News for January 14, 2006
The Rome solution in Jerusalem By Moshe Sasson (January 13, 2006) - The city of Jerusalem now represents two separate and distinct problems: the sites that are sacred to the three monotheistic religions and the existence of a large Arab population - at the end of 2004, numbering some 237,100 people.
In the matter of the holy places, a historical precedent exists that is wonderfully suited to the issue of Jerusalem and could serve as a basis for the solution of the problem without partitioning the city. In 1871, a serious disagreement developed between the government of united Italy and the Vatican following the declaration of the city of Rome as the capital of Italy. The dispute continued until 1929, when the Lateran Treaty established a “special status under international guarantee” for the five basilicas that belong to the Vatican, but which are outside of its territory and scattered throughout the city of Rome (such as San Pietro in Vincoli). The “international guarantee” was given to the special status, and not to the churches.
It would appear that Israel could adopt a resolution of this sort: It could declare unilaterally, by virtue of its sovereignty, that it is granting a special status with an international guarantee to the Al Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock Sanctuary on the Temple Mount, as well as to all the other places in Jerusalem, or in Israel, that are sacred to Christianity and also of course to the places that are sacred to Judaism. To this declaration it should be added that Israel also grants “free passage to the holy places regardless of religion, gender or race” to anyone who wishes to visit the courtyard of the Temple Mount and that everything that is currently applicable to the Muslims on the Temple Mount will continue to apply as it does today.
Such a move on Israel’s part would lead to a number of very important positive results: Jerusalem would remain whole and not divided; each of the three monotheistic religions would be sovereign over the buildings that are sacred to it, would administer them and would be responsible for what happens inside them.
International public opinion would welcome such a move and it would be an important step toward advancing a solution to the most complicated and sensitive element in the Arab-Israeli conflict. As for Israel, in the context of the stipulation that there would be “free passage to the holy places regardless of religion, gender or race,” its inhabitants would be able to visit (not worship) as they do today.
Presumably Arab governments would raise an outcry against such a declaration on Israel’s part, because of their interest to maintain the supposedly “religious aspect” of the Arab-Israeli conflict. As a result of that, possibly the Islamic states would convene to discuss the measures they should take because of this new responsibility that they have suddenly been confronted with. It is even possible that they would want to establish a small policing force with Israel’s agreement to deal with issues liable to arise on the Temple Mount as well as for purposes of overseeing what occurs there on a routine basis.
If so, not only will there be no need to divide the city because of the sites that are sacred to Islam, but also we will be relieved of “the punishment of the other” and take one of the most important steps toward resolving this complicated and delicate issue in the Arab-Israeli conflict.
As for the problem of the very large Arab population in the city: It must first be noted that the reality today is that Jerusalem is already divided between its eastern part and its western part - with respect to the level of services, the quality of life, employment opportunities, poverty and so forth. The predicted annual growth of the Jewish population between 2000 and 2020 has been estimated at 1.9 percent, whereas the growth of the Palestinian population during the same period is expected to be more than double that number.
How is it possible to overcome this problem, which over the years will transform the capital of Israel into a city with an absolute Arab majority? Even if it were possible, no one would even think of a mass “expulsion” of the masses of the Arab population from the city. Therefore, it is necessary to attract Israelis and Jewish immigrants to Jerusalem and to keep its Jewish inhabitants living there and prevent them from abandoning it. If such measures are not taken, the day is not far off when the capital of Israel will be a city in which the absolute majority of its inhabitants will be Arabs.
The author served as Israel’s ambassador to Egypt and Italy.
ACLU fights Commandments again (January 14, 2006) - In the wake of major decisions on public display of the Ten Commandments, the American Civil Liberties Union is asking a federal court to order removal of a Tennessee courthouse exhibit. “The posting of the Ten Commandments sends the message that only certain believers can receive justice at the courthouse,” said Hedy Weinberg, executive director of ACLU of Tennessee. The ACLU filed the motion yesterday in U.S. District Court. Weinberg said “residents should not be made to feel like second class citizens because they do not hold the prevailing religious beliefs promoted by the county government.” The display in Rutherford County was approved by a 16-5 vote of the county commission in April 2002, but two months later, federal court Judge Robert Echols issued a preliminary injunction removing it. The decision was stayed, however, pending a decision on similar cases in two Kentucky counties, McCreary and Mercer. In the meantime, Dec. 20, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, the same court to which the Rutherford County case will be appealed, upheld Mercer County’s identical display. That court scolded the ACLU, rejecting its “repeated reference to ‘the separation of church and state.’” more...
Documents show Saddam trained terrorists (January 14, 2006) - Documents from Saddam Hussein’s regime that are slowly being translated show Iraq trained thousands of Islamic terrorists at camps inside the country before the war. The evidence – affirmed in interviews by U.S. government interrogators with Iraqi regime officials and military leaders – contradicts the claims of anti-war critics who charge Iraq became a magnet for Islamic terrorists only after the U.S. invasion. Steve Hayes of the Weekly Standard reports that from 1999 through 2002, “elite Iraqi military units” trained about 8,000 terrorists at three different camps, including Salman Pak, where American forces found an airliner fuselage that possibly was used to practice hijackings. Hayes, who claims more than a dozen corroborating sources, says many of the trainees were from North African-based terrorist groups with ties to al-Qaida. The U.S. has collected more than 2 million documents, audio and videotapes and computer hard drives, but only about 50,000 of these of these items have been examined so far by a skelton crew with limited resources. Along with Salmon Pak, the military units trained terrorists at camps in Samarra and Ramadi who, some intelligence officials believe, are responsible for attacks against Americans and Iraqis. more...
More affiliates drop ‘Book of Daniel’ (January 14, 2006) - Two more NBC-TV affiliates have dropped the new series “The Book of Daniel” in response to the protest of viewers who consider it offensive to Christians. Stations in Nashville, Tenn. and Amarillo, Texas, announced this week they would no longer carry the program, says the American Family Association, which launched a protest campaign last month. Earlier, stations in Terre Haute, Ind.; Tupelo and Meridian, Miss.; Little Rock, Ark.; and Beaumont, Texas, dropped the show. The NBC affiliate in Hattiesburg, Miss., also is considering not airing it. As WorldNetDaily reported, “The Book of Daniel,” written by a homosexual, is being promoted as the only show on television in which Jesus appears as a recurring character and the only network prime-time drama series with a regular male “gay” character, a 23-year-old Republican son. The main character, Daniel Webster, is a troubled, pill-popping Episcopal priest. Touted as the riskiest show of the year, it includes a wife who relies on mid-day martinis, a 16-year-old daughter who is a drug dealer and a 16-year-old adopted son who is having sex with the bishop’s daughter. At the office, the priest’s lesbian secretary is sleeping with his sister-in-law. more...
Saddam Trial Judge Plans to Quit (January 14, 2006) - “He wants to withdraw,” the source said of Rizgar Amin, who is to preside over the next hearing on January 24. “He will oversee the next sitting and then announce his reasons for withdrawing.” Asked why the Kurdish judge, based in the northern city of Sulaimaniya, wanted to pull out of a trial that has made his face familiar around the world during long days of television coverage, he would say only: “It is too difficult.” The killing of two defense lawyers has already highlighted problems with the process in a country mired in a virtual civil war that pits Saddam’s fellow minority Sunni Arabs against a U.S.-backed government run by Shi’ite Muslims and ethnic Kurds intent on hanging a man they say massacred their peoples. Kidnapping and murder have become commonplace and human rights groups have questioned the wisdom of pushing ahead with a trial in Baghdad rather than an international process in The Hague or elsewhere. Court officials were not immediately available for comment. more...
Hamas drops call for the end of Israel as poll nears (January 13, 2006) - Hamas has dropped its long-standing call for Israel to be replaced by an Islamic state in its manifesto for this month's Palestinian elections. The document, one of the rare occasions when Hamas has declared its policies in writing, does not repeat a tenet of its founding charter that all land west of the Jordan river should be part of an Islamic Palestinian state. The wording suggests that Hamas is committed to watering down some of the policies that led to it being proscribed by Israel, America and the European Union as a terrorist organisation. But the manifesto has not been totally cleansed of controversial language. It supports an armed struggle to regain Palestinian land, a struggle that involved numerous Hamas suicide bombs. The manifesto appears to commit Hamas to a position that has been hinted at by its leadership over the past few years, namely an armed struggle to regain land lost in the 1967 Six Day War to form a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital. The issue of land lost in 1948 with the creation of Israel would then be dealt with by future generations of Hamas leadership. more...
Scientists set to create human-rabbit hybrid (January 13, 2006) - “What we would be doing is using an unusual method to produce a human embryo which could be used to study very unpleasant diseases for which there isn’t a treatment,” - Professor Wilmut
BRITISH scientists are planning to create human-rabbit hybrid embryos to speed up research into the causes of inherited conditions such as motor neurone disease and Parkinson’s. The controversial work, which involves placing the nucleus of a human cell inside a rabbit egg, is rejected as immoral by churches and anti-cloning campaigners. One of the key ethical problems is whether the hybrid embryo should be treated legally as a human or an animal. Edinburgh University’s Professor Ian Wilmut - who created Dolly the Sheep - and colleagues in London believe the hybrids will help them circumvent a shortage of human eggs which is hampering research. more...
Israel’s new confidence in attack on Iran nukes (January 13, 2006) - Israeli military planners have more confidence in the success of an attack on Iran’s nuclear weapons facilities and have already begun sending signals to Tehran that it will not be permitted to threatened the Jewish state with annihilation, reports Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin today. The new government of acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert also wants the mullah government in the Islamic republic to understand that the incapacitation of Ariel Sharon will not leave Israel in any less state of military readiness, G2 Bulletin sources say. Yesterday, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice expressed strong U.S. support for a European move to take the issue of Iran’s nuclear program to the U.N. Security Council. The secretary accused Iran of deliberately escalating the confrontation over the issue, but said the United States still hopes for a diplomatic solution. The secretary of state endorsed the European decision in a statement to reporters, saying “provocative” Iranian actions in recent days had shattered the basis for further talks between Iran and three European nations. The U.S. is certain that Iran’s “civilian” nuclear program conceals an ambitious secret weapons effort. The secretary said it was premature to talk about possible U.N. sanctions or whether permanent Security Council members Russia and China, which have extensive commercial dealings with Iran, could be persuaded to support them. more...
Judas the Misunderstood: Vatican moves to clear reviled disciple’s name (January 12, 2006) - JUDAS ISCARIOT, the disciple who betrayed Jesus with a kiss, is to be given a makeover by Vatican scholars. The proposed “rehabilitation” of the man who was paid 30 pieces of silver to identify Jesus to Roman soldiers in the Garden of Gethsemane, comes on the ground that he was not deliberately evil, but was just “fulfilling his part in God’s plan”. Christians have traditionally blamed Judas for aiding and abetting the Crucifixion, and his name is synonymous with treachery. According to St Luke, Judas was “possessed by Satan”. Now, a campaign led by Monsignor Walter Brandmuller, head of the Pontifical Committee for Historical Science, is aimed at persuading believers to look kindly at a man reviled for 2,000 years. Mgr Brandmuller told fellow scholars it was time for a “re-reading” of the Judas story. He is supported by Vittorio Messori, a prominent Catholic writer close to both Pope Benedict XVI and the late John Paul II. Signor Messori said that the rehabilitation of Judas would “resolve the problem of an apparent lack of mercy by Jesus toward one of his closest collaborators”. He told La Stampa that there was a Christian tradition that held that Judas was forgiven by Jesus and ordered to purify himself with “spiritual exercises” in the desert. more...
Russia Hardens Tone on Iran, Says Won’t Block US Efforts (January 12, 2006) - Russian officials have hardened their criticism of Iran’s decision to resume sensitive nuclear research, but analysts said the comments did not signal a major change in Moscow’s position on the Iran nuclear standoff, the AFX news agency reports. Iran’s decision to resume nuclear research “personally disappoints me and gives some cause for alarm,” Russian news agencies quoted Russian Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov as saying.The minister declined to speculate on whether the growing confrontation over Iran’s nuclear program would lead to action by the UN Security Council, but said things were not moving in a positive direction. “As a permanent UN Security Council member, Russia reserves the right to act according to the situation. But whatever the case may be, the situation is not developing in the most favorable way.” Ivanov, who also holds the post of deputy prime minister, spoke as foreign ministers from the three main EU countries leading negotiations with Iran — the UK, France and Germany — prepared to meet Thursday in Berlin to discuss how to proceed on the crisis. more...
Augustine Volcano erupts (January 11, 2006) - Mount Augustine Volcano erupted early Wednesday, sending an ash plume an estimated 30,000 feet into the Alaska sky. A pair of explosions at 4:44 a.m and 5:13 a.m. indicated the volcano probably had erupted, said geologist Jennifer Adleman of the Alaska Volcano Observatory said. Seismic activity has not continued since those explosions. The plume advanced north but was expected to remain west of Anchorage, said Bob Hopkins, meteorologist in charge in the Anchorage office. A flight advisory was issued for pilots for an area 20 miles east and west of the volcano and about 50 miles north. “Fortunately, it’s not going to Anchorage this time,” Hopkins said. The volcano is on an uninhabited island about 180 miles southwest of Anchorage and across Cook Inlet from the Kenai Peninsula. The volcano is about 75 miles southwest of Homer. Winds are carrying an ash plume from the mountain north toward the Iniskin Peninsula on the west side of Cook Inlet, an area with little settlement. more...
Iran leader’s messianic end-times mission (January 11, 2006) - Iranian President Mahmoud’s Ahmadinejad’s mystical pre-occupation with the coming of a Shiite Islamic messiah figure – the Mahdi – is raising concerns that a nuclear-armed Islamic Republic could trigger the kind of global conflagration he envisions will set the stage for the end of the world. While Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been making headlines lately by questioning whether the Holocaust actually happened, by suggesting Israel should be moved to Europe and by demanding the Jewish state be wiped off the face of the earth, his apocalyptic religious zealotry has received less attention. In a videotaped meeting with Ayatollah Javadi-Amoli in Tehran, Ahmadinejad discussed candidly a strange, paranormal experience he had while addressing the United Nations in New York last September. He recounts how he found himself bathed in light throughout the speech. But this wasn't the light directed at the podium by the U.N. and television cameras. It was, he said, a light from heaven. According to a transcript of his comments, obtained and translated by Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin, Ahmadinejad wasn't the only one who noticed the unearthly light. One of his aides brought it to his attention. more...
Iran leader: Islam to ‘rule the world’ (January 10, 2006) - Islam must prepare to rule the world, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told a crowd of theological students in Iran’s holy city of Qom, according to a report. “We must believe in the fact that Islam is not confined to geographical borders, ethnic groups and nations. It’s a universal ideology that leads the world to justice,” Ahmadinejad said Jan. 5, according to Mehran Riazaty, a former Iran analyst for the Central Command of the Coalition Forces in Baghdad. Ahmadinejad, who has drawn global attention recently for his contention the Holocaust was a “myth,” said: “We don’t shy away from declaring that Islam is ready to rule the world.” Riazaty, in a post on the website Regime Change Iran, said the Iranian president emphasized his current theme that the return of the Shiite messiah, the Mahdi, is not far away, and Muslims must prepare for it. According to Shiites, the 12th imam disappeared as a child in the year 941. When he returns, they believe, he will reign on earth for seven years, before bringing about a final judgment and the end of the world. more...
Egypt threatens Abbas - Egypt threatened to withdraw its support for
the Palestinian Authority if the PA did not act to control the rampant anarchy
in the Gaza Strip, according to a report in the London Arab newspaper Al
Quds. The report claimed that following the incident at the Rafah border
crossing in which two Egyptian soldiers were killed, Egyptian authorities
delivered the threat to PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas as part of a specially
delivered message. Egypt also threatened to withdraw its support for the
peace process if the PA did not take the proper steps to restore order to
Gaza. Israel Radio reported that there were no other confirmations of the
account. In the incident at the border crossing last Wednesday, two Egyptian
border guards were killed and at least 30 were wounded when scores of Fatah
gunmen opened fire at Egyptian army posts. They first demolished parts of
the concrete slabs along the border between Egypt and the Gaza Strip, enabling
many Palestinians to cross into Egypt. Eyewitnesses said the gunmen used
a bulldozer and explosives to create a hole in the wall. Egyptian border
guards and Palestinian Authority policemen fired into the air in an unsuccessful
attempt to prevent Palestinians from infiltrating into Egypt, they added.
The gunmen were protesting the arrest of one of their colleagues by the
PA security forces on charges of kidnapping three British nationals.
Russia Prepares for Evacuation (January 13, 1999) - The European Union decided to break off negotiations with Iran on its nuclear program. The final decision on the holding of an extraordinary meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency and the forwarding of the Iranian dossier to the UN Security Council will be made next week in London at negotiations with representatives of the United States, EU, Russia and China. Moscow has already made it clear that it will no longer cover for Iran, which removed the seals from its nuclear facilities yesterday. Kommersant has learned that the Russian military delegation has Teheran, cutting off negotiations on the sale of S-300 complexes to it. An evacuation plan for the Russian specialists working in Iran is being developed in Moscow. more...
MS-13 Gang Hired to Murder Border Patrol (January 12, 2006) - Mexican alien smugglers plan to pay violent gang members and smuggle them into the United States to murder Border Patrol agents, according to a confidential Department of Homeland Security memo obtained by the Daily Bulletin. The Officer Safety Alert, dated Dec. 21, warns agents that the smugglers intend to bring members of the international Mara Salvatrucha street gang also known as MS-13 into the country for the deadly mission. “Unidentified Mexican alien smugglers are angry about the increased security along the U.S./Mexico border and have agreed that the best way to deal with U.S. Border Patrol agents is to hire a group of contract killers,” the alert states. MS-13, which has a strong base in El Salvador, is considered by the FBI to be one of the most dangerous gangs in the United States, with more than 20,000 members. more...
“Be not overcome
of evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:21
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