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Quick Takes: News From Israel You May Have Missed

Hamas aired its radio broadcast from the Temple Mount Wednesday while Jews and Christians were banned by the Israeli government from ascending the Mount for fear of offending Muslims on the holiday of Ein ul-Adhaa.

The day was also the Jewish fast day of the Tenth of Tevet, which commemorates the start of the siege of Jerusalem that led to the destruction of the First Temple during the reign of the Babylonian ruler Nebuchadnezzar.

Jewish organizations and Temple Mount activist groups were planning mass visits to the Temple Mount Wednesday morning during the fast, but they were informed by the Israeli police that the Mount would be closed to non-Muslims that day.

Due to Israeli restrictions at Judaism’s holiest site, the Temple Mount is open to non-Muslims only Sundays through Thursdays for a few hours in the morning and afternoon, and not on any Christian, Jewish or Muslim holidays or other days considered “sensitive” by the Wakf, the Mount’s Islamic custodians. Non-Muslims are banned by Israeli law from praying at the site.

Meanwhile, the Hamas broadcast of morning prayers and sermons from the Mount’s Al Aksa Mosque was aired on Al Aksa radio, Hamas’s official radio network. The network routinely broadcasts sermons and speeches from Hamas leaders and Hamas-affiliated sheiks calling for the destruction of Israel and murder of Jews. 

Asked if the police approved the Hamas broadcast, Jerusalem Police spokesman Shmulik Ben Ruby told WorldNetDaily, “As far as I know, the Israeli police is not engaged with this issue.”

According to Palestinian security sources speaking to WND, Islamic Jihad’s Al-Quds radio used technicians from the Voice of Palestine, the official radio network of the Palestinian Authority, to facilitate the Temple Mount broadcasts, even though the program is not aired on PA radio. The Voice of Palestine has a permit to broadcast from the Mount.

More Temple Mount News

In spite of long-standing denials by top officials, the Israeli government in 2000 agreed to relinquish the Temple Mount – Judaism’s holiest site – to the Palestinians during U.S.-backed negotiations, according to declassified documents made public last week.

The  Israeli government documents, first published by Israel’s Haaretz newspaper, stated that during U.S.-led negotiations in 2000 at Camp David, then-prime minister Ehud Barak agreed sovereignty over the Temple Mount would be either “ambiguous” or that control would be determined based on the bond of each party to the site. The Palestinians would therefore control the upper sections of the Mount, which houses the Al Aksa Mosque and also is the site of the First and Second Jewish Temples.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert earlier this month denied that talks started at November’s Annapolis summit would lead to Israel giving up its sovereignty over the Temple Mount – although a chief Palestinian negotiator told WND that the Jewish state had already agreed to forfeit Judaism’s holiest site to a coalition of Arab countries.

“What Olmert said [regarding the Mount] is absolutely false. I think he’s not yet ready to tell the Israeli public and is waiting for the right time, and he fears his coalition with religious extremists will fall apart if he announces it now,” said the negotiator.

In Exchange For Funding…

The Palestinian Authority has concocted a scheme to fool international donors who pledged $7.4 billion at a funding conference yesterday into believing the PA is carrying out required security reforms, according to security sources and information obtained by WND. 

Global donors pledged the massive sum at a conference in Paris this week to bolster Abbas following last month’s U.S.-sponsored Annapolis summit. 

A statement from the European Union noted that a large portion of international aid was specifically conditioned to fund Abbas’s implementation of a Palestinian Reform and Development Plan, which primarily calls for PA security forces to be unified under one command instead of functioning as a series of militias, and for the PA to trim its overall forces on the payroll by 30,000 gunmen.

But according to security and political sources speaking to WND, the PA has put into place a series of moves designed to make it appear that it was trimming its security forces while in some cases actually enlarging its militias.

The sources said the PA will transfer about 10,000 gunmen to the payroll of other Palestinian ministries. The estimated 10,000 gunmen will remain in the PA security forces but will simply collect a paycheck from a different ministry instead of the internal security ministry.

The PA, meanwhile, is planning to expand its security forces by hiring about 15,000 more Palestinian gunmen, including thousands of members of Fatah’s Al Aksa Martyrs Brigades terror group, according to security sources.

Targeting Christians in Lebanon

Last week’s deadly bombing targeting a top Lebanese army general was a bid by anti-government elements to destabilize the country and delay presidential elections, and may be part of a general campaign to intimidate Lebanon’s Christian population, former Lebanese president Amin Gemayel told this column during an exclusive interview.

The blast, the latest in a string of political assassinations to rock Lebanon, killed a top Lebanese Army general. Gemayel noted that it was “very strange” that almost all recent bombings occurred in Christian neighborhoods.

“Maybe this could lead to a situation where Christians feel threatened. There are some Islamist groups here that would like to target Christians,” he said.

A recent study in Lebanon found 30 percent of the country’s Christian population is working actively to emigrate. And according to several reports, nearly 600,000 Christians departed Lebanon the past 16 years. 

Christians previously made up the majority of Lebanon’s population, but recent surveys indicate that Muslims now constitute a solid majority, with 60 percent. The Shia sect, represented by the Hizbullah militia, is Lebanon’s largest Muslim community.

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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