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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:

The Saudi Arms Deal
Yiftah Shapir
INSSINSIGHT August 7, 2007              No. 27
On the eve of the departure to the Middle East of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Defense Secretary Robert Gates, the Bush Administration announced its intention to expand substantially its military assistance to the region .  The proposed plan includes the sale of up to $20 billion of weaponry to Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states.

The Administration also plans to balance this arms sale with an expanded package of security assistance to Israel worth about $30 billion over the coming decade.  Aid to Israel thus far has been growing every year, in accordance with an agreement reached in 1996, and will amount to $2.4 billion in FY 2008.  Thus, the new package represents an increased of about 25%.  Simultaneously, the Administration announced that it will extend military assistance to Egypt for another decade at the current level of $1.3 billion per annum.
Unlike Israel and Egypt, which receive their weaponry in the form of grants, Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf states will pay for their equipment.  The arms sale to Saudi Arabia has been in the works in Washington for several months but the only item specifically mentioned has been JDAM bombs - GPS-guided bombs of the type used by the Israeli Air Force in the second Lebanon war.  However, JDAMs are relatively inexpensive weapons; the price tag for several thousand would only amount to a few million dollars.  Thus far, American spokesmen have refused to provide details on the rest of the package.  Sales are apparently planned, not only to Saudi Arabia but also to the other members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) - Kuwait, Bahrain,
Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, and Oman - but there is as yet no firm
information.  Nevertheless, the $20 billion price being mentioned seems to refer only to sales to Saudi Arabia, for what senior Pentagon officials
implied are air defense systems, anti-missile defenses, radar systems, early warning aircraft, and naval vessels.
For Saudi Arabia, the United States has never been the sole arms supplier.
In addition to American equipment, the Royal Saudi Air Force operates
British Tornado aircraft and the Saudi Navy relies largely on French-built
vessels.  Last year, Saudi Arabia also signed a huge deal with Britain for
72 Typhoon advanced combat aircraft. The main purpose of the Administration is to use the arms sales to strengthen the commitment of the Gulf states, led by Saudi Arabia, to America's grand strategy in the region The Administration wants Saudi Arabia to support its policy in Iraq and especially to refrain from supporting extremist Sunni Islamist organizations - throughout the world and
particularly in Iraq.
  At the same time, military assistance to the Gulf
states sends a strong signal to Iran by emphasizing American commitment to the security of those states.  The criticism voiced in Tehran following the Administration's announcement indicates that this signal was clearly understood.
Two other reasons lie behind the latest American initiative.  One concerns the American response to renewed indications of Russian desire to influence developments in the Middle East .  Evidence of that emerged in recent months in reports of large Russian arms deal with Syria and Iran and of a possible return of the Russian Navy to the Mediterranean, based on access to Syrian port facilities in Tartus and Ladhakia.  The second is directly connected to the global arms market: the U.S. Administration is providing open support for American defense industries in the face of fierce competition by other large suppliers.  In the Gulf region, this primarily means competition with British, French and, to a lesser extent, Russian manufacturers.  In the particular case of Saudi Arabia, it may even involve a hope of getting the Typhoon deal canceled.
Implications for Israel
Israeli spokesmen were quick to react against the Saudi arms deal even when it only involved the JDAMs and they warned that the supply of precision munitions to Saudi Arabia would violate America's promise to preserve the IDF's qualitative edge and would constitute a strategic threat to Israel.
Two senior Israeli officials went to Washington to lay out Israel's claims
before the Administration.  They made two central points.  The first was
that while Saudi Arabia currently might not constitute a threat to Israel,
its regime is not stable and could be replaced by an extreme anti-Israel
successor.  If that were to happen, the precision weaponry would give it a significant advantage which Israel could not counter.  The second point was that simply violating the principle of preserving Israel's qualitative edge would damage its deterrent, which rests to a considerable extent on that American promise.
In fact, Israel's apprehensions appear to be overblown, notwithstanding the fact that the prevailing ideology in Saudi Arabia has been exceedingly hostile to Israel since it came into existence.  Apart from sending symbolic representatives in past wars, the Saudis have never actually acted against Israel.  And in array of serious threats to Saudi basic interests, Israel hardly figures at all.  Moreover, the Saudi interest in preserving good relations with the West and ensuring the flow of oil actually requires tranquility on the Israeli front.  Even a different regime, no matter how radical it might be, would find it difficult to ignore these realities.
Israeli objections to previous Saudi arms deals have also been raised and rejected - because of America's special interest in its relationship with Saudi Arabia.   Again on this occasion, in the face of Administration determination, excessively virulent Israel opposition would only have produced anger in Washington.  So on this occasion, Israel chose instead to temper its response.  In return, it will now receive an upgraded security assistance package of its own.
INSS Insight is published
through the generosity of
Sari and Israel Roizman, Philadelphia


Israeli scientists find a 'light' way to kill cancer cells
By David Brinn   July 30, 2006

Forcing cancer cells to shine could activate light-sensitive
drugs that are then able to kill them without damaging healthy
tissue nearby, according to new Israeli research.
Scientists based at the College of Judea and Samaria and in
association with Bar Ilan University, have for the first time
combined two innovative techniques to target leukemia cells.

The first is a form of photodynamic therapy, which delivers a
light-sensitive drug specifically to cancer cells. The second
technique uses a compound called luminol to produce light inside
individual cells, activating the drug and killing the cell.
Leukemia is cancer of blood-forming tissue such as bone marrow.
Types of leukemia are grouped by the type of cell affected and
by the rate of cell growth.
"Essentially what we're working on is targeted drug delivery, a
system that allows the targeting of drugs to a particular cell -
a cancer cell or a disease associated cell
," said lead
researcher, Dr Michael Firer of the Department of Chemical
Engineering and Biotechnology at the College of Judea and
Samaria. The team's research was recently published in the
British Journal of Cancer.
"In our case, the system is based on the identification of
receptors on the surface of target cells. Once we can ID the
receptors, we can then search for peptides - small molecules
that are specific for that receptor. We then link that peptide
to a drug or toxin and target the cell," he told ISRAEL21c.
Photodynamic therapy exploits the properties of certain
chemicals that are activated by normal visible light. In regular
photodynamic therapy, laser light is shone from outside the body
to activate chemotherapy drugs. But the researchers say it may
be possible to use luminol to generate light inside cells,
reducing side effects and enabling the therapy to be used to
treat a wider range of tumors.
While PDT has been used extensively for targeting cancer cells,
Firer says that his team's research has found the solutions for
two limitations to this kind of therapy.
"The two big problems with photodynamic therapy are getting the
light-sensitive drug to only target cancer cells, and delivering
light to the drug to activate it once it is in the right place.
We've uniquely combined two cutting-edge technologies to direct
a drug to cancer cells and to generate a light source inside the
cells. This stops the drug killing healthy cells," said Firer.
Another limitation, according to Firer, is that PDT doesn't
penetrate the body. Its current use is for skin cancer,
psoriasis, which are on, or close to, the body surface.
"What is presently done is to attach a laser fiber to a catheter
which enters the body through the mouth or another way, and try
to reach where the cancer is and eradiate it that way. It's an
invasive process though, and not entirely successful in reaching
the required area," he said.
"What we've looked for is a way to chemically activate the light
sensitive compounds within a cell. We borrowed from a technology
which has been around a long time - chemiluminescence - a
chemical reaction which produces light. We put one and one
together - we've shown in the research that if you take a cell
culture and treat it with the light sensitive compound called
luminol - it produces chemiluminescence in the cell which
activates the light sensitive molecules and kills the cells."
"This means that we might be able to use photodynamic therapy to
treat tumors deep inside the body that external light sources
cannot reach. We've shown it works in the lab - if it works in
real life, we'll have an exciting new way to treat cancer."
According to the research, this novel chemical means of PDT
activation using luminal induced cytotoxicity - or the killing
of cells - in 95% of cells. Since the tests were conducted,
Firer said that preliminary trials on animals have shown that
the process also works in the body, not just in a cell culture.
"We're now in the pre-clinical stage using models of leukemia,
but we're not limited to that cancer," he said. "As long as we
have the activator and the compound, it can seek out a tumor
wherever it is."

IDF: Gaza air strike foiled massive terrorist attack
AP and staff, THE JERUSALEM POST Aug. 4, 2007

A massive terror attack was foiled Saturday night when an IAF air strike on two vehicles near the southern Gaza Strip's border with Egypt killed two Palestinians, including an Islamic Jihad operative, and wounded 21 others, the IDF said.
The army said that one of the vehicles was carrying Islamic Jihad operatives and was filled with explosive devices including suicide bomb belts. The group, said the IDF, was on its way to carry out a huge terror attack against Israelis.
Islamic Jihad said some of its members were in at least one of the two
vehicles hit in the IAF strike near the Rafah Crossing - a Mercedes saloon and a pickup truck parked alongside. Eyewitnesses said several blasts came from the pickup after the attack, suggesting that it had been carrying explosives. Three of those wounded were Islamic Jihad operatives and were in serious condition. Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for firing a rocket into a Sderot neighborhood shortly before the air strike, but it was not clear if they were the same group hit by the IAF strike. Two more rockets were fired at the western Negev on Saturday night. No casualties or damage were reported as a result of the Kassam attacks.

The group, said the IDF, was on its way to carry out a huge terror attack
against Israelis.

Islamic Jihad said some of its members were in at least one of the two
vehicles hit in the IAF strike near the Rafah Crossing - a Mercedes saloon and a pickup truck parked alongside. Eyewitnesses said several blasts came from the pickup after the attack, suggesting that it had been carrying explosives. Three of those wounded were Islamic Jihad operatives and were in serious condition.

Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for firing a rocket into a Sderot

Aryeh Egozi, Alex Fishman YNET Published: 08.06.07, 09:07 / Israel News,7340,L-3434145,00.html
For the first time since the fall of the Iron Curtain, Russia plans to
re-operate the Tartus and Latakia ports in Syria as permanent bases for the Russian Navy in the Mediterranean basin, according to recent western media reports
Rumors on the growing Russian activity in the Mediterranean began spreading following a statement by Russian Navy commander, Admiral Vladimir Masorin, as he visited the Russian Navy base in the Sebastopol port in Ukraine."Being present in the Mediterranean is very important for our Navy in the Black Sea," the admiral said.
The Qatar-based television network al-Jazeera quoted a senior Russian Defense Ministry official over the weekend, who declared that Russia must be permanently present in the Mediterranean again.
According to the reports, Syria plans to let Russia use its ports as part of
the large arms deal signed between the two countries in the past year.
The breakthrough which led to the arms deal was made possible after the two parties resolved their financial differences.
Over the years, Syria had accumulated a huge debt of approximately $11 billion to Russia. The Russians recently conceded more than 70% of the debt. The remaining debt will be returned by Syria partly in cash and partly through permanent port services to the Russian Navy ships in Latkia and Tartus.
Israeli security officials estimated that the renewed Russian activity in
these bases, which were active throughout the Cold War, was related to the renewed tensions between Russia and the United States, mainly in light of the American plan to station antimissile missile systems in Europe - a plan Moscow views as a threat to its security.
"The bases will allow Russia to protect its interests in the region," the
sources estimated. While US naval forces are permanently present in the Mediterranean, Russian Navy ships have so far settled for exercises and friendly visits to different countries in the region.
Since the Soviet Union's disintegration the Russian Navy has been
experiencing a crisis, but in the past two years efforts have been made to rehabilitate the warships and the submarines.
The Russian Navy is known to massively operate spy ships.
Israeli officials estimated on Sunday that a renewed base in Syria will help the Russians carry out spy missions also against Israel, particularly electronic spying aimed at observing new weapon systems and the flow of information in channels used by the army and the defense establishment.

Russia confirms Hamas officials invited to Moscow for talks
By Avi Issacharoff, Haaretz Correspondent and Haaretz Service Last update -
18:21 04/08/2007

Russian Foreign Minsiter Sergei Lavrov said his country is holding talks
with Hamas in order find solutions for the conflict in the Middle East,
Israel Radio reported on Saturday.
"It's important to hold such talks and countries that do not do so are
wrong," he was quoted as saying.
On Wednesday, Russia publicly embraced Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, calling him the legitimate leader of the Palestinian people and vowing to downgrade its ties with Hamas.
Hamas lawmaker Halil al-Haya on Thursday claimed, however, that Russia had invited officials from the Islamic group to visit Moscow for talks. Al-Haya told a Hamas-affiliated Palestinian magazine that the Russian government had officially invited a Hamas delegation, headed by Damascus-based Hamas political leader Khaled Meshal, to Moscow. Al-Haya would not specify the date, but said the visit would be in the coming days.

IAF fires missile into Rafah; Palestinians say one dead
AP and staff, THE JERUSALEM POST Aug. 4, 2007

One Palestinian was killed and 15 wounded in an IAF air strike on two
vehicles near the southern Gaza Strip's border with Egypt on Saturday
evening. The IDF confirmed it carried out an attack in the area, near the
Rafah Crossing, but could not immediately give details.
Islamic Jihad said some of its members were in at least one of the two
vehicles struck by Israeli missiles - a Mercedes saloon and a pickup truck
parked alongside. Eyewitnesses said several explosions came from the pickup after the attack, suggesting that it had been carrying explosives. Three of those wounded were Islamic Jihad operatives and were in serious condition, Israel Radio reported.
The group said its operatives had fired a rocket into a Sderot neighborhood shortly before the air strike, but it was not clear if they were the same group hit by the Israeli strike. No casualties or damages were reported as a result of the Kassam attack.
Two other rockets had been fired towards Israel but landed in the Gaza
Strip. Overnight Thursday, undercover IDF troops shot dead an Islamic Jihad gunman in the Casbah of Nablus.
The gunman was killed when he tried to escape from a window after troops had surrounded a building in which he was hiding, calling on him to surrender.

The Battle of the "Exodus" Against the British Army -
by Zev Wallack

Sixty years ago, on the eve of Rosh Chodesh Av 5707 (1947), an
immigration ship by the name of "Leaving Europe 5707" (also known as
"Exodus 1947") arrived in Eretz Yisrael. This was a fairly small ship
that the Hagannah had bought from US Navy surplus, and 4,500 refugees from Europe had been packedinto it. As soon as the ship left France British warships began to follow it, with a fighter plane flying overhead at all times. Any reasonable person could see that this was not going to be a fair fight. It was clear that the "illegal immigrants" would be able to use only hand weapons, in order to avoid giving the British an excuse to use live ammunition, which might have led to a terrible slaughter. Here is how the struggle was described by Aharon David Kurtz (Adar):"We began our preparations for a 'battle' against seven British
destroyers. Our small and creaky vessel, when compared to their
warships, clearly demonstrated the great par between the forces,
giving us the feeling that 'we were like grasshoppers... in their
eyes' [Bamidbar 13:33]. But we still did not say, 'Let us find a
leader and return to Egypt ' [14:4]. We continued to fortify our
positions and to prepare to fight back, in order to show that the
Jews were not willing to give up like sheep being taken to
slaughter... This was a battle of cans and jars against jets of salt
water, tear gas, and clubs in the hands of British soldiers. We
realized that this would be a demonstration and not a battle, but it
was still importantbecause it showed our position and our mission, while it was also fraught with mortal danger. Some of the immigrants paid with their lives for their part in this event."
The struggle took place Thursday night, Rosh Chodesh Av (18 July),
and it lasted several hours. Before the Exodus reached the
territorial waters of the land, the British attacked it several
times. Each time, they attached two destroyers to the ship and
squeezed it, while British soldiers pounced on the passengers. It
took a very long time to take control of the ship, because the people
fought with dedication and perseverance. In the end, the order was
given to surrender, because the attacks of the destroyers had
cracked the hull of the Exodus, and water began to leak in and was
about to sink the ship. Two passengers and one Jewish crewman were
killed and about thirty were injured. All the others were transferred
from the damaged ship to expulsion boats, which immediately became
floating prisons. The people at least had the privilege of seeing the
land from afar, as Kurtz continues to relate:
"We saw Haifa , our eyes looked at the Carmel Mountains , and we
couldn't stop looking. The verses in Melachim about Eliyahu opened up
before me, and I imagined seeing him there, high up, on the top of
the mountain, acting zealously to protect G-d's honor... We were
given a few hours in which we could see the mountain and dream about
redemption... Why does Eliyahu just sit there and not come down to
rescue us? Is he busy trying to bring rain in the month of Av? ... At
the end of our thoughts about the verses, Eliyahu disappeared from
the Carmel , to be replaced by the 'kalaniot,' the British
paratroopers with their red berets."
Everybody was sure that they would be sent to Cyprus , as usual. But
then it turned out that they were being sent back to France , where
they arrived on the fast day of Tisha B'Av. And the worst thing was
that the depressing journey ended on German soil.
The world media concentrated on the plight of the Exodus and its
struggle to bring the refugees of the Holocaust to their land. The
pictures of the mighty British army fighting refugees who wanted a
safe haven were published all over the world. This story had a
tremendous impact, leading many to identify with the cause and with
the need to establish a Jewish state which would be able to absorb
the refugees.
The Hagannah, which planned and executed the entire journey of the
Exodus, was able in the end to bring the expelled refugees back to
settle in Eretz Yisrael.
source: Aharon David Kurtz (Adar), "From Ashes to Renewal" and others)


Hamas asks Abbas to halt his war against it
6 August 2007 Ezzedeen Al-Qassam Brigades WEBSITE -  the armed branch of the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas).

Hamas Movement held PA chief Mahmoud Abbas fully responsible for 810 attacks against the Movement since mid June till today and urged him to check the rampant security, political and educational chaos in the West Bank. A statement by the Movement called on Abbas to release the kidnapped Hamas leaders, cadres and supporters atop of whom came Ahmed Doula, who started a hunger strike on Friday and refrained from drinking water as of today Sunday. Hamas held Abbas fully responsible for his life.
Despite all the slogans, the PA security apparatuses in Ramallah are still
pursuing a systematic campaign of arrests against Hamas cadres and
supporters in the West Bank, the statement underlined.
Hamas finally called on all Palestinian factions and various concerned
institutions to take a "responsible position vis-ý-vis those incessant
crimes", and warned that if they remained passive one day they would face the same fate.

In the same context, Ayman Taha, one of the Hamas political leaders in the Gaza Strip, warned on Sunday that the Zionist attacks on the Gaza Strip coupled with the PA security apparatuses' atrocities in the West Bank aim at eliminating Palestinian resistance.
He opined, in a press release, that the OF aggressions on the Gaza Strip are not separate from what is going on in the West Bank at the hands of PA chief Mahmoud Abbas's security apparatuses.
Abbas appointed Fayyad government is working to outlaw resistance against occupation to please the USA and the Hebrew state in return for crumbs, Taha elaborated.
He noted that American secretary of state Condoleezza Rice extended arms to Fayyad to wipe out resistance.
"The Zionist project in the Arab region targets annihilating all liberation
movements and resistance factions," he said

Syria plans war of attrition in the Golan Heights
Assad encouraging army officers to settle in Syrian side of disputed region in preparation for possible confrontation. 'We have an answer in case Israel attacks our cities,' says senior official in Damascus
Smadar Peri YNET  Published: 08.02.07, 09:50 / Israel News,7340,L-3432836,00.html
In a secret message relayed to Jerusalem, Syria warned the Israeli
government that should it continue to reject Damascus' peace overtures, a war of attrition may break out in the Golan Heights, according to a report published Thursday.
Yedioth Ahronot has learned that in recent days Israel received reports of increased Syrian presence on its side of the Golan Heights in preparation for a possible war.
During the past year the Syrian government has encouraged its citizens to settle in the Syrian side of the Golan Heights; Israel has recently learned that many of those who have made the Golan their new home were officers in active or reserve army duty who had lost their jobs following Syria's withdrawal from Lebanon in 2005.
Should a military conflict erupt in the region, these officers are expected
to spearhead acts of attrition against Israel. 'Syria unpleasantly surprised' For dozens of years Syrians wishing to visit the Golan Heights were required to apply for special entry permits, but in recent months citizens have been allowed to pass freely to the city of Quneitra and other towns in the region.
In addition, soldiers enlisted in Syria's reserve units have been forbidden
to leave the country to ensure that they could be called up quickly in the
event of a military confrontation with Israel.
Such a confrontation would divert global attention from the international
tribunal investigating Damascus' responsibility for the murder of former
Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri.
"Syria has an answer in case Israel attacks its cities," a senior official
in Damascus said recently, adding the President Bashar Assad's regime was"unpleasantly surprised" by the messages relayed by the Israeli government in the past few days, according to which it refuses to return to the negotiating table.
On Wednesday Assad said Syria was "determined to retrieve every grain of land in the Golan Heights. We are stronger than we have been in the past. Syria will not succumb to pressure or be deterred by threats."
However, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moualem stated that Syria would be willing to take part in a US-sponsored peace conference, saying "Syria will support and participate in any international conference for peace. The objectives, participants and grounds for such an initiative must be made clear.
According to a recent poll sponsored by Terror Free Tomorrow, an American bipartisan organization that seeks to erode support for international terrorism, 51% of Syrians favor a peace treaty with Israel if it withdraws from the Golan Heights and recognizes Syrian sovereignty there.
AP contributed to this report

US moves closer to Arabs, further from Israel
By Stan Goodenough
Aug 01, 2007
The United States of America Tuesday put its official stamp on the Saudi
Arabian plan that calls for Israel's surrender for all time of the land
returned to Jewish rule in 1967.
According to a report in Haaretz , Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice wrote her signature alongside those of Egypt, Jordan and six Persian Gulf states endorsing the 2002 plan as a foundation for Middle East peace.
With the move, the Bush administration gave Israel yet another shove
down the road towards completing its severance from its biblical
heartland and the cradle of Jewish nationhood.
The Saudi Plan offers full normalization of relations between Israel and the Arab world in exchange for Israel's withdrawal from Judea, Samaria and the Golan Heights.
(Gaza was included in the original draft, but Israel in 2005 already
abandoned that strip of land to the Palestinian Arabs who, instead of
starting to build themselves a state there, turned it into a haven for
terrorists and a launching pad for increased terrorism.)
Rice's signature moved her country a few steps nearer to Saudi Arabia
and the Arab world, and a few steps further away from Israel.
On Monday evening, upon her arrival in Jeddah at the start of a regional tour, she spoke warmly about the Arab states who have so long hated and worked to destroy Israel.
"These are our longstanding and close friends and allies. These are
strategic relationships that go back decades. And we are really
determined to signal our commitment and to provide for the security of
our allies. It goes to the stability and prosperity of the Gulf region,
which is of great interest to the United States and great interest to
our friends."
Newsweek columnist Michael Hirsh_ chief US correspondent Samuel Rosner, compared Rice's statement with one she had made a year ago when she said:
"What you had in the Middle East before was American policies -
bipartisan, by the way; it had been pursued by Democratic presidents and by Republican presidents - that engaged in so-called Middle East
exceptionalism [in other words, democracy won't work with the Arabs] and was pursuing stability at the expense of democracy."
Concluded Hirsh: "The Bush team seems to have gone from condemning the decades-old US policy of backing the Arab regimes to championing precisely that course ."