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White House Confirms Abu Mazen's Upcoming Visit


A White House spokesman has confirmed that PA Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) will be visiting to meet with President George W. Bush at the end of next week. Four days later, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is scheduled to arrive to meet with Bush. The White House official reiterated the US' commitment to "two states," Israel and the PA living "side-by-side in peace."

Blair to Congress: Mideast Peace Key to Winning War on Terror

By Israel Faxx News Services

British Prime Minister Tony Blair told Congress on Thursday that the war on terror would not be won without peace between Israel and the Palestinians. "There is one cause terrorism rides upon, a cause they have no belief in but can manipulate," he said. "I want to be very plain: This terrorism will not be defeated without peace in the Middle East between Israel and Palestine."

In the first address to Congress by a British prime minister since Margaret Thatcher in 1985, Blair said that the entire Arab world must recognize the State of Israel, and end incitement against both Israel and Jews. "Here it is that the poison is incubated. Here it is that the extremist is able to confuse in the mind of a frighteningly large number of people the case for a Palestinian state and the destruction of Israel, and to translate this moreover into a battle between East and West, Muslim, Jew and Christian.

"May this never compromise the security of the State of Israel. The State of Israel should be recognized by the entire Arab world, and the vile propaganda used to indoctrinate children, not just against Israel but against Jews, must cease. You cannot teach people hate and then ask them to practice peace. But neither can you teach people peace except by according them dignity and granting them hope. Innocent Israelis suffer. So do innocent Palestinians."

Blair entered the House chamber to a standing ovation of lawmakers, senior Bush administration officials and American military brass. The prime minister wryly thanked his audience for a "warm and generous welcome that's more than I deserve, and it's more than I'm used to, quite frankly." That was a reference to domestic British politics. Before the war, Blair drew stronger opposition in the House of Commons to military action than Bush did in Congress. And like Bush, he has been hit hard by post-war controversy over questionable intelligence about Saddam Hussein's nuclear aims.

UN Official: Syria Willing to Negotiate with Israel

By VOA News

The United Nations Middle East envoy says Syria has expressed interest in resuming peace negotiations with Israel. Envoy Terje Roed-Larsen confirmed earlier reports Thursday that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is willing to revive talks from the point at which they broke down three years ago.

Roed-Larsen said he was willing to act as a "go-between" to help revive talks between Damascus and Tel Aviv. But he said Syria and Israel must agree on a starting point for the negotiations. The two countries are at odds over the Golan Heights, Syrian territory that Israel captured during the 1967 war and later annexed.

Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom expressed skepticism about Syria's offer to resume talks. Israeli officials say Syria must drop all pre-conditions for talks to move forward. Roed-Larsen also denied an Israeli news report that President al-Assad offered to intervene in the case of three missing Israeli soldiers and a businessman believed abducted in Lebanon three years ago by the militant group Hizbullah.

The U.N. envoy made his remarks to journalists at United Nations headquarters when asked about a report in an Israeli newspaper. But Roed-Larsen denied the rest of the Israeli news report, which says that the Syrian president offered to intervene in the case of four Israelis missing in Lebanon.

Israeli Breakthrough in Treatment of Tumors


Cancerous and benign growths can be removed through the use of a non-invasive, experimental device that uses focused ultrasound to break up the tumors. The system, ExAblate 2000, developed by the Israeli InSightec company, is tracked in real-time using an MRI scanner. The treatment is being clinically tested for use in fighting breast cancer, brain tumors and uterine fibroids, and it may preclude the need for many hysterectomies regularly performed today.

While experimental trials are underway in medical centers around the world, in Israel, the treatment is already being implemented regularly at Hadassah and Sheba hospitals. And it will shortly be included in the coverage offered by one of Israel's central health funds, Maccabee, for uterine myoma treatment. At this point, the InSightec treatment for benign uterine tumors has been approved for the general public in Israel, Japan and Europe.

InSightec, founded in 1999, is a joint venture of Elbit Medical Imaging and General Electric Medical Systems.

A First: Hasidic Television Drama


The Hasidic world is about to be the subject of a new drama series on Israel's Techelet cable station, a channel dedicated to Jewish religion and culture. The new series, named "The Court," is the first of its kind and will focus on the life of a Hasidic Rebbe's family in the heart of modern Tel Aviv.

The series is centered on the Leibnitzer Rebbe and his family, living in Tel Aviv's Kiryat Leibnitz. The series deals with the day-to-day trials and relationships of the Rebbe with his family, his Hasidim, his community and the surrounding Tel Aviv community: loves and hatreds, threatening tensions, bitter conflicts and great expectations, combined with strong emotions and secrets.

Shlomo Ben-Tzvi, the general manager of the Techelet channel, said that the series would initially consist of 26 episodes, with another 54 in the works. The series has thus far cost $800,000 to produce.

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