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Three Jailed Teenage Girls Ordered Released After 40 Days in Prison

By IsraelNationalNews.com

The Tel Aviv District Court ordered the release of three young girls being held in Ma'asyahu Prison for the past 40 days. The girls were jailed following their participation in public disruptions in protest of the expulsion of Jews from Gaza and northern Samaria. They were to be kept in prison until the conclusion of proceedings against them despite the fact that the punishment for their crimes would not have been incarceration, but most probably a monetary fine. Israel's Supreme Court ruled that their parents could not be trusted to prevent them from continuing to protest the Disengagement Plan and their continued jailing was therefore justified.


Israeli Cabinet Approves First Stage of Gaza Pullout as Netanyahu Resigns

By Robert Berger (VOA-Jerusalem) & IsraelNationalNews.com

Israel's Cabinet has given a green light for the evacuation of the first three Jewish settlements in Gaza. The vote was 19 to five. Among the dissenters was Finance Minister and former Prime Minster Binyamin Netanyahu, who dropped a bombshell and resigned in protest over the Gaza pullout. He said the withdrawal is a mistake and an act of blindness. "I cannot be part of a process that creates a base for Islamic terror that will threaten the state of Israel," Netanyahu told a news briefing.

Netanyahu walked out of the Cabinet meeting that approved the first three Gaza evacuations, leaving his letter of resignation on the Cabinet table. He said at the news briefing that he saw an Islamist terror base rising in the Gaza Strip after its unilateral handover to the Palestinians - as the first stage on its declared road to capturing Jerusalem and "liberating all Palestine."

He accused "an automatic majority "in the government and Knesset of pushing ahead blindly with a process of retreat for which it had no popular mandate. The situation is deteriorating, he warned. Israel has agreed to abandon the Philadlephi border route and allow the Palestinians a seaport in Gaza that will operate more illegal arms ships like the Karine-A (which was intercepted at sea in 2001).

The resignation is Netanyahu's first step toward challenging Prime Minister Ariel Sharon for the leadership of the hawkish Likud party once the pullout is over. Sharon infuriated the party with his Gaza withdrawal plan, which many see as a betrayal of traditional Likud ideals, such as settling the biblical land of Israel. Now, Netanyahu, who is 55, sees an opportunity to win back the party by placing himself squarely in the national camp. Ehud Olmert, part of Sharon's inner circle was appointed Finance Minister.

Knesset Member Yuval Shteinitz (Likud), who half-heartedly supports the disengagement plan, said , "I hope that Netanyahu will be the next Prime Minister of Israel." He said that it's Sharon's fault that Netanyahu had resigned, because of his "disrespect for the Likud referendum, his refusal to hold a nationwide referendum, his willingness to abandon the Philadelphi Route to Egypt.."

While Netanyahu's resignation stole the spotlight, it will have no effect on the Gaza pullout. The Cabinet set the wheels in motion for the evacuation of 21 Gaza settlements, along with four more in the West Bank. More than 9,000 settlers will be removed from their homes, and those who do not leave voluntarily will be removed by force. The process begins next week.

Share prices on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange dropped sharply on news of Netanyahu's resignation. After a day of quiet trading, the resignation, announced at 3:50 p.m.., brought a wave of hysteria to the stock market, bringing leading indexes down sharply. The shekel also took a beating in foreign currency markets. While there is no official currency trading on Sunday, the shekel lost 1.8% of its value against the dollar in options trading. A similar decline was posted in options trading against the Euro.


Jerusalem Boy, 10, Suffers Serious Head Wounds in Terror Attack

By IsraelNationalNews.com

Palestinian terrorists fired from a passing vehicle, seriously wounding a 10-year-old north of Jerusalem. He was flown by helicopter to Hadassah Ein Karem Hospital, where he is being treated.

A car was on its way westward to the Jewish community of Ateret at around 11 a.m. carrying three people: The 44-year-old driver, a resident of Ateret; his friend from the Pisgat Ze'ev neighborhood of Jerusalem; and the latter's 10-year-old son. Not far from the old British police station at the Wadi Haramiye junction, terrorists in a passing vehicle opened massive fire at the car. The boy was severely wounded with at least one gunshot to the head, and the lightly hurt driver was able to continue on to Ateret, calling security forces along the way. Once in Ateret, an emergency Magen David Adom medical team administered first aid to the boy, and he was then flown by helicopter southward to Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital in the capital.

In the meanwhile, army forces took off in pursuit of the terrorists. They quickly found the abandoned car near Jelazun, just northwest of Beit El. The terrorist had set the car on fire and continued their escape by foot. Several hours after the boy - Pinchas ben [son of] Sarit - arrived at the hospital, his condition was reported as serious but stable. His life is no longer considered endangered, but doctors are checking the extent of brain damage. Pinchas' father, who was unhurt in the attack, was standing by his son's side, reciting Psalms on his behalf.

Israeli sources report that Palestinian terrorists have obtained bulletproof vests used by the UN. It is feared that the terrorists will attempt to use the vests in attacks against Israelis.


Israel Considers Crackdown on Jewish Militants

By Robert Berger (VOA-Jerusalem) & Ha'aretz

Israel is considering tough measures to forestall fresh attacks by Jewish extremists, after an army deserter shot and killed four Israeli Arabs on a bus on Thursday. Israeli Arab leaders are criticizing the government for failing to prevent the attack.

Fearing that Jewish extremists are planning more attacks against Arabs to try to thwart the upcoming pullout from the Gaza Strip, Israel is considering drastic measures. They include administrative detention, which means jailing suspects without trial. The controversial measure has been widely used against Palestinian militants, but now officials say it could be used against Jews. Government spokesman Mark Regev. "The state of Israel will do our maximum effort to prevent attacks like this in the future.".

Senior Israeli officials visited the Arab town of Shfaram in northern Israel where the attack took place, to pay condolences to the families of the victims. "Your sorrow is our sorrow," said Cabinet Minister Ofer Paz, "Your pain is our pain."

An Orthodox Jew, Eden Natan-Zada, 19, who deserted his army unit a few weeks ago in protest over the Gaza pullout, carried out the attack. He joined a radical West Bank settlement, but the army did not track him down and confiscate his weapon.

Israeli Arab leaders meeting in Nazareth said the government did not do enough to prevent the attack, though the writing was on the wall. "The settlers should be disarmed," said Arab parliamentarian Mohammed Barakeh. Israeli security forces are adept at finding Palestinian bombers before they strike, he said, but they turn a blind eye to Jewish terror.

Meanwhile, no one wants to take responsibility for burying the attacker, who was labeled a "bloodthirsty terrorist" by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. The army, the young man's hometown and the settlement where he stayed are all refusing to hold a funeral. The parents plan to appeal to Israel's Supreme Court so their son can be laid to rest.

Video footage aired by Channel 10 news on Sunday night clearly established that police officers disarmed and cuffed Natan-Zada before he was lynched to death by an angry mob. The videotape was taken only minutes after Natan-Zada shot dead the Israeli Arabs. In the graphic video, a blood-covered Natan-Zada is seen surrounded by policemen, walking up and down the shattered bus trying to avoid objects being flung by the angry mob that gathered around.


After a few minutes a man in a red shirt can be seen climbing aboard the bus through one of the broken windows, grabbing on to the bus's railings and kicking Natan-Zada down. Photographs published by the Arab language newspaper Al Sinara also show a living, albeit badly beaten, Natan-Zada in handcuffs. A court injunction was issued following the broadcast forbidding publication of any further information that might interfere with the police investigation.


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