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Briefs: Olmert indictment soon, Gaza boat will be blocked, Israel says ‘no’ to Cat Stevens

October 29, 2008 | 11:06 pm

Police Sources: Olmert Indictment Near

An indictment in a fraud case could be filed against Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert within days, according to police sources.

Ha'aretz reported Monday that police sources made their claim based on depositions taken in the United States over the last few days in a double-billing case in which Olmert is accused of billing several non-profit organizations for the same flights and using the money for family vacations.

The investigators will return to Israel at the end of the week.

The police sources told Ha'aretz that the new evidence confirms earlier evidence on which the police recommended an indictment.

An official indictment could force Olmert out of office before new elections are held, likely in February.

Israel Will Stop Gaza Activist Boat

Israel plans to stop a boat of activists planning to set sail for Gaza.

The Free Gaza movement is scheduled to leave from Cyprus for Gaza Tuesday, the second time it will attempt to break Israel's blockade of the Hamas-run strip. The first trip in August, comprised of two boats full of activists, was not blocked by Israel's navy.

Israeli officials said a decision was made last month at the "highest governmental levels," to stop the boat, when it was originally scheduled to make the second trip, the Jerusalem Post reported Tuesday.

The 26 activists, including an Arab-Israel lawmaker, 1976 Nobel Peace Prize winner Mairead Maguire, and Palestinian Legislative Council member Mustafa Barghouti, will bring medicines to Gaza.

The Free Gaza Movement used August's demonstration to gain publicity against Israel's blockade of Gaza, despite the fact that Israel let the boats pass without stopping them.

The blockade was instituted after the terrorist group Hamas won Palestinian elections in 2006.

Palestinian Soccer Team Draws in First Home Game

The Palestinian national soccer team played its first match at its new West Bank stadium.

The Palestinians tied Jordan, 1-1, at the 6,500-seat stadium in al-Ram, near Jerusalem. FIFA, the international soccer federation, financed the construction of the stadium.

The Palestinian squad, which has been affiliated with FIFA for a decade, has hosted international games in other countries, often Jordan, because of the lack of an adequate stadium and security issues.

FIFA President Sepp Blatter attended the game and called it "historic." Blatter also met with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and laid a wreath at the tomb of Yasser Arafat during his visit.

The French press agency reported that several Jordanian players of Palestinian origin knelt and kissed the artificial turf when they took the field.

Newsweek: Israeli Strike Won't Get Iranian Nukes

Israel would have a tough time significantly damaging Iran's nuclear facilities from the air, according to Newsweek.

In its Periscope section now online and to be published Monday in its Nov. 3 issue, the magazine quotes "Western intelligence experts "as saying that the nuclear facilities are too deep underground for an Israeli air attack to be effective.

A Western official who requested anonymity told Newsweek the facilities are located in tunnels and fortified by barriers more than 60 feet thick. The official, as well as other U.S. experts, said that Israel does not possess conventional weapons capable of knocking out the facilities. Breaking through the thick shell would require, at minimum, several bunker-buster bombs striking precisely the same spot, Newsweek reported.

Newsweek suggested that Israel could do more damage against Iranian nuclear facilities located at four key sites with a nuclear strike of its own. But the magazine adds, "U.S. and other Western experts say there is no reason to believe the Israelis will abandon their policy against shooting first with nukes."

The magazine also reported that efforts by the United States and its allies to keep tabs on the Iranian nuclear program suffered a blow recently when Germany accidentally arrested one of their own Iranian-Canadian informants, code-named Sinbad, for illegal missile-technology shipments to Iran in what has been called the Sinbad Affair.

Cat Stevens' Israel Appearance Nixed

An appearance in Israel by Cat Stevens was canceled for security reasons.

The British singer, a convert to Islam also known as Yusuf Islam, was scheduled to appear at an upcoming 10th anniversary event for the Peres Center for Peace.

"The idea to bring Stevens to Israel sparked a huge row the moment it was made public, and we sent his passport number to a conventional security check," Peres Center director Uri Savir told Ynet. "We took the matter into consideration and decided to cancel this idea."

Stevens was last denied entry to Israel eight years ago during an airport security check.

"He may have supported Hamas once, but the fact that a singer who converted to Islam wants to come to Israel and express his support for peace and we're not letting him do so infuriates me," the show's producer, Irit Tenhangel, told Ynet.

Briefs courtesy Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

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