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Newsletter : 10fx1025.txt

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Syria Threatens Israel with Destruction


Syrian Prime Minister Mahmoud Otri said this weekend in Kuwait that any Israeli attack on Lebanon or Syria would result in a "painful response, in every sense of the word. If such a thing were to happen, Israel would cease to exist."

With that, Syrian President Bashar Assad said he did not believe war was imminent, adding that "the results of such a war would be destructive to Israel. Is Israel ready to take responsibility for a war in which it would no longer exist?"

IDF Rehearses for When U.S.-Trained PA Forces Turn On Israel


The IDF's Nachshon Battalion's recent training exercises have included simulated battles against Palestinian Authority security forces. The mock battles were intended to prepare the soldiers for the possibility that the PA security forces in Judea and Samaria, currently being trained by US Lt.Gen. Keith Dayton, would one day turn on Israel.

The simulation was part of a seminar for Central Command officers held two weeks ago at the Lachish training base, and named "From Routine Security Operations to Escalation."

IDF journal Bamachaneh reported on the exercise and explained that it was held against the backdrop of recent "accelerated contacts, far from sight and from the media, for a reconciliation agreement between the Palestinian Authority (led by Fatah chief Mahmoud Abbas) and Hamas." Information about these contacts is spotty, but the only thing that appears to be preventing reconciliation is Hamas's demand that PA security forces cease coordinating security matters with the IDF.

An agreement between Abbas' PA and Hamas would "completely change reality in Judea and Samaria.," the military publication estimated.

Major General Avi Mizrachi, Head of Central Command, said at the seminar that "the most extreme situation that we predict in the Command is one in which the PA will decide to turn its weapons on us." This scenario is possible, he said, but "Our assessment is that it will not happen."

However, Brig. Gen. Nitzan Alon, the commander of the Judea and Samaria Division, disagreed and said that Central Command must prepare for the situation in which the PA becomes an enemy and will cease operating against terror units as it does today.

Mizrachi opined that without the infrastructure established by the IDF in recent years, no Arab security mechanism could prevent terror in Judea and Samaria. "The mechanisms fear a Hamas takeover of Judea and Samaria more than they fear us," he said. At present, he said, suppression of Hamas is in Judea and Samaria is "not bad," and Israel and the PA share a common interest in preventing terror from occurring in – or emanating from – Judea and Samaria.

Central Command has also noticed a tightening of ties between Judea and Samaria terror cells and those that operate in Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Gaza.

Tony Blair's Mishpocheh Converts to Islam After 'Holy Experience'


Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair's sister-in-law, Lauren Booth, has converted to Islam after a trip to Iran. The 43-year-old broadcast journalist, who works for Iran's English-language Press TV, said she had a "holy experience" while visiting the Fatima al-Masumeh shrine in the city of Qom, a "shot of spiritual morphine."

Upon her return to Britain, she told British publication The Mail in an interview published Sunday that she decided to immediately convert to Islam. "Now I don't eat pork and I read the Koran every day. I'm on page 60," she told the publication. "I also haven't had a drink in 45 days, the longest period in 25 years."

Booth added that she now wears the hijab (hair covering) when she leaves her home, prays five times a day and visits the local mosque "when I can." Booth spent several months in Gaza two years ago after traveling there illegally on a "Free Gaza" ship that symbolically broke Israel's blockade of the region.

After Israel allowed the vessel to dock in Gaza port, Booth was unable to leave, since she had no visa or other legal transport papers with which to enter Israel from the region. Nor was she able to leave via the Rafiah Crossing, since the group had no legitimate exit visa, since Gaza is not a sovereign nation – nor a visa for entry into Egypt.

Despite her claims of the "concentration camp" conditions in the region that are "worse than Darfur" Booth was photographed buying Snickers candy bars and soft drinks in a well-stocked food store in Gaza.

She and her brother-in-law, who currently serves as the Middle East envoy for the Quartet of peace-keeping nations (the U.S., Russia, European Union and United Nations), are reportedly barely on speaking terms.

Booth, who is a half-sister to Blair's wife, Cherie, said she hopes her conversion to Islam will help change her brother-in-law's presumptions about the Muslim faith.

Catholic Cleric: Jesus Canceled Biblical `Chosen People'


The Creator's promise in the Bible that the Promised Land belongs to the Jewish People is no longer valid, a Catholic synod declared. An American archbishop at the Synod explained Saturday that the promise of the Creator was "abolished by the presence of Christ."

In a decision that is bound to set off a furious reaction from many Jewish leaders, the synod concluded that "recourse to theological and biblical positions which use the Word of God to wrongly justify injustices is not acceptable."

However, an inherently contradictory Synod statement also declared, "The same Scriptures unite us; the Old Testament, the Word of God is for both you and us... We believe in the promises of God and his covenant given to Abraham and to you. We believe that the Word of God is eternal."

The Catholic Church in recent years has been trying to overcome centuries of anti-Semitism and proof that it exploited the Holocaust to try to convert Jews who were saved.

U.S. archbishop Cyril Salim Bustros, who heads the commission that issued the Synod statement, is a Lebanese native. He told reporters, "For Christians, one can no longer talk of the land promised to the Jewish people… There is no longer a favored people, a chosen people; all men and women of every country have become the chosen people."

The term "chosen people" does not symbolize superiority in Judaism, rather it means chosen to be obligated to the 613 commandments in the Bible and to inherit the Land of Israel.

After two weeks of meetings, the Synod also said that a two-state solution of a Palestinian Authority country, in place of most of the Land Israel, would help stem the exodus of Christians from the area.

Concerning Jerusalem, the Synod said it is "anxious about the unilateral initiatives that threaten its composition and risk to change its demographic balance." After Jordanian-occupied area of Jerusalem were restored to Israel in 1967, the Israeli government opened all Christian holy sites after Jordan had banned non-official visits and closed the sites to tourists from 1948.

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