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Draft Dodger Sent to Jail


A military court Tuesday sentenced draft dodger Daniel Tzell, 19, to 14 days in a military jail after he refused to enlist into the "occupational army" as he put it. Tzell's father, a professor and left-wing activist proudly accompanied his son along with several tens of left-wing activists who encouraged his move to refuse to enlist into the IDF.

Hungarian Police Say Plot Targeted Museum, Not Israeli President

By VOA News, & Ha'aretz

Hungarian police said three suspected terrorists detained early Tuesday had targeted a Jewish museum in Budapest, not visiting Israeli president Moshe Katsav. The police are holding the three men, one of them a 42-year-old Hungarian naturalized citizen of Palestinian birth. They said the naturalized Hungarian had sought explosives to blow up the museum. Authorities identified the other two suspects as Syrian Arabs.

News agency reports from Budapest said police were searching homes in the city in connection with the threat. Katsav arrived in the Hungarian capital Tuesday for a three-day visit and ceremonies marking the opening of Budapest's new Holocaust Memorial Center. Officials for both Mr. Katsav and the Hungarian government say his visit will proceed as planned.

Hungarian police officials denied any connection between the arrest of the three Arab males and a reported conspiracy to assassinate Katsav. The flow of information is confusing with senior police officials reporting the persons in custody did not conspire to kill the visiting Israeli president, contradicting earlier reports.

Katsav will inaugurate the Holocaust Memorial Center in Budapest on Thursday to mark the 60th anniversary of the day Hungary's pro-Nazi regime started rounding up Jews to confine them in ghettos.

The suspect, whose name was not released, was charged with being involved in "preparation for a terrorist attack." The Syrian suspects were charged "with preparations for a crime against property."

"There is no connection whatsoever between the Israeli president's visit and the particular police action taken today," Laszlo Salgo, chief of the national police, told a news conference Tuesday. But a spokeswoman at the president's Jerusalem office said earlier Tuesday that Katsav had been told he was the target of an attack. She added, however, that the president's three-day state visit would continue as planned. The Shin Bet security service said that it had not been aware of any terror threat ahead of the trip, Army Radio reported.

The museum Katsav is due to inaugurate Thursday will be the first Holocaust museum in central Europe. Located on a narrow street in Budapest, the memorial center is built on the site of a pre-war synagogue, which had served as an internment camp for Jews during World II. An estimated 600,000 Hungarians perished in the Holocaust, most of them Jews.

The museum is the fifth state-funded Holocaust museum in the world according to its organizers, after ones in Jerusalem, Washington D.C., London and Berlin. It will open with a temporary exhibition showing photographs of Hungarian victims arriving to Auschwitz from the northeastern village of Bilke, which is now part of Ukraine. In the courtyard, the names of those who perished in the Holocaust are put on a memorial wall. Some 40,000 names are known and new ones are added as research discovers the identities of the victims.

The museum has, however, been criticized in Hungary, which has Eastern Europe's largest Jewish population, estimated at 60,000-100,000. Historians have said the museum should have been built in the countryside, where most of the Jews lived in pre-war times, or in the former area of the ghetto in the capital. The current location in a nondescript neighborhood with narrow streets not only lacks historical significance but also is also difficult for cars and tourist buses to reach, critics charge.

But the most stinging criticism is that there will not be a permanent exhibition documenting the Holocaust in place at the opening and, some argue, there is not even enough space for it on site. "It's a slap in the face to the Holocaust and its victims," Laszlo Karsai, one of the museum's curators, told Nepszabadsag newspaper last month in protest of the limited space.

Palestinians Planned 'HIV Bomb' Attack on Israel

By Press Trust of India/Agence France-Presse, & Xinhuanet

An attempt by Palestinian extremists to carry out a suicide attack using a bomb laced with AIDS-infected blood during the Passover holiday was foiled, Israel's Shin Beth security service said on Tuesday. Militants had been planning to dispatch a suicide bomber from the northern West bank town of Qalqilya to Tel Aviv to carry out the attack during the weeklong Jewish holiday that ended Monday.

The plot was exposed after the arrest of a member of the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, a radical offshoot of Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat's Fatah movement, in the northern west bank city of Nablus, she said. "The terrorist cell apparently planned to obtain contaminated blood from some Palestinian hospitals but they had not passed the preliminary stage in their preparations." The Kalkilye Fatah cell planning the attack was apprehended before they could construct the potentially catastrophic bomb.

The Fatah movement chaired by Arafat denied on Tuesday Israeli reports on the movement's intention to carry out biological attacks against Israeli targets. Fatah said in a communiqué "the Israeli reports are mere lies," asserting "the Fatah movement doesn't adopt such behaviors."

The communiqué accused Israel of making up these allegations while Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is visiting Washington, in an attempt to justify the Israeli sanctions and tight siege imposed on Palestinians. "These allegations aim at providing pretexts for the continuous siege imposed on Palestinians and their leaders as well as justifying the occupation of the territories and its aggressions carried out against the Palestinian people, its leadership and its movements."

Israeli security services were placed on a high state of alert throughout Passover for fear that militants, who had vowed to avenge the Israeli assassination of Hamas founder Sheikh Ahmed Yassin three weeks ago, would try and carry out a spectacular attack.

Shin Beth and the Army said that they had foiled around a dozen attacks over the course of the past week. Other attacks were also prevented, including a donkey bomb to be detonated in a Shomron community, as well as an attack in Emanuel, another Shomron community.

Fatah and Islamic Jihad terrorists planned a triple suicide bombing attack on Passover eve. The terrorists were apprehended en route to pre-1967 Green Line Israel. One of the terrorists in custody, 19-year-old Sair Salah told interrogators that they planned to enter Israel from Sinai, a total of three terrorists disguised as IDF soldiers, planning a major attack inside a large city, seeking to cause as many deaths as possible.

On the same day, at the Rafiah Crossing from Egypt to southern Gaza, Islamic Jihad terrorists were apprehended traveling from Gaza to Egypt. From Egypt, they planned to enter Be'er Sheva or make their way to Tel Aviv and perpetrate a shooting attack, which would have included the use of hand grenades. On the same day, a 16-year-old suicide bomber was apprehended on his way to an attack with a 25-kilogram bomb.

A number of female suicide bombers were also apprehended of late; with security forces explaining their actions were intended to "cleanse" them of their immoral behavior. About 10 days before Passover, Balata resident Tahani Halil, 25, was apprehended ahead of her planned suicide bombing attack in Tel Aviv. She was enlisted after caught cheating on her husband. Another Shechem female, 19, was apprehended shortly ahead of Tahani and she admitted she was enlisted to blow herself up after she was apprehended having relations out of wedlock.

Intelligence community officials warn motivation among terrorists remains extremely high as efforts continue to perpetrate attacks in the coming weeks to coincide with Holocaust & Martyrs' Remembrance Day, Memorial Day, and Independence Day.

Sharon Seeks Bush's Support for Gaza Pullout Plan

By Ross Dunn (VOA-Jerusalem)

Israel's prime minister, Ariel Sharon, meets President Bush in Washington Wednesday, hoping to win support for his plan to unilaterally pull out of Palestinian areas. He hopes U.S. support will help win him domestic support for the plan, as well.

His meeting with Bush at the White House effectively marks the start of a mini-election campaign for Sharon, which could decide whether he will remain Israel's prime minister. Sharon is banking on a big commitment from Bush to help him win enough votes in his ruling Likud party, whose 200,000 members vote in a referendum on his unilateral plan in early May.

Under the Sharon plan, Israel would unilaterally withdraw troops and Jewish settlements from the Gaza Strip. Four settlements in the West Bank would also be dismantled. If Sharon wins the Likud referendum, the plan would swiftly be put to his cabinet and then to the Israeli parliament for approval.

But Sharon's decision to turn to the U.S. president for support on what others see as a domestic matter has angered some in the Israeli Cabinet. "With all due respect, you cannot go and negotiate [the fate of Israel] in the United States of America," said Benny Elon, tourism minister. "It is a sin, it is Zionist Jewish sin of uprooting Jews in Eretz [the Land of] Israel without the authorization of the government."

Elon said he and other members of his National Union faction would pull out of the government, if Sharon's plan were implemented. But others, such as Yuval Steinitz, the head of the Israeli parliamentary foreign affairs and defense committee, and himself a member of the Likud Party, disagree. "Personally, I think that unilateral disengagement in Gaza alone should be taken, even if we cannot annex Jewish settlements in the West Bank."

Such statements of support have pleased Sharon, but a number of Israeli observers agree that a lot still hinges on the outcome of the White House talks. When the two leaders finish their discussions, they are meant to have exchanged letters, setting out the details of Sharon's plan and what Bush can be expected to provide in terms of support.

The contents of Bush's letter have been the subject of strong speculation in Israel, suggesting that Sharon had high expectations ahead of the summit in Washington. Some observers in Israel consider the document the biggest event since the so-called "Balfour Declaration," when the then British foreign secretary, Arthur James Balfour, offered Zionists a state in their biblical homeland in 1917.

What Mr. Sharon is demanding is that Bush follow in this tradition by promising that Israel can include within its boundaries the large settlement blocs in the West Bank, and reject the Palestinians' long-standing claim for their refugees to return to areas that are now part of the Jewish state.

The Palestinian foreign minister, Nabil Shaath, said such a move is entirely unacceptable to the Palestinian leadership. He said that even if Israel leaves Gaza, the Palestinians would not give up their long-standing demand for statehood, including the right of return for refugees. "Nothing that will pre-empt permanent settlement [of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict], neither on borders, nor refugees, nor anything, this will not be accepted, unless it is part of the [international] road map [peace plan], and it should be coordinated with the Palestinians."

Faced with such strong opposition, some observers believe, Sharon is aiming too high, at a time when he is running into political troubles, and Bush is preoccupied with problems elsewhere. In Israel, Sharon is facing the possibility of a criminal indictment, following a police investigation into bribery allegations. And Bush's Middle East foreign policy is under scrutiny because of the recent uprising against the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq.

As a result, the depth of Bush's commitment to Israel is facing a major test on Wednesday. Sharon is betting that Bush will back him, more than even some in his own party expect. The Israeli leader believes that too much is at stake for a defeat of his plan at the Likud referendum, which could see Sharon lose his grip on power, and introduce a new element of instability into the region. Sharon, perhaps more than any other leader in Israel's history, has decided to place a key strategy and his own political survival in the hands of the president of the United States.

Coinciding with Wednesday's White House visit, the anti-Zionist ultra-Orthodox "Neturei Karta" organization will be protesting outside the White House to "proclaim and clearly state that Sharon and the State of Israel are illegitimate and they do not represent the Jewish people."

Organizers released the following statement: "The State of "Israel" does not represent the voice of Judaism and/or the Jewish people. The Torah clearly forbids the formation of a State, for the Jewish people, in their time of exile. The Torah forbids stealing land, subjugating and oppressing a people etc. The root cause of the endless bloodshed and suffering in the Holy Land is Zionism and the State of Israel. The root cause for the continual rise of worldwide anti-Semitism is Zionism and the State of Israel..."

Rabbi Moshe Hirsch, known as the "Foreign Minister" of Neturei Karta, has never hidden the fact that he prefers a Palestinian state in place of Israel - the Neturei Karta sect refuses to recognize the state of Israel until the coming of the Messiah. However, now it appears, from documents disclosed by the defense establishment, that Hirsch has also been in the pay of Arafat himself.

The incriminating documents were captured in the Mukata, Arafat's headquarters, two years ago during Operation Defensive Shield. While looking for PA efforts to fund terror organizations, security officials discovered that large amounts of money had been transferred to the Neturei Karta sect in Jerusalem. The captured documents show that Hirsch received from Arafat $55,000 just two months before Operation Defensive Shield. Among the documents are receipts with Arafat's personal signature authorizing the transfer to Rabbi Hirsch under the heading "outgoing expenses." In the same period, Arafat allocated a much lower sum to terror operatives.

The captured documents include letters written in English by Hirsch to Arafat. The letters are addressed as to an eminent rabbi: "Dear Abu Amar (Arafat's Arabic name), may you live a long and happy life." Hirsch has never hidden his relationship with Arafat. He is a regular member of the Palestinian National Council and served in the past as Minister of Jewish Affairs in a Palestinian government.

Members of the sect recently demonstrated against Israel and for Palestine at the International Court of Justice at the Hague. Hirsch's son denounced the allegations as "evil slander" and denied all financial links with Arafat.

Israel Training US Assassination Squads In Iraq

By The Guardian (UK)

Israeli advisers are helping train U.S. special forces in aggressive counter-insurgency operations in Iraq, including the use of assassination squads against guerrilla leaders, U.S. intelligence and military sources said. The Israeli Defense Force has sent urban warfare specialists to Fort Bragg in North Carolina, the home of U.S. Special Forces, and according to two sources, Israeli military "consultants" have also visited Iraq.

U.S. forces in Iraq's Sunni triangle have already begun to use tactics that echo Israeli operations in the occupied territories, sealing off centers of resistance with razor wire and razing buildings from where attacks have been launched against U.S. troops. But the secret war in Iraq is about to get much tougher, in the hope of suppressing the Ba'athist-led insurgency ahead of next November's presidential elections.

U.S. Special Forces teams are already behind the lines inside Syria attempting to kill foreign jihadists before they cross the border, and a group focused on the "neutralization" of guerrilla leaders is being set up, according to sources familiar with the operations.

"This is basically an assassination program. That is what is being conceptualized here. This is a hunter-killer team," said a former senior U.S. intelligence official, who added that he feared the new tactics and enhanced cooperation with Israel would only inflame a volatile situation in the Middle East. "It is bonkers, insane. Here we are - we're already being compared to Sharon in the Arab world, and we've just confirmed it by bringing in the Israelis and setting up assassination teams."

"They are being trained by Israelis in Fort Bragg," a well-informed intelligence source in Washington said. "Some Israelis went to Iraq as well, not to do training, but for providing consultations." The consultants' visit to Iraq was confirmed by another U.S. source who was in contact with American officials there. The Pentagon did not return calls seeking comment, but a military planner, Brig. Gen. Michael Vane, mentioned the cooperation with Israel in a letter to Army magazine in July about the Iraq counter-insurgency campaign.

"We recently traveled to Israel to glean lessons learned from their counterterrorist operations in urban areas," wrote Vane, deputy chief of staff at the army's training and doctrine command. An Israeli official said the IDF regularly shared its experience in the West Bank and Gaza with the U.S. armed forces, but said he could not comment about cooperation in Iraq. "When we do activities, the U.S. military attaches in Tel Aviv are interested. I assume it's the same as the British. That's the way allies work. The special forces come to our people and say, do debrief on an operation we have done," the official said. "Does it affect Iraq? It's not in our interest or the American interest or in anyone's interest to go into that. It would just fit in with jihadist prejudices."

Col. Ralph Peters, a former Army intelligence officer and a critic of Pentagon policy in Iraq, said there was nothing wrong with learning lessons wherever possible. "When we turn to anyone for insights, it doesn't mean we blindly accept it. But I think what you're seeing is a new realism. The American tendency is to try to win all the hearts and minds. In Iraq, there are just some hearts and minds you can't win. Within the bounds of human rights, if you do make an example of certain villages it gets the attention of the others, and attacks have gone down in the area."

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