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September 1, 2005

Israel rules victims of Jewish terrorist not entitled to lifelong support

Israel rules victims of Jewish terrorist not entitled to lifelong support

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Thursday, September 1, 2005

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Israel’s defence minister has ruled that the man who shot dead four Israeli Arabs is not a terrorist, because he is Jewish. The decision means that the families do not receive the compensation as family members of people classed as victims of terrorism. The laws governing compensation only recognise terrorism as being perpetrated by “organisations hostile to Israel”.

Ariel Sharon had previously described the act as “a despicable act by a bloodthirsty terrorist,” and The Jerusalem Post described the gunman as a “Jewish far-Right fanatic”.

The families will receive a lump sum instead of a lifelong payment. Arab Israeli leaders described the law as racist.

“The decision raises a strong scent of racism, which distinguishes between a Jewish terrorist and an Arab terrorist,” one member of parliament said.

The Anti-Defamation League, a US based organisation set up to combat anti-semitism, has also condemned the killing and described it as terrorism.

“We strongly condemn today’s terrorist attack by a Jewish gunman in Shiloh. The perpetrator is in police custody and we are confident he will be punished to the fullest extent of the law,” said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, in a statement released on the day of the attack.

Member of the Knesset Mohammad Barakeh, has demanded an amendment to the current law. He is asking that the law recognise as victims of terror anyone hurt by “hostile activities by a terror organization.” According to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, the Prime Ministers Office has requested that the Attorney General review the issue.

The 19-year old Nathan Zaada shot the four Israeli Arabs in an industrial area of the town of Shfaram on August 4th. He was later killed by a mob.

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May 3, 2005

K\’nesset Member Natan Sharansky resigns from coalition government to protest planned Gaza withdrawal

K’nesset Member Natan Sharansky resigns from coalition government to protest planned Gaza withdrawal

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Tuesday, May 3, 2005

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Sharansky’s resignation as Minister of Diaspora Affairs and Jerusalem was accepted by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon at Sunday’s cabinet meeting.

“I believe [the Gaza withdrawal] is a tragic plan that makes us pay an extremely high price for nothing, and also encourages terror,” Sharansky said. “The only aim of the current government is the implementation of the disengagement plan, and therefore it is wrong, even immoral, for me to remain a part of this government.”

Sharansky said that although he was always against what he calls the “so-called disengagement plan,” he decided to leave the government once the battle against the withdrawal was no longer able to be waged from within the government. “Our main battle now is public opinion, because the struggle in the government is finished,” he said.

Although he hopes to take the struggle to the people, the former minister hopes his move will pave the way for other politicians to follow their consciences. “I don’t know how effective my quitting will be,” Sharansky said, “but I hope it will encourage other politicians and ministers to at least vote according to what they believe and what they think.”

The former prisoner of Zion (who served time in a Soviet prison for wanting to emigrate to Israel) says his main objection to the plan to withdraw from Gaza and northern Samaria is the fact that the withdrawal is not contingent on the creation of democracy within the Palestinian Authority. “I have promoted the spread of democracy as the only answer for thirty years. And now, at the time when an American president declares these principles and promotes them, an Israeli PM comes along and does the exact opposite.”

Although he has in the past supported withdrawal from parts of the land of Israel, Sharansky says the current plan goes too far. “We cannot control another people and we will need serious compromise, but that compromise does not include giving another people the ability to destroy us… as if we run from Gaza, Gaza will not run after us.”

Sharansky, whose Yisrael B’Aliyah party merged with the ruling Likud party after last elections, has maintained good relations with Sharon. “I had many opportunities to present my point of view to the Prime Minister, both publicly and privately,” Sharansky said. “He believes the withdrawal will give us ten years free from world pressure during which to build the settlement blocs of Gush Etzion, Maaleh Adumim and Ariel. I told him we will not have ten years – we will not even have ten days free from pressure, because we are legitimizing one-sided withdrawals from Jewish areas – each withdrawal will only invite more pressure.”

“We are speaking about three generations of Jews that were sent on the important mission by the Israeli government and made an empty desert into a blossoming garden. Now we will just destroy all these beautiful communities, with their unique agriculture and incredible Judaism – for what?” Sharansky asks.

“For nothing,” he added, “as a reward for terrorism.”

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March 29, 2005

Israeli parliament rejects disengagement referendum

Israeli parliament rejects disengagement referendum

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Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Ariel Sharon’s controversial plan calls for the withdrawal of Israeli forces and civilians from the Gaza Strip and some parts of the West Bank.

Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, voted against a bill calling for a referendum on Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s controversial plan to withdraw Israeli forces and civilians from the Gaza Strip and some parts of the West Bank. The vote passed 72-39, with three abstentions and six absent. The vote removes the last major hurdle for Mr. Sharon to implement the proposed plan, scheduled to start in July.

Mr. Sharon’s administration has not yet survived the upcoming vote on the 2005 budget, which takes place on Tuesday. But it has secured the support of the secular Shinui party, so a majority looks likely. Shinui had reservations about the amount of money transferred under the budget to projects organised by ultra-Orthodox parties. Under Israeli law, if the budget fails to pass, new elections must be held. Opponents of the disengagement plan intend to use the budget vote to topple Mr. Sharon’s government, and several MK’s attacked Shinui for their decision to support the budget.

Mr. Sharon’s position sparked a rebellion from his own center-right Likud party, with a significant majority of Likud MKs voting in favour of the bill, including several members of his own cabinet. Finance Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, and Education Minister Limor Livnat all voted in favour of a referendum.

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December 29, 2004

Bush pressured Israel to seize Chinese aircraft

Bush pressured Israel to seize Chinese aircraft

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Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Some media sources are reporting that Israel is facing a diplomatic crisis over a number of “Harpy” unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) purchased by the People’s Republic of China in the 1990s and returned to Israel for upgrades.

China and the United States are major trading partners with Israel, but discussions to resolve the incident in the Israeli Knesset were muted by a security blackout and delayed by the exit of four Knesset members in protest.

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