Archive for Israel
JERUSALEM — Israel’s air force held a large-scale exercise simulating war on several fronts with enemies that include Iran, Israeli defense officials said Friday.
The practice this week involved Israel’s entire air arm and was meant to prepare for an all-out war, including missile attacks aimed at Israeli cities, the officials said. It lasted four days, ending Thursday.
Israel periodically conducts such exercises. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the details of the exercise were not made public.
The military said it was part of its annual training program, using the word “routine” twice in a brief statement sent to reporters.
But it comes at a time of increasing friction surrounding Iran’s nuclear program, which Israel believes is aimed at producing a nuclear weapon it sees as an existential threat.
Israel has said it prefers to block the Iranian threat through diplomacy, but will not rule out a military strike.
The military said the exercise included both regular army personnel and reservists, releasing no further information. Israel plans a nationwide exercise next month simulating missile attacks aimed at civilians.
What a shock that the current Catholic Pope supports Muslims and not Israel. For those who don’t recall, the Catholic “Church” and Pope also supported Hitler and Nazi Germany while millions of Jews were driven from their homes to suffer and die.
Speaking in Bethlehem, where he delivered his most sensitive speech yet of an eight-day tour of the Holy Land, Benedict XVI acknowledged the suffering of the Palestinian people following the establishment of Israel in 1948.
But he also urged moderation, telling Palestinians they should not use violence to further their cause.
Speaking later at the Aida refugee camp, he criticised the concrete security wall “towering over us”, saying it was “tragic” to see barriers erected between the two communities.
The Pope, who also celebrated mass in Manger Square in front of the ancient Church of the Nativity, believed to mark the birthplace of Jesus, sent a message of solidarity with moderate Palestinians such as Mahmoud Abbas, the Fatah leader and president of the Palestinian national authority, when he gave his support to proposals for a “two-state solution”.
“The Holy See supports the right of your people to a sovereign Palestinian homeland in the land of your forefathers, secure and at peace with its neighbours, within internationally recognised borders,” the Pope said.
“I know how much you have suffered and continue to suffer as a result of the turmoil that has afflicted this land for decades,” the Pope said.
“It is my earnest hope that the serious concerns involving security in Israel and the Palestinian territories will soon be allayed sufficiently to allow greater freedom of movement, especially with regard to contact between family members and access to the holy places.”
In remarks aimed at the many militant groups within the Palestinian community, the Pope said they should “resist temptations to resort to acts of violence”.
Israel was nominally behind the two-state plan until the recent election of a Right-wing government led by Benjamin Netanyahu which has said it is reviewing its position on the issue. The Pope is due to meet the Israeli prime minister on Thursday.
After two days in Israel the Pope had to cross into the occupied West Bank where Bethlehem is located.
This meant he had to pass through the 10-yard-high concrete wall built by Israel around Bethlehem.
Deemed illegal under international law, Israel has nevertheless pressed on with its construction on the grounds that it deters suicide bombings and other security threats.
In the afternoon he spoke at the Aida refugee camp, one of several housing Palestinian families driven from their homes through the creation of Israel in the second half of the 20th century.
Israel had forced the organisers of the event at Aida to move the stage so it would not be dominated by the security wall but this did not stop the pontiff criticising the barrier.
“Towering over us … is a stark reminder of the stalemate that relations between Israelis and Palestinians seem to have reached – the wall,” the Pope said.
“In a world where more and more borders are being opened up – to trade, to travel, to movement of peoples, to cultural exchanges – it is tragic to see walls still being erected.”
Speaking after his visit, he issued a message of hope. “I have seen, adjoining the camp and overshadowing much of Bethlehem, the wall that intrudes into your territories, separating neighbours and dividing families,” he said.
“Although walls can easily be built, we all know that they do not last for ever. They can be taken down.”
GAZA, April 7 (Xinhua) — A senior Islamic Hamas movement official reiterated on Tuesday that his movement wouldn’t accept forming a new unity government that recognizes the Jewish state.
Ismail Radwan said in a statement sent to reporters “We won’t deal with any proposal or project, presented to the movement, that calls for abiding by the international Quartet requirements or recognizing Israel.”
The commitments to the Quartet’s requirements is the core of substantial differences between the Islamic movement that rules the Gaza Strip and west-supported President Mahmoud Abbas.
So far, a marathon and intensive dialogue held in Cairo between the two sides in March, which will be resumed on April 26, had failed to overcome major differences, mainly to agree on the platform of any new unity government.
“Forming any Palestinian government that commits itself to the Quartet’s requirements and recognizing Israel as a legitimate state on the land of Palestine is not on Hamas Agenda,” said Radwan.
Radwan expressed hope that the coming third round of dialogue expected on April 26 “would be more flexible and positive in order to overcome our differences and achieve our national unity.”
Meanwhile, chief Palestinian negotiator to the dialogue with Hamas Ahmed Qurei said in a statement that the coming round of inter-reconciliation dialogue “will be final and decisive.”
He accused Hamas movement for being hard in its position and not changing it in spite of several rounds of dialogue, adding that “Fatah is keen to make this dialogue success and is not intending to give up.”
“We are still having the same differences on four major issues: reforming the PLO, the security forces, the political platform and the upcoming elections. So far we haven’t moved on inch in any of the four issues,” said Qurei.
(Faber is on the right, trying hard to look like the lead singer of a 1980’s metal hair band)
I was reading a “sermon” that “pastor-halfwit” Faber wrote dealing with Esau-Edom. And all I kept thinking was, “this guy is stupid.” The reason I say this is because nothing he stated in the “sermon” can be backed with facts
His “sermon” can be found here, http://www.aryannationsrevival.org/Esau-Edom.htm. If you have time, or are bored, please take the time to read his nonsense. Its enough to bore one to death. I know I read about three paragraphs and stopped. Mainly because I found tons of facts that history shows the opposite of.
To make a long story short, he like most Identity “preachers” claim that modern Jews are the children of Esau through his marriage with Canaanite wives. Of course he fails to mention or recall that Edom was destroyed years ago. Faber and others claims the prophecy of Obadiah are not yet fulfilled. This however is wrong. The Edom nation was destroyed.
Here is the truth, as the Bible explains http://thomaswilliamson.net/edom.htm
Edom, a nation consisting of the descendants of Esau, twin brother of Jacob and son of Isaac and Rebekah, was located to the southeast of Judah, in a rugged, mountainous region which is now the southwestern part of the kingdom of Jordan.
Edom is sometimes referred to as Esau (Malachi 1:3), Idumea (Isaiah 34:5) and Mount Seir (Ezekiel 35:3). All of these names are interchangeable, referring to the same nation, Edom.
Genesis 36 describes the rapid growth of Edom. Deuteronomy 2:5 informs us that Edom’s territory was not part of the land promised to Israel andnever would be: “Meddle not with them; for I will not give you of their land, no, not so much as a foot breadth; because I have given mount Seir unto Esau for a possession.”
Ezekiel condemned the nation of Edom, saying, “Thou hast had a perpetual hatred, and hast shed the blood of the children of Israel by the force of the sword in the time of their calamity . . .” Ezekiel 35:5.
Throughout ancient history, the Edomites manifested their hatred against the Hebrews, as shown by their refusing Moses and his people permission to pass through Edomite territory in Numbers 20:14-22. However, in the time of Elisha, the Edomitesjoined in a military alliance with Israel and Judah, 2 Kings 3:9. Later, Judah defeated Edom in war, 2 Chronicles 25:5-12.
The major prophecies against Edomare found in Isaiah 34, Jeremiah 49:7-22, Ezekiel 25:12-14 and 35:1-15, and the book of Obadiah.
Isaiah prophesied of God’s judgment against Edom about 700 BC, while Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Obadiah all delivered their prophecies of impending doom upon Edom around the year 600 BC.
It would make sense to look for the fulfillment of these prophecies against Edom in that general time period of history. However, some have proposed that these prophecies against Edom are still unfulfilled, and that their fulfillment will take place in our generation, in the early 21st Century AD.
There are 2 big problems with this theory: 1. The Edomites no longer exist. It is impossible to punish a people who have already disappeared from the face of the earth many centuries ago. 2. The prophet Malachi, writing about 400 BC, speaks of God’s judgment of Edom as having already taken place: “And I hated Esau, and laid his mountains and his heritage waste for the dragons of the wilderness.” (Malachi 1:3)
History records that the Edomites were ravaged by the Babylonian armies in the early 6th Century BC, and that near the end of the 6th Century BC, the Nabateans attacked the Edomites, driving them from their mountain fortresses of Mount Seir, into the Negev Desert to the west.
The ancient prophecies against Edom were completely fulfilled, and there is no need to look for those prophecies to be fulfilled yet again today, especially since the Edomites no longer exist as an identifiable nation or ethnic group.
Some will say, “Are not the Arabs Edomites, and does not the ‘Curse of Esau’ rest upon modern Arabs?” Though the identification of Edom with the Arabs is a common traditional belief, there is absolutely no Scriptural or historical basis for this notion.
The Arabians are often mentioned in the Old Testament, as a nation totally distinct from the Edomites. For instance, the Chronicler mentions Edom in 2 Chronicles 8:17 and Arabia in 2 Chronicles 9:14. The Edomites were not Arabs – they were Edomites.
Obadiah prophesied that the house of Esau would be completely wiped out (v. 18). If he was talking about the Arabs, then Obadiah’s prophecy was false, since the Arabs are very much with us today. If Obadiah was talking about Edom, like he said that he was (v.8), then his prophecy has been fulfilled, since Edom has longed since disappeared as a nation.
An examination of the standard reference works yields no hint nor evidence of any connection between Edomites and Arabs.
If the Edomitesare not Arabs, then what did happen to them? We find the answer to that in the “Antiquities of the Jews” by the reliable ancient Jewish historian Josephus, writing of Jewish conquests in the 2nd Century BC:
“Hyrcanus took also Dora and Marissa, cities of Idumea, and subdued all the Idumeans; and permitted them to stay in that country, if they would circumcise their genitals, and make use of the laws of the Jews; and they were so desirous of living in the country of their forefathers, that they submitted to the use of circumcision, and the rest of the Jewish ways of living; at which time therefore this befell them, that they were hereafter no other than Jews.” Chapter IX, (2).
William Whiston, translator of Josephus, adds this note: “This account of the Idumeans admitting circumcision, and the entire Jewish law, from this time, or from the days of Hyrcanus, is confirmed by their entire history afterwards. This, in the opinion of Josephus, made them proselytes of justice, or entire Jews.” Since that time, the Edomites have been part of the Jewish nation. Some believe that the Edomites are still identifiable today as Sephardic Jews, but this is speculation.
The Wycliffe Bible Commentary on Obadiah confirms that judgment came upon Edomin ancient times, starting with the Nabatean invasion soon after the time of Obadiah:
“Soon after this time, Edom was pushed out of her ancient home by the Nabateans, so that she had to move to the west side of the Dead Sea. Hebron was made the capital of her new home in south Judah. The Maccabees, especially John Hyrcanus (c. 125 BC), subdued and Judaized the Edomites. They were finally destroyed with the Jews in 70 AD by the Roman general Titus.”
(According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, this conquest of the Edomites by John Hyrcanus took place in 109 BC).
Adam Clarke’s commentary, Matthew Henry, and Jamieson, Fausset and Brown all see the prophecies against Edom as being fulfilled partly by an invasion by the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar in the early 6th Century BC, and partly by the Maccabees. Jeremiah 25:21 specifically predicts the humbling of Edom by Babylon, the same power that conquered Jerusalem 5 years before the destruction of Edom.
Some commentators believe that some of the early prophecies of judgment against Edom were fulfilled by the invasion of the Assyrian king Sennacherib, about 700 BC. There is no hint anywhere that any of these prophecies against Edom remain to be fulfilled in modern times, or that they can be applied to the current crises in the Middle East.
Some have thought that there will never be peace between the Jews and Arabs in Palestine, based on the statement of Ezekiel 35:5: “Because thou hast had a perpetual hatred, and hast shed the blood of the children of Israel by the force of the sword in the time of their calamity. . . .”
However, we have seen that this passage concerning Edomhas nothing whatsoever to do with the Arabs, ancient or modern. Scripture and secular history reveal no information about an inevitable hatred between Arabs and Jews over the centuries.
Over the centuries, Jews and Arabs have lived in harmony in the Middle East. On various occasions, Jews have fled to Arab and Muslim lands to escape persecution by the supposedly more enlightened European “Christians.”
The current strife between Jews and Arabs in Palestine did not begin until the early 20th Century, with the rise of the modern Zionist movement.
In my home city of Chicago, large communities of Jews and Arabs live side by side in a state of harmony. In November, 2000, many Jews in Chicago joined with Palestinian Arabs in peaceful demonstrations to protest Israeli government policies in occupied territories of Palestine.
We have no way of knowing whether there will soon be peace between the Jews and Arabs in Palestine, but there is nothing in the Word of God to indicate that such a peace cannot take place.
The prophecies of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Obadiah against Edom should not be wrenched out of their proper historical context, andmade to apply to modern peoples who have no connection with Edom.
The purpose of these prophecies was to assure the Hebrews, at the time that they were taken captive to Babylon in 586 BC, that Jehovah would not allow the covetous Edomites to occupy their land. God promised that the land of Judah would remain vacant, and that the nation of Israel would be restored on that land after 70 years (Jeremiah 25:11, 29:10, Daniel 9:2).
The application of those prophecies for today is that we should not be prideful as the Edomiteswere, believing that they were safe from God’s wrath and could never be overthrown in their mountain fortresses. Also, we should not be covetous as Edom was, nor rejoice when judgment and suffering comes upon others.
The fate of Edom, and its complete disappearance from the family of nations, constitute a powerful reminder of God’s justice, His judgment, and the sure fulfillment of all that He has promised in His inspired Word.
As you can tell, the destruction of Edom has already been fulfilled as God said it would. Faber and others never quote the above verses nor talk about actual history concerning the Bible.
Yes, some people who were Edomites converted to Judaism and became Jews. However, that does not in any way back Faber and his claims. Faber lacks a Biblical education which was easily proved. His teachings are ones he clearly made up due to his hatred of Jews and lack of common sense.
GAZA, March 18 (Xinhua) — A senior Islamic Hamas movement announced on Wednesday that the indirect talks, mediated by Egypt, with Israel on the release of captive Israeli corporal Gilad Shalit have stopped.
Salah el-Bardawil, Hamas parliamentary block spokesman, told a news conference in Gaza that “Israel is the one which is fully responsible for the collapse of the talks to finalize the prisoners’ exchange deal.”
“We had presented a list of the prisoners’ names to Israel through Egypt thirty months ago. We didn’t change it and we didn’t add to it anything new,” he said in response to Israeli claims that Hamas has elevated its demands.
He added that the captors of Shalit “insist that 450 prisoners with high sentences terms should be released at a first stage, and then children, women, lawmakers and ministers would be freed in a second stage.”
Hamas armed wing al-Qassam Brigades, and two minor armed groups abducted Shalit in the summer of 2006 during an armed attack carried out against an Israeli army base southeast of the Gaza Strip.
“Israel has been all the time following the policy procrastination and thwarting the Egyptian efforts aimed at finalizing the deal,” said el-Bardawil, who mocked the Israeli threats to tighten the blockade on the Gaza Strip.
Indirect intensive marathon talks held between Israel and Hamas in Egypt had failed to reach an agreement to free Shalit for the release of 1,450 Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails.
A Hamas sources closed to the dialogue, who spoke on condition of anonymity had earlier said that the disagreement was on 90 prisoners that Israel wanted to exile them to Syria, Yemen and other Arab countries.
El-Bardawil called on Egypt to official declare who was responsible for thwarting the deal, adding “We call on our prisoners and our people to be more patient to face the Israeli threats.”
TEL AVIV, Israel (Reuters) – Israel urged world leaders on Thursday to provide aid to the Gaza Strip without breaking a diplomatic boycott of Hamas Islamists who control the coastal territory.
“There is a need to help in Gaza without granting legitimacy to Hamas,” Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said in Tel Aviv after talks with visiting U.S. Middle East envoy George Mitchell.
The United States, Israel and European Union, have shunned dialogue with Hamas, citing its refusal to renounce violence and to recognize Israel and past peace agreements.
But some Western officials have urged in recent days to include Hamas in peace efforts. On Wednesday, British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said talking to Hamas was the “right thing to do.”
Turkey’s Prime Minister Tayypip Erdogan added his voice on Thursday, telling Mitchell who visited Ankara before Tel Aviv Washington should engage Hamas for the sake of peace efforts.
“Even though we do not approve Hamas’ methods, Hamas should not be excluded from the peace process and should be integrated into the political system and the peace process,” a Turkish official who was at the talks said.
Hamas violently seized control of Gaza in 2007 from Western-backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, after winning a parliamentary election a year earlier.
Mitchell, preceding a visit next week by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, was in the region to explore ways to relaunch Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts and to rebuild Gaza after a devastating Israeli offensive against Hamas last month.
Clinton would also attend a conference of Western donors in Egypt next week that will seek ways to raise some $2.8 billion dollars estimated as needed for relief work in coastal Gaza.
More than 1,300 Palestinians and 13 Israelis were killed in the month of fighting in the territory that ended with a shaky truce in mid-January.
Israel, which controls most of Gaza’s crossings, has blocked the passage of cement and steel needed to rebuild since the war, allowing in only the most vital humanitarian supplies, saying this was aimed at preventing Hamas from rearming.
Jakob Kellenberger, president of the International Committee of the Red Cross, called on Israel to lift these restrictions on Thursday.
An ICRC statement from Geneva said some 2,800 homes were destroyed and a further 1,900 were damaged in the Israeli offensive and that many Palestinians there now lacked water, medicine and housing.
“The first and most urgent measure should be to end the isolation of Gaza, particularly by lifting restrictions on the movement of people and goods,” Kellenberger said.