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Jordan Plans to 'Transfer' Arab Refugees to No-Man's Land


"Informed government sources" are quoted on the Jordanian newspaper Al-Arab al-Yawm's website as saying that Jordan will transfer some 300 Iraqi refugees who consider themselves "Palestinian" to the buffer zone between Jordan and Iraq in the next few weeks. The government plans to offer the refugees two choices: either return to Iraq, or move to the no-man's land.

Israel Urged to Conduct Preemptive Strikes on WMD


The full report appears at

Israel has been urged by leading strategists to plan preemptive strikes against weapons of mass destruction arsenals in the Middle East.

A report, entitled "Israel's Strategic Future," asserted that Israel must prevent the formation of an enemy WMD coalition through such means as conventional preemptive strikes against vital facilities. The report said the Jewish state has been threatened by a biological or nuclear first-strike that seeks to exploit Israel's small space and high population density.

"To meet its ultimate deterrence objectives -- that is, to deter the most overwhelmingly destructive enemy first-strikes -- Israel must seek and achieve a visible second-strike capability to target approximately 15 enemy cities," the report, presented to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, said.

"Ranges would be to cities in Libya and Iran, and recognizable nuclear bomb yields would be at a level sufficient to fully compromise the aggressor's viability as a functioning state. All enemy targets should be selected with the view that their destruction would promptly force the enemy to cease all nuclear/biological/chemical exchanges with Israel."

The report called on Israel to operate a multi-layered ballistic missile defense system as well as establish a second-strike capability. Such a missile defense should include a Boost Phase Intercept capability as well as enhanced real-time intelligence acquisition, interpretation and transmission.

Powell to Palestinians: Prepare to Take Over Territories Returned by Israel

By VOA News

Secretary of State Colin Powell is calling for Palestinians to be ready to take over any territories Israel returns to them. Jordan's King Abdullah, who also stressed that resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a fundamental issue for many Arabs, echoed his comments.

In Jordan Sunday, Powell faced some tough questions about U.S. policy toward the Middle East, and he seemed intent on reassuring the region about U.S. policies and motives. Powell has been attending a Middle East economic forum on Jordan's Dead Sea coast.

He said he discussed Israeli plans to pull out of settlements in Gaza with Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia in Jordan on Saturday. Speaking on the ABC television program This Week, Powell said he thinks the Palestinians should welcome this move and prepare themselves for it.

"Now, this is the actual elimination of settlements, which people have been asking for all these years," he said. "And what I need the Palestinians to do is get ready for that transfer, get ready to take responsibility for Gaza, and security responsibilities in Gaza and get ready to re-engage in the road map, so that we can get to those final status issues that are so important and which must be mutually agreed upon by the parties." The road map is an internationally developed Mideast peace plan that calls for the creation of two separate states.

Meanwhile, Jordan's King Abdullah said he believed the Bush administration genuinely supports the two-state solution. But added that the U.S. has an image problem in the region. "The perception is that the United States is not fair and balanced on the core issue in the Middle East, which is the Israeli-Palestinian problem. And then you compound that with Iraq, so you get, unfortunately, the visuals with Israeli tanks and Palestinians and American tanks and Iraqis."

King Abdullah said he believes that for many Arabs in the region, Iraq is not as important an issue as resolving the Israeli-Palestinian crisis. But he added that he thinks the Palestinians are in a weak negotiating position because their government is not unified. "There is a window, an opportunity for Palestinian government to get back on track," he said. "If Palestinian political society is too busy competing with each other, then they are going to lose the opportunity."

He stressed that resolution of this issue would also help in the global war against terrorism. "Solve this problem, we will take the bite out of extremism, we will shut the recruiters of terrorism down, we will have a hope for all of us to have a life in this part of the world," he said, adding Arab nations are ready to accept Israel as what he called "part of the neighborhood," as long as Israel offers a future to the Palestinians.

Powell said the United States opposes Israel's destruction of Palestinian homes in the Rafah refugee camp in the Gaza Strip. "We know that Israel has the right for self-defense, but the kind of action they are taking in Rafah, with the destruction of Palestinian homes, we oppose."

Israeli forces have destroyed at least dozens of Palestinian homes in Rafah amid fierce fighting during the past week in the Gaza Strip. Thirteen Israeli soldiers and at least 29 Palestinians have been killed in the clashes.

Israel Threatens to Step-up Air Strikes, Demolish Hundreds of Palestinian Homes in Gaza Strip

By VOA News

Israeli officials say they plan to increase military operations in the Gaza Strip, including renewed house demolitions and intensive air strikes. The cabinet decision was made after Israel's Supreme Court gave the army permission to resume demolishing homes in order to broaden an Israeli security zone along the Gaza-Egypt border. The head of Israel's army, Gen. Moshe Ya'alon, told the cabinet it might be necessary to destroy hundreds of Palestinian homes in the Rafah refugee camp in order to improve security.

Earlier, Israel's Supreme Court rejected an appeal against the demolitions. The court said the army is entitled to carry out the demolitions in the name of self-defense. U.N. officials said the operation has left a thousand Palestinians homeless. Ya'alon said the renewed home demolitions would be part of intensified military operations in Gaza, including air strikes. He said the attacks would focus on Palestinian armed groups, which he said are planning to launch more attacks against troops in the territory.

The general said some of these groups are trying to smuggle long-range Katyusha rockets into Gaza from neighboring Egypt, and to use them to launch attacks from Gaza against targets inside Israel. Secretary of State Colin Powell said the United States opposed Israel's destruction of Palestinian homes in the Rafah refugee camp in the Gaza Strip.

Arafat: 'Terrorize the Enemy'

By Ross Dunn (VOA-Jerusalem)

Palestinian chief Yasir Arafat on Saturday called on his people to terrorize their enemy, as he bitterly marked the founding of Israel 56 years ago. Thousands of Palestinians took part in demonstrations across the West Bank and Gaza Strip for the anniversary, which they call the Nakba - meaning the catastrophe.

A defiant Arafat delivered a fiery speech against Israel from his headquarters in the West Bank city of Ramallah. Arafat called on his people to be steadfast in their struggle against Israel. Quoting from the Muslim holy book, the Koran, he told his supporters to "find what strength you have to terrorize your enemy and the enemy of God."

He said that the international community had no right to allow the establishment of a Jewish State in 1948, and the Palestinian people were determined to press on with their claim for an independent country of their own. Arafat said that millions of Palestinians had become refugees following the birth of Israel and they still carried the dream of returning to their former homes.

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