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Quick Takes: News From Israel You May Have Missed

Is Prime Minister Ehud Olmert hyping declared breakthroughs in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations due to his implication in what is being described as a very serious criminal investigation?

That question is being openly asked by pundits here in the Israeli media amid claims by Olmert’s office of “significant progress on the issue of borders” during talks he held on Monday with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

Following the Israeli-Palestinian talks, Olmert’s spokesmen briefed reporters on “major progress” achieved mainly on the issue of permanent borders of a future Palestinian state and on joint security arrangements. (See story, opposite page.)

The reports of negotiation breakthroughs were headline news in Israel.

But the descriptions by Olmert’s office were not shared by the Palestinian side. Several Palestinian officials said they fear hype about breakthroughs during this week’s negotiations was an attempt by Olmert to underscore the importance of his remaining in office to continue the Israeli-Palestinian talks.

That sentiment was shared by Israeli pundits commenting here on television and radio.

Fatah ‘Moderation’

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah organization plans to affirm the “armed struggle” and “resistance” against Israel as part of its official objective during a meeting of the Fatah General Congress slated for this year, this column has learned.

Fatah is making plans to convene the Sixth Fatah General Congress, possibly within the next two months.

At the meeting, likely to take place in Jordan, hundreds of voting Fatah members are slated to discuss the future of their party and pass official resolutions outlining Fatah’s major objectives.

The Congress was last held in 1989 in Tunisia, prior to any Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations. At the time, the Congress, led by late Palestinian Liberation Organization leader Yasir Arafat, officially resolved continuing “to intensify and escalate armed action and all forms of armed struggle to liquidate the Zionist occupation from our occupied Palestinian land.”

Israel had hoped that under Abbas and amid intense negotiations the Sixth Congress would moderate the party’s objectives.

But senior Farah sources speaking to WorldNetDaily said a list of Fatah resolutions to be voted upon includes text affirming as one of Fatah’s main objectives the “resistance” and “armed struggle” against the Jewish state.

The sources said it was “very likely” the “resistance” clause would be accepted during the congressional meeting by the vast majority of general Fatah voters, who tend to publicly express more radical views than Abbas.

The U.S. considers Fatah to be moderate and has backed Israeli-Palestinian negotiations launched at November’s Annapolis Summit aimed at creating a Fatah-led Palestinian state.

Obama Adviser: Israel Should Give Up
Nuclear Weapons To Halt Iran

Israel should give up its nuclear weapons to ensure that Iran halts its illicit nuclear program, argues an adviser on nuclear issues to Sen. Barack Obama.

Joseph Cirincione, director of nuclear policy at the Center for American Progress, previously dismissed reports that Israel’s Sept. 6 airstrike targeted a Syrian nuclear reactor as “nonsense” and called Damascus’s nuclear program “minuscule.”

Immediately following Israel’s air raid, Cirincione listed “Israelis [who] want to thwart any dialogue between the U.S. and Syria” as among those spreading rumors that Syria was constructing a nuclear facility.

“Once again, this appears to be the work of a small group of officials leaking cherry-picked, unvetted intelligence to key reporters in order to promote a pre-existing political agenda,” Cirincione wrote in September on the blog of Foreign Policy magazine.

He called reports Israel struck a Syrian nuclear site “the most overblown story I’ve seen since before the buildup to the war in Iraq.”

Cirincione’s assessment and his claims about false leaks to the media directly contradict a U.S. government briefing to select congressional committees last week on some details of the Sept. 6 Israeli air strike.

Aaron Klein is Jerusalem bureau chief  for WorldNetDaily.comHe 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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