Newsletter : 6fax1012.txt
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Evangelicals 1/3 of U.S. Tourists to Israel
By The Christian Post
Evangelical Christians make up 1/3 of American tourists that visit Israel according to
the country's Minister of Tourism. Some 5,000 Evangelical Christians are in Israel as part
of an annual pilgrimage during the Feast of the Tabernacles (Sukkot) to support the Jewish
State. Sukkot is one of the three major holidays in Judaism where the Jewish population
travels to the Temple of Jerusalem. The pilgrimage festival lasts for seven days with some
people sleeping in temporary structures called Sukkah reminiscent of the ones the
ancient Israelites dwelt in during their 40 years in the desert where they reflect
on their sins and God's goodness in providing for all their needs.
U.S. Weapons to be Transferred to Terrorists?
Weapons and financial aid the U.S. is considering giving to Palestinian Authority
President Mahmoud Abbas' Force 17 security detail to bolster it against Hamas might be
used instead to attack Jews and "fight Israeli occupation," a senior Force 17 officer told
WND in an exclusive interview.
The militant, Abu Yousuf, hinted any new weapons provided by the U.S. to his group
could be shared with the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades terror organization, the declared
"military wing" of Abbas' Fatah party. Abu Yousuf, like several Force 17 members, is also
a member of the Brigades.
"There is no chance that we will use force and violence against our brothers in Hamas
unless they will endanger [Abbas]. There is a chance that Israel will attack the
Palestinian territories, and in this case, these weapons and others provided [by the U.S.
to Force 17] will be directed towards the (Israeli) occupation," Abu Yousuf said.
Abu Yousuf was responding to reports the U.S. is planning to transfer weapons and aid
to Force 17, which protects Abbas and also serves as a special security force on behalf of
the Fatah party.
Hamas and Fatah have been fighting in the Gaza Strip and West Bank since last weekend
after negotiations to establish a national unity government between the two appeared to
have fallen through. At least 14 terrorists were killed and more than 150 Palestinians
were wounded in the clashes the last 10 days, the deadliest since Hamas won the majority
of Palestinian parliamentary seats earlier this year.
A senior Palestinian official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told WND that Fatah
security officials noted in recent firefights Hamas members used weaponry more advanced
than what was known to have been in the Hamas arsenal, including newer styles of assault
rifles and rocket-propelled grenades.
After a meeting with Abbas in Ramallah last week, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
told reporters the U.S. would "do what it can" to bolster Abbas. Last week the New York
Times reported the U.S. proposed expanding Abbas' Force 17 from 3,500 men to 6,000 as part
of a $26-million plan to strengthen the Palestinian leader.
The Associated Press and Israel's Yedioth Ahronoth daily reported this past Friday new
training facilities for Force 17 are slated to be set up in the West Bank town of Jericho
and in Gaza, at a cost of $2 million each, according to the U.S. proposal.
Senior Palestinian officials told WND the U.S. is planning to transfer ammunition and
new assault rifles to Force 17 within days and has pledged to procure about $28 million in
aid to Abbas. They said the U.S. would help train Force 17 members in the operation of the
new weapons and in advanced combat techniques in facilities already in use in Jericho.
The State Department did not return calls for comment before press time.
David Baker, a spokesman for Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, said Olmert's office had no
comment on reports of new U.S. aid to Abbas. Sources in Olmert's office confirmed the U.S.
aid package reportedly offered to Abbas. The last known weapons transfer to Force 17 took
place in May and reportedly consisted of 3,000 assault rifles and more than 1 million
rounds of ammunition.
At first, the U.S., Israel and the PA denied the reports of the weapons transfer, but
Olmert in June announced he had approved the shipment of U.S. weapons and ammunition,
explaining the transfer was meant for Abbas' personal protection. "I did this because we
are running out of time and we need to help Abu Mazen," Olmert told reporters.
The shipment required Israeli consent to pass through checkpoints. It was delivered by
a convoy protected by the Israeli Defense Forces, according to Israeli and Palestinian
officials involved in the transfer.
Force 17 officer Abu Yousuf told WND this week the latest planned U.S. weapons transfer
was meant to spark a Palestinian civil war and ensure Palestinian security forces are
"friendly" to the West. "We are aware that a civil war is the dream of the Zionists and
the Americans, but it will not happen so quickly," said Abu Yousuf.
"The Americans see their situation in Iraq and in Afghanistan, and they know that a war
against Iran is a matter of time, and they want to guarantee that in Palestine there will
not be a regime that will be hostile to the U.S. and will not endanger Israel."
Continued the Force 17 member: "They (Americans) hope that these arms will be used
against our brothers in Hamas, but we ask Allah that our brothers are also aware of this
issue and will not play into the hands of the Americans and the Israelis."
Abu Yousuf told WND in a previous interview the weapons sent by the U.S. in May would
be fired at Israelis. "These weapons will not be used in an internal war but against
Israelis," he said. "Force 17 is proud that we were the first to lead the Palestinian
people during tough times such as resistance operations (against the Israeli army during
large-scale operations in northern Samaria in 2002). We will also be the first to lead the
Palestinians in the current struggle against Israeli occupation."
Like Abu Yousuf, many Force 17 officers are also members of the Al Aqsa Martyrs
Brigades. In June, Abbas appointed senior Brigades leader Mahmoud Damra as commander of
Force 17. Damra, who was arrested by Israel last month, was on the Jewish state's
most-wanted list of terrorists. He is accused of masterminding a string of attacks and
leading a terror cell based in Ramallah allegedly responsible for scores of shootings
Together with the Islamic Jihad terror group, the Brigades has taken responsibility for
every suicide bombing inside Israel the past two years, including an attack in Tel Aviv in
April that killed American teenager Daniel Wultz and nine Israelis. The Brigades also has
carried out scores of deadly shooting and rocket attacks against Israeli civilians in
Asked to confirm other Force 17 officers also are members of the Brigades, Abu Yousuf
replied: "During our official service and during our job hours we are soldiers. What we do
in our free time it is our business. Of course, as members of Fatah, some of us are
members in the Brigades and we take part in the defense and protection of our people and
in the fight against the Israeli occupation."
The State Department includes the Brigades on its official list of international terror
organizations, while general U.S. policy deems the Fatah party as "moderate."
Sources close to the Al Aqsa Brigades told WND the American assault rifles transferred
in May were used in three separate anti-Israel shooting attacks in June. One attack killed
a 35-year-old Israeli Arab on a major West Bank highway on the outskirts of Jerusalem.
Israeli security officials say the shooters likely mistook the victim for a Jew. The
second attack, which occurred June 13 on the same highway, lightly wounded an Israeli.
In the third attack, the Al Aqsa Brigades June 19 ambushed bus carrying Israeli school
girls on a West Bank highway. The bus was armored. The school girls escaped unharmed.
Israel arrested two members of Force 17 in connection with the shootings.
Abu Yousuf refused to confirm whether the American weapons were used in the spate of
highway attacks, but he hinted the information was accurate.
"The fighters who were arrested by the Israeli army in relation to these attacks are
Force 17 men, but I cannot confirm what weapons they used. It is no coincidence that as
soon as these American weapons arrived, we were able to carry out these accurate
shootings." Abu Yousuf said.
Jewish Group Offers 007 Middle East 'Missions'
It's billed as the 'Ultimate Mission' -- an eight-day, James Bond-style quest behind
the scenes of Israel's conflict with Palestinian terrorists.
For a little less than $2,000 and a donation to a center that sues countries and groups
it accuses of militant links, participants are promised briefings from Israeli spies, a
visit to a West Bank checkpoint, tours of the Lebanese frontlines and trips in light
aircraft over northern Israel.
"Experience a dynamic and intensive eight-day exploration of Israel's struggle for
survival and security in the Middle East today," reads the promotional material for the
Highlights listed on the organizer's Web site include: Inside tour of the Israel Air
Force unit that carries out targeted killings; Meeting Israel's Arab agents who infiltrate
the terrorist groups and provide real-time intelligence; Meetings with senior cabinet
ministers and other key policymakers."
The trips are organized by the Israel Law Center, which describes itself as a "Jewish
legal rights institute." It says it is not affiliated to any branch or agency of the
Headed by a 32-year-old lawyer, Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, the group uses the funds it
raises to pursue cases against Palestinian and international organizations it suspects of
funding Palestinian militant groups. Among others, Darshan-Leitner has sued Iran and the
European Union for their suspected role in funding Palestinian groups.
"We file cases against those who help to fund terrorism or deal in terrorism," she told
Reuters. "It's helping the terror victims to fight back against those who ruin their
As well as the $1,895 cost of the trips, participants are asked to make a
tax-deductible donation of between $500 and $5,000 to the Israel Law Center to support its
work. Darshan-Leitner won't say how much has been raised since she started the tours in
2003, but the next trip, scheduled for November 6-13, will be the 11th. Each one attracts
between 30 and 50 participants, she says, with visitors from the United States, Canada and
Participation is not restricted to sympathizers with Israel, though most are. There are
no meetings with Palestinian officials to present their viewpoint on the uprising since
Palestinian lawmakers said they were aware of the work of the Israel Law Center but
surprised at its method of raising funds. "You wonder about the safety and the legality of
what they are up to," said a senior member of Fatah, a group that has been the target of
some of the Israel Law Center's probes.
As well as the adrenaline-pumping parts of the tour, there are also opportunities to
relax, with a moonlight boat cruise on the Sea of Galilee, a cook-out barbecue and a visit
to Jerusalem's Western Wall also included in the price.
Despite the price tag, participants have raved on the Web site about some of the
earlier trips "There is simply no comparable way to experience Israel in these trying
times," wrote Menashe Frank of Miami. "On a judicial, military, cultural and religious
level, the mission delivered every time."
Added Daryll Mills of Wrightsville Beach, NC, "I am very honored and humbled to have
been, albeit for a very short time and in a very indirect way, present and part of the
situation," he wrote. "I hope and trust that my country stands by yours in your time of
Correction on Our Dead Sea Story
By Dr. Ehud Finklestein in Israel
The story about the Dead Sea Hotels (contained) a mistake 20 cm = 8" and not 51"
as written in the story.
Second, you should clarify to the readers abroad that in the Dead Sea there are two
conflicting phenomena. On the one hand, the Dead Sea at large is drying, its level drops
and shoreline receding, mainly as a result of pumping the fresh water from the Lake of
Galilee to the National Freshwater Pipeline, instead of letting the water flow to the
Jordan River, but also as a result of pumping the Dead Sea water by the Dead Sea Works
("DSW") to the potash production plant..
The second phenomenon is the increase in the level of the "pond." Actually, the
south-western corner of the Dead Sea is detached from the sea, surrounded by dikes and
serves as a huge evaporation pond, serving the first step of the potash production
The Dead Sea water is pumped by Dead Sea Works to this pond, where it evaporates,
causing precipitation of sodium chloride and then pumped to the plant for potash
production. Because of the salt precipitation, the level of the brine in the pond rises 20
cm every year. When the first hotels were built, the pond was not there! It seems clear
that DSW which is now a private profitable plant is causing the problem and therefore
should solve it, but instead of Israel having the DSW, the DSW is the one having Israel,
doing as it likes.
The most logical and simple solution is to "harvest" the sodium chloride from the
bottom of the pond and return it to the Dead Sea at large, but this cost money, and DSW
want to make money and not to spend money, and the state goes along with them!!
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