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Gibson's Views Called anti-Semitic
Israel Faxx News Services

Abraham Foxman, the national director of the Anti-Defamation League has accused Mel Gibson of holding anti-Semitic beliefs based on the actor's response to criticism of his upcoming movie depicting Jesus' death. Foxman insisted he was not calling Gibson an anti-Semite, but that Gibson "entertains views that can only be described as anti-Semitic." Many conservative Christians who have attended private screenings of "The Passion" have described the film as the most powerful depiction they have seen of Jesus' final hours.

Palestinian Militant Groups Won't Join Korei Government

By VOA News & Ha'aretz

The Palestinian militant groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad said they would not join a new Palestinian government to be headed by Prime Minister-designate Ahmed Korei. In a statement Sunday, Hamas said it would not take part in any government whose agenda is based on the Oslo peace accords with Israel from the 1990s.

Islamic Jihad said that before forming a government, Palestinian leaders must agree on a strategy for advancing Palestinian national goals.

Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas resigned earlier this month, saying that Israel and Palestinian chieftain Yasir Arafat had undermined his efforts to advance the U.S.-backed "road map" plan for peace in the region. Arafat nominated. Korei to fill the post one day later. Korei and leaders of various Palestinian factions held talks on a new government Sunday in Gaza City.

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said Sunday that the Israeli threat to "remove" Arafat appears to have compelled him to act against terror. "It appears that the reprieve from terror attacks stems from the fact that Arafat was alarmed by the threat, and is acting to prevent terror attacks accordingly."

"We will not change our positions as a result of this or any other vote," Sharon said in the weekly cabinet meeting. "Israel will find ways to prevent disturbances on the part of the person who causes the country such major damage."

Sharon then accused the opposition of making contact with the Palestinian Authority behind the government's back. The prime minister was referring to left-wing activist Uri Avneri, who suggested creating a human shield around Arafat. Sharon also condemned the anti-government demonstrations, saying Israel was going through a difficult time and must be unified.

Sharon was reacting to a minister's suggestion that Israel hold another discussion on whether to "remove" Arafat, and dismissed on Sunday the United Nations General Assembly vote demanding that Israel drop the decision to get rid of the Palestinian leader The vote passed by 133 votes to 4, with 15 abstentions; the United States vetoed the resolution.

The United States and Israel voted "No," joined by the Marshall Islands and Micronesia. Australia, Cameroon, Canada, Kenya and Colombia were among those abstaining.

EU members unanimously swung in line behind the resolution after its sponsors agreed at the last minute to add phrases condemning both Palestinian suicide bombings and Israeli targeted killings of Palestinian militants.

Two Protests: For Pollard and Against Peres

By IsraelNationalNews & Ha'aretz

Two protest events took place in Israel Sunday evening: one for Jonathan Pollard in Jerusalem, and one against Shimon Peres and the Oslo process in Tel Aviv.

Several thousand people took part in an anti-government protest in Tel Aviv last night, demanding the uprooting of all Jewish communities in Judea, Samaria and Gaza. They were on hand to protest the 80th birthday celebration for Shimon Peres. Many of the protesters want Peres to face criminal charges for his role as a major player in the Oslo process, which they blame for the murders of over 1,000 Israelis and the injuring and maiming of thousands and thousands of others.

On the fourth anniversary of the Oslo Accords (Sept. 13, 1997), when asked by an Israel Radio interviewer whether the "peace process" could be defeated by its opponents, Shimon Peres replied with a classic Freudian slip, "The Oslo process will obliterate everybody." ( )

One may extend one's birthday wishes to Peres by visiting the website ( ) and clicking on "greetings" and then "send a greeting to Peres."

Among the VIPs attending the rally were Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and former U.S. President Bill Clinton. "Tonight I leave you my title, 'The Comeback Kid,'" Clinton said in front of about 400 public figures, including past and present world leaders who had come to celebrate the life of Peres, Israel's iconic dove who has played a role in national politics since the days of David Ben-Gurion, the first prime minister.

"You are about the most stubborn human being I have ever met," Clinton said, adding that Peres has shown that "vision, will power and integrity are all one needs to change the world." Earlier, while visiting the United Arab Emirates, Clinton said that Israel must be willing to withdraw from "Judea and Samaria as well as East Jerusalem" for peace.

Sharon dubbed Peres "the man who doesn't despair," and said that the two of them might one day pursue a single objective. "Perhaps, Shimon, we will again go together facing one common goal. Shimon is a man of long-range vision."

Peres responded to Sharon's comments about working together, saying, "Arik, it may be much closer than what you think, and even closer than I believe." Earlier, he said, "We can renew the hope of peace."

Peres also reinforced Sharon's characterization of him, exhorting his guests not to despair. The secret of his old age, said Peres, is knowing that "in every one of us is hidden a much greater potential... don't despair too soon, always look forward in faith."

Other guests at the event included former head of the Soviet Union of old, Mikhael Gorbachev; former South African president F.W. de Klerk; German President Johannes Rau; the presidents of Slovenia and Ivory Coast; CEOs of major international corporations; well-known figures in the fields of economics and technology; ministers representing countries such as Germany, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Brazil, Mozambique and South Africa; and the mayors of Rome and Paris.

Peres, whose birthday was actually last month, says he only went along with the party idea - organized by both supporters and the rightist Likud government whose policies he opposes - to bring some cheer to the region. "I feel strange," Peres said Sunday, commenting on the unusual event. "But it happens once in 80 years, so you can survive."

Peres emigrated from Poland at age 11, but he retains a European accent and genteel manner that - along with a penchant for parliamentary maneuvering, lofty pronouncements and electoral defeat - brought him occasional ridicule. Nonetheless, he has walked the corridors of Israeli power since his 20s, when as a top aide to its founder David Ben-Gurion he helped build the young nation's defenses; in the 1960s, he was instrumental in creating the Dimona nuclear facility where Israel reportedly has amassed a stockpile of nuclear weapons.

Although in the 1970s Peres was briefly considered a supporter of the Jewish settler movement, he soon concluded Israel's occupation since 1967 of the West Bank and Gaza is not just unfair to the millions of Palestinians who live in the areas but a disaster for the Jewish state. He now supports a Palestinian state.

After a brief 1977 stint as acting premier he ran for the job five times and never won outright. He served two years from 1984 to 1986 after a tied election, using the period to bring down hyperinflation and withdraw troops from much of Lebanon - popular moves that still failed to win him the hearts of the masses.

One may send a Rosh Hashanah New Year's greeting card to Jonathan Pollard, addressed to: Jonathan Pollard, 09185-016 FCI Butner, POB 1000 Butner, NC 27509-1000, USA

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