Friday, February 17, 2012

Letter to Pastors - February 17, 2012

February 17, 2012
Dear Pastors:
A mood of jubilation or even euphoria settled on White House backrooms in recent days. The US President Barack Obamas staff quietly celebrated what his minions called "his success" in averting a military showdown over Iran’s nuclear program by dint of a judicious blend of sanctions and diplomatic maneuvers, and persuading Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei that negotiations were his best option.
I’m not gleeful about this, because my memory points out how Neville Chamberlain said, "We shall have peace in our day," on the eve of 60 million people about to die.

Washington sources disclose that in private conversations, the presidential staff refer to the Iranian leader’s acceptance as a priority of two reciprocal principles, although no confirmation of this has come from Iranian sources:

Those principles are reported as:

1. The stoppage of all work on Iran’s military nuclear program and uranium enrichment from the moment negotiations begin; and

2. The United States to match progress in the talks with the staged easing of sanctions, which will be lifted completely upon a successful outcome.

President Obama is convinced that through their secret channel of communications Tehran came to realize that the process of dialogue must culminate in its acceptance of five conclusions:

A. Development of Iran’s nuclear program must stop where it stands today;

B. Uranium enrichment will be discontinued at the current 20 percent grade level and not advance to the 90 percent grade for making nuclear bombs;

C. Iran must dismantle all facilities and labs engaged in developing nuclear bombs and warheads as well as its program for producing ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear payloads;

D. Iran will open all these facilities to inspection by International Atomic Energy Agency monitors. They must be allowed to interview the scientific staff employed in Iran’s military nuclear program, including its hitherto invisible director, Mohsen Fakrizadeh, who rules over the 600 scientists, engineers and technicians believed by US intelligence to be the core staff of the program.

E. Iran must cut off its collaborative nuclear and missile ties with North Korea and undertake to abstain from transferring nuclear technology to other parties in compliance with the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Now, here my friend, is the great big "Obama-Rub," if you will:  If Tehran commits to and executes these five steps, the US will see to it that all sanctions against the Islamic Republic are lifted and it is restored to the international community as a respected member.
Washington will provide assistance for the rebuilding of the Iranian economy, starting with multi-billion projects for modernizing its run-down oil industry.
The White House is optimistic about the negotiations starting in days – although nothing is decided yet about its venue and whether the team of five permanent Security Council members (the US, Britain, France, Russia, China) plus Germany again take the seats they occupied opposite Iranian negotiators in the last round of talks.
This optimism accounted for the almost bored response from the US administration to the Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejads televised boasts of nuclear achievements Wednesday, Feb. 15, namely the domestic production of 20 percent enriched uranium nuclear fuel rods and the 3,000 state-of-the-art high-speed IR4 centrifuges added to the Natanz enrichment facility.

"Our view on this is that it’s not terribly new and it’s not terribly impressive," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters.
US officials dismissed Iran’s bragging as hype for preparing the Iranian people and Muslim public for the onset of nuclear negotiations with the world powers by showing them that Tehran embraced diplomacy from a position of strength.
There is no confirmation in Washington that the Iranians have moved on to "the fourth generation" of home-made centrifuges with a higher speed and production capacity at Natanz, as claimed. They are still working on the advanced P4 machines and, apart from a few experimental models, are nowhere near ready to set up a production line for turning out these centrifuges in thousands or even hundreds.

Thursday, Feb. 16, the White House breathed a sigh of relief when Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak in a radio interview followed Washington’s line in downplaying Iran’s display of "achievements".
He pointed out that since Tehran was still facing problems with the second generation centrifuge, P2, it was too early to believe a fourth generation was already functioning.
But the part of the Barack interview that was music to ears in Washington was this comment:
"Although Iran is making progress in its nuclear program, it still has not reached the point of no return."

My friend, retired Major General Joseph Doriel has conveyed to me, strongly, in days gone past, that he doesn't trust in Ehud Barak’s actions!
The White house took this as a welcome declaration of intent meaning that, in consideration of the imminent start of negotiations with Iran, Israel would give diplomacy a chance and not rock the boat by launching a sudden military strike against its nuclear facilities.
ME sources note that Obama and his top advisers, including intelligence and military chiefs, have been fretting for months about a possible Israeli attack on Iran without prior warning.
During their long phone conversation on Jan. 12, the US president tried to extract a promise from Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to refrain from offensive action against Iran while future talks were in progress.
Netanyahu withheld this commitment.

Washington is not sure if Barack spoke off his own bat to force Netanyahu to follow his lead, or if the two leaders were playing "good cop, bad cop."
But Thursday night, speaking from Nicosia, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu put a large spoke in the Barack wheel and raised blood pressures in Washington.
He said sanctions imposed on Iran are important but so far "haven't worked." … the Iranian president's guided tour of centrifuges at Tehran research reactor on Wednesday was proof that sanctions have not properly crippled Iran's efforts to develop nuclear capabilities."
Iran, he said, "has been exposed as being the most irresponsible power on earth today. The one that exports terror with abandon is murdering people and breaking all the rules. This regime was born taking over an embassy (the US embassy in 1979) and is now attacking diplomats far and wide,"

"For such a regime to have nuclear weapons is something of enormous concern for the United States and for Israel," he said.
The Iranian nuclear issue was swept up by a rush of events Wednesday and Thursday, Feb. 15 and 16, toward its next station, resumed negotiations.
A letter expressing Tehran’s readiness to discuss a return to the negotiating table was received by the European Union foreign policy executive Catherine Ashton in belated response to her offer of October 2011. It was delivered the day after the Islamic Republic paraded what it called "major nuclear successes."

It was only on Tuesday, Feb. 14, that Dennis Ross, special adviser to President Barack Obama on the Middle East, Afghanistan and South Asia from 2009 to 2011, wrote an article in the New York Times entitled: "Iran Is Ready to Talk."
This seasoned diplomat would not have gone out on a limb without being sure of this fact. And indeed he was proven correct a day later.
While on the face of it, the news is sensational, it is hardly a breakthrough:
Iran never objected to sitting down and talking - so long as its representatives had the stage for sounding off on Tehran’s side of the controversy. Iranians tend to be unresponsive when it comes to answering questions troubling world powers about their nuclear activities and dodge around compromise proposals.

Only last month, Tehran, while nodding to diplomacy in principle, typically never answered Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrovs proposal for a new "step by step" model for nuclear talks, or Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglus feeler on behalf of the Obama administration to find out whether Ankara or Tehran would be an acceptable venue.
The most intriguing aspect of the Ross article is the glimpse it provides into the inner workings of the US president’s policy-making machinery and its reasons for believing that diplomacy with Iran would pay off.

Some of the elements in Ross’s article are debatable - for instance, the assertion that "Today, Iran is more isolated than ever. The regional balance of power is shifting against Tehran, in no small part because of its ongoing support for the beleaguered government of Bashar al-Assad in Syria," he writes.

"The Assad regime is failing, and in time, Iran will lose its only state ally in the Arab world and its conduit for arming the militant group Hezbollah in Lebanon."
ME analysts question the proposition that Iran is isolated when it has the support of China, Russia and India, as well as a measure of sympathy from Turkey.
As for Assad, there were indications this week that he has managed to stabilize his grip on government.

Barring, unexpected changes, he looks like holding out until the end of the year or beyond.

Ross goes on to say: "Gone is the fear of Iranian intimidation, as the Saudis demonstrated by immediately promising to fill the gap and meet Europe’s needs when the European Union announced its decision to boycott the purchase of Iran’s oil. Even after Iran denounced the Saudi move as a hostile act, the Saudis did not back off."

Ross - and apparently Obama too - appear to have missed the figures released this week showing that Iran’s crude oil exports to India rose to 550,000 barrels a day in January, up 37.5 percent from December 2011
But it is not just India; China and North Korea are also continuing to buy huge quantities of oil from Iran, while, like India they are placing their private banking systems at the disposal of the Iranian Central Bank, to bypass US and European sanctions.
In total, these three countries purchase more than 65 percent of Iran’s total oil output.
Even America’s close friend, Turkey, is not playing along with the embargo on Iranian oil.
Responding to strong US insistence, a Turkish delegation traveled to Saudi Arabia last Friday and Saturday, Feb. 10-11, to look into the possibility of replacing Iranian oil. Washington assured them they would get a cheaper price and better terms from the Saudis.

Four days later, after politely going through the motions to please Washington, Ankara announced officially that its regular purchases from Iran would continue as before and Turkey would not buy Saudi oil.
Tehran therefore has no difficulty in finding buyers for 80 percent of its exported oil. It is therefore hard to credit Ross’s assertion that "Iranian oil is being stored in tankers as Iran’s buyers demand discounts to purchase it."

Certainly many purchasers and speculators are trying to capitalize on Western sanctions to get better deals in their business with Iran. But with the cooperation of Russian, Chinese, Indian and Turkish financial systems, Tehran will soon improve its bargaining position.
That most of the countries continuing to do business with Iran are not paying in dollars, is presented by Ross as a major American accomplishment which is emptying Iran’s US currency stocks.
This is not the case for two reasons:

1. The dollar is hurt as much as Iran;

2. Over the past four years, Iran has reduced its dollar purchases by 80 percent and switched to gold or Russian and Asian currencies as well as expanding its barter trade.

He ends the article with the conclusion: "The Obama administration has now created a situation in which diplomacy has a chance to succeed. It remains an open question whether it will. The next few months will determine whether it succeeds…"
But Dennis Ross and the White House need not wait months to see how diplomacy fares; they received Iran’s answer this week.
Tuesday, Feb. 14, the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier was dispatched through the Straits of Hormuz to the Gulf of Oman, its second crossing through the vital waterway since its first on Jan. 23
But this time, it was trailed by a menacing flotilla of an explosives-laden speedboat, warships with missiles poised openly on launch pads, a surveillance aircraft, a home-made drone and assault helicopters.
Iran’s crude show of muscle in the face of American military might told Washington that Tehran was not afraid of a military showdown.

The next day, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad made a theatrical show of inserting 20-percent enriched uranium fuel rods into the Tehran Research Reactor, shortly after Iran State TV announced the cutoff of oil exports to six European Union countries.
Tehran’s version of successful diplomacy clearly has little in common with the way it is perceived in Washington.

Iran had a weak American President to deal with when they took our Embassy employees 33 years ago. Iran has a weak American President to deal with in the "Muslim-Marxist-Socialist" who now occupies the White House.

For the sake of the "existential security" of the people of Israel, may God Almighty grant Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu the grace to continue to put large spokes in the Barak wheel and, also, but more importantly, in my opinion, to continue to raise blood pressures in Washington among the "obamessiah’s minions."

Letter to Pastors - February 16, 2012

February 16, 2012
Dear Pastors:
Earlier today I was privileged to speak to Oklahoma Baptist College Chapel, in which I preached on the subject, "ADVICE FROM AN OLD MAN."  I spoke from 2Ti 4:6:  "For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.  7 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:"
To "Finish the Course," I espoused for them:

I. As soon as you get up every day, put your hand up into the Hand of God, and let him guide you through the day. I gave them the quote from England’s King George VI at Christmastime in 1939 when it looked as if the Nazis would succeed in swamping the free world.

II. Be accountable to someone in your daily Bible reading. I told how my wife and I read the Scriptures together, and how today we read I Corinthians chapters 12, 13, & 14.

III. Find and do the Will of God with your life.  Like Winston Churchill stated at the time of the 2nd World War, all I had to offer God when HE called me in January 1967 was blood, toil, tears and sweat.

IV. Die to Self.  1Co 15:31:  "I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily. If I don’t keep my "ole self" dead every day, all day long, then I can expect to have trouble in that day."

V. Just Be Faithful.  1Co 4:2:  "Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful."
The time of my departure may be close at hand. I have so many things "physically" going against me. I don’t know! But I do know HE who is already "in tomorrow" and I have my hand in his hand.
Isaiah 41:10 Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.
11 Behold, all they that were incensed against thee shall be ashamed and confounded: they shall be as nothing; and they that strive with thee shall perish.
12 Thou shalt seek them, and shalt not find them, even them that contended with thee: they that war against thee shall be as nothing, and as a thing of nought.
13 For I the LORD thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee.
In these last days of "finishing my course" the LORD has given me the privilege of getting squarely into the corner of the JEWS in their struggles against the "wild-donkey-replacement-doctrine-reject-Ishmaelites" our politically correct press calls "Palestinians."  Like Newt Gingrich has said, they are an "invented people." They have no culture. They have no language.
During the years 2000 to 2007, the so-called "Palestinians" wrought great acts of terror upon the Jews in Israel, killing 1,218 Jews and maiming 8,431 Jews. On February 22, 2004, Dr. Max Price, Dr. Cliff Hearron and I were in the King David Hotel when Jerusalem Bus 14A was blown up. We were at the scene of the Bus Bombing at about 9:30 AM. I shall never forget the devastation of the scene. Here is the story:

Eight people were killed and more than 60 wounded, 11 of them school pupils, by a suicide bomber who detonated himself on a No. 14A Jerusalem bus shortly after 8:30 on Sunday morning near the capital's Liberty Bell Park.
The Fatah Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades claimed responsibility for the attack, which was carried out by Muhammad Za'ul, from the Bethlehem area.
Police believe the bomber got on to the bus in the Talpiot industrial area. Two security guards who boarded the bus failed to identify the terrorist seated with the explosive device concealed in his lap. The bomber apparently decided to chance being discovered in order to wait for the bus to fill with passengers, so as to increase the number of casualties.
When we arrived at the scene of carnage, the first responders had gotten all the wounded and all the dead off that Green Bus. They were taking off body parts and in general cleaning up the wreckage therein. The smell of death hung heavily in the air. The stench of burned flesh was very stinging to my nostrils. As those first responders went through the wreckage, you would hear a cell phone start to ring. They would dig through the wreckage hastily. Being old I don’t remember what they did when they would get to the cell phone. I just don’t remember. But I do know that those cell phones ringing were relatives calling to check on someone who normally rode Bus 14A.
I shall never forget the letter which was in the paper, Yediot Ahronot, on Monday, February 23, 2004.

(Article by Fanny Haim, Yediot Ahronot, Feb 23, 2004, p. A1)
"Today, in The Hague, you will sit in judgment. Today, I will bury my husband, my heart - which has been cut in two.
I will no longer receive this right. But today, you can see to it that other Israeli families will merit this basic thing - to raise a happy family, to get up in the morning without bereavement, without gravestones, and without cemeteries. Today, as you begin your deliberations with open eyes, think, just for a moment, about the ordinary people behind this bloody conflict. Think for a moment about the golden heart of my husband Yehuda, and about our young son, Avner. Maybe you can explain to him - he's only 10-years-old - why in God's Name he doesn't have a father any more.
True, the politics are far from me, but now as the pain is far too close to me, I think that I have acquired, with integrity and with tears, the right to appeal to you and say: If there had been a fence all along the length of the state, then maybe I, just like you, could kiss my husband this evening. Do not judge my country; do not restrain it from preventing additional people from becoming victims. Today, I am burying my husband; don't you bury justice.

That fence, by the way, Preacher Friends, has lowered the "wild-donkey-replacement-doctrine-Ishmaelite" terror rate down to much lower success levels for the Ishmaelites. I say, in 2012, THANK GOD FOR THE FENCE!
Pastor, this Iranian Nuclear Thing is going to worsen greatly in the next few months. We need to be letting all our Nationally Elected Representatives — US Senators and Congresspersons — know exactly where we stand as Bible Believers behind the nation of Israel doing whatever they have to do to preserve the "existential security" of the Jews in Israel.
May the Lord God of the Hebrews bless you richly as you consider the words of your humble servant this Thursday Evening, 8 years minus 6 days, before the anniversary of the Bus Bombing described for you above in Jerusalem February 22, 2004.

Israel - Middle East Report

February 17, 2012
Dear Pastors:

David Sloan has forwarded to me retired Major General Shimon Erem’s "Israel/Middle East Report!"
This is a "must read" for us and for our people. Shimon, as a Jew, has probably spoke in more Christian churches than any other Jew I know. One of Shimon’s heroes was Andre’ Trocme’ who hid over 5,000 Jews in his village in France’s Mountains during WWII. When Shimon asked Pastor Trocme’ why he did it, he quoted Ephesians 2:14 For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;


Israel/Middle East Report
From General Shimon Erem
February 15, 2012


The Islamic attack on Christianity is getting closer to the United States. Obviously, it is easier to infiltrate the U.S. through South America than from a Middle East base, and that is exactly what the Islamists are doing. They have established very close relations in South America, particularly in Venezuela with Hugo Chavez and have organized cells in Argentina and other Latin American countries as well. They have developed close relationships with the Mexican drug gangs that cross back and forth into the United States. You will all remember that Iran used a person from Mexico in their plan to kill the Saudi Arabian Ambassador in Washington D.C. last fall. They are working to gain a foothold in the United States and we have to be aware of it.

There are three continents where Christianity is significantly growing: Africa, Asia and South America. This growth has become a source of great anger and determination for the Muslims, who have stepped up their efforts to eliminate Christians in these areas and to expand the reach of Islam.

I have talked about the persecution of Christians by Muslims in Africa in a number of reports over the past several months. The persecution continues there, especially in Nigeria, Kenya, Sudan and Somalia. In Asia, Christianity is exploding, especially in China, where there are many thousands of Christians establishing new churches and praying to Jesus all across the country. Christianity is also on-the-rise in Hong King, Singapore and Thailand. It is interesting that even if you have only a small group of Muslims in a place, they immediately begin demanding that they have their own communities. Thailand is an example of this. A predominately Buddhist nation, where people of other faiths are allowed to follow their religious beliefs, Thailand has been under attack by Islamic insurgents not content with being a part of communities where Buddhists, a growing number of Christians, and Hindus also live. They are demanding their own communities and their own separatist Muslim state in Southern Thailand.

This is what they have done in Europe – in England, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, the Netherlands, France... The Europeans thought they would absorb the Muslim immigrants and that they would become part of their communities. They thought they could reach some kind of harmony there. Instead, what has happened is the takeover of towns and neighborhoods, which they have claimed as "Muslim communities," instituting Sharia law over the prevailing laws of the countries in which they are located, forbidding non-Muslims to enter without permission and an official Muslim escort – this even applies to public officials and first responders such as fire fighters. They are working toward the same goals here in the U.S. As an example, look at Temecula, here in Southern California, where they are trying to get permits to build a second mosque. They already have established one large mosque, more than adequate to meet the needs of the area’s Muslim community. Why do we yield? We must stop yielding to the Muslims. If we don’t, the U.S. will become like Europe.
This brings me back to South America and what is being done by the radicals to gain more influence, then use it to get into the United States. They are actively building relationships with the Latin American gangs and are proselytizing the young people to get converts to Islam. Eliminating Christians – and Christianity – from the world is exactly what they are trying to do. The only way to defend against the global Islamic assault is for the Christians to get energized.

One of the biggest news stories of the past couple of weeks was the veto by Russia and China of a United Nations Security Council resolution condemning the violence of Syrian President Bashar Assad and his regime against his own people and supporting an Arab League plan that would make the way for a transition of power in the country.
The reasons the two countries used their veto power are both economic and political, and they are complicated. One reason, of course, is the importance to both countries of positive relations with Iran, which remains a strong supporter of Syria. Russia and China both get a large amount of their oil from Iran and they do not want to do anything that would threaten their access to this vital resource.

But the reasoning behind their vetoes goes far beyond their relationship with Iran. Neither Russia nor China is strong on human rights for their people and neither is anxious to see international interference in their own authoritarian rule. With anti-Putin demonstrators now taking to the streets in Moscow, the former KGB official who wants to again be Russia’s president does not want to send any signals to protestors that their actions will be tolerated. He wants them to understand that he is ready to do whatever it will take to silence them and solidify his control. China follows the same policies against anti-government agitators, brutally cracking down on any who oppose the government. In this regard, they are on the same page as Syria.

There are other economic factors that likely played into their decision. China has a booming trade relationship with Syria that is proving extremely beneficial to Beijing. The Chinese have become Syria’s largest supplier of goods – to the tune of about $1.2 billion this year according to some reports – and that figure is rapidly growing. Add to this the fact that China has become Syria’s second largest non-Arab investor, superseded only by Iran.
As for the Russians, Syria now provides Russia with a warm-water port on the Mediterranean in Tartus, providing unrestricted access to the high seas. Russia would not want to lose this important strategic asset.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Letter to Pastors - Feb. 13, 2012

February 13, 2012

Dear Pastors:

Tomorrow is Valentines Day and I hope to be able to fix the Bride of my youth, my Precious Dawga Jo Vineyard, a special meal, seeing, in just a few days, March 2nd, she will have put up with me for 50 years.

On this most recent trip to Israel, I was privileged to visit Moshe a
nd Rachel Saperstein, whom I had met 8 years ago next month. They made Aliyah from Brooklyn sometime in the 1960s and he had his right arm and right eye blown out as an IDF Soldier during the 1973 Yom Kippur War.

If you "know" the real Jim Vineyard, you will, in reading Moshe’s story, understand how he and this "one-armed, one-eyed Jew" made such a connection, each with the other back there in March of 2004 when I took 40 Pastors and a retired Brigadier General to Israel. If you don’t know the real Jim Vineyard this won’t mean much to you.

Ten years ago this week, February 18, 2002, Moshe was shot four times by a Palestinian Police Lt. who had just killed Ahuva Amergi. The article concerning Ahuva is next.

Feb 18, 2002 - Ahuva Amergi, 30, of Ganei Tal in Gush Katif was killed when a Palestinian terrorist opened fire on her car near the Kissufim junction.

Ahuva Amergi was driving home from Ashkelon when she was mortally wounded. The shots were heard by soldiers - who came to the aid of Ahuva - at the nearby outposts. Two of them - Maj. Mor Elraz and St.-Sgt. Amir Mansouri, were killed while trying to intercept the terrorist. [These 2 soldiers were in the Givati Brigade, whom this ole man has made a real connection to, and helped with the 197 families of those soldiers killed in action in the Givati Brigade.]

Ahuva Amergi came to Ganei Tal as part of her National Service when she was 18 years old. There she met and married Rafi Amergi, and they made their home in the moshav. Ahuva studied law at Bar-Ilan University and began working as a lawyer in Be'er Sheva.

Ahuva's employer, Dan Malchieli said: "Ahuva was a great woman. She was gifted and a great person. She was incredibly gifted, you could count on her with your eyes closed. I knew she was a lawyer with a great future ahead of her. It is hard for me to accept that all this has suddenly stopped and come to an end."

Ahuva Amergi was buried in the Gush Katif regional cemetery. She is survived by her husband, Rafi, and two small sons, Yitzhak (3 1/2) and Efraim, under 2. After the disengagement from Gaza she was reburied in the Mount Olives cemetery in Jerusalem in September 2005.

JERUSALEM (February 19 [2002]) - Within the space of two hours, two soldiers, a policeman, and a civilian were killed and four others wounded in terrorist attacks yesterday evening.

One occurred at the entrance to Gush Katif in the Gaza Strip and the other on Route 1 between Jerusalem and Ma'aleh Adumim.

One of the soldiers was identified as Maj. Mor Yehuda Elraz, 25, of Kiryat Ata, a company commander in the Givati Brigade. He will be buried at 3 p.m. in his hometown.

The second soldier killed yesterday was St.-Sgt. Amir Mansuri, 21, of Kiryat Arba. Mansuri will be buried in Jerusalem's military cemetery on Mount Herzl at 3:15 p.m.

The terrorists in both incidents, identified as Muhammad al-Kasir, 19, of Rafah, and Yasser Odeh, 32, from a village south of Bethlehem, were killed. Fatah's Aksa Brigade claimed responsibility for both incidents.

Close to 7 p.m. in Gush Katif, Kasir fired at two vehicles, killing Ahuva Amergi of Ganei Tal and seriously wounding Moshe Saperstein of Neveh Dekalim.

As soldiers arrived, a gun battle ensued. Kasir also threw grenades before he was shot and killed. Two soldiers were killed and two lightly wounded by gunfire. All the wounded were taken to Soroka Hospital in Beersheba.

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, blaming the Palestinian Authority for the escalation, held high-level consultations late last night to discuss a response.

"I intend to deliver the hardest of blows to the terrorist groups, in the hope that one day, possibly, there will also be people with whom we can talk," Sharon said.

PA Chairman Yasser Arafat made a victory sign in an appearance before schoolchildren in Ramallah.

"This people is mighty and steadfast and together we will reach Jerusalem," Arafat said.

Near Morag in Gush Katif, troops scoured the surrounding area after spotting two armed terrorists near the hothouses and opening fire, killing one and wounding another. Sappers inspected the terrorist's body and defused a number of grenades.

Area commander Col. Guy [this probably was my friend, Guy Biton,] said the terrorist came in under cover of the fields and buildings, lay at the roadside, and opened fire at the two vehicles. The terrorist was affiliated with the People's Democratic Front, he said.

Avner Shimoni, head of the Gaza Coast Regional Council, said "the council's emergency teams are deployed in all the communities, and other teams are tending the wounded and assisting the families. We will respond in a fitting manner by strengthening our communities and building and developing them."

Amergi, a lawyer who worked in Ashkelon, was returning home. She and her husband Rafi have two small sons.

Her funeral procession will depart at 2 p.m. from the Ganei Tal synagogue and head towards the Gush Katif regional cemetery.

Moshe - whom I have never met - is a very special individual. Here's what Mara - whom I have also never met - wrote about him on the night of the attack (at the time I got it from Harvey in Efrat) [To save time, I have not corrected any of the spelling or punctuation. Five years ago, I cut and pasted these emails into my email update, and while I cleaned the formatting a bit when I put them into this blog, correcting spelling and punctuation would have added an hour to this post. Sorry! CiJ]:

What follows was written by a "Mara" and so I leave it as Mara wrote it:
Dear Friends:
Many of you are recipients of emails from Moshe Saperstein, my longtime dear friend, in Neve Dekalim in Gaza. Moshe was seriously wounded in today's latest arab suicide attack on a civilian car at the entrance to Gush Katif (Gaza), as he was returning from a shopping trip to Ashkelon.
Having lost his right arm in the Yom Kippur War, Moshe has adapted over the years -- and now he has lost fingers on his (one) good hand. as i write this, it is around 4 a.m. in israel and he is still in surgery in Beersheva as the surgeons try to re-attach the fingers. he was shot in the hand and in the leg, according to his wife, Rachel, with whom i just spoke.
she had managed to call moshe on his cell phone and, somehow, he answered, "I'm shot!" Neighbors quickly came to the house but the road out of Gush Katif was closed for another hour, she Rachel was delayed in getting to Soroka Hospital in Beersheva.

A terrific son, husband, father (3) and grandfather (8), Moshe is a true hero of the Jewish People. A writer, musicologist (largest collection of classical music in israel), mensch, a great friend....may HASHEM grant him a speedy recovery. please pray for the health of MOSHE BEN SHOSHANA.
By April 7, 2002, Moshe had recovered sufficiently to write this account of the terror attack (I have bolded a few things that did not appear that way in the original). By the way, this came from Judy Lash Balint's Jerusalem Diaries email list, which - you guessed it - has become a blog:


For those of you who don't know why I haven't written in well over a month, it is because, on the evening of 18 February, I had a CLOSE ENCOUNTER of the horrible kind with a peace loving Islamic militant, outraged that Jews should dare occupy land given to them in the Bible. Gory details will follow.

To those of you who have prayed for me, thank you. To those of you who thought of praying for me, but never quite got around to it, thank you. To those of you who had a kind thought for me, now and again, thank you. To those of you who feel sorry for me, no thanks.
I admit that in the hours before dawn I occasionally give way to self-pity, but not very often, and I'll be d----d if anyone else has to feel sorry for me.

Who was it who said 'tragedy is always replayed as farce'? If this letter had been started just a few weeks ago the prose would probably be sodden with tears because there was a point when I was doing a lot of crying. Fortunately for you, that period has passed and I can now treat a minor incident with the levity it deserves.
You may note that my prose is somehow different. This is because I am still severely digitally-challenged and am dictating to a good friend. At present I have three heavily bandaged fingers and one damaged, but un-bandaged, thumb. I have attempted to type with the thumb, but without success.

(You know that my forebearers were Polish so you will understand that my thumb is presently trapped up one of my nostrils. Because the government spares no expense at caring for its heroes, they have arranged for skilled operatives to be flown in from the Warszawa Nostrilnosc Hospital and Kielbasa Factory to perform the delicate task of clearing my snout.)
Eventually I will be getting a voice-operated computer and then G-d pity you all.

A word about what happened. Some of you have already read descriptions of the event. I have read descriptions of the event and they bear little resemblance to what actually happened.
The various newspaper descriptions plus radio and internet reports depict an heroic act. I wish it were so. I feel very uncomfortable about disappointing so many of you who have begun to think of me as Moshe Rambosky. Just know that it is sufficient to me that I did not embarrass myself.

There was a time when I thought of collating the various descriptions of my supposed exploit and adopting the one that made me look best. Then I was just sorry that I didn't pretend to have a blackout of the entire event, allowing people to believe whatever they felt like believing. The truth is, that I acted in an uncharacteristic way which simultaneously makes me swell with pride and shrivel with embarrassment.
The compliment that meant the most to me came from some guy who showed up at my bedside in the hospital, reminded me that we had served together during the Yom Kippur War, and said "when I read the description of what you had done, I figured it must be another Moshe Saperstein, because the guy I remember couldn't have done that".

OK. The event to the best of my recollection:

Monday evening, February 18th, Rachel and I were watching the news which was filled with reports of attacks on roads throughout the country. I had been planning to drive to Ashkelon to do shopping the following day but these reports, combined with bad case of cabin fever, put me on my high horse and I started declaiming on the Zionist Imparitive" of getting in the car and going for a ride. Thus do the stupid get into trouble.
Rachel gave me a list of what to buy, I got into the car, lit my cigar, turned music up full blast, and set off. At this hour - it was now about 7 pm - there were no hitchhikers so I turned the music up really loud and puffed away like the Chatanugo ChuChu. (For those who care, the music was "Enter Spring" by the British composer Frank Bridge, one my obscure favorites.)

I was, I thought, alone on the road. It was dark and I was on the last lap through Indian Territory about a kilometer and a half from the Kissufim checkpost. My headlights picked up a car that seemed to have stopped at the side of the road. I thought this unusual, as no one stops on this road unless they are forced to by some technical problem. I slowed up as I approached the vehicle, intending to offer assistance if necessary. Just as I drew abreast of it, I was hit by a burst from a Kalashnokov AK47 machine gun. The shooter must have been hiding in darkness on the other side of the road. There were four bullets, two hit me in the hand and one in the leg.

(A mystery: the car has been repaired and returned to us. We were told that there were over a dozen bullet holes. I do not recall anything other than that burst of four. Either the car was used for target practice later or the Bullet Fairy came by spreading largesse without my being aware.)
My car rolled on for a few yards and stopped. I assume I was in shock but I was both awake and aware. I was in excruciating pain from my leg but felt nothing from my hand. I looked at what remains of my hand.

My first thought - and I apologize to my many Christian friends for who what I'm about to say may seem offensive - was the stigmata of Jesus Christ. The palm of my hand had been blown away. One could have put a tennis ball through it, though given my pension for exaggeration, I should have said a golf ball. I was looking at the back of my hand and so I could see that my thumb was in tact; my index finger was damaged, it looked like a hot dog that had been on the boil for too long with the skin flayed, but I knew it was alright because I was able to bend it. My middle and ring fingers were gone, my pinky appeared to be intact.
Except for the pain in my leg, I felt nothing. I felt no emotion. Unlike 28 years earlier when I lost my right arm in the Yom Kippur War, and under went a series of emotional, even spiritual upheavals, which you may be unfortunate enough to read about in a future letter, I felt nothing. Not even fear. It was as if I were an observer, detached from what I was observing.

Unbeknownst to me, an army jeep with an officer and a driver, had been a few hundred yards behind me. They raced to the scene, pulled up directly behind me, and came out of their vehicle. They ran towards me and one of them said "we'll protect you". There was a burst of gun fire and they both fell along side my car. At this point the shooter appeared from the darkness.
He was wearing the uniform of the Palestinian Police. He walked up to the two soldiers laying on the ground. He paused to look at me. We stared at each other. He had no expression on his face and he looked like Geraldo Rivera. He turned from me and proceeded to shoot each of the downed soldiers in the head. He then turned back to me. We stared at teach other again. He was standing in front of my car, caught in my headlights. Behind him there was a guard rail. We stared at each other. I suddenly was overcome with emotion. It was not fear, it was hatred. I never, ever, felt the degree of anger and hatred that I felt towards him at that moment. I wanted to kill him.

Kill is the wrong word. I wanted to pulverize him. I wanted to erase the [blankety blank] from this earth.

(Shortly after leaving the hospital, at home, I woke up in the middle of the night and walked into the kitchen. I turned on the light and saw what appeared to be a large brown bug on the floor. I was suddenly taken back to the scene in the car and was again flooded with the emotion of hatred. I stepped on the bug and kept mashing it into the floor until Rachel came out and stopped me. I then realized that instead of a bug, it was a large chocolate chip and I had smeared it half across the kitchen floor. Poor Rachel.)

The car was idling. The shooter held a hand grenade in one hand and his AK-47 in the other. We stared at each other. With an elegance - I know it seems an absurd word, but it's the only one that fits - and nonchalance that would do credit to Saladin and his other forbearers, he flipped the hand grenade at me.

I watched it come towards me with total indifference. It hit the roof of the car directly above my head, made a dull noise, and rolled off the back of the car without exploding. He then raised the AK-47 and aimed at me. At this point in fury and frustration, I pressed my good foot on the gas pedal. The car shot forward directly at him.

He was surprised but agile and was able to move fast enough so that I did not get him dead center and mash him against the guard rail. Instead, I had merely given him a glancing blow, which knocked him off balance. He bounced off the guard rail, picked himself up and calmly walked to the side of the car. We stared at each other again.

I suspect that I had succeeded in really [teeing] him off because what he should have done was to go back into the darkness and wait for his next victim. Instead, he stood in the roadway, exposed, determined to finish me off. He raised the AK-47; I looked down the barrel. I felt no emotion.

There were shots. He was apparently so intent on me that he hadn't heard other jeeps driving up. A soldier had opened fire and wounded him and another grenade which he had, exploded on him, finishing him off. The soldier who wounded him was injured by the explosion and I am amazed that I, who was even closer than the soldier had been, received no further injury.
(This is the type of incredible coincidence which is common in Israel. The young soldier who shot him and saved my life, and who may lose an eye from the explosion, is connected to me in a strange way. He is a distant relative of my closest friend, Arthur Evner, who died some two years ago. The boy was at Arthur's funeral when I delivered the eulogy.)

Things now get foggy. There was more shooting, though I don't know at what. I suspect soldiers were simply shooting into darkness on both sides of the road in case there might have been a second and third shooter. Four soldiers, in full battle dress, crouched near my car assuring me that they would protect me.
Except for the pain in my leg, which was really excruciating, all I felt was embarrassment that these children were putting themselves on the line for me. An army medic approached me, started to bandage my hand and then my leg. Some time passed, I have no idea how much time.

Civilian faces appeared out of the darkness and stared at me. Some of them were neighbors and I said "Don't tell Rachel. I will tell her."
I was approached again by a medic and told him that I was fine and that he should busy himself with the other wounded. It was not until a day or two later that I learned that the car at the side of the road contained the body of a beautiful 30 year-old mother of two. (I have her picture in my room and I say without irony or b.s., that if given the choice I would not have hesitated to trade places with her.)

A new face appeared telling me that I was to be put on a stretcher and carried to an ambulance a short distance away. I said that I would walk to the ambulance. This was incredibly stupid on my part as I had no idea how serious my leg injury was but I did it, leaning on two soldiers who half supported me to the ambulance.

Once in the ambulance my cellphone rang. It was Rachel, she had heard that there had been a shooting incident and that there were dead and wounded and knew that I was on the road. I told her that I had been wounded but it wasn't serious and that I was already in an ambulance on the way to Soroka Hospital in Be'er Sheva.
Apparently my voice was still very strong and she was reassured. In any case, and this is worthy of volumes in itself, Rachel is the heroine of the whole story. She had gone through it 28 years before and has now gone through it again, and has been magnificent throughout.

There is so much more that I have to write, but I am exhausted now and my typists' fingers are shorter by at least half an inch. So I just want to close with one last incident, which brings me to the hospital.

Throughout this entire event, I never once felt fear until I was in the ambulance to Soroka. The medic sitting next to me spent the entire time - 40 or 50 minutes - shrieking at the top of his voice at the driver "You maniac !!! Be careful, you're about to hit that car, you're about to this, you're about to that."

I was seized with such a fright that I would have survived the shooting only to die in a crash on the way to the hospital that I kept repeating "Sh'ma Yisroel" over and over until the ambulance finally disgorged me at the hospital entrance.

Good Night. G-d bless you all.

Moshe Saperstein, Neve Dekalim

Now, the tragedy in all this--here is an American-Israeli who made Aliyah, as the Jews are supposed to, who then came to their country and in combat lost an arm and an eye, and then, in August of 2005, lost his home.

As of today, he and Rachel still live in a tiny "caravilla" and the plans for the home the government was supposed to rebuild them, haven’t even been approved.

How tragic that one of Israel’s TRUE HEROES would be treated in this manner.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Iran and their proxy armies

February 13, 2012

Dear Pastors:

More news on Iran’s Nuclear Works, and their Proxy Forces as Hamas and Hezbollah.
Iran's Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, Sunday voiced his country's full support for Hamas in its fight against Israel and said that Tehran considers the Palestinian issue as an "Islamic cause."
Khamenei's remarks came during a meeting with Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, who is currently on an official visit to Iran.
The meeting between Khamenei and Haniyeh was the first of its kind since the Hamas prime minister assumed office after his movement won the January 2006 parliamentary election.
"Iran will always be supportive of the Palestinian cause and the Islamic resistance in Palestine," the Tehran-based Mehr News Agency quoted Khamenei as saying.
Khamenei added that the "recent victories in Palestine were partially responsible for the Islamic awakening in the region" - a reference to the rise of Islamists to power in a number of Arab countries, including Tunisia and Egypt.
"Undoubtedly, the accumulating sentiments of the region's peoples toward the cause of the Gaza Strip led to the sudden eruption of the volcano in the region," The Iranian leader told Haniyeh.
He also warned against attempts by unnamed parties to "undermine" Hamas, but did not elaborate.
"We have no doubt about your resistance and that of many of your brothers, and the people only have this expectation of you," Khamenei added.
Haniyeh, for his part, thanked the Iranian leadership for its "ongoing" support for Hamas and the Palestinian cause.
Haniyeh, who was invited to Iran to participate in celebrations marking the 33rd anniversary of the Islamic Revolution, underlined the three strategies of his government: "liberating Palestine from the sea to the river, abiding by the resistance and affirming the Islamic character of the Palestinian cause."
Haniyeh's visit to Iran came amid deepening divisions within Hamas over last week's Qatari-sponsored reconciliation agreement between the movement and Fatah.
Some Hamas officials also expressed dissatisfaction with Haniyeh's visit to Tehran, noting that it came at a time when other Hamas leaders were trying to distance themselves from Iran and Syria.
Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal has come under sharp criticism for signing the Qatari-sponsored reconciliation deal that calls for naming Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas as prime minister of a new Palestinian unity government.
Over the weekend, Mahmoud Zahar, a top Hamas official in the Gaza Strip, came out publicly against Mashaal and said the reconciliation pact was a "mistake."
But while Zahar and most of the Hamas leaders in the Gaza Strip have expressed opposition to the deal under the pretext that it includes far-reaching concessions to Abbas and Fatah, representatives of the movement in the West Bank praised the agreement.
A Hamas official in the Ramallah said that Zahar's criticism of Mashaal "reflected only his personal opinion."
The official, who asked not to be identified, lashed out at Haniyeh for visiting Iran "at this very sensitive period."
The official expressed concern that the Iranians, in return for financial and military aid, would ask Hamas to support Syrian President Bashar Assad.
"Mashaal left Syria because he refused to come out in support of Assad, who is butchering dozens of his people very day," the Hamas official told The Jerusalem Post. "But now here is Haniyeh visiting Iran, which is helping Assad and supplying him with weapons and security experts to suppress the popular uprising in his country. The timing of the visit is very bad and could harm Hamas's interests in the region."
WASHINGTON - Iran has agreed to resume talks on its nuclear program, Turkey's foreign minister said on Friday, but a diplomat from one of the countries seeking a diplomatic solution saw no sign of fresh talks.
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told reporters he had recently been to Tehran and sought to encourage Iran to revive talks with the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany.
-'44% of Americans support strike against Iran'
-Turks torpedo Israel Navy participation in NATO op
"They agreed," he said, stressing Turkey's preference for a diplomatic solution to address questions about Iran's nuclear program, which the West suspects is a cover to develop an atomic bomb. Iran says it is for purely peaceful power generation.
However, the diplomat from a country within the group of major powers said it has yet to receive an Iranian response to a letter from European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, a key demand by the major powers for resuming talks.
"What we are asking of them is relatively straightforward. We need them to make absolutely clear that among the agenda items we are going to talk about ... is their nuclear program and they need to convey that in an official and clear way," said the diplomat, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
"We need a demonstration of seriousness," the diplomat said, adding that there was no sign yet that the Iranians were prepared to resume talks. Analysts consider that a remote possibility before Iran's parliamentary elections on March 2.
Davutoglu also repeated Turkey's opposition to any military strike against Iran.
There has been speculation for months that Israel might launch such an attack and Israeli officials have openly said that time may be running out for air strikes to destroy the Iranian nuclear program.
"[A] military strike is a disaster. It should not be an option, especially at this historic turning point in our region," Davutoglu said at a Washington think tank. "We will never, never endorse any military strike."
He suggested that a negotiated outcome could be based on previous ideas under which Iran would give up some of its enriched uranium and would, in return, receive fuel for the Tehran Research Reactor, which produces medical isotopes.
"The same framework could be used for [a] fuel exchange," Davutoglu said. "Or there could be a new deal saying to Iran, 'OK, we will provide you fuel -- 20 percent enriched uranium -- but you will stop'" enriching to 20 percent.
Uranium enrichment is a process that can provide fuel for power plans or, if carried out to a much higher degree, can yield fissile material for nuclear weapons.
The group of major powers is worried that by producing nearly 20 percent enriched uranium, Iran has come closer to mastering the technology to obtain fissile material for bombs
Americans are more likely than Europeans or Middle Easterners to support a strike against Iran, according to poll released this week.
In the United States, 44 percent of those polled supported bombing Iran's nuclear facilities, whereas only 23% of British, 20% of Middle Easterners, and 18% of Germans supported such a move.
Talk of a possible strike by American or Israeli forces raised tension with the Islamic Republic in recent weeks, as the US and EU imposed fresh sanctions on Iranian oil exports and its central bank.
Iran has also been working furiously to transfer its nuclear facilities to underground sites, which even the most advanced US bunker busters reportedly cannot penetrate.
Iranian television quoted senior Revolutionary Guard official Brig.-Gen. Masoud Jazayeri this week as saying that threats of a strike lacked credibility, as the US and Israel were aware of Tehran's counterattack abilities.
TEHRAN - Iranian authorities will crack down this week on any public protest against the year-long house arrest of opposition leaders, Mirhossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karoubi, an official was quoted as saying on Sunday.
Iran, at odds with the West over its disputed nuclear program, holds a parliamentary election on March 2, its first national poll since Mousavi and Karoubi were beaten by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in a 2009 vote they said was rigged.
The government denied any fraud in the election, which ignited eight months of street protests, prompting a violent state response and deep splits in the ruling establishment.
The two leaders were placed under house arrest on Feb. 14 last year after they urged their supporters to join a rally in support of popular uprisings across the Arab world.
Tehran provincial governor Morteza Tamaddon said a call by reformists for a rally on Wednesday to mark the anniversary of the curbs imposed on Mousavi and Karoubi was a "publicity stunt" by opponents of Iran's Islamic revolution.
"We will confront such moves with full preparation and all kinds of security apparatus," the reformist Kaleme website quoted Tamaddon as saying.
Tens of thousands of Iranians joined state-organized rallies on Saturday to mark the 33rd anniversary of Iran's revolution.
The parliamentary election, now less than three weeks away, will test the popularity of Ahmadinejad's supporters and those who back the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in a power struggle between conservative factions.
Reformists have said they are boycotting the election as their demands for a "free and just" vote have not been met.
A low turnout would hurt the leadership's efforts to contain the damage to its legitimacy caused by the 2009 election and the forcible suppression of the opposition "Green" movement.
Dozens of people were killed and thousands arrested during the post-election unrest that engulfed major towns and cities in the worst political upheaval in the Islamic Republic's history