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London Editor: I'd Celebrate Israel's Nuking

By Israel Faxx News Services

The editor of an Arabic daily newspaper in London said he would "dance with delight" if Iranian missiles hit Israel.

"If the Iranian missiles strike Israel, by Allah, I will go to Trafalgar Square and dance with delight," said Abd Al-Bari Atwan in an interview with the Lebanese television station ANB in June, according to The Jerusalem Post.

Bari Atwan is the editor of the Al-Quds Al-Arabi newspaper, a pan-Arab daily he founded in 1989. He is also a commentator on Sky News and BBC News 24.

Human Rights Group Accuses Hizbullah of Intimidation

By VOA News

The New York-based monitoring group Human Rights Watch has issued a report accusing Lebanon's Hizbullah terrorists of indiscriminate attacks on Israeli civilians during last year's conflict with Israel. Human Rights Watch was to have released the report with a news conference Thursday in Beirut, but cancelled the event because of Hizbullah threats.

Human Rights Watch officials said they decided to release the report on their Web site, instead of the Beirut news conference, after what they say were tendentious reports against the organization by Hizbullah-controlled media, and threats to block the news event with demonstrators.

The 128-page document is one of several reports and news releases Human Rights Watch has done on the 2006 war, some of them sharply critical of Israeli actions including the use of cluster munitions.

It said Hizbullah fired thousands of rockets, some of them loaded with anti-personnel steel pellets, indiscriminately and at times deliberately into civilian areas of northern Israel, killing at least 39 civilians and seriously wounding more than 100 others.

Human Rights Watch said Hizbullah's stated reasons for the rocketing, responding to indiscriminate Israeli weapons fire and trying to draw Israel into a ground war, utterly fails to justify the action and have no basis under international law.

Human Rights Watch deputy director for the Middle East, Joe Stork, told VOA Hizbullah may well have tried to target military sites in northern Israel. But he said because of the nature of weapons used, unguided rockets with fragmentation warheads, it constituted indiscriminate firing.

"Hizbullah routinely and systematically launched rocket attacks against civilian areas in northern Israel between July 12th and August 14 of 2006," he said. "These are civilian areas. Because they are civilian areas and because the rockets, the weapons, that Hizbullah was using, are not very accurate, they simply can't be aimed with any kind of precision, they constitute, if not targeting civilians, then at the very least indiscriminate attacks causing harm to civilians."

Human Rights Watch said in preparing the report, it sought meetings with Hizbullah officials and solicited written information from them, but there was no substantive response.

Stork said the Beirut event was cancelled in the face of reports carried by Hizbullah media accusing Human Rights Watch of conspiring with rival Lebanese factions and the U.S. government, and calling on Hizbullah supporters to block the news conference and the reports' release:

"What happened yesterday was that al-Manar, which is the Web site and television station of Hizbullah, broadcast a very tendentious long piece alleging that we were working hand-in-hand with unnamed Lebanese actors, and that we are working on behalf of the Bush administration, and so on and so forth. So really a pack of lies, to not put too fine a point on it," he added.

Human Rights Watch said in a press statement that Hizbullah is trying to silence criticism of its conduct during the war, but that the fairness and accuracy of its reporting would speak for itself. The organization is due to release a report critical of Israel's attacks in Lebanon on September 6 in Jerusalem.

In comments here, State Department Deputy Spokesman Tom Casey dismissed the notion of U.S. government cooperation with Human Rights Watch on the report, saying it is a private group with its own agenda, as evidenced by its frequent criticism of the United States on human rights issues.

Casey also said intimidation tactics are nothing new for Hizbullah, which he said engages in terrorism and repression of opponents and free speech in Lebanon.

Policeman Assaulted Trying to Stop Illegal Temple Mount Dig


A policeman trying to stop an Arab tractor engaged in illegal Temple Mount excavations was assaulted - and the police chief who arrived on the scene arrested no one.

Officials of the Muslim Waqf (religious body) on the Temple Mount are digging there illegally, likely destroying precious artifacts from as early as the First Temple period. So say eyewitnesses and representatives of the Committee for the Prevention of the Destruction of Temple Mount Antiquities.

Gideon Charlap, a top Jerusalem architect and Temple Mount expert, told Arutz-7 what he saw when he visited the Temple Mount on Tuesday: "The Arabs there are digging a deep north-to-south trench, up to a meter [1.1 yards] deep. It is being dug in the area that served during Holy Temple times as the Ezrat Nashim [the area known as the Women's Courtyard, though it was not reserved only for women -Ed.]. The trench passes through three east-to-west walls, according to my calculations - walls that probably served as separations for the Temple's offices and the like. This means that the destruction is tremendous..."

"At one point during the digging," Charlap continued, "a policeman - apparently a Druze - tried to stop the work from going on, and actually entered the cabin of the tractor. A struggle ensued, and when the Arabs finally pushed him out, he actually stood in the trench and physically blocked the rest of the work!" "But instead of stopping the lawbreakers," Charlap related with incredulity, "he tried to 'calm down' the policeman!"

Charlap said that at that point, the chief officer of the Temple Mount police station, Shai Alali, arrived on the scene. "But instead of stopping the lawbreakers," Charlap related with incredulity, "he tried to 'calm down' the policeman!"

Charlap said he was unable to see how the story developed from there, "because our allotted time was over." Jews are permitted onto the site - Judaism's most sacred anywhere in the world - only four or fewer hours a day.

Police Chief Shai Alali was unavailable for comment. Police spokesmen say they will look into the assault and illegal digging.

The digging is taking place just east of the Dome of the Rock.

'Sharon Warned Bush: Hit Iran, Not Iraq'


According to a former top U.S. administration official, former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon tried to convince George W. Bush not to invade Iraq in 2001, and told him "Iraq is not the enemy, Iran is the enemy."

The quotes appear in a report by the NFC news site, which identifies the official as "Gen. (res.) Lawrence Wilkinson, one of former Secretary of State Colin Powell's top advisors." He is also said to be "the person who, two years ago, exposed American intelligence's systematic lies before the Iraq War."

The official reportedly said that when Sharon understood that Bush was serious about invading Iraq, he asked to meet him, and relayed messages that "if you are going to upset the balance of power in the Middle East, this had better be done vis-à-vis the Iranians and not the Iraqis."

Bush, however, refused to heed Sharon's advice. When Sharon understood that the invasion of Iraq was inevitable, he promised not to make Israel's opposition to it known.

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