5.1.4. HA’ARETZ 1. ISRAEL TO DENY AUTHORITY OF HAGUE COURT TO DISCUSS FENCE, BUT WILL EXPLAIN MOTIVE FOR BUILDING IT. Special team of jurists formulating Israeli statement to Court. Prof. Daniel Bethlehem from Cambridge to represent Israel.

Foreign ministry believes: Don’t discuss substantive issues. PM’s Bureau claims: Move is important for information purposes. Defense Ministry: Presentation of views will help in future. Israeli envoy to leave for Washington to present position. 2. AHEAD OF KNESSET APPROVAL OF BUDGET: NIS 725 MILLION SHORTFALL. Sanctions continue: Netanyahu-Peretz meeting cancelled due to disagreement over pensions. 3. IDF TO FOREIGN MILITARIES: TRAIN AT TZE’ELIM IN RETURN FOR PAYMENT. IDF intends to use funds from rental of training areas for defense budget purposes. 4. REFUSENIKS ON WAY TO PRISON. Five military service refuseniks sentenced to prison, due to start serving terms day after tomorrow. HATZOFEH 1. PM and DM decide to evacuate Tal Binyamin and Maon Farm. SHARON REJECTS COMPROMISE REACHED BY YESHA COUNCIL AND DEFENSE MINISTRY. Even though Chief-of-Staff and DM supported proposal that Ginot Aryeh be dismantled with families and caravans being moved to Ofra, PM opposed it. Yesha Council: Sharon looking for pretext for confrontation with us. 2. When will public sector sanctions end? IT DEPENDS ON WHEN NETANYAHU AND PERETZ MEET. Meeting that was supposed to take place yesterday afternoon postponed due to disagreements. (…). 3. [KNESSET] FINANCE COMMITTEE APPROVES 2004 STATE BUDGET. KNESSET PLENUM TO VOTE ON IT WEDNESDAY. 4. MORTAR ROUNDS RAIN DOWN ON GUSH KATIF – NO CASUALTIES. MA’ARIV 1. Today: Likud convention. Minister Limor Livnat: “CRIMINALS TRYING TO TAKE US OVER.” Also criticizes party’s right wing: “Extremist elements, such as Feiglin and his friends, have never been part of the Likud.” This evening: Sharon to speak about disengagement plan – to convention members. 2. LIKUD PROPOSAL: 160 MKS. Plan to be discussed by Central Committee this evening: Enlarge Knesset, in order to arrange “more jobs.” 3. Sanctions: Maybe it will end today. WAR OF NERVES. Last night: Netanyahu and Peretz cancelled signing of agreement to end public sector sanctions at last minute. Meanwhile: [Knesset] Finance Committee approves budget. 4. FENCE SHOOTING REPORT: SOLDIERS CLEAN, COMMANDERS TO BE REPRIMANDED. Lapid: Fence will lead to our being boycotted. YEDIOT AHRONOT 1. Minister Limor Livnat warns: “CRIMINALS TRYING TO TAKE OVER LIKUD.” On eve of Likud convention, Livnat warned yesterday against changes to party constitution that would aid extreme right-wingers and former criminals in establishing themselves in movement: “Democracy in danger.” 2. DISCUSSIONS INTO THE NIGHT IN EFFORT TO END SANCTIONS. Disagreement on several marginal issues delayed signing of agreement by Finance Ministry and Histadrut last night. ________________________ SUMMARY OF EDITORIALS FROM THE HEBREW PRESS Yediot Ahronot criticizes the government’s apparent dismissal of Syrian President Bashar Assad’s initiative to restart peace talks with Israel. The editors acknowledge that, “Assad is not seeking negotiations out of love for Israel,” and admit that, “Syria is under heavy international pressure, is in economic distress and is seeking to get out of the Stone age that Bashar’s father left it in.” But the paper objects that, “For Sharon and his government, this isn’t a golden opportunity to negotiate with it from a position of strength but an excuse to take refuge in a classic position: a refusal to talk about anything until we take enough blows.” The editors suggest that the government is anxious, “to portray Assad as a terrorist with whom we cannot talk,” and will be able to come up with no end of reasons not to do so because it is afraid to pay the price of peace with Damascus, i.e. a withdrawal from the entire Golan Heights in return for security arrangements. Yediot Ahronot, in its second editorial, commends the Jaffa Military Court’s decision yesterday to sentence five youths who refused to be inducted into the IDF to one year in prison and asserts that, “The military establishment cannot tolerate the phenomenon of refusal and must mete out fair punishments.” However, the editors also believe that by sentencing the five to prison, the Court has drawn attention to, and strengthened, their cause. Hatzofeh comments on the public sector sanctions, which may come to an end today and urges a greater role for the National Labor Court in the Finance Ministry-Histadrut negotiations on ending the sanctions. BPI.