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February 13, 2009

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HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, FEBRUARY 13, 2009 l Egypt's position on Gaza war aroused Arab anger By Sheldon Kirshner Canadian Jewish News Egypt--the firstArab coun- try to establish diplomatic relations with Israel has played avital role as a mediator in efforts to stabilize Israel's often tense border with the Gaza Strip. Egypt performed this role before and during the recent war, and is doing so agam following Israel's withdrawal from Gaza. The pro-western Egyptian government was instrumen- tal in persuading Israel and Humus.which violently seized Gaza from the rival Fatah movement in June 2007, to agree to a six-month ceasefire last summer. Egypt's negotia- tor, Omar Suleiman, warned Humus that it risked an Israeli invasion if the truce collapsed. When Humus declined to renew the shaky truce .unless Israel reopened its border crossings and lifted its economic blockade, Israel's foreign minister. Tzipi Livni. conferred with President Hosni Mubarak, warning him that Israel could no longer tolerate the Hamas rocket and mortar barrages. PAGE 5A Wilfully ignoring the writ- ing on the wall. Hamas stepped up its bombardment of Israeli communities adja- cent to Gaza, provoking Israel to launch Operation Cast Lead on Dec. 27. The first phase took the form of massive air at- tacks against Humus' military and political infrastructure, while the second resulted in a long-postponed ground invasion. With a full-scale war rag- ing, Egypt, in concert with France, conveyed a truce pro- posal to the combatants under which Israel and Humus would abide by an immediate short- term ceasefire and the border crossings would be opened for humanitarian aid. In-the interval, Egypt would work for a more durable ceasfire. Egypt's proposal was still- born. Humus would not accept a truce unless Israel pulled its army out of Gaza imme- diately. Israel insisted that border crossmgs couldnot be opened until an agree- ment was reached on sup- pressing arms smuggling and preventing Hamas from rearming. Israel also insisted that Gilad Shalit--an Israeli soldier kidnapped by Humus in Jtme 2006--would have to be released from captivity. These disagreements were exacerbated by Egypt's objec- tion to stationing an inter- national peacekeeping force on its side of the border with Gaza. Given the impasse, Israel declared a unilateral ceasefire on Jan. 19, while Humus fol- lowed suit 12 hours later. Although both sides by- passed Egypt by declaring separate truces, they remain dependent on Egyptian good- will and diplomacy. No sooner had the three- week war ended than Egypt invited representatives from Israel and Humus for ceasefire talks in Cairo. Israel is seeking a stable truce thatwili be underpinned by a new mechanism to stop arms smuggling from Egypt through :tunnels along the Philadelphi Corridor. This is of the utmost im- portance to Israel. Before Israel's unilateral withdrawal from Gaza in 2005, Humus smuggled severaltons of arms and munitions, mainly from Iran, into Gaza every year. Once Humus gained control of Gaza in its showdown with Fatah. the figure rose to 100 tons per annum. During the recent war. Israeli aircraft destroyed a great many of the tunnels, but Palestinians began to rebuild them once the Israeli army pulled out of Gaza. Egypt has promised to crack down on arms smuggling, if only out of self-interest. The Egyptians are wary of Humus' Islamic radicalism and fear that its links with Egypt's homegrown.Muslim Brother- hood are subversive. Israel appreciates Egypt's promise, but is skeptical about whether Cairo will fol- low through. Israel has not forgotten that Egypt's prewar record of interdicting the flow of military equipment from the Sinai Peninsula into Gaza was less than satisfactory and, indeed, a source of tension between the two countries. According to reports, Israel has taken a favorable view of Egypt's request to increase its border patrol force from 750 to 2,250 troops. Israel's chief negotiator, Amos Gilad. has reportedly discussed this issue with Suleiman, but by last week, itwas far from resolved. Some Israeli observers, such as Bar-Ilan University scholars Efraim Inbar and Mordechai Kedar. have yet to be convinced that Egypt, which occupied Gaza from 1949 to 1967 and maintains correct but cool relations with Israel, is sincerely interested in endingweapons smuggling across its porous border. As they put it, "Israel would be foolish to expect that the Egyptians will act decisively and significantly.... An impor- tant implication of this real- ity is that we must maintain freedom of action to bomb tunnels along the Philadelphi Corridor, or recapture it." Egypt's sincerity on arms smuggling maybe question- able, but observers generally agree that Egypt adopted a fairly balanced policy during the war in Gaza. Just as Egypt blamed He- zbollah for igniting the 2006 war in Lebanon, so Egypt held Humus responsible for starting the fighting in Gaza. Mubarak condemned Israel for its "'savage aggression." yet refused to break ties with Israel, as Qatar, .Mauritania. Venezuela and Bolivia did. When the war erupted, Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Gheit lashed out at Hamas. saying it had foolishly ignored warnings to cease its rocket and mortar fire at Israel. The National Democratic Party, which has ruled Egypt for decades in an authori- tarian fashion, denounced Humus, accusing it of flouting Egypt's advice to maintain the truce with Israel. "Instead, Humus dealt with the situation in a spirit of adventurism and irrespon- sibility, without taking into account the consequences of its positions," the party said in a blistering communique. AI-Ahram, the Egyptian newspaper, took a similarly tough line in an editorial. Lambasting Humus and liken- ing Israel to a wolf, A1-Ahram thundered,"If you can't kill the wolf, don't pull its tail." As expected, Egypt's anti- Humus rhetoric was de- nounced throughout the Egypt o  page 19A World must speak out against Chavez By Daniel S. Mariaschin Elders of Zion," the anti- raeli incursion in Gaza to the thatlsraelwithdrewfromGaza and other Arab leaders. But signed a petition decrying his Semitictract--proven tobe a Holocaust. These disingenu- in 2005 in order to be able to Chavez's recent anti-Israel comparison of Israeli actions WASHINGTON (JTA) It forgery--thatclaimsaJewish ousandirresponsibleremarks attacktheareaandgetridofall statements, and the weekend to the Holocaust. is increasingly unsafe to be a plot to rule the world. Dur- have placed the Jewish people the Palestinians. He calls Israel synagogue attack, are not In their protest letter to Jew in Venezuela. mg the Gaza conflict, large in Venezuela in a situation of "the murderous arm of the entirely surprising. Chavez Chavez. the Holocaust schol- The latest example of the swastikas connected to Stars tremendous vulnerability. United States" and claims that has always been able to capi- ars cite a 2008 U.S. State growinghostilitytowardJews of David by an equals sign In December, Chavez and theCIAandIsrael'sintelligence talize on the anti-American Department report that lists cameonJan.30.whenaCara- were painted on synagogues his foreign minister, Nicolas unit.Mossad.assassinatedPLO sentiment prevailing in the "drawing comparisons ofcon- cassynagoguewasvandalized andotherbuildingsassociated Maduro, made incendiary leader Yasser Arafat in order to region, andattackingIsrael temporary Israeli policy to that by armed perpetrators who with the Jewish community, statements about the situa- divide the Palestinian people, a staunch U.S. ally provides - of the Nazis" as an example of threwTorahscrollsandprayer These alarming trends, tion in the Gaza Strip that Chavezalsoassertsthatthe the perfect opportunity, anti-Semitism.TheHolocaust booksonthe floor, andwrote including the attack on the culminated in the expulsion United States would like to His manipulation of the scholars asked Chavez to on the walls "We don't want synagogue, are a direct result of the Israeli ambassador from have "other Israels" in Latin factsofthe Israeli-Palestinian "retract your comparisons of Jews here" and"Jews get out." of the atmosphere that Vene- Caracas more evidence of America to attack the Latin conflict also unmasks his Israel to the Nazis and refrain This latest anti-Semitic act zuelanPresigentHugoChavez Chavez's extreme ideology. American people, and that it long alliance with Iran, the from making any such corn- demonstrates once again the is cultivating and reflect the Without making any seri- shouldnotbeallowedtodoso, world's largest state sponsor parisons in the future." vulnerability of Jews in Ven- degree to which he has made ous analysis of the context People may wonder why of terrorism, as well as his It would seem naive to ezuela. Over the last few years, amockeryofhiscommitment of the Gaza conflict or even thepresidentofVenezuela a profound sympathy for the expect Chavez to renounce Venezuelan Jews have been last year with the presidents mentioning Humus' years country that is so far from the Iranian regime's extreme his views. But his insidious increasingly the target of ever of Brazil and Argentina to of terrorist attacks against Middle East.andwhereJewish anti-Zionistandanti-Semitic remarks must be publicly bolder anti-Semitic attacks, combat anti-Semitism. Israel. the Chavez regime andArab minorities have tra- agenda. Chavez and his ally, denouncedlestanyone, world Anti-Israel news is in abun- Chavezisincitinghatredby called Israel a "'genocidal" ditionatlyhadapeacefulcoex- Iranian President Mahmoud leaderorworld citizens.think dance on Venezuelan state- singlingoutJewsinVenezuela state that'is.willingly attack- istence even has a position Ahmadinejad, share a fright- his remarks are acceptable. controlled television and from their countrymen. The ing the "peaceful, unarmed on the conflict in Gaza. one eningworldview. To remain silent is to be radio stations, which have Venezuelan leader publicly and defenseless Palestinians." that is more anti-Israel than Chavez's recent remarks complicit. been featuring excerpts from urgedJewstostandupagainst Shamelessly manipulating the positions of the president on the Gaza situation drew Daniel S. Mariaschin is "The Protocols ofthe Learned Israel and compared the Is- history,,Chavez dares to say of the Palestinian Authority protests from 75 scholars executive vice-president of from all over the world who B'uaiB'rith International. Letters To The Editor ta0000n, bywar. Itisthecry ofhatred DrT Bones boys die unspeakabledeaths and prejudice for all children 'TIO o o. HERITAGE welcomes and encourages let- due to the choices of those in who fall victim to it. fJT J N ] [ IT CA  ters to the editor, but they must be typed poweratthetime.Buttheydie The novel"The Boy in the CArD,ATE Av00OR l I THE V01" or printed and include name and phone hand in hand in friendship, Striped Pajamas" by John number. We will withhold your name if which transcends the hate Boyne is wonderful, and the  J  [ ] " 1 A 'r you so request. Please limit letters to 250 they are facing, movie is a beautiful depic- [tTtCAL[-Y IN . J words.Due to space limitations, we reserve 1_ the right to edit letters. Send letters to P.O. Ifthe story makes one cry, it tion of it.  h, , Box 300742, Fern Park, FL 32730. should be the cry of mistreat- Jennifer Boggs Or e-mail to ment of all children affected Orlando "-',) ) The Boy in the Striped Pajamas Media ,unfair .to Israel Dear Editor: agricultural knowledge with Dear Editor: story told from the point of Israel bombs UNschool developing countries around I begin my letter with a view of a small German boy, Remember that screaming the world. They "forget" to spoiler alert. If you have not who happens to be the son headline? Too bad it wasn't mention that Israel risks its read the novel, "The Boy in the of a Nazi Commandant. He true. And those "missing" soldiers'livesbysendingthem Striped Pajamas, "you may not does not understand the world humanitarian aids supplies? into dangerous situations on want to readwhat I havewrit- he has been thrown into any Turns out they were actually foot, just to minimize the ten here. I read in the Heritage more than any Jewish child at stolen by Hulas. The United number of civilian casualties. recently [Letters to the Editor, the time would have. Through Nations just admitted these And they "forget" to mention Jan. 30. 2009] a letter about his eyes we see the horrors things, buts0mehowitwasn't how Israel warns civilians to the movie based on the book of the concentration camps, newsworthy enough for the leaveanareasoontobeunder 0o I mentioned above. I was so Through his friendship with front-page headline, fire. Why is none of this men- troubled by the letter that I a Jewish boy, whom he meets This is pretty typical of tioned on the front page? The felt I had to write, across a barbed wire fence, we the media bias against Israel. back page? In tiny little print I feel I know this story see the confusion and terror They"forget"tomentionallof that can only be seen with a quite well, since I have read of this most horrifying time the Israeli doctors who treat microscope? Nothing. Iguess the novel several times and in history. Neither boy under- Palestinians,lincluding those making Israel look bad sells have seen the movie twice, stands the scope and power terrorists who were injured more newspapers. I am shocked that the story of what it happening to him. while, trying! to kill Israelis. Miriam Sernik can in any way be considered Neither of them is responsible They forget I to mention that 13 years old anti-Semitic. It is a beautiful for the terrible turns their Israel shares its medical and Altamonte Springs