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October 31, 2003 - Image 24

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2003-10-31

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in online

This Week


) JN Digest

Selected news and feature stories
from the Detroit Jewish News.

) Back In Time

Look for Alexis P. Rubin's
"This Month in Jewish History"
for October.

Carrot And Stick

With road map in tatters, Sharon begins imposing unilateral solution.


) What's Eating
Harry Kirsbaum?



) America's Near-invisible

On www.jewish.com , a trip
to Walter Reed Army
Hospital reveals the number
of soldiers who need medical
care is far larger than the gov-
ernment lets on.

) Naches in the NBA

Skeptics who doubt that
interfaith harmony can
flourish where you least
expect it need only go to an
Atlanta Hawks game. Read
about it on
www.jewish.com .

jn advertisers


Ira Kaufman Chapel... www.irakaufman.com


DetailsArt.com www.detailsart.com


Patti's Parties ... www.pattisparties.invitations.com




For online
advertising, call

Jewish Telegraphic Agency

n the nearly two months since
Mahmoud Abbas resigned as
Palestinian Authority prime min-
ister, the United States has
stepped back from the Israeli-Palestinian
In the meantime, Israel has adopted a
two-pronged policy, taking bold unilat-
eral moves while encouraging Abbas'
successor to form a government with
which Israel can negotiate.
In the hiatus following Abbas' depar-
ture, the Israeli government has
approved the route of the controversial
security fence separating Israel from the
West Bank, hinted at plans for a second,
eastern fence that would cut off the
Jordan Valley from the West Bank,
stepped up anti-terror military activity
and called for bids to build over 300
apartments in disputed areas.
The policy cuts two ways: It begins to
impose an Israeli vision of a weakened
and truncated Palestinian entity, and it
puts pressure on the Palestinians to start
negotiating in earnest before that vision
becomes a reality.
On Oct. 1, Israel's cabinet approved a
-route for the security fence that — if all
the planned sections eventually are
joined — would include sizable tracts of
the West Bank on the Israeli side.
Moreover, in an Israeli television inter-
view last week, Prime Minister Ariel
Sharon intimated that, despite American
objections to the main fence's route, he
was contemplating a second, eastern
fence along the Jordan Valley. That
would have major implications:
If both fences are built, the entire
West Bank would be fenced in and the
Palestinians would get no more than 60
percent of the land.
Analysts who argue that this reflects
Sharon's bottom line were quick to point
out that, taken together, the route of the
two fences is very close to the borders
Sharon envisaged for the West Bank in
his 1989 autobiography, Warrior.
Commenting on the TV interview, a
senior Israeli official confirmed that
Sharon's intention was to keep the entire
Jordan Valley under Israeli control,
maintaining that plans for the eastern
fence had been approved in principle


but that there was no budget for it yet.
In the aftermath of Abbas' resignation
in September, Sharon also stepped up
Israel's anti-terrorist campaign. Ground
forces blew up tunnels in Rafah used to
smuggle arms from Egypt to the Gaza
Strip, destroying dozens of houses in the
In addition, special units killed or
detained terrorist leaders in the West
Bank, and Israeli fighter planes and heli-
copters ran operations over Gaza, where
a number of civilians were killed and
wounded along with the targeted terror-

the West Bank settlement of Karnei
Shomron and in Givat Ze'ev, a
Jerusalem neighborhood beyond the
pre-1967 border. Palestinian leaders
accused Israel of trying to torpedo the
road map.
This time, the United States was less
circumspect in its response, describing
the Israeli move as "a provocation" and
threatening to deduct the settlement
. activity's cost from the $9 billion it has
promised Israel in loan guarantees.
However, at the same time as he has
increased pressure on the Palestinians,
Sharon has been making overtures to

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon at his Jerusalem office this week.

The American response was remark-
ably low-key, especially after the Oct. 15
Palestinian bombing of a U.S. diplomat-
ic convoy in the Gaza Strip that killed
three Americans. U.S. spokesmen said
only that Israel should take into account
the consequences of its military actions
— a sign of American assent, if not

New Settlements

In late October, Israel made yet another
unilateral move: Despite its commit-
ment to a total freeze on, settlement
building under the road-map peace plan,
the Housing Ministry called for bids for
the construction of 333 apartments in

Ahmed Karia, who replaced Abbas and
has been heading an emergency cabinet
appointed by P.A. President Yasser
Arafat. Sharon's bureau chief, Dov
Weisglass, is scheduled to meet leading
Palestinians soon, including Finance
Minister Salam Fayad, to explore ways
of taking the road map forward.
Maj. Gen. Amos Gilad, head of the
Israel Defense Ministry's new political
department, plans to hold preliminary
talks with Karia confidants on security
matters. Moreover, partly to ease what
the army calls an "explosive pressure
cooker" situation in Palestinian areas and
partly to encourage Karia, Sharon and
Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz have
decided to ease some of the restrictions

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