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Shekel Continues to Fall Against US Dollar


The financial community reports that the shekel continues to devalue against the US dollar, falling an additional 0.08% Tuesday, now trading at 4.740 to the dollar. Earlier in the week, importers reported they now have no alternative but to raise their selling prices of goods coming from abroad, because they are unable to continue absorbing the devaluating shekel.

Palestinians, Israelis Welcome Gaza Border Accord

By Jim Teeple (VOA-Jerusalem)

Israelis and Palestinians say they welcome the Gaza border agreement brokered by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. The agreement re-opens the Gaza Strip border with Egypt, and will also allow Palestinians to travel between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

Under the agreement 57 foreign security experts from the European Union, supervised by an Italian police general will monitor the Rafah crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip, which will in effect become an international border for Palestinians.

No Israelis will be present at Rafah, but security cameras will be placed there, and a joint team of Israelis and Palestinians will monitor the border in real time, at a checkpoint a few kilometers away, to try and ensure that no weapons are brought into Gaza.

Palestinian Authority negotiators had said they would not accept any Israelis at the border and Israel had insisted on cameras and third party monitoring before the crossing could be reopened. The Rafah border crossing was closed shortly after Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip, and Palestinians seeking to cross into Egypt overwhelmed the border. Israel had insisted that the border crossing be secured before it was reopened.

Israel's Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev said the new agreement addresses Israel's biggest concern. "The fear was that extremists would use porous borders to pour into Gaza to bring in explosives, weaponry cash, and that would energize the most extremist elements in the Gaza Strip instead of helping the moderates.

"I think this agreement that we have reached today has the right balance. It provides the maximum possible movement for Palestinians to move in and out of Gaza, as they desire and for goods to come in and out of Gaza, and at the same time for that to be balanced with the very real security concerns that everyone has."

Under the agreement reached on Tuesday, Israel will also allow bus convoys to pass between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank starting on December 15. Palestinians had complained bitterly that Gaza had in effect become a prison camp since Israel's withdrawal, because Gaza's borders had been closed, and Palestinians could not visit each other.

Truck convoys between the West Bank and Gaza Strip will begin one month later. Israel will also allow the export of Palestinian produce from Gaza and allow 150 commercial trucks to pass through the Gaza - Israel border by the end of the year on a daily basis - a number that will rise to 400 by the end of next year. Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat welcomed the agreement in a speech to an Israeli audience on Tuesday, stating he hoped the agreement would lead to a resumption of the peace process.

PA Intensifies Search for Arafat's Billions


A year after Yasir Arafat's death, the Palestinian Authority has intensified its search for hundreds of millions of dollars that disappeared in his wake. Now the PA is asking Israel's help to find the lost loot.

The PA's appointee for financial matters, Salam Fayid, has asked Israeli intelligence to help search for Arafat's secret investments, estimated at upwards of $1 billion. The PA wants the money to help set up a state in Judea, Samaria and Gaza.

Most of the efforts to find the money are focusing on locating a web of complex investments spread around the world by Arafat's financial advisor and personal confidante, Mohammed Rashid. Rashid has so far been unwilling to volunteer detailed information regarding those investments.

A number of investments were purportedly made in various tourist sites in Africa, with others in communications and other international high-tech companies. Rashid, considered an expert at moving and hiding money, so far has not left any significant leads.

Arafat's wife, Suha, who currently lives in Tunisia, is also apparently a party to the money's disappearance. Suha's expense account in Paris has led investigators to open a file into suspicions of her involvement in laundering money in Swiss bank accounts, according to Yediot Acharonot.

Five years ago, at the onset of the Oslo War, Suha and her daughter moved to Paris, where she received a stipend from Arafat that ballooned to 250,000 euros per month.

Suha began investing in international companies through the help of financial advisors like Rashid, who made it difficult to follow the money. Suha did not attend Arafat's funeral last year, out of fear the PA was after her money.

An intelligence source has said that it is possible that the location of Arafat's millions may never be known.

Shoeless Sharon

By Emanuel A. Winston (Commentary)

The expression: "Waiting for the other shoe to drop" has now taken place with regard to Israel Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's on-and-off again lies, promises and misleading statements.

In the November 9th Jerusalem Post, the leading editorial banner was: "Sharon wants to draw new borders." Is this Sharon's swan song in his last effort to imprint his historical legacy that will speak of dividing up the Land in deference to the Bush family "Road Map"?

Is Sharon's penchant for playing with his beloved maps like the behavior of a self-anointed mythological earthly god who believes that he has been selected to control all others? We have seen such gods before among the Egyptians, the Greeks, the Romans and others who have been anointed by their unholy priest cults.

Is Sharon now a Zeus, a Caesar or one of the Egyptian underworld gods? Is this what Sharon believes is his destiny, namely to rule the Jewish people until they too become one of the 'lost civilizations' because they abandoned their belief in God, the Land and the Torah?

Sharon uses his infamous Wall as a weapon of choice, dividing the Jewish communities into bits and pieces, so that they can be later purged of Jews by either Sharon or the terrorists at a time of their choosing. Will Sharon develop such a map and then hand it over to the U.N., the E.U., the Bush pro-Arab State Department and Russia - all of whom will accept it as an irrevocable commitment - even after Sharon is driven from office?

Sharon has at last dropped his other shoe in speaking of his plans to evacuate the territories of Judea and Samaria. He has been extraordinarily silent about the Golan Heights and the eastern parts of Jerusalem - especially The Temple Mount. I wonder if the people of those territories will accept Sharon's self-declared god-like dictums that savaging the Jewish Land is acceptable?

What will the military's General Staff do when they see their Prime Minister is nothing more than a mad Nero as he torches the nation to fulfill his pathological dreams and nightmares, which pervade and swirl about in his aging mind?

We already know that Shimon Peres will be delighted to place flowers on Sharon's last days. Recently we learned that Peres lost - again - to a relative weakling, Amir Peretz whose only known activities have been the blocking of roads when the Labor Left wanted to force their policies on the rest of the Israeli people. When those who opposed being forced to evacuate their own homes, gardens, factories, fields, schools, synagogues and cemeteries blocked the roads, they were arrested, even and especially minors and young girls.

We already know the weak Knesset will bend to any wind that keeps them in their paid seats for a few more months. We see such examples as former Shin Bet Director Avi Dichter, who first was against disengagement and later adopted it as his new credo - having been offered a high post in what may be Sharon's new "Divestment of Jewish Land" Party. I wonder if Shimon Peres will join Sharon in a new party.

The Doomsday Clock is swinging its hands towards a midnight where Sharon and his Mafia yes-men will control the darkness. There is very little time left for the sons-of-light to take back the Jewish nation.

New Spielberg Film Archive Website


The Steven Spielberg Jewish Film Archive has announced the release of its new, updated English website. The Archive is one of the world's largest collections of Jewish documentary film footage, holding over 10,000 titles on film and video.

The vaults contain material shot in Israel before and after the establishment of the State in 1948, motion picture records of Jewish communities in the Diaspora before and after the Holocaust, and two special collections relating to the Holocaust.

In addition to its moving image holdings, the Archive maintains a documentation center containing print materials and still photographs relating to Jewish, Israeli and Yiddish film. More than 300 full films are available for free over the Internet.

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