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Quick Takes: News From Israel You May Have Missed

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A few officials in Jerusalem are quietly scratching their heads in wonderment at the White House’s silence after last week’s tractor terrorist rampage, the third attack of its kind in recent months.

Two policemen were slightly injured by the terrorist who drove a tractor into a police car in Jerusalem before hitting a bus, at which point he was shot by police and an armed taxi driver. The terrorist later died of his wounds in an Israeli hospital.

The White House usually releases an official statement immediately following a terrorist attack. But this time, no statement was forthcoming from either the White House or State Department.

Speaking to WorldNetDaily, a White House spokesman would only confirm that he was not aware of any statement regarding the attack, but he would not speculate as to why. When a similar attack occurred during President Obama’s visit to Israel as a presidential candidate in July, he slammed the attack.

Indictment Accuses PA Of Intimidation
In Jerusalem Land Sales

An indictment this week was filed in Israel’s court system against two Israeli Arabs suspected of working in Jerusalem in senior positions for the Palestinian Authority intelligence, officials revealed. The charges against the two include setting up an intelligence system in Jerusalem to clamp down on Israeli Arabs selling property to Jews in strategic areas of the city.

A contingent of Jewish groups, including an organization called Ateret Cohanim, works to strengthen the Jewish presence in Jerusalem by purchasing properties from Arabs, primarily in eastern neighborhoods, including Jerusalem’s Old City. Some of the purchased properties were originally owned by Jews who fled during Arab riots in the early 1900s.

A year ago informed security sources said the PA’s Preventative Security Services had re-established an intelligence arm in Jerusalem originally formed in the 1990s by the late Palestinian Liberation Organization leader Yasir Arafat to frustrate Jewish attempts at purchasing property from Arabs.

The intelligence arm consists of activists who work in Jerusalem to identify Israeli Arabs willing to sell land to Jews. A potential Arab seller is then warned against doing business with Jewish groups. According to security sources, the PA also maintains a list of wealthy Arabs willing to purchase property from Jerusalem Arabs who must sell their land due to financial desperation.

Clinton Promises PA
To Act On Jewish Construction

During her visit to Ramallah last week, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pledged to the Palestinian Authority that the U.S. will act to halt Jewish construction in certain eastern Jerusalem neighborhoods, a senior PA negotiator told this reporter.

“It was the only issue where she said the U.S. will act,” said the PA negotiator, who met with Clinton in Ramallah along with other Palestinian officials.

“She told us the U.S. will make all efforts to stop Israeli construction in [eastern] Jerusalem,” he said. “We couldn’t get more than general commitments about the two-state solution. We asked for a letter of guarantee on key issues, and we couldn’t get that, either. The only thing she was clear on was that the U.S. will do something about Israeli building in Jerusalem.”

In response to a request for comment, a State Department spokesman said he would not remark on matters discussed in private between Clinton and the PA. “You can take your cues from what she said publicly,” he said.

Obama’s Nominee Doing Business With Iran

Charles Freeman, Obama’s nominee for chief of the U.S. National Intelligence Council, sits on the board of a major oil company owned by the Chinese government that is in the midst of a multi-billion dollar deal with Iran which may violate U.S. sanctions, this column has learned.

Last week, The Jewish Press detailed the oil company’s business deals which many perceive as an effort to expand China’s influence worldwide. One of its recent attempts to purchase a large U.S. oil firm drew bipartisan congressional opposition amid fears the deal would harm American national security interests.

Now it has come to light that in 2006, the oil firm, with Freeman on its advisory board, signed a memorandum of understanding with the state-owned National Iranian Oil Company to develop Iran’s North Pars gas field in a contract with Tehran reportedly worth $16 billion. The deal was stalled for two years after the U.S. State and Treasury Departments vowed to scrutinize the transaction to see if it violates either international or U.S. sanctions against Iran.

In December, the Iranian oil company announced it had finalized the development plan with Freeman’s Chinese firm. The two companies are currently negotiating the price of the contract.

A spokesman for the State Department said the U.S. government will look into the deal after it is concluded to determine if it violates American sanctions.

“Such deals suggest to the Iranian government it is business as usual despite Iran’s continued pursuit of nuclear capabilities and its failure to cooperate with the IAEA,” State Department spokeswoman Laura Tischler commented to this column.

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.”

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About the Author: Aaron Klein is Jerusalem bureau chief and senior reporter for WorldNetDaily.com. He is also host of an investigative radio program on New York's 770-WABC Radio, the largest talk radio station in the U.S., every Sunday between 2-4 p.m (CHANGE TO 7-9 p.m.). His website is KleinOnline.com


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