Newsletter : 8fax1231.txt
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Ships That Go Bump in the Night
By Israel Faxx News Services
An Israeli naval ship collided with a boat carrying activists and journalists
attempting to reach Gaza. The boat, owned and operated by the International Solidarity
Movement, which was also carrying more than three tons of medical aid, docked instead in
Tyre, Lebanon, with a hole in its hull.
Free Gaza Movement activists aboard the aid boat, which did not respond to radio
contact from the Israeli navy saying it was entering a closed military zone, claim that
the navy ship fired on the small cabin cruiser, Reuters reported. The Israeli Foreign
Ministry told Reuters that its ship did not fire any weapons.
Rocket Attack on Beersheva: Government Says No to Ceasefire
By YnetNews.com & IsraelNationalNews.com
Tuesday evening saw a first Grad rocket fired from the Gaza Strip land in Beersheva, 37
kilometers (23 miles) from the Gaza Strip. The missile hit an empty kindergarten, causing
damage to the building and to a nearby house. Thirty-four people were treated for shock at
the Soroka Medical Center in the city.
Beersheva Mayor Rubik Danilovich told Ynet following the rocket attack, "We are part of
the country and I call on the residents to prepare and not to panic. Sderot is being hit
by rockets for eight years now, and we too will be patient. As the operations in the Gaza
Strip were widened we estimated that the rockets would also reach Beersheva. I'm glad it
ended without any casualties."
The Beersheva Municipality announced Tuesday night that the southern city's schools
would not be opened Wednesday morning. The decision was made following a consultation with
security officials, the Home Front Command and Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai. Some
43,000 children and youths are expected to stay at home in light of the decision.
A state official said Tuesday night that "Israel mustn't talk of a ceasefire for
humanitarian needs. This expression is unacceptable to us, as medications, blood and basic
commodities have already been transferred to the Gaza Strip."
The official spoke after Prime Minister Ehud Olmert placed an embargo on the
resolutions of his four-hour meeting with Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Foreign Minister
Tzipi Livni, IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi, Shin Bet Director Yuval Diskin and other
defense officials on ways to continue the military operation in Gaza.
Sources in Jerusalem made it clear after the meeting that the French definition for the
ceasefire, as suggested by French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner to Defense Minister
Barak, was unacceptable. They added, however, that a ceasefire would be possible if Hamas
were to stop firing rockets towards Israel. "At the end of the day, the operation is aimed
at restoring peace in the south. If this is honored, we will consider how to proceed," a
state official said.
Some 40 Kassam rockets and Grad missiles were fired at the western Negev communities
throughout Tuesday. Two people were lightly hurt by shrapnel and about 60 suffered
Hamas gunmen have fired 180 rockets and dozens of mortar shells into Israel since the
start of the operation. About 75 percent of the rockets and mortars hit open areas. One of
the most significant achievements was the destruction of two-thirds of the launching pits,
where Hamas tried to hide the rocket launchers.
Sources in the defense establishment estimate that Hamas still has more than 2,000
rockets of all types, including dozens of long-range rockets which could reach Ashdod,
Beersheva and even further communities.
Earlier Tuesday, government ministers approved the draft of 2,500 reserve soldiers, in
addition to the enlistment of 6,700 reservists which was approved earlier this week, in
order to expand the fighting units ahead of a possible ground incursion in Gaza. The move
was aimed at signaling that Israel's plans to possibly enter the Strip in order to oppress
the Palestinian rocket fire still stand.
Defense officials clarified that Israel's ground incursion may be avoided due to the
harsh weather conditions expected in the next 48 hours. However, the IDF is prepared to
defend the home front if it realizes that there is no other way to stop the rocket and
The National Union party warned Tuesday against a ceasefire in the fighting against
Hamas, saying that "whoever ceases the fire after Beersheva was targeted will wake up to
missiles on Dimona and Tel Aviv." Dimona is home to Israel's main nuclear research
facility. It is located southeast of Beersheva.
Terrorists Promise 'Surprises' for Israel
Speaking during exclusive WND interviews Tuesday, leaders of Hamas and an allied
terrorist organization in the Gaza Strip claimed they have "surprises" in store for Israel
as the Jewish state continues its aerial bombardment of Hamas targets in Gaza.
The threats come as information from Israeli defense officials indicates Gaza-based
terrorists have long-range rockets capable of reaching just outside Tel Aviv if launched
from the northern Gaza Strip.
"This war is a war for elections and therefore we promise to send them (Israelis)
surprises," stated Abu Abdullah, considered one of the most important operational members
of Hamas' so-called military wing, the Izzedine al-Qassam Martyrs Brigades.
Abu Abdullah claimed to WND that if Israeli ground troops entered Gaza, his terror
group is ready to engage. "This will be the day of al-Hasher - the day where believers and
nonbelievers will be fighting face to face, and we will get rid of them and Allah will win
for the Muslims and the believers," he said.
Muhammad Abdel-Al, spokesman and leader of the Hamas-allied Popular Resistance
Committees terror group in Gaza, also claimed his organization has "surprises" in store
for Israel. "We will keep fighting the Zionists until Israel will evacuate Ashdod and
Ashkelon and Yavne," he added, referring to several Israeli towns.
Israel Monday took out a Popular Resistance Committees target, killing 10 of Abdel-Al's
commanders. Also Monday, five of Abu Abdullah's direct cousins from Hamas were eliminated
during air raids.
Sources inside Hamas and the Committees hinted to WND the "surprises" they have in
store for Israel include the ability to hit Tel Aviv with rockets from Gaza, a claim that
may be grounded in some truth.
Avital Lebovich, a spokeswoman for the IDF, did not deny Palestinians may be capable of
firing at Tel Aviv. "Hamas can have variety of capabilities," she told WND when asked
whether Gaza rockets can strike Tel Aviv.
IDF Opens YouTube Channel
The IDF Spokesman's Unit joined the popular YouTube video sharing website this week,
opening a channel to let viewers see footage from the "Cast Lead" operation in Gaza. The
footage showed humanitarian aid entering Gaza via Israeli crossings and Israeli strikes on
Supporters of Hamas-led Gaza quickly began reporting the IDF videos in an attempt to
get them removed from the website. Some of the most popular videos were taken down, but
not before being viewed by thousands.
One of the videos removed showed terrorists loading Grad missiles into a truck near a
residential area. The terrorists were then taken out in an IAF strike. The video was
picked up by the LiveLeak website.
IDF spokesmen altered the IDF channel homepage to say, "We are saddened that YouTube
has taken down some of our exclusive footage showing the IDF's operational success in
operation Cast Lead against Hamas extremists in the Gaza Strip.
"As the State of Israel again faces those who would see it destroyed, it is imperative
that we in the IDF show the world the inhumanity directed against us and our efforts to
stop it. It is also worth noting that one of the videos removed had the highest number of
hits (over 10,000) at the time of its removal."
Iranian Jews Forced to Stage Pro-Palestinian Rally
Members of Iran's small Jewish community staged a demonstration outside of the United
Nations' office in Tehran, to protest the Israel Defense Forces' operation in the Gaza
The official Iranian news agency, IRNA, reported that community members, alongside
Jewish parliamentarian Siamak Mara-Sedq, urged Israel to do its part to return quiet and
security to the region.
The chairman of Iran's Jewish Union, Rahmatullah Raafi, said the community had come out
in support of the Palestinian people. "We are here to express out support and sympathy for
the Palestinian nation," he said, adding that Muslim nations could rise up as a single
large force against Israel. He also said that the victors of the current conflict were the
residents of Gaza.
Israeli sources familiar with the Iranian Jewish community suspect that the
demonstration was organized by the government in Tehran, and does not represent that
actual stance of Iranian Jews.
Some 25,000 Jews still live in Iran. Many have visited Israel, where a large percentage
of the community has immigrated in the past 30 years. Still, others prefer to remain in
Iran. There are rarely reports of the community suffering from antagonism or aggression
from their neighbors or from the government.
Oldest Holtzberg Son Passes Away
In the quiet hours when Jerusalem was waiting for the dawn, the oldest child of Rabbi
Gavriel and Rivka Holtzberg joined his martyred parents in death.
Four-year-old Dov Ber Holtzberg died of a genetic disease in the pre-dawn hours Tuesday
after a long, serious illness in a Jerusalem hospital. The funeral was held at midday in
Dov Ber was laid to rest in the cemetery on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, just one
day before the end of the 30-day mourning period for his parents next to his parents and
older brother. His brother died of the same disease two years ago. The child had been
living in a long-term care facility in Jerusalem.
The Holtzbergs were slaughtered along with four other Jews in an Islamist terrorist
attack on their Chabad House in Mumbai, India. Nearly 200 other people were murdered and
hundreds of others were wounded in the three-day killing spree by 10 terrorists which
struck the city formerly known as Bombay.
The ceremony to set the marker stones on to graves of the Holtzberg couple is scheduled
to be held on Thursday, the day after the conclusion of the mourning period.
Dov Ber's sole surviving immediate family member is his little brother, Moishe Tzvi,
who escaped the Mumbai massacre in the arms of his Indian nanny, Sandra Samuel.
Israel News Faxx Does Not Expect to publish tomorrow, New Year's Day
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