Jerusalem – Israel has gone on a heightened state of alert in an attempt to foil any possible attacks by Hezbollah toward the end of this week, when the 40-day mourning period for Imad Mughniyeh comes to an end. Israeli troops have been beefed up along the northern border, while Israeli intelligence units have dispatched reinforcements to key locations overseas that are believed to be likely targets for a revenge attack.

Israel’s focus is also on Israeli and Jewish institutions abroad, particularly given the memory of the 1994 attack on the Israeli embassy in Argentina and the subsequent attack on the Jewish community center in Buenos Aires in the aftermath of the killing of Abbas Mussawi, the former Hezbollah secretary general.

This highest state of alert was decided upon after a series of intensive consultations that Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Mossad Director Meir Dagan, Israel Intelligence Director Yuval Diskin and Counter-Terrorism Bureau Director Brig. Gen. Nitzan Nuriel held over the weekend. The consultations indicated that although there are no clear signs that Hezbollah is about to perpetrate a large-scale terror attack over the next several days, nevertheless it is necessary to prepare for an attempted large-scale terror attack around the 40th day since the killing of Mr. Mughniyeh, for which Israel never took responsibility.

In light of the travel warning issued by the Israel counterterrorism office, orders have been made sharper for the coming week. This includes a recommendation to Israelis not to travel in large groups, particularly to Muslim states. Thus, for example, it was learned that the trip planned by a group of architects to Indonesia, which was supposed to take place this week, has been postponed until further notice on the recommendation of security officials. Other delegations are expected to receive a similar recommendation over the next several days.

Security on all flights to and from Israel will also be particularly meticulous, as will sea traffic, in order to protect Israeli vessels at sea.

If the next several days pass without incident, security officials believe that the next high alert will be on Passover Seder night next month.

On Friday night, a firebomb was thrown into the living room of the home of Yossi Knafo, a Jewish Agency emissary in Rhode Island, while he was there. Luckily, the firebomb exploded on contact with the window, and the fire broke out only on the home’s outer wall and adjacent yard. The emissary was not harmed and was taken immediately to a hotel. Local police and the FBI have begun an investigation.

Meanwhile, yesterday morning, the Islamic Jihad terror group confirmed that three of its men who were killed in Gaza last night were on their way to fire rockets at Israel.

After a weeklong lull, the IDF resumed its air attacks in Gaza, hitting the cell of Islamic Jihad rocket launchers who perpetrated the rocket fire on Feb. 9 that wounded 8-year-old Osher Twito of Sderot, whose leg was amputated.

According to IDF officials, two members of the cell, Mohammed Shaar, 30, of Khan Yunis and Hassan Shakoura, 23, of Beit Lahiya, “fired with their own hands the rocket that struck Osher. Since then, they have launched several more Kassam rockets, and yesterday they were hit when they were on their way to perpetrate another launching.” Another operative was killed in the attack.

Israeli Victims Of Terrorism Can Now Sue PA

Victims of Palestinian terrorism can now sue the Palestinian Authority (PA) for damages.

Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni will send a special brief to the court in the next few days that will serve to clarify the Palestinian Authority’s legal status, which is likely to allow the families of victims to sue for extensive damages.

Many families of victims of terrorism have been fighting for years in the Israeli legal system to obtain a ruling that would enjoin the Palestinian Authority to pay them damages for its role in having failed to prevent terrorists from leaving their territory for Israel. Ms. Livni instructed the Foreign Ministry legal adviser, Attorney Ehud Keinan, to send the Jerusalem District Court official documents that she signed that are to be appended to each one of the 55 suits currently being pursued by the families of victims of terrorism. The documents in question will allow the Palestinian Authority institutions to be sued for damages.

The Bulletin reported last Thursday that the official Palestinian Authority media provided full support for the eight murders that had taken place one week before at the Mercaz Haarv Yeshiva seminary, an endorsement that may prove to be actionable.

The formal document that Ms. Livni will submit, titled a “Foreign Minister’s Certificate,” will remove the principal obstacle that stood in the way of suing the PA for damages in Israeli courts. The PA claimed immunity by virtue of its sovereignty, which meant that the Israeli legal system had no authority to prosecute it.

A high-ranking political official said, “The message is political, symbolic and legal. It is true that we are engaged in peace negotiations with PA chairman Abu Mazen, but Livni is making it clear that alongside of the Israeli goodwill to achieve an historic compromise, there would be no compromises with respect to the war on terrorism. The Palestinian Authority has to shoulder its responsibility and fight terrorism. Israel won’t allow it to enjoy the immunity reserved to states when legal suits are filed.”

“This is a welcome step being taken by the government,” said attorneys Maxim and Reuven Lipkin, who represent dozens of families of people who were either murdered or maimed in the terror attack at the Dolphinarium night club in Tel Aviv in June 2001. “It is liable to produce more rapid progress with the suits and reject the PA’s arguments that they should be rejected because of immunity.”

Irena Sakelnik, whose daughter Julia was killed in the Dolphinarium attack, told the Israeli media on Saturday: “For years we’ve been suing the Palestinians, and it’s stuck because they told us that they can’t be sued. This entire time we couldn’t understand why it really wasn’t moving ahead. The state pays compensation for the victims of terrorism because it is responsible for its residents’ well-being. But the Palestinians are the ones who were negligent and they ought to pay the damages. There can be no compensating what I lost, but at least there ought to be something that I can live on.”

David Bedein can be reached at Media@actcom.co.il. His Web site is www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com

Jerusalem – Israel has gone on a heightened state of alert in an attempt to foil any possible attacks by Hezbollah toward the end of this week, when the 40-day mourning period for Imad Mughniyeh comes to an end. Israeli troops have been beefed up along the northern border, while Israeli intelligence units have dispatched reinforcements to key locations overseas that are believed to be likely targets for a revenge attack.

Israel’s focus is also on Israeli and Jewish institutions abroad, particularly given the memory of the 1994 attack on the Israeli embassy in Argentina and the subsequent attack on the Jewish community center in Buenos Aires in the aftermath of the killing of Abbas Mussawi, the former Hezbollah secretary general.

This highest state of alert was decided upon after a series of intensive consultations that Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Mossad Director Meir Dagan, Israel Intelligence Director Yuval Diskin and Counter-Terrorism Bureau Director Brig. Gen. Nitzan Nuriel held over the weekend. The consultations indicated that although there are no clear signs that Hezbollah is about to perpetrate a large-scale terror attack over the next several days, nevertheless it is necessary to prepare for an attempted large-scale terror attack around the 40th day since the killing of Mr. Mughniyeh, for which Israel never took responsibility.

In light of the travel warning issued by the Israel counterterrorism office, orders have been made sharper for the coming week. This includes a recommendation to Israelis not to travel in large groups, particularly to Muslim states. Thus, for example, it was learned that the trip planned by a group of architects to Indonesia, which was supposed to take place this week, has been postponed until further notice on the recommendation of security officials. Other delegations are expected to receive a similar recommendation over the next several days.

Security on all flights to and from Israel will also be particularly meticulous, as will sea traffic, in order to protect Israeli vessels at sea.

If the next several days pass without incident, security officials believe that the next high alert will be on Passover Seder night next month.

On Friday night, a firebomb was thrown into the living room of the home of Yossi Knafo, a Jewish Agency emissary in Rhode Island, while he was there. Luckily, the firebomb exploded on contact with the window, and the fire broke out only on the home’s outer wall and adjacent yard. The emissary was not harmed and was taken immediately to a hotel. Local police and the FBI have begun an investigation.

Meanwhile, yesterday morning, the Islamic Jihad terror group confirmed that three of its men who were killed in Gaza last night were on their way to fire rockets at Israel.

After a weeklong lull, the IDF resumed its air attacks in Gaza, hitting the cell of Islamic Jihad rocket launchers who perpetrated the rocket fire on Feb. 9 that wounded 8-year-old Osher Twito of Sderot, whose leg was amputated.

According to IDF officials, two members of the cell, Mohammed Shaar, 30, of Khan Yunis and Hassan Shakoura, 23, of Beit Lahiya, “fired with their own hands the rocket that struck Osher. Since then, they have launched several more Kassam rockets, and yesterday they were hit when they were on their way to perpetrate another launching.” Another operative was killed in the attack.

Israeli Victims Of Terrorism Can Now Sue PA

Victims of Palestinian terrorism can now sue the Palestinian Authority (PA) for damages.

Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni will send a special brief to the court in the next few days that will serve to clarify the Palestinian Authority’s legal status, which is likely to allow the families of victims to sue for extensive damages.

Many families of victims of terrorism have been fighting for years in the Israeli legal system to obtain a ruling that would enjoin the Palestinian Authority to pay them damages for its role in having failed to prevent terrorists from leaving their territory for Israel. Ms. Livni instructed the Foreign Ministry legal adviser, Attorney Ehud Keinan, to send the Jerusalem District Court official documents that she signed that are to be appended to each one of the 55 suits currently being pursued by the families of victims of terrorism. The documents in question will allow the Palestinian Authority institutions to be sued for damages.

The Bulletin reported last Thursday that the official Palestinian Authority media provided full support for the eight murders that had taken place one week before at the Mercaz Haarv Yeshiva seminary, an endorsement that may prove to be actionable.

The formal document that Ms. Livni will submit, titled a “Foreign Minister’s Certificate,” will remove the principal obstacle that stood in the way of suing the PA for damages in Israeli courts. The PA claimed immunity by virtue of its sovereignty, which meant that the Israeli legal system had no authority to prosecute it.

A high-ranking political official said, “The message is political, symbolic and legal. It is true that we are engaged in peace negotiations with PA chairman Abu Mazen, but Livni is making it clear that alongside of the Israeli goodwill to achieve an historic compromise, there would be no compromises with respect to the war on terrorism. The Palestinian Authority has to shoulder its responsibility and fight terrorism. Israel won’t allow it to enjoy the immunity reserved to states when legal suits are filed.”

“This is a welcome step being taken by the government,” said attorneys Maxim and Reuven Lipkin, who represent dozens of families of people who were either murdered or maimed in the terror attack at the Dolphinarium night club in Tel Aviv in June 2001. “It is liable to produce more rapid progress with the suits and reject the PA’s arguments that they should be rejected because of immunity.”

Irena Sakelnik, whose daughter Julia was killed in the Dolphinarium attack, told the Israeli media on Saturday: “For years we’ve been suing the Palestinians, and it’s stuck because they told us that they can’t be sued. This entire time we couldn’t understand why it really wasn’t moving ahead. The state pays compensation for the victims of terrorism because it is responsible for its residents’ well-being. But the Palestinians are the ones who were negligent and they ought to pay the damages. There can be no compensating what I lost, but at least there ought to be something that I can live on.”

David Bedein can be reached at Media@actcom.co.il. His Web site is www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com

©The Bulletin 2008

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David Bedein is an MSW community organizer and an investigative journalist.   In 1987, Bedein established the Israel Resource News Agency at Beit Agron to accompany foreign journalists in their coverage of Israel, to balance the media lobbies established by the PLO and their allies.   Mr. Bedein has reported for news outlets such as CNN Radio, Makor Rishon, Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, BBC and The Jerusalem Post, For four years, Mr. Bedein acted as the Middle East correspondent for The Philadelphia Bulletin, writing 1,062 articles until the newspaper ceased operation in 2010. Bedein has covered breaking Middle East negotiations in Oslo, Ottawa, Shepherdstown, The Wye Plantation, Annapolis, Geneva, Nicosia, Washington, D.C., London, Bonn, and Vienna. Bedein has overseen investigative studies of the Palestinian Authority, the Expulsion Process from Gush Katif and Samaria, The Peres Center for Peace, Peace Now, The International Center for Economic Cooperation of Yossi Beilin, the ISM, Adalah, and the New Israel Fund.   Since 2005, Bedein has also served as Director of the Center for Near East Policy Research.   A focus of the center's investigations is The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). In that context, Bedein authored Roadblock to Peace: How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict - UNRWA Policies Reconsidered, which caps Bedein's 28 years of investigations of UNRWA. The Center for Near East Policy Research has been instrumental in reaching elected officials, decision makers and journalists, commissioning studies, reports, news stories and films. In 2009, the center began decided to produce short movies, in addition to monographs, to film every aspect of UNRWA education in a clear and cogent fashion.   The center has so far produced seven short documentary pieces n UNRWA which have received international acclaim and recognition, showing how which UNRWA promotes anti-Semitism and incitement to violence in their education'   In sum, Bedein has pioneered The UNRWA Reform Initiative, a strategy which calls for donor nations to insist on reasonable reforms of UNRWA. Bedein and his team of experts provide timely briefings to members to legislative bodies world wide, bringing the results of his investigations to donor nations, while demanding reforms based on transparency, refugee resettlement and the demand that terrorists be removed from the UNRWA schools and UNRWA payroll.   Bedein's work can be found at: www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com and www.cfnepr.com. A new site,unrwa-monitor.com, will be launched very soon.