2 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, January 12, 2005
JERUSALEM (AP) - Prime Minister Ariel Sha-
ron called Mahmoud Abbas yesterday to congratulate
him for his landslide victory in an election to replace
Yasser Arafat, signaling Israel's readiness to work
with the new Palestinian team after years of boycot-
Both sides said a meeting will take place, but no date
Abbas' election victory on Sunday and Sharon's
success this week in putting together a government
that favors his plan to pull out of Gaza and part of the
West Bank this summer have raised hope the two lead-
ers can break through layers of mistrust built up over
four years of Israeli-Palestinian violence.
Alongside the optimism, both sides face internal
problems. Palestinian National Security Adviser Jibril
Rajoub resigned, and critics in Sharon's own Likud
Party complained that his new government cannot
survive without support from doves and Arab parties
- their bitter rivals.
Sharon congratulated Abbas "on his personal
achievement and his victory in the elections and wished
him luck," said a statement from Sharon's office, add-
ing, "They agreed they would continue talking in the
Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia said
plans for a Sharon-Abbas meeting were still in an
early stage. "When the right time comes, we will go
for a well-prepared meeting. We will not go just for a
meeting, but for a useful one," he said.
Sharon and Abbas last met in August 2003, during
Abbas' brief term as Arafat's prime minister. Abbas
resigned shortly afterward, blaming Arafat for refus-
Lel ready for
ing to hand over authority and Israel for failing to
accept his demands to ease restrictions and release
Israel refused to negotiate with Arafat, accusing
him of encouraging attacks against Israelis. The last
meeting Arafat had with an Israeli prime minister was
In Washington, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Pow-
ell said Abbas failed as prime minister because Arafat
"was in the way." Powell told Fox News if Abbas fights
those who support violence, "the United States will be
able to support him."
Before daybreak Wednesday, Israeli tanks entered
Gaza City briefly, and soldiers arrested two Palestin-
ians, witnesses and Palestinian security officials said.
One gunman was slightly wounded by Israeli gunfire,
they said. Israeli military officials said it was a "lim-
Abbas, widely considered more moderate than Ara-
fat, has spoken out against violence, calling attacks
against Israel a mistake.
Israel's first demand of the new Palestinian leader-
ship is to make an effort to stop the violence - a pre-
condition for peace talks.
After shunning Arafat for the last four years,
Israeli officials have said they are eager to get to
work with Abbas.
A senior Israeli Defense Ministry official said Yes-
terday that Israel is ready to hand over to the Palestin-
ians security duties in West Bank cities.
The official, speaking on condition of anonymity,
said discussions with the Palestinians on the issue
would likely begin in the coming days.
peace talks NEWS IN BRIEF
Israel has had security control over all West Bank
cities since launching a large offensive in April 2002
in response to a suicide bombing that killed 29 peo-
Abbas has refused to order a crackdown on the violent
groups, saying he wants to negotiate a cease-fire instead.
During his election campaign, he embraced armed
militants and pledged that the fugitives wanted by Israel
would be allowed to live as free men.
The Hamas and Islamic Jihad militant groups have
said they are ready to work with Abbas, but are resisting
his calls for a cease-fire.
Hamas militants fired several barrages of mortar
shells and homemade rockets at Israeli towns and Jewish
settlements in Gaza on Yesterday. No one was hurt, but
several buildings - including a synagogue packed with
worshippers - were damaged. Also, an Israeli wounded
Jan. 2 in a Palestinian rocket attack died yesterday.
Both the Israeli government and the Palestinian lead-
ership say they are committed to the U.S.-backed "road
map" plan leading to a Palestinian state. Neither side
carried out the initial obligations, stalling the process.
The plan requires the Palestinians to crack down on
militants who have staged numerous suicide bombings
and calls on Israel to freeze settlement activity on lands
envisioned as part of a future Palestinian state.
Israel has removed a few illegal settlement outposts,
but dozens remain, and construction inside veteran set-
Rajoub was the first senior Palestinian official to
resign since Abbas won the election, but he left the
door open for his reappointment, saying Abbas should
be able to choose his own security adviser.
An aerial view shows a southwestern corner of Banda Aceh, Indonesia from
a U.S. Navy hellicopter from the USS Abraham Lincoln yesterday. The west
coast of Aceh province was devastated by the Dec. 26 tsunami wave.
Tsunami aid may
take from others
GENEVA (AP) - The record generos-
ity toward tsunami victims - now at morec se .
than $4 billion pledged - should set the We are seeg an
standard for caring for the world's most des-
perate people, the U.N. humanitarian chief effort,
said yesterday. But aid group Oxfam said it p robablyunique
fears the money might simply be rerouted .f
from existing funds for Africa. in the history of
Jan Egeland, U.N. undersecretary-gen-
eral for humanitarian affairs, said a new humankind."
outside auditing system will not only
prove a further guard against any misuse
of funds given to the United Nations, but-Jan Egeland
will also make sure governments meet U.N. undersecretary general for
their pledges. humanitarian affairs
"We are seeing an extraordinary effort,
probably unique in the history of human-
kind," Egeland said after an 81-nation
meeting with ministers and other officials.
Both Indonesia and Sri Lanka tried yesterday to defuse tensions with insurgen-
cies to make sure aid efforts aren't disrupted on the ground.
Indonesia offered a cease-fire to rebels in Aceh province, the area hardest-hit by
the Dec. 26 earthquake and tsunami that killed more than 150,000 people. A rebel
spokesman said the offer was a positive step even if it was late in coming.
In a gesture apparently aimed at helping mend the rift between warring com-
munities in Sri Lanka, President Chandrika Kumaratunga - an ethnic Sinhalese
- announced plans to adopt a child from the disgruntled Tamil minority orphaned
by the tsunami.
So far, governments and international development banks have pledged more
than $4 billion to aid 5 million tsunami victims across the region. That figure
does not include private contributions
to many charities.
"We do not yet have the cash in hand
required to meet even the most urgent
needs," Egeland said. "We are in a race
against time and we need cash now if
we are going to provide assistance to all
in need during the next six months."
Egeland said $717 million has been
converted from pledges to binding
But some donors have failed to
make good on their promises after
past disasters, and aid groups say they
will keep the pressure on to make
sure the help recently announced with
great fanfare doesn't evaporate.
For example, donors promised more
than $1 billion after an earthquake
killed 26,000 people in Bam, Iran, in
December 2003. A year later Iran says
it's gotten only $17.5 million.
Even if all the pledges are honored,
Oxfam said it fears money earmarked
for African relief may be shifted to Asia
and urged countries to confirm that their
donations would be "new" money, not
taken from another aid project.
"At the moment we're looking at
Germany, who have confirmed that
all of the money that they're pledging
is new money," Oxfam spokeswoman
Amy Barry said. "Nobody else has
done that so far."
European aid commissioner Louis
Michel agreed. "It wouldn't be right to
deal with this tragedy by cutting assis-
tance for Africa or other regions of the
world in the grip of permanent humani-
Donor countries should have the same
generosity to all victims, he said.
"The world has never been richer,"
Egeland said. "It should be possible to
feed those 20 to 30 million people in
desperate need of assistance."
He noted that the United Nations has
accepted an offer from outside accoun-
tants to track operations. The system pro-
posed by PricewaterhouseCoopers "will
make donors accountable for honoring
their pledges and hold the United Nations
accountable for disbursing the money and
for doing a good job in the field."
"We will also work on a system of
immediate investigation of all possible,
alleged mishandling of funds," Egeland
said. "We cannot afford any question
Bush names Homeland Security chief
WASHINGTON (AP) - President Bush chose federal appeals court judge
Michael Chertoff to be his new Homeland Security chief, turning to a former fed-
eral prosecutor who helped to fight terrorism.
"Mike has shown a deep commitment to the cause of justice and an unwavering
determination to protect the American people," Bush said. "Mike has also been a
key leader in the war on terror."
Chertoff headed the Justice Department's criminal division from 2001 to 2003,
where he played a central role in the nation's legal response to the Sept. 11 attacks,
before the president named him to appeals court position in New Jersey.
Chertoff, a federal appellate judge with the 3rd U.S. Court of Appeals in Phila-
delphia, would replace Tom Ridge, the department's first chief. "He leaves some
very deep shoes to fill," Chertoff said.
Iraq expands ilitary for elections
Some areas of Iraq will probably be too unsafe to take part in the Jan. 30 elections,
Prime Minister Ayad Allawi said yesterday in his first acknowledgment of limited
voting, and he promised to increase the size of the army in the face of a bloody insur-
gency, whose latest victims included 13 Iraqis killed by two bombings.
Allawi also spoke by telephone yesterday with President Bush for about 10
minutes to reaffirm the importance of holding the elections as scheduled, the
White House said.
In a news conference, Allawi said the government had allocated $2.2 billion to
expand the army from 100,000 to 150,000 troops and provide it with new weap-
onry. Iraq's armed forces are poorly trained and often under-equipped, making
them an easy target for insurgents who want to scuttle the elections.
He acknowledged that some areas of Iraq likely would be too unsafe to partici-
pate in the landmark balloting for a constitutional assembly. The country's volatile
Anbar province west of Baghdad and areas in the north around Mosul have seen
little preparation for the vote.
19 people missing in Calif. mud slide
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Scattered rain showers lashed waterlogged Southern Cali-
fornia again yesterday, hampering efforts to find survivors buried by a mud slide in a
coastal community and prompting hundreds to flee a mountain town below a rain-
swollen reservoir and along rising streams.
The succession of storms that have brought heavy snow to the mountains of North-
ern California and astonishing amounts of rain in the south was blamed for the deaths
of at least 19 people. The National Weather Service said yesterday that downtown Los
Angeles had recorded its wettest 15 consecutive days on record, with a total of 17 inches
of rain falling in the period ending Monday.
The storm was forecast to taper off late yesterday or early today and no new system
is expected through the coming Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend.
Complaints to be filed against election winner
The loser of Ukraine's presidential election said yesterday he would file massive com-
plaints in court challenging the win by Western-leaning Viktor Yushchenko, a move
that could prolong the political tensions that have dominated the country for months.
Although Yushchenko was declared the official winner on Monday, former Prime
Minister Viktor Yanukovych has refused to concede. He contends there was wide-
spread fraud in the Dec. 26 revote - a mirror of the strategy Yushchenko used to gain
the annulment of an earlier election in which Yanukovych was declared winner.
Yanukovych said his allies would submit the appeal to the Supreme Court to
demand "the annulment of the so-called rerun." He described the appeal as "a
convincing package of evidence that would prove election fraud."
Compiled from Daily wire reports
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