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U.S. Objects to Israel's Arrow Deal with India

By Aluf Benn (Ha'aretz)

The defense establishment has advised Prime Minister Ariel Sharon not to propose selling the Arrow anti-missile missile system to India during his visit there this week. Preliminary talks between Israel and India on the sale of the Arrow missile system have been suspended following opposition from the U.S. The U.S. financed most of the system's development and Washington's consent is a necessary condition for the deal.


Arafat Names His Choice for Prime Minister

By VOA News & MSNBC

Palestinian officials said Yasir Arafat has asked parliamentary speaker Ahmed Korei to be his next prime minister. They say both the central committee of Arafat's Fatah faction and the executive committee of the Palestinian Liberation Organization have approved his nomination.

The development comes one day after Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas quit his post in a dispute with Arafat over control of Palestinian security forces. Abbas said he quit because Israel had not met its obligations under the internationally backed peace roadmap. He also accused the United States of failing to force Israel to comply, and criticized his Palestinian detractors for constantly undermining his authority.

Korei - a moderate who helped cobble together the 1993 Oslo accord between Israel and the PLO - was considered a top candidate to replace Abbas because he has led past negotiations and has credibility with the Israelis. Israeli officials didn't immediately respond to the development.

Secretary of State Colin Powell said progress toward Middle East peace would stall, unless the next Palestinian prime minister has full control over security forces. Both Israel and the United States have warned they will not deal with any Palestinian government run by Arafat or his loyalists. Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom has again called for the expulsion of Arafat from the region. Palestinian leaders said such a move would be disastrous.

Dore Gold, a spokesman for Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, said that Arafat should be held accountable for the downfall of Abbas. "The blame - in fact the entire blame - for the current crisis that has been created lies at the doorstep of Yasir Arafat, who refused to let Mahmoud Abbas to rule as a prime minister."

Abbas said it was too early too reconsider his decision to resign as prime minister. He was responding to speculation that he might be persuaded to stay on the job. He said his resignation was "final."


Israel Steps Up Security after Botched Attempt to Kill Hamas Leader

By Ross Dunn (VOA-Jerusalem)

Hamas has threatened "unprecedented revenge" for Israel's military operation against its revered founder, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, 67, and confined to a wheelchair. The Israeli Government imposed a closure on the West Bank and Gaza Strip and denied Palestinians entry to the Jewish State for work.

Security forces also increased their presence in shopping malls, central bus stations, and other public areas that could be targets of suicide bombings by Hamas.

Yassin and 15 others were slightly wounded when an F-16 jet fighter dropped a 550-pound bomb on a residential building Saturday in Gaza City. Senior Israeli military officers claimed that Yassin and other Hamas leaders were meeting at the time to plan new terror attacks. It is understood that among those at the meeting were Hamas' top bomb-maker, Mohammed Deif, who heads Israel's most wanted list of Palestinian fugitives.

A senior Israeli police official said that in light of the failed attempt on Yassin's life, the question was not whether there would be a Hamas terror attack, but when and where. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said efforts to hunt down and kill Hamas leaders would continue unabated. He said they are now "marked for death." His warning is in line with previous statements made following the Hamas suicide bombing of a bus in Jerusalem three weeks ago that killed 22 Israelis.

Palestinian security officials said an Israeli helicopter gunship has fired at least three missiles at the Gaza home of a member of the Palestinian militant group Hamas. They said at least nine people were wounded in the attack late Sunday near the Khan Younis refugee camp. The strike came on the same day that Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said in a published interview that leaders of Hamas are marked for death by the Jewish state.

Sharon said Israel would continue to hunt down and kill Hamas leaders and would not give the group a moment's rest. The warning, published in Israel's Yediot Achronot newspaper, came one day after the attempt to assassinate Yassin.


Male Impersonator Who Had Sex with Minors Escapes Jail Term

By David Ratner (Ha'aretz)

The transgender case of Hen Alkobi, a woman who impersonated a man and was originally accused of the rape and sexual abuse of teenage girls in the Haifa area, ended Sunday in a plea bargain arrangement. Describing the case as "unprecedented in Israeli law," the Haifa District Court sentenced Alkobi to six months of community service and ordered her to pay fines of NIS 50,000 to two of the teenagers who lodged complaints. for wrongfully assuming an identity.

The Alkobi case came to light last year, when a number of female minors lodged complaints against her. She was held in custody for a month, and then placed under house arrest. The original indictment included charges of rape; the teenage girls claimed that Alkobi raped them while using a dildo.

Alkobi claimed that the minors lodged their complaints entirely due to parental pressure - the parents were apprehensive that their daughters would be stigmatized as lesbians, and so instructed them to submit charges of rape, Alkobi claimed. Alkobi added that 16-year-old girls should be able to discern at a moment of intimacy that a partner does not have genuine male sex organs.

The Haifa District Court emphasized that the Alkobi case lacked precedent in Israeli law. Finding that Alkobi was guilty of wrongful impersonation, the judges noted that the defendant used the assumed male identity to "commit erotic acts on the bodies of the complainants; had they been in full possession of the facts, they would not have consented to the sexual acts."


Lies They Told About Jonathan Pollard

By Emanuel A. Winston (Commentary)

John Kass of the Chicago Tribune Sept. 4, 2003 wrote: "Pollard has no business seeing spy file, daylight". Kass, among many other writers, has swallowed old, re-run lies about Jonathan Pollard. They were 'snookered.' Kass parroted what the government and intelligence agencies spewed out to cover their behinds - like the obfuscation of 9/11 - only 16 years earlier.

Pollard blew the cover on withheld intelligence that Iraq was developing chemical and biological weapons. Then Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger and Admiral Bobby Ray Inman (the anonymous retired Navy admiral quoted by Kass?), and other U.S. intelligence officials, knew what Iraq was doing and they also knew that Saudi Arabia was subverting American interests.

They not only kept this vital intelligence from Israel, despite a Memorandum of Understanding signed by every president to share and exchange such information with Israel but, they suckered the American people, the Congress and the media. Unfortunately, Kass (as many reporters of today) did not research this story but instead merely accessed the archives and repeated whatever he found - without checking the facts.

Granted, Pollard, as an intelligence analyst for the Navy, broke an agreement to keep any information he acquired confidential. I guess Pollard felt the same way that President Bush did when Bush stated that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction that could threaten the world.

Much of what Weinberger accused Pollard of exposing was later proven false when they caught the CIA moles Aldrich Ames and Robert Hanssen. They, not Pollard, exposed the names of our American agents in the Soviet Union and blew their cover. The Russians killed them all and the CIA desperately needed someone on whom to blame their incompetence. Pollard was their fall guy. Even when the truth was revealed by Ames and Hansen, the embarrassment was too great. There may be many people who should be serving time but not Pollard.

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