Friday, December 8, 2017

The Case of a Missing Children Part Ten : “Swept Under the Magic Carpet”

On the 5th May, 1998, I attended a rally held by the “Mishkan Ohalim” organization, at Gan HaAtzmaut (the Independence Gardens), in Jerusalem.

Present at the rally were some members of 1,500 families who suffered the kidnapping or “disappearance” of their children, each with a shocking story of their own. An emphasis was placed at the rally on those of the families that had arrived here during the “Magic Carpet” operation in the early years of the state that saw Jewish families from Yemen brought to Israel in the effort to increase the immigration of Diaspora Jews. Operation “Magic Carpet” was initiated in 1949, and is said to have brought approximately 50 thousand Yemenite Jews to Israel. In course of the operation, about 380 flights took place, by British and American planes. The flights left from Aden, the capital of Yemen. Most of the Yemenite Jews lived in different locations in Yemen, and went through many difficulties getting to Aden. There were families from Eastern European countries as well as the U.S. and South America (and most other countries where Jews immigrated to Israel from) who had also lost their sons and daughters under similar circumstances.

Present at the rally were Members of Knesset Rabbi Arieh Gamliel, Rabbi Benny Elon, Mudi Zandberg, David Tal, Hanan Porat, Prof. Avner Shaki, Marina Solodkin as well as such prominent Rabbis as Shlomo Korach, Dr. Nachum Rabinowitz, and Dr. Ratzon Arusi.

Rabbi Menachem Porush, who has publicly stated that he knows the identities of organizers of the kidnapping operation and those who carried it out, failed to appear at the rally.

Rabbi Yosef Ba-Gad showed up by surprise, as well as other important figures such as Yigal Yosef, mayor of Rosh-HaAyin, and a number of well-known Israeli singers,who came to show support.

Each of the speakers at the rally had their turn to speak at the rally. Fascinating speeches were given by Knesset Member Rabbi Benny Elon, Yitzhak Keren (the ex-policeman mentioned in part one of this series), Eddie Mor (who gave a long, emotional speech that had the audience on the edge of their seats ), as well as the mother of Shlomo Asulin. Shlomo Asulin was a student of Rabbi Uzi Meshulam, who was gunned down by Israeli security forces in the Yehud incident. Rabbi Meshulam’s wife was also present at the rally, although she didn’t speak in front of the audience. All speeches that were given spoke of the terrible crimes committed, and how everything possible should be done to bring families back together, and the guilty to justice.

It should be noted here that none of the prominent figures who made these statements have done anything concrete to advance either of these causes.

One interesting woman at the rally was Dora Vachnun, a 48 year old woman who lives in Haifa and had her sister taken from her nearly 42 years ago. After having a short conversation with Dora, I decided to stay in touch with her, pay her a visit, and set up an interview with her.

When I arrived at her house, I was surprised when she asked me if I’d like her mother, Esther Meshulam (no relation to Rabbi Uzi Meshulam) present as well. As a result, I first interviewed Dora, and then Esther, who arrived later on.

The Meshulam family (who had their name changed to Emeshulam, before they immigrated to Israel) immigrated from Istanbul, Turkey, around the beginning of 1950. Both Dora and Esther recalled the conditions they encountered upon their arrival in Israel. Although Dora’s father made a substantial income working on the Haifa docks, the conditions of any immigrant in Israel’s first years were not good. Esther recalls their situation being better than most immigrants of the period. Their family was the only one at the immigration camp to have a sink in their shack. Esther worked hard to make their shack look as cheerful as possible. She recalls how she cleaned the shack, how she painted it, put flowers there, and made it a wonderful living environment. “Anyone that would come into the shack would be surprised, and ask ‘this is supposed to be a shack? This looks like a villa!’ “, says Esther. Their family was financially secure and had no problem whatsoever providing for their children. Dora has two brothers.

Esther (E) Meshulam, now 73 years old, gave birth to Mazal (I.D. 5391242) on the 5th of January, 1956. On the 20th of September, 1956, Esther took Mazal outside for some fresh air, while going to buy meat and after a while she noticed Mazal seemed to be feeling a little ill, so she took her to a nearby doctor. The doctor wasn’t home at the time, so she took her daughter to another doctor, who also was not home. Esther then took Mazal to the Rambam Hospital. When she arrived, a doctor examined Mazal and said that she looked fine, and asked Esther why she had brought Mazal. Esther said that Mazal was not feeling well, and was a little pale. The doctor said that they would watch Mazal for a little while, and told Esther not to worry.

When Esther entered the ward to stay with Mazal, a nurse yelled at her, told her to leave, and said that the families aren’t permitted to stay with their babies.

Esther returned to their shack later in the afternoon, disturbed that she had left her baby alone. Her husband, Meir-Nissim, upon seeing her distress, told her not to worry, that he would go see Mazal. He arrived at Rambam Hospital around 4 in the afternoon. At the hospital, he was not permitted to enter the ward, but they took him to a window, where he was able to see the babies. He saw Mazal, who recognized him, and stretched her arms towards him. They didn’t let him take her at that point. But he was content with the fact that he had seen she was healthy. He returned to the shack and told Esther that Mazal was doing fine, and that she would probably be released that day or the day after.

It was 2-3 hours later when two men, who claimed to be policemen, appeared at the Emeshulam’s shack. They announced to the family that Mazal had died. The family was in shock. The parents cried all that night. The next day, the family arrived at the cemetery to see a “body” that was not identified by anyone and hurriedly buried. All that the family saw was a white sheet with something inside it, tied on both ends, and completely covered with blood. The family was petrified at the sight of the blood. Upon telling this, Esther broke out in tears.

Dora recalls how they have always wondered about the entire case. Their suspicions intensified after the entire issue of stolen children was raised. No one ever had the chance to see a body. One month after the “death” of Mazal, the family received a letter explaining that Mazal had died from a heart attack.

In the past few years, Dora has been doing everything she can to try and find her sister. She has turned to the “Mishkan Ohalim” organization. She speaks highly of their efforts to bring this issue to light. She turned to the Rambam Hospital, asking to see Mazal’s files. She was at first denied access to these files, but then her brother, Police Superintendent Yaakov Meshulam, turned to the courts, asking for an order to be allowed to see the files. After that, they got the permission to see the files.

The document that describes the disease states “For two days the girl has been sick with diarrhea and has been throwing up. She coughs a little as well. According to the mother, the girl became a little pale and cold. This has happened a few times before, and has passed”. Esther recalls that it wasn’t a serious condition, just a slight illness. Esther also mentioned that Mazal was not throwing up at all. Dora mentioned she wonders what possible connection there may be between a heart attack and diarrhea. The part intended for “previous diseases” is blank.

What is probably the most interesting document in this case is the burial certificate, numbered 12348. It states:

Name: Meshulam Mazal.
Address: Apartment 27 [of the immigration camp]
Age: 9 months. [to be accurate, it was 8 and a half]
Gender: Female.
Citizenship: [Blank]
Religious affiliation: Jewish.
Cause of death: Myocardio Infarction. [Heart attack]
Place of burial: Haifa.
The certifying Doctor: Garfel. [Signature]
Examiner of cause of death: [Blank]
Official signature: [Either a signature or just a tiny scribble]
Signature of the Health Ministry clerk: [Blank].

One interesting thing about this document is the fact that the certifying Doctor was Dr. Garfel. Garfel is said to have been involved in other cases where children have been stolen. Ora Shifris, spokeswoman for the “Mishkan Ohalim” organization recalls the case of a man in Jerusalem who had his brother stolen, and found it also involved Dr. Garfel, who worked in the children’s ward of Haifa’s Rambam Hospital.

Another interesting fact about this document is that both spaces which should contain the signatures of the examiner of cause of death, and the signature of the Health Ministry clerk (and possibly the official signature) were left blank. By law, both spaces should contain signatures.

Another interesting document I’ve found is the “Patient summary”, which contains details about Mazal, and the entry: “Diagnostic: Myocardiac”. The rest of the page, which is titled “Summary of disease” is surprisingly blank.

Dora lives in Haifa with her husband and those of her children who haven’t yet married and left the house. Dora has seven children: Moshe (13), David (16), Anna (17), Eli (25), Meir (26), Avigail (28) and Mazal (30).

Upon arriving at their house that morning, I was greeted warmly by Dora and her daughter Avigail. It was then that Dora asked me if she should call her mother over, and told me she lived a few houses away. Later on that day, some of her other children arrived. Moshe, an active child who stayed to hear the story again, despite the many times he’d heard it before (and who made sure to get in a comment whenever he could). Anna and David, who didn’t spend much time at home, arrived later on.

As Dora recalled the story, she made sure not to leave out a single detail about Mazal, the story of their immigration, and detailed explanations about everything down to how their family name was changed from Meshulam to Emeshulam before they came to Israel. She recalled how her mother returned to the shack that day of September 20th, 1956, in tears for having to leave her beloved Mazal at the hospital, away from her watchful eye. She recalled how her Dad then made sure to go see how Mazal was doing, and how he returned to the shack and reassured her mother. She recalled how the two “policemen” arrived at the shack and announced Mazal’s death and how her parents stayed up all night crying in the light of an oil-lamp, since they had no electricity in the immigration camp. She recalled being taken in by her neighbours, so as not to see the pain and anguish of her parents, how the “body” of her sister was buried hurriedly by two men who never identified themselves, and the terrible sight of the sheet completely covered with blood. Her trauma from this terrifying experience is evident. Dora still searches for her sister. She tries to get assistance from anyone that may be able to help. Dora comes from a family with an excellent reputation which has done much for the city of Haifa. Dora was given an “Outstanding Citizen” award by the Mayor of Haifa, Amram Mitznah. Dora and her brothers are well known in Haifa, and have received many honours, awards and commendations for all their family has done, and is still doing.

She told a number of amazing stories of her family in the early days, and all her parents sacrificed for the sake of the Zionist cause, to live in Israel.

How they came to build the country in it’s first days,and accepted whatever conditions they had to endure for this cause, even when that meant accepting any job they could find without complaining. How they believed it important for them to live in Israel. Dora told of the tough conditions in the immigration camps, with no electricity and only basic necessities. They lived in that shack in the immigration camp for nine years. The Meshulams are a proud family of good standing. During all the years after Mazal was taken from them, her father, Meir-Nissim, was terribly distressed, and spoke to everyone of the way she was taken from them. He spoke of how it was impossible that from such a common illness his baby could have died. This has haunted their family for nearly 42 years. Meir-Nissim passed away on September 11th, 1993, at the age of 73, without seeing his daughter for almost 37 years.

Esther spoke of the depth of her family’s pain and the devastation caused by the lies and the terrible scandal that went on back then, which was only discovered years later. How little children were torn from their families, while the horror-struck parents were told that their child had died in some terrible way. Esther and her family were never given a death-certificate for Mazal. Esther hopes and prays that she will find Mazal soon, as thousands of other families still do. She also recalled their immigration years, and their Zionist family. She told of her life back in Istanbul, and their arrival at the “Selniks-Sha’ar Aliyah” (immigration entrance) immigration camp. Esther is worried since she hears stories of how some of the parents that have adopted the stolen children were told the original parents had forsaken their children, and so passed this on to the children. This concept is too much for Esther to bear. “Maybe they told her that we ‘ threw her to the dogs’ “, says Esther. Dora finds it hard to cope with the fact that Mazal was taken because Esther cared for her so much and was doing everything she could to ensure her daughter’s health.

Esther has lived with this trauma her entire life. It’s impossible to imagine how much this has affected her both emotionally and physically. Esther lives with pills she takes every three hours. Esther recalls how much her husband cried for their daughter, and how the pain was so intense. She recalls the support the family received from friends. Friends that “feel their loss, share their pain, cry their tears…Mazal should be with us now. She’s 42 now, and should be sitting right here, beside me”.

One of the most shocking moments of the interview was hearing Dora and Esther speaking of the burial. They spoke of how they couldn’t even get close to the “body” being buried, that was covered with blood. They began to speculate where all the blood came from, and what was buried. “Maybe they slaughtered a chicken”, Dora said. “Maybe they took a dead dog, and buried that”, Esther said. As much as one can “prepare” oneself to hear these stories, these are the moments that are hardest to cope with.

At one point, Dora went to the home of a doctor Zeltzer, who she remembers worked in the children’s ward in the Rambam Hospital. She thought that maybe he could give her some answers, since he was one of the older doctors working there then. Zeltzer, although still alive, is an ill man. Dora waited at his home until he returned. When he arrived, she questioned him. Zeltzer then told her he’d been through a stroke, and due to the damage caused by the stroke he can’t recall many details from his past, as well as anything connected to these cases.

Dora remembers a few doctors that worked in the ward then, including Zeltzer and a doctor Bender-Lee, who she said is still alive, and living in Haifa. Dora is sure that the doctors know of what happened and can give details, but that there is a plot to keep everyone silent, and these horrible crimes swept neatly under the carpet.

In many of the cases, swept under the “Magic Carpet”.

This is one of the things that disturbs the families terribly, especially since the mainstream press is, for all practical purposes, still ignoring the issue.

Dora and Esther speak of how parents have gotten old and died without seeing their children since they were taken. This is why everything should be done immediately to bring the families together. All Esther, and many other parents like her, would like to do before they pass away is to find their child, to see them if only once, to hold their child, to tell her “Mazal, we did not forsake you!”, as her daughter may have been told. They turn to people in the government for assistance. These people, who have done nothing serious enough to bring results, have betrayed the trust these families have placed in them, have forsaken the loving parents and families of these children, and thousands of other parents and families. Mazal’s father has already passed away, but her mother would give anything just to see her again.

I have them in piles beside me. Documents. Interviews with Dora and Esther. Audio and video tapes. One case. One case out of thousands like it. Thousands of tragic stories that won’t go away. These crimes cannot be “swept neatly under the carpet”. There are too many families in terrible pain to allow that to happen.

To make an understatement, this was not what the families were expecting when they immigrated to Israel.

These families have not forsaken their children. Nor have they abandoned hope of seeing them again.

No human being of conscience can abandon them… especially not Jews of conscience.

Yechiel Mann,
Eshhar, Israel.
email: yam@netvision.net.il

Mothers of Palestinian Prisoners Subjected to Humiliating Treatment by Palestinian Officials and Police

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) expresses its outrage at the behavior of a number of Palestinian officials and policemen towards mothers of Palestinian detainees in Israeli prisons. The women were physically and verbally abused at the Ministry of Finance and at the headquarters of Palestinian TV on June 15 and June 16, 1998.

Around 60 women, who are the mothers, wives and sisters of Palestinian detainees in Israel, approached the Ministry of Finance on June 15 to meet with Palestinian Minister of Finance, Zuhdi Nashashibi, and to demand their monthly stipends which were ten days overdue. Although the Ministry had issued their checks on June 5, the women were unable to cash the checks at the post office due to a lack of funds in the account.

Mrs. Hamduma Wishah, the mother of Jabber Wishah, who is serving a life sentence in the Israeli jail of Nafha, testified to PCHR that the women were prevented from entering the building to meet with the Minister. She added that she was beaten by a policeman and that she fell down and was knocked unconscious. When she regained consciousness, she found herself upstairs in the Ministry building where she was subsequently beaten by another policeman who used his hands and feet. Shahira Mustafa Abu al-Najar, mother of Haitham Abu al-Najar, who is serving a 15-year sentence at Nafha prison, testified to PCHR that her right arm was broken after a Palestinian policeman beat her with his weapon in front of the Ministry of Finance.

In another development, Hisham Macki, director of Palestinian TV, arrived at the Ministry and promised the women that he would intervene on their behalf, in order to secure their payments. He asked the women to follow-up with him the next day at the headquarters of Palestinian TV. Mrs. Wishah testified to PCHR that she arrived at the scheduled time with 8 other women to meet with Mr. Macki. They were received by an employee of Palestinian TV who prohibited them from entering the building and verbally abused them. Despite this attack, they informed him of their meeting with the director. In another testimony, Najat al-Falouji, mother of Dia al-Falouji, who is serving a life sentence at Nafha prison, informed the Centre that the employee abused her and attempted to run her over with his car.

It should be noted that Palestinian prisoners at Nafha jail who were informed about these developments expressed their anger and condemnation in a letter sent to President Arafat asking him to hold accountable all those responsible for abusing their mothers, wives and sisters. They also called upon President Arafat to establish a new ministry or directorate for prisoners’ affairs.

PCHR expresses its outrage at the humiliation and ill-treatment of the mothers, wives and sisters of Palestinian freedom fighters by the Palestinian officials and policemen. PCHR calls upon the Palestinian Authority (PA) to investigate the incident and to take punitive measures against those responsible. PCHR also calls upon the PA to take the necessary steps to prevent repetition of this incident and to improve the relationship between Palestinian institutions and the families of Palestinian prisoners in Israel who have sacrificed their lives for the liberation of the Palestinian people.

Hebcom Middle East Bureau
Analysis, Commentary, Information
Insight into the Middle East by the People who live there

Al-Ahram: Attack on Peace Movement, Sheikh Shaarawi Dead

The following are selections from articles which appeared in the Egyptian English weekly, “Al-Ahram” of Al-Ahram Weekly, 25th June – 1st July, 1998

[Column] Reflections
The Bureaucrats Behind the People
by Hani Shukrallah
Managing Editor
Al-Ahram Weekly

Last Week the Israeli Peace Now Movement underlined both its Jewish supremacist (i.e.racist) limitations and its political bankruptcy by issuing in Cairo, with not one, but apparently three distinct Egyptian groups, a “peace document”. While of considerably less authentic pedigree than their Israeli counterparts (after all, Peace Now, self-importantly described in the Cairo document as “the largest peace movement in Israel”, can at least lay claim to one great anti-war demonstration in 1982), the Egyptian groups offer a rather complex arithmetic. The Egyptian signatories of the “Cairo document” are presented somewhat confusingly as the “Egyptian Peace Movement” — a previously unknown entity — and the “International Alliance for Peace — Cairo Peace Society”.

…Now unlike many Egyptian and Arab critics of the 17 month-long Copenhagen saga, I do not believe that there is anything particularly threatening or even politically significant about the various spectacles put on by the alleged “popular alliance” established in the Danish capital with a lot of help from a host of “non-popular” — i.e. governmental — European agencies. Whether in Copenhagen, Jerusalem or Cairo, the “peace” divertissements have been invariably forced, their rhetoric contrived, their language insipid; the protagonists all “protest too much”, but their “passionate” appeals for peace ring hollow — tired, trite and, if anything, blatantly lacking in genuine feeling of any sort.

…All in all the [joint] document is even more skewed in Israel’s favor than its precursor, the so-called Copenhagen Declaration. In this, the Copenhagen “initiative” continues to ape the Oslo process, wherein each subsequent “agreement” is progressively worse than the one before it. Suffice it here to say that it rings very similar to the so-called Abu Mazen -Yossi Beilin final status agreement, the existence of which was denied by the Palestinians.

…Last week in Cairo, the official lineages of the “popular” participants were starkly revealed for all to see. The hidden agenda is not very well hidden, the gold cufflinks of the diplomat stick out a mile away from underneath the bush jackets of the “popular” representatives. Ultimately, the whole affair is a somewhat ridiculous attempt to “reawaken” the flagging fortunes of the Israeli Labour Party.

Mourned by Millions
by Khaled Dawoud

[Heading:] Egypt mourned the death of Sheikh Shaarawi, a man who devoted his life to the interpretation of the Qur’an.

Nearly a million people packed the streets of Daqadous on 17 June, grieving for the man they considered something of a saint. Many… tried to get close enough to touch his coffin, believing that his blessings would somehow be imparted to them.

…The 87-year-old Shaarawi, an Al-Azhar graduate, enjoyed unprecedented popularity which earned him the title “preacher of the century.” He was highly effective in using television….

…Time and again Shaarawi would proudly proclaim that, for the past 50 years, he had stopped reading all books save the Qur’an.

…Shaarawi…stunned many Egyptians a few years ago by confiding that he had offered a special prayer of thanks to God for the June 1967 defeat at Israel’s hands. “[The defeat] came about because we threw ourselves into the arms of communist Russia… so we were hit on the head and defeated. The defeat was a correction sent from heaven for mistakes made on earth,” Shaarawi said.

…Shaarawi’s views often clashed with those of proponents of science and rationality. He opposed organ transplants, arguing that the human body was a gift from God which should not just be used as man sees fit. He said that donating human organs was tantamount to opposing God’s will by seeking to make a human being live longer than he or she is destined to.

He was against women working, insisting that “home is the right place for women to look after their children.”

Once Shaarawi picked the wrong horse. He supported private investors who, in the early 1980s claimed they were establishing a new “Islamic economy” through so-called Islamic money investment companies. But the saving schemes were dubious and later collapsed. Thousands of Egyptians lost their life savings.

The Process: 1,100 Days That Changed the Middle East

Reviewed by David Bedein,
Media Research Analyst and Bureau Chief,
Israel Resource News Agency, Jerusalem, Israel.

The 1993 Middle East negotiations came to be known as the Oslo process, because of secret talks held in the Norwegian capital between the Israeli government and its rival, the Palestine Liberation Organization.

The Oslo process afforded unprecedented recognition, status and arms for Yassir Arafat and the PLO Organization, so as to irrevocably alter the history and direction of the Middle East.

Israeli career diplomat Uri Savir, who served as the director of Israel’s foreign ministry from May 1993 until May 1996, played a crucial role in the Oslo process, until Benyamin Netanyahu, the head of Israel’s Likud opposition party defeated Uri Savir’s boss, Prime Minister Shimon Peres, Israel’s Labor Party leader in a close race for the office of Israeli head of state, after which Savir tendered his resignation from Israel’s foreign service.

Savir says that he has authored this title while the Oslo process is still fresh in his memory, and. presumably, while the diskettes from Savir’s computer are still warm. Since Savir continues to advocate for the Oslo process as the head of the new Peres Center for Peace in the Middle East, this book should be read and carefully analyzed by those who pay close attention to the the Middle East.

In this book, Savir walks us through the sweat of the hours, days and weeks of meticulous negotiations that he led with the PLO. taking the reader from airports to hotel rooms to the hidden places of secret rendezvous from Norwegian woods and Israeli resorts. Savir is a man to chronicle every detail of negotiation, down to the last cigarette butt and empty cup of Turkish coffee left in smoke-filled negotiating rooms.

Savir writes how he developed almost a blind respect for leading members of the PLO, especially for one PLO operative in particular – his negotiating partner, Abu Alla, the head of Arafat’s PLC, the Palestine Legislative Council. In Savir’s view, the Oslo process was a diplomatic initiative that had little or no downside for the state of Israel, let alone for the cause of peace.

What Savir does not offer is any perspective of how these agreements came unraveled so quickly, and while he was still in office.

Savir states firmly and clearly that his first accomplishment in the negotiations with the PLO was that Jerusalem would be kept out of the Palestine Authority and the PLO. In this book, Savir does confirm, for the first time, that Peres had given official sanction to Palestinian institutions in Jerusalem, in a secret document that has never been disclosed. Yet what Savir does not mention is that during August, 1993, that the PLO did exactly the opposite, and formally established official institutions of the Palestine Authority and the PLO in Jerusalem, all of which continue to function in Jerusalem, in violation of the accord reached with Peres and Savir.

Savir proudly reports the agreement that he achieved to get the new Palestine Authority to arrest and try any Arab who escapes to the area under their control after committing a terrorist attack, except that he neglects to mention that Arafat and the Palestine Authority have refused to arrest the thirty two killers who have found refuge inside the Palestine Authority, with the exception of Imjad HaNawi, one of the two gunmen who machine gunned to death an American boy, David Boim, at a bus stop north of Jerusalem in May, 1996 whom the Palestine Authority only arrested after President Clinton’s personal intervention in February, 1998.

Throughout the book, Savir mentions the underlying assumption that the Palestine Authority will crush the Hamas without providing any mention or analysis of the May 1995 Palestine Authority decision to arm the Hamas or the December 1995 Palestine Authority decision to incorporate the Hamas within the Palestine Authority.

Yet Savir expresses full confidence in Arafat as an advocate of peace.

Surprisingly, nowhere in this book will you find Savir ever mentioning the constant stream of speeches given by Arafat in Arabic since the genesis of the Oslo accords that call for total holy war against the people and state of Israel.

Savir writes as if Arafat’s speeches against peace never took place do not exist.

In February, 1995, following one of Savir’s briefings at the Israeli Foreign Ministry, I asked Savir for his comment about Arafat’s incitement in Arabic. Savir gave me a blank stare, which perhaps meant that he was not capable of dealing with any fault ascribed to his negotiating partners.

Savir chooses to overlook Arafat’s shortcomings because of what he views as the greatest accomplishment of the Oslo process – the cancellation of the PLO covenant that calls for continued war against the state and people of Israel.

Savir reports that on April 24, 1996, at “the highest point of the peace process”, that Arafat had fulfilled his pledge to convene the Palestine National Council, the PNC, to cancel the PLO covenant. Savir even notes that the Israeli foreign ministry’s special American legal consultant Yoel Singer had confirmed that this was the case.

Yet when Singer read the proofs of this book, he publicly reveal for the first time that the PNC never voted on the carefully worded proposal to cancel the PLO covenant that Singer had negotiated with Arafat’s director of planning, Nabil Sha’at.

Instead, Sha’at informed Singer that the PLO was incapable of passing any such resolution. All the PNC did was to form a committee to consider a new charter.

Singer reports that Savir knows this full well. The question remains: Why in May, 1998 does Savir convey the notion that the PLO has canceled its covenant, when he knows this not to be the case?

Savir could have used this chronicle of the Oslo accords to analyze why all Palestine Authority media, including the news coverage of the official PBC, the Palestine Broadcasting Corporation, reported that the PNC had not canceled the PLO covenant as requested.

Yet a more serious question emerges: Did Savir’s warm and intense relationship with Abu Alla and with Arafat distract his judgment from seeing that they acted in a charming and convincing manner with him, while carrying out yet another policy in Arabic with their own people.

Uri Savir negotiated an agreement as a patriot of Israel, and as an advocate of peace. It would seem that he cannot bear to see that the people whom he has negotiated with in good faith may have betrayed him.

The sequel to Savir’s book should analyze whether the trust and faith that Savir placed in Arafat, Abu Allah and the Palestine Liberation Organization ultimately advanced the cause of peace in the Middle East.

Al-Ahram: Peace Offensive, Israel’s Security, Beyond Oslo

The following are selections from articles which appeared in the Egyptian English weekly, “Al-Ahram” of Al-Ahram Weekly, 18th – 24th June, 1998

Truthful Lies, Respectable Murder
by Radwa Ashour

[Heading:] The Egyptian-Israeli peace offensive is a new form of biological warfare writes Radwa Ashour. The writer is a novelist and professor of English at Ain Shams University.

Lord Jeffrey Amherst, the commanding general of the British forces in north America from 1754 to 1763… approved the plan… to distribute blankets and handkerchiefs infected with smallpox to Native Americans besieging Fort Pitt (Pittsburgh). The blankets started an epidemic.

… Reading the joint statement of the Egyptian Peace Movement and the Israeli Peace Now movement, I could not help thinking of those blankets.

The manipulation of words is advanced technology, a post-modern device, but in essence similar to colonial germ warfare.

… the paragraph {of the joint statement} on Jerusalem is particularly illustrative: “Jerusalem will remain a united city permanently. The area of the city will be redefined and it will be accepted that both nations live in the city, and that both enjoy national and religious rights. Agreed and coordinated municipal frameworks will be established within the city borders in order to enable each community to manage its own internal affairs. Two capitals will exist within the municipal area: the capital of Israel in the Jewish areas, and the capital of Palestine in the Arab areas. The status of the holy sites will be determined through negotiations based on maintaining the religious rights and freedom of worship of all religions.” Jerusalem will remain a united city, says the first sentence of the paragraph and the last sentence of the same paragraph refers to two capitals in Jerusalem: the capital of Israel and the capital of Palestine.

“In our time,” says Orwell, “political speech and writing are largely the defense of the indefensible.”

… Fortunately, the large majority of Egyptian intellectuals see things differently. Individual writers, artists, university professors, journalists, researchers, scientists, and their unions and associations -the Egyptian Writers’ Union, the Artists’ Union, The Higher Council of Culture, the Journalists’ Syndicate, the Lawyers’ Syndicate, to name a few — have declared their position.

… The “gift” of the Cairo Peace Society and Peace Now is nothing but a contaminated blanket. We do not want it; we do not need smallpox; we have enough problems at hand.

Prisoners of Their Own War
by Amin Hewedy

[Heading:] Changes in technology and international relations have rendered Israel’s obsession with “security” both obsolete and absurd writes Amin Hewedy, a former minister of defence and chief of general intelligence.

Israel has successfully placed itself in an absurd position. Having imposed itself in an antagonistic environment, Israel, which enjoys relative security as a state, harbours a collection of individuals who are a scared and insecure lot. Their crimes haunt them night and day. Netanyahu is as scared and insecure as any other Israeli. He is primarily an Ashkenazi, terrified of the present and future alike.

… Israel’s strategy has failed. At 50, it has neither stability or security, A strategy that is effective at the time when a state is established is not necessarily effective in fostering its development and stability. It is unable to accommodate the internal changes which have taken place within Israel itself, let alone those which have occurred at the regional and global levels. Israel’s strategy is therefore an anachronism.

… Israel is no longer the fortress it once believed it was. During Operation Desert Storm, Iraqi missiles reached targets inside Israel, which prompted Israel to move its US-made Patriot missiles into defence positions. [IMRA NOTE: US successfully implored Israel not to use its airforce against Iraq]

… The outdated, extremist ideologies which hold sway politically and militarily seek to impose a fait accompli by force. Security, for Israelis, is a unilateral privilege, rather than a multilateral arrangement including all states in the region.

This understanding of security accounts for Israel’s soaring defence costs, which are correlated with political fluctuations. In 1960, Israel’s defence budget was 7.9% of its GNP, rising to 25.1 percent in 1970, 32.1 percent in 1975, and 22.4 percent in 1980. This rate dropped to 13.4 percent in 1990, and again to 9.9 percent in 1995. When Netanyahu came to power in 1996 he reduced defence costs by three percent, bringing the rate down to 10 percent of GNP.{IMRA NOTE: The author is confused}…. Can anyone save Israel from itself? Perhaps it is necessary to shake the pillars of this antediluvian temple of war — to bring it crumbling down.

Meeting Beyond Oslo
by Faiza Rady

[Heading:] The mood at last week’s Jerusalem Conference on “50 Years of Israeli Violations of Palestinian Human Rights” was vibrant and militant

Welcoming conference participants at the entrance of the Ambassador Hotel in Arab East Jerusalem, bright yellow banners floating in the light summer breeze bore slogans expressing the European Union’s support for the Palestinian people…. “This meeting is about international NGO commitment to the struggle of the Palestinian people,” Egyptian-born Maria Gazi, vice-chair of the European Committee for NGOs on the Question of Palestine (ECCP) told Al-Ahram Weekly. “It is significant that as many as 350 delegates from 30 different countries are attending the conference.”

The conference was organised by the Palestinian Society for the Protection of Human Rights and the Environment (LAW).

Hanna Amireh, a conference organiser, felt the gathering “… is especially important since it is taking place in Jerusalem, the most contested area in Palestine that the Israelis are attempting to ethnically cleanse and where they are disrupting the Palestinian cultural, social and political infrastructure.”

Amireh deplored the almost complete absence of Arab delegates, and called for greater regional solidarity with the Palestinians.

Baheieddin Hassan. director of the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, was the only Egyptian speaker at the conference.

… Amireh… criticised Egyptian intellectuals who refuse to attend solidarity meetings in Palestine. “They reject normalisation and so refuse to cross Israeli borders…,”she told the Weekly. “In Egypt there is a tendency to vacillate between two extremes. On one hand you have groups which adopt a joint platform with [the Israeli] Peace Now, and on the other there are those who are more royalist than the king and refuse to meet us on our ground for the sake of principles.”

… Referring to the Palestinian Authority’s agreement to postpone the issue of settlements until the final status negotiations, {prominent defender of Palestinian prisoners Israeli lawyer Felicia} Langer described the Oslo Accords as a “formula for disaster”. “It is clear that without any legal guarantee against further land confiscation and settlement activity, without abolition of the legal mechanism of dispossession, Israel [has been able] to create new facts on the ground and to cover them internationally with the cloak of the ‘peace process’,” she said.

… “What you see now I would describe as a cease-fire on the Palestinian side and a continuation of war by the Israelis,” {head of the Palestinian Relief Committee Dr. Mustafa} Baghouti told the Weekly. “This is why I believe that the old peace process is dead. We have now moved beyond Oslo.”

Where do the Palestinians go from here? According to Baghouti, it can only be to a new cycle of resistance, beyond the Oslo debacle, he said.

Shas MK, Rafael Pinhasi

IMRA interviewed Shas MK Rafael Pinhasi, in Hebrew, on June 28.

IMRA: In 1993 the coalition agreement signed between Shas and Labor stated that in “any contractual peace agreement involving a relinquishment of territory which is today under the sovereignty or control of the State of Israel to another party to the agreement or any third party, the agreement will be brought to the people for decision, either by means of a referendum or in elections to the Knesset and the premiership which will take place before the peace agreement is signed.”

Pinhasi: That only applied to the Golan.

IMRA: What’s the difference between the Golan and Judea and Samaria?

Pinhasi: There is a difference between the Golan and just giving back territory. When it comes to just giving back territory we don’t feel that there should be a national referendum. Just regarding the Golan because it is a security matter and for that we had Rabin’s agreement, per our demand, that he go to a national referendum.

IMRA: In your view there is no security matter in Judea and Samaria?

Pinhasi: Yes.

IMRA: During the same period, when he sat with the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef stressed his concern for the safety of settlers in Judea, Samaria and Gaza.

Pinhasi: He didn’t talk about a national referendum. It is clear that their well being has to be secured but not via a national referendum but rather via security arrangements set by the IDF in concert with the prime minister.

IMRA: Earlier this month the Chief of Staff said that if the talks later stall that the security situation will be considerably worse if an additional withdrawal already took place than if one didn’t.

Pinhasi: That’s why we are pressing for a withdrawal. We support a withdrawal.

IMRA: He told the Knesset Foreign Affair Committee said that if there is a withdrawal and later the negotiations stall at a later stage, after the withdrawal, that the security situation will be considerably worse with the withdrawal than without it. So if you fear that in the future the talks may stall then there is a problem with the withdrawal.

Pinhasi: We are following a trend that the talks won’t stall in the future either. That the process should continue until a final agreement is reached.

IMRA: That means assuming that at every stage of the talks they won’t stall.

Pinhasi: Right.

IMRA: I understand. That means that you are assuming that the Palestinians will never raise a demand which you won’t be able to accept.

Pinhasi: Right.

IMRA: I understand. So everything they demand they can get.

Pinhasi: Not everything they demand. That’s why the prime minister and minister of defense are carefully guiding towards the final stages, with American guarantees and the need for reciprocity. That Arafat also has to keep all of his obligations: to fight terror, to change the Palestinians Charter. We insist on all of this also.

IMRA: That is to say that if Netanyahu drops his demand that the Palestinian Charter be amended then you won’t support him?

Pinhasi: If Binyamin Netanyahu gives up on it then we will understand that he has reached the conclusion that he has to give up on it and we will support him.

Dr. Aaron Lerner,
Director IMRA (Independent Media Review & Analysis)
P.O.BOX 982 Kfar Sava
Tel: (+972-9) 760-4719
Fax: (+972-9) 741-1645
imra@netvision.net.il

US Government Reclassification of the PLO

TEXT: Presidential Determination: Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) – 3rd June 1998 (President waives provisions of Anti-Terrorism Act of 1987)

Clinton waives the provisions of section 1003 of the Anti-Terrorism Act of 1987, regarding the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) through November 26, 1998.

Following is the text of the Presidential Determination:

THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
(Cleveland, Ohio)

For Immediate Release
June 3, 1998

Presidential Determination
No. 98-29

Memorandum for the Secretary of State

SUBJECT: Waiver and Certification of Statutory Provisions Regarding the Palestine Liberation Organization

Pursuant to the authority vested in me under section 539(d) of the Foreign Operations, Export Financing, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 1998, Public Law 105-118, I hereby determine and certify that it is important to the national security interests of the United States to waive the provisions of section 1003 of the Anti-Terrorism Act of 1987, Public Law 100-204, through November 26, 1998.

You are authorized and directed to transmit this determination to the Congress and to publish it in the Federal Register.

William J. Clinton

The Historical Record: Clinton’s “Waivers” of The PLO

Clinton’s “waivers” of the PLO “before” congress cut off all FUNDING TO THE PLO UNDER THE Middle East Peace Facilitation Act [MEPFA]
From 1994 through November 1997.

Presidential Determination No. 94-30 of June 30, 1994

Suspending Restrictions on U.S. Relations With the Palestine Liberation Organization


Presidential Determination No. 96-8 of January 4, 1996

Suspending Restrictions on U.S. Relations With the Palestine Liberation Organization


Presidential Determination No. 96-20 of April 1, 1996

Suspending Restrictions on U.S. Relations With the Palestine Liberation Organization


Presidential Determination No. 96-32 of June 14, 1996 Suspending Restrictions on U.S. Relations With the Palestine Liberation Organization


Presidential Determination No. 96-41 of August 12, 1996 Suspending Restrictions on U.S. Relations With the Palestine Liberation Organization


Presidential Determination No. 97-17-February 21, 1997- Suspending Restrictions on U.S. Relations With the Palestine Liberation Organization


Clinton’s “waivers” of the PLO “after” Congress cut off all funding to the PLO under the MEPFA that ran out towards the end of November 1997

Presidential Determination No. 98-8 of December 5, 1997 Presidential Determination on Waiver and Certification of Statutory Provisions Regarding the Palestine Liberation Organization


Presidential Determination No. 98-29 – June 3, 1998 – Waiver and Certification of Statutory Provisions Regarding the Palestine Liberation Organization

Al-Ahram: Unrepentant Terrorist, Jerusalem Construction, Jordan

The following are selections from articles which appeared in the Egyptian English weekly, “Al-Ahram” of Al-Ahram Weekly 28th May – 3rd June, 1998

Tourist Killers Unrepentant to the End
by Shaden Shehab

[Heading:] Two brothers, sentenced to death for killing 9 German tourists and their Egyptian driver, were hanged inside a Cairo prison

Saber and Mahmoud Farahat were hanged on Sunday for attacking a tourist bus outside the Egyptian Museum in Tahir Square with firebombs and bullets. Nine Germans and the Egyptian driver were killed in the 18 September [1997] attack.

… Six accomplices were convicted of providing the bus assailants with weapons or instructing them in how to make the primitive bombs they used in the attack. They were sentenced each to between one and 10 years’ imprisonment with hard labour.

… The two brothers showed no regrets…. Saber went first…. clutching a copy of the Holy Qur’an. He told reporters what he had said already during the trial, that he was not a member of any terrorist group, although he sympathised with the ideology of the anti-government Jihad organization.

Asked whether he regretted what he did, Saber responded: “I have no regrets because my action was Jihad for the sake of God.” Reminded that the killing of innocent people was not Jihad, Saber said: “Yes, it is, because they are infidels.”

… The two brothers, upon hearing the death sentence on 30th October [1997], had hugged each other and repeatedly shouted Allahu akbar (God is great). Saber told reporters that a death sentence was like a “feast day”

During the trial, Saber told the reporters that his only regret was that the victims of the attack were not Jews. The attack, he said, was an act of revenge for a cartoon drawn by an Israeli woman depicting the Prophet Mohamed as a pig.

The underground Al-Gama’a Al-Islamiya had hailed the two brothers as Mujahideen and said they “acted in accordance with what their religion and belief dictate.”

… Saber had committed an earlier crime on 27 October 1993 when he opened fire on a group of foreigners inside the coffee shop of the Semiramis Hotel. Two Frenchmen and an American were killed and another American, a Syrian and an Italian were wounded.

Saber was not put on trial at the time because an examination by psychiatrists at the government’s Abbasiya Mental Hospital… confirmed that he was schizophrenic.

… The investigation into the bus attack revealed that Saber used to bribe doctors and nurses to allow him to leave and return at will [to El-Khanka Mental Hospital]…. The head of the mental hospital, Nessim Abdel-Malek, was sentenced to life imprisonment and fined LE4,000 — the estimated total of the bribes he received from Saber. Three male nurses were sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment each, two to five years and three to three years. The three sentenced to 10 years were additionally ordered to pay fines of ranging between LE1,000 and 3,600, also the estimated total of the bribes they received from Saber.

Settling for Provocation
by Graham Usher

[Heading:] As Israeli settlers establish yet more ‘homes’ in the Muslim quarter of [Old City] Jerusalem, Graham Usher reports from an increasingly tense city

One day after Israel commemorated the 31st anniversary of the occupation of East Jerusalem settlers demonstrated the means by which Israel has not only tightened its hold on the city in the intervening years but, should the settlers and others of their ilk get there way, will continue to do so in the future.

… the settlers wasted no time in establishing one more Jewish “fact” to add to the 60 or so properties Muskowitch, or groups financed by him, have acquired in the Muslim Quarter over the last decade. By Tuesday morning the settlers had laid eight cement floors, installed water and electricity and set up seven “temporary homes” to house themselves until the Yeshiva [school] is built. And despite having no municipal permit for the construction, the site was guarded by the Israeli Border Police as well as “private” security agents. A cruel irony: the floors were being laid by Palestinian workers.

The Palestinian leadership was typically slow to react. Apart from the presence of Faisal Husseini, the PLO’s head of Jerusalem affairs, the only protest against the settlers’ actions on Monday came from Israel’s Peace Now movement. But on Tuesday members of the Palestinian Legislative Council voted to suspend its session in Ramallah and go, en masse, to confront Israel’s latest Jewish settlement in Jerusalem. Forcing their way onto the site, scuffles broke out between the PLC members and the Border Police, leaving at least one Palestinian injured and one “temporary home” destroyed.

Calm was eventually restored when the PLC speaker, Ahmed Qrei (Abu Alaa), met with Israel’s Internal Security Minister, Avigdor Kahalani, who announced that a court “restraining order” had been placed on construction in the name of the municipality and Israel’s Antiquities Department. The latter had petitioned that the settlers’ building had already done damage to the ancient wall that rings the Old City.

But no Palestinian will put much stock in a court ruling to right this wrong. Past experiences — such as the Ras Al-Amud settlement last September — suggests a more likely scenario. The settlers will stay put while a court debates the legality of their presence and in the meantime another new settlement will quietly be implanted in the heart of a densely populated Palestinian neighborhood.

King’s Pardon Rebuffed
by Lola Keilani

[Heading:] The jailed independent Islamist opposition figure, Laith Shbeilat, shocked Jordanians when he turned down a royal pardon.

Laith Shbeilat, the leading Islamist opposition figure who earlier this year helped secure the release of Jordanian prisoners held in Iraq, last week rejected King Hussein’s royal pardon, insisting on completing his nine-month prison term if other political prisoners in Jordan were not released.

In a letter sent from jail, Shbeilat said, “I reject the royal pardon” unless it includes ” prisoners who have spent reasonable time in jail and who do not pose a threat to security.” The government did not comment on Shbeilat’s demand.

A former member of parliament and president of the Jordanian Anti-normalization (with Israel) Front, Shbeilat was sentenced to nine months in prison by a military state security court in early May after he was convicted of instigating the pro-Iraqi Ma’an riots in February.

… Shbeilat’s decision embarrassed the presidents of professional syndicates who had asked the king to pardon the opposition figure during a meeting last week. The syndicates, with a membership of 80,000 people, were the major force behind Shbeilat’s campaign to stop the normalization of relations with Israel. Jordan and Israel signed a peace agreement in 1994.

… Shbeilat, a former president of the Jordan Engineers’ Association for three terms, already had been pardoned twice by King Hussein in 1992 and 1996, after being convicted by the State Security Court of treason and insulting the monarch.

Peace Now Encourages Immigrants to Move to Settlements

“Haaretz” correspondent Alex Somech reports in the June 5th issue of “Haaretz” that in recent months “Peace Now” has organized 4 bus trips for new immigrants to see settlements. Mossy Raz, Political Secretary Peace Now, told Somech that Peace Now has raised several hundred thousand shekels “and we plan to bring thousands of immigrants, who are principally exposed to the Right, to see what is happening here.”

Somech joined a bus trip and reports that – “What really interested the immigrants was principally the prices of housing in the settlements. ‘The government gives grants to those who come to live there,’ explained Raz, ‘for 40 thousand dollars it is possible to buy a house, but more than 5,000 houses stand empty and there are no buyers.’ He added ‘when Yitzhak Rabin came to power in 1992, many of the settlers wanted to leave, but the prices of their homes crashed and they couldn’t sell them.’

But this did not cool the interest of the immigrant in a ‘cheap house with garden’ in the territories, and an argument broke out in the bus around the question ‘is it worthwhile to convince the children to buy a house here.’ ‘Where is there another place that it is possible to buy a home at such a price?’ They asked each other again and again.

At the Eli settlement the immigrants asked to get off the bus to go into the empty homes. Peter Kaplan, 70 from Tel Aviv, was impressed with the construction. ‘I love terra cotta roofs and an attached garden, I need a house just like this,’ he told his friends. Ina Greenebrg, 67 from Ramat Gan, said that she is ready to live there with her husband. ‘I don’t have an apartment now and am ready to accept almost anything,’ she explained. Dima Yankiviya, 73, from Tel Aviv, was uncertain. ‘It is very nice here, but where is a theater and library?’ One of the guides said cynically that ‘there is a pretty nice synagogue here.’

At the end of the trip, when they returned to Jerusalem, some of the immigrants asked to ‘tour Har Homa’. The translator explained, ‘maybe next trip.’ (“Haaretz” 5 June, 1998)

Dr. Aaron Lerner,
Director IMRA (Independent Media Review & Analysis)
P.O.BOX 982 Kfar Sava
Tel: (+972-9) 760-4719
Fax: (+972-9) 741-1645
imra@netvision.net.il