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Gaza Missile Fire Reaches 19-Month High


The IDF said Thursday that 30 high-trajectory missile attacks were made the western Negev by Gaza terrorists in September, the most of any month this year and the most since February of 2009, a month after the Cast Lead counter terror operation in the Hamas-controlled area.

During the month, terrorists launched 15 mortar shells, 14 Kassam rockets and a Grad Katyusha rocket. As of Thursday morning, 107 missiles had been fired at Israeli targets this year. More than 3,400 were fired at Israel in the year leading up to Cast Lead.

U.S.: We Want to See Entire Mideast Support Direct Peace Talks

By Ha'aretz

The United States would like to see the entire Mideast continue its support of direct peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, a U.S. official said Thursday, ahead of an Arab League meeting which may signal the resolve of the recent negotiations deadlock.

An Arab League summit planned for Friday is said to rule whether or not the Palestinian Authority may return to the negotiations table after walking out in the wake of Israel's recently expiring moratorium on settlement building.

Speaking of the planned Arab League meeting, Deputy State Department Spokesman Mark Toner said that what Washington considered "the best outcome is continued support in the region for direct negotiations.

"We want to see a positive signal come out tomorrow that talks about keeping negotiations on track. That is our goal, fundamentally," Toner said, adding that the U.S. wanted "to see negotiations continue because it's only through direct negotiations that any of these issues are going to ultimately be resolved. So we're in direct negotiations now. We hope that they continue."

Toner's comments came as what seemed like attempts to reach a deal that would allow Israel and the Palestinian Authority to resume negations were reaching fever pitch, with reports alleging that President Barack Obama had offered Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu incentives that would make extending the settlement freeze easier to pass in his right-leaning cabinet.

While last month a White House official denied such reports, Israel's envoy to the United States Michael Oren provided the first official confirmation of the possibility of a forming deal, saying the "administration has come back to Israel with a number of suggestions - incentives if you would - that would enable the government to maybe pass a limited extension of 2 or 3 months.

"They are talking to the Palestinians as well trying to keep them at the table and talking to the Arab League so that it would give the Palestinians another green light to continue at the table," Oren said, adding that the result, if any, of such attempts will be received "in the next 48 hours."

Jewish Repairman Escapes Near-Lynch in Jerusalem


Jerusalem resident Baruch Pruss, a Jew who works as a repairman, was spared from a near-lynch on Thursday when he was viciously attacked in the Arab neighborhood of Isawiya. He accused the police of failing to protect him despite multiple calls.

Pruss arrived in Isawiya to provide service to an Arab man who had purchased a washing machine from the company he works for, Elran. "I went into [Isawiya], I got to the house, I fixed the washing machine, and I started to head home," he recalled in an interview with Arutz Sheva's Hebrew-language news service. "When I walked out of the house, Arabs from the village who had been waiting to ambush me fell on me and began to attack."They threw concrete blocks and huge stones from the roof of the house I'd been working in," he said.

Pruss ran back into the house and closed the door. The homeowner tried to help him escape, he said, but was not successful. However, the attackers did not force their way into the building, choosing instead to attack his car.

In the meantime, he said, he called the police. "I told them I was in trouble; I explained that my life was in danger. They told me 'We're trying to help.' A van never came, even though there's a Border Police station right across from the entrance to the village," he said.

Ultimately, he was saved not by police, but by older Arabs living in the area who helped him leave, he said. He managed to drive his car despite the heavy damage.

When he reached the entrance to Isawiya he called police again and told them where he was. The police told him that they would not enter Isawiya, and asked that he come to the station to file a complaint, which he did, he said. The car was taken to a repair shop with the roof, front hood, and front windshield completely destroyed.

Did Israel Ever Consider Using Nuclear Weapons?

By Ha'aretz (Commentary)

Newly declassified documents shine a light on the deliberations of Israel's leaders during the early days of the Yom Kippur War in 1973. Media outlets around the world have reported that state archive documents declassified this week showed that Israel's leadership considered using "drastic means" during the 1973 Yom Kippur War.

On October 9, a day after Egypt repulsed Israel's counterattack on the southern front, Prime Minister Golda Meir convened a top-level discussion in her office. The outlook was grim. Troop losses were high, and ammunition and weapons stores were running out. At one point, Meir blurted out that she had a "crazy idea."

That idea, however, was not a nuclear attack, but many believe a lightning visit to Washington to meet with President Richard Nixon. The visit was to be so secret that Meir advocated not even informing the cabinet. Defense Minister Moshe Dayan supported her plan, but it was never implemented.

At the same meeting, officials also discussed the option of having the air force bomb strategic sites in Damascus. Was the "crazy idea" connected to a critical strike at Syria? It seems the answer is yes.

In another meeting - according to Hanna Zemer, the one-time editor of the newspaper Davar - Dayan spoke of the possibility that "the Third Temple," meaning the state, would be destroyed. Foreign news outlets have reported that Israel readied its nuclear weapons and even considered using them as a last resort.

The Dimona nuclear facility was completed in 1960. Those same foreign reports say Israel had several dozen nuclear weapons in October 1973, as well as the means to deliver them: French-made Mirage and U.S.-made Phantom aircraft and the Jericho missile, an Israeli improvement on a French model. All of these, the reports said, were at full readiness.

Investigative journalist Seymour Hersh called his book on Israel's nuclear program "The Samson Option." The implication is that Israel would use atomic weapons if it viewed itself as facing certain, imminent destruction.

If these reports are accurate - and the documents released this week do not confirm them, but possibly only hint at them through portions blacked out by the military censor - this would be neither the first nor the last time Israel's leaders have discussed their so-called "doomsday weapons." International researchers have posited that Israel had a nuclear device even before the 1967 Six-Day War.

In 1991, Israel again reportedly considered using atomic weapons in response to the Scud missile attacks launched by Saddam Hussein during the Gulf War. Rightist ministers, including Yuval Ne'eman (a physicist involved in Israel's nuclear program), Rafael Eitan and Rehavam Ze'evi, urged Yitzhak Shamir's government to respond forcefully, but Shamir rejected Israeli military action out of hand.

In recent years, as Iran emerged as Israel's foremost threat, experts at home and abroad have raised the nuclear option once again. In lectures in Vienna and Berlin, and later in an ill-considered op-ed in The New York Times, historian Benny Morris has urged Israel's leaders to hit Iran with a nuclear bomb.

Thankfully, government officials on both left and right have thus far shown responsibility and stuck to the ambiguity policy instituted in 1961, under which Israel promised it would not be the first country to introduce nuclear weapons to the Middle East. They know as well as anyone that the first country to do so will not only forfeit its seat among the community nations, but will likely cease to exist.

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