Jerusalem – For the first time, Hamas is asking for direct talks with Israel to discuss reopening the crossing points into the Gaza Strip. The Palestinian government headed by ousted Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh made a direct approach Tuesday to Israel on the matter.
Haniyeh’s economic adviser Khaled el-Halout said the Palestinian government would ensure quiet at the crossings and would reach an understanding with other Palestinian factions so that they undertake not to attack the crossings to avoid damaging the economic interests of the Gaza Strip residents.
Sources in the Israeli security establishment said they know of no such plan, and in any case, Israel will not hold any direct contacts with Hamas on any matter.
Haniyeh, however, said on Tuesday that he is not opposed to privatization of the crossing points in order to alleviate the suffering of residents of the Gaza Strip. He said he is closely following the matter of the crossings and is in touch with all the relevant agencies.
The visit of the foreign ministers of Egypt and Jordan, which was to have taken place on Friday, has been postponed. Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit said he and his Jordanian counterpart Abdel Ilah al-Khatib postponed their visit at the request of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.
Hamas Training Children In Use Of Weapons In Mosques
Hamas has special summer activities for the children of Gaza: a terrorist summer camp. “Come to summer camps of Islam, religion and fun,” Hamas offers children and youth. Along with visits to the zoo, the proposed fun also includes training in shooting firearms, dismantling and assembling weapons and basic acquaintance with explosives. “Here is where the preachers and leaders of the future will grow,” promises one of the counselors.
Hamas’ summer project, which operates under the name “Freedom for the Prisoners” and is managed by two Islamic societies belonging to Hamas, started about 10 days ago: Several dozen summer camps were set up throughout the Gaza Strip, and dozens of children were “recruited” for each. In all, hundreds and perhaps thousands of children took part in the camps. Officially, the camps were designated for children of seventh to ninth grades, but in practice, much younger children registered.
The camps are held inside mosques and Islamic schools, far from the eye of the media, which is not permitted to cover the activity inside. The full content of the summer camps has also been carefully safeguarded until now.
Pictures that reached Ma’ariv reveal military training, for all intents and purposes, of the children. Most of the training is carried out with wooden rifles shaped like Kalashnikovs. The children also learn to dismantle and assemble rifles and hand grenades. They are given training in shooting firearms and are instructed on explosive charges. The counselors belong to the Iz a Din al-Kassam Brigades, Hamas’ military wing. They are dressed in military uniforms and do not try to conceal their identity.
In addition, the children hear sermons and incitement talks against Israel and Fatah and are exposed to political lectures in which Fatah members are accused of treason and collaboration with Israel.
On Monday night, a special IDF force supported by the GSS, arrested Nidal Tahsin Darwish Fakiye, head of the Tanzim in Nablus. In the course of the operation, the troops found two pistols and two matching magazines.
One of the terrorist cells that Fakiye headed was involved in recent years in hundreds of bombings, shootings and suicide attacks and kidnapping attempts. In these attacks, 10 soldiers were hurt in the Nablus area. Under Fakiye’s leadership, the cell manufactured bombs and bomb vests, supplying them to other terrorist organizations in the Nablus area. Fakiye’s cell, which was financed by both elements in the Gaza Strip and Hezbollah, was currently planning multi-casualty terrorist attacks, both in the Nablus area and inside Israel.
This arrest occurred on the same day that the U.S. once again announced that it would continue to arm and support Fatah.
IDF: Nuclear Capability For
Iran In Mid-2009
Iran can reach nuclear capability as early as mid-2009, estimate IDF officials. However, various intelligence officials say that a more reasonable date is 2010.
An examination of different assessments of the IDF Intelligence Branch over the years indicates an inconsistent picture: In 1991, experts predicted that Iran would have a bomb within 7-8 years; a year afterward, the estimate was upped to 10 years; in 1995, then-director of military intelligence Maj. Gen. Uri Saguy said that the bomb could be expected in 8-10 years; in 2003, the IDF spoke about 2005; in 2005, about 2011; in April 2006, the current director of military intelligence, Maj. Gen. Amos Yadlin, predicted that Iran would have a nuclear bomb in 2009, and a month later he corrected himself and now assesses that the target date is 2010.
At present, the assessments regarding the ticking clock stand at about two years from today. It should be noted that in order to delay Iran’s process of going nuclear, the intelligence agencies can provide operational targets, if needed.
David Bedein can be reached at Media@actcom.co.il. His Web site is www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com
©The Bulletin 2007