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

Archive for June, 2013


Tuesday, June 25th, 2013

by Ryan Jones (Israel Today News)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has agreed to a series of concessions proposed by US Secretary of State John Kerry with the aim of kick starting peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, according to Israeli media.

Netanyahu will reportedly set free 120 Palestinian terrorists jailed prior to the signing of the “Oslo” peace accords in 1993. The Palestinians insist that because these men carried out their crimes prior to the signing of any agreements, they must be viewed as prisoners of war, not criminals, despite their attempts to mass murder Jewish men, women and children.

Of course, the Palestinian regime also insists that terrorists jailed after the signing of the peace agreements are, in fact, not terrorists either, since they merely killed Jews who were “occupying” their land.

Netanyahu is also said to be ready to halt all Jewish construction outside of major settlement blocs in Judea and Samaria, the so-called “West Bank” that the Palestinians claim for their future state. Israeli officials have already acknowledged that a de facto construction freeze is in place.

The goal of these concessions is to give Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas something he can present as a “victory” in order to entice him back to the negotiating table.

According to Palestinian reports, it was only partly successful.

While Abbas is reportedly ready to drop his preconditions for renewing talks, he will only do so temporarily. In essence, according to Palestinian media reports, Abbas will come to the negotiating table with the intent of blackmailing Netanyahu.

If Netanyahu fails to make a proposal that meets all Arab demands right away, Abbas has threatened to again turn to the United Nations to unilaterally recognize an independent Palestinian state.

Despite what many in the region recognize as the same old intractable positions, Kerry is hailing the deal as a historic opportunity and is expected back in the region shortly.


Monday, June 24th, 2013

by JPOST.COM STAFF, Tovah Lazaroff

PM responds to overnight rocket fire on South, vowing “nothing will be allowed to drip or accumulate”; Liberman says Israel should consider reoccupying Gaza; Hamas PM Haniyeh: We are not afraid of Israeli threats.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Monday warned Palestinians in the Hamas-led Gaza Strip that Israel would continue to act militarily against elements who launch missiles and rockets at the country’s population centers.

Netanyahu’s comments came after six rockets were fired from Gaza into southern Israel overnight, prompting the Israel Air Force to respond with air strikes on multiple terror targets. The IDF Spokesman’s office said that, while the Islamic Jihad was behind the rocket attacks, Israel still holds Hamas responsible for all attacks emanating from Gaza.

IAF strikes Gaza targets in response to rocket fire

“Yesterday, rockets were fired against our communities and we immediately responded,” the premier said. “My policy is to harm anyone who is trying to hurt us.”

Netanyahu said Israel would not permit a trickle of rocket fire to go unanswered. “Nothing will be allowed to drip or accumulate,” he said.

“We have acted and will continue to act against threats that are near and far,” Netanyahu said. “I believe that Jews must be able to defend themselves, by themselves, and to act with determination against any enemy that tries to harm us.”

Earlier on Monday, former foreign minister Avigdor Liberman told Israel Radio that the government should seriously consider the reoccupation of the Gaza Strip in response to Palestinian rocket fire on the western Negev.

Liberman, who currently heads the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, said that if Israel were to allow the status quo to persist, Hamas would amass a fleet of aircraft and missiles that would threaten populous coastal towns like Tel Aviv and Netanya.

“Hamas has no intention of reconciling with a Jewish presence in Israel,” the chairman of the Yisrael Beytenu party said. “So we need to return to the Gaza Strip and conduct a thorough cleaning.”

When asked if his position was supported by the Prime Minister and defense minister, Liberman said he did not know.

Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh responded to Liberman’s comments, saying that the Gaza leadership “is not afraid of Israeli threats.”

“These threats will not weaken the resolve of the Palestinian people,” Channel 2 quoted Haniyeh as saying at a press conference. “We are fulfilling our responsibility to maintain security,” he added.


Monday, June 24th, 2013

by Rina Tzvi (Arutz Sheva News)

Secretary of State John Kerry called on the Taliban to get peace talks “back on track,” after the recent breakdown of negotiations.

“Now we need to see if we can get it back on track. I don’t know whether that’s possible or not,” Kerry said on Saturday at a press conference in Qatar.

The potential peace talks between the Taliban, U.S. and Afghan government got off to a shaky start, as Afghan President Hamid Karzai withdrew after the Taliban flew a flag at the Doha office that said “Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan,” the name of the former Taliban government in Afghanistan, The Hill reported.

“If there is not a decision to move forward by the Taliban in short order, then we may have to consider whether or not the office has to be closed,” Kerry said.

“Now it is obvious from just the early churning around the opening of that office that nothing comes easily in this endeavor, and we understand that,” Kerry said. “And the road ahead will be difficult, no question about it, if there is a road ahead.”

“And it is our hope that this could ultimately be an important step in reconciliation if it’s possible. We know that that – it may well not be possible, and it’s really up to the Taliban to make that choice,“ he added.

Kerry said the Afghan High Peace Council, the U.S. and the Qataris have fulfilled their obligations,“ and it remains to be seen in this very first test whether or not the Taliban are prepared to do their part.”

On Tuesday, Afghan security forces took over responsibility for security operations from NATO forces. The U.S.-led NATO coalition intends to withdraw all combat troops by 2014, leaving a residual support force


Sunday, June 23rd, 2013

By Dan Wooding
Founder of ASSIST Ministries

COSTA MESA, CA (ANS) — Janette Smith Manderson, the daughter of Pastor Chuck Smith, senior pastor of Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa, California, has issued an urgent prayer request for her father who is battling lung cancer.

In a message posted on Facebook, she wrote: “Update on my dad: Prayer warriors, it is time to put on your armor and fight in the spiritual arena. Dad’s doctors just upgraded his lung cancer from Stage 3 to Stage 4, due to the fluid in his lung. This fluid contains cancer cells. He just had the fluid removed for the second time.
“He will enter the hospital on July 1st to have more fluid removed (which will take two days) and a CAT scan to see if his lung is expanding. If his lung does not expand, he will have to have a catheter installed in the lung area to help him to empty the fluid at home. If his lung does expand, they will put talc into his lung to keep the fluid from forming.

“The talc procedure is simpler and preferable for various reasons. Please ask the Lord for His perfect plan for Dad to be accomplished. We trust our Heavenly Father to know best. Thank you eternally for praying.”

It was on Sunday (January 1, 2012) when many in the congregation at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa, California, were shocked and surprised when Pastor Chuck Smith announced during the morning services that he has lung cancer. Yet Smith, now in his mid-eighties and the father of the Jesus People Revolution in Southern California, said that he has never smoked in his life.

At the time Pastor Chuck, as he is known to his thousands who attend his church, agreed to talk candidly with me about his illness. During an interview he gave me during the “Meet the Missionaries” event at the church on Saturday, January 7, 2012, where he made a surprise appearance, he began by answering my question about how he was feeling. “I’m feeling great,” he began. “You know, it’s an interesting thing, with what they say is going on inside of me, that I’m not feeling it at all. There is no pain and I am just rejoicing in the Lord.” I then asked him when he first heard that he had lung cancer. “Actually, I do my physical checkups twice a year and they take blood and analyze it and there was one of the factors that was in the blood that was increasing dramatically and so that was an indication that there was something wrong and it did indicate the possibility of cancer,” he said.
“So that instigated a bunch of tests — PET scans, CAT scans, MRI’s (Magnetic resonance imaging) — and the whole thing. It seems like it’s pretty much localized in the area of my middle lobe of the right lung, and so it looks like it’s treatable and so we know it’s in the hands of the Lord so I have no fears.”

He went on to say, “It’s all in the Lord’s hands and I am trusting Him to guide them, and I’m sure He’s guiding me. “It’s an interesting thing that people expect you to sort of panic, but why?,” he asked, “because I know that God’s on the throne.”
I then asked Pastor Chuck why he decided to announce to the church at the three morning services that he had lung cancer. “Well you know,” he said, “rumors can get going and they can get so distorted and so I wanted them to hear it directly from me rather than from some other source where they would not maybe get the correct information and I wanted them to hear it from me and know the confidence that I have in the Lord; that He’s on the throne and He’s going to take care of it and I’m not really panicked and I’m not really worried.

“Whatever comes, as I said to them on Sunday, the worst thing that can happen is I could die, but that’s great you know,” he added with a huge smile. I wondered if he still planned to continue preaching and with his booming voice he said, “Oh my, yes. There will be no giving up on that and I will be continuing on.” And he has been doing just that with a busy radio and television schedule with his Pastor’s Perspective program on the KWVE Radio Network (, his weekly update on His Channel (,) and, of course, his busy preaching schedule at the church.

On December 27, 2009, Chuck Smith suffered a couple of “minor strokes” and was hospitalized in a local a local hospital, so I asked him how the lung cancer diagnosis differed from this latest situation. “This is different because with the strokes I was really physically weakened as a result and it took a little longer to rehabilitate from that. But this is something that I expect to just be out for just a short time,” he said.

Finally how can people pray for you Pastor Chuck? “Well, just pray that the Lord’s will be done because whatever it is, I’m open to Him,” he said.

Since the news came out about Pastor Chuck’s lung cancer, literally thousands of people around the world have been praying for him. One of them is keyboard legend, Rick Wakeman, who played some benefit concerts for ASSIST at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa as well as other Calvary Chapels. I asked Wakeman if he would comment on Chuck Smith for me from his home in the UK, from where he has been asking Christians in the British Entertainment field to also pray for him.
Rick said, “I first met Chuck so many years ago now, and what I do remember though is the impact this man had on me, and in many ways still does — I quote him a lot. “What’s special about Chuck is that he lives in the real world. He is a Christian living in a world that like many of us, he doesn’t like a lot of what is going on, yet he works tirelessly to bring Christianity and decency amongst all the mayhem.

“You only have to look at Calvary Chapel to know that God is with him all the way and will always be so. Even Chuck is human though, and for many, including Chuck, fighting health issues is all part and parcel of the world we live in and a challenge that people like Chuck rise to.

“So many people are constantly in Chuck’s prayers, so I hope that they have put Chuck in theirs. He’s certainly in mine!”

So now, we need to all join together to pray again for Pastor Chuck as he faces this latest challenge.


Saturday, June 22nd, 2013


Military aid to be funneled through Western-backed rebel command.
DOHA – Western and Arab countries opposed to President Bashar Assad agreed at talks in Qatar on Saturday to give urgent military support to Syrian rebels fighting for his overthrow, and to channel it through a Western-backed rebel military command.

Ministers from the 11 main countries which form the Friends of Syria group including the United States, European and regional Sunni Muslim powers, agreed “to provide urgently all the necessary materiel and equipment to the opposition on the ground, each country in its own way in order to enable them to counter brutal attacks by the regime and its allies”.

They also condemned “the intervention of HIzbullah militias and fighters from Iran and Iraq”, demanding that they withdraw immediately.

After a series of military offensives by Assad’s troops, including the Hizbullah-backed recapture of a strategic border town two weeks ago, US President Barack Obama said the United States would increase military support for the rebels.

Two Gulf sources told Reuters on Saturday that Saudi Arabia, which has taken a lead role among Arab opponents of Assad, had also accelerated delivery of advanced weapons to the rebels.

“In the past week there have been more arrivals of these advanced weapons. They are getting them more frequently,” one source said, without giving details. Another Gulf source described them as “potentially balance-tipping” supplies.

Rebel fighters say they need anti-aircraft and anti-tank weapons to stem the fightback by Assad’s forces in a civil war that has already killed 93,000 people and driven 1.6 million refugees into neighboring countries.

The increasingly sectarian dynamic of the war pits mainly Sunni Muslims against forces loyal to Assad, from the Alawite minority which is an offshoot of Shi’ite Islam, and has split the Middle East along Sunni-Shi’ite lines.

Qatar’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani, whose country has been one of the most open backers of the anti-Assad rebels, said that supplying them with weapons was the only way to resolve the conflict.

“Force is necessary to achieve justice. And the provision of weapons is the only way to achieve peace in Syria’s case,” Sheikh Hamad told ministers at the start of the talks.

“We cannot wait due to disagreement among Security Council members over finding a solution to the problem,” he said. He also called on Lebanon’s government to halt intervention by Lebanese factions in the neighboring conflict.

Lebanese Hizbullah guerrillas led the assault by Assad’s forces to recapture the town of Qusair earlier this month.

Speaking before Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Doha, a US official said the United States wanted to ensure that “every kind of assistance” offered by the 11 countries attending the meeting go through the Supreme Military Council, led by General Salim Idriss, a former commander in Assad’s army.

A diplomat who had seen the draft communique of the meeting said it also spoke of putting pressure on Assad to allow greater access for humanitarian aid after the United Nations launched a $5 billion appeal earlier this month – its biggest ever.

But he said there was no mention of establishing a no-fly zone – a move which diplomats have said the United States was studying but which the White House has played down – or specific mention of weapons supplies to the rebels.

The meeting in Qatar brings together ministers of countries that support the anti-Assad rebels – France, Germany, Egypt, Italy, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Britain and the United States.

Western countries hope by channeling assistance through Idriss they can reduce the influence in the opposition ranks of radical Islamist groups such as the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague reiterated that London had yet to take a formal decision on arming the rebels, but said that only by strengthening the opposition could the West hope to bring about talks for a political settlement.

“We won’t get a political solution if Assad and his regime think they can eliminate all legitimate opposition by force, and so we do have to give assistance to that opposition,” he told reporters before the start of Saturday’s talks.

The United States and Russia, which back opposing sides in the conflict, hope to bring them together for negotiations in Geneva originally scheduled for this month. Hague said there was little prospect of that happening “in the next few weeks”.

“This crisis is on a worse trajectory, it is set to get worse … I don’t want to underestimate the severity and the bleakness of it,” Hague said.


Saturday, June 22nd, 2013

by Amotz Asa-El (Jerusalem Post)

Anti-gov’t dissent forcing Cairo, Tehran, Ankara to look inward; Taksim square represents a clash of wills and generations.

As sanitation workers descended Sunday on Istanbul’s newly emptied Taksim Square, the debris, barricades, gas canisters and burned vehicles they faced loomed as monuments to a clash of wills and generations – not only in Istanbul, but also in Cairo and Tehran, which between them are witnessing the slow emergence of a “New Middle East.”

The Turkish decision to storm the protesters after several weeks of collisions with police seemed inspired by the assault on Beijing’s Tiananmen Square 24 years ago. The Turks, unlike the Chinese in their time, were wise enough to avoid firing live bullets into the crowds, but like the Chinese they assumed that if dealt a surgical and decisive blow at its epicenter, the unrest would be quelled and soon forgotten.

But times have changed, and in the age of Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube, agitation has gone online and epicenters have become elusive.

In Taksim, the police’s painstaking crackdown on the unrest quickly produced it in other places, from Ankara to Izmir. Soon enough, demonstrators were back in the square, resorting to new methods and giving rise to new heroes – like artist Erdem Gunduz, whose silent stand-still vigil there inspired others to emulate him. His image instantaneously flooded social media, where he came to be hailed as “the standing man.”

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whose attitude toward the demonstrators was generally confrontational and demeaning, then emerged as he was not seen once during an 11-year incumbency highlighted by three electoral victories – aloof.

Meanwhile, political tremors were also felt in Tehran and Cairo, making the search for an epicenter even more cryptic than it already was. What, then, is going on? Much has been said in recent years about the gradual unraveling of Erdogan’s “zero problems with neighbors” diplomacy.

That strategy, which sought reconciliations with regional adversaries from Greece, Cyprus and Bulgaria to Syria, Iran and Iraq, has since become a farce. The much-heralded rapprochement with Armenia has faltered, the Cypriot schism is alive and well, Syria is a full-time enemy and Iran is that enemy’s patron. Add to these the squandering of Israel’s friendship and the growing tensions over Syria with Russia, Turkey’s historic archenemy, and you get an entanglement of conflicts more complex, varied and explosive than anything Turkey has faced since World War I.

Now, not only has Ankara’s diplomacy deteriorated into what can be titled “zero neighbors without problems,” Turkey has also lost its last peaceful front, the home front.

Erdogan’s attempt to ascribe the pressure he faces from within to meddling from abroad only underscored his frustration in the face of an attack he failed to foresee, assess and contain. It now is clear that the environmentalist cause that touched off the riots in Istanbul, where Erdogan planned to impose a real estate development on one of the city’s last green lungs, was but a pretext.

What really drove thousands to the streets was a growing sense of political suffocation in the face of an Islamist regime, which had steadily hammered at freedom by arresting journalists, framing generals and conquering the judiciary while steadily imposing Islamist-inspired change, from banning beer ads to wrapping female flight attendants in maxigowns and funny hats.

In short, after having established himself as the only game in town, Erdogan finds himself challenged by a people power that he is doubtfully equipped to accommodate.

This is also what has been happening in Iran, albeit in a different way.

IRAN’S EQUIVALENT of Taksim Square was not last week’s presidential election, but the previous election.

Back in ’09, faced with mass rallies that demanded reforms and implicitly challenged his leadership, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei responded by rigging the election, clubbing demonstrators, arresting thousands and obstructing Internet access.

That unconcealed sense of insecurity multiplied two years later, when Arab regimes collapsed under street pressure and popular Iranian politicians were placed under house arrest, where they remain to this day.

Last week’s presidential election, both in its engineering and in its results, was an extension of this shadow war between a regime that knows it has lost the people’s trust, and a public whose potential eruption is a constant threat that the regime fears more than anything else.

It was this fear of people power that made Khamenei disqualify even the presidential candidacy of an establishment septuagenarian like Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, and it was this popular anger that made the public pick from a shortlist of Khamenei’s darlings the one least agreeable to him.

The President-elect, Hassan Rohani, is apparently neither authorized nor motivated to steer Iran in a new direction. On the contrary, his task, as far as the regime is concerned, is to give the Islamic Republic a nicer face while it continues provoking its people, their neighbors and the entire international system.

Yet Rohani will be hearing one way or another from the people, who now expect him to deliver on his wishful promises to defeat hyperinflation, create jobs, release political prisoners and retrain the modesty police that harass women pedestrians.

Rohani will try to satisfy the public with minimal prisoner releases and slight improvements on freedom of expression, only to learn that on the most pressing front, the economy, nothing will be effective as long as sanctions remain in effect – and the sanctions will not be removed unless Khamenei changes his skin.

That is why the people power that in recent weeks erupted in Istanbul will continue building in Tehran, and will constitute the regime’s main concern.

MEANWHILE, down by the Nile, President Mohamed Morsi’s opponents are preparing to mark his election’s first anniversary next weekend with mass demonstrations that, they promise, will rock Cairo and unseat its first democratically elected President.

Riots already broke out this week in several places including Alexandria and Fayoum, reportedly resulting in dozens of injuries, while opposition activists claimed they gathered 15 million signatures for a petition to hold early elections.

The gathering commotion has produced conflicting fatwas, with some Islamist clerics categorizing the protesters as infidels and thus potentially letting their blood, while al-Azhar Mosque’s Grand Imam Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb ruled the demonstrations legitimate, as did Coptic Pope Tawadros II.

The Egyptian people power indeed pits Islamists against secularists and Muslims against Christians, but above all it pits have-nots against have-nothings, reflecting a deep sense of despair in the face of the country’s deteriorating destitution.

Having been elected by a narrow majority that included non-Islamists who were prepared to give the Muslim Brotherhood a chance, it now is clear that Morsi and his movement, despite having had years to prepare for this moment, reached power with no contingency plans.

Morsi has introduced no economic reforms and done little other than muddle through, while foreign currency reserves have dwindled to several months’ worth of imports, fuel shortages and power outages have become routine, and street safety has become an oxymoron.

Just what kind of unrest will be visited upon Egypt remains to be seen. With Islamists promising to hold pro-Morsi demonstrations parallel to those organized by his opponents, next week’s prospective unrest might result in the army’s intervention, which in turn might be followed by its intervention in the political process.

Egypt, in short, is approaching a political boiling point that might make Turkey’s unrest seem like child play.

BETWEEN THEM, Turkey, Iran and Egypt shape the Middle East. Yet the three have seldom been on the same page simultaneously, as they hail from different civilizations, speak different languages, share no ethnic background, face three different continents, and have different economies, climates and landscapes.

Even so, once the Iranian Revolution was followed by Islamist victories in Turkey and Egypt, a new common denominator seemed to emerge between them, one that could potentially produce new cooperation, in the spirit of Turkey’s thinly veiled hopes to usher in a new Middle Eastern era of faith, business and regionalism.

Now the same people power that originally fueled the Islamists’ ascent is feeding anti-government dissent.

Middle Eastern politics, once the exclusive lot of generalissimos, kinglings, aristocrats and clerics, is being wrested by the people with growing aggressiveness.

This is not quite the free, integrated, tolerant and business-minded “New Middle East” that President Shimon Peres prophesied two decades ago, but it is one where governments are increasingly compelled to look inward, listen to the public, dialogue with adversaries and focus on delivering prosperity, mobility, hope and respect. The more this trend will develop, the more Middle Eastern leaders will deal with domestic policy and the more they will lose interest in foreign affairs.

This may not be a panacea, but it will be better than what preceded it, and it will in fact be good for everyone: the people, their leaders, and their neighbors – including the Jewish state.


Friday, June 21st, 2013

by Chana Ya’ar (Arutz Sheva News)

Lockheed Martin Aircraft Industries has announced that Israel will be the first nation to receive its F-35 stealth fighter jets, the most expensive weapon in U.S. history.

The company’s vice president, Steve O’Bryan, made the announcement Tuesday at the Paris Air Show.

The F-35 is a fifth-generation aircraft capable of evading radar and integrated air defense systems.

There has been great competition for purchase of the aircraft, with South Korea, Canada and other nations in the potential customer lineup.

But an article published Wednesday in Britain’s The Globe and Mail newspaper has raised the specter of cyber espionage in connection with theft of the design data for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

Chinese military hackers have targeted U.S. government and big business programs repeatedly over the past several years, a major security issue that has only recently come under serious scrutiny by the White House. And China is among those nations currently developing its own fifth generation fighter jets. Russia is another.

If in fact hackers managed to penetrate Lockheed Martin’s tight security net and stole the sensitive design data for the new F-35 stealth fighter jet, rival firms will have a major advantage over the U.S. in the market, Pentagon defense acquisitions chief Frank Kendall told a Senate hearing on Wednesday.

“I’m not at all confident that our unclassified information is as well-protected,” he told the lawmakers. “A lot of that is being stolen right now and it’s a major problem for us.”


Friday, June 21st, 2013

by Elad Benari (Arutz Sheva News)

Israel wants peace, but it is not willing to sacrifice its security for it, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said on Thursday evening at the closing session of the Presidential Conference.

“For peace to be maintained, we must be strong in the present and in the future. Because a peace accord that compromises our security will not endure, and I will never compromise the security of the State of Israel and its citizens,” said Netanyahu.

“Therefore, when we talk about ‘tomorrow’ I talk about a tomorrow of peace, security and also prosperity.”

Israel, he said, “must remain strong. And the greatest threat that we face is that the most dangerous weapons in the world fall into the hands of the most dangerous regimes in the world – especially one regime. We cannot allow Iran to achieve nuclear weapons.

“Now, mind you, the people of Iran, they want a better tomorrow. The election results show that very clearly. But Iran’s dictator denies them their rights and he prevents them from materializing that better future.

“The first thing the newly elected President said was that Iran must be guaranteed its rights. He didn’t say: the Iranian people must be guaranteed their rights. He said: Iran must be guaranteed its rights. And the right that Iran stresses that it must have a guarantee on is to develop nuclear weapons.

“This is what this regime is about. So we may be seeing a change in style, but not a change in substance. In fact, the President elect is the author of a doctrine that I call ‘Talk and Enrich’ (enrich nuclear material): You smile, you talk and you move forward towards the bomb. He takes great pride in the fact that when he was Iran’s nuclear negotiator, that’s exactly what he did for many years. He criticizes the past President for not engaging in this tactic to achieve the unchanging and fixed strategy of arming Iran with nuclear weapons.

“We cannot allow the Iranian regime to play that game,” stressed Netanyahu, who said Iran will be tested not by what it says but by what it does. “And what they have to do is to abide by the international demands, stop all enrichment at all levels, remove the nuclear material that’s already been enriched and shut down the illicit nuclear facilities,” he said.

“I say to the international community: keep up the pressure, keep up the pressure and keep to those demands.

“This is fundamental for international security, and it’s fundamental for our security.

Regarding the peace process, Netanyahu once again called on the Palestinian Authority to return to the negotiating table without preconditions.

“The only way to achieve peace, the only way to negotiate a peace and to end the negotiations for peace is to begin the negotiations for peace,” he said. “We’re ready to begin negotiations now, without preconditions. And I hope that the Palestinian leadership is equally ready.

“We’re only 15 minutes apart. Well, with a police escort you could do it faster, but that’s the distance from Ramallah to Jerusalem. There’s no reason on earth we shouldn’t negotiate. And we give Secretary Kerry all the support for his important effort, and I hope he succeeds, because we want to succeed.

“But I’ll say one thing about peace. I think the reason there is no peace has to be addressed. Not in opening the negotiations, because I put no conditions and no requirement on entering the negotiations. But in order to end the negotiations successfully we must address the question of why we’ve been unavailable, why we’ve been unsuccessful in getting peace. Why have successive governments, six Prime Ministers since Oslo, and before Oslo, have not been able to achieve peace with the Palestinians.

“I think it must be understood that this conflict predates 1967 by almost half a century. It predates the settlements, although that’s an issue that will have to be discussed and resolved. All these questions will be discussed.

“But the question we have to ask is why did this conflict rage from 1920, when the first Palestinian Arab attacks on the Jewish immigration office in Jaffa began, till 1967? That’s 47 years. What was that all about? I’ll tell you what it was about. It was the fervent opposition to a Jewish state in any boundary. It didn’t even exist, and once it existed, there was an attempt to put out the life, to extinguish the life of the embryonic Jewish state in the War of Independence and then in the years that followed. That was the reason.

“And then we vacated settlements. We left Gaza and it still continued. And those who are firing rockets into our towns and to our villages, you ask them, ‘Why are you doing this? We left every square inch of Gaza. Why are you doing this?’ They say: ‘To liberate Palestine.’ And we say: ‘You mean Judea, Samaria, the West Bank?’ ‘No,’ they say, ‘Palestine. We mean Be’er Sheva, Ashdod, Ashkelon, Jaffa. You know, Palestine.’ That was and remains the basic problem.”

Netanyahu noted that “Palestinian society is divided into two: those who openly call for our destruction and use terror for that effect, and those, the other half that refuses to confront the first half. And I say, if we’re going to have peace, we’re going to have Palestinian leadership that faces up to this and says: ‘We are willing to make peace with the Jewish state. We will accept the right of the Jewish people to have a nation state.’ That was and remains the underlying problem that makes peace elusive.”

What will ultimately bring about peace, he stressed, is “the willingness of the Palestinians to accept a Jewish state, to accept the right of the Jews to live in their ancient homeland as a sovereign people, this is the most important thing that will determine the success of our efforts.”

He added, “We seek peace with all our neighbors. We seek a Middle East of peace, security, stability, prosperity. We will work to ensure it for our own state. We pray that we can achieve it with others. And I hope that they will pray that same prayer too.

“That’s the tomorrow I wish for. That’s the tomorrow I know you wish for, everyone here, everyone, from Shimon Peres to the last guest here, and everyone who is listening to us out there, may we succeed.”


Thursday, June 20th, 2013


World body’s children’s rights agency says IDF troops use Palestinian children as human shields, informants.

A United Nations human rights body accused Israeli forces on Thursday of mistreating Palestinian children, including by torturing those in custody and using others as human shields.

Palestinian children in the Gaza and the West Bank, captured by Israel in the 1967 war, are routinely denied registration of their birth and access to health care, decent schools and clean water, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child said.

PM attacks ‘hypocritical’ human rights organizations

“Palestinian children arrested by (Israeli) military and police are systematically subject to degrading treatment, and often to acts of torture, are interrogated in Hebrew, a language they did not understand, and sign confessions in Hebrew in order to be released,” it said in a report.

The Foreign Ministry said it had responded to a report by the UN children’s agency UNICEF in March on ill-treatment of Palestinian minors and questioned whether the UN committee’s investigation covered new ground.

“If someone simply wants to magnify their political bias and political bashing of Israel not based on a new report, on work on the ground, but simply recycling old stuff, there is no importance in that,” spokesman Yigal Palmor said.

The report by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child acknowledged Israel’s national security concerns and noted that children on both sides of the conflict continue to be killed and wounded, but that more casualties are Palestinian.

Most Palestinian children arrested are accused of having thrown stones, an offense which can carry a penalty of up to 20 years in prison, the committee said. Israeli soldiers had testified to the often arbitrary nature of the arrests, it said.

The watchdog’s 18 independent experts examined Israel’s record of compliance with a 1990 treaty as part of its regular review of a pact signed by all nations except Somalia and the United States. An Israeli delegation attended the session.

The UN committee regretted Israel’s “persistent refusal” to respond to requests for information on children in the Palestinian territories and occupied Syrian Golan Heights since the last review in 2002.

“Hundreds of Palestinian children have been killed and thousands injured over the reporting period as a result of the state party military operations, especially in Gaza where the state party proceeded to (conduct) air and naval strikes on densely populated areas with a significant presence of children, thus disregarding the principles of proportionality and distinction,” the report said.

Israel battled a Palestinian uprising during part of the 10-year period examined by the committee.

It withdrew its troops and settlers from the Gaza Strip in 2006, but still blockades the Hamas-run enclave, from where Palestinian militants have sometimes fired rockets into Israel.

During the 10-year period, an estimated 7,000 Palestinian children aged 12 to 17, but some as young as nine, had been arrested, interrogated and detained, the UN report said.

Many are brought in leg chains and shackles before military courts, while youths are held in solitary confinement, sometimes for months, the report said.

It voiced deep concern at the “continuous use of Palestinian children as human shields and informants”, saying 14 such cases had been reported between January 2010 and March 2013 alone.

Israeli soldiers had used Palestinian children to enter potentially dangerous buildings before them and to stand in front of military vehicles to deter stone-throwing, it said.

“Almost all those using children as human shields and informants have remained unpunished and the soldiers convicted for having forced at gunpoint a nine-year-old child to search bags suspected of containing explosives only received a suspended sentence of three months and were demoted,” it said.

Israel’s “illegal long-standing occupation” of Palestinian territory and the Syrian Golan Heights, continued expansion of “unlawful” Jewish settlements, construction of the Wall into the West Bank, land confiscation and destruction of homes and livelihoods “constitute severe and continuous violations of the rights of Palestinian children and their families”, it said.

Israel disputes the international position that its settlements in the West Bank are illegal. It says the wall it built there during the uprising stopped Palestinian suicide bombers from reaching its cities.

In March, Palmor, the Foreign Ministry spokesman, had said that officials from the ministry and the military had cooperated with UNICEF in its work on the report, with the goal of improving the treatment of Palestinian minors in custody.

“Israel will study the conclusions and will work to implement them through ongoing cooperation with UNICEF, whose work we value and respect,” he said, in response to the UNICEF report.


Thursday, June 20th, 2013

By Khaled Abu Toameh (Jerusalem Post)

A Palestinian source in Ramallah confirms resignation.

The new Palestinian Authority Prime Minister, Rami Hamdallah, today submitted his resignation to PA President Mahmoud Abbas, a Palestinian source in Ramallah confirmed.

The source gave no reason for Hamdallah’s sudden resignation. It was not clear whether Abbas had accepted the resignation.

Hamdallah was appointed earlier this month to succeed Salam Fayyad. Fayyad, who submitted his resignation on April 13.

Hamdallah has no political experience and is not known to be affiliated with any political faction.

At the time of the Hamdallah appointment, Hamas said that the new government would not represent the Palestinian people.

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said that the new government would be “illegal,” because it had not won the approval of the Palestinian Legislative Council.

Abu Zuhri said that Abbas’s decision was also in violation of agreements with Hamas.

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