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UN Probes Alleged Israeli Arms Sales to Ivory Coast

By VOA News

Israeli officials have confirmed that the United Nations is investigating the alleged sale of Israeli arms to Ivory Coast - a possible violation of a U.N. arms embargo against the West African country. Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev Thursday said that Israel is cooperating fully with the U.N. probe. Israeli officials say a U.N. team was in Israel this week to look into possible violations of the arms embargo against Ivory Coast. Israeli officials have denied any wrongdoing. The Security Council unanimously imposed the embargo last November to try and stop a renewal of fighting in the country. The French-drafted resolution prohibits arms sales to both Ivory Coast's government and rebels in the north. It also allows U.N. and French peacekeepers to inspect cargo shipments into the country.

China Seeks Bank Hapoalim Takeover


An investment bank representing the Chinese government and a group of Chinese businessmen are vying for control over Bank Hapoalim. Attorney Yaakov Weinroth, who met with the Chinese financiers in Israel earlier this week, represents the "Chinese Group," which also consists of Jewish-American billionaire Leon Charney and a British real-estate entrepreneur. On Tuesday Weinroth and Charney met with Finance Ministry Accountant-General Yaron Zalicha, Yedioth Ahronoth reported.

Chinese companies, seeking to flex economic muscle, are increasingly active in global acquisitions. Currently, the Chinese government-backed oil company CNOOC is making a hostile bid for U.S. oil firm Unocal. The threat of Chinese ownership of what some consider a strategic U.S. asset, an oil company, has led Congress to call for a review of the deal that could delay the possible takeover by many months.

On Wednesday, American stockholders in Bank Hapoalim, Scot Shay and Lou Ranieri, sold off their shares. Hyperion Fund, owned by Shay and Ranieri, owned 2.3 percent of the bank's shares, which they sold for $90 million. Sources close to the two said the sale was a response to the passing of the Bachar Reform, which forces banks to sell of their holdings in firms that manage trust and providence funds.

Lou Ranieri arrived in Israel a year ago, around the time the recommendation of the Bachar Committee for reforming the financial markets were made, and opposed the intent of regulators to get involved in banking activities. "If Israel passes a law that forces banks to give up providence funds, it will be seen as the expropriation of private property," Ranieri said at the time, adding, "that recent of events in the country worry us, American investors, very much. It's causing us to wonder if the government is changing its policy and no longer works as a Western state with a free market."

Israeli Police Ban Mass Protest Against Gaza Pullout

By Robert Berger (VOA-Jerusalem) &

Israeli police have banned the latest settler protest against next month's planned pullout from the Gaza Strip. The move comes amid a political storm over a so-called "death curse" declared against the prime minister.

Jewish settlers hoped to bring 70,000 supporters to march on the Gush Katif settlement bloc in Gaza, in a last ditch attempt to stop the Israeli pullout that is due to begin in mid-August. But police banned the demonstration, which was set for next week, saying they would block any attempt to torpedo the withdrawal. Police banned another mass demonstration earlier this month and the protest fizzled. The settlers say the ban is anti-democratic. "This is very dangerous for the country," said settlement activist Israel Meidad. "The right of free expression, the right to demonstrate, the right of assembly is sacred."

Under Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's disengagement plan, 21 Gaza settlements will be dismantled along with four more in the West Bank. More than 9,000 settlers will be removed from their homes. With settler protests failing to stop the pullout, a small group of Jewish extremists has decided on more drastic action. Twenty men dressed mostly in black held a mysterious religious ceremony and imposed a "death curse" on Sharon.

The ritual set off a storm of condemnation across the political spectrum. Shlomo Riskin is the head rabbi at the Jewish settlement of Efrat near Bethlehem. "It's built on superstition and voodoo. It has nothing at all to do with Jewish Law," he said. "It's a very hateful act done by individuals who believe that they can curse other individuals and thereby blot them out of existence."

While it may be superstition, Israelis fear the death curse could inspire Jewish extremists to take the law into their hands. A similar curse was imposed on the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin shortly before a fellow Israeli assassinated him in 1995.

And in other disengagement news, Prof. Eli Faulk, chairman of the organization, Israel's Media Watch, expressed his worry at the intention of the army spokesman to assign journalists to teams of soldiers in order to prevent free and objective coverage of the expulsion from Gush Katif. This is the same format that the Americans used in Iraq, presumably to protect the journalists from enemy fire in Iraq.

Faulk said that the main problem is that the army would be able to control the journalists. Their movements would be known and that will nullify their free movement and prevent them from seeing what is truly happening in the area. The army would be able to control what is seen and thus reported.

In a Jerusalem conference Thursday afternoon of military rabbis on reserves duty, the rabbis ruled that the expulsion plan from Gush Katif and its execution are in direct contradiction of Jewish Law. Therefore, under no circumstances would it be permissible to desecrate the Sabbath.

Tens of rabbis participated in the conference, including three colonels and veterans of the military rabbinate. They called to the Chief of Staff and the Chief Military Rabbi to stick closely to the rules and regulations that were set down during Harav Goren's period about the holiness of the Sabbath and how to preserve that holiness and at the same time, the protection of the citizens in the State and not their expulsion.

The Palestinian Authority is busy preparing the celebrations for the day after the Jews are finally expelled from Gush Katif. Tens of thousands of flags are being produced in order to place them on the territory that will be evacuated in order to proclaim, "This is Palestinian land that has been returned to its owners!" On Wednesday, PA Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia said, "Gaza is only the beginning point for the Palestinians. The goal is to get to a Palestinian state whose capital is Jerusalem."

Some residents of the northern Gaza community of Elei Sinai have announced that on eviction day, they would don prison uniforms similar to those worn by WWII concentration camp prisoners. Realizing the controversy surrounding the use of Holocaust symbolism, proponents explained they are continuing efforts to oppose the expulsion within the confines of the law, seeking to exhibit their level of opposition to being forcibly ousted from their homes.

Not all Gush Katif residents and leaders are pleased with the announced plan, with some regional leaders already expressing disapproval, warning against the use of anything that connects to the Holocaust. Officials at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem released a similar statement.

Arabs Warn: of War Over New Jewish Homes in Jerusalem's Muslim Quarter


Arabs have blasted plans for 21 new Jewish homes in the Jerusalem Old City's Muslim Quarter. "When the first tractor puts down the first stone, it will lead to the next uprising," warned an Arab official.

The planning board of the Housing Ministry has approved the project for the new homes and a new synagogue. Yousef Alalu, a moderate Jerusalem city council member who sits on the municipality's Planning Board, warned, "It is clear that when the first tractor puts down the first stone it will lead to the next uprising and could have international impact. The similar to Sharon's visit to the mosque in September 2000, which inflamed the Intifada."

Arab Knesset member Wael Taha wrote Housing Minister Yaakov Herzog, "Such a project will spill innocent lives of Arabs and Jews. It will drag the area to a new cycle of violence, and kill and chances for peace." The project still has to pass several bureaucratic hurdles but has evoked ire from Arabs worldwide.

The Islam Online web site told its readers that "Jews claim that their alleged Haykal [Hechal] (Temple of Solomon) exists underneath Al-Haram Al-Sharif, which was the first 'qiblah' (direction Muslims take during prayers)." It accused Prime Minister Ariel Sharon of intending "to cement control over parts of the occupied West Bank, especially on the outskirts of Al-Quds," the area including the Al-Aqsa mosque.

The Palestinian Authority minister for Jerusalem, Hind Khoury, charged that Israel is using the Gaza expulsion plan as a cover for building in the Muslim Quarter. "This is the real strategy behind the Gaza disengagement--redeploy from Gaza but help yourself to East Jerusalem in exchange," she said. "We are witnessing the implementation of Israel's plan to effectively remove Jerusalem from the negotiations table and thereby threaten any possibility of a viable two-state solution."

Several Jews, including Sharon, already own homes in the Muslim Quarter, which also is home to the Ateret Kohanim yeshiva. Yair Gabai, a Jerusalem council member, denied that the new houses opposite the "Prachim Gate" would cause more violence. "Left wing people like Ran Cohen [Mertez/Yahad MK] and Alalu are blind. They promised us wars in other situations such as the closing of the Orient House, but Jews and Arabs live as good neighbors in the Muslim Quarter." He accused left wing politicians to reap political benefit from violence. He emphasized that the Housing Ministry and not private investors initiated the project. He added that archaeological digs would accompany the new construction and that previous findings have included artifacts from the ancient Holy Temple.

Arabs responsible for the Temple Mount have hauled away truckloads of earth, including remnants of the Temple, the past few years while many Arab leaders deny that the Temple ever existed. Gabai also pointed out the significance of the timing of the approval of the plan. The period from last Sunday until Sunday night August 15 is the three-week period when Jews mourn the destruction of the two Temples.

Remember 'Never Again'

By: Ed Ziegler (Commentary)

War is very costly in bombs, bullets, property damage and human lives. However, there is an important component that is comparatively inexpensive yet very effective; Propaganda, "ideas disseminated to support a doctrine," using one or another form of the media, TV, radio, newspapers, books, lectures, preaching etc. Propaganda can be the truth, well publicized. It can also be a lie repeated often enough that people will begin to believe particularly if they rarely, if ever, hear the other side. The Arab leaders and clergy have proven they are smart enough to utilize the power of propaganda.

On Jan 14, 2003 the New York Post reported that a team of Israeli Navy Seals seized a freighter, the Karine, with 50-tons of arms and ammunition. It also indicated the Karine's captain, acknowledged on TV, that he was a Palestinian Authority employee acting under military orders.

Making this more interesting PA Chairman, Yasir Arafat himself, denied personal culpability but acknowledged that his officers were implicated in the scheme. However, the editor-in-chief of the Egyptian government's daily paper, "Al-Akhbar," reported otherwise, printing "the story of the arms ship is but a licensed fabrication by Israel."

In the Nov. 30, 2003 issue of the Sunday "Dubai," Editor-in-Chief Abdul Hamid Ahmad, wrote, "The head of state of the strongest nation on earth will normally not make a sneaky and panicky visit to a country which is wholly occupied by his troops, unless he is terrified and unsure of his own safety. That was what U.S. President George W. Bush did but the trip was counter-productive because Bush appears to have demoralized his troops." What an interesting interpretation of a President's trip to see his troops.

For a dramatic, impact on May 12, 2004 Al Jazeera TV showed a masked man reading a statement justifying the killing of Nick Berg, a U.S. citizen. Their reason was for revenge against America. The video showed five men shouting, "God is greatest" drowning Berg's screams as one of them cut off the 26-year-old's head, This propaganda is to generate fear saying oppose us and this will happen to you.

For a subtler message, in June 2004, Paul Cochrane of the Worldpress reported, "The use of graphic images by Arab television news has generated anti-American sentiment in the Middle East." In his article he showed a photo that Arab TV used of an Iranian women wearing a habbib (head dress) and a traditional full-length black robe, in front of a sign reading "DOWN WITH THE USA." Then there is the one they showed that reads, "Kill a Jew Go To Heaven." It is said a picture is worth 1,000 words.

On July 17, 2005 the Jordan Times reported that Mahmoud Abbas, chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), appealed to the Arab factions to halt their attacks on Israel," Then he stated "We hold the Israeli government fully responsible for the consequences of its policy, which reflects a step backward from what we had achieved." He also said "No one could expect the continuation of the truce from one (Arab) side." What a quick twist implying Israel is the one at fault. A very subtle message

For eight years the Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) has followed the official PA's TV and newspapers. The PMW found that the PA has been teaching hate consistently since before Sept 2000. Their propaganda has been preaching hatred of Jews and infidels and mandates the killing of Jews just because they are Jews.

It's hard to believe that the PA uses their media to teach their very young children "Shahid," to ask for death. I find it incomprehensible to condition millions of children to joyously want to die. Everyone considered an Infidel, specifically the Jewish people, needs to understand the culture that considers killing a Jew as their path to heaven. Do not take my word for it. Look at actual conditioning training videos at ( See leaders praising children who intend to commit suicide to kill Jews. See young children being trained to die. It is beyond our comprehension but Shahid is considered a blessing.

The day after Reem Riyashi, 21, a Palestinian terrorist, read the following words for her farewell video, she murdered four Israelis in a suicide terror attack. "It was always my wish to turn my body into deadly shrapnel against the Zionists and to knock on heaven's doors with the skulls of Zionists."

Propaganda can shape opinions but when it is intense and prolonged it is brainwashing "indoctrination to change one's beliefs." Everyone in the world, particularly Jews, needs to realize that these fanatic Muslims are growing a generation of murderers filled with blind hate. We must never forget. We must stand up and be part of the Jewish community to survive

(Ziegler is a board member of the New Jewish Congregation in The Villages, Florida, and president of its Brotherhood. He can be contacted at

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