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Likud Welcomes Begin Candidacy


Likud members welcomed Dr. Benny Begin's announcement on Sunday that he will leave his job as head of the Geological Institute and will vie for a spot on the party's list of Knesset candidates for the upcoming elections.

The son of former Prime Minister Menachem Begin was a three-term Knesset Member, from 1988 until 1999, and served briefly as Minister of Science under Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. He is known for three blatant characteristics: a political outlook promoting Jewish sovereignty over Judea and Samaria, a liberal social outlook, and impeccable character.

Palestinians Accuse Jews of Plotting Ethnic Takeover


As Israel announced a major peace summit scheduled for next week, the Palestinian Authority Sunday issued an official pamphlet repeatedly referring to Israel as the "hated entity," while accusing Jews of plotting to ethnically cleanse the region of Arabs.

"We remember all the conspiracies and plans to chase us, which didn't stop from 1948 until today," reads the official PA pamphlet, distributed by PA offices in the West Bank and obtained by WND. "We are aware of the Zionist plans against our people and their efforts to destroy the Palestinians aimed at making an ethnic transfer so that Palestine will be clean of its Arabs and totally a Jewish state."

The pamphlet continues, "We should make all efforts to expose to world the policy and real image of this hated entity (Israel)."

The PA published the pamphlet to mourn the 91st anniversary of the Balfour Declaration – a statement from the British government that it would favorably view the formation of a national Jewish homeland. Britain at the time had administered Palestine in line with a mandate from the League of Nations.

Also Sunday, official websites and publications run by PA President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah organization and browsed by WND were saturated with anti-Israel articles and opinion pieces that mourned the Balfour Declaration and cursed the Jewish state.

The deluge of anti-Israel rhetoric came as Israel and the PA announced they would hold a high-level joint briefing in Egypt next week for the international community to assess the status of U.S.-backed negotiations aimed at creating a Palestinian state before the end of the year.

Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni will head Israel's delegation, with Abbas representing the Palestinians at a meeting with leaders of the Mideast Quartet, which consists of the U.S., EU, UN and Russia. Ahead of the briefing, Abbas announced in Jordan he does not believe there would be a final agreement between the two sides before the 2009 deadline.

Israel and the PA have been holding regular, high-level talks expected to result in an eventual Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem.

Shin Bet Security Chief Warns of Possible Assassination Attempt by Jewish Militants

By Robert Berger (VOA-Jerusalem)

An Israeli security chief has warned that politicians could again be targeted by Jewish militants. The head of the Shin Bet, Israel's Security Agency, Yuval Diskin, warned that Jewish extremists could try to assassinate an Israeli leader. He told the Cabinet that the aim would be to torpedo peace moves with the Palestinians.

It is a sensitive issue-this week, Israel marks the 13th anniversary of the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin by a Jewish militant opposed to his peace policies.

There has been growing tension between militant Jewish settlers in the West Bank and the Israeli government. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert lashed out at the settlers for recent attacks on Israeli soldiers and Palestinian civilians.

Olmert told the Cabinet that most settlers are law-abiding citizens who love the people and Land of Israel. But he said there is also a group, that is not small, that is threatening the rule of law in the State of Israel, adding that it is intolerable.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak concurred. "The settlers who are breaking the law are a threat to the state," he said." "This is a dangerous phenomenon" that will not be allowed.

Militant settlers are angry over the government's peace talks with the Palestinians, which could lead to Israel relinquishing most of the West Bank and parts of Jerusalem. The settlers believe that violates God's command to settle all the biblical Land of Israel. So 13 years after the Rabin assassination, there are growing fears it could happen again.

Olmert Plans Golan Giveaway in Talks with Syria


Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is willing to sweeten the deal with Syria in exchange for direct talks with Damascus.

According to a diplomatic source in Jerusalem quoted late Saturday night by Ha'aretz, Olmert is considering negotiations over the borders of the Golan Heights in exchange for face-to-face talks with Syrian officials.

The news comes along with information that Olmert is planning to set a date for a fifth round of indirect talks with Damascus, to be brokered by Turkey, as were the prior four sets of negotiations.

The source said that Syria had demanded in prior negotiations that Israel make good on a promise called the "Rabin Deposit," a deal that Olmert had reportedly put off until the fifth round of indirect talks.

The pledge was apparently made in 1995 by former Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin to then-U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher, and involved a commitment by Israel to completely withdraw from the Golan Heights. In return, Damascus would promise not to attack the Jewish State. Olmert has now decided to go ahead with the fifth round of talks.

Kadima party chairwoman and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, who still hopes to become the next prime minister, is less than enthusiastic about the prospect, but cautiously gave a green light to the talks, if they are confined to "maintenance," she said Friday. "However," she added, "if we are talking about an attempt to determine facts on the ground before the election that is inappropriate and unacceptable."

McCain Spokesman Cites Obama Anti-Semitism Connection


Mike Goldfarb, national spokesman for Sen. John McCain's campaign, said this weekend on CNN that "Barack Obama has a long track record of being around anti-Semitic, anti-Israel and anti-American rhetoric." However, when pressed by the anchorman to name names, he maintained silence.

And the Los Angeles Times is standing fast in its refusal to show publicly a tape which it says it possesses, of a fete in honor of "Palestinian-American" academician Rashid Khalidi. Sen. Obama has said that Khalidi is a personal friend who has often dined with him at his home. The fete for Khalidi reportedly included some speeches which were stridently anti-Israel, but the Times refused to make public its tape of the event, which included an address by Obama.

The LA Times said that the paper "would have preferred to be able to post the video but could not get the source to agree. The LA Times continues to come under fire from conservative commentators for its decision not to release the tape. Writing in the National Review Online, Andrew McCarthy explained:

"The full story couldn't be more relevant. Barack Obama says he is a staunch supporter of Israel. The importance of the Khalidi festivities isn't simply that Obama lavished praise on a man who was an Arafat apologist — although that is troubling in itself. What also matters is that many speakers (no doubt including Obama's good friend Khalidi himself) said extremely provocative things about Israel and American policy."

"While that went on," according to McCarthy, "Obama apparently sat there in tacit acceptance, if not approval. He didn't get up to leave. He wasn't roused to a defense of his country. He didn't deliver a spirited condemnation of Islamic terror. He just sat there. And when it came his turn to speak, he spoke … glowingly … about Khalidi. He was clearly comfortable around the agitators and, equally crucial; they were clearly comfortable spewing their bile in front of him — confident that they were certainly not giving offense."

"Why would the Times think it's not newsworthy to tell us in detail what Obama sat through and chose not to refute?" McCarthy asks. "He says he supports Israel, but shouldn't we get a peek at what he actually does when Israel is under attack. After all, he wants to be in charge and soon the attacks may be more than just verbal. All of that could be made known by the publication of a transcript, without breaching any purported promise to the purported source."

Israel Mulling Joint Airport with PA near Netanya


The Israel Airports Authority is considering building a joint Israeli-Palestinian airport on the Poleg beach south of Netanya, authority chairman Ovadia Eli said this weekend.

Addressing an economic conference at Ben-Gurion Airport, Eli said that the airport would be jointly managed by Israel and the Palestinian Authority. To facilitate Palestinian access, it would be connected to the West Bank via a tunnel. "This would be a confidence-building measure that would enable international fund-raising," he said. "There are high-level talks [about the proposal] on both sides. Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair is also involved in the matter."

Eli stressed that no decision has yet been made on whether Israel should have a second international airport at all; this will depend on the outcome of feasibility studies on the plan's technical, ecological and financial aspects. And even if the plan is approved, the airport would not be built for "over a decade."

Nevertheless, he argued, "for strategic, security, economic and labor relations reasons, another international airport is vital," and a joint venture could eliminate the competition over air space that might arise if the PA simply built its own airport

Historian: Conditions are Ripe for a King of Israel


The current situation in Israel could have all the necessary ingredients for the appointment of a king, according to biblical scholar and historian David Solomon.

Speaking on Israel National Radio, Solomon said that problems and divisions within Israel today and the threats it faces from outside to its security could be interpreted as the conditions that precede the appointment of a king. "We need a unified leadership, we've got anti-Semitic regimes on our doorstep that want to wipe us out, we have fractures within the population," said Solomon.

Drawing a parallel between the current "disastrous absence of genuine political and spiritual and religious leadership" in Israel today and the period leading up to the anointing of Israel's first king, Saul, he said that many people might view a theocratic monarchy as an answer to Israel's troubles today as it was then.

Discussing the period of the early chapters of the book of Samuel, dated historically at around 1100 BCE, Solomon said that the situation at that time saw a crisis of political and religious leadership based upon corruption, exploitation and the abuse of power. It was as a result of this that the people of Israel turned to the prophet Samuel seeking a different model of leadership, asking instead for a king.

But Solomon cautioned against people being too hasty about appointing a king in Israel today. "Every generation that is thinking of adopting a new model of leadership needs to be extremely careful," he said. "Kings can be good but kings can also be very bad."

According to Solomon, Jewish history shows that the decision to appoint a king is fraught with problems. While Israel can boast figures like King David and King Hezekiah, it has many more examples of bad kings. "If we had the power to set up a king now, we would have to be extremely careful," he said.

Solomon said that it is not simply that one good king could easily be followed by a bad king, but that there is also the problem of how Israel would find the right person to provide the necessary qualities of leadership. "Let's say that we have all the ingredients for a king: how would we go about selecting that king?" he asked.

He said the cautionary lesson from the book of Samuel is that people tend to get the king they deserve.

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