HEADLINES FROM THE HEBREW PRESS

HA’ARETZ 1. ACHIEVEMENTS FOR HAMAS IN LOCAL ELECTIONS; ABU MAZEN: WE WON’T AGREE TO SETTLEMENT BLOCS. 2. IDF PLANNING TO HAND OVER TO CIVILIANS “BORDER CROSSINGS” BETWEEN ISRAEL AND TERRITORIES. 3. SHARON OPPOSITION FIGURE TO BECOME INTERIOR MINISTER IN HIS GOVERNMENT. Pines: “I also know how to be part of coalition”; Herzog to serve as Housing and Construction Minister. HATZOFEH 1. Today: Cabinet to approve withdrawal from cities in Judea and Samaria ahead of elections. ABU MAZEN DECLARATION: “WE WILL NOT COMPROMISE ON JERUSALEM.” In first election speech in Ramallah, candidate for Palestinian leadership declares: Full Israeli withdrawal including from Jerusalem – condition for peace. Additional condition: Release of all 8,000 Palestinian prisoners, including Barghouti. Hamas increases strength in PA local elections. 2. SHELLING OF GUSH KATIF WITH MORTARS AND KASSAMS CONTINUES. Official military source: Continued mortar fire will entail sharp IDF response – PA elections will not restrict IDF actions. Residents seized Palestinian home near Kfar Darom. Former DM Arens to attend demonstration today opposite Defense Ministry. Zubeidi’s deputy, who carried out attacks under Hizbullah instructions, eliminated in Jenin 3. CANDIDATE FOR PALESTINIAN LEADERSHIP HOLDS ELECTION MEETING IN JERUSALEM. MA’ARIV 1. Ahead of disengagement: Police to wear special uniforms. THE PLAN: NETZARIM FIRST. Reason: Community is isolated and serves as symbol to settlers. Abu Mazen: I will act with force against Hamas. YEDIOT AHRONOT 1. PINES TO BE INTERIOR MINISTER AND HERZOG HOUSING AND CONSTRUCTION MINISTER. Thus two big Labor winners decided last night. Ben-Eliezer National Infrastructures Minister, Itzik Communications Minister, Simhon Environment Minister – and Vilnai and Ramon to be ministers-without-portfolio. 2. “DISENGAGEMENT REFUSENIK” DISMISSED FROM OFFICERS TRAINING COURSE. For first time, soldier who declared that he would refuse was dismissed. Told commanders: “If you make me officer, it’s your responsibility, I won’t take part in evacuation.” 3. ABU MAZEN: NO PEACE WITHOUT BARGHOUTI. Ahead of PA elections, Abu Mazen sharpens his remarks and declares: “I will continue in Arafat’s footsteps.” However, “I extend my hand in peace.” ______________________________ SUMMARY OF EDITORIALS FROM THE HEBREW PRESS Hatzofeh notes that Prime Minister Ariel Sharon did not protest British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s remark that, “Disengagement was only the beginning,” despite his promises that it would be a, “lone step that would save the rest of the Yesha settlements.” The editors point out that over 5,000 mortar shells have been launched from the Gaza Strip and condemn the government for not doing anything to prevent it. Yediot Ahronot lists the economic improvements in Israel over the past year and says that, “It would be wrong to play down the decisive part that Finance Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu has played in turning the economy around for the better. Economically, 2004 was Netanyahu’s year.” The editors remark that the public lost its confidence in Netanyahu when he took a strong right-wing stand on the disengagement issue and conclude that, “It’ s a shame that what he gained with his economic leadership, he lost – with a lot of interest – with his political leadership.” BPI-info