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Comedian Alan King Dead at 76

By Reuters

Comedian and actor Alan King, a longtime fixture in Jewish humor, died at a New York hospital on Sunday aged 76.

King, who lived in King's Point, N.Y., died of lung cancer. Services were scheduled for Tuesday morning, at Riverside Memorial Chapel in Manhattan. The Brooklyn-born son of Russian immigrants was one of the so-called Borscht Belt comics who in trademark acerbic delivery, cigar in hand, would gripe about the trials of everyday life.

King especially poked fun at being Jewish. In one typical joke, King quipped that a short summary of every Jewish holiday was: "They tried to kill us. We won. Let's eat." In another, he asked: "What's the difference between a Rottweiler and a Jewish mother? Eventually the Rottweiler lets go."

Terrorists Attack Memorial Ceremony; No One Hurt


Palestinian terrorists, one of them apparently dressed as a woman, opened fire at hundreds of Jews who came to participate in a memorial ceremony for the Hatuel family in Gush Katif Sunday evening. No one was hurt, and IDF soldiers killed two of the attackers.

"It was a humiliating experience for Jews who come to remember a slaughtered family to have to crouch down while terrorists shoot wildly around," said David Hatuel afterwards. "Can't the army protect a road just a few kilometers long? The houses that line the road must be torn down!" Hatuel lost his pregnant wife and their four daughters a week ago when Palestinian terrorists shot and killed them at point-blank range on the Kisufim entrance road to Gush Katif.

The ceremony began at 5:30 p.m. at the site where the five were murdered. Several minutes after the end of the ceremony, shots rang out. The participants were told to crouch down, and the local security coordinators on hand returned fire. At the same time, the soldiers in the area opened massive fire towards the spot where the shots originated, in order to silence the attackers and enable the civilians to be evacuated.

Only many minutes later did the bulletproof buses arrive; they took the women and children first, and then returned for the men, to nearby Kisufim Checkpoint. The private cars in which the participants arrived remained along the road, and remained there until the army completed combing the area for additional terrorists.

Shortly after the incident began, IDF forces identified an armed terrorist in an abandoned building along the road. An IDF tank fired a shell, killing two terrorists.

Gaza Regional Coast spokesman Eren Sterenberg told reporters that "We don't hate Arabs - we just want to live." Sterenberg lashed out at the Israel Supreme Court justices for blocking the army's razing Arab buildings along the Kissufim Road, buildings used to launch attacks. He called for the razing of all the buildings within a kilometer of either side of the road, "so we may travel in peace," he added. He pointed the finger of blame at the Supreme Court justices "who blocked the building destructions and gave the Oslo guns to the terrorists which are now being used against us."

Sharon to Present Amended Disengagement Plan from Some Palestinian Areas

By Ross Dunn (VOA-Jerusalem)

Israel's prime minister, Ariel Sharon, said Sunday that he would present an alternative plan for unilateral disengagement from Palestinian areas to his cabinet within three weeks. Sharon also said he was canceling a trip to Washington this month to consider new proposals, after his Likud party voted against the original plan.

Sharon convened his cabinet ministers to discuss how the government should proceed after his unilateral disengagement plan was overwhelmingly rejected by a referendum of the Likud party one-week ago. The prime minister said he intended to meet in the next few days with all members of the cabinet to help formulate alternative proposals. He said these discussions would be aimed at drawing up a new diplomatic initiative, to be presented to the government within three weeks.

Sharon is under pressure from right-wing cabinet ministers opposed to his vision of withdrawing soldiers and removing Jewish settlements from the Gaza Strip and parts of the West Bank. At the same time, the prime minister is facing demands from other factions to press ahead with his plan.

The secular Shinui party, led by Justice Minister Tommy Lapid, is threatening to withdraw from the coalition if diplomatic progress with the Palestinians remains stalled. Two right-wing government ministers stormed out of the cabinet meeting after Lapid spoke in favor of Israel's withdrawing from the Gaza Strip.

But Sharon insisted he wanted more debate on the idea of unilateral disengagement. He also told the cabinet he was calling off a planned trip to Washington next week because he would be busy consulting on the idea with government ministers.

Sharon was to have addressed the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a pro-Israel lobbying group, and a meeting with President Bush had been under consideration. Israel's deputy Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, a staunch supporter of the disengagement plan, has been chosen to represent Sharon at the Washington conference.

Defense Minister Warns Hizbullah Attacks Will be 'Catastrophic for Syria and Lebanon'

By Ross Dunn (VOA-Jerusalem)

Israel is warning that it would strike government targets in Syria and Lebanon if these countries do not restrain the militant Islamic group Hizbullah. The warning follows recent violence between Hizbullah and Israeli troops on the border with Lebanon.

Israel's deputy defense minister, Ze'ev Boim, warned that if Hizbullah continued to escalate violence along the Israeli border with Lebanon, then the fighting would spread to other parts of Lebanon and Syria. His comments followed reaction to the killing last week of one Israeli soldier and the wounding of six others in attacks by the Hizbullah, which is based in southern Lebanon.

Boim said it was clear that Israel is not only dealing with the Hizbullah, which is listed by the State Department as a terrorist organization but that Syria was supplying the militant group with money and weapons, and was the main power broker in Lebanon, controlling activities inside that country.

Boim said that if Hizbullah were allowed to continue attacking Israel then it would be "catastrophic for Syria and Lebanon."

On Wednesday, Hizbullah terrorists fired anti-aircraft shells over the western Galilee region of Israel in what the organization claimed was retaliation for violations of Lebanese airspace by Israeli warplanes earlier that day. Israeli warplanes then struck at suspected Hizbullah positions in southern Lebanon.

On Thursday, Israeli troops thwarted an apparent attempt by Hizbullah fighters to cross into the Golan region, an area that Israel seized from Syria during the 1967 Middle East war. Israeli troops patrolling the area the following day said they were fired upon by Hizbullah gunners using mortars and anti-tank missiles.

Meanwhile, the Israeli government denied media reports that it was in possession of a bone fragment of Israeli airman, Capt. Ron Arad, who disappeared over Lebanon in 1986. The reports said the bone fragment had been passed on by the Hizbullah, via German mediators, as part of efforts by the organization to secure a new agreement on the release of more Arab prisoners held by Israel.

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