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Hamas: We'll Destroy Israel ... One Day

By Israel Faxx News Services

Hamas vowed to press the Palestinians' fight against Israel until it is destroyed.

"Palestinians will fight Israel for generation upon generation until victory, and will yet get to dance at the Al-Aksa mosque in Jerusalem," Ismail Haniyeh, the Hamas prime minister in the dismissed Palestinian Authority government, told a rally in the Gaza Strip on Thursday.

"If Israel is not defeated in this generation, it will be in the next generation," he said.

Abbas Seeks Unity with Hamas, Breaking Promise to US Congressmen

By & VOA News

Just days after promising US lawmakers that his Fatah movement would not reconcile with Hamas, PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has invited the Islamist movement to kiss and make up.

Abbas called on Hamas to "return to national unity" following his meeting with Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Aso. "The split that happened as a result of Hamas' coup is temporary and will be removed," Abbas said. Hamas welcomed Abbas' statements and invited him to negotiations in Gaza.

Hamas and Fatah briefly formed a unity government after hammering out a power-sharing deal in Mecca that they hoped would renew international aid to the Palestinian Authority. Western aid had been cut off since Hamas won PA elections in a landslide, though the PA as a while received more money than ever before with the help of Muslim donor countries.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's office issued a warning Wednesday night that a Hamas-Fatah reconciliation would result in the breakdown of the nascent "diplomatic process" that is being hastily constructed by Abbas and Olmert.

Arabic-language papers repeatedly report that secret talks between Hamas and Fatah are ongoing. Fatah released nine Hamas terrorists in Bethlehem. The men had been arrested last months for organizing terror cells in Judea and Samaria.

Hamas hailed the move as another in a series of goodwill gestures, most notably the payment of a year's salary to thousands of Hamas men in Gaza by Fatah using money transferred by Israel. The transfer took place just a day after Fatah Prime Minister Salam Fayyad promised Republican Congressmen that there would be no reconciliation with Hamas. Democratic Congressmen visiting Israel this week say they believe Fayyad's claim that the transfer happened by accident, due to a "clerical error."

Senior Palestinian Authority official Youssef Al-Zumour was arrested last week, however for allowing PA finances to be used in paying the salaries of 3,500 Hamas terrorists. Yedioth Ahronoth quoted PA sources admitting that Al-Zumour paid the salaries on purpose.

Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said the Palestinians and Israel have been holding discussions on political issues. But he said they have not been negotiating a final solution to the conflict between the two sides.

Fayyad Thursday told foreign reporters that the discussions are on fundamental issues that must be resolved in order to advance the peace process. Olmert and Abbas met for talks August 6, but Israel said they did not discuss so-called final-status issues, such as setting a border and dismantling Jewish settlements.

Fayyad also said that the existence of armed militias harms the Palestinian cause, and called for the complete disarmament of those groups. He also said elections are not currently feasible, but that they will take place in both the West Bank and Gaza territories.

US Boosts Military Aid to Israel

By Robert Berger (VOA-Jerusalem)

The United States has boosted military aid to Israel as American concerns increase over the burgeoning power of Iran. Israel and the US signed an agreement for $30 billion in American military aid to Israel over the next 10 years, an increase of 25 percent over the current package.

Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns spoke at a ceremony in Jerusalem. "The United States of course understands that Israel lives in an increasingly dangerous region," and that the aid is meant to strengthen Israel against a growing strategic threat from Iran.

"The United States and Israel and many of our friends in the Arab world face a situation where Iran is resurgent, where Iran is seeking a nuclear weapons capability, where it's seeking to expand its conventional power."

Burns accused Iran and Syria of destabilizing the region. "There is now a nexus of cooperation among Iran and Syria, Hizbullah, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and other groups who are responsible for the conflicts in this region, and Iran and Syria in particular funding and arming those groups that are terrorist in nature."

The $3 billion annual package will maintain Israel's status as the largest recipient of US military aid, followed by Egypt which currently gets $1.3 billion a year. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has said the increase in aid would guarantee Israel's strategic superiority in the Middle East, despite upgrades to America's Arab allies.

In part, the increased US aid to Israel is meant to offset a major American arms deal with Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states, worth $20 billion over the next 10 years.

Hizbullah Video Game Recreates Israeli War

By Reuters

Raid Israel to capture soldiers, battle tanks in the valleys of south Lebanon and launch Katyusha rockets at Israeli towns—a new Hizbullah computer game puts players on the frontline of war with the Jewish state.

ADVERTISEMENT "Special Force 2" is based on last year's 34-day conflict between the Lebanese guerrilla group and Israel.

"This game presents the culture of the resistance to children: that occupation must be resisted and that land and the nation must be guarded," Hizbullah media official Sheikh Ali Daher said.

Designed by Hizbullah computer experts, players of "Special Force 2" take the role of a Hizbullah fighter, or Mujahid. Weapons and points are accumulated by killing Israeli soldiers.

The game, launched on Thursday, recreates key phases of the conflict, which was triggered when Hizbullah raided northern Israel and captured two soldiers, saying they wanted to negotiate a prisoner swap.

Hizbullah takes huge pride in its military performance in the war, which killed 158 Israelis, mainly soldiers. Some 1,200 people, mostly civilians, were killed in Lebanon.

Israel said Hizbullah was weakened in the conflict, in which the group was forced out of its strongholds along the Israeli border and an expanded international peacekeeping force deployed in southern Lebanon under a U.N.-brokered ceasefire.

A Shi'ite Muslim group backed by Iran and Syria, Hizbullah declared the outcome of the conflict as a "divine victory." "Through this game the child can build an idea of some of ... the most prominent battles and the idea that this enemy can be defeated," Daher said.

Retailing at around $10 in Lebanon and produced by volunteers, Hizbullah is expecting strong demand for the game at home and abroad. Hundreds of copies have been reserved in advance in Lebanon.

The 3-D game forces players to think and use their resources wisely, reflecting the way Hizbullah fights, Daher said. "The features which are the secret of resistance's victory in the south have moved to this game so that the child can understand that fighting the enemy does not only require the gun. It requires readiness, supplies, armament, attentiveness, tactics."

PA Soccer Tournament Named After Senior Terrorist


A recently concluded soccer tournament in the Palestinian Authority-controlled city of Tulkarem, near Netanya, was named after a senior terrorist mastermind. The winning team was named for dead jihadists, as well. The tournament was held on the grounds of a PA school.

According to Palestinian Media Watch, the tournament's outcome was reported in the PA-owned daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida on August 15 under the headline: "The Team Named after the Martyrs of the Southern Quarter Wins the Tournament Cup Named After the Martyr Ziyad Da'as." The article said, "This tournament... commemorates one of the brave people of the Palestinian resistance, whom the Israeli occupation forces assassinated in cold blood...."

Da'as, a Fatah commander in Tulkarem, planned a shooting attack on a girl's Bat Mitzvah reception in Hadera on Jan. 17, 2002. The terrorist, who also carried grenades, killed the security guard on duty at the hall where the reception was held, burst in on the 180 guests and opened fire with an automatic rifle. He succeeded in killing six people and injuring 25 before being pushed outside by determined guests. The Bat Mitzvah girl's step-grandfather, Edward Bakshayev, 48, was murdered in the attack.

Among other terrorist activities, Da'as was also involved in the kidnapping and murder of two restaurateurs, Etgar Zeitouni and Moti Dayan, in January of 2001. The pair was seized as they sat down for lunch in Tulkarem with an Israeli Arab associate.

Da'as was killed by IDF special forces in August 2002, when what he thought was a safe house was discovered by Israeli intelligence. "At the end of the tournament," the Al-Hayat article concluded, "the [spectators] indicated that the tournament was on a level to suitably commemorate the brave shahid (martyr), the mercy of Allah be upon him, Ziyad Da'as, and that an annual tournament should take place on the anniversary of his death."

Syria Encouraging Tourism to… Israel


The Syrian Tourism Ministry website is promoting tourism to sites located in Israel, NFC news website reported Thursday.

A map of Syria featured on the website includes the Israeli Golan Heights within Syria's territory, and the texts promote tourism to sites that have been in Israeli hands since 1967, and even a site that has been in Israel since 1948.

The Israeli Golan is called "the Quneitra Province" of Syria, which stretches "from the summit of Hermon Mountain (Djebel al-Sheikh) with an altitude of 2,814 meters above sea-level to the lake of Tiberias which sinks 212 m. below sea-level."

It then goes on to say: "While white snow covers the summit and slopes of Hermon Mountain, people bathe in the thermal mineral water baths of Hemeh" – the Arabic name for Hamat Gader. Another page promotes "Fiq" – now called Kibbutz Afik in the southern Golan – and even the Dan Spring, which is located inside pre-1967 Israel.

History in the (Re) Making


The Israeli Knesset --usually a scene of discord and strife – plans to lend its halls to far more joyous fanfare.

Essentially the event that will kick-off the celebrations commemorating Israel's 60th birthday, the Knesset plans to reenact the historic United Nations partition vote that led to the creation of a Jewish state.

On November 29th, exactly six decades since the event, Israel's parliament will host the 1947 vote on the partition of western British Mandate Palestine into two states, Jewish and Arab. Most of the area under British governance had already been partitioned off as Transjordan decades earlier.

Hopes are running high in Jerusalem that UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon will preside over the special session; an invitation has already been extended to him by Knesset Speaker Dalia Itzik during her meeting with Ban on Wednesday in New York City.

Organizers said the event will not include any references to Israel's often volatile relationship with the UN, and none of the speakers will bring up the oft-quoted derogatory label "Um Shmum" (in English: The UN – it means nothing) coined by Israel's first prime minister, David Ben Gurion. "Our goal here is to thank the UN for this decision," said a senior official involved in the event.

The ambassadors of the 33 nations who voted in favor of the partition have already been invited to participate in the event. They will be seated among the Knesset ranks and have their national flag waving from their respective desks. Thirteen countries voted against the partition in 1947, 10 abstained and one was absent.

Invitations will also be extended to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other world dignitaries.

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