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Peres' PA Investments May Present Illegal Conflict of Interest


The Knesset Ethics Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing to discuss the possible conflict of interest due to Vice Prime Minister Shimon Peres' investments in the Palestinian Authority. The move follows an in-depth investigative report by journalist David Bedein into Peres' monetary investments in the PA. The Israel Resource News Agency released the report. If the allegations against Peres are confirmed, it would present a situation of an illegal conflict of interests and pose a legal challenge to Peres' appointment as second-in-command. Peres himself was informed last month that he is expected to appear at the Feb. 8 hearing, though there is no indication as to whether he intends to attend. Either way, the hearing will take place. Bedein has also been summoned to present the allegations at the hearing. Bedein has confirmed that he will attend the hearing.

Rice Says Israel Must Be Split; PA Parts Must be 'Viable (Territorially Contiguous); Israel Must Withdraw from More than Gaza and Samaria


Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says that disengagement from Gush Katif and northern Shomron is fine, but only as a first step towards a full-fledged PLO state. Rice met with Prime Minister Sharon's top aide Dov Weisglass in Washington on Monday. She explained to him the U.S. position that the unilateral withdrawal from Gaza is acceptable only as a prelude to the full Road Map plan proposed by President Bush.

The Road Map plan calls for a "viable" - i.e., territorially contiguous - Arab state in Judea, Samaria and Gaza. Rice, as well, emphasized this point to Weisglass. This means that Gaza must be connected with a landline to Judea, effectively dividing Israel in half, north and south of the Gaza-Hebron connection.

However, Associate Prime Minister Shimon Peres said Tuesday, "I think that she was not referring to a connection between Judea and Gaza, but rather to a connection between Judea and Samaria... We do have to ensure, however, that the [PA entity] will be able to effectively move goods between Gaza and Judea."

Sharon often says that the disengagement will help Israel strengthen its hold on five settlement blocs in Judea and Samaria. Nowhere, however, has President Bush ever promised such support. In a letter to Sharon almost two years ago, Bush wrote only, "In light of new realities on the ground, including already existing major Israeli population centers, it is unrealistic to expect that the outcome of final status negotiations will be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949."

Rice's statements that the disengagement is only a first step further erodes Israeli hopes that the international community will approve extensive Israeli presence in the biblical homeland areas it liberated in the Six Day War of 1967. Rice is expected to arrive in Israel in the coming days. Upon assuming her post as Secretary of State last week, Rice said she sees the implementation of an arrangement in the Middle East a "personal objective."

Excerpts from the Road Map plan as issued by the U.S. Department of State on April 30, 2003: "A two state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will only be achieved through an end to violence and terrorism, when the Palestinian people have a leadership acting decisively against terror and willing and able to build a practicing democracy based on tolerance and liberty, and through Israel's readiness to do what is necessary for a democratic Palestinian state to be established, and a clear, unambiguous acceptance by both parties of the goal of a negotiated settlement as described below. The Quartet will assist and facilitate implementation of the plan, starting in Phase I, including direct discussions between the parties as required. The plan establishes a realistic timeline for implementation. However, as a performance-based plan, progress will require and depend upon the good faith efforts of the parties, and their compliance with each of the obligations outlined below...

"A settlement, negotiated between the parties, will result in the emergence of an independent, democratic, and viable Palestinian state living side by side in peace and security with Israel and its other neighbors... In Phase I, the Palestinians immediately undertake an unconditional cessation of violence according to the steps outlined below; such action should be accompanied by supportive measures undertaken by Israel... Israel also freezes all settlement activity, consistent with the Mitchell report.

"Palestinian leadership issues unequivocal statement reiterating Israel's right to exist in peace and security and calling for an immediate and unconditional ceasefire to end armed activity and all acts of violence against Israelis anywhere. All official Palestinian institutions end incitement against Israel. Israeli leadership issues unequivocal statement affirming its commitment to the two-state vision of an independent, viable, sovereign Palestinian state living in peace and security alongside Israel, as expressed by President Bush, and calling for an immediate end to violence against Palestinians everywhere. All official Israeli institutions end incitement against Palestinians.

"* Palestinians declare an unequivocal end to violence and terrorism and undertake visible efforts on the ground to arrest, disrupt, and restrain individuals and groups conducting and planning violent attacks on Israelis anywhere. Israel immediately dismantles settlement outposts erected since March 2001. Consistent with the Mitchell Report, Israel freezes all settlement activity (including natural growth of settlements).

"[In the final stage,] Parties reach final and comprehensive permanent status agreement that ends the Israel-Palestinian conflict in 2005, through a settlement negotiated between the parties based on UNSCR 242, 338, and 1397, that ends the occupation that began in 1967, and includes an agreed, just, fair, and realistic solution to the refugee issue, and a negotiated resolution on the status of Jerusalem that takes into account the political and religious concerns of both sides, and protects the religious interests of Jews, Christians, and Muslims worldwide, and fulfills the vision of two states, Israel and sovereign, independent, democratic and viable Palestine, living side-by-side in peace and security. Arab state acceptance of full normal relations with Israel and security for all the states of the region in the context of a comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace."

IDF Intelligence Head: Any PA Cooperation Merely a Ploy


Any lull in terror attacks is merely a tactic employed by the PA. So said the head of IDF Military Intelligence Corps to a Knesset committee Tuesday. In the meanwhile, mortar shelling continued.

Maj.-Gen. Aharon Ze'evi-Farkash told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that the relative drop in terrorism could be expected to continue only until after next week's meeting between Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and PA chairman Abu Mazen. Terror groups in the PA were asked to halt attacks, he said, with the promise that Abu Mazen would use such a lull to extract further concessions from the Israeli side.

It seems that even one more week is too long for terror groups to go without attacking Jewish towns, however. Arutz-7's Kobi Finkler reported that 10 mortar shells and Kassam rockets were fired at Jewish communities in Gush Katif Monday night. One shell slammed into the kitchen of a N'vei Dekalim home. The house's owner told Israel Radio that she hoped people wound not continue to be fooled by the "trickery" of the PA police, who "rather than fight terror, take an active role in it." More than 2,000-armed PA Arabs have been deployed in the area surrounding Gush Katif, ostensibly to prevent the firing of rockets and mortars. And on Tuesday, two mortar shells landed in the Gush Katif communities of Gadid and Gan-Or, causing two people to go into shock and damaging two cars.

Despite the attacks, the Rafiah border crossing in southern Gaza was opened to enable PA Arabs traveling through Egypt to return from their Mecca pilgrimage. It had been closed since Dec. 12 following a terror attack there.

New rules of engagement for soldiers serving in Gaza have also been issued in honor of the supposed cease-fire. The new orders stipulate that merely hearing gunfire and then seeing an armed gunman is no longer sufficient grounds for opening fire - but a soldier may only return fire if he is actually being shot at. Additionally, soldiers must get approval from several levels of command to open fire and are no longer authorized to use their own judgment to open fire if the situation is anything less than unquestionably life-threatening.

According to a Ynet Internet site report, soldiers assigned to the northern area of Gaza have already expressed their concerns, explaining their hands are tied - adding that it looks like they are no longer permitted to use their weapons until they are wounded. Knesset member Aryeh Eldad (National Union) accused the government of once again preventing the IDF from defending Israeli citizens living in Gush Katif. "The political echelon is once again refusing to allow the IDF to put a stop to the mortar fire."

Suspect in Custody in Killing of 10-Year Old Arab Girl


PA security officials in Gaza Tuesday evening informed Israel that a suspect is in custody in the ongoing investigation into the death of a 10-year-old Arab girl in Rafiah Monday. The blame for the unfortunate death of the child was first directed at Israel, when UN officials stated with certainty that gunfire coming from an area under exclusive IDF control struck the child while in a UN school in the area.

IDF investigators reported that all evidence pointed to the gunfire coming from within a PA-controlled area, adding there was no documented IDF gunfire in the area at the time of the incident. PA officials reported a local resident who fired his weapon in the air at the time of the incident was taken into custody and the weapon confiscated.

A Shabbat Observant Refrigerator from Sharp


Sharp is now offering refrigerators made especially for strictly observant Jews, the Sharp Mehadrin. Up until now, refrigerators sold here had a mechanism to shut off the refrigerator light on Shabbat or people removed the light bulb, but each time the door opened, warmer air came in as the thermostat started working.

The Jerusalem Post reported that the Sharp Mehadrin refrigerators have a mechanism developed by the Haifa-based Technological Center for Halacha (Jewish Law) that stops the thermostat from working when the door is opened, avoiding the desecration of the Shabbat.

Abu Mazen Returns to Russian Alma Mater

By Emanuel A. Winston (Commentary)

Mahmoud Abbas (aka Abu Mazen - his adopted Terrorist nickname) has returned to Russia to visit his trainers. This is the man who wrote his thesis in the Soviet Union that the Holocaust was merely a fable. This is the man who Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has started to support - with fervor!

It is instructive to note that Abu Mazen returns to meet Vladimir Putin, Russia's President now, but formerly high in their KGB. Putin himself has started to return to his KGB days and Cold War attitudes.

Abu Mazen follows a four day visit by Bashar Assad, President of Syria, cutting a deal for Russia supplies SS-18 Missiles (that we know about)! Clearly, it is time to once again re-target Russia with our own ICBMs as Putin deploys new Ballistic Missiles.

What does Abu Mazen want from his former and present handlers of the Soviet Union - now Russia? What weapons will he request once there is an open Airport in Gaza and Sea Terminals? Will he get artillery, missiles, armor and shoulder-fired missiles - all shipped out in the open - thanks to Sharon?

With the first major attacks by the Arab Muslim Palestinians against Israeli cities which should be followed by dismissing the Israeli government. This should be followed by mass arrests of top Government officials of both Likud and the Labor Parties - for treason. Trials to follow but, in the interim, enforced detention to insure those responsible are cut off from communicating with either the Palestinians or such foreign nations with whom they have been working...under the table.

In the meantime, the Left Liberal Press in Israel, the U.S., Foreign Media are gleefully cheering a few days of seeming quiet, although there have been numerous mortar and Kassem Rockets attacks - not worth reporting. Several weeks of arranged quiet, in order to push the Sharon-Bush evacuation is a typical betrayal of Jews. When Arab Muslim Terrorists are quiet for 5, 10 or 50 years only then can one say there is a possible opportunity for peace.

Abu Mazen's short-term agreement with his Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Hizbullah, Tanzim, Fatah terrorists is merely grim humor as the Jew-hating Media puts out cheerful stories of how the Jihadists have shown their peaceful side.

New Language Points to Foundations of Human Grammar

By Israel News Faxx Services

How is a language born? What are its essential elements? Linguists are gaining new insights into these age-old conundrums from a language created in a small village in Israel's Negev Desert. The Al-Sayyid Bedouin Sign Language (ABSL), which serves as an alternative language of a community of about 3,500 deaf and hearing people, has developed a distinct grammatical structure early in its evolution, researchers report, and the structure favors a particular word order: verbs after objects.

The study - the first linguistic analysis of a language arising naturally with no outside influence - is being published online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences the week of Jan. 31 to Feb. 4. The authors are Mark Aronoff from Stony Brook University, Irit Meir and Wendy Sandler from the University of Haifa and Carol Padden from the University of California, San Diego.

.By watching native signers tell stories and describe actions, the researchers found that the language goes beyond a list of words for actions, objects, people, characteristics and so on, to establish systematic relations among those elements. Sentences in ABSL follow a Subject-Object-Verb order, such as in "woman apple give," rather than the Subject-Verb-Object order found in English - or, more significantly, in other languages in the region.

"The grammatical structure of the Bedouin sign language shows no influence from either the dialect of Arabic spoken by hearing members of the community or the predominant sign language in the surrounding area, Israeli Sign Language," said study coauthor Padden. "Because ABSL developed independently, it may reflect fundamental properties of language in general and provide insight into basic questions about the way in which human language develops from the very beginning."

ABSL arose in the last 70 years and is now in its third generation of use. Remarkably, the fixed word order of ABSL emerged within a generation after the inception of the language. "Our findings support the idea that word order is one of the first features of a language, and that it appears very early," Padden said.

The research also supports the notion that languages can and do evolve quickly. "When we first came to Al-Sayyid, I expected to see a lot of gesture and miming, but I was impressed immediately by how sophisticated the language was. This is not an ad hoc, spur of the moment communication. It is a complex language capable of relating information beyond the here and now," said Padden.

What distinguishes ABSL is that it grew - as presumably did most languages of the world - within a socially stable, existing community. The Al-Sayyid village was founded about 200 years ago and today numbers some 3,500 members. Approximately 150 individuals with congenital deafness, all of them descendants of two of the founders' sons, have been born into the community in the past three generations.

A pattern of marrying within the village is the norm. Combined with deafness that is recessive - recessive traits manifest only when two carriers have a child - the marriage practice has ensured that deaf people are well distributed throughout the group's population. As a consequence, the researchers say, many of the signers in the community are hearing, a highly unusual situation for a sign language but one that can be predicted in a tightly knit group that fully integrates its deaf members.

"It is a language of the entire community, both hearing and deaf," said Padden. The Al-Sayyid group, the researchers point out, in some ways resembles the 19th-century whaling community in Massachusetts that produced the now-extinct Martha's Vineyard Sign Language. But that language died out before it could be recorded.

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