Friday, December 22, 2017


JEWISH KING JESUS IS COMING AT THE RAPTURE FOR US IN THE CLOUDS-DON'T MISS IT FOR THE WORLD.THE BIBLE TAKEN LITERALLY- WHEN THE PLAIN SENSE MAKES GOOD SENSE-SEEK NO OTHER SENSE-LEST YOU END UP IN NONSENSE.GET SAVED NOW- CALL ON JESUS TODAY.THE ONLY SAVIOR OF THE WHOLE EARTH - NO OTHER. 1 COR 15:23-JESUS THE FIRST FRUITS-CHRISTIANS RAPTURED TO JESUS-FIRST FRUITS OF THE SPIRIT-23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.ROMANS 8:23 And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.(THE PRE-TRIB RAPTURE)

LUKE 21:28-29
28 And when these things begin to come to pass,(ALL THE PROPHECY SIGNS FROM THE BIBLE) then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption (RAPTURE) draweth nigh.
29 And he spake to them a parable; Behold the fig tree,(ISRAEL) and all the trees;(ALL INDEPENDENT COUNTRIES)
30 When they now shoot forth, ye see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand.(ISRAEL LITERALLY BECAME AND INDEPENDENT COUNTRY JUST BEFORE SUMMER IN MAY 14,1948.)

JOEL 2:3,30
3 A fire devoureth (ATOMIC BOMB) before them;(RUSSIAN-ARAB-MUSLIM ARMIES AGAINST ISRAEL) and behind them a flame burneth: the land is as the garden of Eden before them, and behind them a desolate wilderness; yea, and nothing shall escape them.
30 And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke.(ATOMIC BOMB AFFECT)

ZECHARIAH 14:12-13
12 And this shall be the plague wherewith the LORD will smite all the people that have fought against Jerusalem; Their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet,(DISOLVED FROM ATOMIC BOMB) and their eyes shall consume away in their holes,(DISOLVED FROM ATOMIC BOMB) and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth.(DISOLVED FROM ATOMIC BOMB)(BECAUSE NUKES HAVE BEEN USED ON ISRAELS ENEMIES)(GOD PROTECTS ISRAEL AND ALWAYS WILL)
13 And it shall come to pass in that day, that a great tumult from the LORD shall be among them; and they shall lay hold every one on the hand of his neighbour, and his hand shall rise up against the hand of his neighbour.(1/2-3 BILLION DIE IN WW3)(THIS IS AN ATOMIC BOMB EFFECT)

47 And say to the forest of the south, Hear the word of the LORD; Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will kindle a fire in thee, and it shall devour every green tree in thee, and every dry tree: the flaming flame shall not be quenched, and all faces from the south to the north shall be burned therein.

18 Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them in the day of the LORD'S wrath; but the whole land shall be devoured by the fire of his jealousy: for he shall make even a speedy riddance of all them that dwell in the land.

1 For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven;(FROM ATOMIC BOMBS) and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the LORD of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.

And here are the bounderies of the land that Israel will inherit either through war or peace or God in the future. God says its Israels land and only Israels land. They will have every inch God promised them of this land in the future.
Egypt east of the Nile River, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, The southern part of Turkey and the Western Half of Iraq west of the Euphrates. Gen 13:14-15, Psm 105:9,11, Gen 15:18, Exe 23:31, Num 34:1-12, Josh 1:4.ALL THIS LAND ISRAEL WILL DEFINATELY OWN IN THE FUTURE, ITS ISRAELS NOT ISHMAELS LAND.12 TRIBES INHERIT LAND IN THE FUTURE

Israel, US team up to try to block UN vote on Jerusalem-While Trump threatens to cut aid to countries voting against US, Israeli officials reach out to friends new and old in bid to weaken support for General Assembly resolution-By Josef Federman-TOI-21 December 2017

AP — Israel is intensively lobbying countries around the world to oppose a UN resolution criticizing US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, Israeli officials said Wednesday.Thursday’s vote in the UN General Assembly will indicate whether Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has succeeded in his efforts to drum up new pockets of support in the developing world, as well as the extent to which Israel and the US are — or are not — alone on the question of Jerusalem.The Palestinians have turned to the General Assembly after the US vetoed a resolution this week in the Security Council calling on Trump to rescind his decision. While General Assembly votes, unlike Security Council resolutions, are not binding, they serve as a barometer of international sentiment on key issues.The US and Israel are both placing great weight on Thursday’s vote. US Ambassador Nikki Haley threatened UN member states with possible retaliation if they support the resolution, saying Trump takes the vote “personally” and the US “will be taking names.” Critics accused the US of intimidation.Israel’s deputy foreign minister, Tzipi Hotovely, said that the US and Israel were making “immense efforts” to block the resolution.“We have a very, very simple message: Jerusalem is the capital of the Jewish people for 3,000 years and the capital of Israel for almost 70 years,” she told Channel 10.An Israeli Foreign Ministry official confirmed the government was making a “very vast” lobbying campaign to minimize the resolution’s impact.He said Israel is trying to persuade allies to abstain or even vote against it. He also said that Israel has asked Jewish organizations in certain countries to lobby their governments on Israel’s behalf.The official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was discussing sensitive diplomatic contacts, refused to identify which countries Israel has approached or say how he expects them to vote. But he said he thinks the campaign will be “successful to a certain extent.”In some ways, the vote is a test of Netanyahu’s foreign policy. In recent years, the Israeli leader has invested great efforts to look beyond Israel’s traditional allies in Washington and Western Europe and cultivate ties with developing nations that have traditionally been supportive of the Palestinians.He has portrayed these efforts as both a savvy strategy aimed at opening new markets for Israeli technology exports, as well as countering what Israel says is a deep-seated bias against it at the United Nations.This year alone, Netanyahu has visited China and hosted India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi. He also has attended two summits in Africa, meeting with a host of leaders from across the continent, and in September, became the first sitting Israeli prime minister to visit Latin America with stops in Argentina, Mexico and Colombia.The votes cast by these countries will provide an indication about whether the diplomatic outreach is paying off.Votes by other key allies with traditionally close ties to Israel, including Germany, Britain, Australia, Canada and smaller European countries like the Netherlands, Poland and Hungary, could also provide valuable indicators about support for the US-Israeli approach.Many of these countries either abstained or opposed a landmark 2012 vote in the General Assembly that recognized Palestine with upgraded status as a non-member state.The Israeli official said a single vote at the UN on Thursday would not determine the success of Israel’s diplomatic outreach. But he said “this is certainly part of it.”A draft of the UN resolution obtained by The Associated Press calls for affirming that any actions that “have altered the character, status or demographic composition of the Holy City of Jerusalem” have no legal effect and must be rescinded. It also calls upon all states “to refrain from the establishment of diplomatic missions” in Jerusalem.Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki, who was in New York for the vote, called the US threats “dangerous” and predicted that they would not have a major impact. “We believe that there is world consensus against the US decision on Jerusalem. This was clearly reflected in the Security Council, despite the US veto,” he told the AP.Trump shattered decades of US neutrality on Jerusalem on Dec. 6 when he recognized the holy city as Israel’s capital and said he will move the US embassy there.Trump said the move was not meant to prejudge negotiations on the final borders of the city, and instead merely recognized reality since Jerusalem already serves as Israel’s capital. He said he did not express a view as to where a possible future border between an Israeli half of Jerusalem and a Palestinian one might pass.But the announcement was widely perceived as taking the side of Israel in the most sensitive issue of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.The Palestinians claim East Jerusalem, home to key Jewish, Christian and Muslim holy sites, and which Israel captured and annexed in 1967, as the capital of a future state. The international community has said the status of Jerusalem should be decided in negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.Netanyahu has repeatedly praised Trump’s decision and said he expects other nations to follow suit. But so far, the announcement has triggered mostly denunciations and demonstrations around the world.Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah movement and other groups have organized mass protests while its rival, the Gaza-based Hamas, has called for a violent uprising against Israel. In all, eight Palestinians have been killed, including two killed in airstrikes on a Hamas base and a Palestinian shot dead after stabbing a soldier.The unrest continued on Wednesday as dozens of Palestinians clashed with Israeli forces in the West Bank town of Bethlehem, where protesters burned a large American flag and hurled stones at the Israelis. Demonstrators also scuffled with Israeli police in East Jerusalem and along the Gaza border.Abbas has said that the US can no longer serve as the sole Mideast mediator, and he has been trying to rally support in Europe and the Arab world.On Wednesday, Abbas was meeting with leaders of Saudi Arabia, an influential country believed to have low-level but warming ties with Israel, before heading to France.Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

Hamas terror cell sought to kidnap Likud MK Yehudah Glick-3 charged with plotting against lawmaker and IDF's Arabic spokesman Avichai Adraee, before deciding that targeting a soldier or settler would be more feasible-By TOI staff-21 December 2017

Three Hamas terrorists were indicted Wednesday for planning to kidnap Likud MK Yehudah Glick and the IDF’s Arabic-language spokesperson.Last week, Shin Bet security service arrested the head of the cell, Mo’ad Eshtiya, 26, along with 19-year-old twin brothers Mohammed and Ahmad Ramadan in the Palestinian village of Tel near Nablus.According to the incident filed against the three in the Samaria Military Court, the suspects backtracked on their original plans to abduct Glick and the IDF’s Avichai Adraee and were instead plotting to kidnap an Israeli soldier or settler.Eshtiya looked up information on Glick and Adraee on the internet before deciding that kidnapping a soldier or settler would be more feasible, the indictment said.Following the arrests, the Shin Bet said that the Nablus-area cell had been in contact with officials from the terror group in the Gaza Strip, which was financing the operation.According to Israel Radio, the terror cell’s goal was to use the attack to advance negotiations for the release of Palestinian security prisoners currently in Israeli jails.Glick, an activist for Jewish prayer at the Temple Mount, though not at the expense of Muslim prayer at the disputed holy site, was shot four times at close range by a Palestinian assailant in 2014 and was severely injured. After recovering, he went on to become a Likud lawmaker.Speaking to The Times of Israel Wednesday, Glick thanked the security forces for their work in apprehending the terror cell members. “We must always remember that the quiet that exists in Israel is due to their efficient and dedicated activity,” he said.Glick pledged to continue serving the public “with all my strength.”“I am not afraid, but I certainly will continue to take all the necessary precautions,” the lawmaker added.

Spate of anti-Semitic cartoons seen in Arab media after Trump’s Jerusalem move-Anti-Defamation League documents rash of caricatures alleging Jewish and Israeli control over US politics-DEC 21,17-TOI

There has been an upsurge in anti-Semitic cartoons in Arab media in the wake of  US President Donald Trump’s declaration recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) said on Tuesday.The ADL said that the issue had prompted a surge of “editorial cartoons suggesting Jewish and Israeli domination of the United States.”The ADL highlighted cartoons from Arabic-language publications in Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Iran. They ranged from portraying Trump as a circus elephant balancing the globe on its trunk on the command of its Israeli trainer, to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pulling the arm of a blindfolded US raising a wand shaped as the Star of David, to Trump driving off a cliff in a car marked with a Star of David.Other images depicted the Israeli flag on top of an Uncle Sam top hat, Uncle Sam throwing away his hat to reveal a Jewish skullcap, and a Jewish figure giving the US a thumbs-up as it declares Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.“These cartoons resonate with an age-old anti-Semitic theme of malevolent Jewish power found in the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a fabricated document purporting to show Jews scheming to achieve world domination,” the ADL said in its statement.In an address December 6 from the White House, Trump defied worldwide warnings and insisted that after repeated failures to achieve peace, a new approach was long overdue, describing his decision to recognize Jerusalem as the seat of Israel’s government as merely based on reality. He also said the US embassy would move from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem but did not give a schedule for the relocation.Trump stressed that he was not specifying the boundaries of Israeli sovereignty in the city, and called for no change in the status quo at the city’s holy sites.The announcement was hailed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and by leaders across much of the Israeli political spectrum. It was criticized by many countries, condemned by the Arab world, and infuriated Palestinians, whose leadership called for “days of rage” leading to violent demonstrations in the West Bank and on the Gaza Strip’s border with Israel.

Shunned by Palestinians, Trump envoy tells Netanyahu he’s still working on peace-Jason Greenblatt joined by US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman for talks said to focus on 'peace efforts which will benefit both Israelis and Palestinians'-By AFP and TOI staff-21 December 2017

US President Donald Trump’s chief negotiator Jason Greenblatt met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday as part of the administration’s efforts to advance peace, the American official said.The meeting took place as tensions with the international community and the Palestinians remained high in the wake of Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.The Palestinians said the move disqualified the United States from its historic role as peace broker with the Israelis.Greenblatt was accompanied by US ambassador to Israel David Friedman in what the peace negotiator called in a Tweet “a check-in as the Administration continues with its peace efforts which will benefit both Israelis and Palestinians.”Together with @USAmbIsrael, met with Prime Minister @netanyahu as a check-in as the Administration continues with its peace efforts which will benefit both Israelis and Palestinians.— Jason D. Greenblatt (@jdgreenblatt45) December 20, 2017-Officials from Netanyahu’s office offered no further information on the meeting.On Tuesday, Greenblatt met with the European Union’s special representative for the Middle East, Fernando Gentilini, as well as with Israeli Major General Yoav Mordechai, head of the COGAT defence ministry unit responsible for activities in the Palestinian territories, the US envoy said on Twitter.Greenblatt is a key member of a small team appointed by Trump who have been holding meetings in the region for months as part of efforts to relaunch the moribund diplomatic process between Israel and the Palestinians.Met with Special Representative Fernando Gentilini to hear his thoughts on recent developments, to discuss Gaza and the US peace efforts. Looking forward to continuing to work together.— Jason D. Greenblatt (@jdgreenblatt45) December 19, 2017-Greenblatt’s visit to Israel was meant to precede that of Vice President Mike Pence, who was due to arrive on Wednesday but postponed the trip to January citing a need to attend a crucial Senate vote in Washington.Breaking with decades of US policy, Trump said on December 6 that he would move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. And, in comments that further angered the Palestinians, a White House official said Friday that the US could not “envision any situation” under which the Western Wall would not be part of Israel.Met with Gen. Poli Mordechai @cogat_israel to discuss security and economic initiatives as well as catch up on other matters.— Jason D. Greenblatt (@jdgreenblatt45) December 19, 2017-The moves were welcomed by Israel but have stirred widespread condemnation and sparked angry protests across Arab and Muslim countries, as well as deadly clashes in the West Bank and Gaza. Trump stressed that the city’s borders should be agreed upon between the sides under a peace deal, and that access to holy sites must not be impeded.Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said Palestinian officials would not meet US political officials, and called on China and Russia to take a greater role in creating a peace process instead.An aide to Abbas told The Times of Israel this week that the PA president would not meet with Kushner or any other member of the Trump peace team, in an open-ended boycott. Majdi al-Khalidi said that Greenblatt did not request a meeting with the Palestinians, with whom he has met on numerous occasions in the past. Greenblatt “knows that no meeting will happen, even if he asks,” said Khalidi.Abbas himself was meanwhile received in Saudi Arabia by King Salman on Wednesday, where the monarch pledged his country’s support for East Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state.

Palestinian minister slams US ‘threats’ ahead of UN Jerusalem vote-Turkish sponsor expects 'strong support' for General Assembly resolution slamming Trump's recognition of Israel's capital-By AFP and TOI staff-21 December 2017

ISTANBUL, Turkey – Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki on Wednesday accused Washington of “threatening” member countries of the UN General Assembly ahead of a vote on rejecting the US decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.Malki said American officials were “committing another mistake when they have distributed this famous letter trying to threaten countries, (and) threaten their sovereign decision to choose how to vote.”He spoke at a press conference with his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu in Istanbul, shortly before both men left for New York.On Tuesday, Nikki Haley, Washington’s UN envoy, warned countries that she would report back to US President Donald Trump with the names of those who supported a draft resolution rejecting the US recognition.The UN General Assembly will hold an emergency session on Thursday to vote on the proposed measure, after the US vetoed a similar resolution for the Security Council.“This is really a new definition of world order in politics and it seems that the American administration… are putting their stamp on a new political reality that many countries will reject,” Malki said.Turkey and Yemen requested the urgent meeting on behalf of the Arab group of countries and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).The two countries circulated a draft resolution on Tuesday that mirrors the vetoed measure, reaffirming that any decision on the status of Jerusalem has no legal effect and must be rescinded.Malki said the UN session would show “how many countries will opt to vote with their conscience.”“They will vote for justice and they will vote in favor of that resolution that was presented by both Yemen and Turkey on behalf of the Arab group and OIC,” he said.Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has sought to lead Islamic condemnation of Trump’s Jerusalem plan, calling a summit of the leaders of Muslim nations last week in Istanbul, who urged the world to recognize East Jerusalem as the Palestinian capital.East Jerusalem was captured by Israel in the 1967 war and later annexed, in a move not recognized by most of the international community.In a December 6 address from the White House, Trump defied worldwide warnings and insisted that after repeated failures to achieve peace, a new approach was long overdue, describing his decision to recognize Jerusalem as the seat of Israel’s government as merely based on reality.The move was hailed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and by leaders across much of the Israeli political spectrum. Trump stressed that he was not specifying the boundaries of Israeli sovereignty in the city, and called for no change in the status quo at the city’s holy sites.Cavusoglu said his country expected “strong support” for the Palestinian Authority in the UN General Assembly. “Everyone with a conscience … is against this decision that usurped Palestine’s rights,” he said.The foreign minister said any honorable country would not bow to US pressure, urging Washington to reverse its mistake.“God willing, I believe we will obtain a good result tomorrow (Thursday)”, he added.

IDF chief visits Gaza attack tunnels, amid lingering tensions-After defense minister says period of near-daily rocket fire is over, Eisenkot heads to southern Israel to congratulate his generals-By Judah Ari Gross-TOI-DEC 21,17

IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot on Wednesday toured two of the recently discovered attack tunnels dug by Palestinian terrorist groups from the Gaza Strip into Israel-The visit came amid lingering tensions with the coastal enclave, following a two-week period of near-daily rocket attacks from the Strip.During Eisenkot’s trip to the area, he met with the head of the IDF Southern Command, Maj. Gen. Eyal Zamir, Israel’s chief military liaison to the Palestinians, Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai, the head of the Gaza Division, Brig. Gen. Yehuda Fuchs, and the commander of the Northern (Gaza) Brigade, Col. Avi Rosenfeld, the army said.In addition to hearing briefings from the officers and holding a “situational assessment,” Eisenkot also entered what remains of the two tunnels and inspected some of the newly developed military hardware used to locate and map them.On Tuesday, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman declared that there would be no more attacks.“The ‘drizzle'” — the term used for sporadic rocket attacks — “is not continuing. We’ve already had one day of total quiet,” Liberman said on Tuesday, following a meeting with the heads of mayors and regional council leaders from the communities surrounding the Gaza Strip.On October 30, the Israel Defense Forces blew up one tunnel, which belonged to the Iran-backed Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist group. The tunnel was started in the southern Gaza city of Khan Younis and extended into Israeli territory, ending near Kibbutz Kissufim. In the blast, 12 members of the group were killed, including two senior officers, along with two members of Hamas.The Islamic Jihad vowed revenge and carried out a mortar attack against an Israeli military position northeast of the Strip exactly one month later. No IDF soldiers were injured, but the shelling caused damage.On December 10, the IDF destroyed yet another tunnel that began in Khan Younis, this one belonging to Hamas, which reached hundreds of meters inside Israel, the army said. The military used another, secret technique — not explosives — to destroy this second attack tunnel.“The Chief of Staff expressed his great appreciation of the Southern Command’s officers for their operational methods and preventive activity, which combines intelligence, operational and technological capabilities in dealing with the underground threat from the Gaza Strip, which has led to the recent achievements,” the army said in a statement.In the nearly two months since the army destroyed the Palestinian Islamic Jihad tunnel, there have been heightened tensions and a frequency of rocket attacks that haven’t been seen since before the 2014 Gaza war.Liberman on Tuesday described the increased rocket fire as being the “price” Israel had to pay for US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.Some two dozen rockets have been fired at Israel by salafist terrorist groups since Trump made his proclamation on December 6. Israel has responded by targeting sites belonging to the Hamas terrorist group, which controls the Gaza Strip, with the hope that Hamas will work to stop the more radical groups.“We knew that the recognition by the US president would have a price,” Liberman said, adding that the price was worth gaining legitimacy for the city as Israel’s capital.But he said that this period of near-daily rocket attacks had come to an end.Liberman credited the military’s “unprecedented preparedness” with being the reason why Hamas ultimately decided to take action in recent days against the groups in the Gaza Strip who have been firing rockets.“That’s why we’ve seen thousands of salafists getting arrested by Hamas. And, in my view, after the interrogations they’ll go through in Hamas custody, no one will come back to attack, if they come back at all,” the defense minister said, alluding to the terror group’s brutal torture tactics.Until this point, it has not been clear if Hamas was tacitly supporting the rocket attacks or was simply not actively preventing them for political or strategic reasons.

Wars getting longer, more complex, UN chief warns-Competing global alliances, cyber threats, scarce resources and multiplying political factions and armed groups are making conflicts more intractable, Guterres says-By AP-TOI-DEC 21,17

UNITED NATIONS — Conflicts today are longer — more than 20 years on average — and often involve multiple armed groups competing for control of government institutions, natural resources and territory, the UN chief said Wednesday.Secretary General Antonio Guterres told a Security Council meeting on the growing complexity of challenges to international peace and security that “we are seeing not only a quantitative but also a qualitative change.”“The perils of nuclear weapons are again front and center, with tensions higher than they have been since the end of the Cold War,” he said.Guterres didn’t name any countries but he has repeatedly urged North Korea to halt its escalating nuclear and ballistic missile tests.The secretary-general also said “cybersecurity dangers are escalating,” climate change has emerged as “a threat multiplier” and water scarcity is “a growing concern.”He further warned that inequality and exclusion are feeding “frustration and marginalization.”While there has been a long-term decline in the number of armed conflicts, Guterres said “conflicts have surged” in the Middle East and parts of Africa.Conflicts are also “becoming more intractable,” he said, and they are becoming more regional and international.Guterres said political factions and armed groups are also multiplying, with hundreds of armed factions in Syria alone.“External military and financial support to conflict parties prolongs civil wars — and fuels wider tensions as local fights become proxies for larger rivalries,” Guterres said.“Conflicts are more linked with each other, and with the worldwide threat of terrorism,” he said. “And transnational drug smugglers and human traffickers perpetuate the chaos and prey on refugees and migrants.”Guterres said the UN must rethink its approaches to respond to the changing nature of conflicts — and prevention must be the key.He said achieving UN goals, such as ending extreme poverty, promoting economic development, protecting the environment, addressing climate change and achieving equality for women, are among the best “instruments of prevention.”

Trump warns over UN, but he likely can’t stop feeding the hand that bites-Slashing aid would be a strategic blunder, but the threat to countries that vote against the US signals that it may take other action over a resolution seen as beyond the pale-By Eric Cortellessa-TOI-DEC 21,17

WASHINGTON — US President Donald Trump’s threat to cut aid to countries that vote for a UN resolution condemning his recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital is likely just that — a threat.But in merely issuing the warning, the president managed to both assert what he expects from allies in exchange for the money and highlight the importance of this particular issue for the White House — even at the expense of national security commitments normally seen as sacrosanct.And even if he doesn’t actually cut aid money, he still might take other types of revenge in the international arena, former US officials said Wednesday.On Wednesday, Trump followed a comment by UN envoy Nikki Haley that the US would be “taking names” of who supports a UN General Assembly resolution condemning Washington’s Jerusalem decision by cautioning that aid could be cut as a result.“They take hundreds of millions of dollars and even billions of dollars, and then they vote against us. Well, we’re watching those votes. Let them vote against us. We’ll save a lot. We don’t care,” Trump said at his last cabinet meeting of the year.An actual slashing of funds, though, could seriously impact the national security interests protected by aid money, particularly that which goes to Arab allies Egypt and Jordan — nations that are all but certain to back the resolution.It is “inconceivable” that the Trump White House would cut aid to either country, said Elliott Abrams, who held multiple high-level positions in the Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush administrations.“In the case of Jordan, it’s a country with a friendly government that is now supporting a million Syrian refugees, that from a security point of view is an ally of ours when it comes to Iraq and Syria and Israel,” he told The Times of Israel. “So cutting off military aid to Jordan would be senseless from a point of American security interests in the Middle East. I don’t think that’s seriously being contemplated.”With Egypt, the US made clear in 2015 how important it considers aid to its ally when it reinstated military aid that had been frozen two years earlier in response to the overthrow of president Mohammed Morsi by current leader Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi.The funding slash had led to worries that Egypt could cancel its peace accord with Israel, destabilizing the Middle East.Jordan and Egypt each get over $1 billion a year from the US in military and other aid, according to the Congressional Research Service, money dwarfed only by the over annual $3 billion Israel gets. The money is considered as both humanitarian aid and a strategic investment, keeping the countries in Washington’s sphere of influence. Were it cut, the vacuum could be filled by Russia or other powerful countries.One former diplomat, however, said if countries were not backing the US in international forums, they might be better off investing it elsewhere.“Why not spend money for the same reason on countries that are prepared to work with the United States in the field of international affairs?” Richard Schifter, the former assistant secretary of state for humanitarian affairs in the Reagan and Bush administrations,  as well as an ex-US envoy to the UN’s Commission on Human Rights, told The Times of Israel. “I’m not suggesting that we cut it all off, but factor UN votes into this and then make the appropriate allocations.”Egypt has been one country that has consistently voted in favor of the myriad UN resolutions condemning the Jewish state for years, including a Security Council vote last year on Resolution 2334, which criticized Israel for its ongoing settlement enterprise in the West Bank.The Security Council resolution that condemned Trump’s Jerusalem move was supported by 14 states before being vetoed by Haley on Monday was drafted by Cairo. But the US has never publicly threatened to cut aid to it over votes at the UN.With Trump’s threat on Wednesday, nevertheless, the US may be following the playbook of Israel, which has become intertwined with Washington in this battle at the UN.Last year, after the UN Security Council passed its resolution condemning Israeli settlements, Israel cut aid to some African countries that supported the measure and leveled other diplomatic punishments at Western allies, such as recalling ambassadors, summoning foreign envoys on Christmas and reportedly canceling high-level meetings.Michael O’Hanlon, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, said that there are times when the US deems UN votes significant enough to inform decisions over where to allocate aid, but one vote is usually not the deciding factor.“Historically, we have sometimes considered UN votes when allocating aid,” he told The Times of Israel. “But it’s usually not about just one issue or one vote. So this would, I believe, be a precedent. It would also be a very bad idea because it would be trying to dictate to other countries how they should think about a specific issue that involves many matters of diplomatic strategy.”And yet, Abrams, for his part, said the resolution up for a vote on Thursday is different from past resolutions.“We have vetoed in the past plenty of resolutions and we have lost plenty of votes in the General Assembly that condemn Israel for something in a way that we think is very unfair,” he said. “But this isn’t about Israel. The United States made a decision about its diplomacy and the location of its embassy. We are being condemned. That’s what’s different about this.”-What could the US actually do, though?-While Abrams, a figure of the Washington establishment and pro-Israel community, who is often billed as a neoconservative, doesn’t deem it likely Trump would actually rollback American aid to its allies that vote for the Thursday resolution, he said there are other ways to make those countries pay.“There have been occasions when we have taken a harder line. I can remember occasions during the Bush administration when people on the White House Staff called foreign ministers and prime ministers and made it very clear that a particular vote had affected the bilateral relationship, and that it was now worse than it had been the day before,” he said.Instead of doing something that could damage US interests, the former diplomat said the next time the foreign minister or prime minister of one of these countries wants to meet with the US secretary of state or Trump’s national security adviser, they could just just say no; or the next time the secretary of state is due for a visit in the region, they could skip a stop in the capital of that country.“There are ways of showing displeasure that don’t destroy a relationship but that make the countries know that this is not something you can do without damaging the bilateral relationship,” Abrams said.“When people seek a World Bank loan or an IMF program, friends of ours, they will often come to the United States and say, ‘This what we’re asking for. We assume we’ll have your support.’ That’s the kind of thing where we could say, ‘Well, we assumed we’d have your support in the General Assembly. We’ll think about it,'” he continued.Actions like that, Abrams indicated, could be more efficacious than hollow threats that can’t be delivered on, like pulling aid from key US allies in the region.“What you really want them to do is that the next time somebody tries this, they work with us to avoid such a vote,” he said. “The goal here is not just to say, ‘We’re angry.’ The goal is to say, ‘We’re angry and this better not happen again.'”

Trump celebrates after Congress wraps up massive tax package-$1.5 trillion bill provides generous cuts for corporations and the wealthy, smaller cuts for middle- and low-income families-By Stephen Ohlemacher and Marcy Gordon-TOI-21 December 2017

WASHINGTON (AP) — US President Donald Trump cheered a massive overhaul of US tax laws Wednesday, saying “we broke every record.”Flanked by Republican lawmakers, the president took a bow outside the White House shortly after the House finished its last-minute re-vote to pass the $1.5 trillion bill that provides generous tax cuts for corporations and the wealthiest Americans while providing smaller cuts for middle- and low-income families.Democrats call the legislation a boon to the rich that leaves middle-class and working Americans behind.Trump said the effort had “been an amazing experience” and claimed it resulted in “the largest tax cut in the history of our country.”Actually, Trump’s cuts are nowhere near the largest in US history.The vote was 224-201 and came hours after the Senate’s early morning passage along party lines.Republicans cheered when the vote tally hit the magic number for passage, and again when the final vote was announced. One Democrat yelled, “Do over!”It is the first major overhaul of the nation’s tax laws since 1986.On Twitter and in White House remarks, Trump hailed the outcome, his own efforts and the work of GOP allies, including Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who had drawn the president’s wrath for the Senate’s inability this past summer to dismantle the health care law.“Our team will go onto many more VICTORIES!” Trump tweeted.Congressional Republicans have cast the bill as a blessing for the middle class, an argument they will stress in their drive to hold onto their congressional majorities in next year’s midterm elections. But one comment by Trump could complicate their messaging.In praising the bill, Trump cited the deep cut in the corporate tax rate, from 35 percent to 21%.“That’s probably the biggest factor in our plan,” the president said at the White House.Within minutes, during a House debate at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue, Rep. Richard Neal, a Massachusetts Democrat, jumped on Trump’s remarks, calling it proof that Republicans were never interested in passing meaningful tax cuts for the middle class.In a statement, Trump said: “By cutting taxes and reforming the broken system, we are now pouring rocket fuel into the engine of our economy.”The Senate used a post-midnight vote Wednesday morning to approve the measure on a party-line 51-48 tally. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, insisted Americans would respond positively to the tax bill.“If we can’t sell this to the American people, we ought to go into another line of work,” he said.In an eleventh-hour hiccup Tuesday, the Senate parliamentarian found that three minor provisions violated Senate rules, forcing lawmakers to strip them out.House Republicans had passed the bill Tuesday with all voting Democrats in opposition. Because of the language the Senate removed, the House had to revisit the measure Wednesday because each chamber must approve identical legislation before it can be signed into law.“People have been hit by the media and the Democrats on their TV screen that everyone is getting a big tax increase, and that’s just not the case,” Ryan said Wednesday on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”Starting next year, families making between $50,000 and $75,000 will get average tax cuts of $890, according to an analysis by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center. Families making between $100,000 and $200,000 would get average tax cuts of $2,260, while families making more than $1 million would get average tax cuts of nearly $70,000, according to the analysis.But if the cuts for individuals are allowed to expire, most Americans — those making less than $75,000 — would see tax increases in 2027, according to congressional estimates.Ryan said Wednesday the GOP is willing to risk running up deficits with the aim of getting a higher annual economic growth rate.Trump is aching for a big political victory after 11 months of legislative failures and nonstarters. The president tweeted his congratulations to GOP leaders and to “all great House Republicans who voted in favor of cutting your taxes!”Congressional Republicans, who faltered badly in trying to dismantle Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act, see passage of the tax bill as crucial to proving to Americans they can govern — and imperative for holding onto House and Senate majorities in next year’s midterm elections.“The proof will be in the paychecks,” Sen. Rob Portman, an Ohio Republican, said during the Senate’s nighttime debate. “This is real tax relief, and it’s needed.”Not so, said the top Senate Democrat as the long, late hours led to testy moments Tuesday night.“We believe you are messing up America,” New York Sen. Chuck Schumer told Republicans, chiding them for not listening to his remarks.The GOP has repeatedly argued the bill will spur economic growth as corporations, flush with cash, increase wages and hire more workers. But many voters in surveys see the legislation as a boost to the wealthy, such as Trump and his family, and a minor gain at best for the middle class.Tax cuts for corporations would be permanent while the cuts for individuals would expire in 2026 to comply with Senate budget rules. The tax cuts would take effect in January, and workers would start to see changes in the amount of taxes withheld from their paychecks in February.The top tax rate for well-off individuals would be lowered from 39.6% to 37%.The legislation repeals an important part of the 2010 health care law — the requirement that all Americans carry health insurance or face a penalty — as the GOP looks to unravel the law it failed to repeal and replace this past summer. It also allows oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.The $1,000-per-child tax credit doubles to $2,000, with up to $1,400 available in IRS refunds for families that owe little or no taxes.The bill is projected to add $1.46 trillion to the nation’s debt over a decade. GOP lawmakers say they expect a future Congress to continue the tax cuts so they won’t expire. That would drive up deficits even further.