Newsletter : 5fax0524.txt
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Arabs Torch Valuable Desert Forest
Arabs have resumed using arson as a weapon against Israel and have destroyed more than
10,000 pine trees in Israel's largest planted forest. The Yatir forest is on the edge of
the Negev and Judean deserts, about seven miles northwest of Arad and 15 miles northeast
of Be'er Sheva. Police chased in vain after several suspects who fled to nearby Arab
villages southwest of Hebron. Forest workers for the Jewish National Fund speculated that
the reasons for the arson could be anger by Arabs at the building of the nearby security
fence, the refusal of soldiers to allow unauthorized Arabs from entering the Be'er Sheva
area or part of terrorists' fight against Israel.
Rice: World Must Not Tolerate Iranian Nuclear Weapons Bid
By David Gollust (VOA-Washington)
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice Monday said the world must not tolerate any Iranian
attempt to develop a nuclear weapon. She spoke as European foreign ministers prepared for
new talks with Iranian officials on the nuclear issue. Rice took a hard line towards
Iran, telling the pro-Israel lobbying group AIPAC that a nuclear-armed Iran would be
"The United States has focused the world's attention on Iran's pursuit of weapons of
mass destruction, and along with our allies we are working to gain full disclosure of
Iran's efforts to obtain nuclear weapons. The world must not tolerate any Iranian attempt
to develop a nuclear weapon, nor can it tolerate Iran's effort to subvert democratic
governments through terrorism."
In her address to AIPAC Monday, Rice said the pursuit of democracy is now a central
element of Bush administration policy in the Middle East, and said even what she termed
the unelected leaders in Tehran must recognize the region is changing. She said they must
know that the energy of reform that is building around them will one day inspire Iranians
to demand their liberty and rights, and said the United States stands with the people of
The AIPAC meeting is to be addressed Tuesday by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, while
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is due to at the White House for talks
Thursday. Rice called the Sharon plan for Israeli withdrawal from Gaza and parts of the
West Bank due to begin in August an unprecedented and incredibly delicate opportunity to
advance Middle East peace. She said all parties must work together to "capitalize on this
"Israel must take no actions that prejudice a final settlement or jeopardize the true
viability of the Palestinian state, and Israel must help to create the conditions for the
emergence of that democratic state," added Rice. "The Palestinian Authority must advance
democratic reform and it must dismantle all terrorist networks in its society." She said
Arab countries must end anti-Israel incitement in their media, cut off all support for
terrorism and extremist education, and establish normal relations with the Jewish
Knesset Member Eldad Explains His Civil Disobedience Website
MK Aryeh Eldad has launched an Internet site calling for civil disobedience against the
expulsion/retreat plan, with examples, justifications, and legal tips for those who are
arrested. The National Union Knesset Member's new website explains that the steps he
proposes - such as not paying taxes, turning in one's ID and reserve-duty cards, blocking
roads, large groups taking extended vacation from work, mass sit-ins at ports and the like
- are "illegal, but accepted in the framework of civil disobedience around the world."
The site - in Hebrew, at "www.meri.org.il" - also proposes that soldiers and reserve soldiers refuse to participate in the implementation of any orders related to the expulsion.
Knesset Speaker Ruby Rivlin, who, like Eldad, opposes the disengagement plan, is not
pleased with the site. Eldad's call for civil disobedience is "absolutely forbidden,"
Rivlin said yesterday. "The blanket nature of the site is liable to be interpreted wrongly
by those who don't understand the nuances as a call to violate the law passively and
Rivlin stopped short of calling for Eldad's removal as Chairman of the Knesset Ethics
Committee, saying this is not an ethical matter but rather one of "boundaries and
restrictions of [an MK's] job, and the essence of MKs' parliamentary immunity." Eldad
told Arutz-7 that he has no "copyright on civil disobedience, which has already been well
established in the world... Some of the activities are very illegal, and some are less so.
One must be willing to pay a personal price of going to jail, in the thousands and ten
thousands, but without raising a hand against a policeman or soldier. We will wage the
struggle the same way other racist and immoral laws have been fought in other democratic
The website banner states: "Civil Disobedience: non-violent resistance, with the
willingness to pay a personal price, to fight against laws that undermine the very
existence of the State or its character as the State of the Jewish Nation. "The site also
includes legal aid information, such as, "If you are arrested, remain silent, but explain
that it is because it is a political interrogation... Object to being released with
restrictions... As long as you have not yet been officially arrested, you may use your
phone - use these minutes to call the legal aid center."
Attorney-General Nixes Compensation Options for Gush Katif Farm
Attorney General. Menachem Mazuz has thrown another monkey wrench into the Gaza
disengagement plans, disqualifying two out of three options for compensating the Jewish
farmers for their confiscated lands.
The Cabinet, in its session of 15 days ago, decided to offer the farmers of Jewish Gaza
one of three alternatives: land of equivalent size in the Negev or Galilee; up to 40
dunams (approx. 10 acres) of land elsewhere in Israel; or financial subsidy in purchasing
land elsewhere in Israel. Mazuz nullified the latter two alternatives, saying that as
presently worded, they stand in opposition to the Evacuation/Compensation Law. The Cabinet
will have to reformulate the proposals and submit them again to Mazuz for his
The only alternative that Mazuz left intact was the first one, namely, "plot for plot"
in the Negev or Galilee. A list of available plots of land was to have been prepared by
the Israel Lands Administration for the Disengagement Authority by May 13, and then to
have been given to the farmers. No such list has yet been submitted.
Mazuz's decision leaves the Gush Katif residents in total bewilderment as to their
future. Avner Shimoni, head of the Gaza Coast Regional Council, said, "This merely proves
that the government has no idea what to do with us, and the entire disengagement will not
come to pass."
Israel Apologizes to India Over Orange Ban
Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom was forced to issue an official apology to the Indian
Embassy, after parliament security personnel prevented Indian legislators clad in orange
from entering the Knesset.
The incident occurred Sunday when members of India's largest opposition faction, the
Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), visited the Knesset while wearing orange
scarves. Orange is their party's official color - but the Knesset guards were not
impressed. Apparently told to prevent the color orange from being brought into the Knesset
because of its association with the anti-expulsion protest campaign, the guards
immediately informed the visitors that they could enter - but without their scarves. The
scarves were returned to the lawmakers at the conclusion of their visit.
"I found it to be ridiculous not to allow a piece of cloth," one of the Indian
delegation members told Army Radio. "Those are messages of intolerance. Today it's cloth,
and soon it could be ideas that are barred."
Israeli guards are apparently unduly sensitive to the color orange. Arutz-7 reported
last week on several cases of worshipers not being allowed to visit the Western Wall on
Remembrance Day because they had orange shirts or ribbons in their bags.
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