Newsletter : 5fax0315.txt
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Rice Denies U.S. Supports Israeli Attack on Iran
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice Monday denied a report that the U.S. government has
agreed to an Israeli plan to bomb Iran's nuclear facility if diplomatic efforts fail to
halt construction of the plant. Rice told ABC News that the U.S. believes the diplomatic
course will succeed. A London newspaper reported Sunday that the American government had
approved an Israeli inner cabinet plan for an air and ground attack on the nuclear site.
However, Rice repeated a statement made last month by President George W. Bush that "all
options" are open.
Civil Disobedience Against Disengagement Blocks Tel Aviv Artery
Anti-expulsion protesters successfully blocked the Ayalon Highway at the busy Kibbutz
Galuyot junction for nearly an hour during Monday evening's rush hour.
The protesters, who blocked the Tel Aviv area highway in both directions, were even
joined by some motorists who were stuck in the traffic. Others responded violently toward
the protesters, who distributed flyers explaining to drivers that while they apologize for
the disruption, life cannot continue as usual while Jews face expulsion from their homes
and a terror state is being created.
Police eventually arrived at the scene, including the notoriously violent Yassam unit,
and violently arrested 20 of the protesters, while most of the groups dispersed. "The
precision and organization of the more than a hundred people who took part in this was
incredible," one participant told Arutz-7. "We were in the street for about 30 minutes
before any police or press even arrived."
The protester, a non-observant Jew, said that he was alarmed at the fact that news
photographers and cameramen refused to take pictures of him because he was not wearing a
kippah (skull cap), focusing instead on protesters who were visibly religious. "I think
the aspect of this protest most obscured by the media is that it crossed boundaries. Even
drivers, stuck in traffic, got out of their car and bodily protected protesters from
The protesters were disciplined and didn't lose their cool, he said. "There was not a
shred of violence on the part of the protesters, who had agreed amongst themselves in
advance to disburse once the police arrived."
Tel Aviv Police Chief David Tzur told Channel One TV that it was very difficult for
police to get to the site and extinguish the tires. "Tonight demonstrated that if
protesters want to block major highways in Israel, it is impossible to stop them," he
said. A number of major traffic routes around the country have been blocked by
anti-disengagement demonstrations in recent weeks.
And in related news, the IDF has issued a new document, which calls for tough and quick
punishment of soldiers who refuse to follow orders. Officers who are found guilty of the
offense will be stripped of their rank and may find themselves facing a military court.
The army also plans a publicity campaign and will offer support for soldiers who feel they
are in a conflict by having to follow orders against their conscience. The document
represents acknowledgement by the military that the incidents of soldiers refusing orders
no longer are isolated.
Annan Meets Palestinian, Israeli Leaders
By Larry James (VOA-Jerusalem)
U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan has discussed reviving peace talks between Israel and
the Palestinians with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank town
of Ramallah. Their meeting came amid more controversy over Israel's so-called barrier in
the West Bank.
Annan said he was encouraged by recent developments in the peace process, but expressed
concern about the controversial barrier Israel is building in the West Bank. The U.N.
General Assembly passed a resolution against the barrier and the International Court of
Justice has ruled it to be illegal.
The secretary general said he is committed to seeing all U.N. resolutions implemented.
"If I am here today, and I am also a member of the Quarter, and I am talking to the
Israeli government and to the Palestinian president, it is really in an attempt to
implement those resolutions," said Annan, adding that the world body is assessing the
property damage that has resulted from the construction of the barrier and is creating a
register to record damage claims.
Palestinian police restrained hundreds of anti-barrier protesters who had gathered
outside the government compound in Ramallah where Annan met with Abbas. Annan met with
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon on Sunday to encourage peace efforts with the
In a meeting of senior cabinet ministers late Sunday, Sharon approved the final route
of the barrier around Jerusalem to include the nearby largest Jewish settlement of Maale
Adumim on the Israeli side. The decision also incorporates land claimed by Palestinians
for a future state, including Arab east Jerusalem. The barrier will also divide parts of
Bethlehem in order to encompass a Jewish shrine located in the town.
Meanwhile, Israeli Defense Minster Shaul Mofaz is to meet with Palestinian Interior
Minister Nasser Youssef to discuss the deadlock over the long-delayed hand-over of several
West Bank towns from Israeli to Palestinian control. The hand-over was to begin with
Jericho, but talks broke down last week when Israel said it would not dismantle a
roadblock outside Jericho that the Palestinians want removed. The Israeli Cabinet also
decided Sunday to dismantle 24 settlement outposts that were built in violation of the
internationally backed peace plan.
U.S. Intelligence Takeover of Palestinian Authority
By DEBKAfile (Copyright 2000-2005)
Prime minister Ariel Sharon informed the weekly cabinet meeting Sunday that
unauthorized West Bank outposts would be dismantled "as part of Israel's commitment to the
Middle East roadmap." The roadmap demands that Israel destroy all outposts erected after
March 2001, though not in the first instance.
This is the first intimation that the Israeli prime minister has launched into
implementation of the "performance-based" roadmap, a sharp policy change that is not on
record as having obtained government approval. Until now, Israel's leaders insisted on the
Palestinian side first meeting the roadmap's initial mandatory demand "to undertake the
immediate and unconditional cessation of violence and armed activity against Israelis
everywhere" and "effective operations aimed at dismantlement of terrorist capabilities and
DEBKAfile's Washington sources interpret Sharon's statement as meaning he is ready to
move on to Stage B of his disengagement plan, namely the removal of unauthorized outposts
on the West Bank. What President George W. Bush wants to hear when Sharon arrives for
their White House meeting on April 12 is a timetable for Stage B and then Stage C for
other parts of the West Bank, so as to clear the way for progress towards "a viable,
contiguous Palestinian state."
Bush has accepted the difficulty of accomplishing the destruction of the outposts in
conjunction with the daunting and divisive project of evacuating 21 thriving Israeli
communities in the Gaza Strip and four in the northern West Bank. This project will strain
every last police, military, political and emotional national resource. But as DEBKAfile
revealed on Dec. 17, 2004 (Sudden Discord between Bush and Sharon), after the outposts are
disposed of, the prime minister will be confronted with demands for a timeline for the
next stage, including for example the Israeli West Bank town of Ariel and other locations
left unenclosed by the security fence.
The Sharon government and the country face more agonizing debate on those far larger
and more emotionally charged olden Land of Israel locations where at least 250,000 Jews
live. The first spark of controversy has been ignited, arising out of the decision to
build by July a temporary barrier to protect Jerusalem against suicide bombing attempts
from the West Bank, which though thwarted till now have become an almost weekly
occurrence. One deputy minister, Likud's Ehud Olmert, reported the barrier would enclose
all parts of Jerusalem, including the eastern districts, as well as the neighboring town
of Maaleh Adummum to the east and Rachel's Tomb in Bethlehem to the south. It will have
eleven police-manned gateways. Olmert called the town and its 35,000 inhabitants "an
integral part of Israel."
Sharon's other deputy, Labor's Shimon Peres, stepped in to claim the fate of the town
was still undecided. The arguments over more evocative West Bank locations could be
crippling. Sunday's cabinet meeting thanked Talia Sasson, former member of the state
prosecution, for her report, without going so far as endorsing it. She judged that 105
West Bank outposts had been illegally licensed and funded by one Israeli government after
another, including two led by Labor as well as the incumbent administration.
A ministerial panel was appointed to set out approval procedures for outposts and legal
measures against wildcat activity. But the team was denied authority to implement the
Sasson recommendations. Such decisions would have to be political because of the legal
difficulty of retroactively declaring unlawful actions that were duly authorized at the
time they were taken
Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will not be impressed by any legalistic
quibbling or the national controversy polarizing Israel. What the Bush administration is
after is swift action without further procrastination. Administration leaders seem to be
treating Israel's pullback from the Gaza Strip and West Bank in the same spirit as their
insistence on complete Syrian military withdrawal from Lebanon. It is possible to conjure
up a grand design charted by the Bush administration to simultaneously squeeze Israel and
Syria into sharply constricted molds sized by its perception of the two nations' true
This was not admitted by defense minister Shaul Mofaz when he decided to compress the
July disengagements into one month instead of two, which he explained by the necessity of
curtailing "confrontation, emotional rhetoric and violence." He thus implicitly
stigmatized the settlers rather than disclosing the true reason for his haste: an
unequivocal American demand to get moving on disengagement and get it over in no more than
a month after the July 17 Palestinian parliamentary vote, i.e. by August 20-25 - a change
that overrides a previous cabinet decision to carry out the withdrawals in four
well-spaced stages, each carefully considered before implementation.
The prominence afforded the outpost report and the decision to abbreviate the
evacuation period paradoxically conceals their rationale, namely, the unfolding new
reality that produced them both. These are some of the facts of this reality:
Last week, Lt. Gen William Ward, the newly appointed U.S. security coordinator for
Israel, Egypt, Jordan and the Palestinians, secretly moved into heavily guarded offices in
central Tel Aviv, according to DEBKAfile's exclusive military sources - although Rice
stated in London last week that he would not relocate to the Middle East. The general
settled in with a large team of tens of American officers. The four governments concerned
were informed from Washington that Gen. Ward was to be their address for communications to
the U.S. government.
This makes the new coordinator a kind of buffer or wall of separation dividing the four
governments involved in the Israeli-Palestinian dispute from Washington. For Israel, this
is tantamount to downgrading the Jerusalem-Washington relationship. DEBKAfile's Washington
sources reveal that the American general was sent post haste to Tel Aviv to take charge of
the intelligence pincer already at work on the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
The Gaza Strip Arm went into action several weeks ago in total hush. An Egyptian
military intelligence delegation led by the head of the Palestinian desk at Egyptian
intelligence, Gen. Ibrahim Bakhri, took up position in the territory. Operating in
conjunction with the Egyptians and from the same offices is a British MI6 Secret Service
mission of 25 agents. They share the task of bringing under control the assorted
Palestinian intelligence and security bodies. For Palestinian liaison, they have been
provided with Gaza strongman Mohammad Dahlan. The fact that Israeli authorities have
allowed the two Gaza-based groups free rein without curbs or interference is the true
reason for the sudden blossoming of a warm friendship between Cairo and Jerusalem and
Israel's willingness to withdraw from the flashpoint Philadelphi border strip.
Keeping this secret operation ticking over smoothly was discussed at length between
Hosni Mubarak and his visitor, Mofaz, last week in Sharm al-Sheikh. The West Bank Arm is
run by a Jordanian military intelligence group working with an American CIA team. The
Jordanian group leader is Gen. Abdallah Khayar who is based in Amman. His Palestinian
contact is Jibril Rajoub.
Now that the two structures are up and running, Washington wants Israel to accelerate
its withdrawal for three reasons: Abu Mazen's durability as Palestinian leader is an open
question given his political and personal weakness; When Sharon first came up with his
disengagement plan, Arafat was still in the driving seat and no one envisaged the Hamas
terrorist movement rising to power through the ballot box and replacing Abbas with an
unknown face. This development may well negate the plan and other future withdrawals; and
the White House is determined to prove its even-handedness to the Arab world and is
therefore simultaneously pressing Syrian President Bashar Assad and Israeli Prime Minister
Sharon for withdrawals.
To keep popular minds and discourse off these developments, Sharon arranged for the
Sasson outpost report and the evacuation decision to come to light at this time.
Book Reveals: New York Times Buried Holocaust News
The New York Times consistently buried Holocaust news in its back pages and downplayed
the victims' Jewish identity. So states the first scholarly study of how the Times covered
the Nazi genocide. "Buried by The Times: The Holocaust and America's Most Important
Newspaper," by Prof. Laurel Leff, has just been published by Cambridge University
Among the book's key findings, according to The David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust
Studies, are the following:
Holocaust news was consistently relegated to the Times' back pages. Of the 1,186
articles that the Times published during 1939-1945 about Europe's Jews, only 26 (about 2
percent) of them appeared on the front page, and even those articles "obscured the fact
that most of the victims were Jews."
New York Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger, an assimilated Jew of German descent,
feared that the newspaper would be engaging in special pleading and thus deliberately
downplayed news of the Holocaust and the Jewish identity of the victims.
The Times only rarely published editorials about the annihilation of Europe's Jews, and
only once ran a lead editorial about the Nazi genocide.
Because of its importance, the Times helped set the tone for the rest of the media's
coverage of Holocaust news; the Times "might have been able to help bring the facts about
the extermination of the Jews to public consciousness ... [instead,] the Times helped
drown out the last cry from the abyss." When the Nazi death camps were liberated, the
Times' coverage downplayed the fact that the victims and survivors were overwhelmingly
Author Leff, a former reporter and editor who teaches journalism at Northeastern
University, is a leading member of the Academic Council of The Wyman Institute. The Wyman
Institute is organizing Leff's speaking appearances around the United States.
Stuart Eizenstat, formerly the U.S. ambassador for Holocaust-era issues, called the
book "engrossing and important," adding, "One can only wonder in great sorrow how many
lives might have been saved if the nation's and the world's conscience had been touched by
full and complete coverage by the Times of what remains the greatest crime of world
Marvin Kalb, elder statesman of American journalism, said that Buried by The Times
"stands tall in scholarship, style and importance ... it is an exceptional study of one of
the darkest failures of the New York Times..."
Prof. David S. Wyman, author of The Abandonment of the Jews, praised Buried by the
Times as "the best book yet about American media coverage of the Holocaust, and an
extremely important contribution to our understanding of America's response to the mass
murder of the Jews."
The David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies, located on the campus of Gratz
College near Philadelphia, is a research and education institute focusing on America's
response to the Holocaust.
New Yad Vashem Holocaust History Museum Opens Tuesday
Yad Vashem will be opening a new history museum to replace the one that has always been
the centerpiece of the institution. Foreign leaders from around the world will be in
Government leaders and dignitaries from at least 15 countries, as well as UN
Secretary-General Kofi Annan, will join Israeli President Moshe Katzav, Prime Minister
Ariel Sharon, Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom and Education Minister Limor Livnat in
inaugurating the new museum Tuesday. They will then participate in a special assembly at
Yad Vashem Wednesday morning, entitled, "Remembering the Past, Shaping the Future." The
new museum is set to open to the public at the end of March.
The New Holocaust History Museum, which will emphasize the human narrative aspects of
the Nazi Holocaust, has been 10 years in the making. It has two dimensions: informational
and experiential. Yad Vashem announces that the new museum will use many artifacts in
telling the story, together with the documentary element familiar in the current museum.
It will try to tell both the macro story and the micro stories of individuals and small
groups, stressing the personal story in the historical and thematic narrative.
The New Holocaust History Museum covers some 4,200 square meters, or just over an acre
- four times the size of the current Historical Museum.
Yad Vashem will use the new museum as its main platform for imparting the Holocaust legacy
to visitors. According to the Yad Vashem announcement, the victims are the focus, instead
of being portrayed as anonymous objects being acted upon by their persecutors, and
visitors will leave with a wider perspective on the protection of humanity's basic values
and Jewish continuity. Specifically, the Museum weaves more than 90 personal stories into
a thematic and historical narrative, using authentic artifacts, testimonies, documentary
evidence, archival sources, films, art and even music.
World-renowned architect Moshe Safdie designed a unique building for the new museum.
"The story of the Holocaust has no equal," Safdie said. "I felt that it couldn't be
accommodated in a conventional building. I wanted it to be like an archeological remnant.
Responding to Yad Vashem's request to preserve the pastoral character of the Mount of
Remembrance, and that the Hall of Remembrance maintain its centrality, I conceived of a
prism-like structure that cuts through the mountain from the south, extending 200 meters
to the north."
At the end of the Museum's historical narrative is the Hall of Names - a repository for the Pages of Testimony of millions of Holocaust victims, a memorial to those who perished. In a separate room, visitors can conduct searches of the digitized Central Database of Shoah Victims' Names (also online at www.yadvashem.org).
Visitors enter the Hall in the circular space between two reciprocal cones onto an
elevated ring-shaped platform between them. Surrounding the platform is the circular
repository, housing the Pages of Testimony collected so far, with empty spaces for
testimonies not yet submitted - room for six million Pages in total.
A basic guideline for the museum's design was to create a visitor's route dictated by
the evolving narrative. As such, Safdie devised a central walkway (prism) with underground
exhibition galleries on either side. The visitor is guided into the adjacent galleries by
a series of impassable gaps, created by museum designer Dorit Harel, extending along the
breadth of the prism floor. Displaying items from different events, the gaps symbolize
turning points in the Holocaust, and serve as chapter headings for the evolving narrative
of the exhibition. Subtly illuminated by skylights, nine chapters (galleries) depict the
history of the Holocaust through exclusive exhibits and new presentation techniques.
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