A7News: GPO Director Says A-Dura Film is a ‘Blood Libel’

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GPO Director Says A-Dura Film is a ‘Blood Libel’

The GPO said that the 2000 shooting was staged by the PA. However, the PMO then quickly disassociated the government from its own Press Office.

  1. GPO Director Says A-Dura Film is a ‘Blood Libel’
  2. Dichter Backtracks From Call to Freeze Probes Against Olmert
  3. FM Livni to the UN: ‘Buying Off Extremists is a Short-Term Fix’
  4. State Supports Peace Now Demand to Expel Several Jews in Hevron
  5. 19-Year-Old Suspected Nazi Vandal Nabbed, Other Attacks Continue
  6. Syria Says No to Summit – Unless Golan is on the Agenda
  7. Audio: Events of Sukkot

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1. GPO Director Says A-Dura Film is a ‘Blood Libel’

by Nissan Ratzlav-Katz

Seven years after film of Arab 12-year-old Mohammed Al-Dura allegedly getting shot to death in Gaza was first aired by French television, the director of Israel’s Government Press Office (GPO) alleged in writing that the shooting was staged by the Palestinian Authority. However, the Prime Minister’s Office then quickly disassociated itself from the GPO director’s letter. In France, a judge ordered FRANCE 2, the public TV station that
Soldiers could not possibly have shot Al-Dura.
obtained the original images, to show the complete, uncut footage of the incident, for the first time, in court.

In response to a letter from the Shurat HaDin Israel Law Center, Government Press Office Director Daniel Seaman wrote, “The creation of the Mohammed Al-Dura myth did great damage to the state of Israel. It was a blood libel against the state.”

The GPO decided the September 2000 video was staged based on several factors, Seaman said, including the fact that soldiers could not possibly have shot Al-Dura from the angle at which they were standing, and the fact that crucial parts of the scene are missing from the video footage provided to major media outlets. In addition, the GPO Director noted that the FRANCE 2 cameraman, Talal Abu Rahma, systematically engaged in the “staging of action scenes” during the violent clashes in Gaza at the start of the PA’s terror war launched in 2000.

“Without any deep and serious investigation, the global media convicted the State of Israel in the murder of a little boy,” Seaman wrote, “and his image remained tattooed and engraved in the collective Arab memory as a symbol for the cruelty of the Zionist nation. …This libel incited the Arab world and caused many victims in and outside of Israel.”

In response to the publication of the letter by the Shurat HaDin legal rights institute on Monday, the Prime Minister’s Office denied that the Government Press Office Director’s letter represented the position of the government.

In a statement Shurat HaDin indicated that the letter from the GPO, received more than nine months after the organization first wrote to Seaman contending that mounting evidence proved a journalistic fraud perpetrated by FRANCE 2, was insufficient and that it would file a petition with the High Court of Justice against the GPO and against FRANCE 2 compelling the state to remove the French station’s journalist credentials.

According to Shurat HaDin Director Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, “This was perhaps the greatest journalistic hoax perpetrated in the last hundred years. We demand that those who are responsible for this crime will bare the consequences of their actions. The State of Israel cannot simply allow FRANCE 2 to remain in this country.”

The Arab youth, Muhammad Al-Dura, allegedly killed by Israeli soldiers in the FRANCE 2 film, became a galvanizing symbol for propaganda in support of terror attacks against Israeli citizens and Jewish communities worldwide.

Uncut Footage to be Shown
Last month, a French appellate judge ordered FRANCE 2 to provide the court with 27 minutes of uncut footage of the events leading up to and including the Al-Dura incident in Gaza. Unlike the lower court, Appellate Court judge Laurence Trébucq decided that the raw film would contribute to the determination if a deliberate news hoax had been perpetrated or not.

The appeal in France was filed by media watchdog Philippe Karsenty, who was found guilty of libeling FRANCE 2 and its correspondent Charles Enderlin for calling the Al-Dura video “a hoax” and a “masquerade that dishonors France and its public television.” In a 2006 decision, Karsenty was ordered to pay $6,760 in fines and court costs. His
Mounting evidence proved a journalistic fraud perpetrated by FRANCE 2.
appeal of the case led to last week’s discovery order by the French Appellate Court. The film is expected to be viewed by the court next month.

Also last month, Colonel Shlomi Amshalom, the deputy head of the IDF Spokesman’s Office, demanded that Enderlin provide the army with the uncut 27 minutes of film. Amshalom requested the full footage shot by Talal Abu-Rahma on September 30, 2000, the day of the alleged killing, as well as the footage shot by Abu-Rahma on the following day. FRANCE 2 did not accede to Amshalom’s request before being subsequently ordered to show the film in court.

A thorough IDF investigation of the incident not long after the partial footage was originally aired by FRANCE 2 determined that IDF soldiers could not have been responsible for the shooting of Al-Dura, as had been claimed by the French film crew and Arab media.

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2. Dichter Backtracks From Call to Freeze Probes Against Olmert

by Hillel Fendel

Just a day after arousing a storm – and calls for his own resignation – by calling for a freeze on the criminal investigations against the Prime Minister, Public Security Minister Avi Dichter now says he didn’t mean it.

Minister Dichter, who oversees the police department and its criminal investigations, told the Haaretz newspaper on Monday he believes the various criminal probes against Prime Minister Olmert should be frozen.

Reactions were quick to follow. Labor MK Shelly Yechimovitch said that Dichter’s words were “very grave,” signalling to the police investigators that they need not zealously pursue the charges against Olmert, and her party colleague Ophir Pines-Paz agreed.

MK Gilad Erdan (Likud) said, “Dichter is fit to head the police forces in the dark regimes of banana republics. Instead of acting to ensure a complete investigation of the Prime Minister, Dichter’s words are a hidden message to the police investigators that they need not hustle greatly in their investigation of Olmert.”

MK Aryeh Eldad (National Union) said Dichter should immediately resign. “By signaling to his underlings in the police that they should apparently drag their feet and not rush to bring the criminal to justice,” Eldad said, “Dichter [shows he] is simply not fit to head the country’s law enforcement system.”

If Haaretz is to be believed, Dichter contradicted himself in the interview. The Haaretz story led with the blanket statement that Dichter said Mazuz should “freeze all criminal investigations” against Olmert – but then quoted him directly as saying he is not sure which investigations should be suspended. Asked which of the three or four current investigations against Olmert should be suspended, Dichter was quoted as saying, “I’m not familiar with the particulars of the cases, so I can’t really say.”

Asked if the Prime Minister should resign, Dichter said, “Olmert is the only man who knows how true the suspicions against him are. So if he feels that he’s being wrongfully suspected or accused, he has no reason to step down. Nor should other officials,” unless required to do so by law.

Speaking Tuesday morning with Voice of Israel Radio, Dichter backtracked and said that his proposal to exempt prime ministers from some criminal investigations was not meant to apply to Olmert. “I suggest the establishment of a public body headed by a Supreme Court justice or some other public figure,” Dichter said, “that will determine which charges against a Prime Minister must be investigated, and which must be pushed off until the end of his term in office.”

Attorney General Menachem Mazuz has ordered criminal investigations against Olmert in two cases, known as the Bank Leumi affair and the Cremeiux St. apartment case. The former, which began several months ago, involves allegations that Olmert, when serving as Trade Minister, intervened on behalf of two of his friends who were interested in buying Bank Leumi, which was then undergoing privatization. The second case, considered a much more severe one, involves a possible bribe of between $330,000 and nearly $500,000 that Olmert allegedly received in the form of a discount on the purchase of an apartment. In return, it is suspected, Olmert – who had served as Mayor of Jerusalem – arranged for the relaxation of zoning regulations to benefit the builder. This investigation is expected to start in earnest next week, after the Sukkot holiday.

Attorney General Mazuz is also considering two other sets of charges against the Prime Minister, and is expected to issue a decision soon as to whether to order police investigations in these cases.

Olmert Stalls Investigators
Investigative journalist Yoav Yitzchak reports that an important part of why the investigations are taking so long is the behavior of Olmert himself. In the Bank Leumi case, Olmert cancelled scheduled police questioning sessions no fewer than four times, causing major delays each time. Most recently, Olmert was scheduled to be questioned – in his home – on July 17, but the Prime Minister said he could not make time for it. A new date was then set for two weeks ago, but this was pushed off as well when Olmert cited “diplomatic and security events.” No new date has been set as yet.

Regarding the Cremeiux St. apartment as well, Olmert has repeatedly pushed off officials of the State Comptroller’s Office, Yitzchak reports. When he was finally questioned by former police investigator Yaakov Borovsky several months ago, he requested that his testimony not be taped, explaining that his aides would tape it and send copies to the Comptroller. However, several days later, Olmert’s aides informed the Comptroller, “We’re sorry, the recording did not work.”

Officials in the police department, State Prosecution and Knesset say that if Olmert continues to push off police investigators, there will be no choice but to force him by law to appear for the police questioning.

New Proposal: PM Under Probe Must Step Down
Meanwhile, MKs Zevulun Orlev (NRP) and Avigdor Yitzchaki (Kadima) are proposing new legislation requiring a Prime Minister under criminal investigation to immediately step down from office until after the investigation is completed. “In no other normal country does a Prime Minister continue to serve under such a pack of criminal investigations,” Orlev says.

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3. FM Livni to the UN: ‘Buying Off Extremists is a Short-Term Fix’

by Nissan Ratzlav-Katz

In an address to the 62nd session of the United Nations General Assembly on Monday, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni made reference to the Bible, the festival of Sukkot and democracy. She also warned against appeasing those she called “extremists.”
Opening with a reminder of the Jewish historical link to the Land of Israel, Foreign Minister Livni said…

Opening with a reminder of the Jewish historical link to the Land of Israel, Foreign Minister Livni said, “Three thousand years ago, the people of Israel journeyed from slavery in Egypt to independence in the land of Israel. The Bible tells us that on their voyage to liberty they made a crucial stop: the giving of the Ten Commandments at Mount Sinai. As the General Assembly gathers this year, the Jewish people recall that historic journey by marking the festival of Sukkot.”

Livni then linked the Sukkot holiday to general democratic values: “And every year, at this time, our people remember that the long march to freedom requires the acceptance of humanity’s basic values. For sixty years, since the rebirth of our State in our ancient homeland, with Jerusalem at its heart, we have not lost sight of this principle. The core values of tolerance, co-existence and peace that lie at the heart of every democracy must be protected within societies and promoted between them. This is the calling of our generation.”

With this Biblical interpretation, she framed the Israeli conflict with its neighbors as fomented by “those who reject these core values – those who seek power without responsibility; those whose aim is not to realize their own rights, but to deny those rights for others. At its heart, this is a conflict not about territory, but about values.”

As such, Livni told the assembled national representatives, the conflict is not a local one. While “Israel may be on the front lines,” she said, the idea that it was a fight limited to the Middle East “collapsed in this city with the twin towers on a September morning six years ago.”

Fighting Democracy
“Democracy is a profound ideal, but it is also a vulnerable one,” Foreign Minister Livni warned. “Today, in different parts of the world, extremists – opposed to the very ideals of democracy – are entering the democratic process not to abandon their violent agenda but to advance it.”

In addition, Livni said, without naming nations, “There are some who insist on high standards in their own country, but forget them when they look abroad. Violent extremists who could never run for office at home are treated as legitimate politicians when elected elsewhere. As a result, we empower those who use democratic means to advance anti-democratic ends. And we strengthen the forces of those who not only undermine their societies, but threaten our own.” She then quoted an Al-Qaeda spokesman as saying, “We will use your democracy to destroy your democracy.”
Livni told the assembled national representatives [that] the conflict is not a local one.

The Foreign Minister called for universal, international standards of democracy and warned against dealing with totalitarian regimes. Again without explicitly mentioning a single country, Livni said:

“I know that the temptation to engage with extremists can be strong. It may seem to promise stability and quiet. We may hope that by feeding the beast we can gradually tame it. As free societies, we pride ourselves – rightly – on our respect for difference and diversity. But we do a disservice to diversity when, in its name, we tolerate the intolerant. Bitter experience has shown that buying off extremists is a short-term fix – for which we will pay dearly in the long run.”

The Israeli Arena
Turning more specifically to the Israeli arena, Foreign Minister Livni made clear the distinction the Israeli government has made between “groups such as Hamas and Hizbullah” and “the new Palestinian government, committed to co-existence and seeking to build the foundations of a peaceful and prosperous State,” as she put it.

As for the former, and for Iran, Livni called upon the international community to present them with “a clear choice – between the path of violence and the path of legitimacy. They cannot have both.”

Regarding the Iranian threat, Livni said, “There are still those who, in the name of consensus and engagement, continue to obstruct the urgent steps which are needed to bring Iran’s sinister ambitions to a halt. Too many see the danger but walk idly by – hoping that someone else will take care of it. What is the value, we have to ask, of an organization which is unable to take effective action in the face of a direct assault on the very principles it was founded to protect? It is time for the United Nations, and the states of the world, to live up to their promise of never again. To say enough is enough, to act now and to defend their basic values.”

As for the Hamas-controlled half of the Palestinian Authority,
Foreign Minister Livni made clear the distinction the Israeli government has made between “groups such as Hamas and Hizbullah” and “the new Palestinian government.”
Livni noted how “we see children’s television programs in which a Mickey Mouse puppet teaches the glory of being a suicide bomber and a seven year old girl sings of her dreams of blood and battle.” She failed to note that such incitement has been a standard part of PA education under the Fatah, as well, ever since the inception of the Authority in 1994.

Reiterating the current Israeli government’s position, Livni called for “two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security.” She delineated two conditions for this vision to emerge: that the new state of “Palestine” will absorb any Arab refugees; and that “a secure Israel must be a Palestinian interest. The world cannot afford another terror state.”

Concluding with another reference to the Sukkot holiday, the Foreign Minister said, “On this festival of Sukkot, Jews commemorate the journey from slavery to freedom by leaving their homes to live in fragile huts, like the shelters our ancestors lived in on their way to the Promised Land. For three thousand years these temporary huts – open to the elements – have been a reminder that stability and security are ensured not only by the structures that we build but also by the values that we share. Perhaps it is for this reason that the Sukkah, this fragile shelter, has become the Jewish symbol of peace.”

She then quoted in Hebrew from the Jewish prayer book, saying, “As we turn to Jerusalem and say in our prayers every day: ‘Spread over us the tabernacle of your peace….’ May it be in our days, and for all nations. Amen.”

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4. State Supports Peace Now Demand to Expel Several Jews in Hevron

by Nissan Ratzlav-Katz

Not satisfied with the legal appeals process of the IDF, the far-left Peace Now organization petitioned the High Court of Justice to order the army to eject two Jewish families from the Avraham Avinu neighborhood of Hevron. In an unusual step, the state responded Monday by supporting Peace Now’s demand to evict the families.
An IDF appeals board instructed the army to stand down on the eviction.

In a decision from about one month ago, an IDF appeals board instructed the army to stand down on the eviction of the Avraham Avinu residents until the matter was adjudicated by a military appeals court. However, seeing an opportunity to eject the two families immediately, the Peace Now organization filed a petition with the High Court asking it to lift the injunction and order the evictions.

On Monday, the state offered its reply to the Peace Now petition. The State Attorney’s Office told the court that, contrary to its traditional response of objecting to High Court intervention in such cases, it supports the Peace Now position and calls for lifting the injunction against evicting the two Hevron families. In its statement, the State Attorney’s Office said that an immediate eviction would serve to end an ongoing violation of the rule of law.

Responding to the petition and the surprising position taken by the state, spokesmen for Hevron’s Jewish community said that the call to evict the families from the Avraham Avinu neighborhood completely ignores the Jewish owners of the property. Those legal owners, the Hevron spokesmen say, were forced out by Arab violence and British colonial policies in the 1920s and 1930s. However, according to the Hevron residents, documentation of the purchase of the lands of the Avraham Avinu neighborhood was preserved by the Jewish owners until today and should now be considered as obligating the State of Israel.

While the state has not returned the lands in question, it has declared itself as the general administrator of the property.

Hevron community representatives argue that the state has failed to carry out its duties as administrator, as well. While an administrator is obligated to fulfill the wishes of the owners of the property as much as possible, in Hevron, the state has ignored those wishes.

The property under review by the military appeals court was owned by the Ezra family, the last Jewish family to be forced out of Hevron early last century. 10 years ago, a three-story Jewish residence building was built on that property. The residences were built over existing Arab shops lining the street, so as not to disrupt their businesses. In 2000, as a result of the Palestinian Authority terror offensive that commenced that year, the marketplace was closed and the businesses moved to elsewhere in Hevron.

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5. 19-Year-Old Suspected Nazi Vandal Nabbed, Other Attacks Continue

by Hana Levi Julian

A 19-year-old Haifa man has been arrested in connection with an anti-Semitic attack on a local synagogue.

Haifa police arrested the suspect on Sunday afternoon for allegedly torching the synagogue’s sukkah (holiday booth) and burning it to the ground. The suspect, whose remand has been extended for seven days, is also being held on suspicion of scrawling swastikas on holy books and at least one of the synagogue’s Torah scrolls. The items were recovered not far from the site.

The Haifa police commander made a point of telling journalists that unlike members of the highly-publicized gang arrested last month, the suspect is not a new immigrant neo-Nazi, referring to him instead as a “young Israeli.” The suspect was allegedly involved in other anti-Semitic incidents as well.
The Haifa police commander emphasized the 19-year-old suspect is a ‘young Israeli’.

The city has recently been the venue for other incidents of Nazi vandalism. Residents of an Allenby Street apartment building in Haifa last week reported finding anti-Semitic graffiti on the walls of their stairwell. The scrawls included anti-Semitic slogans and at least one swastika.

Two neo-Nazis attacked a 70-year-old woman who was walking on the bridge connecting the Meridian Hotel and the Neveh David neighborhood in Haifa on September 17. The victim said “two gang members” beat her, one kicking her and causing her injuries, and the other snapping to a Nazi salute and shouting out “Heil Hitler.” She was able to escape when a streetsweeper stepped in to help her. The Nazi youth beat him, too.

Haifa Radio reported that on the same day, not far from the scene of that attack, neo-Nazis victimized a family from Neveh Yosef. The family woke up to find their car’s tires had been slit and that a huge swastika on top of a Star of David had been painted on the vehicle.

Meanwhile, neo-Nazi vandalism continues to spread to other communities across the country. On Monday, it was Holon’s turn. Residents of the city discovered three swastikas spray-painted on an electricity fuse box at a local school. Ayalon District police have opened an investigation into the incident.

A day earlier, residents of Ramat Hasharon discovered two swastikas spray-painted on the wall of a garbage chute on Bereishit Street. The Sunday morning defacement has been added to the list of anti-Semitic incidents being tracked in the center of the country.

Since the beginning of the holiday-packed Hebrew month of Tishrei, which fell on the evening of September 12th, Nazi graffiti and vandalism has spiked further, with attacks on synagogues reported in Bnei Brak, Dimona and Eilat.

There has been a string of anti-Semitic, Nazi-style attacks in cities across the country since the arrest of the neo-Nazi gang in Petach Tikva a little over a month ago. All the members of the gang were teens who were either themselves born in the former Soviet Union (FSU) or born to parents who emigrated from there to Israel.

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6. Syria Says No to Summit – Unless Golan is on the Agenda

by Hillel Fendel

Preparations for the US-sponsored Middle East summit in Washington six weeks from now are underway, as PA seeks Arab unity – in vain.

“Over 36 countries are expected to attend” the Middle East summit called by U.S. President George Bush, Mahmoud Abbas told reporters in Cairo. Abbas, also known as Abu Mazen, the Palestinian Authority chief who also heads the Fatah terrorist organization, was in Cairo coordinating plans with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in anticipation of the summit.

Abbas is seeking Arab unity in setting pre-summit expectations for achievements at the summit. However, while Egypt, Jordan, Qatar, and Morocco are sure to attend, Syria now says it will not take part unless its “concerns” – namely, Israel’s return of the Golan Heights – are addressed. It is still not clear what Saudi Arabia will do.

Timed to Coincide with Jewish Summit
The summit will be launched by Pres. Bush on Nov. 15 at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md. Investigative journalist David Bedein of Jerusalem notes that this date coincides with the annual Jewish get-together of more than 3,000 well-organized Jewish community councils and Jewish federations from all over the United States. The event, known as the UJC (United Jewish Communities) General Assembly, is set this year for Nashville, Tenn., Nov. 13-15.

Representatives of the Bush administration and the Israeli government are scheduled to address the assembly on Nov. 14, hoping to thus drum up grassroots enthusiasm amongst American Jews for the summit.

It is not clear whether the summit will be held on the level of Foreign Ministers, or perhaps on a Prime Ministerial level. It will be chaired by U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, but President Bush is expected to attend and play an active role in the talks.

Bedein reports that King Abdullah of Jordan hinted this week that though he intends to send his foreign minister, his prime minister will attend “if it becomes evident that the conference is going to deal with substantive issues.” Egypt is taking a similar stance.

General or Specific?
While Israel is anxious to talk only in general terms regarding a final-status arrangement, fearing that the PA will take advantage of more specific concessions to demand even more, Abbas has called upon all Arab leaders to specify precise goals that should be aimed for at the summit.

Abbas told Mubarak that he had met with Israel’s Prime Minister Ehud Olmert five times lately, but that “I cannot say we have been negotiating. We have been exploring the issues.”

Livni Anxious for Palestinian State
Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni has made it quite clear that she feels the goal of the summit should be the establishment of a Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria. “Just like Israel is the homeland of the Jewish nation,” she told the United Nations on Monday, “so will Palestine be the homeland and national answer for the Palestinian nation – including the refugees.”

Abbas Lies
Abbas told the Washington Post earlier this week that his security forces are cooperating with Israel in fighting the Kassam rocket launchers. “Last night,” Abbas said, “[our security forces] seized two rockets. We handed [them] over to the Israelis. We are very worried about these deeds and I think we can put an end to all this. Our security apparatus is ready to stop all kinds of violence.” However, Khaled Abu Toameh of the Jerusalem Post reported the same day that Abbas was not being entirely truthful: “It later turned out that the ‘rockets’ [seized by the PA] were simple pipes that had been set up by children who were trying to imitate Hamas.” Both Palestinian and Israeli security sources confirm that the Palestinian Authority did not seize any rockets or rocket launchers, Bedein concludes.

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7. Audio: Events of Sukkot

A7 Radio’s “Weekend Edition” with Tamar Yonah and Malkah Fleisher

Tamar and Malkah are back to discuss the joy of Sukkot, the passing of a Torah great, and Malkah’s favorite holiday treat. Plus: The Olmert/Abbas peace talks are on – what will be accomplished?

Listen Now



How to use XML?

For more A7 Radio visit IsraelNationalRadio.com

Tamar Yonah and Malkah Fleisher host Weekend Edition live every Sunday from 3:00PM – 5:00PM Israel time on Israel National Radio.

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Tuesday, Oct. 02 ’07
20 Tishrei 5768

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Halachic Times
Jlm. T.A.
A. shachar 04:21 04:23
Talit 04:48 04:50
Sunrise 05:33 05:35
Sof Shema 08:31 08:32
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Chatzot 11:28 11:30
Mincha G. 11:58 12:00
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Update: 01/10/2007
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