A7News: Olmert Facing New Accusations of Corruption

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Olmert Facing New Accusations of Corruption

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is facing yet another corruption accusation – this time, by State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss [pictured].

  1. Olmert Facing New Accusations of Corruption
  2. Israeli Murdered in Shooting Attack; Infiltration Foiled
  3. Cabinet Agrees to Free Terrorists Ahead of Annapolis
  4. Children’s Day: 30% of Israel’s Jewish Population are Children
  5. American Jewish Orgs.: Fatah Charter Calls to ‘Eradicate’ Israel
  6. Olmert Government Blamed Over Fatal PA Shooting Attack
  7. Hamas and Fatah: Unholy War

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1. Olmert Facing New Accusations of Corruption

by Nissan Ratzlav-Katz

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is facing yet another corruption accusation, this time by State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss.

In a report released Monday, Lindenstrauss charged that Olmert used his influence when he was Minister of Labor, Industry and Trade to obtain NIS 7.67 million of government aid for an associate’s businesses between 2000 and 2005. Rahamim Ben-Shushan, an activist in the Likud party’s Central Committee, was given financial assistance from the ministry for four factories operated by his Marina Group.

National Fraud Investigation Unit raids Prime Minister Olmert’s home on Oct. 9, 2007 in connection with criminal probe
Flash 90

Ben-Shushan requested assistance from the ministry for one of his factories, while a competing factory was already receiving similar aid. After Ben-Shushan’s request was passed off to the Ministry of Agriculture, he personally complained to Olmert about what he saw as discrimination.
Olmert used his influence when he was Minister of Labor, Industry and Trade to obtain NIS 7.67 million.

An Olmert aide, Oved Yechezkel, then turned to the Director-General of the Ministry of Labor, Industry and Trade, Raanan Dinur, with a request that Comptroller Lindenstrauss believes implied an illegal instruction. Despite the approved protocol for grant requests, which do not permit the involvement of the minister in the decision process, Yehezkel wrote to Dinur, “Ehud requests your personal attention and that you update him.”

In a similar instance, in 2005, Yehezkel again intervened on behalf of Ben-Shushan with the new Director-General of the ministry, Hezi Tzaig. Writing as an advisor to Olmert, Yehezkel asked Tzaig to “stay in touch with Ben-Shushan and explore ways to assist [his] factory.”

In an earlier case involving Ben-Shushan, Comptroller Lindenstrauss revealed, Olmert obtained for Ben-Shushan a commitment that a certain factory would be given preferred status three weeks before the issue was officially decided upon by the Ministry of Labor, Industry and Trade’s Investment Center. The accusation leveled by Lindenstrauss is that Olmert met with the head of the Investment Center and the Mayor of Maalot Tarshicha, where the factory was located, in order to get them to agree to approve Ben-Shushan’s factory for preferred status.

According to Lindenstrauss, “One gets the impression that the minister sought to benefit the entrepreneur [Ben-Shushan].”

Yechezkel currently serves as Olmert’s senior advisor, while Dinur is now the Director-General of the Prime Minister’s Office.

The latest accusation by the comptroller comes on top of three concurrent corruption investigations of the Prime Minister. In October, Attorney General Menachem Mazuz instructed the police to open a criminal investigation of Olmert in connection with other suspected wrongdoings committed when he was Minister of Industry, Trade and Labor. The suspicions revolve around a company that was
The latest accusation by State Comptroller Lindenstrauss comes on top of three concurrent corruption investigations of the Prime Minister.
represented by Olmert’s longtime associate and attorney Uri Messer, as well as political appointments in the Small Businesses Authority and other illegal assistance to his political proteges.

Olmert is also under investigation for the purchase of a home on Jerusalem’s Cremieux Street at a price substantially below market value, allegedly in return for exerting his influence in Jerusalem’s municipality to aid the contractors. An additional investigation relates to charges that Olmert favored his business associates in the sale of Bank Leumi’s controlling shares owned by the government, while he was serving as Acting Finance Minister.

Earlier this month an extensive poll on government corruption found that Prime Minister Olmert is considered the most corrupt politician in Israel in 2007. Fifty-six percent of the public defined his behavior as “corrupt to very corrupt.” Olmert, who heads the Kadima party, also received this dubious distinction in 2006. The poll was conducted by the prestigious Maagar Mochot survey institute for the Fifth Annual Sderot Conference on Social and Economic Policy.

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2. Israeli Murdered in Shooting Attack; Infiltration Foiled

by Nissan Ratzlav-Katz

Ido Zoldan, 29 and a father of two, was murdered in a terrorist shooting attack in Samaria around 11:00 pm Monday night.

Palestinian Authority terrorists fired on the man as he drove past the village of Funduk, near Kedumim. Paramedics who arrived at the scene were unable to save his life.

Zoldan, of Shavei Shomron, will be buried on Tuesday at 1:00 PM in Kedumim. He is survived by his wife Tehila and his two small children, three-year-old Aharon and one-year-old Rachel. The family moved to Shavei Shomron after they were displaced from Homesh in the Disengagement of 2005.

A terrorist cell was waiting in ambush in the area for Israeli vehicles.

According to initial information, a terrorist cell was waiting in ambush in the area for Israeli vehicles. When Ido, who was riding alone, came into range, the enemy attackers sprayed the vehicle with gunfire. The driver was critically injured, with multiple gunshot wounds, and he apparently died within minutes.

Soldiers summoned to the scene closed off nearby roads and began searching for the attackers.

The Fatah’s Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades said it carried out the attack to demonstrate its opposition to the planned Annapolis conference. IDF officials have warned that terrorists will increase their efforts to harm Israelis during the days leading up to the meeting. The conference will be held at some point in the next 30 days, which, according to recent reports, could mean as early as next week.

‘He Lived This Land and the People of Israel’
After his expulsion from Homesh, Ido Zoldan became one of the core leaders of the Homesh First movement, which seeks to reestablish a Jewish presence in the Samaria town.

The terror victim’s father, Nachman Zoldan, is among the leading building contractors in Judea and Samaria. Ido had joined his father in the Kedumim 3000 Company, which has been responsible for construction projects throughout Judea, Samaria and Gaza. According to a relative of the family, Amatzia Haeitan, the Zoldan family “builds for the sake of ideology and in order to build up the Land of Israel.” Haeitan said that the younger Zoldan had introduced the idea of seeking out Jewish labor for work on the company’s construction sites.

“He lived this land and the people of Israel,” Haeitan added, “and he was always happy.”

A friend of the family, Gadi, said Ido was among the “guideposts” of Homesh and of the Homesh renewal movement. “A daring Golani officer,” said Gadi, “he was an unfailing Land of Israel loyalist. A man of Hebrew labor with his own 10 fingers. He was ready for any tiring or dangerous assignment at any moment, with no question and with no personal calculations; a smiling, generous friend, who spoke little and did much.”

Infiltration Foiled
At around the same hour as the fatal shooting attack, in the south of the country IDF forces prevented an apparent attempt by PA terrorists to infiltrate Netiv Ha’asarah, a Jewish communal village adjacent to Gaza.

At approximately 11:30 pm Monday night, soldiers spotted three armed terrorists making their way towards the separation barrier between Netiv Ha’asarah and northern Gaza. IDF forces opened fire at the PA terrorists and a gun battle ensued. Two of the terrorists were killed and a third injured. No soldiers were injured in the incident.

IDF sources say that the three-man enemy cell was planning to scale the wall and carry out an attack against a Jewish target. The terrorists, carrying guns and grenades, were intercepted before managing to cross the Gaza perimeter.

In a subsequent incident overnight, IDF soldiers spotted an armed enemy cell along the perimeter fence in southern Gaza. Troops opened fire on the cell, killing two of them.

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3. Cabinet Agrees to Free Terrorists Ahead of Annapolis

by Hana Levi Julian

The Cabinet approved on Monday Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s proposal to free 441 Palestinian Authority terrorists as another “good will gesture” to PA Chairman and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen). All of the convicts could be walking the streets by Friday, after the list is reviewed by a ministerial committee.

Trade Minister Eli Yishai (Shas party) voted against the plan, as did Strategic Affairs Minister Avigdor Lieberman (Yisrael Beiteinu – Israel Our Home party). Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz, a former Defense Minister and member of Olmert’s own Kadima party, also voted against it.

Prime Minister Olmert met with Abbas Monday afternoon in another attempt to bring the two sides closer on an agreement prior to the Middle East summit scheduled for early next week in Annapolis, Maryland.

Despite the fact that Israel has released hundreds of other terrorists this year, and granted amnesty to hundreds more, the PA was dissatisfied with the “gesture,” having handed Jerusalem officials a list of 2,000 prisoners it wanted to be freed.

A vow repeated by the Prime Minister not to allow the construction of new Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria was also not enough to satisfy PA officials, despite Olmert’s reference to Israel’s commitment to the Road Map plan.

“Let’s be honest,” he told cabinet ministers. “We committed ourselves in the ‘Road Map’ not to build new settlements. There will be no new settlements and no land confiscations [from PA Arabs],” Olmert was quoted as saying by spokeswoman Miri Eisin. He also reiterated his promise to destroy hilltop outposts built without government approval, but gave no timetable.

Chief PA negotiator Saeb Erekat called Olmert’s declarations “nonsense” and said the Prime Minister “has to understand he either declares a full settlement freeze in all occupied areas including East Jerusalem, or it’s nothing.”

The PA has also insisted that Israel halt development within established communities that have existed for decades in the region. “If Olmert does not halt ‘natural growth’ [ed. – a reference to Jewish births] then nothing has changed,” said Abbas aide Nabil Abu Rdainah.

A senior Fatah official said the PA will demand the Jewish State sign a promise at the Annapolis conference to release all of the more than 10,000 Arab security prisoners and terrorists being held in Israeli jails.

Some Israeli officials are hoping to put off the conference, or at least prevent the Prime Minister, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni from attending.

In a letter sent to U.S. President George W. Bush this week, National Union/National Religious Party Knesset Member Aryeh Eldad demanded that the summit be postponed due to the investigations against Olmert.

“The Israeli Prime Minister is suspected of corruption and does not enjoy the Israeli public’s support,” wrote Eldad. “His hands are tied and therefore the conference is destined to fail.”

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4. Children’s Day: 30% of Israel’s Jewish Population are Children

by Hillel Fendel

Tuesday is International Children’s Day, and the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) released a report in its honor.

In 2006, 2.366 million children aged 17 and under lived in Israel – approximately a third of the entire population. Among them are 1,633,100 million Jews (30% of the Jewish population), 39,000 Christians, and 570,000 Muslims plus 46,000 Druze (close to 50% of the Arab population).

The highest percentage of children in the country – 63% – is found in the hareidi-religious city of Beitar Illit, south of Jerusalem, followed by the Bedouin towns of Tel Sheva (61.7%) and Rahat (60.9). Bnei Brak and Beit Shemesh have approximately 50% children. Tel Aviv is the city with the lowest rate, only 20%.

In 1995, Jews comprised 74.3% of Israel’s child population, while in 2006, it had dropped to 69%. Arab children rose from 24.4% to 27.7%.

The 30% rate of Jewish children amidst the total population compares favorably with 17% in Italy, 18% in Germany, 25% in the United States. In Egypt, Jordan and Syria, however, the rate is 40-44%.

92% of the children live with both parents.

Just over 400,000 children are registered in welfare service offices – among them 65% Jews and 29% Arabs.

The highest percentage of children is found in the Jewish communities of Judea and Samaria – 45.5%, followed by 40.9% in Jerusalem.

During 2005, more than 1,600 girls under aged 17 were married – 84% of them Arab. The Knesset is to vote on Wednesday on proposed legislation raising the minimum age for marriage from 17 to 18. The Knesset will mark Children’s Day day with a session on the topic of youth marriages, with the participation of MKs, rabbis, religious Moslem and Druze leaders, lawyers, and representatives of the police and various organizations.

Israel‘s Education Ministry is marking International Children’s Day with special classes and seminars. An open phone line is open with the National Students Council.

Most Popular Names
The 3rd-most popular boys’ name in 2005, Itai, jumped to 1st place last year, having been bestowed upon 2.5% of the baby boys. It was followed by Uri/Ori, Noam, Daniel, David, Ido, Moshe, Yosef, Yehonatan, Yonatan, Amit, and Ariel.

As in the past eight years, Noa was the most popular girls’ name, and has become even more so. It was given to 3.4% of the baby girls born in 2006, compared to 3% the year before. The next-most popular names were Shira, Maya, Yael, Tamar, Sarah, Roni, Agam, Michal, Adi and Talya.

Among Moslems, the most common names were Muhammed and Shahad.

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5. American Jewish Orgs.: Fatah Charter Calls to ‘Eradicate’ Israel

by Nissan Ratzlav-Katz

The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations is deliberating a proposed statement calling on Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas to change the Fatah charter, which calls to “eradicate” Israel. US Congressmen have submitted a
Clauses of the Fatah charter… call for… “the eradication of the Zionist economic, political, military and cultural existence.”
similar resolution in the House of Representatives.

The proposed statement details those clauses of the Fatah charter, drafted in 1964 and never repealed, that call for the “demolition” of the State of Israel, as well as “the eradication of the Zionist economic, political, military and cultural existence.”

Towards that goal, the charter endorses “armed struggle” as “a strategy and not a tactic, to uproot the Zionist existence.” The Fatah organization, headed by Abbas, also calls on the world community “to prevent Jewish immigration” to Israel. Fatah, according to its charter, “opposes any political solution.”

The statement on the Fatah charter, drafted and presented to the President’s Conference by the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA), calls on Abbas to rescind the anti-Israel, anti-Semitic and pro-terrorism clauses of the Fatah charter. “Rescinding these clauses,” the statement reads, “would be an important confidence-building measure which would help to create a better environment to achieve progress in the peace talks.”

Malcolm Hoenlein, Vice Chairman of the Presidents Conference, said there has been very limited opposition to the ZOA proposal. Approval by at least two-thirds of the Conference’s 50 member organizations is needed in order to issue the statement.

Palestinian Authority officials identified with Abbas claim that Fatah decisions from 1989 allegedly recognizing Israel superseded the Fatah charter’s call for Israel’s violent demise. However, current Fatah websites carry the charter in its full, original and unaltered form, including the offending clauses. In addition, Abbas’s chief negotiator, Saeb Erekat, recently rejected recognition of any Jewish State whatsoever when pressed on the issue by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

Call for Fatah Charter Revisions in US Congress
US House Republican Whip Roy Blunt (R-MO) and US Congresswoman Shelley Berkley (D-NV) introduced a resolution (H. Res.758) earlier this month that urges Abbas to officially abrogate 10 articles in the Fatah charter that call for Israel’s destruction and for the continuation of terrorism.

Introducing the resolution, Blunt said, “There can be no reasonable expectation of a broad-based, long-term reconciliation between the Israelis and Palestinians while one side’s constituting document calls for the complete destruction of the other. I believe it’s absolutely critical that the insidious nature of [this] be brought to light – and that those with a genuine interest in working toward peace insist its most unconstructive provisions be abrogated from the text…. As long as Mahmoud Abbas and the Fatah Party continue to promote the wholesale destruction of Israel, there can be no possibility for peace – whether in our time, or any other.”

In a joint letter to their colleagues, Berkley and Blunt wrote, “Since the electoral victory of Hamas, and its subsequent takeover of Gaza, the Fatah Party headed by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has gone out of its way to convince the international community that it represents the best hope for reconciliation and should be given
“As long as Mahmoud Abbas and the Fatah Party continue to promote the wholesale destruction of Israel, there can be no possibility for peace.” — US Rep. Blunt
additional resources to carry out its goals…. But what most people don’t know is that the Fatah Party’s constitution, or party platform, still contains no fewer than 10 clauses calling for the destruction of Israel and terrorism against Israel, as well as expressing opposition to any political solution….”

The Ten Clauses
The ten clauses of the Fatah charter singled out in the proposed House resolution and in the President’s Conference proposed statement include:

Article 22: “Opposing any political solution offered as an alternative to demolishing the Zionist occupation in Palestine, as well as any project intended to liquidate the Palestinian cause or impose any international mandate on its people.”

Article 12: “Complete liberation of Palestine, and eradication of Zionist economic, political, military, and cultural existence.

Article 19: “Armed struggle is a strategy and not a tactic, and the Palestinian Arab People’s armed revolution is a decisive factor in the liberation fight and in uprooting the Zionist existence, and this struggle will not cease unless the Zionist state is demolished and Palestine is completely liberated.”

Article 17: “Armed public revolution is the inevitable method to liberating Palestine.”

Article 23: “Maintaining relations with Arab countries … with the provision that the armed struggle is not negatively affected.”

Article 8: “The Israeli existence in Palestine is a Zionist invasion with a colonial expansive base, and it is a natural ally to colonialism and international imperialism.”

Article 7: “The Zionist Movement is racial, colonial, and aggressive in ideology, goals, organization, and method.”

Article 24: “Maintaining relations with all liberal forces supporting our just struggle in order to resist together Zionism and imperialism.”

Article 4: “The Palestinian struggle is part and parcel of the world-wide struggle against Zionism, colonialism, and international imperialism.”

Article 25: “Convincing concerned countries in the world to prevent Jewish immigration to Palestine as a method of solving the problem.”

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6. Olmert Government Blamed Over Fatal PA Shooting Attack

by Nissan Ratzlav-Katz

The lethal shooting by Palestinian Authority terrorists late Monday night, which claimed the life of Ido Zoldan, 29, of Shavei Shomron, has brought in its wake sharp attacks on the government of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

The attack occurred near Kedumim, located 17 miles east of Herzliya.

On Monday night, the Council of Jewish Communities in Judea, Samaria and Gaza
The Yesha Council called the killing Israel’s “reward” for agreeing… to release 441 more Arab terrorists.
(Yesha) called the killing Israel’s “reward” for agreeing earlier in the day to release 441 more Arab terrorists from prison. The Council called on Prime Minister Olmert to provide security for the residents of Judea and Samaria. In a recent public appearance, the Prime Minister declared how much he “loves” the residents of the communities.

The Yesha Rabbis Committee also blasted the government, saying that it shared responsibility for Zoldan’s death.

“The government of Israel, including all of its ministers, bears responsibility for the murder of the holy Ido Zoldan, of blessed memory,” the rabbis said in a Tuesday morning statement. “The Arab enemy only understands strength and power and self-sacrifice of the sort displayed by Zoldan and his friends, this generation’s pioneers, not the weakness, surrender and self-abasement of the government of Israel.”

In the Knesset, the members of the Homesh First lobby expressed their shock and sadness over the death of Ido Zoldan, who was uprooted from the town of Homesh during the Sharon administration’s 2005 unilateral withdrawal from northern Samaria. The lobby called upon the government to honor the fallen Israeli by rebuilding Homesh.

Knesset Members in the lobby called for an “immediate approval of the reconstruction of the Jewish community in Homesh, in order to promote the last will of the murder victim and the dream of all of the expellees.”

MK Uri Ariel, chairman of the joint National Union-National Religious Party Knesset faction, added that the murder is a harbinger of things to come from the mass release of PA prisoners, as approved by the government. The PA attack, Ariel said, confirms “just what an irresponsible and thoughtless act goodwill gestures to the Palestinians really are.”

The newly formed, right-wing political party, Hatikvah, linked the terrorist attack to PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.

“Even the murderous attack [Monday night] adjacent to Kedumim by the forces of Holocaust denier Abu Mazen will not, in all likelihood, deter the race of Zionism deniers Olmert and Livni to the Annapolis conference,” according to the statement released by Hatikvah spokespersons. “The Hatikvah party warns of more Annapolis victims expected in light of the dangerous foreign policy that constitutes encouragement for terrorism instead of war against the enemy,” the statement said.

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7. Hamas and Fatah: Unholy War

by Hillel Fendel

Hamas officials have threatened Mahmoud Abbas, leader of Fatah and Chairman of the Palestinian Authority, with murder if he dares to recognize Israel as a Jewish state. They also say that Prime Minister Olmert’s goodwill gestures to Abbas prove Fatah’s complicity in treason against the Arabs of Gaza.

Fatah leaders, for their part, accuse Hamas of daily atrocities in Gaza, and blame their rivals for the deterioration in Gaza.

Though Israel has signed agreements recognizing the Palestinian Authority as the political leadership of the Arabs of Judea, Samaria and Gaza, it is no longer clear who the Palestinian Authority is. Hamas, which beat Fatah in the January, 2006 elections, took over Gaza from Fatah and threatens to do the same in Judea and Samaria. Hamas accuses Fatah of betrayal of national interests and cooperation with Israel.

Hamas and Fatah Trade Accusations and Warnings
Furthermore, Hamas warns Abbas to cease pursuing the “resistance activists” – its nomenclature for “terrorists” – and says that its members must treat the Fatah security forces as they would an enemy. Abbas may not cede even an iota of “Muslim rights in
Jerusalem” during the Annapolis conference if he wants to remain safe, the Hamas leaders threaten.

Fatah, for its part, has much against Hamas. Fatah spokesman Ahmed Abdel Rahman was quoted in Al Quds Al-Arabiye on Monday as accusing Hamas of perpetrating daily atrocities in Gaza, including targeted killings and arrests. Hamas is also accused of defacing, for the third time, the gravesite of a Fatah activist who was lynched by Hamas.

A-Zahar Threatens, Fatah Responds
Hamas leader Mahmoud A-Zahar threatened last week that Hamas would do to Judea and Samaria what it did to Gaza – namely, conquer it from Fatah. The Fatah spokesman responded by calling A-Zahar a “stain” on Hamas, and advising “courageous Hamas members to ask him the tough questions about how he has caused Hamas to deteriorate, and tell him to go to hell.” Rahman said that A-Zahar and his gang are “ignorant men who think the whole world runs from Rafiah [in the south of Gaza] to Biet Lahiya [in northern Gaza], and that it is possible to establish an Islamic state in the Gaza Strip.”

Fatah spokesman Rahman also accused the Al-Jazeera television network of aiding Hamas. “But this will not save Hamas from its destiny,” he added, “because its actions are in opposition to Palestinian national interests and values.”

Hamas Says Olmert’s Gestures Prove Fatah Treachery
Hamas has another avenue of attack against Fatah as well – using Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s goodwill gestures as its ammunition. The PA’s Maan news agency reports Hamas fury against the “gestures that
Israel is granting Fatah men when they travel from Gaza to the West Bank – while the rest of the Gaza population remains under Israeli siege.”
Arab-affairs experts warned against Olmert’s goodwill gestures, saying they would boomerang

It was reported just this week that a Gaza man had died of cancer because he was not permitted to enter Israel. Hamas spokesman Fuzy Barhoum says the Israeli entry permits supplied to Fatah are evidence of “the extent of the plot against the Palestinian nation in general and those in Gaza in particular.”

Fatah’s acceptance of the Israeli goodwill gestures are considered “consent to the policy of oppression and siege, perpetrated by Israel to create internal pressure on the Hamas leadership in Gaza.”

Experts’ Warnings Proved True
Arutz-7’s Shimon Cohen notes that many experts warned against Olmert’s goodwill gestures, saying they would boomerang. Though Olmert long explained that he wished to strengthen and prop up Abbas and the ‘moderate’ camp within the Palestinian public, experts on Arab affairs stated this would actually lead to Abbas being portrayed as a collaborator with the “Zionist enemy.”

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Tuesday, Nov. 20 ’07
10 Kislev 5768

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