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Worker Arrested for Spitting on Rabin Memorial


An 18-year-old mail sorter employed by Tel Aviv City Hall was sentenced to five days house arrest and barred from visiting Rabin Square for two weeks after he was apprehended spitting on a memorial at Tel Aviv's Rabin Square. Upon hearing of the young man's actions, he was immediately dismissed from his job in by city officials.

Iran's Nuclear Program is Key issue as Israeli Leader Visits Moscow

By Bill Gasperini (VOA-Moscow)

Israeli officials say Russia's help in building a nuclear power plant in Iran tops the agenda of talks between Prime Minister Sharon and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Israel wants Russia to halt work on the plant, or at least insist that Tehran allow United Nations' inspection of its nuclear facilities.

Iran recently announced that it would allow closer inspections, and claims it has nothing to fear because its nuclear program is only for peaceful purposes. On Monday, a senior Iranian official was due to arrive in Moscow, where he was expected to announce when Iran would sign the additional protocol to the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty that would obligate Tehran to open its nuclear facilities to unannounced inspections. But the visit by the head of the Iranian Security Council, Hasan Ruhani, was abruptly canceled without explanation.

Palestinian Suicide Bomber Injures Israeli Soldier

By Larry James (VOA-Jerusalem), & Ha'aretz

A Palestinian suicide bomber has lightly wounded an Israeli soldier near the West Bank town of Qalqilya. Meanwhile, Palestinian militants say they are prepared to discuss the possibility of a halt to suicide bombings inside Israel.

The bomber was identified as a 17-year-old from the West Bank town of Nablus. He set off the explosive device he was wearing after Israeli troops had tracked him to a hiding place in the village of Azun near Qalqilya.

The terrorist blew up while on his way to perpetrating a murderous attack against Israelis. It is assumed that he was on his way to Jerusalem, but was deterred by the high numbers of security personnel, and turned back. He then tried to enter a city in the Sharon region Monday, but again did not succeed.

Arutz-7's Kobi Finkler reported that near the village of Azoun, between Karnei Shomron and Alfei Menashe, an IDF force saw the suspicious-looking Arab and called for him to stop. The terrorist began running towards the soldiers, who fired at him - causing the explosives vest he was wearing to explode.

The Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, an armed offshoot of Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasir Arafat's Fatah movement, claimed responsibility for the failed attack, naming the bomber as Sabih Abu Saud, 16, from the West Bank city of Nablus.

The bomber's father, Kamal Abu Saud, slammed the militants for sending someone so young to his death. "He was just a little boy and those who sent him should have left him alone," he said. "But he [Sabih] was not a member of any of the [terrorist] groups," adding that he strictly supervised the activity of his 11 children. Saud said he contacted the Palestinian security forces and reported his son missing, but by then he had apparently already left Nablus.

Israeli security forces have been on high alert following intelligence reports of an increased threat of terror attacks. Israeli troops also were also looking for wanted militants in Tulkarem, following the shooting of an Israeli soldier late Sunday just south of the West Bank city. The soldier suffered only minor injuries in that incident.

The Palestinian terrorist group Hamas said it was willing to discuss the possibility of a halt to attacks on Israeli civilians inside Israel, although it would continue attacks on Israeli soldiers and Jewish settlers. The militant group does not consider the estimated 250,000 settlers living on Palestinian land in the West Bank and Gaza as non-combatants.

Spokesman Abdel Aziz-Rantizi told journalists that Hamas would consider discussing the idea with the Palestinian Authority. But he said that no such partial truce would take place unless Israel accepts the offer.

Israel maintains that the only path to peace is through dismantling of militant groups like Hamas, which it considers to be part of, what it calls, the terrorist infrastructure.

Israeli Court Blocks Planned Strike

By Larry James (VOA-Jerusalem)

An Israeli court has intervened to block a planned general strike in Israel that could have disrupted key sectors nationwide. The court said Histadrut, the national labor federation, could not go ahead with its plans for an indefinite strike but could hold a symbolic four-hour-long work stoppage. The court also ordered Histadrut and Israeli government officials to continue negotiating until the next scheduled hearing takes place on Thursday.

Despite the court ruling, the effects are already being felt from the threat of a strike that has the potential of shutting down nearly every sector of the economy. Air transportation was one of the first sectors to be affected, with Israel's main airport, Ben-Gurion International in Tel Aviv empty. No flights were planned for Monday. Air carriers stepped up operations on Sunday in anticipation of the strike to try to accommodate those wishing to travel to and from Israel.

Delivery of fuel supplies was halted over the weekend leading to long lines at gas stations as motorists rushed to fill their tanks in anticipation of an indefinite strike. The Histadrut called the strike to protest pension reform and government plans for layoffs.

Finance Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described the strike as the "merciless abuse of six and half million Israeli citizens" and warned that the strike itself could lead to thousands of workers losing their jobs, and send businesses into bankruptcy. He also said the government will use all necessary means to protect the public and the economy.

Histadrut leader Peretz has vowed there will be no compromising the workers demands. He called the general strike a campaign to save worker pensions and what he termed the right to a decent livelihood.

The Israeli cabinet has given Prime Minister Sharon the authority to issue emergency back-to-work orders to keep essential services running. The orders cover the national electric, telephone and water companies, oil refineries, El Al Israel Airlines, the oil and energy sector, military industries, airports, sea ports and train and health services.

Hizbullah TV Airs 'Jewish Plan to Dominate the World'

By Reuters

Hizbullah's al-Manar television, in a move that has drawn Washington's ire and accusations of anti-Semitism, has started airing a series on the history of Zionism it says shows a Jewish plan to dominate the world.

In a Syrian-produced series broadcast on al-Manar's satellite channel across the Middle East, the station promised to reveal what it said was the true face of Zionism. "The series shows us how Jews don't refrain from... committing the worst crimes against all those, Jews or non-Jews, who stand in the way of the Jewish dream and their project," a summary of the series, entitled "The Diaspora," said.

Western critics worry the show, set in mandatory Palestine and Europe between 1812 and 1948, could stoke hatred toward Jews and invokes what Jews view as stereotypes used for centuries to incite violence against them. Al-Manar said it has not received any complaints.

Al-Manar, the mouthpiece of Hizbullah guerrillas, said the 26-part series is based on Jewish sources including the Torah and targets Zionism, not Judaism. "This series carries a dose that could be very surprising for those who don't know the ways and policies that the world Zionists used to achieve their goals and to corrupt the world," said Nasser Akhdar, associate director at al-Manar.

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