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Quick Takes: News From Israel You May Have Missed

JERUSALEM – Prominent archaeologists, a U.S. Jewish leader and former Israeli politicians are petitioning Israel’s Supreme Court to immediately halt a dig that Islamic authorities are conducting on the Temple Mount, Judaism’s holiest site. The excavation is said to be destroying antiquities and what archaeologists believe is a wall from the Second Temple.

Sections of the petition were based on recent coverage in this column of the Temple Mount controversy. The petitioners charge the Israeli government and its agencies, including the Antiquities Authority, are failing to meet their legal obligations to protect the antiquities of the Temple Mount.

Islamic custodians have been using bulldozers to blast a massive trench on the Mount said to be cutting through Jewish artifacts.

The petition explains that Second Temple courtyards and artifacts are located within a few feet of ground level. It maintains that the Wakf dig – a trench 1,300 feet long and five feet deep – has destroyed or damaged priceless archaeological artifacts from the first and second Temple periods.

The petition states: “The excavations were carried out in an area where the bedrock is sometimes at a depth of only half a meter. Therefore, massive digging to a depth of a meter and a half entails damage to ground layers, some of which may have been in place since the first Temple stood there 3,000 years ago. Excavating with heavy equipment and tractors severely damaged the ground and directly caused the destruction of ancient stones and other artifacts.”

The petition was signed by Members of the Committee to Prevent the Destruction of Temple Mount Antiquities, including prominent archaeologist Eilat Mazar; Tel Aviv Mayor Shlomo Lahat; Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations; and retired Israel Defense Forces generals Zvi Zamir, Yitzhak Hofi and Giora Eiland.

Hamas/Fatah Training

Militia members on the payroll of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah organization have been training Hamas police units in the Gaza Strip, WorldNetDaily has learned.

The information comes shortly after the U.S. announced large sums of aid to Fatah and initiated 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.

Hamas recently initiated a training program for the terror group’s newly formed street police forces in the Gaza Strip. Last week, Hamas’s Al Aksa television broadcast footage of the new program’s first graduating class of about 90 policemen. According to Hamas leaders, hundreds more are being trained.

Top Hamas sources told WND the police program is being run in part by a “handful” of Fatah officers who still receive salaries from Fatah and who are still publicly identified as Fatah members.

The sources said the police trainers also consist of “dozens” of former Fatah security officers who switched over to Hamas after the terror group took over the Gaza Strip and seized U.S.-backed Fatah security compounds in June. Those trainers now openly work for Hamas. Hamas’s police chief in Gaza, Tawfiq Jaber, for example, is Fatah’s former police chief in the territory.

Foiled Suicide Bombing

A foiled suicide bombing this past Sunday that reportedly aimed to hit Tel Aviv within 24 hours was orchestrated by the Al Aksa Martyrs Brigades, the so-called military wing of Abbas’s Fatah organization, top Brigades leaders told WND.

Israeli border police Sunday detained a youth near the West Bank city of Nablus, the biblical Shechem, who was carrying concealed explosive devices that the Israeli Defense Forces said were for detonation in a Tel Aviv suicide bombing.

Al Aksa sources said the detained boy was to transfer the explosive devices to a Brigades operative in the West Bank city of Ramallah, where the explosives would be properly assembled and handed to a suicide bomber wh would infiltrate Tel Aviv.

The Brigades leaders claimed the attack was planned mostly by members of their organization who did not receive amnesty from the Olmert government in June, but they said one “lower-level operative” who is up for amnesty consideration was involved in the foiled attack.

Bnei Menashe Visit Western Wall

More than 200 people from a group of thousands in India that believes it is one of the “lost tribes” of Israel paid an emotional first visit to the Western Wall after arriving here last week, fulfilling for many a lifelong dream of returning to what they consider their homeland.

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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