Who He Is

Who He Is

By Vasko Kohlmayer

Some two thousand years ago, the man whose birthday we celebrate during this season was walking with his disciples through a region which is today known as the Golan Heights.  As they were making their way through those hilly parts, Jesus turned to his companions and asked, “Who do people say that I am?”

The disciples told him that many ideas circulated as to his identity: “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
Things have not changed much in the intervening two millennia.  Today, as then, people hold many notions about who Jesus was.  Some say that he was a great moral teacher, others that he was a bold social reformer.  Still others claim that he was a wise man or a charismatic leader.  If you asked ten different people, it is quite possible that you would get ten different answers.
To get at the truth, we can do no better than to go to the ultimate source and authority on Jesus’s life.  None of the statements below is a conjecture or a fanciful invention; they all come straight from the Word.
What follows is the Jesus of the Bible.
***
He was from the beginning.  He was with God, and He is God.  He is the firstborn over creation, and in Him the fullness of God dwells.
All things were created by Him and for Him.  He laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of His hands.  Without Him, nothing was made that has been made.
He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.  He upholds the universe by the word of His power.  It is through Him that we exist.  He is the mystery of God, Who created all things by Jesus Christ.
In the fullness of time, God sent Him to be the Savior of the world.  He came to do away with sin by the sacrifice of Himself.
He was made flesh and dwelt among people.  Full of grace and truth, He was the image of the invisible God and the exact representation of His being.
Born in the likeness of man, He took upon Himself the form of a servant.  He became poor so that we may become rich.
The radiance of God’s glory, He walked in love and compassion.  He was in the world, and though the world was made through Him, the world did not recognize Him.
Meek and gentle, He was treated harshly, yet He did not protest.  Despised and forsaken, He was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.  Though He was tempted as we are, He did not sin.
He came to deliver those who through fear of death were all their lives subject to bondage.  He humbled Himself and became obedient to death — even the death of the cross.  He assumed human form to mediate between God and men.
He was pierced for our transgressions and crushed for our iniquities.  He bore our trespasses in His body and washed our sins with His own blood.
He was made a curse so that we could be made right with God.  He was raised for our justification.  It is by His wounds that we are healed.  It is He who brings us back to God.
Manifested in the flesh, He was justified in the spirit.  Having been buried, He was raised on the third day.  He ascended on high and led captivity captive.
To those who receive Him He gave the right to become children of God.  Whoever calls upon His name shall be saved, and whoever believes in Him has eternal life.
Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name by which men may be saved.  He is the way, and the truth, and the life.
This is how God showed His love for us: He sent His one and only Son that we might live through him.  For God so loved the world that he gave His only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
In Him are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.  He guides the meek and teaches them His ways.  Exalted of God, in Him is the mystery of godliness.
He will judge the living and the dead, and every knee shall bow down before Him.  He will bring to light the hidden things of darkness and expose the motives of men’s hearts.  He will gather the wheat into his garner and burn the chaff with unquenchable fire.
But to those who thirst, He shall give from the spring of the water of life, for He is full of unfailing love and faithfulness.  He who believes in Him shall live.
He is the bright morning star.  Crowned with glory and honor, He holds all authority in heaven and on earth.  It is through Him that God brings everything back to Himself.  It is through Him that God speaks to us.
The first begotten of the dead, He is the heir of all things.  He is the light, and the darkness has not overcome him.  He is the prince of peace and the bread of life.  His love surpasses all knowledge.  He is the life of men.
His throne will last forever, and His days will never end.  Righteousness is the scepter of His kingdom.
He is the one who is, who always was, and who is still to come.  He is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end.
He fills everything in every way.  He is the Almighty One.
He who has ears, let him hear.  Let those who are wise understand, for these things have been written that we may believe and, by believing, have life in His name.

Page Printed from: http://www.americanthinker.com/2010/12/who_he_is.html at December 25, 2010 – 10:41:45 AM CST

Barack Obama’s top ten insults against Israel

Barack Obama’s top ten insults against Israel

 

By Nile Gardiner World Last updated: April 26th, 2010

97 Comments Comment on this article

Last week Israel celebrated its 62nd year as a nation, but there was major cause for concern amid the festivities as the Israeli people faced the looming menace of a nuclear-armed Iran, as well as the prospect of a rapidly deteriorating relationship with Washington. The Israel-bashing of the Obama administration has become so bad that even leading Democrats are now speaking out against the White House. New York Senator Chuck Schumer blasted Barack Obama’s stance towards Israel in a radio interview last week, stating his “counter-productive” Israel policy “has to stop”.

At the same time a poll was released by Quinnipiac University which showed that US voters disapproved of the president’s Israel policy by a margin of 44 to 35 percent. According to the poll, “American voters say 57 – 13 percent that their sympathies lie with Israel and say 66 – 19 percent that the president of the United States should be a strong supporter of Israel.”

I recently compiled a list of Barack Obama’s top ten insults against Britain, America’s closest ally in the world. This is a sequel of sorts, a list of major insults by the Obama administration against America’s closest ally in the Middle East, Israel. As I wrote previously on Obama’s treatment of both Britain and Israel:

In the space of just over a year, Barack Obama has managed to significantly damage relations with America’s two closest friends, while currying favour with practically every monstrous dictatorship on the face of the earth. The doctrine of “smart power” has evolved into the shameless appeasement of America’s enemies at the expense of existing alliances. There is nothing clever about this approach – it will ultimately weaken US global power and strengthen the hand of America’s enemies, who have become significantly emboldened and empowered by Barack Obama’s naïve approach since he took office.

The Obama presidency is causing immense damage to America’s standing in the free world, while projecting an image of weakness in front of hostile regimes. Its treatment of both Israel and Britain is an insult and a disgrace, and a grim reflection of an unbelievably crass and insensitive foreign policy that significantly undermines the US national interest.

So here’s my top 10 list of Obama administration insults against Israel after just 15 months in power:

1. Obama’s humiliation of Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House

In March, the Israeli Prime Minister was humiliated by Barack Obama when he visited Washington. As The Telegraph reported, “Benjamin Netanyahu was left to stew in a White House meeting room for over an hour after President Barack Obama abruptly walked out of tense talks to have supper with his family”, after being presented with a list of 13 demands. As I wrote at the time:

This is no way to treat America’s closest ally in the Middle East, and a true friend of the United States. I very much doubt that even third world tyrants would be received in such a rude fashion by the president. In fact, they would probably be warmly welcomed by the Obama White House as part of its “engagement” strategy, while the leaders of Britain and Israel are frequently met with arrogant disdain.

2. Engaging Iran when Tehran threatens a nuclear Holocaust against Israel

In contrast to its very public humiliation of close ally Israel, the Obama administration has gone out of its way to establish a better relationship with the genocidal regime of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, which continues to threaten Israel’s very existence. It has taken almost every opportunity to appease Tehran since it came to office, and has been extremely slow to respond to massive human rights violations by the Iranian regime, including the beating, rape and murder of pro-democracy protesters.

3. Drawing a parallel between Jewish suffering in the Holocaust with the current plight of the Palestinians

In his Cairo speech to the Muslim world, President Obama condemned Holocaust denial in the Middle East, but compared the murder of six million Jews during World War Two to the “occupation” of the Palestinian territories, in a disturbing example of moral equivalence:

“On the other hand, it is also undeniable that the Palestinian people – Muslims and Christians – have suffered in pursuit of a homeland. For more than sixty years they have endured the pain of dislocation. Many wait in refugee camps in the West Bank, Gaza, and neighboring lands for a life of peace and security that they have never been able to lead. They endure the daily humiliations – large and small – that come with occupation. So let there be no doubt: the situation for the Palestinian people is intolerable. America will not turn our backs on the legitimate Palestinian aspiration for dignity, opportunity, and a state of their own.”

4. Obama’s attack on Israeli “occupation” in his speech to the United Nations

In his appalling speech to the UN General Assembly last September, President Obama dedicated five paragraphs to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, without once referring directly to Palestinian terrorism by name, but declaring to loud applause “America does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements.” He also lambasted the Israeli “occupation”, and drew a connection between rocket attacks on Israeli civilians with living conditions in Gaza. The speech served as a ghastly PR exercise aimed at appeasing anti-Israel sentiment in the Middle East, while bashing the Israelis over the head.

5. Obama’s accusation that Israel is the cause of instability in the Middle East

As The Wall Street Journal noted, “the Obama Administration seems increasingly of the view that Israel is the primary cause of instability in the Middle East”, citing a recent press conference where he stated:

“It is a vital national security interest of the United States to reduce these conflicts because whether we like it or not, we remain a dominant military superpower, and when conflicts break out, one way or another we get pulled into them. And that ends up costing us significantly in terms of both blood and treasure.”

6. The Obama administration’s establishment of diplomatic relations with Syria

While actively appeasing Iran, the Obama administration has also sought to develop closer ties with the other main state sponsor of terrorism in the Middle East, Syria, establishing diplomatic relations with Damascus in February. Syria remains a major backer of Hamas and Hizbollah, both responsible for a large number of terrorist attacks against Israel.

7. Hillary Clinton’s 43-minute phone call berating Netanyahu

As The Telegraph reported, Hillary Clinton sought to dictate terms to Israel in the wake of Vice President Joe Biden’s visit to Jerusalem:

“In a telephone call, Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, ordered Mr. Netanyahu to reverse a decision to build 1,600 homes for Israeli settlers in occupied East Jerusalem that sparked the diplomatic row. She also instructed him to issue a formal pledge that peace talks would focus on core issues such as the future of Jerusalem and the borders of a Palestinian state. In addition, the Israeli prime minister was urged to make a substantial confidence-building gesture to the Palestinians. Mrs. Clinton suggested this could take the form of prisoner releases, an easing of the blockade of Gaza and the transfer of greater territory in the West Bank to Palestinian control.

Last time I checked, Israel was still an independent country, and not a colonial dependency of the Obama White House. Yet that still hasn’t stopped the Secretary of State from acting like an imperial Viceroy.

8. David Axelrod’s attack on Israeli settlements on “Meet the Press”

It is extremely unusual for a White House official to launch an attack on a close US ally on live television, but this is exactly what the President’s Senior Adviser David Axelrod did in an interview in March with NBC’s Meet the Press, designed to cause maximum humiliation to Israel, where he stated in reference to new settlement construction in East Jerusalem:

“This was an affront, it was an insult but most importantly it undermined this very fragile effort to bring peace to that region. For this announcement to come at that time was very destructive.”

9. Hillary Clinton’s call on Israel to show “respect”

As The Telegraph revealed, the Secretary of State lectured the Israelis at a dinner attended by the Israeli ambassador and the ambassadors of several Arab states in mid-April, urging Israel to “refrain from unilateral statements” that could “undermine trust or risk prejudicing the outcome of talks”. In Clinton’s words:

“Prime Minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu has embraced the vision of the two-state solution. But easing up on access and movement in the West Bank, in response to credible Palestinian security performance, is not sufficient to prove to the Palestinians that this embrace is sincere. We encourage Israel to continue building momentum toward a comprehensive peace by demonstrating respect for the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinians, stopping settlement activity and addressing the humanitarian needs in Gaza.”

10. Robert Gibbs’ disparaging remarks about Israel

Not one to shy away from criticizing America’s friends when the opportunity arises, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs entered the fray in an interview on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace in March where he attacked the Israeli government for weakening “the trust that’s needed for both sides to come together and have honest discussions about peace in the Middle East.” In condescending terms he stated that Benjamin Netanyahu should start “coming to the table with constructive ideas for constructive and trustful dialogue about moving the peace process forward.”

Obama’s Pie in the Sky

Obama’s Pie in the Sky

By Ted Belman

There is no solution to the final status issues of Jerusalem, borders, and refugees that both sides will agree to. Nevertheless, President Obama is committed to achieving an agreement.

Recently, two top administration officials advised David Ignatius of the Washington Post to the effect that President Obama is “seriously considering” proposing an American peace plan which would be based on “agreements nearly reached” in the past. This is outrageous, as I will explain, and it has no chance of succeeding.
Of course, they repeated the mantra that “[e]veryone knows the basic outlines of a peace deal,” but they omitted to say that neither of the parties agrees to it.
This is the first time an administration official acknowledged the linkage between solving this problem with solving the problem of Iran. “It’s not either Iran or the Middle East peace process. You have to do both.” The official went so far as to say,”[w]e want to get the debate away from settlements and East Jerusalem and take it to a 30,000-feet level that can involve Jordan, Syria, and other countries in the region,”
Apparently, after spending a year on making settlement construction and Jerusalem the key issues, the Obama administration is finally admitting defeat and moving on. Undaunted by their failure so far even with Syria and Iran, they are going to focus on a regional solution. “Incrementalism hasn’t worked,” they say. Effectively, the administration is opting for a grand design.
The formula for success, they say, is to “take on the absolute requirements of Israeli security and the requirements of Palestinian sovereignty in a way that makes sense.” Sorry, but Israel isn’t buying. Obama has been trying to frame the solution that way for a year, but it ignores that Israel wants, and is entitled to, more than having its security needs met. She has very strong legal and historical claims to Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria. Obama has done his best to ignore them.
Israel will not accept a deal which forces them to give up on the settlement blocks, including Ariel and Maaleh Adumin. Even if that were offered to them, Israel would still have to uproot about 70,000 Jews at a cost of over $100 billion. Most if not all of Jerusalem as annexed by Israel forty years ago would have to remain under Israeli sovereignty. Israel would not agree to anything less. While Israel might accept a return of a token amount of refugees, the country will be looking for redress for the Jewish refugees from Arab countries.
On the Palestinian side, Obama wants to satisfy the “requirements of Palestinian sovereignty in a way that makes sense.” This tells us nothing about what he thinks the Palestinians should get.
But last year, after arduous shuttle diplomacy, the following “terms of reference” were agreed upon:
Today’s announcement [partial temporary freeze] by the government of Israel helps move forward toward resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. We believe that through good-faith negotiations the parties can mutually agree on an outcome which ends the conflict and reconciles the Palestinian goal of an independent and viable state based on the 1967 lines, with agreed swaps, and the Israeli goal of a Jewish state with secure and recognized borders that reflect subsequent developments and meet Israeli security requirements.
In order to reach agreement on these terms, the administration had to allow for considerable diplomatic ambiguity — so much so that there was no agreement at all. The Arabs still resist recognizing Israel as a Jewish state and accepting an end of conflict agreement.
Even within the confines of these terms of reference, the difference between the parties’ positions is enormous. How can borders based on the ’67 lines, even with mutually agreed swaps, be reconciled with “borders that … meet Israeli security requirements.”
Look for a great deal of pressure on Bibi to capitulate.
Netanyahu has demanded that final status issues be negotiated without preconditions. When speaking to the UNGA last September, Obama said, “… the time has come to re-launch negotiations without preconditions that address the permanent status issues.”
What Netanyahu meant was that he rejected starting with previous Israeli offers, and Obama evidently agreed. Yet in the position presented in the Ignatius article, Obama intends to start with what the parties almost agreed to. Furthermore, the most generous offers Israel made in the past were made by left-of-center governments headed by Labor or Kadima. The Netanyahu government is right of center and will not match those offers, let alone better them.
Throughout the entire peace process, Israel was assured that all final status issues would be negotiated between the parties. That gave Israel an out if they didn’t like where negotiations were headed. It also enabled them to agree to parameters they were not comfortable with. No more.
Obama, for his part, will not suggest that the Arabs compromise much because it would undermine his Muslim outreach. Therefore, his plan will favor the Palestinians by a country mile. It will resemble the Saudi Plan.
Finally, there is the small matter of Gaza. The land for peace formula which was articulated by UNSC Res 242 was always intended to mean peace with Arabs living in Judaea, Samaria, and Gaza. There is no chance that Hamas, who controls Gaza, would go along, to say nothing of Syria and Iran. Although Obama wants a regional approach — i.e. from 30,000 feet — these players won’t play.
If Obama does in fact announce his plan, he will be ending the peace process. The Oslo Interim Accords provided that “[n]either side shall initiate or take any step that will change the status of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip pending the outcome of the permanent-status agreement.” When Fayyad announced that he intended to unilaterally declare a state, Netanyahu said that if he did, Israel would be free to annex Judea and Samaria. The same logic would apply if Obama announced a plan.
Were Obama to announce such a plan, he would be plunging his administration into a battle royale with the American people just when the fall elections are underway. Even the Democratic candidates will be against it.
Announcing such a plan is one thing; enforcing it is another. No doubt the EU, the Arab League, and the U.N. will sing its praises. The EU and the Arab League are already on record of threatening an imposed solution. Thus, expect a U.N. Charter Chapter VI resolution to be passed by the U.N. imposing such a plan. Next would come a Chapter VII resolution providing for sanctions and/or military intervention. Congress and the Senate will not authorize either. Without their cooperation, there can be no effective enforcement.
Of course, if the U.N. limited itself to the Chapter VI resolution, it could expel Israel from the U.N. for not complying.
The attempt to link Iran with a deal on this conflict will not succeed because Iran must be solved this year, regardless of progress on solving this territorial dispute.
Ted Belman is the editor of Israpundit. He recently made aliya from Canada and is now living in Jerusalem.

Jihad group threatens to attack synagogues over Israel’s Temple Mount excavation

Jihad group threatens to attack synagogues over Israel’s Temple Mount excavation

Temple Mount Excavation Jihad Update. “Aksa Martyrs vow to attack synagogues over Mughrabi,” by Etgar Lefkovits and the Jerusalem Post staff in the Post, with thanks to Kemaste:

The Fatah-affiliated Aksa Martyrs Brigades threatened on Wednesday to attack synagogues if Israel continued its excavation near the Temple Mount ahead of the planned construction of a new bridge to the Mughrabi Gate.In a press release sent to newspapers, the group announced that all synagogues would become legitimate targets and that “the sanctity of the Al Aksa Mosque should not be less than that of the synagogues.”

The terror organization joined scores of other Islamic organizations in calling on the Palestinian people to hold processions and angry protests until the construction is stopped.

A Jerusalem court on Wednesday ordered the fiery leader of the Islamic Movement in Israel to stay out of the Old City of Jerusalem for the next ten days, after he tried to force his way to the site of a contested archeological excavation near the Temple Mount, police said.

Sheikh Raed Salah was one of seven Israeli Arabs detained by police near the Dung Gate on Wednesday morning.

Salah and his supporters had scuffled with police guarding the workers carrying out the salvage excavation near the Temple Mount.

The Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court ordered Salah to stay 150 meters outside the walled Old City for the next ten days, Jerusalem police spokeswoman Sigal Toledo said.

In court, Salah accused Israel of “the crime of demolishing a part of the blessed Al Aksa compound” and of “pushing the whole region to religious war.”

Of course, Salah has never done anything to encourage religious war.

Baker Report Asks Israel to Give Up Land ‘Vital To Survivability’

Baker Report Asks Israel to Give Up Land ‘Vital To Survivability’
By Julie Stahl
CNSNews.com Jerusalem Bureau Chief
December 07, 2006

Jerusalem (CNSNews.com) – In exchange for Syrian help in calming the situation in Iraq, the Iraq Study Group is asking Israel to give up land “vital to its survivability,” a senior Israeli lawmaker said Thursday.

Much of the bipartisan panel’s report released on Wednesday dealt with the situation in Iraq, but it also said the U.S. could only achieve its Middle East aims if it dealt directly with the Arab-Israeli conflict – a proposition that Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and experts here rejected.

The recommendations also call for the involvement of Iran and Syria – both considered terror-sponsoring states by the U.S. government – in attempts to calm the situation in Iraq.

The panel, co-chaired by former Secretary of State James Baker and former U.S. Congressman Lee Hamilton, says Israel, Syria and Lebanon should hold “unconditional” peace talks.

Syria must stop trying to undermine the Lebanese government (Syria has never recognized Lebanon’s sovereignty), cooperate with investigations into Lebanese political assassinations blamed on Syria, stop helping terrorist groups in Lebanon and the Palestinian areas, and seal its border with Iraq.

“In exchange for these actions and in the context of a full and secure peace agreement, the Israelis should return the Golan Heights, with a U.S. security guarantee,” which could include an international force on the strategic plateau, the report says.

Yuval Steinitz, a Likud lawmaker who serves on the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, said that he expected the U.S. would not “dictate the end result of future negotiations” ahead of time.

“The Golan Heights is extremely vital to Israel’s survivability in the long term,” he told Cybercast News Service.

Before Israel captured the plateau during the 1967 Six-Day War, the Syrians used the Heights overlooking the Sea of Galilee to fire at Israeli communities in the plain below.

Israel has been involved in negotiations with Syria on and off for years, but without resolution.

In 2000, President Clinton briefly tried to broker a deal between Israel and then Syrian President Hafez Assad. Talks broke down over the extent of the land to be returned to Syria.

While the country is divided over what to do about most of the territory controlled by Israel and claimed by the Arabs, there is broad consensus among Israelis that the Golan Heights, which Israel annexed in 1981, should not be surrendered.

Steinitz questioned why Israel should be expected to make concessions and be generous to Syria given the fact it had supplied the Hizballah terrorist organization with thousands of rockets launched from Lebanon at northern Israeli cities and towns over the summer.

He also accused Syria of trying to topple Lebanon’s democratic government and noted that senior Syrian officials have been implicated in the killing of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and suspected of involvement in other assassinations.

Despite the difficulties facing the U.S. in Iraq, Steinitz said he expected that Washington would support Israel and Lebanon – “the good guys” who support democracy – against Hizballah and Syria – the “bad guys” who are terrorists and their supporters.

Dore Gold, a former ambassador to the United Nations, said there was “an inherent structural problem in the Baker report with respect to both Iran and Syria.”

“Since 2003, both these countries have been the primary Middle Eastern actors responsible for increasing instability inside Iraq and making it difficult for the U.S. and its coalition partners to realize their military aims,” Gold said in an interview.

“To get these two countries to now cooperate with the United States after all these years and assume a responsible role in limiting the chaos in Iraq involves getting them to shift their policies 180 degrees,” he added.

Gold said because the report called for the U.S. to approach Iran and Syria and indicated that there would not be a victory in Iraq, the two regimes would see America as a country that is trying to manage its defeat.

“Therefore the price they will demand of the United States for cooperation will be extremely high …” Gold said.

He said Iran would likely only agree to help the U.S. withdraw in return for U.S. acceptance of a nuclear-capable Iran – “a disaster not just for Israel but for Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan and every pro-Western government in the Middle East.”

A senior Israeli government official who spoke on condition of anonymity said the ISG’s interests were confined to getting the president out of trouble in Iraq rather than looking at the broader picture of what lies behind the problems in the Middle East.

The report sought ways to “placate” Iran and Syria, and Israel was concerned this would happen at its expense.

If the U.S. believed Iran would help, it was “very much mistaken,” he said.

Rabbis urge Israelis to revolt against government

Rabbis urge Israelis to revolt against government
Prominent religious leaders warn Olmert ‘destroying Jewish state’


Posted: December 6, 2006
1:00 a.m. Eastern

By Aaron Klein
© 2006 WorldNetDaily.com

JERUSALEM – A group of prominent rabbinic leaders in Israel and abroad yesterday issued a call for Israeli citizens to launch a democratic uprising to bring down the government of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. “Out of love for each and every Jew, we call on the people of Israel and its leaders to begin a democratic uprising to immediately replace this government, which constitutes an ominous threat to the nation of Israel,” the Rabbinical Congress for Peace, a coalition of over 1,200 rabbinic leaders and pulpit rabbis, said in a statement.

Among the Rabbinical Congress members who signed the statement were Mordechai Eliyahu and Abraham Shapira – both of whom served as chief rabbis for the state of Israel – and Rabbi Meir Mazuz, head of the Tunisian Jewish community in Israel and one of the country’s most well-respected rabbis.

The rabbis were responding to a national address last week commemorating the death of Israel’s founder and first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, in which Olmert stated he is willing to give up most of the West Bank in exchange for “real peace.”

During the speech, Olmert called for immediate negotiations with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. Olmert said he would release “many, many” Palestinian prisoners as part of a deal.

“Ben-Gurion extended a hand in peace to Arab states the year Israel was born. The hand then returned empty, but, like then, the hand remains extended. I extend my hand in peace to our Palestinian neighbors in the hope that it won’t return empty,” Olmert said.

Olmert reiterated earlier pledges issues by his office of an Israeli West Bank withdrawal “to establish an independent Palestinian state, with territorial contiguity in the West Bank, a state that will enjoy full sovereignty and will have defined borders.”

The West Bank borders Israel’s major population centers and is within rocket firing range of Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Israel’s international airport.

Since Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip last summer, rockets have been regularly fired into nearby Jewish communities, killing Israeli civilians and prompting widespread panic. In Sderot, an Israeli city about three miles from the Gaza border, nearly 50 percent of children have been staying home from school for fear of rocket attacks, according to recent reports.

The Rabbinical Congress for Peace labeled Olmert’s national address a “crime.”

“In his deplorable speech, Olmert in essence announced a ‘liquidation sale’ and collective suicide of the people in Israel including the release of thousands of the most dangerous terrorists from Israeli jails. Israeli citizens must launch a democratic uprising and protest to bring down the government immediately,” the rabbis said in a statement.

Continued the statement: “Olmert adheres to the advice of false left-wing ‘prophets’ instead of adhering to the true prophets as expressed in the Jewish Code of Law that any territorial concession to the enemy will only lead to bloodshed. It will not contribute to calm nor will it promote peace.”

Olmert last week agreed to a cease-fire with the major Palestinian terror groups in the Gaza Strip. The truce called for a halt of smuggling activity by Palestinians and a cessation of rocket attacks launched by militants in Gaza aiming at nearby Jewish communities in exchange for Israel withdrawing its ground troops from the Strip and halting military activity in the territory.

In accordance with orders from Olmert, the IDF removed its troops from Gaza, but at least 23 rockets have been fired from the Strip since the cease fire was imposed.

WND reported yesterday the IDF has been instructed by the government here not to open fire or take any action against militants who are discovered launching rockets into the Jewish state, according to senior military officials.

The officials said Olmert’s security cabinet changed the IDF’s rules of engagement after the cease-fire went into effect. Now, if Palestinians in the Gaza Strip are caught launching rockets at Jewish cities, the Israeli military is forbidden to respond, the military officials said.

Previously, the IDF used artillery units and aerial strikes against militants discovered in the process of launching rockets.

IDF sources told WND the Israeli army several times the past few days identified militants about to launch rockets into Israel, but due to changed rules of engagement in response to the cease-fire, IDF forces were prohibited from taking out the rocket crews. For example, hours after the cease-fire was imposed, IDF units spotted seven Palestinians in Gaza setting up rocket launchers. Three rockets were then fired into Israel.

“There is nothing we can do about the rocket attacks. It’s only a matter of time before an Israeli is killed,” said an IDF official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to media.

Olmert yesterday told the Knesset his government would react with restraint to continuing Qassam attacks, saying Israel was hoping to give the cease-fire a chance to develop into further steps toward what he called a “peace process.”

“We will fully explore every possibility that can lead to momentum to begin a diplomatic process, and so we are now giving the truce a chance,” Olmert told the Knesset parliament’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.

Also yesterday, Israeli intelligence officials told the Knesset Palestinians in Gaza have continued to smuggle weapons into the territory from neighboring Egypt.

Last week, IDF chief of staff Dan Halutz told Israel’s Knesset that Olmert did not fully consult with the Israeli army before agreeing to the cease-fire with Palestinian militants.

Terrorists: Cease-fire means chance to reload

In a series of WND exclusive interviews conducted immediately after last week’s cease-fire was finalized, leaders of the four largest Palestinian terror groups in Gaza said the new truce will be used to smuggle weapons into Gaza; reinforce and train “fighter units”; and produce rockets for a future confrontation with the Jewish state.

“The cease-fire offers a period of calm for our fighters to recover and prepare for our final goal of evacuating Palestine,” said Abu Abir, spokesman for the Popular Resistance Committees, a Hamas-allied terror organization in the Gaza Strip responsible for many of the recent rocket attacks against Israeli communities.

“We will keep fighting [Israel], but for the moment we will postpone certain parts of the military struggle,” said Abu Abir. “We will reinforce very quickly and rush what we are doing to prepare [for attacks against Israel] in Gaza and in the West Bank.”

Abu Abdullah, a senior leader of Hamas’ so-called “military wing,” told WND Hamas agreed to the cease-fire “because we need a period of calm to recuperate. This lull in fighting will not bring us to speak about peace.”

Abu Abdullah is considered one of the most important operational members of Hamas’ Izzedine al-Qassam Martyrs Brigades, Hamas’ declared military wing.

He pointed to Hamas’ doctrine, which calls for the destruction of Israel and which refuses to recognize the Jewish state.

“The political leadership (of Hamas) will never compromise on these values,” the terror leader said.

Abu Abdullah said Hamas has its own political reasons to respect the truce.

“We wish to show Islam as a ruling party is capable of leading the Palestinian people. Since Hamas was elected, we have been through only chaotic periods. We want a period of calm to prove we are not only a revolutionary movement but to show the Palestinian people our rule is without the corruption of (the rival) Fatah (party).”

But Abu Abdullah said the cease-fire would ultimately end in violence.

“All the Palestinian people and all the Muslims will launch a direct confrontation with Israel. This may come soon or it may take some time,” Abu Abdullah said.

Abu Luay, a leader of Islamic Jihad in Gaza, told WND Israel’s call for a cease-fire “proves our rocket attacks work. The Zionists know there is now remedy for our rockets.”

The Islamic Jihad leader said Palestinian rocket attacks against Israel would resume “at a time of our choosing.”

Abu Ahmed, the leader of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades in the northern Gaza Strip, told WND his terror group would respect the cease-fire.

The Brigades, responsible for scores of suicide bombings, shootings and rocket attacks, is the declared military wing of Abbas’ Fatah party.

“We will respect the cease-fire as the president (Abbas) has ordered us to do,” said Abu Ahmed. “We keep our right to respond to any Israeli aggression. Our group does not give up any of its ideals, which is a withdrawal of the Israelis.”

First, the Saturday People

First, the Saturday People

by Jack Engelhard
September 15, 2003

How do you confine a billion people who have one thing – murder – in mind? Is there a jail big enough? Is there a fence long enough?

Or should the rest of us bolt our doors and hide under the covers?

As President Bush protests too much about their “peaceful religion,” the New York Post, in its editorial upon the second anniversary of 9/11, tells it straight: “Much of Islam, with its billion plus adherents, and even many in the West — in countries like France and Germany – despise America, its freedoms, and particularly its success.”

Ditto Israel, except that Israel comes first. As they say in their sermons – “First the Saturday people, then the Sunday people.”

Bush believes he has the answer. He is sending in 87 billion dollars to find Thomas Jefferson in that seventh century feud-crazed swamp that is Iraq. Talk about finding a needle in a haystack.

So now we sit back and wait for Iraq to become a light unto the nations, along with the 21 other backwater regimes that make up part of the Arab world.

How can I disagree with two men who are counted among our leading intellectuals? But I do. Both Daniel Pipes and Bernard-Henri Levy say that Fanatical Islam is the problem. Moderate Islam is the answer. I hope they’re right. But I am not so sure. For all I know, it was “moderate” Islam that gave us 9/11, and it is moderate Islam that continues to give Israel 9/11 every single day.

Fanatical Islam hasn’t yet been heard from.

Those who think it’s all about Israel are indeed hiding under the covers. As they slumber, another mosque grows in Brooklyn. (Certainly in Toronto and Paris.)

How can I dispute Rush Limbaugh and his millions of radio listeners? I am in his corner when he is strong on America and Israel. But this time he’s wrong. Dead wrong when he defends Bush’s 87 billion for Iraq. He says it’s for democracy. You cannot buy democracy, Rush, and you cannot sell democracy. You can impose tyranny. You cannot impose liberty.

That is not the Bill of Rights they pray to five times a day in their mosques. Bush is pleased that the schools are running again over there, but does he have a clue as to what (besides hatred for the West) the imams are teaching those kids? By the way, that 87 billion dollar figure is nearly triple the amount the federal government spends on America’s schools.

We’re dreamers, those of us here in America, and no wonder; we live in a land flowing with milk and money.

Innocents abroad, we believe that the lands of the keffiyeh are ready for Britney Spears and the Monroe Doctrine (take your pick between James and Marilyn).

So we let Israel bleed to death on the proposition that Israel has justice, but no oil.

Israel says Arafat must go and the world rises up in defense of the most prolific killer since Adolph Hitler. Another country, America, is heard from as well.

Maybe it’s not the oil. Maybe it’s something more sinister that prompts the world, and our State Department, to side with terror, as long as it is “only” Israelis who are dying.

Some dare call it anti-Semitism.

A bride of Israel, Nava, along with her father, David Applebaum, a doctor, a healer, are murdered, and don’t touch, you say, don’t touch a hair on Arafat’s head. Perhaps, Mr. Powell, you were out playing golf with Prince Bandar when this happened. So you are unaware that your State Department spokesman went on TV to warn Israel to keep Arafat safe and snug.

(After Pearl Harbor, would our secretary of state of that time have been golfing with a diplomat from Japan?)

As for you masters of Europe and your treachery; one day your sly anti-Semitism will come back to haunt you. Over the centuries, you have uprooted a thousand synagogues and replaced them with ten thousand mosques. Wait, now, and see what grows from the soil of Ishmael. Your churches are next.

For Sunday is coming, Sunday bloody Sunday.