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>Israel Faxx
>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 area."

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