The birthplace of Jesus is facing one of the darkest chapters in its
history, according to Bethlehem Mayor Victor Batarseh’s just-delivered
annual Christmas address, and of course it’s all the fault of the Jews.
The pro-Palestinian Middle East Online reports that the Roman Catholic
mayor, a 71-year-old Marxist former “activist” in the Popular Front for
the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), sees Bethlehem today as little more
than “a big prison,” thanks to the Israeli security fence. “Usually
around Christmastime Bethlehem used to be packed with tourists and
pilgrims,” the mayor said. “Now, as you can see, the little town seems
to be so quiet under the shadow of this wall.” The wall has devastated
Palestinian farmers as well, the mayor said, adding that acres of
arable land were confiscated to make way for the barrier’s cement
blocks and guard towers. “Many Palestinian farmers are denied access to
reach their lands to collect their harvest,” Batarseh said. “Many
others have no access to markets to sell their produce.” The dwindling
tourist numbers, Israeli closures and the severe limits on Palestinian
work permits are, he asserts, the reason why unemployment in Bethlehem
has soared to 65 percent. Meanwhile, the Hamas-led Palestinian
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Two leading Evangelical Christian leaders with a long record of support
for Israel were honored Monday in Jerusalem for their friendship and
The two men – Pastor John C. Hagee of San Antonio, Texas and Rev.
Malcolm Hedding, executive director of the International Christian
Embassy in Jerusalem – were feted at a joint event by the Knesset's
Christian Allies Caucus (KCAC), and the World Jewish Congress (WJC).
The third annual event, entitled a “night to honor our Christian
allies,” recognized Hagee for establishing a pro-Israel Christian lobby
in the US – Christians United for Israel – which has been dubbed the
“Christian AIPAC,” a reference to the American Jewish lobby.
His newly formed organization aims to mobilize Christian grass roots
supporters of Israel in the US to lobby the American government at the
local, state and federal level on issues related to the Jewish state.
Hagee addressed the evening gathering via satellite television, while
Hedding, who is based in Jerusalem, received an award from the Ministry
The International Christian Embassy is best known for its sponsorship
of the annual Feast of the Tabernacles celebrations, which is billed as
the largest tourism event of the year in Israel …
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When the history of our times is written, this week will be remembered
as the week that Washington decided to let the Islamic Republic of Iran
go nuclear. Hopefully it will also be remembered as the moment the Jews
arose and refused to allow Iran to go nuclear.
With the publication of the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group
chaired by former US secretary of state James Baker III and former
congressman Lee Hamilton, the debate about the war in Iraq changed.
From a war for victory against Islamofascism and for democracy and
freedom, the war became reduced to a conflict to be managed by
appeasing the US's sworn enemies in the interests of stability, and at
the expense of America's allies.
Baker and his associates claim that the US cannot win the war in Iraq
and so the US must negotiate with its primary enemies in Iraq and
throughout the world – Iran and Syria – in the hopes that they will be
persuaded to hold their fire for long enough to facilitate an
“honorable” American retreat from the country.
Like his unsupported assertion that the US cannot win in Iraq, Baker
also asserts – in the face of …
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By David Dolan
Nearly four years ago, George W. Bush and Tony Blair led a small
international coalition into Iraq with the goal of toppling Saddam
Hussein's notorious regime and replacing it with a Western-style
democracy. I wrote then about my strong misgivings over this dramatic
action, despite the fact that I was as eager as anyone who suffered
Saddam's nightly 1991 Scud attacks upon Israel to see the evil dictator
removed from power.
I noted that Israeli security experts were hardly unanamous in
expressing enthusiasm over the US-led military campaign. Several told
me privately they were convinced that the coalition was focusing on a
relatively small player in the regional terrorist-WMD equation, which
would probably end up allowing more threatening actors like Iran and
Syria off the hook.
Haifa's mayor Yonah Yahav told me during a TV interview just one week
before the war began that Israeli leaders were certain that Saddam had
already passed whatever mass destruction weapons he possessed into
Syria. Decimated in the Gulf War, the Arab leader posed a relatively
small threat to regional stability, Yahav argued, and was unlikely to
prove to be a major backer of Osama bin Laden whose radical Muslim
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Zionism is not about packing our bags; a response to Yossi Beilin
MK Benyamin Elon
It is no longer controversial to say that there is an axis of evil that
threatens the very existence of the State of Israel and the Jewish
people. Iran , Syria , Hizbullah , and Hamas have made themselves and
their intentions well known.
My colleague, Dr. Beilin, believes that the best way to deal with this
menacing threat is to downplay the Iranian nuclear problem and to
surrender the Golan Heights as well as Judea and Samaria to those who
threaten our very existence. While our enemies threaten to cut our
collective throats, Dr. Beilin recommends that we expose our necks.
When leaders see a disaster approaching, they have an obligation to
warn of immanent dangers in order to both prepare the public and to
gather domestic and international support for countering the threat
before it is too late.
Time to pack? / MK Yossi Beilin
Hysteria over Iran nuke threat serves as refuge for peace refuseniks
Mr. Beilin describes these warnings as a “scare campaign” and a
“hysterical reaction”. He states “If …
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Justus Reid Weiner
The Christian population of the areas under the control of the
Palestinian Authority (PA) has sharply declined in recent decades, as
tens of thousands have abandoned their holy sites and ancestral
properties to live abroad. Those who remain comprise a beleaguered and
dwindling minority. In sharp contrast, Israel's Christian community has
prospered and grown by at least 270 percent since the founding of the
While Israel understands that the construction of the security barrier
inconveniences some of the Christian communities living in its
vicinity, Israel has shown sensitivity to Christian interests in
planning the route of the barrier.
The plight of Christian Arabs remaining in the PA is, in part,
attributable to the adoption of Muslim religious law in the PA
Constitution. Israel, by contrast, safeguards the religious freedom and
holy places of its Christian (and Muslim) citizens. Indeed, in recent
years Israel has been responsible for restoring many of the churches
and monasteries under its jurisdiction.
The growing strength of Islamic fundamentalism within the Palestinian
national movement poses problems for Christians, who fear they will be
deemed opponents of Islam and thereby risk becoming targets for Muslim
extremists. This is …
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Jeremiah 25 : 15-29
15 This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, said to me: “Take from
my hand this cup filled with the wine of my wrath and make all the
nations to whom I send you drink it. 16 When they drink it, they will
stagger and go mad because of the sword I will send among them.” 17 So
I took the cup from the Lord's hand and made all the nations to whom he
sent me drink it: 18 Jerusalem and the towns of Judah, its kings and
officials, to make them a ruin and an object of horror and scorn and
cursing, as they are today; 19 Pharaoh king of Egypt, his attendants,
his officials and all his people, 20 and all the foreign people there;
all the kings of Uz; all the kings of the Philistines (those of
Ashkelon, Gaza, Ekron, and the people left at Ashdod); 21 Edom, Moab
and Ammon; 22 all the kings of Tyre and Sidon; the kings of the
coastlands across the sea; 23 Dedan, Tema, Buz and all who are in
distant places; 24 all the kings of Arabia and all the kings of the
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2007 will be the year of war, both in Lebanon and in the Gaza Strip,
and possibly even against Syria. It could happen this spring, or
perhaps in the summer.
According to Military Intelligence's (MI) assessment for the coming
year, there is a high probability that Israel will find itself fighting
at least two wars on two fronts, one against the Hamas army being
created in the Gaza Strip and the other against Hizbullah, working hard
to regain its strength after the war this past summer.
Despite a cease-fire on the Gaza front, Hamas has spent the last week
smuggling weapons into the Strip through the tunnels running from
Hizbullah, despite Security Council Resolution 1701 and UNIFIL's
presence in southern Lebanon, has received shipments of antitank
missiles, short-range rockets and long-range missiles from Syria since
the war ended.
The Syrian military is on high alert and has the IDF concerned that
without political “engagement,” war could erupt there.
According to MI's assessment, if Israel offered Syria a renewal of
dialogue, President Bashar Assad would accept. However, if Israel does
not make any diplomatic overtures toward Syria, in line with Prime
Minister Ehud Olmert's declared policy, the chance of war …
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IDF forces along Israel's northern border were instructed Sunday to
raise their current level of alert out of concern that Hizbullah will
try to organize demonstrations against Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad
Saniora along the border, Israel Radio reported.
Defense Minister Amir Peretz has ordered IDF intelligence to track
events in Lebanon closely.
JPost reports from Lebanon: 'Hizbullah protest is attempted coup'
Meanwhile, at Sunday morning's cabinet meeting, a number of ministers
echoed the warning of former OC intelligence directorate Maj.-Gen.
(res.) Aharon Ze'evi Farkash against Israeli interference in the
escalating crisis in Lebanon.
Education Minister Yuli Tamir said that “moderate forces” in the Arab
world should be fostered, but that Israel should not involve itself in
the tension surrounding Saniora's government.
Gil Pensioners Party head Rafi Eitan opined that it was the
responsibility of the United States to shore up Saniora, and that any
move by Israel could have a debilitating effect on the shaky status
quo. “Israel can't do much in Lebanon,” Eitan said.
In an interview to Army Radio earlier Sunday morning, Farkash had
declared that “The resignation of the Lebanese government will increase
the chance of another war next summer.”
Farkash argued that it wasn't worthwhile for …
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By Ora Coren, Haaretz Correspondent
The European Union intends to offer Israel economic benefits in
exchange for relieving the restrictions on the Palestinians, EU sources
A high-ranking EU delegation due to arrive in Israel in about a month
will discuss ways to strengthen the economic, political and cultural
cooperation between Israel and the EU.
The EU's action plan is based on a statement of intentions formulated
by Israel and the EU at the end of 2004.
The Europeans are expected to offer a package deal – advancing the
relations with Israel simultaneously on all fronts. They stress that
they will not allow accelerated progress in economic issues, while the
political process is bogged down.
“The extent of the EU's economic cooperation with Israel will be
equivalent to the extent of Israel's political cooperation with the
EU,” a senior EU source said. “The more we advance on the political
clauses, the easier it will be for us to make progress in the economic
The delegation will be headed by Christian Leffler, the EU's Middle
East and south Mediterranean director. He is expected to ask Israel to
alleviate a series of restrictions on the Palestinians as part of …
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