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Phone Cards Wanted to Allow Jewish GIs to Phone Home

By Israel Faxx News Service

Amy Ackerson of Pikesville, MD, the wife of Orthodox rabbi and military chaplain Mitchell Ackerman, is collecting telephone cards to help Jewish GIs call home for Rosh Hashanah. The cards will be given to Jewish chaplains in the Iraqi war theater - where about 2,000 to 3,000 Jewish soldiers are serving. Ackerman, who can be reached at a.b.ackerson@juno.com, said she got the idea after facing difficulties in reaching her husband, who is stationed in Kuwait and who travels to Iraq to meet with Jewish personnel.


Israeli Missile Attack Kills 2, Wounds 25 in Gaza

By Ross Dunn (VOA-Jerusalem) & Israel Faxx News Services

Israeli helicopter gunships have fired missiles at a car in Gaza City, killing at least two people and wounding 25 others. The targets of the attack were members of Hamas, the Islamic Resistance Movement, a group that carries out suicide bombings. Khader al-Husari, a member of Hamas, was killed when three missiles hit his car. A fourth missile hit another car, witnesses said.

Witnesses said Israeli helicopters fired the missiles and saw Israeli F-16 fighter planes flying overhead. Palestinians say the planes are used to mask the sound of approaching helicopters. It was the sixth such operation of its kind by Israel in the past two weeks, in which more than 11 Islamic militants and three bystanders have been killed.

The missile strike also came shortly after the head of the Israeli Defense Forces, General Moshe Ya'alon, warned that he stands ready to send ground forces into the Gaza Strip in a bid to stop Hamas from firing rockets into Israel. If the order were given, it would mean that an infantry brigade of about 3,000 soldiers would be sent against Hamas bases in Gaza.

Terrorists formally declared the end of a seven-week truce on August 21, after the assassination of a senior Hamas political leader, and an Aug. 19 suicide attack that killed 21 people on a Jerusalem bus.

In the past two weeks, Hamas has fired dozens of homemade Kassam rockets at Jewish settlements in the Gaza Strip and targets inside Israel. One of the rockets reached Ashkelon; a coastal city north of Gaza and Israel said the intended target had been a power station.

Israel's Defense Minister, Shaul Mofaz, said he was in favor of a ground offensive against Hamas in the Gaza Strip if the rocket fire does not stop. Diplomats led by the U.S. are liaising closely with the government of Mahmoud Abbas, prime minister, to prevent a total collapse of the "road map," a series of confidence-building measures supposed to lead to a Palestinian state by 2005.

The PA, however, is beset by an internal struggle over command of the security forces, while Israel is forging ahead with construction of a West Bank security barrier and settlement activity in the occupied territories.

An Israeli commission of inquiry on Monday criticized Ehud Barak, former Labor prime minister, over the deaths of 13 Israeli Arabs during clashes with the police that coincided with the start of the Palestinian uprising three years ago. The three-member Supreme Court panel did not recommend any action against the then prime minister, but said Shlomo Ben-Ami, an academic who has also served as foreign minister, had failed as public security minister and could not serve again in that post.

The Or Commission said Barak, who has hinted he is planning a return to politics, had failed to prevent the police from using deadly force. He is also accused of failing to meet leaders of Israeli Arabs, who make up 18 percent of Israel's population and suffer long-standing discrimination. The police were severely criticized for treating Israeli Arabs as an enemy element.


Pollard in Court on Tuesday

By IsraelNationalNews.com


For the first time in more than 16 years, Jonathan Pollard will be seen in public, however briefly, Tuesday. He will be brought to a federal court in Washington as his lawyers argue for his right to be re-sentenced. Chief Judge Thomas F. Hogan will hear arguments on motions to vacate Pollard's life sentence and to gain access to the sealed court sentencing docket file. Pollard's attorneys argue that ineffective counsel deprived Pollard of his constitutional rights, resulting in an unjustified life sentence.

As Pollard's wife Esther recently explained to Arutz-7, the upcoming court session is not a trial or hearing, but merely a procedure during which the attorneys for both sides once again present oral arguments. "It's essentially just more talk about whether or not to allow the attorneys to continue Jonathan's cases which have already been sitting on the judge's desk for the last three years," she told Israeli radio personality Nissim Mishal. "It is a device that allows the Court to avoid making a decision on those two cases."

Esther Pollard expressed frustration at the impression being conveyed: "As long as the public has the mistaken impression that something important is happening in court, they will not be concerned for Jonathan. Meanwhile, a lot more time is being wasted as Jonathan continues to languish in prison without any hope of this court date moving his case forward at all." She further said that the announcement of this court date "destroys any hope that Jonathan had that the Government of Israel might finally actually do something for him."


Foreign Minister: Israel Won't Deal with Arafat

By Larry James (VOA-Jerusalem)

Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom reiterated Sunday the Israel position that it would not deal with Yasir Arafat. Israeli Radio reported that Israeli officials have told the Palestinian leadership that Israel would withdraw its support of the road map peace plan, if the Abbas government falls.

The Palestinian parliament plans to hold a vote of confidence on the Abbas government on Thursday. The vote had been set for Monday, but was delayed following reports Washington asked that Abbas be given more time to muster support. A power struggle between Abbas and Arafat has intensified recently over control of Palestinian security forces. Arafat, who reportedly wants to use the vote of confidence to have the Palestinian prime minister replaced, is challenging Abbas.

Israel Radio, quoting Israeli officials, reported that U.S. officials have told the Palestinian leadership that if Abbas' government falls, the United States would withdraw its support for the internationally backed road map Middle East peace plan. The plan, which is backed by Russia, the European Union, the United Nations, and the United States, calls for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state by 2005.


Sunlight Surgery

By IsraelnationalNews.com

Drs. Jeffrey Gordon, Daniel Feuermann and Mahmoud Huleihil, Israeli researchers from the Negev's Ben-Gurion University, have developed a tool for performing surgery that uses concentrated sunlight. The new device seems to be as effective as the conventional laser "scalpel," at least in experimental conditions, but it looks to be a far less expensive tool.

Gordon was cautious, and told Reuters, "This is only for sunny climates and even then for clear sky periods. I do not wish to project the impression that we're offering some universally applicable solution." However, Nature magazine saw the new tool as a possible candidate to replace conventional laser surgery in the future.

Feuermann told Globes newspaper, "If a commercial entity is interested in applying it, I estimate a device could be marketed within a year or two. As for cost, the prototype cost $7,500 to build. Commercial production would probably lower that." In light of the fact that traditional medical lasers can cost up to $150,000 each, the "sunlight laser" would clearly be an attractive alternative for hospitals that are located in areas to take advantage of the technology.

Perhaps since the device, once perfected, would greatly benefit cash-poor, but sunlight-rich countries, Ben-Gurion University has decided not to patent it. The know-how to build it is currently freely available. As of now, the "laser" has been successfully tested on animal subjects, but further clinical tests are planned.

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