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IsraCast update:

Has China leaned on North Korea to deliberately sabotage its own missile test? If so, it would be a crafty stratagem to diffuse the dangerous confrontation between North Korea and the US. All sides will now be able to step back from what could have escalated into an explosion no country wants at this stage. Overall, it looks a little fishy - if this was not a planned stunt, it should have been.

The eyes of the world are now focused on the North Korean nuclear test site and the US naval ships patrolling in the region that may again launch Tomahawk missiles, this time into North Korea. If so, what happens then? Will North Korean tyrant Kim Jong Un then declare an all-out retaliatory war against South Korea, America's ally? Then the next domino to fall could be the American decimation of North Korea's military might. With five nuclear weapons tests now under its belt, Pyongyang is now bent on acquiring ICBMs capable of reaching the West Coast of the US, and he brazenly threatens to use them - if not now, then in the future. After dispatching an aircraft carrier group capable of launching more Tomahawk missiles at the North Korean rest site, Trump has declared he will not allow the North Koreans to acquire such a capability. And so the rhetoric escalates.

Fresh from his punitive strike against Syria for its latest chemical weapons attack, and after dropping 'the Mother of All Bombs' on a Daesh fortification in Afghanistan, Trump has rebuilt America's military credibility that was conceded by his predecessor Barack Obama. But whereas Russian dictator Vladimir Putin is a sane Machiavellian, Kim Jong Un is considered to be somewhat of a raving lunatic. Consider this: when Trump issued the order to launch the Cruise missiles at the Syrian air base, it was a safe bet that Putin would not risk a dangerous confrontation with America for the sake of the 'Butcher of Damascus', Bashar Assad.

At this juncture, Trump has jettisoned Obama's 'leading from behind' double-talk, and restored America's leadership of the Free World by following in the footsteps of another predecessor in the White House, Ronald Reagan:

       "There are no easy answers but there are no simple answers either. We must have the courage to do what is morally right. Today we did what we had to do. They counted on America to be passive. They counted wrong.”

So how to cope with the threat of another North Korean test that is probably designed to develop a nuclear warhead for an ICBM intercontinental ballistic missile that could threaten the West Coast of the US? If Trump launches Tomahawks or drops a MOAB on North Korea, Kim Jong Un threatens to retaliate against South Korea. Then all bets are off. Obviously, if this current confrontation spirals out of control, Trump would have to pay a very high price, that of a North Korean assault on South Korea. And who knows how far Pyongyang could go - Kim Jong Un might himself go ballistic!

US military action in Middle East?

In retrospect, it can be said that Trump's decisions to attack in Syria and Afghanistan were cool and calculated and taken on and with the advice of his top advisers, including two highly respected military experts - Defense Secretary Gen. James Mattis and National Security Adviser Gen. H.R. McMaster. Note that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was about to visit Moscow, where he is known to have excellent relations with President Vladimir Putin. Tillerson was left with the job of smoothing Putin's ruffled feathers. Nonetheless, in the aftermath of America's new more aggressive role, Russia, Iran and Syria have warned they will retaliate if the US again strikes Syria. But if Assad does not order any more poison gas attacks (which he swears he doesn't have) Trump has no intention of again launching the Tomahawks - and 'Bob's your uncle'. This is how deals are done.

But North Korea is a different can-of-worms altogether. Although Russia has a very short border with North Korea, China is the big power broker in South East Asia. When Trump met Chinese President Xi Jinping in Florida recently, the two leaders tried hard to resolve their differences over the huge trade deficit in favor of China. Beijing has been exerting pressure on North Korea. For example, an official Chinese newspaper wrote that it would be nice if America's MOAB, that was dropped on Daesh forces in Afghanistan, would frighten Pyongyang. However, the editorial also warned that its actual impact may have been the opposite. It stands to reason that Trump will again base his final decision if North Korea does conduct another nuclear test on the expert advice he receives from his top military advisers.

Good Samaritan stabbed to death by Palestinian …

Hannah Bladon

If there is a life ever-after, British student Hannah Bladon should be welcomed as a saint. An exchange student from Birmingham University, Hannah was traveling on the light-rail train in Jerusalem when she was stabbed to death by a deranged Palestinian, Jamil Tamimi. She had been sitting on a seat in the coach packed with passengers during the Passover holiday when she noticed a young mother standing nearby who was holding a baby. Hannah promptly stood up and offered her seat and then stood next to a 57-year-old Palestinian. If she had not given up her seat and changed her place, the killer would have attacked the mother and baby, probably not her.

The same day the Palestinian had been released from a mental institution where he had tried to commit suicide. Earlier in the morning, Tamimi had bought a knife for the stabbing and boarded the light train. Later the killer told police that when he saw an IDF soldier armed with a rifle traveling in the same car, he thought if he stabbed someone the soldier would shoot him. Tamimi had planned to commit suicide after his family had informed him they wanted nothing more to do with him because he had sexually abused his own daughter.

The mental patient stabbed Hannah repeatedly before an off-duty Israeli policeman pounced on him bare-handed. But it was too late - Hannah died in the ambulance on the way to Hadassah Ein Karem Hospital. The Palestinian was arrested virtually unharmed.

Hannah Bladon was an outstanding student, active in her church activities, and was taking biblical and archaeology courses at Hebrew University. She had sent messages to her family about how happy she was to be in Jerusalem.


David Essing 

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