Shorts: Mideast

Sharon offers schedule for Gaza withdrawal

jerusalem (jta) | Ariel Sharon presented Likud Party lawmakers with a timetable for the approval of his Gaza withdrawal plan.

The timetable would begin Tuesday, Sept. 14, with members of the Security Cabinet asked to approve a bill outlining how evacuated settlers would be compensated and explaining the principles of the evacuation.

By Nov. 3, a bill on disengagement would be presented on the Knesset floor for the first time. “The disengagement is going to happen. Period,” the Israeli prime minister said in presenting the timetable.

Israel convicts Jewish terrorist

jerusalem (jps) | An Israeli court on Wednesday, Sept. 1, convicted an Israeli man for belonging to an underground Jewish terrorist organization believed to behind the killing of seven Palestinian civilians in a series of vigilante attacks over the last four years.

Shahar Dvir-Zeliger, of the West Bank settlement of Adei Ad, was also found guilty of four lesser charges including being an accomplice to murder and various weapons-related charges.

“For the first time in the last two decades in Israel it has been found by a court that there is a Jewish terrorist organization whose aim is to attack innocent Palestinians,” prosecutor Dan Aldad told reporters after the Jerusalem Appeals Court’s ruling.

Gandhi urges Palestinian march

jerusalem (jta) | Arun Gandhi urged Palestinians in Jordan to march into Israel, saying a confrontation with Israelis would be good publicity. Gandhi, grandson of the famous Mahatma, said a massive peaceful march of Palestinians to the locations of their ancestors’ homes in Israel would shock the world into taking notice if Israel ended up killing a couple hundred marchers, Reuters reported.

“Maybe the Israeli army would shoot and kill several. They may kill 100. They may kill 200 men, women and children. And that would shock the world. The world will get up and say, ‘What is going on?'” Gandhi said in the West Bank city of Ramallah. “That is the kind of electrifying action that needs to be taken.”

Gandhi is on a solidarity visit to Palestinian-populated areas. A Palestinian legislator called Gandhi’s idea interesting but said Israel’s Arab neighbors are unhelpful in carrying out such undertakings.

Triple murder shocks Israeli Ethiopians

jerusalem (jta) | An Ethiopian Israeli killed his stepmother, stepbrother and an Ethiopian community leader in the Israeli city of Afula on Saturday, Aug. 28.

Yaakov Abu-Chai, 23, apparently shot the three to death after a family argument. Tasama Muligta, 80, the head of Afula’s Ethiopian community and a family friend, apparently had the fatal misfortune of being at the family’s house when the argument ensued.

Abu-Chai, a security worker, used a pistol issued to him by his employer. He was wounded during a subsequent standoff with police and is under arrest at an Israeli hospital, news reports said.

The killings stunned Israel’s Ethiopian community and prompted discussion in Israeli media about the need for more social-service outreach to the community.

Group threatens Palestinian official

jerusalem (jta) | A Palestinian group threatened to kill the Palestinian Authority foreign minister for meeting with his Israeli counterpart.

A statement signed by the Jenin Martyrs Brigade called Nabil Sha’ath a traitor and accused him of corruption, warning him not to return to the Gaza Strip.

The group said Sha’ath’s meeting last week with Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom in Italy was the reason for the threat on his life. In the statement, faxed to news agencies in Jerusalem, the group said it was inappropriate for Sha’ath to hold such a meeting at a time when over 1,000 Palestinian security prisoners were on a hunger strike in Israeli prisons, demanding better conditions.

Egyptian politician blasts Shoah denial

jerusalem (jta) | Egypt’s information minister criticized an article denying the Holocaust.

In a front-page statement in a weekly publication of the ruling National Democratic Party, Mamdouh El-Beltagui said the party “does not believe that human tragedies and suffering that befell a nation or a people could be a lie.”

Earlier this summer, the same weekly, Al-Lewaa al-Islami, or The Islamic Banner, published columns claiming that the Zionists used lies to justify the creation of Israel, including “the lie of burning the Jews in the Nazi gas chambers during World War II.”