Tuesday, April 30, 2002

Israelis Refuse to Cooperate With U.N. Team
Peres said he feared Israeli soldiers would be put on trial ''like any crime committed in civilian life.''

``The story began with the so-called fact that 3,000 Palestinian civilians lost their life'' but now Palestinians are saying it is down to several hundred, he told CNN. ``To the best of our knowledge, seven civilian persons lost their life (in Jenin).''

Peres said no American commander would allow such an investigation of a U.S. soldier fighting terrorism or otherwise defending his country.
Annan told reporters the United Nations had ``done everything'' to meet Israeli concerns.

``We've really done everything to deal with their concerns. And I think we've been very forthcoming,'' Annan said. He noted that Peres and Israeli Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer both had told him a U.N. team would be welcome and assured him Israel had nothing to hide.
Israelis http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/international/international-mideast-un.html?todaysheadlines
United Nations Considers Dropping Inquiry Into Jenin Camp
``The Israelis are playing games,'' said Egypt's U.N. Ambassador Ahmed Aboul Gheit. ``They are procrastinating and they are today facing the United Nations and rebuffing the secretary-general's position as well as the Security Council.''
Palestinians Exit Bethlehem Church
Twenty-six Palestinian civilians and police emerged one by one Tuesday from the Church of the Nativity, the largest group to leave one of Christianity's holiest shrines since the monthlong standoff began between Israel's army and a group of armed militants inside.
Both Economies Drained. Palestinians' Is Worse.
As night approached, the rumpled 50-year-old Palestinian baker said he was worried but not yet panicked by the closed border nearby. His supply of flour from a mill in Israel was dwindling, but not quite exhausted. "I've got 50 bags," he said. "Enough for one more day."

The Israeli Army's monthlong sealing of the border with the occupied territories was meant to thwart terror attacks, but it has also weakened an already reeling Israeli economy and left the Palestinian economy in shambles, experts say.

An Israeli policy of importing foreign workers from Romania, Thailand and other countries has eased dependence on Palestinian workers. Their inability to come to work in Israel has not harmed the Israeli economy as much as it did during the first intifada, or uprising, in the 1980's.

But this time, repeated Palestinian suicide bombings have all but eliminated Israel's tourism and discouraged foreign investment. Israeli officials say they have spent $5 billion to to $6 billion on security since clashes resumed 18 months ago. The economy is mired in recession, and the government is scrambling to raise taxes, cut stipends and increase deficit spending to control a ballooning budget gap.
Inquiry Stalled by Objections From Israelis
"I think at this stage, it is very urgent that we go in, find out what happened and put all the rumors and the accusations behind us," said Secretary General Kofi Annan, who appointed the members of the investigative team a week ago.

The Israelis have raised a series of objections to the makeup and mission of the team, which is to investigate death and destruction during eight days of fierce fighting in Jenin. Last week, the Sharon government asked the group to delay its arrival until after the Jewish Sabbath on Friday so the cabinet could consider the matter at its regular Sunday meeting. But today there was still no Israeli approval. Nor did any seem likely, given the deep suspicion in the government that the mission is biased against the Israelis.

After briefing the Security Council on what he described as "disappointing news," Undersecretary General Kieran Prendergast told reporters: "The Israeli cabinet did not take a decision today as we had been led to expect. We are told the cabinet will begin meeting at eight o'clock tomorrow morning, Israel time, to take a decision and that we can expect a letter from the foreign minister afterward."
Breakdown in Talks on Standoff at Church
Israel has refused to allow more than small deliveries, and an angry Salah Taamri, the top Palestinian negotiator, said on Sunday that he could not ensure that people inside would react rationally any longer. "We don't know what a desperate person will do," he said.

Signs of that desperation emerged today.
About 10 a.m., Kalashnikov fire could be heard coming from the church compound, and the Israelis opened fire. One man, who the Israelis said had been seen on one of the compound's courtyards with a gun, was struck in the chest and killed.

The dead man was later tentatively identified by both sides as Nidal Abayat, a member of a hardened clan of militant fighters and organized crime members from the nearby town of Beit Jala, and not one who would ordinarily expose himself to Israeli fire. One Israeli military official said he had gone out into a courtyard, shooting wildly and courting death.
U.S. Says Monitors Don't Augur Security Force
A team of British experts is surveying the needs on the ground, and is to be joined by a State Department official to work out details over the next 24 to 48 hours, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell said today.

"Hopefully, a transfer will take place that will then allow Chairman Arafat to have the flexibility needed for movement around the occupied territories," Secretary Powell said, "so he can take up his responsibilities once again to end the violence, end terrorism, and to rebuild the functioning structures, recreate functioning structures within the Palestinian Authority so that we can get back to a path of security, a path of negotiations, and a path that would allow humanitarian and reconstruction aid to come into the region."
2 Views on U.S. Proposal: Relief and Apprehension
Surprised and pleased, Palestinian officials were hoping today that the American-brokered compromise to break the siege around Yasir Arafat would mark the beginning of even deeper international involvement to end the conflict.

Israelis worried that it meant exactly the same thing.

"We are creating a precedent here that might play against us," warned Yuval Steinitz, a member of the Israeli Parliament and a leader on security issues in the Likud Party of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. "I think it was a mistake."

Others glimpsed an opportunity. "The Bush plan can be the beginning of something," said Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator. "I really hope that this will pave the way for a broader international presence, and broader peacekeeping forces in our area to monitor everything."
Israeli Army Raids the Largest City in the West Bank
Wounded Palestinian fighters here who spoke on condition of anonymity said they had received orders not to resist Israeli forces. The Israelis seemed to be carrying out a small number of targeted raids and not engaging in the aggressive tactics and large-scale property destruction that marked other attacks.

The Israeli radio and Palestinian security officials said the incursion began with groups of special forces soldiers infiltrating Hebron dressed in civilian clothes. Two Palestinian policeman, who said they had heard rumors that Israeli forces had entered the city, described approaching groups of men in civilian clothes at around 2 a.m., when the men suddenly began firing on them.

"We started screaming `Arabs! Arabs! Arabs!' " said one of the Palestinian security officers, who spoke on condition of anonymity. "We thought they would stop shooting, but they continued." The man said he realized that the men with guns were Israelis when they spoke Hebrew to one another.

In the Saturday attack on Israeli settlers, when the Palestinian gunmen disguised themselves as Israeli soldiers, one victim said she heard a man shout: "Stop shooting! We are Jews!" to the assailants, who kept on firing.

Israeli military officials declined to comment on the specifics of the attack on Hebron. But Palestinians said all eight Palestinians had died in a missile attack on one house from an Israeli helicopter.

The raid appeared to involve the use of informants and Israeli special forces soldiers, who could be seen roaming the city today with their faces painted in black and green camouflage.

Neighbors gave conflicting accounts of just what occurred, but said that at roughly 4 a.m., a missile from a helicopter demolished the front wall of a house. In the bedroom where the missile struck, a watch sat on a bedside table this afternoon where its owner placed it before going to bed. A man's shoes and jeans sat on the floor nearby. Blood stained the carpet in the corner.

Palestinians complained that people who came to help the victims were then targeted by the Israelis. A doctor who came to the house to aid the injured was seriously wounded when a second missile struck the house, they said. A single bullet had torn through the front windshield of a car that had pulled up in front of the house. Blood covered the passenger seat and its car alarm still blared this afternoon.

Monday, April 29, 2002

Forensics Web Site a Must-See
Having trouble with DoS attacks? Want to figure out a way to see who's behind them or at least track down the source?

The complete answer is likely still some way off, but IT managers who want to track the latest forensic and sleuthing technologies should start at citeseer.nj.nec.com/park00effectiveness.html. This NEC ResearchIndex portal is loaded with links to papers that discuss the technical nitty-gritty of denial-of-service attacks, including the effectiveness of probabilistic (as opposed to deterministic) packet marking. This will be of interest not only to IT managers whose networks are vulnerable to DoS attacks but also to service providers that can unknowingly transmit problem traffic. Probabilistic schemes focus on adding compressed information to likely attack packets, thus giving victims a clue as to the origin of the attack.
Israeli Troops Move Into Hebron
Israel launched the Hebron incursion hours after accepting a proposal by President Bush that would restore Arafat's freedom of movement and remove Israeli forces from Ramallah.

The Jewish state was still resisting a U.N. mission to the ravaged Jenin refugee camp as U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan strove to overcome its objections to the fact-finding team that has been cooling its heels in Geneva since Wednesday.

Under Bush's plan, Israel will let Arafat travel freely. U.S. and British security personnel will guard six men whose extradition Israel had demanded.
Next Task for Bush Team: Getting the Two Sides to Resume Negotiating
In a region where the twin pillars of American interests are the strategic protection of world energy supplies through alliances with important Arab states and, separately, the strategic partnership with Israel, Mr. Bush's action sent a crucial message to moderate Arab states. It said that he was willing to exert greater pressure on Mr. Sharon's government to ease the confrontation that threatens to destabilize the region.

"This is just a beginning, it is not a seminal event," said a longtime Middle East expert, Anthony H. Cordesman, a senior fellow here at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. "The United States has got to rebalance its policy consistently and over time," he said, otherwise "it creates even more distrust because no one knows how to deal with the Bush administration."

Mr. Bush's telephone diplomacy followed a sober warning on Thursday from Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia that a "deep rift" between the United States and the Arab and Muslim world was coming if the United States did not force an end to the tense military standoff. That raised the immediate question of how blunt was the diplomatic instrument that Mr. Bush brought into play to resolve the standoff in Ramallah.

Saudi officials said tonight that the crown prince was leaving the country satisfied that Mr. Bush was pushing more aggressively to end the violence and to create a new framework for negotiations that could be announced in the next few days.

"Other shoes will be dropping very soon," one official said. "I think we will see a total Israeli withdrawal from all Palestinian territories" and an end to the standoff at the Church of the Nativity, using the same concept of allowing Palestinian militants to enter the custody of American and British guards.
Israelis and Palestinians Accept U.S. Plan to End Siege and Free Arafat
The compromise did not address a second siege, around the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, where Israel says wanted men are also holed up. Israeli and Palestinian negotiators met for more than four hours today but did not report finding a way out of the impasse.

The decision to accept the American proposal is likely to strengthen Israel's hand as it seeks to shape or perhaps eventually to defy the United Nations inquiry in Jenin, Israeli officials said. The government denies Palestinian accusations that the army committed war crimes in the camp, but it is demanding as the condition of its cooperation a say in the composition of the investigating team and in the scope of its mission.

Israel accepted the United Nations investigation on April 19, saying it would help demonstrate that the army did nothing wrong. But since then government officials have sharply criticized what they call a mission primed to smear Israel. In New York, the Security Council met this evening to form a response to the Israelis' stand.

Mr. Sharon had also become trapped by the siege in Ramallah. He wanted to exile Mr. Arafat, but he could not win his government's support for that step. He wanted to isolate Mr. Arafat diplomatically, but could not persuade American and European officials not to visit the Palestinian leader.

Further, he said in an interview on Wednesday, he was blocked from sending soldiers to raid the compound and extract the wanted men by a pledge to Mr. Bush that he would not harm Mr. Arafat.

Israeli ground forces have withdrawn to the outskirts of most of the West Bank cities and towns they invaded during the last month, in what the army described as a sweep for militants and their weapons laboratories. But soldiers and tanks have remained in and around Mr. Arafat's compound, which is in the heart of Ramallah, the unofficial Palestinian capital.
Israelis and Palestinians Accept U.S. Plan to End Siege and Free Arafat
Secretary of State Colin L. Powell first proposed the compromise during his visit here earlier this month for talks with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon of Israel, a senior Bush administration official said. The compromise originated in an offer of British supervision of the prisoners that Prime Minister Tony Blair made to President Bush during a meeting in Crawford this month, White House officials said.

They said Saudi Arabia also played a role. Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia bluntly told Mr. Bush during a meeting at the ranch on Thursday that United States policy in the Middle East was biased toward Israel.

Mr. Bush called Mr. Sharon on Saturday to press his proposal, and Palestinian officials said Mr. Arafat spoke by telephone today to Saud al-Faisal, the Saudi foreign minister. Meanwhile, Condoleezza Rice, the national security adviser, was talking with the Israelis by telephone, while Secretary Powell spoke with Mr. Arafat, President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, the United Nations secretary general, Kofi Annan, King Abdullah of Jordan and Jack Straw, the British foreign secretary.
News: Scientists breakthrough on Moore's Law
Scientists at Bell Labs, the research and development arm of Lucent Technologies, have found a way to peer deep inside a semiconductor and create an image of a single impurity atom in silicon, a development that will help scientists understand how impurities affect the properties of microchips.
This understanding of semiconductors at the atomic level is critical in devising manufacturing technologies needed to shrink the size of future generations of high-speed electronics, such as microprocessors, in a bid to keep Moore's Law on track.
Scientists at Bell Labs, the research and development arm of Lucent Technologies, have found a way to peer deep inside a semiconductor and create an image of a single impurity atom in silicon, a development that will help scientists understand how impurities affect the properties of microchips.

This understanding of semiconductors at the atomic level is critical in devising manufacturing technologies needed to shrink the size of future generations of high-speed electronics, such as microprocessors, in a bid to keep Moore's Law on track.

Moore's Law, observed by Intel co-founder Gordon Moore in 1965, posits that the number of transistors on a semiconductor doubles roughly every 18 months with a 50 percent reduction in area.
News: Review: Mozilla loaded up for browser wars
Best of all, Mozilla is completely free: no fees and no strings attached. Sure, we found some flies in the ointment, but we're hoping that the gold code cleans them up. Stay tuned for our final word.

No strings attached
In our informal beta tests, Mozilla 1.0 displays Web pages almost as quickly as IE 6, and it seems faster than Netscape 6.2.2. The Quick Launch feature (Edit > Preferences > Advanced, then select the Enable Quick Launch check box) preloads parts of Mozilla during Windows start-up so that the browser loads faster. How very Windows XP.

Surprisingly, such speedy performance doesn't cost a cent. Sure, other browsers say they're free, but most have hidden costs. Mozilla, on the other hand, doesn't come bundled in your OS like IE, doesn't plant AOL icons onto your desktop like Netscape 6.2, and doesn't bombard you with banner ads like Opera's "free" version.

Sibling rivalry
Nonetheless, a few worrisome bugs plague RC 1. For one, Mozilla doesn't play nicely with Netscape. When we installed Netscape 6.2.2 and Mozilla on our Windows XP test machine, the sidebars, panes that display bookmarks and similar items, disappeared in both browsers.

Mac users can't even run the two browsers simultaneously; if one browser is running, the other won't launch. At present, we cannot reach Mozilla reps for comment, but we hope the company fixes these glitches before final code.

Sunday, April 28, 2002

Israeli Cabinet Debates U.N. Mission
Palestinian Cabinet Secretary Ahmed Abdel Rahman accused Israel of trying to make the committee meaningless. ``They claim there is nothing to hide,'' he said. ``What then is the explanation of all these obstacles in front of the committee to prevent it from starting its mission?''

Israel originally agreed to cooperate with the fact-finding team, but it has grown increasingly critical of it. In recent days, Israel has sought delays in the team's arrival and sent representatives to U.N. headquarters in New York to try to expand the core team to include military and counterterrorism experts and to clarify its mandate.

The main sticking points had been Israel's request it decide which Israelis would testify, and that the team would not investigate Israel's military operations beyond events in the Jenin refugee camp, a militant stronghold that was scene of the fiercest battles of the campaign.
A Clash of Symbols: Defining Holy Sites on Faith
HATRED and violence are hardly new in the Holy Land, but the battle raging around the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem is especially heart-rending for many religious believers. Few events symbolize the tragedy of the current conflict more poignantly than the military siege at the place where the Prince of Peace was born. But was he?

"It's very doubtful that Jesus was born in Bethlehem," said Hershel Shanks, editor of the magazine Biblical Archaeology Review. "He's always referred to as the Nazarene, not the Bethlehemite. But there were very clear reasons for putting him in Bethlehem. He was supposed to be the scion of David who came back and gave us salvation, and since David was born in Bethlehem there was a desire to put Jesus there. This doesn't reduce the power of symbolic stories, but it's not historic reality."

The Middle East conflict is in part about conflicting narratives. Some of these narratives are as current as today's news, pitting the rage of a nation that views itself as occupied against that of another that sees itself under mortal threat. Others are historical, encompassing questions like whether Palestinians were pushed off their land when Israel was founded in 1947 or left of their own accord. But it is the clash of religious narratives that can arouse the most passionate emotion and controversy, and sacred places are at their heart.

History and religious tradition clash not just at the Church of the Nativity, but at many other sites in the Holy Land. One is the Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, from which, according to Muslim tradition, Muhammad ascended to Heaven. It is considered the third holiest site in Islam, after Mecca and Medina.

"There is certainly a tremendous gap between archaeological knowledge and what people want to believe from tradition," Professor Fears said, "but there are also gaps in what archaeologists think they can prove. Even when they can prove something or make it more likely, that does not in any way undermine the deep attachment that people have to these places."

Professor Fears said he did not believe that fighting in the Middle East was truly motivated by the desire to control holy sites, or by any other religious motive. If that is true, then no amount of discovery or proof will affect the course of the conflict.

"These arguments over protecting sites are used as excuses," Professor Fears said. "They're symptoms of much deeper problems. But the religious overlay does point up an inherent contradiction that's obvious and very disturbing. You have war raging in the places where Jesus and other great religious figures preached their message of peace. You can hardly imagine a greater contradiction than that."
Uglier the Images, Uglier the Rifts
BOTH sides call it the oxygen factory. An abandoned navy blue building made of cinderblock and sheet metal, it sits near an Israeli settlement here — and in the center of a chasm. An Israeli bulldozer will soon demolish it.

To Wael Ghusain, the Palestinian businessman who owns it with his three brothers, the factory is the last source of bottled oxygen for Palestinian hospital patients in the Gaza Strip, a $1.5 million investment and the product of decades of family labor. To him, the building's demise is a symbol of an Israeli settlement encroaching on Palestinian land.

To Lt. Itay Farkash, an Israeli soldier, the factory is a snipers' nest that threatens him, his men and the settlers they are here to protect. It is also proof of the failure of the Palestinian Authority to stop terror attacks on civilians. When the bulldozers arrive, Lieutenant Farkash will cheer and the Ghusain brothers will weep.

"All this bulldozing, just to protect their settlers," Mr. Ghusain said.

"I hope so," Lieutenant Farkash said.

Through decades of interminable conflict, Israelis and Palestinians have seen the same hillsides, houses and hopes through completely different lenses. But what is striking about reporting on different conflicts in the world today is that the exponential increase in the availability of information has done little to narrow the gulf between rival groups. Sometimes, it seems to widen it.

Satellite television allows rivals to watch one another's speeches and news broadcasts, if they wish. Or they can watch extensive coverage of a conflict by journalists from the West or other countries. The Internet offers endless Web sites and newspaper articles expressing the viewpoints of opponents, governments, aid groups, advocates and spectators. But none of it seems to matter. Opinions freeze in place. The middle ground erodes.

The gulf between Israelis and Palestinians appears to be the widest of all. Each side seems completely convinced of its victimhood. The recent Israeli incursions into the West Bank were legitimate acts of self-defense in the face of suicide bombings, according to Israelis. It was all a cynical plot to destroy the Palestinian Authority and reoccupy the West Bank, according to Palestinians.

The oxygen factory and the nearby settlement produce their own extremes. Near the settlement entrance, several young Israeli soldiers asked a photographer to take their picture last week. "Take his picture, he kills Arabs," one said, pointing to another. He added later: "I kill Arabs, too. He put a gun to his head and he shot him."

Dr. Ramadan Maged, an official in the Palestinian Ministry of Health, said the destruction of the factory would risk the lives of hundreds of people by eliminating the oxygen supply for hospital patients in Gaza. In truth, Israeli forces ordered the abandonment of the factory six months ago and the owners have been importing bottled oxygen from Israel, something they did for years before building the factory.

AND so the gulf remains. Satellite television now brings ghastly images — of Israeli victims of suicide bombings in Jerusalem, as well as of Palestinians digging for their dead in bulldozed homes in Jenin — into millions of living rooms across the Arab and Western worlds. And the Internet fosters scores of conspiracy theories about what is really happening — events that the mainstream media is supposedly covering up.

While rapidly disappearing, a narrow middle ground still exists here. Mr. Ghusain, the factory owner, said he supported Israel's right to exist and believed the settlement was the source of the problem. One soldier protecting the settlement said he would gladly give it away in exchange for long-term security.
No Solution in Sight for Bethlehem Church Siege
The Palestinians demanded that food be taken into the church and Taamari said this must happen before negotiations resume.

The Israelis have been trying to force militants trapped in the shrine to surrender for trial in Israel or exile. The Palestinians say the men should be sent to Gaza to face Palestinian justice if they are suspected of any crimes.

``They (the Israelis) still adhere to their stand,'' said Taamari, adding the Palestinians were seeking a compromise.

A second negotiator, Imad al-Natsheh, said both sides wanted a peaceful end to the impasse. ``The Palestinian team is saying: 'No to exile, no to arrest and no to interrogation','' he said.
Israel Accedes to U.S. Plan for Arafat but Resists U.N. Inquiry
The Israeli Cabinet, in a 17-9 vote, adopted a proposal by President Bush in which six wanted men inside Arafat's Ramallah compound would serve time in a Palestinian jail under the guard of American and British nonmilitary personnel. In exchange, Arafat would be free to move about the Palestinian territories or travel abroad for the first time since December.

Arafat accepted the U.S. plan, said his aide, Nabil Abu Rdeneh. He spoke after U.S. and British consular officials met with the Palestinian leader in his Ramallah headquarters to convey the U.S. proposal.

The deal would end the standoff at Arafat's shell-shattered compound, which Israeli troops have surrounded since the March 29 start of Israel's military incursion into the West Bank aimed at dismantling Palestinian militias. Dozens of Palestinian gunmen have been killed, including some on Israel's most-wanted list, and more than 1,500 Palestinians remain in Israeli custody.
Israel Decides Not to Allow U.N. Team Into Jenin
Israel's Cabinet decided Sunday not to allow a U.N. fact-finding team to come to the region to look into the battle in the Jenin refugee camp, a Cabinet minister said.

Communications Minister Reuven Rivlin, briefing reporters after a lengthy Cabinet meeting, said the United Nations had gone back on its agreements with Israel over the team, and so it would not be allowed to arrive.

After an international outcry, the United Nations, following a U.S. initiative, put together an inquiry team to look into what happened at the camp. At first Israel agreed, but then objected to the framework and procedures the team was to follow and to the composition of the team.

The Israelis insisted that the team be made up of military and terrorism experts, not political figures and experts on refugees.

Israel sent officials to U.N. headquarters in New York on Thursday to press the world body to change the nature of the team. However, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan refused to delay the dispatch of the team. Its members have been in Geneva, waiting for the green light to fly to the region.

Rivlin, speaking for the Cabinet, said the composition of the team and its terms of reference made it inevitable that its report would blame Israel.

"This awful United Nations committee is out to get us and is likely to smear Israel and to force us to do things which Israel is not prepared even to hear about, such as interrogating soldiers and officers who took part in the fighting," he said. "No country in the world would agree to such a thing."
Martyrs Brigades Member Mourned as Hero
The man, Isam Jawabreh, 24, was a member of Al Aksa Martyrs Brigades, and some of his last moments of life were vividly captured by international news organizations. Mr. Jawabreh was shot on Wednesday afternoon in a brief fire fight at the church, in Bethlehem. Later, still alive, he was carried out the Door of Humility and placed a stretcher in front of Israeli infantry and a tank.

During the evacuation, Mr. Jawabreh appeared to roll away from the stretcher bearers and fell onto the asphalt. It was not clear from the film what happened, and it is possible that he was simply dropped. Nonetheless, it was a scene, shown repeatedly on television here this week, that his friends and family have interpreted as his struggle to get back inside the church and continue to fight.

"He did not want to leave, and I am proud that he was defending his homeland when he died," said Nafez Jawabreh, his father.
Palestinians in Disguise Kill Four Jewish Settlers in the West Bank
It was the deadliest assault on a settlement since Israel began its sweep in the West Bank on March 29, and another blow to the fragile diplomacy seeking to contain the violence in the Middle East.

The attack was almost certain to prompt the Israeli government to consider dispatching more ground forces to this area, just as President Bush has stepped up his call for a full Israeli withdrawal from Palestinian-controlled territory. Mr. Bush is himself under pressure, from the government of Saudi Arabia, which warned him this week that he must temper his support for Israeli measures against Palestinians or risk undermining American credibility in the Arab world.

Peace Now has tracked the steady growth of settlements. In the last year, it says, it has spotted 34 new outposts in the West Bank

Despite Violence, Settlers Survive and Spread
With aerial photography, Peace Now has tracked the steady growth of settlements. In the last year, it says, it has spotted 34 new outposts in the West Bank — often just a couple of mobile homes, standing by the gash of a new road. The outposts are often strategically placed to claim a hilltop, to frame a major road or to hem in a Palestinian village. Palestinians know from bitter experience that such trailers have a way of turning into solid, lasting homes.

In all, there are 126 settlements in the West Bank and 19 in Gaza, according to Peace Now. Some, like the settlements just south of Jerusalem and Bethlehem, seem like suburbs of Los Angeles, full of doctors and lawyers seeking quiet places where, paradoxically, they say they feel secure, where their children need not lock their bicycles. Others, like the tiny settlement guarded by soldiers in the heart of Hebron, ecstatically pursue a religious vision, leaving bullet holes from Palestinian snipers unpatched as witness to their suffering.
Despite Violence, Settlers Survive and Spread
"For many Zionists, the notion of resettlement is a fundamental tenet of the ideology," he said. "And therefore the question becomes not if to settle but where to settle." The settlers, he said, are Israel's "strongest, most successful interest group."

Without losing the support of the left-leaning Labor Party, Ariel Sharon, Israel's prime minister, welcomed into his cabinet this month a religious ultranationalist, Effi Eitam-Fein, who favors seizing all Palestinian-controlled territory and holding it, while denying any Palestinians who live there the vote in Israel and envisioning a Palestinian state in Jordan..

Mr. Sharon, an architect for decades of Israel's settlement policy, said this week that the evacuation of settlements should not even be discussed until his term ends next year. He encapsulated settlers' own beliefs when he referred to one of the most isolated and heavily defended settlements, saying, "The fate of Netzarim is the fate of Tel Aviv."

To Mr. Weinstock and many other settlers, there is a religious war under way here, one that will never end, and one in which advantage can be gained only by possession of land. This is a war not between Israelis and Palestinians, they say, but between Jews and Arabs. It began long before Jews took the West Bank, they say, and it would continue if they gave it up, until they surrendered Haifa as well and left the region.

To Palestinians, settlers are the embodiment of illegal occupation. With startling red-tile roofs, fences topped with barbed wire and patrols of Israeli soldiers, the settlements stand on the hilltops where the Palestinians' grandfathers' olive trees once did, a daily reminder, they say, of their freedom denied. Settlers, they say, are fair game for resistance fighters, under international law.

Some Israelis share their outrage. Dror Etkes, the coordinator of the "settlement watch team" for the advocacy group Peace Now, conceded that those who argued for settlements from a security standpoint, rather than a religious one, had "historical and psychological ground" to stand on. But while settlements might enhance Israel's security for now by cushioning it against attack, he said, they were so provocative for the entire region that they would doom Israel in the long run.

"I don't see how occupation of millions of people, and establishing an apartheid system in the West Bank, is going to contribute to a constructive solution," he said.

Saturday, April 27, 2002

Fatal Flaws in the Justice System
…The death penalty has always galvanized public sentiment. And just as horrific crimes have brought cries for justice through death, so the exoneration of death row inmates has become a rallying point for opponents of capital punishment.

But from inside the criminal justice system, the whole debate about the death penalty can sometimes seem like a distraction. The reality is that for every person on death row, there are many more who will die before completing their sentences. They will die alone in their cells or in the prison yard. They will die from jailhouse violence or natural causes hastened by stressful conditions and substandard medical care.

The main causes of these virtual death sentences are three-strikes laws and mandatory minimum sentencing. Because of them, more and more people receive prison terms of 20 or 30 years or life with no chance of parole. In California, there are inmates serving life sentences for petty theft, receiving stolen property or possession of marijuana for sale. All over this country governments are spending more and more money on aging inmates — creating entire geriatric wards for prisoners no longer able to walk or talk, let alone maim or kill.

Long sentences are not rare. The next case I am likely to take to trial carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years to life. Why? Because my client is charged with possessing more than four ounces of cocaine. Just about every public defender I know has a horror story about a client who was the victim of a long mandatory sentence. Almost no one else remembers these prisoners. They do not face the needle or the electric chair, so there is no debate about them.

Because of the complexity and the potential punishment, defendants in death penalty cases are in some jurisdictions afforded better than average lawyers and greater than average resources. Many appellate courts look more closely at a case when the defendant has been sentenced to die. And yet we still make mistakes — not a few, but many. In Illinois, there were more innocent death row inmates exonerated than guilty ones put to death. There is no reason to think the error rate is any lower in cases that receive less scrutiny.
Israel's Threat of an Attack on a Church Is Pulled Back
Facing continued images in the news media of tanks leveling their guns at unarmed men at the church's entrance, and new accounts of hardship and solidarity inside from Palestinians who have emerged, the Israeli military repeatedly insisted that the standoff was actually a hostile seizure by about 30 terrorists. It said the people inside — including Palestinian officials and civilians, as well clergymen from three Christian denominations — were the terrorists' hostages.

The description contrasted sharply with the accounts of three young Palestinians who emerged from the church on Thursday to help carry two bodies. They said the people inside the church had taken shelter to escape the Israeli assault on Bethlehem's market early this month, and had stayed inside voluntarily to support the entrapped gunmen.
"Nobody can tell them to go out or to stay," said Fuad Hasan al-Aham, 19, one of the Palestinians who left the church at gunpoint on Thursday and were released by Israel early this morning. "The decision to leave or stay is a very personal one."

Mr. Aham said the Palestinians inside were content to remain another month, even though they had run out of food and were subsisting on a broth of boiled water and grass.

"The young men inside feel their presence is very important," Mr. Aham said, explaining that they help keep the grounds clean and stand watch, ready to assist the gunmen if Israel attacks.

The released men said Israeli snipers frequently shot into the church's windows and courtyard. At times, they said, civilians seeking food were shot at; also, they said, some religious objects had been damaged.

More shooting occurred today, as gunfire reverberated in Manger Square at about 3 p.m. About an hour later, a familiar scene repeated itself, as an Israeli tank and teams of infantrymen advanced in front of the tiny Door of Humility, and two Palestinians, freshly wounded by gunfire, were brought out on stretchers.
Saudi Proposes Mideast Action Led by the U.S.
The Saudi proposal, presented during Abdullah's meeting with Mr. Bush on Thursday, calls for an American-led effort to provide aid and help with reconstruction to Palestinians. The Saudis view a commitment of American aid to the Palestinians as a way of restoring trust with the Arab world and demonstrating American commitment to a balanced peace strategy, one that shows "solidarity" with Palestinians as well as Israelis.

The Bush administration has endorsed aid to Palestinians and reconstruction efforts, although progress has been stymied by violence.

The Saudi plan also calls for a renunciation of violence by both sides, as well as an end to construction of Israeli settlements on lands that would be part of a new Palestinian state should Israel accept the peace initiative offered in Beirut in March by Arab leaders. That initiative, proposed by the Saudi crown prince, offers Arab recognition of Israel and normalization of relations in return for Israel's withdrawal to the borders that existed before the 1967 war.

Officials in Washington said today that the Bush administration did not want to appear to be acting under pressure in responding to the proposals after Saudi officials warned on Thursday of "grave consequences" if the United States failed to curb the ongoing Israeli military campaign in the Palestinian territories.

Officials close to the Saudi delegation said that Abdullah, after delivering a sober warning to the White House on Thursday that a "deep rift" was coming in relations between Saudi Arabia and the United States over the Bush administration's Middle East policy, was hoping for an administration response before the crown prince leaves the country on Sunday, after dining with oil industry executives here Saturday night.
4 Jewish Settlers Killed Near Hebron in West Bank
The Israeli army said four people had been killed and six wounded, one of them severely, in the attack by one or two gunmen on Adora, a few kilometers (miles) west of the divided city of Hebron. The army had earlier put the death toll at five.

The attack came a day after President Bush insisted Israel must end its military offensive ``now,'' after another Israeli raid defied his earlier demands.

``The attack this morning against Israeli citizens in the West Bank proves that terror has not yet been eradicated,'' Israeli government spokesman Aryeh Mekel said.

Hebron was the only big West Bank city not reoccupied in Israel's offensive, perhaps because the army feared a full-scale assault would endanger about 400 Jewish settlers living in heavily guarded enclaves among 120,000 Palestinians.

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon unleashed the West Bank campaign on March 29 after suicide attacks killed scores of Israelis. Israel says many of the attackers came from the Jenin refugee camp, scene of the fiercest fighting in the offensive.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack on Adora and the assailants appeared to have escaped.

Friday, April 26, 2002

Israel Refuses to Recognize Greek Orthodox Patriarch
The Israeli government has once again refused to recognize the new Greek Orthodox patriarch of Jerusalem, the custodian of most of the Christian religious sites in the region.

The patriarch, Irineos, was elected by the bishops of the Jerusalem patriarchate in August and enthroned on Sept. 15 as the leader of the oldest and largest church in the Holy Land.

Since then, however, the Israeli government has refused to grant him formal recognition, a decision the cabinet restated on Sunday. It did so even though Prime Minister Ariel Sharon recently said he was prepared to go ahead and recognize the patriarch.

The situation prevents Patriarch Irineos from carrying out many normal functions, including holding a bank account or obtaining a visa for travel.

The reason most often stated by Israeli officials is a suspicion that Patriarch Irineos is sympathetic to the Palestinian Authority, though no concrete evidence has been offered. Before his election, Patriarch Irineos was for 20 years the Jerusalem patriarchate's representative to Greece.

Various Israeli officials and experts said the real issue was the vast real estate holdings of the patriarchate, including land on which the Parliament stands and many other important properties in Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

Under the last patriarch, Diodoros I, who died in 2000, many questions were raised about the leases of land to Israeli property developers and the multimillion-dollar income from them. Many of the leases are due for renewal over the next decade.
Teens Relay Bethlehem Church Scene
Abu Surour, a lively, talkative kid, was among nine youths to emerge from the church on Thursday. On April 2, the day the standoff began, he was heading to Bethlehem's market to meet friends when Israeli troops began battling Palestinian gunmen, forcing him to seek cover.

He followed others through the 5-foot-high doorway into the church, one of the holiest sites in Christendom. The Palestinians, almost all of them Muslims, believed the church was the safest place from Israeli fire -- even more secure than the mosque at the other end of Manger Square.

Israel says it is only interested in the gunmen, and the others inside are free to come out at any time. And while some Palestinians have trickled out, most have stayed.
Most priests and monks, totaling about 40, have said they want to stay to protect the church. Several nuns -- the only women in the church -- have also remained. One is a nurse who has patched up Palestinians wounded by the Israelis.

Four Palestinian policemen emerged Friday. However, more than 100 policemen are still inside, along with about 50 civilians.…

After the nine youths emerged Thursday -- the largest single group to come out so far -- the Israelis interrogated them about the gunmen.

``We told them we don't know all the people inside,'' said Mohammed Najar, 16. ``The situation is extremely difficult. There isn't food, there isn't medicine, and there isn't enough water.''

Conditions were rough from the very first night.

As the group looked for a place to sleep in the cold, cavernous church, they opted for the warmest spot they could find -- the small cave believed to be the site of Jesus' birth, located down a series of steps from the basilica.

Up to 30 people, most of them youths, gathered there the first few nights, later moving upstairs to the basilica, where they conducted Muslim prayers, Abu Surour said.

In the long days filled with boredom and punctuated with occasional bursts of gunfire, the darkest moments came when two Palestinian policemen were shot and killed.

In the first instance, a policeman had helped extinguish a fire in part of the compound that was caused by Israeli stun grenades and was shot in the head as he was crossing a yard to return to the basilica, Abu Surour said.

The second policeman to die was shot by an Israeli sniper after he ran an electrical cord into the adjacent Casanova Hotel, the teen-ager said.

The policeman staggered back to the basilica, shouting, ``I don't want to die.'' But he collapsed minutes later.

The Palestinians built makeshift wooden coffins for the two bodies and placed them in St. Catherine's Church in another part of the compound. The decaying corpses remained there for more than 10 days until Abu Surour and eight other youths carried them out Thursday.

The standoff has brought criticism of both sides. The gunmen have been denounced for charging into the holy site, firing their automatic weapons wildly at the pursuing Israeli troops as they entered.…

The youths were so hungry on Wednesday, the day before they came out, that they ventured into a church garden and began snapping up green beans. But they quickly came under Israeli fire, driving them back inside.
Israel Raids West Bank City Despite Bush Call
Israel asked the U.N. to delay its investigation of Jenin refugee camp and sent troops back into a Palestinian city Friday, defying President Bush's latest call for an end to its offensive.
A Palestinian official said Israel's demand showed it had something to hide and urged the United Nations to get tough.

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan had insisted a fact-finding team arrive by Saturday to look into what happened during Israel's three-week assault on the West Bank camp. Israel denies Palestinian charges that troops committed a massacre there.

A statement from Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's office said Israel had asked that the U.N. team ``be held back until the points of dispute are discussed and settled.''

Israel had initially accepted the mission, then threatened to block it, apparently fearing its work would add to a worldwide outcry at the devastation in the camp, scene of the fiercest fighting of the West Bank offensive.

In Ramallah, soldiers fired teargas and threw stun grenades to halt several hundred demonstrators -- Palestinians, Israeli Arabs and foreign peace activists -- who marched toward Arafat's battered compound to demand his release. One person was taken to hospital after a stun grenade hit him in the head.
Saudi Tells Bush U.S. Must Temper Backing of Israel
"If Sharon is left to his own devices, he will drag the region over a cliff," Adel al-Jubeir, the foreign policy adviser to the crown prince, said after the meetings between Mr. Bush and the prince. "That does not serve America's interests, and it does not serve Saudi Arabia's interests."
In Grim Cortege, Nine Arabs Carry Dead From Church
The procession, which began at the entrance to the compound built on the site where Jesus is believed to have been born, could hardly have been stranger: a slow-moving column of weary Muslim teenagers, led by robed Christian monks, carrying bodies in front of Israeli tanks and paratroopers. The clergymen and Palestinians wore white cloth masks over their noses and mouths, hoping to limit the smell of the decomposing bodies in their charge.

The column moved slowly forward through air filled with the growl of idling tank engines, and obscured by the billowing swirl of thick gray smoke from Israeli smoke grenades. It stopped at the edge of the Armenian monastery under orders from the soldiers, and the coffins were pried open with a hammer and chisel and searched, first by a Palestinian medical team and then by Israeli soldiers, to ensure they did not hold weapons, bombs or militants seeking to escape.

At last, nearly a half-hour after the bodies were brought out, they were loaded into a hospital van and taken away.

The exit of the youths and the bodies marked a small breakthrough in the negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis to end the siege in Manger Square, now in its fourth week. But it also provided a searing image for Palestinians, some of whom were enraged that their dead had to be evacuated at gunpoint, after weeks of being allowed to rot.
"I saw how they treat my people and what they think of my people when they let that happen toour bodies," said Shefah Saman, a Red Crescent volunteer, who later in the day asked visitors to look inside the coffins and examine the badly decomposed remains at the Beit Jala Hospital.
Young Egyptians Hearing Call of 'Martyrdom'
One day recently, a 23-year-old Egyptian man, Milad Mohammed Hemeida, strode past Egyptian guards near the border with Israel, scattering them with a warning: "If anyone comes near me," he said, "I will blow myself up."

Mr. Hemeida kept going, security officials said, straight into the narrow no man's land that separates the two countries. From the other side, Israeli soldiers ordered him to stop, then fired over his head. "God is great!" Mr. Hemeida shouted back in Arabic.
One of the Israeli soldiers fired again, felling the young man with a single shot.

Mr. Hemeida was not carrying any explosives, officials said. But since his death the following day, he has been celebrated in Egypt as the first in a new line of Arab martyrs to the Palestinian cause.

The specter is one that has long frightened officials in both Israel and the Arab countries that surround it — of promising young Arabs, frustrated by a lack of opportunity at home and infuriated by Israel's treatment of the Palestinians, joining the fight in a way they have not done since 1948.

It is also a prospect that has suddenly become very real.

Egyptian officials have confirmed that half a dozen young men and women, including Mr. Hemeida, have been stopped trying to sneak into Israel since last week, apparently to carry out attacks. One Egyptian security official said that since last month, the security forces have been arresting several such young people each day.

In response, Egypt has tightened control of the border, carefully searching young people at checkpoints well back from the international line. Last Sunday, security officials outside this northern town turned back journalists trying to reach the city of Rafah, on Egypt's seven-mile border with the Gaza Strip, saying they could no longer visit without special Interior Ministry permission.
Arafat Court Said to Convict 4 Israel Seeks
The Palestinian Authority said a "military field court" under Ribhi Arafat, a military judge not related to the Palestinian leader, had given the four men sentences ranging from one to 18 years. A statement said Mr. Arafat had ratified the sentences.

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon promptly dismissed the trial. "I must admit it looks a bit strange," he said on the evening television news. "In addition, putting them on trial twice could have been avoided, since they will be brought to trial in Israel in any event."
The contemptuous Israeli reaction was not a surprise to the Palestinians. Western diplomats said the purpose of the trial was to bolster Mr. Arafat's claim that he was fulfilling demands to crack down on terrorists.

Israel continued today to mount raids into Palestinian cities and towns to kill or seize wanted men. Israeli officials have said the raids are likely to continue, as Israel elicits information from Palestinians captured in the incursions of the past weeks. At least six Palestinians were killed in the raids.

Marking a growing breach in Israel's efforts to isolate Mr. Arafat since it declared him an "enemy" on March 29, the Palestinian leader today met with the foreign ministers of Greece and Turkey. Israel had previously denied them access to Mr. Arafat, as they had to a senior European Union official, Javier Solana, who met with Mr. Arafat on Wednesday.

The United States and the European Union have refused to break relations with Mr. Arafat, and have warned Israel against trying to capture or kill him.

The Greek and Turkish ministers, whose feuding countries do not often join forces in diplomatic missions, said they had made progress in resolving the standoff in Bethlehem, where about 250 Palestinians are besieged by Israelis forces inside the Church of the Nativity.

The Palestinian trial in Ramallah, which began this week, was widely viewed as an attempt by Mr. Arafat to strip Israel of one of its main stated reasons for the siege on his headquarters. In addition to the handover of the assassins of Tourism Minister Rehavam Zeevi, who was killed in Jerusalem in October, Israel has demanded the surrender of Ruad Shubaki, an adviser to Mr. Arafat wanted by the Israelis for organizing a shipload of arms from Iran.

The Palestinians did arrest the assassins in late February, and they were subsequently transferred to a prison in Ramallah. When the Israeli offensive began on March 29, the prison was emptied and the men were brought to Mr. Arafat's headquarters. The Palestinians said they feared that the prisons would be targets of Israeli strikes.

In refusing the Israeli demand to hand them over, the Palestinians have cited agreements with Israel under which people wanted by Israel can be tried in Palestinian courts.
News: Patriot Act spawns free speech spat Some lawmakers and civil libertarians are attacking the 6-month-old Patriot Act, saying it has "created the danger that Americans will be afraid to communicate freely over the Internet."

Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., and Rep. Patsy Mink, D-Hi., along with the Free Expression Network--a coalition of organizations including the American Civil Liberties Union and the Electronic Privacy Information Center--blasted the act, saying it risks becoming an "unwise and unnecessary" restriction on free speech.

The bill, passed in the weeks following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, gives law enforcement unprecedented powers to monitor people's activities, including their Web and e-mail habits.

Group members issued a statement during a Capitol Hill briefing Thursday, saying that while they "support legitimate law enforcement activities designed to bring to justice the perpetrators of the Sept. 11 attacks and to prevent future attacks on our security, we oppose doing so in ways that fundamentally threaten democracy."

The group spoke out against a variety of alleged abuses--including detaining people without charging them or disclosing their identities, suppressing public debate, and needlessly monitoring citizens' Internet use.

For example, the group said that librarians can be forced to turn over records of patrons' Web surfing habits without telling them, and already 15 government agencies have removed "sensitive" information from the Internet.
ZDNet: Tech Update: Enterprise Applications / West Wing meets Web services
IBM and Microsoft are doing what comes naturally--angling to establish intellectual property rights and patents that would give them an advantage over competitors. They have the legal and engineering resources, as well as the economic incentive, to shift the balance of power. After all, the giant companies become giants by developing proprietary solutions that often include barriers to entry. Altruism is not a quality that would describe the builders of commercial or digital solutions in any market sector.

Yet, the evolution of the Internet at its core levels requires a kind of altruism and cooperation to ensure continued innovation that favors the whole and not the few. Like the telephone or airline systems, there are many points along which value for services can be extracted to benefit the supplier and the customer. The question is at what point in a stack of protocols and standards does value extraction conflict with creating viable options for customers and impede innovation?

Thursday, April 25, 2002

Sharon Suggests Arafat Could Go to the Gaza Strip
Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator, ridiculed Mr. Sharon's proposal. "He's announcing to you officially tonight that he wants to renew his occupation of the West Bank, and he wants to exile Arafat to Gaza," Mr. Erekat said. "I think this is the first time that Sharon reveals the extent of his plans."
Palestinians Evicted From Homes in Dispute With Israeli Rightists
Several dozen Palestinians have been evicted from homes in East Jerusalem after losing a legal battle against Israeli rightists working to settle Jews in Arab neighborhoods in the area.

Police officers removed the Palestinians from two apartment houses in the Sheik Jarrah neighborhood late Monday night. A resident of one building said it housed 40 members of an extended family.

The move results from the efforts of Benny Elon, a rightist Israeli lawmaker, who says his goal is to expand the Jewish presence in East Jerusalem to prevent the ceding of the area in any peace agreement. Palestinians see the area as the future capital of their hoped-for state. Several Jewish families already live in Sheik Jarrah because Arab tenants have been removed.
The Palestinians' removal followed a court ruling that the tenants should be evicted because they failed to pay rent to Jewish associations that the court said owned the land.

The evicted residents, some of whom have been sleeping in a tent on the street, assert that the land is Arab-owned. A court hearing on the claims has been scheduled for June.
No End to Siege at Church, but Talks Yield Small Steps
The two sides committed to releasing about a dozen youths from the compound — including two who the Israeli military said were 10 years old — and to removing the remains of two gunmen killed in the first days of the fighting.

But negotiators remained unable to agree on the central question of which people inside the basilica were to be considered terrorists, and how they would be handled upon their surrender.

Talks were scheduled to resume on Thursday. Salah Taamari, the chief Palestinian negotiator, struck a moderate tone late tonight. "The meeting was constructive," he said.
Israel Eases Opposition to Inquiry Into Jenin Attack
After a late-night strategy session led by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, Israel seemed to retreat somewhat from the combative stance it had assumed on Tuesday, when the government expressed strong reservations about the mandate and composition of the team and said it would stall its arrival until Israel was assured it would not expand into a "set-up to accuse Israel of war crimes."

Tonight Danny Ayalon, foreign policy adviser to Mr. Sharon, said the Israeli officials had been dispatched "with a very positive attitude, hoping to conclude very soon the things we had concerns about, and to move on."

The United Nations secretary general, Kofi Annan, had refused to reconsider the officials he named to the team, saying Israel had agreed that this was his choice, and declined to delay their work.

The Security Council promptly gave Mr. Annan its support, and Secretary of State Colin L. Powell declared, "It seems to be in the best interests of all concerned, especially the best interests of the Israelis, to let a fact-finding team come in and see what the facts are."
Passions Inflamed, Gaza Teenagers Die in Suicidal Attacks
"I want my grave to be like the grave of Muhammad, not so big," the boy, Yusef Zaqout, 14, wrote, adding how he would like to be mourned: "Don't cry for me. Bury me with my brothers the martyrs. And visit my grave if you have time."

Not long after that, he set out on Tuesday night with two friends, each 15, on a futile mission to attack the heavily fortified Israeli settlement near here. Armed with knives and homemade bombs that can easily be purchased on the street here, the three were shot dead by Israeli soldiers 15 yards from the settlement's exterior wall.

The age of the three boys and their backgrounds — all said by Yusef's relatives to be excellent students from middle-class families — shocked even Palestinians here who have witnessed rising levels of violence in the current conflict and have seen it draw in younger and younger victims and participants.
Saudi to Warn Bush of Rupture Over Israel Policy
Those familiar with the prince's "talking points" said he would deliver a blunt message that Mr. Bush is perceived to have endorsed — despite his protests to the contrary — Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's military incursion into the West Bank.

Abdullah believes Mr. Bush has lost credibility by failing to follow through on his demand two weeks ago that Mr. Sharon withdraw Israeli troops from the West Bank and end the sieges of Yasir Arafat's compound in Ramallah and of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.

If those events occur and Mr. Bush makes a commitment "to go for peace" by convening an international conference, as his father did after the Persian Gulf war, to press for a final settlement and a Palestinian state, the Saudi view would change dramatically.

But those close to the Saudi delegation said there was no expectation that Mr. Bush is prepared to apply the pressure necessary to force such an outcome.

"The perception in the Middle East, from the far left to the far right, is that America is totally sponsoring Sharon — not Israel's policies but Sharon's policies — and anyone who tells you less is insulting your intelligence," the person familiar with Abdullah's thinking said.

Wednesday, April 24, 2002

Gates Says Court Ruling Could Doom Windows System
The states want Microsoft to sell a version of Windows that allows computer makers to replace the Internet Explorer Web browser and several other components with software produced by rivals. The proposal says the stripped-down Windows must function without degradation.

But that, Mr. Gates said, is like expecting the human body to function without degradation after removing the heart. "There's so much dependency," Mr. Gates said in his second day on the witness stand in Federal District Court. "Every function that depends on the removed code will fail." Because Microsoft could not comply with the restriction, Mr. Gates said that he had concluded it would simply have to stop selling Windows.
This story is no longer available. Apparently AP recycles URLs On the 25th this same link is about the trial of four for the assasination of the Israeli Tourism Minister. Sorry

Israel Confronts U.N. Fact-Finders on Jenin Probe
Two Palestinians inside the Church of the Nativity compound were shot Wednesday and one of them died as Israeli and Palestinian negotiators gathered next door for a second round of talks to end the standoff at one of Christianity's holiest sites.

The trouble at the church, built over a grotto where Christian tradition holds Jesus was born, began about dawn, when a Palestinian was shot and seriously wounded by an Israeli sniper. The Palestinian was standing by a window inside the church, the army and Palestinian witnesses said. He was armed, according to the Israeli army, and was evacuated to a Jerusalem hospital.

A few hours later, two Palestinians surrendered, walking out of the church with hands up and turning themselves over to Israeli soldiers. The two men were wearing civilian clothes but were Palestinian police, according to a Palestinian journalist who recognized them. The two men said they were ill.

The Palestinian who died was hit in shooting that erupted about 5 p.m., as the Israeli and Palestinian delegations were arriving to start the second day of negotiations at the peace center next to the church.

Afterward, one of the Palestinians negotiators and a priest emerged from the church, carrying a badly wounded man on a stretcher. At one point, the bloodied man fell to the ground. He was taken to a Jerusalem hospital, but died a short time later, the hospital said.

After the shootout, Israeli soldiers briefly detained five journalists, including an Associated Press photographer, and confiscated their press cards.
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Annan Appears to Dismiss Israel's Balking on Inquiry
Indeed, even as Mr. Annan met this evening in his 38th-floor office with the Israeli Ambassador, Dr. Yehuda Lancry, to hear his objections, the leader of the fact-finding group, the former Finnish president, Martti Ahtisaari, and other officials were flying out of New York for a preliminary meeting in Geneva.

Israel said tonight that it would delay the arrival of the team until it agreed to its members and precise assignment, contending that its membership was stacked against Israel.
The fact-finding mission had been approved by the Security Council after Foreign Minister Shimon Peres had said Israel would not object to such a mission. In addition to Mr. Ahtisaari, the other members are Sadako Ogata of Japan, a former United Nations high commissioner for refugees, and Cornelio Sommaruga of Switzerland, the former leader of the International Committee of the Red Cross. Both have strong backgrounds of sympathy for refugees, and diplomats here said Israel was known to particularly object to Mr. Sommaruga, the former Red Cross chief.…

Diplomats here said the Israelis appeared to be upset not only by the absence of military experts, but by the presence of forensic experts and lawyers and by language used by Mr. Annan that they construed as suggesting that the mission might be expanded to areas other than Jenin.
Israelis to Delay U.N. Fact-Finders
The Israeli decision marked the second major shift by the government on the sensitive issue of an international inquiry into the actions of the Israeli Army inside the Jenin refugee camp during Israel's operations to ferret out terror networks in the West Bank. Much of the camp was left in ruins, prompting an outcry from Palestinians, international humanitarian organizations and foreign officials, including Americans.

Israel had initially opposed efforts by Arab members of the United Nations to have the Security Council order an investigation into Jenin, but reversed itself on Friday and said it would welcome a fact-finding mission appointed by Mr. Annan. "Israel has nothing to hide," Foreign Minister Shimon Peres told Mr. Annan.

The Security Council then unanimously adopted a resolution welcoming "the initiative of the secretary general to develop accurate information regarding recent events in the Jenin refugee camp through a fact-finding team."

On Monday, Mr. Annan selected Martti Ahtisaari, the former president of Finland, to head a team that included Sadako Ogata, a former United Nations high commissioner for refugees, and Cornelio Sommaruga, a former head of the International Committee of the Red Cross.
Israeli Snipers Playing Cat to Palestinians' Mouse
A sharpshooter in the Israeli Army reserves, Sergeant Doré was waiting to pick off any armed Palestinian who might emerge in or around the church compound. He said he had shot two during the three-week standoff at the church.

"I saw them fall the minute we fired at them, and I saw their friends drag them away," he recalled, his finger poised near the trigger.

Snipers like Sergeant Doré are a crucial part of the Israeli Army's siege of the church, where more than 200 Palestinians, dozens of them armed, have been holed up since April 2, when Israeli forces reoccupied Bethlehem.

Tuesday, April 23, 2002

Israel, Palestinians Negotiate on Church Siege
In Rome, Father David Jaeger, spokesman for the Franciscan custodians of Holy Land sites, said the group had filed a request to Israel's highest court to order Israeli authorities to meet humanitarian needs in the besieged church complex.

He said the request was to restore water and electricity supplies, to stop impeding the delivery of food and ``before all to permit the removal and proper burial of dead bodies.''
Palestinians Say Bethlehem Talks 'Constructive'
The first direct talks between Israeli and Palestinian negotiators on a standoff at Bethlehem's Church of the Nativity ended Tuesday, and Palestinian negotiators said they had made progress.

``We are close to an agreement, we hope,'' Palestinian legislator Salah Taamari told reporters after the talks. ``The talks were constructive,'' Bethlehem mayor Hanna Nasser said. ''We heard many offers. They will be materialized at 6 o'clock,'' he added without elaborating.

"My comment on what happened in Jenin was not about what happened during the battle, but what happened after the battle, the humanitarian situation."

From Oslo Talks to Jenin: U.N. Aide Comes Under Fire
Since he visited the Jenin refugee camp last week and expressed his horror at what he saw, Terje Roed-Larsen, the chief United Nations representative here and the man who began the secret contacts that led to the Oslo agreements, has come under an unusually harsh personal attack by the Israeli government. He has been accused of "record-high audacity" and "anti-Semitic ideas," and officials in the prime minister's office have talked of having him expelled.

The attacks may be the most furious the 54-year-old Norwegian has faced, but they are hardly the first. As an active supporter of the land-for-peace process that he helped begin in Oslo a decade ago, he has been assailed by both Israeli and Arab foes of the agreements. His denunciations of suicide bombings have also prompted some accusations of bias from the Palestinians.

"I feel supremely confident because I know I did the right thing and I know I'm doing the right thing," Mr. Roed-Larsen said in a telephone interview. "Any decent human being in that place on that day, seeing corpses dug out just below the surface, smelling the stench of decay, would have been shocked and horrified. That is not an accusation. That is a reaction to human tragedy."

The intensity of the criticism from the Israeli government has come as something of a surprise. The devastation of the refugee camp has been the focus of many news accounts, and other foreign officials who have visited the Jenin camp — including the United States assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs, William J. Burns — have deplored the destruction. Secretary of State Colin L. Powell had called on Israel to allow relief workers into the camp.

But it is on Mr. Roed-Larsen, whose formal title is United Nations special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, that the government of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon appears to have focused its greatest anger, especially since the decision to send a United Nations fact-finding team to Jenin.

While visiting the Jenin camp last Thursday, Mr. Roed-Larsen made various comments to reporters. He described the destruction by the Israeli Army as "morally repugnant," and said it was "shocking" that relief workers had not been allowed into the camp for 11 days. "Combating terrorism does not give a blank check to kill civilians," he said. He also infuriated the Israeli government by summoning foreign ambassadors to relate what he had found.
Palestinian Militant Group Says It Will Limit Bombings
Al Aksa Martyrs Brigades, a Palestinian nationalist group responsible for a number of suicide bombings in Israel this year and the only group to deploy women as bombers, said through a commander today that it would not send more bombers into Israel to kill civilians.

But the commander said suicide bombings were being planned against Jewish settlements and Israeli military targets.

The remarks were made by an Aksa leader hiding in Nablus, from which Israeli forces withdrew on Sunday after nearly three weeks of occupation. The commander agreed to an interview on condition that he be identified only as Abu Mujahed, his name in the organization.

Abu Mujahed said the group had survived the West Bank incursion and was planning for more war, but had decided to change tactics out of regrets about civilian casualties and concerns that continued attacks in restaurants, buses and clubs risked turning public opinion against the cause of a free Palestinian state.
"I am sorry for all the civilians that died in this intifada, both Israelis and Palestinians," he said. "I want to fight whoever is in charge of the government of Israel, not civilians."

He added, "What was happening is that we were delivering the wrong message to the world."
In All Corners of Ramallah, Big Footprints of Israel Army
At his destroyed hilltop headquarters, Jibril Rajoub, the Palestinian security chief in the West Bank, promised that he would rebuild his shattered Preventive Security Service. He declined to say how many of his agents had been arrested or killed during the Israeli operation.

"Destroying a building doesn't mean we have been destroyed," he said. "We will rehabilitate, we will repair, we will resume operations as soon as possible."

An unknown number of Palestinian police officers and security men were either detained or killed in the fighting with the Israelis, and policemen have yet to reappear on the streets of Ramallah.

Mr. Rajoub did not give any sign that his forces were now prepared to help block suicide bombers. After the heavy Palestinian losses of the last three weeks, Mr. Rajoub said: "I don't think that security coordination or bilateral relations with the Israelis is on our agenda right now." One of the security officers in the building added: "The Israelis will be the losers from this. Israeli security is in our hands."
Two Sieges Fuel Tension as Arafat Meets U.S. Envoy
As they maintained their blockade of Palestinian cities, Israeli forces returned today to conducting lethal, pinpoint strikes, killing at least seven Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and losing one soldier.

Palestinian ministers expressed fears that Israeli forces would storm Mr. Arafat's compound in Ramallah, where the meeting with the American envoy took place today, in pursuit of wanted men, a step Israel has not ruled out.

At his wrecked security compound, which Israel attacked in what it called a search for terrorists, Jibril Rajoub, the head of Palestinian preventive security forces in the West Bank, said that security cooperation between Israelis and Palestinians was now impossible.

"I think that the Israelis buried everything," said Mr. Rajoub, whose popularity has declined in part because he was seen by Palestinians as too cooperative with the United States and Israel. "A sea of blood and hatred has been created between us and the Israelis. I don't think that security coordination or bilateral relations with the Israelis is on our agenda right now."

He said that plans negotiated by the Americans over the last year to return the parties to negotiations were dead.

"It's over," said Mr. Rajoub, who at least until recently kept in his office a large photograph of George Tenet, the C.I.A. director and the broker of one of the American truce plans.

Monday, April 22, 2002

Israeli Army Seizes Press Cards
The Israeli army on Monday seized government-issued press cards from 17 foreign and Palestinian journalists covering the standoff between the army and armed Palestinians holed up in the Church of the Nativity.

The journalists were stopped about 400 yards from Manger Square and the church compound, where 200 armed men and about 100 clergy and unarmed Palestinians have been besieged for 21 days, defying Israeli demands to surrender.

An army officer told the journalists they were in a restricted area and insisted they turn over their press cards. The army did not produce any document backing up his claim that the area was restricted, as required by law.
Palestinians Say They Are Too Angry to Celebrate the Israeli Withdrawal
Israeli officials said they were hunting for wanted terrorists and collecting documents that linked the Palestinian Authority to attacks on Israeli civilians. Soldiers have ransacked every government ministry here, taking pivotal documents, like papers that Israeli officials contend show Mr. Arafat's support for attacks, and not so pivotal ones, like the information stripped from the hard drives of computers in the Ministry of Education.

But Palestinians see the goal of the operation as humiliation. Aymen Alkhatib, an engineer at the Palestinian Petroleum Corporation, whose offices he said were also ransacked, saw the incursion as a blunt message. The message of the Israeli leaders, he said, was: " `You as a people have to accept what we give you. If you start to feel strong, I will show you there is no one stronger than us. I will stomp on you.' "

Storeowners in the commercial district complained that Israeli soldiers trashed and looted their shops. Two of four statue lions in a monument in the center of the square had graffiti in Hebrew or Stars of David spray-painted on them.

Palestinians predicted a continuation of the cycle of retaliation and retribution of the last 18 months.

"There is a wound that we managed to cure," said Wael Abdullah, a 30-year-old policeman. "But unfortunately it was opened again."

He and other Palestinians complained that the Israeli forces that still surround Mr. Arafat's compound divide the city in two. Military blockades outside Ramallah prevent people living in outlying villages from entering the city, stifling the economy. Residents said a military blockade of the West Bank prevented Palestinians from traveling to Gaza.

"The problem will remain eternal," said Mr. Abdullah, who is from Gaza. "Any partial solution will not work."
Not Quite an Arab-Israeli War, but a Long Descent Into Hatred
Just over a year ago, on April 17, 2001, Israel for the first time seized a swath of Palestinian-controlled territory, in Gaza.

Secretary of State Colin L. Powell called the action "excessive and disproportionate," and Israel hastily withdrew.

But after that, the incursions became more regular. Israel's minister of tourism was shot dead in a Jerusalem hotel on Oct. 17. Within days, Israeli forces had invaded and taken positions in a familiar list of cities: Jenin, Ramallah, Bethlehem, Beit Jala, Tulkarm, Qalqilya.

This cycle repeated itself at least twice, at steadily more violent levels, before the last operation began. The question, as Israeli forces pull back, is: How could they ratchet up their military pressure the next time?
Israeli Army Withdraws From a City in Ruins
As the Israeli troops withdrew from this ancient city today after a three-week siege, they left behind residents who are short on food and basic services and seething over what they have endured.

The troops vacated a city in disarray. Much of Nablus was without water, and some neighborhoods had no electricity. At least three mosques and a Greek Orthodox church were damaged, and in places a few Israeli soldiers left behind taunting graffiti.

In Al Khadra Mosque, a thousand-year-old building set against a steep hill, the domed ceiling bore a large hole, and a section of its roof had collapsed into a pile of stones and concrete slabs. A message in Hebrew had been traced on a dusty column.

"Our shoes have been in your mosque," it read, according to three men there who translated it into Arabic and English for other worshippers. The message enraged Muslims who visited the mosque to pray.

"Peace for them is only a word," said Aref Aslan, who stood near the shaft of sunlight coming in through the hole overhead. "The Israelis wish murder for us. Now we wish murder for them."
News: Senator Hollings unveils Net privacy bill
"Privacy fears are stifling the development and expansion of the Internet as an engine of economic growth," Hollings, chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, said in a statement.

Hollings' proposal comes against a backdrop of consumer frustration over consumer data-collection practices. Among other incidents, drugmaker Eli Lilly was in the center of a Federal Trade Commission probe into the disclosure of e-mail addresses of hundreds of people. Three months ago, the FTC concluded that Eli Lilly violated its online privacy policy but that it did not face fines because the incident was unintentional and not a clear case of fraud. The company, however, agreed to bolster its existing security and to create an internal program to prevent future privacy violations.
con·cept: April 2002