Volume XV, Number 6b
March 10 - 14, 2008
"With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God." (Mark 10:27)
On Capitol Hill This Week; Vol. XV, No. 6b
1. TERRORIST ENTERS JERUSALEM; SHOOTING SPREE KILLS eight
..REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu MustafaPalestinian Hamas activists take part in an anti-Israel rally organized by the Hamas movement in Gaza March 7, 2008. Hamas Islamists claimed responsibility for a shooting attack at a Jewish religious ...
Eight Israelis were murdered after a lone terrorist from east Jerusalem entered the Mercaz haRav yeshiva in Kiryat Moshe in Jerusalem on [the] night [of] March 6, and opened fire on yeshiva students and teachers in the yeshiva. An off duty officer opened fire and killed the terrorist. On-the-scene observers estimated thirty- five wounded. Five are said to be in serious condition.
In a report by Ynet, reporter Ali Waked wrote: Gaza's streets filled with joyous crowds of thousands on Thursday evening following the terror attack at a Jerusalem rabbinical seminary in which eight people were killed. In mosques in Gaza City and northern Gaza, many residents went to perform the prayers of thanksgiving. Armed men fired in the air in celebration and others passed out sweets to passersby.
Jerusalem Mayor Uri Lupoliansky described the situation as a sad, sad day for Jerusalem and called on the government to complete construction of the security barrier around the capital. (By Margot Dudkevitch, Infolive.tv & Ron Ross, BFP Israel Mosaic Radio, March 6, 2008)
· Pray for the families of those killed and for the wounded, that they may survive and recover. Pray for the leaders as they deliberate and decide how to respond to this devastating attack.
· "But You, O LORD, are a shield for me, my glory and the One who lifts up my head." (Ps. 3:3)
2. U.S.: PEACE TALKS MUST GO ON DESPITE JERUSALEM MASSACRE
The White House on Friday urged Israel and the Palestinian Authority continue peace talks despite a shooting attack in a Jerusalem yeshiva in which eight students, most aged 15 to 19, were killed on Thursday. "The most important thing is that the peace process continue and that the parties are committed to it," a White House spokesman said. "There's nothing to explain that an attack of this nature deserves anything less than condemnation," the spokesman added. "It was extremely disheartening to see people in the streets in Gaza and elsewhere celebrating (the Jerusalem massacre). That was fairly disgusting actually," the spokesman said.
Israel said peace talks would continue with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who denounced Thursday's attack. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice called Thursday's attack an act of terror and depravity, and told Abbas in a phone call Friday that she would do everything in her power to restore calm as soon as possible, his aides said. British Prime Minister Gordon Brown on Friday joined the international calls to condemn the incident, declaring that the world must combine forces to stop those looking to derail the Middle East peace process through violent means. (Ha'aretz)
· What needs to be condemned here is not just the blatant attacks on innocent children sitting in school but also the peace talks. What is wrong with our White House that its people are so blind to the truth? Obviously Hamas doesn't want the peace talks since a violent interruption of killing innocent people always occurs. What is needed is massive national prayers of repentance for America's part in supporting Israel. Pray for comfort of the families whose children have been killed. Pray also for the White House and its view of the peace talks.
· "I have set watchmen upon thy walls, O Jerusalem, which shall never hold their peace day nor night: ye that make mention of the Lord, keep not silence." (Isaiah 62:6)
3. CONGRESS CONDEMNS PALESTINIAN ROCKET ATTACKS ON ISRAELI CIVILIANS
PASSES H.R. 951 BY ALMOST UNANIMOUS VOTE
Sponsored by Congressmen Scott Garrett, Eliot Engel, and Jeb Hensarling, House Resolution 951 "Condemns the ongoing Palestinian rocket attacks on Israeli civilians."
It names Sderot and Ashkelon as civilian communities, within which 4,000 rockets and mortar shells have been sustained since 2005, "making life in such areas agonizing." The suffering endured as a result of these attacks is enumerated, as well as Israel's right to defend itself. The role played by Iran, Syria and Egypt in supporting these rocket attacks is also detailed in the text.
Alon Davidi, Chairman of the Sderot Security Committee, Helen Freedman, former AFSI Executive Director, and Izzy Kaplan of the Toronto Zionist Council, were in the Gallery of the Capitol Building when the sponsors spoke passionately on the floor for its passage. Prior to going to the Capitol, Davidi, Freedman and Kaplan met with Congressman Garrett, and his Foreign Affairs Aide, Rachel Houston. The Congressman listened attentively to Alon Davidi's first-hand account of his daily life in Sderot with his wife and five children, along with details of his unceasing efforts to help the community prevail under the onslaught.
H.R. 951 passed by 404 -1 on March 5, 2008. To read the entire text of this bill, go here. To see who voted yea and nay, go here .
Please call your Congressman/woman to thank him/her for signing onto HR 951. The Capitol switchboard # is: 202-224-3121.The operator will give you the direct number of your representative.
· Offer praise that this bill passed by such a strong vote and that the members of Congress can still perceive the truth and act accordingly. Praise God!
· "And I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed." (Gen. 12:3)
4. CABINET TELLS IDF TO DEVISE PLAN TO COMPLETELY CEASE ROCKET FIRE
The national security cabinet instructed the Israel Defense Forces [IDF] to present it with a plan for putting a complete end to rocket fire emanating from the Gaza Strip on [on the] afternoon [of] March 5. In the past, IDF incursions into the Palestinian enclave aimed to reduce rocket attacks without totally halting them. The cabinet ministers instructed the IDF to act against known Kassam rocket launching areas as well as the centers for their manufacture and storage. The officials also approved plans to damage Hamas institutions in Gaza, but said that the prime, defense and foreign ministers would have to personally authorize such attacks.
The ministers also agreed to limit Hamas's growth in power through coordination with Egypt and continuing negotiations with the Palestinian Authority [PA] while maintaining freedom of operation for counterterrorism measures. The ministers also decided to take steps to avoid a humanitarian crisis in Gaza. During the cabinet meeting on Wednesday morning, three more rockets were fired into Israel landing in open fields south of Ashkelon. No one was injured and no damage was caused. The Color Red warning system was not heard in the beachside city. The cabinet's decision was largely initiated by Internal Security Minister Avi Dichter, who said that the rocket fire must be completely ceased instead of merely reduced. (By Roni Sofer, Ynetnews.com, March 5, 2008)
· Pray the Lord will give the defenders of Israel the right strategy to bring cessation to the constant bombardment causing such tragedy and sorrow to innocent people.
· "Hide me from the secret counsel of evildoers, from the tumult of those who do iniquity, Who have sharpened their tongue like a sword. They aimed bitter speech as their arrow, to shoot from concealment at the blameless; Suddenly they shoot at him, and do not fear." (Ps. 64:2-4)
(Source: Bridges for Peace)
5. HAMAS ASKS CHILDREN TO STAND ON ROOFTOPS TO PREVENT IAF ATTACKS
It is sad and traumatic to see images of women and, especially children, wounded, maimed or killed in war regardless of their creed or origin. In the recent bout of violence between Israel and Palestinian terrorists, such images have been broadcasted worldwide several times a day, not only by the Palestinian and Arab networks, but also by the European and American ones.
While the United Nations [UN] and Europe at large has condemned Israel for using excessive force in the Gaza Strip, almost all of the foreign networks have focused their broadcasts on the images of Palestinian children in Gaza who were wounded in the Israel Air Force [IAF] strikes or killed. The same networks have refrained from showing images of children in the southern Israeli town of Sderot who were maimed for life after losing limbs in Kassam rocket barrages and others who have been traumatized for life, having to endure seven years of rocket barrages on their homes. Children in Sderot were also among the growing list of Israeli fatalities in recent years that fell victim to the Palestinian terror.
The world at large has also failed to address the fact that Hamas and terror organizations in Gaza take advantage of the children and manipulate them to serve their cause. In a number of air strikes conducted by the IAF in recent days, leaflets were dropped calling on locals to evacuate their homes warning them. Hamas, taking advantage of the situation, encouraged children to stand on the rooftops in an effort to avert such strikes.
While the world is busy condemning Israel, Defense Minister Ehud Barak has asked Israel's leading judicial authorities to examine the possibility of moving Palestinian civilians out of harms way prior to air strikes. The idea would give the Israel Defense Forces [IDF] greater room to maneuver and target rocket crews. (By Margot Dudkevitch, Infolive.tv, March 4, 2008)
· Pray all who are involved in the continuing struggle will prioritise the safety of innocent civilians, particularly women and children.
· "Their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed innocent blood; Their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity; Wasting and destruction are in their paths." (Isa. 59:7)
(Source: Bridges for Peace)
6. GAZA SINKS INTO RADICALISM
In the Gaza Strip, posters turn dead fighters into martyrs, and colorful billboards carry quotes calling for martyrdom and advocating the creed of jihadism and a culture of violence and confrontation. This social shift in favor of political and radical Islam has also become a way of life, turning Gaza into a fundamentalist bastion harboring myriads of radical groups that have found fertile breeding ground in the coastal enclave. Local observers and researchers also believe that the Hamas strategy of imposing an Islamic social agenda across Gaza has made it easier for these groups and armed clans to tap into an already- conservative society.
The armed members of these groups backed Hamas's battle to rout the rival Fatah faction in Gaza [in] June , says 'Imad Ghannam, a political science teacher at Al-Quds University. "The Hamas takeover created the environment for Gaza to become an Islamic fundamentalist stronghold-ideal for Al-Qaeda or Iran that were seeking forward bases on the Mediterranean coast." Beside Hamas and Islamic Jihad, several new radical groups are operating in Gaza, and they either affiliate to Al- Qaeda or at least espouse its ideology with the goal of destabilizing the region and creating an Islamic state, Ghannam added. (By Bassem Roomie, The Media Line, March 4, 2008)
· Pray the international community will begin to take a serious approach to the growth of terrorism under Hamas in the Gaza. Pray they will understand the ramifications for the Gaza population and for Israel.
· "According to what I have seen, those who plow iniquity and those who sow trouble harvest it." (Job. 4:8)
(Source: Bridges for Peace)
7. U.N. PASSES MORE SANCTIONS ON IRAN OVER NUKE PROGRAM
With Iran still defiantly continuing with uranium enrichment, the United Nations [UN] Security Council passed on March 3 another sanctions resolution against the Islamic state in a 14-0 vote. Indonesia was the lone abstaining vote for the resolution. An article from the UN News Center said the sanctions ban the trade of civilian-use items that can also be used for military purposes. According to the United Nations website, the sanctions also call for inspections of imports and exports carried by Iran Air Cargo and Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Line where there are "reasonable grounds" to suspect the transit of prohibited goods.
In addition, other sanctions included extending the freezing of financial assets of those supporting Iran's nuclear proliferation or nuclear-weapon delivery system development, "vigilance and restraint" on the travel through members' territories of individuals involved in those nuclear activities, as well as urging states to "exercise vigilance" on domestic financial institutions activities with Iranian banks. The UN News article said five additional Iranians have been added to the travel ban list.
Israel welcomed the decision, saying in a Foreign Ministry release that "this important resolution is an unequivocal message that the international community cannot countenance Iran's nuclear program." At the beginning of the UN meeting for the resolution, Iran again slammed the UN for the sanctions over what it calls a "peaceful nuclear program." (By Joshua Spurlock, BFP Israel Mosaic Radio, March 4, 2008)
· Praise God the UN Security Council made this strong stand. Pray the people of Iran will find a way to voice their concerns and protest the dogmatic raving of their President and those he represents.
· "The eyes of the LORD are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good." (Prov. 15:3)
(Source: Bridges for Peace)
8. IRAN ARMING HEZBOLLAH WITH MISSILES SENT VIA TURKEY
Iran is arming Hezbollah with missiles sent via Turkey, according to intelligence received in Israel. Turkish authorities are unaware of the arms shipments, which are in violation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701 that brought an end to the Second Lebanon War. A senior Israeli government source said that Brigadier General Yossi Beiditz, head of the Israel Defense Forces research department, last week told European Union ambassadors in a briefing that Iran continues to transfer arms and equipment to Hezbollah, in spite of Tehran's denials.
Some of the weapons include long-range missiles that are being transferred through flights using Turkey's airspace, as well as overland though Turkey, under the guise of civilian cargo. From Turkey, the missiles are transferred to Syria and then Lebanon. Turkey has not permitted the use of its territory for such transfers. The same source said that according to Beiditz, some of the missiles Iran transferred to Hezbollah have a maximum range of 300 kilometers, 'capable of reaching the Dimona area from Beirut.' According to intelligence so far available to Israel, the maximum range of missiles in Hezbollah's arsenal had been 250 kilometers. Beiditz said that the missiles currently in Hezbollah's possession are more accurate and capable of carrying larger warheads.
There was no comment from the Turkish embassy in Tel Aviv concerning this information. However, a Turkish source noted that the embassy has not received any information or inquiries from official Israeli sources regarding the matter of weapons transfers to Hezbollah crossing through Turkish territory. According to the source, Turkey has adhered to all international decisions, with an emphasis on the arms embargo to Lebanon. He added, however, that Turkey and Israel share intelligence information on other levels, outside the embassy. (Ha'aretz)
· Father, Iran and Hezbollah would like to cause Your Israel to tremble with fear. LORD we stand in the gap and proclaim that this fear, and the secret transfer of missiles be turned back on their own heads. We pray, knowing that Your Word is truth and no matter how hard satan tries he will not destroy Your land. In the meantime LORD, we pray for an end to the supply line of bombs and ask for You to intercede on behalf of the Apple of Your Eye, especially the children.
· Rejoice, O nations, with his people, for he will avenge the blood of his servants; he will take vengeance on his enemies and make atonement for his land and people. (Deuteronomy 32:43)
9. CHINA ANNOUNCES BIG RISE IN MILITARY SPENDING, AMID US TENSIONS
China said Tuesday its defense spending would jump 17.6 percent this year but insisted the rise was moderate, amid a flare-up in tensions with the United States over Beijing's growing military muscle. Military spending in 2008 will reach 417.8 billion yuan (57.2 billion dollars at the end-2007 exchange rate), a spokesman for China's parliament told reporters ahead of the legislature's annual session beginning Wednesday.
As Jiang Enzhu announced the figures, he also renewed a warning to rival Taiwan that its plans for a March 22 referendum on United Nations membership was putting an already uneasy peace between the two sides at risk.
The release of the budget figures came after the Pentagon published a report that expressed concern about China's growing military might and said a lack of transparency from Beijing posed risks to regional and international stability. The Pentagon said China's military spending in 2007 was between 97 and 139 billion dollars, well in excess of Beijing's official budgeted figure of 45 billion dollars.The Pentagon further raised concerns over China's development of cruise and ballistic missiles, its testing of an anti- satellite weapon last year and an apparent rise in cyber-espionage emanating from the Asian nation. "China's expanding and improving military capabilities are changing East Asian military balances; improvements in China's strategic capabilities have implications beyond the Asia-Pacific region," the report said. (SpaceWar.com)
· Father, Your Word says we are not to look at the great multitude that is against us, but that we should put our eyes on YOU! This is but one thing that satan would use in an attempt to get us to turn our eyes away from You and focus on that which we can see. However, we stand KNOWING that You are our protector; may our lips be filled with praise! YOU ALONE ARE GOD!
· He rules forever by his power, his eyes watch the nations- let not the rebellious rise up against him. Praise our God, O peoples, let the sound of his praise be heard (Psalm 66:7-8)
10. MUSHARRAF PROMISES TO BACK NEW PAKISTAN COALITION
Under fire since the February 18 election for not calling parliament into session, President Pervez Musharraf on Friday announced that lawmakers are to convene here in a week or two. And the embattled leader promised there would be no hurdles put in their way as they try to form a new coalition government. The former general, speaking in Sindh province, praised the forces of moderation for triumphing in last month's elections. The president, whose fate after parliament convenes is a matter of intense speculation, is pledging to back the next government. Musharraf says if peace is maintained he will fully support the incoming government.
Just who will head that government still remains unclear.
The Pakistan Peoples Party, known as the PPP, has not yet announced whom it will nominate for prime minister. The party of the assassinated Benazir Bhutto was the best performer in the February 18 election and is negotiating with the runner-up - the party led by former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on the lineup for the new government. Together they are expected to have enough power to form a coalition. Sharif's party has vowed to remove Musharraf as the country's president, either by getting him to resign or starting impeachment procedures. (Voice of America News)
· Father, we lift this situation in Pakistan to You. We pray that President Musharraf's words will hold true, and ask for You to oversee a peaceful election process. Oh Lord, we pray for stability in this nation, and those surrounding it. . .
· Put me on trial, Lord, and cross-examine me. Test my motives and my heart. (Psalm 26:2)
This Week, Worship Our Lord As . . .
This Week, Worship Our Lord As . . .
SHEPHERD OF ISRAEL (Ro-eh Yis-ra-el)
"Hear us, O Shepherd of Israel, You who lead Joseph like a flock. You who sit enthroned between the cherubim, shine forth."
To think that the One whose Presence dwelt between the cherubim comes to dwell with me, astounds me. Lord, how blessed I am to be led by the Shepherd of Israel. Praises always be to Your Name.
(Taken from: Intimate Moments with the Hebrew Names of God, by Barri Cae Malin and Shmuel Wolkenfeld; Bridge-Logos Publishers; Gainesville, FL, 32614. ISBN: 0-88270-801-5)