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Artificial Insemination Approved for Amir Couple

By IsraelNationalNews.com

The Prison Authority and the State Prosecutor's Office have mutually agreed to accept the appeal of Yigal Amir, the imprisoned assassin of Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin that he and his wife be allowed to conceive by means of artificial insemination. The Prison Authority and the State Prosecutor's Office accepted the Amir's request after the marriage of the imprisoned Yigal Amir to Larisa Trimbovler was granted recognition by the Israeli Rabbinate, responsible for matters of personal status. In light of the state's recognition of their marriage, the authorities noted, there was no legal basis to deny the couple the right to bear children.


Cheney: Iran Will Face 'Meaningful

By Meredith Buel (VOA-Washington)
VOA News

Vice President Dick Cheney said Iran would not be allowed to develop nuclear weapons, and that the international community would impose "meaningful consequences" if Tehran persists in its alleged pursuit of an atomic bomb.

Speaking Tuesday to a pro-Israel lobbying group AIPAC in Washington, Cheney said the United States is keeping all options open to deal with what he called the "irresponsible conduct" of Iranian leaders.

Cheney spoke as the International Atomic Energy Agency met in Vienna to discuss Iran's nuclear program and whether to seek sanctions from the U.N. Security Council. Iran has said it intends to go forward with nuclear research and uranium enrichment for a civilian energy program. The United States and European countries have said Iran may be trying to develop nuclear weapons.

Cheney said Iran would not be allowed to have nuclear weapons and warned that the United States was keeping all options on the table to deal with what he called the irresponsible conduct of the Iranian regime.

"Of course this matter may soon go before the U.N. Security Council," said Cheney. "The Iranian regime needs to know that if it stays on its present course the international community is prepared to impose meaningful consequences. For our part, the United States is keeping all options on the table in addressing the irresponsible conduct of the regime. And we join other nations in sending that regime a clear message. We will not allow Iran to have a nuclear weapon."

Cheney said the United States supports the democratic aspirations of the people of Iran, but he denounced the current government in Tehran. "Iranians have endured a generation of repression at the hands of a fanatical regime. That regime is one of the world's primary state sponsors of terror. The current president has spoken openly of wiping Israel off the map and of a world without America. He has made despicable statements doubting the crimes of the Nazis, aligning himself with the rest of the fantasy world of holocaust deniers."

Cheney also addressed the recent victory of Hamas in Palestinian parliamentary elections. He said if Hamas wants the support of the international community, the Palestinian government must recognize Israel's right to exist.

"One thing is certain," said Cheney. "The United States will not be a party to the establishment of a Palestinian state that sponsors terror and violence," adding Hamas must renounce terror and dismantle "the infrastructure of terror in the Palestinian territories."


Israeli Election Campaign Begins

By Jim Teeple (VOA-Jerusalem)

Israel's election campaign began on Tuesday with different parties unveiling their campaign ads, and the candidates stepping up attacks against each other. Israelis pay close attention to political advertisements, and Israeli election campaigns only begin when the parties unveil their campaign ads as they have now done.

Those two jingles for the Kadima Party and the Labor Party will be played over and over between now and March 28 when voters go to the polls to select a new government.

Less than three months ago, Israel's political future seemed pre-determined. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, leading his newly formed centrist Kadima Party was virtually guaranteed of an overwhelming victory; a victory he said he would use to set Israel's final border with the Palestinians.

As the architect of last year's unilateral Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip Sharon had emerged as a historic figure in Israel, trusted across the political spectrum. Using his accumulated political capital, Sharon left the Likud Party, a party he helped to form, to establish Kadima - taking some of Israel's leading politicians from both the right-wing Likud party and the left-wing Labor party to form a centrist political bloc, a move that proved overwhelmingly popular with Israeli voters.

However, everything changed in early January, when Ariel Sharon suffered a massive stroke and cerebral hemorrhage that left him comatose in Jerusalem's Hadassah Hospital, where he remains to this day. Israel's politicians rallied around Sharon's deputy, Ehud Olmert, a former mayor of Jerusalem. Olmert was quickly named acting prime minister and given the task of leading Kadima to an election win.

Polls in January showed Olmert coasting to an easy victory and winning the mandate he said he wanted to carry out Sharon's goal of setting Israel's final border with the Palestinians. However, recent polls show support for Kadima slipping, with some potential voters defecting to the Likud Party, even though Kadima still holds a commanding lead over Likud, its nearest rival.

Corruption allegations surrounding Sharon's son who, acting as his father's political enforcer, dispensed jobs and favors across the political spectrum, as well as questions about the propriety of Olmert's multi-million dollar sale of his house to a foreign investor, have dented Olmert and Kadima's fortunes. Akiva Aldar, a leading columnist for Ha'aretz said Olmert has discovered his political honeymoon is over.

"Ehud Olmert does not have the charm, the charisma and the experience of his predecessor, and he has to answer questions that Sharon had the privilege of avoiding," he said. "Ehud Olmert doesn't get any discounts from the Israeli public or the media and, of course, from the other parties. Sharon was a very unique species and that is the reason we saw Kadima reaching more than 40 seats or more than one third of the electorate. Now we are going back to normal life and it seems that Ehud Olmert doesn't have all the answers."

Israeli politics was also turned upside down on January 25, when the Islamic terrorist group Hamas won on overwhelming victory in Palestinian parliamentary elections. It was a victory that few in Israel predicted and a development that Israel's government, preoccupied by Sharon's illness and upcoming elections seemed unprepared for. To many in Israel, Olmert's government has seemed on the defensive since the Hamas win, something this ad by the Likud Party is seeking to reinforce.

One ad, which is meant to sound like a Hamas broadcast, thanks Olmert for allowing the Palestinian elections to proceed, and for allowing the initial transfer of millions of dollars of customs and tax revenue to the Palestinian Authority, something Israel said it would now no longer do since Hamas has been named to form a new government.

Aldar of Ha'aretz said even though many Israelis support the idea of pulling back from much of the Palestinian territories, ads like the one created by the Likud Party exploit fears that Israelis have about how Palestinian terrorists seemed to have capitalized on last year's Gaza disengagement. Aldar said the Hamas victory solidified those fears and had an immediate impact on Israel's upcoming election.

"Actually the emergence of Hamas has also forced a new agenda on the campaign because now we are back to issues of security and whether we should go back to the process or not," he added. "It seems that Hamas is dictating to us the agenda; the old bad agenda, that looks to many people as existential [based on existence] while social and economic issues look like something you can put on the back burner."

That has hurt Israel's Labor Party, led by a firebrand Labor leader Amir Peretz, as well as some of Israel's smaller parties who usually join governing coalitions. The Labor Party's traditional message of helping the poor and opposing free market economic policies does not seem to have much resonance with Israeli voters concerned with security issues and a Hamas government that refuses to disarm or recognize the Jewish state.

Labor/Meimad used the first night of TV airtime to promote Peretz's determination to actualize the equivalent of a $1,000 monthly minimum wage. Showing both former US President Bill Clinton and British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Peretz stated that his opponents are incorrect, and raising the minimum wage would result in increased job availably, not less, as was the case in Britain and the United States.


Israel: Hamas Not Exempt From Targeted Killings

By Jim Teeple (VOA-Jerusalem)

Israel's defense minister has warned that leaders of the terrorist Islamic group Hamas could be targeted by the Israeli army, if they resume attacks on Israel. The comments come as Israel's acting prime minister said he planned to reduce spending on West Bank settlements, if his party wins upcoming elections, March 28.

Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz said his country's policy of targeting and killing terrorists is effective and has saved many Israeli lives. In an interview with Israel's Army Radio on Tuesday, Mofaz defended the practice, saying Hamas was forced to change tactics after Israel targeted Hamas terrorists who he said were involved in suicide bombings against Israel.

Mofaz said the targeted killings would continue as long as necessary. He said that if Hamas resumed terrorist attacks against Israel, then Israel could target Hamas leaders, including Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh.

Mofaz said Hamas is a terrorist organization that does not recognize any agreements with Israel - adding that no one will be immune from being targeted by Israel, including Haniyeh if Israel is confronted with terrorism.

The Israeli defense minister's comments were denounced by Salah al-Bardwil, a Hamas spokesman, who said they reflect what he describes as the "the bloody, inhumane and inflammatory character of the Zionist enemy."

Mofaz spoke just a day after Israel targeted two senior Islamic Jihad terrorists in a Gaza Strip air strike. The men were killed, along with three bystanders - among them, two young boys. Hamas and most other Palestinian groups have been observing an informal ceasefire with Israel since last year, although Islamic Jihad has continued to carry out suicide bombings inside Israel.

Meanwhile, Israeli acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Tuesday that he would dramatically reduce spending on Jewish settlements in the West Bank, if his Kadima Party wins upcoming elections on March 28. Olmert said the "billions" now being poured into West Bank settlements would be diverted to infrastructure projects in Jerusalem as well as to rural areas in the Galilee and Negev regions.

The comments came several days after officials close to Olmert said Israel would carry out a series of unilateral withdrawals from parts of the West Bank, if Kadima wins the election, starting with 17 settlements that house about 17,000 of Israel's estimated 254,000 West Bank settlers. The officials said the settlers would be resettled in large settlement blocs near Jerusalem and other parts of the West Bank that would remain part of Israel.


Hamas Launches Web Site Encouraging Kids to Become 'Martyrs'

By IsraelNationalNews.com

The Palestinian Authority's ruling Hamas terror group has launched a web site for children, preaching the moral desirability of being a suicide terrorist through cartoons and children's stories.

The Hamas-run Al-Fateh.net glorifies shahada, martyrdom, and presents the deaths of terrorists attacking Israelis as a time of celebration, according to a report by Palestinian Media Watch.

One of the stories on the site quotes a mother saying that when she heard her son had become a shahid, a martyr, she bought dates, candies and coffee to give out. An entire section of the site is called "Stories of the Shahids" and the most recently posted story honors Hamas terrorist Naseem Ja'abari, who murdered 16 people when he blew himself up on a bus in Be'er Sheva on August 31, 2004.

The page is egalitarian in its encouragement of martyrdom, with a prominently featured drawing of a religiously garbed girl participating in violent attacks on both the homepage and on a second page with a poem glorifying Jihad, Islamic conquest, and Shahada.

Though the site shares its name with Yasir Arafat's rival terror group, Al-Fateh, the name means "The Conqueror" and is run by Hamas.

The following are excerpts from PMW's translation of a poem on the site and excerpts from the "Stories of the Shahids" section: "We rose up. We rose up against the thieves. We rose up against [them], and we shall never surrender. We will rise up in determination, like our ancestors. We will sacrifice, sacrifice our lives.

"Our father's bidding has taught us that Jihad is the eternal path and that the oppressors will be defeated. We have become devoted and we will never surrender. One day we will defeat all the invaders. We bless and honor the proud. The blood of the shahid has taught us that Shahada is a new life. O Allah, bless the steps of the rebels. Indeed, Shahada is an open victory [Al-Fateh website, March 7, 2006]


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