Newsletter : 7fax0426.txt
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Labor Candidate: Ready to Give Away the Golan?
According to an online paper by his supporters, Knesset member Ami Ayalon, a candidate
for Labor party head, supports giving the Golan to Syria as part of a future peace
Ayalon would keep Jewish settlements, his supporters explained, by renting part of the
area from Syria. Supporters explained that Ayalon's political views are "a bit to the
right of [Labor candidate Ehud] Barak and a bit to the left of [Likud head Binyamin]
They said that the idea of renting the Golan was not meant to mean giving up the Golan,
but rather to "send a message of hope" that "things could be different."
Israel Rules Out Large Scale Offensive in Gaza
By VOA News
Israeli officials said Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has authorized limited operations
against Palestinian terrorists in Gaza following Tuesday's rocket attacks. But the
officials said Olmert decided against a large-scale military operation in the Palestinian
territory when he met Wednesday with his top Cabinet ministers and military
The armed wing of the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas said Tuesday that a five-month
truce with Israel was over. It said it fired the barrage of rockets and mortar shells
from Gaza into Israel to avenge Israel's killing of nine Palestinians a few days ago.
Israel said the attacks caused no injuries or damage.
On Tuesday, Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas blamed Israel for the
escalation, but he stopped short of saying the truce was over. Israel blames Hamas for the
escalation, saying they have been involved in helping other terrorists attack the Jewish
Journalists Demonstrate at Gaza Border for Release of BBC Correspondent
By Jim Teeple (VOA-Jerusalem)
Foreign and Palestinian journalists demonstrated on both sides of the Israel-Gaza
border Wednesday calling for the release of BBC Gaza Correspondent Alan Johnston,
kidnapped more than six weeks ago.
Johnston's colleagues called for his release on Wednesday, 45 days after he was
abducted by gunmen in the Gaza Strip. More than 100 members of the Foreign Press
Association traveled to the Erez Crossing on the Israel-Gaza border for the
And on the other side of the crossing, dozens of Palestinian journalists held a similar
FPA chairman Simon McGregor-Wood noted that since Johnston's kidnapping most foreign
journalists have avoided Gaza. "This place is as far as many of us feel safe to go since
Alan's abduction. We need to go to Gaza," he said. "We need to be able to cover this
important story, to understand what's going on and to tell people's stories. We need the
kidnappings to stop."
Alan Johnston was the only foreign correspondent permanently based in the Gaza Strip.
He was kidnapped just days before his three-year posting was scheduled to end. Nothing has
been heard from him since, and fears have been raised about his safety.
Last week, an unknown Palestinian group said Johnston was killed because Israel refused
to release Palestinian prisoners. Just a few days ago, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas
said he had good information that Johnston is alive and well, but he gave no indication
about when he might be released.
Media reports say Johnston is being held by a large Gaza clan said to be involved in
smuggling and other criminal activities.
Jonathan Miller, the BBC's deputy head of newsgathering, appealed again on Wednesday to
those holding Johnston to release him, saying his colleague has paid a heavy price for
trying to bring the Palestinian story to the rest of the world.
"And we make a plea directly to those who are holding Alan, to set him free," he said.
"His only offense was to expose himself to personal danger of because of a strong desire
to bring the story of Gaza to the outside world. He has paid a heavy and undeserved price
for his commitment. He has suffered enough. Let him go."
More than a dozen foreign journalists and aid workers have been kidnapped in Gaza in
recent months, although nearly all have been released after being held for only a short
period of time.
Gag-Order Lifted: Arab Ex-MK Suspected of Aiding Hizbullah
The gag-order preventing the publication of the crimes of which former Arab Knesset
member Azmi Bishara is accused was removed by an Israeli court Wednesday afternoon.
Bishara is accused of aiding an enemy during wartime, transmitting information to an
enemy, and contact with a foreign agent, violations of money-laundering laws, and more. He
is under suspicion of having received a large amount of money for his acts, some of which
occurred during last year's Second War in Lebanon. The former MK allegedly pocketed the
money in his personal bank account.
A Petach Tikva court partially lifted the gag-order on the inquiry on Wednesday
afternoon. The court plans to allow publication of the full story within a week.
Bishara, who was questioned by police twice in the past, told his interrogators that he
plans to leave the country, but would return for a continued investigation. After leaving
the country last month, friends now say it is not certain whether he plans to return in
the near future. He has surfaced in Jordan, Qatar and Egypt, and his family returned to
Israel last week.
Bishara's resignation, submitted to the Israeli embassy in Cairo on Sunday, took effect
MK Zevulun Orlev (National Religious Party) said that Bishara "must be caught, wherever
he is in the world, and brought to Israel on charges of treason." Some instances of
treason during wartime, as well as Nazi war crimes, are the only crimes punishable by
death under Israeli law.
MK Yoel Hason (Kadima) said he will work to establish a Knesset inquiry committee into the
former Knesset Member's behavior and the grave suspicions against him. "Today the true
face of Israel's greatest traitor has been revealed," Hason said. "The Knesset must
investigate, and must decide regarding security clearances for all MKs, and for Arab-party
MKs in particular."
A Yisrael Beiteinu party statement reads: "Azmi Bishara is not the problem, but rather
its display window. Bishara and his friends have long crossed the red line, but the State
has hidden its head in the sand. Our party tried in the past to prevent the entry of the
Trojan horse into the Knesset..."
Hebron activist Baruch Marzel demanded that the Attorney General outlaw Bishara's
political party, Balad. "The Attorney General must correct the injustice that was done
when our pleas [to outlaw Balad] were not answered," Marzel said, noting that the Israeli
political system outlawed Rabbi Meir Kahane's Kach party in the 1980s.
Obama: 'Tough' Talk Needed on Mideast
By Israel Faxx News Services
A two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict requires outreach and a "tough
discussion," Sen. Barack Obama, a candidate for the Democratic Party's nomination for
"We have to be very hardheaded and clear-eyed about the dangers that exist throughout
the Middle East in those who seek to perpetrate terror against the United States as well
as Israel," Obama (D-Ill.) said Tuesday at the National Jewish Democratic Council's
Washington conference, where he appeared with every other Democratic candidate for the
"But we also have to recognize that the status quo is not inevitable, that we can
aspire to something greater, and that if we can find partners on the other side who are
committed to recognizing Israel and are committed to renouncing violence, that we have the
need to reach out to them and that we should want to have that difficult, tough
discussion, but nevertheless have that discussion about how we're going to arrive at what
I think everybody wants, which is two states living side by side in peace and
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