â€¢ Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom confirmed that the Israeli and Palestinian prime ministers will meet next week, The Associated Press reported. The meeting between Israel's Ariel Sharon and Palestinian Ahmed Qureia could be key to reaching a cease-fire and jump-starting the U.S.-backed "road map" peace plan that envisions a Palestinian state by 2005.
â€¢ Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, in Italy for a three-day official visit, has urged Europe's Jews to immigrate to Israel as "the best solution to anti-Semitism," the Los Angeles Times said. Sharon's comments come at a time that the Jewish community in Europe is reeling from car bombings of two synagogues in Istanbul, Turkey, that killed six Jews and 18 Muslims, including the two suicide drivers.
While such public comments have infuriated Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, a former general who favors stringent measures against the Palestinians, they reflect the anxieties of many active-duty soldiers and reservists over whether the military is provoking more terrorist attacks than it is preventing. In addition, members of the armed forces said they feared that some of the harsher tactics â€” especially assassinations of suspected Palestinian militants, which often also cause civilian deaths â€” are degrading Israeli soldiers, and by extension, Israeli society.