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Israeline — Monday, July 15, 2002 —


** Israeli and Palestinian Firefighters Battle Qalqilyah Blaze Together
** Differences Remain Between Egypt and Israel on Arafat Status
** PA Heads Caught in Illegal Money Transfers to Europe
** Israir to Begin Flying Between New York and Tel Aviv
** Economic Briefs

Israeli and Palestinian Firefighters Battle Qalqilyah Blaze Together

Israeli firefighters from two West Bank communities rushed to the aid of Palestinian counterparts today to battle a fire raging out of control in the Palestinian town of Qalqilyah, HA’ARETZ reported. About 20 workers were inside the flame-engulfed building at the time, and all managed to escape except one who was killed by the fire.
Avner Mutzafi, commander of the fire brigade based in the Ariel community explained that "a large fire broke out in a four-story building. [The two bottom two stories of the building] apparently served as a hair salon and a warehouse for textile materials.At first there were fears that people were trapped in the building, so we hurried to get them out there," he said.

According to Israel Radio, KOL YISRAEL, firefighters from Qalqilyah reported that they were unable to deal with the incident by themselves and the regional Israel Defense Forces brigade stationed there relayed an appeal for aid. Firefighting crews were then dispatched from the Ariel and Karnei Shomron communities. "We arrived on the scene, helped .. prevent the spread of the fire to additional structures, and helped them with water, since the water pressure in Qalqilyah is very low," Mutzfi said. "After working together, the fire is now in its final stages and is under control." Mutzfi also said that there were no injuries in the fire, and that the Israeli firefighters were escorted throughout by an army force, both entering and leaving the city.

Differences Remain Between Egypt and Israel on Arafat Status

Minister of Defense Binyamin Ben-Eliezer said after talks today with President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt that the two disagreed as to whether Palestinian Authority head Yasser Arafat should be sidelined, THE JERUSALEM POST reported. According to Israel Radio, KOL YISRAEL, Ben-Eliezer said Mubarak thought peace efforts could continue with Arafat remaining in place as head of the Palestinian Authority. However, Ben-Eliezer, like Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, does not believe this is possible. "According to what we believe, Yasser Arafat doesn’t work for the interest of his people. He was and still is the main problem," Ben-Eliezer said.

Ben-Eliezer’s visit follows that of Knesset Speaker Avraham Burg and Transport Minister Ephraim Sneh, both senior Labor Party leaders. Mubarak refuses to meet with Sharon. Sharon, however, approved of Ben-Eliezer’s meeting with the Egyptian President.

PA Heads Caught in Illegal Money Transfers to Europe

The Israeli government handed over classified documents to United States officials, detailing acts by senior Palestinian officials who recently transferred millions of dollars to private bank accounts in Europe to safeguard against possible Palestinian Authority collapse, YEDIOT AHARONOT reported.

According to Israeli officials investigating the case, there is evidence that enormous sums of money were transferred in recent weeks. One report showed that a $5.1 million Saudi Arabian donation meant for the PA was shifted by PA Chairman Yasser Arafat to his private account in Paris, to finance the maintenance of his property and the needs of his wife Suha and daughter Zahawa, who live in France.

Apparently, other PA officials have siphoned even greater amounts to overseas accounts. Abu-Mazen, the secretary general of the Palestinian Liberation Organization, transferred as much as $70 million from official PA funds to bank accounts belonging to his billionaire brother.

Israir to Begin Flying Between New York and Tel Aviv

Minister of Transportation Ephraim Sneh announced on Sunday that Israir Airlines will begin making direct flights between New York City and Ben Gurion International Airport by next summer, THE JERUSALEM POST reported. Israir will become the third airline to operate between the two cities. Currently, only Continental Airlines and El Al fly this route directly.
El Al’s monopoly over this particular flight route will end with the addition of Israir flights and in turn, Israir will end its petition to the Israeli High Court. The petition was instated directly following Minister of Transportation Ephraim Sneh’s original decision banning its operation. Minister of Finance Silvan Shalom praised the announcement and declared it a victory for Israeli travelers.


Thousands of Palestinians demonstrated today opposite the United Nations building in the Gaza Strip, in protest over unemployment and the economic difficulties they have been experiencing in the past two years, ITIM reported. Gazan workers also demonstrated two weeks ago, demanding that the Palestinian Authority pay them monthly unemployment stipends or enable them to work in Israel. In response, the PA paid each of the workers a sum of NIS 600 (approximately $120) to prevent the demonstrations from spreading in the Gaza Strip and West Bank.


Economic Briefs

* Giga Information Group, a global IT advisory firm, urged investors to continue to support Israeli Internet security technology, which is crucial to the defense of the IT infrastructure of governments around the world, THE JERUSALEM POST reported. The recommendation came at a conference for large organizations and venture capital funds hosted by the Israeli Consulate in San Francisco last week. Israel has produced approximately 30 percent of all authorization technology, 20 percent of the administration technologies, and 5 percent each of the audit and authentication technologies in the market, according to Giga.

* Olive Software, which develops E-Publishing solutions, has announced that it has signed seven new deals – six with publishing companies and one with a major university, GLOBES reported. Olive’s new customers will use its ActivePaper technology to deliver current and archived publications online. The ActivePaper suite is designed to provide an integrated solution for archiving, advertising, multi-channel publishing, ad delivery, electronic tear sheet delivery and e-commerce. Olive executive vice president Shaun Dail said, "More than 2.8 million Americans will now have the opportunity to access their favorite daily and weekly publications online or offline as they appeared in print."

Today’s Israel Line was prepared by Adina Kay and Minda Arrow at the Consulate General of Israel in New York.

Israeline — Tuesday, July 16, 2002 —


** Palestinian Terrorist Attack Kills 7 Injures at Least 20
** Sharon: Security Must Be The Primary Basis for PA Reforms
** Sharon Approves 3 Billion Shekels in Infrastructure Projects
** Tal Bill Passes
** Economic Briefs

Palestinian Terrorist Attack Kills 7 Injures at Least 20

Seven Israelis were killed and some twenty others were injured, eight of them seriously, in a terrorist attack today near the Jewish neighborhood of Emmanuel, east of Kalkilya, Israel Radio, KOL YISRAEL, reported. According to initial reports, there were many children among injured, and a baby was one of those killed. The attack occurred at 2:40 p.m. on a Dan company bus #189 as it made its way from Bnei Brak to Emmanuel. A large bomb detonated under the bus, followed by additional explosions. Immediately afterwards, three terrorists dressed as Israeli soldiers opened fire on the bus passengers. Most of the injuries reportedly resulted from the shooting, which lasted for a number of minutes, and not as a result of the bombs.

The combined bombing-shooting attack was very similar to an attack on a bus in the same area on December 12, when 10 Israelis were killed and 30 were wounded.

Security forces and Israel Air Forces helicopters are searching the surrounding area for the terrorists. Eyewitnesses said that the terrorists escaped in the direction of Nablus, to the northeast.

Sharon: Security Must Be The Primary Basis for PA Reforms

Prior to today’s Quartet meeting in New York between the United States, European Union, Russia and the United Nations to discuss a U.S. plan for a Palestinian state, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell reiterating his support for U.S. President George Bush’s speech on June 24th which outlined the conditions to achieve an agreement between the Israelis and Plastinians, HA’ARETZ reported. Sharon also reiterated his position that security reforms must be the primary basis for any reforms within the PA.
Powell will present a diplomatic plan that would give top priority to the drafting of a new Palestinian constitution. The draft will be written by American and Arab legal experts and will sketch an outline of a new Palestinian parliament.

Sharon Approves 3 Billion Shekels in Infrastructure Projects

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon approved Minister of Transportation Ephraim Sneh’s plan to build infrastructure projects worth NIS 3 billion ($625 million), GLOBES reported.

Sharon gave his personal assurance that the money for the projects would be transferred.

Sneh said, "This is a revolution. There has never been such an investment in infrastructure since Israel’s independence." Sneh added that the additional funding is especially good news for residents in the north and the Negev. "The projects will enable Negev residents to reach the center of the country in 50 minutes," he said.

Tal Bill Passes

A special Knesset committee approved the "Tal bill" today regulating draft deferments for yeshiva students, MA’ARIV reported. The committee approved an amendment proposal by Committee Chairman Yossi Katz (Labor) that would require every yeshiva student to serve two weeks a year in the Civil Guard. According to the proposal, even yeshiva students who receive a deferral from military service would be required to serve for the two-week period.

The 16-article bill says that the Minister of Defense will have the authority to postpone national service for five years (from the age of 18) for yeshiva students who spend at least 45 hours a week studying. At age 23, each yeshiva student will have a year in which to decide whether he intends to do some form of civilian national service. If he does so, he will receive a deferment for his compulsory military service.


Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Minister of Foreign Affairs Shimon Peres gave their approval for Minister of Industry and Trade Dalia Itzik’s appointment as Israel’s next ambassador to Great Britain, MA’ARIV reported. If the Va’ad Hadat approves Itzik’s appointment, she would replace Lt.-Col. (res.) Tzvi Shtauber as ambassador in London, when he completes his two-year term in October.


Economic Briefs

*The Safra group will agree to acquire all of Israel Discount Bank on the condition that it is allowed to merge it with The First International Bank of Israel, United Mizrahi Bank and Union Bank, Joseph Safra told Minister of Finance Silvan Shalom on Monday, GLOBES reported. Safra arrived in Israel to promote the group’s acquisition of Discount New York. A merger of Discount Bank, First International Bank, Mizrahi Bank and Union Bank would create a banking entity capable of competing against Bank Hapoalim and Bank Leumi, each of which controls a third of Israel’s banking system.

*Former Jerusalem Venture Partner associate Yuval Cohen confirmed today that he is starting a new investment group that will be a new instrument for private equity investments in private and public technology companies whose business model is stable, GLOBES reported. Cohen said he is in the advanced stages of raising $80-100 million.


Israeline — Wednesday, July 17, 2002 —


** IDF Soldier Killed in Gunfight Near Emmanuel
** Israel Remembers
** Documents Seized at Al-Quds Reveal Solid Proof of PA-University Connection
** Economic Briefs

IDF Soldier Killed in Gunfight Near Emmanuel

Lieutenant Elad Grenadir, 21, from Haifa was killed and three soldiers wounded in an exchange of fire early this morning, HA’ARETZ reported. One of the injured soldiers is in serious condition, one sustained moderate injuries and another was lightly injured. The gun battle, which broke out at5:30 a.m. between the communities of Emmanuel and Karnei Shomron just south of Nablus, ended about two and a half hours later. On of the Palestinians responsible for the attack on Emmanuel on Tuesday in which eight Israelis were killed, was killed in the gunfight this morning.

"One thing I can promise you: we will catch them all," Minister of Defense Benyamin Ben-Eliezer said of the men responsible for the Emmanuel attack. Ina visit to the site of the attack and the subsequent exchange of fire, Ben-Eliezer said "We know who they are, and we will lay our hands on those who sent them as well."

According to Israel Radio, KOL YISRAEL, Ben-Eliezer also promised to allocate NIS 100 million (approximately $25 million) to improve security in the West Bank communities. The Palestinian gunmen were believed to be members of the same Hamas cell who carried out a similar ambush attack at the same site in December 2002, which took the lives of 11 Israelis.

A wide manhunt is still underway, with IDF ground forces backed by helicopter gunships. On Tuesday, security forces confined Emmanuel residents to their homes as searches continued around the neighborhood and in the adjacent Wadi Kana area.

At least four militant Palestinian organizations, Hamas, Fatah, The Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, claimed responsibility for the bus attack.

U.S President George W. Bush condemned the Emmanuel attack via White House press secretary Ari Fleischer, who said, "The President condemns the latest act of violence in the Middle East. This underscores the importance of focusing on peace and working with leaders in the Palestinian Authority who are dedicated to peace."

Israel Remembers

Eight people were killed and twenty were injured on Tuesday when a largeb omb detonated under a bus en route from Bnei Brak to the Jewish community of Emmanuel in the West Bank, YEDIIOT AHARONOT reported. Immediately following the explosion, three Palestinian terrorists dressed as Israeli soldiers opened fire on the passengers, just a few hundred meters from the entrance to Emmanuel. These are the names and stories of the victims:

Zilpa Kashi, 65, from Givatayim, and Sara Shilon, 9 months old, from Emmanuel, were riding the bus with Ayelet Shilon, daughter of Zilpa and mother of Sara, when the bus was attacked. Both Zilpa and Sara were killed, while Or, another child from the Shilon family and just 2 years old, and Ayelet, were both wounded. Ayelet called her husband Gal during the attack and told him "we’re being shot at, there was an attack and Sara is seriously wounded." Gal ran to the community’s gate and asked the gardener to give him a ride to the site of the attack. When the two arrived at the scene, they saw three men dressed in Israel Defense Forces uniforms and approached them, thinking that the three were IDF soldiers. The terrorists then opened fire at them and Gal Shilon, 30, was killed. Zilpa was buried today at the Yarkon cemetery in Tel Aviv.

Yonatan Gamliel, 16, from Emmanuel, returned on Tuesday from Bnei Brak, where he just completed three years of study at the Beit Shmayah yeshiva. After the bomb exploded under the bus, Yonatan called his mother and told her what had happened, and that he was safe. Yonatan was killed after the explosion, in the shooting that ensued. Emmanuel’s community Rabbi, Yizthak Anaki, said, Yonatan was "a conscientious, talented and serious young man. He understood the true importance of his religious studies." Yonatan was buried today at the Petah Tikva Cemetery and is survived by his parents and six siblings.

Karen Kashani, 30, lived with her only son, Yitzhak Neria, in Emmanuel. Karen managed to call her friend Hodaya during the attack to say that the terrorists were shooting at her. She later died of her wounds. Karen’s ex-husband said she was "a righteous woman, who did many good deeds, and a very modest person." Karen was buried today in Holon.

Ilana Siton, 40, from Emmanuel, was the community’s beautician. Ilana, a mother of six, was traveling with her 14-year-old daughter, Tehila, to register for high school in Bnei Brak. Tehila was shot in the stomach during the attack. Ilana’s neighbors said that she was a charming woman full of vitality, who supported and cared for her family. They also said that everyone knew her "because of her profession, but also because of her hospitality and smile." Ilana was buried today at the Yarkon Cemetery in Tel Aviv and is survived by her husband and six children.

Galila Ades, 46, from Emmanuel, was buried today at the Yarkon cemetery in Tel Aviv. At the time of this report there was no further information about her.

Yehudit Weinberg, nine months pregnant, was shot in the stomach and seriously injured during the attack. She was rushed to the Rabin Medical Center, where doctors performed a Caesarean section operation to remove the baby. The infant was delivered prematurely and had a very serious respiratory condition due to the distress he suffered when Yehudit was shot. He died of his injuries overnight.

Documents Seized at Al-Quds Reveal Solid Proof of PA-University Connection

Documents seized by Jerusalem police during the raid on Sari Nusseibeh’s office at Al-Quds University’s East Jerusalem office reveal that the Palestinian Authority has been operating inside Israel, in violation of the Oslo Accords, HA’ARETZ reported.

The documents, released for publication on Tuesday, show that the PA paid the rent on houses in Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood that had been recently vacated, inhabiting them with new Arab families to stop Jews from living in the area. In addition, the PA apparently also bankrolled grants and legal aid for residents of Arab neighborhoods in the north of the city whose illegal homes had been demolished by the Jerusalem Municipality. Aid was also sent to released Palestinian prisoners building homes in Jerusalem. Nusseibeh, president of Al-Quds University and the Jerusalem representative of the Palestine Liberation Organization, confirmed on Tuesday that he had been active in raising financial aid for Palestinians who had been evicted from their homes.

Other documents seized at the university also point to the close link between the university and the PA. One such document reveals that the Iraqi government pledged a large sum to the university after talks between Iraqi and Al-Quds officials.

Economic Briefs

* Medical devices company InterCure announced it has received U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval to market its RESPeRATE device to lower high blood pressure, GLOBES reported. The device does not use drugs, and will be marketed in the U.S. without a doctor’s prescription. InterCure claims this is the first FDA approval for an over-the-counter non-drug treatment for hypertension. InterCure will begin marketing the device in the U.S. this week to consumers for $299. The device is based on the medical knowledge that certain therapeutic breathing exercises can significantly lower blood pressure. The exercises reduce the body’s sympathetic neural activity and relax the muscles surrounding small blood vessels, allowing blood to flow more freely.

* Start-up Surf and Hughes Software Systems will provide a solution for applications that work on Motorola’s Star Core-based digital signal processors, GLOBES reported. The integrated solution is targeted at original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) serving the IP telephony market. Surf said the solution will provide a tool set for developing Media Gateways for convergent packet voice, modem and fax services, and includes hardware reference designs, DSP software and control and management stack software.