* Rwandan children reach Israel for treatment
1. Arafat’s widow expelled from Tunisia
2. Poland pulls out of EU anti-Israel conference
3. Abbas issues decree excluding Hamas from elections
4. Cash-rich Hamas announces formation of a navy
5. Fatah legislator convicted for sending bomber to Tel Aviv cafe in 2002
6. “British and American academic cooperation in jeopardy”
7. UK blocks Israel arms deals
8. First group of Rwandan children reach Israel for treatment
9. Netanyahu re-elected Likud leader
[Note by Tom Gross]
ARAFAT’S WIDOW EXPELLED FROM TUNISIA
The Tunisian president has revoked Suha Arafat’s Tunisian citizenship following rumors of an affair with the president’s married brother-in-law, and business disputes with her Tunisian partners.
Suha Arafat is the widow of former PLO leader Yasser Arafat. She is said to have fled to Malta in recent days.
Yasser Arafat was worth almost a billion dollars at the time of his death, thanks to European donations to the Palestinian Authority which he pocketed and various other criminal and terrorist activities he engaged in. Suha has kept much of the money.
According to the London-based al-Quds al-Arabi newspaper, Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali withdrew Suha Arafat’s naturalized status in a special decree last week, after it was found out that she was having an affair with the president’s married brother-in-law, Belhassen al-Trabulsi.
For more on Suha Arafat, see Suha Arafat “remarries” (& anti-Hizbullah comment starts W. Bank wedding riot) (Aug. 20, 2006).
For more on Yasser Arafat, see Arafat appears on “Forbes” world’s richest list (Feb. 28, 2003).
(When Forbes originally placed Arafat on its rich list in 2003, it did so at $300m, but it then transpired that Arafat was worth over three times that amount.)
POLAND PULLS OUT OF EU ANTI-ISRAEL CONFERENCE
Defying the anti-Israel (and in the case of some anti-Semitic) sentiment among European politicians, Poland has announced it is withdrawing from an anti-Israel conference due to be held at the European Parliament at the end of this month.
The conference has been organized by the EU in conjunction with a United Nations body called “The UN Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People,” which is infamous for its diatribes against Israel. Working groups include one on “how to increase the resistance against Israel”.
Resistance is the term used by Palestinian terror groups to describe suicide attacks on Israelis.
The president of the Israeli Knesset, Dalia Itzik, has sent a letter to the President of the European Parliament, Hans-Gert Poettering, asking that the European Parliament not host the conference but Poettering has not replied to it.
Meanwhile Polish MEPs from all Poland’s main political parties have said they will boycott the conference and called on the event to be cancelled.
“I have seen the materials prepared by the organizers and I will not take part in such a biased, anti-Israeli event,” said one Polish MEP, Bronislaw Geremek.
Konrad Szymański, another Polish MEP, said: “Israel’s objections are fully justified. According to most of the extremists from this UN committee Israel and its people should disappear. I am astonished that the European Parliament is allowing such activity to be placed in its building.”
Israel has welcomed the decision by Poland, which historically has a record of anti-Semitism.
ABBAS ISSUES DECREE EXCLUDING HAMAS FROM ELECTIONS
Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas yesterday issued a decree that effectively excludes Hamas from participating in the next Palestinian elections. The decree makes changes to electoral law, including requiring candidates in presidential and legislative elections “to respect the political program of the PLO”.
The move comes at the very time that pro-Hamas politicians in Britain and elsewhere are calling for the European Union to open talks with the Islamist extremist group.
CASH-RICH HAMAS ANNOUNCES FORMATION OF A NAVY
Hamas, which according to false reports appearing several times a week in papers like the New York Times-owned International Herald Tribune, is desperate for funds, announced on Saturday that it will set up an expensive new naval unit. The force will number 150 “sailors” and will soon begin patrolling the Mediterranean coast.
Meanwhile, an anti-Hamas protest held by 300 brave citizens of Gaza was viciously broken up by Hamas security personnel swinging clubs and rifle butts. The demonstrators were protesting against Hamas’ arrest of people at a wedding party last Friday night.
The Hamas security officers confiscated the camera of Abu Dhabi TV’s Muhammad Sawalha, and severely beat him after he filmed the protests.
FATAH LEGISLATOR CONVICTED FOR SENDING BOMBER TO TEL AVIV CAFÉ IN 2002
A Fatah member of the Palestinian Legislative Council was convicted yesterday of having been an accomplice in a deadly suicide bombing in Tel Aviv five years ago.
According to the verdict, the suicide bomber that blew himself up in a Tel Aviv coffee shop in March 2002 made his way to Israel from the Nablus home of PLC member Jamal Tirawi.
Rachel Charhi, an Israeli woman, died in the attack and many others were injured. (For more on her, see “The Forgotten Rachels”)
Tirawi was arrested three months ago by IDF special forces in Nablus along with three members of Fatah’s terrorist wing, the al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade.
“BRITISH AND AMERICAN ACADEMIC COOPERATION IN JEOPARDY”
A leading member of the British University and College Union has warned that the UCU’s call for an academic boycott of Israel could seriously damage working relationships between UK and U.S. universities, reports Jonny Paul, the Jerusalem Post’s London correspondent (who is also a subscriber to this email list).
Prof. Mark Pepys, head of the University of London’s Department of Medicine, made his statement after 300 presidents of U.S. academic institutions declared their solidarity with Israeli institutions of higher learning in a full-page advertisement in The New York Times.
The American university and college presidents described the British boycott of Israel as “intellectually shoddy and politically biased.”
Indicating that they would not work with institutions engaged in a boycott of Israeli academics, the advertisement said: “Boycott Israeli Universities? Boycott Ours, Too.”
“This is a matter of grave concern,” said Pepys. “The robust position of 300 U.S. institutions in defense of the universally recognized principle of academic freedom cannot be ignored. American academia, with its depth, breadth and scale, has enormous impact in the UK at all levels of academic life.”
So far, only two British universities, the London School of Economics and Oxford University, have officially announced their refusal to join the boycott.
The New York Times advertisement comes after the director of a $150 million science foundation declared that applications from British researchers would no longer be accepted.
Dozens of Nobel Prize winners have joined over 10,000 other leading academics from around the world in signing a statement slamming the British teachers’ union’s prejudice against the Jewish state.
For more background, see here.
UK BLOCKS ISRAEL ARMS DEALS
The British government has blocked almost one third of British military exports to Israel this year, citing “fears the equipment might facilitate human rights violations”.
The value of British military sales to Israel has declined by 75 percent since 2005.
Some British politicians have called for a complete arms boycott to Israel, a small democracy in the Middle East surrounded by totalitarian or authoritarian regimes.
At the same time, Britain continues to increase its arms exports to some of the most repressive regimes in the world, such as Saudi Arabia.
FIRST GROUP OF RWANDAN CHILDREN REACH ISRAEL FOR TREATMENT
The Israeli humanitarian organization, Save A Child’s Heart, yesterday welcomed its first group of children from Rwanda to be operated on in Israel at Tel Aviv’s Wolfson Medical Center.
The children, who range from just a few months old to 15 years old, landed at Ben-Gurion airport, accompanied by a Rwandan nurse as well as by two of their mothers.
The children suffer from heart disease requiring treatment. Save A Child’s Heart has brought over 1700 children from 27 countries (including Ethiopia, Nigeria, Zanzibar, Moldova, Vietnam, China, the Palestinian Authority, Jordan and Iraq) to Israel over the last 12 years for heart surgery.
Israeli hospitals have some of the world’s leading medical pioneers.
For more, see www.saveachildsheart.com/success_rate/success.html
NETANYAHU RE-ELECTED LIKUD LEADER
Benjamin Netanyahu has been re-elected leader of Israel’s Likud party by a large margin.
He gained 73.2 percent of the vote, while Moshe Feiglin, a far right candidate gained 23.4% and the third candidate, Danny Danon, 3.4%, in results officially announced yesterday.
-- Tom Gross