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Hamas: Don't Give Money to PA


The Hamas movement Wednesday criticized the U.S. Congress' decision to give $60 million in financial aid to the PA's presidential security forces and for other security purposes.

A Hamas statement said, "The US administration does not work for the good of the Palestinian people. It is always biased towards the Israelis and their colonialist plans, and that is why such aid to the presidential security bodies must have bad intentions." The statement added, "US policy in the Arab region always seeks to divide the Arabs and is against national interests."

Israel Scrambles Jets to Escort US Airliner

By Reuters, VOA News &

Continental Airlines' Flight 90, a commercial passenger plane, was intercepted Wednesday after it failed to identify itself upon entering Israeli airspace. An Israeli air force official said: We treated the incident as possible terror act.

Following anti-terror procedures, four IAF jets intercepted the plane and guided it back over the Mediterranean Sea until communications were restored. The plane, a Boeing 777, was on a scheduled flight from Newark, NJ in the United States. All passengers and crew disembarked safely, Israeli officials said.

The Transportation Ministry said it was investigating whether there was a technical reason for the initial lack of communication between the plane and Israeli ground control.

An IAF official said that due to the sensitivity of the incident, the prime minister and defense minister were also informed on details of the matter. "From the moment that we lost contact with (the jet) we treated the incident as a possible terror act. When the fighter jets approached the plane, they guided it west. It contacted us and that's how we were sure it was not a terror attempt," said the source.

The Israeli air force officials said they went on high alert during the incident on fears the jet had been hijacked. The pilot of the plane later contacted air controllers and landed the aircraft without incident at Ben Gurion airport.

The fighter jets came close to shooting down the passenger jet that lost contact with Ben Gurion Airport's air traffic control as it approached Israeli airspace. When it was ascertained that no foul play was involved, the plane, escorted by two F-15s and two F-16s, was allowed to land. All 273 passengers disembarked safely.

Israel Radio quoted an unidentified IAF officer who said the pilots treated the incident as a terror attack in progress and (the IAF) came the closest they ever had to shooting down a civilian airliner. Still, he would not go so far as to say they came close to pressing the 'fire' buttons.

Israel Threatened in North, South


Brig.Gen. (ret.) Tzvika Fogel, in the clearest warning yet of his long-running series of such warnings, said that though Israel chooses to ignore it, war can be expected in Gaza by this summer - and possibly within a month.

Fogel, a former chief of staff for the Southern Command, spoke Wednesday on Channel Ten television. He warned of two scenarios. One is that Israel will "continue its ostrich-like stance" until military/terrorist forces in Gaza surprise-attack Israel. A second alternative, if this does not happen by the summer, is that Israel will have no choice but to begin a full-scale offensive against the increasingly-strengthened Hamas-Fatah military capacity.

Fogel noted, as he and others have done many times in the past, the wide-scale smuggling network into Gaza that has been developed since Israel quit Gaza during the Disengagement in 2005. "During this period, the Palestinians have brought in anything they wanted through the tunnels they dug," he said, "and Hamas has built up its army in this time in preparation for the conflict with Israel." Yet Israel does nothing, and would rather deal with prisoner exchanges and reinforcing communities

The repeated PA declarations of insistence on the full "right of return" for millions of Arabs to Israel, together with PA war readiness, were also cited by Fogel as indications that war appears close.

He had strong criticism of official Israel: "In the face of this Palestinian threat, Israel chooses to reinforce [its buildings], to close its eyes and hide it head in the sand... Ever since the ceasefire with Abu Mazen (PA President Mahmoud Abbas) went into effect some four months ago, about 200 Kassam rockets have been fired from Gaza - almost two a day. Yet Israel does nothing, and would rather deal with prisoner exchanges and reinforcing communities."

On Israel's northern border, a high-ranking Hizbullah official says there is a possibility of war with Israel this summer. Hizbullah's Deputy Secretary-General Naim Kassam told The Guardian of London that the U.S. is "pushing Israel towards a violent clash."

Israel Rejects Palestinian Prisoner Release List

By Jim Teeple (VOA-Jerusalem)

Israeli officials have rejected a list of Palestinian prisoners to be swapped in exchange for the release of an Israeli soldier being held by Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip.

A statement from Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's office said Israel is disappointed with the list of prisoners submitted by Hamas officials, as part of a proposed prisoner swap. The statement was issued after a meeting of top-level Israeli security and intelligence officials.

News of a prisoner swap has been building for several days, with unofficial estimates of the number of Palestinian prisoners to be released at more than 1,000. They would be exchanged for Israeli Cpl. Gilad Shalit, who was seized last June by Hamas terrorists, in a cross-border raid from the Gaza Strip.

Miri Eisen, Prime Minister Olmert's media advisor, said the list of prisoners Israel received from Hamas is unacceptable. "In this case the demands are ludicrous or, as we put it, very disappointing. We hope to go forward," Eisen said. "For us it is the utmost importance. We do not want to raise expectations, not for the family of Gilad Shalit. All of Israel thinks of Gilad, it is there for him, but this list was unacceptable."

Among those Palestinians said to be on the list are Marwan Barghouti - a senior Fatah leader who was sentenced to five life terms for planning attacks against Israelis - and Ahmad Sadat, the head of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, who Israel says planned the assassination of Israeli cabinet minister Rehavam Ze'evi, five years ago.

Palestinian Information Minister Mustapha Barghouti, who is not a member of either Hamas or Fatah, told reporters both men were on the prisoner list. He said the negotiations, which are being brokered by Egyptian officials, have been going on for some time and that now the ball is in Israel's court.

Two other Israeli prisoners, who were captured by Lebanese Hizbullah terrorists in a cross-border raid, last year in northern Israel, are not part of the discussions.

Boy's Holocaust Diary to be Published

By Israel Faxx News Services

The diary of a Czech boy killed in Auschwitz will be released Sunday. "The Diary of Petr Ginz: 1941-1942," published by Atlantic Monthly Press, tells the story of the Nazi terror in Prague through the eyes of a 13-year-old boy. Ginz's sister, Chava Pressburger, 77, edited the diaries and wrote the book's introduction.

The book, according to an interview with Pressburger in The New York Times, is nearly journalistic in its documentation of the changes in the lives of Jews as they gradually were denied basic rights.

At the same time, Ginz also writes about ordinary events such as class tests and teasing teachers. He became known after his drawings, made at the Terezin camp, were taken by Israeli astronaut Ilan Ramon on the ill-fated Columbia space shuttle trip in 2003.

As the story of the Ginz drawing came out, a Prague man contacted the Yad Vashem memorial in Israel and said he had discovered the Ginz diaries in his attic. Pressburger confirmed their authenticity.

Did a Holocaust Lesson Go Too Far?

By CBS11 News Dallas

It was supposed to be a hard lesson about the horrors of the Holocaust. But a nearly three-week school experiment has come under fire for being too harsh. Supporters said it provided a valuable lesson. But opponents said it went on far too long and over the edge.

Educators at a Waxahachie Ninth Grade Academy are trying to make sure the intolerance of the past is not forgotten in the future. One parent, who did not want to be identified, has a child who participated in the three week project. Anywhere from 50 to 100 9th graders taking an advanced placement geography class were designated as Jews and made to wear a Star of David on their ID badge. Other students were designated as Germans.

Rumors circulated that some students had been spit on, pushed, kicked and tripped. The parent said, if the rumors were true, it was, "totally uncalled for. It should not have been allowed to happen. If they would have stopped it sooner, it wouldn't of got to that point."

Of the program, the school's principal, John Aune, said students were "learning about the problems of intolerance and the problems of discrimination and helping kids understand what some people went through to change the world."

According to students and teachers, the assigned Jews were forced to stand against the wall as the German students passed by in the hallway. The Jewish students ate lunch last and had to pick up every one's garbage. But some students say things began to escalate.

"We made beating sticks to hit the kids with," said Texas Medley, a student at the school. They were spit on. It was a good lesson but it went on too long.

"They would spit on them. They would push them down the stairs. They would be really rude," said student Tiffany Zimmerman. "I think it was too rough and over the edge. They took it too far."

"I think that some of the kids were kind of harsh, but it taught us a little bit about how it was back then," said student Trevor Smith.

Principal Aune said this is the fifth year Waxahachie Ninth Grade Academy has run the Jews and Germans school project. He said he is unaware of any incidents involving students spitting, pushing, or tripping each other.

British Researcher Claims 'Jews Smarter, It's Genetic'


Jews' average IQ score is seven to 15 points higher than gentiles and they are exceptionally accomplished, claims the British social theorist Dr Charles Murray.

"Jewish genius," Murray said, is a topic so sensitive that Jews rarely address it. Writing in Commentary, a neoconservative journal, Murray argued that anti-Semitism has succeeded in blurring the connection, but the Jews' accomplishments are scientifically based. Murray said he regards himself as a Scotsman who came to Britain from Iowa and therefore is not afraid to broach and elaborate on the findings in his research.

Murray sparked outrage with his 1994 book The Bell Curve, which addressed what he saw as black under-achievement. He claims that some groups are genetically more accomplished than others. He mentions that from the birth of monotheism to the medieval philosopher Maimonides, the 17th-century rationalist Spinoza, and the scientists, artists and intellectuals of the modern world, Jews have shown a rare affinity with scholarship.

The Sunday Times, quoting the research, noted that since the second half of the 20th century, Jews received 29 Nobel prizes. Recipients included physicist Albert Einstein, writer Boris Pasternak and economist Milton Friedman. These figures are significant particularly as Jews constitute about two-tenths of one percent of the world's population. "You do the math." Murray says.

Tony Judt, a British-Jewish historian based at New York University, is scathing about Murray's theory. "My own, statistically naive, impression these days is that intelligence, ignorance and bigotry are distributed among Jews in proportions comparable to their presence in society as a whole," he told the Sunday Times.

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