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This page focuses on news related to the dividing of Israel. I have begun to use a different site to share the Watchman Newsletter from December 2008 and on. Some stories will be archived there, but for the most part anything from November 2008 and before will remain here.

I believe this is transpiring in the current land-for-peace negotiations to divide Israel to the pre-1967 borders. America's roadmap is helping progress things, but the primary motivation is the financial aid coming from Europe to those who participate in Mr. Europe's new seven-year European Neighbourhood Policy.

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Lebanon recognizes 'state of Palestine' The Jerusalem Post (November 30, 2008) - The Lebanese government has approved forming full diplomatic relations with what it calls the "state of Palestine," and is elevating the office of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in Beirut to the status of an embassy. No date has been set to carry out the decision, which was announced by Lebanese Information Minister Tariq Mitri.

The PLO is regarded by the Arab League as the sole representative of the Palestinian people. The organization is currently headed by Mahmoud Abbas, who is also president of the Palestinian Authority. Hilal Khashan, a professor of political science at the American University of Beirut, said he thought the move showed the government in Beirut was trying to show support for 'Abbas' administration. "He is facing tough times. There is a split in the Fatah movement and there's a running battle between Fatah and the Hamas in Gaza," Khashan told The Media Line.

In addition, the Lebanese army is posted outside the 'Ein Al-Hilweh refugee camp and is contemplating military action if Palestinians in the camp do not surrender six members of the Islamist Fatah Al-Islam organization seeking refuge there. "I believe the Lebanese government wants to give the impression that it is not anti-Palestinian and it is welcoming diplomatic relations with the state of Palestine, which has not been declared yet," Khashan said. He added that the implementation of the decision requires a validating cabinet decision, so at the moment it "amounts to nothing."

Lebanon accommodates nearly 400,000 Palestinian refugees who say they are discriminated against by the government. Khashan said the decision to upgrade relations with the PLO will not affect this situation, explaining that anti-Palestinian sentiments are deeply rooted in Lebanon. "What is needed is a change in a series of Lebanese laws that bar Palestinians from employment in Lebanon. They are not allowed to work in significant professions beyond manual labor. This is what lies at the heart of the problem," he said. "The Palestinians are treated as non entities in Lebanon and have no rights whatsoever. I believe there is a deliberate effort by the Lebanese government to keep their situation sub-human so they will never contemplate seeking permanent residency in the country."
| Israel | Islam | Dividing the Land |

PM: Peace deal with Palestinians soon The Jerusalem Post (November 26, 2008) - It will soon be possible to reach a peace agreement with the Palestinians, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Tuesday, the morning after a farewell visit with US President George W. Bush and other administration officials who conceded a deal was not likely to materialize in the short term. "In principle there is nothing to prevent us from reaching an agreement on the core issues in the near future," Olmert said during a briefing with Israeli reporters. "I believe it is possible. I believe it is timely. A declaration is needed. I am ready to make it. I hope the other side is."

He also stressed the US had not tied Israel's hands when it came to military operations in the waning days of the Bush administration, despite media reports to the contrary. "I don't remember that anyone in the administration, including the last couple of days, advised me or any of my official representatives not to take any action which we will deem necessary for the fundamental security of Israel, and that includes Iran," he said, in response to a question from The Jerusalem Post. He pointed to conversations with Bush and his deputies who are "so open, so candid, so personal, that they can say to me anything they feel, and they do... This was not one of the things they said."

Speaking generally about his meetings with Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and others, Olmert also said, "There is a deep, basic understanding between us about the Iranian threat and the need to act in order to remove that threat." There has been speculation that if Israel were going to attack Iran's nuclear sites it would do so before President-elect Barack Obama takes office on January 20. Time magazine also reported that the US had told Israel to refrain from a major invasion of Gaza, despite renewed rocket fire from the Strip, so as not to disrupt peace talks.

But when it came to the Palestinians, during the briefing and in remarks before his meeting with Bush, Olmert focused on the possibility of reaching an agreement rather than on the renewed violence. The prime minister said there wouldn't be any written declaration of principles or other document spelling out the intermediate steps taken and agreements reached to date to prepare for a new American administration, because he was looking for a comprehensive peace deal. "You don't need months to make a decision," he said, noting the two years of intensive meetings with the Palestinians that he's overseen. Read full story...

| Israel | Islam | Dividing the Land | America |

Obama Tells Abbas: I Support Dividing Jerusalem Israel National News (November 4, 2008) - Democratic presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama privately expressed his support for a new Arab state within Israel's current borders, including eastern Jerusalem, during his meeting with Palestinian Authority Chairman and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah this summer.

According to a report published Tuesday in the Lebanese newspaper al-Ahbar, Obama told Abbas that he supports a PA state, and Arab "rights to east Jerusalem" as well. The sources said Abbas and PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad "heard the best things they ever heard from an American president" during the meeting. However, said sources quoted in the report, the candidate asked them to keep his declaration a secret.

PA spokesman Nimar Hamad said he had no comment on the remarks, other than to describe the briefing Abbas and Fayyad had given to the presidential hopeful. Later official PA reaction to the report categorically denied that Obama had made the statements attributed to him.

"The Palestinian Authority views the American elections as an internal matter and does not favor one person over another," he said in an official statement. "The PA hopes that the next American president will fulfill his commitment towards the Palestinians and pressure Israel."

Abbas, Fayyad and the rest of the Arab world are clearly hoping for an Obama victory, however. Hamas sources quoted in the article said that Arabs fear new wars would break out in the Middle East if Republican candidate Senator John McCain wins, but they believe there will be an official peace agreement with an Obama White House.

Mixed Messages in Gaza

PA Arabs who live in Gaza were reportedly celebrating in the streets with impromptu demonstrations, waving Hamas flags in anticipation of an Obama win, according to Voice of Israel government radio. But officials for the terrorist group that controls the region were skeptical that a change in the White House would lead to a change in facts on the ground. Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhum was quoted by Voice of Israel as saying that voters who would have to choose between Obama and McCain were being presented with two "awful" options.

The group's Damascus-based political bureau chief, Khaled Mashaal, softened the statement by saying the group is prepared to work with any U.S. president and would welcome any change in American policy, especially if it corrected what he referred to as a "bias" toward the Jewish State.
| Israel | Islam | Dividing the Land | America |

Summary of remarks by Javier Solana, EU High Representative for the CFSP, at the Ministerial Meeting of the Barcelona Process: Union for the Mediterranean Council of the European Union (November 4, 2008) - On Tuesday, the plenary session was focussed on the concrete project areas on which the partners will work in priority: de-pollution of the Mediterranean, maritime and land highways, civil protection, alternative energies and the Mediterranean Solar Plan, higher education and research, the Mediterranean Business Development Initiative. During the working lunch, the Ministers discussed regional issues, including the Middle East Peace Process.

The High Representative said: "Today we have made an important step forward. The world in which we live today is a globalized world in which we need global solutions for the common challenges we are facing. The Union for the Mediterranean will contribute to solve important issues.

The qualitative change we have made today is very important and significant. We have six good project areas. We have now the responsibility to work quickly and efficiently. We will be judged on how we progress on those projects. It is very important to have adequate mechanisms that allow 43 countries to adopt decisions swiftly."

Marseille, 3-4 November 2008

The Paris Summit of the ‘Barcelona Process: Union for the Mediterranean’ (Paris, 13 July 2008) injected a renewed political momentum into Euro–Mediterranean relations. In Paris, the Heads of State and Government agreed to build on and reinforce the successful elements of the Barcelona Process by upgrading their relations, incorporating more co-ownership in their multilateral cooperation framework and delivering concrete benefits for the citizens of the region. This first Summit marked an important step forward for the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership while also highlighting the EU and Mediterranean partners’ unwavering commitment and common political will to make the goals of the Barcelona Declaration – the creation of an area of peace, stability, security and shared prosperity, as well as full respect of democratic principles, human rights and fundamental freedoms and promotion of understanding between cultures and civilizations in the Euro-Mediterranean region – a reality. It was decided to launch and/or to reinforce a number of key initiatives: De-pollution of the Mediterranean, Maritime and Land Highways, Civil Protection, Alternative Energies: Mediterranean Solar Plan, Higher Education and Research, Euro-Mediterranean University and the Mediterranean Business Development Initiative.

Ministers propose that as from Marseille the “Barcelona Process: Union for the Mediterranean’’ should be called “Union for the Mediterranean”.

Ministers decide that the League of Arab States shall participate in all meetings at all levels of the Barcelona Process: Union for the Mediterranean, therefore contributing positively to the objectives of the process, namely the achievement of peace, prosperity and stability in the Mediterranean region.

Ministers reaffirm their commitment to achieve a just, comprehensive, and lasting solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict, consistent with the terms of reference of the Madrid Conference and its principles, including land for peace, and based on the relevant U SC resolutions and the Road Map. Ministers also stress the importance of the Arab Peace Initiative and underline their support for efforts to promote progress on all tracks of the Middle East Peace Process.

Ministers stress that the Barcelona Process: Union for the Mediterranean is not intended to replace the other initiatives undertaken in the interests of the peace, stability and development of the region, but that it will contribute to their success.

Ministers welcome the positive role played by the EU in the Middle East Peace Process, notably in the framework of the Quartet. They reaffirm their commitment to support the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian negotiations in order to conclude a peace treaty resolving all outsanding issues, including all core issues without exceptions, as specified in previous agreements. They welcome the commitment of both parties to engage in vigorous, ongoing and continous negotiations making every effort to conclude a peace agreement based on the Annapolis process, as agreed in November 2007. They also encourage the parties to intensify their efforts on the path of direct dialogue and negotiation in the fulfilment of the two states solution: a safe and secure Israel, and a viable, sovereign and democratic Palestinian State, living side by side in peace and security. Final status issues have to be agreed upon by the parties. ...

Ministers welcome and support the indirect peace talks between Israel and Syria under the auspices of Turkey and encourage all efforts deployed to achieve stability, peace and security in the region.

Ministers welcome the establishment of diplomatic relations between Syria and Lebanon.

Ministers reiterate their condemnation of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, regardless of the perpetrators, and their determination to eradicate it and to combat its sponsors and reaffirm their commitment to fully implement the Code of Conduct on Countering Terrorism adopted in the Barcelona Summit on 28th ovember 2005 in order to enhance the security of all citizens within a framework that ensures respect for the rule of law and human rights, particularly through more effective counterterrorism policies and deeper cooperation to dismantle all terrorist activities, to protect potential targets and to manage the consequences of attacks. They also reiterate the complete rejection of attempts to associate any religion, civilization or culture with terrorism and confirm their commitment to do their utmost effort with a view to resolving conflict, ending occupation, confronting oppression, reducing poverty, promoting human rights and good governance, improving intercultural understanding and ensuring respect for all religions and beliefs.

Ministers reaffirm their common aspiration to achieve peace as well as regional security according to the Barcelona Declaration of 1995, which, inter alia, promotes regional security by acting in favour of nuclear, chemical and biological nonproliferation through adherence to and compliance with a combination of international and regional non-proliferation regimes and arms control and disarmament agreements such as NPT, CWC, BWC, CTBT and/or regional arrangements such as weapons-free zones, including their verification regimes, as well as by fulfilling in good faith their commitments under arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation conventions.

The parties shall pursue a mutually and effectively verifiable Middle East Zone free of weapons of mass destruction, nuclear, chemical and biological, and their delivery systems. Furthermore the parties will consider practical steps to prevent the proliferation of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons as well as excessive accumulation of conventional arms; refrain from developing military capacity beyond their legitimate defence requirements, at the same time reaffirming their resolve to achieve the same degree of security and mutual confidence with the lowest possible levels of troops and weaponry and adherence to CCW; promote conditions likely to develop good-neighbourly relations among themselves and support processes aimed at stability, security, prosperity and regional and sub-regional cooperation; consider any confidence and security-building measures that could be taken between the parties with a view to the creation of an "area of peace and stability in the Mediterranean", including the long term possibility of establishing a Euro-Mediterranean pact to that end. more...
| Israel | Islam | Dividing the Land | EU/UN
/ 4th Kingdom | Solana | NewWorldOrder | 1st Seal |

There is much travailing over the bringing about of "peace and security" in the Middle East and indeed the whole world is focused on that area as the Bible said they would be. Zechariah 12:1-3 A couple of thoughts regarding this meeting to further support and bring about the goals of the Barcelona Process. I find it interesting that they want to rename it and that its headquarters will be in Barcelona.

The mention of Turkey's involvement in the attempts to foster a relationship between Israel and Syria brings to mind Zechariah 14:1-3 and the idea that the world would be coming against Israel. How is this all connected? In the midst of this push for peace, what would happen if Israel reacted to intelligence that Syria was up to something big and they struck preemptively with great force like that described in Isaiah 17 on Damascus? We know how Iran, Russia and other Islamic nations would react, but would Turkey's involvement in the negotiations between Israel and Syria and its primarily Muslim population bring it into a counter-attack with Iran, Russia, Libya and others as the Bible foretells? Sounds plausible to me and with Europe's push for non-proliferation, if Israel were to use something big enough to make Damascus "a ruinous heap," would there not be an animosity against Israel that ran deep, even if the push for peace continued? It may also be that the weapons capable of destroying Damascus will not be Israel's, but rather that Israel finds out they are being stored there and does something that causes them to go off. I'm honestly guessing on that

I think the world will be temporarily stunned by God's intervention on the attack on Israel enough that all sides will accept the terms of peace, including the dividing of Israel. Keep watching!

Security forces brace as settlers arrive in droves to Hebron YNet News (November 21, 2008) - Security forces deployed throughout Hebron on Thursday evening in anticipation of another night of public disturbances in the West Bank city by extreme-right activists. Although the High Court's ruling on the evacuation of the disputed house near the Tomb of the Patriarchs has not yet been carried out, tensions between Jewish settlers and law enforcement are at a boiling point.

The IDF, Border Guard and the police have all reinforced their men on the ground in preparation for the arrival of some 20,000 people to Hebron ahead of the reading of the 'Chayei Sarah' weekly portion (lit. 'The Life of Sarah,' Genesis 23:1-25:18).

The army spread out in advance following the events of Wednesday night. Throughout the day several isolated incidents were noted, and in the evening settlers claimed a policeman had assaulted a boy in the Givat Avot neighborhood after charging the latter was in violation of a house arrest. Police confirmed a youth was detained for questioning after he insulted a policeman.

Business as usual?

But despite the apparent tensions Noam Arnon, a spokesman for Hebron's Jewish community, said there was hope the night would progress calmly. The Shabbat of 'Chayei Sarah' is one of ten days in the Jewish year when Jews are allowed into Isaac's Hall, the largest and most important chamber of those comprising the Tomb of the Patriarchs. For most of the year Jews are forbidden to enter it. Due to the rarity of the occasion, the city often sees an influx of tens of thousands during this time. "We expect about 20,000 people to come to Hebron, and we're preparing of that as we do every year. Every family will host several dozen guests and the schools and public institutions will also be filled with guests, and there are public mess halls and hostels that open up," said Arnon.

Although most of those who come to Hebron to pray will leave with the conclusion of the Sabbath, Arnon realizes that some, mostly teenagers, will choose to stay and join numerous others at the disputed house in an attempt to prevent its evacuation. Internal Security Minister Avi Dichter pledged on Thursday that the High Court's ruling on the matter of the disputed house would be carried precisely as it was written. Dichter told Ynet that, as determined in the ruling, the house "will be evacuated within 30 days' time and guardianship of the property would be assumed by the state."

Rioting caught on video

A video sent to Ynet of the events of Wednesday night showcases just how far the situation has deteriorated, with extreme-right activists attacking military vehicles and rioting in the streets.

An IDF soldier was lightly wounded in the mob assault, after he was doused with turpentine near the disputed house. In the video, shot with a video provided by the B'Tselem human rights organization, right-wing activists are seen swarming military cars and clashing with soldiers. Several military and police vehicles sustained varying degrees of damage.

Thursday saw IDF soldiers spending several long hours painting over graffiti, hate slogans aimed at Muslims, from the walls of a local mosque. Settlers also desecrated a Muslim graveyard on Wednesday evening. Security officials issued a harsh condemnation of the events, and pledged they would throw the book at the perpetrators. However no suspects have been arrested thus far.

Earlier this week the High Court of Justice upheld the state's decision to evacuate the four-storey building near the Tomb of the Patriarchs until the dispute over its ownership clears up. Settlers claim they lawfully purchased the property, but the state says it suspects the documents of being forged. Meanwhile right-wing activists continue to pour into the house, and have vowed to make their stand there.
| Iran | Israel | Islam | Dividing the Land |

Secret 'peace talks' exposed WorldNet Daily (November 20, 2008) - Despite media reports painting a dismal picture of negotiation prospects, Israel and the Palestinian Authority are still quietly working to conclude a major agreement before President Bush leaves office in January, informed Israeli and Palestinian sources told WND. The sources, including a senior Palestinian negotiator, said the aim is to reach a series of understandings to be guaranteed by the U.S. that would result in an eventual Israeli withdrawal from the vast majority of the West Bank. The understandings would also grant the PA permission to open official institutions in Jerusalem but would postpone talks on the future status of the capital city until new Israeli and U.S. governments are installed next year.

The original plan, initiated at last November's U.S.-sponsored Annapolis summit, was to create a Palestinian state, at least on paper, by January. The summit launched talks aimed at concluding a final status agreement on all core issues – borders, the status of Jerusalem and the future of so-called Palestinian refugees.

But a final agreement has been hampered by several recent events here, most notably Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's decision to resign amid corruption charges, leading to general elections scheduled for February that will see a new prime minister elected. The candidate for office from Olmert's Kadima party, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, is said to oppose reaching a deal on Jerusalem or refugees ahead of elections, fearing it will harm her prospects among center-right voters. Livni is Olmert's chief negotiator with the Palestinians.

In spite of the upcoming elections and the Israeli government's subsequent political instability, teams of Israeli and Palestinian negotiators have been quietly meeting regularly the past few weeks in hope of concluding a series of understandings on key issues. Informed sources said any understandings reached will be backed up by Bush in an official letter. It is unclear how much weight such a letter will carry under a new U.S. administration.

According to the sources, neither side expects to conclude any deal on the status of Jerusalem or Palestinian "refugees" before January, putting aside those issues for future talks. Instead, negotiations are focused on reaching an agreement emphasizing borders, particularly a pledged Israeli evacuation of the vast majority of the strategic West Bank, which borders central Israeli population centers. Read full story...

| Israel | Islam | Dividing the Land | America |

Peres Says Peace Is Made by Closing the Eyes Israel National News (November 17, 2008) - President Shimon Peres told Diaspora Jewish leaders Monday, "You have to close your eyes" to make peace. He also reasoned that a peace agreement with the Palestinian Authority will encourage Sunni Muslims against Ahmadinejad.

Speaking at the annual General Assembly of the United Jewish Committees, he said that "making peace is a little bit like marriage [and] you have to close your eyes and accept what is possible to accept." His audience laughed and applauded.

He also explained his reasoning why surrendering Judea and Samaria to the PA and establishing a new Arab state in their place would have a domino effect on peace in the Middle East.

Iran is the only regional country that wants to control the Middle East, President Peres stated. He reasoned that a peace pact with the PA would show Sunni Muslims it does not have to accept Shi'ite dominance by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's faction.

He wants "to run the Middle East, in the name of religion", the octogenarian president continued. "The Persians in Iran are, all told, 35 million people. The Iranians are 70 million, half of them minorities, and half are Persians. And it is the Persians who are the producers of the ayatollahs and the fanatic people. They want to control 350 million people [of the Middle East], 90 percent of whom are Sunni."
| Israel | Islam | Dividing the Land |

Mideast: Putting the 'Peace Puzzle' Together CBN News (October 28, 2008) - As U.S. presidential hopefuls John McCain and Barack Obama begin the last week of campaigning before next Tuesday's election, events shaping up in Israel, Syria and the Palestinian Authority will no doubt factor into the winning candidate's challenges in the White House.

Syrian officials continue to express their outrage over a U.S. military attack on Sunday, which killed eight people. Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem, who accused America of "terrorist aggression," said his country has a right to respond in kind against the U.S. "The Americans did it in the daylight," Moallem said during a visit to London Monday. "This means it is not a mistake. Therefore, we are treating the matter as a crime and a terrorist act," he said.

While Syria claims the raid targeted civilians at a building construction site near the border with Iraq, the U.S. said the helicopter attack targeted the home of Abu Ghadiyah, the known head of a terrorist network funneling gunmen, weapons and cash across the border to bolster the insurgency against the Iraqi government. According to U.S. intelligence sources, Abu Ghadiyah is one of four senior al-Qaeda officials in Iraq who makes his home in Syria. The successful raid will have a "debilitating impact" on the terror group's smuggling network, one U.S. official said. It was the first U.S. military attack on Syrian soil since 2003, when U.S. troops invaded Iraq, evidence that the Syrian border remains a battleground. "We're taking matters into our own hands," one U.S. government official said, alluding to Syria turning a blind eye to terrorist activity.

Al-Qaeda is not the only Islamic terrorist group with ties to Syria. For years, Syria has facilitated Iranian weapons transfers to Lebanese-based Hezbollah terrorists across its border.

Syria's Ties with Hezbollah

On Sunday, Israeli Military Intelligence chief Major General Amos Yadlin briefed Cabinet ministers on Syria's ties with Hezbollah. "Assad currently trusts Hezbollah more than his own army," Yadlin said. "Hezbollah operatives are working from within Syria. The Syrians are loosing all restraints, Hezbollah access to almost all of their strategic capabilities," he said. "Currently, Assad is continuing to open up its warehouses to Hezbollah," Yadlin said, "turning into the arms granary" for the terror group.

According to Yadlin, Syria and Lebanon's recently renewed diplomatic ties are a cover up for a future takeover of the country. "Syria and Iran are buying the regime in Lebanon," he said. " are pouring substantial money into buying parliamentary representatives and into conducting dubious business deals," he said. "The Iranian offer to assist in the building of the Lebanese army is an and Hezbollah guise to take control of Lebanon," he said.

The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Meanwhile, despite Israeli President Shimon Peres' claim that Israel has never been closer to peace with its Arab neighbors, a look below the surface at the Israeli-Palestinian conflict tells a different story. PA President Mahmoud Abbas said Monday that Egyptian efforts to reconcile Fatah and Hamas are bearing fruit.

Abbas plans to travel to Saudi Arabia soon to relay his most recent discussions with Egyptian President Hosni Murbarak. "We have agreed with our Egyptian brothers on a program for national reconciliation," Abbas said. "Our brothers in Egypt will later publish the details. I want to stress that all the PLO factions have accepted the Egyptian program, which we fully support," he said.

Abbas also expressed pleasure with Peres' public support for the Saudi peace initiative, which he called an Islamic proposal - rather than an Arab proposal - because it is endorsed by so many Islamic countries. The plan calls for Israel to retreat to pre-1967 borders in exchange for "normalization" with Arab League member nations.

Hamas was less enthusiastic with Abbas's announcement. "President Abbas must reach an agreement with Hamas, not with the Egyptians," Hamas legislator Salah Bardaweel said. "Egypt is not a party to the conflict but a mediator. Abbas's confrontation is with Hamas. If he wants to end the conflict, he must reach an agreement with Hamas," he said.

"We don't believe that Abbas will have the courage to talk with Hamas because of Israeli and American pressure," Bardaweel said. "He is also surrounded by some advisors who won't even permit him to mention the name Hamas. That's why he's talking about agreement with Egypt and not Hamas," he said.

Meanwhile, Hamas said Israel's going to early elections shows that the peace process has failed. "Now the Israelis will use the elections as an excuse not to make any concessions to Mahmoud Abbas," Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said. "They will claim they are too busy with the elections over the next few months." "This proves that Hamas was right when it said that the so-called peace process was a waste of time and that there's no point in negotiating with the occupation ," he said.

Despite claims by outgoing Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and others of like ilk, a closer look at Syrian, Palestinian and Arab League member nations shows that peace between Israel and her neighbors remains illusory. With Iran arming Hezbollah, Hamas and Syria to the hilt, genuine peace is far from reality on the ground.
| Iran | Israel | Islam | Dividing the Land | Isaiah 17 | Gog/Magog |

Hamas plotting West Bank takeover in early 2009 World Tribune (September 24, 2008) - The Palestinian Authority has opted for a holding pattern rather than developing a strategy to block the opposition Hamas movement from seizing power in the West Bank. PA security sources said PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has refused to respond to appeals by senior officers to implement a range of measures to protect the Fatah-aligned regime from Hamas threats.

"Abu Mazen [Abbas] is scared of Hamas," a senior source said. "He does not want to provoke Hamas." The PA has assessed that Hamas could not topple the Abbas regime. Senior officials said that unlike the Gaza Strip, Hamas does not have sufficient forces to sustain a rebellion in the West Bank, Middle East Newsline reported.

"Hamas does not have real power in the West Bank and Israel is exaggerating its strength," PA National Security Force commander Maj. Gen. Diyab Al Ali said. "We are ready to control the West Bank cities and maintain security if Israel withdraws from them and this will make it easier for us to obtain our demands from Israel."

But security sources said Hamas could destabilize the PA to the point where senior officials either flee the West Bank or stay home. The sources said this could include Abbas, who has often threatened to quit. The sources said Hamas has been working with Iran and Syria in a campaign to undermine the Abbas regime in 2009. They said the Hamas effort was being planned in the Gaza Strip by military chief Ahmed Jaabari.

In 2008, the PA arrested about 400 Hamas members in the West Bank and closed four Hamas charities. All but about 120 have been released. On Sept. 22, PA forces raided the Hebron office of a Hamas member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, identified as Samira Al Halayka,. Hebron has been the latest target of a PA crackdown on Hamas. The sources said Hamas was believed to have organized assassination and sabotage squads that could attack the PA after January 2009, when Abbas's term was scheduled to end. Abbas was said to have agreed to a U.S. request to remain in power after January.
| Iran | Israel | Islam | Dividing the Land |

Israel: Tzipi Livni prepares to take over as prime minister Telegraph UK (September 18, 2008) - Tzipi Livni, the 50-year-old Israeli foreign minister and mother of two, is poised to become the Jewish state's second woman prime minister after being voted leader of the ruling Kadima Party. Miss Livni who has declared victory after a surprisingly tight race to replace Prime Minister Ehud Olmert as head of Israel's governing party, and said she would immediately turn to the task of trying to cobble together a new government.

Official results showed Miss Livni, a political moderate, winning by a 1.1 percentage point margin in the Kadima Party primary elections — a far narrower victory than the double-digit victory polls had predicted. She barely edged out Shaul Mofaz, a former defense minister, in a contest that could have far-reaching implications for peacemaking with the Palestinians and Syria. "The national responsibility (bestowed) by the public brings me to approach this job with great awe," Livni said, shortly after official results were announced. She will become the first woman to lead Israel since Golda Meir in the 1970s.

The Right-wing orthodox party, Shas, which was once happy to sit in Mr Olmert's government is less likely to agree to work with Miss Livni because of her key role in peace talks with the Palestinians. Miss Livni's attempt to broker an agreement will not be helped by the imminent Jewish holiday season, including New Year and Yom Kippur, which normally lead to a freeze in most political activity. Under Israeli election law, if she fails to create a coalition commanding a parliamentary majority within 42 days a general election will be called.

The election of Miss Livni is a boost for the current Israeli-Palestinian peace process as she is one of Israel's strongest supporters of attempts to reach a negotiated agreement with moderate Palestinians. Read full story...

| Israel | Dividing the Land |

Solana: political pressure an option for EU to push forward Mideast peace process China View (September 14, 2008) - Visiting EU senior official Javier Solana said here that the European Union would use the political pressure to achieve what can be achieved in the Palestinian-Israeli peace talks, the official news agency Petra reported on Sunday.

The international community and the EU should help maintaining the continuity of negotiations, High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy and EU's Secretary-General of the Council Solana said on a press conference in Amman following a two-day visit. Negotiations, he affirmed, must have a timetable. Despite of the U.S. and Israeli elections, there is still hope to reach a tangible development before the end of 2008, he added. "Momentum of the negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis will continue until next year, if nothing was achieved this year," Solana said.

Asked about the EU's role in ending the Israeli blockade on Gaza Strip, Solana said that "our policies and goal is to open border crossings before people and goods, but opening these crossings is not our responsibility." Earlier, Solana met with Jordan's King Abdullah II, Prime Minister Nadir Al Dahabi and Foreign Minister Salaheddin Al Bashir for talks on the peace process and relations between regional countries and the EU. Solana has concluded a regional tour that took him to Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the Palestinian National Authority in the West Bank, Israel and Jordan.
| Israel | Islam | Dividing the Land | EU/UN / 4th Kingdom | Solana |

Olmert: Forget Greater Israel Israel National News (September 14, 2008) - "The notion of a Greater Israel no longer exists, and anyone who still believes in it is deluding themselves," said Ehud Olmert, in what is likely to be his last cabinet meeting as Prime Minister. "Forty years after the Six Day War ended, we keep finding excuses not to act. This isn't doing Israel any good,” said Olmert to the members of his cabinet.

Olmert warned that unless Israel gives up more land, it will face pressure from overseas to grant all PA Arabs citizenship in a single state of two nationalities. “The international community in starting to view Israel as a future binational state. We can prove that we have been more creative than the other side through the years, and that they have been more obstinate, but as usual, we will win the debate by not losing sight of what's really important.” The Prime Minister warned that “time is not on Israel’s side, not because our cause isn’t just, but because time has its own repercussions.” Olmert did not specify what those repercussions were, nor did he explain why he believed that Israel was incapable of dealing with them.

Olmert was once known as a hawkish politician reluctant to give up land. "I admit – this hasn’t always been my position. In the past I've said that what he agreed to in Camp David was wrong.” Olmert he confessed in the meeting that he used to believe in a Greater Israel. "I used to believe that everything from the Jordan Riverbank to the Mediterranean Sea was ours. After all, dig anywhere and you'll find Jewish history. But eventually, after great internal conflict, I've realized we have to share this land with the people who dwell here – that is if we don’t want to be a binational state," said Olmert. Read full story...

| Israel | Islam | Dividing the Land |

Putin's Unholy Land Grab: Red Square In Jerusalem The Jewish Press (September 3, 2008) - Last month it took two tank divisions and a diversion of Olympian proportions for Vladimir Putin to subdue Georgia's fledgling democracy and seize two of its territorial regions. This month we may see Russia's new emperor claiming a prime slice of downtown Jerusalem for the KGB without even firing a shot.

I refer to a shady transfer to Putin of what is known as the Russian Compound - a 17-acre site between Jaffa and Hanevi'im roads, close to the Old City walls. According to a Foreign Ministry letter that has come into this writer's possession, the deal was agreed on between the two governments on December 12, 2007. The transaction could not be completed, however, until the land was transferred from Israel's Custodian General of land and property to the government itself.

According to the same Ministry letter, this final clearance was ratified by a Jerusalem court on August 27. Like so many other concessions on outposts and the security fence, this is yet another surrender concocted between the executive and the judiciary, without any parliamentary involvement or oversight.

According to the Israel Policy Forum, the Jewish state's judiciary is the most activist in the democratic world and dominates the elected branches of government, the legislative and the executive. The ultimate check on the judicial branch of government is the power of appointing judges, which is retained by the elected branches of government in the overwhelming majority of democracies. This enables the people's representatives to ensure that no judges with extreme views (including extreme views of their own political prerogatives) are appointed.

In Israel, such a check is nonexistent. Judges in Israel are appointed by a small committee controlled by the judges of the Supreme Court and their close allies in the Israeli bar. The process is secretive and subject to manipulation and abuse. It has led to the domination of the court by judges with strongly liberal views who have succeeded in alienating large segments of Israel's population.

Given Russia's close association with Iran and Syria, the prospect of its establishing an enclave in the heart of the Jewish capital is daunting indeed. It conjures up images of Arab terrorists fleeing into the compound and Israeli security personnel unable to pursue them without precipitating an international crisis. In many respects it would be tantamount to inviting a Russian spy ship to permanently dock right in the middle of an Israeli naval base.

The Russian Compound's commanding position made it the perfect staging ground for numerous conquests of Jerusalem from the Assyrians to Titus's Roman legions. From a Turkish cavalry parade ground in the Ottoman period it was developed in 1860 by the Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society to cater for large numbers of Russian pilgrims to the holy city. Read full story...

| Israel | Islam | Dividing the Land | Gog/Magog |

Thanks Geno, for forwarding the story to me. It seems to me that while Israel is dwelling in the land, everyone around her wants it for themselves. This is one of the primary reasons I'm not worried about an Iranian nuclear missile strike on Israel. Could it happen? I suppose, but according to Bible prophecy Israel is the center of what is going to happen and it seems that everyone wants to take it for themselves as a spoil, not totally destroy it for everyone. And we know, at least in the case of Jerusalem, that the man of sin will declare himself to be God there and the city will be taken over by his followers. So while a nuclear Iran is all the buzz in much of the news, my concern is more for other enemies of Iran than Israel, and regarding the nuclear issue I know what side Russia is on and they have plenty as well as other nations that I'm sure have given Iran what it needs under the table. Whatever happens, don't fear - these things must come to pass and in the end God will be glorified in it.

Ezekiel 38:10-16
Thus saith the Lord GOD; It shall also come to pass, that at the same time shall things come into thy mind, and thou shalt think an evil thought: And thou shalt say, I will go up to the land of unwalled villages; I will go to them that are at rest, that dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates, To take a spoil, and to take a prey; to turn thine hand upon the desolate places that are now inhabited, and upon the people that are gathered out of the nations,
[Israel] which have gotten cattle and goods, that dwell in the midst of the land. Sheba, and Dedan, and the merchants of Tarshish, with all the young lions thereof, shall say unto thee, Art thou come to take a spoil? hast thou gathered thy company to take a prey? to carry away silver and gold, to take away cattle and goods, to take a great spoil? Therefore, son of man, prophesy and say unto Gog, Thus saith the Lord GOD; In that day when my people of Israel dwelleth safely, shalt thou not know it? And thou shalt come from thy place out of the north parts, thou, and many people with thee, all of them riding upon horses, a great company, and a mighty army: And thou shalt come up against my people of Israel, as a cloud to cover the land; it shall be in the latter days, and I will bring thee against my land, that the heathen may know me, when I shall be sanctified in thee, O Gog, before their eyes.

Palestinians accept Olmert peace offer Israel Today (October 2, 2008) - Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday said that the recent peace offer made by Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is enough to get a final status agreement signed, but recognized that the outgoing Israeli leader does not have the ability to implement the proposal. "We could have peace in two days" if Olmert's offer could be implemented, Abbas told a group of Muslim clerics at the tail end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

Olmert made his offer in a Rosh Hashanah interview with Israel's largest daily newspaper, Yediot Ahronot. In the interview, Olmert said he was ready to withdraw from 93 percent of Judea and Samaria, including nearly all of eastern Jerusalem and the Jordan Valley. Olmert offered to make up the difference by giving the Palestinians 5.5 percent of sovereign Israeli land. The proposed deal also included a full withdrawal from the Golan Heights.

Abbas said he hopes that Olmert's proposal will form the foundation of peace talks with his successor. The Palestinian leader said he would like to view Olmert's offer as a peace "deposit." The international community tried to make sure that will be the case when the Middle East Quartet last week insisted that all Israeli offers, no matter how tentative, be made binding.

Meanwhile, Israeli opposition leader Binyamin Netanyahu reiterated in a holiday interview with Israel National News that the nation does not have a viable Palestinian peace partner with whom to make a deal. In another holiday interview with Israeli Internet portal Walla!, Netanyahu said that if he regains the prime minister's chair he will actually increase Jewish settlement activity and shelf all talk of a peace deal leading to the creation of a Palestinian Arab state. There is no hope of a viable final status peace deal at this point, said Netanyahu, so the best thing to do is forge an economic arrangement with the Arabs of Judea and Samaria. Polls conducted over the past year consistently show that Netanyahu will win the next national election by a healthy margin.
| Israel | Islam | Dividing the Land |

U.S. to guarantee Palestinian state WorldNet Daily (September 11, 2008) - The U.S. is planning to issue a letter guaranteeing the country will back agreements reached during current Israeli-Palestinian negotiations aimed at creating a Palestinian state before President Bush leaves office in January, WND has learned. The move is intended to ensure any agreements reached by the Israelis and the Palestinian Authority, and spelled out in a joint document, will be recognized by the next U.S. administration and binding for Israel and the PA. The information comes as Jacob Walles, the U.S. consul-general, stated in an interview with a major Palestinian newspaper yesterday that Israel and the PA agreed to negotiate Jerusalem and the Jordan Valley area leading to the Dead Sea. In response to the report, the State Department issued a statement claiming the U.S. government has not taken a position on the borders of a future Palestinian state and denying Jerusalem is being discussed. But Israeli and Palestinian sources intimately familiar with the current talks tell WND Jerusalem is being negotiated, with Palestinian officials claiming the talks are in advance stages. The sources also said the U.S. recently floated a plan to divide Jerusalem. According to informed Israeli and Palestinian sources, officials from the State Department this year presented both negotiating sides with several proposals for consideration regarding the future status of Jerusalem. It was unclear whether the U.S. proposals were accepted. One U.S. plan for Jerusalem obtained by WND was divided into timed phases and, among other things, called for Israel eventually to consider forfeiting parts of the Temple Mount, Judaism's holiest site. According to the first stage of the U.S. proposal, Israel initially would give the PA some municipal and security sovereignty over key Arab neighborhoods in eastern Jerusalem. The PA would be allowed to open some official institutions in Jerusalem, could elect a mayor for the Palestinian side of the city and would deploy some kind of so-called basic security force to maintain law and order. The specifics of the force were not detailed in the plan. The initial stage also calls for the PA to operate Jerusalem municipal institutions, such as offices to oversee trash collection and maintenance of roads. After five years, if both sides keep specific commitments called for in a larger principal agreement, according to the U.S. plan, the PA would be given full sovereignty over agreed-upon eastern Jerusalem neighborhoods and discussions would be held regarding an arrangement for the Temple Mount. The plan doesn't specify which parts of the Temple Mount could be forfeited to the Palestinians or whether an international force may be involved. The PA also could deploy official security forces in Jerusalem separate from a non-defined basic force after the five-year period and also could open major governmental institutions, such as a president's office, and offices for the finance and foreign ministries. The U.S. plan leaves Israel and the PA to negotiate which Jerusalem neighborhoods would become Palestinian. According to top diplomatic sources, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who visited the region last month, pressed Israel to sign a document by the end of the year that would include Jerusalem by offering the Palestinians a state in Israel's capital city as well as in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The Israeli team rather would conclude an agreement on paper by the end of the year that would give the Palestinians a state in the West Bank, Gaza and some Israeli territory, leaving conclusions on Jerusalem for a later date, the informed diplomatic sources told WND. The sources said the Palestinian team has been pushing to conclude a deal by January on all core issues, including Jerusalem, and has been petitioning the U.S. to pressure Israel into signing an agreement on paper that offers the Palestinians eastern Jerusalem. Rice, the sources said, has asked Israeli leaders to bend to what the U.S. refers to as a "compromise position," concluding an Israeli-Palestinian agreement by the end of the year that guarantees sections of Jerusalem to the Palestinians. But Israel would not be required to withdraw from Jerusalem for a period of one to five years.
| Israel | Islam | Dividing the Land | America |

Israel considers paying settlers to leave West Bank VOA News (September 7, 2008) - In a sign of progress in Middle East peace talks, Israel is considering a plan to lure Jewish settlers away from the occupied West Bank. Robert Berger reports from the VOA bureau in Jerusalem. For the first time, Israel's Cabinet discussed a plan to compensate Jewish settlers in the West Bank if they leave their homes voluntarily. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Israel is engaged in ongoing, serious peace talks with the Palestinians, and it is clear that settlements will be dismantled under an emerging agreement. Therefore, he said, Israel must be prepared to take the necessary steps to provide alternative housing for the settlers. Israel has reportedly offered the Palestinians about 93 percent of the West Bank, which means that dozens of isolated settlements would be evacuated. Under the compensation offer, each settler family would receive about $280,000 to move back to Israel. The Cabinet did not vote on the plan and some ministers expressed opposition. Cabinet Minister Rafi Eitan said settlers should not be removed from their homes until a peace deal is final, and proposing it now weakens Israel's position in negotiations. Settlement leaders are furious, saying the government has not learned the lessons of the Israeli pullout from the Gaza Strip three years ago, when 21 Jewish communities were dismantled. Israel Meidad lives in the West Bank settlement of Shilo. "It is impossible for the people who want to achieve peace and security for Israel to see how that can be done with the current situation of withdrawal, yielding up and surrendering of territory," said Meidad. Since the withdrawal from Gaza, Palestinians there have fired thousands of rockets at Israel. And the settlers say the same thing will happen in the West Bank, if Israel pulls out.
| Israel | Islam | Dividing the Land |

Condi pulls a Solomon: Split Jerusalem in 2 WorldNet Daily (August 28, 2008) - Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, completing a visit to the region today, has been pressing Israel to sign a document by the end of the year that would divide Jerusalem by offering the Palestinians a state in Israel's capital city as well as in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, according to top diplomatic sources involved in the talks. The Israeli team, led by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, has been negotiating the division of Jerusalem – despite claims to the contrary – but would rather conclude an agreement on paper by the end of the year that would give the Palestinians a state in the West Bank, Gaza and some Israeli territory, leaving conclusions on Jerusalem for a later date, the informed diplomatic sources told WND. The sources said the Palestinian team has been pushing to conclude a deal by January on all core issues, including Jerusalem, and has been petitioning the U.S. to pressure Israel into signing an agreement on paper that offers the Palestinians eastern Jerusalem. Rice, the sources said, has asked Israeli leaders to bend to what the U.S. refers to as a "compromise position," concluding an Israeli-Palestinian agreement by the end of the year that guarantees sections of Jerusalem to the Palestinians. But Israel would not be required to withdraw from Jerusalem for a period of one to five years. The diplomatic sources said the plan is that once an Israeli-Palestinian deal is reached on paper by January, Bush would issue an official letter guaranteeing that the U.S. supports the conclusions of the document. Any Israeli-Palestinian paper agreement is to finalize a process that began at last November's U.S. backed Annapolis conference, which seeks to create a Palestinian state, at least on paper, before Bush leaves office. One Palestinian negotiator speaking to WND described as "crazy" the intensity and frequency of Israeli-Palestinian talks in recent weeks, saying both sides have been meeting on a daily basis, usually at the highest levels. The negotiator said Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Chief Palestinian Negotiator Ahmed Queri have been leading the talks. The negotiator said Jerusalem is being discussed by both sides and that the two teams are "closer than ever" on coming to an agreement on the status of the city. This claim was verified to WND by other diplomatic sources involved in the negotiations. The Palestinian negotiator said Jerusalem would be divided along the framework of the 2000 U.S.-brokered Camp David accords. He said the general philosophy for dividing Jerusalem would be "Arab for Arab and Jew for Jew," meaning that most Arab-majority eastern sections of Jerusalem would be granted to the Palestinian Authority while Israel would retain Western, Jewish-majority sections. Israel recaptured eastern Jerusalem, including the Temple Mount – Judaism's holiest site – during the 1967 Six Day War. The Palestinians have claimed eastern Jerusalem as a future capital. About 244,000 Arabs live in Jerusalem, mostly in eastern neighborhoods. Jerusalem has an estimated total population of 724,000, the majority Jewish. A number of Arab-majority eastern Jerusalem neighborhoods widely regarded as slated for a Palestinian state include large numbers of Arabs who live on Jewish-owned land illegally. The Jewish National Fund, a U.S.-based nonprofit, owns hundred of acres of eastern Jerusalem land in which tens of thousands of Arabs illegally constructed homes the past few decades. Arabs are now the majority on the Jewish-owned land in question. Asked by WND whether Jerusalem is currently being negotiated, Mark Regev, Olmert's spokesman, simply stated, "No." Olmert has several times denied Jerusalem is being negotiated. Members of his government coalition have promised to bolt his government and precipitate new elections if Jerusalem is discussed in talks. Olmert, facing several criminal investigations described as "serious," recently announced he will resign after his Kadima party holds primaries next month to chose a new leader. That leader is widely expected to continue Israeli-Palestinian talks, especially if frontrunner Livni takes Olmert's place. The diplomatic situation in Israel is such that many commentators believe Olmert has an interest in concluding some sort of agreement quickly. Many believe he would like his input in an Israeli-Palestinian agreement to be among his final "achievements." WND first exclusively reported Aug. 1 that Olmert told the PA he intends to accelerate negotiations to reach some understanding on paper as soon as September. Over the weekend, the Israeli media quoted officials close to Olmert stating the prime minister is working for an interim document as soon as next month to be presented to the United Nations. The document likely will not be the conclusion of negotiations but an outline of some of the breakthroughs regarding the West Bank and Gaza. One PA negotiator told WND of the planned paper: "Papers are very important. It puts limits on the new prime minister. For example, the weak point of Israeli-Syrian negotiations are papers signed by former prime ministers that now must be abided during current negotiations." Regarding the division of Jerusalem, top diplomatic sources said both sides are close to agreements on specific issues. One PA negotiator claimed the U.S. has guaranteed the Palestinians that sensitive areas in eastern Jerusalem in which what he termed "extremist Jews" are purchasing real estate would be handed to the Palestinians. "The Israelis had no problem with this," the PA negotiator claimed. "We were also told not to worry too much about scattered Jewish properties in Arab neighborhoods, or yeshivas (Jewish seminaries) in the Old City." The PA negotiator's claim could not be verified by sources in Jerusalem. The initial stage also calls for the PA to operate Jerusalem municipal institutions, such as offices to oversee trash collection and maintenance of roads. After five years, if both sides keep specific commitments called for in a larger principal agreement, according to the U.S. plan the PA would be given full sovereignty over agreed upon eastern Jerusalem neighborhoods and discussions would be held regarding an arrangement for the Temple Mount. The plan doesn't specify which parts of the Temple Mount could be forfeited to the Palestinians or whether an international force may be involved. The PA also could deploy official security forces in Jerusalem separate from a non-defined basic force after the five year period and could also open major governmental institutions, such as a president's office, and offices for the finance and foreign ministries. The U.S. plan leaves Israel and the PA to negotiate which Jerusalem neighborhoods would become Palestinian. According to diplomatic sources familiar with the plan, while specific neighborhoods were not officially listed, American officials recommended sections of Jerusalem's Old City as well as certain largely Arab Jerusalem neighborhoods such as Jabal mukabar, Beit Hanina, Abu Dis, and Abu Tur become part of the Palestinian side. Also recommended were the Jerusalem neighborhoods of Shoafat, Kfar Akev and Qalandiya. more...
| Israel | Islam | Dividing the Land | Temple Mount | America |

Remember the evacuation of Gaza in 2005, just over three years ago on the 9th of Av? This similar potential situation brings this to mind...

Zechariah 14:1,2
Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee. For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city.

Will we see civil unrest when Jews are once again wrested from their homes to be given to the PA? It looks like the division of Israel is into two pieces, meaning two parties and perhaps Jews will only be moved from half of the city.

Abbas-Olmert Meeting Sunday Amid Signs of Secret Deal Israel National News (August 28, 2008) - Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert will meet on Sunday amid growing signs that the Israeli leader is trying to complete the outline for a new Arab state before he leaves office. PA sources said they will discuss the status of Jerusalem and the PA "right of return" demand that involves allowing millions of foreign Arabs to immigrate. Water resources also will be discussed. American Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice hinted a deal is in the works during her visit to Israel this week. At her meeting with Abbas in Ramallah, she "proposed new ideas related to the peace process," Abbas's spokesman Nabil Abu Rdneh said. "The coming weeks will be very decisive," he added. Prime Minister Olmert is taking advantage of the summer vacation, when most Israelis are vacationing, the Knesset is out of session and he is free to act without worrying about keeping his coalition government together. The Prime Minister already has said he will step down from office after the Kadima party chooses a new leader in primary elections next month. He recently said that negotiations with the PA must be kept secret and not in the eye of the media. The editor of a leading PA newspaper believes that Secretary Rice, Prime Minister Olmert and Abbas are cooking up a surprise to satisfy President Bush's desire to reach a final agreement before he leaves office in January. Hafith Barghouthi, the chief editor of the daily Hayat Al-Jadidah, wrote on Wednesday, "It seems a political 'meal' is being cooked on fire behind the scenes…. The fact that Rice met with both negotiation teams separately, then together proves what she said in the press conference about both sides abstaining from negotiating in front of the media. All this indicates that the negotiations are serious," he wrote. more...
| Israel | Islam | Dividing the Land |

Europe into the breach International Herald Tribune (August 26, 2008) - Some diplomatic movement has returned to the Middle East. Under American supervision, Israelis and Palestinians have been negotiating again since the end of 2007. Syria and Israel have begun an indirect negotiation process with Turkey as a mediator. In Lebanon, a new government including all relevant political factions has finally been formed. This would not have been possible without a green light from Syria. And this green light would not have come had Damascus not been convinced that its own negotiations with Israel could, in the medium term at least, lead to a bilateral agreement and also bring about an improvement of Syrian-American relations. Individual European Union states have already honored this constructive about-turn of Syrian policies. For all those engaged in Middle East diplomacy - this goes for the Arab-Israeli fold as well as for the Iranian nuclear file - the U.S. political calendar is always present: No one expects the current U.S. administration to settle any of the conflicts in the region or to bring any of the ongoing diplomatic processes there to a conclusion during the rest of its term. This is explicitly so for the Syrian-Israeli negotiations: Syria has already declared that it would not move from indirect to direct talks before the inauguration of a new American administration ready to actively engage with such a process. Implicitly, however, the same applies to the Annapolis process between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. President Bush has repeatedly said that he wants the two sides to reach an agreement while he is still in office. Israel's outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, who lead the talks, are both aware of the contours of a possible, mutually acceptable agreement, and they seem to have come closer with regard to some of the particularly difficult so-called final-status issues. Nonetheless, even under the most positive scenario, the best one could expect is a further narrowing of the gaps. A comprehensive agreement that would sort out such complex issues as the future of Jerusalem, Palestinian refugees, future borders between Israel and Palestine, or infrastructural links between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, will not be reached within only a couple of months. And neither Israel's prime minister nor the Palestinian president would today have the authority and the necessary majorities to ratify, let alone to implement a peace agreement. All this does not speak against the process, only against exaggerated expectations. The process is extremely fragile, and it could easily break down - particularly in the absence of sustained external "care," of guidance and support from a third party both able and prepared to drive the process forward and encourage the negotiating parties to continue their efforts even in the face of domestic opposition. The current U.S. administration will cease to play its role after the November elections; many of its representatives will by then be looking for new jobs. The new U.S. president will first have to get his senior officials confirmed by Congress, and a foreign policy review, before he begins any major policy initiative. As a result, we should expect a time-out for any active American involvement in the Middle East peace process between the end of this year and at least March or April 2009. Herein lays Europe's challenge. As an active partner in the so-called Middle East Quartet with the United States, Russia and the United Nations, the EU has helped to bring about the current talks between Israelis and Palestinians. The EU and several of its member states are contributing to the process through the support of state- and institution-building in the Palestinian territories, particularly in the security and justice sectors. But beyond that, the EU must now prepare itself to keep the process alive from the end of this year through to next spring. Considering such a task we also have to be aware of the particular structures of the Union. President Nicolas Sarkozy of France, which currently holds the rotating presidency of the EU, has already announced a more active support for the Middle East peace process. But the French presidency ends in December 2008, and the Czech government, which takes over in January 2009, is unlikely to summon the same energy and resources for the Middle East. The EU's special representative for the Middle East, the Belgian diplomat Marc Otte, does not have enough political weight to assume a role that so far has been played by the U.S. secretary of state. Individual EU states like France, Germany or Spain would have the resources and diplomatic skills and could even be interested in temporarily guiding the process until a new American administration resumes this function. In practice, however, jealousy among EU states would make it impossible for any one of them to act for Europe in this or any other important foreign-policy field, unless this country happens to hold the EU presidency. EU states that want to promote a consensual and common European approach would therefore not even try to assume this role; others that might want to take it on would not be able to fill it. This does not make the EU incapable of acting. [Who ya gonna call?] The Union, through its Council of Foreign Ministers, should as soon as possible give a mandate to Javier Solana, the High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy of the EU, to make himself available, with the approval of Israel, the Palestinians, and the current U.S. administration, as a temporary mediator for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations from the end of the year. Solana would not take such an initiative on his own, but he can do so with a mandate from the Council. His staff is familiar with the subject matter and his diplomatic skills are beyond doubt. Any coalition of willing EU states could support him by delegating some of their own experienced diplomats to his office for the task. Solana and the EU would not be expected to make peace or to bring the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations to a conclusion and to dispel any opposition to an agreement. This cannot be done by the EU, simply because, compared to the United States, it has less influence over Israel and cannot give security guarantees to either Israel or the Palestinians. The EU, however, can act as a temporary trustee for the process, thereby preventing it from breaking down and, given its knowledge of the regional situation, help the parties to find practical solutions for some of the most complicated final-status questions - for example, the political division of Jerusalem as the future capital of two states - only to hand back the process and the role of external guidance to Washington once the new administration there is ready for it. As an active trustee in this sense, the EU could not only show that it lives up to its own claim of contributing to crisis management through preventive diplomacy, it would also demonstrate to the new U.S. administration how high a peaceful resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict ranges on the European list of priorities, and how useful it can be for the United States to cooperate on this with its trans-Atlantic partners.
| Signs of the Times | Israel | Islam | Dividing the Land | EU/UN / 4th Kingdom | Solana | NewWorldOrder | 1st Seal | America |

I agree with Fulfilled Prophecy regarding the must-read nature of this story and thank them for their watching of the many things I would miss were it not for their diligence. I wonder what would happen if some kind of Middle East war were to break out and through it all, a particular person who helped author part of the roadmap were to actually bring the peace agreement to fruition and divide Israel? I believe he could be seen as an incredibly good diplomat and give further credibility to give him more power to bring peace in the world. Keep watching...

Hamas leader: We'll retrieve Jerusalem only by way of jihad YNet News (August 21, 2008) - 'Jerusalem will be returned to the Palestinians not by way of negotiations or hugging and kissing the enemy, but through blood, shahids and resistance,' Haniyeh says, adding 'Muslims must protect Al-Aqsa Mosque.' Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said Wednesday that the Islamist group will not accept any future peace agreement that does not include the return of Jerusalem and the Jordan Valley to Palestinians hands and the return of Palestinian refugees to their homes in Israel. Speaking at a ceremony marking 39 years since the fire at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem's Old City, Haniyeh said "no one can cede Jerusalem, the city from which the Prophet Muhammad ascended to the heavens. "Jerusalem will be retrieved to the Palestinians not through negotiations or by hugging and kissing the enemy, but by way of jihad, blood, shahids and resistance. With Allah's help, Jerusalem will be returned," he said. The Hamas leader added that "the Israeli-Arabs are safeguarding the Al-Aqsa Mosque; it is as if they are inside the belly of a whale. They represent the Islamic nation. We send them our regards, especially to Sheikh Raed Salah (founder of Islamic Movement in Israel)." Haniyeh said that "according to most all reports on secret peace talks or agreements, Israel is refusing to relinquish Jerusalem and the West Bank, refuses to accept the right of return of Palestinian refugees, refuses to dismantle the settlements and deems the Jordan Valley vital to its security." On behalf of the Palestinian nation and Muslims everywhere, I say that we will not accept any such agreements," he said. The Hamas chief continued to say that Israel is looking to damage Al-Aqsa and called on all Muslims to "protect Jerusalem".
| Israel | Islam | Dividing the Land |

PA: Reported peace offer unacceptable The Jerusalem Post (August 12, 2008) - The Palestinian Authority said on Tuesday it would reject an Israeli peace proposal published in the Hebrew press a day earlier which included withdrawal from most of the West Bank. They said such a plan, which they did not confirm receiving, would be unacceptable because it did not call for the establishment of a contiguous Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital. Under the proposal, which was published in Haaretz, Israel would withdraw from 93 percent of the West Bank, in addition to all of the Gaza Strip, after the PA regains control over the Gaza Strip. Olmert had presented PA President Mahmoud Abbas with the proposal as part of an agreement in principle on borders, refugees and security arrangements between Israel and a future Palestinian state, the report claimed. In exchange for West Bank land that Israel would keep, Olmert proposed a 5.5% land swap giving the Palestinians a desert territory adjacent to the Gaza Strip. Chief PA negotiator Saeb Erekat said the Palestinians were unaware of the existence of such a proposal. "At no time were the Palestinians presented with a detailed set of proposals by [Prime Minister] Ehud Olmert or any Israeli official," he said. "All the details mentioned in this report are either completely untrue or are not linked to reality." The Prime Minister's Office neither confirmed nor denied the Haaretz report. Its spokesman Mark Regev said that progress had been made in the negotiations, including with respect to borders, but that in other areas there was still important work that had to be done. Nabil Abu Rudaineh, spokesman for Abbas said "the Israeli proposal [in Haaretz] is not acceptable" and called it a "waste of time." He added that "the Palestinian side will only accept a Palestinian state with territorial continuity, with Jerusalem as its capital, without settlements, and on the June 4, 1967 boundaries." Abu Rudaineh said the proposal showed that Israel was "not serious" about reaching peace with the Palestinians on the basis of a two-state solution. Erekat said the Palestinians would not accept any solution that excludes the issues of Jerusalem and the "right of return" for the Palestinian refugees. "The era of partial agreements and phased tactics has gone," Erekat added. "The talks [with Israel] are continuing despite the wide gap between the two sides." more...
| Israel | Islam | Dividing the Land |

After the events of the Magog invasion depicted in Ezekiel 38,39 - I wonder if the attitude will change bringing about an agreement that will divide Israel, but also allow the rebuilding of the temple by the Jews? From what I understand of Bible prophecy, this is exactly what will happen. Is that time fast approaching? Keep watching...

Official: Olmert to give Palestinians state before quitting WorldNet Daily (August 1, 2008) - Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told the Palestinian Authority he intends to accelerate negotiations the next few weeks to reach a deal on paper outlining a Palestinian state before he steps down from office next month, a top PA negotiator told WND. "Papers are very important. It puts limits on the new prime minister. For example, the weak point of Israeli-Syrian negotiations are papers signed by former prime ministers that now must be abided during current negotiations," said the PA negotiator, speaking to WND on condition of anonymity. "Olmert told us his goal is to reach an agreement on paper," the negotiator said. He said the agreement will likely encompass understandings regarding the transfer of much of the West Bank to the Palestinians. He said he "hopes" the issue of Jerusalem is broached but that it might not be mentioned on paper beyond a declaration of agreement to negotiate further. Sending political shockwaves through the country, Olmert yesterday announced he will resign from office after his Kadima party holds internal elections next month to choose a new leader. He said he is stepping down due to a criminal investigation, described by police officials as "serious," in which he is accused of corruption and financial improprieties. But Olmert officials have been telling reporters here the prime minister intends to continue negotiating with the PA as long as he remains in office. One Olmert official told the Haaretz daily newspaper the prime minister intends to "reach an agreement with the Palestinians during the time he has left." "Any agreement he reaches with the Palestinians won't be a personal agreement, and he will make sure that the (new) Kadima leadership is briefed and on board," the official added. For his part, PA President Mahmoud Abbas' announced he would negotiate with any Israeli leader and that Olmert's departure shouldn't affect negotiations started at last November's U.S.-backed Annapolis conference, which seek to create a Palestinian state by January. Not everyone in Olmert's party was happy with the continued talks. Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz, considered a frontrunner for the Kadima leadership primary, said it would be wrong to reach agreements with the Palestinians on the core issues of the conflict while Olmert's government is teetering. "At this time of change in the government, we must not reach agreements on the core issues in negotiations with the Palestinians," Mofaz said. "Anything that is decided now is very problematic, because it is happening before the change in the government and against the background of instability on the Palestinian side."
| Israel | Islam | Dividing the Land |

Sarkozy: no Mideast peace without sharing Jerusalem Arab News (June 23, 2008) - French President Nicolas Sarkozy said an agreement between Palestinians and Israelis is possible, tomorrow, and that agreement would allow the two peoples to live side-by-side in peace and security. During their meeting on diplomatic affairs, Sarkozy stressed that the peace process between Israel and the Palestinian Authority should progress. "Those who will make peace in the end will be Israelis and Palestinians," the French president said. At the start of a three-day visit to Israel, Sarkozy said it is important for the Palestinians to establish a state of their own. Referring to the settlements, Sarkozy said that it must be said loudly the decision to build settlements in East Jerusalem is not good for Israel. "I believe that the path to peace lies there before us, that the path to peace is not blocked. I have come to bring my support and that of France and the European Union, your partners in the negotiations." Meantime, Sarkozy said according to the The Washington Post today that "there could be no Mideast peace unless Israel drops its refusal to cede sovereignty over parts of Jerusalem claimed by the Palestinians." This coincides with a report of the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) that said that the total Palestinian refugeed is more than six million. According to UN organization UNRWA, Palestinian registered refugees totaled to 4.56 million at end of 2007, of whom about 41.7% in Jordan, 9.9% in Syria and 9.1% in Lebanon. About 1.5 million Palestinians refugee are estimated to be non-registered refugees.
| Israel | Islam | Dividing the Land | EU/UN / 4th Kingdom |

Israel to build new settlement in West Bank Associated Press (July 24, 2008) - A key committee has approved construction of the first new Jewish settlement in the West Bank in a decade, an Israeli official said Thursday. The news infuriated Palestinians, who said the decision could cripple peace efforts. The only hurdle that remains is Defense Minister Ehud Barak, who plans to approve the Maskiot settlement within weeks, the official said. Barak had signaled to the national planning committee that it should authorize the plan, the official said. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the Defense Ministry did not officially announce the settlement would be built in the Jordan Valley Rift, an arid north-south strip that forms Israel's eastern flank with Jordan. Asked why Israel was moving ahead with the politically charged plan, the official said that it has been in the pipeline for years. Israel originally announced in 2006 that it would build Maskiot, then froze the plan after international outcry. But earlier this year, nine Israeli families settled in mobile homes at the site, which Palestinians claim as part of a future state. A number of Israeli politicians however, have said Israel needs to retain control of the Jordan Valley as a buffer between a future Palestinian state and Jordan. The issue remains to be resolved in negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. Settlers say around two dozen more families are waiting to join them. Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat accused Israel of undermining U.S.-backed peace talks. "This is destroying the process of a two-state solution," Erekat said. "I hope the Americans will make the Israelis revoke the decision. I think they can make the Israelis do this." The U.S. Embassy had no comment. But on her last visit to the region in June, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said settlement building "has the potential to harm the negotiations."
| Israel | Islam | Dividing the Land | America |

'We'll Take Land By Force if Talks Fail' The Jerusalem Post (July 12, 2008) - Should diplomacy fail to return "Israeli-occupied land" to Lebanon, the Lebanese army (LAF) will take it by force, Lebanese President Gen. Michel Sueleiman said on Sunday. Suleiman was speaking at a press conference after meeting Syrian President Bashar Assad on the sidelines of the Mediterranean conference in Paris. The Lebanese president stressed, however, that the military option was the last resort. Assad said Lebanon had an important role to play in the Middle East peace process and that any progress in future Israel-Lebanon negotiations would be made in coordination with Syria. Meanwhile, in what is being interpreted in Israel as a declaration of ownership, the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) has built a road and set up a military position in the Shaba Farms/ Mount Dov area for the first time since Israel's withdrawal from that part of Lebanon in 2000. Israeli defense officials confirmed the move, which was first reported in the Lebanese media, but would not comment on its significance.
| Israel | Islam | Dividing the Land | Isaiah 17 | Gog/Magog |

It seems the alliances are continuing together and the idea of Israel stealing land is uniting those alliances against Israel further. The attack on Israel that is prophesied to take place comes from the North parts and they are decimated in the mountains of Israel. Lebanon is immediately to the North and Syria also borders Israel to the North, both in agreement against Israel and if Israel is responsible for the destruction of Damascus, I'm sure they will allow armies to come through there to the North of Israel and the mountains there.

Ezekiel 39:2
And I will turn thee back, and leave but the sixth part of thee, and will cause thee to come up from the north parts, and will bring thee upon the mountains of Israel:

Also see map of mountains

Javier Solana: What Kind of Palestine? Middle East Times (July 4, 2008) - Israeli and Palestinian negotiators have now been talking to each other for more than six months, since the peace process was re-launched at Annapolis in November 2007, with the stated aim of reaching agreement on a Palestinian state before this year is out. The final status issues of borders, Jerusalem and refugees are back on the agenda, and the outlines of a two-state solution are visible. There have recently been some encouraging signals: Egypt has mediated a truce between Hamas and Israel in Gaza; there are signs of inter-Palestinian dialogue; and there appears to be movement on the Israeli-Syrian track. We have to grasp the opportunity for peace. Comprehensive peace in the Middle East is the strategic goal of the European Union, and resolving the Israeli-Arab conflict on the basis of a two-state solution is the key to achieving this. Europe wants, and needs, to see the creation of an independent, democratic, and viable Palestinian state living in peace alongside Israel. For this, the foundations and the structures of a Palestinian state have to be created, which is where the European Union is playing a distinctive role. It is leading international efforts to assist the Palestinians with their state-building efforts under a major strategy adopted by the EU last year. An important part of this strategy is devoted to developing security and the rule of law, which are the cornerstones of the fledgling Palestinian state and the theme of a large international conference of foreign ministers hosted in Berlin on June 24. The EU is making a tangible difference on the ground. It is helping the Palestinians strengthen their civilian security capabilities not just with words or money but also with people. Our police mission, EUPOL COPPS, has been active in the Palestinian territories since November 2005, advising and mentoring the Palestinian Authority in its efforts to build up a civil police force and establish law and order. Canada, Norway and Switzerland are supporting the mission and we are working in close coordination with our U.S. partners. We are now about to increase the mission in size and expand its scope to the broader rule of law sector, embracing in particular the penal and judiciary systems. A democratic Palestinian state needs a properly equipped, trained and disciplined civil police and it needs functioning law courts and prisons. The EUPOL COPPS is not the only EU security mission in the Middle East. Our border assistance mission, EUBAM Rafah, established at the Rafah crossing point between Egypt and Gaza in 2005, is currently on standby and ready to deploy as soon as circumstances permit and EU member states form the backbone of the United Nations force in Lebanon (UNIFIL). Our efforts are bearing fruit and are helping to make a real difference on the ground. In the past year alone, the EU mission has trained 800 civil police officers in public order, refurbished police stations and contributed to the communications network of the civil police. The Palestinian Authority has begun to deploy forces in major urban areas such as Nablus and is gradually taking over responsibility for security in the West Bank. Palestinian and Israeli security forces are cooperating and this cooperation must continue and increase. These measures in the area of security and rule of law are part of a wider effort to improve conditions for the Palestinian people and revive the economy. For democracy to take root, the people must see that their lives are improving. Roadblocks must come down, trucks must be able to transport goods freely, people must be able to travel to work, to school and to hospitals unhindered, farmers must be able to grow and sell produce, investors must be encouraged to come with foreign capital, and businesses must be set up. And, of course, it is not only the Palestinians who gain from this. Israel's security interests can only stand to gain from a peaceful, democratic, and ultimately prosperous Palestinian state. In truth, the entire region will be stabilized if the Israelis and Palestinians resolve their 60-year-old conflict. The EU is doing everything it can to help with this.
| Israel | Islam | Dividing the Land | EU/UN / 4th Kingdom | Solana | 1st Seal |

Fearing Olmert collapse, Palestinians rush for deal WorldNet Daily (May 29, 2008) - Fearing the collapse of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's government, the Palestinian Authority asked the U.S. government for backing to rush a deal regarding the establishment of a Palestinian state, WND has learned. According to a top PA negotiator, the Palestinians expect Olmert will be forced from office before the end of the year. They fear some of the negotiations led by Olmert's government will be fruitless unless an understanding is reached before the Israeli leader vacates office. "What we are seeking is to quickly reach certain understandings, put those understandings on paper and have them guaranteed by the U.S. so the understandings can be used as a starting point in negotiations with the next Israeli prime minister," the top PA negotiator told WND. Olmert's government has been conducting intense negotiations with the PA started at last November's U.S.-backed Annapolis summit, which sought to create a Palestinian state before Bush leaves office in January. Israel is highly expected to offer the Palestinians most of the West Bank and sections of Jerusalem. Olmert faces a bribery and corruption investigation that has been described by police officials here as "very serious." The Israeli leader has said he would resign if he is indicted. Earlier this week, Morris Talansky, a U.S. businessman, testified in court he provided about $150,000 in cash to Olmert over the years and that he didn't know exactly what the Israeli leader did with the money. According to sources close to the investigation, the charges against Olmert extend far beyond possible cash transfers by Talansky and involve other foreign businessmen allegedly passing on money in exchange for political and business favors. In a major blow to Olmert's future leadership, his defense minister and senior coalition partner, Ehud Barak, yesterday called on him to step down. "I do not think the prime minister can simultaneously run the government and deal with his own personal affair," Barak said at a nationally televised news conference after conferring with other members of his Labor party. Barak maintained his position today, telling the Knesset that early elections appear inevitable in light of the corruption probe. Olmert, though, continues to insist he will not resign unless he is indicted. He told the Knesset he was certain that once his side of the story is aired, no charges would be brought against him. "I have been done an injustice, and it is illogical that a prime minister should be brought down because of something like this," Olmert said. "Some people think that every investigation requires a resignation. I do not agree, and I do not intend to resign," Olmert said. The prime minister has faced five previous investigations into accusations of corruption or accepting bribes. Immediately after Barak's statements yesterday, three members of his party, which is in a governing coalition with Olmert's Kadima party, submitted motions to the Knesset to dissolve the Olmert government. By Israeli law, if the majority of the Knesset votes for the downfall of the prime minister, new elections must be held within 90 days. Barak has made no secret of his desire to become prime minister. But his calls for Olmert to step down were also echoed across the political spectrum. Legally, Olmert can remain in office until 2010 unless he is either convicted or the Knesset votes for new elections. If he resigns, Olmert could appoint a member of his Kadima party as prime minister to avoid early elections and ensure his party remains in power. He could also take a 90-day leave of absence during which time his deputy prime minister, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, would temporarily govern. Olmert, though, is said to oppose placing Livni is power. According to top political sources in Jerusalem, Olmert is attempting to coordinate the future leadership of Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz, a former defense minister and close Olmert confidant.
| Israel | Islam | Dividing the Land |

Palestinians reject Israeli offer to hand over 91.5% of W. Bank Haaretz (May 26, 2008) - Palestinian officials close to peace talks said Sunday that Israel has offered a West Bank withdrawal map that leaves about 8.5 percent of the territory in Israeli hands, less than a previous plan but still more than the Palestinians are ready to accept. Also Sunday, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas was quoted as telling backers that the negotiations have achieved no progress since they were restarted last November with a pledge to U.S. President George W. Bush to try for a full peace treaty by the end of the year. The Palestinian officials said Israel presented its new map three days ago in a negotiating session. The last map Israel offered had 12 percent of the West Bank remaining in Israel. Israel wants to keep West Bank land with its main settlement blocs, offering land inside Israel in exchange. The land would be between Hebron in the southern West Bank and Gaza - at least part of a route through Israel to link the two territories. The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because the negotiations are being conducted behind closed doors, said Palestinians were ready to trade only 1.8 percent of the West Bank for Israeli land. Israeli officials refused to comment. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has said that progress has been made in several areas, but he refused to give details out of concern for harming the negotiations. more...
| Israel | Islam | Dividing the Land |

Iran tells Syria must regain control of Golan YNet News (May 24, 2008) - Syrian Defense Minister Hassan Turkmani arrived in Tehran on Saturday evening as part of Damascus' bid to reassure its Iranian ally after resuming peace negotiations with Israel. General Turkmani is scheduled to meet with his Iranian counterpart, Mustafa Mohammad-Najjar, and additional key figures in Tehran. A possible meeting with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has not yet been confirmed. In a meeting he held earlier on Saturday with Hamas politburo chief, Khaled Mashaal, Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki publically addressed the renewed talks for the first time. "The Golan belongs to Syria and must be returned to its control. The Zionist regime must withdraw from the Golan, and we support Syrian efforts to repossess the Heights." The Syrian defense minister's visit to Tehran follow reports of Ahmadinejad's outrage over the contact between Israel and Syria. Sources close to the Iranian president told the London-based Asharq al-Awsat daily that Ahmadinejad has made his discontent over the clandestine negotiations well known. He described the talks as a "flagrant violation" of the mutual commitments between Syria and Iran. Meanwhile, Damascus as reiterated its rejection of Israel's demand that it sever ties with Iran, Hizbullah and Hamas as a key condition of any peace agreement. During a joint press conference Mashaal held with Mottaki after their meeting, the exiled Hamas leader was careful not to criticize the negotiations. He did say however that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert lacks the political might to make the moves necessary for peace with Syria. "There is great skepticism concerning (Israel's) seriousness to return the Golan," Mashaal said. "It's maneuvering and playing all the (negotiation) tracks – this is a well known game and besides, Olmert's weakness will not allow him to take this step." He was referring to the current ongoing investigation against Olmert, who has recently been suspected of receiving money unlawfully. Mashaal said he was sure the renewed talks would not come at the expense of the Palestinian track.
| Iran | Israel | Islam | Dividing the Land | Isaiah 17 | Gog/Magog |

Related News: Syria refuses to sever ties with Iran

Blair unveils new 'West Bank package' The Jerusalem Post (May 13, 2008) - Quartet envoy Tony Blair on Tuesday unveiled a package of steps designed to allow greater movement in the West Bank, and help the Palestinian economy grow in a way in which he said would be consistent with protecting Israeli security. Blair, speaking a day before the arrival of US President George Bush, said that the Israelis and the Palestinian Authority, after weeks of negotiations, have agreed on the steps which he said could begin to change the reality on the ground. "For Palestinian statehood to be possible in the eyes of Palestinians there must be hope that occupations will, over time, be lifted," Blair said. "For Palestinian statehood to be possible in the eyes of Israelis, there must be hope, over time, that the security of Israel will be improved and not harmed by the way the Palestinians run their territory." Blair, at a press conference at his headquarters in the American Colony Hotel, said that the centerpiece of the package is an area in and around Jenin which is greater in land mass than the Gaza Strip, where the Palestinians will be given increased security authority and a number of economic and social projects will begin there. In addition, Blair said that the Israelis had agreed to remove four checkpoints throughout the West Bank, upgrade seven others, and move one.
| Israel | Islam | Dividing the Land |

Israel's Olmert admits taking cash but won't quit Reuters (May 8, 2008) - Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert admitted on Thursday taking cash from a U.S. businessman but resisted calls to resign over a police investigation into alleged hefty bribes over almost a decade. As Israelis enjoyed festivities marking Independence Day and the 60th anniversary of the founding of their state, police lifted a week-old media gag order and announced details of accusations that sparked opposition calls for Olmert to quit. He said he would resign only if he were formally indicted. Whether he goes or not, doubt over his future is likely to upset his faltering, U.S.-sponsored peace negotiations with the Palestinians and will cast a heavy cloud over next week's celebratory visit to Israel by U.S. President George W. Bush. The White House said Bush still intended to make the trip. Olmert, in a late-night televised address to the nation, said: "I look each and every one of you in the eye and say, 'I never took bribes. I never took a penny for myself'." His allies say there is a right-wing campaign to wreck the peace process, but it was unclear if his fragile coalition would rally behind a man who last year said he was "indestructible". Israelis are no strangers to tales of corruption at the top in the Middle East's most feted democracy and the latest case may fuel calls for an overhaul of political funding rules. Olmert, who was questioned by police for an hour last Friday, has weathered a string of investigations since he succeeded Ariel Sharon as prime minister in 2006. Sharon's son is in jail for campaign funding misdeeds on his father's behalf. On Thursday, Olmert said all the cash he received -- put at hundreds of thousands of dollars by one judicial source -- was legitimate support from New York financier Morris Talansky to fund various election campaigns over nearly a decade from 1993. more...
| Israel | Dividing the Land |

Secret documents detail post-WWII debacle OneNewsNow (May 7, 2008) - A messianic Jewish ministry leader says recent documents released by the British government have confirmed a long-held belief. Jan Markell has long believed that God judged Britain for its treatment of the Jews. She notes that 400 pages of formerly secret documents -- recently made public by the British National Archives -- reveal how the British government tried to send thousands of Holy Land-bound Jewish Holocaust survivors back to post-war Germany without inflaming world opinion. But despite the best efforts of early spin-doctors to portray the move in a most sympathetic light, the decision to turn away more than 4,500 Jewish refugees on board the Exodus refugee ship turned into a humanitarian and public relations debacle for Great Britain. Markell, founder and director of Olive Tree Ministries, believes Britain has paid a steep price for betraying the Jews in 1947. "At one time [Britain] had so many nations and colonies that the sun never set on [the British Empire]," she recalls. "Today [Britain] is a broken and fractured empire, and I believe it is partly because of the way that she dealt with the Jews ... during the Holocaust and post-Holocaust," says Markell. And the pro-Israel advocate warns this story ought to serve as reminder to supporters of Israel today. "It should remind us that the world to this day continues to hate the Jewish people," she continues, "because they still are God's chosen people no matter what the Muslim world wants to do to annihilate them. [The Jews] will not go away." Markell argues the United States should take special heed to this story, considering its continual efforts to force the Jewish people to turn over their covenant land in order to create a Palestinian "state."
| Israel | Dividing the Land | America |

Troubling turnaround at Olmert-Abbas meeting Jerusalem Newswire (May 5, 2008) - After initial reports indicated a negative outcome, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and PLO chief terrorist Mahmoud Abbas reportedly held an unexpectedly successful meeting in Jerusalem Monday morning, with officials saying they had suddenly made "considerable progress." Maps depicting the areas of Israel's historic lands being demanded by the Palestinian Arabs for their state were brought to the meeting, which was held at Olmert's official residence shortly after US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice ended a two-day visit to the land. According to The Jerusalem Post, after "warmly" embracing Abbas, a man responsible for the deaths and wounding of untold numbers of Israeli Jews - Olmert told him Israel now realized the need to make "tangible" changes in Samaria and Judea because it was necessary that the months of peace talks be accompanied by actions on the ground. Abbas' aides said earlier the PA chairman was contemplating resigning within a few months unless noticeable progress was made towards the creation of "Palestine." Palestine is the name intended for the Arab state the international community is working to establish in the biblical heartland of the Jewish people. Ha'aretz reported that a senior Israeli official had told Army Radio that during the meeting, Olmert and Abbas made "significant progress on the borders issue" - the issue of where the borders of the new "Palestine" would lie in relation to what would be left of Israel. Abbas' authority is also being challenged by Hamas, which violently wrested control of Gaza from the PLO last year and is spreading its influence across Samaria and Judea. Officials in the Prime Minister's Office said "these were the most serious talks the sides have ever conducted," according to Ynetnews. Commentators wondered whether Olmert was trying to bolster Abbas in the face of the opposition against him, or whether the Israeli leader had perhaps been spurred to make sudden concessions because his own position is threatened in a new police investigation.
| Israel | Islam | Dividing the Land |

Bush backs peace deal as Hamas offers truce Euro News (April 25, 2008) - With the clock ticking down on his administration, President Bush says he remains committed to securing a Middle East peace deal. He's held talks with his Palestinian counterpart in Washington ahead of his trip to the region in mid-May. Negotiations have stalled since Bush pledged to achieve an agreement by the end of this year. Bush said: "I assured [President Abbas] that a Palestinian state's a high priority, for me and my adminsitration, a viable state, a state that doesn't look like Swiss cheese, a state that provides hope." But one of the biggest holes in the plan has been the rise of Abbas's political rivals Hamas, who captured the Gaza strip last June. They too are pushing for peace - at least temporarily. Former foreign minister Mahmoud al-Zahar offered Israel a six-month truce in Gaza with an option to extend it to the West bank. In return they want end to the Israeli blockade of the territory. Israel's UN ambassador dismissed the deal. Menawhile Gaza is at breaking point. The UN has had to suspend its aid operations in the Strip after an emergency fuel shipment was blocked by petrol-hungry farmers. Israel says it has cut shipments of fuel and other supplies in response to cross border rocket attacks by Hamas militants. The EU sent a shipment of diesel to Gaza's only power station after engineers warned it was about to shut down. They say the generators will grind to a halt on Sunday if no more fuel is allowed through.
| Israel | Islam | Dividing the Land | America |

Israel, Palestinian talks raise hope for 2008 accord: Solana EU Business (April 8, 2008) - EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana expressed hope Tuesday that Israel and the Palestinians could reach a peace settlement this year, after their leaders met for the first time in almost two months. "Politically, an important meeting took place yesterday," he told members of the European Parliament, a day after Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas held direct talks in Jerusalem. "I do think that we have still a chance to move the process to a settlement before the end of year 2008," Solana said, underlining: "I don't want to sound too optimistic, I want to sound realistic." He said that "the situation in Gaza is more relaxed than it used to be" and that he hoped a "period of quietness" would descend on Gaza, with the help notably of Egypt. Israel has sealed off Gaza from all but vital goods since Hamas seized power last June, in a bid to halt rocket attacks from the territory and to put pressure on the Islamist-run government. But Solana said the future would become clearer in the summer. If "we are not able to move the process in a dynamic manner by this period of time, maybe we'll have to begin to think that the possibility of an agreement in the year 2008 will be further away," he said. Olmert and Abbas agreed Monday "to continue with the goal of reaching an historic agreement by the end of the year," an Israeli spokesman said, despite accusing each other of failing to meet commitments under a peace roadmap.
| Israel | Islam | Dividing the Land | EU/UN / 4th Kingdom | Solana |

Insider leaks plans for Palestinian state WorldNet Daily (April 7, 2008) - U.S.-backed negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians are expected to generate an agreement by the end of the year that would set up a Palestinian state in the West Bank and eastern sections of Jerusalem, according to a source who has participated in the talks. In one of the first media glimpses into the current negotiations, a source who takes part in the regular meetings outlined for WND the main objectives of the secretive negotiations. Since last November's Israeli-Palestinian Annapolis summit, which set as a goal the creation of a Palestinian state before 2009, negotiating teams including Israeli Foreign Minister Tzippy Livni and chief Palestinian negotiator Ahmed Qureia have been meeting weekly while Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas have been meeting biweekly. Unlike previous Israeli-Palestinian negotiations in which both sides attended with about a dozen advisers each, the teams working with Livni and Qureia are small, usually consisting at most of five people each. Also unlike previous talks, in which the contents of many meetings were leaked quickly to the media, the current negotiations have resulted in few press leaks. According to the source who has been playing a role in the meetings, the two sides are drafting an agreement, to be signed by the end of the year, requiring Israel to evacuate most of the West Bank and certain eastern sections of Jerusalem. The source said Israeli community blocks in the zones of Gush Etzion, Maale Adumin and Ariel would remain Israeli while most of the West Bank and parts of Jerusalem will be slated for a Palestinian state. In contradiction to statements by Olmert, the status of sections of Jerusalem is being negotiated but the specifics of any agreed-upon Israeli withdrawal is as yet unclear, said the source. "It is understood [Jerusalem] Arab neighborhoods would become part of a Palestinian state," the source said. The source told WND both sides agreed Israel would retain Jerusalem's Pisgat Zeev neighborhood, which is located near large Arab communities. Many of those Arab towns were constructed illegally on property owned by the Jewish National Fund, a Jewish nonprofit that purchases property using Jewish donors funds for the stated purpose of Jewish settlement. The source said the U.S. pledged advanced training for thousands of PA security officers who would take over security in the West Bank and eastern sections of Jerusalem and operate in those territories instead of the Israel Defense Forces and Israeli police. The U.S. previously has trained thousands of Palestinian security officers, including units in which known members of Fatah's Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades terrorist group serve. Scores of those security forces have carried out terrorist attacks against Israeli soldiers and civilians, including recent deadly shootings in the West Bank. But the source claimed the planned U.S. training is different: "This training is unlike anything before. The PA, Israel and the U.S. are working very closely to vet the forces. All sides are approving the training candidates. The training is more advanced than ever. It will create a very serious Palestinian army," said the source. The source said as part of the negotiations, Abbas has agreed to hold early PA elections in the West Bank by 2009, including presidential elections that could replace the Palestinian leader... A U.S. security report last month concluded the PA is failing to fight terrorism. The report was compiled by Gen. William Fraser, who was deployed to the region to monitor implementation of agreements pledged by Israel and the PA at Annapolis. Fraser's report slammed the PA for failing to arrest, interrogate and place terrorist suspects on trial. The report said the PA occasionally carries out arrests of suspected terrorists, but usually only following pressure from Israel or the U.S. The arrested terrorists, the report said, are rarely interrogated or tried but instead are briefly detained. more...
| Israel | Islam | Dividing the Land |
America |

Olmert, Abbas to meet again after seven weeks (April 7, 2008) - Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas meet on Monday for the first time in six weeks as Middle East peace talks get back on track under heavy US pressure. Abbas, who suspended his bi-weekly meetings with Olmert at the beginning of March after an Israeli military operation in Gaza killed more than 130 people, said on Sunday that he would not accept a peace deal at any price. "We are negotiating seriously and we are striving to arrive at a solution for all the final-status issues, but it will not come at any price," Abbas told a meeting of local officials in the West Bank political capital of Ramallah. The talks were given new impetus after US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, during a visit to the region last week, managed to secure an Israeli commitment to ease hardships on West Bank Palestinians and convince Abbas to resume his meetings with Olmert. Senior Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat said Abbas and Olmert would discuss a mutual ceasefire, lifting the Israeli siege on the Gaza Strip and the implementation of the 2003 Middle East roadmap agreement. The international roadmap peace blueprint urges Israel to freeze Jewish settlement construction and calls on the Palestinians to improve security in their territories. But the latest peace talks have made little progress since they were launched at a US-sponsored conference in Annapolis outside Washington in November, with each side accusing the other of neglecting its obligations. Israel has "not implemented a single one of its obligations as specified in the roadmap. It has not halted the (growth of) settlements or freed prisoners or removed checkpoints," negotiator Erakat told AFP. An Israeli official said Olmert, who last met with Abbas on February 19, was "looking forward to the renewal of talks." "We want the Annapolis process to succeed and the meetings between the leaders will continue focusing on the crucial elements of the peace talks," the official said on condition of anonymity. The two leaders are expected to discuss several of the core issues at the heart of the conflict, but the sides remain divided on many issues. Olmert said last month that he does not envisage the possibility of anything more than an outline agreement by 2009, despite the US target of a peace deal by the end of 2008, and that settlement expansion on Palestinian land would continue. Abbas has in turn accused Israel of splitting the Palestinian territories into isolated cantons as a means to prevent the creation of a viable Palestinian state.
| Israel | Islam | Dividing the Land |

PM, Abbas aim for deal by end of '08 The Jerusalem Post (April 7, 2008) - Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas will meet every two weeks until the November deadline for striking a deal, regardless of developments on the ground, Olmert and Abbas decided in a meeting at the Prime Minister's Office Monday. The two men pledged at the Annapolis summit in November 2007 to meet every two weeks in an effort to reach a deal by the November 4, 2008 deadline. But they had not met since February 19 due to Abbas's protests of IDF activity in the Gaza Strip during Operation Hot Winter. From now on, they intend to take the same approach as the heads of the Israeli and Palestinian negotiation teams, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and former Palestinian Authority prime minister Ahmed Qurei, who meet regularly regardless of the day's news. For instance, Livni and Qurei met the day of the suicide bombing in Dimona in January. In their sixth meeting since the Annapolis summit, Olmert and Abbas met for some three hours, including one hour in which they met alone, without their negotiating teams. The next steps in the process include Abbas's forthcoming visit to Washington, next week's visit to Israel by US National Security Adviser Steve Hadley and US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice returning to Israel after Pessah. Olmert and Livni complained that the Palestinians were not doing enough to fight terror in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. But much of the meeting focused on what steps Israel could take to ease conditions for the Palestinians. "We discussed what we could do to improve the lives of the Palestinians so they would see that it was in their best interests to make a strategic choice in favor of the moderates against the extremists," a participant in the meeting said. Officials on both sides indicated that as in the past, the talks deteriorated into mutual accusations that each side was not doing its part under the road map diplomatic plan that is the basis of the negotiations. Hamas control of the Gaza Strip, Israeli settlement construction, West Bank checkpoints, terrorist violence and frequent armed clashes remained serious obstacles in the way of success for the talks. Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said much of the meeting focused on the settlements. Abbas showed Olmert "documents and maps" in emphasizing the need to stop the construction. "Settlement expansion undermines the credibility of the peace process," Abbas told Olmert, according to Erekat. more...
| Israel | Islam | Dividing the Land |

Rice Wins Concessions From Israel, Paving the Way Towards Peace Agreement Fox News (March 30, 2008) - Israel and the Palestinians agreed Sunday to a series of "concrete steps" aimed at paving the way for a final peace agreement later this year, beginning with Israel's pledge to remove some West Bank roadblocks. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, visiting the region for the second time this month in hopes of energize faltering talks, said the moves "constitute a very good start to improving" a Palestinian economy crippled by the Israeli restrictions. Under the plan that Rice announced, Israel will remove about 50 roadblocks, upgrade checkpoints to speed up the movement of Palestinians through the West Bank and give Palestinians more security responsibility in the town of Jenin with an eye toward looking at "other areas in turn." The Israelis also pledged to increase the number of travel and work permits it gives Palestinians and to support economic projects in Palestinian towns. In return, the Palestinians promised to improve policing of Jenin "to provide law and order, and work to prevent terror," according to a State Department statement released shortly before Rice spoke. Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian Prime Minister Salaam Fayyad consented to the steps at a joint meeting with Rice earlier Sunday. They agreed to pursue the measures with "special, immediate emphasis and work," the statement said. "We've been told that this is going to start and, hopefully even be completed in a relatively short period of time," Rice told reporters. "I am expecting it to happen very, very soon." "We will be monitoring and verifying," she added. The agreement includes:

  • removing 50 travel barriers in and around Jenin, Tulkarem, Qalqiliya and Ramallah.
  • dismantling of one permanent roadblock.
  • deploying 700 Jordanian-trained Palestinian police in Jenin and allowing them to take delivery of armored vehicles.
  • raising the the number of Palestinian businessmen allowed into Israel to 1,500 from 1,000.
  • increasing the number of work permits for Palestinian laborers by 5,000 from its current number of 18,500.
  • building new housing for Palestinians in 25 villages.
  • connecting Palestinian villages to the Israeli power grid.
  • Israeli support for large-scale economic development programs and encouragement of foreign investment.

Neither Barak nor Fayyad commented on the developments when they appeared at a brief photo opportunity with Rice after their meeting. One Palestinian official said he welcomed any improvement, but that Israel's moves were "too little, too late." "We want Israel to move quickly in removing these obstacles that make no sense and make the lives of the Palestinians difficult," said Samir Abdullah, the Palestinian planning minister. Israel maintains hundreds of checkpoints, roadblocks and other travel restrictions in the West Bank, and says they are needed to stop suicide bombers. The Palestinians say the restrictions are excessive and have stifled their economy. They have made removal of the checkpoints a priority as the two sides, with U.S. backing, try to negotiate a peace agreement by year's end. Rice had said she was looking for "meaningful" steps to put in place the stalled U.S.-supported plan that envisions the creation of an independent Palestinian state through concessions on both sides. "There has not been enough momentum," she said. "This is a start in terms of delivering on some of those obligations."
| Israel | Islam | Dividing the Land | 1st Seal | America |

Your Tax Dollars at Work in Gaza Jewish World Review (March 24, 2008) - Last week, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported that American officials are again pressing Congress to open up the U.S. aid pipeline to the Palestinian Authority. If the plea sounds familiar, it ought to. Since the 1993 Oslo Accords, Americans have been subsidizing the activities of the P.A. to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars per year. Today, as in the past, the arguments in favor of this policy are urgent. We are told by both administration officials who are friends of Israel and by some Israelis that unless we help fund the training and the payment of Palestinian security forces, the P.A. will have no way to cope with terrorists who want to sink any chance of a two-state solution which would enable Israel to live side-by-side with a peaceful Palestinian partner. THE ONLY OPTION? With Hamas in control of Gaza, the P.A., under the current leadership of Mahmoud Abbas, is, we are informed, the only address for creating a moderate force that will work for peace. Given the alternative of the Iranian-backed Hamas or the equally unpalatable choices of either Israel reoccupying the territories or an international peacekeeping force doing so, reinforcing the P.A. seems to make sense.  But does it really? Doubts about the wisdom of the policy have led Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-N.Y.) — respectively, the chair and the ranking minority member of the House Foreign Operations Subcommittee — to place a hold on a request of another $150 million in direct assistance to the P.A. Thwarted on that front, the administration now wants the committee to okay an additional $25 million in indirect funding for the military training program. Both Lowey and Ros-Lehtinen rightly worry about the commitment of Abbas and his Fatah Party to peace. They cite recent statements by Abbas in which he would not rule out a return to "armed resistance" against Israel. The support by the P.A. media for attacks against Israelis, such as the slaughter of eight students at a Jerusalem yeshiva this month, as well as the ongoing blitz of southern Israel by Hamas missiles, is also reason to doubt the P.A.'s sincerity. The P.A. also continues to honor the memory of slain terrorists as "martyrs" and, as The Jerusalem Post reported this week, plans to celebrate Israel's 60th birthday by having Arab refugees to rush Israel's borders to promote a "right of return," which is synonymous with the destruction of the Jewish State. Supporters of aid respond that these statements do not reflect Abbas' real goals. Yet, they ignore the fact that what the P.A. has done for the past 15 years is to legitimize a Palestinian culture in which political plaudits are won only by killing Jews. Indeed, via its control of broadcast outlets, newspapers and the schools, the P.A. has solidified a mindset of hate. more...
| Iran | Israel | Islam | Dividing the Land | America |

Livni: Jerusalem on the Table Israel National News (March 22, 2008) - Despite assurances by her boss, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, to the contrary, Foreign Minister Tsipi Livni said in a weekend interview with Channel Two that Jerusalem would indeed be a subject for negotiations with the Palestinian Authority. “All core issues are up for negotiations,” she said in the interview – regardless of what Shas was told or believes. The Likud reiterated its demand that Shas withdraw from the government, adding that the Olmert government was “dangerous for Israel.”
| Israel | Islam | Dividing the Land |

Olmert Offers Judea, Samaria, Divides Jerusalem in Draft Accord Israel National News (March 7, 2008) - Israel's government has agreed, in writing, to hand over 6,250 square kilometers of land – the equivalent of its entire biblical and strategic heartland - to an Arab terror state. So reports Dr. Guy Bechor, a leading expert on Arab affairs, who also supplies some of the details of the negotiations. Bechor reports, based on "leaks from the Palestinian side," that Israel has, in the past few days, presented Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas at least one draft of an "agreement of principles."

  • The agreement calls for a state named Palestine to be established alongside Israel, and have a territory of 6,250 square kilometers: the equivalent of all of Judea, Samaria and Gaza.
  • "Palestine" will be demilitarized.
  • Most of the Jewish communities built in Judea and Samaria over the past 40 years are to demolished and their inhabitants expelled, according to the plan. The remaining communities are to be concentrated in small salients for which the Arab state will be compensated with additional territory elsewhere in present-day Israel.
  • A passage of some sort will connect Gaza and Judea and Samaria. It will be under Jewish sovereignty and Palestinian administration.
  • Israel agrees to re-divide Jerusalem. Arab neighborhoods will be under Arab sovereignty and Jewish ones under Jewish sovereignty. Mention is made of "religious areas," but further details are not known as of yet. Each side will recognize the other's spiritual needs.
  • The "refugee" question is not mentioned at all, and Bechor reports that this is the main sticking point. Abbas is insisting that Arabs descended from those who fled Israel in 1948 be allowed to return to Israel, at least in principle.

Bechor says that Abbas and his men have gone over the draft and are not pleased; they know how to negotiate, he notes. In a recent interview with PA TV, Abbas said that "declarations of principles are a waste of time" and "useless." What the PA wants, he said, is a clear timetable for establishing Palestine, as well as an Israeli pullback, demolition of Jewish communities and "return of refugees" (i.e., the flooding of Israel with Arab citizens). The Arabs are hoping Israel will become more pliable in November, when an international diplomatic conference, sponsored by the US, is to be held in an attempt to hammer out an accord. An official close to Mahmoud Abbas, Mustafa Bargouti, said that the idea of a conference is "an Israeli trap" and that nothing will come of it.
| Israel | Islam | Dividing the Land |

U.S. Jews give Palestinian state endorsement World Net Daily (March 3, 2008) - The Jewish Council for Public Affairs, a coalition of major mainstream U.S. Jewish organizations, has for the first time given endorsement to a Palestinian state. But the firestorm of nationalist Jewish outrage on the Internet has targeted the Orthodox Union, or O.U., one of the largest U.S. Orthodox Jewish organizations representing hundreds of Orthodox synagogues, which abstained and did not vote against a successful resolution calling for a "two state solution" to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Surveys have consistently demonstrated American Orthodox Jews oppose a Palestinian state. "It is an outrage Jewish organizations would support a Palestinian state and it's a shock the O.U .would abstain," Mort Klein, president of the Zionist Organization of America, told WND. "When the Palestinian Authority refuses to arrest terrorists, engages in and glorifies murder against Jews, and puts out maps showing all of Israel is Palestine surrounded by rifles, it becomes clear any Palestinian state will be a terrorist state which will greatly harm Israel," Klein said. At a vote last week during its annual meetings, the JCPA resolved "the organized American Jewish community should affirm its support for two independent, democratic and economically viable states – the Jewish state of Israel and a state of Palestine – living side-by-side in peace and security." The resolution recognized American Jewry's "diverse views about current and future policies of the Israeli government towards settlements," and blamed the standstill in the peace process on Palestinian intransigence. The Council is an umbrella of 14 major national Jewish groups and 125 local Jewish community relations councils. Among the groups represented by the council are such giants as the American Jewish Committee, American Jewish Congress, Anti-Defamation League , National Council of Bnai Brith, Hadassah, the National Conference on Soviet Jewry and Hillel, the largest Jewish university outreach group. The O.U. was recipient of the most criticism for abstaining during the vote in which all other groups voted in favor. According to a source at the organization, e-mails have been pouring in from outraged Orthodox Jews. In a widely circulated e-mail, Pessach Aceman, a Canadian immigrant to Israel and a diarist for the BBC website, lambasted the Orthodox group as a "terror supporting organization through your silence." "What total hypocrisy this is," wrote Acement. "What this goes to show is that politics and funding rule the airwaves which makes your efforts totally hypocritical." Ted Belman, who runs the Israpundit blog, posted, "To my mind this resolution is very detrimental as it makes it harder for alternates to be forwarded. By endorsing this resolution are the O.U. and the others saying they support a two state solution regardless if it necessitates the division of Jerusalem?" In an official clarification, the O.U. released a statement that while it abstained from the final vote endorsing a Palestinian state, the group still managed to insert into the resolution's text a statement explaining Israel's repeated offers to establish a Palestinian state "have been met, time after time, by violence, incitement and terror.” The organization also successfully vetoed a clause that would have stated the American Jewish community views the establishment or expansion of Israeli communities in the West Bank as an "impediment to peace." more...
| Israel | Islam | Dividing the Land |
America |

Gaza: EU Slovenian presidency condemns ‘disproportionate use of force’ by Israel European Jewish Press (March 2, 2008) - The European Union has condemned on Sunday what it called the “disproportionate use of force" by Israel in the Gaza Strip as the EU’s foreign policy chief, Javier Solana is arriving in the region. In a statement, the EU’s Slovenian presidency said: "The presidency condemns the recent disproportionate use of force by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) against Palestinian population in Gaza and urges Israel to exercise maximum restraint and refrain from all activities that endanger civilians." It added: "Such activities are contrary to international law. The Presidency at the same time reiterates condemnation of continued firing of rockets into Israeli territory and calls for its immediate end." The statement was issued after intense fighting in the Gaza Strip over the weekend in which fifty-four Palestinians and two Israeli soldiers were killed. Senior Israeli political and military leaders have been mulling a major ground operation in the Gaza Strip for months, as Hamas militants launched daily rocket and mortar attacks on southern Israel. The EU presidency said "it rejects collective punishment of the people of Gaza." "We are deeply worried about the suffering of the civilian population on Israeli and Palestinian side. We have stated too many times that both Israelis and Palestinians deserve to live in peace and security,” the statement said... Javier Solana, the European Union foreign policy chief, has started on Sunday a 3-day visit to Israel, the Palestinian territories and Lebanon. In Israel, Solana will meet on Monday with Israeli President Shimon Peres, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Defence Minister Ehud Barak. On Tuesday, the EU official will travel to the Palestinian territories for meetings with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, Ahmed Ali Mohammed Qurei, chairman of the Palestinian negotiating team, and Saeb Erekat, head of the negotiations affairs department. According to his cabinet, Solana will stress the importance of keeping the Annapolis peace process on track and underline the EU's commitment to this process and its support for the parties. He will also stress the EU's readiness to help bring about and implement a solution to the situation in Gaza. more...
| Israel | Islam | Dividing the Land | EU/UN
/ 4th Kingdom | Solana | 1st Seal |

Part of Jerusalem Officially Labeled PA Territory Israel National News (February 27, 2008) - Israeli authorities have placed several signs near the Atarot area in northern Jerusalem recently warning travelers, “You are entering territory under the control of the Palestinian Authority. Israelis are absolutely forbidden to enter!” Approximately 25,000 residents of Jerusalem, some of them Israeli citizens, live in the areas now designated as PA territory. Jerusalem Forum chairman Aryeh King said Wednesday that approximately 1,200 dunams of property owned by Jews were located beyond the signs. The government violated laws regarding Jerusalem by putting up the signs, King said. The signs prove the government is acting to make its policy of splitting Jerusalem a reality, he said. King said he plans to lead a tour on Thursday in areas that fall within the municipal boundaries of Jerusalem but are in practice controlled by the Palestinian Authority. The tour will begin at the Kalandia checkpoint at 12 p.m. and end in the biblical village of Mitzpa.
| Israel | Islam | Dividing the Land |

Alarmed rabbis: Prime minister dividing Jerusalem WorldNet Daily (February 26, 2008) - A group of hundreds of prominent Israeli rabbis this week urged a religious partner of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's government to immediately bolt the Israeli leader's coalition amid rampant media reports Jerusalem is up for negotiations. The rabbis warned that if the Orthodox Shas party remains in Olmert's government, they will urge Jews against supporting Shas. If the party bolts, Olmert's coalition government could fall apart, precipitating new elections. "We are seriously considering issuing a statement signed by the hundreds of rabbis of the organization declaring it is absolutely forbidden for any observant Jew to vote for a party that lent its support to a government that negotiated the division of Jerusalem, a move that will place the entire population in Israel in mortal danger," Rabbi Avrohom Shmuel Lewin, director general of the Rabbinical Congress for Peace, told WND. The Congress is a coalition of more than 350 Israeli rabbinic leaders and pulpit rabbis. Olmert repeatedly has insisted Israeli-Palestinian negotiations are not dealing with the status of Jerusalem, while Palestinian leaders, including Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abba, and many Israeli officials, including Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, stated in recent weeks negotiations are covering all core issues, including Jerusalem. The Israeli Shas party has stated it would bolt the prime minister's coalition if it becomes clear the Israeli government is negotiating the ceding of any part of Jerusalem. Shas' departure could collapse Olmert's government. Olmert must maintain a majority of the Knesset's 120 seats to continue ruling. He currently rules with a slight plurality. If Shas, with its 12 seats, bolts the government, Olmert would be forced to forge a new coalition or face new elections. Most analysts here believe if Shas does bolt, Olmert could only stay in power if he invites Arab parties to his government, a move that would be considered highly controversial. Shas denies Jerusalem is being discussed during weekly Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, which commenced after last November's U.S.-sponsored Annapolis summit. "Nobody is talking about Jerusalem. The moment Jerusalem is being discussed, Shas will leave the government – period," Shas Spokesman Roi Lachmanovitch told Israel National News. A Rabbinical Congress for Peace statement issued after an emergency meeting yesterday countered: "Every novice journalist and anyone listening to the news in Israel knows that giving up large chunks of Jerusalem has been on the negotiating table for quite some time and is in its advanced stages. Only the representatives of Shas are burying their heads in the ground and pretend they know of nothing." "They are lying to themselves and deceiving their electorate. The Shas ministers know that Olmert and Abbas have agreed not to make public any agreement on Jerusalem until after the final signature in order to keep Shas in the government," said the RCP statement. The statement was signed by scores of prominent rabbinic leaders here. Since the Annapolis summit, which aimed to create a Palestinian state before the end of the year, senior negotiating teams including Livni and chief Palestinian negotiator Ahmed Qureia have been meeting weekly while Olmert and Abbas meet biweekly. Unlike previous Israeli-Palestinian negotiations in which both sides attended with about a dozen advisors each, Livni's and Quereai's teams are small, usually consisting at most of five people each. Media leaks from the current negotiations have been rare. Some momentum is highly expected before a visit Bush has scheduled to Israel in May, his second trip since Annapolis. Olmert's government has hinted a number of times it will divide Jerusalem and reportedly has halted all Jewish construction permits for eastern sections of the city. In December, Israeli Vice Premier Haim Ramon said the country "must" give up sections of Jerusalem for a future Palestinian state, even conceding the Palestinians can rename Jerusalem "to whatever they want." "We must come today and say, friends, the Jewish neighborhoods, including Har Homa, will remain under Israeli sovereignty, and the Arab neighborhoods will be the Palestinian capital, which they will call Jerusalem or whatever they want," said Ramon during an interview. Positions held by Ramon, a ranking member of Olmert's Kadima party, are largely considered to be reflective of Israeli government policy. Olmert himself recently questioned whether it was "really necessary" to retain Arab-majority eastern sections of Jerusalem. Israel recaptured eastern Jerusalem, including the Temple Mount – Judaism's holiest site – during the 1967 Six Day War. The Palestinians have claimed eastern Jerusalem as a future capital; the area has large Arab neighborhoods, a significant Jewish population and sites holy to Judaism, Christianity and Islam. About 231,000 Arabs live in Jerusalem, mostly in eastern neighborhoods, and many reside in illegally constructed complexes. The city has an estimated total population of 724,000. Ramon listed population statistics as the reason Olmert's government finds it necessary to split Jerusalem. But WND broke the story that according to Jerusalem municipal employees, during 10 years as mayor of Jerusalem, Olmert instructed city workers not to take action against hundreds of illicit Arab building projects throughout eastern sections of Jerusalem housing over 100,000 Arabs squatting in the city illegally. The workers and some former employees claim Olmert even instructed city officials to delete files documenting illegal Arab construction of housing units in eastern Jerusalem. Olmert was Jerusalem mayor from 1993 to 2003. As mayor, he made repeated public statements calling Jerusalem the "eternal and undivided capital" of Israel. Jerusalem municipal employees and former workers, though, paint a starkly contrasting picture of the prime minister. "He did nothing about rampant illegal Arab construction in Jerusalem while the government cracked down on illegal Jewish construction in the West Bank," said one municipal employee who worked under Olmert. She spoke on condition of anonymity, because she still works for the municipality. One former municipal worker during Olmert's mayoral tenure told WND he was moved in 1999 to a new government posting after he tried to highlight the illegal Arab construction in Jerusalem. He also spoke on condition of anonymity, fearing for his current job. Aryeh King, chairman of the Jerusalem Forum, which promotes Jewish construction in Jerusalem, told WND an investigation by his group found Olmert's city hall deleted files documenting hundreds of illegal Arab building projects throughout eastern sections of Jerusalem. He said he forwarded his findings to Israel's state comptroller for investigation. King also claims Olmert told senior municipal workers not to enforce a ban on illegal Arab buildings. "Ehud Olmert gave the order not to deal with the problem and not to put Israeli security forces to the duty of taking down the illegal Arab complexes," said King. "Senior municipal workers told me Olmert said not to bother with the illegal Arab homes, because eventually eastern Jerusalem would be given to the Palestinian Authority." King's report alleges Jerusalem municipal officials erased the files, which detail over 300 cases of Arab construction in eastern Jerusalem deemed illegal starting from 1999. The illegal buildings reportedly were constructed without permits and are still standing. According to law, they must be demolished. more...
| Israel | Islam | Dividing the Land |

Holy land in escrow YNet News (February 25, 2008) - After years in which various Jewish associations have bought up scopes of land in east Jerusalem, with the declared intention of maintaining the city's Jewish nature – they now find themselves bidding against various Muslim and Christian associations wishing to get a hold of land in the city's east. As reported in Yedioth Ahronoth Monday, wealthy West Bank-based Palestinians, funded by Persian Gulf benefactors, have been attempting to buy as much land as possible in east Jerusalem, concentrating their efforts in the Old City, in order to push out the Jewish associations – doing exactly the same. Backed by private millionaires, Muslim foundations, Arab banks, the PLO's Orient House's Housing Division and even several affiliates linked to Hamas, these Arab associations offer twice, even three times, the property value compared to their Jewish counterparts. Many Arab associations offer mortgages in favorable rates to any Muslim buying property in Jerusalem. Arab associations, said the report, have bought 12 apartments in the Old City in the last four months alone, with four more apartments in the Muslim Quarter in escrow. These associations have also bid on property located in Jerusalem's Shoafat and Beit Hanina neighborhoods, on the Mount of Olives; and have recently purchased a five-acre stretch of land in south Jerusalem, with the intention of building a new Palestinian neighborhood. Palestinian sources claim Turkey has also become involved in the land venture, aiding Arab associations by denying the Jewish ones access to Ottoman land records – which may prove historical Jewish ownership of the land. The various Christian associations found in the mix have reportedly been concentrating their efforts in buying land near the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and Jerusalem's Christian Quarter. Right-wing activist Arieh King, funded by Jewish billionaire Irwin Moscovitch, has recently formed the Israel Land Foundation, in an attempt to stop Arab associations from acquiring any more land in Jerusalem, by outbidding them. "If the Jewish National Fund would have done its job and buy these lands for the Jewish people, my work would be redundant," said King, "but the Palestinian associations are pouring tens of millions of dollars on lands in east Jerusalem, while not even one of our efforts is government funded." more...
| Israel | Islam | Dividing the Land |

Abbas: Peace in 2008 or never The Jerusalem Post (February 25, 2008) - Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas urged the US on Monday to make good on its promise to work for a Middle East peace settlement by the end of the year, warning that there would not be any future chances. Abbas spoke following a closed door meeting with Jordan's King Abdullah in the Jordanian capital of Amman and warned that if the Bush administration didn't make good on its pledge to "make 2008 the year to broker peace, then there will never be any future chances to achieve this goal." The Palestinians and Israelis are negotiating a final peace settlement, which the Bush administration hopes would lead to the creation of an independent Palestinian state later this year. The US "must understand it is to play an active role, not just as a supervisor, by intervening directly to help make peace," Abbas told reporters. He also urged Israel "to stop escalating the situation in the Palestinian territories and stop all attacks in the Gaza Strip, including firing missiles there." For his part, Abdullah expressed dismay over the rapidly deteriorating living conditions in Gaza and called for end to the economic blockade imposed there, according to a royal palace statement. The king emphasized that Jordan refused any partial solution or unilateral actions on the Palestinian issue which would create "real obstacles to achieving tangible progress in the peace process," the statement said. Gaza's battered economy has nearly collapsed under the weight of the closure and basic services to 1.4 million Palestinians - such as water, sewerage, medical care and education - have been crippled. "Gaza is on the edge of an explosion," Sami Abu Zuhri, a spokesman for Hamas, warned Monday. A separate palace statement announced that Abdullah and his Palestinian-born wife Queen Rania will visit the United States later this month for meetings with President George W. Bush and other administration officials on Mideast peacemaking. The statement did not give a specific date for the meeting with Bush, but said the visit would start Feb. 28.
| Israel | Islam | Dividing the Land | 1st Seal |

Foreign Ministry: Peace talks on the right track The Jerusalem Post (February 24, 2008) - Israeli and Palestinian negotiators have agreed to set up three committees to deal with civil affairs issues: water and the environment; legal matters; and economic subjects. The move came as Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni held another round of talks Sunday with the head of the Palestinian final status negotiating team, former Palestinian Authority prime minister Ahmed Qurei. The regular negotiating teams were joined by 20 experts - 10 from each side - who will make up the core of the three new committees. Foreign Ministry spokesman Arye Mekel hailed the move as an indication that the negotiations were on the right track. "It's definitely a sign of progress," Mekel told The Jerusalem Post. "An indication that the negotiations are moving forward." The idea is that the new panels will meet regularly, in parallel with the main negotiating teams, which will stick to the core issues of borders, refugees and Jerusalem. The Israeli representatives on the new committees include the directors-general of a number of ministries who met with Livni last week to draw up the government's position on a variety of the technical issues. The Palestinian experts include five former PA ministers. Up till now it has been difficult to assess the state of the final status talks, which were launched in the wake of November's Annapolis gathering, as both sides observed a policy of discretion fearing any publicity could damage the chances of success. Both parties seem to have backtracked over recent weeks from the initial goal of clinching a peace agreement this year, before the next US administration takes over. Both Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and PA Prime Minister Salaam Fayad spoke publicly of a declaration of principles as being a more realistic prospect for 2008 than a fully-fledged peace deal. Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said that what was decided on Sunday was that when experts are needed they will be brought in by the parties.
| Israel | Islam | Dividing the Land | 1st Seal |

Israel, US discuss deploying NATO troops in West Bank Jerusalem Post (February 20, 2008) - The United States is reviewing the feasibility of deploying a NATO force in the West Bank as a way to ease IDF security concerns and facilitate an Israeli withdrawal from the area within the coming years, defense officials have told The Jerusalem Post. The plan, which is being spearheaded by US Special Envoy to the region Gen. James Jones, is being floated among European countries, which could be asked to contribute troops to a West Bank multinational force. Jones, a former commander of NATO, was sent to Israel in November to help the Israelis and Palestinians frame some of the security mechanics necessary for a broader peace agreement. As first reported in the Post last month, Jones's plan calls for stationing third-party troops in the West Bank to secure the area in the interim period following an Israeli withdrawal and before the Palestinian Authority can take over full security control. "The deployment of such a force has come up in talks, and Jones is known to be working on it," a senior defense official said Tuesday. "At the moment, it's just an idea and has yet to be accepted or adopted by Israel." Defense Minister Ehud Barak has met with Jones and been briefed on the plan, but has yet to finalize his position. An official close to Barak said the deployment of a multinational force in the West Bank could create operational challenges for the IDF if it decided to respond to Palestinian terror attacks following the withdrawal. One of the issues that most concerns Israel is whether under such a withdrawal, the IDF would retain its operational freedom in the West Bank despite the presence of the multinational force. "If they fire a Kassam rocket into Israel, will we be able to respond, or will we need to rely on the foreign troops stationed there?" one defense official asked. On Tuesday, US Ambassador to Israel Richard Jones hinted at the possibility of deploying an international force for the period following a withdrawal and until the PA could ensure security in the West Bank. Speaking at a meeting of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, Jones also predicted that it would take several years before any such plan was implemented. "This is going to be a long, hard slog," he said. "But once a mutually accepted vision is accepted, both sides will accept the reality and encourage each side to work towards goals set out by the road map." more...
| Israel | Islam | Dividing the Land | America |

Barkat: Secret agreement to divide Jerusalem reached YNet News (February 13, 2008) - Jerusalem municipal opposition leader accuses Prime Minister Olmert, Vice Premier Ramon of 'deceiving Israeli citizens'. Ramon aide: This is nonsense. Israeli and Palestinian representatives have reached an agreement to divide Jerusalem, the capital's municipal opposition leader Nir Barkat said Wednesday. "(Vice Premier) Haim Ramon and the prime minister are deceiving Israel's citizens," Barkat added after exchanging letters with Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni on the negotiations with the Palestinians. Barkat based his accusations on information from "senior sources" which he refused to reveal, claiming that Ramon and Palestinian tycoon Muhammad Rashid had agreed in secret talks on Jerusalem's division. "Livni refuses to reveal the fundamental information she has, according to which there is a secret channel which is not being led by the Foreign Ministry. Knowing this makes her an accomplice in this political deceit, which is really aimed at dividing Jerusalem behind Israeli citizens' backs," said Barkat. In his letter to Livni, Barkat wrote, "I was amazed to learn that a senior and official Palestinian source was quoted as saying that 'we can say that Israel is ready to pullout of all the Arab villages and neighborhoods in Jerusalem.'" He went on to demand that "the secret agreements" be revealed or that denied. "I would like to remind you that if this is true, it constitutes a complete deviation from Kadima's basic principles, a blatant violation of Basic Law: Jerusalem, a breach of the voter's trust and an undermining of the Knesset's sovereignty," he wrote. The foreign minister replied in a letter, "In Annapolis (peace conference) it was decided that Israel and the Palestinians would hold negotiations in which all the core issues would be discussed, with no exception," confirming that negotiations are being held on the Jerusalem issue, contrary to Prime Minister Ehud Olmer's remarks in Berlin that the Jerusalem issue would be postponed to the end of the process. Livni noted in her letter that "the negotiations are being conducted according to an agreement between the parties, which states that until everything is agreed upon there will be no agreement, and that the contents will not be made public." An official at Ramon's office said in response, "This is nonsense. These remarks are unfounded and nothing of this kind took place." Diplomatic sources in Jerusalem said in response to Barkat's claims, "This is a groundless conspiracy theory. The prime minister and the Palestinian president meet face to face and do not need anyone's mediation. "The negotiations are being held in a responsible manner by the prime minister opposite the Palestinian Authority. There is no need for a secret channel, and therefore all attempts to invent secret chancels are doomed to fail." Barkat's remarks joined voices from the coalition by members of the Shas faction, who threatened to quit the government once negotiations on Jerusalem are launched. Last week, Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Eli Yishai called on the government to cease the negotiations with the Palestinians following the terror attack in Dimona.
| Israel | Islam | Isaiah 17 | Dividing the Land |

While I don't know if these "secret talks" are real or not, I do believe the Bible says that Jerusalem will be divided. Indeed this push for peace in the Middle East is centered around creating a Palestinian state on current Israeli lands. There is a time when half the city will go into captivity and the other half will remain, the question is when it will happen. With the touchiness of this subject, I wouldn't be surprised if sneakiness is involved in bringing the peace in the hopes that once there is a Palestinian state and Israelis can live in peace that they will deem the loss of land worth the peace. Keep watching!

'Arab view of deal close to Israel's' The Jerusalem Post (February 10, 2008) - The Arab world truly wants the Israeli-Palestinian conflict resolved urgently, and many Arab leaders back terms for a permanent accord "very close to what Israel is wanting," Quartet peace envoy Tony Blair told The Jerusalem Post over the weekend. "I spend a lot of time talking to the Arabs," said Blair. "I have a genuine belief, and this is not shared by everyone in Israel: The Arabs genuinely want this settled now. There were Arab leaders, I don't want to say which, talking to me recently about the type of settlement, the type of agreement which they would accept. I would say it is very close to what Israel is wanting and on some of the most sensitive questions." Although Blair preferred not to identify which leaders he was referring to, he went on to speak about leaders in "Gulf and Arab states," and especially the younger leadership generation, who "want to be on the cutting edge of globalization; they want to be 21st century economies. And they realize their politics and their culture have got to start coming into synch with their economies." Blair described the Arab world as being "in transition." The question, he said, was what it would "transition into": either this modern, globalized, cutting edge vision or the Islamists' "battle to the death" against "the West and its allies including Israel." The would-be modernizers, he said, regard solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict "as an important part in making sure that their vision beats the other vision." At a time when even Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salaam Fayad is saying that he does not believe a permanent accord can be reached this year, Blair remained insistent that the Annapolis timetable was "doable," provided there was sufficient "urgency, focus, determination and strategy." He faulted Israel for not acting with sufficient urgency to speed up a range of economic projects that could immediately benefit Palestinians in both the West Bank and Gaza. He also asserted that freedom of movement for Palestinians in the West Bank could be improved without compromising Israeli security. He said he was encouraged that the West Bank economy was now showing gradual growth. "It is limited and small, but it is there." And on the matter of PA security control, he noted that limited improvements in the Nablus area meant he had now been able to visit the city (on Thursday) whereas just months ago it would have been too dangerous. "The governor of Nablus was describing to me a situation where this time last year there were armed gangs going into his predecessor's office, shooting the place up. That's not happening now." At the same time, the former British prime minister said he completely understood that Israel could not dramatically ease its own security precautions in the West Bank for fear of an immediate upsurge in violence. But "no one is asking for a dramatic easing [of security controls]. People are asking for a step-by-step easing, as the Palestinians show step-by-step capability. "Now the Palestinians have to do a lot more on this," Blair went on. The PA had to properly plan and fund a security overhaul, retrain its security forces, "pension off" those who were unfit - "in other words, to start operating like the Jordanians operate. They are a way off that, which is why I'm not sitting here saying there should be a dramatic easing. But there can be some." Obviously, Blair elaborated, Israel insisted on checkpoints for people leaving Nablus "because of what happened" - a reference to suicide bombers and other terrorist attackers dispatched from the city. But he suggested that the checkpoints could be more efficient - "a lot quicker, a lot better... particularly for people who are trying to do business." Blair said he had been speaking to businesspeople who were routinely held up for hours at checkpoints, and that this undermined any optimism about a viable diplomatic process. "At the moment, if Abu Mazen [PA President Mahmoud Abbas] stands up in front of them and says, 'Actually guys, we're going to have a state,' they'd say, 'You must be joking.'"
| Israel | Islam | EU/UN / 4th Kingdom | 1st Seal | Dividing the Land |

EU to act in Gaza if solution is reached, Solana says (Roundup) Monsters & Critics (February 3, 2008) - On a two-day-visit in Egypt, European foreign policy chief Javier Solana said the European Union (EU) is ready to take up its role in the Gaza Strip, if a political solution is agreed on, sources said on Sunday. Egyptian presidential spokesman Soliyman Awad said Solana promised President Hosny Mubarak that EU representatives would return to monitor Rafah crossing border, security sources told Deutsche Presse- Agentur dpa. Awad said that during their short meeting, Mubarak and Solana agreed on the fact that the current situation in Gaza is a result of the Israeli blockade of the enclave and asserted that the Palestinian sufferings should reach a swift end. A member of Solana's delegation, who requested anonymity, told dpa that Solana's meeting with Egyptian Foreign Minister Abu al-Gheit covered regional issues, including Lebanon's political crisis, and the upcoming EU-Arab Summit in Malta. Solana, who next heads to Israel, plans to meet with Israeli envoys to discuss the latest developments in the Gaza Strip. Earlier, Hamas had rejected the US-brokered 2005 deal which allowed the Rafah monitoring post to be activated with Palestinian Authority personnel serving alongside European Union monitors. But the crossing point has been closed since June 2007, when Hamas seized control of the Strip after its gunmen routed forces loyal to President Mahmoud Abbas in five days of savage fighting. In late January, Hamas militants blew huge holes in the concrete and metal border fence between Gaza and Egypt, enabling hundreds of thousands of Palestinians to flood through the breach and mostly head for al-Arish, 50 kilometres away, to stock up with supplies made scarce by the Israeli economic blockade. The Israelis imposed the blockade as a means of pressure to stop Palestinian rocket attacks.
| Israel | Islam | EU/UN / 4th Kingdom | Solana | 1st Seal | Dividing the Land |

Interesting how the situation in Gaza is blamed on Israel's blockade which is done because of incessant rocket attacks.

Coincidence, or Message From God? Israel National News (January 20, 2008) - It seems like this is just too uncanny that these are all 'coincidences'. On January 8, 2008 the day that President Bush left the USA for Israel in order to lay the framework for the establishment of a Palestinian State and the division of Jerusalem for its capital , a freak 'January' tornado swept through a city in Bush's own country. The place hit was 'Jerusalem', Arkansas. Coincidence? One church was totally destroyed in the tornado’s path. The name of it was “Mt. Zion” Community Church. Coincidence? To see video, click HERE.  Video will load and play automatically. One man was killed in the tornado.  He was a ‘Pope’ County resident.  His name, was Billy Carter. On Sunday of last week, I read out a report about this 'freak tornado' which hit Jerusalem, Arkansas. (Tovia Singer spoke about the tornado on his show after mine, on Wednesday) I was emailed by a few people last week to write on the tornado, but I didn’t have time to do it until now.  So, let’s examine some interesting ‘coincidences’ here.

1)  A tornado in the month of JANUARY?
2)  This tornado hits a city called  ‘Jerusalem’.
3)  It destroys a church called, ‘Mt. Zion’.
4)  Hits in a place called ‘Pope’ County

All this on the day Bush leaves for Israel to wage war on G-d by going against the Bible and dividing the Land of Israel. The very next day, Thursday January 9th,  another calamity strikes America.  As Israel experiences a very heavy and unusual heavy fog during Bush’s visit, central Florida gets hit with a freak heavy fog.   A mega 70 car accident takes place.  The worst highway disaster in Florida’s history.   See video by clicking HERE. (Video will play after one ad). What is interesting here is the number 70.  A neighbor of mine whom I often give a lift to, was waiting at the gas station near where Bush’s entourage passed on its way to Ramallah. The roads were closed down and he was stuck waiting and watching. He saw Bush’s entourage pass by.  He counted 70 cars. 70 cars driving with Bush to Ramallah in heavy fog, and 70 cars in a horrible accident in Florida under heavy fog.  Coincidence? Let me remind you again what I wrote in a blog on the significance of the number 70 that we keep seeing in the news these last few weeks.  The number 70 is the number of nations that met in Paris, France, to raise billions of dollars to create a viable (enemy) Palestinian State.  70 is the number that the letters Gog and Magog add up to.  Gog and Magog is the war of the Nations of the world who come against Jerusalem and Israel.  And the nations of the world, numbers 70 according to the Bible as explained in the story of the Tower of Babel where G-d mixes up the people with 70 languages, who then disperse to become 70 different nations. Is all of this JUST a coincidence?
| Israel | Dividing the Land | America |

I would recommend also reading Eye to Eye - Facing the Consequences of Dividing Israel by Bill Koenig. This isn't the first time the winds have battered America on the very days we meddled with the division of Israel.

Jeremiah 30:20-24
Their children also shall be as aforetime, and their congregation shall be established before me, and I will punish all that oppress them. And their nobles shall be of themselves, and their governor shall proceed from the midst of them; and I will cause him to draw near, and he shall approach unto me: for who is this that engaged his heart to approach unto me? saith the LORD. And ye shall be my people, and I will be your God. Behold, the whirlwind of the LORD goeth forth with fury, a continuing whirlwind: it shall fall with pain upon the head of the wicked. The fierce anger of the LORD shall not return, until he hath done it, and until he have performed the intents of his heart: in the latter days ye shall consider it.

Hope for Israelis, Palestinians Associated Press (January 24, 2008) - Is it really possible that Israel and the Palestinians will reach their elusive peace treaty by the end of the year, as envisioned by President Bush? At the World Economic Forum on Thursday, leaders from both sides joined Tony Blair — now EU envoy to the Middle East — for a session that provided the familiar recriminations, underscored the almost unfathomable complexities on the ground, and ended with some hope and mutual appreciation. Israeli President Shimon Peres began on a positive note. "I believe that both sides today are convinced that war is not an option," he said. "We feel profound desire to bring an end to this conflict that served nobody and harmed everybody." And Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said Israel sincerely wants to establish a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza. "We cannot afford a failure," said Livni, who heads the Israeli team at talks launched after the November Mideast peace conference in Annapolis, Md. But Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad brought the proceedings down to earth — or the tiny patch of it called Gaza. In recent days Israel cut off some fuel supplies to the strip in response to persistent rocket attacks, and what followed were widespread power outages and thousands of Gazans breaking through the border with Egypt. "Sorry I have to give you a downbeat assessment of what is going on," said Fayyad, a dapper and widely respected economist who won plaudits for imposing fiscal order and accountability to a once chaotic Palestinian Authority. "Things in my assessment did not proceed as well as was hoped for after Annapolis." He criticized Israel for continuing to tolerate Jewish settlement construction, and said it was essential that Israel allow freer travel in the West Bank and reopen its border crossings with Gaza. The crossings, a key conduit for goods and workers, have largely been closed since the militant group Hamas seized control of the territory last June. This was met with some openness by Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak, a former military chief and Israel's prime minister from 1999-2001. "We removed some of the roadblocks and we removed very few of the checkpoints, but we can continue," Barak said. "We will look into it and consider it. ... The moment the effectiveness of the security forces of the Palestinians will be (similar) to the effect of the Jordanian security forces, we will be ready to consider a far-reaching loosening of the situation." He said Israel wanted "to make sure Palestinians will feel that the goodwill of the rest of the world is transformed into real action on the ground." Fayyad took Barak at his word. "What Ehud Barak said about the crossings in Gaza gives us all reason for some hope," he said. "I hope the consideration of this issue can be expedited." "There should be no question that we do take seriously Israel's security concern," Fayyad added. "We really mean it. We are trying to do the very best we can." Barak reciprocated the positivity. "I can tell you working with Prime Minister Fayyad gives us, and I believe the whole world, reason for hope," he said. "He is an assertive Palestinian patriot but one ... committed to honesty. "I don't want to praise him too much in order not to damage him," Barak added, drawing laughs. Blair asked what would happen if rockets stopped raining on Israel from Gaza, as has been the case for years, and especially since Israel pulled troops and settlers out of the strip in 2005. Would it have "a transforming effect" on Israel's policy, the former British prime minister asked. As Barak struggled to compose an answer Livni interjected: "Yes." "I just think that sometimes needs to be emphasized," said Blair, satisfied. more...
Israel | Islam | 1st Seal | Dividing the Land |

A new peace vision Gulf Daily News (January 21, 2008) - A senior Saudi royal has offered Israel a vision of broad co-operation with the Arab world and people-to-people contacts if it signs a peace treaty and withdraws from all occupied Arab territories. In an interview, Prince Turki Al Faisal, a former ambassador to the US and Britain and adviser to King Abdullah, said Israel and the Arabs could co-operate in many areas including water, agriculture, science and education. Asked what message he wanted to send to the Israeli public, he said: "The Arab world, by the Arab peace initiative, has crossed the Rubicon from hostility towards Israel to peace with Israel and has extended the hand of peace to Israel, and we await the Israelis picking up our hand and joining us in what inevitably will be beneficial for Israel and for the Arab world." Prince Turki, who was previously head of Saudi intelligence, said that if Israel accepted the Arab League plan and signed a comprehensive peace, "one can imagine the integration of Israel into the Arab geographical entity". "One can imagine not just economic, political and diplomatic relations between Arabs and Israelis but also issues of education, scientific research, combating mutual threats to the inhabitants of this vast geographic area," he said. His comments, on the sidelines of a conference on the Middle East and Europe staged by Germany's Bertelsmann Foundation think-tank, were some of the most far-reaching addressed to Israelis by a senior figure from Saudi Arabia. "Exchange visits by people of both Israel and the rest of the Arab countries would take place," Prince Turki said. "We will start thinking of Israelis as Arab Jews rather than simply as Israelis," he said, noting that many Arabs historically saw the Israeli state as a European entity imposed on Arab land after the Second World War. Prince Turki, brother of Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al Faisal, holds no official position now but heads the King Faisal Centre for Research and Islamic Studies in Riyadh. He said Israel could expect some benefits on the way to signing a treaty and making a full withdrawal, noting that after the 1993 Oslo interim accords with the Palestine Liberation Organisation, regional co-operation had begun and the Jewish state had achieved representation in several Arab states.
| Israel | Islam | 1st Seal | Dividing the Land |

Israel and Palestinians open talks Reuters (January 14, 2008) - Israel and the Palestinians opened their most serious peace talks in seven years on Monday, urged by President George W. Bush to reach a deal within a year despite deep public skepticism. It took nearly seven weeks to start so-called final-status talks, announced at a U.S.-sponsored conference in Annapolis, Maryland, underscoring the hurdles Bush faces in getting a Palestinian statehood deal in his final year in office. Monday's negotiations followed Bush's first presidential visit to Israel and the occupied West Bank last week, when he set the goal of signing a peace treaty in 2008 and encouraged both sides to begin talking in earnest. But it is unclear how Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, both weakened politically, can get a deal in that timeframe, let alone implement it. Abbas wields little power beyond the West Bank after Hamas Islamists seized control of the Gaza Strip in June. Olmert is likely to face new calls to resign after an inquiry into the 2006 Lebanon war issues its final report on January 30. Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and former Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qurie, the chief negotiators, launched the talks that will deal with issues such as borders and the fate of Jerusalem and Palestinian refugees. "We started today talking about all the core issues, Jerusalem, refugees, borders, settlements. We talked about these issues in general. The talks were positive but the path ahead is difficult," Qurie said after the meeting in a Jerusalem hotel. Livni said before the session that upcoming talks would "take place quietly" away from the "glare of the cameras." Media attention during peace talks that ended in 2001, she said, caused negotiators to grandstand, which "raised expectations and led to disappointment and violence." Israeli officials said Livni and Qurie planned to meet regularly. Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Aryeh Mekel said their discussions "will be intensive." more...
Israel | Islam1st Seal | Dividing the Land |

Negotiations Over 'Core Issues' Begin Israel National News (January 14, 2008) - PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas announced Sunday that Israel and the PA would begin negotiations over the "core issues" of the conflict, including Jerusalem, on Monday. The talks will be held between Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and PA negotiator Ahmed Qureia (Abu Ala). Official sources in Jerusalem confirmed the report. Abbas said the talks would revolve around six issues: "Jerusalem, the settlements, the Palestinian refugees, borders, security and water sources." He added: "If we reach agreement on these issues, you could say we have an agreement."

Report: Olmert Agrees to Allow in 50,000 Arab 'Refugees' Israel National News (January 14, 2008) - The issue of "Arab refugees" has long been a matter of widespread consensus in Israel, with even left-wing parties declaring that allowing them into Israel would endanger its very existence as a Jewish state.  Nevertheless, the subject does not appear to be going away.  Reports are that Prime Minister Olmert has now agreed to allow 50,000 Arabs who left Israel in 1948 - or are descendants of those who did - to enter and live in Israel. Channel Ten reported Thursday night that in a private meeting between Olmert and Palestinian Authority Chairman Abu Mazen, the two agreed that in the final-status agreement, Israel would withdraw from 92% of Judea and Samaria, including all the non-Jewish neighborhoods in eastern Jerusalem.  It was also agreed that 50,000 "refugees from 1948" would enter and live in the State of Israel. Staffers in Olmert's office did not deny the report, and even hinted that it was at least partially accurate. Olmert Went Further than Bush U.S. President George Bush summed up his three-day visit to Israel on Friday by saying that a new Palestinian state, together with financial compensation, would be the solution to the refugee problem.  The implication is that the refugees need not enter Israel. "There must be an end to Israel's occupation [sic] that began in 1967," Bush said.  "Palestine must serve as a national home for the Palestinians, and Israel - for the Jews." Israel liberated Judea and Samaria during the Six Day War in 1967, capturing it, essentially, from no one. No country in the world, other than Great Britain and Pakistan, recognized Jordan's control over Judea and Samaria between 1948 and 1967. Arabs Denied Refugee Problem Oft-forgotten is the fact that the refugee problem was not caused by Israel, but by the Arab states.  "The Arab States encouraged the Palestine Arabs to leave their homes temporarily in order to be out of the way of the Arab invasion armies," according to the Jordanian newspaper Filastin (February 19, 1949). Joan Peters, in her classic work "From Time Immemorial," quotes (on page 13) an Arab-sponsored Institute for Palestine Studies finding that "the majority" of the Arab refugees in 1948 were not expelled, and that 68% left without seeing an Israeli soldier. On April 27, 1950, the Arab National Committee of Haifa informed the Arab States: "The removal of the Arab inhabitants... was voluntary and was carried out at our request... The Arab delegation proudly asked for the evacuation of the Arabs and their removal to the neighboring Arab countries." Zuheir Muhsein, the late Military Department head of the PLO and member of its Executive Council, told the Dutch daily Trouw, March 1977, "The Palestinian people does not exist. The creation of a Palestinian state is only a means for continuing our struggle against the state of Israel for our Arab unity... Only for political and tactical reasons do we speak today about the existence of a Palestinian people... to oppose Zionism." more...
Israel | Islam
 | Dividing the Land |

Netanyahu to Bush: Jerusalem to stay under Israeli control for eternity Haaretz (January 10, 2008) - Opposition leader MK Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday morning told visiting U.S. President George W. Bush that "Jerusalem belongs to the Jewish people and will remain under Israeli sovereignty for eternity." Netanyahu, who is chairman of the Likud party, made the remarks at a meeting with Bush at the King David hotel in Jerusalem. Jerusalem is a highly contentious issue in final status peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, in particular for Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's right-wing coalition partners. Bush is pushing for the negotiations to conclude in a peace deal by the end of 2008. Netanyahu said he sees in the U.S. president a true friend, and expressed his esteem for Bush's role in protecting the free world against extremist Islamic terror. At the beginning of the meeting, which ran 45 minutes over the time allocated to it, Netanyahu gave Bush an ancient coin discovered in Jerusalem that dates from the third year of the great Judean revolt against the Romans in the first century CE. The coin bears Hebrew writing, signaling that the Jewish people's connection to Jerusalem has lasted thousands of years. The Likud chairman presented to Bush his program for economic peace in the Middle East as a basis for a future agreement, and voiced his support for Quartet Middle East envoy Tony Blair's economic initiatives. more...
Israel | Dividing the Land | America |

The Bible does say that Israel will dwell in the land forever, however there is another prophesied time yet to come that must come first, the time of Jacob's trouble and the 1260-day great tribulation. During this time the 1/3 of Israel that is not murdered, Zechariah 13:8,9, will be protected in the wilderness for 1260 days and will not be in control of Jerusalem, the antichrist will. Revelation 12:13-17 There is also the dividing of Israel I believe is prophesied in Zechariah 14:1,2 where half the city is removed and the other half remains. At no other point in history or prophesied future is only half of Israel removed. In the past the large majority of the nation was taken into Babylonian captivity and also throughout the world until the creation of Israel in 1948. At the time of great tribulation, any Jew found in Jerusalem will be killed until Christ returns in glory ending the antichrist's reign. Revelation 19:20 So Bible prophecy gives a little more clarity to the belief that Israel will forever control Jerusalem. Once Christ comes, He will control Jerusalem and all the world. At the same time, God has promised to punish those that come against Israel. Jeremiah 30:20-24 | Zechariah 12:1-3

Bush predicts Mideast peace treaty Associated Press (January 10, 2008) - President Bush, summing up meetings with both sides in the Israeli-Palestinian dispute, said Thursday that a peace accord will require "painful political concessions" by each. Resolving the status of Jerusalem will be hard, he said, and he called for the end of the "occupation" of Arab land by the Israeli military. "Now is the time to make difficult choices," Bush said after a first-ever visit to the Palestinian territories, which followed separate meetings with Israeli leaders in Jerusalem the day before. Bush is in the Mideast for eight days, trying to bolster his goal of achieving a long-elusive peace agreement by the end of his presidency in a year. Speaking at his hotel in Jerusalem, he said again that he thinks that is possible. "I am committed to doing all I can to achieve it," Bush said. Within minutes, Bush's national security adviser Stephen Hadley said the president would return to the Middle East "at least once and maybe more" over the next year. He wouldn't elaborate on possible destinations, but another White House official said Bush is likely to attend Israel's 60th anniversary celebrations in May. Bush gave his most detailed summation yet of what a final peace should include, including U.S. expectations for the resolution of some of the hardest issues in the violent conflict, one of the world's longest-running and most intractable. He used tough language intended to put both sides on notice that he sees no reason they cannot get down to serious business, "starting right now." In his set of U.S. bottom lines were security for Israel, a "contiguous" state for the Palestinians and the expectation that final borders will be negotiated to accommodate territorial changes since Israel's formation. He also suggested international compensation for Palestinians and their descendants who claim a right to return to land they held before Israel's formation. He made a point of using a loaded term — occupation — to describe Israeli control over land that would eventually form the bulk of an independent Palestinian state. That he did so in Jerusalem underscored that he is trying not to seem partial to Israel. On borders, Bush said any peace agreement "will require mutually agreed adjustments" to the lines drawn for Israel in the late 1940s. He was referring primarily to Israeli neighborhoods on disputed lands that Israel would keep when an independent Palestinian state is formed. Earlier in the day, Bush had said Palestinians deserve better than a "Swiss cheese" state fitted around Israeli land and security bulwarks. "The point of departure for permanent status negotiations to realize this vision seems clear," he said. "There should be an end to the occupation that began in 1967. The agreement must establish a Palestine as a homeland for the Palestinian people just as Israel is a homeland for the Jewish people." White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe said Bush was referring to the West Bank when he spoke of occupation. more...
Israel | Islam | Dividing the Land | America |

Olmert: No peace unless attacks stop Associated Press (January 9, 2008) - Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Wednesday that "there will be no peace" unless attacks are halted from all parts of the Palestinian territories, including those not controlled by his negotiating partners in the Palestinian leadership. But he said that both sides "are very seriously trying to move forward" on a deal. "Israel does not tolerate and will not tolerate the continuation of these vicious attacks," Olmert said, after two and a half hours of talks with President Bush. "We will not hesitate to take all the necessary measures. There will be no peace unless terror is stopped. And terror will have to be stopped everywhere." On the first day of his eight-day Mideast trip aimed at pushing the Israelis and Palestinians toward an agreement, Bush declared there is a "historic moment, a historic opportunity." But he also said: "I'm under no illusions. This is going to be hard work." "America cannot dictate the terms of what a state will look like," he added. "We'll help." Earlier Wednesday, an Israeli airstrike in northern Gaza killed two Palestinians and wounded four others, a move the Israeli army said was taken in response to Palestinian militants who had bombarded the rocket-scarred southern Israeli city of Sderot with rocket and mortar fire. Bush said he and Olmert also discussed Iran's nuclear weapons ambitions and an incident Sunday when Iranian boats harassed and provoked three American Navy ships in the strategic Strait of Hormuz. U.S. officials said Iran threatened to explode the vessels, but the incident ended peacefully. more...
| Iran | Gog/Magog | Israel | Islam1st Seal | Dividing the Land |

Ezekiel 38:8
After many days thou shalt be visited: in the latter years thou shalt come into the land that is brought back from the sword, and is gathered out of many people, against the mountains of Israel, which have been always waste: but it is brought forth out of the nations, and they shall dwell safely all of them.
Beyond the dividing of Israel and the creation of a Palestinian state, one of the prerequisites of the Magog invasion by Iran, Turkey, Russia and others is that Israel is living in safety. This works to bring about the false peace as well so I have a feeling that the rockets are going to soon stop and that will help spur the division of the land to create a situation of relative, temporary peace.

Bush sees Israeli-Palestinian peace deal in 2008: report Breitbart (January 3, 2008) - US President George W. Bush believes an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal will be reached this year, according to excerpts of an interview published on Thursday ahead of his visit to the region. Bush said the two sides must clinch a deal in 2008 in order to see the creation of a Palestinian state, Israel's top-selling Yediot Aharonot newspaper quoted him as saying in the interview which will be published in full on Friday. The US president is visiting Israel and the Palestinian territories next week in a bid to give a push to Middle East peace talks which were relaunched at an international conference in Annapolis in November. In the interview, Bush sought to ease Israeli fears that any future Palestinian state could threaten its security. "I will not allow the creation of a terrorist state on Israel's border," he said in a quote translated into Hebrew.
| Israel | Islam | Dividing the LandAmerica |

Olmert says Israel must internalize divided Jerusalem The Jerusalem Post (January 2, 2008) - Israel needs to internalize that even its supportive friends on the international stage conceive of the country's future on the basis of the 1967 borders and with Jerusalem divided, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has declared to The Jerusalem Post. At the same time, he made clear that he did not envisage a permanent accord along the '67 lines, describing Ma'aleh Adumim as an "indivisible" part of Jerusalem and Israel. In an interview at the start of a year that he hopes will yield a permanent Israeli-Palestinian peace accord, the prime minister said many rival Israeli political parties remain "detached from the reality" that requires Israel to compromise "on parts of Eretz Yisrael" in order to maintain its Jewish, democratic nature. If Israel "will have to deal with a reality of one state for two peoples," he said, this "could bring about the end of the existence of Israel as a Jewish state. That is a danger one cannot deny; it exists, and is even realistic." Indeed, his primary responsibility as prime minister, Olmert said, lay in ensuring a separation from the Palestinians. "What will be if we don't want to separate?" he asked rhetorically. "Will we live eternally in a confused reality where 50 percent of the population or more are residents but not equal citizens who have the right to vote like us? My job as prime minister, more than anything else, is to ensure that doesn't happen." The reality in which Israel was seeking an accommodation, he elaborated, includes a situation in which even "the world that is friendly to Israel... that really supports Israel, when it speaks of the future, it speaks of Israel in terms of the '67 borders. It speaks of the division of Jerusalem." What was extraordinary about US President George W. Bush, in this context, Olmert said, was that Bush, since a landmark letter he wrote to then-prime minister Ariel Sharon in 2004, has made plain that he envisages Israel maintaining at least some territory in Judea and Samaria. Bush "has already said '67 plus," said Olmert, "and that's an amazing achievement for Israel." Thus, Olmert asserted, while the road map obligated Israel to stop all building in the settlements, including for natural growth, the Bush letter "renders flexible to a degree the significance of what is written in the road map." In comments likely to further exacerbate Palestinian protest at ongoing settlement expansion, Olmert said he considered Ma'aleh Adumim to be "an indivisible part of Jerusalem and the State of Israel. I don't think when people are talking about settlements they are talking about Ma'aleh Adumim." At the same time, the prime minister expressed considerable empathy for Palestinian concerns over settlement growth. If the only construction work undertaken since the road map was accepted had been at Ma'aleh Adumim and Har Homa, he said, "then I imagine the Palestinians, though they might not have been happy about it, would not have responded in the way that they respond when every year, all the settlements - in all the territories - continue to grow. There is a certain contradiction in this between what we're actually seeing and what we ourselves promised. We always complain about the [breached] promises of the other side. Obligations are not only to be demanded of others, but they must also be honored by ourselves." While all the final-status issues were now on the table as part of the Annapolis process, Olmert stressed that he would never accept a Palestinian "right of return" to Israel. He said he was convinced, too, that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas "has made the choice in his heart" between clinging to the "myth of the 'right of return'" and the opportunity to establish a Palestinian state where all Palestinians, refugees included, would live. "My impression is that he wants peace with Israel, and accepts Israel as Israel defines itself," Olmert said. "If you ask him to say that he sees Israel as a Jewish state, he will not say that. But if you ask me whether in his soul he accepts Israel, as Israel defines itself, I think he does. That is not insignificant. It is perhaps not enough, but it is not insignificant." more...
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Abbas: This will be the year of our victory YNet News (January 1, 2008) - Palestinian President calls on Israel to resolve core issues obstructing way to peace, says PA will never cede ground on Jerusalem in negotiations. Speaking at Ramallah celebration marking Fatah anniversary, Abbas also extends conciliatory hand to rival faction Hamas. "We are filled with hope that this new year will be our year of victory and independence, that we will see the establishment of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital," said Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday. Speaking to a crowd of Fatah-loyalists assembled in Ramallah to celebrate the movement's 43rd anniversary, the president called for ''a new page, writing in its lines a credible agreement based on partnership, on life, on our homeland and our struggle to liberate it.'' Abbas also said the Palestinian Authority would not cede a single inch of ground in negotiations with Israel over the future sovereignty of Jerusalem. Abbas vowed he would bring any eventual agreement with Israel to a public referendum so that the Palestinian people would be given the chance to decide the course of their national future. "This is not the time for empty slogans," said Abbas, "it is time to resolve the core issues based on the view of the international community, time to find a solution for Jerusalem, the settlements, the borders and the Palestinian refugees."

'Israel held talks with Hamas'

Abbas also claimed on Monday that Swiss President Micheline Calmy-Rey revealed to him that despite Israel's stated policy that it would not speak to Hamas, representatives from both parties met for clandestine talks in Switzerland. The negotiations, held under the banner of 'The Switzerland Accords,' proposed the establishment of a Palestinian state within temporary borders in exchange for a 15-year ceasefire. "They spoke of a temporary state, but this is unacceptable," said Abbas.

'Dialogue, dialogue, dialogue'

Abbas also took a newly conciliatory tone toward his Hamas rivals, calling for a ''new page'' in relations between the bitter enemies. ''There is no way for any party here to be an alternative to the other, and there is no room for terms like coup or military takeover, but only for dialogue, dialogue, dialogue,'' Abbas said, referring to the Islamic militant Hamas' violent rout of his Fatah forces and takeover of the Gaza Strip in June. Abbas maintained his position that Hamas must restore power in Gaza to an elected government. But he urged reconciliation and called for new elections in an effort to end the suffering the Palestinian people have endured as a result of the takeover. ''I renew my offer for early elections here, as a way out of the hell that was imposed on us,'' Abbas said Monday. Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum rejected Abbas' speech. ''It is full of incitement and words calling for divisions. There is no new initiative or practical step in this speech that can pave the road to start an immediate dialogue,'' he said.
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I think Israel is the only one that wants peace, the rest just want piece after piece of the land to the point there is no Israel. As the world pressures to concede in the name of peace and security, will the only nation that desires peace give up all that she has to appease both sides, the peace and the pieces?