Israel Resource Review 00th January, 2006


The Olmert/Cremieux affair:
How Olmert and Alumot Used Insider Information
Yoav Yitzhak, Bureau Chie

According to the advance permit that was given, in writing, the [Jerusalem] municipality consented to the dismantling and reassembling of the building, and even to increase the built area * In this manner they succeeded in gaining an advantage and a profit of hundreds of thousands of dollars

Alumot MG Engineering Corporation Ltd and Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert used insider information that they had obtained when they conducted the transaction at 8 Cremiux [St.] in Jerusalem, in addition to using connections to advance building permits in the municipality's institutions. This comes into especially sharp focus now, in light of Alumot's position, as it was presented to Nfc, the response by Olmert, and information that was brought to our attention, as will be detailed below. As we reported here, Olmert received a bribe from Alumot in the amount of hundreds of thousands of dollars, and his name and standing were used to receive the building permits, both from the Preservation Commission, and from the Local Planning Committee. The last obstacle they face now is the Appeals Committee (that is connected with the District Planning Committee). Olmert and Alumot totally denied the claims against them, and in the course of their attempt to ward off the claims of bribery and to downplay the severity of the suspicion that use was made of Olmert's name, they revealed the following:

Olmert argued that even before they signed the contract between them (October 2004), Alumot had received permission in principle, according to which the municipality would allow the demolition and rebuilding of the structure, that is a preserved building;

Alumot claims in a letter to Nfc from March 5, 2006, copies of which were also given to the State Comptroller and to the Attorney General: "Even before the signing of the contract with the Olmerts, and unconnected to their purchase of the apartment - for in light of the comprehensive professional opinions submitted to it, it was convinced that the building could be preserved by its dismantling and reassembly, in accordance with the strict conditions established for this." [Alumot gave Nfc its version in a letter in which it demands an apology and financial compensation in the amount of a million dollars, claiming that my publication on the matter constitutes libel. Its demand is totally rejected.] It was learned that this critical information - if it was indeed given to Alumot, and from it to Olmert - was not given to the tenants/owners of the building, and before that was not given to other entrepreneurs who were in contact with the municipality and examined the possibilities of receiving a permit to demolish and rebuild the structure. Deborah Ganani-Elad, from whom Alumot purchased about a third of the building that is to be preserved, told us in response: "I knew nothing. They didn't tell me anything. My lawyer, as well, did not know." Ganani sold her portion (161 sq. m., and building rights) for $1,100,000, and if the municipality's position had been known to her, she could have received a higher sum. This means that Olmert and Alumot used insider information that they received from senior official individuals within the municipality in order to purchase the parts of the property from the various residents, and thereby make very high profits in the amount of hundreds of thousands of dollars. This is especially serious, since the Jerusalem Municipality had previously refused to allow others to make any change at the site, had forbidden residents to make any actual changes and/or additions, and had even given Alumot the permission, and in writing, even though this was not within its authority [changing the status of a building to be preserved, that in fact pertains to changing the Urban Building Plan, is under the sole authority of the District Planning Commission]. It was learned that the Director of the City Planning Branch, the architect Osnat Post, who was the deputy of Uri Shitrit, who was recently added by Olmert to the Kadima list for the 17th Knesset, directly dealt with granting the permit to Alumot, with the support of Shitrit. It almost goes without saying that the Jerusalem Municipality, that gave this important information to Alumot, and from it to Olmert, had not previously done the minimum required by the law: to inform the public, by mandatory advertisements in the media, of the change in its position and the permit that it was willing to grant to anyone who would request to make changes at Cremieux 8, namely: dismantling and rebuilding, while utilizing the building rights given in the area. It is indisputable that if this had been announced in public, as the law requires, many more entrepreneurs would have contended for the purchase of the rights to the property, and the residents who had waited and who had been "stuck" for decades would have been able to receive a higher price for the property that they possessed. The importance of the prior information is attested by the following fact: the contractor and Olmert took determined action to purchase the property. In this transaction Olmert purchased one third of the building (which is of three stories). Olmert paid the contractor, in advance, the entire sum set for the apartment that he purchased: $1,200,000. This sum was used, among other things, to finance the additional purchases, that enabled the entrepreneur and the purchaser (Olmert) to make huge immediate profits in the amount of hundreds of thousands of dollars, and within a very short period of time.

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As Holocaust Memorial day Approaches - We Must Take Stock
Professor Robert S. Wistrich
Director, International Vidal Sassoon Center for the Study of Anti-Semitism at Hebrew University in Jerusalem

As a student of modern Jewish history and anti-Semitism, I have always tried to refrain from using the term "Holocaust" for rhetorical purposes. But this time, Holocaust Memorial Day is different, so it seems, from its predecessors. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, since October 2005, has repeatedly called for Israel to be wiped off the map and has denied, in tandem, the existence of the Holocaust. Meanwhile, his country has been marching feverishly towards the acquisition of nuclear weapons.

More than 20 years ago I wrote a book called Hitler's Apocalypse which, inter alia, warned that the Islamic republic of the Ayatollah Khomeini and fundamentalist Islam were the true successors of the Nazis. I recently served as the historical adviser for a new film called "Obsession: Radical Islam's War Against the West," which graphically presents the logic of genocide as it is pre sented in political Islam today.

Now, more than ever, it seems that the chances of a new type of Holocaust, in the framework of which the Jews and humanity as we know it will be destroyed, is a palpable possibility. The threats made by Ahmadinejad, the jihad against the West and the fanatical anti-Semitism that permeates radical Islam are palpable examples of this threat. To them we need to add the hatred and violence that swept the Muslim world a month ago in response to a few satiric cartoons from Denmark, the sadistic murder that was motivated by anti-Semitism of Ilan Halimi in France by a gang of "Barbarians" headed by an African Muslim, and the "democratic" victory of Hamas in what is left of the Palestinian Authority. The ideological tenets maintained by Hamas are based clearly on the destruction of Israel, on jihad and on venomous anti-Semitism.

Radical Muslims have the incentive, the reasons, the desire and, yes, if they persevere with their efforts, they will also have the means as well as the opportunity to carry out a "final solution" of their own to what they refer to as the "Zionist cancer" in the Middle East. In this context we need to examine the denial of the Nazi Holocaust, which is prevalent nowadays not only in Iran but throughout the Arab world, including the Palestinian Authority, Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia. A denial of this sort is the necessary preface to the planned destruction of Israel. When President Ahmadinejad said to the leaders of Hamas, Hizbullah, Islamic Jihad and other "holy warriors," who convened in Tehran last week, that "the land of Palestine will be liberated shortly," he did not forget to mock the "myth of the Holocaust" with which the Zionists have allegedly bribed the governments of the West for the last 60 years.

We ought to bear in mind that 40 years ago the Egyptian dictator, Gamal

Abdel Nasser, also denied the Zionists' "great lie" as if 6,000,000 Jews had

been put to death, in an interview to a neo-Nazi German reporter. A short while later Nasser launched his megalomaniac initiative to destroy Israel, which had well-known, devastating results for the Arab world.

Iran's Self-Confidence

Now, once again, Holocaust denial and anti-Semitism are linked to the policy of the government of a Middle Eastern country that is determined to wipe Israel off the face of the map in the name of "the Palestinians' rights."

In Iran's case, the inclination is to move in the direction of reconciliation, "constructive intervention" and "critical dialogue," particularly in Europe-for the usual reasons. The profits from natural gas and petrol in Iran are rising, it has close commercial ties with Europe (particularly with Germany), it also signed a natural gas and petrol deal with China worth billions of dollars, and Putin's Russia is a significant economic partner and an important strategic ally. Furthermore, Iran has close allies among the terrorists-controlled by Hizbullah and Islamic Jihad, bankrolling Hamas and close ties with al-Qaida. Syria nowadays is hardly mor e than a serf in the hands of the Iranians, while the Shiite majority in Iraq is gradually placing itself more and more under the patronage of the Iranians. In this context, it is illogical to hope that the UN, international diplomacy or even economic sanctions will deter the leaders of Iran. The miserable misadventure of the United States in Iraq and the ineffective leadership in Washington in the past three years have bolstered Iran's self-confidence. The mounting voices from the choir of reconciliation (including far too many Jews in the Diaspora), demonstrates just how little has been learned from the history of Nazi Germany in the 1930s.

In 1936 Adolf Hitler could have been stopped with relative ease. His impassioned speeches about the Sudeten Germans' "self-determination" (compare that with the Palestinians today) prepared the ground in a Europe, drunk with reconciliation, for the destruction of Czechoslovakia by Naz i Germany. Then, like today with Iran, Russia was prepared to sign a pact with the devil for which it later would pay a very heavy price. Then, like today, radical anti-Semitism was generally viewed as a marginal subject by the Western democracies (including the United States), instead of it being treated as the most salient indicator of the looming totalitarian threat. How seriously did the West treat Hitler's speech in the Reichstag from January 30, 1939, when he threatened to destroy completely all the Jews of Europe? Is the West troubled today by the fact that three of the leading Iranian leaders in the past number of years-Ali Akbar Rafsanjani, Ali Khomeini and President Ahmadinejad openly talk about a real (nuclear) Holocaust against the Jewish state?

To Defend Values

The naked truth is that we cannot expect any country (not even the United States) to defend either Israel or the Jewish people from those who wish to annihilate them. That is the lesson of Holocaust Memorial Day, of Judaism, of Zionism, World War II and the rise and fall of the Third Reich. Therefore, it is of vital, existential importance that we understand the full gravity of the threat posed by Iran and radical Islam in the form of Hizbullah, Hamas, and Islamic Jihad, which exist on our northern, southern and western border, including in the West Bank. The danger of an Iranian nuclear bomb or a large-scale al-Qaida-styled attack inside Israel is the most grave security issue there is. But the spread of the Islamic-Nazi culture that feeds and motivates these models is no less frightening. Today we face enemies even more determined than the Nazis were in term s of their devotion to destroying the State of Israel, Zionism and the Jews. Indeed, they threaten before all and sundry, America and the Western world as a whole.

Without a doubt, now is the time in which Israel needs to show moral leadership and to raise the banner of condemnation of this type of irrepressible rhetoric that calls for mass murder. History has proven that when political leaders openly threaten to annihilate their enemies, they generally mean what they say. At the closing ceremony of the conference in Tehran this month, the Iranian president could not have been more candid. He referred to Israel with disdain as a "rotten and dried out tree that will be destroyed in a single storm."

It is clear that we cannot afford to repeat the awful mistake that was made by the Western democracies in the 1930s when facing the blunt threats made by Hitler, a mistake whose result was the mass-murder of European Je wry.

Holocaust Memorial Day this time needs to be the beginning of an Israeli campaign that is more forceful and stronger in defense of basic Jewish and human values against the enemies of freedom-an enlistment that will oblige us to convince the West that the future of humanity is at risk.

The author is the director of the International Vidal Sassoon Center for the Study of Anti-Semitism at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. This article courtesy the Israel Resource News Agency.

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Double Discrimination: No Human Rights in Judea
Car stickers for Judean Jews only formalize discrimination
David Bedein
Special to Yediot,7340,L-3260374,00.html

The request of the Israeli government for Israeli citizens to place a sticker on their car if they live in Judea was stated as a way to "ease the situation at the checkpoints"

The only problem is that the move does nothing to do so.

Such a policy discriminates against two populations: the people who live in Judea who are not Israeli citizens, and the people who visit Judea.

The argument would have it that labeling this will differentiate the people who live in Judea from those who are potential terrorists. What do they think – that terrorists put a "T" on their cars?

Quite the opposite is actually true. Today, if you are an member of the Fatah party executive, which oversees the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades that have been firing mortars into the western Negev for the past several months and have taken credit for many attempted terror attacks over the past year, your car will probably be given diplomatic immunity, since you are part of a state-in-formation that is recognized, aided and encouraged by more than 100 nations around the world.


Yet when our news agency checked with the Israeli government about the status of the Fatah, the answer from the Prime Minister's Office was that the government regards Fatah as a terror group, as it has since March 1980. Well, at least that was reassuring.

Or, more correctly, it would have been reassuring, had a source at the Attorney General's Office not admitted that this decision is not enforced, since Fatah is in a formal peace process with Israel.

Absurd situation

The situation overseas is even more absurd. Fatah chairman Mahmoud Abbas maintains a full scale diplomatic office in Washington and engages the services of Ed Abington, the former US Consul in Jerusalem as his ambassador, while the organization's al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades remain on an official list of 40 terrorist organizations pursued by the US government.

In other words, even though Arafat couldn't get Fatah to agree to the 1993 "Declaration of Principles" or to denounce violence and to recognize Israel, and even though Fatah has never cancelled its covenant to destroy Israel, both the Israeli and American governments act as if there is a Fatah-Israel peace process.

Very reassuring. Especially to the hundreds of people murdered by Fatah members over the past few years.

From terror to traffic

So what is the connection to traffic patterns, checkpoints and labeling on the roads of Judea?

Very simple. A normal Palestinian Arab going about his business will therefore be stopped and searched at a checkpoint, and will sometimes not allowed to proceed, while an executive member of an organization whose stated and active purpose is to engage in terrorist activity will flash a VIP card and be allowed to proceed.

And who will be hated in the process? You guessed right: The Jews with labels on their cars who will be allowed to pass through. Can't you see the CNN footage in the making?

And what will happen to guests to my daughter's Bat Mitzvah in Efrat in a few months? Will they require special Bat Mitzvah visas on their cars?

And what about the estimated 150,000 who come every year to celebrate the Jewish holidays at the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron? Sounds absurd, no?

Multiple violations

The logical recourse, therefore, for Israeli residents of Judea, therefore, would be to protest to that this "labeling" idea is discriminatory and, indeed, represents a fundamental violation of human rights and civil liberties.

Indeed, in a landmark decision on July 13, 2005, the Supreme Court declared the Sharon government's disengagement plan legal, even though it violated the human rights and civil liberties of Judean Samarian and Gazan Jews, since these rights simply do not apply to Israeli taxpayers and law-abiding citizens who live in these areas, since Israel has not yet annexed these areas.

The Supreme Court, therefore, declared that Israeli citizens in Judea and Samaria have no human rights or civil liberties. And organizations like the Association for Civil Rights in Israel and the Anti-Defamation League went along with it.

In other words, the only place in the world where Jews have no "de jure" human rights and civil liberties is Judea, Samaria and (at the time) Gaza, despite the fact that 250,000 residents of 144 communities throughout this area carry Israeli ID cards that refer to these towns as "Efrat, Israel," or "Maaleh Rehavam, Israel."

Earlier examples

This is not the first time that I have encountered such a notion.

On July 23rd, 1990, our news agency organized a dialogue between Israeli-American residents of Judea and then US Consul in Jerusalem, Mr. Phillip Wilcox. During that discussion, guests from Judea noted the sensitivity of the US government to the human rights and civil liberties of Palestinian Arab residents of Judea, Samaria and Gaza, and asked the about the human rights of Jews who live in the same areas.

US Consul Wilcox responded quickly and straightforwardly, and with no emotion: "If you live where you live, then you have no human rights and no civil liberties." He invoked the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention, which forbids nations that conquer other lands in war to settle their citizens in those lands.

Wilcox, consistent with this position, now heads the Washington-based Foundation for Middle East Peace, which this week published a study on the feasibility of handing over the homes and property of those who live in Judea, Samaria, and East Jerusalem to Palestinian Arabs.

Don't let facts stand in the way

Conveniently, Wilcox ignored the San Remo Treaty, adopted by both the League of Nations and the United Nations, which protects the right of Jews to purchase land and to settle in the Jewish national homeland, defined as anywhere west of the Jordan River.

Now, 15 years later, Israeli Attorney General Menachem Mazuz has adopted Wilcox's formula: Israelis in Judea, Samaria and Gaza have no human rights or civil liberties, even if they are law-abiding, tax-paying Israeli citizens.

Having lived in the Judean city of Efrat for 21 of my 36 years in Israel, I can attest to the fact that most people who live here did not grasp the loss of human rights and civil liberties until the government suggested that their cars be labeled for inspection.

The label would say "settler," the most pejorative term for a non-person since Afro Americans removed the "n" word from the American lexicon.

This article was published on June 7th, 2006 by Yediot's internet magazine

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HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH: Lebanon: Hezbollah Rocket Attacks on Haifa Designed to Kill Civilians - Anti-personnel Ball Bearings Meant to Harm "Soft" Targets
Human Rights Watch

(New York, July 18, 2006)

Hezbollah's attacks in Israel on Sunday and Monday were at best indiscriminate attacks in civilian areas, at worst the deliberate targeting of civilians. Either way, they were serious violations of international humanitarian law and probable war crimes, Human Rights Watch said today.

In addition, the warheads used suggest a desire to maximize harm to civilians. Some of the rockets launched against Haifa over the past two days contained hundreds of metal ball bearings that are of limited use against military targets but cause great harm to civilians and civilian property. The ball bearings lodge in the body and cause serious harm.

Hezbollah has reportedly fired more than 800 rockets into Israel from southern Lebanon over the past five days, killing 12 civilians and wounding many more. The vast majority of these rockets, as in past conflicts, have been Katyushas, which are small, have a range limited to the border area, and cannot be aimed with precision. Hezbollah has also fired some rockets in the current fighting that have landed up to 40 kilometers inside Israel.

"Attacking civilian areas indiscriminately is a serious violation of international humanitarian law and can constitute a war crime," said Sarah Leah Whitson, director of the Middle East and North Africa division at Human Rights Watch. Hezbollah's use of warheads that have limited military use and cause grievous suffering to the victims only makes the crime worse.

On Monday, Human Rights Watch researchers inspected a three-story apartment building in Haifa's Bat Galim neighborhood after it was struck by a rocket around 3:00 p.m., causing extensive damage to the top two floors and wounding six residents, one of them seriously. They collected metal ball bearings that had pierced the walls of the apartment building across the street and car windshields up to one block away.

An Israeli ordinance removal expert at the scene told Human Rights Watch that the rocket used in the attack had a 240mm warhead. According to media reports, Hezbollah announced that it had fired dozens of Raad 2 and Raad 3 anti-tank missiles into Haifa in response to "aggressions against various Lebanese regions." An Israeli military official told the press on Sunday that Hezbollah had fired at least three Syrian-made Fajr-3 missiles.

On Sunday, a Hezbollah rocket killed eight workers in Haifa's main railway depot. Doctors who treated the wounded told Human Rights Watch that the rockets contained metal ball bearings. The ball bearings have increased the number and seriousness of injuries from rocket fire, the doctors said.

"In my medical opinion, they [these rockets] are supposed to injure as many people as possible", said Dr. Eran Tal-Or, director of the Surgical Emergency Room at Haifa's Ramban Hospital. "If you wanted to bring down a building, you would make a weapon with a heavier blast. And you wouldn't bother with the balls inside that don't do much harm to buildings; just to people".

Human Rights Watch interviewed three railway workers at the hospital wounded by the ball bearings in Sunday's lethal blast.

"There were three loud booms and I started running out of the depot"" said Alek Vensbaum, 61, a worker at the Israel Train Authority. "One of the guys, Nissim, who was later killed, yelled at everyone to run to the shelter. The fourth boom got me when I was nearly at the door, and I was hit by shrapnel . . . I was hit by ball bearing-like pieces of metal in my neck, hand, stomach and foot".

Haifa apartment building hit by Hezbolah rockets. © 2006 Human Rights Watch

Sami Raz, 39, a railway electrician, said a ball bearing pierced his lung and lodged near his heart. " had terrible difficulty breathing after I was hit", he said.

Twelve people were wounded in the attack, four of them seriously.

Under international humanitarian law, parties to an armed conflict may not use weapons in civilian areas that are so inaccurate that they cannot be directed at military targets without imposing a substantial risk of civilian harm. Such attacks can constitute war crimes. Deliberately attacking civilians is in all circumstances prohibited and a war crime.

Human Rights Watch has called on both Hezbollah and the Israeli military to respect the absolute prohibition against targeting civilians or conducting indiscriminate attacks in civilian areas.

Since fighting began on July 12, Israeli attacks have reportedly killed 209 people in Lebanon, most of them civilians. On Monday, Human Rights Watch called on the Israeli government to provide details about a bombing on July 15 that killed 16 civilians in a convoy near the village of Marwahin.


© Copyright 2003, Human Rights Watch 350 Fifth Avenue, 34th Floor New York, NY 10118-3299 USA

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Saudi Initiative - based on flooding Israel with Arab refugees from 1948 - along with their descendents
Israel Resource News Agency Advisory


Grups associated with Peace Now, the Peres Center for Peace, the Council for Peace and Security, the Israel Policy Forum and the Geneva Initiative have systematically spread the notion that the "SAUDI INITIATIVE" is based Israel's withdrawal to the 1967 lines.


The question is: Does PM Olmert understand this or does he ascribe to the notion spread by Peace Now and friends?

Olmert's office will not comment.

In this article published in the Israeli daily Ha'aretz,[1] Professor Itamar Rabinovich – president of Tel-Aviv University, former Israeli ambassador to the United States (1993-96), chief Israeli negotiator with Syria during the premiership of Yitzhak Rabin, a prominent figure of the Israeli peace camp, and renown expert on the history of the Middle East – explains the advantages and drawbacks of the Saudi initiative. Following are excerpts from the article:

"The Beirut Summit" Vs. The Arab Summit Resolutions

"The events of the past few days have given rise to a strange and embarrassing situation. In theory, the Arab world has adopted the peace plan put forward by Saudi Arabia, and has presented an attractive formula for the final resolution of the conflict, while Israel has not responded concretely and continues to be caught up in the cycle of violence."

"In fact, things are more complex. For example, the relatively flexible formula on the right of return issue that was in the statement read out by Arab League secretary-general, Amr Moussa, was neutralized by the explicit demand for the right of return that appeared in a parallel announcement, the 'Beirut Statement,' read out by the foreign minister of Lebanon." "From a point of departure holding that the present confrontation does not have a military solution and that the only way out is a political settlement, it is important to understand how the Saudi initiative evolved into what is now officially known as the 'Arab peace initiative' and to understand the advantages and drawbacks of this development."

"When the Saudi initiative was first made public, it had two clear advantages. It bore a positive character (for the first time a country like Saudi Arabia adopted the idea of normalization with Israel) and it was clear and simple - full normalization in return for full withdrawal. At the same time, some serious questions arose. How was a simplistic formula to be turned into a political plan? Would the plan obtain an Arab consensus? And if so, how could the new political and diplomatic horizon be used to break out of the cycle of violence?"

The Syrian Interpretation: No True Normalization

"A hint of things to come appeared in Syria's reaction, which closed ranks with Lebanon and came out against the Saudi initiative. Immediately afterward, President Bashar Assad was invited to visit Saudi Arabia, and at the conclusion of his visit we were told Syria had adopted the Saudi peace initiative after being assured that the Israeli withdrawal to the borders of 1967 would be interpreted according to Damascus's conception."

"However, the communique issued by Syria showed that it also had another condition - implementing the [Palestinian] 'right of return.' This exemplified the internal contradiction that was built into the continuation of the Saudi move."

"In order to obtain the support of the rest of the Arab world, the simplistic formula had to be waived and restrictive conditions added. The introduction of the 'right of return' as a limiting condition on behalf of Syria deprived the Saudi initiative of the revolutionary innovation that it may have contained and adapted it to the Arab world's traditional line: no solution bearing a 'final' character should be agreed to, rather an opening must always be left in order to prevent true normalization."

"This duality was inserted into the resolutions of the Beirut summit. In a joint press conference with the foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia and Lebanon, Amr Moussa read out the text of 'the Saudi peace initiative, which is henceforth known as the Arab peace initiative.' The Council of the Arab League adds two demands to the Saudi proposal that the Arab states will establish normal relations with Israel in return for full withdrawal to the 1967 borders and the establishment of a sovereign Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital. Those two demands are withdrawal from lands that Israel 'still occupies in South Lebanon,' and a just and agreed solution to the refugee problem on the basis of United Nations General Assembly Resolution 194 of December 1948. If Israel agrees to these terms, the Arab states will consider this to be the end of the conflict and will establish normal relations with Israel."

The Arabs Add More Conditions

"However, along with this statement, the summit conference published a concluding statement that emphasized, among other points, that Israel must allow the Palestinians to achieve all their rights, including the guarantee for the [Palestinian] 'right of return' of the Palestinian refugees on the basis of legitimate international resolutions and on the basis of principles of international law including General Assembly Resolution 194. The Arab leaders also emphasized their support for Lebanon to use all legitimate means in regard to the liberation of its territory from Israeli occupation up to the recognized international border, and they asserted that peace and security in the region mandate that Israel affiliate itself with the nuclear nonproliferation treaty and open its nuclear facilities to international supervision."

"If Moussa's statement is amenable to interpretation as showing a certain flexibility in relation to the 'right of return,' this was eliminated by the traditional formula on the 'right of return' that was included in the summit's concluding statement."

"The demand for nuclear disarmament and for Israel to be subjected to international supervision is a well-known Egyptian and Syrian position, which in 1995 was used by Egypt to stop the normalization process. The position taken by the Arab summit on the Lebanon issue effectively permits the border to be heated up by Hezbollah."

"In other words, if the Arab summit brandished normalization and the 'end of the conflict' with one hand, the other hand held up the familiar formulations, which enable the struggle to continue even after an agreement is obtained…"

[1] Ha'aretz, April 7, 2002.

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Hamas-Fatah Agree on Avoiding Armed Clashes:
Palestinian Factions Say Prisoners' Exchange Deal Close
The Palestine Media Centre - PMC

[At a time when Israel and the US are encouraging arms to Abbas to fight the Hamas, this news story indicates that Abbas is moving towards a cooperative relationship with the Hamas - db]


One of the three Palestinian factions holding captured Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit, in the Gaza Strip said on Saturday that it expected a solution to the crisis within days. Shalit was captured in a cross-border raid in June.

The Popular Resistance Committees (PRC) said in a statement that the three groups had agreed to a proposal by Egyptian mediators, though it said a deal still depended on Israel. Israeli officials made no immediate comment.

The PRC did not give details, but said the Egyptian proposal would include the release of Palestinians held by Israel.

"The dawn of freedom to the prisoners is about to rise and we expect a solution to our prisoners in few days," said a PRC spokesman, Abu Mujahed. "We confirm to you that there is a definite move in the issue of the captured soldier."

The palestinian factions, holding Shalit, have demanded the release of up to 1,400 Palestinians, including minors and women, held by Israel in exchange for the Israeli soldier.

Last week, Israel's infrastructure minister, Benjamin Ben-Eliezer, held talks in Cairo and afterwards expressed approval of a framework deal that Egypt had put forward, but he did not give details of the deal.

Shalit's capture prompted Israel to send troops back into the Gaza Strip almost one year after withdrawing from the territory it had occupied in the 1967 war. More than 260 Palestinians, about half of them civilians, have been killed in the subsequent Israeli raids.

Hamas-Fatah Agree on Avoiding Armed Clashes

Meanwhile, officials from the ruling Hamas movement and the rival Fatah party have agreed to work together to avoid armed clashes in the Gaza Strip Saturday.

The agreement not to deploy any armed men to avert possible clashes came at a meeting in Gaza City late Friday, sources said.

The Interior Minister in the Hamas-led Palestinian government earlier Friday warned the mainstream security services, loyal to the rival Fatah party, not to create trouble as apparently threatened.

"Information and reports, some credible, indicate that elements of the security services intend to create trouble," Said Siam told a televised news conference in Gaza City.

"We are going to deal with all those who disturb order. Attacks on private property, institutions or ministries will not be tolerated," he warned.

Maher Maqdad, a spokesman for the Fatah party, hit back accusing the Islamist movement of planning its own "bloody Saturday" under the cover of sedition within the security ranks.

"Preparations made by Hamas to explode the situation on Saturday in mobilising its military structure and executive force are creating auspicious conditions for a new massacre on the pretext that Fatah and the security services are planning something for Saturday," said Maqdad.

Eight Palestinians have been killed since October 1st in clashes between Hamas's paramilitary "executive force" controlled by the interior ministry and members of the mainstream security apparatus in the Gaza Strip.

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