Newsletter : 2fax0503.txt
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White House Challenges Sharon's Statements
White House sources have expressed objections to statements made
Thursday by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who stated that if there
were a renewed wave of terrorism while Yasir Arafat is abroad,
Israel would consider not permitting the PA leader to return.
Sharon pointed out that trips to Arab countries by Arafat have in
the past been accompanied by renewed terror in Israel.
Congressional Leader Calls For Transfer
House of Representatives Majority Leader Rep. Richard Armey
(R.Tex), speaking with Chris Matthews on MSNBC said Thursday: "I am
content with Israel keeping all the land it occupies now."
When Matthews asked if he means to say that "all the Palestinians
who are now in the West Bank should get out of there? Is that
correct?," Armey responded, "Yes." He explained that there was
plenty of room for the PA population in other Arab countries.
House Majority Whip Tom DeLay suggested earlier this week that
Israel should not withdraw from territory it captured in the 1967
war, despite the Bush administration's call for an independent
Palestinian state. He also equated Israel's struggle against the
Palestinians with the U.S. war on terrorism, and pointedly did not
use the phrase "West Bank" but said rather "Judea and Samaria."
Security Council Discusses Collapse of Jenin Probe
By VOA News & IsraelNationalNews.com
A divided U.N. Security Council is considering how to proceed after
Secretary-General Kofi Annan canceled a mission to investigate
Israeli army actions in the Palestinian refugee camp at Jenin.
Council members met Thursday to review a letter drafted by current
Council President Kishore Mahbubani of Singapore.
It says council members "deplore" Israel's decision not to
cooperate with the fact-finding mission. The draft letter also asks
Annan to produce a report about events at Jenin that is as
accurate, thorough and balanced as possible. U.N. officials say
Annan is waiting for the council to approve the draft letter before
disbanding the 20-member fact-finding team that is still on
stand-by in Geneva.
Diplomats say Arab countries want a new resolution that would
authorize the council to take "measures" against Israel for
refusing to cooperate with the U.N. mission. Israel objected to the
composition, mandate and scope of the fact-finding mission.
Palestinians say Israeli forces carried out a massacre in the Jenin
camp last month, a charge Israel denies.
The United States says it regrets the collapse of the mission,
which it helped create, but supports Annan's decision to disband
the fact-finding team. In his letter to the Security Council, Annan
said he regrets aborting the fact-finding mission, because "the
long shadow cast by recent events in the Jenin refugee camp will
remain." He said conditions in the Jenin camp are changing day by
day, making it more and more difficult to establish with any
certainty what happened there.
Israeli officials say the Palestinians arranged a "funeral" for an
Arab who was still alive - all in order to create an impression of
more casualties than there actually were. Cameras aboard an Israel
Air Force pilotless plane captured the images of the "funeral" on
film shot on Sunday, April 28, at 7 a.m.
The "body" was first seen walking, then being wrapped in mourning
cloth, and finally coming to "life" when the procession concluded.
It is apparent that most of the "mourners" were not aware that the
funeral was staged. The presentation of the film is the latest
effort in Israel's campaign to take the offensive in the ongoing
public relations struggle with the Palestinians. The army says it
is aware of other similar fake funerals, but that this was the
first one it was able to film.
Arafat Vows to Rebuild Ramallah
By VOA News
Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat has vowed to rebuild Ramallah after
touring the war-battered West Bank city hours after Israeli troops
withdrew from his compound and ended his long confinement. A
defiant Arafat flashed the V-for-victory sign to cheering crowds of
Palestinians as he emerged from his compound Thursday. Israeli
forces had prevented him from leaving Ramallah since December, and
confined him to his office in late March.
Arafat denounced what he called the "barbaric activities" of the
Israeli army. He condemned what happened in Ramallah as racism as
he visited a hospital and several severely damaged Palestinian
Israeli troops left Ramallah before dawn under a U.S.-brokered deal
that transferred six Palestinians wanted by Israel from the Arafat
compound to a Jericho jail, where British and U.S. wardens are
monitoring them. Bethlehem Mayor Hanna Nasser says a similar deal
could be used to end a month-long standoff at the Church of the
Nativity. About 200 people -- including Palestinian gunmen wanted by
Israel, have been holed up in the church since April second.
Palestinian Policeman Killed at Bethlehem Church
By VOA News & IsraelNationalNews.com
Israeli troops have shot and killed a member of the Palestinian
security force and wounded two other Palestinians at the Church of
the Nativity in Bethlehem. The Israeli army said snipers opened
fire on the armed Palestinians Thursday when the men emerged from
the Israeli-besieged church. Palestinians returned fire.
Israeli soldiers later handed the body of the policeman over to
Palestinian authorities and transferred the two wounded men to a
In other developments, about 10 Western left-wing activists dashed
into the church compound and delivered food to those inside. The
Israeli army detained at least 10 other activists before they made
it inside. The activists have vowed to stay in Bethlehem until the
stand-off is over. One person was able to make his way into the
The High Court of Justice has rejected a petition seeking
permission to bring food and drink to the terrorists. IDF
commanders announced that persons may come out of the church and
get food and drink, and then return. The court told the
petitioners, Arab MKs Ahmed Tibi and Mohammed Barakeh, that since
the army is offering food and drink; the court was rejecting the
Meanwhile, a Vatican envoy, French Cardinal Roger Etchegaray, met
with Israeli President Moshe Katsav in Jerusalem to call for an end
to the crisis at the church - one of Christianity's holiest sites.
Cardinal Etchegaray then traveled to Ramallah and met with
Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat.
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