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>JN July 5, 2000, Vol. 8, No. 115

82-Year-Old Accused of Raping Two Girls

By IsraelWire

An 82-year-old man has been accused of raping two girls, aged six and seven. The charges brought against the man in the Tel Aviv District Court stated that he lived near one of the girls and sometimes babysat for her. According to the indictment, the unidentified man raped her repeatedly over the past two years and also raped her friend. The man is under house arrest until trial.


Palestinians Warned Against Proclaiming a Nation

By Meredith Buel (VOA-Jerusalem)

Israel's justice minister, Yossi Beilin, is warning Palestinians officials against proclaiming an independent Palestinian nation before completing negotiations with Israel beforehand. The warning comes just hours after Palestinian leaders announced their support for an independent state by mid-September.

Beilin, a strong supporter of the peace process, says a declaration of an independent Palestinian state is meaningless without Israeli approval. He says without Israeli agreement, Palestinians would be cut off from the world and would not be able to travel between the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

The Justice Minister's statements came shortly after the Palestinian Central Council gave its backing to PLO chief Yasir Arafat's plan to declare an independent state by Sept. 13. The council voted to declare statehood whether or not a final peace agreement has been negotiated with Israel. Israel and the Palestinians have set Sept. 13 as the deadline for reaching a permanent peace accord.

Palestinian officials indicated the council's statement was somewhat vague in order to give Arafat room to maneuver in peace talks with Israel.

Israeli Foreign Minister David Levy was sharply critical of the Palestinian Council's action, calling it a provocation and a threat. "What we know right now, following the Palestinian Authority's decision and the serious and extreme declarations, directed to harm the heart of the Israeli character, has to turn on a red light. It is not only an extreme escalation, it is a provocation. It is to heat up with the most extreme expressions, with threats."

Israeli officials say any unilateral declaration of statehood would likely prompt Prime Minister Ehud Barak to annex parts of the occupied territories, a move that could lead to Palestinian violence. Barak is pushing for a summit with Arafat and President Clinton to negotiate the framework of a permanent peace treaty.

Palestinian officials say the gaps on major issues are still too wide to convene such a meeting. Negotiators are dealing with such difficult issues as the future of Jerusalem, the fate of Palestinian refugees, Jewish settlements in the West Bank and the borders of a possible Palestinian state.


Tapuach Residents Seek to Sell Homes to Arabs

By IsraelWire

Several families in the religious community of Kfar Tapuach in Samaria reportedly are negotiating to sell their homes to Arabs, while other families are waiting for an opportunity to "run away" from the community and receive financial compensation, under a permanent treaty with the PLO Authority. These families are protesting the polarization that has occurred in the community since becoming the home of many Rabbi Meir Kahane supporters in the early 1980s.

According to many of the 70 residing families, life in Kfar Tapuach became difficult seven months ago after the election of Shmuel Hertzler, a Kach supporter, as head of the governing committee. Hertzler appointed David Axelrod, a former senior leader of the now illegal Kahane Chai organization, to an important position on the committee.

The residents are afraid of the extremist nature of some of the residents, and fear a return of violence like that after the murder of former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.

The protesting residents claim that the Kahane contingency has illegally taken over houses, and are preparing to evict those living in houses without permission. The protestors have decided to take steps to prevent further takeover by the Kahane supporters.


Ten Puppies Found in Trash

By IsraelWire

A 19-year-old Tel Aviv resident was arrested after it was learned she threw 10 newborn puppies into the trash. The 10 were thrown away immediately after they were born. Humane society officials summoned police. The huskies were found in a plastic bag, near death, Veterinary officials explained there was nothing left to do for the pups accept to facilitate their deaths.

The suspect, who was released on bail, told police she made the decision to dispose of the pups because she knew she was unable to raise them all.

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