Choose Day Below

Israeline — Monday, August 26, 2002 —

** Israeli Arabs Responsible for Major Attacks, Captured
** Bush To Meet With Saudi Ambassador in Texas
** Eitan Retires from Political Life
** First Woman Elected to Head National Student Union
** Economic Briefs

Israeli Arabs Responsible for Major Attacks, Captured

Seven Israeli Arabs were arrested several weeks ago on suspicion that they assisted in carrying out the bus attack at the Meron junction on August 4th, in which nine people were killed and dozens were injured, HA’ARETZ reported.
The suspects are members of the Bakri clan, which resides in the western Galilee village of Bana. Mohammed Bakri, his 21-year-old son Ibrahim, and his friend Yassin Bakri were three of the suspects named.

According to the investigation, the suicide bomber, who was identified as Hamas member Jihad Hamada, met his collaborators while working in Bana. Two days before carrying out the bombing he asked Ibrahim Bakri for help and then called Yassin. The three met, and during the course of the meeting Hamada displayed the explosive device, and props including a gun, clothing, and a camera, which were to give him the appearance of a tourist. The three debated the location of the attack and agreed that it should be carried out on a bus transporting Israel Defense Forces soldiers.

Meanwhile, IDF special forces arrested the most wanted Hamas man in the West Bank today, Sheikh Jamal Abu el Hija, who is responsible for several suicide bombings that killed dozens of Israelis. Aslam Jarar, a Hamas member of lower rank, was also arrested.

Hija is allegedly behind several suicide bombings, including: the Meron junction attack, the Matza Restaurant attack in Haifa on March 31, 2002, in which 15 people were killed and more than 40 injured and the Sbarro pizzeria attack in Jerusalem on August 9, 2001, in which 15 people were killed and about 90 wounded. Hija is also believed to have been behind numerous attacks in the West Bank.

Also Monday, two mortar shells fell in communities in the Gaza Strip and an anti-tank rocket was fired at an IDF outpost near the Gaza neighborhood of Netzarim. No injuries were reported in the attacks.

Bush To Meet With Saudi Ambassador in Texas

U.S. President George W. Bush will discuss the situation in the Middle East and other issues with Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador to the United States, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, at a meeting at his Texas ranch on Tuesday, HA’ARETZ reported. The White House first announced the meeting on Friday and said Bush would talk with the Saudi ambassador, hoping to improve relations strained by disagreements over Iraq and terrorism allegations. Speaking to reporters before a fund-raising appearance by Bush in Las Cruces, New Mexico, White House Spokesman Ari Fleischer said, "Saudi Arabia is a stalwart ally in the war against terrorism.They’ll talk about resources, they’ll talk about continuing to advance toward peace in the Middle East," Fleischer said. "Saudi Arabia has also played a very constructive role in trying to bring peace to the Middle East, so the president is looking forward to the visit," he added.

Eitan Retires from Political Life

The head of the Tsomet Party, Rafael (Raful) Eitan announced that he is retiring from political life and will no longer head up the Tsomet party, YEDIOT AHARONOT reported. Eitan, 73, has been a Member of Knesset since 1984 and established the Tsomet Party in 1988 after he left the Tchiya Party. He also held the positions of Minister of Agriculture and as Minister of the Environment. While he announced that that he will continue voting for Tsomet, Eitan added that he felt he did his duty, and thinks "we have to make room for the younger generation."

Moshe Green, a farmer and a former businessman who joined the Tsomet party in 1998 and headed its financial side, will assume the party’s leadership responsibilities. Green was appointed chairman of the party’s management two years ago, and later became Deputy Chairman of the party.

A staunchly secular party, Tsomet (Movement for Renewed Zionism) broke off from the right-wing Tchiya Party prior to the elections in 1988. Tsomet joined Likud in 1996 and won five seats in the elections. It did not win any seats in the 15th Knesset.

First Woman Elected to Head National Student Union

For the first time in Israel’s history, a female was elected chairperson of the National Student Union, MA’ARIV reported. Gila Gamliel, 28, who currently heads up the Student Union at Ben-Gurion University in Be’er Sheva, won sixty percent of the votes during the national elections. Gamliel, who is active in the Likud party, was also ranked 21st on the Likud list of candidates for the 15th Knesset. Gamliel’s victory returned the control of the NSU to Likud after eight years of Labor management.

Gamliel told reporters that she is proud to be the first woman in this role and promised to keep fighting for students’ rights and lower tuition at universities and colleges. She also said that under her leadership, the NSU will fight to remedy social struggles that plague society.


According to a new survey conducted by "Omanut La’am" (Art for the People) on how Israelis spend their spare time, more than 85 percent spend it watching television, MA’ARIV reported. The survey also reported that 84 percent of Israelis also read newspapers and 82.5 percent enjoy getting together with friends and family. Additionally, 47 percent read books and 35 percent surf the Web. Only 22 percent were reported as spending their spare time in the gym.


Economic Briefs

* The Ministry of Industry and Trade’s Industrial Cooperation Authority has initiated 15 cooperation meetings between Ford Motor Company and Israeli manufacturers, GLOBES reported. The meetings were held in Cologne, Germany and Basildon, U.K. Ford has an industrial cooperation agreement with Israel, and hosting the delegation was part of the company’s effort to expand procurement in Israel. Sixty Ford engineers and procurement agents attended each meeting with the Israeli delegation. Industrial Cooperation Authority director general Ephraim Shoham expects that Ford Europe’s procurement of Israeli goods will soon reach $10 million a year. He said reciprocal procurement by the car industry was $115 million in 2001, and the agreement will increase this amount by at least 10 percent in 2002.

* The Yavneh-based firm, Ormat Industries has signed a contract to build a geothermal power plant in Mokai, New Zealand, at a value of $42.8 million, GLOBES reported.
Ormat, with projects in 17 countries, has already built a number of power plants in New Zealand. It uses locally available heat sources, including geothermal energy (steam and hot water), industrial waste heat, solar energy, biomass, and low-grade fuels.

Israeline — Tuesday, August 21, 2002 —

** Palestinian Reforms Could Include Appointment of Prime Minister
** Security Meeting Between IDF and Palestinian Counterparts Described as "Positive"
** Support for Arafat Amongst Palestinians, Reaches All-Time Low
** South African Jewish Leaders Meet with Israeli Counterparts to Discuss Earth Summit
** Harel Levy Reaches Second Round at U.S. Open
** Economic Briefs

Palestinian Reforms Could Include Appointment of Prime Minister

U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State David Satterfield is expected to discuss the prospects of the appointment of a Palestinian Prime Minister during a visit to the region starting on Wednesday, HA’ARETZ reported. "After having elections and declaring an independent state, the new parliament will be discussing a number of decisions including the post of prime minister and his responsibilities," Arafat’s top adviser Nabil Abu Rdainah said.
According to diplomatic sources in the United States, Satterfield’s agenda will also include the discussion of reforms in security and political fields. He is expected to hold separate talks with Palestinian and Israeli officials.

Security Meeting Between IDF and Palestinian Counterparts Described as "Positive"

Minister of Defense Benjamin Ben-Eliezer will meet with Palestinian Authority Interior Minister Abdel Raziq Yehiyeh today to discuss an IDF withdrawal from the West Bank town of Hebron and the continued implementation of the "Gaza and Bethlehem First" plan, HA’ARETZ reported.

Meanwhile, following a security meeting held Monday evening in the Gaza Strip, IDF Commanders and Palestinian counterparts agreed that Israel will begin to lift a series of restrictions on the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip today, due to a significant drop in violence in the area. The GOC Central Command also announced Monday that it would begin to ease restrictions on Palestinians in the Bethlehem area starting Wednesday.

According to Central Command evaluations, violence in the area has been reduced, and a series of bans are to be lifted in the West Bank city: the IDF will allow laborers to enter Israel, teachers to travel to schools, clergymen to travel between Jerusalem and Bethlehem, and merchandise to leave Bethlehem. "It’s all up to the Palestinians now. If the Palestinians show results still today, then of course we will start implementation.In each place where the Palestinians act against terrorism, there the Israel Defence Force is supposed to reduce their activity according to the agreement," an IDF Spokesman said.

Support for Arafat Amongst Palestinians, Reaches All-Time Low

Palestinian support for Yasser Arafat has fallen to a record low, THE JERUSALEM POST reported. Citing a survey published on Monday by a respected Ramallah based pollster, the reported noted that "Arafat’s popularity rating has fallen to just 34 percent, compared to 46 percent two years ago, before the start of the Palestinian uprising against Israel."

Dr. Khalil Shikaki, of the Palestinian Center for Policy Survey Research, surveyed 1,300 Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip last week. The poll revealed that Arafat’s Fatah movement has fallen out of favor taking second place to extremist Islamic groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad. The survey also showed that 85 percent of respondents felt that Arafat’s Palestinian Authority is "rife with corruption." Other statistics indicated that 84 percent of Palestinians favor fundamental reforms in the Palestinian Authority but that only 25 percent felt confident that the present Palestinian leadership could make the internal reforms necessary to make peace with Israel. Shikaki also found that Palestinians are evenly divided over whether to continue violent attacks against Israelis, with 48 percent supporting, and 50 percent opposing, the gradual implementation of a cease-fire and Israeli army withdrawal. But 43 percent support, and 53 percent oppose, internal Palestinian efforts aiming at ending bombing attacks against civilians inside Israel. 73 percent said it supported reconciliation with Israel but only one that guaranteed full Palestinian rights.

South African Jewish Leaders Meet with Israeli Counterparts to Discuss Earth Summit

Leaders of the Jewish community in Johannesburg and the South African Zionist organization met Friday with representatives from Israel to discuss combating anti-Israel protests at the the World Summit on Sustainble Development (WSSD), HA’ARETZ reported. Thousands of supporters of Islamic organizations have arrived in the city and pro-Arab stands have already been set up.

Israel’s Jewish National Fund exhibit is the only one Israel will host at this year’s summit. The exhibit concentrates on the continued struggle against desert encroachment.

The Israeli NGOs intend to discuss various international environment agreements that Israel has not ratified, such as the Kyoto Protocol on air pollution and amendments to the Barcelona Convention on land-based pollution of the Mediterranean.

Some 65,000 international delegates are expected to participate in the Johannesburg summit, including 65 heads of state. Minister of Foreign Affairs Shimon Peres will head the Israeli delegation, during the final three days of the summit.

Harel Levy Reaches Second Round at U.S. Open

Former top Israeli tennis player, Harel Levy, broke a personal record yesterday and advanced to the second round of the US open, HAARETZ reported. In a five-set match that lasted more than three hours, Levy defeated thirtieth seed Andrei Pavel from Romania. After trailing badly in the first set 6-1, Levy fought back with the final scoreboard reading 7-6(9/7), 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.

"There is no more professional a sportsman than Harel," Levy’s father, Yoel, said on Monday. "He has been working tirelessly for the past three months with a fitness trainer named Paul Dorchenko, who has also worked with several top-ten players in the past few years." Levy will faces Ramon Delgado of Paraguay, ranked 136, in his next match. Anna Smashnova and Noam Okrun will also play today.

Economic Briefs

* Inc., a developer and provider of data visualization solutions and services, announced that it has signed an agreement with the MSN network for use of Girafa’s Visualization technology for MSN search services, GLOBES reported. Under the agreement, Girafa’s Visualization services will be available to millions of MSN users in the U.S. who are searching from the Microsoft Internet Explorer search pane. "We are delighted to announce this agreement with Microsoft and are excited to have the opportunity to offer our visualization services to millions of Internet Explorer users," Eldad Barnoon, CEO of Girafa, said. "MSN, setting new standards for searching the Web, is introducing a smarter, more efficient and much more enjoyable search experience."

* Softstone, Inc., an Oklahoma-based company that recycles rubber products, has invested in Levgum, Inc., an Israeli start-up once based in Kiryat Arba that developed the technology to devulcanize rubber, THE JERUSALEM POST reported. The deal was clinched after a series of e-mails and phone calls, and without holding a single meeting in Israel. In mid-March, Softstone announced it had agreed to pay $250,000 to Levgum for 10 percent ownership in the company and a seat on the board of directors, and that it had negotiated the licensing and sublicensing rights to the Western hemisphere for Levgum’s devulcanization technology. The deal was finalized in May.

Israeline — Wednesday, August 28, 2002 —

** Soldier Dies When Vehicle Overturns in West Bank
** 2 More Israeli Arabs Detained on Suspicion of Aiding a Suicide Bomber
** UNESCO to Inspect Western Wall Damage
** Transportation Ministry Considering Stricter Road Rules for Teens
** Economic Briefs

Soldier Dies When Vehicle Overturns in West Bank

Sgt.Lior Rothschild, 20, of Ramat Gan, was killed on Tuesday when an armored personnel carrier overturned in the Gush Etzion area of the West Bank, THE JERUSALEM POST reported. Rothschild had been on patrol near the village of Nahalin on Tuesday afternoon. According to reports, the vehicle was backing up after hitting a roadblock on the Husan bypass road near the Betar Illit community. Rothschild, who was riding in the officer’s turret, was pinned underneath and died of head injuries as security forces and emergency teams tried for about an hour to extricate him. Three other soldiers in the vehicle were lightly injured. Rothschild will be buried today.

2 More Israeli Arabs Detained on Suspicion of Aiding a Suicide Bomber

Two Israeli Arab residents of Nazareth, have been detained on suspicion of transporting a suicide bomber on August 5, HA’ARETZ reported. The details of their detention were released today.

The suicide bomber, identified as Mahmud Asfer, was from a village near Jenin. He detonated his explosive device at Umm al-Fahm junction in northern Israel, killing himself and wounding one of the two men suspected of transporting him. After the attack, former Border Police officer Issam Dahdal, who was detained along with his uncle Bulus Marshi, said that he had picked up the bomber without realizing that Asfer was on his way to carry out an attack. Investigations by the Israeli Security Service and the police found, however, that the two drove the man from the area of the Green Line border, they knew he was in Israel illegally, and that they had also expected to receive payment for driving him.
Meanwhile, The Arab National Council has called on all Palestinian terror organizations to stop recruiting Israeli Arabs for operations against Israeli targets. The group, which issued its call Tuesday, also condemned the alleged involvement of seven members of the Bakri clan in the August 4 bombing of a bus at the Meron Junction which killed nine people and wounded dozens. The council called on Israeli Arabs not to be tempted by propositions from Palestinian activists.

UNESCO to Inspect Western Wall Damage

A UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) -related group for the preservation of antiquities offered today to send an expert to Israel to assess the damage to the southern part of the Western Wall and any danger of it collapsing, Israel Radio, KOL YISRAEL reported.
The offer follows reports Tuesday that the wall in question has gradually moved outward from its original position. Some people have claimed the shift is the result of illegal construction on the Temple Mount by the Waqf, the Muslim religious trust.

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon will convene a restricted forum of ministers to discuss the danger of the southern wall of the Temple Mount compound collapsing.

Mayor of Jerusalem Ehud Olmert called on the government Tuesday to take immediate action to prevent a potential "historical and human disaster" should the wall collapse. "In my opinion, we have reached the moment of truth," Olmert said. "The government of Israel has no alternative but to decide to exercise our natural authority with regard to the Temple Mount. We made all kinds of efforts to reach understandings on the issue, both here in Israel and abroad, to pinpoint the reasons for the movement of the Wall, so we can properly address the matter," he said.

The bulge in the wall is not a new development. The Committee for the Prevention of the Destruction of Antiquities links the problem to work carried out in recent years in the area of Solomon’s Stables. According to Antiquities Authority data, The bulge stretches over 190 square meters. The most prominent bulge reaches a depth of about 70 centimeters and is located west of the southeastern corner of the Mount.

Transportation Ministry Considering Stricter Road Rules for Teens

The Ministry of Transportation is considering renewing a former driving restriction which prevented young drivers from driving between 1a.m. and 5 a.m., HA’ARETZ reported. Minister of Transportation Ephraim Sneh is considering invoking an even harsher time frame if the regulation is renewed, proposing that the limit be extended to six hours – from midnight to 6 A.M.

Over the past three days, 15 people have been killed as a result of traffic accidents in the north of Israel. In the latest accidents, a 25-year-old motorbike rider was killed near the Ramle-Lod junction this morning, while five teenagers, aged 16-18, were killed early Tuesday morning when their car slammed into an oncoming truck on the old Tel Aviv-Haifa road.
Commander Moshe Ben-Zikri, head of the police traffic department, said that young drivers are involved in approximately one third of Israel’s fatal road accidents. Ben-Zikri proposed increasing enforcement on the roads by employing more police officers and electronic equipment. He said that ideal conditions allow one patrol car for every 10-kilometer stretch of road. Today, there is one patrol car for every 25 kilometers.


Anna Smashnova and Noam Okun both won their matches on Tuesday, to join Harel Levy in the second round of the US Open, THE JERUSALEM POST reported. Okun, won his debut US Open against Igor Kunitcin 6-7, 6-4, 6-4, 6-3, and is likely to face world No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt. Smashnova, seeded for the first time at No. 17, beat Marie-Gaianeh Mikaelian from Switzerland in straight sets 7-6 (1), 6-4.


Economic Briefs

* The FDA has approved PerioChip (chlorhexidine gluconate – 2.5mg) for shipment and storage at room temperature, GLOBES reported. This makes administering adjunctive therapy for periodontal disease with the PerioChip easier by offering a simple effective therapy in a convenient format that does not require special storage or tools for insertion.
PerioChip is a small biodegradable chip containing chlorhexidine gluconate that is easily inserted into the periodontal pocket around the tooth. It dissolves naturally in the pocket over seven to 10 days, killing all bacteria and inhibiting the proliferation of perio-pathogenic bacteria. PerioChip’s active ingredient, chlorhexidine, is a gold-standard broad-spectrum antimicrobial agent. Patients can eat, drink, and brush their teeth as usual after treatment.

* The Bank of Israel has announced that foreigners invested $490 million in Israel in July, THE JERUSALEM POST reported. In the first seven months of the year, investments in securities totaled $1.2 billion. Total foreign investment in the first seven months was $2 billion compared to $4.4 billion for 2001.