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1. HOLOCAUST REMEMBERED TODAY… Israelis throughout the nation stopped what they were doing and stood silently at ten o’clock this morning as sirens wailed a memorial to the millions of Jews who perished in the Holocaust. The annual 24-hour period of remembrance is marked by public ceremonies. Normal television broadcasting is replaced by features appropriate to remembering and learning about the loss of six million souls during the Second World War.

2. NEW PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY GOVERNMENT PUT TO VOTE TODAY… The appointment of Mahmoud ‘Abbas and his cabinet is expected to be approved today when a vote is taken following debate in the Palestinian Legislative Council. After months of bickering between Yassir Arafat and prime minister-designate ‘Abbas, Arafat has called on his supporters to vote in favor of the proposed line-up. He controls at least 62 of the 83 votes in the PLC. In addition to being a milestone for the Palestinian Authority, the ratification of the cabinet will serve as the starter’s pistol signaling the beginning of formal efforts to sell the controversial “Road Map for Peace” to Israel and the Palestinians. Israel remains concerned over a number of provisions of this latest peace plan while sponsors, including the United States, continue to say that only discussions of implementation will be permitted and not substantive objections to the Road Map itself.

3. ‘ABBAS DISAPPOINTS WITH ARAFAT TRAVEL ULTIMATUM… Palestinian Authority prime minister-designate Mahmoud ‘Abbas put a damper on the enthusiasm of those who had been extolling his appointment when he drew a line in the sand over Yassir Arafat’s ability to travel freely. ‘Abbas said earlier in the week that he would not meet with foreign diplomats in their home countries until Israel removed restrictions on Arafat. Yesterday he hardened his stance, threatening to refuse an expected invitation to visit the White House unless Arafat is permitted to move about freely. U.S. President George W. Bush, like Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, has been leading the pro-‘Abbas-hype, using his full prestige to establish the perception that the prime minister-designate is the new leader of the Palestinian people, even though in reality Arafat retains control over the Palestinian Legislative Council, security apparatuses, and a veto over negotiations with Israel. The newfound ‘Abbas/Arafat solidarity is seen as undermining the President’s attempt to force Yassir Arafat into a perceived “irrelevancy.”

4. ISRAEL SOLDIER KILLED IN ACCIDENT… A 22-year old army officer was killed yesterday when his jeep was run over by a tank in the Golan Heights. He becomes the third soldier to die in an accident in a single week. Lt. Gil Shani was participating in a training exercise when a Merkava tank backed up and rolled over the jeep in which Shani was riding. A soldier died last Monday when he fell and was washed away by the rain-swelled Jordan river after his commander had ordered his group to cross the river on foot with full packs. The army has already called that order “dangerous and unnecessary.” On Friday, a 21-year old sergeant was killed when his comrade’s rifle accidentally discharged. The army is investigating all of the incidents.

5. ISRAELI SARS PREVENTION SET… Passengers arriving from Toronto or the Far East at Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport will be taken to a vacant terminal where public health officials will take their temperature, look for signs of the dreaded SARS disease, and take personal information. Minister of Health Danny Naveh ordered the examinations after four suspected SARS cases turned out to be false alarms. A spokesperson for Air Canada has criticized Naveh for his order, saying that what she called the public-relations inspired moves will not effectively prevent SARS from spreading.

6. SHARON POLICY OF ISOLATING ARAFAT PUT TO TEST… Ariel Sharon’s contention that foreign diplomats who meet with Yassir Arafat are undermining Palestinian prime minister-designate Mahmoud ‘Abbas’s struggle to achieve real authority were put to the test yesterday by Japanese Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi, who traveled to Ramallah for a meeting with Arafat and then defended her decision to do so. She was taken to task by Deputy Prime Minister Ehud Olmert who rhetorically asked Kawaguchi and other foreign diplomats whether they “want to destroy Abu Mazen before he is appointed?” Olmert also expressed pessimism over the chances that ‘Abbas will be able to curb terror.