Newsletter : 6fax0629.txt
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Rabbis' Legal Decision: No Hitchhiking
A psak din (Jewish legal decision) forbidding Jews to hitchhike was handed down on
Wednesday by rabbinical leaders in the wake of the recent spate of kidnappings by
terrorist groups. "Someone who gets into a car driven by a stranger transgresses.
Negligence in this area endangers the entire nation," said the psak. However, the
organization Women in Green is calling on the residents of Judea and Samaria to continue
to hitchhike. According to the organization, residents should not allow terrorist to
disrupt the daily routine of Israeli civilians. An Israeli civilian, Eliyahu Asheri, was
apparently abducted on Sunday while hitchhiking.
Israeli Air Force Buzz Syrian President Bashar Assad's Palace
By Ha'aretz & IsraelNationalNews.com
Four IAF F-16 fighter jets carried out a pre-dawn low-altitude flight Wednesday over
the palace of Syrian President Bashar Assad in the Mediterranean port city of Latakia in
Channel 2 TV reported that the aircraft caused sonic booms when passing over the
palace. Assad is believed to have been staying in the palace at the time of the
State-run Syrian television said two Israeli planes flew near Syria's Mediterranean
coast early Wednesday but did not mention Israel's announcement that the planes swooped
low over Assad's summer residence. "The overflight by two Israeli planes near the Syrian
shores is an aggressive act and a provocation," the television news said, quoting an
unidentified Information Ministry official.
Anti-aircraft guns opened fire long after the aircrafts left Syrian airspace. However,
Syria said "national air defenses opened fire in the direction of the planes, and they
dispersed." The Syrians said its army successfully drove away the Israel Air force. The
Israel Defense Forces went on high alert along the northern border in the wake of the IAF
flight, Channel 10 TV reported Wednesday evening.
Senior government figures approved the move a few days ago in order to signal to the
Syrian President that Israel in not oblivious to his sponsorship of Hamas' Damascus-based
leader Khaled Mashaal. Military officials said Assad was targeted because of the "direct
link" between Syria and Hamas.
Later on Wednesday Justice Minister Haim Ramon said Mashaal is a target for
assassination in light of his direct involvement in anti-Israeli terror. Israel considers
Mashaal to be directly responsible for the abduction of IDF soldier Gilad Shalit in the
Gaza Strip on Sunday.
In October 2003, IAF warplanes bombed an Islamic Jihad training base deep in Syria. It
was the first attack on Syrian soil in more than two decades. The air strike followed a
suicide bombing by Islamic Jihad that killed 19 Israelis in a restaurant.
Justice Minister Haim Ramon said Wednesday that Mashaal is a target for assassination
for ordering the kidnapping of Gilad Shalit. "He is definitely in our sights... he is a
target," Ramon told Army Radio. "Khaled Mashaal, as someone who is overseeing, actually
commanding the terror acts, is definitely a target." Mashaal is responsible for the Sunday
attack on an IDF base, in which two soldiers were killed and a third kidnapped, Ramon
Israel launched a "limited" ground offensive into the southern Gaza Strip early
Wednesday in an effort to force the kidnappers to free the soldier.
In a meeting with U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales Wednesday morning, Ramon said
that he was in no doubt that if it were Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden who was
orchestrating terrorist attacks from Damascus, the international community would take
decisive action to put an end to it.
In response, Gonzales expressed his understanding of the issue, and promised to pass
the message along. He mentioned President George Bush's statement, following the 9/11
terror attack in the United States, in which he said "Anyone who aides terror is a
Ramon called on the international community to force Syria's Assad to expel Mashaal
from Damascus, where he has operated freely for years.
In a bid to distance itself from Mashaal's activities, a Syrian Information Ministry
official said, "If the goal of this [flight] is to blame the political leadership of Hamas
for the abduction of the Israeli soldier, then Israel is making a big mistake that goes
Israel tried to kill Mashaal in a botched assassination attempt in Jordan in 1997. Two
Mossad agents injected him with poison, but were caught. As Mashaal lay dying in a
Jordanian hospital, King Hussein of Jordan forced Israel to provide the antidote in return
for the release of the Mossad agents.
After the assassination attempt, Jordan's relationship with Hamas deteriorated and
Mashaal was expelled to Qatar, where he lived before moving to Damascus.
On Wednesday, a senior Hamas official said Israel's military offensive in Gaza could
jeopardize the life of the Israeli soldier held by Palestinians.
Moussa Abu Marzouk, the deputy of Hamas political leader Khaled Mashaal, spoke hours
after Israeli jets blasted a Gaza power station, knocking out electricity in most of the
territory, and Israeli tanks and thousands of troops took up positions near the town of
"Gaza is a small area," Abu Marzouk told AP in an interview. "Cleansing the area (by
the Israeli army) would certainly affect the life of the prisoner soldier. He is among the
Abu Marzouk said he believed the abductors want to keep the soldier alive to trade him
for Palestinians detained by Israel. "For sure, he's in hands that will protect him and
treat him well. Our morals and our religion dictate that we do this to every prisoner," he
Abu Marzouk said Syrian President Bashar Assad, whose country hosts him and Mashaal, is
not involved in the prisoner issue. But in the Palestinian territories, an aide to
President Mahmoud Abbas said both Abbas and Egyptian officials had called Assad to ask him
to persuade Mashaal to free the soldier.
Abu Marzouk said he knew nothing of reports that a Hamas delegation, possibly led by
Mashaal, would be going to Cairo soon.
Israeli Air Strikes Continue in Gaza
By VOA News, IsraelNationalNews.com & YnetNews.com
Israeli military forces have launched new air strikes on the southern Gaza Strip, in an
operation to rescue a soldier kidnapped by Palestinian terrorists.
The army said it targeted a weapons factory in the southern town of Khan Younis late
In the past day, Israeli troops and armor moved into southern Gaza as air strikes
destroyed bridges and power plants. No casualties have been reported, but hundreds of
thousands of Gazans are without power.
Israeli military forces said they are also preparing to launch an offensive into the
northern Gaza Strip, opening a second front in the operation.
Palestinian officials have denounced the offensive, calling it "collective punishment"
for the recent kidnapping of three Israeli citizens.
Israel says the Gaza offensive is a rescue operation. Israel blames an exiled Hamas
leader living in Syria for ordering the soldier's kidnapping.
As tensions over the hostage-taking built, the Hamas-led Palestinian government
proposed a prisoner swap to resolve the situation. Israel has not publicly responded to
The terrorist organization reportedly holding another kidnapped Israeli, Eliyahu
Asheri, threatened that he would be "butchered in front of TV cameras" if Israel does not
stop its operation in Gaza.
"I am announcing for the first time that the kidnapped Zionist Israel is searching for
is the same settler who is being held by us. He is aged 18-and-a-half... and is a soldier
in a pre-military academy," said Abu Abir, the spokesman for the Palestinian Resistance
Committees, which claims to be holding Asheri.
The claim is being taken very seriously by security forces because the terrorist used
Asheri's middle name, Pinchas, which had not been made public. The PRC also said that no
more information about Asheri would be given without receiving something in return.
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert threatened to take "extreme action" if kidnapped Israeli
soldier Gilad Shalit was not immediately released. "We have no intention to occupy Gaza or
remain there. We have one purpose only, to return Gilad home. The policy of Israel always
has been not to abandon soldiers."
Olmert repeated his refusal to negotiate for the return of Gilad. "I repeat. No
negotiations will be conducted. Yesterday's operation is not the end of the story. We will
continue to conduct military and anti-terrorism operations. No one involved in terrorism
will have immunity."
Olmert placed responsibility for the developments in Gaza squarely on the head of the
PA leadership. "The situation in which we find ourselves is the direct responsibility of
the Hamas government and the leaders connected to it in Syria."
At a joint press conference held by armed organizations, the groups announced their
joint preparations in order to repel the IDF operation. They said that Israeli side should
expect surprised and unprecedented resistance, which will cause many casualties among IDF
The IDF has not yet set its exact date for the entrance of forces. Unlike the smooth
entrance into the Dahaniya area, where the army hardly saw any resistance by Palestinian
gunmen the IDF knows that the entrance into the north could be much more complex,
and slow, due to the large number of terror cells in the area and explosive devices
planted on the ground in order to harm forces.
The Air Force dropped leaflets in northern Gaza ahead of the operation, in which it
called on residents to abide by IDF instructions and refrain from wondering around any
area in which forces are operating in. The leaflets also warned the forces are working to
free the kidnapped soldier, and added that anyone who interfered with the operations is
exposing himself to danger.
An al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades Member, Abu Ahmed, told Ynet that despite the threats being
heard, local organizations are preparing for the IDF incursion. "In previous invasions the
Israeli side absorbed heavy losses in armored personnel carriers and jeeps that blew up,
but this time we promise that the losses on the Israeli side will be much larger. We are
preparing suicide bombers, car bombs, tunnels, and booby trapped donkeys. Everything that
the Israelis encounter could turn out to be a deathtrap," he said.
Abu Ahmed said that the Palestinian fighters would use massive amounts of rockets and
mortars against the IDF forces that will advance towards them. "We will use tonight and in
coming days in weapons and rockets that have not yet been operationally used. The Israelis
won't know from where they are being it. Northern Gaza will turn into one large cemetery
for the invaders. We also commit to carry on firing rockets on Sderot and Ashkelon during
the Israeli operation."
The al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades commander refused to address reports that other senior
figures in his organization succeeded in creating rockets that could contain chemical or
biological agents. "I don't want to address what we have or don't have. The coming hours
will do the talking," he said.
Abu Ahmed added that the IDF is trying to turn the kidnapping of Cpl. Gilad Shalit into
an embarrassment. "I promise that the mujahadeen (holy fighters) will do everything so
that the result will be the opposite. Our main mission, other than repelling the invasion,
is to capture as many Israeli soldiers as possible."
He said that every Palestinian organization would take part in the fight against the
IDF, despite the recent tensions between Hamas and Fatah. "The IDF attack in Gaza and its
intention to attack again only show us that the Palestinians must stop losing energy on
internal and unnecessary divisions. We know that the enemy does not differentiate between
an al-Aqsa activist and a Hamas activist, and therefore one of the good things that will
grow from this battle is that all of the organizations will again be one body, after the
unfortunate weeks we had of internal fighting."
White House Spokesman Tony Snow said Israel has the right to defend itself and the
lives of its citizens. "In any actions the government of Israel may undertake, the United
States urges that it ensures that innocent civilians are not harmed and also that it avoid
the unnecessary destruction of property and infrastructure. All parties ought to take
every measure to restore the security situation in Gaza."
Asked if Israeli air strikes on bridges and electrical power stations satisfy U.S.
calls not to damage infrastructure, Snow said he would not comment further.
Israeli military officials said the air strikes are aimed at intimidating terrorists and
preventing them from moving the kidnapped soldier. Snow called on the Islamic terrorist
group Hamas to release their captive and restore security through the Hamas-led
Missionaries Accosted in Mea She'arim
Jerusalem scuffle: Christian missionaries in a religious neighborhood were accosted by
hareidi-religious youths. "Missionary activity here is like waving a red flag at a bull,"
one resident said.
Details of the incident are sketchy. It began shortly after 10 a.m., when a group of
tourists, apparently from Germany, walked into the religious neighborhood of Mea She'arim
wearing orange shirts, emblazoned with the missionary slogan 'Your G-d is my god, Your
people is my people." Some eyewitnesses reported seeing a missionary emblem on the back of
A group of religious youths and men very quickly surrounded the group and started
yelling at them to get out of the neighborhood. It was not clear whether the hareidim
pushed them before or after an orange-shirted man kicked one of the hareidim. There were
also conflicting reports as to whether the hareidim chased the Germans up the street, or
whether another group of suspected missionaries was encountered nearby in a separate
A spontaneous protest rally was held afterwards in Sabbath Square, between the
traditional religious communities of Mea She'arim and Geulah, and two hareidim were
Arutz-7 has received anecdotal evidence of increased missionary activity in downtown
Jerusalem. Jerusalem-area tour guide Yoni Berg told Arutz-7,
"I'm in downtown fairly frequently, and I have seen them of late. Friends of mine who work
there have also noted them. They wear shirts with the words 'Your G-d is my god, your
people is my people', and they pass out pamphlets that have Jewish themes but are designed
to lead the misinformed to believe in Jesus."
"Most of the people refuse to take the pamphlets," Berg said, "but unfortunately, I
have seen several cases where the missionaries engage Jews in conversation."
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