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  • Writer's pictureWatch and Pray

Weekly round-up of news: 21 February

What is his purpose in sending storms and plagues and wildfires, locusts, tsunamis, heatwaves and droughts, volcanic eruptions and all the other natural disasters that appear to be fulfilling today what the Prophet Haggai foresaw in the year 520 BC? He wrote, “This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘In a little while I will once more shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land. I will shake all nations…’” (Hag 2:6-7).

The tragic death of TV presenter Caroline Flack (the fourth suicide related to the Love Island dating show) raises issues that our hedonistic culture refuses to face – like the true purpose of life, and love. As part of the plethora of so-called ‘reality’ programmes, this modern version of Blind Date involves bikini-clad singles looking for love in an idyllic paradise location that is most unreal. Instead it creates a fantasy world designed to trap millions of voyeuristic viewers as contestants feel obliged to act out some form of eroticism to keep audiences tuned in (or should I say turned on).

According to Christian Solidarity Worldwide, three men on motorcycles attacked Christians traveling home from the Third National Congress of the Synod of Pentecostal Churches in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, on Feb 5.….. CSW notes that the National Congress of the Synod of Pentecostal Churches was attended by about 100,000 people. The event focused on calling on Christians to pray for peace in India at a time when “Christians are experiencing a rising number of hate campaigns that involve church closures, prayer meeting disruptions, police complicity and targeted attacks with impunity by non-state actors.” Narendra Modi's Hindu nationalism gives rise to vigilante attacks on Christians - Churches torched and priests charged with 'conversion' for owning bibles

Islamist extremist gunmen stormed a Sunday morning worship service in a church in Burkina Faso, killing ten Christians and abducting the pastor, on Sunday 16 February. After the church attack in Pansi village, Yagha province, the death toll rose to 24 when the militants later murdered a further 14 people, including the abducted pastor. A number of Christians were reported injured and others were abducted in the attacks. Children are thought to be among the injured and missing. Many villagers fled to the nearby village of Sebba for safety.

Five million people took part in protest marches across Nigeria on Sunday 2 February against the murder of Pastor Lawan Andimi by Boko Haram, and the failure of the authorities to halt the rising wave of violent attacks against Christians by Islamist extremists. The peaceful demonstrations, organised by the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) as the final event of a three-day fast, took place in 28 of the country’s 36 states. Marchers carried posters that read “Nigerian Christians are under attack,” “Buhari act now” and “Our values and way of life will prevail, the killings will not.”

During Xia's campaign against the churches, some 1,000 crosses were removed from churches, according to the South China Morning Post. Some churches were demolished completely. "A lot of people celebrated when he left Zhejiang three years ago," political analyst Wen Kejian told the newspaper…. Ying Fuk-tsang, head of the Chinese University of Hong Kong's divinity school, told the Hong Kong Christian Times that with the arrival of Xia, religious freedom stands to be affected.

The additional taxpayer-funded resources for the carnival were announced as five members of the European Parliament disclosed that Aalst had been flooded with antisemitic flyers in recent days. “Flyers depicting similar imagery as from last year’s parade, portraying Jews as puppet masters that control global institutions, are currently circulating throughout the town,” the five MEPs — who all serve on the antisemitism working group of the parliament — wrote in an open letter published on Wednesday. “Thus, we expect this year’s edition to only escalate the hateful messages from last year,” the MEPs cautioned.

Pro-Palestinian student group held signs attacking Israel, though her talk had nothing to do with it…. The talk was held at Berkeley’s School of Law and dealt with how to identify contemporary antisemitism. “I want to thank the protestors for making my point more clearly than my words could,” Prof Lipstadt tweeted

I also began to contemplate other questions. Where did the universe come from? How did life begin? What does it mean to be a human being? What is the source of our creativity—of art, poetry, music, and humor? Perhaps, I thought, science cannot tell us everything. Now I was beginning to seriously wonder about the whole religion thing. I met Christians who were smart and scientifically minded, and for the first time I attended a church service. I was surprised at what I found. Nobody glared at me with suspicion, and I heard no thundering condemnation of sinners. The pastor spoke about the power of love. The people next to me shook my hand and wished me peace. It was all quite beautiful, and I decided to return.

The Council of Europe Assembly calls on member states to “take all necessary measures to combat discrimination based on religion or beliefs”. On February 5, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe passed a resolution on the protection of freedom of religion and belief in the workplace. The resolution calls on member states to “take all necessary measures to combat discrimination based on religion or beliefs in all fields of civil, economic, political and cultural life”. It also asks them “to promote the work of national human rights institutions on combating discrimination, including indirect discrimination based on religion or belief, and encourage them to develop training activities for both public and private employers”.

The processional way was approximately 250 meters long, 20 meters wide and was adorned with 120 lions. The Ishtar gate hosted the festival of the Babylonian new year. One of the most important collections housed in the Istanbul Archaeology Museum is the glazed tile images retrieved from the Ishtar gate and its processional way of the ancient city Babylon. The gate and the processional way were built during the reign of Nebuchadnezzar II (605-562 BCE). The Monastery Festival Experience 2020 by The Gardens of Babylon’s family (Germany)- What is the Monastery? A magical long weekend experience organised by the The Gardens of Babylon’s family. For three days you will dive deep into music, spirituality, workshops, talks and the people that surround you at the Babylon events. 8Days-Your one-stop guide to the week ahead: February 23 - March 1 (Australia) - Babylon in the Park presents an impressive visual and audio sensory experience, with music acts spanning techno, house and psychedelia across three stages.

A group of self-professed "Christian witches" announced they will be holding their annual convention on Easter in Salem, Massachusetts. The gathering of "Witches, Sorcerers/Soceresses, Wizards, Warlocks, Necromancers, Readers" and "like-minded Magickal Beings" is being organized by Rev. Valerie Love (aka KAISI). Scheduled for April 10-12, it will coincide with the Christian holiday of Easter and feature elements of witchcraft as well as Christian prayers.

Baptist University Invites Native American Mystic to Preach, Opens and Closes With Prayer to “Mother Mystery” Baylor, a private Christian university located in Waco, Texas, is known as the largest Baptist university in the world with approximately 17,200 students on its 1,000-acre campus and is affiliated with the Texas Baptist Convention, which is subsequently connected to the Southern Baptist Convention. Baptist University Invites Native American Mystic to Preach, Opens and Closes With Prayer to “Mother Mystery” She is a climate change activist who worships the creation over the creator

In section 78 of Querida Amazonia, Pope Francis states that people should “not be quick to describe as superstition or paganism certain religious practices that arise spontaneously from the life of peoples.” In section 79, the Pope continues that it is “possible to take up an indigenous symbol in some way, without necessarily considering it as idolatry,” adding that a “myth charged with spiritual meaning can be used to advantage and not always considered a pagan error.”

China Dictating to Pope Appointment of Bishops in “Secret Deal” With Vatican A meeting between the Chinese Foreign Minister and his Vatican counterpart last week resulted in a “secret agreement” that will bring the Chinese government into the process of appointing Catholic Bishops. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi met in Munich on Friday with the Vatican Foreign Minister Archbishop Paul Gallagher to finalize the agreement that was initiated and approved by Pope Francis.

Israel’s Top Rabbi: “I’m Currently in Discussions With the Messiah Himself” Rabbi Zissholtz explained that he had been charged by these hidden righteous men to break his silence and to begin informing the public of the imminent arrival of the Messiah. “Getting the word out now that the Messiah is closer than ever is a matter of life and death,” Rabbi Zissholtz said. “Haven’t you heard of Gog and Magog? That is what is going to happen very soon. Right now, the situation is explosive more than you can possibly imagine. Everyone needs to know whether they are on the inside or if they are going to be left out.”

Restored Alexandria synagogue hosts largest Jewish prayer in decades From across the Diaspora, approximately 180 Jews of Egyptian origin have flown to Egypt for a Shabbat celebrating the newly- renovated 14th-century Eliyahu Hanavi Synagogue in Alexandria. According to the World Monuments Fund, The Eliyahu Hanavi Synagogue, one of the largest in the Middle East, is one of the two remaining houses of worship from what used to be twelve in the city of Alexandria, once home to an estimated 40,000 Jews with roots dating back to antiquity. The Future of Babylon

All of a sudden, really crazy things are starting to happen all over the world. Giant swarms of locusts are absolutely devastating entire regions, extremely unusual storms are confounding meteorologists, earthquake and volcanic activity are both on the rise, and five very dangerous diseases are sweeping across the globe.

One swarm in Kenya was three times the size of New York City; the number of locusts could multiply 400-fold by June if not treated, according to reports. Swarms of desert locusts are plaguing several countries worldwide, including China, Jordan, Pakistan, Kenya and Sudan….. The swarms have reached Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Djibouti, Eritrea, Sudan, Uganda, South Sudan and Tanzania, among other countries.

Monster February Snowfall Buries parts of Norway — Totals Surpass 2 Meters (7 Feet) in many Regions While AGW-propaganda rags continue to cherry-pick the few Norwegian regions experiencing a rather snow-less Feb, 2020 — the reality in the Scandinavian nation is that the average is well-up, with some parts actually suffering their highest snowfall totals for 15+ years.

The People's Bank of China has announced that it has taken a number of actions to fight the spread of the coronavirus infecting the country including ordering commercial banks to take out of circulation used notes and disinfect them.

The leader of a confessional Lutheran denomination in Finland was recently questioned by the police about his responsibility in the distribution of "Male and Female He Created Them", which could result in charges of "ethnic agitation".

Even though a majority of evangelicals still disapprove same-sex relationships, approval has grown among traditional Protestant pastors, according to a new survey from Nashville-based LifeWay Research that asked Protestant pastors their thoughts on this issue.

We were sitting around as a family watching the "LEGO Masters" building battle TV show on Fox when it happened. I guess it's partly my fault for not vigilantly researching the show, but Fox caught me off guard. It felt like a kids show, but we soon discovered that some of these adult contestants are quite "diverse", like a skirt-wearing bearded man….. Then, smack in the middle of the drama of LEGO-building, Fox threw in a well-placed little shot of physical affection followed by a soundbite with two of the male contestants talking about how they got married….. The rest of us are being desensitized daily by LGBTQ pop culture activism.

The Sunday Times has revealed that three NHS trusts in the west of England have approved a guide on puberty blockers for children called ‘Supporting Trans People’…… This has come just at a time when a former psychiatric nurse at the Tavistock Clinic and a woman who is de-transitioning from living as a ‘man’ are taking the Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust to the High Court over the administration of puberty blockers to minors.

In a move that has been long speculated by many, the embattled Boy Scouts of America (BSA) filed for bankruptcy Tuesday, concluding it to be the organization’s only choice in the face of years of costly lawsuits over decades of sexual abuse claims against employees and volunteers. In 2012, the Oregon Supreme Court ordered the release of 20,000 pages of confidential files the BSA kept on suspected abusers within the organization from 1965 to 1985, though battles continued over abuse lawsuits and the release of post-1985 files….

Utah moves to decriminalize polygamy The Utah Senate has moved to approve a bill that would reclassify polygamy among consenting adults from a felony offense to an infraction. The measure, which passed unanimously Friday, has one more Senate vote before it would head to the House of Representatives for consideration.

Pete Buttigieg believes everyone else’s sin is up for discussion — except his own. If his ‘positions are informed by his faith,’ as he so often says, you wouldn’t know it…. No one, not Trump nor Buttigieg, is free of sin. I don’t apply this to Buttigieg alone. As I said, everyone falls short of God’s glory, but — and I say this in a spirit of Christian love — it is difficult to lecture on sin while trying to make sin mainstream.

A politician in Northern Ireland has pointed out that the new law legalizing same-sex “marriage” in the region will not allow civil registrars, hoteliers, florists, and wedding photographers to refuse their services for homosexual “weddings.”

Wow. The speech delivered yesterday evening at Brussels university by David Frost, who is now leading the UK’s negotiations with the EU over the post-Brexit trade deal, was a belter. Straightening his country’s spine from its five-decade scoliosis as a demoralised supplicant at the European table, Frost reclaimed, on behalf of the British government, the moral and intellectual high ground for Britain’s departure from the EU – and for doing so entirely on the UK’s terms.

Chart appears to exaggerate the size of UK trade with the EU compared with Japan’s. The European Commission on Wednesday published new slides to hit back at the U.K. government's insistence that it should be offered the same deal as Canada, and included a chart that appears to be misleading.

Freed from the shackles of the EU, the UK will take control of our borders with an Australian-style, points-based system, the details of which she unveiled yesterday….. It’s simply not fair that Brits have been squeezed out of jobs by big companies taking advantage of cheap foreign labour, and the imbalance has rankled with voters for decades. But there’s a fly in the ointment.

THE Home Office was "institutionally racist" over its "hostile environment" policy towards migrants, a report into the Windrush scandal has found. Strong language in the damning report was later stripped out, removing criticism of the department. Tories defend Priti Patel after claims she bullied a civil servant over failing to deport Jamaican criminals

Why am I ranting? Because, while our politicians have been consumed with power and the media with the fights over power, a threat to our nation has been virtually ignored. When was the last time you saw a media report on America’s utter dependence on China for the production of our medications? If you can’t think of any, you’re not alone.

Now the extended lunar new year holiday in what is, on some measures, the world’s largest economy could start to shut down western factories that depend on Chinese components. Efforts by Beijing to contain the virus include restricting non-essential trips outside in Wuhan, the city where the outbreak originated, and closing factories in nearby provinces. This has disrupted production on the other side of the planet. ….. The disruption may accelerate attempts by companies to diversify away from China. Yet there is no economy that can easily replace it: Vietnam is too small, embedded in Chinese supply chains, and has closed off a part of one province after a cluster of infections there.

When PSD1 failed to open up bank accounts, the EU parliament made sure PSD2 would create a level playing field, with third party access to payment accounts in the EU. This was the spark to truly ignite the engine that would drive Open Banking. Payment Services Directive 2 (PSD2) - What is PSD2? Payment Services Directive 2, abbreviated PSD2, is an EU Directive that is designed to better regulate payment processes throughout the European Union (EU) and European Economic Area (EEA).

Swedes already use less cash than anyone else in their daily transactions. Now, the central bank is planning a landmark test based on blockchain technology in the hope of introducing an official electronic krona. The pilot project, which will use so-called Distributed Ledger Technology, is due to run until the end of February 2021, the bank said in a statement on Thursday. The goal is to find a “simple and user-friendly” model, it said.

Nigeria goes cashless April 1 as CBN insists on policy implementation – Barring any changes, Nigeria is set to fully go cashless across the country as the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has said there is no going back on the full implementation of the federal government’s cashless policy which is expected to commence from April 1 across the country.

Hours before a far-right extremist shot nine people dead at two hookah bars in central Germany on Wednesday, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government passed the first of two laws to further toughen its rules — already considered some of the world's strictest — governing speech online.

The Court of Appeal, the second-highest court in England and Wales after the Supreme Court, has ruled that the Islamic marriage contract, known as nikah in Arabic, is not valid under English law. The landmark ruling has far-reaching implications. On the one hand, the decision strikes a blow against efforts to enshrine this aspect of Sharia law into the British legal system.

The Strasbourg-based court — which has jurisdiction over 47 European countries, and whose rulings are binding on all 27 member states of the European Union — ruled that in order for migrants to benefit from certain human rights protections, such as access to lawyers, interpreters and the right to remain in Europe, they must first enter European territory in a legal, as opposed to an illegal, manner. The ruling is being viewed as a major victory for those who believe that sovereign nation states have the right to decide who is and is not allowed to enter their territory.

In some of his most explicit comments on Islam and France, Mr Macron said it was “unacceptable” for anyone to disobey the laws of the French republic in the name of a religion or a foreign power. “The republic must keep its promises, we must fight against discrimination, we must put meritocracy everywhere,” he said. “But on the other side we must fight against separatism, because when the republic does not keep its promises, others try to replace it.” Why is Macron courting the Church? - Why did Macron – a man from a non-religious family who requested baptism aged 12 and attended a Jesuit school, but who is somewhat mysterious about his precise religious beliefs – go to the Collège des Bernardins? Why would he refer regretfully to attempts to marginalise Catholic participation in politics? And why did he ask French Catholics to increase their involvement in the public sphere?

European Union leaders fell out on Friday over their next long-term budget after fraught talks over a gaping Brexit hole in their joint coffers, with poorer countries demanding more aid and their “frugal” peers determined to rein in spending.

A DW employee discovered that Google is indexing invite links to WhatsApp group chats. This means with a simple search anyone can discover and join these groups including ones the administrator may want to keep private….. Facebook, which owns WhatsApp, may have known about this problem at least since November 2019, when they appear to have sent a reply to a user who notified them of the issue.

To insulate Bernie from detractors who charge his associates dabble in anti-Israel rhetoric and use antisemites as advisers and surrogates to speak on his behalf, his PR people have been busily spinning his image and Jewish ancestry….. Living on a Communist kibbutz 60 years ago, being born to Jewish parents or having a Jewish last name does not make you pro-Israel. Being Jewish doesn’t give you greater legitimacy to be a critic of Israel. Bernie unapologetically uses Omar, an antisemite and Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions supporter, as an official spokesman, along with Linda Sarsour and Tlaib. Palestinian-American Tlaib compared the antisemitic BDS movement to the quintessential American event, the Boston Tea Party.

“Putin’s Puppet is at it again, taking Russian help for himself. He knows he can’t win without it. And we can’t let it happen,” Clinton wrote on Twitter in response to an NBC report that the acting Department of National Intelligence chief was replaced over an intelligence briefing delivered to lawmakers regarding Russia’s efforts. Despite no evidence to support the idea that Russia was the cause for Clinton’s embarrassing defeat, the former secretary of state has placed blame on the U.S. adversary anyway, because she believes the country couldn’t have chosen Trump over her on their own volition.

Venezuela crisis: US blacklists Russian oil firm for helping Maduro The US has sought to increase financial pressure on Venezuela by blacklisting a subsidiary of Russia’s state-controlled Rosneft oil giant. The move freezes any US-held assets of the Switzerland-based Rosneft Trading SA and its chairman, Didier Casimiro. The firm is accused of helping President Nicolás Maduro to evade US sanctions on Venezuela’s oil industry.

UK says Russia’s GRU behind massive Georgia cyber-attack A huge cyber-attack which knocked out more than 2,000 websites in the country of Georgia last year was carried out by Russia, according to Georgia, the UK and the US. The UK government says that the GRU (Russian military intelligence) was behind the “attempt to undermine Georgia’s sovereignty”. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab described it as “totally unacceptable”.

Israel’s economy breaks records in several categories in 2019; Some of these categories include exports, tourism, etc.; GDP grew to... Israel surpassed Japan, France, the UK, most of Europe, as well as Asia and America.

The Institute for National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University had noted in the summer of 2019 that political upheaval in Israel may "delay and limit the plan's launch." The country currently lacks a government after two elections failed to bring a majority for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's coalition. But concerns about the need to confront a complex Iranian adversary drove the plan through bureaucratic hurdles toward a January announcement that Defense Minister Naftali Bennett had approved it. It was officially rolled out in a briefing on Feb. 13.

This long-term shift has long-term consequences that mean countries such as Iran, China and Russia, which the U.S. sees as adversaries, will have a larger footprint in places where the U.S. is reducing its role. Outsourcing counter-terrorism to these countries may not have been the plan, but it is likely one outcome.

Three countries – Russia, Turkey and Iran – are currently trying to reassert their former influence and glory, harking back to the power and greatness of the former Czarist/Soviet, Ottoman and Persian empires, respectively.….. The difference between these three intended empires and the USA is very stark. While the US is really the only superpower, President Donald Trump has enunciated a policy of withdrawal from the Middle East, the main area of big power conflicts, even though his mantra is “Make America Great Again.” In this policy he continues that of his predecessor, Barack Obama, who also had a policy of retraction from the Middle East. By contrast, Russia, Turkey and Iran are all in an expansionist phase, particularly in that region.

A week after Israel National News reported that Turkey was on a crash course with Russia over Syria the parties are now at war technically speaking….. The Turkey-backed Islamist militias in Idlib are on the verge of defeat after the Iranian-Russian-backed pro-Assad coalition rapidly advanced in the last rebel stronghold and even surrounded Turkish observation posts which were set up to monitor a 2018 de-escalation agreement between Russia and Turkey that failed miserably.

On February 11, 2020, Turkish politician Devlet Bahçeli said: "The Turkish nation should, if necessary, if there is no other option, begin planning now to enter Damascus... Let Syria burn, may Idlib collapse, down with Assad... Syria, though it may not be official, has in practice become a colony of Russia. Assad's bridle is tied to Moscow. The [responsibility for the] violence against our martyrs, as much as it is on the aggressor Syria, is on the shoulders of Russia, which set the scene for this and encouraged and aroused [the Syrian government] behind the scenes. It is a requirement that this reality be faced... There will be no tranquility, neither in Syria nor in Turkey, unless Assad is taken down from his throne." Could this be a false flag by Turkey?

In the face of a potential Iranian nuclear weapon, “only the arrow missile defense system guarantees Israeli survival,” said former head of the Arrow project at Israel Aircraft Industries Dov Raviv on Tuesday. Speaking at a conference of the Association for Israeli Military History on the occasion of the publication of a new book by another stalwart of Israel missile defense, Uzi Rubin, Raviv said, “We cannot dismiss a leader of a country who says it will destroy Israel… Iran has said this explicitly.” Raviv explained that while Israel has many military and diplomatic tools to try to stop Iran’s drive to obtain a nuclear weapon, if it does not succeed, missile defense will be its last line of defense.

“Mr. Putin accepted Hajj Qasem as not just the commander of the Quds Force but also for his political and administrative qualities,” Dehghan said. “Others, such as [Turkish President Recep Tayyip] Erdogan, did the same elsewhere.” This points to a link between Soleimani and the Turkish government. It is known from Iranian media that Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif discussed Soleimani’s death soon after it was announced on January 3. The IRGC and Muslim Brotherhood held a meeting in Turkey in 2014 to discuss regional strategy. Turkey’s ruling AKP Party is linked to the Brotherhood and hosts Hamas, and Iran supports Hamas. So Soleimani would have had much to discuss with Ankara. “It was Hajj Qasem who dealt with regional issues and the Russians, who were dealing with the same regional issues,” Dehghan said.

In Islam, peace as we know it in the West, i.e., letting bygones be bygones, cannot exist between Muslims and non-Muslims. According to both the Koran and the Shari’a, there can however be a temporary agreement, i.e., a truce or armistice. Such a truce is called a “sulha” or “hudna.” These agreements are modeled after the Treaty of Hudaybiyyah, a 628 CE treaty between the Islamic prophet Mohammad and the Quraysh tribe of Mecca, who Mohammad was unable to defeat. The agreement was to last 10 years, but after only two—when Mohammad had managed to rearm himself sufficiently—he reneged on the agreement, attacked his enemies, and defeated them. This sulha/hudna agreement is the type of non-aggression pact the Saudis and other Arab Muslim nations seem to be willing to sign with Israel. It is now in their interest to do so because their existential enemy is Iran, an enemy which they share with Israel.

Egyptian-American Samuel Tadros said that if people really want a "free Palestine" they should demand a Palestinian state that is free, not only from Israeli occupation, but free from the corruption, oppression, and dictatorship, which exist in Arab countries. Syrian-American human rights activist Ammar Abdulhamid said that it was the Arabs who started the Arab-Israeli conflict by rejecting the U.N. Partition Plan in 1947. Tadros asked whether the Arabs really want peace with Israel. He suggested that what the Arabs want is a truce and they will resume war with Israel after they regain power. He said that currently they are dealing with Israel because they are weak and have no choice.

The contents of the two articles above is what I pointed out on my recent post, Trump’s Middle East Peace Plan - Unveiled.

"Upgrading relations with Israel will occur only when a peace agreement is signed and is in accordance with Palestinian conditions," Saudi Arabia's new foreign minister, Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud noted on Saturday at the Munich Security Conference in response to a question from Maariv about Israel-Saudi relations. The Jerusalem Post's sister publication also asked whether improvements to the relationship would include a non-aggression pact as well as open and formal relations with the Arab Gulf states.

Berkowitz met with officials from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan and Oman, as well as with senior EU officials. While the content of the meeting is unclear, the US peace team has been working on three different channels for the past couple of weeks: normalization between Israel and Arab countries; promoting the peace plan and trying to reach out behind the scenes to the Palestinian Authority; and blocking any UN resolution against the plan. The Jerusalem Post reported at the beginning of February that the US has been trying to push for normalization between Israel and the Arab world. “We are getting close on our work on normalization,” a senior White House official told the Post on February 2.

Two weeks ago, Netanyahu held a previously unannounced meeting in Uganda with Sudanese President Abdel Fattah Abdelrahman Burhan. Instant commentaries presented the meeting as a salutary side product of the Trump plan. But the truth is much more significant. The sight of the two leaders sitting next to one another smiling made heads explode from Tehran to Ramallah. The Netanyahu-Burhan meeting was no mere byproduct of a peace plan. It was a long-planned and hoped-for result of a set of policies, that aided by good fortune felled a cataclysmic blow against Iran and its terrorist proxies in Gaza, Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, and Yemen.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo slammed on Tuesday a group of Democratic senators who reportedly met in secret with Iran's foreign minister during a foreign policy conference held over the weekend in Germany. A delegation of Democratic senators reportedly led by Sen. Chris Murphy (D., Conn.) held a secret powwow with Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif on the sidelines of the annual Munich Security Conference, where Pompeo was an official speaker. The meeting was not officially sanctioned by the U.S. government and appears to have been held in secret to avoid media scrutiny. State Department officials have been clear that they did not play any role in facilitating the meeting or backing it. Zarif defends meeting US senator, but he still won't negotiate with Trump

The "deal of the century" presented by my friend, US President Donald Trump, offers the State of Israel a historic opportunity that won't return: to protect and defend our country, determine our borders, and ensure our future. We must do all we can to capitalize on this opportunity and not squander it. Ever since the plan was revealed two weeks ago, many things have been said and written in the media to distort it. Here are the facts to counter the false claims:….

A group of settler mayors met with US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman on Thursday and thanked the envoy for his administration’s peace plan, breaking with a majority of their colleagues who have come out in opposition to the proposal that envisions the establishment of a Palestinian state. “All of the mayors have expressed a strong desire to see the vision implemented and this meeting was an opportunity to provide constructive feedback toward that goal,” said Efrat Mayor Oded Revivi in a statement after hosting the meeting in his West Bank settlement southeast of Jerusalem.

The Housing Ministry has begun advancing a plan to build a massive Jewish neighborhood in an East Jerusalem area that appears to be earmarked in the Trump administration’s peace plan for a Palestinian tourism center…… While the Trump plan does not specify where exactly in Atarot the Palestinian tourism center would be located, the airport is the only open area in the East Jerusalem neighborhood where such a site could be built. Israel's construction plans mean Palestinians can't divide Jerusalem - US and EU pressure has until now prevented Netanyahu from calling for bids in the new construction project, but Thursday's statement suggests that Netanyahu is now embarking on a new path. "Construction in Givat Hamatos will severely hamper the prospect of a two-state solution because it will ultimately block the possibility of territorial contiguity between East Jerusalem and Bethlehem, and in particular will prevent Palestinian Beit Safafa from connecting with a future Palestinian state," the left-wing watchdog Peace Now lamented following Netanyahu's decision.

The U.N. anti-Israel blacklist asserts that the most basic essentials—food, water, transportation, communication—raise “particular human rights concerns.” But if every human activity is a “human rights concern,” then nothing is….. So what horrendous activities do these 112 companies engage in? Well, there are several supermarket chains, which sell groceries to both Israelis and Palestinians in the West Bank, Golan Heights and eastern Jerusalem. There are several fuel companies, which operate gas stations where both Israelis and Palestinians fill up their cars.

“Due to the demands and threats of radical Islamists, the Israeli authorities discriminate against non-Muslims on the Temple Mount,” he said. “A non-Muslim has very limited access, for limited hours, and cannot openly pray nor ascend with a Bible in hand. It is about time we stop giving in to terror and turn the Temple Mount into the house of prayer for all nations!” The episode began on Tuesday after Glick led a delegation to the Temple Mount that included U.S. Reps. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Mike Johnson (R-La.) who were touring Israel with the Yes! Israel Project. After the tour, Glick went back up to the site by himself and was apprehended by several police officers.

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