Why is Pollard Still in Jail
A study published by the Simon Wiesenthal Center in 1991 and authored by investigator Kenneth Timmerman documents that tens of American firms do business with Iran, Iraq, Syria and Libya, in the areas of conventional and non-conventional weaponry.
The vast majority of these firms are German owned, partially or completely.
That is the way in which German firms circumvent the ban on German firms exporting such substances.
What I learned from my visit to the Bundestag in Bonn from German opposition leader Rudolf Dessler was that this loophole allows German firms to simply establish subsidiaries abroad which operate with the full knowledge and consent of the German government.
These firms often seek out the best and brightest of Jewish minds to develop their technical capacity to its finest.
Meanwhile, all of these firms work on contractual arrangements and with the full clearance and authorization and confidentiality of the US Department of Defence.
As a US state department official once told told me, "we keep Pollard in jail to make sure that we'll see no more Jew-boy heroes ever again".
What we need now are a hundred Pollards who will indeed blow the whistle on the dealings of the American/German industrial complex with the nations who remain in a state of war with Israel and the Jewish people.
The problem remains that many of these companies also do business in Israel, thereby muting many potential Israeli whistle-blowers.
A theory? Perhaps.
Run it up the flagpole, see if anyone salutes.
Two Sides of Sesame Street
The April 1 front page story that ran in the Philadelphia Inquirer concerning Jewish-Arab cooperation in the production of a sesame-street style production on a private Palestinian TV station was not an April fool's joke.
It was very real.
Dauod Kuttab, the Palestinian Arab journalist who takes appropriate credit for the initiative, represents a grass roots Palestinian desire for cooperation between peoples on all levels. However, the official "Sesame Street" that runs on the Palestine Authority's official Palestine Broadcasting Corporation, funded by US AID and administered directly under the supervision of Palestine Authority chairman Yassir Arafat, also known as the "children's workshop" runs a program which takes an different view of Jewish-Arab cooperation.
Imagine this: On this past Tuesday, March 31, the morning that Yassir Arafat made a surprise visit at the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam, the museum which has become a symbol of the one and a half million Jewish children who were slaughterer by the Nazis.
On that same day, the PBC TV program modelled after "Sesame Street," with children (some as young as 4 years old, most about 8 or 9) seated in a semi-circle around a group leader, dressed in costumes and party clothes, with cartoon characters decorate the walls. >From among the group a little boy stands up and, with the nursery school teacher holding the mike he says that "I will grow up to kill every Jew that I meet" On an earlier program, a young girl stands up, raises her fist and cries: "When I wander into the entrance of Jerusalem, I will turn into a suicide warrior in battledress! In battledress!"
In both cases, The leader of the official Palestinian "Sesame Street"cheers:
"Bravo! Bravo! Bravo!"
On yet another segment, a beautiful, dark haired young girl who looks to be about 6 years old sings the following words, barely a blinking of her eyes: "Each and every part of your soil I have drenched with all my blood. And we shall march as warriors of Jihad. Oh, my exalted martyr, you are my example. Oh, my companion, you are beside me. Oh, my sister, sing constantly about my life as a suicidewarrior, how we remain steadfast. Oh, my country, you are my soul. Oh, my dawn, you are my heartbeat."
Samplings of the official PBC children's workskop were aired at the March 11 hearing held at the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee special session that was convened to deal with some of the issues of the middle east peace process.
The clips were prepared by the Jerusalem-based "peace for generations" monitoring group and presented to the Senate by Dr. Daniel Pipes, editor of the Philadelphia-based Middle East Quarterly.
So there you have it. Dissonant messages from Palestinian TV shows.
From my daily contact with Palestinian Arabs in Jerusalem and the west bank, I can attest to the fact that Daoud Kuttab and the spirit behind him represent the dominant Palestinian mood that favors peace, reconciliation and dialogue with Israel and with the Jewish people.
However, Daoud Kuttab is not in power at the Palestine Authority.
Indeed, Kuttab was jailed by the PA for telecasting debates in the Palestinian parliament that Arafat was not interested in publicizing.
And while Israel Educational Television is considering the purchase of Kuttab's programs that promote reconciliation, the Palestine Broadcasting Corporation has rejected any such possibility.
PBC head Radwan Abu Ayash was asked in a videotaped interview as to when he will have programs that promote peace on PBC TV.
Ayash responded matter of factly that he is not allowed to feature stories that "promote peace with the Israelis".
It should be recalled that on Sept. 7, 1997, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported that "the PBC network was nurtured with about $500,000 in equipment and training from the U.S. Agency for International Development," and cited as its source the network's chairman, Raddwan Abu Ayyash.
PBC policies did not begin with the election of Netanyahu as the prime minister of Israel in May, 1996. Since its inception in 1994, the PBC TV and PBC Radio have adopted a policy of promoting speeches, interview programs and children's shows that only exacerbate war rather than promote peace.
There are two sides of Sesame Street in Palestine. One, from the Palestinian people, that desires peace. The other, dictated from the Palestine Authority, that is made up of people who came from PLO headquarters in Tunis back in 1993, that promotes war and continued conflict.
PBC shows such as the official PBC "The Children's Club" reveal how thoroughly committed Arafat and his authority are to the idea that their struggle against Israel is a jihad - a holy war - against Israel.
In the Oslo peace accords and later agreements, the Palestine Authority agreed in no uncertain terms to take all necessary steps to prevent violence, or the incitement of violence, against Israel.
The Clinton Administration is not ignorant of the Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation's programming. At the US Senate subcommittee hearing in March, Assistant Secretary of State Martin Indyk actually watched footage from "The Children's Club." Indyk knows full well that the incitement to violence is in violation of the Declaration of Principles signed by Israel and the PLO.
Yet when the U.S. government makes demands for concessions, it makes specific requests of Israel, and generalized demands of Arafat.
The question remains: why does the US not make a specific request of Arafat that the message conveyed to Palestinian children on his TV station emanate from Daoud Kuttab and not from Radwan Abu Ayash?
Har Homa Monitoring Committee
Yerushalim Shelanu (Our Jerusalem) has established a Har Homa monitoring Committee. Monitors, in a car with Israeli flags flying from it will travel to Har Homa regularly and issue reports about the pace of building at Har Homa.
In announcing the Monitoring Committee, Jonathan Levy, spokesman stated, "With all of the world focusing on Har Homa, it is important that someone report on what is actually taking place there. We intend to provide a service to journalists and tourists who want to see and understand what is actually, on the grond taking place at Har Homa."
Additionally, with the increase of tourists and foreign media visiting Israel for Passover and the 50th Anniversary of the State of Israel, increased tours of Eastern Jerusalem, including stops at Har Homa, Ras al Amud, (Har Ha Zetim), Orient House, and the Jerusalem Tunnels will be offered.
For more information, or to arrange a tour of Eastern Jerusalem, contact
Ronn Torossian at
Even if the Hamas leadership in Gaza tries to respond to the Palestinian Authority's request to avoid attacks, it is doubtful if it has the power to influence the leaders of its military wing in the West Bank.
There were those among the leaders of the Palestinian Authority last week who accepted the Israeli version, as explained to Yasser Arafat by GSS Director Ami Ayalon, that Muhi a-Din Sharif was not killed by Israeli agents. This was also hinted by the fact that the official Palestinian announcement published yesterday avoided allocating responsibility for Sharif's death. But the Palestinian leaders found it difficult to withstand the crowd's rage in Gaza and the West Bank, which is convinced that Israel was responsible for another assassination, this time of the man called by the Palestinian street the 'Engineer no. 2'.
Recent Hamas announcements and leaflets (whose authenticity is not always clear) say that revenge for Sharif's murder will be harsher than for Yehiye Ayash. The connection between the two cases was demonstrated by Hamas activists who invited Ayash's father to stand beside Sharif's father during the large funeral held last Thursday in Ramallah.
The possibility that they will launch revenge attacks in Israel also arouses concern among Arafat and his aides. There are preliminary signs of economic revitalization in the territories due to the easing of the closure. Crossing the roadblocks from the West Bank into Israeli territory is nearly frictionless, the soldiers rarely stop to check anyone and raids on workplaces to catch unregistered Palestinian workers within Israel itself have stopped. Many vehicles with Palestinian license plates can be seen on Israel's roads, and the Liaison Office in Gaza permits more workers and merchants to enter Israel. Trucks from Gaza, too, loaded with goods, travel in organized convoys to the ports of Ashdod and Haifa, and eastward to Jordan, in greater regularity and numbers than in the past. A terrorist attack could put a stop to all this.
In order to try and stop imminent revenge attacks, the Palestinian Authority has taken an unusual step. Its representatives, headed by Authority Director-General a-Taib Abd al-Rahim, last Thursday summoned Hamas' political wing in Gaza, headed by Sheikh Abd al-Aziz al- Rantisi, to an urgent meeting. Hamas activists were offered participation in a joint investigation on Sharif's death.
Although the Palestinian police have collected all the evidence of the explosion, they have no information on Sharif's movements in the final hours and days prior to his death. If it was indeed an Israeli operation, as Hamas agents believe, it was carried out in cooperation with Palestinian forces (as happened in the case of Ayash), and the only way to find them and their Israeli handlers, if any, is to check the people with whom Sharif recently met. Anyone who knew of the warehouse, or laboratory, where the explosion took place, where Sharif was before arriving at the location, whom he met with, who brought him there and other classified details which only Hamas activists, Sharif's colleagues, know about. It is hard to imagine that Hamas military activists would agree to hand over classified information on their agents to Arafat's security apparatus. They know that Palestinian security officials give information to the Israeli GSS and suspect that they hand Hamas agents over to Israel.
Arafat's messengers also asked the Hamas leaders in Gaza to restrain and not react with attacks at this time, because such a response could cause severe damage to Palestinian interests. There could be political damage besides any economic harm. Arafat now expects the American proposals regarding the continued Israeli withdrawal to be announced at any time, and it is clear that a terrorist attack would help Netanyahu's government to reject any such proposal.
But even if the Hamas leadership in Gaza were to try to act on the Palestinian Authority's request, it is not clear if it has the power to influence the leaders of the organization's military wing in the West Bank. The questions: When do the leaders of the Hamas cells decide to carry out an attack; who among them takes orders and religious and political instruction and what considerations motivate the decision makers, have for years not only worried Israeli intelligence, but also the leaders of the Palestinian Authority, and no-one has any clear answers.
Israeli intelligence sources, for example, point to the fact that "Izz a-Din al-Qassam" brigade commanders (Hamas cells) in the West Bank are connected to the Hamas leadership in Jordan more than they are to the leadership in Gaza. According to (Israeli) suspicions, the men who transfer instructions and funds from Jordan to the cells in the West Bank are Khaled Masha'al and Imad al-Alami, who reside in Amman, as well as other known political activists such as Mahmoud Nizal and Ibrahim Rousha. It is also known that Hamas leaders residing abroad generally support the hard line -- of terrorist attacks -- more than the leadership in Gaza and the West Bank do. The reason for this is that the leaders abroad are not subject to the persistent pressures of the Palestinian Authority, and no-one from the street comes up to them to complain that their sources of income in Israel are blocked due to the attacks.
Because of the differences in the positions between the Hamas leadership scattered in Israel and abroad, Hamas leaders tend to periodically call coordination meetings, where important decisions are made. In the past, Mussa Abu Marzook, who is known to be the head of Hamas' political wing, and Mustapha Lindawi, considered to be the Hamas leader in Lebanon, as well as other activists from Jordan and Egypt used to come to these meetings (usually held in Cairo or Khartoum). There have been cases when the Israeli government granted permission to Hamas leaders in Israel to travel abroad, hoping that they would bring moderate positions to these meetings. There have also been occasions where Israel prevented them from leaving. Hamas leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin was recently permitted to leave for medical treatment in Saudi Arabia.
A large group of senior Hamas leaders asked to accompany him. Israel thought that the Hamas leadership in the country and abroad intended to convene another senior leadership meeting, this time in Saudi Arabia, and decided not to allow them to go.
It is further known that the leadership of Hamas' military wing has a considerable degree of freedom. They have the authority to decide on all matters regarding the operational side and timing of attacks. But they need the political-religious authority and permission on all matters regarding the act of carrying out attacks. Following the assassination of Yehiye Ayash in January 1996, Hamas activists waited nearly two months before before carrying out their revenge attacks. No-one can prophesy what will happen now. Meanwhile people in the West Bank and Gaza are preparing to celebrate Id el-Adkha, which begins this week; on the streets of eastern Jerusalem, Palestinians could be heard saying that the quiet will last at least until the holiday is over.
US Consulate: US Never
Cited Palestinian Violation
IMRA spoke with Amjad Hidmi, an Information Specialist at the United States Information Service at the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem, in English, on March 3:
IMRA: I have been going through the data bases I have and I am trying to find an instance that the United State explicitly stated that there was a Palestinian violation of anything in the Oslo Agreement and I can't find it. I was hoping that you might be able to help me out.
HIDMI: Violation of what?
IMRA: The Oslo Agreement. I have found such phrases as "we are not happy" or "more could be done" but I have not succeeded in finding even one instance that the U.S. actually called something an out and out violation. I looked back at the compliance reports which the State Department sent to the Senate, for example, and in every case they certified that the Palestinians were complying.
Has the US ever stated explicitly that the Palestinians violated anything?
HIDMI: Your question is difficult. We can help you find answers for what the US position is on Jerusalem, for example. We can find a text on that.
IMRA: Is there a text where the United States Government stated that the Palestinians made any violations?
HIDMI: I am not sure. There might be. But to look for it would be difficult. I will check with the Consul. I don't think that he will be able to help you out on this because the information you are looking for is difficult to track.
IMRA: I guess what puzzles me is that I checked the reports and I figured that the State Department reports submitted to the Senate on compliance - since that was their explicit purpose - to report if the Palestinians were violating. So I thought that if there was going to be a statement about Palestinian noncompliance anywhere that it would be there. And they never say in those reports that there were any Palestinian violations.
HIDMI: That's right. There might have been statements by the State Department Spokesman in the past but its going to be difficult to look or them. I am sure there might be statements.
IMRA: But in terms of reports themselves.
HIDMI: You've got to look at the human rights report.
IMRA: I am not talking about the human rights reports, I am talking about Palestinian compliance.
HIDMI: If its not there its going to be difficult to track. Let me check.
IMRA: The first thing I thought of was the compliance reports but in the compliance reports the United States always says that they comply. There is never any citation of noncompliance.
HIDMI: Yes. yes. I am going to try and find out if there is any other report bedsides the Compliance Act report and Human Rights report.
IMRA: Human rights is a different issue. I am only talking about violations of the Oslo agreements.
HIDMI: I doubt that you can find any. Because I monitor the Washington file which is the daily news service from Washington, which includes the Spokesman's remarks and I don't think that he has ever said that the PLO or the Palestinian Authority has violated the Oslo Accords. There might have been criticisms but I don't think that you are going to find the wording 'violations" there. I will get back to you.
Dr. Aaron Lerner,
Egypt: Copts, Terrorism, Press Freedom
The following are excerpts from articles which appeared in the Egyptian English weekly, "Al-Ahram" of Al-Ahram Weekly 26th March - 1st April 1998
"Coptic MP Slams Expats"
[Heading:] A Coptic MP has taken expatriate Copts to task for attempting to interfere in the domestic affairs of Christians
Edward Ghali El-Dahabi, a prominent lawyer and a member of the People's Assembly, has accused Coptic expatriates living in the United States of attempting to interfere in the internal affairs of Egyptian Christians and impose their will on them, reports Gamal Essam El Din. Rejecting a move by a group of expatriates to organise a campaign against the alleged persecution of Copts, El-Dahabi said that Egyptians , both Muslims and Christians, are bound by " strong national unity that knows no discrimination."
In a statement delivered before the Assembly on Monday, El-Dahabi affirmed that "those who are trying to incite foreigners to interfere in Egypt's internal affairs are, in fact, stabbing Copts in the heart."
El-Dahabi drew the assembly's attention to press reports that the US Congress planned to debate a new law opposing the religious persecution of minorities throughout the world. The law, he said, is expected to gain Congressional approval next month.
"I want to emphasis that what saddens Copts are these attempts to interfere in their affairs and being described as a minority," he said. "Egyptian Copts are ready to talk to those who wish to talk to them. If they have some demands, or face some problems, they have to raise them, but only within the framework of national unity."
... El-Dahabi also quoted Pope Shenoudah III, head of the Coptic Orthodox Church, as saying, "We are Egyptians, forming a part of the people of Egypt. We neither call ourselves a minority nor do we like others to call us a minority."
Police Unfazed by Minya Attacks"
[Heading:] Acting possibly out of desperation, Islamist militants staged their first attacks in southern Egypt since Luxor
After a lull of several months, Islamist militants went on the offensive again in southern Egypt, staging twin attacks last Sunday in Minya province that left four policemen killed and 13 citizens injured.
... A security source said Sunday's attacks were the militants' response to the killing of eight of their number in two clashes with police during the previous two weeks. The attacks, he said, are a desperate attempt by the militants to prove that they still exist.
Despite Sunday's attack, there were obvious signs that the momentum of daily life had picked up again in Mallawi, previously a hotbed of terrorism. The town's main thoroughfare bustled with commercial activity and security measures were not as visible as in the past. A local lawyer said: "Until a few months ago our good morning salute was to enquire who was killed the previous night and where the sound of bullets came from. But now the tension has eased a lot."
"Soapbox -- Democracy's Armies"
Despite many rumours that a new law on civil associations is under preparation, the government remains silent. Such a law would be a true litmus test of the government's intentions towards democratisation in the country and the degree to which it is willing to uphold its commitments to international human rights standards and, indeed, the Egyptian Constitution. The current law governing civil associations, Law 32 of 1964, was always intended as an instrument for tightening state control over civil society and abrogating freedoms of association and organisation. Law 32 gives the government, and in particular the Ministry of Social Affairs, sweeping and arbitrary powers over every form of civic association in the country. Government bodies have the right to dissolve associations, merge them, confiscate their funds and/or allocate them to other associations, dissolve their governing boards and appoint new ones ...
... Ultimately, the real question is participatory democracy. Democracy is an indivisible process. Defective democracy only encourages military or religious alternatives. Only through democracy are people empowered to protect themselves, provided they are aware and organised. It is only through true democracy that political and religious extremism can be contained, and the possibility of chaos deterred.
I have very little knowledge of the intricacies of law, and more specifically, where the law draws the line between the free expression of opinion, criticism and debate, on the one hand, and slander or libel, on the other. Nevertheless, I find it very difficult to imagine a country achieving any kind of progress in its political life, sciences, art or literature, if that country's citizens do not enjoy a "sacred" right to describe each other, and each other's ideas, as foolish, ignorant or any similar epithet, whether fairly or unfairly. Yet, two Cairo courts, one of them a Court of Appeal, have found such designations sufficient reason to consign Gamal Fahmi, a journalist, in prison for six months.
Thus, in the space of less than a month we have three journalists in prison, serving sentences ranging from six to 12 months, for libel offenses. In statements to Al-Ahram Weekly ... Press Syndicate Chairman Makram Mohamed Ahmed remarked with bitter sarcasm that he hoped the prison ward accorded to journalists "is large enough", since there are some 60 cases currently before the courts in which journalists are charged in connection with libel offenses.
The total absurdity of the libel laws in Egypt stands exposed. And so do the limits of our own democratic resolve and convictions. Just two years ago journalists were basking in the glory of their "heroic" battle for press-freedom. For a full year they fought against the "infamous" Law 93 and won. Or did they?
... The imprisonment of three journalists for libel offenses exposes the limits of the journalists' "victory" in defending democratic liberties and press freedom two years ago. And so does the host of measures recently adopted in the clamp-down on "yellow journalism". But both expose the limits of the journalists' commitment to democratic principles. We pay for what we get.
Urgent Memo to Israel Government Cabinet Secretary, Dani Naveh, From Jonathan Pollard
Background from Dr. Aaron Lerner:
Israel Minister of Infrastructure Ariel Sharon charged at the Cabinet meeting today (April 5) that Israel has mismanaged the Pollard Affair from the start and that the time has come for Israel to take full responsibility for Pollard's actions as an agent for Israel. Sharon was prompted to make these remarks after a draft of a letter to President Clinton to be signed by the government and opposition and Knesset was read.The letter lacks any acknowledgement on the part of Israel for its role in the affair and does not take responsibilty for Pollard or for the operation. The draft included the particularly damaging statement that "We do not have any claims as regards the legal measures taken against him [Pollard], in light of the serious actions for which he was convicted, and for which Jonathan Pollard has expressed his deep sorrow and repentance."
In a letter and follow-up memo written to Cabinet Secretary Dani Naveh, Jonathan Pollard explains why the exclusion of any sign of Israel taking responsibilty for him as an agent and for his operation would make the letter appear to the Americans as a cheap publicity stunt for domestic Israeli consumption. Such a letter, Pollard warns, would worsen rather than help Pollard's situation.
The following is the complete text of the memo:
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