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Wednesday, May. 23 ’12, Sivan 2, 5772
1. MK ‘KETZALEH’ WITHDRAWS ULPANA BILL
2. NETANYAHU ORDERS TWO-WEEK DELAY ON ‘ULPANA LAW’
3. DISCOVERY PROVES BETHLEHEM PART OF KINGDOM OF JUDAH 4. PA BARS JOURNALISTS FROM BRITISH SUPERMODEL VISIT 5. EU STATEMENT SUGGESTS ARABS CAN THROW STONES AT PROTESTS 6. KHARTOUM ALLEGES ISRAEL RESPONSIBLE FOR CAR BLAST 7. NETANYAHU TO 7-YEAR-OLD CRASH SURVIVOR: WE ARE WITH YOU 8. FORENSIC EXPERT RECONSTRUCTS ATIAS CRASH
1. MK ‘KETZALEH’ WITHDRAWS ULPANA BILL
by Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
National Union party chairman and Knesset Member Yaakov Katz (Ketzaleh) told the Knesset Wednesday he is withdrawing his bill on the Ulpana neighborhood, threatened with a court-ordered demolition.
The bill would require compensation for those adversely affected by a legal determination that their homes, approved by previous governments, were built on private Arab land.
He withdrew the bill moments before a scheduled first vote on the proposed law, which would have circumvented the court order that was issued after the justices accepted a left-wing petition claiming five homes were built on private Arab land.
The neighborhood is located in Beit El, one of the leading national religious communities in Samaria (Shomron).
Ketzaleh made his announcement during a stormy debate after he was promised by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu that the government would not oppose the bill if he introduces it two weeks from now, the period in which the Prime Minister hopes to find a solution to the problem posed by the court order.
The National Union chairman charged that left-wing Knesset Members are acting against fellow Jews. “Netanyahu has conceded to Barak over building in Judea and Samaria,” he said. “A Jew no longer cares about his brother – he has a heart of stone.”
Likud Minister Benny Begin responded to MK Katz, “Prime Minister Netanyahu is trying to find the correct solution within the boundaries of legal restrictions.”
Barak has argued that passing a law that would cancel a standing court order is not suitable for a democratic country and would serve as ammunition for the anti-Israel movement.
2. NETANYAHU ORDERS TWO-WEEK DELAY ON ‘ULPANA LAW’
by Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has ordered the coalition to block National Union Knesset Member Yaakov (Ketzaleh) Katz”s bill to compensate potential expulsion victims at Beit El”s Ulpana neighborhood and also told Defense Minister Ehud Barak to postpone demolition plans. The Prime Minister wants two weeks to solve the dilemma.
A court order for expulsions and demolitions of the five Ulpana apartment buildings is hanging over the heads of approximately two dozen families, some of whom have been living in the neighborhood for 10 years. There was no question of their legal presence until the High Court agreed with a left-wing organization petition that the land is owned by a Palestinian Authority Arab.
The government authorized the residents to move into their homes, which they argue were legally bought. But the High Court rejected their claim.
Prime Minister Netanyahu told coalition leader Ze”ev Elkin to work against advancing the bill proposed by MK Katz – whose party does not sit in the coalition – so that the government can find an alternative solution in two weeks.
Barak has said he opposes the proposed law because it would scuttle a standing court order and would give ammunition to the international anti-Israel movement. “In an advanced democratic country, there is no possibility of passing legislation that cancels a standing court order. Beit El is a large and important community that in the future will remain a part of the State of Israel in any future arrangement [with the Palestinian Authority). We must find a solution to carry out the court order while strengthening Beit El,” he said.
The implication is that Barak would agree to additional housing units in Beit El in exchange for carrying out the demolitions and expulsions. He has blocked thousands of homes from being built for Jews in Judea and Samaria by using the legal definition of the Jewish communities in the region as being under military law.
3. DISCOVERY PROVES BETHLEHEM PART OF KINGDOM OF JUDAH by Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
Archaeologists have discovered the first evidence outside of the Bible that Bethlehem was part of the First Temple era Kingdom of Judah.
The dramatic archaeological find was announced Wednesday, five days before Jews around the world celebrate the holiday of Shavuot and hear the recital of the Book of Ruth, which mentions Bethlehem.
A half-inch clay seal was discovered at the ongoing excavations at Ir David (City of David) located across the road from the Western Wall.
The stamp, with ancient Hebrew script, is one of a group of seals used to stamp official documents that were to be opened only by authorized officials.
Three lines in the stamp state:
?? ??? (Bat Lechem)
The writing means that the stamp was sent from Bethlehem to the king in Jerusalem in the seventh year of his reign.
Eli Shukrun, director of the excavation on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, said that it is unclear if the reference to the king is to Hezekiah, Manasseh or Josiah.
The stamps, or seals, were used to seal tax shipments in the Kingdom of Judah in the late eighth century and the seventh century BCE.
“The tax could have been paid in the form of silver or agricultural produce such as wine or wheat,” according to Shukrun.
He added,” This is the first time the name Bethlehem appears outside the Bible, in an inscription from the First Temple period, which proves that Bethlehem was indeed a city in the Kingdom of Judah, and possibly also in earlier periods”.
Bethlehem is first mentioned in the Bible in Genesis (Bereishit) when it named concernng the death and burial of the Matriarch Rachel.
Bethlehem also is mentioned in the Book of Ruth as the place where “the children of Judah dwelled,” including the family of Boaz, who is a central figure in the Book of Ruth, almost all of which takes place in Bethlehem.
Bethlehem is cited in the Book of Samuel as the city where David was anointed as king.
4. PA BARS JOURNALISTS FROM BRITISH SUPERMODEL VISIT by Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
Palestinian Authority forces threatened to break press cameras, and barred coverage of British supermodel Naomi Campbell”s visit to Bethlehem Tuesday.
She celebrated her 42nd birthday with a trip to the Church of Nativity in the city, located between Jerusalem on the north and Gush Etzion and to the south, amid a call for “good vibrations, not destruction” in the region.
Either at her own request or through the initiative of the Palestinian Authority, journalists were warned by private and Palestinian Authority guards to keep their distance, drawing a stern protest from the Freedom Committee of the PA Journalist. The complaint is one of a growing number of appeals from international journalists on Palestinian Authority restrictions.
The Freedom Committee expressed “anger and resentment” at Palestinian Authority security forces who threatened to confiscate and break cameras.
Campbell”s visit apparently was made in relatively secrecy, and she was escorted by her private security bodyguards as well as Palestinian Authority guards during her tour of Bethelhem, which is under full control of the PA.
She did not refer to the threats on journalists and instead told the Associated Press she hopes that “weapons and war [and] greed and oil will end. The news agency also reported that as she ate in a Bethlehem restaurant, Palestinian Authority officials threatened to punish employees who talked with journalists.
Campbell also visited the Western Wall in Jerusalem.
5. EU STATEMENT SUGGESTS ARABS CAN THROW STONES AT PROTESTS by Elad Benari
A statement issued by the European Union on Tuesday seemed to suggest it supports Palestinian Authority Arabs” rights to throw stones during non-violent protests.
The statement, released on Tuesday by the spokesperson of Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, criticized Israel for convicting PA Arab Bassem Tamimi of dispatching stone-throwers and protesting illegally.
An Israeli court convicted Tamimi on Sunday, according to an AFP report. The 45-year-old was charged with soliciting stone-throwing based on evidence that he directed such incidents from the roof-tops.
He was arrested on March 24, 2011, AFP reported, and accused of organizing illegal gatherings and incitement in connection with a series of weekly demonstrations in the Arab village of Nabi Saleh.
Nabi Saleh is a regular hotspot where Arabs, radical leftists and anarchists engage the IDF and Border Police in clashes every Friday, for the purpose of disseminating propaganda footage to the world. Much violence occurs there regularly and is initiated by the demonstrators, who injure soldiers who attempt to use non-violent means such as water and tear gas to disperse them.
Tamimi’s arrest sparked international condemnation, AFP noted, with the EU recognizing him as a human rights defender, and Amnesty International declaring him a prisoner of conscience.
Tuesday”s statement by Ashton”s spokesperson said that “The High Representative is very concerned by the conviction of Bassem Tamimi in an Israeli military court on 20 May 2012 on charges of taking part in illegal demonstrations and of soliciting protesters to throw stones.”
“The EU considers Bassem Tamimi to be a ‘human rights defender’ committed to non-violent protest against the expansion of an Israeli settlement on lands belonging to his West Bank village of Nabi Saleh. The EU attended all court hearings in his case and is concerned at the use of evidence based on the testimony of a minor who was interrogated in violation of his rights,” the statement continued.
“The EU believes that everyone should be able to exercise their legitimate right to protest in a nonviolent manner,” it concluded.
Dr. Aaron Lerner, director of IMRA, the Independent Media Review and Analysis, pointed out the problem in the EU”s statement.
“The EU doesn’t deny that Bassem Tamimi engaged in soliciting protesters to throw stones. And the EU doesn’t take a stand against stone throwing,” he wrote, adding that the question is “Does the EU consider stone throwing to fall within the classification of “non-violent protest”?”
Last week, as part of EU”s assessment of its partnership with 12 neighboring countries, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton listed a set of characteristically harsh “recommendations” regarding relations with Israel.
The recommendations include a call on Israel “to continue to step up its efforts to minimize settler violence in the occupied Palestinian territory and to bring all perpetrators to justice” and “address the excessive use of administrative detention.”
Ashton previously made a skewed comparison between the lethal, unprovoked shooting attack at a Jewish school in Toulouse and the unintended deaths of children in Gaza when Israel attempts to stop missile launchings and apprehend terrorists. She later categorically denied making that comparison.
6. KHARTOUM ALLEGES ISRAEL RESPONSIBLE FOR CAR BLAST by Rachel Hirshfeld
Sudanese Foreign Minister Ali Ahmed Karti suggested Tuesday that Israel was involved in an explosion that killed a suspected arms smuggler in the eastern Sudanese city of Port Sudan. The blast happened just before 8:00 local time on the western edge of Port Sudan town, the AFP news agency reported.
“I heard a big explosion and I came out and saw a [Toyota] Prado car on fire, and two craters in the ground,” one resident told the news agency.
Sudanese TV has been broadcasting pictures of the damaged front of the car. It said an “unknown source” had “attacked a civilian vehicle”.
While the minister stopped short of explicitly blaming Israel, he said the explosion resembled a blast in April 2011, which Khartoum blamed on an Israeli missile strike. “The style of the car explosion was similar to Israel’s attack on Red Sea state (in 2011),” he told the pro-government al-Shorooq television station, according to its website.
A foreign ministry spokesman confirmed the remarks.
Israeli government spokesman Yigal Palmor declined to comment on the explosion.
The official SUNA news agency identified the driver as Nassir Awadallah Ahmed Saeed, 65, a Port Sudan businessman.
Spokesmen for Sudan’s police and armed forces were not immediately available for comment. Israel, which Sudan considers an enemy state, declined to comment on the 2011 blast that killed two people, and neither admitted nor denied a similar attack in eastern Sudan in 2009.
While Sudan denies allowing illegal weapon shipments across its territory, analysts say smugglers bring in weapons through the country’s east, then route them through Egypt’s Sinai desert and into the Hamas- controlled Gaza Strip.
7. NETANYAHU TO 7-YEAR-OLD CRASH SURVIVOR: WE ARE WITH YOU by Elad Benari
Thousands of people attended the funeral on Tuesday evening of the eight members of the Atias family, who died in the horrific car crash near Tiberias on Monday night.
Rafael Atias (42), his wife Yehudit (42) and six of their children – 17-year-old Aviya, 16-year-old twins Elyashiv and Neria, 11-year-old Shira, eight-year-old Tair and four-year-old Noa – were laid to rest in the cemetery in Tzfat.
Only the couple”s seven-year-old daughter, Rachel, survived the crash.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu offered his condolences over the deaths on Tuesday evening and wrote on his Facebook page, “A terrible tragedy happened in the north. An entire family perished. The whole country is now concentrating on little Rachel. Rachel – all the people are with you. All the people are hugging you.”
One of the attendees at the funeral was Minister of Science and Technology, Rabbi Prof. Daniel Hershkowitz, who just a few hours before the accident met the family at the opening of a synagogue. The tragic accident occurred as the family made its way back home from the ceremony.
“Just last night I celebrated with the Atias family, and this morning I learned that Rafi, son of Shimon who was the driving force behind the synagogue dedication ceremony, perished along with his wife and six of their children,” Hershkowitz said during the funeral.
“Rafi looked happy and excited, and it was an uplifting evening in which all of us were moved,” added Hershkowitz. “This is a chilling tragedy that is beyond our ability to comprehend.”
Police officials said on Tuesday their initial investigation had concluded the accident that claimed eight members of the Attias family resulted from mechanical failure.
However, police stress the investigation is not complete. Investigators are now reportedly looking into the cause of the mechanical defect, and have not ruled out possible negligence on the part of vehicle inspectors.
To this end, police are bringing in engineers from the Ministry of Transportation – and experts from an outside firm – to examine the car in detail.
The car passed inspection only three months ago, but the steep hills from Tzfat to Tiberias wear out brakes very quickly.
8. FORENSIC EXPERT RECONSTRUCTS ATIAS CRASH by Gabe Kahn
The former head of the Israel Police accident investigation team, Jacob Netzer, spoke with Arutz Sheva about his findings at the accident scene where eight members of the Atias family died.
He said reports in the media that police had concluded “mechanical failure” was the root cause of the accident were correct, but somewhat simplistic.
Netzer noted that preliminary findings showed the vehicle had passed the Motor Vehicle Bureau inspections as recently as three months ago, and that the brakes were listed as being in good condition.
While police are investigating whether there may have been negligence on the part of the inspectors, Netzer said other causes for the brake failure have not been ruled out.
Police have brought in engineers from the Ministry of Transportation and outside consultants, like Netzer, to determine the exact cause of the brake failure.
“We saw tread marks indicating the vehicle was traveling downhill when it entered a sharp curve in the road,” Netzer said. In the first third of the curve he had control of the vehicle, but in the middle third, and into the end, he began to lose control.”
Netzer said that the car hit the barrier on the side of the road, “He crashed into the railing, righted the car, and then struck again and righted the car. This happened four times.”
“In the end, the vehicle rolled over the barrier into the opposite lane, flew about 7 meters in the air, and landed on its roof.”
Netzer said he believes the fire that destroyed the vehicle and killed all but one of its occupants started when flammable material ignited around the wheels due to friction from the metal brakes.
At very high speeds break friction can reach 600 degrees Celsius, which is more than sufficient to ignite flammable liquids. Ordinary tire rubber has a flashpoint of 435 to 557 degrees Celsius.
Netzer said, if the data released today is correct, the vehicle travelled about 7 kilometers and navigated five turns while the driver was on the phone with police.
“If this had happened when vehicles were passing on the other side of the road it could have been even worse,” Netzer said, noting that the car flipping over the divider required tremendous speed and force.
He added that it is possible for a driver with inoperable brakes to slow his vehicle by shifting down through the gears, or intentionally skidding along the safety barrier.
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