Israel in the News Jul/Aug 2004

Arafat ok’d attack on U.S.
ARUTZ-7—The United States has determined that Yasser Arafat approved the terrorist attack on a U.S. embassy convoy in which three Americans were killed in October 2003. Middle East Newsline reported in the name of U.S. diplomatic sources that an American investigation into the Gaza bombing last October indicated Arafat’s clear role.

The sources said that Arafat agreed to a proposal for the Palestinians to “send a message” to the United States. A

Israel’s typical catch’ of the day
Not a day goes by that Israel does not catch infiltrators, terrorists, smugglers, or someone out to destroy the nation. Arutz-7 recently filed this report, which covered one day of activities:

“A female Palestinian terrorist, the mother of six children, was apprehended in Ariel yesterday, just before the 20-kilogram explosive pack she was carrying could explode. Several army units in the Shomron had been placed on notice that an attack was suspected, and in fact several alert reserves soldiers near the city of Ariel noticed a woman carrying a large pack.

“When they approached her, she threw the bag aside, thus saving several Jews from death, but ensuring her own quick arrest. IDF [Israel Defense Forces] sappers safely blew up the bomb. Shabak (GSS) investigators are looking into whether the woman was planning to blow herself up with the bomb, or to pass it onto someone else.

“IDF forces uncovered yet another Egypt-Gaza arms-smuggling tunnel—one whose northern (Gaza-side) exit opened into an abandoned cowshed. The tunnel, before IDF sappers destroyed it, was 6 to 8 meters [19.5 to 26 feet] deep and 300 meters [984 feet] long. The discovery was accompanied by a battle with terrorists, some 10 of whom were reported to be wounded.

“Other incidents since last night included a mortar shell that hit a factory in Kfar Darom, a Kassam rocket fired towards Kisufim, a firebomb lobbed at Israeli vehicles near Beit Rimon, and gunfire at IDF outposts in Hevron and Rafiach Yam. IDF soldiers shot and hit an armed terrorist near the southern Gush Katif community of Morag. No Israelis were hurt in these incidents.” A 

Israel, Jordan plan desert research campus
THE INTERNATIONAL JERUSALEM POST— Israel and Jordan laid the cornerstone for a joint research center straddling the border between the two countries in the desert.

Organizers said the 150-acre campus near Moshav Ein Yahav is a way of building peace from the ground up. The project has the backing of Israeli, Jordanian, and American businesspeople, as well as Cornell and Stanford Universities in the United States.

The Bridging the Rift Center, which takes its name from the Jordan Rift Valley, is to be open to students from both countries within five years. Israel and Jordan have torn down a stretch of the border fence between the Red and Dead Seas for the campus, which is to be paid for by private donors.

Although the two countries signed a peace treaty in 1994, cultural and economic relations are limited. More than three years of Palestinian-Israeli violence has also strained diplomatic ties. About half of Jordan’s population is Palestinian.

Students are to move from one country to the other without visas or passports, using a magnetic student card instead, to enable free access to professors and research facilities. A

Oops, there goes another…
The area around the Dead Sea—the lowest point on earth— is becoming a little lower these days as gigantic craters spontaneously open, swallowing animals, people, and even roads.

The sinkholes can open directly under a person walking along admiring the scenery, “which is more or less what happened to Eli Raz of Kibbutz Ein Gedi,” according to a report by Mark Schulman in The International Jerusalem Post.

Raz, a geologist, fell into a sinkhole and was stuck there for almost 14 hours “with a cell phone, but no reception, until a rescue team from Ein Gedi found his jeep nearby and pulled him out,” Schulman wrote.

“This was the third time someone had fallen into one of these holes, some of which measure as large as 15 meters [49 feet] in depth and 25 meters [82 feet] in diameter. Two ibexes have also fallen into the holes in the past several years and died,” Schulman reported.

Although sinkholes occur elsewhere in the world, particularly Florida, he said the Dead Sea situation is unique. Raz told the Post, “Here, the reason is due to the rapid fall of the level of the Dead Sea and the existence of a thick layer of salt underground.”

In January 2001, a road collapsed into a sinkhole “only seconds after a bus full of tourists drove by.” Wrote Schulman, “The sinkhole phenomenon will no doubt continue unabated unless steps are taken to control the receding water level of the Dead Sea.” There are about 2,000 sinkholes on the western side of the Dead Sea, “with several hundred around the Ein Gedi area alone,” Raz told the Post. A

Is Hamas’s next target the U.S.?
Before Hamas leader Abdel Aziz Rantisi was assassinated, he urged Iraqis to “strike and burn” American and coalition forces and “teach them the lessons of suicide actions.”

Erick Stakelbeck reported in The Jerusalem Post that Rantisi’s “last public appearances came on Easter weekend, as thousands of Palestinians took part in rallies in the West Bank and Gaza Strip,” burning American flags and chanting “death to Americans.”

He said Rantisi wrote an article published on a Hamas Web site arguing that attacking the United States was not only “a moral and national duty—but, above all, a religious one.”

In another article, Rantisi called for “terror against the United States.” He also said the United States had “declared war against God,” and that it would be defeated “by the hand of Hamas.”

Stakelbeck reported that Muqtada al-Sadr, “the extremist cleric behind the ongoing Shi’ite uprisings in Iraq, vowed to serve as the ‘striking arm’ in that region for Hamas and Lebanese Hezbollah,” obviously striking at Americans, since Israelis are not involved in Iraq.

Shortly before former Hamas leader Ahmed Yassin was assassinated, he ordered “all Muslims to kill Americans wherever they were found if U.S. troops dared set foot on Iraqi soil,” Stakelbeck said.

Stakelbeck reported, “Highranking Hamas officials have already managed to infiltrate the U.S., the most notorious example being Musa Abu Marzuk, a senior Hamas leader now based in Syria. Marzuk, who had been living in northern Virginia, was detained by U.S. authorities for 22 months and deported to Jordan in 1997.” A

Swiss ambassador boycotts event on Holocaust Day
As it does each year, everything in Israel ground to a halt on Holocaust Day for two minutes of absolute silence to pay tribute to those who perished in one of the darkest periods in Jewish history. At 10 A.M. even traffic stopped and people stood in the streets and at their desks for two minutes of silence.

But as the tide of anti-Semitism rises again, the Swiss ambassador to Israel refused to attend a ceremony honoring one of his countrymen who rescued Jewish lives during World War II.

Arutz-7 reported that Ernst Iten “refused to attend a streetnaming ceremony in honor of a Swiss Righteous Gentile— because of anti-Israel political considerations.

“The street, located in the northern neighborhood of Pisgat Ze’ev in an area liberated in the Six-Day War, was named in memory of Paul Grueninger. A Swiss police commander, he saved more than 3,600 Jewish refugees fleeing the Nazis by providing them with false papers enabling them to enter neutral Switzerland. Grueninger took these actions at great personal cost at a time when his country generally closed its doors to Jews.”

The ambassador wrote to Jerusalem’s mayor saying, “Unfortunately, the embassy cannot attend a ceremony [for] a street that is not located within the internationally recognized territory of Israel.”

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, speaking at the official Yad Vashem memorial in Jerusalem, which saw 14,000 visitors in that 24-hour period, said, “Our face is turned toward peace, but the defending sword will not be

Daniel Pipes Exposes ISLAMIC ‘Whited Sepulchers’
It comes as no surprise to Christians that “whited sepulchers” appear beautiful outside, though they are full of nothing but “dead men’s bones.” But apparently the U.S. government could learn a thing or two from Matthew 23:27.

Journalist Daniel Pipes recently blew the whistle on a benignly named Washington-based organization that was invited to cohost an event with the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP). It turns out the pleasant-sounding Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy (CSID) is filled with Muslim radicals. Pipes particularly objected to Kamran Bokhari, a man he said the United States has legitimized with power and prestige.

In an article titled “The U.S. Institute of Peace Stumbles,” Pipes wrote, “Mr. Bokhari also happens to have served for years as the North American spokesman for Al-Muhajiroun, perhaps the most extreme Islamist group operating in the West. For example, it celebrated the first anniversary of 9/11 with a conference titled, ‘Towering Day in History.’ It celebrated the second anniversary by hailing ‘The Magnificent 19.’ Its Web site currently features a picture of the U.S. Capitol building exploding.”

Over and over again, wrote Pipes, the government has failed to see past the surface to the true identities of its enemies:

“Ask the presidential candidate who had himself photographed smiling side-by-side with an Islamist who soon after was imprisoned for terrorist activities.

“Ask the U.S. military, which has arrested or convicted at least seven Islamists for criminal activity connected to jihad.

“Ask the mayor of Boston who had city land sold to the Islamic Society of Boston for less than 10 percent of market value, only to learn later that the organization is closely associated with one jihadi extremist banned from entering America, another sitting in federal prison, and a third who welcomes suicide bombings against Israelis as ‘glad tidings.’”

“In all these cases,” said Pipes, “no one was minding the store. The American government needs to wake up to those elements in its midst whose allegiance in the war on terror is on the other side.” A

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