Newsletter : 2fax0409.txt
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Holocaust Remembrance Day
Holocaust Martyrs and Heroes Remembrance Day began Monday night,
one week before Independence Day. The theme for this year's
commemorations is, "Their Last Voice: Letters and Testaments from
Jews in the Holocaust." At the official opening at the Warsaw
Ghetto Square, in the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem,
President Moshe Katzav noted that anti-Semitism was once again on
the rise around the world. Tuesday morning, a two-minute memorial
siren will be sounded throughout the country, in remembrance of the
more than six million Jews murdered in Europe by the Nazi regime
IDF withdraws from Qalqilyah, Tul Karm
By Ha'aretz, Deutsche Presse-Agentur & IsraeliWire.com
In order to assist Secretary of State Colin Powell's mission to the
region, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has pulled IDF troops out of
the West Bank cities of Qalqilyah and Tul Karm.
Military sources said the military operation in these cities had
been completed. They said IDF troops have arrested militants and
discovered weapons, and that there was no apparent terror
infrastructure left to target.
"It's a start," White House press secretary Ari Fleischer said
Monday night in response to the IDF pullout. "As the president
said... all parties in the Middle East have responsibilities and
the president expects all parties to step up to them."
Sharon said Monday that the army would remain in other towns it had
reoccupied until it had "completed its mission." He said, however
he was willing to hold summit talks with "moderate" Arab leaders
without preconditions. "I am ready to go, at any time and to any
place, to negotiate peace without any conditions," he said, in a
lengthy address to the Israeli Knesset.
Sharon said the recent Saudi initiative, which broadly calls on
Israel to withdraw from the territories occupied in the 1967 Middle
East War, in return for recognition by Arab states, had "a positive
element," but without dialogue would remain "devoid of content."
The premier told lawmakers he promised President Bush that he would
make every possible effort to expedite the Israeli offensive, which
began March 29 in response to a series of deadly suicide bombings
in Israeli cities. He said Israel had no intention of reconquering
the Palestinian autonomous areas and that the army would withdraw
to "designated security zones" after its mission was completed.
"The Israeli army will continue to operate as quickly as possible
until its mission is completed and until (Palestinian chief) Yasir
Arafat's terrorist infrastructures are dismantled and until the
murderers, who have barricaded themselves in different places,
including the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, are caught."
He added that he expected the international community to intervene
to end the siege of the church, which began when around 150 armed
Palestinians sought refuge in the Church. "Since we have no
intention of desecrating the holiness of the place, as the
murderers who have caught the place would have liked ... we expect
the international community to call on them to lay down their
weapons and to leave the holy place."
Private Security Companies Booming in Israel
By Laurie Kassman (VOA-Jerusalem)
In March, 11 suicide bombing attacks in Israel killed more than 60
people and wounded more than 200 others. A terrorized Israeli
public is demanding more protection and this demand for security
has sparked a boom for security companies.
Rafi Swed runs the Tel Aviv-based Moked Imun security guard
service. He said he cannot keep up with the demand. "We employ
about 1,000 people and the demand increased about 30 to 40 percent
in the last month, especially during the last few days after the
suicide bombing in Netanya and Haifa. And, it increases all the
Swed says the ideal person for the job has military or police
experience. But Israel now has called up more than 20,000
reservists for active duty. And that, Swed said, is making his
search more difficult. "We put ads in the newspapers," he said. "We
ask our employees to bring us friends and now we have another
problem because there about 10 percent are under the call of the
army for reserves."
Business is also booming at special training centers for security
guards. Protect owner Itay Gil says the number of trainees has
soared since the latest spate of suicide bombings.
A former member of Israel's elite military counter-terrorism team,
Gil says the suicide bombings are a relatively new phenomenon. "And
it's pretty difficult because they're getting a lot smarter," he
said. "They come in camouflage, dye their hair. You know they're
getting smarter, so it means we have to get smarter too."
Gil trains bodyguards for Israel's presidential office and other
government agencies. He says they all have extensive military and
police training. However, he says fighting suicide bombers requires
other skills, too.
Gil said the aim was to prevent an attack or at least minimize the
potential for injury.
Fewer Israelis are venturing out these days but Israel is on a high
alert, amid fears of more suicide bombers. In a period of such
anxiety, security companies do not expect business to slack off
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