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December 26, 2003 - Image 24

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2003-12-26

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

No Nukes?

Israel relieved at Libyan move as "neighborhood"
appears safer.

Israel is concerned that while the
United States was concentrating its
efforts on preventing Russian nuclear aid
to Iran, Iran had quietly equipped itself
Jerusalem
with
equipment and know-how from
ibya's announcement that it
another nuclear power — Pakistan.
would end its capacity for
Still, the Israeli intelligence communi-
developing weapons of mass
ty was relieved.
destruction brought both
"The very fact that Libya will stop
relief and concern to Israel: relief that
dealing with ballistic and strategic
an implacable enemy was apparently
weapons as well as nuclear threats means
moderating its outlook, concern that
a serious load off the strategic threat over
Israel would come under pressure to
Israel," said retired Maj. Gen. Yitzhak
end its own reported nuclear capabili-
Ben-Yisrael, a former army intelligence
tY-
official now at Tel Aviv
After nine months of secret
University.
negotiations with Britain and
Libya operates a Soviet-sup-
the United States — and years
plied
research reactor at the
of crippling sanctions — Libya
Tajura Nuclear Research
announced Dec.19 it welcomed
1i Center, located about 40 miles
international inspections and
east of Tripoli. The 10-
pledged to destroy whatever
megawatt reactor started opera-
capabilities it had.
:,
Lion
in 1983, and is open to
President Bush said the agree-
international
inspection.
ment would bring Libya back
Qaddafi
Libya already had signed the
into the "community of
Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, but the
nations."
United States suspected that Libya was
In agreeing to sign what is known as
determined to find ways to build the
the additional protocol of the Nuclear
bomb.
Nonproliferation Treaty, Libya must
So why the change of course?
now allow for tougher, short-notice visits
Yehudit Ronen of the Dayan Center
of nuclear sites by officials from the
at Tel Aviv University suggested that
International Atomic Energy Agency.
Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi had
Iran signed the same protocol last
realized that the only way to preserve his
week.
regime is to drastically improve his
It is believed that Libya does not have
country's economy.
atomic bombs, but was close to develop-
Such improvement is not possible
ing a nuclear weapons capability.
without removing the economic sanc-
Addressing the Herzliya security con-
dons imposed on Libya and renewing
ference last week, Defense Minister
normal relations with the United States.
Shaul Mofaz said, "An eye must be kept
Qaddafi's concession was the latest
on Libya."
stroke
in a picture of a new, less-threat-
The United States and Israel have
ening neighborhood for Israel.
been discussing Libya's nuclear program
Iraq's strategic threat has been defused,
since May 2002. On a number of occa-
Iran has also accepted international
sions, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon
supervision over its nuclear programs
warned that Libya might become a
and Syria's President Bashar al-Assad is
nuclear power even ahead of Iran.
suggesting
a return to the peace table.
The good news from Libya won praise
Israelis were nonetheless braced for
around the world. Even Israel, usually
new pressures to sign on to the nuclear
cautious about Arab peace overtures,
treaty.
joined the choir. Foreign Minister Silvan
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak
Shalom praised the move at the weekly
was quick to demand that Israel, too,
Cabinet session.
give up its alleged nuclear potential.
Mofaz was more reserved, taking a
"I have raised the issue several times
"wait-and-see" approach, and gave the
with Israeli leaders such as Shimon Peres
credit for the Libyan action to
and they told me once the conflict is
'American determination and the cap-
over, there will be no need for mass
ture of Saddam Hussein."
destruction weapons," he said. "I hope
Mofaz used the opportunity to point
the conflict goes in the direction of a
at what Israel perceived as the real threat

solution."
in the region — Iran.

GIL SEDAN
Jewish Telegraphic Agency

L

12/26
2003

24

Two Israelis
Killed In Gaza

Lieberman Has
Request For Santa

Jerusalem/JTA — Two Israeli sol-
diers were killed in the Gaza Strip
and another wounded in the West
Bank.
The two were killed by a grenade
and gunshots as they traveled in a
jeep near the Kissufim checkpoint in
southern Gaza.
Israeli soldiers responded with
gunfire that wounded four
Palestinians, the Israeli daily Ha'aretz
said. An Israeli border policeman
was wounded slightly in a shooting
on the West Bank road between the
Tomb of the Patriarchs and the
Israeli settlement of Kiryat Arba,
outside Hebron.
The Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades,
linked to Yasser Arafat's Fatah move-
ment, and Islamic Jihad took credit
for the attacks.

Washington/JTA — Sen. Joseph
Lieberman, D-Conn., asked Santa
Claus for a good finish in the New
Hampshire presidential primary.
"I don't know if that was totally
presidential, but it seemed like the
right thing to do," the Jewish
Democratic presidential candidate
said after climbing into Santa's lap at
the Old Salt Eating and Drinking
Place in Hampton, N.H. He told
Santa he wants "a better-than-expect-
ed finish in the New Hampshire pri-
mary.
Lieberman is fourth in polls in the
United States' first primary, set for
Jan. 27.

Hamas Backs
Insurgency

Jerusalem/JTA — A Hamas leader
lauded the Iraqi insurgency against
U.S. forces.
Speaking in Beirut to mark the
1987 founding of Hamas, Khaled
Meshaal said those Iraqis fighting
U.S.-led coalition forces in Iraq have
turned the U.S. victory from a
"threat" to the Islamic nation to "a
point of strength, .and a point of
weakness for the American-Zionist
plan in the region," the Jerusalem Post
reported.

Israel Protests
Egyptian Spy Flights

Jerusalem/JTA — Israel plans to
protest unmanned spy craft Egypt is
allegedly flying over Israeli targets.
Israel says Egyptian drones, or
unmanned aerial vehicles, have been
spotted over the nuclear research
facility at Nahal Sorek and at a mis-
sile test site at Palmahim south of
Tel Aviv, the Jerusalem Post said.
Officials said they would take up
the issue with Egyptian Foreign
Minister Ahmed Maher during his
visit this week to Israel, saying the
flights violate 1979 cease-fire
accords.

Reform Makes
Poverty Top Priority

New York/JTA — The Reform move-
ment called on President Bush and
Congress to make fighting poverty a
top priority.
"Addressing hunger and homeless-
ness requires us to address its root
causes: unemployment, low-paying
jobs and high housing costs," said
Rabbi Marla Feldman, the director of
the Commission on Social Action of
Reform Judaism. A U.S. Conference
of Mayors report published last week
showed a sharp spike in requests for
assistance and shelter.

Kissinger
Backs Fence

New York/JTA — The United States
should support Israel's security barri-
er as the way to make peace, Henry
Kissinger said.
The former U.S. secretary of state
who brokered the end of the 1973
Yom Kippur War said the conven-
tional wisdom that peace is only pos-
sible if Israel returns to its pre-1967
borders no longer is true.
Instead, a defensible border secured
by a fence could pave the way to
fruitful talks, Kissinger wrote in the
Washington Post. "If properly coordi-
nated with an overall strategy, the
security fence could become a solu-
tion rather than an obstacle to
progress," he said. "If it sharply
reduced terrorism, it could provide
an incentive to negotiations."

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