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      Fundamentally Freund
      by Michael Freund
      An alternative approach to Israeli political commentary.
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      Michael Freund is Founder and Chairman of Shavei Israel (www.shavei.org), which reaches out and assists "lost Jews" seeking to return to the Jewish people. He writes a syndicated column and feature stories for the Jerusalem Post. Previously, he served as Deputy Director of Communications & Policy Planning in the Israeli Prime Minister´s Office under former premier Benjamin Netanyahu. A native of New York, he holds an MBA in Finance from Columbia University and a BA from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. He has lived in Israel for the past decade.
      Elul 8, 5768, 9/8/2008

      Exploiting the Cease-fire in Gaza



      36 months after Israel pulled out, what do we have to show for it? Is Gaza safer? Is Israel safer? The answer is an unequivocal 'no'
      Guess what? Three years after Israel withdrew from the area, Gaza is being used as a training ground to attack Jews.

      No surprise there: indeed, the Palestinian terrorist organizations are busy exploiting the cease-fire currently in place in Gaza to retrain, rearm and prepare for the next round of conflict with Israel.

      That, at least, is what emerges from a report in the Arabic daily A-Sharq Alawsat, whose Gaza correspondent was invited to watch dozens of members of Hamas' Al-Qassam Brigades practice urban warfare.

      "Since the calm agreement between Israel and Hamas came into play," the paper states, "it has been clearly evident that Palestinian resistance factions, without exception, have taken advantage of the ceasefire by conducting military training for their recruits."

      Such training, a spokesman for the Popular Resistance Committees said, also includes practicing how to abduct Israeli soldiers.

      A number of the Palestinian terror groups are making use of the abandoned and largely demolished Jewish communities that once flourished in Gaza. "These sites," the Arabic daily helpfully explains, "are regarded as the best environment for conducting military training because they are uninhabited, have sandy hills, and are very close to the seacoast."

      There you have it: 36 months after Israel pulled out, what do we have to show for it? Is Gaza safer? Is Israel safer? The answer is an unequivocal 'no'.

      Instead, the Strip is now being used as a laboratory for terror. And if it isn't dealt with soon, it will undoubtedly blow up in Israel's face.