The Bible Teaching Ministry of David Hocking
“The Word of our God shall stand forever” Isaiah 40:8

Archive for June, 2008


Wednesday, June 25th, 2008


In a one-two punch, Focus on the Family’s Dr. James Dobson ripped into Barack Obama, saying that Obama terrifies him, while on Tuesday night’s “Hannity & Colmes” show, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee warned that the Illinois senator’s views on such issues as partial birth abortion takes away the equality of unborn children, and that Obama makes him uncomfortable.

Dobson appeared on Sean Hannity’s radio show Tuesday.

During the show, Hannity commented that he found Obama to be dishonest overall, noting that “I think he was dishonest to the American people” when speaking of his former pastor and spiritual adviser the Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

Obama said that Wright had never expressed his vitriol to Obama stating “this is not the man I knew” though he had sat in a pew and listened to him for 20 years.

Said Hannity, “I think he’s fundamentally dishonest and has been on a variety of issues, the most recent is his flipping and flopping on public financing, etc. I think he’s got some character issues as relates to honesty.”

Dobson then unleashed this broadside against Obama: “What terrifies me is the thought that he might be our president . . . might be in the Oval Office . . . might be the leader of the free world . . . might be the commander in chief — because as I said a minute ago, the man is dangerous, especially in regard to this issue of morality. I can’t tell you how strongly I feel about this.

“He’s saying that my morality has to conform to his because we all have to agree or else it’s not democratic. Do you remember the position that he’s taken on the Born Alive Protection Act that was passed in Congress in 2002? It kept medical people who were unsuccessful in killing an unborn baby — they took their best shot at [the baby] and [the baby] managed to limp into the world — and so Congress said if he comes out alive you can’t murder him.

“That came to the fore of the state of Illinois legislature, and the only person to oppose it was Barack Obama and he was chairman of the committee, and got up and spoke in opposition to it. [He said] ‘We’re saying that a person is entitled to the kinds of protections provided to a child — a 9-month old child delivered to term — it would essentially bar abortions because the Equal Protection clause [that he was opposed to] does not allow somebody to kill a child.’

“This is what this man believes; [that it’s acceptable] to kill children that you don’t want or need . . .”

Dobson asked, “Am I required in a democracy to conform my efforts in the political arena to his bloody notion of what’s right in regard to tiny babies?”

During Tuesday night’s “Hannity & Colmes” show on Fox Cable, after Alan Colmes asked if “the rest of us” are required to conform to Dr. Dobson’s view about tiny babies, Huckabee said, “ It’s about the collective view of Americans who believe that all people are created equal, and that every human life has intrinsic value and worth. And when Barack Obama believes that we can have partial birth abortion, then we’ve taken away the equality of that unborn child and we’ve said that he’s expendable — that he’s not as valuable as he would be if he were born five minutes later.

“That defies something beyond anybody’s politics. That goes to the heart of what we are as a civilization . . . we have elevated and celebrated life. That’s why we don’t leave our soldiers on the battlefield when they are wounded. We say to leave no man behind, because we don’t view their worth and value as their soldiering, we view it as their personhood.

“And when you rob a human life of its personhood, as you do with the kind of abortion policies that Barack Obama supports, that’s a serious issue, I think, for many of us who don’t see this as a religious issue but see it as something even deeper.”

Responding to Hannity’s complaint that Obama lacks core values guiding him, Huckabee said, “it is a concern; and I think it’s a legitimate one, when you have a person who says I want to change the politics of Washington but then becomes one that’s even being criticized by the leftist media because he’s decided he is going to bypass all the very public financing that he so embraced until he could get more money into his coffers by not doing it.

“That’s exactly the kind of thing that just makes people say, There he is — another politician.”

Asked if he agreed with Dobson’s statement that the idea of Barack Obama as president terrorizes him, Huckabee said: “There are many things about Barack Obama that make me very uncomfortable. There are potholes and there are sinkholes and what Barack Obama has done is to drive his campaign into a sinkhole by saying some things regarding religion that I think will make people who are religious very uncomfortable.

“Am I concerned? Yes. We don’t need to make up things about Barack Obama, because I think that the record is going to be the best weapon to defeat him.

“We need to ask what is it that he believes. What he believes is that the Sermon on the Mount is outdated.”

Huckabee added, “I always found it interesting that liberals want it both ways — they don’t want to bring religion into the public square unless they bring it and get to reinterpret it.”


Wednesday, June 25th, 2008

by Avi Issacharoff, Haaretz Correspondent

The Hamas military wing, Iz al-Din al-Qassam, has split into two groups after an attempt to depose its military commander, Ahmed Al-Jabari. Palestinian sources say the attempt to replace Al-Jabari with Imad Akal
failed, but has split the organization into two camps: one led by Al-Jabari and the other by Akal.

Mohammed Deif, the former head of Iz al-Din al-Qassam, was behind the attempt, according to the sources.

The crisis in the Hamas military wing started, among other reasons, because of the long-standing disagreements and tension between Al-Jabari and the political leadership of Hamas in Gaza. But the tension exploded into the public eye as a result of the Hamas police’s attempt to arrest members of the military group who were suspected of criminal activities. The Hamas militants resisted arrest, and the police and Iz al-Din al-Qassam members
exchanged fire.

The head of the Hamas police in Gaza, Taufik Jabar, who is not a Hamas member, asked one of the heads of the Hamas political side, Said Siam, to intervene and ask Al-Jabari to hand over the militants – but Al-Jabari

After the refusal, Siam turned to Deif, who was considered Israel’s most wanted man for years; he holds no official post, but Deif is still considered to be a symbol of the movement and one of the most respected
activists by Hamas militants.

Siam asked him to arbitrate between the sides, examine the matter and make a decision. After a short time Deif announced that Akal would replace Al-Jabari, but he refused.

In recent weeks assassination attempts have been made against one of Al-Jabari’s closest supporters, Ali Jundiyeh, and Gazans assume Akal is behind the attempts.

However, Hamas published an announcement that Jundiyeh was injured in a traffic accident. Another of Al-Jabari’s men had a bomb planted near his home.

The military arm has suffered a number of splits and internal fights recently, which remind many of the earlier infighting among Fatah militias. According to the sources, Iz al-Din al-Qassam is divided, and there have
been several attempts by commanders to kill their rivals to ensure they control an area or the organization’s assets. In Khan Yunis, for example, for over a year there have been three local commanders, each of whom
considers himself the chief in the region. In addition, senior Iz al-Din commanders have become more and more involved in criminal activities recently, and in particular in smuggling, which they control exclusively.

However, the split has not yet had an impact on the cease-fire with Israel, and all members have been strictly keeping it, despite a debate among Hamas political leaders over the issue.


Wednesday, June 25th, 2008


Just hours before the Knesset was scheduled to vote on a bill to dissolve itself and set in motion early national elections to be held in November, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert struck a deal with Labor Party leader Ehud Barak to ensure the measure would not pass.

As late as yesterday afternoon, Barak had stated that he would instruct his Labor Party, which is Olmert’s chief coalition partner and the Knesset’s second largest party, to support dissolution bill. But in an intense meeting that lasted past midnight, Olmert managed to change Barak’s mind.

As a condition of Barak’s loyalty to the current government, Olmert agreed to hold a primary election in his own Kadima Party, but not until September. Olmert is expected to lose that primary vote to either Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni or Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz, making one of them Israel’s new prime minister until the next national election in 2010.

The deal between Olmert and Barak was harshly criticized, even by members of Barak’s own Labor Party, who have for months been demanding Olmert’s replacement as the prime minister wades his way through his sixth corruption scandal and as the public’s confidence in his leadership hits an all-time low.

From the opposition, National Religious Party Chairman Zevulun Orlev, one of the authors of the dissolution bill, told Israel National News that Barak had “spit on the face of the Israeli public.” Barak has since taking the reins of Labor over a year ago promised on numerous occasions to help remove Olmert from power.

In a turbulent Knesset sessions, opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu accused Barak and the Labor ministers of being opportunists, and of caring more about keeping their current positions a little longer than about the security and fate of the nation.

In his turn at the Knesset podium, Olmert lashed back claiming that the opposition simply doesn’t want peace in the region, and that is why it is determined to bring him down. Olmert insisted that it was he who had restarted meaningful negotiations with the Palestinians and opened talks with the Syrians. Netanyahu and the opposition have never complained about conducting peace talks with any of the Arabs, but rather about Olmert’s public willingness to surrender to nearly all of the Arabs’ demands in order to obtain peace agreements.


Tuesday, June 24th, 2008

by Hillel Fendel (Israel National News)

Jordan is in an uproar over the revival of the “Jordanian option” – the thesis that Jordan is the true home to the “Palestinians.” Reports that a top advisor to US Presidential candidate John McCain is promoting this idea have led to a flurry of press reports in the Arab media, as well as a denial from Jordan’s King Abdullah himself.

Some officials in Israel and the United States, however, feel it’s the only way to prevent the formation of a Palestinian state.

The King responded defensively to the option, declaring in an interview with a Lebanese newspaper last week, “This country was made to stay. Jordan is Jordan and Palestine is Palestine.” “Palestinian Homeland” = Jordan – However, he also added another sentence that has given observers pause, wondering if he meant something else.

“The Palestinian nation has the right to a state and independent identity on the areas of Palestine,” said King Abdullah II. “The Palestinians will not accept any substitute for their homeland Palestine.”

Though Arabs today call Israel “Palestine,” MK Benny Elon (National Union) told IsraelNationalNews that in this case, “the words ‘Palestinian homeland’ can mean Jordan as well… Certainly Abdullah himself remembers that the original Palestine includes Jordan – but perhaps he assumes that everyone else does not.”

Elon was referring to the fact that the area of Palestine, as recognized by the League of Nations and the British rulers nearly 100 years ago, includes what is today Israel and Jordan. King Abdullah’s remarks, therefore, can mean precisely the same idea that Elon has been promoting: The Arabs of Judea and Samaria should be “annexed” to Jordan.

The idea has been making waves in Jordanian and other Arab media as well. The English-language The National, published in Abu Dhabi, reported this week that the news that a top advisor to John McCain had raised the idea – even though the advisor, Robert Kagan, later denied having done so – has “brought to the forefront hidden anxieties in a country that hosts the largest Palestinian refugee population.” The paper reports that 1.9 million refugees and their descendants currently live in Jordan – nearly a third of the country’s population. Some reports state that the refugees comprise half of Jordan’s populace.

“There is a conspiracy to revisit this option [‘Jordan is Palestine’],” The National quotes Mohammad Abu Hdeib, who heads the Jordanian parliament’s Arab and international affairs committee, as saying. “Such a scenario would be an end to the Jordanian state. It also contradicts international resolutions that call for an independent Palestinian state.”

Precisely, says MK Elon: “We have to find a way to stop the trend to form a Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria, because it is simply dangerous and ineffectual.”

For years, Elon has been promoting a peace plan called THE RIGHT ROAD TO PEACE, or the Israel Initiative, as an alternative to the accepted Roadmap two-state solution. “The establishment of a Palestinian state in Judea, Samaria and Gaza (the West Bank) will only prolong the Arab-Israeli conflict and exact a heavy toll in human life,” Elon explains.

His plan’s website elaborates on this point, explaining that forming such a state will not solve the “real problems that perpetuate the conflict: The Palestinian demand for the right of return of refugees to areas within the State of Israel, the rehabilitation of the refugees, the status of Jerusalem, and the nature of the Palestinian state and its borders. Within a short time, these unresolved problems will resurface and draw the region into yet another war.”

Elon told Arutz-7 that the plan to give the Arabs of Judea and Samaria citizenship in Jordan is the “only way to re-route diplomatic talk away from the dangerous Roadmap.”

Elon said his plan enjoys the strong support of US Senator Sam Brownback (R., Kansas), “who has been actively promoting it. He spoke to [US Secretary of State] Condoleeza Rice about it, and when she said it has no chance of being accepted by the Arabs, he went to Jordan – and found that the situation was not as simple as she said.”

Elon explained that Jordan is very wary of having on its western border a Hamas state, which a future Palestinian state is likely to become. “Jordan also has an increasingly extremist-Muslim Iraq to contend with on its eastern border – a very uncomfortable situation for King Abdullah,” he continued. Elon noted that the Jordanian monarch dispatched his former Prime Minister Abdel Salam al-Majali to discuss the plan with the Israelis.

“If Jordan knows that the plan is serious, and has the support of the United States, and that it can work, it will support it,” Elon said.


Friday, June 20th, 2008

(reported by World Net Daily)

A federal court has declared a Florida law banning representatives of the Gideons from handing out Bibles within 500 feet of any school in the state unconstitutional because it is vague and actually “encourages arbitrary enforcement.”

The ruling in a case brought by the Alliance Defense Fund comes from U.S. District Court Judge K. Michael Moore and addresses an incident that developed Jan. 19, 2007, at Key Largo School, run by Principal Annette Martinson.

The law actually prohibits anyone without “legitimate business” from being within 500 feet of schools in the state and specifies “each principal or designee of each public or private school in this state shall notify the appropriate law enforcement agency to prohibit any person from loitering in the school safety zone who does not have legitimate business in the school safety zone or any other authorization, or license to enter or remain in the school safety zone or does not otherwise have invitee status in the designated safety zone.”

The issue arose because of team of Gideons, known for paying all of their own expenses out of pocket while raising all of their own funds and giving away Bibles, had been distributing the Scriptures at Key Largo School.

The Gideons’ procedure is to notify local police departments two weeks before their distribution date, give school administrators notice and have participants stand on a public bike path or sidewalk and avoid stepping on school grounds.

But WND reported earlier when two members of the Gideons organization were charged for handing out Bibles there, and when a judge dismissed those counts.

Ernest Simpson and Anthony Mirto had been taken into custody by a sheriff’s deputy and charged with trespassing after the principal of Key Largo School, Martinson, complained they were handing out Bibles.

The initial counts were dismissed at the request of the ADF shortly after the law firm got involved, but then authorities filed a second round of counts, under a different law – this state law that prohibits anyone from being within 500 feet of any school property, including on public sidewalks and streets, without having either “legitimate business” or permission.

The lawsuit lawsuit at hand then was filed on behalf of Gideon Thomas Gray, who was not arrested with Simpson and Mirto but arrived when they called to report trouble with a particular deputy sheriff.

“Gray approached Officer [John] Perez and asked what the charges were. Officer Perez was highly agitated and said that Gray would know in 48 hours when he received the report,” the judge said.

Gray contacted another deputy through whom he’d arranged for the distribution.

“Gray then called Deputy [Ralph] Williams and asked for his assistance … Deputy Williams indicated that he would e-mail Officer Perez … Gray told Officer Perez that he had an e-mail in his car from another officer stating that the Gideons have a right to distribute Bibles from the public bike path/sidewalk, but Officer Perez indicated that he did not care,” the judge wrote.

The ADF reported the two Gideons who were arrested were “placed in a Monroe County patrol car. A police officer mocked the two men, saying they could ‘pray to Jesus all the way to jail.'”

The ADF, after seeing that the charges against Simpon and Mirto were dismissed, filed the action on behalf of Gray, who said he feared arrest if he exercised his right to distribute Bibles.

The federal judge found that the state definition of a school safety zone, in the Key Largo School location, would include a public bike path and walkway abutting U.S. Highway 1, the highway itself and businesses including a pet motel, a gas station, a restaurant and a plumbing business.

“Given the wide range of non-exempt persons and the various types of areas within the school safety zone, such as sidewalks, residential houses and streets, businesses, parking lots, etc., construing ‘legitimate purpose’ to mean any purpose which is connected with the operation of the school would result in an application so broad that it would likely infringe of First and Fourteenth Amendment rights,” the judge said.

He ordered the state never again enforce that particular law.

“Christians shouldn’t be penalized for expressing their beliefs,” said ADF Senior Legal Counsel David Cortman. “Arresting or threatening to arrest Christians simply because they choose to exercise their First Amendment rights in a public place is unconstitutional. The court was right in its assessment that the particular law used against these members of the Gideons does not pass constitutional muster.”

In a statement at the outset of the case to WND, Becky Herrin, of the public information office in the Monroe County sheriff’s office, stated as a fact that the defendants in the case did trespass. She later declined additional comment.

“A copy of our police report (see attached) … clearly states that the people in question were arrested for trespassing on school property – not on a public sidewalk… In fact, they were given the opportunity to step off school property and onto public property, and they could have continued with their activities if they had done so. They chose instead to remain, against repeated warnings, on school property so deputies were forced to arrest them,” Herrin said in a statement to WND.

But the attached report forwarded to WND revealed the two were arrested while in their vehicle parked near, but not on, school property.

The Gideons, a group founded in the late 1800s, has as its “sole purpose” the goal “to win men, women, boys and girls to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ through association for service, personal testimony, and distributing the Bible in the human traffic lanes and streams of everyday life.”

Gideons have placed the Bible in 181 nations in 82 different languages over the years.

The organization focuses on hotels and motels, hospitals and nursing homes, schools, colleges and universities, the military and law enforcement and prisons and jails.

“The demand for Scriptures in these areas far exceeds our supplies that we are able to purchase through our donations. Much more could be done – if funds were available. However, we are placing and distributing more than one million copies of the Word of God, at no cost, every seven days in these areas…” the group said.

The organization only gives away the Bibles with the Gideon logo on the covers, but plain Bibles are available for consumers to purchase at its distribution center at P.O. Box 140800, Nashville, Tenn., 37214-0800. Information about the products is available on the group’s website.

The Gideons serve as an extended missionary arm of the Christian church and are the oldest Christian business and professional men’s association in the United States.


Friday, June 20th, 2008

There have been many rumors circulating on various web sites about the possibility of Israel attacking Iran’s nuclear facilities. Many of our readers have asked what we know about it. This is the latest information on it, and we do not know anything else concerning it.

(reported by Israel Today news)

More than 100 Israeli fighter jets took part in a massive exercise earlier this month that senior US military sources say was training for a strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities, reported the New York Times on Friday.

The US sources told the newspaper that the exercise saw the Israeli fighters and refueling planes fly some 900 miles, which is the distance from Israel to Iran’s main uranium enrichment plant at Natanz.

One Pentagon official said that the exercise served two purposes, the first being training for an actual strike on Iran, and the second to send a firm message to the US, Europe and Iran that if diplomatic efforts to halt Iran’s nuclear program fail the Jewish state will take matters into its own hands.

Israel Air Force officials refused to confirm or deny that the recent exercise was a prelude to a strike on Iran, and said only that Israeli forces regularly train to confront any and all regional threats.

In related news, Israel is trying to block a $400-million arms deal between the US and Lebanon, fearing that the advanced American weapons being offered could fall into the hands of the Iranian proxy group Hizballah, reported Ha’aretz.

Hizballah today effectively controls Lebanon, having won veto power over the government as part of a coalition agreement brokered earlier this month. Hizballah ally and former Lebanese army chief Michel Suleiman was also elected president as part of the deal.

Under Suleiman’s leadership, the Lebanese army came to view Hizballah as an ally and and asset, fueling Israeli fears that any arms transfered to the army will eventually be used by Hizballah against Israel.

US officials maintain that the arms deal will empower the Lebanese army to better deal with Hizballah and other armed factions that today operate freely in the country.


Wednesday, June 18th, 2008


Dan Diker is Director of the Jerusalem based Institute for Contemporary Affairs and serves as a Middle East analyst for Israel’s Channel One English News. He has given the following observations in connection with reports of American pressure on Israel for a “ceasefire” with Hamas:

Reports in Israel today of U.S. pressure to button up a ceasefire with Hamas in advance of President Bush’s upcoming visit to Israel are worrying but not surprising.

As happens frequently in this region, the current moment’s geopolitical circumstances to reach what the West understands as a “cease fire” seems inviting and the players are lining up. Israel and Washington need quiet in Gaza before Bush’s scheduled visit to allow Palestinian and Israeli teams to shape up the Declaration of Principles of a prospective “shelf agreement” peace deal. But while the idea of a ceasefire always seems attractive to Western actors, some attention needs to be paid to context.

Cairo is brokering a cease fire between Hamas and Israel because it believes in so doing it can reestablish its lost status as the main power broker on the Palestinian issue, help reunite Fatah and Hamas and thereby dilute Hamas’ power. At the same time a nervous Cairo wants to help satisfy its Hamas neighbor to the North-who also wants a deal now –and focus the Iranian backed group’s attention away from subverting Mubarak’s leadership, which it has been doing very well lately.

Mubarak has been worried about Iranian backed Hamas’ latest promise to blow up the Egyptian Gaza border for the second time since January of this year. Cairo is still reeling from the first border destruction in which Egypt watched helplessly for two weeks as 750,000 Gazans flooded across the Egyptian border for food and supplies while Iranian backed Islamic terror operatives including al Qaeda crossed back and forth from Gaza into Sinai unfettered with tons of weaponry and lots of money. Mubarak, having seen 122 MM Iranian Grad rockets hit the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon, said recently in a moment of personal alarm that Egypt “now shares a border with Iran”.

This is also a good time for Hamas to sign on to a cease fire, particularly because “ceasefire” for Hamas and fellow Islamists means something very different than it does for Washington and Jerusalem. It’s either a Tahdiya (a unilateral and temporary “calming” to allow Hamas and fellow terror operatives to rest, rearm, and reenergize for the next round of conflict) or something that could be implemented by Hamas as a Hudna (a longer term arrangement with the enemy in the conflict). But there is no strategic difference between Tahdiya and Hudna. Both concepts are essentially versions of a “seventh inning stretch” in Hamas’s Iranian backed war to destroy Israel, defeat the U.S.-led West, and create an Islamic superstate across the region.

Most importantly, Hamas is interested in playing along with the idea of a ”calmer, gentler” Gaza at this moment to lend legitimacy to its aggressive and unprecedented play for international legitimacy as the one real Palestinian leadership that has already succeeded where U.S.-backed PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has not. Former President Jimmy Carter’s visit to the region last week and his meeting with Iran’s top Hamas agent Khaled Mashaal in Damascus were very helpful in legitimizing Hamas while politically undermining if not burying Abbas among Palestinians.

Now Hamas can say to the Palestinian public that it has a gained foothold of legitimacy even in the West while conceding nothing and has already established a sovereign Islamist emirate in Gaza that is not, from a Palestinian viewpoint, the vassal state of the U.S. and Israel that Abbas is negotiating with Olmert.

Hamas’ central strategic goal is to use a period of calm to consolidate its influence and prepare to take over the Palestinian areas of the West Bank, thereby replicating its leadership in Gaza. For his part, Abbas sits powerless and lonely in his Ramallah headquarters, unable to enforce law and order across the West Bank even with tens of millions of security dollars approved by Congress and coordinated by the constant presence of top level security envoys (U.S. generals) who could have trained multiple divisions of U.S. special forces in the U.S. and Iraq over the same period that they have tried and failed to train and mobilize an effective, centralized and disciplined, and loyal Palestinian national security force.

The Israelis, Americans, Jordanians, Egyptians and most of all the Palestinians know well that if the Israel Defense Forces were to withdraw from any part of the West Bank they are currently securing, Hamas and fellow Islmaic groups will slip in to the ensuing security vacuum in and fire rockets at Ben Gurion airport and the greater Tel Aviv coastal area lying below the hills of the West Bank. This would destabilize Jordan to the East, threaten Israel to the West and energize jihadis across the region.

The current U.S.-inspired attempts to finalize a Hamas ceasefire and a declaration of principles between the PA and Israel are in reality undermining Abbas, improving Hamas’ ability and preparedness to attack Israel, and weakening Egypt. At the same time Iran’s armed, trained, and financed Gaza proxy force gains support among Palestinians and greater diplomatic legitimacy in some quarters in Europe, and thanks to Mr Carter, perhaps among American’s who have embraced his book Palestine: Peace, Not Apartheid.


Monday, June 16th, 2008

by Hillel Fendel (Israel National News)

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert informed visiting U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice that, despite her criticism, Israel will continue building in Jerusalem.

Rice, visiting Israel on Sunday and Monday for yet another attempt to extract Israeli concessions that she feels may bring an Israeli-Palestinian agreement closer, said that Israel’s announced plans to build in Jerusalem are “having a negative effect.”

Rice further said that the “continued building and the settlement activity has the potential to harm the negotiations going forward,” called it a “vioation of the Roadmap,” and said sternly that she plans to bring up the matter with Israeli officials.

Olmert, meeting on Sunday with Rice, told her that the construction would continue “in the Jewish neighborhoods that are expected to remain Israeli under any agreement.” He was referring most specifically to the latest-announced plan: the construction of 1,300 apartments in the hareidi-religious neighborhood of Ramat Shlomo.

Ramat Shlomo is situated east of Ramot and west of French Hill, upon hills that were totally barren during the 19 years they were under Jordanian control. Nearly a year ago, the Antiquities Authority announced that it had found in Ramat Shlomo the quarry that supplied the giant stones for the building of the Temple Mount.

The Jerusalem Municipality also announced, late last week, its approval of a 12-year-plan to build close to 40,000 new apartments in various city neighborhoods. Some of the apartments will be built in Gilo, Pisgat Ze’ev, Ramot and Har Homa – all located in areas formerly under Jordanian control.

Industry and Trade Minister Eli Yishai (Shas) made headlines when he came out strongly against Rice: “I would like to know how it would look if someone would say that the U.S. has no right to develop Washington… Rice doesn’t consult with anyone before approving a new city in the U.S.”


Monday, June 16th, 2008


In a thinly veiled threat of war, Syrian deputy Foreign Minister Faysal Mekdad told reporters in Amman, Jordan on Saturday that if Israel does not agree to surrender the Golan Heights as part of regional peace talks then Syria has “other options” to “liberate” the strategic plateau.

Addressing Israelis directly, Mekdad said it would be better for the Golan to be transferred to Syria “peacefully and without blood.” He told Israelis that they should not raise their children in the Golan, which Israeli commentators took to mean that if armed hostilities break out, Syria will target the Israeli civilian population on the Golan.

Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria in the 1967 Six Day War. For the preceding 19 years, Syria used the commanding heights to launch two full-scale invasions and almost daily sniper attacks on the Jewish state.

Syria says that former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin promised during nascent peace talks in the early 1990s that Israel would surrender at least most of the Golan as part of any peace deal. Faysal said that current indirect talks between his government and that of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert are based on “Rabin’s pledge.”


Friday, June 13th, 2008


A small community of Palestinian Arabs living in the rocket-battered southern Israel town of Sderot say Israel is making a major mistake by not immediately launching a full scale invasion of the Gaza Strip.

The 80 Palestinian families living in Sderot are all former residents of Gaza who during the years of Israeli control there aided Israeli security forces in tracking and eliminating Palestinian terrorists. They were branded traitors for helping Israel combat terror, and so were pulled out of the area by the Israeli army for their own protection.

Speaking to the British newspaper The Guardian this week, the relocated Palestinians said that as former insiders, they could confirm without question that the only way Israel is ever going to curb the Gaza rocket fire in any significant way is to launch a broad military incursion into the territory.

Some went even further and said that once the Israelis finished with the terrorists, they should stay put and reinstate what the international community called Israel’s “occupation” of Gaza.

Said one of the Arabs: “When the Israelis ruled Gaza, people lived like kings.”

Another said he was happy he helped Israel in the past and now has the opportunity to live a prosperous life in the Jewish state, while other Palestinians suffer an intolerable existence created by the Palestinian Authority and Hamas.

Earlier in the week, Israel’s security cabinet came to the decision to not launch a major military response to escalating Palestinian rocket fire from Gaza, and to instead continue to wait on Egypt to broker a ceasefire between Israel and Gaza’s Hamas rulers. That decision was made despite the fact that most of the members of Israel’s cabinet had previously voiced opposition to a truce they believe will only allow Hamas to regroup and rearm for future violence.

Hamas and allied terror groups responded to what they clearly viewed as Israel’s weakness by firing some 65 rockets and mortar shells at communities in southern Israel on Thursday. Miraculously, only one Israeli was wounded in the massive artillery barrage.

Speaking to Army Radio on Friday, Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz said the cabinet’s ill-advised decision had created a ridiculous situation whereby Israel is seen as powerlessly pleading for calm as the terrorists pummel the Jewish state. It is Hamas that should be begging Israel for a ceasefire, insisted Mofaz.

While the government of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert maintained its refusal to launch a crushing response to the Gaza rocket fire, it did instruct the army to prepare for immediate action should the situation worsen any further.

The Olmert government has issued similar threats before only to fail to back them up with action, so few expect a green light to be given to the army regardless of how severe the rocket attacks become. But just in case, the United Kibbutz Movement on Thursday put in place a revamped emergency evacuation plan to remove the 5,000 Israelis that live in communities bordering the Gaza Strip should the army be sent in.

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