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Pope Doesn't Bless Righteous Gentiles or Mention the Holocaust


On Day 1 of his trip to Poland, Pope Benedict XVI failed to bless 41 Poles who helped Jews during the Holocaust, as had been expected. Organizers of the pope's four-day visit had agreed his vehicle would slow down to bless the Righteous Gentiles at the Warsaw Ghetto Monument to deliver the blessing, but that did not occur. The reason for the change in his plan is not yet known. The French news agency AFP reported that that the crowd was disappointed at his silence. The German-born Pope, as a youth, enrolled into the Hitler Youth movement although he did not take part in fighting. In his speech at the airport where he arrived, the Pope said he hoped to meet "survivors, the victims of Nazi terror, from the many nations which suffered this tragic oppression," when he visits the site of the Auschwitz death camp on Sunday.

Abbas to Hamas: 10 Days to OK Deal or Referendum in 40


PA President Mahmoud Abbas has given PA Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh an ultimatum: Accept a deal for borders within the 1967 line or the issue goes to a general referendum.

In what appears to be a major showdown between the two Palestinian Authority leaders, Abbas warned PA groups that he would send the "Prisoners' Plan" for a peace agreement to a national referendum within 40 days if it is not accepted by the Hamas-led PA government.

Haniyeh told the PA parliament there is an "international network" conspiring to "suffocate and starve" the PA population. He told the session, held simultaneously by video conference in Gaza and Ramallah, that the U.S. gave Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's unilateral withdrawal plan a green light during talks this week between the U.S. and Israel.

"Israel is trying to set up a country with a Jewish majority and preserve Jerusalem as its capital," he told legislators. "This shows the Israeli government wants to keep the occupation. Unfortunately, the Americans are on Israel's side." The Hamas chairman reiterated his pledge not to make concessions in order to reach a peace agreement with Israel and blamed the U.S. for the international freeze on funds to the terrorist-led PA government.

Haniyeh praised the Fatah and Hamas terrorists who murdered and wounded Israelis in years past and who continue to do so. "These two movements have carried out qualitative attacks and operations against the Israelis, attacks that have been reason for glory for our people among all peoples of the Arab world and the Islamic world," said Haniyeh in his speech to the PA parliament.

"Scores of martyrs have become a kind of a Wedding Day for all of us, that they gather all of us around every grave of each martyr …. united and working together until we liberate Jerusalem and the Islamic and Christian holy shrines in Jerusalem," he said.

Abbas, meanwhile, said bluntly that the time has come for the PA government to wake up and do what it can to achieve peace with Israel.

In his speech, Abbas stunned PA lawmakers by telling them that the best option left at this point is to accept the "Prisoners' Plan" written together by imprisoned Fatah and Hamas terrorists in their jail in Israel.

"Are slogans enough to feed the hungry?" Abbas demanded of the PA parliament. "We must stop with the slogans and start dealing with reality. We must stop dreaming and accept what we can take now. Let us not speak of dreams. Let us take the Palestinian state on the '67 borders," he stated.

Abbas insisted that the majority of PA Arabs are willing to accept the deal. "There is a national consensus on this," he said, adding that the current infighting between Fatah and Hamas is simply wasting time.

"We shouldn't have dialogue for the sake of dialogue," he told the lawmakers. "We should have dialogue to solve our problems." The two factions met Thursday to discuss ways to end the violence that threatens to plunge PA Arabs into what they fear will become a civil war. Despite the talks, clashes between Fatah and Hamas militants continued throughout the day, leaving at least one dead and four wounded.

"The Israelis are killing our people every day and now we are busy with internal divisions," said Abbas, referring to the assassination of the chief of the Fatah-aligned Preventive Security Service in Arab-on-Arab violence this week. "We must stop this," he said.

The proposal that Abbas wants approved includes the "right of return." The clause would allow millions of Arabs for other countries to move into Israel on the claim that the country is their home.

Other parts of the proposal call for continued "resistance" on land beyond the Armistice Line, the creation of a new Arab country with Jerusalem as its capital, a coalition Fatah-Hamas government and the release of all jailed Arab prisoners.

Israelis Celebrate Jerusalem Day

By Robert Berger (VOA-Jerusalem) &

More than half a million people celebrated Jerusalem Unification Day 0n Thursday. Thousands of Israelis marched through the streets of Jerusalem, celebrating the 39th anniversary of the reunification of the city during the Six Day War in 1967. They waved national flags, as they marched to the Western Wall in the disputed Old City, the last remnant of the biblical Temple.

The Palestinians want the Old City and the rest of East Jerusalem as the capital of a future state, but the message of Jerusalem Day is that the city is Jewish.

"Well, we have to show that Jerusalem really belongs to Israel, and that it is the heart and soul of the Jewish people here," said Yaakov Friedman, who immigrated to Israel from New York 12 years ago. "Every year, we say, you know, at Passover time, 'Next year, we should be in Jerusalem. Oh, here we are,' you know, praying and hoping that Jerusalem stays united,"

Jerusalem remains one of the most intractable issues of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Israel says it will never relinquish the Temple Mount and Western Wall, the holiest places in Judaism.

But the mount is also home to the Mosque of al Aksa, the third holiest place in Islam. Palestinians say there will never be peace until Israel withdraws and the Old City returns to Muslim control.

At a Jerusalem Day ceremony on a Six Day War battlefield, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert made it clear that is not going to happen. "Jerusalem was born Jewish," he said, "and, today, more than ever it is Jewish, complete and united.

He spoke at Ammunition Hill, which was regained by Israel during the Six Day War in 1967. Olmert previously said the capital would remain reunited but later favored surrendering parts of the eastern area of the city.

President Moshe Katzav said that the capital is the Jews' worldwide religious capital. "Jerusalem is the magnet of the Jewish people."

One Out of Ten Israelis Calls Jerusalem Home


Since 1967, Jerusalem's population has grown almost three-fold to nearly 718,000, the largest city in Israel. Jews make up the overwhelming majority, but the Arab minority is growing.

At the end of 2005, Jerusalem's population stood at 718,000, representing 10% of Israel's citizens, according to data released by the Central Bureau of Statistics.

Thirty-nine years since the eastern portion of Jerusalem, including the Old City and the Temple Mount were liberated from Jordan; Jerusalem's population has risen by 170%. Illegal immigration from Judea and Samaria plus a high birthrate have contributed to increasing the percentage of Arabs living in the capital. In 1967, Jews constituted nearly three fourths (74%) of the city. Today, they make up two thirds (66%).

David Hadari, a member of the city council said "the order of the day" was to increase Jerusalem's Jewish population. He said Israel must educate its children to recognize the importance of Jerusalem in the land of Israel. "If we don't come en masse and settle Jerusalem, there's a chance we can lose the struggle for Israel's capital," he said.

Representatives of the National Religious Party (NRP) on the city council said they "support any initiatives to bring young people to Jerusalem." They suggested granting scholarships and expanding the city's boundaries eastward to include Ma'ale Adumim. Ma'ale Adumim is the largest Israeli city in Judea and Samaria, with over 30,000 residents.

The NRP representatives called on the government to implement "E-1," a plan for settling thousands of Israelis in a corridor from Jerusalem to Ma'ale Adumim to ensure territorial contiguity between the two cities.

Prior to last March's election, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said he was committed to implementing the plan. E-1 has been severely criticized by the Bush Administration which claims it contradicts the road map plan.

Jerusalem Mayor, Uri Lapoliansky, said that the government recently approved measures to provide scholarships and grants, totaling NIS 12.3 million ($2.7 million) to young people who move to Jerusalem.

He said 490 students studying in Jerusalem are already receiving loans amounting to NIS 8500 ($1900) per year. The loan turns into a grant, he explained, if the student decides to live permanently in the capital. Young couples who buy a home in Jerusalem are entitled to an NIS 20,000 ($4450) grant.

Sharon to be Moved to Long-Term Care Facility

By VOA News

The Jerusalem hospital that has been treating former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said the former leader is to be transferred to a long-term care facility.

The Hadassah Hospital said the 78-year-old Sharon is to be moved next week to the Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer Hospital, near Tel Aviv.

Sharon has been comatose since suffering a massive stroke on January 4. In April, the Israeli Cabinet declared him permanently incapacitated and he was replaced by Ehud Olmert.

Medical experts said Sharon is in a vegetative state, and the chances that he would ever regain consciousness are slim.

Google Dumps News Sites that Criticize Radical Islam


Search engine giant Google has cut off its news relationship with a number of online news publications that include frank discussions of radical Islam – the New Media Journal becoming the latest termination. as its owner just discovered.

Frank Salvato, who began the agreement with Google News last September, said he received a reply from the company's help desk Friday indicating there had been complaints of "hate speech" on his site, as first reported by media watchdog

The e-mail from "the Google Team", cited three articles that dealt with radical Islam and its relationship to terrorism, read:

Hi Frank,

Thanks for writing. We received numerous reports about hate content on your site, and after reviewing these reports, decided to remove your site from Google News. We do not allow articles and sources expressly promoting hate speech viewpoints in Google News (although referencing hate speech for commentary and analysis is acceptable). (articles are mentioned) We hope this helps you understand our position.

Newsbusters said it has observed a pattern of intolerance toward conservative sites that deal with radical Islam and terrorism. Rusty Shackleford, owner of The Jawa Report, received a similar e-mail message March 29 informing him: "Upon recent review, we've found that your site contains hate speech, and we will no longer be including it in Google News."

Two weeks later, Jim Sesi's was cut off, with Google providing three examples of "hate speech" by conservative writer J. Grant Swank, Jr.

Newsbusters commented: "At first blush, one can easily ignore such business decisions by the most powerful company on the Internet as being routine. However, on closer examination, such behavior could give one relatively small technological corporation (when measured by the size of its workforce) a degree of political might that frankly dwarfs its current financial prowess."

When Google News launched its beta site in April 2002, it said its mission was to construct an unbiased news engine free of human intervention using new methods of aggregating news from sources worldwide. According to the April Nielsen/NetRatings report, 49 percent of all searches conducted in the U.S. in March 2006 were carried out on Google.

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