2A - The Michigan Daily- NATION/WORLD
Barner could be extended in Israel NEWS IN BRIEF 4- ;
JERUSALEM (AP) - Israel is con- Skeptical Palestinians and human
sidering two plans to extend a barrier rights groups also called it an illegal V ,r rA AGUA, Nicaragua -
separating Israelis from Palestinians, land grab and said that the new barn-
officials said yesterday. Both would ers would in effect dislocate more than Church opposes 9-year old s abortion
likely claim more land for Israel and 200,000 Palestinians, leaving them on
muddy progress on a U.S.-backed plan the Israeli side of an imposed border..
for Palestinian statehood.
Israel says the electronic fences and
cement blocks that Israelis have been
calling a "separation fence" are meant
to protect Israel proper and Jewish
settlements from attacks by Palestin-
The barriers do not run strictly along
the border of undisputed Israeli territo-
ry; instead they bite in several areas
into the West Bank, which the Pales-
tinians claim as the heartland of a
future state, incorporating thousands of
Jewish settlers - and Palestinians.
Two proposals revealed yesterday
would increase the amount of land the
Palestinians would lose compared to
previous plans, although an exact fig-
ure was not available. Israeli officials
said the barriers could be demolished
and moved if and when a permanent
border is set for a Palestinian state.
Palestinian Cabinet minister Saeb
Erekat accused Israel of trying to sabo-
tage international peace efforts at a
time when the world's attention is
diverted by the fighting in Iraq.
"This is part of Israel's exploitation
of the war in Iraq," Erekat said. He
said he would seek clarifications from
"Before these new proposals, Pales-
tinians were going to lose between 8 to
10 percent of land in the occupied West
Bank and East Jerusalem. Now it's more
like 20 percent," said Michael Tarazi,
legal adviser to the PLO. The West
Bank's total size is about 2,200 square
miles, slightly larger than Delaware.
Israel began constructing a barrier
last year to try to keep out Palestinian
militants. Only a few miles of the
fence have been completed.
According to the initial plan, parts
of the fence were to run along the now-
invisible Green Line, which demarcat-
ed the frontier before Israel captured
the West Bank from Jordan in the 1967
Mideast war. Other stretches were to
run somewhat further to the east,
encompassing several West Bank vil-
lages with about 11,000 residents.
The Haaretz newspaper said one new
proposal involves moving the fence fur-
ther west in a way that would link to
Israel several clusters of settlements.
Yehezkel Lein of Btselem, an Israeli
human rights group, said the "main
impact will be that the movement of
Palestinians will be restricted and
many - we estimate 200,000 - will
lose work, be cut off from the land or
An Israeli soldier stands guard over workers building a concrete security
wall separating the Israeli town of Kfar Saba from the West Bank
Palestinian town of Qalqiliya as seen in this June 26, 2002 file photo.
face other restrictions."
The other proposal would extend
the fence east of the main Palestinian
cities in the hilly center of the West
Bank, in effect creating a buffer
between the West Bank and Jordan
and linking to Israel the Jordan River
Valley where several thousands set-
Defense Ministry spokeswoman
Rachel Niedak-Ashkenazi confirmed
the reports in principle but would not go
into details. "The raison d'tre of the
fence is to protect Jewish Israeli settle-
ments from security threats," she said.
"If and when peace negotiations take
place, the borders will be moved. The
fence is only made of concrete and
wire and can be brought down just like
the Berlin Wall."
Defense officials will formally pres-
ent the proposal for the western barrier
to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in
coming days. It is unclear when the
eastern proposal will be discussed.
Questions abound on how the pro-
posed barriers will affect Palestinian
villages caught in between.
It appeared unlikely that Palestinians
on the "Israeli" side of the fence would
be offered Israeli citizenship, at least
before any peace deal.
A child's private ordeal has touched off divisive debate in Nicaragua, where an
abortion on the 9-year-old rape victim outraged the influential Roman Catholic
Church, toppled a Cabinet minister and brought demands for liberalization of
The case began when the girl, daughter of an impoverished Nicaraguan migrant
worker in neighboring Costa Rica, was found to be pregnant. A 22-year-old man
was arrested on suspicion of raping her.
When hospital officials in Costa Rica seemed to oppose an abortion, the girl's
family brought her home with help from the Women's Network Against Violence
and sought permission for an abortion here.
Nicaragua is a strongly conservative society where Catholic teachings are taken
seriously and few pregnancies are ended legally. A law permits only vaguely defined
"therapeutic abortions." Government officials even observe a Day of the Unborn
Child. But the idea of a 9-year-old having to give birth shocked many Nicaraguans.
"I have never seen this country debating in the way it did," said Ana Maria
Pizarro, a gynecologist who directs a women's health center.
Television and radio stations were bombarded with calls from opponents and
supporters of an abortion for the girl.
Fighting provokes oil shutdown in Nigeria
Oil giant ChevronTexaco yesterday evacuated staff and shut down most of its
installations in Nigeria amid weeks of fighting between ethnic militants and gov-
ernment forces that has killed scores of people.
The development came as the militants' leaders accused the army of attacking
the Niger Delta village of Okpelama, near the company's main Escravos oil export
Ethnic militants have threatened to blow up 11 multinational oil installations
they claimed to have captured in retaliation for government military raids.
In a communique, Jay Pryor, chairman and managing director of ChevronTexa-
co's Nigerian subsidiary, said the company was evacuating its remaining workers
from the Escravos terminal and offshore rigs "to protect them from harm."
"The safety of people is our absolute priority," Prior said. The company earlier
evacuated most of its staff at onshore oil sites.
Battles between rival Ijaw and Itsekiri militants have drawn a massive armed
response. Villagers accuse the armed forces of indiscriminately pouring gunfire into
their towns, killing and injuring residents and causing others to flee their homes.
Gunmen slay 24 Hindus in Kashmin town
SRINAGAR, India - Gunmen with automatic
weapons killed 24 people, including two children, in a
Hindu village in India's only predominantly Muslim
state early today, police said.
The attack took place in Nadimarg, about 30 miles south
of Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu-Kashmir.
The gunmen overpowered village guards and grabbed
their weapons, police said.
Two children and 11 women were among those
killed, said A.K. Suri, the state's police chief.
Suri told a television news channel that a group of
more than 15 armed men attacked some 55 upper-caste
Hindus in the village.
Another police officer in Srinagar said the attackers
overpowered the village's security guards, snatched
their weapons and began firing at the villagers.
Two of the eight guards were missing, the officer
said on condition of anonymity.
Suri did not identity of the attackers but said Islamic
militants might be involved as part of their efforts to
drive away Hindus from the valley.
"This is not the first time it has happened," Suri said.
The attack came a day after gunmen assassinated an
-Is amic guerrilla leader who was expelled from Kash-
mir's biggest rebel group for holding secret talks with
Most of the state's Muslims inhabit the Kashmir val-
ley in the north, while the Jammu region in the south is
More than 300,000 Hindus have moved out of the
valley since 1989 after Islamic militants began fighting
for an independent Kashmir, or its merger with Pak-
Abdul Majid Dar, former Kashmir commander of the
Hezb-ul Mujahedeen, was fatally shot in the town of
Sopore, a separatist stronghold 35 miles north of Srina-
Indian security authorities were trying to persuade
Dar to take up a political role in the state wracked by
13 years of separatist violence.
India accuses Pakistan of sponsoring the insurgency,
which has killed more than 61,000 people.
Pakistan denies the charge, saying it only supports
the rebels' cause and does not give them any material
The South Asian nuclear rivals fought two of their
three wars over control of Kashmir, which both claim
in its, entirety.
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KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) - Sev-
eral Afghans who had been held at the
U.S. military prison in Guantanamo
Bay were released because they were
no longer considered a terrorist threat,
officials said yesterday.
A Pentagon spokeswoman, Lt.
Cmdr. Barbara Burfeind, said 18 pris-
oners had left the base at Guantanamo
on Friday to be released.
About 30 new prisoners were taken
to America's high-security island
prison in Cuba yesterday, bringing to
about 660 the number of inmates there,
Afgan presidential spokesman Sayed
Fazel Akbar said earlier that U.S.
authorities handed over 19 prisoners to
Afghanistan's Interior Ministry on Sat-
urday. There was no immediate expla-
nation for the discrepancy in numbers.
"According to the Americans who
investigated them, they no longer
posed a terrorist threat to the interna-
tional coalition," Akbar said.
Akbar gave no other details and it
was unclear if the prisoners were still
in custody. Interior Ministry officials
were not immediately available for
About 11,000 soldiers from 23
nations - the bulk of them American
- are headquartered at Afghanistan's
Bagram Air Base to hunt down Taliban
holdouts and remnants of the al-Qaida
In October, three other Afghans were
released from America's high-security
island prison in Cuba and flown to
Bagram, just north of the capital.
After a few days in Afghan custody
in Kabul, the government and the
International Red Cross arranged for
their transport home.
It's unclear how many Afghans
remain at Guantanamo bay.
Those who returned last year
recounted how they had been confined
in open-air cages and interrogated for
hour at a time Thev were not allowed
Helicopter crash in
Mghanistan kills six
A U.S. Air Force helicopter crashed
in Afghanistan yesterday, killing all six
people on board, the U.S. military said.
The HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter
was on a medical evacuation mission
when it crashed at about 11:20 a.m.
EST, about 18 miles north of Ghazni,
Afghanistan, U.S. Central Command
said in a statement.
The helicopter was not shot down,
the statement said.
The precise cause of the crash is
U.S. military officials in Washington
and Afghanistan said the medical emer-
gency and the helicopter flight was not
in connection with Operation Valiant
Strike, a mission involving members of
the Army's 82nd Airborne Division in
That mission, which began earlier
this month, is meant to root out rem-
nants of the al-Qaida and Taliban
believed to be operating in the area.
Sens. ask Air Force to
Sens. John Warner and Wayne Allard
are asking for a change in leadership at
the Air Force Academy because of a
sexual assault scandal, and have
requested that a female officer be
assigned to a top position.
In a letter dated Friday addressed to
Air Force Secretary James Roche, the
senators said new leadership would
provide a much-needed change in the
culture of the academy.
"Despite warnings and clear indica-
tions that remedial action was needed,
these officers failed to take effective
action to correct these problems," said
the letter, obtained yesterday by
The Air Force says there have been at
least 56 reports of sexual assaults of
female cadets over the last decade.
Allard earlier rejected calls for replac-
ing the commanders, saying it could be
an excuse for resolving the real prob-
lems at the academy.
Colorado, killing five
While some people continued dig-
ging out yesterday from a five-day
snowstorm that dumped as much as 11
feet in parts of Colorado, others headed
straight for the slopes.
_ Copper-Mountain' ski- reiort
spokesman Ben Friedland said business
was brisk, if not spectacular, at his resort.
He guessed that many residents would
like to be skiing, but were more con-
cerned about recovering from the storm.
"You can see the pent-up demand,
though," Friedland said. "It's nice to do
something with snow besides shovel it."
The storm had stranded hundreds of
thousands of people in their homes for
two days, others for up to five days, and
was blamed for at least five deaths.
By yesterday, most roads had been
cleared and the vast majority of resi-
dents could travel, even in Rollinsville,
the mountain berg that picked up nearly
90 inches of snow.
- Compiled from Daily wire reports.
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