Newsletter : 1fax1129.txt
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>JN Nov. 29, 2001, Vol. 9, No. 198
Belgium May Try Sharon for War Crimes
By VOA News
A Belgian court has put off until early next year a decision on
whether Belgium has jurisdiction in a war crimes case filed by
Palestinians against Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.
The suit accuses Sharon of responsibility for the 1982 massacre of
hundreds of Palestinians by Israeli-allied Lebanese militiamen in
the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps in Beirut. Sharon was Israel's
defense minister at the time.
In Wednesday's hearing, Belgium's public prosecutor argued the
court has jurisdiction, despite objections from Israel. Lawyers for
the Palestinians and for Sharon will present their arguments at
hearings during the next two months. A ruling on Belgium's
jurisdiction in the case could come in late January.
Belgian law allows the prosecution of foreigners, including heads
of state, for alleged abuses of human rights and war crimes
committed in other countries.
Under that law, a group of Israelis and Belgians filed a war crimes
law suit in Brussels Tuesday against Palestinian leader Yasir
Arafat. They accuse him of responsibility for a number of attacks
against Israelis and other Jews since the 1970s.
US Envoy Urges End to Israeli-Palestinian Fighting
By VOA News
U.S. Mideast Envoy Anthony Zinni said it is a time for Israel and
the Palestinians to end their months of fighting. He and
Undersecretary of State William Burns, Wednesday, met with
Palestinian officials in the West Bank town of Ramallah.
Zinni said that the Israeli-Palestinian violence needs to be
brought to a halt and the parties have to get back to peace
negotiations. The U.S. envoy said both sides have suffered far too
much and it is, "time for a change."
Zinni, a retired Marine Corps general, said his mission is to get
the parties in the conflict to lay down their arms and observe a
ceasefire agreement negotiated earlier this year by CIA chief
The ceasefire, which has failed to hold, is meant to lay the
groundwork for implementing the recommendations of the
international inquiry into the violence. Former Senator George
Mitchell led the inquiry.
Arafat said he is "exerting 100-percent effort" to reach a
comprehensive and lasting peace. The Palestinian leader called for
Zinni to draw up a "mechanism and timeline" to implement the Tenet
and Mitchell plans. One of the recommendations of the Mitchell plan
is for a freeze on the building of Jewish settlements in the West
Bank and Gaza Strip.
On Tuesday, Zinni and Burns told Prime Minister Ariel Sharon that
the expansion of settlements in the territories must cease. Zinni
also flew with Sharon in a helicopter over Israel and the West Bank
to see first-hand the country's security problems.
The Palestinians took the two U.S. officials on a car tour of
Palestinian-controlled areas of the West Bank to illustrate the
impact of Israeli military raids, blockades, and Jewish settlements
on Palestinian communities.
Fourteen months of Israel-Palestinian violence has claimed nearly
1,000 lives, most of them Palestinians.
Pope Convenes Meeting of Middle Eastern Prelates
By VOA News
Pope John Paul II has called a meeting next month of leading Roman
Catholic prelates from the Middle East to discuss the future of
Christians in the Holy Land.
A spokesman says the meeting will take place in Vatican City
December 13. The Vatican spokesman says the pope invited leaders of
various Catholic rites from the Holy Land for what was termed a
"purely pastoral" meeting that would not involve politics. The
spokesman said the purpose of the meeting is to show commitment to
a continued Christian presence in the Holy Land.
Vatican sources say the Pope is concerned about increased violence
and discrimination in the Middle East.
Israeli Scientists Halt Diabetes
Research published in the November 24th issue of the Lancet
journal has shown that a unique approach developed by a team of
Israeli scientists, led by Weizmann Institute Professor Irun
Cohen, can halt the progression of juvenile, or insulin-dependent,
The approach involves treating the newly-diagnosed diabetes patient
with a small peptide fragment known as p277, which shuts down the
misdirected immune response that causes the destruction of
pancreatic cells in diabetes patients. "The peptide essentially
acts to reeducate the immune cells, switching off their destructive
activity," Cohen said.
The peptide fragment has been commercialized by the Peptor
biopharmaceutical company from Rehovot into an experimental drug,
According to a Weizmann Institute press release, the research using
DiaPep277 proved that patients receiving the drug "showed a halt or
delay in the attack upon, or destruction of their pancreatic
insulin-producing cells by the immune system. These results were
evident in the level of the body's own insulin production and in
a decreased need for insulin injections." The researchers reported
no significant side effects stemming from the use of DiaPep277.
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