SINCE THE RAPTURE OCCURS BEFORE THE FUTURE 7 YR TREATY IS SIGNED, I WONT BE AROUND TO HAVE THE ACTUAL TREATY SIGNING. BUT UNTIL THEN THIS SITE IS DEDICATED TO THE BEGININGS OF THE ISRAELI / ARAB PEACE PROCESS. AND AS CLOSE TO THE 7 YEAR SIGNING THAT WE GET BEFORE THE RAPTURE OF THE SAVED TO HEAVEN. UNTIL WE MEET JESUS IN THE CLOUDS BODILY, AND COME TO EARTH 7 YRS LATER.

Monday, February 26, 2018

TRUMPS MIDEAST PEACE PLAN NEARLY READY NIKKI HALEY SAYS.

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)

EZEKIEL 20:47
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.

ZEPHANIAH 1:18
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.

MALACHI 4:1
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

Sheldon Adelson offers to help pay for US Jerusalem embassy — report-State Department lawyers investigating legality of private donation to cover costs said to be over $500 million-By Josh Lederman-TOI-FEB 25,18

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration is considering an offer from Republican mega-donor Sheldon Adelson to pay for at least part of a new US embassy in Jerusalem, four US officials told The Associated Press.Lawyers at the State Department are looking into the legality of accepting private donations to cover some or all of the embassy costs, the administration officials said. The discussions are occurring as the new embassy clears its final bureaucratic hurdles. On Thursday, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson ended weeks of delay by signing off on a security plan for moving the embassy from Tel Aviv to the holy city, according to the officials, who weren’t authorized to discuss the issue publicly and demanded anonymity.In one possible scenario, the administration would solicit contributions not only from Adelson but potentially from other donors in the evangelical and American Jewish communities, too. One official said Adelson, a Las Vegas casino magnate and staunch supporter of Israel, had offered to pay the difference between the total cost — expected to run into the hundreds of millions of dollars — and what the administration is able to raise.Under any circumstance, letting private citizens cover the costs of an official government building would mark a significant departure from historical US practice. In the Jerusalem case, it would add yet another layer of controversy to Trump’s politically charged decision to move the embassy, given Adelson’s longstanding affiliation with right-wing Israeli politics.It’s not clear if there are any precedents, nor whether government lawyers would give the green light to accept Adelson’s or anyone else’s donations for the embassy.Adelson’s unconventional offer was made around the time Trump announced in December he would move the embassy to the disputed city of Jerusalem. It would address the president’s stated distaste for shelling out eye-popping sums for overseas diplomatic facilities. Although Trump has promoted the Jerusalem move as fulfilling a key campaign promise, he also was outspoken last month in blasting the $1 billion price tag for a new embassy in London.Since Trump’s announcement, his administration has been sifting through options for fast-tracking the Israel embassy’s relocation. Last month, Vice President Mike Pence announced during a visit to Israel that the embassy would move by the end of 2019 — possibly earlier. Ambassador David Friedman, who lobbied for Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, has advocated moving the embassy as soon as possible.The US has looked at several possible sites. The most likely plan involves a phased approach to opening the embassy in Jerusalem’s Arnona neighborhood at an existing US facility that handles consular affairs like passports and visas. The US could initially retrofit a small suite of offices in that facility to accommodate Friedman and one or two top aides such as his chief of staff.That would allow the administration to hang an “embassy” sign over the door and formally open it, perhaps in the next few months. The ribbon could be cut in time for Israel’s Independence Day, Yom Ha’atzmaut, which takes place in April.The rest of the embassy staff would remain at first in America’s current facility in Tel Aviv. Over time, the Arnona facility would be expanded to accommodate more embassy personnel. The expansion could ultimately involve an adjacent property that currently houses a home for senior citizens. It will come under US control in the next few years under a previous arrangement, officials said.Retrofitting just a few offices could be accomplished at minimal cost. But expanding the new embassy into a full-fledged complex that houses the bulk of America’s diplomatic staff in Israel would easily cost more than $500 million dollars, officials familiar with the process said. Particularly pricey are the strict security requirements for embassies that are written into US law.It’s unclear how much of the cost Adelson might be willing to cover.The White House declined to comment. An Adelson spokesman didn’t respond to multiple requests for comment.The State Department said it had “nothing to announce” about the Jerusalem embassy move and would not “get ahead of any decisions by the secretary.”“We have no confirmation or details about this hypothetical proposal,” the State Department said.Kathy Bethany, the former cost management director for the State Department’s Bureau of Overseas Building Operations, said she couldn’t recall any instances of the US government accepting donations to build embassies during her tenure, which ended in 2014.“I don’t know how well that would work,” Bethany said. “Would we be beholden to putting their name on the building? I’ve never heard of that.”The State Department’s Foreign Affairs Manual lays out a process for accepting gifts from private citizens, including real estate. The process says gifts must be evaluated case-by-case through a process that includes ensuring the gift “would not give the appearance of a conflict of interest.”Adelson, who donated $5 million to Trump’s inaugural committee, is one of the Republican Party’s biggest donors and a major supporter of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Adelson also finances Israel Hayom, a pro-Netanyahu newspaper that is distributed free throughout Israel.If lawyers decide to allow donations for the Jerusalem embassy, it wouldn’t be without significant political risk for Trump. The president already faces major criticism from Palestinians and others who say his decision to move the embassy to Jerusalem — also claimed by the Palestinians for the capital of their future state — tipped the scales unfairly in Israel’s favor.Mort Klein, president of the pro-Israel group Zionist Organization of America and a close associate of Adelson, said accepting donations would be ill-advised. Klein said he knew Adelson was “deeply interested” in seeing the embassy relocate to Jerusalem but was unaware that the casino mogul had offered to help pay for it himself.“This is a government project. It’s a government-run embassy,” Klein said. “I don’t want people to be able to say it was Jewish money.”

Trump’s Mideast peace plan nearly ready, UN envoy says-Nikki Haley predicts neither side will love or hate long-awaited formulation, does not offer specifics on when it will be published-By AFP-FEB 25,18

CHICAGO, Illinois — The United States ambassador to the United Nations said Thursday that a proposal for a long awaited peace plan between Israelis and Palestinians is near completion.“I think they’re finishing it up,” Nikki Haley said, when asked about formulations of a Middle East peace proposal during an appearance at the University of Chicago Institute of Politics.The news came a day after President Donald Trump’s two top envoys on the Middle East, son-in-law Jared Kushner and adviser Jason Greenblatt, met with UN Security Council ambassadors and asked for their support of the upcoming peace plan.“They’re still going back and forth,” Haley said, without offering specifics of when a proposal might be unveiled.“The plan won’t be loved by either side. And it won’t be hated by either side. But it’s a template to start talking,” she said.The revelations came after questioning by the academic institute’s chief David Axelrod — a former senior advisor to Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama — about the US’s controversial decision to declare Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.“Congress had overwhelmingly voted to name Jerusalem the capital of Israel and to put our embassy in the capital,” Haley said.She said multiple presidents had struggled with a “fear doctrine that the sky was going to fall” if such a declaration was made.“The sky is still up there,” she said. “And now what we have is a time where the negotiations can start between Israelis and Palestinians.”Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday called for an international conference to be held by mid-2018 to launch a wider peace process in which the United States would not have the central mediating role.

Iran seen uniting Lebanon proxies against Israel, but Hezbollah turns inward-Shiite terror group, fearing rival parties, seen spending more time on domestic Lebanese issues ahead of parliamentary elections than preparing for war with Israel-By Avi Issacharoff-FEB 25,18-TOI

Ten days ago, the head of the powerful Iraqi Shiite militia Harakat Hezbollah al-Nujaba arrived in the Beirut suburb of Dahieh, a stronghold of Hezbollah, and visited the grave of Imad Mughniyeh, the former global operations chief of the Lebanese terror group, to mark 10 years since Mughniyeh was killed in a car bomb.The attendance of the Iraqi movement’s secretary-general, Akram al-Kaabi’s, at the event commemorating a terrorist thought to be responsible for many bombings, kidnappings and assassinations sends a clear message to Israel: Hezbollah is not alone.Kaabi made that warning explicit. “We in the Iraqi resistance stand with Hezbollah, and we will stand with Hezbollah in any Israeli attack or action against it,” Kaabi said.The message being sent was that many regional militias, including al-Nujaba, will join with Hezbollah in its next war against Israel — a war that has already threatened by the organization’s head Hassan Nasrallah.Kaabi’s militia takes its instructions directly from Iran, under the orders of al-Quds Force commander Qasem Suleimani, a senior officer in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).Iran has spent the past few months working to unite the Syrian and Lebanese fronts in preparation for war with Israel. It has sent more and more Shiite troops to Syria, set up military bases for its troops, and also sent drones into Israeli territory.In addition to visiting Mughniyeh’s grave. Kaabi met with Ihsan Attaya, the representative of Palestinian Islamic Jihad in Lebanon, as if to signal that the Lebanese, Palestinian and pro-Iranian Shiite paramilitary forces have formed a united front.Despite this, it appears that Hezbollah itself is not rushing to war or to inflame the situation with Israel. In its view, tensions between Israel and Syria are under control, while in Lebanon Hezbollah made sure to distance itself from any connection to the Iranian drone that breached Israeli airspace on February 10 and the subsequent downing of an Israeli Air Force F-16 fighter plane.True, a few days after the event, Nasrallah praised the downing of the Israeli warplane, yet Hezbollah seems to be working hard to give the impression that it is more concerned at the moment with the domestic Lebanese front, and less with Israel.The terror group is not rushing to bring its estimated 8,000 fighters back from Syria, and has given vacations to some of its troops.Hezbollah has even taken a backseat in the dispute around a border wall the IDF is constructing along the boundary between the two countries and arguments over contested rights to offshore natural gas exploration, leaving the Lebanese army and politicians to express their outrage.From time to time Hezbollah makes threats, including to attack the Israeli offshore gas fields. However, the bottom line is that it is the Lebanese government that is taking a lead on the issue.So what has happened to Hezbollah? Has Nasrallah suddenly become a Lebanese patriot who has forgotten his loyalties to Iran? Clearly not. But in the past few weeks Hezbollah has sounded more “Lebanese” and less “Shiite.” This is mainly due to the upcoming parliamentary elections, to be held in May, which give the group an exceptional opportunity to strengthen its political standing.This focus on the elections in May is not a dramatic shift — perhaps it is only cosmetic.The elections are being held within the parameters of the old approach that was agreed in the 1989 Taif Agreement, which provided the basis for ending the Lebanese civil war and which perpetuates the discrimination against the Shiite community to a certain extent.This approach says that the Lebanese president must be Christian, the prime minister a Sunni and the speaker of parliament a Shiite. Half of the MPs (64) must be Christian and half Muslim — Sunni, Shiite and Druze. This despite the fact that surveys say Shiites make up more than 40 percent of the Lebanese population.The country is divided into 15 areas, and any slight change in its electoral method could give Hezbollah a few additional seats, but not more than that. On the face of it, this is encouraging news for the Shiite group.However, the past few months have seen the emergence of new political forces in Lebanon. Forces that differ from the camp of Prime Minister Saad Hariri, which opposes Syrian interference, and from the Hezbollah camp, which supports Syria and Iran.The old order in Lebanon has cracked in favor of a new reality. There are those who now say that the historical division of Lebanon into religious factions, or the traditional reliance on the political elites, no longer speak to them.For these people, the socio-economic issues in Lebanon, including unemployment, poverty, education and garbage removal, are far more important and vital to their lives and politics. Some of the new parliamentary candidates who are part of this trend are Shiite, and thus a threat to Hezbollah’s chances of electoral growth.For example, the Baalbek-Hermel Governorate is an area suffering extreme poverty and a high crime rate. The 30,000 outstanding arrest warrants speak to the failure of governance in the area. This is combined with by far the highest rate of casualties among the Shiites fighting in Hezbollah’s ranks in Syria to create an atmosphere of frustration and resentment toward Hezbollah. In the last local elections in 2016 in Baalbek and Beirut, 40% of the seats assigned to Shiites went to parties with a civil agenda, primarily at the expense of Hezbollah.This is the main reason that the terror group wants to rebrand itself, no longer solely as the “shield of Lebanon” but also as the builder of Lebanon.Nasrallah himself understands the problem in Baalbek, and instructed that the party replace two of its four candidates there.It appears that Hezbollah has decided to send a message of statehood: To support the country and President Michel Aoun, whose alliance is considered critical for Hezbollah.Despite the rhetoric from Lebanese leaders, then, it is unlikely that any major force in Lebanon has any real desire for a war against Israel, at least during the run-up to these critical elections.

Egypt, Hamas agree on lifting of Gaza border restrictions — report-Alleged deal to ease flow of goods into Strip comes amid increased warnings that deteriorating conditions in the enclave could spark a war-By TOI staff and AP-FEB 25,18

Egypt has reportedly reached an agreement with Hamas, the terror group that controls the Gaza Strip, to lift restrictions on the coastal enclave.According to a Channel 10 report Friday quoting “trustworthy” Palestinian sources, Egypt is weighing a number of measures to alleviate the poor living conditions in Gaza and has agreed to permit a freer flow of goods through the Rafah Border Crossing.Implementing the decision, however, is dependent on Israel’s agreement, the report said.Ismail Haniyeh, the head of Hamas, has been in Cairo the last two weeks. The terror group said earlier this month his visit would include discussions on the economic crisis “that put Gaza on the edge of the abyss.”Israeli military and international officials have increasingly warned of the deteriorating conditions in the Strip and the potential for renewed violence between Hamas and Israel.On Thursday, Qatar’s point man for Gaza urged the world to send critically needed humanitarian aid to the territory, warning that the war-ravaged coastal strip is “on the verge of collapsing,” and could plunge into a new round of fighting with Israel if conditions do not improve.Mohammed al-Emadi issued the appeal after a trip to Gaza this week. He also met with Israeli officials, even though his country does not have official diplomatic relations with Israel.In a wide-ranging interview with The Associated Press in his Jerusalem hotel suite, al-Emadi said it is the international community’s responsibility to come to Gaza’s aid. He called on Israel and Gaza’s Hamas terror group leaders to take steps to improve conditions, and he criticized the recent US decision to cut aid to the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, calling it “devastating.”“The people of the world should be awakened to save Gaza and to prevent a new war,” he said. He said the cost of helping Gaza is “nothing” compared to the cost of another war.“Then the costs will be tremendous, and nobody can bear those costs,” he said.Gaza’s problems took a significant downturn after Hamas, an Islamic terror group sworn to Israel’s destruction, seized the territory from the internationally backed Palestinian Authority in 2007.Since then, repeated attempts at Palestinian reconciliation have failed. Israel and Egypt have maintained a blockade to weaken Hamas, which has long utilized its border crossings to smuggle weapons that it then uses to fire at Israel, with whom the terror group has fought three wars.Al-Emadi, who visits Gaza every few months, said he was struck by how bad conditions have become on his latest visit.He said that while in Gaza this time, he was unable to leave his hotel room, because his car was surrounded by people desperately asking for help in a scene he described as heartbreaking.He said the Trump administration’s decision to withhold some $65 million from UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees and their descendants, was especially painful. More than half of Gaza’s 2 million people rely on UNWRA aid.“This is devastating,” he said. “Any cut of any international organization or UN bodies working there will affect the lives of the people.”He described his work as pragmatic and humanitarian, saying the world cannot wait for the territory’s numerous political problems to be solved.He called on Hamas to preserve the quiet, and to prevent Gazans from clashing with Israeli soldiers along the territory’s border fence with Israel. He urged Israel to pressure Egypt to open its border with Gaza to allow people to travel in and out, and said Israel should also increase the number of travel permits it gives to Gazans. Both countries severely restrict movement, saying it is a necessary security measure.Without improvement and given the lack of options for Hamas, al-Emadi said he fears the sides will head to another war.“If the international community helps Gaza, this will prevent the war,” he said. “This is our aim, to prevent a war.”

Abbas takes to Palestinian TV to downplay health concerns-Rumors of the 82-year-old leader's ill health surface after he undergoes medical tests in Baltimore while on a US visit-By AFP-TOI-FEB 25,18

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas appeared on local Palestinian television Friday to downplay concerns over his health after undergoing what were described as routine tests in the United States.In an interview with Palestine TV while in America, 82-year-old Abbas rejected reports he had been rushed to hospital during his visit.“It was a suitable opportunity to be here to conduct some medical tests, and these tests have been conducted and now we left,” he said after leaving hospital.“Thank God all the results are positive and reassuring.”The health of the longtime smoker has long been the subject of speculation, with no clear successor identified.Abbas had also said Thursday he had been given a clean bill of health after visiting Johns Hopkins Hospital.Initial reports had suggested that Abbas was rushed to the hospital, but Palestinian civil affairs minister Hussein Al Sheikh said the visit was routine.Abbas had originally been scheduled to travel to Venezuela on Thursday, according to Reuters.In July, Abbas was briefly admitted to a West Bank hospital after suffering from “exhaustion” following a period of heightened tensions with Israel over the Temple Mount.The PA president was treated several years ago for prostate cancer, and has also had a stent inserted in his heart to treat artery blockage.In October 2016, he underwent an emergency cardiac catheterization suffering exhaustion and chest pains.Abbas was in the US to meet with political allies amid a breakdown of communication with the US administration following US President Donald Trump’s much-criticized recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.The Palestinians, who want the eastern part of the city as the capital of their future state, have said the US has disqualified itself as a mediator in talks with Israel and cut political ties with the administration. Israel welcomed the December 6 US recognition, and has long made clear only the US can serve as a peace-broker.Trump is expected to propose a peace plan in the coming months.Abbas has been in power since winning presidential elections in 2005.He has remained in the role despite his initial mandate expiring in 2009, arguing that splits between the Palestinian factions have made fresh elections impossible.Times of Israel staff contributed to this piece.

Expecting further violent protests, IDF goes on high alert on Gaza border-Open-fire regulations said eased as army tries to prevent rioters from approaching border fence, following last week's IED attack using explosive hidden in flag staff-By TOI staff-FEB 25,18

The IDF went on high alert Friday along the Gaza border amid expectations of a renewal of violent protests by Palestinians in the territory.One such riot last Friday near Khan Yunis was used as cover for an improvised explosive device attack. Terrorists from the Popular Resistance Committees umbrella group approached the border fence during the protest and placed a Palestinian flag on it. The following day, when IDF troops from the Golani brigade and the combat engineering corps approached the fence to remove the flag, an IED — improvised explosive device — hidden in the flag’s staff detonated, wounding four soldiers, two of them seriously.In response to that attack, and to a rocket fired from Gaza that hit a home in southern Israel late Saturday night, the IDF conducted a series of strikes against 18 targets in the Strip, including on an attack tunnel entrance in Gaza City, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said in the Knesset on Monday.In a separate incident on Saturday night, an IDF tank fired on a group of Palestinians who the army said approached the security fence “in a suspicious manner,” killing two of them and seriously injuring two others.The IDF has now eased the open-fire regulations in response to the heightened tensions, allowing soldiers to use lethal fire to prevent similar approaches to the border fence in future, Channel 10 reported on Friday. Snipers have also been stationed along the border for the purpose, along with other forces.The move comes after Israeli officials warned that the IED attack crossed a red line, and “the gloves will be off” in the next encounter between rioters organized by Hamas and IDF troops.On Tuesday, Liberman warned Gazans that their Hamas rulers were taking advantage of them and endangering their lives by sending them to take part in demonstrations near the border with Israel.Echoing statements made by Israel’s military liaison to the Palestinians the night before, Liberman said the army had “learned the lessons” from last weekend’s attack and would respond more aggressively in the future, though he declined to elaborate on what specific policy changes the military was adopting.Though Liberman had previously said the direct perpetrators of the IED attack were from the Palestinian Resistance Committees terrorist group, he said on Tuesday that Hamas, which rules the Strip, was also liable as it allowed the attack to take place.“What’s clear is that Hamas is using the residents of the Gaza Strip as a cover for terrorist activities,” he said. “This is unacceptable. We won’t continue with this game.”The defense minister accused Hamas’s leaders of sending Gaza residents to take part in violent demonstrations while making sure their own family members never get close to the border. He also noted that senior figures in the terrorist group enjoy a constant supply of electricity, while most Gaza residents get just a few hours a day.The defense minister repeated a message he has expressed multiple times, that Hamas was deliberately maintaining poor living conditions in the enclave as a matter of policy.“Hamas is the one preventing economic development in Gaza, preventing growth,” he said. “You have to understand: poverty and terrorism go hand in hand.”The defense minister didn’t explicitly blame Iran — which financially supports Hamas and the second-largest terror group in the Strip, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad — for recent unrest in Gaza, but implied that the Islamic Republic is playing a role in it.Liberman said senior Hamas officials “live in Beirut, with Hezbollah’s blessing, and travel from Beirut to Tehran almost every other week in order to coordinate their activities — and most of the money Hamas is receiving comes from Iran.”Judah Ari Gross contributed to this report.

US educators say no to ‘arms race’ in schools-Teachers' unions and those who faced mass shooters insist schools won't be safer 'if teachers start carrying guns'-By Chris Lefkow-FEB 25,18-TOI

WASHINGTON (AFP) — US President Donald Trump has proposed arming “highly trained” teachers to deter school shootings, but the idea has drawn little support from those most directly concerned — teachers.“Parents and educators overwhelmingly reject the idea of arming school staff,” said Lily Eskelsen Garcia, president of the National Education Association (NEA), the largest professional union in the United States.“Bringing more guns into our schools does nothing to protect our students and educators from gun violence,” said the head of the three-million-member NEA.Randi Weingarten, head of the American Federation of Teachers, another union, condemned what she called an “arms race” and efforts to “turn schools into militarized fortresses by arming teachers.”Trump suggested giving teachers guns at a meeting at the White House on Wednesday with survivors of last week’s shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, which left 14 students and three teachers dead.The president then doubled down on the proposal Thursday, both on Twitter and at a subsequent White House meeting.….History shows that a school shooting lasts, on average, 3 minutes. It takes police & first responders approximately 5 to 8 minutes to get to site of crime. Highly trained, gun adept, teachers/coaches would solve the problem instantly, before police arrive. GREAT DETERRENT!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 22, 2018-“Highly trained, gun adept, teachers/coaches would solve the problem instantly, before police arrive. GREAT DETERRENT!” Trump said.“If a potential ‘sicko shooter’ knows that a school has a large number of very weapons talented teachers (and others) who will be instantly shooting, the sicko will NEVER attack that school.”‘Gobsmacked’Besides the major US teachers’ unions, the proposal also drew criticism from Shannon Watts, the head of one of the leading gun control groups, Moms Demand Action For Gun Sense in America.“I’m honestly gobsmacked that the president used a forum with gun violence survivors to pimp the (National Rifle Association’s) priority legislation and to suggest arming teachers,” Watts said.The NRA, the powerful gun lobby, has long argued for more armed security in US schools, and its leader Wayne LaPierre repeated the call in a speech on Thursday.“Our banks, our airports, our NBA games, our NFL games, our office buildings, our movie stars, our politicians, they’re all more protected than our children at school,” LaPierre said.He concluded his speech to a gathering of conservative leaders with the NRA catchphrase: “To stop a bad guy with a gun, it takes a good guy with a gun.”Several teachers at Stoneman Douglas and the head of the county school system where the shooting took place said they were skeptical about Trump’s suggestion.“We don’t need to put guns in the hands of teachers,” said Robert Runcie, the superintendent of Broward County Public Schools. “You know what we need? We need to arm our teachers with more money in their pocket.”Melissa Falkowski, a teacher at Stoneman Douglas who hid students in her classroom while the shooting was taking place, called the proposal “ridiculous.”“I have a problem with it on a lot of levels,” Falkowski said in an interview with CNN.“Why are we treating our schools like they’re supposed to be a military installation with teachers trained like police officers and military personnel?” she asked.“I struggle to see how a teacher, even a highly trained teacher with a handgun, is going to go against somebody who’s carrying an AR-15,” she said. “Are those teachers going to be strategically placed around the school?”‘Teachers should teach’Nikolas Cruz, the 19-year-old former Stoneman Douglas student accused of carrying out the shooting, was armed with a semi-automatic AR-15-style rifle.Ashley Kurth, a culinary arts teacher at the school who also sheltered dozens of students during the shooting, also had her doubts.“Am I supposed to get extra training now to serve and protect on top of educate these children?” Kurth asked at a CNN “town hall” Wednesday about gun violence.“Am I supposed to have a kevlar vest?” she said. “Am I supposed to strap (a gun) to my leg or put it in my desk?”Joseph Connelly, a high school physics and chemistry teacher, took to Twitter to argue against the idea.I'm a teacher who qualified in the military on the rifle, handgun, light machine gun, heavy machine gun, grenade launcher, automatic grenade launcher, bayonet and hand grenades.And there is zero chance you'll convince me a school will be safer if teachers start carrying guns.— Joseph Connelly (@jcon16) February 20, 2018-“I’m a teacher who qualified in the military on the rifle, handgun, light machine gun, heavy machine gun, grenade launcher, automatic grenade launcher, bayonet and hand grenade,” Connelly said. “And there is zero chance you’ll convince me a school will be safer if teachers start carrying guns.”Eskelsen Garcia, the NEA president, said what is needed are “solutions that will keep guns out of the hands of those who want to use them to massacre innocent children and educators.“Arming teachers does nothing to prevent that,” she said.Speaking at the CNN town hall, Scott Israel, the sheriff of Broward County, said simply: “I don’t believe teachers should be armed. I believe teachers should teach.“But that’s exactly what’s wrong with this country,” Israel continued. “We have people in Washington DC — representatives, senators and legislators — telling teachers what they should do without asking teachers, ‘What do you want to do?'”

2 Palestinians wounded by IDF fire during riots along Gaza fence-Army says 350 demonstrators take part in violent protests, plant flag along border amid heightened alert after last week's bomb attack-By TOI staff-FEB 25,18

A few hundred Palestinians violently protested along the Gaza border Friday amid heightened alert by the Israeli military.The IDF said some 350 demonstrators took part in the riots at five different locations along the border, burning tires and throwing rocks toward soldiers.Two “inciters” were shot by soldiers for “posing a threat to IDF troops and the security fence,” the army said. There were no reports of injured soldiers.In one incident a Palestinian flag was hung upon the border fence, according to Hadashot TV news. During rioting last week, terrorists from the Popular Resistance Committees put a flag on the fence, under which they hid an improvised explosive device.The following day, when IDF troops from the Golani brigade and the combat engineering corps approached the fence to remove the flag, the bomb detonated, wounding four soldiers, two of them seriously.In response to that attack, and to a rocket fired from Gaza that hit a home in southern Israel late Saturday night, the IDF conducted a series of strikes against 18 targets in the Strip, including on an attack tunnel entrance in Gaza City, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said in the Knesset on Monday.In a separate incident last Saturday, an IDF tank fired on a group of Palestinians who the army said approached the security fence “in a suspicious manner,” killing two of them and seriously injuring two others.The IDF has now eased the open-fire regulations in response to the heightened tensions, allowing soldiers to use lethal fire to prevent similar approaches to the border fence in future, Channel 10 reported on Friday. Snipers were stationed along the border for the purpose, along with other forces.The move comes after Israeli officials warned that the IED attack crossed a red line, and “the gloves will be off” in the next encounter between rioters organized by Hamas and IDF troops.On Tuesday, Liberman warned Gazans that their Hamas rulers were taking advantage of them and endangering their lives by sending them to take part in demonstrations near the border with Israel.Echoing statements made by Israel’s military liaison to the Palestinians the night before, Liberman said the army had “learned the lessons” from last weekend’s attack and would respond more aggressively in the future, though he declined to elaborate on what specific policy changes the military was adopting.Though Liberman had previously said the direct perpetrators of the IED attack were from the Palestinian Resistance Committees terrorist group, he said on Tuesday that Hamas, which rules the Strip, was also liable as it allowed the attack to take place.“What’s clear is that Hamas is using the residents of the Gaza Strip as a cover for terrorist activities,” he said. “This is unacceptable. We won’t continue with this game.”The defense minister accused Hamas’s leaders of sending Gaza residents to take part in violent demonstrations while making sure their own family members never get close to the border. He also noted that senior figures in the terrorist group enjoy a constant supply of electricity, while most Gaza residents get just a few hours a day.Separately Friday, the IDF said 950 Palestinians held violent protests at 14 locations in the West Bank.The protesters burned tires and threw rocks and molotov cocktails at IDF troops and border policeman, who responded with riot dispersal means, the army said.The IDF said it was aware of one Palestinian reported injured in the clashes.Judah Ari Gross contributed to this report.

UN Security Council to vote Friday on Syria ceasefire-Unclear whether Russia will veto resolution which demands 30-day pause in fighting to allow humanitarian aid and medical evacuations-By Carole LANDRY-TOI-FEB 25,18
UNITED NATIONS (AFP) — The UN Security Council will vote Friday on a draft resolution demanding a 30-day ceasefire in Syria to allow for humanitarian aid and medical evacuations.A slightly amended text was circulated to council members late Thursday but it was unclear whether Russia would support the measure which has been under negotiations for two weeks.The council will meet to vote at 1 p.m.Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia told a council meeting on Thursday that there was “no agreement” on a truce and presented a new raft of amendments.Negotiations have dragged on at the United Nations as hundreds of Syrians have died in a fierce government air campaign in the rebel-held enclave of Eastern Ghouta.Sweden and Kuwait presented the proposed measure on February 9 but have been unable to overcome resistance from Russia, Syria’s military ally.Diplomats said it was not known whether Russia would use its veto to block the draft resolution.The latest text softens language in a key provision to say that the council “demands” a ceasefire instead of “decides.”It also specifies that the ceasefire will not apply to “individuals, groups, undertakings and entities associated” with Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group. A previous version simply mentioned the two terror groups.More than 400 people have been killed in the five-day assault by the government on Eastern Ghouta, where UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said 400,000 Syrians are living in “hell on earth.”During the meeting called by Russia on Thursday, Nebenzia told the council that it should agree on a ceasefire that is “feasible” and not make decisions that are “severed from reality.”The ambassador circulated an amended text which specified that aid deliveries would happen “as security conditions permit” and added that “foreign military forces can operate in Syria only in coordination with its official authorities,” according to the document obtained by AFP.Those provisions were not however included in a new draft that followed last-ditch negotiations late Thursday.A Security Council diplomat earlier said “the Russian amendments are unacceptable.”-Russian responsibility-The United States, Britain and France have pushed for a quick vote to address the dire situation on the ground as Syrian warplanes pounded Eastern Ghouta.The US State Department said Russia had a “unique responsibility for what is taking place” in the rebel-held enclave near Damascus.“Without Russia backing Syria, the devastation and the deaths would certainly not be occurring,” spokeswoman Heather Nauert told journalists.Outside UN headquarters in New York, a coalition of aid groups put up three billboards, inspired by the film “Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri” that said “500,000 dead in Syria. And still no action? How come Security Council?”The draft resolution would pave the way for the truce to go into effect 72 hours after the adoption of the measure and for aid deliveries and medical evacuations to begin 48 hours after that.It demands the immediate lifting of all sieges including in Eastern Ghouta, Yarmouk, Foua and Kefraya and orders all sides to “cease depriving civilians of food and medicine indispensable to their survival.”In a concession to Russia, the draft was amended during tough-going negotiations last week to specify that the ceasefire does not apply to the Islamic State group or Al-Qaeda.That would allow the Syrian government offensive to continue against Al-Qaeda-linked jihadists in Idlib, the last province in Syria outside the control of Damascus.French Ambassador Francois Delattre warned that failure to act to help Eastern Ghouta would deal a blow to UN credibility and could sound “the death knell of the United Nations.”More than 340,000 people have been killed and millions driven from their homes in the war, which next month enters its eighth year with no end in sight.

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