Jerusalem – In advance of the first visit by President Bush to Israel while in office, Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Salai Meridor told the Israeli media that, in his judgment, negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians will touch the most sensitive nerves of both sides.
One of those core issues remains concerning the fate of Palestinian Arab refugees and their descendants, who have been wallowing in 59 refugee camps since the Israel War of Independence in 1948.
Over the past three years, a European proposal has been worked on that would allow Palestinian refugees to become naturalized citizens of the countries in which they live. As an incentive to entice refugees and their descendants to relinquish the “right of return” to go back to Arab villages from whence they came, all Palestinian Arab refugee families would be paid large sums of money. According to the European proposal, Palestinian refugees who would not like to accept citizenship in Arab countries would be welcome in Western countries. Both Israel and the U.S. gave support to this proposal, the first of its kind in more than 25 years.
However, spokespeople of the Palestinian Authority reject the proposal out of hand and said that its purpose was to damage the refugees’ faith in the Palestinian Authority (PA) and to portray the PA as treacherous to the Palestinian cause.
Lieberman: We’ll Quit Coalition If Core Issues Are Discussed
Israeli Strategic Affairs Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who is also the chairman of Yisrael Beiteinu political party, said that he had no intention of being partner to a coalition government that engaged in negotiations over the core issues. “If negotiations over the core issues are begun, we won’t be part of the government,” the minister said yesterday morning in an interview to Israel Radio.
In response to the report yesterday morning in Ma’ariv that officials in the Prime Minister’s Bureau would like to set a time for talks between Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas in order to discuss the core issues upon the visit of the American president, Mr. Lieberman said, “the position of Yisrael Beiteinu is clear. We stated it before the Annapolis conference and while it was under way. We are not looking for a reason to quit the government, but nor are we going to cling to the horns of the altar.”
Egypt: Nuclear Radiation From Israel Is Polluting Ground Water In Sinai
A study published in Cairo alleges to have exposed the danger posed by the radioactive radiation given off by Israel’s nuclear weapons arsenal to the area at large. The study was carried out by Dr. Sayed Ashur, the former director of the Environmental Studies and Research Center in Assiut University in Cairo.
The study alleges that the groundwater in the Sinai peninsula has been polluted by Israeli radiation.
This report is part of the anti-Israel atmosphere that has come to permeate Egypt. Unofficial reports in Egypt assert that the Egyptian government is considering branding Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni “persona non grata.”
The Egyptian Parliament Speaker submitted to its Foreign Affairs Committee a proposal that was signed by a number of MPs who demand that Foreign Minister Livni be banned from visiting Egypt in the future.
The sponsor of the initiative, Talaat Matauah from the National Party, is quoted by a local newspaper as having said: “Livni became a persona non grata in the Egyptians’ view after her hostile statements toward Egypt in the media and while abandoning the diplomatic channels for expressing her positions and views.” He added that Ms. Livni’s statements were damaging to the relations between the two countries and that the peace process was in jeopardy.
Song That Blasts Israeli Women Tops Egyptian Hit Parade
The anti-Israel Egyptian songwriter Shaaban Abdel Rahim keeps churning out songs against Israel.
After achieving fame for his anti-Israel hits, first and foremost “I Hate Israel,” Shaaban has now come out with a new hit that lambastes Egyptian men who marry Israeli women. The lyrics are as follows: “I’ll die poor and Egyptian, and I won’t live in Israel.”
The lyrics to the new song were written by Aslam Khalil, who said that his inspiration for writing the song came to him after watching a television show that dealt with the question of Egyptian men who marry Israeli women. “I suggested the idea to Abdel Rahim and he surprised me with his desire to have it executed,” Mr. Khalil told an Algerian newspaper.
In the song Shaaban plays on the patriotic feelings of those very same men who betray their homeland: “The martyrs of October [which is what the Yom Kippur War is called in the Arab world] were victorious and died. Why?” he asks.
“If you don’t recognize your mistake go ask someone who saw the martyrs who died in Sinai, about the War of Attrition.”
Mr. Abdel Rahim concludes the song by prophesizing a bitter fate to anyone who marries an Israeli woman. “You went and took citizenship, as well as a bride and money? Tomorrow the Jewish lobby will cheat you and you’ll remain a spy.”
©The Bulletin 2008