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Quick Takes: News From Israel You May Have Missed

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak told the Egyptian government that the Jewish state is willing to forfeit control over the Temple Mount – Judaism’s holiest site – to the management of Egypt, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority, according to an Arab media report.

The Egyptian Al Massrioun daily reported this weekend that Barak informed Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and the Jordanian government that Israel is willing to hand them joint control over the Temple Mount – in place of the PA alone – as this would help ease Israeli domestic opposition to giving up the holy site. (Egypt and Jordan are considered by Israeli policy to be moderate countries.)

The report follows an exclusive story in this column last week that Palestinian negotiators drafting an agreement behind the scenes with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s office made it clear that they would not accept any final peace deal with Israel unless the Jewish state forfeits the Temple Mount.

Ronen Moshe, a spokesman for Barak, claims the Egyptian media report is “untrue.”

“We do not comment on the specifics of private conversations with world leaders, but this report is not what was said during the talks,” Moshe told WorldNetDaily.

A senior Palestinian official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told WND that Israel “understands there won’t be any deal with the Palestinians unless it forfeits the Temple Mount.”

The official said the Mount was previously a sticking point in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, but he said that Olmert’s government has expressed a willingness to compromise on the Temple Mount.

Fatah and Hamas Unite to Attack

Hamas and members of Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah organization have been carrying out joint attacks against Israel, and recently formed a new terror group to conduct operations against the Jewish state, top Fatah militants told WND.

They said the Brigades and Hamas formed a new organization called the Fire Belt to attack Israel, and that this past weekend the new Fire Belt group worked together to lob grenades at Israeli forces operating in the vicinity of the northern West Bank city of Nablus.

Al Aksa Martyrs Brigades leaders in Nablus told WND that the new Fire Belt group consists of Brigades members, mostly from Nablus, who are not on Olmert’s official amnesty list.

Abu Nasser, a leader of the Brigades in Nablus and a self-declared top commander of the Fire Belt group, said Fatah militants are “unified” with Hamas and that the two would attack Israel together.

“Fatah and Hamas are having diplomatic problems but that doesn’t mean we are not unified in the battle against the occupation,” he said.

“The Fire Belt will carry out many more attacks. We hope this cooperation will bring the two parties [Fatah and Hamas] to respect Palestinian unity and safeguard that unity. Our enemy is not Hamas, it is Israel,” said Abu Nasser.

The information follows the recent announcement of large sums of U.S. aid to Fatah, with military training programs for West Bank Fatah militias, purportedly to back Abbas’s group against Hamas and to isolate Hamas in the Gaza Strip and West Bank.

U.S. Aid to Fatah Helped Intifada

United States-run programs that train militias from Abbas’s Fatah organization have been utilized to kill Jews and were instrumental in the “success” of the Palestinian intifada that began in 2000, a senior Fatah militant trained by the U.S. told this column.

The U.S. has long run training programs at a base in the West Bank city of Jericho for members of Force 17, which serves as de facto police units in the West Bank.

“I do not think that the operations of the Palestinian resistance would have been so successful and would have killed more than 1,000 Israelis since 2000 and defeated the Israelis in Gaza without these [American] trainings,” said Abu Yousuf, a senior officer of Abbas’s Force 17 Presidential Guard unit in Ramallah.

Yousuf received American training in Jericho in 1999. He is a chief of the Al Aksa Martyrs Brigades in Ramallah and is accused of participating in anti-Israel terrorism from there, including recent shootings, attacks against Israeli forces operating in the city and a shooting attack in northern Samaria in December 2000 that killed Binyamin Kahane, leader of the Kahane Chai organization.

“All the methods and techniques that we studied in these trainings, we applied them against the Israelis,” he said.

“We sniped at Israeli settlers and soldiers. We broke into settlements and Israeli army bases and posts. We collected information on the movements of soldiers and settlers.

“We collected information about the best timing to infiltrate our bombers inside Israel. We used weapons and we produced explosives, and of course the trainings we received from the Americans and the Europeans were a great help to the resistance.”

Nativity Terrorist Returns to Bethlehem

In a meeting with Abbas, Ehud Olmert granted permission for terrorist leaders expelled from Israel after seizing Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity in 2002 to return to Bethlehem, according to top Palestinian sources.

The terrorists, members of Abbas’s Fatah militias, have long been accused of engaging in campaigns against Bethlehem’s Christian population.

“This is a victory for the Palestinian people and for the Fatah militias. It is a very happy day,” Jihad Jaara, the exiled director of the Nativity siege told this column in an exclusive interview.

Jaara was the Bethlehem-area chief of the Al Aksa Martyrs Brigades terror group at the time of the siege.

Aaron Klein is Jerusalem bureau chief for WorldNetDaily.comHe 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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