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News and views on Israel, Zionism and the war on terrorism.

March 11, 2003

Today's news updates from Middle East

Links to some 13 articles of current interest, and a summary
President Yasser Arafat will retain control of security forces and peace negotiations even after his deputy Mahmoud Abbas is appointed prime minister, a senior Palestinian official said Sunday. (7) The deal would sidestep key reform demands by Israel and the United States that Arafat hand over authority to a powerful prime minister and retain only a ceremonial role. (7) Israel has increased security for Cabinet ministers after the Islamic militant group Hamas threatened to target Israeli leaders, an official said Monday. (9) An aide to Interior Minister Avraham Poraz said the Defense Ministry had assigned two bodyguards to Poraz as part a general increase in security for ministers in the wake of the Hamas threat. (9) The Palestinian parliament approved the appointment of a prime minister Monday but vested the new position with only limited powers, making the reform fall short of U.S. and Israeli hopes of sidelining Arafat. (2) Such a move could put Arafat at odds with international peace mediators who have demanded the appointment of a powerful prime minister in his Palestinian Authority and wide-ranging anti-corruption and security reforms. (5) Hamas threatened to attack Israeli political leaders and said no Israeli should feel safe after helicopter gunships swooped in and fired missiles at a car carrying Ibrahim Makadmeh (11) [click for links to stories]