Some Call Palestinian Suicide Bombings War CrimesLOS ANGELES TIMES -- JERUSALEM
A leading human rights organization charged Friday that Palestinians who order and dispatch suicide bombers are guilty of war crimes and should be brought to justice.
In a comprehensive, 170-page report, the New York-based Human Rights Watch also said that Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat bears “significant political responsibility” for the “repeated deliberate killing” of Israeli civilians in the last two years of blood-soaked conflict.
“The scale and systematic nature of these attacks in 2001 and 2002 meet the definition of a crime against humanity,” the report stated. “When these suicide bombings take place in the context of violence that amounts to armed conflict, they are also war crimes.”
The report is a departure from most human rights investigations into Israeli-Palestinian violence that focus on the Israeli army, including the killing of civilians, demolition of houses and other forms of collective punishment.
Louisiana Killing Linked To Sniper Suspects’ WeaponLOS ANGELES TIMES -- WASHINGTON
The fatal shooting of a store manager in Louisiana was linked Thursday by police to a weapon allegedly used by John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo in a string of sniper attacks in Washington.
Baton Rouge authorities issued an arrest warrant for Muhammad and Malvo for the death of Hong Im Ballenger, the manager of a beauty supply store who was shot while closing on the evening of Sept. 23.
Police said Ballenger, a mother of three, was robbed in the shooting, although they did not indicate how much money was taken. Ballenger’s husband later said in interviews that she would have been carrying as much as $1,500 in store receipts as she closed the store for the day.
Witnesses at the scene filed a description of a small, black male that matched Malvo, said Baton Rouge Police Chief Pat Englade. Witnesses said the man fled the scene and disappeared into a park.
Englade said Baton Rouge police have not ruled out “the possibility that other individuals may be involved or that the individuals currently in custody may have committed other criminal acts.”
Labor Resignations Leave Sharon Without Moderate PartnerTHE WASHINGTON POST -- JERUSALEM
When the Labor Party resigned from Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s coalition Wednesday night, he lost more than the 25 Labor votes and his comfortable parliamentary majority. According to political analysts here, he also lost a traditionally moderate partner that for 19 months had helped his government avoid an extremist label and provided a shield against domestic and international criticism.
Sharon Thursday negotiated with small ultranationalist and right-wing orthodox parties to help him survive a no-confidence vote scheduled for Monday. Members of his nationalist Likud Party and other analysts said it is probable that he will survive that challenge and establish a new government. If so, they added, Sharon and his government will have traded collaboration with Israel’s large center-left party, and its image of openness to conciliation with the Palestinians, for support from a small group of Israel’s most unyielding politicians, determined to retain the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip.