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Collaborators Ask Court for Evacuation, Compensation


Several dozen Arabs who have collaborated with Israel to hunt down terrorists have appealed to the High Court to be included in the government evacuation plan. All of the 67 Bedouin Arabs live in a village in Gaza. Their lawyer told the court that the Palestinian Authority (PA) considers them traitors and that Israel has refused to speak with them on their demands. Several of the Arabs have Israeli identify cards, according to their lawyer.

Israeli-Palestinian Summit Getting Mixed Reviews

By Sonja Pace (VOA-Jerusalem)

Tuesday's long awaited summit between Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is getting mixed reviews from the participants themselves with Israelis citing progress and Palestinians calling it a failure. Listening to comments from the two sides one might be tempted to wonder if they are talking about the same meeting.

After Tuesday's talks, Sharon said progress was made. Speaking to a business convention Tuesday night, he said the summit resulted in full agreement on the upcoming Israeli withdrawal from Gaza and that a coordinated withdrawal was the best way to ensure quiet. The prime minister said he looked forward with optimism - that terror would be overcome and that Israelis would live in security and real peace.

Agreement on a coordinated withdrawal topped the agenda for the Israelis and the two sides did apparently agree on the need to work together on the pullout to avoid violence and chaos. Israeli officials also said they offered to withdraw their security forces from the West Bank towns of Bethlehem and Qalquilya if the Palestinians are able to control the militants.

Despite such offers, Palestinian negotiators viewed the summit outcome with less enthusiasm. Abbas made no public comment after the talks, but his Prime Minister, Ahmed Qureia, called the meeting difficult and said it did not meet expectations. Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said major Palestinian issues were not addressed. Erekat said the Palestinians had been told their demand for further prisoner releases, their concerns about the continued expansion of Israeli settlements in the West Bank and the continued building of Israel's controversial barrier in and around the West Bank would be addressed in the summit. Yet, he said, these topics were not addressed.

These issues are deemed vitally important for Abbas as a way of showing to his people and to the militants that he can get concessions from the Israelis and that he can bring about improvements in their daily lives. The snag in the talks seems to have been over security - made even more apparent by the upsurge in violence in recent days and by signals from Israel that it will renew its round up of suspected militants and its controversial policy of targeted assassination of militant leaders.

Violence continued on Wednesday when Palestinian gunmen fired shots into the air and at a building in the Balata refugee camp near the West Bank city of Nablus, where Prime Minister Queria was speaking. He was not hurt in the incident, but was heard commenting that this kind of violence and chaos must stop.

Sharon said he made it clear to Abbas during their talks that security remains the major concern for Israel. He said Israel sees many good intentions on the part of the Palestinian Authority, but no real deterrent, no real action to stop terrorist activity.

The Palestinians welcome Israel's plans to withdraw from Gaza, but they want to make sure the process does not stop there. They want to see implementation of the internationally backed "road map" peace plan and to work toward a final peace deal. Sharon said he was willing to work with the Palestinians on the "road map," but he said that would not happen until "all terrorist activity has been stopped."

Israel Resumes Attempts to Assassinate Palestinian Militant Leaders

By VOA News

Israel says it is again attempting to kill Palestinian militants, adding that its failed missile strike in Gaza Tuesday marked the resumption of the controversial assassination policy. Israel stopped targeting militant leaders in February, as part of a truce deal. However, Israeli officials now say the policy has been reactivated to counter a series of new Palestinian attacks on Israeli targets in and near Gaza.

Evidence of the policy shift re-emerged Tuesday, when Israel confirmed that one of its missiles missed its intended target in northern Gaza. That attack occurred during an Israeli-Palestinian peace summit hosted by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in Jerusalem.

Hours later on Israeli television and radio, Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz confirmed the tactic, saying Israel reserves the right to attack militants at any time in any place. Separately, Israel says it also will use air strikes to counter any militant attempts to disrupt its Gaza pullout in August.

PA Television Continues to Teach Children to Become 'Martyrs'


The Palestinian Authority continues to promote "martyrdom" in its state-produced children's television programs according to a report by Palestinian Media Watch. According to the report, released Wednesday, "Shahada, or death for Allah, has been the backbone of the PA's messages to its children since the start of the terror war in September 2000. Although the number of these messages has been reduced in recent months, the promotion and glorification of child Shahada continues nonetheless, as seen this week on PA TV."

The report cites a broadcast of a PA TV series named "The Palestinian Diaspora." The series is presented daily as a factual portrayal of history. Though throughout the series, Israel's creation and ongoing existence has been presented as injustices that must be fought, this past week's episode honed in on the issue of child martyrdom. This week's episode, set in 1956, shows Arabs mourning Israel's existence. A 12-year-old refugee is shown reading his uncle a story he wrote. "The scene has two explicit messages," wrote PMW's Itamar Marcus and Barbara Crook. "[They are:] A child should be willing and anxious to fight and die in order to destroy Israel, [and that] Arab 'refugees' can never resettle, but must 'return' to Israel."

An excerpt from the clip, broadcast on PA TV on June 16: [The scene opens with the 12-year-old boy's friend writing, "I shall return" over a map he drew of "Palestine," covering all of Israel]. 12-year-old Arab Boy: "His mother cried and said, 'My son! Swear to me! Don't leave me alone...! I'm afraid you will be killed.'

"Her son said to her, 'Don't cry, my mother! Let me go and fight for the sake of the homeland. The enemy stole our beautiful land... We all must fight in order to redeem the lost paradise... We lived in joy and happiness, until the foreign enemy [Israel] came and expelled us from our land, and we became refugees in tents. But we will return, by Allah's will!' "His mother told him, 'Farewell, my son. Allah be with you.' He kissed her and left to fight, and fought until he became a Shahid [martyr for Allah]."

The Boy's Uncle: "...Let me ask you, if they come and tell you, 'we will give you a very big house, a car, land and money, just resettle!' Would you agree?" Boy: "No!" Uncle: "...the homeland is greater than individual possessions."

A Fertility Gene Found Among Ashkenazi Women


Researchers at the Hadassah University Hospital in Jerusalem have published new research that seems to offer some explanation as to why some women over 45 years old can still bear children, while others cannot. Studying a group of 250 women over age 45 who'd conceived naturally, the researchers identified a genetic trait common to some of the women. The most fertile of those women studied who carried the genetic marker came from an Ashkenazi background.

"Mostly they had had a large number of children and also a low miscarriage rate, and these two factors indicated to us that they had a natural ability to escape the aging process of the ovaries," Dr. Neri Laufer of Hadassah said. "These women appear to differ from the normal population due to a unique genetic predisposition that protects them from the DNA damage and cellular aging that helps age the ovary," he said.

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