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>Israel Faxx
>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 biggest massacres."

However, Bentz Pridan, the commander of the Israeli soldiers who fought the battle in Tantura, said that no such thing ever happened.

"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 sort.'

"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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