Newsletter : 4fax1229.txt
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Mohammad Abbas Calls for "Palestinian Right of Return"
Interim PA leader Muhmad Abbas (Abu Mazen) has reiterated calls for the so-called
Palestinian right of return" in an igneous address in Jericho. As he has exclaimed
numerous times of late, he reiterated his commitment to follow in the path of Yasir
Arafat. Abu Mazen if the official Fatah candidate in the upcoming PA election and is
expected to be elected as Arafat's successor.
Palestinian Minister Calls for U.S. Election Observers
By Sonja Pace (VOA-Jerusalem)
A senior Palestinian minister is calling for American monitors to observe the January 9
presidential election. The appeal comes as one of the candidates ran into trouble with
Israeli authorities as he tried to get his message out.
Palestinian Cabinet minister Saeb Erekat is calling on the U.S. Congress to send
monitors to observe the election. Erekat said it was important that Americans see that
Palestinian voters are not operating in an independent state, but rather under Israeli
occupation. He said Palestinians want free and fair elections, but the Israeli occupation
is an impediment. Erekat also said Palestinians want the Americans to pressure Israel to
honor its commitment to help facilitate the elections.
When Secretary of State Colin Powell came here last month he received assurances from
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon that Israel would to whatever it could to help. And, on Sunday
the Israeli cabinet approved measures to do just that, including plans to withdraw Israeli
troops from Palestinian population centers and to allow candidates to travel freely to
But, one candidate has already run into trouble trying to get his message out. Mustafa
Barghouti, a prominent physician and human rights activists was campaigning in East
Jerusalem on Monday when Israeli police arrested him and held him briefly for questioning.
Police said Barghouti had violated his Israeli entry permit that allows him to travel
through Jerusalem, but not to stop there.
Barghouti campaign spokesman, Allam Jarrar said the Israeli action was harassment. "We
view this act as a violation of the fairness and the integrity of the electoral process,
said Jarrar. "We see it also as a violation of the statements of the Israelis themselves
and also their commitment to facilitate the election process in Palestine."
The Palestinian presidential campaign follows local elections in 26 West Bank
communities last week. The mainstream Fatah faction came out on top despite a strong
showing from the Islamic militant group Hamas that claimed victory in nine municipal
councils. Opinion polls show Fatah remains the most popular faction with Hamas retaining
considerable support, especially in the Gaza Strip. What came as somewhat of a surprise
was Hamas' solid showing in what were thought to be Fatah strongholds in the West Bank.
Palestinian sociologist, Nader Said, has conducted numerous public opinion polls on
political and social issues. He sees the election outcome not so much as a victory for
Hamas, but rather a protest vote against Fatah and the Palestinian Authority. "What we
have seen in the local elections is basically a split vote between a block supportive of
the continuation of the status quo under the Palestinian national authority as we see it
and a protest vote saying that there is a Palestinian solid opposition."
Frantic Search for Israelis in Southeast Asia
The death toll in Southeast Asia climbed close to 60,000 on Tuesday after tidal waves
washed the coasts of Sri Lanka, Thailand and India on Sunday. The death toll is expected
to continue rising. Foreign Ministry staffers are working furiously to find the hundreds
of missing Israelis in Southeast Asia. The main concern is that bodies will be buried
anonymously in mass graves.
Some 1,700 Israelis were known to be in southeast Asia when the earthquake and
resulting tsunamis hit, and several hundred of them have not yet been contacted. Many of
them were in areas that were not directly affected by the calamity. One Israeli is known
to have been killed in the catastrophe, and 33 injured, including four seriously.
The country of Sri Lanka, which has been most hard-hit, refuses to accept Israeli
rescue personnel. Though Sri Lanka's population is 70% Buddhist, and only 7% Muslim, it
has no diplomatic relations with Israel. An Israeli shipment of equipment and medicine
would accepted there, however. A 50-member medical delegation of Israeli doctors, nurses
and others departed Monday for Thailand, and has already established a field hospital
A boat from an isolated Buddhist monastery in Sri Lanka, near a tsunami-hit area,
rescued six Israeli hikers. The six were on the beach or in the water nearby when they
were swept away by a giant wave. Aside from their bathing suits, all their belongings and
documents were apparently lost.
Civil Disobedience Begins
The "civil disobedience" campaign against the transfer/expulsion plan has begun.
Shomron residents waged a sit-in on a road near Shavei Shomron, blocking a Disengagement
Authority bus on its way.
Three residents of Shomron communities were arrested Tuesday as they, encouraged by
more than 50 supporters, sat on the road to block a convoy of Disengagement Authority
officials traveling near Shavei Shomron and Homesh. Among those reported to have been
taken into custody is Kedumim Mayor and long-time Yesha activist Daniella Weiss.
Sometimes overlooked by the planned expulsion of nearly 8,000 residents in Gush Katif,
the 500 residents of four northern Samaria communities are also on the chopping block. The
move will leave practically the entire northern Shomron in Arab hands, and place areas
such as Netanya, Hadera, Afula and others under the same threats they faced before the Six
Asked to comment on the ramifications of Israel's withdrawal from northern Samaria,
Mayor Weiss said, "Everyone who lives on the coastal plane from Haifa to Tel Aviv must be
aware that if, Heaven forbid, this area falls into the hands of those who say they are the
successors to Arafat, the story will not end here, but in Ramat Gan and Herzliya."
Kaddoumi Promises More Terrorism to Eliminate Israel
One of the new leaders of the Palestinian Authority's ruling Fatah movement said his
people want to replace Israel with a state of their own, World Tribune.com reported.
Fatah chief Farouk Khaddoumi said the PA strategy toward Israel was two-fold, according to
the report. The first stage is acceptance of Israel alongside a PA state. But this is to
be followed by an attempt to eliminate the Jewish state. Khaddoumi replaced the deceased
arch-terrorist Yasir Arafat as leader of Fatah this past November.
This past April, Arutz-7 reported Kaddoumi's remarks to the Jordanian newspaper Al-Arab
that the Palestinian Liberation Organization - the forerunner of the Palestinian Authority
- has never changed its charter negating Israel's right to exist. He also said at the
time that Israel should not expect less terrorism if it withdraws from Gaza. "If Israel
wants to leave the Gaza Strip, then it should do so. This means that the Palestinian
resistance has forced it to leave. But the resistance will continue. Let the Gaza Strip be
South Vietnam. We will use all available methods to liberate North Vietnam.
"At this stage there will be two states," Khaddoumi told Iran's Al Aram television,
World Tribune.com reported. "Many years from now, there will be only one." He expressed
confidence that in the end, Israel would be eliminated. "[There are] 300 million Arabs,
while Israel has only the sea behind it."
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