While we struggle without own war related issues Israel seems to have the same concerns, only much more immediate. Following are reports direct from Israel via a relative living there:
Update July 19
From CeskyRozhlas/Radio Praha
New museum on the history of Polish Jews - ground-breaking ceremony
[13-07-2007] By Joanna Naijfeld
Warsaw is to have a Museum of the History of Polish Jews. The recent
cornerstone-laying ceremony brought together prominent personalities
from Poland and around the world, including Polish current and former
presidents, past and present Israeli ambassadors to Poland, rabbis and
Catholic Church leaders. 'This won't be another Holocaust museum' -
stress the project authors - but a center for dialogue, culture and
education about the long and rich history of Polish - Jewish coexistence.
The sound of music composed specially for the occasion marked the
groundbreaking ceremony in the heart of what, before the war, was
Warsaw's Jewish district. It will now be the location of the Museum of
the History of Polish Jews, a state-of-the-art center of education in
Polish - Jewish history and tradition. And there is a lot to educate
about, says Shewach Weiss, former Israeli ambassador in Poland.
"We're talking of approximately thousand years of Jewish life here in
Poland. The development of Jewish culture, religious groups, religious
movements, the Yiddish language, the language of our mothers. It was
here, especially in Poland, the development of economy, of Jewish
The museum is also meant to become a place of intercultural and inter
religious dialogue. Rabbi Meir Lau of Tel Aviv:
"John Paul II, let his memory be blessed, he knew about the rabbi of
Krakow. But the next generation, without this museum, will they know
somehow, somewhere, the names, the people the history?"
For many of those attending the ceremony it was a highly emotional moment.
"I've been waiting for this day. The only day I'm waiting for even
more so is the day of the opening", said on participant. "It was a
very, very exciting event. I've come all the way from the United
States to be here, to witness this."
The exhibits will give insights into all aspects of Jewish life in
Poland. A typical street in pre-war Warsaw's Jewish district will be
reconstructed and a wide range of multimedia techniques will be used
to give visitors a feel of the atmosphere of the place. The museum
building has been designed by a Finnish architect Rainer Mahlamaki,
says Jerzy Halberstadt, the director of the museum:
"Compact, gentle outside form, strengthened by a dramatic, expressive
interior. The core of the museum will be a permanent exhibition. Eight
galleries will present eight main chapters in the Jewish history on
the Polish soil, starting from the middle ages to the contemporary times."
Holocaust survivor Marian Turski says the location of the museum is
"This was the heart, the core of the ghetto. A place, where there was
Jewish administration. The first shots of the Jewish uprising were
fired here. Not far from here, just four hundred yards, is the place
of deportation of three hundred thousands Warsaw residents of Jewish
nationality to extermination in Treblinka. This is the place, where it
The initiative, which originated with the Jewish Historical Institute,
quickly gained support of the Polish authorities and the international
Jewish community worldwide. The first donations came from the
London-based Polonia Aid Foundation Trust. President Lech Kaczynski,
who'd given the initiative wholehearted backing when serving as Mayor
of Warsaw, is among the leading supporters of the project. The City of
Warsaw donated the plot of land. The Polish side is to cover
Project authors hope that it will help clear up misconceptions and
stereotypes about the Jewish presence in Poland. Zygmunt Rolat of the
American committee supporting the museum:
"Jews thrived here, they were received here with friendship and even
privileges in some cases, at the time when Spain and Portugal, for
example, were expelling Jews. Children from all over the world, both
Jewish and Christian, will be able to learn all about the history of
Jews in Poland And I think that it's a very glorious history, of which
we can be very, very proud, but which up to now was actually not shown
correctly to the vast majority of young, Jewish people coming to
Poland, who invariably concentrated on seeing Auschwitz, Treblinka,
Majdanek, but very little of where Jews lived and thrived and
accomplished so much for so long."
The construction of the museum is to begin in March 2008. It is
scheduled to be completed by the end of 2009.
Arutz Sheva Daily Israel Report
Sunday, Jul. 15 '07, 29 Tammuz 5767
1. OLMERT'S LATEST GESTURE: CONDITIONAL PARDON FOR 178 TERRORISTS
by Hillel Fendel
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has agreed to an arrangement whereby 178
wanted Fatah terrorists are granted amnesty, in exchange for their
promise to stop terrorism. The 178 have already signed their
commitment to cease engaging in terrorism against Israel.
The name of Zekarya Zubeidi, who has been wanted for many years for
his terrorist activity against Israel, is on the list as well. The
Prime Minister's Bureau clarified on Sunday morning that this was
indeed the case. The Bureau even apologized for the "technical
glitch" that led to the omission of his name in initial reports.
Representatives for Zubeidi signed this morning his commitment to
stop terrorism against Israel.
Palestinian Authority sources say that many of the 178 will be
eligible to receive up to 60,000 shekels for turning in their
weapons. An M-16 rifle will net them 55,000-60,000 shekels, a
Kalachnikov - 15,000 shekels, and a pistol between 12,000 and 24,000
shekels. The money is to come from the PA's coffers.
The PA will reissue weapons to many of the 178 who will join the PA's
The 178 terrorists will benefit from a trial period of three months
in which they will not be arrested, unless Israel receives
information that they are planning terrorism. If during the three
months they do not engage in terrorism, they will be officially
removed from the "wanted" list.
However, they apparently will not receive an official and
irreversible pardon, such that if ever they return to terrorism, they
will be liable to be tried on their previous crimes as well.
The Israel Law center (Shurat HaDin) has filed a petition with the
High Court against the plan by Prime Minister Olmert to remove 178
Arab terrorists from the "wanted list."
The petition claims that the deal was made in secret with Palestinian
Authority officials and ignores international law that requires
Israel to bring to trial terrorists who have committed crimes against
Olmert also peviously agreed to release 250 imprisoned terrorists,
though their names have not yet been determined.
Several Cabinet ministers are against some of Olmert's latest
gestures. Strategic Affairs Minister Avigdor Lieberman (Yisrael
Beiteinu) said the mass pardons are a "grave error." He explained
that he is remaining in the government in order to "minimize the
damage done" by the government.
Trade Minister Eli Yishai (Shas) said that he is against gestures of
this nature to Abu Mazen, explaining that Abu Mazen must make more
efforts to help himself instead of relying on Israel to prop him up.
Welfare Minister Yitzchak Herzog (Labor) said Israel has no choice
but to make difficult concessions in order to strengthen the
"moderate" elements in the PA.
The Legal Forum, a group of attorneys who lobbied for civil rights of
Gush Katif residents, has called upon Justice Minister Daniel
Friedmann to object to what it calls the "laundering of the
murderers." Forum Director Nachi Eyal says, "The government has
reached new heights in proving the truth of the Sages' dictum,
'Whoever is merciful to the cruel will end up being cruel to the
merciful.' It was cruel to the youths in Amona and during the
Disengagement, and is not closing their criminal files regarding
their protests - and yet is now showing compassion to debased
murderers. The message being given is an abuse of justice and the
victory of the murderers over their victims."
In response to sharp criticism from the Likud for the amnesty plan,
an official of the Prime Minister's office said Sunday, "The Likud
has forgotten that in February, 2005 [then-ministers] Binyamin
Netanyahu and Limor Livnat, both of the Likud, enthusiastically
backed" moves to free Arab terrorists.
'Israel to pardon dozens of Fatah men'
khaled abu toameh and yaakov katz, THE JERUSALEM POST Jul. 14, 2007
Israel has agreed to stop pursuing dozens of Fatah gunmen in the West Bank
as part of an effort to boost the standing of Palestinian Authority Chairman
Mahmoud Abbas, PA officials here said over the weekend.
Defense officials told The Jerusalem Post on Saturday that the fugitive deal
was signed by the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) and the Palestinians on
Thursday during a meeting Defense Minister Ehud Barak held with senior PA
officials close to Abbas.
Officials in the Prime Minister's Office, meanwhile, confirmed that the
issue was "on the table," but stopped short of saying the deal had been
The Jerusalem Post reported over two weeks ago, following the four-way
summit in Sharm e-Sheikh, that Israel and PA security officials were
discussing implementing a clause from the 2005 Sharm e-Sheikh understandings
reached between then-prime minister Ariel Sharon and Abbas whereby Israel
would stop pursing wanted terrorist suspects in the West Bank if they would
forswear terrorism. It was agreed then to discuss the issue, but nothing was
Government officials said Saturday night that if Israel wanted to get the PA
to actively fight terrorism, these types of steps were necessary.
Among those supposedly "pardoned" by Israel were top Fatah fugitives who had
been wanted by the Israeli security forces for the past decade because of
their involvement in terrorism, the officials said, describing the move as a"good step in the right direction."
Senior sources in the IDF Central Command warned against pardoning
Palestinian fugitives in the West Bank as a gesture to Abbas. The officers
urged the government to wait for the Palestinians to prove their intentions
by taking action to curb terrorism in the West Bank before making
concessions to Abbas.
At the Sharm e-Sheikh summit three weeks ago, attended by Prime Minister
Ehud Olmert, Abbas, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Jordanian King
Abdullah II, the Palestinians also asked Israel to allow the transfer of
weapons and ammunition to PA security forces in the West Bank.
Defense officials said that the ultimate goal of the deal was to pardon the
fugitives and then allow them to be incorporated into the official PA
security forces in the West Bank. As a first stage, the fugitives will be
given a three-month trial basis during which they will need to prove that
they have ceased their involvement in anti-Israel terrorism. Following that
period, the Shin Bet will once again meet with the PA to discuss the wanted
The move comes as Abbas entrusted PA Prime Minister Salaam Fayad with
forming a new government that would replace his emergency government, whose
one-month term expired on Friday night. Meanwhile, the emergency cabinet is
continuing to function as a caretaker government.
Hamas condemned Abbas's decision to form a new government as
"unconstitutional" and said it would not recognize any government that was
not approved by the Hamas-dominated parliament.
"We have reached a deal with Israel according to which the Israeli
authorities will stop chasing Fatah gunmen in the West Bank," a senior PA
official told The Jerusalem Post. "According to the deal, the gunmen will
sign a document in which they pledge to refrain from military activities and
to abide by the orders of President Mahmoud Abbas."
Nasser al-Kharaz, a spokesman for Fatah's armed wing, the Aksa Martyrs
Brigades, confirmed that many of his friends had received "assurances" from
the PA leadership that they would no longer be targeted by the IDF.
"Yes, there is a serious agreement to stop pursuing our men," he said.
"We're talking about some 178 Fatah members in the West Bank."
Amjad Khallawi, 38, a member of the Aksa Martyrs Brigades who has been on
the run for the past six years, made his first public appearance on Saturday
to confirm that his name was on the list of Fatah gunmen. Khallawi had not
shaved his beard or cut his hair for six years.
Khallawi, who lives in the Dehaishe refugee camp, near Bethlehem, said the
PA security forces informed him that it was now safe for him to emerge from
his hideout. "I will abide by the decisions of the political leadership," he
said in an interview with the Bethlehem-based Maan news agency. "I was told
that I will have to stay inside a Palestinian security base of one week."
Another PA official said the deal with Israel consisted of three phases:
First, the fugitives would be required to stay inside a security
installation for one week, during which time they would refrain from
"military" activities; second, the fugitives would have to stay inside
Palestinian cities classified as Area A for three months; third, the
fugitives would be allowed to move around freely and travel abroad if they
abide by the deal.
The PA official told the Post the list of Fatah fugitives included top
members of the Aksa Martyrs Brigades such as Zakariya Zubeidi, Ala Sanakreh,
Kamel Ghanam, Abu Yazan Talahmeh, Ahmed Abed Rabbo, Daoud Hajj, Rabi Hamed,
Raed Barghouti, Shaher Qadi, Tarek Kundah, Nassim Ahmed, Ala Tahbour and
Israeli defense officials said that contrary to Palestinian reports,
Zakariya Zubeidi, the head of the Aksa Martyrs Brigade in Jenin, did not
appear on the list and was not up for a pardon. Two weeks ago, the IDF
killed one of Zubeidi's top operatives in Jenin.
The PA official said that all the gunmen had been recruited to various
branches of the PA security forces over the past few years, but that some of
them had continued to be involved in "military operations."
PA Minister for Prisoners Affairs Ashraf Ajrami met in Nablus over the
weekend with representatives of the Aksa Martyrs Brigades and briefed them
on the details of the agreement.
Hamas, meanwhile, is planning to convene the Palestinian Legislative Council
on Sunday to discuss Abbas's decision to entrust Fayad with forming a new
government. An attempt by Abbas to convene the council last week failed
because of a Hamas boycott that left it short of a quorum.
Fatah legislators announced that they would stay away from Sunday's meeting.
Fatah leaders said Hamas did not have the authority to convene the
"The previous administration of the Palestinian Legislative Council is
illegal," said Azzam al-Ahmed, head of the Fatah parliamentary list.
"Hamas's decision to call a meeting of the parliament will complicate
matters in the Palestinian arena."
Herb Keinon contributed to this report.
Is Olmert team this stupid?
Olmert considers security hiatus for wanted Palestinian murderers
OK. Let's count to ten and think this through:
1. The idea is that the wanted terrorists use their weapons and terror teams
to fight opponents of Mahmoud Abbas instead of murder Israelis.
2. Under this arrangement, the wanted terrorists can openly prepare for
operations to ostensibly kill Palestinians.
3. If their teams are identified murdering Israelis the wanted terrorist
could simply distance himself from the identified team member.
4. As an added "bonus", since it is the position of "moderate" Abbas that
"collaborators" should be killed, the wanted terrorists will apparently be
allowed to murder Palestinians who provide Israel with information
indicating that the wanted terrorists continue to engage in activity against
So under this plan, the wanted terrorists can openly recruit, arm, plan and
do everything but get caught red handed actually directly executing an
attack against Israel. And they can kill any Palestinian who interferes
with their operation.
Under the plan Israel essentially forfeits the ability to stop the most
dangerous terrorists in the West Bank.
Question: What message do the Israelis who embrace this proposal send:
sheer stupidity or desperation or both?
#1 Livnat: Pardoning gunmen jeopardizes security
Right-wing MKs attack reported agreement to pardon hundreds of Fatah wanted
men, fear they will continue to engage in terrorism
Amnon Meranda YNET Published: 07.14.07, 19:19 / Israel News
A Palestinian security official told Ynet on Friday that Israel will stop
chasing dozens of wanted Fatah gunmen in the West Bank under an agreement
aimed at bolstering Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
Palestinian official tells Ynet Israel agrees to let up on 178 Fatah gunmen
wanted for terror activities in the frame of an agreement aimed at
bolstering President Mahmoud Abbas after his faction's defeat by Hamas in
Right-wing MKs were infuriated by the Palestinian reports. "The government
must immediately halt this dangerous plan that jeopardizes Israel's
citizens' safety," said MK Limor Livnat (Likud) Saturday evening in response
to the deal.
"It is astonishing to see how the Olmert government buckles under the
terrorist organizations time and time again," she added. "It is not
surprising that (Defense Minister) Ehud Barak, who fled Lebanon, is now
pardoning Zakariya Zubeidi."
MK Yisrael Katz (Likud) warned: "Regretfully, instead of eradicating
terrorism, the government is not only releasing terrorists from jail, but is
adding insult to injury by giving immunity to murderers such as Zakariya
Zubeidi and his friends. Olmert and his cronies have not learned yet that
giving in to terrorism, not only does not stop it, but increases it.
"I have no doubt," he added, "that those who will receive the immunity will
spend the time they save by not having to dodge IDF forces for terrorist
preparations. Now, they will engage in terrorism with no-one bothering
However, MKs from the left applauded the decision: "Abu Mazen (Mahmoud
Abbas) must be given the possibility to lead moves for change that will end
in disarming the militias and replacing the central rule," MK Avshalom Vilan
(Meretz) explained his position. "If our contribution to the process is
pardoning these wanted men, it is worth it, and I approve the step."
MK Ahmad Tibi from the United Arab List objected to the terminology used:"This is not a pardon, but a Palestinian effort to stop the targeted
killings. It should not be presented as a gesture. It should be backed up by
releasing prisoners from all of the factions."
The Labor is also endorsing the deal. MK Danny Yatom said: "I side with an
agreement that all the wanted gunmen will put down their arms and commit
themselves to not act against Israel in any terrorist activity, will not
carry arms and will accept the Palestinian security services' authority.
"It goes without saying that if any of them continue to engage in terrorism
we will renew the hunt," he added.
Israel is still analyzing deal
Despite the Palestinian's optimistic reports of lists of hundreds of
prisoners who have already been approved, the issue is still under
examination by the government and has yet to be approved.
The topic was raised several times at meetings between Israeli ask forces
and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas' men since Abbas and Prime
Minister started to meet regularly.
At the Sharm el-Sheik summit about three weeks ago, Jerusalem agreed to look
into absolving Fatah members on Israel's 'most wanted' list.
Abbas' goal is to recruit these men to strengthen his regime. This regime
would support the understandings with the international community:
renouncing terrorism, recognizing Israel and accepting agreements signed
between the PLO and the Israeli government after the Oslo Accord was signed.
Israel has not yet given its final approval to the agreement. The main
concern is that part of these wanted men are responsible for terrorist
attacks against IDF forces, settlers in the West Bank and also civilians
within the Green Line.
The step would leave them immune while by law, they should be put on trial
and sentenced to prison. Moreover, there is no guarantee that these men will
not encourage terrorist activities after being exonerated.
Ronny Sofer contributed to the report
#2 Israel to 'pardon' Fatah gunmen
Palestinian official tells Ynet Israel agrees to let up on 178 Fatah gunmen
wanted for terror activities in the frame of an agreement aimed at
bolstering President Mahmoud Abbas after his faction's defeat by Hamas in
Ali Waked YNET Published: 07.14.07, 08:42 / Israel News
Israel will stop chasing dozens of wanted Fatah gunmen in the West Bank in
the frame of an agreement aimed at bolstering Palestinian President Mahmoud
Abbas, a Palestinian security official told Ynet on Friday.
"Israel and the Palestinian Authority have agreed on an amnesty for dozens
of wanted activists affiliated with the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, Fatah's
military wing in the West Bank," the official said.
The official added that 178 wanted Fatah gunmen, including Zakariya Zubeidi
and Kamal Ranam, the al-Aqsa leaders in Ramallah and Nablus, were including
in a list finalized between Israeli and Palestinian negotiators.
The Palestinian Authority is pushing Israel to let up on another 206 wanted
Fatah men in an effort to bolster Fatah in the West Bank after its defeat on
the hands of Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
Palestinian officials said Israel rejected the 206-name list over 28 men the
Jewish State believed had blood on their hands.
Israeli and Palestinian security officials will meet on Monday to discuss
the list, the official said.
Palestinian negotiators pledged that pardoned Fatah gunmen would not engage
in terror activities and would be disarmed after Israel threatened to hunt
those who engage in plotting terror attacks.
Israel also said it would continue its crackdown on the Islamic Jihad, Hamas
and the Popular Resistance Committees.
#3 Israel agrees to pardon 178 "wanted" Fatah gunmen;
negotiations continue over further 28
Date: 14 / 07 / 2007 Time: 10:22
Bethlehem - Ma'an - Palestinian security sources close to the
Fatah-affiliated Al Aqsa Brigades have confirmed to Ma'an that a list has
been drawn up, comprising 178 names of "wanted" Palestinians, which Israel
intends to pardon.
It is understood that all those to receive pardons, in any potential deal
between the PA and Israel, will be from President Abbas' Fatah movement. The
sources confirmed that two of the names on the list are Zakaria Az Zubeidi,
an Al Aqsa Brigades leader from Jenin, and Kamal Ghanam, a prominent leader
in the brigades in Nablus. Several other prominent leaders are said to be
included on the list.
Analysts in the Israeli media are claiming that this deal aims to bolster
President Abbas' standing within the West Bank - particularly given that
those due to be pardoned are reported to be from across the West Bank - yet
Palestinian sources suggest that the move will further isolate the Hamas
movement, further raising tensions among the Islamic movement toward
President Abbas' emergency government, due to be reappointed after the
expiry of the 30-day "state of emergency" on Saturday at midnight.
Palestinian and Israeli officials are due to meet on Monday to discuss the
list, allegedly containing a further 28 Fatah leaders which Israeli
authorities are reportedly "not keen" to pardon.
Six years after being declared "wanted" by the Israeli military, Amjad
Khillawi from Deheisheh refugee camp has reappeared in the camp, following
Israel's announcement of the pardon.
The 38 year-old man has not had a hair cut in the last six years of hiding.
Children of the camp attempt to salute and shake hands with him as he
passes, but he says with regret, "I don't know them, most of them were born
after the start of the Intifada."
Khillawi has two sisters in Israeli jails, and a brother injured by Israeli
We asked him about the list of pardoned militants recently announced by the
Israeli authorities, and his intentions for the future. With sadness in his
voice, he expressed his regret that the list does not include all the
"wanted" and the prisoners.
He told Ma'an that the Palestinian security service contacted him, and urged
him to register with one of the security centers, in compliance with the
deal struck between Israeli authorities and the PA. He told us that he is
complying with the deal "and the political leadership represented in
Ma'an's exclusive interview with Khallawi will soon be televised.
The ZF have been asked by the families of the kidnapped soldiers to
hold a vigil calling for their release
and those missing in action on Monday July 16 as part of an
International Day of Action
6.30pm - 7.30pm outside Syrian Embassy, 8 Belgrave Square SW1
Come and stand in solidarity for Gilad Shalit (kidnapped 25 June
2006), Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev (kidnapped 12 July 2006). Also
for Ron Arad, Zachary Baumel, Yehuda Katz, Zvi Feldman, Guy Hever who
have been missing far longer. If their names are not as familiar to
you, it is because the media and the international community have
allowed them to virtually disappear into oblivion. For their
families, not knowing what happened to their loved ones is a daily
nightmare. Zachary, Zvi and Yehuda have been missing for 9761 days!
On October 16 2007 Ron Arad will have been missing for 21 years!
Guy disappeared without trace on 17 August 1997 on his way back to
his unit in the Golan Heights.
Many governments were active in securing a happy ending for BBC
reporter Alan Johnston after 114 days in captivity. But when it
comes to the missing Israelis, the silence is deafening. But WE have
not forgotten them
Thank you and please forward this email.
July 13th, 2007
IDF SPOKESPERSON ANNOUNCEMENT
Now released for publication: Terrorist involved in Gilad Shalit abduction
and in rocket-fire into Israel arrested in June
During a joint IDF and ISA activity in the eastern Rafah area in the
southern Gaza Strip on June 9th 2007, an operative of the Hamas and Public
Resistance Committees terror organizations was arrested and taken for
questioning by security forces.
Muhammad Salameh Abed Zufi, a 30 year old resident of Rafah, admitted in his
investigation of his involvement in numerous attacks, including the
abduction of the IDF soldier Gilad Shalit in June 2006.
Muhammad Zufi assisted the gunmen who were involved in the abduction of the
soldier Gilad Shalit in the Kerem Shalom outpost on June 25th 2006, in which
an IDF officer and an IDF soldier were killed and another was injured. In
addition, he also assisted in documenting the abduction.
Zufi was also involved in the infiltration of gunmen into the "Africa"
outpost in the attack on January 2002, in which an IDF officer and three
soldiers were killed and two other soldiers were injured.
Furthurmore, Zufi was involved in numerous rocket-launchings into Israel and
bombing attacks against IDF forces, in which soldiers were injured.