Newsletter : 6fax1003.txt
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Shalit Kidnappers Reject Egyptian-Brokered Deal
Hamas terrorists who are holding IDF Cpl. Gilad Shalit hostage have rejected a deal to
swap the Israeli soldier for hundreds of Palestinian Authority Arab prisoners.
Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abu Gheit said in an interview on Al Arabiya television
that terrorists rejected a deal "to free women, children, elders and those who have been
serving long prison terms" in exchange for Shalit. The prisoner exchange "could have
guaranteed freeing 900 to 1,000 prisoners," said Abu Gheit, "but sadly they have decided
to keep holding him."
Egypt lost patience with Hamas last week and demanded in a harsh letter written by
Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Suleiman to Damascus-based Hamas leader Khalid Mashaal
that Shalit be released by October 22nd, the end of the Islamic month of Ramadan.
Suleiman also said Mashaal would be held responsible for any Israeli military operation
carried out in Gaza. IDF Chief of General Staff Dan Halutz said before the Yom Kippur
holiday on Sunday that Israel may ratchet up the pressure in Gaza in response to increased
Kassam rocket attacks on Sderot and other southern Israeli communities.
A spokesman for the Popular Resistance Committees, the Hamas terror organization that
kidnapped Shalit, said Monday that such an attack would mean the file of the soldier may
get closed again." The spokesman, Abu Mujahed, warned, "If they enter Gaza and kill people
or even if they eliminate all Gazans, they will never regain their soldier."
New Palestinian Fighting Reported
By VOA News
At least three people were killed and 21 more injured Monday in new fighting among
rival Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Witnesses said two people were killed and at least 17 others were wounded when gun
battles broke out between supporters of the Fatah faction and the terrorist Islamic group
Hamas in the southern Gaza Strip.
In Jericho, in the Israeli occupied West Bank, news reports said Fatah gunmen shot and
killed a waiter who refused to abide by a Fatah-led strike. In the West Bank town of
Nablus, two bodyguards of Palestinian Deputy Prime Minister Nasser Shaer were wounded when
gunmen fired on their car. Palestinian leaders have appealed for calm, but Gaza and the
West Bank remains tense.
The violence began Sunday when militia loyal to the ruling Hamas group confronted
pro-Fatah civil servants protesting about unpaid wages. Sunday's fighting was described as
the worst internal Palestinian violence since Hamas won elections in January.
The Palestinian Authority has been unable to pay the salaries of more than 160,000
civil servants since March. International donors suspended aid after Hamas took power in
Most of the clashes have been between Palestinians loyal to President Mahmoud Abbas'
Fatah party and those loyal to Hamas. Politicians from the two parties have been
deadlocked over forming a Palestinian unity government.
Assad: Peace Talks with Israel Could be Completed in 6 Months
Syrian President Bashar Assad said in an interview published Monday that he believes
that if peace talks with Israel were to resume from where they left off, they could
conclude within as little as six months.
In an interview with Spain's El Pais newspaper, Assad reiterated his desire to conduct
peace negotiations with Israel, and expressed his belief that Middle East peace talks
should be revived, and that the achievement of an "encompassing and just" peace agreement
would serve as a permanent solution to the area's recurring problems.
Assad continued, saying the international community "must have faith in Syria" that it
will guard its border with Lebanon. However, Assad said that he cannot make an oath to
halt all arms smuggling from Syria into Lebanon.
No military or international body can stop Hizbullah from smuggling weapons into
Lebanon, he said. "If there is a real desire to smuggle [weapons], neither Security
Council resolutions nor surveillance nor the whole armies of the world can prevent this."
Hizbullah is widely believed to have received weapons and other support from its backers,
Syria and Iran.
After the 34-day war between Hizbullah and Israel that ended on August 14, Israel said
it wanted international troops to deploy on the Lebanon-Syrian border to enforce a halt in
weapons shipments. Syria strongly rejected the idea, warning it would close the border
Assad said other nations "should have faith in Syria" over controlling its borders.
Syria has, however, increased the number of troops on its border with Lebanon by moving
forces from its eastern border with Iraq, he said. "We have strengthened the border with
Lebanon, but of course, this made us move parts of our forces guarding the border with
Iraq to the border with Lebanon.
The move appeared to be an effort to appease international requests but likely would
increase criticism from the United States and Iraqi governments, which have long accused
Syria of not doing enough to stop insurgents crossing into Iraq to fight U.S. troops.
Syria denied the allegation, saying it was impossible to fully control the long desert
border it shares with Iraq.
United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan said during his recent trip to the Middle
East that Assad had assured him that Damascus was prepared to delineate its border with
In the El Pais interview, Assad also said the U.S. "was not a fair co-sponsor" of the
stalled Middle East peace process and called on Europe to take an active role.
"Regrettably there is not another international power that can replace it [the U.S.], and
at the same time, the United States should not be alone, and here is where Europe's role
comes in," he said.
Yom Kippur: Hundreds of thousands of DVDs rented
Tens of thousands of Israelis flocked to video stores over the weekend to rent movies
for the Yom Kippur holiday.
Blockbuster executives reported that by Saturday evening some 260,000 DVDs and videos
had been rented from stores, adding that an additional 60,000 are expected to be rented
out Sunday morning.
Video chain Rav-Seret said customers emptied out rental machines in a hurry. "People
are fearful that they won't be able to go through the day (Yom Kippur) without watching
television and are renting more movies than they'll actually have the time to watch," said
Shimon Diamant, part owner of the Modern Times video store chain.
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