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Today`s News Headlines Translated from Palestinian Press - 13.6.2005

Palestinian Mission to the USA presents: Al-Quds, Al Ayyam, Al-Hayyat Al-Jadida

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AL-QUDS - MONDAY, June 13th TH 2005
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THE PA IMPLEMENTS DEATH PENALTY AGAINST FOUR PERSONS CONVICTED OF MURDER CRIMES
The Palestinian National Authority executed yesterday the death penalty against four prisoners who were convicted and sentenced to death penalty several years ago after they were found guilty of murder crimes. The step is the first of its kind since August 2002. The execution took place between 4:00am - 5:00am on Sunday morning at the Police Directorate and the Security Apparatuses Compound which includes Gaza Central Prison (al-Saraya) without prior notice.

The executed men are Mohammed Daoud al-Khawaja, 24, from Shate` Camp in Gaza, who was sentenced to death penalty on September 12, 2000 by the Higher State Security Court on grounds of killing citizen Mustafa Baroud on September 5, 2000. Al-Khawaja was executed by a firing squad at the Police Directorate in the city of Gaza. The second Palestinian is Wael Sha`ban al-Shobaki, 33, from Gaza, who was sentenced to death penalty on March 15, 1996, by Gaza Central Court on charges of killing citizen Suheil al-Sayyed. Al-Shobaki was executed by hanging at al-Saraya. The third Palestinian is Odeh Mahmoud Abu Azab, 27, from Khan Yunis, who was sentenced to death penalty on October 31, 1995 by the Central Court in Gaza on charges of abducting and killing a citizen. He was executed by hanging at al-Saraya. The fourth Palestinian is Salah Khalil Musallam, 27, from Khan Yunis, who was sentenced to death penalty on January 25, 1996 by the Criminal Court on charges of robbery and murder. He was executed by hanging at al-Saraya.

According to the documentation of the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, the number of death penalties which have been implemented since 1994 rises to 9 sentences while nine convicts were killed in extrajudicial means, out of a total of 73 death penalties sentenced by the Palestinian courts since 1994.

The Palestinian Interior Ministry affirmed that death penalties against four convicted men was implemented according to the law. On implementing the sentences against the collaborators, Tawfiq Abu Khousa from the Interior Ministry said when the judicial system completes its measures against them, the Ministry is the executive branch and will abide by the law and will implement the court decisions.

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights expressed its opposition to the death penalty calling on the PNA to replace the sentence with prison sentence since it does not deter the person in the countries where it is applies, such as the US and Saudi Arabia. The Center called for retrial of all those sentenced to death penalties in front of civil courts. The Center expressed surprise that the sentences were implemented against persons convicted of crimes and not against Palestinians convicted of collaboration with the Israeli occupation. The Center affirmed its strong opposition to the selectivity in implementing the death penalties, pointing out that dozens of sentences were issued by the Palestinian courts, including the Higher Court, but no implementation did happen.

HANNIYEH: HAMAS WILL FORM NATIONAL COALITION GOVERNMENT IF IT WINS THE MAJORITY OF PLC SEATS

Hamas leading figure Ismail Hanniyeh revealed that in case Hamas got the majority of the PLC seats in general elections and in case Hamas wants to form a government, it will form only a national coalition government away from the control of one party to rule the PNA and the PLC. He added: Hamas is coming to participate in the Palestinian institutions, including the PLO and the parliament, to assume its responsibility side by side with the Palestinian people and factions and political forces on the Palestinian arena and to contribute in building a new political system based on pluralism and participation to confront the dangers and challenges facing the Palestinian people and national cause.

He denied any reports about Hamas accepting the roadmap or the rules of the political game. During a seminar in Gaza, Hanniyeh outlined the conditions needed to establish a democratic climate and system, mainly the end of occupation and true belief in partnership based on respect of political pluralism and separate the judiciary system from the executive authority and establish an independent judiciary system and conduct a comprehensive reform of the security services and rebuild the PLO through democratic reform and transformation from meeting the needs of members of the factions to real representation of the people.

* Haaretz newspaper: International commissions demanded from Israel to hand over control over Rafah Crossing to the PNA.

* Washington imposed sanctions on Israeli military industry because it sold weapons to China. Washington halted cooperation in several projects and froze transferring sensitive equipment.

* Former Deputy head of Shabak Ofer Dekel: Israel will conduct in the future negotiations with Hamas which in interested in a peaceful Israeli withdrawal from Gaza Strip.

* Israeli Defense Minister Israel Mofaz: The disengagement plan will be implemented and in coordination with the Palestinians. The settlement blocs must remain under the Israeli sovereignty; the Jordan Valley is our eastern borders. Syria tries to reinforce strategic balance through improving its ground-to-ground missiles.

* Minister Shaath discusses with Saud Faisal the latest developments on the Palestinian arena. He conveyed a special letter from President Abbas to the Saudi leadership.

* The Palestinian Interior Ministry warns of launching rockets and the losses that occur due to such acts.

www.al-quds.com

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AL-AYYAM -MONDAY, JUNE 13TH 2005
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THE OCCUPATION IMPOSES TOTAL CLOSURE ON THE PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES
The Israeli Occupation authorities imposed a total closure on the Palestinian territories yesterday morning on the occasion of the Jewish Weeks Holidays. According to the decision, the occupation troops at Bet Hanoun Crossing prevented thousands of Palestinian laborers from crossing the checkpoint to go to their workplaces. There are 5,500 Palestinian laborers who work inside the Green Line. The Israeli Radio said the closure will last until Tuesday morning, explaining that Palestinians will be banned from entering Israel and patient cases will only be excluded from the decision. The radio said the decision came from the Israeli Defense Minister Mofaz.

* Two US envoys visit Ramallah tomorrow to prepare for Rice visit

* another act of desecration: occupation soldiers trample over holy Quran at Nafha Prison.

www.al-ayyam.com

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Al-HAYAT AL-JADIDA - MONDAY JUNE 13TH 2005
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TWO YOUTHS INJURED IN GUNFIRE SHOOTING IN RAMALLAH CAUSING PANIC AMONG CITIZENS

NATIONAL AND ISLAMIC FORCES TO MEET TODAY TO DISCUSS SECURITY CHAOS
The cities of Ramallah and al-Bireh witnessed yesterday once again gunfire shooting incident causing at least the injury of two youths before the security and police forces interfered and contained the situation and started an investigation. The Interior Ministry said a fight between two families occurred accompanied with gunfire shooting in Manara Square in the center of Ramallah causing the injury of two citizens. The Ministry said the security forces and police intervened and contained the situation and started an investigation. The streets of Ramallah witnessed a state of panic. The National and Islamic forces called immediately for a meeting to discuss the situation and the security chaos. They decided to hold a meeting today to discuss the situation and find radical solutions.

FATAH CENTRAL COMMITTEE CONSIDERS IN ITS NEXT MEETING IN AMMAN A PROPOSAL TO APPOINT QADDUMI AS VICE PRESIDENT
A Fatah official stated that Fatah Central Committee is considering in its next meeting in Amman a proposal to appoint Farouq Qaddumi, Head of Fatah Movement, as Vice President of the PNA. The official who preferred to remain anonymous said the proposal was formulated and is still under discussion during the recent meeting between Abbas and Qaddumi in the presence of PM Ahmad Qurei` and Fatah Central Committee member Mohammed Ghneim in Tunis. He added that both Abbas and Qaddumi agreed in principle over the issue of appointment but the proposal needs a specific formula on the description of the President. According to sources close to Qaddumi, the proposal will be presented to the meeting of Fatah Central Committee expected to be held in Amman on June 25, 2005.

AN ISRAELI CAMPAIGN AGAINST AL-QIDWA BECAUSE OF STATEMENTS IN WHICH HE REFUSED DISMANTLING THE FACTIONS AND CONFISCATING THEIR WEAPONS

AFTER ISRAELI THREATS ON ASSASSINATING THEM, DELAYING THE RELEASE OF 10 DETAINEES IN JERICHO PRISON
Palestinian Foreign Minister Naser al-Qidwa was subjected to an Israeli campaign after he made statements refusing to dismantle the factions or confiscate their weapons. The statements of al-Qidwa were on the front page in the Hebrew newspapers. Israeli Acting PM Ehud Olmert said the PA rejecting to dismantle the factions is like planting a bomb in the path of dialogue. He said: this rejection means that they are not capable of doing it. He said: there are two choices; either the Palestinians fight terrorism or Israel will have to do it.

Meanwhile, Abdullah al-Qarawi, spokesperson for the wanted men in Jericho, said the PNA decided to delay the release of seven prisoners from Islamic Jihad and three members of Aqsa Martyrs Brigades from Jericho Central Prison until June 15, after Israel exerted pressure on the PNA to cancel their release. He said Israel even threatened to assassinate the wanted men in case they are released.

www.alhayat-j.com

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OTHER NEWS
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Haaretz Report: Transfer control of Rafah Border to PA
Israel must transfer control over the Rafah crossing to the Palestinian Authority, and allow regular passage of people and goods between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, according to a final document on the disengagement plan drafted by the PA`s donor countries, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

The position paper was presented to the Quartet`s special envoy for the disengagement, James Wolfensohn, who visited Israel last week, and was submitted to Israel and the PA for comments.

The World Bank announced several months ago that aid for economic rehabilitation of the Gaza Strip would only be forthcoming if restrictions were lifted on the entry and exit of goods and businesspeople to and from Gaza.

According to legal opinions, continued control over the border crossings would leave Israel in the status of occupier, even after withdrawing the settlers and army, and it would therefore bear formal responsibility for a humanitarian disaster in the Gaza Strip.

The position paper rejects Israel`s proposal to relocate the border crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip from Rafah to the Kerem Shalom region. The document also rejects Israel`s stance that transferring control over goods entering Gaza from Egypt would entail severing the Gaza Strip from the customs envelope encompassing the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The document states that Gaza`s inclusion in the customs envelope is consecrated in the Paris Protocol, by which Israel is bound according to international law.

The document offers several supervisory mechanisms that would allow Israel, even after transferring control of the Rafah terminal to the PA, to efficiently monitor smuggling and attempts to flood the market with cheap goods of poor quality. One proposal is for the computers at the Rafah customs terminal to be online with the computers at the Karni crossing between the Gaza Strip and Israel.

The paper states that most goods from Egypt would reach the Gaza Strip by sea, from Alexandria to the Ashdod port, and only 10 percent of goods would be transported overland.

Israel rejected, on security grounds, a proposal by the PA to maintain a permanent presence of Israeli customs inspectors at the Rafah terminal.
Israel also turned down a proposal to place customs control in the hands of a third party, financed and supervised internationally. A senior official in the Prime Minister`s Bureau told Haaretz that Israel is against transferring control of the Rafah crossing directly to the PA, and that until it becomes clear whether the PA is able to impose order in the Gaza Strip, it would be better to place Egypt in charge.

The paper`s authors emphasize the crucial importance of the economic ties between the Gaza Strip and West Bank, and that any attempt to separate the two areas, politically as well, is destined to undermine efforts by the donor countries, the World Bank and the IMF to rebuild the Gazan economy, draw investors and reduce the colossal unemployment rate. These three parties hold that Israel must enable a reliable and uninterrupted passage of goods and businesspeople between Gaza and the West Bank via highway or tunnel (not a rail line). The document states that guarantees for regular passage are a basic condition for maintaining agricultural export. They propose that the sides agree on alternative security arrangements to the `back-to-back` system currently in place, under which trucks arriving from Gaza unload their cargo on to trucks waiting on the Israeli side. The economists who authored the document say this arrangement raises hauling costs and undercuts the ability of Gazan manufacturers and farmers to compete.

The Dutch government has agreed to build a seaport in Gaza. The PA wants to set up the new port a few kilometers north of the existing one.

Alongside recommendations on economics and trade, the document states that attracting investors to the Gaza Strip requires a substantial change in atmosphere, since the escalation in security resulted in heavy losses for investors, and entrepreneurs are reluctant to invest in the region.

The document underscores that an Israeli commitment to changing the political situation in the West Bank is also vital to drawing entrepreneurs to the territories. Furthermore, the document stresses the need for advance coordination with the Palestinians regarding the future of the hothouses, homes and infrastructure that Israel will leave behind in the Gaza Strip.

An official involved in the economic talks with Israel and the PA criticized the Israeli government, which was asked five months ago to present an authorized stance on these matters and has still not done so.

64 DEMOLITION ORDERS ALREADY HANDED OUT TO PALESTINIAN RESIDENTS OF THE AL-BUSTAN NEIGHBORHOOD IN SILWAN - JERUSALEM
The press release by the Mayor of Jerusalem on last Tuesday hides the fact that there is no need for any further legal or administrative steps by the Municipality in order to demolish the 64 houses in al-Bustan neighbourhood that have already received judicial demolition orders, other than for the Municipality to receive authorization to carry out the orders already given.

Adv. Sami Ersheid, the representative of al-Bustan`s residents, is preparing an appeal against those orders already given. As opposed to administrative orders, judicial orders have no expiration date unless they are officially cancelled. In the Municipality`s statement it was declared that no administrative measures are to be taken. It is true that there is only one administrative order and it is currently being held up in court. However, this is because there is no possibility of issuing administrative demolition orders for houses that have been lived in for many years. The municipality`s statement applies only to the some five judicial orders currently before the court.

Interior Minister Ofir Paz-Pines was present at a seminar held by `Bimkom` last week. In answer to a question, he said there would be no mass demolitions in Silwan, but could not commit himself to stopping the demolitions altogether. In fact, the al-Bustan plan is but a particularly glaring example of the policies being carried out everyday in all the Palestinian neighborhoods of Jerusalem. RHR calls on the Government and Municipality to stop demolitions in Jerusalem altogether until there is equal opportunity for every resident to receive a building permit at a reasonable price, including a change in all the zoning plans that perpetuate the impossibility of legal building through the manipulative (but overt) use of `green space`, `open vista space`, `reparcilization`, `building percentages` etc.

At http://www.rhr.israel.net/pdf/mazouz_06_06_05.pdf

For further details:
Adv. Sami Ersheid Represents the families of al-Bustan 052-4204350
Adv. Netta Amar Rabbis for Human Roights 052-8945228
Dr. Meir Margalit Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions 054-4345503
Rabbi Arik Ascherman Executive Director, Rabbis for Human Rights 050-5607034
Yoav Ende Rabbis for Human Rights 050-2110639
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