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Quick Takes: News From Israel You May Have Missed

Israel’s government has quietly begun constructing the country’s security barrier along a controversial route that will effectively block off Jewish property and an important Jewish neighborhood from the rest of Jerusalem, this column has learned.

Before the February elections, then-candidate Benjamin Netanyahu spoke about the importance of maintaining and developing a Jerusalem region called E1, specifically the Jewish neighborhood of Maale Adumim in eastern Jerusalem. The new barrier route, however, will essentially isolate the so-called Palestinian side of Maale Adumim, as well as cordon off local Jewish property.

Despite a pending Supreme Court case on the matter, two weeks ago Defense Minister Ehud Barak personally visited the Jerusalem areas in question and unilaterally ordered the defense ministry to construct the barrier through Anatot, blocking off Jewish land and helping to isolate Maale Adumim. Days later, the barrier’s construction – which received no media attention – was almost complete.

Aryeh King, chairman of the Israel Land Fund, which promotes Jewish construction in Jerusalem, said he is concerned Arabs will begin squatting on the Jewish-owned property now that it’s been quarantined from Jewish sections of Jerusalem. More dangerous, King argued, was the blocking off of Maale Adumim.

A spokesman for Netanyahu did not immediately respond when asked whether the prime minister was aware of Barak’s actions. But this column has learned that key Knesset members, including senior officials in Netantyahu’s Likud party, have been informed of the barrier’s construction and will put the matter on the agenda for discussion by lawmakers.

Abbas Reportedly Urged Release Of
Klinghoffer’s Murderer

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas personally interceded to urge the release of notorious terrorist Youssef Magied al-Molqui, according to two diplomatic sources with direct knowledge of the release negotiations.

In 1985 al-Molqui led a team of Palestinian Liberation Front terrorists that hijacked an Italian cruise ship, the Achille Lauro, and murdered Leon Klinghoffer, a wheelchair-bound American Jewish passenger.

Nabil Abu Redineh, a spokesman for the PA, denied Abbas had any involvement with al-Molqui’s release.

When released last week from a prison in Palermo, Italy, for good behavior, al-Molqui had served almost 24 years of his 30-year sentence.

Egypt Using Swine Flu
To Persecute Christians?

An Egypt government policy to slaughter the country’s pigs as a precaution against swine flu is also aimed at targeting and weakening Egypt’s long-persecuted Christian community, local Christian leaders charged.

Members of the Egyptian Christian Coptic community, in conversation with this reporter, said Egyptian authorities have set up checkpoints in their communities and are harassing local Christians. Almost the entire pig farming community in Egypt is run by Coptic Christians, who constitute between 8 and 15 percent of Egypt’s population, depending on which statistical information one uses.

Egypt’s decision to rid its country of swine was heavily criticized by the United Nations, which issued a statement that the mass cull of up to 400,000 pigs was “a real mistake” since the new flu strain has not been found in pigs. International health organizations explained the H1N1 flu virus is spread by people, not pigs.

According to Coptic leaders in Egypt, officials from the country’s health and agriculture ministries who are known to be sympathizers of the fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood made the decision to slaughter the country’s pigs.

A Muslim journalist for one of the country’s state-run newspapers confirmed that some top health and agriculture ministry officials publicly leading the swine killing charge are known Islamists. But he said it was not clear whether they were connected to the Muslim Brotherhood, which is in the opposition in Egypt.

Mecca’s Special Guest:
Obama’s Grandmother

President Barack Obama’s paternal grandmother, Sarah Obama, will reportedly perform the Muslim Hajj pilgrimage in November along with her son Syeed Obama.

A private Kenyan television channel, quoted extensively by the Kenyan and Pakistani media, reported that Sarah Obama and her son will also visit Dubai before going to Saudi Arabia to perform the Hajj. The pair lives in Kenya.

The News, a newspaper in Dubai, confirmed the report. It quoted United Arab Emirates property tycoon Sulaiman Al Fahim as stating that he would personally sponsor Sarah Obama’s trip after meeting the elderly Obama in Kenya last week and learning she had always wanted to perform the Hajj.

“I found out that she had not been to the Hajj and that she very much wants to go. As my own mother is no longer with us, our family has a spare place. So I invited her and she has accepted,” The News quoted Fahim as saying.

The Hajj is the largest annual pilgrimage in the world. The fifth pillar of Islam requires all able-bodied Muslims to travel to Mecca at least once in their life in a demonstration of solidarity with fellow Muslims and in an act of individual submission to Allah.

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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