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Members of Iranian Elite Mark Holocaust
Israel Faxx News Services

More than 100 Iranian scholars, writers and activists living at home and abroad honored Holocaust victims and excoriated Iran's government for denying the genocide.

A petition appearing in the latest New York Review of Books begins by calling the Nazis' "Final Solution" and their ensuing campaign of genocide "undeniable historical facts." It deplores the Iranian regime's use of Holocaust denial as "a propaganda tool" and says "the new brand of anti-Semitism prevalent in the Middle East today" has no precedent in Iran's history.

The petition concludes by saying that the petitioners "pay homage to the memory of the millions of Jewish and non-Jewish victims of the Holocaust, and express our empathy for the survivors of this immense tragedy as well as all other victims of crimes against humanity across the world."

Israeli Aircraft Bomb Tunnel on Gaza Border

By VOA News &

The Israeli military said its aircraft bombed a tunnel on Israel's border with the Gaza Strip early Tuesday. A military spokesman said the tunnel near the Karni crossing was struck after it became apparent that Palestinian terrorists were going to use it for attacks against Israelis in the near future.

There were no immediate reports of casualties from the Israeli air strike, which came a day after a Palestinian suicide bomber killed three people in the Israeli Red Sea resort of Eilat. Monday's suicide bombing was the first such attack inside Israel in more than eight months, and the first ever to hit Israel's southernmost city.

Two Palestinian terrorist groups claimed joint responsibility for the bombing. The groups are Islamic Jihad and the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, affiliated with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah movement. But senior Fatah members condemned the attack.

Eilat sits at the southern tip of Israel, minutes from the Jordanian and Egyptian borders. Jordan has denied that the bomber entered the Jewish state from its territory. Israeli officials said the bomber entered Israel from Egypt.

Egyptian authorities are investigating to see if the bomber might have been helped on the way to his mission by Egyptian security personnel. According to a report published on the WorldNet Daily website, "Egyptian authorities this month discovered 17 cases of Egyptian guards aiding infiltrators into Israel. " The report quoted an Egyptian security sources as saying the guards were usually paid off and told the infiltrators were entering the Jewish State in order to work or go to school.

Despite Truce, Hamas Commander Killed in Gaza

By Reuters

Gunmen shot dead a Hamas commander in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday and the Islamist group blamed a Fatah-dominated security service for the first killing in the territory since a ceasefire went into effect overnight.

A spokesman for Hamas' armed wing said he was killed by the Preventive Security Service, most of whose members belong to President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah faction. The security service denied any connection with his death.

The ceasefire had appeared to be holding, bringing people out of their homes for the first time in five days as shops reopened and traffic again clogged Gaza's narrow streets. The truce took effect after Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas met an aide to Abbas on Monday in a bid to stem a surge of fighting in which at least 30 Palestinians were killed.

The internal violence that began on Thursday was the fiercest since Islamist Hamas, which rejects peace talks with Israel, trounced the more moderate Fatah in an election last year, triggering a Western aid embargo. "We are very happy and we hope that this time, the ceasefire will last," said Yahya Zaki, a clothing store owner.

Former U.S. Ambassador Dennis Ross Calls for Pollard Release


Former U.S. Ambassador Dennis Ross announced at a news conference prior to attending a Canadian Jewish community function that it is time for the United States government to release former Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard from prison.

According to a report in the Canadian Jewish Tribute newspaper, Ross said "The National Security Council and the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) strongly opposed Pollard's release. They maintain that Pollard knew facts that would jeopardize national security. But Pollard has been in jail for so long that whatever facts he might know would have little if any effect on national security today."

Ross, now a Fox News foreign affairs analyst, made his remarks just hours after returning from a visit to Israel and Ramallah. The former ambassador served for more than 12 years under the Bush and Clinton administrations.

Iran Slams 'Herzliya Incitement'

By &

Last week's Herzliya Conference has been slammed by the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting website (IRIB) as an "extreme right-wing conference with a clear agenda," used to spread "incitement against the Islamic Republic's civil nuclear program."

The condemnation appeared on a weekly sum-up of news on the IRIB's Hebrew-language section, aimed, according to the website "at the Jewish audience so it knows the truth."

The IRIB said the Herzliya Conference was "certainly not representative of the Israeli political map," adding that "many US experts attempted to use the conference to blur the foundations of Middle East conflicts in general, and the Arab-Israeli conflict in particular.

"During the conference, there was open incitement against Iran's civil nuclear program. Participants such as Richard Perle said there was no doubt that aggressive and determined action was needed against Iran, and he did not mince his words," the article said. "We do not want to highlight the declarations of the Israeli organizers of the Herzliya Conference, because it is natural that they stand united in one line behind the American position, which used the conference to open another front in its aggressive war against the Islamic Republic," the IRIB added. "This makes Herzliya eligible for the title of 'the anti-Iran incitement conference."

In its coverage of the Palestinian suicide bomb attack on Eilat, the IRIB's Hebrew section said the attack "shows the internal conflicts are a big loss for the Palestinians, and that the real battle must be against Israeli occupation."

In related items, Iranian school textbooks include a picture of an Israeli soldier killing an Arab baby as part of an effort to develop a "siege mentality," according to the Israeli think tank Center for Monitoring the Impact of Peace. One poem in the books is illustrated with a rainbow dripping with a martyr's blood.

The textbooks are based on a belief that Iran is a world power with the aim of making Islam the dominant force in the world, the Center said. Israel is defined as "the regime that occupies Jerusalem" and the United States is described as the "Great Satan."

And Vice Premier Shimon Peres, visiting Qatar for the first time in a decade, explained Tuesday to the Emir, Sheikh Hammad bin Khalifah al-Thani, that Israel does not have a problem with Iran, to which Qatar maintains close ties, but rather only with Iran's President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Ahmadinejad has been clear and public about his goal of destroying Israel.

Peres further told the sheikh that Ahmadinejad represents a threat to the entire world, including Iran herself. The seasoned diplomat mentioned the poverty and strife Iranians now face under their president, and said that they would not be able to feed their children with enriched uranium.

Qatar last month promised Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh millions of dollars to pay teachers. Much international aid money to the Palestinian Authority was frozen after the PA Arab populace voted Hamas into power many months ago.

Electric-Car Factory in Israel Discussed at Davos


At the recently-concluded World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Shimon Peres held informal talks about building an electric-car factory in Israel with representatives of Toyota and Renault.

The idea was originally that of Shai Agassi, president of Germany's SAP, the world's largest business software company. Agassi, a Raanana native who was chosen in 2003 by TIME/CNN as its #1 Global Business Influential, shared the idea with Peres.

Israel's Vice Premier told the car companies that the government would be willing to provide grants and tax benefits for the construction of such factories. Renault apparently showed significant interest in the idea.

Peres said that battery-operated cars manufactured in Israel could supply Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority, thus guaranteeing its viability.

The main challenge of the project would be finding a way to cheaply manufacture an electric battery with which to start the car. Agassi expressed optimism that Israeli research and development teams could produce solutions, and the knowledge could help in building similar factories elsewhere.

Israel's long-term interest is to reduce its dependency on oil. To this end, the government is also considering encouraging Israelis to replace their gas-powered cars with electric ones. Subsidies would be provided for the purpose.

Eilat Can No Longer be Marketed as a Safe Place

By Newswise

The terror attack in Eilat had one immediate consequence: Israel can no longer market Eilat as a safe place. Until the recent terror attack, foreign tourists flocked to the resort city of Eilat, forgetting the fears that kept them away from other areas in Israel. That may change following the terrorist attack in Eilat.

"Up until now, we have been able to market Eilat as "detached" from Israel, as a safe place, far from war and terror. The terror attack had one immediate consequence: Eilat can no longer be marketed as a safe place," said Dr. Yoel Mansfeld, head of the Center for Tourism, Pilgrimage and Recreation Research at the University of Haifa.

According to Mansfeld, while research that was conducted a decade ago revealed that British tourists who flew to Eilat on direct flights had no idea that Eilat was in Israel, today the situation is much different. The terror attacks in the past two years in the Sinai Peninsula and the intelligence about al-Qaeda cells active in Egypt and Jordan have increased awareness as to the geography and the triangle of borders between Israel, Egypt and Jordan and to the fact that Eilat is an integral part of Israel.

"The effect of the attack on internal tourism will be short-term. Israelis are resilient and they will be back in Eilat in a short time. The problem is with foreign tourism. As soon as Eilat was presented as being part of Israel, it automatically became thought of as a dangerous place, and now the terror organizations have proven this to be true."

According to Mansfeld, efforts need to be concentrated on large foreign tour operators to make sure that they don't remove Eilat from the world tour map.

Israeli Film Takes Venezuela by Storm


The critically acclaimed Israeli film "Walk on Water," the story of an Israeli Mossad agent has taken Caracas movie theaters by storm. The movie's success was reported several days ago by popular Venezuelan newspaper El Nacional, which ran a banner headline in the culture section of the paper.

Sources at the Israeli embassy in Caracas noted that dozens of the city's residents told them they had seen the movie and that they had enjoyed it immensely.

The same sources added that this is a highly irregular response, particularly in light of the somewhat chilly relations between the two countries. One thing is certain, Venezuela's President Hugu Chavez, who only this week was seen embracing Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, is not likely to enjoy hearing that an Israeli movie on the Mossad has garnered such success in his capital city.

The film by Eytan Fox and Gal Uchovsky tells the story of Eyal, a Mossad agent (played by actor Lior Ashkenazi) and a second generation Holocaust survivor whose bosses are on the hunt for Nazi war criminals. When it is discovered that one such German has a granddaughter working on a kibbutz, Eyal is dispatched to find out more.

Eyal pretends to be a tour guide for Pia (Caroline Peters) and her brother Alex (Knut Berger), while all the time maintaining a watchful eye and ear for information about their grandfather.

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