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

Archive for October, 2011


Monday, October 31st, 2011


This past week, I had the opportunity to spend some time talking with Major General Amos Yadlin, the man who until recently was the head of Israeli military intelligence, about what is going on in the region and threats to the Jewish State. His answers to my questions were both interesting and enlightening. Below are some of my questions and his responses:

Question: With all that is going on in the Middle East, how do you prioritize the threats facing the Jewish state?

Answer: When you are speaking of countries that pose a threat to Israel, there is no doubt that Iran is on the top of the list. It is a very radical country, with a very radical ideology, and very serious intentions of developing a very radical weapon — nuclear arms. The hatred from Iran is a real threat. The Iranian regime not only incites hatred with words, but with weapons, with training and with the money it uses to support every extreme group against Israel. And the prospect for a nuclear weapon in the hands of these extremists is, as far as I am concerned, the only existential threat facing Israel now.

Second on my threat list would be Syria and Hezbollah. It requires a tremendous amount of effort by Israel to cope with the long-range missiles and rockets that today threaten not only the Galilee, but also Tel Aviv and Israeli air bases in the center of Israel.

Then there is a threat from the Palestinian terrorists. Although it does not compare to the threat coming from Iran, Syria and the Hizbullah, there is a real threat emanating from terrorist activity in Gaza as well as from the West Bank, in addition to Al Qaeda elements and Jihadists from the Sinai area.

Question: Is a Palestinian-Israeli peace possible while Israel’s neighbors are in the midst of such a dramatic and uncertain change?

Answer: The issue of Palestinian –Israeli peace was problematic even before the so-called Arab spring. To have peace between Israel and the Palestinians, we basically need four elements to come together.

The first element we need is a very strong Israeli leadership that can make the concessions asked of Israel for peace.

The second condition is a very strong Palestinian leadership that can agree to the concessions asked of them.

Number three is the need for Arab support for peace, support from major players such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia. The Palestinians cannot go at it alone when they have to make historical concessions.

And last, the Israelis and Palestinians need European and American support to put value on the table when it comes to the refugee issue, to make peace more attractive for both sides to transform negotiations from a zero-sum game. Israel needs the spoilers who want to destroy peace to be removed from the equation, or at least weakened. These are the Syrians and Iranians in particular — all of the region’s extremists. If one looks at the Arab uprising, it has basically made all four of these elements needed for peace more difficult. The Israelis are less willing to take risks when they see that peace can disappear in a moment after giving-up land, as was the case with the Gaza Strip, and now may even be the case with Sinai. Also the Palestinians feel that the so-called Arab spring gives them leverage when dealing with Israel, so they will be less willing to compromise now.

Question: Are the Palestinian Authority and the Palestinian people, ready for statehood?

Answer: The answer to this question is both yes and no. If you look at what has happened in the West Bank in the last three or four years under the Prime Ministership of Salam Fayyad and under Abu Mazen, the Palestinian Authority has taken steps when it comes to creating law and order, controlling terror, and developing institutions that will enable the Palestinians to create a state. Unfortunately, there is also the no. The state building efforts accomplished in Judea and Samaria, the so-called West Bank, have not occurred in Gaza. Gaza is still a land of terror, which is not controlled by Abu Mazen and is not ready for statehood. If there is to be a Palestinian state, we at least need to see what happened in the West Bank also happen in Gaza. But this is not the case, which is why the answer is both yes and no.

Question: Some analysts argue that Hamas has moderated its stance over the years. Is this true?

Answer: We have to distinguish between Hamas being pragmatic on some everyday life issues, and its long-term ideological objectives. They still refuse to recognize the State of Israel or to denounce terror. Hamas however is ready to call for a cease fire, when the cost of the continuing to fire rockets at Israel is increased. So in the short run, they can seem as though they are behaving moderately or pragmatically, but their ideology hasn’t compromised with their vision of the future.

Question: If Israel is prepared to negotiate with the Palestinian Authority, what explains the Palestinian Authority’s impulse for a unilateral declaration of independence at the United Nations?

Answer: One must look at the Palestinian strategy over the last two years. The Palestinians have decided that it would be better for them to bypass Israel and go to the international community to get what they want — namely, 1967 borders, Jerusalem, and the Palestinian State. If they get it from the international community, they don’t have to negotiate with Israel or concede to what Israel asks of them, which is an end to the conflict, security arrangements, and return of refugees only – only — to the Palestinian state.

Question: Is there a silver lining from Israel’s perspective to the fall of Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak? How secure is the peace between Israel and Egypt?

Answer: The peace with Egypt is very important not only for Israel but also to Egypt. Both countries enjoy the fact that there is no prospect of war anymore, and both have used the peace to build their economies. The peace with Egypt is not in danger if we are speaking about the alternative as going to war. It is not in Egypt’s interest to go to war. They have paid a very large price for three wars with Israel that drained their energy, money, and blood. But between full peace and war there are many gray areas. Even the peace with Mubarak’s regime was not a warm peace like the one that exists between Canada and the United States. For instance, Mubarak removed his ambassador from Israel in 1982, and again in 2001, after Israel responded to Palestinian mortar attacks with helicopter attacks on Gaza. So peace can remain peace, but it can be made colder. It can even be hostile. But, no, I don’t think there will be a war with Egypt.

So that is it as far as my interview with Major General Yadlin goes. As he mentioned, the main threat to Israel and the West now is really Iran. A nuclear-capable Iran could use its clout to advance its interests and objectives not only in its neighborhood, with Syria, Iraq and Lebanon, but also in the Gulf states – Yemen, Oman, Bahrain, Qatar – and in Latin America in Venezuela, where it could foster more terrorist activity against the United States. The risk to Israel, the U.S. and the West of the development or acquisition of nuclear arms by an Iranian regime determined to advance its long-term strategic objective of enforcing its Islamist worldview on a global basis


Wednesday, October 19th, 2011


Thanks for coming to our web site – lots of articles you can download free of charge – and a huge catalog of books, CDs, MP3s, DVDs, music albums, and much more. If you need to talk to one of our volunteers, just call 1-800-75-BIBLE from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM, Monday to Friday – we’re here to serve you in any way we can!

David is in Israel for the next two weeks with 90 folks from the USA and CANADA. Your prayers for their safety and spiritual blessing would be greatly appreciated.

Before David departed, he mentioned the financial needs of HOPE for TODAY and the need of prayer that God will supply ALL of our needs. We have several needs of re-printing books including the brand new book on “ISRAEL: CHOSEN BY GOD” – It sold out in six months! We don’t have the money to reprint at the present time, but as soon as possible, we will do so. Costs continue to rise, and the economy is not doing very well as you all know. We need to pray for our leaders that they will seek the wisdom of God for solutions!

The last three months have been spiritually very productive, with many decisions for our LORD – the Holy Spirit is working mightily through His Word and the various conferences where David has been.

We appreciate so much your prayers for our health situations. Carole is still on chemotherapy, and continuing to have her blood removed (polycythemia vera) – they don’t replace it. Please pray for her health and strength. The last two years has hit David with a serious case of malaria and a serious case of ecoli. Please pray for his physical strength and for his spiritual strength, trusting in the LORD for His healing!

When David returns from ISRAEL, he will continue to answer questions on on Tuesday night, November 1, 2011, at 6:00 PM (PST) – his Bible study on Revelation continues at 7:00 PM on Tuesday nights and re-broadcast at 12:00 noon on Saturdays (PST). David will also be teaching his weekly Radio Bible Class on Wednesday night, November 2, 2011 – his study will be on Jeremiah 30 – THE TIME OF JACOB’S TROUBLE! Don’t miss it!

David’s schedule in November will take him to Lake Villa, Illinois, Chico, CA, Redwood City, CA, and San Jacinto, CA.

David will also be speaking at the Pre-Trib Research Center Conference in Dallas, Texas, on December 5-7, 2011 on the subject “THE RAPTURE IN THE BOOK OF REVELATION.”

He will also be doing a Men’s Retreat on December 2-3, 2011, in Goodyear, Arizona. On December 11 he will be at the Family Church in Antioch, CA.

Thanks again for your continual prayer and financial support for this ministry whose motto is THE BIBLE, THE WHOLE BIBLE, AND NOTHING BUT THE BIBLE!

Love to you all!


Wednesday, October 12th, 2011

by Gavriel Queenann (Arutz Sheva News)

The week-long Jewish festival of Sukkot, commemorating God’s protection of the Jews during their 40-year sojourn prior to entering the Promised Land, begins Wednesday evening.

On this holiday, Jews build, dwell and often sleep in temporary booth-type structures, sukkot, reminding them of their desert dwellings and of the Clouds of Glory that protected them during that time. In fact, one of the sounds heard throughout Israel from about an hour after the Yom Kippur fast has ended is the tapping and banging of hammers and saws.

Beginning at sundown, Sukkot is one of the three major festivals of the Jewish calendar in which the Jewish People were enjoined to “go up to Jerusalem.” It is called the ‘festival of rejoicing’, and the entire Hallel prayer is said each day of the holiday. “Sukkot”, says Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks, “is a complex set of variations on the theme of life, It is a festival of a people who have known more starkly than any other that the canopy of faith is the only shelter we have”.

While the holiday lasts for seven days in Israel, only the first day is regarded as a Sabbath-like “Holy Day” on which most Sabbath restrictions, except for preparing food for that day, apply.

The second through seventh days are known as “Chol HaMoed,” literally meaning a combination of holiday (moed) and weekday (chol).

On these days, most ordinary activities are permitted. In Israel, it is customary to see mass outings of families and friends throughout the country as domestic tourism floods a myriad of sites throughout Israel. For observant Jews, Chol HaMoed Sukkot and Passover are the only days besides Yom Hatzmaut where everyone is on vacation and driving a car is allowed, so they take full advantage of it.

Outside Israel, Sukkot begins with a two-day Sabbath-like holiday, with the third through seventh days serving as Chol HaMoed.

Sukkot is followed by the holiday of Shmini Atzeret – the Assembly of the Eighth Day – which is considered a separate holiday on which Sabbath-like restrictions apply and on which the solemn prayer for rain is said.

In the Diaspora, Shmini Atzeret, on which Yizkor is said, is followed by Simchat Torah, the celebration of Torah, during which communities feast, dance with the Torah scrolls, and say numerous blessings to celebrate the annual conclusion of the Torah-reading cycle.

In Israel, Simchat Torah is observed on Shmini Atzeret, making for a long and festive day in the synagogue, with the prayer for rain and Yizkor, but hours of dancing with the Torahs, the calling up of every man present to say the blessings on the Torah by having multiple readings, having a special prayer for the younger children under a prayer shawl held as a canopy over their heads, in addition to the regular holiday prayers.

In the days running up to Sukkot, Jewish communities are filled with the sounds of hammers and saws, and the labor of those constructing the booths from which Sukkot derives its common English name ‘The Feast of Tabernacles.”

On the nights of Chol Hamoed, “Water-Drawing Celebrations,” called Simchat Beit HaShoeva (Celebration of the House of Water-Drawing), are held to commemorate the ceremonies and celebrations that took place at the Holy Temple in Jerusalem in preparation for drawing water for use during the festival services.

These celebrations, held in Jewish communities around the world, and a highlight in Hassidic communities and Israeli yeshivas, where the students return from vacation for the night on which their yeshiva celebrates, often feature all-night music and singing by live bands.

Lulav and Etrog: Unity of the Jewish People

One of the most important customs of Sukkot is the recitation of the blessings over the Four Species: an etrog (citron), a lulav (palm frond), three sprigs of hadassim (myrtle) and two branches of aravot (red willow). These have to meet halakhic specifications, so it is recommended to purchase them from a reliable source or buy a ready made set with rabbinic certification.

The lulav and etrog are blessed each morning – women and children usually do this at home while men wait for morning synagogue services, the lulav held in the right hand and the etrog in the left with the stem end (oketz) facing upward until the blessing is said, after which the etrog is turned so that the tip (pitom) faces upward.

The Four Species are waved in six directions: east, west, north, south, up and down during the Hallel prayer and then carried in a march around the synagogue for the Hoshana (“Save us”) prayer each morning of the holiday excepting the Sabbath.

The lulav is only considered kosher if all four species are taken together – if one is missing, the entire lulav is invalid. From this, we learn that all Jews must work together and remain united, as one People, regardless of our differences.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: For Messianic believers, read John 7:2, 14, 37-39)


Tuesday, October 11th, 2011

by Gavriel Queenann (Arutz Sheva News)

A Lebanese strategic analyst close to Hizbullah warned on Monday the terror group will strike Israeli gas-exploration interests if Tel Aviv continues drilling in the Tamar and Leviathan gas fields.

“In case the enemy steals Lebanon’s oil, Hezbollah will have the right to strike its oil installations and facilities,” Feisal Abdossater told Iran’s semi-official Fars News Agency.

Abdossater described Israel’s drilling operations in the Mediterranean as ‘aggressive and expansionist’ saying they had heightened tension between Beirut and Jerusalem.

“Zionists’ plot to find control over Lebanon’s sea wealth has a high potential for clashes between the two sides and is likely to have dire consequences,” he stated.

“The Lebanese Islamic resistance will not tolerate any kind of aggressions against the country’s sovereignty,” he reiterated, and added, “Hizbullah views the oil resources in Lebanon’s water as a treasure for the Lebanese nation and has declared its position in this regard very transparently.”

“Hizbullah will cut the hands of anyone who targets Lebanon’s sovereignty,” the analyst continued.

Earlier in July 2011, Hizbullah Leader Seyed Hassan Nasrallah warned Israel against trying to steal Lebanon’s maritime resources, and said it would retaliate against any Israeli attack on the country’s oil and gas interests.

Nasrallah’s comments prompted Israeli officials to deploy armed UAVs over the disputed gas fields to protect Israeli gas interests in the Mediterranean.

Israel and Lebanon have never had formally set borders, and instead relied on the 1949 Armistice lines, or “Green Line,” as a de jure border until 2000.

In 2000, when Israel withdrew from the buffer zone it had created in southern Lebanon, it redeployed its forces along the “Blue Line,” set by UN Security Council in Resolution 425. Lebanon declined to participate in the talks that determined the Blue Line.

Israel submitted a map dillineating its sea boundary with Lebanon to the United Nations in answer to a similar submission by the Hizbullah-dominated government of Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati earlier this year.

Observers at the time noted Israel’s map took into account the Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) set by Lebanon and Cyprus in 2007, which have already been accepted by the United Nations and United States, as its likely future border. Israel drew its boundary from the Blue Line on the coast to Point 1, the southernmost extension of Lebanon’s EEZ with Cyprus.

Lebanon, however, drew its border 17 kilometers to the south of Point 1 so that they would cut into the disputed D, E, and F blocks of the Tamar and Leviathan fields. While Beirut’s economic agreement with Cyprus did allow for Point 1 to be adjusted based on future negotiations with Israel, no such negotiations have been undertaken.

Last month an Israeli consortium, in conjunction with Houston-based giant Noble Energy, began drilling in the A, B, and C blocks to the south of the Lebanese-claimed zone.

Also Monday, Beirut said it was dispatching doplomats to Nicosia to renegotiate its boundary with Cyprus. Nicosia, however, has been conducting closed-door meetings with Jerusalem over the development of gas fields in its own terriotry since last month.


Tuesday, October 11th, 2011

Rosh HaShanah is also known as the “Feast of Trumpets” and begins the Jewish New Year. On the Jewish Calendar it comes on the first day of the month Tishri (Biblical information in Leviticus 23:23-25). Immediately following this day Jews honor ten days that emphasize repentance – often calling them “the days of awe.” These “High Holy Days” are ended with Yom Kippur, known as the Day of Atonement, which falls of Tishri 10. On Tishri 15 begins the joyful celebration of Succoth or the Feast of Tabernacles (continues for eight days – the first and eighth days treated as “Shabat” (Sabbath Days – “holy convocations”) – no manual labor is to be done.

Jewish tradition believes that God writes every person’s words, deeds, and thoughts in the Book of Life which He opens and examines on the Day of Atonement. If your good deeds outnumber your bad deeds for the past year, that person’s name will be inscribed in the Book of Life for another year. So, during Rosh HaShanah and the ten days that follow, people can not only repent of their sins, but they can increase their good deeds and their chances of being inscribed in the Book of Life. Of course, there is very little security in such a practice, nor does the Bible teach it. During Rosh HaShanah services in a Jewish synagogue, the Shofar is blown 100 times.

Isaiah 64:6 says “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

Isaiah 59:1-2 states clearly: “Behold, the LORD’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither His ear heavy, that it cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid His face from you, that He will not hear.”

King David wrote in his psalm of repentance that what we need is the “mercy of God” – Psalm 51:1-10 emphasizes that God must cleanse us from our sins and only He can make us “whiter than snow.”

“Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Thy lovingkindness:
according unto the multitude of Thy tender mercies blot out my
transgressions. Wash ma throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse
me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin
is ever before me. Against Thee, Thee only, have I sinned, and done
this evil in Thy sight: that Thou mightiest be justified when Thou speakest, and be clear when Thou judgest. Behold, I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me. Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part Thou shalt make me to know wisdom. Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clear: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which Thou hast broken may rejoice. Hide my face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.”

Isaiah 43:25 quotes the LORD saying: “I, even I, am He that blotteth out thy transgressions for Mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.”

Isaiah 44:21-22 says: “Remember these, O Jacob and Israel; for thou art My servant: I have formed thee; thou art My servant: O Israel, thou shalt not be forgotten of Me. I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins: return unto Me; for I have redeemed thee.”


Wednesday, October 5th, 2011

by David Singer (Australian lawyer)

The appearance of Mahmoud Abbas at the podium of the United Nations General Assembly on 23 September was reportedly met with “rapturous applause” by those present to witness this latest farce in the ongoing efforts to create a new Arab State between Israel and Jordan for the first time ever in recorded history.

UN Secretary General Ban KI – moon was presented with a letter signed by Mr Abbas as “ President of the State of Palestine, Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization “.

Mr Abbas’s letter stated that he had – “the profound honor, on behalf of the Palestinian people to submit this application of the State of Palestine for admission to membership in the United Nations.”

He continued: “This application for membership is being submitted on the Palestinian people’s natural, legal and historic rights and based on United Nations General Assembly resolution 181 (II) of 29 November 1947 as well as the Declaration of Independence of the State of Palestine of 15 November 1988 and the acknowledgement by the General Assembly of this declaration in resolution 43/177 of 15 December 1988.

“In this connection, the state of Palestine affirms its commitment to the achievement of a just, lasting and comprehensive resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict based on the vision of two states living side by side in peace and security, as endorsed by the United Nations Security Council and General Assembly and the international community as a whole and based on international law and all relevant United Nations resolutions.”

Those joining in the rapturous applause should now digest what Mr Abbas is asking for – and reflect on his standing to do so.

When they do – the application should be rejected by both the Security Council and the General Assembly for the following reasons:

1.Mr Abbas falsely continues to use the title “President of Palestine” although his term of office expired on 1 January 2010 pursuant to Article 36 of the Basic Law 2003 (as amended).

2.The application does not identify the territorial boundaries of Palestine and thus would preclude any action by the UN against such a member – should the provisions of the UN Charter be breached by it n the future.

3. No State can be admitted as a member of the UN that fails to comply with the preconditions necessary for the declaration of Statehood pursuant to the Montevideo Convention 1933. The Declaration of Independence of the State of Palestine on 15 November 1988 is similarly deficient.

4. Basing the application on UN General Assembly Resolution 181(11) of 29 November 1947 is meaningless since this Resolution was rejected in 1947 and has become extant. General Assembly resolutions in any event are not binding in international law.

5. As Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) – Mr Abbas is committed to maintaining the territorial indivisibility of Israel, Gaza, the West Bank and Jordan under Article 2 of the PLO Charter. The current application contains no mention of his intention to revoke this provision in the Charter or to forgo any claims to any other parts of this territory from either Israel or Jordan.

6. Claiming that the application is based on international law and all relevant UN resolutions is contradicted by the fact that the PLO considers all such law null and void under article 20 of the PLO Charter which states:

“The Balfour Declaration, the Mandate for Palestine, and everything that has been based upon them, are deemed null and void.“

No commitment has been made by Chairman Abbas to revoke this provision of the PLO Charter as a condition of the UN approving his application for membership.

7. The PLO is no longer the sole spokesman for the Palestinian Arabs and Mr Abbas is deceiving the UN in claiming to be speaking “on behalf of the Palestinian people”

An unconstitutional President claiming to be the sole spokesman for the Palestinian Arabs when he clearly is not – as his unresolved power struggle with Hamas shows – applying for membership of the United Nations for a country within undefined boundaries that is not controlled by the PLO whilst claiming to respect and observe international law when the opposite is demonstrably evident – is indeed the theater of the absurd into which the UN finds itself being propelled once again..

Israel’s Prime Minister – Benjamin Netanyahu – followed Mr Abbas to the podium and was quick to point out how automatic majorities at the UN had been used to incite institutionalized hatred against Israel.

“After all, it was here in 1975 that the age-old yearning of my people to restore our national life in our ancient biblical homeland — it was then that this was braided — branded, rather — shamefully, as racism.

And it was here in 1980, right here, that the historic peace agreement between Israel and Egypt wasn’t praised; it was denounced!

And it’s here year after year that Israel is unjustly singled out for condemnation. It’s singled out for condemnation more often than all the nations of the world combined. Twenty-one out of the 27 General Assembly resolutions condemn Israel — the one true democracy in the Middle East.

Well, this is an unfortunate part of the UN institution. It’s the — the theater of the absurd. It doesn’t only cast Israel as the villain; it often casts real villains in leading roles: Gadhafi’s Libya chaired the UN Commission on Human Rights; Saddam’s Iraq headed the UN Committee on Disarmament.

You might say: That’s the past. Well, here’s what’s happening now — right now, today. Hizbullah-controlled Lebanon now presides over the UN Security Council. This means, in effect, that a terror organization presides over the body entrusted with guaranteeing the world’s security.

You couldn’t make this thing up.

So here in the UN, automatic majorities can decide anything. They can decide that the sun sets in the west or rises in the west. I think the first has already been pre-ordained. But they can also decide — they have decided that the Western Wall in Jerusalem, Judaism’s holiest place, is occupied Palestinian territory.”

The theater of the absurd is definitely set to swing into action once again at the UN over the next few weeks. As it does so – the authority and standing of the UN is set to sink into further disrepute.


Wednesday, October 5th, 2011

by Ryan Jones (Israel Today News)

Syrian President Bashar Assad on Tuesday reportedly threatened to bombard Tel Aviv with ballistic missiles if NATO or other Western powers dare to interfere with his violent crackdown on Syrian pro-democracy demonstrations.

Iran’s Fars news agency reported that Assad made the threat during a meeting with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmad Davutoglu. According to Assad, he would “not need more than 6 hours to transfer hundreds of rockets and missiles to the Golan Heights to fire them at Tel Aviv.”

Assad reportedly said the Syrian missile barrage would also be complimented by an intense Hizballah missile assualt from Lebanon on northern Israel.

Were that scenario to play out, Assad is said to be confident that Iran would launch an attack on US warships in the Persian Gulf.

While the situation is wholly out of Israel’s hands, there is concern in the Jewish state over what Assad may interpret as Western interference.

Israeli commentators have already stressed that if Assad feels he is going to be toppled, he will have nothing to lose by launching a last minute attack on Israel. In fact, by doing so he has much to gain, as a missile assault on Tel Aviv would solidify Assad’s legacy as a dedicated enemy of the hated “Zionist entity.”

Meanwhile, the Obama Administration was outraged on Tuesday when Russia and China vetoed a UN Security Council resolution condemning the Assad regime’s brutal suppression of pro-democracy protestors in Syria.

Russia and China “would rather sell arms to the Syrian regime than stand with the Syrian people,” said US Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice after storming out of the Security Council. “Today the courageous people of Syria can now see who on this council supports their yearning for liberty and universal human rights and who does not.”

Conservative estimates are that 2,700 civilians have been killed by force loyal to Assad over the past six months.


Tuesday, October 4th, 2011

by Elad Benari (Arutz Sheva News)

The Obama Administration is lobbying Congress to unblock $200 million in aid for the Palestinian Authority that was frozen because of its statehood bid in the United Nations, Reuters reported on Monday.

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland was quoted as having said that the Administration was in “intensive” discussions with key lawmakers who had put holds on the money.

“We still have some money in the pipeline but the concern is that if we don’t get this going with the Congress in short order there could be an effect on the ground,” Nuland told a news briefing.

She added, “There have been some concerns in some parts of Congress and we are trying to work through those.”

Over the weekend, the British Independent newspaper reported that officials in Washington have decided to hold up aid to the Palestinian Authority. A report on Army Radio on Sunday quoted Congressmen Gary Ackerman, a member of the House Foreign Relations Committee, as saying that “if the PA is willing to place its fate in the hands of the UN, perhaps they should also seek aid from the UN.”

The report remained unconfirmed until Monday, when U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta criticized the Congressional move during a Tel Aviv press conference with Israeli counterpart Ehud Barak.

“The Administration opposes holding these funds from the Palestinians,” Panetta said, insisting the funds have helped improve Israel’s security.

“This is a critical time and it is not a time to withhold those funds,” he said.

A few months ago, both the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate passed resolutions backing the suspension of funds to the PA should it pursue its bid for a unilateral declaration of statehood.

Nuland said on Monday the Obama Administration viewed U.S. aid as crucial to preparing the PA for its eventual role as the government of a Palestinian state.

“We think it is money that is not only in the interest of the Palestinians, it is in U.S. interest and it is also in Israeli interest and we would like to see it go forward,” she said.

Meanwhile, it was reported on Monday that European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton has assured PA officials they were still on the EU dole.

According to a report in the Arabic-language Al-Quds newspaper, “Ashton informed Abbas that the EU projects to the PA and the Palestinians which are carried out in the Palestinian Territories, won’t be frozen due to the PA Leader move at the UN.”


Monday, October 3rd, 2011

By Khaled Abu Toameh

PA president tells US defense chief that PA prepared for talks if pre-67 lines accepted; Erekat: Panetta carries ‘clear message’ to Palestinians.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday told visiting US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta that the Palestinians are prepared to return to the negotiating table if Israel stopped construction in the settlements and accepted the pre-1967 lines as the basis for a two-state solution.

Chief PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat, who attended the meeting in Ramallah between Abbas and the US secretary of defense, said that Panetta carried “clear messages” to the Palestinians.

Erekat: US cannot use aid as blackmail against the PA
PA ministers say US hasn’t confirmed it’s cutting aid

Erekat said that Panetta affirmed US President Barack Obama’s commitment to the two-state solution.

Erekat quoted Panetta as saying that Obama considers the establishment of a Palestinian state as a Palestinian, Israeli and American interest.

“The US Secretary of Defense said that the US sees that the most appropriate way is the resumption of the peace talks and the recent Quartet proposal provides a mechanism for this,” Erekat told the Bethlehem-based Ma’an news agency.

According to Erekat, Panetta also told the PA leadership that Washington was making big efforts to change Congress’s decision to suspend financial aid to the Palestinians.

Abbas, for his part, told Panetta that he agrees to the Quartet proposal, but Netanyahu should assume responsibility and accept it, Erekat added.

Erekat said that the moment the construction in the settlements stops the PA would return to the negotiations.

Meanwhile, Nimer Hammad, a top advisor to Abbas, reiterated the Palestinians’s refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state.

He said that if US financial aid to the Palestinians was conditioned on recognition of Israel as a Jewish state, “we won’t do so at all.”

Mohammed Shtayyeh, member of the Fatah Central Committee and a close aide to Abbas, said that the Arab and Islamic countries have expressed readiness to compensate the Palestinians for the loss of Western aid.

He said that since the establishment of the PA in 1994, the US has given the PA a total of $2.4 billion – $150 million a year.

In addition, the Americans have given the Palestinians another $1 billion in aid through non-governmental organizations during the same period, he added.

Shtayyeh said that the current crisis facing USAID was the result of Congress’s delay in approving additional funds to the American organization, which has been funding various infrastructure projects in the Palestinian territories.

Shtayyeh added that the US Administration was not bound by Congress’s decisions and could “bypass” the legislator as was the case in 2006. Then, Congress decided to suspend financial aid after the formation of a Fatah-Hamas unity government.

According to Shtayyeh, Catherine Ashton, the EU’s chief foreign policy representative, has assured Abbas that the EU would seek to fulfill all its financial obligations to the Palestinians.

He quoted Ashton as saying that the EU would not link the aid to the PA leadership’s decision to apply for full membership in the UN.


Sunday, October 2nd, 2011

by Chana Ya’ar (Arutz Sheva News)

The State of Israel on Sunday officially accepted a plan by the Quartet of peacekeeping nations to restart final status talks with the Palestinian Authority.

The Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement issued Sunday that Israel “welcomes the Quartet’s call for direct negotiations between the parties without preconditions, as called for by both President [Barack] Obama and by Prime Minister Netanyahu” in their respective speeches at the United Nations General Assembly.

The PMO statement added that even though Israel had reservations about the plan, “we will raise them at the appropriate time. We call upon the Palestinian Authority to do the same and to enter into direct negotiations without delay,” the statement said.

The Quartet, comprised of the United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations, has published a new timetable for direct negotiations between the two parties, urging both Israel and the PA to come to the table within four weeks. During this initial meeting, the two sides are expected to express their commitment to a timetable which will allegedly bring forth a peace agreement by the end of 2012.

The Quartet statement describing its proposal followed the speech given by PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas at the United Nations General Assembly in which he officially launched the entity’s statehood bid.

The PA Ministry of Foreign Affairs, meanwhile, has since continued to call on the Quartet to immediately intervene with Israel to halt all Jewish construction in the territories it demands for its hoped-for state, before it will consider a return to negotiations.

In a news release issued by the ministry on the eve of the Jewish New Year last week, the PA government declared “The Israeli authorities continually and arrogantly refuse to abide by the international resolutions and continue to defy the international community through its decision to build 1100 housing units in Jerusalem, bring the number of housing units to more than 1800 units, which were approved by the Israeli authorities in order to judaize Jerusalem and completely isolate it from the West Bank.”

The statement referred to a routine district planning committee decision to expand the number of housing units approved for the Jerusalem neighborhood of Gilo. The plan will be subject to 60 days of public debate before reaching final approval from Jerusalem municipal authorities. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said last week that he had no intention of interfering with or halting the project, nor would he start another building freeze to appease the PA. “We gave at the office,” he commented.

The PA meanwhile called for “actual actions, not only international condemnations, to deter” Israel’s building activities. PA officials called on the Quartet “to insure an immediate cessation of settlement activities and protect the two-state solution in accordance with the international terms of reference.” In addition, the PA statement called on the members of the United Nations Security Council to vote in favor of the entity’s statehood bid, as “it is a key to the success of the peace process and any future negotiations.”

The United States, one of five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, has already said from the outset that it will exercise its veto if the PA manages to garner the required nine votes to win passage of the resolution.

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