|Israel Resource Review
||22nd November, 2005
Rafah Agreement: Israel Signs Away Sovereignty
With the Rafah agreement, which has not yet been signed, Israel is signing away her status as a sovereign nation.
A sovereign nation has two basic rights -- to control its borders and to self defense. Both of this things are about to be surrendered.
Consider the following:
-- There was a terrorist warning at the Erez crossing between Gaza and Israel. Israel, under this agreement, no longer has the right to close it unilaterally. She must ask permission. Israel, per the understanding, asked the US if the crossing could be closed. The US said no, it cannot be completely closed. (This is from Steve Rodan of the Middle East News Line, a superb and reliable source.) Can you imagine this? A situation in which Israel no longer has the right to say who may and may not enter the country, or when?? Unheard of for a sovereign state. Imagine a situation in which Mexicans tell America they have the right to come in whether the American gov't wants them to or not.
-- According to Rodan, the PA is now insisting that Israel has no right to enter the "liaison office" to be headed by the EU that is spelled out in the agreement. This is the office where there will be live video feed and computer feed from the Rafah crossing. That is, not only will Israel not be able to stop anyone from crossing, it turns out that if the PA has its way, Israel won't even know who is crossing. The PA says the agreement doesn't say Israel has a right to be in that liaison office.
I took a close look at the wording of that agreement with Dr. Aaron Lerner of IMRA this morning. Actually, the wording does not spell out Israel's presence specifically, but Dr. Lerner says in diplomatic parlance the term "liaison" implies the presence of all parties. Certainly this is the way it was understood here -- Sec. of Defense Mofaz made a statement to the effect that we would have the right to view the video to the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee last week.
-- Also according to Rodan, the PA is now demanding that its security people accompany the convoy of buses of Palestinians who will make their way per the agreement between Gaza and Judea/Samaria. This is a most serious matter as it would establish a principle of Palestinian sovereignty within Israel.
-- There is nothing new on the matter of checkpoints in Judea/Samaria that Israel has agreed to try to reduce in number, in consultation with the US. But we can extrapolate a bit. If the US refuses to "allow" Israel to completely close Erez while checking for terrorists, because doing so interfers with Palestinian commerce, it is easy to imagine what pressure the US will now bring to bear on Israel to cut those checkpoints to ease Palestinian traffic flow.
The agreement, as it stands, if signed, will have one of two results: It will cause a tremendous weaking of Israel as a sovereign state -- which certainly will lead to instability in the region and the strengthening of terrorist elements. Or it will simply blow up because it is untenable as is, and there will be considable loss of life.
With all of our strength we must attempt everything possible to halt the signing of the agreement.
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Let My People Sue: Help the Evacuees Regain Their Dignity in Court
Toby Klein Greenwald
Three months ago, 10,000 people were forcibly evicted by the Israeli Government from their privately owned homes and farms in 25 Jewish communities in Gush Katif, northern Gaza, and northern Samaria. A few days later, all of their homes were bulldozed into rubble. An estimated 400 public buildings were not destroyed.
Even though clause seven of the Disengagement Law forbid Israel from handing over any assets to anyone "involved in terrorist activity", the government of Israel ignored the law and handed over these buildings to the Palestinian Authority, even after the PA had proclaimed that terrorist organizations would be given many of these buildings.
Unlike the Yamit evacuation of 5,000 people in 1982, where families were given three years to resettle, these people were given six months to leave, from the time of the Knesset decision on February 20th until their eviction on August 15th, 2005.
The final decision of the Israel High Court of Justice, on which the Katif and Samaria communities had pinned their legal hopes, was held on June 6th, 2005, when the Israel High Court of Justice upheld the Disengagement Law, despite the opinion of the court that it violated the human rights and civil liberties basic law of the state of Israel.
Despite the publicly accepted notion that the people from Katif and Samaria were not making preparations to leave, the fact is that as early as November 2004, these communities designated the lawyers of the Israel Legal Forum to negotiate for compensation agreements with the Israeli government. However, the government refused to begin negotiating with their duly appointed legal representatives until April, 2005.
Meanwhile, Deputy Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres informed the Israeli media on July 7th, 2005 that the US government would provide more than two billion dollars to cover the costs of the disengagement.
However, on June 25th, 2005, Israel Resource News Agency had already been informed by top U.S. Congressional Sources that no U.S. money would be forthcoming for the disengagement process, which Israel had declared as a unilateral act.
This was two months before Hurricane Katrina hit the lives and pocketbooks of so many Americans
Therefore, the government of Israel has been slow to offer compensation to the people who were evicted from their homes. As of November 15th, 2005, 75% of the people evicted had received no compensation whatsoever, at a time when 85% of these people were still unemployed, after having been expelled from communities of full employment.
As a result, the people who were evicted need help to go to court to sue for the basics of compensation. The pro-bono lawyers who have helped the evictees do not have the ability to sue on the issues that follow, without basic fees and coverage of court costs.
Here are some of the issues which the evacuees must sue for:
1. Mental cruelty, as evidenced by e petty requests for documentation before any compensation would be given: 29-year-old phone bills, old report cards, letters addressed to them to prove that they really lived in the homes that they lived in, while the Israeli government disengagement authority, known as The Sela Authority,gave inaccurate information to the media that "almost all of the evacuees had received the compensation that they had coming to them". A couple in their eighties who had gone through concentration camps who left in July had not received one shekel of compensation as of November 15th, 2005.
2. Loss of livelihood Many of the self-employed people from these communities were denied employment benefits. Many of those who worked for non profit organizations in the area of health, education and welfare were also denied unemployment benefits.
3. Business people whose businesses were worth $150,000-200,000 have been offered less than fifteen percent of the worth of their businesses, and they must spend their own savings to go to court to appeal for increased compensation for their businesses.
4. Three months after their eviction, the majority of farmers still do not have appropriate land or arrangements and they stand to lose their export markets abroad. They have already lost several seasons, and the Katif people estimate that only 10% of the farmers will be able to return to agriculture. Meanwhile, some produce exporters where offered menial jobs at minimum wage.
5. "Guilty until proven innocent" was one of the reasons used indelaying the compensation, because "maybe" the evacuee did something violent AND/OR was arrested during the expulsion. If a person got into a scuffle while being evicted from his home, why should he
lose the value of his home? If a teenager whose behavior was not appropriate, why should that family lose the value of their home? Meanwhile, the vast majority of families who are being denied any compensation have no police files or charges whatsoever against them
7. Loss of investment in homes No compensations was offered for porches, storage rooms, or other improvements they added to their homes. "Advance compensation" for homes was given to people whose original small homes were purchased 20 years ago, and only 75% of that.
8. Damage to students. Students did not have the opportunity to do matriculation exams properly, or start college properly. Younger students were shuffled from school to school. The government refused to recognize the school and kindergarten in the improvised town of Ir Haemuna, while "Special needs children" in Ir Haemuna had to fight to get partial treatment, two months after school began.
9. A family whose loved one pass away during this period of temporary housing was forced to pay the government $6,000 for a burial plot, since free burial is only provided to a home town residents of a given municipality. Only after Israel Resource News Agency revealed this,
an Israeli Government Minister intervened to return the check to the bereaved family.
10. Families are still forced to pay regular mortgage payments for homes and farms that the government of Israel bulldozed three months ago. Paying out a monthly mortgage for rubble seems highly unusual.
11. Families must invest tens of thousands of shekels for storage in since they will live in mobile homes for two or three years. In addition, they must spend large amounts of money for winter clothers while they cannot access their containers.
12. Hundreds of people who were arrested during the expulsion are confined to their homes under house arrest, because of decisions rendered by the Israeli courts that they are "ideological criminals" who are "dangerous to society."
In conclusion, many good hearts have opened up to these people who were living proud and productive lives until their expulsion. However, much of the charitable help that has been rendered to the evacuees has caused further trauma to these people, as they are rendered a new status as "charity cases." Indeed, immediately following the expulsion, major
organizations allocated hundreds of school bags to the estimated 3,800 children who had no schools to go to, little means of support and no access to their own clothes. These gifts were received with mixed feelings.
The highest level of giving to someone in distress is to help that person the chance to stand on their feet once again.
The people who were kicked out of their homes need help to go to court to redress their grievances, to regain their dignity.
Our news agency would be pleased to refer people to the proper addresses to help these people to sue, and thus, to regain some of their dignity.
At a time when efforts are underway in Israel to force thousands more people from their homes, the timing of this litigation could not be more appropriate.
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Police Open Investigation into Left-Wing Groups Offering Incentives to Refuse IDF Service
(Copy of the "yesh Gvul" brochure offering $750/Month for IDF soldiers who refuse service in Judea and Samaria available for perusal or faxxing)
18:18 Nov-20-05 / 18 Cheshvan 5766
Sunday, November 20, 2005 / 18 Cheshvan 5766
(IsraelNN.com) Deputy State Prosecutor Shai Nitzan has instructed the police to open an investigation against members of the extreme-left 'Yesh Gvul' organization due to suspicions that they are offering monetary incentives for young people who agree to refuse to serve in the IDF.
In response to an inquiry by investigative journalist David Bedein, Nitzan wrote: "After considering the matters, I have decided to instruct the police to open an investigation into allegations of committing crimes of incitement to draft-dodging and refusal."
Bedein had made the inquiry claiming that there is particular severity to the fact that the group is offering monetary incentives and support to the refusers.
Financing Desertion in Israel
By David Bedein
FrontPageMagazine.com | December 18, 2003
Next Wednesday night, an Israeli organization funded by an American Jewish organization will be organizing an all day teach-in in the heart of Tel Aviv to convince high school students not to join the Israeli army and to convince Israeli soldiers to desert the Israel Defense Forces. The theme of the "teach-in": Israel's soldiers are "war criminals."
All this occurs after the PLO orchestrated over 20,000 terror attacks over a period of three years that have resulted in the cold blooded murders of more than 900 men, women and children throughout Israel.
Meanwhile, the Hizbullah organization gnaws at Israel's border with its war of attrition in the north, moving into the positions that the Israeli army unilaterally withdrew from under the Beilin/Barak left wing government's hasty retreat from Lebanon in May 2000. And, at the same time, tens of weapons smuggling tunnels are being dug along Israel's long southern frontier with the collusion of Israel's neighbor to the south, Egypt.
As a result, the Israel Defense Force has been forced to spread its small army to conduct operations in order to preempt terrorists by locating, arresting and neutralizing potential killers where they plan potential terror attacks, while at the same time guarding and patrolling two very hot borders.
While the IDF operations are taking place, a group of Israelis with support from a Jewish group in the US have been conducting a well-financed campaign to encourage IDF troops to desert their units.
I write this not only as a journalist, but also as the father of Noam, an Israeli soldier who serves as a sergeant in an IDF combat unit that operates in an isolated and sensitive area of operation where he risks his life every day.
My wife and I and our five other children look forward to welcoming our oldest son home whenever he can get away for Shabbat. Noam arrives home exhausted and, like the other young men and women his age serving in the army, he appreciates the support that he gets from the "home front" - our community and his own family.
Yet at every train station and bus station that Noam passes through he is "greeted " by paid professionals who distribute leaflets to IDF soldiers to encourage them to desert from their units, offering to pay them to do so.
The leaflets that Noam picks up describe Israeli soldiers as "war criminals" and are financed through a Jewish organization in my home community of Philadelphia in the United States.
That organization is the Shefa Fund.
As their website at www.shefafund.org proudly states, the Shefa Fund provides funds to the "Courage to Refuse" campaign, which proclaims that it will pay for any IDF soldier for the time that he might spend in prison and for any legal expenses involved in refusing to serve. A recent investigative TV program which aired on Commerical Station Channel Two in Israel showed how the "Courage to Refuse" campaign had set up a counseling service in the center of Tel Aviv known as "New Profile", which counsels young Israeli men and women on how to avoid Israeli army service altogether.
Page seven of the annual Shefa Fund report also proudly states that the Shefa Fund has most recently allocated funds to the Courage to Refuse Campaign. This has enabled the Israeli draft desertion campaign to take out ads, distribute leaflets at army bases and at bus stops, and to hire a PR firm to further incite IDF troops to desert their units. Instead of calling themselves "deserters", these soldiers call themselves "refusenicks," a term reminiscent of the struggle to save Soviet Jews who were refused exit visas from the Soviet Union in the 1970's and 1980's. Copying the tactics of the struggle to free Soviet Jewry, the Shefa Fund has now launched a campaign for Jews in the US to "sponsor" deserters from the IDF and to glorify them in their hometown communities in the US.
Needless to say, all this undermines the morale of the IDF by accusing Israeli soldiers of conducting war crimes against an Arab population which harbors terrorists and which encourages and celebrates the murder of Jews, even women and children.
The Shefa Fund has responded to these reports by distributing a letter in which it states that "as a matter of policy, we do not distribute flyers on buses or at points where soldiers are returning from the front. "Courage To Refuse," in fact, works only with reservists, not with soldiers who are under compulsory service. These organizations do not encourage desertion, and do not pay anyone to recruit members or to refuse military service."
The Shefa Fund also claims that "Yesh G'vul" and "Courage to Refuse" do not encourage desertion from the Israeli military, despite the fact that this is precisely what both organizations do by distributing letters, leaflets and internet messages every day in praise of IDF reservists and new IDF inductees who desert their IDF units rather than engage in the pursuit of PLO terrorists who escape to safe havens in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank), Gaza and Jerusalem.
Throughout the past year, Yesh Gvul and Courage To Refuse have held countless rallies in honor of young inductees to IDF compulsory service who are now sitting in prison for deserting their units rather than pursuing PLO killers in the West Bank and Gaza.
So much for the Shefa Fund claim that they are "only working with reservists."
The Shefa Fund also claims that "Yesh G'vul and Courage To Refuse conduct activities that are legal", despite the fact that Yesh G'vul, as an Israeli-registered Non-Profit Organization, #58-039186-0, was disbanded as a non-profit organization on December 31, 1997 because of "financial irregularities" and remained disbanded until June 2002 when it was established as a profit-making corporation, listed in the Israel Corporate Registrar, #51-325106-6.
According to the Israeli law, it is a felony for Yesh G'vul to solicit or to receive funds, from Israel or from abroad, from the time it was disbanded as a non-profit organization until the time it was registered as a corporation. Even more important, it is illegal to encourage Israeli citizens to engage in the felonious act of desertion from the IDF.
Since the Shefa Fund asserts that neither Yesh G'vul nor Courage To Refuse pay Israeli soldiers when they desert the IDF, it would seem that the Shefa Fund's leaders did not read the websites of Courage To Refuse at HYPERLINK "http://www.seruv.org.il/defaulteng.asp" www.seruv.org.il in which Courage To Refuse announced until recently, both in Hebrew and in English, that it would pay deserters for "the time that they spend in jail" to cover their mortgage, tuition, rent and day-care for their children - benefits which are much more than an IDF soldier would get from the Israeli government's meager "national security" allowance during IDF regular or reserve service. Imagine what would happen if the IDF paid the tuition, mortgage, rent and day-care for its soldiers while they are on reserve duty?
The current "Yesh G'vul" brochure offers a flat $750(US) a month for anyone who is jailed for desertion from the IDF.
The Shefa Fund has therefore created the first financial incentive system to make it profitable for an Israeli soldier to desert the Israeli army. All told, the Shefa Fund provided $160,000(US) for this purpose in 2002 alone.
And where does the Shefa Fund get this money? Its brochures show several hundred Jewish contributors who have earmarked funds for their support of IDF desertion.
However, a look at the US #990 IRS forms for the Shefa Fund reveals that the Shefa Fund received an anonymous $15 million donation, of which Shefa is not saying where it came from. Just who is this mysterious anonymous donor?
Ironically, the Shefa Fund is generally known as an agency that provides sorely needed health, education and welfare programs for social services throughout North America. It remains to be seen whether Shefa's assistance to IDF deserters will hurt or help its fund-raising for their worthy social causes. Meanwhile, Noam and his fellow soldiers remain on duty protecting the people of Israel.
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Ariel Sharon's Party: Loyalists of the PM Unite!
Ariel Sharon, who has served as Israel's Prime Minister for almost five years, has suddenly found himself as a man without the very Likud party that he formed in 1973.
Likud had a clear platform, which opposed ceding any land to any Arab neighbor without a solid peace treaty, as in the case of Sadat, when Sharon served in the government of PM Menachem Begin, as Agriculture Minister and then as Defence Minister.
Unlike the Likud, Labor and Meretz, all of whom favored various forms of the territories for peace, Sharon abandoned the principle of reciprocity in favor of a position of unilateralism when he instigated the demolition of 25 Jewish communities and the handover of their assets to terrorists.
Until recently, unilateralism had only been the platform of Israel's Communist Party and Israel's three Arab political parties which represent that position . . . Ironically, that unilateral position was remarkably similar to the platform of the ShomTzion Party which was led by Sharon in 1977, which indeed advocated unilateral withdrawal from Judea, Samaria and Gaza.
Therefore, Sharon found himself without a political party and without a political base.
So Ariel Sharon organized a party based on loyalty to Ariel Sharon.
People whom Sharon has chosen to join his party are members of the Likud
faction of the Knesset who remained supportive of his policies.
Ariel Sharon does have a following in Israel, which is based on widespread
admiration for a man who showed courage in the battlefield and as a man who is always willing to take risks and to carry out policies that he believes in.
Likud Ministers such as Ehud Olmert, Meir Shitrit and Tzipi Livni have tied their political careers to the coatails of Ariel Sharon. Apparently,
so has Shimon Peres, the stalwart elder statesman of the Israel Labor Party.
The power of incumbency has given Sharon about 30 seats, or 25% of the
Knesset, in the initial polls that were taken in the days before Sharon indeed decided to form his own party.
However, it is hard to envision the tenacity and strength of a such a political party.
Now the Likud will draft a candidate for party leadership who will reflect a more clear and less compromising position that Ariel Sharon, which may
marginalize Sharon and his supporters.
Ariel Sharon's "Party for National Responsibility" is riddled with
contradictions,led by a tough talking leader whose record of capitulation in
negotiation has transformed his image in the Israeli public opinion to a somewhat less than heroic figure.
Israel's political history in filled with instances when a "centrist" party
is formed over night and lasts only one term in office. Such was the case with the Democratic Movement for Change under Yigal Yadin's leadership in 1977, and such was the case with the Center Party in 1999.
Will Ariel Sharon to fade into Israeli political history, as the greatest
political anomaly that Israel has ever produced in its short history? We will know very shortly.
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