Israel in the News Jul/Aug 2001

Iran hosts terrorists as Hezbollah vows to continue attacks
Terrorists and Muslim leaders met in Iran in April to spur each other on in their fight to destroy Israel.

At the invitation of Iran, Israel’s archenemy, members of the terror groups Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, and Hamas met with parliamentary leaders of 30 Islamic countries at a two-day conference in Tehran. Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah warned Israel to expect surprise attacks and declared, “Victory belongs to us,” eliciting hearty applause.

At the outset of the meeting, Iran’s dictator, Ayatollah Khamenei, called on the Muslim world to support the Palestinians even if it means defying the United States and the West, the Associated Press reported. “Supporting the Palestinian people is one of our important Islamic duties,” he said.

Nasrallah rushed to kiss Khamenei’s hand after Khamenei finished speaking.

Hezbollah is responsible for much violence in Israel. It also has refused to let the Red Cross visit three Israeli soldiers captured in October 2000 by the Iranian-backed Shi’ite movement.

Khamenei opened the conference by denouncing diplomacy for peace and said, “The strength of Islamic resistance lies in its ability to wreak crushing blows against Israeli actions, and not in relying on diplomatic efforts and mediation of others.”

Time magazine already has reported that Hezbollah, Hamas, and Islamic Jihad are banding together to come up with a unified strategy against

Israel, and The Jewish Telegraphic Agency has reported that a recent article in the Tehran Times stated flatly, “Tehran slowly is becoming the focal point of the struggle for the Liberation of holy Jerusalem.” A

Reopening Jericho a gamble in more ways than one
A glitzy, Palestinian casino that raked in an estimated $680,000 daily before the recent intifada ruined its business has become a factor in discussions on whether Israel should reopen the Jericho area.

The Palestinians have pledged to keep the area, including the Jericho bypass road, safe, according to a report in The Jerusalem Post. The road has been the scene of many shootings and firebomb attacks.

The casino income is important to the Palestinian Authority, which opened the Palestinian Oasis Casino in a venture with an Austrian firm in 1998. Israel closed it down after Palestinian gunmen used it to shoot at nearby Israeli troops.

According to Ha’aretz, an Israeli newspaper, local Palestinians are barred from frequenting the casino, “but Israelis, who are forbidden by law from setting up casinos inside Israel, can travel 30 minutes from Jerusalem to gamble.” Most of the patrons reportedly are Israeli Arabs.

“It’s scandalous,” said Israel’s Transport Minister Rehavam Ze’evi. “If there is quiet in Jericho, why shouldn’t things also be quiet in Netzarim or Gilo? Because they aren’t making anything off us there!”

Former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said casino money finances terrorism in other parts of Israel. “They will be able to continue the terror and the violence everywhere else,” he said, “at the same time that a stream of Israelis is providing them with the takings to continue financing this activity.”

The casino has roulette, blackjack, poker, baccarat tables, and slot machines. The Israeli defense establishment opposes reopening it and said no Israelis are allowed to enter Palestinian Authority areas and particularly not Jericho, the Post reported.

Foreign Minister Shimon Peres said lifting the Jericho blockade is part of a policy to let Palestinians lead normal lives despite the violence. “In the Jericho area, $700 million was invested in different industries… thisplustourism. . . . Everything has been paralyzed. Our position is to allow for a normal lifestyle unconditionally and without receiving anything in return. . . . We don’t want to harm innocent people.” A

Ayatollah Khamenei, Edward R. Murrow would never agree
Iran’s supreme leader said in April that Zionists exaggerated the Holocaust to justify crimes against Palestinians.

Speaking in Tehran in April at a two-day conference of terrorists and Muslim leaders, Ayatollah Khamenei claimed Zionists “had close relations with German Nazis and exaggerated statistics on Jewish killings.” He said, “Non-Jewish hooligans and thugs of eastern Europe were forced to migrate to Palestine as Jews.”

The United States State Department condemned the comments as “outrageous and deplorable.”

At the time of the Holocaust, the British ruled Palestine and virtually forbid Jewish immigration by imposing severe and restrictive quotas. In actuality, history shows that the Palestinian Arabs cooperated with the German Nazis. The Palestinian Jews cooperated with the Allies and fought in the British army. Their British passports were stamped “Palestinian Jew.”

Edward R. Murrow, one of America’s most famous journalists and the head of the CBS European Bureau during World War II, was at the Buchenwald concentration camp the day the Allies liberated it.

“Murder had been done at Buchenwald,” Murrow said. “God alone knows how many men and boys have died there during the last 12 years. . . . I pray you to believe what I have said about Buchenwald. I reported what I saw and heard, but only part of it. For most of it, I have no words.” A

El Al sells jets, plans cancellations to offset $109 million loss
A severe drop in tourism to Israel due to violence in the Middle East has hit El Al hard. The Israeli national airline has confirmed it will halt flights to 10 destinations, reduce its workforce, and sell eight old planes in an attempt to maintain financial stability in the face of a $109 million loss in revenue this year.

El Al Director David Hermesh reassured passengers that the airline will provide at least two months’ notice before dropping any destination. The Jerusalem Post has reported that the airline will halt service to Chicago; Copenhagen; and Manchester, England.

Cost-cutting moves are likely to lead to a firing of dozens of flight technicians and the consensual resignation of some 300 other employees, the Post said. The company, however, will use the proceeds in part to purchase a new Boeing 777. A

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