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PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2012 6:58 am 
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Christians in Iran and Syria under intense persecution

Various Christian media reports have shown a sharp rise in attacks against churches and pastors in Iran and Syria over the last month. Iranian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, who has become a symbol of government brutality against Christians, is on death row and has refused to renounce his faith and convert to Islam in exchange for release. "After the ethnic cleansing of Jews in 1948 from the Arab countries, Islamic fundamentalism is now trying to push away the Christians from the region" Giulio Meotti, an Italian journalist with Il Foglio told the Jerusalem Post. "They want to establish a pure Islamic environment and the mass exodus already began under our noses. In Syria Christians will be persecuted after Assad's eventual fall, since they were the most loyal allies of the Baathist regime. Christians will be slaughtered or squeezed. From Cairo to Damascus, Arab Christian era is near to its end everywhere."


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2012 6:37 am 
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"Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things" Philippians 4:8

ICEJ NEWS

Headlines from Jerusalem, Wednesday 25 January 2012

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Top Story

PA appointed Mufti investigated for incitement

Israeli Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein moved on Tuesday to open an investigation into remarks made recently by the PA appointed Jerusalem Mufti, Sheikh Muhammad Hussein, which the AG suspects could be considered racist and incitement to violence. During a recent event to mark the 47th anniversary of the founding of the Fatah political faction, Hussein quoted a hadith (from a book of teachings of Mohammed) which reads "The Day of Judgement will not come about until Muslims fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say, O Muslims, servants of Allah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him." The same hadith is incorporated into Article 7 of Hamas's 1988 Covenant. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a statement Sunday lamenting the fact that Hussein's words were largely ignored by the world's major media outlets and not condemned by any of the governments which routinely condemn Israel for almost any action it takes.

Headlines

Russia rebuked for arming Syria's Assad amidst bloodshed

Egypt's state of emergency ends

A day before the one year anniversary of the beginning of the so-called "Arab Spring" Russia was rebuked by the US, UK and France on Tuesday for continuing to sell weapons and military equipment to the Assad regime in Syria despite months of bloody repression by the regime which has resulted in the deaths of close to 7,500 people. "It is glaringly obvious that transferring weapons into a volatile and violent situation is irresponsible and will only fuel the bloodshed,"Britain's UN Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant told the Security Council. Russia has refused all calls for UN Security Council action against Assad, but Western diplomats have consulted with Arab governments on a resolution which would be acceptable to all parties in the region.

Meanwhile, in Israel's southern border, Egyptian military ruler Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi declared on Tuesday that the country's decades-old state of emergency will be lifted on Wednesday except where the fight against "thuggery" continues. The move was quickly dismissed by human rights groups as only cosmetic, and meant to placate protesters who are demanding larger reforms. Read more »

Obama reiterates 'ironclad commitment to Israel's security'

Iranian officials respond with dismissals and more threats

US President Barak Obama addressed Iran's renegade nuclear program during his State of the Union speech on Tuesday, reiterating that the US is determined to prevent Iran from deploying atomic weapons and will take "no options off the table" to prevent it from achieving that objective. The President added "our ironclad commitment to Israel's security has meant the closest cooperation between our countries in history." Obama stated. Elsewhere, EU officials disclosed on Tuesday that the EU's recently announced boycott of Iranian oil exports extends to crude purchased by European companies for sale to non-EU destinations, closing a potential loophole in the sanctions. "EU sanctions rules apply to EU citizens and companies registered in the EU, wherever they do business," Ross Denton, partner at law firm Baker & McKenzie, told Reuters.

Meanwhile, Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd announced on Tuesday that Canberra would follow the US and EU lead in banning Iranian oil imports. "The actions taken in Brussels yesterday on sanctions by the European Union, we in Australia will undertake precisely the same parallel action for Australia," Rudd said, following talks in London with UK Foreign Minister William Hague. "The reason is very clear -- the message needs to be delivered to the people of Iran, the wider political elites of Iran, as well as the government of Iran, that their behavior is globally unacceptable."

Several Iranian officials gave speeches on Tuesday dismissing the sanctions as insignificant and declaring their belief that they would, in any case, soon be rescinded. Read more »

News in Brief

Hamas complains 'Israel has declared war on us'

The Islamist terror militia Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip and has an extensive presence in the Palestinian cities of the West Bank, complained on Tuesday that Israel has declared a war on it by arresting several Palestinian parliamentarians with links to its political wing. "Israel has declared war on Hamas," officials with the group declared. "But we won't be deterred and we will continue to fulfill our duties." Hamas spokesman Mushir al-Masri echoed the comments and called on human rights groups to intervene and pressure Israel to secure the release of "legislators who were elected by the people in a democratic vote." In related news, officials of the Palestinian Authority announced on Wednesday that a fifth meeting between Israeli and Palestinian negotiators in Amman scheduled for later in the day would be the final meeting, despite heavy pressure from the Quartet to continue.


Israel receives reassurance about 'isolation'

In another blow to efforts to isolate Israel diplomatically and economically, an ambitious plan has been proposed by the global firm Quantum Energy to lay a 2,000 megawatt undersea cable, called the EuroAsia Interconnector project, linking Israel, Cyprus and Greece. The plan would allow the three countries to share energy and economize on natural gas production and use. The 1.5 billion Euro project might be partially financed by an EU development grant. In related news, the US aerospace giant Boeing celebrated the tenth anniversary of its partnership with Israeli Aircraft Industries this week, with Boeing Network & Space Systems President Roger Krone declaring "we are pleased to mark this 10-year milestone by expanding our cooperation on missile defense initiatives with our partner IAI."


Knesset leader encourages strong ties with Evangelicals

The Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense subcommittee on Foreign Policy issued a statement on Tuesday urging their Knesset colleagues to pursue stronger relations with Evangelical Christian supporters of Israel, especially in Latin America. Foreign Ministry representative Shmuel Ben- Shmuel explained that Hispanic Evangelicals are a growing force in the US and in Brazil and many other Latin American countries the revival in Evangelical churches is leading to a shift in political outlook, as the traditionally less supportive Catholic churches lose members and influence. He cautioned, however, that the Evangelical churches in Latin America, because they are a relatively recent phenomenon, are less well organized and politically active than their American counterparts.


Israeli movie receives Oscar nomination

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced in Los Angeles on Tuesday that an Israeli movie, Joseph Cedar's "Footnote" received an Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Language Film. "With all the expectations, pessimism is a way to survive," Cedar told The Jerusalem Post. "So I become really pessimistic. And when it turns out it wasn't justified, it's such a relief." Mo Israeli film has ever won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film, though ten have been nominated. Footnote, is about the rivalry between a father and son who are Talmud scholars in Jerusalem. It has previously won Israel's Ophir Award for Best Picture and the Best Screenplay Award at the Cannes Film Festival last spring.


EJC chief, 'Sweden a center of anti-Semitism'

European Jewish Congress president Dr. Moshe Kantor told The Jerusalem Post Tuesday night, ahead of a ceremony at the European Parliament in Brussels to commemorate the Holocaust, that "Sweden, previously a calm country where there was no anti-Semitic problem just a few years ago, is a center of anti-Semitism," adding that it was "unthinkable that in the 21st century Jews need to move from the city of Malmo to Stockholm and elsewhere." Kantor also lamented the lack of response from the Swedish government to attempts to discuss the issue. "It's a conspiracy of silence. They apparently think that if they say nothing, the problem will go away but we know it persists," Kantor said. A spokesperson for the Swedish Prime Minister responded by calling the characterization unfair, citing the "four million Swedish crowns in increased security for the Jewish community" that the government has provided.



ICEJ NEWS

Headlines from Jerusalem, Wednesday 25 January 2012

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

PA appointed Mufti investigated for incitement

Israeli Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein moved on Tuesday to open an investigation into remarks made recently by the PA appointed Jerusalem Mufti, Sheikh Muhammad Hussein, which the AG suspects could be considered racist and incitement to violence. During a recent event to mark the 47th anniversary of the founding of the Fatah political faction, Hussein quoted a hadith (from a book of teachings of Mohammed) which reads "The Day of Judgement will not come about until Muslims fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say, O Muslims, servants of Allah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him." The same hadith is incorporated into Article 7 of Hamas's 1988 Covenant. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a statement Sunday lamenting the fact that Hussein's words were largely ignored by the world's major media outlets and not condemned by any of the governments which routinely condemn Israel for almost any action it takes.


Headlines

Russia rebuked for arming Syria's Assad amidst bloodshed

Egypt's state of emergency ends

A day before the one year anniversary of the beginning of the so-called "Arab Spring" Russia was rebuked by the US, UK and France on Tuesday for continuing to sell weapons and military equipment to the Assad regime in Syria despite months of bloody repression by the regime which has resulted in the deaths of close to 7,500 people. "It is glaringly obvious that transferring weapons into a volatile and violent situation is irresponsible and will only fuel the bloodshed,"Britain's UN Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant told the Security Council. Russia has refused all calls for UN Security Council action against Assad, but Western diplomats have consulted with Arab governments on a resolution which would be acceptable to all parties in the region.

Meanwhile, in Israel's southern border, Egyptian military ruler Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi declared on Tuesday that the country's decades-old state of emergency will be lifted on Wednesday except where the fight against "thuggery" continues. The move was quickly dismissed by human rights groups as only cosmetic, and meant to placate protesters who are demanding larger reforms. Read more »

Obama reiterates 'ironclad commitment to Israel's security'

Iranian officials respond with dismissals and more threats

US President Barak Obama addressed Iran's renegade nuclear program during his State of the Union speech on Tuesday, reiterating that the US is determined to prevent Iran from deploying atomic weapons and will take "no options off the table" to prevent it from achieving that objective. The President added "our ironclad commitment to Israel's security has meant the closest cooperation between our countries in history." Obama stated. Elsewhere, EU officials disclosed on Tuesday that the EU's recently announced boycott of Iranian oil exports extends to crude purchased by European companies for sale to non-EU destinations, closing a potential loophole in the sanctions. "EU sanctions rules apply to EU citizens and companies registered in the EU, wherever they do business," Ross Denton, partner at law firm Baker & McKenzie, told Reuters.

Meanwhile, Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd announced on Tuesday that Canberra would follow the US and EU lead in banning Iranian oil imports. "The actions taken in Brussels yesterday on sanctions by the European Union, we in Australia will undertake precisely the same parallel action for Australia," Rudd said, following talks in London with UK Foreign Minister William Hague. "The reason is very clear -- the message needs to be delivered to the people of Iran, the wider political elites of Iran, as well as the government of Iran, that their behavior is globally unacceptable."

Several Iranian officials gave speeches on Tuesday dismissing the sanctions as insignificant and declaring their belief that they would, in any case, soon be rescinded. Read more »
Front Page Jerusalem Radio, produced by the ICEJ
The dark legacy of Wannsee

News in Brief

Hamas complains 'Israel has declared war on us'

The Islamist terror militia Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip and has an extensive presence in the Palestinian cities of the West Bank, complained on Tuesday that Israel has declared a war on it by arresting several Palestinian parliamentarians with links to its political wing. "Israel has declared war on Hamas," officials with the group declared. "But we won't be deterred and we will continue to fulfill our duties." Hamas spokesman Mushir al-Masri echoed the comments and called on human rights groups to intervene and pressure Israel to secure the release of "legislators who were elected by the people in a democratic vote." In related news, officials of the Palestinian Authority announced on Wednesday that a fifth meeting between Israeli and Palestinian negotiators in Amman scheduled for later in the day would be the final meeting, despite heavy pressure from the Quartet to continue.


Israel receives reassurance about 'isolation'

In another blow to efforts to isolate Israel diplomatically and economically, an ambitious plan has been proposed by the global firm Quantum Energy to lay a 2,000 megawatt undersea cable, called the EuroAsia Interconnector project, linking Israel, Cyprus and Greece. The plan would allow the three countries to share energy and economize on natural gas production and use. The 1.5 billion Euro project might be partially financed by an EU development grant. In related news, the US aerospace giant Boeing celebrated the tenth anniversary of its partnership with Israeli Aircraft Industries this week, with Boeing Network & Space Systems President Roger Krone declaring "we are pleased to mark this 10-year milestone by expanding our cooperation on missile defense initiatives with our partner IAI."


Knesset leader encourages strong ties with Evangelicals

The Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense subcommittee on Foreign Policy issued a statement on Tuesday urging their Knesset colleagues to pursue stronger relations with Evangelical Christian supporters of Israel, especially in Latin America. Foreign Ministry representative Shmuel Ben- Shmuel explained that Hispanic Evangelicals are a growing force in the US and in Brazil and many other Latin American countries the revival in Evangelical churches is leading to a shift in political outlook, as the traditionally less supportive Catholic churches lose members and influence. He cautioned, however, that the Evangelical churches in Latin America, because they are a relatively recent phenomenon, are less well organized and politically active than their American counterparts.


Israeli movie receives Oscar nomination

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced in Los Angeles on Tuesday that an Israeli movie, Joseph Cedar's "Footnote" received an Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Language Film. "With all the expectations, pessimism is a way to survive," Cedar told The Jerusalem Post. "So I become really pessimistic. And when it turns out it wasn't justified, it's such a relief." Mo Israeli film has ever won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film, though ten have been nominated. Footnote, is about the rivalry between a father and son who are Talmud scholars in Jerusalem. It has previously won Israel's Ophir Award for Best Picture and the Best Screenplay Award at the Cannes Film Festival last spring.


EJC chief, 'Sweden a center of anti-Semitism'

European Jewish Congress president Dr. Moshe Kantor told The Jerusalem Post Tuesday night, ahead of a ceremony at the European Parliament in Brussels to commemorate the Holocaust, that "Sweden, previously a calm country where there was no anti-Semitic problem just a few years ago, is a center of anti-Semitism," adding that it was "unthinkable that in the 21st century Jews need to move from the city of Malmo to Stockholm and elsewhere." Kantor also lamented the lack of response from the Swedish government to attempts to discuss the issue. "It's a conspiracy of silence. They apparently think that if they say nothing, the problem will go away but we know it persists," Kantor said. A spokesperson for the Swedish Prime Minister responded by calling the characterization unfair, citing the "four million Swedish crowns in increased security for the Jewish community" that the government has provided.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 28, 2012 7:05 am 
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ICEJ NEWS

Headlines from Jerusalem, Friday 27 January 2012

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Top Story

Holocaust memorial day observed in Israel

Friday is International Holocaust Remembrance Day, with commemoration events at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem and in many other locations around the world. One memorial was held at the Kibbutz Yad Mordechai Holocaust Museum on Thursday, where survivor Aliza Vitis-Shomron told a crowd including the children and grandchildren of survivors who came to the kibbutz after WWII about her experience. She related that in the closing days before the allied armies liberated the camp she was in, there was a rumor that the prisoners would be liquidated by their guards as a final act of barbarism. "Panic and fear spread quickly," recalled the Polish-born Israeli who survived the Warsaw Ghetto and the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in Germany. "Just as we were at the point of despair, two American tanks came rolling down a hill and saved us. We were crying with joy. The American soldiers didn't know what to do and they showered us with chocolates and cigarettes." Giving some thoughts on what has happened in the years since that day, she continued by saying "what happened accompanies me, but I try to live and live well. I try to teach humanitarian values to our youths. We must never do upon others what was done to us."

News in Brief

Israeli Jewish religiosity increasing
A study entitled "A Portrait of Israeli Jews: Beliefs, Observance, and Values of Israeli Jews," was published on Thursday by the Israel Democracy Institute (IDI) in conjunction with the Avi Chai Foundation. It examined levels of religious observance among Israeli Jews over the past 20 years. The study showed a marked increase in affinity for religious holidays, symbols and nomenclature. "In 2009, we can say that Israeli Jews are interested in the role of religion in the State of Israel and in the significance of a 'Jewish State,' and express positive attitudes toward expression of religion and tradition in the public realm," the report says. "The results of the survey are evidence that Israeli Jews are committed to two significant values: preserving Jewish tradition on the one hand, and upholding individual freedom of choice on the other," said Dr. Eli Silver, director of Avi Chai-Israel. "This fascinating combination is a source of tension, but it is also the basis of a broad Israeli-Jewish consensus."

Israel's Hacker War heats up
The shadow war between Israel and Iran was joined by a private group of Israeli hackers on Thursday, launching attacks on dozens of Iranian websites in response to an attack on Israeli sites the day before. "If the Arab hackers thought that the attack on the Israeli websites will pass in silence, I have to said all Arab hackers: You have a mistake," said a statement posted on a popular web forum by a group calling itself "Israel Defense Force Team" adding "Ahmadinejad what do you have to say about that?" The Iranian sites were blacked out except for the image of a waving Israeli flag and the words "we love Israel. Hi Arabs, you have been hacked by IDF Team."

Assad's troops carry out another massacre in Syria
Turning a deaf ear to the growing chorus of criticism against its brutal actions, the Assad regime in Syria ordered security forces to storm Douma, a flashpoint suburb of Damascus on Thursday, with loyalist troops going house-to-house and clashing with army defectors, civilians and anyone who got in their way. In this and other incidents around the country at least 34 civilians were killed and many more injured, according to opposition groups. Among the dead this week were reportedly a Red Crescent volunteer and a Syrian priest. Despite the ongoing violence, large crowds turned out in several cities to show their support for Assad. Meanwhile, reports surfaced in the Iranian media that 11 Iranian "pilgrims" who were in Syria on a "spiritual journey" were kidnapped on their way to Damascus on Thursday.

Israel assists in Palestinian olive harvest
The IDF Civil Administration announced this week that the olive harvest in the West Bank has been completed with a very healthy 80 kilograms of olives being produced per dunam this year. Around 45% of Palestinian agriculture consists of olive production, totaling around 530,000 dunams and close to 8 million olive trees from which provide employment and sustenance for more than 100,000 Palestinian families. Israeli and Palestinian farmers and officials agreed that this year's harvest was marked by high levels of cooperation. "Every District Coordinating Office conducts joint meetings and discussion with representatives from the police, Palestinian Agriculture Department and Palestinian Olive Council, in cooperation with local Palestinian authorities," Lt. Col. Sharon Ben-Ari of the Civil Administration said about preparations for olive harvest season. "We see that over time, in comparison to previous years, there has been a marked decrease in complaints and friction."


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 31, 2012 6:58 am 
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Iranian-Canadian man sentenced to death

Iran's Fars News Agency reported over the weekend that Saeed Malekpour, a Canadian resident of Iranian origin who was arrested during a trip he took to the Islamic Republic to visit his dying father, has been sentenced to death. Malekpour was arrested on charges of operating a pornographic website, despite his explanation that he only developed the software that allows pictures to be uploaded to the internet, and is not responsible for the misuse of the software by others. A lower court had earlier annulled the death sentence, but prosecutors appealed to the Supreme Court, which confirmed it. The Canadian government has condemned the sentence, and Malekpour's sister Maryam has appealed to the international community to help save him, adding that the televised confession on which the prosecution's case rested was obviously obtained under torture.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 02, 2012 8:57 am 
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Saudi Arabian police raid Christian prayer group

The BBC reported on Tuesday that a group of 35 Ethiopian Christians, among the millions of guest workers in Saudi Arabia, have been arrested by police and face deportation for the crime of "illicit mingling" of unmarried men and women, although there is no law in Saudi Arabia prohibiting such gatherings and the government publicly promised in 2006 to end official harassment on non-Moslems. The Ethiopian group, including 29 women and 6 men, were arrested while taking part in a prayer meeting in a private residence in the city of Jedda in Western Saudi Arabia. According to the report, the Saudi police strip searched the women while the men were beaten and cursed for being "unbelievers."


Heavy rains raise level of Sea of Galilee

A wet January which saw several days of heavy rain and snow have raised the level of the Sea of Galilee by 55 centimeters, although it remained 10 centimeters below the "bottom red line" and is not yet out of danger. Rains continued in many parts of the country on Wednesday giving Israelis hope that the Sea and other main sources of fresh water in the country will make a further recovery from years of severe drought.

Iranian opposition looks for renewal

An Iranian opposition group calling itself the Coordination Council of Green Path of Hope has called for silent rallies in Teheran and other major Iranian cities on 14 February, hoping to revive the revolt against the clerical regime which raged for several months in late 2009 and into early 2010 before being brutally crushed by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps. The group is accusing the government of wasting the countries resources on a futile and pointless struggle against the West, even as the poverty rate among ordinary Iranians has skyrocketed. "We're in a very difficult and dangerous situation," Green Path of Hope spokesman Ardeshir Amir Arjomand told Radio Farda. "The economy is mismanaged, there's growing poverty, [and] economic structures are collapsing."


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 04, 2012 6:56 am 
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West Bank Palestinians refuse Israeli assistance

Environmental Protection Ministry and Shomron Regional Council officials led reporters on a tour of the West Bank on Thursday, explaining that part of the problems Palestinian villages suffer from comes from their own refusal to accept Israeli development assistance. As an example, they showed reporters raw sewage running in a stream in Samaria which comes from some of the 21 Palestinian villages who have refused an offer to be connected to a pipe which carries the sewage from Jewish communities to a treatment plant in Eliyahu. "That's a testament to the fact that we are doing everything we can to prevent pollution in Judea and Samaria, but nevertheless, the Palestinians refuse to cooperate," Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan told The Jerusalem Post.
Indictments issued in murder of Christian leader

The Tel Aviv District Attorney's office served an indictment charging three members of Jaffa's Arab Christian community with the murder of the city's Orthodox Church Association. Attorney Gabriel "Gabi" Cadis was stabbed to death on January 6, the day Orthodox Christians celebrate Christmas, during a parade to mark the holiday. According to the indictment, 55-year-old Talal Abu Maneh recruited his two nephews, 24-year-old Tawfik Dalo, 26- year-old Fuad Abu Maneh, to murder Cadis as a way to settle a legal dispute between the family and the Association over an apartment on Ahiluf Street in Jaffa's increasingly expensive Ajami neighborhood.


Rare Israeli victory at the UN

Israel saw a rare moral and political victory at the UN Thursday when one of her diplomats was seated on the executive board of the United Nations Development Program, a top UN agency which supports projects in 177 countries promoting health and other human development issues. "This is a milestone in Israel's integration to the global agenda of the UN," Israel's Deputy Permanent Representative Haim Waxman said. "Furthermore, this is the expression of a journey that we have taken from being a developing nation born in adversity to becoming a developed nation, a member of the OECD and now a full member of the UNDP as a representative of the West."


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 08, 2012 6:41 am 
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Netanyahu blasts PA-Hamas unity pact

EU to fund 'non-violent' government
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reacted sharply to Monday's report of a reconciliation agreement between the Palestinian Authority and the Islamist terror militia Hamas, declaring in an open message on the PMO's website that "If President Abbas moves to implement what was signed today in Doha, he will abandon the path of peace and join forces with the enemies of peace. Hamas is an enemy of peace. It's an Iranian-backed terror organization committed to Israel's destruction. You can't have it both ways. It's either a pact with Hamas or peace with Israel. It's one or the other. You can't have them both." Another senior government official agreed, saying "anyone in the international community concerned about the peace process should be intervening now with the Palestinians to prevent the consummation of this marriage."
The reconciliation pact reached between Hamas and the Fatah faction, which dominates the PA, in an intense round of negotiations in Doha, Qatar, calls for Abbas to serve as an interim prime minister of a Palestinian unity government made up of "independent technocrats." Elections in the near future are also part of the plan, as well as a program of rebuilding the Gaza Strip. The EU has declared that it would provide financial aid to the new government as long as it remained peaceful and recognized Israel's right to exist.

Evidence for the Bible uncovered in Ashdod

Giv'at Yonah (the Hill of Jonah) in Ashdod is so named because it is the traditional burial place of the Biblical prophet Jonah, and recent archeological finds have confirmed that there was indeed human settlement there corresponding to the First Temple Period. Ruins there include massive walls more than 1 m wide were found that are dated to the late 8th century and early 7th century BC. Although there are other possibilities and more research will have to be done, Sa'ar Ganor, the Ashkelon District Archaeologist of the Israel Antiquities Authority said that it was possible "that Josiah, king of Judah, occupied the fort at the time, who we know conquered territory from the Assyrians and controlled Ashdod-Yam in the seventh century BCE."


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 10, 2012 6:49 am 
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Iranian website calls for genocide against Jews
The Iranian website Alef, which is tied to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, recently posted an entry explaining the legal and moral justifications for massive genocide against all Jews everywhere and specifically the annihilation of the Jewish State of Israel. The website warned that the opportunity to destroy Israel, which it referred to as the 'corrupting material' should not be wasted, adding a proposal for a massive military attack against Israel using long-range ballistic missiles, which it claimed would wipe out the Jewish State in a mere nine minutes. The article, written by Khamenei's strategy specialist Alireza Forghani, has been re-posted on most official conservative government websites, indicating it has the support of the regime.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 14, 2012 6:47 am 
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Opinion/Analysis

'Good Muslims Cannot Convert to Christianity'

Raymond Ibrahim, Stonegate Institute


The beginning of the New Year saw only an increase in the oppression of Christians under Islam, from Nigeria, where an all-out jihad has been declared in an effort to eradicate the Muslim north of all Christians, to Europe, where Muslim converts to Christianity are still hounded and attacked as apostates. According to the Chairman of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, "The flight of Christians out of the region is unprecedented and it's increasing year by year"; in our lifetime alone, he predicts Christians might disappear altogether from Iraq, Afghanistan, and Egypt.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2012 7:01 am 
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Syrian defector says Assad using chemical weapons

Humanitarian disaster stalks Homs


Awad Al-Razak, a military officer who recently defected from the forces loyal to the regime of Syrian president Bashar Assad, told Al-Arabiya on Monday that the regime has used chemical weapons against protesters in the city of Homs, under the supervision of Russian and Iranian scientists. The revelation came the same day that UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay told the General Assembly that Assad's forces had been emboldened by the Security Council's failure to act on the ongoing violence. She also listed the regimes attacks on civilians, especially in Homs.

"The failure of the Security Council to agree on firm collective action appears to have emboldened the Syrian government to launch an all-out assault in an effort to crush dissent with overwhelming force," Pillay said. "I am particularly appalled by the ongoing onslaught on Homs. According to credible accounts, the Syrian army has shelled densely populated neighborhoods of Homs in what appears to be an indiscriminate attack on civilian areas."


News in Brief

Cyprus defies Turkey in Natural Gas row
Despite ongoing tensions with Turkey, the government of the Greek speaking Republic of Cyprus announced on Monday that it has launched a second licensing round for offshore oil and gas exploration blocks off its coast in the Mediterranean. Preliminary exploration has already yielded large discoveries of recoverable natural gas, leading to the possibility of great wealth for Cyprus which Turkey has warned needs to be shared with the islands Turkish speaking northern statelet, which exists only because thousands of Turkish troops occupy it and which is not recognized by any government in the world except Ankara. Talks on growing cooperation between Israel and Cyprus in the fields of energy and defense are sure to be a highlight of Thursday's visit by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

City of David tourism center approved
On Monday, the Jerusalem District Committee of Israel's Interior Ministry's gave initial approval for a tourism center in the Silwan neighborhood, across the street from the City of David archeological park. The planned Kedem Center will cover 9,000-square meters including several levels of underground parking and facilities for visitors and special events. The area has already been extensively surveyed by archeologists who have unearthed remains from the Roman, Late Byzantine and Second Temple period. These remains will be visible to visitors as the visitors center will be built atop concrete stilts. Left-wing activists protested the decision, saying it ignored the Arab history of the area.

Ahmadinejad's press secretary sentenced to jail
In yet another sign of chaos in the corridors of Iran's government, a report surfaced on Monday that President Mahmud Ahmadinejad's press adviser, Ali Akbar Javanfekr, has been sentenced to six months in jail. Javanfekr had been previously convicted of the crime of insulting Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and according to prosecutors has "more than one case before the judiciary." Some analysts have speculated that the case case is part of an ongoing power struggle between Ahmadinejad's supporters and Khamenei loyalists.


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'Price tag' attack directed against church

Graffiti including "Death to Christianity" and profanity about Jesus was spray painted on the walls of the Baptist Narkis Street Congregation in Jerusalem overnight on Sunday, as well as the words "price tag." The tires on three vehicles parked at the church were also slashed. "Officers are investigating a strong possibility of a (Jewish) nationalist motive but no one has been apprehended yet," police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld. The vandalism follows a similar incident two weeks ago at the 11th-century Monastery of the Cross.


MDA gives aid to African refugees

The Magen David Adom headquarters in Tel Aviv turned into an improvised shelter over the weekend for some 100 homeless refugees from African countries who would otherwise have been out in the cold and wet weather. Many of the refugees from Sudan and Eritrea live in tents and other flimsy shelters in Levinsky Park, near the central bus station. The MDA doctors examined the refugees and volunteers provided hot food, showers, blankets, clean clothes and other necessities. An Arabic-speaking MDA staffer also gave the refugees a first-aid course. Ahmed Isaman, one of the refugees who fled from Darfour four years ago, said "I have no words to express my thanks."


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 25, 2012 7:37 am 
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Iranian court gives death penalty to pastor

Ignoring an avalanche of international approbation, an Iranian court sentenced Christian pastor Youcef Nadarkhani to hang till dead for the crime of questioning the compulsory Islamic education of his children and for seeking to register a home-based church. "It is unclear whether Pastor Youcef would have a right of appeal from the execution order," said Jay Sekulow, the chief counsel for the Washington-based American Center for Law & Justice. "We know that the head of Iran's Judiciary, Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani, must approve publicly held executions, but only a small percentage of executions are held in public - most executions in Iran are conducted in secret."


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2012 7:20 am 
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Fragile truce declared on Gaza border

IDF 'we are prepared for all scenarios'

IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz declared on Tuesday afternoon that his forces would be on full alert for several days, monitoring the fragile cease-fire agreed to by Gaza based terrorist organizations. "It's not over until it's over," Gantz said. "Quiet will be answered with quiet; fire will be answered with fire." Addressing the 26 Palestinians killed in Gaza during the recent round of violence, Gantz said "unfortunately, four of them were not terrorists ... That is the result when [our] enemies operate in civilian areas." The cease-fire, brokered by Egypt at the request of the Islamist terror militia Hamas, which was unable or unwilling to force the smaller terrorist factions from launching rockets into Israel over recent days, relies on both sides exercising maximum restraint. "There is no written agreement," Defense Ministry Diplomatic-Security Bureau head Amos Gilad told Army Radio Tuesday morning. "Israel has no documents, no negotiations, no contacts with the terrorist organizations."

"A lot depends on Hamas and Islamic Jihad but we are prepared for all scenarios," a senior IDF officer in the Southern Command said Monday night, regarding the cease-fire.

In total, over 200 rockets were been fired into Israel since hostilities began on Friday, including 50 with ranges of over 20 kilometers. Some of the rockets were manufactured domestically in the Gaza Strip. The IDF also reported that Islamic Jihad, Iran's new favorite proxy in the Gaza Strip now that Hamas has publicly distanced itself from Teheran, lost several of its best operatives and much of its terrorist infrastructure during the fighting.


News in Brief

Emotional crisis hotline sees sharp increase in calls
Israel's emotional crisis hotline (Eran) has received 150% of the usual number of calls in the last days as the south of the country was bombarded by rockets. "We have been operating on an emergency schedule and giving priority to all the calls coming in from the south of the country," said Dr. Shiri Daniels, the director of counseling for the organization. She added that additional volunteers have been manning the phones at Eran's 11 centers around the country, fielding problems ranging from increased anxiety to extreme fear. "We have seen an increase in calls from all over the country," she said. "In the South, most of the calls are from mothers or children asking how to deal with the situation. In other places, it is people who are having flashbacks or are nervous after personal experiences."

Photos tweeted from Gaza proven to be fakes
Two photos tweeted as being the result of Israeli airstrikes in Gaza in recent days have been proven false. One photo, showing a Palestinian girl covered in blood in the arms of her father, was tweeted by Khulood Badawi (@KhuloodBadawi) of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. It also was tweeted by activist Diana Alzeer. But the picture was identified as a Reuters photo from 2006, showing a girl who was killed in an accident. Alzeer later tweeted a retraction and apology. Another photo Tweeted by a group called 'Gaza Youth Break Out' and purporting to show recent fighting was in fact another Reuters photo from Operation Cast Lead in 2009.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 20, 2012 7:23 am 
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ICEJ NEWS

Headlines from Jerusalem, Monday 19 March 2012

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Top Story

Jerusalem man among victims of shooting in France

A man on a motor-scooter rolled up to the entrance to the Ozar Hatorah Jewish day school in the French city of Toulouse, France on Monday morning and opened fire, killing Yonathan Sandler, a 30-year-old teacher from Jerusalem; his two children Aryeh, 6, and Gavriel, 3; and the 8-year-old daughter of the school's principle. The shooting happened around 0800 local time, and the city was effectively shut down while police searched for the gunman. "For someone to locate this school in a place like Toulouse means he knew what he was doing," Gil Taieb, a vice president of the CRIF, France's Jewish umbrella group, told The Jerusalem Post. "He went there to kill Jews. There are occasional anti-Semitic attacks but they are small, nothing like this. We haven't had something like this in at least ten years." The attack reminded many of a two recent shooting attacks against French soldiers that have occurred in recent days in the city, leading to speculation of a wave of related crimes.
Headlines

Dempsey warns Iran not taking West seriously

Iran rejects concessions, issues demands


US chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, gave an interview with PBS over the weekend in which he declared that Iran's leadership is in danger of miscalculating how serious the West is about putting a stop to their renegade nuclear program. "Rational meant to me that there is an evident pattern of behavior that this regime has followed since the Islamic Revolution that, first and foremost, expresses their intention to remain in power and to preserve the regime," he said. "Based on that, there are some things that we know they will respond to. That's a rational actor. However, he compared this to the actions of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, who also followed a relatively predictable pattern, and concluded that the Iranians "could get it wrong and suffer the consequences."


Responding to reports of disagreements between the US and Israel about how to respond to Iran, he continued by saying "we don't disagree in terms of intent, we disagree in terms of time. All options are on the table. It's time not necessarily measured in terms of months or years, but in terms of our ability and capability to collect intelligence, to see if they cross any thresholds."
Heavy fighting reported in Damascus following bombings

Saudi Arabia sending weapons to rebels

Heavy fighting was reported in the Syrian capital of Damascus on Monday between troops loyal to the regime of president Bashar Assad and opposition forces fighting under the banner of the Free Syrian Army. The clashes broke out in the heavily guarded al-Mezze district, which includes the headquarters of several security organizations, signaling a serious breach of the regime's perimeter. The fighting broke out after a weekend which saw massive explosions rip through residential neighborhoods in Damascus and Aleppo, Syria's second largest city, killing dozens of people. The regime traded accusations with opposition groups for responsibility, while others speculated that Al-Qaida might have been behind the attacks as part of efforts to further destabilize the country so it will be more susceptible to a takeover. Clashes continued in other parts of Syria at a ferocious pace, putting an end to speculation that the regime's control over the flashpoint city of Homs in recent days signaled the beginning of the end of the conflict.

Meanwhile, an Iraqi government spokesman declared over the weekend that Baghdad will not allow Iran to use Iraqi territory or airspace to ship weapons to the Assad regime. However, an Arab diplomat told AFP on Saturday that "Saudi military equipment is on its way to Jordan to arm the Free Syrian Army. This is a Saudi initiative to stop the massacres in Syria...details will follow at a later time." The announcement, denied by Jordan, came as Saudi Arabia and several other countries withdrew their ambassadors' to Syria in protest against Assad's "mass slaughter" of civilians.

Front Page Jerusalem Radio, produced by the ICEJ
The Dark Side of Islam

Everyone in the West is under pressure these days to stay politically correct and not bash Muslims as extremists, lest we be branded as "Islamophobic." But Pastor Mulinde has been facing Islamic militants who hate him for preaching the Gospel and for teaching his followers to love Israel. So he has a very sobering message for those who still want to present Islam as a religion of peace.

News in Brief

Fuel spat between Hamas and Egypt escalates Officials from Egypt and the Islamist terror militia Hamas traded accusations on Sunday about who was more responsible for an ongoing crisis in the Gaza Strip regarding a shortage of electricity. The crisis erupted several weeks ago when Egyptian companies refused to ship diesel fuel necessary to run Gaza's main power plant because the Hamas administration was so far behind on payments. But Hamas is now saying they've paid for the fuel but Egypt is committing "political extortion" by refusing to ship the fuel except through Israel. Egyptian officials responded by telling ordinary Gazans not to allow Hamas to blame Egypt and Israel for their own incompetence. Meanwhile, the IDF reported over the weekend that the recent round of violence between Israel and terrorist groups in the Strip had led to Islamic Jihad losing a large number of its best operatives and equipment, and that many of the rockets fired at Israel last week either landed inside Gaza or were intercepted by the Iron Dome system.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 27, 2012 7:33 am 
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"Remember the word that I said to you, 'A slave is not greater than his master.' If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also. But all these things they will do to you for My name's sake, because they do not know the One who sent Me" John 15:20-21

ICEJ NEWS

Headlines from Jerusalem, Monday 26 March 2012

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Christian leaders react to Saudi Grand Mufti's fatwa

Christian leaders in Europe reacted sharply over the weekend to a religious fatwa issued earlier in the week by Abdulaziz ibn Abdullah Al al-Sheikh, the grand mufti of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which included the statement it is "necessary to destroy all the churches in the Arabian Peninsula." Catholic leaders in Germany and Austria declared that the fatwa was an unacceptable denial of human rights to millions of foreign workers in the Gulf region. Archbishop Mark of Yegoryevsk, head of the Russian Orthodox department for churches abroad, agreed, calling the fatwa "alarming" in a statement on Tuesday. Outside of religious circles, the fatwa has received little official condemnation from any government or the UN.

News in Brief

Israel facilitates Gaza fuel transfer
The IDF facilitated a special transfer of 450 thousand liters of diesel and gasoline into the Gaza Strip over the weekend, allowing Gaza's power stations to continue providing electricity and vehicles to continue rolling for a short time while negotiations continued with Egyptian authorities over the transfer of fuel from that country. Despite the recent round of rocket attacks into Israel from terrorist groups in the Strip, Israel has continued to ship humanitarian supplies in and has also allowed limited agricultural exports, mostly to Jordan and Palestinian cities in the West Bank. At the same time, traffic through the Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt has come to a near standstill, leading to a shortage of consumer goods and fuel in the Strip.


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