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Kassam Rocket Landed in Western Negev


A Kassam rocket landed in the western Negev on Tuesday night while the anti-disengagement rally was taking place in Sderot.

More than 25,000 people were taking part in the rally a few kilometers from the rocket's point of impact.

Israeli Settlers Launch Protest Against Gaza Pullout

By Ha'aretz & VOA News

Thousands of pullout opponents from around the country gathered Tuesday evening in Sderot to participate in a rally against the imminent evacuation from the Gaza Strip. Police said some 25,000 people had joined the protest, but reports from the scene indicated the number was probably much larger. (Video at mms://

Rally organizers said some 50,000 had reached the western Negev city and Yesha Council of Settlements Chairman Bentzi Lieberman said more - perhaps 20,000 - were stuck in traffic outside the city. Some 30,000 Israel Defense Forces soldiers and police officers were deployed around the city to secure the event. Police Commissioner Moshe Karadi was on the scene and a helicopter and observation blimp were hovering over the city. . Lieberman said "the goal of the struggle is not necessarily to reach Gush Katif but rather to cancel the disengagement plan in any possible way."

On the sidelines of the demonstration, some 100 protesters surrounded Public Security Minister Gideon Ezra, shouted at him and attempted to push him. He fled the area aided by security guards and managed to reach the police command center. The event ended around 10 p.m. and organizers called on participants to head to Ofakim for the night. In identification with the Gaza settlers, United Torah Judaism leader Rabbi Menachem Porush told protestors: "When they deport you - they deport us."

The Yesha Council had vowed earlier Tuesday that those participating in the Sderot protest would set out Wednesday with the intention of heading for the Gush Katif bloc in Gaza. Yesha leader Pinchas Wallerstein told Karadi and Southern District police commander Uri Bar-Lev during a meeting Tuesday evening in Sderot that more than 500 families in Sderot have offered to house participants at the rally. A group was thus stay overnight in Sderot rather than being bused to Ofakim after the rally with the majority of the protesters.

Yesha and Israel Police were at odds earlier Tuesday over the mass anti-disengagement protest that began in Sderot, with settlers renewing their vow that tens of thousands of marchers would ultimately reach Gush Katif. Ezra said Tuesday that police would limit attendance at the rally to 5,000 people, citing the risk of a Palestinian rocket attack on Sderot due to the influx of large numbers of protesters. Nevertheless, police allowed some 500 buses to ferry protestors to the rally from around the country.

Police had originally opposed holding the rally in Sderot, arguing that the assembly would place as many as 100,000 demonstrators within range of Gaza-launched Kassam rockets, which have hit the town in large numbers in recent years. "With great difficulty, and despite many reservations, we decided to allow the rally in Sderot, asking to limit the number of people arriving in Sderot, so that if, heaven forbid, there is an incident, that amount of people will find shelter," Ezra told Army Radio.

The situation is tense because the settlers have vowed to defy a police ban and march Wednesday on the Gush Katif settlement bloc, which is slated for evacuation. But police spokeswoman Carla Oz told Israel Radio, "They will not be able to reach Gush Katif, we will be stopping any movement in that direction. Zero tolerance will be showed toward inciters and people that try to harm the police officers."

The settlers say they do not want a confrontation, and they admit that they're no match for police and soldiers who are out in force. "We are putting very strict limitations on ourselves in that we are not going to allow any kind of violence. As soon as you are faced with 18,000, 20,000, police and soldiers who are armed and who are there to stop you in any physical way they can, and you are not willing to do any violence, then it is clear that you may not be getting in to Gush Katif," said Eliza Herbst, a spokeswoman for the Council of Jewish Settlements.

And if the settlers cannot get to Gush Katif, it means their protest strategy has failed. They had hoped to flood the settlements with tens of thousands of protesters to make it impossible for the government to implement the pullout. A similar protest fizzled last month after a show of force by the police and army. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon urged the settlers to give up the fight. He said the pullout is inevitable.

Another "Poisoning the Wells" Accusation From the Palestinian Authority


Taking a page from medieval European libels against the Jews, a Palestinian Authority official recently accused Israel of poisoning the wells, land and sand of Gaza. It's not the first time. The web site of the most popular Arabic satellite television network, the Qatari Al-Jazeera, published a statement last month by the chairman of the PA's Environmental Authority accusing Israel of dumping toxic waste in the sands of Gush Katif ahead of the planned August pull-out of Israeli soldiers and civilians.

The PA official, Yusuf Abu Safiyya, claimed that Israel has already buried thousands of tons of poisonous material, solids and liquids, in the lands upon which the Jewish communities in Gaza were built. "As of now," Abu Safiyya charged, "50,000 tons of toxic waste of the sort forbidden to be buried according to international law has already been buried [in Jewish areas of Gaza]." As a result, the PA demands the creation of an international investigative committee that will "expose the environmental dangers of that criminal act of the state of Israel." The PA announced this week that its own teams will carry out land quality surveys in the towns evacuated by Israel, in order to determine the nature of the substances Israel allegedly buried there.

At a recent news conference, Safiyya claimed, "There are three sewage collection pools inside Gush Katif, and one of these pools spilled 15,000 cubic meters onto the arable lands in Muwasi, polluting three main water wells, four greenhouses and spoiling the crops of dozens of dunams of arable lands, which drowned in concentrated sewage water."

The PA's latest "well-poisoning" charges are a rehashing of a 1999 accusation leveled against Israel by Safiyya in the PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida. At that time (April 3, 1999), he claimed that Israel was dumping liquid waste, which is a dangerous threat to the groundwater, in PA areas of Judea, Samaria and Gaza. According to the July 2005 article on Al-Jazeera, Safiyya added another, somewhat contradictory accusation - that Israel is stealing sand from the Gush Katif region. "Hundreds of trucks are making their way out of Gush Katif loaded with Palestinian sand."

In June, Abu Safiyya told an Islamic web site that Israel has been sending carcinogenic food to the PA market. "The market is inundated with such killer food and chemicals that cause cancer and other malicious diseases. These goods pose serious threats to the health of the Palestinian people," he told He said at the time that his office "seized" several shipments of Israeli biscuits and juices, and found that they contained high percentage of the carcinogen saccharine. "This chemical is highly dangerous to public health and has been banned since 1982 around the globe as studies held it as the main culprit behind cancer," he said. "Frozen meat, summer vegetables and fruit have been injected with chemicals and exposed to radiation which mutated into double of their size."

All that is besides the Israeli toys that beam radioactive rays at Arab children. Abu Safiyya told IslamOnline that Egyptian border authorities seized two shipments of carcinogenic and radioactive Israeli toys in May 2005.

Israeli Arabs and Jew Helped Netanya Bombers


The General Security Service (Shabak) disclosed Tuesday that two Israeli Arabs and a Jew helped terrorists reach Netanya last month. The suspects claim they did not know the men were terrorists.

One of the terrorists was involved in the suicide attack on the Stage nightclub in February was arrested by the Palestinian Authority (PA) and released. He then proceeded to helped plan the attack in Netanya. The suicide bomber exploded his charge on July 12 near Netanya's shopping mall, killing five Israelis.

One of the Israeli Arabs who helped him was Wasif Azam of the Arab city of Taybeh, between Kfar Saba and Netanya. He and Kfir Levy of Ramat Gan, adjacent to Tel Aviv, drove the suicide bomber and his handler from Tul Karem through an IDF checkpoint. The Israeli license plates on Levy's car enabled them to pass without a thorough check. Levy told investigators that although he regularly transports illegal workers and car thieves, had he known he was transporting terrorists he would have informed the police. Another Israeli Arab also was arrested on charges of picking up the suicide bomber in Samaria and later accompanying him to Netanya.

Islamic Jihad terrorist Ali Abu Saadeh, who was released by the PA shortly after being arrested for involvement in the attack on the Stage nightclub, helped obtain a forged Israeli identity card for the handler of the suicide terrorist. Saadeh and the handler, Asaf Zaharan, picked up the suicide bomber from Shechem and then were driven by Taybeh resident Azam until they met up with Levy, who drove them to Taybeh. Another Israeli Arab, who helped a suicide bomber in Haifa, was cleared by a Haifa court of murder charges on Tuesday. The three-judge panel reduced the charges to helping cause the death of the 21 victims in the October 2003 bombing at Maxim's restaurant. Relatives of the victims expressed shock over the decision. The judges will determine at a later date the Arab resident of Um el-Fahm's sentence.

100 Mils

By Joshua Salik (Commentary)

My sixth birthday was on May 14, 1948. I was waiting impatiently for that day since my father had hinted (this was as far as he was willing to go) that I may get a big birthday gift. Finally, the day came. I woke up that morning, remaining in bed waiting for him to come in with the gift, but nothing happened.

After lying there for a while I decided to get up. I went into the living room and found my father sitting next to our new radio, which he had bought six months earlier, playing with the knobs. This was one of the few radios in the neighborhood and many of our neighbors who could not afford a radio used to come and listen to it. As if apologizing for his extravagance my father told them that he bought the radio especially for the vote in the United Nations. I did not know what that meant. Only later, when I became more familiar with the history of Israel I understood that he was talking about the Nov. 29, 1947 vote in the United Nations for the partition of Palestine into Jewish and Arab states.

At the moment, though, he was playing with the knobs, evidently looking for something. I sat next to him and just watched him while he seemed too occupied to pay any attention to me. After I sat there for a few minutes he finally turned to me and asked "What?" I hesitated and did not know what to say. Asking for gifts was considered disrespectable in our family. Only when he asked me again "Are you going to tell me or what?" did I tell him "You know."

"Oh," he said, "I'm sorry. I forgot. Today is your birthday. Congratulations." "Thanks," I said. I hoped that now he was going to remember his promise, and he did. "I promised you a gift," he said. I just nodded. "Okay," he said, "tomorrow you are going to get the gift of your life. All of us are. But until then..." he reached for his pocket and pulled two coins of 100 mils each "Take these," he handed me the two coins "and go buy yourself whatever you want."

I was almost shocked. Two hundred mils were quite a fortune then. I put on my clothes, ate breakfast, and went out with the two coins in my pocket. It was a Friday and, since on Fridays the stores in British-mandated Palestine close early, I had to rush to the toy store on our street before they closed it. I already knew what I wanted. It was something I craved for a long time - a set of marbles. These were not regular marbles, but a special kind, which we used to call "butterfly marbles". Every kid on our street was dreaming about such marbles, but only the rich kids had them.

Excited, I stepped into the store. "What d'you want?" the storeowner asked me suspiciously. He already had some merchandise stolen from his store several times, and he did not trust any child. "I want the butterfly marbles," I said. "And how are you going to pay for them?" he asked. "I have 100 mils," I said. I was afraid to tell him about the other 100 mils because it was well known in the neighborhood that he was a price gouger.

"Where are they?" he asked, apparently not believing me. I pulled one of the coins from my pocket and showed him. He was surprised but did not say a word. Instead, he reached to the shelve behind him, where he kept all the toys, pulled three bags of marbles, and laid them on the counter. "Make your choice," he said.

I examined the three bags for a while and finally made a decision. "I'll take these," I told him "how much are they?" "Usually they cost a hundred and fifty mils" he said "but today is a special day, so I'll give them to you for 100 mils." I gave him the coin and rushed back home, happy. I did not even bother to ask him how he knew it was a special day. After all, he had no way of knowing it was my birthday. I went home as fast as I could. All I wanted was to show the marbles to my friends, just in order to show off. We played with the marbles till dusk and then I went back home.

The house was full of guests, some of whom I knew, but the rest were strangers to me, and all of them were very excited and happy. I first thought they were there to celebrate my birthday, but almost none of them seemed to pay any attention to me. My mother served me dinner, and then sent me to bed. I almost forgot about the other coin that was still in my pocket. Only when I woke up the next day and put on my clothes I found it there.

My father, who was already dressed up, waited for me in the kitchen "Let's go out" he said. "I still have one coin of a hundred mils," I told him "Shall I take it with me?" "No," he said, "the stores are closed today anyhow. Let me find you a box. You can put it there." He looked at his toolbox, found a metal box, and handed it to me. I put the coin there, and we went out to the main street. The street was full with people dancing and singing. I did not understand why and I asked my father "Are they dancing for my birthday?" He had a wide smile on his face when he replied, "No, they're dancing because we finally have a country of our own. This is the big gift I promised you."

On the next day, the former British mandate began to function like a normal country, changed its name to the State of Israel, and later on issued her own currency. The mil, which was a British currency, became obsolete, but I decided to keep the coin. It is still with me as a memory of my father and the birth of Israel.

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