Israel: U.S. Would Assassinate Saddam
Israeli officials reportedly believe that if the United States moves against Iraq, it will be to assassinate Saddam Hussein and members of his family. According to an assessment prepared for the prime minister and foreign minister, the purpose of the action is to bring about a regime change without causing the entire country to collapse, the Israeli daily Ha’aretz reported.
Meanwhile, Scott Ritter, a former chief U.N. weapons inspector said that Israel should oppose an American attack on Iraq. An American strike on Baghdad would be a disaster for Israel, Ritter told Ha’aretz. He said it would make Israel vulnerable to an Iraqi attack, would undermine regional stability and further anti-U.S. sentiment in the Arab public and would increase terrorism against Israel.
Five Wounded in Blast
Five Palestinian youths were lightly wounded Tuesday in an explosion in a school near Hebron. A second bomb was found in the schoolyard and defused. Israeli officials are investigating whether Israelis were responsible for the blast, which occurred in an area under Israeli security control. The explosion went off in the courtyard of the Ziff secondary school south of Hebron, said the principal, who accused Jewish extremists. Nearly all 380 students were in class at the time.
Peres Supports Diplomatic Efforts
Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres applauded the efforts of an international team of diplomats to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. After meeting Tuesday in New York with officials from the so-called Quartet — the United States, European Union, United Nations and Russia — Peres reiterated Israel’s willingness to withdraw from Palestinian areas as soon as the security situation improves. On Wednesday, Peres spoke out against terrorism during an address before the U.N. General Assembly in New York. Meanwhile, in Israel, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said at the start of a Cabinet meeting that no progress could be made without “total cessation of violence and terror.”
Israel Warns Lebanon
Israel will not allow Lebanon to divert water from the Wazzani river, which is shared by the two countries, Israel’s defense minister warned, saying that it is a “violation of every agreement we have signed in the past,” Benjamin Ben-Eliezer said Tuesday. The Wazzani feeds into the Hatzbani River, which provides about 10 percent of Israel’s water. On Monday, an American delegation, including a water expert, visited the region in an effort to mediate the crisis. The officials watched as Lebanese workers laid pipes to pump water from the Wazzani.
Al Qaida Linked to Pearl Death
A member of Al Qaida was identified as one of the killers of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, according to The Associated Press. The identification was made by a Pakistani held but not charged in the January kidnapping of Pearl, who was killed earlier this year after admitting to his Jewish roots in a video made by his abductors. If the identification proves true, it would mark the first time that Al Qaida was linked to Pearl’s death.
Lanner Sentencing Postponed
The jail sentencing of New Jersey Rabbi Baruch Lanner on sexual abuse charges has been delayed until Oct. 4. Lanner, 52, was found guilty in Monmouth County, N.J., Superior Court on June 27 of endangering the welfare of two girls who attended the Hillel High School in Ocean Township, N.J., where he was principal from 1992 to 1996. He also was the girls’ supervisor in the National Conference of Synagogue Youth, the youth wing of the Orthodox Union. Lanner faces 10 to 20 years in prison and a maximum $300,000 fine at the sentencing, which was postponed from Sept. 13. Lanner has maintained his innocence, and has 45 days to appeal after his sentencing. He remains free on $100,000 bail.
Forward Sells Radio Station
The Forward Association reached an agreement to sell its radio station to ABC Inc. for $78 million. The planned sale of WEVD-AM by the publisher of a family of Jewish newspapers bearing the Forward name follows an agreement announced in September 2001, under which ABC’s ESPN subsidiary was granted the right to provide programming on WEVD and ABC acquired an option to initiate negotiations for the purchase of the station.
Briefs compiled by Jewish Telegraphic Agency.