Forbes Ends Bid for Presidency

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GAZA STRIP: Even as world leaders met at Sharm El-Sheikh for an international anti-terror summit, Israel continued combating terrorism on its own. Palestinian lands remain sealed off, as they have been for the past two and a half weeks. Wednesday, for the first time, a convoy of food trucks was allowed to pass into the Gaza Strip but Palestinian produce, still not allowed into Israel, rots at the roadblocks. Prime Minister Shimon Peres vowed to keep Palestinian lands sealed off until those responsible for the bombings are in jail. The block imposed February 25 has created food shortages, widespread unemployment and an increasingly angry Palestinian population. Speaking at the summit, Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat condemned Israel's actions, saying they undermine the Palestinian Authority and constitute collective punishment. He added that the anger caused by the sealing could lead to new violence. Israelis say the siege may be lifted by the end of the week. Responding to appeals from the United States and Egypt, Peres said that Israel will ease a naval blockade of the Gaza strip, which will allow 4,000 fisherman to return to the sea. The sea routes were blocked to prevent Hamas militants from escaping by boat. Israel is now considering deporting those with suspected ties to the bombings in order to prevent further violence.Recognizing the popularity and momentum of Bob Dole, Steve Forbes today withdrew from the Republican presidential primary. Telling supporters their campaign "made an enormous and positive contribution" to the national debate, Forbes repeated his calls for an inclusive Republican Party. "It is not enough simply to be against," he said. Near the end of his speech, the multimillionaire publisher offered Dole a perfunctory and lukewarm endorsement. TIME's John F. Dickerson, who has been following Forbes' campaign, observes: "Not giving an endorsement would have been a slap in the face to Dole. But as of yesterday morning, his press secretary was savaging Dole." In ending his political campaign, Forbes said he would continue campaigning for the principles he has talked about: reducing government, an inclusive G.O.P. and, chiefly, the flat tax. He will probably do that, Dickerson says, through Empower America and as a guest on news programs and talk shows. Don't expect to see Forbes, whose challenge drained the Dole campaign coffers, out on the hustings with Dole. Forbes spent more than $30 million, nearly all his own money, to earn 900,545 votes during the primary season. Despite wins in Arizona and Deleware, Forbes collected only 76 delegates, which cost him $400,000 each. Forbes' withdrawal leaves only Buchanan to harass Dole until the August convention. Dickerson notes: "Unlike Buchanan, who has a different core support, the Forbes constituency is likely to melt back into the Republican electorate." Dickerson adds that Dole probably will not have to offer Forbes much recognition at the convention.Gerry Adams to March in New YorkSinn Fein Leader Gerry Adams told TIME Daily today that despite discouragement by New York City officials, he intends to march in the city's St. Patrick's Day parade this Saturday. Visiting the United States to build support for a resumption of peace talks with Britain, Adams, leader of the political wing of the Irish Republican Army, deplored the recent IRA terrorist bombing in London. He maintained that he does not have the power to control IRA violence, and insisted that he is firmly committed to a non-violent resolution of the conflict. He credited President Clinton with bringing both sides to the table, and working to get them talking again: "We wouldn't have a peace process at all if it had not been for the involvement of the White House. The President has an emotional, intellectual and political commitment to this cause." Asked his view of the attempts of Irish gays and lesbians to be permitted to march in the New York City parade, Adams said he supported their efforts, and believed that all Irish people must be "accorded the respect which we all deserve."China Opposes U.S. ResolutionBEIJING: China has voiced its "strong opposition" to a Congressional resolution urging the United States to defend Taiwan if it is attacked by China, saying it is increasing the tension in the Pacific. On Wednesday, a House panel unanimously recommended the resolution saying the United States "should assist in defending Taiwan against invasion, missile attack or blockade by the People's Republic of China." The full committee takes up the measure today and the non- binding resolution is expected to easily pass a floor vote next week. The Senate is considering its own measure relating to the China- Taiwan tension. The measure urges the Clinton administration to supply Taiwan with defensive weapons, including warships, aircraft and air defenses if it comes under attack. "The U.S. sale of weapons to Taiwan is the overriding factor to this tension," said Shen Guofang, a spokesman for China's foreign minister. "The U.S. opposes the proliferation of weapons, yet at the same time sells weapons to Taiwan." Despite his criticism of Congress' action, Shen emphasized the importance of stable relations between the two countries. "In spite of what's going on, we've always stood for a healthy relationship with the United States in economic, political, military and trade fields." Jaime A. FlorCruz, TIME Beijing bureau chief, says China wants to take the tests as far as it can without precipitating a military response from the United States. "Beijing's goal is to disrupt the normal life in Taiwan -- specifically the stock markets and foreign exchange -- and make people blame President Lee Teng-hui," FlorCruz says. "China is serving a warning to Taiwan that it better change its direction or otherwise it will have no peace of mind." The tests are scheduled to end on Friday.Top Detroit Mob Leaders Arrested