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Newsletter : 3fax0919.txt

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Note from Bush to be Placed in the Kotel


A note with a prayer from President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush will be placed in the Kotel (Western Wall) on Friday morning by Ruth Maizel, 81, a personal friend of the Bush family currently visiting in Israel. Maizel arrived in Israel several days ago as a member of a multi-religious group that also includes noted Anaheim, Calif. minister Rev. Ralph Wilkerson

UN General Assembly to Discuss Israeli Threat Against Arafat

By VOA News

The United Nations General Assembly has scheduled an emergency session for Friday to discuss Israel's threat to remove Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat. The meeting was called to discuss an Arab-backed resolution warning Israel not to threaten or deport Arafat.

The meeting comes days after the United States vetoed a similar U.N. Security Council resolution demanding that Israel withdraw its threat to deport or kill Arafat. The Arab-backed resolution was supported by 11 of the Security Council's 15 members. Three countries - Britain, Bulgaria, and Germany - abstained.

President Bush criticized Arafat Thursday, calling him a "failed" leader and blaming him for stalling the so-called "road map" for Middle East Peace. Speaking at a news conference with Jordan's King Abdullah, Bush said Palestinian statehood can be achieved once leadership emerges that will consolidate the Palestinian security forces and crack down on terror.

The comments came as Arafat called for a new ceasefire between Israel and the Palestinians. He told Israeli media the militant group Islamic Jihad is ready to immediately declare a truce and he said Hamas is indicating it also is prepared to accept a new ceasefire.

Later, Arafat's Fatah faction began the process of selecting candidates for a new Palestinian cabinet Thursday. The procedure will give Arafat a major role in shaping the government of Prime Minister-designate Ahmed Korei.

Meanwhile, Palestinian officials say at least three people were wounded in Gaza City in a shootout between Palestinian police and Hamas supporters. In a statement, the Palestinian security officials said the violence erupted Thursday in the wake of a kidnapping of a Palestinian policeman, allegedly by Hamas.

Dershowitz: Israel's Targeted Killings are Legal


Harvard Law Prof. Alan M. Dershowitz says there is "absolutely no doubt" that Israel's policy of targeted killings of senior Hamas terrorists is legal under international law. In an opinion piece in Tuesday's Toronto Globe and Mail, Dershowitz wrote, "Hamas has declared war against Israel. All of its leaders are combatants, whether they wear military uniforms, suits or religious garb."

Comparing Hamas to Osama Bin Laden's Al-Qaeda, Dershowitz argued that there is no distinction between the so-called "military" and "political" wings of the organizations, saying, "The official policy of Hamas, like that of al Qaeda, is the mass murder of civilians. The decision to employ that policy was made by its so-called "political" leaders."

Hence, noted Dershowitz, "Under international law, combatants are appropriate military targets until they surrender. They may be killed in their sleep, while preparing military actions or while participating in any other activity. They need not be arrested, or even given a chance to surrender," he said.

"Under any reasonable standard," he concluded, "Israeli policy with regard to the targeted assassinations of "ticking-bomb terrorists" does not deserve the kind of condemnation it is receiving. Any democracy facing threats to its civilian population comparable to those faced by Israel would respond in much the same way Israel is now responding to the terrorism being conducted by Hamas and other terrorist groups."

U.S. Official: Iran Can Arm Missiles with Biological Warheads

By Nathan Guttman, Ha'aretz Correspondent and Reuters

Iran has the capability of arming ballistic missiles with biological warheads, Paula DeSutter, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Verification and Compliance, told Congress. This is the first time that an official claim of Iran's ability to launch biological warheads has been made.

Intelligence sources said that such ability indicates sophisticated technological capabilities, since biological warheads are considered much harder to use than other types. Among other problems, the structure of the warhead differs from that of a conventional one, to facilitate the dispersal of the biological material.

DeSutter's testimony was delivered at a joint session that included Israeli Knesset members as well as members of both houses of Congress. The meeting, part of an ongoing initiative to hold periodic joint sessions of the Congress and Knesset, was attended by Senators Jon Kyl (R-AZ) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA) and Curt Weldon (R-PA).

DeSutter told the committee that Iran is in violation of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) and has been working to acquire secretly nonconventional weapons of all kinds. She said that Iran's nuclear program is a genuine threat to both the Middle East and the U.S., since the Iranians are constantly working to expand the range of their missiles. America's current strategy for dealing with the problem is to push for a decision by the International Atomic Energy Agency, formally declaring Iran in violation of the NPT, she added.

Other experts warned the meeting that if Iran's efforts continue unchecked, its nuclear capabilities could outstrip those of North Korea. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia denied a report in Britain's Guardian newspaper stating that the kingdom was considering acquiring nuclear weapons. "The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is not considering acquiring a nuclear bomb or nuclear weapons of any kind," the Saudi Embassy in London said in a statement. "There is no atomic energy program in any part of the kingdom and neither is one being considered."

Goose-Fattening Deemed Too Cruel


Goose liver may be dropped from Israeli menus, starting in the year 2005. The Supreme Court, accepting the claims of several animal-rights organizations, ruled that the prevalent method of fattening geese is cruel, and that the Health Ministry regulations permitting them are illegal. Israeli law prevents unnecessary cruelty to animals. The geese farmers have until March 2005 before the forced-feeding of geese becomes illegal.

The petitioners expressed great satisfaction at the ruling, and a representative said, "I'm sure the geese thank us from the depths of their liver." The banned method involves forced-feeding of the geese up to a third of their weight each day, via a metal tube inserted forcefully into the throat. This causes a disease of the liver that, in the end, makes it tastier.

Nations such as England, Switzerland, Denmark, Austria, Belgium and Germany have shown their concern for animals by outlawing this method of fattening geese.

Supreme Court Justice Asher Gronis was in the minority. He wrote, "At the end of the day, I found that this method does in fact cause suffering to the geese. Nevertheless, in my opinion we must not justify preventing the geese from suffering by causing suffering to the farmers - which is the consequence of cutting off their sustenance all at once."

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