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“Strong delusion” certainly now apparent … calling evil good, and good evil

To anyone who is paying any attention at all to what’s going on these days, one thing jumps out with screaming clarity:

The world just keeps on getting worse and worse.

There’s no nice way to say it—there’s no use trying to sugarcoat it or massage it to make things seem better. With each passing day, we see society spinning increasingly out of control and plunging into greater depths of deception and depravity. Of course, biblically knowledgeable believers aren’t exactly reeling in shock at this because we were warned in advance.

The apostle Paul minces no words in characterizing the way the world would become in the last days; and although the points he mentions have always been true to some extent, it’s hard to deny they are intensifying in concert with the fulfillment of other end-time prophecies:

1But know this, that in the last days, grievous times will come. 2For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3without natural affection, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, fierce, no lovers of good, 4traitors, headstrong, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God; 5holding a form of godliness, but having denied its power. Turn away from these, also.  (2 Timothy 3:1–5)

And voilà…here we are, at the doorstep of the Rapture and the ensuing Tribulation, and what do we see? Here are a few choice items that stand out, in my opinion:

• We see a hedonistic, atheistic society that revels in arrogantly mocking God and His Word and mercilessly lampooning anyone who dares to express differing sentiments.

• We see an utterly apostate corporate church elevating the Quran to the level of God’s Word, and promoting the twin heresies that we all worship the same God and there are many equally valid ways to come to Him.

• We see the liberal left having a full-blown meltdown over the election of a conservative president who, while certainly not perfect, at least openly espouses Judeo-Christian values and strongly supports the nation of Israel.

• We see the United States continuing to cave in to the LGBT agenda, including the legalization of homosexual “marriage;” anyone who deigns to disagree is promptly pilloried as a homophobic bigot. Check that—make that an unchristian homophobic bigot.

So what do we see? We see Isaiah 5:20 in action, that’s what we see:

20Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!  (Isaiah 5:20)

In other words, we see a world that is increasingly under the sway of delusion. Black is white. Up is down. Good is evil and evil is good.

Oh, and God is a mythical Magic Man in the Sky, Jesus never existed or was just a second-string prophet, the Bible is a collection of Bronze Age fairy tales, and the gospel is an absurd, politically incorrect fiction—and like I said, anyone who has the temerity to disagree is sure to be mocked and marginalized.

Speaking of delusions, there is a familiar passage of Scripture in the New Testament that states that God will cause a “strong delusion” to come upon men in the last days:  11And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie. (2 Thessalonians 2:11 AKJV)

Many Bible teachers and prophecy buffs today speculate about the nature of this delusion; but with the prophetic trigger finger many seem to have these days, it seems as if every time some form of deception grabs the headlines, there are those who holler “There ya go…strong delusion! That’s gotta be it!”  And with the sheer volume and degree of deception engulfing the world, there is certainly no shortage of things one can pin this delusion to.

For example, I’ve heard people teach that this delusion is the simple fact that the world today increasingly rejects the gospel, and refuses to avail themselves of the grace and mercy God expressed to man through Christ.

I’ve heard teachers I respect say that this delusion has to do with the Palestinian narrative, and that it’s the delusion that keeps the world supporting the poor, oppressed Palestinians who are simply trying to prevent the evil Zionists from illegally occupying “their” land.

I’ve even heard people opine that this delusion is what is currently afflicting the liberal left, and has sent them into a blind, seething rage over the election of Donald Trump. In other words, they suspect it’s actually what is known as Trump Derangement Syndrome, or TDS—and if the Kavanaugh hearings failed to erase any doubt in anyone’s mind that TDS is a real thing, then I don’t know what will.

Now, are all of these delusions? Oh, you bet they are. But are any of these the “strong delusion” of 2 Thessalonians 2:11?

I believe there are clues in Scripture that point us toward the precise nature of this delusion, and I believe those clues point straight to Satan’s man, the Antichrist.  I want to discuss one specific aspect of the Antichrist that I believe will be part and parcel of that strong delusion, and it concerns how the Antichrist will present himself to and be perceived by the world.

I trust you know me well enough by now to know that I am not given to the sort of glassy-eyed tinfoil-hattery that is so prevalent in certain excitable circles in the Church today (not to mention the world).  ‘Nuff said. As always, I want to state up front that these conclusions are my opinion, and are necessarily speculative in nature regardless of how much sense I think they make.

So, the Antichrist, fully empowered by Satan after the abomination of desolation, performs his lying signs and wonders, and then God sends a strong delusion upon mankind.

I believe one of the key points in determining the nature of the strong delusion of verse 11 is the question of why:

Why is God going to send this strong delusion?

If we go back and look at verses 10–12, we see that we are told the reason pretty much straight out:

10And with all delusion of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie. 12That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.  (2 Thessalonians 2:10–12 AKJV / emphasis added)

“And for this cause…”

For what cause? The cause Paul just stated:

“Because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.”

And the result?

“…they should believe a lie. That they all might be damned…”

So during the Tribulation, a large portion of mankind will still stubbornly refuse to believe the truth and be saved. Instead, they will take great pleasure in unrighteousness, and because of this God will send a strong delusion upon them so they will believe a lie and be damned.

And that leads us to the nature of the delusion. What’s the Big Lie? What will God cause them to believe? Again, let’s consider the reason for the delusion: Paul says it’s because they refused to receive the love of the truth. OK, what’s the truth? That’s easy:

6Jesus said to him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes to the Father, but by me.  (John 14:6 AKJV / emphasis added)

The truth is the fact that Jesus is the Son of God who stepped out of heaven and came to earth to die so that sinful men could live if they had faith in Him. The truth is that Jesus was crucified for the remission of sin and raised on the third day to give eternal life to those who believe in faith. The truth is the fact that trusting in Jesus’ finished work of atonement is the one and only way to come to the Father and be saved and eternally reconciled to a holy God. The truth is the gospel.

The truth is Christ.

And because during the Tribulation mankind has utterly and completely rejected this truth in spite of seeing the mighty hand of God move in judgment, God deliberately influences them to believe a lie.

OK, but what’s the lie?

We know from the Bible that God is just—His justice is perfect, and must be satisfied to the fullest. That’s why Christ had to die—He had to satisfy His Father’s perfect justice on our behalf. As we read the Bible, we see instances where God executes justice in some situation and it’s just so…perfect. Often breathtakingly so. We see this often enough throughout Scripture that it’s no stretch to say that God has an unparalleled sense of poetic justice.

At the Rapture, every single person on earth who believes that Jesus is the Son of God—the biblical Messiah sent to earth by God to redeem sinful men—and has trusted in His finished work of atonement for their salvation will be removed, leaving behind billions of people the book of Revelation refers to as “those who dwell upon the earth.” Yes, legions of people will repent and believe during the Tribulation, but they are those who will have to endure to the end to be saved (Matt. 24:13) and are not part of the Church.

Now, as far as God’s poetic justice is concerned, I for one definitely see it coming into play here. God is basically saying:  “You stubbornly refuse to believe the truth and be saved? OK, fine. Have it your way: Believe this and be damned.”

Note that it is the False Prophet who “gives life” to the image of the beast in the temple and causes it to speak, and he will be the one who requires the world to worship the Antichrist on pain of death during the Great Tribulation: 15And he [the False Prophet] had power to give life to the image of the beast, [the Antichrist] that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. (Revelation 13:15 AKJV / [comments] added)

There are a number of parallels at work here. For example, this is the reverse image of the role of the Holy Spirit, who glorifies the Son and who draws men to the real Savior to give them life. Also, we know Christ was sent into the world by His Father to save mankind from their sin—their spiritual condition. The Antichrist will present himself as the world’s “savior,” sent to save us from the folly of our own foolish, selfish actions—our temporal condition: war, hunger, poverty, pollution, man-made climate change, intolerance, injustice, overpopulation, Obamacare, etc.

So, consider the situation:

On the one hand, you have Jesus Christ, the real
Savior who was sent to save men from their spiritual
condition and who performs true signs and wonders and
who causes those who do worship Him as God to live.

On the other hand, you have the Antichrist, the false
savior who was sent to save men from their temporal
condition and who performs lying signs and wonders and
who causes those who don’t worship him as God to die.

The irony is nothing short of exquisite.

So, if God wanted to express a dose of His special brand of poetic justice, it seems pretty clear to me what He would do:

I believe He would send a strong delusion that would cause the stiff-necked people dwelling on the earth who had refused to accept the grace and mercy He expressed to them through the real Messiah and be saved, to believe the lie that the Antichrist is that Messiah and to foolishly worship him and be damned.

I believe that’s the fundamental lie. I think God will take the lie that the Antichrist really is the Messiah, who has been sent to “save” the world and so should be worshiped appropriately, and cause the world to swallow it hook, line, and sinker. He’ll make ’em gobble it up and ask for seconds.

Talk about poetic justice…I can scarcely think of anything more poetic.

I believe this is why billions will eagerly follow him and happily take his mark and become part of his global system. I believe membership in the Antichrist’s system will not only include some type of chip implant that will allow the recipient to be part of the global economic system, but I believe it will also come complete with genetic modification that will hold out the tantalizing promise of several centuries of relatively disease-free life.

No? Science fiction, you say? Don’t look now, but that type of precision gene-modification technology already exists and is developing with lightning speed, and people are already pondering the dizzying possibilities: Biotechnology has advanced so rapidly over the past few years that scientists can now edit the genomes of plants and animals with ever-increasing precision. Using new techniques like CRISP/Cas9, researchers have already shown they can alter genes to create hornless cattle or mushrooms that don’t brown easily.

But the really big question—the stuff of sci-fi—is whether we’ll use genome-editing tools on people to wipe out heritable diseases or to enhance human capabilities. It’s no longer a question of whether we’ll be able to create “designer babies”: The technology is improving at a stunning pace. Instead, it’s a question of whether we should. It’s an ethics question, a policy question.   — Brad Plumer, from an article posted on Vox [Source]

Think of it: If people were told that if they took the mark they would not only be able to do business and make money, but also live several hundred years relatively free of disease, you think they’d go for it? Oh yeah. But just like everything else Satan offers, it’s just another inferior counterfeit:

Living for several hundred years in a disease-free body is an inferior counterfeit for living for eternity in a glorified body, wouldn’t you agree?

Although the Big Lie is primarily that the Antichrist is in fact the Messiah, the “savior” sent to save us from a man-made apocalypse, I believe there is another key aspect to Satan’s man that is also part of this strong delusion.

You may have noticed that up to this point I’ve tried to be careful to say that the Antichrist would only demand the worship that rightly belongs to God. I never said he would claim to actually be God, as in the God of the Bible. And the reason is simple: I don’t believe he will.

Let’s settle one thing. We have no need to speculate as to exactly who or what the Antichrist is in reality, because the Bible makes it quite clear: He is (a) a mortal man who is (b) empowered by Satan to perform miracles to deceive people. That’s the long and the short of it.

Superman(a) He’s the man of sin—not the superman of sin, not the demigod of sin, not the Pleiadian of sin, ad infinitum, ad nauseam (2 Thess. 2:3).

(b) He will come with Satan’s power to perform deceptive wonders (2 Thess. 2:9). He will have mighty, wondrous power, but it won’t be his own power (Dan. 8:24). That power will come from another source, namely Satan.

So the question isn’t who or what the Antichrist really is, because God’s Word tells us. The question is what he will claim to be, and what the world will be duped into perceiving him to be as part of the strong delusion.

For more, let’s take a trip back in time to a sleepy little town in the American Southwest.

On July 7, 1947, W.W. Brazel, a rancher who lived in the Roswell, New Mexico area, reported to Sheriff George Wilcox that a couple of weeks earlier he and his young son had stumbled across what appeared to be some type of wreckage on a sheep ranch a few miles outside of Roswell. According to Brazel, the wreckage included pieces of rubber, wood, tinfoil, paper, and tape (no metal). The sheriff called the RAAF (Roswell Army Air Field), and they sent intelligence officer Major Jesse Marcel out to have a look. Marcel jumped to the conclusion that Brazel had found the wreckage of a “flying saucer,” as he chose to describe it.

Reality check: OK, so let me get this straight: A highly advanced race of aliens flew scores of light years across the galaxy in a craft that was the product of technology beyond our comprehension…a craft that was made of rubber, wood, tinfoil, paper, and tape (no metal). Right. Now you know why the story required just a wee bit of embellishment.

Now, in all fairness to Major Marcel, there actually had been a bit of buzz in the Roswell area recently because a trusted local couple had reported seeing some kind of glowing disk fly over their house the previous week. So, it’s safe to say that Marcel had the notion of “flying disks” in the back of his mind when he went out to investigate the mysterious wreckage.

It seems Marcel put two and two together and got the idea into his head that this wreckage might actually be that of the reported “flying disk,” and said as much to his group commander, who said as much to the press officer on duty, who released a statement that said as much to the local newspaper that ​afternoon. The following day, on July 8, the headline in the Daily Record read:  RAAF Captures Flying Saucer on Ranch in Roswell Region

What is not quite as well known, however, is that later the previous day the Army had reported that the wreckage was most likely from a crashed weather balloon, and Brazel said he was embarrassed to have gotten so excited over nothing. A retraction was printed in the paper the following day, and ordinarily that almost certainly would have been the end of ​it.

But that was one genie that was never going back into the bottle. The story began to circulate, and it was off to the races. The UFO/alien narrative was conceived and it wasn’t long before it began to take on a life of its own as a full-blown conspiracy theory, complete with alien bodies and damaged alien spacecraft being spirited off to a mysterious, top-secret Area 51 in Nevada.

Over the years, every jot and tittle of the original story—every scrap, every detail, every word of every interview with anybody who knew or had seen anything (not to mention some who knew or had seen nothing) was sliced, diced, puffed, spun, gussied up, dramatized, magnified, amplified, fancified, blow-dried, and put under a microscope until the desired narrative began to assume some semblance of plausibility. People become obsessed with the notion of aliens and were determined to find a way to make it all true.

Alien saying shhhhh!Then the narrative was topped off with a breathtaking (and conveniently non-falsifiable) tale of a massive government cover-up to desperately hide the truth that we were in fact being visited by aliens from outer space, and the mantra of UFO devotees became encapsulated in the tagline of the popular television series The X-Files:  The truth is out there.

(Yes, the truth is out there, and the truth is the cold, hard, simple fact that there are no aliens and never were.​ Sorry.)

Pie tins and swamp gas: So, does this mean that many thousands of people who have seen UFOs are all crazy? Are they all lying? Is every single photo or video of a purported UFO fake? Is every single report a hoax? Just pie tins and swamp gas? No. I am convinced some (not all, but some) of the UFO evidence is real and compelling. But if there are no aliens (and there aren’t), and people really are seeing something (and they are), then what exactly are people seeing? Here is my detailed response to this question, and the answer just might surprise you.

For years, devotees scoffed at the idea that the wreckage was that of a crashed weather balloon, but in fact the scoffers were right. It wasn’t. Several decades later, the Air Force (which was formed in September 1947, two months after the Roswell incident) finally revealed that the wreckage had been of a highly sensitive “tracking balloon,” the result of a then top-secret project ​that was intended to develop a special type of ​balloon that could be flown at extremely high altitudes over the Soviet Union to detect the detonation of nuclear devices.

Although the Soviets wouldn’t conduct their first successful test of a nuclear device until August 1949, by 1947 the U.S. was well aware the Soviets were aggressively pursuing a nuclear weapons program and was determined to keep tabs on their progress. This is a big part of the reason that as soon as the dust settled from WWII, the Cold War blossomed into a hot topic.

Unfortunately, however, by the time the government got around to revealing that information, all it did was reinforce the widespread notion that the U.S. government was involved in a conspiracy to hide the truth that aliens had visited and were continuing to visit earth.

To its credit, Hollywood took notice. Prior to the incident in Roswell in July 1947, there had never been a single movie that featured the idea of aliens coming to earth. Not one. The closest any movie came was a German silent film made in 1920 called Algol: Tragedy of Power, which featured an alien who lived in the depths of a coal mine; but there is nothing about him actually coming to earth. The last movie made prior to Roswell that contained any mention of extraterrestrials at all was Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe (1940), and in that film our man Flash ventures into space to kick butt and take names—but not a single alien comes to earth.

But after Roswell? Oh, baby. Before you could say “pass the popcorn” the screenplays were pouring in, and within three years a new movie genre was off and running. In the seven years prior to Roswell, not one movie had been made dealing with extraterrestrials. Zero. In the seven years following Roswell, there were 31, including such classics as The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951), It Came from Outer Space (1953), and The War of the Worlds (1953), all three of which featured aliens invading earth ​(as did the majority of the rest), and their popularity at the box office showed Hollywood the public was hungry for more. The bottom line is clear:  After the summer of 1947, UFOs and aliens were here to stay.

Since then, the existence of extraterrestrials has come to be assumed as a virtual scientific fact, and the idea that at least one of those advanced alien races somewhere out there has not only visited earth but continues to do so is routinely accepted by many people today. For the majority of the world, the disclosure of alien contact isn’t a question of if, but when.

But what, you may be wondering, does any of this have to do with ​end-time prophecy or the Antichrist? Hold that thought.

Coincidentally enough, something else of significance was happening in 1947 besides somebody in the American Southwest mistakenly believing they had stumbled across the wreckage of an alien spacecraft.

For more, let’s take a trip back in time to a not-so-sleepy patch of scorched earth in the Middle East.

Eretz-Israel

I’d like to think everyone reading this is aware that Israel was re-established as a nation in 1948 in a stunning fulfillment of Bible prophecy—the super sign that launched the unfolding of the end-time scenario.

I’d also like to think you’re smart enough to realize that someone didn’t just wake up one morning in 1948 and suddenly announce out of the blue sky:  “Hey, I’ve got an idea! Why don’t we declare Israel as an independent nation today? Yeah, that’ll work.”

…and wow, nobody saw it coming! The full story of the events that led up to this monumental event are obviously beyond the scope of this article, but at the very least I want to communicate to you a general sense of what was happening around the time frame of the summer of 1947.

In the years leading up to WWII, the persecution of Jews was increasing in many European countries, and at the same time the countries of the world were closing their doors to Jewish immigration. As illegal immigration of Jews into Palestine increased, the British (who were in charge under the British Mandate) decided to close Palestine to Jewish immigration as well. Thus by the time WWII began, it was only half-jokingly observed that for Jews in Europe, the world was divided into places where they could not live and places where they could not enter.

During the Holocaust, a systematic effort was carried out to kill every Jew in Europe, resulting in the death of six million people of Jewish extraction. After the war, the British were confronted with increasing waves of illegal immigration of Jews they could scarcely contain, increasing anger from Arabs in Palestine as a result, and an increase of acts of terror carried out by Zionist insurgency groups in their effort to drive the British out.

To top it off, the U.S. Congress was highly critical of the heavy-handed British response to the bombing of the British Military Headquarters in Tel Aviv by radical Zionist insurgents in July of 1946, and as a result delayed loans to Britain that were sorely needed for the nation’s post-war recovery. Thus, by the end of 1946, the situation was clear:

The Jews wanted the Brits out.
The Arabs wanted the Brits out.
The Brits wanted the Brits out.

Although Britain had formally ruled Palestine under the British Mandate since 1923, Palestine had become an exceedingly hot potato, and the British were desperately looking for someone to toss it to. The Brits wanted out of Palestine, Mandate or no Mandate.

Enter the United Nations.

The world body known as the United Nations was only 18 months old when, on April 2, 1947, Britain requested that the “question of Palestine” be handed over to the fledgling General Assembly. Like any world body worth its salt, the UN promptly formed a committee: the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine (UNSCOP). By July of that year, after traveling to Palestine and meeting with Jewish and Zionist delegations (the Arabs boycotted the whole thing), UNSCOP agreed with the proposal of the Orthodox Jewish (Haredi) party, who proposed that an independent Jewish state be established after a religious status quo agreement could be reached regarding such a future state.

UNSCOP proposed in their majority report to the UN that both independent Arab and Jewish states be created, with Jerusalem held under an International Trusteeship System. Finally, on November 29, 1947, the UN passed the now-famous Resolution 181, in which they adopted UNSCOP’s majority report with a few minor modifications. At the same time, Britain formalized their already widely known intention to terminate the British Mandate, and announced to the UN they would do so no later than August 1, 1948—and a short while later they moved that date up to May 15. True to their word, the last British troops left Haifa on May 14, 1948.

So, at 4:00 p.m. that same afternoon, with the British Mandate ready to officially expire in about eight hours, David Ben-Gurion convened a meeting of the Jewish People’s Council at the Tel Aviv Museum, in which he made his historic declaration:

Accordingly we, members of the People’s Council, representatives of the Jewish Community of Eretz-Israel and of the Zionist Movement, are here assembled on the day of the termination of the British Mandate over Eretz-Israel and, by virtue of our natural and historic right and on the strength of the resolution of the United Nations General Assembly, hereby declare the establishment of a Jewish state in Eretz-Israel, to be known as the State of Israel.

The super sign was fulfilled, and the curtain came up on the final act of end-time prophecy.

Putting the pieces together

OK, so what’s up with the Reader’s Digest history lesson?

First of all, understand that Satan cannot see the future. He is certainly not omniscient—only God can make that claim. Satan had no way of knowing for sure when the prophecy of Israel’s re-establishment as a nation would be fulfilled, so he had to pay close attention and keep his hand on the throttle. He knew that when that did occur, the clock would begin ticking on his (grand but futile) efforts to wipe out Israel and thus force the cancellation of the Second Coming, and that he would have no time to waste in making preparations for his grandiose plan.

Although it could be said that events were already moving in that direction, it was around July of 1947, when UNSCOP began to take a favorable view of the idea of establishing an independent Jewish state, that you might say that the handwriting was finally on the wall. Satan could see that the British had turned Palestine over to the UN and that they were ready to bail, and that the UN would be inclined to agree with its own committee’s report that was favorable to the formation of such a Jewish state.

Now, maybe it’s just me, but I think it’s extremely interesting that right about the same time that it was becoming clear that Israel would finally become a nation again for real, over on the other side of the world a U.S. military officer was jumping to the errant conclusion that some scattered debris consisting of rubber, wood, tinfoil, paper, and tape constituted “proof” that an alien spacecraft had crashed on a sheep ranch in New Mexico, thus igniting the rise of the UFO/alien narrative.

Incidentally, there is something that should be noted in relationship to the Roswell incident. In the summer of 1947, about the time Satan knew that Israel was going to become a nation again, and thus knew it was time to trigger his UFO/alien narrative, ask yourself:  Do you think Satan knew the wreckage of that top-secret tracking balloon was lying on the ground on a sheep in New Mexico?

You bet he did. He knew precisely when and where that thing crashed—and he saw his opening. Understand that so-called UFOs are a demonic phenomenon, and so they appear wherever, whenever, and in whatever form Satan chooses (if you doubt what I say, take the time to read the section of one of my previous articles I linked to above). Now ask yourself:  How difficult do you think it would be for Satan (who knew the military would have no choice but to disseminate disinformation to protect a top-secret project) to arrange for a “flying disk” to be seen by the just the right people in just the right location at just the right time to kick-start all the fuss in Roswell?

Are you kidding? A walk in the park…and oh my, how convenient.

Then again, maybe it’s all just a bizarre coincidence.

I think the answer is clear—it was all part of the plan, and this is how I would summarize things:

First of all, like many others, I believe the man who will become the Antichrist will be a rising leader on the world scene who talks big talk, appears to have all the answers, and swiftly rises to power through intrigue. At some point before or during this process we will be raptured, and as a result the world will be turned upside-down and shaken as a frightened and confused population desperately seeks answers.

At some point after the Rapture, he will confirm (or strengthen or implement) a treaty between Israel and the surrounding Arab nations that will divide the land of Israel, a treaty I believe will allow the Jews to fulfill their national dream of building their highly anticipated Third Temple. This treaty will start the clock on the seven-year Tribulation, and things will begin to pick up steam.

Since he will be the one who made it possible for them to build the Third Temple, the Antichrist will be hailed and embraced by the nation of Israel as their long-awaited Messiah. But at the midpoint of the Tribulation, possibly after being “resurrected” from a head wound, he will become fully empowered by Satan, enter the temple and commit the abomination of desolation by erecting his image in the Holy of Holies. The False Prophet will cause the image to speak, and he will compel the world to worship the Antichrist as God on pain of death.

Following the abomination of desolation, I believe that Satan is going to present his chosen leader the Antichrist to the world as someone who is in contact with and/or being supported by an alien race, presumably a benevolent one that has come to help us, and possibly defend us from some dire threat. That will explain his powers—I believe the Antichrist will appear to be one who has been imbued with these powers by that alien race to lead our battered planet and its beleaguered population into its long-awaited New Age and the next step up in human evolution.

And will the world fall for it? Yes, they will, thanks to the strong delusion God will send upon them, which will make the world believe the biggest lie from the biggest liar in the history of the universe. For most of the world, it will seem compellingly proper and perfectly sensible that they should worship their amazing new leader as God.

And worship him they will.

 

[From an article published by Greg Lauer on his website A LITTLE STRENGTH.com]

 

……………………………………………………..

 

As always, posted for your edification and enlightenment by

NORM ‘n’ AL, Minneapolis
normal@usa1usa.com
612.239.0970

 

 

 

 

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Palestinians have an excellent opportunity for peace in Jerusalem…but what will they do with it?

For decades now, Palestinians have interpreted Israeli concessions and gestures as signs of weakness.

This fact is important to bear this in mind as the US administration prepares to launch its plan for peace in the Middle East, which President Donald Trump has referred to as the “deal of the century.”

A report in the Israeli daily Ma’ariv on May 4th claimed that the “deal of the century” calls for placing four Arab neighborhoods in Jerusalem under the control of the Palestinian Authority. The four neighborhoods, according to the report, are Jabal Mukaber, Essawiyeh, Shu’fat and Abu Dis. Ma’ariv wrote that the details of the US peace plan were presented to Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman during his visit to Washington last week:

“The principles of the peace plan, which were presented to Liberman, include, among other things, large-scale and significant concessions on the part of Israel… the US expects Israel to accept the plan and to come to terms with what the Israelis perceive as painful concessions.”

If true, the reported concessions that Israel is being asked to make as part of the US administration’s “deal of the century” will not be perceived by the Palestinians as a sign that Israel seeks peace. As the past has proven, they will be viewed by the Palestinians as a form of retreat and capitulation.

The Palestinian Authority would be happy to assume control over the four Arab neighborhoods in Jerusalem. As far as the PA is concerned, the more territory it is handed by Israel, the better. Territory in Jerusalem is especially welcome as it would give the Palestinian Authority a foothold in the city. A foothold, that is, for much, much more.

The four neighborhoods are only a few miles away from the Knesset, the Prime Minister’s Office and other symbols of Israeli sovereignty. Thus, Palestinian sovereignty over the four neighborhoods is of symbolic importance. Make no mistake: the Palestinians will see their presence in the four neighborhoods as the first step towards the redivision of Jerusalem.

The Palestinians will say that these Israeli concessions are not enough. They will demand that Israel hand them control over all 28 Arab neighborhoods and villages that are located within the boundaries of the Jerusalem Municipality and are under Israeli sovereignty. In other words, the handing over of the four communities will only whet the Palestinians’ appetite and drive them to demand more. The Palestinians will argue that Israel has now created a precedent that needs to be followed by further concessions.

Here, it is worth noting that the Palestinian Authority is demanding sovereignty over all of east Jerusalem, including the Old City and the Western Wall. For them, the Old City and all the holy sites in Jerusalem belong to the Palestinians and should all be under Palestinian sovereignty. They will take the four neighborhoods, but that will just be the beginning. Even worse, the Palestinians are likely to use the four neighborhoods as launching pads to carry out terror attacks against Israel to “liberate the rest of Jerusalem.”

Let us consider what happened in 2005, when Israel unilaterally withdrew from the Gaza Strip after evicting more than 8,000 Jews from their homes and destroying more than 20 settlements.

Even today, it is hard to find a single Palestinian who regards the Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip as an indication that Israel wants peace. On the contrary. The Israeli “disengagement” from the Gaza Strip was misinterpreted by the Palestinians as a retreat in the face of suicide bombings and rocket attacks.

For the Palestinians, the Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip was perceived as a capitulation that emboldened Hamas and other terror groups. These groups took credit for “driving the Jews out of the Gaza Strip” through terrorism.

If shooting Israelis worked and drove the Israelis to retreat, good: Keep doing it!

It is no wonder, then, that Hamas won the Palestinian parliamentary election a few months later. Hamas ran in the January 2006 election on a platform that boasted that it had forced Israel to “flee” the Gaza Strip through suicide and rocket attacks.

Back then, Palestinians in the Gaza Strip said: “This is wonderful, we have killed 1,000 Jews in four years and these Jews run away from the Gaza Strip, so we need to continue shooting at them. Today, they run away from the Gaza Strip. Tomorrow they will run away from Ashkelon, then from Ashdod, then from Tel Aviv, and from there to the sea, and we will achieve our goal of eliminating Israel.”

Needless to say, Hamas and its supporters continued to launch attacks against Israel after the Israeli withdrawal to the international border. They truly believed that the Israeli “disengagement” was nothing but surrender in the face of violence.

The talk now about an Israeli withdrawal from parts of Jerusalem will bring us back to the Gaza Strip scenario.

First, no Palestinian will see such a step as a positive gesture on the part of Israel.

Second, why would anyone think that these neighborhoods will not fall into the hands of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad in the future?

That is exactly what happened in 2005, when Israel handed the Gaza Strip over to the Palestinian Authority, which later ran away, and handed it over to Hamas.

The timing of the proposed Israeli concessions is also highly problematic. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and his Ramallah-based government and associates are currently engaged in an unprecedented campaign of incitement against Israel.

They are continuing to spread venomous lies about Israel and incite their people to hate and violence. They are continuing to reward terrorists and their families for killing and maiming Jews. They are continuing to deny any Jewish history and connection to the land, and they are doing their utmost to delegitimize and demonize Jews.

Any Israeli concessions, particularly at this stage, will be interpreted by the Palestinians as a reward to Mahmoud Abbas and his crowd, who are not being required to give Israel anything in return.

Hardly a day passes without Abbas reminding us that he is not a partner for any peace agreement with Israel. Is it wise to reward Abbas now that he has exposed his true anti-Semitism? Is it appropriate to give Abbas a foothold in Jerusalem after he recently claimed that it was, according to him, the Jews’ behavior, and not anti-Semitism, that caused the Holocaust?

Is it appropriate and helpful to reward Abbas at a time when he is refusing to stop payments to Palestinian terrorists and their families?

Moreover, is it appropriate and helpful to reward Abbas and his Palestinian Authority at a time when they are continuing to incite their people against the US administration and its Jewish advisors, Jason Greenblatt, David Friedman and Jared Kushner? Does the Palestinian Authority deserve to be rewarded for its daily incitement against US Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley?

There is a saying in Arabic: “They spit in his face but he calls it rain.”

Haven’t the Palestinians already dismissed President Trump’s plan as a “conspiracy aimed at liquidating the Palestinian cause and national rights?” Why should the Trump administration give Abbas gifts at a time when he and his friends are boycotting US officials?

The Trump administration needs to understand that the Palestinians view the US as an enemy, not as a friend. Giving Abbas control over four Arab neighborhoods in Jerusalem will not advance the cause of peace.

No Palestinian will take to the streets to express gratitude to Israel. Instead, they will take to the streets to intensify their terror attacks on Israel in the hope of extracting further concessions.

Abbas has proven that he is no different than his predecessor, Yasser Arafat. Like Arafat, he too does not recognize Jews’ right to the land, any land. Just look at any current map of “Palestine”: it is an exact duplicate of the map of Israel, but with the names of some cities changed.

Abbas does not aim for control over some areas just in Jerusalem. For Abbas, as for Arafat, Israel is one big settlement that needs to be removed. For him, in his own words, Israel is a “colonial project” that he claims has nothing to do with Judaism. For him, the Jews are nothing more than the greedy moneylenders, parodied in caricatures, who brought the Holocaust on themselves.

Is this a man who deserves to be rewarded? Is this a man who deserves to be brought into Jerusalem? Abbas, and not Israel, ought to be asked for concessions. He should stop denying and distorting Jewish history, he should stop rewarding Jew-killers; he should stop preaching hate to his people. That is the best path to peace.

 

[From an article written by Bassam Tawil for The Gatestone Institute.  Bassam Tawil is a Muslim based in the Middle East.]

 

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As always, posted for your edification and enlightenment by

NORM ‘n’ AL, Minneapolis
normal@usa1usa.com
612.239.0970

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While the West is obsessed with Russia, it is being devoured from within by Salafist, Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist terror cells which are forming an alliance against democracy with Antifa and Black Lives Matter

The West continues to enjoy playing “Russian Roulette”

 

While the West is busy hunting “Russian witches,” its sworn enemies devour it alive from within.

In 1986, the manager of the largest state company in France, Eurodif Georges Besse, arrived at his office as usual. When he got out of his car, he was shot at point-blank range by unknown people on a motorcycle. Initially the authorities accused the left radical Action Directe, but very soon the intelligence service found the Iranian trace.

The Iranians, who owned shares of Eurodif, demanded Paris pay them the dividends that were frozen after the Islamic revolution. The murder of Besse was a blatant threat and it worked. France not only failed to expel Iranian diplomats, but paid Tehran more than $1.6 billion in 1991.

Politics of the West is determined by the dominant discourse. That is why the murder of Besse remained unnoticed and unpunished, but the case of Skripal (very doubtful in itself) led to a mass hysteria.

Western political consciousness is schematic and one-sided. It forms its own Manichean mythology with ominous forces, martyrs, cunning conspirators and innocent victims. What can be a better illustration of this perception of the world than the blind faith that even now, after the collapse of the Arab world, it is the “Israeli occupation” that remains the source of all troubles in the Middle East and in the world?

I am not a supporter of the current regime in the Kremlin, and in Russia I would choose to vote for Ksenia Sobchak. I’m extremely disgusted by the murderous manipulations in the east of Ukraine. I’m alarmed by the military hysteria and whitewashing of such monstrosities as Stalin and Ivan the Terrible. I am worried that national consciousness is carrying the idea of future tyranny.

However it is also obvious to me that Russia was chosen for the role of the universal villain long before the case of Skripal. Bombing Serbia, provocative expansion of NATO to the East, the missile defense complex in Poland, absurd campaigns for rights of LGBT in Russia, blaming Russia for all failures and misfortunes – from hackers who allegedly changed the course of the elections in the US to “Brexit” – Russia has been demonized on the most trivial pretext.

Putin wouldn’t be able to destroy the West, even if he wanted to. He has no tools for this: neither a radical ideology like the communist one, nor the “Trojan horse” as a bearer of such ideology.

However, such ideology and its bearers exist in other countries that are eager to conquer the West. Alien trans-territorial entities have been formed in its body: nests of hatred, ignorance and fanaticism controlled by Islamists – the Muslim Brotherhood (MB), Salafis and Shiite Hezbollah. All of them are presented by political movements and parties. All of them are financed by Turkey, Iran and Qatar. Like a wasp larva in the body of a living victim, they poison and devour their carrier from inside.

According to Sweden’s Civil Contingencies Agency dated March 2017, MB controls the Muslim community. In December 2017, Chief Prosecutor Lise Tamm compared the Stockholm suburb of Rinkeby with the so called “war zones” in Columbia occupied by drug dealers, criminal bands and insurgent groups.

The representative of the Danish “Venstre” party, Preben Bang Henriksen, said that in terms of safety the situation was the worst after WWII.

In August, German BfV claimed that Salafists were preparing local Muslims for disorders that would be accompanied by group and individual terrorism. Muslim bikers and “Sharia police” patrol streets of cities in the name of fighting against islamophobia.

“…We see it (Islamist terrorism) as one of the biggest threats facing the internal security of Germany,” said Hans-Georg Maassen, head of the German Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution.

Still, they are afraid of Russian hackers in the Bundestag.

It is not Putin, it is Erdogan who promised Europe “religious wars”, and it is not Russians, Germans and Jews, but Muslims, who will become “cannon fodder” in these wars.

It was not Moscow, it was Tehran and Hezbollah that created the Shia network in Germany with a center in Hamburg and “sleeping cells” in North Rhine-Westphalia.

In France, Union des Organisations Islamiques de France (UOIF) and its mother organization Federation of Islamic Organizations in Europe (FIOE) are branches of MB.

In October 2016, a youth gang besieged the Hélène-Boucher school in Seine-Saint-Denis. They attacked the building with firebombs and beat the director. Yacine, 21 years old, a student at the University of Paris, said: “This is a warning. These young people don’t act spontaneously; they attack institutions, the State itself.” Did anybody listen to her?

It was Qatar, not Russia, that invested 50 million Euro for establishing Sharia in French cities in 2012. Qatari Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani subsidizes radical groups all over the world.

“Everyone knows that all mosques in Brussels are in the hands of Salafists”, said former Brussels mayor Yvan Mayeur. In Molenbeek alone, there are 51 organizations connected with terrorism.

The new Muslim party “Be.One” headed by Lebanese founder of the European Arab League Dyab Abou Jahjah is a branch of Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party – abbreviated officially AK Parti in Turkish,- a part of MB. The same can be said about Denk Party in Holland.

The Austrian Party Neue Bewegung für die Zukunft (New Movement for the Future) is the “fifth column” of the new Turkish sultan, and he doesn’t even hide it.

Pakistan-born journalist Shams Ul-Haq lived in asylum homes across the country under the guise of a migrant. He said that Salafists invaded minds of migrants and triggered religious hatred by recruiting them into militias.

Sebastian Kurtz is one of the few Western leaders who understands that it is they, not Putin, who represent a strategic threat to his country.

In Spain, which is still called Andalus by Arabs, back in 1985, Saudis opened the Islamic Cultural Center (Madrid), which was the Europe’s second largest mosque after the the Islamic Center of Malaga, and launched a new TV Channel Córdoba TV. The Sheikh of Qatar is planning to buy the famous La Monumental Arena in Barcelona to turn it into the Europe’s biggest mosque. UAE subsidized the building of the Great Mosque of Granada, and Kuwait is funding the construction of mosques in Reus and Torredembarra.

Iran subsidizes the popular left-wing radical party “Podemos.”   Is this also the Kremlin’s hand?

According to a report by the Henry Jackson Society dated July 2017, Middle Eastern countries provide financial support to mosques and Islamic educational institutions in the UK. Tom Brake, a Liberal Democrat and foreign affairs spokesman, said that Saudi Arabia funded hundreds of Wahhabist mosques in the country. A counterinsurgency expert, Tom Collins, warned about the MB danger. He called it a terrorist organization and underlined that Qatar funded the organization. According to the Jenkins Commission report, MB is a dangerous and violence-prone organization threatening the national interests of the country.

Britain is building an alliance against Moscow.

In the US they found out about MB plans back in 1991 after one of their activists had written a memorandum about civilized jihad in America. MB’s activity is still a mystery. “I’ve been studying the Brotherhood for 15 years,” says Lorenzo Vidino, director the Program on Extremism at George Washington University.  “I maybe understand 10 percent of how it works,” adding that “… it is clearly linked to the Brotherhood abroad” .

MB in USA is closely connected to the Holy Land Foundation, which transferred funds to Hamas.  MB is also represented by CAIR, which was declared a terrorist group in UAE. In 2008 FBI Special Agent Lara Burns labeled CAIR a front group for Hamas, and in January 2009 the FBI’s DC cut ties with CAIR.

However MB hasn’t been banned and is forming an alliance against American democracy together with Antifa and Black Life Matters.  At same time Iran and Hezbollah founded a branched network in Latin America and US. “…Hezbollah is determined to give itself a potential homeland option as a critical component of its terrorism playbook,”  said Nicholas Rasmussen, Director of National Counterterrorism Center, after recent arrests of alleged “Hezbollah” operatives in New York and Michigan.

Nevertheless the US continues to be obsessed with “hunting Russian witches”.

Allow me to remind you of something.

Not in Moscow, but in Teheran, homosexuals are hanged on construction cranes.

Not in St. Petersburg, but in Istanbul, journalists, teachers, professors and public figures are rotting alive in jails.

Not in Russia, but in Iran, political prisoners are raped in prisons.

Not Russia, but Turkey, carries out ethnic cleansing of Kurds.

Not in Russia, but in Qatar, they established an institute of badly disguised slavery.

It is not Russia regularly provoking NATO members, it is Turkey doing this to Greece and Cyprus. The West forgives them all of their abominations.

Four centuries ago, the West did everything to undermine Byzantium and achieved its goal. Half a century later, however, the Ottoman Muslim hordes stood right under the gates of Vienna.

It appears”Russian Roulette” will always be a favorite game of the West.

 

[From an article written by Alexander Maistrovoy and published by ISRAEL NATIONAL NEWS]

 

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As always, posted for your edification and enlightenment by

NORM ‘n’ AL, Minneapolis
normal@usa1usa.com
612.239.0970

 

 

 

 

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Insight from a keen Israeli observer as to the potential for a positive Middle East outcome…

This article is written in the midst of a fierce war between Israel and Hamas which is taking place inside the Gaza Strip as well in Israeli cities and communities.

As I write this I am fully aware of the fact that the situation is completely fluid. Any minute now something could happen that could change everything, and we may find ourselves in a totally different situation going in a completely different direction. It is very possible that the fighting will escalate. It is also possible that a cease fire will be achieved. That being said, I would like to share with you some reflections and thoughts regarding the potential ramifications of the current violent round.

I believe that this round offers both Israelis and Palestinians a potential for a positive strategic change.

The current round is very different from the previous rounds in its course, intensity, and circumstances. Due to these reasons, and other factors, the current environment, and the possible outcomes and ramifications of this round, are substantially different than in previous rounds.

In my article Mukawama, Money, Missiles (July 15, 2014), I described the circumstances and the reasons for Hamas’ decision to launch this violent round. Hamas initiated this round because they found themselves in a deepening crisis. And, as of now, it seems like Hamas’ decision has only resulted in the deepening of its crisis.

Why?

Hamas’ modus operandi is based upon three major components:

The first is creating a Fear Deterrence. The second is the ideological justification. The third is legitimacy. The current round has created substantial rifts within Hamas’ modus operandi all of which present a substantial challenge to Hamas.

I will go through and elaborate on each one.

The Fear Deterrence. The deterrence based on fear is built on two major components. One is terrorizing Israeli civilians by shooting rockets on Israeli cities and digging tunnels into Israeli territory to be used to kill and kidnap Israeli civilians and soldiers. The second component is Hamas’ assumption that given Israel’s enormous sensitivity to the loss of life – especially the lives of Israeli soldiers – Israeli governments will avoid massive military ground operations inside the Gaza Strip. Hamas’ deterrence based on fear has been broken in this round. The Israeli “Iron Dome” successfully intercepts Hamas’ rockets and the Israeli government – backed by a strong and decisive Israeli public – launched a massive ground operation fighting Hamas militants in the massively fortified strongholds that Hamas built in urban areas inside, and underneath, the Gaza Strip.

Ideological Justification. Hamas bases its activity and path on the concept known in the Arab world as “Al-Mukawamah” – “The Resistance.”

“The Resistance” ideology envisions the creation of a new political structure in the Arab world guided by the following core values: Eradicating Western influence in the region; making the Islamic religion the most dominant identity that defines Arab societies; and most importantly, the unrelenting struggle against Israel until it is eliminated.

Over the past decades the concept of “The Resistance” gained growing popularity in the Arab world. Organizations like Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah, and others – as well as their sponsors – Assad in Syria and mostly the Iranian regime – who operate under the slogan of “The Resistance,” were praised and admired in the Arab world. The war in Syria has changed that.

The fact that the admired symbols of “The Resistance” – Hezbollah, Assad, and the Iranian regime are responsible for the killing of more than 170,000 Syrians – of whom fifty percent are civilians – caused many people in the Arab world to view “The Resistance” totally differently.

Many Arab thinkers, public opinion shapers and journalists now view “The Resistance” as a deception, a trap that the Arab world fell into misled cynically by the Iranian regime.

As a result, the glory of “The Resistance” is now stained. The admiration for Assad, Nasrallah and other figures identified with “The Resistance” was replaced with hatred. Hamas, an important member of that axis, also found itself under growing pressure and criticism. The Arab world cannot forget the fact Hamas was a member in the Shiite coalition that is responsible for ruining Syria and killing Syrian Sunnis, as well as Palestinians. Nor does the Arab world forget the fact that Hamas – in the name of “The Resistance” – took over the Gaza Strip in a violent coup (June 2007) killing his Palestinian brothers. And, finally, the Arab world does not forget the fact that under the rule of Hamas, the life of almost 2,000,000 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip became an ongoing story of misery. As far as the Arab world is concerned, the slogan of “The Resistance” has proven disastrous; it ends time and time again with more violence, more destruction, and more misery of Arab societies – and leads nowhere. The current round strengthens that sentiment which results in the weakening of Hamas’ ideological justification.

Legitimacy. In the battle for international public opinion and support an interesting phenomenon happened in previous rounds. Though formally defined by major Western states as a terror organization, Hamas was able to gain the sympathy of major circles in the West like the media, academics, third-sector organizations, etc. For different reasons Hamas successfully convinced theses circles to view the violent rounds against Israel as a “political conflict” or to “end the Israeli occupation” or to “Free Gaza.” As a result, Hamas enjoyed a somewhat “tolerant approach” towards its rocket attacks on Israeli cities (a clear act of war crimes – by the way). That “tolerance” motivated Hamas to generate more violence.

In the current round it is a totally different story. The somewhat tolerant response we saw in the past, has been replaced with a clear and decisive, intolerance. The reaction of Western diplomats and public opinion in the West regarding the shooting of rockets on Israeli cities has changed in this round. The pictures of Israeli women lying on the ground in the streets shielding their children with their own bodies because they are being attacked by rockets has caused even the harsher criticizers of Israel in the West to move uncomfortably in their seats – and it made them realize that the suffering is not only on the Palestinian side. In the battle over narratives, Israel gains points in this round. One example of that turn is the fact that Palestinian protestors accused the BBC of “ignoring the Palestinian suffering while focusing on the suffering of Israelis.” One should remember that BBC was proactively a very harsh critic of Israel during previous rounds.

The most dramatic manifestation of the shift is the formal announcement, signed by all 28 EU Foreign Ministers that: strongly condemns Hamas for the rocket attacks on Israeli cities; accuses Hamas of using the civilians in the Gaza Strip as human shields; acknowledges Israel’s right to defend itself; and calls for the disarmament of Hamas and the Islamic Jihad.

Following the previous round of violence between Israel and Hamas (Operation Pillar of Defense, November 2012) I wrote an article entitled Rocket Attacks on Israeli cities must Echo in the West. In that article I wrote about the growing and escalating threat Hamas poses and I concluded the article with the following statement – “The sounds of sirens in Israeli cities must echo in the West.” It seems that the sirens finally echo in the West.

The major reason for the shift in the European position is the violence in the Arab world. An article published recently in the Economist explores the violence and the gloomy reality of the Arab world. The strengthening of Radical Islamist groups like ISIS, Al-Qaida, Salafi-Jihadi groups and others raises growing concerns in the world, and particularly in Europe. The European concern stems from the fact that hundreds of these militants are Muslim residents and citizens of European States. The concern is that these militants will return to their homeland in Europe and will become a domestic security threat. In the mind of the average person in the West, the Middle East is associated with “massively armed young Muslim men who are wearing masks killing or threatening to kill others.” In the eyes of the average Western audience, Hamas, Jihad, ISIS, Al-Qaida and other groups are all the same. That image puts Hamas in a very difficult position because it diminishes Hamas’ attempts to be recognized by the international community as a legitimate factor.

That being said, it should be clear that Hamas – as in previous rounds – will announce victory. From Hamas’ perspective, the fact that they shot thousands of rockets on Israeli cities, paralyzed air traffic to Israel, and launched attacks on Israeli civilians and military forces inside Israel is a victory. Hamas’ logic is similar to Hamas’ role model – Hezbollah – in Lebanon. After the 2006 War (known in Israel as the Second Lebanon War) Hezbollah’s leader Hassan Nasrallah announced a “divine Victory.” Once Nasrallah was confronted with the devastation and destruction caused to Lebanon during and after the war and the severe military loses Hezbollah suffered in the war, he changed his tune. He said that had he known Israel would retaliate so forcefully he would not have launched the operation to kidnap and kill the Israeli soldiers. Pushed back to the wall by critics in the Arab world who wondered what exactly Hezbollah accomplished by initiating the war, Nasrallah said “we have fought the strongest military power in the Middle East for 33 days and we are still standing on our feet.” That is the reason Hezbollah named that war as “The 33 Days War.” It is very likely that Hamas will come up with some similar title.

Whatever the victorious claims of Hezbollah were, the fact is that Israel’s strategic reality along the Lebanese border has significantly improved since the 2006 war. Since then Hezbollah has not launched any attacks on Israeli soldiers or civilians in Israel.

The current violent round between Israel and Hamas could potentially result in a better strategic reality for both Israelis and Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

Why?

More than 3,000,000 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and in the Palestinian territories in the West Bank are watching and experiencing the disastrous results of Hamas’ path. More and more Palestinians realize that Hamas offers them nothing and leads to a dead-end. A widening Palestinian front opposes Hamas’ way. Hamas, who wishes to be the only representative of the Palestinians, is now light years away from fulfilling that desire. Had Hamas fulfilled its aspirations, Israelis and Palestinians would bleed in endless cycles of violence.

In Hamas’ ideology, violence is not only a legitimate tool – it is an ideological value aimed to perpetuate and maintain Hamas’ rule and relevancy. In that regard, Hamas has also reached a dead-end. Western public opinion expresses no tolerance towards the attacks on civilians (including Israelis). A similar process is taking place in the Arab world which is deeply concerned with the rising violence within its own borders, and is horrified with the escalating brutality of Islamist groups who target mostly their brothers-in-faith, as well as religious and ethnic minorities. These trends in public opinion, together with the severe military blow Hamas has sustained thus far, significantly narrows Hamas’ ability to continue its violence. That is good news for both Israelis and Palestinians.

Operation “Protective Edge” coincides with an important process – an inner Palestinian discussion regarding the path, objectives and course of the Palestinians as a nation. It is a slow, winding, process – yet it is taking place. This inner Palestinian dialogue stems from the percolation of two important insights within the Palestinian public opinion and discourse. One is the understanding that the Arab world is engaged with enormous challenges, and has neither the willingness, nor the interest, nor the resources to deal with the Palestinian issue. The other is the understanding that the use of violence against Israel leads Palestinians time and time again to a dead-end. Palestinians are learning – the same way Israel learned – that the use of military power has limitations. In the case of Israel, that understanding prompted the majority of Israelis to realize that the conflict with the Palestinians should be solved through negotiations which inevitably involve concessions and compromises. Operation Protective Edge could accelerate a similar process among the Palestinians.

Operation “Protective Edge” also has the potential for positive strategic ramifications in a different arena – and that is Lebanon. Hezbollah – whose military capacities are ten times bigger than Hamas’ – is watching the events closely. The success of the Iron Dome system; the impressive Israeli military capacities manifested thus far; the strength and endurance of the Israeli home front; the decisive support of Israeli public opinion supporting a massive ground operation despite the price paid in Israeli soldiers lives; the shift in the European position manifested by the declaration of the European Union Foreign Ministers; and the growing resentment in the Arab world towards the violence conducted within its boundaries by militant groups – all of these reasons reduce Hezbollah’s motivation (which is reduced in any event due the fact they are sinking in the war in Syria) to launch another violent round against Israel.

Operation “Protective Edge” has the potential for a positive strategic turn for both Israelis and Palestinians. Once this round is over, both parties will exit into a new space – different than the one prior to the beginning of this round.

It is the responsibility of both sides in this conflict to materialize the potential for a positive strategic change. Palestinians must enhance an inner discussion which will allow them to view the conflict not only from the perspective of being a victim, but also from a proactive perspective that stems from the understanding that it is in their ability to shape their future. That understanding is essential because it will enable Palestinians to internalize the understanding that resolving the conflict is possible only by negotiations which involve concessions and compromises.

Israel must initiate and enhance a much more generous approach towards Palestinians in the Palestinian territories in the West Bank, as well as in the Gaza Strip. Israel – together with regional and international factors – must shape and create the conditions and atmosphere that will offer the Palestinians in The Gaza Strip a future of prospect, hope and dignity.

Avi Melamed, former Israeli Senior Official on Arab Affairs and former Intelligence Official and educator, is today an Independent Middle East Strategic Intelligence Analyst, Regional Expert and lecturer specializing in the current affairs of the Arab and Muslim world and their impact on Israel and the region. Avi is also the Overseas Middle East expert at the Eisenhower Institute, Washington DC. This article is his latest blog entry at AviMelamed.WordPress.com.

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NORM ‘n’ AL, Minneapolis
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The world is presented with extreme moral clarity in Gaza…

Israel accepts an Egyptian-proposed Gaza cease-fire; Hamas keeps firing. Hamas deliberately aims rockets at civilians; Israel painstakingly tries to avoid them, actually telephoning civilians in the area and dropping warning charges, so-called roof knocking.

“Here’s the difference between us,” explains the Israeli prime minister. “We’re using missile defense to protect our civilians, and they’re using their civilians to protect their missiles.”

Rarely does international politics present a moment of such moral clarity. Yet we routinely hear this Israel-Gaza fighting described as a morally equivalent “cycle of violence.” This is absurd. What possible interest can Israel have in cross-border fighting? Everyone knows Hamas set off this mini-war. And everyone knows the proudly self-declared raison d’etre of Hamas: the eradication of Israel and its Jews.

Apologists for Hamas attribute the blood lust to the Israeli occupation and blockade. Occupation? Does no one remember anything? It was less than 10 years ago that worldwide television showed the Israeli army pulling die-hard settlers off synagogue roofs in Gaza as Israel uprooted its settlements, expelled its citizens, withdrew its military and turned every inch of Gaza over to the Palestinians. There was not a soldier, not a settler, not a single Israeli left in Gaza.

And there was no blockade. On the contrary. Israel wanted this new Palestinian state to succeed. To help the Gaza economy, Israel gave the Palestinians its 3,000 greenhouses that had produced fruit and flowers for export. It opened border crossings and encouraged commerce.

The whole idea was to establish the model for two states living peacefully and productively side by side. No one seems to remember that, simultaneous with the Gaza withdrawal, Israel dismantled four smaller settlements in the northern West Bank as a clear signal of Israel’s desire to leave the West Bank as well and thus achieve an amicable two-state solution.

This is not ancient history. This was nine years ago.

And how did the Gaza Palestinians react to being granted by the Israelis what no previous ruler, neither Egyptian, nor British, nor Turkish, had ever given them — an independent territory? First, they demolished the greenhouses. Then they elected Hamas. Then, instead of building a state with its attendant political and economic institutions, they spent the better part of a decade turning Gaza into a massive military base, brimming with terror weapons, to make ceaseless war on Israel.

Where are the roads and rail, the industry and infrastructure of the new Palestinian state? Nowhere. Instead, they built mile upon mile of underground tunnels to hide their weapons and, when the going gets tough, their military commanders. They spent millions importing and producing rockets, launchers, mortars, small arms, even drones. They deliberately placed them in schools, hospitals, mosques and private homes to better expose their own civilians. (Just Thursday, the U.N. announced that it found 20 rockets in a Gaza school.) And from which they fire rockets at Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

 

Hamas wonders why...

Why? The rockets can’t even inflict serious damage, being almost uniformly intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile system. Even West Bank leader Mahmoud Abbas has asked: “What are you trying to achieve by sending rockets?”

It makes no sense. Unless you understand, as Tuesday’s Post editorial explained, that the whole point is to draw Israeli counterfire.

This produces dead Palestinians for international television. Which is why Hamas perversely urges its own people not to seek safety when Israel drops leaflets warning of an imminent attack.

To deliberately wage war so that your own people can be telegenically killed is indeed moral and tactical insanity. But it rests on a very rational premise: Given the Orwellian state of the world’s treatment of Israel (see: the U.N.’s grotesque Human Rights Council), fueled by a mix of classic anti-Semitism, near-total historical ignorance and reflexive sympathy for the ostensible Third World underdog, these eruptions featuring Palestinian casualties ultimately undermine support for Israel’s legitimacy and right to self-defense.

In a world of such Kafkaesque ethical inversions, the depravity of Hamas begins to make sense. This is a world in which the Munich massacre is a movie and the murder of Klinghoffer is an opera — both deeply sympathetic to the killers. This is a world in which the U.N. ignores humanity’s worst war criminals while incessantly condemning Israel, a state warred upon for 66 years that nonetheless goes to extraordinary lengths to avoid harming the very innocents its enemies use as shields.

It’s to the Israelis’ credit that amid all this madness they haven’t lost their moral scruples. Or their nerve. Those outside the region have the minimum obligation, therefore, to expose the madness and speak the truth. Rarely has it been so blindingly clear.

[by Charles Krauthammer, writing for The Washington Post]

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As always, posted for your edification and enlightenment by

NORM ‘n’ AL, Minneapolis
normal@usa1usa.com
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Obama’s funding of terrorists is secret and illegal…and immoral.

U.S. law is clear: America cannot aid or assist designated terrorist organizations in any way.

Yet that’s exactly what the Obama Administration is reportedly doing.

Obama

Senior diplomatic officials have reported that the Obama Administration has been engaged in months of back-channel discussions with Hamas, a designated terrorist organization that seeks to destroy Israel and targets Israeli civilians, including children, for deadly attacks.

The result of those negotiations is plain to see. The Obama Administration has decided to recognize and provide taxpayer funds to the new Palestinian government that includes Hamas.

This action betrays Israel, it strengthens terrorists, and it violates the law.

We’re taking action, mobilizing our offices in Washington and Jerusalem to defend Israel and defend the rule of law. Stand with us.

[NORM ‘n’ AL Note: We publish this ACLJ newsletter item to make you aware of this outstanding organization which, unlike our current president, always puts the interests of the United States first.]

As always, posted for your edification and enlightenment by

NORM ‘n’ AL, Minneapolis
normal@usa1usa.com
612.239.0970

 

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Arab League “rejects totally” any official recognition of the country of Israel…

“We express our total rejection of the call to consider Israel as a Jewish state,” read a statement from the final day of the Arab summit in Kuwait.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has reiterated the call for the Palestinians to recognize the Jewish character of Israel as a requirement for a peace agreement.

Arab League

On Tuesday Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas addressed the Arab heads, reiterating his refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state and said that the Palestinians want an independent state on “all the territories that were occupied in 1967.”

Earlier in the month, the Arab League endorsed the Palestinian position on recognition.

Arab governments, distracted by the upheaval convulsing the region since the 2011 Arab uprisings, have previously taken few stands on the floundering peace talks, leaving Abbas isolated.

The issue has lately overshadowed other stumbling blocks over borders, refugees and the status of Jerusalem.

Palestinians fear the label would lead to discrimination against Israel’s sizable Arab minority, while Israelis say it recognizes Jewish history and rights on the land.

[from the Jerusalem Post]

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NORM ‘n’ AL Note: Now do you see why the “peace process” in the Middle East has been so difficult? One side continues even today to tell the other side that it has no right to exist, and in fact, does not exist in their eyes. If you somehow got into a dispute with your next-door neighbor over a fence between your properties, how could you converse with your neighbor if he said at every attempt, “You have no right to exist, therefore you do not exist. I cannot talk to you until you meet my terms for your existence.”

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As always, posted for your edification and enlightenment by

NORM ‘n’ AL, Minneapolis
normal@usa1usa.com
612.239.0970

 

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