Caught Between ISIS And Assad, A Palestinian Refugee Camp Is Starving To Death

Residents wait to receive food aid distributed by the U.N. Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) at the besieged al-Yarmouk camp, south of DamascusAs the Islamic State has seized most of the largest Palestinian refugee camp in Syria and trapped about 18,000 civilians, those who were lucky enough to escape have told of the ISIS atrocities they witnessed and one even described the barbaric nature in which militants used a person’s decapitated head.

As ISIS militants descended on the Yarmouk refugee camp in the nation’s capital city of Damascus last Wednesday, thousands of civilians were trapped between the brutal extremist group and the forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s with little to no food, water or medicine.

Although the death and casualty toll among Palestinian civilians at the camp is not certain, an official from the Palestinian Liberation Organization said earlier this week that at least 27 Palestinian camp residents have been killed since ISIS entered the camp, while an estimated 75 to 200 Palestinians have been abducted by ISIS during that time.

“Accurate information on casualties is difficult to obtain due to the tragic conditions inside the camp,” Ahmed Majdalani, an official for the PLO, told Palestine’s official radio station.

One 55-year-old refugee named Abdel Fatah, who is one of about 2,500 people who have fled the camp due to ISIS’ takeover, described the appalling nature of ISIS’ brutality in an interview with AFP earlier this week.

“I saw severed heads. They killed children in front of their parents. We were terrorised,” Fatah explained.
*Read more at christianpost

About Yarmouk Palestinian Refugee Camp

The Islamic State militant group moved into Yarmouk, a refugee camp for Palestinians on the outskirts of the Syrian capital city of Damascus, last week. Since then, hundreds of the group’s fighters have been battling rival armed groups for control of the camp. IS militants currently appear to hold most of Yarmouk, resisting bombardments by the Syrian army as well as attacks from militias.

The fighting has reduced Yarmouk into a ghost town, with its civilians trapped inside by constant sniper fire and bombardments. Video footage purportedly from Yarmouk residents, collected by Reuters and other media outlets this week, showed the streets near-deserted and bombed to pieces.

But while the utter devastation portrayed in recent images of the camp may come as a shock to many, Yarmouk’s descent into ruin actually started years ago. The latest round of fighting brings an already disastrous humanitarian situation in the refugee camp one step closer to full collapse.

“Yarmouk was already a place where women had died in childbirth for lack of medicine, where children had reportedly died of malnutrition. So things were already appalling,” Chris Gunnes of UNRWA, the United Nations’ agency for Palestinian refugees, told German news broadcaster Deutsche Welle. “Yarmouk was a hell hole frankly. And with the eruption of this intense fighting, things got dramatically worse.”

Yarmouk is located about five miles south of the Damascus city center. Established in 1957, the camp served as the main refuge for tens of thousands of Palestinians who had fled their homes during and after the Arab-Israeli War of 1948, which resulted in Israel’s independence. Over the years, Yarmouk grew into a densely populated neighborhood outside the Syrian capital, housing tens of thousands of Palestinians and Syrians.

In the spring of 2011, Syrians took to the streets to demand reform from President Bashar Assad — the start of the Syrian uprising. Around the country and in Yarmouk, Palestinian refugees initially tried to remain neutral. They were divided on the anti-government protests: Some identified with the rebels, while others supported the Assad government.

Eventually, pro- and anti-Assad factions of Palestinians in Yarmouk began to clash. On Dec. 16, 2012, amid the fighting, the Syrian air force hit several civilian targets in the area, prompting hundreds of the camp’s residents to leave their homes and cross into neighboring countries for safety.

Things quickly went from bad to worse. The Syrian military put the camp on lockdown in the spring of 2013 and systematically tightened its control over the influx of people, goods and food. Yarmouk starved.


“I eat anything that I can get my hands on. I eat on average one meal every 30 hours, ”one Yarmouk resident told Amnesty International in a report published in early 2014.

Amnesty’s report detailed the deteriorating conditions in the camp after Syria’s military began cracking down. By July 2013, the blockade was complete, and all people, goods and foods were barred from entering the camp.

Residents had to resort to desperate measures. Many were forced to forage for food. Reports circulated of civilians eating herbs and drinking water with spices in place of a meal.

According to Amnesty:

For months residents survived scouring the area for anything that might be edible, including cactus leaves, dandelion leaves and other plants. Hunger has driven many to expose themselves to government snipers while searching for food.

The United Nations said last month that more than a hundred people in Yarmouk have died of hunger or from illnesses made worse by hunger or lack of medical care.

Those who remained behind became completely dependent on aid from outside, but more often than not, the regime denied aid organizations access to the camp. In January 2014, UNRWA was finally allowed in. Shortly after, a photo showing thousands of residents lining up for aid distributions made headlines around the world.

Even after it was permitted to access the camp in January 2014, however, UNRWA says it was only able to distribute aid 131 days out of the year. “Clearly not enough,”UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krahenbuhl said in March. The food and medicine that got delivered did not come close to meeting the needs of all those remaining in the camp. The agency has continued to face difficulties working in Yarmouk.

“My kids get up in the morning asking for a glass of milk or a piece of bread. I can only give them a radish or vegetables, and sometimes even this is not available,” one father told UNRWA earlier this year.


Yarmouk was once home to more than 150,000 Palestinian refugees, but aid agencies estimate that the population has been reduced to about 18,000 residents since the Syrian government’s siege began in 2013. According to Amnesty’s 2014 report, most of those left behind are too weak or too poor to seek shelter elsewhere.

Many who did make it out ended up in refugee camps in neighboring countries, including Jordan and Lebanon. They have became refugees for a second time — first, they fled their homes in Israel and the Palestinian territories, and now they have been forced to leave Yarmouk as well.

*Read More at HuffingtonPost


NAR prophet Chuck Pierce gives ‘mantle’ to Mormon Glenn Beck

Nothing surprises me any more. 


On Sunday, Chuck Pierce–an influential prophet in the New Apostolic Reformationpresented a “new mantle for the future” to television and radio host Glenn Beck, a Mormon. The mantle was presented to Beck at Pierce’s Global Spheres Center in Corinth, Texas, during a church service Beck attended with his family.

Some of Pierce’s followers expressed concern that Pierce would present a mantle to a Mormon. Pierce responded Sunday by posting a brief comment on Facebook defending his action. In short, Pierce distanced himself from the mantle by claiming that “Glenn Beck is devoted to Israel. The mantle was given from Israel.” It appears–from the other comments posted on Pierce’s Facebook page–many of his followers are buying his explanation. But I’m not. Here’s why.

What’s a “mantle”?

Anyone who is deeply involved in the NARunderstands what it means when a prophet presents a “mantle” to someone. This practice is an allusion to a story in 1 Kings 19:19, when the prophet Elijah gives to the prophet Elisha his cloak–or “mantle,” as the word is rendered in the King James Version. This biblical story is interpreted by people in the NARas a symbolic action, showing that the prophet Elijah was naming the prophet Elisha as his prophetic successor.

So when Pierce presented a mantle to Beck, people in the audience–who regard Pierce as a prophet–understood that their prophet was conferring some type of prophetic status on Beck. This should trouble Christians. Why? Because a leading prophet in the NAR is recognizing a member of the Mormon church–a cult of Christianity, which rejects essential doctrines of the Christian faith– as a true messenger of God. A true prophet of God would do no such thing.

Pierce apparently felt the need to offer a further justification for his action. Yesterday he posted a lengthier comment in which he acknowledged that Beck is a Mormon–though he also hinted that Beck may be on the path to becoming fully Christian. (And take notice that he referred to Beck as a specific individual’s “son in the Lord”–language that is typically used by Christians to describe a true Christian believer.) Certainly, many of Pierce’s followers have interpreted Pierce’s action to mean that he recognizes Beck as a fellow Christian.



Meet Bibi’s New Friends: The New Apostolic Reformation


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been one of the most beloved Israeli politicians in the history of Christian Zionism. It has been a religio-political match made in heaven, with Christian Right leaders providing Netanyahu with money in Israel and political clout in the U.S., and the Israeli leader putting up with an Evangelical end-times theology.

But while Netanyahu is still in office, his Christian Zionist dance partners have changed. They no longer adhere to the fantastical, but generally passive end-times theology from which Christian Zionism emerged. Today’s Christian Zionists hail from apostolic and prophetic movements such as the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR), a demon-haunted new generation of American religio-politics, which may change the terms of the American-Israeli right-wing partnership in the bargain…

Christian Zionism has recently been transformed by a new generation with a radically different theology that actively seeks to proselytize in Israel, Eastern Europe, and South America, and which promotes an aggressive Christian nationalism in the U.S. Today’s Christian Zionism is dominated by the Charismatic/Pentecostal sector of Christianity, with the NAR first and foremost. Several CUFI directors, past and present, are part of the NAR leadership, and NAR spokespeople have gained prominence in Christian Zionist circles.

Get to know the NAR: they are the future of the Christian Right. Their leaders describe themselves as modern day “apostles and prophets,” anointed by God to reform the church in preparation for the end times. This is a triumphalist theology, one in which the adherents believe they will exercise “dominion” over all of American society, be victorious over their opponents on earth…


Related: Mike Huckabee Stands Willing To ‘Call Fire Down From Heaven’

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Israel chooses the path to apartheid

Good article at Haaretz

I must add last weeks Israeli election opened my eyes. For years my belief (noted by the many posts I’ve put up over those years) was the problem in Israel was their government, their leaders. After last week I now realize while that may be true, it’s only true in part: actually, it is the majority of the citizens. After reading and watching a clip containing the “Jim Crow like” statements from Netanyahu (see: An American translation of Netanyahu’s racist get out the vote speech) and reading his statement (“NO two State solution, ever!”), which resulted in the landside victory of Netanyahu, I admit to being duped. I understand now, the majority of the citizenry of Israel do not want peace and care not in the least, about the welfare of those which they treat as prisoners…less then human.   


It was once possible to argue that Israel’s policies were not the same as apartheid because their stated goal, however imperfectly pursued, was to end the occupation. After Netanyahu’s reelection, this is no longer the case.

In my quarter century as Washington correspondent for Jewish newspapers, I frequently defended Israel against charges that it had created an apartheid system in the West Bank. But this week’s election, with Benjamin Netanyahu poised to serve another term with an even more hardline coalition, means that apartheid is the path Israeli voters have chosen. The inevitable results will include even greater international isolation for the Jewish state, a boost to efforts to apply boycotts and sanctions, diminished support from American Jews and endlessly intensifying cycles of violence.

Since the Madrid peace process began in 1991, it was possible – though sometimes with great difficulty – to argue that Israel wanted to find some route to accommodation with the Palestinians. Sure, there were huge obstacles to overcome, not the least of which was a shortsighted Palestinian leadership and a volatile, nervous electorate in Israel.


But government after government at least said the right things about the need to create a Palestinian state and to make painful compromises, even if action lagged far behind the words.

It was possible to accept journalist Gershom Gorenberg’s thesis that the occupation was an “accidental empire,” its endurance shaped less by determined policies than by inertia and political cowardice. It was awful to watch even progressive governments cringe before an aggressive settlers movement, but it was understandable, especially for Americans accustomed to the timidity of our own leaders in the face of aggressive extremists.

The idea of apartheid suggests the intent to make separation and unequal treatment permanent, and in the past it was possible to argue that for all the expansion of settlements, Israel was still looking for ways to end the occupation.

No more.

Frightened by the last minute rise of the Zionist Union list in polls, Netanyahu unambiguously expressed what critics have long asserted was his core ideology: no Palestinian state. No territorial concessions. None. Period.

And Israel’s voters returned him to office, in what was widely reported as a resounding victory.

He was returned to power despite his attempt to shore up support on his political right by coming to Washington and undermining the relationship with Israel’s most critical ally, the United States, and by giving a huge boost to Republican efforts to make support for Israel a political wedge issue instead of the bipartisan cause it has always been.

He was returned to power despite the ugly attempt to scare voters with the specter of a big turnout of Israeli Arabs.


And he was returned to power after his crystal clear rejection of Palestinian statehood and the territorial compromise that most of the world believes is the only way to ensure a peaceful future for a democratic Jewish state. There were reports this week that Netanyahu was attempting to walk those comments back, but his credibility on the issue of Palestinian statehood, never strong, is nonexistent.

In the absence of any willingness to work toward a Palestinian state in the West Bank, the future is clear: continuing occupation with no effort to find a way to end it, accelerating settlement construction and a hardening of policies toward Palestinians in the West Bank.

In other words, apartheid.

Once, it was possible to argue that Israel’s policies were not the same as apartheid because their stated goal, however imperfectly pursued, was to end the occupation. No more: Bibi’s reelection makes it clear that Israeli voters, more clearly aware of Netanyahu’s intent than ever, have chosen the apartheid path, and will now have to live with the consequences.



Iran’s Khamenei: GOP letter points to U.S. ‘disintegration

Never thought I’d be publicly agreeing with (the) Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, but in this instance I believe he is correct. The two fiascos (alone) we have witnessed in Washington DC the past couple weeks prove his point. 

‘Isn’t this the ultimate degree of the collapse of political ethics and the U.S. system’s internal disintegration?’ the Iranian leader said.

Iran‘s supreme leader said Thursday that a letter from Republican lawmakers warning that any nuclear deal could be scrapped by the next U.S. president is a sign of “disintegration” in Washington.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called the letter a sign of “the collapse of political ethics and the U.S. system’s internal disintegration,” according to the official IRNA news agency. It was the first reaction to the letter by Khamenei, who has the final say over all major policies.

Khamenei said states typically remain loyal to their commitments even if governments change, ” but American senators officially announced the commitment will be null and void after this government leaves office. Isn’t this the ultimate degree of the collapse of political ethics and the U.S. system’s internal disintegration?”


Source: Haaretz 

Anyone who reads here knows I believe we are seeing God’s judgment upon this Nation. There can be no other explanation for the obvious desire by many of our elected officials to destroy this Nation, and their actions to ensure this comes about.

Related: The Self-Destruction of America by David Wilkerson | Published, February 25, 1993


Prayer Needed: American Missionary Phyllis Sortor Kidnapped in Nigeria

The Free Methodist Church in the U.S. is now calling for prayers after one of their working missionaries, the Rev. Phyllis Sortor, was abducted by masked and armed men in Nigeria Monday morning who’ve demanded a $300,000 ransom for her safe return. Her distraught family, however, say they cannot afford it.

“Early this morning we received a report that Rev. Phyllis Sortor, our missionary in Nigeria, was abducted from the Hope Academy compound in Emiworo, Kogi State, Nigeria, by several persons. The U.S. Embassy has been notified, and the State Department and the FBI are working with local authorities to find and rescue her. We are calling on the U.S. church to join together in prayer for Phyllis’ safety and speedy release,” the church noted in a statement posted on its website Monday.

The Christian Post reached out to Free Methodist World Missions for further comment on Tuesday but one was not available at the time of publication.

Sortor was reportedly taken by a gang of five armed men after they jumped the walls of the Hope Academy compound in Kogi state in Nigeria and fired shots at about 4:30 a.m. Sortor is the financial administrator for Hope Academy, according to the church’s website.

Kogi State Police Commissioner Adeyemi Ogunjemilusi told NBC News that he believes Sortor was targeted by her abductors because no one else was taken or injured and they are now demanding $300,000 to release her.

“We will do all within the available resources to ensure the safe rescue of the victim,” said Ogunjemilusi.

The missionary’s stepson, Richard Sortor, told Q13 Fox that her family in the U.S. haven’t been told much about what happened to her but they are clamoring for her speedy return.

“She was taken in front of her house by three guys with machine guns,” said Sortor, outside the Free Methodist Churchin Seattle, Washington, where parishioners prayed for the abducted missionary’s safe return Monday night.

We are just a working-class family, we don’t have money. That’s not a huge church, they don’t have money. Why they took her, who knows? The people that are doing this stuff, these guys have no backing — they’re just cowards,” he added.

More of this news release with photos at The Christian Post

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UN Report Reveals Israel is Coordinating with ISIS Militants Inside Syria

There is much we poor ignorant American citizens are not in the ‘know’ about. Frankly I’m somewhat glad to be kept in the dark….ignorance can indeed be bliss when the alternative is the realization the world and world’s leaders are insane. This news item is one example.

This story has been completely blacked out in the US and UK English-speaking corporate media, even though the Israeli press has actually reported this numerous times (see multiple links below).

See: UN Report Reveals How Israel is Coordinating with ISIS Militants Inside Syria

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