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Amazon Halts Sale of 'I Love Heinrich Himmler' T-Shirts


Amazon said it is halting the sale of "I Love Heinrich Himmler T-Shirts" on its website. The shirt features a red heart to express admiration for the former senior Nazi officer.

Amazon spokeswoman Patricia Smith explained that its catalogue contains "millions of items" and that it cannot exercise total control over what merchandise is offered for sale. She added it will stop the sale of the offending T-shirts but will continue to deal with the company that offered them.

Palestinians Rushed into Egypt's Sinai to Buy Food, Fuel

By Ha'aretz & VOA News

Some 200,000 Gazans poured out of Gaza and into Egypt early Wednesday, after masked gunmen blew dozens of holes in the wall delineating the border.

The Palestinians rushed to purchase food, fuel, and other supplies made scarce by Israel's blockade of the Strip, after terrorists detonated 17 bombs in the early morning hours, destroying some two-thirds of the metal wall separating the Gaza Strip from Egypt.

Hamas did not take responsibility for knocking the border wall down, but Hamas terrorists quickly took control of the frontier, as Egyptian border guards took no action. Israel said in response to the chaos that it expects Egypt to solve the crisis.

The destruction of the border continued later Wednesday morning. Palestinians driving a Caterpillar bulldozer arrived at a point where the frontier is marked by a low concrete wall topped with barbed wire, tearing down the wall and opening a gap to allow easier access for cars.

Speaking to reporters in Cairo, President Hosni Mubarak said he had ordered security forces at the border to let the Palestinians cross. He said he told security forces to let them come in to buy food, and then escort them back "as long as they are not carrying weapons."

Earlier Wednesday, the United Nations estimated the number of Gazans who had crossed into Egypt at 350,000. Palestinians have breached the Egypt-Gaza border several times since Israel pulled out of Gaza in 2005. In the past, Egyptian security forces restored order after hours or days.

Hamas police channeled the crowds through two sections of the border, and inspected some bags, confiscating seven pistols carried by one man returning to Gaza.

Others walked unhindered over the toppled metal plates that once made up the border wall, carrying goats, chickens and crates of Coke. Some brought back televisions and car tires, and one man bought a motorcycle. Vendors sold soft drinks and baked goods to the crowds.

Mohammed Abu Ghazel, 29, said he had crossed the border three times since the morning. He bought cigarettes worth NIS 200 in Egypt and sold them for five times that in Gaza, he said. "This can feed my family for a month," he said.

Israel imposed a full closure on the Gaza Strip last Thursday in response to massive barrages of Kassam rocket fire on southern Israel. Defense Minister Ehud Barak allowed limited transfers of fuel Tuesday for the power plant in the Strip and medical supplies for hospitals.

Security sources told Ha'aretz on Tuesday that Israel intends to keep the crossings into the Gaza Strip permanently closed except when it is necessary to provide for emergency humanitarian needs.

This new policy will allow the transfer of sufficient aid and materials to the Palestinians to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe and minimize international criticism, "but so long as the rocket attacks continue there will not be a situation in which one hundred trucks a day cross into the Strip," a security source said.

From Damascus, Hamas politburo chief Khaled Mashaal declared that the attacks would continue until Israel "ended the occupation and the aggression, the resistance, including rocket attacks, would not cease."

At least 20 rockets were fired against Israel on Tuesday, in addition to a handful of mortars. This comes in stark contradiction to claims by Israeli security sources Monday evening that the drop in the number of rocket attacks reflected "an understanding by Hamas of the message sent by the blockade."

Unlike Tuesday, when Egyptian and Hamas police fired on crowds of Palestinians attempting to break through the Rafah border crossing point, no attempt was made by Egyptian police to stop the flow of people. Hamas police could be seen guiding the crowds through the barrier. Fawzi Barhoum, a spokesman for Hamas, said Gaza's residents have been trapped.

Shops in the Egyptian border town, Rafah, were overwhelmed by Palestinians shopping for cigarettes, fuel and other goods Israel has banned from being imported into the Gaza Strip.

For their part, Israeli officials say the blockade has worked - sending a message to Hamas that there will be consequences for continuing to fire rockets at southern Israel. Israeli officials have said the Gaza border would remain closed to all but humanitarian supplies until the rocket attacks completely stop.

Under a 2005 deal to open the border, the European Union is supposed to supervise the Rafah crossing, which was until June run by Fatah. But the EU monitors withdrew when Hamas took over Gaza and say they will not return as long as the group remains in control. EU policy is not to deal with Hamas, which the EU considers a terrorist organization.

Statement on Gaza Stalls in UN Security Council

By Margaret Besheer (VOA-United Nations)

Following a day of debate, the U.N. Security Council could not agree on language for a statement condemning the deterioration of the situation in the Gaza Strip. From U.N. headquarters in New York.

The draft statement circulating among the 15-member council expresses concern about "the steep deterioration of the humanitarian situation" in Gaza due to Israel's continued closure of all border crossings, and the cutting of electricity and reduction of fuel to the Palestinian territory's one and a half million residents. But it fails to mention the hundreds of rockets Hamas terrorists have fired into southern Israel in the last week.

U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad said he could not support the Libyan-authored draft as it stands. "As is, it is not acceptable," said Khalilzad. "Many other colleagues have spoken also in the council that it does not talk about the rocket attacks, the attacks on innocent Israelis."

The U.N.'s political chief, Lynn Pascoe, told the council that the situation in Gaza and southern Israel has escalated dramatically since the 15 of January, when an Israeli air and ground offensive killed 19 Palestinians, most of them militants. The offensive was in response to rocket fire from Gaza into southern Israel.

Pascoe says 42 Palestinians have been killed and more than 100 injured in Israeli military operations in the past week. "Among the dead are a number of Palestinian civilians, who have been killed in ground battles between the IDF [Israeli Defense Forces] and militants and in Israeli air strikes and targeted killing operations," said Pascoe. He noted that rockets launched from Gaza have injured 11 Israelis and a Palestinian sniper killed an Ecuadorian laborer on an Israeli kibbutz.

Libya, the current council chair, drafted a statement that would call on Israel to open its borders with Gaza and ensure "unhindered access for humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian people," according to the AFP.

Israeli Chargé d'Affaires Gilad Cohen delivered a statement responding to the failure to mention the shelling of Sderot on behalf of Israel. The following are excerpts:

"The situation in the region today did not develop overnight. It is the consequence of many choices - repeatedly wrong choices - made by the Palestinians, to adopt terrorism and violence over peace and negotiations with Israel…

"[T]hey chose Hamas, who uses terrorism and violence to advance its vision to destroy Israel. Since the year 2000, more than 7,000 rockets and mortars have been fired at Israel by terrorists in the Gaza Strip. Last year alone, that number was over 2,000. And since Hamas' violent takeover of Gaza in June 2007, the frequency of rocket attacks rose 150 percent, to more than 250 rockets and mortars a month. This means, on average, one rocket is fired at Israel every three hours.

"Most of these rockets fall on the southern city of Sderot. Normal life in Sderot is a thing of the past. Not a day goes by when the Red Alert warning system does not sound, which gives children on playgrounds and in schools, and parents at home and at work, less than 15 seconds to find the nearest shelter before the next rocket comes slamming into their lives.

"Liora Fima, a Sderot mother and head of a local elementary school, knows firsthand the traumatic impact of these rockets on the youth of Sderot - where up to 94 percent of children suffer from Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, including sleep and concentration problems, and even bed wetting. Listen to her words: `For the children in Sderot, red is not the color of roses, but of blood and flames.'

"Why is the Council not concerned with the safety and security of Israel's children, women, and elderly who live in the southern city of Sderot? Why is the Council silent as they live in fear and panic each and every day?

"I ask each Member of the Council: what would you do if London, Moscow, Paris, or Tripoli was attacked and fired on? Would you sit back and do nothing? I am certain that no member state on this Council - and certainly no country in the world - would be silent. And Israel is no different. It will act in accordance with its inherent right under Article 51 of the United Nations Charter to protect and defend its people. This is the very obligation and right of all States…

"The international community must make it clear that Hamas' actions are unacceptable, and that continuing to choose Hamas will only lead to continued suffering - for both Israelis and Palestinians. It is up to the international community to tell those states that initiated this debate, and those states that think singling out Israel and condemning it will bring about change, that Israeli security cannot be sacrificed."

Later, in response to a speech by the Syrian delegate: "It is the height of hypocrisy, cynicism, and indecency for the distinguished representative of Syria to address the Council and condemn Israel for merely defending itself against the very Hamas terrorists that it supports."

Rice Offers Iran Prospect of Normal Ties

By Reuters

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said on Wednesday she believed the nuclear stand-off with Iran could be resolved diplomatically and offered the prospect of normal ties with Tehran if it gave up sensitive nuclear work.

Just one day after getting agreement on a draft UN Security Council resolution against Tehran, Rice held out the incentive of a "more normal relationship" and expanded trade if Iran gave up its nuclear enrichment work. Ultimately, though, we believe that we can resolve this problem through diplomacy," Rice said in her speech to the World Economic Forum in Switzerland.

"If Iran would suspend its uranium enrichment and reprocessing activities - which is an international demand, not just an American one - then we could begin negotiations, and we could work over time to build a new, more normal relationship," she said.

Rice said this new relationship could be defined not by fear and mistrust but growing cooperation, expanding trade and the peaceful resolution of differences.

In terms of improving relations with Iran, Rice cited the case of former foe Libya. "As Libya has chosen to reject terrorism, to renounce its pursuit of weapons of mass destruction, and to rejoin the international community, the United States has reached out, and today, though we still have our differences, we have nothing to fear from each other," she said.

She also referred to improving ties with North Korea, which is currently disabling its Yongbyon nuclear facility, but failed to meet a year-end deadline to give a full accounting of its nuclear activities.

"Still, we continue to believe that we can use the Six Party Talks for even larger purposes - to finally end the conflict on the Korean Peninsula," she said, referring to the six nations handling the North Korean nuclear dossier.

Children in the Ghetto


A new website," Children in the Ghetto" (, portrays life during the Holocaust from the viewpoint of children who lived in the ghetto, while attempting to make the complex experience of life in the ghetto as accessible as possible to today's children.

At the center of this site is an imaginary representation of a street in the ghetto. The site invites children to "move around the street" and "enter" various locations in it.

In each of the locations, original exhibits such as video testimonies, photographs, paintings, artifacts etc. are accompanied by interactive and thought-provoking activities.

The site is a result of cooperation between the Snunit Center for the Advancement of Web-Based Learning – a non-profit organization dedicated to enhancing online education, established by the Hebrew University and the International School for Holocaust Studies at Yad Vashem. The site was made possible with the support of the Claims Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.

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