CONGRESS REJECTS PAYING SALARIES TO TERRORISTS: The Senate on 4 May 2017 passed a $1.1 trillion funding bill which includes a number of provisions to help Israel address security-related challenges. Senators voted 79-18 in favor of the bill, which passed the House the previous day. The Omnibus Appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2017 provides $3.1 billion plus an additional $75 million in overall security assistance to Israel. The bill also contains $600.7 million for vital joint USA-Israel missile defense programs, representing a $113 million increase over FY 2016. In addition, Congress included $42.5 million for continued USA-Israel joint development of technologies to address the complex challenge of locating, mapping and destroying terrorist tunnel networks. The bill also includes a provision that reduces aid to the Palestinian Authority on a dollar-for-dollar basis for any support the PA, the Palestine Liberation Organization provides to terrorists or their families. The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) welcomed the passage of the bill, saying it “applauds Congress for including key provisions to help Israel address critical security challenges in the Omnibus Appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2017.” (INN)
PENTAGON EYES IRAN-NORTH KOREA MILITARY CONNECTION: When Iran attempted to launch a cruise missile from a “midget” submarine last week, Pentagon officials saw more evidence of North Korean influence in the Islamic Republic – with intelligence reports saying the submarine was based on a Pyongyang design, the same type that sank a South Korean warship in 2010. According to USA defense officials, Iran was attempting to launch a Jask-2 cruise missile underwater for the first time, but the launch failed. Nonproliferation experts have long suspected North Korea and Iran are sharing expertise when it comes to their rogue missile programs. “The very first missiles we saw in Iran were simply copies of North Korean missiles,” said Jeffrey Lewis, a missile proliferation expert at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey. “Over the years, we’ve seen photographs of North Korean and Iranian officials in each other’s countries, and we’ve seen all kinds of common hardware.” When Iran tested a ballistic missile in late January 2017, the Pentagon said it was based on a North Korean design. Last summer, Iran conducted another missile launch similar to a North Korean Musudan, the most advanced missile Pyongyang has successful tested to date. Defense analysts say North Korea’s Taepodong missile looks almost identical to Iran’s Shahab.
Iran’s attempted cruise missile launch from the midget submarine in the Strait of Hormuz was believed to be one of the first times Iran has attempted such a feat. In 2015, North Korea successfully launched a missile from a submarine for the first time, and officials believe Tehran is not far behind. Only two countries in the world deploy the Yono-class submarine – North Korea and Iran. Midget subs operate in shallow waters where they can hide. The North Korean midget sub that sank a 290-foot South Korean warship in 2010 — killing over 40 sailors — was ambushed in shallow water. Perhaps most worrisome for the United States is that Iran attempted this latest missile launch from a midget sub last week in the narrow Strait of Hormuz, where much of the world’s oil passes each day. (Fox) Pray according to scripture: “Rebuke the beast among the reeds, the herd of bulls among the calves of the nations. Humbled, may the beast bring bars of silver. Scatter the nations who delight in war,” Ps 68:30
MAJOR PROBLEMS WITH THE STATEMENT OF PALESTINIAN PRESIDENT ABBAS: President Donald Trump last week met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. What Abbas said reveals just how deep the gulf remains between the Israelis and the Palestinians. Immediately after his opening greetings, Abbas had this to say: “Mr. President, our strategic choice is to bring about peace based on the vision of the two-states – a Palestinian state with its capital of East Jerusalem that lives in peace and stability with the state of Israel based on the borders of 1967.” Talk about a slap in the face. First, Israel’s 1967 borders are indefensible, as was reiterated in 2011 after President Obama seemed to advocate a return to those borders. To give one example of indefensible borders, the Netanya area of Israel would be less than 10 miles wide. Second, dividing Jerusalem will not lead to lasting peace, and it is only the Jewish people, not the Palestinians, who have a true historic claim to the city as their capital. As PM Netanyahu has said, “The idea of a divided, split, wounded city is one we will never return to.”
President Abbas then emphasized the desire of his people to have a two-state solution, expressing real hope that President Trump would help broker a lasting peace agreement. “Mr. President, it’s about time for Israel to end its occupation of our people and of our land after 50 years. We are aspiring and want to achieve our freedom and our right to self-determination. And we also want for Israel to recognize the Palestinian state just as the Palestinian people recognize the state of Israel.” This paragraph is also fraught with problems: First, the reason for the so-called occupation is: 1. the refusal of Arab leadership to agree to previous two-state offers, first in 1937 and then in 1947; 2. the attempted Arab destruction of Israel in 1967, which Israel preempted with the Six Day War, expanding its borders in the process and 3. ongoing Arab and Palestinian attacks on the Jewish people, because of which Israel has maintained control in Judea & Samaria. To lay the blame on Israel is to have the situation backwards. Second, it is misleading to speak of Palestinian recognition of Israel. Has President Abbas, in Arabic, recognized Israel as a Jewish state? And if not, what does this imply? And what about a report from early this year stating that PA textbooks “ignore the existence of Israel”?
But the worst of President Abbas’ remarks was still to come. He said, “Mr. President, I affirm to you that we are raising our youth, our children, our grandchildren on a culture of peace.” A culture of peace? By naming schools after Palestinian terrorists? By celebrating them as martyrs and making them heroes for the children to emulate? By spreading false information about Israel and the Temple Mount that so provoked Palestinian young people that teens as young as 13 engaged in acts of terror? (Charisma) “Not a word from their mouth can be trusted; their heart is filled with malice. Their throat is an open grave; with their tongues they tell lies,” Ps. 5:30. (J. Post)