BREAKING: The Trump-Kim Summit in Singapore was definitely “historic.” Will it also prove successful? Here are 7 things you need to know.

Kim-Trump-handshakeThere’s no question the Singapore Summit between President Trump and Chairman Kim Jong Un has been “historic,” as Mr. Trump noted in his press conference. [Click here for full transcript.] Never before have the most senior leaders of the United States and North Korea ever met face to face, and they have certainly never before shaken hands or embraced each other so warmly.

The question concerns the actual motives and intentions of the regime in Pyongyang.

  1. Is North Korea putting on a big show to buy time to build even more advanced and dangerous nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles?
  2. Or is the Chairman truly serious about completely dismantling and abandoning his nuclear weapons program and long-rang ballistic missiles and determined to make a comprehensive and lasting peace with the U.S., South Korea and his Asian neighbors?

Simply put, the Summit has not answered these questions.

As I wrote in a March 9th Tweet: “Count me skeptical. The chances of North Korea truly giving up its nuclear weapons and ICBM development program are low. More likely, Pyongyang is playing for time to complete missiles that can reach the U.S. But President Trump is right to be willing to explore NK intentions.”

For now, I stand by this view. I’m not a cynic. If the miracle we have long prayed for is coming to pass and Chairman Kim really proves to be serious, we should all rejoice and thank God and all who worked to make this day possible. But we need to be honest: we simply don’t have enough evidence yet to say the danger has passed and peace has come.

The pictures and headlines out of Singapore are remarkable. The details contained in the agreement — so far — are less so.

  • The Japan Times said the agreement “vaguely worded” and “offered no specifics about how the two sides would reach these goals, while also leaving [the term] ‘complete denuclearization’ undefined.”
  • The Wall Street Journal echoed this assessment. “[T]he document, which Mr. Trump described as ‘very comprehensive,’ provided almost no particulars on how to make the denuclearization process quick, verifiable or irreversible—often stated U.S. goals.”
  • The Journal added, “In many ways, the language echoed an agreement signed between North and South Korea in April. It didn’t codify Pyongyang’s unilateral moratorium on nuclear and missile tests, or contain any reference to sanctions relief. It made a general pledge to a security guarantee for North Korea but didn’t offer any specifics or make any mention of the status of U.S. military forces in South Korea.”

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That said, here are seven things you need to know:

  1. President Trump has vowed that he and his team have studied and absorbed the lessons of previous failed diplomatic efforts with North Korea and are determined not to repeat past mistakes. Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama were not able to persuade Pyongyang to truly make peace. Let’s give Mr. Trump sufficient time to prove his deal-making instincts and experience before writing the Summit off as a mere photo-op.
  2. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Advisor John Bolton — the two advisors working most closely with the President during the Summit and months of negotiations — are smart, experienced and honorable men. They are vilified by the media and the Left. But I know these men and I believe it’s possible that they could actually succeed. At present, they are telling reporters that the Summit will set into motion an accelerated process of denuclearization on the Korean peninsula. Let’s be patient and see if this does, in fact, come to pass at all, much less quickly. 
  3. The peace process is like a marathon. The race has finally begun. But the runners have only completed the fifth of 26.2 miles. It’s been a remarkable five miles, but there is a long way to go.
  4. Any final and comprehensive nuclear agreement that the Trump administration makes with North Korea should be submitted to the U.S. Senate for approval as a formal treaty. Many analysts (myself included) made this argument regarding the Iran nuclear deal (in that case, I argued that it should be submitted yet defeated in the Senate). The principle remains the same here. Any agreement that binds U.S. behavior and affects the national security of the American people must meet with approval by two-thirds of the Senators accountable to those people.
  5. If there is one thing that has defined North Korea’s diplomatic process in the past it is the consistent use of deception. In my recent political thriller, The Kremlin Conspiracy, the leaders of Russia and North Korea announce a big “denuclearization” agreement. However, it is a ruse — a deceptive ploy designed to fool the world to lower their collective guard while laying the groundwork for a Russian-North Korean-Iranian nuclear alliance that is planning to attack the United States, Israel and the Western alliance. Could we be seeing this fictional premise play out in real life? (Indeed, I take the premise even further in my next novel, coming out next March.) Perhaps — but let’s hope not.
  6. Some 25 million souls are enslaved by the North Korean regime — with no freedom of speech, no freedom to assemble, no freedom of religion or freedom of the press or any other basic human rights. They don’t have enough food. They don’t have enough fuel. They don’t have enough electricity. Whatever happens, let’s pray faithfully and consistently for their freedom from tyranny and oppression.
  7. Another 51 million souls live in South Korea. They live in a vibrant democracy, a thriving free market economy, and tens of millions have converted from Buddhism and other religions to faith in Jesus Christ over the past half century. Yet they are under the constant threat of attack from the North. The stakes, therefore, are very high. Let us, therefore, be faithful to pray for all the people of Korea — that they would be reunified and that the people of the North will finally enter an era of peace, freedom, spiritual revival and economic growth and opportunity enjoyed by their brothers and sisters in the South.

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Secretary Pompeo’s Iran speech: Tehran hated it. But most Arab & Israeli leaders loved it. So did I. Here’s why.

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(Washington, D.C.) — Iranian leaders hated it. Most European leaders hated it. So did most former advisors to President Obama and Vice President Biden, and most of Washington’s so-called “experts.” But this is hardly news.

What’s fascinating is that most Arab leaders loved it.

I’ve spoken with two very high-ranking Arab officials in recent days about the speech delivered by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at The Heritage Foundation on Monday morning. Both made it clear to me how deeply grateful and appreciative their countries are to the Trump-Pence administration for finally taking a bold, decisive, uncompromising position against Iranian aggression. 

One Arab official told me privately: “It’s like the world is sane again.”

After watching Iran be feted and praised and rewarded and appeased by President Obama and his team over the past eight years, most Sunni Arab leaders are rejoicing that the U.S. is finally treating Iran as the enemy that it is and treating the Arab states and Israel as the friends and allies that they are.

Consider a few of the public statements made by Arab and Israeli leaders:

  • UAE Foreign Minister Anwar Gargash — “Secretary Pompeo’s approach on Iran policy is concise and [a] firm strategy.” He added it is the right path forward is for the U.S. and its allies in the region to be “uniting [our] efforts so that Tehran recognizes the absurdity of its incursions and expansion.”
  • Bahrain’s Foreign Ministry — Bahrain’s Foreign Ministry has said it affirms “full support” for the United States’ strategy toward Iran after America’s top diplomat threatened to impose the “strongest sanctions in history” against Tehran if the country’s leadership did not change the course of its foreign and domestic policy.
  • Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — “We believe that is the right policy,” Netanyahu said. “We believe it is the only policy that can ultimately guarantee the security of the Middle East and bring peace in our region, and we call on all countries to follow America’s lead here, because Iran is an aggressive force.”

Saudi leaders have not commented publicly — yet. But there’s no question they are cheering Pompeo in Riyadh. No Arab leader has been more clear about the severity of the Iran threat than new Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (aka, “MBS”).

“Saudi Arabia does not want to acquire any nuclear bomb, but without a doubt if Iran developed a nuclear bomb, we will follow suit as soon as possible,” MBS recently told 60 Minutes, who likens Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to Adolf Hitler. “He wants to create his own project in the Middle East very much like Hitler, who wanted to expand at the time.”

My own view is that Pompeo’s speech may prove to be the most important address ever delivered by a U.S. Secretary of State. (Can you remember any other? Exactly).

It was smart, concise, clear, principled, and non-belligerent. Pompeo wasn’t calling for war. He said the best case scenario was a real treaty with Iran. But only if Iran changes its behavior. 

What’s more, Pompeo’s speech was immensely unifying. I support the move of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, though I know it grieved many of our Arab friends. That said, it’s worth making this observation: The more the U.S. focuses on Jerusalem going forward, the more we divide our Mideast allies. The more the U.S. focuses on the Iran threat — and shows real leadership in countering Tehran’s malign influence — the more we bring our Arab and Israeli friends together in common cause against a serious enemy.

I highly encourage you to read and/or watch the full speech. Below are also some note-worthy excerpts you might find helpful. 

“[W]while to some the changes in Iranian behavior we seek may seem unrealistic, we should recall that what we are pursuing was the global consensus before the JCPOA. For example, in 2012, President Obama said, quote, ‘The deal we’ll accept is [that] they end their nuclear program,’ end of quote. That didn’t happen. In 2006, the P5 voted at the Security Council for Iran to immediately suspend all enrichment activities. That didn’t happen. In 2013, the French foreign minister said he was wary of being sucked into a, quote, ‘con game,’ end of quote, over allowing Iran to continue uranium enrichment. In 2015, John Kerry said, quote, ‘We don’t recognize the right to enrich,’ end of quote. Yet the Iranians are enriching even as we sit here today. So we’re not asking anything other than that Iranian behavior be consistent with global norms, global norms widely recognized before the JCPOA. And we want to eliminate their capacity to threaten our world with those nuclear activities.”

TOUGHER SANCTIONS: “First, we will apply unprecedented financial pressure on the Iranian regime. The leaders in Tehran will have no doubt about our seriousness. Thanks to our colleagues at the Department of Treasury, sanctions are going back in full effect and new ones are coming….This sting of sanctions will be painful if the regime does not change its course from the unacceptable and unproductive path it has chosen to one that rejoins the league of nations. These will indeed end up being the strongest sanctions in history when we are complete.”

MILITARY DETERRENCE: “Second, I will work closely with the Department of Defense and our regional allies to deter Iranian aggression. We will ensure freedom of navigation on the waters in the region. We will work to prevent and counteract any Iranian malign cyber activity. We will track down Iranian operatives and their Hizballah proxies operating around the world and we will crush them. Iran will never again have carte blanche to dominate the Middle East. And I’d remind the leadership in Iran what President Trump said: If they restart their nuclear program, it will mean bigger problems – bigger problems than they’d ever had before.”

SUPPORT FOR THE IRANIAN PEOPLE: “Third, we will also advocate tirelessly for the Iranian people. The regime must improve how it treats its citizens. It must protect the human rights of every Iranian. It must cease wasting Iran’s wealth abroad. We ask that our international partners continue to add their voice to ours in condemning Iran’s treatment of its own citizens.”

OPEN TO NEW NEGOTIATIONS: “We’re open to new steps with not only our allies and partners, but with Iran as well. But only if Iran is willing to make major changes. As President Trump said two weeks ago, he is ready, willing, and able to negotiate a new deal. But the deal is not the objective. Our goal is to protect the American people. Any new agreement will make sure Iran never acquires a nuclear weapon, and will deter the regime’s malign behavior in a way that the JCPOA never could. We will not repeat the mistakes of past administrations, and we will not renegotiate the JCPOA itself. The Iranian wave of destruction in the region in just the last few years is proof that Iran’s nuclear aspirations cannot be separated from the overall security picture….Also, in contrast to the previous administration, we want to include Congress as a partner in this process. We want our efforts to have broad support with the American people and endure beyond the Trump Administration. A treaty would be our preferred way to go.”

TWELVE SPECIFIC DEMANDS OF IRAN: “[This] list is pretty long, but if you take a look at it, these are 12 very basic requirements. The length of the list is simply a scope of the malign behavior of Iran. We didn’t create the list, they did. From my conversations with European friends, I know that they broadly share these same views of what the Iranian regime must do to gain acceptance in the international community. I ask that America’s allies join us in calling for the Iranian Government to act more responsibly.”

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Speaker Ryan is a good man in a cynical town. He deserves tremendous credit for his historic conservative achievements. And he’s absolutely right to put his family first. Let’s keep him in our prayers. A few thoughts.

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(Washington, D.C.) — Life can be funny. You never know who you’re going to meet along the way.

In 1993-1994, Paul Ryan and I worked together as policy analysts for a conservative organization called Empower America. He worked out of one cubicle, primarily as an aide to former Housing Secretary Jack Kemp. I worked in the cubicle next to him, primarily as an aide to former Education Secretary and Drug Czar Bill Bennett.

Everyone in the office could see that Paul — only 23 at the time (I was only 25) — was smart as a whip, creative, highly energetic, devout in his Catholic faith, and the definition of “Midwestern Nice.” There was no question this guy was going to make a major impact if he chose to stay in Washington. I can’t say, however, that in our crystal ball any of us saw he was going to go on become the Vice Presidential nominee in 2012 or unanimously drafted (against his will, mind you) to become the Speaker of the House.

But that’s where he is today — the third highest-ranking elected official in the American government, second in line for the presidency only behind Vice President Mike Pence.

At only 48, Paul deserves tremendous credit for his historic conservative achievements:

  • passing the largest tax cuts and tax reform in U.S. history
  • passing budgets to dramatically rebuild the U.S. military and pay our troops and veterans more
  • creating an environment of true free market reform and economic growth
  • helping reduce unemployment for all Americans — especially black and Hispanic workers — to record lows
  • creating enterprise and empowerment zones in America’s inner-cities;
  • passing some of the strongest pro-life legislation in history;
  • defending religious freedom at home and abroad; and
  • always working tirelessly to strengthen U.S. critically important ties to Israel and our Sunni Arab allies.

That’s just to name a few — and it should be noted that he actually helped craft and pass far more sweeping reforms through the House that were, unfortunately, not passed by the Senate (including the repeal and replacement of ObamaCare.)

What’s more, he helped conservatives retake the House of Representatives from the liberals and hold the majority for several cycles. He’s worked closely and effectively with President Trump even while at times disagreeing with him. He’s set an example of working closely with Democrats whenever he could. And — less noticed — he’s made it a point to consistently visit inner cities, build relationships with black, Hispanic and other minority communities, listen to their concerns and seek ways to empower them in a way that reveals his deepest convictions.

Is there more we could have asked for in a Speaker? I submit the answer is no. Paul would be the first to say he’s made mistakes and this hasn’t been a perfect ride. But the naysayers are asking for perfection and will never be satisfied.

Recently, Paul announced he will retire in January. He’s not just stepping down from being Speaker; he’s leaving Congress altogether. His reasons are clear and admirable: he’s a husband and father first. He’s gotten almost everything done he set out to do when he came to Congress two decades ago. Now his kids are teenagers. He doesn’t want to be a “weekend dad” any longer. He wants to make his wife, Janna, and their kids the center of his life. He wants to move back to Wisconsin to be with family and friends. He wants to travel less, hunt more, and see what God would have him do next.

Bravo. He is absolutely doing the right thing and I couldn’t be happier for his decision or more grateful for the service he’s given the country.

What a joy it was, therefore, to be invited to come over to see him in the Capitol yesterday. I introduced him to my 19 year old son, Jonah; presented him with a copy of my latest political thriller, The Kremlin Conspiracy; and we caught up a bit on old times and what has happened since.

The Speaker is a good man in a cynical town. He’s a humble and honorable leader doing a brutally tough job in an often thankless environment. I was glad to be able to tell him thank you, and honestly tell him that I pray for him and his family and team daily. I hope he’s in your prayers, as well.

God bless you, Paul — finish well — I’m eager to see what the next chapter of life holds for you and your dear family!

SpeakerRyan-presentingnovel

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ALL EYES ON THE EPICENTER: Israel turns 70. US Embassy moves to Jerusalem. 50,000 Palestinians trying to storm Israel’s southern border. Al Qaeda calls for new jihad. Yet tourism at record highs. Please pray. Here’s the latest.

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UPDATED: (Jerusalem, Israel) — Shalom from Jerusalem. Please keep both Israelis and Palestinians in your prayers today and all month. If there was ever a time to pray for the peace of Jerusalem, this would be it for we are in a unique moment in history.

The mood here among Israeli Jews is celebratory — festive, jubilant — as Washington formally moves her Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem today in official recognition that Jerusalem is the capital of the State of Israel. The move was timed to coincide with the 70th anniversary of the modern rebirth of Israel. There are American flags everywhere. Israelis are so grateful for the friendship and alliance of the U.S. and are expressing this openly.

Most Palestinians, however — and particularly Palestinian Authority leaders — are furious with the move. President Mahmoud Abbas and P.A. officials have chosen to boycott all meetings with U.S. representatives for the foreseeable future. [UPDATE: Abbas blasts U.S. Embassy Move: An insult to the world and to the Palestinians.]

The latest rhetoric against Israel by Palestinian leaders and Iranian leaders is as dark as ever. Terrorist attacks against Israel are increasing. What’s more, some radical Islamist leaders are threatening all-out war against the Jewish State. 

That said, it does not feel dangerous in Jerusalem or most population centers in Israel. Tens of thousands of police and security officials are on the streets of Jerusalem and deployed around the country. Most of the attacks are occurring on the southern border with Gaza, the northern border with Syria, and against Israeli settlers in Judea and Samaria (commonly known as the West Bank).

Tourism to Israel is at an all-time high — no tour groups go anywhere near dangerous areas. “An all-time record 3.6 million tourists visited Israel in 2017 — 25% more than in 2016,” reported Globes, a publication which tracks the Israeli economy. “The country from which the largest number of tourists to Israel come is the US — over 700,000 tourists — 21% more than in 2016.” In fact, tourism in 2018 is hitting record-highs, as well.

Lynn and I live in Jerusalem with our sons and we don’t feel worried. We remain on track for welcoming The Joshua Fund tour here in July, and hosting the Epicenter Prayer Summit. Indeed, I’ve also been speaking to numerous Evangelical tour groups that have been visiting here in recent months and everything has been safe and wonderful.

That said, here are the latest developments worth noting. These are among the many reasons we would be grateful for your faithful and ongoing prayers.

  • At this hour, an estimated 50,000 Palestinians in Gaza are participating in a “Day of Rage” against Israel. Many are trying to tear down, burn down, or blow up the security fence that protects our southern border and to storm into Israel en masse
  • Reports in recent days said as many as 100,000 Palestinians were planning to participate. So far it hasn’t got that big — but the violence is real. 
  • “The IDF killed three [Palestinian] terrorists who tried to plant an explosive device in the Rafah area and attacked a Hamas post in the northern strip after shots were fired on soldiers,” reported Ynet News. As of 4pm Israel time, 37 Palestinians had been killed and hundreds more wounded trying to destroy the security fence and penetrate into Israel. 
  • UPDATE: As of 6pm local time, 43 Palestinians have reportedly been killed trying to penetrate Israel’s southern border fence with Gaza.
  • UPDATE: As of 8pm local time, the Palestinian death toll has climbed to 52 people — and the Israeli Air Force struck Hamas targets in Gaza.
  • UPDATE: As of 9am local time on Tuesday, the Palestinian death toll has climbed to 58 people.  
  • UPDATE: IDF calls Gaza riots “unprecedented,” insists it followed rules as dozens killed — “Army spokesman says Hamas sent 12 cells to breach border; adds that despite bribes and threats, it failed to bring out the masses it hoped; blames terror group for high death toll,” reports the Times of Israel.
  • UPDATE: On Friday, “a group of some 200 Palestinians…set fire to the Gaza Strip’s only fuel terminal and a conveyor belt used for raw construction materials. Two conveyor belts which brought animal feed into Gaza were also wrecked, according to the deputy director of the crossing,” reported the Times of Israel. “According to assessments by Israeli and Palestinian engineers, it will take weeks to repair the damage to the pipelines, which brought diesel and gasoline into Gaza. There is no alternative. ‘There’s just no possibility [now] to bring fuel into Gaza,’ said the senior officer from the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories liaison unit.”
  • Since President Trump announced in December his intention to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem in keeping with U.S. law (originally passed in 1995 and unanimously reaffirmed by the Senate in 2017), the number of Palestinian terrorist attacks against Israeli soldiers and military sites has tripled
  • This month, Iran directly engaged Israel militarily for the first-time ever. The attack came just after Prime Minister Netanyahu announced the Mossad had stolen 100,000 top secret Iranian nuclear warhead documents, and President Trump formally announced his decision to withdraw the U.S. from the deeply flawed and dangerous nuclear deal with Iran. “Iranian forces fired 20 rockets at Israel Defense Forces positions in the Golan Heights on Wednesday night. Four of the rockets aimed toward Israel were intercepted by the Iron Dome air defense system while the remaining rockets exploded on Syrian territory, the [Israeli] military said,” reported Haaretz. “The Iranian attack prompted the most extensive Israeli strike on Syria in decades; overnight, Israel openly attacked dozens of Iranian military and logistics targets in Syria.”
  • Meanwhile, Ayman al-Zawahiri — the Egyptian-born head of Al Qaeda — has just made a new call for Muslims to wage “jihad” against Israel.
  • UPDATE: Al-Qaida chief claims Tel Aviv is ‘Muslim land’
  • And a top Shia religious cleric in Iran has just vowed that “Tel Aviv and Haifa will be totally destroyed” if Israel continues to behave “foolishly” (i.e., exist and defend herself), repeating yet again the kind of belligerent rhetoric that has characterized the Iranian regime for decades.

That’s where we are at the moment. I promise to keep you posted and encourage you to follow me on Twitter for the up-to-the-minute updates.

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BREAKING: Iran vows “revenge” attacks against Israel. Tehran launches missile attacks on Israel overnight. Israel hits 50+ Iranian targets in Syria. Tensions spiking. Israel tells residents to unlock & prepare bomb shelters. Here’s the latest.

(Jerusalem, Israel) — Tensions between Iran and Israel are spiking dramatically after four major recent events:

  1. Israel stole 100,000 top secret Iranian nuclear weapons documents and then revealed them to the world.
  2. President Trump denounced the fatally flawed Iran nuclear deal (JCPOA) and announced the U.S. is withdrawing from the agreement and will impose tough sanctions.
  3. Israel has repeatedly attacked Iranian military bases in Syria, vowing to prevent Iran from building a permanent military presence on Israel’s northern border.
  4. President Trump on Monday will formally move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Overnight, Iran fired dozens of missiles and rockets at northern Israeli towns and military bases. Israel hit Iranian forces in Syria again.

More than ever, I’d ask readers to pray for the peace of Jerusalem and everyone in the region, and to mobilize others to pray, as well. 

While the prospect for a full-blown war is growing, I’m not convinced Iran’s leaders feel the time is ripe to go all-out against Israel. I’ll provide more analysis in the days ahead. But here’s some of the Israeli media coverage worth noting at the moment.

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BREAKING NEWS: President Trump keeps promise to withdraw from dangerous Iran nuclear deal. Will impose severe new sanctions on Tehran. This is the right decision & the President deserves tremendous credit. But pray for peace in the region. Things might get bumpy. Here’s the latest.

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(Jerusalem, Israel) — After a careful policy review by senior administration officials, and consultation with a wide range of U.S. allies, President Donald Trump today kept his promise by announcing the U.S. will terminate the nuclear deal that President Obama and Secretary John Kerry negotiated with Iran.

The President also announced the U.S. will imposing severe economic sanctions on the terrorist regime in Tehran.

  • Read full text of the President’s speech
  • Watch video of the President’s speech

This was absolutely the right decision, and the President deserves tremendous credit.

As I’ve noted previously: “The President should scrap this insane and dangerous deal. 1) It’s not a real treaty signed by both sides. 2) It wasn’t confirmed by the U.S. Senate according to the Constitutional process. 3) The deal does not stop Iran from building or buying an entire nuclear arsenal in the near future. 4) Iranian leaders lied repeatedly through the entire process. They cannot and should not be trusted to keep their word, especially since they continually call for the U.S. and Israel to be annihilated.”

To read fact sheet I wrote in 2015 detailing why deal is so dangerous, please click here.

Most of America’s Sunni Arab allies — especially the Saudis and Gulf emirates — are cheering the decision tonight. So is the government of Israel. That said, most Western Europeans oppose the President’s decision, as do Russia and China.

More than ever, please pray for the peace of Jerusalem and all the peoples of the Middle East. Things might get bumpy.

The Iran nuclear deal decision — along with President Trump’s decision to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, the site of Israel’s capital — are being praised by many here. But both decisions pour gasoline on the fire Iran has been stoking for years as they try to rally jihadists to attack the U.S. and Israel.

The apocalyptic regime in Tehran is by far the most dangerous terror regime in the region. What makes them even more dangerous is that have the full backing of its main ally, Vladimir Putin of Russia.

There may be very challenging days ahead in this part of the world. Iran has been repeatedly humiliated by the U.S. and Israel in recent months as both allies are showing more resolve at pushing back on Tehran’s thus-far nearly unchecked aggression. Tehran is looking for a way to hit the U.S. and Israel — and hard. But this is all the more reason to show firmness and unity. You only get peace through strength.

“The Iran deal was one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the United States has ever entered into,” the President said at the White House.

“This was a horrible one-sided deal that should have never, ever been made,” Mr. Trump said, according to a report by the New York Times. “It didn’t bring calm, it didn’t bring peace, and it never will.”

Excerpts from the official White House news release:

  • President Trump is terminating United States participation in the JCPOA, as it failed to protect America’s national security interests.
  • The JCPOA enriched the Iranian regime and enabled its malign behavior, while at best delaying its ability to pursue nuclear weapons and allowing it to preserve nuclear research and development.
  • The President has directed his Administration to immediately begin the process of re-imposing sanctions related to the JCPOA.
  • The re-imposed sanctions will target critical sectors of Iran’s economy, such as its energy, petrochemical, and financial sectors.
    • Those doing business in Iran will be provided a period of time to allow them to wind down operations in or business involving Iran.
  • Those who fail to wind down such activities with Iran by the end of the period will risk severe consequences.
  • United States withdrawal from the JCPOA will pressure the Iranian regime to alter its course of malign activities and ensure that Iranian bad acts are no longer rewarded.  As a result, both Iran and its regional proxies will be put on notice.  As importantly, this step will help ensure global funds stop flowing towards illicit terrorist and nuclear activities.

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Only 20 seats left — register today for The Joshua Fund’s Israel tour and 2018 Epicenter Prayer Summit in July! I would so love to welcome you & your family to this extraordinary city and country.

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Dear friends —

We only have 20 spots left!

If you’ve ever wanted to tour Israel with me and The Joshua Fund — and attend the 2018 Epicenter Prayer Summit in Jerusalem — you need to register immediately.

As God moves so powerfully in this region, as prophecies come to pass, as the Church faces enormous challenges, the need has never been greater to pray for the peace of Jerusalem. And where better to do that than actually in Jerusalem?

The Epicenter Prayer Summit will be the first we’ve ever held and the centerpiece of The Joshua Fund’s next “Prayer & Vision Tour” of Israel.

The tour will take place July 3 – July 15, 2018. Lord willing, we’ll take you to:

  • Jerusalem
  • Caesarea
  • Galilee
  • Nazareth
  • Bethlehem
  • and so many other Biblical sites.

Not only will you have the opportunity to walk where Jesus and the apostles and the prophets walked, and study the Scriptures, and worship together, and fellowship with Israeli and Palestinian believers — you’ll also participate in a Joshua Fund project to care for the poor and needy and touch lives directly with God’s love and mercy!

We so hope you will join us.

Keynote speakers for the Summit include Anne Graham Lotz, Dr. Ronnie Floyd and myself. Also speaking will be local pastors and ministry leaders on the frontlines of the faith. We will be joined by leaders of various Israeli Jewish, Israeli Arab and Palestinian Arab ministries as they share about what they see the Lord doing from their unique vantage points. They will also be sharing real-time prayer requests for their ministries, as well as praying for unity among the brethren in the Land.

The focus of the Summit will be the urgency of praying for the peace of Jerusalem, preaching the Gospel to all people in the Epicenter and asking the Lord to pour out His Holy Spirit to bring about a revival in His Church and a sweeping spiritual awakening in the Land and throughout the region.

Please register before all the seats are taken. I would love to welcome you to this remarkable city and incredible Land!

Yours to bless Israel and her neighbors in the name of Jesus,

Joel C. Rosenberg

Chairman and Founder of The Joshua Fund

>> LAST CHANCE: Register today for The Joshua Fund’s 2018 tour of Israel and the Epicenter Prayer Summit while there is still space — please click here.

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BREAKING: World leaders from UN to EU to Germany & US condemn Mahmoud Abbas for anti-Semitic speech. NYT editorial calls for Palestinian President to step down. The post-Abbas era is approaching. Here’s the latest.

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(Jerusalem) — In January, I said on Fox News that “we may be heading for a post-Abbas era.” That day just grew much closer.

World leaders from the United Nations to the European Union to the German government and the U.S. are publicly condemning a speech Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas gave this week as “anti-Semitic,” “vile,” “ugly” and “unacceptable.” Personally, I can’t remember such governments ever rebuking the Palestinian leader in such strong and unified terms.

And in another unprecedented development, the editorial board of the New York Times is now calling on the 82-year old Abbas — currently serving the 13th year of his four year term — to step down and give the Palestinian people the opportunity for a new leader “with energy, integrity and vision.”

As noted, the editorial board of the New York Times — long a harsh critic of the Israeli government and sympathizer with Mr. Abbas — made the stunning decision to call the Palestinian leader to step down. Excerpts:

  • “Feeding reprehensible anti-Semitic myths and conspiracy theories in a speech on Monday, the Palestinian Authority president, Mahmoud Abbas, shed all credibility as a trustworthy partner if the Palestinians and Israelis ever again have the nerve to try negotiations….
  • Mr. Abbas’s anti-Semitic tendencies are not new. In the 1980s, he wrote a dissertation that seemed to question the widely accepted Holocaust death toll of six million Jews….
  • “Mr. Abbas, who oversees a governing system plagued by corruption and dysfunction, has lost support among the Palestinian people.

  • “He has weakened government institutions that are essential for a future state and refused to call new elections, thus overstaying his term by many years and preventing younger leaders from emerging.

  • “He has also failed to unify the Palestinians in the West Bank, where his Fatah faction dominates, with those in the even more desperate circumstances of the Gaza Strip, where Hamas holds sway.

  • :Even in this gloomy climate, however, Mr. Abbas’s vile speech was a new low. No doubt he feels embittered and besieged on all sides. But by succumbing to such dark, corrosive instincts he showed that it is time for him to step down.”

Please pray for Mr. Abbas, his family and his advisors. Please pray, too, for the Palestinian people both in the West Bank and in Gaza, where they live under the slavery and tyranny of Hamas. God loves the Palestinian people, and so must we. They need better. They deserve better. May the Lord show them much grace and mercy.

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I’m deeply disappointed the President has paid hush money to a porn star. Shouldn’t we Evangelicals be saddened, and say so? A few thoughts.

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While I can’t believe this is a sentence I’d ever have to write, I must be honest.

I’m deeply disappointed the President of the United States paid hush money to a porn star, and that he felt he had to.

Does it negate all the positive policy measures he has undertaken since he took office, from promoting a solid pro-growth and pro-life agenda to boosting defense spending tor rebuild the U.S. military, and strengthening U.S. foreign policy and alliances with key allies like Israel and our Sunni Arab partners? 

No.

But we Evangelicals must be honest — this is sad, and it devalues the presidency.

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Yes, other presidents and prime ministers have made decisions we have felt were deeply offensive, both in and out of office. It was as true in Biblical times as it is today. But are we not saddened by such things?

Yes, love and forgiveness and grace are central tenets of our faith, and should be now — amen. But should we not begin by “speaking the truth in love,” as the Scriptures teach? Thus, should we as Evangelicals express our disappointment and our sense of sadness at what is unfolding?

Fortunately, no one is beyond God’s mercies. That is the wonderful news of the Gospel message. All can be forgiven through true repentance and sincere faith in the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. Sinners like me. Sinners like you.

Upon the occasion of the National Day of Prayer, let us redouble our commitment to praying daily and faithfully for the President, his wife and his family, and for all our leaders and our nation — indeed, for all of America.

May we all, in whatever nation we live, turn this week to the Scriptures — the Gospels, in particular — and rediscover, or discover for the first time, the great God of amazing grace.

BREAKING NEWS: Netanyahu reveals stunning intelligence coup — Mossad captured 100,000 top secret Iranian documents & videos proving Tehran is aggressively pursuing nuclear weapons arsenal. (Here’s the full text & video of the dramatic TV broadcast.)

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(Jerusalem, Israel) — In a dramatic presentation that seemed ripped out of an international political thriller but was actually broadcast live to the nation of Israel in prime time this evening, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu unveiled a major coup by Israeli intelligence services.

The Mossad, Israel’s foreign spy agency, has stolen thousands of top secret Iranian documents proving conclusively Iranian leaders are lying when they say they have no intention of building nuclear weapons.

“A few weeks ago, in a great intelligence achievement, Israel obtained half a ton of the material inside these [previously secret Iranian] vaults,” he noted. “And here’s what we got. Fifty-five thousand pages. Another 55,000 files on 183 CDs.”

All of the material — some 100,000 documents, plus photos, blueprints and videos from inside Iran’s clandestine nuclear weapons program — are highly classified Iranian documents that “the world has never seen before,” Netanyahu said in a speech given first in English and concluded in Hebrew.

The materials provides “new and conclusive proof of the secret nuclear weapons program that Iran has been hiding for years from the international community in its secret atomic archive.”

Netanyahu explained that all of the material has been shared with — and verified by — the U.S. government, and will soon be shared with the IAEA, the U.N.’s nuclear watchdog agency, and with other governments. [UPDATE: U.S. Confirms Authenticity of Secret Iran Nuclear Docs, Officials See Game Over for Deal — Trump administration officials praise Netanyahu’s ‘powerful presentation’]

“What I’ve shown you tonight is just a fraction of the total material that we have. But even from this sample, you can draw four main conclusions,” Netanyahu said.

  1. First, Iran lied about never having a nuclear weapons program. 100,000 secret files prove that they lied.
  2. Second, even after the deal, Iran continued to preserve and expand its nuclear weapons know-how for future use. Why would a terrorist regime hide and meticulously catalogue its secret nuclear files, if not to use them at a later date.
  3. Third, Iran lied again in 2015, when it didn’t come clean to the IAEA, as required by the nuclear deal.
  4. And finally, the Iran deal, the nuclear deal, is based on lies. It’s based on Iranian lies and Iranian deception. 100,000 files right here prove that they lied.”

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“So here’s the bottom line,” Netanyahu noted. “Iran continues to lie. Just last week, [Iranian Foreign Minister Javad] Zarif said this : ‘We never wanted to produce a bomb.’ Again [repeats video clip]: ‘We never wanted to produce a bomb.’ Yes you did. Yes you do. And the atomic archive proves it.”
 
Netanyahu argued that nuclear deal negotiated and championed by President Obama and other world leaders gave Iran “a clear pass to an atomic arsenal.”

“It does so because it gives them the three components that are necessary to produce this arsenal,” he said. “First, unlimited enrichment in a few years. And they plan to do that. They plan to have several hundred thousand advanced centrifuges with which they can enrich mountains of uranium for that core that I showed you before. For many, many such cores. Second, it completely fails to address Iran’s continued development of ballistic missiles. And third, and this is new, it completely fails to address Iran’s secret nuclear bomb program and its advanced work on weaponization. We just did.”
 
“So this is a terrible deal,” Netanyahu concluded. “It should never have been concluded. And in a few days’ time, President Trump will decide, will make a decision on what to do with the nuclear deal. I’m sure he’ll do the right thing. The right thing for the United States, the right thing for Israel and the right thing for the peace of the world.”

TEXT & VIDEO

BREAKING PRESS COVERAGE & ANALYSIS

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