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Sharon: Be Prepared for U.S. Attack on Iraq
** Peres Address in South Africa Cancelled Due to Fear of Violent Protests
** Former Arafat Confidant Lashes Out Against PA Corruption
** Egypt, Saudi Arabia Welcome EU "Roadmap for Peace"
** Economic Briefs
Sharon: Be Prepared for U.S. Attack on Iraq
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon told Israeli security and emergency services to be ready with critical defensive preparations by early November, for a possible U.S. attack on Iraq, HA’ARETZ reported. U.S. officials have not told Israeli counterparts – currently the only administration in the world verbally giving full backing to an American assault on Saddam Hussein’s regime – if or when it will attack Iraq. November 1 was chosen by Israel as a "reasonable" deadline for preparations.
Sharon adviser’s Ra’anan Gissin refused to discuss Israel’s preparations for a possible U.S. attack on Iraq, except to say that Israel would be forewarned about any such action. "The president of the United States will give us ample warning so we can prepare for the possibility of an Iraqi attack on Israel," Gissin said.
A South African think tank canceled a planned address by Minister of Foreign Affairs Shimon Peres on Tuesday amid criticism of police action to quash protests sparked by his visit. A spokesman for the South African Institute of International Affairs said the step was "for the best" and declined to link it to demonstrations by Palestinian supporters on Monday that were broken up by riot police in the worst violence seen during the Earth Summit in Johannesburg.
Peres told the news service Reuters that he saw no reason why his visit to the country should spark controversy and he hoped to persuade people who took that view to change their minds. Peres was due to speak on Israeli foreign policy.
Police arrested 17 people in two separate protests on Monday, after breaking up the demonstrations with water cannon, rubber bullets and stun grenades. One policeman was taken to hospital after being stabbed in the leg.
Witnesses said riot police outnumbered the 100-odd demonstrators at the first protest at a college in the heart of the city, where Peres addressed the South African Zionist Federation and the South African Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD).
Former Palestinian Authority Cabinet Minister and close confidant of Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat, Nabil Amer, published a letter on Tuesday addressed to Arafat, holding him responsible for the state of chaos in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and accusing him of missing an opportunity to reach a deal at Camp David, YEDIOT AHARONOT ON-LINE reported.
Amer recently resigned from the PA Cabinet in protest of the corruption in the administration. In his letter he called for an end to the corruption, an end to Palestinian terror attacks and the beginning of a public dialogue within Palestinian society about the future.
The letter also called for far-reaching reforms in the PA and said the Palestinian people need a time-out from the violence and bloodshed. In his diatribe, Amer accused Arafat of leading the Palestinian people from one disaster to another. The letter was originally published in an Arab newspaper published in London. On Tuesday, the letter uncharacteristically appeared as a reprint in the Palestinian paper Al-Hayat al-Jadeedah, known as a mouthpiece for the PA.
Egypt joined Saudi Arabia on Tuesday, in welcoming a new European Union "roadmap" for Middle East peace, foreseeing a Palestinian state in three years’ time, HA’ARETZ reported. The plan is being promoted throughout the region by EU’s current president Denmark. "It is a very positive element," Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Maher said after talks with Danish Foreign Minister Per Stig Moeller. "Now that we have a roadmap, we can concretely work for a solution which is based on two states living side-by-side, both of them enjoying security," he added.
The 15 EU ministers backed a three-stage plan drawn up by Denmark envisaging creation of an independent Palestinian state in June 2005, with the full consent of Israel and moderate Arab states. Moeller presented the plan to Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah on Monday at the start of a tour of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Israel, and the Palestinian territories. He later quoted Abdullah as saying the plan was a "step in the right direction." Moeller is to present his plan to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in Tel Aviv and Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat today.
* The first Israeli Arab high-tech incubator opened in Nazareth last month, at an initial investment of $1.4 million, GLOBES reported.
The incubator operates under an Office of the Chief Scientist experimental model as a private company. It is owned by Israeli Arab businessmen from the Galilee and Davidi Gilo in partnership with the Center for Jewish-Arab Economic Development. According to Incubator CEO Dr. Sharon Dvir, there is potential work for 170 Israeli Arab scientists with Ph.D.s on Chief Scientist projects at the incubator. "An incubator like this, with a joint Jewish-Arab management, will be a bridge for Arab scientists," he said.
Palestinian Terror Attacks Kill 2 IDF Soldiers, Injure 4
** Security Forces Thwart Mega Car Bombing
** Sharon: I Am Willing To Meet With Senior Palestinian Officials
** Israeli and Palestinian Receive Spain’s Peace Award
** Heroic Jewish Soldiers of World War II Get Home in Latrun
** Economic Briefs
Two Israel Defense Forces soldiers were killed and four wounded in separate terror attacks in the Gaza Strip today Israel Radio, KOL YISRAEL reported. In the first Palestinian terror attack, IDF soldiers were guarding the construction site of a security fence between Nissanit and Dugit when at least two Palestinian gunmen opened fire from a school in Beit Lahiya, killing First Lieutenant Malik Grifat, 24, of Zarzir, and wounding another soldier. During an exchange of gunfire, one of the terrorists was shot dead. The wounded soldier was evacuated to Barzilai Hospital in Ashkelon.
In the other attack, an explosive device was detonated under a Merkava tank near the Kissufim Crossing, killing one soldier and wounding three others. The wounded were transported to Soroka Hospital in Be’er Sheva.
Meanwhile, IDF soldiers arrested three wanted Hamas members today. Two of the Palestinians were planning a homicide bombing attack in Israel during the Rosh Hashana holiday. During the operation, Palestinians opened fire on the soldiers, but no injuries were reported.
Security forces are in the midst of a manhunt for Palestinians who drove a booby-trapped car (discovered near Kfar Glickson, just east of Pardes Hanna) containing over 1300 pounds of explosives. Israeli Police Spokesman Gil Kleiman said that a Border Police unit detected an Isuzu van and a Volkswagen Golf car fleeing an army checkpoint. When the unit caught up with the vehicles they were already abandoned. "The bomb units were called in and they found 600 kilograms (1,320 pounds) of explosives," Kleinman said.
Northern Region Police Commander Ya’akov Borovsky said that the car was filled with explosives hidden in several gas canisters, connected to a battery and a cellular telephone-operated detonation mechanism. A container of metal shrapnel and bolts were also found. Borovsky described the car as one of the biggest bombs the police had ever discovered. "This was one of the biggest (successes in) foiling an attack that we know of," Borovsky said. The explosives-laden car was safely destroyed in a controlled explosion.
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon agreed to meet with senior Palestinian Officials who have expressed that terrorism can no longer be used for political gains, YEDIOT AHARONOT reported. Sharon said that senior Palestinian official called him a few days ago and suggested that the two sides resume negotiations and he offered to meet with them. Sharon also said that many Palestinians were coming to the conclusion that they would not achieve any political gains through the use of terror. "Their hope that we would break did not materialize. Israeli society has stood up to the awful test of terror and was not broken," Sharon said.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Shimon Peres said that a meeting between the Prime Minister and Palestinian officials "was a step in the right direction." He added "every step like this brings us closer to [negotiations] but we still have a long way to go. Any step, big or small in the direction of talks is to be welcomed," Peres said.
Meanwhile, Sharon told Israel television, Channel One on Wednesday night that Libya poses a significant threat to world peace as Tripoli is actively pursuing weapons of mass destruction. Sharon added that Libya might even become the first Arab nation to obtain a nuclear weapon.
Musical Conductor Daniel Barenboim and Palestinian-American writer Edward
Said were awarded the annual Prince of Asturias Concord prize in Spain for
their efforts toward peace in the Middle East, HA’ARETZ reported. Barenboim
and Said received the award for establishing a youth orchestra for young
Arab and Israeli musicians.
The jury took into account the men’s "generous and laudable work for peace and harmonious living, symbolized by a group of young musicians working together, getting over historical antagonism and adding to dialogue and reflection," jury Chairman Vicente Alvaro Areces said.
The annual Prince of Asturias prizes – Spain’s answer to the Nobel Peace Prize — gives out eight honors for performance in the arts, sciences, diplomacy and sports. The concord prize awards exemplary and important works for brotherhood, fight against poverty, sickness, ignorance, defense of freedom and the protection of heritage.
Jewish Soldiers of World War II Get Home in Latrun
Minister of Housing and Construction Natan Sharansky participated in the cornerstone-laying ceremony for The Museum of the Jewish Soldier in World War II at Latrun commemorating the heroism displayed by some one-and-a-half million Jews who fought the Nazis on the battlefield, including a quarter of a million who died in combat, THE JERUSALEM POST reported
"It is a source of pride that Jews made a unique contribution in the struggle to defeat Nazism. The statistics showed that Jews were among the most heroic of nations, in the number of heroes who died relative to the population. So it’s natural that this should be a part of Jewish history and Jewish pride in this museum," Sharansky said.
The museum will have multi-media presentations focusing on Jews who served in the armies of the U.S., the USSR, Britain, South Africa, Australia, Canada, France, Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Greece, Poland, and the Jewish Brigade from Palestine.
"The memory of the Second World War Jewish soldier has been lost," Museum Broad Representative Dr. Melvin Polk said. The museum is expected to be finished within two years and is being built next to the Armored Corps Memorial.
There are 6,592,000 residents in Israel, an increase of 133,000 from last year, according to the 53rd annual report released Monday by Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics, YEDIOT AHARONOT reported. This represents a growth of 1.4 percent since 2000. Jews make up 77.2 percent of Israel’s population, Muslims 15.4 percent, Christians 2.1 percent, Druze 1.6 percent and religiously unaffiliated citizens 3.5 percent. The report also showed that 43,600 people immigrated to Israel in 2001, down 28 percent from the year 2000. Since the nation was formed, a total of 2,894,094 people immigrated to Israel.
*U.S. President George Bush is slated this week to ask Congress to approve a $200 million aid package for Israel to fight terrorism, GLOBES reported. The package will also include $50 million in humanitarian aid for the Palestinians.
*Teva Pharmaceutical Industries announced on Wednesday that it has formed a partnership with Microbia of Cambridge, Massachusetts to develop an improved drug bio-manufacturing process, producing drugs with higher purity and efficiency in a much shorter period, THE JERUSALEM POST reported. The current time frame for new drug development is between four to five years. It is hoped the new technology can reduce this to one year.