Wednesday, January 24, 2018


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

In Jerusalem with Pence, Netanyahu roasts Europe over Iran stance-Washington 'on the right side of history' in backing anti-regime protesters, PM tells visiting US veep, who hails 'our most cherished ally, Israel'-By Raphael Ahren-TOI-23 January 2018

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday evening thanked the US administration for its tough stance on Iran, saying Washington stands on “the right side of history” for rejecting the nuclear deal and supporting Iranian protesters’ recent demonstrations against the regime.At a joint press appearance with visiting US Vice President Mike Pence, Netanyahu lambasted European leaders for their responses to the recent protests across Iran, and called on world leaders to agree to the White House’s policy to demand substantial changes to the Iran nuclear deal, which six world powers signed with Tehran in 2015.“I want to salute both President Trump and you, Mr. Vice President, for standing with the people of Iran, when so many in Europe and elsewhere, were shamefully silent,” Netanyahu said, standing alongside Pence at the Prime Minister’s Residence on Jerusalem’s Balfour Street.“Some — and this is hard to believe — some actually hosted the regime’s mouthpieces, while its goons were throwing thousands of Iranian protesters into prison,” he said.Netanyahu was apparently referring to the European Union hosting Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif in Brussels recently to discuss ways to maintain the nuclear deal. Brussels and Tehran are in favor of keeping the deal as is, while Washington and Jerusalem have called for either drastic changes or a total annulment of the deal.“I share the belief that Iran’s radical regime will ultimately fall, and one day Iran’s people will win the freedom they so justly deserve,” the prime minister went on, minutes before he hosted Pence and his wife Karen for a private dinner. “And when that day comes, they will remember those who stood with them, and those who stood with their oppressors. You’re on the right side of history.”Israel agrees with the US administration that the nuclear deal with Iran is “disastrous,” Netanyahu said, arguing that it paves Tehran’s path to a nuclear arsenal.“That’s why Israel supports President Trump’s policy regarding the deal,” he said. “There is still time for leaders to seize the opportunity that President Trump has offered them, to correct the failings of this failed deal. But if those leaders do not seize that opportunity, or if they offer only cosmetic changes, Israel will unequivocally support the president’s decision to walk away from a bad deal and restore crippling sanctions.“Our position is clear: fully fix it, or fully nix it,” he added.The prime minister also briefly addressed the conflict with the Palestinians, asserting Israel’s readiness “to advance peace, including the Palestinians.”Said Netanyahu, “As soon as the Palestinians accept the truth about the millennial connection of the Jews to this land and to this city, the sooner we can work together to reach a historic agreement that will create a better future for both our peoples.”Mr. Vice President, We have a common past.We have a common future.We have a shared destiny.America has no greater friend than Israel, and Israel has no greater friend than the United States of America.— Benjamin Netanyahu (@netanyahu) January 22, 2018-Pence, speaking after Netanyahu, said he had spoken to Trump shorty after his speech earlier in the day at the Knesset. “He asked me to give you not only his greetings, but his thanks for hospitality you afforded his vice president,” he said.Trump also asked Pence to thank Netanyahu for “your stalwart commitment to freedom, your strong leadership of the people of Israel, and your unbending commitment to the relationship between the United States and Israel,” Pence said.On Tuesday — the last day of his trip — Pence is scheduled to visit the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial and pray at the Western Wall.“This is our fourth visit to the Holy Land, but we never fail to leave here without a sense that our faith has been renewed — our faith in God, but also our faith in the extraordinary people of Israel and their commitment to freedom, security and peace,” he said.“I leave here with confidence that with President Trump in the White House, and with your strong leadership here in Israel, that the best days for the United States and our most cherished ally, Israel, are yet to come,” he added.

Hamas praises Arab Israeli MKs for ‘Jerusalem is Palestine’ anti-Pence protest-Jewish lawmakers brand Joint List MKs disloyal to Israel, and one calls to suspend paying the salaries of 'unruly' legislators-By TOI staff-22 January 2018
The Hamas terror group on Monday praised Israel’s Joint (Arab) List lawmakers after they held up up signs reading “Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine,” during US Vice President Mike Pence’s speech to the Knesset.Hamas hailed the “Palestinian” lawmakers for protesting against Pence’s “racial speech” in a post on its official English Twitter account.It also said “Al-Quds is the eternal capital of #Palestine,” using the Arabic name for Jerusalem.#Hamas praises the role of Palestinians members in the Israeli occupation #kenesset in refusing the racial speech for Mike #Pence against Alquds and assures that #Alquds is the eternal capital of #Palestine.— Hamas Movement (@HamasInfoEn) January 22, 2018-The MKs were thrown out of the plenum by parliamentary ushers for brandishing the signs, in a scene that lasted less than a minute, but saw angry pushing and shoving.The phrase on the signs was written in both English and Arabic, but the Arabic line said “East Jerusalem.”The lawmakers were heavily censured by other MKs with some calling for action to be taken against them.Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman was among the first lawmakers to publicly condemn the outburst, tweeting that the Joint List “proved once again that they are representatives of terrorist organizations in the Knesset.”“Their shameful behavior exposed to everyone their disloyalty to the state and its symbols. Only when Israeli Arabs allow other voices to represent them will be a chance for true peace,” he concluded.MK Oded Forer, a lawmaker in Liberman’s Yisrael Beytenu party, called for suspending the pay of “unruly MKs.”“[Joint List MKs] are heroes at protesting against Israel but enjoy receiving salaries from the State of Israel,” tweeted Forer.Forer said he had suggested the idea to Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein ahead of US President Donald Trump’s visit last May. Edelstein revealed shortly after the trip that Trump wanted to give the major address of his Israel visit at the Knesset, but Israel could not guarantee that lawmakers would behave.“If my [suggestion] had been accepted, I am sure the Arab MKs wouldn’t dare to go wild.”Likud MK Oren Hazan later confronted Zahalka outside the plenum and called him and his fellow faction MKs “terrorists.”As Zahalka attempted to speak to reporters, Hazan shouted him down and said he was an “embarrassment” to the electorate that he represents.Monday’s protest was in response to US President Donald Trump’s December 6 recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.Pence for his part brushed off the interruption, saying he was “humbled to speak before such a vibrant democracy” before continuing his speech, in which he vowed the US embassy would be moved to Jerusalem before the end of 2019.

Pence in Knesset: Embassy to open in Jerusalem in 2019, Iran will never get bomb-US vice president 'strongly urges' Palestinians to come to negotiating table, vows US has issued Iran nuclear sanctions waiver for the last time-By Marissa Newman-TOI-22 January 2018

In a landmark address to the Knesset on Monday, US Vice President Mike Pence pledged the US would relocate its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem by the “end of next year,” called on the Palestinians to return to the negotiating table for peace talks, and vowed Washington would withdraw from the “disaster” Iran nuclear deal unless it was “fixed.”The US vice president’s address earned numerous standing ovations from Knesset members across the political spectrum, and saw Arab lawmakers ejected from the plenary after launching a protest over Washington’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital on December 6.In his remarks, Pence emphatically stressed that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital.“Just last month, President Donald Trump made history. He righted a 70 year wrong, he kept his promise to the American people,” in announcing the recognition of Israel’s capital, said Pence, who is the first American vice president to address Israel’s parliament.“The US Embassy will open [in Jerusalem] before the end of next year,” said Pence.Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US President Donald Trump have offered differing timelines on the embassy move, with the Israeli premier saying last week it would happen “much faster than people think, within a year from today.”In an interview with Reuters days later, Trump disputed Netanyahu’s estimate.“By the end of the year?” Trump asked. “We’re talking about different scenarios — I mean obviously that would be on a temporary basis. We’re not really looking at that. That’s no.”The embassy move and recognition of Jerusalem is “in the best interest of peace,” said Pence on Monday. “By finally recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the United States has chosen fact over fiction.”Trump is “fully committed to achieving a lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians,” said Pence, reiterating that “if both sides agree, the United States will support a two-state solution,” to applause from the opposition.“Today, we strongly urge the Palestinian leadership to return to the table. Peace can only come through dialogue,” declared Pence.“We recognize that peace will require compromise,” continued the US vice president, adding that “any peace agreement must guarantee Israel’s ability to defend itself by itself.”“There are those who believe the world can’t change… but my friends, President Trump doesn’t believe it, I don’t believe it, and neither do you. I stand here today in a city whose very name means peace,” said Pence.His speech came as Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas was speaking in Brussels, trying to persuade the European Union to recognize a Palestinian state.The US vice president also branded the Iran nuclear deal a “disaster,” that merely delays Tehran’s development of nuclear weapons.“The Iran nuclear deal is a disaster and the United States of America will no longer certify this ill-conceived agreement,” said the US vice president.Referring to a recent decision by Trump to extend a sanctions waiver as part of the nuclear deal, Pence said the extension was merely designed to buy time for the US Congress, “and our European allies,” in order to toughen penalties against the Islamic Republic.“This is the last time: Unless the Iran nuclear deal is fixed, President Trump, the United States will withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal immediately,” said Pence, to tremendous applause.The US vice president, in his remarks, also characterized ties between the US and Israel — as well as covert dialogue between Israel and Arab states — as unprecedented.“Thanks to the president’s leadership, the alliance between our two countries has never been stronger,” Pence said.Pence said he discussed the “remarkable transformation that is taking place across the Middle East today” with the leaders of Egypt and Jordan over the weekend. Descendants of Isaac and Ishmael are coming together in an unprecedented way, he said, alluding to growing covert cooperation between Israel and Sunni Arab nations.He also elicited thunderous approval from MKs when he recited the Shehecheyanu blessing on thanksgiving in Hebrew.The trip by Pence is the first by a major figure from the US since Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in a December 6 address. While Israel has feted Pence for the move, the Palestinians reacted furiously and are refusing to meet with the vice president, who arrived in the city Sunday night.At the start of Pence’s address, Arab Israeli lawmakers were removed from the plenum after waving signs saying  “Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine.”The US vice president also skewered Iran for its pursuit of nuclear weapons, support for terrorist groups, and oppression of its citizens.“The United States of America will never allow Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon,” said Pence. “Beyond the nuclear deal, we will also no longer tolerate its support of terrorism” and oppression of its people, he said.In a message to the Iranian people, he added:”We are your friends and the day is coming when you will be free from the evil regime that suffocates your dreams and buries your hopes.”“And when your day of liberation finally comes, we say to the good people of Iran, the friendship between our peoples will blossom once again.”In his speech shortly before Pence’s address, Netanyahu said the Trump administration’s recognition of Jerusalem would be given a place in Israel’s history alongside the 1917 Balfour Declaration, the establishment of the state, and US President Harry S. Truman’s recognition.“On the matter of recognition of Jerusalem as our capital, I believe I speak for nearly all of us, coalition and opposition alike, when I express our deep appreciation for President Trump and you for the historic statement that will never be forgotten,” said Netanyahu.“It’s fitting that you are the first American vice president to speak at the Knesset in Jerusalem. Fitting because no American vice president has had a greater commitment to Israel and its people,” said the prime minister.Also speaking ahead of Pence was opposition leader Isaac Herzog, who did not meet with the US vice president separately.He urged the US to “dream big” and seek “new and original” approaches to peace in the region.“The countries of region are ready for it,” said Herzog.“Many in this hall, and most of the people of Israel, understand the urgency and the need to move ahead with a political separation from the Palestinians,” Herzog added, warning of the “disastrous” situation should Israel become a binational state.

Rivlin calls on world to tear off ‘mask of hypocrisy,’ recognize Jerusalem-President thanks Trump for helping to 'rectify historic injustices' against Israel, calls on other states to end 'boycott' of Israeli capital-By Alexander Fulbright-TOI-23 January 2018

President Reuven Rivlin on Monday called on countries worldwide to tear off the “mask of hypocrisy” and follow the US in recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.Speaking to Israeli diplomats at his Jerusalem residence, Rivlin addressed a number of geopolitical developments that have affected Israel, first and foremost, Donald Trump’s presidency.Calling the US president a “true friend of Israel,” Rivlin said he was impressed by Trump’s “intentions to bring about a breakthrough in resolving the Arab-Israeli conflict and his strategic commitment to America’s return to the Middle East.”Rivlin thanked Trump for helping to “rectify historic injustices” suffered by Israel on the international level, singling out for praise Trump’s December 6 declaration on Jerusalem.“This decision tore the mask of hypocrisy that characterized and still characterizes the attitude of the international community to the capital of Israel. An hypocrisy expressed in a boycott of the location of embassies, a de facto boycott of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel,” he said.Owing to Trump’s decision, Rivlin said Israel “must move from being on the defensive to taking the initiative, and clearly call on the nations of the world to stop boycotting Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.”“Seventy years have passed, this boycott has no justification, and our allies must join the United States,” he said.Turning to the Palestinians, Rivlin criticized Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ “shocking and disappointing” reaction to Trump’s decision. Abbas, who said the US is no longer an honest broker in peace talks following the move, cursed Trump in a speech earlier this month and called the peace deal he is developing the “slap of the century.”Rivlin’s comments on the American recognition of Jerusalem came as US Vice President Mike Pence kicked off the first full day of his trip to Israel, in the first visit by a senior White House official since Trump’s declaration.Speaking at the Knesset earlier, Pence stressed that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital and said the US would move its embassy to the city by the end of 2019.Rivlin is set to host Pence for a meeting at the president’s residence in Jerusalem on Tuesday.In his remarks, Rivlin addressed a number of other regional issues, including Gaza’s crumbling economy, Iran’s military entrenchment in Iran and Syria, and the rollback of the Islamic State terror group.He also discussed the rise of far-right parties in Europe, which he said are winning at the ballot box, “while using and spreading anti-Semitic slogans.”“The State of Israel must be clear in its approach. Whoever is in alliance with anti-Semites and anti-Semitism has no part in the family of nations. Let us not be mistaken — there is no such thing as loving Israelis and hating Jews,” he said.The president voiced support for the Foreign Ministry’s decision to bar contact with ministers from Austria’s far-right Freedom Party, calling it “the bare minimum for a nation that remembers and will remember its victims.”The Freedom Party, which came third in last year’s legislative elections, is the junior partner in a coalition government with the conservative Austrian People’s Party.

Palestinian Christians slam Pence’s pro-Israel faith-Bethlehem mayor says US vice president's vision contradicts his declared aim of helping Christians in the Middle East-By Karin Laub-TOI-23 January 2018

BETHLEHEM (AP) — Palestinian Christians say US Vice President Mike Pence’s brand of evangelical Christianity, with its fervent embrace of modern-day Israel as the fulfillment of biblical prophecy, lacks their faith’s compassion and justice, including for those who have lived under Israeli occupation for half a century.Pence was in Jerusalem on Monday, expressing his full-throated support for Israel in a speech to the Knesset filled with biblical references. During an exuberant welcome, Pence and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu publicly rejoiced in the Trump administration’s decision last month to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.While Trump said his recognition was not an attempt to prejudge final border, the dramatic policy shift is seen as a betrayal by the Palestinians, who claim Jerusalem’s Israeli-annexed eastern sector as a capital, and now reject US mediation in any future efforts to resolve their long-running conflict with Israel. While Israel embraced it, the Jerusalem pivot also upset some of Washington’s Arab allies, particularly Jordan, where King Abdullah II laid out his disagreement with US policy to the visiting Pence in unusually pointed remarks on Sunday.The Jerusalem declaration and a subsequent Trump decision to curb aid to Palestinian refugees — both aligned with the Netanyahu government’s agenda — had been top priorities for Pence.The vice president — by his own definition “a Christian, a conservative, a Republican, in that order” — has cited his religious beliefs as the source of his unwavering support of Israel.He has been embraced by so-called Christian Zionists, who believe the establishment of the State of Israel is proof of God keeping his promises and a step toward the second coming of Christ.In a 2017 speech to Christians United for Israel, or CUFI, an influential organization run by Texas pastor John Hagee, Pence signaled similar views, saying that “though Israel was built by human hands, it is impossible not to sense that just beneath its history lies the hand of heaven.”Critics say Jewish supporters of Christian Zionists and their pro-Israel fundraising juggernaut conveniently overlook violent end-time prophecies, espoused by some, that are based on the belief that only those who embrace Jesus will be saved.David Parsons, a spokesman for Christian Zionism’s International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem, said it is a big tent movement with different views on end-time prophecy.In his CUFI speech, Pence stuck to what the vice president portrayed as biblically mandated support for Israel.Pence has “very solid evangelical credentials,” Parsons said. “We consider him to be … in our camp.”Palestinian Christians, many with deep roots in the Holy Land, consider Christian Zionist views as a negation of the teachings of Jesus on justice and compassion for all of humanity. They argue that such streams of evangelical Christianity have used religion to whitewash Israel’s policies during its half-century-old rule over millions of Palestinians.“For me, it’s a sick ideology,” said Munib Younan, the recently retired bishop of the small Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land and former president of the Lutheran World Federation, an umbrella for churches with millions of believers.“When I say Jesus is love, they want my Jesus to be a political Jesus,” Younan, 67, a Jerusalem-born Palestinian, said in a recent interview at his West Bank church.Younan said he supports a just solution to the conflict with Israel, including the establishment of a Palestinian state in the lands Israel captured in the 1967 war — East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza. Jerusalem should be shared by Christians, Muslims, and Jews, he said, adding that a peace deal would enhance Israel’s security.Pence on Monday portrayed the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital as the “only true foundation for a just and lasting peace,” and omitted Palestinian claims to the city. He also gave less than full support to a two-state solution, once a pillar of US Mideast policy, saying US President Donald Trump is in favor “if both sides agree.”In biblical Bethlehem, the traditional birthplace of Jesus, Mayor Anton Salman said Pence’s comments contradict his declared aim of helping Christians in the Middle East.“He would need to change his thoughts and behavior… and recognize the rights of Arab Palestinian Christians who are the people of this land, to support their rights to have their independence, their freedom and East Jerusalem as our capital,” said Salman, a Roman Catholic.Christians make up a small minority of the overwhelmingly Muslim Palestinian population in the West Bank, but relations between the two religious groups are typically cordial and tolerant — unlike in conflict-battered Iraq and Syria, where Islamic State extremists have persecuted Christians. In Gaza, dominated by the Islamic Hamas, a tiny Christian community has been targeted from time to time by zealots.“We are the authentic Christians and we live with our brothers, the Muslims, without any problem,” said Bethlehem Christian Nadia Hazboun, 55, standing outside a souvenir shop in Manger Square, where the pealing of church bells often blends with the Muslim call to prayer. On Saturday, a towering Christmas tree decorated with large red balls was still up in the square, near the entrance to the Church of the Nativity, the basilica built over Jesus’s traditional birth grotto.The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has become a hot-button issue for US Christians, pitting Christian Zionists against those calling for an end to Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, or expressing support for a Palestinian-led campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions as a means of pressuring Israel.Rebecca Littlejohn, a Disciples of Christ pastor from La Mesa, California, contemplated the debate, while sipping hot lemon in a coffee shop off Manger Square, at the end of a Holy Land study tour during which her group met Israelis and Palestinians.Littlejohn said her denomination works with Palestinian Christians and that she belongs to a grass-roots group engaged in peace efforts.She said that while Disciples of Christ emphasizes Christian unity, “I find very little, from what I know of it, in Mike Pence’s religion that looks like Christianity to me.”“But am I going to say, he is not welcome at the table?” she said. “No, I’m not going to say that because it’s not up to me.”

While PM cements US support, Abbas fails to recruit EU as new peace broker-On the same day as Netanyahu celebrated a Pence lovefest in Jerusalem, Palestinian leader was told in Brussels that Washington remains an indispensable part of any peace process-By Raphael Ahren-TOI-JAN 23,18

Monday was a significant day in the annals of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But rather than the conventional quarrels we have grown accustomed to, both violent and rhetoric, this day saw the two sides engage in what could be called a proxy diplomatic war.Even though it currently appears distant, Israeli and Palestinian leaders know that sooner or later there will be another chapter in the peace process saga, and on Monday, they were battling over who would be in charge. The Israelis were working hard to secure a good starting position for when negotiations will resume, while the Palestinians were trying to organize a new sponsor of talks.At the end of a long day, it appeared that Israel had won this round.Due to the White House’s December 6 recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the Palestinians no longer accept the US administration as honest brokers. Israel, however, remains adamant that the US is the only party that it can imagine presiding over peace talks, and is working hard to endear itself to the administration.On Monday, Ramallah and Jerusalem sought to advance their positions with their respective patrons: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hosted US Vice President Mike Pence in Jerusalem, showering him with great honor and affection in a bid to cement Washington’s pro-Israel disposition. At the same time, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas was in Brussels trying to woo the European Union, in the hope it would volunteer to replace Washington as the main sponsor of the peace process.“The EU should play a political role in this Middle East peace process in order to reach a just solution on the basis of internationally recognized terms and decisions,” Abbas said, standing next to the union’s foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini.His comments came at about the same time as Pence, speaking from the Knesset podium, vowed to relocate the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem before the end of 2019.“Under President Trump, the United States of America remains fully committed to achieve a lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians,” Pence said right after his embassy pledge.The Palestinians were unimpressed, and continued to antagonize the Americans.“The messianic discourse of Pence is a gift to extremists and has proven that the US administration is part of the problem rather than the solution,” senior Palestine Liberation Organization official Saeb Erekat said, in response to the vice presidential Knesset address.Meanwhile in Brussels, Abbas tried to convince the EU to recognize Palestinian statehood, since such a move, he argued, would advance the cause of peace.“We truly consider the European Union as a true partner and friend, and therefore we call its member states to swiftly recognize the state of Palestine,” Abbas said.Indeed, on Sunday, it emerged that Slovenia is likely to recognize the “State of Palestine” in a few weeks, and that at least three other EU states are considering to follow suit.However, Abbas’s hope for the EU to replace the US as main guardian of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process — something that, were it to happen, would constitute a dramatic change to the Palestinians’ benefit, as Brussels largely supports their positions — is much less likely to occur. (The EU envisions a Palestinian state on the 1967 lines, with East Jerusalem as its capital.)-For one thing, Netanyahu has made it abundantly clear, on numerous occasions, that Jerusalem will accept only the US as a peace broker — not Russia, not China and not the UN, and certainly not the EU, which he considers particularly hostile to Israel.“There is no alternative for American leadership in the diplomatic process,” he told Israeli ambassadors Sunday. “Whoever is not ready to talk with the Americans about peace – does not want peace.”No effort will ever bring the two sides at the table if the international multilateral framework does not include the United States-The Europeans themselves are interested in playing a “central role” in a renewed peace process, Mogherini said Monday, but she also acknowledged that the US must remain an indispensable part of it.What is needed, she maintained, is a “multilateral framework” that would include the Middle East Quartet — the EU, the US, the United Nations, and Russia — plus “a few Arab countries and possibly to Norway.”“No effort will ever bring the two sides at the table if the international multilateral framework does not include the United States,” she declared. “The United States alone would not make it, the international community without the United States would not make it. We need to join forces.”The Trump administration, struggling to advance its goal of clinching the “ultimate deal,” will be more than happy to get the support from European and Arab states. US officials have long argued that the international community has an important supporting role to play.That is also why Trump’s peace envoy, Jason Greenblatt, is expected to attend a January 31 conference of major donors to the Palestinian Authority in Brussels.Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah will also participate in the so-called extraordinary Ad-Hoc Liaison Committee meeting, which is set to become the first time senior PA and White House officials powwow since Trump’s Jerusalem move.It will be interesting to see whether Ramallah uses this meeting as an opportunity to back down from its position and start again to engage constructively with Washington, or whether Abbas will continue to boycott the administration and look for other avenues to advance his statehood goal.Though he was boycotted by the PA during this week’s trip to the region, one of Pence’s key messages here was that the administration still holds the door open for Abbas.“We strongly urge the Palestinian leadership to return to the table,” he said at the Knesset. “Peace can only come through dialogue.”The warm welcome the vice president received from Israelis, across nearly the entire political spectrum, further cemented the US-Israel alliance, putting Netanyahu in a good starting position if and when Washington unveils its peace proposal.Abbas’s mission to recruit the Europeans as the new custodians of the peace process, however, appears to have largely failed.

Slovenian minister confirms it’s ready to recognize Palestinian state-Speaking after bilateral meeting with Abbas on sidelines of EU address, FM Karl Erjavec says move would 'strengthen Palestine's negotiation in the Middle East peace process'-By AFP and Raphael Ahren-TOI-JAN 23,18

The Slovenian government hopes its lawmkaers will vote to recognize the Palestinian state and become only the second country to do so as an EU member state, Slovenian Foreign Minister Karl Erjavec confirmed Monday, a day after Israeli media reported the planned move.“Everybody [other EU member states] backs such a Slovenian step that will happen if parliament green lights the proposal for recognizing the Palestinian state,” Erjavec told the local Slovenian channel POP TV.The minister was speaking from Brussels, where Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas met European foreign ministers, who he urged to recognize Palestine. Erjavec and Abbas had a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the address.Of the 28 EU member states, Sweden was first to officially recognize the Palestinian state in 2014. Eight other countries took the step before entering the EU: the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania, Malta and Cyprus.Slovenia’s parliamentary foreign affairs committee will meet in Ljubljana on January 31 to approve the proposal before sending it to parliament, which could vote on the issue in a session in March or April, according to Slovenian RTV public television.“By recognizing it, (Slovenia) would strengthen Palestine’s negotiation in the Middle East peace process. We have an independent foreign policy, we do not need any other state to cover our back,” Erjavec said.Following the US decision in December to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, the Palestinian leadership declared that Washington could no longer fulfill the historic and central role in the peace process it has held for over two decades.Instead, Abbas is now seeking some kind of international framework through which the Palestinians can win an independent state. The main players in that arena, from his point of view, are the EU, the UN, Russia and China.“We truly consider the European Union as a true partner and friend, and therefore we call its member states to swiftly recognize the state of Palestine and we confirm that there is no contradiction between recognition and the resumption of negotiations,” Abbas said in his address in Brussels.The Palestinian leader argued that such a move “would encourage the Palestinian people to keep hoping for peace, and to wait until peace is brought about. It will open the doors to peace and it will encourage the Palestinian people to keep on abiding by the culture of peace that has disseminated through it for generations.”The Israeli government has argued in the past that unilateral recognition of the state of Palestinian will toughen the Palestinian stance and make it harder to reach a final peace deal between the two sides.Trump said his declaration reflected reality on the ground, and was not intended to prejudge any future arrangement between Israel and the Palestinians regarding the disputed city, though he later said it had taken Jerusalem off the table. Welcomed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and leaders across most of the Israeli political spectrum, the move caused an uproar throughout the Muslim world and was panned by the United Nations, the European Union, and many European countries.Last month, Slovenian Parliament Speaker Milan Brglez told Palestinian Ambassador Salah Abdel-Shafi that Slovenia’s recognition of a Palestinian state was “not in doubt,” but just a question of timing.Slovenian Prime Minister Miro Cerar said at the time that although all three Slovenian coalition parties had voted in favor of recognition, his country should wait until a group of EU member states decided to act together.The Slovenian ambassador in Tel Aviv, Barbara Sušnik, told The Times of Israel Sunday that the issue of recognizing Palestinian statehood has been pending in the country’s parliament since 2014, and is only now coming to a vote.Sušnik said it was difficult to predict how the parliamentarians would vote, but hinted that there was a good chance they would seek to assert the Palestinians’ right to self-determination.“The elected representatives of the people will decide the way they decide. It’s their decision,” she said. “For the people of Slovenia, the principle of self-determination of nations is very important, because that is how Slovenia became independent 26 years ago, when we exercised the right to self-determination. All nations have the right to self-determination.”Sušnik stressed that a possible recognition of Palestine should not be seen as a move hostile to Israel. “We established friendly relations with Israel more than 25 years ago, and we appreciate them a lot,” she said. “We’re committed to good relations with Israel. Our embassy in Tel Aviv was opened in the summer of 1994, right after diplomatic relations were established. Unfortunately, Israel never opened an embassy in Slovenia.”Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

After Jerusalem, UK’s Johnson says US should offer incentives to Palestinians-British FM says there's a need for 'some sort of symmetrical movement in the other direction to get things moving'-By Alexander Fulbright-TOI-23 January 2018

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson on Monday said the world is waiting with “great interest” for the Trump administration’s peace plan, while calling on the US to offer incentives to the Palestinians “to get things moving.”Speaking alongside Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Johnson sounded an upbeat note on peace prospects, despite the fallout from US President Donald Trump’s December 6 recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.“There is a moment of opportunity here. A process that has been stalled for years, if not decades, could see some progress,” he said.Asked if Trump’s decision on Jerusalem was harmful to the peace process, Johnson said: “It’s possible that it could help to push things along if there is symmetrical movement in the other direction.”Johnson called the American recognition of Jerusalem last month “premature.” UK Prime Minister Theresa May said it was “unhelpful,” stressing that the city’s status should be determined in negotiations between the sides.Trump, in his speech, said his decision was not meant to take a position on the city’s final boundaries and called for access to holy sites to remain unfettered.Trump’s declaration sparked anger among the Palestinians, with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas saying shortly after the US was no longer an honest broker in peace talks.Abbas has continued to ramp up his rhetoric against the US since then, cursing Trump in a speech earlier this month in which he called the peace deal being formulated by the White House the “slap of the century.”In a speech to the Knesset, US Vice President Mike Pence on Monday called for the Palestinians to “return to the table,” saying “Peace can only come through dialogue.”His comments came as Abbas was in Brussels to urge European Union member states to recognize a Palestinian state.While in the region, Pence will not meet with Abbas or other PA officials, who have refused to meet with Trump administration officials regarding the peace process since Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Facebook admits social media threat to democracy-Company's civic engagement chief says it was 'far too slow' to respond to spread of misinformation during 2016 US election-By Rob Lever-TOI-JAN 23,18

WASHINGTON (AFP) — Facebook acknowledged Monday that the explosion of social media poses a potential threat to democracy, pledging to tackle the problem head-on and turn its powerful platform into a force for “good.”The comments from the world’s biggest social network were its latest response to intense criticism for failing to stop the spread of misinformation among its two billion users — most strikingly leading up to the 2016 US election.In a blog post, Facebook civic engagement chief Samidh Chakrabarti said he was “not blind to the damage that the internet can do to even a well-functioning democracy.”“In 2016, we at Facebook were far too slow to recognize how bad actors were abusing our platform,” he said. “We’re working diligently to neutralize these risks now.”The post — one in a series dubbed “hard questions” — was part of a high-profile push by Facebook to reboot its image, including with the announcement last week that it would let users “rank” the trustworthiness of news sources to help stem the flow of false news.“We’re as determined as ever to fight the negative influences and ensure that our platform is unquestionably a source for democratic good,” said Katie Harbath, Facebook’s head of global politics and government outreach, in an accompanying statement.Facebook, along with Google and Twitter, faces global scrutiny for facilitating the spread of bogus news — some of it directed by Russia — ahead of the US election, the Brexit vote and other electoral battles.The social network has concluded that Russian actors created 80,000 posts that reached around 126 million people in the United States over a two-year period.“It’s abhorrent to us that a nation-state used our platform to wage a cyberwar intended to divide society,” Chakrabarti said.“This was a new kind of threat that we couldn’t easily predict, but we should have done better. Now we’re making up for lost time,” he said.Chakrabarti pointed at Facebook’s pledge last year to identify the backers of political advertisements — while also stressing the need to tread carefully, citing the example of rights activists who could be endangered if they are publicly identified on social media.He also elaborated on the decision to let Facebook’s users rank the “trustworthiness” of news sources, saying: “We don’t want to be the arbiters of truth, nor do we imagine this is a role the world would want for us.”While acknowledging concerns over the rise of “echo chambers,” he argued that “the best deterrent will ultimately be a discerning public.”-‘What could possibly go wrong?’Facebook’s plan to rank news organizations based on user “trust” surveys has drawn a mixed response.Renee DiResta of the nonprofit group Data for Democracy was optimistic.“This is great news and a long time coming. Google has been ranking for quality for a long time, it’s a bit baffling how long it took for social networks to get there,” she wrote on Twitter.But technology columnist Shelly Palmer warned that Facebook appeared to be equating trust and truth with what the public believes — what some call “wikiality.”“Wikiality is Facebook’s answer to fake news, alternative facts, and truthiness,” Palmer wrote. “Facebook, the social media giant, is going to let you rank the news you think is most valuable. What could possibly go wrong?”For media writer Matthew Ingram, the changes “not only won’t fix the problem of ‘fake news,’ but could actually make it worse instead of better.”“Why? Because misinformation is almost always more interesting than the truth,” he wrote in the Columbia Journalism Review.News Corp. founder and executive chairman Rupert Murdoch also expressed skepticism, suggesting Facebook should instead pay “carriage feeds” to trusted news organizations, following the example of cable TV operators.“I have no doubt that Mark Zuckerberg is a sincere person, but there is still a serious lack of transparency that should concern publishers and those wary of political bias at these powerful platforms,” Murdoch said in a statement issued by his group, which publishes the Wall Street Journal and newspapers in Britain and Australia.

Iran lawyer raises concern over missing hijab protester-Human rights attorney Nasrin Sotoudeh says 'Girl of Enghelab Street' was arrested for posing without a headscarf in viral image taken at Tehran demonstration-By AFP-TOI-JAN 23,18

TEHRAN, Iran — A renowned Iranian lawyer raised concern on Monday over the fate of a woman she said was arrested for posing without a headscarf in Tehran in an image that went viral around the world.The woman has not been seen in public since she stood on a pillar box on one of the city’s busiest thoroughfares without a headscarf or long coat required under Islamic law.The images taken from video footage showed her waving a white scarf — an apparent reference to so-called “White Wednesday” protests against mandatory clothing rules for women.The protest is thought to have taken place December 27, a day before economic protests broke out across the country, which helped the images go viral even though they were apparently unconnected.Thousands of social media users have shared messages, dubbing her the “Girl of Enghelab Street” after the area in central Tehran where she staged the protest, and using the hashtag “Where_is_she?”Nasrin Sotoudeh, a famous human rights lawyer who has been arrested and barred from working on several occasions over the years, said she went to Enghelab Street on Sunday to investigate.Sotoudeh said could not find out the woman’s name, but was told she was 31 years old and had a 19-month-old baby.“What I am certain about is that this lady has been arrested,” she told AFP. “The witnesses on the scene who saw her being taken away and even accompanied her to the police station gave me this information. I have no contact with her family.”Sotoudeh said the woman’s protest appeared to show someone “at the end of their tether because of all the controls placed on her body over the 31 years of her life”.“Women feel they have no control over their bodies. It is a prelude to infringing on all of their rights,” she said.The incident came on the same day that Tehran’s police chief indicated security forces were taking a softer line on Islamic rules.“According to a decision of the commander of the police force, those who do not observe Islamic codes will no longer be taken to detention centres nor judicial files opened on them,” Brigadier General Hossein Rahimi said in a speech in the Iranian capital, according to local media.Under Iran’s Islamic legal code, women are required to wear a headscarf and long clothes that cover the arms and legs.Breaking the rules can bring fines of up to 500,000 rials ($12) and up to two months in prison.Sotoudeh accused the police of frequently going beyond the law.“Before even being tried by legal authorities, [women] are taken to a place called ‘Gasht-e Ershad’ [Guidance Patrol], where they can be harshly beaten up. Whether a case is opened for them or not is not important,” she said. “The illegal punishment they have had to bear has always been much more than what is foreseen in the law.”