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Alitalia Flight Welcomes Passengers To "Palestine"


An Alitalia Airlines flight landing in Ben-Gurion International Airport on Tuesday made the news after the captain welcomed all on board to "Palestine". Alitalia officials in Israel explained they have not reached the pilot for comment, adding if the story is verified, the matter will be dealt with appropriately. Airline officials commenting on the incident stated the pilot would be taken off flights to Israel.

Israel's Sharon Willing to Meet with New Palestinian PM

By VOA News

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has expressed his willingness to meet with new Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas. Sharon told Israeli Radio he would be happy to meet Abbas. But he added that Palestinians must renounce the right of millions of Palestinian refugees to return to Israel if the peace process is to go forward.

Four million Palestinians and their descendants were displaced by the creation of the Jewish state in 1948. Israeli leaders fear the return of those refugees to their original homes that are now in Israel would result in a demographic disaster for Israel.

Officials in Sharon's office said the meeting could take place as early as next week, following a visit to the region by Secretary of State Colin Powell.

Sharon said what he called the strategy of terror has failed and he expressed the hope that the new Palestinian leadership will take a new approach. His remarks appear to praise Abbas at the expense of Palestinian chief Yasir Arafat. Sharon has shunned Arafat, accusing him of orchestrating a 31-month-old violent Palestinian uprising against Israel.

Palestinian Cabinet Minister Saeb Erekat hit back at Sharon. Erekat said he does not believe that Sharon is sincere about making quick progress on a new international roadmap to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The plan envisages an end to the conflict and the establishment of a Palestinian state by 2005.

Meanwhile, the spiritual leader of Hamas, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, told the French news agency that Abbas is pursuing a "policy of surrender" toward Israel. Yassin said the final battle with Israel has not yet taken place.

Late Monday, Palestinian gunmen shot and killed one Israeli and wounded two others in an ambush in the West Bank. The attackers fled and Israeli security forces are still searching for them.

Forces on High Alert as Israel Celebrates Independence Day

By Ha'aretz

Independence Day celebrations kicked off Tuesday night under heavy security due to fear of terror attacks within Israel and in the territories. A full closure was placed on the territories and will remain in place until the end of Independence Day. The Shin Bet security service has received 56 warnings of possible terror attacks in the coming days.

Military sources said there has been a concerted effort on the part of terror groups, with Iranian and Syrian encouragement, to carry out attacks at this time in an attempt to thwart renewed diplomatic contacts between Israel and the new Palestinian government.

Festivities officially opened with the Independence Day torch-lighting ceremony. "After the great and true hope for peace was shattered and turned out to be a terrible delusion... it seems as if we are all holding with greater force to the good old land of Israel," Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin said during his speech at the ceremony.

The 15 torchbearers were chosen by a public committee, in line with the ceremony's motto "Israel salutes the security and rescue forces, and volunteer organizations."

President Moshe Katsav has received many Independence Day messages from world leaders, among them Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. Katsav will hold a ceremony Wednesday for warriors who participated in the 1948 Independence War, among them Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and former president Ezer Weizman. Later in the day he will meet with 120 outstanding IDF soldiers.

New Book Discusses Holocaust's Forgotten Victims Israel Faxx News Services

In Hitler's Germany, Halbjuden were half Christian and half Jewish, but like the rest of the partial-Jews or Mischlinge, were far too Jewish in the eyes of the Nazis.

In his new book, "In the Shadow of the Holocaust: Nazi Persecution of Jewish-Christian Germans," published by University of Kansas Press, University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) history Professor James Tent, Ph.D., recounts how these men and women from all over Germany struggled to survive in an increasingly hostile society, even as their Jewish relatives were disappearing into the East.

Tent draws on extensive interviews with 20 surviving Mischlinge, many of whom were teenagers when Hitler came to power, to show how they coped with their deteriorating status on a day-to-day basis, at school, in the workplace and even among loved ones -- and how the memory of the hatred they suffered still resonates in their lives today.

Those interviewed include a broad range of Germany's citizenry - women, and men, rural and urban residents, laborers and educated professionals. Their testimonies offer rare insight into how Nazi persecution functioned at a very personal level. Tent's witnesses share experiences in school and problems in the workplace, where the best survival strategy was to find an unobtrusive niche in a nondescript job.

The Mischlinge were made to carry proof of heritage on their person at all times. By 1935, the Mischlinge became a category of people, Tent said. "By 1939, there were 72,000 half Jews and about 40,000 quarter Jews. There also were about 110,000 children of the partial Jews. Unlike the full Jews, partial Jews could still live within society, but they couldn't do certain things Germans could do. They could attend public school, but they were treated badly. They could not go to the university and therefore were forced to become common laborers.

"Though they were treated as second-class citizens, there was a large pool of manpower in the Mischlinge," Tent said. The men in the group were drafted into military service in about 1935, he said.

"In April 1940, Hitler was told by fanatical SS members that some of the young soldiers were being seen in public accompanying their Jewish parents. Hitler issued orders that partial Jews could no longer serve in the military and those already there should be issued a dishonorable discharge and thrown out," Tent said.

More than 70,000 Germans were subjected to these restrictions and indignities, created and fostered by Hitler's morally bankrupt race laws. By 1944 they too were rounded up for forced labor, certain to be the next victims of Nazi genocide. Yet to this day, few personal accounts of their experiences exist.

"In the Shadow of the Holocaust" demonstrates the lengths to which the Nazis were willing to go to eradicate Jewish blood - a fanaticism that increased over time and even in the face of impending military defeat. Although the Mischlinge survived the Holocaust, they paid for their re-assimilation into German society by remaining silent in the face of haunting memories. The book breaks the silence and is a testament to human endurance under the most trying circumstances.

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