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No Automatic Citizenship

By IsraelNationalNews

The Knesset, during a Thursday session packed with tension and yelling, passed an amendment to the Citizenship Law that prevents Palestinian Authority Arabs marrying Israeli Arab women from an automatic grant of citizenship. The amendment is designed to stop the gradual implementation of what the Arabs call the "right of return" and the penetration of terror elements to the Israeli-Arab sector.


Sharon Left the Pollard Petition at Home

By IsraelNationalNews.com

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon did not submit a Knesset petition requesting the immediate release of Jonathan Pollard to President George Bush. HaTzofeh reporter Tuli Pikarsh reported that Sharon in fact informed Likud Knesset member Michael Eitan, who initiated the petition, that he had no plans to take it with him to Washington. The petition is signed by 112 MKs, including Sharon himself, as well as all the MKs of all the Jewish parties.

Instead, Knesset Speaker Ruby Rivlin presented the petition to Rep. Tom DeLay who said that he would give it to Bush, but emphasized that he would object to granting Pollard a pardon. "He is a convicted spy," DeLay said sternly.

Eitan told Arutz-7 this week that no one can understand why the U.S. refuses to release Pollard after such a long term in prison. Pollard is currently nearing the end of this 18th year in jail, after having been convicted of spying for Israel. Americans who were convicted of spying for Russia around the same time received sentences of 2-4 years.

Former U.S. Prosecutor John Loftus recently wrote in Moment magazine that the Americans' extreme treatment of Pollard stems from the fact that he was believed to be responsible for the deaths of American agents in Russia - when in fact it was later learned that it was senior CIA official Aldrich Ames and FBI Special Agent Robert Hanssen who had betrayed the American agents.

Pollard's wife Esther has said that she cannot explain why her husband has not become a major topic in the Israeli school curriculum. She also decries the fact that the same American-Jewish leaders who opened doors for Avital Sharansky when she sought her husband's release from Soviet prison refuse to do the same for her husband.

Adi Ginsberg, an Israeli activist on behalf of Pollard, told Arutz-7's Ruti Avraham that the fact that Sharon could allow himself not to bring the petition to Bush, thus showing that he is not interested in Pollard's release, "stems from the lack of sufficient public awareness and the lack of a public and media outcry demanding that everything be done to secure Jonathan Pollard's release."


Non-Muslims Banned From Visiting Jerusalem's Temple Mount

By Ross Dunn (VOA-Jerusalem)

Israel has reimposed a ban on non-Muslims visiting the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, one of the most sensitive religious shrines in the Middle East. The move followed fears that the site could become a flashpoint for renewed violence in the region. The Israeli police decision to reinstate a ban on visits by Jews and Christians appears to be aimed at quelling anger within the Palestinian Authority.

The Palestinian leadership expressed strong opposition to Israel's decision in early July to ease restrictions against visits by non-Muslims to the Temple Mount. Those restrictions had been in place since the outbreak of violence at the site in September of 2000.

Riots broke out at the shrine following a visit by then Israeli opposition leader, Ariel Sharon, who is now the Prime Minister. Sharon said he wanted to demonstrate that Israelis should have free access to the site, where the Jewish Holy Temples stood in biblical times.

For centuries, the area has also been sacred to Muslims, who built the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa mosques there, making the compound the third holiest site in Islam. Israel's Deputy Industry and Trade Minister, Michael Ratzon, says the site should not be restricted to Muslims only. He said that, if the site is not re-opened to Jews and Christians then he and other right-wing members of parliament would attempt to overturn the ban by arranging their own private visits to the site.

The decision also angered visiting national director of the Anti-Defamation League, Abraham Foxman, who was forced to cancel his planned tour of the shrine. He said it was both sad and offensive that Palestinians continue to fuel the myth that the Jewish people have no historical connection to sites that have been part of the cradle of their faith.


Israel Solicits Bids for New Settlement Construction

By VOA News

Israel has solicited bids to build new homes in a Jewish settlement in the Gaza Strip, despite language in the road map peace plan that calls for an end to settlement expansion. The building tenders were published in an Israeli newspaper Thursday in a move Palestinian officials described as "a very dangerous step."

But Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's office said construction plans do not violate the peace plan. Israeli officials describe the construction as natural growth that will be confined to the settlement's existing boundaries.

State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said Washington and Tel Aviv are still discussing what an end to settlement activity means. He says the method of achieving that part of the road map has yet to be decided. But Boucher added that the United States expects all parties to abide by their road map commitments, including the settlement freeze.


Riot Rocks Israeli Prison

By Larry James (VOA-Jerusalem)

Eighteen Palestinian prisoners and two Israeli prison guards have been reported lightly wounded during a riot on Thursday at Shikma prison in southern Israel. Prison officials said the riot erupted when officers tried to search a cell after a prisoner was found with a sketch of the jail. Officers then moved in, firing tear gas.

Officials issued a statement saying the prisoners vigorously resisted the entry of the guards, began banging on their doors, throwing sharp objects and setting paper on fire. Palestinian officials said the riot was sparked by prisoner complaints about conditions and was not connected with Palestinian demands for Israel to free some 6,000 prisoners as part of recent peace moves.

Israel has agreed to free several hundred Palestinians but says none of those suspected of direct involvement in the killing of Israelis will be released.


Do You See the Camel?

By IsraelNationalNews.com

Southern district police reported that an operation would soon get underway to place reflective strips on the necks and legs of 50 camels to make them more visible to motorists at night. The camels have been the cause of more than a small number of traffic accidents, primarily during nighttime hours.

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