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Hizbullah: Bush Gave Olmert Green Light to Kill


Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah said: "Today is a black day in history. It is a shameful day for Arabs and Muslims. Bush gives absolute legitimacy to [the Israelis] and to their acts of slaughter, and then the Arab rulers receive him with blessings and Arab hospitality."

A Hizbullah clergyman, Sheikh Muhammad Yazbek, said that "Bush's arrival is a tourist visit that was intended to… give a green light to Olmert to murder more Palestinians."

And Israeli-Arab Knesset Member Mohammad Barakeh said the Hadash party he leads as chairman does not welcome US President George W. Bush. He called Bush "the leader of the world's axis of evil."

Bush Says Now Is Time for Mideast Peace

By VOA News, &

President Bush said Wednesday in Jerusalem that the time is right for peace between Israelis and Palestinians, and both sides have tough choices to make. At Ben Gurion International Airport, Bush said he sees an historic opportunity for peace.

Standing side-by-side with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, the president said he traveled to the region because he feels progress is possible. "It is my considered judgment that people now understand the stakes and the opportunity. And our job, Mr. Prime Minister, is to help you meet that opportunity."

Bush stressed he would not dictate a settlement because that would be a recipe for failure. "The only way to have lasting peace - the only way for an agreement to mean anything is for the two parties to come together and make the difficult choices, but we will help."

Olmert urged Bush to start by putting pressure on the Palestinian Authority to take action to thwart terrorist attacks on Israel. He noted there was a rocket attack earlier in the day on an Israeli town near Gaza, and stressed Israel would not sign a deal that undermines its security.

"There will be no peace unless terror is stopped. And terror will have to be stopped everywhere. We made it clear to the Palestinians (and) they know it and they understand that Gaza must be part of the package and as long as there will be terror from Gaza, it will be very, very hard to reach any peaceful understanding between us and the Palestinians."

Bush said he would bring up the issue when he meets Thursday with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah - the West Bank headquarters of the Palestinian Authority. But Bush made clear there are also steps Israel must take, including tearing down unauthorized settlements.

"In terms of outposts, yes, they have got to go," said Bush. "Look, we have been talking about it for four years. The agreement was get rid of illegal outposts, and they ought to go."

On Thursday, 4,000 PA "security men" will provide security for Bush's visit to Ramallah. The gunmen will spread out in the roads leading to the place where Bush and PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas will meet.

The commander of the Judea and Samaria Division, Brig. Gen. Noam Tibon, and the head of the Civilian Administration, Brig. Gen. Yoav ("Poli") Mordechai, met with the heads of the PA "security" apparatuses in Judea and Samaria. PA sources said that the meeting dealt with arrangements for the president's visit to the PA.

The meeting between the Israeli and PA officials was held in Ramallah. It was the first time in seven years such a meeting was held in Ramallah.

The White House has already indicated it expects no breakthroughs on this trip, which was designed as a follow-up to the U.S.-led Annapolis Mideast conference in November.

But Bush said his visit has had an impact on the peace process. He noted that on the eve of his arrival, Israeli and Palestinian leaders met in Jerusalem and vowed to tackle the core issues blocking a peace agreement. "If you are asking me if I am nudging them forward, then my trip is a pretty significant nudge."

This is Bush's first official visit to Israel since assuming office. From Israel, he will travel to Kuwait, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt.

After meeting with Bush for nearly three hours in Jerusalem, Olmert acknowledged the difficulties facing negotiations, saying that as long as there are militant threats from Hamas-controlled Gaza, it would be very hard to reach an understanding.

Bush said both sides must make hard choices, but he said this is an historic opportunity for reaching a two-state solution.

Bush's visit was protested by 20,000 Hamas supporters in Gaza, who denounced U.S policies in the Middle East. Far right-wing Israeli groups also criticized Bush for being too conciliatory with Palestinians.

Supporters of the terrorist group, Hamas, chanted "Death to America" and burned U.S. and Israeli flags. Others brandished signs depicting Bush as a vampire drinking Muslim blood.

Hamas refuses to recognize Israel, and has vowed to undermine Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas' efforts to make peace with the Jewish state

In a related story, Bush warned Iran of serious consequences if it attacks U.S. ships in international waters, adding that all options are on the table. "We have made it clear publicly and they know our position, and that is there will be serious consequences if they attack our ships, pure and simple."

The U.S. Defense Department says last weekend Iranian vessels threatened three U.S. naval ships in the Straits of Hormuz. The Pentagon has released a video of the incident, which Tehran has denounced as a fake.

President Bush has called the incident a provocative act. His National Security Advisor, Stephen Hadley, told reporters traveling with the president to Israel that the Iranians came close to causing an altercation.

At a news conference in Jerusalem with Olmert, the president was asked about Hadley's remarks. "The national security advisor was making it clear that all options are on the table to protect our assets."

Bushe is likely to find the strongest support for a tough stand against Tehran in Israel. Iranian leaders have threatened Israel with annihilation. Israel's President Shimon Peres made clear at a welcoming ceremony for Bush that his country is prepared to act. "We take your advice not to underestimate the Iranian threat," said Peres. "Iran should not underestimate our resolve for self-defense."

In Jerusalem, three people were taken into custody and their literature confiscated as they were handing it out to foreign journalists outside the Dan Panorama Hotel. That hotel is where most of the journalists who are covering the Bush visit are lodging.

The literature in question is a booklet authored by Arlene Kushner entitled, "Fatah as 'Moderate': A Hard Look Post-Annapolis, published by the Center for Near East Policy Research at the Beit Agron International Press Center in Jerusalem.

"One policeman said we can't stand in front of the hotel, that we should go to the corner, so that's what I did," related Jeff Daube, another volunteer at the site. "I was standing around, waiting to see if any reporters would come around, when a police officer tapped me on the shoulder, said 'Come with me,' and took my material and Israeli identity card.

Daube said that he and his two companions were bundled into a police car and taken to the Russian Compound. They were arrested after pointing out that she could not be detained unless she gave her consent – which she would not do. "I told them that I cannot agree to be detained because I need to talk to these foreign reporters, that that's what I came to Jerusalem for," she added.

"Then you are arrested," responded the police officer, "for distributing seditious (treasonous) material."

And Bush has requested that the spotlights which normally shine on Jerusalem's Old City walls for dramatic effect at night be turned off earlier than usual Thursday morning, because he wants to watch the sun rise over the walls and the lights would spoil his enjoyment.

The King David Hotel, where Bush is staying, has been taken over by the U.S. secret service, which is, in effect, sovereign over security arrangements such as who may enter. Entry to King David Street is forbidden to all cars save those belonging to its residents, who must also show identification and permission from the municipality before being allowed to park their cars there.

GOP Candidate Ron Paul's Newsletters Vilify Israel

By Israel Faxx News Services

According to a major U.S. political magazine, Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul's newsletters vilify Israel. One implied that Israel was responsible for the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center.

The New Republic found vitriolic language toward Jews, blacks and homosexuals after sifting through the libertarian-leaning Texas congressman's newsletters from the 1980s and 1990s.

"The newsletters display an obsession with Israel; no other country is mentioned more often in the editions I saw, or with more vitriol," the magazine's James Kirchick wrote.

"A 1987 issue of Paul's Investment Letter called Israel 'an aggressive, national socialist state,' and a 1990 newsletter discussed the 'tens of thousands of well-placed friends of Israel in all countries who are willing to wok [sic] for the Mossad in their area of expertise.'"

Regarding the implication that the Mossad may have been behind the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center, Paul wrote, "Whether it was a setup by the Israeli Mossad, as a Jewish friend of mine suspects, or was truly retaliation by the Islamic fundamentalists, matters little."

Jesse Benton, Paul's campaign spokesman, told The New Republic that Paul had given "various levels of approval" to the statements presented in the newsletter. "A lot of [the newsletters] he did not see. Most of the incendiary stuff, no," Benton said.

Coming Soon: Anne Frank the Musical

By Ha'aretz

Millions read about Anne Frank's life while she was hiding with her family from the Nazis in an attic in Amsterdam. Soon, theater lovers in Spain will be able to see the Jewish teen on Madrid's stages: The Diary of Anne Frank has been made into a tragic musical, and will open at Madrid's Calderon Theatre in February, according to the BBC's Web site.

The show's director, Rafael Alvero, said that initial reactions to the musical were mixed. "There were doubts that a musical could be made from a story such as this," he said. "It's understandable that the show is very emotional. What we want to do will be reached through the music- and that is to understand the story better."

Last week, members of the cast, including the 13-year-old leading girl, visited the Anne Frank Museum and toured around the tiny attic apartment in Amsterdam. The cast members also sang numbers from the musical to museum staff.

The French Anne Frank


A harrowing diary written by a Jewish university student who perished in Bergen-Belsen arrives in French bookstores and is set to become a bestseller. The French press has already deemed it the `literary sensation of 2008,' but all lofty press superlatives aside, the Helene Berr Journal is undoubtedly a harrowing, captivating read.

The Journal is the diary of Helene Berr, a Jewish student in the Sorbonne who, like Anne Frank, perished in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. She left behind this harrowing account of her life between April 1942 and March 1944, now published 60 years later.

The text was diligently guarded by Helene's brother, Jacques, and was intended for her fiancé Jean Morawiecki who fought alongside the Free French Forces in Africa. As the years wore on, Jean became a renowned French diplomat, and received the journal written by "the grey-eyed Helene from the Latin quarter."

Jean ultimately returned the diary to Helene's family, who saved it for years before donating it to the French Holocaust museum in 2002.

This compelling text, written in rich, eloquent French captivated many over the years, but it is only now that French publishers Tallandier decided to bring it to light.

Helene's story began in occupied Paris, which was initially replete with romantic walks along the Latin Quarter, tales of first love, conversations in the Sorbonne gardens, and quiet afternoons spent lazing at the Luxembourg gardens.

By June 1942, however, the first fissures begin to appear in Helene's formerly picturesque life. She was forced to sew a yellow star onto her clothing, and was relegated to the rear car in a train she caught at the École Militaire Metro Station, a car reserved for those wearing the yellow star alone.

As June drew to a close, Helene's father, Raymond, was arrested, questioned by the Gestapo and ultimately shipped to the Drancy transit camp. Her father's detainment crushed Helene, who was inspired to join a French-Jewish organization that acted as a liaison between detainees and their families.

As time wore on, Helene's hitherto neat and orderly handwriting turned into a worn, addled scrawl, and her musings became increasingly more frustrated and jaded with "things that cannot be told" and "peoples' lack of understanding and sympathy."

Helene was deported from Paris in 1944, and was shipped to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp where she died in April 1944, two weeks alone before the Allied liberation.

Ironically, Helene died in the very camp her celebrated predecessor, Anne Frank, had perished a month earlier.

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