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Quick Takes: News From Israel You May Have Missed

If Israel doesn’t vacate the strategic Golan Heights before September, Syrian guerrillas will immediately launch “resistance operations” against the Golan’s Jewish communities, a top official from Syrian President Bashar Assad’s Baath party told WorldNetDaily.

The Baath official, who spoke on condition his name be withheld, said Damascus is preparing for anticipated Israeli retaliation following Syrian guerrilla attacks and for a larger war with the Jewish state in August or September. He said that in the opening salvo of any conflict, Syria has the capabilities of firing “hundreds” of missiles at Tel Aviv.

The official said Syria is preparing for war:

“More and more of our units have undergone intensive trainings starting at 6 a.m. and finishing late into the evening. If the need arises, we are ready for a war,” said the official.

The official said Syria “learned from the Hizbullah experience last summer, and we can have hundreds of missiles hitting Tel Aviv that will overwhelm Israel’s anti-missile batteries.”

He claimed Syria has “proof” that Israel is also preparing for a war. “We hear about special Israeli trainings to take Damascus. We see that Israel is re-establishing bases of the Israeli army in the Golan that are unusual and not needed except for war. We believe the Israeli government has an interest in confronting Syria to rehabilitate its image of losing to Hizbullah,” he said.

From The Israeli Side Of The Border

Israeli security officials confirmed a stepped-up military presence of Syrian troops deployed along the Syrian side of the Golan Heights. The officials noted the movement of Syrian Scud missiles near the border with Israel and said Syria had recently increased production of rockets and acquired missiles capable of hitting central Israeli population centers.

The Syrian army has improved its fortifications, according to the security officials, and has received modern, Russian-made anti-tank missiles similar to the missiles that devastated Israeli tanks during the last Lebanon war.

The security officials said a conflict with Syria could degenerate into a larger war involving Hizbullah along Israel’s northern border and Palestinian terror groups launching attacks from Gaza in the south and the West Bank.

They noted that Syria stepped up the pace of weapons shipments, including rockets, from the Syrian border to the Lebanese Hizbullah militia. They also said that the greatest threat Syria poses to the Jewish state is from the country’s missiles and rockets. They noted that Syria recently test-fired two Scud-D surface-to-surface missiles, which have a range of about 250 miles, covering most Israeli territory.

Israeli officials said Syria is indeed preparing for a summer war, but that there is disagreement within the Israeli intelligence community over whether the military buildup is for an attack or is meant by Syria to pressure Israel into vacating the Golan Heights. Some officials said Syria figures the U.S. or Israel will attack Iran, and Syria will be drawn into a larger military confrontation, opening up a front against northern Israel. The officials also said that Syria may believe Israel will attack first, and that its preparations are defensive in nature.

U.S. Money In PA Pockets

Mahmoud Dahlan, a strongman of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah organization, and one of Dahlan’s top associates, pocketed $52 million in foreign aid – mostly assistance monies from the U.S. meant to bolster Fatah against Hamas, sources in the PA Finance Ministry told WND.

Sources in Palestinian Finance Minister and newly installed Prime Minister Salam Fayad’s office said that upon recently checking the accounts in which about $60 million in U.S. aid was deposited, Fayad was shocked to learn only $7 million remained.

The sources said a Finance Ministry investigation determined that Dahlan smuggled $27 million and Dahlan’s number two man, Rashid Abu Shabak, former chief of the Palestinian Security Services, smuggled $25 million, into their respective accounts.

Fayad already reportedly obtained and confiscated from Dahlan $7 million in smuggled aid.

Dahlan and Shabak were two of only a handful of Fatah officials who had access to the PA accounts in which American aid was stored. Both officials fled the Gaza Strip prior to Hamas’s takeover of the territory and all U.S.-backed Fatah security compounds there last month.

Dahlan used part of the American aid to invest in construction efforts in Dubai, the PA sources said.

The information comes as the U.S. is poised to send millions more in financial aid to bolster Abbas’s militias in the West Bank against Hamas there. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice recently asked Congress to reinstitute a previous $86 million aid package to Abbas that was reduced following concerns by some lawmakers a portion of the money would end up financing terrorism. 

A Staged Rescue?

Hamas’s purported rescue operation last week in which kidnapped BBC reporter Alan Johnston was freed from captivity really was a “movie” staged by Hamas to endear itself to the international community and demonstrate it is capable of imposing order in Gaza, a senior Palestinian Authority official charged.

“We’re watching a movie where the thieves in Gaza fall out and one of them claims to be honest and brave, and the other is the bad guy. This Hamas game fools no one,” said Yasir Abed Rabbo, chief aide to Abbas.

Rabbo charged that Hamas was in “cahoots” with Johnston’s kidnappers, the Gaza-based Army of Islam, which together with Hamas kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit last June. Johnston was held in Gaza for nearly four months.

Hamas leaders denied the rescue operation was staged.

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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