Newsletter : 6fax0227.txt
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Publisher\Editor Don Canaan
Feb. 27, 1996 V4, #36
All the News the Big Guys Missed
5.5 Earthquake Hits Southern Israel
An earthquake measuring 5.5 on the Richter scale hit Israel Monday
morning, but did not cause any injuries or damage. The earthquake
was centered about 24 miles south of Eilat, and was felt in all
parts of the country. The quake followed a large tremor in November
that killed 10 people in Israel, Jordan and Egypt and caused 10s of
millions of dollars in damage in Eilat and Aqaba. The recent
eruption of quakes was caused by rifts between two continental
plates which meet in the Red Sea south of Eilat.
Auto Accident Leads to Death of Two
By Al Pessin (VOA-Jerusalem)
A car driven by an Arab-American rammed into a crowd at a bus stop
in Jerusalem Monday, killing one woman and injuring at least 15
other people. The driver was shot to death by a man standing
nearby who believed it was a terrorist attack, but police now say
it was probably an accident. Witnesses say the car ran a red light
and drove at high speed directly toward the people waiting at the
bus stop. They say the driver emerged and attacked a policeman,
and was shot to death by a bystander.
But police found long skid marks on the road, indicating the driver
had tried to avoid hitting the people. And there were bags of
groceries in the car which suggest he was not planning any
attack, as well as other signs it might have been an accident. The
man is reported to have been a US citizen of Arab descent, who was
visiting the West Bank town of Ramallah.
The incident was at the beginning of the evening rush hour, at a
bus stop frequented by Israeli settlers. There have been several
terrorist attacks at that intersection in the past, including one
in which a militant ran over people at a bus stop. A police
spokesman says a final determination of exactly what happened is
not expected until sometime today.
The Dead are Buried after Terrorist Attacks
By Al Pessin (VOA-Jerusalem)
Israel continued the process of burying the dead from Sunday's two
suicide bombings, which killed 25 people in addition to the
bombers. It was a scene repeated over and over at Jerusalem's
military cemetery and others around the country. Families and
friends gathered -- often along with hundreds of people who never
knew the victims -- to cry together and lay their loved ones to
Rabbis chanted the prayers, as the plain wood coffins -- draped
with Israeli flags -- were lowered into the graves. Israel has been
through this before, including a series of bombings in late 1994
and early 1995. But this was the first major attack in six months
and the most deadly attack in years. The reaction seemed to be
stronger than usual, with many people making pilgrimages to the
sites of the bombings to pray and light candles. In Jerusalem,
someone hung a sign which read "Shalom, Friends," a take-off on
President Clinton's "Shalom, Friend" farewell to assassinated
Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.
Psychiatry Professor Elie Wyitztum says public mourning is a new
phenomenon in israel, which developed during the last
year-and-a-half. He says it is a way many Israelis have found to
deal with the tension and fear they live with.
"You know, all the nation is feeling this like one family, like one
unit: this pain and sorrow, and the pain of the loss. This
accumulating affect of the trauma has an impact on society. And
you notice this phenomenon of people who come there, standing
quietly, lighting candles, or singing." Israeli leaders also struck
the theme of moving on. Prime Minister Shimon Peres said in a
special speech to parliament that the peace process will continue,
even as Israel re-doubles its efforts to fight the militant groups
which reject the peace process.
He also said he has drawn up a list of what he called "operational
demands" which will be submitted to the Palestinian Authority. He
said Israel will consider compliance with these demands a test of
the Palestinians' ability to live up to their commitments.
Opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu said his party will support
any action against the militants the government wants to take. But
he said Israeli security should not depend on action by the
Meanwhile, efforts to deal with the tragedy continued. Details of
the victims emerged -- 10 of them between the ages of 16 and 23.
At least six of the victims were women, two of them just 19 years
old. Five of the dead were recent immigrants from Russia, Georgia
and Ukraine, including a young Russian-Israeli couple who left two
children, one aged nine, and the other just four months old. One
of the older victims was a man who had come to Israel from Germany
just after World War II.
Israeli schoolchildren spent the first hour of the day discussing
the bombing, and stood for a minute of silence. Israeli radio
stations devoted most of their programming to the bombings and
their aftermath, including outpourings of grief and anger from
people who called in.
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