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>Israel Faxx
>PD Nov. 12, 1996 V4, #205

Internat'l Calls From Israel to be Unmonopolized

The monopoly of Bezek International over Israel's international phone calls will end in seven months. Two companies - Barak and Kavei Zahav - have been granted the rights to share in the country's international phone business. International phone rates from Israel, which are now among the highest in the world, are expected to drop up to 70% as a result of the two companies' entry into the field. Barak is associated with Southwestern Bell, and Kavei Zahav with Sprint.

Secret U.S. Files: 7 Million Jews May Have Died in Holocaust

Long before the Holocaust was publicized in the West, as early as the summer of 1941, according to previously secret documents, Allied intelligence officials knew German soldiers were targeting Jews for extermination.

"Enigma," a British code-breaking operation intercepted more than 1 million pages of German messages which they shared with U.S. intelligence officials.

"In yesterday's cleansing action in Slonim, carried out by police regiment... 1,153 Jewish plunderers were shot" read one of the intercepted messages.

The messages, intercepted from July to September 1941, include this from a German commander in the western Soviet republics of Belarus to his superiors in Berlin.

Sunday's Washington Post reported the cable is one of the first documentary pieces of Holocaust evidence and revealed much of the killing was done by ordinary German units, and not just the elite SS.

A study of the documents may mean the total number of those killed in the Holocaust may have to be increased from 6 million to 7 million. At least 500,000 Jews were killed in the Soviet Union during the six months leading up to December 1941.

The papers are available to the public in the reading room of the National Archives.

Economic Conference Starts Today in Cairo

By Al Pessin (VOA-Jerusalem)

The Middle East Economic Conference starts in Cairo today, the third in a series of meetings designed to promote regional cooperation, but particularly focusing on integrating Israel and the Palestinians into the region's economy.

It was the Israeli-Palestinian peace three years ago which made these regional economic meetings possible. And although many countries are involved in trying to enhance trade and investment, most of the attention has focused on Israel's entry into the Middle East economic picture and on the need to stimulate the Palestinian economy.

But this time there is a difference. Instead of the peacemaking governments of Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres, the Arab countries are now facing the right-wing government of Benjamin Netanyahu, which they blame for slowing down the peace process. One result is that Palestinian business owners, who should be among those with the most to gain from such a conference, have decided to stay away.

In spite of the Palestinian complaints, the deputy director general of Israel's Foreign Ministry, Oded Eran, says the government is trying to treat this regional conference just like its predecessors.

But one of the Israeli government ministries is boycotting the Cairo conference. The Ministry of National Infrastructure, led by Ariel Sharon, will not participate because of what Sharon sees as the hostile atmosphere toward Israel among Arab countries.

No Deal Yet on Hebron Withdrawal

By Al Pessin (VOA-Jerusalem)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the Palestinian leader, Yasir Arafat, Sunday night but failed to conclude a deal on the long-delayed Israeli withdrawal from most of the West Bank town of Hebron.

Netanyahu called Arafat, apparently in an effort to satisfy some Palestinian demands with a verbal commitment to continue implementing the latest peace accord after a Hebron withdrawal is completed. But Palestinian officials say Arafat was not willing to accept such a verbal assurance, and continues to insist on a written commitment from the new Israeli government.

There had been some hope that a Hebron accord could be signed during this week's regional economic conference in Cairo. It now appears that although there will be some talks during the conference, involving Secretary of State Warren Christopher, there is no guarantee the issues will be resolved.

Arafat will be in Cairo, Netanyahu will not. And the Israeli prime minister leaves Wednesday for a week in the United States, which could further delay agreement.

Islamic Jihad Targeted Tel Aviv's Shalom Tower

Security officials confirmed that Islamic Jihad intended to carry out a terrorist attack at the Shalom Tower in Tel Aviv, and that knowledge of this resulted in the high alert last week.

The officials said that additional warnings of attacks have been received. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said an attack was averted on Sunday thanks to American cooperation. He noted, however, that the danger has not passed.

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