Sunday, March 05, 2006

[imra] Daily digest - Volume: 2 Issue: 1343 (14 messages)

imra Sun Mar 5 00:23:49 2006 Volume 2 : Issue 1343

In this issue of the imra daily Digest:

Russian FM wants Hamas terrorists to be salaried PA cops
IDF Aerial Attack Against Projectile Rocket
Launching Grounds [aka empty fields]
Summary of Access Routes [aka empty fields] Targeted By the IDF
Poll after change in Likud rules:
Kadima 36 Labor 18 Likud 18 NRP/Nat'l Union 11
[+ 5 other polls]
MP Abu Holy: Fateh's Parliamentary Bloc
Decides not to Join Government
Article by Russian FM on foreign policy: won't confront
Islamic world, energy dictates approach to middle east
Text of inciting PA article on Church of Annunciation incident
MEMRI: Editor of U.S. Arab Paper: Extremism
is Spreading Among Muslim Youth in the U.S.
Israeli Found Spy's Data Irresistible
Abbas looks to the PLO to weaken Hamas
Ze'ev Schiff on Israel's failed deterrence and rocket threats
- now faces enemy's deterrent threat
Excerpts: :Egyptian press freedom -- in reverse.Hamas
unchanged in Russia.Dialogue with Denmark? 4 March 2006


Subject: Russian FM wants Hamas terrorists to be salaried PA cops

Russia: No future for Hamas without change
Associated Press 3 March 2006

MOSCOW - Russia's foreign minister said Friday that Hamas will have no
future if the Palestinian militant group fails to transform itself into a
political party.
Sergey Lavrov made the statement ahead of his talks with a Hamas delegation
that arrived in Moscow on a groundbreaking visit.

"I don't think Hamas will have ... any future if Hamas doesn't change,"
Lavrov told foreign reporters.

He said that after its election to the Palestinian parliament, Hamas needed
"to transform itself into a political party and to be sure that the military
wing of Hamas become a legitimate part of the Palestinian security

Lavrov was scheduled to receive Hamas' exiled political leader, Khaled
Mashaal in the militant group's highest-profile foreign visit since winning
Palestinian parliamentary elections in January.

Earlier Friday, Mashaal rejected any discussion about the militant group's
refusal to recognize Israel's right to exist, dealing a setback to Moscow's
efforts to persuade it to soften its stance.

"The issue of recognition (of Israel) is a decided issue," Mashaal said
after arriving in Moscow. "We don't intend to recognize Israel."

Lavrov urged patience, saying that "we don't expect that Hamas will do all
this and change itself overnight."

He said Hamas needs "to reassess its new role, for which maybe it wasn't
ready when the elections took place."

The Hamas delegation is set to have talks with Russian officials and
lawmakers as well as a meeting with Russian Orthodox Patriarch Alexy II.

Russia's invitation, extended by President Vladimir Putin, was the first
crack in an international front against the group, considered a terrorist
organization by Israel, the European Union and the United States.

Hamas, which has killed hundreds of Israelis in suicide bombings, has
largely stuck to an informal truce, though it has not renounced violence
against Israel and does not accept the presence of a Jewish state in the
Middle East.

Mashaal accused Israel of blocking the Mideast peace process and said
Israel's "occupation" of Palestinian lands will top the agenda in the Moscow
"No conditions will be put forward during our visit to Moscow," Mashaal
said. "We will listen to Russia's position and clarify ours."

Russia's special Middle East envoy, Alexander Kalugin, said the aim of the
talks was not to dictate conditions to Hamas but to use persuasion.
"We're not going to put forward demands. We'll seek to convince them that
now is the time to take responsible decisions. If you come to power and form
a government, you must understand you are assuming a great responsibility,"
Kalugin said Thursday in an interview with NTV television.

Israel's acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Friday that the
international community must maintain a united front against Hamas as the
militant group prepares to form the next Palestinian Cabinet.

Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev warned that Hamas could only
be persuaded to renounce violence and recognize Israel if the global
community speaks in "one clear voice."

"We would be concerned if Hamas leaders feel they are achieving
international legitimacy without making the necessary reforms," he said.

In an apparent attempt to avoid further damage in relations with Israel,
Putin decided against personally meeting the Palestinian delegation, which
will have only a
sightseeing tour of the Kremlin on Sunday.

Putin had a phone conversation Friday with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak
to discuss the Mideast situation "in light of working contacts with the
Hamas leadership," the Kremlin said.

Russian analysts were skeptical of Moscow's ability to persuade Hamas to
revise a radical ideology it has held since the group formed in 1987. They
predicted that
the talks would lead nowhere.

"Hamas won't listen to Russia because Moscow has no real levers of influence
over them," said Fyodor Lukyanov, editor of the foreign policy magazine
Russia in Global Affairs. "This is not the time of the Soviet Union, when we
had real clout in the region."

Putin's invitation to Hamas last month was the latest bid by Moscow to
invigorate its role in Middle East peacemaking.

Moscow, which was a major player in the Middle East during the Soviet period
when it provided aid to several Arab countries, belongs to the so-called
Quartet of
Middle East mediators alongside the United States, the European Union and
the United Nations.

Hamas' election victory prompted threats from the U.S. and the EU to cut off
$1 billion in aid to the Palestinians unless Hamas recognizes Israel and
renounces violence.

A Hamas representative, Osama Hamdan, told ITAR-Tass in Beirut that the
movement is grateful for Russia's political and moral support, "but it would
welcome a discussion of possible economic cooperation too."

Lukyanov said Russia no longer provided significant aid, despite its oil
wealth, and said only the United States had real influence in the Middle

"These talks won't lead anywhere, but ultimately, the Americans may decide
to get involved. And if Hamas is going to listen to anyone, it will be to
them," he said.
South Africa on Thursday joined the list of countries inviting Hamas leaders
for talks, raising Israeli concerns that the international front against the
Islamic militants is crumbling.

German Foreign Ministry spokesman Martin Jaeger said Friday that there is no
reason to doubt that Russia will convey the Quartet's demands to Hamas
"clearly and with no misunderstandings." "We should not say that Russia has
broken a common front," he said.


Subject: IDF Aerial Attack Against Projectile Rocket
Launching Grounds [aka empty fields]

March 3rd , 2006

IDF aerial attack against projectile rocket launching grounds

Following the continuous firing of projectile rockets at Israel from the
Gaza Strip, aimed against Israeli citizens and civilian infrastructure, the
IDF carried out an aerial attack on launching grounds in the central Gaza
Strip this afternoon, March 3rd 2006. This is in addition to the artillery
fire carried out by IDF forces at these areas earlier today. The areas
attacked are open areas from which terror cells have been firing projectile
rockets at Israel, including the Qassam rockets fired this morning. Since
the beginning of this week, Palestinians have launched 28 projectile rockets
at Israel. At least 12 landed inside Israel.

The objective of targeting these launching grounds is to disrupt Palestinian
terror cells' repeated attempts to fire rockets at Israel.


Subject: Summary of Access Routes [aka empty fields] Targeted By the IDF

March 4th , 2006

Summary of access routes targeted by the IDF during the night

Following the continuous launching of projectile rockets from the Gaza Strip
at Israeli communities, which has caused repeated damage to civilian
infrastructure, the IDF carried out aerial attacks in the northern Gaza
Strip tonight, targeting several access routes.

The objective of targeting these routes is to prevent the passage of
terrorists to projectile rocket launching grounds, and to disrupt their
repeated attempts to fire rockets at Israel.


Subject: Poll after change in Likud rules:
Kadima 36 Labor 18 Likud 18 NRP/Nat'l Union 11
[+ 5 other polls]

Poll after change in Likud rules: Kadima 36 Labor 18 Likud 18 NRP/Nat'l
Union 11 [+ 5 other polls]
Aaron Lerner Date: 3 March 2006

#1 Telephone poll of a representative sample of adult Israelis (including
Arab Israelis) carried out by Maagar Mohot ("Brain Trust") for Makor Rishon
on 2 March 2006 [AFTER the Likud Central Committee voted that in the future
the party Knesset list will be set via primaries held with the participation
of all Likud members].
Published in Makor Rishon on 3 March

#2 Telephone poll of a representative sample of 503 adult Israelis
(including Arab Israelis) carried out by Maagar Mohot ("Brain Trust") for
Israel Radio's "Its all Talk" on 1 March 2006 [Before the Likud Central
Committee voted that in the future the party Knesset list will be set via
primaries held with the participation of all Likud members].

#3 Telephone poll of a representative sample of 502 adult Israelis
(including Arab Israelis) carried out by Teleseker for Maariv on 1 March
2006 [Before the Likud Central Committee voted that in the future the party
Knesset list will be set via primaries held with the participation of all
Likud members]. Published in Maariv on 2 March. [Adds to 121 because
Teleseker shows 7-9 seats for the Arab parties].

#4 Telephone poll of a representative sample of adult Israelis (including
Arab Israelis) carried out by Dialogue for Haaretz 1 March 2006 [Before the
Likud Central Committee voted that in the future the party Knesset list will
be set via primaries held with the participation of all Likud members].
Published in Haaretz on 2 March.

#5 Telephone poll of a representative sample of 501 adult Israelis
Arab Israelis) carried out by the Smith Institute for The Jeruslaem Post 1
March 2006 [Before the Likud Central Committee voted that in the future the
party Knesset list will be set via primaries held with the participation of
all Likud members].
Published in The Jerusalem Post on 3 March.

#6 Telephone poll of a representative sample of 500 adult Israelis
Arab Israelis) carried out by Dahaf for Yediot Ahronot (date not indicated).
Published in Yediot Ahronot on 3 March.
[article indicates that actually 14 seats should be allocated to
"undecided" - no indication how many should be allocated to "refuse to

[Knesset election vote expressed in mandates[current in brackets]
#1 #2 #3 #4 #5 #6
36 36 39 37 36.5 38 [00] Kadima
18 16 18 15 17.0 15 [40] Likud
18 19 21 19 16.5 20 [22] Labor
00 00 00 00 00.0 00 [15] Shinui (both the party and the break-away party)
09 09 09 10 09.5 10 [11] Shas
08 08 08 09 09.5 08 [08] Arab parties
06 06 05 06 04.5 05 [06] Yachad [Meretz]
11 11 09 11 09.5 09 [07* & 6] National Union & NRP
08 08 07 07 08.0 09 [07*] Yisrael Beiteinu [Lieberman]
06 06 05 06 05.5 06 [05] Yahadut Hatorah
-- 01 -- 00 --------[00] Green Leaf (legalize hashish)
* National Union & Yisrael Beiteinu together have 7 seats

Maagar Mochot also asked: Who would you prefer as prime minister: Olmert,
Netanyahu or Peretz?
Olmert 39% Netanyahu 20% Peretz 12% Other replies 20%

Dialogue also asked:

Who is most appropriate to be prime minister: Olmert, Netanyahu or Peretz?
Olmert 30% Netanyahu 25% Peretz 15%

On a scale of 1 to 10 how do you rate the personal honesty of Olmert,
Netanyahu or Peretz?
Olmert 5.30 Netanyahu 4.73 Peretz 5.60

Dr. Aaron Lerner, Director IMRA (Independent Media Review & Analysis)
(mail POB 982 Kfar Sava)
Tel 972-9-7604719/Fax 972-3-7255730




GAZA CITY [MENL] -- Western intelligence agencies were said to have been
recruiting Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Palestinian sources said Western diplomatic installations have been
recruiting Palestinians for security positions. They said the Palestinians
were initially offered to work as security guards but later some of them
were given intelligence duties.

Palestinian legislator Abdul Rahman Zaydan said Western intelligence
agencies have been seeking Palestinian recruits. Zaydan said Western
embassies and consulates have placed anonymous ads in Palestinian
Authority-owned newspapers for Palestinian security personnel.

Zaydan called on PA intelligence agencies to investigate and stop the
recruitment of Palestinians by Western agencies. He termed the purported
Western effort a danger to Palestinian security.


NOTE: The above is not the full item.
This service contains only a small portion of the information produced daily
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contact Middle East Newsline at: for further details.


Subject: MP Abu Holy: Fateh's Parliamentary Bloc
Decides not to Join Government

MP Abu Holy: Fateh's Parliamentary Bloc Decides not to Join Government

GAZA, Palestine, March 4.2006 (IPC) -[Official PA website]- Fateh's MP of
the central area of Gaza Strip Dr. Ahmad Abu Holy said that Fateh's
parliamentary block has decided not to partake into the next government led
by Islamic Resistance movement, Hamas, for inconsistence in both platforms
and the intra situation of Fateh movement.

In a press briefing to SIS's International Press Center (IPC), Abu Holy said
that the Fateh's parliamentary block in the legislative council met two days
ago and decided not to join Hamas led government.

He added that the decision is a message to Fateh Revolutionary Council,
slated to meet today.

MP Abu Holy demonstrated a set of reasons preventing Fateh to join the new
government led by Hamas "the incongruity is widely broad between
socio-political platforms of Hamas and Fateh making co-understating quite
hard." Abu Holy elaborated.

He also asserted that Fateh Movement is in favor to uphold a constructive
and effective opposition role that mainly give a hand to the common
interests of Palestinian people via "correcting and adjusting flaws endued
by Hamas Government in the foreseeable future."

Among other reasons also, Abu Holy raised, that Fateh is inclined to pay
more attention to rebuild itself which is more preferable than the
governments' privileges.

It important to mention that Fateh's parliamentary bloc's decision over no
parcticipation in the new government is not binding and take a second burner
as the decisive decisions taken by Fateh's revolutionary council and
Executive committee are compulsory.


Subject: Article by Russian FM on foreign policy: won't confront
Islamic world, energy dictates approach to middle east



32/34 Smolenskaya-Sennaya pl., 119200, Moscow G-200; tel.: (095) 244 4119,
fax: 244 4112
e-mail:, web-address:

Unofficial translation from Russian
'Russia in Global Politics' Article of Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs
Sergey Lavrov, Published in the Newspaper Moskovkiye Novosti, March 3, 2006

The heading of the article reproduces the title of the journal, published by
the Council on Foreign and Defense Policy. As in the journal's case, it is
not fortuitous, being the theme that continues to agitate the minds in
Russia itself and beyond. Perhaps in recent months even more than
previously. For which the reasons do exist. The international situation
continues evolving, and along with it, the role of Russia in global politics
too. Moreover, it can be judged that the process of crystallization in world
politics has markedly intensified. Certain realities have now shown up
clearly that have a determinant significance for the emerging new
architecture of international relations, to which belongs the significance
of the Russian factor in the main flow of international life. This raises a
multitude of questions. To some of them I will try to give an answer. The
starting point of Russia's analysis of the international situation is the
statement of the fact that in recent years events have been developing in
the mainstream of our ideas and assessments - towards democratic
multipolarity. Inter alia, such a phenomenon as the acquisition by
globalization of an "Asian face," and the expanding practice of striking up
"strategic dialogues" is indicative of this. Under today's conditions, the
underlying principles of our foreign policy - pragmatism, multivectorness, a
consistent, but without sliding to confrontation, promotion of national
interests - have been proven right. Having been formulated in the first year
of Vladimir Putin's presidency, they are gaining ever wider currency in the
foreign policy practice of other states, including leading powers in the

Contemporary international relations are difficult to grasp, unless you
consider that they are in transition, which by definition precludes any
status quo (excepting the tenets of international law). But one gathers that
certain of our partners would like to secure their dominance in any new
world order. I am convinced that such an approach is antihistoric, simply a
utopia and is predicated on one of the myths, of which a multitude arose
immediately after the end of the Cold War, including that of "victors and
vanquished." The "winners" syndrome is not merely a psychological problem.
It ever more often manifests itself in practical matters of world politics,
when the proposed methods to tackle them do not rest on an objective
analysis of the situation, not on the general principles of international
law, but on "political expediency" in their own understanding. In accordance
with such logic it turns out, for example, that independence can be sought
for one former autonomy while demanding that it be denied to others.

Russia cannot cooperate on the basis of such a view on the world. Our
criteria for cooperation in international affairs are uniform for all of our
partners, including the CIS nations, China and India, the US and Europe and
other leading states of the world. They are complete equality and mutual
engagement from the very beginning, that is the joint analysis of threats,
the joint elaboration of decisions and also their joint implementation.

Evidently it has to be clearly said that Russia from its past history well
remembers the infatuation with obsessive ideas of changing the world and
cannot identify itself with the similar projects now being put forward,
whatever they are called - the promotion of freedom and democracy everywhere
or "transformational diplomacy." The world is undergoing a profound
transformation, and an ever greater number of countries are looking for
their own ways to join the space of democracy, but to try to speed up this
process would be irresponsible. We are making a choice in favor of the
adaptation of our foreign policy aspirations, as well as of our internal
development, to the conditions of globalization, which already engenders too
many real problems to artificially create new ones. I think that this is one
of the basic distinctions between the foreign policy philosophy of Moscow
and the approaches of some Western capitals.

The stand of "constructive uncertainty" on differences of such a cardinal
nature is hardly appropriate, particularly in view of the current landslide
development of events, creating a force majeure in global politics. Under
these conditions, as never before, maximum responsibility and
far-sightedness are needed in responding to crises and conflict situations.
I am convinced that there is no reasonable alternative to their resolution
by politico-diplomatic methods.

One cannot but note that the overwhelming bulk of events is occurring in the
Near and Middle East and has -whether we like it or not - an
intercivilizational dimension. This concerns tension in Middle East
settlement on account of the advent of Hamas to power in the Palestinian
National Authority as a result of democratic elections. It concerns also the
continuing serious problems in Iraq and Afghanistan, the exacerbation of the
situation around Syria and the intra-Lebanese conditions, and the current
maelstrom of attention about Iran's nuclear program. Do events need to be
speeded any further? Any settlement (if that's what we're striving for) is
only possible on the conditions of engagement rather than isolation of the
respective states, regimes or political forces, which, naturally,
presupposes also criticism of what one dislikes in them. There's only one
choice: either further tension buildup towards a "conflict of
civilizations," or the achievement of a compromise, which is going to
require of all the international factors a renunciation of outdated
prejudices and oversimplified unilateralist world views that in no way
square with the emerging reality of multilaterality as an optimal method of
conducting world affairs.

Russia by virtue of its history, geography and culture and the multinational
and multifaith character of Russian society cannot take anybody's side in a
global intercivilizational conflict being unleashed as a result of, among
other things, extremist manifestations, provocations and violations of
international humanitarian law. Neither does Russia intend to take the
position of a detached onlooker. The only admissible approach for us is to
pursue an enterprising foreign policy strategy, directed at the maintenance
of international stability and the reduction of tension for the sake of
reaching lasting negotiated settlement options acceptable to all. Russia is
ready to play that role, one of a "bridge" - it is this kind of cultural and
civilizational bridge that our country has been practically throughout its
We can be part of efforts for achieving a compromise, which always requires
time and patience, but cannot join diktat and ultimatums, which would drive
us all into a dead-end. In this direction go our proposals for the
internationalization of the provision of nuclear fuel cycle services, the
initiatives to find solutions around the nuclear program of Iran, and our
contacts with Hamas, which are designed to help lead this organization
toward acceptance of the conditions of the Quartet of international
mediators. Britain's experience in Northern Ireland suggests that this won't
be an easy task, but a good beginning is half the battle. In this case one
should be fully aware that any compromises are solely possible in a legal
field, without detriment to international security and with absolute respect
for obligations under international agreements, including the regimes for
the nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

Russia will not let anybody set it at loggerheads with the Islamic world, a
point repeatedly made by President Putin. Speaking at the recent credentials
delivery ceremony, the President of Russia said that "in dealing with any,
even the most acute issues in world politics we invariably and consistently
adhere to a line on resolving them by politico-diplomatic methods and means,
on searching for compromises and agreement."

Russia cannot and will not play the role of a "frontline state" in a new
"cold war" - now among civilizations. Nor is Europe likely to be ready for
this role, where they have not yet fully realized that they have also become
a part of the Islamic world.

Russia cannot be on the side of a narrow, blindfolded view of things, alien
to a creative search for a compromise as the main product of the art of the
possible and predicated on the notorious postulates among us like "I cannot
waive principles " or "those who are not with us are against us." With the
end of the Cold War dogmatism and ideologized approaches to the issues of
international life lost their attractiveness. We cannot identify ourselves
with a strategy at the core of which lies somebody's striving to uphold
their prestige. History offers a mass of confirmations that madness can be
collective. Thus, at the beginning of the 20th century Russia allowed itself
to be drawn into the confrontationist logic of European politics that led to
the tragedy of the First World War and a national catastrophe for Russia
itself. The whole experience of the 20th century shows that it is a sacred
duty of each state to think for itself, not entrust its destiny to an
uncontrolled development of events. The more so the foreign policy of our
country cannot be hostage to electoral cycles in other countries.

The increased significance of the energy factor in global politics is on the
mind of many. Those who have got used to thinking in terms of geopolitics
even assume that such development changes the equation formula of strategic
stability, reducing the specific weight of nuclear deterrence. Anyway, all
agree with the validity of Russia's choice of the theme of energy security
as a priority of Moscow's G8 Presidency. It is about the responsible
international leadership of our country at a crucial stage in the
development of the global situation. At the same time it is obvious that any
sustained development of the energy sector of Russia excludes for the
foreseeable future the possibility of factoring Near and Middle East
resources out in a global energy balance. So that the imperatives of global
energy policy dictate the need for a moderate and respectful approach
towards any problems of this region, including its social, economic and
political modernization. In the final analysis it is necessary to choose
between world energy stability and the policy of "controlled
destabilization" and "transformationism," whoever this may concern.

The energy theme is urgent in the CIS space too. Changes occurring here
clear politics of the past legacy and fit well into the logic of consensus
that has become a general unifying element for a globalizing world since the
end of the Cold War - notably, consensus that there is no alternative to
democracy and market as fundamental bases of social development. Providing,
of course, that the pace and forms of implementation of the appropriate
change must be the function of the specific conditions in each country taken

It is strange that not everybody wants to see that market prices for gas
within the CIS mean the end of the "old, nostalgic" Commonwealth and the
commencement in the post-Soviet space of a realistic, mutually beneficial
policy, when all countries of this region are being viewed as truly
sovereign. We urge our international partners to take an identical approach.
I can well believe that those do not want to notice the new quality of the
situation in the Commonwealth who counted on "restraining" Russia in global
politics through its getting stuck in a viscous confrontation within the CIS
space. The market reaction, including that to the liberalization of Gazprom
shares, is seen by us as a vote of confidence in our actions by business,
which seems to have got tired of the politicization of energy issues.

Fifteen years ago Russia gained freedom and a right to look at things,
including those in international affairs, broadly, with an unblindfolded
eye. Those who are professionally concerned with the study of Russia (and
not only "Sovietology") and work out a policy towards it cannot but see that
it would be naive to expect of us a readiness to be content in the world
with the role of one being led. We are ready, moreover - we do want to play
in the team, be open for well-argued debates, for persuasion. But where
there is a shortage of far-sighed leadership, Russia will not shrink away
from responsibility, will offer its own analysis of the situation, its own
vision of possible solutions, acting, of course, within the framework of
multilateral diplomacy and collective efforts. Many of our partners expect
this from us, and we have no right to deceive their expectations, especially
when there's so much at stake for the entire world community.

We are far from trying to impose our approaches on whomsoever. But it has to
be realized that Russian authority, like authority in any democratic
country, is accountable primarily to its own people and has to defend their
interests. The present foreign policy course of the Russian leadership - for
all the critical discussions of its particular aspects (as it should be in a
democratic society) - enjoys broad support in the country. We regard this as
one of the bases of the social consensus that has taken shape in our
country - the key achievement of Russia's development in recent years.


Subject: Text of inciting PA article on Church of Annunciation incident

[IMRA: When the PA website ran this inciting item they already knew that
Habibi and his Christian wife were nut cases seeking publicity because
social services took custody of their children. Rather than "extremist
Jews" this couple has a history with the PA (see article below).]

Extremist Jews Attack Nazareth's Church of Annunciation with Grenades

GAZA, March 4, 2006 (IPC + Agencies) [Official PA website]- - A group of
terrorist Jewish extremists attacked on Friday the Church of Annunciation in
the city of Nazareth with gas and stun grenades, hurting many Christians
inside who were attending a mass, as Israeli police also threw gas and stun
grenades on thousands of protestors who gathered to denounce the act.

Sources at the Israeli police said that three extremist Jews (two women and
a man) entered the Church of Annunciation after disguising as Christian
worshippers, peddling a baby cart filled with gas grenades and firecrackers,
during a mass that was being held inside the church.

The extremists then threw the firecrackers on the gas canisters, causing a
huge explosion that shook the entire church and surrounding area, and
spreading shock among the worshippers, who fled in panic.

Thousands of Nazareth's residents gathered outside the church and attacked
the extremists in anger, but massive numbers of Israeli police and the
so-called "border guard" interfered and detained them in a small room within
the church. The police then threw tear gas canisters and stun grenades to
disperse the angry crowd, injuring some of them.

Meanwhile, sources within the police identified the perpetrators as Haim
Eliaho Habibi, an extremist rightist Jew who attempted to attack several
Christian holy sites last year, along with his wife and daughter. He
threatened two years ago to commit a suicide bombing inside the Church of
Nativity in Bethlehem.

Habibi was interrogated by police last week, and was released despite his
previous attempts.

In response to this attack, Arab member of the Israeli Knesset Dr. Azmi
Beshara said, "it is unclear whether this crime is based on a religious or
racist background, because it's the same in Israel, and we don't find it
strange that such phenomena break out due to the racist culture in this

Also, Knesset member Mohammed Barakeh condemned this attack, and added that
extremist Jewish gangs have always sought to add fuel on the burning
Palestinian scene in Israel, by perpetrating criminal and terrorist attacks,
as with Shafa Amre massacre last summer.

"This gang desecrated the sanctity of the church and perpetrated its actions
amidst the worshippers. They are but individuals in a larger gang that is on
the loose by the government, which is dealing with them using silk gloves,"
MK Barakeh further mentioned in a press statement.

On its part, the Islamic Movement in the 1948 territories denounced the
attack on the Church of Annunciation, calling on the Palestinian people,
Christians and Muslims, to unite in the face of those who attempt to attack
religious places and properties.

The movement reiterated its call to form voluntary civil patrols to protect
civilians' lives and properties, considering this attack part of a series of
the Jewish attacks that targeted the Mamanallah Cemetery in Jerusalem, the
Islamic Cemetery in Tiberius and the Red Mosque in Safad.

Also, the official spokesman of the Orthodox Church in the Holy Land,
Patriarch Atallah Hanna, vehemently condemned what he called "the terrorist
fascist attack that was carried out by an extremist racist Jewish gang
against the Church of Annunciation."

Patriarch Hanna added that this attack against one of the most important
church in the Palestinian territories indicates that Palestinians are
targeted in their holy sites, lands and identity.

As well, the Supreme Shariaa Judge in Palestine, Sheikh Tayseer Al Tamimi,
denounced the attack and asserted that extremist Jews don't distinguish
between Islamic and Christian holy sites when they attack, warning of the
consequences of the constant attacks on holy sites by these terrorist

In the same context, Fateh movement also denounced the Israeli crime, and
held the Israeli government fully responsible for its consequences. The
spokesman of Fateh, Ahmad Abdul Rahman, added that Israel must apprehend the
perpetrators and their accomplices, who plot in broad daylight against
Islamic and Christian holy sites.

"We call on the international community to provide protection for Islamic
and Christian holy sites in Palestine, in the face of all this Jewish
fanaticism and terrorism, which would turn the entire situation into a

Additionally, Hamas movement condemned the attack, and held the Israeli
occupation authorities fully responsible, and called to face the Israeli
plots aiming to destroy holy sites and places of worship.

The Islamic Jihad movement also maintained that this attack is a continued
effort in the campaign to defame Islam and its prophet, and calls upon
everyone to show more responsibility towards these crimes.


Israeli family asks for "political asylum" in West Bank

RAMALLAH, West Bank, 24 AUGUST 1999 (TUESDAY) - An Israeli family of five
has asked for political asylum from the Palestinian Authority of Yasser
Arafat, a member of the Palestinian parliament said Tuesday.

Haim Habibi, 38, his wife Violetta, 33, and their three children aged six,
10 and 13, who come from Jerusalem, appealed to Palestinian deputy Hatem
Abdel Qader Monday for "protection and political asylum."

"I said 'yes' straight away as far as protection went," Abdel Qader told

"As for political asylum, I referred the matter to Abu Ammar (Arafat), who
... told me to put them in a hotel until his return," he added.
Arafat has been in Cairo and Riyadh, and was due home late Tuesday.

Habibi, an unemployed Kurdish Jew, who is currently staying in a hotel in
Ramallah, said he had done what he did because he was being harassed by the

"We are always being persecuted by the authorities, especially the social
services, who want to take our children away from us," he told AFP.

"They claim we are incapable of bringing them up and want to take them away
and send them to institutions," he added.

"Mr Abdel Qader was very kind to us, much better than anyone in Israel. He
put us into a hotel so that no harm should come to us," he said.

"If our request for political asylum is turned down, we shall go to Germany.
In any case, we will never return to Israel, where there is no justice," he

In September 1997 a group of 13 Israelis spent nearly a month in the
Palestinian city of Jericho, after complaining of discrimination. However,
they finally returned to Israel.


Subject: MEMRI: Editor of U.S. Arab Paper: Extremism
is Spreading Among Muslim Youth in the U.S.

Special Dispatch - Jihad & Terrorism Studies Project
March 3, 2006
No. 1105

Editor of U.S. Arabic Newspaper: Religious Extremism is Spreading Among
Muslim Youth in the U.S.

In an article published in the London Arabic daily Al-Quds Al-Arabi, Dr.
Muhriz Al-Husseini, director of the Center for Dialogue and Research and
editor of the U.S.-published newspaper Al-Minassa Al-'Arabiya, warns that
religious extremism and ignorance are spreading among the young generation
of Muslims in the U.S.

The following are excerpts from the article:(1)

Some Imams Brainwash Muslim Adolescents and Plant Bogus Ideas About Islam in
Their Minds

"At a time when Arab and Islamic leaders and organizations are investing
great efforts and large amounts of money and time in order to improve the
image of Islam and of the Muslims, some imams are working in an organized
manner to brainwash adolescents in the Muslim community and to plant bogus
ideas in their minds concerning Islam, jihad, takfir [accusing other Muslims
of apostasy], heresy and the way [Muslim] society has strayed from the right
path. They give them interpretations of Koranic verses that have been
[deliberately] chosen so as to lead them to rebel against their parents,
their families, and even against the society in which they live.

"[The youths] neglect their studies and spend their time watching videotapes
and listening to audio tapes - most of which are given to them for free - on
ways to train Muslim youth in military and ideological jihad, along with
reports on the suffering of Muslims in some Muslim countries, as well as
Koranic verses and sermons that encourage jihad, martyrdom, self-sacrifice,
and the striking of terror into the hearts of the enemy."

"Many Muslims Families are at Risk of Falling Apart"

"The natural consequence of these misleading actions is that many Muslim
families are at risk of falling apart because of the wrong turn that their
children's religious thinking has taken. Some of these youths - victims [of
religious brainwashing] - are awaiting trial, and some are serving time in
juvenile prisons or are under close and continuous security surveillance,
since they relate to others with aggression and are trying to spread [Islam]
through violence and calls to jihad...

"There are agents of various nationalities - both Arab and non-Arab - who
mingle with these adolescents and choose from among them individuals with
specific traits that make them susceptible to brainwashing - young people
who have a natural tendency for misbehavior and who accept violence as a
means of imposing their views and their way."

"The Most Important Criteria for Choosing These Youths are: Propensity for
Rebellion, Lack of Fluency in Arabic, and Feelings of Alienation"

"[These agents] then pass them on to religious propagandists, who live in a
number of American cities. The most important criteria for choosing these
youths are their natural propensity for rebellion, their lack of fluency in
Arabic... [and] their feelings of alienation and suffering due to their
indeterminate identity - that is, [their] identity that is neither Eastern
nor Western, but split...

"Under the influence of bogus religious ideas, [these youth] are struck with
a feeling of rejection of their surroundings - rejection of their families
and society. At a later [stage], their relations with their parents and
their friends go bad; they shatter the sculptures in their homes, rip the
paintings off the walls, and destroy the television sets - since, in their
opinion, these are satanic tools that inculcate heresy, polytheism, and
deviation from religion and the shari'a. They demand that their fathers...
wear special pants and robes, let their beards grow long, and comb their
hair in accordance with the sunna. They insist that their mothers wear a
headscarf, or even a full veil, and that they refrain from leaving the
house. All of this occurs not in their Arab countries of origin, but in some
families [that live] in the U.S.!"

Such Youth are Not Familiar With Even the Basic Principles of Islam

"In order to uncover the causes of this phenomenon, that has been presented
to the reader without any exaggeration... I met with a young man whose
thought and behavior exemplify this phenomenon, in order to hear his views,
the justifications for his behavior, and his understanding of the basic
principles of the religion... I discovered that he was not familiar with
even the basic principles of Islam... and that in matters of Islamic thought
and teachings he knows by heart only a few verses from the 'Al-Anfal' and
'Al-Tawbah' chapters [of the Koran] - in particular, the verses concerning
jihad, takfir, infidels, striking terror into the hearts of the enemy, and
the establishment of a [Muslim military] force.

"He insisted that the fundamental obligation of every Muslim in his life is
to fight against the infidels - both Muslim and non-Muslim. When I asked him
how he defines an infidel, he answered without hesitation: whoever fails to
fulfill the obligation of jihad. When I asked him against whom the jihad
should be directed, he answered, again without hesitation: the jihad should
be directed against the infidels. When I tried to understand who, in his
opinion, are infidels, he said: Everyone who does not believe in the truth
that I believe in.

"When I heard these things, I realized the horrible disaster that might
befall Islam and the Muslims in America and in other countries with [Muslim]
immigration, if the young generation of Muslim youth were to embrace these

"The painful truth is that such a young man - only 16 years old - who
doesn't have any life experience, any true knowledge in matters of religion,
or any solid criteria for understanding the fundamentals of religious law
and shari'a - is a victim of circumstances that he did not create. He is a
young man who has tried to find an identity for himself in religion, and was
given incorrect interpretations of the monotheistic revelations. He received
his knowledge from people whom he considers authorities in religion and
religious law... and at the same time, he does not find anyone who can
correct his views and his understanding. Therefore, he is convinced that the
way to eternal life and Paradise is through jihad [alone]...

"Who is responsible for this tragedy? Who gives material support to these
religious propagandists and agents? Why do they spend all this money? Does
this approach serve the interests of Islam and the Muslims, or does it serve
the interests of others?..."

The Muslim Community Blames the U.S. Security Services - Both if They
Intervene and if They Stay Away From the Mosques

"It is worth mentioning the dilemma of the American security services that
face this dangerous phenomenon... If the security services stay away from
the mosques and do not meddle in their affairs, the Muslim community will
complain that the security services take no interest in the fate of their
children and that they are intentionally allowing religious propagandists to
lead the youth astray, confuse their thinking, and ruin their futures... On
the other hand, if the security services interfere, the Muslim community
will again complain, and will express its opposition to the interference of
the American security services in the mosques' affairs, in the work of the
propagandists, and in the spreading of Islam, and will condemn the harming
of freedom of religion and worship..."

One of the Causes Preventing Effective Treatment is the School of Thought
That Believes in Conspiracy Theories

"Without a doubt, there are many interrelated causes that prevent this
phenomenon from being dealt with realistically and effectively... One of the
most important causes is the existence of a school of thought that believes
in conspiracy theories. It [claims] that there are hidden forces that abhor
and fear the development of Islam and of the Muslims in America. These
forces are trying to distort the image of the Muslims before they grow
strong, and before their influence in society grows. Some go even further,
and say that these forces are trying to turn the idea of the clash between
Western and Eastern civilizations into reality, by nurturing the causes and
justifications for this clash, and by creating a new generation of Muslims
that act in an extremist and violent manner... The natural outcome of this
[conspiratorial] way of thinking is that the Muslim community mobilizes its
efforts and its thinking towards a struggle against some vague external

"There is no doubt that this phenomenon, which is spreading in the Muslim
community in America, places an enormous responsibility upon the members of
the community itself, and especially upon the parents and those in positions
of authority, who allow their children's thinking and behavior to become
easy prey for others...

"This responsibility requires parents to not allow their young children to
participate unaccompanied in religious gatherings. Instead, they should go
with them to hear what they are told in the mosques. They should thoroughly
investigate the biographies and views of religious preachers in the mosques,
and should demand... the removal of anyone who distorts religion, distorts
the interpretation [of religion], and leads the youth astray."

Parents, Not Security Services or Educational and Religious Institutions,
are Responsible for Cultivating a Mature, Realistic and Reasonable

"This responsibility requires the building of a bridge of dialogue with the
youth, and requires giving them a [positive] example, both in thought and in
behavior. The crisis of identity should be discussed objectively,
rationally, and in a language that the youth can understand, and they should
be guided in how best to deal with life in America and its demands...
Parents need to get to know their children's friends and everyone they
mingle with, at school and in their free time... They need to monitor
everything that their children see on the computer...

"[Responsibility for] the education and cultivation of a new generation that
will be [mature], realistic and reasonable, in countries with [Muslim]
immigration, lies on the shoulders of the parents and the family - more than
on any security service or religious or educational institution..."

(1) Al-Quds Al-'Arabi (London), January 30, 2006.

The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) is an independent,
non-profit organization that translates and analyzes the media of the Middle
East. Copies of articles and documents cited, as well as background
information, are available on request.

MEMRI holds copyrights on all translations. Materials may only be used with
proper attribution.

The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI)
P.O. Box 27837, Washington, DC 20038-7837
Phone: (202) 955-9070
Fax: (202) 955-9077
Search previous MEMRI publications at



(Communicated by the President's Spokeswoman)
Saturday, 04 March, 2006

President Moshe Katsav condemns the incident that occurred yesterday
(Friday), 3.3.06, in the Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth.

President Katsav urges that the incident not be allowed to harm the good
relations between Israel's Jewish and Christian citizens

( ) and emphasizes that the State of Israel is
committed to maintaining Christian, Islamic and Jewish holy sites
( ) alike.

President Katsav calls on community and religious leaders to work to calm
tensions following yesterday's incident, which has caused shock and
revulsion among all of Israel's citizens.

President Katsav spoke this evening (Saturday), 4.3.06, with Custos of the
Holy Land V.R. Fr. Pierbattista Pizzaballa. The President emphasized his
regret over the incident and stressed that both the Christian establishment
and Christians know very well that Israel is committed to maintaining the
holy places and freedom of worship. President Katsav added that it would be
necessary to draw the necessary conclusions in order to prevent such
exceptional incidents in the future.


Subject: Israeli Found Spy's Data Irresistible

Israeli Found Spy's Data Irresistible
[Articles provided by Justice4JP]

JERUSALEM - The Israeli intelligence handler of Jonathan Pollard, the
American convicted of spying for Israel, says in an interview that Mr.
Pollard provided such good information that he could not face stopping the
operation even though it was aimed at Israel's closest ally, the United

The handler, Rafi Eitan, told the newspaper Yediot Aharonot, "I couldn't
resist the temptation and order a stop to the operation."

Mr. Eitan spoke about the Pollard case for the first time to Ronen Bergman
of the newspaper, which is publishing the comments on Friday.

Mr. Eitan said that Mr. Pollard never exposed American agents in the Soviet
Union or elsewhere.

Mr. Eitan also said he believed that the American double agent Aldrich Ames,
who was spying for the Soviet Union, tried to blame Mr. Pollard for exposing
the American agents to clear himself of suspicion.

"I have no doubt that had Pollard been tried today, in light of what is
known about Ames and other agents who were exposed, he would have received a
much lighter sentence," Mr. Eitan said.

Mr. Pollard, who worked for the Navy as an intelligence officer, began
spying for Israel after he approached an Israeli officer in 1984. Mr. Eitan
said that Mr. Pollard provided "information of such high quality and
accuracy, so good and so important to the country's security" that "my
desire, my appetite to get more and more material overcame me."

In the event of another war with Arab countries, Mr. Eitan said, Mr.
Pollard's information would have made a great difference.

The interview of Mr. Eitan is reprinted below. The English translation was
provided by YNET, Yediot Achronot's web site.

Ex-agent: Pollard framed by Soviet spy

Exclusive interview: Former Mossad operative Rafi Eitan says Jonathan
Pollard never exposed U.S. agents, was framed by CIA mole Ames; information
relayed by Pollard was so good 'I couldn't resist temptation,' Eitan says.
Addressing harsh punishment, ex-spymaster says Pollard spoke too much,
should have avoided anti-U.S. accusations

BY Ronen Bergman -YNET - March 2, 2006

Exclusive interview: Claims that Jonathan Pollard exposed 11 U.S. spies -
charges that led judges to sentence the Israeli spy to life in prison - are
false and were fabricated by Russia's top mole in America, a former senior
Mossad operative intimately familiar with the affair says.

Ex-agent Rafi Eitan, one of the most veteran, senior figures in Israel's
intelligence community, has never before spoken about his role in the
Pollard espionage affair, which to this day stirs up emotions in both Israel
and the U.S., and which tainted his reputation and ended his hopes of
eventually heading the Mossad.

However, now that he heads the Pensioners Party ahead of the upcoming
elections, one of Israel's most fascinating and controversial spymasters
decided that as a public figure he must provide an account of his secretive
deeds and gave his approval for publishing the information.

In an exclusive interview with Ronen Bergman, Eitan flatly denied charges
that Pollard handed over to Israel information used to expose American spies
in the former Soviet Union.

"I'm willing to put my hand in fire and swear in everything dear to me that
those charges are a blatant lie," Eitan said. "Nothing from what Pollard
delivered leaked out of the Israeli intelligence community, nothing.
Besides, he never provided us with information that could have exposed
American agents in the Soviet Union or anywhere else."

"We weren't interested in those subjects, and he didn't provide the
information," Eitan says.

The former agent says shortly after Pollard's trial ended, Israel discovered
Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger sent a top secret memorandum to the
judge, accusing Pollard of exposing 11 American agents.

"The information the charge was based on arrived from the CIA, and more
accurately, from the counter-espionage branch of the CIA. Only years later
it turned out the person who headed the branch and initiated the move
against Pollard.was a person by the name of (Aldrich) Ames, who all those
years was the top Soviet spy in the U.S.," Eitan says.

"He simply took advantage of the Pollard affair to cast the blame for the
affair he (Ames) himself was guilty of on Pollard, thereby clearing himself
of suspicion," Eitan says. "I have no doubt that had Pollard been tried
today, in light of what is known about Ames and other agents who were
exposed, he would have received a much lighter sentence."

'Impressive intellectual abilities'

Addressing the decision to make use of Pollard, Eitan says the former Navy
intelligence officer provided such high-quality information it was difficult
to resist the temptation.

"We're talking about information that was of such high-quality, so accurate,
so good and so important to the country's security that I couldn't resist
the temptation and order the operation be terminated," Eitan says. "My
desire, my appetite to get more and more material overcame me.yes, despite
the seemingly tough exterior, I'm shedding tears over this affair. As was
the case my entire life, I thought I was doing the best thing for the State
of Israel."

In 1984, Pollard turned, through an intermediary, to an Israeli Air Force
officer staying in Washington at the time, Aviem Sela. The officer
subsequently relayed the information to the scientific attach� in Israel's
Washington Embassy. However, the attach� was in fact working for LAKAM, a
secretive agency set up in a bid to acquire technology and raw materials for
Israel's nuclear program and the defense establishment as a whole.

At the time, the LAKAM was headed by Rafi Eitan.

"I don't remember the exact date, but one day I got information that a man
called Jonathan Pollard, a Jew and devout Zionist, turned to Aviem Sela and
told him he possesses information that could save Israel from another war
with Arab countries."

Pollard began handing over information to Israel, first orally, and than
through documents. A large intelligence outfit was assigned to the operation
and would receive documents from the new spy. The team would photocopy them
in a hideout equipped with special devices that blocked the signals emitted
by the special photocopy machines.

"After first looking through the information, and following a thorough
examination of the materials by security experts, we realized the
information was of critical significant to the country's security," Eitan
says. "I would certainly say that had a war broken out, the material Pollard
relayed would have greatly boosted the IDF and have a fundamental impact on
the battlefield."

Still, at the end of the day we're not talking about using a spy in an Arab
country, but rather, recruiting an agent within our best friend's
intelligence community. You weren't thinking about what could happen should
he be exposed?

"It was my decision, and mine only. I took complete, absolute
responsibility.I decided to take the risk, which was clear to me, although I
didn't predict the affair would develop into such extent.there's risk when
using any agent."

"There is no doubt of the great complexity and high risk, particularly when
it comes to recruiting an agent within Israel's best friend, but what was
before me on the other hand was Israel's security and saving the lives of
Israeli soldiers and civilians.IDF officials and the intelligence community,
who received the information, which greatly boosted their knowledge of Arab
states and terror organizations.warmly thanked me for bringing it, without
knowing, of course, where it came from.

Come on, after all only one source could have produced satellite photos of
such quality.

"As I said, only me and Pollard's handlers knew there was a source within
the American intelligence community. It was my decision, and no one outside
the system knew the details of the operation."

'Pollard spoke too much'

At one point, in order to boost Pollard's connection to the State of Israel,
Eitan ordered the spy be brought to Israel and meet with the operation's
chief commander, Eitan himself.

"The man made an exceptional impression on me with his intellectual ability,
the detailed memory, the understanding of what was going on in the Middle
East, and his attachment and desire to help Israel," Eitan says. "There's no
doubt he placed himself in huge risk, and he fully realized that, even
without our explanations.

"Despite this, his motivation to help us, the State of Israel, was above and
beyond. I thought this motivation stemmed from the Zionism instilled in him
from the moment he was born, at the home he grew up in. I had great
appreciation for an American Jew willing to risk everything - his position
in the U.S. Navy and in American society, and even his freedom, in order to
help Israel and save the lives of Israelis."

"When I recall this meeting, it hurts me to think this man was captured and
is currently in prison for a very long term, something I would not wish upon

Pollard is in prison for 20 years now and the American president didn't even
shorten his sentence. Why?

"The Americans are of course very angry over this affair, but this is only
part of the explanation. Pollard's situation became much worse to a large
extent because we - including Pollard himself, spoke too much. Pollard
himself spoke incessantly about the affair, even though he was forbidden
from doing so, and charged the Americans, as did many Israeli Knesset
members, ministers, and public figures, with a series of accusations, topped
by anti-Semitism."

"I'm afraid those things, and particularly the charges against the
Americans, only made his situation worse.all this talk about anti-Semitism
didn't help, but rather, created in the U.S. an opposite atmosphere: 'You're
accusing us of such deeds, so now he'll stay in jail to spite you.' And as
proof, I know with certainty that (former Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu
already finalized with (former U.S. President Bill) Clinton a pardon for
Pollard, but he stepped back at the last moment because of pressure by
American intelligence chiefs."

Pollard claims you told him that at a time of distress he should flee to the
Israeli embassy, and despite this, when he did just that, you ordered that
he be kicked out of there.

"You think I would instruct an agent to escape to our embassy if he's facing
distress? After all, this contradicts any operational sense. We had a plan
of escape, that I will not detail, but I can unequivocally say that it
wasn't through the embassy. The embassy has its own mechanisms and it
operates independently. I wasn't there at all at the time and I certainly
didn't order Pollard be removed. It's nonsense."

'Pollard caused no damage to American security'

Eitan says he realized Pollard was about to be exposed several days before
the dramatic arrest at the Israeli embassy.

"I was in Israel at the time and we got information that everything was
collapsing.When I heard the deal was exposed I realized I needed to occupy
myself with two things, trying to save the man and trying to spare Israel
the complications. Ultimately, we failed in both missions. I may not be at
fault for this, but I'm responsible for everything that has happened. I took
the responsibility upon myself and I left."

Did you try to put into action Pollard's plan of escape?

"We did everything to save him and it didn't work. In retrospect and after
analyzing the entire affair, there is one detail, an operational one, one
critical mistake, that could have avoided the entire affair. But someone
under my command made this mistake and I took responsibility for that too."

The moment the affair was exposed, did you imagine what was about to

"I didn't imagine it would reach such colossal dimensions. And as proof, I
took all the responsibility upon myself from the outset and didn't blame
anyone else. In retrospect, in face of what happened, and because this
entire miserable affair has been blamed on me in its entirely, I may have
been na�ve and erred in quickly taking everything upon myself."

Why do you think the affair reached such dimensions?

"Because of American political and emotional reasons."


"You used this word, but the fact is there is a series of espionage affairs
that are much more severe, where the guilty parties got much less than
Pollard, with the American media dealing with them to a much lesser extent.
And I ask, why? Pollard may have undermined American laws and the U.S.
intelligence community's code of conduct, but he caused no damage to
America's security, not at all."

Throughout the interview, Eitan makes an effort to appear poised and
collected even when it comes to the affair that tainted his name and ended
his intelligence career. Still, he admits one particularly difficult moment
came when he was forced by the attorney general to testify before FBI
investigators who traveled to Israel.

The investigation placed Eitan in a particularly problematic situation. On
the one hand, the Israeli government was interested in demonstrating its
willingness to cooperate with the U.S. in face of the serious crisis between
the two countries. On the other hand, Eitan's loyalty to his top agent was
on the line, with the knowledge that by talking with investigators he will
be incriminating Pollard.

"It was a very difficult moment. We had a government decision and I
cooperated with the Americans. They knew who I was. They knew my name, and I
acted on the orders of the attorney general."

You told them everything.

"I acted in accordance with the attorney genera's instructions. During the
testimony, I was dealing with a big emotional storm. A deep sense that I
must not talk to them about the affair, and knowing that they certainly are
not interested in Pollard's wellbeing. On the other hand, I'm a disciplined
soldier and never acted against government orders, even if I thought we
should act differently." -30-


Subject: Abbas looks to the PLO to weaken Hamas

Abbas looks to the PLO to weaken Hamas
Commentary by Anna Mahjar-Barducci
Friday, March 03, 2006 The [Beirut] Daily Star

In his speech at the opening session of the newly elected Palestinian
Parliament, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas declared: "We are
all required to continue activating and strengthening the Palestinian
Liberation Organization's role as the sole legitimate representative of our

With these words, Abbas laid out a new strategy: the PLO would be the key to
destabilizing Hamas' rule and would help restore Fatah's leadership. It is
remarkable that Abbas gave such a speech. After the Oslo Accords, the Fatah
leadership in Ramallah sought to weaken the PLO - a Fatah-dominated umbrella
group, but that also includes most major Palestinian factions. This strategy
was adopted because, at the time, the PLO represented the old guard - those
who had decided to remain in Tunis, thereby signaling their opposition to
Oslo and their refusal to recognize the PA as representative of the
Palestinian people.

It was the secretary general of Fatah, Farouq Qaddoumi, along with those who
remained with him in Tunis as well as the Syrian regime, who promoted the
strategy of strengthening the PLO in order to oppose Yasser Arafat's
policies. Oslo generated deep internal divisions within Fatah between those
who supported the accords - among them Abbas - and those opposed, led by
Qaddoumi. In fact, it was more a power struggle than an ideological one,
since Arafat himself had stated that Oslo was merely a temporary truce. But
Qaddoumi feared that Arafat would transform Fatah from a liberation movement
into a political party.

Consequently, Arafat sought to impede Qaddoumi's efforts to become
indisputable leader of the PLO. In the course of this struggle, Arafat
marginalized his rivals within Fatah and strengthened his own powers and
those of the PA.

Abbas' approach, at least until the recent parliamentary elections, was
similar to that of Arafat: to weaken the PLO. Abbas rejected Qaddoumi's
recommendation to strengthen the PLO, since he wanted to strengthen only the
PA - to reinforce his own status as president, but also to delegate more
powers to his ministers. Indeed, it was in order to strengthen the PA that
Abbas insisted on holding parliamentary elections on schedule.

Hamas' victory changed the picture. Abbas found himself in a dilemma. To
continue strengthening the PA would mean giving more power to the Hamas-led
government and Parliament. But to leave the PA under Hamas control and allow
the movement to lead the Palestinian cause would bring about Fatah's demise.
So far, Abbas has rejected Fatah's joining a coalition with Hamas so long as
the latter refuses to accept his conditions: recognition of Israel,
recognition of all prior agreements between Israel and the PA, and an end to
violence. These were the same conditions the PLO and Fatah were obliged to
accept almost two decades ago in order to receive international recognition,
even though there is still some disagreement over them within Fatah itself.

Hamas has, for the moment, adopted a policy of pragmatism. It has agreed to
maintain contacts with Israel in order to address the daily needs of
Palestinians, while keeping alive the option of a resort to armed
resistance. As long as Hamas upholds this strategy, Abbas will not cooperate
with the movement. That is why he has decided, instead, to try and
destabilize Hamas' rule by strengthening the PLO as the higher Palestinian
political body. The problem will be to convince Palestinians to once again
believe in the PLO.

Abbas has already transferred control over some security agencies to the PLO
and has stressed that negotiations with Israel can be held only through the
PLO. He has made it clear to Hamas' parliamentarians that it was only thanks
to Oslo and the PLO that they were able to participate in the recent
elections. After bringing Oslo and the PLO back to life, Abbas is now
looking for partners to implement his new strategy.

The danger is that in weakening the PA in favor of the PLO, Abbas may also
weaken his own position as president. To avoid this, Abbas has asked for
Qaddoumi's help (Qaddoumi is one of the venerable symbols of the PLO), while
he also hopes to swiftly marginalize him. Abbas recently dispatched a
delegation to Tunis, and Qaddoumi met with Palestinian factions in Damascus
to discuss how to reinvigorate the PLO.

In his speech at the inauguration ceremony of the new Parliament, Abbas also
mentioned reactivating the Palestinian National Council (PNC), the
parliament in exile of the Palestinians which is also part of the PLO, in
order to further diminish the impact of the legislative elections. Indeed,
in the next few weeks a meeting of the PNC may be called in Cairo.

Within this framework, the role of the young Fatah leaders from the
PA-controlled territories, such as Muhammad Dahlan, will be reduced. One of
the reasons for this is Dahlan's "arrogant" attitude, say Fatah members in
Tunis. Eventually, however, the young leaders may become useful allies of
Abbas at the next Fatah conference, to be held in March, in which the
organization will formulate its political strategy and decide whether to
transform itself into a party or to remain a liberation organization, as
Fatah's armed factions and the PLO in the diaspora want it to be.
Anna Mahjar-Barducci is a Tunis-based Moroccan-Italian journalist. She was
correspondent in the Occupied Territories during the second Intifada. Her
commentaries are regularly published in the Italian daily Il Foglio. She
wrote this commentary for THE DAILY STAR.


Subject: Ze'ev Schiff on Israel's failed deterrence and rocket threats
- now faces enemy's deterrent threat

Who will deter whom?

By Ze'ev Schiff Haaretz 3 March 2006

Israel should not scoff at Iran's growing power as a regional force and the
dangers of the worldview of its radical regime. Iran may have made some
mistakes, but it has achieved some outstanding accomplishments. While the
world is busy only with its efforts to acquire nuclear arms, it has managed
over the years, through a sophisticated move in cooperation with the Syrians
and Hezbollah, to build an array of rockets in southern Lebanon that could
harm Israel over long ranges.

There are recent reports that a weans convoy, apparently Iranian, made its
way through Syria through the Lebanese Bekaa and received a transit permit
with the Lebanese government openly confirming that it knew the convoy's
goal was Hezbollah. Therefore, the Lebanese government is an indirect
partner in the establishment of the rocket array aimed against Israel. It
has already been published that this includes some 12,000 Katyushas and
rockets of various types. Militarily, it makes no difference if there were
only 5,000 Katyushas, for example. The important factor is the range, which
Iran makes sure to constantly improve. The Fajr-3 and Fajr-5 rockets have
increased their ranges to some 70 kilometers. This means Hezbollah and, in
effect, Iran can shoot at targets south of Haifa, and not only in the area
of Haifa Bay.

There are various approaches to this threat to Israel. The former chief of
staff, Moshe Ya'alon, used to say that the Hezbollah rocketry array will
rust on its own without being used. Maybe. But what if there are reasons
found for its use before it rusts? Other say that this is not an Iranian
threat, because the same targets could be hit by terror actions. That's
strange to say. Is the danger of putting two million people into shelters
and a cessation of schooling and work in all the regional enterprises within
the rockets' aim not a strategic blow? Past experience with artillery fire
from southern Lebanon and the experience of primitive Qassam rockets make it
difficult to come up with calming conclusions.

A few months ago there was a one-day conference at Haifa University on
dealing with a sudden multi-victim disaster in the Haifa Bay area. Dr.
Ephraim Dvir, head of the geography department for disaster areas and the
chairman of the national steering committee for preparations for an
earthquake, spoke of the "disaster triangle" in the Haifa area. The bay, he
said, is the most dangerous of all the sensitive areas in Israel because of
the ammonia and bromide facilities, the oil refineries and the heavy
industry. Add to that the population density and the flawed local
infrastructure for dealing with the population during a surprise disaster.

The experts remember that the state comptroller devoted three reports to the
subject, as did two Knesset subcommittees. After much foot-dragging, the
Home Front command announced that the huge ammonia tank in the bay area does
not meet its standards. Safeguarding the tanks would require a most enormous
expenditure, so Haifa municipality ordered Haifa Chemicals to immediately
cease use of the tank. However, the sensitivity of the area, within range of
Hezbollah rockets, remains.

Clearly, Israel has failed from every aspect in preventing the establishment
of the Iranian-backed rocket array. No arms convoy or plane carrying weapons
or warehouse of rockets in Lebanon has been struck. The rockets are deployed
out of harm's way, and Iranian representatives in Lebanon help plan and
produce conclusions from Hezbollah operations. This does not mean that
Israel cannot deal with the threat; but it decided to base itself on a
strategy of bed-and-breakfasts and skiing, according to which it is best not
to really respond to harm, kidnappings and provocations lest it endanger the
tourism. In recent years, that strategy has been paramount and that is what
enabled the Iranians to establish their deterrent arm against Israel.


Subject: Excerpts: :Egyptian press freedom -- in reverse.Hamas
unchanged in Russia.Dialogue with Denmark? 4 March 2006

Excerpts: :Egyptian press freedom -- in reverse.Hamas unchanged in
Russia.Dialogue with Denmark? 4 March 2006

+++AL-AHRAM WEEKLY 2-8 Mar.'06:"Publish and be ... jailed"

HEADING:"Jailan Halawi reports on the latest stand-off between Egyptian
journalists and the state "

"On 23 February 2004 ... Mubarak promised the chairman of the Press
Syndicate, Galal Aref, that the 1996 law that allowed
custodial sentences to be imposed for publishing offences would be

" 'My promise is still on, yet drafting a comprehensive [press] law that
satisfies all parties, neccessitates more time for study,'
Mubarak said on Tuesday, in statements made to the chief editors"

"conveyed President Mubarak's commitment to safeguarding freedom of
expression 'which the president cherishes as the
cornerstone of democracy' "
On 23 February 2004 President Hosni Mubarak promised the chairman of the
Press Syndicate, Galal Aref, that the 1996 law that allowed custodial
sentences to be imposed for publishing offences would be repealed.
...on 23 February 2006 ... a Cairo court sentenced Abdel-Nasser El-Zuhairi,
a journalist with the independent daily Al-Masri Al-Youm, to one year in
jail. He -- and two co-defendants -- were also ordered to pay LE10,000 in
"My promise is still on, yet drafting a comprehensive [press] law that
satisfies all parties, necessitates more time for study," Mubarak said on
Tuesday, in statements made to the chief editors ... ates.
The three journalists were accused of libeling former Minister of Housing
Mohamed Ibrahim Suleiman in a story that appeared in August 2004. The three
received one-year jail sentences last April but were granted a retrial since
the earlier judgment had been passed in absentia.
The new ruling sets journalists back on a collision course with the
government, and not for the first time. Between 1995 and 1996 the Press
Syndicate held no fewer than 10 general assemblies and eventually succeeded
in having Law 93 for the year 1995, which included many vague provisions
restricting press freedom, amended.
Following the judgment journalists vowed to unite and press for the
abolition of the law that allows for custodial sentences, and the eventual
annulment of El-Zuhairi's prison term, ... .Meanwhile, El-Zuhairi's defence
team will contest the ruling before the Court of Cassation and the syndicate
has already submitted an appeal to the prosecutor-general's office to
suspend the sentence. Attempts are ongoing to effect a reconciliation
between Suleiman and the 37 newspapers against which he has filed lawsuits
which, if successful, will provide enough grounds for the prosecutor to
suspend the sentence until the Court of Cassation rules.
During a meeting held on 25 February at the headquarters of the Nasserist
Party's weekly organ Al-Arabi, more than a dozen editors-in-chief agreed to
form a steering committee to coordinate the campaign against the present law
and to lobby the People's Assembly to pass a new law, a draft of which,
presented by the syndicate, still lingers in the corridors of the
. . .
In a statement to the Middle East News Agency, Minister of Information Anas
El-Fiqi said the president's promise still holds and that a draft law is
ready to be presented to the People's Assembly during its current session.
El-Fiqi further conveyed President Mubarak's commitment to safeguarding
freedom of expression "which the president cherishes as the cornerstone of
. . .
In an interview with Al-Ahram Weekly, Magdy El-Gallad, editor-in-chief of
Al-Masry Al-Youm, voiced similar concerns. He noted that the margin of
freedom allowed the press during last year's presidential and parliamentary
elections is narrowing. Within ... less than two weeks, he said, several
chief editors have been summoned for questioning by the prosecutor-general
.... "sending a clear message to the press that the government won't
tolerate criticism anymore".
El-Gallad believes the state is increasingly worried that journalists will
expose practices it would prefer to keep under wraps and is unwilling for
many issues -- privitisation, the liberalisation of the economy and evidence
of corruption among them -- to be scrutinised closely.
. . .
The majority of journalists interviewed by Al-Ahram Weekly expressed anger
at El-Zuhairi's prison sentence. In the words of one: "We all need to unite
to make our position clear to the government and the public. To the
government we say we won't succumb to your pressures and tyrannical methods
aimed at preventing us from unveiling corruption. And to the public we say:
take note of our struggle and that we are being jailed for defending your
legitimate right to know."
The syndicate's main demand centres on abolishing jail sentences and
replacing them with monetary fines. In order to safeguard its independence,
the Press Syndicate proposes that journalists who publish offences should be
tried before a syndicate disciplinary commitee and in accordance with their
profession's code of ethics.
... the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) sent an open
letter to President Mubarak: "The hopes spawned... have gradually given way
to disappointment. ... journalists were sentenced to prison, harassed and
assaulted for doing their job.", , ,

+++ARAB NEWS (Saudi) 4 March '06: "Hamas Refuses to Yield", Dario Thuburn,
Agence France Presse
" 'Yasser Arafat and Israel sat at the negotiating table for more than 10
years. The result of this was that Israel killed Arafat. Why do you want
to kill Hamas?' "
"Lavrov told Hamas it had to respect the views laid down by the Middle
East Quartet of mediators -- Russia, the United States, the European Union
and the United Nations."
"Hamas leaderwhip has agreed to let international officials monitor their
budget funding."
MOSCOW, 4 March 2006 - Hamas will not reach peace with Israel until the
Jewish state withdraws from Palestinian territory it occupied in 1967, the
radical movement's leader said yesterday after landmark first talks with a
world power.
Khaled Meshaal said that only if Israel declared its readiness to pull out
of occupied land, return refugees, break down the security fence and free
all prisoners, "then our side will take serious steps toward securing
peace." He made it clear he was in no rush to enter any kind of talks with
Israel, which considers the group a terrorist organization.
"Yasser Arafat and Israel sat at the negotiating table for more than 10
years. The result of that was that Israel killed Arafat. What, do you want
to kill Hamas?" he said.
Meshaal's comments came after talks in Moscow with Russian Foreign Minister
Sergei Lavrov that marked the Hamas leader's most high-profile appearance
yet on the international stage.
It follows the movement's stunning Palestinian election victory in January
and as it prepares to form its first government despite being isolated on
the international stage for refusing to recognize Israel's right to exist.
. . .
Lavrov told Hamas it had to respect the views laid down by the Middle East
Quartet of mediators - Russia, the United States, the European Union and the
United Nations.
"That means above all the need to stick by all existing agreements, the need
to recognize the right of Israel to exist as a partner in negotiations,
(and) the need to reject all armed methods of settling political questions,"
... .. . .
Meshaal refused to be drawn into commenting on Russia's ... war to crush an
independence bid by the Chechen minority in the North Caucasus region, where
tens of thousands ...have been killed over the last decade ....
"It's an interior problem of Russia. ... and we do not interfere in the
affairs of other states," he said.
. . .
... in a statement after the talks, the Russian Foreign Ministry said Hamas
vowed to stick to the cease-fire provided Israel also refrained from force.
"The willingness of Hamas not to withdraw from the inter-Palestinian
agreement on a cease-fire reached in March 2005 was confirmed with the
understanding that Israel would also refrain from use of force," it said.
Lavrov said the Hamas leadership had agreed to allow international officials
to monitor their budget funding, ... .
. . .

+++THE DAILY STAR (Lebanon) 2 Mar.'06: "Key Egyptian clerics at odds over
cartoon dialogue"

By Agence France Presse (AFP)

"he would go to Denmark with 50 young men and women under ... 25
represeting all Muslim nations."

"Qaradawi, who heads the International Association of Muslim Scholars and
is considered by many to be the
spiritual leader of the largely banned but popular Muslim Brotherhood
movement, said Muslim clerics must first
convene an urgent meeting to forge a united position before talking to
the Danes."
DOHA: Two key Egyptian-born Muslim religious figures differed Wednesday on
whether the time was right to start dialogue with Denmark over the
...cartoons. ...preacher Amr Khaled, who hosts a popular Arab television
program on reconciling Islam with the demands of modern life, has
spearheaded attempts to talk over the issue.
Khaled's initiative, which he said he had launched with the support of
Muslim youth and Islamic leaders in several Arab nations, has led the Danish
government to agree to sponsor a March 10 conference in Copenhagen.
This has pitted Khaled, 39, against Sheikh Youssef al-Qaradawi, 79, an
influential cleric based in Qatar, who insists Khaled is out of step with
the majority sentiment in the Muslim world that there should be no dialogue
unless Denmark issues a formal apology ... ..
The Copenhagen meeting will be the first high-profile forum bringing Muslims
and Christian Danes together since the cartoon controversy blew up ...
triggering riots ... that left at least 40 people dead.
. . .
The London-based Khaled said he held a poll on his Web site asking young
people whether Muslims should "move from protesting to starting a dialogue."
Khaled said nearly 97 percent of the some 100,000 respondents favored
dialogue, adding that his Web site also received 10,000 letters from Arab
youth addressed to their Danish counterparts explaining ... Islam.
The Egyptian preacher said he would go to Denmark with 50 young men and
women under the age of 25 representing all Muslim nations.
Their purpose would be to tell the Danes about the "true meaning of Islam
and Prophet Mohammad" while hearing their views on "press freedom and the
protection of religious sanctities." Another aim would be to launch programs
fostering the ideas of coexistence and mutual respect between Muslim and
Christian youth.
Khaled said his initiative was endorsed by 170 Muslim religious figures
including the muftis, or religious establishment heads, in Egypt, Jordan and
Syria as well as some Saudi clerics.
But Qaradawi said he cautioned Khaled three weeks ago when he sought his
advice about the initiative not to go ahead with it because there was no
common ground yet for dialogue and that the Danes have offered no
substantive concessions to Muslims ... .
. . .
Qaradawi, who heads the International Association of Muslim Scholars and is
considered by many to be the spiritual leader of the largely banned but
popular Muslim Brotherhood movement, said Muslim clerics must first convene
an urgent meeting to forge a united position before talking to the Danes.
He also repeated calls for Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen to
issue a formal apology for the cartoons.
"Before inviting us to talk, we invite him to apologize," said Qaradawi.
"They must see the anger of the Islamic world so that they do not take this
matter lightly again." - AFP

Dr. Joseph Lerner, Co-Director IMRA


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