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Guinness Record for Israeli Hummus

By Reuters

New York-based Sabra Foods, owned by Strauss-Elite Ltd, has broken a world record with its display of a plate of hummus 3.5 meters in diameter. Sabra is a distributor of spreads and Middle-Eastern foods in the east coast and Europe. Company president Yehudah Pearl said the task was not an easy one. "Our chefs grinded the hummus for two days to prepare a sufficient amount," he said. The publicity stunt was aimed at expanding Sabra's market share and make hummus more widespread in America. Sabra was founded some 20 years ago and controls about of a third of the American hummus market.

Former IDF Chief of Staff Ya'alon: Israel Can Hit Iran

By, Ha'aretz & Reuters

Former IDF Chief of Staff Moshe Ya'alon told the Hudson Institute in Washington that Israel has a military option against Iran and its nuclear program. He added that an attack could come by means other than an air strike, but he did not reveal details.

Ya'alon, who was replaced as Chief of Staff shortly before last summer's expulsion, stated that Iran would react to an attack by launching long-range missiles, which Israel can intercept with its anti-missile system. Arabs from the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Hizbullah terrorists also would strike with Katyusha and Kassam rockets, according to Ya'alon.

He said that such a strike would be difficult to carry out from a military perspective as Iran's nuclear facilities are spread out, but he believed that was nonetheless feasible.

Ya'alon said that striking Iran would require more than one attack, as a single assault would not be sufficient, but that Israel could launch an attack on Iran in several different ways, not just from the air.

But Ya'alon also warned that Iran would clearly hit back hard in the event of such an attack, and cited Tehran's long-range Shihab missiles, Katyusha rockets that Hizbullah has in its possession, and Kassam rockets that Palestinian terrorists habitually fire into southern Israel from the Gaza Strip. He added that a rise in oil prices could be further fallout from such an assault.

The former military chief said, however, that Israel's Arrow anti-ballistic missile system could deal with any Shihab and Scud missiles fired from Iran.

A source in Jerusalem said on Thursday he was bewildered by Ya'alon's remarks. The source added that the United States also has options against Iran that it does not talk about, Israel Radio reported. In recent months, IDF officers - both past and present - have visited Washington to offer their support for a military strike should the diplomatic channels fail to bring Iran to heel.

Ya'alon also reportedly estimated that Iran would have the knowledge to build a nuclear bomb within six to 18 months, and would actually have the bomb within three to five years.

Hamas to Israel: First Self-Destruct, Then We'll Talk


While Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz said Hamas could be a negotiating partner under certain circumstances, But Hamas spokesman Assad Farhat made it clear: "First withdraw to '49 borders and allow pre-'48 Arabs to return."

Farhat, Hamas spokesman in Judea and Samaria [the West Bank of the Jordan River], told the French news agency AFP that Hamas has no use for the two-state Road Map. He said his organization views the Road Map as an "American Zionist program" that is irrelevant for his organization.

Farhat made the remarks in response to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov's optimistic statement that Hamas has not turned down the Road Map as a basis for talks with Israel.

Farhat said it's not true. He said that his organization would be willing to recognize and negotiate with Israel only under the following conditions: "When Israel announces that it will retreat from the conquered territories of 1967, releases the Palestinian [terrorist] prisoners, stops its aggression against the Palestinian nation [sic], and announces its willingness to solve the refugee problem [i.e., accepts the Right of Return of millions of Arabs into Israel - ed.], only then will we agree to negotiate."

Mofaz, visiting in Berlin, said that Israel has its own conditions - and that if Hamas meets them, Israel would be willing to talk with it. The impression given by some press reports was that Israel refuses to acknowledge the Hamas commitment to Israel's destruction. The Jerusalem Post, for instance, headlined its story, "Mofaz: Hamas may be partner if it accepts demands."

Mofaz contributed to this impression by stating, "I suggest that we be patient and see how the Hamas government is formed and which guidelines it will adapt in the end," adding that if "Hamas continues to act as a terrorist organization, it will be dealt with accordingly."

Israel Reopens Critical Gaza Border Crossing

By Jim Teeple (VOA-Jerusalem)

Israel has reopened the main commercial border crossing between the Gaza Strip and Israel. Israeli officials said the crossing was reopened for humanitarian reasons after warnings that a food crisis could develop in Gaza.

The Karni crossing has been closed, intermittently, since late January, after Israel said it received warnings of a terrorist threat against the crossing and Palestinian authorities discovered a tunnel near the crossing that led from the Gaza Strip into Israeli territory. Karni has been completely closed since February 21.

Palestinian Authority Deputy Minister of Economics Nasser Saraj warned Wednesday that critical food items such as flour are in short supply in the Gaza Strip and that panic could grow in the area as a result of the closure. Israeli officials, such as Mark Regev, the spokesman for Israel's foreign ministry say the crossing was closed for legitimate security reasons.

"We are interested in having the crossing opening, functioning and running. It is in our interest that people goods and produce go in and out of Gaza as freely as possible. A good situation in Gaza is good for Israel. No one wants to see hardship in Gaza. No one wants to see hardship," said Regev. "Everyone wants to see the situation in Palestinian-controlled Gaza improve. The crossing was closed only because there was a specific security threat against the crossing -- a terrorist threat to attack the crossing once it was opening; to attack the officials and the security personnel around the crossing."

Karni is the main transshipment point for goods in and out of Gaza and the closure of the crossing has had a devastating impact on commerce in Gaza. A report from the U.S. Agency for International Development, leaked to the Reuters news agency this week, says the closing of the crossing costs Palestinians nearly $450,000 a day in lost revenue.

Many Palestinians say the crossing was closed by Israel as retaliation for Palestinians voting to give Hamas a majority in Palestinian parliamentary elections in January - something Israeli officials strongly deny.

"We all know this has nothing to do with security. This is a passage between Gaza and Israel," said Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator in talks with Israelis. "This is a humanitarian livelihood for Palestinians, this is the food supply, and I believe this is collective punishment. I think to have this collective punishment, to stop food and medical supplies, including milk, are a form of collective punishment which is completely unacceptable."


PA Daily Brands U.S. Leaders Fascists, Nazis


In an article this week, a Palestinian Authority daily defined Western leaders as copies of Hitler, Americans as fascists, and neo-conservatives as Nazis promoting "Aryan supremacy." The paper blamed American foreign policy as the cause of Arab extremism.

In a March 4 article in the PA sponsored newspaper, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Editor-in-Chief Hafez Barghuthi equated Western institutions with the Gestapo of Hitler's Third Reich.

"There is a new ideological Nazism which has started to dominate the West. It doesn't speak openly about its totalitarian Nazism, but carries it out in practice. I see in many minor and senior Western officials copies of Hitler. Many of the western institutions are as if they are managed by the Gestapo and the S.S.

"While the Jews suppose they are safe from this Nazism which is directed towards the people of the third-world and Latinos, they are mistaken. It is not possible that the wolfish Nazi feelings will not eventually turn against them, because the neo-conservative idea is derived from the remnants of the Nazi idea. It is an Aryan supremacy doctrine with new terminology."

According to Palestinian Media Watch (PMW), the frequent hatred expressed towards the United States by the PA has significant impact on public opinion amidst its constituents. A recent European poll found that 65 percent of PA Arabs "support Al-Qaeda actions in the USA and Europe." [Fafo - Norwegian-based NGO, in Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, December 23, 2005]

PMW Director Itamar Marcus noted that the strong support of violent anti-American support comes in spite of hundreds of millions of dollars in annual US aid to the PA. Marcus asserts that the hatred was documented well before the US announced a freeze in funding; following January's sweeping victory by Hamas in the Palestinian Legislative Council.

Pennsylvania School Bans IDF T-shirts


Students at the Abington Friends School in Pennsylvania have protested against the Quaker institution's ban on IDF T-shirts and other clothes that "reflect violence, the military or sexual, racial or religious insensitivity." The students came to the protest wearing olive-green T-shirts with the IDF insignia.

The students said that the school has made them turn their shirts inside out while tolerating other students' wearing clothes bearing symbols and pictures of Che Guevara, who fought in Fidel Castro's coup in Cuba decades ago and tried to overthrow other regimes.

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