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Mofaz Warns the War Hasn't Ended Yet


Addressing officers in the IDF's Central Command, Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz cautioned terror organizations haven't yet had their last word, explaining IDF troops may very well need to once again respond to terror attacks in the future. Mofaz stated that regarding the planned handing over of security authority in PA areas to PA troops, they must understand their primary function will be to combat terrorism.

Israeli, Palestinian Leaders Reach Cease-Fire Agreement

By Greg LaMotte (VOA News-Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt)

Palestinians and Israelis announced Tuesday an agreement to end more than four years of bloodshed that have resulted in thousands of deaths. The announcement is seen as a major confidence-building move that could pave the way for more substantive peace negotiations. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas announced the agreement to end all hostilities associated with the Palestinian Intifada that began in September 2000.

Meeting in the Egyptian Red Sea Resort of Sharm el-Sheikh for a one-day summit hosted by Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, Abbas pledged that all acts of violence against Israel would end immediately. Sharon promised that Israeli military operations would end in all Palestinian locations. Abbas called the agreement a new opportunity for both the Palestinians and Israelis to renew their hope for peace. An interpreter provided by the Palestinians translated his words. "What we have announced today, in addition to being the implementation of the first article of the road map that was established by the quartet, it is also a basic step an important step that provides a new opportunity for restoring the peace process and its momentum so that the Palestinian and Israeli peoples restore hope and confidence in the possibility for achieving peace."

Sharon urged Israelis and Palestinians not to allow this opportunity for peace to slip away. Over the past four years, 10 cease-fire agreements have been reached. All of them failed to last. Tuesday, Sharon called on both sides to wipe out acts of terror. His words were translated through an interpreter provided by Israel. "We must all work unceasingly and indefatigably to break down the terrorist mechanism once and for all. It is only by away with violence that we will be able to give hope to peace. We must not allow this opportunity to slip from our fingers, this hope this opportunity for a genuine new start."

Sharon said deeds, not words, would move the peace process forward. After the summit, a spokesman for the Palestinian faction Hamas said it was not bound by the cease-fire agreement.

In closing his remarks, Sharon said Palestinians and Israelis would have to give up some of their dreams in order to achieve a two state solution, with Palestinians and Israelis living side by side in peace. The summit also produced an agreement by Israel to form committees to deal with the issues of Palestinian prisoners, the redeployment of Israeli troops and Palestinian fugitives. Israel had already announced plans to free 900 of 8,000 Palestinian prisoners, pull back its troops and end assassinations of Palestinian fugitives.

Even so, Abbas noted that many unresolved issues remain, including the release of Palestinian prisoners, the separation fence being built by Israel and the dismantling of Israeli settlements in Gaza and the West Bank. Sharon said he remains committed to the withdrawal of all settlements in Gaza.

The summit occurred following weeks of intense negotiations between both sides. President Mubarak of Egypt and King Abdullah of Jordan, who also attended the summit, reportedly played significant roles in bringing the two sides together. At the conclusion of the summit, it was announced that Egypt and Jordan would return their embassy staff to Israel. Both countries had recalled their ambassadors in protest over Israeli military operations in the Palestinian Occupied Territories.

Palestinian Television: How to Destroy Israel


Though he reiterated his promise at Tuesday's Sharm el-Sheikh ceremony, Mahmud Abbas' prior commitment to halt incitement to violence and hatred on official PA TV was already violated this past Friday.

In late January, Abbas toured PA Television studios, instructing the director to tone down incitement and programs heaping praise upon him. Last Friday, a particularly alarming sermon was aired on PA TV outlining the planned destruction of the Jewish State. "The Palestinian Authority, in its Arabic messages to its people, has always denied Israel's right to exist and has often presented the peace process as a tactic leading to Israel's destruction," said Palestinian Media Watch Director Itamar Marcus. "This goal was repeated Friday, on the Palestinian Authority television, in the official sermon."

Senior Islamic Imam Ibrahim Mudyris who explained that the limitation of the diplomatic process is that it can only conquer up to Israel's 1967 borders gave the sermon, translated by PMW. He said that at a later stage the PA will achieve its goal of bringing about the complete destruction of Israel - the "return to the 1948 borders" and the towns of "Haifa, Jaffa, Lod, Ramla, Natanyah [Al-Zuhour] and Tel Aviv [Tel Al-Rabia]."

Reestablished Sanhedrin Convenes to Discuss Temple Mount


Just one day before the summit in Sharm el-Sheikh, a different sort of meeting of the minds convened in Jerusalem - the reestablished Sanhedrin convened to hold their monthly meeting. The major issue that was set before the group's consideration in this session was a discussion of the precise location of the Holy Temple.

The recently reestablished Sanhedrin of 71 rabbis and scholars convened Monday in Jerusalem to solidify logistical aspects of the Jewish legal body and hear expert testimony on the various opinions as to the exact part of the Temple Mount upon which the Holy Temple stood. The fact that there has never been an archaeological expedition or dig on the Temple Mount, coupled with continuous Muslim efforts to destroy historical evidence of the Holy Temple at the site have made determining the exact location difficult.

The accurate location of where the Temple stood is a matter of controversy among scholars and has serious Jewish legal ramifications for those wishing to visit the Temple Mount as well as for the renewal of the Passover sacrifice - and ultimately, for the building of the third and final Holy Temple. While numerous opinions have been expressed throughout the years, these can be distilled into three main opinions which convey that the Temple: 1) Stood on the spot currently occupied by the gold-topped Dome of the Rock 2) Stood due north of that spot 3) Stood due south of that spot

Currently, Jewish visitors to the Temple Mount undergo strict preparations in accordance with halacha (Jewish law) such as immersion in a mikveh (ritual bath) prior to ascending the Mount. Once on the Mount they adhere to a specific route, based upon the accepted positions of rabbinical authorities. During Temple times, the 71 members of the Sanhedrin, the center of Jewish jurisprudence, were seated in a semi-circle within a special chamber in the courtyard of the Temple.

"It is appropriate that the Sanhedrin convened to discuss this lofty matter this week," Sanhedrin spokesman Rabbi Chaim Richman told Arutz-7's Ezra HaLevi, "as the Torah portion is Terumah - the portion of the Bible which begins to deal with the preparations for the Tabernacle. Though seemingly esoteric, the preparations for building a Tabernacle and the Temple are at the center of who we are as a people."

Richman also said that it was heartening to see that despite talk of withdrawal from parts of the Land of Israel and Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's declaration that Israel has "given up its dreams," the Sanhedrin is being strengthened and is moving toward strengthening the nation of Israel. "As all these things happen all around us, the Sanhedrin is researching ways to renew the deepest roots of our faith - to renew Temple service, reunite Jewish legal tradition and inspire the Jewish people to aspire to greatness. Our people have one path before us, and we will continue to march toward our destiny."

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