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Quick Takes: News From Israel You May Have Missed

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s stated recognition of Israel’s right to exist is part of a “political calculation” aimed at ultimately destroying the Jewish state, a terror group leader and member of Abbas’s Fatah party told WorldNetDaily in a widely circulated interview.

“The base of our Fatah movement keeps dreaming of Tel Aviv, Haifa, Jaffa and Acco,” said Abu Ahmed, Fatah member and leader of the Al Aksa Martyrs Brigades in the northern Gaza Strip. “There is no change in our position. Abbas recognizes Israel because of pressure that the Zionists and the Americans are exercising on him. We understand this is part of his obligations and political calculations.”

The Brigades is the declared “military wing” of Abbas’s Fatah party. Together with the Islamic Jihad terror group, the Brigades has taken responsibility for every suicide bombing inside Israel over the past two years, including an attack in Tel Aviv this past April that killed American teenager Daniel Wultz and nine Israelis.

Brigades leaders are members of Fatah. The terror group’s founder, Marwan Barghouti, is an elected Fatah official and is largely considered one of the group’s most popular figures. Several top Brigades members serve in Abbas’s Force17 personal security detail.

The U.S. and Europe label Hamas a terror group, while Fatah is generally considered “moderate,” in part for its purported willingness to accept Israel. But Abu Ahmed explained that Fatah itself has never officially recognized Israel.

“It is the PLO, which is a separate entity, that recognized Israel, and this was a step, a tactical step that had as its goal to bring the resistance and the revolution closer to the lands of Palestine,” Abu Ahmed said.

The U.S. State Department considers the Al Aksa Martyrs Brigades a terror organization. A State Department spokesman told WND the Brigades is “separate” from Abbas’s Fatah party.

But Abu Ahmed explained his Brigades group is “one and the same” with the Fatah party.

“We are members of Fatah, and there are normal organic relations between us and the Fatah. We are in the Al Aksa Brigades because we are Fatah members. We participate in all political decision- making of the Fatah movement.”

Israel On Alert For Syrian Attack

In spite of assertions by some officials here to the contrary, Israel has placed its forces in the Golan Heights bordering Syria on heightened alert for possible confrontations following a series of statements by Syrian President Bashar Assad that his military is preparing for war with the Jewish state.

Military officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, say the Israel Defense Forces have fortified their positions in the Golan, including increasing security at checkpoints and stationing more troops at key areas throughout the territory. Also, the officials said, the IDF has reinforced security fences on the Israeli side of the border.

The IDF has not brought in additional heavy weaponry, tanks, or troop divisions for fear of startling Syria, the officials said.

Jewish residents in the Golan told WND the heightened IDF status was plainly visible. They noted larger troop numbers and improvements made to border installations.

In an interview this past weekend, Assad warned that the Syrian military is preparing for war with Israel, claiming Israel might attack first. Since the war in Lebanon ended in August, Assad has given a series of interviews in which he warned of possible confrontations with Israel, and repeatedly said the Golan would soon be returned to Syria. He has stated several times that he views Hizbullah’s “victory” over Israel as proof military tactics bring results.

Lost Tribe Of Israel’ Returning Home

Hundreds of Jews from the Bnei Menashe, a group of thousands in India who believe they are one of the ten “lost tribes” of Israel, have been granted permission to immigrate here next month, fulfilling for many of them a lifelong dream of returning to what they consider their homeland.

The Bnei Menashe consists of about 7,000 Indian citizens who believe they are the descendants of Manasseh, one of Joseph’s two sons, and a grandson of Jacob. The tribe lives in the two Indian states of Mizoram and Manipur, to which they claim to have been exiled from Israel over 2,700 years ago by the Assyrian empire.

The group, which has preserved ancient Jewish customs and rituals, has been trying for the past 50 years to return to Israel.

Over the last decade, the Shavei Israel organization, working with other groups, brought some 800 Bnei Menashe members to the Jewish state. Many settled in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria. About 80 lived in Gaza’s slate of Jewish communities, which were evacuated by the Israeli government last summer.

Immigration froze in 2003 after diplomatic wrangling, but Israel granted permission for 218 more to move here after they were officially converted to Judaism last year by a rabbinic delegation sent to India by Israel’s chief rabbinate, which has recognized the Bnei Menashe.

Another delegation is slated to be sent later this year to convert more Bnei Menashe so they can immigrate under Israel’s “Law of Return,” which guarantees sanctuary to Jews from around the world.

“The significance of this should be readily apparent, even to the most hardened of cynics,” said Michael Freund, chairman of Shavei Israel.

“After all, whoever heard of an ancient lost tribe returning to its ancestral homeland 2,700 years after their deportation? Without exaggerating, it seems fair to say that this is a miracle of biblical proportions.”

Aaron Klein is Jerusalem bureau chief for WorldNetDaily.com. He appears throughout the week on America’s top 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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