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>JN Jan. 6, 2004, Vol. 12, No. 2

Chinese Caught Trying to Bug Israeli Embassy


A security officer in the Israeli Embassy in Beijing caught a group of Chinese technicians last month attempting to plant electronic eavesdropping devices in the embassy's telephone lines, World reported.

According to a report in Ma'ariv, technicians were detected near a telephone box on the street in proximity to the embassy. The technicians were instructed by embassy security personnel to undo the work and leave the area.

Sharon: Israel Would Dismantle Some Settlements in Peace Deal

By Ross Dunn (VOA-Jerusalem)

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said some Jewish settlements in the occupied territories would have to be abandoned under a final peace treaty with the Palestinians. In an address to a convention of his ruling Likud Party, he also reaffirmed his commitment to unilaterally separate Israel from the Palestinians, if peace talks fail.

Sharon said it was "clear" that in a permanent peace accord, Israel would have to give up some of the Jewish settlements in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. His tough speech drew boos and catcalls at the Likud Party convention in Tel Aviv. Sharon also said Israel would support the formation of a Palestinian state under the international "roadmap" to peace plan.

The plan, which is backed by the United States, the European Union, Russia and the United Nations, calls for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state by 2005.

At the same time, Mr. Sharon stressed that if no progress were made in peace negotiations during the next few months, he would unilaterally cut Israel off from the Palestinians. This move would include evacuating some Jewish settlements for security reasons.

Sharon's defiant speech to the convention appeared as a challenge to other members of the party who have vowed to block his unilateral separation plan. Some members of the Likud claim that any move by Israel to unilaterally withdraw from any part of the West Bank and Gaza Strip will only encourage more Palestinian terrorism.

Sharon insisted, "No prize will be given to terror". However, he added, that if the Palestinians were willing to dismantle their "terrorist infrastructure," then Israel "is ready to give, and to give a lot."

Israeli Official: Barrier Could Cause International Isolation

By Larry James (VOA-Jerusalem)

A senior Israeli cabinet minister said his country risked significant international isolation over controversial plans for a barrier separating Israel from Palestinian territories.

Justice Minister Yosef Lapid told the regular weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday that Israel should redraw the route of the barrier, which cuts deeply into the West Bank. He said if it does not then Israel risks being subjected to international boycotts similar to those imposed on South Africa during the apartheid era. The International Court of Justice is scheduled to open hearings on the barrier next month at the request of the U.N. General Assembly.

Israel said the barrier, a substantial portion of which has already been built, is necessary to prevent the entry of Palestinian militants into Israel. But the Palestinian leadership said the project is an attempt to redraw borders ahead of any internationally approved peace accord. The Bush Administration has also criticized the project.

Israeli media are reporting that the Israeli government will inform the court that it rejects its authority to deliberate on the building of the barrier. Ha'aretz, quoting political sources, said Monday that Israel would, nevertheless; also present substantial arguments to justify the security need for the barrier. These would also help Israel in a future campaign against any negative ruling made by the court. It is widely believed here that the court will rule against Israel.

Israeli Army Base for Rent


The IDF is seeking out foreign armies that wish to rent training facilities at its Tze'elim military base. The Defense Ministry is making the offer only to those states maintaining diplomatic relations with the State of Israel.

The goal of the rental project is to improve the working relationship between the armies invited and the IDF, as well as to make up for a Defense Ministry budgetary shortfall under the recent economic program.

According to earlier reports, American military units are already using the Tze'elim facilities for urban combat training, in light of the situation the US forces are encountering in Iraq. A seminar on urban combat is planned in two months, with one of its aims being to introduce foreign military leaders to the training facilities and options.

An officer of the General Staff told Arutz-7: "There is no reason why foreign armies could not train with us.... The monies that the IDF will receive from renting the space will be earmarked for security needs, such that the army also comes out ahead in the deal."

"Dr. Laura" Criticized by Holocaust Scholars


A leading Holocaust Studies institute is urging outspoken radio talk show host Dr. Laura Schlessinger ("Dr. Laura") to retract her comparison of U.S. day care centers to child-rearing practices in Nazi Germany.

On her Jan. 2, program, Dr. Laura read a letter from a listener who criticized the lack of one-on-one attention given to children in some day care centers, especially those calling themselves "Child Development Centers." The radio host commented, "It sounds like something out of Nazi Germany."

The David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies, a Philadelphia-based research and education institute focusing on America's response to the Holocaust, is urging Schlessinger to retract her remark. Wyman Institute director Dr. Rafael Medoff: "Such analogies trivialize the Holocaust and undermine efforts to educate the public about the real nature of Nazi Germany and the Holocaust."

The popular radio psychologist was well known for her conversion to Judaism six years ago through the Conservative movement, which she then rejected in favor of Orthodox Judaism, ultimately rejecting Orthodoxy, as well, in late 2003. She insists that she still "considers [herself] Jewish". In November 2003, Dr. Laura was also criticized for what an Islamic advocacy group termed an "anti-Muslim tirade."

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