Newsletter : 8fax0407.txt
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>JN April 7, 1998, Vol. 6, No. 64
Hamas Leader Killed During Inter-Party Squabble
By Al Pessin (VOA-Jerusalem)
Palestinian police say Hamas military leader Muhyideen al-Sharif
was killed a week ago by fellow-members of Hamas as a result of an
internal dispute, and not by Israeli agents as Hamas had claimed.
Senior Palestinian officials confirm the police are holding four
members of Hamas in connection with the killing. The suspects are
believed to have shot al-Sharif in a disagreement over how to
allocate money and what tactics Hamas should use in its fight
The police say the explosion which burned and disfigured his body
March 29 was staged to cover-up the shooting. But an autopsy and an
extensive investigation revealed the truth.
The Palestinian West Bank police chief Jibril Rajoub says the
suspects include men al-Sharif had trained and worked with in
Hamas, and some of them have confessed. Palestinian Planning
Minister Nabil Shaath says the investigation clears Israel of any
involvement, unlike, he says, previous unexplained killings of
militant Palestinian leaders.
"Our information so far does not indicate any Israeli connection.
Very naturally Israel was a prime suspect as it has murdered all
the previous people (militants) in very similar ways."
But Hamas is not convinced. It issued a statement rejecting
the official conclusions as "lies" and renewing its threat to
retaliate against Israel for the killing. The statement accuses
the Palestinian Authority of bowing to pressure from Israel and
the United States, and says the police report is an attempt to
harm Hamas and its "holy war."
There were many conflicting versions of what happened before the
official Palestinian report, ranging from a bomb-making accident
to assassination by Israeli agents. Israel strongly denied any
involvement, and has been on high alert against the possible
renewal of Hamas suicide bombings.
Palestinian officials say they will publish the full details of
the investigation soon. Once that is done, ordinary Palestinians
will be left to decide whether to believe the Authority or Hamas.
Most Palestinians support the Authority and its peace efforts, but
the Authority has an interest in easing tension with Israel in
order to move the peace process forward, and any Hamas revenge
attacks would set that process back.
Hamas, which opposes the peace accords, has great credibility
with many Palestinians because of its religious and nationalistic
fervor and its numerous social service programs. But Hamas has
an interest in keeping any internal dispute secret to protect
that reputation, and in blaming Israel for virtually any
Palestinian problem to increase its base of support.
Members of al-Sharif's family say Palestinian leader Yasir
Arafat personally gave them the investigation's results on
Monday, but as Hamas supporters they are reluctant to believe it.
Police chief Jibril Rajoub says the "mysterious" case of al-Sharif
has been solved. But with the conflicting information, claims, and
motivations, in spite of the official report, for many in the
region at least some of the mystery will remain.
Switzerland Holds 700 Paintings Stolen From Jews
By IINS News Service
More than 700 paintings stolen by the Nazis from Jewish people, and
worth at least 100 million Swiss Francs ($65.5 million) are in art
museums, bank safes and private houses in Switzerland, said Thomas
Buomberger, a Swiss historian, the SonntagsZeitung reported.
Buomberger, who was commissioned by the Swiss government to
investigate the role Switzerland played in Nazi Germany's theft of
art treasures during World War 2, said 77 paintings found in
Switzerland from that time represent only the "tip of the iceberg."
He said he had named a number of people in a report, who had bought
or handled works of art stolen by the Nazis from the Jews, which
would be published later this year.
28% of Jewish Localities Founded after 1967
By IINS News Service
303 Jewish localities, or 28% of all localities, were founded after
1967 with 137 of these being in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, according
to the Central Bureau of Statistics. Some 27% of all Jewish
localities were founded prior to 1948 and 45% were founded
between 1948 to 1967. As of 1995, the most recent census, there
were 1,184 localities; 1,066 Jewish, nine mixed Jewish-Arab,
and 118 Arab.
In 1995, 70% of Israelis lived in the three metropolitan areas as
compared to 50% in 1948. Nazareth is the largest Arab city, with
more than 50,000 residents, while five Arab cities have between
20,000 to 50,000 residents.
Kashrut in the Air
By Arutz-7 News Service
El Al Israel Airlines is preparing its air-borne kitchens for
Passover. Teams of rabbinic "kosherers" and supervisors will carry
out their work on the company's 28 aircraft Wednesday night. El Al
is preparing to serve some 100,000 Kosher-for-Passover meals during
the course of the week-long holiday.
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