Israel Resource Review 18th March, 2005


Contents:

List of Wanted Suspects Submitted by Israel to the Palestinian Authority Found its Way to the Wanted Men Themselves
Ronu Shaked
Palestinian Affairs Correspondent, Yediot Ahronot


The list of wanted men that Israel submitted to the Palestinian security forces quickly found its way into the hands of the wanted men themselves. Instead of supervising the wanted men and disarming them-which was why the list was turned overto the Palestinians in the first place-they preferred to distribute it, thereby warning the wanted men about Israel.

The list submitted to the Palestinian Authority cited 495 names of wanted men, their ID card numbers and their city of residence. Israeli security officials said this weekend that the Palestinians had behaved very inappropriately and unacceptably.

According to the agreement that was reached with Israel-say Palestinian officials-the wanted men who live within the city limits of a town that is placed under Palestinian security responsibility will receive amnesty. Israel will not hunt them, but the Palestinian Authority will be responsible for supervising them and for disarming them.

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Uproar Over Israeli Property Acquisition in Old City of Jerusalem
Kalman Liebeskind
Investigative Journalist, Maariv


PA officials and the Palestinian street in East Jerusalem were stunned by the Ma'ariv disclosure of the sale of Omar Square in Jerusalem to Jews.

The hotel owners in the compound are screaming for help from the Arab world, storeowners vehemently protested to the Patriarch of the Greek Orthodox Church, and Palestinian Prime Minister Abu Ala blamed Israel and gave instructions to set up a commission of inquiry to examine how the Jews succeeded in gaining control of the compound.

The disclosure of the affair has caused a storm and aroused international interest. Yesterday the newspaper Al-Kuds published the Ma'ariv disclosure word for word. "We knew nothing about this and still don't believe it," said one of the Palestinian owners in the compound. "We will need the help of the Arab world so that they don't throw us out of here. If new owners come and begin to demand high rents from us, we don't know if we will be able to deal with it." Amir Djani, owner of the Imperial hotel in the compound, added: "This is a bogus deal based on criminal fraud."

Yesterday officials in the Greek Orthodox Church were also upset, and harshly criticized Patriarch Irineos. The Archimandrite Potius, director of the church's property department, has already announced his resignation. Friday afternoon, about 70 businessmen waited for Irineos when he arrived to worship at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, with bodyguards assigned by Jerusalem police. They waved the Ma'ariv at him and called out names, and the patriarch invited their representatives to a meeting to be held today.

As a result of the expose of the affair, the church held a press conference at the Imperial Hotel and denied the sale of the compound to two groups of Jewish investors. The church spokesman said that if the deal had really been carried out, it had not received the approval of the patriarch, and without his approval, it is illegal. "The patriarch's aide's power of attorney displayed in the newspaper has no validity, as it was not given by the patriarch with the approval of the Holy Synod," said the spokesman. "The patriarch was stunned by what has happened," said one of his friends. "He has no connection to the deal." [.]

Palestinian Prime Minister Abu Ala said: "This incident proves Israeli intentions to take control of lands in East Jerusalem as well. This is part of its plan to make Jerusalem Jewish."

This ran in the March 20th, 2005 edition of Maariv

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The New PA/Hamas Cairo Agreement: Authorization for Terror Against Israel
Amos Gilboa
Special to Maariv


I read the Arabic text of the "Cairo statement" . . . The best man is Egypt. The happy couple are Abu Mazen on the one hand, and Hamas and the other extremist Palestinian organizations on the other. What did I learn from it? The bottom line is: it's very good for Hamas, it's good for Abu Mazen, but it's not good for Israel.

The crumb which is thrown to Israel is "the atmosphere of calm will continue", but even this is like being under the "protection" of the mafia. If you, Israel, don't want us to burn your store, you had better pay us. You have to pay us the following: release all the prisoners, including Hamas members with blood on their hands, halt all activity against Palestinians wherever they are, stop building the fence, halt all activity in East Jerusalem and the settlements.

Hamas leaders defined the present as "the period which allows the warriors to rest" (to recover from the blows inflicted by the IDF and recoup its losses in men and weapons). But Hamas, under Egypt's auspices, secured an additional series of gains. First of all, the statement mentions the principle of "the Palestinian right to resistance, to bring about the end of the occupation." In the Palestinian code this means that the use of violence as an operational strategy will continue. In other words, this is not an announcement of an end to the Intifada and a cessation in principle of the terror. Secondly, it states that the Palestinian Authority will not under any circumstances use force against Hamas and the other terror groups. Third, Hamas achieves a political gain of the first order: Abu Mazen undertook to change the parliamentary elections law so that Hamas can also participate and to change the constitution of the PLO so that Hamas can join it too.

The meaning of these three achievements is clear and sharp: there is no intention of disarming Hamas. Just the opposite, Hamas earns legitimacy. It is about to become an inseparable part of the Palestinian Authority. Encouraged by its successes in the last local elections, and smiling over the internal rifts in Fatah, which was its main rival in the elections for parliament last June-Hamas is about to become the most significant factor in the Palestinian Authority. Yossi Sarid, I believe, once said, "those who don't want Arafat will get Hamas." And now we may be getting Hamas.

Abu Mazen is succeeding in his strategy, at present: To divert world attention from terrorism to the need to reach a final status arrangement quickly and establish a Palestinian state. In our media-based world, it is enough for Abu Mazen to achieve a statement of calm (not even a cease-fire!) from the terror organizations in order to convey the message to the Israelis and the world: There is quiet, there is calm, there is no terrorism, so let's move forward, to the political negotiations on the final status arrangement, immediately after the disengagement from Gaza, including the right of return of the refugees to their homes.

Israel can take comfort in the fact that Hamas may, perhaps, be so kind as to maintain the calm so as not to sabotage its achievement of joining the PLO, and take part in the parliamentary elections. This is an important short-term comfort. Taking a slightly more long-term perspective: With Hamas in the Palestinian Authority, the chances of any political compromise are close to zero.

This piece ran in Maariv of March 18th, 2005

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Waqf Minister Warns of Deforming Occupied Jerusalem
Official PA Web Site


With thanks to imra.org.il for providing this important press release.

[IMRA: It should be noted that the "Cairo Declaration" conditions "calm" on "Israel's adherence to stopping all aggression . . . ".
www.imra.org.il/story.php3?id=24576.
The following presentation by a PA official pre-positions justification for the Palestinians to break the "calm".

". . . on August 29,1969 when a deranged Australian tourist, twenty-eight-year-old Denis Michael Rohan, a fundamentalist Christian, set fire to the al-Aksa Mosque." Martin Gilbert in "Jerusalem in the Twentieth Century" p.308. - that's "fundamentalist Christian" - not "extremist Jewish settler"]

Waqf Minister Warns of Deforming Occupied Jerusalem www.ipc.gov.ps/ipc_new/english/details.asp?name=3363

GAZA, Palestine, March21, 2005 (IPC Exclusive)[official PA website]--Palestinian Minister of Waqf and Religious Affairs, Yousef Salama, warned on Sunday of frequent Israeli attacks on the Palestinian territories that are intended at deforming the Palestinian demographic status, especially in the occupied east Jerusalem.

In a press conference held in the Gaza-based State Information Service's International Press Center (IPC), minister Salama said that the Jews have no right to the occupied east Jerusalem, indicating a series of Israeli crimes and practices towards such an Arab city.

Mr. Salama numerated the attacks as; building a settlement belt around the city, cutting off the city from the West Bank areas, constructing a 'catastrophic' Apartheid Wall within its boundaries, imposing high taxes on its Palestinian population, forcing inhabitants out of the city after canceling their Jerusalem ID, inhabiting Jewish settlers on the city's soil and carrying out excavations beneath the Al-Aqsa holy mosque.

Among the most serious risks, the city is facing now days is an Israeli project to expand Jerusalem boundaries, the Israeli Finance Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, had formulated some years ago, the Palestinian minister explained.

Mr. Salama further said that the Israeli occupation authorities have been planning to build a large settlement belt around the city, aiming at deforming the city into a Jewish area with very limited Arab population.

The minister showed reporters a copy of a map on the Israeli schemes pertaining to possible bombing attack on the occupied Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa holy mosque, the Waqf ministry has already prepared.

Salama believed that the Israelis are keen to perpetrate such a crime, criticizing the United Nations non-serious stance towards a series of pending Palestine-related resolutions, especially those regarding the occupied east Jerusalem.

As for the underway clandestine transfer of Palestinian Orthodox Christian-owned properties in the old city of Jerusalem to extremist Jewish groups, minister Salama decried such actions, praising the positions of Palestinian Christians who deemed the purchase null and void and demanded that those behind such a deal be brought to justice immediately.

From the IPC, he called on both the Arab and Islamic nations to move swiftly to prevent the Islamic and Christian holly places from being endangered or purchased, as from a Shari'a (religious legislation) perspective, dealing with holy places is utterly prohibited.

Mr. Salama held the Israeli government responsible fully for any possible attack on the Al-Aqsa mosque, as it is the sole body capable of disclosing or foiling such Jewish settlers schemes.

He addressed the upcoming Arab summit in Algeria, calling on the Arab nations' leaders to take the issue seriously, just as the case in 1969, when parts of the Al-Aqsa mosque were set into fire by an extremist Jewish settler.

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Incitement from Official PA Cleric in Friday Mosque Sermon
Dr. Michael Widlanski


[On Wednesday, March 16th, the Israeli Knesset Parliament's Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee heard testimony from a senior IDF official that there had been a reduction incitement in the sermons delivered by senior clerics in the Palestinian Authority. What the senior IDF official did not tell the committee was that Israel Defence Spokesman's office had removed the senior Israeli intelligence official from his position in which he was monitoring such incitement. Meanwhile, the senior official assigned by the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs to monitor incitement in the Palestinian Authority told our news agency that intelligence officials of the Israel Ministry of Defence were simply not giving him data from the Palestinian Authority, making his task impossible to perform.

The following report on today's sermon by a senior religious cleric in the Palestinian Authority speaks for itself - David Bedein, Bureau Chief, Israel Resource News Agency]

Palestinians warn of al-Aqsa attack in mosque incitement, Qreia briefing, while pushing tough line

In a fiery official sermon on Palestinian State Television Friday (March 18, 2005), Palestinian preacher Sheikh Ibrahim Mudeiris declared that the Jewish government was hatching plots together with extremist religious Jews to destroy the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem or to invade the blessed Al-Aqsa mosque with thousands of extremists, Jews.

Sheikh Mudeiris, who spoke in a mosque in Gaza, warned Israel that millions of Muslims would come to the defense of Al-Aqsa,and similar comments came in the other official mosque address on Voice of Palestine radio from Sheikh Youssef Abu-Sneina at the Aqsa mosque itself in Jerusalem.

Both addresses featured anti-American elements, too, comparing Palestinian martyrs with those in fighting the U.S. in Iraq.

The speeches themselves were only the latest signs that the Palestinian Authority (PA) headed by Mahmoud Abbas had not really carried out its promise to stop all violence and incitement to violence against Israel, while Israeli officials have actually downplayed or hidden obvious Palestinian violations.

"All official mosque speeches are now being censored", asserted two days ago Maj. Gen. Youssef Mishlab, the head of Israel's coordination team with the Palestinians.

But General Mishlab's remarks were belied by Sheikh Muderis as he periodically jabbed the air with his finger and readjusted the white skull cap on his head which had been jarred loose by his emotions.

In his speech in Gaza, Sheikh Muderis, asserted that the plots against Al-Aqsa, the silver-domed holy mosque that sits on Jerusalem's Temple Mount, had come to light a month ago but were part of an ongoing and organized plan˘ that was still liable to be carried out.

We ad our voices here. We say to all Muslims. We say that we here in Palestine, that we have tolerated many things, but we will not tolerate this, warned Sheikh Mudeiris, a past known supporter of Osama Bin-Ladens Al-Qaeda organization.

We have suffered poverty and we have suffered destruction, martyrdom, and we have suffered assassinations of individuals and groups, asserted Sheikh Mudiris who draws a salary from the Palestinian National Authority headed by Mahmoud Abbas which had promised Israeli officials and reporters that Mudeiris would be taken off the air and that other mosque speeches would be censored.

We have suffered martyrdom and the destruction of our houses, but we will not tolerate two things but we will not abide the taking of our land and the destruction of our holy sites--ever,˘ proclaimed the young mosque speaker.

We have suffered five thousand martyrs and a hundred thousand wounded to stop Sharon enering our mosque, declared Mudeiris, referring to the visit by Ariel Sharon (now prime minister but then leader of the Israeli opposition) to the Temple Mount area in September 2000.

The Sharon visit was seized on by Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, who died last year, and Muslim extremists, to launch a four-year-long war of attrition which the Palestinian have nicknamed the ˇIntifada of Al-Aqsa.˘

Intifada, which means "shaking-off" in Arabic, was also the name given by Palestinians to the widely televised anti-Israeli riots and demonstrations that began in December 1987 and lasted more than a year before they also turned into isolated incidents of terror and thuggery.

The remarks of General Mishlab, an Arabic-speaking member of Israel˛s Druze community, whose members serve in the Israeli army, were widely aired on Israeli radio and television, and they were quoted in the Israeli press.

Other Israeli security officials, including Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz, have told reporters that PA leader Abbas is trying hard to crack down on terror even after Abbas declared earlier this week that he was going to release two notorious Palestinian terror leaders from British custody in Jericho:

  • Ahmad Sa'adat, the head of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) which assassinated Israeli Tourism Minister Rehav˛am Zeevi in a Jerusalem hotel in October 2001;
  • Fuad Shoubaki, the man who organized many of the secret weapons transfers for Yasser Arafat including the Karinne A weapons ship captured by Israel in early 2002.

Abbas's comments, which were carried by the Palestinian newspapers in Arabic, led to an outcry from Israeli parliamentarians, even on the Left, not to hand over Jericho to Palestinian control, and it, in fact, was only turned over to the PA after Abbas recanted his public pledge.

At the same time, however, there is evidence that Abbas and his prime minister, Ahmad Qreia (nicknamed Abu Ala) have actually stepped up demands on Israel, calling for the total release of all Palestinian security prisoners, including those convicted of murder.

Indeed, there are signs that the fiery Friday mosque speech actually reflects PA policy at the highest levels¸a real fear that Israel is involved in plotting against Al-Aqsa or that such charges help solidify the Abbas-Qreia regime that has succeeded Arafat.

Less than three hours later Sheikh Mudeiris's mosque speech, Palestinian Authority Prime Minister essentially reiterated the same warnings against Israel (Friday 3 p.m. Jerusalem time) as PA Television broadcast remarks Qreia made to reporters last evening.

"We warn the Israeli government and we warn the international community about any aggression on Al-Aqsa, no matter of what kind",asserted Prime Minister Qreia.

Qreia remarks, Abbas's desire to release the Jericho terrorists, and the airing of the Sheikh Mudeiris sermon were clear indications that the Abbas-Qreia regime is playing a much tougher line than the Sharon Government has been telling the Israeli public.

Israeli officials have told the public that PA incitement has declined sharply, but for weeks, the Palestinian media have continued to refer to Palestinian terror attacks on Israel¸such as the recent bombing in Tel Aviv¸as "explosive operations", calling the suicide bombers "heroic bombers" =mustash-heedeen - in Arabic.

Israeli officials have contended that Chairman Abbas had unequivocally condemned anti-Israeli violence and the continuation of the "Intifada", yet Abbas's interviews in the Arab press show that he actually "reserves the right" to resume attacks if Israel does not make concessions fast enough.

Israeli officials and reporters have also been telling the Israeli public that official Palestinian state television would not allow Mudeiris, the charismatic young and somewhat rotund bearded cleric, back on the air.

Indeed, the mosque address in Gaza came only hours after a much-heralded meeting in Cairo Egypt calling for a pseudo-ceasefire against Israeli targets, known in Arabic as a "tahdiyya" or "cooling-off".

The term "tahdiyya", which has become a bit of a buzz-word in Israel has rarely if ever been heard in diplomatic parlance, and it apparently came into use because the HAMAS and Islamic Jihad terror groups were unwilling to agree even to use the term "hudna" an Arabic term for a temporary cease-fire between a Muslim and a non-Muslim.

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon publicly applauded the Cairo conference as a step forward, but there are many signs that it was actually a hardening of Palestinian positions.

During this week, Israeli broadcast reporters blitzed viewers and listeners with reports that PA leader Abbas was going to table a proposal for Palestinian compromise on the highly controversial issue of Palestinian refugees¸the "right of return",but this has not materialized as well.

Indeed, at the Cairo conference yesterday on the "Palestinian national dialogue", conducted between the Abbas-led PLO and PA and the rest of the Palestinian groups, a statement emerged reinforcing the Palestinian demand for refugee "return to their homes" i.e, to dislocate what would today constitute the entire State of Israel.

Dr. Michael Widlanski is a journalist who specializes in Arab politics and communication, whose recent doctorate dealt with the Palestinian broadcast media.

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