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Middle East news briefs.
Jewish Telegraphic Agency
January 21, 2001
Barak: Old City must be shared
JERUSALEM (JTA) Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak said Israeli
and Palestinian negotiators must find a way to share administration of
Jerusalem's Old City and its holy sites ``so there won't be a split and
city and there will be free access to all." Speaking Tuesday before an
of high school students, Barak said he would ensure that Jerusalem sites
holy to Jews ``will be under our sovereignty."
Barak briefs Powell on Mideast
JERUSALEM (JTA) Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak spoke by
phone Monday night with U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell and briefed him
on the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. Barak's office said he
Israel's positions in the talks during his first contact with the newly
Putin vows to press for peace
MOSCOW (JTA) Russian President Vladimir Putin said he would
work to ensure continuity in the Middle East peace process despite the
of administration in Washington and the upcoming election in Israel. Putin
the comment after meeting Tuesday in Moscow with Israeli President Moshe
Katsav, who said Russia's good relations with the Arab world could be used
help the peace process.
Sharon mum on 1982 war
JERUSALEM (JTA) Israeli opposition leader Ariel Sharon refused
to answer questions from students about his role in the 1982 war in Lebanon
when he visited a high school Tuesday. The previous day, Sharon was taken by
surprise when a student blamed him for the shell shock her father suffered
the war. The student is active in Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak's
which prompted Likud officials to charge that the Barak campaign is planting
questions with students to embarrass Sharon. Barak's camp denied the
Barak wins mock election
JERUSALEM (JTA) Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak defeated
opposition leader Ariel Sharon by 57.7 percent to 42.3 percent in mock
held Tuesday at a Ramat Gan high school. The mock vote at Blich High School
draws media attention because it has correctly predicted outcomes in several
previous elections. Sharon supporters downplayed the significance of the
noting that in 1996 students overwhelmingly voted for then-Prime Minister
Shimon Peres, who lost to Benjamin Netanyahu in the real election.
Party wants plea canceled
JERUSALEM (JTA) Israel's Meretz Party asked the attorney general
to cancel a plea bargain under which a Jewish settler was given six months
community service for killing a Palestinian boy. The plea bargain was
following a Supreme Court ruling that Nahum Korman had not intended to kill
One wounded in Gaza explosion
JERUSALEM (JTA) An Israeli soldier was wounded in a roadside
explosion in the Gaza Strip. Hamas claimed responsibility for Monday's blast
near the settlement of Netzarim.
In another development, Israeli security forces neutralized two bombs
discovered near the tunnel road linking Jerusalem to the Etzion bloc of
settlements in the West Bank.
Barak: Little hope for Taba talks
JERUSALEM (JTA) Israeli and Palestinian negotiators resumed
talks Monday at the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Taba.
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak said he did not expect much from
the ``peace marathon."
As the talks were held, Israel allowed in 16,000 Palestinians from the
West Bank and Gaza Strip who had been granted Israeli work permits last
Sharon defends interview
JERUSALEM (JTA) Opposition leader Ariel Sharon defended
remarks he made in a New Yorker magazine interview calling Palestinian
Authority President Yasser Arafat a murderer and a liar. Sharon said Monday
his personal views of Arafat were already known.
Peres backers stop campaign
JERUSALEM (JTA) Leaders of a movement to replace Israeli Prime
Minister Ehud Barak with Cabinet minister Shimon Peres as the Labor Party's
candidate for prime minister announced they are stopping their campaign,
Israel tries to calm Syrian fears
JERUSALEM (JTA) Israel sent messages via the United States to
Syria that it is not interested in escalating tensions. Monday's move came
the Israeli daily Ha'aretz reported that Syrian armed forces went on high
for fear that Israeli forces might attack before Israel's Feb. 6 election.
Palestinians: Clinton was biased
JERUSALEM (JTA) Palestinian negotiators accused President
Clinton of siding with Israel during his term in the White House and called
the Bush administration to take a new tack.
In a new memorandum summing up the Clinton administration's
actions in brokering Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, the negotiators said
``Over the last seven years in particular, the U.S. has become increasingly
identified with Israeli ideological assumptions."
The Bush administration will be able to play a role in brokering a
deal, ``but only if it can learn from the mistakes and failures of the last
years," they said.
Shas rabbi blasts secular parties
JERUSALEM (JTA) The spiritual leader of the fervently Orthodox
Shas Party said members of the secular Meretz and Shinui parties cannot be
witnesses at Jewish weddings because they are evil, smoke on the Sabbath and
eat nonkosher food.
In a weekly lesson on Jewish marriage, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef said such
a union is valid only if witnessed by two observant Jews.
Shinui Knesset member Joseph Paritzky said in response that his party
is trying to promote civil marriages in Israel.
Temple Mount digging criticized
JERUSALEM (JTA) Israeli archaeologists called for greater
supervision of work authorized by the Wakf Islamic Trust on Jerusalem's
Monday's call followed reports that bulldozers had dug a deep ditch
near the Dome of the Rock, causing damage to a floor dating from the Second
However, Public Security Minister Shlomo Ben-Ami said only
approved work was being done at the site.
Israel, Palestinians try again
JERUSALEM (JTA) Israeli and Palestinian negotiators began a new
round of talks in Egypt on Sunday aimed at advancing the peace process.
The talks at the resort town of Taba are taking place with Israeli
Minister Ehud Barak trailing in polls leading up to Israel's prime
election on Feb. 6.
It's not clear whether an accord with the Palestinians -- which likely
would entail deep Israeli concessions -- would help or hurt Barak against
opposition leader Ariel Sharon.
Arrest made in Web murder
JERUSALEM (JTA) Israel arrested a Palestinian woman in
connection with the death of an Israeli teen-ager following an Internet
Sunday's arrest of Amana Jawad Mona Najar, 25, was made in an area
of the West Bank under Israeli security control. Israeli agents reportedly
information from the computer of Ophir Rahum, 16, to track down Najar.
Rahum was killed Jan. 17 after he went to meet Najar, whom he
apparently knew as an American tourist named Sally.
Israel ends ties to U.S.-led panel
JERUSALEM (JTA) Israel froze cooperation with a U.S.-led
committee probing the outbreak of violence in the territories.
The move came after a team working for the Mitchell Committee
visited the Temple Mount in Jerusalem without prior coordination with
contrary to agreement.
The team was escorted by the Wakf, or Muslim religious trust,
appointed by the Palestinian Authority.
Clinton says shalom to Mideast
JERUSALEM (JTA) President Clinton sent farewell messages that
were published in Israeli and Palestinian newspapers a day before he left
Clinton told the Palestinians not to seek revenge but to pursue peace
through negotiations, and told Israelis not to give up on the peace process
despite the ongoing violence.
Sharon details peace plan
JERUSALEM (JTA) Israeli opposition leader Ariel Sharon agrees to
the establishment of a Palestinian state, but on less land than the
want, according to the Israeli daily Ha'aretz.
On Jan. 18, the newspaper published details of a plan drawn up by
Sharon, the front-runner to become Israel's next prime minister in Feb. 6
elections. Under the plan, he would seek to keep all Jewish settlements in
Under the plan, Jerusalem would remain under Israeli sovereignty.
Palestinian officials immediately rejected every aspect of the plan.
Palestinians killed TV head
JERUSALEM (JTA) A Palestinian group claimed responsibility for
killing the head of Palestinian Television. The Brigade of Al Aksa Martyrs
Jan. 18 it killed Hisham Miki the previous day because Palestinian Authority
President Yasser Arafat refused to remove him from his post despite
of corruption. Palestinian officials initially had blamed Israel for the
Militia leader calls for boycott
JERUSALEM (JTA) The leader of Palestinian militias in the West
Bank called for a boycott of Israeli goods. ``The Palestinians are the
largest export market for Israel after the United States,'' Marwan Barghouti
Jan. 18 on Palestine Radio. Barghouti admitted that the boycott also would
the Palestinians because of the lower quality of Palestinian goods.
Israel reopens Gaza airport
JERUSALEM (JTA) Israel reopened the Palestinian international
airport in the Gaza Strip. Israel has overall security responsibility at the
and closed it earlier this week after a Gaza settler was murdered.
Israeli police arrest informer
JERUSALEM (JTA) Israeli police arrested an Israeli accused of
turning over Palestinian collaborators to the Palestinian Authority for
according to the Jerusalem Post.
© JTA Inc., 2000. May not be reproduced without written permission.