TURMOIL IN THE MIDDLE EAST
Following the murder of 190 innocent victims in Spain, the world learned on March 22, 2004, that “Israel killed Hamas founder Ahmed Yassin in a helicopter missile strike outside a Gaza City mosque Monday, prompting threats of unprecedented revenge by Palestinian militants against Israel and the United States,” according to USA Today. The article continued: “Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon called Yassin the ‘mastermind of Palestinian terror’ and a ‘mass murderer who is among Israel’s greatest enemies.'” Reuters added: “Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom branded Yassin the ‘godfather of suicide bombers’ and urged the U.N. to call a special session to deplore terrorism.” The article also pointed out that “Israel… sees the United Nations as bastion of anti-Israel bias [and said] other countries were not qualified to judge the threat it faces.”
The Western and Arab world, as well as Russia, were quick, in general, to vehemently condemn Israel for the assassination. Only a few voices, including that of the United States and — to an extent — of Germany and Poland were heard, pointing out their concern about the seriousness of the situation in the Middle East, without outright condemning Israel.
Most Western and Arab countries and power blocs did, however, condemn Israel. Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on Monday canceled a visit by Egyptian legislators to Israel to protest the assassination of Yassin. As Reuters reported on March 25, 2004, “Even Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, which has close ties with Israel, joined in the outcry, saying in a newspaper interview on Thursday that the Jewish state had committed an act of ‘terrorism.'”
In a statement, the EU foreign ministers said “Hamas was guilty of ‘atrocities… which have resulted in the deaths of hundreds of Israelis’ and that Israel has the right to protect itself against terrorist attacks. Israel is not, however, entitled to carry out extra-judicial killings… Violence is no substitute for the political negotiations which are necessary for a just and lasting settlement.”
In individual statements, the European foreign ministers voiced additional remarks of condemnation. Most surprising was the outspoken criticism of British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, alleging that Israel had violated international law. One must ask how Israel’s assassination was any different from the U.S. and Great Britain-led invasion of Iraq with the declared goal to get rid of Saddam Hussein, even if that meant his death. At that time, Mr. Straw did not have the same concern as many of the European nations, which felt that international law was violated. Instead, Mr. Straw fully supported the war against Iraq. On the other hand, nations like France, Denmark or Norway have been consistently condemning both the war against Iraq and the assassination of Yassin.
Hamas announced initially that they would avenge themselves in an unprecedented way, charging the United States with prior knowledge of the assassination. The U.S. government vehemently denied any prior knowledge, pointing out at the same time that Hamas is a terrorist organization responsible for suicide bombers indiscriminately killing innocent women and children.
On Wednesday, Hamas “backed off its initial threats against the United States, saying… that it would focus on attacking Israel — and try to kill Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.” Reuters reported on Thursday that “Israeli troops arrested a 16-year-old would-be suicide bomber at a West Bank checkpoint after talking him into taking off his explosives vest at gunpoint… Hamas, sworn to wipe out Israel, wants the JEWISH STATE and the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip for a future Palestinian state RUN IN ACCORDANCE WITH ISLAMIC LAW.”
We must conclude that the road map to peace has become a dead end street. Of course, it should have been clear to any objective observer that it was never anything but a futile attempt to bring peace to the Middle East — an attempt destined to failure from the outset. Biblical prophecy reveals that it is not the United States or Great Britain, but a powerful United Europe, which will bring a temporary and fragile “peace” to the Middle East — but not necessarily with peaceful means. For more information, please read our free booklets, “Europe in Prophecy” and “The Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord.”
GERMANY NOT IMMUNE
Although Germany condemned the war against Iraq, and although German President Johannes Rau has been an ardent spokesman for civil rights and privileges of the Muslim community in Germany, Herr Rau was forced to cancel his trip to Djibouti on the Horn of Africa, after receiving threats that Islamic terrorists were planning to assassinate him, according to Associated Press of March 24. Bild Online added that the attack was apparently planned to be made via a car bomb. The German President stated that he was convinced by German governmental agencies that he was indeed targeted for an attack. Bild commented that Herr Rau barely escaped death. It is unclear whether the attack was planned by al-Qaeda.
EU VS. WORLDWIDE TERRORISM
As Associated Press reported, “the European Union threatened Monday to withdraw economic support for countries that fall short in the fight against terrorism.” The article continued: “The EU has already used economic leverage to try to bring nations back into line. With Iran, it has suspended free trade talks until Tehran comes clean on its nuclear weapons program, while an aid and trade deal with Syria hinges on Damascus agreeing to an anti-terrorism clause. The foreign ministers also approved measures to commit member states to help one another in case of a terrorist attack and backed the creation of an EU anti-terrorism coordinator to improve cooperation… [The plan] includes a pledge to mobilize ‘all the instruments at their disposal, including military resources,’ to prevent attacks or assist one another in the aftermath… France, for one, is against sharing sensitive military and political intelligence with all EU member states.”
WORLD LEADERS ATTEND MASS IN SPAIN
As Reuters reported on March 24, 2004, “political leaders and royalty from Europe and beyond joined the people of Spain in a Christian cathedral mass Wednesday to mourn the 190 victims of the suspected Islamist train bombers who struck Madrid this month.” The article listed as prominent guests in attendance: Spain’s King Juan Carlos; Queen Sofia of Spain; Secretary of State Colin Powell; British Prime Minister Tony Blair; German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder; French President Jacques Chirac; Prince Mulay of Morocco; as well as the current and the future leaders of Spain, Joe Maria Aznar and Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero.
The article raised this interesting concern: “Cardinal Antonio Rouco Varela, the archbishop of Madrid, celebrated the memorial mass… There had been some unease expressed by representatives of other religions at the choice of a full Roman Catholic mass to remember the dead — at least three of who[m] were Moroccan Muslims.”
A CLOSE CALL
As Der Spiegel Online reported on March 19, 2004, an asteroid of 30 kilometers in diameter flew by the earth within a distance of 43,000 kilometers. The magazine stated: “The distance between the earth and the moon is 380,000 kilometers. Never has an asteroid, which was discovered ahead of time, come so close to earth.” The magazine pointed out, too, that in case of a hit, “tremendous devastation would have been the consequence.”
MUST DOCTORS BE IN SUPPORT OF ABORTION?
An alarming, appalling and incredible article was published by WorldNetDaily on March 23, 2004, reporting that “a student in his senior year at a Canadian medical school will not be permitted to graduate because of his Christian, pro-life stand against abortion.” The article continued that the student “was given a failing grade in obstetrics and gynecology because he refused to perform abortions or to refer patients out for any abortive procedure.”
We must congratulate the student for standing up for his convictions, which are in accordance with the Biblical teaching. If you want to learn more about the fact that abortion is murder in God’s eyes, please read our free booklet, “Are You Already Born Again?”