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Russia Wants Jews to Return

By Israel Faxx News Services

Russia reportedly is trying to lure back Russian Jews who immigrated to Israel. Israeli intelligence believes that a cultural center recently opened by the Russian Embassy in Tel Aviv is designed to promote the repatriation of Jews who emigrated from Russia.

During last week's parliamentary elections in Moscow, the cultural center sent emissaries throughout Israel to encourage ex-Russians to vote. According to Ha'aretz, the cultural center is headed by a former KGB spy whose appointment Israel briefly tried to block. There are more than 1 million Israelis from the former Soviet Union.


Israeli Official: Palestinians Can Rename Jerusalem 'Whatever They Want'

By WorldNetDaily.com

A top member of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's government Monday announced Israel "must" give up sections of Jerusalem for a future Palestinian state, even conceding the Palestinians can rename Jerusalem "to whatever they want."

"We must come today and say, friends, the Jewish neighborhoods, including Har Homa, will remain under Israeli sovereignty, and the Arab neighborhoods will be the Palestinian capital, which they will call Jerusalem or whatever they want," said Israeli Vice Premier Haim Ramon.

Positions held by Ramon, a ranking member of Olmert's Kadima party, are largely considered to be reflective of Israeli government policy. Ramon's statements follow last month's U.S.-sponsored Annapolis summit at which Olmert committed to aim at completing negotiations by next year to create a Palestinian state, with Israel expected to evacuate swaths of Jerusalem and the strategic West Bank.

Ramon said due to the city's demographics, Arab neighborhoods of Jerusalem "should not be under Israeli sovereignty, because they pose a threat to Jerusalem being the capital of a Jewish Israel."

About 231,000 Arabs live in Jerusalem, mostly in eastern neighborhoods. The city has an estimated total population of 724,000. Ramon listed population statistics as the reason Olmert's government finds it necessary to split Jerusalem.

But WND broke the story last week that according to Jerusalem municipal employees, during 10 years as mayor of Jerusalem, Olmert instructed city workers not to take action against hundreds of illicit Arab building projects throughout eastern sections of Jerusalem housing over 100,000 Arabs squatting in the city illegally.

The workers and some former employees claim Olmert even instructed city officials to delete files documenting illegal Arab construction of housing units in eastern Jerusalem.

Olmert was Jerusalem mayor from 1993 to 2003. As mayor he made repeated public statements calling Jerusalem the "eternal and undivided capital" of Israel. Jerusalem municipal employees and former workers, though, paint a starkly contrasting picture of the prime minister.


WND's own investigation last year found hundreds of acres of key properties in Jerusalem purchased by a Jewish group for the stated purpose of Jewish settlement instead were utilized for the illegal construction of dozens of Arab apartment buildings housing thousands and United Nations facilities.

The lands, purchased by the Jewish National Fund, or JNF, are under the management of the Israeli government. The properties in question include over 200 acres in the northern Jerusalem neighborhoods of Qalandiya and Kfar Akev, located near an old Israeli airport, and about 50 acres in a north Jerusalem suburb known as Shoafat, which is adjacent to the Jewish neighborhood of Pisgat Zeev.

The two neighborhoods were specifically mentioned by Olmert last month as up for possible Israeli evacuation. The lands were legally purchased on behalf of JNF using Jewish donations in the early 1900s, immediately after the organization was founded in 1901 with the specific charge of repurchasing and developing the land of Israel for Jewish settlement.

Internal JNF documents obtained by WND outline illegal Arab construction on the Jewish-owned land. A survey of Qalandiya summarized on JNF stationery conducted in December 2000 and signed by a JNF worker states, "In a lot of the plots I find Arabs are living and building illegally and also working the JNF land without permission."

The JNF survey goes on to document illegal construction of Arab apartment complexes and the U.N. school under the property management of Israel's Land Authority.


Egypt, Saudi Arabia Attempt Another Fatah-Hamas Unity Government

By IsraelNationalNews.com

For the second time in less than a year, leaders of two major Arab nations are working hard to bring the Fatah and Hamas terrorist factions together in a new unity Palestinian Authority unity government.

Officials in Saudi Arabia and Egypt are again attempting to convince leaders of both PA factions to reconcile their differences, according to a report published in Ha'aretz.

Hamas politburo chief and arch-terrorist Khaled Mashaal recently traveled to Saudi Arabia to discuss the breakdown in talks between his faction and that of PA chairman and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas. Egyptian officials are doing their part by trying to arrange a meeting between Hamas and Fatah factions to be held later this month, according to senior PA sources in Judea and Samaria.

Various PA sources have said quietly for weeks that efforts were being made on both sides to reconcile differences between Fatah and Hamas to bring the two rival factions together again.

The last PA unity government, established in March after weeks of cajoling by Arab leaders that ended with outright arm-twisting by Saudi Arabian King Adbullah, lasted less than a day before loyalists of both factions were back at each other's throats.

That deal came after more than a year of internecine bloodshed that followed a landslide victory by the Islamist Hamas terrorist group, who ousted the ruling Fatah faction in PA elections January 2006. International leaders refused to recognize the Hamas-ruled government, and froze funding to the PA until Hamas would renounce terrorism, formally acknowledge the State of Israel's right to exist, and agree to uphold deals previously negotiated by rival factions within the PA.

Hamas has not fulfilled these conditions, and has staunchly remained true to its vow never to recognize Israel. Gaza descended into total anarchy, and was eventually taken over by Hamas. Fatah retained control of Judea and Samaria.

In response, Abbas declared an emergency PA government, ousting Hamas. Millions of dollars that were frozen when Hamas took over the PA suddenly flowed in from the USA, Israel and other Western nations. Millions more dollars, hundreds of thousands of new weapons and more than a year of training for PA security forces by senior American military officials have been provided by the Bush administration to prop up the Abbas government as well. Abbas vowed, in return, to keep Hamas out of the government.

Hamas is now trying to establish its own relationship with the USA. Haniyeh advisor Ahmed Yousef has reportedly sent a letter to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice asking for talks. "We are not anti-American, anti-European or anti-anyone," claimed Yousef in his letter. "Our party is the legitimately elected party. You owe it to your sense of fairness to engage meaningfully with all relevant parties to the conflict."

Yousef said it was "amusing" that Rice had expressed sympathy for Israeli victims of Hamas bombings, arguing that Israel was to blame for the violence.


Olmert: Israel Works to Expose Iran Nuclear Program

By Ha'aretz & YnetNews.com

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told ministers on Sunday that Israel would continue to work alongside the International Atomic Energy Agency in order to expose covert Iranian activities and investigate its military program to develop nuclear weapons, despite efforts by Tehran to stymie their efforts.

He said that, based a U.S. intelligence report released last week, Iran is enriching enough uranium to have a nuclear weapon within three years. "Iran is continuing its efforts to enrich uranium, and according to the report is set to accumulate sufficient amounts to produce nuclear weapons by 2010," Olmert told his political-security cabinet.

The cabinet was holding special deliberations on a new U.S. intelligence assessment which states that Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program in 2003. Israeli officials have conducted a quiet campaign aimed at exposing the deficiencies of the National Intelligence Estimate.

Olmert said that Israel's stance on the Iranian nuclear program would not change despite the U.S. report. "According to the assessment, Iran had a nuclear weapons program until at least 2003 and there is no positive report giving any explanation of where this program has disappeared to," he said, adding that it was necessary for the world to "continue to act against Iran and even increase" international sanctions against it.


US Joint Chiefs Chairman in Tel Aviv for Talks on Iran Threat

By YnetNews.com

The United States' top military commander met with Israel's defense minister and armed forces chief on Monday in the wake of a US intelligence report that Iran has suspended its attempt to build nuclear bombs. The Israeli Defense Ministry said Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Adm. Mike Mullen discussed ''a range of regional security issues."

"The discussion was centered on the mutual challenge that Israel and the United States, indeed the entire Middle East, face right now, and the shared recognition that there remains a potential for Iran to develop nuclear weapons and to threaten its neighbors," Mullen's spokesman, Capt. John Kirby, said.

Mullen's one-day visit to Israel was the first in a decade by a chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the US armed forces. It came as Israel and the administration of President George. W. Bush sought to keep up the push for tougher sanctions against Iran, despite the publication of the US National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) last week. The report said Iran's nuclear weapons program had been on hold since 2003 though its uranium enrichment facilities might produce enough fissile material for bombs in the next decade.

Earlier in the day Mullen met with IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi at the IDF's central base in Tel Aviv. The two discussed Israel's various security threats, including the situation with Iran.

Mullen was briefed by various IDF commanders, including the army's chief of intelligence, air force commander and Israel's future military attaché to Washington. "Sometimes friends disagree," said Kirby of the differences of opinion between Israel and the US over Iran's agenda.


Palestinians Expand Rocket Range

By Israel Faxx News Services

A quarter-million Israelis will be in range of Palestinian rockets next year, according to intelligence assessments.

Ma'ariv on Monday quoted Israeli military intelligence as saying that in 2008, Palestinian terrorist groups in the Gaza Strip will have expanded the range of their rockets to as much as eight miles. Among potential targets is Ashkelon, a coastal city with a major electricity plant.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has resisted calls to fortify homes in Israeli towns and villages around Gaza, a project that would cost some $1.3 billion, saying it would project weakness.

Israel also has held off on invading Gaza to crush Palestinian rocket crews. According to Ma'ariv, contributing to the holdup has been the concern that Hamas could harm an Israeli soldier it is holding captive, Sgt. Gilad Shalit.


New List of Holocaust Victims' Stolen Assets Available

By IsraelNationalNews.com & Ha'aretz

A new list of assets stolen from victims who died in the World War II Nazi genocide has become available, the Company for Restitution of Holocaust Victims Assets announced.

The company said it is the first list of assets in Israel, previously owned by Holocaust victims. Descendants and heirs of the victims may access the list in Hebrew and English by going to the company's site at http://www.hashava.org.il/eng.

Applications may be filled out online and submitted through the website, not only in response to those assets listed on the site but also for those that may not be listed.

The group has publicized the names of 55,000 stockholders in the 19th-century Zionist movement company Jewish Colonial Trust, who perished during the Second World War, Army Radio reported on Monday. The shares currently made available are worth a total of more than NIS 200 million. To date, the group has collected NIS 700 million in assets.

"This is a remarkable project," the organization's director Yishai Amrami told Army Radio on Monday. "We are dealing with an exceptionally large number of stockholders. We are seeking to give their relatives what they deserve."

Submitting a claim through the organization's Web site is only the beginning of a long process. In the previous campaign, inaugurated in July last year, only a handful of claimants were actually compensated. The organization has often been subject to criticism for its protracted bureaucracy.

JCT, the parent company of the Anglo Palestine Bank, the predecessor of Bank Leumi, was founded by Theodor Herzl in 1899, to serve as a financial instrument for the Zionist movement. Most victims owned between one and three shares.


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