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Israel Hits Targets in Gaza After Rocket Attack

By VOA News

Israeli helicopter gunships hit targets in the Gaza Strip early Tuesday, in response to rockets fired into Israel from the Palestinian territory. There were no reports of casualties arising from either attack. Palestinian witnesses said the Israeli missiles hit a northern Gaza office of Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah party at Beit Lahyia. Israel has warned it will enforce a buffer zone in northern Gaza to stop terrorists who have continued to aim makeshift rockets at Israel despite the Jewish state's withdrawal from Gaza in September.

Six Rockets Fired into Northern Israel


Six rockets were fired from southern Lebanon Tuesday night into northern Israel, with one making a direct hit on a Kiryat Shmona home. Other rockets landed in Shlomi and the western Galilee area. Several victims of shock were reported, as well as some damage to buildings.

The rocket attacks have prompted IDF troops to move to heightened alert status in the event the Hizbullah attacks are intended as a diversionary tactic in the hope of abducting soldiers from border outpost positions. Residents were ordered to enter bomb shelters and safe rooms.

Steinitz: Egypt Preparing for Possible War with Israel


Knesset member Yuval Steinitz (Likud) said Tuesday that Egypt's arms build up over the past few years has focused on the possibility of future war with Israel. He said Egypt has focused on the possibility of future war with Israel.

In a Tuesday evening radio interview on Arutz 7, Steinitz, a former professor of political science at Haifa University who chairs the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, said that Egypt has already become a major supporter of terrorism against Israel.

He said that Egypt has been allowing terrorist groups operating out of the Gaza district to smuggle missiles into Gaza. Those groups intend to use the missiles against Israeli targets. In his estimation, 90% of the explosives used by the terrorist groups are brought in from Egypt.

Steinitz explains that it is a mistake for Israel to view Syria as its principle enemy, while neglecting the Egyptian threat, primarily because Israel maintains diplomatic relations with Egypt.

Steinitz said that weapons smuggled from Egypt has become so important to the Hamas, "if you would ask them what they would be willing to give up, assistance from Egypt or Syria, they would prefer to give up Syrian, but not Egyptian aid."

The Egyptians, Steinitz asserted, have kept to the peace agreements signed in 1978 as far as not engaging Israel in outright conflict. But on other levels, such as economic relations or stopping anti-Israel incitement, Egyptian compliance has been lacking.

Steinitz stated at the end of an annual survey presented by the head of the Mossad, Meir Dagan. that if Iran continued with its nuclear research projects it could have a nuclear bomb within two years. "Within one to two years, they will have a nuclear bomb, and then there will be a new Middle East - threatening, dark and dangerous."

Menorah Protest in Washington

By Israel Faxx News Services

Some U.S. Jews said Tuesday that they would light a four-foot-high Chanukah menorah on the street next to Iran's Washington D.C. office. The display is to protest recent anti-Israel and anti-Holocaust threats by the Iranian president.

The Jewish Community Relations Council told reporters that it chose Chanukah's third day so as to symbolize the "ongoing struggle against terror and tyranny."

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad recently was quoted as saying that Israel should be relocated to Europe and that the Jewish state should be wiped off the map. In addition, he described the Holocaust as a "myth."

Christians Fleeing Bethlehem´s Muslim Majority


Bethlehem's Christian population has declined 10 percent in five years, and Muslims now are the majority in the city where Christians, once a majority, often have been the targets of Muslim riots.

Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas used the Christmas holidays as a platform to call on the Christian community to denounce the partition barrier, which separates Bethlehem from the southern limits of Jerusalem.

Foreign clerics joined Abbas, and the Archbishop of Westminster, England told worshipers that Bethlehem's citizens are "terribly alone" because of the barrier. Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor urged Israel "to build bridges and not walls" and blamed Israel for making Christians feeling "compelled to leave the land of their birth for foreign lands, on account of the political situation."

However, no mention was made of the Arab terrorists' siege of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem three years ago, when they held nuns and priests as hostages and looted the building. A document captured by Israel shows that the terrorists who broke into the church demanded monetary support from Bethlehem town officials.

Earlier this month, Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades terrorists stormed PA offices near the church for several hours before leaving under threat of a clash with PA forces.

Christians have been fleeing Bethlehem in droves due to security concerns and the changeover to Arab authority in the town, with 3,000 having fled since the outbreak of the Oslo War in 2000.

Ten years ago, PLO chairman Yasir Arafat replaced the Christian-dominated town council with a predominately Muslim council. Christians made up 90 percent of the city before Israel became a state in 1948, but a Muslim influx has turned the Christians into a minority of less than 20 percent.

Bethlehem also is the popular site of the Jewish matriarch Rachel's Tomb, where visitors to the holy site must pass through an intense security checkpoint. The PA officially claims to allow freedom of religion, but Muslim sermons have linked Jews and Christians as enemies.

A PA Information Ministry statement states, "The Palestinian people are also governed by [Islamic] Shari'a law...and any Muslim who [converts] or declares becoming an unbeliever is committing a major sin punishable by capital punishment."

Anti-Christian sentiment also has been evident elsewhere in the PA. Last September, hundreds of armed Muslims terrorized the Christian city of Taibe in Samaria, burning homes and cars, and destroying a sacred Catholic statue. In one riot in 2002, Muslims instigated "a rampage...after torching the Christian properties," according to the Boston Globe.

The Muslim Persecution of Christians in the Holy Land

By Barry Shaw (Commentary)

There are none so blind as those who cannot see. How blind can people be that they blame a checkpoint for the physical and spiritual persecution of Christians in Bethlehem?

They ignore the rampant anti-Christian and anti-Jewish rhetoric pouring out of the mosques and into the streets. They ignore the Islamic hooded gunmen that roam the streets, terrorize the local Christian population, and take over the municipal office in Manger Square next to the Church of the Nativity, just days before Christmas.

They refuse to admit to the harassment of priests and nuns and the desecration of Christianity's most holy shrine by Muslim terrorists. They do not protest when Christian towns and Christian homes are taken over by Palestinian terrorists to launch gunfire and rocket attacks against Israeli targets.

Christian leaders remain silent when Islamic terrorists who burn homes and attack innocent Christian citizens invade other Palestinian towns. Is it any wonder that the Christian population has gone down from more than 80% to below 20% under such unrelenting

Soon, Christianity in Bethlehem will be reduced to a handful of courageous priests and nuns. And yet, the Christian world places the blame on the Jews.

How blind can you be? When will you be able to see the truth and protect your co-religionists from the persecution they are suffering at the hands of the Muslims in Palestinian held territories? Violence, threats, and death do not come from an Israeli soldier at an Israeli check post. It does, however, frequently come from a Palestinian Islamic terrorist, hooded gangster, and suicide bomber.

Palestinian Architect of Munich Attack Slams Spielberg's Film

By Reuters

The Palestinian mastermind of the Munich Olympics attack in which 11 Israeli athletes were killed said on Tuesday he had no regrets and that Steven Spielberg's new film about the incident would not deliver reconciliation.

The Hollywood director has called "Munich," which dramatizes the 1972 raid and Israel's reprisals against members of the Palestine Liberation Organization, his "prayer for peace."

Mohammed Daoud planned the Munich attack on behalf of PLO splinter group Black September, but did not take part and does not feature in the film. He voiced outrage at not being consulted for the thriller and accused Spielberg of pandering to Israel.

"If he really wanted to make it a prayer for peace he should have listened to both sides of the story and reflected reality, rather than serving the Zionist side alone," Daoud told Reuters by telephone from the Syrian capital, Damascus.

Daoud said he had not seen the film, which will only reach most screens outside the United States next month. But he noted that Spielberg arranged previews in Israel, where some have accused "Munich" of lacking historical accuracy.

Several Israeli historians have also complained about what they see as a moral symmetry in the film between slain Olympians and the Palestinians assassinated by the Mossad spy service.

"Spielberg showed the movie to widows of the Israeli victims, but he neglected the families of Palestinian victims," said Daoud. "How many Palestinian civilians were killed before and after Munich?"

The Munich attack was "one of the pivotal moments of modern terrorism" he told Los Angeles Times in rare interview last week.

Daoud used different terms. "We did not target Israeli civilians," he said. "Some of them [the athletes] had taken part in wars and killed many Palestinians. Whether a pianist or an athlete, any Israeli is a soldier."

Spielberg's producer, Kathleen Kennedy, told a preview audience at Princeton University that a Palestinian consultant was used for "Munich." She did not say who it was. "I do feel that we spent an enormous amount of time in discussion and put effort into exploring a fair and balanced look at the Palestinians that were involved in the story," she said, according to an official transcript of the event.

Historians noted that "Munich" presents Mossad assassins as having hunted 11 members of the PLO, while other accounts put the final Palestinian toll at as many as 18.

Daoud survived a 1981 shooting in Poland that he blamed on a Mossad mole in the rival Palestinian faction of Abu Nidal.

Though Israel allowed him to visit the occupied West Bank after 1993 peace accords, and Mossad veterans said the reprisals are over, Daoud said he feels he could still be targeted. "When I chose a long time ago to be a revolutionary fighter I prepared to be a martyr. I am not afraid, because people's souls are in God's hands, not Israel's," he said.

Spielberg told Time Magazine ahead of the film's release that he is "always in favor of Israel responding strongly when it's threatened. However, a response to a response doesn't really solve anything."

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