Doctors Try to Save Remaining Eye of Ugandan Pastor

Pastor Umar Mulinde, in Sheba Hospital in Tel-Aviv, Israel, is fighting to save sight in his left eye after acid attack in Uganda. Photo: Compass

Another pastor, close friend of victim of acid attack, is also ambushed.

NAIROBI, Kenya, February 28 (CDN) — While a Ugandan pastor was fighting to retain sight in his remaining eye after an acid attack, Muslim extremists this month were shooting at his close friend, a leader of another church.

Doctors at Sheba Hospital in Tel-Aviv, Israel, are still not sure what kind of chemicals Muslim extremists cast on Bishop Umar Mulinde of Gospel Life Church International outside of Kampala last Christmas Eve, but they know that the acid is threatening the vision in his remaining eye.

“I am regaining my sight, though the healing progress is a bit slow,” Mulinde told Compass by phone. “Doctors are still looking for ways to save it, but it seems a complicated case. The chemical was very strong, and each day it was going deeper, with pain increasing day by day; even the doctors are interested to know which type of acid it was, because it really did great damage to me.”

Mulinde, a former sheik (Islamic teacher) who became the target of Islamic extremists after converting to Christianity in 1993, said his left eye has been getting better under the specialized treatment he has been able to receive since Compass publicized the attack on him (see, “Muslim Extremists in Uganda Throw Acid on Bishop,” Dec. 28, 2011).

“The damaged right eye is somehow affecting the left eye,” Mulinde said. “The doctors are thinking of removing the right eye with hope of saving the left eye.”

Muslim extremists are opposed not only to his conversion from Islam but his outspoken opposition to sharia (Islamic law) courts in Uganda, he said. On Oct. 15, 2011, area Muslim leaders declared a fatwa against him demanding his death. He is known for debates locally and internationally in which he often challenges Muslims regarding their religion.

Mulinde said he was encouraged that ministry is continuing at his church in Namasuba, about 10 kilometers (six miles) outside of Kampala, though his friend Zachariah Serwadda, a pastor with an Evangel Church congregation, was ambushed on Feb. 4 after an evangelistic outreach in the predominantly Muslim town of Mbale.

Serwadda, who has been attacked by Islamic extremists before, told Compass he was not sure how many began firing guns at his car at 10:30 p.m.

“I only heard several voices as I dropped down when the windshield of my vehicle got broken,” said Serwadda, who was unhurt in the attack. “It could be the same group [that attacked Mulinde]. It seems it’s the same network, because after attacking Bishop Mulinde they threw down letters at the Gospel Life Church International there threatening to attack other preachers like him.”

The attack took place on Tirinyi Road, between Mbale and Kamonkole, he said. Three other Christians were with him at the time. Since the Feb. 4 attack, the only security precaution he has taken was to report the incident at Iganga police station, he said.

Serwadda said there seems to be a new wave of persecution against Christians in Uganda. Besides Mulinde, also attacked last year were church leaders Hassan Muwanguzi and Hassan Sharif Lubenga, he said, and there were two other serious incidents, one in 2010 and one in 2009.

“In 2010 pastor Jamada Kikomeko of Nateete Victory Church was attacked during a gospel outreach in Entebbe town – bullets were shot with intent to assassinate him while he was returning from the outreach that night,” he said. “He managed to escape, took his coat and ran on foot for safety.”

The assailants vandalized his car, smashing all the windshields, he added.

In 2009, evangelist Yazid Muwanguzi was assaulted in Nakaloke, in Mbale district, barely escaping with his life after Muslims attacked chanting “Allahu Akbar [Arabic for “God is greater”], Serwadda said.

“But some Christians were severely injured,” he said.

Serwadda also survived a barrage of gunfire in 1997. A Muslim extremist tried to stop him as he was coming home from an evangelistic outreach in Jinja, but Serwadda saw an armed group standing on both sides of the road, he said; refusing to stop, he drove through as 20 bullets struck his vehicle.

He called his survival “miraculous.”

See Mulinde’s story in video.

Israel Healing Ugandan Terrorism Victim — video

Pastor Umar Mulinde was viciously attacked in his home country of Uganda in response to his work as a preacher. See news brief in March 2012 Levitt Letter, page 31. Friends from Israel’s jumped in to help, bringing him to Israel for treatment in Tel HaShomer Sheba Hospital’s burn unit.


Jesus Misrepresented as “Muslim Palestinian”

Additional reading for “Dealing with Arab Christians” in the March 2012 Levitt Letter.

Palestinian Media Watch

Rewriting history
Rewriting the history of the Land of Israel in order to deny Israel’s right to exist is central to Palestinian Authority (PA) policy. Long before it started the PA Terror Campaign (the “Intifada,” 2000-2005), the PA was fighting a history war – erasing Jewish history and replacing it with a fabricated Palestinian history. This rewriting has two central goals:
1- Erase the Jewish nation’s 3,000-year history in the Land of Israel;
2- Invent ancient Palestinian, Muslim, and Arab histories in the land.

The goal of this historical revision as a political strategy was first expressed publicly at a conference of Palestinian historians in 1998, when rewriting history was linked to the political goal of denying Israel’s right to exist:
“Dr. Yussuf Alzamili [Chairman History Department, Khan Yunis Educational College] called on all universities and colleges to write the history of Palestine and to guard it, and not to enable the [foreign] implants and enemies to distort it or to legitimize the existence of Jews on this land… [History lecturer Abu Amar] clarified that there is no connection between the ancient generation of Jews and the new generation.” [Al-Ayyam, Dec. 4, 1998].

Erasing Jewish history in the Land of Israel is followed by the PA’s invention of ancient and modern histories that support its political ideology and claim to the land of Israel. The Holocaust and other aspects of Jewish history are alternately denied, downplayed, or distorted. Another distortion is to hide from Palestinians that Jesus was a Jew who lived in the Land of Judea/Israel. PA leaders repeatedly define Jesus as a Palestinian who preached Islam, thus denying not only Jewish history, but also the history and legitimacy of Christianity.

Citing numerous examples, this section will document that these and other historical revisions are an integral part of Palestinian policy and are used to create political ideology.

Jesus misrepresented as “Muslim Palestinian”

As part of its ongoing attempt to invent a Palestinian history, the Palestinian Authority tries to hitch a ride into the past with Jesus. Whereas the historical Jesus was a Jew living in Judea/Israel, the PA turns him into a “Palestinian”: “We must not forget that Messiah [Jesus] is a Palestinian, the son of Mary the Palestinian.” [Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Nov. 18, 2005] This is not only a distortion of Jesus’ personal history, but also an anachronism. The Romans changed the name of Judea/Israel to “Palestine” 136 years after the birth of Jesus, to punish the Jewish nation after their unsuccessful rebellion.

In another anomaly, Jesus is turned into a shahid -– a holy Martyr of Islam. Whereas Islamic teachings do view Jesus’ Gospel as part of the Islamic prophetic tradition, nowhere does Islam refer to him as a shahid.

This cartoon (r) demonstrates the misappropriation of the Crucifixion as a Palestinian symbol. The word on the cross: “Palestine.” [“Intifada”, supplement to Al Hayat Al Jadida, Dec. 11, 2000]

The following are more examples of the revision of the history of Jesus. View them in full at

Jesus was the first Palestinian Martyr
Source: Palestinian TV (Fatah), Dec. 3, 2010
Religious program on PA TV: This is our religion
Author: “The Shahid (Martyr) President Yasser Arafat used to say: “Jesus was the first Palestinian Shahid (Martyr).” I heard him say that sentence many times.”
PA TV Host: “He [Jesus] was a Palestinian; no one denies that.”
Author: “He [Jesus] was the first Palestinian Shahid (Martyr). He (Arafat) attributed this Martyrdom to Palestine, as well.”

Fatah proud of “Palestinian” Virgin Mary
Source: Fatah website, Mar. 8, 2010
Fatah Communications and Education Authority statement in honor of International Women’s Day from the official Fatah website:
“If we are proud of the holiness of our land, then we are proud and pride ourselves that the first and most important holy woman among the nations and peoples is from the holy land: The Virgin Mary – the woman of love and peace – is of the nation of Palestine, whose roots are grounded in the depths of history. Our movement takes note of its pride in all the women Shahidas (Martyrs), prisoners, Palestinian fighters, who have become a model of sacrifice and a school that teaches the meaning of giving and of sacrifice.” []

PA MP: Jesus was a tortured Palestinian
Source: Palestinian TV (Fatah), Dec. 24, 2009
Mustafa Barghouti:
“We always remember that Jesus was the first Palestinian who was tortured in this land.”

Jesus is a Palestinian prophet
Source: Palestinian TV (Fatah), June 9, 2009
Dr. Tayseer Al-Tamimi, PA Chief Justice of Religious Court, and Chairman of Supreme Council of Islamic Law:
“Jesus is the only Palestinian prophet.”

Jesus and Mary- Palestinians “par excellence”
Source: Palestinian TV (Fatah), May 12, 2009
Palestinian Authority Mufti, Muhammad Hussein:
“Jesus was born in this land; he took his first steps in this land and spread his teachings [of Islam] in this land. He and his mother [Mary], we may say, were Palestinians par excellence.”

Palestinians “the people of the Messiah”
Source: Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, May 9, 2009
“The Pope’s visit is an opportunity for the Palestinian leadership to present its cause… so that His Honor [the Pope] will assume his religious and political responsibility towards the people of the Holy Land, the Arab Palestinian people, the people of the Messiah [Jesus].”

Jesus was a Palestinian prophet of Islam
Source: Palestinian TV (Fatah), Apr. 21, 2009
The PA Mufti, Muhammad Hussein:
“We’re talking about an ongoing chain [of prophets of Islam], from Adam to Muhammad, representing the call for monotheism and the mission of Islam… The prophets were all of the same religion [Islam]… [e.g.] Jesus was born in this land in Bethlehem… He also lived in Nazareth, moved to Jerusalem, so he was a Palestinian … We respect Jesus, we believe in him [as a prophet of Islam], just as we believe in the prophet Muhammad.”

Messiah [Jesus] is Palestinian
Source: Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Nov. 18, 2008
“We must not forget that the Messiah [Jesus], peace be upon him, is Palestinian, the son of Mary the Palestinian, who is sanctified by hundreds of millions of believers in this world.”

Jesus was Palestinian, first in long line of suffering
Source: Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Apr. 30, 2008
“Palestinians are used to death like this. The suffering of the first Palestinian – the Messiah – started with the Last Supper.”

Christianity was born in an Arab country
Source: Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Oct. 28, 2006
“Christianity was born in our Arab countries and the Messiah [Jesus] is a Syrian Palestinian, born in Nazareth.”

Lord Messiah [Jesus] and his mother are both Palestinians
Source: Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Mar. 9, 2006
“It was quite natural that the Palestinians rose to save their sanctuaries [in Nazareth in Galilie]… since lord Messiah [Jesus] and his mother [Mary] are both Galileans and Palestinians.”

The Bible used word “Palestine” to refer to land of Israel
Source: Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Nov. 18, 2005
“They [Christians] read in the holy book [the Bible] the name of ‘Palestine’ and the real [Palestinian] names of our villages and cities… We must not forget the Messiah [Jesus] is Palestinian, the son of Mary the Palestinian.”
[PMW Comment: The PA assumes that few Palestinians read the Hebrew and Christian Bibles. For were Palestinians to read the Bible they would learn that Jesus was a Jew, there was no “Palestine,” and the Hebrew names used by Israel today, including the name “Land of Israel,” are the names found in the Bible.]

Jesus was first Palestinian Shahid (died for Allah)
Source: Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Jan. 17, 2005
“The Shahids (Martyrs) will cry, ‘We shook the palm trees alongside Lady Earth and the lady of the people, the Virgin Mary, and with her son the first Palestinian Shahid (died for Allah).”

Jesus turned water into wine in Palestinian Galilee
Source: Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Dec. 14, 2004
“The Palestinian Galilee village [in Israel] of Kfar Kana takes pride in the fact that here the Palestinian Messiah [Jesus] succeeded in turning water into wine.”

Present-day Palestinians portrayed as Jesus
Source: Palestinian TV (Fatah), July 21, 2000
Yasser Abu Ciedo, Palestinian artist:
“Our struggle today against the other (Israel) is an eternal one. It started 2000 years ago and continues until today. I demonstrate this through the figure of Jesus, who came to the world with a message of justice and the other side did what they did to him. Here [he shows a painting] I demonstrate the following idea: the Israeli soldiers are wearing army uniforms while Jesus has nothing except for the truth. This is the Palestinian from the beginning of the struggle until its end – if it will ever end…”

The Jews murdered Jesus, the first Palestinian
Source: Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Jan. 24, 2000
Headline: “Nazareth: The city where the Jews murdered the first Palestinian of its [Nazareth’s] sons.”

Palestinian Liberation Theology

Additional reading for “Dealing with Arab Christians” in the March 2012 Levitt Letter.
By Shelley Neese | Friday, April 20, 2007

Replacement Theology-—the belief that the Christian Church replaced Israel in God’s plan-—has found a new home in the work of the Sabeel Center-—the Jerusalem-based ecumenical organization for Palestinian Christians. After experiencing decades of decline and total rejection by many denominations, Replacement Theology has resurfaced in the form of Palestinian Liberation Theology (PLT)-—a theological movement pushed by Sabeel. PLT rejects the eternalness of God’s promises to the Jewish people based on a dangerous manipulation of Scripture. PLT’s goal is to radically reinterpret the Bible to make it more relevant to Palestinians and less partial to Jews.

PLT grew out of the Liberation Theology movement popularized in Latin America in the 1970s and 80s, a faddy form of Christian socialism where Replacement Theology met Marxism. They emphasized oppression of the poor and encouraged political activism to abolish perpetual class struggle. The rich were against God by way of their wealth, and the poor were privileged by way of their poverty. The Bible was reduced to nothing more than stories about the poor and the persecuted.

The heyday of Liberation Theology was its inception. With the fall of the Soviet Union and the failure of Marxist revolutionary movements in Latin America, Liberation Theology lost most of its justification and influence. The premise did appeal to Palestinians, because of its favor for the underdog and its potential to de-Zionize the Old Testament.

It’s no secret that Israel’s founding ignited a theological crisis in the Palestinian Christian community. The Abrahamic covenants and Old Testament prophecies justified Israel’s national rebirth. According to Naim Ateek, founder of the Sabeel Center, the Torah was seen as a “Zionist text” and became “repugnant” to Palestinians. Palestinian Christians needed a new theology that would, in Ateek’s words, “liberate God from the Old Testament.”

Ateek revived Liberation Theology and related it to the Israeli-Palestinian situation. He switched focus from liberating the economically poor to the politically oppressed. As stated by Sabeel, the purpose of PLT was to theologically “address the day-to-day reality of Palestinians who have been living under an occupation that destroyed homes, confiscated lands, killed and jailed children, and closed institutions.” The Sabeel Center has been used to develop and implement this theology.

A central tenet of PLT is that the Bible cannot be taken literally. It needs continuous interpretation to ensure every passage matches PLT’s notion of God. Anything considered violent, racist, chauvinistic, or unjust is discarded. This means most of the Torah, including Joshua, Judges, I and II Samuel, and I and II Kings are thrown out. In fact, according to Ateek, only the prophetic books of the Old Testament are accepted as Scripture for they alone present a “truly mature vision of God.”

Replacement Theology teaches that the Church superseded Jews as the benefactor of God’s covenants. PLT goes one step further saying that the Jews never had a place of favor in the first place. In some cases, they erase Israel from the Bible altogether. Many Palestinian Churches that teach PLT have changed the Psalms by removing every reference to “Israel” and “Zion.”

Palestinians are also inserted into Biblical narratives in the place of Israel. The narratives are read metaphorically where Israel assumes the role of oppressor. For example, in the story of David and Goliath, the powerless and humble David represents the Palestinians who bring down the bloodthirsty Goliath, represented by Israel. The centerpiece of PLT is the story of Exodus, where Palestinians are the Hebrew Egyptians bound in slavery, and Israel is the obstinate Pharaoh who refuses to grant them freedom and a state of their own. “If the Exodus is the story of any people,” writes Mitri Raheb (one of the most vocal PLT theologians), “it is actually the story of us Palestinians.”

PLT’s agenda is to nullify the whole concept of chosenness, thereby voiding all land promises that justify Israel’s rebirth. According to Raheb, God did kind acts for many peoples so Jews were not exceptional. Raheb points to Amos 9:7 [“True, I brought Israel up from the land of Egypt, but also the Philistines from Caphtor and the Arameans from Kir.”] to argue the Jews were not the only people to whom God showed kindness. As for God’s promise to “plant them in this land [Israel] with all my heart and soul,” Ateek says Jewish and Christian Zionists need to move beyond their primitive notion of a nationalistic God to a more universal God. Indeed, Israel’s right to exist is something Ateek has never accepted. During a Jerusalem interfaith dialogue with Jewish leaders in 2005, Ateek said that if Israel had the right to exist it should have been created somewhere else.

From Ateek’s perspective, the Israeli occupation is the root of all evil. He makes no apology for Palestinian terrorism or its contribution toward the plight of Palestinian Christians. There is no recognition that Hamas, the Palestinian Islamist government, is a far greater threat to Palestinian Christians than Zionism.

Ateek presents PLT as a theology based on justice, but he redefines Godly justice to fit a sociopolitical context. The result is more narrow than ever before, as God is only on the side of Palestinians. Sabeel says “Christ is not in the tanks and jet fighters, fighting on the side of the oppressors … God is in the city of Gaza, in the Jenin camp, and in the old city of Nablus, Ramallah, and Bethlehem.”

Sabeel enjoys the active support of many of the mainline liberal denominations (i.e. PC (USA) and the United Church of Christ). These church groups ignore the danger of Sabeel’s theology. But PLT is not just an ill-informed, misguided teaching. It is a dangerous propaganda tool cleverly wielded by Sabeel to undermine Israel’s right to the land. All the while, this anti-Semitic, politically-driven theology void of the Gospel hides behind a façade of peace, justice, and love. As Jesus Christ warned his followers, “Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.”

Palestinians to Evangelicals: Zionism Is a Sin

Additional reading for “Dealing with Arab Christians” in the March 2012 Levitt Letter.

By Abraham Cooper and Yitzchok Adlerstein 11/14/2011

PA President Mahmoud Abbas (L) and FM Riad Malki at the UN.

Now is the time for concerned Jews to reach out to their Evangelical friends and expose the Palestinian assault on the lovers of Zion of two faiths.

In announcing the push for recognition of a unilaterally declared Palestinian state, Palestinian Authority President Abbas told the UN General Assembly in September: “I come before you today from the Holy Land, the land of Palestine, the land of divine messages, and ascension of the Prophet Mohammed, peace be upon him, and the birthplace of Jesus Christ, peace be upon him, to speak on behalf of the Palestinian people in the homeland and in the Diaspora, to say, after 63 years of suffering of the ongoing Nakba: Enough. It is time for the Palestinian people to gain their freedom and independence.”

Abbass’s cleansing of Abraham, Moses, and Isaiah from the Holy Land’s history on the center stage of the diplomatic world was no oversight.

It was part of the broader global strategy to delegitimize Israel that also seeks to decouple Christian support from the Jewish state Abbas refuses to recognize. In this campaign, extreme Palestinian political ambitions are often cloaked in theological garb.

While attacks against Israel sometimes seem unrelated, they really operate in concert: the obsession of the World Council of Churches with demonizing Israel, the UNESCO vote on Palestine, and the international Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement. “All streams flow to the sea,” Ecclesiastes teaches. Today, that sea is a domain where “experts” at UNESCO can rebrand Rachel’s Tomb as a mosque.

Pro-Palestinian advocacy groups, European NGOs, labor unions, academics, and church groups all converge on the same point: Israel is a pariah state, whose birth was a post-colonialism mistake, and whose continued existence is a moral sin.

Evangelical and conservative Christians – Israel’s most important allies – are increasingly targeted for conversion from Christian Zionism to Christian Palestinianism.

One of the most troubling purveyors of this stealth theo-terrorism lies within sight of Jerusalem. In 2010, Palestinian Christians convened the Christ at the Checkpoint (CATC) conference under the aegis of the Bethlehem Bible College, aimed specifically at Evangelicals. CATC repudiated Christian Zionism as a false teaching, an erroneous misreading, and manipulation of Scripture.

One of the architects was Anglican vicar Stephen Sizer, who denies that he is an anti-Semite but hangs out with Holocaust revisionists and whose trip to Tehran included a defense of Ahmadinejad’s Holocaust denial. Other CATC participants, however, came from churches and schools completely identified with the traditional Evangelical mainstream.

Evangelicals who came with an open-minded commitment to hear both sides heard Mitri Raheb, a pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Christmas Church in Bethlehem deny the connection between modern Jews and those of the Bible.

“I’m sure if we were to do a DNA test between David… and Jesus… and Mitri, born just across the street from where Jesus was born, I’m sure the DNA will show that there is a trace. While, if you put King David, Jesus, and Netanyahu, you will get nothing, because Netanyahu comes from an East European tribe who converted to Judaism in the Middle Ages…. I always loved to say that most probably one of my grand, grand, grand, grandmas used to babysit for Jesus.”

No one stormed out in protest. Rather to the contrary: Some participants, like Lynne Hybels (who is married to the head of the Willow Creek network of 13,000 Evangelical congregations), returned to the U.S. as committed workers for the Palestinian cause.

The list of 2012 CATC conference participants includes names of those who used to be firm and unequivocal supporters of Israel. Among the scheduled speakers is the president of the World Evangelical Alliance, Sang-Bok David Kim. The WEA is the parent group of the National Association of Evangelicals, the largest Evangelical network in the U.S.

The “affirmations” representing the beliefs of the organizers have already been published. They include the supplanting of Christian Zionism with a supersessionist understanding of Scripture that leaves no room for Jews. In other words, all Scriptural covenants with the Jewish people, as well as their religious dignity, have been replaced and abrogated.

While most Christians have always believed that the New Testament fulfilled the Hebrew Scripture, many Evangelicals found room for a continued relationship between Jews, Divine promises, and even the physical Land of Israel.

With no one apparently noticing, that nuance is being deleted.

Another affirmation deals with Jewish Zionism.

“Modern Zionism is a political movement created to meet the aspirations of Jews around the world who longed for a homeland,” it begins, quickly growing ugly: “It has become ethnocentric, privileging one people at the expense of others.”

So, Zionism wasn’t always equal to racism, but it is today, according to CATC’s organizers. The UN’s debunked “Zionism is Racism” has been reborn in theological garb, absorbed and preached by some who a few years ago were among Israel’s greatest allies.

Now is the time for concerned Jews to reach out to their Evangelical friends and expose the Palestinian assault on the lovers of Zion of two faiths – before another alliance is drowned in a sea of lies.

The writers are, respectively, the dean and director of interfaith relations at the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

U.S. Troops Deployed to Israel

Thousands of US troops began descending on Israel this week. Senior US military sources told DEBKAfile Friday, Jan. 6 that many would be staying up to the end of the year as part of the US-IDF deployment in readiness for a military engagement with Iran and its possible escalation into a regional conflict. They will be joined by a US aircraft carrier. The warplanes on its decks will fly missions with Israeli Air Force jets. The 9,000 US servicemen gathering in Israel in the coming weeks are mostly airmen, missile interceptor teams, marines, seamen, technicians and intelligence officers.

The incoming American soldiers are officially categorized as participants in Austere Challenge 12, the biggest joint US-Israeli war game ever held.

The maneuver was originally designated Juniper Stallion 2012. However, the altered name plus the comment heard from the exercise’s commander, US Third Air Force Lt. Gen. Frank Gorenc, during his visit two weeks ago, that the coming event is more a “deployment” than an “exercise,” confirmed that Washington has expanded its mission. The joint force will now be in place ready for a decision to attack Iran’s nuclear installations or any war emergency.

Our sources disclose that it was decided at the last minute in Washington and Jerusalem to announce the forthcoming Austere Challenge 12 on Thursday night, Jan. 5, ahead of the bulletin released by Tehran about another Iranian naval exercise at the Strait of Hormuz to take place in February, although its 10-day drill in the same arena only ended Monday, Jan. 2.

The early release was decided in consultations among US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak and the two army chiefs, US Gen. Martin Dempsey and Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz.

British Defense Minister Phillip Hammond, on a visit to Washington, was brought into the discussion.

The handout circulated to US correspondents from Hammond’s talks in the US capital affirmed that Britain stands ready to strike Iran if the Strait of Hormuz is closed.

However, that phrase was omitted from the British minister’s remarks at a news conference, following a last-minute request from Panetta, signifying the Obama administration’s interest of keeping a low profile on plans for attacking Iran.

Tehran too is walking a taut tightrope. It is staging military’s maneuvers every few days to assuring the Iranian people that its leaders are fully prepared to defend the country against an American or Israeli strike on its national nuclear program. By this stratagem, Iran’s ground, sea and air forces are maintained constantly at top war readiness to thwart any surprise attack.

The joint US-Israeli drill will test multiple Israeli and US air defense systems against incoming missiles and rockets, according to the official communiqué.

DEBKAfile’s military sources add that they will also practice intercepting missiles and rockets coming in from Syria, Hizballah in Lebanon and Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

It will not be the first time a US aircraft carrier docks in Israel for joint operations with the Israeli Air Force. On June 9, 2010, the USS Truman dropped anchor opposite Israel to test a joint deployment against Iran and its allies. The carrier and its air and naval strike force then staged joint firing practices with the Israeli Air Force over the Negev in the South.

Washington and Jerusalem are doing their utmost to present a perfectly synchronized military front against Iran: American officers are stationed at IDF command centers and Israeli officers posted at the US European Command-EUCOM.