Newsletter : 2fax0909.txt
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Israel Bans 15 Members from Palestinian Parliament
By Ross Dunn (VOA-Jerusalem)
Israel has banned 14 Palestinian parliament members from attending
the first parliamentary session to be held in the past two years.
The Palestinian Legislative Council is to meet Monday, in the West
Bank city of Ramallah, in its first full session since the
beginning of the Intifada, the Palestinian uprising.
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon gave the go-ahead for the meeting last
week, but warned that members believed to be involved in terrorism
would be barred.
The Secretary of the Palestinian Legislative Council, Ibrahim Abu
al-Najar, said the remainder of the 86-member parliament will go
ahead with the meeting despite the ban in order to swear in a new
cabinet. The parliament has not met since September 2000, when
clashes began that have left more than 2,000 dead, most of them
The speaker of the parliament said Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat
plans to deliver a major policy speech at Monday's meeting. Arafat
is under pressure from the United States and Israel to reform the
Palestinian Authority as a first step to reviving peace talks.
Sharon said training and preparation of a new Palestinian security
apparatus would begin this month, which he described as a "good
beginning." He demanded that the Palestinian security forces halt
attacks by Palestinian groups and that this would pave the way for
Israeli troops to withdraw from Palestinian self-rule areas of the
West Bank and Gaza Strip.
French Jewish Lawyer to Represent Barghouti
By VOA News and IsraelFaxx.com News Sources
A French Jewish lawyer, born in Tunisia, said she would represent
Marwan Barghouti, a top lieutenant of Palestinian leader Yasir
Arafat's Fatah group, who is on trial in Israel on charges of
murder and terrorism.
The attorney, 75-year-old Gisele Halimi told a news conference in
Jerusalem that she is convinced her client is - in her words - a
man of peace who believes in the need for a negotiated settlement
of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Halimi is co-president of a
group called Lawyers for Justice in the Middle East, which she said
is trying to move forward the cause of peace in the Middle East.
Halimi told the reporters that she met Friday with Barghouti in
prison for an hour and he agreed that she should defend him at his
next court appearance, on Oct 3.
Halimi, who is French, said the Israeli charges are not backed by
evidence. "Who is Marwan? What has he said? What has he written?"
she asked. "We can't talk here of any real proof or facts."
Barghouti, 43, a member of the Palestinian parliament, was captured
April 15 two-weeks after Israeli troops stormed the West Bank in
the wake of a series of bloody suicide bombings. He went on trial
in Israel last week, charged with abetting the murders of 26
Israelis and with heading the Al-Aqsa Martyr's Brigade, a militant
wing of Fatah.
Barghouti has denied personal involvement in the attacks.
On Friday, MK Mohammad Barakeh (Hadash) asked the President of the
Supreme Court, Justice Aharon Barak, to disqualify the head of the
panel of judges who are presiding over Barghouti's trial. Barakeh
asked Barak on Friday to disqualify Judge Sara Sirota because of
comments she made Thursday at the start of the trial.
According to Barakeh, Sirota's comment that, "Peace activists do
not turn children into bombs and kill people," effectively passed
judgement on Barghouti even before his trial had begun. Sirota made
the comment in response to a statement by Barghouti that, "the
Israeli government is waging a war of genocide, and I am a freedom
fighter for peace between the two peoples."
U.S. and Israel Agree on Libyan Nuclear Threat
Ze'ev Schiff & Nathan Guttman (Courtesy of Ha'aretz)
The U.S. agrees with Israeli assessments that Libya has renewed its
efforts to acquire a nuclear bomb, and that those efforts have been
stepped up since 1999, when the U.N. sanctions on the country were
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon had said that Libya is energetically
seeking to develop a nuclear weapon and that the Jewish state
believes that although Libya is trying to acquire fissionable
material for nuclear weapons through centrifuges, it has proven to
be a slow process.
Experts said that Libya may be cooperating with North Korea and
Pakistan in the effort. Sharon mentioned the same assessment,
though he also raised the possibility the Libyans are getting aid
from Iraqi experts. He told the news media that it's possible that
Libya will achieve nuclear status before Iraq.
The Libyan efforts came up in discussions between Israeli and
American officials six months ago, when it became apparent to the
Israelis that the Americans had acquired similar information to
what Israel knows about Libya's nuclear ambitions.
Undersecretary for Arms Control and International Security John
Bolton said in Washington on May 5 that the U.S. "has no doubt"
that Libya is continuing its efforts to acquire a nuclear weapon.
He said the administration believes that with the sanctions lifted
in 1999, Libya's access to nuclear technology was increased.
But he added that while Libya needs foreign assistance to achieve
its nuclear goals, there is reason to be concerned about the
strengthening of Libya's nuclear infrastructure. Bolton noted that
on March 25, Libyan leader Muammar Gadhafi told Al Jazeera TV that
"we demanded the dismantling of Israel's weapons of mass
destruction, otherwise the Arabs have the right to be equipped with
the same weaponry."
He described Libyan chemical weapons development, and spoke about
their purchases of chemical materials in the Middle East, Asia and
Western Europe, and noted that the Libyans had developed a
ground-to-ground missile with the help of Serbia, India, North
Korea and China. But he also said that Libya condemned the terror
attack on the U.S. last year and that there had been great progress
in the state's reduction of support for terror.
Libya has been prominently listed on the State Department list of
states that support terrorism but there was talk about removing it
from the list this year to prove that the U.S. has a carrot and
stick policy and that those countries that cease support for terror
Israel's concern is that Libya, which doesn't have long-distance
missiles capable of reaching Israel, could use one of its planes,
a ship - or perhaps most dangerous - a terrorist organization to
deliver a nuclear weapon, if it does acquire one.
Putin Vows to Fight anti-Semitism
IsraelFaxx News Sources
President Vladimir Putin said his government was committed to
fighting anti-Semitism and other forms of extremism.
"I am convinced that only through democratic principles and tolerance of
all faiths can we guarantee a worthy future for Russia."
Russia's troubled relationship with Jews date to czarist days, when Jews
were limited in their movement and faced brutal pogroms that
sparked a wave of emigration.
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