Newsletter : 4fax1019.txt
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Sources: Taba Attacks Planned Outside of Egypt a Year Ago
By Al Hayat
Al Hayat newspaper reports according to "informed Egyptian sources" that the Egyptian
authorities received information confirming that the Taba attacks were planned a year ago
outside the country. The sources said intelligence indicated that a number of
fundamentalists living abroad were in contact with Egyptians in the country through
methods that included the internet to plan for the attack. Bedouins in Sinai admitted they
had sold explosives to an Egyptian, who reportedly waited for the non-Egyptian attackers
to arrive and carry out the attacks using stolen cars.
Sharon Agrees to Establish Likud Team to Consider Referendum
By Ha'aretz & Israel Faxx News Services
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon rejected a fresh call by Finance Minister Binyamin
Netanyahu to hold a referendum, Israel Radio reported Monday, but the prime minister
agreed to establish a Likud faction committee to examine all possible aspects surrounding
a disengagement referendum, in the event one is held. Sharon stressed his continued
opposition to such a referendum and said he would present the Knesset with a disengagement
bill next Monday, devoid of any references to a referendum. A vote on the bill is expected
The idea to assemble such a committee was presented by Knesset member Gideon Sa'ar, a
staunch supporter of a referendum. According to Sa'ar's proposal, the Chairman of the
Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee, Michael Eitan will head the team. Other
proposed committee members are Likud MKs Gilad Erdan and Roni Bar-On. Sharon requested
that Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin also be included in the committee.
The committee will examine all aspects surrounding a disengagement referendum; whether
the results of such a ballot would be binding or not; whether a referendum would require a
51-percent majority, or a greater majority. Upon completing its work, the committee will
present its finding to Sharon. A decision on the establishment of such a committee was not
reached at Monday's Likud faction meeting and the faction will continue to discuss the
issue in the future.
Sharon met with members of his Likud faction Monday afternoon, for talks on that
possible referendum. Finance Minister Netanyahu said, "We are under threat of a schism
in the party." "There are elements [working for a split] within the party and in the
public that should not be underestimated."
Sharon has argued that a referendum on the disengagement could undermine and delay the
planned pullout from Gaza, but a majority of Likud members, including seven other members
of Sharon's coalition, are expected to back the referendum.
Sharon's government survived three no confidence proposals in the Knesset plenum on
Monday. Two proposals, presented by Labor and Shas, were tied, with 54 MKs voting for the
proposals, and 54 MKs opposing them. No-confidence proposals require a 51-vote majority to
topple a government.
A third no-confidence proposal presented by Arab parties over the IDF's raid in Gaza was
defeated by the coalition.
In a related story, the Justice Ministry announced that settlers evacuated from their
homes in the West Bank or Gaza Strip would not have to pay tax on their compensation
money, THE MARKER reported. The average compensation package for a family is $200,000, and
those who agree to move to the Galilee or the Negev desert would receive an extra payment
of approximately $10,000.
According to the bill, anyone who owns property by the cut-off date of June 6, 2004
would be eligible for compensation, and would have up to three years to claim the money
from the time that they were evacuated. The bill also includes a clause stating that
settlers who oppose the disengagement would not be eligible for supplementary
Karine-A Munitions Ship Commander Sentenced to 25 Years
The Erez military court on Monday sentenced to 25 years in jail Omar Acawi, a colonel
in the Palestinian Authority naval police who commanded the Karine-A, a munitions ship
seized by Israeli commandos in January 2002 while on its way into PA territory.
Two other crewmen caught onboard, Riad Abdallah and Ahmed Kharis, were sentenced to 17
years in jail. The men were arrested on Jan. 3 2002 when Israeli navy commandos stormed
the munitions ship in the Red Sea on its way from Iran to the Mediterranean Sea. The ship
was loaded with tons of weapons, including 50-mile range rockets, 122mm mortars, anti-tank
and anti-aircraft missiles and explosives, all manufactured in Iran.
The three were also accused of involvement in other attempts to smuggle weapons into
the PA, including in the smuggling of weapons onboard the Santorini, a ship seized by IDF
froces in May 2001. A fourth man arrested onboard the Karine-A was released earlier this
year in a prisoner exchange with Hizbullah. The IDF distributed the arms confiscated
onboard the Karine-A to its units, which use them for special training.
UN, Rights Group: Israel Violates International Law by Destroying Palestinian
By VOA News
The United Nations and a leading human rights group said Monday that Israel has
violated international law by destroying Palestinian homes in the Gaza Strip. In the
report, Human Rights Watch said the evidence strongly suggests that Israel has exaggerated
threats to justify demolitions in southern Gaza.
The New York-based Human Rights Watch says Israel's army has demolished the homes of
16,000 Palestinians in the Gaza town of Rafah over the past four years. The head of the
U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees said much of the recent destruction in northern Gaza
is a "gross violation" of international humanitarian law. Israel said demolitions in
southern Gaza disrupt arms smuggling and operations in northern Gaza stop rocket fire into
The Gaza offensive that ended Friday led to the deaths of more than 100 Palestinians
and three Israelis. Monday, Israeli troops shot and killed four Palestinian men in
separate incidents in and around the northern Gaza Strip. Israel Radio reported Israeli
troops shot and killed two men who managed to slip across the fenced and heavily guarded
border from the Gaza Strip.
95,000 Identity Cards Lost Last Year
According to Knesset Interior Committee officials, 95,000 identity cards were lost last
year in addition to the 30,000 cards reported stolen. The numbers have police concerned -
realizing in many cases, the cards make their way to PA residents seeking entry into
pre-1967 Green Line Israel. There is also a sizable market for the identity cards among
the many illegal foreign workers in Israel.
For a number of years, the country has been speaking about moving over to a
computerized smart identity card that would contain a chip storing personal data. The
tender for producing the card was awarded to HP which began manufacture of the first
million, but was cut short after an appeal to the Supreme Court challenging the legality
of the tender which awarded the contract.
Security agencies are particularly anxious to move over to smart cards which would be
significantly more difficult to forge, seeking to abandon the outdated laminated photo
identity which can be reproduced easily using a PC and a color printer.
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