Choose Day Below
ASSASSINS TO BE INCARCERATED
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and the Security Cabinet accepted a U.S. proposal to incarcerate the killers of former Minister of Tourism Rehavam Ze’evi under the auspices of U.S. and British team in exchange for an end to a blockade on Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat’s Ramallah compound, THE JERUSALEM POST reported.
In a White House statement, U.S. President George Bush said he "welcomes the constructive and helpful decision by the government of Israel to enable Chairman Arafat to travel freely, to accept international monitors with respect to six named prisoners now in Chairman Arafat’s compound, and to withdraw Israeli forces from Ramallah. Chairman Arafat should now seize this opportunity to act decisively in word and in deed against terror directed at Israeli citizens. Bush also invited Sharon to come to the United States next week and discuss the countries’ joint strategic interests.
In addition to voting on the U.S. proposal for Ze’evi’s assassins, the Cabinet also noted that "conditions have yet to be created whereby UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s fact-finding committee may be received. "Israel is still waiting for the final team’s mandate and composition. Israel has insisted that the three-member team include more military andcounter-terrorism experts, and that it should also investigate Palestinian attacks on Israeli civilians that emanated from the city of Jenin.
TERRORISTS ARRESTED IN HEBRON
In response to the Palestinian terrorist attack in Adora that killed four Israelis, the Israel Defense Forces tanks and infantry entered Hebron today arresting 17 Tanzim, Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists, Israel Radio, KOLYISRAEL reported. IDF Forces also carried out door-to-door searches for weapons and wanted terrorists.
Minister of Defense Binyamin Ben-Eliezer said that many of the arrested suspects were on Israel’s wanted list of terrorists. He added that the IDF counter-offensive operation in Hebron is temporary. "We do not intend to stay there. We went there to damage the terror infrastructure and to leave," he said.
PREVENTS BOMB ATTACK ON AZRIELI TOWERS
The Israel Defense Forces foiled an attempt to carry out a massive bombing attack at the Azrieli Towers skyscraper complex in Tel Aviv over the weekend, THE JERUSALEM POST reported. The plot was discovered on Friday by IDF units in Kalkilya, where terrorists were preparing to carry out the attack.
During the raid, the area commander of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Ra’ad Nazel, 33, was killed. He was planner of the attack and was also responsible for the suicide bombing in Karnei Shomronon February 16 in which three youths were murdered and more than 30 wounded. Also during the raid, troops found the booby-trapped car containing a large amount of explosives to blow up the towers. "A very great disaster was recently averted due to some first-class achievements by the security forces," Minister of Foreign Affairs Shimon Peres said.
DENOUNCES PALESTINIAN TERRORISM
President Moshe Katsav received a letter from Pope John Paul II on Sunday denouncing Palestinian terrorism against civilians MA’ARIV reported. The Pope’s letter is a response to Katsav’s letter regarding the standoff at the Church of the Nativity, where he wrote that Israel will not let the Palestinians terrorists exploit holy places.
In his letter, the Pope expressed concern about the deterioration of the situation in the Holy Land. He wrote that "The main task of the Government of Israel is to secure the safety of its citizens. Indescribable terror acts have caused, in a too long period of time, the suffering of many innocent people, young and old, to whom I feel especially close to. Hearing the sounds of crying, the fear and the frustration I wish to convey my message of solidarity with those who suffered in these traumatic times."
The Pope also expressed that he is certain that the right solution concerning the Church of the Nativity will be found, and that he was relieved to read in Katsav’s letter "that Israel will not harm the church nor hurt the clergy." He added that the leaders involved in the recent conflict will take brave steps to end the hostilities so that the region can become a place where people can live together in peace and security.
*Skybox Security, a newly formed Israeli start-up, announced today that it has secured seed funding of $5 million, in a round led by Benchmark Capital and Carmel Ventures, with the participation of Mofet, GLOBES reported. Skybox Security focuses on developing systems that assess vulnerabilities and threats affecting corporate networks. Skybox CEO Gidi Cohen said, "We are extremely proud of the display of confidence our investors have expressed in Skybox. We believe that our solution is answering a very clear market need."
Teva announced today a reported net profit of $86million for the first quarter
of 2002, or $0.64 per share, well above analysts’ estimates of $0.55 per share,
GLOBES reported. The net profitwas56 percent higher than in the first quarter
of 2001, when net profit was$55.4 million. Teva’s President and CEO Israel
Makov, said, "The first quarter results demonstrate Teva’s ability to
consistently deliver sales and earnings growth through our comprehensive portfolio
and pipeline of generic products, supported by a strong innovative program
and growing sales ofactive pharmaceutical ingredients. Our core business continues
to be generics, as we are firmly established as a leader in the US market,
while we identify and pursue opportunities in the growing generic pharmaceutical
market in Europe, as evidenced by our decision to purchase Bayer classics
S.A., France’s third largest generic company."
JENIN TEAM MUST ALSO INVESTIGATE PALESTINIAN TERRORISM
* 26 PALESTINIANS LEAVE CHURCH OF THE NATIVITY
* IDF: PALESTINIANS ADDING BODIES TO CREATE JENIN MASS GRAVE
* 150,000 CELEBRATE LAG BA’OMER HOLIDAY ON HAR MERON
* ECONOMIC BRIEFS
JENIN TEAM MUST ALSO INVESTIGATE PALESTINIAN TERRORISM
In a letter to Colin Powell on Monday, Minister of Foreign Affairs Shimon Peres said that the Jenin fact finding team must also examine not only Israel’s counter-terrorism measures in Jenin, but Palestinian terrorism in the camp as well, HA’ARETZ reported. Besides the reference to "international humanitarian law," Israel wants the team to consider the "right of self defense" and the "right to fight terrorism," Peres wrote in the letter.
The Security Cabinet decided this morning to postpone, for now, cooperation with the fact finding team. In a statement following the Cabinet meeting, the Government said that it had presented "several matters to the UN that are essential to holding a fair probe, but as long as these conditions are not met, it will be impossible for the team to proceed." UN Secretary General Kofi Annan said on Monday that finding out what happened during Israel’s counter-terrorist operation in Jenin was "very urgent."
According to Israel Radio, KOL YISRAEL, Peres said after the Security Cabinet meeting that if the matter comes before the UN Security Council, Israel could not count on the veto of the United States because the Americans were behind the original proposal. Peres added that either way Israel had nothing to hide because based upon their information, a total of seven Palestinian civilians were unintentionally killed in the fighting in the Jenin camp along with 47 armed Palestinians and 27Israeli soldiers.
Israel is also insisting that the fact-finding group include more military and counter- terrorism experts, due to the fact that Israeli soldiers engaged in intense gun battles with Palestinian gunmen, and 26 suicide bombers emanated from the Jenin camp.
PALESTINIANS LEAVE CHURCH OF THE NATIVITY
The Israel Defense Forces facilitated the release of 26 Palestinians from the Church of the Nativity today, HA’ARETZ reported. According to Imad Natche, a Palestinian negotiator at the talks, a total of 25 Palestinian civilians and one senior member of the Palestinian security service were being allowed to leave. Twenty-four of those who left the church boarded an Israeli armored bus. The senior Palestinian security officer, who was not immediately identified, was taken away separately. Another man was evacuated for medical treatment.
The breakthrough in the standoff which began on April 2, after wanted Palestinian gunmen forcibly entered the church, came in lieu of talks held today between Israeli and Palestinian officials, and agreement on the part of the wanted gunmen inside the church. Talks aimed at ending a dispute over providing food to those still inside the church are slated to continue. Natche said the agreement was reached during talks with Israeli military officers at the Bethlehem Peace Center. Reverend Ibrahim Faltas, a Franciscan priest, brought the men out of the church and onto Mange Square, one by one. As they approached Israeli soldiers in the square, the Palestinians held open their jackets to show they were not carrying weapons.
Emerging from the church, most of the youths in the group refused to take cake, apples and water offered by soldiers, witnesses said. Meanwhile, the delegation of U.S. and British representatives sent to monitor the imprisonment of the six Palestinian terrorists responsible for the murder of Rehavam Ze’evi and the Karine A weapons ship visited prison facilities in Jericho today. They are expected to hold a round of meetings with Palestinian officials to work out most of the technical details of the incarceration of the convicted terrorists, including when and how the transfer will take place and in which Jericho jail they will be held.
The U.S. and British guards will have the job of ensuring that the four killers of Ze’evi, PA finance chief Fuad Shubeiki who is suspected of masterminding the Karine A weapons-smuggling affair and PFLP leader Ahmed Sa’adat remain behind bars.
PALESTINIANS ADDING BODIES TO CREATE JENIN MASS GRAVE
Palestinians in the Jenin refugee camp are inflating the number of residents killed during Operation Defensive Shield by adding bodies buried in a local cemetery to a mass grave that contains the bodies of 26 residents killed in the IDF operation, THE JERUSALEM POST reported.
The IDF Spokesman’s Office said on Monday that Palestinians began removing bodies from a cemetery located near the government hospital in the camp in an attempt to create a mass grave. In addition, Palestinian Authority officials have instructed residents to refrain from searching for more bodies buried under rubble in the camp, and instead, to wait for the presence of the UN fact-finding team.
Residents have also been ordered to erase any militant symbols and hide weapons, as well as refrain from taking any militant action while the UN teams are present.
The IDF spokesman also said that since the military pulled out from the camp, explosive devices planted by Palestinian terrorists during the IDF operation have wounded 21 innocent residents.
Meanwhile, according to HA’ARETZ, a former British explosives expert now working for the Red Cross in the Jenin refugee camp found 200 explosive devices that are identical to those used by the IRA in Northern Ireland. Former Royal Engineers bomb-disposal expert Paul Collinson said that the devices he found were identical in every detail to those he had encountered in Northern Ireland. He is convinced that the devices were either supplied by the IRA or made by Palestinians under direct IRA supervision. "When I saw the bombs it was like a flashback to Northern Ireland," he said. "The pipe bombs I found in Jenin have all the hallmarks of originating from Ireland."
CELEBRATE LAG BA’OMER HOLIDAY ON HAR MERON
Approximately 150,000 people gathered on Monday night at the tomb of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai on Har Meron, to celebrate the Lag Ba’omer holiday, HA’ARETZ reported. Tens of thousands of additional celebrants observed the holiday throughout the country by lighting bonfires.
According to police estimates, there was no discernable drop-off in the number of participants compared to previous years. Some 2,100 policemen and hundreds of volunteers guarded the area. The yearly celebration held at the tomb began at around 8:00 pm., with a mass evening prayer, followed by bonfire lighting near the building housing Bar Yochai’s tomb.
Despite the security situation in Israel, a decision has been made not to cancel the International Festival for the Performing Arts and the Israel Festival, which is slated to open in Jerusalem on May 23 and continue until June 13, HA’ARETZ reported. Special security preparations have been made for the festival including the cancellation of outside performances. Israeli works will dominate the event and the focus, according to one of the Festival organizers, is to attempt to create a celebratory festival without ignoring the reality of the current situation.
* Dun & Bradstreet announced in a recent survey that "despite the decline in revenue, which encompassed entire sectors, and the general contraction in the economy, it is clear that the overall economic infrastructure remains strong," GLOBES reported. The ratings for the 150 largest companies in Israel showed that 2001 was a very difficult year for Israel’s economy. Industry’s share of the recession was great, with industrial output down5.5percent, following 10 percent growth in 2000.
* BigBand Networks raised
$27 million in its third financing round, GLOBES reported. The company is
a leading provider of broadband infrastructure systems for advanced television
broadcasting and interactive services. BigBand will use the money to expand
its marketing and sales operations and improve the capacity of its Broadband
Multimedia-Service Routers. The company recently announced that after only
two quarters of marketing, its routers had been sold to and installed with
over 500,000 digital cablesubscribes in North America. The company’s customers
include Time Warner Cable, Cox Communications, Roger Cable and Blue Ridge
Communications. Today’s Israel line was prepared by Jonathan Schienberg, Maya
Jacobs, and Marita Gringaus at the Consulate General of Israel in New York.
REDEPLOYS FROM HEBRON
* CAPTURED DOCUMENTS PROVE SAUDI LINK TO PALESTINIAN TERRORISM
* ISRAELI EXPATRIATES EXPRESSING INCREASED INTEREST IN RETURNING HOME
* HIGH SCHOOLS TO OFFER SUMMER SEMESTER
* ECONOMIC BRIEFS
REDEPLOYS FROM HEBRON
The Israel Defense Forces redeployed from Hebron on Tuesday after a48-hour stay during which 250 Palestinian terrorist suspects were arrested, HA’ARETZ reported. Approximately 40 Palestinians are still being detained, and the rest were released. The 40 include Islamic Jihad, Hamas and Fatah terrorists. The IDF entered Hebron on Sunday after Palestinian terrorists infiltrated the Jewish community of Adora, near Hebron, killing four Israelis, including a five-year-old girl.
During the operation, a senior member of Tanzim was arrested. According to military officials, the man is considered responsible for many shooting attacks in the Hebron area over the past few months. The officials added that lacking any Palestinian efforts to arrest terrorists, the IDF will return to Palestinian-controlled territories and conduct arrests.
Meanwhile, 17 armed Palestinian gunmen took refuge in a local hospital, shooting at IDF forces. IDF sources said that while the army wanted to avoid a standoff and does not wish to raid the hospital, the men must be apprehended. IDF Deputy Commander of the Judea region, Col. Moshe Hagar, who commanded the Hebron raid said many of the 17 were not "heavy suspects" and that even if the army will "sooner or later we will get them." IDF sources added that doctors in the hospital were opposed to having the gunmen inside, and as of late last night it appeared the army would pull out without a clash at the hospital.
DOCUMENTS PROVE SAUDI LINK TO PALESTINIAN TERRORISM
Documents captured during Operation Defensive Shield prove that Saudi Arabia transferred funds to families of Palestinian terrorists and suicide bombers, YEDIOT AHARONOT reported. The documents show that 102 families of terrorists were awarded $5,000 each for a sum total of $545,000.
A document seized by the Israel Defense Forces in Tulkarem reveals a list of names and funds. The names include the suicide bomber who blew himself up in the Afula market in November 2001, killing two Israelis and wounding 46; the terrorist who perpetrated the shooting attack in Hadera in October2001,killing four Israelis and wounding 31; and the suicide bomber who blew himself up in Haifa in December 2001, injuring 29 Israelis. The list also includes the names of senior terrorists like Mahmud abu-Hunud, the chief Hamas terrorist in the West Bank, and Ataf Abiat of Beit Lehem.
The document indicates that the money was transferred to the families through the Arab Bank and was supervised by a committee operating under the auspices of the Saudi government. The committee recently held a telethon to aid families of terrorists and suicide bombers, raising $109 million.
EXPATRIATES EXPRESSING INCREASED INTEREST IN RETURNING HOME
Israeli expatriates are recently expressing an increased interest in returning to Israel, HA’ARETZ reported. According to Ministry of Absorption Spokesman Yehuda Glick, there are two main indicators for this phenomenon: first, during April there was a fivefold increase in the number of hit son the Ministry’s web page dealing with the rights of returning Israelis -more than 3,000, compared to 600 in March; second, Israelis living overseas sent dozens of e-mails to the ministry last month seeking information about returning.
Glick added that while none of the e-mails specified the reasons for the interest in returning to Israel, the ongoing wave of Palestinian terrorism and a global wave of anti-Semitism generated feelings of solidarity. Glick also said most of the inquiries came from Israeli expatriates living in the United States.
The Ministry has recently run a campaign to encourage former Israelis to return, publishing ads in Israeli newspapers overseas that list the benefits they would be entitled to. Particularly, extensive benefits are being offered to people willing to relocate to the Galilee. In two weeks, mayors from the Galilee will begin a tour of major expatriate communities in the United States to meet potential returnees.
SCHOOLS TO OFFER SUMMER SEMESTER
As of this year, high schools all throughout Israel will offer a summer semester to allow students to improve their matriculation examination grades, YEDIOT AHARONOT reported. The semester will last between mid-June and the end of August, and will cost NIS 500 (approximately $100),although financial aid will be available if necessary.
Students opting to participate in the summer classes will be allowed to take the matriculation examinations at the end of the summer. Director of the Educational Department at the Ministry of Education, Hannah Ne’eman, said that the project’s goal is to "close social gaps, and also give the students some framework, to give them something to do instead of hanging out he streets in these tough times of constant terrorist attacks."
The idea for a summer semester has been tried in a high school in Yehud for the last four years, and proved to be successful.
* Israeli company Nufar High-Tech is negotiating to supply fabric escape tubes to U.S. multi-storied buildings, GLOBES reported. The company has developed a fabric tube that enables the escapees to fall gently and safely to the ground, even from upper floors. The tubes are made from fire-resistant and anti-friction materials. Nufar’s general manager Israel Solodoch said the company’s main market is New York skyscrapers: "Since the attack on the Twin Towers, demand for leasing offices in the upper stories of skyscrapers in the city has fallen. The escape tube offers a solution to the fear of being trapped on a building’s upper floors during an emergency," he said.
* Netanya-based Rada Electronic
Industries announced that it has signed an agreement with Lockheed Martin
Aeronautics to develop systems to supportF-16 aircraft, GLOBES reported. The
deal is worth $500,000 in 2002.Radasaid it would develop an aircraft structural
integrity program (ASIP) in support of the F-16 aircraft. This is the second
year of this effort for which RADA has been under contract by Lockheed Martin
Aeronautics, as part of a long-term development effort that is expected to
last until 2002-2006.