Shorts: U.S.

Bush extends PLO waiver

President Bush extended a permit last week allowing the Palestine Liberation Organization to operate in Washington.

Bush cited national security interests in extending his waiver for another six months on laws banning the group.

Presidents have routinely waived the laws, which date back to the 1980s, for six-month periods since the launch of the Oslo process in 1993.

The current PLO envoy, Afif Safieh is about to end his term and take up a new post in Moscow. His replacement has not been named. — jta

Defense: Seattle shooter has ‘diseased mind’

Defense attorneys said the actions of the man who opened fire at the Seattle Jewish Federation came from a “diseased mind.”

The trial of Naveed Haq, 32, started April 14. Prosecutors said in opening statements that Haq had a plan to make a political point about Jewish power and the war in Iraq when he killed one woman and injured five at the federation in 2006.

Haq has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to murder and attempted murder charges. If convicted, he could be sentenced to life in prison. — jta

Pelosi introduces anniversary bill

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi introduced a bill praising Israel on its 60th anniversary.

The nonbinding resolution introduced this month by Pelosi (D-San Francisco) has the Democratic and Republican leadership in the House as co-sponsors.

The bill “recognizes the historic significance of the 60th anniversary of the re-establishment of the sovereign and independent State of Israel as a homeland for the Jewish people,” reinforcing the trend recently in the Bush administration and Congress to emphasize Israel’s status as a Jewish state.

The resolution, which is under consideration by the Foreign Affairs Committee, has 122 co-sponsors thus far. — jta

Custody battle over commandments slab

A Brooklyn rabbi and an Israeli antiquities dealer are fighting over custody of a nearly 1,500-year-old marble slab inscribed with the Ten Commandments.

The Israeli antiquities dealer claims in a lawsuit that the rabbi stole the artifact after he refused to pay $110,000 for it.

But Rabbi Shaul Shimon Deutsch says he held up payment because the dealer did not mention that the artifact had to be returned to Israel after five years. — ap