Gaza Protest Camps Move Closer to the Temple Walls (Revelation 11)

Gaza protest camps move closer to Israel border fence

Gaza protest organizers moved sit-in tents closer to the Israeli border fence Thursday, a day before a fourth planned mass demonstration, raising fears of more bloodshed.

• Follow Ynetnews on Facebook and Twitter

The protests, largely led by Gaza’s Hamas rulers, began March 30. Organizers said they’ll gradually move the camps toward the fence until May 15, but made conflicting comments about a possible breach.

Hamas says the protests are aimed at breaking a crippling border blockade that was imposed by Israel and Egypt after the Islamic militant group overran the territory in 2007, a year after winning Palestinian parliament elections. The marches also press for the return of the descendants of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who fled or were forced from homes in the 1948 war over Israel’s creation.

While some organizers portray the protests as peaceful, Hamas and representatives of other factions have made it clear that a border breach is being considered.

“We will cross the border,” said Daoud Shehab, a member of the organizing committee from the smaller Islamic Jihad group, adding that Israel “should feel really jittery as a result of these marches.”

Israeli military officials have warned that they will not tolerate a mass border breach or permit protesters to get close to the fence. Israel’s military said Thursday that it is ready for all scenarios and is “prepared to prevent any breach of Israeli sovereignty or damage to the border fence.” Several Israeli communities are close to the border.

Rights groups have branded Israel’s open-fire regulations as unlawful, saying they permit soldiers to use potentially lethal force against unarmed protesters.

In the past three weeks, Israeli troops firing from across the border fence have killed 28 protesters and wounded more than 1,500, according to Gaza health officials.

During the weekly Friday marches, most protesters have remained in the five sit-in tent camps, but smaller groups have moved toward the fence, throwing stones, hurling firebombs or burning tires.

On Thursday, organizers moved tent camps several dozen meters closer to the fence.

In a camp east of Gaza City, five tents were moved to within 300 meters (328 yards) of the border, just in range of tear gas volleys. Bulldozers also raised protective sand berms around the new tents. In another protest site in southeastern Gaza, earth mounds were created to define the camp’s new boundary.

Meanwhile, activists were testing new means of confronting Israel — kites with burning rags dangling from their tails. The aim is to set ablaze drying wheat fields on the Israeli side.

Palestinians protest (Photo: AFP)

In the camp near Gaza City, activists flew two kites Thursday. One fell short in Gaza. The other reached its destination but failed to start a fire.

Several fires have been started in wheat fields on the Israeli side of the border by such contraptions in recent days, according to the Times of Israel news website.

The Facebook page of the Gaza protest organizers published images Wednesday of Israeli fields behind the fence, taken from a small camera attached to a kite.

Thursday’s development came as Israel was celebrating 70 years since the modern Jewish state was established.

Festivities began the night before when in sharp contrast, Israel abruptly crossed over from its melancholy Memorial Day for fallen soldiers and terrorism victims.

The grouping of the two days is intentional, to show the link between the costly wars Israel has fought and the establishment and survival of the Jewish state.

The Sixth Seal: More Than Just Manhattan (Revelation 6:12)

New York, NY – In a Quake, Brooklyn Would Shake More Than Manhattan

By Brooklyn Eagle

New York, NY – The last big earthquake in the New York City area, centered in New York Harbor just south of Rockaway, took place in 1884 and registered 5.2 on the Richter Scale.Another earthquake of this size can be expected and could be quite damaging, says Dr. Won-Young Kim, senior research scientist at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University.

And Brooklyn, resting on sediment, would shake more than Manhattan, built on solid rock. “There would be more shaking and more damage,” Dr. Kim told the Brooklyn Eagle on Wednesday.

If an earthquake of a similar magnitude were to happen today near Brooklyn, “Many chimneys would topple. Poorly maintained buildings would fall down – some buildings are falling down now even without any shaking. People would not be hit by collapsing buildings, but they would be hit by falling debris. We need to get some of these buildings fixed,” he said.

But a 5.2 is “not comparable to Haiti,” he said. “That was huge.” Haiti’s devastating earthquake measured 7.0.

Brooklyn has a different environment than Haiti, and that makes all the difference, he said. Haiti is situated near tectonic plate.

“The Caribbean plate is moving to the east, while the North American plate is moving towards the west. They move about 20 mm – slightly less than an inch – every year.” The plates are sliding past each other, and the movement is not smooth, leading to jolts, he said.

While we don’t have the opportunity for a large jolt in Brooklyn, we do have small, frequent quakes of a magnitude of 2 or 3 on the Richter Scale. In 2001 alone the city experienced two quakes: one in January, measuring 2.4, and one in October, measuring 2.6. The October quake, occurring soon after Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, “caused a lot of panic,” Dr. Kim said.

“People ask me, ‘Should I get earthquake insurance?’ I tell them no, earthquake insurance is expensive. Instead, use that money to fix chimneys and other things. Rather than panicky preparations, use common sense to make things better.”

Secure bookcases to the wall and make sure hanging furniture does not fall down, Dr. Kim said. “If you have antique porcelains or dishes, make sure they’re safely stored. In California, everything is anchored to the ground.”

While a small earthquake in Brooklyn may cause panic, “In California, a quake of magnitude 2 is called a micro-quake,” he added.

Israel Wants to Stop the Inevitable Iranian Horn

Stop Iran From Going Nuclear

Gatestone Institute

24 Adar II 5779 – March 31, 2019

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Iran’s Natanz nuclear site.

{Originally posted to the Gatestone Institute website}

Advocates of Iran’s nuclear deal are conspicuously ignoring the Iranian government’s nuclear activities, even though they jeopardize global security as much as Israel’s security. Advocates of Iran are also rushing to criticize the Trump administration in the United States for tightening its sanctions in response to Iran’s illegal defiance.

In a recent interview with Iran’s state-owned Channel 2 in the Persian language, Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, made it clear that the flimsy “nuclear deal” initiated by then US President Barack Obama has done nothing to stop Iran from making advances in its nuclear program.

Salehi boasted:

“If we have to go back and withdraw from the nuclear deal, we certainly do not go back to where we were before … We will be standing in a much, much higher position.”

The latest reports on Iran’s nuclear progress also indicate that Iran is on the threshold of modernizing its mechanism for producing highly enriched uranium, which can be utilized to build a nuclear weapon.

The Iranian government is bragging that it is exploring new uranium enrichment programs and the production of centrifuges. As Salehi said recently:

“Thank God, the tests on the IR4 and IR2M (centrifuges) have been completed. They were tested for over 12 years. Today we have all the data, and we can easily manufacture them on an industrial scale.”

Several intelligence reports warning of Iran’s clandestine nuclear activities have been distributed throughout the international community. Germany’s domestic intelligence agency, the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, revealed in its annual report that the Iranian government has pursued a “clandestine” path to obtain illicit nuclear technology and equipment from German companies “at what is, even by international standards, a quantitatively high level.”

The intelligence report also stated that “it is safe to expect that Iran will continue its intensive procurement activities in Germany using clandestine methods to achieve its objectives.”

Further illustrating this disregard for the regulations Iranian officials are supposed to be following, on several occasions after the “nuclear deal” was in place, Iran held onto more heavy water, used to produce nuclear weapons, than it was allowed to have.

Those who promote the idea of taking a gentler stance on Iran and its nuclear program argue that Iran is not pursuing any illicit nuclear activities because the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has verified that.

The IAEA, however, was not allowed to inspect or monitor Iran’s military sites where nuclear activities were most likely being carried out. Among the many concessions that the Obama administration gave the Iranian government, one was accepting the Iranian leaders’ demand that these military sites would be out of the IAEA’s reach.

Due to this surrender, various high-profile Iranian sites such as the Parchin military complex, located southeast of Tehran, were free to engage in nuclear activities without the risk of inspection.

The IAEA itself had previously stated that the Parchin military complex was the location where Iran carried out the explosive tests required to set off a nuclear charge.

In addition, Israel’s international intelligence agency, the Mossad, obtained files and photographs from inside Iran relating to the country’s nuclear program.

The files pointed to Iran’s efforts to build a nuclear bomb, and the set of photographs taken at the Parchin military site “appears to show a giant metal chamber built to conduct high-explosive experiments.”

Moreover, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) — which revealed Iran’s clandestine and undeclared uranium enrichment facility at Natanz and a heavy water facility at Arak in 2002 — has recently confirmed that Iran is continuing to pursue its nuclear ambitions. Its report states:

“… the ‘nerve center’ of the Iranian regime’s nuclear weapons project, responsible for designing a nuclear bomb, has been continuing its work… following the establishment of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in 2015, not only has the unit remained in place and active, it is now clear that in some fields its activities have even expanded.

Iran’s breakout time — the amount of time needed to produce enough weapons-grade uranium for one nuclear bomb — is believed to be less than a year.

When will the international community take seriously the latest intelligence reports and Iran’s efforts to build a nuclear bomb? When will the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog, the IAEA, inspect Iran’s military sites?

Once the authoritarian, anti-Semitic and anti-American government of Iran possess a nuclear bomb, no amount of actions will be able reverse the catastrophe.

Iran is clearly continuing to demonstrate its interest in, and active pursuit of, nuclear weapons. Act now.

(Dr. Majid Rafizadeh, is a business strategist and advisor)

Thousands Trample Outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11)

At least two killed in Gaza as thousands of Palestinians demonstrate near Israeli border | Fox News

March 30, 2019

At least two teenagers have been killed in clashes with Israeli military as tens of thousands of Palestinians gathered at the Israeli border to mark a year of the protest movement.

The latest demonstrations honored the “Great March of Return” that started on March 30, 2018. Nearly 40,000 Palestinians marched to the border in heavy rain to mark the anniversary. Protesters want an end to a years-long blockade of the Gaza Strip and for refugees in Gaza to be allowed to return to ancestral homes in Israel.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) put the number of protesters at around 40,000 and said explosive devices, stones and burnt tires were thrown over a wall in the direction of Israeli Military, according to the BBC.

The IDF said they responded with “riot dispersal means” including live ammunition.

The teens, both 17, were killed and dozens of protesters were wounded, a Palestinian health official and the Daily Beast reported. They said another man was shot dead by Israeli forces overnight near the border fence.

From March to December last year, 189 Palestinians and one Israeli have died during the protests, including 35 children, three paramedics and two journalists, according to the UN Human Rights Council. During that period, 6,106 Palestinians were injured.

“The Commission has reasonable grounds to believe that during the Great March of Return, Israeli soldiers committed violations of international human rights and humanitarian law. Some of those violations may constitute war crimes or crimes against humanity, and must be immediately investigated by Israel,” said Santiago Canton, chairman of the Human Rights Council Commission of Inquiry..

A UN investigation found that Israeli snipers had shot at children, medics and journalists during the protests.

“There can be no justification for killing and injuring journalists, medics, and persons who pose no imminent threat of death or serious injury to those around them. Particularly alarming is the targeting of children and persons with disabilities,” said Commission member Sara Hossain. “Many young persons’ lives have been altered forever. 122 people have had a limb amputated since 30 March last year. Twenty of these amputees are children.” Israel has denied the allegations.

The protests came on the heels of a week in which rockets were launched from Palestine into Israel and the Israeli military retalited with bombings of Gaza.

Hamas, the Islamist group prominent in the Gaza Strip, told the BBC it would try to keep Saturday’s protests peaceful and a safe distance from the fence, as Egyptian and UN mediators tried to prevent escalation.

American Idiots Clamoring To Attack Iran

Hawks Clamoring To Attack Iran

Emile Nakhleh1 day ago

As Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, National Security Advisor John Bolton, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and Saudi crown prince and de facto ruler Mohammad bin Salman clamor for a war against Iran, they seem to have conveniently forgotten the destruction and mayhem wrought by the American invasion of Iraq 16 years ago.

These war drummers are underestimating the potential negative consequences of the war and overestimating the Iranian people’s dislike of their theocratic regime. They, like the advocates of the Iraqi invasion in the winter of 2002 and early spring 2003, are confusing Iranians’ dislike of the ayatollahs with their potential embrace of a foreign invader.

On the eve of the Iraq war, former President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, the Vice President Chief of Staff and Assistant to the President David Addington all claimed that the Iraqi invasion aimed at liberating the country from the brutal regime of Saddam Hussein. Removing Saddam from power, they maintained, would eliminate the threat of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and bring stability, security, and democracy to Iraq.

As developments unfolded over the past 16 years, the “liberation” claims proved to be bogus. The invasion and the decision to de-Ba’athify Iraq and dissolve the Iraqi military created an environment conducive to sectarianism, insurgency, and terrorism. The vacuum that followed the regime collapse, the incompetence of the American administration in the “Green Zone,” and the pervasive corruption of the new Iraqi governing councils was quickly filled by pro-Iranian militias, al-Qaeda, and later the Islamic State. The promise of stability and security was replaced by chaos, bloodshed, and mayhem.

The massive destruction of Iraq and the horrendous human and material cost the American “liberation” caused for the country will be child’s play compared to what could happen if Trump and his Israeli and Saudi allies decide to attack Iran. Unlike Iraq—which the British cobbled together after World War One out of the Shia, Sunnis, and Kurds under a minority Sunni rule—  Iran has been in existence for centuries with a vast territory and a huge population. If attacked, Iran has the capability to retaliate against its neighbors, especially Saudi Arabia. Its air and missile forces could quickly destroy the oil and gas facilities and the water and power grids on the Arab side of the Gulf. A war against Iran could easily spread to the Gulf and the Levant. The entire region could go up in flames.

Hubris and Ignorance

The Bush administration was not willing or interested in answering the “morning after” questions regarding the post-Saddam future of Iraq. Whenever I and others urged policy makers to consider the law of unintended consequences and what could go wrong in Iraq following the invasion, Vice President Cheney and Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld dismissed our concerns and arrogantly claimed that the U.S. military and civilian administration following the invasion would be able to control the situation in Iraq. Their hubris regarding America’s power and ignorance of Iraqi realities on the ground led to a total breakdown of Iraqi society following the demise of the Saddam regime.

The Trump administration seems to be equally arrogant and ignorant about Iran. It has displayed a similar disregard for strategic thinking about the future of Iran beyond the clerical regime. The Iranophobes within the administration seem to be more obsessed with Iran than the Bush administration was ever with Iraq.

Instead of relying on calm, expert-based analysis, Secretary of State Pompeo has made a series of trips to the region that have involved bullying, threats, and hilarious, if not tragic, mischaracterizations. In a recent conversation with Christian broadcasters in Jerusalem, Pompeo waxed eloquent about God’s presumed divine plan designating Trump as a possible savior of the “Jewish people,” Sunni Islam, Maronite Lebanon, Alawite Syria, and the rest of the world from the perceived modern-day Persian “Hamans.”

Instead of relying on calm, expert-based analysis, Secretary of State Pompeo has made a series of trips to the region that have involved bullying, threats, and hilarious, if not tragic, mischaracterizations.

The American foreign policy process is in serious trouble if Pompeo truly believes that Trump could be the twenty-first-century version of Queen Esther or Hadassah and that this religious vision could chart the path to a grand strategy in the Middle East. When warped religious interpretations are offered as a substitute for rationally debated policy, whether by a radical Wahhabi Salafist, an evangelical Christian, or an ultra-Orthodox Jew, democratic governments should fear for their future. Invoking the divine as an inspiration or a justification for violence against another country, much as Osama bin Laden did on the eve of 9/11, is a rejection of rational discourse and a return to the barbarism of previous epochs.

Pompeo’s imagined “shuttle diplomacy” in the Middle East has been reduced to supporting Netanyahu’s upcoming election bid, threatening Hezbollah in Lebanon, recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, and lambasting any state that does business with Iran. His ambassador-designee to Saudi Arabia, John Abizaid, told Congress that the threat from Iran supersedes concerns for human rights in Arab autocracies.

Furthermore, Trump administration policy operatives, including John Bolton and Rudy Giuliani, have treated an Iranian group called the Mujahedin-e Khalq or MEK as a legitimate alternative to the clerical regime in Iran. The MEK, however, is a terrorist cult that has received funding from all sorts of dubious sources and is often used as a tool by outside groups, states, and organizations, including intelligence services of regional and international state actors, to further an anti-Iran agenda.

Similarly, the Bush administration viewed Ahmed Chalabi, the Iraqi émigré, and the organization he founded, the Iraqi National Congress, as the legitimate alternative to the Saddam regime in Iraq. Vice President Cheney and Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld fully bought into Chalabi’s snake-oil sales. Chalabi was instrumental in instigating America’s invasion of Iraq at the cost of trillions of dollars and thousands of American and Iraqi lives. Iraq has never recovered from that ill-fated, unnecessary war. Bolton and Giuliani are as susceptible to MEK’s claims as Cheney and Rumsfeld were to Chalabi’s.

For the sake of whipping up regional animus toward Iran and preparing the ground for a war against the “Persian menace,” Pompeo in effect has told Arab autocrats that so long as they keep mouthing anti-Iran rhetoric, Washington will ignore their despicable human rights record and the continued repression of their people. The thousands of political prisoners in Egyptian, Saudi, and Bahraini jails will have to wait for another day.

Arab regimes have become masters in the art of communicating with their American benefactors. During the Cold War, they received American aid as long as they brandished anti-Communist slogans. After the collapse of the Soviet Union and with the rise of terrorism, these same strongmen were happy to adopt an anti-terrorism rhetoric in order to continue receiving American military and economic aid. Their current anti-Iran public posture is the latest phase in their communication with Washington and is as equally profitable as the previous two phases.

When some regional politicians demurred about getting tough with Iran, as happened during Pompeo’s recent visit to Lebanon, he did not hesitate to threaten them with a panoply of economic sanctions. Vice President Mike Pence used similar language at the recent meeting in Warsaw to berate and even threaten America’s European allies if they dared to take a conciliatory posture toward Iran. The European reaction to Pence’s speech showed that his pathetic performance backfired. Pompeo’s Warsaw meeting ended in utter failure.

Iran Nuclear Deal

Managing Iran’s malign behavior through the Iran nuclear deal or the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was a stroke of diplomatic genius, which former Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz negotiated. The Obama administration placed Iran’s objectionable behavior in two baskets—a nuclear basket, which they addressed through the Iran deal, and a non-nuclear one, which the Obama administration was to address once the nuclear inspection became operational and Iran fully compliant. That approach would have worked: most experts judged Iran to be in compliance with the conditions of the nuclear deal. Unfortunately, President Trump decided not to recertify the agreement.

Trump’s decision contradicted the judgment of most nuclear and intelligence experts about Iran’s compliance. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), for example, affirmed Iran’s compliance in more than a dozen of its successive quarterly reports and as recently as earlier this month.

In his open testimony to Congress in January, the Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats stated that Iran continued to comply with the deal even after Trump announced his intention to scuttle it. Coats said, “We do not believe Iran is currently undertaking activities we judge necessary to produce a nuclear device.” Iran was of course cheating in other areas, according to the DNI’s testimony, but not on the nuclear agreement.

In a statement issued April 25 of last year, over two dozen Israeli senior military and intelligence officials judged that it was “in Israel’s best interest that the United States maintains the nuclear agreement with Iran.” The Israeli statement went on to say that “The current deal is better than no deal” and that “Iran’s destructive regional policies and actions, its support for acts of terrorism, its presence in Syria, and its ballistic missiles program should be dealt with outside the framework of the agreement.” This was precisely the position of the Obama administration when it negotiated the deal in the first place.

The Path Forward

Fifty-plus retired American generals and diplomats, in a statement published earlier this month, urged the Trump administration to rejoin the Iran nuclear deal and work on resolving outstanding concerns with Iran diplomatically. They advised against a war because they saw no good outcome. The statement did not seek to exonerate Iran’s destabilizing behavior and its involvement in Yemen, Syria, Iraq, or Lebanon. Nor did the retired senior leaders ignore Iran’s link to terrorism. The statement, however, pointed out, among other things, that the 2015 nuclear deal “put limitations on Iran’s nuclear program that provided assurances that it would not be used to develop weapons, improved American intelligence about potential future development and significantly improved the security of the United States and our allies.”

Additionally, the retired generals and diplomats emphasized that Iran is complying with the agreement and that, under the JCPOA, Iran is barred from engaging in nuclear weapons development program, which prevents it from producing a nuclear device. “Reentering the agreement and lifting the sanctions will greatly enhance United States’ ability to negotiate improvements and enable us to address concerns with the existing agreement.”

Coming from these military and policy realists, who are dedicated to the security of this country, Israel, and America’s allies, this advice is grounded in sane strategic analysis, not in theological whimsy.

Pakistan’s Nuclear Terrorism

Nanda: The real threat to stability in South Asia is terrorism originating in Pakistan

• Ved Nanda

• March 29, 2019 at 12:01 pm

Tensions have now eased on the Indian subcontinent, but in mid-January after a suicide bomber in Pulwama, Kashmir, killed 40 Indian paramilitary police, India and Pakistan — two nuclear-armed neighbors — faced off.

Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), a Pakistan-based terrorist organization, claimed responsibility for the bombing. Twelve days later the Indian Air Force (IAF) struck a JeM camp at Balakot, deep inside Pakistan. That was followed by Pakistani jets crossing into Indian airspace and a dogfight ensuing between the two Air Forces, in which an Indian plane was shot down and its pilot captured. Pakistan returned him to India after a few days and further escalation was avoided by both sides.

But as a recent article by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace has aptly stated, we are witnessing a “smoldering volcano.” These neighbors have fought four major wars since India was partitioned in 1947. The critical question now is, what has changed with Pulwama and Balakot?

The Balakot strike, which India called a “preemptive strike” to prevent another imminent JeM attack, marks a policy shift in India’s decades-long strategy of self-restraint — enduring proxy terror attacks, funded and actively supported by the Pakistani military and intelligence services. Pakistan’s nuclear weapons have deterred India from conventional retaliation for these government-backed terrorist strikes.

After coming to power in 2014, Prime Minister Modi of India suggested that he would no longer tolerate such proxy attacks. And in 2016, in response to an attack in Pathankot and Uri, Modi conducted a “surgical strike,” sending India’s armed forces across the border inside Pakistan.

This time, after Pulwama, the air strikes have sent a clear and resounding message to Pakistan — that India will not be intimidated by nuclear coercion: its response henceforth will be swift and proportionate and Pakistan must cease its proxy terror policy.

After Pulwama, India removed Pakistan from its “most favored nation” status, imposing 200 percent duties on all imports from Pakistan. This, however, is a symbolic gesture. A more serious action is blocking the water of three rivers flowing into Pakistan. Under the 1960 Indus Waters Treaties that govern the sharing of waters between India and Pakistan, India was entitled to make full use of these three rivers, but it was letting a percentage of their waters flow into Pakistan. “Blood and water cannot flow simultaneously,” announced Modi. Of course, the Balakot strike is of a different magnitude.

How relevant is international law, which prohibits the use of force in resolving international disputes? It is politics, not international law, that will resolve this conflict. But under international law rules, a country can use force in its self-defense to prevent an imminent attack. This was the U.S. justification for its invasion of Afghanistan, which the United Nations blessed, and it is the same justification that India has used for its military operations inside Pakistan.

Pakistan has been facing mounting international pressure, even from Islamic countries, to restrain terrorist groups operating from its territory, attacking India and Afghanistan. After the Pulwama attack, the White House urged Pakistan to punish those responsible for the attack.

While Pakistan has tried to convince the international community that it is taking adequate and appropriate measures against such groups, all these measures, such as after the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attack and the 2016 Uri attack, have been cosmetic. The terrorists, sanctioned by the government, have resurfaced soon after the announcement of such sanctions and the “banned” terrorist groups have always reincarnated under another name.

The real threat to stability in South Asia is terrorism originating in Pakistan. With the Balakot message and the continuing international pressure, perhaps Pakistan has learned that it is in its interest to control terrorist groups and stop the proxy attacks in India and Afghanistan. It indeed is in Pakistan’s interest to do so, because it also remains vulnerable to terrorism and has suffered immensely from such attacks.

Ved P. Nanda ( is Distinguished University Professor and Director of the Ved Nanda Center for International and Comparative Law, University of Denver Sturm College of Law.  His column appears the last Sunday of each month.

New York Subways at the Sixth Seal (Revelation 6)

How vulnerable are NYC’s underwater subway tunnels to flooding?

Ashley Fetters

New York City is full of peculiar phenomena—rickety fire escapes; 100-year-old subway tunnels; air conditioners propped perilously into window frames—that can strike fear into the heart of even the toughest city denizen. But should they? Every month, writer Ashley Fetters will be exploring—and debunking—these New York-specific fears, letting you know what you should actually worry about, and what anxieties you can simply let slip away.

The 25-minute subway commute from Crown Heights to the Financial District on the 2/3 line is, in my experience, a surprisingly peaceful start to the workday—save for one 3,100-foot stretch between the Clark Street and Wall Street stations, where for three minutes I sit wondering what the probability is that I will soon die a torturous, claustrophobic drowning death right here in this subway car.

The Clark Street Tunnel, opened in 1916, is one of approximately a dozen tunnels that escort MTA passengers from one borough to the next underwater—and just about all of them, with the exception of the 1989 addition of the 63rd Street F train tunnel, were constructed between 1900 and 1936.

Each day, thousands of New Yorkers venture across the East River and back again through these tubes buried deep in the riverbed, some of which are nearing or even past their 100th birthdays. Are they wrong to ponder their own mortality while picturing one of these watery catacombs suddenly springing a leak?

Mostly yes, they are, says Michael Horodniceanu, the former president of MTA Capital Construction and current principal of Urban Advisory Group. First, it’s important to remember that the subway tunnel is built under the riverbed, not just in the river—so what immediately surrounds the tunnel isn’t water but some 25 feet of soil. “There’s a lot of dirt on top of it,” Horodniceanu says. “It’s well into the bed of the bottom of the channel.”

And second, as Angus Kress Gillespie, author of Crossing Under the Hudson: The Story of the Holland and Lincoln Tunnels, points out, New York’s underwater subway tunnels are designed to withstand some leaking. And withstand it they do: Pumps placed below the floor of the tunnel, he says, are always running, always diverting water seepage into the sewers. (Horodniceanu says the amount of water these pumps divert into the sewer system each day numbers in the thousands of gallons.)

Additionally, MTA crews routinely repair the grouting and caulking, and often inject a substance into the walls that creates a waterproof membrane outside the tunnel—which keeps water out of the tunnel and relieves any water pressure acting on its walls. New tunnels, Horodniceanu points out, are even built with an outside waterproofing membrane that works like an umbrella: Water goes around it, it falls to the sides, and then it gets channeled into a pumping station and pumped out.

Of course, the classic New York nightmare scenario isn’t just a cute little trickle finding its way in. The anxiety daydream usually involves something sinister, or seismic. The good news, however, is that while an earthquake or explosion would indeed be bad for many reasons, it likely wouldn’t result in the frantic flooding horror scene that plays out in some commuters’ imaginations.

Horodniceanu assures me that tunnels built more recently are “built to withstand a seismic event.” The older tunnels, however—like, um, the Clark Street Tunnel—“were not seismically retrofitted, let me put it that way,” Horodniceanu says. “But the way they were built is in such a way that I do not believe an earthquake would affect them.” They aren’t deep enough in the ground, anyway, he says, to be too intensely affected by a seismic event. (The MTA did not respond to a request for comment.)

One of the only real threats to tunnel infrastructure, Horodniceanu adds, is extreme weather. Hurricane Sandy, for example, caused flooding in the tunnels, which “created problems with the infrastructure.” He continues, “The tunnels have to be rebuilt as a result of saltwater corroding the infrastructure.”

Still, he points out, hurricanes don’t exactly happen with no warning. So while Hurricane Sandy did cause major trauma to the tunnels, train traffic could be stopped with ample time to keep passengers out of harm’s way. In 2012, Governor Andrew Cuomo directed all the MTA’s mass transit services to shut down at 7 p.m. the night before Hurricane Sandy was expected to hit New York City.

And Gillespie, for his part, doubts even an explosion would result in sudden, dangerous flooding. A subway tunnel is not a closed system, he points out; it’s like a pipe that’s open at both ends. “The force of a blast would go forwards and backwards out the exit,” he says.

So the subway-train version of that terrifying Holland Tunnel flood scene in Sylvester Stallone’s Daylight is … unrealistic, right?

“Yeah,” Gillespie laughs. “Yeah. It is.”

Got a weird New York anxiety that you want explored? E-mail, and we may include it in a future column.

Share this:

The Growing Iranian Nuclear Horn



Netanyahu warns against nuclear Iran at 2012 UN General Assembly. (photo credit:” REUTERS)

Nearly half of Middle Eastern survey respondents say they are skeptical that Iran has stopped working to achieve nuclear weapons, according to a poll taken by Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and reported by the Hebrew daily Israel Hayom.

The latest survey conducted by professional pollsters on behalf of the ministry found that 43% of Middle Easterners say Iran did not stop its nuclear program. The number of North American respondents who believe similarly is also high at one-third or 33%.

The survey also asked whether or not respondents were interested in their countries having ties with the Jewish state. In general, 75% of respondents believe that ties with Israel can be beneficial to their countries.

When broken down by Middle Eastern countries, 43% of Iraqis, 42% of Emiratis and  41% of Moroccans said they were in favor of ties with Israel. On the other hand, only 32% of Tunisians, 21% of Algerians and 23% of people from Saudi Arabia said they were in favor of such ties.

According to the report, the survey also examined how much respondents agreed that the Palestinian Authority is a roadblock to regional peace. Strikingly, the majority of respondents had no opinion: 53% in the Middle East, 52% in Western Europe and 51% in North America.

A senior official from the Foreign Ministry told Israel Hayom that “when it comes to the Palestinians, the important figure is actually how uninterested the global public is in the conflict.”

The Bloodshed So Far Outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11)

img_4751Gaza border protests: 190 killed and 28,000 injured in a year of bloodshed

Using UN data we explore who has been affected, how they were injured and what life is like in Gaza today

Fri 29 Mar 2019 07.00 GMT

One year ago, Palestinians trapped in Gaza began a protest movement at the frontier with Israel that was intended to last six weeks.

Men, women and children demanded recognition of the right of Palestinian refugees in Gaza and elsewhere to return to their ancestral homes in Israel and for an end to a punishing blockade that has made life unliveable.

Israeli snipers fired live ammunition, killing and maiming dozens. This lethal response on 30 March 2018 triggered anger and disbelief across the world but has not stopped.

A year later, the rallies continue. Thousands have bullet wounds through their legs. The streets of Gaza are filled with people limping or in wheelchairs. Children, journalists and medics have been killed, even when they were standing far back from the fence. The UN has said Israel’s military may have committed war crimes, deliberately targeting civilians.

Protesters have hurled rocks and molotov cocktails and attempted to damage and break through the fence using wire cutters and, in some cases, explosives.

The Israeli army has said its forces have opened fire to protect against attacks and incursions. Four troops have been injured during the protests, and one soldier was killed by a bullet fired from Gaza.

How has life in Gaza changed since the protests began?

Gaza’s economy is in freefall, according to the World Bank, which blames the blockade, multiple wars with Israel, and internal rivalries among Palestinian factions.

The health system has all but collapsed while the vast influx of casualties from the protests threatens to overwhelm it. High numbers of patients with complex limb wounds have significantly depleted supplies. More than half of drugs in Gaza are at “zero stock” levels, meaning less than a month’s supply remains.

World Health Organization

Quality of wastewater flows into the sea

Almost all tap water is undrinkable – either tainted with sewage or salt water from the sea. Authorities have at times said they had to pump raw sewage into the Mediterranean.

Gaza Wash Cluster/CMWU

Medical applications for exit via Israel

Israel has prevented patients from entering its well-resourced hospitals for medical emergencies. Very few Palestinians in Gaza apply for exit permits because they know they will be rejected. Those who do have a high chance of being denied or having their applications delayed.

World Health Organization

Hours of electricity supplied each day

Gaza receives electricity from Israel and Egypt but it is paid for by the Palestinian Authority (PA) in the West Bank. A rivalry with Hamas has meant the PA has occasionally stopped payments to punish its political foes, leading to daily blackouts.

GDP per capita

The economy in Gaza is crumbling, the World Bank has warned. Every second person lives in poverty and economic growth is negative. Foreign aid, recently cut by the Trump administration, is not enough to support life in the strip.

Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics

Unemployment rate

Most young people in Gaza have never left and say they have no hope for a future inside what they call the “world’s largest prison”.

US Approves the Saudi Nuclear Horn (Daniel 8:8)

US approves companies’ nuclear work in Saudi Arabia

Agence France-Presse, Washington, MAR 29 2019, 11:12AM IST UPDATED: MAR 29 2019, 11:45AM I

The United States has given the green light to companies to work on six nuclear projects in Saudi Arabia, Energy Secretary Rick Perry said Thursday, despite lawmakers’ worries that the kingdom could seek weapons.

Questioned during a Senate hearing, Perry confirmed that the Trump administration has approved six applications to do initial nuclear work in Saudi Arabia and two in Jordan.

Perry, who said the Energy Department approved 37 of the 65 applications it received globally since 2017, promised the United States was committed to ensuring the Saudis do not reprocess spent fuel to make nuclear weapons.

“What I’m really concerned about, senator, is that if the United States is not the partner with Saudi Arabia, (or) for that matter Jordan,” Perry said, “they will go to Russia and China for their civil nuclear technology.”

“I can assure you that those two countries don’t give a tinker’s damn about nonproliferation,” he said.

“We’ve got a history of nonproliferation, and nobody in the world will do it better than us.”

The approvals, first reported Wednesday by news site The Daily Beast, were not earlier announced, with Perry saying the companies wanted to shield proprietary information.

But Democratic lawmakers have voiced alarm that the Trump administration is rushing in secret to approve civilian nuclear energy in Saudi Arabia even though the kingdom — the world’s largest oil exporter — has not sought a so-called Section 123 agreement, under which a country assures the peaceful use of technology.

US companies cannot legally transfer nuclear material to countries without Section 123 agreements.

President Donald Trump has pursued a close relationship with Saudi Arabia, saying openly that the kingdom was good for US business even if the powerful crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, is confirmed to have ordered the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in October.

Khashoggi, a contributor to The Washington Post who wrote critically of the crown prince, was strangled and his body dismembered after he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to handle wedding paperwork.

Representative Brad Sherman, in a hearing Wednesday with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, accused the administration of working with the Saudis to do an “end-run around the law.”

“If you cannot trust a regime with a bone-saw, you should not trust them with nuclear weapons,” said Sherman, a Democrat from California.

Prince Mohammed has warned that the Saudis will pursue nuclear weapons if their arch-rival Iran obtains them.