A Closer Look At The Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

A Look at the Tri-State’s Active Fault Line

Monday, March 14, 2011By Bob HennellyThe Ramapo Fault is the longest fault in the Northeast that occasionally makes local headlines when minor tremors cause rock the Tri-State region. It begins in Pennsylvania, crosses the Delaware River and continues through Hunterdon, Somerset, Morris, Passaic and Bergen counties before crossing the Hudson River near Indian Point nuclear facility.In the past, it has generated occasional activity that generated a 2.6 magnitude quake in New Jersey’s Peakpack/Gladstone area and 3.0 magnitude quake in Mendham.But the New Jersey-New York region is relatively seismically stable according to Dr. Dave Robinson, Professor of Geography at Rutgers. Although it does have activity.“There is occasional seismic activity in New Jersey,” said Robinson. “There have been a few quakes locally that have been felt and done a little bit of damage over the time since colonial settlement — some chimneys knocked down in Manhattan with a quake back in the 18th century, but nothing of a significant magnitude.”Robinson said the Ramapo has on occasion registered a measurable quake but has not caused damage: “The Ramapo fault is associated with geological activities back 200 million years ago, but it’s still a little creaky now and again,” he said.“More recently, in the 1970s and early 1980s, earthquake risk along the Ramapo Fault received attention because of its proximity to Indian Point,” according to the New Jersey Geological Survey website.Historically, critics of the Indian Point Nuclear facility in Westchester County, New York, did cite its proximity to the Ramapo fault line as a significant risk.In 1884, according to the New Jersey Geological Survey website, the  Rampao Fault was blamed for a 5.5 quake that toppled chimneys in New York City and New Jersey that was felt from Maine to Virginia.“Subsequent investigations have shown the 1884 Earthquake epicenter was actually located in Brooklyn, New York, at least 25 miles from the Ramapo Fault,” according to the New Jersey Geological Survey website.

Antichrist and America move closer in Iraq

Firebrand cleric Muqtada al-Sadr and America move closer in Iraq


Two former foes find their interests converging. For how long?

May 1st 2021

IRAQ’S HEALTH ministry did not think to install smoke detectors or a sprinkler system when it renovated the Ibn al-Khatib hospital in Baghdad last year. So when oxygen tanks for covid-19 patients exploded on April 24th, the fire spread fast, killing at least 82 people. The blaze also singed the reputation of Muqtada al-Sadr (pictured), the volatile Shia cleric whose political party, Sairoun, controls the ministry. Rivals accuse him of siphoning funds that should have gone to the hospital.

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Mr Sadr’s evolution from warlord to protest leader to pillar of the establishment has been remarkable. Having once led demonstrations against corruption, he is now the target of them. And his relationship with the public is not the only one transformed. As his power has grown, his interests have changed. Lately that has moved him closer to America, a former foe.

Saddam Hussein was “the little serpent”, but America “is the big serpent”, said Mr Sadr not long after America toppled Iraq’s most homicidal dictator in 2003. During the ensuing years Mr Sadr’s militiamen attacked the American troops who occupied Iraq, killing hundreds of them. But today, as America draws down its forces (only 2,500 remain), Iran poses a bigger challenge to Iraq’s independence. It wields influence through local militias and the politicians it backs. America sees Iran as a threat and, increasingly, so does Mr Sadr.

The cleric’s relationship with Iran is complicated. He has spent years of his life in Qom, Iran’s holiest city, studying and seeking protection from armed rivals in Iraq. Iran has at times seen him as a useful ally. But he has also championed Iraqi nationalism. When protests against corruption and Iranian influence broke out in Iraq in 2019, Mr Sadr’s forces backed them—at least at first. When it seemed as if the protesters sought to sweep him aside as well, his forces helped violently to quash the protests. Some Iraqi officials hold Iran responsible for a drone attack on Mr Sadr’s home in 2019.

Mr Sadr seems to view Iranian influence in Iraq as a threat to his own power. That helps explain why he recently welcomed a statement by the American and Iraqi governments reaffirming the presence of American forces in Iraq. He also denounced rocket attacks by Iranian-backed militias on America’s embassy in Baghdad and on an airfield in the north used by American forces. He has even offered to deploy his own militia, the Peace Companies, to guard Western embassies. Iraq’s ties with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, America’s allies and Iran’s enemies, should be strengthened, he says.

Mr Sadr rejects direct talks with America, but they share many interests. Both backed Daewoo, a South Korean conglomerate, in its bid for a multi-billion-dollar contract to develop the port of Faw in the south-east. It beat a Chinese firm supported by a rival Shia militia leader. Mr Sadr is also mulling an electoral pact with Sunni Arab and Kurdish politicians who are close to America. He already lends his support to Mustafa al-Kadhimi, the prime minister, who is backed by America and who has tried to limit Iranian influence. Mr Kadhimi has faced opposition from Iranian-backed parties. But Sairoun, which is the largest party in parliament, protects him from a vote of no confidence.

“Iraq is in chaos, Iran is filling the vacuum and Sadr’s is the only strong force that can resist,” says an Iraqi official. Some in the West agree. Mr Sadr was spared when America placed sanctions on Iraqi militia leaders with ties to Iran in 2019. Under President Donald Trump, American officials tried to engage the Sadrists through Iraq’s ambassador in Britain, who is Mr Sadr’s brother-in-law. President Joe Biden is still formulating his Iraq policy and may seek to ease tensions with Iran. But some in the administration are encouraging America’s political allies in Iraq to align with Mr Sadr before an election in October. “Ride Sadr while you destroy the Iranian-backed elements, and then in eight years think again,” says a Western analyst.

Others think that would be a mistake. “You can’t trust him,” says one of the protesters whom Mr Sadr turned against. The loudest warnings come from Mr Sadr’s former confidants. Sheikh Assad al-Nassiri, a cleric now in hiding, thinks Mr Sadr’s aim is to capture the state. Ghaith al-Tamimi, a cleric who was defrocked for disobedience to Mr Sadr, says Western backing for him would be “a monumental strategic blunder”. He worries that “it will end democracy in Iraq and surrender the country to a dictator worse than Saddam Hussein.” ■

This article appeared in the Middle East & Africa section of the print edition under the headline “The enemy of my enemy”

Babylon the Great and Iran prepare for war: Revelation 16

US Navy fires warning shots in new tense encounter with Iran
Associated Press


DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — An American warship fired warning shots when vessels of Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard came too close to a patrol in the Persian Gulf, the U.S. Navy said Wednesday. It was the first such shooting in nearly four years.

The Navy released black-and-white footage of the encounter Monday night in international waters of the northern reaches of the Persian Gulf near Kuwait, Iran, Iraq and Saudi Arabia. In it, lights can be seen in the distance and what appears to be a single gunshot can be heard, with a tracer round racing across the top of the water.

Iran did not immediately acknowledge the incident.

The Navy said the Cyclone-class patrol ship USS Firebolt fired the warning shots after three fast-attack Guard vessels came within 68 yards (62 meters) of it and the U.S. Coast Guard patrol boat USCGC Baranoff.

“The U.S. crews issued multiple warnings via bridge-to-bridge radio and loud-hailer devices, but the (Guard) vessels continued their close range maneuvers,” said Cmdr. Rebecca Rebarich, a spokeswoman for the Mideast-based 5th Fleet. “The crew of Firebolt then fired warning shots, and the (Guard) vessels moved away to a safe distance from the U.S. vessels.”

She called on the Guard to “operate with due regard for the safety of all vessels as required by international law.”

“U.S. naval forces continue to remain vigilant and are trained to act in a professional manner, while our commanding officers retain the inherent right to act in self-defense,” she said.

The last time a Navy vessel fired warning shots in the Persian Gulf in an incident involving Iran was in July 2017, when the USS Thunderbolt, a sister ship to the Firebolt, fired to warn off a Guard vessel. Regulations issued last year give Navy commanders the authority to take “lawful defensive measures” against vessels in the Mideast that come within 100 meters (yards) of their warships.

While 100 meters may seem far to someone standing at a distance, it’s incredibly close for large warships that have difficulty in turning quickly, like aircraft carriers. Even smaller vessels can collide with each other at sea, risking the ships.

The incident Monday marked the second time the Navy accused the Guard of operating in an “unsafe and unprofessional” manner this month alone after tense encounters between the forces had dropped in recent years.

Footage released Tuesday by the Navy showed a ship commanded by the Guard cut in front of the USCGC Monomoy, causing the Coast Guard vessel to come to an abrupt stop with its engine smoking on April 2.

The Guard also did the same with another Coast Guard vessel, the USCGC Wrangell, Rebarich said.

The interaction marked the first “unsafe and unprofessional” incident involving the Iranians since April 15, 2020, Rebarich said. However, Iran had largely stopped such incidents in 2018 and nearly in the entirety of 2019, she said.

In 2017, the Navy recorded 14 instances of what it describes as “unsafe and or unprofessional” interactions with Iranian forces. It recorded 35 in 2016, and 23 in 2015.

The incidents at sea almost always involve the Revolutionary Guard, which reports only to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Typically, they involve Iranian speedboats armed with deck-mounted machine guns and rocket launchers test-firing weapons or shadowing American aircraft carriers passing through the Strait of Hormuz, the narrow mouth of the Persian Gulf through which 20% of all oil passes.

Some analysts believe the incidents are meant in part to squeeze President Hassan Rouhani’s administration after the 2015 nuclear deal. They include a 2016 incident in which Iranian forces captured and held overnight 10 U.S. sailors who strayed into the Islamic Republic’s territorial waters.

The incident comes as Iran negotiates with world powers in Vienna over Tehran and Washington returning to the 2015 nuclear deal. It also follows a series of incidents across the Mideast attributed to a shadow war between Iran and Israel, which includes attacks on regional shipping and sabotage at Iran’s Natanz nuclear facility.

Follow Jon Gambrell on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/jongambrellAP.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Babylon the Great May Spend $17.7 Billion To Deploy Just 21 Nuke-Killing Missiles

Pentagon May Spend $17.7 Billion To Deploy Just 21 Nuke-Killing Missiles

Sebastien Roblin

ContributorAerospace & Defense

On Tuesday, multiple outlets reported an estimate by the office of Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation (CAPE) that plans to deploy 21 nuclear-missile-destroying interceptors would cost a stunning $17.7 billion.

Lockheed Martin LMT and Northrop Grumman NOC are developing competing designs for the Next Generation Interceptor program, which seeks to deploy a successor to the Ground Based Interceptors used in the United State’s GMD ballistic missile defense system.

Currently, 44 interceptor are deployed in silos in Alaska and California to protect the United States from a small-scale intercontinental-range ballistic missile attack, presumably from North Korea.

Unfortunately, the GBI missiles have failed nine out of 20 intercept tests (45%) over the last 22 years and are not believed capable of reliably defeating more sophisticated ICBMs which employ decoys, evasive maneuvers and/or release multiple nuclear warheads.

Congress required an independent cost assessment of the NGI program by CAPE in its last defense funding bill. According to CAPE, the bulk of the money ($13.1 billion) spent on NGI would go to research and development, including production of 10 test missiles which would be launched in the mid-2020s.

Then $2.3 billion would be spent procuring and deploying 21 interceptors starting around 2028, increasing the GMD force to 65 missiles. Operating costs to maintain these missiles would then to amount to $2.2 billion over their service lives.

That suggests a staggering total program cost of nearly $843 million per operational anti-nuke missile deployed. However, the unit cost of $109 million might matter if the MDA chooses to order more missiles beyond the initial 21 (possibly to replace the original GBI missiles), improving the payoff from the the steep R&D costs.

Originally, the Pentagon planned to spend $5.3 billion to replace the GBI’s exoatmospheric kill vehicle (EKV)—launched from the interceptor to ram into incoming missiles—with an evolved model called the Redesigned Kill Vehicle, using existing components to cut costs. 

However, researchers warned they had found flaws with those components that would result in a high probability of failure. Critics of the GMD system also have long highlighted that it has not been tested against targets which employ multiple warheads or penetration aids, as found in many contemporary strategic missiles.

The technical risks, coupled with multiplying costs and a consensus that the RKV wasn’t improved enough to perform much better against advanced missiles led to the program’s cancelation in August 2019 after $1.21 billion had already been spent.

The Pentagon’s rebooted program seeks a new design rather than an evolutionary ‘patched together’ solution, with the goal of improving both reliability as well as fielding interceptors designed to cope with more challenging missile threats.

Unlike the RKV program, NGI has a competitive aspect. GBI contractor Boeing BA was eliminated from the running earlier in 2021, leaving Northrop Grumman (teamed with Raytheon) and Lockheed Martin to develop competing proposals for the Critical Design Review program phase, for which $1.6 billion has been allocated through 2022.

One locus of improvement relates to linking the NGI missile more densely and redundantly to various land, sea- and space-based sensors and command-and-control facilities to ensure it receives continuous guidance as it hurtles towards a nukes at up to 23 times the speed of sound.

In fact, leveraging additional sensors may expand the capability of the GMD to defend against hypersonic glide vehicle-type weaponslike Russia’s Avangard, which is released from an ICBM and flies on a flatter, more evasive trajectory than ballistic missiles.

Companies vying for the contract also mention multiple kill vehicle technology. This implies one missile might release several interceptors to smack down the multiple reentry-vehicles (MRVs or MIRVs; the latter type subtype more sophisticated) released by modern ICBMs. 

For, example a DF-41 ICBM deployed by China’s PLA Rocket Force can released ten or twelve MIRVs, each of which can strike a different target with ten times the explosive yield of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima. North Korea’s Hwasong-15 and -16 ICBMs are believed to have capacity for multiple MRVs.

In practice, modern missiles are also likely deploy penetration aids, including decoys, jammers and other countermeasures, to divert fire from genuine nukes. It’s highly likely the NGI will harness new infrared and/or radar sensor technology in a bid to better discriminate between decoys and the warhead-armed MIRVs. 


Is Limited Defense Worth the Price?

Unless the Pentagon eventually buys more NGI missiles, it is essentially paying well over a half-billion dollars for each missile deployed when you count in R&D expenses. In theory, that shocking expense would be more than made back if the improved missile prevented a nuclear attack on any densely populated area of the United States.

Unfortunately, whether the missile defense system does deter attack, or is likely to defeat an attempted attack, is unclear. 

So far, missile defense appears to have motivated China and Russia to invest in more advanced nuclear weapons like Avangard and the DF-41 at lower cost than the U.S. defense systems, creating a feedback loop in which the Pentagon argues it must spend billions fielding improved nuclear missiles to keep up with Russia and China’s upgraded capabilities. Quite simply, offense has long proven cheaper to mass and enhance than defense in nuclear warfare.

There are already the known reliability issues with the GMD system—ie. the 45% percent failure rate intercepting simple ballistic targets. Currently, it is believed the MDA might launch four or more missiles per incoming ICBM to increase certainty of interception, meaning the effective number of ICBMs the system can intercept is a fraction of the total fleet.

The NGI is hoped to address this issue—expert speculate it might reduce the number of interceptors launched to two per ICBM—but its success in doing so on budget is not assured based on the rocky history of the GMD and RKV program.

While providing uncertain defense versus North Korean ICBMs, the missile defense system has spurred an arms race with China and Russia despite its manifest incapacity to defend against Chia’s 200-300 nuclear weapons or Russia’s 1,550 strategic nukes.

Beijing and Moscow apparently fear the U.S. may attempt a preemptive precision strike against Russia or China’s strategic nuclear forces, premised on the belief that missile defense could mop up any surviving nukes lobbed back at the United States.

They also argue a successful November 2020 test of a Navy SM-3 Block IIA missile against a simulated ICBM implies the U.S. effectively can deploy these weapons too against a strategic nuclear attack. The SM-3 offers a shorter-range defensive umbrella than GMD, but potentially hundreds may be deployed on U.S. Navy ballistic missile defense ships.

Still, domestic critics of missile defense argue that the NGI’s programs extraordinary cost illustrates the unfavorable offense-defense balance.

Arms control expert Jeffrey Lewis opined on Twitter: “The US approach to missile defense reminds me of the store that loses money on every sale, but plans to make it up in volume. Maybe the new interceptor will allow fewer shots per target, but it is very hard to see how this is ever a winning strategy for the U.S.”

That said, theoretically, limited missile defense capability may reduce the potential for low-volume attacks from actors large and small by creating a “go for broke or go home” dynamic, ie. either launch enough missiles to swamp the defense system or don’t bother trying.

U.S. missile defense do clearly pose a more significant obstacle to a country with a smaller arsenal like North Korea—though seemingly not an insurmountable one given the numerous increasingly capable missile North Korea has deployed in the last decade despite limited economic means and international sanctions.

Ultimately, proponents of missile defense believe the highly expensive but limited defense it offers still provides meaningful protection to Americans from the horrors of a nuclear attack. Its critics believe it provides no defense that cannot be overcome at lesser cost, and that system’s existence only fuels the development of more advanced nuclear arms.

Israeli army drone falls outside the Temple Walls: Revelation 11

Israeli army drone falls in northern Gaza

JERUSALEM 

The Israeli army said Wednesday that one of its drones fell in northern Gaza during a routine operation in the area.

Avichay Adraee, a spokesman for the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), confirmed the news in a statement on Twitter, adding there are “no concerns of leaked information” from the drone.

Meanwhile, a source from one of the resistance groups in Gaza who spoke to Anadolu Agency on the condition that the group’s name is not mentioned said his group seized the drone but did not give further details.

Gaza has witnessed a military escalation since Friday in which Palestinian resistance groups have fired rockets from Gaza towards Israeli areas while the Israeli army has targeted several locations in Gaza of Hamas’s military wing.

The developments in Gaza took place after clashes erupted in Jerusalem between Palestinians and Israeli forces who tried to prevent them from gathering in the Damascus gate area of Jerusalem’s Old City.

On Monday, the Israeli security cabinet authorized Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Benny Gantz to attack Gaza if rockets continued to be fired.

*Ahmed Asmar contributed to this report from Ankara

Quad Strategy against China’s nuclear Horn: Daniel 7

Quad Strategy against China’s military and economic ascent

April 28, 2021

China’s military and economic rise has had a great impact on the geopolitics of the world, as well as on in East Asia. However, China’s overall rise changed the political and nuclear dynamics of East Asia and South-east Asia, and has also influenced the strategies of the USA and its global strategic partners in the world order.

Mao Zedong’s and Deng Xiaoping’s strategic thought relies more on the goal of economic development, which the USA sees as harmful for the global economic order. China, as one of the largest states, is seen by the USA and its allies as the emerging power, threatening the US hegemony and creating adverse implications in the region. However, China argues it does not want to become a superpower; its national military, foreign and economic strategies are more directed towards its development and modernization goal.

The China’s People’s Liberation Army has achieved its goal in modernizing the Military Industrial Complex and nuclear development to become a national power. China’s modernization in its armed forces and military capabilities has created a far greater threat perception of China than of Russia by the USA and its allies.  China’s rise has an impact on the strategic dynamics and stability of East and South-east Asia, as China is a veto power ans permanent member of the UN Security Council and the founding member in many multilateral treaties and export control regimes.

The USA’s strategy towards neo-authoritarian China is more adversarial as the US-India’s strategic partnership’s main goal is to counter China. China with the world’s largest army modernizes its conventional forces and is now the leading air and naval power. China’s steady rise andits impact has threatened the US hegemony and changed the global hierarchical order.

China’s rise has impacted Taiwan, South Korea, Vietnam and India, through its economic and defense policies. China’s military rise in the South China Sea has impacted the USA, Japan, North Korea, India and South Korea but also Indonesia which does not even share a border with it.

Since Mao’s economic and military development, China’s rise has been seen as an East Asian theatre in global politics; because of its focus on Taiwan, Hong Kong and the South China Sea. China’s nuclear strategy is more significant as any miscalculation between China and the USA can lead them to the nuclear threshold; while China defines its economic and military rise as peaceful since Mao.

US President Trump’s strategy towards China, included every factor countering China in every aspect. That strategy focuses on hastening India’s rise in South East Asia to counter China, as, during the global covid-19 pandemic, China and India had skirmishes in the Aksai-Chin Ladakh region. That US strategy also includes supporting Taiwan.

China’s economic and developmental initiative includes most likely the infrastructure, roads, bridges and technological advancement which somehow create the biggest difference to the USA’s educational and other initiatives. In December 2020, China stated that it would continue the dialogue with NATO. The reason was the 30-member North American and European security block identified China as a rising threat beside Russia.

The Trump Administration’s strategy also stated that India will be predominant in South-east Asia while countering the China, and North Korea will no longer pose any threat to the USA and its allies, while the USA will work with strategic partners to resist and counter China in its economic, military and national rise by undermining China’s sovereignty and territory.

That declassified document clearly shows the US strategy towards China is all about countering and resisting it in its rise while using all the coercive means and allies; the strategy also stated it would support any independent and free movement in South East China to counter China such as, resisting one nation and two system theory in Hong Kong and Taiwan, as well as anti-authoritarian protests.

Biden’s strategy towards China is a continuation of Trump’s strategy, and now it includes the strategic partnership while strengthening security ties with the Quad ally; the Australia-Japan-India-US anti-China nexus. All these strategies are designed to counter China’s economic and military rise as it is undermining the US security and hegemony in the global world order.

The Quad naval alliance sends aircraft, submarines and warships to the Indian Ocean. This shows the Quad’s strategy to counter China’s military rise in the South Asian and Indo-Pacific region. This happened in this global pandemic and China responds only with a statement to condemn the Quad’s Malabar naval exercises.

Quad countries do not have good ties with China individually as well; India and China had border skirmishes in the Galwan valley since after 1975, and Japan and China have a territorial dispute in disputed waters of the East China Sea.

The four democratic countries of the Quad tried their own strategies to counter China’s military and economic rise as they envision China as challenging the status quo, US hegemony in the Indian Ocean and the South China Sea. These Quad countries also see China’s growing interdependencies with Southeast Asian states as exploitation of the economic order.

Hoever, the Quad informal alliance has faced challenges to deter and counter China. The US policy towards China in the Trump era was like a Cold-War style, where the strategy was containment. This containment strategy can be seen in the events happened in Trump’s tenure such as the Covid-19 pandemic, the false propaganda which the Doomsday clock triggers too, and the disagreements over trade. But the problem lies here in the Quads informal alliance; Japan and Australia are one step back in the US’s strategy, as Australia and Japan are the largest and second largest trading partners of China, respectively.

China said that Quad was the ‘Asian NATO’ with Japan, the USA, India and Australia lled by the USA to counter China. The Quad alliance viewed the countering of China meeting their strategic interest in their informal alliance, as the South China Sea and Indian Ocean are significant for India, while the East China Sea and South China Sea are significant to both the USA and Japan, while the Western Pacific is significant to Australia, So, the lack of the mutual interest between the Quad countries; such as between Japan, the USA, India and Australia, led to the failure of their informal alliance to counter China.

The Quad held a discussion in 2018 about the China’s economic initiatives, such as the BRI (Belt Road Initiative), but the Quad was unable to make progress in this discussion. In response, China did not adopt the policy the USSR did in the Cold war. instead Deng Xiaoping stated that China will go for free trade with more countries with a strategy of cooperation and openness. Deng also stated China would enthusiastically cooperate with all countries, regions and enterprises around the world that are also willing.

China’s economic and developmental initiative includes most likely the infrastructure, roads, bridges and technological advancement which somehow create the biggest difference to the USA’s educational and other initiatives. In December 2020, China stated that it would continue the dialogue with NATO. The reason was the 30-member North American and European security block identified China as a rising threat beside Russia.

NATO also added China to its list of the countries that needed internal reform. It stated that China needs to change its policies, such as spending highly on its defence budget, and the interdependences and influence China is creating on other countries through its strategy of infrastructure investment such as the Belt Road Initiative.

Israel Tries to Stop Hamas From Being Elected: Revelation 11

Hamas: Israel Responsible for Delaying Palestinian Elections, ‘Jerusalem Vote Is a Red Line’

The Gaza-based group calls on the Palestinian Authority to hold the vote – the Palestinians’ first in 15 years – in Jerusalem even without Israel’s consent

Jack KhouryApr. 28, 2021 9:59 PM
Palestinian group Hamas said on Wednesday it opposes delaying or canceling legislative elections set for next month, claiming Israel is responsible for the expected announcement by President Mahmoud Abbas to postpone the vote over disputes with Israel as to voting in East Jerusalem.

“The Jerusalem vote is a red line,” Hamas said in a statement carried by Palestinian media, “and no Palestinian should accept an election without Jerusalem, our eternal capital.” The group said the vote – the first since 2006 – should take place in Jerusalem even without Israel’s agreement, claiming the Oslo Accords allow that.

The official argument made in support of deferring the election is Israel’s opposition to voting in East Jerusalem, which Israel annexed in 1967 and over which the Palestinian Authority does not have jurisdiction.

The Israeli government has not officially said whether it would permit polling stations to be established there, but Palestinian political sources say Mahmoud Abbas is interested in the postponement due to concern that his Fatah party would not secure the electoral victory that it is seeking.

According to Hamas, “elections must be held in Jerusalem” as a show of force “against the occupation,” amid heightened tensions in the city over the past weeks, with Palestinian residents and Israeli forces clashing in the Old City.

“We don’t take away responsibility from the occupation for delaying the elections,” Hamas added. Israel “bears responsibility for our people’s deprivation of rights,” it said, also taking a jab at “other international actors” who Hamas claims enable Israel’s policies against the Palestinians.

A Hamas political official told Haaretz the organization understands a decision had already been made. “It was clear that there were no elections and that Mahmoud Abbas has decided,” the official said.

Newly restored calm along Israel-Gaza border is only temporary
Palestinian sources: Fatah’s leaders have already decided to postpone May’s election
Canceling the Palestinian elections is patronizing, unjust – and dangerous
He added Hamas doesn’t plan a response that could risk a major escalation, such as rocket fire toward Israel. Meanwhile, Palestinian media reported a resumption of the Hamas unit launching explosive-laden balloons across the border, as a response both for the election delay and Israel’s decision to close off Gaza’s fishing zone.

Earlier on Wednesday, Palestinian officials have told Haaretz the leadership of Mahmoud Abbas’ rival Fatah party reached an internal decision to defer the parliamentary elections.

All of the Palestinian factions plan to meet later this week to discuss the issue and make an official decision on the elections, currently slated to take place May 22.

In an effort to pressure Israel to succumb to his request, President Abbas met Wednesday with European Union Representative to West Bank and Gaza Strip, Sven Kuhn von Burgsdorff, in Ramallah.