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Dachau Chief Calls for Admission Fee

By Israel Faxx News Services

The head of the International Dachau Committee called for the establishment of an entrance fee to the concentration camp memorial. Pieter J. Ph. Dietz De Loos, a Dutch survivor of Dachau, told the audience that a contribution from each of the 800,000 annual visitors would help pay for educational programs and additional staff.

It would be the only such site in Germany to charge for admission. The suggestion has drawn criticism from survivors and from directors of other memorial sites in Germany.

Violence, Political Crisis Deepen in Gaza Strip

By Jim Teeple (VOA-Jerusalem)

The Palestinian Interior Minister has resigned as a new wave of violence claimed six lives in factional fighting, and left more than 50 others wounded. The fighting has raised fears that the two-month-old Palestinian unity government could collapse.

During the past few days gunmen have returned to the streets of the Gaza Strip, raising fears once again of an all-out civil war between the Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah. An Egyptian-mediated truce has largely failed to stop the fighting.

The violence was too much for Palestinian Interior Minister Hani Kawasmeh, a career civil servant who blamed both factions for failing to support his plan to reform the Palestinian security forces. He said that since his appointment he has faced obstacles from both factions that left him without any real power - and that without full authority to carry out his duties he was stepping down.

Hamas and Fatah now have to overcome their differences and agree on a new interior minister. In the meantime, Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, a leading Hamas terrorist has taken control of the Interior Ministry.

Three months ago, Hamas and Fatah agreed to a Saudi-mediated peace deal known as the Mecca Agreement - it ended factional fighting and led to the formation of a unity Palestinian government largely dominated by Hamas.

Palestinian Information Minister, Mustapha Barghouti, an independent member of the government said he feared that with the latest violence the Mecca Agreement could come unraveled. "There is absolutely the risk that the Mecca agreement could collapse, and the government could collapse. That is why we are working very hard now to prevent that from happening because of that happens it could be the end of the Palestinian Authority."

Barghouti said both factions need to step back and pull their gunmen off the streets before the violence gets worse. "Both Hamas and Fatah must understand that this internal fighting cannot continue while they are both members in a coalition of a national unity government."

Control of the Palestinian Interior Ministry has long been a source of dispute between Hamas and Fatah. Thousands of security force personnel are under the authority of the Interior Minister, and it took more than a month for Hamas and Fatah to agree on the appointment of Hani Kawasmeh to the post.

Thousands of additional gunmen work directly for Fatah and Hamas outside of Interior Ministry control. Last week, 3,000 additional police under the control of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who also heads Fatah, were deployed in Gaza over the objections of Hamas.

Iranian Leader Warns of Retaliation for Any US Attack

By VOA News

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has warned that Iran would retaliate with severity to any U.S. military attack. The Iranian leader spoke Monday during a news conference in Abu Dhabi at the end of his trip to the United Arab Emirates. It is the first visit by an Iranian head of state to the close U.S. Gulf ally.

Friday, during a visit to the UAE, Vice President Dick Cheney said the U.S. and its allies will not allow Iran to acquire nuclear weapons. Washington has said it has no intention of taking military action against Iran over its nuclear program.

Iran and the U.S. do not have diplomatic relations. But the Bush administration has said since 2005 that it would hold talks, limited to the subject of Iraq, through the U.S. ambassador in Baghdad. The U.S. accuses Iran of trying to develop nuclear weapons, a charge Iran denies.

Tel Aviv New Immigrant Confesses to Murdering Arab Cab Driver

By Ha'aretz

A recent immigrant from France residing in Tel Aviv confessed Monday to the murder of a 35-year-old Arab taxi driver, whose body was found in the city earlier in the day.

The body of the East Jerusalem man was discovered in an apartment on Yona Hanavi Street on Monday afternoon. His throat had been cut, and his body bore the signs of a severe attack.

A preliminary police investigation revealed that the dead man had been invited to the apartment by the 25-year-old Israeli, who also holds French citizenship.

Police were first alerted to the murder when officers from the traffic department noticed two men loitering in the center of Allenby Street in Tel Aviv, at about 4 p.m. Monday.

When the two, the suspect and his 21-year-old brother, were detained for routine questioning, the 25-year-old confessed to having killed the cab driver in his apartment, and led police to the scene of the crime.

The motive behind the murder seems to be nationalistic, as the suspect said that he had killed the taxi driver over his Arab nationality. Neighbors said that the suspect had recently become religious and would regularly attend a local synagogue.

Following the suspect's confession, police asked him to lead them to the apartment. "When he opened the door we found the body of a man. I immediately turned around and handcuffed him," said one of the arresting policemen.

The initial investigation revealed that victim's throat had been slit, and that he was a taxi driver. His cab was found parked outside the building on Yona Hanavi St. According to estimates, the murder took place several hours before the body was found.

It seems that the suspect's brother arrived at the apartment shortly after the murder and was not directly involved. "It became clear from the beginning of the investigation that murderer and victim had no prior relationship. The victim turned out to be an Arab from East Jerusalem, and the suspect is a young Jewish man who recently became religious. For this reason we suspected that there was a nationalist motive behind the murder," said the head of investigations at Yarkon District Police.

The suspect and his brother were then taken to a police station for questioning, and it became evident to investigators that the murder was premeditated. "I decided to murder an Arab," the suspect told police.

"We understand that [the suspect] arrived in Jerusalem with the objective of killing an Arab. We don't know if he made his plans two hours or two weeks before the murder, but there is definitely evidence that there was planning and thought behind it," said Commander of Yarkon District Police Brig. Gen. Hagai Dotan.

"When they arrived at the apartment in Tel Aviv, the suspect shrewdly persuaded the victim to go up the apartment," an investigating officer said. Once in the apartment, the suspect attacked the victim with a knife and stabbed him to death. It seems that he had been prepared ahead of time.

MK Ahmed Tibi (Ra`am-Ta`al) said in response to the murder that "an atmosphere of incitement, hated of Arabs, and the escalating racism in the country are fertile soil for this crime," and added that "the court will probably find mitigating circumstances for the murderers."

Military Service Tames Political Views

By Newswise

Over the course of their military service, Israeli combat soldiers become less right wing, adopt more dovish political views and are more open to comprise on security issues – according to research completed in the School for Political Science at the University of Haifa by IDF Reserve Colonel Dr. Zvika Barkai who served as Commander of the Haifa region and head of the Operations Branch of the Home Front Command.

Additional parameters that effect change in political views include the specific unit served in, gender and service as an officer. "In the opposite of what would be expected, military service does not cause adopting militaristic views," said Barkai.

The research surveyed 490 male and female soldiers of every rank and in every branch of the IDF. Soldiers were asked to respond to the same series of questions at three different times, before induction, six months into their service and immediately following their release. The goal of the research was to evaluate whether the army is in actuality the politically neutral institution that it purports to be and whether it has any effect on soldiers' political views.

"It's a problem when the public is convinced that soldiers are coerced into adapting specific political views, sometimes against their will, and to act accordingly. Such a public belief could limit the ability of the government to use the army for nationalist missions," remarked Barkai.

The research found that soldiers' political views change over the course of their service, and that the type of service, length of service, rank, and gender influenced the change. The initial interviews found that a large percentage of the soldiers began their service with clear right wing views. Six months into their military service they were more right wing, but after completing their service they took on more dovish views and were more willing to compromise on security issues.

In addition, these soldiers adopted more conciliatory views towards minorities in general, and more specifically towards the Arab minority, and experienced a greater change in their views about human rights than soldiers who began their service with less extreme views. Over all, when political views did change during military service, they reverted back to the original views after release, with the exception of combat soldiers who maintained more dovish views following their release.

Within the different types of army units, soldiers who served in field units underwent the greatest change in their political views. The research revealed that all soldiers in field units, combat and non-combat, underwent a change in their political views. Those with hawkish views adopted more moderate views and a raised consciousness for minority rights.

Those who served as officers also underwent a substantial change in their political views. Officers adopted much less right wing and more pragmatic views than enlisted soldiers. In addition, they underwent a greater change in espousing strongly democratic values, adherence to the rule of law and minority rights.

Women, on the other hand, underwent a change in political views – and became more right wing and hawkish. At the same time, they increased their support for regulation of non-conventional weapons more than male soldiers did. Women soldiers experienced a greater change in their support of democratic values while men underwent a greater change in the attitude towards human rights and minority relations.

"It is important to note that although men underwent a greater change, their values were almost identical to women's in terms of concern for human rights at the end of their service, as they began with more extreme views," explained Barkai.

While army service did not affect the level of religious observance among the soldiers, it did improve understandings between religious and non-religious soldiers and increased willingness to compromise on religious issues.

According to Barkai, the research findings demonstrated that military service does influence political views; therefore civilian authorities need to oversee the values and messages that the army espouses to ascertain that the military works to assimilate only universal, accepted values. Only then will the military be an effective agent for the integration and assimilation of positive values and an agent for bridging and narrowing existing conflicts.

The study results led the researcher to recommend that minorities and marginalized populations be encouraged to serve in the military. He recommended a large-scale draft of Arabs, increased participation of Druze and Bedouins, ultra-orthodox Jews and religious women and designing special programs for marginalized youth (who are often excused from military service).

"Even taking into account that expanding the draft to include the abovementioned groups may have a marginal or even negative effect on the country's security, the latent national gains should be weighed against the security issues – not necessarily by the military," summarized Barkai.

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