Israel in the News Jun/Jul 1994

Fatah Leader Criticizes Arafat, Praises Israeli Democracy

from Near East Report

As Yasser Arafat’s administrative style comes under increasing fire, some Palestinians in the territories think the PLO Chairman could learn a lesson or two from Israeli democracy, the New York Times recently reported.

Many members of Arafat’s mainstream PLO Fatah movement “especially in the territories, are opposed to the way Abu Ammar [Arafat’s nom de guerre] is running things,” says Ihab al Ashqar, a senior Fatah official in the Gaza Strip.

“We’ve gotten used to the democratic system,” continued Ashqar, who spent several years in jail for his leadership role in the intifada. “We’ve benefited from our contact with Israel by seeing its democracy at work and its parliament. We want to be a part of the decision-making process.”

Hamas: Seeking to Purge Jews from “Palestine”

from Near East Report

In an interview with the Jordanian newspaper Sawt Al Shaub, Hamas spokesman Ibrahim Ghosheh reiterated his organization’s goal: driving all Jews out of Israel, which would be replaced by an Islamic state.

Asked if Hamas would continue intifada violence after Palestinian autonomy had begun, Ghosheh replied that “intifada and jihad operations must exist wherever there is Zionist occupation.”

“In other words, if the Jews withdraw completely from the Gaza Strip, the intifada operations in the Strip would completely cease,” Ghosheh added. “But the jihad [holy war] will not cease, because the Jews would then continue to exist in other parts of Palestine.”

Survey shows anti-Semitism is up worldwide

from Jewish Exponent

Extremist right-wing movements worldwide have gone on the offensive in recent months, significantly increasing their attacks against Jews, according to the second in a series of reports of the Tel Aviv University Project for the Study of Anti-Semitism, in cooperation with the Anti-Defamation League.

“We are seeing a sinister red-brown alliance between eastern European leftists and central European rightists,” said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL national director. “Holocaust denial and attempts to sanitize those who cooperated with Nazis during World War II as nationalist heroes are particularly outrageous and incomprehensible.”

Dr. Dina Porat, project director at Tel Aviv University, expressed her concern at the rise of anti-Semitic violence and vandalism, including damage to Jewish sites, particularly cemeteries, and noted the growing connection between Holocaust denial and anti-Semitic vandalism.

Vatican to open embassy in Old Jaffa

from The Jerusalem Post

The Vatican’s first embassy in Israel will be situated in Old Jaffa’s Franciscan Church, erected in 1303.

The decision was reached recently by directors of the Company for Developing Old Jaffa and the Vatican’s ambassador designate in Israel. It will be the first embassy in Israel to be located in Jaffa.

Syria’s Jews are free to leave

from The Jerusalem Post

Syria has issued exit visas to all Jews wishing to leave the country, it was confirmed by B’nai B’rith. Observers said the completion of the Syrian community’s exodus could be expected soon. There are still 1,200 Jews in Syria, but approximately 400, most of them very wealthy, apparently wish to remain there.

Population reaches 5.3m

from The Jerusalem Post

The country’s population grew to over 5.3 million in 1993, the Central Bureau of Statistics announced recently. Sixty percent of the growth came from the birthrate and 40% from immigration. The population of Jewish settlements in the territories went from 105,000 in 1992 to 115,000, the bureau said. The Arab population in the territories is pegged around 1.9 million.

Iraq still making chemical weapons

from The Jerusalem Post

Thirty-five tons of ammonium perchlorate, used in the manufacture of chemical weapons, were seized en route to Iraq last week, proving the Iraqis are ignoring UN orders and continuing to arm themselves with nonconventional weapons, Labor MK Ephraim Sneh told the Knesset.

Sneh said a German vessel, the Asian Senator, was seized in Jedda, Saudi Arabia, carrying the chemicals. The boat was on its way to Beirut, from where the cargo was to be transported over land to Iraq.

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