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« Reply #150 on: June 02, 2008, 10:58:14 PM »

I can't wait until the Lord tells them what HIS take is on the situation!
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« Reply #151 on: October 12, 2008, 12:22:22 AM »

Israel agreed to recognize the State of Palestine
SEPTEMBER 10, 2015.
By Uri Avnery

In a solemn ceremony, on a stage bedecked with Israeli and Palestinian flags, the peace treaty between Israel and Palestine has been signed.

Negotiations did not take long. The essential elements of the treaty had been known for a long time. The document held no real surprises.

Israel agreed to recognize the State of Palestine. The border between the two states was based on the so-called Green Line (the pre-1967 line), but both parties agreed on a limited exchange of territory. About 5% of the West Bank, including several "settlement blocs", were joined to Israel, in exchange for an equivalent area alongside the Gaza Strip. Both sides expressed the wish to keep the border open for the movement of people and goods.

In Jerusalem, the Arab neighborhoods, including al-Haram al-Sharif (the Temple Mount) became part of Palestine, while Jewish neighborhoods and the Western Wall stayed in Israel. The two halves of Jerusalem remained physically united under a joint municipal authority, with equal representation.

Israel agreed to remove all settlements from the territory of Palestine.

On the refugee problem, a complex solution was found. A Committee of Truth and Reconciliation (CTR) was set up to investigate the events of 1948 and 1967 which led to the displacement of the refugees. Both sides agreed to abide by its findings. The CTR was composed of respected Israeli, Palestinian and international historians.

Israel recognized in principle the Right of Return, but both sides agreed that only a limited and mutually agreed-upon number would be enabled to return to Israeli territory, while all the others would be compensated and settled in the State of Palestine or elsewhere, according to their wishes, with international assistance.

Another committee was appointed to see to a just distribution of the water resources, and especially to the large-scale desalination of sea water, with international help, for the benefit of both sides.

After the Presidents of Israel and Palestine shook hands, all present shared in a minute of silence, in memory of all those who died in the generations-old conflict.

The secretary of the Arab League declared the treaty to be in conformity with the Arab Peace Initiative of 2002, and confirmed that all member states of the League would establish normal relations with Israel.

THE HISTORIC event was preceded by far-reaching changes on both sides.

After a long and painful rift, the new Palestinian President had succeeded in uniting the warring Palestinian factions in a rejuvenated PLO and a Provisional Government of Palestine. After some recriminations, both Hamas and Fatah supported the treaty.

In Israel, a charismatic new leader, who enjoyed much public respect, had succeeded in alerting public opinion to the dangers of the ongoing state of war in a region full of missiles and weapons of mass destruction. His new party, which attracted not only leaders and members from all the discredited old parties, but also a whole generation of young people who entered politics to bring about a change, had won a resounding election victory. The peace movement, which had long been dormant, played a major role in this upheaval.

When the two new Presidents shook hands, the whole world heaved a sigh of relief.

BUT THE signing of the document by the politicians was only the beginning of the struggle. As everybody knew, a decisive confrontation between the Israeli government and the settlers was looming.

The settlers and their allies had spent years preparing for this test. Supported by major elements of the army and the various ministries, they had access to large resources of arms and money. Many of them were determined to wage a civil war, if it came to it.

However, when the clash came, it was much less dramatic than had been feared. As agreed with the Palestinians, the settlers were allowed a year to leave voluntarily in return for very generous compensation. After initial hesitation, about half of the settlers accepted the offer and actually left the occupied territories. The rest were demoralized by the solid support of the great majority of the Israeli public for the peace treaty.

In the end, actual fighting was sporadic. In the hour of crisis, Israeli democracy stood the test and the army remained solidly loyal to the government, despite the efforts the settlers had been making for years to infiltrate the officers' corps.

THE COMPARATIVE ease with which both governments overcame the often violent opposition in their respective countries was also due to the active support of the international community.

Many commentators doubted whether the peace treaty would have been possible without the profound change of US policy in the Middle East. After the 2012 elections, the President announced that America's basic interests demanded an even-handed approach in order to overcome the hatred millions of Muslims felt for America. "We shall support both Israel and Palestine in their valiant quest for peace," he declared. The pro-Israel lobby did not dare oppose this, sensing the fundamental change in American public opinion and fearing an anti-Semitic backlash.

Europe followed suit, as always.

IN ISRAEL, the public was quick to realize the practical benefits of peace. New joint Israeli-Arab ventures attracted large foreign investments. Following the earlier peace treaty with Syria, Israeli entrepreneurs were already busy in Damascus, making lucrative deals in a Syrian economy that was springing to new life. The Syrians, by the way, allowed the Israeli wine industry on the Golan Heights to continue operating. "Let's go and eat Hummus in Damascus" became an Israeli slogan. And indeed, Israelis crowded the famous bazaars of that ancient city, turning the trip to the Syrian capital into an exciting experience.

While Arab businessmen were filling the hotels in Tel Aviv, looking for joint ventures, their Israeli counterparts were flocking to Riyadh, Baghdad, Doha and Dubai. Stories of their successes filled the television news programs and eclipsed the sight of settlers trying to repeat the scenes of the Gaza "disengagement" ten years earlier.

Owing to their position between Israel and the Arab world, Palestinians became sought-after middlemen. Former inmates of Israeli prisons, speaking excellent Hebrew, were especially successful in creating business connections. So were Arab citizens of Israel, with their intimate knowledge of Israeli political and economic processes. Their standard of living rose steeply to about that of Jewish Israelis. Their birthrate fell, as is usual with increased prosperity.

In this atmosphere, the return of several thousand Palestinian refugees to Israel passed almost without comment. Since the rapid growth of the Israeli economy had attracted many Jews from abroad, the "demographic balance" hardly changed.

Politicians and economists on both sides started to raise the idea of a "Middle Eastern Union", a political, economic and security organization on the lines of the European Union. Others were talking of a confederation of Israel, Palestine and Jordan, perhaps also including Lebanon, where Hizbullah was by now a well established government party.

THE ISRAELI army remained a powerful instrument for protecting the state. But as in the US and Western Europe, the best and the brightest were drawn to high-tech, science and business. Soon the old conflict was seen as a thing of the past.

In the end, the old adage that "peace is not made between governments but between peoples" was prove once more. Human relations, economic interests and the passage of time completed the process that started with the formal peace treaty.

Israel agreed to recognize the State of Palestine
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« Reply #152 on: October 12, 2008, 10:33:53 PM »

World meet on Jerusalem begins

AN INTERNATIONAL conference on Jerusalem begins in Doha today, under the patronage of His Highness the Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani.

The three-day event is the sixth annual conference held by the International Forum for Jerusalem which has a board of trustees consisting of 150 members representing 46 countries. Qatar's Islamic scholar Dr Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi is the board chairman.

Besides the board members, other participants will be representatives of 120 organisations devoted to the Jerusalem cause in 32 countries, prominent scholars, mediapersons and intellectuals.

Former Iranian foreign minister Ali Akbar Velayati is a special invitee while former Iranian interior minister Ali Akbar Mohtashemi is attending in his capacity as deputy chairman of the forum's board of trustees.

Among the main objectives of the forum is to pursue measures that would ensure the sanctity and safety of the al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem and remain in solidarity with the people of Palestine in their resolute and steadfast struggle against the Jewish occupation.

World meet on Jerusalem begins
~~~~~~~~~~~

Jewish occupation?  Well, ok, since God gave this land to the Jews, I suppose it only makes sense to 'occupy' it!!

I can imagine this meeting..."make sure to destroy any artifacts found relating to Jewish history".
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« Reply #153 on: November 13, 2008, 09:59:55 PM »

Gaza truce only to resume when Hamas keeps its commitments
14/11/2008
By Amira Hass, Haaretz Correspondent

The United Nations on Thursday warned its stocks had run so low that it would not be able to make its next delivery of food to 750,000 needy Gazans on Saturday.

"We've been working here from hand to mouth for quite a long time, so these interruptions on the crossing points affect us immediately," said John Ging, director of UN Relief and Works Agency operations in Gaza.

The Defense Ministry had said it would allow 30 truckloads of humanitarian supplies into Gaza on Thursday. But the crossings were kept shut because militants fired fire rockets and mortars into Israel earlier in the day, security officials said.

Later in the day, Defense Minister Ehud Barak ordered the army to keep the crossings shut after receiving an intelligence warning of a plan by Palestinian militants to attack the Kerem Shalom border terminal.

Gaza City was dark Thursday evening after a day of violence and retribution, raising the grim prospect of an end to a truce that has stopped most Israeli-Palestinian violence in and around the seaside territory for five months.

Gaza officials shut down their only power plant, cutting off electricity to much of the city of 300,000, after Israel canceled plans to ship in some diesel fuel for the plant as well as 30 trucks full of humanitarian supplies. The Israeli move came after Gaza militants fired at least eight rockets and some mortar shells at Israel on Thursday, according to the Israeli military.

Rocket fire has resumed over the past week after an armed clash in Gaza, and Israel has clamped a tight blockade on the impoverished seaside territory.

Though no one was hurt in the rocket attacks on Israel Thursday, Israel scrapped plans to allow small amounts of fuel and supplies into Gaza. Kamal Obeid, a Hamas official at of the power plant, said fuel was running out and the facility would be shut down completely later Thursday.

Israelis counter that the plant provides less than a quarter of Gaza's electricity, and most of the rest flows in unimpeded on power lines from Israel.

Speaking in Brussels, Belgium, UNRWA head Karen AbuZayd said it was unusual for Israel not to let basic food and medicines in.

"This has alarmed us more than usual because it's never been quite so long and so bad, and there has never been so much negative response on what we need," she said.

"We have hundreds of containers waiting in Ashdod port, holding such simple things such as the wool and the yarn for vocational training centers or centers for the visually impaired to make some money," she said. "We were told these are not humanitarian supplies."

Israel has not allow the UN and other agencies to bring supplies into the Gaza Strip since Nov. 4, when its troops raided the territory to destroy what the army described as a tunnel built by militants.

Six Hamas gunmen were killed in the operations. Gaza militants responded to the incursion with rocket salvoes at southern Israel.

The ceasefire, which began in June, calls on both sides to stop cross-border violence and on Israel to ease the Gaza blockade it tightened after Hamas Islamists seized the territory more than a year ago.

Israel: Truce only to resume when Hamas keeps its commitments

Senior Defense Ministry official Amos Gilad on Thursday said Israel's truce with Hamas in Gaza, ruptured by a flare-up in cross-border fighting, will resume only when the Palestinian militant group keeps its commitments.

"The lull will return only when we are convinced that Hamas has gone back to its commitment to keep the lull, because it decides when [militants] shoot and when they don't," said Gilad, speaking on Israel Radio.

Gilad defended Israel's closing of the border crossings against claims that it would prevent Gazans from meeting their most basic needs.

"Israel is working to prevent the occurrence of a humanitarian crisis in Gaza, but will not endanger its soldiers by continuing to supply produce - because Hamas even attacks the crossings' terminals," he told Israel Radio.

"The murderous attacks must end. We are sensitive to the humanitarian situation but there is a serious concern that murderous and terrorist acts will take place."

Israel also held up shipments of European Union-funded fuel to the territory's sole power plant. Palestinian officials said the facility would be shut down later in the day.

Israel blocks entry of 20 EU diplomats into Gaza

Also Thursday, Israel prevented 20 European Union consul generals from entering Gaza on Thursday after a recent upsurge in clashes between the Israel Defense Forces and Gaza militants.

The consuls had planned to meet with businesspeople and human rights activists in the Hamas-ruled coastal territory in order to learn about the humanitarian situation.

Early in the day, Palestinian mortar and rocket gunners bombarding southern Israel after the IDF killed four Hamas gunmen in the Strip on Wednesday.

A senior official at the French Consulate, which had arranged the trip, said he could not remember another time when Israel had prevented diplomats from entering Gaza over reasons that were not security-related.

Israel Defense Forces spokesman Peter Lerner told Haaretz that Israel had informed the diplomats on Wednesday of its intention to prevent their entry, and yet they still attempted to cross into Gaza.

"The reason their entry was prevented was because it was not humanitarian. The policy today is only to allow the most essential entry... I hope [Gaza militants] will stop shooting missiles and then we can return to the previous situation," he said.

Gaza truce only to resume when Hamas keeps its commitments
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« Reply #154 on: November 15, 2008, 01:01:55 AM »

Hamas fires long-range rockets at Israel
Fri Nov 14, 2008 5:09pm EST

By Abed Shana

GAZA (Reuters) - Hamas Islamists fired long-range rockets at a southern Israel city on Friday after an Israeli air strike on their Gaza stronghold in the 11th day of skirmishes that threaten a five-month-old truce.

The armed wing of the Islamist group said it fired five Grad rockets, the longest-range weapon it has used against the Jewish state. Israel said they hit Ashkelon, north of Gaza on the Mediterranean coast, with no casualties.

Israel and Hamas blamed each other for the flare-up since November 4, in which 12 Hamas militants have been killed by Israeli forces and scores of rockets fired into Israel. But both shied away from declaring an end to the Egyptian-brokered truce.

"We will continue to forcefully defend Israeli soldiers and citizens, to thwart attempts to stage attacks when we discover them," Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak said. "At the same time, if the other side wants to continue the calm we will definitely give it positive consideration."

Hamas took a similar stand.

"Up to this moment we are committed to the ceasefire," said Mahmoud al-Zahar, a Hamas leader. "Self-defense and resistance" would continue. "We are waiting for the Israelis. If they are really committed (to a truce) we have to address that frankly."

The 1960s-era Soviet-made Grad rocket has a range of 25 km (15 miles). Two of them struck Ashkelon.

Earlier, Palestinian medics said two Hamas fighters were wounded in an Israeli air strike, which a military spokesman said was in response to an earlier rocket attack.

After the air strike, Hamas said it fired eight shorter-range Qassam rockets aimed at the city of Sderot.

Two Qassams hit, causing damage to buildings, an Israeli police spokesman said. One Israeli was treated for shrapnel wounds and a number of people suffered shock.

NEXT MOVE

Israel's caretaker prime minister, Ehud Olmert, said in a statement after consultations with defense chiefs that Israel would not tolerate the rocket fire. It would continue to apply economic pressure on Hamas through border crossings.

Israel has not allowed humanitarian supplies into the Gaza Strip since November 4, when its troops raided the territory to destroy what the army described as a tunnel built by militants to kidnap Israeli soldiers.

Six Hamas gunmen were killed in the raid. Militants responded to the incursion with rocket salvoes.

Israel said the crossings would remain shut for now.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on Israel to allow urgently fuel and humanitarian aid into Gaza, where 750,000 Palestinians are in need of food.

Short of fuel, Gaza shut down its sole power plant, and rationed electricity it gets from Israel and Egypt. Some Gaza bakeries posted notices on Friday limiting the purchase of bread, although no major shortages were reported.

The EU also urged Israel to let aid supplies through.

"I am profoundly concerned about the consequences for the Gazan population of the complete closure of all Gaza crossings for deliveries of fuel and basic humanitarian assistance," External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner said.

Israeli troops also killed four gunmen in a raid on Wednesday, prompting more rocket and mortar attacks from Gaza.

Hamas is in conflict with the Fatah faction of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas which holds sway in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and is negotiating with Israel on peace terms.

The rift between them widened in 2007 as Hamas took control of Gaza. Egypt brokered the Israel-Hamas truce, but Palestinian unity talks it is mediating faltered earlier this month.

Hamas fires long-range rockets at Israel
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« Reply #155 on: November 15, 2008, 01:04:25 AM »

Hamas will not to renew ceasefire

Hamas to demand new conditions for any ceasefire talks, including prior opening of crossings; Islamic Jihad member warns of imminent suicide attacks

Ali Waked
Published:    11.14.08, 16:08
Israel News

Hamas will demand different conditions for any renewed ceasefire, regardless of whether the current six-month Hamas-Israel ceasefire will end as planned on December 19 or be terminated early as the result of rocket fire on Sderot, a source from the organization told Ynet Friday.

"If and when new discussions will commence regarding an extension of the ceasefire, we'll demand the opening of all crossings prior to or concurrent to a ceasefire," the source said. "We'll demand to put a stop to Israeli disruptions of the ceasefire via closings of the crossings or delay of goods, as well as demanding that the ceasefire apply to the West Bank."

According to the source, it is unclear whether the ceasefire has officially ended. "It looks like it's about to end, but even if it won't collapse in the upcoming days as a result of Israeli violations, one thing is for sure: We won't accept the current conditions for a future ceasefire."

"We will demand guarantees. We will agree to an additional period of ceasefire only after crossings are opened and goods are delivered and after we receive guarantees that the ceasefire will include the West Bank," he said.

A senior Hamas official, Dr. Khalil al-Haya, called on members of Hamas' military wing to continue shooting rockets "at the Israeli settlements around Gaza."

Al-Haya spoke at a Hamas-organized rally against the arrest of organization operatives in the West Bank by associates of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Suicide attacks to resume
The Palestinian organizations involved in a ceasefire with Israel consulted with members of an umbrella organization representing the Palestinian opposition and agreed that the ceasefire, in its current format, had failed and should not be renewed.

A member of the al-Quds Brigades, the military wing of Islamic Jihad, told Ynet that, in his estimation, all Palestinian organizations understand that the ceasefire has ended and that a new round of hard fighting with Israel is about to take place.

"Israelis are not the only ones who can threaten and they are not the only ones who had the means to hurt Palestinians. We are ready to show the innovations we've been acquiring over the recent months, including more massive shooting of more precise and long-range missiles," he said.

He also threatened that the organization would renew suicide attacks. "The recent months caused Israelis to forget the suicide bombings. And if they think the fence in Gaza or the West Bank will prevent such attacks, we promise there are ways to remind them that attacks will return to the heart of Israel," he said.

Hamas will not to renew ceasefire
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« Reply #156 on: November 20, 2008, 09:09:05 PM »

Secret 'peace talks' exposed
Israel, Palestinians still attempting major pact before January
Posted: November 20, 2008
1:10 am Eastern

By Aaron Klein
© 2008 WorldNetDaily

JERUSALEM – Despite media reports painting a dismal picture of negotiation prospects, Israel and the Palestinian Authority are still quietly working to conclude a major agreement before President Bush leaves office in January, informed Israeli and Palestinian sources told WND.

The sources, including a senior Palestinian negotiator, said the aim is to reach a series of understandings to be guaranteed by the U.S. that would result in an eventual Israeli withdrawal from the vast majority of the West Bank.

The understandings would also grant the PA permission to open official institutions in Jerusalem but would postpone talks on the future status of the capital city until new Israeli and U.S. governments are installed next year.

The original plan, initiated at last November's U.S.-sponsored Annapolis summit, was to create a Palestinian state, at least on paper, by January. The summit launched talks aimed at concluding a final status agreement on all core issues – borders, the status of Jerusalem and the future of so-called Palestinian refugees.

But a final agreement has been hampered by several recent events here, most notably Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's decision to resign amid corruption charges, leading to general elections scheduled for February that will see a new prime minister elected. The candidate for office from Olmert's Kadima party, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, is said to oppose reaching a deal on Jerusalem or refugees ahead of elections, fearing it will harm her prospects among center-right voters. Livni is Olmert's chief negotiator with the Palestinians.

In spite of the upcoming elections and the Israeli government's subsequent political instability, teams of Israeli and Palestinian negotiators have been quietly meeting regularly the past few weeks in hope of concluding a series of understandings on key issues. Informed sources said any understandings reached will be backed up by Bush in an official letter. It is unclear how much weight such a letter will carry under a new U.S. administration.

According to the sources, neither side expects to conclude any deal on the status of Jerusalem or Palestinian "refugees" before January, putting aside those issues for future talks. Instead, negotiations are focused on reaching an agreement emphasizing borders, particularly a pledged Israeli evacuation of the vast majority of the strategic West Bank, which borders central Israeli population centers.

A Palestinian source told WND the U.S. is said to favor Israel withdrawing from nearly the entire West Bank. The source said the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem has been closely monitoring Israeli activities in the territory, which the source said has led to the Jewish state clamping down on what are termed "illegal outposts," or Jewish structures built in the West Bank without government permission. Israel has recently announced a series of small West Bank evacuations, including the threatened forced removal of Jews who legally purchased a house in the ancient city of Hebron.

Also being heavily negotiated is an agreement that would allow the PA to official open institutions in Jerusalem. WND previously reported the PA already has been quietly operating in Jerusalem, apparently with tacit approval from the Israeli government. But the expected agreement to be concluded before January would give the PA official operational status in the city, likely leading to the opening of scores of Palestinian institutions there.

According to Israeli law, the PA cannot officially hold court in Jerusalem. The PA previously maintained a de facto headquarters in Jerusalem, called Orient House, but the building was closed down by Israel in 2001 following a series of suicide bombings in Jerusalem. Israel said it had information indicating the House was used to plan and fund terrorism.

Thousands of documents and copies of bank certificates and checks captured by Israel from Orient House – including many documents obtained by WND – showed the offices were used to finance terrorism, including direct payments to the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades terror group.

In parallel with an understanding on the West Bank and Jerusalem institutions, the PA is pushing for a massive prisoner release to be pledged before January. A senior Palestinian negotiator told WND the PA requested that all Palestinian prisoners – meaning even convicted terrorists responsible for murdering Israelis as well as members of the rival Hamas terror group – be freed as part of the deal.

While the negotiator conceded such a massive release is unlikely, he said the PA's hope is that Israel will grant a large release, possibly including the freedom of convicted murderer Marwan Barghouti.

Barghouti is a founder of Fatah's Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades terror group, the most active Palestinian terror organization. He has boasted of planning the intifada, or Palestinian terror war, launched in September 2000, after then-PA President Yasser Arafat turned down an Israeli offer of a Palestinian state and instead attempted to "liberate" Palestine by force. Barghouti is serving five life sentences for his direct role in murdering Israelis.

Other understandings that Israel and the PA are attempting to reach before January surround water and natural resources.

While it wasn't clear whether any understanding would actually be reached, the timing apparently favors all involved leaders.

With Bush set to depart office in January, sealing a deal between Israel and the Palestinians would bode well for his legacy, which some analysts say is hampered by what is described as an unpopular war in Iraq, an economic meltdown and a growing crisis with Russia.

Olmert is Israel's most unpopular prime minister. Tainted by corruption charges and a heavily mismanaged war in Lebanon in 2006, Olmert would also like to depart office with a deal in hand. Also there is some concern in Jerusalem that President-elect Barack Obama may push Israel into further concessions during future negotiations, so some argue a deal on key issues while Bush is in office may be in Israel's interests.

Abbas' term in office expires Jan. 10. His future leadership is sure to be contested by Hamas and by some in Fatah's young guard who want him to be replaced by Barghouti. Abbas' ability to tout an agreement in which Israel is compelled to retreat from the West Bank and release Palestinian prisoners could help his fading street popularity. Also, Abbas is said to be greatly concerned by the prospects of February's Israeli elections resulting in opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu coming to power. Netanyahu has announced repeatedly, including as recently as yesterday, he would suspend negotiations with the PA.
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« Reply #157 on: November 28, 2008, 03:09:02 PM »

Palestinians: Punish Israel for building in 'biblical heartland'
Seek economic sanctions preventing construction in historic, holy cities
Posted: November 27, 2008
3:50 pm Eastern

By Aaron Klein
© 2008 WorldNetDaily

JERUSALEM – Four days after WND broke the story the Palestinian Authority has quietly asked the U.S. to impose sanctions on Israel if the Jewish state continues building any new housing structures in the strategic and historic West Bank, the PA today publicly asked Palestinian diplomats to campaign abroad for economic steps against Israeli West Bank settlements.

"We want you to make the whole world aware of the problem because condemnations and press conferences are not enough anymore," Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salaam Fayad told a public gathering of Palestinian diplomats today.

Fayad reportedly singled out Britain as a model for other countries to follow in imposing economic sanctions on Israeli West Bank construction. Britain has said it is pressing European countries for tighter controls of imports to the EU from West Bank settlements, demanding West Bank Jewish imports be labeled separately from the rest of the Jewish state's general imports.

"We call on other countries in the EU to follow suit with Britain on this issue," Fayad said.

Last week, WND quoted a top PA source revealing the PA has asked the U.S. to impose sanctions on Israeli West Bank construction.

The source, who works from PA President Mahmoud Abbas' office, said the threat of sanctions would be part a series of Israeli-Palestinian understandings to be guaranteed by the U.S. that both sides are trying to reach before January.

The understandings, the source said, would result in an eventual Israeli withdrawal from the vast majority of the West Bank, an area rich in biblical history and significance.

Secret 'peace' talks exposed

Last week, informed Israeli and Palestinian sources told WND that despite media reports painting a dismal picture of negotiation prospects, Israel and the PA are still quietly working to conclude a major agreement before President Bush leaves office at the end of the year.

Aside from a major West Bank withdrawal, the agreement would also grant the PA permission to open official institutions in Jerusalem but would postpone talks on the future status of the capital city until new Israeli and U.S. governments are installed next year.

A top source said the PA requested that as part of the understandings, the U.S. would threaten sanctions for any new Jewish construction in the West Bank.

Israel recaptured the West Bank in the 1967 Six Day War. The territory, in which about 200,000 Jews live, is tied to Judaism throughout the Torah and is often referred to as the biblical heartland of Israel.

The book of Genesis says Abraham entered Israel at the West Bank city of Shechem (Nablus) and received God's promise of land for his offspring.

He was later buried with the rest of the biblical patriarchs and matriarchs, except for Rachel, in Hebron's Tomb of the Patriarchs. The West Bank's Hebron was site of the first Jewish capital.

The nearby West Bank town of Beit El–anciently called Bethel, meaning "house of God"–is where Scripture says the patriarch Jacob slept on a stone pillow and dreamed of angels ascending and descending a stairway to heaven. In that dream, God spoke directly to Jacob and reaffirmed the promise of territory. Earlier, God had promised the land of Israel to Abraham at Beit El. In Exodus, the holy tabernacle rested just north of Beit El in Shiloh, believed to be the first area the ancient Israelites settled after fleeing Egypt.

The understandings both sides are trying to reach before January are part of an original plan initiated at last November's U.S.-sponsored Annapolis summit, which sought to create a Palestinian state, at least on paper, by January. The summit launched talks aimed at concluding a final status agreement on all core issues – borders, the status of Jerusalem and the future of so-called Palestinian refugees.

But a final agreement has been hampered by several recent events here, most notably Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's decision to resign amid corruption charges, leading to general elections scheduled for February that will see a new prime minister elected.

The candidate for office from Olmert's Kadima party, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, is said to oppose reaching a deal on Jerusalem or refugees ahead of elections, fearing it will harm her prospects among center-right voters. Livni is Olmert's chief negotiator with the Palestinians.

In spite of the upcoming elections and the Israeli government's subsequent political instability, teams of Israeli and Palestinian negotiators have been quietly meeting regularly the past few weeks in hope of concluding a series of understandings on key issues. Informed sources said any understandings reached will be backed up by Bush in an official letter. It is unclear how much weight such a letter will carry under a new U.S. administration.

According to the sources, neither side expects to conclude any deal on the status of Jerusalem or Palestinian "refugees" before January, putting aside those issues for future talks. Instead, negotiations are focused on reaching an agreement emphasizing borders, particularly a pledged Israeli evacuation of the vast majority of the strategic West Bank, which borders central Israeli population centers.

A Palestinian source told WND the U.S. is said to favor Israel withdrawing from nearly the entire West Bank. The source said the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem has been closely monitoring Israeli activities in the territory, which the source said has led to the Jewish state clamping down on what are termed "illegal outposts," or Jewish structures built in the West Bank without government permission. Israel has recently announced a series of small West Bank evacuations, including the threatened forced removal of Jews who legally purchased a house in the ancient city of Hebron.

Olmert announced he wants quick peace deal

On Tuesday, Olmert seemed to confirm the WND report exposing secret Israeli-Palestinian talks aimed at reaching an agreement on core issues, when he announced in Washington his intention to continue negotiations in hope of an agreement on core issues.

"In principle there is nothing to prevent us from reaching an agreement on the core issues in the near future," Olmert said regarding ongoing peace negotiations with the Palestinian Authority.

"We're in a situation where it's possible to do so, and I hope we do. It would be good for the state of Israel," said Olmert speaking to Israeli reporters after a meeting with President Bush.

Speaking of "a painful sacrifice of parts of the land of Israel and the history of the Jewish people," Olmert told reporters now was the "time for decisions."

"I am ready to make that decision, and I hope the other side will make it as well," he said. "You don't need months to make a decision."
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« Reply #158 on: December 14, 2008, 11:40:55 PM »

Hamas leaders say will not extend Gaza truce
Sun Dec 14, 2008 4:22pm EST

By Nidal al-Mughrabi

GAZA (Reuters) - Hamas leaders said on Sunday they did not expect to extend a six-month ceasefire with Israel in the Gaza Strip when it expires this week, although it remained unclear whether this would mean an immediate surge in violence.

Israel, which has traded fire with Palestinian Islamists in the enclave in recent weeks, sent a senior official to Cairo and said it was ready to prolong the Egyptian-brokered ceasefire which began on June 19. and runs out on Friday.

In an interview in Damascus, where he lives in exile, Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal told Al-Quds Television: "We in Hamas, and in most of the factions, think that after December 19 the truce ends and it will not be renewed."

He complained that Israel had not eased its blockade on the territory, as Hamas had hoped when it agreed to end rocket fire.

"We are studying the issue of the calm with our allies ... and, God willing, we will reach a vision within the coming days," Meshaal said.

"But I believe the general mood, among the people and among the factions is against extending calm because the enemy did not abide by its obligations."

A Hamas official in Gaza, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the group would issue a formal statement in a few days that the ceasefire would end.

"Hamas's decision is not to renew calm after it expires," the official said.

The truce had dampened violence but began to unravel early last month after a deadly Israeli raid prompted militants to resume firing makeshift rockets into the Jewish state.

ISRAEL "READY"

After Israel sent a senior Defense Ministry official to Cairo, a spokesman for Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said.

"Israel has been, and continues to be, ready to abide by the understandings negotiated through Egypt," Mark Regev said.

"But it is clear that we won't be doing so unilaterally," he added, citing what he called Hamas's "daily grave violations of those understandings."

Olmert resigned in September over a corruption scandal but will stay on in a caretaker capacity until after a parliamentary election in February, raising doubts over Israel's readiness to mount a major offensive in Gaza for the time being.

Policy toward Hamas is a key issue in the election, with front-running party leaders Tzipi Livni of the ruling Kadima party and Benjamin Netanyahu of the Likud opposition both vowing to try to halt rocket attacks on towns near the Gaza border.

"As long as Hamas continues to use terror from Gaza, Israel will us its own means," Livni, who is Olmert's foreign minister, was quoted as saying by Israeli media.

Hamas rallied up to 200,000 supporters in sea of green Islamic banners in Gaza on Sunday, showing off the movement's strength a year and a half after it seized control of the enclave in a brief, bloody civil war with the rival secular Fatah faction, headed by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Hamas leaders at the rally marking the group's 21st anniversary derided Fatah "rats" and predicted Abbas's downfall.

Reminiscent of rallies organized by Lebanon's Hezbollah, which shares many features with Hamas, the Gaza rally included music and sketches, including one mocking an Israeli soldier whom Hamas has been holding captive in Gaza since 2006.

Hamas leaders say will not extend Gaza truce
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« Reply #159 on: December 17, 2008, 08:00:11 AM »

11 Qassams hit Negev, 48 hours before truce set to end
By Haaretz Service
17/12/2008     

Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday fired nine Qassam rockets at the western Negev. The barrage came just days before a six-month-old truce with factions in the coastal territory was due to expire.

Two of the rockets exploded near Ashkelon. Two people were treated at the nearby Barzilai Medical Center for apparent ringing their ears following the strike.

A second rocket hit an open field in the Sha'ar Hanegev Regional Council, another struck just south of Ashkelon, and the rest struck fields in the Eshkol area. There were no damages or injuries reported in any of the incidents.

On Tuesday, militants fired 11 rockets and a mortar shell at the western Negev. One of the rockets exploded in a soccer field next to Sapir College in Sderot. There were no injuries, but several people were treated for shock.

Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the rockets fired on Tuesday, saying they were a response to the Israel Defense Forces' killing of a top group commander in the West Bank earlier in the day.

Jihad has threatened to increase its cross-border rocket fire, despite the days remaining in the ruce. "Our rockets will not stop and it will be like the rain over all the Zionist towns around the Gaza Strip," said Abu Hamza, a spokesman for the Palestinian militant group.

Hamas has in recent days arrested several members of the smaller Palestinian factions responsible for the rocket fire. While the group's leaders announced Tuesday that they did not intend to renew the cease-fire, they also said they would not fire at Israel unless provoked.

11 Qassams hit Negev, 48 hours before truce set to end
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« Reply #160 on: December 17, 2008, 08:34:24 AM »

World Bank Warns Israel to Keep Giving Funds to Gaza
12/15/08
by Hana Levi Julian

(IsraelNN.com) The president of the World Bank and other international fiscal authorities are warning Israel in a strongly-worded letter not to withhold cash from Gaza.

According to the Associated Press news agency, they also advised Jerusalem not to allow Israeli banks to implement a decision to sever ties with their Palestinian Authority counterparts in the Hamas terrorist-run region.

The letter, dated December 12 and received Monday by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, was signed by Robert B. Zoelick, Quartet Mideast envoy Tony Blair and International Monetary Fund managing director Dominique Strauss-Kahn.

Withholding cash and ending reciprocal relations between Israeli and Gaza-based PA banks might have a “considerable impact on the Palestinian economy and its institutions, and ultimately on Israel’s longer-term relationship with the Palestinians,” the letter warned. The international monetary officials expressed concern that limiting cash supplies to the terrorist-controlled region could strengthen the black market there and further weaken the already-faltering banking system, arguing that this would weaken PA Chairman and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas in the effort to weaken Hamas.

Israel classified Gaza as a hostile entity after the Hamas terrorist organization seized total control over the region in a militia war with the rival Fatah faction in June 2007. The Hamas charter expressly refuses to recognize the State of Israel and calls for its annihilation.   

Although the Israeli government has stated its objective is to ultimately topple the terrorist regime, Defense Minister Ehud Barak nonetheless recently approved the transfer of millions of shekels in cash into the region to re-invigorate the Gaza economy.

Government sources explained the cash was needed to allow the Ramallah-based Fatah-led PA government to continue to pay Fatah loyalists who still live in the area.

World Bank Warns Israel to Keep Giving Funds to Gaza
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« Reply #161 on: December 17, 2008, 08:38:04 AM »

Why does the world think think that it's all Israel's fault, if someone else does something that isn't right?? Hamas just came in and took over and everything is suppose to be just alright??

Israel has every right to govern itself as it sees fit!! Israel is no where near, as bad as Hamas has been.
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« Reply #162 on: December 17, 2008, 01:06:50 PM »

It's more than irksome that the World Bank feels it can just give orders.  But then it's that leaning, actually full speed ahead, to that one world government that they are all so fond of.
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« Reply #163 on: December 20, 2008, 11:31:00 AM »

New bombs change Middle East dynamics       

CBNnews

A new bomb technology developed by Australia and the U.S. will allow Israel's jet fighter pilots to strike inside Syria or Lebanon without ever leaving their own airspace should there be another conflict in the region, changing the dynamics of the Middle East conflict, according to a report from Joseph Farah's G2 Bulletin.

It is called the JDAM-ER, or Joint Direct Munitions-Extended Range, and essentially takes a dumb bomb and turns it into a smart bomb.

Among the modifications is the addition of a set of folding wings that extend the range to more than three times the range of a baseline JDAM, or Mk-84 2000-pound bomb, reportedly increasing the range from 15 to some 55 nautical miles.

Another modification converts existing unguided bombs into bombs directed to their targets using GPS technology.

Even before the JDAM is released, it begins to receive data while still attached to the computer inside the aircraft.

Upon release, a satellite then guides the bomb to its target. The aircraft and crew then don't have to remain in enemy territory to "ride the bomb down" to its target, according to officials.

This enhanced capability allows the bomb to hit its target accurately regardless of weather conditions, day or night.

The ER kit also is designed to be installed in the field to existing JDAM weapons.

JDAM bombs already are available for all the fighting aircraft of the U.S. inventory. They include the B-1B, B-2A, B-52H, F-16C/D, F/A-18C/D, F/A-18E/F, F-15E, F/A-22, F-35, A-10A, S-3, F-117, AV-8B, and F-14A/B/D. They also are available for aircraft in development and for foreign aircraft.

While the kits are available now to attach to existing JDAMs, a JDAM-ER bomb is expected to enter into production in 2010 as a joint effort of the Australian Air Force and Boeing.

"We have demonstrated the impressive capability enhancement that an affordable modular wing kit can bring to JDAM weapons, while simultaneously setting the engineering foundation that will facilitate the fielding of an Australian-designed wing kit to JDAM users around the globe," said Bart Volpe, Boeing JDAM International program manager.

A number of Boeing's 16 international JDAM customers reportedly are showing interest in acquiring the extended range capability for their own JDAM bombs.

For Israel, the ER version of the JDAM also is seen as giving Israel a longer-range capability of striking Iranian nuclear sites. Pilots could release the bombs from afar and avoid anti-aircraft defense missiles.

The Israeli version is said to be capable of using laser guidance as well as standard GPS. Its version of the JDAM also is protected against electronic jamming.

Israel recently upgraded its F-15 fleet to carry the JDAMs.
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« Reply #164 on: December 21, 2008, 12:43:51 AM »

Israeli Cabinet to convene over Palestinian terror on South
Dec. 20, 2008
YAAKOV KATZ and KHALED ABU TOAMEH , THE JERUSALEM POST

Violence flared on the Gaza front over the weekend as the informal cease-fire with Hamas expired and dozens of rockets and mortars pounded the western Negev.

On Sunday morning one person was lightly hurt by shrapnel as Palestinian terrorists fired three Kassam rockets at the western Negev.

One Palestinian was killed by an Israel Air Force strike in the northern Strip on Saturday. Another man was wounded, according to Palestinian sources.

Between the cease-fire's expiration on Friday morning and Saturday evening, 17 Kassam rockets and 24 mortar shells were fired into Israel.

On Friday, gunmen opened fire at farmers near Kibbutz Nir Oz, in the Eshkol region. Nobody was wounded, but a number of vehicles were damaged.

On Saturday, one of the shells scored a direct hit on a kibbutz youth clubhouse in the Sha'ar Hanegev region. No one was injured but the structure was seriously damaged.

Military sources said the IDF was preparing for a wide-range of scenarios, pending government instructions.

"We have operational plans ranging from conquering the Gaza Strip to pinpoint raids against rocket squads," one officer said. "However, we will ultimately do what we are told to do."

Also on Saturday, a boat carrying a Qatari delegation, Lebanese activists and journalists from Israel and Lebanon sailed into Gaza City's small port from Cyprus in defiance of the Israeli blockade. It was the fifth such boat trip since the summer.

The two Qatari citizens aboard the Dignity are from the government-funded Qatar Authority for Charitable Activities.

"We are here to represent the Qatar government and people," said delegation member Aed al-Kahtani. "We will look into the needs of our brothers in Gaza, and find out what is the most appropriate way to bring in [aid]."

Also on board were reporter Shlomi Eldar of Israel's Channel 10, Lebanese reporter Katya Nasser from Al-Jazeera, and another Lebanese citizen.

The cabinet is expected to discuss the situation in the South at its weekly meeting on Sunday.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's spokesman, Mark Regev, said Saturday night that the situation was "simply unsustainable."

"It is clear that if it is not possible to stop the Kassam rockets by one way, then another way will be found," he said.

"Israel preferred a successful 'calm,' and we were willing to abide by the understandings reached through Egypt. But both Hamas's declarations and behavior have demonstrated clearly that they have no interest in calm, and as such they are just bringing pain and suffering to the populations of both southern Israel and the Gaza Strip."

Hamas officials in the Gaza Strip said over the weekend that they want a new party to replace Egypt and mediate between the Islamist movement and Israel on a renewal of the cease-fire.

The statements came shortly after Cairo announced it had resumed efforts to persuade Israel and Hamas to agree to the extension of the truce.

Relations between Hamas and Egypt have been strained ever since the movement boycotted a conference in Cairo meant to resolve the crisis between Hamas and Fatah. The conference, which was supposed to be held in early November, was called off at the last minute.

Hamas is also angry with the Egyptians because of their refusal to reopen the Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Sinai. Hamas supporters demonstrated in front of the Egyptian Representative Office in Gaza City on Saturday in protest of the continued closure.

"We don't rule out the possibility of renewing the tahadiyeh [calm] with Israel, but we don't trust the Egyptians because they're not honest brokers," a top Hamas official in Gaza City said. "We want a decent mediator and we don't mind if they are from Europe."

Another Hamas official claimed the Egyptians were biased in favor of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Israel.

"The Egyptian government does not care about the Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip," he said. "They only care about the interests of Abbas and Israel. As such, we don't have much faith in them."

The official pointed out that the Egyptians had also failed in their attempts to arrange a prisoner exchange between Hamas and Israel. He said Cairo's "arrogance and refusal to reopen the Rafah border crossing" was one of the reasons why kidnapped IDF soldier St.-Sgt. Gilad Schalit was still in captivity.

Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum accused Israel and the US of deliberately sabotaging the cease-fire in an attempt to bring down the Hamas government in Gaza. He also lashed out at the Arab countries for failing to sound their voice against the continued blockade of the Strip.

In Cairo, the spokesman for the Egyptian foreign minister, Husam Zaki, confirmed that his government had resumed efforts to broker a new agreement between Hamas and Israel. Cairo was pressuring Israel to refrain from launching a massive military operation in the Gaza Strip, he said.

The spokesman added that his country would not reopen the Rafah border crossing unless the Palestinian terminal was controlled by forces loyal to Abbas. He blamed Israel for the latest escalation because of its "inhuman and brutal blockade and closure of the border crossings."

Israeli Cabinet to convene over Palestinian terror on South
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