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Quick Takes: News From Israel You May Have Missed

While Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has during the past few weeks directed large numbers of Israeli forces to demolish several isolated West Bank Jewish homes deemed illegal, a report newly released charges that Jerusalem’s city hall deleted files documenting hundreds of illegal Arab building projects throughout eastern sections of Jerusalem.

Aryeh King, chairman of the Jerusalem Forum, which promotes Jewish construction in Jerusalem, initiated a state investigation into the deletions, which allegedly took place while Olmert served as mayor of the city. He charged that Olmert told senior municipal workers not to enforce a ban on illegal Arab buildings, allegedly saying to them eastern Jerusalem would one day be given to the Palestinians.

The deleted files detail over 300 cases of Arab construction in eastern Jerusalem deemed illegal, beginning in 1999 and containing more than 20,000 units housing over 100,000 Arabs. The illegal buildings were reportedly constructed without permits and are still standing. According to law, they must be demolished.

The Jerusalem municipality released a statement in response to the allegations claiming the threat of Arab violence kept it from bulldozing the illegal Arab homes.

*******

Geraldo Rivera, an outspoken Fox News host, award-winning reporter and controversial war-zone correspondent, now reveals he almost added Knesset candidate to his long list of accomplishments, but ultimately decided against changing careers to enter Israeli politics.

“I wanted to be in the Knesset to verbalize without fear the moderate ideology held by the majority of Israelis, especially the younger generation,” Rivera said. “But the Knesset is already too prone to diversion. Can you imagine me going nose to nose with my fellow legislators from some of the narrowly based parties?”

Rivera said he considered relocating to Israel several years ago to advance his views on regional peace by becoming a citizen and running for a Knesset seat. But he says he had a change of heart after contemplating the move. “I’m too secular, short-tempered and impatient to go far in the Israeli parliament. Still, I am at home in Israel, even if my politics may not be in sync,” he said.

*******

Two months after their organizations reportedly urged Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to pressure Israel into accepting a border deal that Israeli officials now call an “abject failure” that threats the country’s security, leftist American Jewish leaders said they stand by their vocal support for the international agreement.

This in spite of a report, detailed in this column last week, that found Rice’s border agreement is currently allowing terrorists to infiltrate the Gaza Strip, where they are poised to attack Israel. The deal allows Gaza-based terrorists freedom to travel into the nearby Sinai desert, where they can meet with regional jihadists.

Lewis Roth, assistant director of Americans for Peace Now, said, “We continue to support the agreement. It was necessary for the Palestinians, who need access to the outside world.”

Symour Reich, president of the Israel Policy Forum, said, “We don’t have any regrets. The Palestinians need their freedom of movement.” Reich was one of several leftist Jewish leaders who urged Rice during a meeting prior to her trip to Jerusalem this past November to pressure Israel into signing the deal regarding security at the Rafah crossing, the main checkpoint between Egypt at Gaza.

A prominent leftist Jewish leader reportedly told the secretary of state her tough stance against Israel while brokering the Rafah deal would result in strong support from American Jews.

*******

Iran has opened an “ideological embassy” in the Palestinian territories to espouse Shia Muslim beliefs – including Islam’s waging of a final, apocalyptic battle against “evil” – and to help spread Iranian theocracy and rule throughout the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Although Tehran has long financed Palestinian terror organizations, the opening of its office here marks the establishment of Iran’s first official agency in the Palestinian areas, senior Palestinian security officials said.

“We want the Palestinian people to be exposed to the Iranian heritage and Shia principles. [Our goal is] to reinforce the relations between the Islamic republic of Iran and the Palestinian people. We are part of the Iranian Islamic project in the Middle East,” Muhamad Gawanmeh, director of Iran’s new Shia Council in Palestine, said in an exclusive interview with WorldNetDaily.

The particular Shia sect being promoted counts Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad among their faithful. They believe Imam Mahdi, the last of twelve Islamic rulers after Muhammad, will return from the dead to lead the forces of righteousness against the forces of evil in a final, apocalyptic world battle.

Some Mideast analysts fear Ahmadinejad may be pursuing nuclear weapons in part to precipitate the final, Mahdi-led battle. In a speech in Tehran in November, Ahmadinejad reportedly said his main mission is to “pave the path for the glorious reappearance of Imam Mahdi, may Allah hasten his reappearance.” His cabinet has reportedly given $17 million to the Jamkaran mosque, site of a well at which Shia Muslims believe Mahdi disappeared over a thousand years ago.

Aaron Klein is Jerusalem bureau chief for WorldNetDaily.com. He is a co-host of ABC Radio’s nationally syndicated John Batchelor Show and can be heard regularly on American radio.

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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