Lithuanian court: Swastikas a 'historic legacy'
May 21, 2010
(JTA) -- A Lithuanian court has ruled that a swastika is a part of the country's historic legacy and not a Nazi symbol.
The ruling on Wednesday capped a three-month case involving four men who displayed swastikas at Klaipeda's national independence parade.
"It is not a Nazi attribute, but a valuable symbol of the Baltic culture, an ancient sign of our ancestors, which had been stolen from them and treacherously used by other peoples," one of the defense witnesses said, according to RT, Russia's English news channel.
Efraim Zuroff, the Simon Wiesenthal Center's chief Nazi hunter and Israel director, called the decision "outrageous" and likely to lead to a tremendous increase in the use of Nazi symbols by Lithuania's ultra-nationalists.
"Allowing the use of swastikas sends a clear message to those local residents harshly victimized by the Nazis that they are no longer welcome in their country of birth," he said. Lithuanian judges are "again" showing bias in favor of Holocaust perpetrators rather than victims. "We urge the Lithuanian courts to overturn this outrageous and contemptible decision as quickly as possible."
Swastikas previously have been displayed in Lithuania on May Day, and once in front of the Presidential Palace in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius, according to news reports. Neither instances prompted police or legal action.
Israeli Air Force Attacks Several Areas In Gaza
Palestinian sources reported that the Israeli Air Force carried out several airstrikes on Thursday night, after midnight, targeting a number of areas in the Gaza Strip. No injuries were reported.
One of the attacks targeted al-Faraheen area in Khan Younis, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip. The explosions set several farmlands ablaze.
Also, the Israeli Air Force fired several missiles at a location believed to be used as a training base for the fighters of the al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas in Beit Hanoun, in the northern part of the Gaza Strip. Damage was reported, but no injuries.
The Israeli army claimed that the attack took place after Palestinian fighters fired a missile at the Western Negev at midnight, no damage or injuries were reported.
It is worth mentioning that the United States' Senate approved the plan of President Barack Obama, to finance the development of Israel's "Iron Dome" system which is meant to intercept shells fired from the Gaza Strip.
The Senate approved a $200 Million USD for the development of the Iron Dome. 411 senators voted for the plan and eight abstained.