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Amusement Park and Atom Museum Slated for Dimona

By Globes

Peretz Bonei Hanegev has bought the Dimona Textile plant from Shekel Towers for $3.2 million. The company will invest $60 million to build a 15,000-sq.meter-power center, an amusement park and an atom museum on the site. Dimona Textile was once one of Israel's largest textile plants, before closing down several years ago. The amusement park will built on a three-acre section of the property. The atom museum is intended to exploit the proximity of the Dimona nuclear facility.

Palestinian PM-Designate Demands Israel Lift Arafat Travel Ban

By Ross Dunn (VOA-Jerusalem)

Palestinian Prime Minister-designate Mahmoud Abbas, who will be sworn in within days, says he will not meet foreign leaders abroad until Israel lifts its travel ban on Yasir Arafat.

Abbas is demanding an end to Israel's restrictions on Arafat's movements, imposed by Israel more than a year ago. Those restrictions have kept the Palestinian leader a virtual prisoner for months at his headquarters in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

The compound was besieged several times last year and most of it destroyed by Israeli forces, which also prevented Arafat from leaving the area. Israel now says Arafat is free to go, but that it will not guarantee he will be able to return. Israel has also decided that it would no longer automatically boycott visiting foreign ministers who meet with Arafat in Ramallah.

These changes represent an easing in the sanctions that Israel began imposing in December 2001, when it broke off all direct contacts with Arafat, declaring him irrelevant. But Abbas said these concessions are not enough. He said he would not travel to any destination before "the siege imposed on Mr. Arafat" has been lifted and before he enjoys full freedom to move within the West Bank and Gaza and outside, without any obstacles to his return.

Such a declaration appears to threaten plans by President Bush, who said last week he would invite Abbas to the White House as part of efforts revive peace talks. Bush has refused to meet Arafat, a Holocaust denier, but has praised Abbas for his stand against terrorism.

Anne Frank Betrayal Remains a Mystery

By Reuters

Dutch historians trying to find out who betrayed Jewish teenager Anne Frank - a riddle for the six decades since she was killed in the Nazi Holocaust - said last week that they had cleared three main suspects.

Prompted by recent books suggesting new suspects, the Netherlands Institute for War Documentation (NIOD) revisited the question of who informed on Anne and seven other Jews hiding in a canal side house in German-occupied Amsterdam in 1944. "Our investigation has not led us to the culprit," NIOD wrote in a report.

The new inquiry concentrated on three main suspects, all dead: a warehouse man at Prinsengracht 263, where the Franks were hiding; a cleaning lady; and a Dutch Nazi said to have had business dealings with Otto Frank, Anne's father. It was the latest of several attempts to establish who betrayed the eight whose two years in the cramped secret annex were described in Anne Frank's world-famous diary.

Anne's diary, first published in 1947 by Otto Frank - the only one of the eight to return from German concentration camps - is the most widely read document to emerge from the Nazi Holocaust in which six million Jews were murdered.

Investigations in 1948 and 1963 centered on the suspicion that a warehouse man, Willem van Maaren, betrayed the Franks. Speculation was rekindled in 1998 when writer Melissa Mueller published an Anne Frank biography suggesting the culprit was a cleaner who worked at Prinsengracht 263, Lena Hartog.

In 2002, British author Carol Ann Lee published a biography of Otto Frank that pointed the finger at Dutch Nazi Tonny Ahlers; a cash-strapped anti-Semite she said had done business with Anne's father. Ahlers died in 2000.

But NIOD said: "The conclusion of our inquiry is that we do not consider any of the three suspects to be a likely candidate for the role of betrayer."

Lee suggested Ahlers betrayed the Franks to earn himself a bounty. She also suggested Otto was blackmailed up until his death in 1980 by Ahlers, paying Ahlers in return for his silence about Frank's business with Germany during World War Two. Researchers found no proof that Ahlers blackmailed Otto Frank.

NIOD, whose new inquiry was launched last summer, said the Ahlers-as-betrayer theory was based chiefly on comments made by Ahlers himself - a notorious braggart and fantasist. "We see (Ahlers) above all as a boaster who pretended to be much more important than he really was. He was somebody with whom one should be on one's guard, but above all somebody whose word was not to be taken on trust," the report said.

NIOD also dismissed the Van Maaren and Hartog theories; saying the case against the warehouse man had rightly been dropped in the 1960s and that there was no evidence the cleaner knew there were Jews hiding in the annex, which was at the back of the building housing Otto's food ingredients business.

Carelessness may have been an important factor in the betrayal, NIOD said, pointing out that those in the annex sometimes yielded to the urge to peep out of a window. The hiding place on the Prinsengracht, an elegant canal in the center of Amsterdam, was visible to many people, NIOD said.

"The annex could, and still can, be seen by at least a hundred - and that is a very low estimate - residents of the Keizersgracht, Leliegracht and Westermarkt," it said, referring to nearby streets.

Besides, the culprit could have been a visitor to one of those residents or even a casual passer-by, the report said: "It is therefore possible that chance played a much greater role than has been assumed to date, and that there is less of a need to assume a deliberate attempt to deliver the Frank family and the four others into the hands of the Germans."

Police removed the eight Jews from the annex, whose entrance was concealed by a movable bookcase, on Aug. 4, 1944.

Of the 140,000 Jews in the Netherlands when World War II broke out, 102,000 died in the camps. Around 25,000 Jews managed to avoid being transported to camps by going into hiding but 9,000 of them still fell into Nazi hands, often because they were betrayed by letters or phone calls to police.

Born in Frankfurt, Germany in 1929, Anne Frank died of typhus in Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in March 1945, just weeks before it was liberated. Her diary has been translated into more than 60 languages and has sold millions of copies.

The house on the Prinsengracht was saved from demolition in 1957 to become one of the most popular museums in Amsterdam.

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