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Kadima MK Drawing Up Plan to Divide Jerusalem


Kadima Knesset Member Otniel Schneller is drawing up a plan to divide Jerusalem. His blueprint would give turn over most of the Arab neighborhoods in the capital to the Palestinian Authority, he told the Associated Press. The plan calls for moving the separation barrier westward. The status of the Old City would be part of a "special region with special understandings" but under Israeli sovereignty. Schneller stated, "Those same neighborhoods will, in my assessment, be central to the makeup of the Palestinian capital ... al-Quds, [the Arabic name for Jerusalem). We will not divide Jerusalem, we will share it."

Israel's Incoming PM: Prepare for New Borders

By Jim Teeple (VOA-Jerusalem) & Ha'aretz

Ehud Olmert was sworn in as prime minister of Israel on Thursday, after the Knesset plenum voted to approve his new government. Olmert officially takes the title of prime minister, ending his stint as interim premier. The vote was carried by 65 to 49, Knesset Speaker Dalia Itzik said. Itzik herself was sworn in as speaker earlier in the session.

Olmert said his country's new borders would be significantly different from its current boundaries. Presenting his new government to the Knesset, Israel's parliament, Olmert said Israel needs to get rid of numerous isolated settlements in the West Bank as part of his plan to redraw Israel's borders in the next four years.

He said while Israel would pull back from numerous settlements in the West Bank he intends to hold onto several large settlement blocs that are currently home to tens of thousands of Israelis. He said he hopes to work with Palestinians through the road map peace plan to draw Israel's final borders with the Palestinians, but if that fails his government will act unilaterally.

Olmert said Israel would not wait forever and would not put off vital decisions about its future waiting for the Palestinians to act responsibly.

Olmert's Kadima Party won Israeli elections on March 28, but holds only 29 seats in the 120-seat Knesset. Israel's center-left Labor Party has joined Olmert's coalition, as have several smaller parties, including the ultra-Orthodox Shas Party, whose leaders have voiced doubts about whether they will support the West Bank pullout plan.

In his Knesset speech, Olmert also singled out Iran, saying it has targeted Israel for annihilation. Olmert said, however, that Israel is not helpless and has the ability to defend itself against any threat. "We must not ignore what the president of Iran says - he means everything he says. The State of Israel, which the evil leaders in Tehran have turned into a target for annihilation, is not helpless and it has the ability to defend itself against any threat."

Meanwhile, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas urged Israeli leaders to renew peace talks, saying he intends to ask Palestinians to vote in a referendum on any peace deal with Israel. The move is being seen as an effort to circumvent opposition to any peace deal with Israel by the Hamas-led Palestinian government.

Lieberman: Execute Knesset Terrorist Collaborators


Yisrael Beiteinu Chairman and Knesset member Avigdor Lieberman managed to cause an uproar in the Knesset when he called for the execution of Knesset members that collaborate and meet with terrorist groups.

"We requested that in the government guidelines it would say explicitly that all the inciters and collaborators with terrorism that sit in this house should bear the brunt of the penalty for those actions," Lieberman said from the Knesset plenum. "All those who continue to meet freely with Hamas and Hizbullah – who go on monthly visits to Lebanon. Those who declared Israel's Independence Day to be `Nakba' [Arabic for `catastrophe' -ed.] Day and raised black flags…

"World War Two ended with the Nuremberg Trials. The heads of the Nazi party went to be executed – but not just them, also those who collaborated with them. Just like [prime minister of Vichy France during WWII Pierre] La Valle was later executed, I hope that this is the fate of the collaborators in this house."

The Russian immigrant was loudly heckled by Arab MKs at that point, but pushed on with his speech. "Just like La Valle was brought to justice – you will be brought to justice," he said, addressing the hecklers directly. "In exactly the same way!"

Lieberman also attacked the Kadima Party from various angles. "For the first time in the history of Israel, a coalition has been formed that is anti-Aliyah," Lieberman declared. "A coalition against Aliyah is the most damning trait of this government. Aliyah was always the soul and the central path of Zionism – nothing to do with Yisrael Beiteinu or Avigdor Lieberman.

"This government rejected Aliyah as a priority. We carried out negotiations, with Kadima. Kadima's proposed guidelines mentioning Aliyah only in the 55th clause – the last clause of the entire document. I see now in the final draft, it is still only the 42nd clause – that is where the Kadima government places Aliyah in its order of importance."

Lieberman said that Kadima, which had campaigned heavily among the Russian-speaking public, had betrayed its Russian immigrant voters. "In all of its ads – every week - Kadima promised the Russian public civil marriages and immediately turned their back on that promise to recruit Shas to the coalition," he said, adding a call to Kadima's Russian members to quit the party in protest of their "betrayal."

"Fortunately," Lieberman declared, "this government won't last more than a year and a half. Unfortunately, that is a year and a half too long."

Returning to his WWII-era French analogy, Lieberman warned: "The French were also very strong before the Second World War. They had a much better and larger army than the Germans. But they were divided and that led to a lack of political mobility and deterrence - and eventually, to their downfall.

"If this government doesn't know how to carry out justice with collaborators and impose its authority to create deterrence, no security budget will help. I really hope that this government's days are numbered as few as possible - for the sake of the Nation of Israel."

Swastikas on Israeli synagogue


The Chief Rabbis will take part in a prayer rally against the overnight desecration of Petach Tikvah's largest synagogue. Non-Jewish Russian immigrants and/or Satanic Cult members are suspected

Twenty swastikas, as well as what police described as satanic symbols, were found scrawled over the main synagogue in Petach Tikvah on Thursday. The Torah ark and stacks of prayer books were ransacked. Locals said the synagogue previously had been vandalized but never to such an extent.

The vandals painted swastikas on the Holy Ark, floor and signs of the synagogue. The word Hitler was also painted, prayer books were thrown to the ground, and a parchment scroll of biblical writings used to recite the weekly Haftarah was painted black.

Two months ago, a synagogue in the Far Abraham neighborhood of the city was similarly vandalized; dozens of swastikas were painted on homes in the community, including on the rabbi's home.

The discovery last year of a swastika tattoo on an Israeli soldier who had emigrated from the former Soviet Union prompted legislation for a crackdown on neo-Nazis in the Jewish state

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