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Flag and Anthem for a New Jewish Nation


SOS Israel is holding a competition to select a flag design and national anthem for an independent Jewish state in Judea and Samaria. Rabbi Shalom Dov Wolpe wrote about the Annapolis conference and the government's plan to give much of Judea and Samaria to the Palestinian Authority.

"Are we going to stand like lambs to the slaughter while the malicious government destroys the lives of tens of thousands of Israeli families…we must understand that `it will come to pass." The only solution, he said, "is to immediately declare the establishment of an independent Jewish state in Judea and Samaria."

Fatah 'Peace Partner' Ready to Unite with Hamas


Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah organization would join ranks with the Hamas terror group if it agreed to share power in the Gaza Strip or if Israel launched a major attack in Gaza, a member of Abbas' government told WND during an exclusive interview.

"If Hamas agrees to stop their coup in Gaza then why shouldn't we (Fatah) be together with them? We are open for dialogue and reconciliation," said Qadura Fares, a member of the PA parliament and a top minister in Abbas' government.

Fares' remarks come one week after Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert committed at last week's U.S.-sponsored Annapolis summit to aim at concluding an agreement with Abbas by next year in which the Jewish state is widely expected to evacuate swaths of the strategic West Bank and eastern sections of Jerusalem, handing the territories to Abbas.

Fares' statements also come as Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice asked Congress to approve a $400 million aid package, stating the massive new proposed funding was meant to boost Abbas against Hamas.

Fares told WND that if Israel launched an attack on Hamas in the Gaza Strip, Fatah should come to Hamas' aid even if the group doesn't agree to a power share in Gaza. "Fatah will try to defend Gaza if Hamas is attacked there by Israel. We must stand together to fight the occupation."

Hamas last year won a majority of Palestinian parliamentary seats and forged a national unity government with Abbas' Fatah party which was maintained until Hamas took complete control of the Gaza Strip this past summer, seizing all U.S.-backed Fatah security compounds in the territory in less than seven days.

Since then, the U.S. reportedly has provided emergency aid, including funds and weapons shipments, to bolster Abbas against Hamas in the West Bank.

But there have been reports Hamas and Fatah might reconcile. According to Fatah political sources speaking to WND, the Egyptian and Saudi Arabian governments have been moderating between their party and Hamas in an attempt to reform a Palestinian unity government. The sources said Abbas set as a precondition for reconciliation Hamas giving up its seizure of Gaza and has expressed willingness to allow Egyptian forces to control Fatah's former compounds in Gaza instead of Fatah forces immediately entering the territory.

The Fatah sources said Abbas did not ask Hamas to recognize Israel or agree to commitments expressed at last week's Annapolis as a precondition for any reconciliation. Meanwhile some Fatah officials are reportedly urging Abbas to rejoin Hamas without any preconditions. Yesterday, members of Fatah's revolutionary voted for Abbas to hold unconditional and immediate talks with Hamas aimed at a new unity government.

In response, Hamas leader in Gaza and deposed Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh renewed his previous calls for dialogue with Abbas. "We believe it is necessary to immediately begin a non-conditional dialogue that will work to heal the Palestinian wounds," said Haniyeh.

New PA Law: Negotiating Jerusalem is an Act of Treason


The PA legislature has passed the first reading of a law forbidding any concessions in, or even negotiations regarding, Jerusalem.

Ahmed Bahar, a leading Hamas member and the Deputy Speaker of the Palestinian Authority parliament, announced Thursday that the body had passed a first reading of a "Jerusalem bill." The legislation, proposed by Hamas parliament member Ahmed Abu Hilbiya, absolutely bans giving up any part of Jerusalem.

The bill states that Jerusalem, according to its "borders recognized during the period of the Islamic Khalifate," is "Palestinian, Arab, Islamic land." It further avers that all of Jerusalem, "including its archaeological sites and the sites that are holy to Islam and Christianity, are waqf (dedicated in sanctity) for Palestinian, Arab and Islamic generations." This would appear to include not only the Temple Mount, but also the Western Wall, the Jewish Quarter, and the City of David.

The new PA bill also states that it is forbidden to discuss, cede, or negotiate over any part of Jerusalem, or hold a referendum on this matter - and that if such negotiations or votes are held, they are null and void in advance. Anyone who violates the above provisions on behalf of the PA will be considered guilty of treason, the bill states, and will be liable to the relevant punishments.

The PA legislature will convene "soon," Bahar said, to pass the law's second reading, after which it will be passed on to PA chairman and Fatah chief Mahmoud Abbas for his signature.

The Jewish People have taken a similar stance regarding Jerusalem, even if Israel's government has lagged somewhat behind. In July 1980, the Knesset approved the Jerusalem Law, determining that "complete and united Jerusalem is Israel's capital."

However, current Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said last week that "the Government of Israel has a sovereign right to negotiate anything on behalf of Israel." He made his position clear that Jews outside Israel had no right to participate in decisions about the future of Jerusalem.

Before news of the new PA law was learned, Transportation Minister Sha'ul Mofaz - somewhat of a hawk within Kadima - stated at a Kadima Party Chanukah candle lighting ceremony Thursday evening, "Jerusalem must remain united as Israel's capital forever."

Opposition Leader Binyamin Netanyahu of the Likud said on Thursday, "The People of Israel has spilled blood and tears; it did not sacrifice its most precious sons in ancient times, nor now, just so the current government could give up Jerusalem. We will not let such a thing happen. The Temple Mount is in our hands, and must remain in our hands."

Israel to Disclose Secrets of Citizenship Process

By Ha'aretz

The Population Registrar will for the first time divulge the examination process by which it grants Israeli citizenship and resident status to applicants, a Jerusalem District Court ruled.

Judge Yudit Tzur said the ministry had routinely and intentionally withheld information from the public and ordered the Interior Ministry's department to post its "complete list of rules and procedures" on its Web site within 30 days.

"The need for immediate disclosure stems from the authority invested in the ministry that sometimes affects basic rights of the first degree, such as family rights, the rights of minors and of residency status; the right to liberty, and more," she wrote. She rejected the ministry's request for a six-month deferral and said the ministry was overdue in making its guidelines available to the public.

To date, few of the Interior Ministry's practices on procedures of issuing citizenship to non-Israeli spouses, revoking citizenships and granting asylum to refugees have been fully revealed. Those that have were often only partially disclosed, or were entirely false. By keeping its regulations a secret, the Population Registrar has prevented Israeli citizenship applicants and human rights groups from reviewing and scrutinizing its decisions, moves that have sometimes denied them of citizenship or resident status, and even driver's licenses.

"The Interior Ministry has not been upholding the laws and instructions and has been irrespective of court room rulings," Tzur wrote in her decision. "Over the years, the courts repeatedly told the Interior Ministry for not revealing its procedures as required by law, but nothing was done - such improper conduct has been taking place for years with the respondent not upholding the law."

Attorney Oded Feller filed the petition on behalf of five human rights groups: The Association for Civil Rights in Israel; Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism; Hotline for Migrant Workers; Kav La'Oved; and the Center for the Defense of the Individual.

"It is not for no reason that all the organizations dealing with human rights united to file the petition," the judge wrote. "It's enough to look at the longstanding 'history' of refraining from publishing rules and regulations by the respondent to grasp the seriousness of the situation."

She added: "Needy persons, lacking means, and foreigners, who have no knowledge of the language; to these people information regarding such procedures is like 'air to breath.' They have the elementary right to know how their status and rights will be dealt with by the Interior Ministry and they cannot wait."

Last month, the Interior Ministry reported a hike in the number of applicants for Israeli citizenship in East Jerusalem.

An Interior Ministry official was unable to provide specific figures but said there has been an increase of hundreds.

Arab residents of the city - who by and large refused to receive Israeli citizenship when its eastern half was annexed, and instead opted for permanent resident status - had allegedly become interested in becoming Israeli citizens in wake of said talks over dividing Jerusalem between Israel and the Palestinians.

Text '1' to be Saved by Jesus, '2' for St. Lucy...

By Reuters

If you are a Catholic looking for a saint in heaven to protect you, you no longer have to carry a small "holy card". You can get the image sent to your cell phone.

A company in Italy started offering the service on Tuesday but ran into opposition from some Catholic Church leaders who think the idea is crass and commercial.

"We found a need and filled it," Barbara Labate, who came up with the idea with her business partner in a cell phone services company based in Milan, told Reuters by telephone.

Many taxis, private cars and trucks in Italy have a small picture of a saint—known as a "santino" or little saint—taped to the dashboard. Millions of Italians also keep wrinkled and worn "santini" in their wallets or handbags. "We are merely catching up with the times. I think this will appeal to young people as well as grandmothers," Labate said.

The company started the service with 15 saints on offer and Labate said the hallowed catalogue will grow. The downloading service, done by sending a text message to a phone number, costs three Euros ($4.42). The Web site is

Nearly every shop near the Vatican sells paper "santini" but not everyone in the Church thinks cell phones and saints are a marriage made in heaven. "This is in really bad taste," Bishop Lucio Soravito De Franceschi, a member of the Italian bishops conference committee for doctrinal matters, told the Turin newspaper La Stampa. "It is a distortion of sacred things ... selling 'santini' for cell phones is horrifying."

But Labate, who is Sicilian and recalls how her mother gave her a "santino" to put in her luggage when she traveled, rejected the criticism. "We are simply offering a service to the faithful. We are doing this with the maximum respect, dignity and professionalism for believers," she said.

One popular saint in Italy is St Christopher, the patron saint of safe travel. Other favorites are St Lucy, patroness of good eyesight and St Pio of Petralcina, the 20th century monk who was said to have had the wounds of Jesus.

Labate has also put "possible future saints" in her initial catalogue. They include the late Pope John Paul, who has already been put on the road to sainthood, as well as the current pontiff, Pope Benedict. Jesus and the Madonna are also for sale.

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