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CNN Presents

Encore: God's Jewish Warriors

Aired August 09, 2008 - 20:00   ET


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The scripture is the blueprint to life and living.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our role is to redeem the entire world.

AMANPOUR: And the stakes are high.

Do you really wish that you could have been martyred?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): Yes. Martyrdom was my biggest wish.

AMANPOUR: What they have in common...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: God promised he would return to this land.

AMANPOUR: Jews, Christians and Muslims...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): This is the ultimate sacrifice -- to give your soul as a gift to God, the creator, and the country.

AMANPOUR: ...the belief that modern society has lost its way.

RON LUCE: They're raping virgin teenage America on the sidewalk and everybody is walking by and acting like everything is OK.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The problem we have with the civilizations is you don't offer the man where to go. He doesn't know his place in life.

TZIPPI SHISSEL: The people that don't keep the Torah, they don't understand the meaning of being Jews, they're wasting their life.

AMANPOUR: They say God is the answer.

REV. JERRY FALWELL: I would like to see America become the nation under God again.

AMANPOUR: But their battle to save the world has caused anger, division and fear.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I believe that Islam is a real threat.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Something's gone wrong. We have too closely fused politics and our faith.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I fear from those individuals who feel that they will go to heaven by killing me. I fear for my life.

AMANPOUR (on camera): Jerusalem -- the ancient city filled with sacred meaning for three great religions -- Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

I'm Christiane Amanpour.

When piety meets politics, it can be a volatile mix. Which is one reason Jerusalem, the so-called City of Peace, has been torn by centuries of war.

Even today, the battle is led by men and women who believe their vision, and sometimes, violence are part of a divine script. We call them "God's Warriors".

Whether Muslim, Christian or Jew, millions of people view the world through a religious prism. They want God back in their daily lives, back to the seat of power.

Tonight, and for the next two nights, we explore who they are, what they want and why this is a battle they say they cannot afford to lose.

(voice-over): God's Jewish warriors -- over the last 40 years, they have changed the course of history. Ignore them and lasting peace in the Holy Land may be out of reach.

Our story begins in the West Bank city of Hebron. The city is steeped in the history of patriarchs, prophets and Biblical kings. It is home to some of the most zealous of God's Jewish warriors. They are determined to settle the land that Israel captured from the Arabs in 1967.

The settlers call it by its Biblical name, Judeah and Samaria.

A few weeks ago, it took hundreds of Israeli riot police to evict Jewish settlers from just two illegally occupied apartments in a Hebron neighborhood. In the Jewish bible, the Torah, the Book of Genesis says God gave this land to the Jewish people. The 500 Jewish settlers of Hebron are surrounded by 140,000 Palestinians. Choosing to live here means risking their lives.

SHISSEL: My mother was holding the telephone and suddenly she heard screaming like she never heard in her life.

AMANPOUR: The screaming that night in 1998 was Tzippi Shissel's father, 63-year-old Rabbi Shlomo Ra'anan.

SHISSEL: This is the house that my parents used to live.

AMANPOUR: A Palestinian man had broken in to her parents' house.

SHISSEL: You see now where the terrorist came. He went on this wall into the window.

AMANPOUR: The man, who once held Tzippi as a little girl, was now fighting for his life.

SHISSEL: He was in his pajamas and the terrorist was holding his hand. And my mother tried to save my father and pushed him in the other hand. Like my father was in the middle. And then the terrorist took the knife and he stabbed my father in his heart -- in his heart. And all the blood was like flowing all over. And my mother, she's a nurse, and she tried to save him. But it was impossible.

AMANPOUR: Despite everything, Tzippi, her husband and their 10 children stay in Hebron, a few doors from her parent's house.

SHISSEL: We have the Holy Land. It's where God says this is where the Jews has to live.

AMANPOUR: But it is also Palestinian land. The West Bank -- it's west of the Jordan River -- was designated by the United Nations to be the largest part of an Arab state.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Let them be in a different place. I didn't see any place in the Bible that it has this green line that you have to cut the land to half.

AMANPOUR: There are now more than 200 West Bank settlements and outposts, home to 240,000 Jews. Another 180,000 Jews live in East Jerusalem, land claimed by the Arabs as theirs.

GERSHOM GORENBERG: We're looking here at the phenomenon of the suburban settlement.

AMANPOUR: All of this?


AMANPOUR (voice-over): Gershom Gorenberg, American born Israeli, is a journalist and historian.

(on camera): So what is this, Gershom?

We're going through -- there's Israeli soldiers here.

GORENBERG: We are passing through a major Israeli checkpoint.

AMANPOUR (voice-over): Driving through checkpoints on West Bank highways, he showed me how the settlements reinforce Israel's control.

GORENBERG: By placing the settlements between the Palestinian towns, it creates long fingers that run into the West Bank and that makes it very difficult to create a contiguous Palestinian state.

AMANPOUR: Preventing a Palestinians state is precisely the point for right-wing settlers. They want Israel to annex the occupied land permanently, but not give the Palestinians who live there full democratic rights.

SHISSEL: I feel it's like the one that killed my father. You never can trust them.

AMANPOUR: God's Jewish warriors look to the Book of Ezekiel for inspiration: "Ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers."

This is the central to their belief that only when the Jews return to their homeland and live their lives according to the Torah, will the Messiah come to save the world.

SHISSEL: The people that don't keep the Torah, they don't understand the meaning of being Jews, the meaning of the land, they're wasting their life.

AMANPOUR: The impact of God's Jewish warriors goes far beyond these rocky hills. The Jewish settlements have inflamed much of the Muslim world.

GORENBERG: You can't understand the anger of radical Islam unless you understand the conflict between, you know, the Jews and the Palestinians. This tiny piece of land matters much more to people than huge countries elsewhere in the world.

AMANPOUR: How God's Jewish warriors reshaped the Holy Land is a remarkable story. It's a story of rabbis who became politicians.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): Are you asking if they misled the government?

There is no doubt. It was a political trick.

AMANPOUR: Housewives willing to confront their own soldiers.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): I don't recognize any Palestinian's right to ownership of this land.

AMANPOUR: And, although the number is small, there are terrorists -- Jewish terrorists, including some who would even kill Palestinians children.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): One brings the car. One brings the explosives. One takes care of the clock. One has the bomb. And that's how it works.

AMANPOUR: All in God's name.

Hanan Porat is one of God's Jewish warriors. As he drives through his settlement on the occupied West Bank, nothing makes him happier than seeing the next generation.

Their presence, he believes, is part of a divine plan for the redemption of the Jewish people.

HANAN PORAT (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): Redemption will be good for the Jewish people and for the entire world.

AMANPOUR: As a young man, Porat studied to become a rabbi. At morning prayers, he straps on Tefellin, leather boxes containing handwritten verses from the Torah. And he recites an affirmation of faith that dates from the middle ages.

PORAT (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): Every day, I say these words: "I believe with perfect faith in the coming of the Messiah."

AMANPOUR: Fifty miles and a world away, Yakov Barnea lives in a suburb of Tel Aviv, Israel's most cosmopolitan city. His religion, he tells us, is classical music.

YAKOV BARNEA (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): So the choir singing "Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus." Hebrew -- "Kadosh, Kadosh, Kadosh". In English is "Holy, Holy, Holy."

AMANPOUR: To him, the Messiah, in Hebrew the Moshia, is a fairy tale.

BARNEA: I love the music, nothing about the Moshia. I don't believe it.

AMANPOUR: Barnea grew up in a family where Judaism was more of a nationality than a religion. They did not go to synagogue, did not observe the Sabbath and did not keep kosher.

BARNEA (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): Let's put it this way, I've always liked my sandwiches and my omelets with ham.

AMANPOUR: Hanan Porat, the devout, and Yakov Barnea, the secular -- though they are two faces of Israel, they once shared a moment of history, a turning point for Israel 40 years ago, June 1967 -- the Six-Day War. With Egyptian troops massed at the border, Israel launched a devastating, preventive strike destroying Egypt's air force, then its ground forces in the Sinai Peninsula.

To the north, Israel fought off the Syrian Army, and to the east, the Jordanian Army.

Barnea and Porat were ordered to Jerusalem. Their brigade attacked the Arab side of the city, East Jerusalem.

PORAT (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): I had the awful feeling that our way to Jerusalem was going to be over dead bodies.

AMANPOUR: Casualties were heavy. But when the battle ended, Israel was poised to take Jerusalem's Old City from the Arabs, including 35 acres of sacred ground.

It was from here, according to Muslim scripture, that the Prophet Mohammed ascended to heaven around the year 630. But Hebrew scripture puts the ancient Jewish Temple in the same location, destroyed by the Romans in the year 70.

For the next 1,900 years, even the last remnant of the temple known as the Wailing Wall, or the Western Wall, was lost to the Jews.

(on camera): But the 1967 War changed all that, when Israel ordered its army to capture the Old City. The soldiers entered here, through the Lion's Gate. It's a short distance to the sacred sites.

(voice-over): Soon, the field commanders radioed headquarters: "The Temple Mount is in our hands" -- words the Jews had not been able to say for nearly 2,000 years.

(on camera): And then you turned over here?


AMANPOUR (voice-over): Yakov Barnea was ordered to stand guard on the upper level, which includes a Muslim shrine.

(on camera): What did you think when you saw not just the Wall but the Mosque?

BARNEA (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): It made a big impression.


BARNEA: Holy. Yes, sure.

AMANPOUR (voice-over): Hanan Porat went to the ground level, to the wailing wall.

PORAT (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): When we gathered at the Wall, our eyes opened and the tears began to fall.

AMANPOUR: Battle-hardened soldiers sang.

GORENBERG: The ecstasy was amplified by the fact that on the eve of the war, Israelis feared destruction. They feared another Holocaust.

AMANPOUR: To Porat, it was a miracle.

PORAT (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): I felt like we were making history, like something out of the Bible.

AMANPOUR: But to Yakov Barnea, it was a military victory pure and simple.

BARNEA: I don't know nothing about God in this matter of fighting.

AMANPOUR: After the war, Barnea went on to a successful career in advertising.

BARNEA (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): I went back to work. I went back to my family, to live a normal life in a normal country.

AMANPOUR: But life would not be normal.

Israel now ruled one million Arabs and 26,000 square miles of occupied territory.

GORENBERG: A very, very intense debate began within Israel of what it meant, what to do with it, what should be the future of those territories?

AMANPOUR: In the euphoria of victory, some spoke of a Biblical prophesy come true. Among them, Hanan Porat.

He had a vision for the conquered land and he was certain whose side God was on.

PORAT (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): Do you have any doubt?

AMANPOUR: When we come back, God's Jewish warriors create facts on the ground.

YEHUDA ETZION (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): I wouldn't call it lying. It was more like we got the land in a roundabout way.

AMANPOUR: And later, Jewish settlers turn to terror.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): The bomb went off the minute I stepped on the clutch.

AMANPOUR: And a plot to destroy one of Islam's holiest sites.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They could change by that the whole history of the Middle East.




AMANPOUR (voice-over): Six days that changed history -- the 1967 Six-Day War. It put the heartland of Biblical Judaism under Israeli control.

Hanan Porat wanted to make sure it stayed that way.

PORAT (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): We felt this was the time to seize the moment.

AMANPOUR: He and a small group of religious activists began planning a return to the land his parents once farmed, a community called Kafar Atsion in the now occupied West Bank.

PORAT (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): We were returning home and fulfilling the prophesy.

AMANPOUR: But the Israeli government was divided -- trade the captured land for peace or keep it and build Jewish settlements?

But would settlements even be legal? In researching his book, "The Accidental Empire," Gershom Gorenberg discovered in Israel's archives these documents, marked "top secret." Written in September 1967 by Foreign Ministry lawyer, Theodor Meron, the memos are a warning that "civilian settlement contravenes the explicit provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which protects people living under occupation."

GORENBERG: It means that it violated international law.

AMANPOUR: But if Theodor Meron's legal opinion was correct, how is it that Israelis would build as many as 250 settlements and outposts in the middle of Arab land?

SHIMON PERES: The legal adviser of the Foreign Ministry doesn't tell us how to defend our lives.

AMANPOUR: President Shimon Peres, one of Israel's longest serving and highest ranking politicians, initially supported settlements.

(on camera): Are you saying Theodor Meron was wrong?

PERES: I don't know if he was right or wrong from a legal point of view. But he was wrong from a pragmatic point of view. Israel was under a steady attack all the time.

AMANPOUR: So just to help me understand this, for the Israeli leadership at the time, pragmatism triumphed over international law?

PERES: What you call pragmatism was, in our eyes...

AMANPOUR: You just said pragmatism.

PERES: Pragmatism in the sense of security, of defending our lives, yes.

AMANPOUR (voice-over): President Peres now says getting rid of most of the settlements is key to a lasting peace.

Israel's official position is that its settlements do not violate international law. It calls the West Bank disputed territory, not occupied because it says, it was never a recognized, independent country.

PERES: The real problem is you can call it pragmatic, you can call it legal was the war over?

It was not.

AMANPOUR: Forty years later, we spoke to Theodor Meron, a Holocaust survivor who became one of the world's most respected authorities on international law. He stands by his top secret memos to the Israeli leaders.

THEODOR MERON: You can justify a lot of things on grounds of security, but you cannot settle your population in occupied territories. AMANPOUR (on camera): No doubt in your mind?

MERON: No doubt.

AMANPOUR: No wriggle room in the law?

MERON: Not really.

AMANPOUR: Certainly when somebody can present you the Torah, the Bible and say, look, this is our land, then any manmade law is in confrontation with God's law.

MERON: I cannot argue with the word of God. Any lawyer can only discuss things from the secular perspective.

In other words, I do not believe that the religion can resolve legal disputes.

AMANPOUR (voice-over): But to religious activists, God's law trumped all others.

Hanan Porat went ahead with his plan to resettle Kafar Atsion. Sympathetic government officials downplayed it with a cover story that it was a legally authorized military post. And that's what the sign out front said.

PORAT (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): Everybody knew this was no military post. It was all just a show.

So the settlers took down the sign and used it as a door mat.

PORAT (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): That tells you how we felt as people who were there as civilians and not as soldiers.

AMANPOUR: Another group of Jews went to Hebron and rented rooms in an Arab-owned hotel. It was just for a few days of religious study and to celebrate Passover -- or so they said.

PORAT (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): Are you asking me if they misled the government?

There is no doubt it was a political trick.

GORENBERG: The people who led this effort made it very clear that the reason that they were doing it is that they wanted Hebron to remain under Israeli rule.

AMANPOUR: When the Jews announced they were staying, this time Israeli officials worried there would be a confrontation with Hebron's Arab residents. The settlers eventually agreed to move, just outside the city -- temporarily. But over time, that temporary compromise became a permanent

Settlement -- Kiryat Arba. Population today, 7,000.

GORENBERG: The decision to let them stay was essentially a victory for the settlers and a defeat for those in the government who opposed the move.

AMANPOUR: It would take another war, in 1973, to transform the small band of settlers into a religious and political mass movement that would change the face of the Holy Land.

This time, Israel fought an uphill battle after a surprise attack by Arab armies on the Jewish holy day, Yom Kippur.

Even though victorious, Israelis now felt vulnerable.

KAREN ARMSTRONG, AUTHOR, "THE BATTLE FOR GOD": A certain complacency had set in after the 1967 victory in Israel.

AMANPOUR: Religious historian Karen Armstrong.

ARMSTRONG: Israelis thought they were invincible. This gave them a real shock and they felt acutely their isolation. And among the religious, it was felt that secular Zionism had failed.

AMANPOUR: God's Jewish warriors claimed to have the solution -- an all out campaign to settle the West Bank. Their movement took a name -- Gush Emunim, The Bloc of the Faithful.

One of the most faithful, Yehuda Etzion. When he saw this Israeli military base being built high on a West Bank hill, Etzion and his friends convinced the contractor to hire them. Then they moved into these dilapidated buildings near the job site. Using the name of a Biblical town in the Book of Joshua, they posted a sign, Ofra work camp.

(on camera): Was it really a camp for workers?

ETZION (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): That and more. We came here to build a settlement.

AMANPOUR: So you tricked them. You kind of lied about your intentions.

ETZION (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): I wouldn't call it lying. It was more like we got the land in a roundabout way.

AMANPOUR (voice-over): Roundabout and, like the earlier schemes, effective. Ofra grew, and so did popular support for the settlers.

GORENBERG: Remember, this is 1970s. This is at the same time that Islamic radicalism is rising in the Muslim world. It's the same time that fundamentalists are returning to politics in the United States.

Religion, which had been written off as a factor in the politics of the modern world, was suddenly returning to the political arena.

AMANPOUR: In Israel, a right-wing leader named Menachem Begin was elected prime minister in 1977 on a platform of keeping what the religious believe was the Biblical land of Israel. It was a victory for God's Jewish warriors.

And at Ofra, a new sign went up -- "keep off the grass." The settlers were here to stay.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Smiling. One more time.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want you all as close to me as possible.

AMANPOUR: Six-thousand miles from Israel's settlements, in the heart of Manhattan, defiance of international law comes dressed in diamonds. Here, Shani and Dov Hikind, two of God's Jewish American warriors are a whirlwind of schmooze. She is the daughter of a prominent rabbi. He is a New York State representative. A power couple. They met in the 1970s working for Meir Kahane, the notorious Brooklyn rabbi whose motto was "for every Jew, a .22." The Hikind's have gone from being Kahane's street fighters to these fancy feeding grounds. Here, they carefully cultivate American-Jewish support.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're doing great.

AMANPOUR: For a controversial mission. Jewish settlement of the occupied territories and East Jerusalem.

DOV HIKIND: The people who went to some of these areas, really believe in some things. Most of us just believe in making another buck. I don't know why anyone would object to it.

AMANPOUR: They object, his critics do, because Jewish settlements violate international law. That's according to a 2004 opinion from the International Court of Justice.

WILLIAM SCRANTON, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO U.N.: My government believes that international law sets the appropriate standards.

AMANPOUR: From the earliest days of the settler movement, even the United States, Israel's closest ally, blasted Israel's settlement policy.

SCRANTON: Substantial resettlement of the Israeli civilian population in occupied territories, including East Jerusalem, is illegal.

AMANPOUR: Ever since American presidents both Democrat and Republican have spoken from virtually the same script. They consistently oppose settlement growth.

RONALD REAGAN, FORMER PRESIDENT: The United States will not support the use of any additional land for the purpose of settlements.

GEORGE H.W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT: The United States' policy was that there should be no more settlements.

BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT: I know that our nation has differences with the nation of Israel over settlements.

GEORGE W. BUSH, U.S. PRESIDENT: Israel must remove unauthorized outposts and stop settlement expansion.

AMANPOUR: But with a smile and a song, they ignore their government's policy. The Hikinds are Orthodox Jews who believe God's promise to the Jewish people includes the occupied territories.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The only answer to Arab terror is to give me more neighbors.

AMANPOUR: And they aren't the only ones. Federal tax records show at least 35 American charities dedicated to supporting the settlements. According to these records, from 2003 and 2004, these organizations spent more than $67 million, all perfectly legal. And since the money goes to support charitable projects like parks and education centers, the contributions are even tax deductible.

SHANI HIKIND: This man's building Jerusalem. Every day. With every breath. Mel Wadler (ph) is involved in keeping Jerusalem united with Jewish life. It's his heart and soul.

JIMMY CARTER, FORMER PRESIDENT: Israel will never have peace as long as they are confiscated and colonizing Palestinian land.

AMANPOUR: I spoke with former President Jimmy Carter who has written a controversial book that's critical of Israel and its settlement policy.

(on camera): You have said that settlements are a real obstacle to peace.

CARTER: There is no doubt in any rational analyst's mind that the settlements are the major obstacle to peace.

AMANPOUR: On the other hand, many people say actually it's Palestinian suicide bomber that is are the major obstacle to peace.

CARTER: Well, there's no doubt that any sort of attack by Palestinians or others is horrible. And must be condemned but the basic problem is the settlements and lack of accommodation between Israel and the Palestinians and Israel's withdrawing from Palestinian land.

D. HIKIND: But that's like probably a joke, right? Because there is no peace process and there hasn't been a peace process. There's been a blood process.

S. HIKIND: It's Jerusalem.

AMANPOUR: This fund-raiser is for Shani's Jerusalem Reclamation Project, which raises about a million dollars a year to help another organization which buys Arab property in East Jerusalem to make the city more Jewish.

S. HIKIND: I appreciate every single dollar for Jerusalem.

AMANPOUR: Shani's backers invoke God's name, in Hebrew "Hashem" to help them buy land.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When we ask Hashem Yerushalayim, it means that Hashem will send one Arab that will sell a building in the Old City, and then we need the Jewish to come and buy this place. D. HIKIND: Thank you, thank you. Thank you, thank you.

AMANPOUR: Dov, the professional politician, gives these prayers political muscle. Our review of the available New York board of elections financial disclosure records from 1999 until October last year shows Hikind has given nearly $40,000 from his own campaign war chest to pro-settlement organizations. His second largest expense.

D. HIKIND: How can any Jew say that there is no spiritual relationship between a Jew and Hebron? Because if you say that, then let me say right now, Jews have no right to any of the land of Israel.

S. HIKIND: I'm looking for a house.

AMANPOUR: These days, Shani and Dov Hikind are house-hunting themselves. In the occupied territories.

D. HIKIND: You can own a piece of the rock, as they say in America.

AMANPOUR: For the Hikinds, it's more than a real estate investment.

D. HIKIND: People who believe and are willing to sacrifice and are willing to put themselves where their mouth is, that's amazing stuff.

AMANPOUR: And even though the U.S. government officially opposes expansion of the settlements, the Hikinds are recruiting others to join them.

D. HIKIND: I know you are not going to put this on, but those that call me a radical, aren't they the real radicals because they represent a much smaller segment than I do? I represent a hell of a lot of people.

AMANPOUR: When we come back ...

(on camera): Some might say this building became the most powerful arm of American foreign policy. More powerful than Foggy Bottom.

(voice-over): How a powerful special interest group in Washington helps God's Warriors in the West Bank. And later ...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have buried many friends who have been murdered by Arabs.

AMANPOUR: A West Bank settler tells us the proper response is revenge.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: God's revenge being a sign of justice.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: I'm Anderson Cooper. The CNN special "God's Warriors" continues in a moment. First, here's what's happening in the news. Hurricane Dean is back in the Gulf of Mexico after hammering through the Yucatan Peninsula. The storm damaged buildings and knocked out power. So far there are no reports of death. CNN's severe weather expert Chad Myers joins us now with the latest on the storm's track. Chad?

CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Anderson, it is back over very warm water now reintensifying. When it is over land, it has no energy. The land really sucks the energy out of it. But when it is back over warm water, that is the steam, that's the fuel to the fire. The water is 87 degrees and so yes, it will reintensify before it slams back on the coast. Looks like south of Tampico. Winds right now still at 80 miles per hour.

Here's what we expect, though. The center of the storm is a little bit north of the National Hurricane Center forecast track. By about 20 miles. So what does that mean as it makes its run at Tampico? Well, it may be 20 miles or wobbling back on course but as it does move onshore, the big story is the flooding here. There's mountain activity here. These are the Sierra Madre Orientals right there and this is mud slide and river slide, boy it's a problem over there, Anderson, in the next couple of days.

COOPER: All right, Chad, we'll continue to track it. Thanks very much. Hurricane Dean's threat caused the Space Shuttle Endeavour to cut its mission short a day. It touched down safely this afternoon with no apparent problems from heat shield tiles damaged with takeoff.

And a newly declassified CIA report is criticizing the pre-9/11 anti terror efforts of former director George Tenet. It says Tenet and other top officials warned of al Qaeda but didn't have a complete strategy to battle the terror network.

Join me tonight at 360. At 11:00 p.m. Eastern we're going to have more on Hurricane Dean. Now back to the CNN special "God's Warriors."


AMANPOUR: For decades, the U.S. has said Jewish settlements in the occupied territories are an obstacle to peace. So why not withhold America's generous foreign aid to pressure Israel? I asked former President Jimmy Carter. America gives Israel $3 billion a year. No questions asked. Just about. Why doesn't it say, OK, no more 3 billion?

CARTER: There's no way that a member of Congress would ever vote for that and hope to be re-elected.

AMANPOUR: John Mearsheimer, a prominent political scientist at the University of Chicago, co-authored one of the most controversial essays of late, arguing pro-Israel advocates have too much influence on American policy.

JOHN MEARSHEIMER, UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO: The lobby goes to great lengths to make sure that U.S. policy makers privilege Israel over the Palestinians.

AMANPOUR: The pro-Israel lobby he is talking about is a loose coalition of PACs. Professional lobbyists and grassroots activists.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thanks. Thanks, Michael. Always great. Thanks.


AMANPOUR: Morris Amitay runs Washington PAC, which funds pro- Israel politicians. I spoke with him at his office in the same building where he once ran AIPAC.

(on camera): Some might say this building became the most powerful arm of American foreign policy. More important than the Foggy Bottom. The State Department.

MORRIS AMITAY, FORMER HEAD OF AIPAC: Not really. We're powerful because you have the Governor's Association here. The Attorney General's Association.


AMITAY: And you have AIPAC.

AMANPOUR (voice-over): Amitay is an insider with more than 30 years' experience in what he calls the pro-Israel community.

(on camera): How do you explain the fact that it is so powerful, the Jewish community in the United States is not huge, it is not massive.

AMITAY: No. I really don't think that we're that powerful. The way supporters of Israel present themselves to the administration and to the Congress is always in what is in the best interest of the United States.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: To the right. A little bit that way.

AMANPOUR: They are primarily secular organizations.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our good friend, Senator Harry Reid.

AMANPOUR: But the lobby's political clout has helped the staying power of religious settlers in the West Bank.

MEARSHEIMER: The United States has never been able to put serious pressure on Israel to halt settlement building, and of course, the reason is because of the power of the lobby.

AMANPOUR: Except in 1991. When then President Bush did pressure Israel on the settlement issue, and a very public feud erupted with the lobby. President George Bush and his Secretary of State James Baker were trying to push Israel into peace talks with the Palestinians. JAMES BAKER, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: Nothing has made my job of trying to find Arab and Palestinian partners for Israel more difficult than being greeted by a new settlement every time I arrive.

AMANPOUR: So the Bush administration took an unprecedented step. U.S. loan guarantees for housing in Israel would now come with strings attached.

BAKER: We will support the loan guarantees if there is a halt or an end to settlement activity.

AMANPOUR: Those were fighting words.

G.H.W. BUSH: I've heard today something like 1,000 lobbyists on the Hill working the other side of the question. We have got one little lonely guy down here doing it, so ...

AMANPOUR: There were 1,000 lobbyists. Many from the powerful American Israel Public Affairs Committee, known as AIPAC. Its annual convention in Washington sends members out to work the Hill.

On the issue of loans, Congress got the message.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We should stick with our friends.

SEN. ARLEN SPECTER, (R) PA: Just not the right or fair way to treat an ally.

SEN. CHARLES SCHUMER, (D) NY: By forcing the fight, the president gets in the way of the peace process.

AMANPOUR: President Bush vowed to stand firm.

G.H.W. BUSH: I'm not going to shift the foreign policy of this country because of political expediency. I can't do that and have any credibility worldwide.

AMANPOUR: But just a few months later, the very week of the Republican National Convention, the pro-Israel lobby had something to celebrate.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: President Bush announced his support for the loan guarantees.

AMANPOUR: And to this day, no other administration has so publicly threatened to withhold financial support because of the settlements.

AMITAY: We have been able to promote strong, close U.S.-Israel relations.

AMANPOUR: For Israel's friends on Capitol Hill, the pro-Israel lobby writes legislation, offers free trips to Israel, and contributes money.

AMITAY: No real secrets. They do all the things that we're permitted to do in a democracy.

AMANPOUR: As for political enemies, pundits still talk about the drubbing Senator Charles Percy took in 1984.

SEN. CHARLES PERCY, FORMER SENATOR: They pressured me. They threatened me.

AMANPOUR: Percy had supported selling high-tech military planes to another U.S. ally, Saudi Arabia. Pro-Israel lobbyists spent millions to bankroll his opponent's campaign and Percy lost.

PERCY: Since they said they will Percy-ize senators that don't adhere to their policies.

AMANPOUR: Most recently, former President Carter was criticized for criticizing Israel's treatment of the Palestinians. In his book, "Palestine: Peace, not Apartheid."

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You are an anti-Semite.

CARTER: It is very difficult to speak publicly in criticism of Israel.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So let me explain why I think you're a bigot, a racist and an anti-Semite.

CARTER: I've been publicly called anti-Semitic even in four-page advertisements in "The New York Times."

MEARSHEIMER: I think they were not only trying to marginalize and silence Carter by smearing him, they were also sending a message to anyone else in the body politic who had thoughts about criticizing Israel.

AMANPOUR: Morris Amitay says he doesn't consider Carter or Mearsheimer anti-Semitic, simply misguided.

AMITAY: Promoting an agenda in which Israel is the bad guy. Basically the United States and Israel have the same goals in the Middle East. Peace, prosperity, keeping terrorists out. I just think that the success of the pro-Israel community is the fact that they have good arguments on their side.

AMANPOUR: Arguments and political clout. That have kept foreign aid flowing. While religious settlers continue to count their blessings. When we come back ...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need to kick it up a notch.

AMANPOUR: God's Christian and Jewish warriors unite. And later ...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We wanted to protest the demolition but nobody intended to harm anyone.

AMANPOUR: But they ended up with an angry and bloody civil war. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SONDRA OSTER BARAS: Hi. Good. How are you? Good to see you.

AMANPOUR: Sondra Oster Baras is an Orthodox Jew.

BARAS: You look beautiful.

AMANPOUR: Doing an unorthodox job.

BARAS: If you would ask me 10 years ago what I would be doing with my life, I don't think I would have told you I would be in church.

AMANPOUR: Sondra stumps for money from evangelical Christians to support Jewish settlements in the occupied territory, land she calls biblical Israel.

Tonight, she's visiting Pastor Gary Cristofaro, at his First Assembly Church of God in Melbourne, Florida.

PASTOR GARY CRISTOFARO, FIRST ASSEMBLY CHURCH OF GOD, MELBOURNE, FL: It wasn't for what the Jews brought to Christianity, there would be no Christianity.

AMANPOUR: Pastor Gary and his flock take their Jewish roots so seriously they hold services on Friday night, the Jewish Sabbath.

This is not only religious ritual. They support Israel, which to them includes Jewish settlements on the occupied West Bank.

CRISTOFARO: There is a promise to those who bless Israel to be blessed; for those who curse it will be cursed.

AMANPOUR: Back in Israel, Sondra takes church members on tours of the settlements in the occupied territories.

BARAS: This land is ours. You cannot occupy something that already belongs to you.

AMANPOUR: And they donated more than $100,000 to support them. Gary Cristofaro and Sondra Oster Baras are part of a growing alliance between evangelical Christians and Israel.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are celebrating Israel tonight.

AMANPOUR: A recent poll found that 59 percent of American evangelicals believe Israel is the fulfillment of biblical prophesy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you give, it may be that you give in an envelope and put in it a bucket but in actuality an angel is going to scoop it up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Those of you who are helping two Jews or more, we would like to say thank you. By sending you this "Box of Blessings." AMANPOUR: One of the most successful Jewish fund-raisers, Rabbi Yakil Epstein (ph), raised $39 million last year from Christian Zionists to fund human services and humanitarian work in Israel. And in the Jewish settlements.


AMANPOUR: And when Christians Zionists turn out in the thousands to demand that Washington politicians support Israel, the politicians respond.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Greetings from the president of the United States. This letter from George Bush.

BARAS: Amen? OK.

AMANPOUR: Sondra says God called her to do this work. She left her high-powered, high-paid job as a Wall Street lawyer and moved to Israel in 1984.

BARAS: Because I was never fully American. I was Jewish.

AMANPOUR: Judaism was not only Sondra's religion, but also, her nationality.

BARAS: We learned how to read Hebrew before we learned how to read English.

AMANPOUR: Her parents, who narrowly escaped the Holocaust, sent her to Zionist summer camps which championed that Jewish homeland.

BARAS: My parents felt very safe in America, but there was always a part of them that says there needs to be an Israel in the event that we have another Hitler.

AMANPOUR: Sondra moved her family to Karne Shamron (ph), a settlement inside the occupied West Bank.

BARAS: Just by building my house, I was strengthening the Jewish presence here in Samaria.

AMANPOUR: In 2002, a Palestinian suicide bomber blew himself up inside a pizza parlor in her neighborhood, killing three children.

BARAS: I am a daughter of Abraham.

AMANPOUR: This is Sondra's way of fighting back.

BARAS: If we give any part of that land to the Arabs, we are looking at terrorism.

AMANPOUR: Back in Florida, Gary Cristofaro's congregation responds with money.

CRISTOFARO: We need to kick it up a notch. AMANPOUR: All the while, singing a prayer for peace in perfect Hebrew. Their money builds parks, child care centers and music therapy programs. Projects that make Jewish life here more comfortable and more permanent.

BARAS: If you don't live somewhere, if you don't take possession of it, it is not yours.

AMANPOUR: Some say Jews and evangelical Christians make strange bedfellows, especially given the history of anti-Semitism in the church.

CRISTOFARO: Because of this doctrine of a Jew being a Christ killer, so much hatred and anti-Semitism has been propagated throughout the Earth.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are going to win in Israel.

AMANPOUR: Now, that historic anti-Semitism has given way to an urgent support of Israel.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: His presence is here tonight.

AMANPOUR: Some evangelicals believe that, when Jews live in all of the Holy Land, what they call greater Israel, only then will Christ return and true believers be raptured up to heaven.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You could get raptured out of this building before I get through finish preaching. We are that close to the coming of the son of man.

BARAS: It is a controversial issue here in Israel as to whether we should be partnering with the Christians in any way.

AMANPOUR: Controversial in part because, in the judgment day scenario embraced by some evangelicals, Jews who don't convert to Christianity burn in hell.

But Sondra isn't worried.

BARAS: I know that I'm not going to burn in hell because I didn't accept Jesus, because I don't believe Jesus is the messiah. So, how could I possibly be threatened?

AMANPOUR: Pastor Gary Cristofaro says God will decide if the Jews get to heaven, not him.

As for Muslims, his views are extreme.

CRISTOFARO: Jews and Christians cherish life. Islam teaches a doctrine of death. I'm equating it with a pagan religion. And all pagan religions, I believe, are satanically inspired.

AMANPOUR: Even Sondra concedes, the alliance between God's Jewish and Christian warriors may seem odd to some. But, if Sondra is anything, she is practical. BARAS: Israel has many enemies. We have to take advantage of every single one of our friends.

ANNOUNCER: A Jewish underground and a trail of blood, when politics and piety collide.

"God's Warriors" continues. Christiane Amanpour reports.

AMANPOUR: Yehuda Etzion is publishing book these days, but he's better known for planting bombs.

(on camera): You were convicted. You spent time in prison. You were a terrorist then.


AMANPOUR (voice-over): Much of the world remembers this historic day in 1979 as a symbol of courageous diplomacy, President Jimmy Carter pushing old enemies, Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin and Egyptian President Anwar Sadat to forge a new peace.

Begin had always been a hero to the settlers. Now, in exchange for peace with Egypt, he was giving back part of what Israel had captured in 1967. To many of God's Jewish warriors, this was blasphemy and betrayal.

ETZION (through translator): It's completely forbidden to give up what we already have. Nobody has the right to do it.

AMANPOUR: Yehuda Etzion was an early leader in the movement to settle the occupied territories. Like many religious settlers, he believed there was a higher authority than Israel's political leaders, but he went to extremes, plotting to literally dynamite the peace process with a vigilante group that became known as the Jewish Underground.

ETZION (through translator): I had served in the army, and I knew how to use explosives.

AMANPOUR: In 1980, after six Jewish students were murdered in the West Bank city of Hebron, the Jewish Underground conducted its first operation.

(on camera): You and your group of conspirators, you decided to take revenge.

ETZION (through translator): You know, in the Jewish tradition, the period of one month has a special meaning. It's the period of mourning. So, we decided a timetable of one month.

AMANPOUR (voice-over): And, so, they planted bombs in the cars of Palestinian males in three West Bank cities, one of them Bassam Shaka'a, the mayor of Nablus.

BASSAM SHAKA'A, FORMER MAYOR OF NABLUS, ISRAEL (through translator): The bomb went off the minute I stepped on the clutch. My legs were instantly blown off. They tried to save my knee and this leg, the longer one. So, they kept it. But, within two days, I had gangrene and almost died.

AMANPOUR: Bassam Shaka'a, and the others were targeted because the Jewish Underground believed they were behind the six killings in Hebron. But the Underground was wrong, according to Carmi Gillon, the former chief of Israel's internal security agency, Shin Bet.

CARMI GILLON, FORMER SHIN BET CHIEF: And those males, we had no information that they were involved in any terror act.

AMANPOUR: The car bomb attacks remained unsolved for years, until 1984, when Shin Bet uncovered a plan to bomb Arab buses in East Jerusalem. One arrest led to others, and, ultimately, to the most sensational plot of all.

ETZION (through translator): We said that, with explosives, we would destroy the Dome of the Rock.

AMANPOUR: The Dome of the Rock is Islam's third holiest site, a 1,300-year-old shrine towering over this enormous outcropping of limestone. Sitting nearby on a throne-like chair, Jerusalem's top Muslim cleric told us why the rock is so important.

SHEIK MUHAMMAD HUSSEIN, GRAND MUFTI OF JERUSALEM (through translator): We consider this to be the spot where the Prophet Mohammed began his ascent to heaven.

AMANPOUR: But Jews also revere this spot as the site of their ancient temple, which Etzion believes must be rebuilt for the redemption, the coming of the messiah.

ETZION (through translator): There is no redemption without the temple. Redemption without the temple is like trying to revive someone without a heart.

AMANPOUR: Etzion and his co-conspirators believed blowing up the Dome of the Rock would undo the peace with Egypt and make room for the Jewish temple.

With 600 pounds of explosives diverted from army stockpiles, they had more than enough.

HUSSEIN (through translator): Damaging the holy shrine would lead to repercussions, the scale of which I can't even imagine.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you have anything you want to say following the end of this trial? Do you think justice was done?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm not speaking with something -- somebody that I don't know who is it.

AMANPOUR: Etzion and his co-conspirators were found guilty. And, after spending seven years in prison, he now says he repudiates terrorism.

ETZION (through translator): Vigilantes don't have the right to take the law into their own hands.

AMANPOUR: Instead, he hopes his books on religious philosophy will spread his vision of a Jewish messiah to be embraced by everyone, Jews, Christians, and even Muslims.

ETZION (through translator): In the long run, I see it as the key for eternal peace, not just here, but in the whole world.

AMANPOUR: As for the politicians, two-and-a-half years after that historic handshake, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat was assassinated by Muslim extremists opposed to peace with Israel.

God's Jewish warriors also opposed the peace deal. But Menachem Begin honored the treaty he had signed, evicted Jewish settlers from the Sinai, and demolished their homes. Begin would eventually make amends with the settlers. And, over the next 10 years, 14 new settlements went up in the occupied West Bank.

In the years ahead, another prime minister would shake hands with another Arab leader. And, this time, one of God's Jewish warriors would resort to murder.

At a ceremony at the White House in 1993, two mortal enemies, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and the chairman of the Palestinian Liberation Organization, Yasser Arafat, signed a peace treaty.


AMANPOUR: The deal included withdrawal from part of what Israel captured in the Six-Day War. It was a historic step towards an independent Palestinian state.


YITZHAK RABIN, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: Enough of blood and tears. Enough.



AMANPOUR: Yakov Barnea, the secular Israeli who helped capture East Jerusalem in 1967, was hopeful.

YAKOV BARNEA, FOUGHT IN SIX-DAY WAR (through translator): I had a tremendous appreciation for those who made it happen and for Rabin's courage in going this way.

AMANPOUR: But Hanan Porat, who also fought in the Six-Day War, opposed the creation of a Palestinian state.

HANAN PORAT, FOUGHT IN SIX-DAY WAR (through translator): If you think we are messianic with our beliefs, now, what they think, those who believe in peace with the Palestinians, is pure mysticism.

AMANPOUR: To God's Jewish warriors, turning land over to the Palestinians would just bring more blood and more tears.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Rabin is going with the Palestinians against Israel, against Israel, because he is blind.

AMANPOUR: It was especially difficult to accept, because Rabin had been a military hero since Israel's creation.

BRUCE LAWRENCE, RELIGIOUS HISTORIAN: And, yet, he was willing to make peace with the Palestinians.

AMANPOUR: Religious historian Bruce Lawrence.

LAWRENCE: All of the people who we describe as fundamentalists have rhetoric which talks about good and evil. But the greatest evil is the Jew has compromised. And, so, Rabin becomes a symbol of the real enemy.

AMANPOUR: Three months after that strained handshake, Jewish settlers at this intersection in Hebron were hitchhiking to Jerusalem. Among them were members of Meir Lapid's family.

A Palestinian car drove by.

MEIR LAPID, JEWISH SETTLER: He saw Jewish people. He pulled the trigger and started to kill.

AMANPOUR: Lapid's brother Shalom was shot in the chest. His father, Mordechai, was shot in the head.

(on camera): Do you blame your leadership?

LAPID: Of course.

AMANPOUR (voice-over): As father and son lay bleeding, a doctor from the nearby Jewish settlement rushed to the scene. The doctor, an American named Baruch Goldstein, was active in an ultra-right-wing political party.

LAPID: He tried to save their -- their lives.

AMANPOUR (on camera): And?

LAPID: And they were dying in his hand.

AMANPOUR: How do you think it impacted Baruch Goldstein to see your brother and your brother dying right here in his arms?

LAPID: I think it -- it killed him. He was not anymore alive.

AMANPOUR (voice-over): Three months later, Baruch Goldstein went to Hebron to the Tomb of the Patriarchs. Both Jews and Muslims pray here, because Abraham is the patriarch of both religions.

Goldstein entered during Muslim prayers with an assault rifle and opened fire. He killed at least 29 Palestinians and wounded 150 others, before Muslim worshipers beat him to death. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: God bless the Jewish people.

AMANPOUR: Among the estimated 1,000 mourners at Baruch Goldstein's funeral was a 24-year-old Orthodox Jew named Yigal Amir, like Goldstein, an extremist who opposed the peace process. Amir saw Goldstein not as a murderer, but as a martyr for the Jewish people and an inspiration.

At Goldstein's funeral, Yigal Amir decided that, in his words, he had to save the nation.

GILLON: I just put him in the same basket in which I put a suicide bomber of Hamas, which mean a fanatic religious person, who does his act for political purposes.

AMANPOUR: Noa Rothman, Rabin's granddaughter, was a teenager at the time.

(on camera): Did he express concerns? Were you concerned about his safety from within Israel?

NOA ROTHMAN, GRANDDAUGHTER OF YITZHAK RABIN: No, we were never concerned. The feeling was that my grandfather was very much loved among the Israelis. They loved him.

AMANPOUR (voice-over): But protests against Rabin's peace deal were often laced with hate. A few rabbis even invoked a medieval Jewish death curse.

GILLON: It affected somebody like Yigal Amir.

AMANPOUR: On November 4, 1995, Yitzhak Rabin attended a peace rally in Tel Aviv. Some 100,000 supporters were there, singing "Shir Ha-Shalom, "Song of Peace."


AMANPOUR: After Rabin left the stage and walked to his car, Amir moved close to the bodyguards, pulled a gun, and fired. Many believe the peace process died that night as well.

ROTHMAN: The tragedy, besides our personal tragedy, is that he was stopped in the middle of the way, and we can never know how the end of the path would have been.

AMANPOUR: Yigal Amir was sentenced to life in prison. Carmi Gillon, chief of Shin Bet, was forced to resign over his agency's failure to protect their prime minister.

And, to this day, Meir Lapid remembers one brief moment when he learned of Rabin's death.

LAPID: I ask myself, what do you feel? I ask, you are sorry for Jewish man who was murdered? You are -- you are happy, God forbid? I have no simple answer for that.

AMANPOUR: When we come back: ground zero.

GERSHOM GORENBERG, AUTHOR, "THE ACCIDENTAL EMPIRE": The most contested piece of real estate on the face of the Earth.




AMANPOUR (voice-over): This is a joyous day for David Ha'Ivri. His son Yair (ph) is having his bar mitzvah at Jerusalem's holiest site, the Western Wall. With this rite of passage, the 13-year-old is considered old enough to understand and obey Jewish law.

DAVID HA'IVRI, FATHER: We have our own God-given law. The law is called the Torah. The Torah gives us answers to -- to all aspects of life.

AMANPOUR: The Torah is paramount in this family, because David Ha'Ivri is one of God's Jewish warriors. To him, Israel, the land God promised to the Jews, includes all of the occupied territory.

HA'IVRI: The Arabs have 22 of their own countries. If they want democratic rights, let them go and seek democracy in their own countries.

AMANPOUR: For Ha'Ivri, only one thing mars the bar mitzvah celebration. They are not allowed to pray on the plaza above the wall, which Jews claim as the site of their ancient temple. Muslims also claim it as the site where the Prophet Mohammed ascended to heaven.

HUSSEIN (through translator): This is exclusively for Muslims to pray in, just as any synagogue on Earth is for Jewish prayer.

AMANPOUR: Since the 1967 war, Israeli and Muslim authorities have struck an uneasy balance, Jews at the Western Wall, Muslims on the plaza above.

HA'IVRI: Why does the Jewish government of Israel not allow Jews to pray on the Temple Mount? It's because they're afraid of the Muslim reaction.

AMANPOUR: For Jews and Muslims, this is ground zero.

Near the end of Bill Clinton's presidency, he came close to brokering a peace deal. But the talks failed, in part over who would control this 35 acres in Jerusalem. The Palestinians were demanding sovereignty. And, even today, senior imams say that the Jews have no historic claim here.

HUSSEIN (through translator): Certainly, the temple is not here. It's not anywhere in Palestine. The temple only exists in the illusions of people who speak of it. AMANPOUR: One man decided to force the issue, Ariel Sharon, a military-leader-turned-right-wing politician. In September 2000, he decided to visit the Temple Mount, which Muslims call the Haram al- Sharif, the Noble Sanctuary.


ARIEL SHARON, ISRAELI OPPOSITION LEADER: I cannot see any probability for real peace if Jews were not allowed to go to the holiest place that belong to them.


AMANPOUR: But Sharon was not just any politician. As a government minister, he had become one of the settlers' best friends. They gave him the nickname "King of Israel," "Godfather of the Settlements."

BARAS: He knew every single hilltop and every valley in this area. And he was famous for driving out to some godforsaken hilltop, opening up his map, saying, this is public land, and this is where a community should go. And it went.

AMANPOUR: But, to Arabs, Sharon was the devil incarnate. As defense minister, Sharon presided over Israel's 1982 invasion of Lebanon. Sharon was widely blamed for allowing a Lebanese Christian militia to massacre Palestinians at the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps near Beirut.

GORENBERG: So, you have this incredibly controversial figure, deeply despised on the Arab side, visiting the most contested piece of real estate on the face of the Earth.

AMANPOUR: Sharon, with one eye on becoming prime minister, arrived with other right-wing politicians and 1,000 police. He denied it was a provocation.


SHARON: I came here with a message of peace. I believe that we can live together with the Palestinians.


HA'IVRI: When Ariel Sharon goes up to the Temple Mount and he says, I'm a Jew, I'm going to the Temple Mount, to our holiest place, that's a kiddush hashem. That's a sanctification of God's name.

AMANPOUR: But, to Muslims, it was an assault on Islam. And violence broke out. Israeli soldiers responded with rubber-coated bullets. At least four Palestinians were killed.

GORENBERG: One incident at the Temple Mount, at Haram al-Sharif, has the power of an incident 500 times larger anywhere else. And, certainly, one person getting killed has the power of 500 people getting killed anywhere else. The fact that that incident happened at a place like that, a place with such symbolic power for both sides, meant that it had incredible power to light a fire.

AMANPOUR: The fire grew. Each side blamed the other. Israelis turned to a leader with a strongman image. Ariel Sharon's strategy had worked, and he was elected prime minister.

BARAS: I think Sharon had every right to go on to the Temple Mount, as a Jew. And, if part of his motivation was to open up the doors for a freer Jewish access to the Temple Mount, and, yes, for our ability to pray, then I only wish that more prime ministers and Israeli politicians since then have taken some more steps.

AMANPOUR: Politics and piety had once again collided. God's Jewish warriors now had a friend in the highest office in the land.

But the conflict was growing.

When we come back: A radical wing of God's Jewish warriors wants revenge.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): It's not a plan I need to think about. You just go into a house and shoot.

AMANPOUR: But why target incident schoolgirls?

And later: why Jewish settlers and Israeli soldiers are at war.



COOPER: I'm Anderson Cooper. The CNN special "God's Warriors" continues in a moment. First, a look at what's happening now in the news.

So far, no reports of casualties after Hurricane Dean slammed Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula. The region's tourist areas also seem to have been spared.

CNN severe weather expert Chad Myers takes a look now at the latest on the storm's track -- Chad.

MYERS: Anderson, still no turn to the U.S. It is in the Bay of Campeche right now. And this is going to the border on just to the south of Tampico, about 15 hours from its next landfall.

It will reintensify here in this very warm water. Eighty-seven degrees right now.

About 345 miles from Costa Rica. And as it moves on by, we do expect it to reintensify about 110 miles per hour. It could be ten miles per hour either way.

But right now, that's all we have for this storm. Not going to go anywhere else. Doesn't have enough time to get much bigger.

Now, this is almost like Erin. Remember how Erin formed very close to land, and it didn't have any time to run to get bigger? Well, now this is Dean. Doesn't have any time to get much bigger than it is right now -- Anderson.

COOPER: That's some good news there, Chad. Thanks.

Here in the states, floods across the Midwest have killed at least 22 people, caused tens of millions of dollars of damage. Today the rain moved into Ohio, washing out roads, homes and cars.

And in New York, a Manhattan D.A. and the state's attorney general have opened an investigation into a fire Saturday into a condemned building at Ground Zero. The blaze claimed the lives of two firefighters.

Join me for 360 at the top of the hour at 11 p.m. Eastern time. We're going to take your calls on the Michael Vick dog fighting scandal and the latest on the storm.

Now back to the CNN special, "God's Warriors".


AMANPOUR (voice-over): Intifada, in Arabic, it means "shaking off." And beginning in September 2000, Palestinians turned increasingly to suicide bombs in the Second Intifada to shake off Israeli occupation and strike at the Jewish state.

DAVID HA'IVRI, WEST BANK SETTLER: I've had many friends who have been murdered by Arabs.

AMANPOUR: David Ha'Ivri, a West Bank settler, believes the proper response is revenge.

HA'IVRI: It's a concept of God's revenge being a sign of justice.

AMANPOUR: Ha'Ivri is a disciple of Rabbi Meir Kahane, the right- wing extremist who referred to Arabs as dogs.

HA'IVRI: If you ask me if I'm an extremist, I wouldn't think so. I would think that I'm the middle of the line. A regular, simple Jew.

AMANPOUR: Like Kahane, Ha'Ivri believes the Arabs should either leave the West Bank in Israel or be expelled.

HA'IVRI: As long as they're here, there's a threat to the settlement movement.

AMANPOUR: Israel banned Kahane's political movement as a terrorist organization, after one of his followers murdered at least 29 Muslim worshipers in Hebron.

Kahane himself was later gunned down in New York by a Muslim extremist. But his heated mix of right-wing politics and religious fundamentalism lived on. During the Second Intifada, as Israeli buses, restaurants and markets were being attacked, a poll showed 25 percent of Israelis saying Meir Kahane could be a good leader for the Jewish people.

The most militant were talking revenge.

CARMI GILLON, FORMER CHIEF, GENERAL SECURITY SERVICE: I would say maybe a few hundreds would make a terror act. It doesn't mean that it's easy to get them.

AMANPOUR: This is the West Bank settlement of Bat Iam. Here a small group of Jews wants to re-establish the biblical kingdom of David, a monarchy built on religious law.

SHIOMI DVIR, WEST BANK SETTLER (through translator): A kingdom would be unlike this rotten democracy. A king would be loyal to one thing, to what God tells him, to what is written in the Torah.

AMANPOUR: The Bat Iam group believed in revenge against Palestinians, which they described to an Israeli filmmaker.

YARDEN MORAG, WEST BANK SETTLER (through translator): If they damaged an orchard, you damage ten. Two eyes for an eye, teeth for a tooth.

AMANPOUR: And then they escalated.

MORAG (through translator): From a desire to scare the Arabs off, you get to attempted murder. Only way. Big time.

AMANPOUR: To make a big time statement, they chose this target, a Palestinian girl's school in East Jerusalem.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): One brings the car. One brings the explosives. One takes care of the clock, one makes the bomb and that's how it works.

AMANPOUR: They built a bomb in this trailer with propane tanks, barrels of gasoline, homemade shrapnel, and stolen military explosives to set it off. The crude timer was set for 7:30 a.m., when children would just be arriving for class.

DVIR (through translator): Whoever gets hurt gets hurt.

AMANPOUR: Jewish terror, to match Palestinian terror.

DVIR (through translator): Just like they do.

AMANPOUR: Late one spring night in 2002, the men from Bat Iam drove the trailer to east Jerusalem.

DVIR (through translator): We got there about 3 a.m., and then it got complicated because that night, a police car happened to be in the area.

AMANPOUR: They told the police they were just passing through and then continued on to their true destination, the Palestinian school.

DVIR (through translator): After we unhitched the weapon, we were going to puncture a tire so it wouldn't look suspicious, but we forgot. With all the pressure, we completely forgot. And after we'd driven about 200 yards I told Yarden, "Hey, we forgot to puncture the tire." So he drove back.

AMANPOUR: The police, watching from a distance, arrested them. Interrogators asked why they did it. The answer, it was God's will.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): There's no way to explain it. I feel as if God grabbed me by the ears.

AMANPOUR: In court, the men claimed the bomb was just to scare Palestinians, that it was not intended to explode. But they were found guilty of attempted murder and sent to prison for as long as 15 years.

Mainstream settlers like Hanan Porat condemned them.

PORAT (through translator): Religious belief as a fuel for violence is wrong.

AMANPOUR: But David Ha'Ivri does not condemn them.

HA'IVRI: I make no judgment. I think that war is an ugly thing.

AMANPOUR: When we come back, God's Jewish warriors go to war against fellow Jews.




AMANPOUR (voice-over): The Second Intifada paralyzed the peace process. So in December 2003, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon announced a radical new policy. In the absence of negotiations, he said Israel would unilaterally wall off the Jewish settlements it intended to keep and shut down the others, returning that land to the Palestinians.

ARIEL SHARON, FORMER ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER (through translator): The disengagement plan will reduce friction between us and the Palestinians.

AMANPOUR: Many settlers were appalled that their ally, the godfather of the settlements, would abandon what they had worked so hard to build.

SCHLISSEL: I thought it's worse than our enemies. He was like the hand of the terrorist to their ideologist. It was terrible.

AMANPOUR: Phase I of the plan, Gaza. The government offered the Gaza settlers financial compensation, and most left without incident. GORENBERG: There were many people in the settlement movement who saw this as a disgrace. They were angry and disappointed with their own leaders for not mounting a more serious resistance.

AMANPOUR: There were holdouts in Gaza. They would be physically evicted. Some settlers begged Israeli soldiers not to do it.

SCHLISSEL: They asked a Jewish person first and then a soldier. It's not moral to take from someone his house.

AMANPOUR: In August 2005, the hard-line Gaza settlers made their stand. Jewish settlers versus Jewish soldiers. The final confrontation was ugly. But within hours, it was over. Nine thousand settlers were now gone.

But another confrontation, over nine houses, was in the making. It would be in the tiny community of Amona, atop a windy hill on the occupied West Bank. For religious settlers like Idit Levinger, living here is spiritual.

IDIT LEVINGER, WEST BANK SETTLER (through translator): I walk around here with my children and tell them this is the hill that Abraham climbed. This is where Jacob had his dream. It's not something that was once upon a time. It's alive and now.

AMANPOUR: Amona was founded in 1995, despite what was then the Israeli government's stated policy: no new settlements.

GORENBERG: It was the same kind of process that went back in the '70s. They had officials who were sympathetic who would help them out. And then these little clumps of mobile homes sprung up all over the West Bank. Over 100 of them.

AMANPOUR: According to an official investigation, for more than a decade, government ministries spent millions on the unauthorized outpost, by "bypassing procedure and violating Israeli law."

GORENBERG: And then a few of them, the settlers said, "OK, we're here. The government hasn't pulled us out. Let's start building houses."

AMANPOUR: Nine of these permanent houses were built for nine Amona families living in cramped trailers. Among them Idit Levinger's.

LEVINGER (through translator): I feel I'm part of these hills. I can't see myself living without them.

AMANPOUR: But Peace Now, an Israeli organization that opposes the settlements, wanted the nine houses torn down. Dror Etkes filed a lawsuit, arguing that the Amona homes did not have official permits and that they were built on privately-owned Palestinian lands.

DROR ETKES, FILED LAWSUIT: There's no law there. There is one law, and this is the law of the occupier. You grab, you take. AMANPOUR: The settlers' response: they had a legitimate deal with nearby Palestinians, who feared for their lives if the transaction were ever made public.

LEVINGER (through translator): Our land was bought and paid for. The Arab owners got their money.

AMANPOUR: But the court ruled that the nine permanent homes were illegal and ordered them demolished.

On February 1, 2006, thousands of protesters and thousands of security forces came to Amona. Both sides prepared for confrontation. As Israeli soldiers and riot police moved forward, violence erupted. Demonstrators were beaten. Soldiers and police were pelted with rocks.

LEVINGER (through translator): They wanted to protest the demolition. But nobody intended to harm anyone.

AMANPOUR: No one was killed, but there were more than 200 casualties: soldiers and settlers. All this over nine houses on a tiny plot of land.

LEVINGER (through translator): We didn't think there'd be so much violence. This was a civil war.

AMANPOUR: The battle ended with the nine homes torn down. But God's Jewish warriors had sent a message. Evict us from the West Bank, and it will rip Israeli society apart.

GORENBERG: That social conflict is the biggest problem that Israel would have in pulling out, confronting tens of thousands of people whose deepest belief, who the very meaning of their life, is invested in remaining in those settlements.

AMANPOUR: Idit Levinger's new home is now rubble. But her family and the others remain in their old trailers.

LEVINGER (through translator): My bond with this place is far more than a house.

AMANPOUR: But the majority of Israelis would trade settlements for a lasting peace. And Dror Etkes promises more lawsuits.

ETKES: Basically, everywhere there is a red is considered a private posting in land.

AMANPOUR: He says that, while religious settlers took land from their Palestinian neighbors, Israeli officials looked the other way.

ETKES: This is not politics. It's theology. Theology belongs to the Muslim, you know, religious centers, to -- the Jewish religious study centers. It doesn't belong to modern political system.

AMANPOUR: Israel became a nation after its 1948 war of independence. In the cease fire, Jerusalem was divided: the western part for Jews, the eastern part for Arabs.

Nineteen years later, in the Six-Day War, Israel captured the Arab side of the city and declared it part of the Jewish state. But the Palestinians want East Jerusalem for the capital of their own future nation.

DANNY SEIDEMAN, LAWYER: Jerusalem is the locus of a bitter, sometimes bloody and lasting national conflict.

AMANPOUR (on camera): But surely the Israeli interests...

(voice-over) Danny Seideman is an American-born Israeli, a Jew, a Zionist, and a lawyer who defends Palestinian property rights. He worries that turning a fight over land into a fight over religion makes compromise impossible.

SEIDEMAN: We will be transforming the conflict into a combination of Armageddon, jihad, holy war, sons of darkness and sons of light, precisely at the time when the interface between Islam, the Arab world and the west is not exactly user-friendly.

AMANPOUR: The 14-year tug of war over Jerusalem began when Israel bulldozed the Arab neighborhood next to the Western Wall and built a plaza where Jews now pray.

Many of the Palestinians who live there were moved to this U.N. refugee camp on the edge of Jerusalem. It's called Shofat and here, they remain refugees in their own city.

MUSHIN NATSHEH, JERUSALEM RESIDENT (through translator): The Palestinians want to live in their homeland. We do not want to remain displaced for the rest of our lives.

AMANPOUR: Mushin Natsheh, a former businessman, is raising eight children here. There is no regular garbage service. Sewage runs through his backyard.

NATSHEH (through translator): Animals live a better life than ours.

AMANPOUR: To go to other parts of the city, Shofat residents must navigate a crowded checkpoint run by Israeli soldiers.

NATSHEH (through translator): We put the whole Palestinian people in prison. We're not allowed to move freely. It is hard to go out or to get to work.

AMANPOUR: And even his home is threatened, by this. Israel calls it a security fence to keep out terrorists. Palestinians call it the apartheid wall.

NATSHEH (through translator): Three years ago they came and opened up a route for the wall. It was 17 meters from my house.

AMANPOUR: The Israeli government wanted to demolish Natsheh's home, to build the wall. He had one week to get out. Desperate, he took drastic action, documented by a local filmmaker.

NATSHEH (through translator): I prepared the gas tank. If they come near me, I will blow myself up.

AMANPOUR: Whenever he saw the bulldozer coming, Natsheh chained himself to his roof every day for a year while his lawyer fought the demolition in court.

The government ended up building the wall behind the house. But his case is still tied up in court, and his house is still threatened.

NATSHEH (through translator): We hope that genuine peace prevails in this country. They say that we are terrorists. But who brought us to this place? People are on the brink of hell.

AMANPOUR: Danny Seideman is Natsheh's lawyer. He says that, while the massive concrete wall may reduce terrorism, it may also backfire.

SEIDEMAN: The same tool that we're using to prevent a suicide bomber from entering this side is going to radicalize them. We're cutting them off from their hinterland. We're making their lives miserable.

AMANPOUR: In other Palestinian neighborhoods, this is some of the property a Jewish organization called Ateret Cohanim has bought from Arabs over the past 25 years to settle, it claims, more than 800 Jewish families.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I believe that God is bringing back the Israel people to holy land and to Jerusalem. That's part of their redemption.

AMANPOUR: This man, who asked not to be identified, is an Ateret Cohanim security chief.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have the guards and so on. To be careful at night, I have my gun.

AMANPOUR: Despite Palestinian protests and riots, these Jews believe God wants a united, not a divided Jerusalem.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jerusalem is our capital. All of the Israeli land is our land. And it's not -- not because we say, because God says.

SEIDEMAN: I believe this will come down.

AMANPOUR: As I walked along the separation barrier with Danny Seideman, he explained why separation is virtually impossible. The holy sites for Jews, Muslims and Christians are virtually on top of one another.

SEIDEMAN: God is a local resident here. That's something that the city knows how to do. If only the politicians were wise enough to flesh this out into the appropriate political arrangements, this would be the most remarkable place on the face of the earth.

AMANPOUR (on camera): Jerusalem is a remarkable place, and political solutions require compromise. But too often, for God's Jewish warriors and their Palestinian counterparts compromise means capitulation.

And they are not alone. For millions of people around the world, religion is politics. They fear modern society is trampling all over their beliefs.

Join me tomorrow night when the stakes are raised. We meet God's Muslim warriors. Islam has become a powerful political force. But for a few, terror has become the weapon of choice.

I'm Christiane Amanpour. Thank you for joining me.