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December 19, 2003 - Image 22

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2003-12-19

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

After Saddam

Mixed Reaction

After capture of Saddam, Israelis joyful, Arab world mixed.

Arabs Ponder

DAN BARON
Jewish Telegraphic Agency

The Arab leaders who still battle Israel
were more circumspect. While
Palestinian Authority President Yasser
Ramat-Gan
Arafat, a longtime Saddam ally, mulled
fter surviving the Holocaust
an official reaction to the news of the
a nd five Middle East wars,
capture in Tikrit, Hamas and Islamic
Ze'ev is a hard man to
Jihad cautioned the West not to rejoice
mpress.
But news of Saddam Hussein's cap-
too soon.
"The Americans need to be the lords
ture managed to move the Israeli retiree
of the world by eradicating all resist-
to tears. "It is good to see Israel a little
ance against them," said Adnan Asfour,
bit safer," Ze'ev said in his hometown
a Hamas leader in the West Bank. "I
of Ramat-Gan as footage of the Iraqi
tyrant-turned-prisoner played on televi- say to the Iraqi people: Observe what
the Palestinian people do. Our leaders
sion screens at roadside snack stands.
are assassinated and arrested every day
Ramat-Gan, where Iraqi Jewish emi-
by the Israeli occupiers and that does
res
settled
en
masse
in
the
1950s,
ironi-
gres
cally was a main target of Saddam's Scud not stop us from continuing our fight."
In the Gaza Strip border town of
missiles in the 1991 Persian GI ilf War
Rafah, which sees almost daily fighting
The capture of the only Arab leader
between Palestinian gunrunners and
to perpetrate an unanswered strike
Israeli troops, a rally to mark the 16th
against the Jewish state generated an
anniversary of Hamas' funding quickly
upbeat reaction in Israel, buoying the
became a show of support for Saddam.
Tel Aviv Stock Exchange and resonat-
Children bore posters showing
ing at the Defense Ministry.
Saddam in better days: uniformed,
"The capture of the Iraqi dictator is
smiling, an unabashed patron of the
additional proof that the policies of the
free world, led by U.S. President George Palestinian cause.
Israeli strategic experts agreed that
W. Bush, are determined to bring to
while a quick trial and sentencing for
justice all terrorists responsible for
Saddam might calm Iraq, it was unlike-
killing, destruction and anarchy,"
ly to affect the Palestinian front.
Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz wrote in
Terrorist attacks against Israel contin-
a telegram to his American counterpart,
ued even though Saddam's payments to
Donald Rumsfeld.
the families of Palestinian suicide
On Dec. 14, Prime Minister Ariel
bombers stopped after he was deposed
Sharon also phoned Bush to offer con-
in March.
gratulations.

And unlike Saddam, Arafat still
enjoys the status of international states-
man in most places except Washington.
"What amazes me," said Yuval Steinitz,
chairman of the Knesset's Foreign
Affairs and Defense Committee, "is
that Saddam can now sit in shackles for
his support of terrorism, while archter-
rorist Arafat remains free."
Some experts warned of a surge in
violence by pan-Arab nationalists keen
to show they are not cowed by the loss
of a major figurehead. "Those normal
citizens who have taken up arms
against the Americans in Iraq, and the
Islamist extremists who have flocked to
help them, might well put up a last
fight," said Jacky Hugi, Arab affairs
correspondent for Israel's daily Ma'ariv.

.

Suing Saddam
Over Scuds

Jerusalem/JTA — The daughter of the
Israeli killed by Iraq's 1991 Scud missile
strikes on Israel wants Saddam Hussein
executed.
"I will go anywhere necessary, includ-
ing Iraq, in order to testify against him,
and I will ask to join the team investi-
gating this murderer," Smarlar
Weinberg, a lawyer from Metulla, told
Israel's Mdariv newspaper. "Until he is
dead, the score will not be settled."
Weinberg's father, Eitan Grondland,
was killed when a Scud slammed into
his home in Ramat-Gan in January
1991. Dozens of Israelis were hurt in

12/19
2003

22

the 39 Scud strikes during the Persian
Gulf War, but Grondland was the only
fatality.
Israeli officials intend to file suit for
damages from the missile attacks in any
war-crimes trial against Saddam.

Demographic Threat
Against Israel

Jerusalem/JTA — Benjamin Netanyahu
said the natural growth of Israeli Arabs
threatens the Jewish state.
"If Israel's Arabs reach 40 percent, the
Jewish state will be canceled out," the
finance minister told a security confer-
ence in Herzliya. He called for increased

Rub It In

The parallels between the Iraqi and
Palestinian fronts resonated recently
with revelations that Israel was export-
ing its hard-learned counterterrorist
tactics to U.S. forces operating in Iraq.
At least one Israeli analyst said he did
not approve of the broadcasting of the
videotape of Saddam undergoing a
medical inspection after his capture.
"It's humiliating and inappropriate,"
said Moti Kedar of Bar-Ilan University.
"You want to win over the Iraqis, not
rub their faces in it."
Palestinian Abdallah Abu-Hussein, a
40-year-old West Bank engineer, told

Jewish immigration to counteract the
trend.
Representatives of the Israeli Arab
community, which currently constitutes
18 percent of Israel's population, were
outraged. Mohammed Barakeh of the
Hadash Party called the remarks "lowly,
ugly racism."

Bush Brought
Peace Closer

Washington/JTA —Colin Powell says
Bush administration efforts have
"brought peace closer" between Israelis
and Palestinians.

Reuters, "I wish all Arab leaders would
be hanged, but not by the Americans
— by their own people, because they
are dictators."
Elsewhere in the Arab world, the
news of the capture initially was greeted
with disbelief. But as the news was con-
firmed, many expressed joy that
Saddam would never return to power
in Iraq.
Others seemed disappointed that he
had not fought back against his
American captors. "Saddam is a dicta-
tor and the Iraqi people suffered under
him, but on the other hand, it was
U.S. forces "that caught him,"
Mohammed Horani, a member of the
Palestinian Authority Parliament, said
in the Gaza Strip, according to the
Associated Press. "There will be a sense
of confusion in the public."
In Yemen, one man said he expected
Saddam to fight back. "I expected him
to resist or commit suicide before
falling into American hands," said
teacher Mohammed Abdel Qader
Mohammadi, 50. "He disappointed a
lot of us. He's a coward."
Others celebrated. "Saddam should
not be spared. He should get the death
penalty, which is the least he deserves,"
the AP quoted Rasheed al-Osaimi, a
22-year-old Saudi student, as saying.

In an article in the Foreign Affairs
Jourruzh the U.S. secretary of state reacts
to critics who say the Bush administra-
tion didn't try hard enough to resolve
the conflict during the president's first
two years in office.
"To many, more active meant spend-
ing presidential and secretarial capital on
state visits and photo opportunities, as if
nearly a decade of such activity had not
already been tried without managing to
resolve the conflict," Powell wrote. "But
diplomacy can take more appropriate
forms."
He noted the creation, together with
international partners, of the road-map
peace plan and the emergence of new
Palestinian leadership under American
pressure.

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