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>Israel Faxx
>JN Feb. 28, 1997, Vol. 5, Number 35

Palestinians Demonstrate in Jerusalem

By Al Pessin (VOA-Jerusalem), Laurie Kassman (VOA-Cairo)

Arab neighbors of Israel are expressing outrage and are warning of serious damage to the peace process after Israel's decision to construct new housing for Jews in east Jerusalem.

The radical Islamic group Hamas warns of an angry response from Palestinians in the street. Spokesman Ibrahim Ghosheh says the decision to build new Jewish housing in east Jerusalem is like a knife at the hearts of Palestinians.

The English-language Egyptian Gazette has only harsh words for Netanyahu, who it described as a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. The newspaper complains that he defies the peace process by approving new settlements. But, as the editorial puts it, he whimpers every time his shocked Arab neighbors want to slow normalization.

A few hundred Palestinians gathered in two villages near Jerusalem and marched to one side of the controversial hill. A large force of Israeli soldiers and police prevented them from crossing the Jerusalem city limits, and they remained out of sight from the other side of the hill, where Mayor Ehud Olmert spoke with reporters.

"Israel never made any secrets, never, about our intention to keep the city united and to keep complete freedom for ourselves to determine when and how and where we develop the city."

On Wednesday, a special committee of Israel's Cabinet approved the plan to build the first 2,500 homes of a 6,500 home neighborhood on a hill Israel calls Har Homa, and Palestinians call Jabal abu Ghaneim. It also approved infrastructure improvements in Palestinian neighborhoods and promised permits for more than 3,000 new homes for Palestinians.

Flatow Family Sues Iran

The family of Alyssa Flatow, who was killed in a terrorist attack in Israel two years ago, filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia, naming Iran as the defendant.

This will be the first case of its kind ever filed in U.S. courts under new anti-terrorism statutes, according to which citizens may sue a country in the case of state-sponsored terrorism. The suit claims 150 million dollars in damages, but Flatow said, "The sum is not important. No sum in the world can return my daughter to me. We only want Iran to know that if they sponsor terrorism, they will pay a heavy price."

Alyssa and seven others were killed in a terrorist-suicide attack outside Kfar Darom in April 1995.

A 1996 law allows a suit for "money damages against a foreign state for personal injury or death that was caused by an act of torture, extra-judicial killing, aircraft sabotage, hostage taking, or the provision of material support or resources for such an act if such act is engaged in by an official...of such foreign state while acting within the scope of his or her own office."

Iran is charged with civil conspiracy and causing wrongful death. If the Flatows win, they can seek to attach his judgment to the blocked assets of Iran being held by the U.S. Treasury, and to enforce his judgment in foreign countries where Iran may have assets.

ADL Cites Internet Anti-Semitism

By Joe Chapman (VOA-New York)

The Anti-Defamation League says its annual survey shows a decline in traditional forms of anti-Semitism in the United States. But the ADL is concerned about the spread of hate and bigotry to the Internet computer network.

The ADL says the sprawling growth of the Internet computer network is raising some new concerns about what it sees as an unimpeded electronic flow of hate-filled vitriol.

Abraham Foxman, national director of the league, says the forces of hatred are having what he terms "a field day" on the Internet. "In addition to the actual incidents of anti-Semitism, which can be quantified, we have a growing concern about what we would say is the dark side of technology, that the Internet and e-mail has now become a tool for anti-Semites and haters."

Foxman says the ADL had reports of 1,722 anti-Semitic incidents in the United States during 1996. The incidents, down in number for two consecutive years, range from spray painted hate messages on synagogues to a minor bombing and six arson cases.

Some of the traditional type of anti-Semitic activity is believed to have shifted to the Internet and its 35 million users. Many people, Foxman says, are subjected to unwanted, anonymous messages attacking Jews, African-Americans and other minorities.

But, Foxman says, censorship is not the answer. "As disturbing as

bad speech and hate speech and anti-Semitic speech is, the antidote
is  not censorship, is  not  restricting.  It is as I indicated,
good speech, good web sites.  This is pure speech. We're  not
talking about an e-mail that says, "go commit a crime." We're talking about e-mail that is hateful; which is bigoted, racist or anti-Semitic -- which is short of criminality."

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