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Barak: We'll Win the Next War

By IsraelNationalNews.com

Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Monday that if war were to break out again, Israeli would win.

"We expect victory, with the minimum number of wounded and minimal damage to the home front," he said. Barak spoke at an IDF awards ceremony that was attended by former IDF Chief of Staff Dan Halutz and former Deputy Chief of Staff Moshe Kaplinsky. Barak spoke about the necessity of war, saying, "Freedom was only given to those willing to fight for it."


US Issues Nuclear War Predictions for Israel

By IsraelNationalNews.com

A new study issued by the United States Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) has published hypothetical outcomes of all-out nuclear war between Israel and Iran.

According to CSIS predictions, such a war would last for approximately three weeks, resulting in the deaths of 16-28 million Iranians and 200-800,000 Israelis. If Syria would join the war, an additional 800,000 Israelis might be killed, with 18 million casualties on the Syrian side. Egypt's involvement would result in a nuclear strike on Cairo and other cities, as well as the destruction of the Aswan dam.

Scenarios relied on the development of Iran's nuclear program, unhindered by a pre-emptive strike by Israel or the US. If that occurs, according to the study, Iran may possess 30 nuclear warheads by 2010-2020. Israel currently has 200 warheads, and a state-of-the-art missile defense system, "Arrow-2."

The CSIS report predicts that Israel would survive the war, while Iran would be completely obliterated. Tel Aviv, Haifa and coastal cities down to Ashdod would be Iran's primary targets, with Israel attacking over 10 Iranian cities, including Tehran and Isfahan.


Israel to Relax Criteria for Release of Terrorist Murderers

By IsraelNationalNews.com & YnetNews.com

Israeli ministers met Monday to broaden the range of terrorists that Israel might release in an effort to include arch-terrorist Marwan Barghouti. To do so they are considering narrowing the definition of the term "blood on their hands," to no longer include the one who gave the order.

Barghouti has headed every prisoner release list demanded by the Palestinian Authority in negotiations with Israel. The Tanzim terrorist leader is serving five life sentences in Israeli prison for master-minding attacks that killed five Israelis and wounded many more. Tanzim is affiliated with Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah faction.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was scheduled to meet with the group, which included Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, Justice Minister Daniel Friedmann, Vice Premier Chaim Ramon, Public Security Minister Avi Dichter and Minister without Portfolio Ami Ayalon. Livni later met with the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee to update its members on the discussions that took place between the ministers.

Committee head and Kadima Knesset Member Tzachi HaNegbi told Arutz 7's Israel National Radio flatly that he opposed relaxing the definition of what constitutes "blood on the hands" of terrorists. "I object to the release of murderers. A murderer is a murderer regardless of legal definitions. I hope there will be no relaxation of the term 'murderer.' Anyone who murdered Jews belongs under lock and key. There can be concession or flexibility in this matter."

Likud Knesset Member Yuval Steinitz, a member of the committee, also expressed outrage in an interview with Voice of Israel government radio after the meeting. "According to the government's new formulae, a killer is no longer a killer and the terrorist Palestinian Authority is a peace partner," he said.

Left-wing Meretz Knesset Member Avshalom Vilan was in favor of the idea. "Israel should stop dealing with definitions and rigid standards," he said. "In Israel too there are fighters who killed terrorists and can be considered as those with 'blood on their hands.' We call them terrorists but they [PA Arabs] call them freedom fighters."

It is hoped that the move, which would allow for the release of terrorists who until now were considered off-limits for prisoner release deals would help win the release of IDF Corporal Gilad Shalit. Ayalon, a former chief of the General Security Services (Shin Bet) criticized his former agency as having "failed" the captive soldier. Talks between Israel and Hamas terrorists who kidnapped Shalit in June 2006, mediated by Egyptian officials, are reportedly progressing rapidly as the negotiations focus on how many terrorist prisoners Hamas will demand Israel free in a swap for Shalit.

Labor Knesset Member said the move would increase the chances of success in rescuing Shalit, saying "if we continue with the criteria that were used in the past, there will be no one else left to free. If we want to free prisoners," he told IDF Army Radio, "and bring about the release of Gilad Shalit, we will have to broaden this."

Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai is advocating for Barghouti's release. Vilnai said in a Monday radio interview with Kol Israel that Israel could potentially free the murderer in a future deal with Palestinian Authority terrorists.

He claimed that Barghouti could be released in a deal with the PA because he ordered the deadly attacks, but did not personally carry them out. According to current definitions, terrorists who were involved in attacks that killed Israelis have "blood on their hands" and are not usually released.

PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has often tried to pressure Israel in talks with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to release Barghouti, who was elected to the PA Legislative Council in absentia and who is seen by many PA Arabs as a national hero. Polls have ranked him as the third most popular choice for PA leader.

Representatives of parents who have lost loved ones in terror attacks sent Olmert a letter expressing their opposition to any change in prisoner release policies which would enable murderers to be set free. The bereaved were assisted by Almagor, an organization that represents victims of terrorism.


Arafat Founded 1970s Black September International Terror Group

By IsraelNationalNews.com

A series of articles written by a long-time aide to the late Palestine Liberation Organization chairman and arch-terrorist Yasir Arafat has confirmed that his boss founded the international terrorist organization Black September.

Black September was responsible for the 1972 Munich Summer Olympics massacre in which 11 Israeli athletes and coaches were murdered, along with one German police officer. During the effort to rescue the Israeli team, police managed to kill five of the eight terrorists, capturing the other three alive. They were later released by German authorities.

The international terror organization was also responsible for a number of other terrorist attacks in the early 1970s, including the murder of an Israeli politician in London to whom the group sent a letter bomb, Jordanian Prime Minister Wasfi Tel and two US diplomats in Khartoum, as well as the hijacking of a Belgian airliner from Vienna.

Speaking at a rally commemorating the third anniversary of Arafat's death, Palestinian Authority Chairman and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas (known by his nom de guerre, Abu Mazen) slammed Hamas's takeover of Gaza, but added that the rival terrorist group "cannot erase Arafat's achievements."

Abbas was appointed by Arafat to become the Palestinian Authority's first Prime Minister following the signing in 1993 of the Oslo Accords with then-Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin and then-Foreign Minister Shimon Peres, for which he received the Nobel Peace Prize with Rabin and Peres a year later. The agreement contained a Declaration of Principles on Palestinian government and was engineered and signed in the presence of then-US President Bill Clinton.

Clinton later berated Arafat for turning down a deal to hand over more than 90 percent of the land restored to Israel in the 1967 Six Day War, offered by then-Prime Minister Ehud Barak during talks at Camp David in 2000. Arafat rejected the offer because Barak refused to hand over all of Jerusalem.

Arafat co-founded the Fatah terrorist organization with Abbas in 1969, heading the group, and its parent organization, the PLO until his death in 2004, when Abbas inherited the position.


Will Smith Sees 'Good' in Hitler

By YnetNews.com

Actor Will Smith said in an interview that Hitler set out to do what he thought was "good."

"Even Hitler didn't wake up going, 'Let me do the most evil thing I can do today,'" Smith told Scotland's Daily Record in an interview. "I think he woke up in the morning and using a twisted, backwards logic, he set out to do what he thought was 'good.' Stuff like that just needs reprogramming."

He said the German leader did not realize the extent of suffering his actions would cause, he said in an interview reported on by World Entertainment News. Hitler's totalitarian leadership as Germany's leader from 1934 until 1945 resulted in the deaths of an estimated six million Jews in the Holocaust and his invasion of Poland in 1939 led to the start of World War II.


Short Story by Gilad Shalit at Age 11 to be Published

By Ha'aretz

A short story penned at age 11 by Gilad Shalit, the Israeli soldier kidnapped in Gaza in June 2006, will hit the shelves of select bookstores next month accompanied by professional illustrations. It first appeared on the Web site devoted to the kidnapped Israeli soldiers.

The story is about a shark and a fish who become friends, who continue to play together despite parental pressure to remain natural enemies, and who ultimately forge peace between their two species.

It has already been translated into numerous languages, including Arabic and English, with the intention of reaching the Palestinian territories.


Israeli TV Series Puts Comedic Spin on Arab-Jewish Relations

By McClatchy Newspapers

Clara Khoury and Norman Issa star in the new Israeli sitcom "Arab Work," which depicts an Arab-Israeli couple's attempts to assimilate in the Jewish nation.

Amjad is a neurotic Arab-Israeli journalist who desperately wants to fit in. He teaches his daughter Passover songs and wears a yarmulke when he takes his family to a Jewish Seder. He trades in his beat-up old Subaru for a more expensive "non-Arab" car so that he won't get stopped at Israeli checkpoints.

But nothing Amjad does seems to exorcise his feelings of alienation as the central character in "Arab Work," a groundbreaking new Israeli prime-time television sitcom that features an Arab-Israeli family struggling to assimilate in the Jewish nation.

For a half-hour every week, "Arab Work" uses irreverent and self-deprecating humor to challenge the Israeli media's predominant image of Arabs as dangerous adversaries. The show, which made its debut in late November, is an early hit.

The first two episodes ranked in the top 10 and were viewed by 22 percent of Israeli households in a country of 7.2 million people. Channel 2, the Israeli network that airs the show, already has agreed to buy a second season.

But "Arab Work" is more than a wacky sitcom about life for the Arab minority in Israel. It is a risky attempt to use slapstick humor to lampoon both sides in this deadly, divisive arena. "It's not perfect, but under the right circumstances it can be for Israeli-Arabs what `The Cosby Show' was for blacks in America," said Vered Livne, executive director of Agenda, an Israeli media strategy firm. "It has a chance to lower the barriers that Israeli Jews put up when they hear an Arab voice."

Since the country's founding in 1948, Israel's Arabs — who live within the nation's pre-1967 borders and hold Israeli citizenship — have faced widespread discrimination and suspicion. Television is no exception.

A recent Agenda study found that Israeli networks, including Channel 2, hire almost no Arab-Israelis. News programs devote about 1 percent of their time to Arab-Israelis, who make up 20 percent of the country's population. When Arabs do appear on news shows, they are usually presented as threatening.

"I thought it was time to take this conflict into prime time and laugh about it," said Danny Paran, Arab Work's producer and co-creator. We are both here, and it's an extreme conflict — basically fantastic material for a television show."

The portrayal of Amjad and the other main characters has drawn sharp criticism from Arab-Israeli television critics and others who see the show not as a trailblazing event but as an Israeli version of America's "Amos 'n' Andy," the 1950s television series that was driven off the air by civil rights groups for its stereotypical portrayal of black characters.

Norman Issa, the actor who plays Amjad, doesn't think that critics should take the show so seriously, even though he hopes that it will be viewed as something more than a sitcom. "It's a comedy. It's not a documentary," Issa said. "I believe that comedy can change people, change their opinions. Hopefully it will change something, so that people will be able to talk a little bit and not fight all the time."


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