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Publisher\Editor Don Canaan

                      Feb. 28, 1995, V3, #40
All the News the Big Guys Missed

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Quote for the Day: "I have nothing against Jews, but peace will not last in this area as long as there is an Israeli state." Dr. Fathi Shikaki, Leader of the Islamic Jihad, in an interview from Damascus, Syria (Jerusalem Report Magazine...2/23 issue)

American Israelite Sued for $2 Million

By Don Canaan

CINCINNATI, Feb. 28 (UPI) -- Two Cincinnati community weekly newspapers--one of which will cease publication Today--are being sued by Cincinnati lawyer James Condit Sr. and his son for allegedly calling the Condits anti-Semitic.

In November 1989, a Mount Washington Press editorial urged Hamilton County Republican Party members not to vote for Condit as county party chairman. The editorial opposed his candidacy and called Condit anti-Semitic.

Condit, from Cincinnati, sued the Press for libel, but a Clermont County judge dismissed the case. The court's summary dismissal was reversed on appeal and Condit vs. Mount Washington Press will be retried in September.

But the Mount Washington Press' final issue is scheduled today. Publisher Dennis Nichols said the 56-year-old, 6,500 circulation newspaper will cease publication because of 100-hour work weeks, increased competition from free shopper newspapers and costly litigation.

After the court's dismissal, the American Israelite, Cincinnati's English-Jewish weekly, editorially congratulated the Press on their victory.

A July 8, 1993, Israelite editorial, headlined "The Right of a Free Press," said "The anti-Semitic statements and attitudes of Condit and his son, James Condit Jr., have no place in our society and certainly have no place in the political process....

In June 1994, Condit Sr. filed a $2 million Clermont County libel lawsuit against the American Israelite Corp.; Millard Mack, its majority owner and president; and Phyllis Singer, minority owner, editor and general manager, in Clermont County Court.

The Israelite's lawyer, Albert Neman, requested a chance of venue to the Hamilton County Common Pleas Court.

Thomas Condit, lawyer for plaintiffs James Condit Jr. and Sr., told United Press International that paperwork for the venue change has not yet been sent to Hamilton County.

Condit referred to both the Press and Israelite's editorials as "outrageous and vicious stuff with no basis at all..."

"The First Amendment is liberated because of the closing of the Mount Washington Press," Condit said.

He called the Israelite editorial "worse than the Press" because it gave the "implication" that his father was "condoning genocide..."

"If the American Israelite investigated the case, they certainly ignored it when they wrote the editorial," Condit said. "Smearing (by) anti-Semitism and racism seems to be a very popular piece of mud to smear on Christians. Christians and Jews should be able to talk with one another."

Israelite attorney Albert Neman said his client had every right to publish the editorial.

"Condit was a public figure and there is no willful untruth in the editorial," he told UPI. "If you're a betting man, you can earn good money betting on the Israelite."

Germans Raid Neo-Nazi Group

By Evans Hays (Bonn)

Germany has outlawed another right-wing extremist group, calling it a threat to democracy. The Interior Ministry acted after Germany's constitutional court ruled that the free German Workers' party was not a legitimate political organization.

In dawn raids across Germany, police seized neo-Nazi propaganda, banners, copying machines and weapons at homes of Workers' Party members.

The raids came as Interior Minister Manfred Kanther announced that the federal government has outlawed the organization because of its neo-Nazi views.

The party, known by its initials FAP, is the latest neo-Nazi organization to be banned by authorities. A number of other neo-Nazi groups already have been outlawed since the government cracked down on right-wing extremism in the wake of anti-foreigner violence.

The FAP claims to have thousands of supporters, but the government says its membership is about 400.

Despite its small size, the party has kept a highly visible profile, with members dressed in neo-Nazi attire attending public rallies. Several of the group members have been implicated in crimes linked to the wave of anti-foreigner and anti-Semitic attacks that have plagued Germany since unification.

Kanther denounced the party, saying it modelled itself on the Nazis. He said the group revered Nazi leaders and scorned human rights and democracy. He said it was clearly racist and anti-Semitic.

Kanther said authorities must remain determined in their effort to combat extremism from the right as well as the left.

At least 30 people have been killed in right-wing attacks since 1990. When the anti-foreigner violence began, authorities were criticized for not taking the threat seriously. Some critics charged the government was not being as tough with right-wing extremists as it had been in dealing with left-wing terrorists.

In a related development, the city of Hamburg has announced a ban on a smaller neo-Nazi group called the National List.

Under German law, authorities were unable to act earlier against the two groups because both claimed to be legitimate political parties, a claim the constitutional court has rejected.

Life in a Refugee Camp

By Laurie Kassman (Baqa'a, Jordan)

The foreign ministers of Egypt, Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian Authority are due to meet in Jordan early in March to continue discussions about the status and eventual repatriation of Palestinians displaced by the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. More than half a million are living in Jordan in refugee camps. So are more than one million Palestinians who fled their homes in 1948 and whose fate is not to be negotiated at this point in the peace process. Middle East correspondent Laurie Kassman visited the Baqa'a refugee camp on the outskirts of Amman and filed this report.

The market of Baqa'a is crowded with vendors selling fruits and vegetables from farms in the Jordan River valley. Many of the Palestinians shopping here were farmers before they were forced to leave their homes in what is now Israel or occupied by Israel. Almost all of them would like to return to their farms and villages. Some may be able to, but others may not.

Mushala Ahmed Hassan remembers the day the Israeli soldiers came to the West Bank village of Garawi and told residents there to leave. She and her husband and infant son dropped everything and walked out with their neighbors. They walked for two days, rafted across the Jordan River and ended up in a temporary camp on the other side.

At first, Baqa'a camp was just a sprawling settlement of tents, then, one-room cement dwellings. Narrow dirt or cracked cement alleys mark off neighborhoods with familiar names like Jerusalem and Jericho.

After more than 25 years, more than 70,000 registered residents in Baqa'a have settled in and added more rooms to accommodate growing families.

Now 60-years old and mother of 15, Mrs. Hassan says sadly her sister and brothers still live in Garawi. If she had not been so afraid, she says, she would still be in her home too. "I want to live like old times in my home but not with the Jews, like my life in the past."

Baqa'a camp director Issa Gharib says many are hopeful they will be able to return to what is left of their villages. But he says some are afraid of what awaits them there. "If you find a man or child in the street and ask them if he wants to go back, he will immediately say yes. But bring the bus and tell them please come. Then they say, what will I do there. Have I a job there? Can I earn my life there?"

For Palestinians who were forced to leave their homes in 1948, the possibility of repatriation eludes them. Their fate is not covered by negotiations at this stage of the peace process. They are angry at being left out.

Hejar Ayyat shrugs her shoulders when she recounts how Israeli soldiers forced her to leave her home near Jerusalem at Beit Mahsir, today known as Bet Meir in Hebrew. She was 18 years old. She moved five more times to temporary refugee camps before ending up in Baqa'a. "They killed us. They killed our sons and now you want me to stay here..(Interpreter says she is crying now)

There are more than 1 million registered Palestinian refugees in Jordan -- about one fourth Jordan's population. As long as they remain here, the government and the UN Relief and Works Agency provide basic services.

UNRWA -- as it is better known -- runs 10 camps in Jordan with a staff of 6,000 and a budget of nearly $70 million. There are more than 200 schools, 20 health centers as well as welfare and other social services. Jordan budgets about $300 million to help care for the refugees but officials say the actual costs are much higher.

While negotiators argue about details, Palestinian refugees wait -- wait for the opportunity to be able to decide for themselves where they can live.

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