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Israeli Forces Kill 2 Palestinians in Separate Incidents

By VOA News

Palestinian witnesses say Israeli troops shot and killed two Palestinian civilians in separate incidents in the West Bank and Gaza Strip Tuesday. They say soldiers shot dead a Palestinian bystander during a clash with terrorists in Nablus. Several Palestinians and two soldiers were wounded in the clash that erupted when Israeli troops raided the Palestinian city. In the Gaza Strip, witnesses say a Palestinian farmer was killed when Israeli forces fired tank or artillery shells into the territory.

Israel: Iran Could Enrich Uranium in March

By Robert Berger (VOA-Jerusalem)

Israel's army said Iran is making swift progress toward developing a nuclear weapon. An Israeli expert believes military action may be required to stop the Iranian nuclear program.

Lt. Gen. Dan Halutz, the Israeli army chief of staff, said Iran could start enriching uranium by March and might be capable of producing nuclear weapons within three years. He spoke behind closed doors to parliament's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. The head of the committee reported his remarks.

Israel has expressed growing concern about Iran's nuclear program since late October, when the Iranian president publicly called for the Jewish state to be "wiped off the map." In remarks Monday, Iran's leader reiterated his doubts that the Holocaust ever took place and he urged Muslim nations to take a more active approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Israeli analyst Ephraim Inbar said Iran's radical regime is changing the strategic equation in the Middle East. "The Iranians have long-range missiles that can reach Israel," he said. "They are working on expanding the range of their missiles, and those weapons can be tipped with nuclear weapons. I think this is a serious threat to the region."

Israel hopes the U.N. Security Council will take action to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. But if diplomacy fails, Inbar said Israel and the U.S. should consider a military strike against Iran's nuclear facilities. "With a sustained air campaign, as well as occasionally the use of Special Forces, this program can be stopped," he explained.

The Israeli air force destroyed Iraq's nuclear reactor in 1981. Israel prefers that the U.S. would deal with Iran, but with America tied up in Iraq Israeli officials have not ruled out the military option. They say Israel cannot allow Iran to acquire the atom bomb.

Senior PA Chief Says: 'No Jerusalem, No Peace'

By & Ha'aretz

"No Jerusalem, no peace," declared Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Ahmed Quriea at a special cabinet meeting of the PA's government on Monday.

Quriea, also known by the name he used as a PLO terrorist, Abu Ala, is a senior PA official, second to PA chief Mahmoud Abbas. He promised that the Palestinian Authority would never give up its demand for sovereignty over Jerusalem and goal of making it the capital of a Palestinian state. That goal, he said, has become the PA's primary consideration for peace with Israel.

Quriea announced at the meeting that the PA would be taking positive steps to exert its influence over Jerusalem. He said the PA planned to transfer income support payments to Arab families living in the city.

He said the PA was trying to enlist donations for that purpose from countries that contribute money to finance the operations of the PA government. The United States, Europe, and various Arab countries regularly donate money to the Palestinian Authority. Quriea thanked the government of Saudi Arabia for its contributions towards realizing the PA's goals in Jerusalem.

Jerusalem, the capital of the Jewish State, is under Israeli sovereignty. The city was liberated in two stages, the western part in the 1948 Independence War, and the eastern part in the 1967 Six Day War. The eastern part of the city, which contains the Old City, Western Wall and Temple Mount, also includes numerous Arab neighborhoods. The Israeli government formally annexed the eastern part of the city shortly after the Six Day War.

The Palestinian Authority, set up by the Oslo accords in 1994, is based in Ramallah, north of Jerusalem. PA operations in Jerusalem are forbidden, according to those agreements. They are also illegal under Israeli law.

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon published a special statement Tuesday night in which he totally dissociated himself from quotes in Newsweek attributed to his pollster, Kalman Gayer, in which Gayer claimed the prime minister was ready for territorial concessions.

"The remarks attributed to Kalman Gayer are in total contradiction to my positions and opinions," Sharon's statement read. "If, indeed, these remarks were made, they were made strictly on Mr. Gayer's initiative, and they are senseless and absurd.

"The entire united Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel forever. The road map is the diplomatic plan that will guide Israel in the years to come, and whosoever says anything different is doing so of his own accord and in total contradiction to my position; and that is how the remarks should be treated," Sharon's statement added.

In the remarks attributed to him by Newsweek, Gayer said, "Sharon would accept a Palestinian state in Gaza and 90 percent of the West Bank, and a compromise on Jerusalem, in exchange for peace."

In the meantime, Gayer added, Sharon wanted to "lay the contours of an agreement with the Palestinians," by creating a Palestinian state in half the West Bank and implementing confidence-building measures, Newsweek said. Channel One carried the report Tuesday night.

Sharon's advisers hastened to extinguish the flames. They said Gayer explained he had given the reporter background information, but denied the quotes attributed to him.

Likud's Limor Livnat and Gideon Sa'ar advised voters to "believe those who speak English rather than the denials in Hebrew ... This is proof once again that Kadima's path is the path of the left and of withdrawal."

Binyamin Netanyahu said, "Sharon's aides are revealing what he is trying to hide but everyone already knows that Sharon will divide Jerusalem and bring the Palestinians back to the 1967 borders."

National Religious Party Chairman Zevulun Orlev declared: "Kalman Gayer says aloud what Sharon says behind closed doors. It is possible that Sharon once again plans to deceive the voters who remember that he said Netzarim's fate was the same as that of Tel Aviv.

Hamas Election Video: Armed Struggle Until Israel is Destroyed


In a new Hamas election video (, the terror organization, responsible for the deaths of hundreds of Jews, declared again that it would not give up its armed struggle until Israel is destroyed.

The Hamas, a major terror organization operating mainly out of the Palestinian Authority, is running for a list of candidates in PA parliamentary elections scheduled for this January.

The Hamas video carries a message celebrating its love of death as superior to Israel's love of life. It also expresses support for Arabs citizens of Israel who wish to destroy the country "from within." Hamas looks forward to a day when its flag will fly over not only Jerusalem, but over all Israeli cities, including Acre and Haifa.

The release of the new video on the Hamas website, coincides with two polls this week showing Hamas turning into a major political force in the PA, with between 32% - 45% of Palestinians saying they would vote for Hamas in January's parliamentary elections.

What would be the implications for peace, if a large component of the Palestinian Authority's parliament were made up of people who openly support Israel's destruction?

Presently the State Department has made clear that while it continues to transfer hundreds of millions of dollars of American money to the PA, it will make no demands on it to prevent the Hamas from participating in the upcoming elections. The EU and United Nations have also agreed that Hamas can participate in the elections.

Ironically, Hamas' ideology is very close to that of al Qaeda or Hizbullah. The group espouses a vehemently anti-American and anti-Western political agenda. Hamas operations and suicide bombers in Israel have killed a number of American citizens.

The following quotes are taken from the new Hamas video: "We succeeded, with Allah's grace, to raise an ideological generation that loves death like our enemies love life. We will not abandon the way of Jihad and Shahada [Martyrdom] as long as one inch of our holy land is in the hands of the Jews.

"Congratulations to our people of 1948 [Israeli Arabs] on the liberation of Gaza. You wish to destroy them [the Israelis] from their interior. We will never forget you, and never leave you. A day will come when our flag will fly above all the quarters of our land. Our flag will fly on the minarets of Jerusalem, and the walls of Acre, and the quarters of Haifa".

Missionaries Lobby Israeli Gov´t to Stop Demonstrations in Arad


Christian missionaries, primarily from the United States, have been pressuring the Israeli government to prevent demonstrations against their activity.

The missionaries, who attempt to convert Jews to Christianity, have recently stepped up their efforts in Arad, a city in the southeast Negev, with a large immigrant population of Jews from Russia and other former Soviet republics. These immigrants, and others lacking in Jewish education, are considered susceptible targets for missionary activity.

Under Jewish law, converting to Christianity is virtually synonymous with destroying a person's soul. According to Israeli law, offering material benefits as an inducement to convert to Christianity is a criminal offense.

Hareidi-Torah Jews, who have attempted to protest missionary activity in Arad, were denied permits to demonstrate by the police department. While the Hareidi protestors have appealed to the High Court to overturn the police decision, a missionary publication in Hebrew says missionaries have been lobbying government ministers and senior police officials to ensure that demonstrations against their activity do not take place.

The publication, called "Kivun" (or "Direction" in English), says that the missionaries have been enlisting Christian supporters of Israel in the United States to pressure the Israeli government to stop the demonstrations.

The extent of the missionaries' activities in Israel and their attempts to influence the Israeli government can be learned from an article published in a recent edition of Kivun.

The magazine writes: "The demonstrations, threats, shouts, and scheming against Messianic Jews ["Jews for Jesus"] in Arad have been continuing on and off for more than a year and a half already. All this began when the Yad L'Achim organization [a Jewish anti-missionary organization] became aware that a youth, a local resident, was baptized.

"At the same time, we opened a chess club that distributed messianic [Christian] material. These two events enraged Yad L' Achim activists, and they started inciting Gur Hasidim which have a large yeshiva in the city."

The magazine goes on to explain that the missionaries "began writing to their friends abroad" about the problems in Arad. "They began to apply pressure on the [Israeli] government" to stop what they termed "religious persecution."

"They wrote to government ministries, the Prime Minister's office, the Internal Security Ministry, the Interior Ministry the police...[saying] that that if the offices get inundated with letters from Christians around the world, who are demanding safety for believers in the Messiah [Jesus] in Arad, the offices will not be able to claim later that they did not know" about the situation, writes Kivun.

"Write to your Senators," the magazine exhorted, "about how this situation is such a great injustice, and that they who persecute us are absolutely evil and primitive." The magazine reported that in a letter to Chief of Police Moshe Karadi, the missionaries demanded that he act aggressively against the Haredi-Jewish community in Arad.

Rabbi Shalom Dov Lifshitz of Yad L'Achim said, in response to the quotes from the missionary magazine, "The words of the missionaries and their activities speak for themselves." He said his organization was waiting for the High Court to decide on their right to demonstrate against the missionaries in Arad.

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