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Wednesday's horoscope for Ariel Sharon, born 2/27/1928. 7:49 a.m., Kfar Milal, Palestine: Today you could be encouraged to spend time with distant relatives or friends. You might be in the mood to stay home and relax, but it would be good for you to get out and mingle a little bit! Sometimes you tend to be too much of a hermit, keeping to yourself. It's good to realize that there are people in your life who love you and want to spend time with you.

Bush Reaffirms Support for Palestinian State, Need to Stop Terror

By VOA News

President George W. Bush has spoken by telephone with the Israeli and Palestinians prime ministers about efforts to reign in terrorism and advance peace in the Middle East. The White House said Bush used his call to Mahmoud Abbas to reaffirm his support for a Palestinian state existing alongside Israel as envisioned in the road map peace plan. The conversation was the president's first with Abbas since he was appointed Palestinian prime minister three weeks ago.

Bush also stressed what he called the "absolute need" for all parties to battle terrorism, and take "concrete steps" toward peace. White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said Abbas told the president that he is committed to reform, to peace and to ending all acts of terror.

Later, Bush spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and offered condolences for people killed in the recent wave of Palestinian suicide attacks. Bush also told Sharon of his call with Abbas, and that he believes Abbas is a reformer who will work for peace.

Meanwhile, the top United Nations official for the Middle East warned that Abbas' government could collapse if he fails to stop Palestinian suicide attacks. Terje Roed-Larsen added that Israel must also ease restrictions on the Palestinians.

Israel closed its borders with the West Bank and Gaza Strip Sunday in response to the recent suicide bombings, which killed at least 12 Israelis. Sharon also postponed a trip to Washington for talks on the peace plan with Bush. Meanwhile, Israeli forces pulled out Tuesday of the Gaza town of Beit Hanoun -- an area seized last week to stop Palestinian rocket attacks against Israel. .

Israelis, Palestinians Hold Unofficial Talks in Japan

By Steve Herman (VOA-Tokyo)

Israeli and Palestinian delegates at unofficial and low-key talks in Japan are calling for their governments to implement the so-called road map for peace. The group of Israeli and Palestinian government, business, and academic leaders drew up a list of steps they say will build peace in the Middle East.

Kohei Hashimoto heads the Institute for New International Political Systems, which organized the informal talks in Tokyo. "We agreed that [to] the end to all form of terror and violence. And, second, a two state solution to the peace process. And, third, both parties to declare in a clear manner the acceptance of the road map. And, fourth, the end of occupation [of parts of Palestinian territory by Israel]. Fifth, economic cooperation," he said.

The delegates discussed how their governments should implement the so-called roadmap for Middle East peace, backed by the United States, the United Nations, and several governments.

At a news conference wrapping up the talks, Palestinian Cabinet Affairs Minister Yasser Abed Rabbo said following the roadmap hinges on cooperation between his government and the Israelis. "If we and the Israeli government will not be able to cooperate together, in order to implement and meet these commitments, the security and the political ones, we think that the chance for success will be very limited, if not a nil chance."

Participants said the two days of talks were aimed at building trust as a step toward ending the violence in the Middle East. Former Israeli Justice Minister Yossi Beilin said there would be more meetings.

"The discussions here, which were both ideologically but also pragmatic, were another stage toward cooperation or tighter cooperation between the two parties. And that it was just not one shot, but it will continue in the region, in other places and also in Japan in the near future," Beilin said.

Both Abed Rabbo and Beilin, who said they come from the peace camps in their communities, stress that they were speaking in Japan as individuals rather than representatives of their governments.

Jerusalem Rally Held for Pollard


A large rally was held Tuesday in Independence Park, opposite the American Consulate in the former east Jerusalem on behalf of imprisoned U.S.-Israeli dual citizen Jonathan Pollard. One of the organizers, MK Uri Ariel (National Union) said that the call was directed to the U.S. and President Bush, demanding that they release him or "at least delineate his sentence. His life sentence, in light of the charges against him, is inhumane and unjust."

Ariel said that the rally was also directed at people in Israel and the U.S.: "It cannot be said that we here in Israel have been over-active on his behalf until now, and we have to bring about a change. The second problem is American Jewry, which fears charges of dual-loyalty. We are seeing signs that this is beginning to change, however, and we hope that this will really take off and there will be an all-out effort, both here and there, on behalf of Jonathan and to bring him home. It must be remembered that Jonathan Pollard saved many Israelis not only from biological and chemical attacks, but also from atomic attacks."

Ariel proposed in the Knesset a three-way deal for the release of Pollard: Israel would release terrorist leader Marwan Barghouti (and would not allow him to live in the PA-controlled territories or Israel), the PA would extradite the murderers of the late Tourism Minister Rehavam Ze'evi to Israel, and the U.S. would release Pollard.

Narkis: No Security for Israel's Eurovision Entrants in Latvia

By Ha'aretz

Israel's entrants to the Eurovision competition are walking around Riga, Latvia with no security protection, singer Lior Narkis told Army Radio on Tuesday. Since Narkis and the other members of the Israeli delegation arrived in Riga on Sunday they haven't seen any security guards, he said. The competition will take place Saturday night.

"We are walking around freely without any protection," Narkis said. "I don't know. Maybe there are guards we don't see." He added that he didn't have any contact with any Shin Bet Security Service officials regarding security arrangements for the Israeli delegation.

The Prime Minister's Office said in response that the question should be referred to the Israel Broadcasting Authority; because the IBA announced this year that Israel's entry to the Eurovision was not under its authority and therefore would not be given state protection.

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