Friday, December 02, 2005

A7news: Sharon Seeks Out Extremist Arab Mayor for New Party

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Sharon Seeks Out Extremist Arab Mayor for New Party
An Arabic-language newspaper in the Negev reports that Ariel Sharon offered the mayor of the Arab city of Rahat a place on his new Kadima party list for the Knesset.
Full Story Below

 1. Sharon Seeks Out Extremist Arab Mayor for New Party
 2. Arrow Anti-Missile Test a Success
 3. Israel To Join Int´l Effort Against Iranian Nuclear Threat
 4. Post-Expulsion: Volunteers Fill In What Government Leaves Out
 5. Gush Etzion Residents Deciding Whether to Fight Partition Wall
 6. Poll Shows Voters Rejecting Future Withdrawals

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Editor: Hillel Fendel
Friday, December 02, 2005
1 Kislev 5766


1. Sharon Seeks Out Extremist Arab Mayor for New Party
By Hillel Fendel

An Arabic-language newspaper in the Negev reports that Ariel Sharon offered the mayor of the Arab city of Rahat a place on his new Kadima party list for the Knesset.

The mayor in question has called in the past upon his fellow not to dare sell land to Israeli bodies. He has also issued threats in the event that the Government of Israel does not meet the Bedouin's budgetary demands.

Analyst and former IDF Intelligence officer Yonatan D. HaLevy reports that the mayor is Talal Al-Karinawi, head of the Negev city of Rahat, north of Be'er Sheva. Al-Karinawi has not yet responded to Sharon's offer, and is consulting with his close associates.

Kadima party officials continue to seek leading personalities to fill their list of Knesset candidates. The list currently includes 21 candidates:
* 14 former Likud Ministers and MKs
* two from Labor (Ramon and Itzik); Shimon Peres, also formerly of Labor, has apparently been promised a ministerial portfolio by Sharon, but will not run for a Knesset seat
* Michael Nudelman (National Union)
* David Tal (One Nation).

In addition, former GSS Director Avi Dichter, former Education Ministry Director Ronit Tirosh, and Kiryat Shmonah Mayor Chaim Barbivai have agreed to join.

Polls foresee Sharon's party receiving at least 30 seats, and Sharon is therefore seeking additional names to run with. He met with some 60 mayors earlier this week, and several of them are said to be considering joining the party. Former Agriculture Minister Shalom Simchon of Labor and Cabinet Secretary Yisrael Maimon turned down offers to join Kadima this week.

The Kadima party already has one Arab MK, Majali Wahabe, who was one of the first to announce that he was joining Sharon. It is also rumored that Labor MK Raleb Majadele, an Israeli-Arab who replaced Avraham Burg in the Knesset in June 2004, is planning to join. Shimon Peres, who announced his support of Kadima this past Wednesday night, publicly called upon Majadale to join Kadima as well.

The Arab mayor courted by Sharon has expressed a tough stance regarding the Bedouins in the Negev. Analyst HaLevy reports that in Nov. 2001, Mayor Al-Karinawi was quoted on the Hamas website as having said, "The Arab residents in the Negev will employ strong steps if the government does not meet their [financial] demands, and this will affect the Jewish residents who live in the Negev and who will never know quiet in the area."

In Dec. 2004, HaLevy reports, Al-Karinawi told Islam Online that the Bedouin tribes are fighting to prevent their recruitment into the IDF.

Most recently, Al-Karinawi took a strongly militant pro-Bedouin stand in the ongoing struggle between Bedouin and Jews for control of the Negev. He said that the Bedouin lived in the land "before the establishment of the State [of Israel], and they are protecting it [the Negev] with their souls and bodies. This ceremony [marking Earth Day] is a proof of the unity of the Arabs who are 'inside' [as opposed to in Judea and Samaria - ed.] and of our adherence to [demanding] our rights... We must be partners in developing the Negev. No matter what our financial state is, it is absolutely forbidden to sell the land to the Israel Lands Authority."

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2. Arrow Anti-Missile Test a Success
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu

Israel successfully tested its Arrow anti-missile system which is to help defend Israel from an Iranian attack. The test was made amid reports that Russia agreed to sell missile systems to Iran.

The Arrow missile was fired at 10:28 Friday morning (3:28 a.m. EST) from the center of the country toward a simulated enemy missile designed to resemble an Iranian weapon capable of carrying a nuclear warhead. This was the ninth time Israel has tested the missile, in addition to other tests of the entire system. A missile test last year failed.

Military officials expressed satisfaction with the test, which was more complicated than previous exercises. Defense Ministry Director Yaakov Toran said that the defense establishment "has proven once more its technological contribution to national security." Officials said the engine developed by Israeli engineers improved the system.

Meanwhile, a Russian newspaper reported that Moscow is selling Iran 29 missile systems which can destroy airplanes and guided missiles. Russia also has initiated a move to allow Iran to develop is nuclear energy program in return for enriched uranium, which can be used for nuclear weapons. American officials expressed fears that Russia cannot be trusted and that Iran will find a way to recover the enriched uranium.

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said on Thursday that Israel would not stand by quietly if Iran develops its nuclear program, but would not act alone as it did against Iraq's nuclear facility in 1981. See related story below.

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3. Israel To Join Int´l Effort Against Iranian Nuclear Threat
By Debbie Berman

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon expressed Israel’s intention to take part in a U.S.-led international effort to block further development of Iran’s growing nuclear capabilities.

Israeli strategists believe that Iran’s nuclear potential is a real threat and have not ruled out the possibility of taking military action.

"Israel and other countries cannot accept a situation where Iran has nuclear arms. The issue is clear to us, and we are making all the necessary preparations to handle a situation of this kind," the Prime Minister stated Thursday.

"The danger does not only affect Israel, but also Middle Eastern countries and many other countries around the world. Therefore the recent efforts led by the US must include free countries that understand this grave danger," Sharon said.

While Sharon maintained that a U.S.-led coalition has the military capabilities to combat Iran, he added, "Before anyone decides on a military step, every effort would be made to pressure Iran to halt this activity. It seems to me such efforts can be fruitful." Defense Minister Sha'ul Mofaz also advocated the pursuit of diplomacy with Iran in a Thursday interview with Israel Radio.

IDF Intelligence Chief Aharon Ze'evi-Farkash suggested Wednesday that Israel might be forced to consider using military tactics to bring an end to the Iranian nuclear program. "If by the end of March, 2006 the international community will have failed to halt Iran's nuclear weapons program, diplomatic efforts will be pointless. Iran has the upper hand in negotiations with the international community,” explained Farkash.

Following Farkash's assessments, Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chairman Yuval Shteinitz asserted, "The comments by the head of Military Intelligence convey a harsh, worrying and dark picture. Iran is going to become a nuclear power in the region and the world is helpless."

According to Shteinitz, Iran’s nuclear capabilities are rapidly advancing. He cited Iran’s production of 45 tons of UF-6 gas used in the centrifuge process for producing enriched uranium for nuclear weapons. "In my years here, seeing the data I have seen, I feel it is clear that Iran has passed the point of no return. It is accurate to say that unless Iran encounters a major interference, it will have a functioning nuclear arsenal within one or two years," Shteinitz said.

According to reports from IRNA, Iran's state news agency, Ahmadinejad maintains Iran’s right to continue to advance its nuclear program and believes that ultimately pressure from the West will not impede Iranian nuclear development. "We sent the message to Westerners that we would stand firm to the end, and that we would never abandon our right, and when they realized [Iran] is firm in its stands, they backed off," Ahmadinejad said.

Intelligence Chief Farkash believes that the recent escalation along Israel’s northern front was instigated by Iran in an effort to shift international focus away from its nuclear development. "The latest flare-up in the north was a strategic plan by Hizbullah. They hoped we would retaliate by firing rockets and hitting civilians. We have seen evidence of them preparing for this type of attack along the border," Farkash said.

Sharon called for international pressure to be applied to put an end to ongoing Syrian and Iranian support of the Hizbullah. “In the wake of recent activity in the north I sent letters to the leaders of central European nations and the U.S. It is imperative that Hizbullah not deploy troops along the border. I demanded that pressure be applied to disarm the Hizbaullah and bring an end to Syrian and Iranian assistance to the Hizbullah,” Sharon stated.

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4. Post-Expulsion: Volunteers Fill In What Government Leaves Out
By Hillel Fendel

The spokesperson of what was the Gaza Coast Regional Council says the children of Gush Katif are suffering from the Disengagement Authority's lack of preparation. Volunteers are taking up the slack.

A 20-year veteran of N'vei Dekalim, Debbie Rosen spoke with Arutz-7 Hebrew Radio in the wake of a hard-hitting report by the Land of Israel Legal Forum. Submitted this week to the State Comptroller, the report reveals grave failures in the psychological, social and emotional treatment of the expelled residents of Gush Katif and northern Shomron. Specific but anonymous examples based on direct and personal testimony are provided.

The report sums up, "The expulsion created a traumatic situation, exacting particularly heavy physical and emotional prices. Beyond the hardship of being thrown out of one's home, in this case the State did not even act or prepare properly in order to genuinely help and treat the difficulties of those who were thrown out. The Form and other bodies warned of this in Knesset Law Committee sessions, but it is now clear that nothing was done."

Rosen said, "As a result of the expulsion, children have developed difficulties in adjustment and integration, and many of them have attention and concentration difficulties that they never had before. The expellees' children in Jerusalem have been given a few classrooms in the Netiv Meir Yeshiva High School [for the morning hours; they must rush out before the high school students begin afternoon studies - ed.], but there's no school atmosphere. The children sense the temporariness, they see their teachers being replaced at a very high rate. With all the desire to help, it's just not it."

An attempt was made to impress upon the members of the Knesset Children's Rights Committee the gravity of the situation, but Rosen says it was not wholly successful:
"The members had difficulty understanding how grave the situation is for youth who bore the struggle [against the expulsion] on their shoulders. Many of the youth are now suffering from a strong crisis of values, and some of them have required psychiatric help. Some of the youths simply don't find themselves; they reject the frameworks, and run off to hang out on the streets at night. Their parents, too, are in distress in the hotels, and are unable to show authority or educate. There are no solutions for these problems."

"The government came out with this campaign that for every expellee there was a solution - but they forgot that children are part of the community... The children have to study properly, and receive at least what they received in Gush Katif - strong and good frameworks like we used to have, nothing more. The government did not prepare for the expulsion they way it should have, and now we are suffering from the bureaucracy and the craziness."

However, it appears that where the government is clueless, the people of Israel are filling in. "They are wonderful," Rosen says, "and they work night and day, but it's not their job. The money that the Disengagement Authority gets but doesn't use properly should be diverted to them."

One group of volunteers, from Har Nof, Jerusalem, is working with a relatively-unknown group of ten expelled families living at Elah Residence Protected Housing in the Malcha neighborhood in Jerusalem. The families have now dwindled to four, and the Disengagement Authority has informed them that they must leave once again. The Authority has already stopped paying for their lodgings at Elah, and only the generosity of Elah in allowing them to remain - and of the volunteers in arranging food and laundry - has saved them from what they feel would be another relocation trauma. By next week, however, they may have no choice.

"I refuse to move to a fourth place," one young expellee mother said this morning. "When we first were thrown out of N'vei Dekalim, we were taken to the Jerusalem Gates Hotel, where we were supposed to go, but they told us they had no room. I still don't know how that happened, but in any event we were altogether out of it at the time... So they took us and another few families to a small hotel in Jerusalem that was in the middle of refurbishing works; you can imagine what kind of conditions those were. We stayed there for two weeks, until being moved to here."

At that point, the real troubles began. "For the children, it was a real trauma. They were fearful, and had to check everything out, and bed-wetting began, and all sorts of troubles. Now things are finally settling down, and they want us to start again all over? No way!"

One of the Har Nof volunteers, Miriam Stern, elaborated:
"These families [in Elah] have better physical conditions than those in the hotels, but the children were left with nothing to do. There was no social worker from the disengagement authority, there was no afternoon day care, no afternoon activities, nothing. The only thing was a pizza place nearby, where many of them would hang out... But after Sukkot [five weeks ago], things began improving. We were able to arrange a volunteer day-care center twice a week so that the mothers could have some time off, and now there are karate lessons - their first recreational activity. We have raised funds for some sports activities and classes in the afternoons, and for transportation to the Shalom Hotel [where there are other activities], and for art therapy, and for food for the next few days, and more."

Volunteer activities are going on in other neighborhoods as well. In Bayit Vegan, for instance, where the Shalom Hotel is located, local residents supply the expellees with daily supplies including milk, diapers, toiletries, baby formula and much more.

Stern said that the Michlalah (Jerusalem College for Women) has been very efficient and prompt in providing help:
"Just a few days after we approached them, they had already set up a whole course for girls in grades 6-8, with math, English and computer tutoring and classes twice a week. They also have therapeutic services, sports for boys, computer graphics, psycho-drama, and more. The Education Ministry pays for the transportation, and the children are really very excited to take part. In addition, Machon Lev (Jerusalem College of Technology) gives courses to adults, and we’re hoping that they'll also start courses for the boys."

Asked what people can do to help, she said, "As you can imagine, all of these things cost money..." Her email address for those who want to take part is

Pressed for something that people can actually do in person, Mrs. Stern said, "It looks very much like there will be a need to individually accompany and adopt each family - especially in Nitzan, which is like a real refugee camp, where most of the people are still out of work, and where a real catastrophe might very well be developing. For those who can do this, this could be a real life-saver."

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5. Gush Etzion Residents Deciding Whether to Fight Partition Wall
By Ezra HaLevi

Gush Etzion residents are deciding whether to continue to negotiate with the authorities on the route of the Partition Wall, or to oppose the wall's construction altogether.

Kibbutz Kfar Etzion, one of the region’s first communities reestablished after the Six-Day-War, announced last month that it rejects the building of a wall around the Etzion Bloc, saying it would prefer it be built along the Green Line if it is built at all. In a statement citing the wall's negative impact on the region's Arabs and Jews alike, Kfar Etzion's members demanded to be left outside the fence - i.e., on the "Arab" side - saying alternative means should be found to ensure their security.

Now, the rest of Gush Etzion’s communities must decide how to respond to the most invasive and significant project in the region’s history - but with an astounding lack of information being provided to the residents.

The Gush Etzion municipalities have been meeting government officials on the residents' behalf, wrangling for an improved route instead of Kfar Etzion's rejectionist stance. Kfar Etzion residents are now growing impatient with the mayors, and recently decided to approach each individual Gush Etzion community to determine if a struggle could be waged.

Tuesday, a meeting originally billed as a vote on the wall was supposed to take place in the community of Neve Daniel. The meeting was downgraded to an informational meeting shortly before it was to take place, however, due to pressure from the municipality.

At the meeting, Chananya Nachlieli, a surveyor for the municipality who has extensive first-hand knowledge of the topography of all of Gush Etzion, presented maps and illustrative photographs demonstrating the negative effects of the wall and its proposed route.

So far, the way the fence route has been determined is that IDF officers are first asked to submit the best route, from a security perspective. They are then asked to submit alternative routes that are less preferred, but still somewhat defensible. When the actual building begins, numerous Supreme Court petitions are invariably filed by local PA Arabs. Such petitions regarding the wall's Samaria route saw the Supreme Court rule almost universally in favor of Arab land rights over Jewish security assessments and the preservation of Jewish-owned state lands for future growth.

In Samaria, the communities of Alfei Menashe, Elkanah, and others surrounding the city of Ariel were originally supposed to be included on the “Israeli side” of the fence (a term which accepts the inevitability that if the Partition Wall is constructed, its political backers intend for it to serve as a future international border). Following numerous Supreme Court petitions, the map of the fence around the Ariel bloc now looks eerily like Gaza’s Katif bloc did before the expulsion – with three fenced-on-both-sides roads leading to the communities.

Nachlieli also outlined the fact that there are effectively two walls being constructed. The western wall is being constructed along the Green Line – Israel’s pre-1967 border. The eastern side snugly encases many of central Gush Etzion’s communities, but leaves several of the region's eastern and southern communities out. Between the two walls live 50,000 Jews and 17,000 Arabs.

Communities that will be left outside of the Partition Wall include Hevron, Kiryat Arba, Tekoa, Nokdim, Karmei Tzur, Maaleh Rechavam, Meitzad and Pnei Kedem.

Shimon Karniel of Kfar Etzion presented his community’s categorical rejection of the fence at the Neve Daniel meeting. Karniel stressed the fact that the Gush Etzion municipality, represented by Mayor Sha’ul Goldstein, initially agreed on a set of five red lines - which if not corrected would lead to a joint effort against the wall. The five unacceptable circumstances were:

1. The severing of Route 367, the main road into Gush Etzion from the Ela Valley. The route of the fence on that road will also attach the quiet Arab village of Jabba to the Hamas hotbed of Tzurif.
2. The strangulation of the community of Bat Ayin, as the wall severs the state lands earmarked for expansion of the community. The route also fences residents of the purposely unfenced community in, while leaving the high ground across from their homes in Arab hands.
3. The severance of state lands earmarked for the expansion of Migdal Oz by the wall.
4. The fencing out of the hill overlooking the Gush Etzion Highway (Route 60) near Efrat's northern entrance. The northern entrance is also supposed to be closed once the fence is built.
5. The building of a permanent border along the Green Line, instead of a non-contiguous security barrier using sensor technology to protect citizens of pre-1967 Israel from infiltrators.

“What happened,” Karniel said, “is that all of our demands were ignored aside from the one hill near the northern entrance to Efrat.” Karniel says that the municipality has broken its commitments and refuses to begin the struggle.

The mayors of Efrat, Betar Illit and Gush Etzion have focused on the prevention of a contiguous Green Line fence, asking instead for cameras and obstacles such as prickly-pear bushes. Karniel says, however, that the route has already been flattened out and will be built “within days of any terror attack in the region, as it will certainly be blamed on the lack of a solid wall.”

Karniel insists that the claim that the wall is meant to provide any security to the residents of Gush Etzion is an utter falsehood. “The fact that 17,000 Arabs with free passage to Bethlehem will live within the wall as well, debunks this claim,” he said.

“It is a bad fence – bad for Gush Etzion, bad for Israel and bad for those outside it,” Karniel concluded.

Mayor Sha’ul Goldstein, representing the Gush Etzion municipality at the Neve Daniel meeting, outlined his efforts to influence the route of the fence and explained his reasons for not rejecting the Gush Etzion fence completely.

“The fence is a purely political one that does not accomplish anything in terms of security,” Goldstein declared, going so far as to say the fence around Gaza is what directly led to the IDF’s exit from the region. “But if we have learned anything from the Disengagement, it is that when the government of Israel decides on something – it happens.”

“Therefore, I decided to fight for the best eastern route we could get – there will never be a political agreement between the Jews and Arabs, but there will be more unilateral withdrawals and the question is how can we save the most land.”

Goldstein, a senior member of the Yesha Council, believes that a struggle against the fence around Gush Etzion will be detrimental to the region in terms of tourism. “Students will stop coming – the 200,000 tourists who visited Gush Etzion, even during war time, will not come if we are on the other side of the fence. The city of Betar Illit, which is home to 30,000 of Gush Etzion’s residents, will stop growing... It was just recently that [the city’s hareidi-religious] rabbis agreed to bring people there in the first place.”

Asked about the possibility of holding a referendum of Gush Etzion residents regarding the wall, Goldstein dismissed the idea, saying that not only are residents not informed enough on the matter, but that their ability to influence the government’s decision, should they reject the eastern fence, is doubtful. Goldstein worked tirelessly on behalf of a national referendum ahead of the withdrawal from Gaza and northern Samaria.

The Gush Etzion Mayor stunned those calling for a complete rejection of the wall by declaring, “In my opinion, we won big-time with this current map.”

Some Gush Etzion residents are not waiting for the municipalities, saying the fence will be half-built by the time they opt for a public struggle against it.

“Those behind the fence will be offered compensation and expelled from their homes down the road – that’s the plan,” Alon Shvut resident Shimon Yitzchak said. “But those of you who think you are improving the status of Gush Etzion and entering the consensus by agreeing to this fence are in for a surprise. We won’t even be evacuated or be offered compensation – we will just watch the value of our homes plummet and our quality of life melt away as we wait for hours at the new border crossings and sit in traffic while some suspicious bag of garbage is removed from the only road out of Gush Etzion.”

“And you know what?" concluded Yitzchak. "In my opinion, people who would agree to sell out their brothers living in Tekoa and Kiryat Arba, who are currently due to be fenced out, would deserve whatever they get. This is the second stage of the expulsion and just as the expulsion from Gush Katif was misnamed a ‘disengagement,’ this expulsion hides behind the misnamed ‘security fence.’”

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6. Poll Shows Voters Rejecting Future Withdrawals
By Ezra HaLevi

A poll conducted this past week supports the assertion by politicians across the political spectrum that once the novelty of PM Sharon's Kadima Party wears off, voters will oppose its platform.

The poll, conducted by Smith Research and Consulting for the Zionist Organization of America, found that of the 500 Israeli Jews polled, 67% are opposed to major withdrawals from Judea and Samaria in response to the Palestinian Authority's failure to combat terror groups. Among self-proclaimed Kadima supporters, 54% opposed further unilateral withdrawals.

Just 28% of the Jewish public, and 37% of Kadima constituents, said they support carrying out significant withdrawals if the Road Map is not advanced upon due to PA inaction.

A follow-up question found that of those who oppose unilateral withdrawal
under those circumstances, 75% responded that they would not vote for a
party that would support such a move, and 18% would. Among those intending to
vote for Kadima who oppose unilateral withdrawal under those circumstances,
68% responded that they would not vote for a party that would support such a
move, while 20% would.

The ZOA-sponsored poll is significant in that is seems to bolster claims by political pundits that once the novelty of the big-name celebrities migrating to Sharon's party wears off, the public will not place the Kadima slips in the ballot boxes.

"It is funny to see that politicians are taking part in a game of 'A Star is Born' [popular Israeli talent show similar to American Idol –ed.] and it seems that it is not by chance that elections will be held after Purim," Shas Party leader MK Eli Yishai said earlier this week. "The present election campaign revolves around important ideological issues and I am certain the public is more impressed by the migration of birds than by the migration of politicians."

Dr. Aaron Lerner of Independent Media Research Analysis analyzed the poll in light of the current political scene. "While [recent Labor Party defector] Chaim Ramon and many others associated with the Kadima Party openly state that Prime Minister Sharon will carry out a significant unilateral withdrawal from Judea and Samaria if it is not possible to advance in negotiations with the Palestinians on the basis of the Road Map after the elections because the PA fails to fight terror - and that this is the most likely scenario - Sharon opts to dodge the question."

Lerner was referring to a direct question to Sharon asked by Arutz-7's Haggai Huberman at the Editors' Convention at Sokolov House in Tel Aviv Thursday. Huberman asked the prime minister what his plans are for after the elections should the PA continue to fail to fight terror. Sharon repeated his standard declaration of commitment to the Road Map, insisting that there are no additional plans such as the Disengagement Plan in the works.

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