A LETTER FROM PEOPLE NEAR GAZA. From our friends and former neighbours Boaz and Rina. They write: “We are seeing miracles all the time! All the rockets that the Hamas are launching at us and we have so few casualties. We are hearing accounts of people vacating a room and seconds later a rocket slamming into it. We are within the missile range from Gaza but because of proximity to Egypt and our sparse population we do not consider ourselves a target at this time. It appears that ground forces will go in during the course of the next 24 hours. The Hamas are well prepared and dug in well to fortify themselves. I believe the lessons of the second Lebanon War were well learned. Ehud Barak is a superb strategist and Gabi Ashkenazi, our chief of the army, a very distinguished leader. All in all a very different scenario from the last war. The moral of our soldiers is very high. They are well trained and up to the task. Thos of my generation that remember the second intifada and the fighting conditions in Gaza will share with me the feeling of apprehension for those having to expose themselves I narrow alley ways and very hostile conditions. Many when one thinks of a refugee camp think of pictures coming out of South America and Africa with people living in the most squalid conditions without electricity and water. The ‘refugee camps’ in Gaza are no different to any normal neighbourhood in the many places in the world. They all have electricity, running water, organized sewage and cable TV! These people choose to maintain their refugee status to continue receiving the millions of dollars in refugee aid they receive every month. I am waffling a bit! We patiently wait for the start of the next phase of the Gaza operation. We have very good forward intelligence coming out of Gaza. This is enabling the Air Force to target very accurately and will also help to keep our soldiers safe.”


A TIME TO FIGHT. On Friday, a Hamas spokesman made Israel the following proposal: You keep the stream of humanitarian aid and supplies flowing into Gaza and we will keep launching rockets and mortars at Israeli civilians. It was an offer Israel had little choice but to refuse. On Saturday, Israel finally told Hamas that it would not be bled, slowly, to death. The Islamists need to decide whether they want to go down in flames or are prepared to take on the responsibilities that come with control over Gaza. That over 200 Palestinians have been killed compared to only one Israeli leads some journalists to conclude that Israel is inherently in the wrong. If one Jew is killed, we get very little piety. If, heaven forbid, an Israeli kindergarten was to take a direct hit - Israel might, temporarily, gain the sympathy of news anchors from Paris to London to Madrid. At that price we would rather forgo their sympathy. We wonder how an international community that can't bring itself to explicitly support Israel's operation against the most intransigent of Muslim fanatics expects to play a positive role in facilitating peace in this region. Hamas must be stopped. And the civilized world must help stop it. (Jerusalem Post)


A MAIL RECEIVED FROM THE DEPUTY HEAD OF MISSION AT THE ISRAELI EMBASSAY IN COPENHAGEN, MR. DAN ORYAN. Today, after a long period of patient waiting while attacks by Hamas continued to make civilian life in the south of Israel unbearable, Israel launched a counter-attack. The intention of the counter-attack is to stop the attacks on Israel. We hope that cessation of these attacks will open the way to complete negotiations with the Palestinian Authority on a two states for two nations solution. No country in the world would agree to suffer as Israel has suffered from Gaza over the past few years: 3000 missiles rained on purely civilian targets in the past year; over 200 such missiles in the past week. We are certain that any other country's response would have been the same. Israel has the right and the obligation to protect its citizens, just as Denmark or any other European nation has. Briefing of Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Tzipi Livni to the Foreign Press today (Saturday, December 27, 2008) (Communicated by the Foreign Ministry Spokesperson) Israeli citizens have been under the threat of daily attack from Gaza for years. Only this week - hundreds of missiles and mortars shells were fired at Israeli civilian communities including the firing of 80 missiles on a single day. Until now we have shown restraint. But today there is no other option than a military operation. We need to protect our citizens from attack through a military response against the terror infrastructure in Gaza. This is the translation of our basic right to self defence. Israel left Gaza in order to create an opportunity for peace. In return, the Hamas terror organization took control of Gaza and is using its citizens as cover while it deliberately targets Israeli communities and denies any chance for peace. We have tried everything to reach calm without using force. We agreed to a truce through Egypt that was violated by Hamas, which continued to target Israel, hold Gilad Shalit and build up its arms. Israel continues to act to prevent humanitarian crisis and to minimize harm to Palestinian civilians. Unfortunately, Hamas cynically abuses its own civilian population and their suffering for propaganda purposes. The responsibility for harm to civilians lies with Hamas. Hamas is a terrorist organization, supported by Iran that does not represent the legitimate national interests of the Palestinian people but a radical Islamist agenda that seeks to deny peace for the peoples of this region. While confronting Hamas, Israel continues to believe in the two State solution and remains committed to negotiations with the legitimate Palestinian Authority in the context of the peace process, launched at Annapolis. Israel expects the support and understanding of the international community, as it confronts terror, and advances the interest of all those who wish the forces of peace and co-existence to determine the agenda of this region.


CZECH PILOTS TRAIN IN ISRAEL FOR AFGHAN MISSION. 55 Czech soldiers from the helicopter base in Prerov, north Moravia, ended their two-week training in Israel last week where they prepared for next year's mission in Afghanistan. The Czech pilots learned to fly in difficult conditions of a dusty desert in Israel, covering 91 hours in the air during 900 training flights. Czech chief of staff Vlastimil Picek thanked the Israeli military, while it was recalled that in 1948 the then Czechoslovakia provided aircraft and arms for Israel and trained Israeli pilots, which helped the Israelis achieve independence. (CTK-Ceske Noviny-Czech Republic)


ANCIENT GOLD COINS FOUND IN JERUSALEM. A hoard of 264 gold coins from the seventh century were uncovered in an archeological excavation just outside the walls of Jerusalem's Old City, the Israel Antiquities Authority announced Monday. The coins were discovered Sunday by Nadine Ross of Birmingham, England, a British tourist volunteering at a dig in a parking lot in the ancient City of David. The cache was discovered amid the ruins of a seventh century building and bore the image of the Byzantine emperor Heraclius, who ruled between 610 and 641 CE. The find was "one of the largest and most impressive" coin hoards ever discovered in Jerusalem, according to Dr. Doron Ben-Ami, director of the excavation. (Jerusalem Post)


ISRAEL WARNS OF GAZA ROCKETS THAT CAN REACH BEERSHEBA. Israel's top security official warned Sunday that Gaza militants can hit more Israeli cities with longer-range rockets. Yuval Diskin, the head of the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet), warned Israel's Cabinet that Gaza's Hamas rulers now have rockets that can reach the city of Ashdod and even the outskirts of Beersheba, 30 miles (50 km.) to the east. In a barrage of 19 Palestinian rockets and three mortars fired at Israel on Sunday, one rocket scored a direct hit on a house in Sderot. "In order to return to a calm like six months ago, we will probably need a wide-scale operation," Defence Minister Ehud Barak warned the Cabinet. (AP)


ISRAEL UN ENVOY PROTESTS HAMAS’ ‘SHALIT SHOW’. Israeli Ambassador to the UN Gabriela Shalev slammed Hamas Thursday at the UN Security Council over Hamas' anniversary celebrations, which included a Hamas member playing the part of abducted Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. "As a human being - as a mother - I was appalled to hear about a rally that took place in the center of Gaza City" where "150,000 people gathered and cheered for a show that mocked the misery of Gilad Shalit, the suffering of his family, and the compassion of the people of Israel, and people around the world." "Gilad Shalit has remained in Hamas captivity for 910 days and nights," she said. "We expect the international community to do its utmost to bring him home safely." (Ynet News)


EUROPE’S JEWISH PROBLEM. As Europe faces up to its old demons of financial breakdown and job losses, a wind from the past is blowing through the continent. The extravagant rhetoric of the demagogic left and right is gaining ground, and the most obvious manifestation is the return of anti-Semitism as an organizing ideology. According to a recent Pew survey, the percentage of Germans who hold unfavorable views of Jews has climbed from 20% in 2004 to 25% today. In France, which has the largest number of Jews of any European nation, 20% view Jews unfavorably - up from 11% four years ago. In Spain, negative views of Jews climbed from 21% in 2005 to nearly one in two this year. In Poland, the percentage of those with unfavorable opinions about Jews is up from 27% in 2004 to 36% today. The writer, a Labour MP, has just published: Globalising Hatred: the New Antisemitism. (Newsweek)


JEWS OF YEMEN TO BE RELOCATED IN WAKE OF DEADLY ATTACK. President Ali Abdullah Saleh of Yemen is planning to relocate Yemen's Jews from the Amran district and the city of Raidah to the capital, Sana, the rabbi of the Jewish community, Yehi Yaish, said. The community in Raidah, where Moshe Nahari was murdered a few days ago, is estimated to number about 270 Jews. Central government control is weak and many residents carry automatic weapons for protection, including Jews. (Ha'aretz)


SYRIA WANTS PRESENCE ON SEA OF GALILEE IN PEACE DEAL. Syria has drafted a document defining six geographical points for Israeli agreement before it will continue indirect peace talks through Turkish mediators, sources familiar with the talks said this week. A Syrian official said the document includes reference to the northeastern shore of the Sea of Galilee, Israel's main water reservoir. "The document puts us on the water," the official said. Diplomats in the Syrian capital said that even if the two sides make progress on the territorial question, a deal might not follow easily because Israel wants Syria to reduce its alliance with Iran and cut support for Hizbullah and Palestinian Islamist groups. (Reuters)


SAUDI COLUMNIST: WE NEED TO GET OVER OUR OBSESSION WITH ISRAEL. Saudi columnist Turki Al-Hamad wrote in Asharq Alawsat on Nov. 16: "Israel and Zionism have always been the axis around which the other components of modern Arab political culture revolved, and the measure against which the compass of Arab politics was largely set. This is in addition to the fact that [this axis] has been the primary 'justification' for every failure and disaster in modern Arab life: from the failure of the project of the great Arab renaissance and of the great Arab unity, to a child's death by starvation in Basra [Iraq]." "Israel should not be our greatest concern, nor should Palestine be our be-all and end-all. For even if Israel disappeared entirely, and we had a new Palestinian state from the [Jordan] river to the [Mediterranean] sea to add to the list of Arab states, the situation would still remain the same....Israel, and behind it the West and America, has not prevented us, and cannot prevent us, from building good schools if we want to, and putting in place forward-looking curricula. Israel will not prevent us, and cannot prevent us, from respecting humans and human rights in our countries, if we really wanted that. Israel will not prevent us, and cannot prevent us, from eradicating illiteracy in our countries or rooting out corruption." (MEMRI)


UN: PEOPLE IN GAZA AREN’T STARVING. Although conditions in Gaza are far from ideal, many Gazans are able to get by on what the Hamas-controlled smuggling tunnels provide. Coupled with a large surplus of fruit and vegetables, the vast majority of people in Gaza aren't wanting for food. Reports that 50% of children are suffering from malnutrition are exaggerations, says Khaled Abdel Shaafi, director of the UN Development Program. "It's an economic crisis, a political crisis, but it's not a humanitarian crisis. People aren't starving," he said. The market in Rafah, on the border with Egypt, is packed with products and with shoppers. (Globe and Mail-Canada)


SARKOZY WON’T SHAKE HANDS WITH SOMEONE WHO SAYS ISRAEL MUST BE WIPED OFF THE MAP. Iran summoned France's ambassador to protest about what it said were "inappropriate remarks" by French President Nicolas Sarkozy, state media said on Thursday. Sarkozy, an outspoken critic of Iran since coming to office last year, said on Monday he could not shake hands with Iranian President Ahmadinejad for saying Israel should be "wiped off the map." The French envoy was also summoned in February over what Tehran said was the "unfriendly" position of Paris regarding Iran's nuclear work. (Reuters-Asharq Alawsat-UK)


HAMASTAN IN GAZA. Gone from Gaza are the flags of every colour (including green for Hamas) that once flew everywhere and the billboards commemorating shaheeds (martyrs) with their weapons. The Hamas government doesn't need external symbols to prove its strength and announce its presence. On Nov. 11, the anniversary of Arafat's death, the police in Gaza worked to conceal any symbols related to the date, the man and the movement - in addition to prohibiting the staging of any memorials. When yellow Fatah flags were hung up, police removed them; high school students who wore chequered kaffiyeh scarves - or any other symbol that alluded to Arafat and Fatah - were asked to remove them and also summoned for police interrogation. Even candles in windows in Arafat's memory were confiscated. The removal of these symbols wasn't only an expression of the government's self-confidence, but of intimidation and coercion as well. (Ha'aretz)


UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY CHIEF TRIES TO BLOCK ISRAELI ENVOY’S ADDRESS. The President of the UN General Assembly, Miguel Brockmann, tried to prevent Israel's ambassador, Professor Gabriela Shalev, from speaking at a special commemorative session marking 60 years since the UN adopted and proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, scheduled for Wednesday. Brockmann tried to cancel speeches that were to be given by representatives of the regional group known as "Western European and Others," after he learned that Israel's ambassador was to represent the group as its rotating chairman. However, European representatives rejected the motion to cancel the meeting, and voiced outrage at his attempt to prevent the address. In response, Brockmann added speakers known to be hostile toward Israel. (Ha'aretz)


NEW ISRAELI RADAR CAN PINPOINT ROCKET LAUNCHERS. The IDF is preparing to integrate a new radar system that will help locate and destroy rocket launchers more quickly than ever before, Chief Artillery Officer Brig.-Gen. Michel Ben-Baruch said Monday. Produced by Elta Systems - a subsidiary of Israel Aerospace Industries - the new radar will be able to provide artillery cannons with a 360-degree view of a battlefield and detect the exact location of rocket launchers. "There is no radar like this in the world," Ben-Baruch said. "It can pinpoint the location of the launch and then find the range the cannons will need to aim at to fire." (Jerusalem Post)


POLCE SEIZE BOAT AHEAD OF GAZA SAIL. Arab Knesset members, left-wing activists planning to sail south from Jaffa in bid to 'break the blockade', transfer humanitarian equipment to Strip stopped by Israel Police; vessel transferred to Tel Aviv marina. 'This is a coward move; all we wanted was to deliver medicines,' says MK Tibi. Police officials explained that they acted according to clause 24 in the "disengagement implementation law", which states that Israelis will not enter Gaza without a permit. There were no reports of clashes in the area, but the police boosted their forces in Jaffa for fear of riots. Police officials estimated that was the only boat scheduled to sail to Gaza. (YNET)


THE UN’S OBSESSION WITH DEMONIZING ISRAEL. The president of the UN General Assembly, Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann of Nicaragua, last week called for Israel to be shunned as a pariah and strangled economically. His call came on the UN's Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, an annual occasion devoted to lamenting the rebirth of Jewish sovereignty in the 20th century, denouncing the national liberation movement - Zionism - that made that rebirth possible, and championing the cause of the Palestinian Arabs. Unmentioned is the fact that Palestine's Arabs would have had their state 60 years ago had they and the Arab League not rejected the UN's decision and chosen instead to declare war on the Jewish state. More than one million Israeli Arabs enjoy civil and political rights unmatched in the Arab world - yet Israel is accused of repression and human-rights abuse. Successive Israeli governments have endorsed a "two-state solution" - yet Israel is blasted as the obstacle to peace. The Palestinian Authority oversees the vilest culture of Jew-hatred since the Third Reich, and wants all Jews expelled from the land it claims for itself - yet Israel is labelled an "apartheid state" and singled out for condemnation and ostracism. (Boston Globe)


ISRAEL TAKES PART IN NATO INTELLIGENCE DISCUSSIONS. Israel's military cooperation with NATO is deepening: Israel took part in the formation of two intelligence reports prepared by NATO on missile development and the nuclear arms race in the Middle East. Simultaneously, Israel is extending its ties with NATO in order to prevent the smuggling of weapons in the Middle East, and to deal with roadside explosive charges and the war on terror. Senior officials stressed that Israel has added value in the military field, which NATO plans to use. NATO sources emphasized that they have no plans for a military presence in the Middle East. NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said Thursday that the organization would consider the issue if three conditions are met: A UN resolution is ado pted, a stable and durable agreement is signed, and all elements involved in the matter make an appeal. (Ynet News)


EGYPT WON’T LET HAMAS FORM AN ISLAMIC EMIRATE IN GAZA. Mustafa el-Fiqi, who heads the Egyptian Parliament's foreign relations committee, said Wednesday that Egypt wouldn't tolerate Hamas setting up an Islamic state in Gaza, on Egypt's eastern border. Egypt is increasingly displeased with Hamas - especially after it boycotted Egypt-mediated Palestinian reconciliation talks in Cairo last month. (Ha'aretz)


MUMBAI ATTACKS: JEWS TORTURED BEFORE BEING EXECUTED. Doctors expressed horror at the condition of the bodies recovered from the Habad house in Mumbai. "I have seen so many dead bodies in my life, and was traumatized," a mortician said. "It was apparent that most of the dead were tortured. What shocked me were the telltale signs showing clearly how the hostages were executed in cold blood." The group that stormed Mumbai displayed unrestrained brutality. Police said 17 victims were pushed against a wall in the Oberoi hotel and executed in a line. (Telegraph-UK)


AL-QAEDA LEADER CALLS ON AMERICANS TO EMBRACE ISLAM. Al-Qaeda's No. 2 leader Ayman al-Zawahri appeared in a new video posted Friday calling on Americans to embrace Islam to overcome the financial meltdown, which he said was a consequence of the Sept. 11 attacks and militant strikes in Iraq and Afghanistan. Al-Zawahri called on the American people to "embrace Islam to live a life free of greed, exploitation and forbidden wealth." Al-Zawahri, an Egyptian, also took aim at Egypt's government, blaming it for the blockade of Gaza because it has kept its border with the territory sealed. (AP/Washington Times)


WHAT IS KILLING THE PROSPECT OF MIDEAST PEACE. To spend a week in Israel is to begin to understand that this country is generations away from peace with the Palestinians. Sunday: A Kassam rocket is launched from northern Gaza into Sderot, an Israeli town within 3 km of the Hamas stronghold. Monday: Three more rockets are fired into Sderot, which has endured thousands of rocket attacks in recent years. The Israeli government has blocked access points to Gaza until the rockets stop. Tuesday: Three more Kassam rockets slam into the fields of the Negev. A young woman, who has lost relatives to the rocket attacks from Gaza, tells me, "We don't count the rockets anymore." Wednesday: Two Kassam rockets land south of Ashkelon, a town well beyond the Gaza border, on the coast towards Tel Aviv. Thursday: The Palestinian Authority runs advertisements in Israeli newspapers detailing Fatah's commitment to a peace plan. It is a meaningless commitment. How can Israel negotiate peace with Palestinian interlocutors in Fatah, who have no control over Gaza, where more than 40% of Palestinians live? An entire generation of Palestinian children is being raised on a full diet of hate education, on jihad and anti-Semitism. This is the long-term hurdle to peace in this generation, and the next. Look at the geography books for Palestinian children that encourage children to see no Israel, books that feature maps of Israel in the colors of the Palestinian flag, and described as Palestine. When the next generation of leaders is taught from childhood that Israel does not exist, how is future negotiation possible? The irony is that this hate education is funded by the West, by countries that pour money into the PA, who use it to glorify terrorism and to twist young minds against Israel, and peace. (The Australian)


BEHIND MUMBAI’S TERRORIST ATTACKS. One misconception is the assumption that these attacks were aimed primarily at foreigners. Look at their targets. The two hotels they attacked - the Taj and the Oberoi - are old, iconic Indian hotels. It used to be true that these places were affordable only by Westerners, but today they are filled with Indian businessmen. If the aim was to hit Americans or other Westerners, the big American chains all have hotels there, and there are many more distinctly American targets. One of the untold stories of India is that the Muslim population has not shared in the boom the country has enjoyed over the last ten years. There's enough alienation out there that there are locals who can be drawn in to plots. That tends to be a pattern, from Madrid to Casablanca t o Bali - some hard-core jihadis who indoctrinate alienated locals they can seduce. (Newsweek)


AT LEAST EIGHT ISRAELIS HOSTAGE IN MUMBAI. An Israeli rabbi is among at least three people being held hostage by gunmen at the Habad house in Mumbai on Thursday. Another five or six Israelis were among the hostages being held by militants at the Trident/Oberoi hotel. (Ha'aretz) A report Thursday from CNN's Indian affiliate said that three people were killed at Mumbai's Habad House including a couple and 16-year-old youth. (Ha'aretz)


EGYPTIAN PARLIAMENT: POLICE UNABLE TO CONTROL SMUGGLING TUNNELS. The Egyptian parliament's defense committee says the situation at the border with Israel is dangerous because of increased smuggling operations through the tunnels and the unrestricted spread of weapons among the Bedouin, the state-owned Al-Gomhuria daily reported Wednesday. (AP/MSNBC)


ROCKET-PLAGUED SDEROT RESIDENTS SUFFERING FROM POST-TRAUMATIC STRESS. After seven years of Palestinian rocket barrages on the Israeli town of Sderot, Natal - the Israel Trauma Center for Victims of Terror and War reported Monday that 28% of the town's residents are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. In addition, a third of Sderot students, ages 13 to 18, have trauma-related learning disorders. 90% of residents had seen or heard a rocket strike, while 65% personally knew someone hurt in an attack. (Ynet News)


IRAN AND HAMAS DECLARE DIGITAL WAR AGAINST ISRAEL. Hamas recently participated in a digital communications exhibition in Tehran and was involved in establishing a group calling itself “The Digital Intifada.” Its objective was to develop websites to fight Israel and encourage the criminal activity of hacking Israeli websites. Overview Both Iran and Hamas make extensive use of the Internet to wage their battle for hearts and minds. Between October 22 and 31 the second annual National Exhibition and Festival of Digital Media was held in Tehran. Hamas and Hezbollah participated, each with its own booth. During the exhibition a group calling itself the Digital Intifada was organized with Hamas involvement. Its objective was to develop websites to battle against Israel (“the Zionist entity”) and to attack Israeli Internet sites, both government and non-government. The organization offered a prize of $2,000 to anyone who succeeded in hacking into an Israeli site “hostile to the Palestinian people” during the exhibition. Such activity, which took place at an exhibition sponsored by Iran, was criminal. The Exhibition (part one). Between October 22 and 31, 2008, the second annual National Exhibition and Festival of Digital Media was held in Tehran. The Hamas movement had its own booth, which displayed its Internet sites. According to a report from a Hamas website, Hamas's main Palestinian site, Palestine-info, which can be accessed in Arabic, Farsi, Russian, English, French, Urdu and Malay was featured. Also featured were Hamas's Filastin al-‘An, Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, Al-Aqsa TV, PALDF Forum and Sabiroon websites, among others. At the booth it was possible to receive propaganda bulletins, scarves and hats (Palestine-info website, November 2). Hamas erected a hall in its booth for discussions with Abu Osama Abd al-Muati, the Hamas representative in Tehran, and attended by Abu Srur, responsible for propaganda dispensed from the Hamas bureau in Tehran, and experts and political commentators. The discussions revolved around topics linked to the battle for hearts and minds, with an emphasis on the interface between the Internet and terrorism. Some of the issues discussed were “the role of digital media in the support of the resistance (i.e., the terrorist organizations),” “Hamas and digital media,” “the role of digital media in supporting Al-Aqsa mosque,” “the siege [sic] of the Gaza Strip and the responsibility of the Muslim community of believers,” and “selling land – fact or fiction?” Visitors to the booth included the Iranian minister of culture and guidance and his aides, head of Pakistan's Islamic Jumaa' in Lahore, 1 the man in charge of culture at the Iranian shaheed fund, 2 members of the Iranian media and senior Iranian politicians (Palestine-info website, November 2). A ceremony was held at the Hamas booth to inaugurate an organization called the Digital Intifada. 3 The ceremony was covered by the Arab and Iranian media and attended by Abu Osama Abd al-Muati, Hamas's representative in Tehran, Abu Hassan Zuaytar, director of Hezbollah's Al-Manar TV in Tehran, members of Hamas and Hezbollah propaganda teams and representatives of Iranian groups acting in the Palestinian arena (Palestine-info website, October 31).


ISRAEL DEMANDS WORLD STOP IGNORING ATTACKS FROM GAZA. Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni demanded in a telephone conversation with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Thursday that the world stop ignoring attacks on Israel by Gaza militants. Livni "demanded that the international community stop applying a policy of ignoring acts of terror aimed at hurting innocent people," her office said in a statement. "There is no way where the rocket fire against Israeli citizens can continue without retaliation from the Israeli government," Livni said. (AFP)


FORMER IDF CHIEF OF STAFF: ‘LAND FOR PEACE BROUGHT WARS’. (IsraelNN.com) Moshe Ya'alon, a former IDF Chief of Staff who this week joined the Likud party, declared Wednesday morning that the "land for peace" policy he once backed has proven that giving up Jewish land to Arabs brings war. He once stated that Israel could defend itself without the Golan Heights, which outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has proposed giving to Syria. Ya'alon told Yaron Dekel, host of the It's All Talk Show on Voice of Israel government radio, "I was a believer in land for peace, but I have learned the past 15 years... it deteriorates our security." Ya'alon was Chief of Staff during the government of former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who made the unprecedented move of not extending his term of office because of Ya'alon's doubts about the plan to destroy all Jewish presence in the Gaza region and withdraw all IDF troops. He said that the expulsion and the withdrawal from Lebanon in 2000 by former Prime Minister Ehud Barak, now Defense Minister, left Israel with Kassam and Grad attacks on the south and the Second Lebanon War in the north. Ya'alon, who lives on a Kibbutz, explained that the values he grew up with no longer are represented in political parties he once identified with.. Referring to Israel's first Prime Minister David Ben Gurion, Ya'alon said that if he were alive today, he "would not choose Labor, Meretz or Kadima." The new Likud member admitted that the decision to move into politics was not easy. "My heart said 'no' and my head said 'yes", he told reporters Tuesday. "The head won." He explained Wednesday morning that he and his family will pay a heavy price for his entering politics, a path that is strewn with booby traps for the values he holds. "We need leadership in the face of the security, education and economic crises," he explained. Asked if he wants to be Prime Minister, Ya'alon replied, "It is not an obsession. I did not even want to be an Army officer. I know people who wanted to be Prime Minister from the day they were born, but I am not one of them."


THE INFLUENCE OF CHRISTIAN INTERESTS IN SETTING THE ROUTE OF THE FENCE IN JERUSALEM. In March 2002, at the height of a terror campaign in which 1,804 Israelis were killed in Palestinian suicide bombings, the government of Israel decided to take a defensive measure to block terrorists from reaching Israeli population centers by establishing a physical obstacle. Even Israel's worst enemies confessed that the security fence saved Israeli lives. In building the security fence, great efforts were invested and solutions were provided to meet the unique needs of the Christian churches in the region to guarantee freedom of religion and religious observance, and free access to holy pl aces. The establishment of the security fence was a vital measure for the security of Israel's citizens and those members of all faiths visiting Israel. Only when visitors to Jerusalem enjoy a sense of security can there be normal life, religious observance, and pilgrimage to the holy sites. The author was in charge of planning the security fence between the West Bank and Israel. (Institute for Contemporary Affairs-Jerusalem Centre for Public Affairs)


A LETTER RECEIVED FROM JAN WILLEM VAN DER HOEVEN, DIRECTOR OF THE INTERNATIONAL CHRISTIAN ZIONIST CENTRE. What a great pity and shame that the vast majority of my African-American brothers and sisters voted for Barak Obama! It makes me think of my late wife, a serious Christian Arab woman who because of her faith in a Jewish Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth, had come to love the Jewish people with all her heart. She was once disputed by another Arab Christian who could not bear her biblically-based love for and dedication to the people of Israel who have now been restored to the land of their forefathers. At the end of their conversation she said to him, "Audi, there is one big difference between us: You are first an Arab and then a Christian - an Arab Christian. I am first a Christian and then an Arab - a Christian Arab. And because of this we shall never come to an agreement on Israel." This is the truth today regarding many of my black brothers and sisters in America. It seems, from their sad voting record for Obama, that their colour drove them more than their faith. How else could a real believer vote for a man who would be willing to legalize the very abominations which brought Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes by the fiery judgment of God? And in case - as I already hear in my ears - some will say that I am a racist in regard to Obama, let me say that some years back another black man ran for the office of the president of the United States. Alan Keyes ran on an independent ticket. I heard his wonderful Bible-based speech - full of love for Israel - in Washington DC some years ago. I think it would have been a blessing for the future of the United States if this man would have come to the White House. This all is not an issue of colour, but of Bible-oriented faith and practice, that governs also our voting pattern! Not by colour shall all men know you are My disciples, but by your fruit. It is therefore sad that many African-American believers voted for Obama because he was black and very charismatic, and not because he was like Alan Keyes definitely is: a true, biblically-based believer. This is certainly racism in reverse, and therefore I feel to address my words first and foremost to my African-American Christian brothers and sisters who after all, if they truly do believe, have been elevated by the living God through the blood of Jesus to become first and foremost His sons and daughters. How could you, therefore, as sons and daughters of the living God of Israel, have chosen for a man who by his legalization of all that is abhorrent to God been the most liberal senator in America's history? Where was your faith; where was your Bible, when you made this choice, the result of which may well bring the same judgment on America that previous decadent civilizations bore? As that prince of preachers Dr. Billy Graham once said; If God does not judge the West for its far-gone decadency, He will need to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah. Yes, I do understand that for many African-American Christians - after all their sad history of humiliation and degradation at the hands of many Whites - to see a fellow Black man rise to the office of president of the United States is a sight that would cause their eyes to fill with tears of joy and healing, as it indeed did for Jesse Jackson and many others. But where is the fear of God among us as believers in the Lord and His Word? In Christ we are no longer black, white, brown, red or yellow. If we receive the Lord, He has given us the power and status of sons and daughters of God and we need to rise to that level - the level of the Kingdom, if we want to see His blessings on our nations as well as on our personal lives. Where - therefore - are the courageous men and women of God among the black Christian community who will dare to go against the present stream and rise above the mere colour of their skin and speak forth God's words and warnings, first and foremost as His sons and His daughters in the midst of this sad and corrupted world?


ISRAEL: ’ALL OPTIONS ARE ON THE TABLE. In order to stop Tehran from developing a nuclear bomb, "We are ready to do whatever is demanded of us," Israeli Air Force Maj.-Gen. Ido Nehushtan told Der Spiegel in an interview. "The Iranian regime is not only a problem for the Air Force or the State of Israel. It is a problem for the entire free world. It is shameful that 70 years after the Reichskristallnacht (Night of Broken Glass) there are still heads of state who call for the destruction of our people. History teaches us that we have to take those announcements seriously. And we take them very seriously." Spiegel: Iran's nuclear facilities are spread around the country and are partly located underground. Is it even technically possible to destroy them? Nehushtan: "I can only say this: It is not a technical or logistical question." (Der Spiegel-Germany)


POLL: AMERICANS CONTINUE TO BACK ISRAEL. According to a poll of Americans released Sunday, 66% said the U.S. should back Israel while only 6% said it should support the Palestinians. Some 72% agreed that even with U.S. domestic problems, the country must work to prevent a nuclear Iran. The poll was conducted by Public Opinion Strategies and Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research for The Israel Project. (Ha’aretz)


ISRAELI SCIENTIFIC KNOW-HOW MAKES IT SNOW IN AUTUMN In mid-November, snow will start falling at the rate of more than 40 cubic meters per hour on the mountainside at Trockener Steg, above the Swiss ski resort of Zermatt - the result of a revolutionary snowmaking machine developed by an Israeli company. In summer 2007, the Zermatt ski lift company began discussions with Israel-based IDE about a technology it developed to provide cooling in South African mines. The first IDE installation at Zermatt is to be followed by another at Pitztal in Austria. (Independent-UK)


THE PRIME MINISTER IS MISTAKEN AND MISLEADING. Prime Minister Olmert contends that disengagement from Arab neighborhoods in Jerusalem would secure the Jewish majority in Israel's capital. The Prime Minister is mistaken and misleading! His world view is based on erroneous assumptions and – if implemented - would doom the city demographically and security-wise. Each call for a retreat from Arab neighborhoods has enticed larger Arab immigration into the shrinking municipal lines of Jerusalem. Over 50,000 Arabs, bearing Israeli ID cards, who moved from Jerusalem to neighboring villages, have returned to the city since the initiation of Israeli calls for "Separation," "Fence" and "Wall." They have been joined by scores of thousands of illegal Arab immigrants, who have relocated to Jerusalem's city limit, in order to escape the ruthless PA regime. The more one shrinks the area of Jerusalem, the more one encourages Arab immigration to Jerusalem and the more one undermines Jewish demography there. Jerusalem's Jewish majority is threatened by Arab immigration (0.4% annual) and Jewish emigration (0.7% annually) and not by natural increase. In fact, the Bennett Zimmerman-led "American-Israel Demographic Research Group" has documented a tailwind to Jewish natural increase, while Arab natural increase in Jerusalem and west of the Jordan River has taken a steep dive. Jewish and Arab fertility rates (number of births per woman) have converged (3.9 births) for the first time since 1948, compared with a 4.5 Arab fertility rate in 2004. Arab birth rate is approaching, rapidly, the Jewish secular birth rate, as a result of a very successful integration – by the Arabs – into Israel's infrastructures of education, health, employment, commerce, banking, culture, sports and politics. The rise of Arab life expectancy is producing an older Arab society (more Arabs per 1,000 are in their 60s, 70s and 80s), while the Jewish society is growing younger, due to a substantial rise in the number of annual Jewish births, especially among secular Jews (mostly the Olim/immigrants from the former USSR).... (Maariv, 12.Nov.)


PA PRIME MINISTER OMITS JUDAISM AMONG FAITHS DEVOTED TO JERUSALEM. Jerusalem is holy to two religions - Islam and Christianity, PA Prime Minister Salaam Fayad said at the UN-organized interfaith peace conference on Wednesday. Fayad failed to mention the importance of Israel's capital to the Jewish people, Israel Radio reported. "Jerusalem is home to the third most holy place to Islam, the place where Muhammad rose to the heavens, and the place where Jesus, the Christian, was resurrected," the Palestinian leader proclaimed. President Shimon Peres and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni had addressed the forum earlier. (Jerusalem Post)


ISRAEL WON’T GIVE GAZA-BOUND BOATS PR. Pro-Palestinian activists who have been sailing to Gaza in a bid to break Israel's siege of the Strip are seeking a confrontation with the authorities, which is why they have not been stopped so far, an Israeli official involved in handling the issue said Sunday. "We judge every incident individually. The past three times, the boats have been allowed entry because it was decided that an operation to stop them was not worth conducting," the official said. The Israeli official described the sailing activists as "ridiculous people who play into Hamas' hands. They want to be stopped and they are looking for a confrontation, so we decided not to give them one....This has no significance, other than being a gimmick. The people on board are professional anarchists and pro-Hamas activists. " (Jerusalem Post)


MERRILL LYNCH – ISRAEL LESS VULNERABLE TO ECONOMIC CRISIS THAN U.S. AND EUROPE. Israel's economy is less susceptible to risk than many more developed countries such as the U.S., Canada and the Euro Bloc, according to a Merrill Lynch report on the financial and economic vulnerability of 44 nations. Australia is considered the most vulnerable, due to a huge influx of foreign capital over the past five years, while Israel is only the 24th most vulnerable. Switzerland is number two, with the U.S. in 10th place. (Ha'aretz)


SON OF JEWISH REFUGEE ELECTED NEW ZEALONG PRIME MINISTER. John Key, 47, the son of a Jewish refugee, was elected Prime Minister of New Zealand on Saturday. Key was raised by his mother, Ruth Lazar, after his father died when Key was seven. His mother owes her life to her aunt, who had an arranged marriage in Britain on the eve of the war that enabled Ruth, her mother and several other family members to escape Austria in 1939. (JTA)


INDONESIA, ISRAEL SIGN MEDICAL AGREEMENT. Indonesian delegates signed a medical cooperation agreement with Israel's national emergency medical service Magen David Adom (MDA) and the American-Israel Joint Distribution Committee in Tel Aviv last week. The agreement was preceded by a week-long MDA course for 23 Indonesian health system professionals on the "management of multi-casualty incidents," something that the two countries sadly share a need for. (Jakarta Post-Indonesia)


AHMADINEJAD’S LETTER TO OBAMA. Iranian President Ahmadinejad wrote to President-elect Obama: "The nations of the world expect an end to policies based on warmongering, invasion, bullying, trickery, the humiliation of other countries by the imposition of biased and unfair requirements, and a diplomatic approach that has bred hatred for America's leaders and undermined respect for its people....They want the American government to keep its interventions within its own country's borders. In the sensitive Middle East r egion, in particular, the expectation is that the unjust actions of the past 60 years will give way to a policy encouraging full rights for all nations, especially the oppressed nations of Palestine, Iraq and Afghanistan." (Washington Post)


ISRAEL NOT OBAMA’S FIRST PRIORITY: According to diplomatic assessments in Jerusalem, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and Israeli-Syrian talks are not expected to be on the top of the new U.S. president's agenda. "We are not the first priority," one senior diplomatic official said, reflecting the consensus thinking in the Foreign Ministry. (Jerusalem Post)


HIZBULLAH: LARGE SWATHS OF NORTHERN ISRAEL BELONG TO LEBANON: A senior Hizbullah official on Monday said large swaths of northern Israel belong to Lebanon. "The Zionist terror organizations moved the border from that of 1920 to that of 1923, and Lebanon lost seven villages and twenty farms," said Nawaf Musawi, head of international relations for Hizbullah. The official's comments mean that Hizbullah has territorial demands beyond the disputed Shaba Farms and the divided village of Ghajar. (Ha'aretz)


PALESTINIANS ACCUSE JEWS OF PLOTTING TO CLEANSE REGION OF ARABS: The Palestinian Authority Sunday issued an official pamphlet to mark the 91st anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, repeatedly referring to Israel as the "hated entity," while accusing Jews of plotting to ethnically cleanse the region of Arabs. "We are aware of the Zionist plans against our people and their efforts to destroy the Palestinians," reads the pamphlet, distributed by PA offices in the West Bank. Official websites and publications run by Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah were saturated with anti-Israel articles and opinion pieces that mourned the Balfour Declaration and cursed the Jewish state. (WorldNetDaily)


ISRAEL WANTS TO RENEW INDIRECT TALKS WITH SYRIA: Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert wants to renew indirect talks with Syria that were suspended some weeks ago when he resigned, Israeli officials said on Friday. Olmert will remain in office as caretaker until a new government is formed after a mid-February election. He wants to avoid a diplomatic vacuum for this period. (Reuters-Washington Post)


WHEN EVIL IS APPLAUDED: Albert Einstein once said, "The world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it." Today, the world is a dangerous place because evil is applauded at the UN, given airtime on U.S. national television and radio, honored at an interfaith gathering, and given serious consideration for inclusion on the UN's most powerful body, the Security Council. An international community ready to confront Iran would look and feel different. And the Security Council, rather than acting like helpless bystanders, would refer Ahmadinejad to the International Criminal Court to stand trial for inciting genocide. The writer is Community Relations Director of the Jewish Federation of Greater Portland. (Jerusalem Report)


COURT GIVES GO-AHEAD TO TOLERANCE MUSEUM IN JERUSALEM: Israel's High Court Wednesday gave the final go-ahead for the Museum of Tolerance in Jerusalem, rejecting appeals by Muslims who complained that the museum will be built on part of an ancient Muslim cemetery. The justices ruled that since no objections were raised in 1960, when the city put a parking lot over a small section of the graveyard, they would not block construction of the museum on that same site now. The Simon Wiesenthal Centre, the Los Angeles-based Jewish organization behind the project, welcomed the court ruling and said work on the $250 million museum would resume immediately, after a two-year delay due to the legal proceedings. In their ruling, the justices required that any human remains be reburied at an alternative site, or that the museum be built on pillars so that the graves beneath are not disturbed. (Ha'aretz)


RATE OF NUCLEAR THEFTS ‘DISTURBINGLY HIGH’, MONITORING CHIEF SAYS: Mohamed ElBaradei, chief of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said Monday that the number of reports of nuclear or radioactive material stolen around the world last year was "disturbingly high." ElBaradei said nearly 250 such thefts were reported in the year ending in June. "The possibility of terrorists obtaining nuclear or other radioactive material remains a grave threat," he said. Members of his staff and outside experts cautioned that the amount of missing material remained relatively small. If all the stolen material were lumped together, it would not be enough to build even one nuclear device, they said. Most of the concern about thefts centers on the countries of the former Soviet Union, but they occur everywhere. (New York Times)


HAMAS BUILDING UNDERGROUND CITY IN GAZA: There are few high-rise building sites in Gaza these days, but the demand for cement is huge. Copying Hizbullah in Lebanon, Hamas is building enormous underground installations - ammunition bunkers, tunnels, and command posts. Responding to intelligence reports, Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai has reduced the flow of cement from Israel to Gaza and is weighing a total halt. Security officials say Hamas is building tunnels beneath the centers of major cities to enable freedom of movement for its forces should the IDF enter. In addition, outside the cities, Hamas is constructing tunnels beneath the major entry roads into Gaza, to be filled with explosives and then detonated beneath IDF convoys. The underground construction also includes hundreds of Kassam and Katyusha rocket launching positions that are protected from air attack. (Maariv-24Oct08)


ON AUGUST 21st, 2008, the MV Iran Deyanat, an Iranian civilian merchant ship carrying 44,458 dead weight was heading towards the Suez Canal . As it was passing the Horn of Africa, about 80 miles southeast of al-Makalla in Yemen, the ship was surrounded by speedboats filled with members of a gang of Somalian pirates who grab suitable commercial ships and hold them and their cargos and crews for ransom. The captain was defenseless against the 40 pirates armed with AK-47s and rocket-propelled grenades blocking his passage. He had little choice other than to turn his ship over to them. What the pirates were not banking on, however, was that this was no ordinary ship. Within a period of three days, those pirates who had boarded the ship and opened the cargo container with its gritty sand-like contents, all developed strange health complications, to include serious skin burns and loss of hair. And within two weeks, sixteen of the pirates subsequently died, either on the ship or on shore. At this writing, the MV Iran Deyanat is at anchor, watched closely by American, French and Russian naval units. Although American intelligence and government sources are maintaining a strictly observed silence, the same does not apply to the Russians and so it is that we learn the real story of the MV Iran Deyanat. She was an enormous floating dirty bomb, intended to detonate after exiting the Suez Canal at the eastern end of the Mediterranean and in proximity to the coastal cities of Israel. The entire cargo of radioactive sand, obtained by Iran from China (the latter buys desperately needed oil from the former) and sealed in containers which, when the charges on the ship are set off after the crew took to the boats, will be blasted high into the air where prevailing winds will push the highly dangerous and radioactive cloud ashore. Given the large number of deaths from the questing Somali pirates, it should be obvious that when the contents of the ships locked cargo containers finally descended onto the land, the death toll would be enormous. This ship was nothing more nor less than the long-anticipated Iranian attack on Israel. Not the expected rocket attacks (which could be intercepted by the Israelis) but an even more deadly and unexpected attack by sea. It is very interesting to note that the Israeli government has in the past few weeks, been loudly demanding that the United States establish a naval blockade of Iran. The reason for this blockade would be to prevent any more Iranian ships with deadly cargos from attacking either Israel or other targets from the sea.


BRITAIN FACES THREAT FROM RADICALIZED MUSLIMS FOR 30 YEARS: Britain will face a threat from radicalized young Muslims for another 30 years, the Security Minister Lord West has said. He warned the Commons Defence Committee that it will take decades to win the argument against terrorism and extremism in some sections of British society. He added that no matter how much work is done to improve Britain's ability to detect and thwart terrorist plots, the threat will only be overcome by persuading Muslims not to engage in violence. (Telegraph-UK)


EGYPT SHARES RESPONSIBILITY FOR GAZA ’BLOCKADE’: Two countries border the Gaza Strip - Israel and Egypt. Both strictly limit the passage of goods and people into and out of the Strip. But when describing the effect of these border restrictions, some journalists inaccurately and unfairly attribute responsibility to only one of the countries - Israel. Except for humanitarian cases, Israel has mostly closed its own border with Gaza to human traffic after repeated attacks from that territory (including attacks targeting crossing points) and after an organization sworn to Israel's destruction took control of Gaza. But an essential component of the current situation is Egypt's closure of the Rafah crossing point between Egypt and Gaza. The occasional bilateral opening of the crossing by Egypt and Hamas shows who exercises control of this passage into and out of Gaza. It is not too late for the media to fulfill their professional responsibilities; that means correcting misrepresentations of the so-called Gaza "blockade." (CAMERA)


42,000 REGISTERED U.S. VOTERS LIVE IN ISRAEL: Approximately half of some 42,000 registered U.S. voters living in Israel are voting in swing states such as Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania, according to Shimon Greenspan, director of the nonpartisan Vote From Israel organization. Israel has the third-largest group of American voters abroad, behind Canada and Britain. (Jerusalem Post)


TOP TEHRAN OFFICIALS RECOMMEND PREEMPTIVE STRIKE AGAINST ISRAEL: Senior Tehran officials are recommending a pre-emptive strike against Israel to prevent an Israeli attack on Iran's nuclear reactors, a senior Islamic Republic official told foreign diplomats two weeks ago in London. The official, Dr. Seyed G. Safavi, is head of the Research Institute of Strategic Studies in Tehran, and an adviser to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. Safavi said Tehran recently drafted a new policy for responding to an Israeli or American attack on its nuclear facilities. While the previous policy called for attacks against Israel and American interests in the Middle East and beyond, the new policy is to target Israel alone. He added that many Revolutionary Guard leaders want to respond to a U.S. attack on Iranian soil b y striking Israel. (Ha'aretz)


HAMAS HARDENS GRIP ON GAZA: Hamas' control of Gaza is now virtually complete. Since the summer, the Islamic militants have silenced and disarmed their remaining opponents, and filled the bureaucracy with their supporters. Hamas now controls every aspect of daily life, from screening visitors at a new border checkpoint to running what the International Crisis Group described as a network of paid and volunteer informers. With nothing in sight to weaken Hamas' grip, the political split between Gaza and the West Bank - the two territories meant to make up a future Palestinian state - looks increasingly irreversible and is one of the main obstacles to U.S. efforts to forge an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal. (AP/Washington Post)


RELIGIOUS CLEANSING IN THE MUSLIM MIDDLE EAST: The religious cleansing of Christians in Iraq is part of a larger pattern in which a faith with origins in the Middle East is being driven out of its native region. From Iraq to Lebanon, which once claimed a Christian majority, to Bethlehem, the West Bank town revered as the birthplace of Jesus, intra-Muslim violence and the Arab-Israeli struggle have combined to persuade (and in some cases force) Christians to relocate to Europe or North America. This is a tragedy not only for Christianity but also for the long-term goal of ensuring Middle Eastern societies that are pluralist as well as democratic. Yet Christians in the Middle East haven't always promoted such virtues. Maronite Catholics in Lebanon sought to deny Muslims a proportionate role in the governance of that country, and some Arab Christian leaders have been outspokenly anti-Israel. That attitude was reflected in the opposition of Arab bishops to a Vatican Council declaration absolving Jews of collective responsibility for the death of Jesus. (Los Angeles Times)


UN CHIEF SAYS HIZBULLAH A THREAT TO MIDEAST SECURITY: A report released Thursday by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon says Hizbullah is a threat to security in the Middle East, and criticized Syria for allowing the Islamic militant group to smuggle weapons into its terrorist network in Lebanon. "Hizbullah's maintenance of a major armed component and a para-military infrastructure separate from the state, including a secure network of communication, which the group itself deems an integral part of its arsenal, is a direct challenge to the authority of the government of Lebanon and its security forces and prevents their exclusive control over the entire territory of Lebanon," said the report, drafted by UN Middle East envoy Terje Roed-Larsen. (NASDAQ/RTT News)


THINGS IN ISRAEL AREN’T WHAT THEY SEEM: The "separation barrier" that now divides a good deal of Israel from much of the West Bank is almost invariably presented in newspapers or on TV as an ugly, forbidding series of tall concrete slabs. There is just one problem with this picture. It isn't accurate, or not very. True, the portion of the barrier that snakes through Jerusalem does take the form of a concrete wall, as do several other sections of the structure, but those portions represent only about 3% of the still unfinished barricade. The rest consists of an electronically monitored chain-link fence. Welcome to the Middle East, where few features of the geopolitical landscape ever turn out to be exactly the way they tend to be perceived from abroad. Take the whole notion of physical separation between Israelis and Palestinians. It is surprising just how much commingli ng of the two sides does go on. Some West Bank roads are reserved for Israeli vehicles, but many are not, and Israelis regularly speed along the same roads as Palestinian vehicles. (Toronto Star)


35,000 TAKE PART IN JERUSALEM MARCH: More than 35,000 people took part in the annual Jerusalem March on Wednesday, thronging the streets of the capital in celebration of Succot. More than 15,000 Israeli hikers from around the country made their way along one of three routes from the outskirts of the city to Jerusalem, recreating the pilgrimage atmosphere from the days of the Temple. The most robust of hikers made a 22-kilometer trek starting from the Castel, the site of battles in the War of Independence. (Jerusalem Post)


GERMAN OFFICIAL ATTENDS TEHRAN’S ’DESTROY ISRAEL RALLY’: German Ambassador to Iran Herbert Honsowitz violated EU guidelines by allowing a military attache to attend an anti-Israel military parade in Tehran last month, according to a spokeswoman for the German Foreign Ministry's Iran section. "Israel must be wiped off the map" was one of the slogans painted on Shihab-3 missiles featured at the event. In uncharacteristically strong language, Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier ordered Honsowitz to return to Berlin on Sep. 29. Social Democratic Party head Steinmeier, a partner in the coalition of Chancellor Angela Merkel, refuses to enact legislation banning trade with Iran. Many Israeli government officials view an end to German-Iranian economic relations as the litmus test on combating Iranian anti-Semitism and ensuring Israel's security. (Jerusalem Post)


ALERT IDF SOLDIER AT CHECKPOINT PREVENTS PALESTINIAN TERROR ATTACK: The IDF nabbed three Palestinians carrying nine pipe bombs at a checkpoint west of Nablus on Sunday, averting a planned terror attack. When a female soldier at the checkpoint asked a Palestinian to open his bag, he refused. The soldier insisted, prompting the Palestinian to remove a shirt and pants from the bag before closing it again. However, then the soldier opened the bag herself, and found three pipe bombs inside it. At that point, the suspect's two friends were also searched and were found to carry three pipe bombs in each of their bags. (Ynet News)


RISE IN NUMBER OF ISRAELI ARAB IDF RECRUITS IN 2008: The number of Israeli Arab Bedouin recruits to the IDF has increased dramatically in the first nine months of 2008. The number is estimated to have increased by 50 to 100 from the beginning of the year, bringing the total number of recruits in 2008 to some 300. The rate of non-Bedouin Arabs' recruitment has also increased in recent years. The law exempts non-Druze Arab citizens from compulsory military service. Lt. Amir Juamis, 27, of Beit Zarzir, who commands a military team, was asked how he feels about fighting with his people on the other side of the border. He said: "A terrorist is a terrorist. Islam doesn't say you have to kill. He comes to kill here and can kill a Jew or an Arab. It's my duty to prevent that." (Ha'aretz)


GAZA OWNERS REGISTER WITH HAMAS, GET ELECTRICITY: Owners of the scores of tunnels running under the Gaza-Egypt border have registered with the Hamas authorities, pledged to pay workers' compensation and hooked up their operations to the electricity network. In one place, dozens of large tents, each marking a tunnel work site, were pitched just yards from an Egyptian watchtower beyond the border wall. Hamas inspectors are notified of each delivery and check it on site. Officials from the municipality of Rafah confirmed they supervise tunnel operations. (PMC-PA)


11 TERROR ALERTS AHEAD OF YOM KIPPUR: Israeli security forces have been placed on high alert ahead of Yom Kippur. The defence establishment is currently investigating 11 specific terror alerts - including threats of kidnappings, rocket attacks and bombings. In addition there are dozens of general alerts. (Ynet News)


EXCAVATIONS NORTH OF JERUSALEM REVEAL FRAGMENT INSCRIBED ‘SON OF THE HIGH PRIEST’: In excavations north of Jerusalem, a fragment of a sarcophagus cover was found engraved in Hebrew script, characteristic of the Second Temple period. The fragment, made of hard limestone, reads: "Ben HaCohen HaGadol" - "Son of the High Priest." It probably refers to one of the priests that officiated in Jerusalem between the years 30 and 70 CE. The Land of Benjamin where the discovery was made is known in scientific literature as the place where the priests resided during the Second Temple period. The site that was exposed is an estate of one of the high priests who served in the Temple in Jerusalem. It seems that the fragment was plundered from its original location and was used in the construction of a later Muslim building erec ted atop the ruins of the houses from the Second Temple period. (Israel Antiquities Authority)


PA BRACING FOR POSSIBLE HAMAS TAKEOVER: Hamas may try to carry out a "hostile takeover" of the West Bank and bring down the current Fatah-led government, officials in the PA security forces warned in a report published by the London-based Asharq Alawsat on Saturday. According to the report, PA security forces are doing their utmost to prevent such an event through continued arrest and interrogation operations. (Jerusalem Post)


NO AMERICAN WOULD ACCEPT ‘A PALESTINIAN STATE SOLUTION’ ON HIS OWN SOIL: “With the yardstick we measure we ourselves will also be measured" said a great Rabbi. This will the nations learn which, out of cowardice and in fear of losing their oil and economic interests, are pressuring Israel into accepting on its own historic soil - small as Israel already is - a Muslim Palestinian state which, backed by all Muslim countries and factions in the world, will certainly become as a springboard for the dismantling of the, by them still hated, Jewish State. God's answer to this man-made "solution" will be swift and severe on all nations who have sold this evil-laden plan to the people of Israel. If the former inhabitants of that great continent of America, the American Indians would one day form an A.L.O. (American Liberation Organization), with the express purpose of regaining back all their Western-invader-conquered land, just as the Palestine Liberation Organization was formed by Yasser Arafat to take over all of 'Palestine' - how would the Americans respond to such an Indian liberation movement? Would they consider giving them half of America as a starter - as Israel is expected to offer half its land to the Arabs as a starter? And if Americans balked, and the Indians - as the Palestinians did - then began to perpetrate horrendous attacks of terror and massacres inside the US, would Americans (especially their left leaning politicians), begin to voice understanding for the plight of these indigenous inhabitants? Would they concede, under pressure from the whole world, (the Russians, the Chinese, the Europeans, the U.N.), to maybe vacate half of America to these "freedom" fighting Indians, with parts of Washington DC thrown in as the new American capital for their independent Indian state? But Israel is coerced to give up half its own land to terrorist, jihad-minded freedom fighters who announce that the half of Israel they receive will be used by all their terrorist factions - including Hamas, Islamic Jihad and many others, with their Iranian and Hizballah supporters - to wipe Israel off the map! Would the United States be willing to divide its land after suffering 60 years of gruesome acts of terror, like the September 11 attacks, with children's buses blown up by Indian terrorists - and numerous massacres in restaurants, schools and market places? Would the mostly kind-hearted Americans then say - as Israelis do today also because of the pressure from the whole world - even if the Indian terrorists have caused rivers of blood, anguish and heartbreaking sorrows, let us nevertheless give them a state of their own? And then, even after the U.S. would come to such a, for them utterly reprehensible solution: the surrender of half of their beautiful land, they would hear these Indian freedom fighters shout that this surrender of half their land is not enough, and that they nevertheless want all of America back? So they would use the half they have received as a springboard to do away with all of the United States, just as the world's Muslims will use a Palestinian State - as they oftentimes announced - to finish off Israel. Would any American be willing to have such a terrorist prone state on their soil? This is what is being asked of Israel. And God says through the Prophet Joel (Chapter 3:1-2) that He will judge those nations that have dared to divide His Land. They will be judged by the same measure they have so hypocritically used themselves. (International Christian Zionist Center)


AMERICAN TECHNOLOGY REDUCING GAZA SMUGGLING? Thanks to new, secret American-developed technology, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers uncovered 42 smuggling tunnels running between Egypt and Gaza in less than a month. American experts arrived in the region a few weeks ago, making an effort to keep a low profile by wearing civilian dress. The machinery they brought with them, which probably relies on sonar to identify underground tunnels, is unlike any technology that Israel possesses. The recent rash of tunnel discoveries appears to have Hamas worried. Additionally, the tunnel exposure project has led to heightened tension between Hamas and Egypt (Ynet News).


WORLD SHOULD CONFRONT IRAN’S AHMADINEJAD: News coverage of Iranian leader Ahmadinejad's speech to the UN did not include reference to his outrageous anti-Semitic remarks. A nation's leader has not declared to the world such hatred against the Jewish people since Adolph Hitler. The UN Convention against Genocide was adopted following the defeat of Nazism, and it is time for the world to use it to confront Ahmadinejad's agenda. As former Canadian Minister of Justice Irwin Cotler called for, Iran should be brought before the International Court of Justice under the Genocide Convention, and the UN Security Council should refer Ahmadinejad to the International Criminal Court to stand trial for advocating genocide. (Detroit News)


ARAB FOREIGN MINISTER CALLS FOR REGIONAL MIDDLE EAST FRAMEWORK TO INCLUDE ISRAEL: In his speech to the UN General Assembly last week, Bahrain's Foreign Minister Sheik Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa said it was time for the Mideast to develop "new regional frameworks to overcome our long-standing challenges." He said it was time to consider creating an organization that would include "all states in the Middle East, without exception, to discuss long-standing issues openly and frankly." UN diplomats pointed to the words "without exception" as significant because that would mean Israel's inclusion. (AP)


OLMERT: WE MUST LEAVE MOST OF WEST BANK: In an interview published Monday in Yediot Ahronot, outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Israel will have to leave much of the West Bank, including eastern Jerusalem, and give the Palestinians a state in an area equal to the size of the entire West Bank and Gaza. Olmert also said peace with Syria required a pullout from the Golan Heights. Regarding the threat from Tehran, Olmert said that "the assumption that we in Israel know exactly how to deal with Iran is an example of a loss of proportion and megalomania." (Jerusalem Post)


EGYPTIAN MINISTRY OF HEALTH BARS ISRAELI DRUG: An Egyptian father whose young son suffers from cystic fibrosis had a letter published in Al-Ahram Saturday slamming the Egyptian Ministry of Health for its refusal to cooperate with Israel to help his ailing son. According to the father, Israel is the only country in the world that produces a drug called Creon 1000 which serves as a substitute for one of the enzymes missing in those suffering from cystic fibrosis. Though doctors recommended he obtain the medicine for his son, the Health Ministry said the drug cannot be imported from Israel as there is no direct cooperation between the two countries. (Ynet News) "This involves the life of a little boy, who suffers every day, and everyone is evading responsibility," wrote the father.


The next edition of ’Daily Journal’ will be posted on Wednesday, 24th of September 2008.


A DIVIDED PALESTINIAN ENTITY IS UNLIKELY TO BECOME A VIABLE STATE: With Hamas' takeover of Gaza seemingly complete, the West Bank going its own way and scant prospects for reconciliation in the foreseeable future, the crisis of the Palestinian national movement is only worsening. After a series of unfruitful ventures - including the Mecca Agreement and national unity government, the Yemeni Initiative and ongoing Egyptian mediation - the split between Fatah and Hamas as well as between the West Bank and Gaza seem destined to endure and deepen. Some Gazans have gone so far as to speak nostalgically about the days of Israeli occupation when their economic and medical needs were better met, and they could move in and out of Gaza with relative ease. A divided Palestinian movement is unlikely to be in a position to make bold decisions. A weak Palestinian counterpart is unlikely to gain Israel's trust or encourage it to compromise. A segregated Palestinian entity is unlikely to become a viable state. Under current conditions, prospects for a genuine and sustainable peace process are bad and getting worse (Israel Alert).


The next edition of ’Daily Journal’ will be posted on Wednesday, 17th of September 2008.


AFTER A YEAR OF HAMAS RULE, POPULAR SUPPORT SEEMS THIN IN GAZA: Ever since its bloody takeover of Gaza in June 2007, Hamas has seemed to be an existential threat to Israel. But on the dusty, chaotic streets of Gaza, after more than a year of isolation under Hamas rule, popular support seems thin, and people dare to speak openly of what Hamas considers heresy - peace with Israel. In Gaza City's market square, a crowd gathers as people pour out their anger. "We have no jobs, no fuel," says one man, "and the borders are closed." A woman says: "It's our neighbours who are oppressing us." Nobody disagrees. Most adult Gazans can remember when it was possible to make a living by working in construction or agricultural jobs in Israel. "We want them to find an agreement with Israel so we can go and work in Israel," says one man. "Everyone here wants to go to Israel to find a job." As long as Hamas threatens to destroy Israel, Gaza remains isolated and wretched. Many Gazans blame Hamas as well as Israel. (CBC News-Canada)


CAN IT GET MUCH DARKER? When one observes what is happening in today's world things look very, very, serious indeed. On one side we see the rise of the exceedingly sly and ruthless dictator, Vladimir Putin, who although he has allowed Dmitry Medvedev - his former trusted chief aide - to become president, remains virtually Russia's sole ruler as prime minister and also as chief of the ruling party. He now threatens the whole free world with his Soviet-like aggressive designs - much in accordance with Putin's former KGB past. So, as Putin has just brutally invaded pro-western and pro-Israel, Christian Georgia, and threateningly holds out the possibility of an attack on peace-loving, democratic Poland - in wily response to the just-signed agreement between Poland and the U.S. to have a defensive missile shield placed on Polish soil - it all looks very much like it was at the beginning of the Second World War. On the other side we see in America, unbelievably, the rise of presidential forerunner Barack Obama, a former Muslim and a man who - like British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain on the eve of World War Two - promises wonderful change in our times, much as Chamberlain promised Britain peace in his time. Obama is no match for Putin or for the new radicalized Muslim leadership that is springing up all around Israel: Ahmadinejad in Iran, Nasrallah in Lebanon, Iranian-backed Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh in Gaza, and the new radical Muslim leader who will likely replace the pro-Western Pervez Musharraf as President of Pakistan - all gearing up against the West and little Israel. The Bible tells us this would all happen: an evil prince or leader of Rosh to Israel's far north who would make an alliance with nations like Persia, Libya etc - as indeed Putin is now doing. And now as I write these lines, Syrian President Bashar Assad is with Putin and Medvedev in Moscow on a two day visit - believing he will receive from the Russians his extensive shopping list for military hardware in case of a war with Israel. As all this unfolds, Israel is mainly caught up with internal political bickering and manoeuvring that may well lead to upcoming general elections - just as the United States is in the thralls of its election campaign, unable or unwilling to pose much of a problem either to Putin or to Assad's and Ahmadinejad's evil and most dangerous designs. One would think the Europeans would do everything to see a Churchill-like president brought to power on the other side of their ocean. But no - fully despising the legacy of President GeorgeW. Bush, most Europeans in their utter blindness would prefer a weak, Chamberlain-like Obama, who will rather talk to the warlike Russian and the Muslim dictators than courageously face up to them. The world, then, is going down - and that quite quickly - unable or unwilling to defend its own fading freedoms and democracies. While Israel is the only nation still prepared to fight and withstand this joint onslaught, she will have to look higher - than to trust in the weak and failing western nations who increasingly are afraid to stand up for her - for a miracle of divine intervention as her own God, the God of Israel, promises in His word. "Therefore, son of man, prophesy and say to Gog, 'Thus says the Lord God: "On that day when My people Israel dwell safely, will you not know it? You will come up against My people Israel like a cloud, to cover the land. It will be in the latter days that I will bring you against My land, so that the nations may know Me, when I am hallowed in you, O Gog, before their eyes." "And it will come to pass at the same time, when Gog comes against the land of Israel," says the Lord God, "that My fury will show in My face. I will call for a sword against Gog throughout all My mountains," says the Lord God. "Every man's sword will be against his brother. And I will bring him to judgment with pestilence and bloodshed; I will rain down on him, on his troops, and on the many peoples who are with him, flooding rain, great hailstones, fire, and brimstone. Thus I will magnify Myself and sanctify Myself, and I will be known in the eyes of many nations. Then they shall know that I am the Lord." (Ezekiel 38:14, 16, 18, 21-23) We seem to come closer and closer to these, already centuries ago, prophesied scenarios and this to the shock of the nations, but to the Glory of God of Israel. (International Christian Zionist Centre)


The next edition of ’Daily Journal’ will be posted on Wednesday, 27th of August, 2008.


The next edition of ’Daily Journal’ will be posted on Wednesday, 20th of August, 2008.


INTERNALIZING HAMASTAN: Israel and the West would do well to internalize that Hamas' rule in Gaza is the best indicator to date of how Palestinians would run their affairs in a fully independent Palestine. We need also to recognize the failure of institution-building and due process in the Abbas component of the PA thus far, as illuminated by the torture of Hamas functionaries, on Fatah's behalf, by the Aksa Martyrs Brigade. Dismally, despite the brutal nature of its Gaza rule, Hamas remains more popular in the West Bank and Gaza than Abbas. This ongoing triumph of intransigence over relative moderation is greatly assisted by Abbas' failure to root out corruption from Fatah. In such a climate, there aren't enough checkpoints in the West Bank Israel can dismantle to "help" Abbas. Indeed, IDF pullbacks in the West Bank would simply set the stage for a Hamas takeover and leave Israel more vulnerable to terrorism. Plainly, lifting international sanctions on Hamas would be a flagrant reward for Islamist violence and tyranny. (Jerusalem Post)


IRELAND’S JEWS – PAST, PRESENT, FUTURE: The economic boom since the 1990s has led to an increase in the number of Jews who have settled in Ireland for economic reasons. It also turned Ireland into a multicultural and multiracial society that has challenged Irish Jewry's status as the major non-Christian minority in the country. The current widespread support for a boycott of Israel among civil society groups is a worrying development, as is the potential of the growing Irish Muslim community to become radicalized. (Jerusalem Centre for Public Affairs)


The next edition of ’Daily Journal’ will be posted on Tuesday, 05th of August, 2008.


U.S OFFICIALS: Iraqis told me WMDs SENT TO SYRIA Don Bordenkircher, who served two years as national director of prison and jail operations in Iraq, said that about 40 prisoners he spoke with "boasted of being involved in the transport of WMD warheads to Syria" in the three months prior to Operation Iraqi Freedom. He said he was told the WMDs were shipped by truck into Syria, and some ended up in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley. Prisoners who said they worked at the al-Muthana Chemical Industries site said the cargo included nitrogen mustard gas warheads for Tariq I and II missiles. (WorldNetDaily)


ISRAEL HOLDS DRILL FOR MASS ROCKET ATTACK AND SHELLING OF SOUTHERN CITIES: The IDF Home Front Command conducted a drill on Sunday of a mass rocket attack and shelling of southern cities and communities. During the exercise, firefighters, ambulances, the National Emergency Authority, and the mayors of Kiryat Gat and Ashdod cooperated in a simulated large-scale evacuation of affected areas. "The aim is to learn how things may look if the cease-fire breaks down," said Deputy Defence Minister Matan Vilna'i. Senior defence officials have repeatedly said Hamas has armed itself with new rockets which can hit targets in Ashdod, Israel's fifth-largest city situated 25 km. from Gaza, and Kiryat Gat, 21 km. from Gaza. (Jerusalem Post)


AMBASSADOR GILLERMAN’S FINAL SPEECH TO THE U.N. SECURITY COUNCIL: Israel's outgoing Ambassador to the United Nations, Danny Gillerman, gave his last speech Tuesday to the U.N. Security Council. Referring to Jerusalem's second tractor terror attack in three weeks, which occurred just hours before his speech, he said that when the first tractor attack occurred, people said the driver was "a madman." It now is clear, he added, that the problem was not a solitary madman but rather "a phenomenon." Gillerman had prepared a written speech but told the ambassadors that he decided to "speak from his heart" instead. "This is most probably my last appearance before you as the representative of the State of Israel," he said. "I would like to thank each and every one of you for the time you have spent on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and our problems." He emphasized that "whatever happens, whatever you discuss, whatever transpires - Israel will prevail." MOST OF THE HORROR IS WITHIN ISLAM: Gillerman went on to say that the world was not dealing with a clash of civilizations, but rather with a "clash of civilization, in the singular" - within Islam. "Most of the horror, most of the bloodshed, most of the killings, and most of the violence... is sadly and tragically within Islam," he said. Not only are the majority of terrorists Muslim, he noted, but also the majority of terror victims around the world. The Ambassador said he was most concerned about the "eerie silence of the Muslim world" in the face of terrorism, and expressed his hope to see a Muslim leader emerge who would say "enough is enough, what are we doing?" "I hope very much that the Arab and Muslim world will realize that it is its duty and responsibility today, in that very clash, to support the moderates and isolate the extremists," he added. 'IMAGINE...' Gillerman extended an invitation to all those present to visit Israel. "You will see a country which is very different from the perception you get on TV, where you see a country torn by violence and bloodshed... You will discover a vibrant county, of great excellence and innovation, in making the desert bloom, in agriculture, science and medicine," he said. "You will see a country which is contributing each and every day to mankind and to humanity, not just to itself and to the Jewish people, and making the world a better place." "You will not understand the essence of Israel until you feel it and smell it," he said. He asked his colleagues to "imagine, for one moment, what it is like to be an Israeli." BOARDING A BUS WITH FEAR: He asked them to picture "a grandfather like me who sometimes goes to the kindergarten to pick up my granddaughter and whose heart breaks when he sees an armed guard at the entrance to the kindergarten." "Imagine what it is like," he said, "to board a bus and look to the side in fear, or to sit in a coffee shop in Jerusalem. Sitting in a coffee house in Paris, Moscow and New York, costs a few dollars. Sitting in a coffee house in Jerusalem could cost many lives," he said. Gillerman asked those present to "imagine a bulldozer driving down Fifth Avenue or the Champs Elysees and crushing cars... I have been here for almost six years. Occasionally I have been accused of over-reaction and dramatization. If you visit Israel or just imagine what happens in it, you will understand. When you speak about the situation in the Middle East, you will think about what we deal with every single day." (Gil Ronen, Arutz Sheva)


The next edition of ’Daily Journal’ will be posted on Monday 28th of July 2008.


EXTREME ISLAMIST IDEAS PENETRATING TERRITORIES: There is a growing presence in eastern Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza of preachers, organizations and individuals committed to the extreme Sunni Islamist current known as "Salafiyya," the ideology associated with al-Qaeda. In the West Bank, the removal of Hamas-affiliated imams in over 1,000 mosques has paradoxically opened the door for the rising prominence of Salafi-oriented preachers. A certain Saudi-Palestinian sheikh, whose brother is in a Saudi jail accused of al-Qaeda ties, has been in Nablus since early 2008. He has a lot of money (presumably from supporters in Saudi Arabia), and has gathered around himself a circle of young activists committed to the Salafi-Jihadi path. (Jerusalem Post)


The next edition of ’Daily Journal’ will be posted on Friday 25th of July 2008.


LESSONS OF THE HIZBULLAH PRISONER SWAP: Throughout the negotiations, Israel did not know whether the two abductees were alive or dead, and conducted the talks without knowing what it would receive in exchange for the Lebanese prisoners. In any future case, Israel must announce that it will not begin negotiations without knowing whether the captives or abductees are dead or alive. At the same time, Israel must insist that representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross be permitted to see the captives and submit an official report on their condition, according to the requirements of international law. This principle can be adopted now in the case of Gilad Shalit in Gaza. (Ha'aretz)


REPORT: SAUDIS OFFER MOSCOW BILLIONS TO BREAK WITH IRAN: Saudi Arabia has offered to buy Russian arms worth $2.4 billion if Moscow stops supporting Iran. "The kingdom's government advised Moscow to cut back its cooperation with Tehran, and in exchange it held out the prospect of profitable contracts with Saudi Arabia," the Russian business newspaper Kommersant reported Tuesday. Citing sources in Russia's defense industry, the newspaper said Saudi Arabia was ready to buy at least 100 BMP-3 combat vehicles, 150 T-90 tanks and 160 Mi-17, Mi-26 and Mi-35 helicopters. A spokesman for Russian Prime Minister Putin denied the report. (AFP)


HUGO CHAVEZ’S JEWISH PROBLEM: Hugo Chavez is in possession of the largest proven oil reserves of any country in the Western hemisphere. At current production levels and prices Venezuela's oil revenues may top $250 million daily. He has aligned his government with regimes and terror groups that would otherwise seem to hold little attraction for a Spanish-speaking South American country. These include Libya, Syria, Hizbullah, and Hizbullah's patron Iran. Virtually alone among world leaders, Chavez is an impassioned defender of Tehran's right to pursue nuclear technology. There is something else, aside from simple anti-Americanism, at work in Chavez's foreign policy. Since he took office in 1999, there has been an unprecedented surge in an ti-Semitism throughout Venezuela. Government-owned media outlets have published anti-Semitic tracts with increasing frequency. Pro-Chavez groups have publicly disseminated copies of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Prominent Jewish figures have been publicly denounced for supposed disloyalty to the "Bolivarian" cause, and "Semitic banks" have been accused of plotting against the regime. Venezuela's Jewish community, amounting to less than one percent of the country's total population of 26 million, is among the oldest in South America, dating back to the early 19th century. One-third of Venezuela's Jews have fled the country by now, and those who remain are in a state ranging from discomfiture to terror.


PALESTINIAN FACTIONAL DIVIDE SHREDDING SOCIETY: Conflict between Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah faction and rival Islamist Hamas has damaged the fabric of Palestinian society and torn families apart, especially in Gaza. "One of our neighbours refused to receive mourners from Hamas at his house," said Ahmed Youssef, a Hamas official in Gaza. "When a man goes to ask for a woman's hand in marriage, her family now inquires about his political affiliation first." He also spoke of marriages that had broken down in divorce over politics since last year's factional violence. "It is now common for a member of Hamas to hide his face behind a mask and arrest his brother from Fatah," said Palestinian commentator Talal Okal. (Reuters)


NERVOUS ARAB STATES FEAR WAR IN GULF, BUT A NUCLEAR –ARMED IRAN IS AN EVEN GREATER CONCERN: Arab governments are deeply worried about the prospect of war between Iran and Israel and/or the U.S. since several of them would be directly in the firing line if hostilities erupted. Even without the threat of war, Iran's Arab neighbors have long lived in fear of another Chernobyl: the Bushehr nuclear reactor, two miles from the Gulf coast, is closer to six Arab capitals (Kuwait, Riyadh, Manama, Doha, Abu Dhabi and Muscat) than it is to Tehran. Tehran is mistrusted in almost every Arab capital. None believe the claim that it is interested only in civilian nuclear power and has no military ambitions. It is seen as working to establish its hegemony across the Middle East, setting the agenda through allies or "non-state" proxies such as Hizbullah and Hamas. "Perhaps the objective of Iran's frequent threats is to stir up fear among the Gulf states over the repercussions of any U.S. strike against it so that they in turn may pressure Washington into preventing any military action," observed Abdul Rahman Al-Rashed in the Saudi-owned Asharq Alawsat. "But this is having an opposite effect from the desired one." (Guardian-UK)


The next edition of ’Daily Journal’ will be posted on Monday, 14th of July.


ISRAEL DISPLAYS PLANE THAT CAN SPY ON IRAN: An Israeli business jet modified to function as an Airborne Early Warning and Control plane went on display on Thursday ahead of its first exhibition at the Farnborough international aerospace event in Britain. The Israeli Air Force has already taken delivery of three of the Gulfstream G550 business jets, converted by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI). Such planes, crammed with sophisticated electronic gear, provide intelligence and communications assistance to strike aircraft and would likely play a central role in directing any Israeli attack on Iranian nuclear installations. An IAI spokeswoman said the decision to display the aircraft had "no connection to the recent news" about Iran, and the timing was "completely coincidental." (Reuters)


RICE WARNS IRAN THAT U.S. WILL DEFEND ISRAEL: U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice warned Iran on Thursday that Washington had beefed up its "security presence" in the Gulf and that "We will defend American interests and the interests of our allies." "In the Gulf area, the United States has enhanced its security capacity, its security presence, and we are working closely with all our allies...to make (sure) they are capable of defending themselves. These are all elements of America's intention and determination to prevent Iran from threatening our interest or the interests of our friends and allies. I don't think the Iranians are too confused either about the capabilities and power of the United States to do exactly that." (AFP)


The next edition of 'Daily Journal' will be posted on Thursday.


US REMOVES URANIUM FROM IRAQ: The last major remnant of Saddam Hussein's nuclear program - a huge stockpile of concentrated natural uranium - reached a Canadian port Saturday to complete a secret U.S. operation that included a two-week airlift from Baghdad and a ship voyage crossing two oceans. The removal of 550 metric tons of "yellowcake" - the seed material for higher-grade nuclear enrichment - also brought relief to U.S. and Iraqi authorities who had worried the cache would reach insurgents or smugglers crossing to Iran to aid its nuclear ambitions. (Washington Post)


BUSH OFFERED PALESTINIANS A STATE; THEY SAID NO: Six years ago, on June 24, 2002, President Bush announced that the U.S. would support the creation of a Palestinian state. His only condition was that Palestinians first choose "leaders not compromised by terror." He asked also that they "confront corruption," and "build a practicing democracy based on tolerance and liberty." In 2006, elections were held in Gaza and the West Bank. Hamas, a terrorist organization, declared itself a political party and won. In 2007, Hamas launched a wave of violence against rival Fatah security forces. Since then, Hamas has been unchallenged in Gaza and no one talks of new elections or civil rights. Nor has Hamas attempted to build an economic base. Instead, it turned to Iran's rulers for money and guidance - and then complained that Palestinians were living in squalor because they weren't receiving sufficient funds from the U.S. and Europe. Hamas rains missiles on Israeli towns, sends terrorists into Israel on killing and kidnapping missions, and assigns suicide-bombers to blow up the few border crossings with Israel. Then Hamas complains that Israel is not delivering as much food, medicine, gasoline, and electricity as Palestinians require. President Bush believed that Palestinians wanted a state to call their own - and that they wanted that more than they wanted the destruction of the Jewish state next door. In 2002 Bush said: "If liberty can blossom in the rocky soil of the West Bank and Gaza, it will inspire millions of men and women around the globe....This moment is...a test to show who is serious about peace and who is not." He was right. It was a test. And now it's time to be candid about the results. Israelis, Americans, and Europeans are serious about peace. The enemies of Israelis, Americans, and European are serious about defeating Israelis, Americans, and Europeans. The writer is president of the Foundation for Defence of Democracies. (National Review)


The next edition of ’Daily Journal’ will be posted on Monday, 07th of July.


ISRAEL’S MURDER RATE AMONG LOWEST IN WORLD AND DECLINING: The murder rate in Israel is one of the world's lowest and is declining, according to a new study by the University of Haifa. The murder rate per 100,000 residents has remained almost unchanged over the last 28 years and has even gone down over the past few years, concluded Prof. Arye Rattner and Prof. Gideon Fishman of the Centrer for the Study of Crime, Law and Society. While the incidence of crime has risen, these figures create a false impression without taking into account the dramatic rise in the country's population. The number of murders in Israel per 100,000 people was 2.35 in 1980 and 2.29 in 2006. In 2004, in the U.S. the number of murders per 100,000 was 7.5, and was 18 in Russia. (Jerusalem Post)


WHEN DOES HEBRON’S STORY BEGIN? When explaining black America, New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof looks to America's "legacy of slavery, Tuskegee and Jim Crow," context spanning 250 years. But when it comes to Hebron, for Kristof history begins June 11, 1967, the seventh day of the Six-Day War. That's convenient, of course, because the story of Hebron - the world's oldest Jewish city - becomes too sympathetic if you start the day or the decades before that. If Kristof can go back to slavery in the 1800s, Rivka Slonim says Slonims were living in Hebron in 1845. At what point does a settlement graduate to the dignity of being a neighbourhood? How about a settlement that was established before 23 states were admitted to the Union? On Oct. 13, 1912, the Times reported that Jews "owned 40 villages" in what is now Israel, including 23 villages in what is now the West Bank. In Hebron, there were yeshivas, Hadassah Hospital, and a Jewish branch of a London bank. If slavery was America's "original sin," the 1929 ethnic cleansing was Hebron's. For three days, Aug. 26-28, the Times ran daily stories about an Arab attack that started at Hebron's Slabodka Rabbinical College, killing 30. The toll of the dead and wounded from further rampages neared 120. (New York Jewish Week)


FACEBOOK IN THE MIDDLE EAST: Facebook, with 75 million users, is quickly turning into a hotbed of activism and a cause for alarm for many autocratic regimes in the Middle East attempting to block it and curtail its reach. In April, an Egyptian youth group used Facebook to mobilize 80,000 supporters to protest the rising cost of bread. The site also played a crucial role in broadening turnout for an April 6 textile-workers' strike. In Syria, the government has banned Facebook due to an anti-regime, e-mail spam campaign channeled through the site in 2007. Before it was blocked, it had 28,000 registered Syrian members. In the Persian Gulf states, censorship attempts to block only the more threatening applications of Facebook and other Web sites like video content, photographic images and computer based phone services. The Internet provided Arab activist g roups with a new medium for expression. It quickly became the preferred domain for many opposition groups who otherwise had little or no access to traditional forms of media. Add to that the growing number of political blogs that often utilize video streaming aimed at exposing the brutality of government, political corruption or police violence. The writer is vice president of the Center for Freedom in the Middle East and a fellow at The International Institute for Counter-Terrorism. (Washington Times)


The next edition of ’Daily Journal’ will be posted on Monday, 30th of June.


GOOGLE EARTH AND THE CAMPAIGN TO WIPE ISRAEL OFF THE VIRTUAL MAP: Virtual Israel, as represented by Google Earth, is littered with orange dots, many of which claim to represent "Palestinian localities evacuated and destroyed after the 1948 Arab-Israeli war." Thus, Israel is depicted as a state born out of colonial conquest rather than the return of a people from exile. Each dot links to the "Palestine Remembered" site, where further information advancing this narrative can be obtained. Many of the claims staked out in Google Earth present misinformation, and sites known to be ru ins in 1946 are claimed to be villages destroyed in 1948. Arab villages which still exist today are listed as sites of destruction. The Google Earth initiative is not only creating a virtual Palestine, it is creating a falsification of history. The concept of "replacement geography" replaces the historical connection of one people to the land with a connection between another people and the land. The inclusion of virtual Palestine, superimposed on Israel in the core layer of Google Earth, is an example of replacement geography advanced by technology. Those wishing to explore Israel in Google Earth are immediately taken to a politically motivated narrative unrelated to their quest. Google should remove the narrative and treat Israel as it treats every other country on the globe. The core layer of Google Earth should be ideology free and not serve as a platform for indoctrination or a campaign to wipe Israel off the virtual map. (Institute for Contemporary Affairs/Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)


AFTER OLMERT-MUBARAK MEETING: GAZA CROSSING TO REMAIN SHUT UNTIL ABDUCTED ISRAELI SOLDIER FREED: Egypt assured Israel on Tuesday that the Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt will remain closed until a deal is reached that secures the release of Israel Defence Forces soldier Gilad Shalit, a senior Israeli official said after meetings in Sharm el-Sheikh between Prime Minister Olmert and Egyptian President Mubarak. Mubarak said that Egypt was working to secure Shalit's release, and Olmert thanked him for Cairo's role in the Gaza cease-fire agreement. The leaders also discussed arms smuggling into Gaza during the meeting. The London-based Al-Sharq Al-Awsat quoted Olmert as saying that if the smuggling of weapons into Gaza does not cease, Israel will consider the cease-fire agreement violated and will be forced to respond militarily. (Ha'aretz)


The next edition of ’Daily Journal’ will be posted on Thursday, 26th of June.


TRUCE BOOSTS HAMAS: Hamas is acting as though the tahadiye (truce) was a deal between equal partners. Israel will receive a cease-fire that will satisfy the residents of Sderot and the communities in the western Negev. Hamas gains a cease-fire without having to surrender, the entry of basic commodities from Israel, and the opening of the border with Egypt, Gazans' only exit to the world. Hamas' big political plan is to gain power in the West Bank as well as in Gaza. But this time, unlike in 2006, it will reach its goal thanks to its achievements against Israel, not because of the corruption of the PA and of Fatah leaders. (Ha'aretz)


HIZBULLAH POISED TO STRIKE? Intelligence agencies in the U.S. and Canada are warning of mounting signs that Hizbullah, backed by Iran, is poised to mount a terror attack against "Jewish targets" somewhere outside the Middle East. Intelligence officials say the group has activated suspected "sleeper cells" in Canada and key operatives have been tracked moving outside the group's Lebanon base to Canada, Europe and Africa. Officials say Hizbullah is seeking revenge for the February assassination of its military commander, Imad Mugniyah, killed by a car bomb in Damascus, Syria. Suspected Hizbullah operatives have conducted recent surveillance on the Israeli embassy in Ottawa and on several synagogues in Toronto, according to the officials. "They want to kill as many people as they can, they want it to be a big splash," said former CIA intelligence officer Bob Baer. However, Baer says his Hizbullah contacts told him an attack against the U.S. was unlikely because Iran and Hizbullah did not want to give the Bush administration an excuse to attack. Toronto has long been considered an important city for Hizbullah fund-raising and organizing, according to officials. "Because of lax immigration policies, it became a centre for Hizbullah operations outside the Middle East," said Malcolm Hoenlein, Executive Vice Chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. (ABC News)


MULTINATIONAL ARAB FORCE FOR GAZA BEING DISCUSSED: The deployment of a multinational Arab force in Gaza as a final stage of a Hamas-Israeli truce is being discussed at the highest levels of government. According to a senior Israeli defence official, Egypt raised the request and Israel was not completely opposed to the idea since it would ultimately bring Arab countries such as Egypt to "take responsibility" for events in Gaza. The Israeli defence establishment was sceptical that such a move would succeed in light of Hamas' public opposition. It would also pose operational challenges for the IDF, which would be concerned over accidentally harming soldiers of the multinational force while pursuing terrorists inside Gaza. (Jerusalem Post)


ISRAELI SUPPORT FOR ROADMAP PLAN DIPS BELOW 50% Support among Israelis for the U.S.-led "Roadmap" has slipped below 50 percent for the first time since 2003, according to a poll conducted jointly by Hebrew University's Truman Institute for the Advancement of Peace and the Palestinian Centre for Policy and Survey Research. A large majority of Israelis support the creation of a Palestinian state, but only 28% believe the chances of establishing it in the next five years are fair or high, while 69% believe the chances are nonexistent or weak. The continued rocket attacks and suicide bombings in Israel over the past several years are behind the growing cynicism in the Israeli public, said Ariel Cohen, a specialist on the Arab-Israeli conflict at the Heritage Foundation. &nbs p; "The Israeli public was very committed to a negotiated solution for decades," he said. "Every Israeli child grows up singing songs about peace, but even after that conditioning the population is becoming disappointed because the other side is clinging to terrorism." Russell Stone, director of the Centre for Israeli Studies at American University, said, "After the [Israeli] withdrawal from Gaza a couple years ago rocketing of Israeli settlements from the Gaza Strip began immediately....This has been a great tactical mistake for the Palestinians because it lessens the willingness among the Israeli population to make any further concessions." (Washington Times)


BUSH: IRAN HAS REPLACED PALESTINIANS AS KEY MIDEAST FOCUS: In an interview published on Sunday, President Bush said: "We need more sanctions. The next step is for the Europeans and the United States and Russia and China to understand that diplomacy only works if there are consequences. It is the international issue that faces us all. If the people in the Middle East do not think that the United States and Europe, for example, are going to work to provide security, they will find ways to secure themselves. And what the Middle East does not need is a nuclear arms race. It does not need the instability that comes from an innate fear that the West is not strong enough or willing enough to take on the problem." "When you go to the Middle East and you sit in my seat and listen, yes, there's concern about the Palestinian state. But the dialogue has shifted dramatically from 'solve the Palestinian state and you've solved the problems in the Middle East' to, now, 'solve the Iranian issue and you solve the problems in the Middle East'." (Observer-UK)


ONE YEAR AFTER TAKEOVER: HAMAS REMAINS POPULAR IN GAZA, FATAH OFFERS NO ALTERNATIVE: After its violent seizure of Gaza in June 2007, Hamas appears to be as popular as ever. Hamas supporters in Gaza say that despite its failure in almost all fields, Hamas has successfully ended the state of anarchy and lawlessness that prevailed under the Fatah-dominated PA security forces. Hamas officials boasted that not a single foreigner has been kidnapped since the movement took full control of the area. A Palestinian journalist working for a foreign news agency in Gaza City noted, "Most people here are happy that the Fatah security forces are gone because they were very corrupt and many of their commanders were acting like mafia leaders. They are also happy that all the Fatah gangsters who used to roam the streets and intimidate the people have disappeared. Today no one dares to carry a gun in public." But all this has been achieved at a very heavy price. More than 450 Palestinians have been killed and 1,800 wounded in the power struggle between Fatah and Hamas. "As long as the Palestinians don't see a better alternative to Hamas, they will continue to support the movement," a Palestinian editor from Gaza City said. "Many Palestinians still don't trust Fatah because of its failure to reform itself and remove all the corrupt leaders." Hamas is desperate to reach a cease-fire agreement with Israel; such a truce would allow Hamas to claim "victory" over Israel and the U.S. and to further consolidate its authority in Gaza. Mahmoud Abbas and Fatah would emerge as the biggest losers from any cease-fire agreement. (Jerusalem Post)


FORMER PALESTINIAN COLLABORATORS FORGE NEW LIFE IN ISRAEL: Eighty Palestinians who assisted Israel, and their families, enjoy relative safety in the front-line Israeli town of Sderot. Samir, 52, looks out over a garden neatly planted with rose bushes. "I don't regret any of my story," he said. "I'm very happy that I helped the State of Israel." Samir began after his brother was wrongly accused of being a collaborator and killed in the early 70s. By giving information on the groups who killed his brother, he sought revenge. (Guardian-UK)


JORDAN FEARS NEW PRESSURE TO MERGE WITH WEST BANK: Jordanian officials fear renewed proposals for a merger with part of the West Bank. "To get half or less of the West Bank with all the Palestinian population would be suicide," a senior Jordanian official said. A significant proportion of Jordan's 5.8 million inhabitants are already of Palestinian origin and officials worry that the addition of the West Bank's Palestinians would fundamentally alter the population balance. "We would prefer to be at war with Israel rather than accept such a situation, which would be a security nightmare and which would in the long term cause Jordan to lose its identity," the Jordanian official said, adding that such a move would allow the Palestinians control of Jordanian politics. (AFP)


ISRAELI COMPANY DEVELOPS SYSTEM TO SEE THROUGH WALLS: Camero's unique radar utilizes Ultra Wide Band (UWB), a technology that has only come of age in recent years, and with the use of special algorithms can process data picked up by the detector to give a reasonable image of anything behind that wall. The system made by its competitor, Time Domain, lacking imaging algorithms, is able to reveal only whether there is someone on the other side of the wall. (TheMarker-Ha'aretz)


SYRIAN ECONOMY REQUIRES A PEACE DEAL WITH ISRAEL: Many Syrians believe a peace deal with Israel would undoubtedly encourage investment in Syria, and end the financial hardships imposed on Syria since relations soured with the U.S. back in 2003. State coffers are empty, and the Ministry of Finance lifted the state subsidy on some fuels in May, with the price of fuel rising by a staggering 350%. The increase in the price of fuel led to a sharp increase in other prices. Public and private transportation prices increased 61-77%, and some commodities increased in price by 300%. (Gulf News-Dubai)


MILITANT WEST BANK BASTION NOW OPEN TO VISITS FROM ISRAELI ARABS: Once the cradle of suicide bombers, Jenin in the northern West Bank now sees its militant gangs subdued and local police units fighting crime. Prodded by the U.S., the Israeli army and a reinforced Palestinian security force have tightened their security cooperation, attracting a stream of foreign dignitaries who are directing millions of dollars of aid to stoke renewed economic prosperity in the region. For nearly a year, the local branch of the Aqsa Martyr's Brigades has complied with a program that gives them amnesty from arrest in return for a promise to give up their weapons. It's a pretty big deal," says David Makovsky, a senior fellow at the Washington Institute. "Jenin was the archetype during the uprising as the place that was the most dangerous. Now, ironically, it is the quietest area. (Christian Science Monitor)"


ISRAEL LEADS THE WAY TO COMBAT EFFECTS OF GLOBAL WARMING: Israel is leading the world in finding solutions to combat global warming and desertification, the Agriculture Ministry's chief scientist said Thursday at the UN food forum in Rome. Dr. Yuval Eshdat said Israel was at the forefront of efforts to fight the effects of climate change, and was assisting other nations with technology, skills and policy exchanges. "Israel has been dealing with the problem of desertification since its inception, and over the years has developed tools to turn desert into arable lands for agriculture," Eshdat said. "Through the use of research we have developed tools to make the most effective use of water, including waste and marginal water, to advance farming on even the most arid lands." (Jerusalem Post)


BLAIR FIRM ON BOYCOTT OF HAMAS: Tony Blair, representing the Quartet of international powers, on Thursday ruled out talks with Hamas until it recognizes Israel and stops firing rockets. Soon to mark a year as Middle East envoy, Blair defended the policy of boycotting the Islamist movement until it ended violence, recognized Israel and abided by existing peace agreements. "The Quartet principles are very clear. Without Hamas accepting them it is difficult to see how we can make progress," he said. (Guardian-UK)


THE WORST PLACES TO BE A TERRORIST: France was the first European country to fall victim to Middle Eastern terrorism during the Algerian war in the 1950s, and has some of the world's toughest and most effective antiterrorism laws. Prosecutors have a mandate to pursue terrorists abroad if the suspect or victim is French. France is also not shy about deporting Muslim clerics it views as threatening. Jordan's intelligence service has exploited close ties with Sunni tribes in Iraq's Anbar province to provide its U.S. and Israeli counterparts with valuable intelligence about the structure and financing of terrorist organizations. Jordan also takes pride in the prowess of its Special Forces units and has opened a training center to teach counterterrorism tactics to military units from around the world. (Foreign Policy)


ON THE 40TH ANNIVERSARY OF HIS ASSASINATION: ROBERT KENNEDY’S 1948 REPORTS FROM PALESTINE: In April 1948, one month before Israel declared independence, Robert Kennedy, then 22, travelled to Palestine to report on the conflict for the Boston Post. His four dispatches from the scene were published in June 1948. The newspaper closed in 1956, and for decades the reports were virtually forgotten. The following are excerpts: "Unfortunately for [the Jews, Jerusalem's water] reservoir is situated in the mountains and it and the whole pipeline are controlled by the Arabs. The British would not let them cut the water off until after May 15th but an Arab told me they would not even do it then. First they would poison it." The Arab responsible for the blowing up of the Jewish Agency on March 11, 1948, said that "after the explosion, upon reaching the British post which separated the Jewish section from a small neutral zone set up in the middle of Jerusalem, he was questioned by the British officers in charge. He quite freely admitted what he had done and was given immediate passage with the remark, 'Nice going.'" "The Jews informed the British government that 600 Iraqi troops were going to cross into Palestine from Trans-Jordan by the Allenby Bridge on a certain date and requested the British to take appropriate action to prevent this passage. The troops crossed unmolested....I saw several thousand non-Palestinian Arab troops in Palestine, including many of the famed British-trained and equipped Arab legionnaires of King Abdullah [of Trans-Jordan]. There were also soldiers from Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq." "The Arabs in command believe that eventually victory must be theirs. It is against all law and nature that this Jewish state should exist. They...promise that if it does become a reality it will never have as neighbours anything but hostile countries, which will continue the fight militarily and economically until victory is achieved." "The Jews on the other hand believe that in a few more years, if a Jewish state is formed, it will be the only stabilizing factor remaining in the Near and Middle East. The Arab world is made up of many disgruntled factions who would have been at each other's throats long ago if it had not been for the common war against Zionism." (Institute for Contemporary Affairs/Jerusalem Centre for Public Affairs)


AHMADINEJAD ATTACKS JEWS AT UN FOOD SUMMIT IN ROME: Arriving in Rome for the UN Food Summit, Iranian President Ahmadinejad said: "The people of Europe have suffered the most harm from Zionists and today the costs of that falsified regime, whether political or economic, are on Europe's shoulders." "People love what I say because they are trying to save themselves from the oppression of Zionists," he added. This is Ahmadinejad's first trip to a major European nation. Italy has refused to hold any talks with him, but was powerless to deny him entry to a UN event. (Telegraph-UK)


ASSAILANTS BEAT GUARDS, STEAL BUS FROM CHRISTIAN SCHOOL IN GAZA: Assailants Saturday beat up guards and stole a bus from a Christian school in Gaza run by the Baptist Church, the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights said. Since Hamas came to power a year ago, attacks on Gaza's 3,000 Christians have increased. (AP/International Herald Tribune)


IDF FACES NEW ANTI-AIRCRAFT MISSILE THREAT FROM GAZA: Air force combat helicopters flying over Gaza "will have to take a new threat into account" following the discovery of 30 anti-aircraft missiles by Egyptian police in Sinai, said to be destined for Gaza. "There's no doubt that the appearance of these weapons represents a very significant change," said Yoram Schweitzer, director of the Program on Terrorism and Low Intensity Conflict at the Institute for Counter-Terrorism at the Interdisciplinary Centre in Herzliya. (Jerusalem Post)


BAHREIN NAMES JEWISH WOMAN AMBASSADOR: Bahrain's king has appointed a Jewish woman as the country's envoy to the U.S. Houda Nonoo is believed to be the Arab world's first Jewish ambassador. Nonoo, 43, has served as a legislator in Bahrain's 40-member Shura Council for three years and is head of the Bahrain Human Rights Watch. Her family moved to Bahrain from Iraq over a century ago.


LYNDON B. JOHNSON’S NEWLY RELEASED OVAL OFFICE RECORDINGS DISCLOSE HIS DEEP FEELINGS TOWARD ISRAEL: Tapes of Lyndon Johnson's Oval Office conversations, released to the public for the first time on Wednesday, reveal that the American president had a personal and often emotional connection to Israel. "I sure as hell want to be careful and not run out on little Israel," Johnson said in a March 1968 conversation with his ambassador to the United Nations, Arthur Goldberg. In a taped conversation from June 25, 1967, about three weeks after Israel defeated three Arab armies, Johnson relates a conversation with Soviet Premier Alexey Kosygin. "He couldn't understand why we'd want to support the Jews - 3 million people - when there are 100 million Arabs," the president said. "I told him that numbers do not determine what was right. We tried to do what was right regardless of the numbers." (AP/International Herald Tribune)


"DURBAN II” UN RACISM CONFERENCE TO BE HELD IN GENEVA: The UN Monday moved the venue of its second anti-racism conference from Durban, South Africa, to its European headquarters in Geneva in an attempt to dampen the raucous anti-Israel public expressions that marred the 2001 conference. (Washington Times)


PALESTINIAN GOVERMENTS IN GAZA, WEST BANK FAULTED FOR RIGHTS VIOLATIONS: The rival Palestinian governments in the West Bank and Gaza are increasingly violating human rights in their territories in a quest for control. The Palestinian Independent Commission for Citizens' Rights said Tuesday it received more than 2,000 complaints in 2007, double the number from the previous year. The head of the group, Mamdouh al-Aker, said both Palestinian governments are increasingly arresting people on political grounds, raiding homes without warrants, mistreating detainees and restricting freedom of expression. (AP)


AL DURRA CASE REVISITED: It's hard to exaggerate the significance of Mohammed al-Durra, the 12-year-old Palestinian boy allegedly killed by Israeli bullets, whose iconic image crouching behind his father helped sway world opinion against Israel and fuelled the last Intifada. It's equally hard, then, to exaggerate the significance of last week's French court ruling that called the story into doubt. The whole incident may have been staged for propaganda purposes. If so, it would be one of the most harmful put-up jobs in media history. The judge's verdict said that media watchdog Philippe Karsenty was within his rights to call the France 2 report a "hoax." (Wall Street Journal Europe)


GAZA SEWAGE CRISIS THREATENS ISRAEL’S SHORES: An expanding sewage crisis in Gaza threatens Israel's shores. Israel claims that Gaza receives ample fuel for humanitarian needs, including the operation of sewage treatment plants, but that Hamas hordes fuel for its own use. As a result, Palestinian sewage treatment facilities are dumping raw and semi-treated sewage into the Mediterranean Sea, where the current takes it north. The director of the Ashkelon Desalination Plant, which is 3 miles north of Gaza and produces 13 percent of Israel's domestic consumer demand, confirmed that seawater processed by the plant is polluted by sewage from Gaza. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)


AMID TALKS, GOLAN DEVELOPMENT BOOMS: As Turkish envoys were mediating Israeli-Syrian talks in Istanbul, construction workers were putting the finishing touches on the first shopping mall in the southern Golan Heights, which will open next month in Moshav Bnei Yehuda - just one example of the Golan's rapid development in recent years. "We've succeeded in branding ourselves as a region of superb wines, high-quality water, high-quality olive oil, homemade cheeses and excellent meat," said Ofer Zilberberg of Kibbutz Gashur. Local communities are planning to bring in hundreds of new families, unique archaeological sites are being developed, and there are even plans to build a small airport, noted Assaf Schuster, CEO of Terrace Investments which owns the mall. (Ha'aretz)


A MILLION ISRAELI OLIVE TREES TO MAKE INDIAN DESERT BLOOM: The desert of Rajasthan in the north of India is to be planted with a million olive trees grown in Israel in an effort to transform the landscape and the fortunes of its struggling farmers. Diplomacy has also paved the way for dates and grapes from Israel to be grown in Maharashtra, a state in western India. In their home country, Israeli scientists have been credited with "greening" the Negev desert, performing what has been termed an agricultural miracle. (Times UK).


THE PHENOMENON OF ISLAMIST NATIONAL SUICIDE: Lt.-Col. (ret.) Ari Bar Yosef writes in the army journal Ma'arachot that cases of Islamist national suicide are not uncommon. He cites three such examples of Arab-Muslim regimes irrationally sacrificing their very existence, overriding their instinct of self-preservation, to fight the perceived enemy to the bitter end. 1. Saddam Hussein could have avoided war and conquest in 2003 by allowing UN inspectors to search for weapons of mass destruction wherever they wanted. Yet Iraq's ruler opted for war, knowing full well that he would have to face the might of the U.S. 2. Yasser Arafat in 2000, after the failure of the Camp David and Taba talks, could have continued talking to Israel. But he chose to resort to violence, with the result that all progress toward Palestinian independence was blocked. 3. Post-9/11, the Taliban had the options of entering into negotiations with the U.S., with a view to extraditing Osama bin Laden, or to risk war and destruction. They chose to die fighting rather than to give up an inch. In all three cases, prolonged war, death, destruction and national suicide were preferable to peaceful solutions. Dying is preferable to negotiating with infidels. The same conclusion is applicable to the Palestinians voting for Hamas, and to Iran's decision to confront the Security Council on acquiring nuclear weapons. Suicide in the struggle against Israel has acquired a degree of legitimacy the West cannot even fathom. Israel, as well as the West, should be prepared for a long, irrational and costly war, unlike any other fought in the past. (Jerusalem Post) The writer, a professor of law at the Interdisciplinary Center, Herzliya, is a former minister of education.


PALTESTIANS HAVE AVOIDED OPPORTUNITIES FOR STATEHOOD: The Palestinians, backed and at times manipulated by the Arab world, have done nearly everything possible to avoid setting up their own state. They rejected UN Resolution 181 in 1947 and attacked Israel, thereby precipitating war and exile. They avoided creating a state in the West Bank and Gaza between 1949 and 1967, created UNRWA which perpetuated rather than solved their refugee problem, rejected Egypt and Israel's offer of autonomy in 1978, failed at state-building under Oslo after 1993, invoked suicide terrorism that alienated some of their most ardent Israeli supporters, and failed again at consolidating the territorial foundations of a state after Israel withdrew unilaterally from Gaza in 2005. The writer is former director of the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies at Tel Aviv University. (bitterlemons.org)


PALESTIANIANS REJECT HAMAS RECOGNIZING ISRAEL: 63 percent of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza oppose Hamas recognizing the legitimacy of Israel, according to a poll by Arab World for Research and Development, conducted through interviews with 1,200 Palestinian adults on May 3-5, 2008. Only 17 percent supported recognition of Israel by Hamas. (Angus Reid Global Monitor)


AN ABORIGINAL PEOPLE: Israel, rooted in the Jewish people, is a prototypical First Nation or aboriginal people, just as the Jewish religion is a prototypical aboriginal religion, the first of the Abrahamic religions. The Jewish people is the only people that still inhabits the same land, embraces the same religion, studies the same Torah, hearkens to the same prophets, speaks the same aboriginal language - Hebrew - and bears the same aboriginal name, Israel, as it did 3,500 years ago. Its birth certificate originates in its inception as a First Nation, and not simply in its United Nations international birth certificate. The State of Israel, then, as a political and juridical entity, overlaps with the "aboriginal Jewish homeland"; it is, in international legal terms, a successor state to the biblical Jewish kingdoms. It is not the case, as it is sometimes said, that if there had been no Holocaust, there would not have been a State of Israel, as if a state could somehow even compensate for the murder of six million Jews. It is the other way around: If there had been an Israel, there would not have been a Holocaust. The writer is a member of the Canadian Parliament and the former minister of justice and attorney general of Canada. (Jerusalem Post)


BOMB EXPLODES AT CHRISTIAN SCHOOL IN GAZA Unknown assailants detonated a bomb outside a Christian school in Gaza City before dawn Friday, the latest in a string of attacks on Christian institutions in Gaza. The Zahwa Rosary School, which is run by Catholic nuns, caters mainly to Muslim students. The school had been ransacked in June 2007, along with the nuns' adjacent convent, during a week of intense fighting that ended with Hamas' seizure of power. (AP/Jerusalem Post)


ROCKET ATTACK SURVIVORS’ STORIES: Even though Eve Malcha is only 11 years old, Wednesday's rocket attack was the fifth one she survived and the second one in which she was wounded. The other incidents involved Kassam rockets that landed close to her as she visited her grandparents in Sderot. Shirit Hazot, 25, had been waiting to see a doctor at the women's health center when she thought she'd heard a nurse call her name. She got up and went toward the doctor's office. "That saved me as the ceiling fell in," she said. (Jerusalem Post)


IRENA SENDLER, POLISH WOMAN WHO SAVED 2,500 JEWISH CHILDREN IN WARSAW, DIES AT 98: Irena Sendler was a Polish Roman Catholic social worker with links to Zegota, the Council for Aid to Jews, and in December 1942 Zegota put her in charge of its children's department. Wearing nurses' uniforms, she and Irena Schultz were sent into the Warsaw ghetto with food, clothes and medicine, including a vaccine against typhoid. It soon became clear that the ultimate destination of many Jews was to be the Treblinka death camp, and Zegota decided to try to save as many children as possible. One baby was spirited away in a mechanic's toolbox. Some children were transported in coffins, suitcases and sacks; others escaped through the sewer system beneath the city. An ambulance driver smuggled infants beneath the stretchers in the back of his van. The children who were taken by Irena Sendler were given new identities and placed with convents, sympathetic families, orphanages and hospitals. In later life Irena Sendler recalled the heartbreak of Jewish mothers having to part from their children: "We witnessed terrible scenes. Father agreed, but mother didn't. We sometimes had to leave those unfortunate families without taking their children from them. I'd go back there the next day and often found that everyone had been taken to the Umschlagsplatz railway siding for transport to the death camps." Irena Sendler kept a list of the names of all the children she saved, in the hope that she could one day reunite them with their families. On October 20, 1943, her house was raided by the Gestapo and the Nazis took Sendler to the Pawiak prison, where she was tortured; although her legs and feet were broken, and her body left permanently scarred, she refused to betray her network of helpers or the children whom she had saved. Sentenced to death, she escaped thanks to Zegota, who bribed a guard to set her free. She immediately returned to her work using a new identity. In her later years Irena Sendler was cared for in a Warsaw nursing home by Elzbieta Ficowska, who - in July 1942, at six months old - had been smuggled out of the ghetto by Irena in a carpenter's workbox. In 2005 Irena Sendler reflected: "We who were rescuing children are not some kind of heroes. That term irritates me greatly. The opposite is true - I continue to have qualms of conscience that I did so little. I could have done more. This regret will follow me to my death." (Telegraph-UK)


FROM LEBANON TO HIZBULLAHSTAN: Christians have been fleeing Lebanon for decades. Though a census hasn't been taken in 75 years, Nizar Hamze of the American University of Beirut estimates that there are between eight and nine births per Shiite household, compared to five for Sunnis and two for Christians and Druze. These numbers must ultimately count against an outmoded constitutional order geared to favor Christians first, Sunnis second, and Shiites third. But even if Lebanon cannot escape its Shiite destiny, it is not ordained that it must also become a Hizbullah state, taking its orders from Tehran. (Wall Street Journal)


TEL AVIV MORE CROWDED THAN GAZA: Palestinian journalist Daoud Kuttab and others have written that Gaza is "one of the most densely populated places on earth, with 3,823 people per square kilometre." The Tel Aviv metropolitan area has a density of more than 5,000 people per square kilometre, which is considerably more crowded than Gaza.


THE REAL NAKBA: While Palestinians may see themselves as the victims of the Zionist movement's successful establishment of a Jewish state in the Land of Israel, the reasons for their historical failure should be sought elsewhere: in the inability of the Palestinian national movement to create the political and social institutional framework that is the necessary foundation for nation-building. The history of national movements teaches us that national consciousness is not enough: Movements that could not create the institutional system vital for their success failed. Even now the Palestinians are inclined to blame Israel, the Americans, the international community; but the real, essential responsibility ultimately lies with the Palestinians themselves. Elections were held, Hamas won, Fatah lost - and both groups have been unable to sustain a framework whose legitimacy is accepted by both sides. All pan-Arabic attempts to unite them, such as the Mecca agreement brokered by Saudi Arabia last year, have failed in the face of this reality. If the Palestinians do not find a way to extricate themselves from their harsh historical reality, they ultimately will not have a state. The writer, professor of political science at Hebrew University, served as director-general of Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs. (Ha'aretz)


CANADIAN PRIME MINISTER CONDEMNS CRITICISM OF ISRAEL AS THINLY-VEILED ANTI-SEMITISM: Some of the criticism in Canada against the State of Israel is similar to the attitude of Nazi Germany in the Second World War, Prime Minister Stephen Harper warned Thursday. "What I see happening in some circles is anti-Israeli sentiment, really just as a thinly disguised veil for good old-fashioned anti-Semitism, which I think is completely unacceptable," Harper said in an interview. "We learned in the Second World War that those who would hate and destroy the Jewish people would ultimately hate and destroy the rest of us as well, and the same holds today." (Ottawa Citizen-Canada)


METHODISTS REJECT ISRAEL DIVESTMENT RESOLUTIONS: Methodists at last week's United Methodist Church General Conference in Fort Worth, Texas, overwhelmingly defeated measures calling for divestment from companies that do business with Israel like Caterpillar and Motorola. An alliance of grassroots church activists who nurture ties to the Jewish community helped defeat five divestment resolutions, often in the early stages of the conference. Those activists also helped pass resolutions opposing the proselytizing of Jews and promoting Holocaust awareness and the fight against anti-Semitism. (JTA)


“I WAS AT ISRAEL’S FOUNDING: Arieh Handler, 93, a member of the Zionist General Council [the governing body of the Jewish people in Palestine], recounts that historic day of 14 May 1948 when the State of Israel was declared. "I still have the original invitation. It reads: 'From the Administration of the Nation, Tel Aviv, 13 May 1948. We are honored to send to you this invitation to the session of the declaration of independence.'" After the state was declared, "Egyptian planes were already bombing Tel Aviv, and Glubb Pasha [the British commander of the army of Transjordan] was leading an Arab army." "Despite all these troubles, there was tremendous excitement. People were dancing in the streets, day and night, even as the planes were bombing." (BBC News)


HEADMASTER AT UN SCHOOL WAS ISLAMIC JIHAD ROCKET-MAKER: By day, Awad al-Qiq was a respected science teacher and headmaster at an UNRWA school in Gaza. By night, Palestinian militants say, he built rockets for Islamic Jihad. An Israeli air strike killed Qiq, 33, last week. His family denied he had any militant links, despite a profusion of Islamic Jihad posters at his home. But militant leaders hailed him as a martyr who led Islamic Jihad's "engineering unit." (REUTER)


RICE’S NEXT DISASTER: Fifty Israeli trucks attempting to deliver fuel and food supplies to Palestinians in Gaza came under Palestinian mortar fire, Israel Radio reported. The New York Times added, "In addition, a mortar shell hit the Nahal Oz fuel terminal on Israel's border with Gaza as badly needed fuel was being transferred into the Palestinian area to supply the local power station." Jerusalem should not endanger one Israeli life to deliver anything to Gaza. It shouldn't have been making deliveries during the last two years when Hamas and comrades were firing missiles and rockets into the towns and kibbutzim of the Negev and into the ancient port city of Ashkelon. Gaza can get all the fuel and food it needs from Egypt, if the Egyptians want to provide it. Ms. Rice was a none-too-passive party to the 2005 full Israeli withdrawal from Gaza. That turned into a disaster. Now she is working on her next disaster and trying to trim from the borders of Israel some measly bits of territory to grease the wheels. Everybody understood and really understands that Israel would retain a few large settlement blocks and the land between Jerusalem and the 40,000-plus people in Ma'aleh Adumin. A "return to the 1967 borders" is a slogan, it is not a peace map. First, those are not borders. They were never recognized as borders by any of the Arabs; they were fragile cease-fire lines. Second, history doesn't stop for the convenience of the Palestinians. They have to deal with history as it was made. (New Republic)


REPORT: HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH SHOWS CLEAR ANTI-ISRAEL BIAS: The Human Rights Watch (HRW) organization continues to display a "clear, identifiable political bias in both the quality and quantity" of its Israel coverage, Jerusalem-based watchdog NGO Monitor concluded this week in its report on HRW's 2007 activities. According to the report, HRW accuses Israel of "collective punishment" in a way that is applied to no other country in the world, and despite continued rocket attacks from Gaza against Israeli civilians. (Ynet News)


THE FUTURE OF ISRAEL IS THE FUTURE OF THE WEST: On May 8, Israel celebrates its 60th birthday. Every decade people ask the same question: will Israel still be there for the next one? Its situation as a permanently embattled nation is unique. On the day after Israel's first Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion declared its independence, six Arab armies invaded and tried to wipe it out. With the current exception of Egypt and Jordan, the Arab and Muslim world has been trying ever since. Ben-Gurion would today be surprised to find that Israel is regarded as illegally occupying the West Bank. Along with modern Israel, this was part of the territory of Palestine within which in 1922 the League of Nations gave Britain the task of re-establishing the Jewish national home because of the unique claim by the Jews - the only people for whom it had ever been their nation state, hundreds of years before the Arabs invaded it. In other words, far from being "Palestinian land," the Jews are entitled to claim it under international law, which also gives it the right to hold on to it in self-defence. Yet some not only deny both law and history but demand the ethnic cleansing of every last Jewish settler from a putative Palestinian state. The denial and inversion of such facts have singled out Israel for vilification applied to no other country. Scape-goated for crimes of which it is in fact the victim, Israel has become the Jew of the Western world. Much of the responsibility for these six decades of conflict lie with a Western world which, from 1921 onwards, has chosen to appease Arab violence while shedding crocodile tears over its Jewish victims. But the future of Israel is the future of the West. If the front line in Israel were to go down, the West would be next. Given its current internal appeasement of Islamism, however, the West may go down anyway. (Spectator-UK)


ISRAEL TREATS THOUSANDS OF SICK GAZANS: Ahmed was first taken to Gaza's Shifa Hospital, but his only hope for life-saving treatment lay in Israel. "We got our permit from the Israeli authorities within 24 hours," said Ahmed's father, Muhammad. In 2007, more than 7,000 Palestinians were allowed into Israel for medical treatment - a 50% increase on 2006. "We treat hundreds of Gazans here each year," says Dr. Ron Lobel, deputy director of Barzilai Medical Centre in Ashkelon. He says there are some five to 15 Gazan patients there at any given time. Many cases are treated by Israel for free. "The Israeli policy is to facilitate all the medical needs for Gaza," said Maj. Peter Lerner, spokesman for the Coordinator of Activities in the Territories. However, he says militants have repeatedly tried to exploit Israel's humanitarian policy to carry out attacks inside Israel. In June 2007, two Palestinian women who had received medical entry permits were arrested after it was discovered they planned to blow themselves up in an Israeli hospital. (BBC News)


IDF: TERROR GROUPS PLANNING MAJOR ATTACKS ON ISRAEL: Military Intelligence Chief Amos Yadlin warned the government Tuesday that Palestinian terror organizations are interested in executing a large-scale attack ahead of Israel's 60th anniversary celebrations. He added that Hamas was trying to break the blockade of Gaza by causing another border breach. Due to Egypt's tightened security, however Yadlin believes that this time Hamas will focus on the Israeli border. , (Ha'aretz)


US BRIEFINGS ON SYRIAN NUCLEAR FACILITY SEEN AS BOOST FOR ISRAEL’S DETERRENCE: Behind the scenes, there was genuine satisfaction among Israeli officials with the series of briefings on the air strike against a secret facility in Syria last September that were given by the Bush administration in Washington. The hearings, Israeli officials argued, had served the purpose of strengthening Israel's deterrence. In a boost to Israel, the U.S. gave a firm justification for the attack, stating that the target was a nuclear reactor that was "only weeks" from being completed. (Financial Times-UK)


DANISH EMBASSIES EVACUATED: Denmark has evacuated staff from its embassies in Algeria and Afghanistan because of terror threats following the reprint in Danish newspapers of a caricature depicting the Prophet Muhammad, officials said Wednesday. Embassy employees in the Algerian capital, Algiers, and the Afghan capital, Kabul, would continue to work out of ‘secret locations’ in those cities, and would be reachable by phone and e-mail, according to foreign ministry spokesman Erik Laursen. “The threat ‘is so concrete that we had to take this decision,” he said. “The decision is based on intelligence.”


UN SUSPENDS AID TO GAZA; ISRAEL: HAMAS PREVENTING FUEL DELIVERIES: The UN stopped distributing aid to Gaza on Thursday after running out of fuel. The Nahal Oz terminal, which supplies the Strip with commodities, remained shut due to the terror attacks on the Nahal Oz and Kerem Shalom crossings, during which five Israelis were killed. Palestinian distributors have been refusing to pick up about a million liters that Israel pumped earlier this month into the Palestinian side of the fuel depot. UNRWA said the stored fuel was not destined for UN agencies in Gaza, which buy their own supplies but also have to import them through Nahal Oz. Foreign Ministry Spokesman Arye Mekel told the UN that "they should take it up with Hamas and demand they get fuel from the million liters stored on the Palestinian side of the border." "We did try today to transfer fuel directly to UNRWA, but a farmers' demonstration supported by Hamas prevented us from doing so," he said. "Hamas has prevented the use of this fuel stocked for humanitarian purposes such as ambulances, generators, hospitals and water pumps, and is creating an artificial and dishonest crisis." (AFP/Ynet News)


WHY HAMAS WANTS A CEASE-FIRE: The economic siege in Gaza is indeed taking its toll, and the public is impatient and conveys dissatisfaction with its leaders. Hamas heads are the ones who need the lull more than anyone. When he appeared before hundreds of graduates at Gaza's Islamic University, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh was asked whether "you need the lull with Israel in order to protect us, or yourselves?" The outbursts of laughter and embarrassed stares among the crowd came in place of the real answer. Haniyeh, al-Zahar and their comrades "are fed up with the need to be walking in tunnels stooped over while constantly staring at the sky," a Hamas opponent in Gaza explained recently, "so they decided to refer to the solution as a process of national self-examination." The cease-fire's purpose is to prepare for the continuation of the struggle and boost the capa bilities of the fighters. (Ynet News)


VIDEO LINKS NORTH KOREANS TO SYRIAN REACTOR: The White House is preparing to make public on Thursday video evidence of North Koreans working at a suspected Syrian nuclear reactor just before it was destroyed in an Israeli air strike on Sept. 6. Senior officials in Israel and the U.S. have said the target was a nascent nuclear reactor that had been under construction for years, modelled on the reactor North Korea used to obtain the fuel for its small nuclear weapons arsenal. The video, believed to have been obtained through Israeli intelligence services, shows Korean faces among the workers at the Syrian plant. (New York Times) Sources familiar with the video, taken last summer, say it shows that the Syrian reactor core's design is the same as that of the North Korean reactor at Yongbyon, including a virtually identical configuration and number of holes for fuel rods. (Washington Post)


HAMAS TV: MINISTER OF CULTURE PRESENTS EXCERPTS FROM PROTOCOLS OF THE ELDERS OF ZION: Hamas Culture Minister Atallah Abu al-Subh told Al-Aqsa TV on April 9: "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion is the faith that every Jew harbours in his heart." The Protocols is a fabricated book about an alleged Jewish plot to take over the world. (MEMRI)


HAMAS’ NEW STRATEGY: Hamas has changed its combat strategy. In recent weeks it has diverted its main effort from rocket terrorism to focused operations mostly targeting IDF forces operating along the fence. The organization's leadership reached the conclusion that the terror directed at civilians - rockets, mortar shells, and machinegun fire - does not result in the required political and psychological "yield." It even damages Hamas when it comes to international and Palestinian public opinion and grants Israel legitimacy to hit the group and its leaders, and even to embark on a large-scale operation in Gaza. Hamas wants to prevent this as well, and therefore the group decided to focus its efforts on "high quality" operations against the IDF. The greatest aspiration of Hamas leaders is the abduction of Israeli soldiers, which would provide them with a powerful pressure lever. The attack on Kerem Shalom showed that Hamas is able to operate at a higher level of sophistication in terms of planning, execution, and coordination between various forces that it lacked in the past. The training of its operatives in Iran, Lebanon, and Syria and the large quantities of explosives and missiles accumulated when the fence was breached are leaving their mark. (Ynet News)


PALESTINIAN SUICIDE BOMBERS ATTACK GAZA CROSSING: Palestinian suicide bombers from Gaza drove three explosives-laden vehicles into the Kerem Shalom goods crossing on the border with Israel early on Saturday, detonating two of them. Three bombers were killed in the blasts and 13 Israeli soldiers were wounded, the Israeli military said. Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack, the fifth along the border with Israel in the last ten days. The vehicles entered the Palestinian side of the crossing at about 6 a.m. under cover of heavy mortar fire and the early morning mist. They included two jeeps painted to resemble army vehicles and an armoured personnel carrier. Israeli forces came to confront them as they headed toward the Israeli side. The soldiers escaped more serious injury because they were in a fortified space. Another armoured personnel carrier was spotted half an hour later by soldiers at a border position north of Kerem Shalom. That vehicle was blown up by Israeli fire before it could reach the border fence. The armoured personnel carriers used to belong to the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority. (New York Times)


CARTER’S CONFUSION: When Neville Chamberlain met with Hitler in Munich, he no doubt believed he could reason with him because he also no doubt believed that the Fuhrer was a reasonable man like himself. Offer Hitler a good deal - land, power, prestige - and surely he'd take it rather than plunge his nation into a terrible war. What this leaves out is ideology. Hitler's ideas inspired millions to fight and die for the glory of the Third Reich. And Marxist/Leninist/Stalinist/Maoist ideology inspired millions to fight and die for the illusion of a Communist utopia. Hamas proudly proclaims that "the Koran is our constitution, Jihad is our way, and death for the sake of God is our highest aspiration." Hamas leaders promise their followers not just rewards here on Earth but in the next world as well - a selling point neither Nazism nor Communism could offer. As a matter of religious conviction, Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal cannot accept Israel's existence. Hamas believes every inch of Israel and, indeed, of any land ever ruled by Muslims is "an Islamic Waqf consecrated for future Muslim generations until Judgment Day." A Muslim can fight to reclaim this endowment or he can fail to fulfill the obligations his faith imposes. To Hamas, there is no third way. (National Review)


JUSTICE IN ISRAEL: Important Legal Victory - April 2008 In a landmark decision today, the Supreme Court of Israel ratified a settlement between twelve Messianic Jewish believers and the State of Israel, which states that being a Messianic Jew does not prevent one from receiving citizenship in Israel under the Law of Return or the Law of Citizenship, if one is a descendent of Jews on one's father's side (and thus not Jewish according to halacha). This Supreme Court decision brought an end to a legal battle that has carried on for two and a half years. The applicants were represented by Yuval Grayevsky and Calev Myers from the offices of Yehuda Raveh & Co., and their legal costs were subsidized by the Jerusalem Institute of Justice. All twelve of the applicants were denied citizenship solely based on grounds that they belong to the Messianic Jewish community. Most of them received letters stating that they would not receive citizenship because they "commit missionary activity". One of the applicants was told by a clerk at the Ministry of Interior that because she "committed missionary activity", she is "acting against the interests of the State of Israel and against the Jewish people". These allegations are not only untrue, but they also do not constitute legal grounds to deny one's right to immigrate to Israel. This important victory paves the way for persons who have Jewish ancestry on their father's side to immigrate to Israel freely, whether or not they belong to the Messianic Jewish community. This is yet another battle won in our war to establish equality in Israel for the Messianic Jewish community just like every other legitimate stream of faith within the Jewish world. Social Justice On this same day, which marks an important legal victory, the Jerusalem Institute of Justice also significantly advanced social justice in the nation of Israel. Through our annual kimcha d'pischa project, we distributed Passover packages to 680 impoverished families living in Israel. Each package contained everything a family needs to enjoy this important holiday with dignity, including matzot, matza flour, potato flour, sugar, canned goods, wine, soft drinks, tea, coffee, cookies, sugar and other basic food goods. We believe that the biblical concept of justice, or tzedek, encompasses acts of charity, or tzadaka, namely not turning away our ear from the cries of the poor and needy in our society. Calev Myers Founder and Chief Counsel The Jerusalem Institute of Justice


ABBAS HONORS PALESTINIAN WHO HELPED KILL ISRAELI CIVILIANS: The Al Kuds Mark of Honour, the PLO's highest medal, will be given to two female terrorists who helped kill Israelis, Israel Radio reported Wednesday. Mahmoud Abbas has the final say when choosing the Palestinians to be honoured with the medal. They include Ahlam Tamimi, who drove the suicide bomber that exploded in the Sbarro restaurant in Jerusalem, killing 15 people, and Amra Muna, who seduced Ophir Rahum over the Internet and then lured him to Ramallah where he was murdered. (Jerusalem Post)




ARABS MUST TAKE A LONG, SELF-CRITICAL LOOK IN THE MIRROR: Without the ability to look inward, Arab blame for problems is projected outward - meaning, at Israel and the U.S. By having such a pathological, externally focused sense of blame, aimed exclusively at Americans and Jews, no sense of reasoning or decency applies. Gaza celebrated - yes, celebrated - the cold-blooded and ethnically motivated massacre of yeshiva students in Jerusalem, most of whom were teenagers, by a Palestinian Muslim. Why are we, as Arabs and Arab-Americans, not lining the streets in Ramallah and all the way to New York to decry this sort of barbarism? Let me say unequivocally that I am ashamed. And I am angry. Nothing, nothing in the world justifies these sorts of actions. Tell me, when have you ever heard of Israelis celebrating the killing of Palestinians? At this point in Arab history, we must finally renounce these fatally flawed tendencies to blame everyone but ourselves. Let us begin anew the path toward our own glorious Renaissance abandoned long ago, and pursue the higher road that will be ours when we finally look more deeply and critically at ourselves. (Emilio Karim Dabul, New York Daily News)


ISRAEL: THE NEXT GENERATION: Israel's present is prosperous and secure. But its future is as uncertain as at any time in its 60 years of history. The country has emerged stronger from the second Palestinian Intifada, which between 2000 and 2004 killed 946 Israelis and over 3,100 Palestinians. Israelis are now much safer thanks to aggressive security measures in the West Bank and Gaza. Meanwhile, the high-tech boom that began in the 1990s has not only survived the Intifada but gone from strength to strength, fuelling impressive economic growth. Tourism is rebounding and property prices have shot up. (Economist-UK)


ISRAEL, U.S. TO BOYCOTT UN ANTI-RACISM CONVERENCE: Israel and the U.S. decided a few weeks ago to boycott the Durban II conference scheduled for early 2009. According to a senior government official, the joint decision was made after discussions among senior U.S. State Department and Foreign Ministry officials, and after being raised in talks between Foreign Minister Livni and Secretary of State Rice. Israel and the U.S. decided to make their participation in the conference conditional on guarantees the event would not become a rerun of the previous anti-Israel festival in Durban in 2001. "The burden of proof will be on the UN and the organizers," a Jerusalem source stated. On Wednesday, major U.S. newspapers ran an advertisement signed by 25 public figures calling on the government to boycott the conference. (Ha'aretz)


ISRAELI ARCHEOLOGISDT FINDS ARTIFACTS FROM TIME OF SOLOMON’S TEMPLE: Yuval Baruch, Jerusalem's district archaeologist at the Israel Antiquities Authority, made archaeological history in October 2007 when he uncovered pottery artefacts on the site of Jerusalem's Temple Mount dating from the time of King Solomon's Temple (the First Jewish Temple). "The Muslim Waqf does not allow Israeli archaeologists to conduct any excavations on the site. But I got access to a small tunnel where electrical cables run....I was not supposed to be left there alone, as the Waqf always has someone present when Israeli archaeologists are on the site....By chance the Arab electrical workers left me and a member of my staff for about 15 minutes while they went to pray. When I was alone in that brief time, I found the pottery shards among dust near the bedrock level," he says. Baruch's findings include ceramic bowl rims, bases and body shards; the base of a jug let used to pour oil; the handle of a small jug let; and the rim of a storage jar. The finds are dated from eight- to six-century BCE. In particular, the bowl shards were decorated with wheel burnishing lines characteristic of the First Temple Period. (Canadian Jewish News)


ISRAEL TO REDISTRIBUTE GAS MASKS AMID FEAR OF WAR WITH IRAN: Israel's Security Cabinet has decided to redistribute gas masks to the entire population amid fears of a non-conventional war with Iran. Iranian President Ahmadinejad has threatened to wipe Israel "off the map" and Iran has ballistic missiles that can hit anywhere in Israel. (VOA News)


JERUSALEM SHOULD STAY ENTIRELY UNDER ISRAELI CONTROL – U.S. NATIONAL SURVEY: Results of a poll of 800 likely U.S. voters conducted on March 18-20, 2008: Should Jerusalem stay entirely under Israel's control since Israel keeps all the Christian, Muslim and Jewish holy sites open and safe for all faiths? 63% support an Israeli Jerusalem, 20% support a divided Jerusalem. Do you believe Israeli checkpoints in the West Bank are justified to protect Israeli citizens from terrorism? 77% justified, 15% not justified. If nothing else works to stop missile attacks against Israel from Gaza, should Israel use its military to re-occupy Gaza? 60% agree, 32% disagree.


HAMAS TV SHOWS CHILD STABBING PRESIDENT BUSH, WHITE HOUSE TURNED INTO MOSQUE: In a Hamas TV production for Palestinian children aired on Sunday, a child stabs U.S. President George Bush to death. In the episode, Bush is shown talking to a Palestinian child, who accuses Bush of killing his father in Iraq, his mother in Lebanon and his brothers and sisters in Gaza with the assistance of the Israelis. The child tells Bush: "You are a criminal....I have to take my revenge with this sword of Islam." Bush invites the child for talks in the White House. But child counters that the White House has been turned into a mosque, and "impure Bush" can't enter it. Then the child stabs him repeatedly. (AP/International Herald Tribune)


CRITICISM AND ISLAM: The message of "Fitna," a 15-minute movie by Dutch parliamentarian Geert Wilders, is that the Koran is the living inspiration for jihadists. Without the Koran's violent passages, the film suggests, Islamic terrorism would not exist. While the Western world long ago learned to criticize, even mock, religion, the Islamic world isn't accustomed to such discussions. The issue isn't really Wilders' movie, or whether it incites hatred, which I doubt. It's whether we are capable of defending our values against the intolerance of radical Muslims. The writer, who fled Iran in 1983, is a professor of legal philosophy at Leiden University in the Netherlands. (Wall Street Journal)


UN RIGHTS COUNCIL HEARS FROM JEWISH REFUGEE: A UN body with a history of passing anti-Israel resolutions heard about a different side of the Arab-Israeli conflict last week when a Jewish refugee described her family's eviction from the home they had occupied in Libya for hundreds of years. Regina Bublil-Waldman told the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva that her family was expelled from Tripoli by the Libyan government after the 1967 Six-Day War. During that conflict, mobs turned out in the streets shouting "Slaughter the Jews." "I appear before you today not alone, but representing the nearly one million Jews resident in North Africa, the Middle East and the Gulf region at the turn of the century," she said. "Today, less than 5,000 Jews remain. Their plight and flight from 10 Arab countries has been ignored by the international community." (Canadian Jewish News)


MUBARAK PRAISES PEACE WITH ISRAEL: Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak praised the peace with Israel this week, on the 29th anniversary of the Egypt-Israel peace treaty. In an interview with the Polish Warsaw Gazette, Mubarak commended Sadat's signing of the 1979 peace treaty. "I would have made the same decision," he said. Mubarak went on to praise Sadat's vision and his historic visit to Jerusalem. (Ynet News)


ISRAEL: HIZBULLAH INCREASES ROCKET RANGE: Senior Israeli defence officials said Thursday that Hizbullah has dramatically increased its arsenal of rockets and their range. The officials said Hizbullah has acquired new Iranian rockets with a range of 186 miles that can hit anywhere in Israel's heavily populated centre. The Islamic Jihad terror group has recently begun manufacturing rockets with a 12.5-mile range, similar to the Grad (Katyusha) rockets already in use by terror organizations in Gaza. The new rockets are armed with a much deadlier warhead that carries double the amount of explosives carried by Kassam rockets. Armed groups in Gaza have also recently obtained two new types of Iranian-made mortar shells, some of which can travel up to 6.2 miles


SAUDI KING CALLS FOR INTERFAITH TALKS INCLUDING JEWS: King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, which adheres to a hardline Wahhabi version of Sunni Islam, has for the first time announced plans to launch a dialogue between Islam, Christianity and Judaism. He referred to his talks in Rome last November with Pope Benedict XVI, saying, "I wanted to visit the Vatican and I did...[where] I suggested this idea." "If God wills it, we will then meet with our brothers from other religions, including those of the Torah and the Gospel, to come up with ways to safeguard humanity." He added, "I have noticed that the family system has weakened and that atheism has increased. That is an unacceptable behavior to all religions, to the Koran, the Torah and the Bible." He said he had secured support of Saudi clerics, but did not name them. (Times-UK)


HIZBULLAH LEADER: ISRAEL CAN BE ‘ELIMINATED’: Echoing Iran's threat to wipe Israel off the map, Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah said Monday that the targeting of Israeli civilian centres has made it possible for the Jewish state to be "eliminated." "Can Israel be eliminated? Yes and a thousand yeses, Israel can be eliminated," he said. Hamas and Hizbullah "are betting on Iran," said former Israeli Foreign Ministry official Jonathan D. Halevi. "People in the region assume that as soon as Iran gets a nuclear bomb it will become a regional superpower, which makes it a hot commodity." (New York Sun)


THE GAZA DILEMMA: If Israel had tolerated years of Kassam rockets raining down on the town of Sderot and other communities close to Gaza, the heavier, longer-range Grad [Katyusha] rockets crashing into the coastal city of Ashkelon crossed an unacceptable red line: They placed hundreds of thousands of Israelis under threat and put strategic installations at risk. Worse: If the trend was allowed to continue, bigger and heavier rockets could soon threaten metropolitan Tel Aviv. Maj. Gen. (res.) Doron Almog, former commander of the Southern Front responsible for Gaza, says Israel needs to act soon: "Otherwise, in a few years time, we could find ourselves fighting on two fronts, under a hail of hundreds of rockets a day, covering virtually all of Israel." (Jerusalem Report)


CAN EGYPT BROKER HAMAS-ISRAEL TRUCE? Analysts and officials caution that Egypt has a poor track record brokering a cease-fire. "Egypt is an important player, but I don't perceive it as a decisive force that can bring a durable cease-fire between Hamas and Israel," says Basem Ezbidi, a political scientist at Bir Zeit University in the West Bank. "Egypt hasn't even been able to bring peace among the Palestinians, between Hamas and Fatah. How can Egypt bring peace between Israel and Hamas?" While denying using Egypt as a mediator with Hamas, Israeli officials said they are trying to come up with a plan to shut down the weapons flow between Gaza and Sinai as a prerequisite for any calm. "This matter is key," says Mark Regev, a spokesman for Israel's prime minister. "If you have a situation of quiet in the south, and there is a continuation of smuggling of Grad rockets into Gaza, that's not a solution. That's a mirage." (Christian Science Monitor)


NOT JUST A PALESTINIAN GIMMICK: The PA leadership seems to be backing an initiative to respond to Israel's 60th anniversary by encouraging Palestinians to enact their "right of return" by showing up on Israel's doorstep on May 14. While obviously a propaganda stunt, even gimmicks say something about where Palestinians stand. After all, Fatah is presumably committed to a two-state solution and to peace with Israel. This is the basis of the Annapolis process, of billions of dollars of assistance now flowing to the PA, and countless missions by Secretary of State Rice. The basis of the entire process is the principle of two states - a Palestinian state alongside Israel. The planned stunt, however, indicates that at least some of those in the hierarchy of our supposed PA peace partner do not accept the basic premise of the proc ess. Without mutual recognition by each side of the other's right to a state, what is the point of discussing all the "final status issues"? Either the Palestinians are working to build their own state, or to destroy Israel; they cannot do both at the same time. (Jerusalem Post)


ISRAEL SUFFERS WORST DROUGHT IN DECADE: Israel is suffering its worst drought in a decade and will have to stop pumping from one of its main sources of drinking water, the Sea of Galilee, by the end of the summer, Water Authority spokesman Uri Schor said Wednesday. This winter was the fourth in a row in which Israel had only about 50-60% of average rainfall in most areas. Despite the shortage, Israel will probably not reduce the amount of water supplied to Jordan according to a peace treaty between the countries since Jordan's drought is much worse than Israel's, Schor said. Israel has two desalination plants, with three more scheduled to be completed by 2013. (AP/Washington Post)


CEASEFIRE – BUT ONLY IN GAZA: The moment Hamas insists that a tahdiya, or pause in the fighting, extend to the West Bank as well, Israel has every reason to reject this demand, and the West Bank-based PA and neighbouring Jordan have every reason to be suspicious. The Hamas ceasefire demand regarding the West Bank must be understood as a blatant attempt to weaken Fatah, Israel's peace negotiating partner, and even to replace it as ruler of the West Bank as well as Gaza. Given the PA's difficulty in combating West Bank terrorists - it is only beginning to deal successfully with criminal (not terrorist) activity in some key areas - Israeli compliance with Hamas' demand to cease all efforts to intercept terrorists in the West Bank would have a double negative effect. In the short run, it would portray Hamas as the stronger and more effective representative of Palestinian needs and aspirations, thereby weakening Fatah and the PA. In the long run, by allowing Hamas to operate freely in the West Bank, it would open the door to a Hamas takeover there. The writer is former director of the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies at Tel Aviv University.


FACEBOOK REVERSES DECISION MOVING WEST BANK JEWS TO ‘PALESTINE’: The social networking Web site Facebook, which had begun automatically listing Jewish residents of the West Bank as living in "Palestine," reversed itself Monday and now is allowing them to list themselves as residents of Israel. "I was surprised and disappointed to find that my hometown of Ariel is listed in Facebook as being part of a country called 'Palestine,'" Ari Zimmerman wrote in a posting on Facebook. "I am a citizen of Israel, as are all of the other residents of Ariel. We do not live in 'Palestine,' nor does anyone else." Brandee Barker, Facebook's director of communications, said users now can choose between Israel or "Palestine" as their permanent residence. (FOX News)


FIRST SIGNS OF GENOCIDAL DOCTRINES PENETRATING HAMAS IDEOLOGY: The ideology of the extreme Islamic movements deals with the concept of the Muslim's superiority over the non-believers and makes frequent use of the verse from the Koran that postulates that the Muslims are Allah's "chosen people." This ideology calls for a takeover of the entire world as both a vision and an action program and for the total extermination of Jews, Christians and other apostates by the Muslims. Dr. Yunus al-Astel, a senior member of the Hamas movement and a member of the Palestinian parliament, assigns religious doctrinal justification to this ruling of having the Muslims exterminate the Jewish people and views the terror attack on the Merkaz HaRav Yeshiva (March 6, 2008) as partial implementation of the positive commandment bestowed by Allah. Al-Astel, who served as dean of the faculty for Muslim Sharia law at the Islamic University in Gaza, concludes that the punishment of extermination, immolation and holocaust will be meted out to the Jews, not only in the world to come but in this world as well, at the hands of the jihad fighters. This is not an isolated opinion within Hamas, and serves as a reply to those who detect signs of "flexibility" in Hamas' ideological platform. (Jerusalem Centre for Public Affairs)


US REPORT: NEW ANTI-SEMITISM DISGUISED BY HATRED OF ISRAEL: Jews worldwide are facing a new form of anti-Semitism disguised by hatred toward Israel, in addition to more traditional forms of anti-Semitism, the U.S. State Department said Thursday in a new report documenting anti-Semitic acts worldwide. "Anti-Semitism couched as criticism of Zionism or Israel often escapes condemnation since it can be more subtle than traditional forms of anti-Semitism," the report said. Critics of Israel have a "responsibility to consider the effect their actions may have in prompting hatred of Jews," it said, adding that hostility toward Israel has at times manifested itself in violence toward Jews. The report singled out a number of leaders, governments and state-sponsored institutions for fanning the flames of anti-Semitism, with Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at t he top of the list. It also took to task the Syrian government, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, as well as the government-backed Venezuelan, Saudi Arabian and Egyptian media. (AFP)


BUILDING REMAINS FROM FIRST TEMPLE PERIOD DISCOVERED IN JERUSALEM: A rich layer of finds from the latter part of the First Temple period (8th-6th centuries BCE) was recently discovered in archaeological salvage excavations being carried out by the Israel Antiquities Authority in the northwestern part of the Western Wall plaza in Jerusalem. Also found was a seal that bears an inscription in ancient Hebrew which reads: [belonging] to Netanyahu ben Yaush. (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)


THE IRANIAN-ISRAELI WAR: Regardless of the affiliation of the actual perpetrator of the massacre of eight students in a yeshiva library in Jerusalem last week, the ultimate responsibility for this attack, as for almost all the terror attacks on Israel in recent years, lies with Iran. The Palestinian struggle is no longer about creating an independent state. It is about being a front-line participant in the Iranian-led jihad to destroy Israel, evolving from a nationalist to a religious war. A real solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict can only be reached by dealing with its primary instigator: Iran. After Yasser Arafat launched a war against Israel in September 2000, he initiated an alliance with Iran's Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei. Until then, Iran's only client within the Palestinian national movement had been the Islamic Jihad, the smallest of the Palestinian terrorist factions. According to a former chief of Israeli military intelligence, Arafat promised the Iranians that he would turn Gaza into a second southern Lebanon, and Iran began providing weapons and funds to Arafat's Fatah. In January 2002, Israel intercepted the Karine A, a ship carrying Iranian-supplied Katyusha rockets and mortars and C-4 explosives for use in suicide bombings. Three years ago, Damascus-based Hamas leader Khaled Meshal orchestrated a formal alliance and today Hamas is an integral part of the Iranian war against Israel. Iran has trained hundreds of Hamas operatives - and continues to fund individual members of Fatah's Al Aqsa Brigades. The writer is a senior fellow at the Adelson Centre for Strategic Studies of the Shalem Centre in Jerusalem. (New Republic)


WILL GAZA LULL LAST? The current quiet on the Gaza front is a result of a rare congruence of interests among Israel, Hamas, and Egypt, who have a clear interest to prevent the fighting from going on. The lull aims to allow for negotiations on an agreement with Egyptian mediation and active American support. The negotiations are being held in el-Arish and in Cairo, as Egyptian representatives are simultaneously meeting with Hamas and Islamic Jihad leaders as well as with Amos Gilad, who represents Israel's defence minister. For Hamas, the main motive is the fear of a major Israeli operation in Gaza. Hamas was badly beaten in Israel's recent operation; it sustained a much harder blow than what emerged from media reports. Hamas estimates that if it continues to fight, Israel will topple Hamas' Gaza regime and prevent the group from realizing its strategic objective: Taking over the West Bank and ruling the Palestinian people. Israeli officials estimate that one or two more rounds of escalation may be needed in order to prompt Hamas to soften its demands. For that reason, the lull may end at any moment. (Ynet News)


WHAT CAN I DO ABOUT THE CRISIS FACING ISRAEL AND THE JEWISH PEOPLE? There are things we can do if we are willing to work to protect our rights and stand up to the massive defamation campaign waged against us. Each of us can help by acting immediately whenever we encounter a distortion in the media, to correct it with a letter to the editor or news manager. We can also actively monitor the mass media on the Internet in order to correct as many distortions as we can. But in order to counter the endless flow of lies and distortions about Israel, we must first learn the true facts. The Israelis are not colonists or alien "settlers" in the Land of Israel; on the contrary, we Jews have lived in Israel for at least 3,200 years, far longer than most peoples have lived in their present national homelands. Jews had lived in the Land of Israel in large numbers for at least 1,800 years before the Arabs conquered it in 635 CE. While it is true that some Arabs have lived in the Land of Israel for many centuries, they have never been ethnically or culturally distinct from the Arabs who live in other lands, including the Arabian Peninsula. The Jews, however, are a people who originated in the Land of Israel and never had any other national homeland. The Arab population of Israel/Palestine only began to grow in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries, at the same time that Jews began to resettle the land. The Arab population of Palestine was under 500,000 in 1891, and grew because of extensive immigration from many Arab countries. As a result, many of the Arabs who call themselves "Palestinians" have ancestors who originated in Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and other Arab countries. Israel has now withdrawn from 90% of the territories that it occupied in 1967, including all of the Sinai Peninsula and the Gaza region, large parts of Judea and Samaria (the "West Bank"), and part of the Golan Heights. But these very substantial concessions have failed to persuade the Arab world to make peace.


OFFICIAL PA DAILY: KILLER OF EIGHT YOUNG MEN IS HOLY MARTYR: Mahmoud Abbas' official PA daily newspaper has honoured the killer of the eight students gunned down this week with the status of Shahid - Holy Islamic Martyr. Al Hayat Al Jadida prominently placed a picture of the killer on the front page, with the caption, "The Shahid Alaa Abu D'heim." In a page one story, his act is defined as a "Shahada-achieving" action. This honouring of terror and terrorists by the PA has significant financial ramifications. In response to earlier PMW reports on the widespread Palestinian honouring of terror, Congress made it illegal for the U.S. to give money to entities that "advocate" terror. (Palestinian Media Watch)


LIBYA BLOCKS UN CONDEMNATION OF JERUSALEM ATTACK: Libya on Thursday blocked the UN Security Council from condemning an attack on a school in Jerusalem by a Palestinian from eastern Jerusalem. Zalmay Khalilzad, U.S. ambassador to the UN, said the obstruction undermines the council's effectiveness in the region. "What happened today was clearly a terrorist act," he said after the council's two-hour emergency session. "We regret that this makes it difficult for the council to contribute positively to developments in this region, but those who blocked this possibility bear responsibility." Libya insisted any statement should include condemnation of Israeli actions in Gaza. Three other nations agreed with Libya, but most council members wanted to keep the issues separate, said council diplomats. (AP)


LIBYA BLOCKS UN CONDEMNATION OF JERUSALEM ATTACK: Libya on Thursday blocked the UN Security Council from condemning an attack on a school in Jerusalem by a Palestinian from eastern Jerusalem. Zalmay Khalilzad, U.S. ambassador to the UN, said the obstruction undermines the council's effectiveness in the region. "What happened today was clearly a terrorist act," he said after the council's two-hour emergency session. "We regret that this makes it difficult for the council to contribute positively to developments in this region, but those who blocked this possibility bear responsibility." Libya insisted any statement should include condemnation of Israeli actions in Gaza. Three other nations agreed with Libya, but most council members wanted to keep the issues separate, said council diplomats. (AP)


PALESTINIAN CIVILIANS ANSWER HAMAS CALL TO BE HUMAN SHIELDS: During the IDF activity in Gaza, both Hamas and Islamic Jihad frequently called upon Palestinian civilians to gather in places where, they claimed, the IDF was about to attack, to have them serve as human shields, exploiting the fact that the IDF avoids deliberately harming Palestinian civilians. On Feb. 28, Hamas' Al-Aqsa TV called on the residents of Khan Yunis to gather at the house of Ma'amoun Abu 'Amer. An hour later, dozens of Palestinians were gathered on the roof to serve as human shields to prevent the house from being hit. On Feb. 29, Al-Aqsa TV called upon Palestinians to go to the house of the martyr Othman al-Ruziana to protect it because the IDF was threatening to blow it up. On March 1, Al-Aqsa TV called on civilians to form a human shield at the home of Abu al-Hatal in Sajaiya. (Intelligence and Terrorism Information Centre).


MUNICIPAL INSPECTORS NARROWLY ESCAPE PALESTINIAN MOB IN EAST JERUSALEM: Hundreds of Arab teens pelted Israeli cars, police and passersby with rocks in eastern Jerusalem on Monday as rioting over the violence in Gaza continued in the Arab sections of Jerusalem. The graphic images of two city workers who were inside their vehicle when they came under attack topped the TV newscasts in Israel on Monday night. Minutes later an elite unit of undercover Jerusalem police, aided by a Border Police anti-terror unit, arrested the leaders of the attack (Jerusalem Post)


THE MOTHER OF ALL MISTRANSLATIONS: Reuters reported Friday that Israeli Deputy Defence Minister Matan Vilnai said the stepped-up Hamas rocket fire on Israel would trigger what he called a "bigger holocaust" in Gaza. But Vilnai never said it. It was an appalling mistranslation by Reuters. Vilnai used the word "shoah" which Reuters translated as "holocaust." But "shoah" merely means disaster. In Hebrew, the word "Hashoah" alone means "the Holocaust." The well-known Hebrew phrasing used by Vilnai merely means "bringing disaster on themselves."


PLAYING CAT AND MOUSE WITH GAZA ROCKETS: The residents of Sderot think twice about walking the streets, shopping for food and clothes, and letting their children play outdoors. Businesses have few customers, house prices have dropped dramatically, and more than 3,000 of the town's 24,000 residents have upped and left. When a rocket is fired from Gaza, a siren normally sounds alerting Sderot's residents, who mostly take cover in bomb shelters. During a two-hour-long interview with a local resident this happened on three separate occasions, as she and her daughter huddled in the hallway, away from the windows in case they were blown out by a blast. (BBC News)


ISRAEL PREPARES INTERNATIONAL OPINION FOR ASSAULT ON GAZA: As Hamas drew Ashkelon into the circle of communities coming under heavy rocket attacks, Defence Minister Barak and the Foreign Ministry on Thursday began preparing both Israeli and world opinion for the possibility of a large-scale incursion into Gaza. According to defence sources, the goals of such an operation would not "merely" be to reduce the threat of rocket fire and rocket manufacturing in Gaza, but would also likely entail paralyzing the Hamas government's ability to operate. Barak told Quartet envoy Tony Blair and Egyptian intelligence head Omar Suleiman that Israel could not tolerate the current level of rocket fire without offering a wider response. Foreign Minister Livni said "there is no moral equivalence between terrorists and those fighting them; even if during those actions innocent civilians are accidentally killed. In these cases the world should not come to us - there is only one address for the Palestinian situation in Gaza and for what is likely to happen there in the future - and it is Hamas." (Jerusalem Post)


A RACE TO BUY LAND IN JERUSALEM: Wealthy West Bank-based Palestinians, funded by Persian Gulf benefactors, have been attempting to buy as much land as possible in eastern Jerusalem, concentrating their efforts in the Old City, in order to push out Jewish associations doing exactly the same. Backed by private millionaires, Muslim foundations, Arab banks, the PLO's Orient House's Housing Division, and even several affiliates linked to Hamas, these Arab associations offer twice, even three times, the property value compared to their Jewish counterparts. Palestinian sources claim Turkey has also become involved in the land venture, aiding Arab associations by denying the Jewish ones access to Ottoman land records which may prove historical Jewish ownership of the land. (Ynet News)


EARTHQUAKE REACHES TEMPLE MOUNT: Friday, February 15, a 5.3 magnitude earthquake struck the Middle East with its epicentre 20 kilometres east of Tyre, Lebanon, near the Israeli northern border. The jolt was felt all the way to Jerusalem, where it shook open a hole on the Temple Mount, in the paved area in front of the Dome of the Rock mosque. The hole was 2 meters long, 1 ½ meters wide and 1 meter deep, and was covered with wooden planks by Mosque officials. The Islamic Movement blamed Israel for the hole (?!) saying that archaeological diggings in the mount have weakened the ground under the Mosque.


INSULT TO THE TRUTH: (by Iris Bouwman and Janny Holster): Last month in the Netherlands a postcard showing a manipulated image of Anne Frank wearing a Palestinian kaffiyeh was being distributed. The card is seen as a work of art which stimulates people to think about a peaceful solution of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. The Hague-based Centre For Information and Documentation on Israel (CIDI) called it "a tasteless falsification of history." “In Holland, Anne Frank is a distinct symbol of the Holocaust and persecution. The red-and-white kaffiyeh symbolizes Palestinian resistance to the Israeli occupation. We find this link offensive, false and unacceptable. The image suggests the Palestinians are being persecuted like the Jews during World War II. Israel and the Palestinians are engaged in a conflict. The Palestinians are not persecuted, there are no extermination camps and there is no genocide. The comparison of the fate of Anne Frank during World War II with the fate of the Palestinians is an insult to all who died in the Holocaust.” “Insults have broken my heart, and I am sick. I looked for sympathy, but there was none. I looked for people to comfort me, but I found no one.” (Psalms 69:20) PLEASE PRAY: - that the truth of the Holocaust will not be forgotten - that the comparison of the Holocaust with the situation in Israel will be negated


AUSTRIA: IRAN’S GATEWAY TO EUROPE: When Hitler entered Austria in March 1938, he was welcomed by an extraordinary large numer of Austrians who advocated the ’Anschluss’ with Germany. A disproportionate number of Austrians served the Nazi death machinery to carry out the ‘Final Solution’ to the ‘Jewish Question’. Despite these facts, for more than 50 years Austria portrayed itself as the first victim of national-socialism. It took a new generation of historians and politicians to acknowledge – 30 years after the Eichmann trial – that Austrians were actually involved in mass murder. During the last decade Austria has worked to present itself as a country which has dealt with its past and drawn the appropriate historical lessons. But one has to ask: Which lessons have been learned? Certainly not the most crucial one: defending Israel’s right to exist. In April 2007 Austria’s partially state owned oil company, OMV, signed an agreement with Iran on a joint natural gas project. The total investment amounts to 22 billion euros over the next 25 years. Experts believe that these revenues will be used to finance the Iranian nuclear weapons program and undermine present international sanctions. OMV is not just any company. It is the biggest oil corporation in central Europe. The state of Austria holds 31.5 % of its shares. Wolfgang Ruttensdorfer, CEO of this company, served for several years in the Austrian government as a member of the Social Democratic party, which always had close ties with OMV.


CHRISTIANS SAY CONDITIONS IN GAZA WORSEN FOR THEM, MODERATE MUSLIMS: Living conditions for Christians and moderate Muslims are becoming increasingly difficult in Gaza, Christians say. "First there was the murder of (Christian bookstore owner) Rami (Ayyad), now the YMCA (bombing). We can feel it step by step," said one young Christian. A Christian youth was injured Feb. 16 when the "modesty patrol" attacked his car after he was seen driving a former female classmate to her home. The girl also was injured. Msgr. Manuel Musallam, pastor of Holy Family Parish in Gaza, said, "We are moving toward the unknown. The Christians are worried about the general tone in the country." He said the conditions in Gaza and relations with government ministries have changed drastically following the militant Islamic group Hamas' takeover last June. Msgr. Musallam said the character of the parish school has changed, with Muslims students increasingly coming from Hamas-affiliated families. "The children are more fanatic, very violent toward each other and also with the teachers." In addition, he said people could not speak openly. "When you are in a conservative Muslim society you can't live an open life." (Catholic News Service)


IDF EXIT PLAN: MULTINATIONAL FORCE IN GAZA: Israel is considering a large-scale incursion into Gaza during which it would present an ultimatum to the international community for the deployment of a multinational force as the only condition under which it would withdraw, defense officials said. "We are talking about the Second Lebanon War model," a defense official said Sunday. "To go to war and tell the world that if they want a cease-fire and for us to leave, then they will need to send a force to replace us." (Jerusalem Post)


EUROPE TOWARD A ’BIG BROTHER SOCIETY: A top EU official last week proposed fingerprinting and screening all visitors who cross the bloc’s borders – and using a satellite system to keep out illegal immigrants – as part of a massive shake up of security at Europe’s borders. The proposals, if approved by all 27 EU governments, would represent one of the largest security overhauls in the European Union and could cost billions of dollars. Critics said it would move Europe toward a ‘Big Brother’ society, calling the proposed measures a violation of privacy rights. Japan has an entry-exit fingerprinting system in place, and Russia is also considering adopting one. All arrivals to and from the European Union would need to provide fingerprints or other biometric identifiers at their first point of entry into any EU country. Civil liberties and human rights advocates criticized the plans as an attempt to keep out unwanted foreigners from Africa and other poor regions under the veiled excuse of fighting crime and terrorism. “The idea is to make any migrant a potential criminal, and that’s very dangerous,” said Meryem Marzouki, president of European Digital Rights, a group representing 28 privacy and civil rights organisations. She said Frattini’s plans suggested the creation of a ‘totalitarian society’. They called the proposal a move toward a ‘Big Brother’ society under total surveillance, calling it a violation of privacy rights. The proposed system, modelled on one adopted by the US, would store 19 pieces of sensitive passenger information – including e-mail addresses, telephone numbers and payment details of flight tickets – for 13 years.


RIOTS BY DENMARK’S YOUNG IMMIGRANTS: Groups of youths set fire to schools, cars and trash bins in a sixth consecutive night of violence mostly in immigrant neighbourhoods in Danish cities, police officials said Saturday. Police arrested 43 people. The spate of vandalism started last weekend and some believe it intensified with the reproduction of a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad in Danish newspapers Wednesday. Police said the overnight violence had spread across all of Denmark, with arrests in Copenhagen, Aarhus, Ringsted, Slagelse and other cities. Youths had thrown rocks at police and fire-fighters. More than thirty cars and fifty containers had been torched across the country, he said, adding that some buildings, such as schools and car garages, had been targeted. More than a dozen Danish newspapers on Wednesday reprinted a cartoon that sparked massive protests in Muslim countries two years ago, in a gesture of solidarity after police revealed an alleged plot to kill the cartoonist. The reproduction of the prophet cartoon sparked protests and anger in many Muslim countries since Islamic law generally opposes any depiction of the prophet, even favourable, for fear it could lead to idolatry. In Pakistan, hundreds of protesters on Friday set fire to Danish flags and demanded the Danish ambassador’s expulsion.


U.S. INTELLIGENCE CHIEF: HIZBULLAH OR SYRIA MAY HAVE KILLED MUGHNIYEH: Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell said Sunday that internal Hizbullah groups or Syria may be to blame for the killing last Tuesday of Hizbullah commander Imad Mughniyeh. Hizbullah has pledged to attack Jewish targets worldwide in retaliation. McConnell said he considers the threat to be primarily against Israel.. But he said U.S. intelligence officials are keeping close watch because Mughniyeh has been "responsible for more deaths of Americans and Israelis than any other terrorist with the exception of Osama bin Laden." (AP)


UN HUMANITARIAN CHIEF CONDEMNS PALESTINIAN ROCKET ATTACKS: A Palestinian rocket struck a house in the Israeli town of Sderot on Sunday, shortly after the UN's top humanitarian official condemned Palestinians for the near-daily rocket barrages and urged Gaza's Hamas rulers to halt the attacks. "We condemn absolutely the firing of these rockets. There's no justification for it. They are indiscriminate, there's no military target," said John Holmes, the UN undersecretary general for humanitarian affairs, during a visit to Sderot. (AP/International Herald Tribune)


HIZBULLAH HAS FIFTY TERROR CELLS AROUND THE GLOBE: More than 50 Hizbullah terror cells believed to be spread across the globe could be activated and used to strike at Israeli or Jewish targets in retaliation for Tuesday's assassination of Hizbullah arch-terrorist Imad Mughniyeh in Syria, a senior Israeli defense official said Thursday. Defense officials said that Hizbullah had advanced infrastructure overseas, mainly in South America and Africa. (Jerusalem Post)


CANADIAN LOSES BATTLE FOR ’JERUSALEM, ISRAEL’ PASSPORT: Canada's Supreme Court refused Thursday to hear the appeal of Eliyahu Veffer, who immigrated to Canada about 12 years ago and wanted his Canadian passport to show he was born in "Jerusalem, Israel." Veffer's passport states only his birth city with no reference to any country because Ottawa officials contend the status of Jerusalem has been disputed since 1948. Veffer's attorney, David Matas, argued unsuccessfully in federal court that Canada allows people to choose which state appears in their passport if a birth city is in disputed territory. But Jerusalem is an exception to this policy. (AFP/Yahoo)


RESTRAINT IS NOT POSSIBLE: The firing of Kassam rockets against Sderot and the nearby kibbutzim is not stopping and is extracting a heavy price in terms of fear and blood. Responsibility for the shooting from Gaza, which has been going on for seven years, falls on the Palestinians. Were it not for the shooting, Israel would not respond. For the past eight months Hamas has ruled Gaza alone, and it is no longer possible to explain away the shooting as due to a lack of control over rogue organizations. Are the West Bank and Gaza still one entity, aspiring to establish an independent state alongside Israel? Is it possible that in all situations, Israel will hold negotiations for the establishment of such a state while Hamas is shooting at it? Israel left Gaza in the summer 2005 to signal the start of an end to the occupation. The ball passed to the Palestinian court, where it has been stuck after the Palestinians elected Hamas, which opposes a peace agreement with Israel. If the limited military actions Israel is undertaking in an effort to bring an end to the Kassam rockets will not bring an end to the shooting; if the moderate states, and first and foremost Egypt and Jordan, fail to contain Hamas - Israel will have no option but to embark on a broad military operation. The Israel Defence Forces raison d'etre is to protect the country's citizens from attack. Israel must prove that the blood of its citizens cannot be forfeited - so that in the future, its neighbours will abide by the agreements to which they have committed. (Ha'aretz)


WHAT IS ISRAEL TO DO? IGNORE THE ATTACKS? Israel withdrew all its forces and civilians from Gaza more than two years ago. It created the first opportunity in Gaza's history for self-governance. Never before, certainly not during Egyptian military rule till 1967, did local residents have their fate in their own hands. Those who predicted that governance would moderate the Hamas message were proven wrong. And those in capitals from Moscow to Riyadh who believed they could talk sense to Hamas had little to show for their efforts. Israel faces an Iranian-financed franchise on its border. Since Israel left Gaza, literally thousands of rocket and mortar attacks on Israeli towns and villages have occurred. What is Israel to do? Ignore the attacks? Turn the other cheek? Some would have Israel negotiate with Hamas, but over what? If the other party does not recognize your ri ght to exist, what is there to discuss? The timetable for your own destruction? Others propose a hudna, or temporary truce. But if the outcome is to allow Hamas to strengthen its terrorist infrastructure, much as Hizbullah did in southern Lebanon after Israel's unilateral withdrawal in 2000, then Hamas, not Israel, benefits. Hamas wants to use Gaza as a launching pad against Israel, while seeking protection from the international community. That gives new meaning to the word chutzpah. To protect the possibility of peace, the international community mustn't let Hamas get away with it. The writer is executive director of the American Jewish Committee. (Miami Herald)


GAZA’S FACTIONS TAKE THEIR FLIGHT TO ELEMENTARY SCHOOL PLAYGROUNDS: The four armed men who assaulted eight-year-old Shahab al-Akhras on a street corner in Rafah for wearing the black-and-white checked scarf associated with Fatah were wearing the uniforms of Hamas' Executive Force, Fatah's deadly rival. "They said that if they saw me wearing the scarf again they would shoot me in the legs," said the boy. The internal struggle between the Islamist Hamas and Fatah in Gaza is now over Gaza's children. "There is a preoccupation among the children about the issue of who is Hamas and who is Fatah," said Iyad Sarraj, a Palestinian psychologist. The children of Fatah families in particular, who saw fathers, brothers and uncles defeated by Hamas last June, are taking responsibility for the adult world. They fly the yellow Fatah flag on their bicycles to taunt the gunmen of the Executive Force, on occasion riding in gangs through Hamas demonstrations. They sometimes throw stones and insults, shouting "Shia!" at Hamas members. Ghazi Hamid, a former spokesman for Hamas, says, "I have never seen such splits in Palestinian society. Such hatred. And it really worries me. I have eight children and they talk about what goes on in school. The children abuse each other over what party they say they follow." (Observer-UK)


ISRAEL’S NEW SPY SATELLITE TRANSMITS TOP QUALITY IMAGES: Footage from Israel's TESCAR satellite, launched into space two weeks ago, was transmitted for the first time Wednesday. The Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) reported that the satellite, which could boost Israel's intelligence gathering capabilities regarding Iran, was working perfectly. (Ha'aretz)


THE ONLY THING I SEE IS THE WOMAN WHO DIED: One step to the right was the difference between life and death for Rita Gofman, who survived last week’s suicide bombing in Dimona's commercial centre. She had just passed the woman who was killed in the bombing. "The only thing I see right now is the woman who died in front of my eyes, falling over and over," said Gofman, 28. "I didn't realize it was a terrorist attack. I felt as if I was a teddy bear thrown into space. I saw my legs in the air and a great yellow cloud that made my eyes burn," she said. "Most [wounds] resulted from small iron balls that were placed inside the explosive belt," said Dr. Michael Sherf, director-general of Soroka Medical Centre in Beersheba, which treated 40 wounded. (Jerusalem Post)


HAMAS AGREES TO JOINT RAFAH BORDER CONTROL WITH ABBAS’ FORCES; MUBARAK: GAZA WILL NEVER BE PART OF EGYPT: Hamas is not opposed to joint Palestinian management of the Gaza crossings, Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar said Thursday. After talks between Hamas leaders and Egyptian government officials in Cairo, Zahar told Al Jazeera that Hamas would not object to Mahmoud Abbas' Presidential Guard controlling the Rafah crossing on condition that Israel had no say over procedures there. Hamas leaders stressed during the talks in Cairo that they were strongly opposed to the return of PA security forces to the border crossing under the terms of a 2005 U.S.-brokered agreement. Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak told the Italian daily La Republica that Gaza would never be part of Egypt, and that Israel's dream of "throwing the Strip" at the Egyptians was "only a dream." Egyptian police have raided dozens of houses in Al-Arish and other towns in search of Palestinians planning to stay in Egypt. Egypt is reported to have deployed 25,000 policemen and soldiers in Sinai as part of a massive crackdown aimed at forcing all the Palestinians who entered Egypt to return to Gaza. While vehicles are prevented from crossing, pedestrians continued to pour across the border. (Jerusalem Post)


THE ISRAEL-GAZA CONFLICT: NO CHANGE - Ineffectual Egyptian administration of Gaza's southern border has led to a large-scale influx of weaponry into the Strip. The Hamas-led entity has sought to engage Israel in a roiling, ongoing war of attrition through the use of rocket attacks and support for acts of terror launched from Gaza. For the moment, at least, it appears that the border is now to be administered through a joint effort by Hamas and the Egyptian security forces. Hamas will thus be engaged in partial control of an international frontier. But whatever the final arrangement, Israel will continue to demand that Egypt adequately police the crossings, and Egypt will continue to fail to do so. Hamas efforts to bring in weaponry will also continue, and its support for Kassam rocket attacks on western Negev communities will remain. This process makes a major Israeli operation into Gaza, at some point in the future, a near inevitability. (Guardian-UK)


EGYPT WARNS HAMAS AGAINST PROVOCATIONS ON GAZA BORDER: Egypt warned Hamas Tuesday against causing any further provocations on the Gaza border a day after a Palestinian was killed and 24 Egyptians were injured in clashes between Palestinians and Egyptian border police. Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul-Gheit said: "It is important that the Hamas leadership in Gaza adopts wisdom so as to discourage Palestinian masses from going close to the border with Egypt." "Egypt is generous and patient but its patience has limits," he noted. Al-Hayat quoted Egyptian officials as saying Egypt would not accept an arrangement whereby Hamas security forces would guard the Rafah border passage, as Cairo recognizes the Ramallah-based government of Mahmoud Abbas as the only legitimate Palestinian regime. (DPA/Ha'aretz)


EGYPT-HAMAS TENSIONS RISE OVER BORDER: Egyptian state-owned newspapers were filled with harsh criticism of Hamas, blaming it for violating Egypt's border and undermining its security. One newspaper, Rose El Youssef, contended that Hamas had used the breach to smuggle weapons and explosive-laden suicide belts into Egypt. (AP/Washington Post) Five Palestinian terrorists carrying explosives belts and reportedly planning a suicide attack against Israel were apprehended by the Egyptian authorities in recent days, the Egyptian daily Al-Ahram reported Wednesday. Al-Ahram reported that Egypt intends to erect a new border fence equipped with technological advances in order to "absolutely prevent infiltration, in keeping with the national security of Egypt." Other Palestinians were caught in Egypt with blueprints of the border crossings between Israel and Egypt, including the location of security posts and deployment of security personnel. Egyptian authorities also discovered sniper rifles and explosives among the suspects' belongings. (Ha'aretz)


MUSLIM ’CHARITY WORKER’ PLANNED TO KIDNAP BRITISH MUSLIM SOLDIER AND BEHEAD HIM: Parviz Khan, 37, from Birmingham, England, has pleaded guilty to plotting to behead a British soldier. Khan, who described himself as a Muslim charity worker, was heard in covert recordings made by Britain's security services outlining a plan to kidnap a soldier from Birmingham's nightclub district and have him beheaded. Prosecutor Nigel Rumfitt said Khan planned to videotape the killing and release the tape "to cause panic and fear within the British armed forces and wider public." Three other men, all Muslims, have admitted offences in the case. Khan was said to have shown the other men videos of terrorist beheadings in Iraq and Afghanistan. (New York Times).


EGYPT’S HARD CHOICES ON THE GAZA BORDER DEBACLE: Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has issued strict orders to his security services to closely monitor the stream of Palestinians coming into Egypt, who must on no account be allowed to cross the Suez Canal and reach the mainland. Hamas terrorists must be prevented from making contact with Sinai Bedouin hostile to the regime and must also be prevented from crossing back into Israel from Sinai to carry out terror attacks. (Jerusalem Post)


UN ENVOY: WOMEN IN GAZA FEEL COERCED TO COVER THEIR HEADS: The UN Special Reporter on Freedom of Religion or Belief, Asma Jahangir, says women in Gaza have recently felt coerced into covering their heads, while Christians there have faced rising intolerance. "Women seem to be in a particularly vulnerable situation and bear the brunt of religious zeal. I was informed about cases of honour killings carried out with impunity in the name of religion," she said. She faintly praised Israel, saying: "During my talks with members of religious minorities in Israel, my interlocutors have by and large acknowledged that there is no religious persecution by the state." "Within the Israeli democracy, I would like to emphasize the important role that the Supreme Court has played in the past and can play for safeguarding freedom of religion or belief." (Ha’aretz)


HAMAS WANTS EGYPT TO PROVIDE GAZA WITH ELECTRICITY AND FUEL: "Hamas wants to keep Rafah a Palestinian-Egyptian border crossing, without Israeli interference...and to create an access point to the world, a passage for humanitarian support from Arab nations and our food imports," said Ahmed Yousef, foreign adviser to Ismail Haniyeh, the Hamas leader who was elected Palestinian prime minister in 2005. Yousef said Hamas wants to persuade Egypt to provide Gaza with electricity and fuel instead of Israel. "For three years, Egypt has only wanted to deal with Gaza on a security level; for political issues they talk with the leadership in Ramallah," said a Hamas official. "Egypt is now forced to be involved, since the border was breached." (Washington Times)


PALESTINIAN TERRORIST GROUPS PLANNING ATTACKS FROM SINAI: Hamas and other terrorist organizations in Gaza have used the newly open border with Egypt to send numerous terrorists into Sinai over the last two days with the goal of reaching Israel to commit attacks, Israeli defence officials said Thursday. Defence officials said the terrorists in Sinai are most likely to try to strike immediately and almost certainly within the next two weeks.


ISRAEL SAYS IT WANTS NO TIES WITH GAZA: Deputy Defence Minister Matan Vilnai said Thursday that Israel wants to relinquish all responsibility for the Gaza Strip, including the supply of electricity and water, now that the territory's southern border with Egypt has been opened. "We need to understand that when Gaza is open to the other side we lose responsibility for it. So we want to disconnect from it." (AP) EGYPT WON’T TAKE CONTROL OF GAZA: Hossam Zaki, the official spokesman for Egypt's foreign ministry, said Thursday of Israeli hints that it was thinking of giving up all responsibility for Gaza now that its border with Egypt is open: "This is a wrong assumption." "The current situation is only an exception and for temporary reasons," Zaki said. "The border will go back to normal." (Jerusalem Post) POVERTY-STRICKEN GAZANS SPENT 130 MILLION IN EGYPT IN TWO DAYS: Rami Abdou, an economic analyst, estimated that Gazans spent $130 million in less than two days, a princely sum for the poverty-stricken territory. (AP)


PALESTINIAN TERRORISTS INFILTRATE WEST BANK HIGH SCHOOL, WOUND THREE: Two Palestinians armed with knives and a pistol infiltrated the Mekor Haim yeshiva high school in Kfar Etzion, not far from Jerusalem. They entered a library and attacked the students and their counsellors, who fought back. During the battle, one student was moderately wounded and two of the counsellors were lightly wounded. One of the counsellors grabbed the pistol from the terrorist and shot the intruders, killing them both. Witnesses said the terrorists were wearing uniforms of soldiers or security guards. (Ha'aretz) The two terrorists who were killed were released from an Israeli prison last week, Palestinian sources in Hebron said. (Ynet News)


PERES: UN MUST DENOUNCE HAMAS, NOT ISRAEL - The UN Security Council must denounce Hamas rather than Israel, Israeli President Shimon Peres said Tuesday. "The Council must ask Hamas why it is firing on children and women in Israel." "We have no interest in seeing Gaza's residents suffer. They are not our enemies, but Gaza's residents must complain to Hamas. They are the only ones who can bring down Hamas and they must demand that Hamas stop firing on Israel." "In this case, there is no doubt who started and there is no doubt that Hamas is constantly firing missiles, and this cannot remain unanswered. The responsibility for the situation in Gaza lies unequivocally on Hamas' shoulders. There is not one state in the world which will be fired on without retaliating. There is no excuse for the fire and no justification to ignore it." (Ynet News)


EU OFFICIAL: GAZA SIEGE NOT A WAR CRIME: European Commissioner for Justice, Freedom, and Security, former Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini, said Tuesday that the steps leading up to the Gaza blackout cannot be construed as a war crime and criticized the incessant Kassam rocket fire on Israeli civilian population centres. "There has been a large misunderstanding in recent years between Europe and Israel. And Israel is justified in its concerns. For too long, Europe has put too much blame on Israel for lack of peace with the Palestinians. We, as Europeans, should have understood Israel's concerns sooner," said Frattini. "As friends, it was our duty to criticize when we felt criticism was needed, but we did it too often and unfairly. We asked you to take risks and often we didn't provide you with assurances that you wouldn't stand alone if things went badly." (Ynet News)


STATEMENT ON GAZA STALLS IN UN SECURITY COUNCIL: Following a day of debate, the UN Security Council could not agree on language for a statement condemning the deterioration of the situation in Gaza. The draft statement circulating among the 15-member council expresses concern about "the steep deterioration of the humanitarian situation," but it fails to mention the hundreds of rockets Hamas militants have fired into southern Israel in the last week. U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad said he could not support the Libyan-authored draft as it stands. "As is, it is not acceptable....It does not talk about the rocket attacks, the attacks on innocent Israelis." (VOA News)


GAZAN HEARTS SAVED IN ISRAEL AS CONFLICT RAGES: With violence along Israel's southern border escalating, a hospital in Israel offers a ray of hope for a handful of seriously ill Gazans. "This child would have died without surgery," said Dr. Alona Raucher-Sternfeld, looking at the small Palestinian baby, Jamal, and the echo machine checking his heart. Six-month-old Jamal came with his grandmother from Dir al-Balah in Gaza to get a check-up on Jan. 15 at Wolfson Medical Centre near Tel Aviv. Jamal was operated on there when he was two months old, suffering from two heart defect. The surgery, hospital stay and logistics in bringing him out of Gaza were coordinated and partially funded by Save a Child's Heart, an Israeli humanitarian organization, with some EU donations. In 2007, 128 Palestinian children from the West Bank and Gaza, all suffering from heart condition s, were treated by the program. Col. Nir Press, head of the Israeli coordination and liaison administration in Gaza, said the number of permits to Israel issued for medical reasons had risen 50% in 2007. (ReliefWeb-UN)


U.S. PLANS SALE OF 900 SOPHISTICATED MISSILES TO SAUDI ARABIA: The Bush administration notified Congress Monday that it would sell 900 sophisticated satellite-guided missiles to Saudi Arabia as part of a $20 billion arms sale. The administration is worried that some in Congress might object, since the missiles are some of the most accurate produced by the U.S. (New York Times) The U.S. has agreed in principle to provide Israel with better "smart bombs" than those it plans to sell Saudi Arabia, senior Israeli security sources said Sunday. The Bush administration last year proposed supplying Gulf Arab states with some $20 billion in new weapons, including Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) bomb kits for th e Saudis. Two Israeli security sources said the U.S. offered military aid grants worth $30 billion over the next decade, as well as an "understanding in principle" that future JDAM sales to Israel would include advanced technologies not on offer to Saudi Arabia. "The agreement is that Israel's qualitative edge will be preserved," one source said. (Reuters


BUSH URGES UNITY AGAINST IRAN: President Bush on Sunday urged wary Persian Gulf allies to rally against Iran "before it is too late." In an address to government and business leaders in Abu Dhabi, Bush focused not only on what the U.S. believes are Iran's nuclear ambitions but also its support for Islamic militants in Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, and the Palestinian territories. He called Iran's government "the world's leading sponsor of terrorism." (New York Times) According to Robert Baer, who spent 21 years as a caseworker for the CIA, much of that time focused on Saudi Arabia, the number-one agenda item for President Bush's meeting with Saudi King Abdullah "was Iran. It was Iran, Iran, Iran." Thom as Lippman, an adjunct scholar at the Middle East Institute, said the Saudis "were blindsided by that National Intelligence Estimate about the Iranian nuclear program. They're confused about what the Americans are really up to here." When Baer was asked if worries about Iran have pushed what was often the number-one item in Saudi-U.S. talks, the Israel-Palestine question, further down the list, he replied: "Oh, I think absolutely. But, you know, at the end of the day, what the Saudis are worried about is that we go to Tehran and cut a deal, and Saudi Arabia then falls to a second-rate position in its relations with the United States." (PBS)


PALESTINIAN SNIPER SHOOTS FOREIGN VOLUNTEER AT ISRAELI KIBBUTZ NEAR GAZA: A 20-year-old foreign volunteer from Ecuador was shot and killed by a Palestinian sniper from within Gaza as he worked in the fields of Kibbutz Ein Hashlosha. The Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas' military wing, took responsibility for the shooting. (Ynet News) HAMAS LEADER’S SON KILLED IN AIRSTRIKE: Palestinian sources in Gaza reported Tuesday that Hussein al-Zahar, son of senior Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Zahar, was killed in an airstrike in Gaza City's Zeitun neighborhood. Israeli forces killed at least nine more Palestinians during raids in Gaza, where sources identified the gunmen killed in the clashes as being members of Hamas' Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades. (Reuters/Ynet News)


The next edition of ’Daily Journal’ will be posted tomorrow. God bless you! Revelation 2:7


HAMAS SEEKING ESCALATION TO FORCE ISRAEL INTO TRUCE: Palestinians said they believe the escalation in rocket fire is part of a new Hamas policy aimed at forcing Israel into a ceasefire. Since Tuesday, Palestinians have fired more than 130 rockets and dozens of mortar shells at Israel. Hamas was responsible for most of Thursday's launches, and senior IDF officers believe that unless the situation calms down soon, Israel will have to further escalate its military operations. Hamas has upgraded its launching capabilities: Some of the rockets that hit Israel this week were fired by remote control from buried launchers, which makes it hard for Israeli forces to attack the launch crews. Hizbullah used this tactic extensively during the Second Lebanon War. (Ha'aretz)


50 PALESTINIAN ROCKETS POUND ISRAEL: Hamas fired 50 Kassam rockets and at least a dozen mortar shells at Israel on Wednesday. Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Israel will step up the pressure against militants in Gaza. "We are doing everything in order to target the terrorists so that the Kassam rocket attacks will stop," he said. Mahmoud Abbas telephoned former Hamas foreign minister Mahmoud al-Zahar to offer his sympathy for the death of his son on Tuesday during clashes with IDF forces east of Gaza City. (Ha'aretz)


ISRAEL ASKS UN TO CONDEMN TERROR ATTACK ON KIBBUTZ VOLUNTEER: Israel wrote to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the Security Council president Tuesday regarding the killing of Ecuadorian volunteer Carlos Andres Chavez by a Palestinian sniper at Kibbutz Ein Hashlosa and the Palestinian rocket attacks on Sderot on Tuesday. Israel called on the UN to condemn the incidents and the states which aid the terror organizations. Israel is entitled to defend itself against a military offensive like any other country under Article 51 of the UN Charter, the letter said. The Israeli delegation to the UN has recently been filing a complaint following every terror attack or rockets fired at Israel.


GAZANS RETURNING FROM HAJ SMUGGLED IN 100 MILLION DOLLARS FOR HAMAS: Hamas smuggled $100 million into Gaza in recent weeks, Israel Security Agency head Yuval Diskin told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Sunday. Hundreds of Gazans returning from the haj in Mecca were allowed direct entry via Egypt, contrary to an earlier agreement with Israel, which insisted that they must cross through Israeli-controlled checkpoints. "The money that was smuggled is not being distributed to the residents, but is being used by Hamas people only," he said. (Ha'aretz)


BUSH PRIVATELY LAUDS ISRAELI ATTACK ON SYRIA: On Jan. 9, in one of the most extensive, face-to-face security discussions since an Israel Air Force attack on a Syrian nuclear reactor on Sep. 6, U.S. President George W. Bush privately commended his Israeli host on what was described as an important preventive action, according to an Israeli official briefed on the exchange. The official said he understood the U.S. president's comments as endorsement of the pre-emptive necessity of the Syrian strike. "That problem appears to be solved for the time being," the official said of the Syrian nuclear threat


BUSH AT YAD VASHEM: U.S. SHOULD HAVE BOMBED AUSCHWITZ - President Bush visited Israel's official Holocaust memorial on Friday, placing a red-white-and-blue wreath on a stone slab that covers ashes of Holocaust victims taken from six extermination camps. ''I wish as many people as possible would come to this place. It is a sobering reminder that evil exists, and a call that when evil exists we must resist it,'' he said. At one point, Bush viewed aerial photos of the Auschwitz death camp taken during the war by U.S. forces and called Secretary of State Rice over to discuss why the American government had decided against bombing the site. ''We should have bombed it,'' Bush said, according to Yad Vashem chairman Avner Shalev. In the memorial's visitors' book, the president wrote simply, ''God bless Israel, George Bush.'' (AP/USA Today)


UNIFIL LEAKS TO HIZBULLA WORRY IDF: Yaakov Katz After two Katyusha rockets struck Shlomi in the Galilee, Israeli defense officials raised concerns Wednesday that information they were regularly passing on to UNIFIL and the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) was also making its way to Hizbullah. The IDF regularly updates UNIFIL and the LAF on its assessments concerning Hizbullah's military buildup in southern Lebanon. The IDF is constantly debating the "depth" of the information it is willing to share with UNIFIL and the LAF, out of fear that the information will find its way through the LAF to Hizbullah. (Jerusalem Post)


BUSH: ISRAELI-PALESTINIAN PEACE AGREEMENT MUST ENSURE ’DEFENSIBLE BORDERS’ FOR ISRAEL: President Bush said in Jerusalem on Thursday: "There should be an end to the occupation that began in 1967. The agreement must establish Palestine as a homeland for the Palestinian people, just as Israel is a homeland for the Jewish people. These negotiations must ensure that Israel has secure, recognized, and defensible borders. And they must ensure that the state of Palestine is viable, contiguous, sovereign, and independent." "While territory is an issue for both parties to decide, I believe that any peace agreement between them will require mutually agreed adjustments to the armistice lines of 1949 to reflect current realities and to ensure that the Palestinian state is viable and contiguous. I believe we need to look to the establishment of a Palestinian state and new international mechanism, including compensation, to resolve the refugee issue." "I know Jerusalem is a tough issue. Both sides have deeply felt political and religious concerns. I fully understand that finding a solution to this issue will be one of the most difficult challenges on the road to peace, but that is the road we have chosen to walk. Security is fundamental. No agreement and no Palestinian state will be born of terror. I reaffirm America's steadfast commitment to Israel's security." (White House)


20,000 ISLAMISTS IN GAZA PROTEST AGAINST ’VAMPIRE’ BUSH: Brandishing placards showing George W. Bush as a vampire swigging Muslim blood, some 20,000 Hamas supporters protested in Gaza on Wednesday against the U.S. president's visit to Israel and the West Bank (Reuters). Bush Gets Hero's Welcome in Israel: In an effusive outpouring of support, the State of Israel rolled out the red carpet for President Bush when he arrived in Israel on Wednesday, with the entire cabinet and a full army band and honour guard welcoming the U.S. president (Jerusalem Post) The Bible says: “A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend, who sticks closer than a brother” (Prov.18:24).


RUSSIA FOILS ATOMIC SMUGGLERS: Russia has admitted that customs officials thwarted more than 120 attempts to smuggle "highly radioactive" material out of the country last year. The disclosure is likely to fuel concern about how many illegal exports were not halted. It will also lead to new fears that Moscow has failed to stop material becoming available on the black market that could be used by terrorists to make radioactive "dirty" bombs. (Telegraph-UK) THE NEXT EDITION WILL BE POSTED ON FRIDAY!


ISRAEL SEEKING TO TEACH SECURITY UNDERSTANDINGS WITH U.S. Israel is seeking to reach an understanding with the U.S. administration that would safeguard Israel's security interests in a future final-status agreement with the Palestinians and during current negotiations, government sources have said. At the heart of Israel's demands is that it remain free to act against terror in the West Bank for as long as negotiations last, and that demilitarization arrangements place limitations on the future Palestinian state. Israel wants Palestine to be completely demilitarized, and for Israel to be able to fly over Palestinian air space. Israel is to propose the deployment of an international force in the West Bank and along the Philadelphi Route at the Gaza-Egypt border, and would ask that a permanent Israel Defence Forces presence remain for an extended period in the Jordan Valley. (Ha’aretz)


ISRAEL: ROCKET ATTACK ON ASHKELON A ‘STRATEGIC THREAT - The IDF stepped up its offensive against Islamic Jihad rocket squads in Gaza on Thursday, killing nine Palestinians in a series of ground and air strikes after a long-range Katyusha rocket struck northern Ashkelon for the first time. A senior PA representative said, "The instructions for firing the Katyusha rocket came from Damascus and Teheran....The timing of the rocket attack is no coincidence and is mainly aimed at disrupting Bush's visit." Also Thursday, three Kassam rockets and 10 mortar shells were fired by Palestinians in Gaza at Israel, including one rocket that hit the backyard of a home in Sderot. A senior official in the Prime Minister's Office characterized the rocket attack on Ashkelon as "a strategic threat," and sai d it showed once again the urgency of stopping the arms smuggling from Sinai into Gaza. "We are concerned that the types of weapons coming into Gaza are giving them new strategic potential," the official said. "This was not the first rocket of this type to be fired on Israel, but we are concerned that unless decisive action is taken there could be more of this." "If we see ongoing smuggling into Gaza of munitions and weaponry, then this is a strategic threat for a quarter of a million people in the South who are within the range of the rockets," he said. The official said it was clear that the current level of weapons smuggling cannot go on, and that "actions have to be taken." (Jerusalem Post)


ISRAELI OFFICIAL: EGYPT HAS BEEN WORKING AGAINST US DIPLOMATICALLY FOR YEARS: Egypt has worked to thwart Israel diplomatically in various international forums for years, so Egyptian Foreign Minister Gheit's recent threat to turn up the diplomatic heat on Israel is nothing new, Israeli officials said Tuesday. Egypt's foreign minister warned that Cairo would "retaliate" diplomatically against Israel if its complaints against Egyptian inaction on arms smuggling into Gaza hurt U.S.-Egyptian ties. According to one official, Egypt originally led the bloc of countries at the UN General Assembly last month that tried to prevent Israel's resolution on the transfer of agricultural technologies from being accepted. (Jerusalem Post)


HAMAS SIGNALS IT WOULD AGREE TO A LULL IN FIGHTING WITH ISRAEL: Hamas has signaled to Israel, through various interlocutors, that it would agree to a tahdiye (lull) in the fighting in Gaza, even though there is still no agreement within the radical Islamist group about such an option. Hamas is trying to reach agreement with other radical groups in Gaza to halt rocket and mortar attacks against Israel. A source close to former Hamas prime minister Ismail Haniyeh said, "the tahdiye must include an opening of the border crossings for the passage of goods and people, and the lifting of the economic embargo on Gaza." He explained that "a tahdiye is different from a hudna (cease-fire). The meaning is that a tahdiye will be of short duration, only a few months, and not a hudna which may be a temporary solution, but can be t he start of a longer diplomatic framework." (Ha'aretz)


ISRAELI HIKERS’ KILLER WAS FROM PA SECURITY FORCE: The terrorists who gunned down David Rubin and Ahikam Amihai, who were hiking near Hebron on Friday, are both PA workers, and one is a member of the PA security forces, the Israel Security Agency revealed Tuesday. Ali Dandis, 24, a Fatah operative, worked as a clerk at the Sharia courts in Hebron, while Amar Taha, 26, was a member of the PA National Security Force. Security officials said the attack was premeditated and that the terrorists' goal had been to kill the hikers and steal their weapons. Last month, Ido Zoldan was gunned down in the West Bank by Palestinian terrorists who turned out to be members of the PA security forces (Jerusalem Post)


DRATMATIC DROP IN TERROR FATALITIES IN 2007: 13 Israelis were killed by Palestinians in 2007, down from 24 in 2006 and 50 in 2005, according to data released Monday by the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet). There was only one successful suicide bombing last year, down from six in 2006. Palestinians fired 1,263 rockets and 1,511 mortar shells at Israel in 2007, compared with 1,722 rockets and 55 mortars in 2006. Rocket attacks accounted for two fatalities, both in Sderot. (Ha'aretz)


The next edition of ’Daily Journal’ will be posted tomorrow. God bless you in this New Year! Psalm 31:16

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Updated: 01. januar 2009 12:13:10.