Newsletter : 3fax0606.txt
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Gaucher Disease Code Cracked
The Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot announced this week that researchers at
the facility have the found the solution to the three-dimensional structure of an enzyme
called glucocerebrosidase. Mutations occurring in this enzyme cause Gaucher disease, a
genetic illness that mainly affects Ashkenazi Jews. The Institute study, published
recently in EMBO Reports, may lead to the design of effective new therapies for treating
Mideast Summit Draws Mixed Reactions
By Sonja Pace (VOA-Jerusalem) & IsraelNationalNews.com
President Bush's summit with the Israeli and Palestinian prime ministers in Aqaba,
Jordan, ended with vows from all parties to work toward peace. That has given hope to
some, stirred anger among others and left still others doubting that words can be
translated into deeds.
Israel's Ha'aretz newspaper referred to one small step for regional mankind, in its
front-page analysis of the summit. And that, perhaps, best describes what happened
Wednesday in Aqaba, when George Bush, Ariel Sharon and Mahmoud Abbas stood alongside their
host, King Abdullah of Jordan, to promise to work for peace in the region.
The goal was to get Israelis and Palestinians to agree on implementing the road map,
the international peace plan drafted and backed by the United States, the European Union,
the United Nations and Russia.
Speaking in Aqaba, Bush said it was a good beginning. "All here today now share a
goal," he said. "The Holy Land must be shared between a state of Palestine and a state of
Israel, living in peace with each other and with every nation of the Middle East."
Sharon and his Palestinian counterpart agreed that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
would not be solved by violence or military means. Abbas called for an end to armed
resistance against Israeli occupation. "We will exert all of our efforts to end the
militarization of the intifada, and we will succeed."
Even though the majority of Palestinians say they want peace, and even though Abbas has
spoken out against violence in the past, his words angered many Palestinians. An editorial
in the London-based Al Quds al Arabi newspaper Thursday described his latest statement as
Many Palestinians argue that he caved in to American pressure in pledging an end to
violence, without demanding that Israel do the same. There is also anger that he bluntly
labeled Palestinian militant actions 'terrorism,' and that he did not mention the right of
Palestinian refugees to return home, nor did he refer to the goal that, one day, Jerusalem
will be the capital of a future Palestinian state.
Militant groups such as Islamic Jihad, Hamas and others said they would not abandon
violence in the fight against Israeli occupation.
Israeli analyst Shlomo Brum is a retired general and a senior researcher at Tel Aviv's
Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies. He said Abbas, who is commonly known as Abu Mazen,
would find it difficult to stop the violence. "The Islamic organizations, Hamas and
Islamic Jihad, are not willing to accept it, and even if they will accept it, they will
accept it only for a limited period of time. And then, the test for Abu Mazen will be
whether he is capable of forcing them to stop their action. It looks to me as if he's too
weak to do it."
Speaking at the Aqaba summit, Sharon lent his support to the creation of a democratic
Palestinian state, which he said would promote long-term security for Israel. And, he
promised to get rid of Jewish settlement outposts in the West Bank and Gaza Strip that
have been established without government authorization. "I want to reiterate that Israel
is a society governed by the rule of law. Thus, we will immediately begin to remove
Even though that pledge concerns only a small number of tiny outposts of tents and
trailers, the words drew the immediate ire of Jewish hard-liners and settlers, thousands
of whom demonstrated through the streets of Jerusalem Wednesday night, protesting the
destruction of any settlements.
Though the media reported on "tens of thousands" or "35,000" people at Wednesday
night's Yesha Council protest rally, police sources told the organizers that well over
100,000 people were in attendance. The demonstration against the Road Map and the
establishment of a Palestinian state was held in downtown Jerusalem's Zion Square. The
evening began with a minute of silence and a prayer in memory of the victims of Arab
terrorism and violence, followed by short prayers for the recovery of the wounded.
Moderating the evening was Karnei Shomron Mayor Hudi Lieberman, who stated, "The nation
is ready and waiting for political leadership that will not surrender to terrorism... The
Road Map plan is not a map; it's a program for the establishment of a terrorist state
between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean... We have a different map: the map of
settlement in the Land of Israel - the map that will stop a Palestinian state. Its cities
and communities will block the formation of a Palestinian state. Our settlement map will
defeat the Road Map!"
Analyst Brum agreed with those who doubt Sharon is really committed to removing the
outposts, and said his pledge gives him plenty of room to maneuver. "Even from the way he
worded this promise, I can see that he [Sharon] is going to do the minimal, or do nothing
at all, because he can use the term 'unauthorized' to manipulate the issue in such a way
that only a few and vacant outposts will be defined as unauthorized."
Further small steps are envisioned, including a possible meeting in the coming days
between Abbas and Palestinian militants to try to get them to pledge to stop attacks
against Israel, and a meeting between Israel's defense minister and army commanders to
discuss dismantling some settlement outposts.
Meir Vilner, Declaration of Independence Signatory, Dies
By Joseph Algazy, Ha'aretz
Meir Vilner, the last living signatory of Israel's declaration of independence, died
Thursday morning at the age of 84, in the hospital where he had spent the last 4 years.
Vilner served as leader of the Israeli Communist Party and subsequently Hadash, which he
represented as a member of Knesset for some 40 years.
Born in Vilna in 1918, Vilner studied at the Hebrew gymnasium "Tarbut." In 1938 he
arrived in Israel to study at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. In 1940 he joined the
communist party in Israel, which was underground at the time, and for many hears was a
member of the party leadership. From 1965 until 1990 he served as secretary general of the
Israel Communist Party and was its chairman from 1990-1993.
Vilner championed a Marxist-Leninist ideology, to which he remained true throughout the
upheavals that shook the world in recent years. He maintained his political ideology even
when it was deemed unacceptable and not easily discussed in Israel.
In 1967, Vilner survived an assassination attempt by a member of Herut - a right wing
political movement that evolved into today's Likud party. He was stabbed at the height of
an incitement campaign that targeted Vilner and his political party for their call to end
the occupation and recognize the Palestinian right to a homeland alongside to Israel.
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