World Watch Today

Europe & America Threaten to Strangle Israel

Steven LeBlanc

The European Union (EU) is angry with the lack of progress with peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) and is threatening to take economic action against Israeli business if the talks fail. Clearly Europe is moving to isolate Israel economically over its Palestinian policies. President Obama also sees Israel as the stubborn party most to blame for lack of progress with regards to creating a Palestinian State.

US Secretary of State John Kerry has warned Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu in recent weeks that Israel will be bombarded with a Washington-led full court press campaign, “on steroids” if renewed negotiations with the PA fails to bear the fruits America demands.

EU Ambassador to Israel Lars Faaborg-Andersen, says that the EU wants to expand its cooperation with Israel. But he asserted if Israel keeps building settlements and peace talks collapse, “what will transpire is a situation in which Israel will find itself increasingly isolated” on the economic landscape. Faaborg-Andersen said the EU considers Israeli settlements built on lands claimed by the Palestinians as illegal– an obstacle to peace.

Europe is Israel’s Biggest Trading Partner (Asia being a close 2nd)
A growing number of European businesses and pension funds have begun to drop investments or limit trade with Israeli firms involved in the West Bank settlements.
Israel’s Finance Minister Yair Lapid warns that if Europe boycotts Israeli business the result could be crippling:

The Israeli economy will retreat, every Israeli citizen will be hit directly in his pocket, the cost of living will rise, budgets for education, health welfare and security will be cut, and many international markets will be closed to us. 33% of Israeli trade is with the European Union. If there is no political settlement and we enter a scenario where our economy drops 20% in exports to the EU, the impact on the GDP would be 11 billion shekels annually, and 9,800 employees will be laid off immediately.

The Israeli Finance Minister went on to say that…“We must recognize that if the talks fail — and the world will believe they failed because of us — there will be a price, and it’s best we know what that price is.” Lapid stressed that, “Today Israel is more exposed economically than it’s exposed from a security perspective,” he added, “The security debate makes us forget occasionally the fact that our military is not a goal, it is a tool. It’s a tool that is meant to allow us to reach an agreement that will strengthen Israel’s economy and guarantee its future as a Jewish state.”

Hurting Israeli Business
The European Union recently moved to block investments in Israeli companies that are linked to work that is taking place in the Israeli settlements (land obtained by Israel during the Six Day War of 1967). The Israeli settlements are viewed by the European Union as an illegal land grab by Israel, a direct violation of the rights of Palestinians—meaning that Israel is stealing land and building homes on that land belonging to Palestinians.

530,000 Israelis now live in settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, captured by Israel in 1967. The 2.6 million Palestinians living in the so-called occupied territories want an in dependent nation in those lands (with a capital in Jerusalem), demanding that Israel’s settlement building program is a road block to any peace agreement with Israel.

Another blow to the Israeli business community came recently when the Norwegian Minister of Finance dropped Israeli companies Danya Cebus and Africa Israel Investments from the government’s $800 billion oil fund—the world’s biggest sovereign wealth fund. The decision was based upon Israel’s refusal to stop building settlements in the so-called “Palestinian territories”.

The Dutch investment firm PGGM, one of the 20 largest pension asset managers globally, has recently withdrew investment from five Israeli banks because they are involved in financing the construction of Jewish settlements in the so called “occupied territories”.

Future Palestinian State
Israel’s 1967 frontier, before it captured the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem, is the likely scale for drawing the border of a future Palestine, included would be land swaps that would allow Israel to keep some of the settlements it has built on occupied lands. The Palestinians, in turn, would have to recognize Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people.

The bottom line is that Europe is more involved in the Middle East than most people realize. Europe has clout simply because the 505 million Europeans that are part of the European Union buy billions of dollars of Israeli goods and services. If the EU chooses to strangle its investment and goods purchases involving Israel there is no doubt that this will hurt the Israeli economy. Israel especially looks to America for sophisticated war equipment that includes fighter jets. America can use this as a leverage to force Israel to give land for peace in a settlement with the Palestinian leadership.

Don’t underestimate Europe as an economic power! In the future Europe will once again become a military power. Prophecy reveals that Europe will be motivated to move troops into the Middle East. This will not happen next month or next year, but it will happen in the not too distant future.

An end-time king of the North spoken of in Daniel 11 beginning in verse 40, will appear as the ruler of the end-time, European-centered superpower, the same one called the beast in Revelation 17. It will retaliate when attacked by the king of the South and roll into the Middle East and take control of Israel—this is yet in the future:

Notice what it says: “At the time of the end the king of the South(Islamic led power) shall attack him; and the king of the North (European Dictator) shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, overwhelm them, and pass through. He shall also enter the Glorious Land, and many countries shall be overthrown; but these shall escape from his hand: Edom, Moab, and the prominent people of Ammon. He shall stretch out his hand against the countries, and the land of Egypt shall not escape. He shall have power over the treasures of gold and silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt; also the Libyans and Ethiopians shall follow at his heels.”

America's Great Sin...In its 41st year

Steven LeBlanc

The 41st Anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision is this week. In a 7-2 ruling on January 22, 1973, the justices declared laws prohibiting abortion violated a woman’s constitutional right to privacy. They also asserted states could regulate abortion procedures in the interest of a woman’s health.

Since that dark day in 1973, there have been an estimated: 57 million abortions in the United States. Steven Ertelt of informs us of the death toll. “If you run the math on those terrible figures, the numbers are absolutely chilling”:

1.382 million abortions every year
115,167 abortions every month
26,577 abortions every week
3,786 abortions every day
157 abortions every hour
2.6 abortions every minute

The Bible regards the unborn as having personality. In Galatians, Paul speaks of himself as a person while still in his mother’s womb, (compare Jeremiah 1:5 for the same accent)

The Gospel of Luke ascribes personality to the fetus within Elizabeth:

“When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit… As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy” (1:41, 44).

Also, read Exodus 23:7: “Have nothing to do with a false charge, and do not put an innocent or honest person to death, for I will not acquit the guilty.”

Will not God punish our “Christian” nation for such brutality—a people who have such a callous attitude toward the unborn child!

Throwing the towel in-America's smaller footprint in the Middle East

Steven LeBlanc

Al Qaeda’ s Resurgence in Iraq

01 14 2014

IRAQ..looks as if it is heading toward the abyss of civil war.

President Obama’s decision to pull all troops out of Iraq has created a power vacuum—into which has stepped Al-Qadea. Its operatives have taken much of Anbar province in Iraq. This is a significant win for the ‘black flag’ (Al Qaeda symbol) in its move to control and establish a piece of land that can achieve the goal of establishing a caliphate in the Middle east.

IRAN…The West is tired of Middle East wars and appears to be throwing in the towel. Capitulation to Iran at Geneva saw America, the UK and the European Union agree to allow Iran to continue to enrich uranium. US Secretary of State John Kerry made the strange suggestion that Iran might play a role in Syrian peace talks. Syria has been a proxy for Iran for years and has been used by Iran to kill many of its Sunni enemies. Such a suggestion by the Secretary of State is a show of naiveté that continues to thrive among western governments. Having Iran participate in any meetings regarding Syria would be like asking a thief to help with the local neighborhood watch.

SYRIA…The war in Syria, you have the radical Shiite bloc led by Iran, which overflies Iraq to supply Bashar al-Assad and sends (Lebanese) Hezbollah to fight for him in Syria. Russia, which has stationed ships offshore, support al-Assad with weaponry. Syria is a Russian protectorate.

The Sunni Gulf states are terrified of Iranian hegemony (territorial and soon nuclear); non-Arab Turkey is mostly Sunni and also fears Iran. Fragile Jordan is not in favor of an Iranian dominated Middle East.

President Obama backed off on his “red line” in Syria, sending a message to all that America wants a diminished role in the Middle East. America’s agreement with Iran sends a message of appeasement to Israel, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states. They see American weakness and the impending power vacuum that is giving energy to insurgents like Al-Qaeda.

The United States has long been the world’s policeman. We are now seeing what happens when the policeman can’t be depended on, or when that policeman loses its nerve. Why are we a ‘sunset’ power? Because “righteousness exalts a nation. But sin is a reproach to any people” (Proverbs 14:34). Righteousness clearly involves keeping God’s commandments (Psalm 119:172); sin is the transgression of His law (1 John 3:4). We no longer honor God—He will give us over to poor decision making on international affairs. Our ability to maintain clear vision, sustained by strong action is clearly deteriorating.

Israel's Other Fear

Steven LeBlanc

From the Israeli point of view, there are two serious threats from Iran. One is the Iranian nuclear threat. The other fear is Iranian support for proxies such as Hezbollah in southern Lebanon, Hamas in the Gaza strip, and the Shiite government of Iraq led by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. These are Iran’s good friends but are also enemies of Israel. The great concern is that since President Obama is now talking with the Iranians—the U.S. will soften its stance toward Iran’s use of these proxies to cause Israel trouble.

Israel is increasingly worried about the situation in Iraq. With the Syrian civil war escalating and talks with Iran making headline news, we must not forget the weight of Iraq. The importance of Iraq cannot be overstated, if anything, its role in the Middle East has grown. Iraq is a Shiite-majority Arab state and is viewed by the Obama administration as a counter to the rising jihadist threat in Syria. But this Shiite dominated nation is a potential threat to Israel—something that Washington seems to under-appreciate.

Keep in mind that a new Iraqi civil war is not out of the question. The country is divided by 3 groups all contesting for power. The majority (60%-65%) of Iraqi Muslims are members of the Shi’a sect, (32-37%) are Sunni, made up of both Arabs and Kurds. Most Kurds are Sunni Muslim but differ from their Arab neighbors in language and customs. Over ten years after the capture of Saddam Hussein, Iraq is at risk of being engulfed by civil war once again as al-Qaeda reclaims vast tracts of the country. The death toll (Sunni Shia conflict) for 2013 surpassed 7,000.

Lebanon’s Sunni Threat

Israel’s enemy Hezbollah is currently distracted by the Sunni threat in Lebanon. This threat also concerns Israel.

The January 2nd explosion in Beirut’s southern suburbs — the fifth attack targeting Hezbollah’s interests since July — reveals a growing jihadist surge and intent to push Hezbollah aside, Sunnis are anti-Hezbollah—Hezbollah is greatest military power in Lebanon today. As retaliatory sectarian attacks between Sunni jihadists and Shiite militants loyal to Hezbollah escalate over the next year, Israel will be watching closely to see if Sunni (Al-Qaeda sympathetic) backed rebels emerge as a true threat to Hezbollah in Lebanon.

For now, much of the fighting you see in the Middle East is Muslim against Muslim. But in time the whole Muslim world will seek to unify its efforts to destroy Israel.

In the future Lebanon will be involved with other Arab nations in a push to destroy Israel. Read Psalm 83: 4,6-8–The prophecy reads, in part, “Come, let us wipe them out as a nation; let the name of Israel be remembered no more…The tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites (Arabs; Saudi Arabia); Moab (Jordan) and the Hagrites; Gebal, Ammon, and Amalek; Philistia (Gaza strip) with the inhabitants of Tyre; Assyria also has joined with them; they have helped the children of Lot”.

Lebanon (Gebal) and Tyre play a prominent role in Psalm 83. Gebal was an important Phoenician port city “between Sidon and Arvad (see Josh. 13:5; 1 Kin. 5:18). It was called Byblos by the Greeks and Romans, and Gubla by the Assyrians and Babylonians.” The Phoenician city is today known as Jbail or Jubayl in Lebanon, 25 miles north of Beirut.

2014 promises to be a year of assassinations, war and blood feuds in the Middle East.

Israel behind another assassination?

Steven LeBlanc

Hezbollah leader Nasrallah: Israel will be ‘punished’ for al-Laqqis’ death.

Hassan al-Laqqis was “assassinated” at around midnight earlier this month in the southern Hadath district of the Lebanese capital. Gunmen fired shots as he was in his car in the parking lot of his residence. He died of his wounds soon after the attack.

Hezbollah said in a statement that Israel was responsible for the killing. “The killing of Hassan al-Laqqis is not a simple matter between us and the Israelis,” said Nasrallah.

“There are scores to settle between us and the Israelis; there are old accounts and new ones,” he said. “The murderers will be punished sooner or later,” Nasrallah promised, “His blood was not shed in vain. The punishment will take part when we decide. Those who killed will not be safe anywhere in the world. Vengeance is coming.” And, “If the Israelis think … that Hezbollah is busy and that Israel will not pay the price, I say to them today, ‘You are wrong’,” he said.

There has been speculation that a Sunni terrorist group killed al-Laqqis, but that is not what many observers of Lebanon and Hezbollah conclude.
Tony Badran, a columnist for the Beirut-based website NOW Lebanon and a research fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, expressed to the Jerusalem Post “that while both Sunni groups and Israel would benefit from the assassination, the available evidence at this point leads him to point the finger more in Israel’s direction”.

Although it cannot be ultimately proven—Israel, it appears, has been behind recent assassinations including:

• Hezbollah’s Imad Mughniyeh who died in a car bomb explosion in Damascus in February 2008.
• Later in 2008, Syrian Army Gen. Mohamed Soleiman was killed by a sniper. Muhammad Suleiman was a high-ranking general in the Syrian Army, and from the mid-90s until his death was Bashar al-Assad’s key organizer for buying weapons and exporting arms to Hezbollah, to the development of what was the beginning of Syria’s nuclear facility.
• In January 2010 senior Hamas official Mahmoud Mabhouh was assassinated. Al-Mabhouh was drugged and suffocated in a luxury hotel room in Dubai, it became clear that several dozen Mossad agents had traveled to the United Arab Emirates using fake European passports, they entered the hotel then proceeded with the killing.
• In 2011 Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps commander Hassan Tehrani Moghaddam was killed in a mysterious blast at a military base outside Tehran. The commander, Gen. Hassan Tehrani Moghaddam, was a crucial figure in Iran’s efforts to build long-range missiles.
• Ahmad Jabari was killed at the outset of Operation Pillar of Defense in November 2012. Jabari, officially the second in command of Hamas’s Izzadin Kassam Brigades was at the top of Israel’s most wanted list. It was Jabari who personally oversaw the kidnapping and captivity of Israeli soldier Gilad Schalit.

Israel will continue to fight Iran and its proxies through the sword of assassination—Assassination of its enemies has been one of Israel’s most effective tools going way back to ancient times:

Judges 3:16-21 Now Ehud had made a double-edged sword about a foot and a half long, which he strapped to his right thigh under his clothing. He presented the tribute to Eglon king of Moab, who was a very fat man… Ehud then approached him while he was sitting alone in the upper room of his summer palace and said, “I have a message from God for you.” As the king rose from his seat, Ehud reached with his left hand, drew the sword from his right thigh and plunged it into the king’s belly.

No doubt this pattern will continue in 2014.

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