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Sharon: Arafat 'Obstacle to Peace."

By VOA News

In a speech to Israel's parliament, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon branded Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat "the greatest obstacle to peace" and reaffirmed the Jewish state's determination to remove him from politics.

Israel Carries Out Fifth Strike in Gaza

By Arnon Regular, Ha'aretz

The Israel Defense Forces on Monday carried out five aerial strikes in the Gaza Strip in which 14 Palestinians were killed and about 100 were wounded. In the fifth strike, carried out Monday evening, at least one missile landed just east of Gaza City, wounding one man, according to Palestinian sources. The target of the strike was the house of Hamas terrorist Sheikh Abdullah Shami, who was targeted earlier during the day by an IDF strike.

Late Monday night, IDF troops were alerted to the area of Kibbutz Nahal Oz after receiving reports of an attempt to infiltrate into Israel from the Gaza Strip. The troops killed two Hamas men and then followed a pickup truck carrying four Hamas terrorists who assisted the two men trying to infiltrate into Israel.

In the area of the Nuseirat refugee camp in the Gaza Strip helicopters fired at the vehicle, killing its four occupants. Palestinians said that the car was owned by Imad Akal, a senior member of the Hamas military wing and carrying several of his entourage. But according to witnesses, the first missile did not kill all the occupants of the car and as they escaped, more missiles struck the main street in Nuseirat, a densely populated refugee camp. Dozens of Palestinians rushed to the vehicle, including medical workers. The helicopters fired two more missiles, killing five civilians, among them a doctor, and wounding some 50 people.

The IDF said Monday that the attacks were carried out due to the large number of Qassam rockets fired recently from the Gaza Strip into Israel, and not as a response to the killing of three soldiers on Sunday near Ofra.

The IDF launched three other air strikes in Gaza City on Monday in the space of several hours, killing two members of the Hamas military wing and a passerby. At least 23 other people were wounded in the first two strikes, Palestinian hospital sources said, including four children and a 70-year-old woman. Hamas on Monday vowed to avenge the strikes.

Ra'anan Gissin, an advisor to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, said the strikes were part of Israel's war on terrorism. "We will chase the terrorists everywhere. They will have no sanctuary."

In the first assault, in the Sajaiyeh neighborhood in the eastern part of the Gaza Strip, combat planes struck a Hamas weapons factory, the military said. Seven people were wounded in the strike, including two infants aged 2 and 3.

The militant group used the building to manufacture explosive devices, Qassam rockets, mortars and anti-tank missiles, the IDF said. Palestinian sources said the structure belonged to Amar Mushtaha, a Hamas military activist. Mushtaha was lightly wounded, and was extracted from beneath the rubble of the destroyed building.

The building was 600 feet from the home of top Islamic Jihad official Abdullah Shami, who was unharmed. But the IDF said Shami was not the target of the attack. The Shamis and the Mushtahas are related, residents said. Most of the two-story house, which had been under construction, was demolished. "I want to thank God for the survival of Sheikh Abdullah Shami, and I assure you that he is OK," Islamic Jihad spokesman Khaled Batch said at the scene.

Free Jerusalem: Heroes, Heroines and Rogues Who Created the State of Israel

By Zev Golan (Devora Publishing, 2003 ISBN: 1-930143-54-0 Hard Cover: $21.95)

Reviewed by Shawn D. Phillips

Zev Golan, one of the world's foremost experts on Israel's pre-state Jewish underground, has authored an excellent new book, Free Jerusalem, a history of the early days of Betar, Irgun, Stern Group (LEHI), Haganah and lesser known groups such as Abba Achimier's Brit HaBirionim and Rabbi Moshe Zvi Segal's Brit HaShmonaim.

Free Jerusalem is a valuable and welcome addition to the tragically small number of English language books available on the history and ideas of these brave men who fought to create a modern Jewish State.

Although an American, Golan demonstrates complete mastery over his subject matter. Early in his career, Golan was the assistant curator at the Hall of Heroism Museum, the former Jerusalem Central Prison where many Irgunists and LEHI fighters were imprisoned by the British during their revolt. Later, Golan spent years interviewing the soldiers of the Irgun and LEHI and translating their memoirs and writings.

Of special interest in Free Jerusalem is an excerpt of Golan's translation of First Tithe, the memoirs of Dr. Israel Eldad. Eldad, who died in 1996, was the chief propagandist and ideologist of the LEHI and is a figure largely unknown to American Jews.

In addition to Eldad and Achimier, Golan also introduces his readers to the poet Uri Zvi Greenberg, who had a profound influence on the commanders and fighters of the Irgun and LEHI and was later a winner of the Israel Prize.

Golan examines the motivations and ideas of the fighters as well as the circumstances that led to the formation of their organizations from a fresh perspective. Readers are exposed to the underlying reasons for fighting as understood by the men themselves.

Free Jerusalem begins with an account of the attempts by Ze'ev Jabotinsky, Joseph Trumpeldor and others to defend Jewish lives and property during the anti-Jewish Arab riots of the 1920s. The stories of the origins of the Hagannah, Irgun and LEHI are told in an original and exciting manner. As Golan has said "A teacher can be for or against what happened, but to make history boring - that is unforgivable."

This book is a must for anyone seeking a better understanding of the Israeli-Arab conflict. The subjects of Golan's book 75 and 80 years ago faced the same issues facing Jews in Israel today.

In the face of Arab terrorism, the soldiers of the Irgun and LEHI chose to fight and to defend Jewish lives, property and interests by any means necessary. The lessons that can be learned from Free Jerusalem are valuable and especially applicable to today's Middle East. Free Jerusalem is available through most major Internet book retailers, hopefully it will find the audience it so richly deserves.

Shawn D. Phillips is the Senior Book Review Editor of, the new Jewish literature supersite; he is also the founder and publisher of

The Israeli Labor Strike Syndrome

By Emanuel A. Winston (Commentary)

Several flagship journals from America and Europe are sending reporters and TV crews (unless they are already on site in Israel) to observe Israeli strikers "torture" incoming visitors at Ben Gurion Airport. This will be a repeat of the last Histadrut strike where striking customs inspectors stopped every single visitor, put every suitcase through the X-ray machine and made a great show of slowly searching every suitcase.

They will again create a jam of very angry people who will not soon forget the Histadrut's torture of visitors.

Jewish papers in America are already drafting the story. There is word that they are going to do it again despite the fact that these tourists bring in the dollars that help pay all the workers of Israel.

Those many journals and TV news programs already hostile to Israel are going to have a field day as they get inundated with stories of tourists virtually held hostage to the Histadrut strike plans to pressure the government to give them even more money.

We have all heard stories about the ugly American who acts badly. That is nothing compared to the Ugly Israeli trampling on her visitors.

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