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Quick Takes: News From Israel You May Have Missed

Hamas is setting the stage for a takeover of the West Bank, similar to the terror group’s coup in which it seized control of the Gaza Strip last summer, according to Israeli and Palestinian security officials.

The presence of a Palestinian state in most of the West Bank, as Prime Minister Olmert is expected to approve at the upcoming summit in Annapolis, Md., would mean handing the strategic territory to security forces associated with Fatah militias.

But Israeli security officials warn that Abbas’s Fatah forces are not strong enough to control the West Bank without the aid of the Israel Defense Forces.

Israeli and Palestinian security officials said they have specific information that Hamas is quietly setting the stage for a West Bank takeover attempt. They said, among other things, that Hamas has been acquiring weaponry and has set up a sophisticated system of communication.

The terror group is thought to have heavily infiltrated all major Fatah forces in the West Bank, and has been attempting to buy off Fatah militia members, many times successfully.

The issue of Hamas infiltration of Fatah was considered the Achilles heel that led to the terror group’s takeover last summer of the Gaza Strip.

Thanks, Richard!

Hamas has thanked the American actor Richard Gere for his efforts in urging Palestinians to vote in local elections two years ago, which the terrorist group won by a large margin.

“We thank Gere for his efforts in the historic election of the Palestinian Islamic resistance [Hamas],” said Abu Abdullah, an important operational member of Hamas’s so-called military wing.

Working with One Voice, a leftist U.S.-based organization, Gere starred in a commercial urging voter turnout that was broadcast repeatedly on Palestinian television in January 2005. The election results were split between Hamas legislators and members of Abbas’s Fatah party.

Gere appeared in the commercial with Chief Palestinian Justice Taysir Tamimi and former Greek Orthodox Church spokesperson Atallah Hanna.

Tamimi is a prominent justifier of suicide bombings who regularly delivers fiery sermons on Palestinian television calling for the downfall of America and Israel.

Hanna was fired from his church position after being accused by Israel of directly aiding terror organizations.

New Hizbullah Missiles

The Lebanese Hizbullah militia, aided by Iran and Syria, has acquired a small number of missiles capable of targeting Tel Aviv’s international airport, according to security sources.

The sources said recent speeches in which Hizbullah chief Hassan Nasrallah repeatedly warned Israel of a “colossal surprise” were references to his group’s purported new capability of striking Israel’s main airport.

Christians Pressed to Support Islam

Christian leaders in the Gaza Strip were intimidated into attending and expressing support for a speech this week in which the territory’s Hamas leader urged the worldwide spread of Islam, according to sources in Gaza’s Christian community.

Artinious Alexious, priest of Gaza’s Greek Orthodox Church, and Emanuel Salum, a Catholic leader in Gaza, attended a major speech Monday by Ismail Haniyeh, leader of the Hamas government in Gaza and deposed prime minister of the previously Hamas-run Palestinian Authority.

Also present were hundreds of gunmen, including members of a group, Jihadia Salafiya, suspected of carrying out anti-Christian attacks in Gaza, including the lobbing of grenades last September at Alexious’s church.

A major theme of Haniyeh’s speech was the spread of Islamic values throughout the world, according to reporters in attendance. At one point during his speech, Haniyeh spoke about the “excellent” situation for Christians living under Hamas rule in Gaza.

He pointed to the two Christian leaders present, at which point the two raised their hands and nodded in agreement, witnesses told WND.

According to sources in Gaza’s Christian community speaking on condition of anonymity, Alexious and Salum were intimidated into attending the speech. The sources said that in recent weeks Haniyeh’s office repeatedly called the Christian leaders to request they free their schedules to assist in yesterday’s event.

“The priests thought it was a diplomatic way to threaten them and put pressure on them,” said one source.

“After discussions within the Christian community leadership it was decided it would be dangerous not to assist in the meeting even though it would be very strange to see priests assisting in a meeting about the spread of Islam,” the source said.

Aaron Klein is Jerusalem bureau chief  for WorldNetDaily.com. He appears throughout the week on leading U.S. radio programs and is the author of the recently published book “Schmoozing with Terrorists.”

About the Author: Aaron Klein is a New York Times bestselling author and senior reporter for WND.com. He is also host of an investigative radio program on New York's 970 AM Radio on Sundays from 7 to 9 p.m. Eastern. His website is KleinOnline.com.


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