|Israel Resource Review
||8th September, 1998
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Lebovitch Family Harassment Continues in the Jewish Community of Hebron
by David Wilder
Media Research Analyst
Police waiting with sledge hammers for orders to break into
Lebovitch home in Hevron
Last week Hebron police attempted to forcibly enter the Lebovitch home in
the Avraham Avinu neighborhood, seeking out, among others, 14 year old Akiva
Lebovitch. On Friday the Lebovitch family struck a deal with the police,
agreeing that Akiva would be interrogated by a 'child investigator' at the
offices of the Kiryat Arba Social Welfare Department at 8:00 this morning.
At 8:00 Akiva and his mother arrived at the office, but when the police had
still not arrived by 8:30, Mrs. Hannah Shvill, director of the department
called them to ask the reason for their delay. The police response: "We have
decided not to kowtow to you - why should we do what you want - we have
orders from above."
A short time later the police arrived at the office and attempted to arrest
the 14 year old, before any questioning began. Akiva's mother, pushed aside
by one of the police, pulled her son into an office, closed the door, and
refused to surrender him to the 15 armed police, trying to arrest him. A
Kiryat Arba municipal councilman, Rabbi Shimon ben Tzion arrived, and
attempted to propose a compromise, but was shouted at by the police, telling
him not to bother them.
Finally, when Akiva's father arrived, the two sides agreed that the child
would be questioned at the Kiryat Arba police station. The police held Akiva
for four hours, questioning him about incidents that occurred six months
ago, and about which, in his words, "I knew nothing about." After
discussing whether of not to arrest him, the police released Akiva
Akiva & his mother wait for the police
Last week police arrested Akiva's sister, 19 year old Bat Tzion. In spite of
their attempts to arrest her for five days, and then to have her exiled from
her home for 2 weeks, a judge ordered her unconditionally released.
Police waiting to arrest Akiva
During a conversation between a police officer and a Hebron resident this
morning, the officer, in response to a question: "why do you arrest us for
throwing tomatoes, but refuse to arrest Arabs who throw rocks and
firebombs," the officer said, "but you get all the publicity, not them."
This reporter asked him, "is this justice, or equality before the law?" His
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Refusal to Recognize Israel Widespread on Palestinian TV
by Nadav Shragai
A report documenting hundreds of cases in which the Palestinian media
broadcast messages indicating an unwillingness to recognize the state of
Israel, even within the 1948 borders, was distributed yesterday by the
Palestinian Media Watch, an Israeli organization devoted to paying attention
to the Palestinian media.
According to the introduction to the report, these messages were not part of
criticism of Israeli policies, but rather represented more general
reservations about the existence of the state. The report said that three
elements were prominent in these messages: a total rejection of the creation
of the state, a rejection of the Israeli government even within the 1948
borders, and an expectation that the state of Israel would eventually
Israeli cities within the Green Line pre-1967 border are refered to as
"colonies" and "settlements" (Hadera, Yokne'am and Sde Boker, among others),
or as "cities of occupied Palestine" (Tiberias, Safed, Kfar Saba et alia).
The state of Israel is called by names that indicate an unwillingness to
recognize it, such as "the Zionist entity," "the Zionist enemy," the Tel Aviv
government," "the occupation," and "Israel" in quotation marks.
Palestinian Authority officials are quoted as frequently making statements on
Palestinian television such as: "And we remind (Prime Minister Benjamin)
Netanyahu and the entire world that Jaffa and Haifa our ours."
"Many statements point to the expectation and sure belief in the removal of
the state of Israel. The Israelis are often compared with the Crusaders who
were eventually conquered and driven out despite their long rule. There are
also freqent mentions of Salah al-Din, who drove out the Crusaders, as a
symbol of a future military leader who will drive out Israel.
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PLC Rep Zughayar
Arafat Won't Declare State Next May
by Aaron Lerner
IMRA interviewed Fatah Jerusalem Palestinian Legislative Council
(PLC) Ahmad Hashim Zughayar, Chairman of the PLC Jerusalem
Committee, on 6th September, 1998. The English translation is via his son, Hiham Zughayar.
IMRA: Do you expect President Arafat to declare a Palestinian
state next May even if the negotiations fail?
Zughayar: He says it might be. He says it is not for sure. It is
IMRA: Does he think he would do it even if he thought it would
mean losing a chance to have Jerusalem.
Zughayar: He says that there is no solution without taking
Jerusalem over. Because, he says, Jerusalem is the most important
thing in the subject.
IMRA: That's why I was asking. Because if Arafat declares a state
and he does not have control of Jerusalem at that time - then that's it - he's never going to see it.
Zughayar: That's true [then translates into Arabic to his father].
He says that from now until the date he is talking about, May 1999,
there still is a lot of time. During this time they are going to
make a very good study of what they are going to do. What they are going to decide.
He said that they are going to do a big international study and also all over the Middle East.
IMRA: But he accepts the logic of what I am suggesting. That if
you declare a state without having control of Jerusalem then you will never have Jerusalem.
Zughayar: He says that he is going to say something clearly.
Anything without Jerusalem is no solution. So the main thing is Jerusalem. That's what he said.
And he is laughing. He says that there is no way to negotiate
about a body without a head.
IMRA: Again, that's why it is a puzzle to me.
Zughayar: That's why he is sure that nothing is going to happen.
He doesn't say it but I see it in his face. He is laughing.
IMRA: So there won't be a declaration.
Zughayar: I don't think so. The way he is talking to me - I
don't want to say there is no way - but he is sure that it is not
going to happen.
He said that any step that the Palestinian side is going to take is
going to take a very deep study of what is going to happen in the
Dr. Aaron Lerner,
Director IMRA (Independent Media Review & Analysis)
P.O.BOX 982 Kfar Sava
Tel: (+972-9) 760-4719
Fax: (+972-9) 741-1645
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PA Minister of Justice - Also Execute Land Dealers
by Aaron Lerner
IMRA interviewed Palestinian Authority Minister of Justice, Freih
Abu Meddien, in English, on 31st August:
IMRA: Do you see yesterdays' executions as setting a precedent for
future cases or was it an exception?
Meddien: Any crime committed by murderers as what happened last
week will be dealt with by the same standard.
We gave ourselves four years to take the right decision regarding
capital punishment. President Arafat always refused to certify
these kinds of punishment but finally we reached a red line when a
lot of people - particularly those involving people
from the military or police, security elements, when they are
involved either via their arms or by themselves, to kill people.
In this case we have to deal with this subject very accurately,
very honestly, with our people. Otherwise we are going to have
people taking revenge. We are going to face civil wear between
the people themselves, because we are a conservative society . If
we don't do this then the people will think seriously about revenge
and then this will make for bloody crimes also. So in this case we
have to move and accept the judgment of the military court.
Public opinion made a great impression on this case. There were
more than 22 cases up to the present time that President Arafat
stopped execution of the people but now he is facing the truth.
IMRA: Do you see this applied to people involved selling land to
Meddien: You are talking about collaborators? The main problem we
are facing is criminal cases . As for collaborators we have 100 -
200 cases and up until now we don't have any judgment against them.
When we reach this stage we will think.
IMRA: What about people who are selling land to Israelis?
Meddien: According to the judgment of the law or the courts. And
when the judgment is capital punishment - why not?
We should take the green light from the law. Otherwise we couldn't
give any decision for capital punishment.
IMRA: Do you see this as an opening also for people picked up by
the PA who were involved in attacks against Jews?
Meddien: Actually, we are not thinking of these cases. We are
thinking about internal business. Things which could lead to civil
war. What I mean is that in a conservative society where there are
big clans, big tribes, then when something happens this can be very
dangerous for us.
IMRA: One last question. There is talk of an American proposal
that the people on the Israeli list for extradition be held by the
PA in a location. Is there a legal framework for doing such a
thing inside the PA?
Meddien: Actually, according to the agreement, extradition should
take place when Israel has fulfilled and honored everything in the
Oslo and Cairo agreements. Otherwise, who could accept this part
of the agreement?
Absolutely all the people on the list which Israel has sent to us
are now serving in prison - either life imprisonment or twenty
years or fifteen years. When they finish their sentences in our
jails we are ready to transfer them to Israel.
IMRA: What about those who are now serving in the PA's security
forces who are on the list?
Meddien: We are also going to take a hard line in those cases as
IMRA: So those people who are on the list who are now serving in
Palestinian security forces will . . .
Meddien: Actually we are focusing now on our own internal problems
which are far away from political and security matters.
Dr. Aaron Lerner,
Director IMRA (Independent Media Review & Analysis)
P.O.BOX 982 Kfar Sava
Tel: (+972-9) 760-4719
Fax: (+972-9) 741-1645
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Al-Ahram: Hamas/PA Relations, Bin Laden
Al-Ahram Weekly, 27th August -- 2nd September, 1998
Dead or Alive?
by Tareq Hassan
"Some PA officials were quoted as saying . . . . [Hamas] was much weaker than
originally thought; "as scary as a cat", some said."
Palestinian police lifted tight restrictions imposed earlier this week on
the West Bank town of Jericho where Emad Awadallah, a key figure in the
Hamas military wing, escaped from jail. Immediately after his reported
escape, Palestinian police launched a massive manhunt, conducting
house-to-house searches and imposing a curfew on Jericho. It was the first
time that Palestinian police had taken such measures in a town controlled
by the Palestinian Authority (PA) since the arrival of President Yasser
Arafat in self-rule areas in 1994. . . .
Awadallah, 29, is a leading figure in . . . the military wing of Hamas. He
was arrested by Palestinian police in April and accused of killing one of
Israel's most wanted men, Hamas bomb-maker Mohieddine Al-Sharif.
While Hamas held Israel responsible for Al-Sharif's car bomb
assassination in front of his home in Gaza, the PA claimed that he was
killed by Awadallah as part of an internal dispute in the militant
organisation. Hamas denied the charge and claimed that elements within the
PA had collaborated with Israel.
Awadallah escaped from a prison controlled by one of Arafat's several
security bodies, the Preventive Security, headed by former Intifada
activist Jibril Al-Rajoub. According to PA sources, Awadallah allegedly
received assistance from a prison officer with the rank of captain who was
sympathetic to the militant group and its military struggle against Israel.
Hamas spokesman in Gaza Mahmoud Al-Zahhar told the Weekly that the group
was considering the possibilities that Awadallah might have escaped from
prison or that he might have been killed, "in which case we will hold
Israel and its agents present everywhere responsible for his death."
Al-Zahhar added that killing Awadallah would help hide any evidence
uncovered in the investigation of Al-Sharif's assassination, and the
possible role of Israeli agents within the PA. Awadallah was reportedly
with Al-Sharif in the same house when he was killed and is considered a key
witness in the investigation, Al-Zahhar said.
But the Hamas spokesman said that it was also possible that Awadallah
received assistance from a PA officer in order to escape. "There are some
individuals within the PA bodies who sympathise with Awadallah and who are
certain that he was not involved in Al-Sharif's killing." He also
reiterated claims by Hamas that Awadallah was tortured while in PA custody,
prompting him to escape. Zahhar warned that if Awadallah's disappearance
has been the result of a conspiracy, "it would seriously endanger internal
Some PA officials were quoted as saying that, before arriving in
self-rule areas, they thought of Hamas as a monster, but later changed
their mind after realising that the group was much weaker than originally
thought; "as scary as a cat", some said. Still, there are fears that the
moderate elements within Hamas cannot continue to keep the hard-liners at
bay, particularly if it is proven that Awadallah was killed.
If this is true, some observers believe the PA is trying to improve
relations with Hamas and nullify its charges that Al-Sharif was killed by
Awadallah. The PA, they say, will allow Awadallah to live in hiding as long
as the militant group pledges not to carry out any suicide attacks against
Israel. But until Awadallah is found, dead or alive, the many questions
surrounding his mysterious escape will remain unanswered.
by Khaled Dawoud
Unlike many Saudi Arabians whose support for the war against the Soviet
occupation of Afghanistan was purely financial, Osama Bin Laden, the son of
a construction magnate, personally joined the fight, gaining a reputation
for bravery. As a result he was crowned uncontested leader of the
Arab-Afghans, thousands of young men from all over the Arab and Islamic
world who travelled to Afghanistan to take part in the war against the
Soviets. They received generous assistance from the US, Pakistan, oil-rich
Arab Gulf countries and the late President Anwar El-Sadat.
His reputation for bravery has turned Bin Laden, now in his 40s, into a
saint-like figure for thousands of followers. And in the few interviews he
has granted Bin Laden is fond of recounting how the strength of his belief
in God and the cause he was fighting for helped him survive many dangerous
[A]n Egyptian veteran of the Afghan war recounted to Al-Ahram Weekly:
. . . "I
saw this with my own two eyes. A Russian plane was flying over us, dropping
bombs. Then, one of our brothers lifted a handful of sand and threw it in
the direction of the plane. It fell down in flames. Angels were fighting on
"As Muslims, we believe that when we die, we go to heaven. Before a
battle, God sends us saqina, tranquillity," Bin Laden said in his interview
with the Independent.
Bin Laden used his millions to buy bulldozers to blast massive tunnels in
the Zazi Mountains of Bakhtiar province and build guerrilla hospitals and
military warehouses. He also used the money to bring in, by his count,
thousands of Egyptians, Algerians, Palestinians, Yemenis, Jordanians and
Lebanese to join their Afghan Muslim "brothers" in the struggle to end
Ironically, the camp of Khost where Bin Laden is believed to be based and
which was targeted by US missiles . . . was built with the help of the CIA,
according to US intelligence sources.
. . . The late President Anwar El-Sadat also encouraged growing
fundamentalist groups, nurtured to quell the leftist opposition in Egypt,
to send fighters to Afghanistan. The outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, which
controlled several professional syndicates, was particularly active in this
connection. Doctors, such as Jihad leader Ayman El-Zawahri, engineers,
lawyers and teachers were among the Egyptians who left for Afghanistan.
There, they not only fought against the Russians but also developed the
ideology of an international Islamist movement whose warriors are keen to
fight for any cause they deem "Islamic," regardless of their different
nationalities and backgrounds.
As a result, after the war against the Soviets ended and the Afghan
warlords turned their arms against each other in a bitter power struggle,
the Arab-Afghans headed to Bosnia to fight against the Serbs in 1992 and
1993. They also took part in the fighting in Chechnya and Tajikistan
against Russia and are now reportedly taking part in the ongoing battles in
Kosovo between Serbs and the Muslim Albanian minority. They also fought in
Somalia against US troops and are reportedly assisting fundamentalist
groups on the rise in a number of African countries, particularly those
According to experts, the network of Arab-Afghans headed by Bin Laden has
a presence in nearly all Arab countries and has extended as far as the
Philippines, where they are assisting a Muslim minority fighting for
After the Afghan war was over in 1992, Bin Laden returned home, but the
Saudi government, fearing his extremist ideology, stripped him of Saudi
citizenship in April 1994 for "irresponsible behaviour".
But Bin Laden was already in Sudan, where he was given shelter by
Khartoum's fundamentalist government.
With Western pressure mounting on Khartoum, and after escaping an
assassination attempt at a mosque in the capital, he was forced to leave in
1995, reportedly with 100 followers. He returned to Afghanistan where he
has been living as a "guest" of the fundamentalist Taliban militia.
Since then, he has declared that the US is the Muslim world's foremost
enemy. Bin Laden believes that US troops protecting the oil-fields of his
homeland since the 1991 second Gulf War are desecrating Muslim holy sites
by their very presence. He also believes that American power has
emasculated Arab countries, turning them into client states.
[W]hen Bin Laden announced the formation of the "International Islamic
Front for Jihad against Jews and Crusaders" from his hideout in Afghanistan
last February, the announcement did not cause much concern in Washington
which was, in any case, more concerned at the time with Saddam Hussein's
failure to cooperate with UN weapons' inspectors.
The US, which had earlier suggested that Iran might have been behind 1995
and 1996 Al-Khobar and Riyadh bombings in Saudi Arabia, now blames Bin
Laden for the two bombings in which 23 American soldiers were killed and
the Saudi dissident, through his spokesman, has accepted responsibility for
"what happened in Saudi Arabia."
Now, the US is discovering the bitter harvest of the seeds it sowed when
it adopted a policy of fighting the Russians by proxy. And the
"Arab-Afghans" have inevitably turned their weapons against their former
Hostage to Expansion
by Yehya Ghanem
An informed Afghani source living in Islamabad told Al-Ahram Weekly that
Asian republics surrounding Afghanistan, which had constituted part of the
Soviet Union in the past, are fearful for a number of reasons. For one
thing, the sweeping victory of the Taliban over the opposition alliance in
the north has consolidated Taliban rule over vast areas stretching as far
as the borders with Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan, each of which
is concerned to deter the advance of the fundamentalist Islamist movement
across its borders. The republics are terrified of the infiltration of
extremist Afghani elements into their respective territories, and rumours
are already rife about contacts between the extremist elements and the
opposition militia in those republics.
"There was implicit approval by the US to allow the Taliban to expand
their military operations, and to tighten their control over all parts of
Afghanistan, which is specifically what the warring factions in Afghanistan
had failed to do in 1992," the source noted. "The aim was to secure the
safety of the oil pipeline from the production fields in Turkmenistan,
travelling from the northern to the southern borders of Afghanistan and
across Pakistan to the port of Karachi." However, US efforts to mediate
between the Taliban and opposition factions, which took place last June,
came to a deadlock, mainly due to the hard-line political position adopted
by the Taliban, emboldened by military conquests that have brought 90 per
cent of Afghani territory under their control."
The limits of Taliban expansion Washington was willing to sanction have
not, though, been respected by the movement. Russia reacted by sending
messages on its own behalf to the Asian republics and to the US, insisting
it was not going to tolerate an Islamic fundamentalist threat to its soft
belly in the Central Asian Islamic republics.
It is against this backdrop that the US extended its offer to the
Taliban, two weeks before the embassy bombings took place, offering
official recognition in return for the extradition of Bin Laden to the US.
Fearing that he may be sacrificed as part of a deal with the US, Bin Laden
might possibly have breached his agreement with the Taliban, which allowed
him to issue threats from time to time but at the same time to refrain from
staging any operations on the ground.
It appears logical that extraditing Bin Laden to the US is only a first
step in a process that would result in the liquidation of Arab-Afghan
leaders in Afghanistan.
. . . Despite being a long time ally and a companion in arms of the
Taliban, the financier behind several Taliban arms deals and the sponsor of
development schemes in various areas under Taliban rule, the current regime
seems anxious to be relieved of the burden Bin Laden represents. The
Taliban may well be willing to deliver Bin Laden to the US, though in
return they would expect tacit US approval for Taliban military expansion
to the outskirts of the Asian republics.
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