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Iran Claims Ability to Mass-Produce Medium-Range Missile

By VOA News

Iran says it is now able to mass-produce its medium-range Shahab-3 ballistic missile, which analysts say can hit Israel or U.S. bases in the Persian Gulf. State media quotes Iran's defense minister Ali Shamkhani as joking his nation can produce the missile in the same numbers as the country's popular national car, the Paykan. That car has been mass-produced in Iran for decades. Last month, Iran said it had increased the range and accuracy of the Shahab-3 missile, making it capable of hitting targets in parts of southeastern Europe. The defense minister denied claims that the country is developing a long-range missile. Tehran has insisted its missile program is strictly for defensive purposes.


Palestinian Officials Check Arafat's Condition

By VOA News, IsraelNationalNews.com & Ha'aretz

A senior Palestinian official told reporters in Paris Tuesday that Yasir Arafat was still alive and dismissed suggestions the Palestinian leader might be taken off life support machines at a hospital outside the French capital.

Palestinian Foreign Minister Nabil Shaath told reporters in Paris Tuesday evening that Mr. Arafat was still alive, albeit in critical condition. "His situation has deteriorated, especially since last night," said. Shaath. "But since last Wednesday he has been in a coma. Having said that and having recognized the critical situation President Arafat is in today, his brain, his heart and his lungs still function and he is alive."

Shaath also dismissed rumors that the 75-year-old Palestinian leader would be taken off life support, adding the idea of euthanasia had also been ruled out. However, Israel Radio reported that rumors are circulating that Arafat may soon be unplugged from life support apparatus.

Shaath's description of Arafat's condition offered only a few more details than an earlier statement issued by doctors treating the Palestinian leader at the Percy Military Hospital outside Paris. That statement said Arafat's condition had declined sharply overnight, that he was in a deep coma, but that he was still alive.

It is still unclear what is wrong with Arafat. French privacy laws give his wife, Suha, the right to withhold medical information about his condition. But Shaath suggested his three-year detention in his West Bank office contributed to Arafat's illness. "The doctors, by and large, favor the explanation that his age, 75 years old, a very difficult life, the last three-and-a-half years incarcerated in a very small office which had very little oxygen and which had a very bad sanitary situation and siege by the Israeli army have contributed to a variety of digestive track ailments."

Sha'ath would not discuss any burial plans should Arafat succumb to this illness. But, officials in the West Bank city of Ramallah said they would seek to bury him at his Mukata headquarters.

Al-Jazeera news agency reported that Arafat's will calls for a funeral service in Cairo and temporary interment to be followed by eventually being laid to rest in Jerusalem. The never-ending rumors surrounding his condition also report preparations are underway for a Ramallah burial service and he will be laid to rest near his Mukata compound. PA officials add that at some time in the future, he will be laid to rest on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, when it is the capital of Palestine.

Senior Channel 2 correspondent Ehud Ya'ari commented Tuesday that the PA has made no official request to Jerusalem regarding a Ramallah burial. Until now, the prime minister has indicated Israel would only permit Arafat to be buried in Gaza. Israeli political sources said Tuesday that Israel would not object to Arafat's burial in Ramallah, if the Palestinians request it. Nonetheless, Israel prefers he be buried in the Gaza Strip, where some of his family members' graves are located, due to security concerns.

The sources said the Palestinian security forces in the West Bank would not be able to adequately secure the funeral service, but that diplomatic considerations will spur Israel to give the green light anyway. Security and government officials had previously said Ramallah was not an option for burial. Israel continues to insist that Arafat not be buried at the Temple Mount or in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Abu Dis.

While the 75-year-old Arafat's health sharply deteriorated Tuesday, countries were discussing how to pay their respects to a man who was both seen as the father of the Palestinian nation and loathed as a terrorist. For the United States, the issue is a double-edged diplomatic sword. President George W. Bush has sidelined Arafat since the start of his presidency. And the State Department has declared the Gaza Strip - a likely burial place - off-limits to Americans.

A U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said no decisions had been made but several options were being considered for the funeral, from sending U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell to having former U.S. presidents attend, such as Bill Clinton or Jimmy Carter. European diplomats, speaking on condition of anonymity, said EU member states were coordinating, and representation at the funeral would probably be at the ministerial level.

Knesset members Uri Ariel and Aryeh Eldad, both of the National Union party- have submitted proposed legislation barring life-long terrorists from entering or being buried in Israel. The bill does not distinguish between the two sides of the Green Line, which is the demarcation between Judea/Samaria/Gaza and the rest of the country.

The bill's introduction states, "PA Chairman Yasir Arafat was involved his whole life in terrorism against the State of Israel and its citizens. Arafat leads terrorist organizations, and is responsible for the murder of thousands of Israelis. In recent years, the State of Israel defined him as the head of a terrorism-supporting entity. He recently gave shelter to wanted terrorists in his abode in Ramallah, including terrorists with blood on their hands."

The bill specifically forbids Arafat from being buried anywhere in Israel. "Because of his disease," the bill reads, "the State of Israel allowed Arafat to leave for the sake of medical treatment. This bill requests a ban on his return to Israel or to the Palestinian Authority areas, whether to stay or to pass through. The bill also wishes to prevent his burial in these areas, lest the site turn into a pilgrimage attraction, a symbol, and a source of inspiration for the war against Israel's existence."


Mrs. Arafat's Rantings are More Than Just About Money

By Ha'aretz (Analysis)

According to French media reports, Suha Arafat presented a list of demands to PA leaders, including half of Arafat's assets and a senior position in the PA. Suha Arafat has always been power-hungry. She was like that when she began working at the age of 26 in Yasir Arafat's Tunisian office in 1989, and so she remained during the few years she spent at his side.

With her hysterical Monday calls on Al Jazeera, Suha Arafat was seen settling accounts and taking her vengeance on the people she believes threw her out of her position of political power at Arafat's side, led by Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen). It was Abbas who caused her greatest humiliation when he made his attendance at the 1993 White House ceremonies signing of the Oslo accords conditional on her not attending. She did not go, and she missed many other events that Abu Mazen and other leading Palestinian Authority figures did not want her to attend.

She was born in 1963, making her 34 years younger than Arafat. The daughter of a Christian family, her father was Daoud Tawil, a wealthy banker with business in the West Bank and Jordan. Her mother, Ramonda, comes from the Hawa family of Acre, prominent property owners in the Haifa area.

After 1967, Ramonda became politically active in the territories, but the fact that an attractive woman like her was meeting openly with foreign correspondents did not help her reputation in the eyes of traditional Palestinian society. She was arrested several times by the Israelis and became a media star. Her daughter Suha, growing up in Ramallah, came under the influence of the political activity the mother conducted in the 1970s from her PLO-influenced news bureau in East Jerusalem.

When Suha turned 18, she was sent to study in Paris, where she lived with her older sister, who was married to Ibrahim Souss, the PLO's then-ambassador to France. In 1987 and 1988 she met Arafat a number of times, and helped organize his visit to Paris in 1989. Afterward, she went to Tunis to work in his office.

Soon after the gossip began about the two being lovers, and in the summer of 1990 the 61-year-old Arafat and 27-year-old Suha were secretly married. The Christian Suha became a Muslim "for political purposes," as she would say later. On Monday, many cynically noted that she signed off her statement to Al Jazeera by saying "Allahu Akhbar (God is great)," twice.

The marriage was strange, by all accounts. Suha courted Arafat, initiating the relationship and the marriage itself. Her parents were against it, but Arafat gave in to her. He was lonely at the top after most of his founding father partners in Fatah had been killed, died or retired from the revolution.

Those left behind, headed by Abu Mazen, opposed the idea of him marrying, and conducted a campaign against Suha. For decades, the Palestinian propaganda machine had revolved around the image of the fighting, wandering hero who was homeless and dressed in rags - symbolizing the Palestinians - and now, suddenly, he was married to a young blonde dressed in the latest French style. And if that wasn't all, she was also a Christian, and her world was not merely culture, but cafe society, nightclubs, dancing and the beaches of Europe.

The ambitious Suha imposed herself on the PLO leadership. Her family leaked the fact of her secret marriage to the media because they could not stand the jokes and cheap gossip about the leader's mistress. Later, when she was asked about the marriage, she admitted that she pushed him into it. And in a rare joint interview, when he said their marriage was fate, she interjected, "It wasn't fate, it was love."

After the marriage. Yasir Arafat continued to live most of his life, including nights, at his offices, whether in Gaza or Ramallah, and Suha was forced to surrender to the demands of senior Palestinian officials to stay away from any political activity. On July 24, 1995, their daughter Zahwa was born named for Arafat's mother. Suha had the baby in Paris and gradually she began spending more and more time in the French capital, staying away from the territories.

She did not attend Arafat's 70th birthday party in 1999, and the rift between them became public knowledge. There was also a financial background to the crisis in their relationship, since she had become involved in getting economic franchises in the PA for her cronies.

Arafat's financial advisor, Mohammed Rashid, mediated a financial arrangement between Arafat and his wife, which led to a rift between Suha and Rashid. Despite the rumors about millions that she wastes, Suha continued to complain over the years that the money she gets is not enough for her household needs, and on a number of occasions has said that she is worried she would end up penniless after Arafat's death.

It is difficult to believe, however, that Suha's strange behavior around Arafat's deathbed is only a matter of money. More than anything, it can be understood as the woman's revenge on the PA leadership for all the years it scorned her. Apparently the timing of the outburst was directly linked to her learning that Abu Mazen and other Palestinian officials she hated so much were on their way to Paris to once and for all end her proximity to Yasir Arafat.


Top Christian Leaders to Sign Proclamation Encouraging Pilgrimage to the Holy Land

By IsraelNationalNews.com5

Top Christian leaders will meet this Monday, Nov. 15th, in Jerusalem, to sign a multi-denominational proclamation encouraging pilgrimage to the Holy Land. The proclamation describes Israel as a safe destination for Christian pilgrims and states "pilgrimage to the Holy Land constitutes bridges of peace amongst the nations".

Signatories hope that the proclamation will not only encourage Christian pilgrimage to the country, but also strengthen local Christian communities. Gideon Ezra, Israel's Tourism Minister, will also address the gathering. In 2000, a banner year for Israeli tourism, 62 percent of tourists to the country were Christians. This year, 1.5 million tourists are expected-nearly a third of who will be Christians.


Kristallnacht and the World's Response

By Jack de Lowe (Commentary)

66 years ago at this very hour, my parents, who were married just over 2 months earlier, woke up in the middle of the night to the sound of sirens. My father ran out into the night in his pajamas to the synagogue, which he found ablaze. There was no chance to save anything. The police and fire personnel did nothing to stop the fire.

My father was arrested and beaten most of the night until he confessed to having set the fire and to possessing a gun and in the morning, he was taken to Sachsenhausen concentration camp by truck almost 300 km away. Fortunately, my mother was able to get a warm coat to my father for he surely would have died without it.

Because my father had the foresight to apply for a visa to the United States some 4 years earlier, he and my mother were eventually saved. But 39 members of my family were not so fortunate and I grew up never knowing grandparents. The non-response of the world to Kristallnacht foretold how the world would react to the 'Final Solution', which allowed the Nazis, and those who cooperated with them to do the unthinkable.

I will go to Norden this coming year, please G'd, with my 88-year-old mother and my children not to celebrate the 800 anniversary of the town in which my father's family lived for over 400 years and my mother's family for over 250 years, but as a reminder to those in Germany and so that we can continue with our lives in Israel as proud Jews and never forget what was done to our people.


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