The Likud government has asked leftist groups to help in a massive campaign aimed at overcoming strong American Jewish and non-Jewish opposition to the disengagement plan.
Danny Ayalon, Israel's Ambassador to the United States, will participate Monday in a Peace Now-sponsored forum on Capitol Hill. In addition, Deputy Prime Minister Ehud Olmert (pictured above) is scheduled to deliver the keynote speech at the June annual dinner of the Israel Policy Forum, a group that was formed to support the Labor Party's Oslo II policies.
These two events are part of an intensive campaign aimed at counteracting opposition to the disengagement plan by evangelical Christians and a large number of Jews.
Israeli diplomats in the U.S. are under orders to meet with as many Jewish organizations and synagogues as possible and urge them not to "second-guess the government of Israel or the Israeli citizens," says Aryeh Mekel, Israel's consul-general in New York. "This is the number one priority on the agenda of the consulates," he added.
Consulate sources say that the government has recently begun to understand the impact of American Jewish opposition to Sharon's plan to dismantle 25 Jewish communities in the Gaza region and northern Samaria. Pro-disengagement Jewish leaders also are worried about this camp's strength. "It is necessary to mobilize" supporters of the government plan, said Abe Foxman, director of the Anti-Defamation League and a prominent supporter of the plan. "It is very important that Israeli officials will be involved in doing that."
Morton Klein, president of the Zionist Organization of America and an outspoken critic of Sharon's program, said that American Jews have a right and obligation to oppose Israeli policies they think are damaging. Klein added that the ZOA is launching a newspaper advertising campaign exposing anti-Israeli comments by Palestinian Authority chairman Abu Mazen (Mahmoud Abbas).
Respected Israeli journalist Nahum Barnea admits that most of the Israeli media has acted more like the "guard dog" of the disengagement plan than that of democracy.
Writing in the most recent edition of the monthly media publication "The Seventh Eye," Barnea stated that Israeli journalists made a mistake that must now be acknowledged.
"There is no argument that the tone in the Israeli media is pro-disengagement," Barnea wrote. "Were the media just supportive, or also enlisted [in its favor]?"
He added that had the Prime Minister presented a program to strengthen Jewish communities instead of dismantling them, the media would have treated him "with cruelty."
Barnea noted that only certain newspapers have published articles against the Prime Minister. He noted that the "right-wing" media, mainly the B'Sheva and Makor Rishon weeklies and the daily HaTzofeh, correctly have emphasized that Sharon promised he would accept the results of last year's Likud party referendum on whether to accept the disengagement plan.
"Two-thirds of the party members voted against it in a party referendum, but Sharon ignored the results," Barnea wrote. "Even Ben-Gurion, whom Sharon admires, would not have dared to act that way towards his party. When he [Ben-Gurion] lost in a party vote, he obeyed it while gritting his teeth."
Israel's media treated Sharon with "kid gloves" although he acted pretentiously, Barnea confessed. "We were the guard dog of disengagement more than we were the guard dog of democracy. Our duty is to report, expose, criticize, educate and influence." The media's conscription in the disengagement program was "a mistake" and the media should admit it now and not later, Barnea concluded.
Complaint Filed Against PM Sharon and Author of Outposts Report Friday, March 11, 2005
A concerned citizen from Haifa has asked the police to investigate possible criminal activity involved in the preparation of the controversial report on new neighborhoods in Judea, Samaria and Gaza.
The report, prepared by former State Prosecution attorney Talia Sasson, has caused a backlash against all the bodies involved in building "unauthorized outposts" in Judea and Samaria. The report purports to show a series of illegalities perpetrated by many different government offices and bodies that were involved in funding, constructing and providing services to budding Jewish neighborhoods in Judea and Samaria.
Aviad Visuly, head of the Haifa-based Land of Israel Task Force, filed charges in the Kfar Saba police station yesterday against several people, including Prime Minister Sharon, who requested the reports.
Visuly's main claim is that though the report investigated many government offices and bodies, it overlooked two of the most critical ones: The Ministry of Infrastructures and the Prime Minister's Office. Both of these were headed by Ariel Sharon during the period covered by the report, and figured very strongly in everything connected with the outposts.
Visuly also states that Atty. Sasson did not investigate her own department, the State Prosecution's Department of Special Functions, which also had much to do with the small neighborhoods.
"The main 'suspect' in this whole story is actually Prime Minister Sharon," Visuly told Arutz-7, "who encouraged people to come to the outposts. No mention was made in the report of the unwritten agreements in which Yesha leaders would come to Sharon with lists of new places and he would approve them. He appointed Sasson to write this report so that it would 'cleanse' him."
Visuly said he plans to file suit against Sasson for slander: "Even the State Comptroller, when he criticizes someone, gives him a hearing first. The Yesha leaders asked to meet with her while she was preparing the report, but she refused. She met with Peace Now, however."
Any complaint filed against the Prime Minister automatically goes to the Attorney-General for his consideration, Visuly explained. "Attorney-General Mazuz will now have a problem, because if he accepts Sasson's recommendation to investigate the people that she mentioned, he will also have to investigate Sharon himself."
Visuly has another series of charges that he filed with the police as well. For one thing, Defense Minister Sha'ul Mofaz and his predecessor Binyamin Ben-Eliezer are barely mentioned in the report, even though they had much to do with the approval of outposts.
Visuly further says that the choice of Sasson to write the report was apparently illegal, in that it violated the Tenders Law that states that there must be a "cooling-off" period between the time she concluded her work in the State Prosecution and her appointment by a government office.
The police must also investigate, Visuly charges, whether Sasson mispresented herself, as she submitted the report on Prime Minister's Burea stationery even though she was not a state employee.
The report itself contains incitement against many residents of Yesha, Visuly maintains, as it includes a call to "harass and abuse them" by detaching their water and electricity supplies.
Atty. Sasson's report includes recommendations that the Attorney-General consider legal measures against Housing Ministry officials who "knowingly acted against the law, regarding the establishment of unauthorized outposts and" an alleged "caravan affair" of 2003 involving "publishing the tender for caravan [mobile home without wheels] production, the winning bid, the conveyance of caravans into unauthorized outposts, and any other matter concerning the caravan affair." She further recommends that legal measures be considered against the Assistant to the Defense Minister for Settlement Affairs. In addition, Sasson writes that six of the outposts can and should be evacuated and demolished immediately.
Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz is reportedly against the building of new Jewish settlements in the Gaza Strip.
According to reports of the Israeli newspaper Yediot Aharanot, the latest decision was reached after consultations with the justice and interior ministers and will be put into affect next week and noted that Mofaz is against the new settlements in Gaza.
A military official said the commandership in charge of Gaza has banned the settlements of the Jews in Gush Katif by releasing a decree.
Military officials had previously decided to declare the withdrawal regions as "closed military zone". To enter the zone, only residents having special identity cards will be allowed access.
For now, nearly 8,000 Jewish settlers live in 21,000 units. All of these settlements will be evacuated as of July.
(IsraelNN.com) The IDF has issued a new document which calls for tough and quick punishment of soldiers who refuse to follow orders. Officers who are found guilty of the offense will be stripped of their rank and may find themselves facing a military court.
The army also plans a publicity campaign and will offer support for soldiers who feel they are in a conflict by having to follow orders against their conscience.
The document represents acknowledgement by the military that the incidents of soldiers refusing orders no longer are isolated.
MIM: Israeli general tells Jews to give piece a chance
Hamas Burns US & Israeli Flags, Threatens to Renew Attacks Saturday, March 12, 2005 / 1 Adar 5765
Hamas terrorists and supporters burned American and Israeli flags over the weekend, and threatened to continue attacks against Israel if the government does not offer more concessions.
The terror group also formally announced it plans to participate in the scheduled Palestinian Authority (PA) parliamentary elections this July. Hamas recently scored major victories in local PA elections.
Saturday's protest came prior to an anti-PA demonstration protesting the high unemployment among Arabs in the PA. Stone-throwers broke windows of the PA council building in Gaza, and PA police shot in the air to keep the crowd from forcing its way inside the building.
"No one is optimistic about continuing this cooling down period indefinitely," Hamas leader Mahmoud a-Zahar told reporters. "Israel must offer something in return or the resistance will continue." He said that Hamas would not agree to disarm, contrary to PA Chief Abu Mazen's promises to repress terrorism.
A-Zahar added that Hamas is depending on Egypt to support its demands. A meeting of several terrorist organizations is scheduled this week in Egypt. Israel has prevented Islamic Jihad terrorists from attending, but Hamas members will be allowed to go.
Another terror leader, Muhammad al-Hindi of Islamic Jihad, said. "This march is a message saying yes to the intifada. Everyone knows that there will be no cease fire." The Islamic Jihad was behind the recent suicide bombing in a Tel Aviv nightclub which killed five people, as well as other very recent attempted attacks that were thwarted by Israeli security forces.
Defense Minister Sha'ul Mofaz said Saturday night that he is aware of the danger that a wave of terror attacks will resume, but said Israel "must take the chance."
The Palestinian Authority will receive security control of Jericho Wednesday, with Tulkarm due to be handed over early next week security officials told The Jerusalem Post during a meeting between Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz and Palestinian Authority Interior Minister Nasser Yusef at the Daniel Hotel in Herzliya on Monday night.
According to officials, Mofaz and Yusef are also discussing the transfer of Kalkilya to Palestinian control making it the third city on the list to be handed over.
The meeting was scheduled in an attempt to iron out the differences that arose in meetings last week between Israeli and Palestinian security officials that led to a breakdown in talks and prevented the handover from being implemented. As Israeli security officials met with their Palestinian counterparts last week to finalize arrangements for the handover of Jericho, the Palestinians issued new demands including a request that Israel remove all West Bank checkpoints and that they receive security control of Highway 90, the main access route to Jordan Valley communities and those traveling north. In addition, the Palestinians also demanded full control of Oudja, a farming village north of Jericho that straddles Highway 90.
It was agreed at the meeting that Israel would retain security control of Highway 90. The checkpoint located at the district coordinating office outside of Jericho will also remain.
In addition, members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine who are incarcerated in Jericho will remain behind bars, including the murderers of Rehavam Ze'evi, the former tourism minister.
The Palestinians also agreed to disarm fugitives hiding out in the city and Israel will allow the Palestinians to train police in the city so that they can be deployed in other areas once the PA receives security control over other cities.
Mofaz and Yusef plan to meet again in four weeks to discuss further steps.
The transfer of cities to Palestinian security control has been on the agenda ever since the first meeting between Mofaz and Palestinian security chief Muhammed Dahlan on January 29, the first held between the two since August 2003. Since then, there have been a number of meetings between Israeli and Palestinian officials in an attempt to move forward with the transfer of cities to Palestinian security control.
(IsraelNN.com) Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz late Monday night agreed to turn over control of Jericho to the Palestinian Authority (PA) on Wednesday and Tulkarm early next week. Kalkilya, near Kfar Saba, will be the next city in line to become full responsibility of the PA, according to Mofaz.
The Defense Minister met for several hours with PA Interior Minister Nasser Yousef at a hotel in Herzilya, north of Tel Aviv.
Giving the PA control of Jericho has been delayed because of Israeli demands for guarantees of safety for travelers around the city on the main highway between the Dead Sea, east of Jerusalem, and the Bet She'an and Tiberias to the north. Under the new agreement, Israel will control the road, but the PA can begin training police in the city.
Police Arrest Freed Terrorist Monday, March 14, 2005
(IsraelNN.com) Israeli police near Kalkilya today arrested three Arabs with 100 bullets and a dagger. Among those arrested was one of the 500 prisoners whom Israel recently freed as a gesture towards the Palestinian Authority.
Earlier in the day, IDF troops in the Jordan Valley arrested four Arabs whose truck contained tank parts which had been stolen from a nearby base. Soldiers north of Jerusalem nabbed two Hamas terrorists at a checkpoint.
(IsraelNN.com) The Palestinian Authority (PA) will not take control of Tulkarm Monday as planned following disagreements between PA security forces and the IDF. Army officers said they were prepared to withdraw troops from the city, but the PA insisted that Israel also pull out soldiers and remove checkpoints in outlying villages.
Israeli turned Jericho over to the PA last week, but army officials are more concerned about Tulkarm. Terrorists have been active in the area for years, and the suicide bomber who killed five Israelis at a Tel Aviv nightclub last month came from the area.
MIM: Homeland security begins at home : The oxymoronic misnomer of 'Israeli - Arab' reveals the depth of denial to which the Israeli government and the media has sunk in not addressing the mortal danger of the fifth columnists living among them. Israel has to show that they are serious about the war on terror by expelling the ten Arabs from the Knesset and stripping Arabs of their citizenship. Continued dialouge and appeasement is construed as weakness and will only lead to more attacks both in Israel and on Israeli targets abroad.
Released for publication: An Israeli-Arab, born and raised in Hadera, was heavily involved in the planning of the Feb. 25 terror bombing in Tel Aviv that killed five Jews.
Ashraf Keisi, 25, was 14 when he moved from Hadera to Baka el-Gharbiye. The Islamic Jihad terror organization contacted him to carry out the attack, and he cooperated with them every step of the way – even driving the suicide terrorist to his final murderous destination.
The bomber blew himself up outside The Stage club on the Tel Aviv boardwalk on a Friday night, killing five and wounding 50. Shabak (General Security Service) agents arrested Keisi the next day, and he confessed to have been knowingly involved. He was indicted this morning in the Tel Aviv District Court.
Keisi was actively involved in choosing the location of the attack. When his handlers suggested Netanya, he said that in the winter, not many people walked around outside. He also rejected Hadera, because, he said, he knew many people there, including relatives. When Jerusalem was proposed, he said that he was not familiar with the area – and they finally settled on Tel Aviv. On Feb. 25, Keisi, armed with his perfect knowledge of Hebrew and his Israeli identity card, drove the suicide terrorist through a police checkpoint near Herzliya. "Make believe you're sleeping," he told his passenger, and in fact they aroused no suspicion. When Keisi dropped him off in Tel Aviv, he said that he would need about 30 minutes in order to get home – and the terrorist obliged him by waiting that long before blowing himself up.
PUTRAJAYA: The issue of suicide bombers attracted a lively debate at the international conference on Peace in Palestine here after a delegate asked why "this aspect of the Palestinian armed resistance" was neglected.
Razak Kasim from the London-based Islamic Human Rights Commission criticised yesterday's panel of speakers for not discussing it.
"Why has nobody condemned the use of tanks and machine-guns by Israeli soldiers against the Palestinian people as immoral when we often use this word in connection with the suicide bombers?" he asked at the conference held in Putrajaya International Convention Centre here.
Keller holding up a T-shirt with the flags of Israel and Palestine side-by-side signifying two people, one state and one future at Putrajaya on Tuesday.
Speaker Adam Keller, who is from Tel Aviv, agreed that the use of the weapons by Israeli soldiers was "equally immoral".
"But it's not a pleasant feeling to have, whenever one travels in Tel Aviv, and we don't know when the suicide bombers will strike next."
Razak then said that Keller had used only a "few seconds" to reply on the immorality of the weapons but "a full 10 minutes on the effects of these attacks on Israelis".
Keller is the spokesman of the Israeli Peace Bloc Gush Shalom and one of the five Israelis invited to speak on the topic Is A Just Peace Possible? at the three-day conference organised by Peace Malaysia.
Earlier, veteran Arab-American journalist Ramzy Baroud said many Palestinians felt that armed resistance, including suicide bombing, was the only option left for them.
"They feel that they have been abandoned by the international world," he said.
Delhi University's International Relations and Global Politics pro Achin Vanaik called on the Palestinians to pursue a non-violent strategy.
Prior to the debate, Keller apologised that his presence and that of other Israelis had caused "certain members of the Islamic party" to stay away from the event.
PAS had withdrawn from the event to protest the participation of the Israelis.
Meanwhile, Rabbi Yisroel Dovid Weiss had a lot to say to Jews who think that Palestine rightfully belongs to them.
"Our holy book Torah says that the people of Israel are in exile from the land that has been given by God to them.
"And that period of exile is not over yet. Our holy books forbid us to take the land by force from the Palestinians.
"Any attempt to do so is a rebellion against God," he said.
The New Yorker is a representative of a coalition of Jews United Against Zionism.
MIM: Better but Deader - Political correctness run amok: Army says it has "no choice" but to obey Supreme Court in ruling which favors terrorists.
Democracy and 'rule of law' provides Israeli army escort to terrorist family involved in the 1929 massacre to return to live next to Jews in Hebron.
Hevron´s Jews Under Closure to Allow Terrorists to Return Wednesday, April 6, 2005 / 26 Adar 5765
"A declaration of war on the Jewish Community of Hebron," said spokesman David Wilder, as hundreds of security forces descended on the city to allow a terrorist family to enter "its" home.
Wilder was referring to the army's decision to help the Sharabati family, which was involved in the massacre of 1929 against the Jews, return to a building adjacent to a Jewish neighborhood. The building was a part of the Jewish neighborhood until the Arabs massacred 67 Jews in 1929 and banished the remainder from the city for the next 40 years.
At 5:00 this morning, hundreds of Border Guard policemen, soldiers, policemen, and mounted policemen arrived in the Avraham Avinu neighborhood of Hevron, and declared the area a "closed military zone." They began towing away legally parked cars and erecting checkpoints, and are not allowing the Jewish residents out. "And all this," Wilder said, "is in order to allow the Sharabati family, members of which took part in the murder of Jews during the 1929 massacre, to rebuild their home next to our neighborhood." Wilder said that the army is planning to build a large wall around the Arab terrorists' home, "so that we won't bother them."
A Jewish protest of sorts is underway in other parts of Jewish Hevron, "but at this point, there is little we can do," Wilder said. Some violence has been recorded, including the violent arrest of some of the residents, and two women were detained for pelting security forces with eggs and rocks. A 10-year-old boy was also arrested, and an 8-month-pregnant woman fainted and was evacuated to a hospital. The entry of the Arab family was approved by the Supreme Court a half-year ago.
The Jewish Community of Hevron says that the house in question, which has fallen into disrepair over the years, was part of the ancient Jewish Quarter of the city. The neighborhood was looted and destroyed by Arabs during the 1929 massacre, in which 67 Jews were brutally slaughtered in their homes by their Arab neighbors. "The Sharbati family simply took over the house after we were banished from the neighborhood in 1929," said spokesman Noam Arnon. "We have no precise maps, but this was the Jewish area."
A survivor of the massacre, Rabbi Dov Cohen, told Arutz-7 several years ago that it is "still impossible for Jews to reach certain neighborhoods where we used to live..."
The Sharbati family was distanced from the neighborhood at the beginning of the Oslo War, in late 2000, because of their involvement in terror activities against the Jews. These included scouting the Jewish neighborhood, throwing explosives into the adjacent Jewish nursery school yard, and other attempted attacks. A search of the family's home at the time turned up weapons and documents connecting them to terrorist organizations.
Wilder said that several years ago, "an 18- or 19-year-old youth of the family jumped into the Avraham Avinu courtyard with a knife, saying he wanted to kill someone. When he was arrested, he claimed he wanted to kill an Arab, so they released him to the PA police, and that was the end of the story."
"Our sources in the army say that they don't want this family back here, but because the Supreme Court ruled, they have no choice," Wilder said. Pictures of the event have been posted on the Jewish Community of Hevron's web site and can be viewed here.