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Sharon Plans to Confine Arafat in Ramallah 'for Next 45 Years'

By VOA News

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is quoted as saying he would not allow Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat to leave his West Bank headquarters in Ramallah "for the next 45 years." Reports say Sharon made the comment in a meeting with the Israeli defense and foreign ministers Wednesday. Israeli forces have confined Arafat to his Ramallah headquarters for more than two years. Sharon's government considers the Palestinian leader an obstacle to a final and lasting peace.

Turkey Concerned Over Israeli-Kurdish Cooperation


Despite assurances from both sides, Turkey remains deeply concerned about the reported presence of Israeli operatives in northern Iraq and their cooperation with the country's Kurdish community. On Tuesday, the Israeli ambassador to Turkey, Pini Aviv, denied a report by the New Yorker magazine that Prime Minister Ariel Sharon took advantage of the U.S. occupation of Iraq by expanding Israeli presence in the northern Iraq.

The diplomat told the Turkish ITV news network he reassured the Turkish foreign ministry that Israel had decided long ago not to meddle in the Iraqi affairs. Kurdish leader Jalal Talabani further dismissed the report as "total fabrication" at a press conference during his visit to Ankara. He denied cooperation between the Israeli Mossad and the Turkish peshmerga forces.

Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul had stressed that Ankara would continue to closely monitor the situation in northern Iraq. He said Ankara is keen on the territorial integrity of neighboring Iraq and cannot tolerate any "political activities in [northern] Iraq that will influence the future of Iraq."

The New Yorker reported Monday that Israeli intelligence and military operatives are now quietly at work in northern Iraq, providing training for Kurdish commando units and running covert operations inside Kurdish areas of Iran and Syria. The report added that Mossad operatives work undercover in northern Iraq as businessmen and in some cases do not carry Israeli passports.

The magazine quoted a senior Turkish official as saying that Ankara would stand up firmly to the division of Iraq. "Before the war, Israel was active in Kurdistan, and now it is active again. This is very dangerous for us, and for them, too. We do not want to see Iraq divided, and we will not ignore it."

Ralph Nader: Israel Has America In Its Pocket

By International Christian Embassy (Jerusalem)

Maverick presidential candidate Ralph Nader has injected Zionist conspiracy theories into this year's election campaign, alleging that Israeli officials "control" the White House and coerce American leaders into providing billions of dollars in arms and support.

Nader's spokesman in an interview posted Tuesday on the Jerusalem Post's news site backed up the comments to an Emirate newspaper on Saturday. "Too often the United States walks lockstep with the Israelis; it needs to think for itself," he said.

Nader's spokesman insisted that no diplomatic plan is acceptable unless it allows for the right of return for Palestinian refugees and a full Israeli withdrawal to 1967 borders. Nader also disagrees with Israel's construction of the security fence, its targeted killings of terrorist leaders, and Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's Gaza disengagement plan, his spokesman said.

An independent presidential candidate on the margins of the American Left, Nader is expected to play a "spoilers" role in the election by drawing away Democratic votes from John Kerry, as he did with Al Gore in the ultra-close 2000 race.

Israel to Play Major Role in Safeguarding Athens Olympics


Greece, the U.S. Army and NATO have been in close contact with Israeli security officials, Ma'ariv reported. According to the report, prior to the opening of the Olympic games, the NATO officials are planning to station on a permanent basis a senior Israeli officer in the Southern Command's war room, located in Naples, Italy.

The officer's role would be to serve as liaison between NATO and the Israel Defense Forces during the games. This would be in order to receive Israeli aid as soon as possible in case of a specific warning about a terror attack in the Mediterranean or in case of a terror attack or other disaster in Greece. In addition, coordination between Israeli and Greek security forces and the American forces of the European Command are reaching their peak these days. This is mainly between the navies, but also between the air forces.

As part of this coordination, Israel has transferred information to the Americans and the Greeks about how to close access from the air and the sea to uncontrolled entry by hostile elements during the games. Israeli security establishment officials confirmed to Ma'ariv that in light of the geographical proximity between Israel and Greece, and in light of Israel's experience in the war against terror, IDF officials are expected to be prepared should Greece need direct aid during the Olympic games.

Buried Menorahs Found at Auschwitz


A trove of synagogue artifacts, including four menorahs, several chandeliers and a "ner tamid" (eternal light), were dug up at the site of the Great Synagogue in Oswiecim, Poland. Oswiecim is better known by its German name, Auschwitz. The unearthing of the pre-Holocaust Judaica was the culmination of a fantastic, six-year saga recounted in the New York-based Forward newspaper.

In 1998, a man named Yariv Nornberg from Ramat HaSharon, having just finished his IDF service, entered a local shop looking for an Israeli flag for the upcoming Israeli Independence Day celebrations. The store's owner, a 90-year-old man named Yeshayahu Yarot, told Nornberg that he had no flags in stock and asked him to come back in a week's time. Nornberg explained to the man that he could not return the following week, as he was going to Europe to see the concentration camps. Yarot then told Nornberg his story, beginning with, "I was born in Poland, in Auschwitz..."

Two hours later, Yarot went to the rear of his store and returned with a piece of paper on which he proceeded to draw a map. Yarot said that immediately prior to the Nazi occupation of the town in the autumn of 1939, Yarot walked by the Great Synagogue, a large structure with the capacity to hold 2,000 people, and saw three men, among them the gabbai (sexton), taking Torah scrolls and ornaments, placing them in two metal boxes and burying them in the ground. Yarot handed Nornberg the detailed map indicating the spot on which he thought the scrolls were buried. "You be the emissary," Yarot commanded Nornberg, who until two hours before had been a complete stranger, "and find it."

According to Nornberg's interview in Oswiecim with Israeli director and producer Yaheli Gat, who has been filming a documentary about the search, he spent years contacting other survivors in the hopes of corroborating Yarot's claim and supplementing his provided map. Nornberg said that a few survivors backed up the story; one man named Shlomo Betar, for instance, told him that the burial was a popular legend in the area ghetto of Sosnowiec. Nornberg himself discovered an entry in the local Jewish registry book housed in an archive in the city of Bialsko-Biala, reading: "And on that day I told Salinger to get two large crates lined with clay and to assemble the Torah scrolls."

After a three-week effort, the diggers finally unearthed the buried Torah scrolls, holy books and holy Jewish objects that were hidden by the Jewish community of Oswiecim below the synagogue floor. The Jewish holy items had been buried immediately before the Nazis blew up the building. Yarot was informed that the search had begun, but died before the objects were found, three months ago.

Some of the objects apparently date from the 19th century, according to Auschwitz Jewish Center officials. The relics are rusted, but still intact, and researchers won't know their value until they have more time to study them. The synagogue was the largest of about a dozen in Oswiecim. More than 1 million people died at the town's Auschwitz camp - 90% of them Jews.

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