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Quick Takes: News From Israel You May Have Missed

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s daughter, Dana, took part this past weekend in a demonstration against the Jewish state in which Israeli leaders were termed “killers” and calls were made for the Palestinian Arab intifada – or terror war – to prevail.

The demonstration took place outside the Tel Aviv house of Israeli Defense Forces chief of staff Dan Halutz following an explosion on a northern Gaza Strip beach that reportedly killed seven Palestinian Arabs and wounded more than 40.

At first the IDF was widely blamed for the incident, but an official report indicates it was likely a Palestinian bomb that caused the blast. At the demonstration, attended by about 200 people, protesters chanted slogans such as “[Tel Aviv] residents, there’s a murderer in your neighborhood,” in reference to Halutz.

They brandished signs calling on the Jewish state to “put a stop to the murder of civilians.” Some posters called Halutz a killer and stated, “the intifada shall prevail.”

*******

The official website of Kadima USA, the American offices of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s political party, featured policy summaries that match, almost word-for-word, detailed paragraphs on the same topics published on the Texas Democratic Party’s website.

In many instances, the only differences between the Texas website and that of Kadima were the inclusion of the words “Kadima,” “Jews” and “Israel” in the place of “Texas,” “Democratic Party” and “America.”

Seventeen large, detailed policy descriptions on both sites were almost exactly the same. (One paragraph on the Kadima USA website actually spoke out against plagiarism.)

In addition, the main logo on the Texas site, which was posted almost two years before Kadima was formed, reads, “Moving Texas Forward.” Kadima is the Hebrew word for “Forward.”

New York State Assemblyman Dov Hikind first brought the website similarities to light.

A consultant for Kadima USA said the organization’s president and main representative, Rabbi Marc Schneier, was not involved in website development. He said a webmaster was responsible for the site’s content and was fired. A Kadima USA representative would not comment on the organization’s website (www.kadimausa.org) and its likeness to the Texas Democratic Party’s site (www.txdemocrats.org), but he warned WorldNetDaily against printing a story on the subject.

“You are making enemies with the wrong people,” said Solomon Vas Diaz, executive director of Kadima USA.

*******

A report recently released by the Gush Katif Committee shows the majority of former residents of Gush Katif, the slate of Jewish communities of Gaza evacuated by Israel last August, are unemployed, have yet to find permanent housing and have not received full compensation promised by the Israeli government.

The status report states that only 58 percent of expelled Gaza Jews were granted compensation for their homes as guaranteed by the Israeli government. Only 26 percent of busnessmen received housing compensation and, among farmers, only five percent.

The Israeli government pledged it would provide temporary housing solutions for all expelled Gush Katif residents. But 200 of the approximately 1,750 former Gush Katif families are living in university dormitories, motels and guest houses. Most families now reside in the Israeli Negev desert in small, government-built prefabricated “trailer villas.” Residents there live mostly in crowded conditions, in many cases lacking enough bedroom space to accommodate their families.

Prior to their evacuation from Gaza, the vast majority of Gush Katif residents lived in large homes in landscaped communities. Many were farmers, tending to the area’s famous, technologically advanced greenhouses that supplied Israel with much of its produce. The Gush Katif unemployment rate was less than one percent.

Now, 50 percent of Gaza’s Jewish refugees are unemployed, and only 21 percent of former Gush Katif businesses have re-opened. According to the status report, many of the Jewish children expelled from Gaza suffer from a full range of traumatic and post-traumatic stress symptoms, including anxiety, depression, regressive behavior, general behavioral problems, lack of concentration and difficulty coping with new or challenging situations. Yet many refugee sites lack youth counselors and activity centers. Budgets for youth programs expired in March.

*******

With more than 50 rockets flying from the Gaza Strip toward nearby Jewish communities in just three days, the leadership of the Israeli Defense Forces this week proposed a major ground and air assault deep inside Gaza. One contingency called for the re-occupation of parts of the territory.

The assault, which also included targeted assassinations of Hamas leaders, was blocked by Defense Minister Amir Peretz, but senior army officials warned Israel likely will need to conduct a large-scale operation in Gaza and may even need to temporarily reoccupy parts of the territory if the rocket onslaught continues at its current rate.

“Peretz understands the need for more Gaza ground operations and for Israel to escalate its response to the Hamas rocket attacks,” said an IDF officer present at the military planning meeting.

“At the same time there are political considerations to assaults and even perhaps temporary reoccupation of Gaza. Our military response to the rocket fire is still being debated,” said the officer.

Critics of Israel’s Gaza withdrawal had warned the retreat would prompt an onslaught of terrorism requiring the IDF to re-enter the territory. Olmert is planning a second, larger withdrawal from most of Judea and Samaria – mountainous terrain within rocket-firing range of Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and the country’s international airport.

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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