Newsletter : 4fax0623.txt
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Report: Israeli Agents Training Kurdish Commandos
In the June 30th edition of The New Yorker, Seymour M. Hersh reports that Israeli
intelligence and military operatives are now training Kurdish commando forces in
Kurdistan, running covert operations inside Kurdish areas of Iran and Syria.
While Mark Regev, the spokesman for the Israeli Embassy in Washington denied the
accuracy of the story, The New Yorker reports members of the team operating in Kurdistan
include Mossad agents. The magazine also quotes a CIA source as confirming the report
regarding Israeli operatives.
Palestinians Wary of Egypt's Role in Gaza
By Sonja Pace (VOA-Jerusalem)
Palestinian militant groups are publicly opposing the role Egypt may play in providing
security in the Gaza Strip, when Israel withdraws from the area.
Major Palestinian militant groups, including Hamas and Islamic Jihad, say they are
dismayed about the possible security role certain Arab parties may play in the Gaza Strip
and the West Bank. The complaint is clearly aimed at Egypt and Jordan and, in effect,
accuses both countries of an attempt to take over the Palestinian problem and of doing
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said he has found no real Palestinian partner to make peace
and, therefore, has no choice but to take unilateral action. He has proposed to dismantle
Jewish settlements in the Gaza Strip and four small settlements in the West Bank by the
end of 2005. Israel has been in close contact with Egyptian officials about helping to
ensure security in the Gaza Strip after the Israelis pull out. Cairo has indicated a
willingness to do so and to send military experts to Gaza to retrain Palestinian security
The Palestinian Authority has welcomed the Egyptian offer of help, but Yasir Arafat has
yet to agree to all the details. Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Suleiman is due to meet
again this week with Israeli and Palestinian officials to discuss the issue. Jordan has
also been tapped as a possible security guarantor in parts of the West Bank.
Palestinian political analyst, Mehdi Abdelhadi of the PASIA research center, said
militants are concerned about such developments and their message to the Arabs is clear.
"We are not looking for Arabs to protect the Israelis from us or to separate the Israelis
from us. Either you join us in confrontation or join us in negotiations, but not that you
sit in our seat and take over the lead with the Israelis in our absence."
Terrorist groups are jockeying for position in Gaza if and when the Israelis pull out,
but Abdelhadi said it is not just the militants who are worried. He said during the past
few days other Palestinian groups and activists have held meetings in Gaza and the West
Bank. They have expressed increasing concern that Israel is deliberately looking for Arab
partners to impose a solution on the Palestinian conflict without dealing with the
Netanyahu Denies Statements in Clinton's Book
By IsraelNationalNews.com & Ha'aretz
Foreign Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has denied reports appearing in former President
Bill Clinton's autobiography concerning his tenure as prime minister. Netanyahu stated
that contrary to Clinton's statements, he never agreed to give away the Golan Heights in
exchange for a defense agreement with America, adding Clinton or members of his
administration were never involved in Israel's secret talks with Syrian President
And Clinton reportedly unsuccessfully tried to dissuade Ariel Sharon from visiting the
Temple Mount in September 2000, the former U.S. president revealed in his autobiography,
"My Life," which was published Tuesday.
Clinton wrote that Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasir Arafat told him that he had
asked then-prime minister, Ehud Barak, to block the visit, and the former president also
contacted Barak with a similar request. The former president explained that he feared the
visit could spark violent protests by the Palestinians, claiming that Barak rejected the
request, since he could not stop the leader of the opposition from visiting the sensitive
In other parts of the book, Clinton blamed the continuation of the Middle East conflict
squarely on Arafat, saying the Palestinian leader made a "colossal mistake" in refusing
peace terms four years ago when both sides were so close. Clinton recounted how the
Palestinian appeared confused and ill-informed at times in their crucial Camp David talks
in July of 2000 that ended when "again, Mr. Arafat said no."
Clinton said Sharon, who was foreign minister when the two first met, was not without
sympathy for the Palestinian cause, even if he balked at any territorial concessions, but
stressed that Arafat was unmovable throughout. "I shut down the talks, it was frustrating
and profoundly sad," Clinton wrote, adding that at the time, "there was little difference
between the two sides. It was hard to know why he had moved so little. I still didn't
believe Arafat would make such a colossal mistake."
IDF Raids Photo Exhibit of Soldiers Who Served in Hebron
The Israel Defense Force's Military Police on Tuesday raided the "Breaking the Silence"
exhibit of photographs taken by Nahal Brigade soldiers during their military service in
Hebron, confiscating a folder containing the clips of articles about the exhibit and a
videotape with statements made by some 70 soldiers about their experiences in the West
The four reservist soldiers who initiated and organized the exhibit were also summoned
to interrogations Wednesday by Military Police. The army said the raid was meant to
uncover evidence of violence and vandalism done to Palestinians and their property. The
reservists who organized the show said the army was trying to intimidate and silence those
soldiers who gave evidence about brutality in Hebron and to silence any other soldiers who
planned to give evidence about what they have seen take place in that city.
Micha Kurtz, one of the exhibit's organizers, said Tuesday, "We anticipated that the
army would send the chief education officer or maybe even the Judge Advocate General to
learn from the soldiers' evidence, because our main message was that every soldier age 18
is going to encounter such situations.
"But instead, they sent the MPs," said Kurtz. "They are trying to frighten us and other
soldiers who have expressed readiness to take part in the project," he said, accusing the
army of preferring to repress criticism rather than learn from the evidence and testimony
that was part of the exhibit. "The MPs, for example, didn't take the 60 sets of car keys
that were illegally confiscated from Palestinians by soldiers in Hebron. In fact, the IDF
continues to deny the fact those keys were taken in the first place."
The IDF Spokeswoman's office explained Tuesday that "The IDF educates its soldiers to
behave according to moral standards in complex situations that include very difficult
moral dilemmas. In the wake of reports quoting the participants in the exhibit about
alleged crimes of violence and damage to property against Palestinians, the Judge Advocate
General ordered a Military Police probe of the complaints. The MPs gave the exhibit's
organizers a court order requiring them to hand over all the material that could help the
inquiry and a summons to provide evidence and testimony to the investigators."
The exhibit opened this month at the Tel Aviv Geographic Film School. It includes
photographs taken by soldiers who served in Hebron whether as reservists or as conscripts.
Many of the photographs were hung anonymously, without naming the photographer. The
soldiers gave their images to photographer Miki Kratzman, who curated the show. Sixty of
the 90 photos record aspects of the conflict with the Palestinians and settlers, and 30
depict the soldiers in their daily routines. Next week, the exhibit will go up at the
Tenth Yahrtzeit of Lubavitcher Rebbe
Tuesday, the third day of the Jewish month of Tammuz, was the 10th anniversary of the death of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, who is widely viewed as one of the most important Jewish leaders in modern times. Biographies, journalistic insights, video recollections, public calls by leading rabbis and more about the Rebbe can be seen at http://www.chabad.org/library/article.asp?AID=142232.
(All material on these web pages is © 2001-2012
by Electronic World Communications, Inc.)