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Seeking Peace, Pursuing Justice

Seek peace...and pursue it : Psalm 34:15

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II. Seeking Peace Bulletin

Issue #8
JANUARY 2002

FOURTH MAJOR TERRORIST ATTACK IN ISRAEL IN 11 DAYS

Yesterday in Jerusalem, a Palestinian woman triggered a massive explosion on Jaffa Street killing herself and an elderly Israeli man and injuring more than 150 people. It was the fourth major terrorist attack on an Israeli city center in 11 days, and the second on the same block in six days. As the violence intensifies, U.S. diplomacy is on hold and there are no set plans for Mid-East envoy General Anthony Zinni to return to the region.(The Washington Post, 1/28/2)

PALESTINIANS AND ISRAELIS MEET IN SOUTH AFRICA...

Israeli and Palestinian leaders met recently in South Africa, calling for a return to peace talks without preconditions and a freeze in settlement building. Participants included Knesset Speaker Avram Burg, former Justice Minister Yossi Beilin, and Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat. (Jewish Telegraphic Agency, 01/14/02)

... AS JOINT PEACE COALITION RELEASES STATEMENT

Earlier this month, the "Israeli-Palestinian Coalition for Peace" released a statement condemning the ongoing violence and reaffirming its commitment to a two-state solution to the conflict. The declaration stated that the coalition would formalize as an organization, holding monthly meetings and initiating a media campaign. In addition, the coalition voiced support for Israeli President Katzavís cease-fire initiative, affirming that the initiative represents the opinion of the majority of Israelis and Palestinians. (Peace Now Report, 01/14/02)

NUMBER OF ARABS IN CIVIL SERVICE IS UP SLIGHTLY

The proportion of Arabs working in the Civil Service increased by half a percent last year to 5.7%. MK Taleb A-Sanaa (Arab Democratic Party) said that to achieve parity with the actual proportion of Arabs in the population, the Civil Service would have to make sure that more than 10% of new employees are Arabs. A total of 8.7% of all the civil servants who received their jobs in 2001 were Arabs. There are another 45 Civil Service positions earmarked solely for Arabs on the 2001 quota, which are currently frozen, but should become available in the coming months.(Jerusalem Post, 01/23/02)

WHILE SETTLEMENT GROWTH CONTINUED IN 2001

Knesset Member Mossi Raz released Housing Ministry statistics indicating that more than a quarter of all construction projects last November were carried out in the occupied territories, with 152 building starts taking place in the West Bank and Gaza. (Jerusalem Post, 1/16/02)

AND ISRAEL-JORDAN TRADE UP 20% IN 2001

The Israel-Jordan Chamber of Commerce released figures that demonstrated a growth of over 20% in trade between the two nations. The increase was due to manufacturing in Jordan, particularly in textiles, and the expansion of Jordanian factories in Qualifying Industrial Zones. Under the QIZ agreements, factories are committed to buying Israeli inputs totaling 8% of the products' value, and they receive duty-free treatment for exports to the U.S. in return. (Globes, 1/15/02)

ANTI-TRAFFICKING LAW MAKES A DIFFERENCE

Under the Israeli law that prohibits "selling or buying a human being to use him/her for prostitution," Shlomo Shmueloff was sentenced to four-and-a-half years in prison for illegally bringing in women from the former Soviet Union and forcing them into prostitution. In July 2000, a coalition of civil and human rights and women's organizations helped win Knesset approval of the legislation. Since that time, 19 indictments have been filed in addition to 13 sentences being handed down. The coalition continues its work in changing the way victims of trafficking have been perceived, so that they are less likely to be seen as criminals themselves.(New Israel Fund Update, 01/23/02)