This is a compendium of doublespeak. It is so blatant that it rarely needs any commentary from me. However, any such commentary or clarification will be identified by its brackets [          ], and forms no part of the republished item. -- Mark Rosenblit



Aaron Lerner, Date: 15 July, 1999

IMRA interviewed Shmuel Ben-Ruby, spokesman for the Israel Police Jerusalem District, in Hebrew, on July 15 1999 (a day that Prime Minister Barak was in Washington):

IMRA: I heard that the Jerusalem Police detained someone today who was standing with a sign that read 'There are 120 idiots in the Knesset'. He was detained for questioning to determine if he violated the law against insulting public servants.

Ben-Ruby: Yes.

IMRA: I am not familiar with how the police work. They have his name and what he was holding between his hands. What more can they investigate?

Ben-Ruby: They take testimony from him.

IMRA: What testimony? I am simply trying to understand what more there is beyond the fact that he stood with a sign that read 'There are 120 idiots in the Knesset.'

Ben-Ruby: We want to hear his version of what he did.

IMRA: I thought that the very act of his standing with the sign is the entire story, isn't it?

Ben-Ruby: What?

IMRA: What more can be learned from someone in interrogation beyond the fact that he stood with a sign that read 'There are 120 idiots in the Knesset'?

Ben-Ruby: In any case we want to hear from him what he says.

IMRA: You mean to say that it matters what's behind the sign as to whether or not he is insulting public servants?

Ben-Ruby: We want to know what he has to say on the matter. It isn't that we are taking someone and putting him on trial. We want to hear the suspect's version.

IMRA: So you are saying that it is not necessarily against the law to stand with a sign reading 'There are 120 idiots in the Knesset'.

Ben-Ruby: This is at the investigatory stage. Those who will decide will decide, namely the legal advisors, if this constitutes insulting public servants.

IMRA: Do you suggest to people in Israel not to say that there are MKs who are idiots because they may be taken in for questioning?

Ben-Ruby: I am not coming to make any suggestion on this matter.

IMRA: But one does take the risk if one says that there are MKs who are idiots that they will be brought in for questioning.

Ben-Ruby: Look. The Israel Police is not the KGB.

IMRA: Well, you are telling me that if you stand with a sign that reads 'There are 120 idiots in the Knesset' that the Israel Police can ask you to come in for questioning.

Ben-Ruby: It is checked. It merits treatment. Yes.

IMRA: So people in Israel should think twice before they say that there is an MK who is an idiot, because the police may call them in for questioning in a police station.

Ben-Ruby: I am not saying that. Don't put words in my mouth.

IMRA: I am not. Just that someone who doesn't want to be called in for questioning by the police should not say that there are idiots in the Knesset.

Ben-Ruby: That's your interpretation. We check if it constitutes insulting a public servant.

IMRA: I really am not familiar with the procedure. When a policeman asks someone to come in for questioning what are his options? Can he refuse?

Ben-Ruby: He can exercise the right to remain silent.

IMRA: That's not what I mean. He has to go with him.

Ben-Ruby: Yes.

IMRA: So this man is still at a police station?

Ben-Ruby: He is still being checked.

IMRA: Is it something that happens frequently that people who say that there are idiots in the Knesset are taken in for questioning?

Ben-Ruby: We don't keep such statistics.

IMRA: But there is a precedent?

Ben-Ruby: I said that we don't keep statistics.

IMRA: Do you have people who monitor the television and radio in order to also call in for questioning people who say on Popolitika {a political discussion show - A.L.} that there are idiots in the Knesset?

Telephone line lost.


Dr. Aaron Lerner, Director

IMRA (Independent Media Review & Analysis)

(mail POB 982 Kfar Sava)

Tel 972-9-7604719/Fax 972-9-7411645


pager 03-6750750 subscriber 4811



Aaron Lerner, Date: 9 November, 1999

IMRA interviewed Tal Ravina, media advisor to The Yitzhak Rabin Center for Israel Studies, in Hebrew, on 9 November, 1999:

IMRA: Your Website has under the headline 'The Extremist Fringe' a photograph of the photomontage of Yitzhak Rabin in an SS uniform. In the English version ( the caption is 'Demonstration of "Women in Green" - 26.3.95' In the Hebrew version ( the caption reads 'Protestors distributing photomontage of Yitzhak Rabin dressed in a Nazi uniform'. As the record from the Shamgar Commission Report clearly states, GSS agent Avishai Raviv was responsible for the distribution of the photomontage.

Two questions: Does The Yitzhak Rabin Center claim that 'Women in Green' is somehow linked to the GSS along with GSS agent Avishai Raviv? Why does the Hebrew caption refer to demonstrators distributing the photomontage instead of GSS agent Avishai Raviv?

Ravina: The text under the picture in the English version was an error. It was supposed to be on the picture above it. This is being corrected. As for Hebrew version, Avishai Raviv did not create the photomontage.

IMRA: I didn't claim he created it. Just that he distributed it.

Ravina: This picture was created by two minors from Habbad who created it and printed it in their father's print shop. All of this was in the court. This had nothing to do with Avishai Raviv.

IMRA: Excuse me. The person who took care to distribute it so that it would be photographed by Zoom 77 [the photo agency in the credit below the caption] and to Channel 2 was GSS agent Avishai Raviv; and this was in the Shamgar Report. You used the term 'demonstrators distribute' as the caption for the photo. 'Distribute'. The distribution was done by GSS agent Avishai Raviv.

Ravina: No. No. We checked the Shamgar Report and in it relays the testimony of Channel 2 reporter Nitzan Chen who says that the person who gave him one was Avishai Raviv.

IMRA: What is 'distribution'? You yourself just told me that Avishai Raviv distributed it to the reporter.

Ravina: Aaron. Aaron. If you come to a demonstration and I give you a picture it doesn't mean that I either made the picture or am distributing the picture.

 IMRA: Bottom line: Are you correcting the Website or not?

Ravina: We are correcting the English version. The only connection between Avishai Raviv and the picture - unless something else develops at his trial - which he denied - is that Nitzan Chen says that Avishai Raviv gave him one. This would be the same as if there is a rally in which people have flags and someone comes over and gives one.

IMRA: That is to say that while the only person that is known to have distributed the material is Avishai Raviv, the Website won't be changed.

Ravina: What you are saying is not correct.

IMRA: A minute ago you yourself said that Avishai Raviv distributed it to a reporter.

Ravina: No. L'hafitz in Hebrew means 'distribute'. He gave a copy of this picture to one correspondent.

IMRA: Now we are talking grammar. OK.

Ravina: No. No. No. It is good that you are recording this. There is a difference between my bringing something to a demonstration and handing it to people to cause them to hold it and that there is a demonstration with all kinds of signs; and someone - either a saint or a complete criminal - took one and brought it to Nitzan Chen.

IMRA: Let's put it this way - [Avishai Raviv] brought it to at least one reporter, if not more.

Ravina: That he brought it to the reporter doesn't mean he brought it to the demonstration.

IMRA: I didn't say he bought it to the demonstration. Your caption claims that demonstrators distributed the photomontage. And you can't tell me about anyone else who you know in fact distributed the material besides Avishai Raviv.

Ravina: I have been a correspondent, and you have been for a long time, and you certainly have come to demonstrations and someone brought material up to you to bring to your attention. They didn't necessarily have anything to do with the material - they may just get a kick out of interacting with the press.



Aaron Lerner, Date: 24 June, 2000

{"Now I want you to remember that no bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. You won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country." General George S. Patton, Jr. England, 31 May 1944}

IMRA interviewed Adam Keller, spokesman of Gush Shalom, in English on 23 June, 2000:

IMRA: I saw your ad in Ha'aretz today warning of the possibility of a bloodbath if a group of Palestinians were to march into a settlement and I was wondering if besides noting this in the ad you are warning your Palestinian colleagues that in order to avoid a bloodbath they should avoid having events that include this type of activity.

Keller: We don't take an equidistant position between the Palestinians and the settlers.

IMRA: I thought you would not want a Palestinian bloodbath.

Keller: Settlements are established on Palestinian land.

IMRA: That isn't the question. You say that you fear that if Palestinians march through the gates of a settlement that there will be a bloodbath. Are you going to warn the Palestinians that in order to avoid a bloodbath they should not march through those gates?

Keller: No. We are calling on the government to remove the settlements that create this situation.

IMRA: That is in the long run - I am talking about the immediate situation. I am asking you if you are sharing your concern with your colleagues so that, God forbid, there won't be a bloodbath. They should realize the consequences of entering a settlement.

Keller: They do realize this. There were already quite a lot of Palestinians killed already under such circumstances. The Palestinians know that the least that can happen under such circumstances is that they receive a very heavy dose of teargas. So if Palestinians take such actions they know exactly what they are getting into.

IMRA: In the past Gush Shalom has been involved in marches that came very close to settlements.

Keller: Yes.

IMRA: Do you see avoiding such action in the future to avoid bloodshed?

Keller: No. We think the Palestinians deserve their independence.

 IMRA: I am talking about avoiding bloodshed.

Keller: Of course. And the way to avoid bloodshed is for Israel to withdraw from the occupied territories.

IMRA: Mr. Keller, you are talking on the macro level and I am talking on the micro level. On the micro level if next week do you have a march that you go into a settlement?

Keller: If we were in 1948 would you advise the Jews to avoid actions against the British?

IMRA: I thought that your concern was to avoid bloodshed. Now you are telling me that the bloodshed is a secondary issue.

Keller: No. Our concern is that there be peace between the two people in this land and there will only be peace when there is a certain amount of basic rights for both. And now there is a situation of disparity between the two sides. And so the Palestinians have reason to take actions that may result in bloodshed. They had the hope since 1993 that they would not have to do this and that they could achieve that they want to achieve through negotiations and there is more and more the feeling among the Palestinians that the negotiations bring them no results and that the use of force in one way or another is the only thing which can change their situation. That is very dangerous for Israel and for both sides. We call upon the government to show them in a very concrete way that they can achieve their basic aspirations through negotiations and without taking such actions.

IMRA: But in the interim you do not discourage actions on the part of the Palestinians or your own participation in actions with the Palestinians that may lead to bloodshed.

Keller: Certainly the fact that Israel is taking Arab land is immoral and a big danger to the interests of Israel. And as Israelis we think that the Palestinians have the right to oppose this and we are helping them.

IMRA: Again, we are not talking about the right to do these things but rather to create situations that create bloodbaths.

Keller: There are certain situations that people denied basic rights take action which could result in some of them getting killed. The Jewish People before 1948 did such things. There were Jewish people confronting the British in circumstances that could lead to bloodshed and I do not think that anyone who thought that the Jewish People had a right to establish a state suggested that they should not take such actions that may lead to bloodshed. They would say, instead to the British world that they should not be there.



Aaron Lerner, Date: 27 June 2000

Introduction: B'Tselem distributed today a press release with the following introduction:


As part of B'Tselem's campaign against Israel's discriminatory allocation of water and the water shortage that results, B'Tselem supporters will meet with residents of Yatta, near Hebron. During the gathering, Wednesday, 28 June, B'Tselem will distribute water to the residents and protest Israel's discrimination against the Palestinians. B'Tselem is publishing a position paper - "Thirsty for a Solution: The Water Shortage in the Occupied Territories and its Solution in the Final Status Agreement."

IMRA interviewed Yael Stein, research coordinator for B'Tselem's water project, in English, on 27 June 2000:

IMRA: I am looking at the executive summary of your position paper and I do not see anything relating to water treatment. I recall that there were a number of major water treatment projects the Palestinian Authority refused to move on because the treatment plants were also to treat sewage from settlements. As I recall, in one case the Germans were prepared to pay for the entire system and it was held up for several years because of this issue.

Stein: Yes.

IMRA: Is this something that you touch on in the full report but not in the executive summary?

Stein: Not really. We do deal with the matter of Israel not giving permits for the drilling of new wells.

IMRA: That is not what I am talking about. In this piece I see the blame sitting squarely on Israel when a substantial potential of treated water is essentially being squandered today because it is being dumped as untreated water because the Palestinians have been adamant about not cooperating if settlements also benefit from a project.

Let me put it to you this way: In B'Tselem's view is it appropriate for the Palestinians to take the position that they would rather not have water for their own farmers if that would mean also providing a benefit to settlers.

Stein: Generally no. But you have to distinguish between water for agriculture and water for house consumption. It is two different things.

IMRA; Well B'Tselem is coming out with a report and making a lot of noise and one would think that for the purposes of balance that in addition to criticizing the Israeli Government for their failings you would also provide people with some insight into the role that the Palestinian Authority has had in denying their population water for political reasons.

Stein: Well this is a pretty minor problem if you look at the total picture.

IMRA: I thought that destroying the water table by dumping untreated sewage in wadis instead of treating it in water treatment centers is a very serious issue.

Stein: It is a serious issue and of course they should not have done it but you have to remember that one of the reasons that they do not have a proper sewage system is that Israel did not do it.

IMRA: I think you are missing it. The German Government was willing to foot the entire bill for building a system a number of years ago but because it was also going to take the sewage from a number of settlements the Palestinian Authority said they would rather not have treated water for agriculture than have the settlers benefit as well.

Stein: I understand that but the problem is not what you are doing with the sewage.

IMRA: Understand. It is not just a question of the sewage. If the sewage water can be used in agriculture it frees up water for agriculture for household consumption.

Stein: But that is not the main problem. What is being done with sewage is not the main problem in terms of water in the West Bank. Of course they should not have refused to take the money.

IMRA: I want to make sure I understand. Has B'Tselem ever said anything about this other issue or does it have plans to say anything about this issue?

Stein: Not really. We are a human rights organization.

IMRA: Isn't it a human rights issue if the Palestinian Authority denies its farmers water out of political interests?

Stein: Israel denies the water.

IMRA: I think you are missing the whole conversation. The sewage that comes out of Bethlehem goes to nowhere not because the Government of Israel says it should go to nowhere but because the Palestinian Authority decided not to treat it.

Stein: I know. I understand that. But this is not the main problem. It is a problem.

IMRA: But not something B'Tselem would talk about.

Stein: I do not know. I do not want to say never.

IMRA: But you haven't yet.

Stein: No. We haven't yet.


Sephardi Chief Rabbi Eliahu Bakshi-Doron will not speak publicly about inciting sermons on Temple Mount

Aaron Lerner, Date: 28 June 2000

IMRA asked Sheika Rosenfeld, who is responsible for media for Sephardi Chief Rabbi Eliahu Bakshi-Doron, if Rabbi Bakshi-Doron’s call for maintaining the status quo on the Temple Mount included the destruction of archeological artifacts and the Friday sermons at Al Aksa that typically include calls for Jihad and the destruction of Israel.

Rosenfeld advised IMRA (in Hebrew) that he would check with Rabbi Bakshi-Doron and that IMRA should call back in an hour after he had a chance to ask the Rabbi.

Rosenfeld then faxed an announcement to the press that included a line "we express our disappointment over the building and destruction activities taking place there [on the Temple Mount] recently."

IMRA followed up several hours later:

IMRA: Your announcement does not address the issue of the incitement in the Friday sermons on the Temple Mount.

Rosenfeld: The Chief Rabbi of Israel is not a political person. The Chief Rabbi of Israel should be a man of consensus. The matter is very simple: what is in the Temple Mount is in the Temple Mount. He is not responsible for what is said in Jerusalem or outside of Jerusalem nor in Tiberias.

IMRA: Does this means that as far as the Chief Rabbi is concerned, the status quo can include that every Friday a call to Jihad is issued from the Temple Mount?

Rosenfeld: No.

IMRA: But it isn't his problem?

Rosenfeld: I did not say it is not his problem - just that it is not under his authority.

IMRA: But it isn't something he will talk about?

Rosenfeld: It is not a matter that now is on the public agenda. It is a problematic matter and I have no doubt that he also objects to it.

IMRA: But he will not speak publicly about it?

Rosenfeld: To the same extent that he never spoke about it. If he talks about it, it is with the appropriate authorities and not via the media.


Interview: Council for Peace and Security not to take stand on Jordan Valley

Aaron Lerner, Date: 2 July, 2000

IMRA interviewed Brig.Gen.(res) Shaul Givoli, Director of The Council for Peace and Security, in Hebrew on 2 July 2000. The Council for Peace and Security is a group of officers with defense backgrounds formed to support withdrawals.

IMRA: I understand that you had a meeting today to discuss the security ramifications of withdrawal from the Jordan Valley. Were any decisions made?

Givoli: We deliberated the matter of the Valley. We do not relate to the question of settlements. The Valley is not an area of much importance from a security or economic standpoint. But if we are not on the Jordan then we will have no control on what comes into the Palestinian state. This matter requires us to think more about it and we have decided to have another discussion of this.

In any case our approach at this stage is not to take a position. We also want to know more about the proposals of our government. What the decision makers are developing.

IMRA: I thought that in the past your organization saw the Jordan as a security border. But without an army there it cannot be anything more than a line.

Do you see the possibility of setting an area as a security border without the presence of the army?

Givoli: That area is not a security border for us. You have to sit in the mountain in order to defend the Valley.

IMRA: But I understand that the mountain has already been forfeited. Right?

Givoli: There are routes and strategic areas that we think must be held so that invaders can't come through from the Valley. But we do not think that it is possible to defend from within the Valley.

IMRA: Do you expect that your group will come out with some sort of call that identifies those locations. Those locations that must be held?

Givoli: No. We won't identify them. We will not make such a demand.

IMRA: If it turns out that the government also decides to hand over those locations will your organization then say something?

Givoli: We want our army to have the right to hold those locations in emergency situations.

IMRA: You see a situation that the Palestinians will simply allow the IDF to go in without any problems?

Givoli: We want it to be written.

IMRA: I am not asking you if you want it to be written in an agreement on a piece of paper. I am asking if from a realistic standpoint it can be expected that a sovereign Palestinian state, armed with the weapons of a police force, will simply allow the IDF to enter their sovereign state without a second thought.

Givoli: No. That is not the formula. We think that in the agreement with the Palestinians, that in any security agreement, we should reserve the right, for example, for free access to airspace and the right to grab strategic areas if a change in the status quo occurs. By the way, the same applies to our concept regarding the Golan Heights.

IMRA: In the instance of war, of high tension, you anticipate that the Palestinians will honor the agreement?

Givoli: They may not like it but we should maintain such a balance of power that we can also do it if they do not like it.

IMRA: That is to say, even if this initial action will cause other forces such as the Egyptians or Syrians who may not have anything to do with the situation in Jordan - for example the entrance of Iraqi forces into Jordan -to enter the conflict because Israel has invaded sovereign Palestinian territory.

Givoli: I am not certain. The fact is that when we invaded Lebanon the Egyptians did not get involved in 1982.

IMRA: Yes, Then.

Givoli: Then. Look. We changed our opinions.

IMRA: It is clear to me that your organization changed its position. What I find very interesting is that people always argued that you are a group of Leftists in the guise of security proponents and that when the day would come that your organization would have to choose between supporting your party and security that you would opt for the party. That is why it comes as no surprise to your critics who always believed that no matter what Ehud Barak would do that your organization would say it is kosher.

Givoli: Look. We said, for example, that we should immediately leave Lebanon well before Barak took this position.

IMRA: I asked you if there was anything you would be willing to say now that would set a red line and you basically take the same stance as Shas: that your organization is not going to take a stand on this issue until after Barak comes back from a Washington summit. Your organization is not willing to put any red lines in writing for the public to see before Barak goes to Washington because you do not want to have the possibility that when he returns from Washington people can say "Mr. Barak, how did you agree to this when The Council for Peace and Security said otherwise." Am I wrong?

Givoli: I do not know yet. As I told you, in the case of Lebanon we called for immediate withdrawal before the government took that position. We may also come out soon against Barak's stand on the drafting of Yeshiva students.


Interview: Meimad's Rabbi Malchior in America to talk peace - not about PA education to hate

Aaron Lerner, Date: 14 July, 2000

IMRA interviewed Moni Mordechai, spokesman for Meimad/One Israel Minister Michael Melchior, in Hebrew, on 14 July 2000.

IMRA: Does Rabbi Melchior have a comment about the report televised last night in Israel of the Palestinian summer camp program to indoctrinate and train children to kill Israelis?

Mordechai: We are in the States and did not see it so we cannot comment.

IMRA: When Rabbi Melchior talks in the States does he talk about the programs in the Palestinian educational system to incite the children against Israel? He certainly must be aware of this and has received material about this matter. Has he done anything about this?

Mordechai: I have not received any material about this. Who sent material on this?

IMRA: This has been in the press all the time.

Mordechai: Look, he is not involved in the negotiations with the Palestinians.

IMRA: I understand that he is involved in the information campaign.

Mordechai: He explains Israel's policies to the Congress, Jewish organizations and relates to all matters.

IMRA: The problem of inciting Palestinian education?

Mordechai: He talks about the need to bring peace for the sake of a better future for the children.


Richard Holbrooke Explains Why U.S. Abstained from Security Council Vote Denouncing Israeli Action

Aired on CNN, October 7, 2000 - 7:51 p.m. ET -- Excerpts

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: The United Nations Security Council has just passed a resolution calling for immediate resumption of peace negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians. It was 14-0, the United States abstaining, allowing that resolution to be passed.

RICHARD HOLBROOKE, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO U.N.: ... it was necessary. But in the end, talking into account all the considerations involved, we decided we would abstain, while making clear our extreme distaste for it. By abstaining, a decision that was reached at the highest levels of government over a very extended and intensive period, we are better able to serve our national interests and the efforts to deal with the great dangers that exist in the region of the Middle East today.

But I need to stress to all of you -- I've already said this to some of you -- I want to stress that the delay was necessary, because absent a delay there was no way the U.S. could not have vetoed this resolution. And the veto would have carried its own consequences, and, therefore, we worked to improve it. And it came to a point where a tough decision, the administration was able to decide to abstain. We also sought permission from...

BLITZER: Richard Holbrooke, the United States ambassador to the United Nations, explaining why the Clinton administration -- why the U.S. government -- abstained during a U.N. Security Council vote just now, 14-0 with the U.S. abstaining, a resolution that he, himself, Richard Holbrooke, described as so clearly one-sided the U.S. could not support it. At the same time, the U.S. did not use its veto, as one of five permanent members of the Security Council, to go ahead and block its passage.

[Note: This U.N. Security Council resolution viciously attacks Israel, and essentially declares that the Jewish State's attempts to defend itself against the current Arab onslaught are illegitimate under international law. U.S. Ambassador Holbrooke -- a Jew -- claims that the original version of this Security Council resolution was so outrageous that the U.S. would have had to veto it, but that the final version -- which the U.S. helped negotiate -- while still too outrageous for the U.S. to approve, was not so outrageous as to morally prevent the U.S. from abstaining, thereby permitting it to pass and thereby effecting the same result as if the U.S. had voted for it. Predictably, the U.S. is trying to portray its abject cowardice as lofty principle. -- Mark Rosenblit]


Date: Thu, 19 Oct 2000 10:22:15 +0200


To: "IMRA Newsletter" <>

Ha'aretz: Marwan Barghuti: Tanzim can't stop the Intifada

By Danny Rubinstein, Ha'aretz Arab Affairs Editor, Ha'aretz 19 October 2000

{IMRA note:  Rubinstein declines to ask Barghouti to define "peaceful ways".  In interviews with IMRA, Barghouti has explained that stone throwing is "peaceful protest".}

"The current Intifada can't be stopped by an order, just as it wasn't begun at our order," Marwan Barghuti, secretary-general of Yasser Arafat's Fatah faction and the leader of the Tanzim militias, said in a telephone interview with Ha'aretz yesterday.

Barghuti said he expects the Intifada to continue, and perhaps even intensify, adding that he personally favors continuing the violent uprising against Israel.

Asked whether he would obey an order from Arafat to stop the rioting, he responded: "And if I give an order, they will stop? Are you mad?... I can try to persuade, but we are talking about the public, the street, not an army used to obeying orders."

Barghuti, 41, began his political activism while a student at Bir Zeit University. He has done time in an Israeli prison, was exiled with Arafat to Tunis, and is considered a leading figure in Fatah. He has frequently expressed disappointment with the Oslo process and urged Arafat to take a harder line in negotiations with Israel.

Will there be a cease-fire?

The incidents are continuing. There are many marches and demonstrations. I think one person has been killed today, so far. It is impossible to speak about a cease-fire because there aren't two equal sides. One side has tanks, planes and missiles; the other side has victims, almost 100 dead and 5,000 wounded. This is a popular uprising, Intifada, which has one clear message: End the occupation.

But we were at the height of a peace process.

It wasn't a peace process... The settlements continued to grow, prisoners weren't released, there was no Israeli withdrawal from the occupied territories. Israel didn't honor its agreements.

Then you will not obey Arafat's orders to end the rioting and the shooting?

I am loyal to the president. My relationship with him is very good... But we are not soldiers. I am also active in politics and head the Fatah movement in the territories. Fatah and its members are leading the current Intifada.

If you and your colleagues are leading the Intifada, won't you obey Arafat's order to stop it?

The Intifada can't be stopped by an order, just at it wasn't started at our order. If anyone gave orders to start it, it was Ariel Sharon, with his visit to Al Aqsa, and Ehud Barak, who permitted [the visit], and who bears responsibility for the murder of worshipers at Al Aqsa on the following Friday.

But the two sides reached an understanding on restoring calm at Sharm al-Sheikh.

What happened at Sharm al-Sheikh? Nothing happened! They decided to return to the situation as it was on September 28, before the crisis erupted. Were things so good then? None of us wants to return to what was then. There was disappointment and despair... Therefore, the current Intifada will continue, and perhaps even intensify. I personally don't want it to stop. Let's say there is quiet. What then? We'll wait another 10 years.

Do you and your colleagues have control over the demonstrators or not? Can you restore calm?

Israelis don't understand what a popular uprising is... If I give an order to stop, they will stop? Are you mad? This is a broad public, it's the street. I can try to persuade, but I can't give orders. This isn't an army.

Then will you try to persuade?

We have reached the limit of our patience. You know me and my friends. We're the Fatah. We're the Palestinian peace camp. But Israeli policy has pushed us into a corner. Pushed and pushed until the explosion came and everything blew up. You, the Israelis, can't obtain peace without paying a price... You have to choose: Either occupation or peace.

Then you will continue this Intifada?

We will continue the Intifada. But in peaceful ways. Most of the violence isn't on our side, but on Israel's side. Fact: 100 Palestinian dead, and thousands injured. We have paid, and are paying, a heavy price.


Subject: Interview: Meretz MK Naomi Chazan on meeting with Palestinians

Date: Tue, 7 Nov 2000 10:14:37 +0200


To: "IMRA Newsletter" <>

Aaron Lerner Date: 7 November, 2000

In the interview below, Meretz MK Naomi Chazan explains that when representatives of Meretz met yesterday (at a time that life threatening violence continued to rage in the territories) 98% of the discussion focused on issues relating to the negotiations. While Chazan provided an optimistic report of the meeting on Israel Radio this morning, explaining that the Palestinians said they would be "not violent", she confirmed to IMRA that the Palestinians consider rock throwing to be "not violent".


IMRA interviewed Meretz MK Naomi Chazan, in English, on 7 November 2000:

IMRA: I understand that, in the course of the meeting yesterday between members of Meretz and the Palestinian Authority that you participated in, the Palestinians talked of a nonviolent intifada.

Chazan: Intifada in other ways.

IMRA: I was wondering if in the course of the discussion their considering rock throwing and fire bomb throwing to be an element of peaceful demonstrations was raised.

Chazan: Yes. But not in the way that you described at all. Anything that is live fire, and that includes fire bombs, for them is violent. The differentiating line is rock throwing.

IMRA: So in the discussion it came up that rock throwing is an element of peaceful protest.

Chazan: Again I would not put it in those terms but that differentiating line was explained.

IMRA: let me ask you a different way. Was there any response on the part of the people from Meretz that they do not consider rock throwing to be an acceptable part of peaceful protest?

Chazan: Yes. We said that anything that is violent -- and that included rock throwing. There was a difference of opinion.

IMRA: So your impression was that rock throwing would continue.

Chazan: That wasn't the thrust of the discussion. The thrust of the discussion was return to the negotiations.

IMRA: I understand that, but when you said on Israel Radio this morning that they were going to be peaceful what you meant is that they will be peaceful but they will continue to throw rocks.

Chazan: By the way, I didn't say "peaceful" I said "not violent".

IMRA: So let us put it this way. When you said on Israel Radio that they would be "not violent" you said it knowing that they would continue to throw rocks.

Chazan: I did not say it knowing that they would continue to throw rocks.

IMRA: Well you just told me that you know that . . . .

Chazan: Look. Don't put words in my mouth that I am not saying. I am saying exactly what I said and what the discussion was about. Ninety eight percent of the discussion was on issues relating to the negotiations.

IMRA: I do not leave with the impression that I am badgering you. I just want to make sure I understand. They consider rock throwing to be a part of peaceful protest.

Chazan: They consider rock throwing not the use of violence -- which is live fire.

IMRA: And so when you say on the radio that they are not going to be violent you mean they are not going to shoot guns or throw firebombs but you do not mean that they are not going to throw rocks.

Chazan: I do not know what they are going to do but that is what we were told.


Interview: Yizhar Be'er, executive director of Keshev -- only reports on the threat of the Right

Aaron Lerner Date: 7 January 2001

Keshev, the Center for the Protection of Democracy in Israel, made headlines today with a report warning of the threat that right wing groups may carry out activities on the Temple Mount. Former head of police, Assaf Heifetz, who endorsed the report, told Israel Radio that such groups have a legitimate right to be interested in the Temple Mount but that these groups represented a threat because of activities they were planning. When Heifetz was asked by guest interviewer Emanuel Halperin (Channel One Television) if he was aware of any information indicating that these groups were in fact planning anything, Heifetz replied that he had NO such information, but that he assumed that they were. Halperin suggested that such charges against the groups could be termed "incitement" since they were not based on any information.

IMRA interviewed Yizhar Be'er, executive director of Keshev, in English, on 7 January 2001:

IMRA: I saw in Ha'aretz today the report that your organization put out on the danger of the various groups associated with the Temple Mount and then I checked your website to try to get a flavor for what the Center for the Protection of Democracy in Israel does (

Are you guys also doing any work on democratic issues -- for example the negotiations right now? I know that there are a number of groups that have discussed the democratic issue of the negotiations taking place now.

Be'er: Actually, we make two big projects about anti-democratic groups in Israel. The rightist extremist groups in the occupied territories and the Temple Mount lovers.

IMRA: I looked at your website and went through the list and I frankly could not find one thing that your organization is doing that shows any criticism of anything that has to do with the Left.

For example, the criticism against the press was that the press did not criticize the Likud government. The criticism against radio organizations is against the radio station Arutz 7 [Arutz Sheva].

I am looking for the other side of the coin. I would figure that for "The Center for the Protection of Democracy in Israel" that maybe there were some activities associated with the Left that also might get some criticism.

Is there anything that you can point at in the activities of Keshev that criticizes the Left?

Be'er: I understand what you say.

First of all, Keshev is a nonpolitical organization.

IMRA: That is why I assumed that I would also see something also criticizing the Left that was associated with protecting democracy.

Be'er: We are going according to the priorities. The priorities in the agenda.

IMRA: How long have you guys been around?

Be'er: Around three years.

IMRA: So in three years there has not been one thing going on from the Left that you thought might be threatening democracy in Israel?

Be'er: If you take the actual dangers I said yes. The most dangerous comes from the Rightist groups. This is the reality. What can I say?

IMRA: So there isn't anything that Keshev has done that relates to the Left.

Be'er: Directly, not.

IMRA: How about when there were all the reports of violations of election funding which one would think, from the outside, the massive illegal funds and the refusal of major players who have been charged with being involved with those funds to testify before the police. You guys do not see this as something that is an issue?

Be'er: As I told you. There are a lot of threats to democracy in Israel and we are going according to priorities. And the priorities are what is more dangerous. More actual. And this is the reason why we focus on the Right. I don't say that in the future we may not make such research.

IMRA: The New Israel Fund and the Herzl Foundation are your main source of funding? {IMRA: they are the only two mentioned on the website}.

Be'er: And the European Union.


Interview: Minister Melchior's Spokesperson - we not sure what Barak said about Temple Mount

Aaron Lerner Date: 7 January 2001

IMRA interviewed Moni Mordechai, spokesman for Minister Michael Melchior, in Hebrew, on 7 January 2001.

IMRA: Rabbi Melchior was on Arutz 7 last hour, and while explaining his support for Prime Minister Barak, said that Barak has declared the he would never agree to transferring the Temple Mount to the Palestinians. This is a real scoop since I can only find Barak saying the he does not INTEND to do this. Can you tell me when and where Barak made such a statement?

Mordechai: Oh yes. He has said it many times. Why just last night I was with Rabbi Melchior at the evening with foreign Jewish youth and Ehud Barak declared that he would never agree to sign an agreement to transfer sovereignty over the Temple Mount to the Palestinians.

IMRA: I have a copy here of what Barak said last night. Barak said that he would "not agree to the right of return". A simple position. Yet with regards to the Temple Mount, Barak did not say "I will not agree". Instead he said for the third time in 7 days that "I do not INTEND to sign an agreement that would transfer sovereignty on the Temple Mount to the Palestinians". As you know, there is a big difference between "not agree" and "do not intend".

Mordechai: Well Barak said it in cabinet meetings.

IMRA: That is interesting you should say that. The summaries issued by his office after these meetings are consistent. They always say that he "does not intend" rather than that he "will not". Are you saying that his office is issuing inaccurate reports of the cabinet meetings?

Mordechai: So maybe he did not say it exactly.

IMRA: Can you do me a favor? Rabbi Melchior is a very educated man and I am confident that with his Talmudic background he knows the difference between "will not" and "do not intend". Now I am sure that when he says that he will support Barak for prime minister and then justifies it by claiming that he heard Barak say that he "will not" transfer the Temple Mount to the Palestinians that he actually heard Barak say this.

Can you help me out and ask Rabbi Melchior when in fact he heard Barak say "will not" instead of "do not intend"?

Mordechai: Aaron, I do not know why you are being so technical (hang up).


Interview: Spokesman for [Arab] MK Dehamshe - "Nazareth Palestine" address

24 April 2001 Dr. Aaron Lerner

IMRA interviewed Abed al-Razak Hassan, spokesperson for Israeli-Arab MK Abdulmalik Dehamshe, in Hebrew on April 19:

IMRA: I saw Avraham Tal's article in Ha'aretz this morning and I wanted to verify that MK Abdulmalik Dehamshe sent a letter this week to Syria's President showing the address as being from "Nazareth, Palestine".

Hassan: Yes.

IMRA: Then what is MK Dehamshe trying to say? That Nazareth is not inside Israel?

Hassan: I will explain this matter to you. The Syrians in any case do not recognize the State of Israel.

IMRA: But Dehamshe does.

Hassan: Wait a moment. So they do not recognize Israel. So in any case, if he wrote "Israel" the guys would not recognize or know it. What they recognize is Palestine. Palestine of 1948 and Palestine of 1967.

IMRA: I just checked the official Internet site of the Syrians and they use the term "Israel". So they know exactly what Israel is and where it is located. They even mention it explicitly on their own website.

Hassan: Of course they do. But how do you define the Arabs living inside the State of Israel.

IMRA: But MK Dehamshe was not defining the Arabs in Israel, he was defining Nazareth in his letter.

Hassan: Yes. Where is Nazareth. Politicians are getting insistent on this. But this is only a technical matter. And in order for them to know where we come from - where we are located . . .

IMRA: Wait a moment. If the reason that he wrote Palestine instead of Israel is so that they will know where Nazareth is then this is not a problem. Syrian's own official website mentions Israel. They know exactly where Israel is.

Hassan: Let us not forget that a large community in the Arab world does not recognize Israel. They do not know where Nazareth is located in Israel.

IMRA: Then even more so. If MK Dehamshe had written Nazareth Israel it would have taught them that Nazareth was inside Israel.

Hassan: I am not coming as an educator. It is a whole People. We are defining the place we live in. The letter was sent from Nazareth on Knesset stationary. The emblem of the State of Israel and the word "Knesset" appears on the stationary. There was therefore no denial that we live inside the State of Israel.

IMRA: Or that Nazareth is inside the State of Israel?

Hassan: Yes.

IMRA: So let me get this straight - you are saying that someone reading the letter might not know that Nazareth is inside Israel?

Hassan: He simply would not know.

My dear friend. This is a complicated matter. We are talking about a point of conflict in the Middle East that has no match to it in the entire world.

We live complicate lives. Our identities are complicated. We are Arabs of Israel. We are Palestinians. We are part of the Palestinian People. And yet, on the other hand, we carry Israeli identity cards. We do not deny this fact. We live between these two definitions. I do not know what the problem is in writing "Palestine".

IMRA: Because it is not the official address of Nazareth. Nazareth is located inside a country that has a name. Israel.

Hassan: I am explaining to you. People do not recognize the State of Israel.

IMRA: Let me understand this. Now these people, if they get a letter that says Israel they will know where it is from. But you do not want to disturb them by writing the word "Israel" in the address? That MK Dehamshe does not want to upset the Syrians by noting that he lives in Israel.

Hassan: They know he lives in Israel.

IMRA: Then if they know that he lives in Israel then why not write "Nazareth Israel"?

Hassan: They know where Israel is. But they do not know where Nazareth is. If I wrote Nazareth Israel they would not know where it was.

IMRA: If you write Nazareth Palestine you create a problem. If they sent back a letter to Nazareth Palestine it might end up in the PA and never reach Nazareth.

Hassan: Not correct. Palestine is a place that was before the establishment of Israel. If we wrote "Nazareth Israel" they would not know where it was.

IMRA: Please excuse me. I have the Britannica Atlas here and have no problem finding Nazareth on the map. Are you insulting the Arab People and claiming that they are so stupid that they cannot open up an atlas and see where Nazareth Israel is located.

Hassan: Are you talking seriously to me?

IMRA: Are you saying that they are so stupid?

Hassan: Are you really saying that when President Assad gets the letter that he asks an assistant to open up an atlas to find Nazareth?

IMRA: Well what do you think HE thinks when he reads a letter from an Israeli Arab MK who is not willing to write "Nazareth Israel". What is he supposed to think of this? That instead he writes "Nazareth Palestine". What is he supposed to think from this?

Hassan: That is his business.

IMRA: You could have written "Nazareth - Middle East".

Hassan: What is wrong with "Nazareth - Palestine 1948"?

IMRA: Because "Palestine 1948" is something that no longer exists. It is something from history.

You know what? This is as if a Mexican-American U.S. Congressman from California were to send a letter to the president of Mexico with greetings on their independence day with the return address "Los Angeles, Mexico" since, after all, Los Angeles was once part of historical Mexico.

Hassan: Then the word "former" should be there. Next time we will write "formerly Palestine."

IMRA: Tell me something. Why did he do it? He knew that it would annoy the Israeli Jews when they learned of it? Would you say that it bothered him less to annoy the Israeli Jews than to annoy the Arabs outside of Israel?

Hassan: Yes. By the way, I would like to let you know that since news of this letter came out, MK Dahamshe has received threatening calls. Some even threatening his life.

IMRA: Have these calls been reported to the authorities?

Hassan: Yes. In fact, we gave them the telephone number that was the source of a threat on MK Dahamshe's life.

[Note: Although Dahamshe doesn't recognize the legitimacy of Israel -- and wants to make very sure that Syria knows it -- he expects that very same illegitimate Israel to protect his personal safety! -- Mark Rosenblit]


Interview: Spokesperson of MK Yossi Sarid on meeting with Arafat

Aaron Lerner Date: 28 April 2001

IMRA interviewed Yael Kessler, spokesperson for Meretz MK Yossi Sarid, in Hebrew:

IMRA: I am a little confused. When MK Sarid met with Chairman Arafat today he recommended to Chairman Arafat that he make a cease fire agreement subject to a halt in [Jewish] settlement construction [in Judea, Samaria, Gaza and eastern Jerusalem]?

Kessler: Yes.

IMRA: Did he suggest that maybe they only kill settlers in the meantime, instead of also killing people living inside the Green Line [pre-1967 Israel]?

Kessler: He suggested to stop building in the settlements.

IMRA: I understand. But there are [innocent] people living inside the Green Line. It is not their fault [that other Jews are building and residing in settlements outside the Green Line in Judea, Samaria, Gaza and eastern Jerusalem]. Why should they be killed in the meantime?

Kessler: No. He suggested a freeze in settlement construction in return for a cease-fire.

IMRA: But in the meantime why should innocent people living in Herzliyah and Kfar Sava [towns situated inside the Green Line in pre-1967 Israel] suffer from terror?

Kessler: He asked that the terror be stopped.

IMRA: In return for . . .

Kessler: That Israel stop the construction of settlements.

IMRA: I understand. So as far as Sarid is concerned, Arafat can continue with the terror as long as . . .

Kessler: No he did not say that [although one might reasonably infer from Sarid's proposal that, at some moral level, he condones the continuation of Arab violence in the absence of Israel's agreement to a cessation of settlement expansion]. He said that his idea is that Israel stops expanding settlements and Arafat stops with the violence. He thinks that settlements are also violence.

IMRA: I understand. That is to say that Sarid did not ask Arafat to [unconditionally] stop the violence in the meantime against Israel.

Kessler: Of course Sarid is against the continuation of terror. That is why he made his proposal. I will fax you our press release. The release says what he asked for and what he did not ask for.

{IMRA's English translation of the complete text of press release: "The head of the opposition, Yossi Sarid, met with Yasser Arafat in his office in Ramallah. The meeting lasted two hours. Arafat invited all of the Palestinian team to the meeting, including Abu Mazen, Abu Ala, Yasser Abed Rabu, Jibril Rajoub, Jamil Tarifi and Hassan Abdoul Rahman. There was agreement at the meeting that there should be a return as soon as possible to the negotiating table, as it has no substitute. Sarid explained his proposal regarding the end of violence in return for a settlement freeze, that could be used, in the spirit of the Egyptian-Jordanian initiative, as a good and accepted basis for the renewal of negotiations and positive advancement. The Palestinian leadership viewed the proposal positively. Those attending agreed to maintain an open channel of communications between them in order to tighten the communications between them - something that could be of great help also in times of emergency."}

IMRA: So did he ask Arafat to unilaterally stop the terror?

Kessler: What I can tell you is what is written. Clearly he is against terror.

IMRA: But he did not tell him to end the terror, he told Arafat to condition the end to terror on a settlement freeze. Right?

Kessler: He says that Israel should stop the construction [but not that Arafat should stop the terror].

IMRA: And in the meantime he can continue killing Israelis.

Kessler: That is what you conclude.

IMRA: I understand. But he doesn't say for Arafat to stop as long as the construction of settlements continues.

Kessler: That is not what follows from this. He did not say it in the negative. He said that the violence should stop soon.


(Herut) MK Kleiner reacts to (Meretz) MK Sarid's proposal to Arafat to condition cease-fire on settlement freeze

Aaron Lerner Date: 29 April 2001

The following is IMRA's translation of a press release from (Herut) MK Michael Kleiner:

Herut Chairman, MK Michael Kleiner, sharply attacked opposition head Yossi Sarid for his proposal to Arafat to condition the reduction of [Arab] violence on a [Jewish] settlement freeze. "Does Sarid mean that as long as we are building settlements the Palestinians are justified when they murder Jews?" Kleiner asks. "And if we intensify the construction in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, will he [MK Sarid] support an increase in terrorist activity?" Kleiner suggests to Sarid to focus on his role as chairman of the [parliamentary] Opposition and to leave the role of advisor to Arafat to Ahmed Tibi [an "Israeli" Arab MK who, prior to his Knesset career, was an official advisor to Arafat and the PLO].


Interview: Rabbi Menachem Fruman -- permanent peace not possible

Aaron Lerner, Date: 17 May 2001

IMRA interviewed Rabbi Menachem Fruman of Tekoa [a settlement in the West Bank] in Hebrew on 17 May 2001:

IMRA: In the course of your discussions with Moslem religious leaders have you come across anyone who agreed to Jewish prayer in the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron?

Fruman: I never asked in such a specific way. I never asked.

IMRA: I see that you have had many interviews in which you advance the position that the religious leadership can bring the two nations to peace.

Fruman: Perhaps. Yes.

IMRA: Let us put it this way: that they would have better chances than politicians.

Fruman: Yes. I have said this for many years.

IMRA: But specific matters - for example if it would at all be possible, from the standpoint of Islamic religious law, for Jews to pray in the Cave of the Patriarchs - this never came up in conversations.

Fruman: I do not recall ever talking about the Cave of the Patriarchs. Or even the Temple Mount. According to Moslem law there is the idea that the follower of another religion may not pray inside a mosque. There are those who study Islamic religious law who say that this prohibition, which is not from the beginnings of Islam, originated from the Cave of the Patriarchs. The Cave of the Patriarchs switched hands many times - mostly between the Christians and the Moslems - from a church to a mosque etc. and there are those who say that the entire prohibition originally applied only to the Cave of the Patriarchs. Of course, if you ask a Moslem today he would tell you that the prohibition applies to all mosques. But these researchers maintain that a caliph here first set the rule prohibiting non-Moslems from praying at the Cave of the Patriarchs and it was generalized.

IMRA: That is to say that, if your approach is that religious leadership can bring peace and understanding, then that is within the framework that the Jews forego praying at the Cave of the Patriarchs.

Fruman: No. I answered what you asked.

IMRA: Well, you say that religious leaders can bring peace yet you also said that under their religious law, it is prohibited for Jews to pray there.

Fruman: You have to understand how religious law works.

IMRA: I know that that when I interviewed Rantisi - Hamas spokesperson, the Mufti of Jerusalem and the Mayor of Hebron they all said the same thing: Jews can visit as tourists but they cannot pray there.

Fruman: Religion can be the expression of the greatest extremism and the greatest liberalism. If you ask a religious leader what the religious law says you will get the most dogmatic answer. But religious law is exactly the mechanism for bringing dogma face to face with reality. Take the example of the prohibition of non-Moslem prayer in mosques we just spoke about. Religious law changed to adapt itself to the situation. That is how there is new religious law. For example, religious leaders issued a fatwa (religious ruling) to Sadat that permitted him to make peace with Israel.

IMRA: That fatwah happened to permit it under the balance of power at the time [in favor of Israel] and made it clear that should the balance of power change in the future [against Israel] that Egypt should abandon the agreement. So it was a tactical move.

Fruman: Yes. But all of religious law is tactical. Every ruling is subject to the forces at the time. The entire holiness of Jerusalem in Islam is the result of the war between Islam and the Crusaders. Everything stems from tactics. There is the Jewish saying that "the Torah was not given to the angels". I deal daily as a rabbi with people whose problems are tactical - not problems in principle.

IMRA: This fatwah, of course was not pro-peace. Since it made clear that when the day would come that the balance of power would be in their favor that they would do what they really should do.

Fruman: Correct. Correct. I also think that the day will come and the Messiah will be here and things will be completely different. I for example, believe that ultimately when the messiah comes that the mosques on the Temple Mount will be replaced by a Temple. That ultimately I will realize my most maximalist dreams. This is what allows for flexibility in the meantime. The fact that a religious person can have an absolutist ideal that he can postpone. When I meet with leaders of other faiths they always like it when I end by saying "I believe in God and you believe in God - we will let God do the job."

IMRA: Of course, from a practical standpoint, this means that the "appropriate security arrangements" that are required [by Israel in order to defend itself should the balance of power eventually turn against it] are more stringent since it is a world that is tactical rather than a world in which one has "peace for generations".

Fruman: Exactly. The advantage of negotiations between religious people is that it is not between people who think that they are negotiating over permanent conditions. The Moslems say "Allahu Akbar" -- Allah is the biggest. Bigger than the rabbis and bigger than the Moslem religious leaders. Fatwahs end with this declaration, with the meaning that Allah can always change the ruling in the future. That is why I never ask a religious leader what the religious law is and instead consider what can be done in the meantime. After all, according to Islamic law the Jewish State has no right to exist. Consider even the Mufti of Jerusalem. Ask him if Jews can pray on the Temple Mount and he will say "absolutely not" but if Arafat tells him to say something else he will say something else. I know him well.

[Note: Rabbi Fruman justifies his interfaith discussions with Muslim religious leaders who dream of destroying Israel by claiming that a temporary truce in Islam's war against Judaism in the Land of Israel can be achieved based upon the premise that both Islam and Judaism permit their adherents to accept practical cooperative arrangements -- constituting a modus vivendi -- with the enemy, for the time being, without compromising on their respective maximalist messianic beliefs. Furthermore, according to Rabbi Fruman's explanation of this concept, it is the militarily weaker party who will most readily accept such temporary arrangements -- to endure either until a change in the balance of power in favor of the weaker party or until the advent of the End Days, whichever first occurs. There is only one flaw in Rabbi Fruman's premise: it is utterly false when applied to the present conflict. Indeed, as Rabbi Fruman himself concedes, despite being the militarily weaker party, virtually all Muslim religious leaders insist, even for the time being -- during a period of Muslim military weakness -- on Islam's maximalist messianic positions, such as that Jews are neither permitted to pray at the Tomb of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs (Ma'arat HaMachpela) nor at the Temple Mount (Har HaBayit). On the other hand, despite being the militarily stronger party, virtually all Jewish religious leaders refuse to insist, even for the time being -- during a period of Jewish military strength -- on Judaism's maximalist messianic positions, such as that both Ma'arat HaMachpela and Har HaBayit are to be immediately restored to exclusive Jewish possession and control. Instead, Jews insist on offering to Muslims the very practical cooperative arrangements -- namely, shared use of the Ma'arat Machpela and Islamic control of, together with the right of Jewish visitation to, Har HaBayit -- which, according to Rabbi Fruman, Muslim religious leaders are permitted to accept, but which they wholeheartedly reject. Accordingly, since Muslim religious leaders continue to insist on Islam's maximalist messianic positions even during a period of military weakness, Rabbi Fruman's efforts to achieve a modus vivendi between Jews and Muslims through his dialogues with such religious leaders -- some of whom openly advocate the murder of Jews for the glory of Islam -- are simply naive and will continue to be futile. -- Mark Rosenblit]


[ROUND I] Interview: FM Peres' Media Advisor Yoram Dori -- not clear if terror attack zeros out count of cooling off period

Aaron Lerner Date: 30 May 2001

IMRA interviewed FM Peres' Media Advisor Yoram Dori, in Hebrew, on 30 May 2001:

IMRA: When [Foreign Minister] Shimon Peres said yesterday that if the shooting and violence renews [after the commencement of a future cease-fire between the "Palestinians" and Israel] that "this will not be counted as part of the cooling off period" [which must pass peacefully as a condition precedent to the implementation of confidence building measures by Israel], does this mean that it would zero out the time up until then?

Dori: He did not go into details.

IMRA: Excuse me?

Dori: He did not go into detail. He said "it will not count".

IMRA: The [entire] period of time up to the incident [will not count as part of the cooling off period]?

Dori: He did not say...perhaps the period...he did not say.

IMRA: So it could be that [only] the period of time of the violence itself would not be counted?

Dori: That could also be. He did not go into details. Only the principle.

IMRA: So it could be that, if there is an attack that takes an hour, that [only] the hour will be deducted from the count.

Dori: What you said does not sound logical.

IMRA: But...

Dori: We didn't go into this. He did not go into details at this time.

IMRA: This has not been developed?

Dori: No.

IMRA: I do not want to be a bother. Do you mean that a policy has not yet developed [as to the method of calculating the amount of time that will not count as part of the cooling off period in the event of a "Palestinian" breach of a future cease-fire], or that he does not want to say yet?

Dori: I haven't heard him say. I haven't heard him go into details.

IMRA: So it could be that he hasn't yet developed a position on this.

Dori: Yes.

[Note: I honestly don't know whether this is an example of doublespeak or merely unvarnished incompetence. -- Mark Rosenblit]


[ROUND II] Interview: FM Peres' Media Advisor Yoram Dori

Aaron Lerner Date: 5 June 2001

IMRA interviewed FM Peres' Media Advisor Yoram Dori, in Hebrew, on 5 June 2001:

IMRA: I heard Minister Peres this morning on IDF Radio. Is the cooling off period a period within which they cool off -- that is to say that there is a decline in violence over the course of the period rather than a period without violence?

Dori: No. The "cooling off period" is the period during which it is checked if in fact there is a cease-fire.

IMRA: So today . . .

Dori: Now there is nothing since the Americans have yet to set a date so now it is nothing. There is not yet a cease-fire agreement. There are two unilateral announcements [in which each side has separately announced a cease-fire, with Israel having done so earlier -- several weeks ago].

IMRA: So it hasn't started at all.

Dori: Correct. Right now there are two unilateral cease-fire announcements. The moment that there is an agreement of a cease-fire between the two parties via the United States and acceptance of the beginning of the implementation of the Mitchell Report (after all, the cease-fire is the first part of the Mitchell Report) then we will start with the implementation of the timetable per the Mitchell Report.

IMRA: So we are waiting for this process.

Dori: Exactly. The start of the implementation of the Mitchell Report.

IMRA: By the way, the Mitchell Report permits rock throwing, etc., since this is part of the expression of protest of the Palestinian People. And the Palestinians have declared that the "fire" in "cease-fire" is gun fire -- rocks and fire bombs are still permissible. Is there an Israeli position on this?

Dori: Israel announced that it accepted the Mitchell Report.

IMRA: Fine. The Mitchell Report sees rock throwing as part of protest.

Dori: We accept the Mitchell Report.

IMRA: Fine. So they will continue to throw rocks.

Dori: I do not deal in the interpretation of the Mitchell Report. When we discuss the Mitchell Report we will go into the details. Maybe we will differentiate between small gravel and boulders. . .

IMRA: Has the Israeli side thought about this. There is a radical difference between what the Israeli public thinks of as being under the label "violence" and what the United States considers "violence" to be.

Dori: The Mitchell Report talks about confidence building measures.

IMRA: OK. So the English text of the Mitchell Report clearly does not consider rock throwing to be violence.

Dori: Israel accepted the Mitchell Report. As for the interpretation.

IMRA: I am not talking about interpretation. I am talking about what was written.

Dori: Do you want me to discuss the size of the stones with you?

IMRA: I didn't know that Israel would accept that they throw rocks of any size.

Dori: I am not saying one way or the other -- just that we accept the Mitchell Report.

IMRA: Is there an expectation when there will be an agreement?

Dori: No. With regards to the Mitchell Report there will be security meetings that will conclude what is permitted and prohibited. Of course demonstrations are permitted.

IMRA: Demonstrations with the throwing of rocks and fire-bombs?

Dori: I did not say rocks and fire bombs.

IMRA: Has Israel developed a position?

Dori: Certainly anything that can kill is violence.

IMRA: So this is the position that has been developed?

Dori: I am not saying that. That was my opinion. No one has dealt with this issue up to now. Things that are obvious do not have to be developed. Things that kill or injure are not. . .

IMRA: Please keep in mind that there is a difference of opinion here. Former US president Clinton just recently said that stones are not the same as bullets. The entire Palestinians leadership has taken a consistent stand that rock throwing is not violence but instead part of the peaceful expression of Palestinian protest. This is not obvious.

Dori: I am not talking about the Palestinian side. I am talking about the Israeli side. That it is obvious to us that the throwing of anything that can injure or kill is violence.


Senior State Department Official to IMRA: No position on Rock Throwing

[This issue arose due to (a) "Palestinian" insistence that rock throwing constitutes a form of peaceful protest permitted even during a period of cease-fire in their jihad against Israel, and (b) yesterday's terror attack against a 6 month old Jewish baby whose skull was fractured by a "Palestinian" rock]

Aaron Lerner Date: 6 June 2001

IMRA contacted a senior U.S. State Department official in Washington this evening to ask if AP Diplomatic Writer Barry Schweid's report today that "the State Department disapproved of rock-throwing, calling it a form of violence that should end as part of a cease-fire" was an accurate report.

The official told IMRA that the State Department had no position on rock throwing. The official had attended the same briefing and explained that Schweid had confused [himself] between the regret that the State Department expressed that a baby was critically wounded by a rock and [between] the State Department actually taking a position on the question of rock throwing.

The official categorized the question as to whether rock throwing should be considered violence as being, in part, a "philosophical" question. The official noted that some maintain that economic measures are a form of violence. IMRA pointed out that, while the Mitchell Report did in fact address economic measures, that it neglected to deal with rock throwing.

IMRA further noted that a key concern today is bringing a halt to violence, hence the need to have common definitions of violence. The official responded that the State Department does not intend to address if rock throwing is violence.

[Note: This is more than doublespeak -- it is the willful condonation by the United States of murder and mayhem against the Jewish people, provided that the crime is perpetrated only by primitive means. -- Mark Rosenblit]



(Arutz Sheva, August 18, 2002) Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, anxious to get his "Gaza First" plan off the ground, is now willing to discuss an IDF withdrawal from Hebron and Bethlehem as well. Ben-Eliezer will meet today with top PA officials, including Muhammad Dahlan -- who, as head of the Gaza security services, planned and facilitated the schoolbus attack outside Kfar Darom in which two teachers were killed and several children were maimed -- on the matter. The new proposal stipulates that the PA assume security control in the above areas immediately following the IDF's withdrawal. Prime Minister Sharon has given his blessing to the plan, although just a few days ago he expressed his strong objections to a withdrawal from Bethlehem.

In another apparent turn-around, Prime Minister Sharon has agreed, contrary to his earlier pronouncements, to discuss changes in the proposed 2003 budget with his Labor party coalition partners. He said last night that his only condition is that the framework of the budget -- which calls for a cut of several billion shekels - be maintained. Sharon has said that if the budget is not passed, he will declare early elections -- which could be held as early as February 2003.

Arutz-7 spoke today with [journalist] Uri Dan [who is Mideast correspondent for the New York Post], a long-time friend and confidante of Prime Minister Sharon. Asked whether Sharon was being inconsistent in both his approach to budget changes and to the "Gaza First" plan, Dan dismissed the first claim by saying that the Prime Minister has been "consistent all along, and everything else is just a matter for journalists and commentators to write about and then to write the opposite..." Regarding the second matter, he said, "I have not heard Sharon say that he is in favor of withdrawing from Bethlehem. He is adhering to his principles of fighting terrorism and of fighting the PA that he recently called a 'gang of crime and terror...'"

When Arutz-7's Ariel Kahane asked him why Sharon is negotiating with Muhammad Dahlan, the man who oversaw the terrorist murder of two teachers and maiming of several children in Kfar Darom, Dan said, "Have you heard of the verse, 'By deception you should make war?' Engrave it on your heart. This is a very cruel war, that of cleaning out all the weapons that Yossi Beilin [a cabinet minister in the previous government of former Prime Minister Ehud Barak] allowed in here at the beginning of the Oslo process is a very weighty job... Listen clearly to what I am saying: The only one who is able to run this war on behalf of the Jews, their future, and their security -- better than anyone else -- is Ariel Sharon. He has proven this over these past difficult months, with the war in and for our homes."

"But we are trying to learn how exactly he will do this, and you're not exactly answering," Kahane probed.

Dan: "Because I think that this is not a matter for discussions on the radio. Everyone with eyes in his head can see that if Sharon had not acted this way, we would have had not 600 [ed. note: 615] painful deaths, but 6,000. Note the accomplishments of this war against terrorism. Note how Pres. Bush stood by Israel's side when he called for a change of PA leadership, and note how Sharon prevented a deterioration into the regional war that Arafat was hoping for, with international intervention, and note how he preserved national unity during this difficult time..."

Kahane: "But it looks like he is planning to waste these accomplishments by doing things like talking with Dahlan...?"

Dan: "Have you seen him talking to Dahlan?"

Kahane: "No, but he sent his Defense Minister Ben-Eliezer to talk with him."

Dan: "So then wait and see. Wait and see. Look, we don't live from newspaper headlines. What's nice about our country is that the good things here usually happen despite and against the headlines..."


Interview: Spokesman for Yasser Arafat -- Marwan Kanafani

Aaron Lerner Date: 6 October 2002

IMRA interviewed Marwan Kanafani, spokesman for Yasser Arafat, in English on 6 October 2002 [in the wake of the Palestinian Authority enacting a law declaring all of Jerusalem -- not just the eastern portion -- the capital of "Palestine"]:

IMRA: What is the Palestinian position regarding the applicability of UN [General Assembly] Resolution 194 [issued in 1948]? From time to time you hear reference to it in terms of Article 11 [of the Resolution which calls for a "Palestinian" Arab right of return to pre-1967 Israel -- that is, to Israel within the 1949 armistice demarcation lines], but is there a position [by the Palestinian Authority] that this resolution is alive and well and applicable to the situation?

Kanafani: Why, yes it is. Yes.

IMRA: Article 8 [of the same Resolution] makes Jerusalem, Bethlehem and other areas near Jerusalem an international area. I am wondering how that status - - that UN General Assembly Resolution 194, Article 8 makes Jerusalem "under separate treatment from the rest of Palestine. . .under effective United Nations control" jibes with the declaration today that Jerusalem would be the capital of a future Palestinian state?

Kanafani: That is a very long question. More like a statement.

IMRA: Well it is a simple thing: Article 8 states that Jerusalem . . .

Kanafani: That resolution dealt with many aspects of the Palestinian problem, among them was the main issue: the refugees. And it has a clear cut text that calls for the return of the refugees. As for the part you mentioned, I agree with you. If what the Palestinian are doing now is wrong then what the Israelis did a long time ago is wrong too. If United Nations [General Assembly Resolution] 194 calls for internationalization of Jerusalem then how come it is the capital of Israel? How come the Congress is even supporting that direction? So this is a hypothetical question. This is a city that has been not only declared and claimed by the Palestinians as their capital -- it is part of the occupied territory that is dealt directly with through [United Nations Security Council] Resolution 242 [issued in 1967] and other related resolutions. We are not playing games here.

IMRA: So that is to say that [only] 1 out of the 15 articles of 194 does apply, but the other articles. . .

Kanafani: No. All the articles apply, or all the articles do not apply. You cannot pick and chose. If Jerusalem according to 194 is an international zone then Israel should disclaim it as its capital.

IMRA: And in turn the Palestinians would also?

Kanafani: And the Palestinians have been there and it has been very clear in their constitutions and traditions and every part of what's happening that this part of the city is theirs. So they claim it as their capital just as the rest of the 1967 [lands captured by Israel] has been claimed as their homeland.

IMRA: So they would have a capital in an area that was not part of the Palestinian state [but rather is part of a U.N. controlled international zone established under the authority of U.N. General Assembly Resolution 194]?

Kanafani: They will have a capital that is part of the Palestinian state.

IMRA: But that is under international control?

Kanafani: Well, that's a question that has to be asked of Israel.

IMRA: No. I am discussing UN General Assembly Resolution 194, Article 8 which is very specific.

Kanafani: You are not asking me questions. You are arguing with me. I have an office and you can come over and argue with me. That's what I do all day. If you want to ask me a question and take my opinion then I will tell you my opinion. You have no right to argue about my opinion.

IMRA: I am only trying to clarify it. I am looking back at the first declaration when the PLO was first founded and I am curious. Here you have the declaration of the founding of the PLO taking place in the heart of [the eastern portion of] Jerusalem [which was under Arab occupation when the PLO was founded there in 1964]. I am curious: why isn't there any reference to Jerusalem at all on that original declaration? In that original move? Do you think it was because it was just so obvious and that's why there is no mention made to Jerusalem at the time that the PLO was created?

Kanafani: What purpose would it have served? Hypothetically we forgot and remembered it later. So it doesn't make any difference. The fact is that where we stand now is very very clear. This part of the city is part of Occupied Territories. The [U.N. Security Council Resolution] 242 and the peace process applies to this part of the city, and we want that part of the city. Why we didn't mention that in the first communique? Why [U.N. General Assembly Resolution] 194 talked about internationalization? These "whys" are not going to help us. We have to discuss this and deal with it and find a solution. If we both want to live in peace. If we want to have reasons to fight, you don't need that. There are more than enough other reasons available.

IMRA: The interpretation of [U.N. Security Council Resolution] 242 is based on the French version?

Kanafani: We are looking at the Arabic text.

IMRA: Do you think that at the time that the Resolution went through that the British, the Americans, and the Russians and all the other people who said that 242 did not require full withdrawal were misunderstanding what they were voting for?

Kanafani: Yes.

[Note: U.N. Security Council Resolution 242 was drafted in the English language by Great Britain; and it was the authoritative English-language text thereof that was debated in, and passed by, the U.N. Security Council in 1967. It calls for Israel and its Arab adversaries to negotiate the withdrawal of Israel's armed forces "from territories" that Israel captured in the Six Day War in exchange for the establishment of "secured and recognized boundaries" for Israel; the omission of the definite article "the" before the word "territories" was intentional, and it patently signified to the Arab nations that Israel was not required to withdraw from all of the territories (i.e., the eastern portion of Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, Gaza, Sinai and the Golan Heights). For this reason, during the 5 months prior to the passage of Resolution, Arab diplomats unsuccessfully tried to modify the text of the Resolution to insert therein the words "the" or "all" before the word "territories". Yet, the French-language translation of the English-language Resolution employs the phrase "des territoires" (which literally re-translates into the English language as "from the territories" but which idiomatically re-translates into the English language as either "from the territories" or "from territories"). However, due to the fact that this apparent ambiguity in meaning occurs only because the grammatical rules of the French language do not permit the employment of the preposition "from" with its intended object without the interpolation of the definite article "the" (i.e., the English-language phrase "from territories" cannot grammatically be rendered into the French language except as "des territoires"), France declared -- soon after the Resolution was issued -- that the French-language version thereof was intended to be an exact translation of the English-language text thereof, and that, consequently, its version did not cause the Resolution to have any different meaning in the French language than it had in the English language. -- Mark Rosenblit]


Syria's Assad describes Damascus terror HQs as 'press centers'


(Jerusalem Post, December 17, 2002) LONDON – British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Syrian President Bashar Assad stepped delicately around their differences over terrorism and Iraq following a two-hour lunch meeting at Blair's official residence at 10 Downing Street.

Speaking to journalists Monday, Assad brushed aside suggestions that Damascus is hosting organizations that support suicide bombers, insisting that they are not terrorist centers but "press offices." The confusion, he said, was the result of misunderstandings in "terminology and idiom."

"In our region they are called press offices. They are not called terrorist organizations," he said. "These press offices represent Palestinians who live in Syria and Palestinians who live in Palestine. Palestinians have a right to have someone to express their opinion."

Blair responded with an unequivocal denunciation of terrorism: "We condemn totally anyone who is engaged in terrorist activity of any sort at all, wherever in the world."

However, he added, "it is important to engage with Syria because Syria is going to be an important part of building a peaceful and stable future in the Middle East. No matter what the level of our disagreement, it is still important that we continue that dialogue."

Blair said he and Assad had "interesting discussions," but he conceded there had been "differences in view and emphasis." The differences were "obvious and clear," he said, although he refused to elaborate and said only that "a process of engagement with Syria is the right way forward."

Assad, who spoke of his "warm personal relations" with Blair, said they had held "realistic and constructive talks" on Iraq, the peace process, and terrorism. It was natural, he said, that countries should have differences "according to their positions, their interests, and their culture… The basic point we stressed was the implementation of United Nations resolutions regarding all issues."

Assad said that Syria is "known for its fight against terrorism for decades, not just the last few years. As a country that has experience and rejects terrorism, we put our experience at the disposal of any country that seriously wants to fight terrorism."

In other developments, the Israeli Embassy here announced that Foreign Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will visit London on Friday for talks on bilateral issues and terrorism with Foreign Secretary Jack Straw. The visit will follow stops in Rome and Paris, and Netanyahu will then travel on to Moscow on Sunday.

Earlier in the day, Blair announced that he is planning to invite Palestinian leaders to London in January in an effort to support Palestinian reforms and revive the peace process.

He told parliament that the Palestinian leaders, whom he did not name, would meet representatives of the Quartet, the US, the EU, UN, and Russia, as well as "other countries from the region closely involved in supporting the reform efforts." He said the talks will "discuss progress on reform and look at how the international community can help."

Blair added that "in the short term, progress on the Israeli side will be limited by the general election campaign."

The irony of Blair's meeting with the head of a terrorist-supporting state was emphasized by the chants of several hundred competing pro-Israeli and pro-Syrian demonstrators outside Downing Street. They were kept apart and in check by a heavy police presence at the entrance to Downing Street, about 100 meters from where Blair and Assad were talking to reporters.

Kurds demanding a homeland and Venezuelans pleading for help with their economic crisis took advantage of the media interest to press their causes as well.

Some of the Kurds adopted anti-Assad posters from pro-Israeli demonstrators. And to complicate the issue further, a clutch of haredim [anti-Zionist "ultra-Orthodox" Jews], carrying Syrian and Palestinian flags, arrived to join the pro-Syrian contingent.

It was difficult to judge which side made the louder noise, but there was no contest when it came to slogans on the posters and banners displayed by the two major groups.

"A-ssad day for Britain," read one pro-Israeli banner in a play on the Syrian leader's name. "Assad equals Terrorism," was a common theme on others.

But the prize went to a pro-Syrian poster, which bore the slogan: "Under the leadership of President Bashar al-Assad, Syria is heading confidently in the process of reform and modernization in the 21st century."

Ori Tannenbaum, son of Israeli businessman and reserve colonel Elhanan Tannenbaum, who was kidnapped by Hizbullah while on a trip to Switzerland in October 2000, participated in the demonstration.

"My father was kidnapped by the Hizbullah terrorist organization," Tannenbaum told The Jerusalem Post. "We all know who is the patron of this organization, who provides it with substantial amounts of political and military aid.

"We all know who could facilitate the release of my father and who could arrange medical attention for him. The name of this person is Bashar Assad...

"I understand that Bashar Assad has updated information about the health of my father but is withholding this from us. This in itself is an act of inhumanity."

(c) 2002 The Jerusalem Post

[Note: It appears that Great Britain has more affinity for Syria's dictatorial Bathist regime than it has for Israel's democratically-elected Likud government. Netanyahu -- Israel's present Foreign Minister and its former Prime Minister -- was denied a requested meeting with Prime Minister Tony Blair, and, consequently, he had to settle for one with Foreign Minister Jack Straw who then unceremoniously cancelled their post-meeting joint press conference with the British and international media. Blair did, however, subsequently make himself available to meet with Israel's Labor opposition leader Amram Mitzna, thereby publicly showing Great Britain's disdain for the democratic choice of Israel's electorate. -- Mark Rosenblit]



(Arutz Sheva, January 12, 2003) Responding vociferously to criticism of his order to cut off the broadcast of Prime Minister Sharon's press conference last Thursday night, Elections Commission head Judge Mishael Cheshin said that he owes an explanation to "no one." Cheshin fought off heated criticism of his unprecedented order that led to the mid-sentence interruption of the Prime Minister's televised broadcast, calling the attacks against him "insolence."

"I am obligated to give explanations only to my conscience and to G-d, and to nobody else on the face of the Earth," said Cheshin, who also serves as a justice on the Supreme Court. "My conscience is pure and clean… I stand here as accuser and not as the accused."

At least one Likud activist does not agree, however, and thinks Cheshin is in fact answerable to another element: the law itself. Aviad Visuly of Haifa has submitted an appeal of the "cut-off" decision to the Elections Committee, quoting Paragraph 17b of the Elections Law itself. The clauses states: "The Elections Committee Chairman may, after giving the subject a chance to present his claims, issue an order preventing the violation of this law…" Visuly claims that Cheshin was in violation of the law on two instances, in that he did not give Sharon or his representative a chance to defend himself before issuing the order, and that the order he issued was oral and not written. Visuly claims that to the extent that the judge does not fulfill the law, his authority is nullified.

Prime Minister Sharon called the Thursday night press conference to answer charges that he and his sons had taken a $1.5 million loan from Cyril Kern, a long-time family friend from Britain who has a residence in South Africa. Cheshin said that Sharon's press conference constituted electioneering banned by Israeli law in the two months before the election. "I turned on the TV set in my office, something I do on rare occasions, and it slowly dawned on me that this wasn't a press conference, but severe, hard-hitting electoral propaganda from the mouth of the Prime Minister," said Cheshin.

MK Michael Eitan (Likud) brought before the Elections Commission a list of instances in which senior Labor officials accused Sharon and the Likud of corruption, dishonesty, and fraud in television and radio interviews. According to Eitan, these instances, as well as others in which Labor candidate Amram Mizna himself was interviewed, also constitute election propaganda - yet Cheshin did not prevent the broadcast of these interviews.

Eitan also contended that a broadcast scheduled for tonight on Channel 2, called "Fact", in which Labor Party candidate Amram Mitzna is shown touring the Jewish community of Elei Sinai in Gaza, constitutes election propaganda. Judge Cheshin rebuffed this claim as well, saying that the program is a "newsworthy" item, as opposed to Sharon's press conference.

Judge Cheshin also refused to honor Eitan's request that the judge monitor and review the "Fact" program, as well as other news-oriented shows. Cheshin responded in writing, saying, "MK Eitan requested that I act indiscriminately. He asked that I appoint two people to monitor all radio broadcasts and report back to me regarding whether equality has been preserved. MK Eitan's request was unacceptable to me."

On the other hand, Cheshin denied Labor MK Effie Oshaya's request to grant more broadcast time to the Labor party as "compensation" for the 12 minutes of Sharon's press conference that were broadcast.

MK Eitan responded to the rejection of his requests by saying, "The big problem with Cheshin's position is that he actually saw the Prime Minister's broadcast, while regarding other broadcasts, he just waits for us to file a complaint with the Commission. Nobody wants to crucify Cheshin, but he's obligated to present his reasoning to the public, and if he puts himself above all explanation, this is unacceptable."


Interview: Egyptian FM Maher's press secretary

Aaron Lerner Date: 24 February 2003

IMRA interviewed Darek Adel, Press Secretary of Egyptian Foreign Minister Maher, in English, on 24 February 2003:

IMRA: Egyptian Foreign Minister Maher is playing a key role in encouraging the talks between Palestinian factions over a cease-fire.

Adel: Yes.

IMRA: So as such he must have an idea as to what a "cease-fire means". Is this a cease-fire that is limited to suicide bombings and shootings or does it cover the whole range of activities?

Adel: I don't want to get into the details of that as this is under discussion between the Palestinian factions themselves. What we are talking about is a cease-fire. Now the details are subject to agreement among the Palestinian factions. I am not presently aware where those negotiations are right now.

IMRA: Does Egypt have an idea as to what kind of cease-fire it would like to see or are you acting as a host rather than as a group that has an idea itself.

Adel: We are trying to bridge the gaps between the factions and I cannot get into the details of that because this is still subject to discussion among them. So I really can't say more to you than that.

IMRA: If I might ask something else then. I see that every couple of weeks we have a tunnel running from Rafah on the Egyptian side to the Palestinian side under the border there.

What kind of action does Egypt take on this whole matter?

Adel: Well, you know that those are done illegally. It is not under our auspices.

IMRA: I imagine so.

Adel: When we know of those things we stop them.

IMRA: Is there a protest made to the Palestinian factions for abusing your sovereignty?

Adel: We talk to them about this.

IMRA: We see Al Ahram Weekly in English and it is certainly far from exhaustive in its coverage. But I read it every week and I cannot think of even one report in the last year of someone being arrested for digging a tunnel or anything like that. Is it just that this kind of information doesn't get publicity?

Adel: Well, maybe there isn't.

IMRA: Or maybe you are not catching anybody.

Adel: Or maybe there isn't anyone.

IMRA: So there aren't any arrests.

Adel: Maybe there aren't any new tunnels.

IMRA: Well people have died in the last year when tunnels have collapsed, so clearly there are tunnels. That wasn't the question.


Thank you very much.

Adel: You are welcome.


New Kadima MK-to-be Discusses Democracy

By Hillel Fendel

(Arutz Sheva, January 3, 2006) Lior Carmel, Israel Scouts Youth Movement secretary-general, has announced his resignation from the Scouts in order to join the Kadima Party, where he has been all but assured of a Knesset seat.

Married with three children under the age of 4, Lior and his wife live in Kibbutz Netzer Sireni, near Ramle.

Arutz-7 spoke with him today about his choice of party, and whether Sharon's ascendancy indicates the end of Israeli democracy. Excerpts:

A-7: "Can you tell me, how does it work? You get up one morning and decide that you want to be a Knesset Member, offer to join Kadima, and they give you a number on their Knesset list? After all, the polls predict 40 Knesset seats, but there aren't yet 40 Knesset candidates."

Carmel: "Obviously not, since there are five million adults in Israel -- not everyone can join... The strategy of Kadima is to choose the best in every field. We all agree on the political platform, which is that concessions will have to be made, and we all agree that social infrastructures must be improved, etc., and in the other areas, the party seeks to find the best in each field. I dare say that I am an expert in youth affairs, and I will advance youth-related issues."

A-7: "Do you know what number you will be on the party's list of Knesset candidates?"

Carmel: "Believe me, that doesn't concern me at all."

A-7: "But it was clear that you will be in the Knesset."

Carmel: "Yes, that was agreed."

Carmel said that he had spoken not only to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, but also to two or three Kadima MKs and some advisors.

A-7: "The polls currently show that Kadima will receive 40 Knesset seats, give or take.  How do you feel about the fact that if nothing changes drastically, one man will single-handedly determine the make-up of a third of the Knesset?  Isn't this a major breach of the democratic values that you so dearly cherish?"

Carmel: "It's not Sharon that will determine, but rather the public on Election Day.  The people are not voting for one man, but for the party. The public is smart and intelligent, and hopefully will decide to give Kadima at least 40 MKs.  After the election, we will begin building democratic party organs."

A-7: "But as of now, Kadima doesn't even have 40 candidates with whom to fill its list; Sharon is merely searching around. So in comes someone like you, with a positive record and reputation in youth work, and he says, 'Great, you'll be number 30; next!'  It's not as if you and the others will be able to differ with him; he has shown that he does not listen to his party -- such as when the Likud voted against the disengagement, and in other issues. Certainly now, with new MKs who owe him their seat, how will you be able to have any influence?"

Carmel: "In my talks with Sharon and with the others, there were some things that I did not agree on, and I took home some food for thought, and I hope that he did the same... We saw that regarding Gaza, Sharon himself changed his mind [in promoting the withdrawal]; this means that he is willing to listen to others.  At the same time, the Likud was a party in ideological crisis, and therefore the decision went to the Knesset -

A-7: - even though he had said that he would follow the party's decision -

Carmel: - and personally, I can say that if I feel that things are not being run [democratically], I'll leave..."

A-7: "You said that the people will decide. Isn't it true that there have been cases in fairly recent history where the people voted democratically and ended up bringing a dictator to power, in Germany, for instance?"

Carmel: "Woah, Germany?!"

A-7: "Are we not allowed to mention Germany?"

Carmel: "... In the U.S., the President appoints his own Cabinet ministers, and is involved in the appointment of judges..."

A-7: "Do you think the American people would accept a situation in which the President appoints a third, or a tenth, of the U.S. Senate? ... Do you not feel that you are giving up that which you feel is the most important value, that of democracy?  You and the others in Kadima are becoming the foot-soldiers and water-carriers who will enable one man, with a history of acting very strong-armedly, to determine things such as what painful concessions have to be made. [Former Minister] Tzachi HaNegbi said, when he joined Kadima, that he personally opposes further unilateral measures, but that if Sharon decides differently, he will accept that. The theme of many in Kadima seems to be that you trust Sharon."

Carmel: "...I see that we don't agree... But we do agree on one thing -- the importance of youth and their contribution."


Interview: Raji Sourani, Director of the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights

Aaron Lerner                   Date: 11 July 2006

IMRA interviewed Raji Sourani, Director of the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR), in English on 11 July 2006

IMRA: I had a question about a press release you issued today, "IOF [Israeli Occupation Forces] Continue to Target Civilians"

I am trying to understand:  are you taking the position that they [the Israel Defense Forces] are intentionally targeting civilians, or that instead that they are not being careful in avoiding civilians?

Sourani: It makes no difference for me.

IMRA: I understand that it makes no difference to you.  But you are writing in your press releases that they are.

Sourani: It makes no difference for me both.

IMRA: I understand that.  But in your press releases you are writing that they are "targeting" civilians, and I am trying to understand if you think that they are actually targeting.

Sourani: Understand what you understand. We wrote it, and it is very clear cut.

IMRA: You are writing that they are "targeting"-- that would imply that they actually . . .

Sourani: Exactly.

IMRA:  That they don't care about the pubic relations . . .

Sourani: You read what you read.

IMRA: I am reading what you wrote.

Sourani: Yes, yes.  Exactly. You can understand it according to what you understand it.  We can't interpret what we write.  What we write is what we write.

IMRA: So you think that they have them in the cross-hairs. They know that they are about to hit children instead of  . . .

Sourani: I think that if you target a small car from three kilometers you know what you are hitting.

IMRA: So you are saying that they know they are about to . . .

Sourani: I am not saying.  What you have in the press release is very clear.

(telephone line dead)

Dr. Aaron Lerner, Director IMRA (Independent Media Review & Analysis)
(Mail POB 982 Kfar Sava)
Tel 972-9-7604719/Fax 972-3-7255730
IMRA - Independent Media Review and Analysis


Nazareth sheikh attacks Zionism

By Matthew Wagner

(Jerusalem Post, July 21, 2006) One day after the tragic killing of two brothers in Nazareth [by a Katyusha rocket fired at Israel from southern Lebanon by the terrorist group Hizbullah], a leading Suffi Sheikh from the same town, who has been heavily involved in interfaith dialogue for two decades, equated the dispossession of Palestinians from their land in 1948 [caused by those Arabs’ failed attempt to annihilate the renascent Jewish State] with the Holocaust.

Sheikh Abdel Salam Manasra, Secretary General of the High Suffi Council in the Holy Land, also equated Zionism with idolatry.

"Just as it says in the Bible that there were Jews who worshipped Ba'al [one of the ancient Canaanite gods] so too there are Jews today who are Zionists," said Manasra.

"You are not a Jew as you should be if you [support] Zionism," he added. "Zionism is a bad thing."

Manasra rejected the idea that Israel was a Jewish state or a homeland for the Jews.

"After the Europeans brought a Holocaust on the Jews, you Jews came here and brought a Holocaust on us," said Manasra. "None of the Europeans responsible for the Holocaust paid the price. Instead, I paid the price because I lost my land."

Rabbi Dr. Ron Kronish, Director of the Inter Religious Coordinating Council in Israel, who has participated in numerous interfaith dialogues with Manasra over the years, said the comments were very surprising.

"If this is indeed that is what he said about the Holocaust and Zionism, I think those are very poor, unhelpful comparison. I have known Sheikh Manasra as a man of peace and dialogue. I urge him to rethink his comments if indeed he said them.

"I am sensitive to the pain caused by the Naqba [Arabic translation:  The Catastrophe, referring to modern Israel’s establishment in May 1948 and its subsequent victory against the local Arab militias and the surrounding Arab nations which had sought to destroy it], but it is not to be compared to the Holocaust."

When Manasra discovered that The Jerusalem Post reporter interviewing him lived in a settlement beyond the Green Line he said, "You live on conquered land. Come live in Haifa, Ashdod or Tel Aviv.

"Besides, most of you are there because you love money," said Manasra. "A lot of you settlers are not even Jewish. They are Russians who oppose Judaism. I see them come to the Church in Nazareth."

Manasra was quick to condemn Israeli violence in Lebanon, but only after repeated questioning by The Post was Manasra willing to criticize the Hizbullah's bombing [of Israel’s civilian population centers].

"But I do not want that statement against the Hizbullah to be placed prominently in your article," said Manasra to The Post.

He said that the relationship Sunni Arabs like himself had with the Shi'ite Hizbullah was "similar to the relation Jews had to the Black Hebrews in Dimona".

Manasra said he has been involved in interfaith dialogue since 1987. He said that as a Suffi Sunni with more moderate views than other Sunni orders, he has suffered financially.

"The Saudis are opposed to the Suffis," said Manasra. "It's not easy to be a promoter of peace."

(©) The Jerusalem Post

[Note:  I agree.  It is not easy to be a promoter of peace when you compare Zionism to Nazism, when you compare Jewish self-defense to the Holocaust, and when you deny the Jewish State’s right to exist. -- Mark Rosenblit]

Into the Fray: Peres on 'Tomorrow' - yesterday and today


The wildly irreconcilable positions of pre-Oslo and post-Oslo Peres raise troubling questions as to the integrity of Israeli leaders.

(Jerusalem Post, June 14, 2012)

“Ambition drove many men to become false; to have one thought locked in the breast, another ready on the tongue” – Gaius Sallustius Crispus (Sallust), Roman historian and politician, (86 BCE-c.35 BCE)

“It is our experience that political leaders do not always mean the opposite of what they say” – Abba Eban, Israeli diplomat and politician (1919-2002)

It may be instructive to keep the sentiments conveyed in the above excerpts in mind while reading the following essay.

Glamour galore

Next week will usher in the opening of the fourth Israeli Presidential Conference.

Grandly titled Facing Tomorrow, its list of speakers features a cavalcade of internationally renowned dignitaries, drawn from fields spanning nearly the entire range of human endeavor, testifying to the [Israeli] president’s impressive drawing power. The program offers a myriad of intriguing and important topics that almost certainly will impinge on the lives of billions in the future.

As the conference follows this week’s award of the US Presidential Medal of Freedom to [Israeli President Shimon] Peres by [United States President] Barack Obama – both men were among the most “puzzling” recipients of the Nobel Peace prize ever – the media-hype surrounding the event is likely to be even more intense than usual.

Ostensibly, all this attention is well-merited.

After all, Peres is not only a figure of considerable world standing, having had almost every conceivable international honor bestowed on him – but has, to a large degree, restored the aura of presidential dignity to the office, so severely undermined by his predecessor.

So next week’s Facing Tomorrow Conference might be an apt opportunity for a glimpse at Peres’s (apparently forgotten) “Yesterday” and an assessment of the route he has traversed in attaining his position at the pinnacle of world acclaim.

The fruits of failure

Peres’s extraordinary ability, passion and energy are beyond dispute. But so it would seem is his unbridled ambition, making the caveats in the introductory excerpts highly relevant.

During the state’s first decade, as a young protege of David Ben-Gurion, he is credited with playing a leading role in setting up much of the foundations for the nascent nation’s military infrastructure that has been so crucial in ensuring its survival and its technological edge – including Israel Aircraft Industries (today Israel Aerospace Industries), the acquisition of advanced combat aircraft from France and the establishment of the nuclear facility in Dimona.

As defense minister as the time of the Entebbe raid in 1976, many identify him as providing the political will to push through the decision to carry out the now legendary operation.

But perversely, it has not been Peres’s successes – but his failures – that have catapulted him to international stardom. It was not his’s dramatic feats in the service of his nation that brought him global celebrity status, but his disastrous fiascoes in the pursuit of his wildly unrealistic illusions.

It was the Oslo Accords – which have long since imploded into bloody ruin – that brought him the 1994 Nobel Peace prize.

It was his lofty vision of a “New Middle East” – with peace and prosperity stretching from the Maghreb to the Persian Gulf – that caught the imagination of so many but now appears nothing but a ludicrous delusion.

Thus it was not his considerable contributions to Israeli security that made him such a sought after figure on the global stage, but rather his adoption of the role of supranational statesman on a noble quest for regional peace, a quest that precipitated nothing but death and devastation.

‘Tomorrow’ as a brand-name

Peres has always been obsessed with “Tomorrow.” In many ways he has appropriated it as his profession trademark, in an endeavor to brand himself as future-oriented statesman. And while there was much to substantiate that image in an earlier era, his predictive acumen seems to have deserted him in later years.

One of his first forays in to “Tomorrow-territory” was a programmatic book he authored as chairman of the Labor Party, just after it had lost power for the first time, to Menachem Begin’s Likud. Titled Tomorrow is Now and published in 1978, it laid out Peres’s prescriptive vision for the future conduct of the affairs of the nation.

In many ways, the book – available only in Hebrew – is an astonishing document.

For those who are only familiar with the post-Oslowian version of Peres, it offers staggering surprises.

For the citizens of Israel – and anyone concerned with the fate of the Jewish state – it raises deeply disturbing questions regarding the judgment, credibility and integrity of those who have served in positions of senior leadership, and serious doubts as to the trust that can be placed in their pronouncements to the nation.

Prudent pre-Oslowian predictions

In Tomorrow is Now, pre-Oslowian Peres gives a chillingly accurate prediction of what would occur if the policies endorsed by post-Oslowian Peres were in fact adopted, sternly cautioning as to the realities liable to emerge should Israel accept the idea of a Palestinian state.

“The establishment of such [a Palestinian] state means the inflow of combat-ready Palestinian forces (more than 25,000 men under arms) into Judea and Samaria; this force, together with the local youth, will double itself in a short time. It will not be short of weapons or other [military] equipment, and in a short space of time, an infrastructure for waging war will be set up in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip. Israel will have problems in preserving day-to-day security, which may drive the country into war, or undermine the morale of its citizens.”

He was of course proved right – for these were precisely the realities that precipitated the IDF’s Operation Defensive Shield Judea and Samaria in 2002 – and later Operation Cast Lead in Gaza in 2009.

Pre-Oslowian Peres continued, warning of the grave consequences further territorial concessions advocated by post-Oslowian Peres would entail: “If a Palestinian state is established, it will be armed to the teeth.

Within it there will be bases of the most extreme terrorist forces, who will be equipped with anti-tank and anti-aircraft shoulder-launched rockets, which will endanger not only random passersby, but also every airplane and helicopter taking off in the skies of Israel and every vehicle traveling along the major traffic routes in the Coastal Plain.

“In time of war, the frontiers of the Palestinian state will constitute an excellent staging point for mobile forces to mount attacks on infrastructure installations vital for Israel’s existence, to impede the freedom of action of the Israeli air force in the skies over Israel, and to cause bloodshed among the areas adjacent to the frontier line.”

Territory’s enduring significance

But it was not only low-intensity conflict and terror-related dangers that concerned pre-Oslowian Peres. He expressed grave concern over conventional warfare threats as well. Although post-Oslowian Peres commonly dismisses the importance of territory in the age of modern weaponry, pre- Oslowian Peres knew better, articulating a cogent rationale why the enhanced range, mobility and firepower of today’s weapon systems enhance its strategic significance: “In 1948, it may have been possible to defend the ‘thin waist’ of Israel’s most densely populated area, when the most formidable weapon used by both sides was the cannon of limited mobility and limited fire-power.

“In the 20th century, with the development of the rapid mobility of armies, the defensive importance of territorial expanse has increased... Without a border which affords security, a country is doomed to destruction in war,” he wrote.

Regarding Israel’s minuscule dimensions, pre-Oslowian Peres elaborated: “It is, of course, doubtful whether territorial expanse can provide absolute deterrence. However, the lack of minimal territorial expanse places a country in a position of an absolute lack of deterrence. This in itself constitutes an almost compulsive temptation to attack Israel from all directions.”

Dismissing Arab credibility

Particularly disconcerting is the dramatic dichotomy between Peres’s pre-Oslowian denigration of the value of agreements with the Arabs and his post-Oslowian enthusiasm for them – particularly with regard to demilitarization.

Pre-Oslowian Peres warned: “Demilitarization of the West Bank also seems a dubious measure. The major issue is not [attaining] an agreement, but ensuring its actual implementation in practice. The number of agreements which the Arabs have violated is no less than number which they have kept.”

It is difficult to imagine that any later, post- Oslo, experience has served to enhance his confidence on this matter.

Indeed, Peres maintained his deep cynicism regarding Palestinian trustworthiness right up to the conclusion of the Oslo Accords.

Amazingly, in his The New Middle East, published in 1993, he asks: “Even if the Palestinians agree that their state will have no army or weapons, who can guarantee that a Palestinian army would not be mustered later to encamp at the gates of Jerusalem and the approaches to the lowlands?”

Indeed who?

He continues: “And if the Palestinian state would be unarmed, how would it block terrorist acts perpetrated by extremists, fundamentalists or irredentists?”

Indeed how?

Peres on settlements – yesterday.

But perhaps the most astounding of all is pre-Oslowian Peres’s stance on the issue of “settlements” and the imperative he saw for their development. He urged Israel:

"to create a continuous stretch of new settlements; to bolster Jerusalem and the surrounding hills, from the north, from the east, and from the south and from the west, by means of the establishment of townships, suburbs and villages – Ma’aleh Adumim, Ofra, Gilo, Beit El, Givon – to ensure that the capital and its flanks are secured, and underpinned by urban and rural settlements.

These settlements will be connected to the Coastal Plain and the Jordan Valley by new lateral axis roads; the settlements along the Jordan River are intended to establish the Jordan River as the [Israel’s] de facto security border; however, it is the settlements on the western slopes of the hills of Samaria and Judea which will deliver us from the curse of Israel’s ‘narrow waist.’”

No kidding!  He really wrote that.

Just imagine how distressing it must be for the hundreds of thousands of Israelis who rallied to implement pre-Oslowian Peres’s call to “deliver us from the curse of Israel’s “narrow waist” and establish settlements that post-Oslowian Peres now denounces.

Would a bitter sense of betrayal not be totally understandable – even inevitable?

A crisis of credibility?

The breathtaking divergence between the positions of pre-and post-Oslowian Peres raised hugely troubling questions as to the credibility of Israeli leaders – and the store the Israel citizenry – indeed the Jewish people – can place in their words.

While people are, of course, entitled to change their minds – and Peres may indeed have had a change of mind – one cannot but wonder what could have possibly induced him:

to abandon a position that proved so well-founded for one that proved so wildly unfounded?

• to adopt a policy he previously rejected as too perilous for the nation’s security – particularly as his forebodings all proved justified?

• to urge his people down a path that he himself warned was disastrous – especially as all the predicted perils did in fact materialize?

How can such conduct be reconciled with a genuine concern for the national interest? And if it cannot, what conclusions should be drawn?

Perhaps the insights in the introductory excerpts as to the nature of “Ambition” might provide a clue to the answer?

All rights reserved © 1995 - 2012 The Jerusalem Post.


Sent: Thursday, June 12, 2014 6:05 PM
Subject: Test: State Department reiterates: PA has free pass on terror from Gaza Strip as long as [PA] issues press releases

Dr. Aaron Lerner - IMRA: If there was any doubt in anyone's mind - the phrases used before by U.S. Department of State Spokesperson Jen Psaki to indicate that the PA has no responsibility for terror from the Gaza Strip were repeated word-by-word ("we expect the Palestinian Authority will do everything in its power to prevent attacks into Gaza – from Gaza into Israel. But we acknowledge the reality that Hamas currently controls Gaza") and then even expanded on today ("While we’re very concerned about these rocket attacks and we feel President Abbas needs to do everything possible to prevent them, we understand that his ability to do that is severely limited at this point in time.")

For many Israelis, the position of the Obama Administration can be summed up today as follows: "[President] Obama and [Secretary of State] Kerry may have our back - but there's something in their hand and it is awfully sharp."
U.S. Department of State Spokesperson Jen Psaki
Daily Press Briefing
Washington, DC
June 11, 2014

QUESTION: On that, did you – not on the meeting, but did you have anything to say about this new rocket attack into Israel from Gaza?

MS. PSAKI: Well, we condemn all rocket fire from Gaza. It is unprovoked aggression against civilian targets and is totally unacceptable. We welcome [Palestinian Authority] President Abbas’s prompt and outspoken condemnation of this attack. We note that he has demanded that all the Palestinian factions remain committed to the ceasefire agreement that was signed in Cairo in 2012, and we expect the Palestinian Authority will do everything in its power to prevent attacks into Gaza – from Gaza into Israel. But we acknowledge the reality that Hamas currently controls Gaza.

QUESTION: Well, okay. So the Israelis say that President Abbas, since the [“Palestinian”] unity government has been formed [between the Palestine Liberation Organization and Hamas under the rubric of the Palestinian Authority], that he bears responsibility for not disarming this or not preventing this attack and attacks of its kind. Do you agree that President Abbas shares – or it is his responsibility to do that, and that he is – the Israelis could look at him and say this is his fault?

MS. PSAKI: Well, we believe that President Abbas must do all in his power to prevent deterioration in the security situation, but we would also note that he has upheld his responsibility to maintain security coordination with Israel and he has publicly stressed his commitment to do that. And so I think he has made every effort to be – continue to be a partner in this regard.

QUESTION: So this doesn’t have any – this attack doesn’t have anything – won’t have any bearing on your decision to work with the unity government and continue to provide assistance to it?

MS. PSAKI: It does not. Obviously, we’re concerned about it and we condemn it in the strongest terms. But his – President Abbas’s ability to impact these type of attacks is really severely limited at this point in time.

QUESTION: Well, yeah, but isn’t that part of the – I mean, that’s part of the entire problem with agreeing to go along and work with a government, is it not? I mean, the Israelis said the whole time that these attacks are going to continue. If you recognize that his ability is extremely limited to prevent this kind of thing, for there to be security cooperation between him, his government, and the Israelis, how is it that you made the leap to go ahead and say, “All right, this is a government that we can do business with?”

MS. PSAKI: Well, this is one – this was the creation of an interim technocratic government. Obviously, at some point there will be elections. This is an interim period. As we’ve long stated, we’ll – we’re continuing assistance if we – but we’ll be watching closely and if something changes, so will – we’ll act accordingly. But nothing --

QUESTION: So how many more rocket attacks do there have to be before you decide that it’s – that we made a mistake?

MS. PSAKI: Well, again, Matt, you’re familiar, I’m sure, with what the criteria are for delivering assistance. While we’re very concerned about these rocket attacks and we feel President Abbas needs to do everything possible to prevent them, we understand that his ability to do that is severely limited at this point in time.

QUESTION: So but then I don’t understand why – I can’t – I mean, if you think that this guy doesn’t have control over everyone who is either a member of or is backing his unity government, why would you do business with it? Why would you give it money? I mean, if you were one part of – I don’t know, one segment of the Israeli society, political society or otherwise, you could, if you hold Abbas responsible for this attack, hold the United States, in a sense, responsible for this attack because you guys are just continuing to support the unity government.

MS. PSAKI: Well, as you know, there are no members of Hamas in the technocratic unity government – technocratic government, I should call it, which is the accurate --


MS. PSAKI: -- term for it. That is one of our criteria for continuing to provide assistance. We’ll be watching closely over the course of the coming weeks and months.

QUESTION: So even though it is backed by Hamas and you hold Hamas responsible for this rocket attack today, that – you don’t see a connection? No?

MS. PSAKI: I’m not suggesting we don’t understand the connection, Matt. But again, this is a case where President Abbas strongly condemned these actions. We think he should do everything possible to prevent them from happening and to call for and provoke unity among these groups. But we understand at this point in time there’s very little that he can do to prevent them.

QUESTION: Why is it in your interest to continue to deal with the interim government notwithstanding this rocket attack?

MS. PSAKI: Because the Palestinian people and our relationship with the Palestinian Authority is an important relationship to the United States. We continue to believe that support to them is something that is important to the United States.

QUESTION: But if Hamas feels that it can shoot rockets from Gaza into Israel with impunity and this has no effect whatsoever, for example, on its ability to form a unity government with the PA, even if there are no Hamas members in the actual government – you have a disincentive that you could use here, which would be to stop dealing with the unity government or to stop funding it, and that might tell Hamas, “Well, maybe we should think twice about sending rockets in.” But the way you’ve cast it, they can send an unlimited number of rockets in and they can still be supportive of this unity government and you’ll still give the unity government and the PA money.

MS. PSAKI: Well, we made a decision as the United States Government that our assistance to the Palestinian Authority is important to the United States. And so that’s why it is continuing. And they did – have met the criteria, including the Quartet principles that have been laid out. We will be judging this government by its actions and we will address issues as needed moving forward, but nothing has changed at this point in time.

QUESTION: You don’t see this attack as an action of the government?

MS. PSAKI: No, we --

QUESTION: You see it by – you see it as an action by a supporter of the government. Not you, I’m talking about Hamas, right? I mean, you – correct me if I – I mean, if you – well, is that correct? Let’s just start there. You see this as an attack by Hamas on Israel. Is that correct?


QUESTION: Yes. You do understand the equivalent – the Israelis say that because Hamas is a – while there are no Hamas members in it, this government, this technocratic government is supported by Hamas, and therefore this is a problem. You don’t agree with that.

MS. PSAKI: Well again, Matt, this is a technocratic government that just formed in the past couple of weeks. We’ll be watching events closely as time continues. The government itself has abided by the principles that we have outlined through the Quartet and what the United States expects as well, and we’ll evaluate accordingly. But nothing has changed as it relates to our assistance.

QUESTION: All right. And then just on Abbas himself, you say that he has condemned it. But the condemnation is really – I mean it’s good, I suppose, that he is not applauding and saying this is a good thing. But he needs to stop it, doesn’t he? Isn’t that the U.S. position?

MS. PSAKI: Well, he’s also demanded that all factions abide by the ceasefire agreement.

QUESTION: Right. But at some point it’s got to be actions, not words, right? So this is – I just – this is not an action enough to get you to – to get the Administration to change its position?

MS. PSAKI: Correct.


QUESTION: Clarification: Are you certain that it was Hamas that fired the rocket, or could it be some rogue group from Gaza? Because there are all kinds of rogue groups.

MS. PSAKI: Well, Said, I don’t have any more information. I think we’re all familiar with the connection between Hamas and Gaza and how they control Gaza.

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