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>JN Sept. 5, 2000, Vol. 8, No. 152

Iran Postpones Sentencing of Jewish 'Spies'

By IsraelWire

An Iranian court in Shiraz on Sunday announced a postponement in the sentencing of Iranian Jews found guilty of spying for the governments of the United States and Israel. The court indicated the sentencing was being postponed until month's end.


Palestinians Sentence Terrorist to 12 Years

By Shoshana London Sappir (VOA-Jerusalem)

A Palestinian security court passed a 12-year prison sentence on a Hamas militant who was the target of a bloody shoot-out with Israeli troops last week.

Palestinian militant Mahmoud Abu Hanoud was hailed as a hero by supporters of the Muslim Hamas movement when he escaped with light wounds from an Israeli commando raid last week. In the botched attempt to capture the man, Israel considered its most wanted West Bank Palestinian activist, three Israeli soldiers were apparently killed by "friendly fire" while the militant Abu Hanoud got away.

But members of his own people's security forces caught him and on Friday he was convicted for acting against Palestinian security. Palestinian general prosecutor Khaled al-Kidra said Abu Hanoud was sentenced to 12 years in prison for belonging to an armed group, possessing weapons and forming a movement that tried to replace Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat's self-rule Palestinian Authority.

Israel accuses Abu Hanoud of masterminding suicide bombings in Jerusalem that killed and wounded dozens of Israelis. After the failed attempt to capture him a week ago, some Israelis called on the government to demand Abu Hanoud's extradition from the Palestinian authorities. The sudden security court trial and prison sentence will make such an extradition impossible.


Wash. Post: Patriots May be Sent to Israel

By Meredith Buel (VOA-Jerusalem)

The United States reportedly has put on alert a Patriot anti-missile battery for possible deployment in Israel to protect against potential attacks from Iraq. However, Prime Minister Ehud Barak says he is not immediately concerned about such a threat.

Barak says Israel is ready for any development, but says he is not sure there is reason for concern about the possibility of a missile attack from Iraq.

Barak was responding to a report in the Washington Post newspaper, saying US defense officials have alerted a Patriot anti-missile battery for possible deployment to Israel because of concern of an Iraqi attack.

The report says US and Israeli officials are concerned Iraqi President Saddam Hussein may try to act against Israel during the current American presidential campaign, in the false belief that US policymakers are distracted by the election.

Washington sent Patriot missiles to Israel for the first time during the 1991 Gulf War, but they failed to intercept most of the 39 Iraqi Scud missiles fired at Israel, many of which damaged neighborhoods in and around Tel Aviv.

Patriots are guided supersonic surface-to-air weapons designed to intercept enemy missiles and aircraft with explosive warheads.

In partnership with the United States, Israel is developing a more advanced anti-missile system, called the Arrow. The Arrow is designed to intercept incoming ballistic missiles miles above the earth's surface, far from their targets.


'Good Pope' and Anti-Semitic Pope are Beatified

By Sabina Castelfranco (VOA-Rome)

Two Catholic popes have been moved toward sainthood in a ceremony in Saint Peter's Square. But the beatification ceremony was controversial. John XXIII and Pius IX were very different popes, the first a much-loved reformer, the latter a reviled arch- conservative.

Pope John XXIII served from 1958 to 1963. Pope Pius IX reigned longer than any other pope, from 1846 to 1878.

John XXIII was widely loved for his kindness and his moves to liberalize the church. He was known as "the good pope." The thousands of pilgrims crowded in the square cheered loudly when his name was mentioned.

.By contrast, there was only faint applause when Pope John Paul spoke of Pius IX, considered ultra-conservative and anti-Semitic.

On the controversial pontificate of Pius IX, Pope John Paul said the Church does not celebrate specific historical choices made by its sons, but points to them as examples to be imitated and venerated for their virtues.

The pope said Pius IX's long pontificate was not easy and he suffered in the fulfillment of his mission in the service of the Gospel. The pope added that Pius IX was loved very much, but also hated and slandered. He was responsible for declaring that papal teachings are infallible.
He is accused of being anti-Semitic. Jewish groups say Pius IX supported the seizure of a six-year-old Jewish boy, Edgardo Mortara, who was forced to be raised as a Catholic.

His great-grand-niece Elena Mortara said she was shocked that Pius IX was to be beatified after what he did to the boy.

"The child was separated from his parents in order to be raised away from his family in a Catholic environment. He was never given back. There was an international scandal, but he was never given back."

She said Pius IX also referred to Jews as "dogs" and was responsible, before the abolition of the Papal States in 1870, for confining them to the last of Europe's Jewish ghettoes in Rome.



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