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Quick Takes: News From Israel You May Have Missed

As reported last week in The Jewish Press, Sen. Barack Obama’s military adviser and national campaign co-chairman has implied that U.S. politicians are afraid of Jewish voters in Miami and New York City and that American Jews are the “problem” impeding a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Merrill A. McPeak, a former Air Force chief of staff, also compared the Hamas and Hizbullah terrorist organizations to what he described as religious radicals in Oregon and claimed “born-again [Christians]” supported the war in Iraq to help Israel.

Discussing Middle East politics during a 2003 interview with the Oregon newspaper, the Oregonian, the interviewer asked McPeak whether the problems in solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict originated with the White House or the State Department.

“So where’s the problem?” the interviewer asked.

McPeak replied, “New York City. Miami. We have a large vote here in favor of Israel. And no politician wants to run against it.”

McPeak went on to insist that to solve the conflict, Israelis must “stop settling the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, and maybe even withdraw some of the settlements that’ve already been put there. And nobody wants to take on that problem. It’s just too tough politically.”

McPeak did not point to Palestinian terrorism as impeding an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal.

Seeking to deflect calls for his resignation from the Republican Jewish Coalition regarding his comments, McPeak, speaking to Shalom TV, said his statements weren’t anti-Israel, but he referred to a different interview in his reply.

“This all stems from an article I wrote in the mid-70′s, [and] I urge you to get the article,” said McPeak, referencing a lengthy piece he wrote in 1976 for Foreign Affairs magazine in which he questioned Israel’s insistence on holding on to the Golan Heights and parts of the West Bank.

Israeli Weapons for Palestinian Police

The Israeli government is planning to transfer ammunition, armored vehicles and security equipment to a Palestinian police force in which hundreds of known terrorists serve, WorldNetDaily has learned.

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak agreed to supply the Palestinian Authority police with ammunition, armored vehicles, rubber bullets and night-vision equipment. In addition, Israel will allow the U.S. to transfer high-powered assault rifles to the Palestinian police force, according to Israeli security officials.

The Palestinian police force is the largest Palestinian security service, with over 15,000 members in the West Bank and Gaza.

According to a senior Palestinian security official, between 200 and 300 members of the Al Aksa Martyrs Brigades terrorist organization serve in the West Bank Palestinian police force, including in Jenin. That estimate was also verified by IDF sources.

Many Brigades members, including much of the group’s well known leadership, serve openly in Fatah security forces, including the police. In November, for example, Israel arrested two Palestinian police officers who had been accused that month of gunning down Israeli Ido Zoldan in the northern West Bank. The officers were also Brigades terrorists.

In addition, a failed attack this week on an Israeli civilian in the northern West Bank was carried out by Brigades leaders.

In the incident, an Israeli man shot and killed a Palestinian armed with a knife after he approached the Israeli and a teenager at a popular hitchhiking stop between the West Bank Jewish communities of Shiloh and Eli, about 20 miles from Jerusalem.

Senior leaders of Al Aksa Martyrs Brigades told WND that the attacker, a Palestinian from Hebron, worked on behalf of their organization. They said the foiled attack was not an attempted stabbing but part of a planned kidnapping operation that included a car waiting nearby.

Tuesday’s attempted attack came just hours after Israel began removing a series of anti-terror roadblocks throughout the West Bank in line with Israeli gestures initiated over the weekend during a visit here by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

Uri Ariel, chairman of the National Union-National Religious Party, told reporters, “Hours after the IDF began removing roadblocks and began easing restrictions on the movement of Palestinians, a terrorist tried to murder Israelis only a few kilometers west of a roadblock that had been removed from Shiloh Junction.”

Negotiations and Shas

Israel is negotiating with the Palestinian Authority regarding “all core issues,” including the status of Jerusalem, PA President Mahmoud Abbas said last week.

“[Talks deal with] all the core issues without exception: Jerusalem, refugees, settlements, borders and security. We hope to achieve a settlement in 2008; there are many obstacles but we hope they will be removed. We are all pressing to reach a settlement by the target date,” Abbas said.

His statements fly in the face of recent claims by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who repeatedly has denied that Jerusalem is being discussed. The ultra-Orthodox Shas party, a key member of Olmert’s coalition, has pledged to bolt the government if Jerusalem is negotiated.

Abbas joins a chorus of Palestinian officials and several Israeli leaders, including Foreign Minister Livni, who have announced that Jerusalem is in fact being negotiated.

Shas has denied that Jerusalem is being discussed during regular weekly Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, which commenced after last November’s U.S.-sponsored Annapolis summit. Meanwhile, the Knesset’s Finance Committee last week approved $138 million in government funds to Shas’s educational institutions as part of the party’s coalition agreement with Olmert.

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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