Israel Resource Review 1st January, 2007


Palestinians React In Mourning To Saddam's Execution
Jewish Symbolism: Saddam Executed On Day Babylon Laid Siege on Jerusalem
David Bedein

Moments before the rope was tightened around his neck, Saddam screamed out: "Long live Iraq and long live Palestine!"

The execution of Saddam Hussein threw the Arab population throughout the land of Israel into a state of mourning.

The Eid al-Adha Moslem holiday celebrations began in a gloomy atmosphere.

In Bethlehem, approximately 200 inhabitants demonstrated, threatening to avenge his death.

A car moved about the streets of Ramallah with a loudspeaker and called on the masses to declare a state of mourning in the city.

The car was being driven by Fatah officials.

Neither the Christian Palestinians nor the Muslims were taciturn in the wake of the execution. Archimandrite Hanna Atalla, the head of the Greek Orthodox Church, and Muslim clerics vociferously condemned Saddam's hanging.

Hundreds of residents of el-Khader, south of Bethlehem, declared three days of mourning. The villagers gathered near the entrance to the village, hung pictures of Saddam, raised placards condemning the American occupation in Iraq, and sang the Iraqi national anthem. Most of the houses in the village were dressed with black flags to mark their mourning for the demise of the former Iraqi president.

Nostalgia For Saddam

Saddam Hussein took pains in his speeches to encourage "greater Palestine," and fostered a strong relationship with Yasser Arafat. The latter habitually made pilgrimages to Saddam Hussein and received substantial monetary aid.

"The great benefactor," Saddam, encouraged young Palestinian terrorists to slip into Iraq, where they underwent training at special camps that were established by the Iraqi army. The Palestinians who trained at those camps were taught how to assemble bombs for terror attacks inside Israel. The counselors were Iraqis, who used topographical maps that had been smuggled out of Israel.

Saddam also remunerated the Palestinian terrorists.

According to documents that were seized in Arafat's headquarters, Saddam gave $25,000 to every family of a suicide bomber,

Even without these documents, BBC filmed the awards ceremonies in 2001 of bomber families receiving the $25,000 terror incentive package, delivered with the insignia of the Palestinian Authority and the blessings of Saddam.

In many Palestinian villages black flags were hung from the rooftops, photographs of Saddam were pasted to the walls, and three days of mourning were declared after the death of the ousted president of Iraq. Hamas, the ruling party in the Palestinian Authority, issued a formal condemnation of the execution. "This crime of execution, which was carried out on the first day of Eid al-Adha, is a token of disrespect for all Islamic and Arab values," read the special statement that was issued by Hamas.

Ismail Radwan, the Hamas spokesman, said that the execution was a slap in the face of the Arab regimes. "Saddam's execution is a message to anyone who opposes the United States," said Radwan. "But who will try the American administration for the crimes that it has committed in Palestine and Iraq?"

Fatah, chaired by Mahmoud Abbas, also issued a statement of solidarity with the ousted tyrant. Abbas Zaki, a senior Fatah official, said that Saddam Hussein's execution was a violation of international law. "It's a political issue," said Zaki, "hanging Saddam on the first day of Eid al-Adha attests to the scope of external intervention in the affairs of Iraq."

Jewish Symbolism: Saddam Executed On Day Babylon Laid Siege on Jerusalem

Jews around the world noted that Saddam was executed on the Jewish Sabbath and that his burial took place on the tenth of Tevet, the day on the Jewish calendar which marks the beginning of the process that culminated in the Babylonian destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem in 586 BCE. Jewish religious figures noted that the execution of one of the most prominent haters of Israel on that date served as a moment of "religious closure."

In early 588 BCE, the armies of Babylon, which is now Iraq, invaded the area that was home to the Tribe of Judah, and on the tenth day of Tevet, Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, laid siege on Jerusalem. That siege lasted for some two and a half years, and caused a grave shortage of food and starvation for the denizens of Jerusalem. In the aftermath of that siege, the Jewish sages wrote of Nebuchadnezzar, "throughout the entire life of that wicked man, no mirth was to be found in any living creature."

The siege ended finally on Tisha B'Av [the ninth day of Av], 586 BCE, with the destruction of the Temple. The Jewish King Tzidkiyahu was captured, his sons were butchered in front of him and then his eyes were torn from their sockets. The Temple and the homes of Jerusalem were burned, and most members of the Tribe of Judah were sent into exile. Saddam made a point of establishing his fortified palace on the ruins of a great Jewish learning academy that had existed from the time of the exile of the Jews to Babylonia until the expulsion of the Jewish community from Baghdad in 1950.

In the early 1950s, Israel established the 10th of Tevet as the day of mourning for Jews who have suffered the fate of mass murder at the hands of anti-Semites.

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Elli Rodan

JERUSALEM [] -- Israel's parliament has approved draconian measures against Jewish opponents of the government's withdrawal policy without being allowed to read the document.

The government measures, said to remain in effect today, were approved by a special Knesset committee in late 2005 in a closed session. Attorney General Menachem Mazuz, who helped draft the proposals allowed only one parliamentarian to review the document, which enabled the detention of thousands of people, many of them without formal charges.

"The police have issued guidelines to the prosecutors and to the police prosecutors in regard to implementation of the Disengagement [withdrawal] plan and they said that these guidelines are secret," Knesset member Michael Eitan, then chairman of the Constitution and Law Committee, said.

Eitan led the meeting of the committee during a secret session on August 7, 2005, on the eve of the Israeli expulsion of 16,000 Jews from the GazaStrip and northern West Bank. During the meeting, a transcript of which was recently obtained, Eitan acknowledged that the regulations proposed by Mazuz were draconian and violated civil rights.

"I received a complaint that the police have issued draconian guidelines to act in a certain way against demonstrators," Eitan said. "And there is a prosecution policy that was especially tailored to repress the demonstrators and to harm their rights."

In April 2005, Mazuz, who quashed a police investigation into corruption by then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, issued a secret four-page guideline to police, prosecutors and judges regarding efforts to counter the campaign to block the Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and northern Samaria.

The document included the use of administrative detentions, or imprisonment without charges, the treatment of minors as adults and the arrest of peaceful protesters.

"A fight that is ideologically-motivated causes all parties involved to become more radical," Mazuz told the Israel Bar Association in May 2005. "This forces us to monitor the process on a daily basis."

"The courts have demonstrated a stern approach and approved most of our requests for arrests, including arrests until the end of judicial proceedings," Mazuz added.

Officials said the guidelines enabled the arrest and imprisonment of about 4,000 Jewish opponents of the Sharon government by September 2005. They said many of them were ordered to be held for months until trial.

"They arrested people collectively," attorney Gadi Tal, who has represented anti-government defendants, said. "No judge checked to see the evidence up front. The worst cases were during the Disengagement: A minor who sat a week in jail and no indictment was issued against him. On the face of it, there was no evidence. From the outset they shouldn't have been jailed."

In August 2005, Deputy State Prosecutor Shai Nitzan told the Knesset Law and Constitution Committee that his office issued 634 indictments against withdrawal protesters. Nitzan said that more than 200 of them were against minors.

The State Prosecutor has acknowledged that authorities have operated in accordance to the secret guidelines. A spokeswoman said the guidelines remain classified nearly 18 months after the withdrawal.

"The state prosecutor's office issued specific guidelines for internal use, which were not meant to be published," Justice Ministry spokeswoman Ganit Ben-Moshe told "The guidelines were presented in full before the subcommittee of the Knesset Constitution and Law Committee. The guidelines were then presented with some paragraphs erased to the entire committee."

But the transcript of the August 2005 session of the Knesset committee asserted that only Eitan had access to the redacted document. During the hearing, Eitan, who termed Mazuz's secrecy requirements "ludicrous," read portions of the proposed legislation to two other members.

At one point, Knesset member Roni Bar-On, today a minister in the government of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, suggested that the guidelines and their secrecy were undemocratic. Bar-On, who has yet to discuss the hearing in public, protested Mazuz's insistence that nobody other than Eitan, who has refused to comment on the hearing, be allowed to see the document.

"Guidelines regarding indictments are secret?" Bar-On asked. "What could guidelines that concern indictments contain? It's every person's basic right to know what are the guidelines of the attorney general or any other decision-making body."

"I have a systematic problem," Bar-On added. "If they tell us that we Knesset members can't be privy to material that the state prosecutor and police have seen, then I'm not willing to play the game. I don't understand the purpose of our session. Is it to be able to say in due time that the constitution committee dealt with this?"

Still, the committee, which did not hold a vote, was recorded as approving the government guidelines. Eitan said the guidelines related to the prosecution of minors, police treatment of violent protesters and charging demonstration leaders with sedition.

"There were certainly issues that upset us," Knesset member Naomi Blumenthal, who also attended the secret session, told

In October 2005, Mazuz issued another set of guidelines on the treatment of those practicing civil disobedience against the government's withdrawal policy. The document authorized the dismissal of charges against protesters who did not employ violence or minors without a prior criminal record.

But attorneys for the Jewish detainees said the prosecution has ignored the new guidelines and still operate according to the draconian regulations approved in August 2005. They said prosecutors continue to indict minors and others on trivial charges.

"The judges do not throw out cases on the basis of 'deminimus,'" attorney Eytan Lehman, referring to the principle that the judicial system does not prosecute trivial charges, said. "They rely on the authority of the prosecutor and his judgement. There is no supervision in the attorney general's office as to whether they abided by the guidelines or not."

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