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Tunisian Doctors: Arafat Suffering From Flu

By VOA News

A second group of Arab doctors has visited Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat and diagnosed him with a case of the flu. They conducted the second recent medical checkup for the 75-year-old leader and said he was recovering from a bout of influenza. Earlier this month, a group of Egyptian doctors visited the Palestinian leader's Ramallah compound and made the same diagnosis. Israeli media reports have speculated that Arafat is seriously ill. But Palestinian officials have said he is tired and has been fasting for Ramadan. Arafat has long been rumored to suffer from Parkinson's disease.

Classified Document: Israel will Remain Responsible for Gaza


"Israel will not be exempt from international responsibility for the Gaza Strip even after the disengagement." So stated a classified document written by jurists in the Justice Ministry, the IDF and the National Security Council.

The report, which has been submitted to the government, explains that according to international law, Israel will continue to be held responsible for Gaza for three reasons: Even after the scheduled withdrawal, no other authoritative body will be given control; Israel will still control Gaza's airspace and coast line; and the IDF will still remain along the southern border's Philadelphi Route.

The report recommends that Israel consider bringing an international force into Gaza - though at the same time acknowledges that this could be a "dangerous precedent" regarding Judea and Samaria. The authors similarly warn that Israel's unilateral withdrawal could lead the Palestinian Authority to unilaterally declare a Palestinian state - one that is liable to make hostile treaties with Arab nations and international terror organizations.

Israeli Cabinet Approves Compensation for Uprooted Settlers

By VOA News

The Israeli cabinet has approved a bill to compensate settlers who leave the occupied Gaza Strip under Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's controversial withdrawal plan. The vote Sunday was 13 to 6. The legislation includes guidelines for compensating settlers who voluntarily leave and penalties for those who resist.

The full Israeli parliament is to vote on the plan this week. The withdrawal faces strong opposition from the Israeli settler movement and its supporters. Sharon's plan to evacuate all 21 Gaza settlements and four small enclaves in the West Bank by 2006 would for the first time uproot Israelis from Palestinian lands captured in the 1967 war.

Former Yamitnik: 'Never Again'


One of the Jews evacuated from Yamit in the Sinai desert in 1982 led residents from the Gush Katif community of Elei Sinai on a march to Jerusalem Saturday night. "Yamit will not fall a second time," said Avi Farchan, accompanied by his son and grandson. He expects to arrive on time for Tuesday's plenum vote on the Gaza Disengagement Plan.

Farchan was removed from his home in Sinai by the present prime minister, Ariel Sharon, who was ordered to do so by the administration of Prime Minister Menachem Begin. Farchan hopes to meet with state leaders upon arriving in Jerusalem, and plans to request permission to address the Knesset. He told television reporters upon beginning his march, "Arik [referring to the prime minister], we are human beings. What are you doing to us? These are our homes!"

Farchan told Galei Tzahal Radio Sunday morning that he would abide by the decision of a national referendum and if the nation wants to support the removal of the Jewish presence from Gaza, he will pack his bags and move once again. He stated however the prime minister couldn't execute such a plan without determining the position of the citizens of Israel.

Residents from communities from throughout the country plan to rally opposite the Knesset Tuesday, when MKs will cast their first votes on Sharon's disengagement plan. Thousands of children from Judea, Samaria and Gaza are to learn about citizenship and Zionism with their teachers.

New Saudi Citizenship Law Excludes Palestinians


Saudi Arabia has passed new regulations on citizenship that will benefit hundreds of thousands of foreigners living in the desert kingdom, with one exception: the "Palestinians."

The new guidelines, which serve to amend Saudi Arabia's previous law on naturalization, entitle expatriates of all nationalities who have resided in the kingdom for 10 years to apply for citizenship, with priority being given to holders of degrees in various scientific fields.

The rules are likely to help as many as one million foreigners living in Saudi Arabia obtain citizenship, said Nasser ibn Hamad al-Hanaya, undersecretary for civil status in the Saudi Interior Ministry. Another Saudi official, Shubaily ibn Majdoue Al-Qarni, who served as chairman of the security committee that supervised the amendment of the law, said that all foreign nationals working in the country would now be eligible to obtain Saudi citizenship.

But citing a report in the Al-Watan newspaper, the English-language Saudi daily Arab News notes that one group will in fact be excluded by the new regulations: the estimated 500,000 Arabs from Judea, Samaria, and Gaza living in the kingdom. This select sector of Arabs would not be allowed to benefit from the new law, said the paper, because of Arab League instructions barring the Arab states from granting them citizenship in order "to avoid dissolution of their identity and protect their right to return to their homeland. The amended law is slated to go into effect in four months.

'Jews are Pigs and Monkeys'

By Ed Ziegler (Commentary)

There are, oh, so many hate mongers throughout the world beating a drum to eliminate all the Jewish people, Israel and the United States. Fortunately, here in the United States, the frequency of anti-Semitic incidences are low compared to many other countries. Therefore it is understandable, but unfortunate, that many American Jews are unaware of the degree of danger.

Fawaz Damra, Palestinian-born, is one such person about whom Jews, in particular, should be concerned. Damra is Imam of Ohio's largest mosque. An Imam is defined as a recognized religious leader or teacher in Islam." The term includes the leader of the Muslim congregational prayer. An Imam is someone who is respected and closely listened.

In the June 17, 2004 issue of "USA Today" it was reported that Damra was convicted of lying about his connections to terrorist organizations when he applied for U.S. citizenship. His connection to a terrorist organization should throw up red flag of concern.

Undoubtedly the prosecution had very creditable evidence. They presented video footage of Damra raising money for an arm of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, which has been listed as a major terrorist group by the State Department since 1989. Jurors were shown footage in which Damra called Jews "the sons of "pigs and monkeys" during a 1991 speech. He also said, "terrorism and terrorism alone is the path to liberation" in a 1989 speech. This not a rare instance where a Muslim refers to Jews as "pigs and monkeys."

When you add all these facts together, Damra's connection with a terrorist organization, what he says about Jews, and that he is an Imam, it becomes very apparent that this presents a clear signal of danger for every Jewish person. What do you imagine Damra, an Imam, is teaching about Jews?

Should you be concerned as to what is coming forth from the finest universities in the United States? Make up your own mind. According To the Middle East Forum , during an October 2000 anti-Israeli protest, former Muslim Student Association President Ahmed Shama, of the University of California, Los Angeles stood before the Israeli consulate in Los Angeles shouting "Victory to Islam! Death to the Jews!" At the same rally the MSA West president, Sohail Shakr, declared "the biggest impediment to peace has been the existence of the Zionist entity in the middle of the Muslim world."

Does hearing "Death to the Jews" do anything to you? It does to me. You may say our danger comes from foreigners. Well what do you say when Americans want to be terrorists in support of Pakistani terrorists? On June 18, 2004 the ADL reported that three Americans accused of conspiring to fight alongside a Pakistani-based terrorist group and of engaging in paramilitary training in a Virginia forest were sentenced to long prison terms in U.S. District Court.

One of the defendants, Masoud Khan is a 32-year-old Maryland native who prosecutors said traveled to Pakistan to train with Lashkar-e-Tayyaba, a group designated as a foreign terrorist group by the U.S. He was convicted of the most serious charges. These charges included conspiracy to levy war against the U.S. and providing material support to the Taliban and Al-Qaeda.

Upon conviction Kahn read a statement in court. "Had I been a Zionist Jew or a Christian training to fight, I would never have been charged with violating the Neutrality Act."

The two other members of what prosecutors called the "Virginia Jihad Network," Seifullah Chapman 31, and Hammad Abdur-Raheem 36, were sentenced to 85 and eight years in prison respectively. Chapman admitted attending the militant Pakistani training camp, although he said he did so for the physical challenge

Remember "Never Again!" In unity we have strength.

(Ziegler is a board member of the New Jewish Congregation in the Villages, Florida, and president of its Brotherhood.)

Why Make Aliyah?

By Avram Hein (Commentary)

Three months ago, I landed at Ben-Gurion Airport. I have been there several times before but this time was different. This time, I came with a planeload of American and Canadian Jews who chose to throw their lot in with the Jewish state and the Jewish nation, and become citizens of Israel.

This time I was greeted by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Finance Minister Binyamin Netanyahu who chose to welcome us as the future of Israel. Despite the tumultuous security and economic matzav (situation), these leaders chose to take time out of their busy schedule to welcome 450 North American Jews who chose to leave the comfort and freedom of prosperous North America for the uncertainty of the Middle East.

In Hebrew, Jewish immigration to Israel is called aliyah- which literally means "going up." We, members of the Jewish nation, of varying degrees of ritual observance, all chose to fulfill the ultimate Jewish and Zionist commandment - that of moving to Israel. Despite 2,000 years of exile, we came home.

In our immigration, we each declared "Ani Tzioni - I am a Zionist." University-educated, raised on Western values and firm believers in democracy and human rights, we did this because there was no other option. We had to come home.

We love America and, in many ways, will always remain Americans. We are American, even though most of our parents or grandparents immigrated to America from Europe. Personally, I shed as much tears of joy hearing that Washington, DC was getting a baseball team after decades of absence as much as I did over Hatikvah - Israel's national anthem, calling for Jews to return to Israel after millennia of absence.

In fact, some of us even made our move precisely because of a commitment to America as Israel and America fight the same fight against terrorism and share the same values of democracy and freedom. Did you know that Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East?

For all of us, we cared about the direction Israel was facing as she faces an increasingly hostile world less than 60 years after a third of the Jewish population was murdered by enlightened and educated Europe.

As Conservative rabbi, Dr. David Breakstone has noted, Aliyah "allows for the most direct involvement in shifting Jewish values from the realm of theory into the practice of statehood."

Aliyah is nation-building at its best and we knew that if we were concerned about the direction Israel was facing, as she tries to shed off a long-history of socialism and as she pursues peace, a path that Israel has been taking since before being re-constituted as a nation state, that aliyah was the only choice we could make if we truly cared about peace and if we truly cared about Israel.

So, three months ago I left the comforts of America (and believe me, you don't appreciate the gifts and comforts of American-living until you left it) for the chaos of the Middle East. Believe me, it has been the hardest three months of my life - from the diplomatic and capitalistic America to a forthright and socialist Israel (but thankfully things are beginning to reform here).

Despite having visited Israel several times and living here for a year in 2002-2003, living here is different. Where other people have their extreme sports to challenge and strengthen them, I have aliyah. Except for one difference - in the end, the mountain biker puts away their mountain bike, the rock climber climbs down the mountain, and the surfer gets out of the ocean.

But not me. Israel is real. My escape is to walk up the stairs to my Jerusalem apartment, cheap by American standards but posh for Israel. So, three months ago, over 1,500 well-educated North American Jews immigrated to Israel. I was one of them. Despite fear, uncertainty, and hardship, I am home.

Why aliyah? Simple: There is no other place I belong as much as I belong in the land that my people have been pining for since we our exile. I came home. What about you?

(Hein is a graduate student at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He made aliyah in July, 2004.)

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