Newsletter : 5fax1123.txt
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Israeli Arab Islamic Movement Leader Calls For 'Liberation of Jerusalem'
The militant leader of the Israeli Arab Islamic Movement, Raed Salah, visited the
Temple Mount Monday and called upon Muslims to act to "liberate Jerusalem from the
occupiers." The sheikh insisted that Muslim conquering of Jerusalem is the only option for
Jerusalem's future. He also called upon Jerusalem's Muslims to act to stop Jewish
construction in the Old City and archaeological digs in the area. Salah was recently
released from an Israeli prison, where he was jailed due to his providing support for
Hamas terrorists and their families.
Sharon to Draw Final Borders With Palestinians
By Jim Teeple (VOA-Jerusalem) & Ha'aretz
Opinion polls taken following Ariel Sharon's departure from the Likud Party indicate
that his move to form a new centrist party in Israel is popular with a majority of Israeli
voters. The polls say Sharon has a good chance of gaining more than 30 seats in the
120-seat Knesset. If that happens on Election Day, Sharon will be guaranteed a third term
and given the mandate he says he seeks of drawing Israel's final border with
Joshua Teitelbaum, a senior research fellow at Tel Aviv University said there is no
question, that Sharon is determined to achieve his goal. "I think Sharon is determined to
be the person that sets the final borders of the state of Israel, and if he has to do that
unilaterally, well I think he will try and do it through negotiations, but if he has to do
it unilaterally I think he will make an effort at that."
In his breakaway speech from the Likud Party, Sharon ruled out unilateral pullbacks
from Israeli-occupied positions in the West Bank, saying instead he will try and achieve
Israel's final border with Palestinians through negotiations that follow the U.S. - backed
"road map peace plan" which envisions two states living side-by-side in peace.
Since Sharon's announcement his political allies such as Finance Minister Ehud Olmert
who met with senior Palestinian Authority officials just hours after Sharon's speech, have
echoed the prime minister's remarks, saying Sharon is committed to territorial concessions
towards Palestinians combined with tough action against Palestinian terrorists.
Senior Palestinian officials like Mahmoud Labadi, the director general of the
Palestinian Legislative Council say they welcome Sharon's bold political gamble but they
still have concerns about just what Sharon means when he talks about Israel's border with
"Our concern is that he wants to enlarge the space of the state of Israel at the
expense of the Palestinians," said Labadi. "He wants to continue building settlements and
he wants to continue building the wall [security barrier]. He wants to build settlements
and continue his policies of aggression and occupation against the Palestinian people.
That is the final border. He will not stick to the 1967 border and that means he will
annex more Palestinian territory."
While Sharon is currently riding high in the polls, things could change by Election Day
as they have for other Israeli politicians such as Moshe Dayan, who broke away from their
parties to form third parties. However, Teitelbaum of Tel Aviv University said Sharon's
case is different.
"This change is not really staked on personal issues as the previous third parties
were. This is really based on a sea change in the Israeli political map, from basically an
increasingly pragmatist view to an increasing move to the center. This is both from the
left and the right, this move to the center," said Teitelbaum.
"This goes back a couple of years, but the crowning glory is Sharon supporting
disengagement from Gaza. This created an entirely new situation and he was way ahead of
his Likud Party. Also from the Labor Party there is more support for this kind of thing
and he may take people from the Labor Party into this new centrist party."
Teitelbaum said if that happens, Israel's once powerful Likud Party and its strident
voices against further territorial concessions could be marginalized, giving Sharon the
opportunity he says he seeks to try and achieve peace through negotiations.
Sharon will receive a NIS 9.6 million (approximately $2 million) advance on his
election funding, after having enlisted 14 Likud Knesset members to his new party.
The law entitles Knesset members to split from their party and form a new faction if
they number at least one-third of the faction they split from. Sharon needed at least 14
MKs to form a separate faction and receive election funding and time slots for television
and radio election broadcasts.
The new faction will receive the funding after the party registrar confirms its
registration and after the Knesset Committee approves it. The Knesset administration is
now trying to figure out how much to charge Sharon's party as a guarantee, if the party
winds up winning fewer than 14 Knesset seats and must return money to the state.
Sharon's 14-strong party is eligible for 52 minutes of election broadcasts on
television and 109 hours on the radio. Each Knesset faction receives 10 minutes of
television broadcasts plus three minutes per MK, and 25 minutes of radio broadcasts plus
six minutes for each MK. The broadcasts will be aired daily 21 days before the
IDF 'Restraint' as Some Galilee Residents Still in Shelters
The military reaction to Monday's Hizbullah offensive will remain restrained, barring
any further escalation by the Lebanese terrorists.
As of Tuesday afternoon, most upper Galilee residents had been allowed to leave their
bomb shelters, with the exception of those in towns east of Ma'ayan Baruch, in the Galilee
panhandle. The Israeli civilians were sent into their bomb shelters Monday in the wake of
a large-scale, multi-pronged Hizbullah attack across Israel's northern border, which
included the shelling of civilian centers, infiltration and an attempted kidnapping.
Eleven soldiers were injured in the clashes, two of them seriously, and four terrorists
The IDF subsequently launched an air strike against a Hizbullah command post and
surrounding roads used by the terrorists in southern Lebanon. Security officials have
decided against further retaliatory measures, preferring to "act with restraint", provided
the Hizbullah carries out no further offensives.
Following the cross-border attacks, U.S. State Department officials called upon Lebanon
to take control of the situation and bring a halt to the terror attacks launched against
Israel from southern Lebanon. America used the opportunity, however, to call upon Israel
to exercise restraint in her response to the attacks.
In a press conference, Defense Minister Sha'ul Mofaz called the Hizbullah attacks "acts
of war by Lebanon."
Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora attempted to restore calm, the Albawaba news web
site reported. On Monday night, Siniora met with representatives of the Hizbullah, with UN
observers in southern Lebanon, and with U.S. and French ambassadors.
The UN Security Council attempted and failed to draft a condemnation of the Hizbullah
offensive Monday. A statement drafted by France condemned "military exchanges initiated by
Hizbullah" and "Israeli violations of Lebanese air space." However, the United States
sought to have the reference to Israel deleted, while Algeria objected to charging the
Hizbullah with initiating the clashes, according to the Reuters news agency.
Fearing More Jews in Negev, El-Sana Calls for United Arab List
Knesset member Talab El-Sana says that by unifying Arab parties into one list, the
Arabs could thwart plans to build more Jewish communities in the Galilee and Negev
El-Sana (whose party is called the United Arab List) is calling upon Israel's Arab
parties to unite under one electoral list. He says that by unifying into one list, the
Arabs could thwart plans to build more Jewish communities in the Galilee and Negev
Those plans are being promoted by Vice Prime Minister Shimon Peres (Labor), as an
alternative for settling Jews in Judea, Samaria and Gaza.
In a letter to Arab politicians and community leaders, El-Sana, a Bedouin from the
Negev, is calling for a meeting to discuss the issue of Arab unity in the face of the
upcoming elections. Much like some of his Jewish counterparts (particularly on the
right), El-Sana claims that competition among various smaller parties reduces the number
of Arab MK's who get elected to the Knesset.
El-Sana says that a unified list would raise Arab participation in Israeli elections to
90%. Roughly 60% of Arabs eligible to vote participate in elections, a rate much lower
that that for Jews.
If Arabs voted according to their percentage of the general population (20%), they
could elect up to 24 Knesset representatives. In the last elections, Arab parties
succeeded in electing eight candidates. Arabs, however, are often represented in other,
El-Sana also claims that a unified Arab list "could become the third biggest Knesset
faction and give Arab MK's an opportunity to impact on the political situation and change
the social and economic reality to the benefit of Arab citizens who suffer from
unemployment and poverty."
El-Sana warned fellow Arabs against voting for Zionist parties, especially since Amir
Peretz was elected to head the Labor party. A large portion of Labor party members is from
the Arab sector.
Flying Blue and White
A recent survey conducted by the New Wave Research Institute shows that 35 percent of
Israeli adults prefer flying Israeli airlines. Reasons given by respondents for preferring
Israeli to foreign airlines include better security, being able to speak Hebrew, quality
service and patriotism.
The poll points that Israeli airlines have a reputation for maintaining high security
standards, with 61 percent of respondents saying that Israeli airlines have better
security procedures than foreign competitors. Only 27 percent said they equally trust
security procedures on Israeli and foreign airlines.
The survey, conducted for IsraAir Airlines, also polled public opinion regarding
competition for passengers on the Tel Aviv - New York route. Some 97.3 percent of
respondents said they would welcome the introduction of a third Israeli airline to operate
on the line, a concern that Tourism Minister Avraham Hirschson is expected to take up in
the near future.
IsraAir officials told Ynet the poll shows the public's interest in more competition
because it reduces the cost of flying. Some 52 percent said they would definitely fly
IsraAir to New York if the ticket costs less than flying El Al or Continental.
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