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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
retaliating for the slaying Sunday of a fellow settler, to act with
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
more important than any political consideration and any political camp,"
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
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
Temple Mount in Jerusalem without prior coordination with Israel, contrary
an agreement reached between the sides. Israel's Foreign Ministry criticized
move, saying it could make the findings of the committee unacceptable to
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
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,
soldiers, who serve in the artillery corps, will be stationed at settlements
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
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
Palestinian justice minister said Tuesday. A day earlier, Freih Abu Medein
announced that the Palestinian Authority was offering amnesty to
who turn themselves in within 45 days and make a full disclosure of their
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
general of the Foreign Ministry. When a solution is found, it will be
the United States, Alon Liel said Tuesday. In July, Prime Minister Ehud
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
would enhance China's threatening position against Taiwan and could be used
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
cut off peace talks until the Palestinian Authority stops executing
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
attacks against Israelis. The executions prompted an international outcry.
Also, three men killed a suspected Palestinian collaborator,
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
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
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
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
the target of frequent Palestinian shooting attacks since the outbreak of
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
single refugee willing to accept an alternative to his homeland," Ahmed
Rahman, an aide to Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat told
``The Palestinian people will accept neither resettlement nor
Israel hailed the proposal by Canada's foreign minister, who was
quoted last week as saying his country would be ready to accept Palestinian
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
Western countries. According to figures released by the director general of
rabbinical courts, 9,153 couples divorced last year, with the greatest
733, in Tel Aviv.
© JTA Inc., 2000. May not be reproduced without written permission.