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'Iran and Hizbullah Are Aiding Us'


Zakaria Zubeidi, head of the Jenin branch of Fatah's Al-Aqsa Martyrs' terrorist network, said that Iran and the Lebanon-based Hizbullah group aid his organization in carrying out attacks. In an interview which originally appeared in the German paper Welt Am Sonntag and was quoted in the Kuwaiti paper Elrai Elam, Zubeidi said, "Without the help of our brothers in Hizbullah, we would not be capable of continuing our struggle... They give us money, weapons, training and support… We coordinate with them our operations." Until now, terrorist leaders including Zubeidi have not openly admitted their connections with Iran and Hizbullah.

Hundreds of Thousands of Poultry Being Destroyed

By & VOA News

Israel is trying to halt the spread of a deadly outbreak of avian flu. The poultry industry at several collective farms has been wiped out. Health officials are destroying more than 400,000 turkeys and chickens at four kibbutz farming communities hit hard by the bird flu. Some 16,000 birds have died in the first outbreak of avian flu in Israel.

Dr. Shimon Pokamonsky, the chief veterinarian for fowl diseases at the Agriculture Ministry, told Israel Radio that all poultry within a three-kilometer radius of the infected farms will be destroyed to prevent the disease from spreading. Tractors dug six-meter deep pits to bury the carcasses.

In addition, Kibbutz Kisufim is beginning the process of poisoning and burying of some 170,000 fowl and chickens and turkeys are being killed in Moshav Sdei Moshe (near Kiyrat Gat) and Kibbutz Nachshon (west of the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv highway).

In the Israeli-Arab city of Tira, parents refused to send their children to the local school Sunday, after several dead chickens were discovered in the school yard; an investigation into the cause of death is underway.

People in the infected areas have been asked to minimize their travels, and cars entering and leaving the farms are being disinfected. Residents are taking it in stride. "It is business as usual here," said Rami Negbi, from Kibbutz Ein Hashlosha, adding that health officials said there is little chance of humans contracting the disease. Four farm workers hospitalized Friday with flu symptoms have been given a clean bill of health.

Health officials worldwide have warned that avian flu could evolve into a virus that can be transmitted easily between people, and become a global pandemic.

So far, this is not happening, but news out of neighboring Egypt has Israeli officials worried. The World Health Organization said an Egyptian woman who died this week had bird flu. That is cause for concern here, because officials believe the virus entered Israel from Egypt.

Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said, just prior to the Cabinet meeting, that the breakout was under control, that there is no indication that it has spread to people, and all means are being taken to ensure that it would not.

The Health Ministry has emphasized that as the disease's name implies, it is contracted only by birds and only in extremely rare cases by humans. Only those who have come in close contact with birds are susceptible, and no cases have been reported of one person catching the disease from another person. At present, however, people should refrain from visiting open-air chicken markets and farms, and should eat eggs and poultry only after thoroughly cooking them.

Hamas Submits Palestinian Cabinet List

By VOA News

The Islamic terrorist group Hamas has presented its Cabinet to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas for his approval. Hamas' prime minister-designate, Ismail Haniya, presented the line-up during a meeting late Sunday. Hamas was forced to abandon weeks of efforts to form a coalition government after other political parties refused to join.

Abbas aides said the president would will not use his executive authority to block the government. but is expected to press Hamas - which is sworn to Israel's destruction - to moderate its hard-line positions.

In other developments, Israeli and Palestinian officials plan to hold more talks to open up border crossings following talks on the matter with U.S. and Egyptian officials Sunday. Israel closed the main crossing to Gaza for much of the year, and U.N. officials warn food shortages in the territory are approaching crisis levels.

The United States and European Union, along with Russia and the United Nations have called on Hamas to renounce violence and accept existing peace agreements. They consider Hamas a terrorist organization and have threatened to cut funding to the Palestinian Authority unless Hamas meets those demands.

Israel has already cut off the transfer of $50 million in monthly tax payments it collects for the Palestinian Authority and says it would boycott the Hamas-led government.

Hamas Leader-Our Spirit and Determination will Vanquish Zionism


The leader of the Hamas, Khaled Mash'al, said in a speech in Damascus that Arab determination and spirit would ultimately vanquish Zionism and bring about the liberation of all of Palestine.

Mash'al, an implacable enemy of the Jewish state whom Israel attempted to assassinate in 1997, said the dream of returning millions of Arab refugees to Israel is coming closer to reality as the final battle with Zionism approaches.

The real power behind the Hamas, Mash'al is a former resident of Gaza. Israel has barred Mash'al from reentering the country, and assuming any role in the new Hamas government of the Palestinian Authority.

Speaking at a gathering marking 40 days since the death of the head of the Palestinian National Council, Khaled Alfahom, Mash'al emphasized the importance of the "Palestinian spirit" in winning the historic battle against Zionism.

Excerpts from his speech: "Ben Gurion [Israel's founder and first prime minister] hoped that subsequent generations of Palestinians will forget [their defeat in the 1948 Independence war, commonly referred to by Arabs as] the catastrophe.

"Today's followers of Ben Gurion know that they have to contend with a [Palestinian] generation that's stronger than its predecessors. They will see future generations of Palestinians and the Arab and Islamic nation waving the banner [of Islam].

"The liberation [of Palestine] will come with the help of Allah, until it is attained by the last soldier, woman, and child, despite resistance by Israel and the United States….Jerusalem will become Arab and Muslim again, including all the places holy to Islam and Christianity.

"Today, we are close to attaining Palestinian national rights…When a [Palestinian] child says that his grandfather or father was born in Nazareth, Haifa, or Jaffa, there's powerful human force in that. Can any power on earth erase this memory? How can Nazareth, Haifa, Be'er Sheva, Jaffa, and Akko be erased from the Palestinian memory? Therefore, one who says that Palestinian rights will die out, or that the Palestinians will relinquish or sell [their rights and values] is living an illusion.

"We and the Zionists have been brought together by destiny. If they want a fight, we'll be there; if they want a war we're ready; if they want a conflict we'll be there however long it takes. We have more determination that Israel…We'll defeat it, with the help of Allah, and we'll liberate the land."

Israel Exports Apples to Syria; Syria Sells Them to Gulf States


For the second straight year, Israeli apple growers are expanding their customer base to include an unlikely, but eager purchaser of their surplus produce---Syria. Using the United Nations as an intermediary, Israel has exported about 10,000 tons of apples from the Golan Heights to Syria, double the amount exported last year.

The growing trade in apples between the two countries, which are technically at war with each other, is an interesting anomaly in a region riddled with violence and virtually endless internecine conflict.

Faced with a surplus of apples, the Israel Agriculture Ministry turned to the United Nations peacekeeping force on the Golan Heights in a bid to export the excess produce to Syria. The Syrians, apparently short on apples, unexpectedly agreed to the deal.

Ironically, Israel's apples are grown mainly in the Golan Heights, an area which Syria considers occupied territory, ever since Israel conquered it in the 1967 Six Day War.

The produce will come from Druze apple growers. Though full-fledged citizens of Israel, many Golan Druze still identify with Syria and maintain extensive family ties across the border.

The deal is expected to help Jewish growers as well, by stabilizing prices on the local market, said Giora Sela, director of the Israel Farmers' Federation.

In another twist, Sela said Israel's surplus of apples stems from the inability of growers to market the produce in the Gaza district, due to the prolonged closure of Karni border terminal. Israel shut the terminal down after receiving warnings that the terminal was being targeted by terrorists.

Sela expressed satisfaction that both Israel and Syria stood to benefit from the unusual transaction. Syrian consumers, however, may not able to taste the Israeli apples, which are known for their quality and sweetness. The Syrian importers will probably resell the apples to states in the Persian Gulf, where prices for such produce are much higher.

When it comes to apples, this time in the Middle East, what's likely to win out, is not military force, but the force of the market.

Golub Named CEO of Shalom TV
Israel News Faxx Services

Rabbi Mark S. Golub, a leading figure in Jewish and ethnic television in the United States, has been named president and CEO of Shalom TV, the nation's first Jewish cable channel slated to premiere this summer.

Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel, who has been associated with Golub's efforts in Jewish media since the late 1970s, described Golub as "a committed and passionate television professional who has enhanced Jewish understanding in the general Jewish community through programming he has created for nearly 30 years. There may be no one more suited to head the first national Jewish channel in America than Mark Golub," said Wiesel.

"Those interested in the State of Israel will have a place to see and hear what is really going on in the Middle East--from an Israeli perspective--and to meet the most creative and dynamic minds on the Israeli scene. Golub said,

"People who thrill to Jewish films will have a place to see movies by Israeli and other filmmakers that would never be shown anywhere else on American television, or to watch great Yiddish classics that are Jewish treasures. Intermarried couples will see how others are striving to build successful families; and perhaps Shalom TV will have a place where Jewish singles can meet one another.

"Shalom TV will be a network where Jewish history is revered and where the memory of The Six Million is honored. And, through Shalom TV, people will be able to enjoy getting to know Jewish authors, poets, artists and celebrities."

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