Newsletter : 1fax0516.txt
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>JN May 16, 2001, Vol. 9, No. 84
Arafat: Full Israeli Withdrawal and Right Of Return
As if the eight years of Oslo - in which Israel created and armed the
Palestinian Authority, then gave it 42 persent of Judea, Samaria and
Gaza - had never existed,
PA Chairman Yasir Arafat demanded that
Israel withdraw all its forces and residents from the entirety of the
West Bank and Gaza as a condition for peace. He further said that
peace depends on the realization of the "right" of return for all Arab
refugees from 1948 and 1967.
Violence Flares as Palestinians Mark 'Great Catastrophe'
By Meredith Buel (VOA-Jerusalem)
Tens of thousands of Palestinians rallied in the West Bank and Gaza
Strip Tuesday to mark the 53rd anniversary of what they call the
"great catastrophe" - the creation of Israel and the mass displacement
of Palestinians from land now part of the Jewish state.
Violence flared throughout the territories - gunfire from Israeli
troops killed at least four Palestinians and wounded at least 130
during clashes near military checkpoints and Jewish settlements. After
nightfall, a Jewish settler was killed and her father was wounded as
they drove on a road in the West Bank.
The marches, rallies and speeches in towns across the occupied
territories commemorated the events in 1948, when about 700,000
Palestinians became refugees in the Arab-Israeli war that followed the
birth of Israel. Sirens wailed as Palestinians stood in silence for
three minutes to mark the darkest day in their calendar.
In a speech broadcast to the rallies, Palestinian chief Yasir Arafat
said Israeli military might would never make Palestinians surrender
their dream of an independent state. He said Palestinians would only
accept a peace deal based on a complete Israeli withdrawal from land
occupied in the 1967 MidEast war and recognition of the right of
Palestinian refugees to return to their homes in what is now Israel.
"The way of peace, it is very clear like the sun, and it is the way of
the full withdrawal of the Israeli occupation army and the settlers
from all the Palestinian and Arab land to the 1967 border," Arafat
One of the Palestinians killed during the day was a bodyguard of Hamas
leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin. The bodyguard died when an Israeli tank
shell hit his car after Palestinians fired mortar shells at an Israeli
outpost in the Gaza Strip.
Another fatality was a teenage stone-thrower shot dead near the Erez
crossing. Two Palestinians were killed in confrontations with Israeli
forces on the edge of the Palestinian city of Ramallah.
Sirens sounded throughout the West Bank and Gaza as Palestinians
observed three minutes of silence to commemorate what they call
al-Nakba "the great catastrophe" marking the creation of Israel on May
Israel Says It Didn't Intend to Kill Palestinian Police
By VOA News
Israeli Army Chief of Staff Shaul Mofaz said Israel did not intend to
kill five Palestinian policemen shot dead by Israeli troops at a
checkpoint in the West Bank on Monday.
The five were killed in their post at Beituniya near the town of
Ramallah. Israel says its troops have been fired upon from the post in
the past and came under fire again Monday but that Monday's shots may
not have come from the post itself.
At least two of the policemen were sleeping at the time of the Israeli
attack. Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat denounced the killings as
assassinations and said Israel would be held accountable.
Mofaz said Israel's military should investigate the incident, and that
if a mistake was made, the army would not be ashamed to admit it.
Water Crisis May Boost Middle East Cooperation
By Nico Colombant (VOA-Washington)
Among the challenges facing the Middle East is declining access to
water. Experts at a conference organized by the Middle East Institute
in Washington believe the growing need for water in the region is also
a potential source of cooperation.
Experts said 45 million people in the Middle East lack access to
drinking water. The problem is particularly acute today, because
drought conditions in countries including Syria, Jordan and Israel are
the worst in decades, slowing agricultural output. There are also
imbalances in water access between neighboring populations.
Palestinians use a quarter of the water consumed by their Israeli
The result is a potentially explosive situation. Some experts say
water problems contributed to war in 1967, when Israel and Syria
fought over the Golan Heights and access to the freshwater Sea of
Kenley Brunsdale, an advisor to a Washington-based lobbying
organization, the Center for Middle East Peace and Economic
Cooperation, stressed that water is one of the few issues where there
has been agreement between Israelis and Palestinians, during their
seven months of clashes.
Brunsdale said the two sides agreed in January to make efforts to
protect water infrastructure from the violence. "I know personally
that high-level Palestinians and Israelis continue to talk almost
daily on how they can cooperate and help each other with the immediate
drought issues they both suffer from," he said. "And I think that's
significant, that the water issue is almost above the fray and
becoming one of the few real forms of ongoing cooperation that you can
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