Saturday, January 25, 2020

US builds up Mid-East strength against rising tension over “Deal of the Century and Iran

The USS Bataan strike group and the 2,400-strong 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit are being deployed to the Mid-East ready for unexpected trouble arising from spiraling tension with Iran and potential reactions to the release of Donald Trump’s “Deal of the Century” – a plan for an Israel-Palestinian peace –  early next week.

On Friday, Jan. 24, the USS Bataan amphibious assault ship, escorted by two other battleships, had reached the Red Sea opposite the eastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula. They had taken part in a naval exercise with Morocco, which was interrupted for their new mission.
US intelligence watchers believe that Iran is getting ready to expand its assaults on US and allied targets, including Israel and Saudi Arabia, in escalating payback for the US assassination of Al Qods chief Gen. Qassem Soleimani on Jan. 3.
On Friday, the Pentagon revealed that 34 US servicemen had suffered “traumatic brain injury” from Iran’s missile strikes on the US Ain al-Asad air base in Iraq on Jan. 8. Earlier, only 11 were reported injured, while President Trump had stated initially that no US troops had been hurt in the attack.
Gen. Frank McKenzie, head of the US Central Command in the Middle East, speaking from the deck of the Bataan, said, “Although the Soleimani killing was a deterrent, Iran continues to pose a very real threat.”
DEBKAfile’s military sources additionally attribute the latest American military movements to a reassessment of the tasks assigned to the US forces stationed in Iraq. Their new focus has moved to the semiautonomous Kurdish Republic (KRG) in northern Iraq. The three US airbases in other parts of the country, Ain al Asad, Balad and Taiji, will remain in place. However, three new American bases are under construction in Kurdistan.

Pompeo: If you facilitate Iran's activities, you will be sanctioned

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo clarified on Thursday that Washington intends to continue its maximum pressure policy on Iran.
“Maximum pressure on the Iranian regime will continue until its behavior changes. Today we imposed sanctions against China, Hong Kong, and UAE-based entities for operating in Iran’s oil and petrochemical sectors,” Pompeo wrote on Twitter.
“If you facilitate this regime's activities, you will be sanctioned,” he added.
US President Donald Trump withdrew from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal in May of 2018 and reimposed sanctions on the Islamic Republic.
In response to the US withdrawal from the nuclear deal and its imposition of sanctions, Iran has scaled back its compliance with the 2015 deal.
Last month, the United States imposed new sanctions on Iran’s biggest airline and its shipping network.
More recently, Washington sanctioned Tehran after Iran launched ballistic missiles on Iraqi bases hosting US troops in retaliation for the elimination of General Qassem Soleimani.
Iran condemned those sanctions which target eight senior Iranian officials as well as companies in the steel and other sectors.

How a non-Jew believer discovered evidence of the Exodus

Reared on movies and films of the 1950s, Jim Long became an avid reader, searching for depth on subjects he saw on the big screen, particularly the Bible, geology, and archaeology.
As program director at a radio station, Jim brought the legendary biblical archaeologist Vendyl Jones (upon whom Indiana Jones is loosely based) to the show. Riveted by the man, his knowledge and his value system, Jim became Vendyl's right-hand man, joining him on his country-wide speaking tours, taking care of all the details, and mostly asking questions.
Jim and his wife Carol are dedicated Noahides, and have begun their own film production company called Lightcatcher Productions. His first book, which was also made into a documentary, is called The Riddle of the Exodus, in which he brings empirical evidence of the Biblical story of the Israelites in and out of Egypt.
Tune in to find out who was the Noahide who was influential in creating a system of law in 18th century England; how the Jewish people can help Noahides, themselves and the rest of the world; and what rabbis have to say about non-Jews who believe in the Torah but do not want to convert.
Jim's expansive knowledge and passion for Torah and for truth simply shine through this wonderful interview.

Prophecy is alive and well in our time

PROPHECY. We don't have prophecy in our time. Heard that before? NOT TRUE! Maybe we don't have new prophecy today, but we certainly have prophecy in our time. We've had it since Moshe was tending his father- in-law's sheep and an angel appeared to him from a bush that was burning but was not being consumed.
From the moment that G-d took over at the bush and started talking to Moshe, we've had prophecy. Throughout all of Torah and then throughout most of Tanach, we have prophecy. The Torah is the prophecy of Moshe Rabeinu and NACH is a collection of the prophecies of dozens of other prophets.

So let's talk a fresh look at the prophecy at the beginning of our sedra, Va'eira - from a different angle.

Original episode: G-d tells Moshe to go to the people of Israel and tell them - I am G-d. I will take you out of Egypt... I will take you to Me as a nation... I will bring you to the Land I promised to give to your forefathers... I will give it to you... The people were exhausted and dispirited, and they didn't listen to Moshe.
That's what happened to first time. But the Torah which G-d gave us, contains this prophecy. Which means that it was meant for us too. All we need to do is hear this prophecy and see it from a different angle.
G-d told Moshe to include in the Torah that he would write at G-d's dictation, this prophecy of Geula, so that Jews of all generations - including our generations in 5779, will not just read about something that happened a long time ago, but will hear well G-d's words through Moshe... see them from a different angle... and react to them.
G-d promised to take us out of Egypt, to save us from their labor and oppression, and redeem us.

And He did! And we are commanded to remember the Exodus all the days of our lives. And we have many mitzvot incumbent upon us that remind us of the fulfillment of the first part of the prophecy. Its first pasuk. Its first three terms.

Friday, January 24, 2020

Netanyahu & Gantz invited to White House for Trump unveiling of Mid-East peace plan

After numerous delays, President Donald Trump is to unveil the “Deal of the Century” – his Middle East Peace plan for Israel and the Palestinians – next week.  He has invited Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and opposition Kahol Lavan leader Benny Gantz to the White House for the event. He is inviting both, to avoid appearing to interfere in the Israeli election of March 2, after deciding to publish the plan without further delay.
The US president will reportedly include in his plan the transition of the Jordan Valley and the areas of Jewish habitation on the West Bank to Israeli sovereign rule. The Palestinians are assigned a demilitarized state.
A high-ranking American source revealed that the Trump plan will shift Israel’s border substantially eastward.
The White House invitation to Israel’s leaders next week was handed to them by Vice President Mike Pence in Jerusalem on Thursday, Jan. 23, when he represented the United States at the world gathering for the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.
The White House ceremony for launching the Middle East peace process is unprecedented in that one of the parties is adamantly opposed to the Trump initiative and will not be present.
As we reported in DEBKAfile on Jan. 21, the Trump plan will not be released in its entirety , but only the main political chapter. Before publication, he conferred in advance with key Arab rulers. The decisive conversation took place on Jan. 6 with Saudi Deputy Defense Minister Prince Khalid bin Salman who visited the White House. The prince said that his government had no objection to the partial release of the Trump peace plan. Egyptian President Abdel-Fatteh el-Sisi and UAE ruler Sheikh Muhammed bin Zayed also agreed. But King Mohammad of Morocco sidestepped the question and avoided giving a clear answer.

Jordan’s FM warns annexation would end chances for Israeli-Palestinian peace

Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi warned on Thursday that Israeli annexation of the Jordan Valley would spell the death of the two-state solution and terminate all opportunities to achieve peace between Israel and the Palestinians.
“Israel annexing the Jordan Valley and the northern Dead Sea in the occupied Palestinian territories will totally undermine the foundations of the peace process, kill the two-state solution and end all chances to achieve peace,” Safadi told the Jordanian state-run Petra news agency.
Safadi’s comment came after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed on Tuesday to apply sovereignty over the Jordan Valley as well as every settlement in the West Bank “without exception.”
Since September, the prime minister has frequently said that if he succeeds in forming a new government, he will annex the Jordan Valley.
The top Jordanian diplomat’s statement also came after Benny Gantz, Netanyahu’s main rival, promised on Tuesday to apply sovereignty over the Jordan Valley “in coordination with the international community.”
Netanyahu’s Likud and Gantz’s Blue and White are competing against each other in the national elections on March 2. Both men appear to be making comments about annexation of the Jordan Valley to curry favor with right-wing voters.
The overwhelming majority of the international community has long opposed Israel applying its sovereignty over the Jordan Valley and called for the advancement of a two-state solution. READ MORE

Bennett: We will not allow creation of Palestinian state

Defense Minister Naftali Bennett responded to reports Thursday that the Trump Administration is preparing to release its Middle East peace plan.
"President Trump, [Jared] Kushner, and [Ambassador David] Friedman are all true friends of Israel. The State of Israel may face a historic opportunity, along with significant risks. The Yamina party will remain vigilant," Bennett said.
"It should be clear: the Yamina party will not allow land to be transferred to the Arabs or to establish a Palestinian state. After the details of the program are released, we will refer to their bodies."
Binyamin Regional Council head Yisrael Katz said: "Establishing a dangerous Palestinian state for the State of Israel and the settlement will fight with all its might. The United States government is sympathetic to Israel and recognizes the right and obligation to apply sovereignty over the Judea and Samaria area. We expect the prime minister to immediately make a decision on the application of sovereignty throughout the settlements."
"Under no circumstances should Arabs be allowed to establish a state here, whether partial or non-demilitarized. The settlement and lovers of the Land of Israel will fight it with all their might," said Gantz.
Earlier, several leaders in Judea and Samaria stated that "we were impressed that the Americans gave their consent to apply Israeli law in the Jordan Valley and Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria."
"We will not agree to the establishment of a demilitarized Palestinian state in the rest of the territory," the senior officials added.

PA furious at Trump peace plan

The Palestinian Authority reacted angrily to the invitation the Trump Administration extended to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Blue and White leader MK Benny Gantz to the White House next week to discuss the administration's peace plan.
Nabil Abu Roudina, spokesman for PA president Mahmoud Abbas emphasized the PA's "total opposition" to US resolutions which, among other things, recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
Roudina also said that the PA's position remains "the end of the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian state land within the 1967 borders and its capital in eastern Jerusalem."
He warned: "If this deal (Deal of the Century) is declared in its unacceptable form, the Palestinian leadership will announce a series of steps aimed at preserving our legitimate rights, and we will demand that Israel bear its full responsibility as an occupation government. We warn Israel and the US government against crossing the red line."

Report: What would Israel get, and give, under Trump peace plan?

Details of the Trump Administration's long-awaited peace plan have begun to emerge as Israeli leaders head to Washington DC to discuss the plan, according to a report by Channel 13 News correspondent Amit Segal.
According to Segal, the plan, dubbed the 'Deal of the Century, would allow Israel to apply sovereignty to all Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria immediately.
In addition, all but 15 Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria would be included in a territorially continuous bloc which would come under Israeli sovereignty. The remaining 15 Israeli towns would also be placed under Israeli sovereignty, but as smaller enclaves outside of the larger bloc. In total, Israel would apply sovereignty to about 30% of all the land in Judea and Samaria.
In addition, Jerusalem would remain entirely under Israeli sovereignty.
Israel would be required to recognize a Palestinian Arab state on the remaining 70% of Judea and Samaria.
The Palestinian Authority would be required to accept four conditions to receive recognition as a state. The PA would have to recognize Israel as the Jewish State, recognize Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Israel, Hamas must disarm, and Gaza must be demilitarized.
President Donald Trump dismissed the report, saying that "reports about details and timing of our closely-held peace plan are purely speculative."

Arab opposition to US peace plan stoke fears of riots on the Temple Mount

Israeli security forces are gearing up for possible rioting on the Temple Mount during Friday prayers, amid calls for demonstrations on the holy site to protest the Trump administration’s plans to release its much-anticipated Middle East peace plan next week.
The Palestinian Authority and Hamas, both of which have rejected the peace plan - which has been dubbed the “Deal of the Century” - even before its release, called on Muslims to gather on the Temple Mount Friday to demonstrate opposition to the peace plan.
Unconfirmed reports claim that the deal will require the Palestinian Authority to recognize all of Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Israel, and would allow Israel to apply sovereignty to some 30% of Judea and Samaria, leaving the remaining 70% for the formation of a Palestinian state.
After the US signaled it would release the plan next week, and that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and rival Benny Gantz had been invited to the White House next Tuesday, the Palestinian Authority castigated the US and declared its “total opposition” to the peace plan.
Fearing an Arab backlash against the impending release of the peace plan and concerned the mass gatherings planned on the Temple Mount could turn violent, Israeli police have made special preparations for this Friday’s prayer services.
On Thursday, dozens of radical Muslim activists were barred from the Temple Mount, with administrative restraining orders distancing more than 30 activists from the holy site for periods ranging from several days to six months, the PA’s WAFA reported.
On Friday, according to the WAFA report, Israeli police carried out raids in eastern Jerusalem, targeting additional activists ahead of Friday afternoon prayers.
Last Friday, Muslim worshippers gathered on the Mount rioted, leaving five rioters injured and three arrested.
Officials of the Waqf – the Islamic trust which manages the Temple Mount – had called on Muslims to ‘defend’ the holy site, citing the growing number of Jews visiting the Mount.

Poll: Israelis sharply divided over Jordan Valley annexation

Israelis are sharply divided over Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s plan to unilaterally apply Israeli sovereignty over the Jordan Valley area on Israel’s eastern border, a new poll shows.
A poll conducted by the Midgam polling agency and published by Walla! on Friday shows that a narrow plurality of Israelis back unilaterally applying Israeli sovereignty to the Jordan Valley, with 35% backing the prime minister’s plan.
But nearly as many Israelis – 30% - said they opposed such a move if done unilaterally. A further 35% did not have an opinion.
Among right-wing voters, 48% back unilateral annexation, compared to 21% who opposed it and 31% who have no opinion. Among center-left voters, 20% back the move, compared to 44% who oppose it and 36% who have no opinion.
Last September, on the eve of the election for the 22nd Knesset, Netanyahu vowed that if reelected, he would unilaterally apply Israeli sovereignty to the Jordan Valley, and would not wait for a final status agreement to be signed with the Palestinian Authority.
While the plan was shelved after the election yielded another deadlocked Knesset, Netanyahu and his allies this week called on the center-left Blue and White party to support the move.
Gantz expressed support for the application of Israeli sovereignty over the Jordan Valley, but fell short of backing unilateral annexation, vowing instead to work to promote the extension of Israeli sovereignty with international “cooperation”.
The poll was conducted this Wednesday and Thursday, and surveyed 505 respondents via telephone and the internet, with a margin of error 4.4%.

Trump: 'Deal of the Century' will be unveiled in the coming days

US President Donald Trump announced on Thursday that he will unveil the "Deal of the Century" in the coming days and before Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Blue and White chairman Benny Gantz arrive in Washington.
Trump added that officials in his administration had briefly spoken to senior Palestinian Authority (PA) officials and will be speaking to them again soon.
"They may react negatively at first, but it is actually positive for them and they have a lot of incentive to do it," Trump told reporters.
"It's a great plan. It's a plan that really would work," he added. “I’d love to be able to do that deal. They say that’s the hardest of all deals."
Earlier on Thursday, Vice President Mike Pence said that Netanyahu and Gantz have both accepted the Trump Administration's invitation to the White House next week to discuss the administration's upcoming Middle East peace plan.
"President Trump asked me to extend an invitation for Prime Minister Netanyahu to come to the White House next week, to discuss regional issues as well as the prospect of peace here in the Holy Land," Pence told reporters.
The Vice President added that he invited Gantz at Netanyahu's suggestion.
Netanyahu said, "I suggested that Benny Gantz be invited to this event as well, because I think that it's important that we do not lose this historic opportunity. With such friends in the White House, with such backing from the United States, we should get as broad a consensus as possible around the efforts to achieve security and peace, peace and security for the State of Israel.”
"I look forward to doing both, and I thank you again for your extraordinary friendship. Thank you," he added.
Meanwhile, Channel 12 News’ Amit Segal published details of what he said was the Trump administration's peace plan.
According to Segal, the plan would allow Israel to apply sovereignty to all Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria immediately.
In addition, all but 15 Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria would be included in a territorially continuous bloc which would come under Israeli sovereignty. The remaining 15 Israeli towns would also be placed under Israeli sovereignty, but as smaller enclaves outside of the larger bloc. In total, Israel would apply sovereignty to about 30% of all the land in Judea and Samaria.
Jerusalem would remain entirely under Israeli sovereignty. Israel would be required to recognize a Palestinian Arab state on the remaining 70% of Judea and Samaria.
Trump dismissed the report, saying that "reports about details and timing of our closely-held peace plan are purely speculative."

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Study: Professors Donate to Democrats More Than Republicans 95 to 1

A new study has found that professors registered as Democrats outnumber Republicans by a ratio of nearly nine to one. The study adds that professors who donate to Democrat candidates outnumber those giving to Republicans by a ratio of 95 to one.
According to new statistics published in National Association of Scholars by Brooklyn College associate professor Mitchell Langbert and Heterodox Academy director of research Sean Stevens, Democrat professors greatly outnumber Republicans — especially regarding donations to political candidates.
Using a sample of 12,372 university professors, Langbert and Stevens say they have discovered that 48.4 percent of professors are registered Democrats, while 5.7 percent are registered Republicans — adding that Democrat professors outnumber Republican professors at a ratio of 8.5 to 1.
The researchers also noted that “partisan affiliation is the most skewed” among the nation’s highest-ranked institutions, adding that the institutions “are the most elite in each state, but they are not in all cases the most elite nationally.”
Langbert and Stevens added that the nine disciplines they sampled — Anthropology, Biology, Chemistry, Economics, English, Mathematics, Philosophy, Psychology, and Sociology — also showed a discrepancy with regards to the Democrat:Republican (D:R) ratio.
“In all nine disciplines, the D:R registration ratio favors the Democratic Party,” said the researchers, noting that “the natural sciences are the least politically homogenous.”
According to the researchers, Anthropology was found to have the largest discrepancy, with a ratio of 42.2 to 1.
The study added that region is also associated with differences in D:R registration ratio, noting that the greatest discrepancy in partisanship is among professors in the Northeast — favoring Democrats at a ratio of 15.4 to 1. READ MORE