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Sharon at Holocaust Service: Jews Can Only Achieve Security Through Strength

By, Ha'aretz & Globes

Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Day began Monday night, one week before Independence Day, in memory of the more than six million Jews murdered in Europe by the Nazi regime between 1941-1945. The theme for this year's commemorations is, "Jewish Resistance During the Holocaust - Sixty Years Since the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising."

The murder of six million Jews has demonstrated that the Jewish people can only achieve security through strength, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said at the official ceremony marking Yom HaShoah at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial museum in Jerusalem.

"We are peace seekers with all our might, but we have learned this: We will not achieve security and peace with weakness and soft-heartedness, but with strong-spiritedness and boldness and readiness to guard from every guard post what is valuable and essential to our future." Sharon said that Israel's "legitimate struggle" with Palestinian terror has provided a pretext for anti-Semitism throughout the world.

The annual report by Tel Aviv University's Project for the Study of Anti-Semitism showed that the number of anti-Semitic incidents in 2002 increased by more than 30 percent compared to the previous year, Channel One television reported Monday. The most incidents occurred in France, Belgium and Britain.

Sharon said Israel is the only place in the world where Jews can defend themselves. "Never again will Jews be defenseless... never again will we leave our security to others. The state of Israel is the only place in the world where the Jews have the right and the strength to defend themselves by themselves. This is the answer to anti-Semitism, and this is the guarantee that the memory of those who perished [in the Holocaust] will not be forgotten."

At 10 a.m. Tuesday, a two-minute memorial siren will be sounded throughout the country. A "memorial minute of silence" can be seen at

All places of entertainment in Israel will be closed, in accordance with the law. The now-traditional March of the Living will take place in Poland Tuesday afternoon between Birkenau and Auschwitz, to commemorate the Jews' forced Death Marches along the same route in the 1940's.

Jerusalem police have approved a request by a group of "bereaved families" and activists to hold a protest on Tuesday at "Yad Vashem." As Sharon delivers a speech inside the museum, protestors will gather outside to decry the Prime Minister's planned renewal of negotiations with the new PLO Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen), a known Holocaust denier

The protesters will "highlight Abu Mazen's record of Holocaust denial and support for the continued targeted killings of Jews." They will carry banners, which read: "negotiations with Abu Mazen are a blow to the memory of those murdered in the Holocaust."

Abu Mazen holds a Ph.D. in history from Moscow's Oriental College. His doctoral thesis there served as a basis for his 1984 book, "The Other Side: the Secret Relationship Between Nazism and Zionism." In this book, Abbas raised "doubts" that gas chambers were used for extermination of Jews. Using arguments previously espoused by a known French Holocaust denier, Abbas suggested that the number of Jews murdered in the Holocaust was "less than a million."

According to a translation provided by the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, the book repeatedly attempts to cast doubt on the fact that the Nazis slaughtered six million Jews.

And Yad Vashem has decided to convert all videotaped Holocaust testimonies to digital format.

In the first stage, storage capacity will be four terabytes. The project is intended mainly for digital scanning and storage of visual materials related to the Holocaust. As part of preparations for the opening of a new museum wing, Yad Vashem decided to convert all videotaped testimonies to digital format that will be available in a "video on demand" catalogue system, making viewing materials available to the general public for generations to come.

Arafat, Fatah to Back New Palestinian Cabinet

By VOA News

Yasir Arafat's Fatah movement said it would support the new cabinet proposed by the Palestinian prime minister-designate, Mahmoud Abbas. A senior Fatah member, Nabil Shaath, said Arafat and Fatah would give the cabinet all the backing it needs to win a vote of confidence in the Palestinian legislature.

The vote is scheduled for Tuesday. The State Department said it would officially release a new Middle East peace plan immediately after Abbas and the new cabinet are confirmed. The so-called "roadmap" envisions a Palestinian state being established alongside Israel in the next three years.

The Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad warned Abbas in a statement Monday not to try implementing the plan and not to crack down on militant groups opposed to peace with Israel.

The Abbas cabinet needs to win a simple majority of 43 out of 85 legislators. Fatah commands a solid parliamentary majority, and Palestinian officials said Abbas appears to have the necessary votes. However, some pro-reform lawmakers have criticized the new cabinet, saying some officials are tainted by corruption and Abbas did not carry out the sweeping overhaul they hoped for.

Israel said it would allow all 88 Palestinian lawmakers to attend the parliamentary session in the West Bank city of Ramallah. Over the past two years, Israeli travel restrictions have blocked some lawmakers in Gaza from entering the West Bank to attend parliamentary meetings.

Iran Remains a Nuclear Threat to Israel

By & AFP

Iran's nuclear program represents the biggest threat to Israel, the country's top military intelligence official said Friday. "The main danger to the existence of the state of Israel is the nuclear program Iran persists in developing, because the country also has surface-to-surface missiles," Gen. Aharon Zeevi told Channel 10 private television.

Iran has repeatedly been accused by Israel and the United States of seeking to develop nuclear weapons, which coupled to charges of support for terrorist groups resulted in Tehran being lumped into an "axis of evil" with Iraq and North Korea by President Bush.

Last year, then Israeli defense minister Binyamin Ben Eliezer forecast Iran would have a nuclear bomb by 2005.

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