|Prime Minister Sharon looks on weapons seized by the Arab ship,"Kairne A"
Senior leaders in the Palestinian Armed Forces meet with Yasser Arafat to propose a bold plan for acquiring weapons from Iran for a major attack on Israel. Arafat gives approval. The plan is set in motion.
Israeli secret intelligence becomes suspicious as they get information of Fouad Shubaki and A'adel Mugrabi (chief weapons purchasers for Palestinian security forces) negotiating with Hizbollah agents in Lebanon and purchasing a large ship by the name of Karine A. Over 1000 Israeli intelligence workers begin to work to discover the meaning of the plan.
Tens of millions of dollars are given by Arafat to buy the ship and the weapons. Hizbollah takes the information to Iran. There, over fifty tons of weaponry and ammunition are prepared.
In Iran a special flotation device is designed whereby the weapons can be stored floating one meter below the surface of the water, with only an innocent looking buoy visible to the eye above.
A crew of Egyptians and Jordanians who apparently know nothing of the plan are employed to take the ship to Iran. The commanders are all Palestinian, officers in the Palestinian Coast Guard. The commander is Onar Akhavi, colonel in the Palestinian Naval forces. They tell the crew that they are transporting televisions, radios and other electronic devices for sale.
Ship Karine A and crew arrive at the Island of Kish, off shore from Iran. There they are met by an Iranian military transport ship. Iranian army commanders oversee the transfer of the weapons onto the Karine A. The ship turns and starts making its way back toward the Red Sea.
Israeli intelligence pieces together the plan. The Karine A is to go up the Red Sea through the Suez Canal to Alexandria. There the 83 secret Iranian flotation containers will be transferred into three smaller ships. Those ships will take them off shore from Gaza and place them in the sea with only the innocent bouys showing above the water. From there, Palestinian Coastguard units will retrieve weapons and bring them into Gaza.
The most significant of the weapons are 120 mm katyushas with 20 km firing range. This would effectively put all of the population of Jerusalem, Netanya, Tel Aviv, Ashdod, and Ashkelon under attack.
Israeli Commander and Chief, Shaul Mofaz, and Dan Chalutz, Commander of the Israeli Airforce, and Yedidia Ya'ari, Commander of the Israeli Navy, are secretly brought in through the back door of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's office. There they present to him the situation, along with their proposal for a commando takeover of the ship. Sharon approves.
Some consideration was given to wait until the weapons were distributed to the three smaller ships in Egypt, and then overtake them in the Mediterranean. However, that could have complicated issues with the Egyptians and possibly made it difficult to capture all the weapons once they had been transferred to the smaller units.
The other option was to overtake it in the southern part of the Red Sea, but that would require a much longer distance for Israel's commando units to get to the ship and a variety of tactical difficulties. The Red Sea option was chosen.
On the Karine A's journey there is a slight accident and one of the weapons containers is opened. The Jordanian and Egyptian crewmembers see the weapons and are frightened. They all ask to be removed from the ship. The Palestinian commanders tell them if they try to leave they will be murdered.
As the ship enters the Red Sea, it stops briefly in Yemen for repairs, and then starts to proceed up the Red Sea.
For three weeks the commando units of the Israeli Air Force and Israeli Navy have undergone intense training and simulations to ready themselves for the mission. The unit officer (whose name has been withheld) who is on reserve duty, having led several successful operations in the past, is asked to come on board to lead the operation.
Wednesday, January 2, 2002
The Karine A is traveling north on the Red Sea between Saudi Arabia on the east and Sudan on the west. It reaches the straits of Bab-el-mendav. Israeli Naval forces take off from Eilat. The sea commando units are in Divora patrol boats.
The air commando units take off in a transport helicopter being accompanied by Apache fighter helicopters. Commanders Mofaz, Halutz and Ya'ari are circling high overhead in an army jet. They are in constant touch with the mission commanders below and report every thirty minutes to Sharon.
The first obstacle is the distance. They have approximately 500 km to travel to arrive to the boat. A refueling operation has to take place along the way.
Thursday, 3:30 AM
The patrol boats arrive at a distance from the Karine A. Rubberized commando rafts are placed in the water and the sea commando unit enters the rafts and starts heading toward the ship. Here they encounter the second obstacle, that the water is more turbulent than expected. Yet the rafts make it to the side of the boat.
Exactly 4:00 AM
The sea units begin to climb up the side of the boat as the transport helicopter hovers overhead and drops down ropes to the deck. The air commando units begin to slide down the ropes from the helicopters onto the deck. The air commandos and the sea commandos meet on the deck.
Time is of the essence. Some of the soldiers rush toward the control room. They get there before the crewmembers can get to their weapons. A brief hand fight breaks out, but no shots are fired. The Israeli soldiers take over the control room. There were only three crewmen there. The rest of the crew was still asleep. They are handcuffed in their beds and blindfolded and separated from one another.
4:08 AM Eight minutes after the commandos hit the deck, an Israeli flag is raised up the pole.
4:10 AM Ariel Sharon receives a one-sentence phone call from Commander and Chief Mofaz. "It's in our hands. Mission successful." Nothing more is stated for fear of interception.
The commando units begin to bring the ship on its way toward Eilat. No one in the press is told. While the ship is on the way the entire mission remains a secret.
By coincidence or no coincidence, American envoy General Zinni had arrived in Israel the previous day. Sharon briefs him about the mission. On Thursday Zinni meets with Arafat and the heads of the Palestinian Authority. Still no one knows about the takeover of the Karine A. Arafat hears from Zinni's lips that the ship has been taken. His response is, "We know nothing about the ship." Zinni finishes the meeting with Arafat. At another meeting Zinni whispers to one of his Israeli aides, "I knew he (Arafat) was a liar."
On Friday afternoon the Karine A and the Israeli commando units arrive in Eilat. Hundreds show up to cheer their arrival.
While the army is pleased with the commando operation, they are shocked at the quantity of the weapons found. The capture of the weapons has prevented a major outbreak of war here in the.
Some reports have tried to claim that the weapons were not intended at all for the Palestinians, but for Hizbollah. If so, why was the boat being commanded by a Palestinian colonel? And why were the weapons placed in secret flotation devices? If they had been meant for Hizbollah they would have been taken to Beirut and unloaded by cranes at the dock.
The capture of the weapons shows the link between the Palestinian Authority, the Hizbollah and. The attempt to smuggle weapons by the Palestinian authority proves that they have been lying all along about the intention to seriously fight terrorism or to go in the direction of a peaceable settlement with.
On the way back to Eilat from the successful mission, the reserve officer that led the unit called his wife, who hadn't heard from him in a couple of weeks, and said, "Turn on the news this afternoon and you will see me. I'll be home tomorrow." She said, "Well, I'm proud of you, but my nerves can't take any more of this tension."
General Chalutz stated, "We have moved another few inches the boundary of what was previously thought humanly possible for commando missions." "Classic James Bond action!" replied another of the joint-chiefs of staff.
Note: Asher Intrater is an elder in our congregation, Tiferet Yeshua, and heads the Israeli Messianic Jewish Institute. Asher pieced the parts of this summary together from reports in the Hebrew press by various Israeli journalists, including Ehud Yaari, Roni Daniel, Alex Fishman, Nahum Barnea, Ron Leshem, Goel Beno and others.
To view a full list of articles written by Asher or to purchase audio cassettes of his teachings, go to www.revive-israel.org or contact Holly C. Wallace in the US; firstname.lastname@example.org; 5829 Woodwinds Circle, Frederick, MD 21703; Tel. 301-694-6699.
Christians in Africa Love Israel
By Shira Sorko-Ram
Ram was born in a little village in Burkina Faso to a family of witchdoctors. His father trained him for 26 years to one day take his place as the head witchdoctor over several communities.
Meanwhile he was very fortunate to have received an education in a nation where only a tiny minority know how to read. But Ram was an excellent student all through school and the government gave him a scholarship to the Institute of Math and Physics in the capital city, Ouagadougou, from which he graduated.
While attending college, he was teaching math part time at a high school. One of his students there invited him to a Christian crusade led by a French couple who, he was told, prayed for the sick. When he saw a crippled person from birth suddenly rise and walk, Ram had an immediate revelation that the power of God was much greater than the power of his witchcraft. The next day he went back to the crusade and gave his life to Yeshua the Messiah. The power of God got his attention, but the change came because he felt his heart was broken.
Ram said, "I had seen miracles in witchcraft, but somehow He touched my heart.
"I felt as if I suddenly understood I was in a pit and just as suddenly I was out! I knew what I was doing was wrong. I was on the wrong road. The veil just fell of my face."
Ram went home and literally burned all of his witches' brew. But this was not just any brew. His father, who had died one year before, had been the keeper of the tribal public ancestral witchcraft inheritance - a substantial number of books, manuscripts, and much paraphernalia such as feathers, powders and potions. In Ram's tribe, when the keeper of the public witchcraft inheritance dies, the next keeper must wait three years before he takes it over. Thus it was in Ram's care until the next senior elder would become the new keeper.
When Ram burned the whole lot, he did not, surprisingly, experience heavy persecution. His people were simply sure that he would soon die. As they waited and nothing happened, they finally said, "Your God must be more powerful than ours."
Now there is a large church in that small village of Kingria. Ram's mother, sisters and brother are all saved. Furthermore, another dozen of his relatives have been converted.
He immediately began to witness everywhere and became a serious student of the Word of God.
He was given books written by Gordon Lindsay and told about the Christ for the Nations Bible Institute in Dallas, Texas. He wrote them his testimony and CFNI gave him a full two-year scholarship. In 1994 he graduated.
When he arrived at CFNI, he heard Freda Lindsay, Co-founder of the Institute, talking continually about God's promise to bless those who bless Israel. Ram recalls, "Mom Lindsay put gas on my fire. I became a blaze. I caught the vision of God's plan for Israel."
And so Ram wrote home to his close friend, Seogo Jean, who had a small church in a village about 150 kilometers from Ouagadougou, the capital. He told Seogo, "Pray for the peace of Jerusalem!"
When a CFNI short-term missions trip left for Israel, Ram did not have the funds to go, so he prayed and fasted for those who were going. The next year, in 1994, other students gave him enough money that he, too, was able to take the missions trip. His trip to Israel was the dream of his life. "I wrote my friend Seogo that some day God will let him come here also! When I returned home to Burkina Faso>, I continued to talk to my friends about Israel. I told them that they should not only pray but also began to sow seed - money - into Israel."
Seogo was the first to respond. At that time he had about 70 members in his little village and his Sunday collection was usually less than the equivalent of $1. However, his flock gathered up $7 to send to Israel. But then he discovered that the fees and stamps to send it to Israel also cost about $7.
Ram and Seogo did not want to touch the offering that the people had given so they borrowed another $7 and sent it to an Israel ministry. After that, life began to explode. That same month, someone gave Seogo $150 - a very large sum in that country. That same year someone else gave him $2,500! He began to build a real structure for his church and today his building is worth $25,000 and his membership has grown to 400.
When another pastor friend saw what was happening with Seogo, he too began to collect for the work of God in Israel. The same thing happened to him. The finances of his members and his church as a whole began to rise. His membership increased from 100 to 250.
Ram, an associate pastor in a Ouagadougou congregation, was also sending funds to Israel. First $4, then $5, $10, $20, $40, $60, $80, $100, $200, then $600.
And then the strangest thing began to happen. In the villages where churches are contributing to Israel, rainfall is increasing! Year after year the crops grown by the Christians have been proliferating. There are no statistics in Burkina Faso for this phenomenon, but the offerings for Israel and for their church life there are growing larger and larger. Ram told us of one pastor who has two offering boxes: one for the work of his church and one for Israel. In Seogo's district, there are 20 other congregations of his denomination alone giving to the work of God in Israel, and this denomination has a total of 40 districts in the nation.
Often the Christians mark off a piece of their plots and dedicate whatever grows in that area to Israel. When they harvest their crops, they keep the Lord's portion separate, and take it to the market to sell. That is the money which is then changed to dollars and sent to Israel.
Ram described a recent event. One group of Christians supporting Israel grew tomatoes. This year they had such a large crop that they had to send the truck away that came to transport the tomatoes and ask for a larger one.
Last year, Ram sent gifts to Maoz totaling $6,900 from the Christians of Burkina Faso. In January of this year, Ram brought Seogo to the land of Israel bearing a gift that had taken many congregations together a year to collect. Ram and Seogo presented our congregation with a gift of $9000! There was hardly a dry eye in that service as Israeli believers and visitors looked on, overwhelmed by the gift and the spirit of the givers.
We explained to our congregation that Ram and Seogo come from a desperately poor, land-locked country about the size of Colorado, surrounded by six other African nations. Lying north of Ghana, with a population of 12 million citizens, it is one of the poorest nations in the world. Suffering from chronic drought, 90% of the population are subsistent farmers, eking out a meager existence of $83 per month.
Burkina Faso has few natural resources and almost no industry while only 13% of the land is capable of growing crops. Still, there is much more land that could be freely cultivated, by whosoever will, if only there was water. The good news is that the government is sympathetic toward believers, the nation is not at war, and, according to Ram, about 10% of the nation are Christians. In Burkina Faso, Christian means born again! Another 48% are Muslims, and the rest steeped in their tribal religions.
Burkina Faso is now, by the grace of God, a democracy. President Blaise Compaore re-established relations with Israel in 1994, and Ram is hoping that his president will establish full relations by inviting Israel to set up an embassy in his country. Of course, the enemy is not resting in Burkina Faso. President Moamar Qadaffi of Libya is building a large financial institution in Ouagadougou. He wants the whole nation to be Muslim.
In fact, Qadaffi's dream is that all Africa would be a Muslim continent. However, Ram says that after September 11, 2001, there has been a noticeable decrease in his countrymen's interest in Islam, especially among the young.
God is using Ram throughout his nation to advance unity among the different denominations. Recently he sponsored a conference where 3,000 pastors attended. At that conference, prayer for Israel was high on the agenda. In fact, there is now a Burkina Faso Christian Friends of Israel Charitable organization, of which Ram, Seogo and Ram's senior pastor are directors.
As the news spreads about the way God is supernaturally blessing the Christians in Burkina Faso, Ram has received invitations from pastors in the surrounding nations of Niger, Togo, Ivory Coast, Chad and Mali. They too want to know about the wonderful promises of God to bless them as they bless Israel!
"Thus saith the Lord God, Behold I will lift up mine hand to the Gentiles, and set up my standard to the people: and they shall bring thy sons in their arms and thy daughters shall be carried upon their shoulders. And Kings shall be thy nursing fathers and their queens thy nursing mothers: they shall bow down to thee with their face toward the earth and lick up the dust of thy feet; [i.e. have a servant's heart to serve Israel] and thou shalt know that I am the Lord; for they shall not be ashamed that wait for me."Isaiah 49:22,23