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                             ISRAEL
                              FAXX

Publisher\Editor Don Canaan

                       March 22, 1996 V4, #54
All the News the Big Guys Missed

Gazans' Israeli Dependence

By Al Pessin (VOA-Gaza)

The closure Israel imposed on the West Bank and Gaza nearly a month ago in response to a series of suicide bombings by Palestinian militants has thrown tens-of-thousands of people out of work and has had a serious impact on the daily lives of virtually all the 2 million Palestinians who live in the regions.

Donkeys bleat impatiently at the freight depot at the Carni crossing on the Israel-Gaza border as they wait to transport food from Israel to the alleyways and refugee camps of Gaza. By mid-afternoon, they have been waiting nearly 10-hours. They are not the only ones waiting.

Palestinian truck drivers and workers who load and unload goods at the depot have not had much work, or much pay, since the closure began Feb. 25. No Palestinian agricultural products are being allowed into Israel, and for the past two weeks, only emergency supplies of food and medicine are coming from Israel into Gaza.

Sana' Abu-Jasr, a 16-year-old student in the Jabalya refugee camp, seemingly carefree as she strolls home with friends, all in their blue and white school uniforms, complete with modest Islamic headscarves. But she is not so carefree.

Sana' says her father has lost his job as a bus driver in Israel because of the closure, putting the family on a diet of mostly beans and homemade bread -- leaving her and her 12 brothers and sisters unable to buy the little treats all kids want from the local candy or toy store.

Sana's story is one of millions, adding up to a situation which Gaza economist Salah Abdul-Shafi describes this way: "Simply, it is a catastrophic situation. Everything is paralyzed." Abdul-Shafi says neither economic measures nor Israel's closure will solve the problems of Palestinian society which inspire the militants and result in the economic hardships.

"We should never forget that the very basic pre-condition is political stability. As long as there is injustice...this is more dangerous for Israel than closing the borders. If Hamas has 50 suicide bombers, after two months or three months of closure they will have 150."

But Palestinians interviewed at random in Gaza were not so quick to express support for the militants or to blame Israel alone for their problems. When asked who is to blame, all those interviewed criticized the attacks and complained Israel is punishing all Palestinians for the acts of a few.

But several people were also willing to criticize the largest militant group, Hamas, by name, even in public. Such feelings are believed to have put pressure on Hamas to stop attacks temporarily last year, and Israel hopes the same thing will happen again, despite warnings to the contrary from some experts.

Meanwhile, no one knows when the closure will end. Many Palestinians and Israelis expect it to continue, in some form, until after the Israeli elections in late May. That will further increase the frustrations of all kinds of people in Gaza and the West Bank, including merchant Fathi Hasanin, who sat, sad and angry, in the dirt behind five huge truckloads of vegetables he owns, rotting in the sun at the Carni crossing.

Vocaltec Links Traditional and Internet Telephone Systems

VocalTec Inc. has introduced the Internet Phone Telephony Gateway, a system that will enable real-time voice conversations for normal telephone users through the Internet to another local, long-distance or international telephone user. VocalTec's Internet Phone software users will also be able to call ordinary telephones over the Internet or corporate Intranets.

The Internet Gateway provides connections between the Internet and local telephone lines, enabling callers to combine the low cost of Internet connections, the convenience of initiating calls from either PCs or telephones, and the ability to communicate with anybody with a telephone via the public switched telephone network.

Calls to wireline and cellular phones are possible, and the cost of a call is limited to the telephone charges incurred when linking to the Internet on either end of the connection plus the standard Internet connectivity charges.

The system is comprised of a PC running Windows 95 and the Internet Phone Telephony Gateway software, equipped with a Dialogic Corp. computer telephony card and linked to the telephone network and the Internet through a 28.8 Kbps or faster connection.

Based in Herzliya, Israel, VocalTec's North American headquarters is located at 157 Veterans Drive, Northvale, NJ, 07647. For more information on the VocalTec product line, call VocalTec's headquarters in New Jersey at 201/768-9400, fax 201/768-8893, http://www.vocaltec.com on the World Wide Web, or E-mail to info@vocaltec.com.

Environmentally Safe Fire Extinguisher Developed

A new type of fire-extinguishing grenade has been devised in Israel, using chemicals which do not harm the ozone level. The Lehavot Haroshet Co. of Kibbutz Lehavot Habashan, developed the device. "LIFE 2000" can be used on planes, vessels, tanks and light military vehicles. Its chemicals are non-toxic and will replace freon gas now used in most automatic fire-extinguishing systems.

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