Newsletter : 7fax0326.txt
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>JN March 26, 1997, Vol. 5, Number 53
Clashes Continue in Bethlehem and Hebron
By Patricia Golan (VOA-Jerusalem)
Israeli troops and Palestinians clashed again in the West Bank
Tuesday, as chances for a meeting between Israeli Prime Minister
Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat grew more
Israeli soldiers shot and wounded more than 25 Palestinians with
rubber-coated bullets near the tomb of the biblical matriarch
Rachel on the outskirts of Bethlehem. The Palestinians threw
stones at troops who were guarding the shrine in the
Palestinian-controlled part of the West Bank.
In Hebron, Palestinian youths also clashed with Israeli soldiers
in the part of the city still under Israeli occupation. The
continuing protests follow Israel's decision to go ahead with
construction of a Jewish neighborhood in disputed east Jerusalem
-- an area the Palestinians claim as a future capital.
Israel and the Palestinians have been sliding deeper into crisis
since construction began last week. A suicide bombing by a member
of the Islamic militant Hamas group in Tel Aviv Friday has been
followed by daily clashes between Palestinians and Israeli troops.
The two sides blame each other for the violence and have
increasingly hardened their positions. On Tuesday, Arafat said he
is ready to meet Netanyahu to discuss peace in the Middle East, if
the talks are meaningful. Arafat is on a tour of Islamic
countries. The Israelis accuse him of allowing the current crisis
to continue by staying away.
A top Netanyahu advisor said the prime minister is ready to meet
Arafat, but only if he takes steps to combat terrorism. Israel has
accused Arafat of giving the green light to Islamic militants to
carry out terror attacks in Israel. On Sunday, Israel's government
announced it would not resume peace talks until six demands are
met, including disarming and arresting the militants.
On Monday, one of Arafat's security chiefs declared that the
Palestinians would no longer cooperate with Israel on security
matters, but Israel's Chief of Staff Amnon Shahak says contacts are
Arafat's own Fatah movement is calling for demonstrations against
Israeli construction in east Jerusalem. Until now, Fatah -- the
largest faction in the PLO -- has been the strongest supporter of
peace with Israel. Fatah leaders have issued a leaflet calling for
mass non-violent protests, including marching and blocking roads
used by Jewish settlers.
Pyramid Workman Died from Cancer
By Laurie Kassman (VOA-Cairo)
Egyptian researchers say they have found evidence of cancer in the
skull of a workman who helped build the pyramids of Giza, 4,600
years ago. It is just one of many important pieces of medical
information gathered from archeological excavations on the
outskirts of Cairo.
The director of the Giza plateau excavations, Zahi Hawass, says
medical experts made the discovery during their analysis of 600
skeletons found in two cemeteries located just south of the
pyramids. "This evidence showed in the skull that you can see how
the skull was eaten by the cancer at that time."
Hawass says the medical analysis also provides valuable information
about physical stress and injuries and how they were treated.
"We found more other important evidence about stress on the backs
of all the skeletons, which means they were moving heavy stones.
And we found evidence about the average age of death of a workman,
which was 35. And the most interesting thing that we found also was
about doctors or physicians that Egyptians had on site to save
the workmen, if they had any accident.
"And we found some skeletons. They had broken their hands and they
treated them by putting wooden supports around each hand. And we
found other evidence about someone who had an accident on his leg.
And they did an operation and cut his leg and he lived for 14 years
after that, according to the report I received."
Several years ago, researchers working on a group of royal mummies
discovered evidence of smallpox and other diseases. But Hawass
says it is more interesting for him to deal with workers and
farmers, who made up about 80 percent of Egypt's population.
"Nobles and kings and queens, we know a lot about them. But we know
nothing about the common people, the farmers, the common people who
were involved in building the pyramids."
Researchers are analyzing every bone of the hundreds of skeletons
dug up around the pyramids. Hawass says the information opens a
window on life in Egypt and on the scientific and medical expertise
that existed more than 4,000 years ago.
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