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>Israel Faxx
>JN May 3, 2001, Vol. 9, No. 77

Suing The Palestinian Authority

Arutz-7 News

The parents of two terrorism victims filed a 20-million-shekel suit Wednesday in the Jerusalem District Court against Yasir Arafat, the PLO, the Fatah terrorist organization and four residents of the Palestinian Authority.

The victims were two Tel Aviv cousins, Etgar Zeituni, 23, and Moti Dayan, 35, who were brutally murdered by Arab terrorists this past January when they accompanied an Israeli-Arab friend to Tul Karem. The murderers freed the Arab, then proceeded to execute the two Jews.

Israeli Forces Demolish Palestinian Homes

By Meredith Buel (VOA-Jerusalem)

Israeli soldiers have shot and killed one Palestinian and wounded at least 14 others during a fierce gun battle in the Gaza Strip. Israeli tanks and bulldozers entered a Palestinian refugee camp, demolishing homes, flattening farmland and battling Palestinian gunmen before withdrawing.

Israeli soldiers fired from tanks and with machine guns to cover the operation, while Palestinians fought back with grenade launchers and automatic weapons. A Palestinian teenager was shot in the chest and died during the clash.

The Israeli incursion was in the Rafah camp, which is home to more than 85,000 Palestinians in southern Gaza near the border with Egypt. Some of the refugees fled in terror when they heard the rumble of armored bulldozers and tanks approaching the camp. Others crawled through the streets to evade the heavy gunfire. Buildings still standing were pockmarked with bullet holes from the fighting.

The army says troops moved in to destroy buildings used by Palestinian gunmen to fire at soldiers and at bases for planting roadside bombs. Israeli forces moved into the same area Tuesday and a Palestinian policeman was killed during a lengthy gun battle. Residents of the camp returned after the fighting died down to survey the remains of their homes and salvage possessions from the rubble.

The moves have drawn international criticism and Israel has withdrawn each time after carrying out the demolitions. Fears the violence will spiral further out of control have been heightened this week with Palestinians blaming Israel for explosions in which five people died, and Jewish settlers demanding tough action to avenge the death of an Israeli man killed in an ambush. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon traveled to the West Bank settlement of Ofra to pay his respects to the family of the man killed in the ambush and to discuss ways to improve security.

Arafat, Mbeki Discuss Mideast Peace

By Challiss McDonough (VOA-Johannesburg)

Palestinian Authority leader Yasir Arafat is in South Africa for a meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement aimed at restarting the stalled Middle East peace process.

Representative of nearly 20 countries have been invited to Thursday's meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement's ministerial committee on Palestine. South African officials said the meeting is aimed at finding a way for the Non-Aligned Movement to promote dialogue and help end the violence in the Middle East.

Shortly after his arrival in the country, Arafat went into talks with South African President Thabo Mbeki who currently serves as chairman of the Non-Aligned Movement. The Palestinian leader told reporters South Africa has an important role to play in the Middle East peace process, and he believes Mbeki can make a significant contribution.

"South Africa has a very important role as the chairman of the non-aligned countries' movement," Arafat said, adding it would not be easy to find a solution to the conflict, but "we are trying our best."

The Non-Aligned Movement is a bloc of about 130 mostly developing nations. It has traditionally supported the Palestinian struggle for an independent state. But South African officials say the group is committed to working with Israel as well in a bid for peace in the Middle East.

Arafat is also scheduled to meet with former South African President Nelson Mandela while he is in the country. Last year, the Palestinian leader asked Mandela to serve as a mediator in the peace process, but the aging Mandela said he saw no reason to get involved in the conflict at that time.

Pollard Doubts He Will Leave Prison Alive

By Arutz-7 News

Knesset members Michael Eitan (Likud) and Ophir Paz (Labor) met with Jonathan Pollard in his prison cell in the U.S. Tuesday night, and were reportedly "stunned" by what they saw.

Pollard's wife Esther told Arutz-7 that the family had not seen him in a while, and "his appearance and the deterioration of his health was downright scary to them. He is bloated, pale, in pain, his beard is white, and they are afraid for his health. He told them that he is sometimes jealous of Ron Arad [the Israeli navigator missing in Lebanon since 1986].

"They were again stunned, and he explained that Ron can at least know why the government doesn't free him - because he is being held by the enemy; but he, Jonathan, is being held by a friendly country, and cannot fathom how it is that Israel cannot obtain his release."

She blamed Prime Minister Ariel Sharon for not doing anything to achieve her husband's release: "It would not even require great pressure on his part. The U.S. already agreed, during the Wye Plantation talks, to release him."

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