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Abused Arab Woman with Knife Asks IDF to Arrest Her


A 25 year old Arab woman from a village near Hebron approached an IDF base Wednesday with a knife in her hand. When the soldiers at the gate told her to put the knife down, they were surprised to hear her asking them to arrest her.

She told the soldiers that she had just escaped from her husband, who had beaten her because he suspected her of having an affair. As she spoke, two of the husband's brothers arrived on the scene and asked her to come with them. She refused, and they began dragging her away by force, kicking her and pulling her hair.

The two soldiers rescued the woman from their hands and called the police, who arrested the brothers. The woman received medical help at the base and was then taken by a Red Crescent ambulance to a local hospital in Hebron.

Barak Blocks Gas Mask Distribution


Defense Minister Ehud Barak has given an order to leave Israelis without working gas masks for fear that Syria would see the redistribution of masks as preparing for war.

Following the Second Lebanon War, it was decided to collect the masks for refurbishing, which had been distributed long ago due to the threat of Saddam Hussein using chemical weapons. Barak has ordered that process halted.

Army Radio reported that Barak issued the directive despite the fact that Syria has built up a huge arsenal of missiles capable of holding biological and chemical warheads.

Israel's intelligence agencies are still uncertain about the possibility of a Syrian attack, but top officials have made regular statements about the importance of avoiding any actions that could be misinterpreted by Syria, lest such result in a Syrian response that might spur a war.

"Israel is not interested in war with Syria, and we believe that Syria does not want war either," Barak declared Wednesday, while observing a military exercise in the Golan Heights. "Therefore war shouldn't erupt."

Syria has significantly upgraded its military capabilities and readiness, while Hizbullah has been buying up land in southern Lebanon to be used as staging areas for another conflict with the Jewish state. Recent intelligence reports say Syria has attempted to neutralize Israel's superior Air Force by deploying huge batteries of anti-aircraft missiles across the country.

Knesset member Yuval Steinitz (Likud), who heads the Knesset Committee of the Home Front, expressed outrage at Barak's hindering of the protection of Israel's citizens, saying it was "reminiscent of Moshe Dayan's decision not to call up the reserves in order not to upset the Syrians and Egyptians on the eve of the Yom Kippur War."

Netanyahu Vows to Win Premiership After Party Election Victory

By Robert Berger (VOA-Jerusalem) &

Former Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has won re-election as leader of the right-wing Likud party. But some analysts describe it as a limited victory because of a respectable showing by a far-right wing opponent.

Hawkish opposition leader Netanyahu won the chairmanship of his Likud party by a landslide, capturing 73 percent of the vote. He said the next stop is the prime minister's office. He told Israel Radio that his election gives the entire nation hope for a future that is better and more secure.

Netanyahu is known as favoring tough security policies, and he has soared in the polls since last year's Lebanon War, which an official inquiry described as a failure. As a result, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's popularity has plunged. National elections are not due until 2010, but if Olmert's fragile government collapses, early elections could take place next year.

But Israeli analyst Gil Hoffman says do not count Olmert out just yet. "Ehud Olmert is the ultimate survivor. He is just like the state of Israel, more resilient than people give him credit for."

In fact, Hoffman notes that Netanyahu's victory was overshadowed by a respectable showing by his challenger Moshe Feiglin, who won 23 percent of the vote. Feiglin is a far-right wing settler who opposes peace talks with the Palestinians and seeks to expand Jewish settlements throughout the West Bank, or what he calls the biblical Land of Israel.

Hoffman says Feiglin has contributed to an image of the Likud as a party of extremists. "And that's not something Netanyahu wants if he wants to appeal to the center of the political map," he said.

Netanyahu needs the votes of Israelis in the center if he wants to win re-election, so he has sought to project a more moderate image. Though he opposes a Palestinian state in most of the West Bank, he says he would agree to peace talks and territorial concessions, if the Palestinians keep their commitments to fight terrorism.

Netanyahu wants to throw Feiglin out of the Likud party and did not even allow Feiglin to attend the victory's celebrations. Feiglin was refused entry to the hall in which Netanyahu was delivering his victory speech. Asked later why, instead of embracing the second-place finisher, as is customary, he refused to even allow him into the room, Netanyahu said he had no intention of embracing Feiglin or those like him. He denied having given the order to prevent him from entering, however.

Feiglin himself said he arrived at the Exhibition Fairgrounds in Tel Aviv to sincerely congratulate Netanyahu on his victory and to begin working together. "But I was surprised when the guards didn't let me in. Netanyahu's behavior has brought very little honor to the Likud that he leads... We have to work together against the true competition, which is the left-wing. But Netanyahu acted childishly and out of primal fear. I will be happy to receive an apology from him."

Feiglin was happy with his showing in the primaries, saying it proves that "a third of the Likud wants a leader who believes in God... Today the revolution to bring a leadership of faith has begun."

Israeli Security Agencies: No Credible Threat to NYC


Israeli security agencies that monitor al-Qaeda chatter are not aware of any credible threats indicating a radiological attack against New York or any other U.S. city, security sources told WND.

The sources said there has been some talk on al-Qaeda forums that have proven reliable in the past of "something spectacular" against U.S. interests, but they said the analyzed chatter did not present a timetable or any specific threats and was missing indicators normally associated with credible threats. They said some of the intercepted chatter was conflicting.

The security officials were responding to a much-publicized warning on Friday by the Jerusalem-based DEBKAfile website citing Internet chatter suggesting al-Qaeda would use trucks loaded with radioactive material or "dirty bombs" to attack New York. DEBKA also mentioned Los Angeles and Miami as possible targets for dirty bomb attacks.

In response to DEBKA's posting, which was splashed on the cover of the popular New York Daily News, New York officials immediately beefed up security, deploying police units with extra radiological sensors on street, water and air patrols, and instructed officers to stop vehicles at checkpoints in lower Manhattan and around the city.

A number of media reports this weekend called DEBKA's reliability and track record into question, citing previous DEBKA posts that were inaccurate and quoting security analysts questioning DEBKA's credibility.

"I don't take DEBKA seriously as a reliable source ... but there are people who take it seriously, and that's what makes it dangerous," Boaz Ganor, an Israeli anti-terror expert, told the Associated Press.

DEBKAfile founder Giora Shamis defended his site's report. "There was definitely a sentence in the warning that referred specifically to New York," Shamis told Israel's Channel 10.

Israeli security sources speaking to WND declined to comment on the credibility of DEBKA, but said Israeli security agencies do not have any specific credible information about an al-Qaeda radiological attack in New York or in any other U.S. city.

The sources said there has been general chatter on the Internet and through other means of al-Qaeda communication warning of "something spectacular," but they said some of the information and chatter analyzed were conflicting and lacked certain indicators present in talk linked to previous attacks.

Also, Homeland Security Department spokesman Russ Knocke told reporters his agency had no credible information indicating an imminent attack. "We are closely monitoring the situation," said Knocke. "There continues to be no credible information telling us that there's a threat to the homeland at this time." And an FBI spokesman said there was no credible threat.

'Secret' Plan Would Give Palestinians West Bank: Israeli Cities Included in Cede-Back Proposal


Newly installed Israeli President Shimon Peres has quietly drafted a plan for the Jewish state to evacuate and transfer to the Palestinians nearly the entire West Bank and several Arab Israeli cities located within territory that is undisputedly Israel's according to the international community, WND has learned.

The West Bank is strategic territory that runs alongside Jerusalem and is within rocket range of Tel Aviv and Israel's international airport. It is home to many biblical Jewish communities and some of Judaism's holiest sites.

Peres has presented his initiative to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and to top aides for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas the past few weeks, after he took office as Israeli president last month, diplomatic sources in Jerusalem told WND.

The official role of president here is limited largely to ceremonial matters; the president does not create foreign policy. Olmert is mulling over the plan and agrees with much of its contents, the diplomatic sources said.

Peres' plan calls for Israel to hand 97-percent of the West Bank over to Abbas, with Israel retaining a small number of the territory's Jewish communities. In exchange for Israel keeping some land, the Jewish state will give the PA control of Arab Israeli cities north of Tel Aviv which, together with the evacuated West Bank territory, would amount to the equivalent of 100 percent of the West Bank.

Diplomatic sources said aside from Abbas and Olmert, Peres has presented his plan to European Union officials. Top EU diplomats in recent days told the media they want a U.S.-sponsored international conference scheduled for November to lead to negotiations on a final agreement with the Palestinians.

That international conference and talk from the Bush administration the past few weeks has led many here to speculate the U.S. will push in the near future for intense Israeli-Palestinian negotiations leading to a Palestinian state.

With a year and a half left in office, Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice have been urging meetings between Abbas and Olmert to establish a framework for momentum leading to a breakthrough at November's conference. Olmert and Abbas have been meeting bi-monthly in summits brokered by the U.S.

Already Olmert during the meetings has granted a number of security concessions to Abbas regarding increased Palestinian control of the West Bank. The Israeli prime minister last month granted amnesty to 178 gunmen from Abbas' Fatah organization that comprise most of the senior leadership of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, the declared military wing of Fatah that is responsible for every suicide bombing in Israel the past three years.

Olmert is reportedly considering granting amnesty to 206 more Brigades terrorists. According to Palestinian officials, Olmert already informed the PA that Fatah gunmen are largely immune from Israeli anti-terror raids regardless of whether they are officially on Olmert's amnesty list.

Also, Olmert is strongly considering removing hundreds of Israel Defense Forces roadblocks and checkpoints situated in strategic sites located throughout the West Bank. The IDF sees the checkpoints as crucial in helping stop terrorists, including suicide bombers, from infiltrating Jewish cities.

As well, in a scantily-reported but major move, Israel last week started allowing armed Palestinian policemen to patrol areas in the West Bank that fall under Israeli security control according to the 1993 Oslo Accords. Security in the territory, referred to as Area B, is supposed to be insured by the IDF, which still monitors the area but has allowed for an unprecedented stepped-up armed Palestinian security presence there.

In response to the renewed momentum toward a Palestinian state, rabbis for the Yesha Council of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria – the West Bank – Tuesday slammed the Israeli government for considering major concessions.

The council released a statement expressing "concern at the irresponsible diplomatic moves being made during these days, the main point of which is the consent to the establishment of a Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria. These moves are founded upon irrelevant considerations of political survival, and are being made in total opposition to the opinion of the defense establishment."

When Peres assumed the role of president last month, political analysts and pundits here widely expected him to defy the limits of his office and take a hands-on role in Israeli diplomacy and policy making. According to Knesset sources, Peres is contemplating even asking lawmakers to officially expand the role of the president to include conducting foreign policy.

During Peres' acceptance speech last month, he called for Israel to retreat from the West Bank. The next day, he called for direct negotiations with Syria, which is hosting top Palestinian terror leaders and supporting the Lebanese Hizbullah militia, which last summer launched thousands of rockets into Israeli population centers. Syrian President Bashar Assad warned several times the past few months his country is preparing for war.

Peres, Israel's longest standing Knesset member, was considered the driving force of the 1993 Oslo Accords. The Peres Peace Center, headed by the new president, advocates the division of Jerusalem and Israeli withdrawals from the strategic West Bank and Golan Heights.

Peres repeatedly has come under fire by critics for policies and plans many say would greatly undermine Israel's security if implemented. An official biography of the elderly statesman released earlier this year, entitled "Shimon Peres," revealed a draft agreement he hammered out with West Germany in 1961 to allow the creation of German military bases on Israeli soil less than two decades after the Holocaust.

The biography also detailed a controversial plan Peres concocted to lease French Guyana from France and create an Israeli colony there at a time when the nine-year-old Israel was desperate for immigrants and struggling to establish itself.

Israeli Arab Terrorist Group 'Ready for Attacks'


A terrorist organization consisting of Arab citizens of Israel who are connected to the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, the "military wing" of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah organization, has re-formed north of Jerusalem and is prepared to attack, Brigades sources told WND.

The group, calling itself the Freedom Brigades of the Galilee, took credit for a shooting attack Friday in Jerusalem's Old City that wounded nine.

The Freedom Brigades in 2003 announced its formation in the Galilee, a region north of Jerusalem that encompasses about one-third of Israel. Israeli police killed the Freedom Brigades' leader, Mohammad Khatib, during a shootout in April 2004. Afterwards Israeli security officials announced the entire group had been disbanded.

But on Friday, Khatib's nephew, Ahmed Khatib, an Israeli Arab from the Galilee region, carried out a shooting attack caught on surveillance camera during which he grabbed the gun of a security guard, shot the guard and reportedly eight passersby. Ahmed Khatib was chased down and killed by a second, nearby armed guard.

The Palestinian Maan News agency published on Tuesday what it said was a message from the Freedom Brigades of the Galilee announcing the attack was carried out by its group to avenge Khatib's killing. The group did not say whether it was connected to any Palestinian terrorist organization.

Senior sources in Fatah's Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades terrorist group told WND the Freedom Brigades has indeed re-formed and consists of Israeli Arabs ready to carry out attacks within the Jewish state.

The Al Aqsa Brigades sources said the Freedom Brigades group receives direction from West Bank elements of the Al Aqsa Brigades who did not receive amnesty last month in an agreement with Israel in which Fatah militants avowed to end attacks against the Jewish state.

The Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, Fatah's declared military wing, is responsible for every suicide bombing in Israel the past three years. One-hundred-seventy-eight Brigades terrorists who comprise most of the senior leadership of the group were granted amnesty last month by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, reportedly as a gesture to bolster Abbas against rival Hamas. Olmert is reportedly considering granting amnesty to 208 more Brigades terrorists.

The claims of a terrorist group that formed within Israel consisting of Arab Israeli citizens follows a WND exclusive interview in May in which Brigades leaders warned their group formed a terrorist cell living in the vicinity of Jerusalem consisting of Israeli residents ready to carry out attacks within the Jewish state.

"We have Israeli Arab brothers who are members of the Brigades who live in Israel and will make in the coming days and weeks shootings and suicide bombings," said a top Brigades leader, who spoke on the condition his name be withheld.

"Even in the case that there will be a cease-fire in Gaza, (the group) will keep attacking Israel. They will see the importance of our cells in Jerusalem with more attacks in the near future," the Brigades leader said.

Israeli Arabs make up about 19 percent of Israel's population.

Most terror attacks inside Israel are carried out by Palestinians who infiltrate Jewish cities from West Bank or Gaza Palestinian areas, although there have been some attacks perpetrated by Israeli Arabs.

Dozens of Israeli Arabs have been accused of aiding the infiltration of Palestinian suicide bombers the past few years; over 18 Israeli Arabs have been convicted in Israeli courts the past 10 years for aiding the Lebanese Hezbollah militia. Israeli Knesset Member Azmi Bishara was recently accused by Israeli security officials of aiding Hezbollah.

Yuval Diskin, director of Israel's General Security Services, recently warned of Israeli Arab involvement in terror. Diskin told Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in March that Israeli Arabs constituted a "strategic threat" to Israel, according to Israel's Ma'ariv newspaper.

The GSS released a statement in response to Diskin's quotes warning of "subversive activity by elements seeking to harm the character of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state even when this activity is conducted with the tools that democracy provides."

A recent poll by the University of Haifa showed half of Israeli Arabs believe Hizbullah's kidnapping last July of two Israeli troops was justified. The same poll showed more than a quarter of Israel's Arab citizens believe the Holocaust never happened and 89 percent said they viewed Israel's bombing of Lebanon last summer as a war crime while only 44 percent said they saw Hizbullah's rocket attacks against Israeli cities as a crime.

Multiple reports in the Israeli media last summer found Hizbullah flags flying from some Israeli Arab villages in the north of the country, even when the areas were smashed by Hizbullah rockets.

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