The man who has been the U.S. State Department\'s point man in Middle East negotiations for almost a decade said he will call it quits when the Clinton administration leaves office.
November 9, 2000

Envoy Ready to Call it Quits

The man who has been the U.S. State Department’s point man in Middle East negotiations for almost a decade said he will call it quits when the Clinton administration leaves office. Sounding a bit discouraged, Dennis Ross told the Los Angeles World Affairs Council on Nov. 6, “I have done this job for a long time, and I must consider the impact on my family. I don’t intend to stay on in the next administration.” Ross added that the violence that has wracked the West Bank and Gaza Strip has “created on both sides a sense of betrayal, mistrust and psychic wounds that will take a long time to heal.” – Tom Tugend, Contributing Editor

Army Considers Gaza Evacuation

Israel’s army said it is considering plans to evacuate Jewish settlers from the Gaza Strip by sea or air if violence makes it necessary.The army says there are about 7,000 settlers living in Gaza, which has a population of more than 1 million Palestinians.

150,000 Mark Rabin Slaying

An estimated 150,000 people took part in a memorial rally in Tel Aviv to mark the fifth anniversary of the assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin by a right-wing student.

With the violence in the West Bank and Gaza Strip hanging over the event, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak made a plea for peace at the rally, held in the square where Rabin was gunned down on Nov. 4, 1995.

Barak urged Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat not to let extremists lead Israelis and Palestinians “on a path of pain and suffering.”

President Clinton called Rabin’s widow to wish her well on the fifth anniversary of her husband’s assassination, a White House spokesman said.

Leah Rabin, who is fighting lung cancer, was undergoing tests in a Tel Aviv hospital when Clinton called Saturday.

The president “called because she’s an old friend and isn’t feeling well, and he wanted to touch base with her,” the spokesman said. Rabin was unable to attend the rally in her husband’s honor.

Rabin Assassin Has No Regrets

Yitzhak Rabin’s assassin said his only regret is that he did not kill the Israeli prime minister before the Oslo peace accords with the Palestinians were signed.

Yigal Amir spoke to the media before a court hearing on the state’s request to keep the right-wing nationalist, who assassinated Rabin on Nov. 4, 1995, separate from other jail prisoners.

Palestinians Pledge On Kids

The Palestinian Authority said it is taking steps to stop youths under the age of 16 from taking part in demonstrations that could lead to clashes with Israeli troops. In a letter to the human rights group B’Tselem, Palestinian Authority official Yasser Abed Rabbo said the self-rule authority was carrying out a safety campaign in schools to stop children from taking part in the protests.

AIPAC Site Suffers Hack Attack

A Pakistani hacker struck the Web site of the leading pro-Israel lobbying group in the United States. The hacker, who reportedly has defaced more than 40 Web sites, hacked into the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s site Nov. 1 to “protest against the atrocities in Palestine by the barbarian Israeli soldiers and their constant support by the U.S. government.”

AIPAC is contacting 700 individuals to alert them that some of their personal information, including credit card information, could have been compromised. The FBI is investigating the incident.

Soldiers’ Families Arrive in N.Y.

The families of three Israeli soldiers abducted into Lebanon last month by the Islamic fundamentalist Hezbollah arrived in New York to highlight the plight of their sons.

The families plan to meet with American politicians and to speak before the United Nations.

‘Outed’ Firms Give to Slave Fund

More firms have pledged contributions to a fund set up by German companies to compensate survivors of Nazi slave and forced labor after nonparticipants were “outed” by a television program.

Fund spokesman Wolfgang Gibowski said the new sums ran into tens of millions of dollars, adding to the $1.4 billion raised from German industry.

In a related development, a German foundation created to compensate victims of Nazi slave labor is hoping that pending class-action lawsuits will be lifted this year to allow payments to begin.

Dieter Kastrup, chairman of the committee running the fund, said Thursday he is hopeful that a key hearing before a U.S. court now scheduled for Jan. 24 could be held before Christmas.

Insurance Records Posted on Web

Washington state’s insurance commissioner posted thousands of new policyholder records from the Holocaust era on the Internet to help survivors and their heirs file claims on policies that European insurers refused to pay after World War II.

Commissioner Deborah Senn said the posting at www.insurance.wa.gov would supplement lists already posted by her office and other groups, including the International Commission on Holocaust Era Insurance Claims.

Earlier this year, her office posted Holocaust-era records from Poland and the Netherlands on its Web site.

Psychic Bent Out of Shape

An Israeli psychic is suing Nintendo for allegedly basing an evil Pokemon character after him.Uri Geller, who claims he can bend spoons with his mind, is making the claim because the Pokemon character, Yun Geller, carries a spoon and gives his victims bad headaches.

All briefs by Jewish Telegraphic Agency unless otherwise noted.

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