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September 15, 2005 - Image 32

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2005-09-15

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from page 31

14-2 not to raze 25 abandoned syna-
gogues in Gaza.
Palestinian officials reportedly were
upset that the decision put them in
the position of having to destroy the
synagogues or protect them.
On Monday, Palestinian rioters
torched several of the synagogues. The
Palestinian Authority said it was pow-
erless to stop the desecration by mobs
that rushed into the settlements after
Israeli forces left.
P.A. President Mahmoud Abbas
tried to play down the sight, televised
internationally, by noting that Israel
had removed all ritual items from the
synagogues before withdrawing. But
Israeli officials suggest the violence
and vandalism do not bode well for
future relations.
"The desecration of synagogues is
the barbaric act of a people that has
no respect for sacred sites," Foreign
Minister Silvan Shalom said.
Pointing to the Cabinet vote, Abbas
accused Israel of wanting the world to
see Palestinians desecrating the syna-
gogues. "This is a trap the Israelis are
trying to set for the P.A.," he said.
"They will use this to present
Palestinians as uncivilized."
The Palestinians further contend
that the occupation is not over, citing
Israel's continued control over which
people and goods are allowed in and
out of the coastal strip. For now, Israel
will continue to control Gaza's borders
and airspace, citing security concerns.
Shortly before the Israeli ceremony

Arafat's Death .A Mystery

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Jerusalem4TA — The mystery of
Yasser Arafat's death lives on.
After months of silence from the
Paris hospital where the Palestinian
Authority president died of an undis-
closed illness last November, two rep-
utable newspapers finally obtained his
medical records.
But the retrospective diagnoses
offered Sept. 8 by Ha'aretz and the
New York Times were remarkably dif-
"Doctors: Arafat Died of AIDS or
Was Poisoned" the Israeli daily blared
in a banner headline. By contrast, the
Times wrote, "Medical Records Say
Arafat Died From a Stroke."
Both papers had consulted eminent
medical experts, so their varying views
only served to perpetuate the schism
between conspiracy theorists — of
both pro-Arafat and anti-Arafat camps
— and Palestinian Authority, Israeli
and French officials who insist there
was no evidence of foul play.
"I hope that people will start refrain-
ing from continuing to target Arafat
after his death," said Saeb Erekat, who
served as a senior aide to the PLO chief
Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan
Shalom voiced the wish that "all of .

began, an exchange of gunfire between
Israeli soldiers and what appeared to
be Palestinian snipers was heard as sev-
eral hundred children from the neigh-
boring Palestinian town of Khan Yunis
tried to break down the fence that led
to the military command post.
Elsewhere, cranes gathered scrap
metal and soldiers burned refuse from
the former Neveh Dekalim settlement.
The smoldering trash sent plumes of
black smoke into the sky. The cement
bridge on a road built for Jewish set-
tlers lay smashed and broken. Piles of
cement rubble bulldozed by the army
lay where settler homes once stood,
surrounded by well-tended gardens.
Reserve Brig. Gen. Tsvi Poleg,
watching the military ceremony on
Sunday near the former Neveh
Dekalim site, said he hopes
Palestinians will focus their efforts on
state-building and less on Israel.
"The army can come back in" if
there are attacks, said Poleg, who
served as the commander of Gaza dur-
ing the first intifada. "But I hope the
Palestinians will invest their energy in
building their state and industry."
Halutz said he expects the
Palestinian Authority to control Gaza
in an orderly way and make sure that
militant groups do not attack the
Jewish state.
This is their true test. We will not
tolerate their ineptitude, turn a blind
eye to their failures or ignore acts of
terror. They will not be able to shirk
their responsibility," he said. 0

these fables and rumors be struck
from our agenda once and for all." He
was echoed by his French counterpart,
who was visiting Israel.
"One should always be careful with
publishing causes of death on the
front pages," said Philippe Douste-
Blazy, a former physician.
After two years in which his health
failed in trying conditions at his West
Bank compound, Arafat collapsed last
October and was airlifted to a hospital
outside Paris. He was pronounced dead
Nov. 11 following several days in which
conflicting reports had him either com-
atose or experiencing miracle recoveries.
His widow and heir, Suha, kept all
doctors' reports strictly under wraps.
To Palestinians embittered with
Israel's handling of Arafat and prone
to explaining political developments
with conspiracy theories, the poison-
ing theory had appeal.
To those bitter at Arafat's corruption
and intrigued by his long-distance
marriage to Suha — after decades in
which rumors swirled about his
homosexuality — AIDS seemed
equally likely.
Ha'aretz and the Times agree that
the Palestinian leader succumbed to
massive internal bleeding, and that it
is impossible to determine exactly
what infection caused it.

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