Israel Resource Review 17th March, 1997


Official Complaints Filed
to US Ambasssador Martin Indyk
by David Bedein, Media Analyst
Beit Agron International Press Center
Jerusalem, Israel

Joyce Boim, an American-Israeli citizen residing in Jerusalem, has filed an official complaint with US Ambassador Martin Indyk, following her meeting with Israel Minister of Justice Tzachi HaNegbi. Mrs Boim had requested that HaNegbi ad the name of Amjad HaNawi. who murdered her son David, age 16, last May, to the list of suspects that Israel was demanding that the Palestine Authority arrest and turn over to Israel. According to Mrs. Boim, HaNegbi simply shrugged his shoulders and refused her request...When I called the Justice Minister's office for a response, his spokesperson said that since the official meeting did not happen between HaNegbi and his PA counterpart last Sunday, the list was never handed over and the list is no longer relevant.

Mrs. Boim has asked Indyk to intervene in this matter.

Meanwhile, another American-Israeli citizen, Mrs.Esther Wachsman, the mother of Nachson Wachsman, who was abducted and murdered in October 1994, has filed a complaint with Indyk that the Israeli government is not requesting the arrest of Muhammad Deif, a Gaza resident who masterminded the abduction and murder of his son. President Clinton, who visited her son's grave on March 14, 1996, said on that occaision that Deif was on the list of America's most wanted criminals and that Israel should not proceed with the process without Arafat handing over Deif. Present to hear and confirm Clinton's words were Yehudah and Esther Wachsman, US ambassador Martin Indyk, and then-prime minister of Israel, Shimon Peres.

However, there is no record of any official Israeli or American written demand to Arafat to hand over Deif. Palestine Authority Gaza security chief, Nassar Yusef reported to Yehudah Wachsman last July that Arafat had given him orders not to arrest Deif.

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Does Rhetoric Replace Policy
by David Bedein, Media Analyst
Beit Agron International Press Center
Jerusalem, Israel

On the evening before the long-planned March 17 meeting with his counterpart in the Palestine Authority, PA justice minister Abu Medein, Israel Minister of Justice Tzachi HaNegbi talked tough, declaring to a cheering Likud audience that anyone in the PA who advocated violence with be dealt with harshly.

HaNegbi pointed a finger at PA leader Yassir Arafat, saying that Israel could easily force him out of his villa in Gaza, back to his villa in Tunis. The reaction to HaNegbi was not long in coming. The PA denounced him in harsh terms, as did the Meretz and Labor party spokesmen.

Meanwhile, the meeting with Abu Medein did not come off as scheduled. The Israeli public perceived that HaNegbi had stood his ground and talked tough policy towards his Palestinian conuterparts.

Yet a somewhat different story remains to be told.

In an interview with Abu Medein on the day of the scheduled meeting, Abu Medein noted that the meeting had already been postponed last Thursday, March 14, the day before the Israel Ministry of Justice had issued a statement that the meeting was to take place.

Abu Medein, while indicating that formal meetings with Israeli officials had for the time being been postponed, also mentioned that on the matter of the "transfer of suspects" issue that there was no reason for a meeting, and that the Israeli government did indeed pass on names of susepcted murderers who had taken refuge in the areas administered by the Palestine authority for his consideration, even though Abu Medein expressed his policy that the PA would ever agree to hand over murder suspects to Israeli custody.

Meanwhile, in the list that the Israel Ministry of Justice did indeed hand over to the PA, HaNegbi did not add the names of the killers of Nachshon Wachsman, David Boim and Yaakov Yamin to the list, even though their families had held a well attended press conference on March 13 to demand that Hanegbi request the arrest of those who murdered their loved ones. Since the attack in Jordan overshadowed the press conference held by the Wachsmans, Boims and Yamins which occurred at the moment of the massacre, their appeal to the conscience of the Israeli public was not heard. All that these families asked was that HaNegbi indeed act to demand the arrest of the Arabs who murdered their loved ones and escaped to the PA havens of refuge for killers.

Yet the Israeli public was kept in the dark on this matter - the more tragic and spectacular continuing news item of the massacre of seven Israeli school girls in Jordan and the condolence visit by King Hussein kept the issue off the news, providing HaNegbi with the cover that he needed.

Meanwhile, HaNegbi has declared on numerous occaisions that if and when the PA refuses to hand over killers who have escaped to the areas under their jurisdiction, then he will resign. Instead, HaNegbi's protege, Israel Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu, declared at the joint news conference with King Hussein on Sunday night March 16th that the policy of his administration is that if there are PLO violations of the accord, no matter what they are, they will not stop the progress of the Oslo process.

Most people in Israel assume that HaNegbi has issued an ultimatum to the Palestine Authority to arrest any killer who has taken refuge in the areas under their control.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

When Joyce Boim met with HaNegbi on Thursday March 13 to discuss her longstanding request to have the Israeli government demand the arrest of her son's admitted murderer, HaNegbi shrugged his shoulders and murmured that he didn't know abotu it. This , despite months of calls, consultations and letters, let alone HaNegbi's fire and brimstone speeches

On the morning of March 17, I asked Hanegbi's office for a reason as to why the three killers of Wachsman, Boim and Yamin were not on the list of killers that were handed over to the Palestine Authority. His spokeswoman called back in the evening with a unique response: The list was never handed over to Abu Medein because they had no meeting and therefore there is no list.

Except that the Israeli government faxxed the list to Abu-Medein. Tzachi HaNegbi forgets that there is telephone service between Jerusalem and Gaza and that Abu Medein picks up the phone.

So there you have it. HaNegbi shries gevalt and the PA gets away with murder.

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The "NEW" Jerusalem Post
by David Bedein, Media Analyst
Beit Agron International Press Center
Jerusalem, Israel

It is particularly difficult to critique that which a newspaper does not cover or that which the paper chooses to relegate to the back pages

The new Jerusalem Post, now under the editorship of David Bar Ilan's appointed successor, a Meretz man, Jeff Barak, has chosen not to cover the continuing case in the Israel High Court of Justice that is being valiantly waged by Joyce and Stanley Boim, Jerusalem Post readers and American Israeli citizens whose son David, age 16, was murdered last May, 1996. Why did Barak deem this less than newsworthy?

The Boims are trying to get a judgement by the High Court that will require the Israel Ministry of Justice to demand the arrest of their son's killer, Amjad Hamawi, who has found refuge in the safe haven of the Palestine Authority. No major organization in Israel will take up the Boims case - not Yesha, not Young Israel, not Likud, not any civil rights organization with the exception of one civil rights group now in formation called "Ohev Tzedek". Meanwhile, the Post keeps the court case from the public eye. The public is then led to believe that the Israeli government is doing its best when it is actually doing nothing at all. Why did Barak deem this less than newsworthy?

The Post continues its policy on this matter when it sends a senior reporter and photographer to cover the press conference held on March 13 with the Boims, the Wachsmans and the Yamins, all of whom have loved ones who are murdered and the killers roam freely in the Palestine Authority without a request for their arrest. True, the Post putson one of its inside pages on March 14 a quote from a wire service that describes the press conference in a few hidden lines. However, the Post did not even see fit to pick up on a fascinating, newsworthy aspect of the story, which is that Congressman James Saxton appealed to President Clinton to follow through on Clinton's direct and personal promise to the Wachsman family that the peace process should not proceed unless and until the Palestine Authority hands over Muhammad Deif, the mastermind of the Wachsman murder. Clinton made that commitment at the grave of Nachshon Wachsman last March 14, 1996. The letter from Saxton was read at the press conference and ignored by the Post.Why did Barak deem this less than newsworthy?

Jeff Barak appears at a public forum in Haifa on March 19th. Perhaps he should be asked about the policies of the NEW Jerusalem Post. Perhaps the owners of the Post should be asked a thing or two.

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