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A Question for the World
Comment by Barry Shaw

The question I have for the world is this: In six years time, when Hizbullah launch from central Lebanon a missile they receive from Iran that is tipped with a chemical or biological warhead, and this missile hits Haifa and kills 100,000 people, against whom should Israel go to war? Think carefully on this question. This is the direction the world is going.

Record Number of Rockets Strike Israel

By Jim Teeple (VOA-Jerusalem)

Hizbullah terrorists fired a record number of rockets against Israel Wednesday as Israeli troops carried out their deepest raids yet in Lebanese territory. At least 55 Israelis and 540 Lebanese have died in the conflict that began three weeks ago Wednesday. Israel's prime minister says his country will not stop its offensive until an international peacekeeping force is in Lebanon.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Israel would keep fighting in Lebanon until international peacekeepers arrive there to take up positions previously occupied by Hizbullah.

"Israel will stop fighting when the international force will be present in the southern part of Lebanon," he said. "We cannot stop before then because, if there is no presence of a very effective robust military international force, Hizbullah will be there and we will have achieved nothing. Therefore this is the most important and significant line from where we can think of a cease-fire."

Hizbullah rockets fell south of the Sea of Galilee, along Israel's border with Jordan, 70 kilometers south of the Lebanese border.

Israel has an estimated 10,000 troops in southern Lebanon, but they are encountering heavy resistance in their drive to push Hizbullah out of the area.

Israel resumed air strikes across Lebanon after suspending most attacks for 48 hours after more than 50 Lebanese (Editor: A Lebanese human rights group said in a news release that number was 28, 16 of whom were children(, were killed Sunday in an Israeli strike against the town of Qana.

Olmert said that despite the continuing missile attacks against Israel; his military forces are largely achieving their objective of destroying Hizbullah's infrastructure. "I think Hizbullah has been disarmed by the military operation of Israel to a large degree. That cannot only be measured by the number of missiles they still shoot," he said. The infrastructure of Hizbullah has been entirely destroyed. More than 700 different ground and command positions of Hizbullah were wiped out by the Israeli Army."

Olmert said Hizbullah must unconditionally release two Israeli soldiers it captured three weeks ago. He also said any international force sent to Lebanon should take up positions along Lebanon's border with Syria, to stop Hizbullah being resupplied with weapons.

One Dead in Heavy Katyusha Rocketing of Northern Israel

By & Ha'aretz

After a two-day lull, Hizbullah resumed its Katyusha attacks with fury, firing 210 mid-day rockets, killing one, wounding dozens. Sirens wailed all over the north; rockets hit as far south as the Arab village of Jenin on the West Bank.

"We know that they did not intend to strike Palestinian territory. They intended to strike Israel," said Fahmi Zarer, a spokesman for Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah Party. "It was only a technical problem that made this rocket land here in the Palestinian territories."

In a town along Israel's northern Mediterranean coast, a man riding a bicycle was killed Wednesday afternoon. A house nearby suffered a direct hit. The Israeli man was killed when a Katyusha struck Kibbutz Saar, north of Nahariya, as Hizbullah marked the resumption of strikes on northern Israel. He was identified as 52-year-old Kibbutz Saar member David Lalchuk.

He was killed as he rode his bicycle toward his home after a warning siren went off, said Yehuda Shavit, a local government official. Kibbutz residents said he was originally from the Boston area and had been living in Israel for 20 years. Lalchuk's wife and two daughters had moved to the south earlier in the fighting, Shavit said.

The wave of Katyushas began abruptly around 11 a.m. and continued into the afternoon hours. One rocket hit the outskirts of Beit She'an, some 39 miles south of the Israeli-Lebanese border. This was the furthest south a Katyusha rocket had hit - until a few minutes later, when another Katyusha hit Jenin, an Arab town in the northern Shomron, 42 miles south of the border. Residents of nearby Kibbutz Maaleh Gilboa, for the first time in memory, were ordered to their shelters for two hours. No one was hurt in these attacks.

Magen David Adom, Israel's national emergency medical agency, reported that it has treated dozens of wounded: a woman from Tzfat who is listed in serious condition, three with "moderate" wounds, 11 in "light" condition, and the remainder treated for shock. Homes and buildings have been reported damaged in several different cities, and electricity in the upper Galilee was disrupted.

Among the cities targeted by the heavy Katyusha bombardments were Kiryat Shmonah, Ma'alot, Tzfat, Metulla, Acco, Nahariya, Carmiel, and Hatzor. At least one rocket even fell in the Golan Heights. One of 11 rockets fired at Tiberias hit an empty house directly, and several fires erupted in and near the city.

After a short hiatus, another wave hit the Jezreel Valley, with 4-8 rockets hitting Afula and environs. In Nahariya, a rocket hit a two-story house, nearly totally destroying the first floor; the family inside, which followed instructions and found shelter inside a solid-concrete room, was not hurt.

The three launchers from which rockets were fired at Beit She'an, Afula and Haifa during Wednesday were destroyed, said the Israel Air Force. "Not four minutes pass between the moment a rocket is launched in the direction of Afula or Haifa and the time the launcher and the person behind it are hit," said the head of the IAF's Air Directorate, Brig. Gen. Yohanan Locker, at a news briefing.

An IDF soldier was hurt and is in "moderate" condition, and another was lightly hurt, by a Katyusha rocket that fell on the eastern sector of the Israeli-Lebanese border early Wednesday afternoon.

The three soldiers killed on Tuesday in the southern Lebanese Hizbullah stronghold village of Kafr Ita al-Sha'b are: Lt. Ilan Gabai, 22, of Kiryat Tivon, First Sgt. Yehonatan Einhorn, 22, of Moshav Gimzo, and Staff Sgt. Michael Levine, 22, of Jerusalem. Their bodies were rescued from the battle scene only during the night.

Levine immigrated to Israel from the United States on his own three years ago. He will be laid to rest Thursday, at 5 p.m. (local time) in Jerusalem's Mount Herzl Military Cemetery.

Islamic Movement: Prevent Jews from Visiting Temple Mount on Thursday

By Ha'aretz

The Islamic Movement warned Wednesday against the possibility that Jewish groups would try to reach the Temple Mount on Thursday (The Ninth of Av) and damage the Al Aqsa Mosque.

The group's warning follows a Supreme Court decision made earlier this week, ordering police to allow whoever wants to visit the Temple Mount during regular visiting hours on the Ninth of Av.

Two Knesset members from the Islamic Movement, Sheikh Ibrahim Sarsur (Ra'am-Ta'al) and Sheikh Abbas Zkoor (Ra'am-Ta'al) sent an urgent letter to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, requesting that the government prevent members of the Temple Mount Faithful from reaching the area outside the Al Aqsa Mosque. "Extremist Jewish groups may damage the Al Aqsa Mosque. If this were to happen, heaven forbid, it would inflame the region," the MKs wrote.

The Islamic Movement's Northern Branch also warned of what could take place Thursday in the vicinity of the Temple Mount. The head of the movement, Sheikh Raed Selah, said in a radio interview that the Supreme Court does not have the authority to rule on the matter.

According to Selah, "The Supreme Court isn't worthy of deciding on matters pertaining to the Al Aqsa Mosque, because Israel does not have sovereignty over it. Selah called on Islamic Movement supporters to reach the Al Aqsa Mosque on Thursday.

Peretz: Iran Wants to Combine Nuclear Threat with Northern Front


Defense Minister Amir Peretz said Wednesday that Israel's military offensive against Hizbullah "exposed what Iran really planned."

Speaking to Israel's Channel 10 TV Peretz said if the offensive were to have been launched a year from now it would have been much more complex because "they (Hizbullah) would have been combined with a nuclear threat which is being developed in Iran."

He said Iran would be willing to send troops to Lebanon, which would make it more complicated for Israel to fight Hizbullah.

Peretz stressed the importance of the operation, stating that Hizbullah made a strategic mistake when it executed Iran's orders to attack Israeli soldiers on July 12, an attack which claimed the lives of eight soldiers and led to the capture of two others, because it didn't expect Israel to launch a large-scale operation.

Asked about Hizbullah's seemingly unharmed rocket firing capability with the Shiite group managing to fire more than 210 rockets into Israel on Wednesday, Peretz said the intensity of the attack proves that Israel is fighting for its existence but promised that a turning point in the battle is closer than ever.

Peretz said that Israel would not be pressured to end the operation despite intensifying international calls for a ceasefire, adding that the United States is fully backing Israel. "I believe that the United States is giving us all the support, but we will not make decision about our military offensive based on pressure – be it the Americans or the Europeans," he said.

Peretz said the success of Israel's military operation against Hizbullah would create the necessary conditions for the deployment of an international peacekeeping force in southern Lebanon.

He said Israel's strategy of "turning a blind eye" to Hizbullah's rocket arsenal and belief that the group would not jeopardize years of economic growth and reconstruction in Lebanon by provoking Israel proved erroneous as the Shiite proved it is indifferent to the country's economic interests.

Seattle: Muslim Man Charged in Jewish Center Shooting

By the Seattle Times

King County prosecutors Wednesday charged Naveed Haq with aggravated first-degree murder and five counts of first-degree attempted murder in last week's shooting at the Jewish Federation offices in downtown Seattle. Haq is accused of killing Pamela Waechter, 58, and injuring five other women after forcing his way into the federation's office just after 4 p.m. Friday and randomly shooting employees. Aggravated first-degree murder is punishable by either the death penalty or life in prison without the possibility of release. Haq, 30, has also been charged with first-degree kidnapping for holding a gun to the back of a 14-year-old girl to force his way into the building; one charge of first-degree burglary and malicious harassment, the felony charge for a hate crime. Haq, who is in custody in the King County Jail without bail, is scheduled to be arraigned Aug. 10. After Haq's arraignment, prosecutor Norm Maleng will have 30 days to decide whether to seek the death penalty. Maleng said there appears to be premeditation. "The world has gotten to be a smaller place," said Maleng at a news conference this morning. "There's no place in our community for hate crimes. The victims were killed and injured, not because of who they were as individuals, but because the defendant wanted to use them as symbols, to strike at members of the Jewish faith everywhere."

Hitler's Bunker Builder Constructing Home for Holocaust Survivors Press Trust of India

The company that built Hitler's Berlin bunker is now building a retirement home serving mainly Holocaust survivors. Tomas Jelinek, a former leader of Prague's once-thriving Jewish community said that the choice of the firm was "unfortunate."

But Frantisek Banyai, the current head of the local Jewish community, said he wasn't worried by the company's past -- even though it built the bunker where Adolf Hitler killed himself on April 30, 1945, as well his Bavarian Alpine retreat, Berghof. We did not examine these things," Banyai said on Monday. "We opened a tender and they gave us the best price."

The Czech branch of Hochtief, Germany's largest construction company started building the 200 million-koruna ($8.89 million) retirement home last month and plans to complete it within 18 months. The facility will accommodate about 60 people and include a medical centre and daycare centre.

The company has admitted to using slave labor during World War II. Past construction projects include Nazi Germany's "Westwall" line of defenses and the "Atlantic Wall" in northern France, as well as Hitler's "Wolf's Lair" command headquarters in Rastenburg, then in Eastern Prussia, now Poland.

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