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>Israel Faxx
>JN June 23, 1997, Vol. 5, No. 112

Syria Prepares Chemical Missiles

Yediot Acharonot reports Syria is building secret fortification sites for ballistic missiles. The report says the Syrians have built missile launching sites over the past few months, and they are speeding up development of chemical warfare heads. Defense Ministry advisor Maj. Gen. David Ivri called the missile plan "Israel's number one strategic threat." Israeli military experts believe Syria assumes Israel doesn't have any deterrent against the missile threat.

Israeli Thief Praised for Finding Terrorist Bomb

A drug-addicted thief prevented a major disaster this weekend when he stole a large bag from a Tel Aviv beach. Upon emptying the contents of his day's work, he found that the bag contained a huge explosive device attached to a timer. He notified the police, who were able to deactivate it. It is assumed that the bomb was placed on the beach by terrorists, and that a large-scale terrorist attack was averted.

The bag contained several kilograms of explosive materials, alarm clock, metallic balls and nails. (As seen in past attacks, the metallic balls and nails serve to compound the damage and injury caused by an explosion).

The man called police who safely neutralized the explosive device. The man who called the police was also taken in for questioning. Following the incident, police presence on the beaches from Bat Yam to Herzliya was increased. Police announced checkpoints were established at all entry points to Tel Aviv and cars were subjected to spot checks.

"This was a man known to us...who took the bag in order to try and steal things from it," Tel Aviv district police chief Nitzav Shlomo Aharonishki told Army radio.

"It wasn't exactly his goal, but the instant he positively identified the device, he demonstrated good citizenship...this is what we expect from other citizens."

The thief, Motti Ashkenazi, denied he had intended to steal the bag. "I was known to police because I was a drug-user. Because of this they built it up as if I was a thief," Ashkenazi told Israel Radio. "I didn't serve in the army. I didn't serve the state. Perhaps this is my contribution to the country. I hope after this someone will come and rehabilitate me."

Sharing Jerusalem

By Patricia Golan (VOA-Jerusalem)

Hundreds of Palestinian and Israeli peace activists marched through Jerusalem Saturday calling for east and west Jerusalem to serve as the capitals of Israel and a Palestinian state. The protest march was the final event in a week-long series of activities organized by Israeli and Palestinian women's organizations.

The week-long festival of cultural and political events billed as "Sharing Jerusalem" was organized by the Israeli Bat Shalom (Daughter of Peace) Feminist Center and its Palestinian counterpart, the Jerusalem Center for Women.

Demonstrators released a flock of doves over the walls of the Old City. The peace demonstration was to have ended with a concert featuring Irish popular singer Sinead O'Conner. But a few days before she was to perform, the singer canceled her appearance, following death threats. The concert by the outspoken O'Conner had provoked complaints by city officials and an unsuccessful appeal to the Supreme Court by right-wing activists against what they considered her politically-charged appearance.

Israel captured east Jerusalem from Jordan in the 1967 war and annexed it. The Palestinians want to establish part of the city as the capital of a future Palestinian state.

The two women's peace groups organized the "two capitals for two states" event, believing women have a seldom-voiced special perspective towards issues associated with the Arab-Israeli conflict. International women's groups attended, and the audiences were made up mostly of women. But men were equally represented on discussion panels.

The central theme of the symposium was that it is possible to find ways of sharing Jerusalem, without it being physically divided.

A recent survey has shown Israelis and Palestinians have differing perceptions of what actually constitutes Jerusalem, geographically. Often, it is not even the same neighborhoods. Last week the Hebrew University issued results of its latest study on attitudes on the final status of the city which show a sizable minority of the city's Arab and Jewish residents is willing to consider a solution which would allow two capitals for two states.

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