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UNRWA in Gaza & Terror Groups: The Connection
Monograph Prepared for the European Parliament
March, 2009

In Hebrew

"The Legal Center for Minority Arab Rights in Israel"
January, 2009

Overview And Policy Critique

October, 2008

On-going Evidence of Fatah Immoderation
June, 2008

Fatah as "Moderate"
A Hard Look Post-Annapolis
May, 2008

Fatah as "Moderate"
A Hard Look Post-Annapolis
January, 2008
In Hebrew

Inside Fatah: A "Moderate" Entity?
Can "strengthening" Mahmoud Abbas and his party improve the situation in the Middle East?
January 2007

Addendum to Myth of a "Moderate" Fatah
March 2007

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CONTENTS: 8th April, 2009

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Read the last issue of the Israel Resource Review:

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Actualities in Black and Orange

Special Israel Resource News Agency Reports

May, 2005 Questioning Twenty Premises of an Official Publication of the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs

January, 2005 Palestinians Spurn American Democracy

January, 2005 Launching ABU MAZEN WATCH

January, 2005 The Making of the Palestinian President 2005 by Michael Widlanski

October 2005 The UN's Palestinian Refugee Problem by Arlene Kushner

October 2004 UNRWA: Links to Terror by Arlene Kushner

June, 2004 SUPPLEMENTAL REPORT: A Rigorous Review of UNRWA Practices by Arlene Kushner

March, 2003 Inside UNRWA: Special Investigative Report by Arlene Kushner

For the text and analysis of the Palestinian State Constitution, as approved in its final Arabic version on March 26th, 2003, please refer to our 19th November, 2004 issue.

For the analysis of the discrepancies between the English and Arabic version of the Palestinian State Consitution, please refer to our April 18th issue.

For a view of the English version of the Palestinian State Constitution, dated March 25th, 2003, (This was not the version that passed the special PLC committee, which only approved the Arabic version) it is posted at www.jmcc.org. We have also placed a copy our site. Read the original Arabic version or read the Russian translation.

The Barak Government's White Paper, Palestinian Authority and P.L.O. Non-Compliance with signed agreements and commitments. Click here for the Hebrew version.

New Publication:
DISCLOSED: Inside the Palestinian Authority and the PLO
by Arlene Kushner

This book was written while Yasser Arafat was still alive. It has been printed and released only weeks after his death.

The information it provides has not been superseded by the historical change in circumstances for the Palestinians. Quite the contrary It is more important now than it was when Arafat still maintained his iron grip on the PLO and the PA. For a good portion of the Western world dangerously deludes itself that with Arafat gone a moderate democracy will now supplant his regime.

Thus the great value of this book, which takes a careful and clear-eyed look at the reality of the PLO and the PA at how these organizations evolved, how they operate, what they intend. Arafat may have sat at the forefront of each, providing a visible symbol and wielding the most direct control, but he did not operate alone. What is more, the goals, philosophies, and practices he set in place remain. His "legacy" lives on.

Arlene Kushner's research is impeccable, her prose style is eminently readable.

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A Seminal Call on the Eve of Passover for an End of Inciteemnt
Elihu D Richter and Israel Charny
Professors, Hebrew U

[In 1964, The Arab League spawned the PLO to incite Palestinian Arabs to war against the nascent state of Israel

In 1993, the Israeli government signed the Oslo Accord with the PLO, with one prerequiste: that the PLO sign on to the DOP, the Declaration of Principles, whereby the PLO would agree to end incitement against the state of Israel.

Yet successive Israeli governments ignored the fact that the PLO never ratified the DOP.

Instread the PLO spawned the nascent Palestinian Authority, infusing the rhetoric of its schools, its media and its public rallies with incitement to war against the state of Israel.

With the genesis of a new government of Israel that comprises the full spectrum of Israeli political ideologies, the time has come for the new government to demand an end to incitement, as an integral aspect of Israeli government policy - DB]

A Passover statement from Professors Elihu D Richter and Israel Charny based on a parallel letter to the new Prime Minister of Israel, Mr Benjamin Netanyahu and its President, Mr Shimon Peres

April 4 2009

Subject: What is the problem and what has to be done?

I. Israel and those concerned with the genocidal threats it now faces must lead the world in defining the problem:

1. Israel's conflict is not only with the Palestinian Authority (the PA), but with an Islamic world engulfed by endemic toxic hate for Israel and Jews. "Conflict resolution between two relatively small groups" downsizes the asymmetric nature of the existential threats to Israel posed by this region wide endemic hate and its genocidal motifs.

2. Endemic hate language and incitement throughout much of the Muslim world are toxic because they transmit their messages through the generations. The threats generated by such incitement go hand in hand with an equally toxic culture of death which is programming the behavior of so many of the young. The toll has been huge: 12 million reportedly dead from wars and violence throughout the Muslim world since World War II.

3. Iran's regime is the epicenter of an international axis of support for genocide and incitement of genocide and genocidal terror. Iran and its proxies have used genocidal hate language to transform the "two state solution" into the "two –stage solution"—i.e., the ultimate dismemberment of Israel. Along with Iran, the leading members of the new axis of genocide are its terror proxies, Hezbollah, Hamas, and Sudan, with back up support from North Korea and Venezuela. The PA, which helped bring Khomeini to power, goes along with this axis, and indeed, appears to be egging it on, .

4. Over and over again, territorial concessions ("land for peace") have led to more, not less terror and death ("territory for terror"). It is state sanctioned incitement which drives this inverse relationship.

5. There can be no expectation for the sustainability of any future political agreement, if it is undermined by region-wide hate language and incitement in schools, texts, mosques and electronic media. If enriched uranium and missiles are the hardware, it is such hate language and incitement which is the software. Since Oslo, niether Israel nor outside intermdiaries have not demanded an end to continued PA and PLO and region wide incitement against reconciliation based on mutual respect for life and live-and-let-live. Both the PA and the PLO still signal continued support for terror (e.g. the honor Abbas bestowed Samir Kuntir).

Therefore, Israel and all the outside players involved in negotiations and aid must now immediately do something they have never done before: (a) define, track, and monitor region-wide hate language and incitement to genocide and genocidal terror,and (b) specify and require tangible progress ---i.e. defninable endpoints, milestones,-- towards eradication of state sponsored hate language and incitement. We believe that past failures to specify and require region –wide implementation of these demands as preconditions for a Palestinian state have sabotaged foreseeable prospects for reconciliation and live-and-let-live. Future failures to do so will jeopardize Israel.

II. Israel itself and those who are concerned for its wellbeing must restate the Narrative. There is a need to project a coherent posture based on the following principles, policies, messages and requirements:

1. The world now, more than ever before, has a responsibility to protect Israel from region-wide threats of genocide and genocidal terror. Israel, a small first nation which has returned to its ancestral home, has always accepted responsibility for its own protection. It was the first to come into being as a result of a UN resolution, but now is the first to be threatened with nuclear genocide.

2. The first essential pre-requisite for progress towards any political settlement based on Respect for Life and Live-and-Let-Live is the removal of the Iranian nuclear threat and the threats from its arming, support for and training of terror proxies and its state-sponsored hate language and incitement. These threats currently overshadow everything else in the region.

3. Terminating Iran's region-wide state-sanctioned hate language and incitement of genocide must be central to a strategy with the immediate aim of removing, preventing or preempting the threats from Iranian nuclear genocide and genocidal terror. Prevention of genocide requires that the UN, US and EU immediately use existing tools of international law to prosecute those Iranian leaders and their proxies personally accountable for state-sanctioned incitement of genocide and hate language ("Israel is a cancer, microbe, filthy corpse, etc), as well as for their involvement and support for genocidal terror.

4. Protection and respect for individual life and human dignity requires that the PA abandon terror and incitement to terror, and more fundamentally, its aim of dismembering Israel. It also means that the PA respect the lives and dignity of its own citizens.

5. All the points in the preceding four paragraphs are pre-conditions and prerequisites for Palestinian sovereignty. Not satisfying them is a deal-breaker. Satisfying them is a deal-maker.

These principles, policies and messages, along with what Israel does to protect the rights of its minorities, are central to a world wide campaign for Respect for Life, Human Rights and Dignity and Live-and-Let-Live by an Alliance of Democracies against an Axis of Genocide. This new Alliance must be based on new coalitions for genocide prevention and protection of human rights for all. "Peace" has no meaning without Respect for Life, Live-and-Let-Live and Human Dignity of All.

Professor Elihu D Richter MD MPH*

Head, Unit of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Injury Prevention Center

Founder of Genocide Prevention Program

Hebrew University-Hadassah School of Public Health and Community Medicine

Associate Director, Institute on the Holocaust and Genocide, Jerusalem

Head of World Genocide Situation Room in GENOCIDE PREVENTION NOW (GPN) worldwide Web site

Professor Israel W. Charny, Ph.D

Executive Director, Institute on the Holocaust and Genocide, Jerusalem

Immediate Past President, International Association of Genocide Scholars (IAGS) Editor-in-Chief, Encyclopedia of Genocide [ABC-Clio. Publishers, US and UK]

Director, GENOCIDE PREVENTION NOW (GPN) worldwide Web site

*For inquiries, contact elihur@ekmd.huji.ac.il.

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Rabbi Saperstein to the US Senate:
Take Action on Tobacco Regulation

"Granting the FDA authority to regulate tobacco products will aid the protection of consumers and our children."

April 2, 2009

Dear Senator,

Earlier today, the House of Representatives passed the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (H.R.1256) with broad bipartisan support. On behalf of the Union for Reform Judaism, whose more than 900 congregations across North America encompass 1.5 million Reform Jews, I urge you to build on this momentum and adopt this legislation. Your support is critical to pass this potentially life-saving bill that would authorize the Food and Drug Administration to regulate tobacco products.

Tobacco products kill more than 400,000 a.m.ericans each year, an alarming epidemic of addiction and disease. A report by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health found that between 1998 and 2004, tobacco companies secretly and significantly increased the levels of nicotine in cigarette smoke.

Currently, the FDA has the authority to regulate the safety of everyday items from cold medicine to cookies, but has no authority over tobacco. Granting FDA authority to regulate tobacco products would help prevent companies from adding additional deadly and addictive ingredients, enforce the prohibition on manufacturing candy-flavored cigarettes, prevent tobacco sales to children and limit advertising designed to lure children into a deadly habit. Granting the FDA authority to regulate tobacco products will aid the protection of consumers and our children.

The Jewish philosopher and physician Maimonides' taught that "Seeing that keeping the body healthy and whole is the way of God, for it is impossible to understand or know anything about the Creator if one is sick, therefore a person must distance himself from things that destroy the body and accustom himself to things which heal the body." These words are as true today as when they were written in medieval times.

To protect Americans, particularly children, from tobacco addiction and disease, I urge you to help ensure passage of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act and work toward its speedy enactment.



Rabbi David Saperstein

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A Week in Poland: A Difficuly Time of Reflection
Ashley Ansel ashleyansel@hotmail.com

Ashley Ansel, 18, is spending the year as a student in Israel, and works as an intern with the Philadelphia Bulletin and Israel Resource News Agency in Jerusalem.

I have just returned from what I hope was my first and last trip to Poland. Before we left, we went to pray at the Western Wall in Jerusalem.

There we were told, that the stones that we were about to cry on were stones of healing, and of strength, and that in the next few days we would see stones of destruction and hate. We were told to take the strength of The land of Israel with us, and that with G-d's help, we would be returning there in one week. At that time, I didn't truly realize how much I was going to miss the land of Israel.

At the Western Wall we said our evening prayers, recited some psalms, and we were off. From the plane window all you could see was gray, black and white. It was such a change from the beautiful, colorful country we had just left.

The minute we landed, it began to snow, giving us a bit of a taste of what the rest of the trip would have in store for us. Our first stop was the Warsaw cemetery. As we stepped in, it felt like a different world. We stepped out of the "modernized" city of Warsaw into a chapter of its past, untouched and looking blissfully peaceful. The grounds of the cemetery were huge. As we walked, we passed countless graves, only having time to stop at a few. The few graves that we did stop at were so different. We stopped at the graves of actresses who had come to Poland in search of a life one stage and rabbi's who had the privilege of having as proper burial before the war started. In addition to those, we stopped by the grave of Adam Czerniaków (head of the yudenrat (Jewish Police) in the Warsaw ghetto who committed suicide rather then having to play G-d's role in deciding who lived and who would be murdered. It was only once we got to the end of the walk that we were told to stop in our tracks and look around. The cold had seeped through our boots, and we were jumping up and down trying to stay warm. We had barely even looked up to see that we were all standing around one big cavity in the ground covered in snow. We were all so anxious at the start of the trip that we hadn't really remembered the information we had been given on the bus. That there were about 350,000 people buried in this cemetery, but there were only about 280,000 graves. We were then told that we were standing in front of two mass graves. It was only then that our first tears in Poland fell, warming the cold snow beneath our feet. All I could remember thinking was oh my G-d what is this place? Look at all of this death right in front of our eyes. So there we stood looking out at the resting place of seventy thousand Jews. Seventy thousand of our brothers and sisters, who would remain there until techiyat hamatim (prayer for revival of the dead). By this point, none of us really felt the cold anymore. We recited the song Acheinu (our brothers) for all of our brothers and sisters, lying there peacefully under the piles of snow.

Our next stop was the town of Jedwabne. None of us had ever heard of this place before, and the only thing we were told was that they are still very anti- Semitic, and we were asked not to march with our Israeli flags. Our tour guide Jeremy Kurnedz told us to stick together, and I kept getting really nervous every time he said that.

When we pulled up inside the city, the first thing I could see was a huge church looming over the houses. Little did I know how central this church was going to be in the story of the Jews of Jedwabne. We saw a group of polish boys looking at us, there were only about 5 or 6 of them, but my friend got very uneasy, I told her not to worry, that we were safe, and what had happened here was in the past. We started walking towards the outskirts of town, not really knowing where we were going. There was a slow Yiddish song playing, and a dog was following us and barking. We walked to the edge of the village, to an open rectangle, with a memorial in the middle.

We all immediately started taking pictures of the memorial, trying to get in a good shot before it got to crowded, having no idea what we were taking pictures of. We were asked to stand around the rectangle, and Jeremy began telling us the story of Jedwabne. Jedwabne was a town that was about seventy percent Jewish before World War Two. The Jews and the Poles lived side by side for years, but there was always a hostile tension. This particular Catholic Church didn't encourage the Poles to treat the Jews well, and the church was the reason for the built up hatred that led to the mass pogrom. In 1941, the poles rounded up all the Jews of Jedwabne and its neighboring villages. They then began beating and torturing the Jews. I won't write down all of the details here, but the atrocities were horrific. The Germans wanted to save some of the Jews that they thought were valuable, but the poles asked the Germans to leave the Jews to them, they wanted to kill every single one. The Jews that survived the beatings were chased into a huge barn at the edge of town. The barn was then locked, and the Jews were burned inside alive. We were then told that we were standing right where the barn stood. "Welcome to Poland" was the line that followed, the one that remained in my head, as the first real taste of what the trip was going to be like.

Standing there in the cold, as night fell upon the city, all you could picture was a fire blazing in the darkness. The only thing that stood out in the otherwise dark city that we were looking at was that same church. The lights were on, and it seemed to be the only source of light in the whole town. All I could think about was how many stories

I had read about small villages that had been gunned down, or the people being burnt alive. It took hearing the full story of just one of these villages to understand the full extent of how many hundreds of villages like this there were that all shared the same tragic fate. All I remember saying over and over again was "why are we here, this place is full of death, and they still hate us. I don't want to be here anymore; I want to get back on a plane and go back to Israel right now and never come back." It was from that moment on, that I didn't feel safe in Poland. On the way out, I saw that same group of boys, but this time I was scared of them, I was afraid of their families, and I was fearful of what sort of lies their church was feeding them.

We then got on the bus and watched Fiddler on the Roof in preparation for our first stop in what was a shtetl, the legendary Jewish village setting. We pulled up to Tykocin, and we stopped at a small synagogue that had been restored. We looked around and saw all of the words that had been painted on the walls for people to pray. There were also exhibits around the synagogue which displayed artifacts that had been preserved somehow throughout the war. We sat and we listened to a recording of a famous rabbi who was a chazzan (leader of prayers) there, and you could just hear the words, the beautiful holy words, filling up the synagogue once again. We were then told that we had to switch our moods now, from the sadness we were feeling, and to try to bring some joy back to this place of worship. One of our tour guides, who was a counselor at our seminary a few years ago, had just gotten engaged. We sang and we danced in the synagogue and it was hard to try and think past the sadness at first, , but after a few moments, we got into it. It didn't take to long to numb what we had just been feeling with our newfound happy occasion. When we finished dancing, we went to the back of the synagogue, where there were pictures of what the shtetl had looked like. We looked at a table model of the shtetl, and then we went outside. I don't even know who I was grabbing onto, but I was just terrified to be outside. I wanted to be on the bus, or in a building, I really didn't feel good walking the streets. I made sure I was right in the middle of the group, and we started walking. When we got to this square outside the fire station, we stopped. We were then told that the Jews were made to stand out here early in the morning and wait for instructions. We were then told that the poles blocked off the exits to the square, trapping the Jews inside. Then the Germans came and rounded up the women and children onto trucks and marched the men off on foot. The men were told to sing "Hatikva", the song of hope which later became Israel's national anthem. The Germans wanted to make fun of them, and by making them sing a song about hope they thought they were doing just that. Little did they know, that the men were marching proudly, singing a song that would later become the national anthem of our country. The men were marched to a school that the women and children had already been taken to, and for a few moments, everyone thought that perhaps things would turn out all right. Their hope was short-lived, and they were all taken off in the direction of the forest. We were asked to get on the bus silently, and to stay silent until we reached our destination.

The song "hatikva" was playing as we piled onto the bus and found our seats. Looking out the window, all I could see in the darkness was white snow, and patches of forest. I couldn't help wondering how people still live here, knowing that there probably isn't one forest in Poland where Jews weren't taken and killed. In the darkness of the night, we pulled up a forest called the Lupochova Forest. We marched quietly, in rows of four, and after a few moments, we were given a piece of paper, and told to find a spot alone to read. It was a recount of what had happened there in Lupochova forest to the Jews of Tykocin. We continued walking, holding onto our friends until we reached a barrier. This was the mass grave, where the Jews were told to strip naked, and were shot. We stood around, and like we did at every place where there was death, we said Kaddish (prayer for the dead), and kel maleh rachamim (prayer for G-d's mercy). We stood around, in the middle of this huge dark forest looking up at the sky, and all we could see were stars. Our Rabbi, Rabbi Milston began to speak, and he was saying, that when Avraham (Abraham) was told that the Jewish people would be like stars in the sky, it wasn't just about the number of stars. It was that the Jewish people are the brightest thing in the sky; we are the light in the darkness. The Jewish people are the candle that can give and give without ever being extinguished. In our day and time, we know this to be true.

Hitler, May his name be wiped out, wanted to destroy the Jewish people, because for the Germans to rule, the Jewish people wouldn't be able to exist. We represent everything that the Germans wanted to wipe out. We represent morality, equality, and peace. It is so true now, in the month of Adar, that in every generation, there is someone who wants to get up and destroy us. But the Jewish people can never be extinguished. We are here for eternity because we are God's chosen people. As we stood there, looking out at the grave, we were reminded, how special every single one of these people are, and how their souls are in the highest places in heaven; they died while sanctifying G-d's name.

As we stood there, in that dark cold forest, we sang the song Nekadesh (made holy), for all of the holy souls who are resting there. We then turned and walked out of the forest, leaving our brothers and sisters who remained. As we left, some girls were crying, some were scared, and some were simply stunned. Jeremy began singing Am Yisrael Chai (The nation of Israel lives), and this was the first time on the trip that we got to wave our flags high. As we sang all that was going through my mind, was "yes we are still here, and they couldn't destroy us, but they did destroy those people back there in the forest, and six million other people like them." So I know at least for me, this first attempt at Am Yisrael Chai was definitely heartfelt and meaningful, but it was just hard to truly feel good about still being there, knowing how many people didn't make it out of that forest alive. This marked the end of our first day, and after not having slept the night before, we were exhausted.

Day Two started out at Treblinka, our first stop at a death camp. On the bus on the way there, we watched the movie, "Escape from Sobibor". It gave us a picture of how far the Germans were willing to go to deceit the people. They gave them tags for their clothes, told them that they were just going to the showers to disinfect. They told such lies, and the people had no idea. Pulling up to Treblinka, we were told that the people who walked this path didn't come out alive. NO ONE SURVIVED A DEATH CAMP.

We walked looking down at our feet, and looking up at the trees, trying to understand what to feel, trying to take in what was around us, and trying not to cry to loudly all at once. We walked up to what was the train track, and we were told the story of a train of Moshitz Chassidim (branch of chassidut- A Jewish mystic movement founded in the 18th century in eastern Europe by Baal Shem Tov ), who were on their way to Treblinka. There was a famous chazzan on the train, who was asked to create a tune to the Jewish Hymn Ani Maamin (I believe…). In the cattle car, he told his talmidim(pupils), that if anyone jumped the train and got the tune to the Head Rabbi of Moshitz, who was in America at the time, he would give him half of his portion in the world to come.

Two of his pupils jumped from the train, one was killed immediately, but the other was somehow, with G-d's help, able to survive. He went to the Rabbi in America, and told him the story.

The Rabbi was so touched and moved by the story that he promised the pupil that he would make the tune famous. It is the tune of Ani Maamin that today we all know, and associated with the murder of the six million Jews. We played this song as we walked what would have been the tracks to the platform. We were then shown where the people were stripped and separated. The same thing kept being repeated to us over and over -that we were cold standing here bundled up in everything warm that we own, while people had to stand here naked and freezing in the snow for hours on end. Parents were usually ordered to undress their children in below freezing weather, just to prolong their pain and suffering. The path that we walked on was surrounded by hundreds of stones. If I didn't know any better, I would have thought that perhaps they were for families, or even extended families. Little did I know that every one of these stones each represented a whole community of Jews.

Whole communities were completely wiped out, some even in one day. At this point in the trip, I was taking it in, but it was just too hard to even fathom the devastation. Before we even got up to where the gas chambers once stood, we were discussing how you can even imagine six million. Some people said you think of one person, and how important they are to you, multiplied by six million. Some people said that they look at things such as the paperclip project, where thousands and thousands of items are used to try and represent the number. It was only the next day when we were standing in Majdanek, that someone suggested using the snow, and the amount of flakes that were falling to try and imagine the number.

We were then given about ten minutes to walk around the stones by ourselves. All I remember doing was just running off, trying to get lost in this sea of stones, trying to make some sense of it all. I felt myself drawn towards the forest where the stones finished. I just needed to know that it ended somewhere, that the stones didn't go on forever- that the killing stopped at some point. I made my way to the end of the stones, looking out at the forest in front of me, realizing that I hadn't yet taken a deep breath. As I took one, I realized, (not for the first or last time this trip) that everything in Poland just smelled dark and heavy, like the air was being blocked by something.

Every time I passed a stone covered in snow, I wiped it off with my glove, desperately trying to uncover the name of the town that was destroyed, desperately trying to carve in every name so that it wouldn't be forgotten. To my dismay, so many of the stones didn't even have names, the cities were so small, or the names were just never given, and now no one knows how many people lived there, or who they were. All these people have left is a single stone that they have to share with their entire community. When we finished walking around we were called back to the middle of the memorial. We found ourselves surrounding this huge pit covered in snow. We were told that this was where the Germans had burned all the remains of the bodies they had dug up before the camp closed.

Our rabbi, spoke, and he was talking about how a stone doesn't move, and how it is there for eternity. He was saying how the Jewish people have the life of a tree, you can try and cut it down, but it will always grow back, and how the Jews have the eternity of a stone.

We stopped at a stone for the town of Petrikov where Jeremy's family was from. We said kaddish and Kel maleh Rachamim by that stone, and we stood there quietly surrounded by trees. Then we stood by the memorial of the renowned teacher, Janus Korczak. His is the only stone in Treblinka that represents a single person instead of a whole village. Janus Korczak would have had a very good chance of surviving the war. He was murdered, because he refused to leave the orphaned children that he cared for so dearly. He made sure that they were dressed properly and he kept them calm by leading them to believe that they were just going on a short hike. Around his memorial, we stopped and we sang the song Hamalch Hagoel Oti . . . . Yevarech et Haniarim,( May the angel who has delivered me from all harm bless these young boys) and with that, we walked out of Treblinka.

After Treblinka, we drove to Kotsk, and we went to the grave of their Rabbi. The Rebbe Mi'Kotsk (Rabbi from Kotsk), was known to challenge people, and he demanded the truth. The Rabbi's who managed to thrive in Kotsk were always working on themselves and challenging themselves to be who they were without any outward masks. They strived to be the truest they could, meaning every word they said, and serving Hashem in the most emet(truth) way possible. Here we were challenged to look at exactly who we are. And if we don't know, then what are we doing to find out and if we don't care, then what are we doing here at all. What kind of life is it to live, when you don't even know who you are or what you are doing in this world? We had a deep discussion here along these lines, and we all really took time to self reflect, and look at ourselves and who we are as people.

Then we drove to Lublin, and went to the Yeshivat Chochmei Lublin (Learning Centre for the brightest in Lublin). The building was huge, but because no-one ever goes into the building, we had to get someone to unlock the door for us. We walked around, the newly restored building, and sat down in a room that had information about the Yeshiva.

We learned how hard Rabbi Shapira had worked to get the yeshiva started, and how different the yeshiva was then any other one at the time. After all his hard work, the Yeshiva was open for less then a decade. During the Nazi reign, most of the holy books in the yeshiva were burned and most of the pupils were murdered. At this point in the trip, it was still so hard to piece together just how great these students were, and how much torah was lost in the war.

After this, we went downstairs to the newly renovated synagogue and had a lecture before we started singing and dancing. I just tried to throw myself into the joy that was around me, trying to ignore the fact that we were the only ones in the building, and that after we left, there wasn't going to be anyone in it for a long time.

Day Three started out with a visit to the Lublin Cemetery. Like the one in Warsaw, it was as though we were stepping out of one dimension and into another one. We visited the grave of Rabbi Shalom Shechna, and the Choze (visionary) of Lublin. We spoke about who they were, and said some psalms by their graves. We washed our hands, and got on the bus to Majdanek. When we arrived at Majdanek, it was the coldest it had been on the trip. We walked by the barbed wire fence, and came to the front of the camp. The thing that is different about Majdanek, is that it was right on the main road.

It wasn't like Treblinka that was hidden in the forest. Everyone could see what the Nazis were doing there, and my first reaction is why didn't anyone step up and say anything.

I was desperately trying to be fair to these people while I was thinking. If they would have stepped up to say something, what would it have done, the Nazi's would have just blown their heads off, and murdered their families as well. After hearing some more about it, I came to the conclusion that these people could have moved further away, or at least tried to pressure foreign governments to do something. But how did I know that they hadn't done that yet either? I put these thoughts away for the time being, and concentrated on the monument in front of me. The steps were covered in snow, and in rows of six, we tried to get down the stairs. There were jagged rocks on either side of us, representing the destruction and the pit of hell that the people who had arrived there fell into.

In front of us, there was this huge upward climb to get out, representing the steep climb out of hell, that with the help of G-d some people managed to do. As we all climbed out towards the camp we saw watchtowers and the barbed wire fence in front of us.

There were about twenty barracks put together, and we soon learned that out of the six original fields, this was the only one that remained. Looking out we were told that Majdanek was the most evil out of all the camps. Living there and surviving there was hell, and the average life span of a person was only about three weeks. Before the trip to Poland, if I were to hear about people in the holocaust dying a few months or weeks before liberation, I would always wonder why if they were so close, they couldn't make it just a bit longer. Standing there in the cold, I realized for the first time how truly wrong I was. We had been in Poland for three days bundled up in all our clothes, and yet we were so cold and wanted to go home. I couldn't imagine standing outside in the cold without the clothes I was wearing, and trying to survive there. I wouldn't have been able to survive there for an hour, let alone for a day or night.

We walked through the gate, and stopped right by the entrance. We looked around, and were asked to think about what stood out the most. Some people said the watchtowers, some said our Israeli flags, and then someone said the snow. We were then asked if the snow should be there or not, how it adds or takes away from the view in front of our eyes. I remember saying, that the ground doesn't deserve the snow. This ugly land that has soaked up so much Jewish blood doesn't deserve to be covered and shielded under a bed of beautiful white snow. Rabbi Milston looked around, and said something very different. He said: G-d created nature and the snow is part of that nature. If not for man, this would just be a lovely field of snow. Man took G-d's world and ruined it. Man planted the weeds that are the watchtowers, gas chambers, and crematoria. Man murdered millions of innocent people. If not for man, there wouldn't have been anything black on that field at all.

We walked into the camp, and before we entered the gas chamber, we saw a couple with their 2 year old child sledding in the snow. Your first immediate reaction is maybe they don't know what's here. But at that moment, every doubt I had about whether people might have done something or not was confirmed. Of course these people know what was here, there are other parks for them to take their children sledding, but they specifically chose to come here. They chose to come here because it doesn't matter to them. They never cared about the Jews, and they still don't.

We as Jews are a minority scattered in other lands that are not ours, and while everything may seem to be going well at a certain time, it's just a mask. We have no idea what's going on under that mask, and what the other nations really think of us until it is too late. History repeats itself, and by trusting our neighbors and by marrying into their families, we keep making the same mistakes over and over again. We stand alone as God's people and the only place for us to stand alone safely is in Israel, that's it; there is no other answer.

Once the couple and their child passed, we proceeded towards the gas chamber. The first section was dark and was where the people were shaved and stripped of their clothing. The next section had the showers, that when turned on would either be freezing cold or scalding hot. The last room was the gas chamber itself. The walls were stained green and black and were covered in scratches. When I looked up I saw the big vat that they would throw the gas into.

All I could do was hold onto my friends and cry.

Only God knows how much death went on in there. How many countless families were gassed together? Babies in their mother's arms, friends who had lost everyone else in the world clung to each other until the end. It was all just too much. We stood and sang shema koleinu(hear our voice) and Rachem(have mercy). We said Shema Yisrael(Hear, O Israel: the Lord is our God, the Lord is One) and Kel maleh rachamim.

All of these things were probably the last words that so many Jews said before they were murdered right where we were standing. Rabbi Milston got up and spoke.

He said that if it were to come down to a decision between standing in the gas chamber, or being the one who stands on top and throws the gas in, he would always rather be the one standing where he was.

These holy Jews suffered terribly, but their souls were instantly taken up to the highest places in heaven, while these Nazis might have 'lived' in this world, they are burning in hell for eternity for what they did. We then did what no-one else who had been through there ever could. We walked out of there with our heads held high.

Then we walked out of the back of the camp in rows of five. When the camp was being liquidated, this was the same path that the Jews walked on. They walked in rows until they got to the end where they were all taken and shot in mass pits. So many rabbis were shot alongside their pupils while parents were shot alongside their children.

It is just so twisted, that the Naz's didn't even know who they were killing and they didn't even care. All I was thinking was who gave them the right to play G-d?

Who said they could do this, how did this all happen? But questions are complicated, and most of them don't have simple satisfying answers.

We kept walking, until we entered the crematorium. There was a table in one room, where the bodies (usually the women) were cut open, and searched for valuables. We stood there, and paid tribute to these women who were murdered by singing Eishet Chayi l(A woman of valour). We thought of all the women who stood up to the Nazi's by a different method of resistance then we are used to. These women could have survived, but they chose to accompany their children to the gas chambers knowing where that would take them. These women who represented what a it means to be a true Eishet chayil.

Once we were far enough inside the crematorium we saw the ovens.

Looking into them, it didn't feel real that human bodies were burned in there. I felt as though my mind was removing itself from the situation, not fully able to understand what had happened there. We walked around to the back of the ovens where we could see something black inside. It could very well be that whatever was back there was left from the time that they were still in use.

We exited the crematorium and walked to a huge dome that was right beside it. Inside this dome, there was a huge pile of ashes. Those ashes are the remains of so many of our people who were murdered. Looking at it, you just realize that coming back here and remembering is so important, but we will never be able to truly understand what happened here, because thank G-d, it isn't happening right in front of our eyes. It took a few minutes, to actually understand that all of those ashes once made up living, breathing people.

They were people who had hopes and dreams, and families that loved them. Rabbi Milston told us to look out, to see the barracks, the gas chambers, the crematorium and the pile of ashes.

He told us to look out, and to say never again. But what he said next was just as important- he said that it is our job to make sure that no one can ever say that this never happened. With our very own eyes we were looking at the ashes of human remains and no one can ever convince any of us that it didn't really happen.

I don't understand how people can say that what happened didn't. How someone could convince themselves of such lies is beyond me. The danger is that for some reason or another, unknowledgeable people are starting to believe these lies. It is a scary thing how many holocaust deniers there are out there today. Each one has their own way of rationalizing away what happened by explaining how it wasn't such a big deal. Then you have the people who call what the Jews are doing to the Palestinians a holocaust. This is probably one of the most horrific, insulting, and ridiculous statements I have ever heard. The Jews aren't doing anything to the Palestinians except for sharing their electricity and water with them. The Israelis protect more Palestinian civilians then the Palestinian leaders do themselves.

What do they know about having people lined up and separated from their families, stripped naked, gassed to death, and having their bodies burned to ashes. Even if not to that extent, when was the last time the Israeli's lined up innocent children, threw them naked into pits, and gunned them down. NEVER is the only answer there is and will ever be to that question. Holocaust is a word that is thrown around to freely, and no-one should ever be allowed to use that word unless they are describing the horrible massacre of European Jewry between 1939-1945. We prayed the afternoon prayer, looking out over the mass graves of Majdanek.

While I was praying, I was thinking about two things. The first was how much I wanted to go back to Israel that minute, taking all of those holy souls with me. The second thing was that I was doing was imagining what "techiyat hamatim" would be like in a place like this. So many thousands and thousands of souls just rising up together. For me, it definitely gave those words in shemona esrei (18 blessings) a whole new meaning. . We left Majdanek and headed for Belzec death camp. Belzec was tiny, and the only thing that's left there is a memorial. We went inside the building and looked at pictures of people from towns that were destroyed there. We went outside and because of the snow we could see from one side of the clearing to the other. It is unfathomable how many people were murdered in such a small amount of space. The memorial started with twisted metal on both sides of the path, and then the walls just started getting higher and higher, until we could no longer see above them. The memorial ended in a brick wall. I know that while I was walking through, all I was thinking about was this might have been how these people felt. That perhaps you could still get out as long as you could still see over the walls, but then as they got higher and higher, you realized how far in you already were and at that point there was no longer a way out. The memorial ended with a brick wall simply because when you got to the end of this path that was your end. NO ONE SURVIVED A DEATH CAMP. In fact, most people were murdered within an hour of arriving.

After Belzec, we drove to Lyzhansk and we prayed at the grave of Rabbi Elimelech. This was definitely one of the spiritual highlights of the trip.

We sang and danced into the night, and we were all trying to channel the sadness we were feeling into something else.

We slept about 2 hours in Lyzhansk, and the next day we were up early to go to Zvilitovska Gora- the children's forest just outside the village Tarnov. We walked into what looked like a beautiful forest, the trees were tall and the ground was covered in freshly fallen snow. As we stood around in a circle, trying to keep warm, we were told that we had to shift from the happiness that we had been feeling from the previous night back to the importance of where we were standing. We were talking about the children, the one and a half million children who were brutally murdered by the Nazi's. Children who would never grow older and babies who were ripped screaming from their parents arms. We were then told to think about our own families and our relationships with our own parents. Right at that moment, they pulled out a stack of letters that they had told our parents to write for us. I was crying before I even opened the envelope. One of the hardest parts about being in Poland was not being able to call home. Looking back, I think that it made a lot of sense for us to be able to just feel what we were feeling, and dealing with what we had to deal with without the help of our parents. But standing there in that cold forest, reading a letter from my family, I wanted nothing more then to call them up and tell them that I loved them.

I started thinking about how ludicrous it was, that I knew that I was seeing my family in a month and yet I missed them so much. I couldn't imagine being a child or a parent, not knowing what was going on with your loved one, and realizing that you would probably never see them again. We walked through the quiet forest, trudging through the snow until we came to a rectangular clearing with a railing around it. We were told that this was where they took the elderly and the sick, stripped them naked, threw them into the pit (that had been recently been dug by local poles) and threw grenades in after them. We then walked up a hill and came to a similar clearing with a railing, but it was decorated, and there were also all sorts of ribbons and kites hanging from the trees. It didn't take long to realize that we were standing in front of the mass children's grave.

We stood there, looking out at the white snow that was hiding the red blood-soaked ground underneath. The Nazis took the children and threw them into the pit. They took the tiny babies, tied them up in brown sacks, and threw them mercilessly into the pit. While the screams of the children filled the forest, the Nazi's threw grenades into the pit to finish the job. We each got the privilege of researching a child and we went around reciting the name, birth and death years and a little bit about who our child was. We tried to bring just a bit of meaning to the number one and half million- a number that will always be too big to comprehend or understand. Murdering even one child, is one to many, so how can you ever multiply that loss by one and a half million. Children are the light in the world, they say what is on their minds, they aren't afraid to act, they laugh and they cry. But these children never had the chance to be children, their life was cut off, and they were sent to the highest places in heaven.

After the children's forest, we drove to Krakow. When we got off the bus we found ourselves standing in front of a big field with trees. This big empty field is all that's left of the concentration camp Plashov. The camp was originally built on a Jewish cemetery, and was intended to be used as a work camp, but because of bad conditions and lack of supplies, most of the prisoners either starved to death or were shot by the guards. Nothing from the camp remains, but local poles still use the area around the monument for recreational activities- such as sledding or biking

After walking around part of Plashov, we got onto the busses and drove to the synagogue of a Rabbi known as the Rama .It was amazing to be able to sit in his synagogue, and to see where he sat to pray. As we sat, we reviewed the incredible things that he did in his life, including his commentary in the Code of Jewish law which is still used by Ashkenazic Jews all over the world today. We then went around to the back of the synagogue and entered the cemetery where he is buried. We paid our respects to the graves of a few more Rabbis and left the cemetery. The next morning, we left really early and headed for Auschwitz- Birkenau. The train tracks that went through the front gate were partially covered in snow, but it wasn't too hard to imagine the train rolling right through leading millions of Jews to their deaths. As we stood by the gate, there was a picture of hundreds and hundreds of people standing right where we were standing, waiting for the infamous "selection."

Families were torn apart and the young and the elderly were sent strait to their deaths. It was only once we started walking could we really get an understanding of just how big the camp was. There wasn't so much left standing, but it took us about twenty-five minutes of walking quickly just to get to the other side of the camp. We saw what was left of one of the gas chambers, and we stood and remembered all of the people who were thrown in there and murdered. We then walked to the area where they took all of the people's belongings before shaving and showering them. Once they finished this, they handed them a thin piece of clothing to wear and tattooed a number on their forearms.

We walked around the camp a little more, and as we were walking out, we sang "am yisrael chai" {The Nation of Israel Lives) with a feeling of such pride; one that I don't think I've ever felt before. It meant so much to be saying those very words on land where Jews stood and never thought that they would be able to feel proud again. They thought that this was the end, and for so many millions of people, it was. But we stood there and shouted and cheered for all the people that no longer could.

The Nazis are long gone, but the Jewish people will always be here. The prisoners of the holocaust, both those who survived, and those who didn't, are a symbol of strength and courage for the Jewish people for eternity. Let this paper be a reminder that although we are still here, there are millions of people who want us dead. We are a minority because of what we stand for, and there will always be people who won't accept it. Right now things are pretty comfortable, but we can't be fooled by our surroundings.

Germany was the most cultured nation in Europe, and men were still able to sink to levels lower then those of animals. Thousands of people in Europe knew what was going on in their own backyards and did nothing. So many poles today know what the monuments the commemorate Jews stand for, and yet, they treat them like they aren't even there.

They bring their children to death camps to go sledding, and they go for leisurely strolls in forests meters from mass graves. It is only a matter of time before the outside world doesn't want us anymore. It is only in the land of Israel that the Jewish people can be safe. It might be difficult here, and at times, it may even seem dangerous. At least here we have an army that with the help of God will protect us. At least here, we are fighting for what we believe in. Living in the land of Israel is the greatest form of revenge that we could have ever hoped for. Every Jewish baby that is born, and every new Beit midrash (house of torah study) that is opened for torah study is yet another example that no one can ever wipe out the Jewish people.

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Religious Leaders Talk Ahead Of Pope's Visit
A Rabbi Greets The Pope In Rome, En Route To Jerusalem
David Bedein

A leading Israeli rabbi is speaking out on the sensitive discussions between the Israeli rabbinate and the Vatican in anticipation of Pope Benedict XVI's May visit to the Holy Land and about his own connections to Jerusalem.

Rabbi Shear Yashuv Cohen, who serves as the chief rabbi in the northern port city of Haifa and dean of Israel's institutions of rabbinical education, has been part of the Israeli dialogue and says many concerns remain as the date of the Pope's visit nears.

The rabbi said the discrete talks between the two sides have focused on issues such as the Pope's general reinstatement of the Tridentine Mass and especially with regard to the Good Friday prayer for the Jews' conversion and sainthood for Pope Pius XII, the Pope during World War II.

Pope John Paul II allowed the Tridentine Mass and the Holy Week rites that were customary during the time of Pope John XXIII in the early 1960s — including the traditional prayer for the Jews conversion — to be used with permission of the local bishop in 1988, but Pope Benedict XVI eliminated the requirement of having to receive a bishop's permission to use the pre-Vatican II rites in 2007.

Following Vatican II, the Roman Catholic Church eliminated an explicit call for God to convert the Jews from its Good Friday liturgy.

The status of Pius XII, he said, remains a thorny issue for the rabbis in their discussions with the Vatican, as did the issue of several clerics who denied the Holocaust.

"We refer to him as 'the Holocaust Pope,'" said Rabbi Cohen. "Although he may have helped individual Jews, he did not fulfill his role to protest the mass slaughter of Jews. Rabbi Cohen expressed the view that if the Vatican does claim that Pope Pius XII did extraordinary things to help the Jews during the war, then the Vatican should open its archives to provide documentation of such."

Rabbi Cohen said he requested the opportunity to visit Rome and discuss these issues directly with the Pope and other senior Vatican officials.

The rabbi received that opportunity last October when the Vatican gave him an unprecedented opportunity to address a gathering of Catholic bishops on the topic of the Holy Scriptures.

He described how the Pope entered the hall with him, arm-in-arm, where he gave a lesson on subject on how portions of the Torah (Old Testament) have been integrated into Jewish prayers. While looking at the Pope during his teaching, Rabbi Cohen noticed the Pope had closed his eyes in an intense meditation, holding his hands to his head.

After his address, Rabbi Cohen expressed his aforementioned concerns.

"We hope that the present leadership will not take any steps that would cause pain to those who have survived the Holocaust," Rabbi Cohen told the Pope and the assembled Catholic bishops.

He said the response was surprisingly positive.

"I have a feeling that this made the Vatican rethink the whole matter and that this played a role in the decision not to beatify Pope Pius XII," a discussion of which was scheduled for two days after Rabbi Cohen's fall visit.

The Vatican made it clear to Rabbi Cohen, on the record, that the Pope would "make every effort to continue a process of dialogue and reconciliation that reached its peak at the time of the visit of Pope Paul II in Jerusalem, in March 2000."

Three weeks ago, Rabbi Cohen was again invited to Rome, where he led a delegation of rabbis who will form the welcoming committee for the Pope in Jerusalem.

Pope Benedict XVI used the rabbi's second visit to Rome to clarify that a "mishap" had occurred when he lifted the excommunication of traditionalist Bishop Richard Williamson of the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) who has been on record as denying the Holocaust. The Pope told Rabbi Cohen that he "should have checked the Internet" about the bishop before lifting the excommunication that had been leveled against him by his predecessor, John Paul II.

Rabbi Cohen said the Pope went out of his way to make it clear the Vatican would never question Israel's sovereignty, nor challenge its rights to rule over the Old City of Jerusalem. Between 1949 and 1967, the Old City remained under Jordan's Islamic rule, and Jews were barred from entering it.

He said both himself and other Israeli rabbis are open to Pope Benedict's idea of establishing an inter-religious council where all of the religions represented in the Holy City could be called together to discuss both the practical and spiritual aspects of Jerusalem's present and future.

The rabbi also discussed the warm interpersonal relations that developed between the rabbis and the Vatican officials.

The chemistry that developed between the Jerusalem rabbinic leadership and the leading figures of the Vatican led to the logical conclusion that they should have lunch together at the one kosher restaurant in Rome. Italian eyebrows were raised when half a dozen rabbis with black skullcaps and half a dozen Catholic cardinals with red skullcaps sauntered into the restaurant to order a kosher lunch.

The rabbi also divulged his long personal connection with Jerusalem, where he will accompany the Pope in May, which has included numerous remarkable events.

In May 1948, Rabbi Cohen was an 18-year-old seminary student who was shot in the Old City during the bloody fighting, in the cobblestone paths of old Jerusalem.

Rabbi Cohen said he was taken to an improvised clinic of the Armenian convent near the Jewish Quarter, where Armenian clerics had treated his wounds and saved his life.

Carried out on a stretcher to a Jordanian prison camp, Rabbi Cohen was the last Jewish civilian to leave the old city of Jerusalem before the Arabs ransacked the Jewish quarter and burnt all 57 synagogues inside the walls of the ancient Jerusalem.

In 1967, after Israel gained control over the ancient old city of Jerusalem, Rabbi Cohen was the first Jewish civilian allowed back into Jerusalem, and in that capacity he served at the time as the deputy mayor of Jerusalem.

Later in October 1994, Rabbi Cohen was invited to give the benediction at the Jordan-Israel peace treaty ceremony. During the Pope's visit, 60 years after he returned from Jordanian captivity, Rabbi Cohen will have the honor of accompanying the Pope through the pathways of the city of Jerusalem that remains Holy to three great religions of God

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A Castle For All Seasons
David Bedein & Samuel Sokol

The history of the Jewish, Medieval Catholic and Muslim rule in the Holy Land and the ongoing fight for control is encapsulated by one site perched on the shore in the Town of Tiberius in the Upper Galilee.

Dr. Yosef Stepansky, former inspector of antiquities in the Eastern Galilee for the Israeli government, discussed his discovery of a Crusader citadel on the shore of the Sea of Galilee — the fall of which is crucial for understanding the story of the deterioration of Crusader rule in Israel.

An expert on Christian archaeological sites, Dr. Stepansky wrote the archaeological chapters of the nomination dossier for the Israeli government on early Christian sites around the Sea of Galilee that will soon be declared World Heritage sites.

It remains to be seen if his services will be used during Pope Benedict XVI's May visit, but were his services to be called upon, it would not be without precedent, as he was called upon in 2000 to write a briefing for Pope John Paul II during his visit.

In his brief, Dr. Stepansky discussed the Galilean Dolmens — megalithic stone tombs dating from the Middle Bronze Age — which he identifies with the biblical narratives regarding giants called "Refaim" and with the giant bedstead of Iron, mentioned as the resting place of Og King of Bashan.

He has made important discoveries pertaining to early Christianity in the Galilee, including a stone lintel, inscribed with the names of the Christian Byzantine Emperor Constantine and his sons.

This lintel, currently in possession of a Druze man in the village of Maghar, is the only known inscription referring to the emperor in all of Israel.

Tiberius Crusader Castle: Time Capsule Of The Galilee

In 1187, Christian rule, which had lasted for the better part of a century, was about to end. The Christians and Muslims had been fighting over the same ground over and over, and Saladin, the Muslim ruler of Egypt and Syria wished to make his territory contiguous. This of course meant conquering Israel. Soon, he was provided with a cause for war in the form of Renaud of Chatillon, the Crusader prince of Antioch.

"The Crusaders and the Muslims played Ping-Pong for years, each invading the other's territory, moving their borders back and forth. That was until Renaud of Chatillon started harassing Muslim pilgrims on their way to Mecca," Dr. Stepansky said. "The final straw was when he set out from Aylah to raid the holy city. Saladin organized his forces and moved over the northern Jordan into Galilee."

It was the Crusader citadel in Tiberius, perched on the shores of the Sea of Galilee that brought about the defeat of the Crusaders in the most significant battle in Israel in the past 1,000 years, the Battle of the Horns of Hittin.

When Saladin began to move into Israel, Raymond of Tripoli, the ruler of the Galilee, reported to King Guy of Jerusalem in Sepphoris, seeking his defending against the Muslim incursion. He left behind his wife Eschiva with a small garrison to defend his castle in Tiberius.

On July 2, 1187, Saladin broke through the walls of Tiberius and put siege to Raymond's castle. Eschiva sent a messenger with a call to her husband and King Guy of Jerusalem. They now had a quandary. Should they march on Tiberius to break the siege or should they wait for Saladin to arrive, and meet him on ground of their own choosing?

Ultimately, the order of the Knights Templar, formed to protect Christian pilgrims from Muslim attack, ventured the opinion that it would be unbecoming of Christian knights to not attempt to rescue a princess, and they should march on Tiberius immediately. The king agreed.

He began to move on Tiberius in order to retake the town along with over 1,000 horsemen and 20,000 foot soldiers. They marched through scorching heat and blazing sun, suffering greatly from thirst and dehydration. Two days later, on July 4, the Crusaders set up camp at Maskaneh on the slopes of the Horns of Hittin, near the modern day Golani Junction.

It was then that Saladin made his move. In the morning, the Muslims attacked. Amid great blood and suffering, the mostly Frankish knights, suffering greatly from their lack of water, were defeated. King Guy was taken prisoner and brought before Saladin, where he was shown mercy, though Saladin personally killed Renaud of Chatillon by the sword.

There were to be other Crusades and the Christians maintained a presence in the holy land until 1291, but it was the beginning of the end. Christian rule in the holy land had been shattered in one decisive battle.

In the years following, the exact location of the Tiberius Citadel was lost.

Beneath Grandmother's House

In 2002, Dr. Stepansky uncovered the citadel's gate and moat, ending years of scholarly debate.

Until his discovery, the prevailing view was the castle had been built uphill, away from the water. There had been some who started arguing in the 1970s that a lakeside location was more probable, but it was impossible to verify without actually finding and uncovering the structure.

In the 1950s, the nascent Jewish state, in an attempt at urban renewal, bulldozed the Old City of Tiberius. The Old City could more accurately be termed the "renewed city," having been built up and settled by Sepharadi (Eastern) Jews in the 18th century.

One of the structures destroyed was the house in which Dr. Stepansky's grandmother had been born.

In the early 2000s, the Israeli government again decided to embark on a project of urban renewal. The tourism ministry put plans on the table to develop the area, but was forced to wait while the antiquities authority carried out a pre-development survey, a practice very common in Israel.

This is where Dr. Stepansky came in. Doing a routine dig at the site, he discovered one of the most significant archaeological finds of the early 21st century, right below the location of his old family home.

Because of this discovery, which is an integral part of the story of the Battle of the Horns of Hattin, he was invited to lecture in Germany and his scholarly article on the Citadel was translated and included in the definitive work on Crusader castles, "Burgen und Stadte der Kreuzugszeit" (Castles and Cities in the Crusades).

"When I lectured in Germany, people were most interested and jealous of the castle I found, even though it still has yielded small remains relative to the other castles found so far. Yet it was a source of jealousy that I could do what is rare and excavate underneath the house that my grandmother was born in." Dr. Stepansky said.

Cycle Of History

There were stones used by the Crusaders in building their citadel that were originally part of an ancient synagogue. What one can discern if they look carefully is a window into the history of Israel itself. One can see a Crusader castle, built on the ruins of an independent Judea, conquered by the Muslims and later excavated by a reborn Jewish nation in its homeland, all of this underneath a little lot where the grandmother of the man who discovered the site lived.

As Dr. Stepansky put it, "[This] is the climax of this series of history."

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New Arab Member of Knesset praises Iran's nuke quest
Samuel Sokol
Correspondent, Israel Resource News Agency

This article ran as a front page item in the Jerusalem Post of March 31, 2009

New Balad MK Haneen Zuabi, the first woman to be elected to the Knesset as a representative of an Arab party, has welcomed Iran's growing influence on Palestinian affairs and praised Iran's quest for a nuclear weapon as a means of offsetting Israel's regional military edge. Having Israel as the region's sole nuclear power, she said, was "dangerous to the world."

Interviewed in English twice in recent days - in her Knesset office and in a Jerusalem hotel - Zuabi, one of Balad's three MKs and the former director of the I'lam: Media Center for Arab Palestinians in Israel, said Iran's role in Palestinian affairs was "more useful" than that of regimes like Jordan and Egypt, in that Iran stood more firmly "against occupation than a lot of the Arab countries. This is our interest."

She said Egypt and Jordan were scared of a free and democratic Palestinian state.

Queried regarding Iran's quest to manufacture nuclear weapons, Zuabi stated that having Israel as the region's sole nuclear power was disadvantageous. "It would [sic] be more supporting me to have a counter-power to Israel," she said. "I need something to balance [Israel's] power."

Zuabi was asked if she felt worried, living among Jews, that Iran was getting close to acquiring a nuclear weapon. She replied: "No, I am not." Indeed, she said was "more afraid from the Israeli nuclear [weapons]."

Israel does not officially admit to a nuclear weapons capability, but is widely believed to have had such a capability since the 1960s.

When asked if she thought that Israel would use nuclear weapons, she replied, "The Israelis? I think yes… And I am afraid from real risk rather than from potential risk."

The Iranian bomb was only "a potential" threat. The real danger was the Israeli army, she said. "Every day the Israeli [army] uses its violence, army violence."

Zuabi said that Israel was an aggressor state, and that only a situation similar to that which existed between the Soviet Union and United States in the form of the doctrine of "Mutually Assured Destruction" would restrain Israel. "It is more dangerous to the world, more dangerous to everyone, more dangerous to the Palestinians, to Israelis, to have Israel as the only powerful state. I need something to balance its power because this balance of power will [sic]restrict the Israeli using of power. The Israeli violence of the army is an outcome of Israel's convenient feeling that no one will restrict her, that no Arab country will really declare a war against [Israel]."

She added: "I believe that [Israel] would respect its use of power if she's afraid of others. The fact that [Israel]is not afraid of Arab countries, the fact that [Israel]is not afraid of a potential declaration of our Arab world to declare war against Israel, makes Israel more violent. You understand me?"

Asked whether an Iranian bomb would make America nervous and lead to more US pressure on Israel, and whether that would be good from her point of view, Zuabi replied: "Exactly."

Zuabi declared that the very concept of a Jewish state was "inherently racist", saying that Israel must be turned into a "state of all its citizens," which would eliminate its Jewish or Zionist nature.

The Knesset Central Elections Committee disqualified the Balad party from running in the recent elections due to its members' refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state and reported calls for violence against it. The ban was overturned by the Supreme Court.

Responding to Zuabi's comments, Balad party chairman Dr, Jamal Zahalka said: "I think Ms. Zuabi tried to explain some analysis [about] what's [sic]better if you have. [But] this is not a position. It's an analysis [of] what would be safer for the region, if there is a balance." Her comments, he said, did not constitute "supporting a nuclear weapon in Iran."

Some of Zuabi's statements were consistent with her previously stated views. On February 13, she was quoted by the Balad-affiliated Arabs48 internet news site saying that "Balad's concept, which rejects the 'Jewish state' idea, is the only idea that can remove [Avigdor] Lieberman from the circle of political and moral legitimacy… When you agree with the 'Jewish state' idea, you necessarily agree with the idea of loyalty to this state. Rejecting the 'Jewish state' concept will block the road for anyone who demands our loyalty to such a state. There is no logic in demanding that I be loyal to an idea to which I do not agree to begin with, especially since I am proposing an alternative and fighting for it… The language of democracy does not speak of loyalty. This is a language of fascism, just like Lieberman. The language of democracy speaks of rights, equality, and values."

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A review of MK Zoabi's code of ethics for reporters

The Zoabi interview conducted by Samuel Sokol has been causing quite a stir.

Zoabi attacked Sokol and says he was unfair and misportrayed her statements. unfortunately for her, Sokol has a recording of the whole interview which shows that she said what he claimed she said.

Zoabi demanded the Jpost retract the interview, as she never approved it, and she says she had asked Sokol to send it to her for approval. Unfortunately, again for her, that is a breach of ethics and it goes against the code of ethics Zoabi herself wrote for journalists in which she herself established that:

In the code of ethics (Media Charter: The Media Charter and its Ethics 2008) published by I'lam we find the following rule.

12. Independence / nonpartisanship

"Journalists are to refrain from complying with directions, directives, instructions or threats that relate to his or her journalistic work that are issued by any external party, and in particular by advertisers, an official institutions, or political advertisers." Emphasis added. So she claims that in her need to cover up her real views from being exposed to Israelis, Sokol should have been obligated to go against what she considers journalistic ethis. And there is the small fact that he never agreed or obligated himself to attain her approval before publishing".

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The Rise and Demise of the Two-State Paradigm
Efraim Inbar
Professor of Political Studies at Bar-Ilan University in Israel and Director of the Begin-Sadat (BESA) Center for Strategic Studies.


The conventional wisdom recommends the establishment of a Palestinian state to bring about an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (the two-state paradigm). This article first reviews the confluence of domestic and international factors that led to the resurgence of the two-state paradigm.

Next, it concludes that a peaceful outcome in accordance with this paradigm is unlikely to emerge in the near future: the two national movements, the Palestinian and the Zionist, are not close to a historic compromise, and the Palestinians are not able to build a state. Finally, the article analyzes the policy options available to policymakers. State-building is unlikely to succeed.

Similarly, a binational state, where Arabs and Jews live peacefully together is not within reach. A regional approach that advocates a greater role for Arab states in Palestinian affairs has better chances of stabilizing the situation than the previous options. Finally, in the absence of a solution, the most realistic policy appears to be conflict management.

The Arab-Jewish or the Israeli-Palestinian conflict over Palestine (The Land of Israel) has evolved over the past hundred years. At present, most attempts to solve this simmering ethnic conflict in Palestine revolve around the two-state paradigm.

This conventional wisdom recommends dividing the territory of the area called Palestine into Jewish and Arab states that will coexist The author acknowledges the support of the Ihel Foundation for this research. The author benefited from comments by Stuart Cohen, Steven David, Hillel Frisch, Avi Kober and Jonathan Rynhold.

For an ethnic prism on the Arab-Israeli conflict, see Milton J. Esman, Ethnic Politics (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1994), pp. 111-46; for the persistence of ethnic nationalism, see Jerry Z. Muller, ''Us and Them: The Enduring Power of Ethnic Nationalism,'' Foreign Affairs, March/April 2008, pp. 18-35. # 2009 Published by Elsevier Limited on behalf of Foreign Policy Research Institute. Spring 2009 | 265

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America Providing Palestinian Security Forces with Top Level Training
Avi Issacharoff
Haarez 08/04/2009

[American military advisors who now train PLO terrorists - supposedly to fight Hamas, at a time when the same PLO remains in intense reconciliation talks with Hamas. That means one thing: The US government trains the PLO to kill Jews - DB]

U.S. giving Palestinian security forces top-level training

The United States has been training senior Palestinian security officials in an advanced officers course in Ramallah for top-brass, Haaretz has learned.

The new course, entitled "senior leaders' course," is a two-month long program conducted in Ramallah with the assistance and supervision of the U.S., and is part of the project overseen by the U.S. security coordinator in the territories, Gen. Keith Dayton.

So far, the program has produced 80 graduates divided into two 40-student classes. A third class, made up of commanders from the Palestinian National Security - the largest security force with 15,000 members, tasked with policing borders, providing military intelligence, military police services and presidential security - is currently being trained in Jordan.

That class is undergoing special training by Jordanian instructors under American auspices. Most students so far have been army lieutenant colonels and colonels, but the course also accepted commanders from the civilian police, the general intelligence service, the preventative security force and the civilian defense authority.


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UNRWA official threatens to fire employees involved with Palestinian factions
YNet News Story: April 1 2009

[Backgrounder;UNRWA in Gaza & Terror Groups: The Connection Monograph Prepared for the European Parliament March, 2009 http://israelbehindthenews.com/pdf/UNRWAterrorConnection.pdf]

The Gaza head of the UN Agency that aids Palestinian refugees said he will fire employees recently elected to lead its labor union if he finds they are involved with Palestinian political factions.

In a letter to his 10,000 staff, John Ging, the Gaza head of operations for the UN Relief and Works Agency, UNRWA, said employees must not "be under the influence of any political party in the conduct of their work." The letter, dated March 29, was obtained by The Associated Press on Wednesday.

His announcement came after rival Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas boasted of victories in union elections held over the past two weeks.

Although no party affiliations appeared on ballots, the candidates campaigned as part of lists with known links to the two movements.

While Hamas governs Gaza, most of the territory's 1.4 million inhabitants rely on the UNRWA for education, health care, food aid and other services. Ging's letter highlights the tightrope the agency must walk, steering clear of local politics at the behest of international donors while it is the largest non-governmental employer in a society where political loyalties run deep.

The agency's activities in Gaza expanded after Hamas seized the territory from Fatah in June 2007, bringing a blockade by neighboring Israel and Egypt and an international boycott of the new Hamas administration. The United States and the European Union classify Hamas as a terrorist group.


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