Friday, April 27, 2007

A Cup of Trembling: News Briefs

Zechariah 12:2-3
Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem. And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it.

Major Offensive in Gaza Under Consideration
ARUTZ SHEVA - By Hillel Fendel - April 25, 2007
Following Tuesday's barrage of dozens of Kassam rockets and mortar shells on the western Negev area by Hamas terrorists, the top military and political echelons are once again considering a large-scale offensive into Gaza.
Prime Minister Ehud OImert, Defense Minister Amir Peretz and top IDF officers and officials have been meeting, as of early Wednesday afternoon, for several hours.
The head of the Shaar HaNegev Regional Council, senior Labor Party member Shmulik Rifman, calls upon Prime Minister Olmert to "respond sharply" to the rocket attacks. In a letter to the Prime Minister, Rifman writes, "Enough restraint in the face of the continued Kassams! I call upon you to respond sharply. Do not [despite the recent war in Lebanon] repeat the Sabra and Shatila syndrome [a reference to the fear to act militarily that overtook Israeli leaders following the events of 1982 - ed.]. The longer we wait, the more painful and complex it will be."
The IDF, whose tunnel-searching and local Kassam- thwarting operations have continued all the while, seeks permission to carry out a stronger offensive against the terrorist infrastructure in Gaza.
Many military experts have long warned that a large- scale offensive in Gaza - along the lines of Operation Defensive Shield of 2002, in which dozens of terrorists in Shechem and Jenin were killed - will soon be necessary. Now, in light of Hamas warnings of additional attempts to kidnap IDF soldiers, Israel's military option has taken on increasing urgency. - - - -
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59th Independence Day Stats
ARUTZ SHEVA - By Hillel Fendel - April 23, 2007
Israel's population, currently 7,150,000, increased by 121,000 over the past year - a growth rate of 1.8%, twice as high as that of the United States.
The Central Bureau of Statistics released a series of national statistics on Monday, in honor of Israel's 59th Independence Day, falling on Monday night and Tuesday. The Jewish population comprises 76% of the country, and Arabs and Druze - 20%. - - - -
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Kuwait government sets up emergency team to prepare for an Iran-US military conflict
DEBKAFILE - April 25, 2007
Deputy Saleh Ashour reported Tuesday that the Kuwait cabinet had formed a team to draw up plans to keep the country running during a war. Parliament will be briefed.
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Olmert promising leftists Israeli withdrawal
PM solidifying support ahead of report expected to be damaging
WORLDNETDAILY - By Aaron Klein - April 19, 2007
JERUSALEM - Anticipating the release of a report of his handling of last summer's war in Lebanon that is expected to be damaging, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has held meetings in recent days with leading leftist figures pledging to carry out Israeli withdrawals in exchange for their continued support, WND has learned.
Excerpts of testimony given to the Winograd Committee, a commission established to probe the performances during the Lebanon War of various Israeli government and defense branches, are expected to be released in the coming days pending an Israeli Supreme Court decision. The court, which oversees the Committee, is debating when to allow the excerpts to be released. - - -
According to political sources here, Olmert held meetings the past two weeks with leftist political officials, leading intellectuals, prominent leftist groups and leftist media figures. The sources said Olmert told the leftist leaders he is willing to reach a final status agreement with the Palestinians, including an Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank, which borders Jerusalem and is within rocket range of Tel Aviv. - - -
Since the war, there have been widespread calls for Olmert to resign. The prime minister has faced devastatingly low poll numbers, but some analysts speculated his ratings could rise if Olmert reached out to his leftist base and conducted negotiations with the Palestinian Authority or Syria. Already the IDF's Halutz resigned. - - - -
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US sanctions imposed on 14 foreign people, companies and agencies including Syrian navy and air force and Hizballah
DEBKAFILE - April 24, 2007
They are penalized for transferring advanced weapons, missile technology or materials for weapons of mass destruction to and from Iran and Syria.
DEBKAfile adds that the main effect will be on Iranian weapons exports to Indian companies.
US aid, government contracts and exports licenses are barred for two years from a list that includes three Chinese and two Malaysian firms as well as a Singaporean and a Mexican company. The Syrian navy and air force and the Hizballah have never before been named as violators of the Iran and Syria Nonproliferation Act.
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