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How’s that for a headline of a book review? I stand by it, because Aaron Klein’s new offering, ‘The Late Great State of Israel’, is that good.

Editor’s note: Today’s column begins a new series of feature book reviews by Jim Fletcher, whose regular “Writer’s Bloc” column on WND’s Diversions page explores the insider world of book publishing.

With a journalism degree myself, I always love hanging around real reporters, those who hearken back to the days of Ben Hecht or, heck, Sam Clemens – reporters who put their boots on the ground and really investigate stories, unlike fellows such as Anthony Lewis who sip herbal tea in New York and peck out personal bias masquerading as an op-ed.

Klein’s book – don’t be offended by the title if you are pro-Israel – gives the reader first-hand information into dark agendas in the Middle East “peace process.” The Jerusalem bureau chief for WorldNetDaily deserves our thanks for putting himself in harm’s way in order to reports facts about this volatile region.

Early on, Klein provides background on the relationship between Palestinian terror groups and their erstwhile political counterparts, such as Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah/Palestinian Authority.

“Any real separation between Fatah and its terrorist branch exists largely in the minds of those who wish to ignore reality,” Klein states.

This is hugely important! It shows us that while Abbas visits Washington for photo ops, his Fatah storm troops enlist the “Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade” to kill Jews. Klein’s real point here is that Western diplomats and politicians know this, but ignore it in order to keep the mirage of peace alive.

I’ve visited Jerusalem and the Temple Mount many times, and I’ve never seen a single Jew try to storm the Al-Aqsa Mosque (which, in point of fact, was originally a Byzantine church!). Yet some Muslims use this kind of imagery to justify their homicidal tendencies: Israel is trying to take over the Al-Aqsa! We must defend it! Allah Akbar!

Back to Klein’s book.

The duplicity of various politicians involved in the fiasco known originally as Oslo is astonishing, even for long-time observers of the region. I thought I knew a lot about the situation, but ‘The Late Great State of Israel’ really opened my eyes.

For example, Klein goes into some dangerous spots. In dialoguing with actual members of terror cells, he has received information that Abbas in early 2006 appointed senior Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades leader Mahmoud Damra as commander of Force 17, the well-known Palestinian security detail. Damra was already on Israel’s most-wanted list of terrorists.

By the way, American officials are well aware of these facts.

One of the more interesting elements to Klein’s reporting is the fact that while Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and other terror groups received the “ink” for attacks, it is actually Fatah that plans and carries out a huge number of hits. This is a political tsunami that Western officials are loathe to acknowledge, which adds to the sinister nature of what is really going on.

The status of Jerusalem is also a flashpoint, and Klein gives us a bird’s-eye view of just how far the Israeli government has already gone to cede eastern portions of the city to a Palestinian state. He tells us that Israeli officials and “at least one major U.S. Jewish group” have allowed over 100,000 Arabs to illegally build in the city, thus creating a terror enclave in the “City of Peace.”

The genesis for Klein’s reporting in the region came after Ariel Sharon announced the Gaza Pullout plan in 2004. Klein moved to Jerusalem, then made trips to Gaza communities, such as Gush Katif, in order to see the facts on the ground. Painting a rich visual in narrative, he described Gaza’s Jews as anything but wild-eyed zealots, but rather productive citizens.

He also deftly puts the lie to the leftist mantra that Gaza was never Jewish to begin with. Klein points out that the biblical patriarchs Abraham and Isaac lived in Gerar, a Gaza town near modern Gush Katif. I could go on, but this historical brief on Gaza alone is worth the price of the book. It gives Israel’s supporters the information needed to refute the lies of the (sadly) Christian left in America who like to separate modern Jews from their biblical ancestors.

Subsequent chapters on the real funding sources for Palestinian terror, the potential for a Hamas presence in the West Bank and Iran’s pursuit of Armageddon are chilling in the extreme, but again, they give us in the West a realistic picture of what we are facing, rather than the surreal Rose Garden appearances of Arafat and Abbas with smiling American presidents.

Also, Klein’s reporting on the continuing “refugee crisis” is fascinating. For decades, neighboring Arab countries have refused to allow the settlement of Arab refugees from the wars imposed on Israel. These human footballs are punted back and forth between the Arabs and the U.N., and Israel is blamed. Whereas Israel embraced and settled Jewish refugees from Arab countries, no such reverse humanitarian aid has been embraced by the Arabs.

Klein’s recounting of a conversation with a Palestinian boy who refused to believe his visitor was Jewish is scarier than anything Stephen King could come up with.

Klein relates that he asked the boy what he would do if a Jew ever came to visit him.

“We’d kill him,” the boy replied.

Facts like these are vital if we are to see even a “cold-peace” between Israelis and Palestinians — the type of peace that has at least prevented bloodshed on the battlefield between Egypt, Jordan and the Israelis.

Klein’s book should be circulated widely, and if you have a humanitarian bone in your body, get copies for friends and family and your political representatives.

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