Newsletter : 1fax1108.txt
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>JN Nov. 8, 2001, Vol. 9, No. 185
Abed Rabbo Says Arafat Will Not Declare Statehood
Senior PA official Yasser Abed Rabbo announced on Wednesday that
Yasir Arafat was not planning to unilaterally declare Palestinian
statehood in a UN General Assembly address planned for Sunday.
The London-based el-Hayat newspaper earlier in the week indicated
Arafat was planning to use the forum to declare a state.
Israeli PM: Palestinians Have a Credibility Problem
By Lisa Bryant (VOA-Paris)
Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres has defended Israel's policy
of targeted killings and rejected European fears that
Israeli-Palestinian strife is fueling terrorism. Peres spoke to
reporters in Paris Wednesday, where he held talks with French
President Jacques Chirac.
Peres arrived in Paris following talks in Brussels earlier this
week with Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat. Speaking to reporters in
the French capital, Peres said he told Arafat that Palestinian
credibility remains the biggest stumbling block to ending tensions
in the region.
"We have a problem with the credibility of the relations with the
Palestinians, They have declared the right things, they have
promised important things, but when it comes to the real story, we
are finding all the time many difficulties."
Nonetheless, Peres said he hoped Israeli troops would be able to
withdraw from West Bank towns in a matter of days. If all went
well, he suggested, the Gaza Strip could be next.
The foreign minister's remarks came after meetings with Chirac and
Prime Minister Lionel Jospin Wednesday. In remarks to reporters
Wednesday night, Peres rejected suggestions that the unresolved
Israeli-Palestinian strife was feeding terrorism. Chirac voiced
such fears Tuesday, following a meeting with President Bush in
Washington. The French president said finding a solution to the
Middle East conflict was essential.
Earlier the Israeli foreign minister told French lawmakers that his
country's policy of targeted killings of Palestinian militants
suspected in terror operations was a necessary act of self-defense.
He said the policy was required to face the "new phenomenon" of the
suicide attacker. Palestinians charge that the so-called targeted
operations are assassinations, sometimes of political leaders.
Soldiers Win Legal Victory Over "New Historians"
An Israeli historian who made big news in January 2000 by claiming
that Israeli troops massacred 200 Arabs in one village in May 1948
- has apologized. Teddy Katz, who wrote up his account of the
events in the village of Tantura for his master's degree, was
forced to apologize for making the false accusations following a
trial in the Tel Aviv District Court this week.
Soldiers of the Alexandroni Brigade said they were "very hurt" over
the "lies" promulgated by Katz, which included telling Reuters, "at
least 200 people from the village of Tantura were killed by Israeli
troops," and, "From the numbers, this is definitely one of the
However, Bentz Pridan, the commander of the Israeli soldiers who
fought the battle in Tantura, said that no such thing ever
"I'll give you an example of how he lied," Pridan told Arutz-7,
"He said that he taped dozens of cassettes worth of Arabs who
allegedly told what happened after the battle. Of these, he
sent us 14, which we translated. In one of them, we hear Pridan
ask, 'Tell us what you know about the massacre that happened here,'
and then the Arab answers, "Hey, I didn't see anything of the
"Pridan then repeated the same question, and the Arab gives the
same answer - four times! This is the kind of 'testimony' Katz
relied on for his version of history." Katz had originally
apologized for his actions, but then withdrew his apology; the
court has now compelled him to re-instate it.
Pridan told Arutz-7 what did happen that day: "This was a village,
very close to the Mediterranean Sea and to train tracks [between
Caesarea and Haifa], that was used for delivering supplies. This
was the reason why it was decided to capture it...
"The elders of the village were willing to negotiate, as proposed by
the nearby Jewish town of Zikhron Yaakov, and in such a case
Tantura would have become just like the present-day [Arab] town of
Faradis [right nearby]. But the younger people there refused to
negotiate, and continued fighting.
"Their snipers shot at us from rooftops and from within buildings,
and we had a difficult house-to-house fight. Many were killed in
the battle - I would say about 70 Arabs and 14 of our soldiers.
Their wounded were cared for in Jewish hospitals."
Kleiner Wants Hebrew as the Only Official Language
Knesset member (Herut) Michael Kleiner introduced a bill in the
Knesset Wednesday that would declare Hebrew as the only official
language of the Jewish state. At present, both Hebrew and Arabic
are official state languages.
Kleiner pointed out that the fact that Arabic is an official state
language is being used by Arab legislators and members of the Arab
community to advance their nationalistic struggle. He added that
all children should be obligated to study Hebrew from an early age.
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