Newsletter : 3fax1210.txt
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Demographer: Holy Land Has Non-Jewish Majority
Haifa University demographer Amnon Sofer said Tuesday that there is already a majority
of non-Jews within the total area of Israel, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. "At this
very minute, within the western land of Israel from the [Mediterranean] Sea to the Jordan
[River], there is already a non-Jewish majority." Asked about the possible influence of
future Jewish immigration, Sofer said that the society must also take into account the
influence of the burgeoning population of the Holy Land as a whole. "Within 17 years, some
six million people will be added to the population, most of them poor Palestinians. This
land is entering into a demographic-ecological whirlwind."
Sharon: Israel May Soon Remove Some West Bank Settlements
By Ross Dunn (VOA-Jerusalem)
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said his government might soon unilaterally evacuate some
Jewish settlements in the West Bank. Sharon said such a step could take place if there is
no breakthrough in reaching a peace agreement with the Palestinians.
Sharon for the first time spoke of removing Jewish settlements in the West Bank "to
improve Israel's overall security situation." He said that he remains committed to the
international "road map" peace plan, which calls for the establishment of an independent
Palestinian state by 2005. But in the short-term, he said, his government may take some
unilateral steps, including uprooting some Jewish communities in the West Bank and
relocating them inside Israel.
Sharon said the move could take place as part of what he called a complex, unilateral
security and diplomatic plan, if peace talks with the Palestinians fail. He made the
remarks Tuesday at a meeting of the Israeli parliament's foreign affairs and defense
The head of the committee, Yuval Steinitz, a member of Sharon's Likud Party, backed the
prime minister's position. He said that, if negotiations fail, then Israel might be forced
to replace the road map with its own vision of peace. "If it will be clear that there is
no partner evolving from the Palestinian Authority, then in the future we will have to
reframe reality unilaterally and to drop the road map."
Other members of Sharon's coalition strongly oppose his plan. The leader of the
National Religious Party, Shaul Yahalom, warned his faction would leave the government if
settlements were evacuated. "We oppose any unilateral withdrawal and expelling any
settlements. If it happens we cannot be a partner in the government."
Israel to Cooperate with World Court Over Security Barrier
By Sonja Pace (VOA-Jerusalem)
Israel said it would cooperate with the International Court of Justice, popularly known
as the World Court, despite its opposition to the court's expected investigation into the
construction of Israel's security barrier. The reaction follows a vote in the U.N. General
Assembly Monday asking the court to look into the legality of the security barrier.
Israeli officials condemned Monday's General Assembly vote as cynical manipulation, and
an attempt to politicize the International Court of Justice.
But Ranaan Gissin, spokesman for Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said the government would
cooperate, if the Court decides to take on the case. "We are going to argue our case in
the court. We're not afraid of the international court. We have a solid case of our
inherent inalienable right of self-defense," he said. "I suspect that the reason that this
happened is because underlying this challenge to Israel's right of self-defense, is a more
basic challenge to the very existence of the Jewish state."
The barrier, which is part barbed wire fence, part concrete wall with trenches and
lookout posts has been under construction for over a year. In some areas it runs along the
so-called Green Line, which marks the boundary between Israel and the West Bank land it
captured during the 1967 Middle East war. But, it also dips deeply into Palestinian land
in many areas, to include Jewish settlements.
While Israel said the security barrier is vital to keep out Palestinian terrorists and
suicide bombers, Palestinians said it's an attempt by Israel to grab as much land as
possible, isolate Palestinians inside barbed wire enclaves and pre-empt any negotiated
settlement with a new de-facto situation on the ground.
Even though the United States was among the countries voting against the resolution,
Washington has criticized the security barrier. The U.S. ambassador to Israel, Daniel
Kurtzer, told Israel Radio that the American concerns are quite clear. "We do support
Israel's right to defend itself and we allow, in our own minds, that Israel is going to
make its own decisions on how to do that. When we noticed that perhaps considerations
other than security were going into the route of the fence, that's when the United States
began to express a viewpoint to the government of Israel."
In part Israel has downplayed the importance of Monday's U.N. vote. Israel's U.N.
ambassador even spoke of a moral victory, saying that those who voted against the
resolution or abstained were the vast majority of the world's democracies while those who
voted for the resolution were dictatorships and supporters of terrorism.
Mother of Seven Carried Bomb Belt For Attempted Attack
The Israeli government has just allowed for publication the fact that two terrorists
were intercepted on their way to carry out a large-scale suicide attack in Rosh Ha'ayin
Monday. A 40-year-old Arab mother of seven transported a 19-pound belt of explosives.
Early Monday morning Saliman Abu Ruis, a 20-year old resident of the Balata slums, and
his counterpart Tzaber Abu Sris, a 37-year old husband and father of seven from Shechem,
set out to carry out a suicide bombing in a central population center. The two were
members of Yasir Arafat's Fatah movement.
The men traveled together through the Kafr Kassam checkpoint into pre-'67 Israel while
Latifa Abu Doar, a 40-year-old mother of seven, drove in a separate car carrying a
19-pound explosive belt. The terrorists, according to the IDF, took advantage of the fact
that soldiers do not normally search Arab women as thoroughly as they do men.
After they passed the checkpoint, the mother accompanied the terrorists by foot through
another IDF checkpoint and then handed the explosive belt over to Abu Ruis, the would-be
suicide bomber. Latifa Abu Doar then turned around and returned to Shechem.
Abu Ruis and Abu Sarif walked toward the town of Rosh Haayin but turned back when they
spotted the stepped-up presence of security forces due to a widespread terror alert that
had brought the region to a standstill. Realizing they could not make it back to Shechem
the two terrorists decided to hide the explosive belt and flee to the community of Hablah.
They were arrested by security forces near Kalkilya and were transferred for further
interrogation to the Shabak (General Security Service). Overnight, Latifa Abu Doar was
taken into custody. The 19-pound explosive belt was discovered Tuesday morning as a result
of information gained from the interrogation.
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