Newsletter : 5fax0104.txt
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Abu Mazen on Terrorists: 'They Are Freedom Fighters'
Interim PA leader Muhmad Abbas (Abu Mazen), who enjoys a wide lead in the PA
presidential race and is expected to emerge the winner in Sunday's election, announced he
would not use force to disarm terrorists. Referring to them as "those who are armed", Abu
Mazen called them "freedom fighters." He added that he would disarm them "with dialogue
and discussion," but they must be permitted to live "in honor and dignity."
Sharon to Soldiers in 1995: Follow Your Conscience
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, as a Knesset member opposing Oslo concessions, said in
1995 that IDF soldiers should follow their conscience before obeying orders. He also
denounced "tyranny of the majority."
Opponents to the government's so-called disengagement plan Monday began passing out
recordings of Sharon's statements to soldiers throughout the country. When he was an
opposition Knesset member, Sharon spoke against the Labor government's plan to remove army
bases from Judea, Samaria and Gaza (Yesha).
In a July, 1995, interview with Arutz-7 radio which was operating in Israel before the
government shut it down two years ago, Sharon said, "As someone who has served in the IDF
many years, I say that a soldier must follow orders, and if a soldier feels that an order
given him is against his conscience, he personally, and I emphasize 'personally,' must
stand before his commander, explain this to him and be prepared to accept the
During the mid-1990s, the Rabin government was negotiating with Yasir Arafat, with the
help of then President Bill Clinton, to withdraw Jews from most of Yesha. Sharon strongly
opposed the proposed destruction of Jewish communities and eviction of Jews. He added in
the interview with Arutz-7, "It is important that in every matter, no one should cross the
red lines (because) the responsibility for doing so is the government's."
Sharon, as an opposition member of the Knesset, added, "In democracy, tyranny of the
majority is prohibited. It is impossible to accomplish everything, certainly now when we
are talking about matters that will determine our fate." Sharon is now leading a campaign
to dismantle army bases and Jewish communities and transfer the Jews and their property
out of a large area of Samaria and all of Gaza.
Massive Sit-In Against Gov´t Expulsion Plan
More than 1,000 opponents to the government's so-called disengagement plan ignored
wintry rain Monday and began an unprecedented demonstration of at least several days
across from the Knesset.
Organizers have prepared for a protest that could last for weeks as the Knesset debates
the proposed government plan to dismantle 25 Jewish communities in Gaza and northern
Samaria, evict the residents and transfer the land to Arabs. The government has proposed
that the Palestinian Authority (PA) would take responsibility for the areas, including the
Mediterranean Sea, the border with Egypt, which has been used for arms smuggling and urban
centers in the north, which have been headquarters for terrorists.
The peaceful sit-in began amid a stormy national debate over a growing move among
soldiers to sign a pledge they will not help security forces during the planned
evacuation. Daniella Weiss, head of the Kedumim Council in Samaria, openly called on
soldiers to refuse orders. Other leaders in Yesha distanced themselves from Weiss'
Organizers provided rainproof tents and arranged hot food for the thousands who are
expected to participate in the massive sit-in. Families and yeshiva students from all over
the country are participating.
One woman, a resident of the Samarian community of Neve Tzuf, said she came with her
small children because "this is educational." She explained, "The children are influenced
by what they see and hear and are frustrated since they want to do something." Her
husband, who works in Tel Aviv, said he brought his children so that "one day I will be
able to look in their eyes and say we did what we could to protect the Jewish people."
In preparation for possible execution of the government plan, protest leaders have
organized a team of lawyers who will be on-call 24 hours a day. The attorneys, including
volunteers, will act to free protestors whom police arrest during the planned passive
resistance to the planned dismantling of Jewish communities. The team will advise people
of their rights and will photograph incidents. Every one at the sit-in is to receive a
printed card advising them on proper behavior if the government tries to carry out the
eviction plan. Protestors should appear with a camera, cell phone, pencil and paper and
the number of the legal counsel control center
The instructions also advise people to resist any attempt to be drawn into violence and
to note who are witnesses if injured by police. They also are advised to reserve the right
to not to answer if police inquiries are political and refuse to be photographed or
fingerprinted. The instructions also emphasize that it is against the law for police to
arrest children under 12. "It is important to communicate to the police that arrests will
not break us," the instructions add.
Palestinians Look Toward Coming Elections With Great Expectations
By Sonja Pace (VOA-Ramallah) & Ha'aretz
With less than a week to go, the Palestinian presidential election campaign is in full
swing. Candidates are taking their messages to the voters directly through speeches, radio
and TV and through placards and billboards. Downtown Ramallah has been transformed -
pictures of presidential candidates are everywhere - on walls, in shop windows and strung
above the streets. Many of the pictures of suicide bombers or those young Palestinians
killed by Israeli soldiers have been plastered over with campaign posters.
A campaign fever has gripped this town. All those encountered on this afternoon said
"yes" they would definitely go to vote. Seven candidates are running to succeed Yasir
Arafat as Palestinian president. This time no one expects the landslide of the Arafat
victory in 1996. This time it is more of a contest although long-time Arafat confidante
Mahmoud Abbas, also known as Abu Mazen, is the clear front-runner. His most serious rival
is physician and human rights activist, Mustafa Barghouti.
Whoever wins next Sunday's election faces a difficult task and high expectations. "The
first important thing for me is the security, then the investment and economic issues and
the political issues related to Israel," said Hadil Kheneti, an administrative assistant
in a private business in Ramallah.
Ahmed Qassem, an independent political affairs analyst said improving people's daily
lives is directly linked to Israel. "We suffer too much to implement our dreams, to build
our country, to increase our standard of living. All these problems which we face daily it
is connected to the Israeli occupation," said Qassem. "If I want to go to my office, I
want to go to my school, I want to go to hospital, and I will face obstacles from the
Israeli side. They forbid me to go easily to my work, my family, into my field or farm, to
Abbas, the leading candidate, on Monday promised Palestinian refugees they'll be able
to return home one day - his most explicit comment yet on an explosive issue that has
derailed peace talks in the past. Abbas was campaigning for a third straight day in Gaza,
trying to counter his image as a gray bureaucrat who might not stand up to Israel by
appealing to younger, more militant Palestinians with hard-line pronouncements.
Following warm embraces with militant leaders in refugee camps and his pledges that he
would stand by the gunmen in their struggle to avoid capture by Israel, Abbas took an
uncompromising stance on the refugee issue. Abbas endorsed the claim that Palestinian
refugees and their descendants from the 1948 war have the right to return to their
original homes. "We will never forget the rights of the refugees, and we will never forget
their suffering. They will eventually gain their rights, and the day will come when the
refugees return home," Abbas told the cheering crowd.
The Israeli government believes Palestinian refugees should be resettled in the
Palestinian state that would be created through peace talks or in the places where they
have lived for the past six decades. Israel offers compensation for lost property, and a
previous, more moderate government agreed to take in a limited number of refugees on the
basis of reunification of families.
Israel on Monday decided that it would not permit the candidates in the to visit the
Temple Mount in Jerusalem to campaign. Abbas' aides said Sunday that he had not yet
decided whether he wanted to visit the Temple Mount.
Hollywood has even entered the election with an appeal to motivate Palestinians to
vote. A pro-Palestinian group's star attraction is actor Richard Gere. In a recorded
public service announcement, he said, "I'm speaking for the entire world. We're with you
during this election time. It's really important: Get out and vote," concluding the
Palestinian TV commercial in Arabic, "Take part in the elections."
Search Called Off for Missing Israelis in SE Asia
Officials announced on Monday night that the search for missing Israelis Aiya Shapira
and Uzi Saguy was being called off in Thailand. On Tuesday, a ceremony will be held ahead
of the search team returning home. Officials added the decision was reached in
consultation with family members in Israel. But other Israelis survived the tsunami, with
a death toll now expected to surpass 150,000.
Shmuel Janah lost everything he had in the tsunami except for his life, passport,
prayer shawl (tallit) and phylacteries (tefillin - worn during weekday morning prayers).
Janah, 29, had been vacationing in Sri Lanka for just one week when the gigantic waves
caused by a huge earthquake in the Indian Ocean wreaked havoc across Southeast Asia. He
and five friends were surfing on a beach in Sri Lanka when the tsunami began to hit.
After managing to leave the sea, he went to his flooded room. "There was nothing that
hadn't moved," he told reporters upon his return to Israel aboard a special El Al plane
with 57 other Israelis who survived the epic catastrophe. The only possessions that
remained undamaged were his tefillin, tallit and passport.
Israel sent an air force cargo plane to bring food and medicine to the survivors and
brought them home. Despite pleas from authorities to leave the area, about 40 Israelis
remain on the Andaman Islands near India, ignoring warnings of aftershocks and epidemics
that might result from the unburied bodies.
Among the survivors who returned to Israel was Yonit Hagi of Jerusalem, who said that
wherever she ran, water chased her and then added, "I found myself on a rooftop." She and
others with her feared more floods, and they fled to a jungle. One of the organizers of a
rescue team, Henry Magnus, said no Hollywood disaster movie could match the devastation he
saw in Southeast Asia.
Proposed Israeli Law Would Prevent Models From Being Underweight
By Israel21c.org ((c)2004)
One of Israel's top fashion photographers has seen enough skinny bodies, and he's
determined to do something about it. In an age when young women are starving themselves in
the name of beauty, Adi Barkan, well-known fashion photographer and owner of the Barkan
Modeling Agency in Tel Aviv, together with Knesset member Inbal Gavrieli, have decided to
fight the trend. They've introduced a bill to the Knesset requiring that models undergo
health examinations, and have their BMI (body mass index) checked before entering the
modeling profession. It's apparently the first bill of its kind in the world.
Beyond the glamour and glitz of the modeling industry lies a darker side. All around
the world, scores of young women longing to be the next top model starve themselves,
believing that they need to be unnaturally skinny in order to succeed in this world.
While the American modeling industry is grappling with this problem, Barkan hopes, through
his campaign, to stem the rise of profession-related illnesses and deal a blow to the
'skinny' culture that permeates the Israeli fashion world.
"Up until now, anorexia and bulimia have been the modeling world's dirty little
secret," Barkan told ISRAEL21c. "We in this industry have perpetuated and even glorified
eating disorders by celebrating thinness and packaging malnutrition in such an attractive
way, that young women everywhere aspire to have 'the look.' It is time that this industry
comes clean about this dangerous problem and shows the world that beauty and high fashion
do not equal starvation."
The proposed law would require all potential models to submit to a nutritional test
with a licensed nutritionist or dietician. Agencies would be forbidden to represent a
model without a copy of the test results. Subsequently, the agency would not be allowed to
continue representing the model unless she submits to the test every six months. Any
agency that does not comply would be fined accordingly and the Health Ministry would
monitor all forms.
According to statistics provided by the Health Ministry, seven percent of all
adolescent girls in Israel display signs of an eating disorder. Based on interviews that
Barkan has conducted with thousands of young aspiring models and the assistance of a
certified nutritionist, he believes that 13.7 percent of these young girls are suffering
from an eating disorder.
In advance of the first reading of the bill in the Knesset, a large scale television
campaign, produced pro bono by the Tel Aviv-based advertising agency Reuveni Pridan, will
be launched. It features a public service commercial focusing on body image and eating
disorders. The commercial will portray four adolescent models in succession - each one
thinner than the last. A voice-over introduces each model, stating that none of them is
happy with her weight, and that each one wants to be as thin as the next girl. The fourth
young woman shown, also thinking she's 'too fat,' is visibly wasting away from
Israel's major television channels have each donated over a million dollars in airtime
to broadcast the commercial beginning in mid-February. The public service slogan is called
"Nothing is Worth This." Its goal is to increase awareness among parents and adolescents,
demonstrate how to recognize the symptoms and how to help those who have eating disorders.
Barkan said that an additional purpose is to raise awareness among young girls that there
is a distinction between looking good and being obsessive about one's weight.
Unfortunately, the production of the commercial, which was to be filmed last week, had
to be postponed due to the hospitalization of one of the participants who is currently
being treated for anorexia. "We need to hold a mirror up to these teenage girls so that
they can see the damage they are doing to themselves," said Knesset member Gavrieli. "That
mirror starts with this television campaign, but continues with positive body images
reflected in magazines, on billboards and on runways.
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