Newsdesk August 26, 2005

U.N. Slammed on Banners

Members of Congress and Jewish groups are demanding explanations from the United Nations over the use of United Nations Development Programme funds for the preparation of inflammatory banners by the Palestinian Authority in Gaza.

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the Florida Republican who chairs the House Subcommittee on the Middle East, sent a letter to United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan demanding an investigation into the matter. Other members of Congress also protested this week, arguing that U.N. funds should not be used for political propaganda.

The UNDP acknowledged that agency funds were used by Palestinians to prepare banners celebrating Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza, including ones that said: “Today Gaza and Tomorrow the West Bank and Jerusalem.” International media cameras caught pictures of the banners, which carried UNDP logos.

Boaz Paldi, a spokesman for the UNDP in New York, said that the use of UNDP funds in this case was a mishap that is being investigated in order to make sure it does not recur. He emphasized that the banners were not produced in UNDP’s offices in Gaza and said that the agency was not notified by the Palestinian Authority about the use of its logo on the banners. He said the agency is committed to its charter, which prohibits any involvement in political issues.

Settler Memorial Panned

Anti-withdrawal rabbis have triggered uproar in Israel with a plan to establish a Yad Vashem-style memorial to the Gaza pullout. Rabbis David Druckman and Shalom Wolpa said Wednesday that should their museum bear the same name as the famed Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem, it would be a testament to the “crime” of the evacuation of 9,000 settlers from Gaza and the northern West Bank.

Yad Vashem denounced the plan as “outrageous,” as did Yosef Lapid, a Holocaust survivor who heads the secular Shinui Party. It was not clear when the settler memorial is to be inaugurated or who will fund its construction.

Al Qaeda Claims Attack

Al Qaeda claimed responsibility for last week’s rocket attack in a Jordanian Red Sea port. “Your brothers in the Al Qaeda organization in Iraq have been planning the Aqaba raid for a while,” the group’s Iraqi chapter said in an Internet statement Tuesday, referring to the Jordanian port where U.S. Navy vessels were targeted. “The rockets were fired at their targets, a group of ships belonging to the crusader American forces.” No American personnel were hurt in the August 19 salvo, as the three Katyusha rockets overshot their targets. One rocket landed over the border in Israel, striking the runway of the Eilat airport. Jordanian authorities have made arrests in the case.

Bomber Sentenced to Life

Eric Rudolph, a follower of an antisemitic Christian philosophy, was sentenced to life in prison for a series of bombings in the southeastern United States. Rudolph, who admitted to bombing the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta and several other sites, was sentenced Monday for the attacks, which killed two people and injured hundreds. He is a follower of Christian Identity, and in 1984 he spent four months in Missouri at a camp for followers. He told relatives that he hated Jews, complaining of their presence on television, and he espoused Holocaust-denial rhetoric in high school. Rudolph attacked several women’s clinics, including one that performed abortions, and a gay nightclub.

Publisher Indicted

The former publisher of The Jerusalem Post, F. David Radler, was indicted on federal fraud charges. Radler, former president and CEO of Hollinger International, was indicted August 18 in Washington on charges of mail and wire fraud. The Washington Post reported that he is cooperating with prosecutors in an investigation into Conrad Black, the company’s former CEO, and is expected to plead guilty. Prosecutors claim that Radler and two other men, also indicted, used a Canadian company they controlled to funnel money from Hollinger to themselves. The group allegedly profited from “noncompete” payments that were made when Hollinger sold newspapers instead of distributing the money to shareholders.

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Newsdesk August 26, 2005

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