Newsletter : 5fax1012.txt
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1000s of Singles Pray for a Match
Thousands of singles attended a special Western Wall prayer event on Monday night, all
seeking Heavenly intervention to find a match this year. Family members of the singles
were also present, taking part in the prayer event.
Terrorists Running in Palestinian Authority Elections
The PA has demanded the release from Israeli prison of Marwan Barghouti, accused of
murdering 35 Israelis. So says PA official Saeb Erekat. Barghouti wants to run in the
upcoming PA parliament elections.
Erekat told Army Radio today that the PA also demands the release of Hizbullah murderer
Samir Kuntar. Kuntar and three other terrorists infiltrated into northern Israel by sea in
1979, abducted and murdered Danny Haran and his young daughter Einat, and killed policeman
Eliyahu Shachar. Danny's 2-year-old daughter Yael was also killed in the attack.
Erekat's demand is not likely to be fulfilled - at least not in the coming weeks. A
meeting scheduled for Tuesday between PA leader Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) and Prime
Minister Ariel Sharon was canceled precisely because Abbas knew that Sharon would not
respond positively to demands of this nature.
On the other hand, it is not unlikely that Barghouti will be released in the future. In
June of this year, Israel daily Yediot Acharonot reported that top Israeli officials have
recommended that the government consider releasing Barghouti. The recommendation
reportedly appeared in a secret document given to senior security cabinet ministers.
Last November, then-interior Minister Avraham Poraz of the Shinui Party said it would
be possible, "under certain circumstances," to consider releasing Barghouti from prison.
The ultra-left Gush Shalom organization has also called for Barghouti's release. The
Justice for Jonathan Pollard organization has also reported in the name of Acting Finance
Minister Ehud Olmert that Israel is grooming Barghouti and preparing him to be the next
Palestinian Authority leader.
Barghouti and other Al-Aksa Brigades terrorists are pressuring the PLO's Fatah, its
mother organization, to be included on its list of candidates for the upcoming PA
parliamentary election. The election is scheduled for late January 2006.
Fatah has not yet agreed to incorporate Al-Aksa on its list, however, and the
disagreement has already led to violence. Al-Aksa terrorists fired at a car of a senior PA
parliament leader last week - in protest of Fatah's refusal to include them in a Bethlehem
gathering convened to formulate an election list.
Topping the list of aspiring Al-Aksa candidates is Barghouti, who has been in Israeli
prison for three and a half years and is serving several life terms. The arch-terrorist is
considered the founder of the Al-Aksa Brigades. Others on the list of potential PA
lawmakers are Nasser Awis, a subordinate of Barghouti who dispatched suicide terrorists;
Yasser Abu Baher, currently serving three life terms plus 40 years for various murders;
and Jamal Hawil, responsible for many attacks against Israelis in the Jenin area.
An Al-Aksa leader known as Abu Udai demands that the Fatah leadership includes what he
calls Fatah's "military arm" in the list of candidates. He says that the Al-Aksa Brigades
are a "fundamental part of Fatah."
This attempt by Al-Aksa, writes analyst and former IDF Intelligence officer Yonatan D.
HaLevy, is an expression of its desire to effect a "white revolution" within Fatah against
the old leadership. Al-Aksa's influence within the organization has grown over the past
five years of warfare, and it is now ready to translate this to political power. Weeks
ago, terrorists fired at the home of Hani Al-Hasan, a veteran Fatah leader who has fallen
out of favor with the more militant and younger Fatah members.
The calls against Hamas' participation in the elections, because of its declared
intentions to destroy Israel, apply just as well to Fatah. The latter's official website
presents its charter just as it was written in 1989, in which it declares its ambition to
bring about the "total liberation of Palestine and the liquidation of the Zionist entity
economically, politically, militarily and culturally." This will be done, the charter
states, via armed popular revolution - and Al-Aksa and other groups have taken it upon
themselves to carry this out.
Turkey Transfers Ottoman Land Records to Palestinian Authority
The Turkish government has given the Palestinian Authority a copy of the Ottoman
archive containing all documents pertaining to land ownership in pre-state Israel through
The PA requested the records to support Palestinian land claims. The Palestinians say
that these documents reflect the "true" ownership of the land. One year later, in 1917,
Britain drove the Ottomans out of the country and issued the Balfour Declaration,
expressing support for the establishment of a Jewish state in what was then called
Palestine. The Palestinians say these evens represented the start of "a Zionist takeover
of their land, under the auspices of British imperialism."
Even before 1917, Jewish and Zionist institutions had purchased large tracts of land in
Palestine from absentee landlords, who lived mainly in Syria and Lebanon. These landlords
had previously leased their property to local farmers, but were happy to sell it for the
right price, without giving a thought to their tenant farmers. Nevertheless, Palestinians
view these sales as more legitimate than those that took place during the British
occupation that began in 1917.
Under Ottoman rule, a substantial portion of the land in Palestine was registered as
state land. Some of this land was later sold or transferred to pre-state Jewish
institutions. Other portions belonged to the Muslim waqf (religious trust), and these,
according to Islamic law, cannot be sold. However, there was no orderly registration
process; ownership was determined primarily using records such as tax payments.
Ever since 1948, Palestinian institutions dealing with the refugee issue have been
trying to obtain accurate records on the land and property that were lost when Israel was
established. This effort has gained steam in recent years, but no Palestinian institution
has come close to collecting all the relevant data. One reason for the lackadaisical
effort may be the Palestinians' understanding that the data has little practical value
other than for public relations. At most, it will be used in the bargaining over
compensation for refugees, if and when such negotiations take place.
Israel to Lease Kinneret Shore Land to Evangelicals
Along the northeastern edge of Lake Kinneret, the landscape is quiet, the wind blows
gently and the Korazim River meanders tranquilly, much as it did in the time of Jesus, but
this undisturbed vista may not last much longer. Plans are underway to develop an
evangelical Christian center in the area - a mini-Israel of sorts and perhaps a biblical
As part of the project, Israel will initially lease 125 acres (500 dunams) in the area
between Capernaum, Tabgha and the Mount of Beatitudes. The idea: to build a center that
will provide Christian believers with a sense that "Jesus lived here." Some see the
project as having great potential to attract pilgrims.
Indeed, most tourism to Israel is Christian. In 2000, for example, 2.7 million tourists
visited Israel, of which 1.5 million were Christians. Tourism Minister Abraham Hirchson
says evangelicals will invest $50 million to $70 million in the project, and that they
will design the area with Israeli consent. Hirchson says, "I hope that in November we'll
be able to sign the first agreement."
Hirchson believes that the new center will draw a million to 1.5 million additional
tourists a year. "Certainly, from there they will also continue on to Jerusalem, Hebron
and Bethlehem," he says. The center is also likely to add a day to pilgrims' visits to the
Galilee and it is estimated that every day with 100,000 visitors means income of $130
Several months ago Hirchson appointed a steering committee chaired by Uri Dagul, head
of the Israel Youth Hostels Association. According to Dagul, evangelicals are interested
in life in Israel, unlike the Catholics. Until the Six-Day War, Jordan was the Holy Land
for Christians. Few pilgrims visited Israel then. After 1967, when most of the pilgrimage
sites came under Israeli control, the trend shifted. Among evangelicals also, Israel's
victory was perceived as divine intervention, and subsequently there was a steady flow of
evangelical pilgrims to Israel. "There are 90 million evangelicals in America and 300
million around the world. If just one percent of all of them comes to Israel, that would
be enough," said Dagul.
However, there are some who argue that the Lake Kinneret area should not be designated
for evangelicals alone, but should be made into a general Christian heritage site or even
a biblical theme park, which would also not deter Jews. "The bottom line is that there is
an agreement in principle that this will be a center for Christians of all kinds, but
evangelicals will be running the project," stressed the tourism minister.
The northeastern area of Lake Kinneret was chosen for the project because most chapters
of the New Testament refer to Jesus' activity there. From this area, he sent out his
disciples to spread the gospel; he lived there in Peter's home in Capernaum; many of his
deeds took place there; and he often visited Korazim, Beit Zaida and Migdal. "Here
Christian tourists shed tears, here they are moved by religious emotions. This is the No.
1 resource that can be offered to the Christian world," said Dagul.
Dagul, who took the job as an unpaid volunteer, said that the Christian tourist
arriving in Israel sees the lack of development of Christian sites and the overall low
level of services. "There is no reenactment of what went on in Jesus' day, the state
didn't take this upon itself as a mission.".
And who is the group with whom the negotiations are underway? "We are talking about a
broad group, and at its heart one of the key figures will be Pat Robertson," said
Hirchson. Robertson, an evangelist from the U.S., is widely known from the "The 700 Club,"
the Christian news and talk show that is the flagship of the Christian Broadcasting
Agreement has been reached on a joint planning committee, with the proviso that the
architect would be a local one. According to Dagul, there is inter-ministerial consensus
on the project. When Binyamin Netanyahu was finance minister, he received a delegation of
evangelicals and promised to advance the project. The state is providing the land and the
Finance Ministry would help fund infrastructure and access roads.
Finance Minister Ehud Olmert has supported the project based on the agreed outline "by
helping to remove statutory obstacles relating to land and infrastructure, with the actual
funding for the project coming from the Christian organizations."
Opponents to the project, among them the chairman of the Yad L'achim organization,
Rabbi Shalom Dov Lifschitz, who met with Tourism Minister Hirchson, argued that bitter
experience with evangelicals leaves no doubt regarding their missionary activity. The
Ministry of Tourism said the project calls only for a visitors' center, with staffers
saying, "Israeli children will not sit down there to learn about Jesus." Hirchson is
determined to bring the project to fruition. "I will get the whole project approved in a
government decision," he said.
Egypt Denies Israeli al Qaeda Sinai Claims
By Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
An Egyptian security source denied in comments published Tuesday Israel's claim that
Al-Qaeda network established a base in the Sinai Peninsula. Al-Gumhuriyah daily quoted the
source as saying "that there is absolutely no Al-Qaeda base in Sinai," adding that the
security forces are still operating in Sinai to control "all elements still at large
within Al-Halal mountain after taking part in the recent Sinai attacks."
On Sunday, Israel's Intelligence Chief Gen. Ze'evi-Farkash said Al-Qaeda had built at
least one base in Sinai, from where activists are sent to Gaza Strip and from there to
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