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Heavy Security for U.S. Embassy in Cairo


The heightened security around the U.S. Embassy in Cairo continues in response to intelligence community reports of a planned attack. Egyptian officials have closed down the area around the embassy to vehicular traffic as a safeguard measure. Please click on for Egyptian music video about how Israel and U.S. allegedly conspired to bring down the Twin Towers on 9/11 (lyrics are in story below.)

Sharon's Government Presents New Peace Proposal

By Larry James (VOA-Jerusalem)

Israel's largest newspaper is reporting Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's government has presented a new peace proposal to the United States and Europe. Sunday, Sharon's party rejected a more limited proposal. The report in Yediot Achronot newspaper described an initiative that is even more comprehensive and far reaching than the one turned down by Likud voters in a referendum last weekend.

The paper said that National Security Council chairman Giora Eiland was the author. The new plan, like the previous one, begins with a complete Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and from several small settlements in the West Bank, but it goes much further, spelling out in some detail additional aspects that give the plan the look of a final settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The key points in addition to the disengagement from Gaza are: Israel would cede control of 89 percent of the West Bank; Egypt would give 600 square-kilometers of its territory in the Sinai for use by the Palestinian population, while Israel would cede 200 square-kilometers of Israeli land to Egypt; the newly expanded Gaza territory would be connected to Jordan by a tunnel.

How this new Palestinian area would be administered is not clear, although the newspaper report spoke of U.S., Egyptian and Jordanian custodianship of the territory. Palestinians have already rejected the proposal. Cabinet Minister Saeb Erakat said Israel should stick to implementation of the Roadmap peace plan and the signed agreements, instead of searching for other ideas and other plans.

Some analysts are expressing their doubts about the seriousness of the proposal and see it more as a public relations effort to make Sharon look like an advocate of peace. Political commentator Akiva Eldar said that, to be taken seriously, the plan must have international backing, in particular from the so-called Quartet, comprised of the United Nations, European Union, Russia and the United States.

"If it will come first and foremost from the United States, if President Bush will put it on the table and say 'take it or leave it' and you know what it means [to] leave it," he said. "If you turn your back on the United States, your best ally, then Sharon can say this is a new ball game and bring it not to his party and let the settlers have the upper hand, but bring it to the Knesset and to the Cabinet, I would not be surprised if this plan can get a majority in the Knesset."

The internationally backed Roadmap calls for a series of steps that would lead to the creation of a Palestinian state by 2005. No progress has been made on implementing it since it was unveiled nearly a year ago.

Jordan 'Encouraged' U.S. Won't Pre-judge Mideast Peace Talks

By Scott Stearns (VOA-Washington)

President Bush has told Jordan's King Abdullah that America is neutral in efforts to negotiate an end to Israeli-Palestinian violence. King Abdullah postponed this visit two weeks ago because of questions over Washington's support for Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's plan for Jewish settlements.

Bush again backed the prime minister's plan to close settlements in the Gaza Strip and some in the West Bank while strengthening Israeli control over other parts of the West Bank that are considered Palestinian territory. "I support the plan announced by Prime Minister Sharon to withdraw settlements from Gaza and parts of the West Bank. This bold plan can make a real contribution to peace, particularly if reform-minded Palestinians will step forward and lead toward the establishment of a peaceful Palestinian state."

Palestinian leaders were outraged when Bush endorsed that plan and suggested that Palestinian refugees abandon the idea of returning to homes in Israel. They said it showed Washington could no longer be an honest broker in the peace process because it had sided with Israel.

The president Thursday sought to allay some of those fears, saying all final status issues must be decided between Israelis and Palestinians and the outcome of those negotiations will not be prejudiced by the United States.

King Abdullah was looking for a written guarantee that Palestinians who lost homes and land would be compensated as part of a final peace deal. While he did not get that formal commitment, he did say he believes the United States would allow Israelis and Palestinians to decide their own future.

"Jordan also believes all final status issues including borders, refugees, Jerusalem, and settlements should be a matter for the parties to decide," he added. "I am encouraged by what I have heard from you today, sir, that these issues are not to be prejudiced and should be mutually agreed by the parties."

King Abdullah said that Israel must withdraw to the borders it held before the 1967 war. Failing to achieve that outcome would invoke what he called "other options" which would endanger Jordanian and regional interests.

Egyptian Music Video: Israel Destroyed Twin Towers


A vehemently anti-Israel and anti-America music video called "Hey Arabs Leaders" is the latest smash hit in Egypt and the Arab world. The Egyptian-produced video claims - among other things - that Israel destroyed the World Trade Center, and the U.S. and Israel are divvying up the Arab world.

The following is a translation of some of the lyrics of the video, which was produced one month ago: "...Two faces of the same coin, America and Israel. They made the world a jungle and ignited the fuse. America spread its wings, doesn't care at all. No one can stop her, no one can catch her. Soon he (Bush) will say Iran, then he will say Syria, but he is silent about [North] Korea. About that [Twin] Tower, oh people Definitely! His friends [Israel] were the ones who brought it down. What terrorism!! [Visual shows Sharon pushing the button] How many years are left For America and Israel acting as bullies...."

To view the subtitled Egyptian video clip click

The singer, Shaaban Abdul Rahim, was interviewed in the official PA daily Al Hayaat Al Jadida this week, and said that his feelings of hatred of Israel and the U.S. were representative of the sentiments of the Arab world in general. The following is from the interview in the PA daily:

He [Shaaban] talks about what is in the heart of all Arab nations and his song "Hey Arabs Leaders"... demonstrates the contempt of American President Bush for all the UN decisions . . . Shaaban's last song "I hate Israel," had great success and the song "Hey Arabs Leaders" also is having a big impact upon everyone...We asked Shaaban about the idea behind the song and he said: "I found that the Arab nation needs a new song with words that will be a clear statement of refusal and resistance... I made the clip because I feel the words and I'm not afraid of 'Israel' or America or their threats and I'm no better then those who are dying every day in Palestine or Iraq."

Q: We heard that you refused [to participate in] parties is America. Is that true? Shaaban: "I was asked to many parties in America for the Arab communities, and although it is worth a lot of money I will not go to America and I boycott even American cigarettes...I wrote the song 'I hate Israel' in 2000...we did not anticipate the greatness of the success... About the song 'Hey Arabs Leaders,' it must express things that are the clip we made Sharon's hands long, holding a cake with the writing 'The Arab World,' and Sharon and Bush are dividing up the cake among those with them." [Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, May, 4, 2004]

The use of music and song to promote hatred among children is very common on Palestinian Authority TV. Palestinian Media Watch has documented such methods of incitement on PA TV extensively.

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