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>PD
>Israel Faxx
>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 remote.

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 continuing.

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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