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Quick Takes: News From Israel You May Have Missed

In terming the Israeli-Palestinian conflict a “constant sore” last week, did Sen. Barack Obama borrow the phraseology of Columbia University Professor Rashid Khalidi, a pro-Palestinian activist and harsh critic of Israel who has been described as a friend of the senator?

Khalidi, who previously held a fund-raiser for Obama, has repeatedly made statements supportive of Palestinian terror.

In a much-quoted interview with The Atlantic, Obama was asked last week whether he thinks Israel is a “drag on America’s reputation overseas.”

Obama replied: “No, no, no. But what I think is that this constant wound, that this constant sore, does infect all of our foreign policy.”

Obama’s remarks, slammed by pro-Israel and Republican organizations, came five days after the Nation magazine published an opinion piece by Khalidi, titled “Palestine: Liberation Deferred” in which the Palestinian activist opened by calling the “Palestinian question” a “running sore.”

In his piece, Khalidi suggests Israel carried out “ethnic cleansing” of Palestinians; writes that Western powers backed Israel’s establishment due to guilt over the Holocaust; laments the Palestinian Authority’s stated acceptance of a Palestinian state “only” in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and eastern sections of Jerusalem; and argues that Israel should be dissolved and replaced by a binational cantonal system in which Jews and Arabs reside.

Khalidi’s ties to Obama were first exposed by this column in February. According to a professor at the University of Chicago who said he has known Obama for 12 years, the Democratic presidential hopeful befriended Khalidi when the two worked together at the university.

Sources at the University said Khalidi and Obama lived in nearby faculty residential zones and that the two families dined together regularly. The sources said the Obamas even babysat the Khalidi children.

Khalidi in 2000 held what was described as a successful fund-raiser for Obama’s failed bid for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. Additionally, an anti-Israel Arab group run by Khalidi’s wife, Mona, received crucial funding from the Woods Fund, a Chicago nonprofit, while Obama served on the board of the Fund.

Rocket From Formerly Jewish Gaza

A Palestinian rocket that scored a direct hit on a busy Israeli shopping center last week was launched from the location of Dagit, a former Jewish community in the Gaza Strip evacuated by Israel in 2005, according to a leader of the terror group that carried out the attack.

“Our launching from Dagit is a sign of success in the Palestinian resistance. Mark my words, just as we liberated Dagit, so we will liberate Ashkelon, Jaffa, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Haifa,” said Muhammad Abdel-Al, spokesman and leader of the Hamas-allied Popular Resistance Committees, which took responsibility for the rocket.

PA in Jerusalem

The Palestinian Authority last week held an official meeting in Jerusalem to discuss dealing with expected Palestinian sovereignty over key sections of the city, this column has learned. The Israeli government was fully aware of the PA meeting, according to diplomatic sources in Jerusalem.

While Israel has not officially approved the PA’s presence in Jerusalem, Palestinian diplomatic sources claim there is an unwritten agreement in which Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s office pledged not to interrupt some PA activities in Jerusalem.

Orient House, a building located in an eastern Jerusalem neighborhood that previously functioned as a de facto PA headquarters, was closed down by Israel in 2001 following a series of suicide bombings in Jerusalem and information Israel said indicated the House was used to plan and fund terrorism.

France’s Chat With Hamas

A French diplomat told a newspaper this week that Hamas agreed in talks with him to accept a Palestinian state in what are referred to as the pre-1967 borders – the Gaza Strip, West Bank and eastern sections of Jerusalem. The diplomat also claimed Hamas would implicitly recognize Israel.

But Sami Abu Zuhri, a Hamas spokesperson, clarified in a statement to WorldNetDaily that his group would never recognize Israel and that a state in the pre-1967 borders as described to France would be “temporary” until Israel is destroyed.

Zuhri also said any temporary Palestinian state must include the “right of return” of Palestinian “refugees,” or flooding Israel with millions of foreign Arabs, thus threatening its Jewish character.

Israeli officials have long labeled the “right of return” as code for Israel’s destruction by population genocide, with millions of Muslim Arabs overwhelming the Jewish population.

France’s admission of talks to Hamas comes after Jimmy Carter’s meetings with top Hamas leaders last month. At the time, Fawzi Barhoum, a Hamas spokesman, said he hoped the former president would encourage European officials to make public their purported desire to support his group.

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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