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Quick Takes: News From Israel You May Have Missed

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During a secret visit here earlier this month, CIA Director Leon Panetta told Israeli officials the country should prepare for a situation in which Iran possesses nuclear weapons capable of striking Israel, according to a source intimately familiar with the matter.

The message was not the main thrust of Panetta’s meetings in Israel, but officials were nonetheless somewhat surprised when he made those remarks during his conversations. Panetta met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Mossad chief Meir Dagan and other intelligence officials.

According to a source with direct knowledge of the meetings, Panetta’s trip to Jerusalem was meant to smooth the way for Netanyahu’s meeting last week with President Obama. The CIA chief was seen here as delivering political messages largely dictated by the White House and not expressing operational assessments from his intelligence agency.

Israeli media dispatches reported that Panetta told Netanyahu not to launch any strike against Iran without first securing American permission.

The source who spoke with this column said that in his conversations with Israeli officials, Panetta also told Israel to prepare, both psychologically and operationally, for the possibility of Iran possessing nuclear weapons.

Panetta further contended that Israel’s deterrent power, if properly utilized, should be enough to prevent a nuclear Iran from striking the Jewish state.

U.S. Supports Divided Jerusalem

A top Palestinian Authority official claims the Obama administration has told the Palestinian Authority that Jerusalem will never be united under Israeli sovereignty.

“Americans said an open Jerusalem, yes, but a united Jerusalem under Israeli sovereignty, no,” Hatem Abdel Khader, the PA’s minister for Jerusalem affairs, said in a joint phone interview with this reporter and Israel’s Ynet website.

“[The Obama administration] has made clear that Jerusalem must be accessible to everyone – but not united under Israel’s rule,” Khader said.

Khader claimed the U.S. is cooperating with the PA to “thwart Israel’s plans in Jerusalem.”

“When they collaborate with us in Israeli courts against home demolitions or the confiscation of land we see their attitude,” he said.

Contra Bush Deal, Obama Wants
Complete Building Freeze

The Obama administration wants to abrogate a secret deal President Bush made to allow Israel to construct homes in previously existing West Bank Jewish communities, WorldNetDaily has learned.

“The matter is ongoing and is subject to current talks with the U.S. administration,” said a source in Prime Minister Netanyahu’s office.

The source was referring to a 2005 deal Bush made with then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon according to which Israel would continue to build in West Bank settlements to account for the natural growth of the population.

The deal was forged just prior to Israel’s retreat from Gaza. Its existence was confirmed by Sharon aide Dov Weissglas in 2005 and again last week in statements to the Washington Post by Elliott Abrams, a former deputy national security adviser to Bush who reportedly negotiated the arrangement.

The deal was in line with an official letter from Bush the year before stating that Israel cannot be expected to withdraw from the entire West Bank and that the Jewish state would retain major settlement blocs there.

The Obama administration, however, has made clear it wants to see Israel halt all construction in the West Bank. Netanyahu has rejected that position.

Christians Being Watched

Christians in the Palestinian territories are being “watched,” a spokesman for the Palestinian Authority admitted to this column.

“We have been watching this Christian organization and for the moment there is nothing special in their activity,” said Adnan Dmeire, spokesman for the PA’s security organizations in West Bank.

Dmeire was referring to the Association of the Holy Book, one of the main groups attending to the needs of Christians in the Palestinian territories. The group has been accused by both the PA and Hamas of carrying out missionary activities. A Bible store the association sponsored in the Gaza Strip – the only Christian bookstore in the territory – was attacked by Islamists several times. The store’s owner, Rami Ayyad, was found shot to death in 2007.

Aaron Klein is Jerusalem bureau chief for WorldNetDaily.comHe appears throughout the week on leading U.S. radio programs and is the author of the book “The Late Great State of Israel.”

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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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