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Pollard Supporters Enraged At Olmert for Omitting His Name in Speech


The Committee for Jonathan Pollard, serving a life prison term in the U.S. for passing classified information to Israel more than 21 years ago, has lashed out at Prime Minister Ehud Olmert for reading out the names on captives and omitting Pollard. The Prime Minister read the list in a speech to the Knesset this week.

Committee spokesperson Adi Ginzberg charged, "As if it were not outrageous enough that Olmert abandoned Pollard, now he is behaving as if Pollard does not even exist, and as if the State has no obligation to bring him home."

Abbas to Form New Government in West Bank, Gaza Strip

By VOA News

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said he would act to form a new government in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

Speaking in Ramallah late Thursday, Abbas said he will make key decisions to ease the suffering of the Palestinian people. He has suggested he might form a government of technocrats, but the ruling Hamas faction earlier rejected this idea.

Meanwhile, Israel accused Iran of paying a Hamas leader $50 million to prevent the release of an Israeli soldier captured by Palestinian terrorists in June.

Israel's U.N. ambassador Dan Gillerman said he informed the Security Council Thursday Tehran had paid the bribe to the group's exiled political leader Khaled Mashaal who lives in the Syrian capital, Damascus.

Hamas has demanded the release of Palestinian prisoners in exchange for the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. Egypt has been mediating between the two sides for months.

Gillerman told the Security Council that "we heard news" earlier in the day that Tehran had paid the money to Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal "to sabotage the negotiations on the release of Cpl. Gilad Shalit and prevent his release.

"We have every reason to believe that the Iranian regime has bribed Khaled Mashaal," he later told reporters. "I cannot divulge the sources or give you any further details on this."

Shalit was seized on June 25 by Palestinian militants in a cross-border raid, in which two other soldiers were killed.

In other news, a senior Lebanese official said the Arabs should resume peace talks with Israel. Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri told an Arab television station that peace talks should be based on a Saudi initiative that calls for Israel to relinquish occupied lands for peace.

Berri is a Shi'ite ally of Hizbullah. Earlier this week, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert proposed peace talks with Lebanon. But Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Siniora said his country would be the last one to sign a peace deal with the Jewish state.

German Student Forced to Wear Anti-Semitic Sign


In an incident that recalls 1930s-era Nazi Germany, a high-school student in Eastern Germany was forced to wear an anti-Semitic sign in the school yard. "In this town I'm the biggest swine because of the Jewish friends of mine," the sign read.

"Awful," Armin Friedrichs, chief of police for the Eastern German region of Jerichower Land, said on Thursday. "I've never seen anything like it in my whole life."

Friedrichs was referring to a shocking incident which took place in the school yard of a secondary school in Parey, a small town in the state of Saxony Anhalt. A 16-year-old pupil was seen parading around the yard with a sign hung around his neck.

A teacher at the school noticed the incident and immediately called the police. Three youths, aged between 15 and 16, are being investigated for allegedly forcing the pupil to wear the sign. Charges of coercion may result, and prosecutors are investigating to determine whether further charges may apply. Investigators are also considering an alternative explanation involving the youth completing a test of courage.

The sign's message recalls Nazi-era Germany after Hitler and his party took over power in 1933 -- and particularly the 1935 Nuremberg racial purity laws, which prohibited Germans from having sexual relations with Jews. Women who slept with Jewish men were often forced to parade through town wearing signs bearing such slogans. A well-known picture of a woman wearing such a sign appears in German school books and may be the source for Thursday's incident.

"In this way, the NSDAP and SA publicly humiliated people after they took over power in 1933," said Saxony Anhalt's Interior Minister Holger Hövelmann. "It is appalling that adolescents in our country think that they can do such a thing today." The minister promised that the investigation would be thoroughly investigated.

The incident marks only the most recent racist episode in Eastern Germany this year. Last month, the African-German football player Gerald Asamoah, who has played for the German national team in the past, was the victim of racist insults at a game in Rostock.

During the recent state election campaigns in Mecklenburg-Lower Pomerania and in Berlin, candidates from both the center-left Social Democrats and the center-right Christian Democrats were attacked by neo-Nazis. The neo-Nazi National Democratic Party of Germany (NPD) won 7.3 percent of the vote.

Also on Thursday, the right-extremist lawyer Jürgen Rieger was convicted of threatening a journalist and has to pay a penalty of €1,600. He told the journalist: "When the Heisenhof burns, you're going to burn too. I'm going to lay you on the grill and roast you slowly."

It's the second bit of bad news for Rieger this week. He had been trying to buy a hotel in the center Delmenhorst, a small town not far from Bremen, in order to establish a neo-Nazi training center. Last Thursday, however, the city came to an agreement with the current owner of the hotel. The city has agreed to pay €3 million for the property -- €400,000 less than Rieger was offering. The contract, however, has not yet been finalized.

Hizbullah Fired Cluster Rockets on Civilians in Israel, Says Rights Group

By The Independent

Hizbullah launched cluster bombs into civilian areas of northern Israel during the five-week Lebanon war, an international human rights agency has said.

Human Rights Watch said the Lebanese terrorist group had launched 122mm Chinese-made Type 81 rockets on Jewish and Arab communities. These contain dozens of bomblets, known as "sub-munitions."

Israel had earned wide condemnation for its use of cluster weapons during the conflict, which left as many as a million hazardous "duds," ones that failed to explode on impact and which HRW says are still wounding three civilians a day and disrupting economic recovery. Twenty people have died since the August ceasefire.

The Israeli authorities had prevented publication of details of Hizbullah cluster strikes, citing security concerns, HRW said. It added that it had itself documented the use of the weapon on the Arab-Israeli village of Mghar in Galilee where three members of a family were wounded.

Israeli police told HRW113 cluster rockets were fired on Israel, causing one death, also in Mghar, and 12 injuries. That total could contain 4,407 "sub-munitions" but police declined to estimate the number of possible duds still lying around.

Is Olmert Sowing the Seeds of a Preemptive Strike?

By Yossi Melman (Commentary)

This is the first time that an Israeli prime minister has talked openly about the fact that it is necessary to create conditions that "cause Iran to be afraid that something they do not want to happen to them will happen to them." This is the most far-reaching threat uttered by an Israeli leader in an effort to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. No less important, these statements were made on Russian soil.

For nearly a decade, Israel viewed Russia as the main source from which Iran acquired nuclear technology, know-how and materials for its nuclear program - through which it aspired to develop nuclear weapons. Israel, along with the United States, tried to convince Moscow to prevent the trickle of nuclear technology to Iran.

Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore headed these efforts, and set up a coordination mechanism with then-Russian Prime Minister Victor Chernomyrdin. The heads of the Mossad and Israel's National Security Agency and Atomic Energy Committee have traveled abroad since 1995 to convince their counterparts that Russian support for Iran's nuclear efforts was problematic.

At the center of Israeli claims was the fact that Russia was constructing an electrical reactor in Iran, near Bushehr, for the production of electricity. Based on the knowledge Iran would acquire from this reactor, it would develop a secret nuclear program. The Russians always countered with a challenge: Show us proof that the Iranians are developing nuclear weapons with our help. Such proof was never produced, because it was argued that secret intelligence gathering would be exposed. In fact, neither Israel nor the U.S. had any real proof.

But now it seems that Israel has altered its approach. This stems from two reasons. The first is that Russia had undertaken its own efforts in recent years to delay support of the Bushehr reactor's construction. The fact is that the reactor is still not operational, and if it does begin operations next year that will come following a three- to four-year delays. In other words, Russia made delaying efforts, and found excuses allowing it not to transfer to Iran enriched uranium (low grade), which it has committed to provide as fuel for the Bushehr reactor.

The second reason is that it turns out that the main source from which Iran acquired nuclear technology was not Russia but Pakistan. The father of the Pakistani bomb, Dr. Abdul Kader Khan, and his smuggling ring, has been responsible for transferring to Iran the blueprints for constructing the centrifuges necessary for enriching uranium, and for developing the necessary dense material for nuclear weapons. This was carried out contrary to intelligence assessments in the U.S., Israel and Europe.

This insight is what lies behind the change in Israel's policy. Not only is the conclusion that Russia is not the problem, but Moscow is now considered an essential component in international efforts to formulate a consensus that efficient sanctions must be imposed on Tehran. Sanctions of that sort will make Iran "feel scared."

But above all, Olmert sought in his current visit to inform the Russians that if the sanctions do not help and deter Iran from achieving its aims, Israel will not be able to reconcile with a nuclear Iran led by a president who declares the need to wipe Israel off the face of the map. In other words, the prime minister has sown the seeds of the possibility that Israel may be forced to carry out a preemptive strike against Iran if the international community does not succeed in its diplomatic efforts, and if no international force is used against Iran.

Fighting AIDS: Israel to Train Ethiopian doctors


According to an emergency plan initiated by US President George W. Bush, Israel is to train Ethiopian doctors, and eventually nurses as well, to treat AIDS patients in Ethiopia.

In Ethiopia, out of the four million HIV carriers in the country, about a quarter of a million people live with AIDS. Only about 10 thousand of them receive treatment for the virus.

As part of an emergency plan initiated by Bush to deal with the epidemic, $100 million would be transferred to Ethiopia yearly to purchase medicine.

A major problem was that the African country had a shortage of doctors who were knowledgeable about the drugs and how they were used for treatment.

When this became known, Israel decided to give a hand in the struggle against the deadly epidemic and train Ethiopian doctors on the subject.

The first envoy of 11 Ethiopian doctors arrived in Israel this week from Addis Baba. They were expected to undergo training in the AIDS clinics at the Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital in Jerusalem, and the Central Virology Laboratory at the Sheba Medical Center in Tel-Hashomer.

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