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Intelligence Chief Confirms Clinton's Version of Golan Talks

By IsraelNationalNews.com

Former Chief of Military Intelligence Uri Saguy told Ha'aretz that former Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was willing to give away the Golan Heights in a deal with Syria and pull back to the pre-June 4, 1967 boundary. Netanyahu denied statements appearing in former President Bill Clinton's new book, insisting he never agreed to such surrender.


Army Told Not to Use Israeli Bullets in Iraq

By Reuters

Israeli-made bullets bought by the U.S. Army to plug a shortfall should be used for training only, not to fight Muslim guerrillas in Iraq and Afghanistan, U.S. lawmakers told Army generals on Thursday.

Since the Army has other stockpiled ammunition, "by no means, under any circumstances should a round (from Israel) be utilized," said Rep. Neil Abercrombie of Hawaii, the top Democrat on a House of Representatives Armed Services subcommittee with jurisdiction over land forces. The Army contracted with Israel Military Industries Ltd. in December for $70 million in small-caliber ammunition.

The Israeli firm was one of only two worldwide that could meet U.S. technical specifications and delivery needs, said Brig. Gen. Paul Izzo, the Army's program executive officer for ammunition. The other was East Alton, Illinois-based Winchester Ammunition, which also received a $70 million contract.

Although the Army should not have to worry about "political correctness," Abercrombie was making a valid point about the propaganda pitfalls of using Israeli rounds in the U.S.-declared war on terror, said Rep. Curt Weldon, the Pennsylvania Republican who chairs the subcommittee on tactical air and land forces. "There's a sensitivity that I think all of us recognize," Weldon told the Army witnesses, including Maj. Gen. Buford Blount, who led the U.S. Third Infantry Division that captured Baghdad in April 2003.

Blount, now the Army's assistant deputy chief of staff, said the Army had sufficient small caliber ammunition -- 5.56mm, 7.62mm and .50 caliber -- to conduct current operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere. But taken together with training needs, the United States had strained its production facilities, he testified. "To fight a major combat operation in another theater will require the Army to impose restrictions on training expenditures and to focus current inventory and new production on combat operations."


IDF Forces Preventing Terrorism

By IsraelNationalNews.com

The intended bomber, from Shechem, was a member of PLO leader Yasir Arafat's Fatah and received orders from the Hizbullah in Lebanon. The plot was revealed when soldiers in the Shomron near the community of Migdalim stopped a suspicious vehicle on Monday. A 22-pound bomb the vehicle occupants were carrying was learned to be intended for the Fatah suicide bomber, who planned to enter Jerusalem at the A-Ram Checkpoint area. On Tuesday night, the suicide bomber and an accomplice were taken into custody in the northern Jerusalem area. The courier, also imprisoned, received NIS 500 for transporting the bomb into Jerusalem; it was being carried in a student's knapsack.

IDF sources report 80% of terror warnings originate from the would-be suicide bomber's hometown of Shechem, with Fatah Tanzim terrorists as the perpetrators. In response, Shechem became the target of a large ongoing counterterrorist operation today.

The IDF forces, including elite units, entered the Palestinian Authority area during the night with the intention of arresting wanted suspects, and uncovering explosives and weapons. The focus of the operation is in the Casba and Balata areas. A curfew has been imposed and leaflets were distributed calling on the populace to turn in persons involved in terrorist activities. Among other results of the operation, a 44-pound bomb vest was found in a home. The vest was detonated without injuries, but it led to the collapse of the building. Soldiers also neutralized a bomb intended to kill them, came under automatic weapons fire and, later, a firebomb attack. There were no injuries to IDF troops.

In other preventative actions, IDF soldiers shot dead two terrorists detected approaching a military outpost protecting the northern Gaza community of Dugit. The terrorists, members of the Islamic Jihad, were dressed in IDF uniforms. Despite the attack, the Dugit-area crossing point (out of the Palestinian Authority) was to reopen this afternoon, according to IDF Lt.-Col. Yossi Hadad. In southern Gaza Wednesday night, IDF troops shot and killed a terrorist as he attempted to place a bomb near the community of Bedolach.


Palestinian PM Agrees to Egypt's Demands for Security Reforms

By VOA News

Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Queira said Palestinian security agencies will soon be consolidated, in exchange for Egypt's help in patrolling the Gaza Strip, if and when Israelis leave. The Israeli government said it plans to pull settlers and troops from Gaza by the end of 2005.

Queria's published comments came one day after Egyptian Gen. Omar Suleiman gave Palestinians two months to carry out security reforms or lose Egypt's help. Cairo has offered to send 200 security experts to Gaza.

Israeli officials say they are waiting to see if Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat supports the consolidation plans. International mediators have strongly endorsed Egypt's offer to train Palestinian security officers for duty in the Gaza Strip, if Israel carries out its plan to withdraw from the territory.

In a statement, envoys from the United States, Russia, the United Nations and the European Union, a grouping known as the Mideast Quartet, said Egypt's help would be crucial to the planned pullout.


Pilgrimage for Israel's Lovelorn and Pious

By United Press International

Tradition has it that Rabbi Yonatan Ben Uziel gave a blessing to all those who are unmarried that if they visited his resting place they would merit to meet their soul mates and marry within the period of one year.

In Amuka, near Tzfat, Israel's religious and romantic have just completed an annual pilgrimage to the grave of a pious rabbi who reputedly can help the lovelorn. Rabbi Yonatan ben Uziel was a disciple of Hillel, the revered Talmudic sage of the first century BCE, who studied God's Word with such burning passion that any bird flying overhead would be incinerated; the New York Times said this week.

Every year on the anniversary of his death thousands of pilgrims in buses and cars descend on this gorge of cedars and olive trees in the northern Galilee to recite Psalms at Yonatan's grave.

There was certainly a carnival atmosphere this year. Vendors hawked prayer fringes, amulets, candles, CDs and Kiddush cups. There were panhandlers with a variety of hard-luck stories. There was klezmer music over a loudspeaker and barbecued food. Inside the shrine were men and women holding battered books of Psalms and swaying and murmuring with fervor, many pressing their fingers tightly against the faded blue velvet covering the rabbi's resting place.


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