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While we struggle without own war related issues Israel seems to have the same concerns, only much more immediate. Following are reports direct from Israel via a relative living there:

MIddle East update 7/26

, THE JERUSALEM POST Jul. 23, 2007
Syria transferring weapons to Hizbullah
with the full knowledge of the Lebanese army and behind UNIFIL's back.

Hizbullah has restored its military capability and replenished its
stockpiles of weapons and missiles since the end of the Second
Lebanon War, Israel Radio quoted a senior defense official as saying
Tuesday morning.

The official claimed that Syria was transferring weapons to Hizbullah
with the full knowledge of the Lebanese army and behind UNIFIL's back.

He said that Hizbullah didn't want to ignite the region at the moment
but preferred a period of quiet so that it could restore the sites
from which the rockets were launched during last summer's war.

On Monday, Hizbullah Chief Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah refused to say
whether kidnapped reservists Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev were

"The French foreign minister understood that they are alive, but our
people do not tend to answer questions of this kind," said Nasrallah
in an interview with Al Jazeera, broadcast by Qatari-based satellite

The head of the guerrilla group was referring to a recent statement
made by French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner who said that he
"understood" the soldiers were alive after talks with Hizbullah
officials in Paris last week.

Nasrallah claimed that he was the sole official authorized to give
details on the matter and added that "for every utterance such as
this we can receive human compensation, and therefore there is no
reason that we would give information for free."

During an earlier section of the same interview released Sunday,
Nasrallah announced that Hizbullah had the ability to launch rockets
against any point in Israel.

Hizbullah had the capability to strike every part of Israel during
last summer's war, and retains that capability, he said. "Even in the
months of July and August 2006 there was not one place in occupied
Palestine that we could not reach, every point and every corner,"
Nasrallah was quoted as saying. "I stress that we can do this today
as well."


Pearl's widow sues terror suspects, Pakistan bank
Associated Press, THE JERUSALEM POST Jul. 19, 2007
The widow of Daniel Pearl has sued more than a dozen reputed
terrorists and Pakistan's largest bank, blaming them for the torture
and murder of the Wall Street Journal reporter in 2002.

A complaint filed Wednesday in Brooklyn federal court by Mariane
Pearl and her husband's estate alleges Habib Bank Limited of Karachi
knowingly provided financial services for al-Qaida and other
terrorist groups.

Backed by the bank, terrorists "carried out the kidnapping, ransom,
torture, execution and dismemberment of Daniel Pearl and broadcast
those images nationwide," the lawsuit said. The suit seeks
unspecified damages for acts it alleges were meant to "emotionally
destroy the Pearl family and terrorize, appall and frighten American

Also named as a defendant in the suit is Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the
imprisoned al-Qaida No. 3 leader and suspected mastermind of the
Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks, along with an outlawed Islamic
charity, the al-Rashid Trust.


Major-General Stern: Government not doing enough to fight the dodge
Hanan Greenberg YNET Published:
07.23.07, 10:35 / Israel News,7340,L-3428710,00.html

Major-General Elazar Stern, Chief of Personnel in the IDF, said Monday that
the government was not doing enough to fight draft-dodging among Israeli
[Dr. Aaron Lerner - IMRA: Israel Radio reported that Stern asserted that
anyone who wanted to dodge the draft could with the help of a physician.]

Stern offered exempting those who serve in the military from university
fees, while not allowing those who dodged the service any school benefits.



Foreign Ministry concerned about Iran's ties with South America

By Barak Ravid, Haaretz Correspondent

The Foreign Ministry is concerned about Iran's activities in
South America including a high number of embassy officials who
could be taking part in terror, according to an evaluation by
the ministry.

Last week marked 13 years since the attack on the Jewish
community building in Buenos Aires in which 85 people were
killed. A few months ago an Argentine judge determined that Iran
and Hezbollah were responsible for the attack and asked Interpol
to issue international arrest warrants for seven senior Iranian
officials and Imad Mughniyeh, head of the Islamic Jihad unit at
Hezbollah and responsible for its activities abroad.

Interpol is expected to make a final decision in November and
issue warrants.

The defense establishment has for years seen the border areas
between Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil as a focus of Iranian and
Hezbollah terror. Iran, meanwhile, has opened embassies in
Nicaragua, Ecuador and Chile, and increased commercial ties and
visits by senior officials. Iran has also enlarged its missions
in Venezuela, Uruguay, Mexico and Colombia.

The Foreign Ministry says these embassies have an "astronomical
number" of diplomats, in no proportion to their needs. In
Nicaragua, for example, there are 30 Iranian diplomats, with a
similar number in Venezuela and other countries. Israel fears
that these are intelligence operatives also involved in terror.

Jerusalem is also concerned at the emerging alliance between
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Venezuelan President
Hugo Chavez. Over the past two years, Chavez has been in Tehran
six times and Ahmadinejad has visited Caracas twice. A direct
flight between Tehran and Caracas, which refuels in Damascus,
has carried thousands of Iranians.

The Foreign Ministry notes that according to international media
reports, Venezuela intends to sell uranium to Iran to advance
Iran's nuclear program, and that Venezuela is forging shipping
documents for equipment involving Iran's nuclear program.

Venezuela also intends to help ease Iran's energy crunch by
selling it oil distillates. Because of Iranian concerns that its
assets abroad might be frozen, Tehran is transferring some of
its accounts to Venezuelan banks. Iran is to supply weapons to
Venezuela and support Chavez's arms program.

Israel has told some Latin American countries that Iran is
endangering world peace through terror and its nuclear program.
Some of the countries share Israel's concerns and have asked for
intelligence and counter-terror assistance.

Other countries have reacted coolly due to their commercial
connections with Iran and their need for cash. A senior
government official in Jerusalem said "no matter what sanctions
the U.N. Security Council imposes, it's not certain that the
countries in that continent will not break them because of
closer ties with Tehran."



Farfur, the life-size Mickey Mouse lookalike, was killed in a
recent episode, murdered off-screen by an Israeli interrogator
infuriated by the mouse's heroic refusal to sell his homeland
for lots of money to the Jews. "
Jul. 20, 2007

Two weeks ago, the Jerusalem weekly Kol Ha'ir, as its cover
story, attempted a journalistic "hatchet job" on Yuval Shemtov -
known to many, probably most, of the nation's children as Yuval
Hamebulbal (Yuval the confused).

For reasons best known to its editors, Kol Ha'ir has it in for
Yuval, the croak-voiced clown who has graduated from boisterous
puppetry, jerky dances and excruciating rhymes at kids' parties
to boisterous puppetry, jerky dances and excruciating rhymes on
big-selling DVDs and a colorful afternoon children's TV show.

When he wasn't away on reserve service with his paratroop unit,
Yuval was a birthday regular for all three of my children; his
was the first and for a long time the only phone number my
first-born had memorized; when my kids were sick one time, he
popped in to cheer them up. In short, my family adores him.

Nothing in the article detracted from that affection. It focused
heavily on the escalating fees Yuval has charged as his fame has
spread, attempting to depict pricing that puts him out of the
birthday party league as tantamount to criminal. It tried to
highlight a purported lack of educational value in his material.
And it really took exception to his rhymes. But the piece - and
it certainly wasn't for the lack of trying - had absolutely no
dirt on him. He's not a child molester. He doesn't cheat on his
taxes. Indeed, as the selection of furious letters in his
defense in last week's paper attested, he's a thoroughly decent
individual, who does a great deal of unpublicized charity work
and gives a lot of children in this country something to smile

There is, however, every reason to write huge-headlined,
horrified newspaper articles about another popular, colorful
afternoon children's TV show, whose producers and content truly
are despicable and worthy of every ounce of condemnation that
journalism, and the rest of society, can muster.

I'm referring to the Friday afternoon Tomorrow's Pioneers show
disseminated to most Palestinian households and, nowadays,
across the Arab world via Hamas's Al-Aksa satellite TV station.

Farfur, the life-size Mickey Mouse lookalike, was killed in a
recent episode, murdered off-screen by an Israeli interrogator
infuriated by the mouse's heroic refusal to sell his homeland
for lots of money to the Jews. "Yes, our children friends, we
lost our dearest friend, Farfur," the program's little girl
host, Saraa, who must be all of 10, told her viewers sadly.
"Farfur turned to a martyr while protecting his land. He turned
into a martyr at the hands of the criminals and murderers. The
murderers of the innocent children... You saw that the Jews let
Farfur die as a martyr." (The translation comes from Palestinian
Media Watch.)

Saraa even took a phone call in the studio on the subject from
three-year-old Shaimaa: "We don't like the Jews because they are
dogs! We will fight them!" this toddler declared on air.

"That's right, oh Shaimaa," Saraa sagely agreed. "The Jews are
criminals and enemies. We must expel them from our land."

Last week, Tomorrow's Pioneers introduced a fresh cuddly-toy
role model, Nahool the bee, self-proclaimed cousin of Farfur. He
buzzed from up near the studio ceiling, so that young Saraa was
filmed looking up at him with innocent childish fealty as he
vowed to stick to "the path of heroism, the path of martyrdom,
the path of the Jihad warriors.

"Me and my friends shall continue the path of Farfur," Nahool
declaimed high-pitchedly. "And in his name we shall take revenge
upon the enemies of Allah, the murderers of the prophets, the
murderers of innocent children, until Al-Aksa will be liberated
from their filth."

IN THE five-year update this week of his landmark address on the
need for non-terrorist leadership to steer the Palestinians to
statehood, President Bush set out a long register of things the
Palestinians must do to create the climate in which peaceful
co-existence alongside a secure Israel could flourish. "The
Palestinian people must decide that they want a future of
decency and hope - not a future of terror and death. They must
match their words denouncing terror with action to combat
terror. The Palestinian government must arrest terrorists,
dismantle their infrastructure... They must work to stop attacks
on Israel... They must enforce the law without corruption..."

In essence, then, one fears, the speech amounted to a triumph of
hope over experience.

Israel's recent leaders, despairing of viable Palestinian
partners, attempted to create a better, safer reality by acting
unilaterally, hoping that if we chose to leave the Palestinians
alone in Gaza (as we had done with Hizbullah in southern
Lebanon), and potentially in much of the West Bank, they might
just leave us alone, too.

Internalizing both the absence of a credible partner and the
abject failure of unilateralism, the US president is now
formalizing what amounts to Tony Blair's West Bank Correctional
Facility, aimed at dragging a Fatah leadership that has been
demonstrably disinclined to act on any of Bush's long list of
"musts" toward acceptable norms of behavior.

It is a tall order, probably an impossible one, and Blair's
successes in Northern Ireland serve as no real basis for
heightened expectation.

Attitudes to Israel in Fatah range from intolerance to
ambivalence, with only a very few of its leaders prepared to
publicly uphold terms for peace that Israel might find viable.
And Abbas has proved himself thoroughly incapable of imposing a
shift toward wider moderation or to root out the corruption that
paved the way for Hamas's parliamentary takeover and its
subsequent violent confirmation of control in Gaza.

While some Israeli analysts complacently argue that no similar
coup is imminent in the West Bank, Hamas has already been voted
into power there at the local council level, and is concertedly
spreading its ideology of adamant resistance to Israel via its
clerics, its politicians and, don't forget, its kids' TV shows.

Israel, self-defeatingly, meanwhile, sometimes seems to be
helping legitimize the very terrorism we most need to
marginalize. Where, one wonders, is our interest in facilitating
a West Bank homecoming for the veteran head of a murderous
Palestinian rejectionist group, Nayef Hawatmeh? Why would Abbas,
the head of a hierarchy ostensibly now determined to chart a
new, constructive course, have wanted him there, either?

Why, for that matter, would Israel, at the same time as it
rightly berates France for its legitimizing dialogue with the
murderous Hizbullah, set free convicted members of terrorist
organizations formally committed to our destruction or tell
those of them still on the loose that they will no longer be
hunted, their crimes unpunished? Think of the soldiers' lives
risked in capturing and trying to capture such men. And why
would we make a further mockery of our own rule of law - even as
we protest the absence of proper legal procedures in the PA - by
contemplating the release of other dangerous enemies, including
Marwan Barghouti, the Tanzim chief convicted by our courts of
direct involvement in several murderous conspiracies? Nelson
Mandela he ain't.

Israel has already been down the path of wiping from the legal
records acts of terrorism carried out by Palestinians,
justifying the pardons in the hope of building a better future
in the course of a coordinated peace process. In many cases, the
killers' purported rehabilitation proved false, and the
diplomatic process collapsed as a direct consequence of the
maintenance of a murderous, uncompromising Palestinian ideology
on Israel.

Today, though, we are not even at step one of a negotiated
process. We are not freeing the men of violence within a robust
framework of historic reconciliation, a break from the bloody
past. Israel is, rather, merely making gestures - disavowing our
judicial principles en route - in the faint hope of sparking
such a process.
Yet the very nature of the gestures is utterly at odds with the
intended result. We are setting free the violent opponents of
reconciliation, emboldening them and legitimizing them, further
marginalizing and discrediting the dwindling constituency of
genuine moderates, and simultaneously endangering ourselves.
Israel understandably wants to bolster relative moderates to
offset the rise of Hamas, to take steps to demonstrate to the
Palestinian public that negotiation and compromise, not
extremism, represent the way forward. Is that the message the
Palestinian public will absorb from these particular gestures?

LESS THAN a month after packing up and moving out of 10 Downing
Street, the estimable Blair is due here on Monday to begin the
Herculean task of building a better future. In his last House of
Commons appearance, he declared his belief that a solution to
our conflict could be found, provided there was "a huge
intensity of focus and work." Wishful thinking? We are about to

One can only implore Blair to impress upon Abbas, or PA Prime
Minister Salaam Fayad, or whichever Palestinian figures he
considers have the will and the means to extricate their people
from the tentacled embrace of the secular and the Islamic
extremists, that pressing for the return of exiled terror
chiefs, or the release of jailed ones, is the wrong course. The
killers must be sidelined, not appeased.

And one can only wish, without much confidence, that he will be
savvy enough to recognize that new generations of young
Palestinian minds - tomorrow's pioneers, indeed - are being
poisoned every time they sit down in front of their television
sets to watch the cynically choreographed interplay between
Hamas child-host Saraa and her incendiary mouse, bee or other
toy du jour.

Oslo Accords, road maps, Saudi proposals, Tenet, Zinni and
Dayton plans and, now, the Blair Wish Project - any and all of
them could serve as a basis for negotiated progress if a genuine
desire for coexistence flourished on the Palestinian side. In
the absence of such desire, any and all of them can only

And every Friday's squeaking visit by Farfur, every stinging
intervention from Nahool, can only further reduce the dwindling
reservoir of hope.