Source: U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey
A recently-releasedreport by the U.S. Department of Interior indicates that Israel has massive reserves of natural gas and oil supplies just offshore, lying under the Mediterranean.
“The U.S. Geological Survey estimated a mean 1.7 billion barrels of recoverable oil and a mean of 122 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in the Levant Basin Province using a geology based assessment methodology,” stated the report’s executive summary.
Israelis for years have lamented that if God wanted to bless them with a “promised land” He could have given them the oil-rich Arabian peninsula. Thus the report has become big news in the Israeli media and the energy industry. Several oil and gas companies are already at work there and have made more modest discoveries in recent years. But this is by far the biggest development to date and some reports indicate Israel could begin using the natural gas — and possibly exporting it — within two years.
“A U.S. energy company announced [in March] that a project it is developing off the Israeli coast could soon end the country’s longtime dependence on natural gas imports,” reported Ynet News, a major Israeli daily. “Noble Energy Chief Executive Charles D. Davidson said the Tamar gas field – set to become operational in 2012 – will allow Israel to meet its own energy needs, and potentially even become an exporter of fuel….Tamar’s five wells are each expected to pump 150 million cubic feet of natural gas per day – a pace on par with the Houston company’s other wells operating in places like the Gulf of Mexico, he said. The company hopes to open operations in a second Israeli field, called Dalit, at a later time. The possibility of exporting fuel would mark a dramatic turnaround for Israel, a country in an oil-rich region that is notoriously empty of natural resources and has always relied heavily on fuel imports. The late Prime Minister Golda Meir famously lamented that Moses could have picked somewhere other than ‘the one spot in the Middle East that has no oil’ as a Jewish homeland. A national supply of natural gas could mean major energy savings for Israeli citizens, as well as revenue for the government from corporate taxes and profit royalties, Davidson said.”
What intrigues me is that such developments are consistent with several Bible prophecies that indicate petroleum will be discovered in Israel in the last days, adding to the nation’s prosperity. For more details, please see Chapter Five of my 2006 non-fiction book, Epicenter: “FUTURE HEADLINE: ISRAEL DISCOVERS MASSIVE RESERVES OF OIL, GAS.”
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev is on an historic three-day tour through Syria and Turkey. It was the first visit by a Russian leader to Damascus since the end of the Cold War.
His top agenda items arms sales and helping both countries build nuclear power facilities. Ominously, Medvedev in Damascus called for Israel to give up its nuclear arsensal and help create a “nuclear free zone” in the Middle East.
The visits come at a time when Russia is steadily building diplomatic, economic and military alliances in the region that are consistent with the Ezekiel 38-39 prophecies about the coming “War of Gog and Magog” against Israel.
Medvedev vows major Mideast role during Syria visit — “Assad and Medvedev called on Israel — which has the Middle East’s sole if undeclared nuclear arsenal — to join the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty as a ‘non-nuclear state’ and become subject to International Atomic Energy Agency control.”
David Cameron, new British PM, and his wife, Samantha, arrive at 10 Downing Street. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
UPDATE: Details of the new UK cabinet emerge….see below…
David Cameron, leader of the UK’s center-right Tory Party, today became the new Prime Minister of Great Britain.
The good news: he understands the severity of Iran’s nuclear threat; has likened Islamic extremism to Naziism; supported the war in Iraq and opposed calls to cut and run; supported the war in Afghanistan and resisted calls to cut the number of British troops there; refuses to unilaterally surrender the UK’s nuclear deterrence; he’s part Jewish; he has publicly declared himself a Zionist; and he has taken pro-Israel positions in the past, including Israel’s right to defend herself in the war against Hamas in 2009.
The not-so-good news: Cameron supports a two-state solution between the Israelis and Palestinians, which by definition requires dividing Israel and carving up pieces of Jerusalem; he has described East Jerusalem as “occupied” territory; he has been sharply critical of Israeli settlements; he leads a weak political party, holding only 306 seats, well short of a majority (total seats in the British parliament: 650), and is thus dependent on left-of-center political parties; and to gain power, Cameron built a political coalition with Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg (whose party won just 57 seats). Clegg has been so severely hostile to Israel that he actually called for an arms embargo against the Jewish State in 2009.
Will David Cameron be a friend to Israel as the rest of the world — and nearly all of Europe, and now the White House — isolates Israel? I pray the answer is yes, but it remains to be seen. Given the coalition he has just built, I must say I’m concerned.
“There is no doubt that the technological capabilities, which improved in recent years, have improved range and aerial refuelling capabilities, and have brought about a massive improvement in the accuracy of ordnance and intelligence,” Yaalon told a conference of military officers and experts, reported Reuters. “This capability can be used for a war on terror in Gaza, for a war in the face of rockets from Lebanon, for war on the conventional Syrian army, and also for war on a peripheral state like Iran.”
Also, I’m pleased to announce this morning that Tony Perkins, the president of the Family Research Council, will speak at the 2010 Epicenter Conference in Philadelphia next month as we seek to educate and mobilize followers of Jesus Christ throughout North America to show unconditional love and unwavering support to Israel at this critical moment.
Tony will join Janet Parshall and me on Friday night, June 25th for a panel discussion on practical ways that Christians can bless Israel. Tony will specifically discuss Israel-related legislation moving through Congress and how to support or oppose such measures, as needed. Other Christian leaders joining us on that panel will be Lt.-General (ret.) Jerry Boykin, Kay Arthur, Pastor Greg Laurie, Pastor Joe Focht, and a special guest.
On Saturday, June 26th, the conference continues with additional guests, including Israeli Vice Prime Minister Moshe Yaalon, Hormoz Shariat (the “Billy Graham of Iran”), and a video presentation by Mosab Hassan Yousef (the “Son of Hamas”). I will be giving the final keynote address on Saturday night.
More than 900 people have registered to attend the conference in person — have you?
More than 100 churches have signed up to show the live webcast to their congregations — has yours?
“A man with explosives strapped to his body blew himself up in a crowd, bombers struck a southern city and gunmen sprayed fire on security checkpoints in attacks Monday that killed at least 100 people — most of them in Shiite areas — in Iraq’s deadliest day this year,” reported the Associated Press. “Officials were quick to blame insurgents linked to al-Qaida in Iraq for the shootings in the capital, saying the militants were redoubling efforts to destabilize the country at a time of political uncertainty over who will control the next government. Shiite Vice President Adel Abdul-Mahdi stressed the importance of quickly forming a government that does not exclude any major political group to try to prevent insurgents from exploiting Iraq’s fragile security….The worst violence hit the Shiite city of Hillah, the capital of Babil [Babylon] province 60 miles south of Baghdad. First, two parked car bombs near a textile factory exploded as workers were leaving the factory around midday, said Babil provincial police spokesman Maj. Muthana Khalid….”
In this May 1, 2010 photo, guards are seen at a reproduction of the Ishtar gate in the ancient city of Babylon in southern Iraq. A U.S.-funded program to restore the ruins of Iraq's ancient city of Babylon is threatened by a dispute among Iraqi officials over keeping the site authentic or making money off it. In recognition of the perilous condition of the site, a two-year project by the New York-based World Monument Fund to draw up a site plan is now looking into directly to restoring the city's famed Ishtar gate and a 2,500-year-old temple. (AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo)
A U.S.-funded program to restore the ruins of Iraq’s ancient city of Babylon is threatened by a dispute among Iraqi officials over whether the priority should be preserving the site or making money off it.
Local officials want swift work done to restore the crumbling ruins and start building restaurants and gift shops to draw in tourists, while antiquities officials in Baghdad favor a more painstaking approach to avoid the gaudy restoration mistakes of the past.
The ruins of the millennia-old city, famed for its Hanging Gardens and the Tower of Babel, have suffered heavily over the past decades. Deep in Iraq’s verdant south, the cluster of excavated temples and palaces were mostly rebuilt by former ruler Saddam Hussein in the 1980s, using modern yellow brick to erect towering structures that marred the fragile remains of the original mud brick ruins. After Saddam’s fall in 2003, a U.S. military base on the site did further damage.
The site is filled with overgrown hillocks hiding the estimated 95 percent of the city that remains unexcavated — which archaeologists hope could eventually be uncovered.
But for that to happen, they argue, the slow and meticulous work needs to be done to train Iraqis in conservation and draw up a preservation plan that can be used to drum up international funds and get the site UNESCO World Heritage status.
A $700,000, two-year project to do that, funded by the U.S. State Department and carried out by the New York-based World Monuments Fund, began last year and if it succeeds, the Babylon project could be a model for saving other ancient sites in this country that witnessed the birth of urban civilization.
“I’m optimistic because what is happening in Babylon is the proper and scientific step and, God willing, the work in Babylon will open up new horizons,” said Qais Hussein Rashid, head of Iraq’s impoverished antiquities department….
While Iran is feverishly trying to build, buy or steal nuclear weapons to destroy Israel, the Jewish State is currently believed to be the only country in the region that has actually has nuclear weapons. While Israel is believed to have had an arsenal of 150-200 or so nuclear warheads since the 1960s, the country has never formally acknowledged having them, a policy it calls “strategic ambiguity.” But no one has ever truly worried about Israel having nuclear weapons because everyone knows the weapons are for defensive purposes only. Israeli leaders have never threatened to annihilate its neighbors, much less do so on a daily or weekly basis.
What makes the new U.N. announcement so dangerous is that it does nothing to stop Iran from continuing to build its own nuclear weapons. Rather, it turns the world’s attention away from stopping Iran from getting offensive nukes and towards pressuring Israel to give up its defensive nukes. The world will now ramp up unbearable pressure on Israel first to disclose and second to dismantle all of its nuclear arsenal, and claim that no more action can be taken to stop Iran until the “double standard” of Israel is dealt with.
[UPDATE:In his address to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty conference at the U.N. this week, Iranian President Ahmadinejad made this very charge: “While the Zionist regime [Israel] has stockpiled hundreds of nuclear warheads, instigated a number of full-fledged wars, and continues to militarily threaten and terrorize countries of the region, it enjoys the full supported of the United States and of its allies to develop its nuclear weapon program. However, the same governments impose heaviest pressures and psychological warfare upon the member countries on the false pretext of probable diversions of their peaceful activities without giving any substantiated evidence.” Ahmadinejad, of course, called for “rapid and unconditional implementation of the resolution at the 1995 meeting for establishment of nuclear free zone in the Middle East.” He also declared that “those who exploded atomic bombs killed hundreds of thousands of people and leveled to the ground two cities [Americans], are regarded as the most hated human beings in the history.”]
In The Ezekiel Option [see excerpt below], the Russians take the lead. In real life, it is the United States under President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton that has taken the lead to turning hostile towards Israel. But the Russians, Chinese, Brits and the French have rapidly followed suit. What will happen next? That is not yet clear. But it could get very ugly. Barring some unforeseen development, Israel will be increasingly isolated from the international community. And as amazing as it is to say it, the events of this week could theoretically set into motion the fulfillment of the End Times Bible prophecies found in Ezekiel 38-39 — i.e, the “War of Gog and Magog” — if the leader of Russia begins to emerge as the leader of the anti-Israel coalition and requires Israel to comply with the treaty or face an international military coalition prepared to force her to comply.
Yet again, we are reminded by events to pray for peace, but prepare for war.
EXCERPTS FROM THE EZEKIEL OPTION (published by Tyndale House, copyright 2005)
Russian President Yuri Gogolov rose to speak.
“Mr. Secretary-General, distinguished delegates, and ladies and gentlemen: As we gather together on September eleventh, the anniversary of the attacks upon this great city, let me begin by assuring all Americans—and reassuring each of you—that the Russian Federation is fully committed to being a member in good standing of this global community and to helping the world win the war on terror once and for all.”
The General Assembly erupted in thunderous applause.
Bennett watched the speech in his West Wing office.
Joining him were Indira Rajiv of the CIA’s NAMESTAN desk and Ken Costello, the U.S. undersecretary of state for political affairs. Bennett had invited them both to help him analyze the Gogolov speech and European and Islamic reaction to it.
“Many are the pressing issues that confront us,” Gogolov continued.
His pace was measured, confident; his proficiency with using a teleprompter rather intriguing given that this was his first international address.
“Some are regional. Some are economic, cultural, or social. But I believe we can all agree that the most pressing issue of our time is ridding the world of weapons of mass destruction and keeping them out of the hands of terrorists.”
“Regretfully, some would seek to divide the great powers. Some would seek to pit the United States against Russia on the great issues of our time, but they must not be allowed to succeed. Yes, we have our differences. Yes, the debate over whether the United States should have gone to war against Iraq was one of them. And yes, there is much work to do to repair relations strained so badly by the unfortunate U.S. response to the perceived threat of Aeroflot flight 6617.
“But let there be no confusion: the Russian Federation never disagreed with the objective of the United States to rid Iraq of weapons of mass destruction. To the contrary, we have always shared the vision of making the Middle East a nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons-free zone.
“Perhaps it is time to concede that regardless of our differences, the world is much safer now that Saddam Hussein is no longer in power and can no longer threaten the peace.”
The great hall was silent for a moment. The delegates were too stunned to know how to react.
“Today, however, I would submit that another Middle Eastern country is known to possess weapons of mass destruction. She operates in defiance of multiple U.N. resolutions. She has repeatedly attacked and invaded her neighbors. She has repeatedly violated the human rights of the people entrusted to her care. And she is widely seen as a threat not only to regional peace but to world peace. Regretfully, of course, I speak of the modern State of Israel.”
The General Assembly of the U.N. had never been so utterly silent.
“We must be honest. Only one country in the Middle East refuses to become a signatory to the landmark Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty—the State of Israel.
“Moreover, only one country in the Middle East is known to actually possess nuclear warheads—the State of Israel. They are not dreaming of them, designing them, or developing them. Israel has already deployed nearly three hundred nuclear warheads.
“Which begs the question: if the United States was able to persuade this body that Saddam Hussein was a threat worthy of international action, how can we allow a double standard for Israel?
“Some will argue that India, Pakistan, and Cuba have not joined the NPT either. They are right, and this is a great concern of mine. I am determined we can make tremendous progress in these areas if we work together. Indeed, we have already done so.
“I have the great privilege of announcing to you that over the past few days I have been in talks with the Cuban government. I have been able to convince Havana to drop her long-standing concerns, and for the good of the global community and in the interests of world peace, I can now announce that the esteemed president of Cuba will join me immediately following this speech to officially become the NPT’s 188th signatory.”
The General Assembly exploded with a standing ovation.
“And this is just the beginning,” Gogolov continued, raising his hands and asking for everyone to please retake their seats. “I am also pleased to announce that the presidents of India and Pakistan have agreed to a summit in Moscow in January. Together, we will discuss a de-escalation of tensions between the two countries. And it is my personal mission to persuade both India and Pakistan to become members of the global community of NPT signatories within the next twelve to eighteen months.”
This brought the house down—another standing ovation, which lasted for almost four minutes.
And now the Russian shifted gears. “Which brings us back to Israel—a rich country; a powerful country with a strong army, an impressive air force, and the strength of the American superpower at her side. With all these assets, I ask you: why should such a country refuse to sign a treaty aimed solely at making the world a more peaceful and prosperous place for all mankind?
“When the United States went to war in Iraq, she did so, in part, because the regime of Saddam Hussein had defied sixteen U.N. Security Council resolutions. What, then, shall we say of Israel, which has defied ninety-seven such resolutions since 1948?”
Gogolov moved in for the kill.
“Israel has answered decades of U.N. demands with decades of defiance. Are these resolutions to be enforced, or cast aside without consequence?
“Russia helped to give birth to the United Nations. We want the resolutions of the world’s most important multilateral body to be enforced. And right now those resolutions are being unilaterally subverted by Israel.
“If the Israeli regime wishes peace, it will immediately and unconditionally foreswear, disclose, and remove or destroy all weapons of mass destruction, long-range missiles, and all related material. Further, the Israeli regime must immediately allow IAEA and U.N. inspectors into its nuclear reactor at Dimona as well as all other nuclear, chemical, and biological research facilities.
“Toward this end, this afternoon Russia will introduce U.N. Security Council Resolution 2441, giving the State of Israel thirty days to comply with the steps I have just outlined. If Israel does comply fully, a new era of peace and prosperity will sweep the region, and the world will be more secure.
“But let there be no doubt: if Israel continues to go down the road of defiance, the international community will have no choice but to join together to enforce the U.N. resolutions related to Israel, just as the United States and her allies enforced the U.N. resolutions related to Iraq.”
Bennett watched as Gogolov left the platform.
For a moment an awkward silence filled the great hall, but then the General Assembly erupted in a standing ovation that went on minute after minute. Nearly all the delegates were on their feet, applauding wildly. Then the camera caught the Israeli ambassador storming up the center aisle. As he exited, the view switched to the U.S. ambassador, who sat in stunned disbelief.
Bennett, too, sat motionless. The gauntlet had just been laid down, and Bennett was in shock….
Imagine for a moment what America would have looked like if the Radical Muslims from the Middle East who tried to detonate a truck bomb in Times Square this week had had possession of a nuclear weapon?
Do you really believe these jihadists would have hesitated to kill millions of Americans in Manhattan because President Obama vowed to make the world free of nuclear weapons? Or because the White House called for a “nuclear free Middle East”? Or because the U.S. told our worst enemies just how many nukes we have and promised to get rid of them all? Or because the U.S. took more actions this week to sell out Israel and isolate the Jewish State?
Neither do I.
Radical Islamic extremists don’t want to terrify America and Israel. They want to annihilate us. Why don’t our leaders in Washington understand this? This week, the Obama administration sold out Israel and sided with the argument made by the Radical Shias of Iran. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton this week called for a “nuclear-free Middle East.” The White House also took the extraordinary step of revealing U.S. state secrets to disclosing how many nuclear warheads we have. What’s more, the Obama administration is calling for the eventual eradication of all nuclear weapons, which means the eradication of America’s most important (and successful) national security deterrent. This is bad on so many levels, but here are two.
First, all of this will make America less safe, not more.
Second, the White House in effect has just given the world permission to turn against the Jewish State and demand that Israel disclose and then dismantle its defensive nuclear weapons arsenal. Support for this anti-Israel position is rapidly gaining popularity. Meanwhile, the world refuses to take any decisive action to stop Iran from gaining an offensive nuclear arsenal to bring about a second Holocaust. How soon will it be before some nation (Russia?) calls for a U.N. Security Council resolution to force Israel to disclose and dismantle her weapons? This was the scenario I envisioned in my novel, The Ezekiel Option. In some ways, it does seem to be beginning to come to pass.
The international isolation of Israel is acclerating. But let this not be said of the Church. Now is the time for followers of Jesus Christ to teach the Word of God, pray faithfully, bless Israe, and stand with the Jewish people with unconditional love and unwavering support. There are many practical steps you can take. Here are seven:
Speak out forcefully, publicly and consistently against these dangerous policies and in support of policies that will truly defend the U.S., Israel and our allies against the threats and attacks of Radical Islamic jihadists. Remember the Lord’s admonition to us in Ezekiel 33. We are called to be watchman on the wall. We are to warn people when war and other evils coming. “If the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet and the people are not warned, and a sword comes and takes a person from them, he is taken away in his inquity; but his blood I will require from the watchman’s hand.” We cannot prevent all moral, spiritual, or geopolitical attacks and disasters. But we must warn people of the evil that is coming, while we also speak boldly the good news, the gospel of Jesus Christ. Write or email the White House (www.whitehouse.gov/contact), your Member of Congress (http://www.house.gov/house/house_comments.shtml) and your Senator (http://www.senate.gov/pagelayout/general/one_item_and_teasers/contacting.htm) to directly express your grave concerns over the direction of the U.S. relationship with Israel, and encourage others to do the same. Be specific about your concerns, while being gentle and respectful, demonstrating the fruit of the Spirit. Share your desire that the U.S stand with Israel against the imminent threats from Iran, as well as working fairly to help establish a lasting peace in Israel, a peace that surely won’t come through more coerced land-giveaways or forcing Israel to unilateral disarm.
Take peaceful political action against public officials who are selling out U.S. and Israeli national security, and in favor of public officials and candidates who stand on principle for a strong U.S. national defense, a strong and secure Israel, and an effective and tireless fight against Radical Islam — not a war against all Islam, but most certainly against the kind of jihadists who want to destroy Judeo-Christian civilization as we know it. Jesus commanded us in Matthew 5 to be the “salt of the earth” and “the light of the world.” That doesn’t mean we are all called to be involved in political action. But some people are, in order to preserve what is good and right about our society. The Lord once put Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego as godly men into positions of power in Babylon to do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with the Lord, as well as to save lives, including Jewish lives. The Lord once put Esther and Mordechai into positions of great power and influence in Persia to do the same. He did the same with Joseph in Egypt. What role is the Lord calling you to play?
Make a tax deductible contribution to the work of The Joshua Fund. The Lord was clear to us in James 2:17 that faith without works is dead. Let’s not just talk about blessing those in the epicenter. Please help us provide food, clothing, medical supplies and other humanitarian relief to poor and needy Israelis and Palestinians through our new warehouse and 7 food distribution centers in Israel. Help us stockpile supplies ahead of the next war. Help us educate and mobilize Christians to bless Israel and her neighbors in the name of Jesus through conferences and other events around the world. Help us encourage and train pastors and ministry leaders throughout the epicenter to serve the Church — the only true hope of peace and reconciliation in the Middle East or anywhere — with conferences, retreats and other special events. For more information, please check out our new website, www.joshuafund.net.
Hold a day of fasting and a night of prayer to pray for revival in the U.S. and to bless Israel and her neighbors.Let us not fear that our country is lost, or that Israel is doomed. We serve a prayer-hearing and a prayer-answering God, a wonder-working God. James 5:17 tells us that “the prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” So, if you pastor a congregation, lead them in lifting these critical needs before the Lord, so that the U.S. may not begin to reap the whirlwind of turning against Israel. Challenge your home group leaders and prayer partners to the same actions. Lead those who you are able to lead, and start with your own families. Gather together to pray for the peace of Jerusalem. Pray for the hearts of our leaders to be changed to righteousness and to bless Israel. Pray for Prime Minister Netanyahu to know the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in a real and personal way and to have wisdom from the Lord in this crisis. Pray for the believers in the epicenter to be strong and courageous as the Lord builds His Church and vows not to allow the gates of Hell to prevail against it. And please be sure to pray for the Lord to bless and protect Israeli and the Palestinian believers as they obey Christ’s commands to “love your neighbor” and “love your enemy.” One place to find the latest prayer requests for the people of the epicenter is on our “Epicenter Team” page on Facebook. Another place is our Prayer Request Page on The Joshua Fund’s new website.
Reach out in unconditional love to the local Jewish communities in your area.Jesus taught us in Matthew 19:19, “Love your neighbor.”Express to your Jewish neighbors your heart for forming honest, long term relationships. Call the Rabbi at a local synagogue and let them know you are standing with the Jewish people in prayer. Take a group from your church and find a service project you can be involved in at a local synagogue; pray for them continually, serve them regularly. Go find the many young Israelis working at the kiosks in your local malls, and extend the unconditional and everlasting love of the Lord to them in whatever practical ways the Lord leads you (introduce yourself and let them know how welcome they are here, buy them a coffee, invite them to a dinner, begin to know them well enough to see if they have any needs you could meet, commit to praying for them and for Israel regularly).
Thanks for your prayers. I’m back home from The Joshua Fund-sponsored pastors conference in Iraq last week and hard at work finishing the edits for my forthcoming novel, The Twelfth Imam, coming out this fall. In a few days, I’ll post a report on the Iraq trip. It was amazing.
But first: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is doing everything he can this week to turn international attention away from Iran’s nuclear weapons program and Iran’s repeated threats to annihilate the U.S. and Israel by trying to get the world to focus on Israel’s alleged nuclear weapons stockpile instead. His objective during his visit to New York City: to persuade the U.N. to force Israel to disclose and dismantle all of her defensive weapons even as Iran completes its own offensive weapons.
“The Zionist regime continues to threaten the countries of the Middle East with its arsenal,” said the Iranian leader. “It continues to threaten the world’s countries with acts of terror and invasion, and even gets the necessary assistance for its nuclear program.”
John Bolton, former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., told the Israeli media that he believes the Obama administration is warming to the Iranian argument.
“Egypt and the Obama administration are negotiating right now on an Egyptian proposal for a nuclear weapons free zone in the Middle East, which certainly sounds good,” Bolton told Israeli Army Radio, according to the Jerusalem Post. “Except when you think about it, there is only one country that resolution is targeted at and that is Israel…When I was in the Bush administration we refused to even talk about these kinds of ideas. I’d be quite worried about the possible outcome there.”
“The president is not happy with Israel’s nuclear capabilities, ” Bolton added. “I think he would be delighted if Israel gave up its nuclear weapons. The only unknown answer at this point is exactly how much pressure he would exert on Israel to do just that. Part of that pressure is being exerted right now by even considering the possibility of a conference on a nuclear-weapons-free Middle East.”
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on NBC’s “Meet The Press” on Sunday that the U.S. would not be side-tracked by the tactics of the Iranian delegation. “I think they’re coming to try to divert attention and confuse the issue,” she said. “[But] there is no confusion. They have violated the terms of the NPT, they have been held under all kinds of restrictions and obligations that they have not complied with by the IAEA, the International Atomic Energy Agency, by the U.N. Security Council. So we’re not going to permit Iran to try to change the, the story from their failure to comply and in any way upset the efforts we are in the midst of, which is to get the international community to adopt a strong Security Council resolution that further isolates them and imposes consequences for their behavior.”
Tough talk, but the fact remains the U.S. still has not persuaded the U.N. to pass tough new sanctions against Iran and it’s not clear even a weakened new round of sanctions will be passed by the Security Council before summer.
Meanwhile, Ahmadinejad is turning his rhetorical firepower against the U.S. “Ahmadinejad on Monday called for states that threaten to use atomic weapons to be punished, a clear reference to a new U.S. nuclear strategy released last month,” reports Reuters. Ahmadinejad also rejected allegations that Iran is developing nuclear weapons, reported AP, saying the U.S. has produced “not a single credible proof.”