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Bible Quotation for today/Jesus
Warns against the Teachers of the Law and the Pharisees
Matthew 23: "Then Jesus spoke to the crowds and to his disciples. “The teachers of the Law and the Pharisees are the authorized interpreters of Moses' Law. So you must obey and follow everything they tell you to do; do not, however, imitate their actions, because they don't practice what they preach. They tie onto people's backs loads that are heavy and hard to carry, yet they aren't willing even to lift a finger to help them carry those loads. They do everything so that people will see them. Look at the straps with scripture verses on them which they wear on their foreheads and arms, and notice how large they are! Notice also how long are the tassels on their cloaks! They love the best places at feasts and the reserved seats in the synagogues; they love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces and to have people call them ‘Teacher.’ You must not be called ‘Teacher,’ because you are all equal and have only one Teacher. And you must not call anyone here on earth ‘Father,’ because you have only the one Father in heaven. Nor should you be called ‘Leader,’ because your one and only leader is the Messiah. The greatest one among you must be your servant. Whoever makes himself great will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be made great."
Latest analysis, editorials, studies, reports, letters & Releases from miscellaneous sources For December 27/13
Latest News Reports From Miscellaneous Sources For December 27/13
Lebanese Related News
Miscellaneous Reports And News
Suleiman Hints Constitution Doesn't State
Representation of Political Parties in Cabinet
Naharnet Newsdesk 26 December 2013/President Michel Suleiman would be abiding by the Constitution if he formed a neutral cabinet along with Premier-designate Tammam Salam, political sources said. The sources told pan-Arab daily al-Hayat published on Thursday that the Constitution does not state the representation of certain political parties in the government. The president said Wednesday that there was a need to form a new government before March 25, the deadline set by the Constitution for the parliament to meet to elect a new president. “I will seek Lebanon's interest,” Suleiman said in response to a question on the measures he would take should the deadline end. “We must form a new government and come up with a ministerial statement, both of which need at least a month of work,” he warned after a closed-door meeting with Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi in Bkirki. “Do politicians make the nation and unite it?” Suleiman asked in a clear hint that the Constitution does not state the cabinet should be made up of representatives of political parties. “We have democracy and a Constitution. Let's implement them,” he said. The differences between the March 8 and 14 alliances have so far prevented Salam from coming up with a line-up. The Hizbullah-led March 8 camp wants a government in which it would get nine ministers similar to the March 14 alliance, while centrists would have six ministers. But March 14 is rejecting such a proposal, calling for the formation of a neutral cabinet. Officials described by al-Hayat as close to Suleiman have expressed surprise at accusations made by some parties that the president was responsible for the deadlock. “As if they are not responsible for the situation in the country because of their disagreement on the formation of a new cabinet for the past nine months,” they said. Al-Hayat quoted sources as saying that the first half of January would be crucial in terms of the decision to form another government if a neutral cabinet was not welcomed. But the country would head towards chaos if the second government was also rejected by lawmakers, the sources warned.
Mustaqbal MPs Reject Vacuum, Hold onto Neutral Cabinet Demand
Naharnet Newsdesk 26 December 2013/Al-Mustaqbal bloc lawmakers reiterated on Thursday their demand for the formation of a neutral government, accusing Hizbullah of causing the vacuum in Lebanon's state institutions. In remarks to local radio and TV stations, the MPs said President Michel Suleiman and Prime Minister-designate Tammam Salam should form a government made up of non political figures. “We want a neutral and non political cabinet so that it … resolves the security and economic problems,” MP Jean Oghassabian said. “Suleiman can't sit idle and watch the country head to the abyss,” he said. Oghassabian accused Hizbullah of causing the vacuum in the institutions to create a new political equation. MP Atef Majdalani also defended Suleiman in what reports said was a move to form a fait accompli cabinet. “The president is committed the Constitution and defending it,” he said. “We want a non-political cabinet to limit the suffering of the Lebanese,” Majdalani added. “We have democracy and a Constitution. Let's implement them,” Suleiman said Wednesday. “Do politicians make the nation and unite it?” Suleiman asked in a clear hint the Constitution does not state that the cabinet should be made up of representatives of political parties. MP Ammar Houri also warned against vacuum, saying “we have no choice but to respect the Constitution and form a government as soon as possible.” “Since day one we are asking for the formation of a neutral cabinet that goes out of the sharp division between the political parties, he said. Despite such calls made by members of the March 14 alliance, which al-Mustaqbal is part of, the Hizbullah-led March 8 camp is calling for a cabinet based on the 9-9-6 formula. Such an equation gives the March 8 and 14 coalitions nine ministers each and centrists six.
Asir Supporters Charged with Attempted Murder of Soldiers
Naharnet Newsdesk 26 December 2013/The Military Prosecutor charged on Thursday several supporters of Salafist cleric Sheikh Ahmed al-Asir with belonging to a terrorist group and attempting to kill Lebanese soldiers, the National News Agency reported. The other charges issued by Judge Saqr Saqr against the detainees were gun possession and involvement in terrorist attacks. Saqr referred the detainees, whose number was not revealed, to the first military examining magistrate. The army said last Thursday that five suspects were arrested and handed over to the relevant authorities during raids in the southern city of Sidon. Backed by a surveillance aircraft, the military staged a major search operation in the groves, valleys and forests situated east of Sidon. The operation was carried out to determine whether there are any “gunmen, weapons hideouts or fugitives” in the area, said the army statement. The raids came a few days after near-simultaneous attacks on the military in Sidon. The communique did not mention the names of the arrested suspects but media reports said at least two of them had ties to al-Asir, who has gone into hiding since the deadly gunbattles between his supporters and Lebanese soldiers in Sidon last June. Lebanese pop idol Fadel Shaker has also disappeared with the 45-year-old bearded cleric.
Both have been charged along with scores of other suspects with forming an armed gang with the aim of committing crimes, undermining the state's authority and harming its prestige.
Al-Rahi Considers Remarks on Vacuum in Presidency Post
by Naharnet Newsdesk 26 December 2013/Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi stressed on Tuesday that remarks concerning a possible presidential vacuum is an insult to the country and the post. He pointed out in statements to visitors, who arrived at Bkirki to congratulate him on the occasion of Christmas, that “the country cannot tolerate actions and reactions.” Al-Rahi wondered why “lawmakers swiftly elect a speaker and a new Prime Minister is swiftly named after the resignation of the cabinet but talks are ongoing over a possible vacuum at presidency post.” “MPs should attend a parliamentary session set to elect a new President,” he told his visitors. Al-Rahi stressed that lawmakers “should assume their responsibilities.” Al-Rahi held talks with Hizbullah politburo member Ghaleb Abu Zainab and Finance Minister Mohammed al-Safadi. The Patriarch reiterated on Wednesday in his Christmas sermon calls on officials to bridge the gap and exert efforts to form a new cabinet capable of overseeing the upcoming Presidential elections. Prime Minister-designate Tammam Salam was appointed in April but has so far been unable to put together a government over the conditions and counter conditions set by the rivals parties as fears mount that the differences between the March 8 and 14 camps would lead to a vacuum the presidential post.
President Michel Suleiman's six-year tenure ends in May 2014.
Gunmen Kidnap Two Omani Citizens in Baalbek
Naharnet Newsdesk 26 December 2013/Unknown gunmen on Thursday intercepted a car in the Bekaa city of Baalbek and abducted two Omanis who were in it. “Five armed individuals who were in a black Grand Cherokee carrying no license plates intercepted in the Baalbek area of al-Kayyal a Mercedes C240 cab that came directly from the Rafik Hariri International Airport in Beirut,” state-run National News Agency reported. They took the car and two Omani citizens who were in it to an unknown destination, the agency added. Meanwhile, OTV said security forces were interrogating the Syrian driver of the cab, noting that the Mercedes was hijacked at the intersection leading to the Bekaa town of Bouday.
MP Suleiman Franjieh Rejects Extension of Suleiman's
Term, Says he and Aoun are Candidates
Naharnet Newsdesk 26 December 2013/Marada movement leader MP Suleiman Franjieh vowed on Thursday not to extend President Michel Suleiman's term and said he was a candidate for the presidency along with Free Patriotic Movement chief MP Michel Aoun. In remarks to al-Manar TV, Franjieh said: “I will not back the extension of President Michel Suleiman's mandate no matter what my allies did.” Franjieh accused the president of being part of the conflict between the March 8 and 14 alliances. He's not a centrist, he said. The MP warned that the president was throwing the country into an abyss. “Any cabinet that strikes the plans of the resistance or the Taef Accord would lead to a problem,” he warned. Franjieh sounded the alarm bell if the cabinet was formed in a “wrong way.” His remarks came amid a similar warning made by Hizbullah deputy chief Sheikh Naim Qassem on Thursday after Suleiman hinted that he would form a fait accompli cabinet over the failure of the rivals to reach an agreement. Qassem lashed out at proposals to form a neutral cabinet, saying such a government would spread “chaos, danger and complications.” Hizbullah is calling for the formation of an all-embracing cabinet in which the March 8 and 14 alliances would get nine ministers each and centrists six. But March 14 is rejecting such a formula, calling for a neutral cabinet. Franjieh also told al-Manar that he was a candidate for the presidency along with Aoun. But he stressed “our team should agree on a candidate.” No one has yet officially announced his candidacy as Suleiman's mandate expires in May 2014. The Constitution says the parliament should start meeting on March 25 to elect a new head of state.
Hizbullah deputy Secretary General Sheikh Naim Qassem
Recommends Formation of All-Embracing Political Cabinet
Naharnet Newsdesk 26 December 2013/Hizbullah deputy Secretary General Sheikh Naim Qassem warned on Thursday the formation of a cabinet other than all-embracing national political government, saying that "all options are open.” Qassem speaking to Hizbullah's al-Manar channel lashed out at proposals to form a neutral or de-facto cabinets, pointing out that these kind of governments would spread “chaos, danger and complications.”
“The only solution if the formation of an all-embracing cabinet... And we advice the President (Michel Suleiman) to carry out this dangerous task.”He noted that the President and Prime Minister-designate Tammam Salam are responsible for offering the Lebanese people “the best.” “If they are under pressure then it's their problem,” Qassem told the channel. The official said that the “formation of a new cabinet is a matter that concerns all the Lebanese and not only the PM-designate and the President.”Qassem rejected statements saying that the formation of a cabinet depends on the presidential elections. “They are separate matters and each need to have the necessary conditions to be carried out.” Qassem said that the “Presidential elections must occur even if the government formation was stalled.” Salam was appointed in April but has so far been unable to put together a government over the conditions and counter conditions set by the rivals parties as fears mount that the differences between the March 8 and 14 camps would lead to a vacuum the presidential post.
Suleiman's six-year tenure ends in May 2014. The President had recently suggested the formation of a government capable of staging the elections regardless if it does not enjoy parliament's confidence.
The March 8 alliance however rejected the proposal, deeming it unconstitutional. Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblat had proposed the formation of a new cabinet in which the March 8 and 14 alliances would get nine ministers each and six ministers would be given to the centrists – Suleiman, Salam and Jumblat. This formula, which the March 8 alliance agreed on, prevents a certain party from controlling the government by giving veto power to Hizbullah and its team and another veto power to March 14, he said.
Report: Geagea, Jumblat Held Talks Last Week
Naharnet Newsdesk 26 December 2013/Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea met with Progressive Socialist Party head MP Walid Jumblat last week, LBCI television reported on Thursday. "The meeting took place during a dinner banquet thrown by (National Struggle Front) MP Nehme Tohme,” LBCI said. The same source noted that the talks were characterized with “ambiguity,” and that they tackled the presidential elections and the cabinet's formation. "This meeting will be followed by talks between delegations of the two parties on Monday.”The last meeting between the two leaders took place in 2009, after Jumblat left the March 14 camp.
Seven Kilos of Hashish Seized at Tripoli Checkpoint
by Naharnet Newsdesk 26 December 2013/Security forces confiscated seven kilograms of hashish on Thursday in the northern city of Tripoli.LBCI television said “security forces managed to seize 7 kilos of hash at the al-Bohsas checkpoint in Tripoli.”Sharp objects and personal firearms were also confiscated, according to LBCI. The Internal Security Forces intensified their measures in the northern city with the coming of the holidays and have erected a fixed checkpoint in the al-Bohsas area.
Israel vs. Islamists: Setting the Record Straight
by Phyllis Chesler/Israel National News
Lets' set the record straight before the year ends:
Israel is not an apartheid Nazi state. Islam is the largest practitioner of both gender and religious apartheid.
Infidel violence against or hatred of Muslims is a mere drop in the bucket. Muslim-on-Muslim violence is a pandemic and indigenous feature of Muslim-Muslim relationships, beginning with the endless religious feuds between Sunni and Shiia Muslims.
Today, Muslims are torturing, exiling, and blowing each other up in Egypt, Syria, Somalia, Sudan, Pakistan, and Afghanistan—to name only a few Muslim-majority countries.
While the West may be imperfect, mea culpa, mea culpa, Islam has a very long and bloody history of imperialism, colonialism, anti-Black racism, conversion via the sword, slavery, and the above mentioned apartheid.
The miserable Brits have just built a large "Security Wall" at St James Church in Piccadilly and plan to use it to continue demonizing the Jewish state for the next twelve days. It is an "art installation," political theatre, very trendy.
Not shown, never mentioned, are the names or graves of Israeli civilians, including children and the elderly, who were being blown up and butchered during the height of the Al Aqsa Intifada; not mentioned are those who were disabled for life; but mainly, it is forbidden to say that the "security wall" worked, that the number of Israeli civilian casualties plunged because it existed.
Jesus was not a "Palestinian." He was a Jew, some say he was a rabbi, and that the Last Supper was a Pesach seder. The attempt to appropriate Jesus as a victimized "Palestinian" by the very Muslims who are slaughtering Christians all over the Middle East and who have driven Arab Christians out of Bethlehem is typical, disgusting, and must continually be exposed.
Israel may not be a perfect nation but its Arab citizens, both Muslim and Christian, are the only Arabs in the Arab world who enjoy religious freedom, can vote and express themselves freely, and who have been peacefully elected to Parliament.
As Hamad Amar, a Druze citizen of Israel and the Speaker of Israel's Knesset has written in The Hill, an American Congressional blog:
"In our whole region consisting of over 350 million Arabs, there are only 1,658,000 Arabs who have complete political and religious freedom and have the right to vote in full democratic elections. It is no coincidence that all of these Arabs live as full and equal citizens in the one Jewish State."
Israel values human life, its enemies value death, murder, martyrdom. To redeem Gilad Shalit, Israel released terrorists with blood on their hands to return as glorified heroes and to resume their "careers" as terrorists. Jews value life this much.
I hope and pray that Jonathan Pollard will finally be set free while he and I are both still alive and I hope that Israel does not have to pay too dear a price for his freedom.
Israel is compassionate and humanitarian. It has provided medical aid to Syrian refugees, and before that to Lebanese in flight from Arafat's terrorism. Israel has sent medical and emergency teams all over the world wherever there has been a flood or an earthquake.
Israel takes care of its own; the world does not exactly care about Jews. Israel is not a parasite on the international community. Thus, Israel absorbed all the Jews living in Arab lands who were exiled or who had to flee their homes in Muslim-majority countries in the Arab Middle East, North Africa, and central Asia.
It did not demand that the UN pay for this massive relocation project. The same cannot be said for the Arab countries which have refused citizenship to the "Palestinians," and indeed, who created the very concept of a Palestinian people where none had ever existed, as a force with which to exterminate Jewish Israel.
Oh, I could go on but for now, please allow me to wish all those Christians who support Israel, who love Israel, even more than some Jews do—the most wonderful holiday.
The writer, a Fellow at the Middle East Forum, is the author of fifteen books.
Saudi Activist Could be Executed for Alleged Apostasy
by Naharnet Newsdesk 26 December 2013/A Saudi judge has recommended that a liberal activist be tried in a higher court for apostasy, a charge that could carry the death penalty, rights campaigners said Thursday.
A court in the ultra-conservative kingdom sentenced Raef Badawi in July to seven years in jail and 600 lashes for setting up a "liberal" network and for allegedly insulting Islam.
On Wednesday, a judge remanded Badawi to the General Court on charges of apostasy, rights lawyer Waleed Abulkhair told Agence France Presse.
After Badawi's sentence, the appeals court had sent the case back to the court of first instance, where a newly-appointed judge remanded it to the General Court, saying his lower court was not qualified to deal with the case, Abulkhair explained. Human rights activists said, however, that the apostasy charge was only a recommendation from the judge and not a decision.
But online news website Sabq.org quoted Badawi's wife Ensaf Haidar as saying that "the new judge has requested the case be referred to General Court, and demanded the death penalty."
Badawi, 35, was arrested in June last year in the Red Sea city of Jeddah for unknown reasons.
The network that he co-founded with female rights activist Suad al-Shammari had declared May 7, 2012 a "day of liberalism" in the kingdom, calling for an end to the domination of religion over public life in Saudi Arabia.
The strict version of Islamic sharia law applied in Saudi Arabia stipulates death as a punishment for apostasy, but defendants are usually given the chance to repent and escape being beheaded.
New Palestinian terror weapon: the Austrian Steyr .50 assassin’s rifle from Hizballah
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report December 26, 2013/The
Palestinians are using a new weapon in their current campaign of terror against
Israel. It is the Austrian single-shot Steyr 50 caliber sniper rifle which has
an effective accurate range of up to 1,500 m. debkafile’s counter-terror sources
report that Palestinian terrorist planners intend to expand its use in the hands
of highly-trained marksmen to keep pace with deliveries by Iran’s Lebanese proxy
Hizballah of the Iranian-made version of this assassin’s weapon to the Gaza
The Lebanese Shiite Hizballah has already tested the Steyr 50 on the Syrian battlefield for picking off rebel targets. Appreciating its effectiveness, the Iranian Al Qods Brigades chief Gen. Qassem Soleimani recently ordered Hizballah to start smuggling these rifles into the Gaza Strip, presumably by sea. This new acquisition was sent over to reinvigorate the violent campaign waged against Israel by the radical Palestinian Hamas, Jihad Islami and their allies. According to our military sources, one of the newly-trained snipers murdered the 21-year old civilian Saleh Abu a-Tayyel Tuesday, Dec. 24, with a single deadly shot. He is a member of the local Popular Resistance Committees which functions under Hamas command. A scout belonging to the Iran-backed Jihad Islami helped him heft the rifle, which is 1.37 m long and weighs 12.5 kilos, into position.
IDF investigators are combing through recent records to find out if this was the first instance of a Palestinian sniper hit. They are taking a second look at the murder of the 20-year old IDF Master Sgt. Gal Koby on Sept. 22. He too died of a single shot while on guard at the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron. The shooter and his weapon were never found.
The new features of the current wave of Palestinian anti-Israeli terror are disturbing Israel’s military chiefs: It is orchestrated from Istanbul and Gaza by a new command made up of released Palestinian prisoners; Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas has not made the slightest effort to deploy his US-trained security forces to curb the rising violence; and finally the advent of snipers trained to kill with a single accurate bullet fired from a high-powered weapon. To avoid this new peril, the IDF this week directed Israeli farmers to stop working their fields abutting on the Gaza Strip and draw back to a 1-kilometer radius from the border fence. The rifle is believed too heavy to plant just behind the fence. However, Israel has now been forced to accept a 1-kilometer deep no-go zone on its side of the border and keep it off-limits to civilians.
debkafile’s military sources disclose that due to the high importance Hamas attaches to its innovative tactics for accentuating Israel’s security predicaments, Muhammed Def, head of its military wing, has taken direct command of the chain of events expected to evolve from the murder of Saleh Abu a-Tayyel.
In 2005, the Austrian Steyr Mannlicher shipped 800 of these long-range bolt action anti-materiel rifles to Iran, causing US concern lest they find their way to Iraq for use against coalition forces.
Copies of the Austrian Steyr 50 made in Iran were indeed supplied to pro-Iran Iraqi Shiite clandestine groups then fighting the US. Today those groups are sending forces to Syria. There, the Steyr turned up first a year ago, used against Syrian rebels by snipers attached to Iranian special units.
Three months ago, Hizballah forces began using this sniper’s weapon extensively on the Syrian battlefield. Its transfer to Palestinian terrorists for use against Israeli targets may be seen as yet more deadly spillover from the Syrian war.