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February 15, 2001 - Image 6

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2001-02-15

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6A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, February 15, 2001


Palestinian bus driver cas es into Isnelis; 8 die'

The Wishington Post
AZUR. Israel A Palestinian bus driver
steered into a throng of young Israeli soldiers and
civilians at a crowded bus stop near Tl Aviv yes-
terday morning, killing eight of them, injuring
nearly 20 and transforming rush hour into a
tableau of carnage.
Leaving the bodies of his victims strewn over
the sidewalk and roadside, the driver sped south,
leading Israeli police on a wild 15-mile chase until
he was shot, crashed into a truck and captured
north of the Gaza Strip, where he lived.
The hit-and-run attack in the heart of Israel was
the most lethal terrorist act here since 1997 and
the deadliest single event in the past 4 1/2 months
of violence. It reinforced a growing sense that the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict, having already taken
nearly 400 lives since the end of September, is on
the verge of escalating even further.
"Today every Palestinian is like a Scud missile,"
said David Bar Maoz, 33, an Israeli who joined an
angry crowd protesting at the scene of the inci-
dent. "Ile gets up, puts on his clothes and mows
people dosn.,
The Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat, at first
blamed Israel, which assassinated an alleged
Palestinian terrorist in Gaza on Tuesday, fior fuel-
ing a cycle of violence and revenge. "What is hap-

pening is an Israeli military escalation that has
direct consequences on the feelings of the Pales-
tinian people," Arafat told reporters while visiting
the Jordanian capital of Amman.
Later in the day, speaking at a news conference
in the Turkish capital of Ankara, Arafat said that
according to information he had received so far, he
believed the episode was an accident, Reuters
reported. "Whatever the cause, we are against the
use of violence and of course killing people," he
Prime Minister Lhud Barak ordered a.tightening
of the blockade on Palestinian towns and villages
in the West Bank and Gaza, including a closure of
border crossings from Jordan and Egypt -mea-
sures likely to inflict further damage on the already
crippled Palestinian economy. I c also barred even
Palestinian officials holding Israeli-issued '
passes from entering Israel. And he instructed
police to be on the lookout for all Palestinians in
Israel, of whom there are thousands at any time.
"This is further proof that terrorism will seek by
any mean to undermine our ability to endure,'
Barak said. "We are fighting for our right to mainlt
tain Jewish sovereignty and to live in this country,
and we shall do whatever necessary to fight For
this right."
A sharp escalation in clashes, begun shortly
before the Israeli elections last ieck, coittinued

through the day and evening.
At Least three Palestinian groups, including the
militant Islamic Resistance Movement, or HaItas,
claimed credit for yesterday morning's bus attack,
saying it was-carried out to avenge the death of
Massoud Ayyad, the high-ranking Palestinian
security official killed Tuesday by Israeli Apache
helicopters firing anti-tank missiles.
Barak, who rernains in charge until prime riinis-
ter-elect Ariel Sharon can form a government,
\,owed to punish those responsible. But relatives of
the driver, 35-year-old Khalil Abu Olbeh, said he
has no ties any militant group, nor is he religious.
And Israeli officials said Abu Olbeh, a married
father of five who was one of scores of Palestinian
drivers licensed to ferry Palestinian day workers in
and out of Israel, had held a clearance to enter
Israel for five years. ie clearance was reneved
two weeks ago by the Israeli General Security Ser-
vice aftcr a background check.
Abu Olbeh, whose leg was amputated in surgery
following the incident, was listed in moderate con-
dition and wtas under heavy guard at an Israeli hos-
pital. According to Israeli officials, he left the
(iaza Strip early yesterday morning on a daily run
with a busload of Palestinians - construction
workers, housepainters and handymen - dropped
oft' his passengers as usual just east of Tl Aviv in
Raie. then headed south.

Ansraeli police officer us his radio as he walks by the wreckage of a bus that
crahed into a crowd of Iraeli soldiers and civilians yesterday near Tel Aviv.

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Democrats, Republicans join
in criticism of Rich pardon
WASIING ITON (AP) - Ihe Justice Depatm official reords, along with records from Clinton s prsidential
in charge of pardons told a Senate committee yestiay that lirary and the Democratic National Committee in its prob
White House officials did not tell himthat Marc R owis a coihe pardon.
fuitire in the hours before former President Clintgrnt- Marc Rich has lived in Switzerland since just before he
ed him clemencv. as indicted in New York on federal charoes in 1983
As Democratic senators joined Republicans con- including evading more than $48 million in taxes, fraud and
detning Clinton's action, U.S. Pardon Attorneyoger participating in illegal oil deals with Iran.
Adams testified that the White House counselsffice At the Senate hearing, Sen. Richard Durbin (D-1.) said
told him in a midnight phone call only that thaich the Rich pardon "certainly raises the appearance of impro-
and his partner, Pincus Green, had been "living oad priety.
for several years." Sen. Dianne Felts
Meanwhile, the chair- "I made the kcision to pardon stein (D-Calif.) sai*
man of a House commit- she has "concems not
tee said yesterday he was Marc Rich baed on what I thought only about the Rich
told by the Justice Depart- pardon but about a
meet it will be "at least was the right 'ing to do." number of" others
one week" before officials granted clemency on
there act on the panel's - Bill Clinton Clinton's last day in
request to gant Rich's for- Formerpresident office,
mer wife, Denise, immu- Adams told the
nity from prosecution in exchange for her testimony to tl committee that he learned of Rich's fugitive status "from
panel. the FBI" after the White House told him records checks
Denise Rich contributed an estimated $450,000 to th should be done on Rich and Green.
Clinton Presidential Library, more than $1.1 million to the At the time of the pardon, Rich was listed on the Justic
Democratic Party and at least $109,000 to Hillary Rodham Department's Web site as one of the most wanted interna
Clinton's Senate campaign. tionalfugitives.
In a statement last night, the former president again Senate Republicans appeared yestereday to want to move
denied any impropriety in granting the pardon. sway from the issue, particularly after President Bush said a
"As I have said repeatedly, I made the decision to pardon hay earlier that "it's time to move on."
Marc Rich based on what I thought was the right thing to Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) distanced himself from
do," Clinton said. "Any suggestion that improper factors, rIlier remarks that lawmakers might want to look at
including fund raising for the DNC or my library, had any- ying to impeach Clinton again, and no other senator
thing to do with the decision are absolutely false. I look for- s picked up on Specter's call for a constitutions
ward tocooperating with any appropriate inquiry." )endment to put restrictions on the president
Claiming constitutional protections against self-incrimi- thority to pardon.
nation, Denise Rich has refused to answer questions from While it may be advisable for us to explore the facts and
the louse Government Reform Committee chaired by Rep. tcircumstances, this is ultimately a matter for the U.S.
Dan Burton (R-Ind.). Dartment of Justice and the United States attorneys, not
The commi tee has subpoenaed her American bank thongress," said Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
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