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5 Jews Taken into Custody for Trying to Pray on the Temple Mount


Police Tuesday detained five Jews after they attempted to pray on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem's Old City. At present, non-Muslims are permitted to visit the site but are forbidden to pray. Israel Police enforce the ban imposed by the Islamic Waqf Authority, despite the site being holy to the Jewish People and the location of the First and Second Temples.

Senior Israeli Official Denies Effort to Reach Deal with Settlers

By Ross Dunn (VOA-Jerusalem)

A senior official in the government of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon denies he tried to reach a secret deal with Jewish settler leaders to evacuate some of their communities. Jewish settler leaders say they have rejected an Israeli government proposal to sacrifice seven established communities to save all others.

Yesha, the council representing Jewish settlements in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, says that the director-general of Sharon's office, Avigdor Yitzakhi, put the proposal forward. The leaders say he proposed that, if the seven settlements were dismantled with consent, then the government would pass a new law forbidding the evacuation of any more such communities until a final peace agreement is signed with the Palestinians.

Four of the settlements are in the West Bank and the remainder in the Gaza Strip, including Netzarim, a frequent flashpoint of violence between soldiers and Palestinian militants. The settlers' representatives say they turned down the offer, describing it as a disgrace.

A spokesman for Sharon's office says that Yitzhaki "flatly denies" that he made any such offer in the manner and content that has been attributed to him by the settler leaders. Yitzhaki's talks with settler leaders came as Sharon is preparing to visit Washington to present an outline of his plan to unilaterally separate Israel from the Palestinians if peace talks end in failure.

Sharon has said that his plan would include the dismantling of some Jewish settlements and the completion of a controversial security barrier in and around the West Bank. He has been under pressure from the U.S. administration to halt settlement activity as part of efforts to revive the international road map to peace plan.

From PLO Terrorist to Lover of Zion


"He neither sleeps nor slumbers, the Guardian of Israel," sang former PLO terrorist Walid Shoebat before a crowd of students - many of them Jewish - at the University of Toronto last week. In stark contrast to the PLO songs he recited growing up, with words like, "Sharpen my bones into swords and make my flesh into Molotov cocktails," Shoebat, now 44, sings a very different tune.

His visit, together with Israel National Radio's Tovia Singer, was but the latest of the former terrorist's endeavors on behalf his latest cause: Israel and the Jewish people. Shoebat has related his extraordinary journey over the airwaves and before audiences across North America, encouraging people to "wake up and smell the hummus" before Islam succeeds in implementing its program of global Jihad.

Born in 1960 to an Arab Muslim father and an American Christian mother, Shoebat grew up mainly in the village of Beit Sahour, near Bethlehem. His parents met while his father was studying in the United States, married, and returned to Jordanian-controlled Beit Sahour the year Walid was born. Once there, his father confiscated his mother's passport and prevented her from leaving. After a brief stint in Saudi Arabia, the Shoebats moved to Jericho, where the young Walid was enrolled in a Jordanian-run school.

"The first thing we learned growing up was to hate Jews," Walid recalled. "I'll never forgot the first song I learned in school, 'Arabs our beloved and Jews our dogs.' I used to wonder at that time who the Jews were, but repeated the words with the rest of the kids without any knowledge of the meaning."

Soon after the Six-Day-War his father transferred him to a school in Bethlehem "where I grew in the faith of Islam, in which I was fed the idea that one day a fulfillment of an ancient prophecy by the Muslim prophet Mohammed would come to pass," recalled Shoebat. "The prophecy foretold a battle in which the Holy Land would be recaptured and the elimination of the Jews would take place in a massive slaughter. 'The day of judgment shall not come to pass until a tribe of Muslims defeat a tribe of Jews,' it said, 'in Jerusalem and the surrounding nations'."

It was not long before Walid's education led him to get involved in various terrorist activities. He routinely stirred up riots and lynch mobs, throwing firebombs and rocks at soldiers and pelting Jewish worshippers at the Western Wall. He even beat an Israeli soldier, with the intent to kill, but the soldier escaped at the last second...

He was a student of mob psychology, able to stir up a crowd of people, turning them into a bloodthirsty mob. "When I saw the Ramallah lynching [of two IDF reservists in the first days of the Oslo War -ed.]," said Shoebat, "I knew exactly how these people were feeling inside of them as they did this. Praising Allah...all those people screaming Allahu Akhbar together - you feel this indescribable ecstasy where you literally want to lunge at anyone called a Jew."

It wasn't long before Shoebat was initiated into Yasir Arafat's Fatah terror group. "I was recruited by a guy named Mahmoud Abu-Amr, from Jerusalem," he recalled. "I met up with him on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem where he gave me a very sophisticated explosive device he had assembled." The bomb - an explosive charge hidden in a loaf of bread - was intended for the Bank Leumi branch in Bethlehem. "We smuggled it from the Temple Mount," said Shoebat, "I was walking - on the Temple Mount - with explosives and a timer in my hand. We walked to the walls and escaped so as to avoid the checkpoints. I went to the bus station and took a bus to Bethlehem, fully ready to give my life if I had to." Even then, though, he had a pang of uncertainty. "At the last minute I saw some children walking around near the bank and decided 'this is ridiculous' and threw it on a rooftop nearby."

Shoebat says he was not motivated by nationalism or the desire for self-determination as much as he was by his Islamic education. "I was not only a terrorist, but I was terrorized by my beliefs," Shoebat recalled, "since I had to gain enough merit and good deeds to go to heaven but never was sure if my good deeds would outweigh my bad deeds in the scale when I would be judged by God, it was taught to us that to die fighting the Jews [would] ease Allah's anger towards my sin and I [would] be secured a good spot in heaven with beautiful wide eyed women to fulfill my most intimate desires, so either way [through actual attacks on Jews, or if I were to be killed in the attempt -ed.] I would win - terror was the only way."

At age 18, after spending several months in Israeli prisons, Shoebat went to study in the United States becoming an activist in Chicago and fund-raising for the PLO. "Even living in America - a civilized society, if you will - I still had not changed my mind one bit about Israel and the Jews."

The transformation came in 1993, when a newly married Shoebat tried to convert his Catholic wife to Islam. "I claimed that the Jews had corrupted the Bible and were prophet-killers," Shoebat said. His wife asked him to prove his claims to her so a determined Shoebat purchased his first Bible in order to show his wife the contradictions and corruptions introduced to it by the Jews.

"In 1993 I asked the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to reveal to me whether the Bible was indeed corrupted as I was taught or if it were the truth and the Koran was the false document," Shoebat said. Through parallel study of the Bible and the Koran he soon came to a logical crossroads: "Either the Jews had indeed changed the scripture - because how could God be on the side of evil people, or the Koran was false, and I was the evil one," Shoebat recalled. "I then decided to examine the history from both sides - to weigh each sides. It was then that I began to see the spiritual link between the Jewish people and their land."

Slowly a change overcame the veteran Jihadist. "After reading the Hebrew Bible, about all of the righteous wars of Israel - from biblical times until the present - it dawned on me," said Shoebat. "How could it be that Allah is the true God if the Six-Day-War in 1967 resulted the greatest victory for the Jews since Joshua's encirclement of Jericho. What's more is that Israel's victory - unlike Muslim conquests full of rape, pillaging and massacre - brought freedom for all peoples and religions. Everyone [his fellow Arabs living in Jericho at the time -ed.] saw and everyone remembers this but unfortunately people today deny the truth of what they."

Shoebat decided at that point to turn away from the path of terrorism and Jihad. "I woke up my wife and said 'Maria - I think I was wrong to try to convert you to Islam.'" He embarked on a path of reconciliation - experiencing deep regret for his past actions as well as anger toward those who indoctrinated him to carry them out."

"What the West does not understand about Islam," Shoebat said on Singer's radio broadcast, "is that Jihad has stages. If Muslims have the upper hand then Jihad is waged by force. If Muslim's don't have the upper hand then Jihad is waged through financial and political means. Since Muslims do not have the upper hand in America or Europe, they talk about peace while supporting Hamas and Hizbullah. The whole idea of Islam being a peaceful religion emanates from that silent stage of Jihad."

Shoebat, himself an evangelical Christian says it is unfortunate that Christian Arabs in Israel choose a theology of Jew hatred as well, even while experiencing persecution and intimidation by the Muslim majority. "The Christian Arabs in Israel get their education from their leaders and the Catholic church," laments Shoebat. "They pretty much adhere to the Replacement Theology - that God replaced Israel with the Catholic Church. They have also come up with a new Liberation Theology, co-opted by the Palestinian movement."

Shoebat feels very strongly that the ongoing war against Israel has nothing to do with an Arab desire for a Palestinian state. "Never in history was there a Palestinian state," said Shoebat, "we never wanted a Palestinian state - even today the Palestinians do not want a Palestinian state..."

"Then what do they want?" asked Tovia Singer. "They want the destruction of the Jews, period," Shoebat said. "It's a religious holy war. It's in the culture, the tradition. Arafat is a chip off the same block as Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Laden, Ahmed Yassin - they are all birds of a feather, they have small differences but are birds of a feather."

Asked what his message to the Jewish people today is, Shoebat thought for a moment and responded: "Your God is an awesome God and your land and your people are awesome. Hold tight and be strong. Do not be weakened by the nations of the world and all those trying to weaken you and take your land." As an afterthought, but said with a sense of great urgency, the former terrorist turned lover of Zion implored the Nation of Israel, "Please take back the holy Temple Mount." Walid Shoebat can be contacted at:

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