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Carter to Monitor PA Elections


Former President Jimmy Carter is expected to arrive in the region ahead of the Palestinian Authority (PA) elections in January. Carter will head the election supervisors who will be responsible for ensuring the election is held in a fair and transparent fashion. Also expected to join the foreign observer force is former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.

Suicide Bombing in Israel Kills 5

By Jim Teeple (VOA-Jerusalem), & Ha'aretz

Israel has approved a series of military actions against Palestinian extremists linked to Monday's suicide bombing at an Israeli shopping mall that killed five people and injured 50 others.

The names of the five victims were released: Alexandra Zarnitzki, 65, from Netanya; Daniel Golani, 45, from Nahariya; Eliyah Rozen, 38, from Bat Hefer; and Haim Amram, 26, from Netanya; and Keinan Tzuma'i, 20, of Petah Tikva.

Media reports said operations were expected to begin late Monday and include targeted killings of terrorist leaders. Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz said he was seeking approval to resume the practice of demolishing the homes of suicide bombers, halted earlier this year.

The suicide bomber detonated his bomb just outside the entrance to a shopping mall in the Israeli seaside city, Netanya, about 15 miles north of Tel Aviv, killing and wounding security guards and people waiting in line to enter the complex.

It was the second such attack in Netanya this year and the first suicide bombing in Israel since October 26, when six people were killed in a suicide bombing of Hadera.

Palestinian terrorist group Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the attack, saying the bomber came from a northern West Bank village. Hizbullah's television station, Al-Manar, said the Islamic Jihad's military arm, the Jerusalem Brigades, made the claim in a telephone call to the station.

The group later identified the attacker as 21-year-old Lutfi Amin Abu Salem, from the village of Kafr Rai, located between the West Bank towns of Jenin and Tul Karm. A video released by Islamic Jihad showed the bomber posing with a grenade launcher and an assault rifle.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas condemned the bombing; saying all those involved would be arrested. Speaking outside Israel's Foreign Ministry, spokesman Mark Regev told journalists that Abbas must do more to control militants.

"The Palestinian Authority has promised, not just Israel, but the entire International community, that it will start to disarm these groups and take the guns away from extremist elements, and unfortunately little has been achieved," he said. "We urge the Palestinian Authority to follow through on its commitment to disarm these killers."

It is not clear what impact Monday's bombing will have on a shaky truce between Israel and Palestinian groups that has been in effect for most of this year. Palestinian Authority spokesman Saeb Erekat told reporters in Ramallah in the West Bank, that he hoped the truce, or "hudna" would remain in effect. "We still believe that exerting the maximum effort to maintain the "hudna" [truce] between the two sides mutually, serves both sides interests."

Israel's military responded to the October bombing with air and missile strikes that killed several senior Palestinian terrorists. Israeli authorities have also arrested hundreds of suspected terrorists in the West Bank in recent weeks.

Monday's bombing followed rising tensions between Israelis and Palestinians, in recent days. In the past few days, Palestinian militants launched rocket strikes against Israeli towns near the Gaza Strip border and Israel responded with air and artillery strikes against Palestinian positions inside Gaza. Speaking Monday, before the Netanya bombing, Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz said he had given approval to resume targeted killings of Palestinian terrorists in response to attacks against Israeli territory.

Netanya residents on Monday night took to the streets, holding a spontaneous protest outside the Sharon Shopping Center, the site of the latest suicide bombing attack in the coastal city. Five people were murdered and over 50 wounded in the attack.

Other attacks have occurred in the city, including at the shopping center. City residents have infamously named the shopping center's main entrance "The Entrance of Death."

UN Nuclear Watchdog: Iran May be Months from Nuclear Bomb

By Ha'aretz

If Iran's Natanz enrichment plant becomes fully operational, the Iranians could be few months away from a nuclear weapon, the head of the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency told the British newspaper The Independent in an interview published Monday.

"If they start enriching this is a major issue and a serious concern for the international community," Mohamed ElBaradei told the newspaper. "I know they are trying to acquire the full fuel cycle. I know that acquiring the full fuel cycle means that a country is months away from nuclear weapons, and that applies to Iran and everybody else."

Meanwhile, Iran responded fiercely Monday to a call by Likud MK Binyamin Netanyahu for Israel to deal with the Iranian nuclear program in the same way it did with the Iraqi atomic facility it destroyed in a 1981 air strike.

Iran on Monday reiterated its warning from the day before that Israel would pay a heavy price for any attempt to wipe out its nuclear program. "The Zionist regime is well aware that if it made such a grave mistake, the Iranian reaction would be devastating," Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid-Reza Assefi was quoted as saying by the Iranian student news agency ISNA.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry had said Sunday that Tehran would respond with severity to any Israeli actions against it.

"These are empty threats and prove that Israel is pulling the strings behind the scenes and is directing the international community to impose sanctions," the spokesman said.

Netanyahu said earlier Sunday that Israel should take "bold and daring" action to thwart Iran's plans for nuclear armament, citing Israel's 1981 air strike on the Iraqi nuclear facility.

"The Iranian threat is an existential one, as it is a country that declared its plans to destroy Israel and is developing the tools to carry out this destruction. In this regard, I will continue the legacy of Menachem Begin, who thwarted Iran's neighbor, Iraq, from acquiring nuclear weapons by adopting bold and daring measures. I believe that is what Israel needs to do," Netanyahu told Israel Radio.

In 1981, Begin ordered an air strike on Iraq's nuclear facility in Osirak, near Baghdad. As a result of the attack, Iraq's nuclear armament plan was thwarted.

Netanyahu said he has stated, in various forums, that everything possible must be done to prevent Iran's nuclear armament. "This is the Israeli government's primary obligation. If it is not done by the current government, I plan to lead the next government to stop the Iranians."

Netanyahu clarified that he was referring to, "all actions necessary to prevent a situation in which Iran will threaten us with nuclear weapons."

Netanyahu, who is vying for Likud chairmanship, also said that if Prime Minister Ariel Sharon takes action to thwart the Iranian threat, he would enjoy "my full support, regardless of political considerations."

Israel's Nobel Winner Talks of a Cure for War


Bringing peace to the world is usually the preserve of political or religious ideologues - certainly well outside the domain of mathematicians. But this is the theme of the lecture that Prof. Robert J. Aumann of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem will deliver next week when he receives his Nobel Prize for Economic Sciences in Stockholm.

In October, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences jointly awarded Aumann and Prof. Thomas C. Schelling of the University of Maryland the prize "for having enhanced our understanding of conflict and cooperation through game-theory analysis."

Speaking at a Jerusalem press conference at the university's Center for Rationality on the eve of his departure to the Stockholm ceremony on December 10th, Aumann explained that resolving specific conflicts does not bring peace to the world. To accomplish this, he maintained, what is required is an interdisciplinary analysis - historical, psychological, sociological - into the very nature of war.

War must be studied "like you study illnesses, like you study cancer. Once you understand the causes of it you can begin to try to cure it." According to Aumann, it's a mistake to say that war is irrational. There are "rational motives" he explained, that have driven us to war since the dawn of civilization. And it is through investigating the rational nature of war, that we can then be able to address the problems by applying game theory - Aumann's specialty.

Game theory provides a complex mathematical analysis of elements and strategies, which are involved in decision-making situations, including those concerning conflict and cooperation. Despite the difficult nature of the mathematics of game theory, Aumann explained to ISRAEL21c that the theory is actually something which we all, at a basic level, experience in our daily lives.

"I do it all the time," he said with a shining broad grin emerging above a long carefully displayed white beard. "When I want information from someone official, I always ask their name. I usually forget it immediately - But I want the person to feel responsible for what he's doing."

Hitler's Official Berlin Residence Returned to Jewish Ownership


The land used by Adolf Hitler for his chancellery and bunker complex in Berlin is to be returned to the Jewish family from which it was stolen by the German state when the Nazis rose to power.

The Wertheim family heirs recently won a court case that awarded them ownership of one of four properties in dispute with leading German retail company Karstadt Quelle AG. As a result, Karstadt decided to withdraw its lawsuits in the remaining three property disputes, including the expropriated Jewish properties used by the Nazi dictator.

The Jewish Claims Conference, which is representing the heirs of the Wertheim family in the case, called the decision a "long-delayed victory for justice and a victory for history."

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