One Saw It Coming
  • The Myth That It’s All About Islam
  • The Myth That It’s Only Persecution if the Motives Are Religious
  • The Myth That Anti-Christian Persecution Is a Political Issue
Allen’s book provides a well-reasoned, well-sourced wake-up call for Christians, especially in the West, where persecution is so rare that we tend to argue more about Christmas crechesthan the crushing of Christian populations.  As Allen writes at the beginning of his introduction:
This book is about the most dramatic religion story of the early twenty-first century, yet one that most people in the West have little idea is even happening: the global war on Christians. We’re not talking about a metaphorical “war on religion” in Europe and the United States, fought on symbolic terrain such as whether it’s okay to erect a nativity scene on the courthouse steps, but a rising tide of legal oppression, social harassment, and direct physical violence, with Christians as its leading victims.
However counterintuitive it may seem in light of popular stereotypes of Christianity as a powerful and sometimes oppressive social force, Christians today indisputably are the most persecuted religious body on the planet, and too often their new martyrs suffer in silence.

US intelligence not only spied on then-defense minister Ehud Barak’s offices during 2008-2009, but also maintained an apartment opposite Barak’s primary residence for that purpose, according to a report on Sunday, which came amid new revelations of the extent of US and British intelligence activity against Israel and other allies.

In 2007, Israeli intelligence noted that the US government had rented an apartment across the street from Barak’s high-rise apartment in Tel Aviv, and observed “sizable amounts of electronic equipment” being delivered to the address, Yedioth Ahronoth reported on Sunday. Washington said at the time that the apartment was being used by a member of the US embassy’s security team.

This is “a classic act of espionage” and “very grave if true,” said Tzachi Hanegbi, a former chairman and current member of the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, which oversees intelligence matters.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu routinely assumes that he is being spied upon and therefore goes to extraordinary lengths to prevent his work being compromised by foreign agencies, Israeli TV reported on Friday night, in the wake of revelations that US and British intelligence services intercepted emails in his office and that of his predecessor Ehud Olmert and also spied on former defense minister Ehud Barak.

Netanyahu has no computer in his office, does not use email, and does not maintain a private phone, Channel 2 reported.

More dramatically, when discussing especially sensitive issues even at his home, Netanyahu and guests sometimes resort to “gestures” rather than speech, because of concerns that they are being listened to, Channel 10 reported.
It added that Netanyahu conducts his most sensitive discussions in the offices of the Mossad intelligence service, because only there is he confident that he is safe from listening devices.

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