Bush changes itinerary of Israel trip to fit in visit to Capernaum

By Yossi Verter and Eli Ashkenazi, Haaretz Correspondents
United States President George W. Bush has changed the itinerary of his
trip to Israel in order to fit in a visit to Capernaum, the Christian
holy site.
The U.S. president has specifically requested that his January 9 trip
to Israel include a stop at the place in which, according to the New
Testament, Jesus chose his 12 apostles.
Bush is likely to arrive there in his presidential helicopter under
heavy protection. White House security personnel have already visited
the Galilee site and have planned the security arrangements in
coordination with the Israel Police.
Church officials in Capernaum are preparing for the visit, which might
also include a stop at the nearby Church of the Beatitudes. Seven years
ago, Pope John Paul II visited the church and gave a sermon there.
Officials at the Prime Minister's Office are preparing for Bush's visit
to Israel, and have established a special task force dedicated only to
his vist. The task force will be headed by Amnon Ben-Ami, deputy
director of the PMO.
At least 8,000 police officers will provide security for the visit.
An official reception will be held at Ben-Gurion International Airport,
with …

Jerusalem Is A Done Deal !

Some times the most interesting information comes from people on the
ground in the Middle East.  It seems that each person has a friend, a
brother, a cousin or an uncle who is personally linked to a high level
official in the government, on both the Israeli and Palestinian sides. 
During our recent back to back tours, I traveled from coast to coast
throughout Israel for 16 consecutive days. Several things I observed
made me think that this idea of a Palestinian state along side of
Israel was already a “done deal,” and the politicians gathering in
Maryland were simply actors on the stage, speaking out a pre-written
script for the world to hear. After hearing a friend who is linked with
the Palestinian democracy moment, I realized what I was observing and
feeling was not far from the truth.
He said, “Perry, much of what is happening in Israel has already been
decided by Europe and the United States as far back as 14 years ago.” 
I knew that the huge concrete wall dividing the West Bank from Israel
was pre-planned back in the time of Arafat. It is now complete and the
land has already been divided by …

Olmert says Israel must internalize divided J'lem

Herb Keinon and David Horovitz
Israel needs to internalize that even its supportive friends on the
international stage conceive of the country's future on the basis of
the 1967 borders and with Jerusalem divided, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert
has declared to The Jerusalem Post.
At the same time, he made clear that he did not envisage a permanent
accord along the '67 lines, describing Ma'aleh Adumim as an
“indivisible” part of Jerusalem and Israel.
In an interview at the start of a year that he hopes will yield a
permanent Israeli-Palestinian peace accord, the prime minister said
many rival Israeli political parties remain “detached from the reality”
that requires Israel to compromise “on parts of Eretz Yisrael” in order
to maintain its Jewish, democratic nature.
If Israel “will have to deal with a reality of one state for two
peoples,” he said, this “could bring about the end of the existence of
Israel as a Jewish state. That is a danger one cannot deny; it exists,
and is even realistic.”
Indeed, his primary responsibility as prime minister, Olmert said, lay
in ensuring a separation from the Palestinians.
“What will be if we don't want to separate?” he asked rhetorically.
“Will …

The Peace Process Has It Ass-Backwards

By Ted Belman
Saul Singer advises How to pressure for peace.
I go further and suggest that the peace process has it ass-backwards.
Rather than arm and train the terrorists (Fatah) it should force their
Rather than finance them to the tune of $7.4 billion thereby enabling
them to continue the “resistance”, they should be left to fend for
Rather than force Israel to freeze settlement activity thereby removing
time as an issue it should allow Israel to build to its heart’s content
thereby forcing the Palestinians to compromise quickly rather than to
allow an erosion of their position in a final settlement.
Rather than force Israel to make goodwill gestures which merely
encourages intransigence, it should force the Palestinians to make
goodwill gestures. Whatever resistance Israelis have to the “peace
process”, it will be reduced with such real gestures.
This is so obvious that one must conclude that the peace process is
designed to continue the conflict rather than end it.
I should point out that no one is demanding peace at the end of the
process. You will recall that one of the things Arafat balked at at
Camp David, was signing an “end of conflict …

Palestinians Who Prefer Israel

by Daniel Pipes
January 2, 2008
Palestinians have a hidden history of appreciating Israel that
contrasts with their better-known narrative of vilification and
The former has been particularly evident of late, especially since
Israel's prime minister, Ehud Olmert, floated a trial balloon in
October about transferring some Arab-dominated areas of eastern
Jerusalem to the Palestinian Authority. As he rhetorically asked about
Israeli actions in 1967, “Was it necessary to annex the Shuafat refugee
camp, al-Sawahra, Walajeh, and other villages, and then to state that
these are part of Jerusalem? One can ask, I admit, some legitimate
questions about this.”
In one swoop, this statement transformed pro-Israel statements by
Palestinians (for a sampling, see my 2005 article, “The Hell of Israel
Is Better than the Paradise of Arafat”) from the mostly theoretical
into the active and political.
Indeed, Olmert's musings prompted some belligerent responses. As the
title of a Globe and Mail news item puts it, “Some Palestinians prefer
life in Israel: In East Jerusalem, residents say they would fight a
handover to Abbas regime.” The article offers the example of Nabil
Gheit, who, with two stints in Israeli prisons and posters of “the
martyr Saddam Hussein” over the cash …

Fatah intel officer, policeman identified as killers of two Israeli soldiers

“[Ali] Dandis worked as a clerk at the Sharia courts in Hebron. Both
are residents of the West Bank city, security officials said. They
noted that Friday's attack was not the first time that Palestinian
security officials or policemen were involved in terror attacks. Last
month, Ido Zoldan was gunned down in the West Bank by Palestinian
terrorists that turned out to be members of the PA security forces.”
Act of war. Imagine the outrage if Israeli soldiers had killed two
Fatah men under the same circumstances; indeed, there is an appalling
double standard, but it also underscores the fact that the forces of
any legitimate state are expected to conduct themselves with order and
discipline. (Then again, it also begs the question: were they following
orders?) Is “Palestine,” in any form, at any point in time, to be
exempt from that expectation? “'Killers were from Fatah, one was
Palestinian police',” by Yaakov Katz for the Jerusalem Post:
As first published in The Jerusalem Post on Sunday , one of the
terrorists who killed two Israeli hikers on Friday near Hebron is a
policeman in the Palestinian National Security Force, and the other is
a known Fatah operative and a …