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Quote of the Day: Sharon to Soldiers:

By Aliza Weisman, page 39 of her book HaPinui, The Evacuation [of Sinai in 1982], published 1990

"[Former MK] Chanan Porat remembered Menachem Begin's reaction when a handful of Gush Emunim pioneers settled in Sebastia, in 1975, without a permit from the Rabin government. Begin cried out against the crimes of the Alignment [Labor] government, which dared interfere with the activities of the 'young pioneer heroes.' Begin encouraged them not to leave the place, and when the army came to evacuate them, Ariel Sharon incited the settlers against the soldiers: 'Don't leave,' he told them, and to the soldiers he said, 'A Jewish [lit. Hebrew] soldier must not evacuate a Jew from territory of the Land of Israel.'"

Sharon Orders Removal of Two Illegal Settlements

By Ross Dunn (VOA-Jerusalem)

Israel has ordered the removal of two more Jewish outposts in the West Bank, in response to U.S. pressure to halt settlement activity in the territories. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and his defense minister, Shaul Mofaz, issued a directive that two outposts, both of them populated, be removed.

One, known as Tal Binyamin, is located near the West Bank city of Ramallah and is the site of a 15-student Jewish seminary. The outpost was named after Binyamin and Tal Kahane, who were killed during an ambush by Palestinian gunmen as they drove through the West Bank. They were the son and daughter-in-law of the late Rabbi Meir Kahane, founder of an outlawed extremist Jewish organization.

The second outpost is Havat Maon, located near the West Bank city of Hebron. Havat Maon is currently home to seven families, and was re-established after being evacuated in 1999.

Deputy Defense Minister Ze'ev Boim conceded that settlers have returned to some of the same sites that were previously dismantled. He says such actions are illegal and that the government would not allow the settlers to remain there. "It is right. Some that we dismantled, they rebuilt again. So, they are still on the list. We consider them as new unauthorized outposts."

Boim said that, since March 2001, 96 outposts have been set up without government approval. In recent weeks, the government has drawn up plans to remove a total of six, and warned that more will be uprooted. The decision follows pressure from the U.S. administration, which has urged Israel to remove outposts and halt settlement activity under the international road map to peace plan.

Israel Denies New Golan Heights Settlement Plans

By Ross Dunn (VOA-Jerusalem) &

Israel has moved to try to calm Syrian and U.S. anger over a plan to expand Jewish settlements on the Golan Heights. Israel's deputy Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, denied the government has approved an expansion of Jewish settlements on the Golan Heights.

He was responding to a recent announcement that an Israeli ministerial committee had given the go-ahead for another 900 families to settle on the Golan, where about 18,000 Israelis reside.

The new program calls for 900 new housing units in several existing and new Golan Heights communities, at a government investment of 250-300 million shekels (roughly $60-65 million). Several government ministries are to take part in the program, which was approved by the Ministerial Committee for Settlement Affairs. The Golan is currently home to the 6,500 inhabitants of the city of Katzrin, as well as another 10,500 residents in 31 smaller communities.

Katz has said that the program is planned as a response to Syria's recent peace feelers. "On the one hand, Syria's Assad announces that he's interested in peace," according to Katz, "while on the other, he continues to openly support Palestinian terrorism."

The announcement by Israel's agriculture minister, Yisrael Katz, was made just weeks after Syrian President Bashir al-Assad, called for a resumption of peace talks with Israel. "All the news about a comprehensive expansion of Israeli buildings on the Golan Heights is untrue. There is no such program. The government has not approved of it. And the publications were exaggerated and blown out of any proportion." His remarks were aimed at appeasing both Syria and the United States.

Syria is seeking the return of the Golan, a strategic plateau captured by Israel during the 1967 Middle East War. The United States wants the two countries to return to negotiations aimed at reaching a land-for-peace deal. The Golan, towering almost a mile high above the Sea of Galilee (Kinneret) and nearby communities, was used by the Syrians to attack Israeli towns below in the years prior to the Six Day War. Israel restored peace to the area with its capture of the Heights in 1967. Six years later, the Syrians ran through the Golan and nearly captured the Galilee in the Yom Kippur War. In 1981, Israel annexed the Golan Heights, rendering it an intrinsic part of the State of Israel.

Olmert's statements also coincided with an assessment by the head of Israel's military intelligence, General Aharon Ze'evi Farkash, presented to the Israeli Cabinet on Sunday.

Farkash said Assad's remarks regarding the possibility of resuming peace talks with Israel are, in his opinion, very serious. He said the Syrian leader's comments are partly a response to pressure from Washington.

But Farkash said that, while Syria is holding out the option of renewing dialogue with Israel, it still supported terrorism. He warned that Syria continues to finance "Palestinian terror organizations and the Lebanese guerilla group Hizbullah, which is opposed to Israel's existence."

Infant Born on the Begin Highway


A 22-year-old Jerusalem resident borrowed a neighbor's car to drive his wife to the hospital on the Sabbath after she began labor pains. On his way to deliver their second child the young mother realized there was no time, instructing her husband to pull over. He called the Magen David Adom dispatcher and he was given telephone instructions to assist his wife in the birth. In the meantime an ambulance was dispatched. The ambulance arrived moments after the little boy was born only to find dad wrapped him in his jacket. Mother and the 5.7-pound son were transported to the Shaare Zedek Medical Center, reportedly in good condition.

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