FATEFUL DAYS: IRAN NUCLEAR DEAL, US EMBASSY MOVE, GAZA MARCH
May 8, 2018 | By Karin Laub
Give thanks for the city of Jerusalem being recognized as its capital by the United States. Pray fervently this week—May 14 the U.S. embassy moves, May 15 Ramadan begins. Check out our new special report on praying about Islam and for Muslims HERE. Our new prayer guide bookmark on the same topic can be found HERE. We also must pray fervently for Israel. Download our Special Report Prayer Guide: Celebrate Israel, God’s Chosen.
“As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds his people, from this time forth and forevermore.” (Ps 125:2)
“The Middle East is bracing for milestone events packed into one week — beginning Tuesday — that could reverberate in unforeseen ways and change the trajectory of a region shaped by growing conflict between Iran and Saudi Arabia, leaders of the Shiite and Sunni Muslim camps….
A look at what’s ahead:
THE IRAN DEAL
U.S. President Donald Trump is expected to announce Tuesday whether he will keep the U.S. in a 2015 deal that gave Iran relief from sanctions in return for curbing its nuclear program.
A pullout is opposed by other world powers, but supported by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. A U.S. withdrawal and the possibility of an eventual collapse of the deal raises concerns about escalation, even war —particularly if Iran is seen as resuming its pursuit of nuclear weapons and Israel retaliates.
Tensions between Israel and Iran already are high over Iran’s efforts to expand its military presence in Syria and airstrikes attributed to Israel that killed Iranian fighters there, prompting threats of reprisal by Tehran. Netanyahu says he’ll counter “Iran’s aggression … even if this means a struggle.”
Israeli security officials say forces are already on high alert in northern Israel….
A U.S. EMBASSY IN JERUSALEM
On May 14, Israel’s 70th anniversary, the U.S. ceremoniously opens its new embassy in Jerusalem, in line with Trump’s recognition in December of the city as Israel’s capital. Israel has excitedly welcomed the move.
For Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, it spells the end to hopes that the U.S. would one day get Israel to cede the West Bank and Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem — lands it captured in 1967 — to a Palestinian state.
Trump’s predecessors have said conflicting claims to Jerusalem must be resolved through negotiations. His claims that the Jerusalem policy shift doesn’t preclude talks on how to share the city is met with scorn by Abbas, who suspended ties with Washington and considers it unfit to keep serving as the sole Mideast broker….
Jordan’s King Abdullah II seems to have resigned himself to the U.S. shift on Jerusalem, whose Israeli-annexed eastern sector, sought as a Palestinian capital, houses major shrines of Islam, Christianity and Judaism. U.S. officials have told the monarch he would continue to serve as custodian of Islamic and Christian holy sites in the city….
On the day of the U.S. Embassy move, Hamas plans to bring the largest crowd yet to the Gaza-Israel border, as part of an open-ended blockade-busting protest campaign.
Since the weekly demonstrations began in late March, protesters have mostly thrown stones and burned tires on the Gaza side, stopping short of large-scale border breaches.
Two senior Hamas officials said such breaches will become inevitable when crowds gather on May 14, the day of the embassy move, and likely also on May 15, when Palestinians mark their “nakba,” or mass uprooting during the 1948 Mideast war over Israel’s creation….” (Excerpts from Karin Laub’s article on Associated Press – Associated Press writer Mohammed Daraghmeh in Ramallah, West Bank, contributed to this report.)