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Home > News & Politics > Israel > Middle East news briefs.

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Middle East news briefs.

Jewish Telegraphic Agency
January 16, 2001

Israel, Palestinians resume talks

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel and the Palestinians resumed high-level peace talks at a secret location in Jerusalem. Tuesday's talks were held as settlers attacked Palestinian farms and homes in the Gaza Strip for a second straight day. Israeli President Moshe Katsav called on the settlers, who were retaliating for the slaying Sunday of a fellow settler, to act with restraint and let Israeli security forces handle the situation.

Sharon: I'll build Negev settlements

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Opposition leader Ariel Sharon promised that one of his first steps as prime minister would be to create a series of new settlements to connect isolated villages in the Negev. ``For me, settlement is more important than any political consideration and any political camp," Sharon said during a campaign stop Monday in a small Negev village near the border with Egypt. Sharon also said he would not transfer Negev land to the Palestinian Authority in exchange for Jewish settlement blocs in the West Bank.

U.S. committee causes stir

JERUSALEM (JTA) — A team associated with the U.S.-led Mitchell Committee probing the outbreak of violence in the territories recently visited the Temple Mount in Jerusalem without prior coordination with Israel, contrary to an agreement reached between the sides. Israel's Foreign Ministry criticized the move, saying it could make the findings of the committee unacceptable to Israel. The team was escorted by the Palestinian Authority-appointed director of the Wakf, or Islamic religious trust.

Labor group threatens to strike

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel's Histadrut labor federation was threatening to strike Wednesday unless the government met its wage demands. Histadrut officials were threatening to shut down airports, ports, railways and other government-owned facilities.

Female soldiers to guard settlements

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The Israel Defense Force is for the first time assigning female soldiers to guard Jewish settlements. According to reports, the soldiers, who serve in the artillery corps, will be stationed at settlements in the northern West Bank.

Hebron settlers to get civil guard

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israeli security officials granted Hebron settlers permission to form an armed civil guard that will patrol the area, the Israeli daily Ma'ariv reported. The paper quoted a police spokesman as saying the guard would be expected to operate lawfully.

Collaborators turn themselves in

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Seven Palestinians have turned themselves in since the Palestinian Authority offered amnesty to collaborators with Israel, the Palestinian justice minister said Tuesday. A day earlier, Freih Abu Medein announced that the Palestinian Authority was offering amnesty to Palestinians who turn themselves in within 45 days and make a full disclosure of their links with Israel. Hamas, meanwhile, threatened to strike with an ``iron fist" at Palestinians suspected of assisting Israel.

Israel wants to sell arms to China

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel is trying to find a compromise that will enable it to sell an airborne radar system to Beijing, according to the director general of the Foreign Ministry. When a solution is found, it will be presented to the United States, Alon Liel said Tuesday. In July, Prime Minister Ehud Barak canceled the sale of the Phalcon system to China after coming under intense pressure from U.S. officials. The officials had expressed concern that the sale would enhance China's threatening position against Taiwan and could be used to track U.S. aircraft in case of a military conflict.

Palestinian collaborators killed

JERUSALEM (JTA) — An organization representing Palestinians who provide information to Israeli security forces filed a petition asking that Israel cut off peace talks until the Palestinian Authority stops executing suspected collaborators, the Israeli daily Ma'ariv reported. The petition was filed after the Palestinian Authority executed two Palestinians for helping Israel target senior Palestinian militants involved in attacks against Israelis. The executions prompted an international outcry. Also, three men killed a suspected Palestinian collaborator, Palestinian police said.

Army pressed on religious issues

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The Conservative movement in Israel called on the Israel Defense Force to grant full religious freedom to its members who serve in the army. The request came after three female soldiers were barred from praying at a synagogue on an army base while wearing tefillin. The army said the move was taken to avoid offending male worshipers.

Peres tries to rein in backers

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Cabinet minister Shimon Peres asked supporters to stop demanding that Prime Minister Ehud Barak step aside so Peres can run in his place in Feb. 6 elections. Public opinion polls show that Peres is even with Likud leader Ariel Sharon, while Sharon would defeat Barak.

Israel helping quake victims

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel is sending a medical team and supplies to help earthquake victims in El Salvador. Volunteers have also been collecting humanitarian aid for the stricken area.

Health minister resigns

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel's health minister resigned to protest Prime Minister Ehud Barak's conditional acceptance of President Clinton's proposals for a final Israeli-Palestinian peace accord. Roni Milo, a former Likud Party official who now belongs to the Center Party, believes Barak was willing to make too many concessions to the Palestinians.

Gilo resident attacked

JERUSALEM (JTA) — A resident of Jerusalem's Gilo neighborhood was lightly wounded in a stabbing attack by a Palestinian who fled to nearby Palestinian Authority territory. The southern Jerusalem neighborhood has been the target of frequent Palestinian shooting attacks since the outbreak of unrest nearly four months ago.

Jerusalem bombing averted

JERUSALEM (JTA) — A terrorist bombing in Jerusalem's Mea She'arim neighborhood was averted when an alert passer-by spotted a Palestinian youth tossing a suspicious bag into a dumpster. The woman summoned police Jan. 11 while her son opened the bag and disconnected a cellular phone from what turned out to be a bomb.

Palestinians reject Canada offer

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The Palestinian Authority rejected a Canadian offer to take in Palestinian refugees under a future Middle East peace deal. ``The home of the Palestinian refugees is Palestine, and there is not one single refugee willing to accept an alternative to his homeland," Ahmed Abdel Rahman, an aide to Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat told Reuters. ``The Palestinian people will accept neither resettlement nor compensation.'' Israel hailed the proposal by Canada's foreign minister, who was quoted last week as saying his country would be ready to accept Palestinian refugees.

Official: Kidnappings preventable

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The October kidnapping of three Israeli soldiers by Hezbollah gunmen across the border into Lebanon could have been prevented, according to Israel's army chief of staff. Presenting the findings of a commission that investigated the incident, Lt. Gen. Shaul Mofaz said Jan. 11 the army had advance information that Hezbollah planned to attempt an abduction.

Israeli divorce rate rises

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The divorce rate among Jewish couples in Israel is rising. At 30 percent, though, the rate is still lower than the rate in Western countries. According to figures released by the director general of the rabbinical courts, 9,153 couples divorced last year, with the greatest number, 733, in Tel Aviv.

© JTA Inc., 2000. May not be reproduced without written permission.


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