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Sudanese President Blames Jews for International Intervention


Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir blamed Jewish groups for encouraging the deployment of international peacekeeping forces in Darfur. A joint United Nations and African Union team is in Sudan preparing for such an eventuality. He said, "It is clear that there is a purpose behind the heavy propaganda and media campaigns.... If we return to the last demonstrations in the United States, and the groups that organized the demonstrations, we find that they are all Jewish organizations."

IDF Chief Orders Probe of Civilian Deaths

By Ha'aretz &

Two Palestinian civilians were killed and 14 others -- all members of the same family -- were wounded in an Israel Air Force strike in the southern Gaza Strip on Wednesday evening.

The attack came a day after three children were killed in an IAF strike in Gaza City that targeted members of Fatah's military wing. It is the third time in one month that IAF strikes in Gaza have resulted in civilian fatalities, and brings the total of Palestinian civilian deaths to 14.

The head of the Israel Defense Forces on Wednesday night ordered a thorough investigation into the string of recent Gaza air strikes in which Palestinian civilians were killed.

Three children were among the wounded in Wednesday's strike. Medical personnel in Gaza said the injuries were caused by shrapnel and that some of the wounded were in critical condition.

The 37-year-old woman killed in the strike, Fatima El-Barbarwi, was seven months pregnant. The other casualty was her brother, a 45-year-old doctor named Zakariya Ahmed residing in Saudi Arabia.

Ahmed was visiting his sister in Gaza and the family had settled down for the evening meal when they were hit by the missile. A pool of blood marked the floor in their kitchen. Doctors tried to save the woman's seven-month-old fetus, but failed, they said.

Palestinian witnesses said the apparent target of the IAF strike had been a jeep carrying members of the Popular Resistance Committees but the missile struck the house instead. A witness said the vehicle carrying the Palestinian murderers passed by the house as the explosion occurred. The men inside jumped out of the car and ran into a nearby field.

The IDF confirmed that it carried out an air strike against what it called a "militant cell."

A spokeswoman expressed regret at the death of El-Barbarwi. The Israel Air Force had fired the missile as the car traveled in a relatively unpopulated area on the outskirts of Khan Yunis, to avoid civilian death as had happened in previous attacks, "What happened in this case, the missile simply missed," said the IDF spokeswoman.

A senior IAF officer, speaking on condition of anonymity under military regulations, said the missile missed its target by several dozen meters.

A statement from Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas' office harshly condemned the Israeli attacks. "The increased frequency of women and children falling victims to Israeli missiles, in an age of very precise electronic warfare, indicates a deliberate intention on the Israeli part to target every Palestinian and to cause maximum human, physical, and psychological damage," it said.

An initial probe has revealed the failed Khan Yunis strike was caused either by human or technical error. IAF sources said they had planned to strike the targeted vehicle carrying the wanted terrorists on a dirt road in a relatively isolated area.

In response to Tuesday night's failed assassination attempt, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades threatened earlier Wednesday to strike at targets throughout in Israel, and urged all other militant groups to renew their terror attacks.

The children killed in Tuesday's strike - 5-year-old Mohammed Roka, Nadia al-Sharif, aged 6, and 16-year-old Bilal al-Hassa - were buried in Gaza on Wednesday morning. Seven other children were among the injured, one seriously.

Gunmen fired in the air as the three bodies, draped in Palestinian flags, were carried aloft on stretchers from the hospital morgue to their families' homes, and from there, to funeral and burial services. "Do you want a cease-fire?" a man carrying a loudspeaker asked the crowd, referring to an increasingly shaky truce with Israel. "No," they shouted.

Mohammed Roka's father, Jamal, had just rejoined his family in Gaza City after a long stint working in Abu Dhabi. Mohammed was the youngest of his seven children. "This is a criminal act," Roka said, his eyes bloodshot. "You should ask the occupation why they did it... The Palestinian people are extending their hands in peace, but the occupation rejects peace."

"We'll strike at the enemy at any place," Al-Aqsa stated. "We declare a high alert among our men, with the goal of quickly avenging the Zionists' crimes. The Palestinians must declare war on Sderot and the rest of the Zionist settlements. Now it's us against Sderot."

The attack, which took place at 7:15 p.m., came hours after Prime Minister Ehud Olmert threatened to step up actions against Palestinian terror organizations in the Gaza Strip. Palestinian eye-witnesses said Tuesday's strike came at an hour when the streets were busy and many children were playing in the area.

But a senior IAF officer said the strike took place "in an area where traffic was very light, and that the civilians that were injured were not seen by military cameras before the hit."

The officer said the two missiles fired hit the vehicle directly. He was unable to explain how the two targets escaped with light wounds while nearby civilians were killed.

"This is complex combat against terror cells operating in a civilian population. Some of the Kassams are fired from populated areas. When a cell goes to carry out a launch, we are working against a ticking clock. We have to find the right place to hit them, before they operate. We do everything we can not to injure civilians, even aborting a strike where there is doubt."

The IDF Spokesperson's Office said, "The IDF regrets any loss of life among non-combatants. Responsibility for this rests with the terror organizations and the Hamas government."

The British foreign secretary released a statement condemning Tuesday's Israel Defense Forces errant air strike. "The killing of innocent civilians, and particularly children, is completely unacceptable," said Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett. "The continuing violence on both sides, and the tragic death of a number of children and civilians in Gaza and West Bank in recent weeks, is making the prospect of a negotiated, peaceful resolution more distant."

Abbas: We'll Demand 1967 Borders


Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said during the Petra Conference in Jordan Wednesday that "Israel must realize that we will not be able to accept a unilateral solution determined solely by its government, which is building fences around the Palestinian population. "We will demand the 1967 borders – no more and no less," he said.

Vice Premier Shimon Peres, who is also visiting Jordan, responded by saying "Israel would have sat at the negotiating table a long time ago and the Palestinians would have a state were it not for the Palestinian terror and the Kassam rocket fire. "The way of terror and shedding blood does not promote peace," he said.

Abbas alluded to the possibility that Hamas may recognize the State of Israel in the future, saying "Israel wants Hamas to accept a two-state solution, in accordance with the Road Map. Hamas is currently refusing, but it may accept such a solution in the future."

The Palestinian president also called on armed groups in Gaza to halt the incessant Kassam fire on Israel, saying it increases the risk of an IDF ground operation in the Strip. "All the organizations must stop the rocket fire immediately and respect the ceasefire (signed between the groups last year)," he said.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is expected to attend the Petra Conference on Thursday as King Abdullah's guest. The two are expected to discuss regional affairs, including the possibility of resuming Israel-PA talks. Olmert is expected to shake hands with Abbas, but an official meeting between the two leaders is not expected until the end of June or the beginning of July.

In addition, Israel and Jordan agreed on a multi-faceted package of joint projects to begin immediately, including a new international airport.

Vice Premier Shimon Peres and Jordanian King Abdullah II agreed on several ventures, including an international airport in Aqaba, with Israeli and Jordanian terminals, to replace the present facility in Eilat. The airport will serve airlines around the globe that fly to and from Jordan and Israel. Peres and Abdullah agreed at their meeting in Petra that construction on the new airport will begin immediately.

The two leaders also reviewed and agreed on plans for the "Dead Sea - Red Sea" project, in which a 250-kilometer canal will be built to channel water from the Red Sea to replenish the rapidly evaporating waters of the Dead Sea.

The water from this pipeline will also be used to supply joint projects along the Jordan Valley, including parks and holiday resorts to be built by each country on its respective side of the border.

Orthodox in Uproar Over Organ Donation Incident


Jerusalem's Orthodox Jews are infuriated that Shaare Zedek Medical Center, which is known for its Halakhic compliance, carried out an operation to remove organs for donation from a patient declared brain dead – in violation of Jewish law

Haredi newspaper Yated Neeman reported that the surgery was carried out on a man being treated in the hospital who was declared brain dead Tuesday. The hareidi sector was infuriated by the deed because it is forbidden by Halakhic rule (Jewish law) and violated agreements with Orthodox rabbis against carrying out such operations in the observant hospital. Brain death occurs when brain stem activity stops, which is responsible for blood flow, heart beat and breathing. Brain death is irreversible.

The hospital's rabbinical committee forbids the removal of organs from patients that are still alive according to Jewish law, and in the past ruled that if the family requests the organs be donated, the surgery must take place in a different hospital. Hospital officials responded that doctors went through with the operation at the hospital in compliance with a special request by the patient's family, and the organs saved the lives of two other patients.

A storm broke out when the incident leaked to the Orthodox community, who specifically choose to be treated there above other hospitals because of its reputation of being observant. The article further claimed that family members said they only agreed to donate the organs only after they were pressured by doctors.

A spokesperson for the medical center, Shaham Rubio, said "The family wanted to donate the organs of the patient… The man's kidneys were transplanted into two patients who had been waiting five years and whose lives were endangered. Their two lives were saved thanks to the transplants."

"It is known that there is a conflict between the Halakhic adjudicators on the matter of brain death, and there was nothing in our decision to cause frictions between us and the hareidi sector on the matter of saving a life – which is of supreme value. In light of the urgency of action needed to save the lives of the two patients, and considering the family's refusal to transfer the patient to another hospital, we had to decide quickly and conduct the surgery at Shaare Zedek," the spokesperson said.

"The operation was carried out by a special team from another hospital, and the transplants were done at other hospitals. Shaare Zedek Medical Center is known for its unique character and professionalism that comply with Halakhic values."

Ghana apologizes to Arab League over Israeli flag at World Cup

By Reuters
Ghana apologized to the Arab League on Wednesday for one of its football players waving an Israeli flag after his country's 2-0 World Cup win against the Czech Republic, the Arab League secretary-general said.

Defender John Pentsil plays for Hapoel Tel Aviv, and waved a small Israeli flag after Ghana's win in Saturday's match to acknowledge Israeli fans in Germany.

Amr Moussa said the league had received an official apology from the Ghanaian government expressing regret at the incident. The memo said Pentsil's action had no official support and Ghana hoped the incident would not affect Ghana's relations with friendly countries.

The Ghanaian Football Association apologized on Monday for Pentsil's conduct and said the Ghanaian FA was not trying to take sides in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Israeli Sports Minister Ofir Pines-Paz praised Pentsil for his actions and said Ghana had gained many Israeli fans.

Pentsil said people in Ghana fail to understand why he waved the Israeli flag and not the flag of Ghana, adding that he is a religious man who holds a special place in his heart for Israel. "Everyone was very proud of me for bringing a little happiness to Israel."

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