Israel Resource Review 16th May, 2004


Knesset Committee Conducts Investigation of Alleged Espionage Activities of "Peace"

This week, the Israeli "Peace Now" organization revealed that it has been conducting aerial surveillance of Israeli Jewish communities in Judea, Jerusalem and Samaria, to determine the extent of settlement expansion. At the same time, the Israeli Knesset Parliamentary Interior Committee held a special session to discuss foreign government funding of Israeli left wing movements

Documents shared with the Knesset Interior Committee confirmed that the Peace Now organization received a budget in the amount of 50,000 Euros from the government of Finland to conduct intelligence activity in the Jewish communities in Judea, Samaria, the Golan , Gaza and Jerusalem. Peace Now is a political organization in Israel with an IRS tax deductible affiliate in the United States.

The Knesset Committee examined a Peace Now grant application to the government of Finland, that indicated how Peace Now intended to use the grant. This included regular bi-monthly ground surveys to be conducted with the purpose of documenting the numbers of empty houses in settlements and ongoing construction in settlements. This work engages tens of volunteers, who travel around the West Bank in cars (armored if possible) tracking developments. "Settlements" has come to be used in the press now as a euphemism for Jewish communities and towns, no matter how big or developed.

Also included was a provision for aerial photography: Twice a month a light plane is rented in order to allow "settlement" watch staff to ascertain the extent of ongoing physical expansion in existing "settlements." Once a baseline survey is completed, subsequent surveys can be used to measure expansion using GIS satellite positioning overlays. The document stated that this "mechanism will yield tangible graphic and quantitative data for the public."

Peace Now defined its objectives to the government of Finland in the following manner:

"To monitor settlement developments on the ground, accurately and reliably; To make this information available to the Israeli and international publics; To advance the fulfillment of the Road Map."

Peace Now identifies the "target groups" for the government of Finland as the "Israeli public, The Israeli political leadership, International Diplomatic Corps and Israeli and international press."

Peace Now defined the "final result of the activities" for the government of Finland as "Regular and reliable reports, in real time, disclosing the situation of settlement construction; Regular and reliable reports, in real times, monitoring the dismantlement of outposts and settlements according to requirements of the Road Map; Contacts with diplomats, leaders and press in order to convey reliable information on all aspect of settlement issues."

Peace Now further informed the government of Finland that it would use the $50,000 grant in the following manner: "$17,000 Coordinator, $13,000 Jeep, $20,000 Aerial Surveys." Peace Now informed the government of Finland that "funding is necessary to support the staff and rent the vehicles for aerial photography.

Peace Now defineed itself for the government of Finland as an "educational foundation". Peace Now indicated in that grant request that it also received $100,000 from the Americans for Peace Now and 150,000 Euros from "European Foundations" for its "settlement watch project."

A spokesperson for Peace Now indicated that the "European Foundations" mentioned in their grant request to the Finnish government were actually funds from the European Union. In other words, from other foreign European governments, few of which have been favorable to Israel's plight in the war On Terror. Far from being an indigenous Israeli organization, Peace Now it is obvious actually acts as an agent for foreign governments.

The Israel Penal Code for Espionage was distributed to Knesset Interior Committees. Clause 3 of that code defines "photography of sensitive areas of Israel for any foreign power" as an act of espionage, punishable by ten years imprisonment if convicted.

Dr. Yuri Stern, Chairman of the Knesset Interior Committee, announced that he would ask his legal counsel to examine the matter and report back to the committee if there were indeed grounds for application of the Israel Penal Code's special clauses on espionage against Peace Now.

While the Knesset interior committee members from across the political spectrum carefully listened and examined the documents relating to allegations of felonious activity by Peace Now, the Peace Now lobbyist in the Knesset, Behira Bardugo, screamed at Committee Chairman Dr. Stern and accused the committee of not investigating those who financed the campaign to defeat Ariel Sharon in the recent referendum campaign over the Prime Minister's unilateral disengagement plan from Gaza.

When Stern explained that there is a difference between funding from a private individual and funding that is received from a government, Bardugo reacted with surprise, and simply said that there is no difference.

The Peace Now settlement expansion maps do not only wind up in the hands of European governments and they do not only include the civilian expansion. The Peace Now settlement expansion maps also include military installations and the maps are featured in all PLO offices. Israeli army bases have been attacked and Israeli soldiers killed. These are the sons and daughters of Israel drafted to protect the country, not, for the most part, even professional soldiers.

The decision will now rest with Israel's legal system whether and how to enforce the espionage clauses of the Israel Penal Code for those organizations who choose to photograph the most sensitive landscapes of Israel on the payroll and at the behest of foreign governments.

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Will AIPAC Allow for Equal Time to Olmert?

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), sometimes dubbed in the U.S. press as the "Israel lobby," is being courted this week by Ariel Sharon's second-in-command, Ehud Olmert, to present Sharon's Retreat Plan.

Olmert, Israel's Minister of Trade and Communications, gave an interview on The Voice of Yisrael government radio early morning on May 13th.

He announced on air that he will address the AIPAC annual conference on Sunday, May 16th with the clear message that the Israeli government will indeed implement The Sharon Retreat Plan.

In answer to a question about whether he would honor the results of the May 2nd Likud referendum which rejected the Sharon Retreat Plan, Olmert candidly stated that he will inform AIPAC and the U.S. government that Sharon will ignore the results of the referendum, because he had "the better interests of the people of Israel in mind."

Last week, the press spokesman of AIPAC announced that AIPAC would not issue a policy statement in support of the Sharon Retreat Plan, because the Sharon Retreat Plan was not ratified by the Likud referendum.

In other words, AIPAC respects Israel's democratic principles while Israel's Prime Minister does not.

This was why following AIPAC's withdrawal of support of his plan, Prime Minister Sharon cancelled his scheduled policy address to AIPAC, and sent Ehud Olmert in his place.

So there you have it.

Sharon could not get his Retreat Plan approved by the Israeli government.

Sharon could not get his Retreat Plan approved by the Israeli Knesset.

Sharon could not get his Retreat Plan approved by the Likud Party Central Committee.

Sharon could not get his Retreat Plan approved by the Likud referendum.

Sharon could not get his Retreat Plan endorsed by AIPAC.

The next questions remain:

Since it is openly the policy of AIPAC to support the democratically elected government of Israel, and since Ehud Olmert does not represent the approved policy of the government of Israel, will AIPAC invite another senior Israeli government minister in the spirit of equal time in a democratic system of government who opposes the Sharon Plan?

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The Armenian Genocide 89 Years Later:
A Black Cloud Over Humanity, Israel and the Jewish People

Every April, the walls of the Armenian Quarter, which lead to the Jewish Quarter in the Old City in Jerusalem, are plastered with posters, reminding the people of Israel of the Armenian genocide. Throughout the spring, summer and fall, until the winter rains, no one removes these posters.

Anyone who makes a pilgrimage to the Old City of Jerusalem cannot help but recall the massacre of the Armenian people.

The deep connection between the plight of the Jews and the Armenians is clear; both were targets of a holocaust. The Armenians, however, were the first on the list of genocide in the twentieth century, and their murder at the hands of the Ottoman Empire set a precedent for totalitarian leaders in the modern era.

Senior lecturer at the Open University of Israel and the Kibbutzim College of Education, Professor Yair Auron has dedicated himself to bringing to light the connection between the Armenians and the Jews, their trials and tribulations. In his book The Banality of Indifference: Zionism and the Armenian Genocide (Transaction Books, 2000), he writes: "At the time of the Armenian genocide, the possibility of its extension to include the Ottoman Jews was just barely avoided. One cannot help but be reminded that between the two world wars, when the fate of the Armenians became the forgotten genocide, European Jewry failed to heed the clear early warnings of Hitler's final solution."

Auron devotes the major portion of his study to the fate of the Armenians and the Jews under Turkish rule during the twilight of the Ottoman Empire, from the beginning of the twentieth century, to the rebalancing of world power in the Middle East after World War I.

He proves that the Jews of the Yishuv were well aware they were next in line for a Turkish genocide. Indeed, during the spring of 1916, the order for expulsion of the Jews from Jaffa as an alleged fifth column was a distinct possibility. The intervention of the US and German consuls with the Turkish government in Jerusalem proved to be decisive in helping the Jews avoid the fate that befell the Armenians.

Ironically, it was Henry Morgenthau, a Jew and the American ambassador to Turkey during World War I, who became the first whistleblower in what he described as the murder of a nation. In September 1915 Morgenthau requested emergency aid from his government, and in the same year the American Committee for Armenian and Syrian Relief (ACASR) was established. In 1916, assistance efforts, under the auspices of Congress, were reorganized as the 'Near East Relief (NER), which collected and distributed substantial sums from private and government sources. Through these projects, tens of thousands of Armenians were saved. However, more were murdered than saved; according to Professor M.E. Stone, head of the Hebrew University Armenian Studies Program, the amount of Armenians murdered by the Ottoman Empire totaled more than 1.5 million, virtually wiping out the Turkish-Armenian population.

Ambassador Morgenthau was also effective in rescuing Jews, saving leaders such as David Ben Gurion and Yitzhak Ben Tzvi, later prime minister and president of Israel. Both men were avidly pro-Turkish. Indeed Ben Gurion had tried to organize a Jewish corps in support of the Ottomans, but when his name appeared on a Zionist list he was jailed and charged with treason. On arriving in Alexandria he was jailed again by the British, and then evacuated to New York. In both instances, he was saved thanks to the intervention of Ambassador Morgenthau.

Auron argues that Ben Gurion knew of the murder the Turks were capable of. Auron writes, "whatever Ben Gurion's strategy may have been, he wrote privately to his father in 1919 that `Jamal Pasha [then Turkish military ruler in Palestine] planned from the outset to destroy the entire Hebrew settlement in Eretz Yisrael, exactly as they did the Armenians in Armenia.'"

The murder of the Armenian political, cultural and business leadership in Constantinople in April 1915 marked the beginning of full-scale genocide. One month before, Ambassador Morgenthau made arrangements through his friend Josephus Daniels, Secretary of the Navy, to have the USS Tennessee evacuate a number of Jews from Palestine to refugee camps in Alexandria, Egypt. On the eve of World War I, there were some 85,000 Jews out of a population of 700,000 in the area of Palestine west of the Jordan River [modern day Israel]. Half of the Jews were part of the "Old Yishuv" and half were part of the "New Yishuv," immigrants who had arrived at the end of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth. As noted, evidence suggests the Jews knew what was happening to the Armenians in the Ottoman Empire.

"The Yishuv knew about the fate of the Armenians, and feared a similar fate," Auron writes.

Interestingly, it was Mordecai Ben-Hillel HaCohen, a Jewish journalist in the Yishuv and the uncle of Yitzhak Rabin, who became the first publicist to report the chain of events affecting the Armenians of the Ottoman Empire as early as 1916.

Likewise, the first book to document the plight of the Armenians, The Forty Days of Musa Dagh: Symbol and Parable, was also written by a Jew, Franz Werfel, and published in Germany in 1933. Translated into Yiddish and Hebrew, Franz Werfel's novel influenced Zionist youth movements in Palestine in the 1930s and the resistance movements to the Nazis throughout occupied Europe.

When Adolf Hitler came to power, he utilized the successful Turkish oppression and murder of the Armenians as a basis for his plan to annihilate the Jews. Hitler assumed he would face no future retribution, just like the leaders of the Ottoman Empire were never brought to trial after committing their crimes.

Hitler proclaimed in August, 1939 "Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?" How the Nazis learned from the Armenian genocide is well documented in the book, Hitler and the Armenian Genocide (Zoryan Institute, 1985).

When Hitler's plans began to come to fruition, it was Morgenthau's son, Henry Morgenthau II, the treasury secretary under Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who became the only member of the American government during World War II to campaign for the creation of a World Refugee Board to save the remnants of European Jewry. He was always quoting the cables sent from his father, which warned of the Armenian genocide during his time. Today, the above facts have not spawned the deep relationship between Jews and Armenians that would be expected. Auron is disappointed by this, and he declares that sensitivity to the plight of the Armenians is essential, in order to "develop a greater sensitivity among our youth to the suffering of others and to strengthen universal, humanistic values which are an integral part of the Jewish tradition."

Auron even prepared a curriculum on the Armenian genocide for the Israeli schools, "recognizing the Armenian Genocide is of a major historical, moral and educational significance [and essential] for the non-recurrence of similar instances in the future."

The intervention of Israel's foreign ministry, however, has prevented the implementation of Auron's curriculum, a decision based on fears in Israeli diplomatic circles that the special relationship between Israel and Turkey will be damaged by its implementation. Indeed, Turkish interests have influenced nations throughout the world not to institute educational programs that will memorialize the Armenian genocide.

Nevertheless, the lack of recognition by the majority has not stopped the HU Armenian Studies Program from forging ties with the Armenian populace of Jerusalem, and each year hosting an Armenian genocide memorial event. This year, the event was held on 28 April and featured His Beatitude Torkom II, the leading Armenian cleric in Jerusalem, His Excellency Mr. Tsolag Momjian, the honorary Armenian consul in Jerusalem, Professor Gabriel Motzkin, Dean of the Faculty of Humanities, and Dr. Sergio La Porta, lecturer in Armenian Studies at the Hebrew University. Dr. La Porta presided over the memorial's symposium.

It was a moving evening wrought with engaging lectures, poignant readings and personal sentiments by Armenian laymen and leaders.

"No one has a license to deny the genocide of the Armenians," Professor Stone said, noting that while the memorial event is only a small step in the right direction, when combined with the Armenian Studies Program's cooperation with community and academic establishments in both Jerusalem and Armenia, and its close ties with the Armenian Patriarchate, Yerevan State University and the Institute of Archeology of the Armenian Academy, a strong relationship has been built between many Jews and Armenians.

As a senior official of the Israel Minister of Education put it best on Armenian memorial day four years ago in April 2000 when he declared that , " Armenian Memorial Day should be a day of reflection and introspection for all of us, a day of soul-searching. On this day, we as Jews, victims of the Shoah [Holocaust] should examine our relationship to the pain of others…"

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Palestinian Right of Return a Sacred, Inalienable Right

(IPC) [Official PA website]

(With thanks to IMRA for noting this site)

RAMALLAH, May 15, 2004, (IPC) [Official PA website] - On the 56th anniversary of "NAKBA", Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat said Saturday that no power in the entire world has the right to make concessions on the right to return of the Palestinian refugees.

Arafat repeatedly called on the Palestinian people to be steadfast in their struggle against the Israeli occupation as well as to cling to their superb national unity which could deter the Israeli aggression.

President Arafat said, in a speech broadcast live on Palestine television, "We have proved that the Nakba, which caused harm to millions of Palestinian refugees, is not a fate that we cannot resist. It is possible to fight for this homeland and the holy places, and return to them, believing in the justice of our cause."

"Acts of sacrifice, determination and revolution have sent a message to the world that Palestine is the homeland of the Palestinian nation and it has no other, and it will not accept an alternative to its homeland," said Arafat.

In addition, Arafat said that the Israeli government could not exonerate itself from its moral, political and international responsibility as well as its decisions concerning the Palestinian Nakba (catastrophe) which befell the Palestinian people.

"The right of the Palestinian refugees to return to their homes is a sacred and inalienable right that is internationally protected and endorsed, stating that this right is heroically defended by the Palestinian people in the face of the Israeli occupation, colonization and against the Apartheid Wall of Annexation and expansion, and in defense of our Christian and Islamic sanctuaries.

President Arafat concluded that the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian land is doomed to failure.

Throughout the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, Palestinians marked Saturday, May 15, 2004, as the 56th anniversary of Nakba, which coincides with Israel's founding, standing with heads bowed as sirens wailed from minarets at noon.

Thousands then marched through the streets carrying banners with the names of Palestinian towns and villages now either razed or renamed in Israel.

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Weissglass Maintains His Business and Law Firm

In December 2002, Israel Resource News Agency publicized the fact that Dov Weissglass the office manager and the long time private law counsel of the Prime Minister, was still listed in the Israel Corporate Registrar as the owner and operator of his law firm, Weissglass-Almagor.

This finding was publicized in the weekly newspaper, Makor Rishon.

That law firm in the past represented the financial interests of the PLO, through Muhammad Rashid, the treasurer of the PLO appointed by Yassir Arafat.

That same law firm currently represents prominent Palestinian business interests, such as the Palestinian casino company which is in part owned by Jibrl Rahoub and by Yassir Arafat.

According to the Palestinian tourist publication THIS WEEK IN PALESTINE, plans are under way to build a new Palestinian casino and resort for tourists in "Southern Gaza" , where the Jewish communities of Katif now reside.

In January 2003, the spokesman for the Israel Civil Service Commission affirmed the finding that Weissglass was indeed still registered in the Israel Corporate Register as part of that law firm, but dismissed its importance, since Weissglass has divested himself from all financial interests in the firm.

The Israel Civil Service Commission did ask that Weissglass go through the formal process of removing his name from the firm.

A check with the The Israel Corporate Authority in April 2003 showed that Weissglass's name had indeed been removed from the law firm in the Israel Corporate Authority and provided a document from the Israel Corporate Authority to prove it.

However, it now seems that Weissglass is still registered as the lawyer of record for two other firms that bear virtually the same company name, located the same addresses and with the very same lawyers.

One of these law firms where Weissglass is still is a business with a wide mandate to engage in local and international business.

The other firm where Weissglass is active is , indeed, a law firm that is also called Weissglass Almagor

On May 11, 2004, the spokesman for the Israel Civil Service Commission wrote that Weissglass had divested himself of his law firm and had sold the shares of his business.

Upon examination of the publicly available corporate records of Weissglass business, there is no record of any attempt of Weissglass to divest from either this business.

A spokesman for the Israel Prime Minister said that Weisslglass has not been active in his law firm or in his business since entering office in April 2002

The facts speak otherwise.

Questions remain: How much profits did Weissglass's law office or business accrue from Palestinian Authority interests before Weissglass assumed his position?

What are the current profits of Weissglass's law office and business from Palestinian Authority interests?

Is there a remote possibility of a conflict of interest, at a time when Weissglass conducts negotiations on behalf of the state of Israel with all official levels of the Palestinian Authority?

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