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>JN Aug. 14, 2001, Vol. 9, No. 137
Hizbullah Will Have Nuclear Capability in Coming Years
According to Minister of Defense Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, Hizbullah
terrorists in Iran will have nuclear capability within four years.
Speaking to a Tel Aviv business forum, Ben-Eliezer stated Hizbullah
has 8,000 long-range rockets capable of striking Hadera and the
terror organization poses a strategic threat to Israel.
In addition, Syria and Iran continue doing their utmost to achieve
increased instability in the area. Ben-Eliezer added that Iran is
working diligently to develop its long-range missile with a
capability of 1,200 miles and deliver a non conventional warhead.
Bomb Rocks 'Wall Street' -- the Aftermath
By Meredith Buel (VOA-Jerusalem)
Palestinian security officials reported that Israeli forces are
massing on the West Bank near the self-ruled town of Jenin. The
officials said Israeli tanks joined those forces late Monday.
Israel has declined to comment. Recent Palestinian suicide bombers
have come from Jenin.
Palestinians staged a general strike to protest Israel's seizure
of their headquarters in East Jerusalem. Businesses throughout
Palestinian areas were closed for a one-day strike protesting
Israel's takeover of Orient House, the highly symbolic headquarters
of the Palestine Liberation Organization in East Jerusalem.
Most stores, businesses, banks, and restaurants in the West Bank
and Gaza Strip kept their doors padlocked in response to calls from
Palestinian leaders to observe the strike.
Israel took over Orient House, and other Palestinian buildings in
and around East Jerusalem, in retaliation for a suicide bombing
that killed 16 people last week in a Jerusalem restaurant.
Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres said Friday's closure of
Orient House, the unofficial Palestinian headquarters in East
Jerusalem was "not permanent." He said the Israeli takeover was a
warning, not an act of revenge - and a way to say to the
Palestinians - "stop killing."
Another suicide bomber attacked the Wall Street Cafe Sunday near
the northern coastal city of Haifa. Only the bomber was killed in
that attack. A spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon,
Dore Gold, said the recent attacks would not have occurred if
Palestinian chief Yasir Arafat had ordered the arrest of Islamic
militants in the West Bank.
"There is no question, but that the bombings both in Jerusalem
and outside of Haifa could have been averted had Yasir Arafat acted
upon the names that he was given in accordance with the cease-fire
understandings," said Gold, "but Yasir Arafat refused to arrest
the controllers of these terrorist operations, either in Jenin or
in Ramallah, and as a result, the bombings occurred."
Could Israel Start a Regional War?
By Ed Warner (VOA-Washington)
The latest suicide bombing in Israel intensifies the violence in
the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and appears to makes peace even
more remote. There are increasing fears of a full-scale war that
could involve other countries in the region.
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has plans for a stepped-up war,
says George Friedman, the chairman of Stratfor, a global
intelligence company. He writes that with sufficient provocation,
Sharon will launch a massive attack on the Palestinians and
possibly at the same time deal with two other enemies of Israel:
Syria and Iraq.
There would be an international outcry over Israel's attack on its
neighbors, says Friedman, but not much more. No power, least of
all the United States, would stand in its way.
Steve Yetiv, professor of political science at Old Dominion
University in Virginia, says part of this scenario makes sense. He
says that Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres "has impressed upon
Sharon the importance of not using force too soon and winning over
international opinion. I believe with another major terrorist act,
Sharon will put in motion plans that are more definitive in
attacking the Palestinian infrastructure."
The entire scenario is plausible, says Naseer Aruri, professor of
political science at the University of Massachusetts. He said that by
attacking Iraq, Sharon would be acting in the U.S. interest as
well as Israel's.
"Sharon would be expecting a green light from Washington," he said,
"knowing that Washington's top priority in the area is Iraq and the
fact that it has not really been able to achieve its objective in
Iraq. So here comes Israel telling the Pentagon that we can really
do it for you."
Aruri said Israel could achieve what has so far eluded U.S.
efforts: the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, and the United States
would hardly be in a position to object to Israel's other military
actions. But the attack would have its downside. "It would probably
mobilize Arab masses that hitherto have not really been moving, and
I think it would be destabilizing," said Aruri.
"There are many people in this country, even in the establishment,
who feel that it could be counter-productive in the sense that it
would have a very negative impact on American interests in the
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