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Israeli Arab Running a Cellular Operation in Prison

By IsraelNationalNews.com

Riad Qablan, a resident of the Druze village of Beit Jon, was arrested by Galilee police on suspicion of smuggling cellular telephones to "security prisoners" (terrorists) incarcerated in Shata Prison.

There was a gag order on the arrest until earlier Wednesday when an Akko Magistrate's Court gave the green light to publicize the limited details of the case. It is alleged that Qablan smuggled 6-7 cellular telephones in the past six months.


Israeli Forces Kill Three in Gaza Raids

By Ross Dunn (VOA-Jerusalem) & IsraelNationalNews.com

Security officials in the Palestinian territories reported that Israeli forces killed three Palestinians and wounded more than 20 others during raids in the Gaza Strip. The raids followed a Tuesday mortar bomb attack in Gaza that wounded 10 Israeli soldiers.

Palestinian officials said that Israeli troops opened fire on a Palestinian police post, near the Jewish settlement of Netzarim in central Gaza. Three Palestinian policemen were killed and two others wounded during an exchange of gunfire.

An Israeli army spokesman said the three had been throwing grenades at soldiers on patrol in the area. Another army official said that the Palestinians were armed and had been moving under cover of darkness toward the Jewish settlement of Netzarim.

Hours before the incident, Israeli forces raided the Palestinian refugee camp in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip. Palestinian officials said the Israeli troops destroyed four houses before withdrawing. At least two Palestinians were reported wounded. The operation followed Palestinian mortar attacks against an army base in southern Gaza.

Shortly after the Israeli operations, Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip fired two homemade Kassam rockets at the southern Israeli town of Sderot. There were no reports of injuries.

Meanwhile, talks between Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and his new Palestinian counterpart, Mahmoud Abbas, also known as Abu Mazen, are expected this weekend. The meeting was arranged following the visit of Secretary of State Colin Powell, who urged both sides to support a new international Middle East peace plan. The plan, known as the road map to peace, calls for the end of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the establishment of a Palestinian state by 2005.

The security forces announced late Wednesday that they had thwarted a suicide attack scheduled for the coming days in Petach Tikvah. The terrorist was arrested Tuesday with a 15-pound explosive pack in his possession, as were several accomplices, including women... Two other terrorists on their way to an attack were also caught east of Shechem... In addition, a 66-pound bomb was found and neutralized near the Gush Katif town of Morag.

The police are investigating whether the body of a man that washed up ashore in Tel Aviv Tuesday was that of the missing British terrorist Omar Khan Sharif. Police had sought sharif since the Mike's Place suicide attack in Tel Aviv that killed three Israelis two weeks ago. The police suspect that his bomb was supposed to have been the second part of a planned double attack, but that either his bomb did not explode or he changed his mind for some other reason.


Ship to Make an 'Exodus' to Israel

By Los Angeles Daily News' Washington Bureau

A retired Coast Guard cutter will find a new life helping to tell the story of Jewish immigration to Israel under legislation the House just passed. The decommissioned ship Planetree will be repaired, revamped and renamed Exodus 2004 after one of the 67 ships -- immortalized in Leon Uris' novel "Exodus" -- that brought nearly 70,000 Holocaust survivors to then-Palestine after World War II.

The vessel's eventual home -- a museum in Atlit, Israel -- once served as a camp for detaining refugees from Britain who tried to enter the country. "The museum in Israel has no ship. It needs one to have the story told," said Phil Blazer of Los Angeles, the Jewish community activist who spearheaded the federal transfer. "(The ship) will do more than just sit in a museum," he said in a telephone interview from his Sherman Oaks-based nonprofit, Jewish Life. "It will be able to connect with Jewish and Christian youth groups."

The House passed the bill without objection by voice vote. The transfer of the Planetree also will require Senate approval. No vote there is scheduled, but the transaction is considered noncontroversial and is not expected to cost the federal government any money.

The Planetree has been mothballed near San Francisco since 1999. Blazer is raising private donations to dock the vessel in Long Beach and refurbish it, which he said should take about two years.

Uris' novel, which was made into a film directed by Otto Preminger in 1960, tells the story of 600 Jewish refugees who broke out of a British detention camp on Cyprus and made their way to British-controlled Palestine.

Blazer, who publishes the Jewish News in Los Angeles and hosts a Sunday morning Jewish music and news radio show said he got involved with the "Exodus" story about two years ago after showing it at the International Jewish Film Festival, which he hosts.

A short time later, former Israeli Transportation Minister Ephriam Sneh -- whose father was once in charge of the country's mass clandestine immigration -- mentioned to Blazer that the Atlit museum lacked a proper ship exhibit.

The House legislation actually focused on a separate decommissioned Coast Guard cutter, the 180-foot Bramble, which will be given to a Michigan museum. Rep. Howard Berman, D-Van Nuys, who on Tuesday called Blazer's quest a "worthwhile cause," inserted a provision in the bill to hand the Planetree over to the Los Angeles nonprofit.


Where is Jerusalem?

By IsraelNationalNews.com (Opinion)

Why does the State Department refuse to allow "place of death" on the death certificate of Ben Blutstein of Pennsylvania - who was killed last July when Arab terrorists bombed a Hebrew University cafeteria - to read, "Jerusalem, Israel"? Why do the American passports of his children state that they were born in "Jerusalem," without mentioning the country of birth - namely, Israel?

In short, asked David Bedein, a Jerusalem-based investigative journalist of the Israel Resource News Agency, why does the State Department refuse to recognize that Jerusalem is in Israel? Bedein noted that the U.S. Consul in Jerusalem, Jeffrey Feldman, asked Jerusalem Mayor Uri Lopolianski last month to end the construction of the Jewish neighborhood of Maaleh Zeitim, next to Mt. of Olives. The mayor politely rejected the American request, explaining that Jerusalem remains in sovereign Israeli territory. The Consul did not accept that position, Bedein wrote.

Interestingly, Arutz-7 has learned that BBC - in its website's Country Profiles section - has decided that Israel does not have a capital at all. Other countries' capital cities are classified, logically, as "capital" - but when it comes to Israel, BBC writes "seat of government" instead.

American sources told Bedein that a recent State Department policy directive in favor of a cessation of all Jewish construction in Yesha (Judea, Samaria and Gaza) actually includes Jerusalem as well. In short, Bedein writes, "The issue is clear. The U.S. challenges Israel's sovereignty in Jerusalem in a direct, unprecedented way... Israel's supporters should demand that the U.S. recognize Jerusalem as part of Israel."


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