Newsletter : 4fax0809.txt
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Bargain-hunting at Sharon's Negev Ranch
Kach activist Itamar Ben-Gvir and his attorney Baruch Ben-Yosef were detained by police
Sunday, along with about two dozen other people, after they gathered at the entrance to
Prime Minister Sharon's Shikmim Farm in the Negev, near Sderot. Ben-Yosef explained that
they had come to buy a sheep from Sharon, expecting a particularly good bargain. "It's
obvious from the way he handles the negotiations with the Arabs that he's not so good at
it, so we figured we could get a pretty good price from him on a sheep."
Israel to Evacuate Illegal Jewish Outposts Before U.S. Vote
By Ross Dunn (VOA-Jerusalem)
The Israeli government said it will evacuate illegal Jewish outposts in the West Bank
before the U.S. presidential election in November, following American pressure to halt
settlement activity. Officials in the office of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said they are
looking for new legal powers to ensure the removal of all illegal Jewish outposts before
the presidential election.
The outposts are intended by Jewish settlers to become the basis of new communities, or
to expand existing ones. But the international "road map" to peace plan, which is
supported by the United States, calls for a freeze on settlement activity.
While Israel has not accepted a total freeze, its justice minister, Yosev Lapid, says
the growth of Jewish settlements must be kept in check. "I think that, in general, we
should not expand the borders of the settlements. We are in agreement on this with the
United States government."
The officials said the basis for Israel's future strategy is a report being prepared by
the Justice Ministry to allow for a speedy evacuation of the outposts. Sharon's outgoing
bureau chief, Dov Weisglass, told Israel's Channel Two television station that the
recommendations of the report would be presented in the coming weeks. Weisglass said the
report would provide the prime minister with "more effective tools to evacuate the
outposts, and he will begin to do so energetically."
He said that while Israel cannot so far boast of efforts to remove the settlement
outposts, it would carry out its promise to evacuate all of them in full. Weisglass is due
to leave for the United States later this month for a meeting with National Security
Advisor Condoleezza Rice to discuss a range of issues, including the Jewish settlements
and Israel's controversial West Bank security barrier.
The Israeli Defense Ministry said Jewish settlers have established 23 outposts in the
West Bank since March 2001, when Sharon first came to power. Visiting U.S. envoy Elliot
Abrams raised the issue when he met with senior Israeli officials last week.
EU Set to Tax Exports from Jewish Settlements
By Ross Dunn (VOA-Jerusalem)
The European Union has decided to tax products from Jewish settlements in the West Bank
and Gaza Strip, saying it does not recognize these areas as part of Israel. The move is
outlined in a new agreement reached between the EU and Israel.
Israeli and EU negotiators have signed a document declaring that goods exported by
Israel to Europe would be labeled with a town of origin, as well as nationality. Those
shown to have been produced in Israeli settlements in Gaza and the West Bank would no
longer be allowed to enter the European Union tariff-free under the new agreement. The
decision would affect a number of goods, including palm oil and fruit juice, worth some
$200 million a year. These exports from the settlements amount to less than one percent of
the $7.6 billion in annual Israeli exports to Europe.
European customs officials demanding to know whether they had come from Jewish
settlements have also held up Israeli products. EU officials said the settlements are not
recognized as belonging to Israel, and, therefore, there is a consensus in Europe that
products from these areas should not be given the benefit of trade preferences granted to
Cancer Society Outraged by Rabbi's Statement
The Israel Cancer Society responded with anger and outrage to an article released by
Rabbi Shalom Yosef Elyashiv, the leader of Hareidi Lithuanian Jewry, stating cancer is a
"punishment" for those who stray from religion, adding there is no cure. The quote
appeared in the daily Ma'ariv last Thursday.
The publisher of the works released last week stated the quotation in Ma'ariv was
indeed accurate, adding it was taken from a lengthier piece that was intended for Torah
scholars and not the media, indicating it may have been quoted out of context.
IDF: Pill Distribution Not Cause for Alarm
Army officials insist the decision to distribute anti-radiation pills to 200,000
southern area residents is not cause for alarm, insisting the nuclear reactor in Dimona is
operating without incident according to state nuclear experts.
An army training exercise indicated that in the event of an emergency, a leak from the
reactor, soldiers would not be able to distribute the pills in time, leading to the
decision to move ahead with the distribution campaign now, a process that will take about
Some experts are less than comforted however, explaining the nuclear facility has been
operating for a number of decades and can no longer be deemed safe, pushing for its
closure. Skeptics also question why after a number of decades the decision was just made
to distribute the medication to area residents.
Iran Seeks to Improve Shihab-3 Missile
By Al Bawaba Middle East News
Iran aims to soon test an improved version of its Shihab-3 medium-range missile,
Defense Minister Ali Shamkhani said, following Israel's boosting of its anti-missile
"We will improve the Shihab-3 and when we test it, in the very short future, we will
let you know," what improvements have been made, said the minister, who was quoted by ISNA
student news agency. "These improvements do not only concern its range, but other
specifications as well," Shamkhani said, without providing further details.
Late last month, Israel successfully tested its Arrow II anti-missile missile in the
United States. It was the seventh time the missile has worked, but the first time it
destroyed a real Scud missile.
Shamkhani insisted the Shihab-3 was intended for defensive purposes. "The Israelis are
trying hard to improve the capacity of their missiles, and we are also trying to improve
the Shihab-3 in a short time," Shamkhani said, denying the Islamic republic was working on
a more advanced Shihab-4.
When asked if the army was involved in Iran's nuclear program, Shamkhani said that its
"only intervention in the nuclear area, is nuclear protection," referring to possible
attack from Israel's suspected nuclear arsenal. "If a military operation is carried out
against us, we cannot do nothing, so we are investing in nuclear protection," he said.
Iran's Looming Nuclear Threat Sparks Fresh Tensions
By DEBKAfile (A Special Military Report)
On Saturday night, Iranian Defense Minister Admiral Ali Shamkhani said Iran would soon
test an improved version of its new ballistic Shehab-3 missile whose 1300-km range covers
every part of Israel. In between emphasizing defense, Shamkhani issued a dire warning to
Israel not to dare attack its nuclear sites.
DEBKAfile notes that the Shehab-3 missile's first unveiling was accompanied by the
pledge: "We will wipe Israel off the map," a theme that recurs every Friday sermon in
Iran's mosques and its official pronouncements. In view of the Tehran hard-line regime's
admitted strategic commitment to Israel's destruction, Iran's nuclear program combined
with the development of its Shehab-3 is seen by policymakers in Jerusalem as the greatest
threat to Israel's existence since 1948.
Iran's processing facilities for enriching the uranium necessary to building nuclear
weapons are carefully dispersed in several subterranean sites. They are built in bunkers,
often tens of meters deep, under densely populated urban centers, in the hope of deterring
the Americans and the Israelis from attacking them.
Nonetheless, the Iranians do not feel safe. The defense minister believes Israel is
developing a new type of depth bomb able to penetrate buried sites or wipe out electronics
with electro-magnetic energy bursts. Tehran's defense specialists are also keeping a
watchful eye on the war tactics employed by the US military before, during and since the
invasion of Iraq and against the Iraqi guerrilla war. They regard the Iraq precedent as a
potential dress rehearsal for a possible US military operation against Iran.
Iranian military chiefs avidly read American publications on new weaponry - for
instance, US Air Force research on a 9.5 ton Massive Ordnance Air-burst Bomb capable of
hitting mountain bunkers, whose warhead is as powerful as a small nuclear bomb. This
weapon is designed to replace the biggest conventional US bomb, the 7.5-ton Daisy Cutter,
used at least twice in Afghanistan against mountain caves.
The Iranians are also worried by the airborne GBI-28 bunker busters the Americans used
in the capture of Baghdad and in another airborne or cruise missile-carried BLU-114B bomb
that is capable of knocking out the electricity grids of whole cities. There are reports
of an "E-bomb" under development, whose microwave beams can massively damage electronic
circuitry over a large area.
International media, furthermore, have reported at least one Israeli Dolphin submarine
carrying cruise missiles with nuclear warheads to be lurking in waters just outside the
Persian Gulf between the Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden. Israel's Ofek 4 spy satellite
is also able to track Iran's nuclear activities.
Iran is concerned by these new weapons and devices because they are armed with deep
underground penetration capabilities, or geared to crippling electric and electronic
systems in urban areas. Iran's subterranean nuclear plants are therefore potentially
vulnerable - even in their subterranean lairs under cities. Iran's regime and military
leaders live in fear of waking up one morning to find that an Israeli or an American
strike has wiped out their nuclear option just when it is closest to their grasp.
Although Tehran's highly effective procrastination maneuvers have paid off so far in
keeping diplomatic, military and economic hurdles at bay, defense minister Shamkhani finds
it necessary to issue a warning threat to Israel. In the last ten days, these threats have
intensified as a result of certain key developments inside Iran.
One, According to DEBKAfile's Iranian sources, Iran's radical spiritual ruler Ali
Khamenei convened a high-powered secret conference last week, to underline a policy of
nuclear brinkmanship in the face of the US-led international outcry against its nuclear
weapons program. The decision to tough it out was endorsed by the assembled leadership
group of former president Hashemi Rafsanjani, secretary of the national security council
and liaison on nuclear matters with international institutions Hassan Rouhani, Iran's
former delegation to the IAEA Ali Akbar Salehi, head of foreign affairs commission of NSC
Seyyed Hossein Moussavian and also defense minister Shamkhani. A tough line against
America automatically begets a doubly aggressive attitude towards Israel.
Two, Some of the new Shehab-3 missiles have been deployed secretly in central Iran -
both as a shield for the nuclear plants against air, ground or naval attack and as a
retaliatory option against attackers. Knocking out this deployment would leave the
industry susceptible to attack and nullify Iran's deterrent.
The comment by Israel's air defense commander that Israel's Arrow II anti-missile
missile system successfully tested last week against a Scud would not be effective against
an Iranian multiple warhead Shehab 3 was taken with a pinch of salt by the ayatollahs who
live in suspicion of trickery. But it does leave teasing questions about what Israel can
do to prevent the deployment of the soon-to-be tested improved Shehab-3 batteries pointing
in the direction of the Jewish state.
The Shamkhani threat comes together with the distribution in southern Israel of Lugol
radiation antidote capsules to people living in the triangle formed by Israel's nuclear
center at Dimona, Arad and Eilat on the Red Sea. Home Command soldiers are handing these
iodine dose packages - not to be opened until ordered - round homes in Dimona, Yeruham,
Arara, Kseifa and Bedouin Negev settlements. Instructions in Hebrew, Arabic, English,
Russian and Amharic are attached. Distribution centers will also stock the antidote and
extra doses made available for growing families.
Lugol is being handed out in case of an accidental leak from the Dimona reactor, say
Israeli officials. They are talking less about the danger of nuclear fallout from a
possible strike by an Iranian Shehab-3 missile.
In the 1991 Gulf War, Saddam Hussein did shoot a Scud missile against Dimona. It
carried a warhead packed with cement for smashing through the reactor's dome but missed
its target and fell in the sand without causing damage.
(Copyright 2000-2004 DEBKAfile. All Rights Reserved.)
Presbyterians' Shameful Boycott
By Alan M. Dershowitz
The Presbyterian Church (USA) has committed a grievous sin. The General Assembly of
that church has voted to divest from only one country in the world. No, it was not China,
which has occupied Tibet for half a century and continues to deny basic human rights to
its own citizens. No, it was not Iran, which threatens nuclear holocaust, executes
dissenters and denies religious freedom to Christians and -- you guessed it -- Israel, the
only democracy in the Middle East and America's most reliable ally in a troubled part of
The way it will work is simple: A blacklist will be prepared for the church's leaders,
showing companies that earn more than $1 million annually from investments in Israel or
that invest more than $1 million a year in Israel. The Presbyterians plan to divest from
any company on the list -- with a handful of exemptions for companies that deal in
education, social welfare programs and construction.
How did the church come to such a ludicrous, wrongheaded position? Just look at the
resolution itself, which bursts with bigotry and ignorance. It effectively blames the
Israelis for Palestinian slaughter of civilians by asserting that the occupation is the
"root" of terrorism. This canard ignores the reality that the Palestinian leadership opted
for murder and violence as the tactic of choice well before there was any occupation, and
that the leaders of Hamas, Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad have vowed to continue murdering
Jews after the occupation ends, as long as the Jewish state exists.
The Presbyterian resolution effectively calls for the end of Israel by insisting on
"the right of [Palestinian] refugees to return to their homeland." This is a well-known
euphemism for turning Israel from a Jewish state into another state with a Palestinian
majority. (Jordan is the other.)
The Presbyterian resolution also condemns Israel's military actions taken in defense of
its civilians. It claims, without an iota of proof and against all the available evidence,
that Israel commits "horrific acts of violence and deadly attacks on innocent people" when
the truth is that Israel, like the United States, goes to extraordinary lengths to avoid
killing innocent people. It equates Israel's targeting of terrorists with Palestinian
targeting of civilians.
The president of Harvard University, in a speech delivered in Harvard's Memorial Church
in 2002, included the singling out of Israel for divestment as the sort of "actions that
are anti-Semitic in their effect, if not in their intent." The one-sided actions of the
Presbyterian Church fit into this category. Divestment also encourages the continued use
of terrorism by Palestinian leaders, who see that when Israel responds to their terrorism,
it causes an important church to punish Israel.
I do not believe that a majority of the 2.5 million Presbyterians in the U.S. want
their church used to support terrorism. But they are now on notice that their church has
been hijacked and its name misused in the service of an immoral tactic.
Balanced criticism of Israel and of specific policies of its government is proper and
essential to democratic governance. But the Presbyterian resolution is so one-sided, so
anti-Zionist in its rhetoric and so ignorant of the realities on the ground that it can
only be explained by the kind of bigotry that the Presbyterian Church itself condemned in
1987 when it promised "never again to participate in, to contribute to, or (insofar as we
are able) to allow the persecution or denigration of Jews."
Unless the church rescinds this immoral, sinful and bigoted denigration of the Jewish
state, it will be "participating in" and "contributing to" anti-Jewish bigotry and the
encouragement of terrorism.
(This article originally appeared in the LA Times.)
(Alan M. Dershowitz is the Felix Frankfurter professor of law at Harvard Law School and
author of The Case for Israel.)
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