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Israeline — Monday, June 9, 2003 —

** Five Soldiers Killed in Gaza, Hebron Attacks
** Sharon to Continue With Aqaba Process Despite Attacks
** Italian PM Berlusconi Visits Israel
** Increasing Israeli-Palestinian Coexistence Via Technology
** Other News in Brief
** Economic & Hi-tech Briefs


Five Soldiers Killed in Gaza, Hebron Attacks
Five soldiers were killed and four reservists and a border policeman were wounded in three terrorist attacks in the West Bank and Gaza Strip on Sunday, THE JERUSALEM POST reported. The attacks occurred among increasing warnings that Palestinian terror groups were trying to strike at Israeli targets in order to undermine the ongoing peace efforts.

Sgt.-Maj. Boaz Emet, 23, of Beit She’an and reservists Sgt.-Maj. Assaf Abergil, 23, Sgt.-Maj. Udi Eilat, 37, both of Eilat, and Sgt.-Maj. Chen Angel, 31, of Ramat Gan, were killed and four reservists wounded when three terrorists wearing Israel Defense Forces uniforms and armed with Kalashnikov rifles and grenades infiltrated their post next to the Erez industrial zone in the Northern Gaza Strip early Sunday morning. Emet and Abergil were buried on Sunday in their hometowns; Angel was to be buried in the military section of the Ness Ziona cemetery at 1:30 p.m. on Monday, and Eilat in the military section in Eilat’s cemetery at 5 p.m. Later in the day, an IDF soldier was killed in Hebron’s casbah when soldiers chased two Palestinian gunmen who earlier had wounded a Border Police on guard at the Tomb of the Patriarchs. In a rare step, Fatah, Islamic Jihad, and Hamas claimed joint responsibility for the attack that took place in Gaza.

Close to 5:15 a.m., the three terrorists – identified as Rami al-Beik, 24, of Islamic Jihad; Muhammad Abu Beid, 22, of Hamas; and Mussa Sowihal, 22, of Fatah’s Aksa Martyrs Brigade – took advantage of a heavy fog and mingled among the thousands of laborers queuing up at the Erez border crossing to enter Israel. Splitting from the crowd, they climbed over a fence between a Palestinian Authority position and an IDF post. The fog prevented them from being spotted. They went behind the industrial site and started attacking the IDF post from the rear. Officials noted that the attack was directed at one of the only symbols of coexistence between Israel and the Palestinians who work in the industrial complex. At the time of the shooting, 6,874 Palestinian laborers had already entered Israel to work and 40 more had entered the industrial complex, joining 41 who had remained there overnight. The Erez crossing, as well as the Rafah and Karni border crossings, was shut down.


Sharon to Continue With Aqaba Process Despite Attacks
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon intends to continue the "Aqaba Process" despite Sunday’s terror attacks that killed five Israel Defense Forces soldiers, HA’ARETZ reported. Vice Premier and Minister of Industry and Trade Ehud Olmert, a close aid to Sharon, said today that "Sharon is taking a step that is, in certain senses, historic, because he is not sowing illusions in anyone’s eyes." "Under no circumstances will he delude himself or others, as if we are entering into some final, permanent, comprehensive agreement," he told Israel Radio, KOL ISRAEL. What Sharon is saying, Olmert continued, is that "’Perhaps, perhaps, there is a chance. Let us examine it.’ He added that the difference between this and Oslo, was that this is not ‘first make concessions, then check, but rather first check, and, if there is a need, make a few concessions.’"

Israeli officials said there was no intention of delaying scheduled meetings between Sharon and Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas, and between Minister of Defense Shaul Mofaz and his Palestinian secuirty chief Mohammed Dahlan. They also said the IDF would continue to operate against terrorism as though there were no peace process, but they stressed that Israel was not interested in undermining the Abbas government and thus would not "contribute to escalation." Moreover, there was no intention to freeze plans to remove unauthorized outposts in the West Bank.

Meanwhile, Abbas denounced today new attacks by terrorist groups that threaten the implementation of the road map and vowed to press on with efforts to persuade them to agree a cease-fire, declaring that for the Palestinians the only path was dialogue. The Palestinian prime minister said that he would not use force against the terrorist groups under any circumstances, despite their stated determination to derail the road map using violence against Israelis. Condemning such attacks in general, he added: "We reject these acts and if they continue, they will complicate the situation and make the peace process difficult." But, he added: "We will not force anyone to resume dialogue." Abbas made a new appeal to resume talks with Hamas today after the terrorist group pulled out of negotiations on Friday, but Hamas reiterated its opposition to a cease-fire.

According to THE JERUSALEM POST, the United States described Hamas on Friday as an "enemy of peace" and pledged to help the Palestinian Authority build its capabilities to counter the terrorist organization. White House spokesman Scott McClellan encouraged all parties to dismantle the "infrastructure of terror" and at the State Department, spokesman Richard Boucher said, "we will support the process of reestablishing the Palestinian security services and helping the Palestinians get to the point where they can, indeed, control security issues on their side and provide security to their own people, as well as to prevent violence against Israelis and others in the area."


Italian PM Berlusconi Visits Israel
Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi arrived in Israel on Monday, and is scheduled to hold talks with both Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and President Moshe Katsav, THE JERUSALEM POST reported. Berlusconi is considered to be the European leader with the closest ties to the Israeli government. Welcoming Berlusconi, Sharon said if the European Union’s stance on the Middle East were more balanced, "and more similar to that of Italy," Israel could increase its level of cooperation with the EU." Berlusconi reportedly replied that he viewed Israel as a natural partner to join the European Union "because of the common culture," and its standing as "the only democracy in the Middle East."

On July 1, Italy will take over the presidency of the European Union, held on rotation of six-month periods. The Italian premier is scheduled to travel to Jordan and Egypt on Tuesday and then return to Jerusalem the next day for a possible additional meeting with Sharon. The purpose of the meetings, according to Israeli officials, is to push forward the road map, as well as to prepare for the EU presidency. Israeli diplomatic officials expressed satisfaction on Sunday that Berlusconi would be the first senior EU leader to visit in recent weeks who will not be meeting with Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat. One senior official said Berlusconi understood the need to strengthen PA Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas and the necessity for Israel to fight against terror. During their recent visits, the foreign ministers of Slovakia and Bulgaria also did not meet Arafat, underlining an emerging split between Western European and Eastern European positions on Middle East policy on the eve of the admission of eight eastern European countries to the EU in 2004.

Meanwhile, Minister of Foreign Affairs Silvan Shalom is to leave on Monday for a four-day visit to Russia where he will notably hold talks with his counterpart Igor Ivanov. In addition to discussing Russia’s role in the Quartet and the road map, Shalom is also expected to focus on the transfer of nuclear know-how and materials to Iran, as well as Iran’s support for Hizbullah and other Palestinian terrorist organizations.


Increasing Israeli-Palestinian Coexistence Via Technology
New Generation Technology or NGT – a government-subsidized technological incubator launched two years ago by five successful Israeli-Arab businessmen along with a Jewish Israeli hi-tech entrepreneur – stands as a unique model for coexistence between Jews and Arabs based on technology and entrepreneurship, ISRAEL21C reported. NGT, subsidized and supported by Israel’s Ministry of Industry and Trade, had one mission: to provide fledgling Israeli Arab entrepreneurs the opportunity to research and develop their ideas and the possibility of starting a business based on the success of their research.

Sharon Devir, the CEO of NGT, was drawn to the idea of the incubator, and the idea of Arabs and Jews working together to pursue business goals. He emphasizes that the incubator is being run as a business, and not a charity. While promoting coexistence is one of its goals, its primary mission, like any business, is to turn a profit. "I have total freedom to take professional decisions and how to run the incubator. There are no guidelines from the board of directors either to take Arab or Christian or Jewish employees. The only thing I tried to do at the beginning was to insure that most of my administrative staff was Arab in order to make Arab applicants feel more confident," says Devir.

Despite the existence of 22 other government-sponsored technological incubators in Israel, Arab entrepreneurs with an idea have been hesitant to approach them, Devir explains.

"An Arab businessman doesn’t feel comfortable stepping into a Jewish business environment and saying ‘here I am – invest in me!’ One of the big problems is when they have to ask for investments, it’s almost like having to undress before someone. Here’s this person who they’ve never met before and they have to disclose all the secrets about this project they’ve been working on for 15 years. With us, they see Arab staff and an Arab Chairman (Nasser Said), and they see there’s no bluffing going on – and it’s working."

The response to the NGT approach has been extremely positive. Since its inception, an estimated 90 percent of Arab entrepreneurs looking to establish new businesses in Israel have applied directly to NGT. The first project to be accepted by the incubator, D-Herb, was led by Dr. Sobhi Sauob, an Arab entrepreneur from the Galilee. Just this month, NGT had its second project approved by the Chief Scientist – based on the research of another Arab scientist who believes that insulin added to baby formula has enabled premature babies to develop vital organs and fully develop functions like digestion more quickly.


Other News in Brief

Zayar Ashraf, a Hamas terrorist from Jerusalem, was sentenced to six consecutive life terms by Jerusalem District Court on Sunday for his role in the bombing of Bus No. 4 on Rehov Allenby in Tel Aviv on September 18, 2002 in which six people were killed and 84 wounded, JERUSALEM POST reported. Ashraf, who carries a blue Israeli ID card allowing him to move freely throughout the country, admitted in court that he drove the suicide bomber to Tel Aviv. He drove a second would-be suicide bomber to Tel Aviv a month later, but a security guard thwarted the attack.

A new train line connecting Rishon Le Zion to Tel Aviv will be inaugurated mid September, MA’ARIV reported. In the first stage, one train will run in both directions every hour – a frequency that is supposed to double as of March 2004. The new train line stands as a good alternative to car travel for people commuting between the cities for work.

Student Organizations in universities throughout the country, together with the Higher Education Council, Deputy Minister of Defense Ze’ev Boim and Israel Defense Forces Chief Reserve Office Brig.-Gen. Ariel Hayman have reached an agreement on the benefits and rights of university students serving two weeks or more of reserve duty during the academic year, MA’ARIV reported. According to the agreement, students that have been drafted for reserve duty during times of exam will be allowed to take the exams again, while those who have missed essays’ deadlines will be granted an extension to present their paper. In addition, lectures will be taped for the benefit of those students who miss classes due to army service. These students will also be exempt from paying the tuition while re-registering for those courses.

Economic & Hi-tech Briefs

"The Economist" predicts in its latest edition that foreign investment in Israel will rise in 2003, as part of the recovery in 25 emerging markets, GLOBES reported. "The Economist" cites the Institute of International Finance (IIF) as predicting $139.1 billion in foreign investment in emerging markets in 2003, 25 percent more than in 2002, but still far below the $200 billion invested in 2000, and the $330 billion invested in the peak year of 1996. Israel is expected to attract $5 billion in foreign investment in 2003, compared with $3.8 billion in 2002, and $11.5 billion in the peak year in 2000. Israeli start-ups attracted $2.5 billion in foreign investment and Nasdaq IPOs in that year. Israel accounts for 3.5-5.7 percent of total foreign investment a year in the 25 emerging markets surveyed. Nevertheless, Israel is in last place among the 25 emerging markets in "The Economist" survey, with only 0.3 percent growth in the first quarter of 2003. The Czech Republic and Turkey lead the table.

For the first time in two years the government will make a bond offering in U.S., THE JERUSALEM POST reported. The government will raise $500 million this week, which will be used to pay off old debt and finance budget deficit. Although this offering will not be directly backed by US guarantees, the agreement reached with the US to receive $9 billion in loan guarantees will enable Israel to obtain favorable interest rates on the bonds. The Israeli delegation, led by accountant-general Nir Gilad and his deputy, Eldad Frecher arrived in the U.S. to finalize the plan with two U.S. investment houses, Citigroup and Lehman Bros. Israel abstained from overseas offerings over the last two years in order to avoid forcing international credit rating companies from lowering Israel’s debt rating.

One quarter of Israel’s rubber and plastics enterprises have recently renewed their commercial ties with the Palestinians, GLOBES reported. Before the crisis that erupted in September 2000, the rubber and plastics industries’ annual sales to the Palestinian Authority amounted to $30 million. Exports, mostly plastics and irrigation pipes for agriculture, fell 70 percent, after the year 2000. Israel currently has 200 rubber and plastics enterprises. Because of the recession, domestic sales are expected to rise only 3 percent to $1.6 billion this year, after increasing 9 percent last year. Exports are expected to grow 1 percent to $1.1 billion this year, the same growth as last year.

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

Israeline — Tuesday, June 10, 2003 —

** IDF Starts Dismantling 15 Unauthorized Outposts
** Senior Hamas Leader Injured – Terrorist Infiltrators Killed
** Justice Ministry Expanding Claims Registry for Jewish Property in Arab Countries
** U.S. And Israel to Hold Energy Conference in Jerusalem
** Other News in Brief
** Economic & Hi-tech Briefs

IDF Starts Dismantling 15 Unauthorized Outposts
The Israel Defense Forces will complete the dismantling of 15 outposts in the West Bank within the next few days, HA’ARETZ reported. A list of 15 outposts was given to leaders from the Yesha Council of settlements by Minister of Defense Shaul Mofaz. The operations have already begun with the dismantling of Amona North, where the army took down a watchtower, and that of Shaharit and Neveh Erez South, where it bulldozed some trailers. In the coming days, five inhabited outposts are to be evacuated and dismantled: Havat Gilad, Nofei Nehemia, Shavei Shomron West, Mitzpeh Yitzhar, and Beit El East.

Mofaz told the settlers the United States was demanding that Israel dismantle 94 outposts that the Americans say were erected since March 2001. The defense minister indicated that if Israel had not agreed to remove all 94 outposts, the army would possibly remove at least another 15 of them providing Palestinians take actions called for by the road map.

Palestinian Minister Nabil Amru described the news as a "positive signal" of Israel’s intentions to follow the road map. Central Command Major General Moshe Kaplinski made clear to the Yesha Council that he had orders to dismantle the outposts and asked the settlers for their cooperation. He reiterated that "Israel made a commitment to the U.S. and we intend to keep our promise." Yesha Council Chair Bentzi Lieberman insisted his movement would campaign with determination against the evacuations, but added, "there are red lines. We will not lift a hand against a soldier or policeman. We won’t curse and insult them. We will try to restrain and control the extremists, which we also have, just as they exist in every society." National Religious Party chair, Housing Minister Effi Eitam called on the settlers to conduct a "democratic, nonviolent campaign and to avoid any physical or verbal clashes with Israeli police and security officers."


Senior Hamas Leader Injured – Terrorist Infiltrators Killed
Senior Hamas leader Dr. Abdel Aziz Rantisi, who vowed to continue terror attacks against Israel and broke off recent efforts for a cease-fire with Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas, was lightly injured when an Israel Defense Forces helicopter fired at least four rockets at his jeep traveling in central Gaza City today, Israel Radio, KOL YISRAEL reported. Rantisi, 52, is closely connected to Hamas spiritual leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin and Hamas’s military wing. Military sources confirmed that the IDF targeted Rantisi, saying he was responsible for a series of terror attacks including this Sunday’s infiltration into the Erez Crossing army base, in which four Israeli soldiers were killed.

Meanwhile, IDF soldiers shot and killed two terrorists trying to infiltrate Netzarim in the northern Gaza Strip late Monday night. Also, the IDF demolished the Beit Hanun home of Mussa Sahwil, 21, a member of Fatah’s Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, and one of the three terrorists who infiltrated the IDF outpost near the Erez crossing on Sunday.

In other news, IDF forces arrested Fatah Tanzim member Hussan Madrasawi who was planning a homicide bombing against Israel on Monday night.


Justice Ministry Expanding Claims Registry for Jewish Property in Arab Countries
After decades of delay, the Ministry of Justice is expanding its registry of property claims by Jews from Arab countries, GLOBES reported. The ministry’s division for the rights of Jews from Arab countries, headed by Jean Claude Nidam, plans to launch an active campaign to register claims and hire additional staff to handle the matter. Officials are compiling numerous statements about private and communal property left behind in Arab countries and electronically archiving thousands of forms filed by immigrants from Arab nations in the 1950s.

According to the Ministry of Justice, "this activity will be expanded further in the coming year. An advanced computer system and website will be set up, meetings will be held with community leaders overseas, and media campaigns will be launched, among other things. To simplify the filing of the claim forms, the ministry will publish the claim forms on its website in several languages in the coming days. The ministry will soon hire staff to handle the many claims applications that are arriving and will arrive."

In related news, the US House International Relations Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia held last week its first hearing on Jewish refugees from Arab countries and the looting of their property. The purpose of the hearing was to put the subject of Jews from Arab countries on the agenda as a counterweight to the Palestinian demand of the right of return. At the hearing, World Jewish Congress Secretary General Avi Becker reiterated the group’s position that there had been an exchange of populations between Israel and the Arab world. Becker also discussed former President Bill Clinton’s initiative at the Camp David summit in July 2000 to establish an international fund to compensate the refugees on both sides.

Estimates of the current value of Jewish property looted from Iraqi, Syrian, Egyptian, and Lebanese Jews range from $8-$30 billion, according to GLOBES and the World Organization of Jews from Arab Countries.


U.S. And Israel to Hold Energy Conference in Jerusalem
The United States and Israel will hold a conference on August 26-28 in Jerusalem aimed at reducing U.S. dependence on Middle Eastern oil by developing alternative energy sources, GLOBES reported. In an effort to expand its energy resources, the U.S. is currently investing $1.7 billion to develop hydrogen fuel cells and a hydrogen-fueled car.

A main area of interest the conference will explore is the potential collaboration on research and development and commercial applications for renewable energy between U.S. Department of Energy and Israel’s Ministry of National Infrastructures, and energy companies. Assistant Secretary of Energy David Garman will head the U.S. delegation, and Minister of National Infrastructures Joseph Paritzky will lead the Israeli team. The American Jewish Congress is also co-hosting the event.


Other News in Brief

The soldier killed in action in Hebron by a Palestinian terrorist on Sunday was identified as 21-year-old Matan Gadri from Moshav Moledet, HA’ARETZ reported. Three months ago, Gadri’s friend, Tomer Ron, also from Moledet, was killed by a terrorist in Hebron.

An historic cooperation agreement was signed on Monday between Magen David Adom and the International Red Cross, MA’ARIV reported. The agreement was reached after MDA was boycotted for many years owing to the pressure of Muslim countries, which are members of both the Red Cross and the Red Crescent. According to the accord, the International Red Cross will help finance MDA emergency medicine teams, paramedics’ training and bags for blood donations. In addition, the MDA’s operational personnel will take part in the Red Cross’ and the Red Crescent’s training. "This is a historic day," Yochanan Gur, MDA’s Chairman of the Board, said.

Minister of Infrastructure Joseph Paritzky and Jordan Minister of Water and Irrigation Hazem Nasser will soon jointly present a plan for the Red-Med-Dead Canal segment connecting the Red Sea and the Dead Sea, GLOBES reported. The project is designed to improve water supplies in the region and produce large quantities of electricity as well as prevent the Dead Sea from drying up. The World Bank has recognized the plan as a high-priority project and has asked both ministers for their cooperation. The ministers will outline the plan at next week’s World Economic Forum at the Dead Sea in Jordan.

The Atarot airport, on the northern outskirts of Jerusalem will be closed until a political decision is reached about its future, HA’ARETZ reported. Atarot served as an airport for internal flights until the latest conflict erupted in the fall of 2000. The Defense Ministry took over responsibility for the site from the Civil Aviation Authority in July 2001, and was given permission to open a base there. The terminal was used as barracks while other buildings served as storehouses for equipment. The discussions are now focused on whether Atarot will serve as a domestic airport or an international airport, possibly in cooperation with the Palestinians.

Economic & Hi-tech Briefs

49.99 percent of El Al’s stock is offered for sale today as the airline company is being floated on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange for the first time, GLOBES reported. The state – which up until now owned over 50 percent of El Al’s shares – is expected to raise anywhere from NIS 64 million ($14.5 million) to NIS 254 million ($57.7 million) from the issue, depending on which of the five possible share packages purchasers choose. GLOBES reported that El Al employees had ordered 500,000 shares by 1 pm today, amounting to over 2 percent of all shares offered to the employees, and 0.2 percent of all shares.

Waves announced that Sony would license three of its audio signal processing solutions to be integrated into Sony’s SonicStage Mastering Studio application, GLOBES reported. Israeli start-up Waves is a leading provider of audio signal processing solutions for professional, broadcast, and consumer electronics audio markets. Waves’ technology has been licensed to several leading companies, including Motorola, Microsoft, Samsung and Sony.

Central bank governor David Klein said the conditions necessary for renewed economic growth have now been created, HA’ARETZ reported. He identified three factors that have set the stage for renewed growth: The government’s economic program; the resumption of the Palestinian peace process, and the start of a worldwide economic recovery.

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

Israeline — Wednesday, June 11, 2003 —

** At Least 15 Killed in Attack on Jerusalem Bus
** Sharon: No Policy Shift on Terror Fight
** Abbas Appoints New Security Service Head
** 22 Israeli Companies to Attend 45th Paris Air Show
** Other News in Brief
** Economic & Hi-tech Briefs


At Least 15 Killed in Attack on Jerusalem Bus
At least 15 people were killed and some 70 wounded when a homicide bomber blew himself up on a bus in central Jerusalem on this afternoon, HA’ARETZ reported. Eight of the wounded were reported to be in serious condition, and 17 people were moderately wounded. The Egged 14 bus was located near the "Klal" building on Jaffa Street, close to the intersection with King George Street. The bus was on its way from the Beit Hakerem neighborhood to Talpiot. U.S. President George W. Bush condemned the Jerusalem bus bombing in the "strongest possible terms."

In other news, Kassam rockets have begun falling again on the town of Sderot today. No one was injured in the latest Islamic Jihad barrage. Overnight Tuesday, there were exchanges of fire along the Israeli-Egyptian border between IDF soldiers and Palestinian terrorists. Palestinians fired six Kassam rockets on Sderot on Tuesday. One of the rockets landed in an open field and the rest landed in city neighborhoods. Five Israelis were treated for shock. Three Palestinians responsible for firing the rockets on Tuesday were killed in an IDF strike on their vehicle.

Meanwhile, Egyptian Intelligence chief Omar Suleiman met with Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas and other Palestinian leaders in an attempt to secure a cease-fire. The Egyptians have tried in recent months to persuade terror groups like Hamas and Islamic Jihad to halt attacks but have had little success.

According to THE JERUSALEM POST, security forces have arrested 10 Palestinians suspected of plotting homicide bombings since the three-way Aqaba Summit a week ago. One of the suspects is a 16-year-old from the West Bank town of Tulkarm, who was destined to carry out an attack in Netanya for Islamic Jihad and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.


Sharon: No Policy Shift on Terror Fight
Following the failed interception of Hamas leader Abdel Aziz Rantisi, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon reiterated that the government’s position on pursuing terrorist leaders "remains the same," HA’ARETZ reported. "The IDF will continue to work against terrorism in every place," Sharon said.

Sharon told his cabinet that Israel had clearly explained to both the United States and the Palestinians that there could be no concessions when it comes to fighting terrorism. Sharon indicated that military actions such as the one against Rantisi increased the chances for peace since talks cannot progress as long as terrorist groups are allowed to operate.

The attack on Rantisi followed a Hamas-sponsored attack at the Erez junction that left four Israelis dead. Intelligence reports on Rantisi’s activities are being turned over to American officials in order to demonstrate his complicity in attacks on Israelis. "This information is intended to show that Rantisi was not just a ticking bomb but a factory of ticking bombs," a senior Israeli security source said. Meanwhile, Yasser Arafat called Rantisi to congratulate him after surviving the Israeli attempt on his life.


Abbas Appoints New Security Service Head
Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas’s decided on Monday to appoint Ziad Haberich as the leader of Palestinian Authority’s Preventive Security Service in the West Bank, THE JERUSALEM POST reported. A Palestinian Authority source explained that the appointment would grant Security Minister Muhammad Dahlan the necessary cooperation of the PSS members in the West Bank and might improve Abbas’s position within Fatah. The PSS is the main body that will have to fight terrorism and face terror groups in case the PA does not reach an agreement with them.

A PA source close to Abbas said the decision might convince former chief Jibril Rajoub to return to a leadership position within the Palestinian security apparatus. Rajoub welcomed the Haberich appointment, which he reportedly helped to coordinate. Haberich, a Jenin resident, is known to be very close to Rajoub. The two men worked together for years while Rajoub headed the PSS. Rajoub, who was sacked by PA Chairman Yasser Arafat last year, has so far refused to take any security position. PA sources said the US, Egypt, and Jordan will provide training to the PSS and other policemen whose job it will be to implement the PA’s obligations under the road map.


22 Israeli Companies to Attend 45th Paris Air Show
Twenty-two Israeli defense companies will attend the 45th Paris Air Show, the world’s most prestigious and important air show which will take place at Le Bourget next week, GLOBES reported. SIBAT – Foreign Defense Assistance and Defense Export Organization – is organizing the Israeli exhibition where the country will be represented with two booths: One for SIBAT and the other for Israel Aircraft Industries. Aerospace products, smart munitions, radars, anti-ballistic missile systems, electronic warfare and countermeasures, intelligence gathering unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and other products will be displayed.

According to THE JERUSALEM POST, IAI will unveil the first missile self-protection system for commercial aircraft in an attempt to have aviation policy makers approve it for commercial use. IAI’s "Flight Guard" system will be showcased in a specially equipped Boeing 737 commercial jet. It was adapted from a successful military version that has been on the market for 10 years. The system’s radar detects approaching heat-seeking missiles and automatically deploys tiny, powerful flares in all directions from the plane’s rear or sides to divert missiles. Since two incidents late last year, IAI has stressed the system’s commercial applications. On November 28, 2002, a suspected al-Qaida-related terrorist fired two shoulder-launched SA-7 Strela anti-aircraft missiles at an Arkia jet as it took off from Mombasa, Kenya, narrowly missing the Boeing 757-200, which carried 261 Israeli passengers. Six weeks earlier, a Ukrainian S-200 missile accidentally fired during a live exercise on the Crimean Peninsula, sent a Sibir Airlines Tu-154 aircraft crashing into the Black Sea, killing all 78 crew and passengers, 51 of them Israelis.


Other News in Brief

Israel reaffirmed its commitment to help the European Union with scientific research and development in fields such as Biotechnology and Aeronautics, HA’ARETZ reported. However, Israel will not aide the EU with its nuclear research. According to the deal, which should run until 2006, Israel will contribute 192 million euro to the 17.5 billion-euro program. Israel is the only country outside of Europe to make annual contributions to the project. Philippe Busquin, the EU research commissioner, welcomed the Israeli contribution saying that, "research is an area where contacts and cooperation can transcend political and cultural barriers, with Arab and Israeli scientists working in partnership thanks to EU projects."

Economic & Hi-tech Briefs

$750 million worth of independent Israel state bond were issued on Wall Street on Tuesday, $250 million more than originally planned, GLOBES reported. The interest rate on the 10-year bonds was an extremely low at 4.73 percent – only 1.53 percent higher than the 3.2 percent interest rate on US government bonds. Minister of Finance Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed the successful issue, and said it showed the increasing confidence of the international financial community in Israel’s economy and the new economic plan. The issue was Israel’s largest ever in the global financial markets.

Mercury Interactive Corporation announced $225 million buyout of Kintana, Inc., a privately-held developer of information technology governance software based in California, THE JERUSALEM POST reported. The combined firms offerings will enable IT managers to better manage the relationship between IT strategy and execution, according to Mercury, a provider of business technology optimization solutions. "We are taking this action to extend our leadership position in business technology optimization," said Mercury’s chairman, CEO, and president, Amnon Landan. "Our industry is at an inflection point. The demand for IT to deliver meaningful business value has never been higher."

Today’s Israel Line was prepared by Victor Chemtob, Matthew Miller, Shelly Revah and Jonathan Silverstein at the Consulate General of Israel in New York.

Israeline — Thursday, June 12, 2003 —


** 13 of 17 Victims of Jerusalem Bus Attack Named
** Sharon: Israel Bent on Insuring its Security
** World Renowned Israeli Chemist Honored
** El Al Shares Rise Sharply on First Day of Trade
** Other News in Brief
** Economic & Hi-tech Briefs


13 of 17 Victims of Jerusalem Bus Attack Named
The names of 13 of 17 victims of the bus attack in Jerusalem on Wednesday were released today, while twenty-seven of the more than 100 people wounded remained hospitalized, six of them in serious condition, HA’ARETZ reported. The victims are:

– Sergeant Tamar Ben Eliyahu, 20, from Moshav Paran
– Alexander Kazaris, 77, from Jerusalem
– Ro`i Eliraz, 22, from Mevasseret Zion
– Tzipora Pasakovich, 54 from Tzur Hadassah
– Sultan Rene Malka, 67 from Jerusaelm
– Elsa Cohen, 70, from Jerusalem
– Zvi Cohen, 39 from the Kiryat Menachem neighborhood in Jerusalem
– Yaffa Mualem, 65, from Jerusalem
– Alan Bir, 47, from Jerusalem
– Martin Tita, 75, from Jerusalem
– Ogenia Berman, 50, Jerusalem
– Bat-El Ohana, 21, from Kiryat Atta
– Yaniv Abayet, 22, from Herzliya

Lightly injured in the attack was Sari Singer, 27, the daughter of New Jersey State Senator Robert W. Singer. The senator immediately made plans to fly to Israel to visit his daughter, who is reported to be in good condition. Sari, who originally came to Israel on the birthright Israel program, is a volunteer with ‘One Family’ (Mishpacha Achat), an organization that assists victims of terrorism in Israel. "Usually I look to see who comes on," Sari said of her experiences on the bus. "It was very packed. I sat down into a seat and the next thing I know is I feel this very strong – I can’t explain it – very strong blast. The next thing I know, people are pulling me out of the bus."

Sari told Israel Radio that she no longer had faith in the peace process. "The Palestinians don’t want it… They are doing everything they can to destroy Israel," she said.

Also injured in the bombing was Ibrahim Atrash, of the Tzur Baher neighborhood of east Jerusalem. Atrash, the driver of the number 14 bus targeted in the attack, said he did not notice anyone suspicious boarding the bus. "Every day we revise the security instructions. I check the bus every few stops and make sure to start a conversation with passengers whom I feel in my heart may be dangerous," he said. "In this way, I can hear their accent. If I had the slightest suspicion that someone suspicious had boarded my bus, I wouldn’t hesitate to tell him to get off immediately. But I didn’t see a thing."

The bomber – dressed as an ultra-Orthodox Jew – boarded Egged bus No. 14 around 5.30pm, and detonated his bomb as the bus was driving down Jaffa Road near the Davidka Square. The blast tore the vehicle apart, killing many of the passengers and wounding scores of passersby. The force of the explosion shattered surrounding store windows. The bomber was identified as Muhammad Shabani, 20, a resident of Hebron. He was believed to been sent on his mission by a senior Hamas terrorist, Abdullah Kawasme, who is on Israel’s most wanted list. Shabani was part of the Kawasmeh gang in Hebron that was responsible for a number of attacks, including the May 18 bus bombing in Jerusalem’s French Hill neighborhood, which killed seven people.

Israel’s security forces indicated that they had received 58 warnings of terrorist attacks on Wednesday but that no specific alert concerned an attack in central Jerusalem.


Sharon: Israel Bent on Insuring its Security
Following the homicide bomb attack in Jerusalem which so far claimed the lives of 16 people, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said that Israel would continue to hunt down Palestinian terrorist groups, but would continue to make "all efforts" to reach a peace agreement with the Palestinian Authority, HA’ARETZ reported. Minister of Defense Shaul Mofaz told the cabinet that Palestinian terror organizations were attempting to derail the latest diplomatic initiative and added that the new Palestinian leadership headed by Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas and Minister in charge of security affairs Mohammed Dahlan was unwilling to take responsibility of the security situation. Mofaz explained that the more the level of terror rose, the less responsibility the Palestinian leadership was prepared to take. IDF Chief of Staff, Moshe Ya’alon said the PA had the capacity to fight terror, as witnessed by the quiet that prevailed during the summit in Aqaba last week.

Security sources indicated that the order to carry out the homicide attack in Jerusalem had been given several days ago and that it had therefore not been a response to the attempt to target senior Hamas leader Abdel-Aziz al-Rantissi on Tuesday.

U.S. President George W. Bush condemned the attack in the strongest terms and urged all nations to cut off financial assistance to terrorists and "isolate those who hate so much that they are willing to kill."

Abbas’s office issued a statement saying that, "stopping the deterioration necessitates that all parties should comply to a cease-fire, end violence and to start serious efforts to implement the road map".

Meanwhile, Israeli Air Force helicopters carried out their fifth air strike in 48 hours against Hamas terrorist targets today, HA’ARETZ reported. Missiles were fired at a car driven by Hamas members in Gaza City, killing five people and wounding 25. Late Wednesday night, 10 Palestinians were killed in two separate IAF helicopter missile strikes in Gaza City. IDF sources said that the missiles were launched in order to intercept a terrorist cell that was about to launch mortar shells at the nearby town of Netzarim. Hamas has threatened that Wednesday’s bombing in Jerusalem would the first of a series of terror attacks being planned.


El Al Shares Rise Sharply on First Day of Trade
El Al shares began trading on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange this morning with gains of up to 43 percent, after the government sold a 15 percent stake in the airline on Tuesday, GLOBES reported. The government sold a complex set of shares and options for NIS 1.3 per package. The shares stood at NIS 0.81 at web posting, compared with a price of NIS 0.641 per share in the offering. But market sources said the share price alone was not an accurate measure of whether investors were making money on the issue, as the privatization included warrants and options as well.

According to HA’ARETZ, the Flying Cargo Company, owned by Avraham and Danny Reich, is one of the two previously unknown parties that bought a substantial stake in El Al during its initial public offering on Tuesday. The other is apparently a person or company active in tourism. Flying Cargo reportedly bought shares and options for about 15 percent of El Al, both during the issue and in off-market transactions, while the tourism investor bought shares and options for 10 percent of the company.

The Borovitz family’s Knafaim-Arkia company and Koor Industries, the only group that has so far publicly acknowledged its purchase, bought 46,000 units of the issue for NIS 15 million – 38,000 during the offering and 8,000 in off-market deals. The fact that three individuals or groups now own substantial packages of El Al shares and options means that one or more of them might be able to form a controlling interest if they exercise their options. A fourth player might be the company’s workers, who bought 2 percent of the airline at a 30 percent discount on Tuesday and have the right to buy another 8 percent, at a 70 percent discount, at the end of 2004. They are currently setting up a corporation to manage their shares.

World Renowned Israeli Chemist Honored
Over 100 of the world’s leading chemists including Nobel Prize winners will arrive at Tel Aviv University next week to celebrate the 70th birthday of Israel’s leading chemist, Prof. Joshua Jortner, THE JERUSALEM POST reported. Jortner, a physical chemist, is among the elite of the "World’s Most Outstanding Chemists" list compiled by the Institute of Scientific Information. His decades of work have had great influence on the development of chemistry research during the second half of the 20th century. His contributions to the field include accumulation and use of energy produced in chemical reactions, the principles of chemical dynamics, characteristics of nanoparticles and the application of physical chemistry principles for the understanding of biological processes. Jortner was born in Poland in 1933, and made Aliya in 1940 with his parents. He received his bachelor’s degree in chemistry at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. As a student he used to travel in armored vehicles to the university’s Mount Scopus campus, which was then an island of Israeli territory inside Jordan, in order to make sure the chemistry labs and library were preserved.


Other News in Brief

* Hadassah Hospital in Ein Kerem is running a campaign among its personnel to stop the practice of talking on cell phones while driving, HA’ARETZ reported. Next Sunday, workers will be given 10,000 bumper stickers and a leaflet explaining that the risk of an accident while talking on a cell phone, with or without a speaker, is four times greater than while driving with full attention. Prof. Avi Rifkind said that trauma units constantly get reports of people who drove straight ahead instead of turning, or didn’t notice what was happening on the road, because they were busy speaking on the phone.


Economic & Hi-tech Briefs

* Cabinet ministers approved today by a majority of 20 to 3 a further NIS 1 billion (approximately $0.2 billion) cut in government spending for 2004, half of which will affect the defense budget, HA’ARETZ. The rest of the cut will result in an across-the-board 2 percent spending reduction for each ministry. The only ministers voting against the measure were Minister of Defense Shaul Mofaz, Minister of Industry and Trade Ehud Olmert and Minister of Health Dan Naveh. Under the government’s economic plan approved by the Knesset two weeks ago, NIS 10 billion was slashed from government spending.