Newsletter : 1fax0417.txt
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>JN April 17, 2001, Vol. 9, No. 65
Russia Concerned About Latest Israeli Attack in Lebanon
Russian officials say they are extremely concerned by the Israeli
airstrike in Lebanon. The raid will figure in meetings with Syrian
Foreign Minister Farouk al-Shara, who arrived in Moscow Monday for
two days of talks with the Russian leadership on bilateral
relations and the Middle East. Shara called the Israeli attack a
gross violation of international law.
Syria Promises Revenge Against Israel
By VOA News & Arutz 7 News
Syria said Israel will pay a heavy price for its airstrike on a
Syrian radar station in Lebanon that killed three Syrian soldiers
and wounded four others.
The warning came Monday from Syrian Foreign Minister Farouk
al-Shara during a visit to Moscow. Shara said Israel's attack is
"killing the Mideast peace process and expanding the tension
and instability in the region." He said Israel will pay dearly for
its aggression at the appropriate time.
Israel's Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer said the Israeli air
raid was a message to Syria that the rules of the game have
changed. He said Israel will hold Syria responsible for attacks by
the Lebanese guerrilla group Hizbullah in the Lebanon-Israel border
Israel says the air raid was in response to the Hizbullah rocket
attack Saturday that killed an Israeli soldier in the
Israeli-occupied Shebaa Farms area. The Syrian site, located some
12 miles east of Beirut, was destroyed by six air-to-ground
missiles fired by four IAF planes. Monday's airstrike was the first
Israeli attack on Syrian targets in Lebanon in five years.
The Israeli action is being widely condemned in the Arab world.
Those speaking out include Jordan's Foreign Minister Abdul-ilah
al-Khatib, who called the airstrike an unjustified escalation that
may affect regional stability.
Khatib spoke in Jerusalem after meeting with Israeli Foreign
Minister Shimon Peres. The Jordanian minister later met with Prime
Minister Ariel Sharon. He was to present a Jordanian-Egyptian plan
to defuse tensions between Israel and the Palestinians and to get
to them to resume peace talks. Sharon told the Jordanian visitor
Israel will not negotiate under the threat of violence.
The air strike drew praise from across the Israeli political
spectrum. Former Minister Yossi Beilin (Labor) said that the
airstrike was "correct and just." Science and Culture Minister
Matan Vilnai (Labor), a former IDF major-general, similarly stated
that Israel has no other way to tell the Syrians that continued
Hizbullah terrorist attacks across the border would not be
MK Ran Cohen (Meretz) said the move was "justified but perhaps not
wise" at this time, as it "may lead to increased Hizbullah
attacks." Tourism Minister Rehavam Ze'evi said that now the Syrians
will begin to be afraid, instead of the Jews in the Galilee.
A political commentator who spoke with Arutz-7 Monday agreed that
although the radar station destroyed was an important target, the
main message was in the very attack itself. "The fact that it is
only 21 miles from Damascus and very deep inside Lebanese
territory," said Middle Eastern affairs expert Dr. Yossi Olmert,
"is a clear signal that Israel will not sit back without exacting
a price from the aggressors."
U.S, Blames Hizbullah for Provoking Israel
By VOA News
The United States is blaming Hizbullah for provoking the Israeli
airstrike on a Syrian military position in Lebanon. Spokesmen for
the White House and State Department condemned what they called a
dangerous escalation of violence in the last few days. Both
blamed Hizbullah for initiating the escalation.
They said Hizbullah's attack on Israeli troops Saturday was a clear
provocation designed to escalate an already tense situation. They
declined to answer when asked whether Israel was justified in its
airstrike against the Syrian radar station. The U.S. spokesmen
urged all parties to exercise restraint and spoke of the need to
end the cycle of violence.
Israel Retaliates Against Palestinians
By VOA News
Israeli helicopter gunships have attacked Palestinian positions in
the Gaza Strip, in apparent retaliation for earlier Palestinian
mortar attacks in southern Israel. Israeli radio and Palestinian
witnesses said the Israeli attacks targeted positions held by Force
17 - Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat's elite guard unit.
Israel said the Palestinian mortar attack on southern Israel was "a
grave escalation" for which, it said, the Palestinian Authority was
responsible. One mortar shell landed in the Israeli town of Sderot,
about just over one mile from the Gaza border. Another landed in an
empty field. There were no casualties or damage. Sderot is near the
desert ranch of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.
Israeli tanks immediately fired at Palestinian police positions in
Beit Hanun, the Gaza area closest to the Israeli town. Three
Palestinians were reported wounded. In other violence Monday,
Palestinian reports say Israeli shelling killed a doctor with the
Palestinian naval forces and wounded a number of civilians in Gaza.
Palestinian officials say Israeli forces also shot and wounded a
Palestinian militiaman in the West Bank town of Hebron.
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