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Sharon Fears Rightists May Vandalize His Wife's Grave

By Ha'aretz

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon told a Likud faction meeting Monday that his family had hired security guards to protect the grave of his late wife, Lily, from possible desecration by right-wing activists. The family has received threats that vandals would dig up her body from its burial site at the prime minister's Sycamore Ranch in the Negev. After death threats were received by Ministers Meir Sheetrit and Benjamin Ben-Eliezer, from rightists opposed to the disengagement, Brig. Gen. Ilan Paz, head of the Civil Administration in the West Bank, has also received a death threat this week from a far-right activist. The letter, which is the first of its kind to be sent to an Israel Defense Forces officer, threatens Paz with "death by the hand of God," accuses him of being a "leftist" and charges that he places the needs of Palestinians above those of the settlers.


Israel Hands over Palestinian Remains, Prepares Prisoner Release

By Sonja Pace (VOA-Jerusalem)

Israel handed over the remains of 15 terrorists killed in shooting or bomb attacks against Israelis within the past two years. The bodies were taken to Gaza for release to Palestinian authorities and waiting family members. At the same time, the military prepared to release 500 Palestinian prisoners in the coming days. The Israeli Cabinet gave final approval for the releases on Sunday.

Cabinet Minister Zippi Livni told Israel radio who would be included. She said those who were detained for lesser crimes, or who had served at least two-thirds of their jail time, would be up for release. Livni said no prisoners with blood on their hands would be released. Israel holds about 8,000 Palestinian prisoners, and recently elected Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has said securing their release is a top priority.

Israel initially insisted that anyone involved in deadly attacks against Israelis would not be considered for release, but Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has now said he might consider making some exceptions. Internal Security Minister Gideon Ezra explained. Speaking on Israel radio, the minister said releasing those with blood on their hands would be a high price that Israel might have to pay for peace and quiet. He said it is not an easy step, but might, in the end, be necessary.

Israel has agreed to release an additional 400 prisoners in the next three months. The Palestinians would like to see larger numbers released, and the two sides are to meet further to discuss the issue. Israel is also preparing to withdraw from around Jericho, the first of five West Bank towns to be returned to Palestinian control.

Despite some isolated incidents, a general calm has prevailed since Palestinian terrorists agreed to a de-facto truce in talks with Abbas in Gaza. The Palestinian leader has said his administration would not tolerate any violations of the cease-fire he announced during a summit with Sharon last week. In an interview with the New York Times, Abbas spoke of a new era, and said the war with Israel was effectively over.

Both sides said they are intent on seizing this opportunity to end more than four years of violence. The prisoner releases and handover of West Bank towns are part of a package of goodwill gestures designed to build confidence and pave the way to an eventual return to peace negotiations.


Hizbullah Lifts Pay for Suicide Attacks to $100,000

By IsraelNationalNews.com

The Lebanon-based Hizbullah terror organization has announced that it is raising the compensation it pays out to families of suicide attackers from $20,000 to $100,000. Bank transfers and e-mail intercepted from the organization by the PA revealed this new development, reported Arutz-7.

Senior officials of PA armed forces claim that Hizbullah presents the number one threat to the cease-fire currently in effect. The Lebanese group is attempting to enlist terrorists from the Fatah organization, the main governing party in the PA, and from Fatah offshoots such as the Al Aqsa Brigades. The latter is closely aligned with PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, and is responsible for the murder of hundreds of Jews since the outbreak of the Oslo War in September 2000. Israeli officials, too, report that there are currently some 50 Hizbullah-sponsored terrorist cells throughout Judea and Samaria.

PA military officials told the Associated Press that Hizbullah, which has in the past funded hundreds of PA terrorists, has been intensifying its recruiting efforts, offering to pay great sums of money to armed men willing to attack Israeli targets. One PA terrorist - he told the AP that he is a "former" terrorist - disclosed how a Hizbullah operative contacted him a day before the Sharm a-Sheikh summit and offered him a substantial sum of money in exchange for carrying out violent acts. According to this source, groups of 5-6 Hizbullah recruits are paid from $5,000 - $8,000 for weapons, ammunition, and ongoing terror activities. Payment includes free use of a cellular phone.

A PA military officer charged with supervising "radical" groups has pointed out that Hizbullah attempts to find out the bank account numbers of its operatives in the PA, as well as the names of terrorist perpetrators, by way of e-mail exchanges. The officer claims that he has read some of these exchanges and that the "humanitarian" bureau within the PA "supervises" the bank transfer of money from the Hizbullah to terrorists within the PA. The officer also claims that he has notified the PA leadership of the Hizbullah activity, but has not received any instructions to intervene to preclude such operations or arrest terrorists.

Hizbullah terrorist chieftain Hassan Nasrallah declared last week that violent opposition to Israel would continue and would not stop under any circumstances. He was quoted by Al-Manar television on Feb. 9 as saying, "This is the year of unrelenting opposition, preserving the opposition and standing firm in opposition, which is our choice, our way and faith, and a pan-Arab, Islamic national struggle."

Knesset Member Elon Launches New Book Bridging Christians and Jews

By IsraelNationalNews.com

Israeli Knesset Member Benny Elon is in the United States to kick off a campaign to connect Christians and Jews in support of biblical Israel. Together with MKs Yuri Stern and Gila Gamliel, Elon is attending the National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) convention in Anaheim, Calif., the largest annual gathering of Christian broadcasters.

At a news conference Monday, Elon released his new book, "God's Covenant with Israel: Establishing Biblical Boundaries in Today's World." Dotted with personal anecdotes and recollections, the book traces the Jewish People's connection with the Land of Israel from a national and historic perspective. It debunks purported evidence about Muslim ties to the Holy Land, and shows that Islam relates to Christians, as well as to Jews, as infidels.

The book also includes chapters on Elon's "Right Road to Peace" plan and on Israel's biblical inheritance of the Land. A separate section exhorts readers to "Get involved," while another lists key prophetic scriptures about Israel. A report from Palestinian Media Watch and a study of the international legal status of Israel and the settlements is also included.

Elon, who as two-time Tourism Minister forged strong ties with many Christian lovers of Israel, feels that they are "our strategic partners." In his many meetings with Christians around the country, he emphasizes that the cease-fire with the terrorists currently under consideration is a complete sham and must not be seen as real peace; the Land of Israel belongs to the Jewish people. Any transfer of part of biblical Israel, including Judea, Samaria and Gaza, runs counter to biblical principles, is dangerous to Israel and poses a threat to the security of the entire western world; and Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's disengagement plan, if carried out, would be the first step in Israel's capitulation to terrorism and radical Islam and as such must be opposed vehemently.

"We will not permit the creation of a terrorist state in our biblical heartland," Elon said. "I intend to fight Sharon's plan tooth and nail in Israel, the U.S. and around the world."

NRB board member Michael Little said that evangelical Christians believe that God gave Israel to the Jews, while outgoing NRB chairman Glenn Plummer noted that in the Bible, "God does not identify himself as the God of Abraham, Ishmael and his descendants," but rather as that of Abraham, Isaac and descendants. Plummer, an African-American pastor from Detroit, told the Christian and Jewish audience "when Islam comes into a place, their intent is to take over everything."


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