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American Jewry To March On Washington

The Council of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations is organizing a rally in Washington on Monday April 15, at 1 p.m. The goal: one million Jews who will arrive in the American capital and express their support of Israel's right to defend itself and opposition to U.S. pressure against Israel. In 1967, the organizers note, "hundreds of thousands of Jews from up and down the east coast marched on Washington in support of Israel."

Suicide Bomb Attack Kills 8 Israelis

By Meredith Buel (VOA-Jerusalem)

A Palestinian suicide bomber has killed himself and eight other passengers on a bus near the port city of Haifa. Following the Wednesday bombing, top Israeli officials decided to continue with a massive military offensive in the West Bank.

The explosion threw bodies and personal belongings along a highway and left the roof of the vehicle a mound of twisted and charred wreckage. The militant group Hamas claimed responsibility for the bombing.

The United States and other countries have urged Israel to withdraw its soldiers from the West Bank without delay.

In the city of Jenin hundreds of Palestinians surrendered a day after 13 Israeli soldiers were killed during an ambush in a refugee camp there.

In Bethlehem an Armenian monk was shot and seriously wounded at the compound housing the Church of the Nativity. It was not immediately clear who shot the monk, but Israeli troops are surrounding the site where tradition says Jesus was born because 200 Palestinians, many of them armed, have been hiding in the church for more than a week.

Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat says Israelis must understand the use of military force will never bring them peace and security. "Maybe - and only maybe - the Israeli public must understand that the security for them cannot come through the pains and the harming of Palestinians. We do not condone the killing of civilians, Israelis or Palestinians. But at the same time, the Israeli public

must understand that they need to have a responsible leadership."

The latest bombing came a day before U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell is due to arrive in Jerusalem in an effort to broker a ceasefire to end more than 18 months of bloodshed.

Israeli government spokesman Dore Gold said he doubted that efforts to negotiate a truce with Palestinian Chairman Yasir Arafat would be successful.

"Arafat is more or less a flat tire," said Gold. "You can try to pump him up with more air, but the air is going to come out and you diplomatically cannot move forward. We have now gone through 10 cease-fire efforts under American auspices. Secretary Powell coming here is now the 11th ceasefire effort the U.S. is trying to broker with Yasser Arafat. At some point you look at the numbers, and you wonder whether you should go to a 13th, 14th, 15th ceasefire effort. Arafat is a spent force, and he is not going to stabilize the situation.'

Netanyahu: U.S. Could Also Face Suicide Bombers

By Dan Robinson (VOA-Washington)

Former Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has criticized the United States and the international community for pressuring Israel to end its military actions against Palestinian terrorists. Netanyahu said Israel deserves more support in its war on terrorism.

In his remarks in Washington, and earlier in New York, Netanyahu said he wanted to remind the United States about the objectives of the wider global war on terror.

Referring to U.S. pressure on Israel to stop military actions in Palestinian territories, he said the Bush administration is running the risk of losing the war on terrorism by abandoning its principles.

"I am concerned that when it comes to terror directed against Israel, the moral and strategic clarity that is so crucial for victory, is being lost. I am concerned that the imperative of defeating terror everywhere is being ignored when the main engine of Palestinian terror is allowed to remain intact."

Focusing on suicide bombings, Netanyahu warned that if the practice is not stopped now, the United States and other countries could find themselves facing similar and even more devastating attacks.

"If a democracy like Israel that is attacked by these human bombs coming from Arafat's terror factories, if this continues, then it is just a question of time before these human bombs will reach the coffee shops, restaurants, pizzerias and discos of the United States and of the Western world," said Netanyahu. "And it is just a question of a little more time before these human bombs will come with suitcase devices of mass death that will make September 11 seem pale by comparison."

Netanyahu, who is expected to make another political run for prime minister, accused Yasir Arafat of destroying the Oslo peace accords "tearing them up and soaking them in Jewish blood." A political process, he added, could only begin after Palestinian terrorism is destroyed.

The former Israeli prime minister said Arafat should be expelled. And he said that Israel must continue to search for and destroy Palestinian terror cells, and eventually must wall off Palestinian territories to ensure that suicide bombers and other terrorists cannot stage more attacks.

A Palestinian spokesman immediately condemned Netanyahu's remarks. In comments to CNN, Hassan Abdel Rahman, the chief PLO representative in the United States, compared the suggestion to the former apartheid system in South Africa.

American Public Opinion Backs Israel


Recent polls show that the American public largely supports Israel. A Fox News Network survey this week showed that some 58 percent of Americans now believe that PLO leader Yasir Arafat is a terrorist - up seven points from a similar poll conducted last week. The poll also showed that more than 50 percent of Americans feel that the Palestinians are responsible for worsening the violence in the Middle East.

Similarly, a CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll released Monday showed that more than half of Americans view the Israeli military incursions against Palestinian locations as "legitimate acts of war." Fewer than half of those polled believe that President Bush has a clear policy on the Mideast conflict.

"Israel fared better in the poll than did the Palestinians or their leader," CNN reported, noting that "seven of 10 of Americans polled described the Palestinian suicide bombings as terrorism," and that nearly 60 percent said that Arafat is an "enemy of the United States." Although sympathy for Israel has gone up significantly since early March, according to CNN, 39 percent described Israel's anti-terror offensive as terrorism. Some 56 percent of Americans feel that U.S. support for Israel is "about right" (46 percent) or "too little" (10 percent), while 35 percent said it was too much.

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