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Israeli Government Web Sites Attacked


Israeli officials believe hackers from the former Soviet Union paid by Hizbullah or Hamas, were responsible for a denial of service attack on government Web sites. Ha'aretz Monday said the attacks were executed by at least 500,000 computers during the military offensive in Gaza earlier this year.

The report quoted officials as saying the cyber attacks were very similar to those against Georgia last year on the eve of war with Russia, and therefore they could not rule out the possibility the attacks were carried out by criminal organizations from the former USSR that received their funding from the pro Islamic organizations.

Palestinians Reject Netanyahu Peace Overture

By Ha'aretz &

Despite Binyamin Netanyahu's call for peace and the establishment of a Palestinian state in a Sunday speech, Palestinian leaders quickly rejected the Israeli prime minister's overtures.

Immediately after the speech, top Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said the Arab peace initiative should be frozen and PLO Executive Committee Secretary Yasser Abed Rabbo called Netanyahu a "con man and a liar." Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas followed that up by saying Netanyahu had "sabotaged" peace efforts.

Monday, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak declared that no one in the region would agree to recognize Israel as a Jewish state.

There are (at least) two ways to interpret the Palestinians' reactions. The first is that they are totally uninterested in peace, no matter what the offer. The second, as Avi Issacharof at Ha'aretz suggests, is that they are drunk on power. Emboldened by the Obama White House, the Palestinians now feel they are in a position of strength and only need wait for the Americans to extract further concessions from Israel.

Netanyahu's speech did not surprise anyone in the Palestinian Authority. The PA officials have already heard the statements before - a demilitarized Palestinian state, objection to the right of return of Palestinian refugees, and even the slogan "a united Jerusalem," which has been used by all Israeli premiers. But Netanyahu does differ from his predecessors in one respect, which is also a possible source of Palestinian ire.

From the PA's perspective, Netanyahu's demand that the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state is almost humiliating, and it is highly unlikely to be realized. For the Palestinians, the repetition of this demand is an excuse on Netanyahu's part to avoid a peace agreement.

In addition, it seems that Abed Rabbo and his associates chose an insulting and petty reaction to the speech because they sensed that they could. It was only a few days ago that Erekat said that for the first time in history the Palestinians were in a position of power in negotiations with Israel. The Palestinians sensed that Netanyahu, who is not overly popular in Washington and with international community, was easy prey and therefore subject to ridicule, regardless of the content of his speech. Dubbing the Israeli Prime Minister a "conman" mere moments after he agreed to a two-state solution was not an appropriate reaction.

The second possibility is less likely. The Israeli recognition of the principle of a Palestinian state pressured the Palestinians into reacting with needlessly aggressive statements.

Ultimately, however, Abed Rabbo, Erekat and even Abbas will have to contend with Mahmoud Zahar and Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas, not Netanyahu and Lieberman, and this is likely the source of their great distress.

According to a top PA official speaking to World Net Daily, the Palestinian Authority has received signs from the U.S. that it should not take seriously Netanyahu's address. Nimer Hamad, senior political adviser to Abbas, also said the PA is not concerned about Netanyahu's policies since Abbas relies on American support for key Palestinian demands.

During Netanyahu's speech Sunday, the Israeli leader called for a demilitarized Palestinian state and said Jerusalem would always be united under Jewish sovereignty.

Hamad countered: "No matter what is the position of the Israeli government and no matter what are the statements of Netanyahu, what counts is what was promised to us by Obama, which is totally the opposite [of Netanyahu's positions]. We received encouraging signs from the Americans that we should not take seriously into consideration Netanyahu's speech."

Hamad said the Obama administration holds views that strongly differ from Netanyahu's. "The U.S. is committed to the evacuation of settlements (in the West Bank)," he said. "We know from what we understand that also Jerusalem will be determined in the final negotiations that will take place on the basis of an international community that doesn't recognize eastern Jerusalem as part of the state of Israel."

The Abbas adviser claimed the Obama administration "understands that the Israeli policy is dangerous not only for the region but also for the U.S." Hamad said Netanyahu's speech was "destructive for the peace process." He surmised the Israeli leader's statements were "in the first level directed to his partners in the government and the radicals in Israel."

Another Poll: Most Israelis Could Live with a Nuclear Iran

By Reuters

Only one in five Israeli Jews believes a nuclear-armed Iran would try to destroy Israel and most see life continuing as normal should their arch-foe get the bomb, an opinion poll published on Sunday found.

The survey, commissioned by a Tel Aviv University think tank, appeared to challenge the argument of successive Israeli governments that Iran must be denied the means to make atomic weapons lest it threaten the existence of the Jewish state.

Asked how a nuclear-armed Iran would affect their lives, 80 percent of respondents said they expected no change. Eleven percent said they would consider emigrating and 9 percent said they would consider relocating inside Israel.

Twenty-one percent of Israelis believe Iran "would attack Israel with nuclear weapons with the objective of destroying it," the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS), which commissioned the poll, said in a statement.

Iran says its uranium enrichment, which has bomb-making potential, is for energy only. But its leaders' anti-Israel rhetoric and support for Islamist guerrillas in Lebanon and the Palestinian territories have stirred fears of a regional war.

Some Israeli officials have said that the Islamic republic's ruling clerics may consider destroying Israel a goal worth the risk even of a devastating counter-strike: Israel is widely assumed to have the Middle East's only atomic arsenal.

A longer-term scenario sees Iran using the nuclear specter to undermine Israelis' desire to stay in their homeland. "The Israeli leadership may be more informed," INSS research director Yehuda Ben Meir told Reuters, explaining that the discrepancy between public and government views about Iran.

But he added: "I think the Israeli public does not see this as an existential threat, and here there may be an exaggeration by some members of the leadership. Most Israelis appear willing to place their bet on Israel's deterrent capability and, I would add, on Iran's rational behavior."

Like his predecessors, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has hinted Israel could attack Iran pre-emptively should Western diplomacy fail to curb its uranium enrichment.

The INSS survey found 59 percent of Israeli Jews would support such strikes, while 41 percent would not back the military option. The poll had 616 respondents and a margin of error of 3.5 percent, Ben Meir said.

Israeli Arabs who make up some 20 percent of the population -- and are generally less likely to see themselves as targets of the Jewish state's enemies -- were not included for budgetary reasons, he said.

A separate survey, commissioned by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, found 52 percent support for pre-emptive Israeli attacks on Iran, with 35 percent of respondents opposed.

Near Miss at Ben Gurion Revealed


A collision between an El Al Israel Airlines jet and an Uzbekhi airliner with hundreds of passengers between them was avoided last week at Ben Gurion Airport, according to a Monday evening report on Channel 2 television.

An alert flight traffic controller ordered the Uzbekhi airliner to break its landing approach and circle the airport after seeing the El Al jet standing on the runway where the Uzbekhi jet was going to land.

An airport investigation cited the El Al pilot for either not hearing or not understanding instructions from the control tower.

Kosher Google Makes Debut as Koogle


Koogle is the name of a new Hebrew-language Internet search engine that allows surfing without getting drowned in sexually explicit and other offensive material. The brainchild of Yossi Altman, Koogle is a pun on the Jewish noodle pudding known as "kugel."

The new search engine may be a boon to the hareidi religious community, whose rabbis often ban the use of the Internet because of the accessibility to pornography. The new Koogle search engine filters out the unwanted items and even prevents a user from purchasing something online on the Sabbath, when business transactions are prohibited as part of the sanctification of the Day of Rest. The site also does not allow buyers to purchase forbidden items, such as televisions.

Rabbis encouraged the development of the search engine in order to solve the problem of the hareidi religious community in Israel that often uses Internet cafes to surreptitiously surf. "This is a kosher alternative for ultra-Orthodox Jews so that they may surf the Internet," Altman said. If you try to buy something on the Sabbath, it gets stuck and won't let you."

Male Palestinian Singles? Not at This Beach


Men from the Palestinian Authority looking to enter the 'New Kaliya' beach on the Dead Sea are not allowed entry if they are alone. Ynet has learned that the beach directorate has decided to allow the men in only if they are with their families, citing repeated complaints of sexual harassment by female patrons.

Danny, a 35-year-old from Tel Aviv, visited the beach on Friday and said he was shocked by the policy being enacted at Kaliya. "I went with two friends and in line behind us were two Arabs. The girl at the register just wouldn't let them in," he recalls.

As the day progressed Danny said he realized the scene he had witnessed was not an isolated incident. "It kept repeating itself. At one point I asked the people at the register if they really weren't letting Arabs in and they answered straight out that they were not. One of the workers told me that the men just aren't let in alone, but families are. I asked why and she said that they bothered the female tourists… she said there's nothing that can be done; it's just the way it is."

The Kaliya administration confirmed the policy, but stressed that entry is only denied to Palestinian Arabs who come to the beach in groups. Manager Itay Rahm told Ynet in response: "This is a very serious problem, not just here but for all the Dead Sea beaches. Based on our experience, we don't let young Palestinian men in because of numerous harassment complaints.

"They're not allowed to hit on girls in their villages so they come here to harass them. Just to make a point, the day that man talked about a couple of Palestinian youths managed to sneak in and then started masturbating in front of female tourists."

He added that Israeli Arabs are able to enter the beach without any problems. "It's important to stress that we're talking about Palestinians here, not Israeli Arabs. And this isn't about racism, we let entire families in because I know that when there are women around they won't do anything."

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