Newsletter : 1fax0522.txt
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>JN May 22, 2001, Vol. 9, No. 88
Celebrating Jerusalem Day
Thousands of supporters of all ages marched to the Western Wall in
Jerusalem early Monday to celebrate Jerusalem Day. Several dozen
walked all the way from the Ashdod-area Kibbutz Yavneh; the walk,
which has become a Yavneh tradition, took some 18 hours. Monday,
the 28th of Iyar, marks the 34th anniversary of the liberation and
reunification of Israel's capital during the Six Day War.
Mitchell Commission Releases Report on Violence
By VOA News
An international commission, headed by former U.S. Sen. George
Mitchell, released its report on eight months of
Israeli-Palestinian bloodshed. It urged the two sides to end
violence immediately and listed recommendations aimed at building
confidence and restoring trust after a spiral of violence that has
claimed more than 500 lives.
It recommended that the two sides resume security cooperation, that
the Palestinians jail terrorists, and that Israel freeze all
building in Jewish settlements in the occupied territories.
Both sides had a chance to review the document before its formal
release. Israel has rejected the report's call for a total freeze
on Jewish settlements. Palestinians said the report should be
accepted in full, despite their disappointment that it does not
recommend an international force to protect Palestinians.
Meanwhile, there has been no let-up in the violence. In the Gaza
Strip, Israeli troops shot and killed two Palestinians near the
Bureij refugee camp. The Israeli army said the men were seen
planting a bomb near the border fence.
Earlier, Israeli helicopter gunships destroyed a Gaza factory that
Israel said was making mortar bombs for attacks on Jewish
settlements. Palestinians say the raid hit civilian factories and
shops and wounded four people. Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon
Peres defended the missile strikes as an attack on terrorism, not
Powell Urges Implementation of Mitchell Recommendations
By VOA News
Secretary of State Colin Powell has endorsed the just-released
Mitchell report on the Middle East and says now is the time for the
Israeli and Palestinian leaders to move forward on the basis of its
Powell spoke with both Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and
Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat after the report was released
Monday in New York.
The report calls for an immediate ceasefire, a freeze on Israeli
settlement activity in Palestinian areas and more determined action
from Palestinian authorities against terrorism.
Peres Defends Israeli Attack
By Larry James (VOA-Moscow)
Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres defended Israel's attack on
Palestinian targets Monday, saying it was aimed at terrorists not
civilians. Peres is in Moscow, meeting with Russian officials on
the violence in the Middle East.
Peres said an attack by helicopter gunships in the Gaza strip
Monday morning targeted a factory where Palestinians were making
mortar shells. The raid was aimed at destroying the alleged mortar
factory and was justified, he said, adding that Israel would never
bomb a civilian target.
The Palestinians say an auto workshop was hit Monday. They charge
Israel with conducting a war against the Palestinian people.
Israel's Foreign Minister says he welcomes proposals to end the
fighting from an international commission headed by former Sen.
George Mitchell. Peres said his country wants to "talk not
shoot," and that the commission's proposals suggest that now is a
good time to restart peace negotiations.
Peres is urging Russia and the United States, as co-sponsors of
the peace process, to work together to encourage a resumption of
face-to-face talks between Israelis and Palestinians.
Red Cross Urged to Pressure Israel
By Lisa Schlein (VOA-Geneva)
A senior Palestinian official has urged the International Committee
of the Red Cross to use its moral weight to put pressure on Israel
to end its attacks against the Palestinian people and go back to
the peace table.
The minister of planning of the Palestinian Authority, Nabil
Shaath, had a long meeting with the president of the International
Committee of the Red Cross.
Shaath said he asked the ICRC president, Jakob Kellenberger, to use
his organization's influence to get Israel to abide by the Geneva
Conventions. These Conventions oblige states and other parties
involved in a conflict to respect international humanitarian law.
Shaath said Israel's treatment of the Palestinian people, its
assassination of political figures and use of collective punishment
violate the Geneva Conventions. The Palestinian official said ICRC
workers can see first hand Israeli actions against the
"The ICRC is there on the ground to report that and to protest that
and to try to do what is best to persuade the Israelis to cease and
desist from doing that. The ICRC does not have armies, but the
weight of the ICRC's opinion and that of the parties of the Geneva
Convention is very important. Israel will shiver if really it faces
international isolation on that question."
Shaath warned that if Israel continued "its dirty war
against the Palestinian people," it will become isolated under the
weight of moral opinion.
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