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Embassy Employee Finds Finger Near Bomb Attack Site

By IsraelNationalNews.com

A U.S. Embassy security official Thursday called Israeli authorities to report finding a human finger on the ground near the embassy complex on Tel Aviv's Herbert Samuel Street. The embassy is located near Mike's Café/Pub, the site of this week's suicide bombing attack.


Powell: Violence Must Not Derail Mideast Peace Process

By David Gollust (VOA-Madrid)

Secretary of State Colin Powell held talks with Spanish leaders in Madrid Thursday, as he began a U.S. push to revive the Israeli-Palestinian peace process through the international "roadmap" presented to the parties on Wednesday. Powell will visit Syria and Lebanon later this week, and return to the region for direct talks with Israeli and Palestinian leaders next week.

The week, which saw the inauguration of new Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas and the release of the "roadmap," has also been marred by a suicide bombing in Tel Aviv and a lethal Israeli military incursion in Gaza.

At a news conference after talks with Spanish Foreign Minister Ana Palacio, Powell said the violence must not be allowed to derail hopes generated by the "roadmap," which aims for a two-state solution to the Middle East conflict by the end of 2005. "We've got to get beyond this period of suicide bombings and retaliatory actions, or other defensive actions, that are taken to end the violence and to protect one's society," Powell said. " We can't let these sorts of incidents immediately contaminate the roadmap, or contaminate the process that we are now involved in."

After a brief visit to Albania Friday, Powell goes on to Damascus, where he said he hopes he can persuade leaders there to reconsider past policies, in light of what he called a "new strategic dynamic" in the region with the fall of Saddam Hussein.


Israel, Palestinians Express Opposing Views on Peace 'roadmap'

By Ross Dunn (VOA-Jerusalem) & IsraelNationalNews.com

Israel and the Palestinians are expressing different views on whether the new international peace plan to end their conflict is open to amendment. The Palestinians say the original text should be implemented immediately but Israel says the document is merely a draft subject to change.

An advisor to Palestinian Chairman Yasir Arafat says the Palestinian leadership is ready to adopt the new international peace plan. The advisor, Ziyad Abu Zayyad, says the proposals are far from perfect as far the Palestinians are concerned.

At the same time, he says the Palestinian leadership decided not to raise any objections at this stage for fear this would delay implementation of the plan. "This document, we don't like it," he said. "We have many reservations on it but we accept it as it is." Abu Zayyad, who is also a member of the Palestinian parliament, was reacting to the publication of the so-called "roadmap" to peace.

The plan, presented to both sides Wednesday, sets out three phases leading to the end of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the establishment of a Palestinian state in 2005. It is sponsored by the United States, the United Nations, the European Union and Russia.

A spokesman for the Israeli Foreign Ministry, Daniel Taub, says the proposals are general in nature, and meant to form the basis for further discussion.

He says what will really determine the speed of the plan's implementation is whether the Palestinians stop their attacks against Israelis. "I think we just want some sort of reassurance that some of the principles that we think are necessary to move forward are enshrined in the roadmap," he said. "And the first one of those is that we cannot move ahead until the Palestinian leadership does what it promised to do over the past 10 years but has never done, which is immediately, unconditionally stop violence and terrorism and don't regard them as being a tool to be used in negotiation."

The roadmap does require the Palestinian Authority to crack down on militant groups that carry out the attacks.

The plan was made public Wednesday following the swearing-in of the new Palestinian Prime Minister, Mahmoud Abbas, and his Cabinet.

President Bush has praised Holocaust denier Abbas for his stand against terrorism, and promised to invite the Palestinian Prime Minister to the White House. At the same time, Bush continues to shun Arafat, who he says should be replaced.

Although the roadmap plan, as submitted to Israel and PA officials, has so far not incorporated any of the 15 changes Israel submitted over the past months, hardly any Israeli government representatives have commented on its dangers. Minister Uzi Landau said that it was "dangerous" and that he would not vote for it in its current format, but silence has been the order of the day from the other ministers.


15 Palestinians Killed in Israeli Raids

By VOA News

Fifteen Palestinians were killed Thursday in Israeli raids into the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Israeli troops and tanks backed by helicopters raided a densely populated suburb of Gaza City early Thursday, killing 10 Palestinians, including a two-year-old child. Palestinian officials say several others were wounded during the Israeli incursion into the Shijaia neighborhood.

The Israeli military says six soldiers were wounded in the operation. The area is a stronghold of Hamas, which along with another militant group claimed joint responsibility for Wednesday's suicide bombing in Tel Aviv that killed four people. Among those killed in Thursday's raid was Yousef Abu Hein, believed to be a top Hamas bombmaker.

In the West Bank, Palestinian reports say Israeli forces shot and killed other Palestinians during an operation south of Hebron. Israeli troops also arrested more than a dozen suspected militants in Nablus, Qalqilya, Hebron and Bethlehem.

The latest violence occurred hours after the official unveiling of the internationally backed so-called "roadmap" to Mideast peace that calls for an immediate end to violence and envisions a Palestinian state by the end of 2005.


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