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Quick Takes: News From Israel You May Have Missed

In stark contrast to the Bush administration, President Obama’s staff is not coordinating its policy on Iran or the greater Middle East with Israel and has not been informing the Jewish state of its plans or recent diplomatic developments in the Mideast, according to sources in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office. (See related story, page 3.)

In one example of the Obama administration leaving Israel in the dark, the U.S. recently set an October deadline for Iran to show progress in talks over its nuclear program. Yet information of the deadline – first reported by Haaretz and confirmed by WorldNetDaily – was discovered in Jerusalem not via U.S. sources but from third party European diplomats who were briefed on the matter.

“Right now there is next to no communication coming to us from the White House,” said a source in Netanyahu’s office.

The source warned against interpreting the matter as evidence of an anti-Israel bias in the Obama administration. “Look, there is a new administration in the U.S. and a new one here [in Israel],” the source said. “There hasn’t been so much time yet to establish channels.”

Still, the source noted the extent of the information blackout was “not usual practice.”

Arabs Face Death Penalty For
Selling Land To Jews

Three Arabs face death sentences from the Palestinian Authority for selling their Jerusalem property to Jews, this column has learned. The three will be put on trial in a closed PA military court this week and next week, PA sources said.

The trials come just days after a PA “military court” sentenced a Palestinian man to death by hanging after finding him guilty of selling land to Jews. That trial was the first of its kind. According to Palestinian sources, PA President Mahmoud Abbas must personally sign all death warrants.

Over the past few weeks, the PA increased its efforts to stop Jerusalem Arabs from selling property to Jews. Also, the PA is planning a public relations assault in the coming weeks against Jewish groups attempting to strengthen the Jewish presence in Jerusalem, said the PA sources.

Prominent Mufti Offers Lectern To Obama

The grand mufti of Egypt has invited President Obama to address Muslims around the globe from one of the most important mosques in the Islamic world. The invitation to speak from Egypt’s Al Azhar mosque follows an announcement over this past weekend that Obama will travel to Egypt next month to deliver his promised address to the Muslim world.

According to Al-Masri Al-Yawm, a state-run Egyptian newspaper, Grand Mufti Ali Gomaa and other scholars from Egypt’s Al Azhar University invited Obama to use the mosque as a venue during the president’s upcoming visit, explaining it would promote a culture of dialogue between Islam and the West.

Al Azhar University, which opened over 1,000 years ago, is the most respected Sunni Islamic learning center in the world and the second oldest degree-granting school. Clerics at the university’s attendant mosque decide Islamic sharia law matters for Sunni Muslims internationally. It was founded by the Fatimid dynasty of Egypt, which descends from the daughter of Muhammad.

It is highly unusual for a non-Muslim to speak at the mosque.

Jacqui Smith Strikes Again

She led a charge to restrict the word “terrorism,” instead urging government employees to refer to the phenomenon as “anti-Islamic activity.” She had been labeled a “pocket dictator,” with some of her practices referred to by media critics as “truly Big Brother stuff.” She attempted to introduce a giant government database to track all citizen e-mails, phone calls and Internet activity.

Meet Jacqui Smith, the British home secretary who recently made public a list of individuals banned from the UK since October, including radio superstar Michael Savage. She announced she decided to release the list so others could better understand what sort of behavior Britain was not prepared to tolerate.

In January, Smith oversaw a government program to adopt a new language for declarations on Islamic terrorism, urging all top government workers to refer to Islamic terrorists as pursuing “anti-Islamic activity.”

“As so many Muslims in the UK and across the world have pointed out, there is nothing Islamic about the wish to terrorize, nothing Islamic about plotting murder, pain and grief,” Smith said at the time.

Two weeks ago, following strong public outcry over her proposal, Smith dropped a plan to allow the police to monitor and store on government databases information on citizens’ Internet use and e-mail messaging. Instead, however, she has asked private companies to store the information for the government.

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 “The Late Great State of Israel.”

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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