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IDF on High Alert on Lebanon Border


IDF officers, fearing Hizbullah terrorists will try to kidnap army soldiers, placed troops in high alert Thursday night. Israel Army Radio quoted IDF officers that Hizbullah wants to stage a major terror attack along the border between Lebanon and Israel. The army called on area farmers to take special caution and not to work in fields adjacent to the security fence on the border. Earlier Thursday, the IDF fired warning shots from Har Dov to deter terrorists from actions against Israel.

Israeli Defense Chief Vows Non-Interference in Palestinian Elections

By David Gollust (VOA-Washington)

Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz said Thursday that Israel would not interfere with Palestinian parliamentary elections in January, but also does not want to see radical factions like Hamas in a new parliament. He spoke after Washington talks with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

Israel has mounted a military offensive including a resumption of targeted killings of Palestinian terrorists after a suicide bomber killed several Israelis October 26.

But in a talk with reporters after a more than hour-long meeting with Rice, Mofaz struck a conciliatory tone. He said his government wants to work with Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas or Abu Mazen, and will not impede the January 25 election, though it also wants Abbas to live up to summit pledges earlier this year to consolidate power at the expense of the militants.

"We will not interfere in the Palestinian election but we don't believe that Hamas should be part of the Palestinian parliament. It is a Palestinian issue. But Abu Mazen said in the Sharm el-Sheikh summit that he would lead the Palestinian Authority to be a one-authority, one-rule and one-gun. And we want that he will achieve these goals, and we will do our best to ease the lives of the Palestinians."

Mofaz said that the Palestinian Authority chief should move to dismantle armed factions before the election, and that Israel would not have any dealings with members of terrorist groups who might be elected to the parliament and become part of a Palestinian government.

Mount Zion Handover: President Denies, Reports Persist


President Katzav's office categorically denies any intention to sign an agreement to give over parts of Mt. Zion to the Catholic Church. Arutz-7 has received a copy of the alleged agreement to do so.

The proposed contract reads: "The State of Israel hands over to the Holy See the use of the Cenacle [the room of the event known as the Last Supper, above King David's tomb - ed.], of the access path to it, and of the spaces adjacent to it... It is the Holy See's intention to inform the Bishops - and through them the world's priests - that the Catholic Church has been given the use of the Cenacle, inviting them to visit the Holy Place together with their faithful"

A Foreign Ministry official said, "Israel is not prepared to relinquish its jurisdiction over this area" - but he admitted that a blueprint of a possible agreement with the Vatican has been received.

At present, since shortly after the Six-Day War in 1967, the Diaspora Yeshiva is located on Mt. Zion, and warns of the catastrophic implications for Israel if the deal goes through. "This is an enormous issue that is being pushed through without any public debate whatsoever," Yeshiva Director Rabbi Shabtai Herman told Tovia Singer on IsraelNationalRadio

Rabbi Mordechai Goldstein, who founded the Diaspora Yeshiva, officially known as Yeshiva Toras Yisrael elaborated: "According to their Bible, the land is to return to the Christians, and 144,000 Jews are to return to Mt. Zion. So their plan is for them to take control of the site, and then to announce that they are holding a mass reenactment of the Last Supper, with [all types of religious rituals], and to invite millions of Christians to come to Jerusalem and celebrate." He said that this means much tourism money for Israel, and that someone in the Israeli government is apparently very interested in making this happen.

President Katzav's office categorically denies any knowledge of plans to sign away the King David's complex, or intention to do so during his trip to the Vatican later this month. Despite this, Christian newspapers in Italy and around the world are replete with reports that such a deal is in the works. According to the reports, Israel will receive control of an 800-year-old synagogue in Toledo, Spain, known now as Santa Maria, in exchange for David's Tomb.

Katsav: No Pardon for Rabin's Assassin

By Ha'aretz

President Moshe Katsav vowed Thursday that he would never grant a pardon to Yigal Amir - the extreme right wing activist who assassinated former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin at a peace rally in Tel Aviv in November 1995.

Katsav was speaking as events marking the 10th anniversary of Rabin's assassination got underway Thursday morning with the lighting of the "Yitzhak Candle" at the president's residence in Jerusalem. "I will not trim [Amir's] punishment and I will recommend that those who succeed me [as president] also deny him pardon."

Deputy Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Thursday at a separate memorial for Rabin that "From the distance of time and perspective, Yitzhak Rabin's Oslo Agreement brought on a process of disillusionment by the Israel public and the formation of a more realistic, sober and balanced perception of the moves Israel has to make."

He added that Rabin took action so that Jerusalem and the Temple Mount would remain in Israeli hands under any diplomatic circumstance, and would have continued to do so had he been alive today. "That is part of the political testimony Rabin left us."

Dalia Rabin, the late prime minister's daughter and chair of the Rabin Center, said: "Lighting the Yitzhak Candle takes us back to the days of 'the candle kids,' who stood in the square in shock and sought answers; the answers must be provided by Israeli society to the future generations, and that is what the Rabin Center's activity is about."

Family members alone will assemble Friday at Rabin's grave on Mount Herzl. The state memorial service will take place on Monday. The high point will be a commemorative assembly next Saturday at Rabin Square, at which former President Bill Clinton will speak. Other definite speakers include Shimon Peres and Rabin's grandson, Yonatan Ben-Artzi.

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon will not attend the assembly, reportedly because of the security measure his presence would require. Another key event will be the dedication of the new Rabin Center, attended by Bill and Hillary Clinton, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak's adviser Osama El-Baz, and other world leaders.

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