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November 22, 2004

POWELL IN JERUSALEM

The outgoing U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell paid a farewell visit to Jerusalem where he and Prime Minister Ariel Sharon were said to have had an emotional meeting. Sharon spelled out his approach to the new situation in the post Arafat era; whereas Powell reportedly said that Washington would continue her close ties with Jerusalem.

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November 19, 2004

NEW MID-EAST BALL GAME

One week after Yasser Arafat’s death , all the signs are indicating that a new ball game has begun for Israelis and Palestinians. And the run up to the Palestinian elections scheduled for January will set the stage for what will follow.

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November 15, 2004

BALLOTS OR BULLETS? MYSTERIOUS SUBMARINE

Mahmoud Abbas, widely touted as Yasser Arafat’s successor, sparked machine gun fire when he paid a condolence call at the Arafat ‘mourning tent’ in Gaza. Two of bodyguards were shot dead, apparently as a warning to Abbas who is considered to be a moderate opposed to the Palestinian terrorism. Meanwhile, out in the Mediterranean, there was some excitement of another kind.

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November 15, 2004

BALLOTS OR BULLETS?

Muhmoud Abbas, widely touted as Yasser Arafat’s successor, sparked machine gun fire when he paid a condolence call at the Arafat ‘mourning tent’ in Gaza. Two of bodyguards were shot dead, apparently as a warning to Abbas who is considered to be a moderate opposed to the Palestinian terrorism. Meanwhile, out in the Mediterranean, there was some excitement of another kind.

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November 13, 2004

CLINTON & ARAFAT'S COLOSSAL BLUNDER

An estimated 200,000 Israelis gathered in Tel Aviv's Rabin Square at the site where the former Prime Minister was assassinated on November 4th 1995. Among those attending was former U.S. President Bill Clinton and his wife, U. S. Senator Hillary Clinton and their daughter Chelsea. The U.S. President and the Israeli Prime Minister had become very close friends and Clinton, with tears in his eyes at times, spoke movingly about Rabin and the ultimate price he paid in his heroic quest for peace with the Palestinians.

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November 12, 2004

YASSER ARAFAT & MAHMOUD ABBAS (ABU-MAZEN)

Where Has Yasser Arafat Taken The Palestinians And Where Will Abu-Mazen Lead them Now? Dr. Dan Schueftan, Middle East expert at Haifa University, analyzes the newly evolving situation.

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November 09, 2004

ARAFAT'S DEPARTURE

The official news that Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat will not be taken off his life-support system was taken in stride by Israel. When Arafat was flown to Paris in serious condition last week, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon instructed his cabinet ministers to clam up, in light of the delicate situation. Jerusalem has been in a ‘wait and see’ mode - not wanting to be accused of intervening in the Palestinians’ internal affairs. The IDF Chief of Staff, Lt. Gen. Moshe Ya’alon did refer to what he called a new Middle East crossroad when he briefed the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.

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November 05, 2004

HISTORIC JUNCTURE A View Of the New Crossroads From Jerusalem

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has now entered a new historic juncture. Three roads now intersect; optimists hope it will lead from the current battleground to a new and different landscape; the pessimists feel it will be more of the same.

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November 01, 2004

REACTIONS - TEL AVIV BOMBING

Israeli officials say they are not surprised by the latest suicide bombing in Tel Aviv despite the fact that Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat has been hospitalized in Paris. Three Israelis, two women and a man were murdered when a Palestinian suicide bomber blew up his explosives in the crowded open air Carmel market of Tel Aviv. More than 30 others were injured, some of them seriously. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon made clear that he holds Palestinian leaders responsible. At a briefing to the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, a senior IDF Intelligence officer spoke of the terrorism continuing despite Arafat’s absence. Although Israel has a lot of details, it is not enough for a diagnosis of the Palestinian leader’s condition.

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October 31, 2004

SHARON - THE DAY AFTER

The Israeli Cabinet has discussed the new situation in light of Yasser Arafat being flown to Paris for urgent medical treatment. At the weekly cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Sharon spoke about the possibility of resuming the Roadmap peace process, if a new Palestinian leadership takes over. On the other hand, the Prime Minister was adamant that Arafat would not be buried in Jerusalem as long as Sharon is in office. Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz and Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom also weighed in on how Israel should deal with a new Palestinian leadership, if Arafat drops out.

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October 28, 2004

ARAFAT - THE DAY AFTER

Could the Israeli-Palestinian conflict be on a new threshold? Hopefully turning from terrorism and bloodshed to negotiation and peace? Or might the Palestinians be headed for a bloody power struggle with the extremists gaining the upper hand? This is the question Israelis are now asking if and when a new Palestinian leadership succeeds the reign of Yasser Arafat. In what is viewed as a conciliatory step, Palestinian Prime Minister Abu Ala has telephoned Ariel Sharon to apprise him of the situation. The Israeli Prime Minister offered all possible medical aid.

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October 19, 2004

DISENGAGEMENT - THE FINE PRINT & FIRE WORKS

General Giora Eiland, the head of Israel's National Security Council, Giora Eiland has briefed the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on the details of the withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and 4 Samarian settlments by the end of next year. Eiland disclosed that negotiations for Egypt to take control of the Philadelfee Axis are dragging on so the IDF will have to remain there to prevent Palestinian arms smuggling into the Gaza Strip. In another development, Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin has launched a blistering attack on Sharon's evacuation plan charging that it will endanger Israel's security.

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October 11, 2004

SHARON vs LIKUD

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has opened the Knesset’s winter session by announcing that he will present his disengagement plan to the House in another two weeks. Sharon was confident the Knesset will approve the controversial plan, which calls for the evacuation of the Gaza Strip and 4 settlements on the West Bank. Opposition leader Shimon Peres declared that his Labor party will support Sharon only if the Prime Minister proves he is sincere about really implementing the withdrawal. Peres sharply criticized the recent interview by Dov Weisglass, Sharon’s top aide, who said the disengagement plan was really designed to freeze the peace process with the Palestinians. Meanwhile, Likud rebels warn they will vote against the withdrawal. Analyst David Essing says some rebels warn if they cannot dissuade Sharon, they will topple him.

Tension was running high on the opening day of the new winter session. At stake are crucial Knesset votes on Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s controversial plan to withdraw from the Gaza Strip and 4 isolated settlements in Samaria.

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October 08, 2004

SINAI MASSACRE

Dr. Dan Schueftan: ‘Egypt Bears Responsibility For Failing to Halt Smuggling Of Explosives Through Sinai’

‘Israel Should Not Permit The Terrorism To Alter Sharon’s Time-Table For Evacuating Gaza Strip’

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October 06, 2004

SDEROT BLITZ

The Negev town of Sderot is preparing to celebrate Simchat Torah, the ‘Rejoicing of the Torah’. Last week, Palestinian terrorists in the Gaza Strip launched a salvo of Qassams into the town on the holiday of Succot, murdering small children and wounding many other civilians. Mayor Eli Moyal says his town has long been terrorized by the Palestinians who have fired some 400 rockets trying to kill and maim as many civilians as possible. David Essing has interviewed the Mayor of Sderot and analyzes the current situation in the midst of the IDF operation.

What do you call the random firing of 400 rockets at a defenseless town, 89 of which have hit every one of its neighborhoods? It is surely a blitz designed to terrorize the population. And what would be a ‘proportionate’ response?

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October 03, 2004

GAZA - 'Days Of Penitence' - Day 4

Israel Air Force Film Footage Catches Palestinians Using U.N. Ambulance To Transport Qassam Rockets

‘Days Of Penitence’, the major IDF operation to prevent Qassam rockets from hitting the Israeli town of Sderot, entered its fourth day by keeping pressure on the Palestinian terrorists. Over fifty Palestinians most of them armed, have been killed. The counter-offensive was launched after Qassam rockets blew up in Sderot on the eve of Succot murdering two small children; another woman was shot dead by terrorists and two IDF soldiers were also killed. Commenting on the situation, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon declared the Qassams will be stopped.In another development, Palestinians have been filmed transporting Qassam rocket launchers in a United Nations ambulance.

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October 01, 2004

GAZA BOILS OVER

The Gaza Strip has exploded into a major flare-up after Palestinian attacks murdered five Israelis within twenty- four hours. The current upsurge in bloodshed started when several of the Qassam rockets slammed into the town of Sderot inside Israel killing two small children, a two-year-old toddler and a four year old. Two IDF soldiers and a kindergarten teacher out for an early morning walk, were next in line. The IDF has hit back hard and the security cabinet ordered the IDF to go all out to finally halt the attacks. More than thirty Palestinians have been killed. Meanwhile, Finance Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Sharon’s main rival in the Likud, says the Prime minister may halt the Gaza withdrawal ‘if there is a catastrophe’.

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