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Gaza Journalists: Hamas Faked Blackout Scenes


Arab journalists quoted in the Jerusalem Post on Thursday said that many pictures showing Gaza reportedly suffering from a massive blackout had been staged.

Gaza-based journalists said that on two occasions they were asked to cover Hamas events in which senior officials sat in dark rooms with lit candles. Both events took place during the daytime, journalists said, with curtains drawn to give the impression of a blackout.

Hamas claimed earlier in the week that Israel's refusal to allow fuel shipments through Gaza crossings had led to a widespread blackout that had created a humanitarian crisis in order to arouse world sympathy.

Terror Attacks North and South of Jerusalem


Arab terrorists opened fire on a vehicle near the northern entrance to the northern Jerusalem neighborhood of Shuafat Thursday evening. Two Jews were shot.

A Border Police officer was mortally wounded in the attack. Medics at a nearby checkpoint administered CPR to no avail. The other victim, a 20-year-old female Border Police officer, was evacuated to Hadassah Ein Karem Hospital in critical condition from a gunshot wound to the chest.

Arab terrorists also infiltrated the Gush Etzion Jewish collective of Kibbutz Kfar Etzion Thursday night. They entered Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz's Mekor Chayim high school while the boarding school's counselors were having a meeting. The terrorists, one with a gun, were dressed in IDF uniforms and entered the school's study hall, according to Kfar Etzion resident and former MK Chanan Porat. A counselor realized they were terrorists, drew his personal firearm and opened fire. Another joined and a struggle ensued. The terrorists stabbed the two before being shot dead.

Both are in stable condition - one with a deep stab wound to the shoulder and another with a less-serious head wound. They were brought to Hadassah Hospital for treatment. Residents of the Kibbutz were told to remain in their homes for fear that other terrorists were still present in the community. The IDF commended the counselors, saying their bravery prevented what would have been a major terrorist attack.

PA President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah's military wing Al-Aksa Brigades terrorist group announced that it carried out both attacks

Palestinians Savor Open Gaza Border

By Jim Teeple (VOA-Gaza)

Palestinians by the thousands continue to pour across the now open border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt - shopping, visiting relatives and enjoying their new-found freedom of movement. Egyptian troops are increasing security in a bid to control the chaos along the border, and most people in Gaza believe their border with Egypt would be closed again very soon.

The once impregnable border between Gaza and Egypt seems a distant memory as tens of thousands of people flooded both directions across the remnants of a huge steel wall that was constructed by Israeli military engineers to last for decades and toppled early Wednesday. Since then, Palestinians have been pouring into the Egyptian border town of Rafah, buying everything in sight.

Egyptian merchants are doing their best to serve this brand new market. Shopkeeper Sayed said he was surprised when a 200-meter section of the Gaza border wall came down early Wednesday. Since then, he has sold more than $7,000 worth of merchandise from his store on Rafah's main street. He said he was not ready for the thousands of Palestinians who converged on his small shop, and he was surprised by how badly they needed basic goods.

As thousands of Palestinians poured into Rafah, and Egyptians poured into the town to sell them everything from goats to motorcycles to cement, Egyptian security forces moved into the town in force - sealing Rafah's outer borders to keep Palestinians from Gaza from leaving for other parts of Egypt.

Imad Mustapha was a senior Fatah security official in the Palestinian unity government, which was overthrown by Hamas last year as it took control of the Gaza Strip. He said the chaos in Rafah is a concern, but he is enjoying being able to leave Gaza - if only for a few hours.

"In fact I was surprised," said Imad Mustapha. "I did not expect that. It was really something you cannot even see in a dream - just to open the borders between us and Egypt. But it is ok for us just to go out from that big prison."

Israel sealed all of its crossings into the Gaza Strip last week in a bid to halt Palestinian rocket fire into southern Israel. The move was criticized by many, but Israel says it proved effective and that it would keep the borders sealed except for humanitarian aid. The Gaza Strip has been under international embargo ever since Hamas ousted Fatah forces from the area last June.

Mustapha said he believes the Egyptians will seal its border soon, and Gazans will return to their "prison" as he puts it.

That belief is shared by nearly everyone now converging on Rafah, and by senior Hamas leaders like Ahmed Yousef. Yousef says Hamas would like Egypt to take this opportunity to try and broker reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah, which controls the West Bank.

"We never stopped talking to the Egyptians," said Ahmed Yousef. "From day one after the takeover [of Gaza by Hamas], we talked to them, and tried to explain to them what happened. We told them, we are not going to have a Gaza state, but are willing to have unity among the Palestinians, to keep Gaza and the West Bank as a Palestinian state. And, if they are willing, we would like them to mediate the situation between Fatah and Hamas to reconcile the rift between the brothers in Fatah and Hamas."

For his part, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said his Fatah forces are willing to assume security at Gaza's border crossings, but reconciliation with Hamas would only come when Hamas agreed to restore his governing authority in Gaza.

Hamas leaders like Ahmed Yousef also deny responsibility for bringing down the Gaza border wall. Yousef said who brought down the wall is not important, but why it was brought down is. He said Muslims around the world were outraged by what was happening in Gaza, and that is why the Gaza border wall came down.

Hundreds of thousands of Arabs from the Palestinian Authority in Gaza have entered Sinai since Wednesday morning. According to Israeli intelligence assessments, it is likely that PA terrorists have taken advantage of the It is likely that PA terrorists have taken advantage of the border breach to exit Gaza and then infiltrate Israel via the Egyptian border. Commanders from the military, intelligence agencies, the police and other relevant security bodies responsible for the south have been meeting to review joint situation analyses and to coordinate their response to the increased threat.

While Gaza is bounded on the Israeli side by a relatively secure perimeter barrier, the border between Egypt and Israel is much more open. Security officials estimate that hundreds of people, most of them African refugees, smugglers and migrant workers, manage to cross the border illegally every month.

In addition, the National Security Council's Counter-Terrorism Bureau urged Israelis currently in the Sinai Peninsula to return to Israel immediately. The bureau issued a warning on Thursday saying that Israelis should absolutely avoid travel to the Sinai at this time. Security officials explained that PA terrorists are planning to kidnap Israelis in Sinai and bring them to Gaza. Terrorists would find it easy to enter Egypt and return to Gaza with kidnapping victims due to the open border between Sinai and southern Gaza, they said.

Bush Spokeswoman: 'Israel to Work Out Land Return to Palestinians'


The nation of Israel must work with Palestinians to determine how much land will be ceded by the Jewish nation, according to a spokeswoman for President Bush.

The response from spokeswoman Dana Perino came to a question from Les Kinsolving, WND's correspondent at the White House. "Has the White House seen any action by Israel to do what we heard the president ask, to give the Palestinian Authority back all land Israel occupied after the 1967 war?" he asked.

"That's one of the things that – the issue of borders and security and settlements is going to be on the agenda when Prime Minister [Ehud] Olmert and [Palestinian] President [Mahmoud] Abbas sit down to work out and negotiate all the details. So I'll decline to comment until they work it out," Perino said.

"So if that's an accurate description, that the president wants them to give back all the land they occupied after 1967…," continued Kinsolving. "They're going to work that out, and we'll see what they come up with," Perino said.

Bush recently visited the Middle East, meeting with both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian dispute, and according to Middle East media reports used a loaded term, "occupation," for Israel's control over land that is targeted for ownership by Palestinians.

Bush has said the U.S. wants security for Israel, a "contiguous" state for Palestinians and the final borders to be negotiated to accommodate territorial changes since Israel's formation.

He's also insisted on considering compensation for Palestinians who lost property when Israel became a nation, but has not mentioned the Jews who likewise were displaced at that time. Bush has called for "an end to the occupation that began in 1967," implying a return of lands acquired by Israel. He also has appointed an assistant to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to monitor progress on the discussions.

And Out of Zion Shall Come Forth the Electric Car


Israel will introduce electric cars and the infrastructure necessary to make them a viable alternative to oil-consuming vehicles within the next three years.

The first cars, to be produced by Nissan and Renault, are projected to be on Israel's streets by 2009, with 100,000 by the next year and a complete switchover from oil within the decade. The initiative is aimed both at environmental friendliness and reducing the reliance on Arab oil.

Shai Agassi, who heads the initiative and founded Project Better Place, said the goal is to show the world that it is possible to stop using oil in a manner that can be replicated. He said Israel is a good place for the initial pilot program since the distance a charged electric car can travel of 200 km (124 miles) is more than enough to travel anywhere in the Jewish state. Ninety percent of car owners drive less than 72 km a day and Israel's urban centers are all less than 160 km apart.

Battery exchange stations would be deployed around the country, as well as charging stations at parking lots. Agassi said the plan will initially need 150,000 charging points, but estimates there will be about 500,000 such points around Israel eventually. He compares the deployment of the charging points to the cellular companies' erection of cell-phone towers to provide seamless coverage throughout the country.

The program also calls for fueling plans to be purchased in a manner similar to cell-phone calling plans, with a certain price for unlimited charging and other plans for pre-paid battery-switches and the like. Through the battery-exchange program, Agassi hopes to keep the price of the cars down. The cost of replacing the expensive batteries has in the past been a deterrent factor to the adoption of electric cars.

The Israeli government has agreed to pitch in, slashing taxes on electric vehicles drastically compared with standard ones. Agassi says officials in 15 other countries, including the UK, Denmark, and China, are interested in the project, eyeing the Israeli pilot program to gauge its success.

Commenting on the cars themselves: "There's already an operational prototype. I've driven it, and it goes from 0 to 100 km per hour in 7.5 seconds. In other words, there's a product and it's one of the fastest cars on the road."

'Three Little Pigs' Rejected as Offensive to Muslims


Fearing Muslims would be offended, a story based on the "The Three Little Pigs" was rejected by a government-funded British agency from consideration for an annual award.

Judges for the national school honor said the digital book re-telling the classic tale is unacceptable because "the use of pigs raises cultural issues," the BBC reported.

Islamic teaching regards pigs as unclean and forbids eating pork. But a school in England last year attempting to be politically correct toward Muslims ended up offending them even more when it changed the name of its play based on a rendition of "The Three Little Pigs."

The school decided to call it "The Three Little Puppies" instead. But Islamic leaders condemned the move as misguided and said such decisions were turning Muslims into "misfits" in society.

A member of a committee that decided last year to modify a play based on "The Three Little Pigs" explained the decision this way: "We have to be sensitive if we want to be multi-cultural. It was felt it would be more responsible not to use the three little pigs. We feared that some Muslim children wouldn't sing along to the words about pigs."

Sheik Ibrahim Mogra of the Muslim Council of Britain called it "bizarre. The vast majority of Muslims have no problem whatsoever with the 'Three Little Pigs,'" he told the London Daily Mail at the time. "It's always been the traditional way of telling the story, and I don't see why that should be changed."

Mogra acknowledged Muslims are forbidden to eat pork, "but there is no prohibition about reading stories about pigs. This is an unnecessary step."

Mogra asked how far society would go. "Are we going to change the seven dwarves because it's discriminatory towards people who are physically less able? Where do you draw the line?" he asked. "Every time we get these stories Muslims are seen more and more as misfits. We have to accept there's a predominant culture here."

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