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Report: Hizbullah Has Chemical Weapons


Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah's warning last week that the terrorist party has a "surprise" waiting for Israel refers to its terrorists possessing chemical and biological weapons, according to the London-based Al Quds Arabic newspaper.

Abdul Bari Atwan, the newspaper's editor, wrote that "Nasrallah is a person who does not lie," adding "From an initial examination, it can be understood that these [Hizbullah] rockets, or part of them, can be outfitted with chemical or biological warheads."

Israel to Surrender Temple Mount?


Palestinian negotiators drafting an agreement behind the scenes with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's office have made clear they will not accept any final peace deal with Israel unless the Jewish state forfeits the Temple Mount, Judaism's holiest site, WND has learned.

According to a report in Israel's Yedioth Ahronoth, Olmert is willing to discuss joint Israeli-Palestinian control over the Temple Mount complex. The report didn't state the positions of the Palestinian side on the issue.

A chief Palestinian negotiator, speaking to WND on condition his name be withheld, said, "There can be no agreement with Israel unless we get complete sovereignty of the Mount. Once Palestinian control over the [Temple Mount] is fixed, then we will make assurances for Jewish visits to the site."

The chief negotiator said aides from Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah organization have been hammering out the parameters of a final status agreement for presentation in November at a U.S.-backed international summit regarding the Middle East.

Issues already discussed between Israel and the Palestinians reportedly include the division of parts of Jerusalem and debates regarding permanent borders between Israel and the PA.

The November 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, President George 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.

Asked by WND whether Olmert is willing to forfeit the Temple Mount in an agreement with the Palestinians, David Baker, a spokesman for the prime minister, had no comment.

The Temple Mount is the holiest site in Judaism. Muslims say it is their third holiest site. The First Jewish Temple was built by King Solomon in the 10th century BCE. It was destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 BCE. The Second Temple was rebuilt in 515 BCE after Jerusalem was freed from Babylonian captivity. That temple was destroyed by the Roman Empire in CE 70. Each temple stood for a period of about four centuries.

The Jewish Temple was the center of religious Jewish worship. It housed the Holy of Holies, which contained the Ark of the Covenant and was said to be the area upon which God's "presence" dwelt. The Al Aqsa Mosque now sits on the site. The Temple served as the primary location for the offering of sacrifices and was the main gathering place in Israel during Jewish holidays.

The Temple Mount compound has remained a focal point for Jewish services over the millennia. Prayers for a return to Jerusalem have been uttered by Jews since the Second Temple was destroyed, according to Jewish tradition. Jews worldwide pray facing toward the Western Wall, a portion of an outer courtyard of the Temple left intact.

The Al Aqsa Mosque was constructed around CE 709 to serve as a shrine near another shrine, the Dome of the Rock, which was built by an Islamic caliph. Al Aqsa was meant to mark where Muslims came to believe Muhammad, the founder of Islam, ascended to heaven.

Jerusalem is not mentioned in the Quran. Islamic tradition states Mohammed took a journey in a single night from "a sacred mosque" – believed to be in Mecca in southern Saudi Arabia – to "the farthest mosque" and from a rock there ascended to heaven. The farthest mosque later became associated with the Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.

Currently under Israeli control, Jews and Christians are barred from praying on the Mount. The Temple Mount was opened to the general public until September 2000, when the Palestinians started their intifada by throwing stones at Jewish worshipers after then-candidate for prime minister Ariel Sharon visited the area.

Following the onset of violence, the new Sharon government closed the Mount to non-Muslims, using checkpoints to control all pedestrian traffic for fear of further clashes with the Palestinians.

The Temple Mount was reopened to non-Muslims in August 2003. It still is open but only Sundays through Thursdays, 7:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m., and not on any Christian, Jewish or Muslim holidays or other days considered "sensitive" by the Waqf.

During "open" days, Jews and Christian are allowed to ascend the Mount, usually through organized tours and only if they conform first to a strict set of guidelines, which includes demands that they not pray or bring any "holy objects" to the site. Visitors are banned from entering any of the mosques without direct Waqf permission. Rules are enforced by Waqf agents, who watch tours closely and alert nearby Israeli police to any breaking of their guidelines.

Ahmadinejad denounces Israel as 'flag of Satan'

By Reuters &

In a new verbal assault on Israel, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has denounced Israel as the "flag of Satan" and said it may be facing disintegration, official Iranian media reported.

The official IRNA news agency quoted Ahmadinejad as saying of Israel in a speech: "When the philosophy of the establishment and the continuation of this regime is not just, it is not unlikely that it is on the path of decline and disintegration." Accusing Israel of "occupation and aggression," he added: "This regime is the flag of Satan".

It was not clear whether his choice of words was an indirect reference to Israel's close ally the United States, which Iran's clerical leaders have branded "the Great Satan."

Ahmadinejad, who triggered outrage in the West two years ago when he said Israel should be "wiped off the map," has often referred to its destruction but says Iran poses no threat. Two months ago, he said the Lebanese and the Palestinians had pressed a "countdown button" to bring an end to the State of Israel.

Iran often praises the Palestinians for what it says is their resistance to Israeli occupation. Tehran also described last year's Second Lebanon War between Hizbullah and Israel as a victory for the Iranian-backed group.

Ahmadinejad's comments in 2005 caused consternation in Israel and the West, which also fear Iran is trying to build an atomic arsenal under cover of a civilian nuclear power program, a charge Tehran denies.

Some Western newspapers continue to argue that Ahmadinejad's past references to Israel were mistranslated. Speaking about his famous October, 2005, statement calling for Israel to be "wiped off the map," the British Guardian writes: "…Ahmadinejad's words were mistranslated and should have been better translated as `vanish from the pages of time' - implying Israel would vanish on its own rather be destroyed.

The Editor-in-Chief of a popular Arabic newspaper also based in England recently said that he would celebrate Iranian nuclear bombs fired at Israel. "If a war breaks out, where will the Iranians retaliate?" asked Abd Al-Bari Atwan, Editor-in-Chief of the Al-Quds Al-Arabi newspaper on ANB TV on June 27. Answering his own question, Atwan said: "If Iran is able to retaliate, it will burn the oil wells, block the Straits of Hormouz, attack the bases in the Gulf, and Allah willing, it will attack Israel as well. If the Iranian missiles strike Israel – by Allah, I will go to Trafalgar Square, and dance with delight if the Iranian missiles strike Israel."

Iran's state-run media has launched an English-language news agency called Press TV, which includes an English-language 24-hour satellite TV station. According to an Omedia report, the station's 30-man staff, which is composed of American and British citizens, was trained by a BBC employee.

Israel Deports 50 Sudanese Refugees to Egypt, Closes Its Borders

By Robert Berger (VOA-Jerusalem)

Israel is closing its borders to refugees who have been streaming in from war-torn Sudan via Egypt. The move has drawn angry reaction from refugee rights activists in Israel.

Israel has decided to turn away Sudanese refugees, including those fleeing the fighting in the western Darfur region. The Israeli government fears that the steady stream of migrants will soon become a flood. As a first step, Israel has expelled nearly 50 who entered Israel illegally through Egypt's Sinai desert.

Israeli government spokeswoman Miri Eisin said those expelled were migrants seeking work and not refugees. "Together with the refugees, we now have an influx of illegal, economic migrants. Israel does not accept illegal, economic migrants," Eisen said. "We stop our borders against this. We have laws against this."

Some 2,800 Sudanese have entered Israel illegally over the past few years, including nearly 500 that fled Darfur. Egypt had accepted the refugees, but many of them found life in Egypt difficult. In December 2005, Egyptian riot police cleared a refugee tent camp in central Cairo, killing nearly 30 people.

Eisin said refugees from Darfur who are already in Israel would be treated properly. "There are refugees here from Darfur, and they are going to be treated in accordance with international law," Eisen said. "These are people who have fled for their lives, and Israel will accommodate them, will take care of them as they are being taken care of all around the world."

Israel's decision to close its borders to additional Sudanese refugees has brought angry reaction from Israeli refugee rights activists like Eitan Schwartz. He says, "Remember the Holocaust."

"What we really want Israel to do is take in these people, embrace them, and grant asylum at least to some of them because something very similar happened to us 60 years ago, and no other country wanted to give us the asylum we now have the power to grant them," Schwartz said.

Schwartz says that by closing its borders, Israel is subjecting the refugees to mistreatment by Egyptian authorities. Sudanese who made it to Israel say many refugees have been beaten in Egypt and some have been shot and killed by Egyptian police as they smuggled themselves over the border into Israel.

Russian Naval Port in Gaza?

By Emanuel A. Winston (Commentary)

Recently Hamas in Gaza announced the formation of a "Naval Unit", despite the fact that they have no navy. Russia is desperately looking for a naval port in the Mediterranean, to challenge American control of the seas, among other reasons. Syria has an older port used by the Soviets years ago and, no doubt, will upgrade to today's standards for the new Russia in the Syrian cities of Tartus and Latakia.

A Russian port in Syria is vulnerable to any Syrian-Israeli war, as it is part of the Syrian military infrastructure. A port in Gaza is less vulnerable as everyone will know it belongs to Russia. Of course, Russian troops, missiles and tanks would be stationed there "to protect the port". And, of course, Hamas terrorist infrastructure would be built up adjoining the Russia port, to shield Hamas from Israeli attack. Russia has already established a sea presence in Lebanon, using Russian Chechen Muslims, calling them engineers but, in fact, establishing a deeper working relationship with the Muslim Arab Palestinian "Jihadists."

Obviously, it would be in America's interest to have Israel immediately bomb the coast of Gaza (as part of the war on terror and Al Qaeda infiltration into Gaza), to establish that area as an American target - before the Russians build a port there. They can then pay the Israelis to retake the Gaza Strip - before the Russians establish a sea presence, using Gaza as another port - in addition to the one in Syria.

If the Israelis just retake Gaza, world pressure could make them give it up again. If Israel bombs Gaza - with the permission of America and so that everyone knows that Gaza is an American target - then the Israelis will be thanked for "doing America's job on the ground", which saves American lives as well.

Putin's Russia has always wanted a strong presence in the Mediterranean Sea which will cause America enormous problems, especially since Putin seems to be returning to his KGB Cold War days with some modifications. No doubt, Putin would also like to return to the previous Soviet position with Egypt before American aid pushed them out of favor.

The Port of Alexandria could start receiving "friendly" visits for Russian shipping, especially when Mubarak inevitably loses control to the Muslim Brotherhood.

In brief, between an incompetent Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and the Administration of President George W. Bush, with too low a vision of its crucial importance, the Mediterranean Sea could become home to a Russian fleet.

The big question is: Will America be able to act fast enough?

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