Israel in the News Nov/Dec 2002

Child suicide games the latest PA fashion
ARUTZ-7—The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Web site has reported a new children’s outdoor game being played these days in the Palestinian Authority (PA) city of Ramallah. The name of the game was not reported, but “Blow Yourself Up” seems appropriate.

TarekHamida, a reporter for the PA weekly Al-Aman, is quoted by the IDF as saying that the usual games of “Arabs and Jews” have given way to improved versions: “We have noticed a new development in the children’s games. We saw how one of the children would stand next to his friend and say, ‘Strap me.’ The ‘engineer’ would then strap a toy explosives belt onto his friend, under his shirt or robe.

“The two of them then hug each other, and the ‘suicide terrorist’ then turns towards a bus or a group of his friends, screams Allahu Akbar! and presses a button. The children jump and fall on his right and left from the force of the ‘explosion.’ The game ends only when all the children have had their turn at being the suicide killer, wearing the vest, and pressing the button.”

Arafat’s men execute Arab mother accused of collaborating with Israel
ARUTZ-7—An Arab mother of seven, 39-year-old Ikhlas Yassin of Tul Karem, has been executed by members of Fatah’s Al-Aksa Martyrs Brigades. Accused of “collaborating with Israel,” her bullet-riddled body was found lying in the central square of Tul Karem. She was the first woman among the dozens of suspected Arab collaborators killed in the PA in the past two years—a few of them by official PA bodies.

Gaza father tries selling his children
THE JERUSALEM POST INTERNET—A Palestinian father of seven from Rafah enraged Yasser Arafat and Palestinian Authority (PA) officials recently by insinuating the PA is not distributing financial aid to the needy when he advertised his children for sale or adoption because he can no longer afford to feed them. He has been forced to publish an apology.

Ahmed Dahir, 44, published the front-page advertisement, entitled “Children for sale or adoption,” in the PA’s mouthpiece, Al-Hayat al-Jadeedah.

The PA has come under severe criticism, especially in the Gaza Strip, for failing to provide work and food for tens of thousands of unemployed Palestinians. Thousands of unemployed Palestinians have been staging demonstrations outside PA ministries in the Gaza Strip to protest the economic crisis. Some have accused PA officials of embezzling millions of dollars donated by Arab and European states to help needy Palestinians.

Temple Mount guide published as southern wall prepares to fall
ARUTZ-7—Unable to visit the Temple Mount in Jerusalem for nearly two years, non-Muslims can at least read a new comprehensive guide that describes the site’s 3,000 years of history.

Hebrew University archaeologist Dr. EilatMazar’s 120-page The Complete Guide to the Temple Mount Excavations has just been translated into English and is replete with pictures of the original excavations of the site between 1968 and 1978, depictions of how the 7.5-acre site may have looked at the time it housed the two ancient Jewish Temples, and modern photos.

Meanwhile, Mazar, a third-generation archaeologist and the granddaughter of famed archaeologist Prof. Binyamin Mazar who headed the Temple Mount excavations between 1968 and 1978, says the southern wall probably won’t last the winter. It stands to the right of worshipers at the Western Wall. It is currently being propped up by scaffolding that she said can never hold it up.

Mazar has been one of the most outspoken and vociferous members of the non-partisan Committee Against the Destruction of Antiquities on the Temple Mount, which has decried the lack of archaeological supervision at the site for the past two years.

“It’s about to fall,” she said of the southern wall. When asked why, she said the dangerous bulge “is where the major works of destruction were carried out by the Waqf (the Moslem body that controls the Temple Mount) starting in 1996, when (Benjamin) Netanyahu allowed them to build the largest mosque in the ancient site of Solomon’s Stables, and the area was entirely changed.” She said the wall “looks like it can fall on those standing below.”

Dr. Mazar said the Jordanians and the Waqf are doing nothing about the problem except blaming Israel, nor is Israel able to do anything: “Jews are not allowed in to the Temple Mount. . . . The Waqf has placed some scaffolding there to try to hold up the wall, but is doing no work there. Israel has stationed two policemen there to watch. . . . The scaffolding itself is a joke; it’s not strong enough to hold up the wall, and in fact, no scaffolding would be strong enough. The wall has to be taken down and rebuilt, that’s the only thing that will help.”

When asked, “Doesn’t the Waqf care about this?” Dr. Mazar replied, “The Waqf? The only thing it cares about is Islamicizing the Temple Mount, and absolutely nothing else. Let’s not forget, in the past five years the Waqf has only been destroying there—its only goal is to build a mosque on the entire compound. They claim that the entire area is Moslem, and that it’s always been that way, and that’s it. Nothing else interests them—not the Jewish connections, not what Christianity says, not the cultural significance, and not the law.”

Israel sends flood relief to Prague
THE JERUSALEM POST INTERNET—A first shipment of aid has left Israel for the Czech Republic to help victims of the devastating floods in the region, Israel Radio reported.

The four-ton aid package includes blankets, food, and gifts for Prague’s Jewish community. The package was assembled by the Kibbutz Movement and Humanitarian Aid Fund. El Al, Israel’s national airline, flew the aid to Prague free of charge.

Bus company sues PA for terror attacks
ARUTZ-7—In an effort to stop terrorism by hitting the Palestinian Authority (PA) in the pocketbook, Israel’s largest bus company, Egged, plans to sue the PA and Yasser Arafat for hundreds of millions of dollars.

Egged claims that terrorists have murdered some 100 people on Egged buses and have cost the company close to 200 million shekels a year, including a drop in the number of riders.

In another civilian effort to stop terrorism, the parents of a bus bombing victim have filed a complaint with police against two Israeli-Arab women who knew a suicide terrorist was planning to blow up a bus, got off the bus, and made no effort to notify authorities. The complainants say their daughter’s life could have been saved had the women taken the trouble to call the police.

Netherlands to cut pensions of Israelis living over Green Line
THE JERUSALEM POST INTERNET—The Netherlands bank issuing pension payments to Dutch-Israeli, single senior citizens said it no longer recognizes Israel’s post-1967 borders, including the Jerusalem neighborhood of Ramot.

The Social Insurance Bank announced it will reduce pension payments by 20 percent starting in January 2003 and will also stop other payments, including child benefits, to Dutch Israelis living in the territories.

“We consider that the occupied territories are not part of Israel,” said Win Vervenne, the bank’s policy adviser.

But Hans Yanssen, a Dutch foreign ministry spokesman, said the bank’s decision does not reflect the Netherlands’ official policy.

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