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August 27, 2010

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PAGE 22A Talks From page 1A moratorium, thereby sus- taining Arab support for U.S. policies. This support is seen as important as Washington attempts to juggle emerging crises in the region, includ- ing Iraq's vexed attempts to set up a government and Iran's accelerating nuclear ambitions. President Obama also wants a process under way before November, when his Democratic Party is likely to face a tough battle at the ballot boxes during midterm congressional elections. For Netanyahu, the talks are away to demonstrate that his government is interested in pursuing peace with the Palestinians. Among the Palestinian leadership, however, there are deep concerns that Washington and Jerusalem are more interested in the appearance of talks than in getting down to the nitty- gritty of the final-status issues. Israel has resisted Palestinian demands to dis- cuss final-status issues and opposes any deadline for a resolution. and basis for negotiations, and they will do so when they meet and discuss these mat- ters," George Mitchell, the top U.S. the region, said in the news conference announcing the invitations. "As you know. both we and the Quartet have previously said that the negotiations should be without precon- ditions." The Quartet is the grouping that guides the Middle East peace process: the United States. Russia, The discrepancies be- the European Union and the tween the two sides were evident in the delicate way U.S. officials tried to treat the issue of preconditions to the talks. "Only the parties can de~: termine terms of reference United Nations. Yet in launching the news conference, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton seemed to say that both of the elements Israel is resist- ing indeed would be on the s no place like It's the officlal source of federal and state government informatiorl. It can make you as all-knowing as the Wizard of Oz. 1 {800) FED-INFO A public service message from the U.S. General Services Administration, PAVILION Where Hospitality is Truly a Way of Life! 1301 W. Maitland Blvd. Maitland, FL 32751 (Located one block from I~, near the Jewish Community Center) 407-645-3990 www. Assisted Living Facility License No. 8447. Skilled Nursing Facility 1635096 table: Final-status issues and a deadline. "On behalf of the United States government, I've in- vited Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Abbas to meet on Sept. 2 in Washing- ton, D.C. to re-launch direct negotiations to resolve all final-status issues, which we believe can be completed within one year," Clinton said. Was that a deadline, a reporter asked Mitchell? Not quite, he said, adding. "We believe it can be done within a year and that is our objective." Then there is the matter of U.S. involvement. Mitch- ell insisted that the talks would be bilateral, ostensibly diminishing the U.S. role. He said the United States was ready to offer "bridging proposals'~---the formula- tions that negotiating sides request from a moderator when talks hit a snag. But the way he put it suggested that the United States might offer such proposals even if the sides do not request them. "This is a direct bilateral negotiation with the active and sustained support of the United States," he said. "And we will make bridging HERIT&GE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, AUGUST 27, 2010 proposals at such time as we deem necessary andap- propriate." The determined. active voice he used was not unintentional: Mitchell later repeated the phrase. The Palestinians have been pressing for a more active U.S. role, saying that it would help balance Israel's stronger hand as an estab- lished state with a powerful military. Israel would rather deal directly with the Pal- estinians, preferring not to countenance an active U.S. role that conceivably could exacerbate already delicate Israeli relations with the United States. Not surprisingly, then, the statement from Netan- yahu's office welcoming the renewed talks--which came immediately after the announcement did not mention final-status issues, deadlines or U.S. interven- tion. "The prime minister has been calling for direct nego- tiations for the past year and a half," the statement said. "He was pleased with the American clarification that the talks would be without preconditions." The Palestinian Author- ity's response to the an- nouncement of the talks was less than enthusiastic. It took till the end of last Friday for them to welcome the invitation to talks, and Pat- estinian leaders later warned that if Israel's 10-month settlement freeze is allowed to expire in late September, the talks are off. Netanyahu's statement did not say What he intends to do about the freeze. Israeli officials reportedly have told their U.S~ counterparts that Netanyahu would not be able to sustain the moratorium on settlement building with- out the cover of peace talks. Similarly, the Arab League, which this summer provided much needed cover to Mah- moud Abbas in approving the peace talks, fieeds the negotiations as cover to maintain its support of the United States. Both Mitchell and the Quartet made it clear that they expected the settlement moratorium to be extended. "Our position on settle- ments is well-known and remains unchanged," Mitch- ell said. "We've always made clear that the parties should promote an environment that is conducive to nego- tiations." History From page 1A Detention Center Museum south of Haifa. "This is an interesting piece of history that was important to the founding of the State of Israel and the survival of the Jewish people," said Israel, "but it's never been publicly brought to the attention of the Jewish people." The period of 1943-1948 saw more than 122,000 dedication of the Galina~ people sail from Europe and Arab countries in an attempt to reach Israel's shores. Because of the British Man- date's severe restrictions on Jewish immigration, these Holocaust survivors and Jews fleeing persecution in Arab countrieswere detained on Israeli soil at the Atilt "Illegal" Immigrant Deten- reach their homeland. Israel. a JNF Orlando board member, was approached by JNF when it was decided that a crucial piece of the story of the "illegal immigrants" was missing at Atilt--the story of how the refugees got there. Donating the boat was a know whether it would be water or gas coming out of the showers." The Atilt Museum is an ed- ucational venue for students from Israel, passing on this story of Israel's heritage from one generation to another. The Galina is an interactive natural choice for Israel. who "living" boat, complete with became interested in boating video monitors displaying- | at a young age in Boston. interviews of people describ- He recently attended the ing the exper.ience, racks accompanied by his wife, children, grandchildren, and friends: The ceremony was attended by the Chief Rabbi of Israel and some of the original detainees. "Listening to people who were ma'apilim at Atilt was very moving," said Israel. "These people were coming from concentration camps throughout the boat to show how 600-800 people were tightly packed on board, and computer-simulated waves. to give visitors the feel of the boat rocking. This unusual exhibit will undoubtedly be a highlight for visitors to the Atilt Museum. "I encourage anyone who goes to Israel to visit Atlit." said Israel. "No one knows the tion Camp. These buildings, and thrown into new camps.~ suffering that these people representing the struggle They weren't persecuted, went through. There are | for a Jewish State, have they were fed and clothed, ongoing tours that narrate been transformed into an but they were sleeping cot the camp experience. It's educational heritage site that after cot, prison-style. There a dynamic experience that tells the story of the Jewish was a huge fear of taking you'll never forget once you people's determination to showers because they didn't see it." Majdanek From page 4A they are dead. One can sumed there and elsewhere Let everyone hear the steps, which flow as tears, The steps that measure out the judgment." I saw a mountain Higher than Mt. Blanc And more Holy than the Mountain of Sinai. The shoes of Majdanek are rotting. They smell. The rot and the smell viscerally illustrate the distance that stands between that time and our time. They bear wit- ness to the erosion of time, which we want to decouple from the erosion of memory. In a barracks adjacent to the barracks housing the shoes, the visitor files past the uniforms of men and women, even of children who lived in this camp, who died in this camp. Human beings once wore those uniforms and those shoes: once. they were alive: now. sense their absence; the visitor must imagine their presence. How did the shoes and uniforms arrive at Maj- danek? Majdanek was the place where the warehouses from Aktion Reinhard (Opera- tion Reinhard, the Nazis' code name for their plan to exterminate Polish Jewry) were located, where the clothing and valuables taken from the prisoners were collected, sorted and stored, and shipped back into Germany. The death camp was also the headquarters .for the destruction of regional ghettos and the place of supervision for the Aktion Reinhard camps Sobibor, Belzec and Treblinka. So much was lost in the fire--the material remains of the people who were con- by fire, and whose burial place was the sky. I cried when I heard of the flames that consumed those shoes, and then I thought again. Perhaps after 66 years of bearing witness to the hell fire, the shoes made of fiber and leather--were reunited with the grandfathers and grandchildren fromParis. Prague and Amsterdam, the men. women and children of fleshand blood. Michael Berenbaum is a professor of Jewish studies and director of the Sigi Zier- ing Institute: Exploring the Ethical and Religious Im- plications of the Holocaust at the American Jewish University in Los Angeles. He was the project director for the creation of the U.S. Holocaust Museum and is the former diredtor of its - research institute.