August 13, 2005

News for August 13, 2005

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Hamas Vows to Continue Fight After Pullout (August 13, 2005) - For the first time in a decade, the founders and top political leaders of Hamas gathered on the same stage Saturday, vowing to go on fighting Israel and claiming victory for its impending withdrawal from the Gaza Strip. In a direct challenge to the Palestinian Authority, the militant groups’ top brass said it rejects the idea of a sole decision-making body for the area and insists it has the right to possess weapons. Tensions between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas have heated up in the days before Israel begins its withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and four West Bank settlements, with each trying to claim victory for the pullout. On Saturday, Hamas leaders positioned themselves in front of the group’s logo and a green Islamic flag to send a message that they have the right to possess weapons and to claim responsibility for pushing Israel out of the Gaza Strip. The Hamas news conference comes just a day after the Palestinian Authority held its first official celebration - with the attendance of Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas - of Israel’s withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and four West Bank settlements. Speakers at Friday’s ceremony made it clear that all celebrations of the withdrawal would take place under the official Palestinian banner - the red, black, green and white flag - a message to Hamas. more...


Church warns 5 US firms of divestment (August 13, 2005) - The US Presbyterian Church has threatened to divest from five American giant corporations, accusing them of supporting and helping maintain the Israeli occupation of Palestine. The church’s ‘Mission responsibility through investment’ (MRTI) committee said in a statement it would have to use the church’s multimillion-dollar stock holdings in the five corporations to put pressure on them to stop supporting Israeli occupation. It also said it hoped to engage in a dialogue “so that these corporations might change their business practices which inflict harm on the innocent and delay movement towards a just peace”. “If these dialogues fail, we may conclude that our investments are not being used for activities that support the broad mission of the church,” church official Bill Somplatsky-Jarman said in a press release. “At that point, divestment is an option that the general assembly may consider.” more...


Extremists using national parks (August 13, 2005) - Islamic extremists are running “indoctrination” camps in Britain’s national parks, according to a senior police officer. West Yorkshire chief constable Colin Cramphorn argued that the police need greater powers to combat the extremists’ efforts to radicalize young Muslims. Mr. Cramphorn, whose force has played a leading role in the investigation into the July 7 bombings of London - the suicide bomber team was based on his patch - made his comments in an interview for The Spectator. Mr. Cramphorn told the magazine: “Consider the training camps run in this country by the extremists. “They’re not like IRA camps in Donegal where people are learning how to fire mortars. They’re actually pure indoctrination camps. “It’s much more than just a few white-water-rafting trips in Wales such as the bombers took. Wherever there’s a national park, you’ll find them - the Yorkshire Dales, the Lake District, the West Highlands.” Mr. Cramphorn, a former deputy chief constable of the RUC, voiced frustration at the extent of the authorities’ powers to combat such activities. He said that there might be lessons to be learned from the security and legal system evolved to tackle terrorism in Ulster. Mr. Cramphorn said: “All we can do now is track them, rather than disrupt them. “We should learn from our experience in Ulster and reintroduce elements of the old Emergency Provisions Acts over here.”


Chief rabbi sees imminent coming of Messiah (August 13, 2005) - Russian Chief Rabbi Berel Lazar believes the Earth will soon see the coming a Messiah to judge all mankind. “We know that he is very near at hand, but he needs not only to be born but also to come,” Lazar told the Gazeta daily. “The Messiah may well have been born already, but unless he is ordered by God he cannot reveal himself with God’s help and change the world for the better.” Lazar explained his assumptions about the imminent coming of a Messiah. “The world today is in a state described by our sages as ‘hevley mashiah,’ that is, labor that precedes the coming of a Messiah,” he said. Lazar continued: “It is a time when many good things are created in the world and the progress of science and technology has made it possible to solve many human problems, to overcome diseases, famine, etc., on one hand. On the other hand, it is for the first time since God created human beings that humans have taken hold of such means of destruction that the whole of our race and even the globe itself can be destroyed instantly.” “We are living on the verge of history,” he said. “It can be felt everywhere.” Recalling the comparison made by philosopher Maimonides, who likened the world to scales, Lazar assumed that “perhaps God is waiting for only one deed to be put on the good scale to order the Messiah to reveal himself.” Speaking about it, Russia’s chief rabbi called upon everyone “to add this good deed, as one’s contribution may prove decisive.”

The Bible said that many would say “there is Christ” etc. [Matthew 24:23-27] We also know that the antichrist will set himself up to be God in the temple in about the middle of a seven year period by a prophecy in Daniel. [Daniel 9:27] The Jews are still waiting for their Messiah, so they don’t think of His return as the New Testament describes.
 

Ancient water system discovered near Jerusalem (August 13, 2005) - Israeli and American archaeologists have discovered what they term a “monumental rock-hewn water system” near Jerusalem dating back to the eighth century BC The discovery, announced Aug. 9, was made during an eight-week dig at a cave close to Jerusalem, in Ein Kerem, which is regarded as the traditional birthplace of John the Baptist. Last summer, Shimon Gibson, the chief archaeologist at the dig, announced that he had found a cave that may have been used by John the Baptist to anoint his followers. A statement by Gibson and archaeologist James Tabor from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte said that the latest excavations have revealed the cave to be part of “a much larger Iron Age water system, rock-cut in places to a depth of 65 feet.” The archaeologists said the cave, which dates back to the time of King Hezekiah (according to pottery shards from that period), contains a vertical shaft, an open horizontal corridor, a flight of stone steps above a tunnel and three external plastered pools, all of which was on the slope above an underground reservoir. more...


Legislative prayer suit disappoints area leaders (August 13, 2005) - Several Middle Georgia elected officials said Thursday they were disappointed to learn of an American Civil Liberties Union-backed lawsuit that attacks legislative prayers made before county commission meetings in Cobb County. The suit was filed in federal court Wednesday on behalf of five residents in the northwest Atlanta suburb, who object to what they claim is the invocation of “a Christian God - to the exclusion of all other Gods” at county government meetings. “You’re gonna find the same thing here, I’m afraid,” said Monroe County Commission Chairman Harold Carlisle, who said his county meetings have opened with a prayer for at least the past 10 years - as long as he’s been involved with the government. “I wouldn’t dream of starting the meeting without it.” In Middle Georgia, many government meetings - from county commissions to city councils to school boards - begin with prayer invocations that often will reference Christianity. Bibb, Monroe, Houston, Jones, Twiggs and Peach counties all open their commission meetings with a prayer. These prayers usually are held immediately before the Pledge of Allegiance. more...


Bush raises option of using force against Iran (August 13, 2005) - President Bush said on Israeli television he could consider using force as a last resort to press Iran to give up its nuclear programme. “All options are on the table,” Bush, speaking at his ranch in Crawford, Texas, said in the interview broadcast on Saturday. Asked if that included the use of force, Bush replied: “As I say, all options are on the table. The use of force is the last option for any president and you know, we’ve used force in the recent past to secure our country.” Iran angered the European Union and the United States by resuming uranium conversion at the Isfahan plant last Monday after rejecting an EU offer of political and economic incentives in return for giving up its nuclear programme. Tehran says it aims only to produce electricity and denies Western accusations it is seeking a nuclear bomb. Bush made clear he still hoped for a diplomatic solution, noting that EU powers Britain, Germany and France had taken the lead in dealing with Iran. more...