Newsletter : 10fx1007.txt
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Hamas Threatens Retaliation Against PA
The armed wing of Hamas and its allies said Wednesday they would retaliate against the
Western-backed Palestinian Authority if it continued to take action against their members
in the occupied West Bank.
The threat, made at a news conference in the Gaza Strip, underlined the depth of
hostility between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority more than three years since the
Islamist group seized control of Gaza in a brief civil war.
Netanyahu to Introduce Amendment to Citizenship Act
A test of loyalty? Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu decided Wednesday to ask his
ministers to debate and approve an amendment to the Citizenship Act,
mandating that all aspiring citizens would be required to pledge their allegiance not only
to Israel, but to a "Jewish, democratic" Israel.
Netanyahu is in fact endorsing a similar amendment proposed by Justice Minister Yaakov
Ne'eman and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman. "Israel is the Jewish people's homeland,"
the prime minister explained. "It is so in its essence, in its government, its symbols,
holidays and language, and that should be reflected by its Citizenship Act.
"Israel is a democratic country that afford full civil equality to all its citizens.
This principle has always guided government policies, both domestic and foreign, and is a
cornerstone of Israeli legislation. This principle is expressed in the term 'Jewish and
democratic' and will be included in the pledge of allegiance taken by those wishing to
The Prime Minister's Office said the matter should have no bearing on the peace talks
with the Palestinians, since Israel's first prerequisite in the negotiations is for
recognition as the Jewish state.
Minister of Minority Affairs Avishay Braverman slammed the proposal: "This is an
infuriating, irresponsible decision which will only fuel the fires of delegitimization
against Israel worldwide."This decision will bear no benefits for Israel. All it does is
sent a negative message to Arab citizens," he said.
Yisrael Beiteinu welcomed Netanyahu's decision, saying it will fulfill a promise made
to it in its coalitional agreement. "Every citizen is obligated to preserve Israel and a
Jewish and democratic state, and all the more so when one aspires to become an Israeli
citizen. This is a vital, basic need, especially when there are those who wish to
Former Jewish Agency Chairman MK Zeev Bielski (Kadima) said that Netanyahu's decision
is "insulting, harmful, and is not enough to cement Israel's status as a Jewish democratic
state." Bielski added that the amendment "will cause more harm than good, and stems from
the need to please radical coalitional elements."
MK Ahmad Tibi (United Arab List-Ta'al) commented on Netanyahu's announcement, saying
that the premier's decision "to force citizens to pledge allegiance to a Jewish Israel is
a political decision rather that one of leadership. It is meant to cement the Arabs'
inferior class status by law. No amendment will be able to negate the Palestinian
narrative, which has been recognized worldwide."
The Arab street was irked by the decision, warning of a dangerous snowball effect:
"It's time that the government says what it thinks of us Arabs are we equal
citizens or bad ones?" said Nazareth resident Maison Jaraisi.
Jaraisi, a nurse, claimed Israeli law was racist in nature. "Unfortunately, we are
already accustomed to discriminatory legislation. I always read about the solidarity on
the Israeli street toward refugees from Darfur, and I call on the same people we
need you today in order to build a mutual future that is healthier than the one the
government has in the works," she said.
'Dancing Soldier' Faces Threats, Lawsuit
A former soldier who was videotaped by friends as he danced next to a blindfolded
female terrorist has been threatened by Hamas. The terrorist group threatened to kidnap
"Many Palestinian youth in the West Bank and in Gaza are trying to find the soldier's
name and address, in order to kidnap him and join him with Gilad Shalit," a statement from
The terrorist pictured in the video, 25-year-old Ekhsan Dibabse, said she plans to file
suit against the soldier. Dibabse has already filed a complaint with the left-wing
Committee Against Torture.
The incident took place in 2007, as Dibabse waited at a detention center after her
arrest on suspicion of membership in the Islamic Jihad terrorist group. She has since
served 22 months in prison.
The affair came to light after someone uploaded the video of the soldier dancing around
Dibabse to YouTube. After the video was made public, Dibabse told media that she felt
"humiliated" and "powerless" during the incident, despite the fact that she did not know
what was happening at the time. "I heard music and soldiers laughing, I felt like I was
being photographed," she said. She accused a different soldier of hitting her when she
attempted to remove her blindfold.
The incident was condemned by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and the IDF. Netanyahu
said, "These types of activities and videos bring shame to the IDF and to the state of
Israel, and cause heavy damage to our international image.
"The IDF is once of the most moral armies on earth, and treats prisoners with dignity.
The degradation of prisoners and detainees is not the way of the state of Israel, or of
the Jewish people," he added.
IDF spokesmen reported that the army is investigating the incident. "The IDF condemns
behavior of the type seen in these videos, and has acted and will continue to act to put
an end to it, through the briefings given to soldiers, the instructions given to their
commanders, the IDF code, and punishment when necessary," they stated. "These videos
represent the exception, and not the rule," they added.
Jewish Couple Booted from Cruise Ship
"There are too many Jews on board." That was the comment that started it all.
According to the London tabloids, that was what one well-dressed passenger aboard the
exclusive Queen Mary 2 cruise ship allegedly said to another couple on board
leading to a verbal fight and a subsequent eviction from the vessel.
Gloria Sher, a Jewish 82-year-old Tony award winning producer and apparently the target
of that comment, reportedly lashed back at the offending speaker with a series of reports
including, "F* you."
Then she and her 91-year-old British husband Frederick Evans, who spending five-weeks
on the $20,000 cruise, stomped off from the black-tie dinner and headed to their
Sher said that the following morning the captain came to the room and told the couple,
who live in New York, that they had insulted another passenger and would have to leave the
He intended, she said, to drop them off there and then, in Quebec, Canada. After fellow
passengers came to their defense, Sher said, they were allowed to remain on board for
another six days until the ship passed through New York but were told that had to
stay in their cabin.
"I was treated with no respect and unbelievably rude and shockingly terrible. I've been
sick ever since. It has ruined our lives," she told the New York Post. "It's changed us
The cruise line has disputed the couple's version of events and issued a statement in
which it said they had engaged in "multiple incidences of disrespectful and disruptive
behavior towards crew members and other guests. They were refunded only $835 and the
captain's decision, it said, was approved.
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