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Quick Takes: News You May Have Missed

Is The Building Freeze Really Over?
 
   Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the U.S. he will implement a de facto freeze on Jewish construction in the West Bank and some eastern Jerusalem communities, according to sources in the Israeli government and Palestinian Authority.
 
   PA officials, meanwhile, told this column they received a U.S. pledge that Israel in the coming months will free a number of Palestinian prisoners as well as transfer to the PA security control of several West Bank areas.
 
   Netanyahu this week stated he will not yield to growing international calls on Israel to extend a freeze on settlement building in the West Bank. The freeze expires next week.
 
   While Netanyahu has denied a freeze extension, the Israeli government and PA sources told this column Netanyahu will not allow any new Jewish construction into the foreseeable future in the West Bank or eastern sections of Jerusalem, excluding what are known as the three main settlement blocs – Gush Etzion, Maale Adumin and Ariel.
 
   PA officials, meanwhile, said the U.S. has been negotiating the borders of a future Palestinian state that would see Israel eventually withdraw from most of the West Bank and some areas of eastern Jerusalem with the exception of the three main blocs.
 
   While the PA does not believe it will see an actual Palestinian state within a year, it expects in that time it will take over many more neighborhoods in the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem that are normally controlled on the ground by Israel.
 

   The PA said the expectation is based on pledges by the Obama administration. They said the U.S. received a pledge from Netanyahu to transfer more security control of West Bank towns as well as release a number of Palestinian prisoners as gestures to entice Abbas to stay in the peace talks.

 

PA Happy With Direction Talks Are Taking

 

   PA officials told this column they are satisfied with the direction the Obama administration has taken in brokering Israeli-Palestinian talks.
 
   Netanyahu’s government had wanted to start the discussions on the issue of security – specifically Israeli demands that a future Palestinian state be demilitarized and that Israel be able to maintain certain security stations in the West Bank. The Palestinians wanted to begin the talks on the issue of defining the future borders of a Palestinian state.
 
   According to sources involved in the talks, the Obama administration adopted the Palestinian position. The parties are discussing the borders of the projected state as well as the stationing of international forces on the Palestinian side of the border and possibly along the Jordanian-Palestinian border.
 

   With regard to Israeli-Syrian talks, Egyptian sources told this column the U.S. has pressured the UN to suspend the probe into the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri so the investigation does not interrupt the start of these talks. That probe seemed set to blame the Iranian-backed Hizbullah for the assassination.

 

Organization Favoring Ground Zero Mosque
Has Ties To Obama, Soros
 
   An organization tied to the Obama administration and to philanthropist George Soros has strongly backed the planned Islamic cultural center and mosque near Ground Zero, slamming opponents as “intolerant” and acting against the U.S. Constitution.
 
   The organization also claimed the Cordoba Initiative’s 13-story, $100-million mosque project will “deal a blow to the propaganda of al-Qaida and Islamist extremists.”
 
   Recent polls show an overwhelming majority of the U.S. public opposes the mosque plans.
 
   “There are two very important reasons we are choosing to speak out,” began a letter to the mosque organizers issued by VoteVets, a pro-Democrat group of veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan.
 
   Continued the letter: “First and foremost, when we signed up for service, we swore to uphold the Constitution. For all the talk these days from some quarters about the importance of protecting the Constitution and allowing the free market to work unfettered, those same people are fighting against your community’s right to buy property and worship freely.
 
   “Secondly, allowing the Community Center to move forward will deal a blow to the propaganda of al-Qaida and Islamist extremists, who recruit on the talking point that the United States is in a war against Islam. Of course, we’re not. But, if those forces of intolerance win, it will certainly appear that we are in a war against one religion – Islam.”
 
   VoteVets bills itself as a “nexus for information and opinion on war news, war politics, deployments, optempo, veterans’ issues, troops’ families’ issues and more.”
 
   The organization does not outright define its political leanings but some of its leaders are tied to the Obama administration and to Soros-backed groups, including the philanthropist’s Open Society Institute. In the last four years, VoteVets gave $228,700 to Democratic Party candidates and $15,100 to Republican candidates.
 
   Kayla Williams, one of VoteVets’s online newsletter writers and senior advisers, works for Obama appointee Eric Shinesky, the U.S. Secretary Of Veterans Affairs, and VoteVets senior adviser Jim Mowrer served as the State Veterans director for Vice President Joe Biden’s presidential campaign. He is currently an assistant organizer of the Iowa Democratic Veterans Caucus.
 
   Meanwhile, VoteVet activists are also tied Soros-funded institutions.
 

   VoteVet online writer Matthew Alexander is a fellow at Soros’ Open Society Institute; Elaine Kamarck, an adviser to VoteVet, serves on the advisory board of the Soros-funded Center for American Progress left-leaning think tank; and VoteVet adviser Bob Kerrey is a trustee of the Center for American Progress, while VoteVet adviser Lawrence Korb is a fellow at the Soros-funded institute.

 

   Aaron Klein is Jerusalem bureau chief and senior reporter for Internet giant WorldNetDaily.com. He is also host of an investigative radio program on New York’s 770-WABC Radio, the largest talk radio station in the U.S., every Sunday between 2-4 p.m.

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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