Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Hezbollah: Focus Now On 'Jerusalem And The Palestinian People' With 'Axis Of Resistance'

Hezbollah's Nasrallah says group to focus on Israel

The leader of Lebanon's Hezbollah group, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, on Monday said the group and its allies in the region would renew their focus on the Palestinian cause after what he called their victories elsewhere in the region.
Nasrallah called on Hezbollah's allies to put in place a united strategy "in the field" to confront Israel. The Iran-backed group has been fighting Islamic State in Syria alongside regional allies and the group has been largely defeated.
Nasrallah was speaking by video link to a large protest in Beirut over the United States decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and move its embassy there.
On Saturday a video was released of the commander of an Iraqi Shi'ite militia allied to Hezbollah visiting Lebanon's border with Israel, apparently accompanied by a Hezbollah commander.
Nasrallah said in June that any future war waged by Israel against Lebanon or Syria could draw in fighters from countries including Iran and Iraq.
On Monday he repeated a call he made last week for a new Palestinian uprising against Israel and called on Arab states to abandon the peace process, describing negotiations with the United States as futile.

"Today the axis of resistance, including Hezbollah, will return as its most important priority ... Jerusalem and Palestine and the Palestinian people and the Palestinian resistance in all its factions," he said.
Hezbollah was formed in the 1980s as a resistance movement against Israel's occupation of southern Lebanon and they remain bitter enemies.
Israel and Hezbollah fought a brief war in 2006 and tensions rose again this year as Israel struck Hezbollah arms stores and convoys in Syria.

Jerusalem And Prophecy For This Age: Prophetic Pieces Falling Into Place, Renewed Talks For 3rd Temple

Drunken World about to Sip « Terry James

[I guess it's getting redundant to say "another great commentary from Terry James", so I'll refrain...this time.]

To my way of thinking, things going on at present regarding Israel are most significant in light of Bible prophecy. Intrigues involving the status of Jerusalem are profound beyond any entered into in recent times. A strange setting of the prophetic stage is in process, with Saudi and Israel engaging in unprecedented overtures to each other. A key prophetic player is the chief cause of the strange bedfellows climbing between the geopolitical, diplomatic sheets. We get a flavor of  the Bible prophecy stage-setting from the following news excerpt.

Imagine an Israeli taking a direct flight on El Al airlines to Riyadh, or the House of Saud establishing an embassy in Jerusalem. Previously unthinkable, rumors abound of a desire by Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman (MBS) to normalize ties between the two countries…
Israel’s relationship with the Saudis appears to be warming, with the countries allied in the struggle against a common enemy, Iran…
There are a number of reasons Riyadh and Jerusalem may be cozying up, outside of the desire to stop Iran’s expansionism. Both countries agree, for example, that the “Arab Spring” revolutions were destabilizing and unleashed dangerous forces. They likewise believe that a reduction in American influence in the Middle East left a power vacuum that risks being filled by enemies. (Inside the Prospective Israel-Saudi Arabia Rapprochement, Israel News, Jerusalem Post, By Ian May/ The Media Line)

Many prophetic observers–including yours truly–believe that Sheba and Dedan of Ezekiel 38:13 likely refers to the area possessed by present-day Saudi and surrounding territory. These will not be part of the Gog-Magog assault against Israel given by the prophet Ezekiel.
Instead they will apparently stand on the sideline and issue a note of diplomatic protest, along with others. Certainly recent developments, with Iran (ancient Persia) being the chief nemesis of both Israel and Saudi, have the Jews and Arabs coming together. They are doing so, at least, in their desire to promote their common defense.
At the same time, the Arab/Muslim world as a conglomerate body is making sounds of war. The reason: the rumors that American President Donald J. Trump will move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Another news excerpt frames the situation.
The Trump administration has notified U.S. embassies around the world that it plans to formally recognize Jerusalem as the undivided capital of Israel, according to a report published Thursday by The Wall Street Journal. The plan includes the future relocation of the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
According to the report, the plan has not been finalized, but envoys were being notified so that they can inform their host governments and prepare for possible protests…
“The president has always said it is a matter of when, not if, [the embassy will relocate to Jerusalem],” a White House spokesperson said. (White House Notifies US Embassies Around the World of Plan to Recognize Jerusalem as Capital of Israel, The Jewish Press, JewishPress.com, Hana Levi Julian, December 1, 2017, JewishPress.com)

It seems to this observer that we are about to witness the world’s geopolitical players take a sip from that cup prophesied by Zechariah:
Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem.
And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it. (Zechariah 12:3)

Giving Jerusalem validation as the rightful capital of Israel is a thing that should be done. The president is right to do so, if he does move the American embassy to God’s touchstone city of the world.
But, doing so would almost without a doubt bring consequences–consequences which no American president has been willing to risk since Congress declared Jerusalem the capital of Israel with The Jerusalem Embassy and Recognition Act of 1995.
God said He will, Himself, make Jerusalem a cup of trembling  to those who deal treacherously with His chosen city and people. The world today is drunk with hatred for God and for the nation of Israel. Perhaps it is this American president who is chosen to be God’s instrument for leading the world to take a sip from that prophesied, deadly, cup.

[This is the second posting for this article, but it's that significant]

While Muslims jeer, Israelis cheer President Trump's Jerusalem declaration, prompting Jewish religious activists to suggest building the Third Temple is closer to reality than ever before.

"What he did … was an enormous step in bringing the Temple," said Asaf Fried, official spokesman for the United Temple Movement, an association of organizations working towards making the Third Temple a reality.

He added, "This necessarily had to come from a non-Jew in order to bring them into the process, so they will be able to take their part in the Temple."

Fried sees Trump's role similar to the one played by Cyrus, the Persian king who ended the Babylonian exile and helped build the Second Jewish Temple.

"There have been amazing advances towards bringing the Temple this year. It was clear that Trump was part of that process, guided by Hashem (God)," Fried declared.

He is hardly alone in his jubilation about the possibilities of rebuilding a Temple last destroyed in A.D. 70 – 1,948 years ago.

"The prophets' words of prophecy are coming forth from the Bible and becoming facts right before our eyes," said Likud lawmaker and prominent Temple Mount movement figure Yehuda Glick.

Rabbi Hillel Weiss, spokesman for the nascent Sanhedrin, was cautiously optimistic.

"One year ago, the Sanhedrin called on Trump to build the Temple as Cyrus did 2,000 years ago," Weiss said. "He has clearly moved in this direction but there is still a long way to go and many pitfalls that could prevent that from happening. Trump is facing enormous political pressures. The borders of Jerusalem are still open to negotiation. The Temple Mount is still not a settled issue and the United Nations is working hard at trying to convince the world the Jews have no place there. If Trump is to succeed, the Jews have to come together in unity in order for him to remain strong."

Yakov Hayman, the United Temple Movement chairman, also saw Trump's statement as part of a major shift in modern history for Israel and the Jewish people.
He said, "1917 was the Balfour Declaration establishing Israel for the nations, 2017 was Trump's declaration."

"When Jews and non-Jews go up en masse, the Temple is inevitable," Hayman added. "The people of Israel are returning to their roots while simultaneously the non-Jews of the world are realizing the authenticity of our claim to the Temple Mount and our right to build a Jewish Temple as a House of Prayer for All Nations. These processes are codependent. It depends on the Jews, our actions, but the non-Jews are an essential part of the process. Our task is to act as priests to make the whole world holy," Hayman said, citing verse 19:6 in the Book of Exodus: "And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel."

He added: "That will only happen in a Temple in Jerusalem," he emphasized. "The next step, the most important step, must be taken by the Jews. We need to begin going up to the Temple Mount is massive numbers. Once we do that, the Temple is the next inevitable step."

On December 6th, President Trump announced his decision to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and to instruct the State Department to begin the process of relocating the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. 

Two days later, at a special meeting of the United Nations Security Council, the other 14 members of the Council, including U.S. allies such as France, the United Kingdom and Italy, ganged up on the United States to condemn President Trump’s decision. Allies and adversaries of the U.S., one after the other, claimed that President Trump’s decision had defied international consensus on how to achieve a viable two-state solution, violated international law and risked destabilizing the region as well as imperiling the peace process. Bolivia’s ambassador was the most strident, demanding that the Security Council take action against President Trump’s decision if it wanted to avoid becoming “an occupied territory.”

To add insult to injury, the UN ambassadors from five member states of the European Union – the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Sweden and Germany - further criticized President Trump’s decision in a joint statement they read following the adjournment of the Security Council meeting. They claimed the decision “is not in line with Security Council resolutions and is unhelpful in terms of prospects for peace in the region.”  

U.S. Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, stood her ground in her remarks to the Security Council. She chastised those “countries that lack any credibility when it comes to treating both Israelis and Palestinians fairly.” All President Trump had done, she explained, was to formally acknowledge the reality that for nearly 70 years “the city of Jerusalem has been the capital of the State of Israel, despite many attempts by others to deny that reality. 

Jerusalem is the home of Israel’s parliament, president, prime minister, Supreme Court, and many of its ministries. It is simple common sense that foreign embassies be located there.”

President Trump’s change in American policy to reflect this reality does not mean that the United States has taken a position on the specific boundaries or borders within Jerusalem as a whole. “The specific dimensions of sovereignty over Jerusalem are still to be decided by the Israelis and the Palestinians in negotiations,” Ambassador Haley said.

“Israel, like all nations, has the right to determine its capital city,” Ambassador Haley said. “In virtually every country in the world, U.S. embassies are located in the host country’s capital city. Israel should be no different.”

Many who are opposed to President Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital point to the call for violence by Hamas and the scattered violence on the West Bank as evidence that Trump was wrong. But violence should never influence US policy. The leaders of Hamas and other Palestinian groups use violence as a deliberate tactic to get their way. If policy-makers allow this tactic to deter them from doing the right thing, it will only incentivize the opponents of a peaceful resolution of the conflict to threaten and employ violence every time they do not get what they want. Violence should be responded to by police and military action, not by giving in to the unreasonable demands of those who use violence as a tactic.

Palestinian violence is rarely spontaneous. It is usually well organized by leaders who decide when to turn it on and off. The reason violence — whether rock-throwing or more lethal forms of terrorism — is used is because it works. And it works because policy-makers often make or refrain from making controversial decisions based on the fear of violent reactions. Palestinian leaders, especially Yasser Arafat, honed the tactic of terrorism as a way to extort concessions from the world. Many countries submitted to this violent extortion, so it continued and spread. If we stopped rewarding violence, it might well abate.

Palestinian leaders called for a violent intifada when they turned down the generous offer of statehood made by former President Bill Clinton and Prime Minister Ehud Barak in 2000-2001. The result was 4,000 deaths.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is insisting that Jerusalem is the “eternal capital of the state of Palestine” after President Donald Trump recognized the city as the capital of Israel.
No Palestinian state has ever existed, but Abbas is leveraging the claim that Jerusalem is its third holiest city of Islam, after Mecca and Medina.

Moreover, Jerusalem and the Temple Mount are less important in Islam than they are important in Muslims’ anti-Semitic hatred of Israel.

Muhammad’s famous Night Journey (Isra and Miraj) is the basis of the Islamic claim to Jerusalem as an Islamic holy city. Yet this journey is never mentioned in the Qur’an, and neither is Jerusalem. 

The first verse of Sura 17 says that Allah took Muhammad from “the Sacred Mosque” in Mecca “to the farthest [al-aqsa] Mosque.” There was no mosque in Jerusalem at this time (if the traditional chronology regarding the Qur’an is to be believed), so the “farthest” mosque probably wasn’t really the one that now bears that name in Jerusalem. Islamic tradition, however, is firm that this mosque is in Jerusalem.
According to Islamic tradition, Muhammad described the vision as beginning when the angel “Gabriel came and stirred me with his foot.” Soon “a white animal which was smaller than a mule and bigger than a donkey was brought to me.” This was the Buraq, which Muhammad further described as “half mule, half donkey, with wings on its sides with which it propelled its feet.”
Buraq carried Muhammad to the Temple Mount, and from there Muhammad was taken into heaven itself, where he encountered the other prophets and was given by Allah himself the order that Muslims should pray five times daily. Later Muhammad seems to have retreated from the claim that this was a bodily journey. His wife Aisha explained: “The apostle’s body remained where it was but God removed his spirit by night.”
This fantastic legend, which was first distributed in the late eighth century, over 150 years after the traditional date for the death of Muhammad, is the entire basis for the Islamic claim to Jerusalem. It was never an important city in Islam until one man decided to make it so as a response to Zionism.

Anti-Israel Protest Calls For Massacre Of Jews, ISIS To Launch Major Offensive In Libya And Egypt,

An anti-Israel protest by Muslims in New York’s Times Square this week, December 8th,  turned particularly ugly, when Muslim protesters expanded their protest with calls for the massacre of the Jewish people.

The protesters began with their familiar calls for the destruction of the State of Israel:

“We don’t want no two state – we want 48”  and “From the river to the Sea, Palestine will be free”

They continued with calls for terror attacks:

“With spirit and blood we’ll redeem Al Aqsa” and “There is only one solution – Intifada revolution”
And then moving away from Israel, the Muslim protesters in New York began calling for the massacre of Jews:

“Jews, remember Khaybar – the army of Muhammad is returning”
Khaybar was one of the oldest and largest Jewish cities in the Arabian peninsula, predating Islam by a thousand years. Muhammad’s army captured the Jewish city of 10,000 people in a surprise attack, placing the surviving Jews under Dhimmi laws.

Exclusive: ISIS to launch major offensives in Libya and Egypt very soon

[Don't forget, northern Africa will participate in the invasion of Gog-Magog]

Reports by both intelligence authorities from various countries and pro-ISIS social media sources all point towards the imminent advent of major offensive operations by Islamic State forces in Libya and Egypt.
Such conclusions are being reached at a time when it has become apparent that the terrorist group plans to compensate for its total defeat in Syria and Iraq by establishing a new empire in North Africa.
To this end both Turkish and Kurdish sources have reported over the last several days that ISIS militants are migrating from Syria and Iraq towards Egypt and other North African countries (click here to see details).

As early as the 1980s, the jihadist underworld has maintained infrastructures in North Africa to facilitate the movement of militant operatives to and from the region. Today these infrastructures are believed to be stronger than ever before.

Combining this with a lack of effective security measures throughout North African countries to prevent the transnational mobility of terrorists, it is possible that ISIS militants, particularly with the assistance of other armed groups in Syria and certain regional state actors who continue to secretly build their geopolitical strategies around the existence of the jihadist group, could re-locate to Islamic State controlled spaces in southern Libya and eastern Egypt, re-group with fellow combatants and be ready to carry out attacks within weeks of their departure from the battlefields of the Levant.

Although lacking the kind of fire support assets (tanks, artillery, trucks, etc.) they once possessed in Iraq and Syria, a cadre of just several thousand ISIS fighters could very quickly take control of heavy weapons by raiding (a specialty in Islamic State military doctrine) unsuspecting army bases throughout Egypt and Libya.

Such raids would serve as the prelude to additional offensives aimed at capturing entire towns and cities throughout North Africa.

Chinese Diplomat: Expect War If U.S. Sends Navy Ships To Taiwan

Chinese Diplomat: Expect War if US Sends Navy Ships to Taiwan

One of China’s top diplomats to the US warned Washington that Beijing would invade Taiwan should the US ever send a Navy ship to the island nation, which China considers to be a wayward province.
Li Kexin, a minister with the Chinese Embassy to the United States, said during an embassy event on Friday that he had told American officials that China would activate their Anti-Secession Law if US naval vessels were sent to the Taiwan Strait.
The law, passed in 2005, denies Taiwan's statehood and outlines Beijing's methods to make the unification of the two Chinas a reality. But the bill also mentions "non-peaceful action" (that being warfare) if China believes that all possibility of a bloodless unification has been lost.

To Li, the deployment of US Navy vessels would signal just such a thing. "The day that a US Navy vessel arrives in Kaohsiung is the day that our People's Liberation Army unifies Taiwan with military force," Li told Chinese media, referring to Taiwan's largest port.

His words were echoed in an editorial that ran in a Chinese newspaper, the Global Times, owned by the Chinese Communist Party and often used to informally express the views of Beijing. "The Chinese mainland has never given up the option of Taiwan reunification by force, which is clear to people across the Taiwan Strait," the editorial read.
"Li's words have sent a warning to Taiwan and drew a clear red line. If Taiwan attempts to hold an independence referendum or other activities in pursuit of de jure 'Taiwan independence,' the PLA will undoubtedly take action."
The Taiwanese Foreign Ministry slammed Li's words on Saturday, accusing China of using threats and coercion when they claim to desire peaceful reconciliation. "These methods show a lack of knowledge about the real meaning of the democratic system and how a democratic society works," the ministry wrote in a statement.

Formally speaking, Taiwan — the formal name of which is the Republic of China — and China are still one country, as Taipei considers the mainland to be wayward provinces just as Beijing sees the island as a renegade territory. However, an independence movement consisting of left-wing parties that want to declare Taiwan a de jure sovereign state continues to gain traction on the island.

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) that currently controls the presidency and unicameral legislature of Taiwan is one such party that supports de jure Taiwanese independence.

The administration of US President Donald Trump has seen a strengthening of ties between the US and Taiwan, often a sticking point in Washington-Beijing relations. Trump was the first president since Jimmy Carter to directly speak with the Taiwanese president, and in September the US Congress passed the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act which authorized naval cooperation between the US and Taiwanese militaries.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Tensions Increasing In Middle East: After Iron Dome Shoots Down Rocket, IDF Hits Gaza Targets

After Iron Dome shoots down rocket fired at Ashkelon, IDF hits Gaza targets

Israeli forces attacked Hamas targets in the northern Gaza Strip early Tuesday after Palestinians fired a rocket toward the southern city of Ashkelon, the army said. The rocket was intercepted by an Iron Dome anti-missile battery.
After the rocket fire, Israeli aircraft and a tank attacked Hamas sites in the Strip, the army said, noting that it holds the terror group, which runs Gaza, responsible for all rocket attacks.
This was the second round of Palestinian rocket fire and Israeli responses in the day.
The rocket, fired at about 11:30 p.m., triggered early warning sirens in Ashkelon, the Lachish region and in the area around the Gaza Strip.
The IDF said the Iron Dome successfully intercepted the rocket. No injuries were reported.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the rocket fire, which came hours after Israel shelled a Hamas position in Gaza in response to a missile shot from Gaza.
No impact site was identified from the rocket fired earlier Monday, the army said, but reports indicated at least one missile landed in an open area near the border fence in the Eshkol region, opposite the southern Strip.
“The IDF hold Hamas responsible for these aggressive acts originating from the Gaza Strip,” the IDF said.
Tensions have steadily risen between Israel and Gaza since last week, when US President Donald Trump announced recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, setting off protests along the border, among other places, and a call by Gaza’s Hamas rulers for a new intifada.
Over the weekend, several rockets were fired at Israel by terrorists in Gaza, including one that hit near a home in Sderot and another one that damaged a kindergarten. A third rocket was shot down by Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile system.
Israel hit a number of Hamas positions in retaliation, killing two members of the terror group, which is the de-facto ruler of the Palestinian enclave. The group vowed revenge on Sunday.
“The enemy will pay the price for breaking the rules of engagement with the resistance in Gaza,” the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades said in a statement.
On Monday, Israel said it had destroyed a tunnel dug by Hamas into Israeli territory, apparently for use in an attack.
Hamas on Thursday called for a new intifada against Israel, on Friday urged Palestinians to confront soldiers and settlers, and has allowed thousands of Gazans to confront Israeli troops at the Gaza border fence in recent days. Its leader Ismail Haniyeh on Friday praised the “blessed intifada,” urged the liberation of Jerusalem, and made plain the group was seeking to intensify violence against Israel.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani spoke with the leader of Hamas Monday, as Iran vowed to back the terror group in fighting Israel after US recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Hamas has been urging Palestinians to launch a new intifada.
Rouhani and Haniyeh spoke by phone on the issue, according to Iranian state-run media.
Qassem Soleimani, commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps’ elite Quds Force, also spoke by phone Monday with leaders of the Hamas military wing, reassuring them that Iran will back Palestinians in their “resistance” to Israel, Iran’s Press TV reported.
“The oppressed people of Palestine and Islamic ummah (community) will undoubtedly defeat the US-Israeli plan with their unity and resistance,” Rouhani told Ismail Haniyeh, as quoted by the Iranian government’s website.
In an address last Wednesday from the White House, US President Donald Trump insisted that after repeated failures to achieve peace, a new approach was long overdue, describing his decision to recognize Jerusalem as the seat of Israel’s government as merely based on reality.
The move was hailed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and by leaders across much of the Israeli political spectrum, and opposed by most of the international community.
Rouhani said Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital “revealed the nature of the US and Zionist regime to the world and showed that they do not want to officially recognize the Palestinian people’s rights at all,” according to a report from the semi-official Press TV website.
Haniyeh responded to Rouhani that Palestinians will never allow the US plan to go ahead and that a new Palestinian intifada was beginning.