At Wednesday’s historic summit in Washington, US President George W. Bush continued to give shape to a de facto solution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, offering Prime Minister Ariel Sharon first-time written assurances on the critical issues of settlement blocs and the "right of return" in return for his disengagement plan.
The Bush-Sharon exchange of letters indeed reflects a major shift in US policy and deals a serious diplomatic blow to the surprised and outraged Palestinian leadership....
In return for a unilateral Israeli evacuation of the Gaza Strip and several isolated Jewish communities in northern Samaria, Bush assured Sharon that the US would work for a final status agreement on terms ostensibly more favorable to Israel.
First, Bush agreed that the roadmap to his vision of a two-state solution is the only path to take, meaning the Palestinians are locked into a plan that requires democratic reforms and an end to terror before any further progress.
Secondly, Israel will not be expected to uproot all settlements and fully return to the 1949 armistice lines, an implied US acceptance of Israel’s eventual retention of key settlement blocs in Judea/Samaria.
Finally, the US is expressly endorsing the return of Palestinian refugees from the 1948 war to a future Palestinian state, rather than to Israel, thereby spoiling the Palestinian dream of demographically destroying the Jewish state.
Yasser Arafat and other Palestinian officials are denouncing the Bush Administration’s trampling on Palestinian rights and are declaring the peace process "dead." But with British Prime Minister Tony Blair already on board and Washington pressing other world leaders to follow, the Palestinians will eventually have to wake up to the new reality or continue to fritter away more of their claims....
Over the decades, the Palestinian leadership elevated the right of return to a "sacred" right that no one can touch. Bush has told them in blunt terms they have been feeding their people a pipe dream.
The Palestinians have also been "unrealistic" about the settlements, says Bush. Indeed, they could have prevented these "facts on the ground" many years ago if they had just come to terms with Israel’s existence....
US President George W. Bush...greeted Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon at the White House on Wednesday with a sea change in formal US Middle East policy -- paving the way for Israel to unilaterally ‘disengage’ from the Palestinians....
Sharon...arrived in Washington seeking cast-iron American guarantees on future parameters of the prospective deal that would enable the establishment of a Palestinian State, and got them....
Endorsing Sharon's plan as "brave and courageous," Bush pledged US support for Israel's right to "defend itself against terror," which included a promise to back the controversial security barrier and ongoing counter-terrorism measures even in territories slated for evacuation. He also offered substantial sums of American aid to assist Israel in developing the under-populated Negev and Galilee regions- in effect smoothing the prospective settlement removals, that Sharon insisted would completed by the summer of 2005....
...Success will require the active efforts of many nations. Two days ago, I held important discussions with President Mubarak of Egypt. And I will soon meet with King Abdullah of Jordan. We're consulting closely with other key leaders in the region, in Europe, and with our Quartet partners -- the EU, Russia, and the United Nations....
As part of a final peace settlement, Israel must have secure and recognized borders which should emerge from negotiations between the parties, in accordance with U.N. Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338. In light of new realities on the ground, including already existing major Israeli population centers, it is unrealistic to expect that the outcome of final status negotiations will be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949....
Ariel Sharon scored a home run in Washington yesterday, and if that doesn't defang his critics in Israel, the Jewish state ain't what it used to be....
Never did an American President give them anything like George Bush delivered on the day after Passover.
Sharon, accused by his own settlers' movement of selling it and himself out, under the gun of leftists who want him indicted for bribery, condemned by the United Nations for assassinating the leader of Hamas, then comes to Washington and brings home the flanken.
Bush calls him "heroic, courageous, bold" for his move to get out of Gaza and remove a few settlements from the West Bank, and the President says that Palestinian refugees will have to fulfill their "right of return" in a Palestinian state, not in Israel....
What counted, big-time, was Bush's rejection of the eternal State Department canard that the settlements are illegal and the key "obstacles to peace" and that nothing but a virtual pullback by Israel to the pre-1967-war borders could bring peace and the establishment of a Palestinian state.
"In light of new realities," said Bush, "including already existing major Israeli population centers, it is unrealistic to expect that the outcome of final negotiations will be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949..."
Since Sharon, on the eve of embarking from Israel, announced that five major Israeli population centers (read settlements) would remain in Israel - well, do the math.... But the prime minister of Britain, Tony Blair, who was expected by the UN and the media to run hardball against Sharon's initiative, "welcomed" his pledge to withdraw from Gaza and some settlements in the West Bank.
So we must ask: Why did Sharon do what he did?
I think it's because he understood that the stagnation of the so-called road map to peace would lead to nothing more than pressure on Israel to give without getting from the Palestinians....
Keeping Gaza as Israeli "occupied territory" ran totally against this notion. Plus, a good two-thirds of Israeli public opinion wants out of Gaza. And they want it now.
Of course, so did most American Jews and the State Department and the White House. The State Department, the Israeli left and many Jewish Americans wanted more - they wanted Israel out of the West Bank altogether.
And here was the genius of Sharon. In the words of the late Jewish criminal Israel Shawarzberg, "He pulled their teeth, so now they can only gum him."...
Bush-Sharon understandings prompt urgent meeting of Quartet A top-level meeting of the international Quartet sponsoring the Middle East road map to peace is due to take place in Berlin on April 28, a senior European Union diplomat said on Friday....
Russia, which with the United States, the EU and the United Nations is a partner in the Quartet, earlier backed Palestinian Authority calls for an urgent meeting of the peace sponsors to iron out apparent differences of opinion with Washington....
He (Irish Foreign Minister Brian Cowen) said Bush's endorsement of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's "disengagement" plan had brought new movement in the peace process after months of inaction.
At a time of deep concern over instability in Iraq, a high-ranking UN official has sounded a note of encouragement about the country's advance toward self-rule. Lakhdar Brahimi, a top aide to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, told a news conference in Baghdad that he is confident a caretaker government can be formed to assume interim power by 1 July. UN Security Council members, in particular the United States, are placing increasing hope in Brahimi's ability to shape consensus among Iraqis on their political future.
Does this mean that the temple area will collapse? It sure seems that things are getting out of hand there now. First, the southern wall bulge had to be repaired. Now there is an adjacent bulge developing on the same wall before the first one is completely rebuilt. In addition, there are new cracks on the eastern wall, which is just around the corner from the southern wall, probably caused by the Feb. 11, 2004, Dead Sea Earthquake that shook all of Israel. The excavation and construction of several underground moslem mosques could be a big undermining factor too.
Rev. 11:1,2 says, "there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein. But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months."
Why only 42 months, half of the Tribulation? Moses and Elijah will prophesy during those 42 months. Then the False Prophet will sit in the temple "shewing himself that he is God" (II Thess. 2:4).
Evidently, Moses and Elijah won't bow down to his idol, so he has them killed. After 3,5 days, they are resurrected and ascend to Heaven. "And the SAME HOUR WAS THERE A GREAT EARTHQUAKE, and a tenth part of the city fell, and in the EARTHQUAKE were slain of men seven thousand" (11:13).
Will the temple area cave in when that earthquake hits Jerusalem?
The eastern wall of Jerusalem's Temple Mount is in danger of immediate collapse because of damage caused by the February 11 earthquake, a classified government report issued this week concludes.
The report, written by the Israel Antiquities Authority, has been distributed to senior ministers by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's military attache, Brig.-Gen. Yoav Galant, officials said Thursday....
n the late 1990s, the Wakf turned Solomon's Stables into the largest mosque in the country, that can accommodate 30,000 worshipers....
...At the corner of the southeastern Temple Mount retainer wall a new crack has appeared and seems to be getting larger by the day. Behind this crack is the area known as Solomon’s Stables....
...a close up of that crack in the eastern wall. The crack runs from the top left corner to the middle of the picture....
Israeli Antiquities Authority experts and a delegation from Jordan have been working for the last two years to fix a growing bulge in the southern wall of the Temple Mount compound, a job that has still not been completed. Recently, the Jordanian Ministry of Islamic Affairs and Holy Places announced that it also intends to fix an older bulge in the compound's eastern wall, Haaretz reported.
Hebrew University archaeologist Eilat Mazar, a member of the Committee for the Preservation of Antiquities on the Temple Mount, said it was the fifth time in two years that stones in the complex had begun to crumble, buckle or crack as a result of "unsupervised construction" by the Waqf.
"What concerns me most is the Temple Mount itself is in danger of collapsing... A major collapse at the site, which would cause a major disaster, is only a matter of time....
As a continuation to the information which we have already supplied about the destruction being caused by the Arabs on the Temple Mount, we can now inform you that, according to the security authorities who informed the government of Israel, the Arabs on the Temple Mount, together with the Islamic Movement in Israel, are now busy, not only with destroying the remains of the First and Second Temples, but also with the building a new mosque on the Temple Mount along the eastern wall. (2 other mosques were built on the southern side of the Temple Mount over the last 2 years.) According to these sources, the Waqf also have further plans to make changes on the Temple Mount such as removing the western gate and replacing it with an iron gate and adding roofs in many places. All these activities show very clearly that their plan is to make most of the Temple Mount into an area of one great mosque....
...Go right up to the Wall and feel the texture of the stones and take in the awesome size of the structure. The largest stone in the wall is 45 feet long, 15 feet deep, 15 feet high, and weighs more than one million pounds. The Wall is 65 feet (20 meters) high....
St. James Church, built in the mid-12th century, is named for the brother of Jesus, who was the first bishop of the Jerusalem church and for James the Apostle. It is renowned for its beauty. The domed ceiling is illuminated by gold and silver lamps. Jesus' brother James is said to be buried in the central nave and beyond the wooden doors inlaid with mother-of-peal and tortoise shell is a shrine where the head of St. James is buried.
Another bulge at the Eastern Wall, about 40m from the Southeastern corner. It seems like it is going to collapse in the near future.
The Southern wall renovation. The Jordanian team has managed to replace most of the stones at the original location of the bulge, but in the meantime it has extended further east (towards the camera point of view).
..."In February and March of 2001, an ancient arched structure built against the Eastern Wall of the Temple Mount enclosure was razed by bulldozers in order to further enlarge the emergency gate of the new mosque at the Stables of Solomon."
"In early May, Arafat ordered that the underground halls under the Temple Mount be unified into a single fortified space that would be both the largest mosque ever built on the Temple Mount and a springboard for the forthcoming Palestinian struggle for control of the Temple Mount. Given the haste and unsupervised nature of the ongoing excavation and construction work, there is great fear that the foundations of the two Mosques will be severely damaged to the point of collapse."...
I think this was the image of Christ standing behind his crucified body at the exact moment of resurrection!!!
A recording of "the first and the last"!!!! Agape
I think Jonah died and came back to life. In Jonah 2:6 he said, "I WENT DOWN TO THE BOTTOMS OF THE MOUNTAINS; THE EARTH WITH HER BARS WAS ABOUT ME FOR EVER: yet hast thou brought up my LIFE from corruption, O LORD my God." While he was dead, Jonah was in the earth, not in his body in the whale's belly. When he came back to life, he was in his body in the whale. He had to make the journey back into his body, as Jesus did.
The description of David in I Sam. 30:12 may be a type too. It says, "they gave him a piece of a cake of figs, and two clusters of raisins: and when he had eaten, HIS SPIRIT CAME AGAIN TO HIM: for he had eaten no bread, nor drunk any water, THREE DAYS AND THREE NIGHTS."
Luke 8:54,55 says that Jesus "put them all out, and took her by the hand, and called, saying, Maid, arise. And HER SPIRIT CAME AGAIN, and she arose straightway: and he commanded to give her meat." Her spirit came back into her body.
Below is the face that appeared. It's on the reverse of the same piece of fabric that has the front view on it. It seems quite miraculous. Agape
April 11, 2004 — The ghostly image of a man's face has emerged on the back side of the Turin Shroud...according to new digital imaging processing techniques....
But the reverse side has remained hidden for centuries beneath a piece of Holland cloth that was sewn by nuns in 1534, after a fire had blackened parts of it.
The cloth's back surface was fully scrutinized only in 2002, when the 14-foot-long linen was completely unstitched from the Holland cloth during a restoration project.
To the naked eye, the back surface of the shroud showed almost nothing...
The back surface, however, was photographed in detail and the pictures published in a book by Mons. Giuseppe Ghiberti, one of the church's top Shroud officials. At the end of the restoration, a new reinforcing cloth was sewn back in place, hiding again the shroud's reverse side.
"As I saw the pictures in the book, I was caught by the perception of a faint image on the back surface of the shroud. I thought that perhaps there was much more that wasn't visible to the naked eye," Giulio Fanti, professor of Mechanical and Thermic Measurements at Padua University and main author of the study, told Discovery News.
Using sophisticated image processing based on direct and inverse Fourier transform, enhancement and template-matching techniques on Ghiberti's pictures, Fanti uncovered the image of a man's face.
Lying behind the known image of the bearded man bearing the marks of crucifixion, the new image has striking three-dimensional quality and matches in form, size and position the known face.
"Though the image is very faint, features such as nose, eyes, hair, beard and moustache are clearly visible. There are some slight differences with the known face. For example, the nose on the reverse side shows the same extension of both nostrils, unlike the front side, in which the right nostril is less evident," Fanti said....
On both sides, the face image is superficial, involving only the outermost linen fibers. When a cross-section of the fabric is made, one extremely superficial image appears above and one below, but there is nothing in the middle....
The discovery of a second face on the Turin Shroud has again divided opinion. Does this mean it is real after all? Or does it mean it's an even better hoax than was previously thought? Some people, and not just the faithful, never stopped believing in the first place. Easter could not have been better timed this year for publicity purposes.
First, it coincided conveniently with The Passion of the Christ which attracted audiences several million times bigger than the original crucifixion. And now the Turin shroud - the supposed burial cloth of Jesus, ever-wrapped in controversy - has been showing its contentious face again.
A textiles expert working on the restoration of that countenance divine has claimed that the cloth is from the 1st Century.
Though carbon-dating performed in 1988 suggested that the shroud dates from between 1260 and 1390, Mechthild Flury-Lemberg found that the fabric was woven in a three-to-one herringbone pattern, used for high quality cloths in the ancient world.
Speaking in a programme broadcast in the US in Holy Week, she said that she also saw stitching patterns surprisingly similar to material from Masada, the Jewish fortress destroyed in AD 74.
Then, within days, Italian scientists announced that they had found a second facial image on the opposite side of the shroud, usually hidden by a large safety patch. They ruled out the possiblity that it was the forger's paint seeping through: it was only on the two outer surfaces of the cloth, not in between.
Turin shroud 'shows second face'
Instead the scientists are now talking about electrical fields and corona discharges. "It is extremely difficult to make a fake with these features," they say. Other scientific investigations have also been undermining the carbon-dating conclusions.
So, having been discredited by its apparently fatal blow from carbon-14, the shroud seems to be coming back from the dead.
For many, these latest developments only confirm what they have believed all along....
Believers - not all Catholic by any means - point to many features of the mysterious linen that are hard for sceptics to explain:
Why are the bloody nail prints on the wrists, when all medieval art depicted Jesus nailed to the cross by his hands? How did the 12th Century Hungarian "Pray Manuscript" come to depict Jesus being wrapped in the shroud - with authentic herringbone pattern and burn marks - 100 years before carbon- dating says the material originated? What would possess a 14th Century forger to design the fabricated face in negative - a fact that only emerged when it was first photographed in 1898? Doesn't the evidence for medieval repair of the cloth and sooty deposits from a 1532 fire challenge the carbon-dating?...
The only thing we can be certain about is that it will continue to be shrouded in mystery and to provoke controversy. And as one researcher working on it has pointed out, whatever future investigations reveal, it will always leave plenty of room for faith and doubt: "There's no test for Christness".
This isn't the only face on the Shroud of Turin (Image: NASA) The ghostly image of a man's face has emerged on the reverse side of the Shroud of Turin, the piece of linen believed to have been wrapped around the body of Jesus after he was crucified, scientists say.
The discovery, using new digital imaging techniques, adds new complexity to one of the most controversial relics in Christendom.
The study, which will be published online ahead of print publication in the Journal of Optics A: Pure and Applied Optics, examined the back surface of the famous handwoven linen....
While a multitude of scientists have investigated the front side of the shroud, the back side has remained hidden for centuries beneath a piece of so-called Holland cloth.
Nuns had sewn on the cloth in 1534 to protect the shroud after it had been damaged by fire. And researchers only fully scrutinised the cloth's back surface in 2002, when the 14-foot-long linen was unstitched from the Holland cloth during a restoration project.
To the naked eye, the back surface of the shroud showed almost nothing, apart from a peculiar stitching that Dr Mechtild Flury-Lemberg, the Swiss textile expert who performed the restoration work, identified as a style seen in the first century AD or before.
The back surface, however, was photographed in detail and the pictures published in a book by Monsignor Giuseppe Ghiberti, one of the Church's top shroud officials. At the end of the restoration, a new reinforcing cloth was sewn back in place, hiding the shroud's reverse side once more.
"As I saw the pictures in the book, I was caught by the perception of a faint image on the back surface of the shroud. I thought that perhaps there was much more that wasn't visible to the naked eye," said Giulio Fanti, professor of mechanical and thermic measurements at the University of Padua and the study's lead author.
Imaging the face
Fanti used sophisticated image processing based on direct and inverse Fourier transform, enhancement and template-matching techniques on Ghiberti's pictures to uncover the image of a man's face.
Lying behind the known image of the bearded man bearing the marks of crucifixion, the new image had a striking 3-D quality and matched the known face in form, size and position.
"Though the image is very faint, features such as nose, eyes, hair, beard and moustache are clearly visible. There are some slight differences with the known face. For example, the nose on the reverse side shows the same extension of both nostrils, unlike the front side, in which the right nostril is less evident," Fanti said.
But the enhancing procedure did not uncover the full body image as it appeared on the front side.
"If it does exist, it is masked by the noise of the digital image itself. But we found what it is probably the image of the hands," Fanti said.
The presence of a face on both sides of the shroud would seem an obvious feature in case of a fake: when making a print onto a cloth, paint soaks the cloth's fibres and also reaches the back side.
"This is not the case of the shroud. On both sides, the face image is superficial, involving only the outermost linen fibres. When a cross-section of the fabric is made, one extremely superficial image appears above and one below, but there is nothing in the middle. It is extremely difficult to make a fake with these features," Fanti said....
Fanti's finding matches a hypothesis postulated in 1990 by Dr John Jackson, a U.S. physicist who conducted the first major investigation into the shroud in 1978.
Jackson speculated the presence of a faint image on the back surface of the shroud, only in correspondence to the frontal image.
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