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Israel Aiding Syria Refugees on Turkish, Jordan Borders

By Agence France Presse

Israeli aid groups are working with Western organizations to provide humanitarian aid to Syrian refugees in Turkey and Jordan, Knesset member Ayoob Kara told AFP on Thursday.

"We have found a way, with voluntary organizations from Israel that are now on the borders of Jordan and Turkey with Syria, to provide humanitarian help to the Syrians who are there," Kara said. "My advisers are also in Jordan to try to find a way to help the refugees in Jordan," he added, saying that Israeli volunteer groups had been working in Turkey and Jordan for the past two months.

Kara stressed that the aid was humanitarian, with Israeli groups providing "food, medicine, a lot of help." And he said the organizations involved were non-governmental groups working under the auspices of European institutions to assist Syrian refugees in the border areas. "This is not the government, it's volunteers," he said, declining to identify the groups involved. "They are Israelis but they don't work there as Israelis, they work with the European groups there."

Kara said the Israeli government was wary of being seen to aid the opposition groups fighting to overthrow the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad, whose country is a sworn enemy of Israel. "If we are part of the conflict, it's a danger for all the region, all the world," he said. But Kara said he was eager to see the Jewish state provide humanitarian assistance, where possible. "It is important for us that when there are big problems in our neighbor states, we are helping," he said.

Kara, a member of Israel's Druze minority who belongs to the right-wing Likud party of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, said the governments of Jordan and Turkey "know about the work of the Israeli organizations." And the deputy said he was working with Jordan and the Israeli government on the possibility of bringing wounded Syrian refugees to the Jewish state for treatment.


Israel Accused of Killing Arafat

By ABC News

Israel has been accused of being behind the killing of iconic Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat, the most official accusation leveled against the Jewish state since Arafat's sudden and mysterious death in November 2004.

"We are accusing Israel of killing Yasir Arafat and poisoning him," said Tawfiq Tirawi, the head of the committee charged with investigating Arafat's death, at a news conference in the West Bank city of Ramallah. "We are asking for a trial for those who assassinated and poisoned Arafat."

Palestinians have long accused Israel of being behind the poisoning of the 75-year-old longtime leader. Many feel their suspicions were confirmed last week with the release of a documentary by the television network Al Jazeera that found "significant" levels of radioactive polonium on Arafat's personal effects, which his wife had given to the channel for examination by a Swiss forensics laboratory.

"Israel was not involved in the death of Arafat," Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's spokesman Mark Regev told Agence France-Presse. "All the medical files are in the hands of the Palestinians and it was not Israel who is preventing their publication."

The Arafat Foundation has released the medical records online. Arafat's nephew Nasser al-Qidwa, the head of the foundation, said there's "no longer any doubt" Arafat was "assassinated by poisoning." The documents are at http://yaf.ps/yaf/web_files/news_file/The_Medical_Reports_0.pdf

The documentary revealed that Arafat was not tested for polonium at the French hospital where he died after being airlifted from the West Bank and that his cause of death was listed as "unknown."

Two years later Alexander Litvinenko, a former KGB agent and critic of Vladimir Putin, was famously killed with polonium in London. "The French report said that specialized doctors were not able to find a reason or known illness that can explain the causes for the death," said Arafat's former doctor Abdullah al-Bashir on Tuesday. "They said that developments in the illness could not be explained in the framework of pathology. We are ready to work with the Swiss lab to take samples from Arafat's body," he added.

At the end of the film, Arafat's wife, Suha, called for the exhumation of his body for further investigation. The Palestinian Authority and Arafat's successor, Mahmoud Abbas, quickly supported the move, with a top Abbas aide saying it could happen "within days." But on Tuesday, the Palestinian justice minister said no request had yet been made to exhume Arafat.

At the news conference in Ramallah, investigator Tirawi said Palestinians could have been involved with Arafat's poisoning. "The Palestinian people want to know the truth about Arafat's death," he said. "We should do everything to reach the truth."

Arafat, who led the struggle for Palestinian statehood for nearly four decades, died in a French military hospital on November 11, 2004 after being airlifted there for treatment from his Ramallah headquarters.

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