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>Israel Faxx
>JN Nov. 16, 2001, Vol. 9, No. 191

Peres Castigates bin Laden

By Israel Faxx Staff

Foreign Minister Shimon Peres on Thursday told the UN General Assembly that Osama bin Laden's claim to be fighting for the the Palestinians is hurting the Palestinian cause, not helping it.

"Bin Laden claims that he wants to help the Palestinians in their conflict, but he is an obstacle to a resolution, not an aid."

Israeli Troops Enter Palestinian Refugee Camp

By VOA News

Israeli forces pushed into a Palestinian refugee camp in the Gaza Strip early Thursday, triggering a gunbattle that left one Palestinian dead and at least 13 wounded.

Israeli forces destroyed at least two buildings in the Khan Yunis camp during the raid. Other houses were heavily damaged. The Israeli army says it demolished buildings used as cover by gunmen to fire mortars and guns at a nearby Jewish settlement.

Israeli troops also entered a Palestinian village (Shawawra) near Bethlehem in the West Bank and arrested eight suspected militants before withdrawing.

Later in the day, Palestinians held scattered rallies to mark the 13th anniversary of Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat's symbolic declaration, from exile, of Palestinian statehood. In a speech Thursday Arafat said he remains committed to peace with Israel, but that the price is a complete Israeli withdrawal from land captured in 1967, the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.

Meanwhile, the Israeli defense ministry says it plans to ease some restrictions on movement in the occupied territories during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. It says some roadblocks will be removed in the West Bank. The Israeli-controlled Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt will open for longer hours. Israel says it also will allow Palestinian fishermen to venture farther from port.

Peres: Palestinian Authority Must Control All Arms

By Breck Ardery (VOA-United Nations)

Israel's foreign minister, Shimon Peres, has told the United Nations General Assembly that the Palestinian Authority must exercise control over all arms in its jurisdiction. Peres said that terror is not an abstract dilemma for Israel, that his nation faces the reality of violent incidents every day.

In a reference to the Palestinian Authority, he said democracy and security are impossible if there is one political authority but several armed partners. "The Palestinian Authority, which is a state in the making, must establish one authority over all arms, all armies, and all use of arms, not for the sake of Israel, but for the sake of peace and their own destiny, so that bullets will not negate ballots."

Peres said Israel is committed to contribute whatever it can to renew the peace process but that peace can come only through a negotiated agreement with the Palestinians.

The foreign minister said many Israelis now support the idea of an independent Palestine. "Although this is not yet a formal policy of the government of Israel, there is support for Palestinian independence, support for a Palestinian state." Peres added that, as far as Israel was concerned, "good neighbors are better than good guns."

Yad Vashem: Righteous Among the Nations Ceremonies


Yad Vashem will hold a ceremony on Sunday to posthumously honor the late Valentina Varavina from Ukraine, as a Righteous Among the Nations. She is to be honored for endangering herself in saving the life of young Jewish boy - Yafim 'Fima' Shtraim.

In July 1941, Valentina Varavina met young mother Bluma Shtraim on a train fleeing East with her two sons Ilya aged nine and Yafim aged three. The boys' father, a junior officer in the Red Army, had been drafted to the front a month prior, and the family were trying to escape their hometown Zhitomir (Ukraine). In central Ukraine the train was bombed and Bluma was killed.

Valentina vowed to save the boys and grabbed them from the wreckage. In the chaos Ilya was separated from his brother, and Valentina and Yafim returned to Zhitomir where Yafim renamed the young boy Valik. She introduced him as her nephew to conceal his Jewish identity, and hid him in her house until Liberation by the Soviet army in 1943.

Shortly after liberation, the long-lost Ilya turned up at the house, after having survived himself. In 1946 with his release from the army, their father returned to reclaim his two sons, and Valentina adopted a daughter, Svetlana.

Yafim (now Yafim Sklarsky) moved to Israel in the 1990s and gave his testimony to Yad Vashem requesting that Valentina be posthumously honored as a Righteous Among the Nations. In July 2001 Svetlana appeared on Russian TV pleading for information on her mother's other "child," and miraculously the plea was seen by Yafim in Israel.

Svetlana Shukaliuk and Yafim Sklasrsky will meet for the first time as adults in Israel, at Yad Vashem, when Svetlana receives the certificate and medal on behalf of her stepmother.

The ceremony will take place Sunday afternoon in the Garden of the Righteous Among the Nations in Yad Vashem in addition to two further ceremonies honoring Ukrainians Tamara Bromberg and her late mother Valentina Maximenok, and the late Michal, Maria and Michail Raduchiwski.

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