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The Media Line Daily News Focus

1. PALESTINIANS ESCAPE DRONE-LAUNCHED MISSILE… Two Palestinians jumped clear of their car seconds before a missile launched from an Israeli unmanned drone destroyed the vehicle in the Gaza Strip Wednesday morning. Israeli sources claim the pair, both members of the Hamas terrorist organization, was on their way to fire mortars at Jewish communities in the Gaza Strip. The sources said the two have been responsible for firing as many as 40 rockets and mortars at Israeli targets this week alone. There were some injuries to passers-by reported. Sometime later, a barrage of rockets was fired at the Israeli community of Neveh Deqalim in Gaza. Four Palestinians were injured when a tank aiming at the source of the incoming rounds fired a shell into the center of the town of Khan Younis.

2. ISRAELI ARMY GUARD FOR CIVILIAN CONVOY ATTACKED… An Israeli army jeep escorting civilian vehicles traveling from post-1967 territory was attacked by Palestinian gunmen on Wednesday morning. Two soldiers riding in the jeep were injured. The attackers escaped into the densely populated village of Baqa A-Sharqiyya, near Tul Karem, in the West Bank. Israeli civilians who live in post-1967 communities are encouraged by the army to drive across the Green Line (demarcation between pre- and post- 1967 areas) in convoys accompanied by military vehicles.

3. LEGAL EXPERTS BLAST CHANGE OF ISRAELI LAW TO ACCOMMODATE PERES, SHARON DEAL… Israeli legal experts have harshly condemned the modification of a Basic Law in order to accommodate a political deal between Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and opposition leader Shimon Peres. Following testimony by legal scholars before a paliamentary committee, legislators on the panel from the political right and left were united in calling for a rejection of the measure that would create a second deputy premiership in order to satisfy Peres’s condition for bringing his Labor Party into the government. Professor Emanuel Gross said in his testimony that it was “unthinkable” to amend a constitution to suit one’s political needs, insisting that, “You can’t do illegal things in the name of political exigency.” He called the proposal “unconstitutional.” Professor Asher Maoz told the panel that not only can there not be two people serving in the same position simultaneously with only one bearing a substantive title, but that the entire effort to amend the Basic Law “devalues the attitude towards Basic Laws.” [Basic Laws are the primary laws some argue is tantamount to a constitution. – ed.] Maoz noted that the Basic Law on Government has been altered some 200 times already, and admonished that the constitution should “not be toyed with.” Following the scathing testimony, Constitution Committee chairman Yitzhak Levy of the right wing National Religious Party moved that the committee inform the government that it cannot implement the measure. It was seconded by Zahava Bar-On, a colleague from the far left Yahad party who called the legislation “farcical.” Nevertheless, more debate on the measure was scheduled for Wednesday.

4. ARAB LEAGUE HEAD: NO CHANCE OF PALESTINIAN STATE… Arab League Secretary General ‘Amru Mousa told the official Egyptian newspaper Al-Ahram that he doesn’t see “a glimmer of hope” that a Palestinian state will be created that is any more than a “rump state of a provisional nature.” And that, he said, is “just ridiculous.” Mousa said, “If there is a true desire to establish a Palestinian state in line with the Road Map then Israel must give the Palestinians 90 percent of the occupied territories as well as east Jerusalem and it must stop settlements,” something he does not see happening any time soon, citing what he called the “unchanging positions of Israel, the United States and their allies.”