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Quick Takes: News From Israel You May Have Missed

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Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has given Jordan permission to build a large minaret adjacent to a mosque on the Temple Mount to call Muslims to prayer at the holy site. The minaret will stand at a site on the Mount where Jewish groups here had petitioned to build a synagogue.

A minaret is a tower usually attached to a mosque from which Muslims are called to the five Islamic daily prayers.

There are four minarets on the Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism. The new minaret will be the largest one yet. It will be the first built on the Temple Mount in over 600 years and is slated to tower 130 feet above the walls of Jerusalem’s old city. It will reside next to the Al-Marwani Mosque, located at the site of Solomon’s Stables.

Aryeh Eldad, a Knesset member from Israel’s National Union party, last year drew up plans with Jewish groups to build a synagogue near the Marwani Mosque. The synagogue was to be built in accordance with rulings from several prominent rabbis, who said Jews can ascend the Mount at certain areas.

A top leader of the Wakf – the Islamic custodians of the Mount – told WorldNetDaily that Olmert’s granting of permission to build the minaret in the synagogue’s place “confirms 100-percent that the Haram al-Sharif [Temple Mount] belongs to Muslims.”

“This proves Jewish conspiracies for a synagogue will never succeed and solidifies our presence here. It will make Muslims worldwide more secure that the Jews will never take over the Haram al-Sharif,” the Wakf official said.

Rice Ripped For ‘Resistance Movement’ Remark

A U.S. Jewish group this week demanded that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice immediately retract remarks she made during a press conference in Europe two weeks ago in which she called Hamas a “resistance movement.”

In speaking to reporters in Berlin on Jan. 18, Rice commented on the situation of Palestinians prior to 2000, saying, “You had Hamas, of course, sitting out as a resistance movement, not at all, by the way, involved in the politics at all.”

Rice’s comments went largely unreported by the American media.

Hamas is classified by the State Department as a terror organization and is responsible for  scores of suicide bombings and shooting and rocket attacks that have killed more than 500 Israelis and 27 Americans.

A State Department spokesman claimed Rice “forgot” to use the word terrorist when describing Hamas during her Berlin press briefing. But the Zionist Organization of America wants more. It has asked Rice to clarify her remarks and apologize to Hamas’s terror victims.

“Calling Hamas a resistance group and not a radical Islamic terror group which murders Jews and calls for the destruction of Israel seems to reveal that Rice may have some sympathy for Hamas’s cause,” ZOA President Mort Klein said.

One top Jewish leader told WND he was “horrified” Rice called Hamas a resistance group, but said his organization would not comment because he didn’t want to upset his relationship with the State Department. Several other prominent U.S. Jewish groups refused to comment on Rice’s statement.

Known Terrorist On Abbas’s Guard Unit

A well-known terrorist has been discovered by this column to be working for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s Force 17 presidential guard unit.

Abbas has long claimed that his presidential guard, which receives large sums of U.S. aid and weapons, is not infiltrated by terror organizations.

Hamas last week ambushed a Force 17 convoy that the terror group claimed was transporting American weapons delivered to militias associated with Abbas’s Fatah party. Four Force 17 officers were killed.

The Islamic Jihad terror group told this column that among those killed serving with Force 17 was Nidal Tlaa, the chief commander of Islamic Jihad’s so-called military wing.

“Our commander Nidal Tlaa was serving with Force 17. He was killed when Hamas ambushed the Fatah convoy,” said Abu Muhammad, Islamic Jihad’s spokesman.

Islamic Jihad sources said Tlaa was wearing a Force 17 uniform when he was shot by Hamas gunmen while protecting Fatah convoys.

Egyptian Forces Aided Suicide Bombing?

Israel and Egypt are studying the possibility that the Palestinian terrorist who carried out last week’s suicide bombing in Eilat was aided in entering the Jewish state by Egyptian security forces.

Israeli authorities say the suicide bomber, who originated in the Gaza Strip, entered Israel from Egypt, which runs alongside long sections of Israel and also borders Gaza.

According to Egyptian security sources speaking to WND, Egyptian authorities this month discovered 17 cases of Egyptian guards aiding infiltrators into Israel. They say in most cases the guards were paid off and were either not aware of the infiltrators’ intentions for entering Israel, or were told the intentions were for employment or studies.

A Palestinian security official said Egypt found “many, many more cases this month [of guards aiding infiltration into Israel] than the 17 they admit to.”

The Egyptian sources said that only in “small numbers” of cases during the past year did they discover Egyptian forces who knowingly collaborated with Palestinian terror groups.

But Israeli security sources say it is “impossible” for the vast quantity of weapons that regularly flows into Gaza from the Egyptian Sinai desert to reach the territory without at least the tacit knowledge of Egyptian forces in the Sinai.

“We’re talking about extremely sophisticated smuggling rings that bring large quantities of weapons from Egypt into Gaza, in some previous cases even in convoy trucks. Don’t tell me Egyptian forces don’t know,” said an Israeli security official.
 
Aaron Klein is Jerusalem bureau chief for WorldNetDaily.com. He appears throughout the week on leading American 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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