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TERRORIST OPENS FIRE ON JAFFA STREET; OVER 40 WOUNDED
* HAMAS ANNOUNCES "ALL-OUT WAR" ON ISRAEL
* CLINTON URGES ISRAELIS NOT TO LOSE HOPE
* MULTI-FAITH ACCORD CONDEMNING VIOLENCE SIGNED IN EGYPT
* ECONOMIC BRIEFS
TERRORIST OPENS FIRE ON JAFFA STREET; OVER 40 WOUNDED
TERRORIST OPENS FIRE ON JAFFA STREET; OVER 40 WOUNDED
A Palestinian gunman opened fire on Jaffa Street in downtown Jerusalem this afternoon, injuring 46 people, six of them seriously, HA’ARETZ reported The others wounded in the attack sustained light-to-moderate injuries, with most of them suffering from shock. The wounded were transferred to Hadassah-University Hospital in Ein Kerem, Shaare Tzedek Hospital, and Bikur Cholim Hospital.
Jerusalem Police Chief Mikki Levy said the gunman was shot and killed by security forces in the area shortly after he opened fire. Levy said that the attacker arrived at the corner of Jaffa and King George streets, where he opened fire at people as they were waiting for a bus. He added that the gunman’s body was being checked for explosives, and that the attack was carried out by a single gunman.
At the time of the report
police and Magen David Adom emergency personnel were at the scene of the attack.
The area is completely closed off to traffic.
Both Hamas and the military wing of the Fatah-affiliated group Tanzim, the Al Aqsa Brigades, claimed responsibility for the attack. The Hizballah television station al-Manar reported that the attacker was 24-year-old Said Ibrahim Ramadan from the village of Atil, next to the West Bank town of Nablus. "Israel will respond appropriately in a manner that will eliminate this ongoing threat to the people of Israel," said Dore Gold, an adviser to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.
ANNOUNCES "ALL-OUT WAR" ON ISRAEL
Hamas announced today that it would wage an "all-out war" against Israel on all fronts, HA’ARETZ reported. The Israel Defense Forces targeted four Hamas terrorists in Nablus earlier today. Two of the terrorists, Jasser Samro and Nissam Abu Ros, were technical experts and prepared the explosive devices used in terror attacks in Haifa, the Sbarro pizzeria in Jerusalem, and the Dolphinarium in Tel Aviv. Both were on Israel’s list of most wanted terrorists. The four were killed in a gunbattle with IDF soldiers who attempted to arrest them. Meanwhile, IDF soldiers redeployed from Tulkarem today. Minister of Defense Binyamin Ben-Eliezer said that the Tulkarem and Nablus operations were meant to prevent attacks on Israeli civilians and that Israel had no plans to reoccupy Palestinian-controlled areas. "We don’t have any interest in toppling the Palestinian Authority," he said. "We don’t have any interest in anything other than protecting the lives of Israeli citizens."
URGES ISRAELIS NOT TO LOSE HOPE
Former U.S. President Bill Clinton paid a 24-hour visit to Israel on Monday, HA’ARETZ reported. Clinton traveled to Israel to receive an honorary doctorate from Tel Aviv University and also to give a speech on globalization at Ness Technologies, one of the information technology companies that drove Israel’s economic growth during the 1990’s. "Leaders have to prepare people for peace by saying compromise is honorable, not shameful, and is a sign of strength, not of weakness," Clinton said at the David Inter-Continental Hotel in Tel Aviv. He also pleaded with Israelis not to become so discouraged as to give up the dream of peace.
Clinton also travelled to Jerusalem for meetings with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, Minister of Foreign Affairs Shimon Peres and President Moshe Katsav. He also visited downtown Jerusalem to pay respects to the sites of past suicide bombings and paid a visit to the grave of his friend, former prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, on Mt. Herzl. Clinton praised Israelis for knowing how to maintain normalcy in the face of terror, while admitting that he does not know why the Palestinians rejected a peace deal with Israel at the Camp David summit in 2000. The former president also endorsed the idea that the Palestinian Authority could be further pressured to fight terror.
ACCORD CONDEMNING VIOLENCE SIGNED IN EGYPT
Jewish, Muslim and Christian leaders from Israel, Egypt and the Palestinian Authority met in Alexandria, Egypt on Monday and signed a joint accord condemning violence in the Middle East, HA’ARETZ reported. The text received the blessing of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and PA Chairman Yasser Arafat.
The text of the accord
said, "according to our faith and traditions, killing innocents in the
name of God is a desecration of His Holy name, and defames religion in the
world. The violence in the Holy Land is an evil which must be opposed by all
people of good faith. We seek to live together as neighbors, respecting the
integrity of each other’s historical and religious inheritance. We call upon
all to oppose incitement, hatred and the misrepresentation of the other."
The gathering, masterminded by Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Rabbi Michael Melchior, was convened by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. George Carey and received the blessing of Sheikh Mohamed Sayed Tantawi, the head of Al-Azhar Islamic University in Cairo. The Israeli delegation was headed jointly by Chief Sephardi Rabbi Eliyahu Bakshi Doron and Rabbi Melchior.
The Palestinian delegation includes Sheikh Taisir Tamimi, chief justice of the Sharia courts, Sheikh Talal Sider, Minister of State for the PA, and the muftis of Bethlehem and the PA police forces. The Christian delegation includes the Latin Patriarch, Michel Sabbah, the Melkite Archbishop, Boutros Mualem, the Anglican Bishop of Jerusalem, Rt. Rev. Riah Abu El-Assal, and representatives of the Greek and Armenian patriarchs. At a press conference held after the signing of the declaration, Melchior expressed regret that the leaders of the region had so far ignored religion. He said that religion has sometimes been used to justify killing innocent people when it should have been used to stop bloodshed and move the peace process forward.
Israel won the International Math Olympics in Germany after achieving a perfect score of 100 points, MA’ARIV reported. The Israeli team, comprised of five teenagers aged 15-18, is the first team in 12 years to achieve such a score. The team was headed by Professor Shai Giron of Haifa University.
* SimiGon, a provider of e-learning solutions, has signed a 4-year deal with the U.S. Navy, valued at an estimated $12 million, THE JERUSALEM POST reported. The Navy will use the company’s AirBook system to train F-18 air pilots for air operations. Herzliya-based SimiGon specializes in e-learning, e-training, simulation training and knowledge management solutions, built for the standard PC or laptop. SimiGon AirBook, the company’s first product, is a pilot training system designed to train pilots from mission rehearsal through post-operations.
* An Atlanta, Georgia business mission aimed at fostering partnerships and joint activities between U.S. and Israeli businesses will be meeting with firms in Israel this week, THE JERUSALEM POST reported. The group, organized by the Southeast region of the American-Israel Chamber of Commerce, will hold meetings at the high-tech park in Tirat HaCarmel. Members will visit Yokneam and meet with Jerusalem biotech firms. The mission has already created business connections between the Atlanta-based Coca Cola Company and two local start-ups. More than 50 Israeli companies have offices in Atlanta.
Israel Line is a daily summary of news items taken directly from the Israeli media.
ARAFAT MUST ENSURE PALESTINIANS DON’T HAVE TERROR CAPABILITY
*MILITARY INTELLIGENCE HEAD: MORE TERRORISM EXPECTED
*HIZBULLAH FIRES AT SURVEILLANCE PLANE
*INBAL DANCE TROUPE TO TOUR U.S.
ARAFAT MUST ENSURE PALESTINIANS DON’T HAVE TERROR CAPABILITY
The United States condemned the Palestinian shooting attack in downtown Jerusalem on Tuesday that killed 2 civilians and wounded over 40, repeating its call to Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat to clamp down on terrorist groups, HA’ARETZ reported.
State Department Spokesman Richard Boucher said, "Once again, we call upon Chairman Arafat to take immediate and effective steps to end attacks such as these and bring those responsible to justice." He added, "Once again, the point is that he [Arafat] needs to dismantle the organizations that do these things. It’s not a matter of whether they decide they will or they won’t carry out attacks, it’s making sure that they can’t."
Sarah Hamberger, 79, one of two women who died in the attack, will be laid to rest on Thursday. The identity of the second woman has not yet been released, pending notification of her family. Of the 40 persons injured in the attack on Jaffa Street, two remain in serious condition.
Meanwhile, hours after the shooting attack, a powerful bomb was discovered in a bag near a banquet hall in the Talpiot industrial district where a bar mitzvah celebration was being held. The celebrants were evacuated from the hall and the bomb was neutralized. Last Thursday, six Israelis were killed by a Palestinian terrorist at a bat mitzvah in Hadera. According to IDF RADIO, a six-year-old boy found the bomb.
INTELLIGENCE HEAD: MORE TERRORISM EXPECTED
Israel Defense Forces Head of Military Intelligence Brig.-Gen. Aharon Ze’evi said on Tuesday that he expects "harsh" terrorist attacks in Israeli cities in the near future, HA’ARETZ reported. In his first appearance before the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, Ze’evi said that vengeance topped the Hamas list of priorities and that efforts to carry out terror attacks would continue until the period of mourning for Ra’ed Karmi, a terrorist who was killed, ends.
Ze’evi also said that in his opinion, Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat would not end the conflict with Israel, even if Israel withdrew to positions held prior to 1967 and allowed Palestinian refugees to return to Israel. He also said that in light of Arafat’s loss of support among Palestinians, the world should not expect him to seriously crack down on terrorist organizations. Ze’evi added that the United States saw Arafat as a "lost cause" and that "it was exasperated by him. The Americans have reached the conclusion that he is a problem and not a solution."
Addressing the issue of Palestinian efforts to obtain weapons Ze’evi stressed that smuggling operations were ongoing and that Arafat considers them a major component of the Palestinian struggle against Israel.
Meanwhile, IDF Sgt. Gil Ben-Melech, 19, was accidentally killed on Tuesday by friendly fire in the A-Tira neighborhood north of the West Bank town of Ramallah. The soldier was seriously injured and transferred to Hadassah Hospital, Ein Karem, in Jerusalem, where he died of his wounds. The IDF is investigating the accident.
HIZBULLAH FIRES AT SURVEILLANCE PLANE
Hizbullah anti-aircraft gunners targeted an Israeli pilotless surveillance plane flying along the northern border with Lebanon this afternoon, THE JERUSALEM POST reported. The anti-aircraft fire was aimed at the plane as it flew over Kibbutz Manara.
The plane was not hit and there was no evidence that falling shrapnel caused any damage within Israel. Loud explosions were heard in nearby Kiryat Shmona and extra police forces patrolled the city’s streets in an effort to calm residents.
According to MA’ARIV, Hizbullah is trying to create a new friction point on the northern border. Hizbullah militants rallied on Tuesday near the border fence close to Kibbutz Misgav Am and demanded that Israel evacuate the Kibbutz. The demonstrators raised their flag near the Lebanese entrance to the Kibbutz and tried to settle there, but were stopped by UN forces. When Israel withdrew from Lebanon, the United Nations certified Israel’s complete fulfillment of Resolution 425.
INBAL DANCE TROUPE TO TOUR U.S.
The Inbal Dance Theater Troupe will arrive in the United States this week for a month-long tour with stops in Houston, San Diego, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Miami, Boca Raton and New York, THE JERUSALEM POST reported. In Los Angeles, the Yeminite-style troupe will perform with a local American-Israeli troupe that fuses the influences of the disparate Diaspora communities with the spirit of modern Israel. Inbal will also be giving workshops in public schools and universities on its unique style of dance.
The tour is being sponsored by the cultural committee of the Tel Aviv-Los Angeles Jewish Federation Twinning Program.
The city of Tel Aviv will host a support rally at Rabin Square today for the disabled, who have been on strike for 38 days, MA’ARIV reported. Eged and Dan Bus Companies will provide free intercity rides to and from Tel Aviv for participants, and according to the Tel Aviv Police, the disabled will be given special parking spaces. Shlomo Artzi, Barry Sacharof, Zehava Ben, Ethnix and Micha Shitrit are among the many artists slated to perform.
* According to Kesselman and Kesselman PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Money Tree survey, the fourth quarter of 2001 saw the first rise in venture capital investments in four quarters, THE JERUSALEM POST reported. The study, which surveyed 76 venture capital firms, marked Q4 investments in high-tech companies backed by venture capital firms at $384 million, 16 percent higher than the previous quarter.
* Mercury Interactive, one of Israel’s leading software companies, began offering consultation services to its customers, HA’ARETZ reported. As a mean of penetrating the market, Mercury will provide a "Risk Management Model Application" service, to advise customers on improving the testing of applications. Moshe Egert, president of European and Middle Eastern operations and director of the company’s activities in Israel, said, "We have accumulated 12 years of experience and practical know-how. We are now transferring this knowledge into a written instruction manual, an Internet site and also into professional courses that will in turn be sold to customers."
Israel Line is a daily summary of major news items taken directly from the Israeli media.
OF JERUSALEM SHOOTING ATTACK SURVIVED 1929 MASSACRE IN HEBRON
*FOOD, CLOTHES, TOYS INTERCEPTED ON WEAPONS SHIP TO BE DONATED TO NEEDY ISRAELIS
*NEW ENVIRONMENTAL MEASURES INSTALLED IN EILAT
*GOVERNMENT TO RENOVATE STATE-OWNED APARTMENTS
VICTIM OF JERUSALEM SHOOTING ATTACK SURVIVED 1929 MASSACRE IN HEBRON
Sarah Hamburger, 79, who died on Tuesday after being shot by a Palestinian terrorist in Jerusalem was a survivor of the 1929 massacre in Hebron, YEDIOT AHARONOT reported. Hamburger, nee Haimson, was rescued along with her family when an Arab employee of her father smuggled the family out of the city. During the massacre, dozens of Jews were slaughtered by an Arab mob.
Immediately after escaping Hebron, Hamburger moved to Jerusalem, where she lived for the rest of her life. Her oldest grandson, Shachar, said at her funeral, "after every terrorist attack, grandma used to say that she learned what terrorism was as a little girl, in Hebron." Hamburger’s daughter, Rivka, said that her mother was aware of the dangers of terrorism, but was not afraid. "After every terrorist attack, she always said that life must go on," Rivka said.
Hamburger was struck by bullets as she was waiting for a bus in Jerusalem’s city center. She was severely wounded, and died of her wounds later the same day. She is survived by her four daughters, 11 grandchildren and one great-granddaughter.
CLOTHES, TOYS INTERCEPTED ON WEAPONS SHIP TO BE DONATED TO NEEDY ISRAELIS
Hundreds of tons of food, clothes, toys and mattresses found on the weapons ship Karine A will be distributed to needy Israelis, YEDIOT AHARONOT reported.
According to Israeli officials the ship, captured by Israeli naval commandos in international waters on January 3, was smuggling Iranian weapons to Palestinians. Iran and the Palestinian Authority have denied any connection to the ship. The captain, an officer in the Palestinian navy, backed the Israeli claim.
In addition to 50 tons of missiles, mortars, rifles and ammunition, the boat was also carrying 300 tons of rice and 100 tons of goods. The civilian cargo was used to conceal the arms and was to be traded after the operation.
ENVIRONMENTAL MEASURES INSTALLED IN EILAT
A new environmental ship was launched on Wednesday to help fight oil slicks in the Gulf of Eilat, THE JERUSALEM POST reported. The ship, called Sviva 2 (Environment 2), was built in Finland.
Aside from hydraulic and crane equipment used to operate a variety of oil removing devices, Sviva 2 also carries an oil barrier built into the side of the vessel. The barrier can be spread across the sea to stop an oil slick over a large area. The ship, which cost $870,000, was paid for by the Ministry of Environment and the Trust for the Prevention of Pollution of the Sea.
In another ceremony in Eilat on Wednesday, Minister of Environment Tzahi Hanegbi and Minister of Transportation Ephraim Sneh inaugurated a new dust-free loading chute for dry bulk materials in the Eilat Port. The new chute enables the loading of dry phosphates and potassium onto ships without dispersing dust into the air.
Previously, dry chemicals were dropped into ships, a process that created large clouds of dust. Carried by the wind, the dust would then settle over the surrounding area and fall into the sea. Ehud Nitzan, the Director of Inland Transportation and Logistics for the Dead Sea Works, said that the new system completely prevents dust from escaping into the environment. The chute, which cost $2 million dollars to install, was financed by the Dead Sea Works and the Israel Chemicals Group.
Speaking at the ceremony, Hanegbi said that in the early years of the State, people were less concerned about the environment. "Today we know that if we don’t look after the environment, no one will," he said.
TO RENOVATE STATE-OWNED APARTMENTS
After three years of ongoing debate between the Government and representatives of tenants in public-housing projects, Minister of Housing and Construction Natan Sharansky approved regulations requiring the renovation of tens of thousands of state-owned apartments, HA’ARETZ reported. The regulations apply to apartments in which both old and new tenants have been residing.
Sharansky’s decision is part of a compromise in the framework of a petition submitted to the High Court of Justice by MK Tamar Gozansky (Hadash) and attorney Gilad Barnea of the Community Defender Society.
The Knesset approved by a vote of 50-11 the second and third readings of a bill for a new 300-bed hospital in Ashdod on Wednesday, HA’ARETZ reported. The bill was proposed by MK Sofa Landver (Labor).
* Indian Communications Minister Pramod Mahajan concluded an official visit to Israel this week, after signing a memorandum of understanding on technological research and development and industrial trade with Israel, THE JERUSALEM POST reported. As part of the bilateral agreement, a delegation of Israeli communications, security and agricultural specialists will take part in an agricultural exhibition in India next month. Mahajan also informed his counterparts in Jerusalem that he plans to hold an IT conference in April for Israeli high-tech and communications firms.
* Israeli and U.S. scientists announced that they had identified a gene that could help cotton plants survive droughts, GLOBES reported. The $280,000 research grant was funded by the U.S.-Israel Binational Agricultural Research and Development Fund. The grant was for "improving productivity of cotton in arid-region agriculture: an integrated physiological/genetic approach." The researchers announced that they would be able to insert the genetic changes into cultivated cotton wthin five years, thereby raising the cotton plants’ water absorbing capacity by 10 percent.
Israel Line is a daily summary of major news items taken directly from the Israeli media.
BOMBER EXPLODES IN DOWNTOWN TEL AVIV
A Palestinian suicide bomber exploded himself in downtown Tel Aviv this morning, in a busy pedestrian mall, wounding 26 people, 3 of them critically, HA’ARETZ reported. Among the injured is a four year-old boy.
According to initial police reports, the bomber was carrying an explosive device on his body and detonated himself on the corner of Neve Sha’anan and Bnei Brak Streets, near the old central bus station. Tel Aviv police chief Cmdr. Yossi Sedbon said the bomb was packed with nails and ball bearings to make it more lethal. Injured pedestrians were evacuated to Wolfson Medical Center in Holon and to Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv.
Chen Meir, 32, owner of a retail store on Neve Sha’anan witnessed the attack. According to YEDIOT AHARONOT, Chen said, "I was in the storage room, near the street when I heard the loud explosion, it took place just a few yards away from me. Blood came running out of my head. I saw a motorcycle on fire and many injured people lying in the street. I phoned my brother who arrived with his large van, and we took many injured people with us to the hospital. The doctors gave me the metal splinter they took out of my head as a reminder of this terrible day."
Following the attack, police arrested two Palestinians, one of them a resident of the West Bank city of Hebron, suspected of involvement in the attack. Police also found a Kalashnikov rifle near the location of the explosion with six cartridges of ammunition. Police believe that Palestinians intended to use the rifle at the time of the explosion.
The Government is holding Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat responsible for the attack. Danny Ayalon, an adviser to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, said the Palestinians are "wielding a coalition of terror, where there is no difference between Arafat and his forces, and the other radical elements."
Meanwhile, according to THE JERUSALEM POST, Palestinian terrorists fired three Kassam-1 rockets at the Erez crossing between Israel and the Gaza Strip today. No casualties were reported. IDF sappers who investigated the impact site determined that the missiles had a range of four kilometers.
JERUSALEM TERROR VICTIM IDENTIFIED
The second woman killed in Tuesday’s shooting attack in Jerusalem was identified as Svetlana Sandler, a 56 year old immigrant from Russia, THE JERUSALEM POST reported. After over 24 hours of trying to find her family, Jewish Agency officials located her mother on Thursday in Russia. Sandler died early Wednesday morning at Jerusalem’s Hadassah-University Hospital in Ein Kerem.
Sandler was a building engineer and worked for the Ministry of Absorption for several years, and started a new job in an architect’s office last month. She lived in Jerusalem’s San Simon neighborhood.
Neighbors said Sandler sent part of her monthly earnings to her elderly mother in Russia.
OFFICIALS TO DEBATE RELATIONS WITH ARAFAT
Senior U.S. administration officials are slated to discuss today the future relations with Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat, HA’ARETZ reported.
The reevaluation of relations was propelled by Arafat’s alleged efforts to buy arms from Iran. Earlier this week, U.S. President George W. Bush sent proof to three Arab leaders showing that the PA was involved in the Karine A weapon smuggling operation. Israeli commandos intercepted the Karine A ship carrying 50 tons of rockets, mortars, explosives and other arms in the Red Sea earlier this month. Most of the evidence that Bush presented in his letters to Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Jordanian King Abdullah II was gathered by U.S. intelligence. Bush also asked the Arab leaders to help persuade Arafat to make more arrests connected to the smuggling and to combat terrorism in general.
Also today, Assistant Secretary of State William Burns will summon two dozen Arab ambassadors to provide them with more information about the smuggling incident and to underscore U.S. insistence that Arafat combat terrorism more vigorously. The Palestinian Authority has detained several suspects, but State Department spokesman Richard Boucher repeated on Thursday that Arafat had neither provided an explanation for the smuggling nor arrested the key figures.
Meanwhile, the White House gave its endorsement on Thursday to Arafat’s confinement to Ramallah. White House Spokesman Ari Fleischer said at a morning briefing, "The president understands the reason that Israel has taken the action that it takes, and it is up to Chairman Arafat to demonstrate the leadership to combat terrorism. It is a threat not only to Israel, but to Chairman Arafat."
NATIONAL SOCCER TEAM PLACED IN GROUP ONE
The Israel national soccer team was placed in group number one, along with world and European champion France, for the qualifying campaign of the Euro 2004 Soccer Championship, HA’ARETZ reported. The group also includes Slovenia, Cyprus and Malta. Fifty competing nations were divided into 10 qualifying groups.
The team that finishes first in its group will automatically advance to the European Championships, which are slated to be held in Portugal. Runners-up from various groups will play against each other for the right to also join the championship playoff games.
Israel’s coach, Richard Nielsen, who attended the drawing in Portugal today, was pleased with Israel’s grouping. "We received a balanced draw," he said. "We have a very attractive group because of France. Slovenia has an interesting team that plays well and also Cyprus and Malta play an attractive brand of soccer."
The Lithuanian government announced today that it is sending 309 Torah scrolls to Israel as a goodwill gesture, Israel Radio, KOL YISRAEL, reported. Lithuania decided on the move to mark the 57th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.
* Mirapoint, a U.S supplier of Internet messaging infrastructure products, appointed Or Yehuda-based Adanet Communications to distribute its products in the Mediterranean area, THE JERUSALEM POST reported. The agreement is valued at more than $10 million. Adanet be responsible for distribution in Cyprus, Turkey, Greece and the Balkan states. The Mirapoint system offers email routing, storage and access e-mail for business and private clients. Adanet Communications is one of five companies that united last year to create Adanet Business Group, which provides computerization infrastructure solutions. It implements and integrates data communications, and provides solutions in data security and network management.
* Equity One, which is controlled by the Tel Aviv-based Gazit-Globe real estate investment firm, announced that it filed a shelf registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission, which will permit the company to offer and sell various types of securities up to a value of $250 million, HA’ARETZ reported. A press statement released by the company stated, "In light of its recent growth, the company filed the registration statement to gain additional flexibility in accessing capital markets for general corporate purposes." Equity One intends to use the funds it raises to continue to grow in the American market via mergers and acquisitions of similar companies, as well as to purchase revenue-generating assets.
Israel Line is a daily summary of major news items taken from the Israeli media.