Israel Resource Review 10th May, 2005


Rumors Spread by the Official Palestinian Authority Media that Jews Are Plotting to Take the Temple Mount
Dr. Michael Widlanski
May 9-10, 2005

From Sunday May 8 through Tuesday May 10, the Palestinian Authority (PA) media emphasized the "threat of an attack on Al-Aqsa Mosque" and the threat of "the polluting of the holy Jerusalem shrine" (Arabic: Al-Haram Al-Qudsi Al-Sharif) by Jewish extremists.

Palestinian media reports today (May 10) testify to the fact that the Jewish threat did not materialize but there were clashes between Arab demonstrators and Israeli police.

"The mobilization of citizens protects al-Aqsa, thwarting attempted attacks by Jewish groups" declared the newspaper Al-Ayyam, run by Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah Party.

The same newspaper cross-leads on the other side of its front page with a photo of a demonstrator confronting an Israeli policeman mounted on a horse outside the walls of Jerusalem's Old City.

Palestinian television and radio reported Tuesday that 17 Arabs and six Israeli policeman were wounded in clashes at the Temple Mount. On the previous day, Monday May 9, Palestinian television from Gaza opened its broadcasts with continuous warnings that the Islamic shrines in Jerusalem were in danger of attack and pollution. Anchorman Muhammad Yassin (PBC 7 a.m.) reported the threat for nearly four minutes while PBC television aired canned footage of "Jewish extremists" from several weeks ago (including clashes with Israeli police while closing a highway in Tel Aviv), without informing viewers where the material was filmed and that the material was archival. The clear impression was that the film editors at PBC wanted to create the impression of imminent physical attacks in Jerusalem.

From Palestinian Newspapers and Broadcasting:

Tuesday afternoon May 10 (1 p.m.-2 p.m.) V.O.P. radio ran a series of interviews with Islamic personalities to highlight the threat to Islamic holy sites in Jerusalem and to deny that there was a Jewish connection to "Holy Sanctuary," the term commonly used in the Palestinian media to describe the Temple Mount area. The Islamic celebrities included Mufti Sheikh Ikrema Sabry and Sheikh Ibrahim Nimr Darwish, head of the Islamic Movement in Israel (or as "the head of the Islamic Movement inside the Green Line" as V.O.P. continually identified him).

Several of the guests and the V.O.P. anchorman reiterated that there was never any Jewish Temple in Jerusalem.

"Most of the research shows that there was no never a Jewish temple in Jerusalem," declared Sheikh Darwish. (V.O.P. 1:52 p.m.)

Elsewhere in the program and during V.O.P. and PBC coverage, the Jewish temple in Jerusalem is constantly called "al-heikal al-maz'oum: "the alleged temple" or "the so-called temple."

Jerusalem daily Al-Quds also featured the clashes near the Temple Mount at the top of its front page, showing a picture of tear gas exploding near demonstrators, 18 of whom were wounded according to the paper. A similar picture and coverage are featured in Al-Hayat Al-Jadeeda.

Meanwhile, Al-Quds reported also an 86-percent participation rate of registered Palestinian voters in last week's local elections. On the bottom half of the page, the Jerusalem daily reported that Israeli Prime Minister Sharon had delayed the withdrawal from Gaza until August 15, while also headlining the comments by Israeli Foreign Minister Sylvan Shalom that Israel would not withdraw if HAMAS won the Palestinian national elections in July. These comments were also reported on repeatedly on V.O.P. radio and PBC tv (May 10 various times).

In their cartoons, the Palestinian papers cover the Jerusalem issue and the issue of prisoners.

Al-Quds cartoon Tuesday May 10 shows handcuffed Palestinian woman demonstrator joining 400 Palstinian prisoners who, according to Palestinian Authority, were supposed to be released without condition by Israel according to agreements reached at the February summit in Sharm al-Sheikh.
[Al-Quds print and adobe edition, May 10, 2005]

Al-Quds internet cartoon shows gigantic Israeli footprints stepping on Palestinian worshipper at Temple Mount. The caption reads: "Defense of Jerusalem."

Palestinian Television: Morning broadcasts concentrated on the trip to South America of PA-PLO Chairman Mahmoud Abbas. Afternoon broadcasts mentioned the trip but then concentrated on the issues of Jerusalem and Palestinian refugee rights. PLO Executive Committee Member Zakaria Agha was featured for five minutes stressing that the issue of the right of refugees "to return to their homes" was the heart of the Palestinian cause and that no peace was possible without fulfilling this requirement. (The PLO Executive is the 13-15-man body that is the highest governing institution in the PLO.)

"Dr. Zakaria Agha Member of the PLO Executive and the Chairman of the Department of Refugee Affairs asserted that the subject of the refugees and their right to return to their homes from which they were thrown out in 1948 . . . is the heart of the Palestinian cause," asserted the narrator.

Agha's comments came during a Gaza press conference to mark the 57th anniversary of what the Palestinians call "Al-Nakba": the Catastrophe, the founding of Israel and the beginning of the Palestinian refugee problem.

"This is a matter of prime importance to the Palestinian people and to the Palestinian leadership, and it is the heart of the Palestinian cause."

Saying that he was sending a message on behalf of the entire Palestinian people, he stressed a literal interpretation of the right of return by Palestinians to their homes in 1948 as being consistent with UN resolutions.

"There can be no peace in this area and no peace agreement without the right of return," he concluded. (PBC 3:18-3:23 p.m.)

Report compiled by Michael Widlanski Associates.
Commissioned by the Center for Near East Policy Research.
[Permission to quote or reprint from article conditional on citing Michael Widlanski or Michael Widlanski Associates.]

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Relocation of Businesses from Gush Katif
The Human Side
Nava Tzuriel
Writer, Maariv

When Arik Sharon's first grandson was born, MK Zvi Hendel, then Sharon's friend, sent a huge bouquet of flowers from Gush Katif to the new grandfather. Lily was then alive, and the bouquet chosen was one of lilies, precisely the excited grandfather's favorite. The idea of sending the lilies was that of Becky Winter, who owns a home-based flower arranging business. This week, in her home in Neveh Dekalim, Becky remembers those days, when Arik was still on their side and their only deliberation was over which kind of flowers he would prefer.

Becky remembers this and finds it hard to hold back the tears. She recalls those days with a mixture of sadness. Ten years ago she lost her husband Nehemia. It was just before Yom Kippur. Nehemia went to bathe in the Gush Katif beach and never came back. Later his body was pulled out of the water. Ever since that tragedy, Becky finds consolation in flowers. What began as a hobby in one small bucket, over the years turned into a flourishing, and mainly a satisfying business. Today all the residents of Gush Katif know her as "Becky of the flowers." In a post-wedding ceremony held last week in Gush Katif for a young man who wed not long ago, the rabbi said in his speech that the first thing he has to teach him is where Becky lives.

When Becky talks about flowers her face lights up. Her eyes shine and a broad smile spreads over her face. When we talk about the possibility of leaving everything behind, the vitality is replaced by powerlessness. "It's over. I just don't know. This is something I did with my own two hands and it helped me get through difficult times. In the middle of August I don't where I'll rest my head, I certainly don't know where I'll put the flowers."

Becky, 51, moved to Neveh Dekalim with her late husband Nehemia from Kibbutz Lavie 20 years ago. The Winter couple raised their four children in Gush Katif in a religious-Zionist lifestyle. Becky, a civil engineer by profession, worked full time in the local planning committee. Basically, she was the committee. When talk began about disengagement, and all construction plans in Gush Katif were frozen, work shrunk. She was left with the flowers.

Now, this too is about to close. Becky, like the other self employed in Gush Katif, doesn't know where to seek hope. "The compensation doesn't give me the option of setting up a new business," she explains. "The compensation isn't fair. It doesn't enable us to continue the lives we had here somewhere else. At my age I cannot start getting into debt and taking loans. I'm about to lose everything. Here I'm almost a queen. Other places I will have to pass an acceptance committee, while here there's nobody for whom I haven't made a flower arrangement." The Bourgeois are Ignored

The farmers in Gush Katif make headlines, and their hothouses appear on television and in newspaper reports, but only about a quarter of the Gush Katif residents are farmers. Half of the residents are salaried, and the other quarter is self employed with small businesses. Perhaps because they have yet to acquire an energetic lobby and receive representation on the council, their voice goes almost unheard.

When Gush Katif was established, the plan was for it to be populated mainly by farmers, and they were indeed given preferential status. In arnona [municipal tax] for example, there is a disparity of hundreds of percent between the tax on a building owned by a business owner and that of a farmer. Farmers pay half a shekel arnona for each square meter of a packing house, whereas arnona on a square meter of an industrial building is NIS 30 shekel, 60 times higher.

Neveh Dekalim, the first settlement in Gush Katif which was not established on a farming basis, is populated mainly by people who work in education, council workers, accountants, lawyers, and there is also a small business area. The commercial center was also established there, and it provides services to residents of all of the Gaza Strip.

If Sharon really wants to know where the Gush Katif residents wish to move, he should ask Sara Kortziya of Neveh Dekalim, the Gush Katif hair dresser. We'll go wherever you go, her clients tell her. "I've put in years of work, and people have gotten used to me," she says modestly. Kortziya, originally from Moshav Eitan near Kiryat Gat, did not move to Gush Katif for ideological reasons. In her single days she would go to Gush Katif once a week to do women's hair. Twelve years ago she moved there with her husband Yitzhak, the council's maintenance man, and they had six children.

Kortziya runs two hair salons today. One is in the commercial center of Neveh Dekalim and the second is in a studio apartment next to her house. The door to the salon, on which a poster saying "together we will win, Gush Katif," is closed. Now are the days between Passover and Shavuot, and almost nobody in Gush Katif wants a haircut.

Kortziya would prefer to move as part of a group, this way her clients could move with her, but she knows that even if they do, it won't be the same afterwards. "Because of my strategic location, I had more clients; when they are closer to the city, they will have more options. I won't be the only one anymore. In the city I will have to jump into the lion's den."

She knows that in the city she will have to acquire a new style, more trendy. In Gush Katif, styles are conservative. "Hairdressing in the city means paying attention to style, it's more complicated than a simple cut," she explains. "Here you get used to a certain style. Religious people are more modest, less demanding, they want delicate highlights." Kortziya will also have to get used to prices in the city. The prices in Gush Katif are a joke. A hair cut costs NIS 40; NIS 20 with blow dry; dye and highlights cost NIS 180.

In the four and a half years since the Intifada began, her business has been affected. "We've suffered in the last few years. People who are upset are in no hurry to go to the hairdresser once a month," she says. "The farmers always had someone to look out for their interests, but in the period of all the mortar shell fire, when the electricity and water would stop, nobody thought about the small businesses. If I had a customer with dye on her head, we would have to run to the security room and look for a bottle of water to rinse her hair."

They Want NIS 250 Million

Last year Becky, Sara and the other small business owners organized to promote their common interests. The future didn't look rosy. The evacuation-compensation law offers them two tracks for receiving compensation: a property track, in which they are compensated according to the value of the property they own, and a financial track, in which they are compensated according to their business turnover. "The result is that property wise, we will get 50% of what we deserve, and by the financial track, we'll get nothing," says the chairman of the association, Yossi Noiman, a resident of Neveh Dekalim who owns a business for prefab structures, "in any case, we are being dispossessed of everything we've built here in the last 30 years. Only the farmers are being given attention, and we've been neglected. The first question people always ask me is 'what do you grow,' as if everyone here is a farmer. And this isn't true. There are many families who don't work in farming, and now they're being buried economically. Business will close and we will not be able to carry on."

Recently the association hired Atty. Gilad Sher to look out for their interests. No, this doesn't mean they accept the uprooting, Noiman stresses. "Even a living person buys life insurance," he says. The association has already appealed to the Prime Minister's Office and to Prime Minister's Office Director General Ilan Cohen and enumerated the injustices caused the business owners as a result of the law. The sum that the association is demanding for business to be established elsewhere stands at NIS 250 million.

There are some business owners in Gush Katif who do not accept the steps taken by the association. Meir Weinberg, a Neveh Dekalim resident, has been operating a garage in Gadid for the last six and a half years. Weinberg is one of those who prefer ignoring the evil decree, and is convinced that life will go on as usual. "My business will continue here," he says. "I haven't thought about what will happen if there is disengagement. I'm not interested in compensation. I'm not counting on compensation or anything else. I want to continue my business here."

Weinberg, originally a kibbutznik from Hefetz Haim, moved to Gush Katif 17 years ago, and he and his wife have six children. Another son died at age 20 of an illness and is buried there. "What concerns me most is my son's grave, that somebody could dare to touch it accidentally," Weinberg says and is quick to qualify his words: "I have no intention of raising a hand against anyone, everything will be by pleasant means."

Weinberg is not your usual garage mechanic. He wears blue work clothes, in the best kibbutz tradition, now has a beard because of the days between Passover and Shavuot [in which religious Jews don't shave] and wears Teva sandals. He was a mechanic at the religious kibbutz Ein Tzurim for eight years, after which he moved to Gadid. Two cars are parked in his garage, located near the hothouses. The workers who come from the Gaza Strip went home at 4:00. Weinberg took them in his car. "There is complete co-existence and peace between us," he boasts, "and I give them medicine, I look out for them, I call them. I had one worker whose wife had a problem during her pregnancy and I gave him a loan for treatments. If there is disengagement, God forbid, it is clear to my workers that they have no work on the day after. We provide work for 10,000 workers."

Weinberg's clients are mainly Gush Katif residents. Sometimes people who come from the outside get stuck in their cars and need Weinberg. In the last demonstration on Passover, a car got stuck on the landing field near the hotel, and Weinberg came to rescue it. A garage in Gush Katif does not operate like any garage. Because of the distance, logistics are different and spare parts must be brought from the outside. [.]

There is another garage in Gush Katif, with whom there is also co-existence. "We send each other business," Weinberg explains. "We help each other, we're neighbors in all senses." Haim Berger, who rents the area to Weinberg, explains that in Gush Katif, it's not about business, it's about family. "We don't keep score, the door is open," says Berger.

A Ray of Light

The only hope in this story is in fact from the Knesset. Deputy Interior Minister MK Ruhama Avraham, who was a member of the Knesset Finance Committee when the evacuation-compensation law was enacted, recently initiated the establishment of a compensation fund for small business in Gush Katif. Avraham, who is chairwoman of the subcommittee for small businesses, plans to establish, along with the Disengagement Administration and the association, a fund that will compensate the businesses beyond what is stated in the law, making it possible for them to continue on the day after disengagement. The fund, according to the plan being formulated, will include loans, some of which will become grants. "I supported disengagement, but we must not abandon the evacuees," says Avraham. "The small businesses that will be re established with the help of the fund will make it possible for their owners to continue to earn a dignified living, and will also help the state economy."

But for Becky of the flowers, opening a new business doesn't appear practical. "I'm not 16. I have a body of clients, I work on a basis of trust. Everything here works on a personal basis. At the moment, the way things are now, it's over. I won't have the same circle of clients. I lose everything. I think I'm losing everything that can be lost. My friends, my house. I've gone through tragedies and joy here, and above all, I have a grave here that will have to be moved. When you go through a tragedy, you gather all your mental strength to handle it, for your home to continue to be a home, for everything to continue to function, and now everything is going ten years back."

Until August, Becky will continue to wreathe stylish bouquets that match tablecloths. A customer told her not long ago: "I'm not budging from here until the soldiers knock on the door. And when they knock on the door, I want there to be flowers on the table, the way there always are."

This article appeared in the May 6th weekend supplement of Maariv

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Are There Orders to Open Fire On Jewish Residents During Their Eviction?

Correspondent, Yediot Aharonot

The IDF Southern Command and the IDF Operations Branch are at this time formulating special orders for opening fire for the settlement evacuation process in the Gaza Strip and Samaria. The new orders relate to the possibility that it will be necessary to open fire at Jewish demonstrators carrying weapons, Yedioth Ahronoth has learned.

A senior officer involved in formulating the new orders said these orders would be more stringent than those in place today and that troops would not be able to shoot at Jews in order to kill, even if these Jews are the first to fire at the soldiers. "If our soldiers have to fire in response, this will be done cautiously and only after receiving the necessary approval from the highest levels," the officer said. He said that permission to open fire would only be given by senior commanders, and no matter what, not to kill, only to silence the sources of fire. One situation that the IDF is discussing is how to act against those who open fire at troops and then flee. In contrast to a Palestinian, for whom orders make it possible to open fire at him and kill him, in the case of a Jew, the troops will be forbidden to fire in order to kill and the order to the troops is to do everything possible to neutralize the shooter without using live fire.

The new orders for opening fire relate to the first circle of evacuation, where the closest contact with settlers and their supporters from the Right who manage to reach the evacuation areas will take place. After the orders are formulated, they are expected to receive the approval of Director of the IDF General Staff's Operations Division Brig. Gen. Gadi Shamni and then the approval of Head of Operations Directorate Maj. Gen. Yisrael Ziv. [.]

Along with the rules of opening fire, the IDF is also formulating a list of rules of conduct for the soldiers who carry out the evacuation. The Ground Forces headquarters has composed a list of orders for soldiers who physically have to enter the houses of the settlements that are evacuated. Among other things, the soldiers cannot use the furniture in the house to rest, they cannot play in the yards of the houses or use public facilities in the settlements, go through personal items, watch television or use the phone. On the other hand, it was decided that soldiers are allowed to burst through locked doors, move items carefully and to untie the evacuee, if he has tied himself to any object in the house.

The plan presented by the head of the training department in the Ground Forces, Col. Ofer Segal, proposes that soldiers take lessons in which they get to know the area where they will be operating, its history and the various aspects of the settlers. "We explain to the soldiers that not all the evacuees are extremists-just the opposite-a large portion of them will leave voluntarily and will not resist, and we must act accordingly," said Col. Segal. "The goal is have the soldiers internalize the fact that this is a special task which requires different behavior from that used in the usual military tasks. We have them face these dilemmas and deal with them, so that on the ground, this will not be the first time they encounter these dilemmas."

Commander of the Southern Command training bases Col. Erez Katz said that before disengagement, the commanders will hold meetings with the settlers "over a cup of coffee and talk with them, so that during evacuation, it will be easier for both sides."

This article ran in Yediot Aharonot on May 10th, 2005

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