April 4, 2002
State Dept. Issues Warning, Recall
The State Department Tuesday warned U.S. citizens to defer travel to Israel, the West Bank and Gaza. "Ongoing violence has caused numerous civilian deaths and injuries, including to some American tourists," the department advisory said. "As a result of the ongoing violence, the Department of State has authorized the voluntary departure from Jerusalem of U.S. Consulate dependents." Jewish leaders, while understanding the need to protect U.S. citizens abroad, expressed unhappiness with a move that could scare even more tourists away.
Papers Prove P.A. Link to Terror
Documents found in Yasser Arafat's Ramallah headquarters show how closely the Palestinian Authority is tied to terrorism, Israeli officials charge. Among the documents found by the Israel Defense Force after seizing the Ramallah compound last Friday are requests from the Al-Aksa Brigades, the military wing of Arafat's Fatah movement, for money to finance its terror attacks. The documents were found in the office of the Palestinian Authority's chief financial officer, Fouad Shoubaki, one of the key figures in the Karine A arms smuggling boat intercepted by Israel in January. The documents prove that Shoubaki continued to do "business as usual," even after his involvement in the smuggling attempt was discovered and Arafat pledged to investigate him, Israeli officials charged. Palestinians say the documents are forgeries.
Israeli officials also said that Israeli troops found stashes of counterfeit shekels and dollars, as well as plates to print money, in Arafat's Ramallah headquarters. According to Justice Minister Meir Sheetrit, the Palestinian Authority president is responsible for printing several million dollars and shekels in fake money, which could have been used to undermine Israel's already shaky economy, or to pay Palestinian terrorists operating in Israel, Israeli officials said.
U.S. Jews Attacked in Berlin
Several men attacked two Orthodox Jews in Berlin. German police said the men -- who were described as having a Middle Eastern appearance -- asked if the two Americans were Jews before pushing them to the ground on Sunday night. They suffered minor injuries. The attack came after German officials said they would increase security at Jewish sites following attacks on Jewish sites in Belgium and France, and following pressure from German Jewish leaders.
Meanwhile, The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations called on the leaders of France, Belgium and other countries in which there have been attacks against Jewish institutions "to act decisively to capture those responsible." They issued a statement Tuesday saying, "These assaults have been tolerated far too long and led to the escalation in both the seriousness and frequency of the attacks."
Activist's Family Threatened
The Brooklyn family of a Jewish activist who supports Yasser Arafat says it is getting death threats. The family of Adam Shapiro says it has gotten calls from people calling him a traitor, the "Jewish Taliban" and threatening to kill him and his family. Shapiro, who was in Arafat's Ramallah headquarters last Friday when it was taken over by Israeli forces, has been an outspoken member of a pro-Palestinian group voicing sympathy for the Palestinian Authority president.
Clinton Regrets Rich Pardon
Former President Bill Clinton said he regrets pardoning billionaire financier Marc Rich. Clintontold Newsweek magazine that he would not grant the pardon again "just for the politics." Rich fled the United States to Switzerland in 1983 after he had been indicted on 51 counts of tax evasion, racketeering and violating trade sanctions with Iraq. His attorneys launched a major initiative on his behalf, courting Israeli and American Jewish activists to impress Clinton with Rich's philanthropic activities. "It was terrible politics," Clinton said of the pardon. "It wasn't worth the damage to my reputation. But that doesn't mean the attacks were true."
Durban Anti-Semitism Condemned
The South African government condemned the anti-Semitism at last summer's anti-racism conference as "disgraceful." The nongovernmental conference was held in Durban last August, just before an official U.N. conference against racism. Jewish participants at the conference described the anti-Semitism there as the worst seen in public since the 1930s. Aziz Pahad, South Africa's deputy minister for foreign affairs, said at the recent annual conference of the South African Zionist Federation in Johannesburg that Muslim activists had taken over the Durban conference and turned it into an anti-Semitic event, according to the Israeli daily Ha'aretz.
11 Killed for Helping Israel
Palestinian gunmen killed 11 men suspected of helping Israel. Two masked Palestinian gunmen entered an intelligence building in the West Bank city of Tulkarm on Monday and killed eight men awaiting trial on charges of helping Israeli security forces, according to Palestinian witnesses. Three other Palestinians also accused of helping Israel were found shot dead elsewhere in the West Bank.
Briefs courtesy Jewish Telegraphic Agency