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>JN Aug. 24, 2001, Vol. 9, No. 145

Israel's Army Enters Palestinian-Ruled Area in Hebron

By Meredith Buel (VOA-Jerusalem)

Israel's army has made a fresh incursion into a Palestinian-ruled area of the divided city of Hebron. Witnesses said more than 15 armored personnel carriers and military jeeps took over the Palestinian-ruled Abu Sneinah area late Thursday. The area overlooks the Jewish enclave in the city.

Earlier in Hebron, Israeli forces injured six Palestinians in a firefight after Israeli settlers said Palestinian shots had injured two Israelis, including one youth who was seriously injured.

In other violence Thursday, a Palestinian boy was killed by Israeli forces in a clash with stonethrowers in the Gaza Strip near the Khan Younis refugee camp.

Meanwhile, near the West Bank town of Nablus, Israeli troops fired missiles at a car carrying a senior Palestinian security official, but the targeted man escaped with minor injuries. Israeli military sources say Jihad al-Musimi has been involved for several years in attacks against Israelis in the Nablus area.

Witnesses said the first missile narrowly missed the car and left a deep crater in the road. The second hit the car, but the occupants had already fled. One Israeli official said al-Musimi's resume is "written in blood." The Israeli army said he was kept in an Israeli prison between 1979 and 1987 for "involvement in terrorist bombings."

Palestinian officials called the attack a "failed assassination attempt," and an escalation by the Israeli government against the Palestinians.


Arafat to Urge Stronger Chinese Role in Middle East

By Jim Randle (VOA-Beijing)

China called for "utmost restraint" from all parties in the Middle East, as it hosted the leader of the Palestinian Authority, Yasir Arafat.

Arafat was expected to ask China to play a stronger role in the troubled region. His visit to China followed stops in Pakistan and India to brief leaders on the months of violence between Israelis and Palestinians.

The Palestinian Authority's Ambassador to Beijing, Moustapha Sapharinyin, said China has friendships with both Israel and the Palestinians. He said Beijing could help quell the violence that has taken about 700 lives since the latest wave of violence began last September.

"We hope," Sapharinyin said, "the Chinese can increase their efforts, increase their influence in the Middle East conflict. But they play a good role and contribute a lot. But we hope also that China can contribute more than this."

China is one of five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, and until recently kept a fairly neutral stance in the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. But this week, China criticized Israel's military and police for using "excessive force" in dealing with Palestinians. Beijing also backed a Palestinian proposal to send international observers to the region - an idea opposed by Israel.

Analysts say in the long run, China is likely to try to keep good relations with both sides. There are long standing ties of friendship between the Chinese and the Palestinians, but Beijing would like to have Israeli technology to upgrade China's antiquated military forces.

(EDITORIAL NOTE for our Christian readers: Is Arafat attempting to fulfill Revelation 9:16 -- an invasion of Israel by the Chinese?)


U.S. Commentators Warn of Mideast Danger

By Ed Warner (VOA-Washington)

Some American commentators are either urging an intensified war in the Middle East or warning of its dangers. Others say terrorism and political destabilization are the greater threats as the Israel-Palestinian conflict continues.

"This cannot go on," writes columnist Charles Krauthammer in The Washington Post. "The suicide bomber that left 15 Israelis dead and more than 100 wounded in Jerusalem calls for a lightning massive attack on the Palestinian infrastructure. If Israel is not allowed to defeat terrorism, said Krauthammer, the region will be sentenced to endless wars."

That is a prescription for endless wars, writes Arnaud de Borchgrave in The Washington Times. Arab populations are already outraged by the killing of Palestinians. Killing still more might push them over the brink and despite defeats in 1967 and 1973, lead them to war again against Israel. Some movements of troops and weapons are underway among the Arab nations.


Israeli Computer Program Wins Chess Championship

By IsraelNationalNews.com

An Israeli computer program that plays chess has won a worldwide competition.

Itim News Agency reports that the competition, in Maastricht, Holland, pitted 18 computerized chess software programs against each other. Israel's program beat its German competitor, Schroeder, which won last year.

The winner, named Junior, was designed over the course of 10 years by Tel Aviv computer mavens Amir Ban and Shai Bushinsky.

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