Newsletter : 7fax1012.txt
| Previous file
| Next file
Lebanese Police Release Israeli-German Citizen
The Lebanese police have released Daniel Sharon, a citizen of both Israel and Germany
who was arrested over two weeks ago as part of a murder investigation. A copy of Sharon's
Israeli passport was reportedly found near a dead body in the capital city of Beirut.
Sharon converted to Islam at the age of 20, and regularly visited Lebanon and other
Muslim countries as a tourist. He told reporters he identified as Muslim, and rooted for
Hizbullah during the First Lebanon War.
Jerusalem Appears to be Stumbling Block
By Robert Berger (VOA-Jerusalem)
Jerusalem appears to be emerging as a major stumbling block in new peace negotiations
between Israel and the Palestinians. Both Jews and Muslims are claiming the city's holy
sites as their own.
A senior Palestinian official has thrown a wrench into peace talks by saying that the
Western Wall in Jerusalem's Old City, the holiest place in Judaism, belongs to Islam and
The Palestinian Minister for Jerusalem Affairs Adnan Husseini said the Western Wall is
a "Wakf" or Islamic Trust that must be returned to Palestinian control. He told Israel
Radio that it is a supporting wall for the al-Aksa Mosque, the third holiest place in
Islam. For Israel, the wall is the last remnant of the biblical Temple, and turning it
over to the Palestinians is unthinkable.
As Israel and the Palestinians try to hammer out a declaration of principles to be
presented at an international peace conference this year, Jerusalem is back on the
In a compromise proposal earlier this week, Israel offered to hand over some Arab
neighborhoods of East Jerusalem to Palestinian control, though that would not include the
Old City, where contested holy sites are located.
Israeli parliamentarian Reuven Rivlin, of the hawkish opposition Likud party, said the
government made a mistake by negotiating on Jerusalem in the first place. He told Israel
Radio that if you begin by offering Arab neighborhoods to the Palestinians then you end at
the Western Wall. He said no Israeli leader has the right to negotiate over Jerusalem,
which he said is the eternal capital of the Jewish people.
Reinforcing Palestinian demands, President Mahmoud Abbas said Israel must withdraw from
all territory captured in the 1967 war, including Jerusalem's Old City. Israel's
government insists that is a non-starter.
GOP Presidential Nominee Wannabe Endorses Elon's `Israeli Initiative'
Republican presidential candidate Sam Brownback has endorsed the new Israeli Initiative
peace plan put forth by Knesset member Benny Elon, head of the National Union party.
Brownback's endorsement was announced at a Jerusalem press conference. "I think this is
an exciting and bold proposal," Brownback said. "I'm delighted that Benny Elon has put
this forward. I hope a number of people look at it very carefully
It moves away from
the idea of land for peace which has not worked. We have tried this in multiple
ways the Oslo Accords and others. And it just simply has not worked."
Brownback cited both Gaza and southern Lebanon as examples of relinquishing land that
did not bring peace or stability. "Peace did not come. In fact, the opposite came: more
war, more bloodshed, more problems
The re-engagement of Jordan and not the creation
of a separate Palestinian state is a positive discussion and a moving forward toward a
long-term status for the Palestinian people, for the Israeli people and for Jerusalem
remaining the united, undivided capital of Israel. I think those things are
The senator qualified his statements by saying that he did not support all of the
details of the proposal: "I don't think we should be doing away with the Palestinian
Authority in total. I think there needs to be some organizing capacity for the
Palestinians. But here is a realistic proposal and a different way forward, so that we
don't go back to old solutions that haven't been working."
Elon told those present that an urgent campaign is needed to convey how important the
Arab refugees who fled in 1948 are to the continuation of the state of war against Israel.
"The public must be made to realize that they completely believe that Israel is a passing
phase that will come to an end and allow them to return to Jaffa and Haifa". He warned
that they are being saved as pawns by the Arab world to activate as the final move in the
plan to liquidate the Jewish State.
He noted that Fatah chief and PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas refuses to relinquish the
so-called "right of return" in his negotiations with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, ahead of
the U.S.-backed Annapolis summit.
"We stole from them, according to what they say - their homes, their gardens, their
olive trees. We have to take the lead in rehabilitating them with assistance from other
entities and states," Elon said. He sees the rehabilitation of the refugees by the
international community, instead of the UN, which currently oversees the maintenance of
the camps, as central in ending the Arab-Israeli conflict.
Notable in Elon's new plan is the removal of the concept of transfer, a central part of
his Moledet faction's platform. "There are Palestinians that are not in refugees camps,"
he said at the press conference. "There are Palestinians that were here hundreds of years
and have nice houses in Judea and Samaria. They have to stay there. And they can have
again Jordanian passports, and people in airports all over the world will treat them with
respect. Not like now when they come with passports from the Palestinian Authority and
everyone is running away everyone is afraid."
The Other Side of the Faucet
The level of the Dead Sea has been dropping at an increasing rate in recent years. It
is now 420.47 meters below sea level, 15 centimeters lower than last month, the
Hydrological Service said.
The Dead Sea's level has been dropping 1.2 meters a year, and this drop has had
destructive geological and environmental consequences. At the top of the list is the
increasing number of sinkholes along the shore. The sinkholes make it difficult to
construct important infrastructures and subsequently endanger the people visiting and
residing in the region.
Another destructive consequence is the increased force of flooding water from the
mountains, which cause millions of shekels of damage every year. It is also becoming much
more difficult to access the Dead Sea's shores. Anyone who visits the area will
immediately notice that the Dead Sea has become a disaster area.
Contrary to prevailing opinion, the Dead Sea Works is only a secondary cause of the
sea's dropping level. Only 15 to 20 percent of the drop is believed to be associated with
the water that the factories on both the Israeli and Jordanian sides pump into the
salt-evaporation ponds south of the Dead Sea.
The main reason for the rapid drop in the Dead Sea's level is a reduced flow of fresh
water from Lake Kinneret and the Jordan Valley. Closing the Deganya dam in the south of
the Kinneret, building waterworks that diverted various rivers and streams flowing into
the Jordan and the sea and the fast evaporation has led to an annual deficit of more than
a billion cubic meters at the Dead Sea. This amount is equivalent to half of Israel's
annual water consumption.
The most fashionable solution to the problem, which President Shimon Peres has been
promoting in recent years, is the "peace canal," which would run from the Gulf of Eilat
via the Arava to the Dead Sea. On the way, the water would be used to produce energy and
desalination for both Israel and Jordan. The entire project would be financed by generous
This solution is dubious, at the very least, both environmentally and economically.
Nobody knows for certain what will happen when water from the Red Sea reaches the Dead
Sea. Some scenarios see plaster formation, which would color the Dead Sea white, or the
formation of an upper water layer, which would not include Dead Sea salt and minerals; the
sea would then lose its value as a health and tourist attraction.
Another scenario predicts a fierce stench rising from the sea or the sudden appearance
of flora and fauna in the Dead Sea. The canal could also endanger the ecological balance
of the coral reef in the Red Sea and the ground water along the Arava.
Another problem with the peace canal is that it would isolate the Dead Sea from
Israel's water system. An alternative solution is to reconnect the Dead Sea to the water
system by opening the Jordan and Kinneret dams and renewing the water flow to the Dead
Sea. But this plan, which would also lead to the rehabilitation of the Jordan River, is
still on the desk of the Green organizations and not in the hands of the
The Kinneret's water could be replaced by increased desalination along the
Mediterranean. However, this solution requires a dramatic change in thought regarding the
use and recycling of water in Israel. Having fresh water flow into the Dead Sea would
force the Israeli public to understand that the Dead Sea is the other end of the kitchen
faucet and that saving water is vital to preserving this unique natural treasure.
Perhaps the government doesn't believe in the public's maturity, and prefers the
grandiose canal solution. But in view of the difficulties, the government should at least
conduct a thorough examination of the alternative solution.
The 'Jews of Alaska'
By YnetNews.com (Book Review)
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad didn't read the book entitled "The Yiddish
Policeman's Union," a 400-page book authored by Michael Chabon, the most original and
captivating author among the middle generation of Jewish American authors.
"The Yiddish Policeman's Union" was published in the US in the spring of this year and
immediately became a hit, not just among the Jewish community. This is a dark, depressing
book that is difficult to read; it chokes the reader.
Here is its essence: In 1940 and this is the only historic fact in the book
American Interior Secretary Harold Ickes proposes that European Jews living under
Nazi occupation be allowed to temporarily settle in Alaska. His proposal is brought to
Congress and is rejected. However let's imagine, Chabon fantasizes, that Congress actually
approved the proposal. Let's imagine that the gates of Alaska (or to be more precise, an
island off the Alaska coast in a town called Sitka) opened up to two million Jewish
refugees who arrived there during the war.
And what happens next? From this point on nothing good happens to the Jews. In August
1948, writes Chabon, Jerusalem falls and masses of Jews are slaughtered and thrown into
US Congress is deeply affected by the Holocaust and the barbaric way in
which Zionism is being wiped out. Nonetheless, its members are practical
finally; Congress grants the Jewish community in Alaska the status of "a
temporary federal province" and allows hundreds of thousands of Jewish refugees from
Palestine to settle there.
The borders of the temporary Jewish province are mapped out so as not to harm the
indigenous inhabitants, yet despite this the relations between the local tribes and the
Jews are tense and bitter, culminating in bloody riots. The Jews are only issued travel
documents that limit their movement, rather than, God forbid American passports. After 60
years, Congress decides that the "Jewish province" should be returned to full American
control and that the Jews will have to pack their belongings and seek their fortunes.
Chabon's plot unfolds during the few months leading up to the "return," whose real
implications are not evident to the bewildered Alaskan Jews: They are thrown back into the
large black lake of the Diaspora.
In his description of daily life in the Jewish province, Chabon lets his persecuted
Jewish imagination run wild. The inhabitants speak in a Yiddish dialect amongst
themselves; sometimes they switch to English peppered with Yiddish. The towns, streets,
neighborhoods and the public buildings bear names of Ashkenazi Jewish figures and places.
There are various groups among the Jews of Sitka (four million in 2007) such as the
veteran founders, who are known as the polar bears, and a large strictly Orthodox
population divided into rabbinical courtyards.
At first glance, "The Yiddish Policeman's Union" is a detective story. It begins with
the finding of the body of the son of a Hassidic rabbi, a drug dealer and a "righteous
man" at the time. An intense and quick investigation of the murder gets underway. The
investigation exposes the reader to the fabric of Jewish life in Alaska: A miserable,
meager, depressing, and hopeless life. They live in a freezing ghetto. The Jews of Alaska
in Michael Chabon's book are trash in the eyes of the American administration and do not
exist at all in the eyes of the world at large.
The attempt to set up a "Land of Zion in Alaska" failed. The Jews do not flock there
and the Americans refuse to grant its residents permanent status; the presence of Jews
there only intensifies the hatred towards them. The Jews, on their part, do not give up
the idea of Eretz Israel: A handful of these Jews continue to dream of the return to Zion,
the Temple, the Temple Mount and of an "airlift to Jerusalem," even at the cost of terror
and bloodshed. The author ultimately focuses on these people's aspirations.
Michael Chabon is 43 and a winner of the Pulitzer Prize in 2001. He has written finer
books than "The Yiddish Policeman's Union," yet this is his deep-set Zionist proclamation.
In one of his interviews he admitted that he had always been attracted to the question of
what the world would look like without the State of Israel. He provides a resolved answer
in his book: Without the State of Israel the fate of the Jewish people would be bad and
bitter. Without the State of Israel there is no future for the Jewish People, neither in
Alaska nor anywhere else.
(All material on these web pages is © 2001-2012
by Electronic World Communications, Inc.)