Will Israel Survive America's Muslim President

-- Netanyahu to U.S.: Israel will govern itself, thank you
-- Breaking Bibi
-- Jerusalem Arab caught aiding city's takeover
-- Obama Red Lights Israeli Attack on Iran
-- IAF drill simulates all-out regional war
-- Shock find: Netanyahu dividing Jerusalem
-- Israel rejects Palestinian peace talks
-- For Israel, Glimmers of Support in Europe

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 Netanyahu to U.S.: Israel will govern itself, thank you

Israeli police evicted Arabs illegally squatting on Jewish-owned property

August 03, 2009    By Aaron Klein    WorldNetDaily

JERUSALEM – In a statement to WND, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office today objected to U.S. condemnation of the Israeli government for enforcing property law in Jerusalem by evicting Arabs from a Jewish housing complex they had been illegally occupying for almost a century.

"The eviction yesterday in Jerusalem was a result of a ruling by our Supreme Court that had to decide in a dispute between two parties over the legal control of a property," Netanyahu's spokesman, Mark Regev, told WND.

Continued Regev: "The Supreme Court ruled for one side and not the other. In all democracies the rulings of the courts must be upheld, and it is incumbent on the executive branch to implement such decisions."

Regev said the Israeli Supreme Court "is renowned internationally for both its independence and its professionalism. There are countless examples of the Supreme Court ruling in favor of the Palestinians in land disputes."

Washington today condemned the Arab evictions. State Department spokeswoman Megan Mattson said such actions in eastern Jerusalem constitute violations of Israel's obligations under the U.S.-backed "Road Map" peace plan.

"Unilateral actions taken by either party cannot prejudge the outcome of negotiations and will not be recognized by the international community," she said in a statement.

Much of the U.S. and international media the past two days have been reporting on Israel's eviction of Arab families from a house in eastern Jerusalem. Many of the reports failed to provide proper background regarding why the Arabs were kicked out of the home.

The housing complex is located in the Sheik Jarra neighborhood of eastern Jerusalem. The home was originally Jewish, but its Jewish occupants were chased out during countrywide anti-Jewish Arab riots in 1929. Arabs then squatted on the property, with one family, the Hejazi family, becoming the de facto occupants despite never having purchased the property.

Even though documentation shows the complex is owned by Jews and that Arabs have been squatting on it illegally for almost a century, Jewish groups say they still legally re-purchased the property from the Hejazi family.

Following pressure from the Palestinian Authority, however, the family later denied selling the complex back to the Jews despite documentation and other evidence showing the sale went through.

The PA in April warned Palestinians against selling their homes or properties to Jews, saying those who violate the order would be accused of "high treason" – a charge that carries the death penalty.

Israel's court system twice ruled the property in question belongs to Jews.

Articles on the topic by Agence France-Presse and Reuters use the terms "occupied" and "East Jerusalem" to describe the area in which the house is located. Reuters called it "occupied Arab East Jerusalem."

According to international law, however, eastern sections of Jerusalem are not "occupied" but "disputed." Referring to the area as "Arab East Jerusalem" presupposes the outcome of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations that have yet to take place and ignores British documentation that authenticates Jews outnumbered Arabs in eastern Jerusalem from the 19th century until Jews were expelled by Arabs in 1929.

The use of the term "East Jerusalem" is widespread. Historically, however, there was never any separation between eastern and western Jerusalem. The terminology came after Jordan occupied the eastern section of the city, including the Temple Mount, from 1947 until it used the territory to attack the Jewish state in 1967. Israel reunited Jerusalem when it won the 1967 Six Day War, although the Palestinians claim eastern sections for a future capital. .

The eviction of squatting Arabs from a Jewish-owned property in Jerusalem follows recent demands by the Obama administration for Israel to halt all "settlement activity," meaning Jewish construction, in Jerusalem and the strategic West Bank.

Last month, Israel's ambassador to Washington was summoned by the State Department to demand a Jewish construction project in eastern Jerusalem be immediately halted.

The construction project at the center of attention, financed by Miami Beach philanthropist Irving Moskowitz, is located just yards from Israel's national police headquarters and other government ministries. It is a few blocks from the country's prestigious Hebrew University, underscoring the centrality of the Jewish real estate being condemned by the U.S.

Netanyahu strongly rejected the State Department demand, telling a cabinet meeting Israel's sovereignty over Jerusalem was not a matter up for discussion.

"Imagine what would happen if someone were to suggest Jews could not live in or purchase [property] in certain neighborhoods in London, New York, Paris or Rome," he said just after his ambassador was summoned.

"The international community would certainly raise protest. Likewise, we cannot accept such a ruling on East Jerusalem," Netanyahu told ministers.

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 Breaking Bibi

June 05, 2009    By Patrick J. Buchanan

“I have to admire the residents of Iroquois territory for assuming that they have a right to determine where Jews lives in Jerusalem.”

Thus did Israeli government press director Daniel Seamen caustically dismiss President Obama’s opposition to Israel’s right to “natural growth” of its settlements in Arab East Jerusalem and on the West Bank.

Though Obama’s address in Cairo broke no new ground, it confirmed to the world that a new day has arrived and a sea change has taken place. The Israel-centric Middle East policy of George W. Bush is dead. And with the policy change has come rhetorical change.

With Bush, it was “axis of evil,” “you are with us or you are with the terrorists,” “regime change,” a “green light” for war on Hezbollah in Lebanon and on Hamas in Gaza, and “this war is a struggle between good and evil.”

With Obama in Cairo, it was all about “a new beginning” and “mutual respect” between the United States and an Islamic world of 1.2 billion.

Where Bush sought to isolate Syria as a state sponsor of terror, Obama has sent diplomats and is sending the U.S. military to Damascus to work together to halt al-Qaida infiltration into Iraq. Return of the Golan Heights may be back on the table.

Where Bush said Iraq’s drive for weapons of mass destruction threatened America and the world, Obama calls Iraq “a war of choice,” and re-commits to bring all U.S. combat troops home before 2012 and to seek no permanent bases there.

Where Israeli hawks push for pre-emptive U.S. strikes on Iran’s nuclear facilities, Obama says Iran “should have the right to access peaceful nuclear power if it complies with its responsibilities under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.”

As there is no hard evidence Iran has gone beyond the NPT, this points to a resolution of the nuclear issue, if Tehran can provide solid assurances it has no clandestine weapons program.

Where Bush refused to meet with Yasser Arafat or recognize Hamas’ election victory, and outsourced Mideast policy to Ariel Sharon and Ehud Olmert, Obama has confronted Bibi Netanyahu and handed Israel an ultimatum: Halt all settlement growth, now, and come back to me with your plan for a Palestinian state.

A collision that could shatter the coalitions of both Bibi and Barack now appears inevitable and imminent. Either the president or prime minister is going to have to back down.

Netanyahu was elected on solemn pledges never to negotiate with Hamas, permit a Palestinian state (“a second Hamastan”) or let Jerusalem be divided. He is committed to the “natural growth” of Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria.

Obama has said publicly that there is to be no growth of any kind on the West Bank and all illegal outposts must come down.

There are reports that while Defense Minister Barak was in the office of National Security Adviser Gen. Jim Jones, Obama popped in for 15 minutes to tell Israel’s most decorated soldier he wants to see an Israeli plan for peace and a Palestinian state by July.

That state would necessarily have a Jerusalem enclave as its capital, as no Palestinian or Arab leader could agree to a peace that did not include part of Jerusalem, the Al Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock without putting himself in mortal peril.

Behind this clash lies a shift of perspective in Washington.

Obama is directly challenging the thesis of Israel and its lobby, AIPAC, that U.S. and Israeli interests are one and the same, that we are partners. Barack is saying that settlements are an impediment and an independent Palestinian state indispensable to peace. And even if Israel believes its interests are being subordinated and security imperiled, the United States disagrees—and the United States will prevail.

In Israel, the betting is that Barack will break Bibi because Israel cannot defy its last great friend, the lone superpower, upon whom it depends for security, weaponry and diplomatic shelter from U.N. Security Council sanctions. As Rick Wagoner of GM can tell Bibi, you take the king’s shilling, you play the king’s tune.

Indeed, Obama can make a case that he better represents the Jewish community in the United States than the Israel lobby, as he won 78 percent of the Jewish vote.

Netanyhau was outpolled by Tzipi Livni of Kadima, who is waiting in the wings.

Bibi is in a terrible box. If he defies Obama and orders new housing in the settlements, he could face rebellion at home for alienating Israeli’s indispensable ally.

If he goes along with halting settlement growth and moves to accommodate a Palestinian state with its capital in Jerusalem, how does he explain the capitulation to Likud—and to Avigdor Lieberman?

Next weekend, Iran heads to the polls, and President Ahmadinejad faces strong opposition. If the moderate Mir-Hossein Moussavi wins, the possibility of a U.S-Iranian detente rises dramatically.

For Israel and the United States, the days of wine and roses are over

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 Jerusalem Arab caught aiding city's takeover

Palestinians working on 3 fronts to capture Israel's capital

July 20, 2009    By Aaron Klein    © 2009 WorldNetDaily


JERUSALEM – A Jerusalem court yesterday sentenced an Arab resident of the city to 42 months in prison after he was convicted of working in Israel's capital as an agent of the Palestinian Authority's General Intelligence Service.

WND exclusively reported last year the PA had established an intelligence apparatus in Jerusalem in part to stop Israeli Arabs from selling their homes to Jews in strategic areas of the city, according to informed security sources.

The Jerusalem court sentenced Muhammad Jayusi, 21, who had been convicted of working for the PA's intelligence service since 2006. He was also convicted of illegally carrying arms.

According to a security source with knowledge of the case, Jayusi was involved with helping the PA discover which Jerusalem Arabs were vulnerable to possibly selling their homes to Jews.

In May, the PA sentenced three Arabs to death for selling their Jerusalem property to Jews. According to Palestinian sources, PA President Mahmoud Abbas personally had signed all death warrants.

Over the past few months, the PA increased its efforts to stop Jerusalem Arabs from selling property to Jews. A contingent of Jewish groups, including an organization called Ateret Kohanim, work to strengthen the Jewish presence in Jerusalem by purchasing properties from Arabs, primarily in eastern neighborhoods, including in Jerusalem's Old City. Some of the purchased properties were Jewish until Jews fled during Arab riots in the early 1900s.

Informed security sources in Jerusalem told WND the PA is acting on three fronts to increase its presence in Jerusalem and to thwart property sales to Jews. First, the PA is leading a campaign to terrorize Arabs thinking of selling land to Jews. Second, the PA is attempting politically to become a larger player in Jerusalem, competing with Jordan for influence over strategic Arab areas. The PA also is attempting to fund popular Israeli religious leaders associated with Jerusalem, such as Islamic Movement chief Raed Shallah. Third, the PA has increased its intelligence activities in Jerusalem to thwart property sales to Jews.

WND last year was first to report the PA's Preventative Security Services had re-established an intelligence arm in Jerusalem originally formed in the 1990s by the late Palestinian Liberation Organization leader Yasser Arafat to frustrate Jewish attempts at purchasing property from Arabs.

The intelligence arm consists of activists who work in Jerusalem to identify Israeli Arabs willing to sell land to Jews, security sources told WND last year. A potential Arab seller is warned against doing business with Jewish groups. The sources did not specify particular measures the PA might take against any Arabs working to sell property to Jews. But in the past, cases have been made public in which Arabs have been killed or tortured for such activity.

According to security sources, to ensure against land sales, the PA put together a list of wealthy Palestinian and Arab donors willing to purchase property from Jerusalem Arabs who must sell their land due to financial desperation.

Israel recaptured eastern Jerusalem, including the Temple Mount – Judaism's holiest site – during the 1967 Six Day War.

A number of Arab-majority eastern Jerusalem neighborhoods widely regarded as slated for a Palestinian state include large numbers of Arabs – over 100,000 – who live on Jewish-owned land illegally. The Jewish National Fund, a U.S.-based nonprofit, owns hundred of acres of eastern Jerusalem land in which tens of thousands of Arabs illegally constructed homes the past few decades. Arabs are now the majority on the Jewish-owned land.

Obama protests Jewish construction

The PA is not the only agency actively working to thwart Jewish residency in eastern sections of Jerusalem.

The State Department over the weekend summoned Israel's ambassador to Washington to demand a Jewish construction project in eastern Jerusalem be immediately halted, it has been confirmed.

The Obama administration has called for a halt to Jewish construction in eastern Jerusalem and the strategic West Bank in line with Palestinian claims on eastern Jerusalem as a future capital, even though the city was never a part of any Palestinian entity.

The construction project at the center of attention, financed by Miami Beach philanthropist Irving Moskowitz, is located just meters from Israel's national police headquarters and other government ministries. It is a few blocks from the country's prestigious Hebrew University, underscoring the centrality of the Jewish real estate being condemned by the U.S.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu strongly rejected the State Department demand, telling a cabinet meeting Sunday that Israel's sovereignty over Jerusalem was not a matter up for discussion.

"Imagine what would happen if someone were to suggest Jews could not live in or purchase [property] in certain neighborhoods in London, New York, Paris or Rome," he said.

"The international community would certainly raise protest. Likewise, we cannot accept such a ruling on East Jerusalem," Netanyahu told ministers.

Netanyahu explained an open city does not discriminate against Jewish housing and that Israel would not accept a stance that counters that civil right.

"Israeli Arabs are not forbidden from buying houses in west Jerusalem, and Jews must be granted the same right in the eastern part of the city," he added.

WND has confirmed that over the weekend the State Department summoned Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren to urge him to reject a permit granted to Moskowitz's housing project.

Moskowitz purchased an eastern Jerusalem hotel. He plans to tear it down and build housing units in its place. The Jerusalem municipality earlier this month granted approval to the project, allowing for the construction of 20 apartments plus a three-level underground parking lot.

Historically, there was never any separation between eastern and western Jerusalem. The terminology came after Jordan occupied the eastern section of the city, including the Temple Mount, from 1947 until it used the territory to attack the Jewish state in 1967. Israel reunited Jerusalem when it won the 1967 Six Day War.

While the U.S. strongly protests any Jewish construction in eastern Jerusalem, it has been actively aiding Palestinians building illegally upon Jewish-owned land in eastern sections of the city, WND has exposed.

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 Obama Red Lights Israeli Attack on Iran

by Yehudah Lev Kay

(IsraelNN.com) U.S. President Barack Obama said told CNN Tuesday that the U.S. had “absolutely not” given Israel a green light to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities. “We have said directly to the Israelis that it is important to try and resolve this in an international setting in a way that does not create major conflict in the Middle East,” Obama said in an interview in Russia.

The U.S. President echoed the State Department, whose spokesman Ian Kelly also denied that the U.S. had given Israel permission to attack Iran’s nuclear weapons program.

“I certainly would not want to give a green light to any kind of military action,” Kelly said. However, he also added that “we’re not going to dictate [Israel’s] actions. We’re also committed to Israel’s security. And we share Israel’s deep concerns about Iran’s nuclear program.”

Obama and the State Department were backtracking after Vice President Joe Biden signaled during an interview with ABC Sunday that the U.S. would not stand in the way of an Israeli attack.

“Israel can determine for itself – it’s a sovereign nation – what’s in their interest and what they decide to do relative to Iran and anyone else,” Biden said, which many took to mean that the U.S. had given Israel a green light to attack.

“We cannot dictate to another sovereign nation what they can and cannot do when they make a determination, if they make a determination, that they’re existentially threatened,” Biden added.

Obama said Biden had not meant to give Israel a go ahead to attack. "I think Vice President Biden stated a categorical fact, which is we can't dictate to other countries what their security interests are. What is also true is that it is the policy of the United States to resolve the issue of Iran's nuclear capabilities in a peaceful way through diplomatic channels," he said.

Israel Afraid U.S. Will Say No
Two Israeli sources close to Prime Minister Netanyahu told the Washington Post Tuesday that Israel decided not to ask the U.S. for permission to attack Iran since it assumes the U.S. would say "no."

“There was a decision not to press this because it was probably inadequate for the engagement policy and what we know about Obama’s approach to Iran,” one source said.

The second source added that “it made no sense to press the matter after the negative response President Bush gave Mr. Netanyahu’s predecessor, Ehud Olmert, when he asked early last year for US aid for possible military strikes on Iran.”

In any attack on Iran, Israeli planes would likely have to pass through Iraqi airspace, which is controlled by the U.S. military. On Sunday, the London Times reported that Saudi Arabia had given Israel permission to use its airspace in an attack, but Netanyahu's office and Saudi Arabia quickly denied the report.

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 IAF drill simulates all-out regional war

22/05/2009    By Amos Harel, Haaretz Correspondents

The Israel Air Force held a major drill Thursday simulating a war between Israel and Arab states and terrorist groups. As part of the drill, the air force tested readiness against attacks, including rockets and missiles targeting the home front from multiple directions.

Even though the plan was not substantively different from drills in previous years, it drew international media attention because of recent developments in Iran's nuclear program and Iran's test-firing Wednesday of a ballistic missile with an estimated 2,000-kilometer range - which would put Israel within reach.

Most air force squadrons participated in the drill, including interceptors, attack aircraft, helicopters, transport and refueling aircraft, the air defense system and air force intelligence. The drill also involved ground forces.

The scenario being tested, most of whose details remain classified, involved fighting on multiple fronts: against Hamas and Hezbollah, but also Syria and Iran to some degree.

Unlike the summer 2008 drill, which the New York Times reported involved a test flight for a long range attack on Iran, carried out in Greek airspace, there was nothing of the sort this time.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak said on Thursday that the drill "was a very important one. What we witnessed bolsters our confidence that we have people we can rely on."

The air force drill is part of broad Israeli preparations for a potential
regional war, including attacks by Iran, or a conflict limited to the northern front - Lebanon and Syria.

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 Shock find: Netanyahu dividing Jerusalem

Quietly building barrier blocking Jewish neighborhood from capital city

Posted: May 04, 2009    By Aaron Klein    WorldNetDaily

JERUSALEM – The Israeli government quietly has begun constructing the country's security barrier along a controversial route that will effectively block off Jewish property and an important Jewish neighborhood from the rest of Jerusalem, WND has learned.

The scenario will likely be surprising to political observers here. During his candidacy, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke about the importance of maintaining and developing a Jerusalem region called E1, specifically the Jewish neighborhood of Maale Adumim in eastern Jerusalem. The Palestinians want that area as part of a state.

The new barrier route, however, will essentially isolate the so-called Palestinian side of Maale Adumim, as well cordon off local Jewish property.

Aaron's Klein's new book, "The Late Great State of Israel," shows how enemies within and without threaten the Jewish nation's survival.

Since 2002, the security barrier has created a de facto border between Jerusalem and the West Bank. The new route now threads along an area called Anata, leaving eight acres of property owned by Jews on the Palestinian side. The previous governments of Ehud Barak and Ariel Sharon delayed construction of the barrier in the area, largely because the route was being contested by local Jewish landowners, but also because it would disconnect Maale Adumim from greater Jerusalem. A Supreme Court case on the subject is pending.

In spite of the ongoing court case, 10 days ago Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak personally visited the Jerusalem areas in question and unilaterally ordered the defense ministry to construct the barrier through Anatot, blocking off Jewish land and helping to isolate Maale Adumim, according to information obtained by WND.

Now, days later, the barrier's construction – which received no media attention – is almost complete.

Aryeh King, chairman of the Land of Israel Forum, which promotes Jewish construction in Jerusalem, told WND he is concerned Arabs will begin squatting on the Jewish-owned property now that it's been quarantined from Jewish sections of Jerusalem.

More dangerous, King argued, was blocking off Maale Adumim.

"After the barrier is finished, there won't be any other chance to connect the rest of Jerusalem with Maale Adumim," he said. "The vision will become a nightmare."

A spokesman for Netanyahu did not immediately respond to a query as to whether the prime minister was aware of Barak's actions.

But WND has learned key Knesset members have been informed of the barrier's construction. The Knesset members, including senior officials in Netantyahu's Likud party, will attempt to put the barrier's construction on the agenda for discussion by lawmakers tomorrow.

Israel has already forfeited Jerusalem

The barrier construction in the Anatot area is not an isolated incident. Sections of Jerusalem essentially have been forfeited on the ground to the Palestinian Authority, while Jews, including local landowners, are barred from entering parts of Israel's capital, a WND investigation recently has found. The probe further determined the U.S. has been aiding the Palestinians in developing infrastructure in Jerusalem.

Also, it has emerged that the Israeli government has failed to stop Arabs from illegally building thousands of housing projects on Jerusalem land purchased and owned by a U.S. Jewish group for the express purpose of Jewish settlement, culminating in an Arab majority in the neighborhoods.

The situation has been unfolding in the northern Jerusalem neighborhoods of Kfar Akeb, Qalandiya and Samir Amis, which are close to the Jewish neighborhoods of Neve Yaacov and Pisgat Zeev in Israel's capital. Kfar Akeb, Qalandiya and Samir Amis are located entirely within the Jerusalem municipality.

A tour of the three Jerusalem neighborhoods finds some surprising developments. Official PA logos and placards abound, including one glaring red street sign at the entrance to the neighborhoods warning Israelis to keep out.

Another official sign, this one in Kfar Akeb in Jerusalem, reads in English, "Ramallah-Jerusalem Road. This project is a gift form (sic) the American people to the Palestinian people in cooperation with the Palestinian Authority and PECDAR. 2007." The sign bears the emblems of the American and PA governments and of the U.S. Agency for International Development, or USAID. The displays were not present during a previous WND tour of the neighborhoods in 2006.

Some local schools in the Jerusalem neighborhoods are officially run by the PA – some in conjunction with the U.N. – with many teachers drawing PA salaries. Civil disputes are usually settled not in Israeli courts but by the PA judicial system, although at times Israeli courts are used, depending on the matter.

Councils governed by PA President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah organization oversee some municipal matters. USAID provides the PA funds for road and infrastructure projects.

Israeli security officials said the local Jerusalem police rarely operate in Kfar Akeb, Qalandiya and Samir Amis; instead security has been turned over to the Israel Defense Forces and Border Police, who work almost daily with PA security forces. The PA police operate in the Jerusalem neighborhoods in coordination with Israel.

Shmulik Ben Ruby, spokesman for the Jerusalem police, confirmed the arrangement.

"If there are fights between some local families, sometimes we involve the PA police to make peace between the families," he told WND. "Yes, the PA police can operate in these neighborhoods in coordination with the IDF and Border Police."

Jews barred from sections of Jerusalem

In another recent development, Israeli Jews, including local property owners, have been almost entirely barred from entering Kfar Akeb, Qalandiya and Samir Amis, while Israeli Arabs can freely enter.

Aryeh King, a nationalist activist who holds the power of attorney to some Kfar Akeb land owned by an Israeli Jew, told WND he was barred several times during the past few months from entering the neighborhood to administer to the land, upon which local Arabs illegally constructed apartments.

Police spokesman Ben Ruby explained the new arrangement is due to security concerns.

"It's quite dangerous to be there alone, so if they don't have to be there it's not allowed, because they might find themselves in danger if they go in," said Ben Ruby.

In 2002, in response to the outbreak one year earlier of the Palestinian intifada, or terrorist war against the Jewish state, the Israeli government constructed its security barrier blocking off the West Bank from Jewish population zones. The route of the fence also cut into northern and eastern Jerusalem, incorporating Kfar Akeb, Qalandiya and Samir Amis on the so-called Palestinian side.

Israel recaptured northern and eastern Jerusalem, including the Old City and the Temple Mount – Judaism's holiest site – during the 1967 Six-Day War. The Palestinians, however, have claimed eastern Jerusalem as a future capital. About 244,000 Arabs live in Jerusalem, mostly in eastern neighborhoods, out of a total population of 724,000, the majority Jewish.

Jews lived in Kfar Akeb, Qalandiya and Samir Amis years before the establishment of Israel in 1948, but they were violently expelled during deadly Arab riots in 1929.

Jordan, together with other Arab countries, attacked Israel after its founding in 1948 and administered the three Jerusalem neighborhoods as well as all of eastern Jerusalem following an armistice agreement. In 1967, Jordan attacked again and Israel liberated the entire city of Jerusalem in the Six-Day War. During the period of Jordanian control, some new construction took place, including in areas previously purchased by Jews.

The recent barring of Jews from northern Jerusalem sections apparently coincides with an Israeli government decision the past year to allow the PA some presence in Jerusalem.

Last June, WND exclusively reported then-Prime Minister Ehud Olmert allowed the PA to hold an official meeting in Jerusalem to discuss dealing with expected Palestinian sovereignty over key sections of the city. Dmitri Ziliani, a spokesman for the Jerusalem section of PA President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah party, confirmed to WND the meeting was related to the activities and structure of Fatah's local command in some neighborhoods of Jerusalem.

"We were covering the best ways to improve our performance on the street and how we can be of service to the community," Ziliani said.

Ziliani said the regular PA meetings in Jerusalem are, in part, held in anticipation of a future Palestinian state encompassing all of eastern Jerusalem.

"Our political program as Fatah dictates there will be no Palestinian state if these areas – all of east Jerusalem – are not included," Ziliani told WND.

According to Israeli law, the PA cannot officially meet in Jerusalem. The PA previously maintained a de facto headquarters in Jerusalem, called Orient House, but the building was closed down by Israel in 2001 following a series of suicide bombings in Jerusalem. Israel said it had information indicating the House was used to plan and fund terrorism.

Thousands of documents and copies of bank certificates and checks captured by Israel from Orient House – including many documents obtained by WND – showed the offices were used to finance terrorism, including direct payments to the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades terror group

U.S. Jewish group to blame for 'division' of Jerusalem?

Key land in Qalandiya and Kfar Akeb is owned by a U.S. Jewish group that over the years has allowed tens of thousands of Arabs to illegally squat on its land, resulting in the current Arab majority.

The Jewish National Fund, or JNF, purchased the land in the early 1920s using Jewish donor funds for the specific purpose of Jewish settlement.

The JNF lands have been utilized for the illegal construction of dozens of Arab apartment buildings, a refugee camp and a U.N. school.

A previous tour of Qalandiya and Kfar Akeb found dozens of Arab apartment complexes, a Palestinian refugee camp and a U.N. school for Palestinians constructed on the land.

According to officials in Israel's Housing Ministry, Arabs first constructed facilities illegally in Qalandiya and Kfar Akeb between 1948 and 1967, prior to the 1967 Six-Day War during which Israel retook control of the entire city of Jerusalem.

Qalandiya, still owned by JNF, came under the management of the Israeli government's Land Authority in the late 1960s.

Ministry officials say the bulk of illegal Arab construction in Qalandiya occurred in the past 20 years, with construction of several new Arab apartment complexes taking place in just the past two years.

Neither the Israeli government nor JNF took any concrete measures to stop the illegal building, which continues today with at least one apartment complex in Qalandiya under construction.

Land in another Jerusalem' neighborhood, Shoafat, which has an estimated value of $3 million, was also purchased by JNF in the early 1900s and fell under the management of the Israel Land Authority about 40 years ago. Much of the illegal Arab construction in Shoafat took place in the past 15 years, with some apartment complexes built as late as 2004.

In Qalandiya and Shoafat, Israel's security fence cordons off the Arab sections of the JNF lands from the rest of Jewish Jerusalem.

Internal JNF documents obtained by WND outline illegal Arab construction on the Jewish-owned land. A December 2000 survey of Qalandiya summarized on JNF stationery and signed by a JNF worker, states, "In a lot of the plots I find Arabs are living and building illegally and also working the JNF land without permission."

The JNF survey goes on to document illegal construction of Arab apartment complexes and the U.N. school under the property management of Israel's Land Authority.

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 Israel rejects Palestinian peace talks

April 2, 2009     Eli Lake

Israel's new foreign minister got off to a provocative start Wednesday by rejecting peace negotiations started by the Bush administration to establish the contours of a Palestinian state.

Avigdor Lieberman said Israel's new government will suspend negotiations with the Palestinian Authority on so-called "final-status" issues - the borders of a Palestinian state, the fate of Jewish settlements, Palestinian refugees and the city of Jerusalem - until the Palestinians take verifiable steps to end attacks against Israelis.

With the statement, the new Israeli government headed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reversed the policy of its predecessor, led by Ehud Olmert, which had been quietly attempting to negotiate a final settlement of the conflict with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas for the past 14 months.

The shift could cause problems with the Obama administration, which has set as a priority a two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

"We are committed to working vigorously for this two-state solution as we believe it to be in our national security interest and in the security interest of Israel and the region," White House National Security Council spokesman Mike Hammer said.

"We look forward to working with the new Israeli government and understand that we will have frank discussions, and that these discussions will be based on an underlying shared commitment to Israel and its security," he said.

Mr. Lieberman said his government will not be bound by agreements reached at a 2007 summit of Israeli and Arab leaders in Annapolis and signaled skepticism about the peace process in general.

"Sixteen years have passed since [the 1993 Oslo peace accords between Israel and the Palestinians], and I do not see that we are any closer to a permanent settlement. There is one document that binds us, and it is not the Annapolis conference. That has no validity," he said.

Mr. Lieberman said Israel would abide by an earlier George W. Bush administration product: the April 2003 "Performance-Based Roadmap to a Permanent Two-State Solution to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict," which laid out a three-phase, conditioned process to create a Palestinian state.

The so-called road map required Israel to freeze all settlement activity in the West Bank and Gaza but also demanded that the Palestinian Authority change its constitution, end support for terrorism and establish an effective government before it could get an independent state.

The road map's deadline for the creation of that state was 2005. One reason President Bush changed course in 2007 was because the deadline had passed and the militant group Hamas had taken control of the Gaza Strip in June of that year.

Mr. Lieberman made clear that it would be a long time, in his view, before political negotiations could resume.

"We will therefore act exactly according to that document, the road map. ... I will never agree to our waiving all the clauses - I believe there are 48 of them - and going directly to the last clause, negotiations on a permanent settlement," Mr. Lieberman said.

The comments are likely to add to the controversy about Mr. Lieberman, who has called for all Israelis to take a loyalty oath and suggested that if a Palestinian state is created, it should include parts of Israel with predominantly Arab populations.

However, there are also few defenders of the so-called Annapolis process, which former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said clarified many final-status issues but failed to reach any agreements.

Daniel Ayalon, Israel's new deputy foreign minister, told The Washington Times on Wednesday that the Annapolis process took "the road map and put it on its head."

"Not only is this against the inner logic of the road map, but also it has proven not only not to be constructive, in fact it was damaging, no solution has been found and there is more violence," he said.

Mr. Ayalon also stressed that Mr. Lieberman and the new Israeli government support a two-state solution within the context of the road map.

Mr. Lieberman's comments appeared to be harsher than those of Mr. Netanyahu, who on Tuesday committed to talks with the Palestinian Authority but said he would stress economic issues first.

"We will conduct continuous negotiations for peace with the PA aspiring to achieve a permanent agreement," Mr. Netanyahu said.

Other Israeli officials, however, confirmed Wednesday that the final-status negotiations would be suspended.

Elliott Abrams, a former deputy national security adviser to Mr. Bush who helped coordinate Israel's unilateral withdrawal from Gaza in 2005, said he did not interpret Mr. Lieberman's remarks as a rejection of the two-state solution.

"The interesting question to me is: What is Lieberman saying? He is not saying that Israel has no commitment to the two-state solution. He may be saying that he does not want to be bound by immediate final-status talks. It seems to me that there is no basis here for a fight between the United States and Israel because everything we really want in policy is in the road map."

Asked about this, Mr. Ayalon confirmed that Mr. Lieberman was rejecting the final-status talks with Mr. Abbas that emerged from the 2007 Annapolis conference.

Mr. Lieberman's political party, Israel Our Home, supports an Israeli and Palestinian state and the withdrawal of some West Bank settlements. It has also endorsed a plan to require Israeli Arabs and ultra-Orthodox Jews who oppose the state to sign loyalty oaths as a condition of keeping their voting rights.

This proposal was not included in the agreement creating Israel's new coalition government.

In 2004, Mr. Lieberman quit the government of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon over opposition to Israel's unilateral withdrawal from Gaza.

Mr. Lieberman's comments Wednesday suggest that if and when peace talks with the Palestinians ever begin, Mr. Netanyahu will take the lead in negotiations as well as in U.S.-Israel relations.

Tamara Cofman-Wittes, a senior fellow at the Saban Center at the Brookings Institution, noted, however, that tensions between the Obama administration and Mr. Netanyahu are already brewing.

"What I found interesting was the reaction from the White House to reiterate the two-state vision," she said. "I am not predicting an instant confrontation between Washington and Jerusalem on this issue. I am suggesting if the Obama administration was waiting to hear the new approach from the Israelis before laying out a diplomatic initiative, it is now clear they have a steep hill to climb."

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 For Israel, Glimmers of Support in Europe

December 30, 2008    By Patrick Goodenough, International Editor    CNSNews.com

French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner (right) speals with Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt (left) while Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenbergher looks on, ahead of a meeting of European Union foreign ministers to discuss the crisis in Gaza, in Paris on Tuesday, Dec. 30, 2008. (AP Photo)
(CNSNews.com) – As European Union foreign ministers met late Tuesday to push for a humanitarian truce between Israel and Hamas, Israel received a rare expression of support from the government due to assume the E.U.’s rotating presidency on Thursday.

Israel had the right to defend itself against rocket attacks launched by terrorists in the Gaza Strip, Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg told a Czech daily, Mlada Fronta Dnes.

“Let us realize one thing,” he said. “Hamas increased steeply the number of rockets fired at Israel since the ceasefire ended on December 19. That is not acceptable any more.”

Schwarzenberg asked, “Why am I one of the few that have expressed understanding for Israel?” and then in answering his own question said he was “enjoying the luxury of telling the truth.”

“According to our minister Israel has the right to take military action in defense of locations where its civilians live,” foreign ministry spokeswoman Zuzana Opletalova told Radio Prague. “Hamas does not act as a partner and no political dialogue is possible unless Hamas stops its attacks.”

Opletalova added that conditions in Gaza needed to be improved “in such as way that they will not make young people join radical organizations,” but said negotiations could only take place once a ceasefire was in place.

Schwarzenberg’s stance was backed by the chairman of the Czech Senate, Premysl Sobotka of the governing ODS Party, who told the Ceske noviny newspaper that the Israeli military operation was “only a retaliatory reaction to terrorism.” An opposition Communist Party lawmaker, Katerina Konecna, called the foreign minister’s stance one-sided.

Schwarzenberg said earlier this month that as E.U. president the Czech Republic would push its partners to strengthen relations between the 27-member union and Israel.

Such a move would require unanimity, however, and he acknowledged that not all member states viewed this as necessary or desirable. A number of European countries historically have pro-Palestinian sympathies.

The Czech government has offered to organize an E.U.-Israel summit during its six-month presidency as well as a summit between the E.U. and the Palestinian Authority (P.A.)

Prague’s backing for Israel is not the first indication that the Czech E.U. presidency may differ from those of its predecessors. The country’s leaders hold skeptical views about relations with Russia, human-induced global warming theories – and about the E.U. itself.

In this file picture, Palestinian terrorists on the outskirts of Gaza City prepare to fire rockets into Israel on Saturday, Dec. 20, 2008 (AP Photo)
‘Our children will collect your body parts’

Israel has received some support in Europe in recent days. Both Germany and Italy have blamed Hamas for the ceasefire breakdown and the escalation of violence.

But France, which relinquishes the E.U. presidency on the last day of 2008, has accused Israel of a “disproportionate use of force” while urging both Israel to stop its air strikes and Hamas to stop firing rockets into Israel.

France is leading an initiative calling for a 48-hour lull in Israel’s four-day offensive to allow more humanitarian aid to enter Gaza, as well as a lasting truce.

Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner hosted an emergency meeting of his E.U. counterparts in Paris Tuesday, after discussing the matter by phone with Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak and outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

The United States was also calling for a ceasefire, but made it clear it expected Hamas to respect it fully.

White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe, speaking to reporters at Crawford, Texas, said President Bush had called P.A. President Mahmoud Abbas to discuss a “sustainable” ceasefire.

“We have got to get a commitment from Hamas that they would respect any ceasefire and make it lasting and durable,” Johndroe said. Until Israel could get such an assurance from Hamas, “we’re not going to have a cease fire that is worth the paper it’s written on.”

Israel launched the military operation a week after Hamas refused to extend a six-month ceasefire and escalated rocket attacks.

Hamas, whose founding charter calls for Israel’s elimination, seized control of the Gaza Strip in 2007 after routing forces loyal to Abbas. Hamas now runs Gaza while the P.A.’s writ is limited to the West Bank.

According to the Israeli foreign ministry, more than 700,000 Israelis live within 40 kilometers (24 miles) of the Gaza Strip – the range of rockets fired up until now.

A masked spokesman for Hamas’ Izzadin al-Qassam force said in televised comments Tuesday that if Israel continues its operation it would fire rockets at cities further from Gaza than those previously targeted.

And if Israeli forces enter the strip, he said, “the land in Gaza will burn under your feet and it will explode under your soldiers and Gaza children will collect parts of your bodies and your tanks from the streets.”

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