WASHINGTON – Furthering its charge of bringing the most hard-hitting, fiercely independent news to readers from around the globe, WorldNetDaily next month will open a bureau in Jerusalem to report from the Middle East.

Aaron Klein

The bureau, scheduled to open Feb. 15, will report from the field exclusive articles concerning the “Israeli-Palestinian conflict” and events in surrounding countries, including Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Iran, and will be headed by Aaron Klein, who served this past year as WND’s special Middle East correspondent.

The bureau will produce daily news and feature articles, including human interest stories, from throughout the area, and will regularly secure in-demand interviews with newsmakers and Mideast leaders. The bureau will also feature special commentary from top Mideast analysts and personalities.

Western reporting from the Middle East has been criticized for its inability or unwillingness to shine light in some of the darkest corners of hatred and totalitarianism on the planet. Some media critics have suggested the foreign correspondents in the Middle East urgently need to find the real stories, many of which are still going unreported. The mission of WND’s Jerusalem bureau is to reinvigorate and revitalize the role of the free press in the Mideast as a guardian of liberty, an exponent of truth and justice, and an uncompromising disseminator of accurate news.

A major initial focus of the bureau will be Israel’s planned unilateral withdrawal this year from Gaza and parts of the West Bank. With Prime Minister Ariel Sharon forming a new government coalition giving him the necessary political backing to carry out his withdrawal plan, and the prospects for civil revolt high, the bureau will bring readers the latest developments in this important situation directly from the field in Jerusalem, Gaza and the West Bank.

Another major initial bureau focus will be the increased tension among Israel, the U.S. and Iran over Tehran’s suspected nuclear weapons development program. The bureau will release hard-hitting investigative pieces using sources in Jerusalem and Iran, and will bring the most up-to-date news on this volatile conflict.

The bureau will also report regularly from the Palestinian territories and will secure interviews with Palestinian Authority leaders and members of the various Palestinian groups as newly elected PA President Mahmoud Abbas assumes power. Klein will also keep WND readers up-to-date on the latest developments in Syria, including issues related to the increased tension with the U.S. over the suspected role of Damascus in Iraq.

“As bureau chief, Klein will bring to the area his unique talents as an investigative reporter, abundant youthful energy, his passion and his many important contacts with the top leadership in both the Israeli and Palestinian governments,” said Joseph Farah, WND’s chief executive officer and editor.

While serving as WND’s Middle East correspondent, Klein broke many of the top Mideast stories in the media in 2004. Klein’s reporting in the last eight months has shut down U.S. hosted Hamas websites, blown the cover off the story that Yasser Arafat endorsed John Kerry, exposed the FBI’s investigation of Yasser Arafat for the 1973 murders of two U.S. diplomats, connected an Al-Qaida agent to a group still operating in Queens, N.Y., exposed a British charity as a Hamas front and the UK’s reluctance to shut it down, exposed that Iran has allegedly been maintaining a secret nuke plant under civilian homes and that Iranian money financed a suicide attack in Tel Aviv, revealed that post-Saddam militants have been seeking to finance Palestinian terror, made public an internal Hamas memo declaring that Hamas plans to take over Gaza after the Israeli withdrawal, connected a group that rented the Great Adventure theme park to terrorism, disclosed the Egyptian government’s attempt to hide Christian protests, showed a coordinated effort by Saddam Hussein’s fadayeen to remove weapons from storage before the U.S. arrival, and exposed an Iraqi mobile unit as a likely bio-weapons lab among many other hard-hitting reports.

Klein’s previous interview subjects have included Arafat, former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, imprisoned spy Jonathan Pollard, leaders of the Taliban, Palestinian negotiation minister Saeb Erekat, senior Arafat adviser Nabil Abu Rudenieh, Sharon spokesperson Raanan Gissin, Palestinian presidential candidate Abdulhaleem Ashqar, former Mossad intel chief Uzi Arad, former N.Y. Mayor Ed Koch, worldwide Al-Muhajiroun leader Omar Bakri Muhammad, and Syrian Ambassador to the U.N. Fayssel Mekdad. Klein also secured the only interview with the families of the three U.S. servicemen killed in the 2003 Gaza ambush.

Klein made headlines in 1999 when he traveled overseas to spend time with and interview members of a group connected to Al-Qaida. His article about the experience, “My Weekend with the Enemy,” was published in major-city newspapers in four countries. Klein previously served as editor-in-chief of the Commentator, the undergraduate student newspaper of Yeshiva University.

“The opening of the Jerusalem bureau has been a goal of WND since 1999,” said Farah. “We’ve been waiting for the right person to man it and direct it – and we are satisfied we have found that person in Aaron Klein.”

In his reporting days, the Middle East was one of two principal “beats” covered by Farah, an Arab-American.

Klein said: “I feel very privileged to be a part of this important project. Few media outlets report truthfully about the situation in Israel and the Palestinian territories, and as a result many news consumers have distorted views of these areas. A WorldNetDaily Jerusalem bureau is desperately needed now to get in there and report in an unbiased manner. I have every confidence that this is going to be an enormous success.”

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