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Quick Takes: News From Israel You May Have Missed

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In her meeting last week with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice pledged the U.S. would provide Abbas’s Force 17 security units with new weapons to bolster the group against Hamas, according to senior Palestinian officials.

The officials, who took part in the meeting, said Rice told Abbas the U.S. would fulfill an earlier pledge to bolster Force 17 with American training and with new weapons, including 6,000 assault rifles. According to multiple media reports, the U.S. is aiming to enhance security forces associated with Abbas’s Fatah party.

Force 17 serves as Abbas’s personal security detail and as de facto police units in the West Bank and Gaza. Many of its members, including its former commander, also openly serve as militants in the Al Aksa Martyrs Brigades terror group, the declared “military wing” of Abbas’s Fatah party.

The U.S. considers Fatah moderate, even as the Brigades is labeled by the State Department as a terror organization.

Abu Yousuf, a senior member of Force 17, told WorldNetDaily that any U.S. aid and weapons given to his security organization will be used to attack Jews and “fight Israeli occupation.”

“We will not use these weapons against our brothers in Hamas unless they try to attack [Abbas]. The U.S. is working with the Zionists to try to generate civil war in the Palestinian territories but that will not work. These weapons will BE put to use against the Israelis,” said Abu Yousuf.

Abu Yousuf said the latest planned U.S. weapons transfer was meant to spark a Palestinian civil war and ensure Palestinian security forces are “friendly” to the West.

“We are aware that a civil war is the dream of the Zionists and the Americans, but it will not happen so quickly,” he said.

He hinted that U.S. weapons transferred last May were used in a spate of shooting attacks against Israelis.

“The fighters who were arrested by the Israeli army in relation to these attacks are Force 17 men,” Abu Yousuf said.

Israel Considers Freeing Intifada Planner

According to sources in Olmert’s office, Israel is considering the release of a convicted murderer, terror group founder and alleged planner of the second Palestinian intifada, Marwan Barghouti, in exchange for the freedom of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit

In a national address last week, Olmert said in exchange for Shalit’s release, his government is willing to release “many, many” Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails, including those serving lengthy sentences.

Diplomatic sources told WND that in his meeting with Israeli officials this week Egypt’s intelligence chief Omar Suleiman presented the Jewish state with Hamas’ latest demand – the release from Israeli prison of Barghouti, along with at least 1,000 other Palestinian prisoners.

Barghouti, a member of the Palestinian parliament and founder of the Al Aksa Brigades, is serving multiple life terms for his role in killing five Israeli civilians. Barghouti has boasted of being one of the main architects of the Palestinia intifada that began in 2000, killing 993 Israelis and 3,777 Palestinians. He successfully ran in Palestinian elections earlier this year, stressing as part of his election platform his efforts in planning the intifada.

Sources in Olmert’s office said Israel is considering Hamas’ request to free Barghouti. “The request was not immediately rejected,” said a source.

Message to U.S.: Don’t Sell Lebanon Short

The United States should not sell Lebanon short while debating changes in American policy in Iraq and the Middle East region, Samy Gemayel, brother of assassinated Lebanese politician Pierre Gemayel, told WND in an interview.

Gemayel’s brother, Lebanon’s industry minister, was murdered last month while driving through a Christian suburb of Beirut, prompting street protests many fear could destabilize the country.

Samy Gemayel, who is expected to seek his slain brother’s seat in parliament, said he is “concerned” by possible changes in America’s Middle East policy, including talk of withdrawal from Iraq following the Democratic election victories last month and calls by some in the U.S. government for dialogue with Iran and Syria.

“Dialogue can be helpful if it is the right kind of dialogue with the right people. But please don’t sell Lebanon short during this dialogue or any policy changes,” said Gemayel.
 
Aaron Klein is Jerusalem bureau chief for WorldNetDaily.com. He appears throughout the week on America’s top radio programs.

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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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