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Quick Takes: News From Israel You May Have Missed

Nationally syndicated American radio host Rusty Humphries has returned from a week-long trip to Israel where he met with terror leaders from Hamas and the Al Aksa Martyrs Brigades, interviewed former prime minister Shimon Peres, and toured several West Bank Jewish communities slated for evacuation.

Humphries, the #11 rated host nationally, with approximately five million listeners, warned that Ehud Olmert’s plan to withdraw from most of the West Bank is against the interests of America’s war on terrorism, will prompt a rocket war against major Israeli cities, and will result in Christians and Jews being barred from key West Bank holy sites.

“I thought the civilized world learned its lesson about appeasement from Hitler, but clearly we haven’t,” said Humphries.

“The terrorists attacked. Israel retreated and gave them the Gaza Strip. Now Hamas has been propelled to power promising to get the Palestinians the West Bank. Rockets are being launched almost daily from Gaza, which has become a terror sanctuary for even America’s enemies, including al-Qaida, according to many reports. Attacks are being stepped up in the West Bank, and in response Israel is planning to retreat next from there.”

Continued Humphries: “The message being sent loud and clear is that terrorism works. I’ve talked with the terrorists. They tell me they won’t stop until they get Jerusalem and Tel Aviv and all of Israel. And you know what? I believe them. Why should they stop when Israel responds by giving them more territory?”

*******

The family of an Brooklyn-born Israeli soldier who was captured by Syrian forces 23 years ago has filed a lawsuit in the United States against the Syrian government and its top officials – including Syrian President Bashar Assad – for abduction and illegal imprisonment.

The lawsuit follows the release of new information indicating that Zachary Baumel, captured in Lebanon in 1982, is being held in Syria. It comes after several failed attempts by Baumel’s father, Yona, to appeal directly to Assad.

Baumel was taken along with two Israeli members of his tank crew during the Lebanon War. All three were photographed in Damascus on the day of their capture, and several eyewitnesses, including a Time reporter, said they watched a parade in which the tank and crew were led through a major street in Damascus and flaunted before cheering crowds. The ceremony was the last time the soldiers were seen publicly.

The Baumel family filed the lawsuit last week utilizing the The U.S. Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, which contains a provision that allows U.S. citizens to sue governments supporting terrorism and collect judgments from any foreign governmental assets on American soil.

“After many years of efforts to resolve this tragic case, it is a sad time for the Baumel family to have to resort to legal action against President Assad and the government of Syria,” said Stuart Ditchek, Zachary’s childhood friend and founder of the Committee for the Release of Zachary Baumel (www.zacharybaumel.org)

“The message that we are sending the Syrians is that this case will not fade away with time.”

*******

In a revelation that surprised many here associated with the deal, it emerged this week that the charitable foundation of Microsoft founder Bill Gates was largely responsible for transferring to the Palestinians the high-tech Jewish greenhouses of the Gaza Strip prior to Israel’s evacuation of the area. The greenhouses, passed in a private charity deal last summer, reportedly have been stripped and looted by Palestinian gangs and Palestinian security officers hired to protect the structures.

Prior to Israel’s August withdrawal, the residents of Gaza’s Gush Katif slate of Jewish communities ran greenhouses known for producing high-quality insect-free vegetables. The Gush Katif gardens featured some of the most technologically advanced agricultural equipment in the world and accounted for more than $100 million per year in exports to Europe.

The hothouses, worth several hundred million dollars, were passed to the Palestinians in September in a $14 million deal brokered by former World Bank President James Wolfenson. According to reports, Wolfenson personally contributed $500,000 of his own money, and the rest was ponied up mostly by American Jews, including billionaires Mortimer Zuckerman and Leonard Stern. But it turns out the $29 billion Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (www.gatesfoundation.org), the world’s biggest charity, provided most of the money – $10 million.

*******

The Jewish state would release convicted murderer and Palestinian terror group founder Marwan Barghouti if the United States grants clemency to Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard, Israel̓s government-run Army Radio reported. The report claimed the prisoner swap was first proposed in 2004 by aides to then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, but was rejected outright by mid-level U.S. officials. Israel plans to propose the deal again once acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is sworn in, Army Radio stated.

WorldNetDaily first broke the Pollard-Barghouti prisoner exchange story in November 2004, after diplomatic sources said the deal had been proposed in Washington. Pollard, a former U.S. Naval intelligence analyst, at the time told WND he was opposed to being released in a deal that would also release Barghouti, whom he referred to as “a mass murderer of Jews.”

Barghouti is the confessed founder of the terror group Al Aksa Martyrs Brigades. He is serving multiple life terms for his role in killing Israeli civilians. Barghouti has boasted that he served as the architect of the Palestinian intifada that began in 2000 and is still raging.

Barghouti was elected to the Palestinian parliament last January as a leader of the long-ruling Fatah party. Israel would hope to convince the Bush administration that freeing Barghouti, who reportedly enjoys widespread Palestinian popular support, would weaken the new Hamas-led Palestinian government, Israel’s Army Radio reported.

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 programs.

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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