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Public Servants Launch Strike to Protest Planned Budget Cuts

By Ross Dunn (VOA-Jerusalem)

About 60,000 public servants in Israel have launched a strike, disrupting international flights and paralyzing land terminals, and seaports. The sanctions are in protest to planned cuts in the national budget. Israel's Labor Federation, known as the Histradrut, called the indefinite strike. It is intended to block an austerity budget under which some government offices will be abolished and thousands of workers will be fired. Tel Aviv's Ben-Gurion international airport has been badly affected by the strike. Customs staff introduced a go-slow policy of baggage inspections, examining every bag and suitcase of passengers entering Israel.

Outgoing Palestinian Minister Criticizes Intifada Violence

By VOA News

The outgoing Palestinian security minister says attacks on Israelis are hurting the Palestinian cause. The comments by Mohammed Dahlan came on the third anniversary of the start of the current Palestinian uprising, or Intifada, against Israeli occupation.

Dahlan said Palestinian militant groups who stage armed attacks against Israelis failed to understand the world changed following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the United States. He said the continued attacks allow the Israelis and Americans to label the anti-Israel uprising as terrorism, and cut international support for the Palestinians. Dahlan's comments came after he was left off a new cabinet list approved Saturday by Palestinian chieftain Yasir Arafat's Fatah faction.

In an interview with the Daily Star newspaper in Lebanon, he said armed attacks allowed Israel to brand the current Palestinian rebellion as a form of terrorism. As a result, Dahlan said, Palestinians failed to gain strong international support for the uprising.

The cabinet under Prime Minister-designate Ahmed Qureia will replace the government headed by Mahmoud Abbas, who lost a power struggle with Arafat over control of security forces. Israel and the United States refuse to deal with Arafat. An Arafat loyalist, Nasser Yousef, who will serve as interior minister and have partial control over security forces, will replace Dahlan.

In another development, Saeb Erekat has reportedly turned down an offer to continue as minister in charge of negotiations with Israel.

Barghouti Uses Closing Arguments at Murder Trial to Condemn Israel

By Ross Dunn (VOA-Jerusalem)

Palestinian leader Marwan Barghouti used his closing arguments at his murder trial in Tel Aviv to defend the Palestinian uprising and condemn Israel. Barghouti said the Palestinian Intifada, or uprising, is a justified reaction to what he called Israel's occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. He is on trial on 26 counts of alleged murder, after playing a leading role in orchestrating the Palestinian rebellion against Israel.

Barghouti, who is the head of Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat's Fatah faction in the West Bank, refuses to recognize Israel's right to try him. He avoided all mention of the charges that have been brought against him. Addressing a Tel Aviv court in Hebrew, he said the uprising had taught the Israelis that "the Palestinian people cannot be brought to heel by force."

He said that within four or five years Israel would either have to agree to the establishment of an independent Palestinian state or accept the founding of a bi-national state within its own territory. Barghouti praised the Israeli air force pilots who last week signed a letter saying they would no longer agree to serve in the Palestinian civilian areas of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. He congratulated the pilots on coming to the conclusion that they had been "committing war crimes."

Barghouti, who represented himself without legal counsel, said the Palestinian struggle against the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip must continue every minute. He said that no one can call himself a Palestinian leader, if he does not, "fight the occupation."

A panel of three judges presiding in Tel Aviv said the date set for a verdict, Nov. 10, might have to be postponed to allow more time to review the large amounts of evidence that had been presented during the trial.

Jewish Mother Re-United With Son


Four years ago, a Jewish mother lacked the financial means to raise her two children, and gave the younger one to a Christian-Arab foster family in Jerusalem "until she was able to take him back." When she came to reclaim her son last year, however, the foster family refused to return him.

This past week, Jerusalem District Court Judge Moshe Drori ordered justice served - and the child returned to his mother. "The mother has a right to raise her own child," Drori wrote, "and all the more so in the case of a Jewish child whose Jewish mother wishes to raise him."

The original agreement between the mother and the foster family stipulated that the child would be raised as a Jew, but in fact he was placed in a Christian Anglican nursery. The welfare authorities long took the side of the foster family, but recently changed their mind and agreed that the mother was capable of raising both her children. Her attorney Moshe Osditcher praised the Court for ruling both that the ethnicity of a child is of critical importance in cases of this nature, and that a child should be removed from his natural home only for as short a period as possible.

Dershowitz Accused Of Plagiarism

By Lauren A.E. Schuker (Harvard Crimson)

DePaul University Professor Norman G. Finkelstein has charged Harvard University Law School Frankfurter Professor of Law Alan M. Dershowitz with committing plagiarism in his recent best-selling book "The Case for Israel" - an accusation that has set off a furious back-and-forth about what does and does not constitute plagiarism.

Finkelstein first accused Dershowitz of plagiarism last Wednesday, when both professors were on a talk show called "Democracy Now!" to debate the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The charge has also surfaced in the October edition of The Nation, in a column called "Alan Dershowitz, Plagiarist," which cites Finkelstein's research.

In an interview this weekend, Finkelstein accused Dershowitz of "wholesale lifting of source material" from Joan Peters' book, From Time Immemorial, in which she argues that Jewish settlements predated the arrival of Palestinians in what is now Israel.

Finkelstein wrote a book contesting Peters' argument-which he dismisses as a "monumental hoax"-and says he is therefore very familiar with her text. He said that when he read Dershowitz's book he recognized a lot of material-more than 20 quotes cited to primary and secondary sources-which mirrored the quotes Peters selected for use in her 1984 book. Finkelstein argues that even though Dershowitz attributes those passages to their original sources, he should not have relied so heavily on Peters' work.

While Dershowitz acknowledged that Peters' book was a resource he used in his research, he dismissed Finkelstein's charge that this method of research amounts to plagiarism. "He doesn't charge that the quotes are untrue or inaccurate," Dershowitz said in an interview Sunday. "This seems more like a coordinated attack on the book by people who have a strong opposition to the political and ideological issues presented in my book who are afraid to take me on with the merits."

In his book, Dershowitz points to Finkelstein as a propagator of the notion that "Jews have exploited the Holocaust to gain sympathy for a Jewish state at the expense of the Palestinians, who bear no responsibility for Hitler's genocide against the Jews."

Finkelstein declined to comment on his response to the case Dershowitz laid out in the book, but said his bone of contention is more scholarly. He speculates that the HLS professor didn't do his own research. Finkelstein said that borrowing citations from Peters' book is worse than borrowing from others because, he asserts, the book is biased and unreliable. "He not only plagiarized, but he plagiarized from a certifiable hoax."

Dershowitz said he worried that Finkelstein was sending "an insidious message that if you dare to write a pro-Israel book, you risk being called a plagiarist...or having your integrity attacked. This could easily frighten someone with tenure away, but in this case, they picked the wrong person. I have the resources to fight back."

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