Newsletter : 6fax1019.txt
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Court Upholds Terror Designation
Israel Faxx News Services
A U.S. court upheld the State Department's designation of the Jewish group Kahane Chai
and its affiliates as terrorist groups. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of
Columbia Circuit ruled that the State Department's decision in 2003 to renew its 1997
decision had "substantial support," noting that the group "was known to approve of
terrorist tactics, including the mass murder of Arab worshipers." Kahane Chai, a group
that preaches the anti-Arab teachings of the late Rabbi Meir Kahane, argued that it was a
legitimate Jewish activist group that did not support terrorism. The group's Web site,
kahane.org, also was declared a terrorist entity.
Israeli Prime Minister Urges Russia to Act Against Iran
By VOA News & IsraelNationalNews.com
Following his meeting in Moscow with Russian President Vladimir Putin, analysts are
reporting that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert emerged "empty-handed."
Some political analysts explain that Israel did not seek anything resembling a firm
commitment from Putin to work towards halting the Iranian nuclear program, but there was
hope for some indication that the Russian leader would take steps in line with Israel's
On the contrary, Russia has played a major role towards arming Iran, and continues to
sell advanced weapons to Syria which has made their way to Hizbullah.
Many Russian-built anti-tank rockets were used during the Lebanon war against IDF tanks
and infantry, claiming many lives and leaving soldiers permanently maimed.
Olmert stated Wednesday that Israel would not tolerate a situation in which a state
such as Iran is in possession of nuclear weapons. A nuclear Iran, Olmert told Putin, is at
the top of Israel's security agenda.
"Israel cannot accept a situation in which a state that seeks to exterminate it is in
possession of nuclear capabilities," Olmert said, at the conclusion of a meeting with
Putin in Moscow.
Speaking in Moscow after talks with Putin, Olmert said the entire international
community should unite to block what he called Iran's intention to build nuclear
Olmert said he is confident that Putin understands Israel's concerns. But in a joint
news conference Wednesday, Putin said nothing about Iran's nuclear program. He said Russia
wants to help restart peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. Russia has
been reluctant to go along with proposed sanctions against Tehran.
Israeli Forces Push into Southern Gaza
The IDF has returned to the Philadelphi Corridor between Gaza and Egypt
The soldiers returned to the corridor one year after it was abandoned as then-Prime
Minister Ariel Sharon's final step in the implementation of his unilateral surrender of
Gaza. Five tunnels were identified and destroyed on Wednesday alone.
The Philadelphi strip, located between the Gaza town of Rafiah and the Sinai town of
the same name, was the location of smuggling tunnels throughout the years. Special IDF
units were assigned to detecting and destroying the tunnels in order to disrupt the flow
of weapons, drugs, terrorists and prostitutes.
Following the Disengagement from Gaza, in which 25 Jewish communities were destroyed
and their residents evicted, the corridor's tunnels were rebuilt and the Rafiah Crossing
itself was placed under the supervision of the Palestinian Authority (PA) and European
Union representatives. The border lay open for week-long periods after various terror
factions bulldozed or blasted holes in the fence.
Two large tunnels were exposed and two other tunnel openings were identified in Rafiah
Tuesday. In recent weeks, 20 such tunnels have been discovered in the area. The attack on
the IDF's Kerem Shalom lookout was carried out by use of a tunnel from Gaza deep
underneath the security fence.
The government's decision to send the IDF back to the 7.2 mile long corridor was
reluctant as much effort and US pressure were invested in hammering out an agreement under
which the European Union would oversee the border together with the Palestinian
In reality, with Hamas running the PA and Egypt overseeing security on its side of the
border, the smuggling has mushroomed to a level exceeding any other time in history.
Russian-made Kornet anti-tank missiles, which were used against IDF tanks effectively
in Lebanon, have been transported in large quantities into Gaza, according to IDF
intelligence briefings to the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. The missiles
were responsible for a third of the casualties suffered in the recent war with Hizbullah.
Explosives, guns, ammunition and even anti-aircraft missiles are also being smuggled into
Defense Minister Amir Peretz's aids have been hinting that Israel is preparing to
launch its largest operation in the entire Gaza region since the expulsion took place just
over a year ago. Peretz himself said earlier this week that Gaza must be prevented from
becoming a "second Lebanon."
The IDF return to Rafiah and the corridor met little resistance from local terror
US Raises Concerns Over Israeli Visa Policies
By Jim Teeple (VOA-Jerusalem)
The U.S. government says it is concerned about new visa restrictions Israel is imposing
on Palestinian-Americans who want to visit or live in the Palestinian territories.
State Department officials have delivered a demarche, or diplomatic note, to the Israeli
Embassy in Washington outlining their concerns over the new Israeli policy that has
restricted visits by Palestinian foreign passport holders, many of them U.S. citizens, to
the occupied territories.
A number of Palestinian-American business people have complained in recent months that
Israel is refusing to grant tourist visas, or issue extensions to existing visas they need
to enter Israel, in order to travel to the West Bank, where their businesses and homes are
The issue was raised by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice this month during a visit
to Israel and the Palestinian territories. Rice said she would work to ensure that U.S.
citizens receive "fair and equal" treatment with regard to the issuance of visas.
U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv spokesman Geoff Anisman said the United States hopes to
resolve the issue with Israel soon. "The U.S. government is committed to ensuring that all
American travelers receive fair and equal treatment," he said. "As the secretary [Rice]
noted recently, continuing security problems in those regions represent a great challenge
for the many Palestinian-Americans living and working there - and for Americans who seek
to travel there. We have a positive dialogue with the government of Israel on this and a
wide range of other travel and security-related issues."
A spokesman for the Israeli Foreign Ministry said Israeli officials are looking into
A leading Palestinian-American businessman, Sam Bahour, who lives and works in the West
Bank city of Ramallah, said he welcomes the attention being brought to the issue by the
"We do hope this is the beginning of U.S. action towards actually leveraging their
position with Israel to resolve this issue," he said. "The issue not only deals with
Americans, but all foreign nationals who are coming to visit the Palestinian occupied
territories, as well as more than 120,000 other people like myself, who are looking for
residency here because our families are here."
Israeli officials deny targeting Palestinian holders of foreign passports, but say
tourist visas are only good for visiting Israel, and not for living and working in the
Israeli officials said anyone who wants to live and work in the Palestinian territories
must obtain a work permit. Palestinians say such permits are virtually impossible to
obtain because they are issued by the Israeli Defense Forces.
Olmert Sets Sights on Nobel Laureate Wiesel for Presidency
In a surprise move, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is suggesting a new candidate for
president - not an Israeli, but Nobel Prize Laureate Elie Wiesel.
Olmert suggested Wiesel as a possible candidate to replace President Moshe Katzav.
While Olmert has been careful not to publicly undermine the president, it is now apparent
that Katzav will likely be compelled to step down from office in the near future. Katzav
will likely be facing a multi-count criminal indictment and his future will be determined
by the outcome of the judicial proceedings against him.
Olmert has made it clear that he prefers a president who does not emerge from the ranks
of the political arena, as was the case with Katzav and others. Wiesel, who is
internationally acclaimed, has been awarded the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize and is
widely respected internationally.
Wiesel, a Holocaust survivor, would be compelled to move to Israel if he accepts the
nomination and is elected, and would immediately be granted Israeli citizenship. Olmert
pointed out that selecting a non-Israeli for the post is not without precedent; Albert
Einstein was encouraged to move to Israel to serve as Israel's president in its early
days, but he turned down the offer.
Wiesel speaks Hebrew, along with a number of other languages, making him even more
suited for the post, the prime minister explains.
Olmert is also considering throwing his support behind former Prisoner of Zion Natan
Sharansky, who recently announced his resignation from politics. He has accepted a
position in Jerusalem's prestigious Shalem Center.
Sharansky served in the past as a cabinet minister and is respected worldwide for his
published views regarding issues of human rights and terrorism. He sat in Soviet prison
for close to a decade because of his struggle to emigrate from the former USSR to
Vice Premier Shimon Peres has already signaled he too may run for the post. Peres lost
to Katzav six years ago in the secret Knesset vote. Many analysts believe that despite
being among the most respected politicians in the world, Peres would not take a chance on
running once again for office. Peres, 83, is widely known in Israel as "The Loser," barely
ever having won an election.
The president, Israel's head of state, is elected to a five-year term by a majority of
the Knesset in a secret ballot. The president can be reelected for only one more
Reservists Return Gift Vouchers to IDF
Two IDF reserve soldiers who participated in the last war in Lebanon and who received
gift vouchers from the IDF as a gesture of appreciation for their efforts have decided to
send them back to the chief of staff.
In a letter sent to Lt. Gen. Dan Halutz one of the reservists told the chief of staff
that "It would be better to invest the money in the equipment that the soldiers are still
missing. When you don't have money for bread, you shouldn't buy cakes."
The vouchers, NIS 392 ($92) were meant to be used to purchase books and novelty items and
could also be used for vacation discounts. But Lt. Adam Matan, a reservist who commanded
over a tank unit in the central and eastern sectors in Lebanon, claims that it is
inappropriate to hand out such a gift as the IDF is lacking in basic equipment.
"During the war we were missing crucial equipment from proper outfitting for our
tanks to simple personal equipment like shoes, helmets, vests and coveralls and all the
way to logistical means like a company vehicle," wrote Matan to the chief of staff. "After
the war we came back to our war reserves store unit for an inspection and to my surprise
we still hadn't received enough suitable personal equipment. We didn't have shoes and we
didn't have coveralls and there weren't fireproof gloves in our sizes."
Staff Sgt. Y, a reserve fighter in the armored corps also sent a letter to the chief of
staff with his gift vouchers. "I served in the last war as a tank commander in the area of
Bint Jbel. Grave equipment and ammunition deficiencies were discovered in the instrument
placed in my hands. These deficiencies could have endangered my team, and some of the
missing equipment was replaced with equipment taken from a decommissioned tank
can an organization which has budgetary problems on the one hand, and carelessly neglects
the gear used by its front workers, easily finds the resources needed to thank those
workers for their job."
"Many reservists have difficult bridging the gap between the army that sent them to war
unprepared and without the proper fighting equipment to the army that later sends them to
indulge themselves in cabins up north," said officials from the Hapash forum, an
organization for reserve soldiers.
"The IDF doesn't have a budgetary problem; it has crooked priorities and amateur
management. If they haven't understood that in the IDF after the war, the whole thing
seems hopeless," said the forum, "at this rate - today reservists are returning gift
vouchers, tomorrow they'll be returning their reserve papers."
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