New York Earthquake: City of the Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

New York earthquake: City at risk of ‚dangerous shaking from far away‘
Joshua Nevett
Published 30th April 2018
SOME of New York City’s tallest skyscrapers are at risk of being shaken by seismic waves triggered by powerful earthquakes from miles outside the city, a natural disaster expert has warned.
Researchers believe that a powerful earthquake, magnitude 5 or greater, could cause significant damage to large swathes of NYC, a densely populated area dominated by tall buildings.
A series of large fault lines that run underneath NYC’s five boroughs, Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, The Bronx and Staten Island, are capable of triggering large earthquakes.
Some experts have suggested that NYC is susceptible to at least a magnitude 5 earthquake once every 100 years.
The last major earthquake measuring over magnitude 5.0 struck NYC in 1884 – meaning another one of equal size is “overdue” by 34 years, according their prediction model.
Natural disaster researcher Simon Day, of University College London, agrees with the conclusion that NYC may be more at risk from earthquakes than is usually thought.
EARTHQUAKE RISK: New York is susceptible to seismic shaking from far-away tremors
But the idea of NYC being “overdue” for an earthquake is “invalid”, not least because the “very large number of faults” in the city have individually low rates of activity, he said.
The model that predicts strong earthquakes based on timescale and stress build-up on a given fault has been “discredited”, he said.
What scientists should be focusing on, he said, is the threat of large and potentially destructive earthquakes from “much greater distances”.
The dangerous effects of powerful earthquakes from further away should be an “important feature” of any seismic risk assessment of NYC, Dr Day said.

GETTY
THE BIG APPLE: An aerial view of Lower Manhattan at dusk in New York City

USGS
RISK: A seismic hazard map of New York produced by USGS
“New York is susceptible to seismic shaking from earthquakes at much greater distances” Dr Simon Day, natural disaster researcher
This is because the bedrock underneath parts of NYC, including Long Island and Staten Island, cannot effectively absorb the seismic waves produced by earthquakes.
“An important feature of the central and eastern United States is, because the crust there is old and cold, and contains few recent fractures that can absorb seismic waves, the rate of seismic reduction is low.
Central regions of NYC, including Manhattan, are built upon solid granite bedrock; therefore the amplification of seismic waves that can shake buildings is low.
But more peripheral areas, such as Staten Island and Long Island, are formed by weak sediments, meaning seismic hazard in these areas is “very likely to be higher”, Dr Day said.
“Thus, like other cities in the eastern US, New York is susceptible to seismic shaking from earthquakes at much greater distances than is the case for cities on plate boundaries such as Tokyo or San Francisco, where the crustal rocks are more fractured and absorb seismic waves more efficiently over long distances,” Dr Day said.
In the event of a large earthquake, dozens of skyscrapers, including Chrysler Building, the Woolworth Building and 40 Wall Street, could be at risk of shaking.
“The felt shaking in New York from the Virginia earthquake in 2011 is one example,” Dr Day said.
On that occasion, a magnitude 5.8 earthquake centered 340 miles south of New York sent thousands of people running out of swaying office buildings.

USGS
FISSURES: Fault lines in New York City have low rates of activity, Dr Day said
NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the city was “lucky to avoid any major harm” as a result of the quake, whose epicenter was near Louisa, Virginia, about 40 miles from Richmond.
“But an even more impressive one is the felt shaking from the 1811-1812 New Madrid earthquakes in the central Mississippi valley, which was felt in many places across a region, including cities as far apart as Detroit, Washington DC and New Orleans, and in a few places even further afield including,” Dr Day added.
“So, if one was to attempt to do a proper seismic hazard assessment for NYC, one would have to include potential earthquake sources over a wide region, including at least the Appalachian mountains to the southwest and the St Lawrence valley to the north and east.”

The Pakistani Nuclear Horn Celebrates Her Anniversary

Pakistan celebrates 24th anniversary of nuclear tests

Web Desk | APP Updated 28 May, 2022

Pakistan celebrated the 24th anniversary of the nuclear tests, which were conducted in the Chagai district of Balochistan on May 28, 1998, on Saturday.

“Today the nation observes the twenty-fourth anniversary of Pakistan’s nuclear tests conducted in 1998 in response to testing of nuclear weapons by India. The tests not only demonstrated the resolve of the Pakistani nation to safeguard Pakistan’s territorial integrity, independence and sovereignty, but also the desire to preserve strategic balance in South Asia,” read the Foreign Office statement issued on Saturday.

The government has announced the 10-day celebrations in this regard whereas this year, the theme of the day, which is commonly known as Youm-e-Takbeer, would be ‘Na Jhuky Thay Na Jhuken Gay (We never bowed nor will bend our heads down)’.

The information ministry has also released a national song, aimed at highlighting the importance of the day.

Pakistan is committed to the promotion of an environment of peace in South Asia while preserving its capability to ward off aggression or adventurism in any form, it read.

“Pakistan looks forward to further expanding its international collaborations in the peaceful uses of nuclear technology and sharing its expertise with other countries including in nuclear regulatory matters,” the FO said.

Detonation of nuclear devices on May 28, 1998, was a culmination of a journey taken on by the then prime minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto to make the nation’s defence strong against the arch-rival India.

The programme was started though with limited resources but the country managed to conduct six tests and became a nuclear power.

“It was the will and determination of our nation and the leadership that removed all hurdles on way to achieving this milestone. There was also a hidden force behind this achievement and a great hero of the nation Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan who with his unflinching resolve and commitment fought out all threats to the nation and his own life,” wrote the Associated Press of Pakistan in its article.

The nuclear test Smiling Buddha by India in 1974; rang alarm bells across Pakistan as the arch-rival was going to take the much dominating status in the region.

This journey culminated in 1984 when Dr Khan wrote a letter to the then-president Ziaul Haq 1984 that his team had prepared the atom bomb and could conduct the explosion on a week’s

“This desire of Dr Qadeer and his team was fulfilled in 1998 when Pakistan gave a matching response to India’s second time aggressive design by detonating a nuclear device. The decision of testing nuclear device was critical but it was befittingly handled by the then civil and military leadership,” it read.

The Growing Threat of the Russian Nuclear Horn

Russia nuclear threat

West under ‘significant’ threat of Putin pulling nuclear trigger – ‘little warning!’

VLADIMIR PUTIN could pull the trigger on nuclear weapons if Russia feels threatened by NATO forces and the “consequences would be catastrophic”, a military arms expert has warned.

By REBECCA PERRING

Daryl G. Kimball, executive director at the Arms Control Association, said the risk of a direct Russia-NATO military conflict, which could “quickly escalate to the nuclear level” is “significant”. He told Express.co.uk the Russian despot “might consider going nuclear” if the Kremlin “thought an attack from the US or NATO was underway” following his illegal invasion of neighbouring country, Ukraine.

Mr Kimball also outlined the devastating consequences of nuclear war, warning there would be “more than 100 million casualties in the first few hours” and “health, financial, and economic systems would collapse around the globe”.

He said of all-out nuclear war: “The risk remains relatively low but it is much higher than it has been in more than 30 years and the consequences would be catastrophic.

“So long as NATO and Russian forces don’t begin fighting each other, the risk of nuclear escalation may be kept in check.

Russia’s nuclear threat is rising (Image: GETTY )

russia nuclear

Putin launched an illegal invasion on Ukraine in February (Image: GETTY )

“But a close encounter between NATO and Russian warplanes – which would result if NATO imposed a “no fly zone” over Ukraine’s airspace – could become a flashpoint that leads to a direct and wider conflict.

“So long as US or NATO forces and personnel do not become directly engaged in trying to expel Russia from Ukrainian territory, Russia is not going to attack the United States or the US.

“It is clear from Russia’s actions and statements that Putin does not want a wider war with NATO, which is already facing military obstacles and setbacks. Still, the risk of a direct Russia-NATO military conflict, which could quickly escalate to the nuclear level, is significant.”

russia nuclear

Direct Russia-NATO military conflict could quickly escalate to the nuclear (Image: GETTY )

Mr Kimball urged NATO to resist the temptation of introducing new offensive strike weapons or reintroducing “once-banned intermediate-range missiles, which can reach their targets in minutes and with little warning” as to not provoke Putin.

He said: “Russia and NATO member states will need to avoid the temptation to introduce new offensive strike weapons, particularly nuclear weapons.

“For example, the offer from Russia’s client state, Belarus, to host Russian nuclear weapons, if pursued by Putin, would further undermine Russian and European security, and increase the risk of nuclear war.

“It would also be highly destabilising if NATO and/or Russia reintroduce once-banned intermediate-range missiles, which can reach their targets in minutes and with little warning.”

It comes after Putin raised fears he would be willing to use nuclear weapons if provoked by flaunting what is said by some as “the most destructive weapon on Earth”.

The “Satan 2” nuclear missile can travel at hypersonic speeds and reach parts of Europe in seconds.While, Russian state television have repeatedly bragged about “wiping the UK off the map” with a single strike.

Mr Kimball cited analysis by Princeton’s Programme on Science and Global Security on what would happen if Russian or NATO leaders chose to use nuclear weapons first in a conflict in Europe.

He said: “After an initial volley of ‘tactical’ nuclear detonations, it could escalate and involve a massive exchange of thermonuclear weapons involving Russia’s arsenal of some 1,450 strategic warheads and the US arsenal of 1,350 strategic warheads on its missiles and bombers.

Iran Horn seizes 2 Greek tankersr in Persian Gulf as tensions rise

Iran seizes 2 Greek tankers in Persian Gulf

By JON GAMBRELL and NICHOLAS PAPHITIS Associated Press

MAY 27, 2022 — 8:40PM

DURSUN ÇAM VIA ASSOCIATED PRESSThe Greek-flagged oil tanker Prudent by Warrior, background, is seen as it sails past Istanbul, Turkey, April 19, 2019.

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard seized two Greek oil tankers Friday in helicopter-launched raids in the Persian Gulf, officials said. The action appeared to be retaliation for Athens’ assistance in the U.S. seizure of crude oil from an Iranian-flagged tanker this week in the Mediterranean Sea over violating Washington’s crushing sanctions on the Islamic Republic.

The raid marks the first major incident at sea in months as tensions remain high between Iran and the West over its tattered nuclear deal with world powers. As Tehran enriches more uranium, closer to weapons-grade levels than ever before, worries mount that negotiators won’t find a way back to the accord — raising the risk of a wider war.

The Guard issued a statement announcing the seizures, accusing the tankers of unspecified violations. Nour News, a website close to Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, warned a short time earlier that Tehran planned to take “punitive action” over Greece assisting the U.S. in seizing oil days earlier from the Iranian-flagged tanker Lana.

Greece’s Foreign Ministry said it made a strong demarche to the Iranian ambassador in Athens over the “violent taking over of two Greek-flagged ships” in the Persian Gulf. “These acts effectively amount to acts of piracy,” a ministry statement sad@andrewtheprophetcom

The ministry called for the immediate release of the vessels and their crews, warning the seizure would have “particularly negative consequences” in bilateral relations and in Iran’s relations with the European Union, of which Greece is a member. Ok can you

An Iranian helicopter landed on the Greek-flagged Delta Poseidon in international waters, some 22 nauticalI government rrrmiles off the coast of Iran, the ministry said.rip

“Armed men then took the crew captive,” it said, adding that two Greek nationals were among the crew.

“A similar incident has been reported on anotherI from a TVee Greek-flagged vessel, that was carrying seven Greek citizens, close to the coast of Iran,” the ministr

A Greek official, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss details of the attack with a journalist, identified the second ship as the Prudent Warrior. Its manager, Polembros Shipping in Greece, earlier said the company was “cooperating with the authorities and making every possible effort to address the situation effectively.”

Greek officials did not identify the nationalities of the other crew on board the vessels.

Both vessels had come from Iraq’s Basra oil terminal, loaded with crude, according to tracking data from MarineTraffic.com. Prudent Warrior just before had been off Qatar and likely loaded oil there as well, the data showed.

A U.S. defense official, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence matters, said it appeared the two ships had come close to — but not into — Iranian territorial waters Friday. After the hijacking, they drifted into Iranian waters. The ships also had turned off their tracking devices — another red flag, the official said. However, neither had issued a mayday or a call for help, the official said.

Iran’s seizure on Friday was the latest in a string of hijackings and explosions to roil a region that includes the Strait of Hormuz, the narrow mouth of the Persian Gulf through which a fifth of all traded oil passes. The incidents began after then-President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew the U.S. from Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers, which saw Tehran drastically limit its enrichment of uranium in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions.

The U.S. Navy blamed Iran for a series of limpet mine attacks on vessels that damaged tankers in 2019, as well as for a fatal drone attack on an Israeli-linked oil tanker that killed two European crew members in 2021.

Iranian hijackers also stormed and briefly church TTf a Panama-flagged asphalt tanker off the United to mark Arab Emirates La drum last year, and briefly seized and held a Vietnamese tanker in November.

Tehran denies carrying out the attacks, but a wider shadow war between Iran and the West has played out in the region’s volatile waters. Tanker seizures have been a part of it since 2019, when Iran seized the British-flagged Stena Impero after the United Kingdom detained an Iranian oil tanker off Gibraltar. Iran released the tanker months later as London also released the Iranian vessel.

Iran last year also seized and held a South Korean-flagged tanker for months amid a dispute over billions of dollars of frozen assets Seoul holds.

“This incident is assessed to be a retaliatory action in line with a history of Iranian forces detaining vessels in a tit-for-tat manner,” maritime intelligence firm Dryad Global warned. “As a result, Greek-flagged vessels operating within the vicinity of Iran in the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman are currently assessed to be at a heightened risk of interception and it is advised to avoid this area until further notice.”

Underlining that threat, Iran’s semiofficial Tasnim news agency warned in a tweet: “There are still 17 other Greek ships in the Persian Gulf that could be seized.”

Meanwhile, the Guard is building a massive new support ship near the Strait of Hormuz as it tries to expand its naval presence in waters vital to international energy supplies and beyond, according to satellite photos obtained by The Associated Press.

Talks in Vienna over Iran’s tattered nuclear deal have been stalled since April. Since the deal’s collapse, Iran runs advanced centrifuges and has a rapidly growing stockpile of enriched uranium. Nonproliferation experts warn Iran has enriched enough up to 60% purity — a short technical step from weapons-grade levels of 90% — to make one nuclear weapon if it choose.

Iran insists its program is for peaceful purposes, though United Nations experts and Western intelligence agencies say Iran had an organized military nuclear program through 2003.

Building a nuclear bomb would still take Iran more time if it pursued a weapon, analysts say, though they warn Tehran’s advances make the program more dangerous. Israel has threatened in the past it will carry out a preemptive strike to stop Iran — and already is suspected in a series of recent killings targeting Iranian officials.

___

Paphitis reported from Athens, Greece. Associated Press writer Amir Vahdat in Tehran, Iran, contributed to this report.

Russia Threatens the European Nuclear Horns: Daniel

Alexei Zhuravlyov
Rodina party leader Aleksey Zhuravlyov has reiterated nuclear threats on Russian state television. Zhuravlyov is pictured at the Kremlin in Moscow on November 20, 2013.SASHA MORDOVETS/GETTY IMAGES

Russian MP Says Europe Could Be ‘Reduced to Ashes’ in Fresh Nuclear Threat

BY BRENDAN COLE ON 5/27/22 AT 6:49 AM EDT

ARussian politician has made a new nuclear threat on a Kremlin-backed TV program in which he angrily denounced NATO‘s supply of weapons to Kyiv.

Aleksey Zhuravlyov, leader of the nationalist party Rodina (Motherland) that is part of Russia’s managed opposition, has repeatedly raised the specter of his country’s nuclear capabilities during his appearances on the Russia-1 program, 60 Minutes.

On Thursday, the Duma deputy took aim at German Chancellor Olaf Scholz who had told the World Economic Forum in Davos that Vladimir Putin “must not win this war” in Ukraine and that he was “convinced that he will not win it.”

During what was effectively a monologue that lasted several minutes, Zhuravlyov said, “It’s madness. Is this moron really thinking we could lose. Us, a nuclear nation?

“That tomorrow, we’ll say, ‘sorry, we made a mistake, that we will get out of Crimea and everywhere else.’ It can’t happen.

“In the end, you will be reduced to ashes. The Americans will say ‘stuff happens,'” suggesting that Washington would not come to Europe’s aid if Moscow used nuclear weapons.

Taking issue with Scholz’s assessment that the West could not accept the terms Moscow laid out in peace talks, Zhuravlyov said: “If you can’t accept our terms then we’ll force you. Scholz should know that. If you force us to use nuclear weapons we’ll have no other choice.”

Zhuravlyov also voiced concerns that Russia might struggle to pay for the war in Ukraine.

“Our economy is still not mobilized for war,” he said. “Since this is not a war, the envelopes are not open,” he added, referring to Moscow’s official description of the conflict as a “special military operation.”

“Do you think we can keep making Iskanders?” he said describing the short-range ballistic missile system Russian forces have deployed in Ukraine. “Will we have enough? Of course we won’t when NATO’s newest weapons start to arrive.”

A video of Zhuravlyov speaking was shared by journalist and Russian media watcher Julia Davis, who tweeted, “Behind all of these nuclear threats and claims that America wouldn’t help Europe if Russia decides to nuke it, there’s underlying panic about Russia being economically unprepared to keep waging this war. “

In April, Zhuravlyov said on the same 60 minutes program that he wished missiles had hit Kyiv when U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken was visiting.

He also suggested Moscow’s latest missile, the nuclear capable Sarmat, should target the U.K. because of its support for Ukraine’s war effort.

Israelis to March Outside the Temple Walls: Revelation 11

We march as we want’: Jerusalem Day parade to go ahead through Muslim Quarter

Israeli leaders decide march will follow traditional route despite terror group warnings; Gantz: ‘You will not threaten our sovereignty’; PM stresses march doesn’t go to Temple Mt.

By TOI STAFF27 May 2022, 5:15 pmUpdated: Today, 7:09 am  

Jewish nationalists wave Israeli flags during a Flag March next to the Damascus Gate, outside Jerusalem’s Old City, June 15, 2021. (AP/Ariel Schalit)

Israeli leaders vowed Friday that they would not be intimidated by threats of violence from Palestinian terror groups over Sunday’s contentious Jerusalem Day Flag March, which will go ahead as planned through the Old City’s Muslim Quarter as in the past. I

“We will hold whatever kind of march we want to in our capital,” said Defense Minister Benny Gantz in a message of warning to Hamas. “You will not threaten our sovereignty.”

“Last year Hamas decided to fire rockets, and it still regrets that Operation Guardian of the Walls ever happened,” Gantz said referring to the Israeli response that inflicted widespread damage on the terror groups and the Strip.

Gaza terror groups, and the Iran-backed Hezbollah in Lebanon, have all issued fresh warnings over the march.

Sunday marks Jerusalem Day, the anniversary of the unification of the city during the 1967 Six Day War. Israeli nationalists mark the day with an annual march of flag-waving participants, which usually proceeds via Damascus Gate through the Old City’s densely populated Muslim Quarter and to the Western Wall.

Israelis run to shelters as rocket warning sirens go off during a Jerusalem Day march on May 10, 2021, after Palestinian terrorists in the Gaza Strip fire rockets toward Israel. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

The parade’s route is fraught, with opponents seeing its procession through the Muslim Quarter as a provocation, and supporters seeing it as an expression of Israel’s sovereignty over Jerusalem.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett also said Friday that the route would go through the Muslim Quarter as planned. Apparently seeking to defuse calls by terror groups to Palestinians to defend Al-Aqsa Mosque atop the Temple Mount from the nationalist marchers, Bennett noted that the parade does not go to the Temple Mount.

Speaking after a security consultation with top law enforcement officials, including Public Security Minister Omer Barlev and Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai, Bennett noted that the march will end at the Western Wall as usual.

The Temple Mount, the holiest place in Judaism, houses the Dome of the Rock and the adjacent Al-Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest shrine in Islam. It has been a frequent flashpoint for conflict and clashes.

In anticipation of Sunday, the Border Police called up three units — a total of 200 reservists — who underwent 24 hours of refresher training, including crowd dispersal methods, and mental preparedness for the event, a spokesperson said.

Israeli Border Police officers stand guard near the Temple Mount in Jerusalem’s Old City, on May 25, 2022. (Yossi Aloni/Flash90)

Police have already announced that they will be on their highest state of alert and mobilize over 3,000 officers in Jerusalem.

Also, Friday, police said that in a bid to prevent clashes, only senior police officers will have the authority to order the taking down of Palestinian flags during the march if they pose a risk or constitute provocation.

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Officers rushed her funeral procession, almost causing the casket to fall, in part in a bid to take down Palestinian flags, which Israel sees as a challenge to its authority in the capital.

In the lead-up to Sunday, Israel has faced pressure to change the route of the march from the international community, including from the US. Left-wing members of the coalition have also called for a change.

MK Itamar Ben Gvir joins right-wing activists participating in a ‘flag march,’ planned to reach Jerusalem’s Old City, but ultimately stopping beforehand at Tzahal Square, on April 20, 2022. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Police blocked nationalists intending to hold a similar march through the Old City last month but gave the go-ahead for the Jerusalem Day parade to follow its traditional route, reigniting Palestinian anger and setting war drums beating again.

Israel has stressed to Hamas via mediators that the march route is no different from that of previous years, and does not include the Temple Mount.

Nevertheless, the Hamas and Islamic Jihad terror groups have been readying rocket launchers and put their armed wings on high alert ahead of Jerusalem Day, Israeli and Palestinian media sources reported Thursday. At the same time, the Al-Quds Palestinian daily said the Gaza groups are not interested in being drawn into a conflict at this time, as it would disrupt work to rehabilitate Gaza from last year’s fighting with Israel.

Hamas Warns of Violence Outside the Temple Walls: Revelation 11

MOHAMMAD AL-KASSIM

05/26/2022

Annual Jerusalem Day event to see Jewish nationalists parade through Damascus Gate, Muslim Quarter

A controversial “Flag March” planned by Jewish right-wing groups and scheduled for Sunday, threatens to spark violence.

Nationalist groups traditionally hold the march in parts of the Old City for Jerusalem Day, the annual commemoration of the unification of the city after Israel occupied east Jerusalem in 1967.

The traditional route, approved by Israeli authorities for this year’s event, sees marchers enter the Old City through Damascus Gate, heavily used by Palestinians, en route to the Western Wall.

Last year violence erupted when the march got underway; Palestinian factions in Gaza fired a barrage of rockets into Israel triggering an 11-day war.

The short yet deadly conflict between Israel and Hamas saw 260 Palestinians, including 66 children, killed, while one soldier and 14 civilians, including one child, were killed in Israel.

Israeli journalist-turned-political-analyst Eli Nissan told The Media Line the march has gone through Damascus Gate in previous years, and it didn’t create tension until the last couple of years.

“There are ideas to change the route, but I do not believe in the end that the path will change. For years, we have seen the march go through the same path, and there is no threat to Al-Aqsa Mosque,” Nissan says.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has defended his security officials’ decision to let Sunday’s march enter Damascus Gate and pass through the Muslim Quarter.

However, some members of his coalition government have urged him to rethink the route and suggested there might be a last-minute change of heart.

“It is true that the government is weak, but everything related to the march is proceeding forward as it happened in the past and it has no effect on the stability and future of the government,” says Nissan.

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh warned Sunday against letting the march take place, saying that the Palestinian Islamist group would use “all possibilities” to confront it.

A statement on Thursday by Hamas urged Palestinians to converge on Al-Aqsa Mosque on Sunday to “thwart the occupation plan,” adding, “We reiterate that we are proceeding with full force in defending Jerusalem, Al-Aqsa Mosque and national rights.”

The Israel Police, which is on high alert, says it has not approved a route that would see the march entering the flashpoint Al-Aqsa compound/Temple Mount, and that this has never happened in the past either.

Hamas, which governs Gaza, warned Israel that it must reconsider allowing the flag-waving nationalists march through Jerusalem’s Old City or face repercussions consequences from Palestinian factions in the Strip. The Islamist movement also urged international governments to pressure Israel to reroute the march.

Gaza-based political analyst Mohammad Hijazi told The Media Line that tension in Jerusalem and the West Bank has existed for a while, but this escalation in rhetoric “will not lead to the launching of rockets from Gaza.

“I think that Hamas is not in the process of escalation. It is trying to threaten and warn against the entry of settlers and extremists to Al-Aqsa Mosque. Therefore, I think these warnings have a political function rather than [being translated into] steps on the ground,” he said.

Hijazi noted that the impoverished coastal enclave is still reeling from last May’s 11-day war, and said the appetite to go through another war, no matter how short, was nonexistent.

“The apartment blocks and houses are destroyed, and the effects of the war are still visible; the process of reconstruction has almost stopped,” he said.

The Israeli military has deployed Iron Dome air defense units around the country as a precaution against rocket attacks from Gaza.

The annual Flag March celebrates Israel’s capture of the Old City in 1967 Middle East war. Israel deems all of Jerusalem its capital − a status not recognized internationally. The Palestinians want to establish their own capital in the city.

The American Embassy in Jerusalem on Wednesday urged vigilance, adding an advisory that US government employees and their families “cannot enter the Old City at any time on Sunday.”

This heightened tension comes in light of new efforts by Egypt and Qatar to increase the number of Gazans allowed to enter Israel for work, in addition to some economic improvements.

“All this confirms that Hamas and the factions in Gaza are not interested in going to war. There are no political goals or desired gains motivating Hamas or Israel to engage in a military confrontation,” says Hijazi.

Antichrist passes law to criminalise relations with Israel

Supporters of Iraqi Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr shout slogans during a celebration
Supporters of Iraqi cleric Muqtada al-Sadr celebrate after Iraq’s parliament passed a law criminalising normalization of relations with Israel, in Baghdad, Iraq, May 26, 2022 [Thaier Al-Sudani/Reuters]

Iraq passes law to criminalise relations with Israel

Violators of the anti-Israel law could face penalties including life imprisonment or even the death sentence.

Published On 26 May 202226 May 2022

Iraq’s parliament has passed a law that makes it a crime to normalise ties with Israel, and violations of the law can be punishable with a death sentence or life imprisonment.

The law, titled “Criminalising Normalisation and Establishment of Relations with the Zionist Entity”, was approved on Thursday with 275 legislators voting in favour of it in Iraq’s 329-seat assembly.

The parliament said in a statement that the legislation was “a true reflection of the will of the people”.

Iraq’s parliament has been unable to convene on any other issue bar the law prohibiting ties with Israel, including electing a new president and forming its own government, which has prolonged a political standoff in the country.

Iraq has never recognised Israel and Iraqi citizens and companies cannot visit Israel; the two nations have no diplomatic relations.

The new legislation also entails risks for companies working in Iraq and found to be in violation of the law, which applies to all Iraqis, state and independent institutions, as well as foreigners working in the country, according to a text carried by the Iraqi News Agency (INA).

‘Great achievement’

The law was proposed by influential Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr whose party, which opposes close ties with the United States and Israel, won more seats in the Iraqi parliament in elections last October.

The cleric called for Iraqis to take to the streets to celebrate the “great achievement” of the legislation’s passing.

Hundreds later gathered in central Baghdad, chanting anti-Israel slogans. The gathering occurred in Tahrir Square following a tweet by al-Sadr, who urged his followers to offer prayers of thanks and come out on the streets to celebrate.

Legislators from al-Sadr’s party said they proposed the law to curb any claims by Iranian-backed rival parties that al-Sadr was making coalitions with Sunni and Kurds who may have secret ties with Israel.

Earlier this year, Iran fired a dozen ballistic missiles towards the city of Irbil in the Kurdish-run north of Iraq, saying it was targeting an Israeli intelligence base. The home of Baz Karim, the CEO of the oil company KAR GROUP, was heavily damaged in the attack.

KAR has been accused in the past of quietly selling oil to Israel.

The new legislation also comes months after a controversial conference was held in Iraq’s autonomous region of Kurdistan, promoting the normalising of ties with Israel. The conference took place glast September and followed in the footsteps of other Arab countries that signed the US-brokered Abraham Accords on normalising relations.

Some Gulf states, including the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, are forging ties with Israel against a backdrop of shared concerns about the threat that Iran may pose to the region.

Saudi Arabia, a close US ally, has made it a condition of any eventual normalisation with Israel that the Palestinian quest for statehood on territory occupied by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war be addressed.