Newsletter : 3fax0926.txt
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Israel Grounds Pilots Who Signed Protest
By VOA News
The Israeli air force has grounded nine pilots who refused to carry out air strikes
against Palestinian targets in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The nine pilots signed a
letter that said the air strikes are "immoral" and endanger innocent Palestinian lives.
Also signing the letter were 18 pilots not on active duty, some of who are reported to be
older and in retirement.
The air force plans to call the nine pilots to meetings with the heads of their bases
in the coming days. It said if the pilots did not retract their statement during these
meetings, they would be dismissed from active service.
Air Force Commander Dan Halutz played down the letter's importance, saying the pilots
are a tiny minority among the thousands Israel can deploy. Israeli air strikes in the Gaza
Strip over the past month have killed 13 Palestinian militants. The attacks, which usually
try to catch the militants in their cars or homes, have also killed or wounded a number of
The pilots' revolt came as the head of Israel's Defense Forces, General Moshe Ya'alon,
credited the policy of targeted assassinations of Palestinian leaders with a recent lull
in terror attacks. He also rebuffed the criticism from the pilots, saying their remarks
constituted nothing more than, as he put it, a political statement made in army
Thursday, Israel carried out a pair of ground raids in Gaza and the West Bank, killing
four Palestinian militants. An Israeli soldier was also killed. The raids are part of
Israel's ongoing effort to hunt down militants and end the three-year Palestinian uprising
against Israel's occupation of the West Bank and Gaza.
IOM Resolves Claims of Nazi Forced Labor Victims
By Lisa Schlein (VOA-Geneva)
The International Organization for Migration, or IOM, says it has resolved more than 75
percent of the hundreds of thousands of claims it has received from victims of Nazi forced
labor. Of the nearly 330,000 claims it has received, IOM says it has approved payment for
63,000 victims of Nazi slave or forced labor. The IOM says it rejected 187,000 claims
because they did not meet the necessary criteria, as specified under the German Foundation
IOM Spokeswoman Marie-Agnes Heine says it is urgent that payment be made to the
victims, as soon as possible. She says they are all very old. Most of those living in
Eastern European countries are poor and need money to pay for basic household needs, as
well as for medical expenses.
"The German Foundation Act was meant mainly to compensate Eastern European forced
laborers, because they had never had the chance to receive any compensation or any
recognition for what they had to go through under the Nazi regime, the deportation and the
forced labor. And therefore, it's always assumed, and it was so by law under the Nazis,
that they were treated in a particular harsh ways. They were treated very badly - Eastern
The German government and German industry have each contributed 50 percent of the $300
million fund, administered by the so-called German Foundation. The IOM has been chosen to
process the claims and make payments to the victims.
Individual payments range from about $1,150 dollars to nearly $8,900. Victims from
Poland, the Czech Republic, Israel, Germany and the United States have submitted most of
the claims. The IOM says it aims to complete all payments by the end of 2004.
Israelis E-Pray to Kotel
Israel Faxx News Services
Cell phone text messaging has already helped 30,000 Israeli Jews, too lazy or busy to
visit the Kotel in Jerusalem, to send their prayers to a rabbi who then places a printout
in the Western Wall's stone crevasses. "Not everyone has the means or time to get there,"
said Gal Wagner on Wednesday, an official from the company that began offering the service
two weeks ago for about $1.20.
Prayer by mobile telephone has now become a viable alternative for Jews who
traditionally put prayers or wishes in the Kotel in the hope they would come true. The
wall is the last remaining retaining wall of Herod's massive structure to God. The Western
Wall is one of Judaism's holiest sites.
The Israeli cellular phone users send the text message with their prayers to the number
"1818," numbers which in Jewish tradition symbolize life (the service is not currently
available to people living abroad). The messages are received on a computer, collated and
then faxed to a rabbi at the Wall who is paid to tear off each message and insert it
between the stones.
Jew Hating Academic Dead at 67
By VOA News
Edward Said, one of the most prominent spokesmen for the Palestinian national cause,
has died at age 67.
In speeches, essays, and media appearances, Said consistently criticized Israel's
treatment of the Palestinian people and called for an independent Palestinian state. He
opposed the Israeli-Palestinian peace accords of the 1990s, which he called "an instrument
of Palestinian surrender."
Said was born in Jerusalem in 1935, when the city and what is now Israel were ruled by
the British. His family went to Cairo after the 1948 war that established Israel and
created the first generation of Palestinian refugees. He spent most of his adult life in
the United States, where he was a professor of literature at Columbia University in New
Colleagues say he had battled leukemia for years and died in a New York hospital late
Arafat Pockets 580 Million Pounds Sterling
According to a report in the British Telegraph, Yasir Arafat has transferred 580
million pounds sterling of PA funds into his private accounts. The report is based on
information obtained from the World Monetary Fund. WMF officials are expected to launch an
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