Choose Day Below
17, 2003 —
Israeline — Monday,
November 17, 2003 —
** NUCLEAR-ARMED IRAN STANDS AS ISRAEL’S GREATEST THREAT SINCE 1948
** 24 KILLED IN ATTACKS AGAINST 2 ISTANBUL SYNAGOGUES
** U.S. AMBASSADOR KURTZER: ROAD MAP IS ALIVE, BUT MUST BE ‘FLESHED OUT’
** MARYLAND FORGES STRONG TIES WITH ISRAEL
** OTHER NEWS IN BRIEF
** ECONOMIC AND HI-TECH BRIEFS
NUCLEAR-ARMED IRAN STANDS AS ISRAEL’S GREATEST THREAT SINCE 1948
Iran’s nuclear program poses the greatest existential threat to Israel since the Jewish state’s creation in 1948, Mossad chief Meir Dagan warned the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee today, THE JERUSALEM POST reported. Dagan told the committee that Israel was capable of dealing with the threat emanating from Iran, but added that cuts in the defense budget were "debilitating." He said Iran’s nuclear missile capabilities could pose a threat not only to Israel, but also to Europe, and urged the international community to stop Teheran’s nuclear development. Dagan added that Tehran’s support for Hamas, the Islamic Jihad, and Hizbullah, (especially for providing Hizbullah with short-range missiles deployed in southern Lebanon) were also serious threats to Israel.
The Mossad believes Iran is going ahead with its nuclear weapons program, despite its apparent cooperation with the United Nations nuclear agency, the IAEA, according to Israel Radio, KOL YISRAEL. Moreover, the Mossad thinks that notwithstanding ‘solvable’ technical difficulties, Iran would have the capability to produce 10 nuclear bombs in the not too distant future. Iran has reportedly invested billions of dollars in its nuclear development and has invested similar amounts in surface-to-surface missiles.
24 KILLED IN ATTACKS AGAINST 2 ISTANBUL SYNAGOGUES
Security cameras captured on video one of the suicide bombers who carried out the attacks against two Istanbul synagogues on Saturday, killing 24 people, including 6 members of the Jewish community, and injuring 300, Israel Radio, KOL YISRAEL, reported. Turkey’s Interior Minister Abdulkadir Aksu said Turkish experts were now trying to identify the bomber and indicated that his country would find those responsible for the blasts.
Al Qaida claimed responsibility for the two car bombings, issuing two separate statements. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayip Erdogan said Turkish intelligence officials were investigating Al Qaida’s claims. Israeli intelligence and explosives experts are working with Turkish teams to investigate the bombings. Minister of Foreign Affairs Silvan Shalom said that Israel would assist in the rebuilding of the two synagogues.
Foreign Ministry Director-General Yoav Biran briefed the cabinet on the attacks, saying approximately 100 of the nearly 300 wounded were Jews, according to THE JERUSALEM POST. Seventy of the Jewish wounded are still in the hospital, and four are listed in serious condition, Biran said, adding that while the attacks were aimed specifically at the Jewish community, they were also against Turkey. "This is an additional link in the chain of global terrorism," he said. "These attacks must be viewed in the context of anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli incitement in the Arab world, and in light of recent anti-Semitic outbursts in Europe," Biran told the cabinet. "Israel expects the international community to take practical steps against terrorism in addition to condemning the attacks."
Meanwhile, the Foreign Ministry has warned travelers planning to go to Turkey to take every precaution. A spokesman said that the ministry has decided not to issue a warning on visiting Turkey. Over 300,000 Israelis visit Turkey annually, making it the most popular destination for Israeli tourists.
U.S. AMBASSADOR KURTZER: ROAD MAP IS ALIVE, BUT MUST BE ‘FLESHED OUT’
U.S. Ambassador to Israel Daniel Kurtzer said today that the challenge facing Israelis and Palestinians was not to determine if the road map "was alive or not alive," but whether the two sides could flesh out its content, HA’ARETZ reported. Addressing delegates of the General Assembly of the United Jewish Communities meeting in Jerusalem, Kurtzer said that Washington was not opposed to the West Bank security fence, but questioned the route of the project. Kurtzer said that the deliberation facing his government was tied to "the direction" that the fence was taking. "It’s an issue of where it should be built, not if it should be built," he said.
Kurtzer indicated that he had met with Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei and his government in recent weeks. "Our job is to empower alternative leadership," he said, reiterating U.S. policy to refuse political connections with Arafat. Kurtzer added that the U.S. administration was dealing seriously with incitement against Jews and Israelis within the Palestinian Authority’s media and educational frameworks. "This is something we should have devoted our energies to twenty-five years ago," he said. "But it’s never too late."
MARYLAND FORGES STRONG TIES WITH ISRAEL
Israel and Maryland have formed a partnership in Homeland security – a symbiosis of Maryland’s facilities and Israel’s expertise, ISRAEL21C reported. The announcement came during the visit last week to Israel of a 27-person delegation from Maryland headed by Gov. Robert Erlich Jr. The four-day trade mission served as a catalyst to push business cooperation between Maryland and Israel forward. During the course of his visit, Ehrlich unveiled a number of new initiatives, and met with government and business leaders in Israel. "This trade mission is an excellent opportunity to meet face-to-face and establish personal relationships with Israeli entrepreneurs and elected officials," Governor Ehrlich said. "Technology companies play a significant role in both of our economies and the formation of strong, strategic partnerships will truly be a mutual asset as we compete in the global marketplace."
The Homeland Security Partnership will include conferences, seminars and exchange visits to examine issues such as risk analysis and preparedness. An immediate measure announced by Ehrlich´s office was the implementation of Israeli-developed security precautions at Baltimore-Washington International Airport and the port of Baltimore.
In the business arena, ties between Israel and Maryland are already strong. Israel ranks 27th on the list of countries as a source of foreign investment in Maryland – 18 Israeli companies have offices in the state – and Maryland businesses invest about $70 million a year in Israel, according to the Maryland-Israel Development Center.
OTHER NEWS IN BRIEF
The General Assembly of the United Jewish Communities of the United States and Canada convened at Jerusalem’s International Convention Center on Sunday night, Israel Radio, KOL YISRAEL, reported. Some 6,000 people attended the opening ceremony, which started with a moment of silence for the victims of Saturday’s bombings outside two synagogues in Istanbul. Among the dignitaries present were Israel’s president, Moshe Katsav, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and the Turkish ambassador to Israel. The UJC General Assembly is usually held somewhere in the United States or Canada, but every few years the assembly meets in Jerusalem.
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon leaves today for a three-day visit to Italy where he is slated to meet with Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, whose country currently holds the EU residency, HA’ARETZ reported. Sharon and Berlusconi are to discuss a range of topics, including the fight against terrorism, anti-Semitism in Europe, and the EU-U.S.-UN-Russian sponsored road map peace plan.
ECONOMIC & HI-TECH BRIEFS
Local energy concern Ormat Industries will acquire a geothermal power plant in California for $38.5 million, THE JERUSALEM POST reported. The plant supplies power to Southern California Edison Company, a subsidiary of Edison International, and one of the state’s largest electricity suppliers. This is Ormat’s second acquisition in California. In April 2002, the group purchased the 74-megawatt Ormesa complex of geothermal power plants in Imperial County for $41 million That acquisition gave Ormat control of six individual power generators.
Three years after its separation from Boston Scientific, Jerusalem -based stent-maker Medinol has received FDA approval to manufacture its patented NIRflex stents at its Jerusalem plant, THE MARKER reported. The approval creates great commercial opportunity for Medinol in the world market for its stents, the company said, noting that the NIRFlex had already won European approval for use.
[Today’s Israel Line was prepared by Dina Wosner and Victor Chemtob at the Consulate General of Israel in New York.]
November 18 ,
Israeline — Tuesday, November 18
, 2003 —
** PALESTINIAN GUNMAN KILLS TWO
** SHARON TO MEET BERLUSCONI TODAY
** SHALOM SAYS PM TO MEET WITH QUREIA
** ISRAEL TO START TRANSSHIPPING RUSSIAN OIL TO ASIA IN 2 WEEKS
** OTHER NEWS IN BRIEF
** ECONOMIC AND HI-TECH BRIEFS
PALESTINIAN GUNMAN KILLS TWO
A Palestinian gunman killed two Israel Defense Forces soldiers standing at a checkpoint on the Tunnel Road, linking Jerusalem and the Gush Etzion, HA’ARETZ reported. The soldiers were identified as Sergeant Major Shlomi Belsky, 23, of Haifa and Staff Sergeant Shaul Lahav, 20, of Kibbutz Shomrat.
The attack came as Palestinian factions discussed conditions for a new cease-fire. According to initial security reports, the terrorist came from the nearby village of El Khader. He was driven to the site, but then approached the checkpoint by foot. Armed with a Kalashnikov automatic rifle hidden in a rolled up prayer mat, he took cover in some bushes, and opened fire at the soldiers. The town of El Khader and nearby Bethlehem were turned over to Palestinian security control on July 2, at the start of the last hudna. The Bethlehem area has been considered extremely quiet, with no incidents reported in the last few weeks.
Speaking from Brussels, Minister of Foreign Affairs Silvan Shalom said, "There’s no doubt that after what happened this morning, the possibilities of discussions toward preparations for renewal of the [peace] process appear very distant." Despite the three and a half weeks of apparent quiet, there have continued to be over 40 impending attack warnings each day. Funeral arrangements are under way for both the soldiers.
SHARON TO MEET BERLUSCONI TODAY
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, is slated to hold talks in Rome today with Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, HA’ARETZ reported. Sharon is expected to discuss with the Italian leader a pending EU condemnation of Israel’s West Bank security barrier and its snubbing of EU Middle East envoy Marc Otte. Sharon, who arrived in Italy on Monday, two days after 24 people were killed in twin bomb attacks on synagogues in Istanbul, will also be lobbying for Italian support against an upsurge of anti-Semitic incidents. Ahead of his talks with Berlusconi, Sharon met with Italian Defense Minister Antonio Martino in Rome on Tuesday morning. The two discussed Iran’s nuclear program and Syrian support for terrorist organizations.
During the meeting, Sharon repeated the position that if the Palestinians were to embark on a new cease-fire, Israel would also take steps to ensure calm. "[Berlusconi] is a staunch fighter against anti-Semitism and therefore I think he will beopen to our complaints and also to action that can be taken in Europe to stop this," Sharon’s spokesman Ra’anan Gissin said. Sharon has a warm relationship with Berlusconi, under whom Italy has become a solid ally of Israel despite strong EU criticism of Israeli military action to quell a three-year-old Palestinian uprising. "Italy headed by Berlusconi has proven to be a very loyal and staunch friend of Israel in a Europe that is not so friendly to Israel to say the least," a senior Israeli official said.
Meanwhile, new Palestinian Authority Premier Ahmed Qureia will meet with the leaders of Hamas and Islamic Jihad tomorrow, as part of the latest efforts to secure a cease-fire between Israel and the Palestinians. Egyptian intelligence chief General Omar Suleiman, who arrived Monday for a visit to the Palestinian territories and Israel, will also meet with the heads of the two terrorist groups, who are expected to pay a reciprocal visit to Cairo in the coming week.
SHALOM SAYS PM TO MEET WITH QUREIA
Minister of Foreign Affairs Silvan Shalom told U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell today that Prime Minister Ariel Sharon would meet Palestinian Premier Ahmed Qureia next week to revive the flagging Middle East peace process, HA’ARETZ reported. "I gave him the date we think we are going to have this meeting. We believe that in a short time after the meeting … we should work together in order to put an end to violence and the terrorism from one end and, from the other end, to help the Palestinians ease their lives in the near future," Shalom told reporters after meeting with Powell in Brussels. When asked to specify this date, he said, "It wasn’t set up exactly, but in the next coming week."
Shalom said that in the meeting, Israel would continue to press its demands that the PA dismantle the terrorist organizations. "They can’t just think that they can have a cease-fire that that’s that," said Shalom. The Minister also dismissed reports of growing U.S. anger over the government’s failure to dismantle unauthorized outpost settlements, a requirement of the U.S.-backed road map. "I don’t think that there’s a crisis at all. I think that there are things on which we and the Americans don’t see eye-to-eye, but these are things that have gone on for decades," said Shalom. Prime Minister Sharon has said that he wants to meet with Qureia to discuss restarting the U.S.-sponsored "road map" peace plan.
ISRAEL TO START TRANSSHIPPING RUSSIAN OIL TO ASIA IN 2 WEEKS
Within two weeks, Israel will serve as a land bridge for transshipping Russian oil to Asia through the Eilat-Ashkelon Pipeline Co. Israel Radio, KOL YISRAEL reported. A Washington Institute for Near East Policy working paper published yesterday states that this development will have a major impact on the global oil market. According to the paper, it will significantly reduce global oil prices, weaken OPEC and further strengthen Israel-Russia relations.
Israel expects to earn tens of millions of dollars a year in user fees for the pipeline. The paper states that the first ship will leave Eilat to Asia this month carrying a cargo of Russian oil transshipped through EAPC. The first customers for the Russian oil transshipped through Israel are India and Taiwan.
OTHER NEWS IN BRIEF
A Lebanese newspaper report says that Hizbullah has ruled out a prisoner exchange if Israel refuses to include Samir Qantar, a Lebanese jailed for more than 20 years, Israel Radio, KOL YISRAEL reported. Al Mostaqbal said Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah informed the German mediators of his movement’s position. The report said that the Hizboulah leader was ready to resume negotiations, but he insisted that Samir Qantar be included in any swap. Samir Qantar murdered members of a Naharya family in a 1979 terrorist attack. Israeli officials refused to comment on the report. They said they are awaiting an official Hizbullah message from the German mediator before making a formal response.
This winter’s hottest new item on the US market is an Israeli designed de-icer for car windshields, GLOBES reported. Israeli investors headed by Igal Argov have invested $500,000 in the development of the de-icer called the ‘Magic Scraper’, which is plugged into the car’s cigarette lighter and reaches temperatures upward of 400 degrees Fahrenheit; ‘Magic Scraper’ is glided along the inside of the windshield, melting the exterior ice. Leading U.S. retail chains, including Wal-Mart, and True Value, have bought hundreds of thousands Magic Scrapers. Sales are also being made via the Shopping Channel. Marketing agreements have also been signed for Russia and Japan, while negotiations are underway with Canadian Tire, which has 450 stores, and with European retail chains.
ECONOMIC & HI-TECH BRIEFS
Radio Shack Corporation announced an agreement with Israeli company Exceptional New Technologies Ltd. (ENT) to identify innovative technologies and products to market through its 7,000 stores and other distribution channels, GLOBES reported. The new initiative is being headed by RadioShack Corporation chairman and CEO Leonard Roberts, along with a team of senior company executives and board members. "We’re excited about our new alliance with ENT", said Roberts. "Israel has proven to be a hotbed of technological innovation. ENT gives us a strong presence in the region to help facilitate our strategy of dominating cost- effective solutions to meet everyone’s routine electronics needs and families’ distinct electronics wants."
The Eastman Kodak Company announced that it will acquire Raanana-based Algotec Systems Ltd., a developer of advanced picture archiving and communications systems (PACS), GLOBES reported. Kodak said the move improves Kodak’s competitive position in the growing market for PACS, which enable radiology departments worldwide to digitally manage and store medical images and information. Kodak plans to acquire privately held Algotec for $42.5 million in cash and expects the transaction to close by year-end.
[Today’s Israel Line was prepared by Jonathan Schienberg, Tallie Liberman, David Dorfman and David Nekrutman at the Consulate General of Israel in New York.]
November 19 ,
Israeline — Wednesday, November 19
, 2003 —
** TERRORIST SHOOTS FIVE TOURISTS ON JORDANIAN BORDER
** DNA TESTS REVEAL ISTANBUL’S SYNAGOGUE BOMBERS WERE TURKISH
** ISRAEL AND AUSTRIA END FOUR-YEAR RIFT
** OTHER NEWS IN BRIEF
** ECONOMIC AND HI-TECH BRIEFS
TERRORIST SHOOTS FIVE TOURISTS ON JORDANIAN BORDER
A Jordanian terrorist opened fire today in the Jordanian-Israel border crossing terminal north of Eilat, wounding five South American tourists, one of them critically, HA’ARETZ reported. The gunman, who slipped through the Jordanian border terminal, fired a number of bursts of automatic fire before Israeli security guards at the site killed him on a no-man’s land strip, some 20 meters from the Israeli side of the terminal. Jordan condemned the attack, saying that the gunman had acted alone. "This was a individual act by a sole gunman," Jordanian Minister of State and government spokesperson Asma Khadr said. "We condemn this incident and Jordan’s stance is clear against any acts of violence that target civilians," she added. Jordanian authorities made several arrests following the attack. Menachem Zelihovsky, a senior official of the Israeli Ports Authority said that the group of tourists was in the process of entering Israel while a number of trucks waited on the Jordanian side of the border. The terrorist apparently hid among the trucks, opening fire about 20 meters from the entrance of the terminal. Guards of the airports authority shot him shortly after he started firing.
DNA TESTS REVEAL ISTANBUL’S SYNAGOGUE BOMBERS WERE TURKISH
Istanbul’s governor Muammer Guler named today two men that authorities believe carried out twin suicide attacks on synagogues last Saturday, that killed at least 25 people and wounded hundreds more, HA’ARETZ reported. "It has been verified with DNA testing that Mesut Cabuk was responsible for the terror attack on Beit Israel, and Gokhan Elaltuntas was responsible for the attack on Neve Shalom," Guler told reporters. The mastermind of the attacks is now believed to be hiding in Syria, where he is being harbored and helped by Syrian citizens, and Turkish government sources have accused Syrians of helping to plot the bombings. Turkish investigators also discovered that the two bombers and the head of the cell went to school in Afghanistan and lately went through training in Iran, where they learned about munitions and bomb making. According to the Turkish authorities, the cell members collected much information about the two synagogues, even learning that at Neve Shalom Synagogue there is a break in the Sabbath morning prayers at around 9:20 A.M., when many congregants step outside; that was when the bombs went off. Meanwhile, the six Jewish victims of the attacks, including an eight-year-old girl, were laid to rest in a Jewish cemetery in Istanbul on Tuesday.
ISRAEL AND AUSTRIA END FOUR-YEAR RIFT
Meeting in Vienna today, the Israeli and Austrian foreign ministers stressed that the historical bond linking their two nations has impelled them to put aside four years of strained relations and rekindle their friendship, HA’ARETZ reported. In the first visit of an Israeli foreign minister to Austria since a diplomatic crisis broke out in 1999, Minister of Foreign Affairs Silvan Shalom said his government was convinced of the conservative Austrian leadership’s commitment to fighting anti-Semitism, and ready to work closely with Austria once again. Israel withdrew its ambassador to Vienna in 1999, after the government formed a coalition with the Freedom Party, a right-wing force whose leaders have pandered to lingering anti-Semitic elements in Austria. The party remains in the governing coalition today; however, it lost much of its former strength following last year’s elections, which saw a sharp decline in its support. When asked why Israel decided to mend relations with Austria, despite the same government remaining in power, Shalom cited recent symbolic acts by Austrian officials indicating remorse for the country’s role in the Holocaust. In particular, he mentioned a visit by Austrian Foreign Minsiter Benita Ferrero-Waldner to the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial during an official trip to Israel in July.
OTHER NEWS IN BRIEF
A delegation of Egyptian brokers held a round of talks today with Palestinian terrorist leaders in the Gaza Strip and Palestinian Authority officials in an attempt to reach an agreement on a fresh ceasefire with Israel, HA’ARETZ reported. The Gaza talks could pave the way for the first summit between Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei and Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, which Israeli officials say is expected to take place in a matter of days.
ECONOMIC & HI-TECH BRIEFS
Blue Knot, a networking alliance launched last year to link North American Jewish tech professionals, expanded its horizons with the launch of Blue Knot Israel, GLOBES reported. Blue Knot Israel links the North American and Israeli technology communities. It also connects Israelis in the technology sector to each other, and is intended to enhance the link between the Israeli technology community and the global network of Jewish technology professionals. Blue Knot is a national effort of United Jewish Communities (UJC) and the Jewish Federations of North America.
The Central Bureau of Statistics announced that Israel’s gross domestic product expanded 2.7 percent in the third quarter of this year due to buoyed growth of goods and services and a healthy consumer appetite for durable goods, THE JERUSALEM POST reported. "The recession is over," Minister of Finance Benjamin Netanyahu said. Israel’s economy is on a path of growth, and even though it is hard to forecast at this time what this year’s growth rate will be, it’s clear it will be positive."
[Today’s Israel Line was prepared by David Dorfman and Arielle Bernstein at the Consulate General of Israel in New York.]
— Thursday, ,
Israeline — Thursday,November 20
, 2003 —
** AT LEAST 26 KILLED IN ISTANBUL BLASTS – ISRAEL EXTENDS CONDOLENCES TO TURKEY AND THE UK
** PM OFFICE: ONLY U.S. CAN IMPLEMENT ROAD MAP
** HAMAS, ISLAMIC JIHAD TO ATTEND TRUCE TALKS IN CAIRO
** ISRAELI-AMERICAN A FINALIST FOR WTC MEMORIAL DESIGN
** OTHER NEWS IN BRIEF
** ECONOMIC & HI-TECH BRIEFS
AT LEAST 26 KILLED IN ISTANBUL BLASTS – ISRAEL EXTENDS CONDOLENCES TO TURKEY AND THE UK
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Minister of Foreign Affairs Silvan Shalom expressed their deep shock over today’s terrorist attacks in Istanbul and extended condolences on behalf of Israel to the government and peoples of both Turkey and the United Kingdom, THE JERUSALEM POST reported. Five days after two suicide bombers attacked synagogues in Istanbul, killing 23 people, the commercial center of northern Istanbul was hit by a series of explosions today, killing at least 26 and wounding 400, Among the fatalities was British Consul General Roger Short. According to initial security reports, the attacks were all aimed at British targets: the British consulate, the British HSBC Bank and a new shopping center.
“Terror is a global phenomenon and the community of nations must unite against it while ensuring the values of democracy, freedom and liberties,” Shalom said. The counter-terrorism division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement warning against travel to Istanbul until a full assessment of the circumstances surrounding these terror attacks is completed. Israel’s Ambassador to Turkey Pinhas Avivi has established a “situation room.” According to Turkey’s Minister of Interior, today’s bombings are linked to the synagogue attacks.
PM OFFICE: ONLY U.S. CAN IMPLEMENT ROAD MAP
After the United Nations Security Council unanimously voted to formally adopt the road map as a means of resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on Wednesday, the Office of the Prime Minister issued a statement today saying that Israel would only accept United States involvement in implementing the road map, HA’ARETZ reported. The Prime Minister’s office reiterated its committed to the road map, but pointed out the14 reservations it has, which include a demand that the Palestinians first dismantle terrorist factions.
Israel strongly opposed Russia’s intention to bring the resolution to the United Nations this week. “More resolutions is not the solution,” Israel’s Deputy Ambassador to the UN Aryeh Mekel said. He added that, “we need to see action on the ground, namely that the Palestinians will finally start dismantling the infrastructure of terror.”
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon had told Russian President Vladimir Putin during his visit to Russia earlier this month that the road map was aimed at forging a bilateral agreement between Israel and the Palestinians and could not work if imposed by outsiders.
Russia is one of the Quartet authors of the roadmap, which also include the United States, the European Union and the United Nations.
HAMAS, ISLAMIC JIHAD TO ATTEND TRUCE TALKS IN CAIRO
Palestinian terror groups agreed to attend a truce conference in Cairo in 12 days, signaling a willingness to halt violence, THE JERUSALEM POST reported. Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei, who took office last week, hopes to get the terror group to halt attacks ahead of a cease-fire with Israel, which would open the way to full-fledged peace talks.
Qurei and Egyptian mediators met separately in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday with the leaders of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, the two groups responsible for more than 100 suicide bombings against Israelis in the past three years. The Egyptians remained in Gaza on Thursday for talks with leaders of the smaller factions.
Qurei said the Cairo truce talks would begin December 2, and representatives of all 13 factions had been invited. Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other groups have already said they would attend.
Israel has said it will not be a direct party in any cease-fire deal, although it has indicated it will greatly decrease its military operations if the Palestinian side keeps "quiet." A senior Israeli official said Israel would be willing to refrain from acting preemptively unless an attack was pending.
ISRAELI-AMERICAN A FINALIST FOR WTC MEMORIAL DESIGN
An Israeli-American is one of eight finalists competing to design the World Trade Center Memorial, THE JERUSALEM POST reported. Michael Arad works for the design department of New York City’s Housing Authority, and his blueprint "Reflecting Absence: A Memorial at the World Trade Center site" has been selected from a pool of 5,200 contending designs to be one of eight considered for the project. "Reflecting Absence: A Memorial at the World Trade Center Site" features two ponds of water 30 feet deep, pine trees, and a paved stone field. His blueprint, like the other finalists’ designs, highlights each victim of the September 11, 2001 and 1993 attacks on the World Trade Center through a list of names inscribed in stone columns.
Arad grew up in Israel, the United States and Mexico and has been living in the United States since he finished his Israeli military service in 1991. He recently joined the Design Department of the New York City Housing Authority and has been working on the design development of two police stations for the New York City Police Department. Other finalists include both local artists and international architects.
OTHER NEWS IN BRIEF
Thirty three-year-old Patricia Nureta from Ecuador has died from the gunshot wounds she sustained Wednesday at the border crossing with Jordan when a Jordanian gunman opened fire on a group of tourists before being shot dead by Israeli security, Israel Radio, KOL YISRAEL, reported. Nureta was operated on at Soroka Hospital in Beersheva but did not survive the gunshot wounds to her head. Four other Ecuadorian pilgrims were lightly wounded and treated in Yosephtal Hospital in Eilat. The gunman, a truck driver from the Jordanian town of Zarka, passed through the Jordanian border terminal and started shooting at the tourists from a no-man’s land area between the two terminals.
The Haifa District Court convicted today three Israeli Arabs of conspiring to assist the enemy, after they were found guilty of contacting the Islamic Jihad terrorist organization in order to carry out terror attacks in Israel, HA’ARETZ reported. The three were reportedly in the planning phases of perpetrating a terrorist attack in Israel. In a similar case reported two weeks ago, four Galilee Arabs, who studied in Jordan and were recruited by Hamas, were indicted in August by Haifa Magistrate’s Court on charges of assisting the enemy during wartime and supporting a terrorist organization.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Silvan Shalom met with International Atomic Energy Agency Chairman Mohammed El-Baradei on Thursday in Vienna, HA’ARETZ reported. The meeting was held in advance of an IAEA session relating to Iran’s nuclear program. Shalom told the IAEA chairman that nuclear weapons in Iran’s possession would pose a threat not just to Israel, but also to the world at large.
ECONOMIC & HI-TECH BRIEFS
“The first signs of
economic recovery that we are seeing now will be felt by everyone within a year”,
Minister of Finance Benjamin Netanyahu told the Knesset Finance Committee this
week, as he presented the 2004 budget proposal and arrangements bill, THE JERUSALEM
POST reported. "We’ve managed to extricate ourselves from a place on the
brink of an abyss and now we are beginning to slowly but surely to return to
growth," Netanyahu said.
"The general public will not feel the effects of growth immediately. But within a year all strata of society will enjoy the fruits of growth. There may be deviations, but the general direction is positive. The shrinking trend is behind us."
The Central Board of Statistics announced that exports of goods to the United States rose by an annualized 19.5 percent and imports by 20 percent in August-October 2003, GLOBES reported. The CBS reported a recovery in Israeli trade with most countries. Exports to the EU rose by an annualized 10 percent and imports by 11.4 percent in August-October. Exports to the EU rose by 4.9 percent and imports by 8.3 percent in May-July. Exports to Asia rose by an annualized 7.4 percent and imports by 13.6 percent in August-October.
[Today’s Israel Line was prepared by David Nekrutman, Tallie Liebermam and Victor Chemtob at the Consulate General of Israel in New York.]
— Friday, November 21 ,
Israeline — Friday, November 21
, 2003 —
** SHARON PROPOSING NEW UNILATERAL PEACE STEPS
** U.S. CONDEMNS IRAN OVER NUCLEAR PROGRAM
** TECHNION SCIENTISTS USE DNA TO MAKE NANO-TRANSISTORS
** OTHER NEWS IN BRIEF
** ECONOMIC & HI-TECH BRIEFS
SHARON PROPOSING NEW UNILATERAL PEACE STEPS
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is putting together a package of "positive unilateral steps" for Israel to take toward the Palestinian people, sources in the Prime Minister’s Office said on Thursday, HA’ARETZ reported. The package, which will soon be presented to the public, will be "parallel, but not contradictory, to the road map," which the government has accepted as its diplomatic plan. Sharon hinted at his plan during a speech in Tel Aviv on Thursday at the Prime Minister’s Conference on Exports and International Cooperation. "We are committed to the road map, as approved by the cabinet, and to our agreements with the Americans," he said. "In addition, we do not rule out unilateral steps."
For the last several weeks, Sharon and his aides have been seeking ideas for a new diplomatic initiative, in response to the growing public criticism of the lack of activity in this sphere. Sharon and his aides concluded that Israel could take numerous actions in the West Bank and Gaza Strip that would make the situation similar to how it was prior to the outbreak of Palestinian violence in September of 2000 to lift the public’s hopes.
Meanwhile, Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei, in an interview with a Norwegian television station on Thursday, said he was willing to meet Sharon and thought the two could shape a peace deal within six months. Qurei asserted he was not sure that reaching an agreement was possible, but added that he was hopeful it could be done.
U.S. CONDEMNS IRAN OVER NUCLEAR PROGRAM
At a key U.N. atomic energy meeting, U.S. Ambassador Kenneth Brill blasted Iran for 18 years of “violations and lies,” including enriching uranium, processing small amounts of plutonium and other activities that Washington says point to a weapons agenda, THE JERUSALEM POST reported. Brill condemned Iran’s conduct as constituting “noncompliance with its safeguards obligations,” a statement that indirectly accused Iran of violating the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. As a signatory of the treaty, Iran is prohibited from developing nuclear weapons; violation of this treaty usually results in UN Security Council involvement.
"Iran systematically and deliberately deceived the IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency] and the international community about these issues for year after year after year," he said, with Iran’s intent being "the pursuit of nuclear weapons."
TECHNION SCIENTISTS USE DNA TO MAKE NANO-TRANSISTORS
Making a breakthrough in molecular electronics, scientists at the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology demonstrated for the first time how a DNA molecule could form a basic transistor, HA’ARETZ reported. The research results were published on Thursday in Science magazine.
"We’ve succeeded in proving that electronics based on DNA is not fictional," said Professor Erez Braun of the Technion’s physics department, who led the research team. Braun explained that assembling the transistor was part of a six-year project. "Our goal is to take advantage of the natural characteristics of the DNA molecules, so the encoded information enables a self-assembling transistor," he indicated. The achievement is especially impressive considering that until now, scientists in the world had managed to produce a molecular electronic transistor only by accident.
Braun said that creating a basic logic circuit that assembles itself from proteins and carbon tubes is the first step toward building more sophisticated electric circuits and electronic systems. “Now we will try to produce more complex circuits and networks of transistors made of DNA and get another DNA molecule to be responsible for switching the transistors, rather than the silicon bedding through which the electric current is now transferred. If we succeed in doing that, that will be real progress, " Braun concluded.
OTHER NEWS IN BRIEF
Some 200,000 Muslim worshippers descended on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem for final Friday prayers of the holy month of Ramadan, Israel Radio, KOL YISRAEL, reported. Access to the Temple Mount was limited to men aged 45 and up, and women aged 35 and up.
Over 200,000 Muslim worshippers attended the Layl Al Qadr prayers Thursday night on the Temple Mount without incident.
Israel Football Association (IFA) chairman Iche Menahem urged the game’s European body UEFA to reconsider its ban on international matches in Israel following this week’s bomb attacks in Turkey, HA’ARETZ reported. Maccabi Haifa was scheduled to host a game in the Turkish city of Izmir next Thursday but European football’s governing body postponed it following Thursday’s bomb attacks in Istanbul in which 27 people were killed.
Menahem said that the security
situation in Israel has improved markedly in recent months
and he vouched for the safety of visiting teams.
Since the UEFA ban was imposed
in March 2002, Israeli clubs and the national team have been
forced to host matches against European opponents in foreign countries including Bulgaria, Cyprus, Italy, the Netherlands, Slovakia and Turkey.
ECONOMIC & HI-TECH BRIEFS
Aladdin Knowledge Systems, Inc. announced that Pizza Hut Limited had picked Aladdin’s eToken for authentication of remote employees, GLOBES reported. The value of the deal was not disclosed. Aladdin’s eToken is a fully portable USB authentication device that is about the size of a key, housed in a tamper-evident, water-resistant plastic container. eToken’s two-factor authentication requires something the user has the eToken, and something the user knows and a PIN. "Our previous solution proved to be complicated and slow for our users," Richard Fox, project manager for Pizza Hut, said. "eToken will provide a cost effective solution while also allowing us to manage the solution ourselves. Recognizing that our users are business managers, not IT specialists, we required a simple device that simply plugs into the laptop with a PIN number.
Dmatek Ltd., a provider of electronic monitoring technologies, announced its first contract in Cleveland to provide automatic voice verification., GLOBES reported. The company’s wholly owned subsidiary, Elmo-Tech, will supply the system, designated for a juvenile offenders corrections program. Voice verification is used in the law enforcement and corrections industries for the positive confirmation of offenders’ presence in their homes or other pre-set locations, after a court order has been imposed.
Today’s Israel Line was prepared
by Arielle Bernstein, Jonathan Schienberg and Victor Chemtob at the Consulate
General of Israel in New York.