Newsletter : 6fax0707.txt
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Arab Newspaper Claims Israel and Hamas Close to Deal
Hamas has reduced the number of prisoners it has demanded that Israel free in exchange
for IDF Cpl. Gilad Shalit and Israel has tentatively agreed to the offer, according
to the Ha'aretz news service, quoting a report on Thursday in the London-based Arabic
newspaper, Al Hayat. The exact number of prisoners to be released and when Israel would do
so has not been discussed, reported Al Hayat.
Terrorists holding Shalit prisoner have now demanded the release of all PA Arab women,
about 100 inmates, as well as 30 male prisoners who have served jail terms of more than 20
Israel Reoccupies Gaza, ABC TV Says 20 Palestinians, One Israeli Dead
By Robert Berger (VOA-Jerusalem)
Israel has pushed further into the Palestinian-ruled Gaza Strip, expanding a ground
offensive. News agencies are reporting one Israeli soldier has died in the fighting
Israeli tanks and troops moved into northern Gaza, reoccupying the area of three former
Jewish settlements abandoned nearly a year ago. The army is effectively carving out a
buffer zone, in a bid to halt weeks of Palestinian rocket attacks.
The government ordered the offensive after homemade Kassam rockets hit the Israeli city
of Ashkelon for the first time. Gunmen from the Islamic terrorist group Hamas, which
controls the Palestinian Authority, claimed responsibility.
No one was hurt in the rocket attacks, but Israel said Hamas crossed a red line by
targeting a major population center. Government spokesman Ra'anan Gissin said, even though
all soldiers and settlers pulled out of Gaza last year, the Israel Defense Forces would go
back in if they had to.
"The IDF can operate from the air, from the land, from the sea, and choose the time and
place in order to prevent the Kassam rocket firing. This time, the IDF chose another
method of operation, which keeps those who fire the Kassams off balance," Gissin said.
Moderate Palestinian legislator Saeb Erekat said it was a black day. "I think, what
we're witnessing now is reoccupation of Gaza Strip. I don't know what will this produce.
This will add to the complexities."
Israel and the Hamas-led Palestinian government have been on a collision course since
an Israeli soldier was kidnapped more than 12 days ago from an army base near Gaza. Hamas
gunmen holding the soldier have not released any information since Israel refused to meet
a Tuesday deadline set by the terrorists to release more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners.
Israel said it would not negotiate for the soldier's release, but behind the scenes,
Egypt and Turkey are continuing to seek a peaceful resolution to the crisis. The
kidnappers are reportedly prepared to lower their price, but reject Israel's demand for an
unconditional release of the captive soldier.
UN to Investigate Alleged Israeli Human Rights Violations in Gaza
By Lisa Schlein (VOA-Geneva)
The U.N. Human Rights Council has voted to send an urgent fact-finding mission to Gaza to
investigate alleged human rights violations there by Israel. At the end of a special
session of the Council, members approved a resolution condemning Israel's military actions
in Gaza by a vote of 29 to 11 and five abstentions.
The resolution criticizes Israel for the arrest of Palestinian government ministers,
other officials and civilians. It condemns the military attacks against Palestinian
ministries, power plants, and bridges.
The text demands that Israel end its military operations in Gaza and refrain from
imposing what it calls collective punishment on Palestinian civilians. It calls for a
negotiated solution to the current crisis.
Canadian Representative Terry Cormier said his country voted against the resolution
because it did not provide a balanced perspective on events in Gaza.
"This draft resolution focuses almost entirely on Israel, while ignoring that party's
legitimate security concerns," he said. "It also fails to acknowledge that the Palestinian
Authority has the responsibility to prevent the constant firing of rockets into Israel, to
resolve the present hostage-taking crisis and to prevent the reoccurrence of such criminal
Pakistan's Ambassador, Masood Khan, speaking on behalf of the Organization of the
Islamic Conference, expressed his dismay. He said he could not understand how any country
could vote against the resolution in the face of the escalation and violation of human
rights in the territory.
John Dugard is the Special U.N. Investigator who will be going to Gaza. He presented a
report to the Council at the beginning of the session in which he accused Israel of
collective punishment. He also criticized Israel for violating the prohibition on measures
of intimidation and terrorism in its actions in Gaza.
The Israeli Ambassador to the U.N. in Geneva, Itzhak Levanon, accused the Council of
double standards and of vilifying his country. "Allow me to remind our august Council that
the current crisis on which we are meeting today was not initially provoked by the Israeli
incursion into Gaza," he said. "It was triggered by the attack on our sovereign territory
by Palestinian terrorist groups with the aim of sowing death."
Levanon told the Council Israel left Gaza last summer of its own free will and did not
intend to return there this summer. He said the Council had to condemn the Palestinian
terrorist actions, if it did not want to fall into disrepute as had its predecessor, the
U.N. Commission on Human Rights.
Mashaal Shows Signs of Bending on Kidnapped Soldier
By IsraelNationalNews.com & Ha'aretz
On IDF Cpl. Gilad Shalit's 12th day of captivity, Khaled Meshaal - orchestrating the
Hamas kidnappers' demands from Damascus or some other hideout has shown signs of
readiness to reach an agreement.
Mashaal has been running the Hamas "diplomatic desk" out of Damascus for several years,
though there have been reports that he is now hiding out somewhere in north Africa. The
Arabic London-based Al-Hayat newspaper reports that Mashaal now says that Hamas is willing
to show some flexibility and agree to the Egyptian mediation proposal.
Egypt has suggested that the soldier be released immediately, in return for Israel's
agreement to release Arab prisoners in the future.
Mashaal's deputy, Abu Marzuk, is reported as saying that Hamas would not cede its
demand for the release of prisoners. It is estimated that some 10,000 PA terrorists are
incarcerated in Israel.
Noam Shalit, Gilad's soft-spoken father, spoke with a spokesman for Hamas terror group
Izaddin El Kassam Thursday morning. The conversation was facilitated by the Arab-Jewish
Voice of Peace radio station in Jerusalem. Shalit asked that his son not be harmed, and
said, "I repeat what I said yesterday, which is just that there's no reason for any
further suffering, and we could end this today." He said Wednesday that the abductors
should allow a third-party such as the Red Cross to meet with his son.
The Hamas spokesman, Abu Abeida, responded in Arabic, "We have submitted our demands,
and Israel can respond and negotiate with us... What does Israel demand?" Noam Shalit
said, "I am not a spokesman for the government of Israel."
"In the end, it will be necessary to pay a price for Gilad's freedom. I don't
understand why the government is delaying negotiations on this price," Noam Shalit
This was the first time Noam Shalit has publicly voiced support for a prisoner
exchange, a demand Hamas has been making on Israel since the soldier was captured. "I know
releasing prisoners was on the agenda before the incident, as a kind of gesture, so there
is no reason for it not to be on the agenda also after the incident, for the good of
releasing a soldier who was sent by the state to the front lines," said Shalit.
The Victims of Arab Terror organization has written to the International Red Cross,
demanding to know why it has not been more forceful in demanding to see the kidnapped
soldier. "Israel always agrees to allow the Red Cross to see imprisoned terrorists," VAT
head Shifra Hoffman told Arutz-7. "We have not received a single sign of life from Gilad
Shalit. Why is the Red Cross not making similar demands to see this soldier, who is
suffering in captivity?"
Khaled Mashaal met with a Turkish official and expressed his willingness to the said
deal with Israel. The Damascus-based Hamas official warned the envoy, however, that though
his organization preferred finding a diplomatic solution to the current crisis, his
organization was ready to fight the IDF if provoked.
Where is Israel's Declaration of Independence?
Is Israel's Declaration of Independence kept at the National Archives not the original
document but a reconstruction?
A 68-year-old northern Israel resident claims that the original Declaration of
Independence was written by her father, a Torah scribe, and was stained by ink. Her
father, she said, re-wrote the text on a parchment and stored the original ink-stained
document. The original document was signed by members of the People's Council and Israel's
first Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion.
"While I was going through our family archives I saw the Declaration among the old
documents this was the Declaration that our family was talking about all those
years," said the woman, who asked to remain anonymous until the matter is settled.
Golan Mishali, the woman's attorney, said "At first it sounded like a made-up story,
like an Indiana Jones movie, but after I saw the document - it made a serious impression o
me. I determined that it is an authentic document with ink stains, and after checking with
experts, I can say there is a chance that it could be the original."
Mishali also added that his client's father wrote the document under orders from the
pre-State establishment. "He was professional, a Torah scriber who produced special
works," the attorney said.
In history books the name Otte Wallish, a known graphic designer, appears as the writer
of the document. "History books present different scenarios regarding the writing of the
declaration, and one of them says that an anonymous person wrote it, a Torah scriber. Even
if Otte Wallish was involved in the writing, the original was written by the same person,
and one must remember that history books are not an exact science."
Twelve of the 37 members of the People's Council singed the document following a
ceremony. "The number of signatures on the document we have is the same as in the
familiar distributed document," said Mishali.
Before turning to the authorities, Mishali researched the issue. He talked to officials at
the Tel Aviv Museum and collected on the history of the document. "The more material I
found the more convinced I became of my client's claim," said Mishali. "It seems that at
the time of the reading of the Declaration of Independence, Ben-Gurion read the text from
papers typed by a typewriter; he did not read from the original document."
History says that the document itself is composed of three pieces of paper that were
put together to make a long parchment. "Another version says that the parchment was blank
and after 'reading' it at the Declaration of Independence ceremony Ben-Gurion and the rest
of the People's Council signed the bottom portion of the parchment and the declaration was
added at a later time," Mishali said.
"The document in our possession is written on what appears to be a uniform parchment
containing marks pointing to where it should be trimmed. According to my client, the
original declaration of independence was stained by ink, and therefore it was kept at
home. As a 10 year-old child my client remembers the commotion at home as her father
re-wrote the document."
The ink stain is actually documented in history books. The book "The first 32 minutes"
by Pinchas Jurman says: "After the ceremony, in the midst of the war, Wallish turned to
the Chief Rabbinate asking it to recommend an experienced Torah scriber who can write the
Declaration of Independence on parchment. The scriber recommended by the Rabbinate started
the delicate work but apparently chose the wrong ink. Instead of beautifully crafted
letters the document was covered with ugly stains that smudged the lines."
The book does no mention what became of the stained document. Mishali's request to examine
the original document stored at the National Archives was rejected.
"If the original is at the archive, then what is the problem?" asked Mishali, who
threatened legal action.
National Archives Director Dr. Moshe Skal said in response: "Attorney Mishali did
request to look at the Declaration of Independence and I relayed the request to the legal
advisor of the Prime Minister's Office.
The Prime Minister's office said in a statement: "Generally the National Archives does
not display publicly the original Declaration of Independence it keeps for fear it may be
"Section 4 of the archiving regulations authorizes the Archives to provide photocopies
of originals, if there is a need for it, in order to preserve the original material.
Attorney Mishali's request is being considered by the Prime Minister's legal advisors and
he will get an answer once they complete their evaluations."
The Prime Minister's Office also added that "according to the National Archives the
Declaration of Independence kept there is authentic and original."
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