Category: Israel

BRACING FOR 70: United States Sending Massive Delegation To Israel For Embassy Relocation Opening In Jerusalem On May 14th

President Trump announced with great fanfare on December 6 that he would relocate the embassy, which will temporarily be located in the current American consulate in Jerusalem’s Arnona neighborhood. Immediately after the US Embassy is relocated to Jerusalem, Guatemala will follow suit, President Jimmy Morales announced at last month’s AIPAC policy conference. After that, Honduras will move its embassy, becoming the third country to do so.

by Geoffrey Grider April 25, 2018

Mike Pompeo, the incumbent CIA director and nominated US Secretary of State, is slated to lead the delegation of some 250 American officials and Jewish leaders at a ceremony inaugurating the United States Embassy in Jerusalem on May 14, Channel 10 reported on Wednesday.

“And the governors of Judah shall say in their heart, The inhabitants of Jerusalem shall be my strength in the LORD of hosts their God.” Zechariah 12:5 (KJV)

EDITOR’S NOTE: Immediately after the United States officially opens their Embassy in Jerusalem on May 14th, the nation of Guatemala, Honduras, Romania and the Czech Republic will also follow suit. As we have long told you, the timeclock of Bible prophecy is Israel in general and Jerusalem in particular. If you want to see where God is going to move next, keep your eyes on Jerusalem. The prophet Jeremiah says that ‘after 70 years’ the LORD will again visit Israel, and we have 19 days and counting until May 14th at the moment. Will the LORD pay His chosen people a visit? All I can say that as watchmen, we should be, well, watching. And that’s exactly what we’re doing. 

“Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble; but he shall be saved out of it.” Jeremiah 30:7 (KJV)

US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley and Vice President Mike Pence had both indicated they might attend. The earlier report did not say whether Haley would be coming. Some 40 senators are expected to join the delegation, along with congressmen and the heads of major American Jewish organizations.

President Trump announced with great fanfare on December 6 that he would relocate the embassy, which will temporarily be located in the current American consulate in Jerusalem’s Arnona neighborhood.

Immediately after the US Embassy is relocated to Jerusalem, Guatemala will follow suit, President Jimmy Morales announced at last month’s AIPAC policy conference. After that, Honduras will move its embassy, becoming the third country to do so.

Romanian Prime Minister Viorica Dancila confirmed earlier this month that his government had approved moving its embassy to Jerusalem. But under Romanian law, the final say on embassy relocation belongs to President Klaus Iohannis, who has spoken out against the move.

Dancila is scheduled to arrive in Israel on Wednesday and meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely met with Dancila in Romania on April 10 in what her office described as the first leg of a campaign to persuade countries to move their embassies to the capital.

Hotovely told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday that as part of that campaign, she will fly to Prague on Thursday to meet with Czech Republic President Miloš Zeman. The Czech Parliament has already decided in favor of moving its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9149

Russian Missiles Alarm Israel, Stoking Risk of Next Syria Crisis

By David Wainer and Henry Meyer

April 19, 2018, 12:00 AM EDT Updated on April 19, 2018, 9:50 AM EDT

  • Threatened delivery of S-300 air defenses to Assad is red line
  • Israel would likely try to blow them up, says ex-intel chief

Angered by last week’s U.S. attack on Syria, Russia warned that there would be consequences. Only one of them was spelled out: The Kremlin said it may supply its Syrian ally with state-of-the-art air defenses.

If the prospect rings alarm bells among President Bashar al-Assad’s enemies, they’re likely to be loudest in Israel, not the U.S. Israel carries out airstrikes in Assad-controlled Syrian territory much more frequently than the U.S., as it seeks to prevent a military buildup near Israeli borders by Assad’s other key backer, Iran.

Israeli analysts and former defense officials say there’s only one likely response from the Jewish state if the S-300 surface-to-air missile systems are delivered to Syria: An immediate attempt to blow them up.

That would upend the delicate relationship between Israel and Russia, who’ve kept channels open despite supporting opposite sides in Syria. And it could create another dangerous moment with the potential to escalate the seven-year civil war into a wider conflict.

‘What Will Be Done’

Already, multiple global and regional powers have been sucked in. Last week saw the tensest standoff in decades between nuclear rivals Russia and the U.S. On the ground, American and Turkish soldiers occupy separate chunks of the country’s north, while Iranians and Russians fight alongside Assad’s army. In the skies, Israel has for the most part enjoyed freedom of maneuver, thanks to its air superiority — and an implicit green light from Moscow. Both conditions may now change.

Amos Yadlin has firsthand experience of how Israel responds to such threats — and no doubts about how it would handle this one.

A former military intelligence chief, Yadlin was also one of the Israeli pilots who destroyed Iraq’s Osirak nuclear reactor in 1981. The deployment of S-300s in Syria has been a concern for two decades, and “at the end of the day, it will happen,’’ he said. “If I know the air force well, we have already made proper plans to deal with this threat. After you remove the threat, which is basically what will be done, we’re back to square one.”

Russia already has sold S-300 systems to Iran over American and Israeli objections. Syria was on track to get them too -– until 2013, when Russian President Vladimir Putin froze the contract in response to pleas from Israel. But Putin said at the time that if the U.S. attacked, Moscow would “think how we should act in the future.”

Russia Reconsiders

That moment arrived with last week’s missile strikes by the U.S., U.K. and France, in response to an alleged chemical attack by Assad’s army.

The Barzah research and development center before and after strikes against Syria on April 14.

Photographer: U.S. Department of Defense via AFP via Getty Images

Hours afterward, Russia’s first deputy chief of staff, Sergei Rudskoi, said his government would “reconsider” whether to supply the air defenses to Assad. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov hammered home the message in a BBC interview two days later, saying the plan might be revived because Russia feels it must do “whatever is required to help the Syrian army deter aggression.”

Israel has carried out at least 150 bombing raids in Syria since the civil war began in 2011, according to Zvi Magen, a former Israeli ambassador in Moscow. The latest, on April 9, hit an air base used by the Iranian military; other targets have included arms convoys bound for Hezbollah, the Iranian-armed Shiite group in Lebanon that’s repeatedly fought with Israel. The government and army have a strict policy of not acknowledging or commenting on military actions taken in the neighboring country.

S-300s can fire missiles at six targets simultaneously, and have a range of 200 kilometers (120 miles). That would extend into the airspace of Lebanon, sometimes used by Israeli planes to strike Syria — and even into Israel itself.

‘Exceptionally Advanced’

“It’s an exceptionally advanced system that can cover large swaths of territory,” said Michael Oren, Israel’s deputy minister for public diplomacy and an adviser to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “We will always oppose it.”

Given Israel’s likely response, some analysts in Moscow say it makes more sense to use the threatened deployment as a bargaining chip.

Actually delivering the weapons “would fuel tensions in the region and cause major friction with Israel,” said Elena Suponina, a Middle East expert at the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies, which advises the Kremlin. “It’s enough to provide Syria with other air-defense systems that won’t provoke such a response.”

Even Syria’s current Soviet-designed systems, which have been upgraded over the last 18 months, have inflicted some damage. In February an F-16 was shot down, said to be the first Israeli aircraft lost in action since the early 1980s. And while the Pentagon says that all of the more than 100 missiles fired in last week’s strike reached their targets, Russia says that two-thirds of them were intercepted. A pro-opposition Syrian monitoring group, citing aerial defense officers, made a similar estimate.

Not Invincible

“Syria already has some good short and medium-range systems,’’ said Jeremy Binnie, Middle East and Africa editor at Jane’s Defence Weekly. Add the S-300s, and “they would be able to form a fairly comprehensive, multi-layered air defense umbrella over their country.”

In any attempt to destroy the new weapons, Israel would probably use U.S.-built F-35 stealth aircraft and electronic warfare, he said.

Russian military experts say that while the S-300 is very powerful, it isn’t foolproof.

“There’s no invincible air-defense system,’’ said Viktor Murakhovsky, a former army colonel who’s now a government adviser. “Just like there are no invincible aircraft.’’

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9141

Romania to Move Embassy to Jerusalem: Netanyahu Promises Six More to Follow

By Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz April 20, 2018 , 1:07 pm

“Yerushalayim built up, a city knit together,4 to which tribes would make pilgrimage, the tribes of Hashem, —as was enjoined upon Yisrael— to praise the name of Hashem.” Psalms 122:3 (The Israel Bible™)

After meeting last week with Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely last week,  a Romanian politician has announced their nation will be moving their embassy to Jerusalem. This will make Romania the fourth nation to do so and the first European Union country to break ranks and recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Romanian Prime Minister Viorica Dăncilă, a Social Democrat, proposed the move to his government last Wednesday, April 11, and the process moved forward quickly. In an interview with the Romanian TV channel ANTENA 3 on Thursday, Israeli Independence Day, Liviu Dragnea, the president of the Chamber of Deputies and a member of Romania’s ruling party, told viewers that the decision was made Wednesday night to move the embassy.

The announcement comes after Hotovely met with Romania’s prime minister and foreign minister and heads of both houses of the parliament in Bucharest ten days ago. Hotovely described this meeting as the first leg of a campaign to persuade countries to move their embassies to Jerusalem.

“I congratulate the speaker of the Romanian parliament [Liviu Dragnea] on his announcement today to the media according to which Romania will commence the process of moving the Romanian embassy to Jerusalem,” Hotovely wrote on her Twitter account last Thursday. “This was the spirit of our meeting last week in Bucharest, and I hope to see the Romanian Embassy in Jerusalem soon.”

The first country to move its embassy to Jerusalem will be the United States when it opens at a temporary location in May. This will be followed by Guatemala and Honduras. The only official embassy in Jerusalem at the time is the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ).

Hotovely is planning a trip to the Czech Republic next week as the next step in her embassy effort.

 

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced on Thursday that at least six countries are in talks with Israel to move their embassies to Jerusalem.

“We’re happy about [US] President [Donald] Trump’s decision to move the embassy here. It says a simple thing: Peace must be based on truth,” Netanyahu said at an Independence Day event at President Reuven Rivlin’s official residence. The event was attended by many foreign diplomats from at least six countries.

“Recognizing reality is the way to build peace. You cannot build peace on the basis of lies because it crashes against the rocks of reality,” he said to the diplomats. “The fact that Israel has a capital city, that the Jewish people has had a capital city for 3,000 years named Jerusalem, is undeniable. It is time to acknowledge that fact.”

“I am happy to say there are at least half-a-dozen countries seriously talking with us about relocating their embassies to Jerusalem, and thank you Guatemala for doing so. There will be more following in your steps,” the prime minister said.

“There is a simple principle, you know it — ‘first come first serve,’” Netanyahu added. “I have decided that the first ten embassies that arrive here will get preferential treatment. We’ll help you!”

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9138

Israel Blamed For Early Morning Airstrikes Over Damascus As Syrian Air Defense Claims Missiles Shot Down

Days after US-led airstrikes hit Homs and Damascus on April 14, Syrian Twitter accounts blamed Israel for alleged strikes on Tuesday morning. The first reports emerged around 1:30am. Al Sura Media claimed fighter jets had targeted Syria’s T4 airbase, where Iranian troops are alleged to be present. On Monday Hezbollah’s Deputy Secretary General Naim Qassem warned that Iran and Israel are nearing open war as tensions are very high in Syria.

by Geoffrey Grider April 16, 2018

Syrian media and locals reported air strikes and Syrian air defense launching rockets in response in the early hours of Tuesday. According to initial reports, the strikes may have targeted Al-Sayrat airbase and rural Homs, as well as areas around Damascus.

“The burden of Damascus. Behold, Damascus is taken away from being a city, and it shall be a ruinous heap.” Isaiah 17:1 (KJV)

EDITOR’S NOTE: If you thought that the US led airstrikes with France and the UK were all that was going to happen in Syria, you would be mistaken. Early Tuesday morning in the Middle East today, as of yet unidentified aircraft fired missiles over Iranian-held military installations in both Homs and Damascus. The Syrian Air Defenses claimed to have shot down 8 incoming missiles from what they say is the Israeli Air Force. Israel and Iran are very nearly at the open war stage of their conflict, and it would seem at this point that a full-fledged regional war is just about unavoidable. 29 days until May 14th…but who’s counting

Days after US-led airstrikes hit Homs and Damascus on April 14, Syrian Twitter accounts blamed Israel for alleged strikes on Tuesday morning. The first reports emerged around 1:30am. Al Sura Media claimed fighter jets had targeted Syria’s T4 airbase, where Iranian troops are alleged to be present.

On Monday Hezbollah’s Deputy Secretary General Naim Qassem warned that Iran and Israel are nearing open war as tensions are very high in Syria.

Syria’s Sana Ajel news claimed anti-aircraft units responded to an attack in Shayrat airbase near Homs. That was the same airbase the US struck in 2017 in response to a chemical weapons attack at Khan Sheikhoun.

Syrian media says the country’s military has confronted an “aggression” and has shot down missiles over Homs. Although no confirmation of who launched the strike, local media has blamed Israel. The Pentagon denied there being new US military activity in the area. Up to 9 missiles were intercepted and destroyed by the Syrian Armed Forces, a military source said. According to yet unconfirmed reports, the missiles entered Syrian airspace from Lebanon. source

Reports of strikes at Shayrat airbase and areas south of Damascus were dismissed as rumors by some commentators online. Syria’s regime is gearing up for a battle with ISIS in Yarmouk in southern Damascus, and some said that the sounds of missiles might be related to that conflict.

However, Al-Mayadeen and other pro-regime channels showed video of a strange light, which they claimed was part of the airstrikes, hovering in the sky.

The Pentagon said that the US was not involved in any strikes Tuesday morning. The last week has seen several reported strikes in Syria. The New York Times quoted an unnamed Israeli military source as saying Israel had carried out an April 9 airstrike in Syria

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9130

Russia Says Israel Responsible for Strikes on Syrian Air Base: Report

By Jonathan Benedek April 9, 2018 , 8:00 am

“Who is the King of glory?— Hashem, mighty and valiant, Hashem, valiant in battle.” Psalms 24:8 (The Israel Bible™)

The Russian Defense Ministry reportedly said that Israel was responsible for strikes on a Syrian air base near Homs on Sunday, which left at least 14 people dead.

According to the original report in the Russian news agency, Interfax, the Russian Defense Ministry said that two Israeli F-15 warplanes fired eight missiles from Lebanese airspace and that 5 of them were successfully shot down by Syria’s air defense system.

An Israeli military spokesperson who was asked to respond refused to comment.

Originally, the Syrian government accused the United States of launching the airstrikes.

“An aggression was perpetrated on T-4 air base in several strikes that is most likely to be an American attack,” Syrian state television had said in a news flash.

US President Donald Trump warned on Twitter that there would be a “big price to pay” for an alleged chemical weapons attack by the Syrian regime over the weekend. However, the US Pentagon denied striking the Syrian airbase.

At this time, the Department of Defense is not conducting air strikes in Syria,” the Pentagon said in a statement.

“However, we continue to closely watch the situation and support the ongoing diplomatic efforts to hold those who use chemical weapons, in Syria and otherwise, accountable.”

Later on Monday, the Syrian state news agency, SANA held Israel responsible instead.

“The Israeli aggression on the T4 airport was carried out with F-15 planes that fired several missiles from above Lebanese land,” the news agency said.

Israel has long adhered to a practice of not taking any responsibility for its alleged strikes in Syria. However, Israel broke this routine a few weeks ago when it confirmed that it struck a nuclear reactor in Syria back in 2007.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9112

END TIMES AXIS OF EVIL: Putin Creates Powerful Alliance Between Russia, Iran And Turkey For Control Of Damascus And Syria

Russia, Iran and Turkey have been drawn together in their support of Syria. Putin and Rouhani provide Assad with military support and Turkey has now joined their efforts because it wants to crush US-backed Kurdish forces massing on its border. And Russia helps both countries on energy. It is also building Turkey a $20 billion nuclear power station, which began construction yesterday, and last year Putin signed a $30 billion energy co-operation deal with Iran.

by Geoffrey Grider April 5, 2018

The leaders of Russia, Turkey and Iran met in Ankara for talks yesterday as they cemented their unlikely alliance over Syria in a challenge to US and western influence in the region.

“Therefore, thou son of man, prophesy against Gog, and say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal: “ Ezekiel 39:1 (KJV)

EDITOR’S NOTE: For those of you who think we might be putting a little too much emphasis and importance on the upcoming 70th anniversary of regathered Israel, today’s article should clear that up for you. Russia, Iran and Turkey forming an alliance just this week to take control of Syria absolutely leaps off the pages of the Bible. Putin supplies both Iran and Turkey with nuclear and military technology, as well as oil and gas. All three countries are mentioned in the Bible as Gog-Russia, Persia-Iran and Turkey/Meshech and Tubal . And obviously, so is Syria which figures quite heavily in Bible prophecy. We now have a little more than 5 weeks to go until May 14, and it’s anyone’s guess what will happen next. But buckle up because it’s gonna be something big. 

President Putin, President Erdogan and President Rouhani vowed to work together to create a ‘lasting ceasefire’, build a hospital for wounded civilians in Eastern Ghouta and allow refugees to return home.

But the deepening ties between the trio will be a concern to the US as its ability to influence the future of the country and the region wains and President Trump openly mulls pulling troops out.

Russia, Iran and Turkey have been drawn together in their support of Syria. Putin and Rouhani provide Assad with military support and Turkey has now joined their efforts because it wants to crush US-backed Kurdish forces massing on its border.

“The burden of Damascus. Behold, Damascus is taken away from being a city, and it shall be a ruinous heap.” Isaiah 17:1 (KJV)

Putin supplies both countries with sophisticated military equipment. President Erdogan recently signed a $2.5 billion arms deal with Russia for S-400 sophisticated anti-aircraft missiles, which has caused consternation among Turkey’s fellow Nato members.

And Russia helps both countries on energy. It is also building Turkey a $20 billion nuclear power station, which began construction yesterday, and last year Putin signed a $30 billion energy co-operation deal with Iran.

Through these major deals Russia now finds itself in the position of having influence over Turkey as well as Iran. And these two countries in turn exert huge influence beyond their borders.

Turkey controls much of the flow of middle eastern refugees into Europe. It stemmed the influx after signing a deal with the EU in March 2016 – but if it reversed this agreement the political consequences in Europe would be enormous.

Iran has been accused of supplying arms to the Taliban by the government of Afghanistan and is fueling the conflict in Yemen.

President Donald Trump, meanwhile, is an implacably opposed the Syrian regime and his administration provides significant backing for the rebels fighting it. Trump is also a staunch ally of Israel, most notably announcing the US is to move its embassy to Jerusalem – putting it in direct opposition to Iran, which has threatened to destroy the state.

Under Trump, the US has become a close ally of Saudi Arabia, whose Crown Prince Salman said this week that he recognised Israel’s ‘right’ to its land –  becoming the first Arab leader to ever make such an acknowledgement.

He compared Iran’s Iranian Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to Hitler.

At the summit on Wednesday Turkey and Russia said they would work together to build a hospital to treat civilians injured in the fighting in Eastern Ghouta, near Damascus.

The Syrian government has been carrying out an intense bombing and ground campaign against rebel-held areas in Eastern Ghouta which has left thousands of civilians dead or wounded and drawn international condemnation.

Russia and Turkey also said 160,000 refugees who had fled the conflict into Turkey had been able to return home. The Ankara summit at Erdogan’s presidential palace was the second such summit following one in November 2017 in the Black Sea resort of Sochi hosted by Putin.

‘We are determined to take Syria out of this quagmire. There will be no peace in turkey until there is peace in Syria,’ Erdogan said at a press conference in Ankara on Wednesday.

Turkish and Russian forces would work together to build a medical facility in Eastern Ghouta, as well as establishing ‘safe regions on both the Turkish and northern Syrian sides’ with facilities such as bakeries and plots of land to build homes and grow food.

‘It is about constructing houses [in the safe regions] so these people no longer have to live in tents and containers,’ said Erdogan. In a statement from the three leaders, they pledged to ‘continue their active cooperation on Syria for the achievement of lasting ceasefire between the conflicting parties’.

‘There is no military solution option for the crisis in Syria and we need to cooperate to put an end to the war in the country,’ said President Rouhani. ‘We have to follow peaceful methods, we need to help the Syrians go back to their homes as soon as possible.’

A third trilateral summit will take place in Tehran though a date has yet to be announced.

Putin’s two-day visit was his first international trip since securing a fourth term as president of Russia last month. On Tuesday, he and Erdogan revealed the delivery of Russian S-400 missiles would be brought forward to July 2019.

‘We have made our agreement on the S-400s. We have closed this chapter. This job is done,’ a defiant Erdogan told journalists during a press conference, the Hurriyet Daily News reported.

Putin added: ‘Our Turkish colleagues made a request in the meetings. We will accelerate the process.’ The leaders also made an appearance at the launch of Turkey’s first nuclear power station via video link on the same day.

Russian company Rosatom was granted permission by Turkey’s TAEK atomic energy authority on Tuesday to begin work on the Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant’s first unit.  The plant will have a combined capacity of 4,800 megawatts across four reactors.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9108

As Saudi Arabia Shockingly Says That Israel Has A ‘Right’ To Its Own Land, Is This The Man With The Peace Covenant?

Since 2002, Saudi Arabia has been the main sponsor of the Arab Peace Initiative, which envisions a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But no such senior Saudi official is known to have previously accepted that Israel has a “right” to any land beyond the practical need to secure a lasting deal.

by Geoffrey Grider April 2, 2018

The crown prince and de facto leader of Saudi Arabia said Israel has a “right” to a homeland, a notable shift in the kingdom’s position published Monday. Saudi Arabia and Israel still have no formal diplomatic relations, but behind the scenes, improvements in their ties have accelerated in recent years.

“And with the arms of a flood shall they be overflown from before him, and shall be broken; yea, also the prince of the covenant.” Daniel 11:22 (KJV)

EDITOR’S NOTE: Just in time for Israel’s 70th anniversary, a dark horse contender for the man who will finally bring Daniel’s 70th Week peace covenant to the Middle East has stepped out of the shadows. We first reported on Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman last week as he met with Jared Kushner in Washington, dropping tantalizing hints about a peace deal. Now the prince has done something no other high ranking Saudi has ever done – he actually said today that Israel has a right to their own land. So if we have Crown Prince Salman to bring the Muslims to the table, with Jared Kushner to bring the Jews to the table, is this the combination that will finally get the end times deal done? If so, wanna bet there will be an announcement sometime around the middle of May? Calling Flight #777 on Titus213 Airlines…we’re ready.

Both countries see Iran as their biggest outside threat and the United States as their key ally, and both see danger from armed Islamist extremists. Israel’s conflict with the Palestinians has long proved an obstacle to a full rapprochement, however, as Riyadh still supports their claim to sovereignty.

But now Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman — speaking to the editor-in-chief of US news magazine The Atlantic — appeared to put the rival land claims on an equal footing.

The prince was asked by Jeffrey Goldberg whether the “Jewish people have a right to a nation-state in at least part of their ancestral homeland?”

“I believe that each people, anywhere, has a right to live in their peaceful nation,” said the prince, who is on a three-week US tour. “I believe the Palestinians and the Israelis have the right to have their own land,” he added.

“But we have to have a peace agreement to assure the stability for everyone and to have normal relations.”

Since 2002, Saudi Arabia has been the main sponsor of the Arab Peace Initiative, which envisions a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

But no such senior Saudi official is known to have previously accepted that Israel has a “right” to any land beyond the practical need to secure a lasting deal.

If, as expected, the crown prince succeeds his octogenarian father King Salman and ascends to the Saudi throne, he will also become guardian of Islam’s holiest shrines.

But he told Goldberg he had no “religious objection” to Israelis living alongside Palestinians, so long as the main Muslim holy site in Jerusalem — the Al-Aqsa mosque compound — is protected.

“We have religious concerns about the fate of the holy mosque in Jerusalem and about the rights of the Palestinian people,” he said.

“This is what we have. We don’t have any objection against any other people.”

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9104

Top minister: Reconciliation with ‘anti-Semite’ Erdogan may have been a mistake

As Netanyahu and Erdogan’s public clash over Gaza escalates, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan says in hindsight, perhaps 2016 detente should not have been approved

By TOI staff Today, 9:12 am 6

Israel’s 2016 reconciliation agreement with Turkey may have been a mistake, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan said Monday, as a war of words between the nation’s leaders over the Gaza Strip became increasingly vitriolic.

“Looking back, maybe the accord should not have been approved,” Erdan told Army Radio, calling Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan “an anti-Semite who continues to support Hamas.”

He said Israel must stand up “to the hostility and anti-Semitism of Erdogan. It’s odd for a country such as Turkey, that is massacring the Kurds and occupying northern Cyprus, to be accepted as a legitimate nation by the West.”

Turkey invaded areas of northern Cypus in 1974 and later annexed the territory in a move not recognized by any other country.

In January this year, Turkey launched an air and ground offensive in the enclave of Afrin in Syria to root out the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), which Turkey brands a terrorist group but which is seen by the United States as a key player in the fight against Islamic State jihadists. The UN has said that 170,000 people have fled Afrin in the wake of the Turkish offensive. Dozens of civilians have been killed.

Erdan noted that he had always had issues with the 2016 deal with Ankara that ended years of diplomatic crisis.

“I’m not fully comfortable with my vote, and I wasn’t then either,” he said. He explained that “there were many considerations for and against” and that he had considered opposing it, but was convinced otherwise by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“Looking back, maybe the accord should not have been approved,” he said. But he added that he was speaking with the benefit of hindsight, and that Israel “did not have the luxury of rejecting a compromise deal with one of the Middle East’s greatest powers.”

The 2016 reconciliation deal with Turkey saw the two countries restore ties soured by the Mavi Marmara flotilla incident six years earlier.

Relations between the former allies imploded in 2010 following an Israeli naval raid on a Turkish aid ship trying to breach Israel’s blockade of the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip. The raid, in which IDF commandos were attacked by activists on board, left 10 Turks dead and several Israeli soldiers wounded.

Erdan’s comments echoed those of Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid, who in December called the accord a “diplomatic mistake” that had “failed.” At the time Erdogan called Israel a “terrorist state” that “kills children” after US President Donald Trump’s recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Netanyahu stepped up a war of words with Erdogan Sunday, telling him that he had better get used to an Israeli response to his rhetoric and that Israel was not prepared to accept criticism from the Turkish strongman.

“Erdogan is not used to being answered back to,” Netanyahu tweeted. “He should get used to it. ”

His comments came on a day of back and forth between the two in which Erdogan called Netanyahu a “terrorist” and Israel a “terrorist state.”

Netanyahu cited what he said were Turkey’s crimes: “Someone who occupies northern Cyprus, invades the Kurdish regions, and slaughters civilians in Afrin — should not preach to us about values and ethics,” Netanyahu said.

Netanyahu’s comments came after earlier in the day Erdogan had branded him a “terrorist.”

“Hey Netanyahu! You are an occupier. And it is as an occupier that you are on those lands. At the same time, you are a terrorist,” Erdogan said in a televised speech in Adana, southern Turkey.

“What you do to the oppressed Palestinians will be part of history and we will never forget it,” he said, adding: “The Israeli people are uncomfortable with what you’re doing. We are not guilty of any act of occupation.”

In another speech, Reuters quoted Erdogan as saying: “You are a terrorist state. It is known what you have done in Gaza and what you have done in Jerusalem. You have no one that likes you in the world.”

Netanyahu earlier Sunday lashed out at Turkey in response to its president’s claim that Israel had mounted an “inhumane attack” on Palestinians during Friday’s mass protests on the border with Israel.

“The most moral army in the world will not accept moral preaching from someone who for years has been bombing a civilian population indiscriminately,” he said, in apparent reference to Ankara’s ongoing battle against the Kurds.

“That’s apparently how Ankara marks [April Fool’s Day],” Netanyahu tweeted in Hebrew, of the Turkish condemnation.

On Saturday, Erdogan said during a speech in Istanbul, “I strongly condemn the Israeli government over its inhumane attack.”

The Israel Defense Forces said Saturday that at least 10 of those killed — the Gazans reported a death toll of 15 — were members of Palestinian terror groups, including Hamas.

On Friday, some 30,000 Palestinians took part in demonstrations along the Gaza border, during which rioters threw rocks and firebombs at Israeli troops on the other side of the fence, burned tires and scrap wood, sought to breach and damage the security fence, and in one case opened fire at Israeli soldiers.

The army said that its sharpshooters targeted only those taking explicit violent action against Israeli troops or trying to break through or damage the security fence. Video footage showed that in one case a rioter, whom the army included in its list of Hamas members, appeared to be shot while running away from the border. The army in response accused Hamas of editing and/or fabricating its videos.

As of Saturday evening, Hamas, a terrorist group that openly seeks to destroy Israel, itself acknowledged that five of the dead in the so-called “March of Return” were its own gunmen.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9102

Kuwait Reports IAF Flew Over Iranian Nuclear Sites Undetected

By Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz March 30, 2018 , 8:11 am

“When you take the field against your enemies, and see horses and chariots—forces larger than yours—have no fear of them, for Hashem your God, who brought you from the land of Egypt, is with you.” Deuteronomy 20:1 (The Israel Bible™)

Kuwaiti media reported on Thursday that over the past month, Israeli Air Force (IAF) Adir F-35 stealth fighters penetrated Iranian airspace twice without being detected by the cutting-edge Russian anti-aircraft systems.

Citing “an informed source”, Al-Jarida, an Arabic-language Kuwaiti daily newspaper, reported that the two IAF warplanes passed undetected over Syria and Iraq. If true, this would mean the US-built F-35  was not picked up by the S-400 anti-aircraft system installed at the Russian Khmeimim Air Base air base in Latakia, Syria. Jerusalem Post reported the F-35’s circled at high-altitude, targeting the Iranian cities Bandar Abbas, Esfahan, and Shiraz, all associated with Iran’s nuclear program.

The article in Al-Jarida also noted that the seven IAF F-35 fighters have already conducted several missions over Syria and on the Lebanese-Syrian border. It was also emphasized that new stealth fighters can fly from Israel to Iran twice without refueling.

This comes in the wake of the first direct hostile contact between Israel and Iran. Last month, an Israeli Apache helicopter shot down an Iranian drone that was launched from Syria. Israeli F-16’s struck 12 targets in Syria in response, including the Iranian base that launched the drone. One Israeli F-16 was shot down and the two pilots were injured. Several military and aviation websites have conjectured that F-35’s were used operationally for the first time by the IAF in these airstrikes inside Syria.

The news comes one week after the Israeli government admitted publicly for the first time that IAF F-16’s had destroyed the Osirak nuclear reactor in Iraq in 1981.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9100

Expert: Erdogan Regime Considers Christians, Jews ‘Enemies of the State’

by Edwin Mora12 Mar 2018788

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s authoritarian government has deemed members of religious minorities, such as Christians and Jews, “enemies of the state,” an analyst tells Breitbart News, echoing the U.S. State Department.

“The religious minorities in Turkey, like the Christians, Jews, and a few others, suffer from unequal treatment. … The religious minorities are believed to be enemies of the state,” Dr. Y. Alp Aslandogan, the executive director of the Alliance for Shared Values, a non-profit group that promotes bringing people from different backgrounds together, told Breitbart News. “So the association with them becomes a crime. So those religious minorities, those citizens themselves, are pushed into enemy status.”

“That’s what all religious minorities suffer from — the Armenians, the Christian Orthodox, and the Jews, among others — they suffer from this kind of stigma,” he added.

In the latest U.S. State Department International Religious Freedom Report, the American government acknowledged that discrimination against Christians and other religious minorities intensified in Turkey following the failed coup attempt of July 2016.

State reports that following the rebellion seeking to depose Erdogan, the president of Muslim-majority Turkey:

Some foreign citizens, including several individuals with ties to Christian groups, faced detention, residency-permission problems, or denial of entry to the country under the state of emergency powers following the attempted coup. The government continued to prosecute individuals for ‘openly disrespecting the religious belief of a group.

Several foreign Christian missionaries were subjected to deportation, and cancellation of valid residency permits without notice. The government provided limited explanation or justification for such actions. The government denied any anti-Christian motivation underlying these actions.

Breitbart News also spoke with Emre Celik, the president of the Rumi Forum, an organization dedicated to intercultural and interfaith dialogue, about the persecution of Christians and other religious minorities in Turkey under the Erdogan administration.

“Erdogan’s bigotry against Christians goes against the very fabric of Islam’s respect towards the ‘People of the book’ – a Quranic term for Jews and Christians – and does not comply with the very fundamental principle of democracy that people of different faith backgrounds need to be treated justly and with respect,” Celik told Breitbart News.

“It’s unfortunate that prejudicial and polarizing language is being used for political gain and has become commonplace in Erdogan’s Turkey – against Christians and numerous other minorities,” he continued.

Consistent with Celik’s remarks, Dr. Aslandogan told Breitbart News that Erdogan and his allies use association with religious minorities as a form of attack against their political opponents.

“There has been hate speech and defamation against religious minorities from the ruling party. When they want to attack their enemies, they openly associate them with religious minorities,” explained Aslandogan. “They accuse religious minorities as trying to undermine progress.”

“Erdogan, for instance, attacks his enemies by referring to them as the pawn of Israel or the pawn of the Jews or the pawn of the Catholics,” he also said.

Echoing the State Department, the executive director for the Alliance for Shared Values also noted that the lack of legal standing for religious minorities in Turkey prevents them from owning territory, rendering them a landless group.

“They don’t have a legal standing, so they cannot officially function as a legal entity. They can only exist as community foundations, so that creates difficulties for them because they cannot exist as legal entities. Therefore, they cannot own property either,” he told Breitbart News.

“During the formation of the Turkish Republic, many of the lands of the religious minorities were confiscated, and although Erdogan took some steps to restore those lands to the religious minorities, he later made a U-turn,” he added.

Breitbart News spoke to Aslandogan and Celik after they participated in a panel discussion hosted by the Newseum in Washington, DC, on March 5.

In remarks prepared for the event, Aslandogan pointed out that President Erdogan is seeking to become the “caliph” of the Muslim world.

Currently, “non-Muslim minorities” in Turkey “suffer various forms of discrimination,” he stressed during the March 5 discussion.

Open Doors, which tracks the mistreatment of Christians across the world, records that out of 50 countries, Turkey is the 37th-worst nation for persecution against followers of Jesus Christ. It notes:

Religious nationalism has grown to new heights. President Erdogan has strengthened his position, trying to transform Turkey from a secular state into a Sunni Muslim one. Leaving Islam for Christianity is considered a betrayal of the Turkish identity, Islam, and the family.

Christians have no access to state jobs and experience discrimination in private employment, especially where employers have ties to the government.

According to Open Doors, 187,000 Christians are in Turkey.

The State Department, which places the estimated number of Christians at nearly 300,000, notes that the Christians belong to a plethora of denominations, including Armenian Apostolic Orthodox Christians, Roman Catholics, Syrian Orthodox Christians, Russian Orthodox Christians, Jehovah’s Witnesses, various Protestant denominations, Chaldean Christians, and Greek Orthodox Christians, among others.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9093