Israel Resource Review 18th Febuary, 2005


U.S. denies Sharon claim of keeping West Bank
Prime minister used supposed Bush promise to justify Gaza withdrawal
Aharon Klein
Jerusalem Correspondent, World Net Daily

© 2005
JERUSALEM - The U.S. has denied a claim, used by Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to justify plans to withdraw Jewish settlements from Gaza this summer, that the Bush administration has reached an agreement with Israel to allow Jewish settlements to remain in the West Bank, WorldNetDaily has learned.

Sharon said Tuesday, in response to a journalist's question, that he agreed to pull soldiers and settlers from Gaza because of assurances from President Bush that large settlements in the West Bank would remain part of the Jewish state.

Sharon, speaking to reporters after giving his annual address to the foreign press corps, said Bush supported the concept of a final peace agreement in which Israel would retain land in the West Bank and not accept Palestinian refugees if the Jewish state carried out the Gaza withdrawal.

"I don't think that we made compromise or concessions without getting anything in return," Sharon said. "In the agreement between Bush and myself we [received] tremendous achievements that Israel never had since its establishment."

But an e-mail obtained by WND from Paul Patin, the press attaché for the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv, flatly denied Sharon's claim.

Patin was responding yesterday to a message received from David Bedein, director of the Israel Resource News Agency, a media firm based in Jerusalem, asking, "The Israeli PM declared . . . that the government of Israel has reached an agreement with the U.S. government to allow settlement blocs to remain in Judea and Samaria. Can the U.S. government confirm such an agreement?"

Pattin answered, "No."

In April, Bush sent to Sharon a formal letter discussing the Gaza withdrawal and outlining understandings between the U.S. and Israel. Before the official release of the letter, the Israeli media reported Bush had agreed to allow Israel to retain the West Bank after the Gaza withdrawal is carried out.

But the letter contained no direct promise regarding the West Bank.

Some analysts say Bush hinted about Israel keeping parts of the West Bank when he wrote, "In light of new realities on the ground, including already existing major Israeli populations centers, it is unrealistic to expect that the outcome of final status negotiations will be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949." The pre-1949 borders did not include the West Bank.

Bedein told WND: "The letter made no promise about retaining the West Bank. The claims by Sharon are part of a process of misrepresenting the American government and taking advantage of a sympathetic president by twisting his words to fit Sharon's agenda."

Bush's April letter also dealt with Palestinian refugees.

"It seems clear that an agreed, just, fair and realistic framework for a solution to the Palestinian issue as part of any final status agreement will need to be found through the establishment of a Palestinian state, and the settling of Palestinian refugees there, rather than in Israel," wrote Bush.

But Bedein says, "Bush's letter does not reject the 'right of return' of Arab refugees to the sovereign state of Israel. Instead, the U.S. simply encourages Palestinian Arab refugees to settle in a future Palestinian state, 'rather than Israel.' Bush could have said 'only' in a Palestinian state. He did not."

This ran in WND on February 18th, 2005

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Olmert Distorts Reality of Israel's Northern Border For Visiting Jewish Organizations
by David Bedein

On February 18th, 2005, during a public presentation for the annual Jerusalem meeting of the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations from North America, Israel's Deputy Prime Minister Ehud Olmert pointed to Israel's security situation on the Lebanon as a model which Israel would apply to Gaza and Samaria. Olmert stated that the Hizbullah terrorists now based in Southern Lebanon had accumulated some 15,000 missiles and mortars in Lebanon and that they have never used them against Israel on the Northern border since Israel's withdrawal from Lebanon in May, 2000.

Writing both as a journalist and as the father of a son who was stationed as a combat soldier and forward observer for the Israeli artillery corps on the northern border for almost three years, it is incredible that Olmert could make any such statement.

The declassified IDF situation report that was issued on the day that my son was discharged from the IDF on June 8th, 2004 speaks for itself:

"In the four years since the IDF unilaterally redeployed its troops from Lebanon, the following attacks on Israel took place from the North:

  • 34 attacks with mortar shells and anti-tank missiles into Northern Israel.
  • 7 shooting attacks with light arms fire into Northern Israel.
  • 8 roadside bombs that were planted in Northern Israel.
  • 127 times when anti-aircraft missiles** were fired into Northern Israel.
  • 5 Katusha rocket attacks into Northern Israel.
  • 10 infiltrations into Northern Israel.
  • 11 soldiers killed in Northern Israel while 3 IDF troops were kidnapped and murdered.
  • 50 soldiers who were wounded in Northern Israel.
  • 14 civilians were killed in Northern Israel".

During these years, the Israeli media often reported that these missiles were firing at Israeli aircraft, while this was hardly ever the case.

However, as Ha'Aretz military correspondent Z'ev Schiff once explained after one of these anti-aircraft missiles killed a sixteen-year-old boy in Shlomi, the trajectories of these missiles were readjusted to act as surface-to-surface missiles.

At a time when Israel is considering another unilateral withdrawal of troops from Gaza without any "quid pro quo" of peace, our son was witness to what it means to move back Israeli troops and watch Israel's enemies regroup and continue their attacks against Israel.

Now Ehud Olmert tries to say that there were no attacks from the north since May, 2000.

Perhaps Olmert should make 28 belated shiva calls to refresh his memory.

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PHRMG: Does Abbas have the Right to Execute his People?
Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Group (PHRMG)

[Israel Resource News Agency asked both the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Association for Civil Rights in Israel as to whether Israel's aid to the Palestinian Authority be predicated on Israel's demand that the PA not execute those who advocate reconciliation with Israel. The answer that we received from both entities was that this is an "internal Palestinian matter". -DB]

Press Release
February 17, 2005

Does Abbas have the Right to Execute his People?

On Monday, February 14, 2005, Sakher Bseso, the governor of Gaza, announced that President Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) has transferred 51 civil and military cases of persons that had been sentenced to death to the Mufti (interpreter of Islamic law) of Jerusalem; Sheikh Akermah Sabri. President Abbas gave the responsibility to Sheikh Akermah Sabri to decide whether to execute them or not.

According to our statistics, 68 Palestinians had been sentenced to death since the establishment of the Palestinian Authority (PA) in 1994. Of the 68 cases, execution was implemented on 6 people and 4 others were shot to death by Palestinian gunfire.

The PHRMG believes that it is a confusing situation that Abu Mazen still considers those 51 cases as open cases while they are supposed to be closed ones. The 68 Palestinians were already sentenced to death at the time of the former President Yasser Arafat. President Abu Mazen owes us an explanation to his decision. Is he breaking the Palestinian law that states death penalty to those cases? Or does he think that Yasser Arafat made an unfair decision by sentencing them to death?

Since the establishment of the PA in 1994, 221 Palestinians were killed as a result of Palestinian gunfire, where others were killed as a result of stabbing and beating. Moreover, 100 Palestinians were killed in the street for being suspected collaborators. The PHRMG asks President Abu Mazen whether he will take a position in all theses cases. The PHRMG demands from President Abu Mazen to take a serious action against all the violence that was committed by Palestinians, to ensure security and safety among the Palestinian people. The Palestinian future will always be threatened if an action against violence was not taken immediately.

The Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Group (PHRMG) is a Palestinian, independent, non-profit, non-governmental organization working to end human rights violations committed against Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem, regardless of who is responsible. The members of the Monitoring Group believe that the strength of democracy and civil society in Palestine will be determined by the Palestinian People through their defense or neglect of human rights.

5, Ragheb Nashashibi St.
Sheikh Jarrah
East Jerusalem
P.O.Box 19918, East Jerusalem 91198
Via Israel
Tel: +(972) 2 582 3372-3
Fax:+(972) 2 582 3385

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