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Peres Comes Out Loud & Clear To Remove Jews From Gaza


Opposition Knesset leader Shimon Peres Tuesday told Army Radio that the time has come to remove Jews from Gaza. Peres blamed the Jews of Gush Katif and neighboring communities of being a "burden" to the nation, insisting there is no justification for Jewish communities to remain in Gaza.

Palestinian Militants Claim Responsibility for Suicide Bombing

By Larry James (VOA-Jerusalem)

A faction of the Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad has claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing that killed an elderly Israeli woman Monday. But Islamic Jihad's spokesman in the Gaza Strip said his group was committed to honoring the ceasefire it agreed to two weeks ago.

The claim of responsibility for the bombing came from a branch of Islamic Jihad based in the West Bank town of Jenin. A statement issued there said the attack in the Israeli village of Kfar Yavetz was only the first and that more attacks would follow unless Israel released all Palestinian prisoners. But an Islamic Jihad spokesman in the Gaza Strip said the organization remained committed to the ceasefire they announced 10 days ago.

Israeli police had initially blamed a natural gas leak for the explosion that leveled the home of a 65-year-old woman. But after finding the body of an unidentified man in the rubble they began investigating it as a possible terror attack. The police said that explosion killed Mazal Afari, 65, a mother of eight.

The explosion shook Moshav Kfar Ya'vetz, founded by the HaPoel HaMizrachi movement some 70 years ago, and residents ran out to see what had happened. The first thought was that a gas explosion had occurred, and when Afari's body and that of an unidentified male were discovered, inquiries were made as to whether he was a member of the moshav. When no one answering his description was reported missing, and when the home's gas canisters were found intact, the police began to believe that this was in fact a terrorist attack.

The spokesman for Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said the bombing proved that the Palestinian ceasefire was worthless. Ra'anan Gissin said the ceasefire was not worth the paper it was written on and is no substitute for what he termed relentless real action to dismantle the terrorist infrastructure.

Meanwhile, Palestinian Prime Minster Mahmoud Abbas canceled his Wednesday meeting with Ariel Sharon. Reports said that some people on the Fatah Central Committee, of which Abbas is a member, are dissatisfied with the way he has been handling negotiations with Sharon. They say he is too willing to make concessions and has little to show for his efforts so far.

Israel Radio reported one of the issues involves Israel's position on the release of Palestinian prisoners. On Sunday, the Israeli cabinet agreed to free about 350 Palestinians, but security officials recommended that no members of militant groups, be considered for release. Palestinians say such a policy could lead to a resumption of attacks on Israelis. Reports quoting Israeli sources said that there would not be any prisoner releases until both prime ministers met.

Iran Tests Missile Capable of Hitting Israel

By James Martone (VOA-Cairo)

Iran said it has conducted a final test on a medium-range surface-to-surface missile its range makes it capable of reaching Israel. Iran said conducted a "delivery test" of its Shahab 3 ballistic missile, which can strike up to 806 miles, bringing Israel within its range.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi told reporters in Tehran that the final test of the missile took place a few weeks ago. The announcement followed an Israeli newspaper report last week that Iran had conducted such a test. It also was made days before the chief of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Mohamed ElBaradei, was to visit Tehran.

One expert on Iran, Dr. Pakinam El-Sharqawi, said the announcement of the missile test is in line with that country's policy of deterrence. "They always keep saying that we are developing and making more and more sophisticated missiles, and it is a kind of self-defense that is one of their own methods of self-defense in the region."

Sharqawi, a professor of political science at Cairo University, said that by flexing its muscles now, Iran was sending a message to countries that it considers increasingly aggressive, including the United States. She said she does not expect the missile test to interfere with ElBaradei's Tehran visit to seek clarification of Iran's nuclear program.

Lessons to Learn from Entebbe
Commentary by Arno Weinstein

Since 1976 the 4th of July marked two significant events in the free world, one ensured the dominance of Western thought throughout the world and the other taught us how to keep civilization alive. The American Revolution, as a seminal event, needs no embellishment here, however the other event might. Twenty-seven years ago, on July 4th, elite Israeli Special Forces rescued 105 Jewish and Israeli hostages from the hands of Arab Palestinian terrorists at the Entebbe airport in Uganda.

The fact that 27 years have passed since the otherwise left-oriented government of Israel took dramatic efforts to destroy the murderous purposes of terrorists won't be marked with great fanfare. There won't be television specials, in-depth analysis in the newspapers, nor will pundits around the United States opine on the rescue at Entebbe.

For shame, on the contrary, we should all be stirred to righteous determination while the heroics of Entebbe are retold once again. It comes as no surprise, however, that Entebbe will again be forgotten. There is no sorrow over the fact that the great courage of the IDF is ignored, but rather what is so very distasteful is that the lessons of Entebbe have been lost. Following the evil terror actions of 9/11, Entebbe should have been America's blueprint for the War on Terror. And for a brief moment in time it actually appeared that it was. But alas, "The Road Map" is upon us.

And that is a tragedy, because this summer, with the imposition of "The Road Map" to peace and the outrageous notion of terrorist "cease fires," it is very instructional to review just how Israelis and the western world used to respond to terror. The action of Entebbe not only saved lives, but also produced new facts on the ground and important policy commitments...

In the midst of these troubled times, the PFLP (the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine) with the aid of German terrorists hijacked an Air France jetliner filled with Israeli and Jewish passengers and flew them to Entebbe, Uganda. The ordeal of the hostages in Entebbe, and the flamboyant antics of Uganda's Muslim dictator, Idi Amin, drew the attention of the world away from the American bicentennial celebration. As the terrorist threat to randomly murder a Jewish or Israeli hostage every hour until their demands were met, more attention was drawn to the drama.

The Israeli response to the terrorists was simple and direct: "Israel does not negotiate with terrorists!" The success of the rescue operation, launched after Israel used the subterfuge of a compromise, was spectacular. Over 90 hostages were rescued, with just a few hostage casualties; the one fatality among the Israeli commandos was Col. Yoni Netanyahu, whose younger brother Benjamin would later be elected Israel's prime minister.

Israel was seen by world opinion as having triumphed over international terrorism. The morale of the Israeli people was lifted. The Israeli army regained its reputation earned in the stunning victories of the Six Day War and its self-confidence was restored.

[Arno Weinstein is the Executive Vice President and National Director of the American Friends of Israel's National Union ( The National Union is Israel's largest politically conservative voting bloc and holds two cabinet posts and seven Knesset seats.]

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