Even the US Tramples Outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11)

US stops all aid to Palestinians in West Bank and Gaza – BBC News

AFP/Getty Images

A Palestinian man carries sacks of flour supplied by the UN in Gaza City

The US has confirmed it stopped all aid to Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza, in a step linked to new anti-terrorism legislation.

More than $60m (£46m) in annual funds for the Palestinian security services has now ended, and – while Israel has backed some previous cuts in US aid for Palestinians – officials have expressed concern about this move.

It is thought that co-operation with Israeli forces, which helps keep relative calm in the West Bank, could be affected.

The Anti-Terrorism Clarification Act (ATCA), passed by Congress and then signed into law by President Donald Trump last year, has just come into force.

This allows Americans to sue those receiving foreign aid from their country in US courts over alleged complicity in “acts of war”.

At a news conference on Thursday, senior official Saeb Erekat said the Palestinian Authority (PA) had sent a letter to the US state department asking them to end funding because of a fear of lawsuits.

“We do not want to receive any money if it will cause us to appear before the courts,” he said.

The PA denies Israeli accusations that it incites militant attacks.

“We are not seeking anything, the Americans have made their decision, but we will continue to participate in the fight against terrorism in the region,” Mr Erekat went on.

He pointed out that there were currently cases against three banks operating in the Palestinian territories before US courts, and that in the past, several attempts to allow US victims of Palestinian attacks to sue the PA and Palestine Liberation Organisation had failed because of a lack of jurisdiction.

AFP

Unrwa provides health and education services to Palestinians

Despite a large hole in its budget, the PA maintains that the halt in US aid will not affect the work of its security forces.

“At the request of the Palestinian Authority, we have wound down certain projects and programmes funded with assistance under the authorities specified in ATCA in the West Bank and Gaza,” a US official told the BBC on Friday.

“All USAID assistance in the West Bank and Gaza has ceased.”

It is not clear how long the halt will remain in effect.

But the Palestinian official said no steps were currently being taken to close the USAID mission in the Palestinian territories and no decision had been made about future staffing at the US embassy in Jerusalem.

Last year, Washington cut hundreds of millions of dollars of aid to the Palestinians, which included funding of humanitarian projects – such as health, education and infrastructure – supported by USAID.

This was widely viewed as a way of pressing Palestinian officials to restart peace talks with Israel and re-engage with the White House ahead of the announcement of its promised Middle East peace plan.

The Trump administration also ended all US funding for the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA. It had previously been the largest donor to UNRWA, giving more than $360m in 2017.

Recently US government scholarships awarded to Palestinian students have been suspended and hundreds of Palestinian and foreign workers working on US-funded programmes have lost their jobs.

“Our work was really important. We’d made a big impact but now we’re stopping a lot of our projects in the middle,” said one Palestinian whose position in law and order supported by USAID was terminated this week.

“We were really helping to build the capacity of the Palestinian police and prosecutors, helping them to carry out their investigations and daily work,” the man said. “It’s a huge setback.”

US support for creating professional Palestinian security services dates back to the creation of the PA after the breakthrough 1993 Oslo Peace Accords.

While an EU-funded programme has offered training to civil police, the US focused on the national security forces, intelligence and presidential guard.

Reports suggest that Palestinian, US and Israeli officials have been seeking means to keep sending money to these security forces in the West Bank.

Speaking on Israeli radio on Thursday, security cabinet minister Yuval Steinitz said “we will find a solution”, adding that he could not go into details.

Iran to launch DEVASTATING nuclear missiles

World War 3 warning: Iran to launch DEVASTATING nuclear missiles claims Trump official

Iran news: Iran is preparing to launch nuclear weapons able to reach the US, Mike Pompeo has claimed (Image: GETTY)

IRAN is on the brink of developing intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of reaching the United States, according to an explosive World War 3 warning issued by the US Secretary of State.

By SAM STEVENSON

PUBLISHED: 01:51, Fri, Jan 4, 2019

UPDATED: 10:47, Fri, Jan 4, 2019

Mike Pompeo staged the intervention on Thursday. He claimed Iran’s so-called “space launch vehicles” (SLVs) were in direct violation of a key United Nations (UN) resolution. The Iranian regime has launched ballistic missiles numerous times since United Nations Security Council resolution 2231 (UNSCR 2231) was adopted and continues to do so, Mr Pompeo alleged.

He said: “Iran plans to fire off space launch vehicles with virtually the same technology as intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs).

“The launch will advance its missile programme.

“US, France, UK and Germany have already stated this is in defiance of UNSCR 2231.

“We won’t stand by while the regime threatens international security.”

Of Iran’s increasingly bellicose actions, which the US claims flout the historic accord, Mr Pompeo said: “Such actions would once again demonstrate Iran’s defiance of UNSCR 2231, which calls upon the Iranian regime not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons.

“This action includes launching SLVs, which incorporate technology that is virtually identical to that used in ballistic missiles, including in ICBMs.”

The US Secretary of State also noted an ICBM with a range of 10,000km could reach the US.

But Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif rejected Mr Pompeo’s warning against carrying out space vehicle launches and missile tests, saying on Thursday they did not violate the UN resolution.

Mr Zarif said in an English-language tweet: “Iran’s launch of space vehicles – and missile tests – are not in violation of Resolution 2231.

“The US is in material breach of same, and as such, it is in no position to lecture anyone on it.”

UNSCR 2231 was a resolution endorsing the so-called Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) – or Iran Nuclear Deal – on the nuclear program of Iran.

The Resolution sets out an inspection process and schedule while also preparing for the removal of United Nations sanctions against Iran.

The JCPOA was intended to curb Iran’s nuclear energy programme, which the West said the theocratic Middle Eastern power was using as a front to further its ballistic missile capabilities.

The agreement was struck in return for the lifting of crippling economic sanctions.

US President Donald Trump notably withdrew from the accord, branding it “decaying and rotten” and “an embarrassment” to him “as a citizen”.

Of the JCPOA, Hossein Abedini, a representative for anti-regime group the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), told Express.co.uk: “It gave a lot of unnecessary concessions to the regime, which was in a very weak position.

“It was time to get rid of all its nuclear activities but unfortunately they gave a lot of concessions which did not work and made the regime more brazen.”

The pro-regime change NCRI claims to have exposed swathes of Iran’s “clandestine nuclear programme” and says the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) sent its inspectors to visit the sites.

Of his group’s findings, Mr Abedini said: “We have exposed the clandestine nuclear sites of the Iranian regime.

“In 2002 we revealed the enrichment of uranium to a recognised degree as well as the heavy water reactor where they were trying to produce plutonium as the main core of a nuclear device.

“The IAEA were very much astonished to see how advanced and sophisticated the nuclear technology of the Iranian regime was.”

The IAEA did not respond to a request for comment when approached by Express.co.uk.

Worldwide Threat is Near (Revelation 16)

A scary ‘Worldwide Threat Assessment’

America’s 17 intelligence agencies’ “Worldwide Threat Assessment” was delivered to the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee on Jan. 29.

With Valentine’s Day coming up on Feb. 14, the timing was inappropriate. The frightening news should have been delivered on Halloween.

The agencies have compiled a horrific list of the fears they worry about night and day, including terrorism, climate change, hostile foreign powers, rising nationalism, illegal drugs, cyber attacks and organized crime.

Dan Coats, the director of national intelligence, told the committee members, and the world, that those threats will “expand and diversify” in 2019.

Here are some of the comments from the agencies’ report:

North Korea is not going to give up its nuclear weapons program. “Its leaders ultimately view nuclear weapons as critical to regime survival,” Coats said.

Iran is not close to building a nuclear weapon or trying to. “We continue to assess that Iran is not currently undertaking the key nuclear weapons development activities we judge necessary to produce a nuclear device,” the report says.

The agencies noted, climate change is real and a global security problem: “Global environmental and ecological degradation, as well as climate change, are likely to fuel competition for resources, economic distress and social discontent through 2019 and beyond.”

The Islamic State is both large and not defeated. In another editorial, we reported that in Syria, ISIS had been downsized to a few hundred fighters, but the threat report says the group “still commands thousands of fighters in Iraq and Syria, and it maintains eight branches, more than a dozen networks and thousands of dispersed supporters around the world, despite significant leadership and territorial losses.”

The assessment said that news about chaos in the European Union, Brexit and the rise of nationalism across Europe, are also all major objectives of Russian foreign policy.

“The Kremlin is stepping up its campaign to divide Western political and security institutions and undermine the post-World War II international order,” Coats said. “We expect Russia will continue to wage its information war against democracies and use social media to attempt to divide our societies.”

China is stealing trade secrets, spying and expanding its military and economic reach. From building islands in the South China Sea, to working more closely with Russia than at any time since the mid-1950s, China has a “long-term strategy to achieve global superiority,” Coats said.

The report said Iran almost certainly will continue to develop and maintain terrorist capabilities as an option to deter or retaliate against its perceived adversaries.

Instability in South and Central America is concerning.

“Flagging economies, migration flows, corruption, narcotics trafficking and anti-U.S. autocrats will present continuing challenges to U.S. interests, as U.S. adversaries and strategic competitors seek greater influence in the region,” the report stated.

Coats told the lawmakers that the scope and severity of the parade of horribles in the assessment — even space weapons — reflect a world order that may be strained to the point of fracture.  

From cyberspace to pandemic diseases, the biggest challenge facing leaders in Washington isn’t identifying threats to the homeland.

“It is increasingly a challenge to prioritize which threats are of greatest importance,” the report said.

It also warned that “Russia’s social media efforts will continue to focus on aggravating social and racial tensions, undermining trust in authorities.”

We apologize to all Americans who would like to read some good news, but the agencies have cited the well-researched facts of the situation. That’s the reality.

The Sixth Seal Is Long Overdue (Revelation 6:12)

ON THE MAP; Exploring the Fault Where the Next Big One May Be Waiting

By MARGO NASH

Published: March 25, 2001

Alexander Gates, a geology professor at Rutgers-Newark, is co-author of ”The Encyclopedia of Earthquakes and Volcanoes,” which will be published by Facts on File in July. He has been leading a four-year effort to remap an area known as the Sloatsburg Quadrangle, a 5-by-7-mile tract near Mahwah that crosses into New York State. The Ramapo Fault, which runs through it, was responsible for a big earthquake in 1884, and Dr. Gates warns that a recurrence is overdue. He recently talked about his findings.

Q. What have you found?

A. We’re basically looking at a lot more rock, and we’re looking at the fracturing and jointing in the bedrock and putting it on the maps. Any break in the rock is a fracture. If it has movement, then it’s a fault. There are a lot of faults that are offshoots of the Ramapo. Basically when there are faults, it means you had an earthquake that made it. So there was a lot of earthquake activity to produce these features. We are basically not in a period of earthquake activity along the Ramapo Fault now, but we can see that about six or seven times in history, about 250 million years ago, it had major earthquake activity. And because it’s such a fundamental zone of weakness, anytime anything happens, the Ramapo Fault goes.

Q. Where is the Ramapo Fault?

 A. The fault line is in western New Jersey and goes through a good chunk of the state, all the way down to Flemington. It goes right along where they put in the new 287. It continues northeast across the Hudson River right under the Indian Point power plant up into Westchester County. There are a lot of earthquakes rumbling around it every year, but not a big one for a while.

Q. Did you find anything that surprised you?

A. I found a lot of faults, splays that offshoot from the Ramapo that go 5 to 10 miles away from the fault. I have looked at the Ramapo Fault in other places too. I have seen splays 5 to 10 miles up into the Hudson Highlands. And you can see them right along the roadsides on 287. There’s been a lot of damage to those rocks, and obviously it was produced by fault activities. All of these faults have earthquake potential.

Q. Describe the 1884 earthquake.

A. It was in the northern part of the state near the Sloatsburg area. They didn’t have precise ways of describing the location then. There was lots of damage. Chimneys toppled over. But in 1884, it was a farming community, and there were not many people to be injured. Nobody appears to have written an account of the numbers who were injured.

Q. What lessons we can learn from previous earthquakes?

A. In 1960, the city of Agadir in Morocco had a 6.2 earthquake that killed 12,000 people, a third of the population, and injured a third more. I think it was because the city was unprepared.There had been an earthquake in the area 200 years before. But people discounted the possibility of a recurrence. Here in New Jersey, we should not make the same mistake. We should not forget that we had a 5.4 earthquake 117 years ago. The recurrence interval for an earthquake of that magnitude is every 50 years, and we are overdue. The Agadir was a 6.2, and a 5.4 to a 6.2 isn’t that big a jump.

Q. What are the dangers of a quake that size?

A. When you’re in a flat area in a wooden house it’s obviously not as dangerous, although it could cut off a gas line that could explode. There’s a real problem with infrastructure that is crumbling, like the bridges with crumbling cement. There’s a real danger we could wind up with our water supplies and electricity cut off if a sizable earthquake goes off. The best thing is to have regular upkeep and keep up new building codes. The new buildings will be O.K. But there is a sense of complacency.

MARGO NASH

Russia and Babylon Prepare for a Nuclear Race

Russia Pulls Out of Nuclear Treaty in ‘Symmetrical’ Response to U.S. Move

Feb. 2, 2019

President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia discussed new weapons systems in a televised meeting on Saturday with Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, left, and Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu.Pool photo by Alexei Nikolsky

MOSCOW — President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, in a decision that was widely expected, suspended his country’s observance of a key nuclear arms control pact on Saturday in response to a similar move by the United States a day before.

But adding to a sense that the broader architecture of nuclear disarmament has started to unravel, Mr. Putin also said that Russia would build weapons previously banned under the treaty and would no longer initiate talks with the United States on any matters related to nuclear arms control.

The Trump administration withdrew from the treaty, a keystone of the late Cold War disarmament pacts known as the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, saying that Russia had been violating it for years. The decision holds the potential to initiate a new arms race, not only with Russia, but also China, which was never a signatory to the 1987 treaty.

Beijing responded to the American announcement by warning on Saturday that the breakup of the treaty would undermine global security, but also by rejecting calls for China to join an expanded version of the pact.

In a televised meeting on Saturday with his ministers of foreign affairs and defense, Mr. Putin said Russia would, indeed, design and build weapons previously banned under the treaty — something the United States says Russia is already doing — but would not deploy them unless America did so first.

“I would like to draw your attention to the fact that we must not and will not let ourselves be drawn into an expensive arms race,” Mr. Putin told his ministers. Money to build the new missiles, he said, will come from the existing defense budget.

The treaty had prohibited the United States and Russia from testing or deploying land-based missiles able to fly in what are known as short or intermediate ranges: 300 to 3,400 miles. Both countries have sea- and air-launched missiles that fly in these ranges.

The minister of defense, Sergei K. Shoigu, suggested that Russia in coming months design and test a land-based launcher for its maritime cruise missile, called the Kalibr, an analogue to the American Tomahawk, and a new short-range ballistic missile.

“I agree,” Mr. Putin said. “Our response will be symmetrical. Our American partners announced that they are suspending their participation in the I.N.F. Treaty, and we are suspending it too. They said that they are engaged in research, development and design work, and we will do the same.”

Mr. Putin also noted what he called progress on Russia’s development of new types of nuclear weapons not covered by the treaty, including a drone submarine called Poseidon that carries a massive thermonuclear warhead designed to detonate in shallow coastal waters, flooding the enemy’s ports and seaside cities with a radioactive tsunami.

In his remarks, the Russian minister of foreign affairs, Sergey V. Lavrov, presented a picture of the wobbly state of the whole architecture of American and Russian nuclear disarmament that had been erected over the past 50 years, beginning with the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty of 1972.

Mr. Lavrov suggested a number of treaties were in need of urgent review, such as the Nonproliferation Treaty that prohibits passing nuclear weapons technology to countries that do not already posses it. He argued that America had violated it by conducting nuclear deterrence training exercises with NATO nations that were not declared nuclear powers.

China’s array of nuclear weapons remains much smaller than the American and Russian forces, but Beijing has been upgrading and expanding its arsenal. Some critics of the intermediate nuclear forces treaty have argued that it unfairly ties the United States’ hands from responding effectively to China’s military buildup.

In October, President Trump cited China’s potential expansion as a reason the United States should consider quitting the treaty.

“If Russia’s doing it and if China’s doing it, and we’re adhering to the agreement, that’s unacceptable,” Mr. Trump said after a rally in Nevada.

In January, Global Times, a Chinese Communist Party-controlled tabloid newspaper with a heavily nationalist tone, reported that a People’s Liberation Army unit had carried out an exercise with an intermediate-range “ship killer” missile formally called the DF-26. China probably has 16 to 30 intermediate-range ballistic missiles, an annual Pentagon report on China’s military said last year.

At the televised meeting, Mr. Putin said that Russia remained open to negotiation, and that Moscow’s proposals to resolve disputes “remained on the table.” But he said that neither the Ministry of Defense or the Ministry of Foreign Affairs should initiate talks with the United States.

“I suggest that we wait until our partners are ready to engage in equal and meaningful dialogue,” he said.

China, meanwhile, appeared to have no interest in binding itself to an intermediate missile treaty, even as it defended the current agreement between Russia and the United States.

“This treaty plays a significant role in easing major-country relations, promoting international and regional peace, and safeguarding global strategic balance and stability,” Geng Shuang, a spokesman for the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said in a statement on the ministry’s website. “China is opposed to the U.S. withdrawal and urges the U.S. and Russia to properly resolve differences through constructive dialogue.”

But he added: “China opposes the multilateralization of this treaty. What is imperative at the moment is to uphold and implement the existing treaty instead of creating a new one.”

Saudi Arabia Advances Its Nuclear Horn

Saudi Arabia Pursuing Missile Program With China, Pakistan Help – US Experts Say

Nuclear missile system (Twitter)

American defense experts say Saudi Arabia has been pursuing a missile program with the help of China and Pakistan, in a potential divergence from the US and policy shift towards the East that may raise concerns in Washington.

Last week, The Washington Post reported that Saudi Arabia has started building its first known ballistic missile production factory.

Satellite images taken last November by US company Planet Labs Inc and analyzed by the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in Monterey revealed that the factory is situated at an existing missile base near the central Saudi town of al-Watah.

US defense experts told CNBC that the development indicates a growing desire by Riyadh, Washington’s longtime ally, to take offensive measures without the approval of its main weapons sponsor.

There’s an arms race underway,” said Michael Rubin, a former Pentagon official and Arab affairs expert at the American Enterprise Institute. “Whiplash policy changes in Washington have had their impact on Riyadh: Saudi authorities are no longer going to be constrained by White House whispers. The Saudis are demonstrating that they can take matters into their own hands.”

Missile expert Jeffrey Lewis also stressed that heavy investment in missiles often correlates with an interest in nuclear weapons, adding, “I would be a little worried that we’re underestimating the Saudis’ ambitions here.”

Moreover, Bruce Riedel, a CIA veteran and expert on Persian Gulf affairs, said that the timing of the Saudi missile factory construction “underscores a willingness to ignore Washington’s interests and policies” from the beginning of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s rise to power.

Riyadh started its missile program, which is overseen by the kingdom’s secretive Strategic Rocket Forces (SRF), with the purchase of Chinese D3-F Silkworm ballistic missiles back in 1988.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, a former Pentagon official said the SRF likely “operates with Chinese input,” noting that “given that Pakistan has close ties with both China and with the Kingdom and has numerous advisers working with Saudi security agencies, I wouldn’t be surprised if there were some Pakistani assistance as well.”

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying, however, rejected Beijing’s assistance to Riyadh to build a missile base.

Meanwhile, analysts believe that revelations about Saudi Arabia’s missile program could further complicate the kingdom’s relations with the US, given the already increased anger over Riyadh’s deadly war on Yemen and the assassination of dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in October 2018.

In addition to the missiles activities, the Saudis are also pursuing a nuclear energy program.

Bin Salman laid the foundation stone for the kingdom’s first nuclear research reactor during his visit to King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology in Riyadh last November.

This article has been adapted from its original source.