Newsletter : 2fax0424.txt
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European Anti-Semitism Triggers Emergency Meeting
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
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
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
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
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