Newsletter : 4fax0317.txt
| Previous file
| Next file
Writing "Kahane was Right" Can be Costly
The Jerusalem Magistrates Court levied a NIS 800 fine on right wing activist Itamar
Ben-Gavir, who was found guilty of spray painting "Kahane was Right" graffiti. The court
rejected a police request to impose a higher fine and probation on Ben-Gavir.
Two Dead in Israeli Strike on Gaza City
By Ross Dunn (VOA-Jerusalem) & Ha'aretz
Israeli attack helicopters Tuesday fired missiles at targets in Gaza City, killing at
least two people. The raids came just hours after Israel's security cabinet approved a
military response to a double suicide bombing in the port of Ashdod on Sunday.
Palestinian witnesses said that the Israeli helicopters fired on an apartment building
and at least two cars in the northern section of Gaza City. Ambulances and Palestinian
security forces rushed to the area to give help to the wounded.
The IAF helicopter gunship fired air-to-surface missiles at a one-story building
occupied by the Islamic Jihad operatives who were, according to the Israel Defense Forces,
involved in attacks on Israeli targets. The two casualties were named as Hosni Salfiti and
Nasser Yassin. Fourteen Palestinians were wounded in the air strike, and at least one is
in serious condition.
According to Palestinian sources, there are three children among the casualties in the
air strike on Gaza City's northern Nasser neighborhood, known as a militant stronghold.
The target of the IAF strike was Muhammad Haroubi, a senior Islamic Jihad operative.
Haroubi was apparently not killed in the missile strike, but it is not clear whether we
was wounded or managed to flee the scene unharmed. The Islamic Jihad on Tuesday night said
Haroubi escaped unharmed, while the Hamas website reported he was in fact killed in the
Gaza missile strike.
The raids came after Israel's security Cabinet gave the go-ahead for the Israeli army
to launch strikes against Palestinian armed groups inside the territory. In a brief
statement issued by his office Tuesday, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said several modes of
action by the defense establishment were decided upon.
The Israeli Cabinet took the decision despite a last minute appeal by the Palestinian
chief negotiator, Saeb Erekat, who warned Israel against taking military actions inside
Gaza. "This will lead to a real human disaster. This will add to the complexities. The
consequences of this will be disastrous not [only] in terms of the human casualties but
also in the whole aspects of those efforts being made to revive the peace process."
Israeli officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the military actions are
aimed at destroying the infrastructure of terrorist groups and killing the leaders of
Hamas, and the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades. These groups, both listed by the State Department
as terrorist organizations, claimed joint responsibility for the attack against
Hamas has carried out frequent suicide bombings that have killed hundreds of Israelis.
The al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades is the armed wing of Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat's Fatah
faction. Some Palestinian ministers urged Arafat to take action against the group to avoid
Israeli retaliation, but he refused.
More tragedy has struck the Marciano family of Ashdod. On Monday evening, a cousin of
terror victim Mazal Marciano disappeared from her home. The 19-year-old IDF soldier did
not return home and her parents decided to call police. Early Tuesday morning, her
lifeless body was found near the family home.
The soldier, a first cousin of Mazal, took her own life. In the suicide note, she
wrote, "if I had been killed in the terror attack, it would be easier to mourn for me."
Lachish district police indicated they did not feel Sunday's attack and the suicide are
Port Bombers Likely Entered Israel Through Gaza Tunnel
The two suicide bombers who carried out the attack at the Ashdod port on Sunday in
which 10 people were killed, most likely made their way from the Gaza Strip into Israel
via an underground tunnel.
That was the main working assumption among security officials, who believe that the
tunnels were dug by diggers from the southern Gaza town of Rafah, where arms and drugs are
smuggled into the Strip, from Egypt, via subterranean routes.
The police and officials at the Ashdod port, meanwhile, traded accusations over who was
responsible for security there.
Shin Bet and Israel Defense Forces' officials were also investigating other possible
methods the two bombers might have used to infiltrate into Israel to carry out what was
the first attack here emanating from the Gaza Strip since the start of the intifada in
Other possibilities being looked into include whether the two had managed to get
through the fence that surrounds the Strip; whether they had entered Egypt via the Rafah
tunnels and then entered Israel through the Negev Desert, as well as a scenario in which
the bombers were ferreted into Israel through the Kissufim crossing in an Israeli
The first scenario, that the two entered Israel via a tunnel in northern Gaza, was
strengthened by an interview given to the Associated Press by a Fatah leader in Gaza,
known as "Abu Kusai," who said that the bombers had used a tunnel to get into Israel and
planned to carry out a "mega attack" by blowing themselves up next to fuel tanks.
The Israel Defense Forces has been unable to find any incident in their Gaza logbooks
that might provide a clue suggesting that the bombers might have breached the fence.
Nevertheless, this possibility has not been ruled out.
Another question being asked by the investigators concerns the identity of the person
who transported the bombers to their target. The two, aged 18, had little knowledge of
Israel, and therefore seem to have been aided by meticulous intelligence gathering in
Ashdod, an extensive briefing and a driver who dropped them off nearby. As of Monday, no
such driver had been found, and the police had no leads on a car leaving the scene of the
In Ashdod, the working assumption of the police and port officials was that the bomber,
who managed to get inside the port, did so by climbing over the perimeter fence. The
fence, which is 2.5-3 meters high, was built 30 years ago and can be easily scaled. No
holes in the fence were found during an inspection Monday. The second bomber blew himself
up outside the fence.
"Based on the proximity of the two attacks, we can estimate that... one [of the
bombers] helped the other to get over the fence," said Nissim Mor, police commander of the
Police officials said that an inspection was needed to ascertain whether their
instructions regarding the frequency of patrols along the port's perimeter fence had been
followed, as well as whether the security cameras focused on the fence had been operating
"We are not security experts and we don't act on our own volition," port director Shaul
Rotem said. "We take directives from the security forces. Teams from the police and the
Shin Bet are familiar with every corner and every fence in the port. If they had said
something to us about the fence, we would have dealt with it."
'The Passion' Actor Caviezel Meets Pope
By Reuters & Daily Variety
"Christ" has met the Vicar of Christ, so to speak. James Caviezel, the actor who plays
Jesus in Mel Gibson's controversial blockbuster film "The Passion of The Christ," has met
the pope, the Vatican confirmed on Tuesday.
The 35-year-old actor met the 83-year-old pope, who is known as the Vicar of Christ,
briefly at the Vatican on Monday morning. Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Caviezel said
he was moved by the meeting -- which was also attended by members of his family -- but
would not say what they discussed. Gibson's film has been a huge success in the United
According to studio estimates the gory take on the last 12 hours of Christ's life has
reaped more than $250 million since its Feb. 25 opening. The film has outraged some Jewish
groups, who say it pins the blame for Jesus' demise on them.
The pope saw the film in the December but the Vatican denied reports that he had
"It is as it was" may not be the way the pope would like it to be. Archbishop Stanislaw
Dziwisz, one of Pope John Paul II's closest friends, told the Catholic News Service
recently that his boss never offered that 11-letter endorsement of Mel Gibson's film. "The
Holy Father told no one his opinion of this film," he said.
Peggy Noonan initially reported the pope's positive pronouncement on "Passion" in a
Dec. 17 column on the Wall Street Journal's Web site. The journey of the short,
blurb-ready phrase was circuitous.
According to the column, Dziwisz first reported the pope's reaction to the film to
Steve McEveety and Jan Michelini, a producer and an assistant director on the picture, in
a meeting at the Vatican. McEveety, in turn, recounted his conversation with Dziwisz to
A source close to the situation said McEveety had asked for and received Vatican
officials' permission to repeat the "It is as it was" statement before speaking to
The "It is as it was" papal remark was also reported on Dec. 17 by the National
Catholic Reporter, an independent weekly paper covering the Church, also using an
anonymous Vatican source. Previous attempts by news orgs to confirm the pontiff's quote
have had mixed results. The day after the Wall Street Journal's report, on Dec. 18,
Reuters cited an anonymous "Vatican official" who confirmed the Pope had seen and approved
A week later, the Catholic News Service quoted its own anonymous "senior Vatican
official" who said, "The Holy Father saw it, but he made no comment. He watched in
Amidst all the back and forth, The National Catholic Reporter reopened its story and
said its source stood by the Pope's quote, adding new details such as the viewing took
place in the dining room of his living quarters, on a large-screen TV with a
"European-format VHS videocassette."
But in his most recent interview, Dziwisz, who is considered the second most powerful
official of the Catholic Church because of his close relationship with the Pope, was
adamant in his denial of a papal endorsement of "Passion."
Gadhafi's Son: Libya Sought WMDs to Fight Israel
Libya sought weapons of mass destruction to prepare for war with Israel, the son of
Libya's leader Muammar Gadhafi implied in an interview recently published by the
London-based Arab daily Al-hayat.
Gadhafi's son, Seif al-Islam, who is considered to be Gadhafi's future successor, was
asked why Libya decided to relinquish its chemical and biological weapons, to halt its
nuclear program and to renew diplomatic ties with the United States in Britain.
In his answer, he stated several reasons, but said, "the main reason is that we
developed weapons for a battle against an enemy. We saw that the Palestinians' armed
struggle, which lasted 50 years, did not bring the results that were achieved in five
years of negotiations. They [the Palestinians] told the commander [Colonel Gadhafi] that
they relinquished the gun, chose the path of negotiations and achieved what they couldn't
achieve in 50 years from Beirut through Tunis to Amman."
According to al-Islam, "the commander was hurt by several Arab statement, that made him
feel as if the Arabs were taking advantage of him, laughing at him and threatening
In the interview, Gadhafi's son revealed that the secret talks with the U.S. and
Britain on abandoning weapons of mass destruction began and concluded before the Iraq war
in April 2003, contradicting estimates that the agreement between the sides was reached
only at the end of 2003, and was spurred by Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein's downfall.
Al-Salam added that Libya will renew its diplomatic ties with the U.S. and Britain in
several months, and that the American Energy Minister and Assistant Secretary of State For
Near Eastern Affairs William Burns are expected to visit Libya soon. He said that American
oil companies Marathon, Occidental and Conoco renewed operations in Libya recently.
Hitler Returns to the Heart of Berlin - in Wax
A life-size wax figure of Adolf Hitler has gone on display in the heart of Berlin in
what museum officials said was the first such public exhibition of the Nazi dictator in
"Provided it's all just art, it's permitted," a Culture Ministry spokesman said on
Tuesday, when asked if the Hitler waxwork was breaking Germany's tough anti-fascist laws
banning the use of Nazi symbols and insignia.
Hitler shares a room at the "Galerie Art'el" museum with his World War Two adversaries
Joseph Stalin, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill, overlooking the former Cold
War border crossing Checkpoint Charlie in the once-divided German capital.
Museum director Inna Vollstaedt said Hitler would soon be reunited with his former Nazi
henchmen Hermann Goering, Heinrich Himmler and Joseph Goebbels in the waxwork displays.
"Until now there has never been a wax figure of Hitler displayed in Germany. We have these
men to thank for the Berlin Wall. We want them all," she said, referring to the Cold War
Although it has been nearly 60 years since Hitler and his top deputies killed
themselves at the end of the Third Reich, artists must be mindful of the anti-fascist
laws. German authorities have long been at pains to distance the country from Hitler's
legacy. The remains of the Fuehrer's bunker in central Berlin have been sealed off to
prevent neo-Nazis from turning it into a shrine.
In the museum an unusually placid-looking Hitler stands conservatively attired in a
grey jacket by a window, while seated figures of Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and
former Beatle Paul McCartney drink tea nearby.
(All material on these web pages is © 2001-2012
by Electronic World Communications, Inc.)