Newsletter : 1fax0517.txt
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>JN May 17, 2001, Vol. 9, No. 85
Israel to Beef Up Arabic Language Broadcasting
By VOA News
Israel is planning to beef up its Arabic language broadcasting in
attempt to counter what officials call Arab and Palestinian
Israeli media officials say Israel wants to target Arab viewers and
listeners who cannot or do not hear the Israeli point of view in
the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Israeli Helicopters Attack in Gaza and West Bank
By VOA News
Israeli helicopter gunships fired rockets at security buildings in
a Palestinian refugee camp near Gaza City Wednesday. Helicopters
also attacked buildings in the Palestinian-ruled town of Jenin in
the West Bank.
At least 14 people were injured in the attack in the Jabaliyah
camp. The Israeli army said the strike against the camp was carried
out following many Palestinian attacks and shootings from that
Earlier in Gaza, Palestinians said Israeli forces made five raids
into Palestinian-ruled areas. They said troops seized a dairy
factory in central Gaza, destroyed orange groves and farmland, and
searched homes in the south. Israeli officials say they targeted
areas that were the source of mortar fire at Jewish settlements.
Also Wednesday, Israeli soldiers shot dead a Palestinian schoolboy
following a stone-throwing incident near a Jewish settlement.
EU Rules Out Sanctions Against Israel
By Douglas Bakshian (VOA-Luxembourg)
The European Union has ruled out suggestions that it impose
economic sanctions on Israel for its policies in the Middle East.
But it has again called for the Jewish state to resume peace talks
with the Palestinians.
Swedish Foreign Minister Anna Lindh, whose country holds the EU
rotating presidency, said sanctions against Israel would not be
helpful at this time. "I do not think that is the right way
forward, to try to discuss a different kind of economic sanctions
or anything like that. That would not improve our possibilities
to get Israel back to the negotiation table."
Speaking at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, Lindh
said the main responsibility for going back to the negotiation
table rests with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. She said
Israel has to make it clear that it wants to go back to the
talks. The Swedish diplomat said there is no-long term military
solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict.
The 15-nation European Union is a strong economic force in the
Middle East, where it is the biggest trade partner and provider of
aid. Goods exported under the Israeli label have preferential
access to EU markets.
Mitchell Report, Foundation for Mideast Peace?
By Meredith Buel (VOA-Jerusalem)
Top Israeli and Palestinian officials have said the Mitchell
commission's draft report on the bloodshed in the Middle East could
serve as a foundation for reducing violence and resuming peace
Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres said the preliminary report by
the international fact-finding commission led by former Senator
George Mitchell could pave the way for Israel and the Palestinians
to renew the peace process.
"The Mitchell report is a highly balanced analysis and it proposes
how to go ahead," Peres said. " Even if one of us, or the two of
us, have remarks to make we can bridge over the remaining
differences. There is enough of a heavy base and a wide space to go
ahead and renew the peace process."
Palestinian Information Minister Yasser Abed Rabbo, speaking to
reporters in the West Bank town of Ramallah, also praised the
Mitchell commission's report. He said it could serve as a basis for
ending nearly eight months of Israeli-Palestinian bloodshed.
"The committee's findings and recommendations offer both
Palestinians and Israelis a sensible and coherent foundation for
resolving the current crisis and preparing a path back to
The Mitchell commission's report proposes that Israel and the
Palestinians agree to an immediate cease-fire, resume security
cooperation, implement confidence building measures and renew peace
The Palestinians have made public their response to the
commission's preliminary findings, but so far Israel has not
released its official reply. Foreign Ministry sources say Israel's
main reservation is the recommendation for a complete freeze on
construction of Jewish settlements in the Palestinian territories.
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon says no new settlements will be
built, but says expansion of existing settlements will be allowed
to accommodate what he calls - natural growth. The commission is
expected to release its final report later this month.
Protests Against CNN
A protest demonstration against CNN's allegedly biased coverage of
the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was held in Jerusalem Wednesday,
and another one is scheduled for New York on Thursday.
Several dozen people gathered outside the Jerusalem studios of CNN
and presented a list of "grievances and demands" to Jerusalem
bureau chief Mike Hanna. Hanna agreed to meet with the protestors'
representatives in a more formal setting.
Thursday morning, in Harlem in New York City, a protest will be
held outside the annual CNN shareholders meeting. The protestors
plan to ask, "How did the respected news network become Arafat's
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