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Netanyahu: Israel Soon Won't Need U.S. Non-Military Aid

By IsraelNationalNews.com

Finance Minister Binyamin Netanyahu Thursday claimed that by 2009, Israel would be economically independent and not need non-military aid from the United States. He said that by then there will not any "poor elderly" Israelis. Netanyahu also said that unemployment and taxes will drop and that tourism will grow. Last week, he said he favors changing the Israeli law that prohibits gambling. He is supporting the construction of casino hotels in Eilat.


Israel Warns Iran Over Nuke Threat

By Agence France-Presse & Reuters

Israel's chief of staff issued a veiled warning Thursday to Iran over its pursuit of a controversial nuclear program. "Israel has always found the means to respond to threats ... I hope that pressure being put on Iran will be effective," General Moshe Yaalon was quoted as saying on Army Radio when asked about the Islamic republic's nuclear program.

A top Iranian nuclear official announced earlier that Tehran could soon announce a resumption of a "noticeable part" of uranium conversion work, part of the process used to produce nuclear fuel for power generation or the explosive core of an atomic bomb.

France, Britain and Germany warned Iran they would break off EU talks and join Washington in seeking UN Security Council action if Tehran makes good on its threats to resume atomic work.

The foreign ministers of the European Union's three biggest powers sent a strongly worded letter to Hassan Rohani, Iran's chief nuclear negotiator, warning that resuming potentially arms-related nuclear work "would bring the negotiating process to an end", an EU diplomat quoted the letter as saying. "The consequences could only be negative for Iran," it said.

Iran, insisting on its "right" to possess nuclear technology for peaceful purposes, warned that mounting pressure could undermine its commitment to the Non-Proliferation Treaty - the cornerstone of the global effort to stop the spread of nuclear weapons.

Israeli archenemy Iran has always denied that it is pursuing a nuclear weapons program. Yaalon's declaration came the same day as Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom said Iran would be able to produce a nuclear bomb in "six to nine months time."

Israeli aircraft attacked and destroyed an Iraqi nuclear installation at Osirak, outside Baghdad, in 1981. On March 22, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said Israel had no intention of launching a strike against Iranian nuclear installations.


Rocket Disrupts Israel's Birthday

By The Australian & Xinhuanet

Independence Day celebrations were stilled along part of Israel's northern border early Thursday when a Katyusha rocket fired from Lebanon exploded in the frontier town of Shlomi. A bakery was severely damaged but there were no casualties.

Israeli sources said any military response would not come before the end of ceremonies marking Israel's 57th anniversary. Israeli army commanders said the rocket was not fired by Hizbullah terrorists, the major military force on the Lebanese side of the border, but by a dissident Palestinian group based in one of the refugee camps in Lebanon.

The Katyusha exploded close to midnight, local time, just after fireworks had been set off in Shlomi, where residents, as elsewhere in the country, were celebrating in the streets. Town officials halted the celebrations and urged residents to return to their homes.


Israeli Ultra nationalists, Supporters Protest Gaza Evacuation Plan

By VOA News

Thousands of Israelis poured into Jewish settlements in the Gaza Strip Thursday, marking Israel's Independence Day with protests against Israel's planned evacuation of the Gaza Strip in August.

Settlers and their supporters heard anti-evacuation speakers vow to defeat Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's plan to pull all 8,500 settlers from Gaza and four small West Bank enclaves. Protesters also dedicated a new synagogue in southern Gaza, in a move apparently aimed at showing their resolve to defeat the pullout plan.

The Israeli army is drawing up plans for ejecting settlers who resist evacuation orders and for thousands of supporters expected to try to join them in Gaza ahead of the evacuation.


Arabs: 'Israel Must Leave Jerusalem'

By Jerusalem Newswire

Israel's withdrawal from the Gaza Strip is not enough if the Jewish state wants peace with the Arab world, according to a joint declaration following this week's Arab-South American summit in Brasilia, Brazil.

PLO chief Mahmoud Abbas, one of only seven major Arab leaders to attend the gathering, reiterated his demand that the Jews vacate every inch of Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip as part of any final status agreement. "We are very keen to reaching just peace with Israel on basis of full Israeli withdrawal from all the Arab and Palestinian lands [sic] it occupied in 1967," Abbas said.

He suggested all of the Middle East's current instability and violence was the result of Israel's failure to retreat in accordance with the UN's recommendations in resolutions 242 and 338. [Ed. Note - Both 242 and 338 fall under Chapter VI of the UN Charter, meaning they are merely recommendations, rather than binding international law.]

"The Middle East, including Palestine as its core concern, is still suffering from instability and violence, simply because Israel has not so far complied with the international legitimacy resolutions 338 and 242," Abbas insisted, ignoring decades of regional upheaval and violence against the Jews prior to 1967.

South American leaders had hoped to keep the summit focused on economic cooperation in an effort to counter American domination in that area. They acquiesced to the passions of their Arab guests, however, and condemnation of Israel was made the centerpiece of the summit's "Declaration of Brasilia."

The declaration's draft, which was approved by attending foreign ministers Monday, demanded the removal of all Jewish settlements, including "those in east Jerusalem." It also lent approval to anti-Jewish "Palestinian" terrorism under the guise of resisting "foreign occupation in accordance with the principles of international legitimacy and in compliance with international humanitarian law."

The document denounced terrorism but called for an international conference to define who is a terrorist, suggesting that the killers of Israeli Jews and US soldiers in Iraq do not fit the bill.



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