WASHINGTON, Dec 12 (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson offered on Tuesday to begin direct talks with North Korea without pre-conditions, backing away from U.S. demands that Pyongyang must first accept that any negotiations would have to be about giving up its nuclear arsenal.
“Let’s just meet,” Tillerson said in a speech to Washington’s Atlantic Council think tank, presenting a new diplomatic overture amid heightened tensions over North Korea’s nuclear and missile advances and harsh rhetoric between the two sides.
Tensions have flared anew since North Korea said it had successfully tested a new intercontinental ballistic missile last month in what it called a “breakthrough” that put the U.S. mainland within range.
A recent surge in Israeli strikes on targets in Syria appears to suggest a new Israeli urgency to block Iran’s spread into the war-torn country. So far, neither Iran nor its terror proxies have retaliated.
Yet the lack of retaliation is not something that can be counted on forever and Israel’s deterrence is not a cast iron concept that will always come through, warned a former senior Israeli defense official.
“I do not know if [Iran and its proxies] are deterred or not,” Maj. Gen. (res.) Yaakov Amidror, former national security advisor to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, told JNS.
Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill didn’t mince words when addressing opponents of his state’s voter ID law, which requires voters show a government-approved photo ID at the polls.
“People are entitled to their own opinions. But they’re not entitled to their own facts,” Merrill told Business Insider in October. “Everybody in Alabama that wants a voter ID has one.”
Voting rights activists, who have long dismissed voter ID laws as discriminatory tactics that disenfranchise minority voters, disagree. They say the time it takes people to travel to the office where they need to pick up their IDs and the added cost for the underlying documents required to get the ID in the first place are just too burdensome for many voters.
Iranian Revolutionary Guards commander Qassem Soleimani says his nation is ready to support Palestinian forces in the Gaza Strip, days after the U.S. recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Soleimani, commander of the Al Quds force, made the offer in a phone call late Monday with leaders of groups in Gaza, according to the Revolutionary Guard Corps’ website, Sepah News, which didn’t give details of the assistance proffered. Other forces in the region are ready to defend the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem, Soleimani also told the Gaza faction leaders, without identifying them. The mosque is Islam’s third-holiest shrine and a frequent flashpoint for tensions between Israel and the Palestinians.
North Korea appears to be pressing ahead with its nuclear programme. Satellite images recently detected hectic activity at the North Korean nuclear test site, Punggye-ri.
Experts say that after North Korea’s last nuclear test, minor tremors were detected near Mt Mantap, located close to the nuclear site. However, Pyongyang is now engaged in additional tunnel work at the site.
Last week the entire world was stunned by the announcement that the President of the United States officially kept his campaign promise and recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
But when I looked at the Hebrew calendar I realized something far more profound than a political statement. Rabbinic scholars long ago taught us that with the end of prophecy, after the close of the Bible, God has another way in which to communicate with mankind. It is by way of the secret of time – the linkage of events occurring on exactly the same date that makes clear we are meant to understand divine messages. Coincidence, it’s been famously said, is God’s way of choosing to remain anonymous. In other words, it’s God’s way of testing our ability to concede the Almighty’s role in directing the remarkable twists and turns of history.
This week Jews and Christian Zionists are rejoicing that President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of the state of Israel, and “the capital the Jewish people established in ancient times.” He made his remarks from a room set with a Christmas backdrop, the day before the White House Hanukkah party.
Here are 10 biblical reasons Trump made the right decision to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem and recognize the city as Israel’s capital.
1) Jerusalem is mentioned more than 600 times in the Bible.
“For Zion’s sake I will not be silent and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not be still” (Isaiah 62:1).
Jerusalem is referred to by name 662 times in the Bible. There is not a single mention of Jerusalem in Islam’s holy text.
2) King David declared it 3,000 years ago.
“But I chose Jerusalem for My Name to be there, and I chose David to rule over My people Israel” (2 Chronicles 6:6).