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The Lekarev Report, Israel News September 2, 2008

2 Elul 5768
September 2, 2008
1.jpgFive Kidnappings Thwarted Abroad

The Israeli Defense establishment has succeeded in thwarting five attempts by Hizbollah to kidnap Israeli businessmen operating abroad. A senior security source told the paper that "this was a concentrated effort by Hizbullah, backed by Iran, to carry out kidnappings in retaliation for the assassination of top Hizbullah operative Imad Mugniyah. "Hizbullah," he said, "is scouring for prey, and it's going country by county."

Israel has reportedly been able to intercept such attempts in Europe, West Africa, the US, South America and Asia, where Hizbullah relies on local Shiite communities for assistance.  All the attempts were foiled with the assistance of foreign intelligence agencies, who are acutely aware of Hizbullah and Iran's declared vendetta.
 
The defense establishment has apparently cautioned several prominent businessmen, who travel extensively, of such attempts. The American media reported recently of several attempts made by Hizbullah sleeper-cells in the US to target Jewish institutions in the US and Canada. The Foreign Ministry and the Shin Bet have also recalled several Israeli emissaries from countries deemed to have a volatile security situation.
 
2.jpgIsrael's No. Border to Change???
According to Lebanese reports quoted by Arab media outlets today, Israel is willing to withdraw from the northern part of the disputed village of Ghajar and Shebaa Farms located on the international border between Lebanon and the Golan Heights.
The London-based Arabic-language newspaper al-Sharq al-Awsat reported that Jerusalem recently conveyed a message to Washington, stating that Israel is ready to leave Ghajar after receiving a written guarantee from the Beirut government, through the UNIFIL headquarters, that the area will be controlled by the United Nations peacekeepers in terms of security and administration.

Two weeks ago, the message was relayed in an official letter to Defense Minister Ehud Barak. The issue was partially reported by Israeli media outlets earlier this week, and has now been confirmed by Lebanese officials as well. 
UNIFIL Spokeswoman Yasmina Bouzianne said that the proposal raised is still under discussion. She expressed her hope that the sides would reach an understanding soon.
 
3.jpgIran Gas Conference Under Attack

The US-based Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and the Austrian political organization Stop the Bomb have sharply criticized European energy giants OMV in Austria and Royal Dutch Shell over their sponsorship of the 2nd Iranian Gas Export Conference to be held on October 4 and 5 in Teheran.

The ADL blasted the oil and gas companies for "hindering the effort to isolate Iran."

Simone Dinah Hartmann, a spokeswoman for the nonpartisan activist coalition Stop the Bomb in Vienna, said "The Austrian multinational corporation obviously does not only want to keep the Iranian dictatorship alive with its planned multi-billion deal, but is also now directly financing economic promotion activities of the Iranian terror regime."

The organization Stop the Bomb is demanding that OMV, the biggest oil operator in Central Europe, rescind its €22 billion deal with Iran to develop the South Par gas field. The group argues that OMV, a partially state-owned enterprise, is endangering international security by refusing to isolate Iran commercially. Iran has ignored the European Union (EU) and United Nations Security Council (UN) sanctions to end its nuclear program that can be used to make weapons. Critics charge the Austrian government, which owns 31.5 percent of OMV, with shirking its responsibility for ending OMV's gas contract with Teheran, and failing to bolster the international effort to penalize Iran's recalcitrant behavior.
 
Still No Sign of Rose
 
Police were full of hope that they had finally found the body of 4-year-old Rose Pizem on Monday, but the hope was soon disappointed.

The excitement began when volunteer divers from the ZAKA rescue organization said they had located what appeared to be a suitcase at the bottom of the Yarkon River. Rose's grandfather, Ronny Ron, who has confessed to killing her, had previously told the police that he stuffed her body in a suitcase and threw it into the Yarkon; ever since, police and volunteer divers have been scouring the riverbed for the missing suitcase.

However, what had looked like a suitcase in the river's murky waters turned out to be nothing more than a sack full of garbage in broad daylight.   Police and volunteers also continued to search elsewhere in the Netanya region on Monday, where Rose and her family lived. 
 
4.jpgMilestone in Iraq 
Responsibility for Anbar, the 11th of Iraq's 18 provinces, was transferred to Iraqi provincial security forces at a ceremony (photo) in Ramadi Monday, Sept. 1, at the start of the Sunni Muslim Ramadan.

Ramadi and Falluja were once part of the "triangle of death."

There are still concerns over the future of relations between the US-armed Sunni tribesmen, former allies of al Qaeda and Iraqi insurgents, who now control security in Anbar Province, and the Shiite-dominated government in Baghdad.

About one-third of all American soldiers killed in Iraq since 2003 lost their lives in Anbar, the highway of smuggled terrorists, hardware and cash from neighboring Syria.
 
5.jpgBiden Denounces Accusation

A spokesman for US Democratic vice presidential candidate Joseph Biden on Monday scathingly rejected an Army Radio report which claimed Biden told Jerusalem officials three years ago that he firmly opposed an attack on Iran's nuclear facilities and that Israel would likely have to come to terms with a nuclear Iran.

"This is a lie peddled by partisan opponents of Senators Obama and Biden and we will not tolerate anyone questioning Senator Biden's 35-year record of standing up for the security of Israel," Biden's press secretary, David Wade, said in a statement.

"Joe Biden's first trip as a senator was to Israel. He has worked with every Israeli leader from Golda Meir to Prime Minister Olmert, and he takes a back seat to no one when it comes to protecting the relationship between Israel and the US," Wade added. "Senator Biden has consistently stated - publicly and privately - that a nuclear Iran would pose a grave threat to Israel and the United States and that we must prevent a nuclear Iran." 
 
 
6.jpgHurricane Gustav Weakens
Israelis are thankful to hear this morning that Hurricane Gustav has weakened and according to reports the damage, while still significant, is not as devastating as feared.


However, another storm now at hurricane strength, names Chana, is making its way toward the southeastern United States.  The National Hurricane Center expects Chana to brush the eastern Florida coast on its way to the South Carolina coast. Landfall is expected on Friday.

We continue to watch and pray for all those in the paths of these storms.


Shalom and blessings,

Leah

For Zion's sake I will not be silent; for Jerusalem's sake I will not hold my peace.
Isaiah 62:1
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