Activist for Palestinian cause kills himself in Tokyo park (& other items)

April 04, 2002


1. Tel Aviv coffee shop victim dies of her wounds and other Israeli victims
2. Activist for Palestinian cause kills himself in Tokyo Park
3. "Finnish police evacuate synagogue, Jewish old age home" (Associated Press, April 4, 2002)
4. "Turkish PM accuses Israel of 'genocide'" (Associated Press, April 4, 2002)
5. "Switzerland 'reconsidering' relations with Israel" (Associated Press, April 4, 2002)
6. "Arsonists renew attacks on Jewish sites in France" (Reuters, April 4, 2002)
7. "Fires set at synagogues in Belgium" (Associated Press, April 2, 2002)
8. "Synagogue attacked in Russia" (Associated Press, April 2, 2002)
9. "Missile factory blows up in Syria"
10. Armed group massacres 21 people in Algeria
11. "Sept. 11 Conspiracy Theory Book Lures French" (Reuters, April 1, 2002)

[Note by Tom Gross]

Below (after the initial report of Israeli deaths today) are a selection of news items from around the globe.

There are about 130 active armed conflicts in the world today. Yet international hysteria about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, fed in my opinion by the grossly overdone and skewered world media coverage, leads to such immolation as far away as Japan. And, as can be seen from the items below, to verbal and physical attacks on Jews or Israelis in Finland, Turkey, Greece, Switzerland, France, Belgium, Germany, Denmark, Russia, Sweden and so on.

Meanwhile, far worse conflicts in Chechnya, Africa, South Asia, and elsewhere, as well as brutal occupations, such as that in Tibet, are ignored by the media and in Tokyo parks.

-- Tom Gross


April 4, 2002

Rachel Darhi, 37, of Bat Yam, died today of her wounds following last week's suicide bombing in Tel Aviv's My Coffee Shop. Her husband, who was injured in the terror attack, is still being treated at Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv.

Frieda Britvich, 70, wounded in the Pessah massacre at the Park Hotel in Netanya, succumbed to her wounds yesterday, a day after her husband, Alter Britvich, died, bringing to 26 the death toll in the March 27 suicide bombing. They will be buried at 1 p.m. today. Among the 23 persons seriously wounded in the attack, one woman has now lost both her legs.

Carlos Yerushalmi, 52, of Haifa, who was critically wounded in the suicide bombing attack on the Matza restaurant on March 31, died in Rambam Hospital, bringing to 15 the death toll in that attack, raising the number of victims of terror attacks in March to 129.

Border police officer Patrick Parag, 30, was killed today, April 4, in a Hebron gun battle between soldiers and armed Palestinians, as he attemptied to arrest a wanted member of Fatah's Aksa Martyrs Brigade.

Sgt.-Maj. Einan Sharabi, 32, of Rehovot, was killed by Palestinian gunfire this morning in Jenin. Another soldier was seriously wounded, and several soldiers were lightly wounded.

Maj. (res.) Moshe Gerstner, 29, of Rishon Lezion, was killed by Palestinians in Jenin overnight.

Ofir Roth, 22, from Gan Yoshiya, was killed by a Palestinian sniper firing from the Beit Sahur area Monday afternoon near a roadblock at Har Homa. Roth had been working to save for a trip overseas, working mornings with his father in the family carpentry shop, and evenings at a pub in Kfar Vitkin.

Tomer Mordechai, 19, of Tel Aviv, the policeman who was killed Monday night after stopping a Palestinian suicide bomber heading toward the center of Jerusalem, was buried in Tel Aviv's Kiryat Shaul Cemetery. On Monday night, Mordechai blocked a Palestinian suicide bomber from reaching a crowded area, thereby giving his own life while saving the lives of many others.

Palestinians said a senior Fatah terrorist on Israel's wanted list was killed in Jenin on Thursday.



Activist for Palestinian cause kills himself in Tokyo Park
April 1, 2002

TOKYO - A Japanese campaigner for Palestinian rights committed suicide by setting himself on fire in a Tokyo park to protest Israeli military operations in the West Bank, a fellow activist said today.

Takao Himori, 54, poured gasoline over his body and set himself alight, said his friend Masao Adachi.

Police spokesman Koji Hata confirmed that a man burned to death over the weekend in the park, but refused to reveal his identity.

"People watching the cherry blossoms suddenly saw flames shoot up and called the police," Hata said.

A number of Japanese activist groups held rallies on Saturday, comemorated by Israeli Arabs as "Land Day," to protest Israel's crackdown on Palestinian Chairman Yasser Arafat.

Several Japanese ultra-leftist groups carried out terrorist attacks against Israelis in support of Palestinian liberation during the 1970s.



Finnish police evacuate synagogue, Jewish old age home
The Associated Press
April 4, 2002

HELSINKI, Finland - Police evacuated a synagogue, a Jewish home for the elderly, and a Jewish school today in central Helsinki after a bomb threat, officers said.

The threat was telephoned to the Jewish school at 10:15 a.m. (local Helsinki time) with a warning that a bomb would explode an hour later. Officers and sniffer dogs interrupted the bomb search temporarily at 11:15 a.m. but returned when no explosion occurred.



Turkish PM accuses Israel of 'genocide'
By James C. Helicke
The Associated Press
April 4, 2002

ANKARA, Turkey - Turkey's prime minister accused Israel today of committing "genocide" against Palestinians - an unusually harsh denunciation from a country with strong ties to the Jewish state.

Turkey, a predominantly Muslim and secular nation, has sharpened its criticism of Israel since the beginning last week of the Israeli siege on Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat's headquarters in the West Bank town of Ramallah. Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit's statement today was his strongest to date.

Both Turkey and Israel are close US allies and have conducted joint military exercises, sometimes angering. Despite Ecevit's increasing criticism, earlier this week he refused to cancel a $668 million deal for an Israeli firm to modernize 170 Turkish tanks.



Greek parliamentarians head for the Palestinian territories
News agencies
April 3, 2002

A group of 20 Greek Parliamentarian and activists will head today for the Palestinian territories in a "symbolic initiative" as an expression of solidarity with the Palestinian people against the escalations of the Israeli aggression.

The Greek parliamentarians explained that the group also intends to take part in a march calls for establishing peace due to be organized in "occupied Jerusalem."

Earlier this week Apostolos Kaklamanis, the speaker of the Greek parliament, accused Israel of committing "genocide" against the Palestinian people.



Switzerland 'reconsidering' relations with Israel
The Associated Press
April 4, 2002

BERN - The Swiss government said yesterday it is reconsidering its economic and military relations with Israel in light of events in the Middle East.

"Until recently we had contact with a country that was engaged in a peace process and had signed agreements with Palestinian authorities," said Swiss Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Muriel Berset Kohen. Now, she said, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon openly says Israel is at war.



Arsonists renew attacks on Jewish sites in France
April 4, 2002

PARIS - Arsonists struck Jewish targets in two French cities in the latest of a wave of such attacks, firebombing a religious centre and torching a school bus, police said on Thursday.

Attackers threw several firebombs at the Jewish religious centre in the southern city of Montpellier overnight, setting a nearby office ablaze. The bus was torched at a Jewish school in the Paris suburb of Aubervilliers on Wednesday evening.

Prime Minister Lionel Jospin has ordered police to mount guards at Jewish schools and synagogues throughout France.

France deployed riot police at Jewish religious sites and schools countrywide after the arson attack late Sunday at Marseille's Or Aviv temple. The fire destroyed the synagogue, leaving it a blackened mass of wood and metal.

Early yesterday, a Jewish cemetery building near Strasbourg was burned down, the latest target in a rash of attacks. Since last Friday, synagogues in Lyons, Marseilles and Strasbourg have been attacked by youths throwing Molotov cocktails.

A Jewish couple was attacked in a Lyons suburb and a kosher butcher was shot at in Toulouse.



Fires set at synagogues in Belgium
Riot police deployed
The Associated Press
April 2, 2002

In Brussels, a synagogue was damaged by gasoline bombs, and police in Turkey heightened security at religious sites amid fears that violence in the Middle East could take its toll on European communities.



American Jews assaulted in Berlin
News agencies
April 3, 2002

Police in Berlin said yesterday a gang of seven or eight men who appeared to be Arabs attacked two American Jews who were walking on one of the city's smartest streets on Sunday after visiting a synagogue.



Danish demonstrators compare Sharon to Hitler
News agencies
April 3, 2002

About 2,000 demonstrators massed in front of the Israeli embassy in Copenhagen.

The protesters -- mainly Palestinians or other Arabs -- carried banners with slogans comparing Ariel Sharon, the Israeli Prime Minister, to Adolf Hitler and denouncing Israeli "terrorism."

A large contingent of riot police monitored the protest. Police are bracing for new protests when Israel's football team arrives in Copenhagen to play an exhibition game on April 17 as part of the Danish team's warm-up for this summer's World Cup in Japan and South Korea.



Synagogue attacked in Russia
The Associated Press
April 2, 2002

Vandals in the Russian city of Kostroma scrawled a large black swastika across a synagogue on Sunday night, the latest in a series of anti-Semitic incidents in the region, NTV television reported.



Sweden considers boycott of Israel
April 4, 2002

Sweden will consider today whether to declare a boycott of Israel. The debate comes in the wake of a decision made this morning by Norway's largest food import company, which said it has placed a boycott on Israeli-made products.

A poll conducted in Norway indicates most citizens of that nation support the Palestinians. Only nine percent of poll respondents expressed support for Israel.



"Missile factory blows up in Syria"
Special to World Tribune
April 3, 2002

LONDON - An explosion has been reported at a leading Syrian weapons factory, killing 35 people.

The explosion was reported early last week in the northern Syrian city of Homs. Western diplomatic sources said a factory in a huge Syrian weapons complex exploded, killing many of the technicians in the building and causing widespread damage.



21 killed in Algeria
News agencies
April 3, 2002

Some 21 Algerians were killed by an armed group in Molai al-Arabi in Sida area, 420 Km to the southern west of the capital Algiers, according to an Algerian official source on Tuesday.



Sept. 11 Conspiracy Theory Book Lures French
By Rebecca Harrison
April 1, 2002

The French are lapping up a Sept. 11 conspiracy theory that argues the plane that smashed into the Pentagon never existed and that the world has been duped by a murky U.S. government plot.

Thierry Meyssan's book "The Frightening Fraud" is flying off shelves according to booksellers and has topped bestseller lists.

Meyssan, president of Reseau Voltaire, a respected left-wing think tank, reckons the American Airlines Flight 77 that crashed into the Pentagon in Washington killing 189 on September 11 did not exist and that the whole thing was staged by the government.

"I believe the American government is lying... No plane crashed into the Pentagon," he told France 2 television.

Meyssan did not provide an alternative theory for what may have damaged the Pentagon.

And although French media has scoffed at Meyssan's musings, the public are intrigued.

"Copies have been flying off shelves," a saleswoman at FNAC bookshop in central Paris told Reuters. It shot to the top of Amazon France's bestseller list and made it to second place in the booksellers' weekly Livres Hebdo's sales list.

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