HEADLINES FROM THE HEBREW PRESS

HA’ARETZ 1. ABU MAZEN LEAVING FOR CEASEFIRE DISCUSSION IN DAMASCUS; SENIOR HAMAS OFFICIAL: READY FOR “LONG RANGE” HUDNA WITH ISRAEL. 2. ISRAELI-EGYPTIAN RELATIONS WARM UP FOLLOWING EGYPTIAN FM’S JERUSALEM VISIT. 3. POLICE INVESTIGATING DEAL IN WHICH HACHSHARAT HAYISHUV TRANSFERRED NIS 1.3 MILLION TO BUSINESSES OWNED BY SHARON FAMILY. In 1999, Hachsharat Hayishuv bought option to acquire company partially owned by Sharon family. In November 2002, Hachsharat Hayishuv declined to implement option, thus leaving NIS 1.3 million in company owned by Omri and Gilad Sharon. Police investigating: Did non-implementation of option stem from economic consideration or in order to provide gift. Gilad Sharon’s attorney: Deal with Hachsharat Hayishuv was kosher. 4. SHARON OPENS LIKUD CAMPAIGN TO BRING IN LABOR. 5. THUS PALESTINIANS BECAME WORLD CHAMPIONS AT PAYING FINES. HATZOFEH 1. For first time, Cabinet that will convene today to include Likud members only. MINORITY SHARON GOVERNMENT ON ITS WAY. Dismissals of five Shinui ministers took effect yesterday. Only 13 ministers will attend today’s Cabinet meeting, all of them from Likud faction. Labor Party will apparently receive official invitation to negotiations only after Thursday Likud conference. “Rebel” leader MK Uzi Landau said that he would form front to prevent bringing Labor into government. 2. SYRIA: PRESSURE ISRAEL INTO RETURNING TO DISCUSSION TABLE. 3. HEAD OF HAMAS IN TULKARM ARRESTED. MA’ARIV 1. Efforts to coordinate Sharon-Mubarak meeting. EXCHANGE OF COMPLIMENTS BETWEEN ISRAEL AND EGYPT. After President Mubarak’s warm words for Sharon, Jerusalem expresses optimism regarding future relations. 2. “MORE HUNGER AMONG MIDDLE CLASS.” Official poverty report is harsh but “Latet” organization’s report is harsher still. 1,000 tons of food distributed annually to needy. 3. ILAN RAMON’S COMPUTER STOLEN, including personal letters. YEDIOT AHRONOT 1. New atmosphere: Enhanced cooperation between Sharon and Mubarak. GREAT IMPROVEMENT IN ISRAELI-EGYPTIAN RELATIONS. Diplomatic officials: Increasing mutual confidence following Mubarak’s statement that only Sharon is capable of bringing peace. 2. SHARON WITH SIX PORTFOLIOS. Dismissals of Shinui ministers take effect. As of today: 13 ministers in Government. 3. THEY STOLE LAST MEMORIES. Unknown people broke into home of astronaut Ilan Ramon’s widow and stole computer that stored his last letters from space and hundreds of pictures. BPI-info


SUMMARY OF EDITORIALS FROM THE HEBREW PRESS Hatzofeh dismisses the much-discussed improvement in Israeli-Egyptian relations and declares that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s recent remark that only Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is capable of bringing peace, “in practice, only reiterates what the Palestinians already know – that Sharon has crumbled, that he can’t take the pressure, that he’ll give them whatever they want and like with his transfer policy, he doesn’t even ask for anything in exchange.” The editors assert that Egyptian President Mubarak, “knows well what we all know – that Israel has no Prime Minister, only a corrupt man who sits in his office and weaves stratagems on how to sell the country in order to save his skin.” Yediot Ahronot analyzes what – it believes – the Labor Party’s socio-economic demands should be vis-?-vis its terms for joining a national unity government with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s Likud. BPI-info