Gaza Protest Camps Move Closer to the Temple Walls (Revelation 11)

Gaza protest camps move closer to Israel border fence

Gaza protest organizers moved sit-in tents closer to the Israeli border fence Thursday, a day before a fourth planned mass demonstration, raising fears of more bloodshed.

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The protests, largely led by Gaza’s Hamas rulers, began March 30. Organizers said they’ll gradually move the camps toward the fence until May 15, but made conflicting comments about a possible breach.

Hamas says the protests are aimed at breaking a crippling border blockade that was imposed by Israel and Egypt after the Islamic militant group overran the territory in 2007, a year after winning Palestinian parliament elections. The marches also press for the return of the descendants of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who fled or were forced from homes in the 1948 war over Israel’s creation.

While some organizers portray the protests as peaceful, Hamas and representatives of other factions have made it clear that a border breach is being considered.

“We will cross the border,” said Daoud Shehab, a member of the organizing committee from the smaller Islamic Jihad group, adding that Israel “should feel really jittery as a result of these marches.”

Israeli military officials have warned that they will not tolerate a mass border breach or permit protesters to get close to the fence. Israel’s military said Thursday that it is ready for all scenarios and is “prepared to prevent any breach of Israeli sovereignty or damage to the border fence.” Several Israeli communities are close to the border.

Rights groups have branded Israel’s open-fire regulations as unlawful, saying they permit soldiers to use potentially lethal force against unarmed protesters.

In the past three weeks, Israeli troops firing from across the border fence have killed 28 protesters and wounded more than 1,500, according to Gaza health officials.

During the weekly Friday marches, most protesters have remained in the five sit-in tent camps, but smaller groups have moved toward the fence, throwing stones, hurling firebombs or burning tires.

On Thursday, organizers moved tent camps several dozen meters closer to the fence.

In a camp east of Gaza City, five tents were moved to within 300 meters (328 yards) of the border, just in range of tear gas volleys. Bulldozers also raised protective sand berms around the new tents. In another protest site in southeastern Gaza, earth mounds were created to define the camp’s new boundary.

Meanwhile, activists were testing new means of confronting Israel — kites with burning rags dangling from their tails. The aim is to set ablaze drying wheat fields on the Israeli side.

Palestinians protest (Photo: AFP)

In the camp near Gaza City, activists flew two kites Thursday. One fell short in Gaza. The other reached its destination but failed to start a fire.

Several fires have been started in wheat fields on the Israeli side of the border by such contraptions in recent days, according to the Times of Israel news website.

The Facebook page of the Gaza protest organizers published images Wednesday of Israeli fields behind the fence, taken from a small camera attached to a kite.

Thursday’s development came as Israel was celebrating 70 years since the modern Jewish state was established.

Festivities began the night before when in sharp contrast, Israel abruptly crossed over from its melancholy Memorial Day for fallen soldiers and terrorism victims.

The grouping of the two days is intentional, to show the link between the costly wars Israel has fought and the establishment and survival of the Jewish state.

The Sixth Seal: More Than Just Manhattan (Revelation 6:12)

New York, NY – In a Quake, Brooklyn Would Shake More Than Manhattan

By Brooklyn Eagle

New York, NY – The last big earthquake in the New York City area, centered in New York Harbor just south of Rockaway, took place in 1884 and registered 5.2 on the Richter Scale.Another earthquake of this size can be expected and could be quite damaging, says Dr. Won-Young Kim, senior research scientist at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University.

And Brooklyn, resting on sediment, would shake more than Manhattan, built on solid rock. “There would be more shaking and more damage,” Dr. Kim told the Brooklyn Eagle on Wednesday.

If an earthquake of a similar magnitude were to happen today near Brooklyn, “Many chimneys would topple. Poorly maintained buildings would fall down – some buildings are falling down now even without any shaking. People would not be hit by collapsing buildings, but they would be hit by falling debris. We need to get some of these buildings fixed,” he said.

But a 5.2 is “not comparable to Haiti,” he said. “That was huge.” Haiti’s devastating earthquake measured 7.0.

Brooklyn has a different environment than Haiti, and that makes all the difference, he said. Haiti is situated near tectonic plate.

“The Caribbean plate is moving to the east, while the North American plate is moving towards the west. They move about 20 mm – slightly less than an inch – every year.” The plates are sliding past each other, and the movement is not smooth, leading to jolts, he said.

While we don’t have the opportunity for a large jolt in Brooklyn, we do have small, frequent quakes of a magnitude of 2 or 3 on the Richter Scale. In 2001 alone the city experienced two quakes: one in January, measuring 2.4, and one in October, measuring 2.6. The October quake, occurring soon after Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, “caused a lot of panic,” Dr. Kim said.

“People ask me, ‘Should I get earthquake insurance?’ I tell them no, earthquake insurance is expensive. Instead, use that money to fix chimneys and other things. Rather than panicky preparations, use common sense to make things better.”

Secure bookcases to the wall and make sure hanging furniture does not fall down, Dr. Kim said. “If you have antique porcelains or dishes, make sure they’re safely stored. In California, everything is anchored to the ground.”

While a small earthquake in Brooklyn may cause panic, “In California, a quake of magnitude 2 is called a micro-quake,” he added.

Israel Wants to Stop the Inevitable Iranian Horn

Stop Iran From Going Nuclear

Gatestone Institute

24 Adar II 5779 – March 31, 2019

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Iran’s Natanz nuclear site.

{Originally posted to the Gatestone Institute website}

Advocates of Iran’s nuclear deal are conspicuously ignoring the Iranian government’s nuclear activities, even though they jeopardize global security as much as Israel’s security. Advocates of Iran are also rushing to criticize the Trump administration in the United States for tightening its sanctions in response to Iran’s illegal defiance.

In a recent interview with Iran’s state-owned Channel 2 in the Persian language, Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, made it clear that the flimsy “nuclear deal” initiated by then US President Barack Obama has done nothing to stop Iran from making advances in its nuclear program.

Salehi boasted:

“If we have to go back and withdraw from the nuclear deal, we certainly do not go back to where we were before … We will be standing in a much, much higher position.”

The latest reports on Iran’s nuclear progress also indicate that Iran is on the threshold of modernizing its mechanism for producing highly enriched uranium, which can be utilized to build a nuclear weapon.

The Iranian government is bragging that it is exploring new uranium enrichment programs and the production of centrifuges. As Salehi said recently:

“Thank God, the tests on the IR4 and IR2M (centrifuges) have been completed. They were tested for over 12 years. Today we have all the data, and we can easily manufacture them on an industrial scale.”

Several intelligence reports warning of Iran’s clandestine nuclear activities have been distributed throughout the international community. Germany’s domestic intelligence agency, the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, revealed in its annual report that the Iranian government has pursued a “clandestine” path to obtain illicit nuclear technology and equipment from German companies “at what is, even by international standards, a quantitatively high level.”

The intelligence report also stated that “it is safe to expect that Iran will continue its intensive procurement activities in Germany using clandestine methods to achieve its objectives.”

Further illustrating this disregard for the regulations Iranian officials are supposed to be following, on several occasions after the “nuclear deal” was in place, Iran held onto more heavy water, used to produce nuclear weapons, than it was allowed to have.

Those who promote the idea of taking a gentler stance on Iran and its nuclear program argue that Iran is not pursuing any illicit nuclear activities because the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has verified that.

The IAEA, however, was not allowed to inspect or monitor Iran’s military sites where nuclear activities were most likely being carried out. Among the many concessions that the Obama administration gave the Iranian government, one was accepting the Iranian leaders’ demand that these military sites would be out of the IAEA’s reach.

Due to this surrender, various high-profile Iranian sites such as the Parchin military complex, located southeast of Tehran, were free to engage in nuclear activities without the risk of inspection.

The IAEA itself had previously stated that the Parchin military complex was the location where Iran carried out the explosive tests required to set off a nuclear charge.

In addition, Israel’s international intelligence agency, the Mossad, obtained files and photographs from inside Iran relating to the country’s nuclear program.

The files pointed to Iran’s efforts to build a nuclear bomb, and the set of photographs taken at the Parchin military site “appears to show a giant metal chamber built to conduct high-explosive experiments.”

Moreover, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) — which revealed Iran’s clandestine and undeclared uranium enrichment facility at Natanz and a heavy water facility at Arak in 2002 — has recently confirmed that Iran is continuing to pursue its nuclear ambitions. Its report states:

“… the ‘nerve center’ of the Iranian regime’s nuclear weapons project, responsible for designing a nuclear bomb, has been continuing its work… following the establishment of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in 2015, not only has the unit remained in place and active, it is now clear that in some fields its activities have even expanded.

Iran’s breakout time — the amount of time needed to produce enough weapons-grade uranium for one nuclear bomb — is believed to be less than a year.

When will the international community take seriously the latest intelligence reports and Iran’s efforts to build a nuclear bomb? When will the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog, the IAEA, inspect Iran’s military sites?

Once the authoritarian, anti-Semitic and anti-American government of Iran possess a nuclear bomb, no amount of actions will be able reverse the catastrophe.

Iran is clearly continuing to demonstrate its interest in, and active pursuit of, nuclear weapons. Act now.

(Dr. Majid Rafizadeh, is a business strategist and advisor)

Thousands Trample Outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11)

At least two killed in Gaza as thousands of Palestinians demonstrate near Israeli border | Fox News

March 30, 2019

At least two teenagers have been killed in clashes with Israeli military as tens of thousands of Palestinians gathered at the Israeli border to mark a year of the protest movement.

The latest demonstrations honored the “Great March of Return” that started on March 30, 2018. Nearly 40,000 Palestinians marched to the border in heavy rain to mark the anniversary. Protesters want an end to a years-long blockade of the Gaza Strip and for refugees in Gaza to be allowed to return to ancestral homes in Israel.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) put the number of protesters at around 40,000 and said explosive devices, stones and burnt tires were thrown over a wall in the direction of Israeli Military, according to the BBC.

The IDF said they responded with “riot dispersal means” including live ammunition.

The teens, both 17, were killed and dozens of protesters were wounded, a Palestinian health official and the Daily Beast reported. They said another man was shot dead by Israeli forces overnight near the border fence.

From March to December last year, 189 Palestinians and one Israeli have died during the protests, including 35 children, three paramedics and two journalists, according to the UN Human Rights Council. During that period, 6,106 Palestinians were injured.

“The Commission has reasonable grounds to believe that during the Great March of Return, Israeli soldiers committed violations of international human rights and humanitarian law. Some of those violations may constitute war crimes or crimes against humanity, and must be immediately investigated by Israel,” said Santiago Canton, chairman of the Human Rights Council Commission of Inquiry..

A UN investigation found that Israeli snipers had shot at children, medics and journalists during the protests.

“There can be no justification for killing and injuring journalists, medics, and persons who pose no imminent threat of death or serious injury to those around them. Particularly alarming is the targeting of children and persons with disabilities,” said Commission member Sara Hossain. “Many young persons’ lives have been altered forever. 122 people have had a limb amputated since 30 March last year. Twenty of these amputees are children.” Israel has denied the allegations.

The protests came on the heels of a week in which rockets were launched from Palestine into Israel and the Israeli military retalited with bombings of Gaza.

Hamas, the Islamist group prominent in the Gaza Strip, told the BBC it would try to keep Saturday’s protests peaceful and a safe distance from the fence, as Egyptian and UN mediators tried to prevent escalation.

American Idiots Clamoring To Attack Iran

Hawks Clamoring To Attack Iran

Emile Nakhleh1 day ago

As Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, National Security Advisor John Bolton, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and Saudi crown prince and de facto ruler Mohammad bin Salman clamor for a war against Iran, they seem to have conveniently forgotten the destruction and mayhem wrought by the American invasion of Iraq 16 years ago.

These war drummers are underestimating the potential negative consequences of the war and overestimating the Iranian people’s dislike of their theocratic regime. They, like the advocates of the Iraqi invasion in the winter of 2002 and early spring 2003, are confusing Iranians’ dislike of the ayatollahs with their potential embrace of a foreign invader.

On the eve of the Iraq war, former President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, the Vice President Chief of Staff and Assistant to the President David Addington all claimed that the Iraqi invasion aimed at liberating the country from the brutal regime of Saddam Hussein. Removing Saddam from power, they maintained, would eliminate the threat of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and bring stability, security, and democracy to Iraq.

As developments unfolded over the past 16 years, the “liberation” claims proved to be bogus. The invasion and the decision to de-Ba’athify Iraq and dissolve the Iraqi military created an environment conducive to sectarianism, insurgency, and terrorism. The vacuum that followed the regime collapse, the incompetence of the American administration in the “Green Zone,” and the pervasive corruption of the new Iraqi governing councils was quickly filled by pro-Iranian militias, al-Qaeda, and later the Islamic State. The promise of stability and security was replaced by chaos, bloodshed, and mayhem.

The massive destruction of Iraq and the horrendous human and material cost the American “liberation” caused for the country will be child’s play compared to what could happen if Trump and his Israeli and Saudi allies decide to attack Iran. Unlike Iraq—which the British cobbled together after World War One out of the Shia, Sunnis, and Kurds under a minority Sunni rule—  Iran has been in existence for centuries with a vast territory and a huge population. If attacked, Iran has the capability to retaliate against its neighbors, especially Saudi Arabia. Its air and missile forces could quickly destroy the oil and gas facilities and the water and power grids on the Arab side of the Gulf. A war against Iran could easily spread to the Gulf and the Levant. The entire region could go up in flames.

Hubris and Ignorance

The Bush administration was not willing or interested in answering the “morning after” questions regarding the post-Saddam future of Iraq. Whenever I and others urged policy makers to consider the law of unintended consequences and what could go wrong in Iraq following the invasion, Vice President Cheney and Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld dismissed our concerns and arrogantly claimed that the U.S. military and civilian administration following the invasion would be able to control the situation in Iraq. Their hubris regarding America’s power and ignorance of Iraqi realities on the ground led to a total breakdown of Iraqi society following the demise of the Saddam regime.

The Trump administration seems to be equally arrogant and ignorant about Iran. It has displayed a similar disregard for strategic thinking about the future of Iran beyond the clerical regime. The Iranophobes within the administration seem to be more obsessed with Iran than the Bush administration was ever with Iraq.

Instead of relying on calm, expert-based analysis, Secretary of State Pompeo has made a series of trips to the region that have involved bullying, threats, and hilarious, if not tragic, mischaracterizations. In a recent conversation with Christian broadcasters in Jerusalem, Pompeo waxed eloquent about God’s presumed divine plan designating Trump as a possible savior of the “Jewish people,” Sunni Islam, Maronite Lebanon, Alawite Syria, and the rest of the world from the perceived modern-day Persian “Hamans.”

Instead of relying on calm, expert-based analysis, Secretary of State Pompeo has made a series of trips to the region that have involved bullying, threats, and hilarious, if not tragic, mischaracterizations.

The American foreign policy process is in serious trouble if Pompeo truly believes that Trump could be the twenty-first-century version of Queen Esther or Hadassah and that this religious vision could chart the path to a grand strategy in the Middle East. When warped religious interpretations are offered as a substitute for rationally debated policy, whether by a radical Wahhabi Salafist, an evangelical Christian, or an ultra-Orthodox Jew, democratic governments should fear for their future. Invoking the divine as an inspiration or a justification for violence against another country, much as Osama bin Laden did on the eve of 9/11, is a rejection of rational discourse and a return to the barbarism of previous epochs.

Pompeo’s imagined “shuttle diplomacy” in the Middle East has been reduced to supporting Netanyahu’s upcoming election bid, threatening Hezbollah in Lebanon, recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, and lambasting any state that does business with Iran. His ambassador-designee to Saudi Arabia, John Abizaid, told Congress that the threat from Iran supersedes concerns for human rights in Arab autocracies.

Furthermore, Trump administration policy operatives, including John Bolton and Rudy Giuliani, have treated an Iranian group called the Mujahedin-e Khalq or MEK as a legitimate alternative to the clerical regime in Iran. The MEK, however, is a terrorist cult that has received funding from all sorts of dubious sources and is often used as a tool by outside groups, states, and organizations, including intelligence services of regional and international state actors, to further an anti-Iran agenda.

Similarly, the Bush administration viewed Ahmed Chalabi, the Iraqi émigré, and the organization he founded, the Iraqi National Congress, as the legitimate alternative to the Saddam regime in Iraq. Vice President Cheney and Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld fully bought into Chalabi’s snake-oil sales. Chalabi was instrumental in instigating America’s invasion of Iraq at the cost of trillions of dollars and thousands of American and Iraqi lives. Iraq has never recovered from that ill-fated, unnecessary war. Bolton and Giuliani are as susceptible to MEK’s claims as Cheney and Rumsfeld were to Chalabi’s.

For the sake of whipping up regional animus toward Iran and preparing the ground for a war against the “Persian menace,” Pompeo in effect has told Arab autocrats that so long as they keep mouthing anti-Iran rhetoric, Washington will ignore their despicable human rights record and the continued repression of their people. The thousands of political prisoners in Egyptian, Saudi, and Bahraini jails will have to wait for another day.

Arab regimes have become masters in the art of communicating with their American benefactors. During the Cold War, they received American aid as long as they brandished anti-Communist slogans. After the collapse of the Soviet Union and with the rise of terrorism, these same strongmen were happy to adopt an anti-terrorism rhetoric in order to continue receiving American military and economic aid. Their current anti-Iran public posture is the latest phase in their communication with Washington and is as equally profitable as the previous two phases.

When some regional politicians demurred about getting tough with Iran, as happened during Pompeo’s recent visit to Lebanon, he did not hesitate to threaten them with a panoply of economic sanctions. Vice President Mike Pence used similar language at the recent meeting in Warsaw to berate and even threaten America’s European allies if they dared to take a conciliatory posture toward Iran. The European reaction to Pence’s speech showed that his pathetic performance backfired. Pompeo’s Warsaw meeting ended in utter failure.

Iran Nuclear Deal

Managing Iran’s malign behavior through the Iran nuclear deal or the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was a stroke of diplomatic genius, which former Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz negotiated. The Obama administration placed Iran’s objectionable behavior in two baskets—a nuclear basket, which they addressed through the Iran deal, and a non-nuclear one, which the Obama administration was to address once the nuclear inspection became operational and Iran fully compliant. That approach would have worked: most experts judged Iran to be in compliance with the conditions of the nuclear deal. Unfortunately, President Trump decided not to recertify the agreement.

Trump’s decision contradicted the judgment of most nuclear and intelligence experts about Iran’s compliance. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), for example, affirmed Iran’s compliance in more than a dozen of its successive quarterly reports and as recently as earlier this month.

In his open testimony to Congress in January, the Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats stated that Iran continued to comply with the deal even after Trump announced his intention to scuttle it. Coats said, “We do not believe Iran is currently undertaking activities we judge necessary to produce a nuclear device.” Iran was of course cheating in other areas, according to the DNI’s testimony, but not on the nuclear agreement.

In a statement issued April 25 of last year, over two dozen Israeli senior military and intelligence officials judged that it was “in Israel’s best interest that the United States maintains the nuclear agreement with Iran.” The Israeli statement went on to say that “The current deal is better than no deal” and that “Iran’s destructive regional policies and actions, its support for acts of terrorism, its presence in Syria, and its ballistic missiles program should be dealt with outside the framework of the agreement.” This was precisely the position of the Obama administration when it negotiated the deal in the first place.

The Path Forward

Fifty-plus retired American generals and diplomats, in a statement published earlier this month, urged the Trump administration to rejoin the Iran nuclear deal and work on resolving outstanding concerns with Iran diplomatically. They advised against a war because they saw no good outcome. The statement did not seek to exonerate Iran’s destabilizing behavior and its involvement in Yemen, Syria, Iraq, or Lebanon. Nor did the retired senior leaders ignore Iran’s link to terrorism. The statement, however, pointed out, among other things, that the 2015 nuclear deal “put limitations on Iran’s nuclear program that provided assurances that it would not be used to develop weapons, improved American intelligence about potential future development and significantly improved the security of the United States and our allies.”

Additionally, the retired generals and diplomats emphasized that Iran is complying with the agreement and that, under the JCPOA, Iran is barred from engaging in nuclear weapons development program, which prevents it from producing a nuclear device. “Reentering the agreement and lifting the sanctions will greatly enhance United States’ ability to negotiate improvements and enable us to address concerns with the existing agreement.”

Coming from these military and policy realists, who are dedicated to the security of this country, Israel, and America’s allies, this advice is grounded in sane strategic analysis, not in theological whimsy.