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September 11, 2005

IDF'S 'LAST WATCH' IN GAZA STRIP

After last month's evacuation of the settlements, the IDF is about to withdraw from the Gaza Strip. The military has completed its preparations for Operation Last Watch the final evacuation. At a Jerusalem cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and a majority of ministers spoke against demolishing synagogues in the Gaza Strip despite the fact that Palestinians will likely desecrate after they take over. All the religious elements of the synagogues have been moved back to Israel and only the shells of the buildings remain. Initially, Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz recommended the IDF raze the synagogues but rabbis in Israel and abroad protested vehemently. They argued on religious grounds as well as warning that if Israel demolished the synagogues it would serve as a precedent for the removal of ancient synagogues in foreign countries.

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September 09, 2005

THIS WEEK 9.9.05

What are the implications of the brutal killing of Moussa Arafat in the Gaza Strip? What does it reveal about the leadership of Mahmoud Abbas? Jordan's King Abdullah praises Ariel Sharon for implementing the disengagement while warning that al Qaeda may also be active in Israel. In the Likud leadership race, challenger Bibi Netanyahu is facing some tough decisions this weekend in the wake of latest public opinion polls.

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September 06, 2005

SHARON CLOSING GAP WITH NETANYAHU

Just one week after challenging Prime Minister Ariel Sharon for party leadership, former Finance Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is forced to change his campaign strategy.

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September 02, 2005

PAKISTAN, PALESTINIANS & POLITICS

What's behind the dramatic meeting between Israel's Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom and his Pakistani counter-part Kharshid Kasuri in Istanbul? Is Likud candidate Bibi Netanyahu defying U.S. President George W. Bush by announcing that, if elected Prime Minister, he will build housing to link Maale Adumim with Jerusalem? And what impact might a Likud split between incumbent Arik Sharon and challenger Netanyahu have on the next Israeli election? These are some of the key issues discussed by Zalman Shoval, a former Israeli Ambassador to Washington in an interview with IsraCast.

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August 12, 2005

THIS WEEK 12.8.05

Just days before Israeli settlers are to be evacuated from the Gaza Strip, Israel was buffeted time and again, by one surprise after another. With tension reaching a fever pitch over the Gaza withdrawal, Finance Minister Binyamin Netanyahu resigned in protest over the disengagement. Subsequent public opinion polls then showed Netanyahu would topple Sharon in a Likud party election today. Enter U.S. President George W. Bush trying to bolster Sharon and praising his withdrawal plan. While the country is in the throes of the traumatic disengagement, with Sharon sleeping with a loaded pistol under his pillow, Attorney General Manny Mazuz says there is no proof that incitement was responsible for the assassination of former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin nearly ten years ago.

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July 29, 2005

IRA EXAMPLE FOR HAMAS

Former U.S. peace envoy Dennis Ross says Hamas must follow the IRA in Northern Ireland and give up its weapons, if Hamas wants to participate in the political process with Israel. Ross was the Clinton Administrations special representative to the now defunct Oslo peace agreement that was signed by Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat on the White House lawn in 1993. Appearing before the Forum on the Middle East in the Knesset, Ross gave an insiders view of Oslo and looked at future prospects for the Roadmap. David Essing has these audio and printed reports.

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June 10, 2005

INTIFADA #3 OR NOT?

Former Shabak Security Chief Avi Dichter rejects the assessment of former IDF Chief of Staff Moshe Yaalon that the Palestinians are likely to launch a new war of terrorism after Israel implements a withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and 4 settlements in West Bank this fall. In interviews with Israeli newspapers, Dichter says the Palestinians realize that after murdering 1042 Israelis during the past four and a half years, they have achieved nothing and have actually been losing the confrontation. The former security chief warned that Israeli extremists now realize that the Prime Minister is bound on carrying out the disengagement and would assassinate Sharon if given the chance. Dichter also reveals how the 'targeted killing' of terrorist leaders has been so effective in combating Palestinian terrorism.

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May 17, 2005

SHABAK HAS A NEW CHIEF

The new Shabak Security Chief Yuval Diskin has unveiled his thinking on both the Arab and Jewish threats facing Israel today. In his first briefing to the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Diskin presented a detailed assessment against the backdrop of Israel's controversial plan to evacuate the Gaza Strip and 4 northern Samaria settlements starting in August.

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May 15, 2005

CHANGE IN COMMAND

Yuval Diskin has taken over from Avi Dichter as Chief of the Shabak Security Service. At a ceremony in the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem, Ariel Sharon formally appointed Diskin who served as a Deputy to Dichter in the Security Service.The change in command is only the first of two major changes in Israel's command structure that has succeeded in containing Palestinian suicide bombers.

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May 10, 2005

HAMAS - REALITY & ILLUSION

The Hamas gains in Palestinian municipal elections in the Gaza Strip have touched off various responses in Israel. Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom proposed that Israel reconsider the planned withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and 4 West Bank settlements, if Hamas wins the July election for the Palestinian parliament. However, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has confirmed the controversial evacuation will be implemented shortly after Tisha B'Av, which marks the destruction of the First and Second Biblical Temples and falls on August 14th.

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May 02, 2005

DISENGAGEMENT CONNEXIONS

Within a 24-hour period, there has been a flurry of developments swirling around Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's withdrawal plan. On the West Bank, another bloody clash with Palestinian terrorists, while another cabinet resignation shakes the Sharon government. Inside the national unity cabinet, the gap between Likud and Labor remains as wide as ever over the future of the West Bank. Against his being ousted shortly before this summer's evacuation, IDF Chief of Staff Moshe Yaalon has blasted Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz. And on the positive side, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan wraps up a friendly visit in both Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

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April 22, 2005

POPE BENEDICT XVI & THE JEWS

What is likely to be the attitude of the new Pope, Benedict XVI to the Jewish people as a whole and the State of Israel? In this wide-ranging interview, Dr. Yitzhak Minerbi an Israeli expert on Vatican affairs assesses this question and the Vatican's approach to how the Muslim world treats its Christian minorities.

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April 10, 2005

BALANCE SHEET FOR CRAWFORD

The current 'cease-fire' is now facing its gravest crisis. The current flare-up follows several Palestinian violations this past week that culminated in 3 Palestinian youths being shot dead while trying to infiltrate. In Jerusalem, Israeli police have arrested 16 far right Jewish worshipers who tried to ascend the Temple Mount to pray at the site of the First and Second Biblical Temples. Hundreds of years after the destruction of the Second Temple, Muslims built the Al Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock on the site and refuse to allow Jews to worship on the Temple Mount.

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March 13, 2005

IRANIAN 'BOMB' & ISRAEL'S POINT OF NO RETURN

The British newspaper the Sunday Times reports that Israel’s security cabinet has approved an airborne operation against Iran’s nuclear facilities if all else fails to block the ayatollahs from acquiring nuclear weapons. PM Ariel Sharon was said to have convened the secret session at his Negev farm last month. The newspaper also reported that the US approved the Israeli strike. David Essing says although there is no confirmation on the report, it may be part of a 'carrot and stick' policy now being coordinated by the Bush administration to prevent the Iranians from producing 'the bomb'.

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March 13, 2005

EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT DECLARES HEZBOLLAH TERRORIST ORGANIZATION

The resolution was passed overwhelmingly by a vote of 473 in favor and 8 against, with 33 abstentions. The wording of the resolution says, 'The European Parliament considers that clear evidence exists of terrorist activities by Hezbollah. The (EU) Council should take all necessary steps to curtail them.'

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March 06, 2005

PEN-LIKE INSTRUMENT WILL SNIFF OUT EXPLOSIVES

Researchers from the Technion have developed a unique device that can identify improvised explosives, the kind commonly used by terrorist organizations. The pen-like device detects the presence of explosives material using chemical reaction and can be used by law enforcement and airport security to test suspected objects.

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March 04, 2005

PALESTINIAN EXECUTIONS?

At the same time, that Palestinian Authority calls on Israel to release terrorists who murdered Israeli's, the PA is planning to execute Palestinians who acted to prevent the terror attacks.

The Mufti of Jerusalem, Akramah Sabri, the chief Muslim leader, has issued a special edict approving the execution of 15 Palestinians.

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February 20, 2005

CABINET SEALS DISENGAGEMENT

The Israeli Cabinet has voted in favor of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s plan to withdraw from the Gaza Strip and 4 West Bank settlements. The evacuation is slated to begin on July 20th. Finance Minister Bibi Netanyahu, Sharon’s chief rival in the ruling Likud Party, lead 4 other ministers in voting against the disengagement because it did not include a national referendum on the controversial issue. Previously, the cabinet voted for the withdrawal in principle; today the cabinet decided to implement. Last week, the Knesset also voted for the withdrawal plan and the 1$ billion compensation package. Reacting to the cabinet vote, settler leaders declared they would step up their campaign to block the withdrawal.

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January 30, 2005

SETTLERS PROTEST - SHARON DEFIANT

Tens of thousands of settlers and other opponents of Prime Minister Sharon’s withdrawal plan demonstrated outside Israel’s parliament in Jerusalem. Several MKs from Sharon’s own Likud party condemned the Gaza evacuation planned for next summer. However, at the latest cabinet session, Sharon decided to speed up plans to also hand back control of Palestinian towns on the West Bank.

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January 26, 2005

ANTI-SEMITISM DIDN’T DIE IN AUSCHWITZ

The Knesset has marked the sixtieth anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp in 1945. One million two hundred thousand people were murdered in Auschwitz, most of them Jews. After members of the House, Holocaust survivors and foreign diplomats stood in a moment of silence, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon took the rostrum. Sharon charged the Allies knew the Nazis were exterminating the Jews of Europe but did not lift a finger to stop it. He accused the Allied powers of bombing targets near Auschwitz, but refusing to bomb the gas chambers or the railway that was transporting 10,000 Jews daily to their executions. Sharon declared that Israel has learned the lesson; she must depend only upon herself and will never give up its right to self-defense. Cabinet Minister Natan Sharansky warned ‘We are now in the same stage of anti-Semitism that preceded the Holocaust.

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