Israel Resource Review 24th January, 2003


The Cairo Talks Continue: All Palestinian Arab Factions Discuss Coordination of Terror Activities
Roni Shaked and Smadar Peri
Arab Affairs correespondents, Yediot Aharonot

Twelve representatives of Palestinian Arab organizations will meet in Cairo today to talk about the Egyptian proposal for a unilateral cease-fire for a year. [Which would limit murders of Jews to beyond the 1949-1967 lines and confine killings to Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, Katif, the Golan and the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv road - DB]

Even before the talks began, and even before last night's attack, Hamas and Fatah's El-Aksa Martyrs Brigades announced: attacks will continue.

The Egyptian cease-fire proposal is meant to force Israel back to the negotiating table. Arafat and Fatah leaders agreed to the initiative, but the field operatives are opposed. The El-Aksa Martyrs Brigades have already announced that they are not bound by the decisions of the Cairo conference: "We will continue with jihad and suicide operations, since the Palestinian people have chosen struggle as the only way to get rid of the occupation." Hamas also announced: "We will not accept a cease-fire as long as the occupation forces continue their attacks against Palestinians." Islamic Jihad spokesmen announced their refusal to cease terror activities as well.

Senior intelligence officials, among them Director of IDF Intelligence Maj. Gen. Aharon Ze'evi believed before the conference that "no results will come of the Egyptian effort."

This article ran on the January 24th, 2003 issue of Yediot Aharonot

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Will Sharon's Vision for a National Unity Government be based on the "Bush Vision"?
Ben Caspit
Political Correspondent, Maariv

The new Israeli government's underlying principles will include the "Bush vision" for peace between Israel and the Palestinians and the founding of a Palestinian state.

This is one of the main points of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's plan to set up a national unity government after the elections.

In every speech and declaration, Sharon continues to say that he is determined to set up a unity government. Even his close associates, in closed meetings, are convinced that such a government will be set up, despite sweeping opposition from many senior figures in the Labor Party.

Right now, it is known that the prime minister has a contingency plan for creating conditions that will not allow the Labor Party to remain outside. "No Zionist Israeli party can ignore such a plan," one of the prime minister's confidants told Ma'ariv yesterday. "They will realize that the prime minister's intentions are genuine and their choice will be to either turn their backs on the country or to join."

"Bush's vision" includes the principles of the president's speech, with the "presidential vision" of establishing a Palestinian state alongside Israel, an end to hostilities, cessation of terrorism and ending the conflict.

Prime Minister Sharon welcomed Bush's speech, along with the Labor Party's support. Sharon intends to duplicate the guidelines of the outgoing unity government, add Bush's vision to them and make them into the basic guidelines of the new government.

Sharon's associates also hope for aid from Washington: something like a declaration by senior members of the American administration expressing concern over setting up a narrow, right-wing government in Israel. It could be that if the war with Iraq ends quickly and successfully, contacts could begin for a possible visit of President Bush to the region, during which the resumption of the peace process, in line with the president's vision, could be announced.

In addition, members of the Likud are holding discreet contacts with members of the Labor Party. Sharon's associates derived encouragement yesterday from statements by Shimon Peres, who said that the main obstacle to a unity government are differences between the Likud's platform and Labor's. The inclusion of Bush's vision in the next government will obviate that point, Sharon's associates said.

People in the Prime Minister's Bureau believe that the Labor Party cannot afford to remain outside. Members of the bureau said that the Kibbutz Movement will apply heavy pressure to join a unity government.

Senior figures in the Kibbutz Movement have already hinted at this in discreet contacts that have taken place. "The kibbutzim are entering a decisive year, a year in which they cannot remain outside the government," members of the Prime Minister's Bureau said.

Also, Labor Party local authority leaders will not be happy to find themselves in the opposition during a municipal election year. "In the end, public responsibility will win out," members of Sharon's bureau said yesterday. "The Labor Party is a responsible Zionist party. If it refuses to take part in government during such a significant year, it will not be able to evade responsibility afterward."

This article ran on the January 24th, 2003 issue of Maariv

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Concern in Likud: Collapse of Labor Party May Hurt Chances of Coalition Government
Nadav Eyal
Reporter, Maariv

Hard as it may be to believe, senior members of the Likud are worried about a possible collapse of the Labor Party in next week's elections. "You must realize, we want to set up a unity government, and every seat that Labor loses to Shinui or Meretz hurts the plan," a Likud member said.

A senior member of the party said that Labor's defeat is a basic interest for the Likud. But there are fears that Shinui will become the second largest party in Israel and cause a stalemate in coalition contacts, which would cause "political chaos," as the senior member put it. "The prime minister is certainly happy about the Likud's increase in strength and anticipated victory, but is concerned about the way the political arena is taking shape," an associate of the Likud said.

This article ran on the January 24th, 2003 issue of Maariv

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New Think Tank Proposes Revolutionary Method to Wean U.S. from Mideast Oil

Press Release: The Institute of Global Security

Since the September 11 tragedies, much thought has been devoted to how to extricate the U.S. from the morass of the Middle East, terrorism and endless troop commitments. One long stride could be made, say politicians and pundits alike, is if only the U.S. could walk away from its dependence on oil.

Now, the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security is proposing a relatively simple, efficient and economical way to do so.

In its Web site launched this week, IAGS offers a revolutionary scientific method to quickly wean the U.S. and the world from Middle East oil.

Though much research has been carried out toward transitioning the American motor fleet from the oil-based combustion engine to hydrogen-powered fuel cells,now, IAGS is advancing a faster, cheaper and more efficient method to fuel vehicles by using methanol--a hydrogen carrying liquid with physical characteristics similar to gasoline.

"Our plan is based on readily available technologies certified by the Department of Energy," says Dr. Gal Luft, founder and co-director of IAGS.

"If fully implemented, we won't have to buy one drop of Middle East oil for use in automotive transportation within the decade."

IAGS promotes using methanol as a carrier fuel for hydrogen, thereby simplifying the process of transporting and distributing fuel via existing gas stations, pumps and tanks. What's new here? That unlike in moving to pure hydrogen use which would take years, switching to fuel cell vehicles powered by hydrogen packaged as methanol would make the transition away from oil not only much more rapid, but also cheaper to the tune of billions.

Fitting an existing gas station to supply hydrogen in a methanol formulation costs less than $70,000, as compared to the $1.5 million cost of installing a hydrogen station. Instead of waiting for years to implement pure-hydrogen powered fuel cell vehicles, from a fuel supply standpoint this could happen almost immediately. Based in Washington and San Francisco, IAGS describes the side-benefits of moving away from oil to a made-in-the-USA fuel: economic stimulus and environmental improvement.

"Moving beyond oil could be our best economic stimulus," says the Web site.

"Every industrial and technological revolution in history inspired an economic boom and this one would be no exception. Building an infrastructure for mass production of next-generation cars and fuels would generate millions of jobs and revitalize the automobile industry as well as other related industries."

Press Release Issued on January 24, 2003

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