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Reporter fired for Arafat satire

JERUSALEM, June 27 -- The Jerusalem Post apologized Monday for publishing a 'guide to eliminating Yasser Arafat' and fired its author, who said the newspaper's lawyers examined and approved the article.

The story, which appeared in the Post's 'In Jerusalem' Friday supplement, was advertised on the front cover under the title: 'Killing Yasser.'

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Inside the paper, the article was preceded by a disclaimer: 'Warning, this is a satire.'

After a storm of protest from readers, the Post management fired the writer, Mitch Pilcer, and published a 'clarification' Monday.

'The weekly In Jerusalem, distributed by the Jerusalem Post in the Jerusalem area, is an advertising supplement that operates independently and is distributed free of charge. But its linkage in the public's perception with the Jerusalem Post obliges us to publicly disassociate the Post from a column in last Friday's issue titled 'Killing Yasser,'' the editors wrote.

'Although intended as a satire, the article was in extremely bad taste. Our apologies to readers who were offended, as we were.'

Pilcer, who wrote the column under the pseudonym Levy Cohen, acknowledged that he was chiefly responsible for the story's publication, particularly because he was also serving as acting editor for the issue. Nevertheless, he said the story had been examined and approved by the newspaper's lawyers before it went to press.

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'The Post took a lot of heat and someone had to get the chop,' he said.

Response to the article, however, was mostly positive, he said.

'If you read the piece, it was the exact opposite of what the title said it was,' he said. 'I said that (killing Arafat) would destroy the peace process and radicalize Arabs.'NEWLN: (written by Michael Kellman, edited by Jonathan Ferziger)

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