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French Doctors Rule Out Leukemia for Ailing Arafat

By VOA News

An aide to ailing Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat says French doctors have officially ruled out leukemia as the cause of the Palestinian leader's health crisis. Leila Shahid, the Palestinian envoy to France, said the finding is based on tests on Arafat, who is being treated in a suburban Paris hospital. Reading from a medical statement Tuesday, Shahid said tests show anomalies in Arafat's digestive functions. The statement offered no further details. The envoy also said the patient's general condition has improved in the past 72 hours.

EU Tries to Keep Mideast 'Roadmap' Alive

By Roger Wilkison (VOA-Brussels)

The European Union has unveiled a four-point proposal to keep the Middle East "roadmap" on track, despite Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat's illness and a deadly suicide bombing Monday in Tel Aviv. The proposal, as well as aid for Iraq, and Iran's nuclear program, will be on the agenda of an EU summit later this week.

EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana said the "roadmap" was still the only alternative aimed at achieving a Palestinian state living in peace beside Israel. As Yasir Arafat lies in a Paris hospital and Israel pushes ahead with a plan to withdraw its settlements from the Gaza Strip, Solana is calling on the EU's partners in the roadmap process the United States, the United Nations and Russia to accelerate the drive for Middle East peace instead of taking what he called an incremental approach.

To that end, he is proposing that the EU help ensure security in Gaza when Israeli forces finally pull out of the strip. But he did not give details of what the EU should do. He also promised more economic aid for the Palestinian Authority and urged it to press ahead with institutional reforms that, according to one of his aides, would bring about more decentralization of power in Palestinian areas. As part of that effort, Solana is promising EU support for local Palestinian elections that are scheduled for next month. He hopes the elections will produce what he described as more interlocutors at all levels for the Israelis and that this will advance the roadmap.

The government of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has shut the EU out of Middle East diplomacy, preferring to deal directly with the United States. But diplomatic initiatives from Washington have been on hold during the election campaign, although Solana says the U.S. government, like the EU, wants to accelerate implementation of the roadmap. The EU official says Israel should recognize that Palestinian institutions are working in spite of Arafat's illness.

Security Services Arrest 16 Members of Bethlehem Terror Cell

By Ha'aretz and Agencies

The Shin Bet security services and the Israel Defense Forces said Tuesday they have in recent weeks arrested 16 residents of Bethlehem who are suspected of having planned a series of large-scale terror attacks in Jerusalem.

The cells allegedly planned to launch two pairs of suicide bombers to the Mea She'arim neighborhood in the capital, and are said to have planned a terror attack using an explosive-laden ambulance. Also attributed to one of the cells is a plan to attack a bus carrying worshippers to Rachel's Tomb near Bethlehem.

Based on details released on Tuesday by security forces, Hamas was to provide the suicide bombers for the missions, while Islamic Jihad was supposed to supply the explosive devices. Some of those arrested, including the would-be suicide bombers, served in the Palestinian national security services. Among those arrested is Hamed Dar'awi, an active member in the PA's national security services, who is said to have been the mastermind for the ambulance attack. The cells are said to have received instructions from Palestinian militant leaders in the Gaza Strip.

Remembering Rabbi Meir Kahane


Jerusalem Police detained 12 activists of the Kach organization Monday as they were passing out pamphlets and bumper stickers reading, "Kahane Was Right." The reference is to the former Knesset Member, head of the Kach Party, and founder of the Jewish Defense League, the late Rabbi Meir Kahane, murdered in New York 14 years ago on Tuesday - the 18th of the Hebrew month of Cheshvan - by an Arab gunman. The assassin was later found to be part of the Arab terror cell involved in the first World Trade Center bombing, in 1993.

The police confiscated the pamphlets and continue to deliberate whether passing out such material violates Israeli laws of incitement. Kahane's Kach Party platform called for the transfer of the Arab population from the State of Israel. The party was outlawed in a Knesset vote just prior to the 1988 national elections.

Kahane first publicly declared his idea of "transfer" in a 1971 address delivered at Haifa University. The concept was considered so radical at the time that his speech triggered off spontaneous rioting and violent protests on campus. In the wake of decades of Arab terror, however, the transfer program has become more popular. According to an October 2004 survey commissioned by Channel 2 TV, 58% of adults aged 18-22 support transfer, while 26.4% believe that Kahane was correct in his call to expel the Arabs. A third of those polled believe that Kach should be declared a legal party once again.

In addition, a survey carried out in June of this year by Haifa University's National Security Research Center indicated that close to 30% of the public would support a Kach-like party. Over 55% of the Jewish public feels, according to the poll, that Israeli-Arabs are a threat to national security.

Arafat Funds Terror and Then Condemns It


Yasir Arafat is still at it: releasing money for terrorism one day (last week), and a few days later publicly condemning the attack that followed (Monday).

Arafat, whose illness and condition is still shrouded in mystery, ordered the release of tens of thousands of dollars to Fatah terrorists in Gaza - while he was on his sickbed. So reports the well-connected Ben Caspit of Ma'ariv. The PA chairman gave "detailed orders as to how to divide the money among the Jenin Martyrs Brigade, the Abu Reish Brigades, Force 17, the military wing of the Al-Aqsa Brigades, and others," Caspit wrote. Arafat said that the terrorist actions against Israel must continue, and instructed aides not to talk with Hamas about reducing attacks, as "this is against our policy."

Despite these efforts, the arch-terrorist put on a different face to the world Monday when he issued a condemnation of the Tel Aviv attack from his hospital bed in Paris. Three Israelis were killed and some 50 were wounded in the bombing.

Arafat's wife Suha, whom he had not seen for approximately three years until he took ill, relayed the statement of condemnation. Israel Radio reported this week that one of her first concerns was having her husband sign a will giving her access to the hundreds of millions of dollars he has stashed away in different accounts in Israel and Europe. Arafat reportedly refused her request.

Arafat is under heavy guard at the relatively secluded Percy Army Hospital. Last night, police dispersed a crowd of some 30 people who approached the hospital, shouting, "Arafat - murderer!" Arafat is responsible for the murder of thousands of people in his 40 years as head of the Palestinian Liberation Organization.

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