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New Hamas Appointee: 'We Have One Enemy: The Jews'


Newly-appointed head of military forces in the Palestinian authority Jamal Abu Samhadana announced his military strategy Sunday to a British newspaper, the Sunday Telegraph: "We have only one enemy. They are Jews. We have no other enemy. I will continue to carry the rifle and pull the trigger whenever required to defend my people." The terrorist is number two on Israel's wanted list, and Israeli authorities made two attempts to eliminate him, including a helicopter missile attack on his convoy late last year. For fear of the IDF's long arm, Samhadana never sleeps in the same place two nights straight, rarely prays twice in the same mosque, and travels alone at late night hours.

Bin Laden Backs Hamas and Palestinian Authority


Al-Qaeda terror chief Osama Bin Laden came out behind the Hamas Islamist group currently in control of the Palestinian Authority Sunday, saying it was faced with a "Crusader-Zionist war."

Bin Laden made the statement in the most recent recorded statement by the mythic leader of the Global Jihad, which was broadcast by Al-Jazeera satellite television. He stressed that all citizens of the West shared responsibility for their countries' "war against Islam," implying that civilians of such countries are legitimate targets of terrorists.

Bin Laden has often spoke about and called for attacks upon Israel, but this is the first time he has publicly allied himself with Hamas – a move that will make it increasingly difficult for the State Department to continue to view Palestinian terrorism as disconnected from the Al-Qaeda led global offensive.

He also called for "the boycott of the US and European nations who supported Denmark," in response to the cartoons printed in a Danish paper featuring Islam's founder Mohammed. "He also demanded that those who offended the Prophet... be handed over for trial to al Qaeda," Al-Jazeera reported.

The Al-Qaeda chief has been in hiding since the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon carried out in 2001, which were attributed to Al-Qaeda. The terror organization has also been implicated in terror attacks on American and Israeli targets in Africa.

Hamas chief Khaled Mashaal met three weeks ago with a representative of Al-Qaeda wanted by the US in Yemen. Sheikh Abd al-Majid al- Zindani made a personal donation of 200,000 Yemenite Rials (approximately $1,000) to Hamas. Zindani heaped praise on Hamas suicide bombers at a fundraising event attended by Mashaal and instructed his followers to donate money. "The Hamas government is the Palestinian people's government today," he told the crowd. "It is the jihad-fighting, steadfast, resolute government of Palestine [sic]."

Following the release of Sunday's tape, however, Hamas' spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri rushed to distance the terror group from Bin Laden's remarks in a message to English media. "Hamas is totally different from the ideology of Sheikh bin Laden," he said, adding that the cash-starved group is interested in having good relations with Western nations.

Hamas continues to refuse to recognize Israel's right to exist, renounce violence and fulfill peace agreements made by the previous PA government.

Bin Laden's last tape was broadcast in January 2006. The voice on Sunday's recording appeared to be the same as that of previous messages and sounded strong.

Palestinian Clashes Flare Despite Pledge to End Violence

By Robert Berger (VOA-Jerusalem)

Palestinian factions have clashed in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, despite pledges to end a new wave of violence. The new Palestinian government, led by the Islamic terrorist group Hamas, is facing a growing challenge from Fatah, the corrupt party that has dominated Palestinian politics for decades.

Gunmen from the ruling Hamas movement and the rival Fatah party exchanged fire at the Health Ministry in the Gaza Strip, as a Palestinian power struggle erupted into a second day of violence. There was a similar incident in the West Bank town of Nablus, where dozens of Fatah gunmen took over the municipality building, and ordered the mayor, who is from Hamas, to shut down his offices.

Tensions escalated Thursday, when Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah blocked an attempt by Hamas to gain control of the security forces. The sides traded accusations, and after clashes Saturday, Fatah officials warned that there was a danger of civil war.

That prompted leaders of both sides to hold an emergency meeting, in which they agreed to settle their differences peacefully. "There will not be a civil war," Jibril Rajoub, a Fatah strongman in the West Bank, told Israel Radio. He said the two sides have no choice but to co-exist as brothers and avoid violence.

But Palestinian analyst Wadia Abu Nasser is not so sure. "I believe that there will be some clashes here and there, but I am not seeing a civil war yet. And I highlight the word 'yet' because it might take place, but within [a] few months to come," said Nasser.

Even though Hamas won January elections by a landslide, the group is facing a growing challenge from Abbas, who was elected separately a year earlier. He wants to revive the peace process with Israel, while Hamas seeks the destruction of the Jewish state.

Hamas' position has prompted the United States and Europe to cut off nearly a billion dollars in annual aid to the Palestinian Authority. Abbas believes the militant policies of Hamas are leading the Palestinians to international isolation, and he is working to limit the powers of the new government.

Arab-affairs expert Brig. Gen. (ret.) Shalom Harari spoke with Arutz-7 about the budding Fatah-Hamas violence in Gaza. He does not expect it to end soon, and notes its dangers for Israel.

Harari, a researcher at the Interdisciplinary Center at Herzliya who predicted many of the after-effects of the Disengagement from Gaza, spoke with Arutz-7's Ariel Kahane.

"This type of violence is nothing new," Harari said. "The current situation of fauda, or chaos, must be analyzed as a product of three elements: One is falapan, the loss of security control, and the second is fitma, hatred of brothers and civil war, and third is fasad, corruption. These elements have created an explosive situation, with many instances of shooting at and by police, etc. There are also some 15 different factions in the Palestinian Authority street."

At least 20 Arabs were injured Saturday in Khan Yunis University in Gaza, in clashes between supporters of Hamas and Fatah. The fighting broke out after Damascus-based Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal accused Abbas of trying to work together with Israel in toppling the Hamas government.

"The situation cannot yet be described as a civil war," Harari said, "but the potential has grown, and we now have two formal blocs standing off against each other; the government is two-headed, they both have weapons - 40,000 or more armed men in Fatah, and 20,000 from Hamas - and the situation can blow up."

Asked if this situation can lead to war against Israel, Harari said, "In the short and medium range, i.e., 6-12 months, Hamas is not looking for war with us, but would rather use this time to get things in order, and to tighten its hold in the PA. It was Fatah that started the shooting yesterday, and it was not in Hamas' interest."

"On the other hand," Kahane asked, "Hamas did appoint Samhadana, the terrorist who is #2 on Israel's wanted list. And neither does Hamas appear to be making any moves towards recognition of Israel and the like."

Harari responded, "First of all, Israelis are under a false perception that Samhadana is in charge of the entire PA security force - when in fact he is merely to be in charge of the police. His job is - get this - to protect the police from attacks by PA citizens. That's the main purpose of the appointment, but at the same time they [Hamas] don't mind using it to anger Fatah and the U.S. This appointment is a red flag for the United States, because the U.S. accuses him of the attack in which three American guards were killed in Gaza a few years ago. This is why the U.S. responded so angrily."

In a paper he co-wrote last year, Harari predicted that after Israel's unilateral withdrawal from Gaza, the PA leadership would fail the test of running the Gaza Strip effectively and responsibly. He also said that the Palestinian terrorists' major focus would be to attack Jewish settlements and access roads in Judea and Samaria.

Harari feels that the internal situation in the Hamas Authority will become more explosive. "It could be dangerous for Israel," he said, "in that when they finally want to end it, one side is likely to do it by attacking their common enemy, Israel. In addition, they are using this period to develop their arms and fighting capabilities."

Israeli Doctors Treating Ariel Sharon Admit Mistakes

By Robert Berger (VOA-Jerusalem)

The doctors treating former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who remains in a coma, are having second thoughts about the treatment he received early on.

More than three months after Ariel Sharon suffered a massive stroke, his doctors at Hadassah hospital in Jerusalem believe it could have been prevented.

"We failed," said Dr. Haim Lotan. He was referring to a decision to treat Sharon with large doses of blood thinners after a mild stroke in December. Lotan and other doctors now admit that was apparently a mistake. In an investigative report on Israel's Channel 2 television, the doctors said the blood thinners may have caused the crippling stroke just two weeks after the mild one.

"It's a terrible, terrible feeling that is with me until today," said Dr. Tamir Ben Hur. He said it is a feeling of missing the mark, even though the team of doctors made the most careful and expert analysis.

The treatment of large doses of blood thinners came under stiff criticism, after Sharon suffered the major stroke and cerebral hemorrhage. At the time, doctors defended the treatment, but now they have to live with a decision that apparently was wrong.

Sharon has been in a coma since the stroke, and, last week, the Israeli Cabinet declared him permanently incapacitated. Ehud Olmert, who won Israeli elections in March, was appointed prime minister in his place.

Medical experts said Sharon is in a vegetative state, and the chances that he would ever regain consciousness are slim.

Penn State Bans Jewish Student's Terrorism Exhibit


Pennsylvania State University has cancelled an art exhibition about terrorism and the destruction of Jewish historical and religious sites claiming it "did not promote cultural diversity."

The 10-piece exhibit, by student Josh Stulman, was the result of years of preparation. It was called "Portraits of Terror" and focused on images of Palestinian terrorism, hate-propaganda cartoons printed in PA newspapers and photos of Jewish holy sites destroyed by Muslims.

Just three days before the exhibition was to take place, Stulman received an email from the School of Visual Arts saying that his exhibit on images of terrorism "did not promote cultural diversity" or "opportunities for democratic dialogue" and the display would be cancelled, according to the PSU Collegian newspaper.

"I'm being censored," Stulman told the paper, "and the reason for censoring me doesn't make sense."

The school's director, Charles Garoian responded by saying the images "did not mesh with the university's educational mission." He said the decision was made after reviewing the university's Policy on "Nondiscrimination and Harassment and Penn State's Zero Tolerance Policy for Hate."

The exhibit was sponsored by the Penn State Hillel, according to Stulman, and is aimed at creating awareness on campus about the senselessness of terrorism. Hillel regularly sponsors art exhibits by Jewish students, dealing with Jewish and Israeli themes, as well as secular themes.

Stulman said that the director of the school has refused to meet with him and told the Collegian that advertisements for the event were defaced, with at least one sporting a large swastika that someone had drawn on it.

Was Olmert the Man Behind 'Pretty Woman?'


'Pretty Woman,' one of the most successful romantic comedies in Hollywood's history, and the film that brought Julia Roberts her cinematic breakthrough as an actress, owes its name to none other than Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

In 1989, Olmert visited his friend, movie producer Arnon Milchan, in Hollywood. The two sat at a Warner Brothers' sound studio with the film's director Garry Marshall and listened to the soundtrack for a new romantic comedy starring a 23 year-old unknown actress (Roberts) and a movie star whose fame has already began to fade (Richard Gere).

After about half-an-hour of listening to the soundtrack, an old song by Roy Orbison called "Pretty Woman' started playing. Olmert, who was listening to the music with his eyes half-shut, suddenly turned to Milchan and Marshall and said: "Listen, I have an idea for you – why don't you call the movie 'Pretty Woman,' after the song?"

"Forget it," Marshall replied, "it's too kitschy." Milchan, on his part, also had his doubts. But Olmert, already an experienced politician, managed to convince the two his idea was not so bad.

The rest, as everyone knows, is history. 'Pretty Woman,' which debuted in 1990, earned $463 million across the world and marked the starting point for Roberts' meteoric rise to stardom. Gere, an actor who seemed to have had his days of fame behind him before the movie was released, also received a boost to his then faltering career.

And Olmert? Despite his success as a Hollywood copywriter, apparently decided to concentrate his efforts on the Israeli political arena.

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