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Quick Takes: News From Israel You May Have Missed

Some residents of Judea and Samaria are calling for Jews there to secede from Israel and create their own autonomous Jewish entity, in part to head off the possibility of further unilateral Israeli withdrawals from the area.

The Judea Initiative, led by northern Samaria resident Yekutel Ben Yaacov, is seeking to gather signatures from Judea and Samaria’s nearly 200,000 Jews for a manifesto declaring the creation of a sovereign Jewish authority that would govern itself independently according to Jewish law and would provide its own security.

The initiative aims to create the new Jewish authority in any part of Judea and Samaria, even a small settlement, with the hope of eventually ruling the entire territory, Ben Yaacov said.

“We can’t sit around and wait until Israel sends the bulldozers to take down Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria before attempting to counter the next Israeli withdrawal. We are acting now so we can retain our rightful biblical heritage,” Ben Yaacov said.

Ben Yaacov says his Judea Initiative takes advantage of Judea and Samaria’s murky legal status to argue for independent Jewish sovereignty. Currently, the area is internationally considered landlocked territory not officially recognized as part of any country.

“Legally it’s a no-man’s land. The Palestinians used that status to create their own authority, so there is absolutely no reason the Jews can̓t do the same thing,” said Ben Yaacov, explaining he has already garnered interest from local residents and some town leaders.

* * * *

Palestinian groups in the Gaza Strip are watching the news regarding Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s medical condition carefully and will celebrate with Kassam rocket firings at Jewish towns if Sharon dies, senior terror leaders told WorldNetDaily.

One terror leader, Abu Abir, of the Popular Resistance Committees, threatened the life of Sharon’s temporary replacement, Deputy Minister Ehud Olmert.

Not celebrating Sharon’s massive stroke was Hamas chief Mahmoud Al-Zahar, who said, “Sharon’s new party, Kadima, was good for us. They made clear in no uncertain terms that part of their platform was more withdrawals from the West Bank and from Jerusalem. His passing from the political scene now places all of that in jeopardy. We don’t know what are the policies of Olmert. Whether he supports giving us the West Bank and Jerusalem.”

* * * *

Haaretz, one of Israel’s largest daily newspapers, has been printing ads calling for the release from prison of Marwan Barghouti, a convicted murderer, alleged architect of the current Palestinian intifada and admitted founder of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, one of the deadliest terrorist groups in the Middle East.

“In prison or outside, Marwan Barghouti is one of the most important Palestinian leaders,” states an ad that ran last week in Haaretz. “Everybody knows: Sooner or later he will have to be released. On the eve of crucial elections in both Palestine and Israel, while violence s escalating, the release of Barghouti can create a new dynamic for peace and save the lives of Israelis and Palestinians. Release him now!”

The Haaretz ad was sponsored by the extreme leftist Gush Shalom Peace Bloc, which claims on its website that Barghouti, whose group last week boasted to reporters about recent shooting attacks and firings of Kassam rockets, is “quite willing to support peace with Israel.”

A Haaretz spokeswoman said the newspaper did not object to the ad, which she said Haaretz would print again. “Unless an ad is causing harm to people or groups, it is not a problem,” said the spokeswoman.

* * * *

Palestinian terror groups have a new rocket named after late PLO leader Yasir Arafat that is capable of reaching Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, a senior terror leader involved in rocket-making told WorldNetDaily, warning his group’s rockets will be launched regularly from Judea and Samaria into major Israeli cities.

“Our new rocket, called Arafat 1, will prove to the Israelis that Arafat’s spirit is still alive and that he is continuing to fight them and hit them even after his disappearing,” said Abu Oudai, a leader of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades responsible for coordinating the group’s rocket network in Judea and Samaria.

Oudai said the Arafat-1 rocket is stockpiled for future use, transferred to Samaria from Gaza, and that it is the most advanced Palestinian rocket yet. He said Israel’s Gaza withdrawal proved “rockets chase out the Israelis. Now we know to use them to liberate the rest of the land.”

Aaron Klein is Jerusalem bureau chief for WorldNetDaily.com. He is a co-host of ABC Radio’s nationally syndicated John Batchelor Show and can be heard regularly on American radio.

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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