Thursday, December 01, 2005

Primo Levi’s masterpiece in Paris theatre

From European Jewish Press, By Rebecca Assoun in Paris, Updated: 8/Nov/2005 13:19...

An adaptation of a classic Holocaust-era autobiography by Italian Jewish author Primo Levi is impressing audiences at a Paris theatre.

Although “Se questo e un uomo” (If this is a man) was roundly ignored when it was first published in 1947, the work was later seen by literary experts as one of the major works of the 20th century. The story has now been adapted for theatre by Patrick Olivier, a French Jewish actor and director....

Warning for the future
‘If this is a Man,’ tells of Levi’s experiences as a victim of the Holocaust, from his arrest by the fascists in 1943 to the liberation of Auschwitz by the Russians.

Olivier said he chose to transmit the testimony both out of duty not to forget Holocaust and as an appeal for vigilance amongst the younger generation.

A chemist of learning, Levi was born in Turin in 1919. He committed suicide in the Italian city in 1987. “Primo explained that Holocaust represented absolute evil and a breaking point of our civilisation,” Olivier told EJP.

“We must realise that when Hitler and Mussolini spoke in public, people believed them and admired them as Gods,” he added. Levi, a Jewish intellectual and Auschwitz survivor, describes the dehumanization, depersonalization and extermination process led by the Nazis.

“The sole fact that Auschwitz existed should prohibit anyone today from pronouncing the word providence,” Levi wrote.

Critical acclaim
“Levi’s text speaks for itself and we leave the play shaken and outraged and the loud voice of Olivier still resonates in me,” said one audience member....(his) son added: “There are not many books like ‘If this is a man’ .... I only wish this work will be used as a perpetual warning for everyone.”

“In these troubled times, this play adapted by Olivier must be hailed because it acts as an alarm for youths. Conscientiousness can be derailed and darken again. Ours too. The danger is still present because what happened may happen again.”

Dahaf poll shows that Likud has lost ground

From Ynet News (with opinion expurgated) First Published: 11.30.05, 08:15; Latest Update: 11.30.05, 10:17 ...

Likud down to 10 Knesset seats in new Dahaf Institute survey, while Shas gains 11 seats; Sharon wins with 34 seats, Labor up to 27

Attila Somfalvi

The Likud would gain only 10 Knesset seats were the elections held today, according to a new poll conducted by the Dahaf Institute headed by Dr. Mina Tzemach and published Wednesday ....

In last week's Dahaf poll , the Likud received 13 Knesset seats.

... Shas ...poll(s) with 11 Knesset seats.

... Peretz receives 27 seats in the poll, while Sharon wins with 34 seats for his new party Kadima. Each of them has gained one more seat compared to last week's poll.

...the poll's findings (means) that Sharon and Peretz will be able to form a national unity government after the elections with 61 Knesset seats and with no need for a coalition with other parties.

...the ultra-orthodox parties (would) gain six seats, while Shinui ...only five seats (compared to six in last week's poll). Yisrael Our Home, Meretz-Yahad and the National Union also receive five seats each. The National Religious Party receives 4 seats, and the Arab parties gain 8 seats altogether.

The poll was conducted among 500 respondents, who constitute a representative sample of Israel's adult population. The maximal sampling error is four percent....

Is Russia going soft on Iran?

From DEBKAfile November 30, 2005, 11:29 PM (GMT+02:00) :

Does the abrupt sacking of Russian nuclear energy minister signal a turnaround in Moscow`s policy on Iran’s nuclear program?

Washington and Jerusalem are disturbed by the abrupt firing of Alexander Rumyantsev as head of the Russian Agency for Atomic Energy, Rosatom, a job he held four years. Russian president Vladimir Putin offered no explanation for his replacement by a former Russian prime minister, Sergei Kiriyenko, who has no experience in the nuclear energy field.

DEBKAfile’s sources in Washington and Moscow report the sacked minister was trusted by the US and Israeli governments to stand firm against letting Iran have Russian technological assistance for building a nuclear weapon. Rumyantsev, who is Jewish, was also trusted by Israeli officials concerned with Iran’s nuclear activities, after Iran was obliged on his initiative to return the fuel rods from the Russian-built atomic reactor in Bushehr.

US and Israeli officials fear that Rumyantsev’s dismissal means that Putin is reviewing Moscow’s nuclear relations with Tehran and may be contemplating putting them on a less restrictive basis. So far this is only surmise.

Also Wednesday, November 30, AMAN chief, Aharon Zeevi warned: “If by the end of March 2006, the international community has still not managed to apply the brakes to Iran’s race for a nuclear bomb, it might as well give up on its diplomatic efforts and admit failure.”

DEBKAfile’s Moscow sources report that Tehran took steps in recent months to damage Rumyantsev’s reputation. Russian auditors discovered that over a long period the Iranians had tendered inflated invoices for Bushehr projects that were never executed. Moscow refunded the sums to avoid a crisis, but found it was incurring losses. Tehran then promised the minister to compensate the Russians for their losses with fresh contracts for building additional reactors in Iran. The Iranians reneged on this promise and instead negotiated the contracts with China.

The face of an enemy

This man is threatening the next war, in the next few months...

Khaled Mashaal, leader of Hamas

Hamas will end "truce"

From Jerusalem Post, Nov. 30, 2005 21:59 Updated Nov. 30, 2005 22:19 By ASSOCIATED PRESS

The political leader of the Palestinian terror group Hamas on Wednesday said it would not renew a truce with Israel when it expires at the end of the year and accused the Jewish state of violating the agreement that reduced violence.

"All circumstances on the ground, the regional political atmosphere and the Palestinian situation are not encouraging to renew the truce," Khaled Mashaal told The Associated Press in a telephone interview in Damascus. "Hamas is not going to renew the truce because Israel did not abide by the conditions of the truce."

.... The government of President Hosni Mubarak has invited all groups to Cairo to talk about extending the cease-fire for another year. Hamas last week asked Egypt to delay talks on renewing the truce until after Palestinian parliamentary elections in January.

Mashaal said Hamas "will never abandon any Palestinian right and will not recognize the legitimacy of occupation whatsoever. This is a fundamental principle of the group." His response was to a question about Hamas accepting a two-state solution, with Israelis and Palestinians living side by side in autonomous countries.

Mashaal rejected US calls for Hamas to disarm and join the political process, saying this was not possible while Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory continued. "The resistance must go hand in hand with political work," he said. "It is not accepted to pressure the resistance to choose between resistance and politics."

Hamas, meanwhile, published its list for the upcoming Palestinian parliamentary elections. The list includes senior leaders Mahmoud A-Zahar, Ismail Haniya and Hassan Youssuf.
Among the candidates, according to the group, are prisoners [incarcerated in Israel], Christians and women, including the widow of former group leader Abdel Aziz Rantisi, who was gunned by an Israeli helicopter gun ship in April, 2004.

Peres joins Sharon

From Jerusalem Post Nov. 30, 2005 2:35 Updated Nov. 30, 2005 22:39 By GIL HOFFMAN AND JPOST.COM STAFF ...

Peres: Sharon only leader who can lead Israel to peace

After 61 years in the Labor party and a record 46 years in the Knesset, Shimon Peres announced on Wednesday evening that he was quitting party politics. 'My political party activities have come to an end... I intend to dedicate the next several years to the effort of bringing peace to our region,' Peres announced during a press conference he convened in his Tel Aviv office.

In his statement, Peres said that the current political setup could not lead to Mideast peace, and a new team was needed. "I believe the most qualified person to head this coalition, based on the test of experience, is Arik Sharon," he said, referring to Sharon by his nickname...."During recent talks with Sharon," Peres added, "I reached the conclusion that Sharon was adamant about implementing his agenda and will start doing so immediately after the elections. Sharon is serious about achieving peace."

..."When I spoke with Sharon, we discussed the creation of a regional triangle of Israel, the PA and Jordan that would enjoy a special status in the European Union. We also spoke about the importance of opening a dialogue with the US to ensure the safety of the region from the Iranian nuclear threat and from rampant terrorism," he said.

His decision to leave Labor drew a number of negative responses from across the political spectrum....

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

As Plain As...

From Cox and Forkum 28/11/05...

Crossing the floor

From DEBKAfile, Political Analysis, Espionage, Terrorism Security:

Senior Labor lawmaker, Dalia Itzik, Monday night followed Shimon Peres out of Labor and crossed over to Sharon's Kadima party
November 28, 2005, 11:17 PM (GMT+02:00)

Shimon Peres decides to cross the floor from Labor to Sharon's Kadima
November 27, 2005, 11:11 PM (GMT+02:00)

Peres will not formally join Kadima, but attach himself to Sharon's new venture. If the prime minister wins the March 28 election and forms the next government, he will name Peres as a kind of peace envoy to lead future negotiations with the Palestinians on the future of the West Bank.

Last week, the former vice premier Shimon Peres told the new Labor leader Amir Peres he did not plan to leave the party. Sunday, Nov. 27, while declaring himself still undecided, he has in fact finalized terms with prime minister Ariel Sharon. Peres will not formally join Kadima, but attach himself to Sharon’s new venture.

This will happen in either of two ways:
1. A senior cabinet appointment. If the prime minister wins the March 28 election and forms the next government, he will name Peres as a kind of peace envoy to lead future negotiations with the Palestinians on the future of the West Bank. This fits in with Sharon’s declared intention to continue the pullbacks and evacuations he began in the Gaza Strip.
2. Twenty-eight years ago, the late Menahem Begin pulled Moshe Dayan over from the Labor party as his foreign minister for peace negotiations with Egypt. Sharon and Peres are duplicating that exercise. Sharon is signaling his intention of signing peace and drawing Israel’s final borders. Peres is offering himself up as the only pragmatic statesman capable of bringing this goal to fruition. He lacks electoral support but seeks this missing element from the founder of Kadima.

Sharon is banking on this partnership and plan to leave Peretz’s social-economic-focused campaign in the dust. He and Peres believe Peretz was caught short by his victory and unready both with the machine for a national campaign and a broad platform that covers vital defense and foreign policy issues. They also believe that, by following in Begin’s footsteps, they will rebut Binyamin Netanyahu’s declaration that he represents “the real Likud” while Sharon is a defector.

Hevron Explosion

Arutz Sheva - Israel National News: 21:03 Nov 28, '05 / 26 Cheshvan 5766

( Authorities report the explosion heard near the Cave of the Machpela a short time ago was the result of a terrorist bomb detonated at Beit Merkachat Junction. There are no reports of injuries. Soldiers are engaged in a pursuit of the terrorist.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Israel: EU report may hurt relations

From Jerusalem Post Nov. 27, 2005 0:31 Updated Nov. 27, 2005 8:20 By TOVAH LAZAROFF ...

An unofficial European Union draft report which fails to recognize Israel's right to a 'united capital' could harm the newly warming relations with Europe, Israeli officials warned on Saturday.

'It would damage the new friendship we have with the EU,' said a senior government official.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev deplored the unbalanced draft policy statement on east Jerusalem, calling it a 'throwback to the past,' and explained that if it were approved it 'would have repercussions on the way we perceive the European involvement here,' he said.

...The draft report of an analysis on east Jerusalem, being prepared for policy adoption by the EU's External Relations Council at its December 12 meeting, was obtained by The Jerusalem Post on Friday as the EU participated in the opening of the border crossing at Rafah.

...The report refers to the Jerusalem neighborhoods of Ramot, French Hill, East Talpiot, Gilo, Pisgat Ze'ev, and Har Homa as "illegal settlements."

...The report also focuses solely on Palestinian issues regarding east Jerusalem and does not honor any Israeli claims to it or Israel's declaration that it is building the security barrier to prevent terrorist attacks. The report noted that the construction was in defiance of the 2004 ruling of the International

...The draft report alleged that Israel's activities in east Jerusalem "are in violation of both the road map obligations and international law." It warned that Israeli actions "are reducing the possibility of reaching a final status agreement on Jerusalem and demonstrate a clear Israeli intention to turn the annexation of east Jerusalem into concrete fact."
EU officials on Friday refused to confirm the document's authenticity or to comment specifically on the draft itself. But the document is widely believed to be a draft of the EU's report on east Jerusalem.

Emma Udwin, spokeswoman for EU External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner, told the Post on Friday that the EU has long been concerned about east Jerusalem, and made a statement to that effect at its council meeting last week. She added that the EU "feels very strongly that while everyone is thinking about Gaza that we do not lose sight of east Jerusalem" and the problems created by the route of the "separation barrier" as well as Israel's continued "settlement activity." She said that 25 foreign ministers belong to the council. "You have to conclude that 25 foreign ministers on Monday reached these conclusions because these are serious issues that need to be addressed."...