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Pope's Quote Replaces Hitler on Billboard Pizza Ad


A picture of Adolf Hitler holding a slice of pizza in one hand while performing the Nazi salute with his other hand proved to be a bad joke for Hell's Pizza in New Zealand.

The firm took down the billboard poster following protests and has replaced it with a quote from Pope Benedict saying, "Hell is real and eternal."

Hell's Pizza thought the original billboard was amusing. "We hoped we could get away with people seeing Hitler with a piece of pizza [and thinking it] funny," said an advertising official for the pizza company.

Olmert-Abbas Meeting Under Cloud of Hamas Attack Plans


Amid urgent warnings that Hamas terrorists are planning a mammoth attack to be carried out in Israel, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is scheduled to meet again with Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas Tuesday in Jerusalem to discuss an "agreement of principles" that would form the basis for a final status settlement.

The deputy director of the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) told the Cabinet that Hamas leaders in Damascus have ordered their followers in Judea and Samaria to carry out a large-scale terror attack in Israel. His statement confirms previous reports that Hamas has become a growing threat to the control of Abbas' Fatah faction over PA areas in Judea and Samaria. Fatah was routed from Gaza in a violent coup by Hamas forces in June.

The orders to attack are also intended to undermine diplomatic efforts by Olmert and Abbas to reach an "agreement of principles" prior to an international Middle East summit scheduled to be held in November.

The two men are expected to meet as part of their ongoing push to settle the major differences between Israel and the PA before the rest of the international community becomes more intensely involved in the process.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is slated to arrive in the region for a meeting with Abbas in September in preparation for the summit. Olmert previously said he would not engage in "final status" talks for a new PA Arab state. Final status talks at this point would contradict the U.S. Roadmap plan, which calls first for the setting of temporary borders. The Prime Minister has avoided the term "final status," using instead "agreement of principles" to describe the plan he and Abbas are crafting.

A special Knesset session has been called for next Tuesday at the request of 25 MKs who claim Olmert has no mandate to engage in final-status talks at this time.

Abbas' rival Fatah faction has received generous financial, military and other support from Israel, the U.S. and other international sources since its "divorce" from Hamas in June. The PA unity government led by the two terror organizations dissolved in the wake of Hamas' bloody takeover of Gaza at that time, while Fatah retained control of PA areas in Judea and Samaria.

Hamas political advisor Ahmad Yousef was cagey about the group's orders from Damascus, saying in an interview with Ha'aretz, "There is no change in the Hamas position. Israel is threatening us and attacking us – we are only responding to provocations, " adding "We do not intend to initiate any action such as the resumption of suicide bombings," but his counterpart in Gaza, spokesman Fawzi Barhum, refused to confirm or deny the Shin Bet report.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert will meet Western-backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas here in Jerusalem. Both Israel and the United States want to strengthen Mr. Abbas after the violent takeover of the Gaza Strip by the Islamic militant group Hamas two months ago. Hamas routed the forces of the rival Fatah faction, led by Mr. Abbas, who now heads a moderate government in the West Bank.

Hamas, Fatah Form Joint Terror Group


Hamas and members of the so-called military wing of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah organization have been carrying out joint attacks against Israel and recently formed a new terror group to conduct operations against the Jewish state, top Fatah militants told WND.

The information comes as the U.S. recently announced large sums of aid to Fatah and initiated military training programs for West Bank Fatah militias purportedly to back Abbas' group against Hamas and to isolate Hamas in the Gaza Strip and West Bank.

Top leaders of Fatah's Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades terror group told WND their organization the past few weeks carried out a series of joint attacks with Hamas against Israeli soldiers operating in the northern West Bank.

They said the Brigades and Hamas formed a new organization called the Fire Belt to attack Israel, and that this past weekend the new Fire Belt group worked together to lob grenades at Israeli forces operating in the vicinity of the northern West Bank city of Nablus.

The Brigades, Fatah's declared "military wing," took credit along with the Islamic Jihad terror group for every suicide bombing in Israel in 2005 and 2006. One-hundred-seventy-eight members of the Brigades were granted amnesty last month by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert as a gesture to bolster Abbas against Hamas and build up Fatah forces in the West Bank.

Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades leaders in Nablus told WND the new Fire Belt group consists of Brigades members mostly from Nablus who are not on Olmert's official amnesty list.

Abu Nasser, a leader of the Brigades in Nablus and a self-declared top commander of the Fire Belt group with Hamas, told WND that Fatah militants are "unified" with Hamas and that the two would attack Israel together.

"Fatah and Hamas are having diplomatic problems but that doesn't mean we are not unified in the battle against the (Israeli) occupation," he said. "The Fire Belt will carry out many more attacks. We hope this cooperation will bring the two parties [Fatah and Hamas] to respect Palestinian unity and safeguard that unity. Our enemy is not Hamas, it is Israel," said Abu Nasser.

Abu Nasser is on a list of 152 Brigades members the PA recently presented to Israel for amnesty consideration as part of further Israeli gestures to bolster Abbas against Hamas. He would not say where the funding for his new Hamas-Fatah terror group originates.

Palestinian security officials associated with Abbas said the Fire Belt receives most of its funding from Hamas and from the Iranian-backed Lebanese Hizbullah militia. The security officials claimed the new group was not coordinated with the Fatah leadership and was working to undermine Abbas. They claimed the Brigades, which took credit for scores of attacks the last few weeks, is committed to halting violence against Israel in line with the amnesty deal.

Last week, the State Department announced a multimillion dollar program to train Fatah militants in the West Bank. Under an agreement signed this month by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayad, Fatah's Force 17 officers are slated to take course work and conduct VIP protection exercises under the State Department's Bureau of Diplomatic Security. Force 17 serve as de facto police units in the West Bank. Many members of Force 17 openly serve in the Brigades.

The Fatah training program, which includes courses in the use of weapons, is part of a larger $86.5 million aid package granted to the PA by Congress in April.

Rice and other top Bush administration officials have said the U.S. is seeking to back Abbas against Hamas, which in June took control of all Fatah security compounds in the Gaza Strip. But there have been indications Hamas and Fatah are seeking reconciliation.

The London-based newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat Sunday reported the Hamas leadership is considering an initiative proposing it hand back Gaza Strip security compounds seized from Fatah in June to achieve reconciliation with Abbas' group.

Also the Iranian Fars news agency last week quoted Palestinian diplomatic sources stating Abbas appointed two senior Fatah officials to hold informal talks with Hamas to affect reconciliation with the group. Fatah denied the report, but Ahmed Yousef, a top political advisor to Hamas' Gaza leader and deposed Prime Minister Ismail Haniya, said Abbas indeed allowed some Fatah officials to hold unofficial talks with Hamas.

In a move that raised diplomatic eyebrows in Washington and Jerusalem, Fatah earlier this month paid the salaries of almost half the members of rival Hamas' security forces. PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad at first claimed the salaries where transferred in error and assured a delegation of visiting House of Representatives members that Fatah had no financial dealings with Hamas. Later, a PA investigation chartered by Fayyad claimed that a bribed PA Finance Ministry official was responsible for the salary transfer to Hamas.

Palestinian State Outline 'Coming by November'


Newly installed Israeli President Shimon Peres hopes to achieve the outline of a final status deal with the Palestinians before an international conference in November, the veteran politician said.

Israeli diplomatic sources told WND earlier this month Peres 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 undisputedly is Israel's according to the international community.

The official role of president here is limited largely to ceremonial matters; the president is not allowed to lead foreign policy.

The diplomatic sources also said earlier this U.S.-brokered month biweekly meetings between Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas are being utilized to draft the outline of a permanent status deal ultimately yielding a Palestinian state scheduled to be aired in public at the November summit, which is being organized by the U.S.

Confirming the plan, Peres told Tokyo's Nikkei business daily newspaper he believes the outline of a final deal can be achieved before November. "To work out the details (of the political if not the geographical outline of a future Palestinian state) will take more time, but (as for) principles, yes, we can achieve an agreement" before the autumn peace conference, he said.

Peres said improved economic conditions for the Palestinians will lead to "peaceful coexistence," adding "We shall go in a policy of two tracks, economic development and political negotiations, one complementary to the other but not dependent upon it." Last week the Arab media reported Peres held a secret meeting with Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad at his official residence in Jerusalem.

Israeli diplomatic sources told WND during the meeting Peres presented Fayyad with his plan for Israel to evacuate the West Bank, which borders Jerusalem and is within rocket range of Tel Aviv and Israel's international airport. The West Bank is home to many biblical Jewish communities and some of Judaism's holiest sites.

Peres also presented his initiative to top European Union officials, Olmert and to top aides for Abbas in the past few weeks, after he took office as Israeli president last month, diplomatic sources in Jerusalem told WND. Olmert, Abbas, Fayad and the EU are mulling over the plan, said the diplomatic sources, who stated Olmert agrees with much of the plan's contents.

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 would 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.

Sunday, Abbas said the PA would not consent to population exchanges as part of a permanent agreement that would leave some West Bank Jewish communities with Israel.

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 his acceptance speech last month, Peres 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 elder 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.

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