Headlines  [June 2001  ARUTZ 7 




Arutz-7 News: Monday, June 4, 2001
Datum: Mon, 04 Jun 2001 19:06:24 +0200
Von: Arutz-7 Editor 

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Monday, June 4, 2001 / Sivan 12, 5761
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Prime Minister Ariel Sharon earned praise from left-wing MKs such as Meretz's Zahava Gal'on for remarks he made yesterday while visiting teenagers wounded in the Friday night Dolphinarium suicide slaughter in Tel Aviv. Sharon said, "I am responsible for running this campaign, the responsibility for such is on my shoulders, and it is a hard campaign. I must take into account both the diplomatic and military considerations... We must see the entire picture. Restraint, too, is a component of strength."

Today, Sharon qualified this somewhat by saying that he is not conducting a policy of restraint but rather "a policy designed to provide protection to the citizens of Israel." He rejected claims that he was sacrificing Israeli citizens for the sake of the country's public relations. Sharon admitted that as opposition head he expressed different opinions than those he holds now, but, "I did that within the framework of my capacity as head of the opposition."

Minister Tzippy Livni was asked by Arutz-7 today: "Do you agree with Prime Minister Sharon's statements that restraint is a component of strength? Why did he not say it during his election campaign?" Her response:
"I think that, until this past Shabbat [the day after the Dolphinarium slaughter], our policy of restraint was correct. We paid a high price, on the roads of Judea and Samaria and elsewhere, but it did bring us the benefit of great international pressure on Arafat, to which he is unfortunately more prone to listen than he is to our military responses. Starting from Shabbat, however, I think that we should have decided to react, but in this way: We should have started with some economic measures as well as some military measures of different levels, together with continued pressure on Arafat to order a ceasefire… My disagreement with Sharon is only on the message that Israel should be transmitting: we must make it clear that Israel will act at its convenience, and that Arafat should be in suspense, as should the rest of the world, as to when we will strike. This would be better than announcing in advance that we are waiting a day or two, or giving ultimatums, or the like, because as the days pass, it gets harder for us to actually carry out a military action."

Arutz-7's Ariel Kahane reports that an Israeli attack had actually been planned at the end of last week, in retaliation for the continuing killings on the roads of Yesha. It was going to involved Israeli Air Force planes, but because of the suicide attack in Tel Aviv, the situation changed, the Palestinians began to flee in expectation of a major retaliation, and Israel did not want to bomb empty buildings. Despite this, the planes were again put on the ready during the course of Shabbat, but again the action was stayed because of Arafat's ceasefire announcement.



Has Arafat delivered the ceasefire goods he promised? For one thing, Palestinian gunmen opened fire on an Israeli patrol traveling within Israeli territory near Rafiach, and a heavy battle has been raging there all afternoon. Over 15 Arabs have been wounded, and two Israeli soldiers were also lightly hurt. The Arab attack includes anti-tank fire, light-weapons fire, grenades and Molotov cocktails. The IDF spokesman denied PA allegations that Israeli forces entered PA territory. Also late this afternoon, mortar shells were fired towards Morag and Atzmonah in Gush Katif.

The above was not the first violation of Arafat's ceasefire "orders" since last night. Residents of Kfar Darom in Gaza spent the night in their shelters after two mortar shells were fired upon their town; no one was hurt. Earlier, the Shomron community of Chomesh had been attacked by terrorist gunfire. This morning, an Israeli woman was lightly hurt when a terrorist bomb exploded near the community of Barkan, on the Trans-Shomron highway west of Ariel. Comprised of a gas canister and explosives, the bomb was detonated by remote control. Security officials closed the road for a short time. Terrorist organizations had earlier puzzled observers by announcing that they would accept Arafat's ceasefire order, but that the intifada would continue.

The halting of Palestinian media incitement is another Israeli demand as part of the ceasefire - but it appears to be continuing apace. Voice of Palestine Radio again broadcast today that the two Arabs who were killed when their truck overturned yesterday were killed by "settlers." The official news broadcast opened with a statement by an official Palestinian source calling for an "end to attacks by settlers against Palestinians, such as the killing of the two yesterday…" Due to a steering-system problem, the truck overturned yesterday on a steep downhill slope on the Ramallah bypass highway about a mile south of the new Assaf Outpost between Beit El and Ofrah. In addition, songs praising martyrdom and violence against Israel continue to be heard; television captions quote the father of the Dolphinarium suicide murderer saying that he is proud of his son and wishes he had 20 more like him.


How about the arrest of Hamas terrorists or the collection of illegal weapons? These too have not yet begun. In fact, Brig.-Gen. Amos Gilad of IDF Intelligence disclosed today that the day before the suicide slaughter in Tel Aviv, Arafat freed three terrorist experts in explosive materials, for the express purpose of increasing the number of casualties in future attacks.



About 150 Arabs waving PLO flags took to the streets in Jerusalem late this morning, blocking motorists and jumping on cars south of the Israel Police Headquarters. Border Guard police arrived on the scene and were able to clear traffic in both directions. No one was hurt.


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The Ohr Committee resumed its deliberations and hearings today, investigating the Israeli-Arab riots of last October in which 13 Arabs were  killed in clashes with the police. The hearings were stopped two months ago after several incidents of Arab violence during the sessions. A glass partition now separates the witnesses from the audience, which in any event will now be comprised of no more than one member of each Arab family. Other family members will be able to view the proceedings by video in a separate hall.

Arutz-7's Effie Meir reports on today's proceedings:
"Policeman Ilan Haroush testified about the tense, dangerous atmosphere in which he and his colleagues worked: 'There were rocks, burning tires, heads covered with stockings, slingshots - and against all this, we were only three policemen…' The Arabs who came to view the proceedings staged a near-violent sit-in, complaining that one of their number was not allowed in. A Druze policeman who testified provided new information about the dangers faced by the policemen in a battle near Karmiel: 'Some type of pistol shots were fired at us from within a large Arab mob' - but the judges passed over this point, choosing to ask instead about how the officers responded and exactly towards which alleyway, etc.

"Outside the hall, university students demonstrated against the hearings themselves. One of them, law student Yitzchak Baumann, explained, 'We think that this committee will not be able to get to the truth, for several reasons. For one thing, it is not authorized to investigate the background of the riots, such as who incited them and who organized them… In addition, the Arabs who testify do not undergo any sort of cross-examination, as in any other normal court proceeding; they come and cry about what happened, but no one asks them why they were there, why they threw rocks, who incited them…"




The number of victims in the Dolphinarium suicide slaughter of Friday night has now climbed to 20, with the death yesterday of Yan Blum, 25, a guard at the building. He immigrated to Israel from the Ukraine a year ago, and left a wife and a baby daughter. Two more funerals of victims of the slaughter were held today: Liana Sakian, 16, was buried in Kibbutz Givat Brenner, and Katarine Kastaniada, 15, was buried in the Catholic cemetery in Jaffa. Sixteen of the victims were aged 14-19, and eighteen of them were new immigrants from the former Soviet Union. A poll published in Yediot Acharonot today shows that, for the overwhelming majority of Russian immigrants, the events of the past few months have strengthened the ties they feel with Israel.




Reform Rabbi Eric H. Yoffie, president of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, admitted last week that the Reform movement had been "wrong about some very important things" in the context of the Oslo process.

"First and foremost," he told a UAHC national board meeting last week, "we have been wrong about Palestinian intentions. We have believed, along with our allies in the peace camp, that if an Israeli prime minister would be brave enough to say that Israel must choose peace over territories, the Palestinian Authority would also choose peace... Ehud Barak bravely offered a Palestinian state on 96 percent of the West Bank, with its capital in East Jerusalem... But the offer was not accepted. The voices of reason and moderation on which we had counted did not appear. And the PLO showed itself, once again, to be one of the most stupid, murderous, and bloodthirsty national liberation movements in all of human history… And we were wrong about something else as well. We did not pay nearly enough attention to the culture of hatred created and nourished by Palestinian leaders... Our Movement has said little about such things. We assumed, wrongly, that if a political settlement were reached, then conciliation would inevitably follow. But we, along with most of the Jewish world, now realize that conciliation, at least in some measure, must come first. The Palestinians must demonstrate, even before an agreement is reached, that they have a true desire for peace… We were inclined to focus overly much on the hard choices we had to make, and not enough on the hard choices that our Palestinian neighbors had to make."


Yoffie was quick to balance out his confession and advise Israel to freeze Yesha construction: "Our errors of judgment, of course, do not mean that Israel's hands are totally clean," he said, condemning Israel's occupation as "involv[ing] acts of degradation and cruelty" and its settlement policy as "fanatic," and saying that "her response to terror has raised questions…" Not only that, but "Israel has also been guilty from time to time of demonizing her enemies."


But, Yoffie said, "while we have been wrong, we have also been right. In fact, on most things we have been right. The intifada… has given us no  reason to revise our long-term view of what is necessary for peace. We believe that in order for there to be peace, Israel must end her occupation and her rule over the Palestinian people. [ed. note: 98% of the Palestinians are under control of the Palestinian Authority.] … The primary burden here falls on Mr. Arafat's shoulders. He says that he wants to talk, but he cannot expect to come to the table when he is covered in blood. He says that he wants peace, but this means that he must talk the language of peace to his own people... He must find a way to say to the citizens of Israel: "You are here in this land by right, as are we. Welcome home." As for the Israelis, I believe that they would be wise to freeze temporarily all settlement construction. They should do this not because the Mitchell Commission wants it, or because the American government wants it, but because it is politically wise and morally right..."


In a related item, the Reform Movement leadership has decided to suspend its youth trips to Israel this summer. The aforementioned Yoffie explained, in light of the uncertain security situation, "Our religious and Zionist commitments run deep and are known to all, but this movement never uses other people's children to make a political or ideological point."

Last year, 1,500 high school students traveled to Israel under the auspices of a UAHC group; this year's registration was dramatically lower, but there were still more than 300 families who were prepared to send their children to visit Israel. National Council of Synagogue Youth, the youth movement of the Orthodox Union, will be running its annual Israel summer program this year, albeit on a smaller scale.




Israel's largest religious youth movement, Bnei Akiva, chose to show its support for the communities in Judea and Samaria by holding its annual two-day leaders' convention in the Binyamin community of Ofrah. Moti Yogev, Bnei Akiva's secretary-general and an IDF Colonel in the reserves, explained to Arutz-7 today, "We have 240 chapter leaders - even though we have 360 chapters around the country - and of them, 210 came to Ofrah. This gives us a good feeling, because we specifically chose to hold the event here out of a feeling of wanting to 'strengthen and be strengthened, encourage and be encouraged' during these difficult times. I feel that we are seeing the fruits of our year-long education now in the fact that so many of them came and did so happily..."


Also from Ofrah today: The parents of a young Palestinian boy who drowned in the village of Silwad today brought him to the gates of nearby Ofrah, asking for emergency medical help. The local Magen David Adom medical team attempted to resuscitate the boy, but in vain. The Arabs of Silwad have fired on Ofrah dozens of times in the past months.




Labor and Social Affairs Minister Shlomo Benizri (Shas) says that he is now doing "teshuvah" - repentance - for his previous support of the Oslo process. "I allowed myself to be fooled when I supported Oslo and the entire peace process," he said today. "I was one of the admirers of the process, and now I regret it. We were lulled by Arafat, and we were fooled." Benizri said that the Arabs interpret Sharon's restraint as Israeli weakness...

Damages caused by the ongoing war also include 120 million shekels worth of unpicked citrus fruit. Arab workers from the autonomous workers have been kept away or refused to show up because of the various closures and disturbances. The Citrus Fruit Council asks that the government provide compensation to the growers...

Police estimate that 10,000 people of all political stripes attended an Israel-solidarity rally in New York yesterday afternoon, despite heavy rain. Demonstrators held pictures of recent terrorist victims, and chanted, "We are with you! You are not alone!" Over 100 rabbis, synagogues, and Jewish community organizations sponsored the event...




Excerpts from William Safire's article in today's New York Times, entitled:

Arafat's Arsenal of Missiles "In launching a war to drive the Jews from his Palestine, the Arabs' Arafat has come up with an impressive array of weaponry... But the pride and joy of Arafat's arsenal is a weapon of mass terror that has no known defense: the human missile.

"The latest in a series of these, carried by a brainwashed suicide bomber, ripped apart a score of young Israelis last week. These were mainly Russian immigrant women of child-bearing age, a high-priority target for those in Baghdad, Damascus and Jericho who dream of militarily or demographically overwhelming the Jews. Because the human missile that massacred Tel Aviv teenagers so satisfied the lust for casualties, and because the incredible restraint of Ariel Sharon was about to snap, Arafat "condemned" this attack and told a visiting German diplomat he would join Sharon's self-imposed cease-fire "unconditionally." That means only that Arafat will not insist on the latest reward for violence recommended by the Mitchell commission, Bill Clinton's final vehicle for appeasement: cessation of construction in and around already-existing settlements.

"Sharon had already pledged to build no new settlements, a concession not offered by Rabin or Barak, for which he got no credit. An unnatural "freeze" on the natural growth of existing Israeli settlements would be fair only with an equivalent restriction on the expansion of Arab villages in the disputed territories. Not in the cards.

"Arafat's guilty promise of a cease-fire may stay Israel's avenging hand if he finally takes the steps necessary to stop his war. His word is worthless because he has long specialized in what the poet Milton called "a certain clandestine Hostility covered over with the name of Peace."

"Arafat knows... where the human missiles are being programmed and armed. 

Such fanatic indoctrination takes time and isolation; it takes teachers of terror skilled in evoking visions of a martyrdom and requires recruits from vulnerably infuriated families who are known to other cells. The brainwashing is reinforced with official broadcasts of films of a dead boy beckoning potential suicide killers to join him in paradise...

"Does anybody still believe that Yasir Arafat is out of the loop in all this? For years, doves have bought the illusion that he was a peacenik at heart who had to bring along the extremists of the "Arab street." Yet, when the moment of decision came at Camp David, he was the man in the street, demanding all or nothing. When nothing was what he got, he became a hero by launching a war. Because his terrorists are ecstatic at their famous victory over the Russian immigrant youths in Tel Aviv, and because his European allies are a little embarrassed by his bloodletting, Arafat will lower the level of violence - for a while..."


Hebrew News Editor: Haggai Segal

English News Editor: Hillel Fendel



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