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European Anti-Semitism Triggers Emergency Meeting

By IsraelNationalNews.com

German police have instructed Jewish residents in Berlin not to appear in public with clothes that identify them as Jewish, in order to avoid being attacked. Officials there are on a "maximum security" alert for possible attacks against Jewish targets throughout the country. "The threat is getting closer," acknowledges Paul Spiegel, president of Germany's Central Jewish Council. He told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung website (Faz.com) that he and his staff have received many anti-Semitic threats in the mail and email.


Explosion in Arafat Compound, Bethlehem Siege Talks Start

By VOA News

Israeli soldiers have set off an explosion inside the compound of Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat in Ramallah. Palestinian officials said the blast was in a vacant building next to Arafat's office, and no one was hurt. The Israeli army says soldiers used controlled explosions to destroy grenades found in the compound, where Arafat has been confined since December.

The Ramallah incident came as Israeli and Palestinian negotiators wrapped up a second round of talks Tuesday aimed at ending a three-week stand-off at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. Palestinian officials said the talks were constructive but no agreement was reached. The two sides plan to meet again Wednesday to find a way to bring the 200 people, including Palestinian gunmen, out of the church.

Israel says the gunmen must either surrender and stand trial in Israel or go into exile outside the territories. Palestinians rejected those demands and offered a counter-proposal under which the wanted men would be sent to the Gaza Strip.

Three Armenian priests managed to reach a roof of the church Tuesday morning, holding a large sign reading, "Help Us." The army noticed them and helped them escape. The priests told of "shocking sights" inside the church, including the beating by terrorists of some Christian clergy, as well as vandalism and thefts by the armed Arabs. The priests also said that hunger is beginning to have its effect on several of the prisoners.

Ibrahim Abayat and Ismail Hamdan, murderers of American citizen Avi Boaz, are reportedly among the terrorists currently hiding behind nuns and monks in the Church of Nativity.



Jenin Residents Still Dazed After Israeli Assault

By Meredith Buel (VOA-Jenin Refugee Camp) (Israel Faxx note: Although this editor (with more than 40 years of journalism experience) believes that Meredith Buel has taken a pro-Palestinian rather than a objective viewpoint, I have decided to run it).

The refugee camp in Jenin was the scene of the bloodiest battle between Israeli troops and Palestinian gunmen during the West Bank offensive Israel launched recently in response to Palestinian suicide attacks. The United Nations has appointed a fact-finding team to establish what happened over the course of the military assault. Palestinians charge that Israeli troops carried out a "massacre" of civilians in the camp - an accusation Israel vehemently denies. The U.N. has declared the area a "disaster zone."

A well-dressed Palestinian woman with tears streaming down her cheeks wandered aimlessly through the mountains of rubble asking others to help find her husband. She fears he was killed by Israeli troops. A young girl sifted through the ruins of her home, finding only a shoe, a dinner plate and a torn fragment of cloth from what was once her school uniform.

Palestinian men use small shovels to dig through the debris, looking for the bodies of people they say were buried alive by Israeli army bulldozers that leveled the center of the Jenin refugee camp during fierce fighting with Palestinian gunmen.

Abdllatif Nabhan, 42, like most everyone else who lives here, said hundreds of civilians died. "What happened here is a massacre. It is a terrible thing," he said. "It is like an earthquake. It is bigger than an earthquake."

The smell of rotting flesh mingled with the dust, and swarms of flies linger over the battlefield that was once a dense city of concrete dwellings. Damage to homes still standing is massive. The front walls have been sheered off by Israeli tanks and bulldozers. The structures are pockmarked by holes made by machine guns, tank shells and missiles from combat helicopters.

A senior Israeli Foreign Ministry official, Mark Sofer, said the military had no choice but to raid the Jenin camp, which he said was home to 23 suicide bombers responsible for killing dozens of Israelis. "What we wanted to do was uproot the terrorist infrastructure within the Palestinian cities and towns and villages, which ideally should have been done by the Palestinian leadership itself," he said.

"But they had not done it. As a result of the suffering we went through we had to, unfortunately, undergo this operation. What we found in Jenin was absolutely flabbergasting and mind-boggling. Arms, ammunition dumps, factories for the making of rockets, terrorist infrastructure of the likes we had not seen anywhere else."

Sofer insisted Israeli troops did their best to minimize civilian casualties and said the mission would have been over in hours if warplanes had been used to bomb the Jenin refugee camp. The Israeli army says 23 soldiers were killed during the ferocious fighting and estimates about 50 Palestinians, mostly gunmen, also died.

No evidence has yet emerged to support Palestinian claims that hundreds of civilians were killed. Still the devastation left behind since the Israeli withdrawal from the camp is enormous.

A Palestinian man, who asked not to be identified, said 31 people used to live in his home, which was completely destroyed by Israeli armored bulldozers. "Actually, what I want the whole world to know is that the Israelis are inhuman people," he said. "They are not human. They are savages because what happened is that they destroyed my house, and now I have no house. I do not know what to do. What am I going to do with my family? I have a big family, so what shall I do?"

The United Nations estimated at least 2,000 of the 13,000 refugees living in the Jenin camp are now homeless.


What exactly happened at the Jenin refugee camp and how many people died will not be known until residents and rescue teams, currently hampered by a lack of large equipment, remove the enormous amount of debris. A United Nations fact-finding team has been appointed to investigate, but will need time to sort through the maze of charges and counter-charges.

In the meantime, thousands of Palestinian refugees in Jenin continue to wander, dazed, through the remains of the camp and remember the battle that left many of their homes and lives in ruins.


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