Sharon and Hitler share space at Anne Frank house in Amsterdam

January 29, 2004

CONTENTS

1. "Thousands protest Swedish art exhibit" (AP, January 27, 2004)
2. "Sharon and Hitler share space at Anne Frank house" (Israel Radio Transcripts, January 28, 2004)
3. "MP attacks Israel's travel bans" (BBC, January, 27, 2004)
4. "Ten killed in Jerusalem suicide bombing" (News Agencies, January 29, 2004)


YASSER ARAFAT'S ARMED WING TAKE RESPONSIBILITY

[Note by Tom Gross]

I attach four articles, including a report of today's suicide attack on a crowded Jerusalem bus that left at least 10 dead and 50 wounded.

The Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, the "armed wing" of Yasser Arafat's Fatah organization claimed responsibility for the attack. The Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades is under the sole control and funding of Arafat's Fatah (using in part European Union grants which have been constantly been defended by senior European leaders such as External Relations Commissioner Chris Patten, who was formerly a senior figure in the British Conservative Party). The Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades named the bomber as Ali Yusuf Jaara, a 24-year-old Palestinian policeman, working for Yasser Arafat's police force in Bethlehem.

In its reports today (not included in this email), in its opening sentence the Associated Press chooses to call the victims of today's bus bomb "10 bystanders" ignoring the fact that Israeli Jewish civilians were (at the terrorists' own admission) the deliberate targets of the bomb. Likewise, in Strasbourg, the Council of Europe condemned the bombing as an "indiscriminate act of violence," as if this act of terror was not carefully planned. Many of the dead and injured were Israelis making their way to one of Jerusalem's main hospitals, which was the final stop on the route of the bus that the terrorists chose to bomb.

The Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams, paid a "courtesy call" on the Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat in nearby Ramallah, an hour after the bombing, before visiting the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. On Tuesday Dr Williams described Israel's security fence as a " terrible symbol," ignoring the fact that it is being built to keep such bombers out.

Below, I attach four articles, with summaries first.

-- Tom Gross

 

SUMMARIES

"Thousands protest Swedish art exhibit" (AP, January 27, 2004). Sweden's prime minister has been bombarded with about 14,000 e-mails from a U.S.-based Jewish human rights group protesting an art exhibit featuring the image of a Palestinian suicide bomber, the Swedish government said Tuesday... "We are subject to this kind of mail bombardment every now and then, but I can't say that it's very effective as a way of voicing an opinion," Prime Minister Goeran Persson said, describing the letters as "not very threatening." Foreign Minister Laila Freivalds said the government does not have the right to censure art.

... On Tuesday, Persson attended a candlelight ceremony for Holocaust victims in downtown's Raoul Wallenberg Square. "The Holocaust wasn't the end of genocide. I just have to mention Rwanda, I just have to mention Srebrenica," Persson said.

 

"Sharon and Hitler share space at Anne Frank house" (Israel Radio Transcripts, January 28, 2004). "A photo of Ariel Sharon alongside one of Adolf Hitler is currently being exhibited at the Anne Frank Museum in Amsterdam, reported Israel Radio. The photos are presented as part of an exhibition on 'borderline cases' aimed at testing the borders between freedom of expression and discrimination, according to the museum's spokesman. Visitors are shown a video, in which demonstrators held a poster of Hitler and Sharon 'in protest over Israel's policies in the Palestinian territories.' They are then asked to vote on whether in the name of fighting racism, freedom of speech may be infringed on." [This is the full story.]

 

"MP attacks Israel's travel bans" (BBC, January, 27, 2004). "Israeli curbs on travel to Palestinian territories were described as "unlawful and immoral" by an MP on Tuesday... British Foreign Office minister Bill Rammell said the Government was "seriously concerned" by the matter. And Labour MP Richard Burdern said: "It is important that British MPs are able to see things for themselves." "These kinds of movement restrictions are not only unlawful, they're immoral." ... Mr Rammell added: "The restrictions could seriously disrupt the supply of essential emergency provisions for the most vulnerable people in the Palestinian territories."

[TG adds: This report may also be seen in the light of today's suicide bombing, and around the 50 60 bomb attempts the Israeli police say they have to deal with every day.]

 

"Ten killed in Jerusalem suicide bombing" (News Agencies, January 29, 2004). At least ten people were today killed and another 50 wounded in a suicide attack on a bus outside Ariel Sharon's official residence in Jerusalem. The green bus was charred, with wires dangling everywhere. One side had been blown out and the back half of the roof was blown off. "It's a real nightmare, you can smell the blood," Stephane Ben Shushan, a local shop owner, said. Paramedics were taking away the wounded on stretchers. Others were treated at the scene. People, dazed and crying, wandered around the area.

The Jerusalem police chief, Mickey Levy, said "It was a very serious attack on a bus packed with passengers."

Eli Beer, a paramedic, said victims had been scattered over a wide area. "There were a lot of heavy injuries, a lot of the people who were injured were in bad condition, a lot of people had missing limbs," he said.



FULL ARTICLES

THOUSANDS PROTEST SWEDISH ART EXHIBIT

Thousands protest Swedish art exhibit
By Tommy Grandell
The Associated Press
January 27, 2004

Sweden's prime minister has been bombarded with about 14,000 e-mails from a U.S.-based Jewish human rights group protesting an art exhibit featuring the image of a Palestinian suicide bomber, the government said Tuesday.

The flap threatened to overshadow a three-day international conference in Stockholm on preventing genocide that ends Wednesday.

Israel downgraded its representation at the conference after the Museum of National Antiquities refused to remove a display showing a picture of Islamic Jihad bomber Hanadi Jaradat, who killed herself and 21 bystanders in an Oct. 4 suicide attack in Haifa, Israel.

The Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center said the exhibit glorified a "Palestinian homicide bomber" and Sweden should declare suicide bombings a crime against humanity.

In a letter posted on its Web site last week, the center said Sweden has championed the exhibit under the rubric of artistic freedom.

"But what is Sweden prepared to do for the real victims of terror? No nation has yet had the courage to officially come forward to declare suicide bombing 'a crime against humanity,'" the letter said.

Prime Minister Goeran Persson described the protest e-mails as similar to letter campaigns organized by lobby groups.

"We are subject to this kind of mail bombardment every now and then, but I can't say that it's very effective as a way of voicing an opinion," Persson said, describing the letters as "not very threatening."

Foreign Minister Laila Freivalds said the government does not have the right to censure art.

"The government can't influence the museum in its actions, but it's the museum itself that decides what will be shown or not," she said. "We have freedom of expression, and our departments and museums are independent."

Israeli-born artist Dror Feiler, who created "Snow White and the Madness of Truth," said the piece was meant to call attention to how weak, lonely people can be capable of horrible things.

Israeli Ambassador Zvi Mazel tried Jan. 16 to vandalize the display, which is in a rectangular pool filled with red-colored water.

Museum officials rejected Mazel's calls to remove the exhibit but said they would take down 26 posters with Jaradat's face that were placed in Stockholm subway stations to advertise the exhibition.

But Israel lowered its representation at the genocide conference as a result of the flap, sending a diplomat instead of Israeli President Moshe Katzav.

On Tuesday, Persson attended a candlelight ceremony for Holocaust victims in downtown's Raoul Wallenberg Square.

"This is a possibility to reflect on how cruel people can be to each other," Persson said.

"The Holocaust wasn't the end of genocide. I just have to mention Rwanda, I just have to mention Srebrenica. In our time, we are not exempt from attacks against the values of humanity."

Persson also attended a Holocaust memorial service amid tight security at the Stockholm synagogue.

 

MP ATTACKS ISRAEL'S TRAVEL BANS

MP attacks Israel's travel bans
BBC
January 27, 2004

Israeli curbs on travel to Palestinian territories were described as "unlawful and immoral" by an MP on Tuesday.

The restrictions affect media, aid and human rights groups as well as visiting parliamentarians wanting to travel to the occupied territories.

Junior Foreign Office minister Bill Rammell said the Government was "seriously concerned" by the matter. And Labour MP Richard Burdern said: "It is important that British MPs are able to see things for themselves." "These kinds of movement restrictions are not only unlawful, they're immoral," Mr Burden said.

'Serious consequences'

Labour's Michael Connarty urged the government to step up the pressure on Israel, saying the restrictions were "an attempt by the Israeli state to shatter any authority of the Palestinian Authority".

Mr Rammell agreed the travel ban would have "serious consequences for those who are attempting to work and report from the occupied territories".

And he added: "The restrictions could seriously disrupt the supply of essential emergency provisions for the most vulnerable people in the Palestinian territories."

Mr Rammell promised the Foreign Office would continue to work "vigorously" to resolve the problem.

 

TEN KILLED IN JERUSALEM SUICIDE BOMBING

Ten killed in Jerusalem suicide bombing
News Agencies
January 29, 2004

At least ten people were today killed and another 30 wounded in a suicide attack on a bus outside Ariel Sharon's official residence in Jerusalem.

The green bus was charred, with wires dangling everywhere. One side had been blown out and the back half of the roof was blown off.

"It's a real nightmare, you can smell the blood," Stephane Ben Shushan, a local shop owner, told the Associated Press.

Paramedics were taking away the wounded on stretchers. Others were treated at the scene. People, dazed and crying, wandered around the area.

The Jerusalem police chief, Mickey Levy, said the bomber was in the back of the bus when he detonated the explosives.

"It was a very serious attack on a bus packed with passengers. According to what we know at the moment... we're talking about a suicide bomber."

Mr Sharon was at his farm in southern Israel at the time of the attack. His spokesman, Raanan Gissin, said the attack illustrated why Israel was building its contentious West Bank barrier.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility. The last attack in Israel was a suicide bombing at a bus stop close to Tel Aviv on December 25 that killed four people. The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a radical PLO faction, claimed responsibility.

Palestinian Authority today officials condemned the bombing. "This vicious cycle can only be broken by renewal of a meaningful peace process," said Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat. "Otherwise, violence will breed violence, bullets will breed bullets."

The bus was moving slowly in heavy traffic when the explosion went off.

Eli Beer, a paramedic, said victims had been scattered over a wide area. "There were a lot of heavy injuries, a lot of the people who were injured were in bad condition, a lot of people had missing limbs," he said.

Bret Stephens, editor-in-chief of the Jerusalem Post, was near the scene at the time of the blast. "There was glass everywhere, human remains everywhere, shoes, feet, pieces of guts. There were pieces of body everywhere."

The explosion, which coincided with a German-brokered prisoner swap between Israel and the Lebanese guerrilla group Hizbullah, came less than 24 hours after eight Palestinians were killed in an Israeli army raid on a Gaza City suburb.

It is a further setback to international efforts to resume peace talks. Two officials from the US state department were meeting the Israeli defence minister, Shaul Mofaz, at the time of the blast.

The blast was the deadliest since a female suicide bomber killed 21 people at a seaside restaurant in Haifa on October 4.


All notes and summaries copyright © Tom Gross. All rights reserved.