Why military response won’t stop the Prophecy: Revelation 11

Why military response won’t defuse the Israel crisis — or other multiplying threats

Why military response won’t defuse the Israel crisis — or other multiplying threats
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BY JONATHAN GRANOFF, OPINION CONTRIBUTOR
The views expressed by contributors are their own and not the view of The Hill
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The Biden administration wants to reinvigorate alliances and diplomacy to build a more secure world, but there are howling headwinds, including the pandemic, cyberattacks, climate change, and nuclear tensions. Escalating regional conflicts in Israel and Kashmir – both involving nuclear-armed nations motivated by religious and ethnic passions – are the latest reminders that the threat of nuclear war hangs over us, more ominously than ever.

The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists recently advanced its Doomsday Clock to 100 seconds to midnight, closer to the zero hour than ever before, warning, “The international security situation is now more dangerous than it has ever been, even at the heart of the Cold War.”

Credible sources report China plans to double its nuclear arsenal. Russia has a massive tactical nuclear stockpile, and is upgrading its strategic arsenal with ultra-powerful nuclear weapons. U.S. Adm. Charles Richard recently warned that Moscow and Beijing have “begun to aggressively challenge international norms” in ways not seen since the height of the Cold War. “There is a real possibility that a regional crisis with Russia or China could escalate quickly to a conflict involving nuclear weapons,” he said.

Meanwhile, climate change is accelerating. New data shows carbon dioxide at its highest level in 3.6 million years, despite the disruptions of the pandemic. At the April climate summit, U.S. Defense Secretary Austin called climate change an “existential threat” which “is making the world unsafe.”

Unfortunately, that’s no exaggeration. Nuclear weapons and climate change are twin, mutually compounding threats that have spiraled into unprecedented territory and actively threaten humanity’s survival. Each one poses security risks that make the other more of a threat.

Climate change is a byproduct of a mania for economic growth beyond the planet’s limits, which also drives scarcity, social inequity and resource conflict, adding up to a steady, grinding threat to our long-term survival. Nuclear weapons codify adversity as avowed state policy – and pose an acute threat to near-term survival.

Our default approach to security is doubling down on adversity, buying more weapons and projecting more power, building military capacity rather than the resilience and well-being of communities and people.

This year the Biden administration requested a 2021 military budget of $753 billion, an increase of $12.6 billion over last year. That increase is more than the entire 2021 budget for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The cost of the nuclear weapons complex over the next 30 years is projected to be around $2 trillion – about as much as the cost of overhauling infrastructure across the U.S.

Other nations are also profligate in their military spending, especially the other nuclear-armed states (Russia, China, UK, France, Israel, Pakistan, North Korea, and India). The world spent nearly $2 trillion in military outlays last year, but less than $50 billion on the United Nations.

This is the wrong bus to be on.

At this dangerous juncture in history, any coherent approach to defusing spiraling existential threats and promoting security means investing in Human Security.

Human Security focuses on how we live our daily lives. It prioritizes the environment and climate, sustainable development, education, jobs, health, food security, thriving cultures and communities, and the flourishing that comes from upholding freedom of worship and conscience, human rights, and the rule of law. As the COVID-19 pandemic reminds us, these personal needs are also global. Human security defuses threats by working cooperatively toward these goals.

Assembling at a world summit in Rome, Nobel Peace laureates declared that “the promotion of global cooperation is distorted by the possession of nuclear weapons by some… We must ensure the elimination of nuclear weapons before they eliminate us.” They framed three critical interconnected questions that world leaders must answer to achieve security, and urged all of us to press for answers:

As tensions rise in Kashmir, India and Pakistan continue to brandish nuclear weapons at each other while COVID-19 rages, and while a third of the children in both countries suffer malnutrition. For most Indians and Pakistanis, real security depends on personal and family health. For the rest of the world, security depends on lowering tensions between the two governments, for if they escalate enough to trigger a nuclear exchange, it would not only cause unthinkable casualties and suffering among their people, it would throw enough soot into the stratosphere to cripple agriculture worldwide.

Like Kashmir, the crisis in Israel is not amenable to military solutions. Both require a different approach that addresses how people can live their daily lives securely. Military expenditures don’t do that, but the Human Security approach does. Its object is protecting ordinary people and the natural world.

The more the world perfects sophisticated high-tech weaponry, the less secure its people are. State power is not an end in itself, and it is irrational to promote it with weapons that can kill us all. The state is a means to serve human needs, and a construct which now needs reorienting toward that mission.

Today we face many threats which cannot be solved except by international cooperation. To address them, world leaders must work together. The April climate summit was an example of this, but we need a more integral approach cutting across today’s multiple, pressing, intertwined threats. We need a world summit on Human Security.

Jonathan Granoff is president of the Global Security Institute and representative to the United Nations of the Permanent Secretariat of the World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates. He chairs the Task Force on Nuclear Nonproliferation of the International Law Section of the American Bar Association, and he is a fellow of the World Academy of Arts and Science. He has testified as an expert before the U.S. Congress, United Nations, Canadian Parliament and U.K. Parliament. He was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014.

Preparing for the Australian Nuclear Horn: Daniel 7

China’s threat of missile strikes backfires–sparks calls in Australia for nuclear weapons
By Atul Aneja

New Delhi, May 13: Chinas state medias threat to subject Australia to a missile strike, should it support Taiwan, has had an unexpected fallout—it has triggered demands in Canberra for nuclear weapons.

Writing in the state-run tabloid Global Times— Hu Xijin —the editor-in-chief of the bullhorn of the Communist Party of China (CPC), threatened Australia by saying that China should consider attacking the continent with missiles, fired both independently and by its H6K strategic bomber.

“Given that Australian hawks keep hyping or hinting that Australia will assist the US military and participate in war once a military conflict breaks out in the Taiwan Straits, and the Australian media outlets have been actively promoting the sentiment, I suggest China make a plan to impose retaliatory punishment against Australia once it militarily interferes in the cross-Straits situation,” writes Hu.

The bellicose insider of the CPC then details a plan of attack. “The plan [to attack Australia] should include long-range strikes on the military facilities and relevant key facilities on Australian soil if it really sends its troops to China’s offshore areas and combats against the PLA,” Hu writes. “If they [Australian hawks] are bold enough to coordinate with the US to militarily interfere in the Taiwan question and send troops to the Taiwan Straits to wage war with the PLA, they must know what disasters they would cause to their country.”

Undeterred by the Chinese threat former Yale and Harvard academic, Anders Corr, in his riposte written in Epoch Times, says that given Hu’s threat “the United States and allies should immediately support Australia in obtaining an independent submarine-based nuclear deterrent, so that Australia can join countries such as the United States, France, Britain, and India as powerful global defenders of freedom and democracy. The independent strength of individual members of an alliance improves the overall strength of the alliance”.

Corr is not the first one to call for an independent Australian nuclear deterrent, given the likely face-off with China in the Indo-Pacific region. “Far from being in a strategic backwater, Australia is very much now a state in the front line,” said Malcolm Davis, a military planner as quoted earlier by Bangkok Post.

Hugh White — a professor of strategic studies at the Australian National University is another heavyweight advocating Australian nukes.

In his book, “How to Defend Australia”, he argues that developing nuclear weapons has become inevitable.

“The strategic costs of forgoing nuclear weapons in the new Asia could be much greater than they have been until now,” he says citing “big strategic shifts in Asia”.

Corr, points to the urgency of acquiring Australian nukes.

“Australia has a limited window of opportunity in which to go nuclear, after which China’s rising power and regional hegemony will make an independent nuclear Australia impossible. At that point, which could be as soon as 5 or 10 years, the window will close and China could more effectively use nuclear brinkmanship, control of Asian seas, check book diplomacy, and its economic trading power, to break Australia from its allies, and bring it under Beijing’s dominance,” he observes.

NATO should welcome Australia into its alliance as a full member, before China has a chance to create a territorial dispute down under, and thereby make Australian accession more difficult. If Washington came under the influence of Beijing, the bilateral U.S.-Australia alliance would be useless to Australia’s defence, he says.

Corr makes two additional points. First, NATO must change its strategic outlook by no longer narrowly focusing on the Atlantic. Instead, it should broaden its vision to include Asia. Second non-democracies such as Saudi Arabia and Vietnam should be included in the Indo-Pacific phalanx.

“NATO should no longer be a purely Atlantic affair, given globalization and the rise of China. What matters today in choosing our closest allies is not geography, but shared values in support of democracy, as well as the inclusion of a broader diversity of allies, including countries like Saudi Arabia and Vietnam, that will strengthen the alliance in resisting Beijing’s growing preponderance of power.”

Israeli Airstrike Flattens Buildings Outside the Temple Walls: Revelation 11

Israeli Airstrike Flattens Building Housing AP And Other Media In

Gaza City
Dustin Jones

A ball of fire erupts from a building housing various international media, including The Associated Press, after an Israeli airstrike on Saturday in Gaza City. AP staffers and other tenants safely evacuated the building after the Israeli military telephoned a warning that the strike was imminent.
Mahmud Hams/AP
In the latest in a series of attacks, an Israeli airstrike Saturday leveled a high-rise building after the military ordered occupants to evacuate. Inside were the offices of several media outlets — including The Associated Press and Al-Jazeera— and residential apartments.

An AP statement said all employees and freelancers safely evacuated the building. AP President and CEO Gary Pruitt said the company is looking to the Israeli government for answers.

“We are shocked and horrified that the Israeli military would target and destroy the building housing AP’s bureau and other news organizations in Gaza,” he said. “They have long known the location of our bureau and knew journalists were there.

“We narrowly avoided a terrible loss of life. A dozen AP journalists and freelancers were inside the building and thankfully we were able to evacuate them in time.”

White House press secretary Jen Psaki announced via Twitter that Washington has expressed concerns for journalists’ safety to Israeli officials.

There was no immediate explanation for the attack that brought down the 12-story building.

The strike came only hours after another air assault killed at least 10 Palestinians, mostly children, in a densely populated refugee camp. The attack on the camp was the deadliest offensive in the recent conflict between Israeli and Arab forces, AP reported.

The most recent escalation of conflict began a week ago, with combat and rioting erupting throughout Israel. Israeli forces shot and killed 11 people Friday during Palestinian protests in the West Bank.

This week, Hamas has fired hundreds of rockets into Israel, which has hit Gaza with aerial and artillery fire. At least 139 people have been killed in Gaza and eight people have been killed in Israel, the AP reports.

Nuclear material for sale in Pakistan: Revelation 8

Nuclear material for sale!
May 12, 2021
Amid the raging pandemic in the southern Indian state of Maharashtra, the anti-terrorism squad arrested on May 6, two persons (Jagar Jayesh Pandya and Abu Tahir Afzal Hussain Choudhry) for attempting to sell seven kilograms of highly radioactive uranium for a price of about Rs 210 million. The “gentlemen” had advertised the proposed sale online.

As such, the authorities initially dismissed the advertisement as just another hoax. They routinely detained the “sellers-to-be” and forwarded a sample of their goods to the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre. They were shocked when the Centre reported that “the material was natural uranium”. As such the squad was compelled to book the duo under India’s Atomic Energy Act, 1962, at Nagpur police station.

The event, though shocking, is not one of its kind. Earlier, in 2016 also, two persons were arrested by the Thane (Maharashtra) police while they were trying to sell eight to nine kilograms of depleted uranium for Rs 240 million. It is surmised that sale of uranium by scrap dealers in India is common. But, such events rarely come in limelight.

According to Anil Kakodar, former chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, `Factories using uranium as a counterweight in their machines are mandated to contact the Atomic Energy agencies and return uranium to them. They however resort to short cuts and sell the entire machine with uranium in scrap’.

The Indian media scarcely reports such incidents. However, the Indian government sometimes reports such incidents to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to meet disclosure requirements. According to international media reports on 25 February 2004, India reported 25 cases of “missing” or “stolen” radioactive material from its labs to the IAEA. Fifty-two percent of the cases were attributed to “theft” and 48 percent to the “missing mystery”. India claimed to have recovered lost material in 12 of 25 cases. It however admitted that 13 remaining cases remained mysterious.

India reports such incidents to the IAEA to portray itself as a “responsible state”. It is hard to believe that radioactive material could be stolen from nuclear labs without operators’ connivance.

Nine computers, belonging to India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation establishment at Metcalfe House, New Delhi, were stolen. India communicated 25 cases of ‘stolen or missing’ uranium to the IAEA. In different incidents, uranium in varying forms and quantities continue to be recovered from scrap dealers and others by Indian authorities. The recoveries include 57 pounds of uranium in rod form, eight kilograms in granular form, two hundred grams in semi-processed form, besides 25 kilograms in radioactive form, stolen from the Bibi Cancer Hospital.

The ‘thieves’ also stole three cobalt switches, worth Rs. 1.5 million, from the Tata Steel Company laboratory at Jamshedpur (Jharkhand). A shipment of beryllium (worth $24 million), was caught in Vilnius, on its way to North Korea. Taiwanese authorities had intercepted a ship carrying dual-use aluminum oxide from India to North Korea. New Jersey-based Indian engineer Sitaram Ravi Mahidevan was indicted for having bypassed US export procedures to send blueprints of solenoid-operated valves to North Korea.

The Taiwanese authorities had intercepted a ship, carrying dual-use aluminum oxide from India to North Korea. It is an essential ingredient of rocket casings and is, as such, prohibited for export to “rogue” countries.

Despite recurrent incidents of theft of uranium or other sensitive material from Indian nuclear labs, the IAEA never initiated a thorough probe into the lax security environment in government and private nuclear labs in india. However, the international media has a penchant for creating furore over uncorroborated nuclear lapses in Pakistan. A US magazine had reported that some uranium hexafluoride cylinders were missing from the Kahuta Research Laboratories. Pakistan’ then information minister and foreign-office spokesman had both refuted the allegation..

Similarly, Professor Shaun Gregory in his report The Security of Nuclear Weapons contends that those guarding about 120 nuclear-weapon sites, mostly in northern and western parts of Pakistan, have fragmented loyalties. As such, they are an easy prey to religious extremists.

The ‘research work’ by well-known scholars reflects visceral hatred against Pakistan. The findings in fresh ‘magnum opuses’ are a re-hash or amalgam of the presumptions and pretensions in earlier-published ‘studies’. It is time that the West deflected its attention to India where movements of nuclear materials, under the 123 expansion plan, are taking place between nuclear-power plants sprawling across different states.

Frederick W. Kagan and Michael O’Hanlon, also draw a gloomy portrait of the situation in Pakistan. In their article in The New York Times in November 2007, and predicted that extremists would take over, if rule of law collapses in Pakistan. Those sympathetic with the Taliban and al-Qaeda may convert Pakistan into a state sponsor of terrorism. They pointed to Osama bin Laden’s meeting with Sultan Bashiruddin Mahmood and Chaudhry Abdul Majeed, former engineers of Pakistan’s Atomic Energy Commission (having no bomb-making acumen).

They claimed that US military experts and intelligence officials had explored strategies for securing Pakistan’s nuclear assets. One option was to isolate the country’s nuclear bunkers. Doing so would require saturating the area, surrounding the bunkers, with tens of thousands of high-powered mines, dropped from air, packed with anti-tank and anti-personnel munitions. The panacea, suggested by them, was that Pakistan’s nuclear material should be seized and stashed in some “safe” place like New Mexico.

The pilloried Pakistani engineers had no knowledge of weaponisation. The critics mysteriously failed to mention that Pakistan is a party to the UN Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Materials. The steps taken by Pakistan to protect its nuclear materials and installations conform to international standards. The National Command Authority, created on 2 February 2000, has made failsafe arrangements to control development and deployment of strategic nuclear forces.

Pakistan’s nuclear regulatory authority had taken necessary steps for safety, security, and accountability of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons, facilities, and materials even before the 9/11 incident. These controls include a functional equivalent of the two-man rule and permissive action links (PALs). The indigenously-developed PALs are bulwarks against inadvertent loss of control, or accidental use of weapons. So far, there has been no security lapse in any of Pakistan’s nuclear establishments.

Abdul Mannan, in his paper titled “Preventing Nuclear Terrorism in Pakistan: Sabotage of a Spent Fuel Cask or a Commercial Irradiation Source in Transport”, has analysed various ways in which acts of nuclear terrorism could occur in Pakistan (quoted in Pakistan’s Nuclear Future: Worries beyond War). He has fairly reviewed Pakistan’s vulnerability to nuclear terrorism through hypothetical case studies. He concludes that the threat of nuclear terrorism in Pakistan is a figment of imagination, rather than a real possibility.

There are millions of radioactive sources used worldwide in various applications. Only a few thousand sources, including Co-60, Cs-137, Ir-192, Sr-90, Am-241, Cf-252, Pu-238, and RA-226, are considered a security risk. The Pakistan Nuclear Regulatory Authority (PNRA) has enforced a mechanism of strict measures for administrative and engineering control over radioactive sources from cradle to grave. It conducts periodic inspections and physical verifications to ensure security of the sources. The Authority has initiated a Five-Year National Nuclear-Safety-and-Security-Action Plan to establish a more robust nuclear-security regime. It has established a training centre and an emergency-coordination centre, besides deploying radiation-detection-equipment at each point of nuclear-material entry in Pakistan, supplemented by vehicle/pedestrian portal monitoring equipment where needed.

Fixed detectors have been installed at airports, besides carrying out random inspection of personnel’s luggage. All nuclear materials are under strict regulatory control right from import until their disposal.

Concluding remarks

Nuclear controls in India and the USA are not more stringent than Pakistan’s. It is not understood why the media does not deflect their attention to the fragile nuclear-security environment in India. It is unfortunate that the purblind critics fail to see the gnawing voids in India’s nuclear security.

The ‘research work’ by well-known scholars reflects visceral hatred against Pakistan. The findings in fresh ‘magnum opuses’ are a re-hash or amalgam of the presumptions and pretensions in earlier-published ‘studies’. It is time that the West deflected its attention to India where movements of nuclear materials, under the 123 expansion plan, are taking place between nuclear-power plants sprawling across different states.

Above all, will the international media and the IAEA look into open market uranium sales in India?

Biden’s Decisions This Year Will Determine US Nuclear Weapons Policy for the END: Revelation 16

Biden’s Decisions This Year Will Determine US Nuclear Weapons Policy for Decades

Nuclear weapons policies and the trillions of U.S. dollars proposed to fund them come into sharp focus this month and through next year as Congress and the Biden Administration engage the nuclear weapons threat.

A threat viewed as existential by bombmakers, presidents, and arms control activists since the first nuclear weapons were detonated over Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945, nuclear weapons deployed today have a capacity to destroy all life on Earth.

Salvaging U.S. nuclear policy from the wreckage left by the Trump Administration, President Biden quickly renewed for five years the New START Treaty which limits the number of deployed nuclear warheads at 1,550 each for the U.S. and Russia

President Biden has also entered negotiations with Iran to rejoin the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA or the Iran nuclear deal) which Trump abrogated in 2017. The JCPOA had been negotiated by the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council — China, Russia, France, Great Britain, the U.S. plus Germany –all of whom remain committed to it.

All this is a good beginning on the nuclear front for the new Administration, but historic leadership will be required of Biden and members of Congress in the coming months, as Appropriations Committees consider spending up to $1.5 trillion on “modernizing” the U.S. nuclear arsenal. The Fiscal 2022 budget scheduled for presentation May 24 will include provision for a newly designed Intercontinental Ballistic Missile, the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent, GBSD—which could wind up costing more than $140 billion, and $250 billion over three decades.] The GBSD, would replace the Minuteman III ICBM’s currently deployed in silos in Colorado, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota and Wyoming

Democratic Senator Ed Markey (Massachusetts) and Representative Ro Khanna (17th District, California) have filed bills in Congress to transfer funds from the new ICBMs toward research for universal vaccines against the Novelcorona virus. The Investing in Cures Before Missiles (ICMB) Act, according to Markey, “makes clear that we can begin to phase out the Cold War nuclear posture that risks accidental nuclear war while still deterring adversaries and assuring allies, and redirect those savings to the clear and present dangers posed by coronaviruses and other emerging and infectious diseases. The devastation sown by COVID-19 would pale in comparison to that of even a limited nuclear war. The ICBM Act signals that we intend to make the world safe from nuclear weapons and prioritize spending that saves lives, rather than ends them.”

Proponents of GBSD including its general contractor Northrop Grumman and major sub-contractors have spent at least one hundred nineteen million dollars of lobbying Congress in 2019-2021; the military industrial complex on parade.

Other initiatives would remove from “hair trigger alert” status controlling the four hundred Minuteman III missiles currently deployed in western States. “Hair trigger alert” and “launch on warning” are relics of the Cold War which give decision makers at most ten minutes to evaluate the validity of the warning of a nuclear attack, and to launch hundreds of the U.S. ICBMs before the enemy’s missile reach their targets.

Dozens of false warnings have scrambled B-52 jets loaded with megatons of nuclear bombs, raised Minuteman missiles to highest alert, roused sleeping presidents out of bed, or caused low ranking military personnel to disobey command and control orders to defuse a frantic but false alarm.

Such false warnings consist of flocks of flying swans, a bear climbing a missile pad security fence, the rising moon, the sun’s reflection on an unusual cloud formation, a defective computer chip costing twenty-five cents, and practice tapes of a nuclear attack unwittingly communicated in Hawaii as “This is Not a Drill”.

China has removed “launch on warning” status from its three hundred nuclear armed missiles. China’s Director of Arms Control, Fu Cong, in 2019 called for all nuclear armed nations to remove their nuclear armed missiles from hair trigger alert, which China considers too risky. The consequences of an accidental launch of nuclear weapons would be catastrophic. Standing down thousands of nuclear weapons from “launch on warning” makes all the sense in the world and could bolster the U.S.’ bona fides in nuclear weapons reduction negotiations going forward.

George Schultz, former Secretary of State, and editor of “The War That Should Never Be Fought”, advised that our adversaries are not always wrong, the U.S. is not always right, and verifiable nuclear weapons treaties are the only alternative to escalating nuclear weapons competition and eventual calamity. Nuclear weapons negotiation can bridge intractable geo-political conflicts, build mutual trust, and save taxpayers trillions of dollars.

American administrations rejected Soviet President Gorbachev’s offer to eliminate all nuclear weapons. President George Bush abrogated the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty in 2001, spawning a new nuclear arms race, and Trump withdrew from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty and the Open Skies Treaty, returning Europe to a no man’s land vulnerable to tactical nuclear weapons.

No First Use (NFU) of nuclear weapons, could provide a logical first step away from the fifty- year policy of “deterrents” and mutually assured destruction, universally referred to by the most appropriate of acronyms — MAD. MAD is designed to discourage adversaries from attacking by assuring that the aggressor, principally the Soviet Union/Russia, or vice versa the U.S. would suffer devastating retaliation. In his inimitable style Robert McNamara calculated the level of assured strategic destruction to be thirty percent of Russia’s population, and seventy percent of Russia’s economic capacity, ie. one hundred million Russian dead etc. QED, Quite Easily Done.

No First Use of nuclear weapons eliminates the need or rationale for a significant part of the U.S. nuclear arsenal. Much of the huge cost associated with the U.S. nuclear weapons arsenal pertains to the survivability and retaliatory response to a nuclear attack. Yes, NFU means the U.S. is taking a pre-emptive nuclear first strike “off the table”

No First Use is also the subject of legislation filed in this year’s Congress (117th) by Senator Elizabeth Warren MA and Representative Adam Smith, WA. Smith chairs the influential House Armed Services Committee and describes the NFU bill as, “The United States should never initiate a nuclear war. This bill would strengthen deterrence while reducing the chance of nuclear use due to miscalculation or misunderstanding. Codifying that deterring nuclear use is the sole purpose of our nuclear arsenal strengthens U.S. national security and would renew U.S. leadership on nuclear nonproliferation and disbarment.”

Following Trump’s perverse logic: “Why have nuclear weapons if you cannot use them?”, the Sea Launched Cruise Missile-Nuclear, and low yield submarine launched cruise missiles- nuclear were created. The SLCM-N is considered redundant, provocative, and costs more than ten billion dollars. Senator Chris Van Hollen, Md, and Representative Joe Courtney, CT, have recently filed bills to defund the SLCM-N. “Installing so-called ‘tactical’ nuclear warheads on Virginia-class attack subs is a money drain that will hinder construction of three Virginia-class attack submarines per-year—which both the Obama and Trump shipbuilding plans endorsed,” said Courtney.

Literally and figuratively at the core of the plan to “modernize” the U.S. nuclear arsenal are projects to manufacture new plutonium pits for the next generation of nuclear weapons. Tens of billions of dollars would initially fund construction of plutonium bomb plants at Savannah River Site, S.C., and Los Alamos, N.M. These funds flow through the Department of Energy’s semi-autonomous National Nuclear Security Administration. NNSA FY 2021 budget request of nearly twenty billion dollars is more than one-half the entire Department of Energy budget request. Whether new nuclear bombs take precedence over new clean energy technologies should be questioned in Congressional committee hearings in the coming weeks.

Regarding plutonium pit production, the DOE estimates the legacy clean- up cost of plutonium manufacture since the Manhattan Project during WWII at one trillion dollars. Some sites like Hanford WA and Rocky Flats CO are deemed polluted beyond remediation and are ruined forever.

Were Congress and the Biden Administration to pause, review or even defund any or all of the nuclear weapon programs they would also pause the nascent nuclear arms race stalking future generations. President Biden could and should send a clear signal to his deputies who will soon write the Nuclear Posture Review issued every five years. Quoting Ronald Reagan, “A nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought” should be the mantra of the Biden Nuclear Posture Review.

By introducing the American public to taboo issues such as “No First Use” of nuclear weapons, taking ICMB’s off “hair trigger alert”, debating the “sole authority” of the President to order a nuclear attack, and working for the eventual verifiable elimination of nuclear weapons, the Biden Administration would enhance its standing in the world’s arms control community–standing squandered by Trump. Biden could save hundreds of billions of dollars by transferring funds from nuclear armed missiles to research to prevent the next pandemic, or cybersecurity. And maybe, if our luck still holds, he could avoid destroying human civilization and much of life on Earth.

Another arena for Biden administration action is the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) — the cornerstone of nuclear arms control. Signed in 1968, it is reviewed every five years, this year in Vienna in August. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and U.S. arms control negotiators will bring enhanced credibility to the table if they eschew Trump’s jingoistic nuclear weapons policies.

Article VI of the NPT commits all signatories to reduce and eventually eliminate nuclear weapons from their arsenals. The massive nuclear arms build-up the U.S. is considering defies the spirit and letter of NPT’s Article VI.

Since the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, eminent scientists like Albert Einstein and Robert Oppenheimer, philosophers like Bertrand Russell, religious leaders like the Dalai Lama and many Catholic Popes, Quakers and Imams—in fact, the great majority of the world’s nations and peoples–have demanded that international treaties curtail and eliminate nuclear weapons from the Earth.

Their efforts have led to decreasing nuclear weapons from 70,000 to the current 16,000, ninety percent of which are held in Russian and U.S. arsenals Forty percent of the world’s population now live in the five Nuclear Weapons Free Zones established under Article VII of the NPT. And nuclear weapons are now illegal in the fifty- four countries that have ratified the U.N. Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, TPNW, entered into force February 2021.

Still ominous warnings about the renewed nuclear arms race are rising. “The likelihood of a nuclear catastrophe is greater today than during the Cold War, and the public is completely unaware of the danger,” says former Secretary of Defense William Perry. The Biden Administration has quickly reached an inflexion point for U.S. nuclear weapons policy: either double down on new weapons for decades into the future or seek verifiable consequential nuclear weapons treaties.

According to Rutgers Professor Alan Robock, even a fraction of the nuclear weapons currently deployed–one hundred–could create a nuclear winter dispersing high in the atmosphere enough soot to block sunlight and make agriculture impossible, leading to famine for billions of people.

Corresponding with Albert Einstein in 1932, Sigmund Freud remarked that humans have a propensity for violence, and an instinct to kill and destroy. Only multi-lateral laws could abate man’s “death wish,” the two agreed. Such laws do exist in the form of nuclear treaties, like New START, the NPT and TPNW.

Ridding the world of these horrific weapons is not fantasy but is an imperative for world leaders. Biden stated as Vice-President, “The spread of nuclear weapons is the greatest threat facing the country and, I would argue, facing humanity. And that is why we are working both to stop their proliferation and eventually to eliminate them”.

The next few weeks and months will determine the course of nuclear weapons policy for the U.S. and the world. There are only two choices: expand the U.S. nuclear arsenal or reduce it, agree on verifiable nuclear weapons treaties with Russia and China or threaten catastrophic war, spend trillions of dollars on demonic weapons or on medicine, schools and art… life or death.

East Coast Still Unprepared For The Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

East Coast Earthquake Preparedness
By By BEN NUCKOLS
Posted: 08/25/2011 8:43 am EDT
WASHINGTON — There were cracks in the Washington Monument and broken capstones at the National Cathedral. In the District of Columbia suburbs, some people stayed in shelters because of structural concerns at their apartment buildings.
A day after the East Coast’s strongest earthquake in 67 years, inspectors assessed the damage and found that most problems were minor. But the shaking raised questions about whether this part of the country, with its older architecture and inexperience with seismic activity, is prepared for a truly powerful quake.
The 5.8 magnitude quake felt from Georgia north to Canada prompted swift inspections of many structures Wednesday, including bridges and nuclear plants. An accurate damage estimate could take weeks, if not longer. And many people will not be covered by insurance.
In a small Virginia city near the epicenter, the entire downtown business district was closed. School was canceled for two weeks to give engineers time to check out cracks in several buildings.
At the 555-foot Washington Monument, inspectors found several cracks in the pyramidion – the section at the top of the obelisk where it begins narrowing to a point.
A 4-foot crack was discovered Tuesday during a visual inspection by helicopter. It cannot be seen from the ground. Late Wednesday, the National Park Service announced that structural engineers had found several additional cracks inside the top of the monument.
Carol Johnson, a park service spokeswoman, could not say how many cracks were found but said three or four of them were “significant.” Two structural engineering firms that specialize in assessing earthquake damage were being brought in to conduct a more thorough inspection on Thursday.
The monument, by far the tallest structure in the nation’s capital, was to remain closed indefinitely, and Johnson said the additional cracks mean repairs are likely to take longer. It has never been damaged by a natural disaster, including earthquakes in Virginia in 1897 and New York in 1944.
Tourists arrived at the monument Wednesday morning only to find out they couldn’t get near it. A temporary fence was erected in a wide circle about 120 feet from the flags that surround its base. Walkways were blocked by metal barriers manned by security guards.
“Is it really closed?” a man asked the clerk at the site’s bookstore.
“It’s really closed,” said the clerk, Erin Nolan. Advance tickets were available for purchase, but she cautioned against buying them because it’s not clear when the monument will open.
“This is pretty much all I’m going to be doing today,” Nolan said.
Tuesday’s quake was centered about 40 miles northwest of Richmond, 90 miles south of Washington and 3.7 miles underground. In the nearby town of Mineral, Va., Michael Leman knew his Main Street Plumbing & Electrical Supply business would need – at best – serious and expensive repairs.
At worst, it could be condemned. The facade had become detached from the rest of the building, and daylight was visible through a 4- to 6-inch gap that opened between the front wall and ceiling.
“We’re definitely going to open back up,” Leman said. “I’ve got people’s jobs to look out for.”
Leman said he is insured, but some property owners might not be so lucky.
The Insurance Information Institute said earthquakes are not covered under standard U.S. homeowners or business insurance policies, although supplemental coverage is usually available.
The institute says coverage for other damage that may result from earthquakes, such as fire and water damage from burst gas or water pipes, is provided by standard homeowners and business insurance policies in most states. Cars and other vehicles with comprehensive insurance would also be protected.
The U.S. Geological Survey classified the quake as Alert Level Orange, the second-most serious category on its four-level scale. Earthquakes in that range lead to estimated losses between $100 million and $1 billion.
In Culpeper, Va., about 35 miles from the epicenter, walls had buckled at the old sanctuary at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, which was constructed in 1821 and drew worshippers including Confederate Gens. Robert E. Lee and J.E.B. Stuart. Heavy stone ornaments atop a pillar at the gate were shaken to the ground. A chimney from the old Culpeper Baptist Church built in 1894 also tumbled down.
At the Washington National Cathedral, spokesman Richard Weinberg said the building’s overall structure remains sound and damage was limited to “decorative elements.”
Massive stones atop three of the four spires on the building’s central tower broke off, crashing onto the roof. At least one of the spires is teetering badly, and cracks have appeared in some flying buttresses.
Repairs were expected to cost millions of dollars – an expense not covered by insurance.
“Every single portion of the exterior is carved by hand, so everything broken off is a piece of art,” Weinberg said. “It’s not just the labor, but the artistry of replicating what was once there.”
The building will remain closed as a precaution. Services to dedicate the memorial honoring Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. were moved.
Other major cities along the East Coast that felt the shaking tried to gauge the risk from another quake.
A few hours after briefly evacuating New York City Hall, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the city’s newer buildings could withstand a more serious earthquake. But, he added, questions remain about the older buildings that are common in a metropolis founded hundreds of years ago.
“We think that the design standards of today are sufficient against any eventuality,” he said. But “there are questions always about some very old buildings. … Fortunately those tend to be low buildings, so there’s not great danger.”
An earthquake similar to the one in Virginia could do billions of dollars of damage if it were centered in New York, said Barbara Nadel, an architect who specializes in securing buildings against natural disasters and terrorism.
The city’s 49-page seismic code requires builders to prepare for significant shifting of the earth. High-rises must be built with certain kinds of bracing, and they must be able to safely sway at least somewhat to accommodate for wind and even shaking from the ground, Nadel said.
Buildings constructed in Boston in recent decades had to follow stringent codes comparable to anything in California, said Vernon Woodworth, an architect and faculty member at the Boston Architectural College. New construction on older structures also must meet tough standards to withstand severe tremors, he said.
It’s a different story with the city’s older buildings. The 18th- and 19th-century structures in Boston’s Back Bay, for instance, were often built on fill, which can liquefy in a strong quake, Woodworth said. Still, there just aren’t many strong quakes in New England.
The last time the Boston area saw a quake as powerful as the one that hit Virginia on Tuesday was in 1755, off Cape Ann, to the north. A repeat of that quake would likely cause deaths, Woodworth said. Still, the quakes are so infrequent that it’s difficult to weigh the risks versus the costs of enacting tougher building standards regionally, he said.
People in several of the affected states won’t have much time to reflect before confronting another potential emergency. Hurricane Irene is approaching the East Coast and could skirt the Mid-Atlantic region by the weekend and make landfall in New England after that.
In North Carolina, officials were inspecting an aging bridge that is a vital evacuation route for people escaping the coastal barrier islands as the storm approaches.
Speaking at an earthquake briefing Wednesday, Washington Mayor Vincent Gray inadvertently mixed up his disasters.
“Everyone knows, obviously, that we had a hurricane,” he said before realizing his mistake.
“Hurricane,” he repeated sheepishly as reporters and staffers burst into laughter. “I’m getting ahead of myself!”
___
Associated Press writers Sam Hananel in Washington; Alex Dominguez in Baltimore; Bob Lewis in Mineral, Va.; Samantha Gross in New York City; and Jay Lindsay in Boston contributed to this report.

Religious violence spreads outside the Temple Walls: Revelation 11

Religious violence spreads across Israel as death toll from Gaza airstrikes mounts

Updated on: May 13, 2021 / 1:45 PM
/ CBS News

Bat Yam, Israel — Religious violence unlike anything seen in decades has spread across Israel. CBS News correspondent Imtiaz Tyab reports that Jewish and Arab neighbors who’ve lived side-by-side for generations have started to turn on each other.

On Wednesday night an Arab-Israeli man was pulled from his car in the Tel Aviv suburb of Bat Yam and beaten unconscious by dozens of far-right Jewish Israelis.

The brutal attack, labelled a “lynching” by Israeli media, was broadcast live on TV. It was condemned by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the country’s chief rabbi.

“I think this is different from anything I’ve seen, and I’ve been living here for 24 years,” Tel Aviv resident Dahlia Scheindlin told CBS News. “I just want to point out that we’re all Israelis, so Jews, Arabs — we’re all Israelis.”

Violence escalates in Israel-Gaza conflict
Images of a horrifyingly similar scene were posted on social media from Acre, in northern Israel, showing a Jewish-Israeli man allegedly being attacked by a group of young Palestinian Arabs.

“We had a nightmare of a night, a real riot by hundreds of Arab youths,” said Avraham Sagron, the rabbi of a nearby synagogue. “They came in masses, torched car after car, trash bins, broke windows and it was really dangerous to leave the house.”

People, homes, businesses and places of worship have all been targeted.

Just a few days ago the violence sweeping across towns and cities with mixed populations of Jews and Arabs was unthinkable, but the fear now across the region is that there may be much more to come.

Israel-Gaza Conflict

The nightmare is being felt nowhere more acutely than in the Gaza Strip. The tiny, densely populated Palestinian territory controled by the Hamas group has been pummelled by Israeli airstrikes for four days.

The strikes are wreaking havoc, while Hamas’ military wing and other Palestinian groups continue to fire rockets at Israel. More than 1,000 were let loose on Wednesday night alone.

Israel strikes kill Hamas commanders
Since Monday, more than 80 Palestinians have been killed, including 17 children, according to the Gaza Health Ministry. Israel says many of those killed have been Palestinian militants. Seven Israelis have died so far in the tit-for-tat war, including one soldier.

Israel’s military said two infantry units and an armored unit had been sent to the Gaza border, and that plans for a theoretical ground incursion had been prepared and could be submitted to military chiefs for consideration as soon as Thursday. Any such invasion would require approval by Netanyahu’s government, and mark a hugely controversial escalation in the conflict.

But with mounting calls by the U.S. and other countries to step back from the cross-border hostilities, it was the widespread civil unrest inside Israel causing the most immediate concern across the region, stoking fears that the decades-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict could be headed into new, deeply dangerous territory.

There was, however, merciful calm on Thursday morning at one flashpoint in particular — the al Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem’s Old City, where this latest round of violence began.

Thousands of Muslims offered Eid prayers there on Thursday, marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan. There were no reports of violence, but the normally joyous celebration was undeniably on edge.

Threat to air travel

There was yet another worrying sign on Thursday that the tension and the violence could get worse before it gets better. Hamas’ armed wing in Gaza warned that civilian flights in and out of Israel should be halted, because they could be hit by the group’s rockets.

“We call on international airlines to stop their flights to Israel,” a spokesman for the al-Qassam Brigades said in a statement posted to the group’s website. “We tell the enemy that all your airports, and every point from north to south Palestine, are within range of our missiles.”

Streaks of light are seen as Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile system intercepts rockets launched from the Gaza Strip towards Israel, as seen from Ashkelon
Streaks of light are seen as Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile system intercepts rockets launched from the Gaza Strip towards Israel, as seen from Ashkelon, Israel May 10, 2021. AMIR COHEN / REUTERS
Already Israel’s civil aviation authority had diverted all incoming passenger flights headed to Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion airport, the main air hub in Israel, to the secondary airport called Ramon. But the Qassam Brigades claimed it had specifically targeted Ramon airport on Thursday, and there were reports in Israeli media that a rocket did land about 7 miles away.

Spokespeople for United Airlines and American Airlines told French news agency AFP that they’d already cancelled all their flights from the U.S. to Israel at least until Saturday.

Appeals for calm

United Nations and Egyptian officials have said that efforts to establish a cease-fire are underway, and an Egyptian delegation arrived Thursday in Israel, but there have been scant signs of progress yet, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government has vowed to widen the offensive.

President Joe Biden called Netanyahu to support Israel’s right to defend itself, and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he was sending a senior diplomat to the region to push for a truce.

Blinken also spoke on Wednesday with Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas, whose Fatah faction governs the West Bank but holds little sway in Hamas-controlled Gaza. The top American diplomat “expressed his condolences for the lives lost as a result” of the violence in Israel and the Palestinian territories, according to a readout of the call provided by the State Department.

“The Secretary condemned the rocket attacks and emphasized the need to de-escalate tensions and bring the current violence to an end. The Secretary also expressed his belief that Palestinians and Israelis deserve equal measures of freedom, dignity, security and prosperity,” the readout said.

CBS News’ Pamela Falk reported on Thursday that Israel’s U.N. delegation had asked the rest of the Security Council member states to clearly voice support for the country’s right to defend itself from attack.

Tunisia, China and Norway’s U.N. delegations had requested that the Council hold an open, emergency meeting on the Mideast crisis on Friday, but a source familiar with U.S. policy told Falk that the American delegation would prefer an open meeting next Tuesday to give space for diplomacy at the highest levels.

By late Thursday, the U.S. and other nations agreed to hold an emergency open virtual meeting on Sunday.

The source said the U.S. was working behind the scenes to de-escalate the situation, but wanted “to ensure that Security Council action de-escalates tensions,” and that officials were hoping for a ceasefire.

First published on May 13, 2021 / 3:06 AM

© 2021 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

India more likely to start the first nuclear war: Revelation 8

India more likely to respond with military force against Pakistan, reveals US report

Report states there are minimal chances of general war between India and Pakistan but the crises between the two are likely to become more intense, risking an escalatory cycle
The prospects of striking a peace deal in Afghanistan during the next year remain dim: report
Fahad Zulfikar Updated 16 Apr 2021

(Karachi) India is more likely to respond with military force to “perceived or real” provocations from Pakistan under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a report released by US intelligence revealed.

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) in its Annual Threat Assessment report to the US Congress, stated that there are minimal chances of general war between arch-rivals, India and Pakistan. However, the crises between the two are likely to become more intense, risking an escalatory cycle.

The report said, “Under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India is more likely than in the past to respond with military force to perceived or real Pakistani provocations, and heightened tensions raise the risk of conflict between the two nuclear-armed neighbours, with violent unrest in Kashmir or a militant attack in India being potential flashpoints.”

The ODNI report transpired that tensions between the two nuclear states are a concern for the world.

It stated that the fighting in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria, violence between Israel and Iran, the activity of foreign powers in Libya, and conflicts in other areas including Africa, Asia, and the Middle East have the potential to escalate or spread.

About the Afghan peace process, the report assessed that the prospects of striking a peace deal during the next year remain dim.

“The Taliban is likely to make gains on the battlefield, and the Afghan Government will struggle to hold the Taliban at bay if the coalition withdraws support. Kabul continues to face setbacks on the battlefield, and the Taliban is confident it can achieve military victory, it said.

“Afghan forces continue to secure major cities and other government strongholds, but they remain tied down in defensive missions and have struggled to hold recaptured territory or reestablish a presence in areas abandoned in 2020,” the report highlighted.

Regarding Iran’s role in Afghanistan, the report said: “Iran will hedge its bets in Afghanistan.” It added that Iran publicly backs Afghan peace talks, but it is worried about a long-term US presence in Afghanistan. As a result, “Iran is building ties with both the government in Kabul and the Taliban so it can take advantage of any political outcome,” the report mentioned.

Report notes the Iranian Horn’s higher uranium purity

Report notes Iran’s higher uranium purity

BERLIN — Iran has enriched uranium to slightly higher purity than previously thought because of “fluctuations” in the process, the United Nations’ atomic watchdog said Wednesday.

The report underscores the challenges diplomats face in ongoing talks, that began in April, to bring the United States back into the 2015 nuclear deal with Tehran, which is supported by President Joe Biden.

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The initial announcement from Iran that it would start enriching to 60% — which is not weapon’s grade but its highest purity yet — was made just as the talks were to begin in Vienna. Rafael Grossi, director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, reported to member agencies Tuesday that the latest inspections confirmed Iran continues to enrich uranium at up to 60% purity in its Natanz plant.

Additionally, samples taken April 22 “showed an enrichment level of up to 63% … consistent with fluctuations of the enrichment levels experienced in the mode of production at that time,” the agency said.

The agency added that on Monday inspectors had “verified that Iran had again changed the mode of production” by which it was producing uranium enriched to 60% purity.

Iran has been steadily violating the restrictions of the landmark 2015 deal after then-President Donald Trump pulled the U.S. out unilaterally in 2018 and reimposed crippling sanctions. The deal promised Iran economic incentives in exchanges for curbs on its nuclear program.

Iran has intended the violations to pressure the other nations involved — Germany, France, Britain, China and Russia — into finding ways to offset the U.S. sanctions, so far unsuccessfully.

The U.S. is not at the table for the talks that began in April, but the other members of the nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, have been shuttling between an American delegation also in Vienna and the Iranian delegation.

The pact is meant to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear bomb, something the country insists it does not want to do. The government in Tehran has said that it is prepared to reverse all of its violations but that Washington must remove all sanctions imposed under Trump — including measures imposed over issues not related to its nuclear program.

In addition to exceeding the purity of uranium enrichment past the 3.67% allowed, Iranian violations of the nuclear deal have included installing more advanced centrifuges and stockpiling more enriched uranium than permitted.

The U.S. has insisted that Iran must return to full compliance, but just how that would be carried out is still being discussed.

Despite its violations of all major restrictions of the nuclear deal, the other countries involved have insisted that it has been worth preserving, if nothing else because it has meant atomic-agency inspectors have been able to continue monitoring Iran’s nuclear program.

That access may be further restricted soon, however.

Iran in February began restricting international inspections of its nuclear facilities, but under a last-minute deal worked out on Feb. 21 during a trip to Tehran by Grossi, some access was preserved.

Under the agreement, Iran said that it no longer would provide surveillance footage of its nuclear facilities with the U.N. agency but promised to preserve the tapes for three months.

It then will hand them over to the agency if it is granted sanctions relief. Otherwise, Iran has vowed to erase the recordings.

May 21 represents the end of that three-month window, though there has been some suggestion Iran may extend the deadline if it is satisfied with the progress of the Vienna talks.

Information for this article was contributed by Amir Vahdat of The Associated Press.

FILE – This Jan. 15, 2011 file photo shows Arak heavy water nuclear facilities, near the central city of Arak, 150 miles (250 kilometers) southwest of the capital Tehran, Iran. The United Nations’ atomic watchdog says Iran has enriched uranium to slightly higher purity than previously thought due to “fluctuations” in the process in a report that underscores the challenges diplomats face in ongoing talks to bring the United States back into the nuclear deal with Tehran. (AP Photo/ISNA, Hamid Foroutan, File)
FILE – This Jan. 15, 2011 file photo shows Arak heavy water nuclear facilities, near the central city of Arak, 150 miles (250 kilometers) southwest of the capital Tehran, Iran. The United Nations’ atomic watchdog says Iran has enriched uranium to slightly higher purity than previously thought due to “fluctuations” in the process in a report that underscores the challenges diplomats face in ongoing talks to bring the United States back into the nuclear deal with Tehran. (AP Photo/ISNA, Hamid Foroutan, File)

More Than 30 Dead Outside the Temple Walls: Revelation 11

More Than 30 Dead in Gaza and Israel as Fighting Quickly Escalates
Hamas fires rockets at Israeli cities. Israel hits Gaza with airstrikes. Civilians suffer the most casualties, but leaders on each side may reap political benefits.

Published May 11, 2021Updated May 14, 2021
The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

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Fighting between Israelis and Palestinians intensified on Tuesday to the highest levels seen in seven years, as militants fired rockets into Israel and the Israeli military responded with airstrikes in Gaza.Mahmud Hams/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
ASHKELON, Israel — The worst fighting between Israelis and Palestinians in seven years intensified on Tuesday night, as Israeli airstrikes began targeting Hamas offices in Gaza City and militants in Gaza fired rockets at the metropolis of Tel Aviv, the southern city of Ashkelon and Israel’s main airport.

In Gaza, at least 35 Palestinians, including 10 children, had been killed by Tuesday night, and 203 others were wounded, according to health officials. In Israel, five people were killed in strikes on Tel Aviv, Ashkelon and Lod, and at least 100 were wounded, according to medical officials.

Away from the military conflict, a wave of civil unrest spread across Arab neighborhoods as Palestinian citizens of Israel expressed fury at the killings in Gaza and longstanding complaints of discrimination inside Israel itself.

While the surge in strikes, the worst since 2014, brought fear to millions in Gaza and Israel, they nevertheless bolstered an unlikely pair: Hamas, the Islamist militant group that runs the Gaza Strip, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel.

For Hamas, the conflict has allowed it to revitalize its claims to the leadership of Palestinian resistance. It framed its rockets as a direct response to a pair of Israeli police raids on the Aqsa Mosque compound, a religious site in East Jerusalem sacred to both Muslims and Jews. In the process, the group presented itself as a protector of Palestinian protesters and worshipers in the city.

Israeli forces and

Palestinian militants

exchanged hundreds

of strikes at multiple

locations in

Gaza and Israel.

Police raided Al Aqsa

Mosque on Monday to disperse crowds and protesters.

For Mr. Netanyahu, the distraction of the war, and the divisions it creates between the disparate opposition parties currently negotiating a coalition to topple him from power, have given him half a chance of remaining in office, just days after it seemed like he might finally be on the way out.

“It is the story of every previous war between Israel and Hamas,” said Ghassan Khatib, a politics expert at Birzeit University in the occupied West Bank. Both governments “come out of it victorious, and the public of Gaza comes out of it as losers.”

Both sides seized on the charged symbolism of the holy city. The Israeli military code-named its operation Guardians of the Walls, a reference to the ancient ramparts of the Old City of Jerusalem. The militants had their own code name: Sword of Jerusalem.

For the victims of the violence, the first 36 hours of the renewed conflict brought little but terror and loss. The Palestinian militants and Israeli military are unevenly matched — the former armed with rockets, the latter with fighter jets and a sophisticated antimissile defense system, the Iron Dome, partly financed by the United States.

Israel’s sophisticated antimissile defense system, the Iron Dome, is partly financed by the United States.
Israel’s sophisticated antimissile defense system, the Iron Dome, is partly financed by the United States. Amir Cohen/Reuters
Israeli airstrikes aim for strategic targets in densely populated Gaza, killing civilians even as Israel insists it takes measures to avoid them. Hamas’s rockets, on the other hand, aim for civilian population centers but often miss the mark.

Osama Soboh, a 31-year-old civil servant in Gaza City, lost his mother, Amira, and brother, Abdelrahman, when an Israeli strike on their apartment block — aimed at a militant leader — also took out his family.

“This is my mom,” Mr. Soboh said by phone on Tuesday afternoon. “It’s a very hard thing to say farewell to the most precious person you have on earth.”

Mr. Soboh questioned why Israel had targeted a civilian building. “It’s not a military barracks, it’s not posing any danger to Israel,” he said. “This was an old woman with a child with cerebral palsy.”

Thirteen miles to the north, in a sleepy suburb of Ashkelon, in Israel, a grandmother trod across the shards of glass and detritus left by a Hamas rocket that had sliced through her apartment block.

“What have I done wrong?” asked Maria Nagiv, 61, a former soldier who was born in Ukraine. “I didn’t do anything and they still send us bombs.”

Ms. Nagiv understood little about the events at the Aqsa compound that had preceded the attack.

“What happened in Jerusalem?” she asked as shards crunched beneath her feet. “I haven’t been following anything about that.”

Taking cover in Ashdod, Israel, on Tuesday as sirens warned of incoming rockets from Gaza.Abir Sultan/EPA, via Shutterstock
Later that day, an Ashkelon City Council member, Amichai Siboni, ran through the city’s streets, searching frantically for a bomb shelter, while bomb sirens sounded overhead.

“There is a siren right now,” Mr. Siboni said as he narrated his experience to an Israeli broadcaster. “I am looking for a safe room in a supermarket. I see around me elderly shoppers getting down to the floor. They are anxious and holding on to each other on the ground.”

In Gaza and Israel, the rockets and airstrikes reached an intensity considered rare for this early stage in a conflict here.

In Gaza, Israeli pilots quickly moved on from solely military targets, turning Tuesday to an apartment block said to house the home of a leading militant, and a tower block housing offices of several Hamas officials.

An Israeli military spokesman, Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, said early Tuesday that 15 militants had been killed in strikes by jets and unmanned drones.

As multiple salvos of rockets streaked out of Gaza in rapid succession, one hit a school in Ashkelon. The school was empty because the Israeli authorities had ordered all schools within 25 miles of Gaza closed in anticipation of rockets.

A giant fire raged on the outskirts of the city, where an oil facility was hit.

An oil facility in Ashkelon was hit by rockets fired from Gaza.Mohammed Abed/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
Unrest also broke out among Palestinian citizens of Israel, who were angered by the strikes on Gaza, the raid on the Aqsa compound and the looming expulsion of several Palestinian families from their homes in Jerusalem. Protesters waving Palestinian flags gathered in several Arab towns across Israel, some of them burning cars and Jewish properties.

Palestinians rampaged in the mixed city of Lod, where a state of emergency was declared early Wednesday. Protesters set fire to a synagogue and dozens of cars. One Palestinian man was fatally shot.

A municipality office that was burned during a night of violence between Israeli Arab protesters and the Israeli police in the town of Lod.Heidi Levine/Associated Press
A popular, Jewish-owned fish restaurant went up in flames in Acre, and television images showed a Jewish mob stoning Arab vehicles in Ramla.

In a speech recorded in Qatar and aired on a Hamas-affiliated television channel, a senior Hamas political leader, Ismail Haniya, struck a triumphant tone.

“We have managed to create an equation linking the Jerusalem and Gaza fronts,” he said. “They are inseparable. Jerusalem and Gaza are one.”

For Hamas, analysts said the new round of fighting gives the group the chance to reclaim some of the luster it had as a resistance movement that had faded after years of governing the Gaza Strip. Since coming to power in 2007, Hamas has lost popularity because of what many Gazans see as its authoritarian approach and poor governance.

Evacuating a building in Gaza City on Tuesday. The cross-border military conflict escalated rapidly.Mahmud Hams/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
But its self-presentation as the defender of Jerusalem has allowed the group to piggyback on widespread anger at Israeli police behavior at the Aqsa compound. And it has also allowed the group to ride the coattails of a grass-roots campaign to prevent the eviction of the Palestinian families in Sheikh Jarrah, a neighborhood in East Jerusalem.

The families’ plight resonated widely because it embodied the broader effort to remove Palestinians from parts of East Jerusalem and of the past displacements of Arabs in the occupied territories and within Israel.

“The events in Jerusalem became very popular among Palestinians,” Mr. Khatib said. “They wanted to move in support of that, in order to get credit.”

The rocket fire also allows Hamas to outmaneuver President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority, which exerts partial autonomy in parts of the West Bank. Mr. Abbas recently canceled what would have been the first Palestinian elections in 15 years, denying Hamas the chance to legitimize itself through electoral success.

Now Hamas wants to prove its relevance through other means, said Mkhaimar Abusada, a political scientist at Al Aqsa University in Gaza.

“Definitely what is happening is an indirect message to the Palestinian Authority and to Abbas,” said Mr. Abusada. “If he is not willing to reorganize the Palestinian internal house, that’s another reason why Hamas is escalating.”

Palestinian demonstrators during anti-Israel protests near the Jewish settlement of Beit El near Ramallah.Abbas Momani/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
The war also gives Mr. Netanyahu political breathing space.

Mr. Netanyahu’s opponents have three weeks to cobble together an unlikely coalition — and their success depends on far-right Jewish politicians and Arab Islamists putting aside fundamental differences to join forces in government.

But a war with Gaza makes that less likely, since it becomes far harder for Arab politicians, who oppose confrontations with Gaza, to find common cause with right-wingers who firmly back military action.

Mansour Abbas, an Islamist politician whose party holds the balance of parliamentary power, canceled coalition talks on Monday, as military escalation appeared inevitable. And Defense Minister Benny Gantz, who has pledged to oust Mr. Netanyahu, is now distracted by the war effort.

“It won’t work,” said Yaakov Amidror, a former Israeli national security adviser. “Abbas can’t justify to his public supporting a government that is fighting in Gaza.”

Mr. Netanyahu, also sounding a note of defiance, suggested the hostilities might not end any time soon.

“Hamas and Islamic Jihad have paid, and will pay, a very heavy price for their aggression,” he declared in a late-night address. “This campaign will take time.”

But among civilians left grieving by the conflict, these political questions meant little.

Carrying the body of an 11-year-old, Hussain Hamad, during his funeral in Beit Hanoun, Gaza, on Tuesday. He was killed in an explosion during the conflict.Khalil Hamra/Associated Press
In Beit Hanoun, northern Gaza, the al-Masri family buried two young boys who were killed on Monday evening.

Ibrahim, 11, and Marwan, 7, had been playing outside their home when a missile struck, according to their uncle, Bashir al-Masri, 25.

For Mr. al-Masri, the attack showed that Israel had no concern for civilian life.

“They target buildings with children, they target ambulances, they target schools,” he said by telephone. “And all the world, beginning with America, says that people in Gaza are terrorists. But we are not terrorists. We just want to live in peace.”

On Tuesday night, it was impossible to predict when that would come. The rapid escalation to high-value targets could mean that each side was ramping up for a major conflict.

It could also mean that each is trying to make a powerful final statement before the fighting ends.

But Colonel Conricus said Tuesday that the military’s air campaign was still in its “early stages.”

Reporting was contributed by Iyad Abuhweila from Gaza City, Myra Noveck and Irit Pazner Garshowitz from Jerusalem, and Gabby Sobelman from Rehovot, Israel.