Newsletter : 5fax0509.txt
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National Strike Threatened Over School Firings
Jerusalem and Tel Aviv schools will be targeted in sanctions Monday as teachers launch a
battle seeking to prevent the firing of 4,500 colleagues around the country. A large
demonstration will take place outside the Knesset protesting the Education Ministry's
planned dismissal of thousands of teachers. Union officials announce thousands are
expected to participate in the protest. The teachers say a reduction in school hours,
which will result from the firings, effectively cuts out more than a year's education in
the 12-year learning program. "This will transform our school system into the most
primitive one in the Western world," said Ran Erez, chair of the Association of Secondary
Israel Halts Release of Palestinian Prisoners
By Robert Berger (VOA-Jerusalem)
Israel is ruling out the further release of Palestinian prisoners, saying the Palestinians
must do more to crack down on militants. The decision poses a dilemma for the new
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon told his Cabinet Israel would not release more Palestinian
prisoners until the Palestinian Authority cracks down on militant groups. Under a
cease-fire agreement reached three months ago, Israel released 500 prisoners and was
supposed to free 400 more. But Sharon put that on hold after a wave of Palestinian rocket
and mortar attacks in the Gaza Strip rattled the truce.
Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom said Israel would keep its part of the deal, when the
Palestinians keep theirs."[The] time has come for the Palestinian leadership to take the
strategic decision to dismantle the infrastructure of terrorist organizations, in order to
bring peace and quiet here to our region," Shalom said.
The Palestinians accused Israel of acting in bad faith. Palestinian Cabinet Minister
Ghassan Khatib said the prisoner issue could blow up the cease-fire. "Well, ultimately if
this political process is going to revive successfully, all Palestinian prisoners should
be released, "Khatib said.
Israel's tough position could further weaken Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, whose
ruling Fatah faction is facing a growing challenge from the Islamic militant group, Hamas.
Hamas, which seeks the destruction of Israel, made significant gains in Palestinian
municipal elections last week, and is expected to do even better in parliamentary
elections this summer.
Abbas said he needs Israel to release prisoners to strengthen his grip on power and
show his people the tangible benefits of peace. But Sharon told the Cabinet that he would
not strengthen Abbas at the expense of Israeli lives.
Concern in the IDF Over the "Day After" Withdrawal
Southern District Commander Maj. Gen. Dan Har'el has expressed great concern over what
will happen after a unilateral withdrawal from Gaza and northern Samaria. A military
source told Arutz-7 that Har'el predicts that security dangers to Israel from Arab forces
in PA-controlled Gaza will increase after the Disengagement Plan is implemented. One
indication of such, the Southern District commander explained, is the incessant weapon
smuggling into Gaza and the Shomron.
Har'el said that the Arabs of the Palestinian Authority have stepped up their efforts
to smuggle arms. In some of the cases, the army has succeeded in thwarting these efforts,
but in others, the Arabs have smuggled in huge quantities of weapons.
The Southern District Commander feels that the barrages of Kassam rockets and mortar
shells will not only continue after the unilateral withdrawal, but will extend deeper into
Israel territory striking more Jewish towns.
In a meeting earlier this year between journalists and police officers in the southern
region, one officer present divulged that the IDF Homefront Command would soon install the
early warning missile detection system in Ashkelon, one of Israel's largest southern
Lachish District Police Spokesperson Michal Chaim confirmed this report and went on to
explain the concern regarding Ashkelon: "Naturally, the evacuation of the towns [on the
northern tip of Gaza] will enable them to get closer to launch Kassam rockets. If indeed
they wish to, the moment the area of Elei Sinai [in northern Gaza] is evacuated, they will
close in on range to fire rockets deeper into Israel."
At the political level, as well, there is concern regarding the predicted increase in
Arab attacks on Israeli towns if the Disengagement Plan is implemented. The Sharon
administration cabinet last week gave 44 municipalities in proximity to the Gaza region
"frontline status", entitling those towns to government benefits currently offered to
Sderot as a result of the ongoing enemy shelling of the Negev city. The government has
also allocated funds to reinforce roofs of public buildings in the region to enable them
to withstand rocket attacks.
Other problems for the IDF, especially in the Southern District, in the coming months
include the evacuation itself and the expected strong resistance by Land of Israel
supporters. The army is also not yet coordinated with the police department regarding this
ADL Obscures Americans´ Stance Against Palestinian State
The Anti-Defamation League seems to be taking an active role in combating opponents of
the plan to expel the Jews of Gaza and northern Samaria from their homes.
The US-based group has issued a press release highlighting Americans' support for Israel's
withdrawal plan for the Gaza Strip and the Jenin area - but has neglected to publish the
majority who oppose the creation of a Palestinian state.
In a similar poll carried out by the ADL in 2003, respondents favored the creation of a
Palestinian state as soon as possible by 45% to 38% over establishing a Palestinian state
only after the Arabs end terrorist violence. The results of this year's poll show
drastically different results, with only 31% supporting a state established as soon as
possible and 59% responding in favor of waiting until the Arabs put an end to their
espousal of terrorism.
In the survey, respondents were asked to choose between two statements: (1)
"Palestinians deserve their own homeland -- an independent state. Peace in the Middle East
will be strengthened by the creation of this state as soon as possible."(2) "A Palestinian
state should only be established after Palestinians end the terrorist violence and accept
"It is not clear why ADL decided not to share this information in the press release,"
Aaron Lerner of Independent Media Research Analysis pointed out, citing the drastic change
in American public opinion as seemingly newsworthy.
The press release itself read: "A nationwide survey released today by the ADL revealed
that Americans continue to strongly support Israel in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,
view both Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas
favorably and overwhelmingly see Israel's decision to unilaterally withdraw from Gaza as a
"bold step toward peace."
The "Survey of American Attitudes Toward Israel and the Middle East" polled 1,600
American adults on March 18 - 25 and was carried out by The Marttila Communications
The ADL was founded to combat anti-Semitism, but has increasingly involved itself in
promoting the plan to hand over the 25 Jewish communities in Gaza and the northern Shomron
to the Palestinian Authority and expel the Jewish inhabitants living there from their
The organization has repeatedly condemned any analogy drawn by Gaza residents comparing
their expulsion to previous expulsions of Jews, condemning newspapers that accept paid
advertisements from groups calling the disengagement an "expulsion", praising figures who
come out against civil disobedience,
"It appears clear that Israel's bold initiatives to bring security and peace to its
people resonate with the American people," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director,
"as evidenced by the overwhelming support for Prime Minister Sharon's plan to unilaterally
withdraw from Gaza."
Hamas Flags Fly Next to Kfar Saba
Hamas terrorists Saturday celebrated their sweeping election victory in Kalkilya, next
to Kfar Saba, flying their green flags and handing out candies to children.
Kalkilya is the largest Arab urban center west of several large Israeli communities in
Samaria, including Ginot Shomron, Karnei Shomron and Kedumim. It also is adjacent to Kfar
Saba, north of Tel Aviv, and the community of Kochav Yair, where Defense Minister Sha'ul
Mofaz and several senior IDF officers live.
The Hamas victories in Thursday's local elections already have had their effect on
Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas. He immediately called for an urgent meeting
with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon "to push the peace process forward and to discuss the
implementation of the agreements between us, like that of Sharm El-Sheik," he said.
´Refusal´ Spreads to Gov´t Workers, Reservists
Government workers are beginning their own "refusal" movement to stop work during the
planned expulsion of more than 8,500 Jews from their homes. Reservists also are finding
ways to avoid serving.
Tel Aviv tax inspector Tamir Bergman has asked for a six-month leave of absence, on the
grounds that his conscience does not allow him to serve the government. "Since it is not
appropriate for a government worker to openly oppose a government decision and to
demonstrate... I request leave of absence for the next half a year," Bergman wrote to his
He explained that his supervisor noted his lack of motivation and inability to work
efficiently as a tax inspector. Bergman wrote that Israel is the "only country in the
world that forbids Jews to live where they want in the country."
Many reservists who have been ordered to appear for duty this summer during the planned
disengagement are finding ways to avoid the summons without actually refusing orders, a
phenomenon known as "gray refusal. One Be'er Sheva resident said that he is ordering a
plane ticket during the period the military expects him to serve: "They check my passport
to see if I really left the country, so I will find the cheapest destination and tell the
army that I have to be abroad."
Other soldiers have said they simply will report assorted illnesses. An enlisted
soldier serving in the south near the Egyptian border reported that most of his company
will not have enough motivation to carry out orders if they are assigned to facilitate the
evacuation. He added that he knows of several left-wing soldiers, on the other hand, who
"are waiting for the opportunity" to assist in evacuating Jews from the Gaza region. One
army captain told Arutz-7, "The army does not know what is facing them. It will not be
able to carry out the evacuation."
Pollard Seeking "Prisoner of Zion" Status
Attorney Nitsana Darshan-Leitner plans to petition the Supreme Court on behalf of
Israeli agent Jonathan Pollard, seeking to have the government classify him as an American
Prisoner of Zion. An earlier request was rejected by officials, who explained America is
not an enemy regime and being jailed for "spying," even on behalf of the Jewish State, is
not an act that qualifies one as a Prisoner of Zion.
Atty. Darshan-Leitner's petition claimed that this is not an appropriate distinction in
general, and added that in the Pollard case specifically, America is acting as an "enemy"
and not as a "friend of Israel." In this context, Darshan-Leitner points out that
Pollard's life sentence -- for passing information to Israel, classified by the US as a
friendly nation -- is unprecedented. Persons convicted of actions similar to, or even more
serious than, Pollard's generally serve only 4-7 years in prison. Pollard is currently in
his 20th year of a life sentence.
Darshan-Leitner also listed many incidents of torture inflicted upon Pollard while he
was in prison. He was put in solitary confinement and had his clothes taken away for long
periods of time during the winter months, as well as his glasses. Pollard was also forced
to sleep irregular hours on a concrete slab. Additionally, he was placed in a cell where
he was chained to an iron chair while guards sprayed ice water at him.
For an entire year, according to the appeal, Pollard was forced to reside in a special
prison ward reserved for the mentally ill where he was subjected to electrocution.
According to the statement released by Darshan-Leitner's office, "The lawsuit also seeks a
judicial review of the Israeli government's calculated mishandling of Pollard's case for
the last two decades; and its consistent refusal to mount an effective campaign to secure
his freedom, as it has done for agents captured in other countries - Cyprus, Switzerland,
Jordan, and New Zealand, among them."
Pollard is in the 20th year of a life sentence in a US federal penitentiary for
disclosing classified information regarding regional threats to Israel.
Terrorists Kill Teenage Informant
Islamic Jihad terrorists Saturday executed an 18-year-old youth who helped Israel track
down members of the gang. He lived in the same village where terrorists killed an IDF
soldier this past week. The youth, Rami Al-Malakh, was shot to death, and Islamic Jihad
terrorists said they had a video proving that he confessed to helping Israeli intelligence
forces track down terrorists.
The execution took place near Tulkarm, one of two cities where Israel has withdrawn its
forces and given the Palestinian Authority responsibility for security. Tulkarm is east of
Netanya and overlooks what used to be the 1967 border before Judea, Samaria and Gaza were
captured by Israel in the Six-Day War.
Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade terrorists, affiliated with the Fatah organization, which
rules the PA, and the Islamic Jihad have led the latest wave of terror against Israel.
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