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Tibi Compares U.S. Forces to Soldiers in the Third Reich


MK (Ta'al) Dr. Ahmed Tibi on Monday drew a comparison between U.S. soldiers in Iraq and German troops of the Third Reich. The Arab Knesset member stated that upon viewing the atrocities attributed to the soldiers, he is reminded of the actions of the German troops. He also commented on America's ongoing efforts to "preach democracy" to the PA while exhibiting such a display and stripping Iraqis of all their pride and honor.

Three Israeli Arabs Released from Prison After Others Confess to Killing Soldier

By VOA News

Israel has released three Israeli Arabs who spent 10 months in prison on suspicion of killing an Israeli soldier, after two other men confessed to the crime. The three were jailed last year for the kidnapping and killing of a 20-year-old Israeli soldier whose body was found in July near the Israeli city of Nazareth. The three detainees lived in a nearby town.

One of the three suspects said he confessed to the crimes under what he called intense emotional and psychological pressure, including sleep deprivation. He said Israeli interrogators did not physically harm him. An Israeli court freed the trio Sunday, a month after authorities jailed two suspects in a separate shooting attack that occurred last month. Authorities said the suspects in the April attack confessed to killing the Israeli last year, after a rifle in their possession was traced to the dead soldier.

Mideast Water Dilemma Seen As Challenge, Opportunity

By Michael Bowman (VOA-Washington)

Drinking water has long been scarce in the Middle East, a problem that is expected to worsen in years to come. Experts on the subject recently testified at a hearing before the House of Representatives' Committee on International Relations. The Middle East's water dilemma is seen as both a challenge and an opportunity.

For centuries, conflict in the Middle East has revolved around land and resources. When it comes to resources, perhaps nothing is more precious than water. David Satterfield heads the State Department's Bureau of Oceans and Environmental Affairs. "The people in Israel, Jordan, the West Bank and Gaza live in a constant state of water scarcity. With population growth and economic development in the future, water resources in the basin will come under even more stress."

It has been estimated that by the year 2040, combined Israeli, Jordanian and Palestinian demands for water will outstrip supply by between 870 million and 3.5 billion cubic meters of water per year. In the United States, total annual fresh water supply averages about 7,000 cubic meters per person. In Israel, that per capita figure drops to about 300 cubic meters, and in the West Bank and Gaza less than 100 cubic meters.

Addressing the congressional hearing via satellite was Uri Shamir, Director of Israel's Stephen and Nancy Grand Water Research Institute. Shamir said, in decades to come, human water consumption in the Jordan River basin would squeeze out supplies that currently go to agriculture and industry. "Today, over half of the potable water in Israel goes to the urban areas, and it will grow by 2020 to over 70 percent of the available average natural potential."

You might think that getting historical enemies in the Middle East to unite behind water resource projects would be a lost cause. But recent history suggests the opposite. In the 1990s, Israel signed accords with both Jordan and the Palestinians creating joint water commissions that have been successful, some would say remarkably so, in focusing on the tasks at hand.

"The Israel-Jordanian Joint Water Commission and the Israel-Palestinian JWC have continued to operate without pause since agreements were signed. In the last three and a half years of violence, during which time political negotiations have largely gone into abeyance, Israelis, Palestinians and Jordanians continue to work together on the multilateral water projects," Satterfield said.

And just what ideas are being proposed to boost the supply of fresh water? One idea is to construct a 108-mile long pipeline to transfer water between the Red Sea and the Dead Sea, with hydroelectric power used to desalinate a projected 850 million cubic meters or water a year.

But Israeli water researcher Shamir said the project would be long and costly. "With the Red Sea-Dead Sea project that has been discussed, there you have to construct the entire project and invest all of the $4-$5 billion estimated today before you get the first benefit."

A better idea, according to those who testified at the hearing, is to desalinate seawater along Israel's coastline. James Kunder, deputy assistant administrator for the U.S. Agency for International Development's Near East Bureau, said, "Desalinization, we believe, as opposed to some of the other mega-projects, is the way to go in the Middle East."

Shamir agreed. "Israel has suggested that the desalination plant be constructed for the West Bank on the Israeli coast," he said. "The plant would be constructed and operated by donor countries for the Palestinians; the space for the plant and the pipeline access to the West Bank would be provided by Israel; the West Bank would then be fed partially from local ground water sources, augmented by desalination."

Yet obstacles persist. Aside from the challenge of obtaining funding for water projects, continuing violence in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict recently caused USAID to suspend a water desalination project in Gaza.

But many are hopeful. The chairman of the House International Relations Committee, Representative Henry Hyde, said the extent to which warring parties in the Middle East overcome challenges in the availability and distribution of resources can have an enormous impact on larger peace efforts in the region.

"Man has the ability to determine how natural resources can be shared for everyone's benefit," Hyde said. "Is it not realistic for the region's water challenges to serve as motivation for peace, rather than a point of contention, since any future territorial settlement between the people and the countries of the Jordan River basin will be linked to their need for water?" Hyde said he hoped history would bear out the words of former Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres: "If roads lead to civilization, then water leads to peace."

Report: Spielberg Rents Polish Mansion for '72 Olympics Film


A mansion in the south-western Polish city of Wroclaw is set to be the on-film hide-out of Palestinian terrorists in an upcoming movie by director Steven Spielberg, Polish Radio reported Monday quoting unofficial sources.

Spielberg is reported to be preparing to shoot a movie based on the 1972 crisis at the Munich Olympic Games where Palestinian terrorists took hostage and killed Israeli athletes.

According to recent reports, the multi-Oscar winning director has paid several clandestine visits to Wroclaw, apparently location hunting for the new film. Part of the Spielberg shoot will reportedly take place on location at a Wroclaw stadium and in some of the city's other sports facilities.

The director has worked in Poland before while filming the Oscar-winning Holocaust drama Schindler's List in the picturesque southern Polish city of Krakow.

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