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Quick Takes: News From Israel You May Have Missed

Palestinian negotiators drafting an agreement behind the scenes with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s office have made clear they will not accept any final peace deal with Israel unless the Jewish state forfeits the Temple Mount, Judaism’s holiest site, WorldNetDaily has learned.

According to a report in Israel’s Yediot Aharonot daily, Olmert is willing to discuss joint Israeli-Palestinian control over the Temple Mount complex. The report didn’t state the position of the Palestinian side on the issue.

A chief Palestinian negotiator speaking to WND on condition his name be withheld said, “There can be no agreement with Israel unless we get complete sovereignty of the Mount. Once Palestinian control over the [Temple Mount] is fixed, then we will make assurances for Jewish visits to the site.”

The chief negotiator said aides from Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah organization have been hammering out the parameters of a final status agreement for presentation in November at a U.S.-backed international summit on the Middle East.

The November international conference and talk from the Bush administration the past few weeks has led many here to speculate that the U.S. will push in the near future for intense Israeli-Palestinian negotiations leading to a Palestinian state.

With a year and a half left in office, President George Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice have been urging meetings between Abbas and Olmert to establish a framework for momentum leading to a breakthrough at November’s conference.

Jewish Evacuees Suffer Effects of Expulsion

Two years after Jewish residents of the Gaza Strip were evacuated by Israel, the uprooted Jews are preparing to make small trailer communities – which were supposed to be temporary living quarters until Israel found them long-term solutions – into permanent homes, according to a report released this month.

The report, by the Gush Katif Committee, the main humanitarian organization representing the Gaza Jewish refugees, also cited a near double increase in heart disease, high blood pressure and other major health problems among evacuated Jews in the past two years.

They also found that the uprooted youth are suffering from a host of emotional problems, including suicidal thoughts and trouble concentrating on studies.

Ninety-two percent of the Gush Katif refugees out of the 1,667 evacuated families still live in temporary housing, mostly in the Israeli Negev desert in small, government-built prefabricated “trailer villas.” The other seven percent have set out on their own to begin building houses, but of those, only 12 homes have been constructed.

Residents in the Negev trailer communities live in crowded conditions, in many cases lacking enough bedroom space to accommodate their families. Some families have used shipping containers as improvised additional bedroom space.

“You can punch through my wall,” said a resident of Nitzan, the largest of about a dozen Gush Katif trailer communities. “My friends come to visit me in coffee shops because there is not enough room in my living room for them to be comfortable.”

Amnesty Recipients Continue Attacks

The Al Aksa Martyrs Brigades terror group will not disarm or cease attacks on the Jewish state in spite of an amnesty agreement forged with Israel last month in which top Brigades members pledged to turn in their weapons and refrain from attacks, according to a senior Brigades leader.

“We respect our leaders but will keep fighting until Israel withdraws completely from the West Bank. We are the resistance. We will keep fighting and never give up our weapons until Israel withdraws,” said Ayad Frehat, a Brigades leader in the West Bank city of Jenin.

“Whenever the Israeli army acts in the West Bank, we will fight side by side with our brothers from the other resistance movements,” Frehat said.

Frehat is on a list of Brigades members under consideration by Israel for amnesty.

Last month, Olmert granted amnesty to 178 members of the Al Aksa Martyrs Brigades, the declared military wing of Abbas’s Fatah organization, in exchange for pledges not to engage in terrorist activity.

In spite of the amnesty deal, Brigades members, including those taken off Israel’s wanted list, have been carrying out attacks in recent days, security sources said. On Sunday, a Brigades gunman fired at Israeli soldiers at the Hawara checkpoint outside the West Bank city of Nablus. Brigades sources said group members have perpetuated “dozens” of shootings against Israeli forces since last month. Over the weekend, the Israel Defense Forces searched the house of a Brigades gunman who was accused of carrying out recent shooting attacks, security sources said.

Israelis forces recently captured an armed Al Aksa Martyrs Brigades member who was smuggling bullets from Jenin to Nablus – but let him go after it was determined he was on a list of wanted gunmen granted amnesty by Olmert.

Fatah Legislator Convicted

A legislator from Abbas’s Fatah organization who received U.S. weapons and coordinated security with U.S. intelligence agencies was convicted by an Israeli military court last week of sending a suicide bomber to kill Israelis.

Jamal Tarawi, who was elected in 2006 to the Palestinian Legislative Council and also served as an officer of Fatah’s intelligence services, also openly served as the chief of the Al Aksa Martyrs Brigades terrorist group in the northern West Bank region of Nablus.

Aside from his conviction for planning a suicide bombing, Tarawi was also accused of recruiting several successful bombers who carried out attacks between 2000 and 2002 and of carrying out multiple shootings against Israeli civilians.

In his role as a Fatah intelligence official, Tarawi’s unit coordinated security with American agencies, including the offices of Lt. Gen. Keith Dayton, the American security coordinator in the region.

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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