Newsletter : 4fax1214.txt
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VIDEO OF CHANUKAH AT THE WHITE HOUSE (RealPlayer needed):
IDF Strikes In ´Limited´ Response
By IsraelNationalNews.com & VOA News
While admitting that "we don't see any change" in the Palestinian Authority's efforts
to curtail terror, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and defense officials apparently have
decided to hold back on a massive response to the Sunday evening attack in which five
Israeli soldiers died. Israel is being "very careful" not to upset the atmosphere before
the PA presidential election January 9.
Israel Air Force helicopters fired several missiles before dawn on the ammunitions
factory. No injuries were reported, but electricity was cut when one of the missiles
struck a generator. The factory apparently was used to make explosives, including mortar
shells that have exploded daily on southern Gaza's Jewish Gush Katif communities.
Sunday's twin bombing of an army post and mortar and anti-tank shelling and gunfire
accompanied a tunnel underneath the checkpoint. Army sources said they knew for several
weeks Arabs were building a tunnel but did not know where. Terrorists exploded the
half-mile tunnel and then sent suicide bombers into a nearby Army post, killing five
Bedouin soldiers. Six others were seriously injured and are being treated in Be'er Sheva's
Soroka Hospital. Five more suffered lesser injuries.
The assault near the border city of Rafah is on the Philadelphi route, which Israel has
said it will maintain even after the withdrawal unless the PA shows it can control terror.
Another explosion last week was in a tunnel reportedly designed to allow terrorists to
exit near Kibbutz Kerem Shalom, inside the pre-1967 border.
Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz said he did not rule out more retaliation beyond the
morning missile strike. He maintained that Sunday's terrorist attack was part of a Hamas
campaign to upset the January vote for a successor to Yasir Arafat and to eliminate
cooperation between Israel and the PA. Mofaz, speaking at a Herzilya conference, noted the
terrorists struck at the international checkpoint where he said there are coordinated
Arab-Israeli efforts. The minister, who is a former chief of staff, stated that the bombed
outpost, where Israeli soldiers supervised travel to and from Egypt, was established after
an agreement between Israel and the PA.
Mofaz also said that troops would be absent from cities in the Palestinian territories
from the day before the Jan. 9 Palestinian vote through the day after to help ensure the
election goes smoothly. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said aid Monday Israel wants to move
toward peace, but sees no corresponding movement by the Palestinian side.
Syria Blames Israel For Damascus Blast
By VOA News & Ha'aretz
A top Syrian official said that Israel was responsible for a car bomb blast in Damascus
Monday that wounded three people. Interior Minister Ghazi Kanaan said Israeli intelligence
or a group affiliated with it had targeted the vehicle of a Palestinian member of the
radical group Hamas. The minister said the man and a family member were unharmed because
they got out of the vehicle just before the blast.
Syrian officials called the attack Monday afternoon an "act of sabotage." The silver
sports utility vehicle was quickly removed by Syrian security and rescue teams who were
collecting shrapnel scattered on the street in the Mazzah area. Speaking to Syrian
state-run television, Kanaan said a bomb placed under the seat of the vehicle exploded
minutes after the Palestinian man and his wife stepped out for a dentist's appointment.
An Interior Ministry official said that the explosion was aimed at Palestinians living
in Syria. "The vehicle is owned by a Palestinian. This points to a subversive action
against Palestinian brothers in Syria," the unnamed official told the state-run news
agency SANA. "
Katzav Proposes "Diaspora Knesset"
Israeli President Moshe Katzav told a Knesset committee Monday that he favors the
establishment of a Jewish assembly in the Diaspora to help fight the alarmingly rising
Katzav suggested that a "second house" - a play on words of the same expression in
Hebrew meaning Second Temple - be set up to bring together Diaspora leaders in a permanent
forum parallel to the Knesset. To be chaired by the President of Israel, the body would
discuss the issues of concern to Jewry worldwide, and would try to find solutions. Katzav
said that the assembly should also discuss ways to tighten the bonds connecting Jewish
communities around the world with Israel and Judaism. "The intermarriage rate is more than
50 percent in the United States, Russia and Europe," Katzav warned, "and is getting
The president's idea, while not inviting Diaspora interference in Israel's internal
affairs, represents a major change from a policy that has lasted since the days of Prime
Minister David Ben-Gurion. Ben-Gurion strongly resisted world Jewry's attempts to advise
Israel on its affairs, and instead repeatedly appealed for Diaspora Jews to move to
"There are many day-to-day issues in Israel that have a direct effect on Diaspora Jewry
and that require joint discussion," Katzav told the Knesset Committee on Aliyah [Jewish
immigration to Israel], Absorption and the Diaspora. He cited anti-Semitism, terrorist
threats on Jewish sites, Jewish education outside of Israel and the status of Jewish
culture as some of the subjects that should be discussed.
Natan Sharansky, Minster of Jerusalem Affairs and the Diaspora, supported Katzav's
idea, and warned that in the past few years, the detachment between Diaspora communities
and Israel has grown. "We must do something serious, revolutionary and significant to
change the worldwide trend of Jews drifting away from their Jewish identity," Sharansky
France bans Hizbullah satellite TV as anti-Jewish
A French court ordered a prompt end to satellite television broadcasts to Europe by
Lebanon's Hizbullah terrorist group on Monday on grounds they were clearly anti-Semitic
and a potential threat to public order.
The Council of State, France's highest administrative court, gave the French-based
company Eutelsat 48 hours to end the broadcasts beamed from its satellites after finding
them in violation of a French legal ban on hate speech. The court said Al-Manar could
return to the airwaves if it modified its programs to satisfy French law.
France's broadcasting authority, the Higher Audiovisual Council, sought the ban after
the station ignored its pledge to respect French law and accused Israel of crimes against
humanity. "Taken together, the programs are clearly militant, with anti-Semitic
connotations," the court wrote in its decision after viewing several broadcasts from
Al-Manar. "It cannot be excluded that the broadcasts openly in violation of (French media
law) could have harmful effects on public order," it added.
The conservative government and Jewish groups have pressed for about a year for a ban
on Al-Manar, one of several Arabic-language stations popular among France's 5 million
Muslims, who are mostly of North African origin. Paris has expressed concern about growing
Islamist influence among disaffected Muslim youths and anti-Semitic views spread by
Hizbullah murderers opposed to Israel. The United States classes Hizbullah as a terrorist
group, but France does not. But the CSA had to license with strict fairness conditions and
wait for them to be broken before it could ban the station.
This sparked vivid criticism, especially by leaders of France's 600,000 Jews who - like
the Muslims - make up the largest minority of its kind in Europe. It took less than two
weeks for the CSA to find enough material to ask the Council of State for the ban. The CSA
cited as evidence an Al-Manar broadcast in November that spoke of "Zionist attempts to
transmit dangerous diseases like AIDS through exports to Arab countries". The broadcast
said Israel had "no scruples" about infecting Arabs and Muslims.
Al-Manar has said the French attempt to ban it from broadcasting went against the
principle of freedom and that the channel had not broken a promise to report without bias.
Eutelsat, which risks a fine of 5,000 euros for every day it goes over the 48-hour
deadline, said it could only unplug Al-Manar by taking eight other channels off its
service at the same time.
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