Period: February 2014


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Israeli News Outlets Reporting: As far-fetched as it may seem to some, many sober-minded news outlets in Israel in the past week have been reporting the existence of a secret deal now being negotiated ahead of the Pope’s visit to Israel in May. If true, it would be the single biggest advancement of bible prophecy since May 14, 1948. Interesting side note, the Pope’s visit in May will coincide with the 66th anniversary of Israel becoming a nation again. Hmm, now that’s interesting…
From Israel Today: Israel could be entering the final stages of negotiations to turn over control of Mount Zion to the Vatican, if recent reports by Israel National News are to be believed. According to the online news source, a secretive meeting took place this week between the Jerusalem Municipality, Prime Minister’s Office, Ministry of Tourism and senior Catholic officials.
During the meeting, the Catholic delegation reportedly pressed Israel to follow through on a years-old proposal to give the Church control over the compound that houses the traditional “Hall of the Last Supper.”
The problem is that the same compound also houses the traditional “Tomb of David,” a holy site revered and frequented by religious Jews. Not to mention that Mount Zion is symbolic of Jerusalem as a whole, and surrendering it to the Vatican would be seen by many Israelis as a repudiation of Judaism’s claim to the city.
In response to reports regarding the negotiations, the Jerusalem Municipality released a statement insisting that it would remain “the central sovereign power on Mount Zion.” Others are not so sure, and believe Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu intends to turn over control of Mount Zion prior to Pope Francis‘ visit to the Holy Land in May. source – Israel Today. Continued:

Europe has voiced continuous criticism over Israeli construction in occupied East Jerusalem and West Bank, and several months ago published new guidelines which boycott Israeli entities operating beyond the 1967 lines.
The Israeli daily Haaretz reported recently that Germany is conditioning research support and cooperation with Israel on the exclusion of Jewish settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank.
The Walla report comes on the same day that US Secretary of State John Kerry threatened Israel that a failure in the peace talks would lead to global boycotts and delegitimization of Israel.
Israeli Economy Minister Naftali Bennett responded to Kerry’s threats by saying that Israel will never submit to economic threats.
“I want to clarify to all those giving advice: the country has yet to be born that will give up its land because of economic threats, and we won’t either,” stated Bennett, who heads the pro-settler Habayit Hayehudi (Jewish Home) party. “Only security will bring financial stability, not a terror state next to the Ben Gurion Airport.”
Another senior Israeli official accused Kerry of being biased against Israel in his efforts to secure a peace deal with the Palestinians.
The anonymous official told the Israel Radio that “He is adopting a one-sided stance and isn’t putting any pressure on (Palestinian President) Mahmoud Abbas.”
“He grinds and pressures Israel, while Abbas hasn’t moved his stance one millimeter.” This pressure, the official added, erodes Israel’s negotiation position before a framework agreement has even been formulated and put forward.
Kerry has paid several trips to the region this year, initially expressing confidence that a permanent peace accord, providing for a Palestinian state alongside Israel, could be wrapped up by the end of April. More recently, he has been pushing the less ambitious “framework” idea.
The goal is for the framework, or series of guidelines, to address all core issues, including borders between Israel and a future Palestinian state, Palestinian refugees and conflicting claims to the holy city of Jerusalem.

'Severe heavenly punishment' if he doesn't change course
Published: 02/05/2014 at 7:55 PM - Joe Kovacs - U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is now being warned he’s risking the divine wrath of God if he continues plans for Israel that some feel is a war against the Almighty.
“By the power of our Holy Torah, we admonish you to cease immediately all efforts to achieve these disastrous agreements – in order to avoid severe Heavenly punishment for everyone involved,” a group of Israeli rabbis wrote Kerry in a letter on Sunday.
According to Israel National News, rabbis from the Committee to Save the Land and People of Israel are warning Kerry about his “antagonism” of the Jewish state, sharply criticizing him for plans “to establish an Arab capital in Jerusalem for Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, and to have Israel withdraw to the 1949 Armistice lines.”
Over the weekend, Kerry threatened Israel with an international boycott if peace talks fail.
“Your incessant efforts to expropriate integral parts of our Holy Land and hand them over to Abbas’ terrorist gang, amount to a declaration of war against the Creator and Ruler of the universe. For G-d awarded the entire Land of Israel to our ancestors, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, in order that they bequeath it, as an everlasting inheritance, to their descendants, the Jewish people, until the end of all time,” the rabbis’ letter opens.
The message was signed by Rabbi Gedalya Axelrod, emeritus head of the Haifa Rabbinical Court, Rabbi Yisrael Ariel, chairman of the Temple Institute, Rabbi Ben Tziyon Grossman of Migdal Haemek, Rabbi Shalom Dov Wolpo, dean of the Institute for the Complete Code of Maimonides, and Rabbi Yigal Pizam, dean of Yeshivat Kiryat Shmuel.
The rabbis slammed Kerry’s plan to immediately uproot “20 percent of the Jews now living productively in Judea, Samaria and the Jordan valley,” warning of the imminent security threat for Israelis, and reminding him how similar uprooting of Jewish residents in Gaza turned that region into a launching pad for Islamic rockets. Continued:

Sat Feb 08, 2014 2:1
TEHRAN (FNA - Fars news agency)- Senior Iranian Navy commanders announced on Saturday that the country has sent several fleets of warships to the US maritime borders.
"The Iranian Army's naval fleets have already started their voyage towards the Atlantic Ocean via the waters near South Africa," Commander of Iran's Northern Navy Fleet Admiral Afshin Rezayee Haddad announced on Saturday.
The admiral, who is also the commander of the Iranian Army's 4th Naval Zone said, "Iran's military fleet is approaching the United States' maritime borders, and this move has a message." Continued:

Vatican to Finance Renovation of Nativity Church
BETHLEHEM, February 20, 2014 (WAFA - PLO news agency) – Palestine and the Pontifical Mission in Jerusalem Thursday signed a $500,000 agreement for the restoration of the Church of Nativity in Bethlehem.
Ziad Bandak, who heads the presidential committee overseeing the church renovation, signed the agreement with Sami Yousef, the regional director of the Pontifical Mission.
“The agreement is signed to secure another financial contribution for the Church of the Nativity Restoration Fund,” said Bandak. “We have been offered pledges to receive more financial contributions in order to carry the restoration process that approximately requires $20 million.”
Bandak noted that his committee has so far secured approximately $6 million for the restoration, adding that President Mahmoud Abbas is personally following up on the restoration process.
The Palestinian Authority offered $1 million in 2009 and about $900,000 donation was made by the Palestinian private sector.
“The support we are offering comes as part of the efforts exerted for reinforcing the presence of the Christians, who form a part and parcel of the Palestinian people, and safeguarding the religious sites, in this case the Church of the Nativity, one of the most significant churches worldwide,” said Yousef.

Amman, February 23 (Petra) -- His Majesty King Abdullah II, on Sunday, said whenever there is a serious effort towards resolving the Palestinian issue, a talk about the so-called "alternative homeland" is revived and stressed that "Jordan is Jordan and Palestine is Palestine and nothing but that, not the in the past or the future."
In a meeting with the Prime Minister, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the Lower House, the President of the Judicial Council, the President of the Constitutional Court, and members of the permanent offices of both chambers of the parliament, the King said he wanted to discuss this issue before his recent visit to the United States, but chose not to "so no one would say that after my visit to America, things have changed and something new happened."
Commenting on the so-called "alternative homeland", the King said: "We know how this issue has been surfacing since 15 years, or even more, where things start in the spring by the same group, who tense the Jordanian society, and by the summer, people feel scared; a thing that makes me reassure them by a speech or a press interview, but this year, unfortunately, the talk about the so-called alternative homeland stated early."
What this group has been doing is "sedition", His Majesty said, adding:" There are more important issues to focus on, especially with regards to political and economic reform. What we should do is to work as a team until we work out our internal issues." "We know this group and if this issue is repeated next year, we will declare who they are by name," King Abdullah added, calling on all citizens to respond to those who promote the so-called alternative homeland. Continued:

Feb 26, 2014 12:37PM GMT
Iran is predicted to attract USD 100 billion in investment in its energy sector over the next four years after its new model of oil contracts takes effect, a top official says.
Mehdi Hosseini, who advises Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh on oil contracts, made the announcement on Wednesday; three days after Iran unveiled the draft for its new oil contract terms.
He said that Iran Petroleum Contract (IPC) has removed all problems which have existed in the framework of oil contracts over the past 20 years.
“Iran enjoys lots of attractions for investment in the oil sector, and therefore with the resolution of the contracts’ problem, the grounds will be prepared for the renewed presence of big oil companies in the country,” said Hosseini.
Iran’s Oil Ministry on Sunday unveiled the draft model of its new oil contracts aimed at drawing more foreign companies to develop Iranian hydrocarbon reservoirs.
The IPC is replacing “buy-back” contracts which are no longer attractive to foreign companies.

By JOSEF FEDERMAN From Associated Press March 02, 2014 1:09 PM EST
JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel's prime minister headed to Washington on Sunday for a high-stakes meeting with President Barack Obama about U.S.-led Mideast peace efforts, vowing to maintain a tough line in the face of heavy international pressure to begin making concessions to the Palestinians.
Benjamin Netanyahu's defiant tone set the stage for what could be a difficult meeting Monday with Obama. But with the clock ticking toward an April target date for a preliminary agreement, the Israeli leader could soon be forced to begin laying out a clearer vision for a future peace deal with the Palestinians.
Shortly before takeoff, Netanyahu vowed to "stand steadfast" on Israeli interests.
"In recent years, the state of Israel has been under various pressures," he said. "We have rejected them in the face of the unprecedented storm and unrest in the region and are maintaining stability and security. This is what has been and what will be."
After two decades of intermittent negotiations, including five years of deadlock following Netanyahu's return to power in 2009, the United States relaunched peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians last July. The sides agreed to a nine-month target for forging a final peace deal.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has traveled to the region more than 10 times for meetings with Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. He has also talked to them on the phone repeatedly. But with no signs of breakthrough, Kerry has been forced to scale back his objectives.
The initial goal of a final deal by April was later replaced by more modest U.S. aspirations of brokering the contours of an agreement. In recent weeks, there were expectations that Kerry would present his own ideas for such a framework, with Abbas and Netanyahu agreeing to continue talks for up to a year on that basis. Continued:

Tuesday, 04 Mar 2014 06:36 AM - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will rally thousands of his country’s most passionate U.S. advocates today after President Barack Obama coaxed him at the White House to compromise with the Palestinians. Netanyahu addresses the annual Washington conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee as a deadline looms on U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s nine-month Middle East peace campaign. Kerry is pressing Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Netanyahu to accept by April 29 a structure that would guide further negotiations.
At yesterday’s meeting in the Oval Office, Netanyahu, 64, told Obama he will “stand strong against criticism, against pressure, stand strong to secure the future of the one and only Jewish state.”
Obama, 52, who visited Netanyahu and Abbas on a Middle East tour a year ago, is inserting himself more directly into the peace talks as Kerry hits resistance from both sides. Abbas has been invited for his own White House meeting March 17. A week later, Obama is scheduled to visit Saudi Arabia, which has leverage over the Palestinians.
“It’s my belief that ultimately it is still possible to create two states, a Jewish state of Israel and a state of Palestine in which people are living side by side in peace and security,” Obama said. “But it’s difficult and it requires compromise on all sides.”
Netanyahu’s Response: Netanyahu responded that “Israel has been doing its part and I regret to say that the Palestinians have not.” Kerry, who attended the White House meeting, later spoke at the AIPAC conference, where he pledged U.S. military expertise and technology to protect Israel against any threats. Continued:

The Cross of Bethlehem - Much of this article would make no sense unless understanding how Ultra-Orthodox Jews define Judaism. None of them recognizes former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon as a Jew. This explains a lot the controversy he still causes in Israel in what probably are the last days of his life.
"Grave Doubts Regarding the Jewishness of the Prime Minister Sharon"
The State of Israel uses the Law of Return in order to define Jews. It adopted a unsatisfactory definition* compared to the one used by Ultra-Orthodox Jews. The latter recognize as Jew only someone born to a Jewish mother or that converted according to the Halakha, the Jewish religious law.+
Ariel Sharon's parents were Shmuel Scheinerman (1896–1956) of Brest-Litovsk and Vera Scheinerman (1900–1988) from Mogilev, both locations are nowadays in Belarus; yet, they met in Georgia after they fled WWI.
His father was Jewish. One of the reasons for the maiden surname of his mother not being in the public domain is that she was not Jewish, she was a Subbotnik. Most followers of this Russian Christian sect practice circumcision, do not recognize the New Testament, and observe Sabbath on Saturday. Their name is derived from the Russian name for Saturday.

Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly—Psalms 1:1
The Cross of Bethlehem - The rapid developments that led to the peace agreement with Egypt and the Oslo Agreement that created the Palestinian Authority were surprises which were looked with skepticism. There is a good reason for the secrecy; early publication can damage sensitive negotiations. "Hey! Why did you publish that I will give Sinai back? Settlers are killing me. Now I give nothing!"
Uri Orbakh (also transliterated Orbach)
The Oslo Accords
In recent months, US Secretary of State Kerry is carrying an intensive effort to reach a permanent peace agreement between Israel and Palestine. Also now, there is a lot of skepticism. Also now, an agreement looks impossible. Is something serious being prepared?
Until yesterday, it looked that Netanyahu was playing a delay game. "Let’s keep talking until Israel splits the West Bank with settlements and Palestine becomes a non-viable State," was the easiest explanation to Israel’s odd moves in recent years.
On February 9, two government ministers exchanged odd words on the issue while speaking publicly on an amendment to the State Education Law. Assuming it was a decoy, I stored the news item. I didn’t realize that Palestine will make an unrelated but supporting statement on the following day. Both events hinted at a peace agreement between Israel and Palestine. Is this a bluff?
In for a surprise
Tzipi Livni
The Oslo Accords
On Sunday, the Ministers' Legislation Committee* met to decide on an amendment to State Education Law requiring focus on Israel as Jewish state; the proposed line was : "Educating for the value of the State of Israel as the national state of the Jewish people." The amendment was approved, though not without a fierce discussion. Two ministers, Justice Livni and Pensioners Affairs Orbakh exchanged fascinating words:
Orbach: "For us, it is clear that Israel is the Jewish national state, which the Palestinians will never accept."
Livni: "Wait, you're in for a surprise. What if they would be willing to acknowledge us as the national state for the Jews, would you be willing to divide the land then?"
Orbakh: "Even without recognition I would be willing to do that." Continued:

DEBKAfile Exclusive Report February 11, 2014, 9:23 AM (IST) Binyamin Netanyahu and Ambassador Ron Dermer Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has informed the White House in Washington and US Secretary of State John Kerry of his acceptance in principle of the US framework document - subject to the reservations he has raised with US Special Envoy Martin Indyk, debkafile’s exclusive Washington sources report.
This step was followed by news that the prime minister would call on President Barack Obama in the first week of March during his next visit to Washington.
It was also the background to Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer’s defense of the US Secretary in an interview published in TIME Magazine Tuesday, Feb. 11.
Kerry’s comment about boycott and international isolation hanging over Israel if his peace mission failed was denounced in Jerusalem as attempted intimidation. However, Dermer let him off the hook by saying: “I think he was making a descriptive statement. I don’t think he was doing it in order to pressure Israel.”
By overstating the ambassador’s role as “Bibi’s brain,” TIME was hinting that Dermer’s comment represented the prime minister’s current thinking on the incident.

Leaked: Official declaration of Palestinian state
Published: 6 hours ago Aaron Klein WND - U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry
TEL AVIV – The Palestinian Authority received a pledge from the U.S. that by the end of 2014, the Obama administration will issue an official written declaration presenting general highlights of a future Palestinian state, a senior Palestinian negotiator told WND.
The negotiator further said the goal is to have the general framework for a deal ironed out by April.
The current framework for an Israeli-Palestinian agreement being brokered by Secretary of State John Kerry calls for the phased implementation of more Palestinian sovereignty within three to five years, the negotiator said.
As part of the written declaration, the U.S. is set to officially recognize Palestinian rights in eastern sections of Jerusalem, without defining the exact territories that would be eventually handed to the PA.
The U.S. will declare on paper that the Jordan Valley territory is “occupied” by Israel and that Palestinians have rights there, the negotiator said. Kerry is currently discussing a proposal in which Israel would lease some of the Jordan Valley from the PA so some Israeli communities in the area can stay, said the negotiator.
The written framework will also declare the West Bank “occupied,” according to the negotiator. Continued:

Several days ago, Secretary of State John Kerry issued a not-so-subtle indirect threat when he said that Israel could face an international boycott if its leaders refuse to give up part of the Holy Land in exchange for peace with the Palestinians.
Yuval Steinitz, Israel’s minister of strategic affairs, answered Kerry’s statement in no uncertain terms: “Israel cannot be expected to negotiate with a gun to its head.”
The Obama/Kerry tactics for brokering peace in the Middle East are misguided, inept, and downright dangerous. Please see my important update below on the United States’ increasingly adversarial posture toward Israel – Mat.
President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry both declare themselves to be friends of Israel. But as Israeli leaders point out, their actions often tell a different story. According to the Washington Post, Secretary Kerry warned that Israel’s refusal to give up land for peace and the ultimate failure of peace talks would…
“…incite Israel’s critics, who are pushing for boycotts against Israeli products and institutions in a campaign to isolate and pressure the country to end its occupation of the West Bank…
Today’s status quo absolutely, to a certainty, I promise you 100 percent, cannot be maintained. It’s not sustainable. It’s illusionary. There’s a momentary prosperity, there’s a momentary peace.”
“Israeli economic minister Naftali Bennett, the third-most-powerful figure in the coalition government, attacked Kerry for his linkage of peace and sanctions. ‘We expect our friends around the world to stand beside us, against anti-Semitic boycott efforts targeting Israel, and not to be their trumpet.’
The parliamentarian Tzipi Hotovely said, ‘Kerry’s unprecedented threats of a boycott are an attempt to terrorize Israel.’ Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that ‘attempts to impose a boycott on the State of Israel are immoral and unjust’ and would not succeed. Netanyahu warned that the boycott threats ‘cause the Palestinians to adhere to their intransigent positions and thus push peace further away.’”
John Kerry’s warning of “boycotts” demonstrates yet again how the Obama administration’s misguided Middle East policies are having an anti-Semitic ripple effect in the world community. Such ill-advised tactics give the impression that the U.S. no longer “has Israel’s back.”

Hong Kong man becomes 7th banker to die under mysterious circumstances
Paul Joseph Watson - - February 18, 2014
Yet another banker has committed suicide, with a JP Morgan forex trader leaping to his death from the top of the firm’s Chater House headquarters in Hong Kong.
Image: Man pictured before his suicide (SCMP). Over the past few weeks at least seven bankers have died under mysterious circumstances, including another JP Morgan senior manager who jumped off the top of a skyscraper in London last month. Speculation is rife that the series of deaths are connected to some kind of looming financial crisis or a huge legal case targeting bankers for malfeasance, although no definite link has been established.
Eyewitnesses said that the man, who was in his 30's, accessed the roof of the 30 story office tower and jumped, with police on the scene failing to talk him out of committing suicide. Chater House is JP Morgan’s main regional Asian office.
“According to several JP Morgan employees, the man was a forex trader with the company,” reports the South China Morning Post, adding that his name was Li Junjie. The bank itself refused to confirm that the man was an employee.
Junjie becomes the 7th banker to suddenly die in recent weeks. Questions as to whether the deaths are merely a coincidence or are linked to some as yet unknown factor continue to swirl.
- On January 26, former Deutsche Bank executive Broeksmit was found dead at his South Kensington home after police responded to reports of a man found hanging at a house. According to reports, Broeksmit had “close ties to co-chief executive Anshu Jain.”
- Gabriel Magee, a 39-year-old senior manager at JP Morgan’s European headquarters, jumped 500ft from the top of the bank’s headquarters in central London on January 27, landing on an adjacent 9 story roof.
- Mike Dueker, the chief economist at Russell Investments, fell down a 50 foot embankment in what police are describing as a suicide. He was reported missing on January 29 by friends, who said he had been “having problems at work.”
- Richard Talley, 57, founder of American Title Services in Centennial, Colorado, was also found dead earlier this month after apparentlyshooting himself with a nail gun.
- 37-year-old JP Morgan executive director Ryan Henry Crane died last week.
- Tim Dickenson, a U.K.-based communications director at Swiss Re AG, also died last month, although the circumstances surrounding his death are still unknown.

Bible hero 'speaks out' after 4,000-year silence
Drew Zahn 2.18.2014 - WND - Russell Crowe leads an all-star cast in the upcoming, big-budget film, "Noah."
Millions of Americans tuned in to watch Bill Nye “The Science Guy” and Creation Museum Founder Ken Ham debate creationism vs. evolution as a viable explanation for the origins of mankind. But on March 28 a new voice will speak out on the subject after being silent for more than 4,000 years: Noah, the Ark builder.
Thanks to some Hollywood special effects and the acting of Academy Award-winner Russell Crowe, “Noah” will be giving movie audiences a stirring lecture on the subject of what came first, the chicken or the dinosaur egg.
Only instead of backing Nye’s theory of random evolution or Ham’s insistence on God’s six-day creation, director Darren Aronofsky’s “Noah” is going to push for one of the compromise positions that have sprung up as many people have attempted to reconcile the biblical account with Charles Darwin’s theories on the origin of the world’s species.
A copy of the film’s original screenplay obtained by WND reveals a scene in the film where “Noah” explains to his family how all of creation came to pass. Continued:

'UN RINGS IN 'THE YEAR OF PALESTINE' : PASSING SIX RESOLUTIONS CONDEMNING ISRAEL: Jerusalem Post, Reuters - Friday marks one-year anniversary of the vote to upgrade the Palestinian Mission to the UN’s status to “non-member observer state.”
The UN General Assembly passed six more resolutions concerning Israel recently. These include: calling for Israel to return the Golan Heights to Syria. Of the six resolutions one said Israel should cease imposing its jurisdiction on Jerusalem and another one, labeled 68/L.12, declared 2014 the “International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.”
This resolution calls on the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People to “organize activities to be held during the year.” Of the other three resolutions, one praised the Secretariat’s Division of Palestinian Rights for its role in “raising international awareness of the question of Palestine;” the second called for a peaceful settlement to the conflict and said that Israel, as “the Occupying Power,” must “comply strictly with its obligations under international law,” and the third advocated for the “dissemination of information on all the activities of the United Nations system relating to the question of Palestine and the peace process.”
UN Watch president Hillel Neuer said, “We’re concerned about a new year that will bring escalated politicization of influential UN agencies worldwide, doing nothing to help Palestinians or Israelis on the ground, while inflicting yet further damage to the world body’s effectiveness and credibility.The UN’s drumbeat of excessive, disproportionate and one-sided condemnations of Israel causes polarization, threatens to push the parties further apart and is counterproductive to the already fragile peace process.” Source: Hollis Caravetta E-mail:

On February 2014, the war between Russia and Europe over the control of Ukraine reached a boiling point. The pro-Russian president escaped and now there is turmoil. On February 28, Russian forces appeared in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, a 1954 gift from Russia to Ukraine, in the days when both were united under the USSR.[...}
It was an attempt to avoid drawing unnecessary attention. What is happening to Israeli and Jewish organizations in Ukraine? Are they pro-Russia or pro-Europe?
"Have you read the latest on Iran? Don't ask about Ukraine! The BBC had said everything that was needed to be said" was the attitude.
In other words, "We are involved, do not spoil the party."
In the shifting geopolitics of this decade, Israel found itself struggling against sanctions imposed by the European Union on products from the West Bank.*
Europe is the main market of Israeli exports. The annexation of Ukraine by the EU would mean a further weakening of the Israeli position.
Not for the first time, Israel and Russia found themselves on the same side of a conflict. One of the oddest signs was the emphasis that was given to the claim that the forces in the Crimea did not belong to the Russian Army but were mercenaries of unclear allegiances.
Did they mean that they were like the Syrian Free Army composed by Western et al. paid mercenaries? This was not explained, but it looks like a clear attempt to buy time for Russian authorities. "I can't comment now, I must check whom these mercenaries are being paid by." Whole article:

Hundreds of thousands of ultra-Orthodox Jews rally in a massive show of force against plans to force them to serve in the Israeli military, blocking roads and paralyzing the city of Jerusalem, Sunday, March 2, 2014. The widespread opposition to the compulsory draft poses a challenge to the country, which is grappling with a cultural war over the place of the ultra-Orthodox in Israeli society. With secular Jews required to serve, the issue is one of the most sensitive flashpoints between Israel's secular majority and its devout minority. (AP Photo - Oded Balilty)
JERUSALEM (AP) March 02, 2014 1:21 PM EST — Clad in traditional black suits and hats, hundreds of thousands of ultra-Orthodox Jews have rallied in Jerusalem, protesting a bill that would see members of the community drafted into Israel's armed forces.
Police say Sunday's protest saw some 300,000 ultra-Orthodox Jews march through the streets. Some carried the Torah as loudspeakers blared prayers. Women and children also took part, with a major thoroughfare in Jerusalem closed so ultra-Orthodox women could gather in accordance with the community's strict separation of the sexes.
Since Israel's founding in 1948, the ultra-Orthodox, who make up about 8 percent of Israel's 8 million citizens, largely have been allowed to avoid military service, compulsory for most Jewish men, to pursue their religious studies. The draft bill would require the army to draft an increasing number of ultra-Orthodox Jews each year, with the goal of enlisting 5,200 ultra-Orthodox soldiers — roughly 60 percent of those of draft age — by mid-2017.
Here's a gallery of Associated Press images showing Sunday's protest by ultra-Orthodox Jews in Jerusalem. Story:

Arutz Sheva speaks with MK Rina Frenkel on the status of Ukrainian Jewry and her push to bring them to Israel en masse. By Tova Dvorin - First Publish: 3/3/2014, 10:09 PM
Arutz Sheva spoke to MK Rina Frenkel (Yesh Atid) Monday about the ongoing crisis in Ukraine and the devastating effect the unrest has had on the Jewish community. Frenkel made Aliyah from the embattled country in 1990 and has been advocating on the Ukrainian Jewish community's behalf for the Israeli government to intervene in the crisis.
"We are aware of a terrible situation unfolding there," Frenkel noted. She receives updates on the crisis from a friend of her son's; the contact has described attacks and accusations being leveled at Jews on a regular basis. Among other things, Frankel has been notified that a grenade has been lobbed into a synagogue, a hareidi man assaulted on his way home from synagogue on Shabbat, and anti-Semitic graffiti has cropped up in several places.
"[Ukrainian] Jews are afraid," Frenkel summarized. "The situation does not allow them to move freely."
Frenkel has turned to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu more than once over the past several weeks, pleading for the Israeli government to bring the community in on a mass Aliyah mission.
On Monday, the MK noted that the beginning of such a plan is being formed, and that the planning process is to include the inter-Ministerial Office of the Prime Minister, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Absorption to allow shorten the bureaucratic process for Ukrainian Aliyah.
"We neet to extend a hand and speed the process for anyone who wants to make Aliyah from Ukraine," Frenkel stated. The MK stressed that she does not intend to persuade the community to make Aliyah, per se, but rather to merely ease the process for those who already wish to do so.
Recent reports indicated that extremists have been targeting the Jewish community in Ukraine, and that the extremists include a member of the opposition. A synagogue was firebombed last week by unknown assailants in the embattled country; at least one synagogue in Crimea has also been defaced.

PM Netanyahu's speech at the AIPAC Policy Conference 04/03/2014
I bring you greetings from Jerusalem the eternal, undivided capital of Israel and the Jewish people
I want to thank all of you for working so tirelessly to strengthen the alliance between Israel and America.
American - American support for Israel and for that alliance is at an all-time high. And I can tell you that there is no country on earth that is more pro-American than Israel
So I want to thank the leaders of AIPAC, the officers of AIPAC, the 14,000 delegates of AIPAC the members of Congress, the members of the Israeli government -- Tzipi Livni, Limor Livnat, Yuval Steinitz, Deputy Minister Elkin, members of the Knesset -- and our two able ambassadors, the ambassador of Israel to the United States, Ron Dermer and the ambassador of the United States to Israel, Dan Shapiro, and our U.N. ambassador, Ron Prosor. Everyone, I want to thank you all for safeguarding and nurturing the most precious alliance in the world, the alliance between Israel and the United States of America.
My friends, I've -- I've come here to draw a clear line.
You know that I like to draw lines -- (laughter) -- especially red ones. But the line I want to draw today is the line between life and death, between right and wrong, between the blessings of a brilliant future and the curses of a dark past. Continued:

Sunday, March 2, 2014 - Palestinian sources say framework agreement to be signed in Washington Netanyahu in Washington to meet President Obama Kifah Ziboun Asharq Al-Awsat Sunday, 2 Mar, 2014 Kifah Ziboun Asharq Al-Awsat Sunday, 2 Mar, 2014
Ramallah and Cairo, Asharq Al-Awsat—The Palestinian–Israeli peace process is expected to enter a critical phase this week, with President Obama expected to attempt to persuade the two parties to reach an agreement on an interim framework for talks drawn up by the US.
Obama will meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday and is scheduled to meet Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on March 17.
Netanyahu left for Washington on Saturday for the meeting with Obama, who is trying to persuade both leaders to sign a framework agreement which is being formulated by US Secretary of State John Kerry in a bid to launch talks for a final settlement, using the framework agreement as a reference for contested issues.
Palestinian sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Asharq Al-Awsat: “This time Obama will intervene strongly and directly and will pressure Netanyahu and Abbas to accept the framework agreement.”
The sources added that the agreement is expected to include a clause on a capital of a Palestinian state in East Jerusalem, in return for Palestinian concessions in other issues related to borders and refugees.
The issues of borders, refugees, settlements and water resources are expected to be included in appendices to the agreement which will be discussed by joint committees. The issue of the Jewish identity of Israel, which Netanyahu’s government insists must be recognized, is categorically rejected by the Palestinians, according to the sources.
The sources added: “If Obama succeeded in persuading Netanyahu and Abbas to make concessions on the framework agreement, he would announce a date to sign the agreement in Washington, in his presence.”
Israeli sources revealed that Obama will ask Netanyahu and Abbas about their future plans in case of the failure of the negotiations, and will give them the option to cooperate with the American plan, or face isolation and live with the difficult reality which awaits them if the US abandoned the peace process.
Netanyahu continues to insist on Palestinian recognition of the Jewish identity of the state of Israel, and the presence of Israeli troops in the Jordan Valley, as well as rejecting the division of Jerusalem. Netanyahu also wants to adjust West Bank borders to integrate large Israeli settlements into Israeli territory, and rejects the return of refugees.
Palestinians insist on the sharing Jerusalem and refuse to recognize Israel as a Jewish state—which they see as precluding any return of Palestinian refugees to what is now Israeli territory—and also insist on the removal of all Israeli forces from the Jordan Valley.
It is likely that Obama’s efforts will be focused on Jerusalem and a declaration of the Jewish identity of Israel, in order to find a compromise.
Senior Palestinian sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Asharq Al-Awsat that the way to resolve the crisis would be to announce that Jerusalem was the capital of both states, with an indication to Israel’s right to acquire international recognition as a Jewish state, which would implicitly also mean the recognition of the state of Palestine.

Egypt Independent Tue, 04/03/2014 - 15:58 Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm
Amr Moussa, chief of the 50-member constitutional panel and former Chief of Arab League, has called that Eastern Jerusalem become an international city with no supervision from any country or that it become capital of the autonomous Palestinian state.
Moussa added that the Arab and international stance regarding Jerusalem is undivided and resilient. The occupied Jerusalem is an Arab (Islamic-Christian) city with its Aqsa mosque, church, streets, buildings and residents.
In a statement on Tuesday, Moussa added that the Jordanian Kingdom is authorized to take care of holy sites and that the Israeli maneuvers have become a new challenge to international legitimacy.
Israel always claims Jerusalem to be its eternal capital, while the Palestinian Authority has sought to establish the country of Palestine with its capital of Eastern Jerusalem.

The U.S. Treasury Department on Monday[3 Feb.] confirmed that it has allowed the transfer of $550 million in Iran’s frozen oil revenues to the country under an interim nuclear deal.
A U.S. Treasury spokeswoman said the transfer began Jan. 31 and would be complete early this week but declined to specify which foreign banks were involved.
No U.S. banks were involved in the transactions, but the United States, which has extensive sanctions on Iran tied to its disputed nuclear program, helped facilitate the transfer of funds, the spokeswoman said.
The money is the first installment of $4.2 billion in blocked oil funds that were to be made available to Iran under the nuclear deal signed in November. Iran received limited sanctions relief in exchange for agreeing to curb its nuclear activities.

March 03, 2014, 17:52 - Washington: US President Barack Obama will on Monday try to cajole Benjamin Netanyahu to accept a US framework for final peace talks with the Palestinians, but the Israeli leader is vowing to resist all "pressures”.
Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu will also discuss Iranian nuclear diplomacy, but likely struggle to reconcile differing views after Israel blasted an interim pact with Tehran reached last year as a bad deal.
Unusually, Netanyahu will not be the centre of attention in Washington, where his visits to the White House have sometimes featured public disagreements with Obama and testy photo ops.
Obama is now consumed by Russia's incursion into Ukraine, which is developing into the biggest transatlantic crisis since the end of the Cold War.
In their Oval Office talks today, the US leader will ask Netanyahu to agree to a framework for a conclusive round of peace talks with the Palestinians pieced together by Secretary of State John Kerry.
Washington had previously set an April 29 deadline for a final status agreement between Israel and the Palestinians, but the framework is designed as an attempt to extend the diplomacy.
It will be Obama's most significant entry into peacemaking after his first term effort ended when Netanyahu refused to extend a freeze in settlement construction which Palestinians said was a condition for resuming direct talks.
"There's a sense that the negotiations have reached a point where only presidential engagement, direct presidential engagement, can move them forward," said Haim Malka, of the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
The framework, yet to be made public, addresses the most nettlesome issues surrounding the Palestinian drive for statehood, including borders, security and the future status of Jerusalem.
Obama will make a similar plea for Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas to accept the document when he visits the White House in two weeks time.
The President said in an interview with Bloomberg View columnist Jeffrey Goldberg that he would tell Netanyahu that time was running out for Israel to follow the peace track.
"If not now, when? And if not you, Mr Prime Minister, then who?" Obama said, paraphrasing his appeal to Netanyahu.
If Netanyahu "does not believe that a peace deal with the Palestinians is the right thing to do for Israel, then he needs to articulate an alternative approach," Obama said in the interview, according to a transcript sent by the White House.

Jerusalem Watchman - Posted by Stan in Battle for the land, Israel and the Gentiles
[...] Over the years he has been in office, my observations of Prime Minister Netanyahu have led me to assess him as the best man for the job and, more importantly, that he was appointed to this position “for such a time as this.”
This does not at all mean that I expect him to be able, in and of himself, to find a way through the serpent’s looped coils,
Not to forget, either, the findings of a national poll published as Netanyahu was packing his suitcase for this trip, according to which 73 percent of Israelis would support the signing of an agreement with PLO chief Mahmoud Abbas. (The leftist press frequently crosses ethical lines to try influence the outcome on the political landscape here.)
But for the same reason that my faith in Israel’s future is not in this man, I do not fear the wily machinations of the officials who have been working around the clock to lay the snare into which they hope to have lured the Israeli. Nor are opinion polls causing me sleepless nights.
On top of that, does Ha’aretz journalist Chemi Shalev really think that people of faith are intimidated by the mocking way in which he sought to pre-empt an assessment of the kind I am making here?
God is fighting for Israel. And as the good Book says: He who keeps Israel neither slumbers nor sleeps.
In His world, and thus in mine, coincidences don’t exist – especially when it comes to the fate of the Jewish people and their land.
Whether through political upheavals and global threats of war, such as the one being witnessed in the Ukraine, by weather systems, like those today smothering Washington DC, or by vainglorious distractions like Sunday night’s Oscar Awards, or in any one of numerous other ways – there is no doubt Who sits on the throne.
And there is no doubting His power.
Or do we really think that He is going to let the Obama administration get away with rolling back the miraculous restoration of the Jews to their land that He has been overseeing now for more than 150 years?
Millennia ago, when the Israelites were standing shaking in fear on the shores of the Red Sea as Pharaoh his chariots and his horsemen raced furiously towards them, a strong voice – filled with unreasonable and unshakeable faith – called reassuringly to them:
“Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever.” (Exodus 14:13)
In this way we who believe in the God of Israel can encourage His people today.
“Don’t fear or be anxious, Israel. Just stand and watch Him at work. He is your God, mighty to save.” Whole article: