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Bush Will "Look Into" Pollard File
Israel Faxx News Services

President Bush, meeting with 15 rabbis in the White House this week, said he would look into the plight of Jonathan Pollard, but gave no hint as to whether he would pardon him. Pollard, a former civilian analyst for Navy intelligence, is completing his 18th year of a life sentence for the crime of "passing classified information to a U.S. ally." Pollard supporters in Israel emphasize that his sentence is totally out of proportion compared with the sentences meted out to others who were convicted on the same charge.


Palestinians Ask World Leaders to Help Stop Israeli Barrier

By Ross Dunn (VOA-Jerusalem)

The Palestinian Authority has appealed to the world powers behind Middle-East peacemaking to stop Israel from extending its security barrier in the West Bank. Israel is risking more controversy by announcing plans to build new homes for Jewish settlers.

Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat said the Palestinian Authority sent out letters to the members of the so-called "Quartet" on Middle East peace making, the United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations. The letters call for international intervention following the decision Wednesday of the Israeli Cabinet to approve a new phase of its security barrier in the West Bank.

Israel said the project is necessary to prevent Palestinians from crossing into the Jewish State to carry out terror attacks. Israel also plans to build separate barriers around some Jewish settlements.

The government advertised in Ha'aretz Thursday for builders to submit bids for publicly funded projects in three West Bank settlements. Israel said it would continue to build to accommodate what it calls natural growth.

Erekat said such moves are threatening, to "demolish" efforts by Bush to promote the international road map to peace. "The Israeli Government decision to continue building the wall and to add the settlement of Ariel to it is leading to the biggest failure of President Bush's two-state solution. It is undermining and sabotaging President Bush vision of a two-state solution, is undermining and sabotaging the peace process, undermining and sabotaging the 'road map'." Erekat also said that the project would cut Palestinians off not only from Israel but also from fellow Palestinians.

In a separate move, Israel announced it had approved the building of 550 new homes for Jewish settlers in the West Bank. The Israeli group, Peace Now, which opposes Jewish settlements, has condemned the decision.

That organization says that since the beginning of the year, Israel has approved tenders for the building of a total of 1,300 new homes in settlements, with a capacity for 5,000 new settlers. The Palestinian leadership says such communities take away land on which they want to found a future independent state.

Senior U.S. officials have also warned that an expansion of Jewish settlements threatens to destroy efforts to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Secretary of State Colin Powell said Thursday that Bush continues to believe the barrier presents "a problem."


Chief Rabbi Meets With Iranians

By IsraelNationalNews.com

Chief Rabbi Yonah Metzger met this past week with Muslim and Iranian religious leaders in Kazakhstan, and explained that his position as "Rabbi of the Jews" stood him in good stead.

"The story began two months ago," he told Arutz-7, "when a third party arranged a meeting for me two months ago with the President of Kazakhstan, who is both a good friend of the President of his neighboring country, Iran, and someone who helped free the 13 Jews imprisoned in Iran. My goal, of course, was to help in the efforts to obtain information on and the release of Ron Arad and the captives of Hizbullah.

"In my meeting two months ago, which was the first time that a Chief Rabbi of Israel set foot in an officially Muslim nation, I asked him if he could help us to obtain any and all information on the captives, and explained with great emotion how important it was for their wives and families to know the truth. My words apparently penetrated his heart, and at this last meeting, he told me that since we met two months ago, he had spoken to the President of Iran at least five times on this matter, and he said, 'I hope that you will now hear regards and a new tone in the Middle East.' ... It's hard to know how much of a role I played, but the fact is that [Hizbullah chief] Nasrallah is now saying that he will make great efforts to get information on Ron Arad - for the first time in many years..."

"If so," asked Arutz-7's Emanuel Shilo, "why do we need Hizbullah? Let's just talk straight with the Iranians!"

Metzger said, "It's not conclusive that the Iranians are holding Arad, and in fact the Iranians in the delegation argued among themselves on this point... I told them that we are all the sons of one father - Abraham - and that we will mention the merit of Abraham in our Rosh HaShanah prayers. 'Do you think it's pleasant for him to look down upon his children and see them fighting and committing suicide in order to kill their brothers?' I asked them. 'He would certainly much rather see us like this, talking at one table.' They said openly that they had never heard talk like this, and admitted that it was easier for them to talk to us as Jews than as Israelis; they always say they have nothing against Judaism, but only against Israel. I was presented not as Chief Rabbi of Israel, but as Rabbi of the Jews. It's clear that this is a very long process, and this step was merely an aid to the contacts that have long been going on and hopefully in the end will bring back the captives, or at least information on them."


Egyptian Experts: Relations with Israel Deteriorating 25 Years After Camp David Accords

By Greg LaMotte (VOA-Cairo)

On the 25th anniversary of the Camp David peace accords, signed by Israel and Egypt, both sides are acknowledging their relations are worsening. VOA's Greg LaMotte spoke with scholars and political experts in Egypt who say the main reason is disagreement over the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Peace between Egypt and Israel began Sept. 17, 1978 when the Camp David peace accords were signed at the White House.

But on the 25th anniversary of that historic day, which at the time made Egypt the only Arab country to have signed a peace treaty with Israel, there were no celebrations anywhere in Egypt. In fact, Egyptian politicians and scholars said relations with Israel are at an all-time low, mostly because of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

Emad Gad, an expert on Egyptian-Israeli relations at the al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies in Cairo, noted that both countries describe their relations as being cold. "The Israeli press describes the relations with Egypt as a cold peace. I think the relations between Egypt and Israel (are) in a critical situation and we can describe it as not in relation to a cold peace, but we can speak about cold war between Egypt and Israel because of the Israeli aggression on the Palestinians."

President Hosni Mubarak has only set foot once in Israel, in 1995 for the funeral of former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. Last month, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said Egypt could not be involved in the Middle East peace process unless it releases Israeli national Azzam Azzam, who is jailed in Egypt for spying.


Pigs Can't Fly But Can Detect Terrorists Israel Faxx News Services

Geva Zion, 26, a veteran of the I.D.F. K-9 unit has developed a system to detect Arab terrorists and bombs. He is training wild boars to find mines and bombs. Zion claims that his two pigs "Soda" and "Chaziza" can track explosives quicker and better than any dog or electronic detection device.

The Jewish Legion, a volunteer organization that helps secure towns in Israel with the help of specially trained K-9's, is looking into the possibility of contracting Zion to help create a new Pig Unit. Ezra Stein, PR director for the Jewish Legion conceded that the Legion was seeking rabbinic advice and initiating contact with Zion to test his findings. People interested in joining/supporting the Jewish Legion K-9 unit or pig unit, should it be formed, or the regular guard program can contact JewishLegion@aol.com

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