A7News: Details of Olmert-Abbas Meeting Kept Quiet

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Details of Olmert-Abbas Meeting Kept Quiet

The leaders talked, but announced only that PA and Israeli negotiators will meet to work out a joint position paper for the November summit.

  1. Details of Olmert-Abbas Meeting Kept Quiet
  2. A Public PA ‘Thank You’ to Abbas for Support to Terror Families
  3. Israel Shakes Iran’s Confidence in Stopping IAF
  4. “Second Hakafot” Dancing Across the Country
  5. Moslems Descend on Jerusalem for Last Ramadan Friday
  6. Terror War Does Not Take a Holiday

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1. Details of Olmert-Abbas Meeting Kept Quiet

by Nissan Ratzlav-Katz

A meeting between Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian Authority head Mahmoud Abbas in Jerusalem on Wednesday led to few official statements. After the meeting, it was announced only that PA and Israeli negotiators will meet in coming weeks to work out a joint position paper for the planned Middle East summit in November.

Prime Minister Olmert initially held talks with Abbas in private, after which they were
Abbas expressed dissatisfaction with Prime Minister Olmert’s refusal to discuss a fixed timeline.
joined by their respective negotiating teams.

Reports in the Arab media indicated that Abbas expressed dissatisfaction with Olmert’s continued refusal to discuss a fixed timeline for the resolution of final-status issues. According to IDF Radio, Olmert insisted that the PA accept the Israeli and American position that rejects an Arab “right of return” to Israel and includes Israeli annexation of certain areas in Judea and Samaria.

On Thursday, the PA’s Minister of Information, Riyad Al-Malki, told reporters that a joint document outlining a framework for final status talks will be drafted before the US-sponsored Middle East summit in November. Al-Malki said a final status agreement could be reached within six months of the summit. This agreement, he added, would be brought before a follow-up meeting of the November summit’s participants, as well as before the residents of the PA in the form of a referendum.

A senior PA figure and former PA prime minister, Ahmed Qurei, said “it will not be easy” for Olmert and Abbas to draft an agenda for final status talks before the summit. Qurei’s cautious view was echoed by David Baker, a spokesman for the Israeli government. The issues that would have to be included in any final status accord, and about which there is little agreement, include bilateral borders, the status of Arab refugees in other countries, the status and future of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, and sovereignty in Jerusalem.

The Hamas leadership of the PA, for its part, has rejected the idea of the November summit entirely. Spokesmen for the terrorist organization said the main purpose of the bilateral and multilateral meetings that include Israel is to prevent the resolution of what Hamas considers “the fundamental issues.”

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2. A Public PA ‘Thank You’ to Abbas for Support to Terror Families

by Hana Levi Julian and Hillel Fendel

While Prime Minister Ehud Olmert continued to huddle with Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas on a joint statement of principles in time for the U.S.-sponsored Mideast summit November 26, a Fatah activist issued a public “thank you” to Abbas and his government for their largesse in providing ongoing financial support for the families of terrorists.

Intisar Al-Wazir, known more popularly among PA Arabs as “Um Jihad,” thanked Abbas this week on behalf of the numerous organizations providing financial aid to support imprisoned terrorists, wounded terrorists and the families of dead terrorists.

While funding for the terrorists and their families was temporarily held up in July and August, said Um Jihad, Abbas and his ministers promptly dealt with the problem, sending money to the families this week.

Abbas’s Proxy Fundraiser for PA Terrorist Families
The 66-year-old Um Jihad was the first female member of Fatah, joining the group in 1959 and establishing herself through the years as one of the most prominent women in the PA.

The “mother of the fight” – the meaning of her Arabic nom de guerre – was elected in 1995 to the Palestinian Legislative Council, also serving as the Minister of Social Affairs. She became the PA Minister for Social Welfare in 2003.

Um Jihad is the widow of a prominent terrorist. Her husband, Khalil al-Wazir (Abu Jihad), was a close associate of the late PLO Chairman and arch terrorist Yasser Arafat. Al-Wazir was also the co-founder of Fatah and leader of the first intifada. He was tracked down in 1988 and eliminated by Israeli agents at his home in Tunisia.

Abbas Also Busy on Behalf of Terrorists in Lebanon
Abbas has also been working hard to continue support for Palestinian terrorists in Lebanon, albeit indirectly. A committee established by the PA Chairman is slated to hold a fundraising drive Friday on PA television for the northern Lebanese town of Nahr el-Bared.

Home to approximately 30,000 Arabs claiming descent from those who fled Israel during the War of Independence, the town has become a stronghold of the Fatah al-Islam terrorist organization. Nahr el-Barad was decimated this summer when the Lebanese Army battled to eliminate the terrorist group from its population. Fierce fighting by local terrorists who hid among the civilian population while firing at soldiers led to the deaths of hundreds of people on both sides. Lebanese government forces succeeded in significantly reducing the number of terrorists operating from the town, although they were unable to root them out completely.

Dire Poverty in Gaza
A survey carried out last week in Gaza shows that 47% of Gazan residents were considering leaving Gaza because of the economic situation. Nearly 70% live under the poverty line, 57% say they do not have enough food, and 41% of the population lives in “abject poverty.” The poll also found that 82% of the population believe the economy has deteriorated since the Hamas takeover of Gaza this past June.

Drying Up Hamas Funding
As part of his continuing war against Hamas, the Abbas-Fatah regime has initiated a series of steps to “dry up” Hamas funding sources. Senior Fatah members told the Al-Hayat newspaper that Hamas often uses charity donations as a cover for receiving monies from abroad, and especially from the Persian Gulf states. Hamas also receives most of its cash via tunnels under the Egyptian-Gazan border.

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3. Israel Shakes Iran’s Confidence in Stopping IAF

by Hana Levi Julian

Despite its usual posturing about its military excellence and that of its terrorist allies, Iran appears to be increasingly concerned about Syria’s ability to detect infiltration by Israeli aircraft, an issue that may affect its own ability to protect itself from the IAF.

A report on the U.S.-based Aviation Week website this week said Israel’s covert IAF attack on a Syrian military installation last month shook Iranian confidence in the country’s Russian-manufactured radar and air defense systems.

Syrian radar failed to notice Israeli aircraft flying to and from its target in the northeastern part of the country, said the report. This was due to Israel’s use of an electronic device installed on a plane that circled the area, jamming the system during the operation.

Russia has been negotiating with Iran to sell $750 million worth of radar equipment to the Islamic Republic for the protection of its nuclear facilities. The wisdom of that purchase is now being questioned by Iranian officials, given Israel’s success in circumventing the system, a tactic that could also enable a successful strike against Iran through Syrian airspace.

The Bush administration has stated several times it would not rule out military action against Iran if no progress is made to curtail the country’s development of a nuclear program. Analysts have speculated that an American strike may be backed or even led by Israeli forces.

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4. “Second Hakafot” Dancing Across the Country

by Hillel Fendel

The eight days of Sukkot/Shmini Atzeret/Simchat Torah came to an end Thursday night with tens of thousands of people singing and dancing in Hakafot Shniyot celebrations in honor of the Torah.

With the Sukkot holiday marking the last of three pilgrimage festivals to Jerusalem and the Holy Temple – preceded by Pesach and Shavuot – a final “encore” holiday was celebrated Thursday on the day immediately following Sukkot. Known as Shmini Atzeret/Simchat Torah, it is celebrated for two days outside of Israel – Shmini Atzeret on the first day, and Simchat Torah on the second.

This final holiday marks the conclusion – and starting again – of the annual public weekly readings of the Five Books of Moses, and commemorates the supreme Jewish idea of Torah study in general. Hours-long dancing with the Torah (known as hakafot) in synagogues, yeshivot, and even in the streets marks the day in Jewish communities around the world.

It has become customary of late for large groups of youths to spend the holiday in towns where the Jewish community is in need of “strengthening,” to extend the Simchat Torah joy as far and wide as possible.

In Kassam-barraged Sderot, for instance, large contingents from Kiryat Arba and Raanana spent the holiday, dancing together with the local Hesder Yeshiva students from one synagogue to the next. Though the streets and even the synagogues were less full than usual because of the fear of rockets, the worshippers anxiously awaited the visitors, greeting them with cakes, drink – and singing and dancing. The day’s festivities culminated with an afternoon of singing and dancing outside the local Ethiopian synagogue.

In Tel Aviv, Ramle, Lod and other cities, dozens of high school students from Beit El, Kfar Etzion and elsewhere merged with the locals to help celebrate an unforgettable Simchat Torah.

As the holiday ended Thursday evening, Hakafot Shniyot (“Second Hakafot”) celebrations began in the central squares of most Israeli cities, including Dimona, Ramat Gan, Jaffa, Nazareth Illit, the new outpost of Shvut Ami near Kedumim, and elsewhere. The official Hakafot Shniyot for Gush Katif expellees were held at Yad Binyamin, the high-school-village-turned-budding-city that now houses the community of Ganei Tal, dozens of other families from various destroyed Gush Katif towns, Yeshivat Torat HaChaim from N’vei Dekalim, and many new families from around the country and abroad that have moved in to newly-built apartments there.

Several Hakafot Shniyot celebrations were held in Jerusalem as well, but markedly absent were two of the larger ones: The annual event at Sabbath Square in Meah She’arim was canceled by order of leading rabbis not to hold such events outdoors where males and females might mingle. In addition, at Yeshivat Merkaz HaRav all was quiet, following the Sukkot-holiday passing of the Rosh HaYeshiva, Rabbi Avraham Shapira. The mourning period for the rabbi began Thursday night.

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5. Moslems Descend on Jerusalem for Last Ramadan Friday

by Hillel Fendel

Some 3,000 policemen, including Border Guardsmen and special forces, are on hand throughout Jerusalem and environs, to enforce order for the last Friday of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

As on every Friday during the month of Ramadan – which this year precisely overlaps the Jewish holiday-filled month of Tishrei – tens of thousands of Moslems from Israel and the Palestinian Authority-controlled areas arrive at the Temple Mount for special prayers. Rock-throwings against Jews have sometimes followed the religious services.

Entry to the Temple Mount will be restricted by age and place of residence. Israeli-Arabs will be allowed in freely, while others will be permitted only if they are over age 45 (35 for women).

The conclusion of Ramadan means tension in the Lebanese capital of Beirut as well, as Hizbullah terrorist chieftain Hassan Nasrallah prepares to give his end-of-Ramadan speech. Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, a former Israeli Defense Minister and currently Minister of Infrastructures, told Arutz-7 last year that Israel did not kill Nasrallah during his speech last year “for fear of hurting the many people who were at the event.”

In Iran, a massive anti-Zionist rally is to be held on Friday, billed as a “crushing response to the trend of compromise with the Zionist enemy and a show of support for the resistance movement.”

Most Recent Terrorism
Palestinian terrorists attacked Israelis twice in the Hevron district and once in Shechem (Nablus) Thursday night; no one was hurt, but a vehicle was damaged. A police vehicle was targeted by an explosive device west of Hevron, and rocks were thrown at a civilian car. In Shechem, terrorists opened fire and threw two Molotov cocktails at an IDF patrol.

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6. Terror War Does Not Take a Holiday

by Nissan Ratzlav-Katz

The Shemini Atzeret-Simchat Torah holiday on Wednesday night and Thursday saw no let-up in Arab terrorism against Israelis, nor in the IDF’s counter-terrorism measures.

Palestinian Authority terrorists in Gaza fired at least 12 mortar shells and one Kassam rocket at Israeli communities and military targets over the course of Wednesday and Thursday. The Kassam
Palestinian Authority terrorists in Gaza fired at least 12 mortar shells.
exploded outside the Negev city of Sderot, while three of the mortars struck another town in the western Negev. Several mortar shells also landed in the area of the perimeter fence around northern Gaza. No one was injured and no damage was reported in the attacks.

The bulk of the terrorist shelling took place a short time before PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas began a meeting with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in Jerusalem on Wednesday. Hamas has vowed to try to prevent negotiations with Israel and block steps towards the US-sponsored international conference on the Middle East next month.

In other attacks by PA Arabs on Thursday, an IDF soldier was lightly injured by heavy stones thrown at his unit near the village of Bilin, west of Ramallah and southeast of Modiin. The wounded soldier received emergency care at the site of the attack and was taken to a hospital for further treatment. Bilin has been the scene of frequently violent protests against the separation barrier Israel built alongside the village.

In addition, a group of PA residents threw rocks at an Israeli vehicle near a village southeast of Kalkilya and Kfar Saba on Thursday. The car was damaged, but no injuries were reported.

Later in the evening, an armed Arab resident of Samaria was taken into custody by soldiers manning the Hawara checkpoint, south of Shechem. During routine checks, the soldiers discovered two large knives among the individual’s personal belongings. The knives were confiscated and the suspect was handed over to the General Security Services for further questioning.

Two Israeli Air Force airstrikes on PA terrorists in Gaza over the past two days focused on Rafiah, a border city that straddles the Gaza-Egyptian border and is a center for the smuggling of drugs and weapons. In one of the IAF attacks, on Wednesday, one terrorist was killed and three others were wounded. A second strike, carried out on Thursday, targeted three Islamic Jihad terrorists involved in rocket attacks on Israeli towns. Arab residents of Rafiah said that the IAF airstrike failed and that the terrorists managed to escape. Three passersby reportedly suffered light-to-moderate wounds in the operation.

During IDF operations against the terrorist infrastructure in southern Gaza on Wednesday, soldiers identified and shot an armed PA resident. In two separate incidents, enemy gunmen opened fire at IDF positions along the central Gaza perimeter fence. No injuries were reported among Israeli troops.

In other incidents involving Gaza-based terrorists, Hamas claimed that one of its members was killed and two were injured Wednesday when a smuggling tunnel collapsed on them. Three Hamas terrorists were wounded in an explosion in Gaza on Thursday morning. The three, members of Hamas’s Special Security Force, were targeted by a roadside bomb as they drove through Gaza City. Doctors said the Hamas men suffered moderate to serious wounds. The cause of the explosion is not yet clear; however, on Tuesday, four Hamas terrorists were killed in a similar blast that IDF officials said was the result of an anti-tank missile attack by rival terrorists.

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Friday, Oct. 05 ’07
23 Tishrei 5768

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