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IDF Experts Warns Next Summer 'Too Late' To Stop Iran


The IDF head of intelligence Wednesday warned the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Wednesday that the world has four months to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. Maj. Gen. Aharon Ze'evi said diplomatic maneuvers would have no effect on Iran if the country does not halt its nuclear program by the end of March. He warned that Iran would become a regional nuclear power and that Arab countries also are beginning to fear its potential power.

Shimon Peres Leaves Israel's Dovish Labor Party, Joins Sharon

By Robert Berger (VOA-Jerusalem)

Israeli elder statesman Shimon Peres has left the Labor Party to form a new alliance with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. It is the latest political shake-up as Israel prepares for early elections in March.

After six decades in the dovish Labor Party, former Prime Minister Shimon Peres parted ways. He declared support for Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's new centrist party called Kadima or "forward." Israeli media said Peres would not formally join the party, but if it wins early elections in March, he would be appointed chief peace negotiator with the Palestinians. "I decided to dedicate the next years to contribute to the supreme effort of making peace between our neighbors and us," Peres said.

Peres has plenty of experience. He is the architect of the Oslo Accords with the late Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat. Both men won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1994, along with the late Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. Peres told a news conference that Sharon is the man most capable of making peace. "My hope which is great compelled me to a decision that is neither simple nor mundane, but I can't escape it. It has not been easy but I have made my choice."

At age 82, Peres is the most prominent among many politicians who have quit their traditional parties to join Sharon. That has given the prime minister a boost and he is way ahead in the polls. The latest survey shows Sharon's party winning 34 seats in the 120-member Knesset. The hawkish Likud party, which Sharon abandoned last week, would win only 10 seats, down from its current 40.

The polls indicate that a solid majority of Israelis support Sharon's willingness to give up parts of the West Bank, after Israel's pullout from the Gaza Strip in August. This national consensus is embodied in the alliance between Sharon, who was once Israel's leading hawk, and Peres, who is the nation's leading dove. By joining forces, they strengthen the new centrist party's appeal to middle-of-the-road voters. With a combined age of 159,Sharon and Peres remain the top players in Israeli politics.

Erekat Warns of Israeli 'Sabotage' of Palestinian Elections

By David Gollust (VOA-State Department)

Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat said in Washington Tuesday that the Palestinians want broad international monitoring of upcoming elections to help prevent Israeli sabotage of the process. Erekat met Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and other Bush administration officials.

Erekat said the parliamentary elections January 25 figure to be a "turning point" in Palestinian political life, and he is urging the broadest possible international monitoring of the campaign and voting to deter what he warns could be Israeli meddling.

The veteran Palestinian politician spoke to reporters after a round of meetings with White House aides and Rice focusing on the elections, including U.S. concerns about the role of Hamas and other radical Palestinian factions in the process.

Erekat sidestepped questions about the prospect of Hamas, an armed group sworn to Israel's destruction, fielding candidates in the election. He insisted that "strict" Palestinian election rules preclude advocating incitement and violence, and that Palestinian Authority chief Mahmoud Abbas is committed to the rule of law and the concept of "one-authority, one gun."

Erekat said the Palestinians, though still largely under occupation, have made the choice of democracy and are appealing world-wide for election assistance and monitoring to safeguard the process from what he repeatedly insisted could be Israeli "sabotage"

"The (Palestinian) Central Election Commission has already sent the invitations to the Americans, to the Canadians, to the Norwegians, Japanese, the Chinese, to everybody in the world, so we hope to have thousands of observers to monitor our elections, to see that we have free and fair, transparent elections on one hand. And on the other hand, to make sure that the Israelis don't obstruct these elections by arresting candidates, by assassinating them, or by putting roadblocks or preventing the electoral process," Erekat said.

Bush administration officials have made clear their unease about the notion of Hamas, a group designated by the United States as a terrorist organization, winning parliamentary seats and a possible role in a Palestinian government.

However, State Department Spokesman Sean McCormack said the United States is not advancing any ideas for filtering out extremist candidates, and that Rice stressed to Erekat that it is an issue Palestinians would have to resolve:

"She again underlined in this meeting, as she has before, that it is important for the Palestinian people to deal with the fundamental contradiction of having groups that want to keep one foot in the camp of terrorism, and yet one foot in the camp of governance," McCormack said. "You can't do that. A government has to have the sole right to use force in order to keep public order as well as to fight terrorism."

Erekat commended Rice for her role earlier last month in securing an Israeli-Palestinian accord on opening Gaza crossing points, saying it showed that third-party intercession is often essential in moving peace efforts forward. He said the U.S. administration should "stay the course" by pressing Israel to end West Bank settlement expansion and fulfill other commitments under the peace "road map" to move the sides toward early negotiations on final-status issues.

McCormack said Rice urged both sides to, as he put it, "Keep their eye on the ball" and meet upcoming deadlines under the Gaza checkpoints accord, while calling on the Palestinian Authority to fulfill its "road map" security obligations.

Tail Fahima to Confess in a Plea Bargain


Left-wing activist Tali Fahima, a 29-year-old female Israeli Jew, is expected to admit contact with a foreign agent, in exchange for which she will not be charged with aiding the enemy in war time.

Fahima originally faced a multi-count criminal indictment that included charges of aiding the enemy in a time of war. She allegedly passed information to Arab terrorists to facilitate the commission of one or more terror attacks or to avoid capture by Israeli security forces. However, Fahima's lawyers stated Wednesday that a plea bargain is currently being arranged, according to which she will admit to having maintained contact with a foreign agent, but the more serious charge of abetting the enemy will be dropped.

If this deal is accepted by the court, Fahima would be released from jail in around a year, because she will have, by then, served the entire three-and-a-half-year term specified in the plea bargain.

While she remains in jail, however, the Palestinian Authority is making monthly payments to Fahima, according to a Channel 2 TV News report earlier this year. The stipend, authorized at the behest of the Al-Aksa Martyrs Brigade, comes out of a PA fund for imprisoned terrorists and their families.

Fahima was reportedly a girlfriend of Zakariya Zubeidi, commander of the Fatah-affiliated Al-Aksa Martyrs Brigade in Jenin. Seeking to exploit her relationship with the terrorist leader, the Israeli General Security Services at first approached Fahima seeking to recruit her as an agent. According to testimony at her trial, recruitment efforts commenced in 2003, but Fahima rejected the intelligence agency's offers.

Zubeidi, on Israel's most-wanted list for his role in several murderous attacks on civilians, told reporters in June of this year that he joined the Palestinian Police. When asked if this meant he would now arrest or fight terrorists acting against Israel, Zubeidi said, "I'm not going to stop any Palestinian activist.... There is no difference whether I'm a field agent fighting for the Palestinian people or if I'm a man of law."

Former Muslim Terrorist Speaks Out on Israel's Behalf


Zachariah Anani, an Ex-Muslim militant who grew up in Lebanon hating the state of Israel, has since become one of Israel's most staunch supporters.

Anani, along with two other former Muslims, plans to address an audience at Princeton University next month to voice his controversial views. "I was brought up to hate Jews and Israel. That was my first raising, my first attitude," Zachariah Anani told Israel National Radio's Tovia Singer.

Anani describes the circumstances that prompted him to make the decision to turn his life around. "In the '70s I became a Christian, but even as a Christian, Jews didn't mean anything to me. One day someone asked me a question regarding Jews, and I really didn't know the answer. I started studying Jewish history. I was shocked and amazed at how much the Jews had suffered, how much they had endured. That's what made me have a change of heart," he explained. "Thank God, I spent most of my short militant life fighting against my own kind. Fate never put me against the Israeli army," Anani added.

Anani said that a quick look at modern Zionist history makes it clear that Israel has enjoyed divine protection and assistance. "God is with Israel. If every Arab country were to send a million soldiers to surround Israel, which would be 23 million soldiers, Israel would be doomed. How did they win five wars in the past? Because God was there," he said.

In addition, Anani shared his opposition to the recent withdrawal from Gaza and his belief that future efforts to give up land for peace would be disastrous for Israel. "I have no clue why Israel left Gaza, why the righteous owner of a land would give up part of their inheritance and freedom. It would be another big blow if Israel gave up the West Bank." he affirmed. "A long time ago when Sadat signed a peace treaty with Israel, I believed at best this treaty gave the Jews 100 years to pack up and leave," Anani said.

Anani expressed his strong views regarding the current tension between Israel and the Hizbullah, stating that he thought Israel should have completed the task of eradicating the Hizbullah terrorist forces that control Southern Lebanon before they withdrew their forces from the region in May, 2000. "I don't know how the intelligence of the Israeli military did not finish the job. This is the only way, "he said.

Anani's radical viewpoint has made him a continued target for terrorists seeking to silence him. "In 20 years there have been 20 attempts on my life. I was forced to escape to Canada. I am now a Canadian citizen, but I am still not free from unfortunate incidents. Recently someone tried to set fire to my car and my house," Anani stated.

Anani is slated to be part of a panel discussion at Princeton University on Dec. 8 where he will speak about Israel, Lebanon, the Hizbullah, and peace in the Middle East. Additional former Muslim terrorists who became Israel supporters, Walid Shoebat and Ibraham Abdullah, will join Anani in the panel at the Princeton event.

Anani ended his radio interview with an inspiring message to Israelis: "Hold on and keep the fight till the end. Don't give up. Stop giving up."

Ex-Kluxer David Duke in Syria: Zionists Occupy Washington, N.Y. and London


White supremacist David Duke visited Syria last week to support Syrian dictator Bashar Al-Assad and the Arab state's hostile stance toward Israel.

Duke attended a rally that was broadcast on Syrian state-run television. He condemned Israel as a war-mongering country and said that the "Zionists occupy New York." "I come from the peace-loving people in America to the peace-loving people of Syria," Duke said. "I come from the peace-loving people in America to your great peace-loving President of Syria."

Each of Duke's proclamations were repeated in Arabic by a translator, at which point the camera provided an alternate angle showing a crowd of Syrians waving cardboard flags and cheering on cue. Following Duke's statement praising Assad, the crowd was shown chanting, "Our soul and our blood we will sacrifice for you, Bashar."

"It saddens my heart to tell you that part of my country is occupied by Zionists," Duke said, "just as part of your country, the Golan Heights, is occupied by Zionists. [They] occupy most of the American media and now control much of the American government...It is not just the West Bank of Palestine, it is not just the Golan Heights that are occupied by the Zionists, but Washington D.C. and New York and London and many other capitals of the world."

"Your fight for freedom is the same as our fight for freedom," Duke proclaimed, adding that it is the Zionists who prefer war to peace. He said that people around the world would tell them, "No war for Israel" [Editor: in reference to the claim that the United States is in Iraq on Israel's behalf]. Duke tried to lead the local demonstrators in an English chant of "No war for Israel."

Duke, a former "Grand Wizard" in the Ku Klux Klan, was elected to the Louisiana Legislature in 1989, but failed in subsequent election bids. Syrian parliament member Muhammad Habash said that Duke's visit gave Syrians a "new and very positive view of the average American."

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