2 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, March 29, 2002
Peace talks go on despite 20 killed NEwS II RIF
JERUSALEM (AP) - Israel's defense minister
met with army commanders yesterday amid growing
calls for massive retaliation for a Palestinian suicide
bombing in a hotel banquet hall that killed 20 diners,
many elderly, and wounded 130 at the start of the
Jewish Passover holiday.
. In response to one of the deadliest attacks in the
current round of fighting, Israel said it would exer-
cise its right to self defense, but stopped short of for-
mally abandoning U.S.-backed truce efforts.
In anticipation of a possible Israeli strike, Palestin-
ian government offices were evacuated in the West
Bank. In the town of Ramallah, Yasser Arafat's West
Bank headquarters, worried parents took their chil-
dren home early from school and residents stocked
up on food in expectation of a long Israeli blockade.
Despite the new bloodshed, U.S. truce envoy
Anthony Zinni pressed on with his mission to seek a
truce. Yesterday, U.S. officials said the envoy was
awaiting a speedy Palestinian response to a revised
proposal he had presented a day earlier, before the
bomb attack. Israel has already accepted Zinni's pro-
posal for a truce timetable, with some reservations.
Zinni aborted two previous visits because of spiral-
The Palestinian Authority said it "strongly con-
demned" Wednesday night's bombing at the hotel in
the Mediterranean resort of Netanya, carried out by a
member of the Islamic militant Hamas group. Arafat
met with his security chiefs and ordered the arrests
of key militants from Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the
Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade, a militia linked to his
In Wednesday's attack, 25-year-old Abdel Baset
Odeh, a Hamas member, walked into the Park Hotel
in Netanya at about 7:15 p.m., just as about 250
guests dressed in their holiday best were sitting down
in the banquet hall for the Passover Seder.
Odeh knew the area well; before he became want-
ed by Israel, he had worked in several Netanya
hotels, Palestinian security officials said. The attack-
er got past an armed security guard posted in the
lobby, walked into the banquet hall and detonated
explosives packed with nails and ball bearings for
The blast blew out windows and walls, overturned
tables and cut electricity, plunging the hotel into
eerie darkness. One elderly witness, who gave only
his last name, Breyer, said he was speaking to a
guest next to him at the time. "We talked. We heard
the boom," Breyer told Israel Radio. "He (the other
guest) and his wife and two children flew in the air,
with the wall."
Another guest, 70-year-old Yitzhak, said that as he
and his wife fled the inferno in the darkness, he
called out to a wounded woman. Yitzhak, who did
not give a last name, said he offered to help the
woman get up. "How can you help me?" he recalled
her saying. "I don't have any legs."
Hotel employees said many of the guests were eld-
erly. In all, 20 guests and the bomber were killed.
Police said a Swedish woman and several other Euro-
pean tourists were among the dead. By yesterday,
five bodies remained unclaimed, and three victims
were so badly disfigured that pathologists asked rela-
tives for DNA samples.
Eighty-one people remained hospitalized, includ-
ing 23 who were in serious condition.
In the deadliest Palestinian attack during the cur-
rent conflict, 22 young Israelis were killed when a
Hamas suicide bomber blew himself up at the
entrance to a Tel Aviv disco last June.
As Israel mulled its response to the bombing, Arab
leaders gathered at a summit in Beirut agreed on a
new, unified stand toward Israel, offering "normal
relations" in exchange for a return of the territories
Israel occupied in the 1967 Mideast war, the estab-
lishment of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its
capital and a fair solution for Palestinian refugees.
Raanan Gissin, an adviser to Israeli Prime Minis-
ter Ariel Sharon, said the Arab offer was "a very
interesting development, something that should be
pursued." Gissin said Arab states should now enter
into direct negotiations with Israel, perhaps at a fol-
low-up conference to the Beirut gathering.
A Hamas spokesman, Abdel Aziz Rantisi, said the
bombing was not an attempt to derail the summit or
Zinni's mission, but part of an ongoing campaign
against Israel. The group is pledged to Israel's
Death penalty requested for suspect
The Justice Department told a court yesterday it will seek the death penalty
against Zacarias Moussaoui, the only person charged in the Sept. 11 terrorist
attacks against New York and Washington.
Moussaoui deserves to die because he helped plot "the largest loss of life
resulting from a criminal act in the history of the United States," prosecutors said
in a filing with the trial judge in suburban Alexandria, Va.
Moussaoui, 33, a French citizen of Moroccan descent, is charged with conspir-
ing with Osama bin Laden, the hijackers and others to commit the Sept. 11
attacks that killed more than 3,000 people. He is scheduled for trial this fall.
Four of the six counts brought against Moussaoui carry a maximum sentence
The decision came after weeks of deliberations inside the Justice Depart-
ment and carries international implications, especially in Europe, where the
terrorism investigation continues in several countries that oppose capital
Moussaoui's home country, France, asked Ashcroft not to seek the death penal-
ty and noted the'French would not have to cooperate with U.S. authorities on the
investigation if the death penalty was invoked.
Serviceman killed by land mine in accident
Arab world offers
A land mine killed a Navy SEAL and injured another yesterday during a train-
ing mission near the U.S. base in Kandahar, Afghanistan, U.S. officials said.
Chief Petty Officer Matthew Bourgeois, 35, of Tallahassee, Fla., died in the
8:30 a.m. accident while his unit was training at the remote site, according to a
Defense Department statement. The other SEAL's injuries were not life-threat-
Bourgeois, a 14-year Navy and SEAL veteran, left a wife and 7-month-old son,
said Lt. Cmdr. Denise Shorey, a spokeswoman at the Little Creek Amphibious
Base in Norfolk, Va. She did not identify the other SEAL.
Shorey said the mine had apparently been placed by "the enemy," meaning Tal-
iban or al-Qaida, but it was unclear when it was planted.
The Taliban and al-Qaida mined and booby-trapped the area around Kandahar
before fleeing the city in December, following three months of relentless U.S. air
strikes and attacks by U.S.backed Afghan fighters.
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld expressed his condolences to Bourgeois'
BEIRUT, Lebanon (AP) - The
Arab world yesterday for the first time
collectively offered Israel recognition,
security and "normal relations" in
exchange for a full withdrawal from
Arab lands held since 1967 and a "just
solution" for Palestinian refugees.
Arab leaders gathered here in a sum-
mit gave their endorsement to the over-
ture, first put forward by Saudi Crown
Prince Abdullah. The offer also calls
for the creation of a Palestinian state
with east Jerusalem as its capital.
The United States welcomed the
unanimous decision, while Israel has
expressed reservations about the Saudi
plan. Still, Raanan Gissin, an adviser
to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, called
the Arab offer "a very interesting
development, something that should
be pursued." Gissin said Arab states
should now enter into direct negotia-
tions with Israel, perhaps at a follow-
up conference to the Beirut gathering.
Arab nations have so far resisted
A final statement by the summit
said that once Israel fulfills Arab
demands, Arab nations would "consid-
er the Arab-Israeli conflict ended, and
enter into a peace agreement with
Israel, and provide security for all the
states of the region (and) establish nor-
mal relations with Israel in the context
of this comprehensive peace."
The Saudi foreign minister, Prince
Saud al-Faisal, told reporters after the
summit closed: "If Israel wants securi-
ty and seeks peace, this is the way to
security. It cannot keep the land and
Arab League Secretary-General
Amr Moussa said the proposal had
been unanimously adopted during a
closed session, meaning hard-liners
like Syria and Iraq signed on along
with moderates like Egypt and Jordan.
"We welcome the unanimous deci-
sion to accept the communique at the
summit in Beirut," said Gordon John-
droe, a White House spokesman. "The
president applauds Prince Abdullah's
speech. We hope other leaders in the
region accept the plan as well."
The endorsement came as the
Arab delegations made displays of
unity yesterday, trying to ease tem-
pers after a stormy opening session
the day before. When the summit
opened Wednesday, the key leaders
of Egypt, Jordan and the Palestini-
ans were absent, and the Palestinian
delegation walked out after Yasser
Arafat was not given a chance to
address the summit from the West
Bank. The Palestinians rejoined the
The peace offer also faced opposi-
tion from militants.
As the summit's first day ended, a
suicide bomber blew himself up in a
hotel dining room in the Israeli coastal
resort of Netanya. The attack killed 20
diners and wounded more than 130
during a festive Passover Seder, the rit-
ual meal ushering in the weeklong
The Palestinian Islamic militant
group Hamas claimed responsibility
for the Netanya attack, though it said
the blast's timing had no connection to
the Beirut summit. Hamas officials
yesterday dismissed peace initiative,
saying Israel would not accept it and
the summit should instead back the
Italian demonstrators hold their hands in the air as they attempt to cross the
Kalandia checkpoint that lies between Jerusalem and the West Bank town of
Sharon "is not going to deal with
such an initiative," said Ismail abu
Shanab, a Hamas leader in the Gaza
Strip. "We do believe that the only way
to end the occupation in our land is
resistance and holy war, or jihad."
Arab states have long called for a
land-for-peace solution to the Middle
East conflict. But the statement by the
summit in the Lebanese capital was
their clearest offer yet of what sort of
peace Israel would receive. It was also
the first time that the 22-member Arab
League has collectively put forward
such an offer.
When Abdullah presented his pro-
posal to the summit Wednesday, Israel
said the offer of "normal relations"
was too vague and rejected any right of
return for refugees. Sharon has also
rejected any full withdrawal from
"Israel has reservations and objec-
tions, the Palestinians and Arab side
have their objections. The first thing is
that they should listen to the Israeli
side as well," Gissin said yesterday.
The Beirut declaration calls on
Israel to conduct a full withdrawal
from Arab lands occupied since 1967,
including the Golan Heights, taken
It also calls for a "just solution" to
the refugee problem based on U.N.
resolutions that. say Palestinians
should be allowed to return home or
receive compensation. Recognition of
the right of refugees to return to land
they lost in Israel has been a long-
standing Arab demand; the term "just
solution" appeared to leave room for
Israel has ruled out any return, fear-
ing that if Palestinian refugees came
back, it would undermine the state's
The statement also required Israel to
accept an independent Palestinian state
in the West Bank and Gaza Strip with
east Jerusalem as its capital.
ROME (AP) - Premier Silvio
Berlusconi said yesterday there is "no
need for particular concern" as his
defense chief criticized the U.S. gov-
ernment for warning that extremists
might target Americans in four Italian
cities on Easter.
Italy stepped up security after the
State Department warned on Wednes-
day that a "possible threat exists to U.S.
citizens in the cities of Venice, Flo-
rence, Milan and Verona on Easter
Sunday from extremist groups." It
urged Americans to be alert and avoid
After a Cabinet meeting yesterday,
Berlusconi said Italy was ready to deal
with any possible terrorist threat. "We
have put anything that can be put on
alert on alert," the premier said. "But
based on the information we have there
is no need for particular concern."
A U. S. official said the warning was
based on information developed in
cooperation with Italian authorities.
But Italian Defense Minister Antonio
Martino. who commands both defense
Vaccine stockpiles to
increase for security
The nation will have a lot more
smallpox vaccine than previously
thought in case of a bioterror attack:
New research shows 15 million stock-
piled doses can be stretched to make up
to 10 times more - and the govern-
ment is negotiating to buy millions of
doses discovered in a drug company's
Both discoveries are important
because, while the government has
ordered 200 million new doses to be
made by a British company, they won't
arrive until at least year's end and then
must pass testing to ensure they're safe
Having more vaccine already on
hand would buy more time to make
sure the new production is done
The nation quit routine smallpox
vaccination in 1972, and the disease
was declared eradicated worldwide
Farmers plant more
American farmers will plant more
genetically engineered crops this year,
including one-third of the corn on U.S.
soil, shrugging off international resist-
ance to biotech food.
The farmers are expected to grow
more than 79 million acres of genetical-
ly engineered corn and soybeans, the
nation's two most widely planted com-
modities, a 13 percent increase from
last year, according to the Agriculture
Department's spring survey.
The gene-altered crops require fewer
chemicals, making them easier and
cheaper to grow. The crops are engi-
neered to produce their own pesticide or
to be resistant to a popular weedkiller.
"Farming has become so competitive,
so small margin, that if we can find
something that works economically and
environmentally we'll jump on it," said
Minnesota farmer Gerald Tumbleson.
The Hickory Flat Elementary salad
bar is filled with dark little flecks these
days - spinach and other greens are
being mixed in to make the iceberg go
Want romaine at the Ruby Tuesday
restaurant a few miles away? It's on
"request only" status.
Lettuce is in short supply nationwide,
with prices quadrupling in some spots.
Blame it on freezing weather in lettuce-
growing areas of Arizona and Califor-
nia, where quality and quantity have
taken a dive this year.
The sticker shock is showing up at
school cafeterias and restaurants,
where lettuce is a staple not easily
"We're trying to stretch it as far as
we can;'said Faye Lynn Sams, the cafe-
teria manager at Hickory Flat.
- Compiledfrom Daily wire reports.
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