The Celebrate Israel Festival on May 31 at Pier 94, slated to be the largest gathering to date of Israeli-Americans in New York.
Is the Intifada over? The Palestinians have not been able to carry out a single suicide bombing in Israel since March, mostly because of the West Bank and Gaza security fences and Israel?s raids and targeted killings. Hamas, specifically, has been halted from unleashing large-scale revenge attacks called for after its top terrorist leaders were assassinated.
Commentators are saying the Intifada is coming to an end, with an Israel victory, albeit a bloody one. Sharon spokesman Raanan Gissin told WorldNetDaily, “The Intifada has failed and is now turning against its initiators.”
And with Israel gearing for Sharon’s planned unilateral withdrawal from Gaza and parts of the West Bank in 2005, the Jewish state is turning to ever-creative tactics to keep its borders safe from Palestinian terrorists, the most amazing of which is a Star Wars-like remote control border with Gaza.
The high-tech system, now in testing stages, includes unmanned sensor patrol cars and computerized observation posts that automatically spot and, upon human authorization, kill terrorists, even recommending the most appropriate weapon for the system to fire against a specified target.
Israel is also putting to use a centuries-old tactic – an 80-foot-deep moat, possibly to be filled with water, between Egypt and Gaza as a way to keep terrorists from crossing and block them from constructing more arms smuggling tunnels.
In an interview with WorldNetDaily, Syria’s Ambassador to the UN, Fayssal Mekdad said his country is ready for peace with Israel. “The ball is in the Israeli court,” Mekdad said. “We think once there is a willingness on the part of the Israeli government to establish a just and comprehensive peace in the region, we shall solve all problems.”
But Syria’s calls for peace drew Israeli and American skepticism. State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said “It is hard to reconcile those kinds of statements with support for violent groups that are trying to kill the dreams of the Palestinians and undermine any hopes for peace.”
Syria is under fire for allowing the overall leader of Hamas to live openly in Damascus where he arranges the murder of Israelis, and for its support of Hizbullah, occupation of Lebanon, and aiding of the insurgency against American troops in Iraq.
Sources say Syrian President Bashar Assad has instructed his foreign representatives to offer ambiguous gestures of peace to Israel as a way to deflect pressure on his increasingly isolated Baathist regime.
A development to be watched closely is the failing health of Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak, who has no official successor and is in a Munich hospital amid persistent rumors of a major health crisis. With Egypt taking an increasingly important role in Sharon’s disengagement plan, including ‘training Palestinian security forces’ and demanding that Yasir Arafat ‘give up power,’ Mubarak’s demise could have important ramifications for the region.
Intelligence sources say Mubarak is suffering from ‘something major,’ possibly related to his prostate cancer, and that his condition deteriorated to the point where doctors who were flown in from France recommended his immediate transfer to Munich for emergency treatment. Some Arab newspapers even reported last week that Mubarak had died.
State-controlled Egyptian media says Mubarak is in Germany for the administering of a ‘slow-acting drug’ for a ‘slipped disc that could keep the President away for some time.’
Meanwhile, Egypt’s powerful intelligence chief General Omar Suleiman has been floating a proposal around Israel to allow Arafat to be transferred from his battered Ramallah compound to his headquarters in Gaza to help with ‘law and order’ after Israel vacates the area.
France’s foreign minister, meeting with Arafat this week, also called for the PLO leader’s immediate release, and sources say, delivered to Arafat a personal message from French President Jacques Chirac pledging full support for the Palestinian cause.
But Sharon, meeting with his advisers, said the 74-year-old Palestinian ruler will remain confined to his compound ‘for the next 45 years,’ a participant in the meeting said.
With suicide bombings in Israel halted, the new threat may be rockets fired from the Palestinian side of the fence deep into the Jewish state. And Israeli military generals are debating how best to respond in the long term.
Following last week’s Kassam firings, which killed two civilians, and more firing this week, the Israeli military announced the establishment of a temporary three-mile-deep ‘security zone’ in the northern Gaza Strip, where most rockets are launched. But the new zone can’t be maintained after Sharon’s Gaza withdrawal plan is implemented next year.
Israel is testing a surveillance radar system that can track mortar and Kassam rockets, but the system can only detect a rocket after it has been launched. Another possibility is the use of a thermal camera that would conduct 24-hour surveillance of the Gaza Strip to hunt for rocket crews and other guerrillas, and then use artillery to destroy the rockets before they are launched.
Aaron Klein is chief of WorldNetDaily.com’supcoming Jerusalem bureau. His past interview subjects have included Yasir Arafat, Ehud Barak, Benjamin Netanyahu and leaders of the Taliban.
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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The Chief Rabbinate will invite Rabbi Riskin for a hearing on whether to extend his term, ostensibly because of his age but possibly because of his views on conversion.
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