HEADLINES FROM THE HEBREW PRESS

HA’ARETZ 1. PRESSURE TO ALLOW PALESTINIANS FREE PASSAGE FROM EGYPT TO GAZA. 2. DECLINE IN [LIKUD] MEMBERS’ SUPPORT FOR NETANYAHU – GAP WITH SHARON DOWN TO 11%; MOST OPPOSE EARLY PRIMARIES. 3. PRECEDENT: RETRIAL FOR RAPE CONVICT FOLLOWING DNA ANALYSIS. 4. SOLDIER KILLED IN TANK ACCIDENT DURING TRAINING. Tank commander, St.-Sgt. Ran Handifer, 22, killed. 5. WHAT IS OFAKIM MUNICIPALITY LOOKING FOR IN GUSH KATIF? Deputy Mayor: We have “saved” lights, basketball courts and trees. HATZOFEH 1. Sharon’s bureau: Don’t know about permits for Ariel expansion. PALESTINIAN OFFICERS VISIT GUSH KATIF FOR FIRST TIME. OC Gaza and Palestinian officers tour communities’ ruins ahead of transfer of territory. In coming days, Palestinians will receive maps and details of intact public structures. 2. TANK TURNED OVER – COMMANDER WAS KILLED. 3. 10 YEARS’ IMPRISONMENT FOR MAN WHO DROVE WOMAN SUICIDE TERRORIST TO MAXIM’S RESTAURANT. 4. FOR FIRST TIME: RAPE RETRIAL FOLLOWING DNA CHECKS. MA’ARIV 1. Netanyahu concerned: Losing strength in internal polls. VEERING TOWARDS THE CENTER. Week after start of race for Likud leadership, Netanyahu changes direction. His confidants admit: We erred when we appealed only to right-wing. Plan to minimize damages: Halt to personal attacks on Sharon. 2. RESEVE DUTY BEING SHORTENED. IDF intends to activate new reserve duty law in three months. New law: No operational activity, only 14 days’ annual service, most non-combatants to be exempt, no guarding settlements. 3. MERKAVA TANK TURNED OVER AND RAN WAS CRUSHED TO DEATH. Training accident in Judean desert. YEDIOT AHRONOT 1. SHARON: INSANITY HAS TAKEN HOLD OF LIKUD. In meeting with mayors who support him, PM declared: “I don’t understand why the party is ready to give up a year in power.” Livnat checking Sharon from the right: Calls to build in Maaleh Adumim despite US opposition. 2. FIRST DEATH IN “SAFEST TANK IN THE WORLD.” Merkava-IV tank commander, St.-Sgt. Ran Handifer killed in training accident yesterday. IDF in shock: We don’t understand what happened. ______________________________ SUMMARY OF EDITORIALS FROM THE HEBREW PRESS Yediot Ahronot says that reports regarding an open letter that has been presumably signed by hundreds of right-wing high school students, in which they declare that they will not serve in the IDF due to its role in implementing the disengagement, “are – in the meantime – nothing more than a media story.” The editors note that the letter has yet to reach the IDF and adds that it is unclear how many students have actually signed it and how many will actually refuse to be drafted when the time comes. The paper says that any such mass refusal will test the authorities’ commitment to enforce the law, which defines politically-motivated refusal as a criminal offense, and notes that several left-wing activists have been thus imprisoned. The editors assert that, “In a country with such strong political disagreements, whoever decides on, or lends a hand to, using the army to decide them, undermines the basis from which the army draws its legitimacy.” Hatzofeh accuses Palestinian Authority Chairman Abu Mazen of duplicity and says that while he talks peace to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s government, he extols the suicide terrorists to his own people. BPI-info