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Reports: Israel Tries to Block American Missile Sales to Jordan

By Ross Dunn (VOA-Jerusalem)

Israel claims the proposed sale of American missiles to Jordan means they could be acquired by other Arab nations, upsetting the strategic balance in the Middle East.

Israeli officials said they are hoping to halt the sale to Jordan of high-tech U.S.-made AMRAAM air-to-air missiles. The advanced AMRAAMS can pinpoint a target before being fired. Israeli media reported Sunday that Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz and Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom are both lobbying against the deal.

Israeli officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the ministers fear that if the missiles are sold to Jordan, Egypt might also want to purchase the weapons. Both states have peace treaties with Israel. The officials said that they are concerned at Egypt's determination to arm itself with advanced weapons.

The officials added that if any other state in the region acquires the AMRAAM missiles, it could undermine Israel's claim of military superiority in the region. Israeli media quoted IDF officials as saying that having such missiles such a short distance away in Jordan also posed a danger to the Jewish state.

Israel has asked members of Congress to delay approval of the arms deal, which is reportedly in its final stages. This is the first time Israel has tried to prevent Jordan from buying U.S.-made arms since the two countries signed a peace treaty in 1994.

Palestinian Political Unrest Spreads from Gaza to West Bank

By Ross Dunn (VOA-Jerusalem)

Supporters of Palestinian Chairman Yasir Arafat disrupted a meeting of Palestinian politicians seeking reforms of the Palestinian Authority, firing guns in the air. The incident marked a spread in Palestinian infighting.

About 20-armed Palestinians loyal to Arafat burst into a conference of Arafat's own Fatah faction Sunday in the West Bank city of Nablus. The men fired rifles into the air and above the stage where speakers were seated, breaking up the meeting, but causing no injuries. The conference was called to press for reforms in the Palestinian Authority and for long-delayed elections for a new parliament.

The gunmen said they belonged to the al-Awda Brigades, a small militant group. A spokesman for the group said they believed the Fatah conference was part of a conspiracy to undermine Arafat. The incident came one day after members of the armed wing of Fatah, the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, set fire to the governor's building in Jenin, also in the West Bank.

Just hours earlier, Palestinian terrorists kidnapped three foreign citizens in Nablus. The hostages were reportedly freed after the Palestinian Authority offered to pay a ransom to the kidnappers. Some Palestinian officials blamed the unrest on a former security chief in the Gaza Strip, Mohammed Dahlan, a leading figure in the campaign to reform the Palestinian Authority. He was quoted in interviews as saying that if Arafat fails to carry out real political reforms within the next 10 days, there would be mass demonstrations against his rule in the Gaza Strip.

Vanunu: Israel Has Between 100-200 Nuclear Weapons

By Tehran (Iran) Times & Zaman (Turkey) Online

Only two days after the Israeli Supreme Court overruled nuclear whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu's request to remove the limitations imposed on him, a full interview with him has been published in the London-based Arabic weekly al-Wassat. Being interviewed by an Arab newspaper based in London, Vanunu has thus broken the restrictions the Israeli defense establishment had placed upon him not to give interviews to the foreign media.

The latest interview included secret details regarding Israel's nuclear plan. "Israel possesses between 100-200 nuclear weapons, including a neutron bomb and hydrogen bombs, which are tenfold in their effect", Vanunu said in the interview. "If an atomic bomb can kill 100,000 people then the hydrogen bomb can hurt a million".

Furthermore, Vanunu said that he would fight till his dying day for a permit to leave Israel and seek political asylum abroad. "I will call for an international convention in Cairo, including Israel, for dismantling nuclear weapons", he said, adding he would also try to develop his expertise in nuclear warfare, and that he intends to offer his services to the UN's nuclear energy agency.

Vanunu, who leaked Israel's nuclear program to the press nearly two decades ago, spoke to the Turkish media for the first time. "I wanted to stop a new genocide by drawing attention to Israel's nuclear power. I will never regret this."

Vanunu spoke with Zaman about his goal, what he had been through in prison, Israel's 'psychological torture' and how he was arrested. "I would particularly like to state that everything I did was not only for the Israeli people, but also for the all people in Middle East. If any country does this, all the people in the region will fight. My only purpose was to hinder that," Vanunu explained about his decision to blow the whistle on Israel's nuclear weapons. Vanunu announced on April 21, when he was released, that he was mistreated because he was a Christian.

Palestinian TV: 'For a Million Years It Has Been Our Homeland'

By Palestinian Media Watch

A segment shown daily on Palestinian Authority television illustrates a continuing trend within PA society, seeking to replace Jewish history with a revisionist version claiming the "Palestinians" were the ancient inhabitants of the Land of Israel.

Palestinian Media Watch has translated a new poetry video called "You and Us," which has been broadcast on official PA TV almost every day in recent weeks.

As images of Israelis appear on the screen, a poem is read aloud, beginning with the words: "You are phantoms in my land." The juxtaposition of text and visuals portrays Israelis as conquerors. The poem then states that the land that is now Israel has been the Palestinian homeland for "a million years," since "the dawn of man's creation," and that no one occupied the land before the Palestinians' arrival. Scenes of Yasir Arafat accompany the repeated phrase, "This is the beginning," and the poem's final line refers to "revolution" as the PA flag appears on the screen.

The following is the text of the poem, with a description of the accompanying images:

"You are phantoms on my land [visuals of Israelis] and our roots in her are deep [scenes of land]. For a million years it is our homeland. May the conquerors exploit as they will [war scenes]. We came - the dawn of man's creation in the world. And our arrival - the beginning and time. Before us no foot had strode through her [scenes of land]. And calls were not heard. Ours are the caves of her mountains. Ours are her rivers. Ours are her plants, vineyards, the fields. And a waterway there is, faced with fields. And the bones of our fathers that lived on the ground. And under it they died... This is the beginning [scenes of Yasir Arafat]. This is the beginning. And every beginning is followed by an end [scenes of Al-Aqsa Mosque].The days are long [war scenes]. The days have always been long. And the course of history - revolution [PA flag flying]."

"A steady trend of denying Israel's right to exist by claiming the Jews have no historical roots in Israel is a backbone of PA cultural education," says PMW Director Itamar Marcus, "as is the attempt to reinforce Palestinian claims to the land by creating an ancient Palestinian history in Israel."

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