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Quick Takes: News From Israel You May Have Missed

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A truce agreed to by Hamas in Gaza last November is “officially over,” Hamas leaders announced this week, threatening to send suicide bombers into Tel Aviv if Israel retaliates for a major Hamas attack carried out on Tuesday.

“We don’t recognize Israel’s right to exist.  We will never allow Jews to remain in our lands. Today’s attack was only a sample of what we can do. We have thousands of rockets ready to be shot. The cease-fire is officially over,” said Abu Abdullah, who is considered one of the most important operational members of Hamas’s Izzedine al-Kassam Martyrs Brigades, Hamas’s co-called military wing.

In the first rocket attack for which it claimed responsibility in five months, Hamas fired 38 Kassam rockets and 79 mortars from the Gaza Strip toward nearby Jewish communities on Tuesday. The projectiles were meant to be a diversion as the group attempted to storm an Israeli military base on the Gaza border to kidnap Israeli soldiers. 

The attacks occurred as Israelis nationwide celebrated the country’s Independence Day.

Following Tuesday’s attack, the Hamas-led Palestinian government issued a statement calling for calm. Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh claimed his government would dedicate efforts to convince Palestinian factions to maintain the truce with Israel.

But Abu Abu Abdullah told WorldNetDaily that Tuesday’s attacks were coordinated with the Hamas political leadership.

Olmert Minimizing ‘Major Hamas Attack’?

Olmert’s government is attempting to minimize Tuesday’s major Hamas attack launched from the Gaza Strip and has directed the Israeli army to limit its response, despite growing signs that Hamas is preparing for a large-scale confrontation with the Jewish state, Israeli military sources charged.

Military sources in Israel labeled the Hamas operations an “enormous escalation.” They said there have been indications for months that Hamas and other major Palestinian terror groups have used the November cease-fire to improve the range of their rockets, smuggle in mass quantities of weapons, construct underground bunkers and build guerrilla-like armies.

“The longer we wait to deal with the Gaza threat, the more costly an operation in Gaza will be,” a top military source said.

But the Israeli army, according to IDF sources, has been instructed by Olmert’s government to present a plan for a limited, surgical operation in Gaza. The sources said the operation they have been told to present will not dent Hamas’s military capabilities.

“The point of the operation is clear. It’s for us to say we responded,” a military source charged.

Normally, after major terror attacks, the Prime Minister’s Office holds an immediate security cabinet meeting to determine Israel’s response. But military sources said Olmert refused to call the cabinet meeting. They said that instead, Olmert asked to be briefed the following morning.

‘Syria Prepping for Summer War’

Syria, aided by Iran, is making preparations for a summer war with Israel. The preparations include acquisition of advanced weaponry, placement of missiles near the Jewish state’s border, and training and movements of strategic troop battalions, Israeli security officials told WND.

According to the officials, the Syrian military in recent weeks has been carrying out stepped-up training of troops and has increased the readiness of its army. The officials noted movement of Syrian Scud missiles near the border with Israel and said Syria has been increasing production of rockets capable of hitting central Israeli population centers.

Israel has information that Syria recently acquired and deployed advanced Chinese missiles. Also, Russia recently sold to Syria advanced anti-tank missiles similar to the projectiles that devastated Israeli tanks during the last Lebanon war, and is negotiating with Syria on the sale of advanced anti-aircraft missiles.

The officials said Syria believes Israel will attack first in response to ongoing support of Hizbullah, including the supply of large numbers of rockets. They also said Syria believes the U.S. or Israel will attack Iran, and that Syria will be drawn into a larger military confrontation.

The reports follow media interviews last week in which Syrian President Bashar Assad stated he doesn’t rule out the possibility of war with Israel

Olmert Promising Israeli Withdrawals

Anticipating the release next week of an interim report of his handling of last summer’s war in Lebanon that is expected to be damaging, Olmert has held meetings in recent days with leading leftist figures in which he has pledged to carry out Israeli withdrawals in exchange for their continued support.

The completed report inquiry is expected to be highly critical of Olmert’s decision-making role during the war, prompting many Israeli analysts and commentators to speculate that the prime minister may not be able to survive the report’s release.

According to political sources here, Olmert held meetings the past two weeks with leftist political officials, leading intellectuals, prominent leftist groups and leftist media figures. The sources said Olmert told them he is willing to reach a final status agreement with the Palestinians, including an Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank.

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