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Israeline — Monday, July 28, 2003 —

** Body of Missing IDF Soldier Found Near Arab Villages in North
** Sharon Arrives in Washington as Israel Implements Goodwill Gestures
** Hizbullah Leader Warns of More Kidnappings
** Christopher Reeve Visits Israel in His Quest for Paralysis Treatment
** Other News in Brief
** Economic & Hi-Tech Briefs


Body of Missing IDF Soldier Found Near Arab Villages in North
The body of Israel Defense Forces soldier, Corporal Oleg Shaichat, who had been missing for a week, was found buried in an olive grove between the Arab villages of Kafr Kana and Mashad in the north of Israel, HA’ARETZ reported. According to the initial police investigation, Shaichat was abducted at the Beit Rimon Junction and was then taken to a nearby field where he was murdered. According to Northern District Police Commander Major General Yaakov Borovsky, volunteers searching the area had found the body. Borovsky said searches concentrated on that specific area after Shaichat’s belongings, which he had apparently left behind on purpose, were found nearby. Borovsky said that he could not provide many details on the case due to a court-imposed gag order. "The motive for the murder was nationalistic," Borovsky said, adding that the identity of the murderers was still undetermined.

In other news, Israel Radio reported that the Israel Security Agency and the IDF apprehended last week a member of Yasser Arafat’s Fatah faction suspected of planning homicide bombings in either Tel Aviv or Netanya. Security sources said another suspect involved in the planning was still in hiding in Ramallah inside Arafat’s Muqata compound. The detained suspect, Issim Faruh, told interrogators that he was preparing to dispatch two women to carry out bombings in nightclubs in either Tel Aviv or Netanya. They were to have traveled from Nablus to Ramallah, and from there, cross into Israel. According to Faruh, the bombing was being planned by Kama Raanam, 26, who is now hiding in the Muqata. Israel has relayed the information to the Palestinian Authority Security Service and demanded that Raanam be arrested – so far, to no avail.

Meanwhile, police discovered this morning three bombs close to Kibbutz Merav on Mount Gilboa. Police sappers safely defused all three devices.


Sharon Arrives in Washington as Israel Implements Goodwill Gestures
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who arrived in Washington on Sunday, is due to hold talks today with U.S. National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice as well as with the head of AIPAC, Israel Radio, KOL YISRAEL reported. Sharon will meet U.S. President George W. Bush at the White House on Tuesday afternoon and will hold discussions with U.S. Senate leaders on Wednesday before returning to Israel.

According to THE JERUSALEM POST, just hours prior to Sharon’s arrival in the United States, the cabinet approved the release of Islamic militants from prison and the IDF removed three roadblocks in the West Bank. A senior official accompanying the prime minister’s entourage said the Palestinian prisoner release would take place next week. The official said that 540 prisoners would be released including 210 from Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Minister of Justice Yosef (Tommy) Lapid said the Islamic militants to be freed were in administrative detention imprisonment without trial. "They belong to those groups (Hamas and Islamic Jihad), but were not personally accused of murder or anything like that," Lapid said.

The defense establishment is continuing to ease the restrictions on Palestinians, opening today the Erez crossing from the Gaza Strip for 18,000 workers to cross into Israel.

Security officials said although the number of warnings of terrorist attacks was still on the decline, there were still 12 warnings of possible attacks planned by Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Tanzim – including possible attempts to kidnap soldiers.


Hizbullah Leader Warns of More Kidnappings
The head of Lebanon’s Hizbullah, Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, said Sunday that his terror organization would resume capturing soldiers if Israel rejected "a last chance" to negotiate an exchange of prisoners held by both sides, leader, HAARETZ reported. He warned that if Israel did not act soon, Col. (res.) Elhanan Tannenbaum would become "a prisoner whose fate is unknown." "We will give the negotiations on the issue of prisoners and detainees a last chance," Nasrallah said during a rally. "After that, we will consider negotiations to have reached a dead end and that the number (of Israelis we have in captivity) is not enough for a successful prisoners’ exchange," Nasrallah said. "Then, we will work day and night to have in [our] possession new Israeli captives," he added.

Hizbullah says it is holding four kidnapped Israelis, including Tannenbaum. The latter, an Israeli businessman, was abducted during a trip to Abu Dhabi in October 2000. Days before his capture, Hizbullah, which is on the State Department list of terrorist organizations, seized three Israeli soldiers along the Israel-Lebanon border.

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said in London two weeks ago that Tannenbaum is "in bad condition," but alive. Tannenbaum is known to need medicines for an ailment. The fate of the three soldiers is unknown, although the Israel Defense Forces’ chief rabbi has declared them dead.

Nasrallah’s statements were interpreted as being the result of the pressure the United States has exerted on Syria, Lebanon and Iran to rein in the group’s activities. Hizbullah worries that its prisoners, held by Israel, will be forgotten in the wake of the upcoming Palestinian prisoner release. Hizbullah hoped to exchange the four Israelis for 13 Lebanese prisoners held by Israel.


Christopher Reeve Visits Israel in His Quest for Paralysis Treatment
Calling Israel the "world center" for research on paralysis treatment, Christopher Reeve set off for his first visit to the country this week, ISRAEL 21C reported. Over the course of his visit, Reeve will learn about Israeli advancements in the field of stem cell research related to paralysis and spinal cord injuries. The theater and film actor, who portrayed ‘Superman’, suffered a horseback-riding accident in 1995 during an equestrian event that left him paralyzed from the neck down. "I am looking forward to visiting Israel to learn more about their cutting edge paralysis research," Reeve said. "Israel is the center of some of the world’s leading research. There are many new therapies in the pipeline as well as care strategies being employed that may also benefit millions of people around the world living with paralysis."

Reeve, chairman of the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation (CRPF), plans to meet with Israeli doctors and researchers working on remedies for paralysis. He is a strong supporter of stem cell research, which some experts believe may unlock a way of reversing the often-debilitating effects of spinal injuries, and believes a cure for paralysis is close at hand.

Reeve has specifically requested to meet with neuroimmunologist Michal Schwartz of the Weizmann Institute in Rehovot. "Schwartz and some of her colleagues are doing particularly well in treating patients immediately after spinal cord injuries in what is called the acute phase," Reeve said. "If a person can be treated right away, within the first 10 days after the injury, it will have dramatic effect in what their life will be."

During his visit, Reeve is also planning to meet Israelis who have suffered similar injuries as he did, including Ethiopian immigrant Elad Wass who was a victim of a homicide bombing in Netanya, in May. The shrapnel that entered Wassa’s abdomen left him paralyzed from the waist down. Wassa expressed a wish to meet the actor in a letter, saying that Reeve provided him with "hope and inspiration."

Reeve’s itinerary includes stops at research centers, hospitals, rehabilitation facilities, and centers for children with diseases and disabilities. He will meet with government leaders and will also tour the sights, including Yad Vashem and the Old City of Jerusalem.


Other News in Brief

Minister of Foreign Affairs Silvan Shalom held an unscheduled meeting with his Moroccan counterpart, Muhammad Benaissa, at the Moroccan Embassy in London on Sunday, HAARETZ reported. The two agreed that diplomatic ties between the two countries should be strengthened. Sources said that the talks took place in an informal atmosphere and lasted for about an hour and a half. The topics of conversation included the possibility of reopening Arab diplomatic representations in Israel, which have been closed in the wake of the inception of Palestinian violence.

Interior Minister Avraham Poraz announced he would grant the Black Hebrews community in Israel permanent resident status, Israel Radio reported. For 34 years, the community has been living mostly in Dimona under questionable status, often illegally, before reaching an ad hoc arrangement with the state.

Zaka (Disaster Victims Identification), Israel’s search and rescue organization, announced on Sunday that over nine hundred Israeli volunteers were now accredited to work for the group nationwide, THE JERUSALEM POST reported. Fifty-five new volunteers received their certification in a ceremony in Jerusalem on Sunday raising the number of Zaka volunteers in the capital to 135. The religious volunteers, who are consistently among the first people to arrive at the scene of terror bombings, are best known for collecting body parts for reburial, in keeping with Jewish law. They have also been instrumental in treating some of the wounded.

Six Jews from Iraq, five of them elderly, from among the last remaining Jews in the country, landed Friday evening in Israel on a direct flight from Baghdad, HAARETZ reported. The six were flown to Israel as part of a joint operation of the Jewish Agency and the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, a Jewish-American organization that deals with humanitarian aid to Jews throughout the world.


Economic & Hi-Tech Briefs

A group of Jewish businesspeople, mostly from the real estate industry, is organizing a $10 million fund for investment in Israeli biotechnology companies, Business Israel America Group CEO Yanir Jacobi told "GLOBES" on Sunday. He added that two of the group are from South Africa, with one each from Canada, Britain, and Australia.

The Bank of Israel today announced that its key interest rate for July would be 7%, a 0.5% drop from the current rate of 7.5%, GLOBES reported. The decision was widely expected in the market. The Bank of Israel has lowered interest rates by 1.9% over the last five months, as inflation in the market has turned negative, leaving real interest rates at high levels. The year-to-date inflation rate currently stands at minus 0.5%, following a series of negative CPI readings in recent months. The latest CPI reading, for June, was minus 0.6%. Even after falling to 7%, the Bank of Israel’s rate still stands 6% above key lending rates in the United States, a substantial premium for international investors seeking returns on their cash.

Today’s Israel Line was prepared by Victor Chemtob and Dina Wosner at the Consulate-General of Israel in New York.

Israeline — Tuesday, July 29, 2003 —

** Sharon, Bush to Meet Today – White House Welcomes Israel’s Goodwill Gestures
** Al-Qaida Targets Israeli Interests in East Africa
** U.S. Army Hears About IDF Tactics
** Israel Helps Palestinian Children Fly Abroad for Medical Treatment
** Other News in Brief
** Economic & Hi-Tech Briefs

Sharon, Bush to Meet Today – White House Welcomes Israel’s Goodwill Gestures
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon will meet today at the White House with U.S. President George W. Bush, Israel Radio reported. Political sources said that the prime minister will present Bush with a number of measures designed to ease the situation in the West Bank and Gaza, that will include dismantling several additional security roadblocks, freeing up Palestinian tax revenues, and withdrawing troops from two more Palestinian towns. Sharon was also expected to request that Bush convey to the Palestinians the importance of taking immediate action to destroy the terrorist infrastructure of Hamas and the Islamic Jihad.

Minister of Defense Shaul Mofaz and Israel Defense Forces Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Moshe Ya’alon warned today that if the Palestinian Authority did not crack down on the terrorist infrastructure, Israel might face a new outbreak of violence from the areas being transferred back to the Palestinians.

On Monday, Sharon met with U.S. National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice and the two agreed to continue contacts regarding the security fence in order to lessen its negative effect on the Palestinians, THE JERUSALEM POST reported. Sharon told Rice that the fence is an important security necessity for Israel but that the government would do all it can to ensure easy passage for Palestinians from one side of the fence to the other. Sharon also said that the Palestinians were not doing enough to stop the terror attacks against Israel.

Meanwhile, the White House welcomed on Monday Israel’s announcement that it would release 540 Palestinian prisoners, including 210 from Islamic terrorist groups. "We welcome steps like this, that improve the relationship between the Israelis and the Palestinians and help facilitate progress toward peace," White House spokesman Scott McClellan said.

Meanwhile, in Morocco, Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas called on Israel to make yet another gesture towards the Palestinians as a way of reducing the tensions between the sides. The Palestinian leader stopped in Morocco for talks with King Mohammed VI on his way back from Washington.


Al-Qaida Targets Israeli Interests in East Africa
Israeli security sources have discovered in East Africa that al-Qaida senior activist Fawzal Abdullah Mohammed is planning an aircraft attack against American and Israeli institutions, HA’ARETZ reported. Mohammed is responsible for the two attacks in Mombassa, Kenya last November – a car bomb at the Paradise Hotel, killing three Israelis and eleven Kenyans and a failed attempt of a shoulder-launched missile fired at an Israeli Arkia charter plane. Mohammed is also tied to the attacks on the American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in August 1998, where over 250 people were killed.

Meanwhile, Kenyan authorities recently arrested five suspected Islamic activists about al-Qaida’s intentions regarding a double attack on the new American Embassy in Nairobi. These men were released, but the interrogation revealed that plans had been made to have a plane and an explosives-laden truck crash into the embassy, both at the same time. Israeli security sources believed these men have a direct link with al-Qaida infrastructure in Kenya. Based upon this information some governments have instructed their citizens to avoid visiting Kenya. Britain canceled all flights to Mombassa, and Israel canceled all flights to Kenya.

In related events, intelligence services around the world have been investigating the disappearance of a Boeing 727 from Angola about two months ago and suspect it could be used for a terrorist attack.


U.S. Army Hears About IDF Tactics
An American military delegation, which included relatively high-ranking officers from ground forces and the Marines, recently visited Israel to hear directly from Israel Defense Forces officers about the tactics used by the Israeli army in its fight against Palestinian terrorist organization, HA’ARETZ reported. Even though the Americans have accumulated their own experience in similar situations, they were still interested in learning how the IDF responded to guerrilla warfare in the West Bank and Gaza – especially because of its similarity to what the United States is encountering in Iraq and because of the growing number of deadly attacks on American troops there. During the information exchange, which began more than a year ago, the Americans examined handling guerrillas in a civilian environment, defending forces from attacks, using checkpoints, carrying out searches in houses and cars and dealing with homicide attackers. The American delegates also heard lectures from Israeli commanders and visited a checkpoint on the Green Line in order to get a first hand look at how checkpoints are run.


Israel Helps Palestinian Children Fly Abroad for Medical Treatment
Israeli Civil Administration officials in the West Bank facilitated the flight of seven Palestinian children, ages 5 to 10, to Italy for lifesaving medical treatment, THE JERUSALEM POST reported. Six of the children suffer from thalassemia, a genetic blood disorder, and one has a heart defect. Twenty-three family members, some of whom will donate bone marrow to the children will accompany the four boys and three girls from Ramallah, Jenin, Nablus, and Hebron to Italy.

"This is an extremely important humanitarian issue," Civil Administration official and coordinator of the trip Dalia Bassa said. Bassa also related that in August, several Palestinian children suffering from heart defects would be sent to Italy to receive treatment. "If we don’t help them, their chances of living are slim," she said.


Other News in Brief

An 11-year-old Israeli girl was shot inside a car as she was traveling with her parents in the West Bank on Monday night, THE JERUSALEM POST reported. "The terror attack took place near the Jewish settlement of Itzhar, west of Nablus at 1:30 a.m.," a military source said. "She was lightly wounded in her legs and the IDF evacuated her by helicopter to Belinson hospital in Petah Tikva where she is now receiving medical treatment." There were four other passengers, including children, in the car who escaped injury, the source said.

A senior defense official assessed today that the Palestinian cease-fire on attacks against Israel would most likely last longer than three months as originally announced by the Palestinian terror groups, THE JERUSALEM POST reported. According to a recent study performed by a Palestinian university, most Palestinians support the cease-fire but are weary as to Israel’s intentions. According to the survey, 69 percent of the Palestinians support the Hudna (temporary cease-fire), 77 percent support Yasser Arafat while 61 percent support Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas.

Israel and Austria are set to announce the resumption of full diplomatic relations today in a meeting between Minister of Foreign Affairs Silvan Shalom and Austrian Foreign Minister Benita Ferrero-Waldner, Israel Radio reported. Shalom has called a news conference this afternoon when he is due to announce the return of Israel’s ambassador to Vienna. Israel recalled its ambassador three years ago after Joerg Haidar’s Freedom Party joined the Austrian government.

The Beersheva Municipality and the Transportation Ministry have decided to transfer the city’s bus service to private hands, Israel Radio reported. The municipal bus company is currently losing hundreds of thousands of shekels a month. Company employees were on strike today to protest thee fact they have still not received salaries for the month of June.


Economic & Hi-Tech Briefs

GE Medical, the medical equipment division of General Electric, announced it is going to expand investment in research and development in Israel, HAARETZ reported. The company will invest in advanced infrastructure for MRI development in cooperation with Tel Hashomer’s Sheba Medical Center. "In addition to anatomic imaging, the new MRI systems will enable the discovery and diagnosis of pathological elements that until now were considered complex and problematic," Sheba director Dr. Zeev Rothstein said. "The transition from a merely anatomic image to a functional image allows us to offer more efficient chemotherapy, thermal and irregular heartbeat treatments."

Shares of Magal Security Systems rose as much as 32 percent after Barron’s magazine praised the computerized security systems provider in a recent article, THE JERUSALEM POST reported. Barron’s magazine said that the firm is operating in a thriving industry and has a solid balance sheet. "Magal is an Israeli company whose high-tech electronic fences, video cameras, and proprietary computer networks have been used to protect everything from that beleaguered country’s borders to Buckingham Palace," the article said. "And, we don’t have to tell you, security is the No. 1 topic just about everywhere." The company has also won some major deals recently, including a $16 million project in an airport in Romania, and $15 million in tenders from Israel’s Defense Ministry.

Today’s Israel Line was prepared by David Dorfman, David Nekrutman, Biranit Zarmon and Victor Chemtob at the Consulate-General of Israel in New York.

Israeline — Wednesday, July 30, 2003 —

** Sharon to Bush: Iran Supporting Hamas, Hizbullah
** Israel Continues Hunt for Terrorists
** Former NYC Mayor Giuliani Welcomes Israeli Victims of Terror
** Christopher Reeve: It Has Always Been a Dream of Mine to Come to Israel
** Other News in Brief
** Economic & Hi-Tech Briefs


Sharon to Bush: Iran Supporting Hamas, Hizbullah
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon raised the issue of Iran’s nuclear weapons program during his meeting with U.S. President George W. Bush on Tuesday, Israel Radio, KOL YISRAEL reported. Sharon told Bush that Iran was stepping up support for Palestinian terrorists following the war in Iraq, and was accelerating efforts to develop nuclear weapons. Israeli officials indicated that new intelligence pointed to Iran filling the void left by Iraq in supporting groups like Hamas and Hizbullah. Officials explained that Iran was attempting to undercut the month-old ceasefire and undermine Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas by encouraging terrorism. Bush warned last week that Iran and Syria would be held accountable if they continued their support of terrorism.

Following their meeting, Sharon and Bush held a joint press conference during which the U.S. president called for the dismantling of Palestinian terrorist organizations and spoke of the importance to send the right message to the Palestinians regarding the security fence. "America is firmly committed to the security of Israel as a Jewish state, and we are firmly committed to the safety of the Israeli people," Bush said. "As we head down the road to peace, my commitment to the security of Israel is unshakable, as is the enduring friendship of our countries."

Sharon said he was confident the United States would press the Palestinians to end the threat of terror and made it clear the construction of the security fence would continue, but in ways to "minimize difficulties for the Palestinians." Sharon added that some unauthorized outposts had been removed and that others would go soon. "Unauthorized outposts will be removed as required in a law-abiding country," Sharon said.


Israel Continues Hunt for Terrorists
The Israel Security Agency revealed that it had recently arrested three members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine in the West Bank after receiving intelligence linking them to a plot to abduct and murder Israeli security personnel, HA’ARETZ reported. The men, who will face military prosecution, have already admitted their involvement in the plan; more arrests are expected to follow.

In other news, an Israeli military court sentenced Ahmed Barghouti, 27, a senior Palestinian terrorist and cousin of Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti, to 13 life sentences after convicting him of orchestrating attacks that killed 12 Israelis. An unrepentant Barghouti told reporters that had he not been caught, he would continue planning terror attacks. Barghouti was convicted of 52 counts of terrorist activities, including dispatching homicide bombers who carried out attacks in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

In addition, the Israel Defense Forces arrested a senior Islamic Jihad activist, Khatem Sueti, who was wanted for planning several homicide bomb attacks. His capture was spearheaded by the Duvdevan commando unit operating in Ramallah. Two wanted Hamas militants were arrested in the West Bank overnight as well.

Meanwhile, Israel’s deputy Ambassador to the United Nations, Aryeh Mekel, revealed to the UN Security Council that Al Qaeda operatives had been trying to set up a base in the Palestinian areas, Israel Radio, KOL ISRAEL reported. Mekel noted that it only took one country to allow Al Qaeda the freedom to regroup, reorganize and plan attacks before all civilians around the world were threatened.


Former NYC Mayor Giuliani Welcomes Israeli Victims of Terror
While meeting with a group of young Israeli victims of Middle East violence Monday, former New York City mayor Rudolph Giuliani expressed solidarity with the victims and praised global efforts to fight terrorism, THE JERUSALEM POST reported. Giuliani told the group that the free world was finally winning the war against terrorism’s perpetrators. "I don’t want you to think that what you’ve gone through, you’ve gone through for nothing," Giuliani told the 22 Israelis currently in New York on a healing and awareness-raising tour. The group is part of the One Family Fund, a non-profit organization that provides financial and emotional assistance to victims of terrorism and their families in Israel.

Giuliani criticized previous global responses to terrorism. "The way the world has reacted to terrorism, instead of deterring it and reducing it, actually made it worse," he said. Turning to the Israelis, he said: "I wonder if we hadn’t reacted differently, if you ever would have become the victims of terrorism." Giuliani added, "People who live in freedom can always prevail over people who live in oppression. We must, and we will." The Monday evening event, held at the B’nai Zion House in Manhattan, included speeches of solidarity from survivors and family members of the September 11 terrorist attacks.

The chief of operations of the city’s fire department, Sall Cassano, who lost 343 colleagues on September 11, also pledged his support for America and Israel’s war on terrorism. "On September 11, the United States learned how vulnerable we are as a nation to the terrorism that lurks all over the world," he said. "We learned how many around the world have had to live for many, many years."

The One Family Fund – which met last week with senators, congressmen, donors, and the families of NYPD officers killed in the line of duty – brought the delegation to New York and Washington on a two-week tour to help speed their emotional recovery, fund-raise, and meet with city, state, and national-level decision-makers.


Christopher Reeve: It Has Always Been a Dream of Mine to Come to Israel
Elad Wassa, a 25-year-old Ethiopian immigrant paralyzed in a May 2002 terrorist attack in Netanya, met his hero, Christopher Reeve, on Tuesday as the latter is on five-day trip to Israel which began late Sunday evening, THE JERUSALEM POST reported. Sitting next to Reeve at a press conference at the Weizmann Institute Tuesday afternoon, Wassa greeted the actor and advocate for the disabled by saying "Welcome to Israel" and adding, "You are my hero". "I’m here to learn," Reeve explained. "I’m here to listen. I’m here to observe not only the progression of science that is going on but also to see patients and rehabilitation who are struggling to make progress in their lives. I feel that progress both in rehabilitation, recovery and in medical research is a global effort. No single effort can accomplish it by itself but Israel is one of the leaders in the world. I come to pay tribute to the work that is being done here. It has always been a dream of mine to come to Israel."

Now that his dream has been realized, Reeve is hardly disappointed. He described the country as "warm, welcoming, friendly and surprisingly relaxed." Reeve expressed no feelings of apprehension about the journey. He criticized the media for only relaying negative images of Israel to the public rather than focusing on the positive. "The images that we see in the press every day tend to be about the worst things that happen in the country," he said. "The bombings and terrorist attacks make headlines, but what we don’t see is the wonderful color and normalcy of daily life," Reeve added.

The Weizmann Institute, which Reeve described as a "symbol of the best in research," leads the way in medical advances, particularly for diseases and conditions which affect the central nervous system. "Israelis are famous for their curiosity and their intellect. Their desire for knowledge, their desire to know. And that is very evident here at the campus of the Weizmann Institute," Reeve said.


Other News in Brief

European Union Foreign Policy chief Javier Solana has urged Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas, to streamline the Palestinian security services and press on with security reform, Israel Radio, KOL YISRAEL reported. Solana flew at short notice to the French Riveria resort of Cannes on Tuesday to meet Abu Mazen, who is on his way back from a trip to the United States that included a meeting with U.S. President George W. Bush last Friday.

Minister of Defense Shaul Mofaz was to meet today with Palestinian security minister Mohammed Dahlan to discuss the transfer of another two West Bank towns back to the Palestinians, Israel Radio, KOL YISRAEL reported. The next towns to be handed over will likely be Jericho and Qalkilya.


Economic & Hi-Tech Briefs

Israeli companies have invested some $2.5 billion in Canada in the last three years, according to Yehuda Reva, head of the Canada-Israel Trade Association, THE JERUSALEM POST reported. This makes Israel one of the leading investment sources in Canada, he said. Israel and Canada signed a free trade agreement six years ago. Since then, trade between the two countries has multiplied fourfold and just recently passed the $1 billion mark. Israeli concerns invest in Canada because they believe that the Canadian market is primed to make a strong recovery in the near future.

Check Point Software Technologies has announced a new contract, with Click! Network, a broadband cable television and high-speed Internet services provider in Tacoma, Washington, HA’ARETZ reported. Click! is buying Check Point’s security solution for virtual private networks. Check Point did not disclose the scope of the deal, nor is the number of Click’s subscribers known.

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

Israeline — Thursday, July 31, 2003 —


** Mofaz-Dahlan Meeting Fails to Yield Results – Hope for Compromise Remains
** Israel Develops One of the World’s Most Advanced Missiles
** Decision on Lifting Ban on Home Soccer Games Delayed
** Other News in Brief
** Economic & Hi-Tech Briefs


Mofaz-Dahlan Meeting Fails to Yield Results – Hope for Compromise Remains
Minister of Defense Shaul Mofaz and Palestinian Minister for Security Affairs Mohammed Dahlan failed to reach an agreement Wednesday night on the transfer of further West Bank cities to Palestinian control, HA’ARETZ reported. Israel offered the Palestinians security control over Qalqilyah and Jericho, but the Palestinian Authority insisted that Ramallah be included as one of the two cities. According to Army Radio, Dahlan also rejected the Israeli demand to disarm terrorist organizations, despite Mofaz’s warning that failing to do so could lead to the collapse of the cease-fire. Mofaz and Dahlan agreed to meet again in the near future.

The four-hour meeting, which took place in Neve Ilan, close to Jerusalem, came on the heels of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s discussion with U.S. President George W. Bush on the issue of the transfer of more territory to the Palestinians. Israel has reservations over transferring Ramallah to the Palestinians due to its symbolism as the seat of residence for PA Chairman Yasser Arafat and Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas. However, a compromise might still be reached between the two sides, with Israel possibly agreeing to an IDF redeployment from a third city instead. Also, Mofaz demanded that the PA take action against the terrorist infrastructure and warned that the cease-fire was likely to collapse if the PA did not begin to do so. Prior to the meeting, Dahlan had rejected the Israeli demand to disarm the terrorist organizations. "The terror infrastructure is an Israeli concept that is unacceptable to us," he said. "We will not arrest activists and we will not confront them as long as the cease-fire is intact."

Meanwhile, hours before the meeting, Mofaz ordered the IDF to prepare for a fresh outbreak of terrorism should the three-month truce not hold and should the PA fail to dismantle the terrorist infrastructure. Mofaz said if the Palestinian terror organizations were not dismantled, the security situation might well become worse than it was prior to the June 4 Aqaba summit. Also, Palestinian Prisoners Affairs Minister Hisham Abd al-Raziq warned Wednesday that Palestinian prisoners could stage a rebellion in Israeli jails if Israel did not release them as part of peace moves.


Israel Develops One of the World’s Most Advanced Missiles
Recent breakthroughs, as well as "significant milestones" in the testing of Python-5, bring Israel inches away from being the mother of the most advanced air-to-air missile in the world, THE JERUSALEM POST reported. Rafael, the government-owned Israel Armament Development Authority, has announced that recent testing of the Python-5 has proved to be incredibly promising: the Python-5 will be ready for operation by 2005, and upon its completion will make Israel the owner and producer of the most sophisticated air-to-air missile in history. The Python 5 exhibits both an enhancement of the features of the Python-4 as well new and innovative features. The new missile thus promises not only sharper target recognition but also a "full attack envelop" – meaning, the pilot can destroy aircraft on his tail without needing to turn his jet around. "An enemy fighter jet has a very slim chance of surviving the launch of a Python-5," said Col. Naftali Maimon. The Python-5 was designed for aerial dogfights. When launched, the missile goes idle after a millisecond of flight so as not to overshoot its mark, at which point the Python-5 lock on to its target and then matches it move for move. "It will outmaneuver any plane," Maimon said.

The recent developments of "Spike" and "Spice" – two other impressive missile devices – also point at Israel’s technological success and superiority. "Spike," sports a dual, or "tandem" HEAT (high-energy anti tank) warhead – delivering a lethal one-two punch against the most sophisticated of armor. The armed forces of Holland, Romania, and Finland have already bought the missile system. "Spice" is an air-to-surface precision-guided munitions. When launched from the wing of a fighter aircraft, the Spice will plow into a pre-programmed target at speeds reaching up to Mach 9. "The Spice is a revolution in air-to-ground warfare," said Alon Amitay, the business development manager of the project. The new missile even surpasses the GPS-guided bombs that starred in the recent war in Iraq.


Decision on Lifting Ban on Home Soccer Games Delayed
The United European Football Association has delayed until mid-August the decision of whether or not to resume European club soccer matches in Israel, HA’ARETZ reported. In March 2002, the UEFA suspended all competitive European matches in Israel because of security fears in the region. Hopes had been high that the ban would be lifted after Minister of Foreign Affairs Silvan Shalom recently met with UEFA secretary-general Gerhard Aigner and informed him that the renewal of the peace process had brought stability back to the country, and that security could be guaranteed. Shalom had brought with him letters of support from eight European foreign ministers, including Germany’s Joschka Fischer, Franco Frattini of Italy and Ana Palacio of Spain. The European Union also empowered its president Silvio Berlusconi to call on the UEFA to lift the interdiction.

Although the UEFA’s four-member Emergency Panel in charge of dealing with the issue noted positive developments in the region, it said that more time was needed in order to evaluate the situation. A UEFA statement indicated that the panel was of the view that an evaluation could only be made when a certain period of time had elapsed and that it would reconsider the matter in mid-August. Nebertheless, if the secuirty situation remains quiet over the next two weeks, the chances of the ban being lifted are considered to be high. UEFA informed the IFA that if the ban was removed mid-August, Israeli clubs would be able to host games in Israel from the first group stage of the Champions League and the first round of the UEFA Cup.


Other News in Brief

According to Jane’s Foreign Affairs, Syria has at least 100 long-range ballistic nerve-gas missiles aimed at central Israel, HA’ARETZ reported. A senior Israeli defense source told "Foreign Affairs" that the missiles were equipped with VX, the most lethal nerve gas, and that the Syrians had now achieved their aim of balancing Israel’s nuclear advantage.

U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell has promised Prime Minster Ariel Sharon to alleviate as much as possible the visa requirements for Israeli citizens traveling to the United States and to ease the travel advisory warnings to U.S. citizens about visiting Israel, HA’ARETZ reported. Sharon told Powell that the travel advisories placed Israel among dangerous countries in the Middle East, thus deterring business people and investors and making it more difficult to end the recession. He also said stringent visa requirements made it very difficult for Israelis to travel to the United States to visit relatives.

Two wanted Palestinian terrorists from Hamas and Islamic Jihad were arrested overnight Wednesday by security forces in the West Bank city of Hebron, Israel Radio, KOL ISRAEL reported. Shots were fired this morning at Israel Defense Forces troops in the casbah area of the West Bank town of Nablus. No injuries were reported.


Economic & Hi-Tech Brief

ICQ, created by Israeli based Mirabilis in 1996, was among the first products to be inducted into CNET’s hall of fame, THE JERUSALEM POST reported. ICQ is an Internet instant messaging application with more than 160 million registrants. The program was sold to America Online (AOL) in June of 1998 for $407 million, the first major acquisition of an Israeli technology company by a foreign investor. According to CNET, the programs chosen for its new hall of fame must be listed on CNET for at least five years, have earned an "Editor’s Pick" recommendation, and remain on the web site’s most popular list during the time it is shown on the site.

Herzliya-based Tecnomatix Technologies has agreed to acquire Usdata Corporation, a developer of supervisory-level control and manufacturing execution systems for $10.3 million, THE JERUSALEM POST reported. The acquisition is intended to help Tecnomatix offer a complete Manufacturing Process Management (MPM) solution spanning the entire manufacturing process lifecycle.

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

Israeline — Friday, August 1, 2003 —

** Sharon: Palestinians Must Honor All Details of Their Agreements
** Israeli-Arab Summer Camp Investigated for Incitement
** Israeli Police Temporarily Suspend Jewish/Christian Visits to Temple Mount
** Israel and the U.S. Discuss Research Fund in Honor of Columbia Astronauts
** Other News in Brief
** Economic & Hi-Tech Briefs


Sharon: Palestinians Must Honor All Details of Their Agreements
Israel will insist that the Palestinians honor every detail of their agreements, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said in a speech at the National Security College on Thursday, HA’ARETZ reported. "Past experience teaches us that once a diplomatic agreement has been reached, the greatest mistake is to ignore seemingly minor violations in its implementation," he said.

As examples, he cited Europe’s willingness to overlook Nazi Germany’s violations of agreements prior to World War II, as well as Israel’s own experiences. "For the past three years, we have paid a heavy price for Israel’s restraint over the daily violations of the Oslo accords," he said, adding that, "terrorist organizations were not disarmed, illegal weapons were not collected, the intolerable incitement against Israel in the educational system and the media never stopped." As a result, Sharon said, Israel would now insist on the fulfillment of every obligation included in the road map.

Meanwhile, Minister of Defense Shaul Mofaz will consult with the heads of the defense establishment on a response to the Palestinians’ demand to receive security responsibility for additional West Bank cities. At a meeting Wednesday with Palestinian Security Minister Mohammed Dahlan, Mofaz offered to give the Palestinians Qalqilyah and Jericho, but Dahlan demanded Ramallah as well. Security sources indicated that Israel was not willing to transfer Ramallah right now. Mofaz and Dahlan are due to meet again next week.

The ministerial committee on prisoner releases will also meet early next week to give final approval to the list of approximately 540 Palestinian prisoners that Israel has agreed to release. The list will then be posted on the Internet for 48 hours to enable appeals against specific releases. Minister of Justice Yosef Lapid informed the Knesset on Thursday that any freed prisoner caught engaging in new violence will have to serve out the remainder of his current sentence as well as any new sentence. Israel is also working on a list of several dozen additional prisoners that could be released in line with Sharon’s promise to U.S. President George W. Bush.


Israeli-Arab Summer Camp Investigated for Incitement
Israeli police arrested on Thursday eight of the organizers of a summer camp believed to be engaging in political incitement against Israel in the Arab village of Kabul in the Galilee, HA’ARETZ reported. The camp began to disperse, but it has not yet been closed down. The police may ask that the suspects be remanded today. Shfaram police came to the camp on Thursday morning in response to reports that anti-Israel propaganda programs were being held at the summer camp. While searching the camp the police officers found and confiscated PLO flags and other materials suspected of being used in inflammatory activities. As a result of testimonies taken from witnesses, two camp counselors were summoned for questioning.

The police acknowledged, however, that "although the incitement and rebellious activities have allegedly been halted," in practice it is impossible to prevent anti-Israeli activities at the camp. These include singing of anti-Israeli songs and reading materials whose purpose is to incite the youth. Authorities believe that Israeli-Arab children in the camp are taught about Palestinian terrorists ("martyrs"). The children sing songs that praise homicide attacks and express the hope for a return to Jaffa, Ashdod and Haifa and the building of a Palestinian state from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River.


Israeli Police Temporarily Suspend Jewish/Christian Visits to Temple Mount
Jerusalem Police spokesperson Gil Kleiman announced this week the decision to temporarily suspend non-Muslim visits to the Temple Mount, citing "tactical and operational considerations", THE JERUSALEM POST reported. Since October of 2000, the site has been closed to Jews and Christians, but the government approved the gradual re-opening of the Temple Mount to small groups of tourists and Jewish Israelis in June.

The recent renewal of Jewish entry to the Temple Mount fueled a wave of anti-Israel incitement spearheaded by Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat, who last week convened a meeting with leaders of the Waqf, the Islamic entity that manages Jerusalem’s holy Muslim sites. He sent letters to Arab leaders threatening that there would be "grave consequences" if the "invasion of extremists disguised as tourists" continued. Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas called the tours "provocative" and Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa said the Christian and Jewish visits were "an insult to Muslims everywhere."


Israel and the U.S. Discuss Research Fund in Honor of Columbia Astronauts
U.S. and Israeli science officials met in Israel Tuesday to discuss proposals to expand technological research and memorialize the seven astronauts who died in the Columbia shuttle disaster, GLOBES reported. Minister of Science and Technology Eliezer Sandberg hosted White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) director Dr. John H. Marburger. Among the topics discussed was an Israeli proposal to establish a bi-national fund in memory of the seven astronauts who died in the Columbia shuttle disaster. The idea will be sent to U.S. President George W. Bush in the next two weeks, after which the fund’s budget will be determined.

Ministry of Science officials said they sensed that the U.S. administration would allow U.S. cooperation with Israel in science and technology, possibly for millions of dollars. Officials from the Ministry of Science and OSTP announced they would determine possible joint measures to be taken in Israel and the United States to promote space research and science education among Israeli and American youths. Marburger said the National Science Foundation (NSF) was allocating a special budget for this purpose. He proposed utilizing the money to hold joint conferences, exchange delegations, and conduct joint studies and research on dealing with the problem.

Marburger and Sandberg also discussed expanding joint technological research, including possibly opening NSF grants to Israeli researchers and promoting joint Research and Development in internal security matters. Marburger will help set up links between the Ministry of Science and the US Department of Homeland Security.


Other News in Brief

The Israel Defense Forces will form the first female infantry battalion next spring, Israel Radio, KOL YISRAEL, reported. It will be the world’s first fighting battalion to be comprised of at least 70 percent of women fighters. Female soldiers serving in the new unit will serve for three years – just like men – and perform reserve duty like other infantry soldiers.

Reacting to strong U.S. pressure, Belgium voted to remove its controversial universal jurisdiction law under which accusations of war crimes were filed against U.S. President George W. Bush, British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, HA’ARETZ reported. The 1993 law gave Belgian courts the power to try war crimes cases no matter where the alleged offenses were committed and regardless of the victim’s or perpetrator’s nationality. Courts have been flooded in the past two years with cases against a number of prominent world leaders.


Economic & Hi-Tech Briefs

Savient Pharmaceuticals announced it has started the patient screening process for its phase II study of Prosaptide in the treatment of neuropathic pain associated with HIV/AIDS, GLOBES reported. "Current therapies for HIV/AIDS related neuropathic pain include topical or oral analgesics, which have limited efficacy, or central nervous system acting drugs, which are often accompanied by unacceptable side effects," said Savient chairman and CEO Sim Fass. "Our objective is to develop an analgesic product that effectively mitigates peripheral neuropathic pain without the dose limiting side effects typical of therapies currently in use."

Yehud-based Magal Security Systems has acquired the assets of American Dominion Wireless company for an undisclosed sum, THE JERUSALEM POST reported. Dominion, located in Virginia, manufactures panic buttons mainly used by security guards in correctional facilities. The company was purchased via Perimeter Products, Magal’s fully owned U.S. -based subsidiary. Regarding the acquisition, Izhar Dekel, CEO of Magal said that Dominion’s products would complement those of Magal. Dominion’s panic button will help strengthen our basket of services so we can offer better turnkey solutions. If we go to a prison authority, for example, we can now offer both inner and outer protection."

Today’s Israel Line was prepared by Jonathan Schienberg, David Nekrutman, Naomi Peled and Victor Chemtob at the Consulate General of Israel in New York.