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Bedouin Girl Murdered for Befriending Jews


Police have arrested two Bedouin males suspected of having murdered their teenage sister in an honor killing that may also have an anti-Semitic element. The brothers allegedly stabbed their sister to death on the restaurant level of the Negev Mall in Be'er Sheva. A neighbor of the murdered girl, also a Bedouin, aged 16, told Arutz-7 that the victim's family warned her several times not to befriend Jews. Honor killing - the murder of female family members who have shamed the family by being suspected of unchaste behavior - is a recurring crime among Arabs in Israel, and throughout the Middle East.

Roads Closed Throughout Israel as Protesters Take to the Street

By Ha'aretz

Thousands of opponents of the disengagement plan stepped up their protests Monday evening, succeeding in blocking the entrance to Jerusalem as well as key highways in the Tel Aviv and Haifa areas. More than 292 arrests were made in total across the country. Traffic in dozens of other locations was slowed to a crawl as protestors burned tires and lay down in the roads.

The anti-pullout camp had threatened to stage a major demonstration as a dry run ahead of the actual implementation of the plan to withdraw from Gaza, which will begin mid-August.

Police had sent reinforcements across the country, fearing mass protests. In the end, Channel 1 television reported, the protestors outnumbered the 4,000 police officers that were placed at all the major junctions in Israel, as well as all along Highway 1, which runs between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. The entrance to the capital was reopened after an hour in which hundreds of young anti-disengagement activists prevented access to incoming traffic from the Tel Aviv area.

Girls, some not yet in their teens, darted into the traffic, lying down to block cars. Protesters linked arms to block roads before police pulled them away. "This is our struggle against fascism," shouted protesters on the main road from Jerusalem, where hundreds of supporters gathered. "Jews do not expel other Jews," chanted others, to hoots of solidarity from cars carrying orange flags - the color adopted as a protest symbol.

According to Israel Radio, some 70 people were detained in the Jerusalem area. Several police officers were hurt when demonstrators threw stones at them during a protest in the capital, the radio said. At one point, police threw a stun grenade at the protesters, Channel 2 reported.

Police also arrested 15 anti-disengagement protestors for public disturbance at Morasha junction near Tel Aviv at the onset of the Monday evening rush hour. Although the junction was not closed, heavy traffic jams were reported in the area due to ongoing attempts to block the traffic.

At Highway 2, near Netanya, three right-wing activists were detained for questioning Monday afternoon on suspicion of trying to place tires at the site. In the Tel Aviv area, Geha highway was blocked for a approximately an hour, but was later reopened. Police used firemen's hoses to scatter the crowds.

In the Haifa region, similar protests clogged up the "Lev Hamifratz" highway for a period of time. Dozens of activists also blocked the road to Be'er Sheva, and were removed by police. At a junction close to the southern city, protestors clashed with local Bedouin residents. Two people were lightly hurt. The Yesha Council of Settlements denied all connection to the plan to block the roads, the Itim news agency said.

Protestors set tires ablaze at the entrance to Jerusalem during the morning rush hour, at the Latrun intersection on the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv highway and at the entrance to Holon several hours later. Police quickly cleared the burning tires from all locations.

Near the city cemetery in Holon, police arrested two youths suspected of setting fire to tires in an attempt to block the southbound part of the main Ayalon highway artery. The burning tires did not block the highway. Following a short pursuit police caught the suspected arsonists and found fuel tanks and flammable materials in their vehicle. Some 15 tires were also found next to the scene of the incident.

In two central streets in the capital, Herzl and Bar-Ilan, fake bombs planted by right-wing activists were found with notes reading, "the disengagement will blow up in our face - this is just the beginning of a stubborn struggle." The bombs followed a similar incident Sunday, as fake bombs with identical notes were laid at the main Tel Aviv train stations.

Police Sunday raided the offices of "Habayit Haleumi," a radical right-wing group that has adopted the civil disobedience tactics of Zo Artzeinu from the mid-1990s and was planning to attempt to shut down major roads throughout the country at 5 P.M. Monday as a dress rehearsal for this summer's demonstrations against the disengagement.

The policemen arrested two people and seized computers, documents listing the names of dozens of organizers and activists for the planned demonstration, and placards announcing, "this road is blocked."

The instructions to those planning to take part in the traffic disruptions stated "every activist must find at least 10 others ready to join and to meet at a junction determined by the members of the group. Then, enter the center of the intersection with hands raised high, tied with an orange ribbon to signify nonviolence, and be ready to be arrested, happily." The overall slogan for the campaign is: "You win if you're arrested."

Japan Pledges Additional $100 Million to Palestinians

By Steve Herman (VOA-Tokyo)

Japan pledged an additional $100 million in economic aid to the Palestinian government. Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi announced the package after meeting in the Japanese capital with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. The meeting is part of an effort by Japan to expand its influence in the Middle East.

Koizumi had hoped to host a Middle East peace summit with the Palestinian leader sitting down here with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. But Israel declined the summit invitation. Sharon is scheduled to make an official visit to Tokyo next month.

After a one-hour meeting with Abbas and other top Palestinian government officials, the Japanese prime minister told reporters he still hopes to get the Palestinian and Israeli leaders together in Tokyo. Koizumi said Abbas told him that if the Israeli prime minister would agree to a three-way summit he would be willing to come back to Tokyo for such a diplomatic breakthrough.

Abbas is not leaving Tokyo empty-handed. Japan is pledging an extra $100 million in aid for the Abbas government, bringing the total Japan has dispensed or pledged to the Palestinians since 1993 to more than $900 million. Abbas told reporters he is grateful for Japan's tremendous support and its sense of balance in regards to Middle East diplomacy.

Japan's attempt to play a larger role in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process comes as Tokyo campaigns for a permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council.

Saudi Oil and Backing for U.S. are Contingent on Israeli Concessions DEBKAfile Special Analysis

Prime minister Ariel Sharon is due in Washington next Monday to address the pro-Israeli lobby AIPAC's annual conference. So far, DEBKAfile's political sources know of no appointments set up for him with any Bush administration officials.

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas is tentatively scheduled to arrive three days later on May 26. After telling his confidants "Nothing will come of the visit," Abbas is making sure that something does. The first move he pulled off was to persuade the White House to make sure Sharon was out of the capital before he arrived.

How was Abbas able to manipulate the Bush administration's timetable and marginalize Sharon's presence in the US capital? DEBKAfile reveals that it was the Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah who set the maneuver up for him when he visited President George Bush at the presidential ranch in Texas on April 25.

DEBKAfile's Washington sources report exclusively that the US and Saudi leaders ended their talks with understandings that restored the Saudis to a dominant role Washington's Middle East policies. Bush agreed to enlarge US-Saudi arms deals - out in the open now, not under wraps as in the last three years; Saudi capital for investment and the purchase of US government bonds would flow back to the United States; and most of the post 9/11 restrictions would be lifted on the entry of Saudi businessmen and students to the United States.

Abdullah promised to pump up oil production from 10 million barrels per day to 12.5 million short term and 15 million long term. But he insisted his immediate priority for the royal purse was the promotion of reforms and better education, health and social welfare systems for his subjects. Therefore investment in expanding oil production would take some time, but it would come about.

Abdullah then laid down his price for "opening a new chapter in US-Saudi strategic relations." One, Sharon must be pushed towards keeping step with Abbas and meeting his demands, to continue propping the Palestinian leader up and to do nothing that might hasten his downfall. Two, Sharon must be urged into serious negotiations with Syria. Three, The Bush administration must avoid any action that might topple Bashar Assad or bring about the demise of the Assad regime in Damascus.

The Saudi prince put it this way: We did as much as you to force Syria to pull its troops out of Lebanon. It is now your turn to meet us halfway. Neither Assad nor Syria must be humiliated any further.

DEBKAfile's sources have not discovered Bush's response to these demands. More tellingly, neither has Sharon's office. The blackout Bush has ordered on the conversation is dense.

But, upon his return from Washington, Abdullah lost no time in visiting neighbors to brief them on his achievements at Crawford. He saw Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, Assad and King Abdullah of Jordan.

For Israel, these achievements are major setbacks: If the Bush administration is not briefing, let alone consulting with, Jerusalem on key elements of its Middle East policy, then the special Israel-US strategic relations are far from being all the Sharon government has cracked them up to be.

If Bush accedes to Abdullah's request on Abbas, then Sharon and Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz might as well abandon their efforts to achieve accords with the Palestinian Authority on the evacuations of the Gaza Strip and northern West Bank. All the Palestinians will need to do is make their demands known. For example, Israel will be required to demolish abandoned homes against its will because that is what Abbas wants. He is also demanding that the Gaza Strip be turned over complete with international border crossings to Egypt and full sovereignty over Gaza's air space and sea waters - all this without spending a minute on the road map or peace talks.

Israel will also have to turn a blind eye Abu Mazen's refusal to disarm the Islamist radical Hamas and Palestinian terrorist units at large. Instead, Abbas will be allowed to integrate them with their weapons into the Palestinian security forces.

To get around Abbas' pledge at Sharm el Sheikh in February to crack down on and dismantle terrorists, The Palestinian Authority from time to time reports some small group of other has handed in its weapons, describing as "the beginning" of its decommissioning operation. In fact, the operation stops there and the majority of terrorists have been left fully armed and with their structures intact.

Ahead for the Sharon government is a uniquely polarizing, painful and costly withdrawal from Palestinian territory. It is hard to see any Israeli leader being in any state soon to plunge into a peace process with Syria that would entail a pullback - be it even in stages - from the Golan. On the other hand, the Syrians, cheered on by the Saudis, will no doubt maintain that if Israel is capable of one unilateral withdrawal, why not another?

Israeli military experts believe that the three days of Hizbullah rocket fire last week at Israeli positions guarding the disputed Shaaba Farms area were aimed more at pointing up Syria's case for talks with Israel than jockeying for position in Lebanese politics. Syria will make full use of Hizbullah and its belligerence to keep the heat on Israel before and during any talks.

In the coming months, the Sharon government will therefore be faced with radical policy adjustments to the new reality generated by the Saudi ruler's enhanced standing in the Bush White House.

Police Uncover Two Temple Mount 'Conspiracies'

By & Ha'aretz

With great fanfare, the police announced Monday that it had broken up two "Jewish conspiracies" to attack the Temple Mount mosques - plots that never passed the talking stage. The police were forced to admit that no indictments would be handed down, and no weapons were found in their possession. In addition, none of the nine "suspects" were kept in jail - though they face various restrictions on their mobility for the coming weeks.

Members of one "cell" discussed attacking the Dome of the Rock with missiles, but never acquired the weapons or the know-how to perpetrate the attack. Another man, Ilan Hirshfeld of Raanana - a 61-year-old retired air-conditioner retailer - was interrogated for several hours last month after he asked his employees if it was possible to install a camera aboard a drone flying over the Temple Mount.

One group is suspected of planning to fire a Lau anti-tank missile at the Mount and then commit suicide on the roof of a yeshiva in the Old City. They were held for three weeks and released on the eve of Passover.

Interior Minister Ofir Pines asked Sharon Monday evening to call a cabinet meeting to discuss fears of possible attacks on the Temple Mount. Pines said that if the fears are deemed justified, the government should consider the administrative detention of the suspects, even if there is not enough evidence to charge them.

Two of the central suspects, Avtalion Kadosh, 21, from Jerusalem and 23-year-old Eyal Karamani from Rehovot, turned to the criminal underworld in a bid to obtain the weapons, Israel Radio said.

According to the report, the five toured of the site, and decided that they would fire the missile at the Mount and then throw hand grenades at security forces that arrived at the scene, before committing suicide.

Last summer, the defense establishment confirmed that it was becoming increasingly concerned that right-wing extremists might be plotting an attack on the Temple Mount to derail the planned withdrawal from the Gaza Strip. As a result, Israeli security sources said at the time, the Shin Bet and the police were preparing for a number of possible terror attack scenarios at the sacred Old City site.

The site has been vulnerable to attacks in the past. In 1969, an Australian Christian fundamentalist set fire to the Al-Aqsa mosque and caused extensive damage, saying he wanted to pave the way to rebuild the biblical Temple. An Israeli court ruled him insane.

In 1982, an Israel Defense Forces reservist from the United States opened fire on the Dome of the Rock, the golden-capped mosque opposite Al-Aqsa, killing two Palestinians and wounding nine. And two years later, the Shin Bet caught Jewish extremists who had amassed large amounts of army explosives to blow up the Dome of the Rock.

So potent a symbol is the site that Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's visit there in late 2000, when he was opposition leader, touched off riots that descended into more than four years of Israeli-Palestinian bloodshed.

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