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Israeli Call-in Show - "Science and Genesis"

By IsraelNationalNews.com

Call toll-free to discuss, "Science and Genesis--are they compatible?" Israel National Radio's Eli Stutz hosts Bar Ilan University physics professor Natan Aviezer, author of "In the Beginning: Biblical Creation and Science." Call in toll-free: from North America 1-800-270-4288. Listen to the program at http://www.israelnationalnews.com/metafiles/asx/israelnn.asx.


Kissinger: Sharon Could Make 'Astonishing' Concessions

By Ha'aretz

Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger said in remarks broadcast Wednesday that he was quite optimistic that the Israeli-Palestinian deadlock can be broken, and that despite Israel's "tactical stiffness," past experience has shown that even Prime Minister Ariel Sharon would make "astonishing" concessions if there were an opportunity for Israeli-Palestinian peace.

The former American foreign policy chief said that if some positions were changed, "especially on the Arab side," progress would be made in the current period. Kissinger was the central speaker Tuesday at a ceremony in the Israeli Embassy in Washington marking the eighth anniversary of the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin.

"There are ways to get out of the deadlock, and I am actually quite optimistic," Kissinger said in an interview with Israel Radio. "Some positions will have to be changed, especially on the Arab side, about the survival of Israel, but I think that we are at a phase where progress will be made."

Asked about PA Chairman Yasir Arafat, Kissinger said, "Arafat knows what he has to do. He doesn't need to be talked to. He's known for 10 years what he should do in order to have peace, and he hasn't wanted it."

The former secretary of state added "The way to a breakthrough, is that the moderate Arabs convince the Palestinians, or assist the Palestinians, in defeating the terrorists." "Whatever the tactical stiffness of Israel is, on the big issues it has made astonishing concessions every time there was an opportunity for peace. They did it under Rabin, they did it under (former prime minister Ehud) Barak, and they would do it under Sharon, or anyone else."


Sharon to Seek Approval for Israel-Hizbullah Prisoner Swap

By Sonja Pace (VOA-Jerusalem)

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said he'll ask for cabinet approval for a prisoner exchange between Israel and the Lebanon-based Hizbullah terrorist group. There is no indication whether a deal has been finalized, but the announcement follows months of negotiations. A statement issued by Sharon's office said the prime minister would submit the outline of a prisoner exchange deal for cabinet approval on Sunday.

A prisoner exchange is expected to involve the release of several hundred Lebanese and Palestinian prisoners in exchange for Israeli businessman Elhanan Tannenbaum, who was kidnapped three years ago, and the bodies of three Israeli soldiers, who were captured and killed by Hizbullah. There has been some controversy over whether information about missing airman Ron Arad, who was shot down over Lebanon in 1986, would be included. Some Israeli media have reported it would be.

There is also some controversy about efforts to obtain the release of Elhanan Tannenbaum since he disappeared under somewhat dubious circumstances. Tannenbaum, a colonel in the Israeli Army reserves, had apparently amassed large gambling debts and was lured by an Israeli-Arab friend to go Belgium and then to the United Arab Emirates for potentially business deals to solve his financial problems. Hizbullah then kidnapped him, drugged him, put him in a coffin and shipped him to Lebanon. German mediators were allowed to see Tannenbaum and were reportedly shocked by his poor physical condition. Israeli media have reported that he was tortured, beaten and had his teeth extracted.


Israel Lifts Military Blockades Against Most West Bank Cities

By Ross Dunn (VOA-Jerusalem)

Israel has lifted military blockades against most West Bank cities in a bid to ease the humanitarian plight of Palestinians. Israeli officials said the decision is also a goodwill gesture toward Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia, who is trying to form a new government.

Israel announced it had ended internal closures on all Palestinian cities in the West Bank with the exception of Nablus and Jenin. The Israeli Army said these two cities should continue to be sealed off due to the large number of warnings that Palestinians are planning to use them to launch terror attacks.

Palestinians in all other cities will now be allowed to travel outside their areas, providing they have a permit. The restrictions are being eased two months after Israeli forces encircled Palestinian self-rule areas in response to suicide bombings.

Israeli officials said its decision was aimed in part at boosting support for Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia, also known as Abu Ala, who is attempting to build a new government and has stated his willingness to re-start peace talks.

Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom said that more goodwill gestures are needed to restore trust between the two sides and set the climate for a return to negotiations. "Israel is trying to do everything that is needed to bring the peace process back on track. I think that it is very important that Abu Ala will form his new Cabinet." Shalom also urged the Palestinian Authority to dismantle, what he called, the terrorist infrastructure in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, saying this would speed up progress toward ending the conflict.


New Blow to Much-Delayed German Holocaust Memorial

By Reuters

Berlin's Holocaust memorial suffered a new setback on Wednesday after it emerged that a firm banned from the project because of its Nazi past had provided materials already built into its foundations. The discovery has cast doubt on whether construction of the memorial to the six million Jews killed by the Nazis will go ahead or if the foundations and pillars must be torn out at huge expense. Some 25 of 2,700 pillars have been put up since August.

Last month, work was halted after it emerged that architects planned to use an anti-graffiti chemical made by Degussa AG, which was in Nazi times the parent company of Degesch, the supplier of Zyklon B hydrogen cyanide gas to the extermination camps.

Germany spent years debating how to express remorse for the Holocaust. The memorial, designed by U.S. architect Peter Eisenman, is costing more than 26 million euros ($29.81 million) and is due to be completed in 2005. It consists of a maze of pillars across an area the size of several soccer pitches near Berlin's landmark Brandenburg gate.

The German trustees overseeing the project in the heart of Berlin decided to exclude Degussa to avoid causing pain to the relatives of the victims of the Holocaust. After checking the implications of removing Degussa from the list of contractors building the pillars, the trustees found this week that a Degussa subsidiary supplied a concrete-thinning agent for the pillars and their foundations.

Several hundred-foundation platforms have already been laid on the site and 25 pillars installed. Removing them would be expensive, said Uwe Neumaerker, spokesman for the trustees. "This was discovered after checks were ordered on October 23. The trustees will have to take a new decision," he said.

Degussa said last month it regretted the trustees' decision to exclude it from the memorial project but accepted the move. It is one of 16 companies that initiated a plan in 1999 to compensate Nazi-era slave laborers and is a major contributor to a 2.56 billion euro fund into which 6,500 firms have paid.


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