Newsletter : 9fax0327.txt
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Florida Shylocks on the Way Out
The word "shylock," a term used to characterize Jews as mean moneylenders, is on the
way to be stricken from legislation in Florida. The name comes from the Shakespeare play
"The Merchant of Venice."
The state senate has unanimously passed a law that erases the word "shylocking" from
laws against exploiting borrowers. Democratic Senator Eleanor Sobel introduced the bill to
fix "the mistake that has been left by history
Israel Accused of Bombing Sudan Weapons Headed for Hamas; Olmert: We Operate Anywhere
There is Terror
By IsraelNationalNews.com & Ha'aretz
A "major power" bombed a convoy of weapons funded by Iran and headed for Hamas in Gaza
last January, killing 39 people, according to a Sudanese minister. CBS News said Israel
carried out the counterterrorist attack.
Israel has declined to comment on the report, but the government and the United States
signed a "memo of understanding" at the conclusion of Operation Cast Lead, calling for
action by the international community to stop the flow of weapons to Gaza.
The 17-truck weapons convoy was bombed in Sudan before the arms could reach Egypt and
then proceed through Sinai Desert. From there, they were to be brought into Gaza by sea or
through smuggling tunnels along the Philadelphi Route that runs past the border city of
"A major power bombed small trucks carrying arms, burning all of them. It killed
Sudanese, Eritreans, and Ethiopians and injured others," according to Sudanese Highways
Minister Mabrouk Mubarak Saleem.
CBS reported that the report, if true, indicates "there is a shadow war against Hamas
and its weapons sources that is wider than the Israeli or U.S. government has
Israeli officials previously have warned that an international network of terrorists is
behind the supply of weapons from Iran to Hamas through Yemen and Sudan. The weapons
include anti-tank missiles and explosives.
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Thursday that Israel would hit terrorists "near and
far," and warned enemies, "there is no place that Israel can't reach." The statement was
seen as a reference to an alleged IAF strike in Sudan.
Israel strikes terrorists "in the north and in the south... There's no need to mention
details; people can use their imaginations," Olmert added. Those who need to know details
of Israeli strikes are well informed, he added.
The regime of Brigadier Omar al-Bashir in Sudan is, with the exception of the Hamas
enclave in Gaza, the only overtly Islamist and pro-Iranian government in the
Arabic-speaking world. Sudan is an acknowledged member of the Iran-led regional alliance,
which includes Syria, Hizbullah in Lebanon, Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
However, Hamas denied on Thursday reports that a convoy that was attacked in Sudan
earlier in the year was carrying weapons bound for the Islamist terrorist group in Gaza.
Hamas official Salah al-Bardawil said in a statement that the reports were a false pretext
to declare war on Sudan.
"The technology used in the attacks was so sophisticated, they must have been
American," said Mubarak Mabrook Saleem, Sudan's State Minister for Transportation. "This
is the first time such an incident happens." According to Saleem, the first strike hit 16
vehicles carrying 200 people from various African countries being smuggled across the
border. It also carried some "light weapons" such as Kalashnikovs, he said.
In the second attack on February 11, he said 18 vehicles were hit and they were only
carrying immigrants, not weapons. He claimed several hundred people were killed in each
bombing and said the first strike was about a week before the Feb. 11 attack, but did not
give a date.
The U.S. military denied any recent airstrikes in or around Sudan. "The U.S. military
has not conducted any airstrikes, fired any missiles, or undertaken any combat operations
in or around Sudan since the U.S. Africa Command formally began operations Oct. 1," said
Vince Crawley, a spokesman for the command.
Israeli officials declined to confirm or deny whether Israel had been involved in the
air strike in Sudan.
According to SudanTribune.com, the airstrike was an "embarrassment" to Sudan's
government, and it discussed the matter with Egypt's government "to gather more
information to formulate a response."
On the basis of the report from Sudan, American reporters sought confirmation from U.S.
administration officials, which led them to the conclusion that the air strike did take
place but that the U.S. Air Force was not involved and that the aircraft were Israeli.
CBS correspondent Dan Raviv said that "if Israeli airplanes carried out the attack in
Sudan, it would suggest that there is a shadow against Hamas and its weapons sources that
is wider than the Israeli or U.S. government has revealed."
Israeli defense sources have reiterated on a number of occasions that Iran embarked on
an intensive effort to supply Hamas with weapons and ammunition during Operation Cast
The Israeli security sources said that an international network has been set in place
in which smugglers move arms caches from Iran through the Persian Gulf to Yemen, on to
Sudan and then to Egypt and Sinai where they are brought into the Gaza Strip through
tunnels. Israeli intelligence has warned that the deliveries include anti-tank missiles,
small arms, and military grade high explosives, as well as missiles.
Hamas, Israel Resume Talks on Prisoner Exchange
By VOA News
Hamas officials said they have resumed indirect negotiations with Israel on exchanging
a captured Israeli soldier for Palestinian prisoners. Hamas official Ali Barakeh said
Thursday a delegation from the Palestinian militant group is in Cairo to pursue a deal.
Egyptian officials said an Egyptian envoy is also in Israel for talks with Israeli
The fate of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit has become central to Egyptian efforts to
mediate a long-term cease-fire between Israel and Hamas militants in Gaza. Hamas gunmen
captured Shalit nearly three years ago during a cross-border raid.
Israel wants Shalit released as a condition for a long-term cease-fire agreement with
Hamas in Gaza. Hamas is demanding, in exchange, that Israel free at least a thousand
Palestinian prisoners, including militants responsible for deadly bombings.
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has said he hopes to secure Shalit's release before
the new Israeli government takes office next week.
IDF: 1,166 Killed in Gaza, 60-75 Percent Were Terrorists
The IDF has released the conclusions of its investigation of Arab deaths in the Cast
Lead operation in Gaza. According to Israeli researchers, 1,166 Gaza residents were killed
in Cast Lead, most of them terrorists.
More than 60 percent of those killed a total of 709 men were proven to be
members of terrorist groups, the IDF said. Most belonged to Hamas.
A total of 295 civilians were killed in fighting, the IDF found. The civilian death
toll as reported by the IDF includes all children under the age of 16 and all women killed
in the fighting, as well as elderly men and women, and men aged 16-50 who did not take
part in combat.
A total of 89 children and 49 women were killed in the fighting, investigators said.
The remaining 162 people are men between the ages of 16 and 50 whose affiliation remains
The IDF released a statement with the report mentioning the measures Israel took to
protect Gaza civilians: "The IDF wishes to emphasize that its objective during Operation
Cast Lead was to target the Hamas terror organization and not the citizens of the Gaza
"It must be stressed that the fighting took place in a complex battlefield, defined by
the Hamas terror organization itself. The Hamas terror organization placed the primary
fighting scene at the heart of civilian neighborhoods as it booby-trapped homes, fired
from schools, and used civilians as human shields.
The IDF took extensive measures in order to prevent harming uninvolved civilians,
including the dropping of leaflets, broadcasting warnings in local Palestinian media, and
placing numerous phone calls to homes. The procedure of making use of warning shots and
the briefing of commanders to take extra precautions in populated areas were also among
the measures taken by the IDF."
Hamas disputes the numbers reported by Israel, and claims that roughly 1,400 people
were killed in the fighting, most of them innocent civilians. Israeli researchers have
pointed out serious flaws in the Hamas data, such as double reporting of deaths and the
inclusion of senior terrorists on the list of children killed.
Hamas considers any person under the age of 18 a child victim, including teenagers who
took an active role in combat. In addition, armed Hamas officers who served in the Hamas
"police force" were listed as terrorists by Israel, and counted as civilian casualties by
Vatican Announces Papal Visit to Holy Land
By Sabina Castelfranco (VOA-Rome)
The Vatican on Thursday officially confirmed that Pope Benedict XVI will carry out a
pilgrimage to the Holy Land from May 8 to 15. He will first travel to Jordan and then on
to Jerusalem, Bethlehem and Nazareth.
This will be Pope Benedict's first visit to Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian
territories, and it will be watched carefully. Many are hoping the pontiff will use the
opportunity to help ease Roman Catholic relations with Muslims and Jews, which often have
been strained since the start of this papacy four years ago.
Pope Benedict is expected to meet with Jordan's King Abdullah, Israeli President Shimon
Peres and Palestinian territories President Mahmoud Abbas. This is the third papal visit
in modern times to the land where Jesus lived. Pope Paul VI visited the region in 1964 and
John Paul II in 2000.
Pope Benedict will spend the first three days of his trip in Jordan. In Amman, he will
visit the King Hussein bin Talal Mosque. It will be the pontiff's second visit to a
mosque. In 2006, during a trip to Turkey, he prayed at the famed Blue Mosque in
The pope will also hold Mass in the Amman soccer stadium and visit where Jesus was
baptized on the River Jordan and Mount Nebo where Moses once looked out at the Promised
Pope Benedict will travel to Israel on May 11 where he will visit the Yad Vashem
Memorial in Jerusalem and meet with organizations devoted to interfaith dialogue. He also
is scheduled to visit the Dome of the Rock on Temple Mount in Jerusalem and meet the Grand
Mufti. The pontiff will visit the Western Wall and meet Israel's two chief rabbis. He will
also celebrate Mass in the Valley of Josaphat.
Then Pope Benedict will go to the Palestinian territories. In Bethlehem, the
traditional birthplace of Jesus, he will celebrate Mass in Manger Square and visit the
Grotto of the Nativity. He will also visit a Palestinian refugee camp.
The pope will also travel to Nazareth where he will celebrate Mass on Mount Precipice
and preside over an evening prayer service with bishops, priests, religious, ecclesial
movements and pastoral workers from Galilee.
Pope Benedict is expected to round out his visit by attending an ecumenical meeting at
the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate and a visit to the Holy Sepulchre and the Armenian
patriarchal church of St. James in Jerusalem.
Can Homer Simpson Solve the Mideast Conflict?
The Simpsons have been to Australia, Britain, France and Japan, but now they could be
taking on their greatest challenge - bringing peace to Israel and the Palestinians.
Multiple media sources have quoted the show's executive producer, Al Jean, as saying
that America's number one animated family will head to the Holy Land next year. "I think
we're going to do one next year where they go to the Holy Land as we haven't been there
yet. The premise will be that the Christians, the Jews and Muslims are united in that they
all get mad at Homer. It's the only thing they can agree on," Jean said.
The Simpsons has long featured Jewish characters, most notably Krusty the Clown, born
Herschel Shmoikel Pinkus Yerucham Krustofski. Krusty's father, an Orthodox rabbi, is
voiced by veteran Jewish comedian Jackie Mason.
The rocky relationship between the two formed the premise for the episode "Like Father,
Like Clown," a parody of the movie The Jazz Singer. In the episode, Krusty confronts the
rabbi over his vehement opposition to his son's career as an entertainer. Mason won an
Emmy for Outstanding Voice-Over Performance for the episode.
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