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Nader Calls Israel a "Puppeteer"


Independent presidential candidate and environmental crusader Ralph Nader said during a conference of the Council for the National Interest titled, "The Muslim Vote in Election 2004," as telecast on C-Span Tuesday, "What has been happening over the years is a predictable routine of foreign visitation from the head of the Israeli government. The Israeli puppeteer travels to Washington. The Israeli puppeteer meets with the puppet in the White House, and then moves down Pennsylvania Avenue, and meets with the puppets in Congress. And then takes back billions of taxpayer dollars. It is time for the Washington puppet show to be replaced by the Washington peace show."

Israeli Court Orders Changes in Security Barrier

By Sonja Pace (VOA-Jerusalem)

Israel's Supreme Court has ordered changes in the route of the controversial security barrier that the government is building in and around the West Bank. The Court ruled Wednesday that parts of the barrier are causing too much harm to the local Palestinian population.

The high court ruling affects an 18-mile stretch of the security barrier northwest of Jerusalem. The judges' decision means the military will have to dismantle some sections of the barrier already built and rework plans for other parts. The court decreed that the route of the barrier be changed in order to minimize hardships for tens of thousands of Palestinians living in the area, who risk being cut off from their farms, schools and jobs.

Mohammed Dahleh is the lawyer who brought the case before to the Court on behalf of Palestinian petitioners. He called the ruling courageous and important. "The Supreme Court accepted our arguments that if Israel wants to build a wall it can build a wall in a different way, in a way that does not infringe upon basic rights of Palestinians in an disproportionate manner."

Israel began building the barrier two years ago and plans to stretch this combination of walls, fences, trenches and barbed wire for over 360 miles in and around the West Bank. The government said it's already been successful in keeping out Palestinian suicide bombers but Palestinians and human rights activists say the barrier, which in some areas cuts deep into the West Bank, is nothing more than a land grab.

The Supreme Court decided that, while re-routing the barrier could reduce security for Israelis, the current route violated Palestinian rights under international and humanitarian law.

Right-wing Israeli lawmaker Uzi Landau said the court made a mistake. Landau added that the Palestinians may indeed be suffering, but he said it's more important to save the lives of Israeli women and children. He said the barrier has to be completed and should not be delayed.

The head of military logistics, Brig. Gen. Eran Ofir told Israel Radio that work on the barrier would continue in those areas authorized by the Court. But, the general said the military would study the court ruling carefully and comply accordingly.

Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia dismissed the Supreme Court ruling, saying the whole barrier is illegal and not just the part around Jerusalem that the Court focused on. Qureia likened the security barrier to the Berlin Wall, which once separated East and West Germany. He said it should be completely dismantled. The Court's ruling is widely regarded as an important precedent that could affect other areas of the barrier as well.

In just over a week, the International Court of Justice in The Hague is expected to issue an advisory ruling on the legality of the barrier. The ruling, which is non-binding, was requested by the United Nations at the behest of the Palestinians.

Vatican Lifts Secrecy from WW II Documents

By Ha'aretz

The Vatican decided on Tuesday to release from its secret archives documents from the period of World War II, which are expected to include information about the policy of Pope Pius XII toward the Nazi regime but not pertaining to the Holocaust.

Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League who is now in Rome, told Ha'aretz Wednesday that "one cannot ignore the importance of the Vatican's decision to release further documents from the World War II period." Foxman noted however "the newly released documents are not especially significant to the problematic issues in Pius XII's controversial behavior vis-à-vis the Holocaust, which the Jews wish to look into."

Foxman said the documents deal with the Vatican's activity on behalf of war prisoners and missing persons in the WW II era. Among the documents is a letter written by a bishop from Romania to the Vatican on July 21, 1943, complaining that the Vatican is too concerned over the fate of the Jews. The bishop informs the Vatican that many of his flock members "are angry and complaining openly that the Holy See is cultivating good relations with the Jews, who are the enemies of the Nazis."

The files regarding Pius XII's term, and especially the documents which detail his relation with the Nazi regime in Berlin, may feed the deep controversy between leaders of Jewish organizations and senior Vatican officials.

Most Jewish researchers believe that Pius XII ignored the persecution of the Jews during the Holocaust, and refused to intervene in their favor and prevent their deportation. In recent years heads of Jewish organizations in the United States have endeavored to persuade the Vatican to make these documents available.

Two years ago the Vatican released 11 volumes consisting of documents from Pius XII's era, as a gesture of compromise, but since then it has rejected all requests by Jews to release additional files. Tuesday's decision was interpreted by senior Jewish figures in New York as an effort by the Vatican to create a comfortable atmosphere for a dialogue between Jewish and Catholic scholars scheduled in Buenos Aires next week.

Pollard Challenges Clinton


Jonathan Pollard has challenged former President Bill Clinton's version of events when Pollard was "almost" freed from prison during the Wye Plantation talks.

The commonly accepted version of events is that Clinton promised then-Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, during the Wye talks of late 1998, to release Pollard as part of an overall Israeli-Palestinian Authority agreement. Several Israeli participants at the talks confirm that the promise to release Pollard was indeed made, but Clinton, in his newly released autobiography, wrote that he never promised such a release. According to Clinton's latest version, he only said that he would consider it, but would have to "check with my people" first. When he did, Clinton wrote, his CIA director, George Tenet, threatened to resign over the matter.

Minister Natan Sharansky, who was present at Wye, told Arutz-7 that there was no question about it: "Clinton promised him - I was there when he promised."

Another participant in the talks, a top aide to Netanyahu named Uri Elitzur, recently gave Arutz-7's Yosef Meiri an eyewitness report: "Netanyahu told me afterwards that Clinton had told him that Tenet had threatened to resign. Tenet and [then-Secretary of State] Albright were sitting in the room while Clinton was talking to Netanyahu, though they could not hear the conversation. But it was clear to me that they were watching Clinton and knew the gist of what he was saying. Whether Tenet actually threatened to quit or not, I have no idea - but I do know that Clinton was a bare-faced liar, just as the entire American public later found out with the Lewinsky fiasco."

Malcolm Hoenlein, Executive Vice-Chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, has provided further proof that Clinton might not have been speaking the truth regarding Tenet. Hoenlein told a JTA interviewer that he received a phone call from Tenet immediately after the Wye Summit, in which Tenet denied that he had ever threatened to resign if Jonathan Pollard were freed.

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