This is the second of two dispatches containing 15 short items dealing with the Israeli-Palestinian situation. (The first nine items are contained in an email under the title "Ma'ariv catches CNN exaggerating again, and other items.")
10. The founder of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, Marwan Barghouti, was today convicted of three terrorist attacks.
11. The Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade.
12. Gays Attacked At Palestinian Protest.
13. Are you reading this, Michael Grade?
14. Israel's economy and tourism up dramatically this year.
15. Richard Gere to visit Israel next month.
[All notes below are by Tom Gross unless otherwise indicated.]
MARWAN BARGHOUTI CONVICTED ON TERROR CHARGES
The founder of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, Marwan Barghouti, was today convicted of three terror attacks in which 5 Israelis were killed, and of attempted murder, and conspiring to commit a crime. He was acquitted of 33 other terror attacks in which he was charged, due to the prosecution not having proved beyond a reasonable doubt that he directly planned the logistics of those attacks. The prosecution is now seeking five life-terms. Sentencing will take place next month.
Among the attacks for which Barghouti was found guilty:
March 2002: Three Israelis were murdered and 31 wounded in a machine attack on diners at a Tel Aviv restaurant.
January 2002: Terror attack on a gas station in Givat Zeev in which one Israeli was murdered. The attack was carried out at Barghouti's direct order, and Barghouti admitted his responsibility for this attack.
June 2001: A Greek monk (who was mistaken for an orthodox Jew) was murdered in a drive-by shooting in Ma'aleh Adumim.
Barghouti was also convicted of organizing an attempted car bombing at Jerusalem's Malcha mall. Barghouti was captured during what Israel called Operation Defensive Shield in Jenin and elsewhere in April 2002.
The judges ruled today that the prosecution had failed to prove beyond any doubt Barghouti's involvement in the infamous Bat Mitzvah massacre, in which a number of Israeli adults and children were killed and injured in an attack at a Bat Mitzvah celebration in Hadera, northern Israel, in January 2002.
THE AL AQSA MARTYRS BRIGADE
The Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade was set up and operates under the control of Yasser Arafat's Fatah and has carried out dozens of other terror attacks against Israeli civilians in the last three years.
In reporting on the Barghouti conviction today, the BBC World Service reporter, did not mention any of these attacks on civilians, saying only that Barghouti had been found guilty of "militant attacks," whatever that means.
GAYS ATTACKED AT PALESTINIAN PROTEST
This item, from a leading gay news site, was sent to me by someone on this list.
Gays Attacked At Palestinian Protest
By Peter Moore
May 16, 2004
Members of two British gay rights groups were attacked when they attempted to participate in a demonstration for Palestinian rights.
OutRage and Queer Youth Alliance went to the protest march at Trafalgar Square to show their support for people of Palestine. But they also urged the Palestinian Authority to halt the arrest, torture and murder of homosexuals.
As soon as they arrived at the square members of the two groups were surrounded by an angry, screaming mob of Islamic fundamentalists, Anglican clergymen, members of the Socialist Workers Party, the Stop the War Coalition, and officials from the protest organizers, the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC).
They variously attacked the gay activists as "racists", "Zionists", "CIA and MI5 agents", "supporters of the Sharon government" and accused the gays of "dividing the Free Palestine movement".
PSC organisers asked the gay activists to "stand at the back of the demonstration", and when they refused blocked their placards with their own banners and shouted down the gay campaigners as they tried to speak to journalists and other protesters.
Most people at the Palestine protest expressed no hostility towards OutRage! and the Queer Youth Alliance. Some expressed positive support.
In the end, the gay groups were allowed to march in the demonstration. The two groups carried placards reading: "Israel: stop persecuting Palestine! Palestine: stop persecuting queers!"
"We call on the PLO and Palestinian Authority to condemn homophobia, uphold queer human rights, and to order an immediate end to the abuse of lesbian and gay Palestinians", said OutRage! protester, Brett Lock.
"Having experienced the pain of homophobia, we deplore the suffering inflicted on Palestinians by the Israeli government".
Another protester, Peter Tatchell, said: "Gay Palestinians live in fear of arrest, detention without trial, torture and execution at the hands of Palestinian police and security services. They also risk abduction and so-called honor killing by vengeful family members and vigilante mobs, as well as punishment beatings and murder by Palestinian political groups such as Hamas and Yasser Arafat's Fatah movement".
ARE YOU READING THIS, MICHAEL GRADE?
Michael Grade was recently appointed the new Chairman of the BBC. (The last Chairman resigned after a British judge ruled the BBC had distorted its coverage against the British and American governments in relation to Iraq.) Grade is scion of a renowned Anglo-Jewish family of Lithuanian-east European origin.
Below is a note by British journalist, Melanie Philips, who is a columnist for the Daily Mail (and also a subscriber to this email list). She points out that "the BBC, by fomenting hatred of Israel through its malevolent and distorted reporting, is actively encouraging a revival of Jew-hatred in Lithuania."
Are you reading this, Michael Grade?
By Melanie Philips
May 17, 2004
A report in Ha'aretz explains how Lithuania is slowly trying to come to terms with its role in the Holocaust. It is a new and difficult concept for people who are more accustomed to thinking of the Soviet Union as the tyrants who enslaved them, a complex history which acts as a barrier to proper recognition of the genocide of the Jews and the part Lithuania played in it.
And then, for British readers, comes the punch in the cultural solar plexus:
"Toleikis is very worried about the rise of anti-Semitism in Lithuania. He was among the first to sign a petition against the editor-in-chief of the widely distributed newspaper Respublika, Vitas Tomkus, who published anti-Semitic articles in the paper. Toleikis believes the current anti-Semitism is mainly based on hatred of Israel. "In Lithuania, a lot of anti-Israeli articles are published in which only one side of the conflict is presented," he says. "Our journalists see the reports on Israel on the BBC and CNN, and some of them are pro-Palestinian. We are already accustomed to reports in which Palestinians are seen crying or reports about a child who was shot down and killed by mistake by a helicopter. In the pictures that are supposed to present the Israeli side, all we see is tanks bursting into Palestinian villages. We don't see funerals of Jews here. Many Lithuanians are saying to themselves, why are they blaming us? After all, they're socking it to the Palestinians now.""
[Philips continues:] So the BBC, by fomenting hatred of Israel through its malevolent and distorted reporting, is actively encouraging a revival of Jew-hatred in Lithuania, of all places -- part of the site of the Holocaust against the Jews -- and providing its inhabitants with the means to exculpate their nation of blame by telling themselves that it is the Jews who are the real Nazis. A moral universe away from Lord Reith's direction to inform and educate, the BBC's wicked reporting is resulting in nothing less than Holocaust denial -- in the very graveyard itself of the Jewish people.
ISRAEL'S ECONOMY AND TOURISM UP DRAMATICALLY THIS YEAR
Israel's economy experienced a dramatic 5.5% growth in the first quarter of this year, according to Central Bureau of Statistics preliminary estimates released yesterday.
The business sector leaped by an even more dramatic 9.2% during the quarter.
The Israeli Tourism Ministry announced yesterday that 135,900 tourists entered Israel in the month of April - a 93% increase over April 2003. Tourism for the first four months of the year is up significantly; 433,660 tourists entered Israel, 86% more than the same period last year.
RICHARD GERE TO VISIT ISRAEL NEXT MONTH
American film star Richard Gere will visit Tel Aviv on June 6 as a guest of the 10th International students' films festival organized by Tel Aviv University, with the support of the Tel Aviv municipality, the Israeli Cinema Council and the Anda project, 'Fighting cancer with a smile.' Gere says he hopes that through cinema people can overcome their differences.