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Quick Takes: News From Israel You May Have Missed

        House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s recent visit to Syria – in which she called for dialogue with Damascus – was “brave” and “very appreciated” and could bring about “important changes” to America’s foreign policy, including talks with “Middle East resistance groups,” according to members of terror organizations here whose top leaders live in Syria.
 
        Pelosi’s visit, during which she announced “Damascus is the road to peace,” was opposed by President Bush, who called Syria a state sponsor of terror.
 
        Syria signed a military alliance with Iran and openly hosts Hamas and Islamic Jihad leaders. Israel says Syria has been allowing large quantities of weapons to be transported from its borders to Hizbullah in Lebanon; Syria has been accused of supporting the insurgency against U.S. troops in Iraq and generating unrest in Lebanon.
 
        “Nancy Pelosi understands the area (Middle East) well, more than Bush and Dr. [Condoleezza] Rice,” said Islamic Jihad leader and spokesman Khaled Al-Batch, speaking to this column from Gaza. “If the Democrats want to make negotiations with Syria, Hamas, and Hizbullah, this means the Democratic Party understands well what happens in this area and I think Pelosi will succeed. … I hope she wins the next elections.”
 
        Abu Abdullah, a leader of Hamas’s military wing in the Gaza Strip, said the willingness by some lawmakers to talk with Syria “is proof of the importance of  the resistance against the U.S.”
 
        “The Americans know and understand they are losing in Iraq and the Middle East and that their only chance to survive is to reduce hostilities with Arab countries and with Islam. Islam is the new giant of the world.”
 
Top Democrat meets group promoting Islamic world domination
 
        House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, a top U.S. Democratic congressman, last week met a leader of Egypt’s main opposition group, which has strong ties to Hamas and seeks to impose an Islamic theocracy throughout the Middle East and eventually around the world.
 
        Hoyer met twice on Thursday with the head of the Muslim Brotherhood’s parliamentary bloc, Mohammed Saad el-Katatni. The U.S. Embassy in Cairo confirmed the meeting, but would not disclose what was discussed. The Brotherhood’s Hassan said Hoyer discussed with the group developments in the Middle East, the “Brotherhood’s vision” and the status of opposition movements in Egypt.
 
        The Brotherhood seeks the overthrow of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s regime and the creation of a region-wide Islamic caliph that would eventually spread around the world. Hamas, which has been responsible for dozens of suicide bombings in Israel, was founded in 1987 as a military offshoot of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood.
 
        Although there are some tactical differences between the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas – the Brotherhood says it is committed to a non-violent, reformist approach to Islamic takeover – experts say they are concerned by the current level of cooperation between the two organizations.
 
        Palestinian security sources close to Hamas told WorldNetDaily that Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood leader Mahdi Akif has been serving as replacement Hamas spiritual leader ever since Israel assassinated former spiritual leader Ahmed Yassin in March 2004.
 
IDF: Iran, Syria prepping for summer war
 
        Iran, Syria and the Lebanese Hizbullah militia are preparing for a U.S.-led war this summer, according to the Israel Defense Forces. “Their preparation is defensive ahead of war. … They fear a war initiated by the Americans because they understand that there might be an attack against Iran over the summer, but not by Israel,” said IDF Military Intelligence chief Amos Yadlin.
 
        Yadlin said Iran and Syria believe a war this summer will be initiated by the U.S. and that Israel will be involved. He said Israel has been monitoring Iranian fortification of Tehran’s military positions, Syrian military movements and indications of Irianian-aided war preparations, and the large-scale smuggling of Iranian-supplied weapons to Hizbullah.
 
        Yadlin noted that the war preparations are defensive. He said Israel doesn’t expect Iran or Syria to start a confrontation. The military intelligence chief said, however, that he feared hostilities could break out even without a U.S.-led strike because of “the involvement of many players.”
 
Jews move out, Al Qaeda moves in
 
        Al Qaeda is now operating in the Gaza Strip, and has attempted to assassinate Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and other top leaders from Abbas’s Fatah party, according to Palestinian security officials.
 
        The officials, associated with Fatah, told WND that assassination attempts against Abbas – including explosives planted in January along the route of his motorcade and explosives found buried near his Gaza residence – were attributed to Al Qaeda cells in the Gaza Strip and to groups in Gaza working on behalf of the global jihad organization.
 
        The Palestinian security officials said that attempted assassinations of other top Fatah officials  were also blamed on Al Qaeda, including an attempt to kill Fatah’s Gaza strongman Mahmoud Dahlan. Fatah previously blamed the attempts on Hamas.
 
        Prior to Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza in the summer of 2005, terror experts warned that Al Qaeda would seek sanctuary in the territory.
 

      Aaron Klein is Jerusalem bureau chief for WorldNetDaily.com. He appears throughout the week on leading U.S. 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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