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Organ Donor = Free Life Insurance?


If Health Minister (Likud) Danny Naveh has his way, persons agreeing to sign an organ donor card will benefit by obtaining free life insurance. Naveh hopes such a policy will increase the willingness of Israelis to sign organ donor cards, adding at present, the percentage of registered organ donors ranks among the lowest among western nations.

Sharon Gives Orders To Hasten Evacuation

By, VOA News & an Investigatory Report by DEBKAfile

"I have given orders to begin the work immediately and without delay," Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said as he opened Sunday's Cabinet meeting, "in order to meet the timetable we have set, namely, the completion of the evacuation by 2005." Sharon also said that last week's Cabinet decision approving the disengagement/expulsion plan also included the approval of several committees working to advance the retreat.

Sharon's announcement is merely the latest indication that the wheel of evacuation has actually begun rolling. All government-funded building has been stopped in Gaza, the Erez Industrial Zone is on its way to being closed, a timetable for the evacuation/expulsion has been released, and Gush Katif residents report that the government has begun "to put security pressure on us as well, partially removing soldiers from roadblocks and from the main roads."

He told his cabinet, the government was preparing the way for the implementation of his plan to withdraw from the Gaza Strip and some parts of the West Bank and that he had given orders to the chairmen of the various committees in charge of carrying out the plan to begin their work.

In the coming months, Sharon is expected to negotiate with Labor and other parties to forge a new national unity government, in the hope of ensuring his disengagement plan will be passed in the parliament. Under the plan, Israel would continue to control the air space and the sea around Gaza, and would also patrol the Gaza-Egypt border. For this reason, a top Hamas leader in Gaza, Mahmoud Zahar, said his organization would continue its attacks. "If they are going to be on the border between Gaza Strip and Egypt, this means a partial occupation," he said. "So, Hamas will continue the resistance to the existence of the occupation of any square meter."

Hamas is listed by the State Department as a terrorist organization, and has carried out frequent suicide bombings and other attacks that have killed many Israelis. Despite its promise to continue such attacks, Hamas officials also confirmed they would be willing to talk with Egyptian officials about the future security of Gaza.

The Israeli government is getting ready to offer down payments to voluntary evacuees from 21 Gaza settlements and four West Bank locations that Sharon plans to remove by the end of 2005. This move is designed to stimulate departures and jump the gun on two major delaying factors: the cabinet only approved Sharon's disengagement outline; voting on settlement removals is not due until March 2005 and then it will be piecemeal. Secondly, compensation to departing settlers entails long and tiresome legislation, whereas down payments do not. Broad hints that the first comers will get the best deal have been thrown out already. The bargaining is clearly about to begin.

A second Middle East party has also hit on the notion of financially rewarding people willing to change address. DEBKAfile's Palestinian and Jordanian sources reveal that Jordan's King Abdullah is offering non-returnable "mortgages" - cash on the nail - to high Palestinian officials willing to purchase and move to luxury villas in Amman. The king is hoping to shut the West Bank door to the Egyptians, whose arrival is described as imminent under a putative proposal agreed by Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, Sharon and British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

The Amman villas come with a proviso: purchasers must list their new addresses on their calling cards. Their dual residency is intended to provide Jordan with a foothold at Palestinian Authority headquarters in Ramallah and represent the king's interests on the West Bank. According to DEBKAfile's sources, several Palestinians have taken Abdullah up on his offer; two are prominent: Yasser Abd Rabo, Palestinian co-signatory of the Geneva Accords and Jibril Rajoub, Yasir Arafat's own national security adviser, evoking a nasty letter from Arafat to the palace in Amman announcing that he would not stand for Jordanian officers and agents running around Palestinian territory. The West Bank is not the Gaza Strip! he declared.

Strictly speaking, Egyptian intelligence invented the Palestinian national leader and used his services between the 1960s and well into the 1990s. Even today, the Egyptian official assigned to keeping tabs on him is intelligence minister General Omar Suleiman. It is less well known that during those decades, British intelligence ran a covert operation to build him up as a world figure. London saw in him a vehicle for planting British influence deep inside the Arab-Muslim orbit (which is why he was never received in Islamic revolutionary Tehran) and an instrument for keeping Israeli intelligence in check and limiting its influence in Washington. These ties were somewhat loosened after the 1993 Oslo peace accord, when he relocated from Tunis to Gaza and Ramallah. But they were never abandoned.

The British have performed two key services for the Palestinian cause: A. They sponsored the concept of Palestinian statehood as a means of reducing the Jewish state to what London considered its natural dimensions, sitting behind Arafat's shoulder and lobbying the international case for a Palestinian state year after year until it was taken up by President Bush.

Few Israelis are aware of the pivotal role parts of MI6 through the British Foreign Office played over the years in developing and shaping Palestinian diplomatic and PR strategy, helping to make the Palestinian cause far more resonant internationally than the Israeli case - even when Arafat openly espoused and practiced terrorism.

B. They instigated the first Palestinian uprising against Israel in 1987; it was not provoked by Arafat then still in Tunis or even the PLO leadership, but MI6 agents operating in the Rafah refugee camp of the southern Gaza Strip. The trigger was a road accident in which an Israeli army truck ran over a group of Palestinian children. The local protest raised spread quickly and was presented opportunistically to the media as a "popular uprising."

Again in 2004, British "activists" are working hard to win Arab "hearts and minds." Now "volunteers" are sent over to shield Rafah residents against Israeli military operations and support Palestinian protests against Israel's anti-terror barrier. But, despite these five obstacles, Blair's chances of making progress towards his goal are a lot better now than they were in 1987.

For one thing, Bush owes him a big favor for standing alongside the United States in Iraq. MI6 agents may therefore swarm over the West Bank under fairly lax control from Washington. For another, the British path is paradoxically eased by the Israeli prime minister's office's spin campaign around Sharon's disengagement plan and the Israeli media's readiness to buy uncorroborated reports presenting Egypt and European governments as eager to accept a role in the plan's execution and lavishly fund its costs.

Last Thursday, Israelis saw MI6 in action. Israeli radio announced dryly that a group of British intelligence officers had visited Jenin and carried out surveillance of Israeli settlements. No one asked whether the group was on a cowboy-spying mission or had received authorization. And if authorized, by whom? The Israeli government is after all the competent security jurisdiction in the territory.

That was not the end of the matter. DEBKAfile's Washington sources report that shortly after the incident was discovered, the British premier handed Bush a secret intelligence report that was a clear signpost to where the Blair government is heading.

The report claims the Palestinians have made a good start on cracking down on terrorists - except that they are severely hindered by? the IDF. Israel's Shin Beit and its troops - and their unremitting efforts day and night, year after year, to keep Palestinian suicidal terrorists at bay - rate no mention in the MI6 report except as an obstacle to Palestinian good intentions. The London report, our sources learn, was handed to other leaders attending the summit. A copy was even addressed to Sharon and another to Arafat.

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