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New Rules Allow Armed Arabs But Not Jews to Accompany School Trips

By IsraelNationalNews.com

The Ministry of Education has set new rules allowing Arabs who volunteer for the Civil Guard to provide security for school field trips armed with a weapon. The new rules favor Arabs over Jews who are prohibited from accompanying school field trips armed with a weapon unless they have completed a tour of duty in the army. For example, a Jewish immigrant who volunteers for the Civil Guard, but did not serve in the army, is not allowed to provide security for such. And 1,400 PA Arabs are being allowed to cross into pre-1967 Israel in order to conduct business and provide cheap labor to Israelis. 900 PA residents of Judea and Samaria and 500 from Gaza will be allowed in.

Israel Rehearsing Plans to Destroy Iran's Nuclear Plants

By IsraelNationalNews.com

The London Sunday Times reported that Israel has operational plans for a combined air and ground attack on Iranian nuclear installations, to be used if Tehran fails to halt its atomic weapons program. The paper said that the security mini-cabinet recently convened at Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's Shikmim Farm near Sderot, giving the plan initial authorization. The U.S., while not actively involved in the possible attack, has given tacit approval to an Israeli strike if diplomatic efforts fail to halt Iran.

The Times noted that no matter how an attack of this nature comes to pass, the U.S. knows that it and Israel would be held jointly responsible. The U.S. carrot-and-stick efforts vis-à-vis Iran has concentrated lately on the carrot. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice announced last week that if Iran gives up its nuclear ambitions, the U.S. would remove its objections to allowing Iran to join the World Trade Organization, and would consider "additional financial incentives" for Iran. Rice also said, however, that major international sanctions would be considered if Iran did not cooperate.

Iran responded with a flat-out no, announcing Saturday that "neither threats nor incentives" would change Iran's nuclear pursuits. Reuters reported, "Tehran, which has a stated goal of destroying the Jewish state, says its nuclear activities are aimed only at electricity generation." The international community does not believe this, however.

Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom, visiting in Mexico, told Reuters, "We must act quickly to prevent [Iran from producing nuclear weapons], for this would be a nightmare for Israel and the entire world." Israel's plans, which have been practiced at a mock-Iranian nuclear plant in the Negev, include explosives-laden dogs, trucks with commandos disguised as Iranians, and bunker-busting bombs dropped from F-15 jets. Another rehearsal is scheduled for next month, the Times reported. Plans are being held up, however, both by the diplomatic efforts and by the lack of certain knowledge of all Iran's nuclear reactors and development centers.

Iran's Nuclear Capability

By Emanuel A. Winston (Commentary)

It appears that President George Bush wants Israel to take the lead in attacking Iran's nuclear capability, denials notwithstanding. Then Bush, the E.U. and the U.N. could scream bloody murder - as they did when Israel took out the Russian-built Osirak in 1981. Later, as it was told, the champagne corks were popping in the cloakrooms where the American, European and Arabs were delirious with happiness. But, in public - along with the media - Israel was pummeled unmercifully.

Given that America is giving Israel no choice in the life-and-death matter perhaps Israel should take one preliminary step before launching a full-scale strike. Perhaps it would be beneficial to hit the $800 Million Russian-built Bushehr nuclear plant now, before it is loaded with Russian nuclear fuel rods, as follows:

The strike could rely on area-denial missiles. That is a missile loaded with radioactive particles, which do not explode but rather scatter about making any containment unusable. These are missiles with a sufficiently large warhead to breach several parts of the Bushehr reactor so as to deny access by workers. Deep penetrating bunker-busting bombs that can break through may accompany this to deeper structures under the visible plant. The fissionable material would be sufficiently radioactive so as to defy clean up, resulting in Iran mothballing the entire facility.

A follow-on message from Israel to the Iranian government would be along these lines: "Should you decide to attack us with a saturation missile attacks, we will respond on launch with nuclear weapons against your capital, Tehran, and all other sites we deem threatening."

Israeli Report Says Government Violated Settlement Laws

By Robert Berger (VOA-Jerusalem)

The Israeli government has accepted a report on Jewish settlement expansion in the West Bank that points to violations of an internationally backed peace plan. Israel is promising to make amends and dismantle about one quarter of them. The Cabinet adopted an official report that found widespread government complicity in the establishment of more than 100 illegal settlement outposts in the West Bank. The report said government aid to the outposts, included providing money, land, water and electricity.

In effect, the report said successive governments broke the law to advance the cause of West Bank settlements. As a first step, the government decided to dismantle 24 outposts. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who is considered to be the father of the settlements, told the Cabinet that he is committed to dismantling the outposts in compliance with the internationally backed "road map" peace plan. But Israel has made that promise before, and nothing has been done.

The settlers admit they had plenty of help from the government, including. Sharon "It is obvious the one who sent us is the prime minister, so he should look in the mirror," said settlement leader Shaul Goldstein, who spoke on Israel Television.

Cabinet Minister Ephraim Sneh of the dovish Labor Party said the sooner the outposts are removed, the better. "They are like cancer in the body of our land because they are [an] obstacle to peace; there will no peace as long as they exist." The report does not recommend legal action against Sharon or other officials, but it does demand drastic measures to stop government assistance to the outposts.

One of the most vocal critics of the outposts is U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who described them as a flagrant violation of the "road map." Annan arrived in the Middle East Sunday for talks on advancing the region's peace process. He met with Sharon in Jerusalem, and plans to travel to the West Bank town of Ramallah on Monday to meet with Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas.

World leaders have expressed hope for the peace process since last month's Mideast summit, where Sharon and Abbas declared an end to four years of violence. The process hit a snag when talks on Israel handing over security control in several West Bank cities ended without agreement.

U.S. Appeals Court to Hear Pollard Arguments

By IsraelNationalNews.com

A U.S. Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments in Jonathan Pollard's case Tuesday. Pollard has presented motions to overturn his life sentence and to grant his attorneys access to his file. These motions were previously dismissed by the District Court on technical issues - but following an appeal, the Appeals Court for the District of Columbia agreed to re-hear them on their merits.

Pollard is in his 20th year of a life sentence for passing classified information to Israel. He is the only person in the history of the U.S. to receive a life sentence for espionage on behalf of an ally; the median sentence for this offense is 2-4 years. Lauer and Semmelman will be asking the court to grant an evidentiary hearing in support of his claim that ineffective counsel resulted in his disproportionate and unjust sentence.

In addition, the attorneys will be asking the Court to allow them access to the classified portions of Pollard's own sentencing docket - access which has until now only been permitted to opponents of clemency for Pollard. A roster of distinguished individuals and legal organizations - including the ACLU, the NACDL and the AAJLJ - have submitted a "friend of the court" brief in support of Pollard's claim. Since Pollard was sentenced in 1987, none of his security-cleared attorneys has been permitted to access the classified portions of his sentencing docket to challenge the false allegations and misinformation that was used to sentence him to life.

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