December 2011 Archives


Note:  The highlights in the following news report are mine.  Palestine is forging a unity government, and Mark Regev … Bibi’s spokesperson … is already making vociferous objections. We can expect another round of excitement in the near future.  We will see high-impact theatrical drama steadily increasing on the Israeli side.  One wonders how the International Community will respond.   Peace, Roy

Click here: ‘Abbas in a stronger position wit… JPost – Diplomacy & Politics

Hamas official tells London paper “the liberation of Palestine is bigger than Hamas”; Prime Minister’s Office slams deal.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas will be in a stronger position to deal with Israel and the United States if Hamas joins the PLO, a senior Hamas official told pan-Arab London-based newspaper Asharq Alawsat Saturday.

According to the source, who spoke to Asharq Alaqsat following productive meetings between Palestinian factions aiming to “activate” the reconstruction of of a unity Palestinian government, reconciliation of Hamas with the PA would see Abbas become president of a more united Palestinian people, instead of just a segment of it in the West Bank.

‘Abbas is Fatah’s only presidential candidate’
Analysis: Palestinian rivals united by drift

The source added that Hamas and the PA will be “in the same boat,” with the ultimate goal being the “disengagement of the occupation.”

The Hamas official insisted that the unity deal would also strengthen Hamas.

“The liberation of Palestine is greater than Hamas,” the official said.

On Thursday, Israel slammed the Palestinian deal paving the way for Hamas to join the PLO, with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s spokesman Mark Regev saying that if Abbas “embraces Hamas, if he walks toward Hamas, he is walking away from peace.”

Leaders of several Palestinian groups, including Hamas and Fatah, agreed Thursday to “activate and reconstruct” the PLO so as to allow other non-member parties to join the organization.

Palestinians hailed the agreement as an “historic event” that would mark the beginning of a new era for the Palestinian issue.

The move will pave the way for Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other radical groups to join the PLO, which includes 10 members – the largest being Fatah.

Regev said that anyone who had any illusions about Hamas’s true character should have listened to the speeches last week in Gaza from Hamas’s leaders at an event marking the 24th anniversary of the founding of the organization. “What we heard was a stream of hateful, extremist rhetoric,” he said.

Hamas, Regev said, is totally opposed to peace and reconciliation, believes that the Jewish state should be obliterated, and that terrorism against civilians is justified. “Hamas is not a political organization that uses terrorism, Hamas is to its very core a genocidal terrorist organization,” he said.

Other members of the PLO include the Popular Front for the liberation of Palestine, the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the Palestinian People’s Party, the Palestine Liberation Front and the Arab Liberation Front, as well as six other tiny groups aligned with Syria and Iraq’s now defunct Ba’ath Party.

Ever since it was founded 24 years ago, Hamas has refused to join or recognize the PLO as the “sole legitimate representative” of the Palestinians.

Thursday’s agreement paves the way for the establishment of a provisional leadership of the PLO that would include, for the first time ever, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other groups. These groups will later become incorporated into various PLO institutions, especially the Palestine National Council (PNC), the organization’s parliament-in-exile.

The PNC is the legislative body of the PLO and elects its Executive Committee, the main decision-making body of the organization.

At Thursday’s discussions in Cairo, the Palestinian leaders agreed to form a committee headed by PNC Speaker Salim Zanoun to discuss ways of “activating and reconstructing” the PLO so that Hamas and other groups would be incorporated into the organization, Fatah and Hamas officials said.

They said that the committee would include, for the first time, representatives of Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other groups that are not members of the PLO.

The committee will hold its first meeting in the Jordanian capital of Amman on January 15, 2012.

Following the meeting of the Palestinian factions, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas issued a “presidential decree” for the establishment of a new Palestinian Elections Commission that would prepare for presidential and parliamentary elections in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. No date has been set for the vote, although PA officials have talked about the possibility of holding the elections on May 4, 2012.

The Palestinian factions are also hoping to hold new elections for the PNC, which has 669 members.

The Cairo discussions were also attended by Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal.

A Hamas official said that Mashaal and Abbas reached agreement on the release of detainees being held in Hamas and PA prisons in the Gaza Strip and West Bank by the end of next month.

The two also agreed to form a committee comprising representatives of several Palestinian factions to discuss ending restrictions imposed by the PA and Hamas governments against activists belonging to the two sides, including travel bans.

Abbas told the leaders of the Palestinian factions that he was keen on resuming the peace process with Israel after Israel freezes construction in the settlements and accepts the pre-1967 lines as the basis for a two-state solution. He also said that he was determined to pursue his efforts to gain full Palestinian membership in the UN.

Jesus taught that God’s Kingdom is “within our reach”.

The N.E.M.




      Let us be like the Shepherds in the field, watching over their flocks by night.  Let us go now, even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which has come to pass.





Peers:   Also check your local listings (CBS) for  Christmas in Chelsea Square.  May the new year bring peace to us all.  Roy

Click here: BBC News – Bethlehem Christmas: Christians set for Midnight Mass

Christian pilgrims from the Philippines visit the Church of the Nativity in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, 24 December 2011 Christmas celebrations will culminate in Midnight Mass at the Church of the Nativity

Thousands of Christian pilgrims and tourists from around the world are flocking to Bethlehem for Christmas.

Some 90,000 visitors are expected in the Palestinian West Bank town, which will stage a procession and concerts.

Celebrations will culminate in Midnight Mass at the 1,700-year-old Church of the Nativity, built on the spot where it is believed Jesus was born.

(To continue reading go to BBC’s website.  R)


There are questions which need to be asked.

The N.E.M.




      Michelle doesn’t waste time alerting the President this morning.   Michelle:  Dante writes that he has a most urgent question.   President:  What could be so urgent on Christmas Eve?   Michelle:   Dante asks you please to glance at his highlights in the article pasted below.  The article was found in an Israeli publication, so bear that in mind.   President:  What’s Dante’s question?   Michelle:  Dante wants to know the name of your “former special advisor” … the “nuke expert” … who says it’s time for the US to start a war with Iran.  Hon, Dante respectfully requests an immediate reply.  What should I tell him?   President:  Hmmmm…..   Michelle:  Is it Dennis Ross?   President:  Be quiet for a minute please, Hon.  I’m reading the article pasted below.





P.S.   Merry Christmas again.  Please read on.  Please connect all the dots, for Christ’s sake.

Nuke expert: Time to attack Iran

Former Obama Administration strategist says US-perpetrated attack on Islamic Republic’s nuclear program could spare world from very real threat

Yitzhak Benhorin

Published: 12.24.11, 08:54 / Israel News

WASHINGTON – A former special adviser on Iran policy to the Obama Administration said that a US-perpetrated strike on the Islamic Republic on is the “least bad” option in dealing with its nuclear threat.

“The truth is that a military strike intended to destroy Iran’s nuclear program, if managed carefully, could spare the region and the world a very real threat and dramatically improve the long-term national security of the United States,” Matthew Kroenig, a nuclear security expert at the Council on Foreign Relations who served as a strategist under Defense Secretary Robert Gates, said in an article published by Foreign Affairs Magazine.

Related articles:

Iran ‘ready’ to discuss int’l nuclear concerns

  • ‘Israeli spy gear sent to Iran via Denmark’

  • Iran to hold naval maneuvers in Persian Gulf

    Kroenig acknowledged that a military operation in Iran is not an “attractive prospect,” but explained that it is within the US’ power to minimize the anticipated effects.

    Iranian nuclear plant (Photo: EPA)
    Iranian nuclear plant (Photo: EPA)

    “If it does so successfully, it can remove the incentive for other nations in the region to start their own atomic programs and, more broadly, strengthen global nonproliferation by demonstrating that it will use military force to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons,” Kroenig wrote.

    ‘Israeli strike likely to fail’

    The former strategist posited that if the US attacks, it could also prevent Israel from perpetrating a strike that is destined to fail.

    “Given Israel’s limited capability to mitigate a potential battle and inflict lasting damage,” Kroenig said, an Israeli strike “would likely result in far more devastating consequences and carry a far lower probability of success than a US attack.”

    Kroenig warned that waging a cold war against Tehran, aimed at containing its nuclear capabilities, is “a costly, decades-long proposition that would likely still result in grave national security threats.”

    While recognizing the US’ reluctance to enter yet another military conflict, Kroenig claimed that a speedy nuclear development in Iran will eventually force it to choose between a conventional confrontation and a nuclear one.

    “The United States should conduct a surgical strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities, absorb an inevitable round of retaliation, and then seek to quickly de-escalate the crisis,” he concluded. “Addressing the threat now will spare the United States from confronting a far more dangerous situation in the future.”



    “For unto us a child is born.

    And the government shall be upon his shoulders.”

    The N.E.M.




          Good morning from southern California.  May God bless each and every one of us.  The Christmas Season is getting merrier and merrier and, thus, more exciting.  Pasted below is an announcement from Ann Hafften.  (There’s a picture of Ann at her website.  Scroll down on that page to “about me”.)


          You will notice that Ann’s post is a forward from Allison.  I don’t know Allison.  She’s obviously a Lutheran.  Allison writes that she’s the Assistant Coordinator of “another birth”, i.e.,  Karios USA.  The Coordinator of the project is none other than our on-line friend Mark Braverman (06:57).


           I’ve long been convinced that if Martin Luther had been on-line the Reformation of the Church wouldn’t be taking so long.  There are a number of videos featuring Luther on the Internet:  martin luther – YouTube.  The highlights in Allison’s letter are mine.     




    Announcing Kairos USA

    Dear friends of justice:


    Lost amid the headlines of protests, confrontations and saber-rattling in the Middle East of late are the voices of the Palestinian people, who endure unspeakable oppression, persecution and occupation. After decades of only sporadic and timid response by the majority of U.S. churches, now is the time for Christians to collectively express outrage at this injustice.


    So, in this season when we celebrate the birth of Jesus, I’m pleased to announce another birth: Kairos USA, a bold and prophetic response by American Christians to the 2009 Kairos Palestine document, “A cry of hope and love from the heart of Palestinian suffering.”


    Those of you who have been active advocates for justice in Israel-Palestine are right to ask, “Do we need another Palestine advocacy group?” Kairos USA was born of the hunger by many Christians for an ecumenical, non-denominational “home” for issuing a fearless and action-oriented response to the conflict.


    So far, Kairos USA consists of a steering committee of passionate, committed lay and clergy people with decades of advocacy experience in this and other justice issues, as well as an outline for a Kairos USA document.


    Coordinator is Dr. Mark Braverman, author of “Fatal Embrace: Christians, Jews and the Search for Peace in the Holy Land.” Many of you may have heard him speak at the October 2010 Sabeel conference in St. Paul or at one of his other frequent appearances at such events.


    Serving as assistant coordinator is yours truly. I feel fortunate beyond belief to work with Mark and other extraordinary people in a cause close to my heart and which I believe has the potential to educate American Christians and engage them in the work for justice in the Holy Land.


    While Kairos USA is in its infancy, the energy surrounding it is palpable and participants are enthusiastic. I’ve attached several documents that provide context and will bring you up to date as to our efforts so far.


    Earlier this month Mark and I joined eight other steering committee members at the Kairos for Global Justice conference in Bethlehem. The conference was nothing short of remarkable in that it brought together like-minded Christians from around the world, who drafted a response and action plan, the “Bethlehem Call,” in response to the Kairos Palestine document. In drafting and endorsing the Bethlehem Call, participants representing national Kairos movements from 15 countries including India, Swaziland, Netherlands, Indonesia, South Africa, to name a few, declared their demand for justice in Israel-Palestine as well as committed to specific non-negotiable positions aimed at ending the Occupation.


    The Kairos USA delegation spent a day and a half discussing the vision for a contextually relevant response and mapping out our next steps. Plans are well under way for a meeting in mid-February to bring together a group of critical stakeholders – clergy, theologians/academics, writers, activists – for a well-facilitated, consensual process to draft a Kairos USA document. (I’d welcome your suggestions people you think belong in this group!) This will ensure consensus across the broad scope of American Christians, create ownership and generate the initial group of signatories and endorsers.


    While most Kairos USA work is done on a volunteer basis, we do have some modest staffing and travel expenses at this point. The Presbyterian Peace Fellowship has agreed to be our fiscal sponsor while we work toward securing nonprofit status. Please pray that we find funding and, if you are able, consider making a tax-deductible contribution.


    You can do so online: Go to… and click on the blue “Donate now/Network for Good” logo. At the next screen, click on the blue and green “Donate now” button. About halfway down the page you’ll be able to designate the donation to Kairos USA.


    Or, if you’d prefer to send a check, make it out to Presbyterian Peace Fellowship and write Kairos USA in the memo line. Send it to:


    Presbyterian Peace Fellowship

    17 Cricketown Road

    Stony Point, NY 10980


    On a personal note, I want to take this opportunity to thank you for your support over the years. I am especially mindful at this time of the year of how every one of you has helped me through your friendship, encouragement or inspiration to do this important and fulfilling work.


    Please remember the world’s people in need of justice in your worship and prayers as you experience all the joy of the season!




    aks (2).jpg




    P.S. I would be grateful if you would pass this e-mail on to anyone you think might be interested in learning about Kairos USA!

    Ann Hafften Blog:… Weatherford, Texas 817 613 7906