Knesset Passes "United Jerusalem Bill"

“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: May they prosper who love you. 
Peace be within your walls, prosperity within your palaces. 
For the sake of my brethren and companions, I will now say, ‘Peace be within you.’ 
Because of the house of the Lord our God I will seek your good.” Ps.122: 6-9

KNESSET PASSES UNTIED JERUSALEM BILL: In the predawn hours of Tues. morning, 2 Jan. 2018, following a succession of impassioned speeches both for and against, Israel's Knesset finally voted on and passed the "United Jerusalem Bill." The bill is an amendment to the Jerusalem Law passed in 1980, when Israel officially declared the entirety of Jerusalem to be its undivided capital. This new legislation requires a two-thirds majority which is 80 members of Knesset to ever alter the status of Jerusalem or surrender portions of the Holy City as part of a future peace agreement. Corralling a two-thirds majority for anything in the Israel Knesset is next to impossible, as evidenced by the vote on this very bill. Sixty-four MKs voted in favor of the bill, 51 voted against and one abstained, despite the fact that the vast majority of Israeli Jews (including members of Knesset) insist that Jerusalem must never again be divided. The bill's author, Education Minister Naftali Bennett said, "Just now we ensured that Jerusalem will be united forever. We initiated the law that guards Jerusalem so that it cannot be divided without a huge majority of 80 MKs. The Mount of Olives, the Old City, the Temple Mount and the City of David will remain in our hands forever. There will be no more political maneuvers that will allow to tear our capital apart. This is also Israel's response to the shameful United Nations vote against Jerusalem. A holiday for Israel!" he continued. (Israel Today)

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ABBAS SPOKESMAN: JERUSALEM LAW EQUAL TO ‘DECLARATION OF WAR ON PALESTINIANS’: The Knesset’s passage of a law that requires two-thirds of its members to approve any future transfer of land in Jerusalem to a foreign entity is “equivalent to a declaration of war on the Palestinian people,” Nabil Abu Rudeinah, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ spokesman, said on Tues. 2 Jan. 2018. While Israel considers all of Jerusalem its capital, the Palestinians hope that east Jerusalem will be the capital of a future Palestinian state. Abu Rudeinah also asserted that, “There is no legitimacy to the Israeli Knesset’s decisions. We will not allow under any circumstance such dangerous projects for the region and the world’s future to come to pass,” he said. Jerusalem is one of the most sensitive issues for both Palestinians and Israelis, as it is home to a number of Jewish, Muslim and Christian holy sites. In some cases, multiple religions revere the same holy site such as the Temple Mount, which is considered the holiest site in Judaism and the third holiest site in Islam. According to Palestinian officials, the Palestine Liberation Organization is slated to convene one of its top bodies, the PLO Central Council, on 14 Jan. 2018 to discuss the future of the Israeli-Palestinian ties. (J.Post) If the Palestinians were to gain control of the Old City section of Jerusalem (known as “east Jerusalem”), it would include the holiest sites in Judaism, the Temple Mount and the Western Wall. That area also includes the historic Jewish Quarter and the Mount of Olives cemetery, which is the oldest Jewish cemetery in the world.

USA THREATENS TO WITHHOLD FUTURE AID PAYMENTS TO PALESTINIANS: USA President Donald Trump said in tweets on Tues. 2 Jan. 2018 that the United States may withhold future aid payments to Palestinians, accusing them of being “no longer willing to talk peace” with Israel. Trump said that Washington gives Palestinians “HUNDRED OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS a year and get no appreciation or respect. They don’t even want to negotiate a long overdue peace treaty with Israel. With the Palestinians no longer willing to talk peace, why should we make any of these massive future payments to them?” The USA is the largest donor to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian refugees agency, with a pledge of nearly $370 million as of 2016. (Reuters) Among the many reasons funding to UNRWA should be discontinued is that its facilities, including schools, employ many Hamas members and encourage continued belligerence against Israel.

NETANYAHU WISHES IRANIAN PEOPLE SUCCESS IN THEIR “NOBLE QUEST FOR FREEDOM” Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu said 1 Jan.2017, "Brave Iranians are pouring into the streets. They seek freedom. They seek justice. They seek the basic liberties that have been denied to them for decades. Lawmakers and high-profile political figures have praised USA President Donald Trump for his vocal support of the protesters. Among several recent comments Trump said that Iran is "failing on every level," adding that it is “time for change." Netanyahu on Monday lamented that European nations haven’t spoken up in support for the protesters. “This regime tries desperately to sow hate between us. But they will not succeed,” Netanyahu said. I wish the Iranian people success in their noble quest for freedom." Netanyahu also called Iranian claims that Israel is behind the protests “false” and “laughable.” (The Hill)

ISRAELI TV SPEAKS TO IRANIAN PROTESTERS WHO SAY REGIME WILL FALL: The Iranian regime is doing its best to both suppress at home and disregard on the international stage the widespread protests rocking the Islamic Republic. Israel's Channel 10 News spoke to one protester who told the Jewish state that the protests in Iran will continue and will grow until the country's religious overlords are brought down. Given the pseudonym "Muhsan" for his own protection, he told the Israeli audience that the impact of the regime's corruption on daily life had simply become unbearable, and that Iranians were no longer willing to tolerate it. "They know there’s a reason for the rising cost of living. Iran is a very wealthy nation. If the leadership claim that sanctions today affect the economy, that’s a lie. Everything stems from the theft of the public’s funds. That’s the real reason for poverty in Iran." Muhsan also took a jab at those in the international community who point to Iran's soft-spoken President Hassan Rouhani as evidence that the country is moderating. "He's like a puppet; he's just a symbol so that they can say there's democracy in Iran." The Iranian regime has tried to claim that the unrest is the result of American and Israeli subversion, but Muhsan indicated that most Iranians aren't buying it. He ended the interview by wishing well to all the Israeli viewers. The fall of the Iranian regime would be enormous for a great many (mostly obvious) reasons. For Israel, one of those reasons would be that Iran and the Jewish state were close allies prior to the Islamic Revolution, and could be so again. (Israel Today) Continue to intercede for the fall of the present Iranian regime, which has caused the Islamic Republic to become Israel’s worst enemy with constant threats of destroying the Jewish state and making plans to do so. Pray that new leadership will come into place which will do away with oppressive Islamist policies, robbing people of their rights and furthering poverty in Iran.

PANICKED IRANIAN REGIME DISCUSSES HOW TO STOP DEADLY PROTESTS: A leaked report provided to Fox News shows how Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei met with political leaders and heads of the country's security forces to discuss how to tamp down on the deadly nationwide protests. The report this week was provided to the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) from what it said were high level sources from within the regime. The meeting notes said the unrest has hurt every sector of the country's economy and “threatens the regime’s security. The first step, therefore, is to find a way out of this situation.” The report added, “Religious leaders and the leadership must come to the scene as soon as possible and prevent the situation from deteriorating further.” It continued, “God help us, this is a very complex situation and is different from previous occasions.” As the protests continue to spread, the total number dead rose Tues. 2 Jan. 2018 to at least 20. (Fox) But God drags away the mighty by his power; though they become established, they have no assurance of life. Job 24:22

INTEL EXPERT: IRAN PROTESTS MIGHT TAKE REGIME’S FOCUS OFF ISRAEL: With thousands of Iranians taking to the streets, the Islamic Republic may be too busy to start a conflict with Israel, said Sima Shine, former deputy head of the National Security Council for Strategic Affairs. According to Shine, the demonstrations will, in a way, “decrease the appetite of military conflict by Hezbollah or Iran as the events are forcing the regime to concentrate on their internal issues. Therefore, the chances of conflict breaking out between Iran and Israel on the northern borders of Syria and Lebanon are smaller and smaller.” While the spark for the protests was the economy, protesters have also taken to the street denouncing the Islamic Republic’s role in conflict zones like Syria, Lebanon, Yemen and Gaza; burning pictures of the Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Quds Force Maj.-Gen. Qassem Soleimani, who is in charge of Iran’s policy in those countries.

“It’s a lose-lose situation,” Shine said, explaining that while the regime is not able to fix the economy in a short amount of time the IRGC also cannot pull out of countries like Syria or Yemen because “they see it a reason for national security.” Iran’s military budget is reported to be around $15 billion a year and its role in Syria has cost the country a great deal. In 2015 the UN special envoy for Syria, Steffan de Mistura estimated that Tehran was bankrolling embattled Syrian President Bashar Assad to the tune of $6b. to $35b. per year. “The major problem in Iran is the economy,” Shine said. Social media is calling for a nation-wide strike, which will make the situation a lot worse. Because that means people who aren’t going on the street also support the protesters. And that,” Shine said, “could be a turning point." (J.Post)

RARE, 2,700 -YEAR- OLD CLAY SEAL DISCOVERED IN JERUSALEM: Israeli archaeologists made a rare discovery in the Western Wall Plaza, unearthing a 2,700-year-old clay seal impression that experts say belonged to a biblical governor of Jerusalem. The artifact is inscribed in an ancient Hebrew script “belonging to the governor of the city” and was likely attached to a shipment or sent as a souvenir on behalf of the governor, the most prominent local position held in Jerusalem at the time, the Israel Antiquities Authority said. The impression, the size of a small coin, depicts two standing men, facing each other in a mirror-like manner and wearing striped garments reaching down to their knees. It was unearthed near the plaza of Judaism’s Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem, where excavations have been underway since 2005. “It supports the Biblical rendering of the existence of a governor of the city in Jerusalem 2,700 years ago,” lead excavator Shlomit Weksler-Bdolah said. (J.Post)

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Barry Segal with the Editorial Staff