Newsletter : 12fx0516.txt
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Terrorists Begin Nakba Day with Kassam Rocket, Firebombs
By IsraelNationalNews.com, VOA News & Ha'aretz
Arab terrorists attacked southern Israel with a Kassam rocket early Tuesday and
attacked Jews in the Hebron area with two firebombs overnight as "Nakba Day" began. No one
The rocket, fired from northern Gaza, exploded in an open area near Sderot, and the
firebombs were hurled at IDF soldiers stationed at the village of El-Aroub, located less
than one mile south of the Gush Etzion junction on Highway 60 leading to Kiryat
Palestinians observe "Nakba," which means "catastrophe," with demonstrations every year
on May 15, the day after the anniversary of Israel's creation. Israel uses the Hebrew
calendar and therefore celebrated its 64th anniversary on April 26 this year.
More than 700,000 Palestinians are estimated to have voluntarily fled or been forced to
leave their homes during the war that followed Israel's declaration of statehood in
The government may have prevented some violence on Tuesday by signing an agreement with
Palestinian Authority prisoners to end their hunger strike, which has been gaining
international sympathy. The agreement was seen by Israel as another concession to PA
Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, who has demanded that Israel release all terrorists and security
Israeli-Arab lawmakers lined up to incite against Israel on Tuesday saying the creation
of the Jewish state was the "equivalent to the destruction of the First and Second
Attending an event held in Aljoun near Umm al-Fahm, the Arab Knesset members were
joined by the leader of the Islamic Movement's Northern Branch, Raed Salah, and the head
of the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee, Mohammed Zidan.
"I feel an atmosphere of victory," MK Jamal Zahalka said, referring to the end of a
mass hunger strike by Arab security prisoners in Israeli prisons... "They won a battle for
their rights and we succeeded in introducing the Nakba in the public discourse."
"We won't forgive and won't forget," he added, aping internal Israeli Jewish political
MK Ahmad Tibi said, "Empathy towards another people's suffering is a sublime human
value on the way to reconciliation. The collective memory of a people who were ethnically
cleansed in 1948 will not be quashed by erasing 530 villages."
Tibi, PLO arch-terrorist Yasir Arafat's former spokesman and confidant, has infamously
praised "shahids" (suicide terrorists) and led angry crowed marching in Jerusalem's Old
City chanting "With blood and fire, we will redeem Palestine!"
MK Tala El-Sana said that "the denial of the Nakba is as much as a crime than the Nakba
itself. Israel has a duty to recognize the Nakba." He added, "Any attempt to deny the
Nakba will advance the next flare-up while recognition will promote reconciliation."
"As far as the Palestinians are concerned, the Nakba is equivalent to the Destruction
of the First and Second Temples," he claimed. "It's a traumatic event that transformed the
Palestinian people from a people living in their homeland to refugees longing for the
right to return to their homeland."
Israeli MI Head Visited U.S. for Secret Talks on Iran, Syria
By Israel Faxx News Services
Military Intelligence chief Maj. Gen. Aviv Kochavi made a secret visit two weeks ago to
Washington and to UN headquarters in New York, where he discussed the Iranian nuclear
program, the Syria crisis and Hizbullah's increasing power in Lebanon, a senior Israeli
official has said.
Kochavi met in Washington with senior White House and State Department officials, as
well as senior officials in the Defense Department Intelligence agency and the CIA.
According to the senior Israeli official, the Iran issue was a central focus of
Kochavi's talks in Washington, where he discussed the progress of Iran's nuclear program
and the status of the talks Iran is holding with the P5 +1 nations about the program's
In New York, Kochavi briefed several ambassadors from UN Security Council member
states. These discussions also dealt with Iran, but primarily focused on the situation in
Syria and Lebanon.
A European diplomat who was briefed on the content of Kochavi's talks in New York said
that according to Kochavi the Israeli intelligence community has changed its stance on the
future of Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime. Until a few months ago Israel believed
preserving the regime would serve Israel's interests, but now it believes Israel would be
better served by Assad's removal from office.
Kochavi said Israel believes Assad's fate is sealed, and the only question is how long
it will be before his regime is toppled, according to the diplomat.
A senior Israeli official who is also familiar with the details of Kochavi's meetings
in New York said the MI chief had also met with senior officials in the UN Department of
Peacekeeping Forces, which is responsible for the United Nations Interim Forces in
According to the senior official, Kochavi warned against Hizbullah's increasing
strength in south Lebanon, stressing that the combination of increasing internal tension
in Lebanon and Syria's instability increases the risk of escalation.
Kochavi's talks with the Department of Peacekeeping Forces were also held in the
context of the change earlier this year at the helm of UNIFIL. The former UNIFIL
commander, Gen. Alberto Asarta Cuevas of Spain, ended his tour of duty at the end of
January. He was replaced by Italian Maj. Gen. Paolo Serra.
Israel is worried about changes that have taken place recently in the makeup of
UNIFIL's forces. Nearly half of the force's soldiers, some 6,000 of 13,000, come from
large European countries - France, Spain and Italy. But in recent months, because of the
economic crisis in Europe, these countries have started to cut their defense budgets and
have reduced the number of their soldiers in UNIFIL.
The European soldiers are increasingly being replaced by soldiers from Muslim countries
such as Indonesia, and Israel fears these soldiers won't take action as needed against
A year ago Kochavi made a similar trip to Washington and New York, in which Syria was
the main focus of discussion. On that visit he warned envoys of Security Council member
states that if Assad's regime were to fall the Syrian army's advanced weapons could fall
into the hands of Hizbullah.
Shalom: Israel will Never Cede the Golan
Deputy Prime Minister Silvan Shalom Tuesday toured the Golan Heights and said Israel
would never cede the Golan Heights. "We have been in the Golan Heights forever and shall
remain eternally," Shalom, who is also Minister of Negev and Galilee Development, said
during a wine opening at the Lane School. "There has been an almost continual Jewish
presence in the Golan Heights for thousands of years and we will never leave," he added.
Shalom told those present that the Golan needed investment to nurture and develop the
excellent soil so Israel could build "a luxurious wine empire." He also noted, "The Golan
Heights is a magnet for immigrants from around the world, and in Israel, young people and
families, and we will continue to invest in the region to strengthen Jewish settlement."
"Our vision is to bring 300,000 more residents to Galilee in the next decade," he
Government OKs Golan Heights Oil Exploration
Two decades after diplomatic considerations led to a decision not to explore for oil on
the Golan Heights, Energy and Water Minister Uzi Landau has decided to renew drilling
permits, Yediot Aharonot reported
After the Golan Heights Law was passed some 30 years ago, it was determined that it
applied to the Petroleum Law as well meaning that oil exploration could be carried
out in the area.
In those days, oil exploration rested in the hands of government entities. In the 1990s
the Energy and Water Ministry licensed Israel Oil Exploration Ltd. to drill on the Golan
Heights. The Rabin government's attempts to negotiate with Syria put the licenses on hold,
but in 1996, the government under Binyamin Netanyahu declared that drilling
would be renewed.
Syria quickly condemned the decision, Israel issued official denials, and the
exploration never resumed.
By law, the National Infrastructures Minster may after consultation with the
Petroleum Council decide which areas to open and which to close to oil exploration.
In recent weeks, Landau decided to reopen the Golan Heights for oil exploration, a
decision that was approved in secret.
The decision could have far-reaching political ramifications, and those in Landau's
inner circle do not deny that his political beliefs played a part in the decision. A
source close to the minister said: "His view that (the country) must take advantage of
every possibility for oil exploration in Israel to free itself from dependence of
Arab oil is known."
Past experience has shown that the decision to resume drilling could garner
condemnation by Syria and affect future negotiations between Syria and Israel. But is
there actually any oil on the Golan? It is possible, but the area is covered by basalt,
which makes it difficult to conduct geological surveys.
If, in fact, drilling proceeds, and oil or gas is discovered, there could be a massive
international outcry and a dispute about sovereignty over the areas containing the
Meanwhile, Landau has also decided to "close" Israel's coast and stop issuing new
permits for oil and gas exploration; citing that the drilling that has already been
authorized and is due to be conducted in the next few years will supply information about
the gas and oil potential in the area that will assist in granting future licenses.
Sources close to Landau said that the minister had taken the decision to "allow the
market to stabilize and internalize the regulatory guidelines outlined in recent
According to Syria's official news agency, Damascus was livid to learn of the drilling
prospects, saying: "The Zionist entity is stealing oil from the occupied territories of
the Golan Heights. This is a blatant violation of international law and a complete
disregard of the United Nations and the decisions made by the UN Security Council."
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