I found this page I was not looking for in Google search results this week. Somebody I don’t know took the Time and made the Effort to compile photos and images from articles in this Blog in one Internet page.

The Word – Ray Joseph Cormier

King Solomon, reputed to be among the Wisest of the Wise in Religious circles, wrote the title of this article in the opening verses of Ecclesiastes some 3000 years ago. Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines according to the Bible. The Concubines were not his wives, but kept women in his Palace for his…Read more THERE IS NOTHING NEW UNDER THE SUN


Professor Richard Falk is an International Law and International Relations Scholar who taught at Prinston University for 40 years. He is also the United Nations Special Rapporteur for Palestinian Rights under Israeli Military Occupation. He has accepted this thankless job reporting in his Professorial style of writing, the facts on on an occupying power breaching…Read more A HOUSE DIVIDED AGAINST ITSELF CANNOT STAND

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Jonathan Cook is an award winning British Journalist who has lived in Nazareth since 2001. From his unique perspective on the ground, he has written three books on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This is his latest column that appeared in Al-Jazeera August 16, 2013 and re-posted here with his permission. He does not get much exposure…Read more ISRAEL’S BOOMING SECRETIVE ARMS TRADE – MERCHANTS OF DEATH

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In the Spirit of ’76, as a demonstrator, I was highly visible at The Liberty Memorial Mall in Penn Valley Park and The Crown Center Hotel in Kansas City the whole time of the Republican National Convention. President Ford, Vice-President Rockefeller, their organizers and partisans were staying there. Arriving in Kansas City, the 1st place…Read more SIGNS OF THE TIMES

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You were on your way home when you died. It was a car accident. Nothing particularly remarkable, but fatal nonetheless. You left behind a wife and two children. It was a painless death. The EMTs tried their best to save you, but to no avail. Your body was so utterly shattered you were better off,…Read more GOD! IS THAT YOU?

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Halloween, at least in part, originally was a ceremony for the dead, and in the Christian context an interval to honour or pray for those who had died but were still parked, so to speak, in Purgatory, awaiting their eventual ascent to heaven. It was, and still is, underneath the costumery and fun, a time…Read more DEATH & RESURRECTION

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The following article is re-posted from the Blog of Professor Richard Falk, UN Special Rapporteur for Palestinian Rights under Israeli Military Occupation. I selected and included all the images. Richard Falk is a recognized International law and International Relations Scholar who taught at Princeton University for forty years. Since 2002 he has lived in Santa…Read more AM I MY BROTHER’S KEEPER?

ray032GAZAgaza-blockade-271646_540270649316919_646769804_nPalestinian smuggles calf through tunnel beneath Egyptian-Gaza border in Rafah130501-gaza-tunnel-sheepAMnestyChildren of GazaGaza destructionS-70 BATTLEHAWK Sikorsky-battlehawk-2dronegaza-under-attack-women-and-childrenIsraels-UAS111224-gaza-anniversaryIsraeli drone crashes in besieged GazaThe_aftermathPalestinians on the way to work in the SettlementsBerlin vs Israeli Separation wallray032GAZAgaza-blockade-271646_540270649316919_646769804_nPalestinian smuggles calf through tunnel beneath Egyptian-Gaza border in Rafah130501-gaza-tunnel-sheepAMnestyChildren of GazaGaza destructionS-70 BATTLEHAWK Sikorsky-battlehawk-2dronegaza-under-attack-women-and-childrenIsraels-UAS111224-gaza-anniversaryIsraeli drone crashes in besieged GazaThe_aftermathPalestinians on the way to work in the SettlementsBerlin vs Israeli Separation wall

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TODAY is my Birthday! Thirty-nine years have gone by since that unexpected, Wonder Filled Day when I was ‘Born Again” by the Spirit of God February 1, 1975. I was 29 going on 30, and never experienced anything like it before. That Day, I came alive to God and/or God came alive in me. Before…Read more I AM THAT I AM

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It is now 7 months since my last post, February 1st, on the occasion of celebrating the 39th anniversary of being “Born Again,” making me 70 going on 40. Since a Red Line was drawn in that article, and the Spirit moved me to insert “…to be continued” something I never did with any previous article,…Read more BIBLICAL NINEVEH – THE WORLD CITY

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  The last post to this Blog August 13 was on the Biblical Jonah in the Whale story, in light of ISIS the Islamic militants, the newest, greatest threat to humanity, blowing up the Islamic Mosque reportedly containing the Tomb of Jonah in Nineveh, Iraq. Jonah is revered by Jews, Christians & Islam. What is…Read more JONAH, JESUS, ISIS AND ISRAEL


The Gold Dome is the most immediately identifiable image dominating the skyline of Jerusalem. It has stood there for 1300 years, longer in TIME than both the 1st and 2nd Jewish Temples. There is a growing movement of Jewish activist-extremists who want to see the Dome destroyed, and a 3rd Jewish Temple built in it’s…Read more TEMPLE MOUNT AND THE BATTLE OF THE GREAT DAY OF GOD ALMIGHTY

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……This is a Work of Faith in progress! Please be patient and revisit in a few days. This is 44 years later! Looks like their high paying Job-Work has been rough on their faces! I liked this Rolling Stones song since it came out in 1969. It has always served to govern any emotional over-reaction…Read more PATIENCE OF JOB – THE MAN/PATIENCE OF JOB – THE WORK OF FAITH


The following article by Professor Richard Falk is clear, incisive, objective and Righteous. Richard Falk is an International Law and International Relations Scholar who taught at Princeton University for forty years. His term as UN Special Rapporteur for Palestinian Rights recently ended. He is the Jew the Israelis love to hate. I first learned of…Read more TELLING IT LIKE IT IS: LIP SERVICE TO PEACE – POLICY & ATTITUDES LEADING TO WAR

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I am pleased to re-post this article that appeared in Pravda Today, and in other on line news outlets, written by someone I have known for many years. We both arrived at the same conclusion independently. It is the US, with it’s aggressive anti-Russian attitude, that has precipitated this crisis to further it’s Babylonian Imperial…Read more War Over Ukraine – Prelude to WWIII/Armageddon?

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Backtracking From the Brink in Ukraine By Jay Ogilvy Jay Ogilvy Jay Ogilvy joined Stratfor’s editorial board in January 2015. In 1979, he left a post as a professor of philosophy at Yale to join SRI, the former Stanford Research Institute, as director of research. Dr. Ogilvy co-founded the Global Business Network of scenario planners…Read more WHEN SANER HEADS PREVAIL


It was my intention to write and post an article about Pope Francis I Today, the 2nd article on the evolving Papacy. The Papacy and the Vatican Curia is the oldest continuing, functioning government on earth, having mutated from the power structure of the Emperor gods of Rome to the Pope of Rome with the…Read more O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you that kills the prophets, and stones them which are sent to you

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Gideon Levy is a Haaretz columnist and a member of the newspaper’s editorial board. Levy joined Haaretz in 1982, and spent four years as the newspaper’s deputy editor. He is the author of the weekly Twilight Zone feature, which covers the Israeli occupation in the West Bank and Gaza over the last 25 years, as…Read more HAVING EYES THEY WILL NOT SEE

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I start my Day on the computer reading The Jerusalem Post, Haaretz, The Washington Post, and then move on to many other different on line news sites. Why do I start with Israeli news organizations? Because that’s where Armageddon is located and starts. Armageddon was derived from Har Megiddo located in Palestine during the occupation…Read more JEWS AND PALESTINIANS

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I just started to write this article when the horrific news out of Paris interrupted it. More interesting for me to note than for others obviously, because it happened on the 1 year anniversary of posting TEMPLE MOUNT AND THE BATTLE OF THE GREAT DAY OF GOD ALMIGHTY For those with eyes wide open, it’s…Read more THE PEOPLE’S POPE – A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS AND REASONS

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S Samuel being dedicated to the service of the LORD and presented to his Father the High Priest When I first learned how to read in the 1st Grade in 1950,  the 1st Book I read cover to cover was the Bible. I loved the history, the trials and tribulations of the ‘people of God,’…Read more KINGS OF THE EARTH

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I walk across the beach, follow the ever-shifting outline of the water. The sun has begun to set; the sky is blossoming with fire. I watch the surf churn and froth as it rolls in and out. I find the waves to be contemplative. They comfort me, draw me into myself as the water is…Read more An Immortal in Exile


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TODAY is my Birthday! I’m 72 going on 41. My Flesh came into being in this world on May 21, 1944. My Spirit came alive to the Eternal God on February 1, 1975. I was born again with a new outlook on Life and a new Beginning. Before that day, I believed I was born…Read more BORN AGAIN

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  “Believe that you can run farther or faster. Believe that you’re young enough, old enough, strong enough, and so on to accomplish everything you want to do. Don’t let worn-out beliefs stop you from moving beyond yourself.” – John Bingham All that we are requires faith. Not just in a religious sense, but also… self-confidence,…Read more FAITH AND BELIEF


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It is no secret the US believes it is an ‘exceptional Nation’ and the post-WWII rules that govern the behaviour of other Nations,  the US considers itself the exception to the Rules, enabling it to violate International Law with impunity as the world’s late, great Imperial Power. The UN is located in New York, and…Read more REGIME CHANGE


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Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision. Joel 3:14 The New York Times reports these decisions have been taken a long Time ago, when the US unilaterally abrogated nuclear arms limiting Treaties signed with the Soviet Union now that it no longer…Read more IS THE END NEAR?

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  • 05/21/16–18:21: Truth

Originally posted on Mike Kuplevatsky:
A man is measured by the quality of his friends and the choices that he makes when all hope seems to be lost. When I was a kid, I had this silly idea that adults were perfect and that they always made the right choices. As I grew older, though,…

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Originally posted on Confusius:
? When born, one radiates pure innocence… One’s eyes are the windows to the soul; while looking into the crystalline eyes of a newborn, one can catch a glimpse of a soul that has gazed upon God itself, an immaculate being returning from infinity, once more setting foot on the mortal…

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It is 40 years ago TODAY, The Kansas City Times published this report, the 1st of 2 in the Spirit of ’76, as Americans were celebrating the 200th Anniversary of their Revolution. When the Republican Convention was over, and the crowds left, I stayed behind and camped out at the Liberty Memorial Mall in Penn…Read more BACK TO THE FUTURE

ray032Kansas City Times, September 13, 1976 (2)ray032Kansas City Times, September 13, 1976 (2)

Joseph is one of my favourite Old Testament characters and not only because he is my namesake. As I read the story, it represents Triumph over Tragedy. Joseph’s Father, Jacob, was the 2nd twin son of Issac. It was Esau that came out of his mother’s womb 1st, and then Jacob. The Bible says Esau…Read more JOSEPH AND THE COAT OF MANY COLOURS


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TODAY is another 40th Anniversary Day for me. On ALL SOULS DAY, November 2, 1976, THE KANSAS CITY TIMES published the 2nd of two reports on my visit to the City in The Spirit of ’76. The writer of this 2nd record is not the same Reporter who wrote ‘Prophet Chooses Park For Vigil‘ on…Read more ALL SOULS DAY

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The Gold Dome is the most immediately identifiable image dominating the skyline of Jerusalem. It has stood there for 1300 years, longer in TIME than both the 1st and 2nd Jewish Temples.

There is a growing movement of Jewish activist-extremists who want to see the Dome destroyed, and a 3rd Jewish Temple built in it’s place, restoring the Levite Priesthood with the animal blood sacrifice of sheep and goats in atonement for sin.

The fundamental of Messianic Christianity is God’s requirement of animal sacrifice by Jews in the Temple, ended when Christ Jesus, by offering his own body as a LIVING SACRIFICE, fulfilled that requirement ONCE, for ALL TIME, and for ALL HUMANITY.

‘The Temple Mount is a powder keg, and arsonists have the upper hand’ This is no accidental fire. This was (and still is) an arson job. But who are the suspects? this morning’s headline reports in Israel’s Haaretz newspaper.

Jerusalem is up in arms again. As violence spreads from the capital to other parts of Israel, it seems the question isn’t so much whether the country is teetering on the brink of an intifada, but how the upsurge should be characterized.

Some are calling it “the Firecracker Intifada,” in honor of the firecrackers that Palestinian protesters are hurling at the police. Others are going simply with “the third intifada,” though many disagree with that moniker. In any case, the term “Silent Intifada,” previously used to describe the violence in Jerusalem, hardly seems appropriate now.

At the center of this craziness stands the Temple Mount, or Haram al-Sharif, as it is known to Muslims. The Temple Mount is the holiest site for Judaism and the third holiest for Islam. It’s one of the most sensitive religious sites in the world — a massive powder keg, if you will.

Now that this powder keg looks to be on the verge of exploding, note that this was no accidental fire. This was (and still is) an arson job.

The immediate suspects, as many observers have pointed out, are the Israeli right-wing politicians challenging the decades-old status quo on the Temple Mount, over which the Muslim Waqf trust has retained religious control since Israel took over East Jerusalem in 1967. The right-wingers are insisting that Jews be allowed to pray there; they include Knesset members like Likud’s Miri Regev and Moshe Feiglin.

These two, Housing Minister Uri Ariel and others have been key to the incredible resurgence of the Jewish Temple Mount movement in recent years, a resurgence that led to rumors that Israel sought to change the delicate status quo.

Last week Feiglin visited the site yet again, despite warnings by the police. Others like another Likud MK, Tzipi Hotovely, expressed wishes to follow suit despite charges they were fanning the flames.

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon admonished them; in an interview with Channel 10, Ya’alon admitted that the current violence had at least been partly stoked by ministers and MKs who defiantly visited the Temple Mount.

If Lieberman and Ya’alon have to tell you you’ve gone too far, you can be pretty sure you’ve gone too far.

It’s not for nothing that Lieberman and Ya’alon, not to mention Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Reuven Rivlin and much of Israel’s security apparatus, appear so agitated over the mount these days.

Over the years, maintaining the status quo there by prohibiting Jewish prayer was critical to preventing an all-out religious war. The status quo wasn’t perfect by any means, but it allowed a delicate balance between the national and the religious.

That balance is now eroding fast.

Tension since 1929

The history of the Temple Mount is, of course, fraught with conflict. For many years, extremists — both Jews and Arabs — have battled over, or against the backdrop of, this tempestuous holy site.

In 1929, 133 Jews were killed by Arabs partly motivated by rumors of a planned Jewish takeover of the mount. In 1996, riots broke out there following Netanyahu’s decision to open the Western Wall tunnels — a decision that again led to rumors of an imminent threat to Islamic control of the site. Seventeen Israeli soldiers and more than 100 Palestinians died, and scores were wounded.

In the 1980s, the Jewish underground, a terrorist organization formed by members of the right-wing movement Gush Emunim, almost blew up the mosques on the mount, including the Dome of the Rock. The idea was to further a messianic redemption that would culminate with the construction of a Third Temple.

In September 2000, Ariel Sharon (then opposition leader) made a high-profile visit to the mount. The day after, riots broke out there following Friday prayers, launching the second intifada.

But now, at the outset of what may or may not be a third intifada, something is different. It’s not the violence as much as the way the events are being framed.

For the most part, the movement to regain Jewish control of the Temple Mount has been limited to extremists. Sharon’s 2000 visit, for example, was seen as a dangerous provocation. Until a few years ago, any talk of change at the Temple Mount was a surefire sign of religious madness, the stuff of eccentrics and the certifiably insane.

Not anymore. These days there appears to be a wider acceptance for a Jewish Temple Mount, tracking Israel’s right-wing shift and the erosion of its resistance to messianic rhetoric.

The movement, still a minority movement, has gained mainstream recognition in recent years and won influential supporters in the Knesset. Regev, chairwoman of the Knesset Interior Committee, has chaired no fewer than 15 debates on the subject in the past year alone, hounding police officials for their “cowardly” response to the harassment of Jewish visitors to the mount.

Outlandish no more

Two weeks ago, hours before right-wing activist Yehuda Glick was shot by East Jerusalemite Mutaz Hijazi, Regev reminisced how she initially thought the Temple Mount movement was “outlandish” — before she was ultimately convinced.

Glick, now in recovery, was, as my colleague Anshel Pfeffer has pointed out, key to the mainstreaming of the Temple Mount movement. An affable, red-bearded oddity, Glick — who went on a 53-day hunger strike last year after being barred from the mount — often befriended ideological rivals and depicted his struggle as a pure freedom-of-religion issue. By portraying the issue as a civil-rights debate, he played a key role in the massive PR resurgence of the Temple Mount movement.

Glick’s affability aside, the proliferation of Israeli visits to the mount and the growing conversation about the site — much aided by opportunistic Hamas propaganda — helped increase tensions and led to the formation of local groups like al-Murabitun, self-proclaimed guardians of the site against the rumored “Jewish takeover.” The clashes that followed led to the violence we’re seeing now.

The vast majority of Israelis and Palestinians, of course, don’t want a religious war. Israel’s foremost religious authorities, among them Sephardi Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef, have reiterated their stance against Jewish visits to the mount. The vast majority of Israelis have never visited the place and probably have no intention of doing so. Most Palestinians, meanwhile, have more pressing material concerns.

Unfortunately for those people, it seems there are plenty of arsonists among us. And right now they seem to be enjoying the upper hand.

O JerusalemBehold, your house is left unto you desolate: and verily I say to you, You shall not see me, until the time come when you shall say, Blessed is he that comes in the name of the Lord.            

Luke 13:35

Glick and his ilk want to move Israel backward, not forward, in wanting to re-instate animal blood sacrifice for sin, denying Christ who sacrificed his living body for all sin, once and for all.

The Messianic Settlers, their spiritual leaders and advisors, who have taken over Likud and the government, ignore the words of the Prophets at Israel’s peril.

Hear the word of the Lord, O rulers of Sodom; give ear to the law of our God, O people of Gomorrah!
Of what use are your many sacrifices to Me? says the Lord. I am sated with the burnt-offerings of rams and the fat of fattened cattle; and the blood of bulls and sheep and hegoats I do not want.
When you come to appear before Me, who requested this of you, to trample My courts?
You shall no longer bring vain meal-offerings, it is smoke of abomination to Me; New Moons and Sabbaths, calling convocations, I cannot [bear] iniquity with assembly.

Thus says the LORD, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that you build for me? and where is the place of my rest?
For all those things have my hand made, and those things have been, says the LORD: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembles at my word.

Isaiah 66 -Christian translation

Isaiah 66 – Jewish translation



God is Great

This solid earth is physically moving through space around the sun at a rate of some 100,000km every hour, while rotating on it’s axis around 1675km/hour. Do you feel it? Do you sense it?

Why should it be such a great leap to believe in an invisible God who becomes visible to those who believe by Faith and look for God?

Jesus said to him, Thomas, because you have seen me, you have believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.

John 20

In addition to the rising tensions over the Temple Mount, the following Haaretz reports detail some of the usual Israeli humiliation and provocation of the Palestinians in the 47 year Israeli Military Dictatorship in the occupied territories separate from Gaza.

Ten torched mosques, zero indictments Since June 2011, 10 mosques in Israel and the West Bank have been set on fire by presumed right-wing Jewish extremists. No charges have been filed.

When the Israeli FBI, Shin Bet, can find and kill a Palestinian suspect in hours, I can only imagine how frustrated and suffocated the Palestinians must feel with such double standards in police work and results.

 ‘Police failing to investigate Jewish hate crimes in West Bank, says NGO’

Some 92 percent of complaints filed by Palestinians are closed and the criminal never found, according to a report by the Yesh Din human rights group, which has been tracking 1,045 complaints filed through the organization since 2005.

The list of complaints includes shooting attacks, assault, stone-throwing, arson, cutting down trees, animal abuse, crop theft, construction on Palestinian-owned land, threats and attacks. All the actions mentioned in the complaints were committed by Israeli citizens.

And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet.(false beliefs about God in Judaism, Christianity & Islam. Written some 500 years before Islam, the 3rd arm from the Jewish religious record appeared)

For they are the spirits of DEVILS, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth ( 1%, Presidents, Prime Ministers, Senators, CEOs, and other Idols of the People) and of the whole world, (the rest of Humanity) to gather them to the Battle of that Great Day of God Almighty. (the war is already underway Today between Judaism, Christianity and Islam, leading to the climax of that Great Day)

Behold, I come as a thief. (when you least expect it)

Blessed is he that watches, and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame. And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.
Revelation 16:13-16

Armageddon was derived from Har Megiddo, located in Judea and Samaria of occupied Palestine 2000 years ago. Israel as a kingdom disappeared some 800 years before Jesus walked in that area during the occupation.
Har Megiddo/Armageddon still exists as a physical place in this material world, but is now under the control of temporal Israel re-created from the Bible after an absence of some 2800 years.

After all those years, the occupation of Judea and Samaria in Palestine is still an unresolved, violent, open wound in the Middle East and this material world.
American Zionist Christians want to see Armageddon come. They praise the Lord and pass the ammunition. It’s the DEVIL’s work, not God’s Will.


Revelation 16

Both religious and non-religious understand the implications of the word ‘Armageddon’ and the pictures it raises in the mind. It was derived from Har Megiddo, a physical place located in the occupied territories of Judea and Samaria in Palestine 2000 years ago. Israel had ceased to exist some 800 years earlier. before Jesus walked in the Occupied Territory.

Har Megiddo/Armageddon still exists as a physical place TODAY, except it is now located in temporal Israel, recreated from the Bible after an absence of some 2800 years.

It should at least be a wonder to all thinking people, how it came to be, that after 2000 years of a bloody human history of Wars and Conquest, Nations and Empires, Invasions and Resistance, Politics and Powers, the most explosive and divisive issue confronting this world TODAY, is STILL over the occupation of Judea and Samaria in Palestine?

Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.

Psalm 46

 November 1, 2015

This article in Haaretz Friday sums up the present danger unfolding in Israel Today.

Temple Mount Extremists Making Inroads in Both Knesset and Israeli Government

Netanyahu is appalled at the possibility that Temple Mount activists will become part of the governing faction, but their agenda is already voiced by some ministers.

June 1, 2016
As if to confirm the views in this article, these are the latest developments concerning The Temple Mount.



The following article is re-posted from the Blog of Professor Richard Falk, UN Special Rapporteur for Palestinian Rights under Israeli Military Occupation. I selected and included all the images.

Richard Falk is a recognized International law and International Relations Scholar who taught at Princeton University for forty years. Since 2002 he has lived in Santa Barbara, California, and taught at the local campus of the University of California in Global and International Studies and since 2005 chaired the Board of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation.

Professor Falk is Jewish and the Jew Israelis love to hate for pointing out Israeli violations of International Law and UN Resolutions.

I renamed Professor Falk’s article to ‘Am I my Brother’s Keeper’ when it was posted in November, 2013. I did not foresee the Israeli government would launch Operation Brother’s Keeper in July 2014 leading to the massive bombardment and destruction of the infrastructure, homes and businesses in Gaza in the summer of 2014 during Operation Protective Edge.

The total economic war Israel is currently waging against the entire population of Gaza is beginning to take it’s terrible toll. Innocent civilians, not just the minority fighters resisting Israeli displacement of Palestinians from the land they occupied before the recreation of temporal Israel from the Bible after an absence of 3000 years, and the Jewish settlement expansion on the very land that is the purpose of Peace Negotiations, is part of Israeli policy regarding Palestinians. In effect, the Israeli position is; resistance is futile, but Palestinians will not be assimilated into Eretz Israel They have no Democratic Rights in the “Jewish” State expanding on Palestinian land.


Statement by Abba Eban, Israeli Foreign Minister, June 14, 1967.
“Wars are not always begun by shots. They are often begun by action and the action which really created the state of war in an acute sense was the imposition of the blockade. To try to murder somebody by strangulation is just as much attempted murder as if you tried to murder him by a shot, and therefore the act of strangulation was the first violent, physical act which had its part in the sequence.”

People are people everywhere. The ordinary people of Gaza have the same material needs and feelings Jews did when Egypt imposed a partial economic blockade on Israeli shipping passing through the Strait of Tiran prior to Israel starting the military hostilities beyond words in the 1967 War.


GAZA: The Unfolding Tragedy

30 Nov

GAZA: The Unfolding Humanitarian Catastrophe

This material below was distributed by John Whitbeck, distinguished American lawyer and author, living in Paris,and doing his best to keep a group concerned with world affairs informed about latest developments, especially inthe Middle East. I also add a slightly edited text of a message sent by Robert Stiver from Hawaii, who has exhibited consistent empathy for the suffering of the Palestinian people.My press release below, although far less emotional than the cri de coeur that Robert Stiver wrote, issues from the same place of urgent concern for the brave and resolute people of Gaza. I hope that Robert is wrong however when he ends with self-tormenting words of despair: “What to do, in the name of common justice?  I know not; it seems useless, all useless.” Such feelings of futility are quite understandable, but let us do all within our power to make sure that this unfolding catastrophe ENDS before its full tragic character is totally realized.

It hardly needs to be observed that the silence of the United Nations and the global media is a continuing disgrace, particularly given the pomp and circumstance of those mighty statesmen who self-righteously proclaim a new doctrine: ‘the responsibility to protect’ (R2P) those whose survival and dignity is at stake due to crimes of state or as a result of natural catastrophe.


Cutting edge Middle East news analysis edited by Oliver Miles
 Web Arab News Digest
Gaza: a disgraceAccording to a BBC report military action in Gaza between Israel and Hamas Palestinian smuggles calf through tunnel beneath Egyptian-Gaza border in Rafahhas been limited since the serious fighting a year ago in which about 170 Palestinians and six Israelis died. But tension remains high, as also between Hamas and Egypt where northern Sinai has been the scene of much fighting. Meanwhile living conditions for 1.7 million Gazans remain atrocious.Reuters reports that Turkey has pledged $850,000, $200,000 of which have already reached Gaza, to alleviate the fuel crisis which has closed Gaza’s only power station and a major sewage treatment plant, so that raw sewage is running in the streets. Fuel deliveries by the UN have started, and are reported to be promised by Qatar. The immediate cause of the fuel crisis is the destruction by Egypt of cross-border tunnels, and the longer term cause the Israeli blockade.We thank John Whitbeck for an “Action Alert” from the Friends of Al-Aqsa (a UK NGO) drawing attention to the first item below, a UN report on action needed to avert a humanitarian crisis. He comments that the Action Alert refers to the “smuggling” of fuel and other basic necessities into Gaza through tunnels on the border between Egypt and Palestine. ‘This terminology is standard media usage in Israel and the West, intended to semantically criminalize the victims, but, as a matter of both law and common sense, I believe that the use of the word “smuggle” is totally inappropriate in these circumstances. “Smuggling” is an illegal activity, usually involving a violation of the laws of the importing state. Under whose applicable laws is importing basic necessities into Gaza illegal? Certainly not the laws of the importing state, Palestine, or the current de facto government of Gaza, as to which Israel insists that it has not been the occupying power (and, accordingly, has had no responsibilities or obligations) since it withdrew its illegal settlers, locked the gates and, effectively, threw away the keys. If there is an Egyptian law banning the export of basic necessities from Egypt, I am not aware of it. The provisioning of Gaza 130501-gaza-tunnel-sheepwith the basic necessities of life should be characterized as humanitarian relief, those who prevent Gazans from receiving the basic necessities of life should be characterized as criminals and those who are aware of the situation and fail to speak out should be characterized as moral bankrupts.’The second item below is a report published by Al Jazeera on the impact of Israeli drones over Gaza, particularly on children. The author is a British journalist resident in Nazareth, Israel.Gaza fuel crisis: UN expert calls for urgent action to avert a humanitarian catastrophe

GENEVA (26 November 2013) – United Nations Special Rapporteur Richard Falk today called for urgent action to address the power shortage in occupied Palestine  that has left 1.7 million residents of the Gaza Strip in a dire situation. More than three weeks after the only power plant shut down due to a critical fuel shortage, power supply has been limited to six hours a day.

“The situation in Gaza is at a point of near catastrophe,” warned the independent expert chargedAMnesty by the UN Human Rights Council to monitor and report on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967.

“The fuel shortage and power cuts have undermined an already precarious infrastructure, severely disrupting the provision of basic services, including health, water and sanitation,” he said. “The onset of winter is certain to make things even worse.”

Less than half of Gaza’s total power needs are being met and disruptions to specialized health services, such as kidney dialysis, operating theatres, blood banks, intensive care units and incubators are putting the lives of vulnerable patients in Gaza at risk.

Mr. Falk highlighted the plight of patients in Gaza unable to seek affordable specialized medical treatment in Egypt as a result of Egypt’s closure of the Rafah crossing in recent weeks. “The Israeli authorities have been more forthcoming in issuing permits to Gazans in need of urgent specialized treatment, but the high cost of medical treatment in Israel places it beyond the reach of most Gazans,” he noted.

For the past two weeks, approximately 3000 residents, including children, living in or near the Gazan neighbourhood of Az Zeitoun have been wading through raw sewage on the streets after the largest sewage treatment facility in area overflowed due to a power failure.

The Special Rapporteur stressed that other sewage treatment stations may soon also run out of petrol to fuel generators and result in more sewage overflowing onto the streets of Gaza. Medical experts have warned of the serious risk of disease, and even an epidemic

“Up to 40 per cent of Gaza’s population receives water only once every three days,” he noted. “In this situation of dire necessity those who can afford to do so, are shockingly buying unsafe water from unregulated water vendors and distributors.”

The human rights expert believes that the main trigger for the latest crisis is Egypt’s ongoing crackdown on the vast network of tunnels and fuel tanks near the southern border of Gaza, which allowed Gaza to avoid some of the hardships associated with the Israeli blockade maintained since 2007.

Children of Gaza“We mustn’t forget that the underlying cause of a lack of adequate medical facilities and specialized care in Gaza is a consequence of Israel’s illegal blockade,” Mr. Falk said.

The Special Rapporteur explained that, under present conditions, Israel has a special responsibility under international humanitarian law to take whatever measures are necessary to protect the civilian population of Gaza against this mounting threat to their wellbeing. “The failure to do so would be an aggravated instance of collective punishment, which is unconditionally prohibited by the 4th Geneva Convention,” Mr. Falk cautioned.

He also urged the governing authorities in Gaza to cooperate with the Palestinian Authority in a joint effort to ensure that desperately needed fuel becomes available to the residents of Gaza at the earliest hour.

“Israel must end its illegal blockade and exercise its core responsibility as the occupying Power to protect the civilian population,” the expert said.

Last Tuesday, an aid convoy carrying medicine, medical equipment and canned food was reportedly permitted to enter Gaza via the Rafah crossing for first time since June this year.

“Under these conditions of humanitarian emergency, the international community also has a Gaza destructionresponsibility to take special measures to safeguard the acutely vulnerable people of Gaza from impending tragedy,” the Special Rapporteur underscored.

In 2008, the UN Human Rights Council designated Richard Falk (United States of America) as the fifth Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights on Palestinian territories occupied since 1967. The mandate was originally established in 1993 by the UN Commission on Human Rights.

Gaza: Life and death under Israel’s drones

Drones buzzing overhead are a source of daily trauma for Palestinians in the occupied Gaza Strip.

Jonathan Cook: 28 Nov 2013

S-70 BATTLEHAWK Sikorsky-battlehawk-2Jerusalem – There are many things to fear in Gaza: Attacks from Israel’s Apache helicopters and F-16 fighter jets, the coastal enclave’s growing isolation, the regular blackouts from power shortages, increasingly polluted drinking water and rivers of sewage flooding the streets.

Meanwhile, for most Palestinians in Gaza the anxiety-inducing soundtrack to their lives is the constant buzz of the remotely piloted aircraft – better known as “drones” – that hover in the skies above.

Drones are increasingly being used for surveillance and extra-judicial execution in parts of the Middle East, especially by the US, but in nowhere more than Gaza has the drone become a permanent fixture of life. More than 1.7 million Palestinians, confined by Israel to a small territory in one of the most densely populated areas in the world, are subject to near continual surveillance and intermittent death raining down from the sky.

There is little hope of escaping the zenana – an Arabic word referring to a wife’s relentless dronenagging that Gazans have adopted to describe the drone’s oppressive noise and their feelings about it. According to statistics compiled by human rights groups in Gaza, civilians are the chief casualties of what Israel refers to as “surgical” strikes from drones.

“When you hear the drones, you feel naked and vulnerable,” said Hamdi Shaqura, deputy director of the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, based in Gaza City. “The buzz is the sound of death. There is no escape, nowhere is private. It is a reminder that, whatever Israel and the international community assert, the occupation has not ended. We are still living completely under Israeli control. They control the borders and the sea and they decide our fates from their position in the sky,” said Shaqura.

The Israeli military did not respond to Al Jazeera’s requests for comment.

Suffer the children

gaza-under-attack-women-and-childrenThe sense of permanent exposure, coupled with the fear of being mistakenly targeted, has inflicted deep psychological scars on civilians, especially children, according to experts.

“There is a great sense of insecurity. Nowhere feels safe for the children, and they feel no one can offer them protection, not even their parents,” said Ahmed Tawahina, a psychologist running clinics in Gaza as part of the Community Mental Health Programme. “That traumatises both the children and parents, who feel they are failing in their most basic responsibility.”

Shaqura observed: “From a political perspective, there is a deep paradox. Israel says it needs security, but it demands it at the cost of our constant insecurity.”

There are no statistics that detail the effect of the drones on Palestinians in Gaza. Doctors admit itIsraels-UAS is impossible to separate the psychological toll inflicted by drones from other sources of damage to mental health, such as air strikes by F-16s, severe restrictions on movement and the economic insecurity caused by Israel’s blockade.

But field researchers working for Palestinian rights groups point out that the use of drones is intimately tied to these other sources of fear and anxiety. Drones fire missiles themselves, they guide attacks by F-16s or helicopters, and they patrol and oversee the borders.

A survey in medical journal The Lancet following Operation Cast Lead, Israel’s month-long attack on Gaza in winter 2008-09, found large percentages of children suffered from symptoms of psychological trauma: Fifty-eight percent permanently feared the dark; 43 percent reported regular nightmares; 37 percent wet the bed and 42 percent had crying attacks.

Tawahina described the sense of being constantly observed as a “form of psychological torture, which exhausts people’s mental and emotional resources. Among children at school, this can be seen in poor concentration and unruly behaviour.” The trauma for children is compounded by the fact that the drones also disrupt what should be their safest activity – watching TV at home. When a drone is operating nearby, it invariably interferes with satellite reception.

111224-gaza-anniversary”It doesn’t make headlines, but it is another example of how there is no escape from the drones. Parents want their children indoors, where it feels safer and where they’re less likely to hear the drones, but still the drone finds a way into their home. The children cannot even switch off from the traumas around them by watching TV because of the drones.”

Israel’s ‘major advantage’

Israel developed its first drones in the early 1980s, during its long occupation of south Lebanon, to gather aerial intelligence without exposing Israeli pilots to anti-aircraft missiles. Efraim Inbar, director of the Begin-Sadat Centre for Strategic Studies at Bar Ilan University, said drones help in situations where good, on-the-ground intelligence is lacking. “What the UAV gives you is eyes on the other side of the hill or over the border,” he said. “That provides Israel with a major advantage over its enemies.”

Other Israeli analysts have claimed that the use of drones, with their detailed intelligence-collecting abilities, is justified because they reduce the chances of errors and the likelihood of “collateral damage” – civilian deaths – during attacks.

But, according to Inbar, the drone is no better equipped than other aircraft for gathering intelligence or carrying out an execution.

“The advantage from Israel’s point of view is that using a drone for these tasks reduces the risk of endangering a pilot’s life or losing an expensive plane. That is why we are moving towards much greater use of these kinds of robots on the battlefield,” he said.

‘Mistakes can happen’

According to Gaza human rights group al-Mezan, Israel started using drones over the territory from the start of the second intifada in 2000, but only for surveillance.Israeli drone crashes in besieged GazaThe_aftermath

Israel’s first extra-judicial executions using drones occurred in 2004, when two Palestinians were killed. But these operations greatly expanded after 2006, in the wake of Israel’s withdrawal of settlers and soldiers from Gaza and the rise to power of the Palestinian Islamic movement Hamas.

Drones, the front-line weapon in Israel’s surveillance operations and efforts to foil rocket attacks, killed more than 90 Palestinians in each of the years 2006 and 2007, according to al-Mezan. The figures soared during Operation Cast Lead and in its aftermath, with 461 Palestinians killed by drones in 2009. The number peaked again with 199 deaths in 2012, the year when Israel launched the eight-day Operation Pillar of Defence against Gaza.

Despite Israeli claims that the intelligence provided by drones makes it easier to target those Palestinians it has defined as “terrorists”, research shows civilians are the main victims. In the 2012 Pillar of Defence operation, 36 of the 162 Palestinians killed were a result of drone strikes, and a further 100 were injured by drones. Of those 36 killed, two-thirds were civilians.

Also revealing was a finding that, although drones were used in only five percent of air strikes, they accounted for 23 percent of the total deaths during Pillar of Defence. According to the Economist magazine, the assassination of Hamas leader Ahmed Jabari, which triggered that operation, was carried out using a Hermes 450 drone.

Palestinian fighters report that they have responded to the constant surveillance by living in hiding, rarely going outdoors and avoiding using phones or cars. It is a way of life not possible for most people in Gaza.

Gaza’s armed groups are reported to be trying to find a way to jam the drones’ navigation systems. In the meantime, Hamas has claimed it has shot down three drones, the latest this month, though Israel says all three crashed due to malfunctions.

Last week, on the anniversary of the launch of Pillar of Defence, an Israeli commander whose soldiers control the drones over Gaza from a base south of Tel Aviv told the Haaretz newspaper that “many” air strikes during the operation had involved drones. “Lt Col Shay” was quoted saying: “Ultimately, we are at war. As much as the IDF strives to carry out the most precise surgical strikes, mistakes can happen in the air or on the ground.”

Random death by drone

It is for this reason that drones have become increasingly associated with random death from the sky, said Samir Zaqout, a senior field researcher for Al-Mezan.

“We know from the footage taken by drones that Israel can see what is happening below in the finest detail. And yet women and children keep being killed in drone attacks. Why the continual mistakes? The answer, I think, is that these aren’t mistakes. The message Israel wants to send us is that there is no protection whether you are a civilian or fighter. They want us afraid and to make us turn on the resistance [Palestinian fighters].”

Zaqout also points to a more recent use of drones – what has come to be known as “roof-knocking”. This is when a drone fires small missiles at the roof of a building to warn the inhabitants to evacuate – a practice Israel developed during Operation Cast Lead three years earlier, to allay international concerns about its repeated levellings of buildings with civilians inside.

In Pillar of Defence in 2012, 33 buildings were targeted by roof-knocking.

Israel says it provides 10 minutes’ warning from a roof-knock to an air strike, but, in practice, families find they often have much less time. This, said Zaqout, puts large families in great danger as they usually send their members out in small groups to be sure they will not be attacked as they move onto the streets.

One notorious case occurred during Cast Lead, when six members of the Salha family, all women and children, were killed when their home was shelled moments after a roof-knocking. The father, Fayez Salha, who survived, lost a case for damages in Israel’s Supreme Court last February and was ordered to pay costs after the judges ruled that the attack was legitimate because it occurred as part of a military operation.

A US citizen who has lived long-term in Gaza, who wished not be named for fear of reprisals from Israel, said she often heard the drones at night when the street noise dies down, or as they hover above her while out walking. “The sound is like the buzz of a mosquito, although there is one type of drone that sometimes comes into view that is silent,” she said.

She added that she knew of families that, before moving into a new apartment building, checked to see whether it housed a fighter or a relative of a fighter, for fear that the building may be attacked by Israel.

Shaqura said the drones inevitably affect one’s day-to-day behaviour. He said he was jogging early one morning while a drone hovered overhead.

“I got 100 metres from my front door when I started to feel overwhelmed with fear. I realised that my tracksuit was black, the same colour as many of the fighters’ uniforms. I read in my work too many reports of civilians being killed by drones not to see the danger. So I hurried back home.”

Palestinians on the way to work in the SettlementsBerlin vs Israeli Separation wall

Robert Stiver’s message:

“I seethe with helpless indignation and rage at the despicable members of the “human” race, including me, who (i) perpetrate and (ii) allow this unspeakable tragedy to continue, always worsening, most often vindictive, all too often indifferent to the hapless-victims aspects of it.  And I must admit that I am as outraged at the God who, via the vaunted “free will” He is credited with giving us, has not yet found “His time” to intervene and put paid to this unending stain on humanity — a stain that, in my 20th-21st Century view, begins and ends with militant/political Zionism and its ever-present worldwide practitioners.

Sadly – how sadly – the Palestinian Authority and the quisling Fateh are in lockstep, fellow travelers with this miasma of shame and inhumanity.  Hamas and Fateh must overcome the USraeli “divide and rule” tactics and link arms as a solid force of resistance to the illegal occupation of their homeland.  Today, that must be the number one priority!


And thanks to Turkey and Qatar for having the scruples to toss a few coins to the suffering masses, perhaps alleviating but by no means solving their torment…as I am mystified that they don’t join hands, trek to Geneva or NYCity and demand a white-hot emergency meeting of the UNSC in demand that international law and countless supportive UNSC resolutions be enforced.  Failing any action there, a certainty because of the US’ enabling of pure evil, the Turkish-Qatari reps should trek to the UNGA and orchestrate a (I’ve forgotten the term…”Uniting for Peace”) proper response and accompanying action.  The “response” would be overwhelming – on the order of 150 pro, 5 opposed.  Why cannot this scenario take place?

Let us pity – we have nothing else to offer – the brave, beleaguered residents of Gaza.  Our pity should be informed by mental images of the children there, slogging through a toxic mix of urine and feces, facing epidemics of pestilence ready to strike at any moment, lacking hope for any surcease of their everyday misery and for a future of human rights, normality and dignity — victims of a deliberately vicious, internationally illegal collective persecution (not “mere” punishment…persecution) of them and their families.

Today/29th is the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.  Where is the solidarity?

What to do, in the name of common justice?  I know not; it seems useless, all useless…”

Goliath, Life and Loathing in Greater Israel – Max Blumenthal on Reality Asserts Itself pt1