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Quick Takes: News From Israel You May Have Missed

The truce between Israel and Hamas is being utilized by Gaza-based terrorists to rearm, train and produce advance weaponry, including rockets that can reach further inside Israel, senior terrorists told WorldNetDaily.

“It is not really a period of rest. We have been training, receiving religious courses… we’ve been producing weapons, working on smuggling everything that can reinforce us,” said a senior terrorist in Gaza, speaking on condition his name be withheld.

“This period will make that our capacities will be much stronger than before the truce,” he said.

This week, two terrorists were reportedly killed in a mysterious explosion at a Hamas training camp in the Gaza city of Khan Yunis.

Hamas sources told this column the explosion occurred while Hamas experts were testing a new Kassam rocket they were trying to fit with two engines. They said the goal during the truce is to produce a rocket that can travel 24 kilometers (15 miles), which will put the strategic port city of Ashdod within range.

Since Israel agreed to the truce last month, at least seven rockets and a handful of mortars were fired from Gaza at nearby Jewish communities. Members of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah organization, which is at odds with Hamas, took credit for most of the rocket fire.

Return of ‘Martyr’ to be Celebrated

As part of a controversial prisoner swap deal with Hizbullah, WND has learned Israel agreed to release the body of an infamous Palestinian terrorist glorified in Palestinian society and in the greater Palestinian terrorist community as one of their most significant heroes.

Official communications from Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah organization were sent out this week asking all sections of the PA to prepare at the highest levels for celebrations, festivities and even symbolic funerals marking Israel’s release of the body of “the great hero” Dalal al-Mughrabi.

In March 1978, Mughrabi, a female terrorist, led and planned an attack in which she and ten other Palestinians hijacked a crowded bus, sparking a long shooting battle with Israeli forces in which the terrorists fired from bus windows at nearby passenger cars, killing several Israelis. Eventually the terrorists blew up the bus in a suicide operation, killing themselves and a total of 36 civilians.

Mughrabi has long been glorified as one of the most important “martyrs” in Palestinian society. Official PA institutions, such as girls’ schools and police training camps, bear her namesake. Songs and poems in her honor are routinely broadcast on PA television and radio. Fatah’s declared military wing, the Al Aksa Martyrs Brigades, named a cell after Mughrabi. That cell, which is still active, perpetuated numerous shootings and suicide bombings.

The official PA pamphlet asking Fatah leaders in the Gaza Strip and West Bank to prepare victory celebrations in honor of Mughrabi was sent from the office of Chief Palestinian negotiator Ahmad Qurei, who has been overseeing Israeli-Palestinian peace talks initiated at last November’s U.S.-sponsored Annapolis summit.

In the Hizbullah swap deal, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s government agreed to a prisoner exchange with the Lebanese terror group under which the bodies of Israeli army reservists Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev – kidnapped by Hizbullah in a 2006 raid – will be released in exchange for Lebanese terrorist Samir Kuntar and four captured Lebanese guerrillas. (See page 3.)

But They Can’t Vote

The Palestinian Authority is hoping Sen. Barack Obama wins the presidential election in November, and expects the Illinois Democrat to immediately set out to create a Palestinian state once he takes office, a top PA official said.

“We would like to see Obama elected. If he is elected, an agreement about the foundation of a Palestinian state [would be] reached,” PA Planning Minister Samir Abdullah told reporters in Tokyo this weekend.

Abdullah, who is the former head of the Palestinian Communist Party, said the PA expects Obama to win in November. He said once Obama takes office, “he will immediately study the Palestinian cause and will try to push it forward.”

“Obama promised he will not wait until the last period of his office to relaunch negotiations.”

Bolton on Obama

A Barack Obama presidency would spell danger for the Middle East and for America’s interests in the region, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton told this column in an interview. Bolton expressed concern that Obama would not support the use of force by U.S. allies, such as Israel, to fight terrorism.

“Obama may cause a real problem with our friends or allies who see the world as a more difficult place, such as those dealing with terrorist acts in Gaza, the West Bank or Hizbullah in Lebanon,” said Bolton.

“All these things can be handled by talks, according to Obama. But when it is necessary to resort to force or self defense, Obama would look on in disfavor,” Bolton said. Bolton argued Obama holds a “broad conviction” that “everything can be negotiated and can be solved through negotiations.”

“He has a faith in the negotiation process as matter that drives policy and not as one aspect of policy only when negotiations make sense,” Bolton said.

Asked if he believes an Obama presidency would be dangerous for the U.S. as far as the Middle East is concerned, Bolton replied: “Yes. I think so. Although his views seem to change fairly rapidly, if you look at what he says unprompted in response to questions, and not just when he is reading speeches, he has a very naive view of how one deals with adversaries around the world.”

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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