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Wednesday's horoscope (6/4) for Ariel Sharon, born 2/27/1928. 7:49 a.m., Kfar Milal, Palestine: You might need to educate or teach someone today, Arik. There could be someone around you who needs to pick up some new skills. Someone you know might be struggling with something. Maybe you have an area of knowledge that they lack. Be generous with your time right now and see if you can assist them. You could help them to feel more confident as they acquire some new skills.


Five Arab Leaders Endorse Road Map to Mideast Peace

By VOA News

Five Arab leaders have endorsed the road map plan for Middle East peace after holding talks with President Bush in Egypt. Speaking after the summit in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak said he and the leaders of Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain support the efforts of Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas to end violence and preserve law and order.

He added that all five Arab leaders, including Abbas, reject terrorism. Israel has demanded an end to attacks by Palestinian militants for the peace process to move ahead. Mubarak also called on Israel to fulfill its own obligations under the road map and rebuild trust and restore normal Palestinian life. Bush said if all sides fulfill their obligations, they could make steady progress toward a Palestinian state, a secure Israel, and a true Middle East peace.

Before the meeting, Bush said people he described, as "a few killers" cannot be allowed to prevent an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal. He also said Israelis must consider removing Jewish settlements from the West Bank and Gaza.

Ahead of the Egypt talks, Israel began releasing 100 Palestinian prisoners, most of them reportedly former members of the Palestinian security services. Israeli defense officials say most of those being freed are either in ill health or already were slated for release. One of those freed was Ahmad Jbarah who spent nearly 30 years in prison for killing 13 Israelis and wounding 13 others in a 1975 bombing. Family and cheering crowds of Palestinians greeted the 68-year-old man.

Among those released was Tayseer Khaled, a senior member of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine. Immediately after his release, he met with Palestinian chieftain Yasir Arafat at his headquarters in the West Bank city of Ramallah. Arafat has not been invited to Wednesday's summit. Israel and the United States say they have broken off contacts with him and instead recognize the leadership of Abbas.


Palestinians, Israelis Prepare for Aqaba Summit

By Sonja Pace (VOA-Jerusalem)

Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas and his Israeli counterpart, Ariel Sharon, meet Wednesday with President Bush in the Jordanian Red Sea port of Aqaba to try to overcome final hurdles in implementing the so-called road map for peace in the region.

Bush arrives in Aqaba straight from a summit meeting with Arab leaders in the Israeli-developed resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt in a bid to ensure their support for the peace plan. During a one-day summit in Aqaba, he will try to get Israel and the Palestinians to launch the first phase.

Phase One of the road map includes an end to violence by both sides and recognition by the Palestinians of Israel's right to exist in peace and security in return for Israel's recognition of the Palestinians' right to an independent, viable and sovereign state. Phase One also calls for a freeze on all Jewish settlement activity in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and the dismantling of illegal settlement outposts.

Some initial steps have been taken. Prime Minister Abbas has renounced violence and vowed to disarm militant groups. Israel has begun to ease some travel and work restrictions on Palestinians and has released some prisoners. Each side says the other must do more.

Speaking to reporters in Jerusalem, Israel's Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom said the Palestinians must show a firm commitment to stop terrorism. "It is very important that the Palestinians announce that they come to a decision to put an end to terrorism, violence and incitement ... that the Palestinians will tell their own people the time has come to put an end to violence in the region."

Abbas has begun talks with militant groups such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad to get them to agree to a truce. A Palestinian official, Samir Rantisi, who is an adviser to the minister for cabinet affairs, said Palestinians will bring a commitment to end violence to Aqaba.

"We are willing to present a truce and a pledge from the militant organizations, Hamas and Islamic Jihad to stop all attacks against Israelis, provided the Israeli army and government also abide by the rule of not attacking, assassinating or demolishing homes," Rantisi said.

Israel insists that Abbas must do more than get militant groups to pledge to stop attacks. It wants the Palestinian government to disarm, arrest and bring to justice militants who've been planning or carrying out attacks against Israel.

On the issue of mutual recognition, Sharon has thus far only said he would enter into negotiations with the Palestinians that might eventually lead to a Palestinian state. Officials here say he is expected to accept the principle of a Palestinian state.

Shalom said Israel is expecting formal recognition from the Palestinians. "It is very important that the existence of Israel as a Jewish state would be mentioned."

The issue of Jewish settlements is expected to remain a major hurdle. Sharon has been a longtime proponent of settlements. He has now told his cabinet that some illegal settlement outposts in the West Bank and Gaza Strip may have to be dismantled and he has said that giving up some settlements may be among the painful concessions Israel may have to make during peace negotiations.


Holocaust Survivors to Receive Assistance

By James Donahower (VOA-New York)

A New York agency providing services to Holocaust survivors announced that elderly survivors in 31 countries will receive $15 million in assistance this year from German insurance companies. The $15 million represents the first of 10 annual disbursements from $132 million in humanitarian funds secured by the International Commission on Holocaust-Era Insurance Claims. The Commission's Dale Franklin said the fund has both symbolic and practical value.

"Of course it doesn't do justice to what happened in the Holocaust. I think what it says is that we have not forgotten the Holocaust survivor community. We want to use whatever resources are available to make their lives better," said Franklin. "It would be a tragedy if so many of these people, who have wonderful lives, spent their last days in poverty, worrying about where their food and medical supplies are coming from."

The German Foundation for Remembrance, Responsibility and the Future was initially set up to compensate the estimated one million survivors who had been forced to work for the Nazis during World War II. The foundation is providing the funds as part of its October 2002 agreement to pay Holocaust-era insurance claims, and give humanitarian aid.

The funds, which include contributions by private companies and the German government, will be used to provide home care and other services to Jewish Holocaust survivors.

























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