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Arafat's Book


"Zionazism: Fight it Before it Liquidates You" is the name of a book found by soldiers in Arafat's luxurious offices in Bethlehem. The book contains 500 pages of anti-Israel hatred, including articles on claims such as, "Today's Jews are not the descendants of Abraham," "The current Bible and Talmud are not God-given," "A small number of Jews reached Palestine in the past, lived east of Mt. Se'ir, and later became extinct," "The God of the Jews was [sic] created from an ancient volcano above the hills of Yemen," "The temple was never built, neither in Jerusalem nor anywhere else," and more...

Shooting Breaks Out at Bethlehem Church as Siege Talks Resume

By VOA News

Shooting broke out at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem Wednesday evening as Israeli and Palestinian officials were starting another round of talks on ending the stand-off in the Christian shrine. A Palestinian man wounded during the exchange later died in a hospital. A second Palestinian and one Israeli soldier also were wounded.

Earlier, another Palestinian man wounded in the church by Israeli army snipers was evacuated to a hospital. Two Palestinian policeman who said they were sick left the church and surrendered to Israeli forces.

About 200 people, including gunmen and church workers, have been under siege in the Bethlehem shrine since April 2. Israel said the gunmen must either surrender and stand trial in Israel or go into exile outside the territories. Palestinians have rejected that and instead suggest the wanted men be escorted to the Gaza Strip.

Elsewhere, Israeli forces killed two Palestinian men, including a local leader of Fatah, and arrested at least seven others during a raid at the West Bank village of Bani Naim near Hebron. A Palestinian boy was killed during a separate Israeli raid in a village near Jenin.

In the Gaza Strip, Israeli soldiers killed three Palestinian teenagers who were armed and trying to enter a Jewish settlement. The classmates left behind notes indicating they knew their action would be fatal. Elsewhere in Gaza, three Palestinians, including two known militants, were killed by an unexplained explosion in a house in the Jabalya refugee camp.

Annan: No Discussions Over Jenin Investigation Team

By VOA News

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said he would not negotiate with Israel on the makeup of the U.N. fact-finding team he named to investigate what happened at the Jenin refugee camp. Palestinians have said that Israeli forces massacred civilians - a charge Israel has repeatedly denied.

Israel said the team was set up with the goal of finding Israel at fault, and it is demanding changes in the team's leadership. The team's departure for the region has been delayed while Israeli envoys go to U.N. headquarters in New York to explain their objections. The Israeli delegation is due there on Thursday.

But U.N. spokesman Fred Eckhard said Annan would not meet with the Israelis. He said Israel had indicated it would cooperate with whatever team Annan named, and that the secretary-general feels its members were his to choose. He said that Annan expects the fact-finding team to be in place by Saturday.

Palestinians said that Israel's objections show it has something to hide, but Israel denied the allegations.

Israel wants the U.N. team to include experts on military operations and counter-terrorism. It said the mission should also investigate what it said was the terrorist network that flourished in the Jenin camp. The United Nations says Annan has not ruled out adding additional experts to the team "as deemed necessary."

In London, British Prime Minister Tony Blair said he thinks it is important for both the Middle East peace process and Israel's reputation that Israel allow the team in. In Washington, Secretary of State Colin Powell said the United States has seen no evidence of a massacre at Jenin - but that it is in Israel's best interest to allow the U.N. team to investigate.

Museum Shows Slice of 19th Century Immigrant Life

By James Donahower (VOA-New York)

Starting at the turn of the century, huge waves of immigrants flowed into the United States through New York. A great many of these immigrants ended up settling in Lower Manhattan. The history of the United States and the story of its immigrants are indivisible. This sometimes troubled, but enduring and fruitful marriage is celebrated at the Lower East Side Tenement Museum.

In turn-of-the-century New York real estate terms, tenements were low-income housing for multiple families. Families and extended families five, 10, sometimes 12 in number crammed into small, three-room apartments in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Many of those homes doubled as small workplaces during the day, where many families made clothing.

This is how millions of U.S. immigrants initially experienced the New World. According to Robin Marcato, the museum's marketing director, the Tenement Museum is unique in its commemoration of these humble beginnings.

"It talks about the Depression, and the daily lives of people who were just trying to make it through. That's my history, that's most people's history. There are tons of museums across the country, and historic homes and mansions, log cabins, and they all glorify people who are famous or rich or that sort of thing, and this is really about people you know/"

The museum was founded in 1994 as a place where longtime Americans, whose families had come here generations ago, could meet their symbolic ancestors, and gain an understanding of what their lives were like when they first arrived in the United States.

The museum has recently taken over a building just across the street from its main visitor's center. The building at 97 Orchard Street was home for some 7,000 immigrants from 1863 until it was abandoned in 1935. The museum researched occupant records of the building and then recreated in immaculate detail the homes of four of 97 Orchard Street's original families: Polish immigrants Harris and Jenny Levine; the Gumpertz family, who came from Germany in the 1870s; the Italian-Catholic Baldizzi family; and the Rogarshevsky family, Orthodox Jews who occupied the building for over 35 years.

Single mother Nathalie Gumpertz was a seamstress. In the Gumpertz apartment, you can see her sewing machine set up just near the window, where the light was best. The walls are papered with a bright floral print - a demonstration, perhaps, of Nathalie's effort to bring some cheer to her cramped quarters.

In the Rogarshevsky's apartment, the mood is darker. Family patriarch Abraham Rogarshevsky has passed away, and a meal of oranges, buns, and eggs for those in mourning is out on the small table in the parlor. In keeping with Jewish custom, the mirrors in the apartment are covered.

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