Covenant Land Catastrophes 2013-2014

Though the midwest, south, and Atlantic seaboard have suffered extraordinarily severe winter weather, catastrophes that coincide with plans to divide God’s covenant land and punish Israel in various ways are not uniquely connected to the United States. Consider these news articles …

European boycotts begin to bite, catching Israel’s attention

For years, boycott efforts in Europe seemed to be only symbolic gestures. But several major efforts announced in the past year, including one by the EU, are raising alarm.

By Christa Case Bryant and Sara Miller Llana

Christian Science Moniter

February 16, 2014

Drive down the steep road from Jerusalem to the Dead Sea, and as the desert hills unfold toward the Jordan River the eye meets hundreds of rows of lush palms laden with succulent dates.

More than a third of the world’s Medjool dates are grown here in the Jordan Valley, a narrow strip of the West Bank where Israeli agriculture is flourishing. Nearly all Israeli grape exports, as well as abundant crops of peppers and herbs, also come from this arid region.

The European Union, Israel’s No. 1 trading partner, accounts for about a third of its total trade, and was long the favored destination for Jordan Valley produce. But these fruits and vegetables are grown on land that Israel has occupied since 1967. For a growing number of European consumers, that’s a problem. They say that buying such produce is supporting the illegal confiscation and control of land and water resources that should be in Palestinian hands….

On Feb. 9, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu convened a special meeting of government ministers to formulate a strategy against the growing economic boycott. One minister reportedly pushed for a $28 billion budget to counter the movement with aggressive media and legal campaigns.

It’s not so much that their pocketbook is starting to feel the pressure – last year’s drop in Jordan Valley exports represents a mere 0.01 percent of total Israeli exports for 2013. But there’s concern that rising opposition to Israeli policies signals increasing displeasure with the very idea of Israel. “Sanctions are also what we Israelis should fear most – disenchantment of the world with the very idea that Jews are entitled to have a state of their own,” says Yitzchak Mayer, who served as the Israeli ambassador to Belgium and Switzerland in the 1990s.


According to a 2013 BBC poll, public opinion of Israel is worsening. Favorability ratings dropped 8 percent in both Spain and Germany, to the single digits. Even in Britain, the first European country to formally support the establishment of a Jewish state, only 14 percent of citizens have a positive view of Israel today….


For years Europe tried to use incentives on Israel, eliminating trade tariffs and enhancing cooperation in other areas. But Israel’s 2008-09 war against Hamas-run Gaza sparked demonstrations in Europe and pushed EU lawmakers to adjust, wrote Claire Spencer, head of the Middle East and North Africa Program at the London-based think tank Chatham House, in an April 2009 report. Still, last year, Israel was the only non-EU country invited to join Horizon 2020.

Daniel Levy, director of the Middle East and North Africa Program at the European Council on Foreign Relations in London, says the flurry of activity of European firms is not a reaction to any specific Israeli action. Rather, it comes at a time when companies are more accountable to consumer and civil society groups, whether it’s human rights violations in Bangladeshi garment factories or logging in the Amazon.

“What you are seeing is this slow accumulation of a sense that there are legal and reputational risks for companies to engage in business activities which involve the settlements,” he says….

Sacha Stawski, who runs a media watchdog called Honestly Concerned in Frankfurt, says some Germans are increasingly moving in an “extremely critical, if not anti-Israel” direction.

Mr. Stawski says that he considers German Chancellor Angela Merkel – who is visiting the Jewish state on Feb. 24 – to be pro-Israel but says she’s surrounded by a new generation of politicians and voters who increasingly are trying to “rid themselves of their past.”

“There is this new generation that is saying, ‘We have nothing to do with [the Holocaust].’ They are not understanding the relationship between guilt and responsibility. The new generation is not guilty, but they still have a responsibility to make sure nothing of the sort ever happens again.”

Mr. Mayer, the former ambassador to Belgium and Switzerland, sees the rise of terrorism and intractable conflicts as one of the factors driving opposition to Israeli policies. The perception that the world has become ungovernable – bolstered by crises like Syria, where world leaders have failed to curb violence – is causing citizens and governments to act out of fear to reduce such instability.

“One of those ways is to believe that part of the global problem is … the unfinished problem between Palestinians and Israelis,” he says. “And therefore the pressure of the world to bring about a settlement between Israelis and Palestinians is increasing.”


Now look at what the weather is like in Britain …

Britain braces for more floods after violent storm


By Alice Ritchie
February 16, 2014
London (AFP) – Sodden communities along the River Thames braced for more floods on Sunday, as Britain counted the cost of a storm that claimed several lives and left tens of thousands of homes without power.

At least three people were killed in separate incidents in Ireland, Britain and the English Channel after violent winds and heavy rain swept in from the Atlantic on Friday.

Pulling down power lines and disrupting transport networks across the region, the storm brought fresh misery to flood-hit communities in Britain, parts of which are suffering their wettest start to the year for 250 years.


*   *   *

And let’s not forget that Israel itself is not exempt …

Israel storm of the century

Weather historians are still arguing whether this was the worst snowstorm to hit Israel in 21, 60, 93 or 140 years, but its results are hard to argue with.

From Thursday afternoon, 48 hours of rain, hail and snow — which in Jerusalem piled up as high as 70cm — paralysed transport around the country.

For three days, all roads to Jerusalem were closed and life in the city was at a standstill.

The northern town of Safed and smaller outlying villages were hit even harder. At the height of the storm, 60,000 homes in the area were without electricity and, four days later, thousands were still left in the dark and cold.

This being Israel, accusations were being hurled at the government and local authorities before the snow had melted. The police, which had closed the main Jerusalem-Tel Aviv motorway leaving thousands of motorists stranded, and the Israel Electric Corporation, which had not informed customers when they could expect the current to return, also came under fire.

White out: Jerusalem after the blizzardWhite out: Jerusalem after the blizzard

The government responded that no-one was killed in the worst-hit areas and that heavy IDF convoys had rescued all the stranded motorists and delivered supplies to cut off areas.

In fact, there were casualties. Two Bedouin men drowned in the south when their vehicle was swept away by an overflowing river, a baby in Lod died from smoke-inhalation when a heater set his bedroom on fire and a man was killed in Rishon LeZion when he fell off a roof he was mending.

At a jovial press briefing on Saturday night, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: “The efficient operations and extraordinary co-ordination of all the authorities saved many lives. In other countries, there would have been major loss of life.”

The leader of the opposition, Labour’s MK Yitzhak Herzog, was less impressed. He said: “It’s sad that while thousands of families are still cut off from electricity, the prime minister is focusing on PR.” He accused the government of not initiating the national emergency protocols.

On the streets of Jerusalem, differing views were on display. On Bethlehem Street on Monday, the snow was still piled on the pavements as residents sipped cappuccinos in the sun. “It was uncomfortable for some but it wasn’t an apocalypse and the kids played in the snow,” said Opher Mizrahi, a local shopkeeper. “They will be able to tell their grandchildren of the great storm of 2013.” Reuma Millstein was less interested in history: “When it takes three days for us to get electricity back and we can’t heat our home, the snow looks a lot less attractive.”


Let’s not forget, however, that it’s the United States’ Obama administration that is currently continuing to lead the charge to divide God’s covenant land. 

Still watching …

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