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Israeline — Monday, August 11, 2003 —

** 16-Year-Old Israeli Killed in Hizbullah Attack on Sunday
** Security Fence’s Final Route in Discussion
** Israeli Pilot’s Helmet Found in Iraq
** New Israeli Device Enables Patients to Diagnose Heart Attack from Home
** Other News in Brief
** Economic & Hi-Tech Briefs


16-Year-Old Israeli Killed in Hizbullah Attack on Sunday
A 16-year-old boy, Haviv Dadon was killed and four other people were lightly wounded on Sunday after Hizbullah shelled the northern town of Shlomi, HA’ARETZ reported.

Dadon, who was buried on Sunday evening, is survived by his parents and five siblings. He was the first civilian to be killed in a Hizbullah attack since the Israel Defense Forces withdrew from southern Lebanon in May. 2000.

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon held consultations Sunday night with senior military officials to assess the situation along the northern border where, for three consecutive days, Israeli targets have come under Hizbullah fire. Shortly after the attack on Shlomi, Israel Air Force helicopters attacked Hizbullah’s artillery position in southwest Lebanon, destroying the Syrian-backed group’s anti-aircraft cannons. Following Israel’s counter-offensive, the GOC of the IDFs’ Northern Command Benny Gantz said Hizbullah had understood that the rules of the game had changed.

Israel has asked the United States to convey to Syria that it would not stand for a continued deterioration of the situation on its northern border. Senior sources told Israel Radio, KOL YISRAEL, that Israel was waiting to see how Syria would respond to the heavy pressure emanating from the United States to rein in Hizbullah and warned that if diplomatic pressure failed, further escalation in violence could be expected.

Deputy Defense Minister Zeev Boim said today that Israel held Syria, the main powerbroker in Lebanon, responsible for Hizbullah’s actions. "Syria is definitely the umbilical cord from which Hizbullah feeds," he told Army Radio. "If there is escalation from their side, there will definitely be a clear military response from Israel that could inevitably be against Syrian targets."

Boim appeared to signal in his comments however, that Israel did not for now plan further military action and that diplomatic pressure "could be an effective tool as well", and that

Israeli flights over parts of Lebanon, which he called reconnaissance missions, would continue.


Security Fence’s Final Route in Discussion
Israel will consult with the United States as it finalizes the route of the security fence, including the section around the community of Ariel, HA’ARETZ reported.

A senior source at Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s office said on Saturday that no final decision had been made on the exact route for the fence, because it was still in the planning stages, but that only security considerations would determine the route. The source added that Israel wanted to take into account the wishes of the U.S. government, as long as they did not conflict with Israel’s security needs. Israel is open to alternate suggestions from the United States and hopes to find solutions that cause "the minimal amount of infringement and hardship," the source said.

On Friday, U.S. President George Bush said that the separation fence Israel was building through the West Bank was "a problem" because it made it hard to develop a contiguous Palestinian state. Israel said in response that it was building the security fence to keep out Palestinian homicide bombers. Bush acknowledged this concern, describing Israel’s construction of the security barrier as "a reaction to the days when there was terror”, and he called once more on the PA to "deal with terror."

Meanwhile, Minister of Foreign Affairs Silvan Shalom said Sunday that Israel would attempt to reach a solution to the disagreement on the fence, in accordance with understandings between Israel and the United States "I heard President Bush’s comments that the fence was appropriate for a period in which there was terror," Shalom said in an interview on Israel Radio. "We don’t want to return to that period of terror. This fence will be very effective in preventing extremist organizations from carrying out terror operations."

Commenting on U.S. criticism of the fence, Shalom said, "The Americans want a different route, but they say that as long as the fence is related to our security and doesn’t harm Palestinian lives, it can continue."

"The fence is intended to help the peace process, not to destroy it as the Palestinians claim," Shalom added. “It is meant to prevent extremist groups from dismantling and ending the peace process. Therefore the fence will continue to be built. Of course we want to do all we can in coordination with the Americans, but friends can also disagree."


Israeli Pilot’s Helmet Found in Iraq
Thirty-six years after four Israeli air force pilots were shot down while on a flight mission in Iraq during the Six Day War, a helmet that may have belonged to one of the men, and which was on display in a Baghdad museum, was returned to Israel this weekend, YEDIOT AHARONOT reported. On the third day of the Six Day War, June 7, 1967, Iraqi military forces shot down the planes of pilots Shlomo Keren, Alexander Metzger, Yitzhak Glanz and Gideon Dror while on a mission in Iraq. Keren and Metzger were killed while Glanz and Dror were captured and later released. The Air Force is investigating if the helmet discovered in the Baghdad museum belongs to one of the men.

U.S. military forces discovered the helmet next to a scrap of metal bearing the traditional blue Star of David insignia of the Israeli air force which may have been a piece of wreckage from one of the planes. The interior of the helmet displayed a sticker reading: “Pilot Helmet Model HGU/2A-P; Manufactured: 1966; Size: Large; Number 16631; Oz Plastics, Azor Industrial Area.” It is thought that the Iraqis exhibited the helmet as example of war plunder after defeating the Israeli pilots.

The helmet was transferred through the Israeli embassy in Jordan and when it arrived at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jerusalem, it created a lot of excitement. “Holding something like this in your hands makes you shiver. You can actually see the blood stains,” said a senior official. The helmet was then forwarded to the Ministry of Defense in Tel-Aviv and from there it will be transferred to the Missing In Action section of the Air Force to try to reveal the helmet’s true owner.

The four pilots had been dispatched to attack the Iraqi air force base H-3 in western Iraq after Israeli intelligence learned that the Egyptians had asked the Iraqis to attack IDF bases in Ramat David and Hatzor. Four “Miraz” planes from the Air Force’s first jet squadron escorted four “Wotor” planes from the “Northern Knights” squadron. Jordanian radar discovered the planes en route and alerted Iraqi forces. Iraqi “Hunter” planes awaited the Israeli aircraft and managed to severely disrupt the attack, shooting down two “Wotor” planes and one “Miraz” fighter.


New Israeli Device Enables Patients to Diagnose Heart Attack from Home
Israeli firm SHL Telemedicine has manufactured a new device called the Telemarker, which allows patients with chest pain to administer a simple blood test at home and thereby accurately determine whether the discomfort they are feeling is really a heart attack or not without making a trip to the emergency room, ISRAEL21C reported.

The device automatically pricks the patient’s skin for a blood sample, and carries out a test for two proteins – myoglobin and troponin. These proteins, normally found inside cells, are released into the blood when cells cease functioning, as in the case of a heart attack. After 20 minutes, the device photographs the results and broadcasts them via modem to a monitoring center maintained by SHL, a physician’s office or hospital, where they can be analyzed in real time. This data, combined with the information provided by existing SHL devices, can offer the medical team at the center the three main parameters required for the diagnosis of a heart attack: a clinical picture, an ECG reading and a blood test for cardiac markers.

Erez Alroy, Co-President of SHL Telemedicine said that the product allowed the subscribers "to benefit from technological advantages that assist in saving lives and improve peace of mind." The Telemarker, he noted, could help end users get "a more focused emergency treatment" in times when they most needed it, when other tools might fail to supply clear indications as to their situation.

According to Alroy, the product will not only be attractive to users, but to health care institutions as well. Use of the device will lower the number of previously unavoidable false hospitalizations, leading to a higher quality of life for patients, and ease a major financial burden on health care authorities.

The Telemarker has already been approved in Europe and is awaiting approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which it is expected to receive within the year.


Other News in Brief

* The foreign ministers of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Syria were due to meet Monday in Cairo to discuss the situation in Iraq and the West Bank and Gaza Strip, Israel Radio, KOL YISRAEL reported. According to Arab diplomats, the three ministers were to attempt to devise a unified Arab position on these issues.

* President Moshe Katsav has signed pardons for 69 Palestinian prisoners who are slated to be released on Tuesday, Israel Radio, KOL YISRAEL reported. The president has demanded that all prisoners sign a pledge to refrain from any violent or terrorist activity. Most of the prisoners to be freed are serving jail terms for being in Israel illegally, while 25 of them were convicted for car and property theft.


Economic & Hi-Tech Briefs

* Signature Bank posted a net profit of $1.33 million in the first half of 2003, compared with a loss of $7.31 million in the first half of 2002, GLOBES reported. Signature Bank posted a net profit of just over $1 million in the second quarter of 2003, compared with a loss of $3.13 million in the corresponding quarter last year. Signature Bank has nine braches and provides private, individual, and professional banking services to wealthy customers in the United States.

* Dirom Construction and BiG Commercial Centers are negotiating the construction of a joint power center in Ashkelon, GLOBES reported. Construction of the power center, to be located on the Yuval Gad site in northern Ashkelon, will cost $20 million. Initial investigations indicate that the Ashkelon municipality will approve a power center on the site, currently zoned for industry. Dirom and BiG will have equal shares of the power center, planned to be one of Israel’s largest. The developers expect that the new Ashkelon bypass road will facilitate access and bring many shoppers to the site.

Today’s Israel Line was prepared by Dina Wosner, Naomi Peled, Jonathan Silverstein and Victor Chemtob at The Consulate General of Israel in New York.

Israeline — Tuesday, August 12, 2003 —

** Two Israelis Killed in Twin Homicide Bombings
** Shalom Urges Counterparts to Pressure to Syria to Rein in Hizbullah
** Israel Attempts To Renew Security Ties with Switzerland
** Eilat International Jazz Festival to Open on August 25
** Other News in Brief
** Economic & Hi-Tech Briefs


Two Israelis Killed in Twin Homicide Bombings
A pair of homicide bombings killed two Israelis today and wounded at least a dozen others, Israel Radio, KOL YISRAEL, reported. The terror attacks occurred six weeks after the announcement of the hudna – the temporary cease-fire reached between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Fatah. Hamas and Fatah claimed responsibility for the bombings.

The first attack occurred by the cash registers of the Hetzi Kupa supermarket just after 9 a.m., in the Rosh Ha’ayin shopping mall, east of Petach Tikva. Yehezkiel Yekutieli, 43, was killed in the blast and nine other were injured, three of them seriously. Eyewitness Vladimir Reider, first violinist of the Israel Chamber Orchestra, said he was standing one aisle away from the bomber. “I will never forget it; the acrid smell of the smoke, seeing the people bleeding and hearing the screams,” he said.

This is the first terror attack to take place in Rosh Ha’ayin. Sharon area police commander Brig. Gen. Amichai Shay said the bomber turned his back to one of the cashiers and blew himself up. Shay revealed that the bomber carried a 3-kilogram bomb packed with ball bearings. The injured were transported to Sharon and Beilinson Hospitals in Petach Tikva. The shopping center lies 300 meters from the Green Line, and about a kilometer from the trans-Samaria highway.

One hour later, a second attack occurred at a bus stop near a gas station at the entrance to the West Bank town of Ariel, to the east of Rosh Ha’ayin. Realizing soldiers at the bus stop were suspecting him, the Palestinian homicide bomber detonated himself, killing Erez Hershkovitz, an 18-year-old from Alon, and seriously wounding two others. Hershkovitz will be buried today.

The Fatah’s al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade claimed responsibility for the Rosh Ha’ayin bombing. Shortly after the blasts, police arrested the driver of the bombers. He was identified as an Israeli-Arab from the town of Kalasawah.

In response to the two attacks, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon canceled the planned release today of 69 Palestinian prisoners. Sharon said that for the peace process to continue, Palestinian terror had to “stop completely” and that the PA had to fulfill all its commitments. Raanan Gissin, spokesman for Sharon, said, “we have had 10-15 terror warnings a day and it is our security forces that prevented over 200 terror attacks from taking place during the cease-fire.” He added, “it is time for Abu Mazen (Abbas) to decide who is in control of the Palestinian Authority.”


Shalom Urges Counterparts to Pressure Syria to Rein in Hizbullah
Minister of Foreign Affairs Silvan Shalom is stepping up diplomatic pressure in order to force Syria to take measures against Hizbullah, THE JERUSALEM POST reported. Shalom spoke by phone with U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell on Monday and said that if Hizbullah continued to fire toward Israeli communities in the North, Israel would be unable to continue showing restraint. While Hizbullah refrained from firing anti-aircraft guns toward Israel on Monday, Shalom’s statements followed an attack Sunday night that killed a 16-year old boy and wounded four other people. The United States has urged Israel, Lebanon, and Syria not to let violence escalate along the Lebanon-Israel border.

In addition to Powell, Shalom also spoke with German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer and Spanish Foreign Minister Ana Palacio, who both said they would speak with Syrian Foreign Minister Farouk Shara and press him to rein in Hizbullah.

French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin also relayed a message to Shalom that he had spoken with Syrian President Bashar Assad about the need to exert control over the activities of the terrorist group. France has consistently opposed placing Hizbullah on the European Union’s list of terrorist organizations. Shalom has urged the EU to do so, saying this would help the peace process in the region and prevent escalation in the area.

One official in the Prime Minister’s Office said the U.S. administration planned to wait to see how the pressure on Syria affected Hizbullah’s actions before deciding on further steps. He said, however, that at this point, it seemed both Syria and Hizbullah were “taking a step back, trying to reduce tension, and not invite massive retaliation against them.”

In a related development, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State William Burns is to arrive in Israel from Egypt today for a day of talks with Israeli and Palestinian Authority officials. A U.S. official described this as a “routine maintenance visit.” Burns has no plans to travel to Damascus.


Israel Attempts To Renew Security Ties with Switzerland
Minister of Foreign Affairs Silvan Shalom met on Monday in Berne with his Swiss counterpart, Micheline Calmy-Rey, and requested that Switzerland renew security ties with Israel, HA’ARETZ reported. Switzerland was an important customer of Israel’s military industries until it decided to suspend security ties in the wake of Operation Defensive Shield last year. The Swiss froze the signing of new security contracts with Israel. Shalom said that Switzerland was the only European country that had officially imposed an embargo on security ties with Israel.

Calmy-Rey told Shalom that existing contracts would be honored and that she would reexamine the decision to suspend the signing of new deals in view of the developments in the region following the adoption of the road map peace plan.

Shalom also requested that Switzerland make use of its unique position in the humanitarian field to further the return of Israeli prisoners and MIAs. Since Switzerland represents U.S. interests in Iran, Shalom also raised with his Swiss counterpart Israeli fears concerning Iranian support for terrorism and the development of nuclear weapons by Tehran.


Eilat International Jazz Festival to Open on August 25
The 17th International Red Sea Jazz Festival will open in Eilat on August 25 and will last until Thursday, August 28, HA’ARETZ reported. The festival, whose artistic director is Dan Gottfried, will begin this year with a performance by American guitarist John Abercrombie and the Czech bassist Miroslav Vitous. Another international guest of the festival is the British acapella group, the Swingle Singers, which started out in the early 1960s at Ronnie Scot’s jazz club in London, and which will be marking in Eilat 40 years of performances.

Cuba’s rising jazz star, pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba, will also perform, featuring a music that blends Cuban rythms, contemporary harmonies and classical music motifs. He will be accompanied by bassist Carlos Henriquez and drummer Ignacio Berroa. Paul Winter, who combines the voices of whales and wolves with the sound of wind and singers from an array of cultures will appear at the festival. Singer and actress Ute Lemper, the star of the musical "Chicago,” will do a show where she will feature Kurt Weill songs and American tunes.

Eli Djibri and Guri Agmon will be the leading Israeli jazz artists to play at the festival. They will perform together with the Holon Big Band and play their own original compositions described as a combination of "New York and Israeli jazz."

In addition to performances by Israeli and foreign artists, foreign guests will hold master classes and each night a jam session will take place with the musicians. Further details about the festival’s events are available at:


Other News in Brief

* Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is slated to visit India in early September, THE JERUSALEM POST reported. The trip will be the first ever to the country by an incumbent Israeli premier. The two countries only established full diplomatic relations in 1992 and since then, they have developed thriving commercial and military ties. An Israeli official said the head of India’s space agency recently visited Israel for talks on cooperation in India’s satellite launch program.

* The Israel Defense Force registered at least seven shooting incidents in Khan Yunis and various parts of Gush Katif in Gaza on Monday, HA’ARETZ reported. The shots were aimed at workers who repaired the protective fence that surrounds the community. Some of the assailants belong to the Gaza branch of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, which has not accepted the terms of the hudna. Four terror suspects were arrested on Monday in the West Bank.


Economic & Hi-Tech Briefs

* “Flight International Aerospace Top 100” survey for 2002 includes two Israeli defense companies in its list, GLOBES reported. The companies are Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI), Israel’s largest defense concern; and Elbit Systems, Israel’s largest private defense company. The list is based on company sales in 2002. IAI was ranked 28th, up from 29th place in 2001. Elbit Systems was ranked 46th, up from 47th in 2001.

* Minister of Industry Trade and Labor Ehud Olmert promised Israel-America Chamber of Commerce chiefs that automatic work permits would be arranged for managers and experts of foreign companies that either open offices or invest in Israel, GLOBES reported. Olmert said he was expediting, as much as possible, visas for foreign experts for whom there were no equivalent Israeli workers.

Today’s Israel Line was prepared by Adina Kay, David Nekrutman and Victor Chemtob at The Consulate General of Israel in New York.

Israeline — Wednesday, August 6, 2003 —

** Victims of Tuesday’s Twin Attacks Remembered
** Security Establishment Weighs Counter-Terror Measures
** U.S. Says Dismantling of Terror Infrastructure Is Highest Priority
** Internet Virus Hit Israeli-Owned Computers Hard
** Other News in Brief
** Economic & Hi-Tech Briefs


Victims of Tuesday’s Twin Attacks Remembered
Yehezkel Yekutiel, 43 and Erez Hershkovitz, 18, who were killed in separate homicide attacks in Rosh Ha’ayin and Ariel were buried on Tuesday, HA’ARETZ reported. Yehezkel Yekutiel, a renovations contractor in the center of the country, was born in Tel Aviv. He moved with his wife and two children to Rosh Ha’ayin nine and a half years ago. A relative said on Tuesday that he went to the supermarket to buy food for his children when he was hit. The mayor of Rosh Ha’ayin visited the family home to pay his condolences. Yekutiel was buried at the Yarkon cemetery Tuesday evening.

Erez Hershkovitz was a student at a yeshiva in Petah Tikva that combined Torah study with computer science. He enlisted two months ago for an academic cadet course in the Israel Defense Forces, and completed his basic training Sunday. Erez leaves behind his parents, Meir, a security guard, and Shoshana, a housewife, and eight siblings. The family has lived in the community of Elon Moreh, where Erez was born, for 21 years. Erez was buried late Tuesday afternoon in the city’s cemetery.


Security Establishment Weighs Counter-Terror Measures
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon held security consultations today with Minister of Defense Shaul Mofaz and the heads of the defense establishment in order to determine Israel’s policy in the wake of Tuesday’s double terror attacks, HA’ARETZ reported. Israel is not planning a military response to the attacks, but will step up pressure on the Palestinian Authority to dismantle the terrorist infrastructure.

Meanwhile, according to THE JERUSALEM POST, the Israel Defense Forces destroyed today the home of the homicide bombers responsible for Tuesday’s deadly attack in Rosh Ha’ayin. The IDF said that, "demolishing the houses of terrorists is a message to homicide bombers and their partners that their actions have a price that will be paid by all those involved in hostile terrorist activity."

Security forces continued anti-terror operations Tuesday night in the West Bank with Special Forces, Paratroopers and troops from the Nachal brigade arresting two Hamas members in Ein Al Bida, two suspected terrorists in Tamon and three wanted men in Nablus.


U.S. Says Dismantling of Terror Infrastructure Is Highest Priority
After twin homicide bombings shook Israel on Tuesday, the Bush Administration urged Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas to crack down on terror groups in the Palestinian areas and dismantle their infrastructures, THE JERUSALEM POST reported.

For fear of undermining his position, Abbas declined to confront the extremists responsible for the attacks, a move that angered the American leadership. White House spokesperson Claire Buchan said, "dismantling terror networks is a very high priority, the highest priority." U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, speaking in Washington to a group of young Arabs and Israelis, said, "we need leaders who are strong enough and have enough vision to say that I am only going to achieve my objectives through peaceful political means and not through the use of terror and violence."

In Jerusalem, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said he would continue working with American Assistant Secretary of State William Burns on the road map peace plan but added he would not move forward with the plan so long as Israelis were threatened by terrorist attacks. Sharon added that the U.S. Administration was committed to bringing peace to the region, but noted that, "we will never get there so long as people continue to participate in terrorist activities.”

Sharon accused his Palestinian counterpart Tuesday evening of not doing enough to clamp down on terrorists, saying that Abbas had reneged on his commitment to act against the terror groups operating in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Raanan Gissin, the Prime Minister’s spokesman, said that while the Government was making goodwill gestures on a daily basis, the PA was allowing the terrorists to rearm and plan more attacks. "The situation cannot and will not remain like this for much longer – either Abbas acts against terrorism or we will," Gissin said.


Internet Virus Hit Israeli-Owned Computers Hard
A new Internet virus, also known as the “San” worm, is spreading rapidly in Israel, affecting tens of thousands of computers in the country, THE JERUSALEM POST reported.

The San worm virus, which was first detected Monday afternoon, infects computers that run recent versions of Microsoft’s Windows program and enters the operating system once the computer connects to the Internet. The virus does not destroy files but instead executes a program, which turns the computer off abruptly. It is unique in the sense that is can disseminate rapidly to other computers without any action by the user. “What we are witnessing here is a new phenomenon. In this particular case just being connected to the Internet makes one vulnerable to having their private computers infected,” Microsoft General Manager Arie Scope said.

Thus far, the virus has infiltrated hundreds of thousands of computers worldwide; Israel, in particular, has been hit hard by the virus which has hit both corporate and private computers. As the virus continues to proliferate, Israeli computer-users are concerned about the growing crisis and are nervous that it will continue to disturb or hinder their ability to work. “We have received over 12,000 telephone calls today from customers who were hit by the virus,” Scope said.

In an attempt to alleviate the problem, Microsoft Israel said that it would offer free support to all Microsoft users – both clients and users of pirated copies – during this crisis.


Other News in Brief

* Minister of Finance Benjamin Netanyahu has acceded to a request from Israel Railways and declared three new rail projects infrastructure projects of national importance, HA’ARETZ reported. The projects are the Acre-Karmiel line, the Ha’emek line, and the Be’er Sheva-Ashkelon line. The 24-kilometer Acre-Karmiel line will link the coastal line with Galilee, shortening travel time between the Galilee and Haifa and to the center of the country. The Ha’emek line will stretch 71 kilometers between Haifa and Afula and will shorten travel time from the Ha’amakim region to Haifa and Tel Aviv. The line from Be’er Sheva to Ashkelon will create a rail continuum for passengers and cargo between Be’er Sheva and the western Negev communities, and will also link up to the coastal line.

* Hizbullah has fired today anti-tank rockets in the eastern sector along the Lebanese border with Israel, Israel Radio, KOL YISRAEL reported. The European Union urged Lebanon and "all other regional players" today not to let violence escalate along the Lebanon-Israel border. The EU presidency, speaking on behalf of more than 25 European countries, said it "strongly condemns renewed attacks by Hizbullah militias against Israeli targets."

* Israel, Turkey and the United States have begun a joint search and rescue exercise in international waters off of Turkey’s Mediterranean coast, Israel Radio, KOL YISRAEL reported. The three navies have carried out annual drills since 1998 that include coordinated search and rescue, air and water operations. Military officials from Jordan and Egypt are observing the drills.


Economic & Hi-Tech Briefs

* The Eastman Kodak Company’s Health Imaging Group announced worldwide availability of a secure e-mail service that is able to encrypt e-mail messages and their attachments so that patient information and images can be sent securely over the Internet to physicians, patients and other healthcare providers, GLOBES reported. Kodak noted that the e-mail application was provided through an agreement with Aliroo Ltd., of Israel. Under terms of the agreement, Kodak has obtained exclusive rights to market Aliroo’s PrivaWall secure e-mail messaging system in the United States and non-exclusive rights to market this system throughout the rest of the world.

* Arotech Corporation formerly Electric Fuel has announced that its all-electric bus traveled a record 145-mile last week under rigorous urban conditions, GLOBES reported. Arotech said the bus, powered by the company’s Electric Fuel zinc air fuel cell technology, was more efficient after being equipped with a new pack of ultra capacitors and improved energy management systems. The test drive was conducted on the former Griffith Air Force base near Rome, New York, with the bus traveling under typical city bus driving conditions, including stop and go, acceleration and constant speed.

Today’s Israel Line was prepared by Matthew Miller, David Dorfman, Adar Zango and Victor Chemtob at The Consulate General of Israel in New York.

Israeline — Thursday, August 14, 2003 —


** Israel Remains Committed to Peace Process Despite Recent Attacks
** Islamic Jihad Ticking Bomb Targeted – PA Says It Has No Intention of Arresting Terrorists
** Wakf to Announce ‘Positive’ Decision on Reopening Temple Mount Next Week
** Black Hebrews to Get their New ID Cards in Two Weeks
** Other News in Brief
** Economic & Hi-Tech Briefs


Israel Remains Committed to Peace Process Despite Recent Attacks
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Minister of Defense Shaul Mofaz, along with senior Israel Defense Forces officers and the Israeli Security Service have made a decision to remain committed to the peace process, despite Tuesday’s twin homicide bombings, HA’ARETZ reported. The Israeli officials decided that the IDF would continue pinpointed actions against specific terrorist enclaves – particularly in Nablus and Jenin – but that efforts would be made to open up traffic routes in the West Bank and Gaza and make humanitarian gestures toward the Palestinian population. On the other hand, Israel will not hand over security control in other West Bank towns to the Palestinian Authority until the latter is dealing with the terrorist infrastructure in towns already under its jurisdiction.

Israel also plans to step up pressure, both directly and through American channels, for the PA to start acting against terrorist organizations. Sharon has made it clear to the Americans that Israel will not move ahead with the road map as long as the PA does not fulfill its obligations and fails to disband the terror groups. To this end, Mofaz met today with the U.S. special envoy, Assistant Secretary of State John Wolf, and asked him to convey Israel’s demands to Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas and Security Affairs Minister Mohammed Dahlan Mohammed Dahlan. Mofaz was also expected to meet with Dahlan today in order to discuss the road map.

Meanwhile, the United States is trying to arrange that Sharon and Abbas meet soon so as to maintain the diplomatic momentum. Israel wishes to delay such a meeting until there is a guarantee it will have concrete results.


Islamic Jihad Ticking Bomb Targeted – PA Says It Has No Intention of Arresting Terrorists
The Israel Defense Force targeted today Mohamed Sider, the leader of Islamic Jihad in the city of Hebron, in an operation carried out with the intention to intercept a “ticking bomb,” HA’ARETZ reported. A special IDF unit operating in Hebron killed Sider after he threw a grenade at IDF troops while resisting arrest. Sider, one of the most senior wanted Palestinians in the West Bank, was suspected of being responsible for the deaths of 19 Israelis, as well as for the killings of two Turkish and Swiss nationals, who were members of a peacekeeping force. Sider was also suspected of orchestrating the ambush on the Worshippers’ Alley in Hebron in November 2002 in which 12 Israelis were killed. He also planned the attack on the West Bank community of Otniel in December 2002 in which four yeshiva students were killed.

In other security related events, troops arrested two wanted Palestinian terrorists in Nablus and Qalqilyah overnight today.

Meanwhile, according to THE JERUSALEM POST, the Palestinian Authority told leaders of Hamas and Islamic Jihad that they had no intention of arresting members of the two terror groups or confiscating their weapons in the aftermath of Tuesday’s twin homicide bombings. Senior Palestinian security officials conveyed this message to the terror groups over the past 48 hours. PA Culture Minister Ziad Abu Amer, who serves as a liaison officer to all the Palestinian terrorist factions, said Wednesday that the PA had no plans to disarm the local terror organizations or arrest their members. Deputy Information Minister Ahmed Subuh said Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas never issued a warning to the Palestinian factions against violating the cease-fire.


Wakf to Announce ‘Positive’ Decision on Reopening Temple Mount Next Week
Echoing statements made by Israeli officials, Adnan Husseini, the Wakf ‘s director, said today that the Moslem religious trust was inclined to agree to reopen the Temple Mount to non-Muslim visitors in the near future, THE JERUSALEM POST reported. "The decision to close the site three years ago was a temporary one, and not something that is supposed to last forever," Husseini said. "We have made a positive evaluation [of the situation] and we will reach for something positive as soon as possible." He added that Wakf officials, who met on Monday to discuss the reopening, should have a final "positive" answer by next week.

Husseini’s conciliatory comments come a day after Deputy Minister of Internal Security Ya’acov Edri said he was "almost absolutely certain" that an agreement would be reached with the Moslem religious trust to reopen the site, and 48 hours after Minister of Internal Security Tzahi Hanegbi told the Knesset House Committee that the Temple Mount would be reopened to non-Muslim visitors by next week.

Fearing renewed Palestinian violence, police have barred non-Muslims from entering the Temple Mount since September 2000. A brief reopening in June notwithstanding, the 34 months of closing has been the longest period Judaism’s holiest site has been closed to Jews and Christians since the reunification of Jerusalem in 1967.

On Wednesday, both President Moshe Katsav and Attorney-General Elyakim Rubinstein added their voices to those suggesting that the site should only be reopened as part of an accord with the Wakf.


Black Hebrews to Get their New ID Cards in Two Weeks
Minister of Interior Avraham Poraz is set to visit the southern city of Dimona on August 27 to give the heads of the Black Hebrews community their new identity cards, HA’ARETZ reported. Poraz decided last month to award the community’s members – amounting to approximately 3000 people- permanent resident status, saying that since they "identify with the state, they deserve the status." Although members of the Black Hebrews community first settled in Israel in the 1970s, the Interior Ministry has not granted them citizenship for fear of creating a precedent for thousands of others to follow in their footsteps.

With their new permanent resident status, the Black Hebrews will be allowed to serve in the Israel Defense Forces and to participate in the upcoming municipal elections.


Other News in Brief

* Kafa Machmid, a 32-year-old Israeli Arab mother of 5, gave birth to quadruplets last week, YEDIOT AHARONOT reported. Kafa and her husband, Monir, found out about the existence of four separate embryos during the sixth week of pregnancy. Doctors recommended then that the parents only keep some of the fetuses to avoid complications. However, after consulting with family members, the couple decided to keep all four. “We discussed all the difficulties, and eventually decided that if God blessed us with a quadruplets, without prior medical treatment for fertility, this is how it should remain," Kafa said. Doctors from the Hemek Medical Center explained that giving birth to 4 healthy newborn – 3 boys and 1 girl – could easily be considered a medical wonder.

* Israel’s outgoing ambassador to Denmark, Carmi Gillon, who is holding a farewell reception in Copenhagen today, announced he would run for mayor of Mevasseret Tzion when he returns to Israel, Israel Radio, KOL YISRAEL reported. Gillon became ambassador to Denmark two years ago. A former leader of the Israel Security Agency, Gillon became a well-respected diplomat as he represented Israel’s positions at the height of Palestinian violence. The Foreign Ministry has not yet announced a replacement for Gillon. In the meantime, Aviad Ivri, who serves as advisor in the Israeli Embassy in Copenhagen, will be acting ambassador.


Economic & Hi-Tech Briefs

* The Israel Hotel Association and the Jerusalem municipality reported today that tourism in the city had significantly improved, GLOBES reported. Their figures showed a 47 percent increase in foreign tourist hotel overnights in July 2003, compared with July 2002, and a 13 percent rise in Israeli overnights. Jerusalem Hotel Association director-general Jonathan Harpaz reported 38 percent hotel occupancy in July, compared with 27 percent in July of last year. Among other things, Harpaz attributed the improvement in hotel occupancy to the joint ongoing campaign by the municipality, the Ministry of Tourism, and the Hotel Association to encourage internal tourism. The campaign includes hotels, tourist attractions, museums, and theaters. There were 78,558 foreign tourist hotel overnights in July, and 89,216 overnights by Israelis.

* Representatives from the Fitch rating agency will be visiting Israel in September to reevaluate Israel’s credit standing, THE MARKER reported. The Fitch representatives will be meeting with treasury officials and leading economic figures ahead of their annual rating decision. Their report will be published in October. The London-based agency’s team will be led by Richard Fox, who covers Israel for the agency.

Today’s Israel Line was prepared by Adina Kay, David Dorfman, and Victor Chemtob at The Consulate General of Israel in New York.