Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Temple Mount

Reuters - Israel removes Jerusalem metal detectors, Palestinians reject new measures
Reuters reports: "Israel removed metal detectors from entrances to the Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem's Old City on Tuesday in favor of CCTV cameras, hoping to calm days of bloodshed, but Palestinians said the modified security measures were still unacceptable. [...] Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and the senior Muslim cleric who oversees Al-Aqsa compound both dismissed the new Israeli measures and demanded all of them be removed."

Comment: Well, there you go, the Palestinians will only be satisfied until all security is removed, allowing the site to once again be a staging area for attacks on Israelis. It's hard to imagine that anyone would find that an acceptable position, but of course, millions of Palestinian apologists will find nothing objectionable with that. The gunmen using the holy site as a staging area and refuge are not the problem, Israel trying to protect people, that is the problem. The real question for us is, will Jordan and Turkey welcome Israel's concession on the metal detectors or will they continue to incite the Arab masses with propaganda? Is the flame going out, or is this conflagration just getting started?

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Monday, July 24, 2017

Mark of the Beast

Wisconsin company hopes to offer microchip implants to employees - UPI.com
UPI reports: "A Wisconsin company wants to offer surgically implanted microchips for employees to make it easier to buy snacks in the break room. [...] the implanted microchip makes it easier for people to pay for items at work. Instead of looking for coins, cash or a credit card, they would only need to place their hand in front of a scanner and electronically pay for their item. The microchip would have other uses, as well, like serving as an electronic key to open doors and identify the user to login at a computer. [...] Approximately 50 Three Square Market employees have volunteered to have the microchip inserted. Westby said it is not mandatory."

Comment: This seems like a clever way to entice people with the novelty of it while desensitizing them to the extreme privacy threat posed by implanted chip tech. I love that line where the CEO says it's not mandatory and he left off the "yet" part, lol. I would like to think that Americans still retain enough of the independent spirit to ever go along with this kind of monitoring and control.

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Temple Mount

AP - The Latest: Israel to remove metal detectors from holy site
The AP reports: "Israel’s security cabinet has decided to remove metal detectors set up at the entrance to a Jerusalem holy site which had angered Muslims. It announced early Tuesday that “sophisticated technology” will be used instead of the devices. It did not elaborate on when the metal detectors would be removed or what would replace them. Israeli media earlier reported high resolution cameras capable of detecting hidden objects would be the alternative. It said Israel would boost forces in the area until the plan is implemented. Earlier Associated Press footage showed heavy machinery and workers heading to the entrance of the site. Israel erected the metal detectors after Arab gunmen killed two policemen from inside the shrine, holy to Muslims and Jews, earlier this month. The move incensed the Muslim world and triggered violence."

Israel to remove metal detectors at Al-Aqsa Mosque - UPI.com
UPI reports: "Israeli will remove metal detectors from a holy site in Jerusalem after days of protest from Muslims who were angered by the Israeli military-protected barriers, the government announced. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's cabinet said it agreed to accept the 'the recommendation of all the security bodies to change the inspection with metal detectors to a security inspection based on advanced technologies and other means' at the Al-Aqsa compound, which has been a hot-point of controversy and violence for several days. [...] The metal detectors were installed after three men shot two Jewish Israeli policemen on July 14 near the Lion's Gate."

Comment: It remains to be seen if this is a cave / compromise on Netanyahu's part or if the cameras are a valid replacement that will provide the security they need to prevent future attacks staged from within the compound. It also remains to be seen if this move will de-escalate the tensions that have risen all over the Arab world including in Jordan and Turkey. Stay tuned!

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Friday, July 21, 2017

Temple Mount

Yahoo News - Deadly stabbing, clashes as tensions rise over Jerusalem holy site
Yahoo News reports: "Three Israelis were stabbed to death and clashes left three Palestinians killed Friday as tensions rose over new security measures at a highly sensitive Jerusalem holy site where police restricted access for Muslim prayers. As Israeli and Palestinian leaders faced pressure to respond, Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas announced late Friday he was freezing contacts with Israel over the holy site dispute. The unrest came after Israeli ministers decided not to order the removal of metal detectors erected at entrances to the Haram al-Sharif compound, known to Jews as the Temple Mount, following an attack nearby a week ago that killed two policemen."

Comment: So, after the attack last week Israel installed metal detectors. This makes sense right, most sensitive sites in the developed world now have security. Do you think that the local Arab population will take this in stride? No, they are rioting. Even though it was Palestinians who caused this problem and a security setup is sensible, they are reacting as if it is Israel that is causing the problem. Typical. But here is the bottom line for us, the Temple Mount is once again becoming a flashpoint and possible source of conflict that can draw in many countries into war with Israel (not because the leaders want to, but because their people want it) and it once again firmly links the Temple Mount (and possible future Temple) as an item that must be addressed in the Mideast peace talks (Covenant with Many).

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Thursday, July 20, 2017

Wickedness Increases

Florida teens laugh and record man as he drowns, police say - UPI.com
UPI reports: "A group of Florida teens saw a man drowning in a pond and laughed at him as they recorded his death instead of trying to help, police said. The video shows the drowning death of Jamel Dunn, 31, of Cocoa, Fla. [...] According to Florida Today, the teens did not report the drowning to authorities. Instead, Dunn's fiancee filed a missing person's report when Dunn didn't come home and then found the video of him drowning on social media. Authorities went to the pond depicted in the video and found Dunn's badly decomposed body three days after his death."

Comment: How cold and heartless do people have to be to do that kind of thing, to show such disregard for another human being? Love grows cold indeed.

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Earthquake

6.7-magnitude earthquake kills 2, injures more than 100 in Greece and Turkey - UPI.com UPI reports: "A 6.7-magnitude earthquake hit popular tourist areas near several Greek islands and Turkey's Aegean coast, killing at least two people and injuring more than 100 others, according to reports. The U.S. Geological Survey, the earthquake had a depth of at least 10 km."

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Wednesday, July 19, 2017

War

U.S. report: Islamic State the biggest terror threat in 2016 - UPI.com
UPI reports: "Terrorism attacks are on the decline globally for the second year in a row, the State Department said in a report issued Wednesday. Terror attacks were down 9 percent in 2016 compared to the year before and deaths caused by terror attacks were down 13 percent, the report said. [...] Attacks happened in 104 countries in 2016, 55 percent of which happened in Iraq, Afghanistan, India, Pakistan and the Philippines. Seventy-five percent of terror attack deaths happened in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Nigeria and Pakistan. The Islamic State was the top terror threat in 2016, the State Department said, while al-Qaida also remained a threat."

Comment: Some interesting stats on the global war on terrorism in 2016. I think the Islamic State death-spiral will probably continue to  motivate lone wolf attacks in Europe and elsewhere and will likely mean that 2017 will surpass 2016 in the number of terror attacks.

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Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Covenant With Many

China's Xi pledges support to Palestine, two-state solution - UPI.com
UPI reports: "China supports a two-state solution in the Middle East and full sovereignty for Palestine, Chinese President Xi Jinping announced Tuesday. His remarks came as he met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Beijing. Abbas is on a four-day trip to China. China recognizes Palestine as a sovereign state, calling for Palestinian independence, with recognition of borders mandated in 1967 and a capital in East Jerusalem. The two leaders signed economic, technical, cultural and capacity-building cooperation agreements."

Comment: What is the leader of China doing getting mixed up in Middle East affairs, you ask? Over the last few years China has a emerged as a major trade partner for several Mideast countries, including Israel, with important trade relationships focused primarily on energy. China has also been building a modern version of the ancient "Silk Road" that will promote trade and development across the region. China, as unlikely as it seems, is on the way to becoming one of the important players in Mideast affairs. 

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Monday, July 17, 2017

War

U.N.: Civilian deaths hit record high in Afghanistan - UPI.com
UPI reports: "Civilian deaths in Afghanistan reached a record high during the first six months this year, the United Nations said Monday. Between Jan. 1 and June 30, there 1,662 civilians killed -- a 2 percent increase above the previous record over the same time last year, according to the U.N. mid-year report. Also, 3,581 people were injured this year, a 1 percent decline from 2016."

Comment: If you have been wondering how the war in Afghanistan has been going, this report has some stats for you.

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Friday, July 14, 2017

Temple Mount

Two police officers, three suspects killed in shooting at Jerusalem holy site - UPI.com
UPI reports: "Two police officers were shot and killed Friday as they patrolled the Temple Mount, Judaism's holiest site, in Jerusalem, Israeli authorities said. Three suspects, who allegedly opened fire at the officers, were themselves shot dead by police. [...] The entire 37-acre complex, visited by religious adherents and tourists, was closed Friday after the shootings."

Comment: After comments from Palestinian leaders denying a Jewish connection to the Temple Mount (the site of two past Jewish temples), is it any wonder that followers of a notorious religion would kill Jewish police officers on the sacred site? The amazing thing for us to note is how the Temple Mount remains a flash point, frozen in time between a dramatic past and an appointed future.

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Thursday, July 13, 2017

Persecution

AP - Fearing attacks, Egypt's churches suspend pilgrimages, trips
AP reports: "Egyptian churches on Thursday suspended pilgrimages, holidays and conferences for the remainder of July and August after authorities warned them about possible attacks by Islamic militants. [...] The militants have forced scores of Christian families to flee their homes in northern Sinai after killing several of them and have since December killed more than 100 people in four separate attacks targeting members of the ancient community. El-Sissi declared a nationwide state of emergency in April after suicide bombers targeted two churches north of Cairo. In May, militants killed about 30 Christians traveling on a back road as they approached a remote desert monastery south of Cairo."

Comment: These are dangerous times for Christians in Egypt. Please join me in praying for their safety and perseverance in faith.

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