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Quick Takes: News From Israel You May Have Missed

Israeli forces last week arrested a group of Jewish activists who attempted to reclaim ownership of a Jewish-owned Jerusalem property that had been illegally settled by local Arabs.

The incident took place in an area widely expected to be handed over to the Palestinian Authority as a result of Israeli-PA negotiations aimed at forming a Palestinian state.

Much of the general land in question, however, is legally owned by the Jewish National Fund, a U.S. nonprofit organization that purchases property for the stated purpose of Jewish settlement in Israel.

Tens of thousands of Arabs moved into the neighborhood, known as Shoafat, during the past 15 years and built there illegally.

The Israeli government, which manages property on behalf of the JNF, has done little over the years to stop rampant illegal Arab construction in northern and eastern neighborhoods of Jerusalem, which now have Arab majorities.

Last week a group of about 160 Jewish activists entered a five-acre Jewish property in Shoafat to reclaim it on behalf of the site’s owner, identified as private Israeli citizen Eliyahu Cohanim.

Cohanim gave the group power of attorney over the site, which is adjacent to JNF-owned land. He said he was dismayed that Arabs were constructing illegally on his land and that the PA was planning to build in the area, including on his land.

Aryeh King, chairman of the Jerusalem Forum, which promotes Jewish construction in Jerusalem, said he informed the Israeli Border Police of the Jewish group’s intention to enter the property last week with permission of the owner.

A Border Police force arrived on the scene and asked the group to leave the home, claiming they were disturbing the peace. When the group refused, many members were arrested and taken in for questioning.

King’s group last year released a study alleging that while Prime Minister Olmert was mayor of Jerusalem from 1993 to 2003, the Jerusalem city hall deleted files documenting hundreds of illegal Arab building projects throughout eastern sections of Jerusalem.

King said he had forwarded his findings to Israel’s state comptroller for investigation.

Meanwhile, the Jerusalem municipality released a statement in response to the allegations, stating that the threat of Arab violence kept it from bulldozing illegal Arab houses.

Olmert Still Wants Deal

Prime Minister Olmert told the Palestinian Authority he intends to accelerate negotiations during the next few weeks to reach a deal on paper outlining a Palestinian state before he steps down from office next month, a top PA negotiator told WorldNetDaily.

“Papers are very important. It puts limits on the new prime minister. For example, the weak point of Israeli-Syrian negotiations are papers signed by former prime ministers that now must be abided during current negotiations,” said the PA negotiator, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The negotiator said an agreement would likely encompass understandings regarding the transfer of much of the West Bank to the Palestinians.
 
Obama’s Gaza Contributors

Two Palestinian brothers inside the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip are listed in government election filings as having donated $29,521.54 to Sen. Barack Obama’s campaign.

Donations of this nature would violate election laws, including prohibitions on receiving contributions from foreigners and guidelines against accepting more than $2,300 from one individual during a single election, Bob Biersack, a spokesman for the Federal Election Commission, told this column in response to a query.

The contributions also raise numerous questions about the Obama campaign’s lax online donation form, which apparently allows for the possibility of foreign contributions.

Last week, the Atlas Shrugs blog outlined a series of donations in 2007 made to Obama’s campaign from two individuals, Monir Edwan and Hosam Edwan, totaling $29,521.54. The blog raised red flags since the Edwans listed their address as “Rafah, GA” – but Georgia doesn’t have a city named Rafah.

An investigation by this column tracked down the Edwans, who are brothers living in the Tal Esaltan neighborhood of Rafah, a large refugee camp in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.

The two brothers praised Obama and admitted giving the money online to his campaign. They said they are not U.S. citizens or green card holders but are citizens of “Palestine.”

Groups have petitioned the FEC to open an investigation against Obama based on the findings.

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 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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