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Israel Presents U.N. with Resolution on Behalf of Children


Israel has presented a resolution to the U.N. General Assembly calling on the PA to fulfill its obligations to dismantle the terrorist infrastructure and bring terrorists to justice to enable Israeli children to grow up free of the fears of terror. It was the first resolution presented by Israel since 1976. The PA's U.N. delegate objected to the resolution, insisting it was political in nature and therefore, illegitimate.

Sharon, Qureia to Meet Next Week

By Ross Dunn (VOA-Jerusalem)

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is preparing to meet his Palestinian counterpart, Ahmed Qureia, next week to discuss ways to end violence and restart peace talks. Both sides are under strong pressure from the United States to resume the peace process now that the new Palestinian government is in place.

Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom confirmed Thursday that preparations are under way for the talks following the Palestinian parliament's approval of Qureia's new Cabinet. Shalom told the Israeli Army Radio that he expected the meeting between Sharon and the Palestinian prime minister to be held within 10 days.

It will be the first such high-level talks between the two sides in months following the resignation of the previous Palestinian prime minister, Mahmoud Abbas. Abbas quit his post in September after losing a power struggle with the Palestinian chieftain Yasir Arafat, who insisted on retaining control over the security forces.

Arafat chose Qureia to replace him, and the two are said to have a better working relationship. At the same time, Qureia said he was under no illusions about how hard it will be to reform the Palestinian administration and reach a peace agreement with Israel. "We are trying to do the best we can do in favor of our people in this very difficult time."

Israel said that Qureia's government would be judged by how well it succeeds in halting Palestinian terrorism. Raanan Gissin, a Sharon spokesman, said success in stopping violence could pave the way for implementation of the international road map to peace plan.

"Any Palestinian government - and we do not get involved in its composition - must pass the test of performance, and the test of performance means that they will rein in terrorism," said Gissin. "Bring about a cessation of violence, terrorism and incitement, then we can move very quickly forward to the next stage of the road map to peace!"

U.S. Court Rejects Pollard's Petition for Right to Appeal

By Reuters and Ha'aretz

U.S. District Chief Judge Thomas Hogan said a different judge had been correct in 2001 in turning down Jonathan Pollard's request for resentencing. Pollard, 49, who was a civilian intelligence analyst for the U.S. Navy, is serving a life sentence at a federal prison in North Carolina.

Hogan in a 19-page ruling refused to hold a hearing on the evidence, rejecting a second request by Pollard's lawyers for access to highly classified government documents from sentencing so they could more effectively pursue clemency.

One of Pollard's New York -based lawyers, Jacques Semmelman, said he was "surprised and disappointed with both rulings." He said he would go next to the U.S. Court of Appeals.

Pollard, who was not paid when he began spying in 1984 but later began receiving several thousand dollars per month, was caught in November 1985 and arrested after unsuccessfully seeking refuge at the Israeli Embassy. He initially denied he worked for Israel, but later confessed.

In 1985, Pollard was sentenced for selling tens of thousands of pages of classified U.S. information to Israel. His former wife, Anne, was sentenced to five years in prison for assisting him. Pollard's case has become a cause celebre for some Jewish groups in the United States and his supporters in Israel. Top Israeli government officials have unsuccessfully pressed the United States to let him out of prison.

Pollard's lawyers argued he received ineffective assistance of counsel by his initial lawyer, who represented him when he pleaded guilty and was sentenced, and then by his lawyer, who represented him in his first appeal in the early 1990s. But Judge Hogan said Pollard over the course of his entire case had "a phalanx of well known, respected lawyers of the highest reputations."

His lawyers have included Theodore Olson, now the Justice Department's solicitor general, Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz, former Supreme Court Justice Arthur Goldberg and a number of prominent criminal defense lawyers.

Hogan ruled that Pollard's motion for resentencing was barred by the statute of limitations and had been properly dismissed earlier. "Mr. Pollard has couched his claims in alleged violations of constitutional rights, such as ineffective assistance of counsel, but closer inquiry reveals these alleged violations to be merely procedural in nature," he said.

Pollard's lawyers wanted the judge to give them access to the classified documents, including a declaration by then-Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger filed right before sentencing. Pollard's first lawyer had access to the declaration. A federal judge turned down later requests for access to it in 1990 and twice by a federal judge in 2001.

Hogan ruled that Pollard and his lawyers have offered no new justification for him to determine that any of them have a "need to know" what is in the classified information. "He has presented no credible evidence that the current president is any more willing to grant him clemency than the previous three presidents who declined to do so," Hogan ruled in the second opinion. His ruling means Pollard will remain in a federal prison.

Itim News Agency Resumes Operation

By Ha'aretz

The Israeli news agency Itim resumed operating Thursday, after a regional court on Wednesday appointed attorney Ronen Barak as interim manager for three months, until investors are found to bail out the financially troubled agency.

The moves prompting the agency's immediate closure were a suit filed by the French news agency, AFP, for a debt of NIS 900,000 and a suit filed by 20 workers from Itim, whom Itim owes NIS 550,000. The Labor Court recently ruled in favor of the staff and issued a lien on three apartments owned by Itim.

Itim was established in 1950 by the Israel Broadcasting Authority and daily newspapers as a backup system for reports about events their own staff could not cover. For decades Itim has functioned as the newspapers' stepdaughter. "At the beginning of the `90s the newspapers still used Itim's stories a lot, but frequently omitted its credit," a reporter who worked in the news agency at the time says. "This completely erased Itim's existence from the public's awareness."

He said the agency had a promising business potential, but the large newspapers did not want it to grow. Despite this, Itim expanded its coverage and in the `90s employed about 30 reporters. It is considered an unglamorous workplace, but a sound basis for beginning a journalistic career.

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