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Sen. McCain: Military Force Must Remain Option With Iran

By VOA News

An influential U.S. lawmaker says military force cannot be ruled out if Iran does not bow to diplomatic efforts to halt its alleged nuclear weapons program. In a speech Saturday at an international security conference in Munich, Sen. John McCain said the only thing worse than military action is a nuclear-armed Iran. McCain added that military force is a "totally undesirable option" of last resort.

Palestinian Terrorist Stabs Woman to Death in Central Israel


A 58-year-old woman, Kinneret Ben-Shalom, is dead in Petah Tikvah, after a Palestinian terrorist stabbed her and wounded five others, four of whom remain in serious condition.

The terrorist, Ahmed Kafina, 23, is from the village of Sawiya near Shechem. The village is located in northern Samaria, a region emptied of its Jewish communities last summer as part of the Disengagement plan. An IDF court has extended his custody by nine days.

Kafina boarded a Route 51 minibus on Jabotinsky St., a main thoroughfare connecting Petah Tikvah and Ramat Gan, shortly after 9:30 a.m. He suddenly drew a knife and began stabbing passengers.

The precise order of events is not yet clear, but he continued swinging his knife on the street until he was overcome by two passers-by. As one man pointed a gun at him, another hero smashed the terrorist in the legs with a board, causing him to fall. A policeman then came and arrested the terrorist.

"I saw him just start slaughtering people," one eyewitness said. A passing driver said, "I saw people falling, people who were stabbed, an older girl who was stabbed, a boy lying down next to her, and three more. We heard people yelling, 'Terrorist, terrorist!' It's the scariest thing that could be."

The wounded were taken to nearby Beilinson Hospital. Ben-Shalom died on the operating table as doctors fought to save her life.

New IDF Southern Region Commander Maj.Gen. Yoav Galant issued a warning: "Whoever tries to harm Israel, will get hurt seven times worse. Israel has many means at its disposal, and we won't hesitate to use them."

Terror Groups Threaten to Bombard Central Israel with Kassams


The Popular Resistance Committees (PRC), a terror group from Gaza, is working to open up an eastern front against Israel, based on firing Kassam rockets from Judea and Samaria into central Israel.

The armed wing of the Fatah party, the Al-Aksa Brigades, and the PRC are joining forces to smuggle the Kassam rocket technology from Gaza into Judea and Samaria. The two groups said they would step up their efforts in response to Saturday night's Israel Air Force strike in northern Gaza, which resulted in the deaths of three terrorists from the Al-Aksa Brigades.

The groups said in an announcement that their response would be "everywhere the occupation exists," meaning in this context, everywhere within the State of Israel.

Since Israel's withdrawal from the Gaza district last August, one of the main strategic goals of the terrorist organizations based in the Palestinian Authority is to threaten central Israel with Kassam rockets.

Abu Al-Sa'ad, commander of the PRC in northern Gaza, said in an interview for an Internet site run by the Islamic Jihad that his group was planning on expanding "military" operations against Israel in the near future. He said his goal was to open an eastern front against the Jewish state from Judea and Samaria; a region located due east of Israel's densely populated and heavily industrialized coastal plain.

Since the 1995 Oslo accords, the Palestinian Authority has ruled much of that area. Israel has repeatedly accused the PA of providing terrorists with bases to carry out attacks against Israel.

Al-Sa'ad said that the Kassam rocket has proved itself as an important and effective weapon in the struggle against Israel during the most recent intifada or Arab uprising, also known as the Oslo War, which began in September 2000. During that war, thousands of Kassams were fired from Gaza into Gush Katif. Since the Israeli withdrawal last August, Jewish towns and kibbutzim in the western Negev have borne the brunt of the Kassam attacks.

In contrast to Gaza, there has been documentation of only one Kassam missile fired from Judea and Samaria. That incident reportedly occurred in December 2005, when a Kassam-1 rocket was fired by Fatah terrorists towards Afula, an Israeli city in the Jezreel Valley, north of Samaria.

Israel is spending billions of dollars building a controversial security barrier roughly along the pre-1967 cease-fire lines as a means of preventing terrorists from infiltrating into central Israel. The use of Kassams to attack Israeli targets on the coastal plain could severely reduce the barrier's effectiveness as a security palliative.

A few months ago, IDF troops captured PRC terrorists as they attempted to infiltrate into Israel from Egypt. The terrorists had intended to reach Judea and Samaria in order to develop the infrastructure for firing more sophisticated Kassam rockets into central Israel.

Al-Sa'ad said his group was not deterred by the IDF's policy of eliminating terrorist leaders. He said the assassinations only serve to strengthen their resolve and desire for revenge against Israel. The PRC, he said, was engaged in a jihad, or holy war, to liberate all of "Palestine", from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea, leaving no room for the Jewish state.

Hamas Says It Will Form New Palestinian Government

By Jim Teeple (VOA-Jerusalem)

Leaders of the Islamic terrorist group Hamas said they plan to form a new Palestinian government by the end of February. The news comes as Israeli air strikes killed three Palestinian terrorists on Sunday after a Palestinian stabbed five Israelis, killing one.

Hamas leaders said they would form the next Palestinian government after a new Parliament convenes on February 16. The announcement came following talks between senior Hamas leaders and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in the Gaza Strip. Hamas won 74 seats in the 132-seat Palestinian Legislative Council in Palestinian elections on January 25, soundly defeating Abbas' Fatah Party.

Ismail Haniyeh, a Hamas leader in the Gaza Strip said Hamas would work quickly to form the new government. He said Hamas would seek to avoid any constitutional vacuum and move quickly to assert its authority over a new government. He said Hamas would also take control of Palestinian security forces.

Haniyeh said Hamas has asked Abbas' Fatah Party to join the new government but had received no response. The Hamas leader also said Hamas would not negotiate with Israel under any conditions. Since their election win, Hamas leaders have repeated their position that they would not recognize Israel or disarm but would consider a long-term truce with Israel.

Israeli officials insist that Hamas must recognize Israel's right to exist and give up terrorism. International donors to the Palestinian Authority such as the United States and the European Union have classified Hamas as a terrorist organization and have said they will not be able to work with any Hamas government.

Abbas, who was elected separately last year as president says even though parliament will convene on February 16, it will take time to form a new government. The Palestinian president said new committees to run various aspects of the Palestinian Authority would have to be formed and the whole job would be a major undertaking.

Meanwhile, Israel carried out air and artillery strikes against targets in the Gaza Strip on Sunday. In one attack Israeli aircraft fired missiles at a car leaving a building in the northern Gaza Strip, killing three men linked to the al-Aksa Martyrs Brigade, a militant offshoot of Abbas' Fatah Party.

Israeli officials said the attack was in response to a missile attack on southern Israel by the group, which destroyed a house and wounded two adults and an infant. Israeli artillery and warplanes also targeted sites near the northern Gaza town of Beit Haanoun that Israeli officials said were being used as sites to launch missiles into southern Israel.

Anti-Olmert Rally Brings 100,000 to Jerusalem's Zion Square


A rally protesting the political and security policies of Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert brought an estimated 100,000 demonstrators to Jerusalem's Zion Square Sunday night.

The demonstration, the largest since the government uprooted 25 Jewish communities from Gaza and northern Samaria last August, took place under the shadow of last week's demolition of nine homes in Amona and the brutal police reaction to people who protested the destruction.

Banners reading "Olmert is bad for the Jews" and "Olmert is bringing about civil war" were positioned at the center of Sunday night's demonstration. Speaking at the rally, Knesset member Uri Ariel (National Union) said, "Yes it's correct, Olmert is bad for the Jews...Olmert wants to shed Jewish blood and we won't let him. We'll remove him from office" on Election Day, scheduled for March 28.

Ariel called on the government to set up a special committee to investigate the large-scale police brutality that characterized last week's demonstration to save Amona from demolition. "I call on Olmert not to run away from an appointing a committee to objectively investigate" the prime minister's involvement in calling for the brutal confrontation, said Ariel.

Video footage showing mounted police attacking and beating back demonstrators at Amona was shown on giant video screens during the rally. A video showing Effie Eitam (National Union) being trampled and mauled by mounted police was repeatedly shown to counter government claims that Eitam violently engaged the police by throwing rocks at them.

Tal Yahav, representing Amona residents said, "The number of people who came to us, to Amona, was incredible, men, women, young adults and young couples with children...." Yahav also demanded that the government investigate the police brutality against the unarmed demonstrators. "This violence was deliberately directed against us," she said. "We never dreamed that Jews in this country would beat other Jews without mercy with horses and truncheons."

Russian Neo-Nazis Attack Jewish Websites


A Russian neo-Nazi group, Slavic Union, has claimed responsibility for attacks on the web sites of the World Congress of Russian-Speaking Jewry, the Jewish Agency for Israel's office in Rostov-on-Don, and the Jewish community of Saratov, according to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. The attacks took place last Friday.

According to a Slavic Union web site, the attacks were carried out on international Holocaust Remembrance Day to mark what the group called a "virtual Holocaust" against Russian Jewish web resources. The Slavic Union previously claimed responsibility for attacks against several anti-fascist and liberal web sites.

Dutch Islamists post cartoons depicting Anne Frank, Hitler in bed

By Israel Faxx News Services

A Belgian-Dutch Islamic political organization posted anti-Jewish cartoons on its Web site in response to the cartoons of the prophet Mohammad that appeared in Danish papers last year and offended many Muslims. One cartoon showed a cloud of black smoke was billowing from the site. The images of the prophet, forbidden in Islam, first appeared in a Danish newspaper.

The anti-Semitic cartoons were posted on the Arab European League's site on Saturday. The Islamic site carried a disclaimer saying the images were being shown as part of an exercise in free speech rather than to endorse their content - just as European newspapers have reprinted the Danish cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed.

One of the AEL cartoons displayed an image of Dutch Holocaust victim Anne Frank in bed with Adolf Hitler, and another questioned whether the Holocaust actually occurred. Dyab Abou Jahjah, the party's founder and best-known figure, defended the action on the Dutch television program Nova Saturday. "Europe has its sacred cows, even if they're not religious sacred cows," he told the program.

Denying the Holocaust is illegal under most European hate speech laws, which outlaw intimidating or inciting hatred toward groups on the basis of their ethnic, cultural, religious or sexual identity. Complaints about alleged hate speech are common but prosecutions are rare and convictions very rare.

The AEL espouses nonviolence but has gained a reputation for extremist views, and opposes Muslims integrating with non-Muslims. It promotes the participation of Muslims in political dialogue in European countries, but is internally divided as to whether or not to participate in elections directly.

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