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Soldier Seeks Compensation for Disengagement Trauma


A soldier has filed a claim for compensation against the Defense Ministry due to trauma suffered as a result of being part of the disengagement from Gaza last year. According to Ynet News, the unidentified soldier wrote to the Defense Ministry claiming "Currently I am suffering from flashbacks, nightmares, panic, depressions, and I'm being treated daily at an institute." The soldier was released from the army a number of months ago.

Abbas Rules Out Compromise on Palestinian Referendum

By Jim Teeple (VOA-Jerusalem)

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas says there will be no compromise on his plan to allow Palestinians to decide whether to accept a two-state solution with Israel. Abbas has set a Tuesday deadline for Hamas to accept his plan, or face Palestinian voters in a national referendum. A political showdown between the two main Palestinian factions, Hamas and Fatah, appears inevitable, as the two political groups continue to disagree over the issue of recognizing Israel.

On Monday, Abbas told reporters he will not accept any changes to his plan, which calls for Palestinians to accept a two-state solution with Israel, based on Israel's 1967 borders. He said talks are continuing between Hamas and Fatah, and that a referendum would only be a last resort - but the issue will not go away.

The two factions have been arguing for more than a week over a document drawn up recently by Palestinian prisoners representing nearly all Palestinian factions. The 18-point document offers an outline for Palestinians to accept a two-state solution with Israel. Even though Hamas prisoners agreed to the document, Hamas officials who now control the Palestinian government reject it. Hamas refuses to recognize Israel, and has sponsored numerous terrorist attacks against the Jewish state.

Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, a senior Hamas leader, said a referendum would be unconstitutional, because local laws do not permit holding national referendums.

A close Abbas aide said that because the referendum would be non-binding, there should be no legal restrictions on holding it. He said polls show that a majority of Palestinians support the idea of a two-state solution with Israel. Meanwhile, insecurity in the Palestinian territories, especially in the Gaza Strip, worsened on Monday, as gunmen stormed a Palestinian television station, whose employees are considered loyal to Abbas' Fatah Party.

Earlier in the day, hundreds of employees of the Palestinian Authority crowded into a bank in Gaza, demanding to be paid back wages. Most employees of the Palestinian Authority have not been paid in more than two months because of a suspension of international donor aid and money transfers to the Hamas-controlled Palestinian government.

Also a powerful explosion destroyed a house in the Jebaliya refugee camp, in the northern Gaza Strip. The blast killed Ahmed Ibrahim Sari - a member of the armed wing of Hamas. Sari's wife and eight-year-old child were also injured in the blast. A spokesman for the Israeli military said the Israeli Army was not involved in the incident.

More than a dozen Palestinians have been killed in recent days in worsening violence between the Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah. Occasionally, Palestinian militants are accidentally killed while handling explosives.

Hamas Prime Minister's Three Sisters Live Secretly in Israel as Full Citizens

By The Telegraph

Israel regards Ismail Haniyeh, the Palestinian Hamas prime minister, as an enemy of state. But three of his sisters enjoy full Israeli citizenship, having moved 30 years ago to the desert town of Tel Sheva (located between Be'er Sheva and Omer). Some of their offspring have even served in the Israeli army, the force responsible for decades of Israeli occupation in Gaza and the West Bank, an occupation that the Islamist movement, Hamas, was founded to fight.

The Daily Telegraph tracked down the Haniyeh sisters, Kholidia, Laila and Sabah, to a town in southern Israel. That they live in Israel is a closely guarded secret and nowhere is it guarded more secretly than Tel Sheva, a town inhabited mainly by Israeli Bedouin on the edge of the Negev desert. "There is no reason to speak to my wife,'' said Salameh Abu Rukayek, 53, who married Kholidia. "It is private business and you are not welcome asking questions about my wife.''

Blind since birth, Abu Rukayek sat on a thin floor cushion and said he was happy living in Israel. "Our life is normal here and we want it to continue,'' he said. Perhaps he felt discussion of his wife's family links might jeopardize his relatively comfortable lifestyle.

Bedouins form a small and poor minority in modern Israel, descendants of desert nomads who roamed the Holy Land in ancient times, living in tents and traveling by camel train. Some Bedouin have settled down in towns such as Tel Sheva and many make a good living, often running transport firms across Israel. Although they regard themselves as separate from Palestinians, links between the two communities are nevertheless close. Both share the same Muslim faith.

Another member of the clan, Yousef Abu Ruqia, 50, who works as secretary in the municipal council, explained how the Haniyeh sisters came to Tel Sheva. "In a small community like ours there were not enough women to go round, so some of the men would go and look for wives elsewhere,'' he said. "The Haniyeh sisters were Palestinians living in Gaza. Back then it was possible for people to visit Gaza easily, so Kholidia was the first to be married and move to Tel Sheva, and then Laila and then Sabah.''

He said he remembered the time, 25 years ago, when their younger brother, Ismail, would come to visit his sisters. "There was another brother, Khaled, who came here to work laying tiles and each year, at the holiday after Ramadan, Ismail would come and visit his brother and sisters."

The issue of Palestinian-Israeli links recently received close scrutiny from the Israeli supreme court, which was asked to consider the legality of a new law banning Palestinians from joining their Israeli spouses. The court accepted the state's argument that security concerns justified keeping couples apart if they married across the divide.

While the law is intended to address current political problems, the presence of a Hamas leader's own family in Israel reveals the extent and strength of links in spite of decades of mutual hostility. Abu Ruqia said the law banning Palestinian women over 25 and men over 35 from applying to join their spouses in Israel would have stopped the Haniyeh sisters' move to Israel had it applied 30 years ago. "This is a racist law that makes problems for some people in Israel like the Bedouin who often marry into Palestinian families,'' he said. "It is unfair against us and not against other Israelis.''

Laila and Sabah are both widows but remain in Tel Sheva, apparently reluctant to give up their Israeli citizenship. It is not known when the Haniyeh sisters last had contact with their brother. As he is a Hamas prime minister, contact with him could, under Israeli law, be illegal.

One-Sided By Ed Ziegler (Commentary)

Since the establishment of the State of Israel in May 1948, Israel has been and remains in an ongoing battle for its very survival. When so many Arab and Islamic-controlled countries call for the destruction of Israel, any sane person must agree, Israel faces considerable danger ahead for them.

If there is any hope for Israel to achieve peace with her neighbors, like it or not, she must be able to negotiate with her sworn enemies. As any lawyer will tell you negotiations can be touchy to say the least. When the parties are countries and one country does not, or cannot, or will not follow through, agreements mean very little.

Hamas has been in the forefront of performing and applauding acts of murderous terror upon Israel. Hamas is a terrorist organization and has won a major victory in the recent Palestinian elections. Because Hamas has continued to threaten the elimination of Israel, since this election, Israel and other countries are withholding monies and aid to the Palestinian government.

In a Palestinian National Initiative paper "Al-Mubadara" on March 8, 2006 Chris McGreal reports that "Hamas leaders accuse the West of hypocrisy over threat to withhold cash." They claim they are being pressured to recognize Israel, respect accords and renounce violence as `cheap blackmail' aimed at corralling them into a `peace process' they describe as a trap.

Imagine, they are being asked to simply respect prior accords and to stop violence. It appears that the Hamas leaders are, one sided, being motivated more by hate and the destruction of Israel than possibly achieving peace by participating in negotiations.

In November 2005, Israeli troops were trying to arrest a leader of the local Islamic Jihad, Hossam Jaradat. As might be expected there was stone throwing and gunfire. Unfortunately the soldiers shot a 12-year-old Palestinian boy who was carrying what looked like a gun from 150 yards away.

It seems that the Palestinians can develop dialogue to lay responsibility on the Israelis troops for shooting the boy with a toy gun. The Palestinian government said, "One would ask how come after all these years they did not know that Palestinian kids buy such toys?"

Yet, Palestinians can justify the actions of Islamic terrorists blowing up an Israeli school bus. The CIA has recordings of telephone conversations in which the head of preventive security in the Gaza Strip, Mohammed Dahlan, can be heard ordering the bombing of a bus load of children.

On April 17, 2006 a Palestinian suicide bomber blew himself up outside a very busy bus station in Tel Aviv during the Passover holidays. Adding insult to injury (murder) Hamas described the Palestinian suicide bombing that killed nine civilians and wounded many as an act of "legitimate resistance."

According to of April 18, 2006, Israel revoked the Israeli Residency Identity Cards of three Hamas members of the Palestinian parliament. These cards grant permanent residency in Jerusalem, freedom of movement in Israel and social security benefits. The Israel government said the move was in response to a bombing that killed nine civilians and Hamas' "legitimate resistance" callous position.

Unhappy with the loss of the Hamas members' loss of their Israel Identity Cards, Israeli-Arab members of the Knesset, Israel's parliament, came to the aid of the Hamas legislators. Israeli-Arab legislator, Taleb A-Sanaa told Israel Radio that it is illegal for the government to remove Palestinian residents from their land and homes in Jerusalem.

The Hamas legislators and the Israeli-Arab Knesset members obviously have a one-sided view. They must feel that the Hamas legislators have the right to be an Hamas party member, be a Palestinian Parliament Hamas Representative, be able to freely travel in their enemy's territory (doing, who knows what) and condone killing their enemy's (Israel's) civilians.

It seems strange that Israel would normally allow Hamas members, their sworn enemy, to receive social security benefits and freely wander in Israel. You and I may not fully understand the complicated internal relationships in Israel. What we can do is pay attention to what is happening to Jews here in the United States, in Israel and around the world.

We can follow informative internet sites such as Israeli Resource Review, Iris Blog, Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Arutz Shava Remember "Never Again" it is up to each one of us.

Ziegler is a board member of the New Jewish Congregation in the Villages, Florida, and a past president of its Brotherhood. He encourages your reaction by emailing

On Israel Tour, Japan's Top Sumo Wrestlers Visit Western Wall

By Ha'aretz

Japan's - and the world's - top sumo wrestlers paid a visit to the Western Wall in Jerusalem on Monday, as part of a trip to Israel led by sumo legend and master Kotonowaka under the banner of "Fellowship and Peace."

The wrestlers made the trip to Judaism's holiest site with their children, dressed in traditional garb as the sun beat down on what turned out to be one of the hottest days of the year.

The delegation arrived in Israel on Sunday, and was welcomed by Tourism Minister Tourism Minister Isaac Herzog. "The State of Israel has waited a long time for an opportunity to host such a prestigious and respectable club, from one of the oldest and most noble fields of sport in the world," said Herzog at a press conference Sunday to welcome the wrestlers.

The wrestlers, superstars back home, presented the minister with a traditional sumo garment.

Touring Israel are Ozeki Kotooshu, ranked third in Japan and considered professional sumo's tallest wrestler, at 2.04 meters tall; Sekiwake Kotomitsuki; rising sumo star Meagashira Kotoshogiku; Sadogatake Oyakata and others.

Herzog said Israelis were very proud to host the delegation, terming the wrestlers "emissaries of peace, reconciliation and fellowship."

A float in the Dead Sea, mud baths and a spring tour is also on the wrestlers' itinerary. The wrestlers will also demonstrate their art on Tel Aviv's beaches, visit sick children at Petah Tikva's Schneider Hospital and compete in a tournament in the Caesarea amphitheater Wednesday night.

Herzog said he was sure that by the end of the visit, there wouldn't be a single Israeli child who didn't know the names of the wrestlers, and that "the entire young generation in Israel would be in love with sumo."

The rare tour - the wrestlers only leave Japan once every two years - by the sumo "stable," or sadogatake, is designed to strengthen Japanese-Israeli ties and boost tourism between the two countries, said Japanese Ambassador to Israel Jun Yokota.


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