Newsletter : 4fax1027.txt
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Rice Calls for Pressure to Force Arafat's Resignation
U.S. National Security Advisor Dr. Condoleezza Rice called for world pressure to force
Yasir Arafat to step down. In an address before an AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs
Committee) audience, Rice stated, "People are going to have to draw together and say to
Yasir Arafat, 'All right, the game is up. You really need to do the things you agreed
Knesset Approves Plan to Dismantle Jewish Settlements in Gaza
By Larry James (VOA-Jerusalem), & IsraelNationalNews.com
The Knesset approved the Gaza Disengagement Plan: 67 in favor; 45 against; 7
abstentions. While the plan had been expected to pass all along, there were some last
minute tensions - the result of power play attempts by Ministers Binyamin Netanyahu and
Limor Livnat who sought to present Prime Minister Ariel Sharon with an ultimatum during
the last hour before the vote.
Netanyahu and Livnat were planning, according to reports, to threaten to vote against
Sharon's plan unless the Prime Minister would agree on the spot to hold a national
referendum on the withdrawal plan. Sharon refused even to meet with them, taking his seat
in the Knesset plenum 15 minutes before the planned vote in a demonstrative show that he
had no desire to engage in last-minute negotiations.
While Netanyahu and Livnat were attempting to present their ultimatum, Minister Zevulun
Orlev of the National Religious Party (NRP) came out with a 14-day ultimatum of his own.
He said that the four members of the NRP who still support the government would quit the
coalition in 14 days unless Sharon agrees to hold a national referendum of the expulsion
of the Jewish presence in Gaza. On the other hand, if Sharon would agree, the NRP would
promise not to quit the government at all.
When the votes were counted Sharon had the victory he had sought, with 67 votes for, 45
against and seven abstentions. The Knesset has 120 members but one was absent due to
illness. Nearly half of 40 lawmakers from Sharon's Likud party voted against the plan, and
two religious parties the prime minister had courted to be part of a new coalition
government, cast their votes against it.
The withdrawal plan has bitterly divided Israel, and saw the transformation of Sharon
from the settlers' biggest proponent to their most powerful political enemy. As recently
as early 2003, Sharon called the Gaza settlements an essential part of Israel. But after
four years of devastating violence in the region, Sharon changed course saying the
continued occupation of Gaza, where some 8,000 Jewish settlers live amid 1.3 million
Palestinians, is untenable.
Tuesday's vote was only the first of several required before the plan can be
implemented next year but it marks the first time parliament has approved the dismantling
of Jewish settlements in Gaza or the West Bank. Sharon said his plan would boost Israel's
security and would blunt international criticism of Israel. Palestinians say it would
strengthen Israel's hold over large parts of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, lands
Palestinians claim for a future state.
Likud loyalists who oppose the plan were extremely disappointed by Netanyahu and Livnat
who absented themselves from the first vote but did appear in time to cast their votes in
favor of the plan in time for the second polling of legislators. While the two explained
repeatedly during recent days that they remain adamantly opposed to the plan, and favor a
national referendum, ultimately they did raise their hands in favor of uprooting Jews from
their homes and handing over portions of the Land of Israel to the PA.
Likud platform loyalist Minister Dr. Uzi Landau remained true to his position and voted
against the plan along with party Deputy Minister Michael Ratzon, both well aware that
letters of dismissal await them. Indeed, Landau was invited into the Prime Minister's
office at 9:15 p.m. and he was fired. Previously, Landau told the media that if the prime
minister made good on his threat and dismisses him, he would continue his battle against
forfeiting portions of the Land of Israel from his seat as a member of Knesset instead of
being a cabinet minister.
Likud Minister Yisrael Katz, a member of the "Likud loyalists" voted in favor of the
plan along with Netanyahu and Livnat rather than face an immediate letter of dismissal
from the prime minister. This was also the case with Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom, who
while he opposes the plan never indicated he would vote against it. Likud Minister Danny
Naveh, who during the past hours also indicated he may oppose the plan, absented himself
from the first polling but ultimately voted in favor of the plan.
The Arab Knesset members who indicated they would oppose the plan appeared for the
second polling and voted for the plan rather than join the ranks of the right wing that
voted against it. Other Arab legislators comprised six of the seven abstentions.
Likud MK Eli Aflalo was brought to the Knesset in an ambulance following a surgical
procedure to vote in favor of the plan. Visibly weak and expending great physical effort
to leave his hospital bed, Aflalo announced that now was the time to come out in support
of the prime minister's efforts. Former Shinui minister, MK Yehudit Naot, was not present
due to illness. Illness also compelled her to step down from her cabinet post.
The Plan´s Security Dangers
A report circulated in the Knesset said "The public debate about the disengagement has
concentrated mostly on settlement issues - but the fact is that it will actually increase
"The public debate about the disengagement plan has concentrated mostly on the
settlement issues, and has largely ignored the security issues - but the plain fact is
that the plan will actually increase terrorism." So said IDF Col. (res.) Meir Indor, who
prepared a paper on the dangers of the withdrawal and has circulated it amongst the 120
According to the disengagement plan, Egypt, Jordan and the CIA would re-train and
rehabilitate the terrorist armies, including Arafat's Force 17, that were badly affected
by the fighting with Israel. The terrorists would be provided training in various combat
situations, would be allowed to re-arm, will be given free mobility in wider areas than
before, and would be restored to combat-ready status."
The disengagement plan states clearly, "Israel agrees that consulting, aid and guidance
will be given to the Palestinian security forces in order to fight terrorism and maintain
order, by Americans, British, Egyptians, Jordanians and other experts."
Indor told Arutz-7 Tuesday that he was astonished to find that even Defense Minister
Sha'ul Mofaz was not aware of some of these facts. "I asked him why he was promoting a
plan that called for the retraining of Arab terrorists, and he said he didn't know what I
was talking about."
Other excerpts from the document: "Three million Arabs - known as "Palestinian
refugees" - will be on their way to Judea and Samaria from Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan and
elsewhere. They will settle in the PA-controlled cities and villages, including the
mountains that overlook Israel's coastal plane - Netanya, Kfar Saba and Israel's most
densely populated areas. They will all receive economic assistance from the European
Union, encouraging them to arrive. The disengagement plan states, "It is clear that a
realistic, agreed-upon and fair framework for the refugees issue will be found via the
establishment of a Palestinian state and the settlement of the refugees there."
* Most of the military checkpoints in Judea and Samaria will be removed. Israeli
security activity in Bethlehem, Tul Karem, Shechem and elsewhere will be reduced, and the
vacuum will be filled by terrorists - just as occurred in Hebron. The disengagement plan
states, "In accordance with the circumstances, Israel will consider reducing its
activities in the PA cities... Israel will act to reduce the number of checkpoints
throughout Yesha." Some 65 checkpoints have already been removed, and were not restored
even after the double bus bombing in Be'er Sheva (16 killed) - which was perpetrated by
terrorists who arrived along the checkpoint-reduced southern Hebron highway.
* The plan states that the construction of an Arab airport and seaport in Gaza will be
considered - despite the long-held objections to such by Israeli security elements for
many years. Sharon himself said, "Who will check the large containers that arrive
* The plan also states that Arab workers from Gaza will continue to enter pre-1967
Israel, that the PA will receive territorial contiguity in northern Shomron, and that
implementation of the plan will negate the claims that Israel is "responsible for the
Palestinians in Gaza" - something that recent developments have shown to be untrue.
Commander Implicated in Death of Palestinian Girl Arrested
Military Police have arrested a Givati Brigade company commander on suspicion he shot
dead a 13-year-old Palestinian girl at close range, after she had already been shot by
troops and was lying on the ground.
The commander of the elite brigade, known only to the media as Captain R., has already
been suspended from his position. He will be brought before a judge within two days. The
event happened on October 5, when the girl, Iman Alhamas, was shot by soldiers from the
Givati Brigade near the IDF Girit outpost near Tel el-Sultan in western Rafah, in the Gaza
The army's explanation of the incident was that the soldiers who initially fired
believed the girl to be a terrorist, and that her school bag contained explosives. The bag
was later discovered to have held only schoolbooks. The military decided to investigate
the shooting after soldiers reported their company commander shot the girl at close range
while attempting to perform a "confirmed kill." Relations between several soldiers and the
commander were strained even before the incident.
The IDF Chief of Staff, Lt. Gen. Moshe Ya'alon, approved the decision to suspend
Captain R. from his position several weeks ago, although Ya'alon decided that at that
stage the soldiers' reports were still unproven. Ya'alon announced that he had not found
"an ethical problem" in the conduct of the company commander and soldiers involved in the
incident, because it had not been shown that there had been a "confirmed kill."
Still, problems in the commander's judgment during the incident were uncovered - such
as his decision to leave the position in spite of a warning that there was a danger of
snipers in the area. These problems were the official reason for suspending the commander.
Military sources report that after the suspension, there is little chance that R. will
return to his former job.
Shamir Family Asks State to Fund Ex-PM's Stay in Nursing Home
The Knesset Subcommittee for the Benefits of Former Prime Ministers and Presidents is
expected to turn down a request by the family of former Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir, 89,
to pay for his stay in a nursing home due to his deteriorating health.
The subcommittee will allow the family's attorney to present his arguments in person
before it makes a final decision on the matter. Subcommittee members have criticized the
Shamir family's request, arguing that granting it would force them to respond to similar
demands by past prime ministers, ministers and MKs. Others stated that if Shamir's or his
family's financial situation prevented Shamir's admission to the nursing home, it would be
reasonable to make the payments, but that all evidence suggests this is not the case. They
also emphasized that given the passage of the National Health Insurance Law, there is no
reason that a prime minister, worthy as he may be, should be treated differently than an
During a committee session on Tuesday afternoon devoted to discussion of Knesset
expenditures, attorney Ana Shneider stated that Shamir does not have the right to receive
a refund for medical expenses, since the rights of former prime ministers, ministers, and
MKs to receive state funding for medical expenses and hospital admissions were cancelled
in 1986. In her opinion, only former presidents had a right to state financing for such
Shamir's family had appealed to the Knesset chairman, Likud MK Reuven Rivlin, several
months ago. He transferred their request to the committee. Labor MK Shimon Peres, the
opposition leader and a former prime minister, has recently also asked Rivlin to find a
solution to Shamir's problem.
IDF Permits Publication of Report on Yom Kippur War
The Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff, Lt. Gen. Moshe Ya'alon, has agreed to permit
the publication of a classified IDF investigation about the Yom Kippur War. Ya'alon
announced on Monday that once research was completed, the report would be available to
military authorities, as well as to academic and media outlets.
The original investigation of the 1973 war was completed in 1992, and kept
confidential. Later, the army lowered the report's security classification and considered
publishing it openly, but the decision was delayed by opposition from some officers who
held senior positions during the war. Talk of releasing the report was renewed in October
2003, the 30-year anniversary of the war, after several newspapers revealed the public's
desire to see the full report published.
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