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PA to Probe Arafat's Death, Suspects Israeli in Involvement


The Palestinian Authority decided Wednesday to appoint a committee to probe the death of PLO leader Yasir Arafat. Deputy parliament speaker Hassan Kreisheh charged, "We believe he was killed" and added that Israel was responsible for his death. A former PA investigation has not published its findings. Arafat's wife Suha refused to allow an autopsy, and Arab leaders frequently have accused Israel of poisoning Arafat despite medical reports that did not mention the possibility of poisoning.

Palestinian, Israeli Leaders to Meet Tuesday

By VOA News

Jordan's King Abdullah said Palestinian and Israeli leaders would meet Tuesday to revive stalled Middle East peace talks. A statement from the royal court Wednesday said the meeting between Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is in response to the king's efforts to push the peace process forward. It was not clear where the meeting would take place or if King Abdullah would attend. The Israeli and Palestinian leaders canceled an Oct. 2 summit, following an escalation of violence in the Gaza Strip.

And a leading Palestinian newspaper said Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia would resign next week. The al-Hayam newspaper Wednesday said Qureia would quit after returning from medical treatments in Paris. There has been no official confirmation of the report.

On Sunday, Palestinian lawmakers voted overwhelmingly to urge President Mahmoud Abbas to fire his cabinet for failing to stop factional fighting in the Gaza Strip. The lawmakers demanded that Abbas appoint a new prime minister within two weeks or else face a no-confidence vote. The action came after a legislative committee presented a special report on the deteriorating Gaza security situation. Hours earlier Sunday, a Palestinian police commander and two civilian bystanders were killed and at least 50 others wounded in gun battles between Hamas militants and police.

Pentagon Analyst Pleads Guilty to Passing U.S. State Secrets

By Bloomberg News Service

A former U.S. Defense Department analyst pleaded guilty to charges he gave classified military documents to unauthorized individuals.

Lawrence A. Franklin, 58, who worked on the Pentagon's Iran desk, pleaded guilty Wednesday in federal court in Alexandria, Va. to three counts. He faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine on the most serious of the charges. The government recommended his sentencing be delayed to let him complete his cooperation in the case. ``I divulged classified information to individuals unauthorized to receive it,'' Franklin said in court.

Franklin, a former colonel in the U.S. Air Force Reserve, admitted handing over classified information to two former employees of the leading pro-Israel lobbying group in Washington. The men, Steve Rosen and Keith Weissman, were charged in August with conspiring to disclose information they received form Franklin to foreign government officials. The American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC, fired policy director Rosen and senior Iran analyst Weissman in April.

More than 80 classified documents were found during a search of Franklin's home in Kearneysville, W. Va. and a search of his Pentagon office a year ago yielded the classified document containing the information he was accused of revealing. The case is U.S. v. Franklin, 05cr225, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. A trial has been scheduled for Sept. 9.

Letter to the Editor

By Frances Bernay-Cohen

Responding to Kenneth Swerdlow's commentary in which he stated "(God) was in tremendous pain...because his precious land that He gifted to His children was thrown back to the dogs. (Yes, God loves those dogs too) but His plan was for his Jewish children, not Ishmael's."

We must remember that God chose the Hebrew nation for a mission, of being "a kingdom of ministers and a holy nation" (Exodus 19:6). Isaiah charged us to be "a light unto the nations). When its people stood at the foot of Mount Sinai, trembling in awe and fear at the might of God, it took on this obligation to obey His Commandments and to teach them diligently to their children.

With this obligation came the warning that punishment for backsliding from this mission would be followed by exile from the land. Today's Jews have inherited this educate mankind, even the "dogs" of the world. When, and only when, every knee bends to God will we see salvation.

New Israel Fund Supporting Anti-Israel Propaganda

By Gerald Steinberg (IMRA Commentary)

The primary threats to Israel's survival do not come from Iran's weapons of mass destruction, or from Palestinian terrorists. Rather, the deeper danger comes from the continuing propaganda campaign that rejects Israel's legitimacy and seeks to rollback the UN partition decision of November 1947.

This campaign produced the infamous UN resolution equating Zionism with racism in 1975, which was revived in the 2002 Durban conference. The Israel-bashers have shifted the focus away from the Palestinian responsibility for terrorism and the failure of the Oslo process, while promoting the great lies of massive human rights violations by Israel.

While Arab and Islamic organizations lead the way, such Israel-bashing is promoted by journalists, diplomats (including the UN), academics, and self-proclaimed human rights groups. Non-governmental organizations (NGO) enjoy a halo effect, and their claims to promote noble causes without a political axe to grind exempt them from scrutiny.

In reality, however, these NGOs are at the very core of this other axis of evil. By promoting the campaign of hatred and delegitimization directed against Israel, these human rights NGOs are themselves contributing to the justification of terrorism. Charges of Israeli war crimes, violations of international law, systematic human rights abuses are commonplace in the reports and press releases of NGOs such as Amnesty International, OXFAM, Christian Aid and Human Rights Watch.

These reports generally rely on information supplied by Palestinians and their political or ideological supporters (often employed by the NGOs or UN agencies with whom they are in close contact), and the claims are rarely subject to independent confirmation. In addition, dozens of Israeli-based and Palestinian groups receive massive funding from abroad to produce a steady stream of anti-Israel political propaganda, which has nothing to do with human rights.

As documented in the analyses of the NGO Monitor, the lies and distortions are reported by journalists, repeated by diplomats and in UN publications, cited in academic journals, and then reappear as in the NGO websites. In this propaganda war, it is surprising that some of the NGOs and their ignoble activities are funded by Jewish and Israel-oriented organizations such as the New Israel Fund.

The most notorious example -- Physicians for Human Rights Israel, emphasizes illegal Israeli occupation, and uses the medical dimension as a thin cover to promote its ideological agenda. PHR-I's crude propaganda is seen by many as anti-Semitic, and has prompted the Israeli Medical Association to end all cooperation with this group. The cartoons published by PHR-I use stereotypes of Palestinian victims and Israeli oppressors, with no mention of brutal suicide attacks.

Similarly, a group calling itself "The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions" uses terms such as "apartheid" to describe Israel efforts to prevent suicide bombings, and encourages Israeli Arab citizens to remember the Nakba (disaster) on May 15. Supports are urged to send donations through the NIF The NIF also funds the Nazareth-based Arab Association of Human Rights (HRA) and Adalah.

Rather than working primarily to encourage values such as equality and tolerance among Israeli citizens, both Jewish and Arab, and delegitimize terrorism, these groups are at the forefront of the externally directed campaign to distort the Israeli reality. Instead, under the cover of human and civil rights, both groups promote blatant ideological and political agendas anchored in the delegitimazation of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state. In its press review, HRA consistently condemns Israeli actions to prevent terrorist attacks.

Vital security measures are misleadingly labeled as evidence of discrimination, while facts that do not support this false charge are ignored. Similarly, Adalah has played a leading role in the promoting the myth that Israel is not a democracy. Propaganda attacks on Israel are not included in NIF's stated goals, but the results undermine the claim to provide an alternative approach in support of Israeli democracy and Zionism.

Many Israelis associate this organization primarily with the propaganda campaigns and funding for extremist fringe groups, while NIF's more positive activities are lost in the noise. A number of NIF supporters and officials have resigned following these revelations, and others are demanding a thorough accounting and change in policy. Given the important contributions that NIF makes in other areas, an immediate end to involvement in Israel-bashing disguised as support for human and civil rights would not come to early.

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