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>Israel Faxx
>JN July 17, 1997, Vol. 5, No. 129

House of Representatives Grants Asylum to Swiss Guard

The U.S. House of Representatives voted to grant asylum to the Swiss bank guard who rescued Holocaust-era documents from a shredder at the Union Bank of Switzerland earlier this year. After receiving death threats, Christoph Meili and his family fled to the United States in April. The Senate passed similar legislation in May.

UN General Assembly Condemns Israel

The UN General Assembly overwhelmingly passed a resolution condemning Israel's refusal to stop work on a controversial building project on disputed land in Jerusalem.

Meeting in "emergency special session", the assembly adopted the resolution by a 131-3 vote after the Arab and Muslim sponsoring states agreed to remove a clause urging governments and private companies to stop providing support for the construction work. Voting against the resolution were Israel, the US and the Pacific island federation of Micronesia.

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu blasted the UN for the debate, telling Israel Radio, "At a time when thousands and hundreds of thousands of people are dying in different wars and disasters in the world, and there are wars that are abandoned in different places, what the UN decides to do is debate two or three bulldozers building apartments for peaceful citizens in Jerusalem."

The session began on April 24, when the Assembly declared the construction "illegal" and called on Israel to stop the project. Israel has rejected the call.

The Israel Foreign Ministry said in a statement it "utterly rejects the one-sided and hostile resolution adopted at the Special Emergency Session of the UN General Assembly on Har Homa. The building of a new residential neighborhood in Jerusalem, does not, by any criterion, constitute "a threat to international peace and security.

"There was therefore no justification, whether of procedure or of substance, to convene the special emergency session, especially when the international agenda is so burdened with real problems which require the UN's attention and action. The decision adopted therefore has no moral justification or validity.

Australians Fell into a Polluted Yarkon River

By SNS News Service

On Wednesday,the Maccabiah Games resumed following a 24 hour mourning period for the two victims of the bridge collapse. All athletes participating in the games wore black bands symbolizing the mourning.

Although the atmosphere that prevailed was a somber one for the Australian team, they said they felt the return to the competition was a tribute to their teammates who died in the accident.

Tests of the water in the Yarkon, under the place where the pedestrian bridge collapsed earlier this week indicate high levels of toxic substances.

The Ministry of Environmental Affairs apparently gave the okay to use, what are being called "acceptable chemical agents" to spray the water against bugs and summer insects.

Victims who fell into the water and swallowed quantities of it are now fighting the complications caused by the toxic agents entering into their system.

Thirteen victims of the Maccabiah Games bridge collapse remained hospitalized, five are in serious condition.

On Wednesday, two builders from the Ben Ezra-Kargula firm, who built the bridge, were questioned by police "under warning." The bridge builders rejected any blame for wrongdoing or having contributed in any way to the deaths of the Maccabiah athletes.

Their attorney maintained that the bridge was completed and left "unwatched" 12 days prior to the opening ceremony of the games. During that time, the attorney stipulated that Police Department vehicles traveled over the bridge. Police deny the allegations.

Other experts told police the bridge failed to meet minimum Israeli standards of being able to support 500 persons. In addition, the municipality of Ramat Gan (where the stadium is located) did not see a need to inspect the structure or issue a permit since the bridge was "temporary."

Maccabiah officials, engineers and other experts will be giving testimony to the police unit investigating the accident.

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